Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New and Noteworthy (T-50, Climate Change and Conflict)

In today's edition:

* A piece in Aviation Week by David A Fulghum, Maxim Pyadushkin and Douglas Barrie on the public appearance and first test flights of the prototype of the Russian T-50 fighter-the country's first fifth-generation fighter plane, and the first such plane to be produced outside the U.S..

The new fighter is purported to have "supercruise" capability (specifically, cruising in the Mach 1.7-Mach 1.8 range), three-dimensional thrust-vectoring and a phased array radar, as well as an infra-red search-and-track system. It is also supposed to be stealthy, Sukhoi quoted as promising that
the T-50 will demonstrate unprecedented small cross section in the radar, optical and infrared range owing to composites and innovative technologies applied in the fuselage, aerodynamics of the aircraft and decreased engine signature.
This is on the vague side, but Aviation Week, examining the design, noted the "chined forward fuselage, planform edge alignment, internal weapons bays and small vertical tails." However, the magazine's writers also noted that
The prototype has a number of features that are not stealthy, including the infrared-search-and-track ball on the nose, the canopy frame, gaps around the inlets, and various unshielded intakes and grilles. There are [also] no signs of any low-observable coatings and materials . . .
In any event, the plane is still years away from actual service, and it's hard to say at this point what changes will be made by then, though Aviation Week's writers believe the plane is close to the finished product.

* A "Reading Radar" round-up from The New Security Beat covering three new studies examining the potential of climate change (which is, contrary to the protests of the simple-minded, affirmed rather than called into question by the bizarre weather the Northern Hemisphere has seen this winter) as a driver of conflict.

While the piece on the T-50 (the best I've seen so far) is well worth checking out, my guess is that the latter item will prove to be of greater relevance to international security in the years to come.

No comments:

Subscribe Now: Feed Icon