Putting Conformal Fuel Tanks flush mounted along the fuselage, reduces the drag penalty from those external fuel tanks, and increases range and endurance…almost for free it would seem. Except there is no free lunch. Boeing failed to qualify CFTs on the Block 3 Super Hornet which has a major effect on their bid for Canada’s next fighter aircraft.
I am not trying to shy away from writing but the opportunity to talk on the ‘Fighter Pilot Podcast’ series with Vincent ‘Jell-O’ Aiello was too good to pass up. I love this podcast and the many diverse airplane stories that have been posted. I am always learning something new and as an airplane geek, I love the trivia and often the context that is given to subjects I know little about. I wanted to join Jell-O to fight off the F-35 haters yet again.
One of the keys to successful marketing is knowing how to speak the language and understand the culture. One of the most difficult markets for Americans is often in Canada.
If there is one recurring theme when talking fighters in Canada, it is that fighters need 2 engines for flying over the arctic.
The Paris Air Show routine was a transformational performance in front of the world’s most important aviation audience. It ended more than a decade of doubt and signaled “turning the corner” on the maturity of the F-35 program. The public’s perception was no longer of a slow, lumbering, non-maneuvering bomber but of an aggressive, super-maneuverable dogfighter. Since then, the United States Air Force has done a superb job of executing the F-35 demo in a longer, more crowd-friendly routine.
The Canadian fighter competition scoring is purportedly heavily weighted 60% on capability, 20% on cost and 20% on economic benefits to Canada. However, Canadian military procurement has never been about capability of the hardware for a peace-loving nation. Instead, politics, geographical considerations and economics have always been the key drivers. In 1992, one of Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign slogans running against incumbent George HW Bush was “It’s the Economy, Stupid”.
5th Gen is not a marketing term. Instead, the technologies found in 5th Generation (Gen) fighters are the product of over $50 Billion in research and development (R&D) during a 20-year period to reach the threshold of a 5th generation capability.
The discussion of new fighters is never really understood by the public, media, or politicians. To so many, a fighter jet is a loud, grey, fast, menacing looking piece of metal.