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Lockheed's F-35 in flight -- image courtesy Lockheed Martin
The F-35 Lightning II makes its maiden flight

Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II single-seat fighter made its maiden flight this past Friday. The F-35 is the production version of the X-35 Joint Strike Fighter prototype which was selected over the competing Boeing X-32.

The flight marked the culmination of a five-year gestation period and was for the most part successful. "The Lightning II performed beautifully," said F-35 Chief Pilot Jon Beesley. The flight was scheduled to last an hour, but was ended after just 38 minutes. An in-flight glitch took place in which an air data probe flashed a warning in the cockpit. As a result, “gear-up" testing was not performed during the flight. "We designed the aircraft with redundancy so if one of the sensors is out we can fly with the other one. That part worked just fine," said Beesley.

There will be three distinct versions of the plane in the $276.6 billion USD program. Prices will range from $45 million USD per plane for the F-35A to $60 million per plane for the F-35C.

The F-35A is the smallest/lightest of the bunch and will be put into service by the US Air Force. It is destined to replace the F-16 and A-10 (oh how we will miss the GAU-8/A Avenger). The F-35B is the STOVL variant which will replace the AV-8 Harrier currently in service with the US Marine Corps. The F-35C will be used by the US Navy where it will replace the F-18A/B/C/D.

The United States is currently partnered with Australia, Great Britain, Canada, Denmark, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway and Turkey on the F-35 program. Other countries including Israel and Singapore are also interested in the F-35 program.

Given all the news surrounding the success of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), it would be interesting to see if Lockheed's proposed pilot-less variant of the F-35 will ever see the light of day -- if only in prototype form.



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RE: A-10 RIP
By masher2 (blog) on 12/19/2006 11:56:19 AM , Rating: -1
No progress in Iraq? Really?

Hossein on trial for Genocide:
quote:
The ex-dictator remained defiant in court, even as details emerged of entire villages being destroyed by his order...

Iraq holds Democractic Elections:

quote:
The Iraqi people participated in democratic lections on January 30, 2005, for the first time in more than 30 years ...

Iraq Economy Booming:

quote:
''The regime is gone,'' says Osama al-Quraishi, an Iraqi entrepreneur who returned to Baghdad to search for business opportunities after decades in exile in Europe and the Middle East. ''There are no restrictions. There are no rules.'' He predicts Baghdad will soon replace Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, as the Middle East's commercial center. Under Saddam, the shops were silent, the goods available were obsolete or absurdly overpriced, and the cars were clunkers dating back 15 or 20 years. Now that Saddam is gone, signs of bounty are visible everywhere in Baghdad and to a lesser extent in smaller cities such as Mosul and Basra....

Hundreds of Schools Renovated in Iraq:

quote:
“Iraqi children have been learning in dilapidated facilities...By creating safe, clean schools for these children, we’re trying to provide them with an environment where they can blossom...
Iraq Progress Eclipsing Post-World War II Germany

quote:
“Within two months, all major Iraqi cities and most towns had municipal councils – something that took eight months in postwar Germany.

Within four months the Iraqi Governing Council had appointed a cabinet – something that took 14 months in Germany.

An independent Iraqi Central Bank was established and a new currency announced in just two months – accomplishments that took three years in postwar Germany.

Within two months a new Iraqi police force was conducting joint patrols with coalition forces.

Within three months, we had begun training a new Iraqi army – and today some 56,000 are participating in the defense of their country. By contrast, it took 14 months to establish a police force in Germany and 10 years to begin training a new German army.”...





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