Friday, September 08, 2017

Blast from the recent past. Whatever happened to the aerial missile trucks everyone was jazzed about?

Yesterday DARPA came out with a request for information(?) asking industry if it was feasible to build a "flying rail" that could be carried by a F-15 or F-18, fly out a .9 Mach while carrying at least one missile.  I never did catch the range "ask" but I do know that they said if they could get more missiles they'd be happy.  They also want "rapid production" capability.

My question is why?

Let's assume it can be done.  Does it make sense to do it?

My argument goes a little like this.  If this is part of the US' air arms getting ready for that big fight with China that I keep predicting MUST happen for the survival of the US, then it makes no sense.

Why not move with quickness on the birds we have in hand.

I'm talking about the F-15 2040.  Check out what Tyler over at FoxTrot Alpha wrote.
The annual Air Force Association conference will kick off outside of Washington next week, where Boeing is putting its latest and greatest combat aircraft developments on show for industry and Washington power brokers. This includes new F-15 configurations that allow the 43-year-old design to lug 16 air-to-air missiles into combat instead of the standard eight it carries today.
Story here. 

That article was written on 12 Sep 2015.  Almost to the day, 2 years ago. Yet today we see DARPA putting out this request when that weapon is sitting in the safe going unused?

It gets worse though.

The UAV the Navy is building is being tasked with ISR and tanking duties. With a little engineering work, it could easily be turned into a missile or even bomb truck.

But wait! There's more!

via Breaking Defense
Reporters must stop asking Will Roper about the Arsenal Plane, because he hasn’t picked which aircraft will be rebuilt as a high-tech truck for long-range missiles and other weapons. Speculation has centered on the Air Force B-52, but the Strategic Capabilities Office director made clear that choice is, well, up in the air.

“Everyone is interested in the arsenal plane,” Roper said, smiling, as he demurred time and again to offer details during this morning’s media roundtable here. “We haven’t announced what the plane is…to give ourselves the maximum set of options until we’re ready to pick the one.”

“Learning and discovery is part of the process,” he said. “It’s not until we start doing the engineering of trying to make them an arsenal plane that we (discover) which one can do the best job.”
Story here (note that the Arsenal plane was first openly discussed in Feb 2016 and this article is from Sep 2016)

Face the sad facts gents.

Everything is on hold.  Every project that could help us REGAIN air superiority is on the back burner till they get the F-35 sorted out.

How long has it been?

10 years and counting?

When will it be ready for Full Operational Capability?  After 2022?  Maybe later?

The Dept of Defense is endangering our nation and squandering our combat capability because they've been compromised by Lockheed Martin and their lust for stealth (not even stealth anymore...they've thrown away that tidbit and now try and dazzle with sensor fusion---something ANY PLANE can obtain).

A flying rail?  I said it before and I'll say it again.  DARPA is on crack.  We have weapons in the safe but won't pull them out and get them into the field. We're waiting on that unobtainium wonder weapon known as the F-35 to work right.

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