Air

Lockheed Martin graphic

CAPITOL HILL: Take my mission — please. The armed services are notorious for overselling their capabilities and grabbing turf to justify budgets. But when it comes to ballistic missile defense, the Navy feels so overburdened that it is talking up land-based alternatives as superior to its vaunted Aegis ships. [Click here for Part I of this… Keep reading →

F-35 fires Joint Strike Missile

WASHINGTON: Do dogfights matter in the age of tactical stealth? If an F-16 can outmaneuver an F-35 in a dogfight, does it matter? Does it matter if the earliest generation F-35 can’t outmaneuver an advanced model of the F-16 in an early test? So many questions. We’ll try to answer them because the folks at… Keep reading →

Lt. Cmdr. Shane Tanner of the Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense Organization talks to the media about Tiger Shark, an unmanned aerial system (UAS). This Tiger Shark also carries a smaller UAS that can be launched wihen the Tiger Shark is airborne. Photo by Vance Vasquez / NBVC Public Affairs

WASHINGTON: From July 27 through Aug. 6, the Defense Department is going to conduct a counter-drone testfest — and failure is an option. “In a sense, failure is free at Black Dart,” said Air Force Maj. Scott Gregg, referring by name to counter-drone tests he is directing for the Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense… Keep reading →

A computer-generated image of a Royal Navy F-35B taking off vertically from the new carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, which will be commissioned July 4th.

This isn’t that significant for the United states, but the first ski-jump takeoffs for the F-35B were an important milestone for the British and Italians. For those who wonder why anyone uses the ski jump, it allows planes to take off with heavier loads and to do it more efficiently than they would taking off… Keep reading →

CSBA slide

Washington’s gotten used to war on easy mode. Policymakers may debate the strategic value of air campaigns in places like Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, but they assume the smart bombs will hit their targets. One bomb, one target, one boom. That assumption is no longer safe, says a new study from the influential Center for… Keep reading →

Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. photo

PENTAGON: Sen. John McCain’s push to boost the power of the four service chiefs to manage Pentagon weapons programs is coming at the “worst time” and may well lead to more increased costs and busted schedules, the military’s acquisition chief, Frank Kendall, told Breaking Defense in an interview. “The thing that bothers me the most about… Keep reading →

Test of a Navy Trident D5 submarine-launched ballistic missile.

CAPITOL HILL: As the Air Force train pulls out of the station, the Navy’s running alongside asking to be pulled aboard. Both services will need to replace aging nuclear missiles sometime ca. 2030. They could save money by coordinating their modernization programs — but the Air Force is on a tighter schedule and the window… Keep reading →

Small Diamater Bomb 2

PARIS AIR SHOW: Most coverage of the Small Diameter Bomb II has focused on when the F-35 will be able to use it — not ’till 2022 — instead of on the bomb program itself, which is moving ahead much more briskly. Frank Kendall signed the crucial Milestone C Acquisition Decision Memorandum putting the program… Keep reading →

Joint MultiRole Bell Valor

Somebody’s finally doing something tangible about the future of Army aviation. Bell Helicopter subcontractor Spirit AeroSystems of Wichita, Kan., has started assembling the composite fuselage for the first prototype V-280 Valor, Bell’s new military tiltrotor. The Valor is sleeker, smaller, and, by design, more Army-friendly than the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey, which was built to fit… Keep reading →

Combat Proven sticker Paris Show 2015

PARIS AIR SHOW: Crowds thronged around the French Defense Ministry pavilion today, chatting with Rafale fighter pilots and the engineers who helped build the planes. It was a most unusual sight, all those civilians — with a fairly high percentage of women — listening intently to and then chatting with the pilots, who also stood in… Keep reading →

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