Any country around the world will have the objective to cut costs. Even China will go this way and especially when it comes to military expenditures. So what if a company was coming inti the market with a low cost fighter jet, but that still would work like a superbly expensive fighter jet.Which would you take ? In an age of budget-busting weapons programs and tighter defense purse strings, Textron is betting it can sell a cut-rate military jet assembled in part from off-the-shelf components. That would dramatically reduce costs. And Textron know their stuff as they build aircrafts. Indeed, Textron, the world’s largest maker of business aircraft, developed the new Scorpion jet with its partner AirLand Enterprises LLC in less than two years—a turbocharged time frame for a military plane. It borrowed technology developed for its high-end Cessna Citation corporate jets, and it added components like ejector seats from suppliers’ catalogues rather than custom designing them. Textron used its own funds—analysts estimate it spent hundreds of millions of dollars—without a contract, which is rare in an industry where companies generally secure government backing and clear design specifications before starting projects. Some prospective suppliers had so little faith in the project that they declined to take part. But Textron Chief Executive Scott Donnelly says he’s confident a global market exists for small, cheap-to-run jets able to carry out intelligence, security and reconnaissance work for the military as well as functions like patrolling borders and tracking drug smugglers. The jets can also carry weapons under their wings. Textron estimates the size of the global market at more than 2,000 planes and says the company could start to deliver them in 2015 if it wins an order this year. The Scorpion is priced below $20 million, and aims to have lower operating costs than those of pricier jets flying similar missions. That sandwiches it between slower turboprops such as Embraer SA EMBR3.BR +0.31% ‘s $11 million Super Tucano—a big seller to nations in Africa and Latin America—or advanced supersonic combat fighter jets like Saab’s $43 million Gripen, and offerings from Lockheed Martin Corp, Boeing Co. and others costing $50 million or more. Experts on military aircraft are divided on the Scorpion’s prospects. The 2,000-aircraft estimate “is ambitious but reasonable,” says Kristin White, a senior associate at Avascent, a defense-industry consulting firm. “The competition is going to be tough, but [air forces] will have to take a look” because of the price and capabilities.
Despite being on same side for a very long time, Mikoyan Gurevitch and Sukhoi have become competitors due to free market. The changing economic conditions have transformed the way these two units function. These last years, Sukhoi has been gaining more markets than MiG, and the net result has been announced just over the weekend: Russia’s aircraft making corporation MiG is a loss-making enterprise, parliamentary defense committee head Vladimir Komoyedov said on Thursday. “MiG Corporation has been a loss-making enterprise in recent years. The less than optimal distribution of manufacturing infrastructure causes some concern,” he said. The Defense Ministry has been reducing the share of MiG aircraft, which used to be the core of fighter aviation in the USSR, he said. A press handout distributed ahead of the committee meeting said MiG has completed modernization of the first six MiG-29 UPG fighter jets for the Indian Air Force, under a contract signed in March 2008. It also said MiG Corp. has more than 100 standing contracts with 20 countries worth more than $6 billion. MiG was formerly a Soviet design bureau, and was founded by Artem Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich as “Mikoyan and Gurevich”, with the bureau prefix “MiG.” Upon Mikoyan’s death in 1970, Gurevich’s name was dropped from the name of the bureau, although the bureau prefix remained “MiG”. MiG aircraft are a staple of the Soviet and Russian air forces, and the Soviet Union sold many of these planes within its sphere of influence. They have been used by the Chinese, North Korean, and North Vietnamese in aerial confrontations with American and allied forces, and form part of the air forces of many Arab nations. Recently had been reported that MiG jet fighters are being used by the Government forces of Syria against insurgents in civil neighborhoods in Aleppo. In 2006, the Russian government merged 100% of Mikoyan shares with Ilyushin, Irkut, Sukhoi, Tupolev, and Yakovlev as a new company named United Aircraft Corporation. Specifically, Mikoyan and Sukhoi were placed within the same operating unit. Therefore the final risk for the loss making unit is simply to be shut down, with engineers joining the same design bureau. With flyfighterjet.org
What’s it like to fly a jet fighter ? Flying a jet fighter is an extraordinary experience. We are very fortunate because we make people live something unique, and for some, it is an achievement, the realization of a dream. And to be part of it is simply great. We meet people who are very nervous and anxious at first. They open up through the day until they get seated in the plane. There, they get nervous again as we go through the instruments review. But once the canopy is closed, we can feel they are getting ready to enjoy their jet fighter ride.
It is scary at first for some, others are anxious to get it over with, but once they get airborne and we start the first evolutions, they relax and enjoy it. They take it all in and we can hear the comments – sometimes it’s just “arghhhh”, or “oh my god, oh my god”, or “unbelievable”… Then we get the “what ?”. That’s when we ask them if they want to take the controls… We are very fortunate because we see smiling and happy people all day. Of course some are a little white when getting out of the aircraft, but also part of the experience. So just to thank you all, here are some testimonies that you have been kind to send us after the flight. We thought there is no better way to share the experience than to let you explain it with your own words.
Dear all, thanks again for a wonderful day in Beauvais. I am now back to my usual self and would like to thank your team and your pilot Pierre for the amazing ride. You have made my day perfect, and I will never forget this experience. Thanks again. Paul Chesap – UK.
A personal thanks to Claire and Claude for their amazing kindness and a fantastic flight. I never thought I could actually fly the aircraft… I still have the sensations of the flight and I am actually looking forward to doing it again – Carol Van Dyck – Canada.
Flying to the edge of space in the Mig 29 was utterly mind blowing. Thank you so much for a fantastic experience. I never thought I would do this one day, and I am so happy I actually have been one of the very few to reach for the stars. It was incredible. Thanks to the pilot and to the team in Russia for making this my life changing experience – Leonie Marin – France
I felt incredibly powerful and sick at the same time. It was very weird and I am so happy I did the ride. Thank you for your support and kindness throughout. Feeling G force is an extraordinary experience. I will strongly recommend your team. Bob Hardy – UK
We have decided to put more testimonies online and it will be done so each month. Keep your testimonies coming, we always like to hear that you are well and to get your feedback.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta is satisfied the Air Force has identified the cause of hypoxia-like symptoms 12 F-22 pilots suffered, and restrictions he placed on use of the fifth-generation fighter will be lifted gradually. Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz and other Air Force leaders told Panetta on July 20 that they are confident the root cause of the symptoms is the supply of oxygen to pilots and not the quality of oxygen, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said today at a news conference. Reporters asked why these shortcomings weren’t picked up earlier. “I can’t go back in time and conduct technical archeology on this type of aircraft,” Little said. “I would say the Air Force has taken very prudent measures … over the past year and a half or so with respect to the F-22. And they have come to the conclusion as to what is causing these hypoxia events. “With any aircraft — be it the F-22 or the F-16, [or] with a helicopter or a ground vehicle — we can never take the risk to zero,” he said. “But we have an obligation to our troops and our airmen to make whatever equipment they are using as safe as possible, and that’s what we think we’re doing here.”
In May, Panetta directed the Air Force to limit all F-22 flights to remain near potential landing locations to enable quick recovery and landing should a pilot encounter oxygen deprivation. The secretary also directed the Air Force to expedite the installation of an automatic backup oxygen system in all of the planes, and he asked for monthly progress reports as the service continued the search for the root cause of the problem. These actions were in addition to steps the Air Force already was taking to determine the root causes of the hypoxia-like symptoms pilots have experienced. Panetta made this decision, in part, due to the reluctance of some pilots to fly the aircraft, Little said at the time. The Air Force has made two changes that appear to have solved the hypoxia problem. The first was to order pilots not to wear the pressure garment vest during high-altitude missions. Pilots use the vest to combat G-forces generated flying a high-performance aircraft. The vest inflates to stop blood from pooling, which would cause pilots to black out during high-speed turns. The Air Force found that a faulty valve “caused the vest to inflate and remain inflated under conditions where it was not designed to inflate, thereby causing breathing problems for some pilots,” Little said. “The garment has been suspended from flight since June.” This problem was not identified during initial F-22 testing.
Second, the Air Force removed a canister filter from the oxygen delivery system, and that has increased the volume of air flowing to pilots. The service also is looking at improving the oxygen delivery hose and its connections. Following the Air Force briefing last week, Panetta decided to lift restrictions on the aircraft gradually. Beginning today, F-22s may resume long-duration flights for deployments, aircraft deliveries and repositioning of aircraft. “Secretary Panetta has authorized deployment of a squadron of F-22 aircraft to Kadena Air Base, Japan,” Little said. “The aircraft will fly to Japan under altitude restrictions using the northern Pacific transit route.” Following completion of the flight to Japan, the Air Force likely will approve most long-duration flights, officials said. Still, initial long-duration flight routes will be designed to pass near airfields. The Air Force also has imposed an altitude restriction on the aircraft so pilots will not need to wear the pressure vest. Training sorties will remain near runways until completion of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board-recommended corrective actions. This is expected by the end of the summer.The Air Force will notify Panetta when fixes are finished with the pressure vest and related cockpit life support components. Pending successful completion of associated testing and NASA’s independent analysis, Panetta can decide to return the F-22 fleet status to normal operations.
There are many things in life that will make you tick, and flying a jet fighter is one of the quickest to get your heart racing. A jet fighter ride is an unbelievable experience to live, and we welcome you to feel the adrenaline rush. Although we are based in France, and the operators of two jet fighters in Paris and Beauvais, we also work with other operators to offer rides in Russia, Switzerland, the UK and other destinations so you can feel like a fighter pilot. So what will you go through exactly ? Here is the deal:
Arrive at the airport late morning. We usually try start flying around 11am as there may some occasional mist before. You will get a full briefing, about safety first, then about the ride, the plane, and the instruments. You will also be briefed about the flight plan, what you will see, and most importantly, how to react to G force. You will then be suited up and seated in the jet fighter where we do the instruments again, showing you exactly where they are and what they mean. And after checking that all cameras are on, it’s engines on!
Let’s not talk about the ride, it’s all very personal the way people react. But I can assure you this will stay with you forever. Here is a quick video of one of our rides!
So if this is something you think you can handle, send us a mail or give us a call to organise your jet fighter ride.
The Panavia Tornado is a family of twin-engine, variable-sweep wing combat aircraft, which was jointly developed and manufactured by the United Kingdom, West Germany and Italy. There are three primary variants of the Tornado; the Tornado IDS (interdictor/strike) fighter-bomber, the suppression of enemy air defences Tornado ECR (electronic combat/reconnaissance) and the Tornado ADV (air defence variant) interceptor.
The Tornado was developed and built by Panavia Aircraft GmbH, a tri-national consortium consisting of British Aerospace (previously British Aircraft Corporation), MBB of West Germany, and Aeritalia of Italy. It first flew on 14 August 1974 and was introduced into service in 1979–1980. Due to its multirole nature, it was able to replace several different fleets of aircraft in the adopting air forces. The Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) became an export operator of the Tornado in addition to the three original partner nations. A tri-nation training and evaluation unit operating from RAF Cottesmore, the Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment maintained a level of international cooperation beyond the production stage.
The Panavia Tornado is a multirole, twin-engined aircraft designed to excel at low-level penetration of enemy defences. The mission envisaged during the Cold War was the delivery of conventional and nuclear ordnance on the invading forces of the Warsaw Pact countries of Eastern Europe; this dictated several significant features of the design. Variable wing geometry, allowing for minimal drag during the critical low-level dash towards a well-prepared enemy, had been desired from the project’s start. Advanced navigation and flight computers, including the then-innovative fly-by-wire system, greatly reduced the workload of the pilot during low-level flight and eased control of the aircraft.
As a multirole aircraft, the Tornado is capable of undertaking more mission profiles than the anticipated strike mission; various operators replaced multiple aircraft types with the Tornado as a common type – the use of dedicated single role aircraft for specialist purposes such as battlefield reconnaissance, maritime patrol duties, or dedicated electronic countermeasures (ECM) were phased out – either by standard Tornados or modified variants, such as the Tornado ECR. The most extensive modification from the base Tornado design was the Tornado ADV, which was stretched and armed with long range anti-aircraft missiles to serve in the interceptor role.
In order for the Tornado to perform well as a low-level supersonic strike aircraft, it was considered necessary for it to possess good high-speed and low-speed flight characteristics. To achieve high-speed performance, a swept-wing or delta-wing platform is typically adopted, but these wing designs are inefficient at low speeds. To operate at both high and low speeds with great effectiveness, the Tornado uses a variable-sweep wing. This approach had been adopted by earlier aircraft such as the American General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark strike fighter, and the Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 fighter. The F-111 has many similarities with the smaller Tornado, however, the Tornado differs in being a multi-role aircraft with more advanced onboard systems and avionics.
The Tornado was used by the Royal Air Force (RAF), Italian Air Force and Royal Saudi Air Force during the 1991 Gulf War, in which the Tornado conducted many low-altitude penetrating strike missions. The Tornados of various operators were used in conflicts in the former Yugoslavia during the Bosnian War and Kosovo War, Iraq during the Gulf War and the Iraq War, Libya during the Libyan civil war, as well as smaller roles in Afghanistan and Yemen. Including all variants, a total of 992 aircraft were built.
Two people were killed Friday afternoon when a small, single-engine jet crashed just west of Boulder City Airport, authorities said. According to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor, a Czech-made Aero Vodochody L39 jet crashed for unknown reasons about a half mile from the airport. The plane, built as a high-performance military trainer, went down in a mostly barren desert area near a string of power lines. Local authorities are reporting that both people aboard the plane were killed. The plane crashed about 12:30 p.m. as it was taking off from the airport, Boulder City Police Chief Thomas Finn said. “It landed flat; it pancaked into the desert,” he said.
After the plane crashed, the engine was still running and caught fire, burning the rear end of the aircraft, Finn said. Another L39 jet that took off side-by-side with the other jet circled the airport and landed safely, witnesses said. The two aircraft are believed to have flown in from Southern California, offering rides to customers wanting to experience acrobatics and mock-dogfighting exercises, said Josh Jefferson, an employee at BFE, a fixed base operator at the airport. The aircraft fly in several times in the spring and early summer each year, he said. Jefferson said both planes were fueled and the pilot of the second plane was taking off when he heard the pilot issue a mayday call.
Charles Nevel, a custodian at the airport, said he saw the planes take off in tandem. The jet that crashed peeled off and slowly descended before it went out of sight behind a building, he said. The same plane had safely taken off and landed earlier in the day, he said. According to employees at various businesses at the airport, some of whom monitor aircraft radio chatter, the jet experienced some sort of difficulty when taking off. Moments after a puff of smoke appeared, the pilot radioed “mayday!” before the aircraft crashed. Victor Thomas, who was a pilot in the Air Force for 24 years, sometimes flies out of the Boulder City Airport and was there Friday. He said flying is safer than “driving on the I-15,” but the plane crashed during the most treacherous part of a flight.
“Lift off and the one to two minutes after are the most dangerous,” Thomas said. “That’s when things can go wrong if they’re going to.” Thomas said he did not think there was anything unusual or dangerous about the weather conditions Friday. The L-39 Albatross is a popular model of jet trainer aircraft developed in the former Czechoslovakia in the 1960s. It has a single turbofan jet engine and a top speed of 485 mph, according to Hopper Flight, an L-39 jet enthusiast group. Another website, L-39 Enthusiasts, lists 19 crashes of the aircraft since July 3, 1998, most recently a crash Jan. 20 in Rainbow City, Ala. The Boulder City airport is not controlled, meaning there is no air traffic control tower and pilots announce their intentions on their radios, using a shared frequency.
A senior Navy officer expressed his concern for the community and thanked emergency responders following today’s crash here of a two-seater F/A-18D Hornet aircraft assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 106. Both aircrew safely ejected from the aircraft, officials said. The crew’s squadron is based at nearby Naval Air Station Oceana. The Navy is coordinating with local authorities, officials said. “My thoughts and prayers are with our citizens and families who have been impacted by the tragic crash today in Virginia Beach by an aircraft from NAS Oceana,” Navy Adm. John C. Harvey Jr., commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command based at Norfolk, Va., said in a statement issued today.
“I deeply regret that some in our community have lost their homes, and I, like many, pray for the well-being of all,” Harvey added. Initial reports indicate that at approximately 12:05 p.m., the jet crashed just after takeoff at a location just off of the base. News reports also say the stricken jet struck some apartment buildings located near the base. Reports say several civilians were being treated at a local medical center. In his statement, Harvey expressed his gratitude to the citizens of Virginia Beach and the Mayfair Mews Apartments, as well as Virginia Beach’s first responders “for their immediate and heroic response to take care of our aircrew after they ejected and all at the scene of the mishap.”
Harvey said all resources “are being made available to the City of Virginia Beach as we all deal with the impacts and recovery from this terrible mishap.” “We will continue to work directly with the City of Virginia Beach and continue to provide all possible assistance,” the admiral added. Harvey said a complete investigation into the cause of the crash will be made. He also pledged to “share all information we have as soon as we are able to do so.” VFA-106 serves as the East Coast Fleet Replacement Squadron. The unit’s mission is to train Navy and Marine Corps F/A-18 replacement pilots and weapon systems officers to support fleet commitments.
Controlling drone aircraft could one day be as simple as waving your arms. Yale Song and colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a way of controlling drones taxiing on a runway using gestures. Drones can already land autonomously on aircraft carrier decks, but humans control them during taxiing. With piloted aircraft, navy flight-deck marshals use a codified set of hand gestures to instruct them to, for instance, cut their engines, open weapon bay doors or move to a refuelling bay.
To test whether these gestures could be recognised by a computer, Song’s team wrote an algorithm that analyses 3-second clips from a depth-sensing camera trained on a person performing flight-deck gestures. The system recorded body, arm, wrist, hand and finger positions, and was subsequently able to recognise a flight-deck command correctly 76 per cent of the time.
The team says it is now working on improving recognition levels. The research will appear in a forthcoming issue of ACM Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Systems. “I can’t see why this wouldn’t work ultimately,” says Peter van Blyenburgh, head of UVS International, a drone trade group. “The gestures are clearly defined – an image sensor should be able to pick them up.”
The MIT team isn’t the only one interested in gesture-controlled drones. In 2009, aerospace firm Boeing, based in Chicago, filed a patent on the idea of controlling squadrons of unmanned aircraft using human gestures. That would mean a pilot on the ground covered in motion sensors could control a drone swarm flying overhead.
Russian aircraft manufacturers must develop at least two competitive prototypes of a fifth-generation fighter jet, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Thursday. “Two variants of the future fighter jet must be developed to encourage competition,” Rogozin said at a meeting with Russian lawmakers.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the future fighter must possess all technical characteristics of a fifth-generation fighter, including elements of stealth technology, supersonic cruising speed, highly-integrated avionics, electronics and fire-control systems. The existing T-50 prototype, developed under the program PAK FA (Future Aviation System for Tactical Air Force) at the Sukhoi aircraft design bureau, made its maiden flight in Russia’s Far East in January 2010 and made its first public appearance at the MAKS-2011 air show near Moscow on August 17, 2011.
There are currently three fifth-generation T-50 fighters in tests, and a total number of 14 aircraft is planned for test flights by 2015. The T-50 is expected to enter service in 2016 and gradually replace MiG-29 Fulcrum and Su-27 Flanker fighter jets in the Russian Air Force. This development is part of the multibillion dollars implementation plan to improve and develop the Russian Army, including jet fighters, over the next ten years.