India, Russia Take Small Steps on Fighter Deal


India and Russia have agreed to settle their differences over the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) program, which the countries are co-producing.


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The Russian Bear Roars in the Sky: Beware the Deadly Su-35 Fighter


Dave Majumdar

Defense, State of the Military, Russia, United States

The Sukhoi Su-35S Flanker-E is the most potent fighter currently in operation with the Russian Air Force. Should American pilots be shaking in their cockpits? 

The Sukhoi Su-35S Flanker-E is the most potent fighter currently in operation with the Russian Air Force. The powerful twin-engine fighter, which is an advanced derivative of the original Soviet-era Su-27, is high flying, fast and carries an enormous payload. That, combined with its advanced suite of avionics, makes the Su-35 an extremely dangerous foe to any U.S. fighter, with the exception of the stealthy Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor. That is one of the reasons the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force is keen to acquire the new jet.

“It’s a great airplane and very dangerous, especially if they make a lot of them,” said one senior U.S. military official with extensive experience on fifth-generation fighters. “I think even an AESA [active electronically scanned array-radar equipped F-15C] Eagle and [Boeing F/A-18E/F] Super Hornet would both have their hands full.”

One U.S. Navy Super Hornet pilot—a graduate of that service’s elite TOPGUN school—offered a sobering assessment. “When taken as a singular platform, I like the Su-35’s chances against most of our platforms, with perhaps the exception of the F-22 and F-15C,” the naval aviator said. “I suspect the F/A-18E/F can hold it’s own and F-35 has presumed stealth and sensor management on its side.”

But one Air Force official with experience on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter said that the Su-35 could pose a serious challenge for the stealthy new American jet. The F-35 was built primarily as a strike fighter and does not have the sheer speed or altitude capability of the Su-35 or F-22. “The Su’s ability to go high and fast is a big concern, including for F-35,” the Air Force official said.

As an air-superiority fighter, its major advantages are its combination of high altitude capability and blistering speed—which allow the fighter to impart the maximum possible amount of launch energy to its arsenal of long-range air-to-air missiles.

The Su-35 would be launching its weapons from high supersonic speeds around Mach 1.5 at altitudes greater than 45,000 ft; the F-35 would primarily be operating in the 30,000-ft range at speeds around Mach 0.9.

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Argentina's Jet Fighter Replacement Options Narrow


The UK’s moves to block the sale of Gripen fighters to Argentina has triggered a round of angry accusations in Buenos Aires, while laying bare Argentina’s dilemmas in replenishing its fighter fleet after years of neglect.


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The Russian Air Force's Super Weapon: Beware the PAK-FA Stealth Fighter


Dave Majumdar

State of the Military, Defense, Russia, United States

Should the West be worried about Russia’s next-generation fighter-jet? 

The Russian Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA stealth fighter could prove to be a formidable competitor to American fifth-generation combat aircraft such as the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Indeed, in some measures, the new Russian warplane will exceed both U.S.-built jets, but the PAK-FA is not without its flaws.

“The analysis that I have seen on the PAK-FA indicates a pretty sophisticated design that is at least equal to, and some have said even superior to U.S. fifth-generation aircraft,” former U.S. Air Force intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula told the National Interest. “It certainly has greater agility with its combination of thrust vectoring, all moving tail surfaces, and excellent aerodynamic design, than does the F-35.”

Indeed, the PAK-FA appears to be optimized for the air-superiority role like the F-22 more so than the multirole, strike-optimized F-35. Like the Raptor, the PAK-FA is being designed to fly high and fast to impart the maximum amount of launch energy to its arsenal of long-range air-to-air missiles—which would greatly increase the range of those missiles.

“Performance-wise it certainly looks to compete with the Raptor,” one senior military official with extensive experience on U.S. fifth-generation fighters told the National Interest.

Like the F-22, the Russian machine is expected to be able to cruise supersonically for extended periods of time—probably faster than Mach 1.5. The aircraft’s maximum speed should be greater than Mach 2.0—assuming its low observables coatings can handle the stress.

However, unlike the American fifth-generation aircraft, the PAK-FA places less emphasis of stealth, and much more emphasis on maneuverability. While it could compete with the Raptor in terms of raw kinematic performance, the PAK-FA greatly exceeds the F-35. And that performance margin might increase.

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A NATO Fighter?


Just imagine it: Airbus teams up with Lockheed Martin or Boeing on a program to build a NATO fighter.


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Japan’s next fighter to focus on range, payload


Aviation Week analyses Japan’s fighter development program and concluded that the next fighter from the land of the rising sun will place emphasis on range and payload, sacrificing speed.


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Russia moving MiG-31 fighter jets near Ukraine border: report


The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine said Friday that Russian fighter jets and radar stations are being moved near Ukraine’s eastern border.

“[Russian Federation] continue to concentrate army units at the border, with radar stations and MiG-31 fighter jets,” Ukraine said via Twitter on Wednesday.

The …


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China’s new radar said to detect U.S. F-22 stealth fighter | Cross-Strait Affairs | FOCUS TAIWAN – CNA ENGLISH NEWS


http://focustaiwan.tw/news/acs/201411160011.aspx

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China vs. America in the Sky: A Stealth-Fighter Showdown Is Brewing


Dave Majumdar

State of the Military, Defense, China, United States

“China’s new stealth fighters might one day be able to match their American equivalents in battle, Pentagon and industry officials fear.”

China’s new stealth fighters might one day be able to match their American equivalents in battle, Pentagon and industry officials fear. Indeed, China is showing off its latest Shenyang J-31 stealth fighter at the Zhuhai air show in the Guangdong province. To meet the challenge, the Pentagon needs to continue to buy the F-35 and start developing a future fighter to counter the rising threat.

“The J-31—along with the J-20 [the other Chinese stealth fighter]—is a tangible demonstration of the efforts made by China to counter the significant advantage the U.S. has with the [Lockheed Martin] F-22 and F-35,” said one senior U.S. military official with extensive experience with so-called fifth-generation fighters. “They recognize that fourth-gen airplanes [like the F-15, F-16, F/A-18, Russian Su-27 and so on] are quickly becoming obsolete. The price of admission to a fifth-gen war is a fifth-gen airplane and they get that.”

Indeed some senior U.S. aviators believe that the J-31—which is thought by many U.S. military and industry officials to be based on stolen F-22 and F-35 technology—will eventually be the equal of the American fighters. “I think they’ll eventually be on par with our fifth-gen jets—as they should be, because industrial espionage is alive and well,” as one senior pilot familiar with the F-35 told USNI News.

Even if the J-31 doesn’t sit at 100 percent parity with the F-22 and F-35, it might not matter, because those Chinese aircraft might be able to do enough damage to the U.S. military to make it too expensive to fight. “I think we can probably keep a slight advantage for quite some time, but a slight advantage means significant losses and less of a deterrent,” said one senior Air Force official. “Lets pretend the F-22 confronts current air-to-air threats outside of a SAM [surface-to-air missile] environment and has a 30 to one kill ratio today versus a [Sukhoi] Su-30 or [Shenyang] J-11. When the J-20 and J-31 come around, even a three to one kill ratio advantage becomes costly.”

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China Plans To Export J-31 Stealth Fighter


China plans to export its stealthy twin-engine J-31 fighter, which would become the first aircraft of its kind available to global customers who cannot afford the Lockheed Martin F-35.


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