backtop


Print 86 comment(s) - last by My Croft.. on Aug 21 at 1:41 PM


The F-35 JSF in all its glory
Lockheed has proposed a JSF that fly by remote control

Lockheed Martin’s new single-engine F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the latest Swiss Army Knife of fighter aircraft for the US military.  The plane, which is destined to replace the F-16, AV8-B, A-10 and F/A-18, will be available in three variants:

  • F-35A: Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL)
  • F-35B: Short Take-Off Vertical Landing (STOVL)
  • F-35C: Carrier Based Variant (CV)

Lockheed is now proposing a fourth variant that it has been working on for the past two years. The design proposal is for an unmanned version of the F-35 that could operate as a hybrid -- that is, it could be configured to either fly by remote or if need be with a human pilot in the cockpit. Many have stated that the F-35 would be the last manned fighter jet for the Air Force as the military has been pouring more and more dollars into unmanned combat systems. Lockheed's proposed unmanned J-35 would bridge the gap between the past and the future of aerial combat. From the Washington Post:

The Pentagon, looking to save money, has accelerated spending on unmanned systems since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. This year, it allocated $2 billion for unmanned aircraft and millions more in the supplemental budget, compared with $363 million in 2001. The figure is projected to reach more than $3 billion by the end of the decade. What has resulted is a hodgepodge of unmanned vehicles, such as small, bomb-seeking robots that can be carried in a backpack, and airplanes that provide surveillance for days at a time. The systems have become bigger and more expensive in recent years, such as the Predator, built by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., and the Global Hawk, which has a 134-foot wingspan, comparable to the Boeing 737.

Lockheed has been playing second fiddle to other names in the industry, namely Boeing, when it comes to unmanned aircraft. The price tag of the F-35 program has also ballooned from $201 billion to $276 billion. The price increase along with the government's increasing fascination with unmanned drones is probably why the initial order for 2,000 planes could likely drop significantly in the near future.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: This is the Future
By Chillin1248 on 8/18/2006 6:42:40 AM , Rating: 3
Actually these would not work in a conflict like just happened here with Hezbollah.

The problem is that when you launch over 4,000 missiles, usually in groups of 5 or so, it is very hard to target all of them in time. Also the way the current lasers work, which is why you only see them mounted on a 767 or larger, is that they need a gigantic chemical tank needed for the mixing of the correct chemicals to make the laser strong and hot enough. If you would mount this on a plane the size of a F-35, you would at best only get out of it roughly a second or two burst of laser energy and that is all... Highly impractical if you ask me.


"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference

Related Articles













botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki