Warplanes: October 8, 2000

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can stand the stress better.--Stephen V Cole

Boeing and Lockheed Martin are scrambling to make sure that their Joint Strike Fighter prototypes have plenty of flexibility in their armament. The basic design calls for two weapons bays, each of which can carry one 2000-pound guided bomb and one AMRAAM missile. If the weapons are hung outside the aircraft, they ruin its stealth profile and make it easy to detect. One possibility is to mount externally weapons with enough range to strike from outside the lethal envelope of air defense systems, but the new Russian S400 has a range of up to 250 miles. Making the weapons bays bigger (tough at this late stage of the design) makes the aircraft itself bigger and more expensive. The optimal solution to the need for each plane to attack several targets on each mission seems to be to mount two 500-pound bombs (with improved precision guidance) in the space now designed for one 2,000-pound bomb, allowing one JSF to attack four targets instead of only two.--Stephen V Cole


October 6, 2000; The US Air Force is scrambling to meet the rest of the F-22 Raptor's test goals before the 21 Dec deadline. Only three of the 15 required goals have been met, and while the Air Force caught up when this far behind last year, it has been playing catch-up all year. Plans now call for the stealth evaluation and Block-3.0 software to use two different aircraft; original plans were for both tests to use aircraft #4. The key test is the Block-3.0 software, the first to integrate all of the F-22's sensors, which the Air Force says is better and

 


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