Tagged: Aviation

MY FAVOURITE AEROPLANE IN 200 WORDS #31 Saab JAS 39 Gripen by Joanna Sjölander

"My flying experience in Gripen pushed me over the edge forever" Joanna Sjölander

“My flying experience in Gripen pushed me over the edge forever” Joanna Sjölander

I’ve always appreciated machines with plentiful horsepower.

I’ve sighed longingly upon seeing power measured in numbers. Power displayed in courageous designs. I have dreamt about Lamborghinis and Koenigseggs…

…though I usually get more excited about things I can actually get my hands on. So a whole new playground of the mind opened up, when I realised that these objects of desire did not have to be on four wheels: nothing embodied all of these traits better than Gripen.

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The more I learned about how it, the more I fell in love. And the more I got involved in its story and shaping its future, the more devoted I was.

My flying experience in Gripen pushed me over the edge forever.

You have no idea how smart and how efficient the design teams at Saab are in their very creative work. As a part of an engineering body, they are constantly calculating and testing the boundaries. In a humble workshop, they sweat away, because they have to. Because there is always limited time, limited resources and limited leverage. But working with limitations is something the Swedes excel at. The result is a handsome beast, with an efficiency that is envied by all. But only a lucky few get to truly enjoy it.

Joanna Sjölander, a dedicated Gripen fan and once in a lifetime Gripen pilot

Coming soon to Hush-Kit, Joanna describes her fantastic Gripen flight in detail.

If you enjoyed this, you may get a thrill from this love letter to Swedish aeroplanes or this Viggen tribute.

joanna2

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MY FAVOURITE AEROPLANE IN 200 WORDS #24 Saab 37 Viggen by Alice Dryden

Your friend is running an aviation role-playing game. You need a character and an aircraft, and you don’t want to be British or American because everyone else is.

You remember an airshow, early 1990s, you and your dad gazing at a silver fighter with unusual wings. You say: OK, my pilot is Swedish, his name’s Lars, and he flies a Saab Viggen.

The more you research your chosen plane, the more you’re smitten. It can take off and land on motorways! It’s technically a biplane! You build the 1:144 Revell kit; find the Matchbox model at a boot sale. You visit the Gothenburg Aeroseum and sit in that huge, high cockpit, in a Cold War hangar hacked from solid rock.

In 2012, the Swedish Air Force Historic Flight restore their Viggen to flying condition and announce a display at Sanicole Airshow in Belgium. On your birthday.

So on a sunny September Sunday you watch that silver fighter rise on the lift from its delta wing and canard foreplane, showing off its unique silhouette for you just like twenty years ago, and you learn that this particular Viggen was actually made in the year of your birth.

It’s your birthday Viggen.

 Alice Dryden [http://www.alice.dryden.co.uk] appreciates well-built Scandinavians.

If you like Swedish aircraft, you’ll love this

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Hush-Kit Top Ten: The ten best-looking Swedish aeroplanes

Hur mår du? Outside of France and the superpowers, Sweden is the only nation that still produces her own fighter aircraft. From Gunnar ‘The Ghost’ to Elsa Andersson, Sweden’s aviators and aircraft have long been made of a special kind of magic. Their aeroplanes have often been technologically advanced, rivalling the best in the world, and it is only  politics (and large price tags) which have stopped them being more widely exported (Allestädes framme får ofta näsbränna!).

 

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Here is an excuse to ogle at ten wonderful Swedish aeroplanes. If you enjoy this, have  a look at the top ten British, French, Australian,  Soviet and German aeroplanes. Wanting Something a little more exotic? Try the top ten fictional aircraft.

10. Saab 91 Safir

9. Saab 29 Tunnan

8. Svenska Aero Jaktfalken

7. FFVS 22

6. Saab 18

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5. Saab 39 Gripen

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4. Saab 21R

3. Saab Lansen

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2. Saab 37 Viggen

1. Saab 35 Draken

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Viggen love here

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Thank you for reading Hush-Kit. Our site is absolutely free and we have no advertisements. If you’ve enjoyed an article you can donate here. At the moment our contributors do not receive any payment but we’re hoping to reward them for their fascinating stories in the future.

Have a look at 10 worst British military aircraftSu-35 versus Typhoon10 Best fighters of World War II top WVR and BVR fighters of today, an interview with a Super Hornet pilot and a Pacifist’s Guide to Warplanes. Was the Spitfire overrated? Want something more bizarre? The Top Ten fictional aircraft is a fascinating read, as is The Strange Story and The Planet Satellite. The Fashion Versus Aircraft Camo is also a real cracker. Those interested in the Cold Way should read A pilot’s guide to flying and fighting in the Lightning. Those feeling less belligerent may enjoy A pilot’s farewell to the Airbus A340. Looking for something more humorous? Have a look at this F-35 satire and ‘Werner Herzog’s Guide to pusher bi-planes or the Ten most boring aircraft. In the mood for something more offensive? Try the NSFW 10 best looking American airplanes, or the same but for Canadians. 

  If you enjoyed this, have  a look at the top ten British, French, Australian,  Soviet and German aeroplanes. Wanting Something a little more exotic? Try the top ten fictional aircraft.

Hush-Kit Top Ten: The Ten best Fictional Aircraft

 

A lot of thought has gone into the fictional aircraft that have appeared in books, films and TV shows. This is a tribute to the clever and imaginative people who have put their aviation know-how to use in producing flying ‘stars’. These aircraft are characters in their own right, and have entered the consciousness of millions. It was hard to select only ten, but here is Hush-Kit’s selection.

Keep this blog alive!

To keep this blog going- allowing us to create new articles- we need donations. We’re trying to do something different with Hush-Kit: give aviation fans something that is both entertaining, surprising and well-informed. Please do help us and click on the donate button above – you can really make a difference (suggested donation £10). You will keep us impartial and without advertisers – and allow us to carry on being naughty. Once you’ve done that we hope you enjoy 10 Incredible Soviet fighter Aircraft that never entered service. A big thank you to all of our readers.

Was the Spitfire overrated? Full story here. A Lightning pilot’s guide to flying and fighting here. Find out the most effective modern fighter aircraft in within-visual and beyond-visual range combat. The greatest fictional aircraft here. An interview with stealth guru Bill Sweetman here. The fashion of aircraft camo here. Interview with a Super Hornet pilot here. Most importantly, a pacifist’s guide to warplanes here. F-35 expose here

Hush-kit is reminding the world of the beauty of flight.

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10. BAC TSR.2MS

Ridiculous and wonderful, the TSR.2MS is featured in the Japanese cartoon Stratos-4. It is a  mad, rocket-assisted tribute to a real-world cancelled bomber. In Stratos-4 the TSR2.MS is an ultra-fast interceptor, that can be launched from the back of a truck. The creators also considered the CF-105 Arrow for the part! Click here for more on TSR.2

9. AT-99 Scorpion

The AT-99 Scorpion featured in Avatar, and was a chimera of several real-world aircraft. The cockpit is reminiscent of the AH-1W, the weapons are based on real types and the fuselage has elements of the Kiowa. The ducted rotors are an interesting touch, and have featured on several small UAVs as well as flying cars, including the Israeli X-Hawk (which looks like it may have been a muse for the AT-99). The tail is similar to that of the He-162 Salamander. The AT-99 is a fascinating ‘mash-up’.

8.  Blue Thunder

Take a Gazelle helicopter, bolt on a load of prosthetics and you have Blue Thunder. The star of the 1983 film was apparently a dog to fly due to the extra weight required to ‘dress’  it to look like an advanced gunship helicopter.

Keep this blog alive!

To keep this blog going- allowing us to create new articles- we need donations. We’re trying to do something different with Hush-Kit: give aviation fans something that is both entertaining, surprising and well-informed. Please do help us and click on the donate button above – you can really make a difference (suggested donation £10). You will keep us impartial and without advertisers – and allow us to carry on being naughty. Once you’ve done that we hope you enjoy 10 Incredible Soviet fighter Aircraft that never entered service. A big thank you to all of our readers.

 

7. Angel Interceptor

From the British puppet show Captain Scarlet, the Angel interceptor was a VTOL supersonic fighter. The type has an airspike on the nose (a good idea for hypersonic flight) and a ‘wave-riding’ wing. Clever stuff.

6. Air Wolf

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Like Blue Thunder, Air Wolf was another transvestite helicopter (I wish I could think of a good pun to describe that). Air Wolf was a 1980s TV show starring a dressed-up Bell 222. The helicopter was eventually sold after the show ended and became an ambulance helicopter in Germany. Sadly, it crashed in a thunderstorm on June 6, 1992, killing all three on board.

5. F/A-37

The 2005 film Stealth featured the F/A-37 fighter-bomber. The concept is clearly based on the ‘Switchblade’ patent filed by Grumman in 1999 for a Mach 3 capable stealth aircraft. The ‘Switchblade’ used extreme variable-geometry and was a very radical notion. The F/A-37 combines Switchblade-like  features with elements of the YF-23 to produce a visually convincing idea.

4. Mikoyan MiG-37B ‘Ferret-E’

In 1987, the faceted stealth design of the F-117 was highly classified. So, there were some very unhappy people at the Pentagon when model kit maker Testor released their MiG-37. This notional Soviet stealth fighter used a faceted shape to reduce its radar cross-section and a shielding trough to reduce its heat signature, painfully close to the then top-secret F-117. A naughty and well-informed prediction! Click here for the story of Russian stealth.

3. Carreidas 160

Tintin  featured  many wonderful real-world aircraft, including the Arado Ar 196 and de Havilland Mosquito, it also featured one of the very best fictional aeroplanes. The Tintin book Flight 714 featured a Hergé creation, a gloriously well conceived swing-wing supersonic business jet with three engines. Flight 714 came out in 1968, a year before Concorde flew, at a time when supersonic civil aircraft were a very hot topic. The central engine was fed through a bifurcated intake inboard of the outer inlets.

2. Lockheed F-19 Stealth fighter

In the early 1980s, observers found it odd that the F/A-18 was followed by the F-20. What was the F-19? Rumours of secret stealth aircraft were hot gossip at the time. The two exciting ideas were put together leading to the crypto-aeronautical F-19. It appeared in the 1983 ‘Deal Of The Century’ with Chevy Chase as a cranked delta, with outward canted fins. In 1986 Testor released a model kit, of an aircraft with a plectrum shaped blended wing/body and inward-canted fins, this become the archetypal F-19 image. A ‘Northrop-Loral F-19A Specter’ magazine advert did little to quell the F-19-mania, but the outing of the F-117 ‘stealth fighter’ in 1988 ended this enjoyable trend.

1.Mikoyan MiG-31 ‘Firefox’

The winner is course- Firefox. Rumour has it that Clint Eastwood originally wanted to cast the Saab Viggen, but it proved cheaper to use dodgy special effects. The resultant ‘Firefox’ was an exciting shape, with four engine intakes and a canard and cranked-delta wing design. With thought control and energy weapons, ‘Firefox’ was ahead technologically of even today’s F-35. Our winner also had a small amount of faceting on its nose and transparencies, but this appears to be for aesthetic reasons rather than hinting at a stealth insight. The 1982 film Firefox was based on a novel of the same name by Craig Thomas, in the novel however, the type looked similar to the MiG-25, as does the real MiG-31. Firefox was released at a time when real, new Soviet fighters were secretive and mysterious, and the film perfectly exploited this sexy mystique.

Reunited with a source book of aircraft

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I lost my favourite book over twenty years ago. I could not remember its title or the author’s name so it seemed unlikely I would ever see it again. But this week, by chance, I rediscovered it.

I had arranged to meet my friend to watch an circus performance on London’s Southbank. She was delayed, so I watched the performance by myself. I moved to the front to join 30 confused and delighted school children. The show was outside, on one of those sunny days when the Southbank is the happiest place on Earth.

The two performers climbed and spun from tall flexing poles- swinging in dramatic switchblade movements- for the climax they wrapped themselves in reels of clingfilm, which reminded me of the funniest book I’ve ever read, ‘Ulrich Haarburste’s Novel Of Roy Orbison In Clingfilm’. This contains short stories, written in the voice of an Orbison clingfilm fetishist. Each story is a contrived set-up, leading (inevitably) to Roy Orbison being wrapped in clingfilm.

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The show ended and my friend still hadn’t arrived, so I went to the book market under Waterloo Bridge. Being a mono-maniac with time to burn, I immediately looked for books about aeroplanes. The first I came across was entitled ‘Air Shows’, and was a rather dry guide from the early 1980s.
As I walked toward the next stall, I spotted a small landscape book with the image of a BOAC VC10 taking-off on the cover. Within seconds of opening it, I realised it was THE MISSING BOOK.
There have been two books that have changed my life, directly and profoundly. The second was The Wild, Wild World of The Cramps by Ian Johnston. The one I was now holding was the first.
I double-checked. It was the book. I hadn’t held a copy in twenty years. Every photo I could recall in absolute detail. I ran to the book-seller and paid the £3 pencilled in the inside cover.

Lowercase book

I have tried to avoid looking at it until now. I want to share with you my reunion feelings as they happen.

Ok, I’m ready now. First impressions- my initial copy had no dust jacket, the cover image, in the dismally dreary colour reproduction of 1970, was new to me. The title ‘a source book of aircraft‘. The lowercase ‘a’ was strangely progressive, it made the little book appear friendly. As I look at the cover, I hear thunder outside. Written and compiled by m. allward (all lowercase). The reviews inside are lovely:

“For transport enthusiasts of any age…clear illustrations and and neatly laid out vital statistics for instant identification of the beloved objects.” The Sunday Telegraph

Beloved objects, how marvellous. Beloved indeed.

The Irish Independent said:

“easy reading in a survey ranging from the first perilous contraption to the latest droop-snouted supercilious model. There also grows on the reader a profound respect to those who flew the early machines or even believed the machines would fly.”

SUPERCILIOUS! Ha ha, a little bitchy snipe at Concorde, at a time when it was a fashionable target of criticism. I was just about to open the first page when my mobile phone barked (remind me to change my ringtone). I have a visitor. Well, I’ve waited twenty years, I can wait another couple of hours. Time for tea with the artist Katie Horwich.

I’m back. My first copy I marked with crosses and ticks, showing my approval or disapproval of each type. I was about five when I first saw the book. It introduced me to aeroplanes. I fell in love with aeroplanes from seeing them in this book.

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The book is organised chronologically, starting with the Wright Brothers 1903 Flyer I. As a child I did not like the early machines. They were not sleek, they resembled piers or bridges or fences. The first sexy aircraft was the Nieuport 17 Scout of 1915. On the side is a skull and crossed bones on a heart, a tattoo-like artwork which brings the ’17 to life.
The locations of the aeroplanes in the pictures were mysterious. Large empty airfields, woods and lakes. The Empire of 1936 was on a body of water next to a castle, a frothy wake streaming from its hull.

The Spitfire was unique in having two pictures- surely this made it the king of the aeroplanes?

The handsome Boeing 314 sat on a sunlit ocean and was photographed from the air- where was it? What was it doing? The absence of captions forced my imagination to make up the story.

Rocket-propelled nazis and jet Christs
When good quality photos could not be found (or copyrights granted?) the aircraft were shown in exciting, but naïve, paintings. The paintings were crudely over-painted photos, each seemingly completed in five minutes. This naïvety could not conceal the mad excitement of the Messerschmitt Me.163; a rocket-propelled nazi fighter and the first aircraft in the book with raked back wings. If that wasn’t titillating enough, the opposite page showed a gorgeous image of the Tempest fighter. As a boy this high-sided machine reminded me of a knight’s charger, the shape speaking of massive power and nobility. The Salamander of 1944 was cool, but incomprehensible, with a black boiler trying to mount it like a randy labrador.

The Sea Hawk of 1947 was a pure, uncluttered shape. The shape of the aircraft resembling a jet-propelled Christ on the cross.

The Sabre carried USAF markings, happy and garish, and familiar to me from toys and comics. The Comet of 1949 shared the same Christian looks as the Sea Hawk. A mass of well-balanced compound curves, the Comet had the gentle look of a deer.

Flying daggers!

In striking contrast to this- the Draken and F-104 were flying daggers! They looked to me like swords or battle-axes. They were speed, aggression and purpose. I loved them, maybe the most of all. The HS 125 and Trident 2E (I have used the aircraft titles and designations from the book), were further Christians, but this time with pally, dog-like snouts.

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The MiG-23 was a revelation. It was Soviet, and therefore little was known about it. The painting showed a duet of zooming spaceships. They looked invincible. The designation ‘MiG-23’, later proved to be wrong. The aircraft was actually the MiG-25, the legendary ‘Foxbat’.

The world in the pictures was now looking more like the world I knew in 1983. The Harrier of 1966, with its ventilator-like nozzles and oversized tyres was apparently landing in Hampstead Heath, behind were winter-stripped trees. The setting familiar to a British child. The Viggen of 1967 earned a big tick; a gothic cathedral that had transformed into a fighter and flown off over some enigmatic misty landscape.

In 1969 the world ends. Concorde comes into land, in all its supercilious droop-snouted glory.

Seeing the book again was a main-lining of nostalgia that I will be unable to feel again, even if I bury this book for another twenty years.
I dedicate this article to Beatrice Brown, as without her terrible experiences on the London Underground that summer day, I would not have been reunited with this old childhood friend.

 

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Thank you for reading Hush-Kit. Our site is absolutely free and we have no advertisements. If you’ve enjoyed an article you can donate here. At the moment our contributors do not receive any payment but we’re hoping to reward them for their fascinating stories in the future.

Have a look at 10 worst British military aircraftSu-35 versus Typhoon10 Best fighters of World War II top WVR and BVR fighters of today, an interview with a Super Hornet pilot and a Pacifist’s Guide to Warplanes. Was the Spitfire overrated? Want something more bizarre? The Top Ten fictional aircraft is a fascinating read, as is The Strange Story and The Planet Satellite. The Fashion Versus Aircraft Camo is also a real cracker. Those interested in the Cold Way should read A pilot’s guide to flying and fighting in the Lightning. Those feeling less belligerent may enjoy A pilot’s farewell to the Airbus A340. Looking for something more humorous? Have a look at this F-35 satire and ‘Werner Herzog’s Guide to pusher bi-planes or the Ten most boring aircraft. In the mood for something more offensive? Try the NSFW 10 best looking American airplanes, or the same but for Canadians. 

How British company Airspeed designed the Predator & Reaper

There are many things that the US Military Industrial Complex don’t want you to know. One of the things it doesn’t want you to know is that two of its much vaunted drones are developments of a rather peculiar line of British aircraft development dating from the late 1950s.
In 1955 the BBC approached the struggling aircraft company Airspeed Ltd to provide it with a dedicated aerial camera platform. It was to have excellent low speed handling and exceptional endurance to enable its crew to film sporting events or appropriate news items with maximum efficiency. A crew of three was envisaged: pilot, camera operator and director/producer. For such items as football matches it was intended that a commentator might be carried in the place of the director and the capability for live audio transfer from the aircraft was a requirement from the very beginning. A helicopter design was considered but rejected due to endurance and noise concerns.

Peeper
The Airspeed AS66 ‘Peeper’ was the result. Powered by a small and quiet Turbomeca turboprop derived from the Astazou, the Peeper made its first flight on the 6th July 1962 and proved an immediate success. BBC cutbacks meant that the initial order was cut from 126 to 4 but this quartet of aircraft would provide sterling service for the next forty years. Amazingly, according to a BBC correspondent, one is retained in mothballed condition at Brooklands aerodrome in Surrey ‘just in case’.
Despite its great success the Peeper did present its pilots with some rather peculiar handling characteristics so a training version was developed. This, the piston-engined AS67 ‘Editor’ was much cheaper to operate but effectively mimicked the larger aircraft’s characteristics. The economical Editor was a charming aircraft to fly and cheap to operate but the asking price was high and, despite a herculean sales effort, Airspeed managed to sell a mere five examples, two going to the BBC.

Looking back without a man

Fast forward thirty odd years and General Atomics is charged with developing a reliable, quiet unmanned aircraft with a good loiter time to spy on America’s enemies. Unwilling to bother developing a new airframe from scratch for a requirement that might turn out to be a dead end, General Atomics looked around for a suitable base airframe for its UAV. By this time Airspeed was long since defunct, having initially merged with de Havilland which in turn was absorbed into Hawker Siddeley and thus ultimately becoming part of British Aerospace. To cut a long story short General Atomics approached BAe with their requirements, BAe dug out Airspeed’s drawings for an aircraft designed to carry cameras with a great loiter time and the rest is history. The prototype General Atomics MQ-1 ‘Predator’, an unmanned Airspeed Editor took to the sky from Brooklands aerodrome in July 1994 followed by the larger turboprop MQ-9 ‘Reaper’ in 2001. Both have proved of great worth to US forces and are despised and feared by all manner of people the world over.

In a curious footnote to this tale it was discovered in 2005 that Neville Shute, Director of Airspeed, had postulated a radio controlled ‘Queen Peeper’ in 1961 when a lost notebook of the designer/author turned up at an auction in Devon. His idea was that it could be used to film newsworthy events where a human crew would be put at risk – his example being a tactical nuclear battlefield situation. Available technology at the time simply could not provide the necessary remote control for such a vehicle but thirty years of radio and TV improvement have resulted in the ‘Queen Peeper’ becoming a reality, though not (thankfully) in a nuclear war.

No. 39 Squadron RAF currently operates the MQ-9 Reaper in Afghanistan, they will be joined by No. 13 squadron during 2012.

If you enjoyed this, you may like our other ULTIMATE WHAT-IF AIRCRAFT, like this one: https://hushkit.wordpress.com/2012/06/12/the-ultimate-what-if-fighter-the-griffon-powered-hawker-hurricane-mk-xiv/

EUROFIGHTER TYPHOON BOON! THE LUFTWAFFE TAKE ON THE F-22 RAPTOR AT RED FLAG

Eurofighter GmbH, producer of the Typhoon fighter, is beginning to emerge from a period of serious self-reflection. Recent sales campaigns have ended in bitter defeat. Eurofighter has watched big prized contracts being dished out to all of it rivals. It lost in Switzerland to the Swedes, in Japan to the United States and in India to the French. Rafale, Typhoon’s closest rival, had emerged victorious in India, the biggest fighter contest in the world. Future enhancements to Rafale are almost certain to be bank-rolled by India, as well as making sales to additional customer more likely for the French fighter. This was disastrous news as the Rafale is very similar in capability to the Typhoon. Could the shrinking fighter market support two such near rivals?

Added to this gloom was the F-35’s seeming invincibility to cancellation. The F-35 is set to become the first massed-produced stealth fighter, available to all (well, almost all). Many air forces have been envious of the US’ stealth technology since the F-117’s star-turn in the 1991 war with Iraq. As well as the promise of stealth, the F-35 has enormous political backing and Lockheed Martin’s incredible mastery of the black arts of military hardware promotion. Despite the F-35’s dire development problems, customers are still clinging to the notion that the F-35 will be the Model-T of stealth and will make ‘aluminum’ aeroplanes obsolete overnight. However, the F-35’s problems have given Eurofighter an extended time window in which large sales have been possible, but these opportunities have been repeatedly squandered. To many observers it was looking like Typhoon was a dead duck, that would fail to achieve any more significant export sales.

 Typhoon boon?

After several years of misery for Eurofighter, the last week has brought a little bit of sunshine. The most conspicuous piece of good news was from the Luftwaffe regarding Typhoon’s performance over in Alaska. A detachment of 8 German Typhoons from JG74 were deployed to Red Flag 2012 in Eielson AFB in June. During the exercise they took part in basic fighter manoeuvres (BFM) against the F-22. Now before I go any further, we all know the usual disclaimer: without details, and in particular without rules of engagement specifics, not much can be inferred from BFM anecdotes. But…the following exciting titbits did emerge-

  • According to the Col. Andreas Pfeiffer, commander of JG74 “Typhoon is a superior dogfighter” to the F-22 in within visual range combat.
  • Typhoon can out-climb the F-22
  • Typhoon can out-accelerate the F-22

These are all very interesting claims. The latter point reminds me of a conversation I had with a Eurofighter representative a few years ago. I asked him if Typhoon could out-climb the F-22. He replied it could. Two days later he withdrew this comment.

The confident statements by Pfieffer are significant for two reasons:

  1. The F-22 is the aircraft to beat

Of course the Raptor decimated the Typhoons at Beyond Visual Range, a domain where the F-22 is still peerless. But, the Raptor is also one of the very best close-in dogfighters, thanks partly to thrust vector control (TVC). Performing well against the F-22, even if just in the Within Visual Range domain is still a notable achievement. On the subject of TVC, Luftwaffe pilots noted the F-22’s tendency to sink when employing thrust-vectoring. This echoes the experience of the F-15C pilots who flew against India Su-30s in training exercises. The USAF Eagle pilots were quick to identify counter-tactics to the energy depleting TVC moves employed by IAF ‘Flanker’s, though admittedly the F-22 is probably far better at recovering energy than the Su-30.

2.  These were German Typhoons

Luftwaffe Typhoons (for the sake of clarity I will not refer to them as ‘Eurofighters’ as the Luftwaffe generally does) are the worst equipped of the partner nations (the RAF aircraft are the best). To put it simply, if the worst Typhoons can put up a decent fight against the F-22, what could the best Typhoons do?

The defensive systems are not to the same spec as the RAF, lacking several components and featuring a smaller amount of data about potential threats. They do not have an infra-red search and track device, possibly the best way to track a low Radar Cross Section (RCS) target like the F-22.

Importantly they didn’t have the Typhoon’s advanced helmet system. The helmet displays vital information to the pilot and allows weapons to be slewed onto targets very quickly indeed and at extreme angles.

RAF Typhoons took the helmet system to a multi-national exercise in Malaysia last year. The system was deemed to be a strong contributor to the Typhoon’s domination of air combat exercises against F/A-18s, F-16s, MiG-29s and advanced F-15 variants during this training event.

The JG74 aircraft sent to the US were upgraded examples. Changes included an upgrade to the aircraft’s radar software and new radio, mission data and countermeasures software system. Other modifications were classified.

Luftwaffe Typhoons are considered behind the curve in terms of tactics and equipment, especially when compared with RAF aircraft. This success in Red Flag is thus particularly good news. Especially as Germany is keen to offload as many of its older Typhoons to export nations as possible, offering these low-mileage, early Tranche aircraft at competitive rates.

The next piece of good news, is that Eurofighter is waking up to the basics of sales. Shockingly, it emerged that the company put little or no effort into reducing unit costs to potential buyers, instead relying on the weight of high-level governmental support. The obvious example must be India, where the Typhoon bid was supported by extravagant promises and visible efforts by heads of state, but ultimately lost on cost grounds.

Guiseppe Orsi, chairman and chief executive of Finmeccanica (one of Eurofighter’s main partners), acknowledged the lessons learnt in an interview with the Financial Times. He stated:

“We will all be around the table and start from what is the competitive price to win a competition, as we do in the commercial field, then we go back and see what each company has to do in order to get that competitive price.”

The partner companies must work together to achieve this for the greater good of Typhoon sales. Clearly the united ‘front’ of Eurofighter is a smokescreen for large defence contractors viewing their partners as rivals and being unwilling to share sensitive information on costs and margins. Sadly it seems Eurofighter represents a microcosm of the EU itself, its problems analogous to a failing Europe.

However, awareness and public admission of this is a sign that this culture may change.

The aircraft itself is by all accounts excellent, the missing piece to the puzzle of its failure to achieve greater export success may have been found.

If this interests you, support Hush-Kit.net with a donation (buttons above and below). If this goes well we’ll be able to give you much more! Recommended donation £10. Many thanks for helping to keep us impartial and independent.

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THE ULTIMATE WHAT-IF: THE SUPERMARINE JETFIRE

Following the lead of the Yakovlev Yak-15 (a delegation from Vickers Supermarine having visited Soviet aviation facilities in late 1945), the Spitfire F.Mk 25 was an attempt to obtain an effective jet fighter aircraft whilst avoiding the tiresome rigmarole of designing one from scratch. Shoehorning a bulky Derwent engine into the slender nose of the Spitfire did nothing for the aesthetic qualities of the aircraft, nor, as it proved, did it radically transform the performance. Despite its new powerplant the ‘Jetfire’ proved to be slower than its Griffon engined progenitor. It did, however, possess a superior rate of climb. Soon after the start of production its meagre range was improved by the addition of tip tanks. Although adequate as a first generation jet fighter the Jetfire offered only limited development potential and it was soon supplanted by true jet aircraft that had been designed as such from the start.

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NAPALM BATS: THE BIZARRE TRUE STORY OF BAT BOMBS

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Animals have been a part of military organisations for about as long as human history. Horses revolutionized combat. Carrier pigeons provided a cheap and effective way to communicate during combat. Bomb-sniffing dogs continue to save lives. There are a few instances of attack animals, such as Hannibal’s use of war elephants and police attack dogs, but fortunately for the critters of the world, technology has progressed to a point that attack animals are essentially unnecessary.

But did you know that the US military poured money into an actual ‘bat bomb’? Not bombs shaped like a bat, or a bomb that just had “bat” as part of a secret code name — actual bats carrying around incendiary devices. As bizarre as it may sound, it’s true. Not only was this top secret weapon on the verge of being deployed in combat, but initial testing suggested that the bat bomb would have been one of the most destructive weapons in the US military’s arsenal.

My dentist is always busy.

Shortly after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, the military was inundated with ideas for new, ingenious, and often quirky weapon ideas. One such idea came from Dr. Lytle S. Adams, a dentist and inventor. Adams happened to be friends with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, which allowed him to submit a proposal to President Roosevelt.

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“Thanks, our reputation for being dark and evil has been helped no end.”

His idea was to attach incendiary devices to bats and drop them over Japan to create a widely effective firebomb. Four facts made this a tempting idea:

1. Bats can be induced to hibernate, which makes them easy to transport.

2. Millions upon millions of bats can be found in caves across the US, which means that they would be cheap to acquire.

3. Bats seek out dark areas during daylight, so there is a good chance that they would roost in the attics and cubbyholes of buildings.

4. Bats can carry several of their young at a time, so they can probably carry a bomb.

The project received funding, amazingly, and the US military set about experimenting with ways to equip bats with incendiary devices. After a few bungled prototypes, they eventually developed a napalm device that weighed less than an ounce and operated on a 30 minute timer.

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The bat bomb- the perfect weapon for biblical apocalypses.

Testing the bomb proved to be incredibly effective — even moreso than anybody had ever predicted. Several bats escaped from captivity at the Carlsbrad auxiliary airfield, and within a few minutes the entire base was up in flames. The military later performed another test in a mock Japanese village; the fake town was completely obliterated. The military wrote, “It is concluded that the bat bomb is an effective weapon.”

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“Several bats escaped from captivity at the Carlsbrad auxiliary airfield, and within a few minutes the entire base was up in flames.”

At that point, the only tricky part was figuring out how to deploy the bats. Bats cannot be dropped out of a plane like bombs, because they would simply crash into the ground. That’s where the bat bomb came in. The military created a bomb-shaped device that held hundreds of bats in stacked layers. The bomb would release a parachute after it was deployed and then open its stacks to give the bats a chance to wake up and take to the skies.

Unfortunately for the bat bomb project, another famous program, the Manhattan Project, had secretly rendered the bat bomb obsolete. Everything that the bat bomb could do, Fat Man and Little Boy could do a thousand times better. The nuclear era had just begun, and the age of the bat bomb was over before it even got started.

By Dabney B. http://strikefighterconsultinginc.com/blog/

THE ULTIMATE WHAT-IF: The cancelled SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE progenitor

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 Just as the Messerschmitt Bf 109 was derived from the civil Bf 108 Taifun so the Spitfire was derived from the four seat cabin monoplane Supermarine Typhoon. First flown in 1935 the Gypsy Major powered Typhoon achieved a remarkable performance due to its fine aerodynamics. The sole example was written off barely two months after the first flight when chief test pilot ‘Mutt’ Summers forgot to lower the undercarriage on landing. The projected high price and complicated construction coupled with Supermarine’s increasing preoccupation with Spitfire development doomed the project and the attractive Typhoon was destined to remain an intriguing example of what might have been had war clouds not threatened.

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