Warplanes: November 4, 2000

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such maneuvers.--Stephen V Cole 

After studying the results of the Kosovo War, the French are convinced that only a two-seat aircraft can conduct bombing operations over defended enemy territory. The stresses of electronic warfare, surface-to-air missiles, bad weather, and enemy fighters are too much for one pilot to deal with. To that end, the French Air Force has decided to build 139 of its 234 Rafales as two-seater Rafale-Bs. To make space for the second crewman, equipment behind the pilot of the Rafale-A will be moved to empty spaces in the front landing gear bay. Following the Air Force decision, the Navy decided that 40 of its 60 Rafale-Ms would be two-seat Rafael-BMs. This would allow the Navy to conduct joint attack operations with the Air Force. But the Rafael-BM will have some serious design compromises. Because the maritime version has a larger and heavier landing gear structure to survive the shock of carrier landings, there is no room in the landing gear bays for the relocated equipment. To accommodate the second crewman, the internal cannon will be removed. Even so, the Rafael-BM will be 200kg overweight, meaning it will carry less fuel. The larger canopy will pose another problem, as it would be too wind-sensitive for the full range of operations.--Stephen V Cole


November 3, 2000; The US Air Force has successfully tested the Enhanced Guided Bomb Unit type-15 (the EGBU-15), which adds GPS guidance to the GBU-15 glide bomb.--Stephen V Cole

November 2, 2000; Flight testing of the F-22 Raptor is being delayed by the availability of aircraft. The testing unit briefly considered reducing some performance requirements in order to save testing time, but Air Combat Command would have none of it, insisting that the original goals must be met. The tests are taking longer than on other aircraft because the F-22 can do things that no aircraft

 


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