Friday, August 30, 2013

as an extra note, or epilogue of sorts...

So, one thing I did not address in my poorly written posts about the hornet was some of the developments being made on the so called Advanced Super Hornet, that recently flew for the first time this month.

Now, despite not being a fan of the Super Hornet, this Advanced version (if delivered with the features promised) will certainly add enough capability and range to at least make it live up to the requirements initially given to the aircraft.

New Enhanced Performance Engines will offer 20% more thrust while supposedly being more efficient, which can allow for better performance, especially coupled with the redesigned pylons which are no longer canted, so they no longer cause a massive amount of drag.  With these two things alone, I estimate a sizable jump in speed so that it at least meets if not exceeds the top speed of the original Hornet (though still not coming close to the Tomcat's), so thankfully it won't be such a slouch in the speed department.  maneuverability should also make an improvement, as the carriage of external fuel, along with the airbrake-like pylons are what really restricted the hornets agility as well.

Also, the most exciting thing to happen with this new variant may be the addition of a IRST/electro optical tracking system.  I believe (and correct me if i'm wrong), it's the same as the model that is being integrated on the F-35, which when combined with it's further reduced radar cross-section, will help give the Super Hornet a massive tactical advantage to make up for it's still lacking range, altitude, and speed by no longer relying on it's radar as the sole means of scanning for targets, while also providing enhanced missile warning, and increased overall surviveability.

I did briefly mention the conformal fuel tanks, that add a sizable amount of fuel so that it can at least meet the ranges initially promised several years ago.  Though, what I find funny was this hilariously laughable title to the article about them on Alert 5 Military Aviation News:
They lie!
Uh, yeah.  That's totally not true, unless those new CFTs are pumping a unicorn fart/pixie dust mixture into the engines, while simultaneously being made of unobtanium.  Either they forgot to add the word "external" before the word fuel, or people over there have gone full retard.  It's misinformation like this that screws everyone over.  That, and the new CFTs add lift, which usually means it also increases drag, which (when coupled with the weight of these tanks) could also mean that it's bringback weight is significantly less than the baseline super hornet.

So, I guess in short, I'm happy these developments have come along, and they make the Super hornet an overall more suitable option, but these improvements still simply raise it's capabilities to simply meet performance of 50 year old jets, and only exceeds them in matters of sensors that could be installed on better airframes. I still feel the Super Hornet airframe was a massive waste of time to begin with.  As evidenced by another little thing I whipped up in my spare time.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I have one thing to say to our government:

Regarding the latest bull crap from the White House that does absolutely nothing to curb gun violence.  I first heard the news via Jay-G, and hoped it wasn't true, but it certainly is.  I try to keep this place as politics-free as possible, but I must say: POTUS, you suck dick.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Regular Rob roundup

It's been pretty uneventful around my neck of the woods for a while, but there have been a couple things of note I probably get away with posting.  back on Saturday I made a fellow movie buff watch David Lynch version of Dune for the first time, which was fun as always.  Every time I watch that movie, I desperately wish I could riff that one alongside the MST3K guys, as that movie is rich with excellently laughable moments.
He who controls the spice....ah, whatever.
Today I also got one of my friends a flask, because he got a new mini-personal-a/c unit that he has to constantly keep hydrated.  Every time I look over and see him, he's pulling out this little purell bottle to refill his little a/c unit, and I told him he should just upgrade to a full flask.  So now he can bust it out in the middle of a long meeting and shout "Eigh nheed uh drink!"

Last but not least, I got into a fun discussion with my new roommate about the whole debacle in Syria, and we both agreed it was a dumb move, and after years of armchair quarterbacking the US foreign policy in the middle east, I've finally hopped on board with the "nuke 'em all" crowd, as I'm just too fed up with this crap.
Feel free to read The Boresight's assessment of this mess.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

It's that day again

Yet another reason I like Weezer:

Friday, August 23, 2013

Celluloid carelessness

How in the world did I manage to go my whole life without ever watching the movie La Femme Nikita until last night?  Seriously, this is right up my alley, and I was on the edge of my seat the whole movie, as the tension never stops.  Dang good stuff.

I also didn't realize that this movie served as the sole inspiration to another one of my favorite movies, Leon: The Professional.

It's like spammers don't even try anymore

So, I get a suspicious email today at work, from a name that is far too humorous.
I don't even like Lord of the Rings, or most of the fantasy genre for the most part, but when I hear 'Elvin Gates', I immediately think of this:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

What can I say?

This week has been a real dud for content.  The neurons needed for even mediocre writing have ceased to fire and may have finally extinguished.  Nah, just kidding.  But this week has been rather uneventful, and my mind seems to have no creativity to conjure up recently.  Hopefully, I'll actually have things going on to actually write about in the near future.

In the absence of real stuff, I have been getting back into playing War Thunder (still a really gay name for any game), and have been tearing it up while flying the British aircraft.  I dunno what it is, but those stupid British planes seem to be far more effective in my hands than the American ones, which to me seems a bit silly.  I would think a plane armed with six .50 cals would be far more effective than one with eight .30 cal MGs, but whatever.
Not much in the looks department, but man is she potent!
The real joy was when I finally unlocked the Beaufighter Mk.X.  This plane is the most heavily armed monster of the skies, sporting four 20mm cannons along with six .50 cal machine guns.  What's funny is that the plane is in the unlock tree for bombers, and is widely regarded as a torpedo bomber, but I exclusively use it as a heavy fighter.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The most famous secret

So, it appears that the whole of the internet is abuzz with the recent news about how area 51 was referenced in official documents, thus officially confirming it's existence/status.  I find it kind of funny that everyone is freaking out about it, because didn't Bill Clinton do that around 16 years ago?

Hey, here's another one of a million pics you can get of the joint.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

More Sunday tunes

I was gonna post some more Dvorak, but I recently got a promo in the mail from the Utah Symphony with a deal on concerts that I can't afford, so hearing more of that would have depressed me.  So, I'll settle for this little ditty.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The end of the trilogy

So for my last bit about the Hornet saga, I'd like to address the issue of appropriate application of assets and the selection of the wrong fighter to super-size.

Now despite my ranting, I still believe the original Hornet is a useful aircraft that fills a very important role. Especially when in the hands of Foreign operators.  Other than having the ongoing complaint of sub-par range and fuel efficiency, the Hornet has served very well with the Navy and Marines, along with the air arms of Canada, Australia, Spain, Switzerland, Finland, Kuwait, and Malaysia.  This amount of success clearly shows the value of the platform.
Marine Air.  Ooh Rah!
My primary complaints are directed towards its use as a replacement for aircraft and roles that it was never conceptualized to fulfill in the first place.  That, and the development of the E/F Hornet does nothing but negate the advantages that the Hornet offered without granting much more other than fractional increase in range and payload.  Basically giving us a very lackluster heavy fighter that has no advantages of the light fighter either.

So, I have come up with some very basic and boring tables that directly compare some of the most important attributes of the Hornet with the aircraft it replaced.  Now, keep in mind that these tables do not list other more harder to define attributes such as mission survivability, and maintenance and it's relationship to mission availability.  Taken in the form of a picture to accommodate my blog format.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

even more nostalgia

Read one of Tam's recent posts this morning, which made me giggle more than a bit.  Even though I was one of those guys, I can't help but mess with 'em when I have the chance.  It's all out of love though.  In all my time, I have never known a more heartfelt, dedicated, selfless, and caring bunch than those men and women I served with.  Even living in this epicenter of Mormonism that is the Salt Lake area, I still give shout-outs, high fives, and offer rides to those guys.
None of us are perfect; we can't walk on water, but walls are much easier.
Unless I somehow manage the impossible and get married and have kids at some point, I'll always regard those two years as the best of my life.
Never know what you'll be doing one day to the next, but it's guaranteed to be hard work with no pay.
Man, I wish I had the money to still wear a suit every day.  You just feel like freaking James Bond while wearing a sharp suit.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

random memories

I remember when I was real young, sometime when I was around 9 or so.  I got a bit sick.  But, despite feeling this way, I just couldn't sleep at all; I was really tired, but just couldn't get to sleep.  So late one night, I was up reading some book when my mom told me to go to sleep.  I told her her that I didn't feel like sleeping, and we went back and forth on the issue for a minute, when my step father jumped in and said, "I can get him to sleep."

So, with that, Mom went to bed, and my step father wheeled the television over to the couch I was sitting on.  I asked what we were gonna watch, to which he replied, "Something I KNOW will put you to sleep."  So we turned it on and I proceeded to watch The Hunt For Red October for the first time.  Being a bit of a different kind of kid with different interests than most, the night didn't turn out as he expected.  I was wide awake for the whole thing, excitedly following every detail of the movie, whereas my step father was quickly fast asleep.

Dunno why I suddenly started thinking about this memory or why I even wrote it down, but it is a fond one. I still love watching my collection of Clancy movies.  Though, The Sum of All Fears doesn't count; stupid Ben Affleck ruining one of my favorite characters.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The saga continues

The top aircraft is not the answer.
Yes, it's been longer than I wanted from my last post, but it's finally here.  So, time for some actual number crunching!

So, for this segment I also wanted to focus on the Super Hornet, as opposed to the hornet, but I'll likely get to that in another post.  I primarily wanted to compare the Super to the F-14 as well, because the Navy was basically given only two choices of which fighter to buy: an advanced Tomcat or a redesigned Hornet.  the Super Hornet was developed at nearly 22 times the cost of developing a new version of the F-14 Tomcat (the Quickstrike), which is well known to have had longer range, is much faster, has better acceleration, more capable radar, is just as maneuverable (if not more overall), and carries far more ordnance than the Super Hornet, without an upgraded version.  The ST-21 (Super Tomcat 21) in this one and many other's opinion, would have been the far better choice of aircraft to super-size as opposed to the hornet, both economically and operationally.
Planned incremental improvement of the Tomcat family.  This would also allow for a large number of retrofitted aircraft to be converted until new build aircraft were produced.
Suffice to say, the "Super" was developed because the original Hornet never lived up to any of the range, speed and payload requirements given it.  In fact, the Hornet carries considerably less ordinance to less than half the range of most of the aircraft it replaced (other than the A-4).

What's that you say?  The fact files say the Super Hornet can carry over 17,000 lbs while the Tomcat only carries 14,500 lbs?  Well, this is a very misleading statistic.  True, the E/F CAN carry a good amount or ordnance, however, in order to carry it to the same distance that the Tomcat can (500 nmi), you have to add a couple of external fuel tanks to it that subtract it's potential payload by 7,200 lbs.  The tomcat on the other hand, can do that distance on internal fuel, and even with it's two external fuel tanks, it's payload capacity is completely unaffected.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

'nother music post

For the life of me I was having the hardest time finding a version of this song on youtube that sounded right.  This one came the closest.  Enjoy.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Laziness achieved!

Well, in my defense, you know it's been a long day when you can't even type the title of your post without misspelling both of the simple words.  Yeah, today was a bit more eventful at work than I thought, along with the fact that the car is in the shop and won't be done until tomorrow.

I was planning on doing some basic number crunching to follow up on my last post, but I am just swamped with stuff to do.  But, in the meantime, I'm thinking you should kick back, and read up on a new blog I discovered, which is proving to be quite educational, and offers some very good insight into the military aviation industry.  Check it:

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

America: your government doesn't know basic math or practicality.

and it screws you over because of it.  Okay so that's not exactly a news flash, but still.   If you hadn't guessed, this is another ridiculous aviation rant, but I tried to make it fun for everybody by mixing it up at about the halfway point.  So, if you don't give a crap about anything I say, at least stick around for the last half.

Now, I don't consider myself particularly good at math, or even at understanding the procurement process of the department of defense in depth, but it doesn't take a genius to do some basic math and find out our light fighter planes (the F-18 and F-16) just suck when compared to the planes they replaced.  Upon doing some homework, I can't help but notice some really f-ed up things about the current state of Naval Aviation.  Particularly in the use of the F/A-18 Hornet and F-18E/F Super Hornet.
At least it's a nice looking aircraft...
Why am I so critical of the Hornet?  Because it's not as capable or efficient as older generation airframes.  The Hornet has excellent technological advances, making it more precise, more maneuverable, and more reliable perhaps, but these are improvements that could have been made to older, and otherwise more capable airframes just as (if not more) easily.  The original Hornet replaced aircraft such as the A-7 Corsair II, A-6 Intruder, A-4 Skyhawk, along with Marine Corps F-4 Phantoms and various other aircraft of other nations.  But today I'm going to focus solely on the American aircraft.

So, why do we have the F-16, F/A-18 and it's "super" successor replacing these aircraft?  Well, some of it is quite straightforward, while most of it isn't.  Some of the practical reasons are that the current airframes of the time were ageing and nearing their flight hour limit, which greatly affects maintenance hours and costs.  Also, the Navy wanted improved systems to deliver dumb ordnance more accurately in all weather conditions, while using a new airframe (for longer flight hours) and increased growth potential.

These are all very legitimate problems, but the question I ask is, "Was it worth developing the Hornet airframe for it?"  Or...

First, I'd like to take a look at the replacement of the F-14 Tomcat by the Hornet/Super Hornet.  The real driving force behind both the Hornet programs (other than greed, lies and politics), was that the DOD/Pentagon decided for the Navy, that they should be forced to buy these smaller, lighter fighters that will be far cheaper to maintain, and will be much cheaper per unit, therefore saving the taxpayer money.  (much like the Air Force's F-16, which suffers from the exact same problems I discuss here).  The only real arguments that had any merit for Hornet supporters, was the fact that the hornet is far cheaper per unit and only required about 20 maintenance hours per flight hour, whereas the F-14A Tomcat needed around 40-60.  However, this is a canard as well, since the F-14's maintenance problems were for two reasons: 1) the airframes were old and 2) the A model was never intended to be a full production model and had numerous reliability issues that Grumman was willing to fix, but no one was willing to pay for, despite being relatively cheap.  The later B/D models and other new-build Tomcat's maintenance hours were far lower than those for the A model, nearly getting as low as the Hornet's.

What they fail to point out to the taxpayer, is that (for the most part) this method of buying cheaper per unit light fighters doesn't work.  Why?  Well, the Navy has constantly been pushing for larger, heavier fighters in the past, because it allows for a far greater range and payload capability than smaller fighters, and will offer more flexibility for the airframe, and the range helps reduce the risk to the carrier, as well as allowing long range missions to be carried out far easier and cheaper.  Also, the development costs for using existing heavy fighter designs and then adapting them to perform SEAD, DEAD, Anti-shipping, CAS, and strike roles (even if producing brand new aircraft) was proven to be far cheaper than developing an entirely new aircraft.  Not only that, but the Super Hornet doesn't have the capability to use the quite effective long range weapons the Tomcat has, nor does it have any equivalent weapon to replace it with.

For example, here's a quick gallery of Tomcat flexibility:

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Did you know that?

Did you know that in western Utah on Nov. 15th 1949 was the first successful launch of a surface to air missile, and that the launch site and bunker is now a state landmark?

Or that we have an inland sea base located on the coast of the great salt lake that is stocked with tropical fish?

Or that western Utah is the site of a Polynesian town that was abandoned because of leprosy?

Or that I used to live within biking distance of a plant that produced rocket fuel for ICBMs and the space shuttle?

Or that you can see the remains of a WWII Japanese American internment camp site?

Or that there are more than three uranium disposal sites dispersed across the state?

So, yeah.  If you can't tell, I recently found a fun website: The Center for Land Use Interpretation, which is providing me endless entertainment.  Why I haven't found this site earlier, I just don't know.  But there is a ton of stuff listed in my state that is both cool and previously un-visited by yours truly.  Whenever I have enough money to just leave and go on another road trip around the country, I'm using this site as a guide.

And now you know...

Monday, August 5, 2013

Also, I'm a really terrible blogger

I did it again.  Forgot to post some enjoyable tunes to listen to yesterday.  So here's some of the good stuff.

On an unrelated note, it kinda saddens me how freaking long it took me to write my last post, and what with new developments, I had to re-write the dang thing multiple times, and it eventually got drastically shortened (possibly for the better).

Because even though you suck, we hate you a little less now...maybe.

Funny how I posted a movie review where I do nothing but go on a nerd rage rant about the new trek movie, but now I'm making a post mocking the cult of HundK.  Hypocrisy.  I haz it.  So buckle up, and grab a hot coco, cause I'm gonna have me a rant about the good ol German arms manufacturer and their well deserved meme coined by Larry Correia.

I have always liked H&K's products, possibly stemming from some minor mall ninja tenancies from my formative years.  Could be all the Rainbow Six I played, or the peeking at the Soldier of Fortune mags hidden away like porno in the supermarket. but nobody can deny that HK makes some superb products.  I still drool as much as the next fanboy when I happen to see a G36 or an MP5, but that doesn't excuse their horrible prices, terrible selection for the civilian market, and equally reprehensible service/support to their civilian customers.

They will never live down this little SNAFU.
Now, fast forward to today, and I can't help but notice there are a few more HK focused articles on The Firearm Blog recently.  Most of which seem to be rallying the fanboys to the comments section like trekkies to fanfiction (or flies to the turd).  The moment anyone mentions the funny (and highly true) meme of "because you suck and they hate you", I see several arguments from the angry fanboys as to why that's not the case, but anyone with deductive reasoning, along with more sense than money, can see right through them.

My biggest complaint with HK, was the fact that they sell absolutely nothing that the US public actually wants to civilians, unless you're a cop.  Then, of what they do sell, it's priced so ridiculously, that I could go out and buy several cars as an alternative.  Now, some of this can be blamed on the incredibly hypocritical US importation laws, but a vast majority of the blame rests on HK.
Holy crap, that's overpriced and ugly!
For example, If you look at the difference between the European SL-8 and the one available to Americans, the layman would think it's a completely different rifle.  However, the only big differences between the SL-8, G36, and XM-8, are cosmetic (other than different magwells and stocks).  Back in the day, HK shipped a ton of manufacturing equipment over to it's american plant to start manufacturing the XM-8.  When congress pulled funding for the program HK lost a ton of money and had to figure out what to do with all this now worthless (in their eyes) equipment.  Instead of simply modifying it, and producing a civilian semi auto M-8, or maybe a proper SL-8 to sidestep all those dumb importation laws (which I guarantee would sell like hotcakes), they simply sold off most of the equipment at a great loss.  And this is just one of many scenarios in HK's sordid history with missed opportunity and money in the American civilian market.

But alas, I may have to eat my words, as it seems as though they are beginning to show signs that they may be pulling their craniums out of their posteriors to see the light.  As evidenced by a new article I saw today on TFB about the possibility that they may be selling civilian legal MP5SDs!  Now, I can't get overly excited, as I'm sure they will be priced competitively with the cheapest of supercars, but it is nice to see them finally offering a product that people have actually been wanting.  So, is the old and still hilarious meme of "you suck and they hate you" coming to an end?  Boy, I hope so.

I am drooling so hard right now.

the month of Augustus

Another topic I find interesting on occasion, is the modern calendar; all the how, why where, whens, and who's can be rather fascinating.  That darn Roman Empire's influence is still present in small ways across the world.

As for me, well, things are busier than usual, what with the roomie gone, there's still a few things that need some sorting out, I still have major studying to do, I need to get the car fixed up a bit, and despite having a roommate at the moment, I still gotta keep an eye out for one, just in case.