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Military Aviation Roundup – Training, Scrapping, Selling, Fainting

Lockheed Martin

Here’s some military aviation news capsules with fresh-served hot links to the complete stories. Cleared for takeoff and reading.

Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin Plans New Training Aircraft

With the so-called “5th Generation” aircraft in the planning, development and building stages, training pilots to fly to those planes is a problem that needs solving. The current T-38 won’t handle the job. (The last item in this post deals with the F-35, one of the “5th Generation” aircraft.)

Lockheed-Martin announced that it will offer the the T-50A in the U.S. Air Force’s Advanced Pilot Training (APT) competition. Developed by Lockheed Martin in cooperation with Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). Lockheed Martin also said it has selected its facility in Greenville, S.C. to serve as the Final Assembly and Checkout (FACO) site.

According to the Lockheed Martin news release, “the T-50A delivers the fighter-like performance and capabilities needed to eliminate 5th Generation training gaps and inefficiencies. There is no more effective or affordable way to train the next generation of pilots to fly, fight and win.”

Funding For Carrier-Based Drone Apparently Scrapped

The Defense Department released its budget proposal for 2017 and there is no funding for the proposed armed drone that would be based on aircraft carriers.

The program has seen fits and starts since it was first proposed nearly three decades ago. Billions have dollars have been spent in development and planning of the robotic jet that would take off from carriers and bomb targets.

Designated as the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS), there was $818 million in funding in the Defense Department budget the last two years. A new budget line of $89 million for a “Carrier Based Aerial Refueling System” apparently replaces the UCLASS.

Indonesia To Buy 10 Russian Fighter Jets

Indonesia’s defense minister says his country has agreed to buy 10 Russian Sukhoi Su-35S multirole fighter jets. Indonesia has announced it will decommission U.S. F-5 Tiger fighter jets and purchase the Russian aircraft as replacements.

Originally, Indonesia planned to buy 16 of the Russian fighters but scaled the order back to just 10. As part of the agreement, Russia will include pilot training.

According to  IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly: “The Su-35S is a single-seat, twin-engine upgraded fourth-generation super-maneuverable multirole fighter powered by two AL-117S turbofan engines, and featuring fifth-generation aircraft technology, including “a sophisticated avionics suite based on a digital information management system, a cutting-edge radar with a long-range aerial target acquisition and increased multiple-target tracking/engagement capabilities, and enhanced thrust-vectoring engines.”

F-35 Not For The Faint-Hearted

The F-35 Lightning II has been nothing but trouble. Some say it has design flaws and that Lockheed Martin rushed development and went solo with much of the plane’s design. The F-35 been headache for the Defense Department because it’s behind schedule and over budget.

Now, it apparently can cause fainting spells.

Air Force Maj. Gen. James F. Martin Jr. was speaking about the F-35 at a media briefing Wednesday at the Pentagon when he experienced a dizzy spell. It was later reported that he had been suffering from a cold.

Assistant Air Force Secretary Carolyn Gleason tried to prop up and help Martin. On the video, she could be heard to joke, “That’s what the F-35 will do to ya.”

That’s either funny or ironic – the Pentagon reported this week that the F-35 needs more engine changes. And that’s more bad news for the troubled program.

Written by Wendell Barnhouse

Wendell Barnhouse is a veteran journalist with over 40 years of experience as a writer and an editor. For the last 30 years, he wrote about college sports but he has had an interest and curiosity about aviation since he was in grade school.