How do you say “Raptor” in Chinese?

H/T to Fringe.

So, the Chinese put on a public display of their J-31 stealth fighter, their knockoff of the US F-22A Raptor.


As Fringe noted, a couple details- one, those RD-93s smoke more than I do. And the roll rate as show was pretty meh. And I would note that the typical US Raptor airshow demonstration displays much more performance in the vertical plane. This was just a zoom climb and a couple of sustained turns.

The real question is how well its avionics and stealth work, and that’s simply not something we can discern from an airshow clip.

Further, it should be noted that China has a large air force, but only a tiny percentage of it is 4th generation fighter aircraft comparable to US equipment.

Russian S-400 in Syria: What Does it Mean for US Air Assets? — Medium

On Thanksgiving Day, Russia deployed elements of its S-400 TRIUMF surface-to-air missile (SAM) system (NATO Designator: SA-21 GROWLER) to Hmeymim Air Base near Latakia, Syria. The deployment timeline was impressive in its speed. Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 FENCER over Syria on November 24th and a day later Russian President Vladimir Putin declared Russia would deploy the S-400 to protect its air assets. On November 26th a Russian news agency posted photos and video of S-400 equipment being unloaded and set up in Syria. US air planners were not caught completely off guard since handheld photos showing the S-400’s target acquisition radar, the 96L6 (NATO Designator: CHEESE BOARD), began appearing on the internet in early November. These photos sparked speculation the S-400 had already been deployed or would be deployed imminently. However, US and coalition pilots received very un-welcome news when they got to their operations buildings on Thanksgiving morning: many sorties over Syria would now be flown inside of an SA-21 missile engagement zone (MEZ).

Source: Russian S-400 in Syria: What Does it Mean for US Air Assets? — Medium

One suspects the first instinct of the risk adverse Obama administration would be to further impose restrictive ROEs that will hamper our efforts.

Our other Course of Action is to simply hope the Russians continue to decline to engage US aircraft. Which, that’s a pretty workable solution, right up until it isn’t.

There are ways to counter the S-400, but none of them are cheap or easy. And that presumes our air assets would actually be allowed to engage them. Which, I’m not seeing that happening any time soon.

I suppose if I sat down and tried, I could devise a more ineffectual campaign that boosted Russia and our enemies strategic position, but it would take some doing.

The Final C-17 departs Long Beach

After almost a quarter century and 275 planes built, the former McDonnell Douglas plant, now Boeing, at Long Beach airport is closing. The final C-17 takes off for the first time.


The Air Force is the single largest operator of the C-17, with 224 delivered. By our lights, that’s about half the size of the fleet they really need.

An American Spy Plane

The Swearingen/Fairchild Metroliner was a successful, if not terribly well liked,* commuter turboprop airliner, now largely displaced in civilian service by newer planes. But the Air National Guard has long used a handful for airlift support. And now, it appears several have been modified to support domestic operations for either Department of Homeland Security, or for FEMA disaster relief.


What’s interesting is that they are in a non-military livery.

* When your nicknames include the Texas Death Tube and the San Antonio Sewer Pipe, you know you’re not terribly popular.

The RFH Crap Tree is up!

There is a tradition here of reading Dave in Texas’s classic Crap Tree post or usually the Innocent Bystanders re-post. (Miss you, Michael.)
The house renovations that were supposed to be done before Thanksgiving are still weeks away from being finished. I’m praying for clearer weather, but in the meantime, I have to keep furniture in temporary spots, and this in turn means the older, smaller tree in a new spot. It still means a crap tree with colored lights, ornaments handmade by the kids, ornaments from 27 years of marriage, and ornaments handed down from my mom’s collection. The four of us were grateful to be together for Thanksgiving, and I was happy to have everyone decorating together.
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‘Tis the season.