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On 8/10/2020 at 2:56 AM, Must Be Spoon Fed said:

 

I would have to go through hundreds of pages myself....Hopefully, I will be able to write in the future about development and procurement decisions of most modern jet fighters.

 

On 9/14/2020 at 3:55 AM, Must Be Spoon Fed said:

I would like you to do something constructive and maybe create quotable FAQ on most common contention points. There are many points which you could do research on,

 

On 8/24/2020 at 2:53 AM, Must Be Spoon Fed said:

I went through all the trouble of looking through information

 

On 8/17/2020 at 2:44 AM, Must Be Spoon Fed said:

I should not do my own research. All research should be already be done,

On the chance you should return here, reread the quotes excerpted above. You're literally stating that you cannot be bothered learning about the very thing you're asking to learn about. Folks here are getting justifiably annoyed at you saying it's just too much work for you, so they should do the work for you.

 

Furthermore, this is a private forum, so there's no onus on anyone to be "nice" or use their time constructively other than the expectation of the forum owner. Not to put words in @Sturgeon's mouth, but the expectation is clearly stated that users will do the work to understand topics of discussion.

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Apologies in advance for the length of this post, but I decided to throw this together and I hope everyone finds it interesting/informative. If I have made any mistakes please feel free to point them

From AH dot com, of all places (apparently the one competent poster)   Also, the F-35's IR sensors are pretty good;  

18 hours ago, Boagrius said:

- The Navy budget link directly covers the Sidekick weapon bay mod that will give all F35A's and Cs from Lot 15 onwards the capacity to carry 6 AIM120/260 internally. This is not controversial.

 

That is not a source by itself. You did not state clearly where to find necessary information and you are referring to modification of a few F-35 models and say that it applies to all those planes. That is just some poor citing of the information. Nothing to do with ones reading comprehension and rather everything to do with others ability to properly use available sources. AND AGAIN, you gave me a source which is locked behind either registration or paywall. 
 
 
Here, was it so hard? Regardless, this only proves AirPowerAustralia right. It had argued that it has insufficient payload capacity under VLO. After many years of criticism military officials had agreed with critique and F-35 models were improved based on criticism. It does not make them wrong, it validates them and proves them right. Now everybody pretends as if it wasn't a massive deal within fighter. 
 
 
18 hours ago, Boagrius said:

- The pilot being interviewed is necessarily general in his feedback since the data on the specific aerodynamic capabilities of the F35 (eg its EM diagrams) are heavily classified and will remain so for decades to come. I will take his word (and that of numerous other relevant members of the operational community) over yours any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

 

 

This is the problem. You argue things you do not know on a blind faith. A lot of things you do not know are speculated like precise radar cross sections of F-22 and F-35. While of course such things are just speculations, they are however backed by science and information of previous generations of airplanes. We can get a good grasp of a plane's capabilities while being off marginally from estimated performance.
 
Now, you yet again cite an extremely broad article. Did you even read it? If so, why are you not citing it again properly? In addition, what do you have in mind specifically? Those two tables? Are you aware that this is an article and most of what you see here is the author's opinion and he makes his own share of mistakes and shares only what he thinks of it himself? I did read this article closely myself, not only your article, but also part of its source, Operational Assessment of F-35A and I had used findings in that document to argue against F-35 maneuverability. Then you also exclude facts within the article which are uncomfortable like that pilots had rated the F-35A to be less maneuverable in a dogfight with turn rates. This is on top of putting the best performing F-35 variant against plane models 20-30 years old...
 
You do not see those little nuances which you are quoting. Not only do you accept false comparisons, but also do not really get the difference why Su series planes are a lot more different than an F-16. This is why you people struggle to grasp what AirPowerAustralia was saying in regards to supermaneuverability and importance of TVC in BFM combat. 
 
Article also bashes Joint Strike Fighter program as mismanaged. It also makes some mistakes. Like quoting the intended cost of the F-35 while in truth, it costs a lot more than that which was proven in my previous source and ironically enough, in your source where the United States Navy is purchasing those planes at a lot higher cost. Then for example it makes erroneous comparisons between prices of varying planes, quoting non functional cost of F-35 plane while comparing it to program acquisition cost of other planes. 
 
18 hours ago, Boagrius said:

- Your unsupported assertion that the F35 has suffered “various other high profile failures to beat legacy fighters in BFM” is a myth. I suspect it stems from a misleading 2014 blog article by David Axe on a developmental control law test conducted with an F16. In short, it was not a dogfight but Axe tried to spin it as one anyway.

 

 

No, it is not a myth. The Pentagon can't even spin its story straight. Officials were talking about how it was to test the maneuverability performance of F-35 against adversary in BFM maneuvers. In order not to lose, F-35 was matched against heavily crippled F-16 and it still managed to lose BFM. Now you attach to me a pilot talking about how it was not supposed to be a dogfight. While it might be technically true, nobody would fly two airplanes into the air to test flight controls of F-35. Flight hours are very expensive and pilots are timed by the minutes in their flights. You should think more critically for yourself. 
 
 
Here is another damning report of F-35 fighter:
 
 
With explanations of what happened: 
 
 
See how it isn't even denying poor capabilities of a fighter to dogfight? You can't add better BFM performance to a plane with new features. However, I find it funny when there are so many hardcore defenders of a plane out there, adamantly defending F-35 being best at everything, even at that it wasn't designed to do and even attacking program's officials in their statements. I had one fellow who started disputing my quotes of what official stance is on such things. That was hilarious.
 
You also should question why the F-35 does not have an infinite kill/death ratio. When is this plane shot down? For example in Red Flag exercises most if not all losses of F-35 were incurred when they had met with their adversaries in close up engagements meaning that plane would often be destroyed in a simulated dogfight. While 17-20 kills to one loss is an impressive number, it is all done under the assumption that F-35 stealth holds and it flies against adversaries the whole generation behind. They do not face more agile Su fighters. They do not face modern Russian hybrid sensoric missiles. They do not have to avoid radar emissions from a complex environment. In those simulations there are a lot of ifs done and we should all know that such things are here for the show. Those exercises are heavily controlled and they serve only to make good PR. You should already know such a thing.
 
18 hours ago, Boagrius said:

- The Su-30MKM never scored a kill in the three engagements depicted in the video I posted. It used TVC to briefly reverse a losing position into a neutral merge only to be gunned shortly afterwards. You are literally making things up now.

 

Please watch your own videos closely. At 12:24 the pilot remarks how supermaneuverable its adversary plane is and you can clearly see that Su-30MKM had managed to turn its nose around and score a kill, but it was not counted anymore as both planes were going for a reset. I also doubt "kills" of many of those engagements. 4'th generation planes have to point their nose at the target and actually hitting targets from such high angles of attack are far from guaranteed. Furthermore, those dogfights are more BFM maneuvers against inexperienced pilots. F-18 pilot constantly remarks at how inexperienced his adversary is when he mentions him constantly making basic mistakes. Such casual maneuvering proves only poor combat readiness of Malaysian pilots.

 

18 hours ago, Boagrius said:

- The US aircraft was a legacy Hornet, not a Super Hornet. Once again you are clearly not examining/comprehending information properly.

 

Fair enough.

 

18 hours ago, Boagrius said:

 The link about the F22 was never supposed to relate to BFM, but to highlight the decisive advantage its VLO features have been providing it for over a decade – precisely as I claimed. This is yet more of you failing to adequately read or comprehend the information being presented.

 

 

You had quoted to me an advertisement article which says nothing specific about VLO nor BFM. This article boasts about thrust vectoring capabilities and how important they are. This goes directly against your argument and proves the position which you were trying to disprove. Furthermore, it is YOU who was speaking about BFM, but in the middle of your argument, you forgot what you were speaking about and started referring to VLO capabilities of a Raptor in an argument about F-35 and you did it by attaching a source which briefly mentions VLO as well as boasting TVC. Your whole post of which you were so proud of are full of such lazy research or incoherent links as your "well documented" articles are merely news tabloids.

 

18 hours ago, Boagrius said:

At this point I have to question whether you are even able to competently engage with what I am posting. It certainly doesn’t seem like it. I think I will leave you to do your own "research" as I can't see any point in persevering here.

 

So, "either agree with me or you are stupid". You will fit right into this community. I'm the only person who thoroughly read (at least from a second part, first part might be a similar mess) what you wrote and I found your post severely lacking. You still did not addressed that you had quoted the AirPowerAustralia article without reading it. Saying that it says something which it doesn't not even talk about. Then you quote various advertisements of one or other airplane, constantly mixing F-22 with F-35. However, the major issue is that you link articles without direct quotes relevant to conversation. You just bring raw information and think it is sufficient to prove someone wrong. You do not provide proper quotes neither of opposition which you are dispelling nor you provide properly cited sources. Most of your sources have nothing to do with the point you are opposing and when they do have something to do with, they are remarkably shaky. You wish to speak with authority on the subject, but you rely on sources not much better than the media tabloid yourself. Even in your latest link, you had linked me to an in depth article about Operational Assessment of F-35. I however read source material and used it to back my claim about poor maneuverability of F-35, giving direct quote, page and source. You do not comprehend that you are dealing not with facts, but with opinions and news articles. Whatever they will be a journalist talking about your favorite plane or a pilot saying that he/she thinks about something. That type of information is not credible as a source by itself. For example, you had given me a pilot talking about how that test was meant to test flight controls, but nobody in their right mind would need another plane for that. Then she contradicts program officials as they give yet another version of those events and provide yet entirely different explanations. 

 

You do have potential, but you should drop your arrogance. You were prideful of your comment, but when faced with critique you refused to listen and decided that everybody who disagrees with you is stupid. 

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13 hours ago, Dragonstriker said:

 

 

 

On the chance you should return here, reread the quotes excerpted above. You're literally stating that you cannot be bothered learning about the very thing you're asking to learn about. Folks here are getting justifiably annoyed at you saying it's just too much work for you, so they should do the work for you.

 

Furthermore, this is a private forum, so there's no onus on anyone to be "nice" or use their time constructively other than the expectation of the forum owner. Not to put words in @Sturgeon's mouth, but the expectation is clearly stated that users will do the work to understand topics of discussion.

 

A forum which prides itself on quality, you certainly don't uplive to your standards. Not only do you behave as little children, bullying anyone new and creating a lot of "noise", but also you people were caught multiple times not reading what you post. Boagrius for example quoted an article from AirPowerAustralia without reading it and then ignored that accusation altogether. He did the same thing with many of his other sources which did not correlate well to titles and arguments which he was making nor could he recall a case which I had mentioned from his video. Furthermore, you are also to blame for taking things out of context. 

 

First quote is about me saying that I will have to do a lot more research. Second quote is about the community being a little bit more productive with their time rather than shitposting most of the time. It was about starting to write defence content of your very own like posting articles to newsites or having your own blog, but I had caught people yet again not reading properly the information with which they operate. Third quote is about me actually doing my research. It is you who put whatever meaning you wish to see. I had asked for sources,  not to be told everything thing by thing. A community member did claim that you guys have vast quantities of information shortlisted for reference and that you know infinitely more than I do. However, when I had asked for any of you to come up even with one good book to read, nobody could offer anything. It speaks volumes. Yes, I know that nobody ought to be "nice". However, I still highlight how immature the behavior of a lot of people here are. A grown man should not behave as a small child, but some of you do. I'm questioning how such people could ever take any high ranking position within industry or military with such behavior as a professional environment rarely allows for such narcissism to exist. I'm quite frankly shocked by the behavior here as I do not interact with such impolite people. 

 

In the end, I do understand that the cultural differences between me and the others are just too vast. I had decided to leave this forum a month ago. However, it is people here who want me to stay with constant replies and insults. I would say, just ignore me, call me an idiot in order to make yourself feel better and we will be done. Disputing what I had said and then expecting not to get a reply, well...that is how coward would behave. Either lets accept truce to agree to disagree or we might have to continue this futile "discussion" for a lot longer.

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Can't wait to see other countries 5th generation aircraft at least becoming a production aircraft in regular service.

So there would be something to compare too.

 

B-2 bomber doesn't get much love, even though it's pretty much the '5th' generation bomber and deserves to be in the list with the F-22, F-35.

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2 hours ago, Must Be Spoon Fed said:

 

A forum which prides itself on quality, you certainly don't uplive to your standards. Not only do you behave as little children, bullying anyone new and creating a lot of "noise", but also you people were caught multiple times not reading what you post. Boagrius for example quoted an article from AirPowerAustralia without reading it and then ignored that accusation altogether. He did the same thing with many of his other sources which did not correlate well to titles and arguments which he was making nor could he recall a case which I had mentioned from his video. Furthermore, you are also to blame for taking things out of context. 

 

First quote is about me saying that I will have to do a lot more research. Second quote is about the community being a little bit more productive with their time rather than shitposting most of the time. It was about starting to write defence content of your very own like posting articles to newsites or having your own blog, but I had caught people yet again not reading properly the information with which they operate. Third quote is about me actually doing my research. It is you who put whatever meaning you wish to see. I had asked for sources,  not to be told everything thing by thing. A community member did claim that you guys have vast quantities of information shortlisted for reference and that you know infinitely more than I do. However, when I had asked for any of you to come up even with one good book to read, nobody could offer anything. It speaks volumes. Yes, I know that nobody ought to be "nice". However, I still highlight how immature the behavior of a lot of people here are. A grown man should not behave as a small child, but some of you do. I'm questioning how such people could ever take any high ranking position within industry or military with such behavior as a professional environment rarely allows for such narcissism to exist. I'm quite frankly shocked by the behavior here as I do not interact with such impolite people. 

 

In the end, I do understand that the cultural differences between me and the others are just too vast. I had decided to leave this forum a month ago. However, it is people here who want me to stay with constant replies and insults. I would say, just ignore me, call me an idiot in order to make yourself feel better and we will be done. Disputing what I had said and then expecting not to get a reply, well...that is how coward would behave. Either lets accept truce to agree to disagree or we might have to continue this futile "discussion" for a lot longer.

 

You are welcome to leave at any time.

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11 hours ago, Must Be Spoon Fed said:

 

A just ignore me, call me an idiot in order to make yourself feel better and we will be done.

You're an idiot.

Hey, it worked! I do feel better about your idiocy.

 

11 hours ago, Must Be Spoon Fed said:

Disputing what I had said and then expecting not to get a reply, well...that is how coward would behave.

Well, I actually thought you'd be sensible enough to cut and run. Apparently I'm cursed to overestimate people on the internet.

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For those interested, The Fighter Pilot Podcast did a solid interview with Lt Col Tucker Hamilton on the F35. IIRC he also got to fly it earlier in the program (before the CLAW had been fine tuned). Still, interesting stuff.

Lt Col Tucker Hamilton on the F35 vs F16 high-AoA CLAW test.

"The pilot wasn't doing a dogfighting test... he had no mission systems on the aircraft, and he was checking how the aircraft did with (I think) a certain pitch/yaw rate"

 

The F35 used in the test was AF-2, which was using Block 2B software at the time with a G-limit of 7g's and CLAW restrictions preventing it from doing some of the high alpha stuff that seems to be working well for today's jets (using the 9g-enabling 3F software). The stated purpose of the test was to ensure the jet remained safe to fly while stressing the AoA capability, and to optimise the CLAW in that part of the flight regime... which they did (ergo, 3F).

A quote from Lt Col Ian Knight (flying with 3F software):

"Remember, back when rumors were that the F-35 was a pig. The first time the opponents (F-16s) showed up [in the training area] they had wing tanks along with a bunch of missiles... By the end of the week, though, they had dropped their wing tanks, transitioned to a single centerline fuel tank and were still doing everything they could not to get gunned by us. A week later they stripped the jets clean of all external stores, which made the BFM fights interesting, to say the least... On one of the sorties, my colleague, Maj Pascal 'Smiley' Smaal, decided he would fly BFM and still have enough fuel to go to the range afterwards and drop his weapon. During the debrief, the adversary pilot told us he was confused as to why we went to the range after the fight. When 'Smiley' told him that he was carrying an inert GBU-12 the entire time and that he then dropped it afterwards during a test event, the silence on the other end of the line was golden"

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15 hours ago, Must Be Spoon Fed said:

 

First quote is about me saying that I will have to do a lot more research. Second quote is about the community being a little bit more productive with their time rather than shitposting most of the time. It was about starting to write defence content of your very own like posting articles to newsites or having your own blog, but I had caught people yet again not reading properly the information with which they operate. Third quote is about me actually doing my research. It is you who put whatever meaning you wish to see. I had asked for sources,  not to be told everything thing by thing. A community member did claim that you guys have vast quantities of information shortlisted for reference and that you know infinitely more than I do. However, when I had asked for any of you to come up even with one good book to read, nobody could offer anything. It speaks volumes. Yes, I know that nobody ought to be "nice". However, I still highlight how immature the behavior of a lot of people here are. A grown man should not behave as a small child, but some of you do. I'm questioning how such people could ever take any high ranking position within industry or military with such behavior as a professional environment rarely allows for such narcissism to exist. I'm quite frankly shocked by the behavior here as I do not interact with such impolite people.

I suppose you must be charmed enough to have never encountered such personalities at the top of any organizational hierarchies. Or Miltwitter.

 

More than a few of us have been published with proper bylines, covering subject matter more relevant to today than a 62 year old tank. We have been there and done that, the difference is that for the most part we weren't so certain of our own intellectual superiority just because we got published someplace for the first time.

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Pardon for a purely hypothetical question. In theory if some state (let's say a NATO country with good relations with US) wished to have the Izraeli Adir version and Izrael would agree, would US block it out of principle anyway? I mean is that a completely sci-fi scenario? 

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The sale to Croatia of ex-Israeli F-16s collapsed as the US government would not allow the resale of the aircraft following modifications by the Israelis.

 

https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-blocking-israeli-sale-of-used-f-16s-to-croatia-report/

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-croatia-israel-military-idUSKCN1P42MN

 

Oh and it appears that a USMC F-35B has midaired with a KC-130J over southern California. F-35 pilot ejected, KC-130 belly landed in a field, everyone is mostly fine except for the F-35B. https://news.usni.org/2020/09/29/marine-f-35b-crashes-after-collision-with-kc-130-over-california-all-aircrew-recovered-safely

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On 9/22/2020 at 11:37 AM, Krieger22 said:

I suppose you must be charmed enough to have never encountered such personalities at the top of any organizational hierarchies. Or Miltwitter.

 

More than a few of us have been published with proper bylines, covering subject matter more relevant to today than a 62 year old tank. We have been there and done that, the difference is that for the most part we weren't so certain of our own intellectual superiority just because we got published someplace for the first time.

 

The problem is that you people are all bark, but no bite. When I ask to show your claims, you either ignore it or divert topic elsewhere. I could ask for examples of articles which forum members wrote. However, I'm certain you will come up with excuses like "I'm not worthy" or you will bring something similar to Boagrius forum post, text which is full of errors, poorly researched and is more of an opinion piece than anything. Posts of which other forum members were so proud of were full of lazy research and newspaper articles talking only very vaguely about things. Sometimes what people were linking were completely unrelated or even were contradicting their statements! When I asked to give me some information to learn from, nobody could offer anything else than newsites and people were shocked when I said that I prefer paying for a book. Did you knew that there are already plenty of detailed books on F-35? Why nobody had bothered to recommend that? Couldn't it be that nobody had read it?

 

I even asked complete outsider from philosophers community to check this whole deal out and to tell me if I was being in the wrong here and he didn't find me to be source of problems here. I also found old posts in World of Tank forums from certain fellows here. They were as cringy back then as they are now with "you know nothing". 

 

However, I did encountered some of those rotten personalities in workplace environment, however it was in more stagnant and backwards organizations. I started raising trouble and they had laid me off with generous payouts(in Europe we have social security). I quickly found job elsewhere as a senior engineer with not only almost double pay, but with company's culture where such nonsense quickly gets you penalized (I was competing against person from inside the company for that place. She was forced to leave the company instead due to her attitude and unethical behavior during this time). It is natural for bad people to get stuck with other bad people, because people who do not deserve it usually just leave such places and find employment where they fit better. It is like me not fitting in here and leaving to look for other communities. 

 

 

Well, this is my last messages here. I'm leaving now for good and won't post here anymore. It was not a pleasant environment, however, it did inspired me to take this whole warfare subject more seriously. Most importantly, this site was extremely useful in directing me to key books. I found ''Technology of Tanks'' particularly fascinating and I'm likely to buy printed copy soon to add to my library. By extension, it inspired me to look for similar books and articles which had enabled me to crack quite obscure questions. I had found scores of very interesting articles which speak how well tank has to be armored in order to resist recoil impulse and what are limits up arming a vehicle. Or how increase in ground pressure decreases vehicle performance on various soils. I had found answers to a lot of such obscure questions indirectly thanks to this forum. This is the best I could come up as a goodbye and no doubt you will have your fun mocking people who will not respond.

 

 

 

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On 10/5/2020 at 5:06 AM, Must Be Spoon Fed said:

*Trademark drivel*


You came here pushing a tired & long-since debunked narrative on a topic you admit to having a poor understanding of, spammed the thread with crappy links to APA and POGO, and have now doubled down on the absolute nonsense with War is Boring and Foxtrot Alpha (after I warned you about them no less).

 

Your comments about the Sidekick mod clearly demonstrate your ignorance, since there is nothing unusual about a 4 x AAM loadout, especially for a mid-sized, stealthy (ref FC-31) multirole fighter that needs fewer weapons to achieve its kills. By way of example, the F35's that ripped through the modern IADS at Red Flag 2017 did so with a max of just 2 AMRAAMs each due to the limitations of their early Block 3i software load. Releasing incremental tranches of additional capability - like the growth to 6 internal AAMs - has been standard practice in all new combat aircraft for many decades.

 

Meanwhile, the fact that you had the audacity (and mind-boggling hypocrisy) to turn your nose up at the plethora of (vastly superior) other sources you were gifted is farcical. Literally none of them "lead to nowhere" and all of them address precisely what was claimed in the context of the relevant arguments - none of which you provided a cogent rebuttal to or demonstrated even a basic understanding of. Your inability to grasp the comparison between VLO and TVC as an example of the flawed weighting system in the ZOCT is a good case in point, as is your bizarre and inept response to the Hornet/Flanker BFM video. I was particularly entertained by your own-goal of a link about a rookie F35 unit that out performed highly experienced, air-to-air specialist F15 crews in Japan during BFM drills.

 

The sources you try to dismiss as "tabloids" are direct quotes from actual fighter pilots with relevant experience and input on the exact matter(s) being discussed (apparently this is only a problem for you when you don't think they suit your narrative). Again, given the fact that most of the relevant data on the F35's kinematic performance is classified, I will take their input along with that of the other service members I have spoken to (from various air forces) over yours every. single. time.

 

The earlier gripe about me not adequately "quoting" APA is hilarious, because the source material in question (the APA ZOCT table you posted upthread) is literally the first thing I referenced in my rebuttal to it. It is also... just a table, and high school Science class will tell you that one does not "quote" a table. In reality, I clearly laid out my rebuttal in massive, bolded bullet points (can't make it much easier for you than that). All you had to do was refer to your own bloody source while reading it(!). That you have been either too inept or too obstinate to grasp any of the above is, frankly, not my problem.

 

If you want more information you can find it yourself - I am done spoon feeding you for free (apparently you need me to "chew" for you now too) and I doubt anyone else here has the patience either. Frankly, I think mine has been saintly up to this point, but it has well and truly run out. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

An update from earlier:

"Pratt & Whitney has received a contract from the F-35 Joint Program Office to carry out the F135 modernisation study and operational assessment.

The assessment is expected to determine the requirements for the propulsion system growth for Block 4.2 F-35 aircraft and later models.

As per the $1.5m contract, the study will be completed in March.


Pratt & Whitney Military Engines president Matthew Bromberg said: “This award is a significant milestone for the programme and the warfighter, as we look to ensure the F135 propulsion system continues to provide the foundation for all air vehicle capability requirements over the full lifecycle of the F-35.

“As we look to the future, growth in aircraft capability must be met with matched propulsion modernization. Fortunately, the F135 has ample design margin to support agile and affordable upgrades that will enable all F-35 operators to keep pace with evolving threat environments.”

The company will carry out the assessment for the F135 engine enhancements that are needed for the weapon system capability requirements of the future for all the F-35 variants.

The evaluation will focus on enhancements to boost powered lift thrust, the up and away thrust, power and thermal management capacity and fuel burn reduction.

In a statement, Pratt & Whitney said: “Designed with the knowledge that operational environments will evolve and threats will advance, the F135 is postured to meet future F-35 capability requirements.”

https://www.airforce-technology.com/news/pratt-whitney-contracted-to-carry-out-f135-engine-modernisation-study/

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    • By LostCosmonaut
      Compared to the most well known Japanese fighter of World War 2, the A6M “Zero”, the J2M Raiden (“Jack”) was both less famous and less numerous. More than 10,000 A6Ms were built, but barely more than 600 J2Ms were built. Still, the J2M is a noteworthy aircraft. Despite being operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), it was a strictly land-based aircraft. The Zero was designed with a lightweight structure, to give extreme range and maneuverability. While it had a comparatively large fuel tank, it was lightly armed, and had virtually no armor. While the J2M was also very lightly built, it was designed that way to meet a completely different set of requirements; those of a short-range interceptor. The J2M's design led to it being one of the fastest climbing piston-engine aircraft in World War 2, even though its four 20mm cannons made it much more heavily armed than most Japanese planes.
       
       

       
      Development of the J2M began in October 1938, under the direction of Jiro Hirokoshi, in response to the issuance of the 14-shi interceptor requirement (1). Hirokoshi had also designed the A6M, which first flew in April 1939. However, development was slow, and the J2M would not make its first flight until 20 March 1942, nearly 3 ½ years later (2). Initially, this was due to Mitsubishi's focus on the A6M, which was further along in development, and of vital importance to the IJN's carrier force. Additionally, the J2M was designed to use a more powerful engine than other Japanese fighters. The first aircraft, designated J2M1, was powered by an MK4C Kasei 13 radial engine, producing 1430 horsepower from 14 cylinders (3) (compare to 940 horsepower for the A6M2) and driving a three bladed propeller. The use of such a powerful engine was driven by the need for a high climb rate, in order to fulfill the requirements set forth in the 14-shi specification.
       
      The climb rate of an aircraft is driven by specific excess power; by climbing an aircraft is gaining potential energy, which requires power to generate. Specific Excess Power is given by the following equation;
       
      (Airspeed*(Thrust-Drag))/Weight
       
       
       
      It is clear from this equation that weight and drag must be minimized, while thrust and airspeed are maximized. The J2M was designed using the most powerful engine then available, to maximize thrust. Moreover, the engine was fitted with a long cowling, with the propeller on an extension shaft, also to minimize drag. In a more radical departure from traditional Japanese fighter design (as exemplified by aircraft such as the A6M and Ki-43), the J2M had comparatively short, stubby wings, only 10.8 m wide on the J2M3 variant, with a relatively high wing loading of 1.59 kN/m2 (33.29 lb/ft2) (2). (It should be noted that this wing loading is still lower than contemporary American aircraft such as the F6F Hellcat. The small wings reduced drag, and also reduced weight. More weight was saved by limiting the J2M's internal fuel, the J2M3 had only 550 liters of internal fuel (2).
       
      Hirokoshi did add some weight back into the J2M's design. 8 millimeters of steel armor plate protected the pilot, a luxurious amount of protection compared to the Zero. And while the J2M1 was armed with the same armament as the A6M (two 7.7mm machine guns and two Type 99 Model 2 20mm cannons), later variants would be more heavily armed, with the 7.7mm machine guns deleted in favor of an additional pair of 20mm cannons. Doubtlessly, this was driven by Japanese wartime experience; 7.7mm rounds were insufficient to deal with strongly built Grumman fighters, let alone a target like the B-17.
       
      The first flight of the J2M Raiden was on March 20th, 1942. Immediately, several issues were identified. One design flaw pointed out quickly was that the cockpit design on the J2M1, coupled with the long cowling, severely restricted visibility. (This issue had been identified by an IJN pilot viewing a mockup of the J2M back in December 1940 (1).) The landing speed was also criticized for being too high; while the poor visibility over the nose exacerbated this issue, pilots transitioning from the Zero would be expected to criticize the handling of a stubby interceptor.
       

      Wrecked J2M in the Philippines in 1945. The cooling fan is highly visible.
       
      However, the biggest flaw the J2M1 had was poor reliability. The MK4C engine was not delivering the expected performance, and the propeller pitch control was unreliable, failing multiple times. (1) As a result, the J2M1 failed to meet the performance set forth in the 14-shi specification, achieving a top speed of only 577 kph, well short of the 600 kph required. Naturally, the climb rate suffered as well. Only a few J2M1s were built.
       
      The next version, the J2M2, had several improvements. The engine was updated to the MK4R-A (3); this engine featured a methanol injection system, enabling it to produce up to 1,800 horsepower for short periods. The propeller was switched for a four blade unit. The extension shaft in the J2M1 had proved unreliable, in the J2M2 the cowling was shortened slightly, and a cooling fan was fitted at the the front. These modifications made the MK4R-A more reliable than the previous engine, despite the increase in power.
       
      However, there were still problems; significant vibrations occurred at certain altitudes and speeds; stiffening the engine mounts and propeller blades reduced these issues, but they were never fully solved (1). Another significant design flaw was identified in the summer of 1943; the shock absorber on the tail wheel could jam the elevator controls when the tailwheel retracted, making the aircraft virtually uncontrollable. This design flaw led to the death of one IJN pilot, and nearly killed two more (1). Ultimately, the IJN would not put the J2M2 into service until December 1943, 21 months after the first flight of the J2M1. 155 J2M2s would be built by Mitsubishi (3).
       
      By the time the J2M2 was entering service, the J2M3 was well into testing. The J2M3 was the most common variant of the Raiden, 260 were produced at Mitsubishi's factories (3). It was also the first variant to feature an armament of four 20mm cannons (oddly, of two different types of cannon with significantly different ballistics (2); the 7.7mm machine guns were replace with two Type 99 Model 1 cannons). Naturally, the performance of the J2M3 suffered slightly with the heavier armament, but it still retained its excellent rate of climb. The Raiden's excellent rate of climb was what kept it from being cancelled as higher performance aircraft like the N1K1-J Shiden came into service.
       

       
      The J2M's was designed to achieve a high climb rate, necessary for its intended role as an interceptor. The designers were successful; the J2M3, even with four 20mm cannons, was capable of climbing at 4650 feet per minute (1420 feet per minute) (2). Many fighters of World War 2, such as the CW-21, were claimed to be capable of climbing 'a mile a minute', but the Raiden was one of the few piston-engine aircraft that came close to achieving that mark. In fact, the Raiden climbed nearly as fast as the F8F Bearcat, despite being nearly three years older. Additionally, the J2M could continue to climb at high speeds for long periods; the J2M2 needed roughly 10 minutes to reach 30000 feet (9100 meters) (4), and on emergency power (using the methanol injection system), could maintain a climb rate in excess of 3000 feet per minute up to about 20000 feet (about 6000 meters).
       
       
       
       
       

       
       
       
       
       

       
      Analysis in Source (2) shows that the J2M3 was superior in several ways to one of its most common opponents, the F6F Hellcat. Though the Hellcat was faster at lower altitudes, the Raiden was equal at 6000 meters (about 20000 feet), and above that rapidly gained superiority. Additionally, the Raiden, despite not being designed for maneuverability, still had a lower stall speed than the Hellcat, and could turn tighter. The J2M3 actually had a lower wing loading than the American plane, and had flaps that could be used in combat to expand the wing area at will. As shown in the (poorly scanned) graphs on page 39 of (2), the J2M possessed a superior instantaneous turn capability to the F6F at all speeds. However, at high speeds the sustained turn capability of the American plane was superior (page 41 of (2)).
       
      The main area the American plane had the advantage was at high speeds and low altitudes; with the more powerful R-2800, the F6F could more easily overcome drag than the J2M. The F6F, as well as most other American planes, were also more solidly built than the J2M. The J2M also remained plagued by reliability issues throughout its service life.
       
      In addition to the J2M2 and J2M3 which made up the majority of Raidens built, there were a few other variants. The J2M4 was fitted with a turbo-supercharger, allowing its engine to produce significantly more power at high altitudes (1). However, this arrangement was highly unreliable, and let to only two J2M4s being built. Some sources also report that the J2M4 had two obliquely firing 20mm Type 99 Model 2 cannons in the fuselage behind the pilot (3). The J2M5 used a three stage mechanical supercharger, which proved more reliable than the turbo-supercharger, and still gave significant performance increases at altitude. Production of the J2M5 began at Koza 21st Naval Air Depot in late 1944 (6), but ultimately only about 34 would be built (3). The J2M6 was developed before the J2M4 and J2M6, it had minor updates such as an improved bubble canopy, only one was built (3). Finally, there was the J2M7, which was planned to use the same engine as the J2M5, with the improvements of the J2M6 incorporated. Few, if any, of this variant were built (3).
       
      A total of 621 J2Ms were built, mostly by Mitsubishi, which produced 473 airframes (5). However, 128 aircraft (about 1/5th of total production), were built at the Koza 21st Naval Air Depot (6). In addition to the reliability issues which delayed the introduction of the J2M, production was also hindered by American bombing, especially in 1945. For example, Appendix G of (5) shows that 270 J2Ms were ordered in 1945, but only 116 were produced in reality. (Unfortunately, sources (5) and (6) do not distinguish between different variants in their production figures.)
       
      Though the J2M2 variant first flew in October 1942, initial production of the Raiden was very slow. In the whole of 1942, only 13 airframes were produced (5). This included the three J2M1 prototypes. 90 airframes were produced in 1943, a significant increase over the year before, but still far less than had been ordered (5), and negligible compared to the production of American types. Production was highest in the spring and summer of 1944 (5), before falling off in late 1944 and 1945.
       
      The initial J2M1 and J2M2 variants were armed with a pair of Type 97 7.7mm machine guns, and two Type 99 Model 2 20mm cannons. The Type 97 used a 7.7x56mm rimmed cartridge; a clone of the .303 British round (7). This was the same machine gun used on other IJN fighters such as the A5M and A6M. The Type 99 Model 2 20mm cannon was a clone of the Swiss Oerlikon FF L (7), and used a 20x101mm cartridge.
       
      The J2M3 and further variants replaced the Type 97 machine guns with a pair of Type 99 Model 1 20mm cannons. These cannons, derived from the Oerlikon FF, used a 20x72mm cartridge (7), firing a round with roughly the same weight as the one used in the Model 2 at much lower velocity (2000 feet per second vs. 2500 feet per second (3), some sources (7) report an even lower velocity for the Type 99). The advantage the Model 1 had was lightness; it weighed only 26 kilograms vs. 34 kilograms for the model 2. Personally, I am doubtful that saving 16 kilograms was worth the difficulty of trying to use two weapons with different ballistics at the same time. Some variants (J2M3a, J2M5a) had four Model 2 20mm cannons (3), but they seem to be in the minority.
       

       
       
      In addition to autocannons and machine guns, the J2M was also fitted with two hardpoints which small bombs or rockets could be attached to (3) (4). Given the Raiden's role as an interceptor, and the small capacity of the hardpoints (roughly 60 kilograms) (3), it is highly unlikely that the J2M was ever substantially used as a bomber. Instead, it is more likely that the hardpoints on the J2M were used as mounting points for large air to air rockets, to be used to break up bomber formations, or ensure the destruction of a large aircraft like the B-29 in one hit. The most likely candidate for the J2M's rocket armament was the Type 3 No. 6 Mark 27 Bomb (Rocket) Model 1. Weighing 145 pounds (65.8 kilograms) (8), the Mark 27 was filled with payload of 5.5 pounds of incendiary fragments; upon launch it would accelerate to high subsonic speeds, before detonating after a set time (8). It is also possible that the similar Type 3 No. 1 Mark 28 could have been used; this was similar to the Mark 27, but much smaller, with a total weight of only 19.8 pounds (9 kilograms).
       
       
       
      The first unit to use the J2M in combat was the 381st Kokutai (1). Forming in October 1943, the unit at first operated Zeros, though gradually it filled with J2M2s through 1944. Even at this point, there were still problems with the Raiden's reliability. On January 30th, a Japanese pilot died when his J2M simply disintegrated during a training flight. By March 1944, the unit had been dispatched to Balikpapan, in Borneo, to defend the vital oil fields and refineries there. But due to the issues with the J2M, it used only Zeros. The first Raidens did not arrive until September 1944 (1). Reportedly, it made its debut on September 30th, when a mixed group of J2Ms and A6Ms intercepted a formation of B-24s attacking the Balikpapan refineries. The J2Ms did well for a few days, until escorting P-47s and P-38s arrived. Some 381st Raidens were also used in defense of Manila, in the Phillipines, as the Americans retook the islands. (9) By 1945, all units were ordered to return to Japan to defend against B-29s and the coming invasion. The 381st's J2Ms never made it to Japan; some ended up in Singapore, where they were found by the British (1).
       

       
       
      least three units operated the J2M in defense of the home islands of Japan; the 302nd, 332nd, and 352nd Kokutai. The 302nd's attempted combat debut came on November 1st, 1944, when a lone F-13 (reconaissance B-29) overflew Tokyo (1). The J2Ms, along with some Zeros and other fighters, did not manage to intercept the high flying bomber. The first successful attack against the B-29s came on December 3rd, when the 302nd shot down three B-29s. Later that month the 332nd first engaged B-29s attacking the Mitsubishi plant on December 22nd, shooting down one. (1)
      The 352nd operated in Western Japan, against B-29s flying out of China in late 1944 and early 1945. At first, despite severe maintenace issues, they achieved some successes, such as on November 21st, when a formation of B-29s flying at 25,000 feet was intercepted. Three B-29s were shot down, and more damaged.

      In general, when the Raidens were able to get to high altitude and attack the B-29s from above, they were relatively successful. This was particularly true when the J2Ms were assigned to intercept B-29 raids over Kyushu, which were flown at altitudes as low as 16,000 feet (1). The J2M also had virtually no capability to intercept aircraft at night, which made them essentially useless against LeMay's incendiary raids on Japanese cities. Finally the arrival of P-51s in April 1945 put the Raidens at a severe disadvantage; the P-51 was equal to or superior to the J2M in almost all respects, and by 1945 the Americans had much better trained pilots and better maintained machines. The last combat usage of the Raiden was on the morning of August 15th. The 302nd's Raidens and several Zeros engaged several Hellcats from VF-88 engaged in strafing runs. Reportedly four Hellcats were shot down, for the loss of two Raidens and at least one Zero(1). Japan surrendered only hours later.

      At least five J2Ms survived the war, though only one intact Raiden exists today. Two of the J2Ms were captured near Manila on February 20th, 1945 (9) (10). One of them was used for testing; but only briefly. On its second flight in American hands, an oil line in the engine failed, forcing it to land. The aircraft was later destroyed in a ground collision with a B-25 (9). Two more were found by the British in Singapore (1), and were flown in early 1946 but ex-IJN personnel (under close British supervision). The last Raiden was captured in Japan in 1945, and transported to the US. At some point, it ended up in a park in Los Angeles, before being restored to static display at the Planes of Fame museum in California.
       
       

       
       
      Sources:
       
       
      https://www.docdroid.net/gDMQra3/raiden-aeroplane-february-2016.pdf#page=2
      F6F-5 vs. J2M3 Comparison
      http://www.combinedfleet.com/ijna/j2m.htm
      http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/japan/Jack-11-105A.pdf
      https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015080324281;view=1up;seq=80
      https://archive.org/stream/corporationrepor34unit#page/n15/mode/2up
      http://users.telenet.be/Emmanuel.Gustin/fgun/fgun-pe.html
      http://ww2data.blogspot.com/2016/04/imperial-japanese-navy-explosives-bombs.html
      https://www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/j2m/3008.html
      https://www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/j2m/3013.html
      https://www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/j2m/3014.html
       
       
      Further reading:
       
      An additional two dozen Raiden photos: https://www.worldwarphotos.info/gallery/japan/aircrafts/j2m-raiden/
       
       
    • By Belesarius
      Possible image of the H-20 bomber. Screengrab.  This will be the thread for the H-20 as more information becomes available.
       
      Anyone want to take a shot at translating what's on screen for us?
       
      Edit: This is a photoshop, as confirmed later in the thread where it was posted.
      But I'll keep the thread going for later stuff, and H-20 discussion.
       
       
       
    • By Alzoc
      Topic to post photo and video of various AFV seen through a thermal camera.
      I know that we won't be able to make any comparisons on the thermal signature of various tank without knowing which camera took the image and that the same areas (tracks, engine, sometimes exhaust) will always be the ones to show up but anyway:
       
      Just to see them under a different light than usual (pardon the terrible pun^^)
       
      Leclerc during a deployment test of the GALIX smoke dispenser:
       
      The picture on the bottom right was made using the castor sight (AMX 10 RC, AMX 30 B2)
       
      Akatsiya :
       

       
      T-72:
       


       
      A T-62 I think between 2 APC:
       

       
      Stryker:
       

       
      Jackal:
       

       
      HMMWV:
       

       
      Cougar 4x4:
       

       
      LAV:
       

    • By Collimatrix
      I found this interesting picture of the Yakovlev MFI design:
       

       
      Obviously, it was never built.  The MiG submission was the 1.44 and the Sukhoi submission was the SU-47.

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