It’s not all space today.
The Navy Times reports that a modification to the tailhook design is all that is needed for the F-35C.
Because the tail-hook has to fit within the outer mold line of the F-35, the device had to be fitted further forward on the jet’s ventral surface than on other naval aircraft, [F-35 program manager for Lockheed Martin, Tom] Burbage said. The result is that the hook behaves differently than on previous fighters like the F/A-18…Another factor that effects landing on a carrier is the sheer force of the impact from a carrier landing. Unlike conventional land-based aircraft, naval aircraft don’t flare on landing. While the landing is on a more precise spot, it causes the tail-hook to oscillate vertically- which increases the chances that it won’t catch a wire, Burbage said. The dampening of that motion has to be tweaked, he said.
The shape of the hook itself also has an effect on the probability of catching a wire, he added. All of these are being tweaked to increase the chances that the F-35C will catch a wire on a carrier’s deck.
Next, this Wired article is cool for several reasons. One, it mentions the Boeing A160 Hummingbird drone helicopter, its capabilities, including a long flight time of 18 to 20 hours, and its upcoming deployment in Afghanistan. The camera onboard the Hummingbird is the Autonomous Real-time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System, or ARGUS. (Argus in mythology had a hundred eyes and was all-seeing.) ARGUS can track multiple objects and gather six petabytes of video in a day. (A petabyte is 1000 terabytes.) Last, it mentions the Blue Devil 2 mega-blimp. Years ago, I worked on some polymer films for a military airship and am wondering if this is it and it’s finally going to fly.
Last but not least, the Wideband Global SATCOM 4 is set to launch from Cape Canaveral on a Delta IV today. Launch window opens at 7:38 pm Eastern time. This satellite will help communication in the field, especially with the bandwidth needed for telemetry from drones.