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Weekend Roundup: F-35 Makes its First Air Show Appearance

by John Reed on May 22, 2011

F-35C Fly Over at the Andrews AFB Joint Service Open House

In case you missed it here are some of the happenings in the world of defense technology that we didn’t write about last week.

First off, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter made its first ever air show appearance yesterday at Joint Base Andrews’ open house, with an F-35C carrier variant performing a quick flyby followed by an F/A-18 chase plane. the JSF program is comning under increased scrutiny from Congress and auditors despite the fact that program officials insists it’s sailing through its flight test schedule. The biggest complaints are about projections of continued cost spikes in the coming years. Remember, it breached the Nunn-McCurdy statute capping cost growth just last year.

Speaking of fighters, China is accelerating the delivery of 50 JF-17 Thunder fighters to Pakistan’s beleagured military; a move the Wall Street Journal describes almost as a hedge against the threat of America withdrawing military aid in the wake of the bin Laden scandal. This latest batch of JF-17s will compliment the 50 already being assembled inside Pakistan.

Meanwhile, check out this tiny killer drone equipped with an even tinier missile.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt Thompson May 22, 2011 at 3:33 pm

I'm actually in that picture! I'm just under the inboard engine of that C-5M. The JSOH was fun and seeing the F-35 was quite cool!

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Black Owl May 22, 2011 at 5:37 pm

100 JF-17s? Not nearly enough to hold back a single squadron of Super Hornets.

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anon May 22, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Probably won't do well, but the more pertinent comparison is JF-17's against whatever India is going to deploy. If we go in to Pakistan, more likely than not India will be unable to sit the conflict out, and will probably get attacked pre-emptively.

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elportonative77 May 22, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Going into Pakistan…seriously?

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anon May 23, 2011 at 12:10 am

We have a hobby of going after our ex-friends.

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Howe May 23, 2011 at 2:07 am

Pakistan was never our friend.

common sense May 23, 2011 at 7:38 am

Not so fast

JF-17s armed with BVR missiles and networked with Pakistan’s new fleet of Swedish Erieye and Chinese built ZDK-03 AEW aircraft are no laughing matter. Unless the US plans an all out war on them.

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anon May 22, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Regarding teeny-tiny drone, I approve. However, these drones will probably be held and consolidated at brigade or division-level rather than decentralized to battalion level.

I imagine it might be cheaper to develop a weapon for the shadow than to add /another/ UAV to the stable; though Shadow looks smaller than the Arcturus, but it's hard to say without side-by-side comparisons or references to a common scale object.

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jamesb May 22, 2011 at 11:50 pm

The better keep it the public eye…..Things are starting to go south on the program….

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John May 23, 2011 at 4:42 pm

And just in time for the gigantic cost overruns … the PR campaign!

The program should be ended and Lockheed billed the $50 billion dollars they ripped off from the taxpayers. It is *criminal* what defense contractors are allowed to get away with.

Quick, time to roll out some spooky stealth plane from China to frighten the taxpayers into just giving up and handing the keys to the national treasury directly to the defense contracting industry.

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William C. May 23, 2011 at 5:25 pm

I don't care if we have to hand production over to Boeing, better to have this plane and not need it than need it and not have it.

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Robert Colt May 23, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Another problem is there nothing coming up that promising, their all CAVs.

I don't have alot faith in drones, no matter how good technology gets.

I wish they would get handle on these cost-overruns, specially for the F-35B. Alot our allies were counting on that, now UK is scrambling re-format its carrier program because of it. American Class Amphibious Asssault Ships are going be reduced to overpriced helicopter carriers if the F-35Bs don't make the cut.

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Jeff May 23, 2011 at 9:52 am

$20B+ of economic and military aid say otherwise.

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anon May 23, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Maybe they're just hookup buddies, or "no strings attached"?

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Jay May 23, 2011 at 2:07 pm

keep your friends close and nations who pretend to be your friends but are supporting terrorists closer.

especially if they have nuclear weapons.

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oppervlakkig May 23, 2011 at 4:02 pm

It's not about if it is a friend of the USA or not. If in the future the conflict turns in favour to the Taliban, the USA will intervene to keep the nukes out of their hands. No question about it. It would be a strategic catastrophe if the Taliban acquire nuclear weapons.

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anon May 23, 2011 at 11:55 pm

If they grabbed weapons grade nuclear material and detonated it with conventional explosives, you would scatter all sorts of fun radioactive material. Even limited criticality (a fizzle) would be quite dangerous.

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sfaizk August 13, 2011 at 3:35 am

u do realize that no one really knws where the Pakistani nukes are considering they dunt use silos but use mobile launchers that can be driven and hidden. It is in the best interest of the world to keep Pakistan secure and help Pakistanis like me who want Pakistan to become a secular state with true democracy(not the version we have today) because it is utterly impossible for any country to walk in, account for and take every single nuclear weapon out of Pakistan (considering location unknown and total numbers unknown) especially if this is being done after the government collapses and the radical islamists takeover the 7th largest army in the world. The assholes will manage to take and use(hopefully not) some before the world can take them all away from them.

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