Browsing: Carriers

In this week’s paper, we reported a story about how the Navy is thinking of making the V-22 Osprey the Navy’s next Carrier Onboard Delivery aircraft — colloquially known as the COD. I had a chance to speak to a C-2 pilot this weekend, as I flew from Norfolk out to the carrier Harry S. Truman. The pilot noted some drawbacks for the Osprey — it has about half the range, it’s a little bit slower and it can’t pressurize its cabin. The pilot said he’d love to see a completely new aircraft, specially engineered for the COD mission –…

President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates haven’t really said anything about the push to buy more F/A-18E/F Super Hornets. And that silence may be telling. Now that summer’s over, Congress is back in session this week.  And lawmakers may finally hammer out a deal allowing the Navy to buy a new batch of Super Hornets. So far, the Super Hornets haven’t gained any of the attention that some other hot-button aviation issues have. For example, Gates recently threatened a White House veto of the entire defense bill if it includes cash for a extra F-35 engine that he…

Here’s a photo from Forth Worth this afternoon, where Lockheed Martin rolled out its first F-35C, the carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter.  That’s Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead at the podium. Here’s a little background info. The F-35C will undergo some test flights up at Pax River in Maryland later this year, and the first carrier landing is scheduled for Spring of 2011.

Capitol Hill is buzzing about this report today from Congressional Quarterly: The Pentagon’s Joint Estimating Team, established to independently oversee the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, determined that the plane won’t be able to move out of the development phase and into full production until 2016, rather than in 2014 as the program office has said. But we’re not so sure this is really all that new. We’ve heard about the Joint Estimating Team’s critical assessments before, in this GAO report from May. That report notes a two-year gap in completion dates cited by the Joint Estimating Team and the JSF program office.…

There’ve been a lot of rumors swirling around Washington that the 50-year-old national defense strategy (being able to fight two big wars at the same time) is about to get canned in favor of a new one. Really? What happens if the senior-most military leaders decide that preparing for asymmetrical conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan is more important than fighting a second peer competitor? What are the implications of that for the Navy? That was a question posed by Navy guru Ron O’Rourke the other day during a panel discussion of Naval aviation in Washington. “That would amount to a change in the current force sizing…

Local fishermen in search of some record large-mouth bass in a San Diego-area lake last winter found something else on their electronic fish finder: A World War II carrier bomber. A cursory look determined the airplane is a Curtiss SBC2 Helldiver, a daring dive-bomber that apparently had made an emergency landing into Lower Otay Reservoir, southeast of San Diego,  during a bombing test run on May 28, 1945, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The Navy had bought more than 7,000 of the Helldiver, which joined with the better-known Douglas SBD Dauntless on bombing runs during the Pacific theater campaigns in the…

Maybe Congress can only fight over one aircraft at a time. And these days, it’s not the Navy’s F/A-18 Super Hornet. Lawmakers have been quietly inserting millions of extra dollars into this year’s budget so the Navy can buy more Super Hornets — airplanes many say are needed to close the looming “fighter gap.” A retired naval aviator who watches closely the mechanics of Washington tells Scoopdeck that the very public battle over the Air Force’s pricey plane is providing some political cover for the Super Hornets’ advocates. “With all the controversy over the F-22, the F/A-18 is kind of…

Yesterday we heard rumors that legislators on Capitol Hill would tell the Navy to buy more Super Hornets — despite the fact the Navy has not formally asked for any. That’s no longer a rumor: Today Rep. Gene Taylor marked up the defense authorization bill to include permission for the Navy to enter into a new multi-year contract with Boeing to buy more Super Hornets. Here’s his logic:“This mark clearly indicates that the Navy should build more of these planes instead of trying to extend the life of the older and less capable F/A18A thru D Hornets. It makes absolutely…

Take a look at this. …A reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch thinks Congress is going to step in and force the Navy to buy more Boeing-made Super Hornets. (St. Louis is the home of Boeing headquarters) This comes as we’re hearing more about the size of the fighter gap. We’re going to keep an eye on tomorrow’s House Armed Services seapower and expeditionary forces subcommittee meeting. The meeting is what they call a “mark-up” – or the time when legislators like to pencil in big changes to funding bills.

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