Auteur Topic: Propellortoestellen  (gelezen 22355 keer)

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« Reactie #203 Gepost op: 12/08/2009 | 12:10 uur »
Uiteraard met een knipoog, maar de VS gaat een paar opvallende verstandige keuzes maken mbt hoor luchtmacht. Beetje in de lijn met de Tucano waar we het hier ook al een paar keer over gehad hebben. Ook noemenswaardig: de VS gaat de drones meetellen in de nummers van haar fighterforce.

Een zeer goed artikel van Wired over waar de luhtmacht van de VS naar toe aan het gaan is:

Air Force to Get New ‘Light’ Fighter

No, it’s not a super-cruising, radar-evading marvel like the Lockheed Martin F-22, or a versatile jack-of-all-trades like Lockmart’s F-35. The Air Force’s newest combat aircraft will be a “fixed-wing platform” for “strike, armed reconnaissance and advanced aircraft training in support of Irregular Warfare.” In other words, a light fighter — something the U.S. military hasn’t had in meaningful numbers since the Vietnam War.

Possible candidates range from modern small jets like the Alenia M-346 from Italy, to a revamped World War II P-51 Mustang called the “Enforcer.” The Brazilian Embraer Super Tucano, pictured, might have leg up, since the Navy is already using it in a similar role.

The idea is to quickly and cheaply build 100 rugged, easily deployable planes that can swing between bombing the bad guys one day, to training up local pilots the next day. In April, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said he even wants pilots for these planes “to have language skills that’s a part of their repertoire.” The Air Force has long had special training teams for working with fledgling air forces in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, but in the future, the same teams might also fly combat missions.

The Air Force’s request for information for this new plane, published in late July, represents a big push inside the air service to get serious about small, dirty wars, stat. The new fighters are due by 2012. In the meantime, the Air Force is also buying dozens of cheap, manned surveillance planes and 60 light airlifters to bolster its new Irregular Warfare Wing. In all, the three new plane types will cost around $700 million — around the same cost as five F-22s.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had tried for many months to get the Air Force to take small wars seriously. “It’s been like pulling teeth,” Gates said. It took firing the air service’s top officials, plus a new presidential administration, to finally make change happen. The Air Force’s new focus flowed out of Gates’ desire to “institutionalize and finance our capabilities to fight the wars we are in today and the scenarios we are most likely to face in the years ahead.” That means buying weapons that work, fast, instead of “the 99-percent exquisite service-centric platforms that are so costly and so complex that they take forever to build.”

The new planes come at the expense of exquisite planes like the F-22 — and of “legacy” planes, too. The Air Force is in the process of cutting more than 200 F-15s, F-16s and A-10s from its current, 2,250-strong fighter fleet. But Gates said the Air Force can afford to have fewer big fighters, because the U.S. has such a huge margin of superiority over any potential rival, in the air. “By 2020, the United States is projected to have nearly 2,500 manned combat aircraft of all kinds” in the Air Force, Navy and Marines, Gates said. “Of those, nearly 1,100 will be the most advanced fifth-generation F-35s and F-22s. China, by contrast, is projected to have no fifth-generation aircraft by 2020. And by 2025, the gap only widens.”

The U.S. fighter count is bolstered by the Pentagon’s recent decision to count the latest MQ-9 Reaper drones as fighters, too. The Air Force expects even more capable drone fighters in the next 15 years. But that’s not to say the Pentagon is backing away from manned fighters. The Defense Department is “serious” about fielding hundreds of F-35s, as quickly as possible, spokesman Geoff Morrell told Danger Room — even if that means plowing extra hundreds of millions of dollars into testing.

What’s emerging is no less than a “new” U.S. Air Force, with a more diverse mix of manned and unmanned fighters for all kinds of wars: big ones, small ones, and those “hybrid” wars in-between. The result, in a decade’s time, could be history’s most capable air force. But that doesn’t mean that paid aerospace consultants won’t continuing bemoaning the end of the F-22 program at just 187 planes. After all, the best air force isn’t always the most lucrative for the defense industry.

Opvolger P51 mustang:

Piper PA-48 Enforcer
« Laatst bewerkt op: 12/08/2009 | 12:12 uur door VandeWiel »

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