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Expense fighter for tomorrow's Luftwaffe
The Farnborough Show in England this past season was marked by the breakdowns of an aircraft: the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, also known as the JSF. Since it was to be taken over by the large German Luftwaffe in the coming years, it was to be the show's hero.
Another new jetliner, however, who took less than two years to complete the aircraft's construction, flight and layout, made it to Farnborough. Textron Scorpion is costing $20 million, still not exactly a good deal for most folks, but a fifth of the F-35 price. He points out that not every defense development must necessarily be delayed for years and worth millions - and points to a new turn not only in the battle jet construction of the past, but also in humanitary tasks that a budgetary jet could take on.
JF-17 is a China designed single-jet hunter that is currently being constructed in partnership with its exclusive Pakistan-based exporter and is expected to be available for approximately the same $20 million per aircraft. Meanwhile, a Soviet aircraft Yak-130 has been announced as an inexpensive aircraft that covers everything from aerial battles to enlightenment and even platoon pilot.
It is not the first times that aircraft manufacturers have been offering less expensive aircraft models. Reading the lists of present and former MiG-21 owners in Russia - a 1950s and still powerful today - is like reading a Who's Who of the former USSRblock. Second, other countries that have recently purchased China's recent upgrade of this old sovietilian aircraft show that inexpensive combat aircraft are still a coveted buy for cash-secured military aviation.
Also the USA created such design; in the 1960' and 70' the Luftwaffe, which could not affordable the heavier, two-engine F-4 Phantom, was presented with the lightweight, flexible F-5 Freedom Fighter. F-5 served in more than 30 Luftwaffe missions, and a reverse-engineered variant made in Iran has just begun working for the Luftwaffe.
The Scorpion has a top velocity of around 520mph and has three major categories of prospective clients. Firstly, the German armed force, which wants a small jet plane able to carry out a series of attack and reconnaissance operations and which either has never flew fighter jet fighters before or wants to substitute older one.
Second, those that already have or are evolving high-end combat troops, but could buy less of the more costly jet liners to get a greater number of less costly planes. How exactly do you make something as complicated and technological as a combat airplane cheap? Looking back at its current vendors, Textron used parts that were already in manufacturing instead of redeveloping everything from the ground up (the F-35, for example, uses an aero specifically designed engine).
Anderson and Scorpion head designers Dale Tutt were able to make quick choices because the size of the R&D teams was kept to a minimum. "After developing the original sketch plan, we defined high-level sketch demands for the entire project and we didn't overload them with a great deal of detail," says Tutt. So we could concentrate on assembling these parts for the aircraft and making it fly.
" It also had the benefit of not having to comply with the demands of a particular country or Luftwaffe. As a result, the engineering staff could make changes to the designs if they felt it would help the overall process. "You sent a group of guys over and took a look at our dashboard copper and said, "Well, our seats won't work.
We' ve made the dashboard a little larger. "The scorpion followed his performance in Farnborough with a rally in Textron's home state of Kansas to demonstrate the consequences of a large scale regional cyclone. It was not used in a combat jet roll, but provided the Ground Commander with fully -moving live monitoring material for the surface, in a roll like the one now used by UAVs in Afghanistan.
Texas will register the Scorpio in the contest that the U.S. Air Force will lead next year to buy 350 jet instructors to substitute for the outdated T-38 aircraft that has been in service since the sixties. He also refers to other tasks such as frontier control, relief and sea patrol, as the jet can also perform comfortable tasks.