Thursday, February 17, 2011

F35 Lightning II

The most powerful, the most expensive, the most anticipated fighter aircraft in history; the F35 Lighting II. If they ever get them to work, it will be a great day to see them fly over Denmark. We're probably going to be buying them, eventually. Note the little Dannebrog painted on the side. Thats because Danish companies are employed manufacturing parts for the F35. Its not certain that we will buy it, the Swedish Saab Gripen has been promoted at length as a replacement for Denmark's aging F16 fleet, but the Danish government has stalled any decision regarding replacement procurements until 2014. Given the age of the Saab (it was first rolled out in 1987), I reckon for the Saab to win the contest will require a complete melt down of the F35 programme by 2014 because by that point, Denmark's F16 fleet will be too old to be considered safe to fly military operations (and I suspect the same may be true of the Dutch and Norwegian F16 fleets). There is also talk of Denmark opting for the F18 or the Eurofighter Typhoon, but I'll believe that when I see them flying with Danish colours (though personally I would love to see a Danish Typhoon fleet!).

If what I read about the F35 (also known as the Joint Strike Fighter) is accurate, and the plane ever comes to front line service, then it will be a monster of a war machine. Its optical suite, known as a 'glass cockpit' is said to be so advanced that it gives the pilot universal coverage, with better optical accuracy at night than the human eye can manage in broad day light. Coupled with the airframes stealth capabilities, the planes avionics and its advanced weapon systems, the plane should function very well in any operational requirements Denmark might have (patrolling the sea's around Denmark mostly).

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