F/A-XX Stealth Not a Foregone Conclusion
Perhaps learning from the expensive lessons of the present, designers of the future fighter F/A-XX may have reason to make stealth a lower priority. And, interestingly, the Chief of Naval Operations appears to agree. The limits imposed by stealth, coupled with extra tens or hundreds of billions of dollars through a fighter program’s service life are high costs to bear. The benefits of stealth may also be better on paper at the time of design than on the electromagnetic spectrum, especially a spectrum at the mercy of future detection technologies.
- Harris Corporation will acquire Exelis, the 2011 military spinoff of ITT, for $4.56 billion, or $23.75 per share, a premium of about a third of the value of shares trading last week. Both firms have been competing hard for the Soldier Radio Waveform (both are among the four invited) and the RFP for Rifleman Radio.
- Northrop Grumman will eschew the BAE Hawk training system for a completely new design in the U.S. Air Force’s T-X trainer competition. That puts them up against a Boeing/Saab effort, also with a new design; the Lockheed/KAI push for a T-50 and T-100- based model; General Dynamic’s use of the M-346 of Alenia Aermacchi and a Textron Airland effort using their Scorpion.
- The U.S. Navy was able to alter a Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile’s course in flight via information from a surveillance aircraft, striking a moving target.
- The rail gun people at the U.S. navy are spending engineering resources to see if one would fit on the third Zumwalt-class destroyer currently being built at Bath Iron Works. The Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002) would likely be the first to receive such an armament, with the first two copies too far along for such changes.
- Egypt may finally sign for 24 Dassault Rafale fighters and a FREMM frigate for $4.5 billion.
- Foreign Policy reports that General Atomics was denied a license to export MQ-1 drones to Jordan.
- China is indicating that devices employing its Beidou GPS-equivalent will also receive signals from the other three navigation satellite nets. This, and the likelihood that Beidou will beat Europe’s troubled Galileo network to market, will make it difficult to see how Galileo’s costs can be significantly recouped through its commercial arm. Already officials are indicating some sort of regulatory trade barrier may be needed.
- The Defense Intelligence Agency is telling Congress that Pakistan is continuing to try to develop battlefield tactical nuclear weapons.
- The BAE rail gun that the Navy hopes to field on the third Zumwalt-class destroyer had its coming out party late last week at a navy science expo.