Archive for September, 2009


A reader just sent this.  I would say my reader has a valid question.  Boeing is proposing putting our newest technology onto an old plane so they might sell the planes to non-US customers.  If they get away with this, we lose any measure of technology advance above other countries and interests.  This company has been so busy selling or giving away our advantage in the opinion of this observer; the US is in sorry shape now, even without the loss of this particular technology. 

 

Who is minding the store anyway?  It seems like every system of security and protection has broken down.  Agencies, like many members of Congress are so compromised, that they are not doing their due diligence to protect our citizens and country.  It is sad when those who are supposed to be in oversight have forgotten whom they are supposed to be advocating for. 

 

It appears there is so much corruption infiltrating both industry and government, it’s like watching a slow motion multi-car pile up and most of us, feel absolutely unable to do anything to avert the disaster and can only watch our country and national security go down the tube.   -GFS

 

 

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G. Florence-

 

I wonder if Boeing will get this one past the State Department, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls and all those defense agencies that have a stake in its proliferation.  Passing any level of Advanced Technology outside of the United States, to even our closest allies, should be contemplated only with the most cautious of trepidation.

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 Stealthy International F-15 Proposal

 

Heavy Metal

Wednesday, April 15, 2009 @ 01:18PM

Boeing Proposes Stealthy F-15

With just about all the future fighter work having gone to Lockheed Martin, Boeing came up with an interesting proposal to keep the old McDonnell Douglas fighter production going.

Boeing got waxed on the ATF and JSF competitions (which resulted in the F-22 and F-35, respectively). While Boeing is doing some work for the F-22 as a subcontractor to Lockheed-Martin, the only fighter programs they have going are evolutions of the decades-old F-15 and F-18. Both programs have evolved astronomically since their inception (e.g. the ground-attack versions of the F-15, the 1/3 upsized F-18E/F programs), and are still quite competitive with 4th-generation fighters such as the Eurofighter, Rafale and Gripen. Along with the Lockheed-Martin F-16 of the same generation (which has also been radically evolved), Boeing offers both fighters into a number of international competitions.

But time is running out on the F-15. The US Air Force will be replacing it with the F-22, and the export market is becoming saturated. Most international competitions are looking for newer-generation fighters.

Late last month, Boeing came out with an interesting proposal – “stealthifying” the venerable F-15:

Boeing unveiled the prototype of a new variant of the F-15 Strike Eagle aimed at the Asian and Middle East markets that will incorporate stealthy coatings and structure here on Mar. 17.

Company officials hope the new aircraft will garner up to 190 orders, extending the F-15 line beyond the current backlog of 38 aircraft for South Korea and Singapore. Since the company lost the Joint Strike Fighter contest to Lockheed Martin, the future of its St. Louis manufacturing facility has been uncertain. Continued F-15 sales, as well as additional orders for F/A-18E/Fs and EA-18Gs, are the only work in the foreseeable future for the plant.

Major design changes in the new “Silent Eagle” version include internal bays within the existing conformal fuel tanks that can carry a variety of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons. Each tank will be configured to hold two air-to-air missiles, including the AIM-9 and AIM-120 or a combination of the two. For the air-to-ground mission, 1,000- and 500-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions can be carried or four 250-pound Small Diameter Bombs per tank. Weapons loadout can also be split between the AIM-120 and JDAM for a multirole mission. The Silent Eagle configuration includes 15-degree outward-canted V-tails – a shift away from the characteristic vertical fins of the F-15 that reduces the radar cross-section.

Check out the internal weapons storage:

Read More…

This new plane isn’t going to be cheap:

Jones estimates the cost of a Silent Eagle will be about $100 million per aircraft, including spares, if built new. A retrofit kit including the conformal fuel tanks, DEWS and coatings could be added to existing Strike Eagles, he says.

$100M? That’s not much cheaper than the current target price of the F-35 (~$130M, I believe).

The F-22 isn’t exportable (due to its state-of-the-art stealth and radar/electronic warfare capabilities, not even our closest allies get access to it). The F-35 is likely to be widely exported (the UK, Japan, Israel and a number of smaller NATO countries), although in a downrated form (there’s a lot of debate over the stealth and EW capabilities for export partners.

I actually didn’t take this announcement all that seriously last month – the price tag is just too high, and I’m unconvinced that stealth can be retrofitted this way (in particular, the engine inlets). But with the F-22 being cancelled as part of the DoD 2010 budget rationalization, I could see the Air Force buying some of these proposed upgrade kits for some of its newer F-15s.

This program will be interesting to watch, from both the domestic and international customer perspective. I’ve certainly got to hand it to Boeing for trying this.

http://www.victoriousopposition.com/index.php/site/category/heavy-metal/

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Jim Rogers calls most big U.S. banks “bankrupt”

By Jonathan Stempel

Reuters Dec. 11, 2008

 

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Jim Rogers, one of the world’s most prominent international investors, on Thursday called most of the largest U.S. banks “totally bankrupt,” and said government efforts to fix the sector are wrongheaded.

Speaking by teleconference at the Reuters Investment Outlook 2009 Summit, the co-founder with George Soros of the Quantum Fund, said the government’s $700 billion rescue package for the sector doesn’t address how banks manage their balance sheets, and instead rewards weaker lenders with new capital.

Dozens of banks have won infusions from the Troubled Asset Relief Program created in early October, just after the Sept 15 bankruptcy filing by Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc (LEHMQ.PK). Some of the funds are being used for acquisitions.

“Without giving specific names, most of the significant American banks, the larger banks, are bankrupt, totally bankrupt,” said Rogers, who is now a private investor.

“What is outrageous economically and is outrageous morally is that normally in times like this, people who are competent and who saw it coming and who kept their powder dry go and take over the assets from the incompetent,” he said. “What’s happening this time is that the government is taking the assets from the competent people and giving them to the incompetent people and saying, now you can compete with the competent people. It is horrible economics.”

Rogers said he shorted shares of Fannie Mae (FNM.P) and Freddie Mac (FRE.P) before the government nationalized the mortgage financiers in September, a week before Lehman failed.

Now a specialist in commodities, Rogers said he has used the recent rally in the U.S. dollar as an opportunity to exit dollar-denominated assets.

While not saying how long the U.S. economic recession will last, he said conditions could ultimately mirror those of Japan in the 1990s. “The way things are going, we’re going to have a lost decade too, just like the 1970s,” he said.

Goldman Sachs & Co analysts this week estimated that banks worldwide have suffered $850 billion of credit-related losses and writedowns since the global credit crisis began last year.

But Rogers said sound U.S. lenders remain. He said these could include banks that don’t make or hold subprime mortgages, or which have high ratios of deposits to equity, “all the classic old ratios that most banks in America forgot or started ignoring because they were too old-fashioned.”

Many analysts cite Lehman’s Sept 15 bankruptcy as a trigger for the recent cratering in the economy and stock markets.

Rogers called that idea “laughable,” noting that banks have been failing for hundreds of years. And yet, he said policymakers aren’t doing enough to prevent another Lehman.

“Governments are making mistakes,” he said. “They’re saying to all the banks, you don’t have to tell us your situation. You can continue to use your balance sheet that is phony…. All these guys are bankrupt, they’re still worrying about their bonuses, they’re still trying to pay their dividends, and the whole system is weakened.”

Rogers said is investing in growth areas in China and Taiwan, in such areas as water treatment and agriculture, and recently bought positions in energy and agriculture indexes.

(For summit blog: summitnotebook.reuters.com/)

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Additional reporting by Jennifer Ablan and Herbert Lash)

This is truly pathetic, in that it shows what a mess our oversight agencies are in.  –GFS

 

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Madoff taped telling colleagues how to deal with regulators.

 

http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/09/10/madoff.tape/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

Interesting how things get around…

 

Last July (2009), Arab News in Saudi Arabia reported that:

 

A joint US-Israeli missile defense system meant to shield Israel from Iranian attack hit a snag when a series of tests were aborted because of malfunctions, defense officials said Thursday.

 

The project, said to be called “ The Arrow,” a joint project between Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. And Chicago-based  Boeing Company failed it’s tests, though the parties involved were said to play down the glitches and stated they expected in such a complicated multilayered missile-defense system, that those difficulties would not “affect the long-term development of the system.”

 

Arab news stated that a Pentagon Official who spoke “on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose details of the tests” said that “the mission was an interception test and also exercised the Arrow system’s interoperability with other elements of the US ballistic missile defense system.”   They further stated that the tests took place off the coast of California, and it was “the communication glitches between the missile and the radar which led US defense officials to abort the test before an intercepting missile could be fired.” 

 

The quote the Pentagon as further saying, “the target missile was dropped from a C-17 aircraft.  It said the radar system detected the target, but not all test conditions to launch the Arrow Interceptor were met, and it was not launched.” 

 

This is all a part of  a system Israel is developing to protect it from all forms of attack, Arab news reports, “ranging from short-range rocket fire from Lebanon and Gaza to long-range missiles from Iran.”