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American Fighters IV: The planes put out of service by the F-35 program

A list by Series, showing top speed, range and any special characteristics that are removed through the use of the US F-35 as the mainstay of America’s air defense forces

Seraphim Hanisch

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In our American Fighters series, we have discussed the strengths and weaknesses and areas of concern about the present strategy the American military and NATO are pursuing by creating a sort of “one size fits all” military aircraft around which to base air-based combat operations and defense. That Swiss Army Knife of a plane is the Lockheed F-35 Lightning, and while it is fair to say that it is an extremely advanced aircraft in many ways, the weaknesses surrounding its expense, its unreliability and what may be too great a reliance on stealth warfare are worthy topics of concern that echo through miltary discussions.

Here, we present the array of existing air-combat hardware that the Lightning is slated to replace in the near future. We will give very brief specs on each aircraft – mainly about speed, range and specialty. At the end of this piece will be a fairly detailed specs list on the F-35 for comparison and one’s own analysis.

If this turns out to be a concern, there is an action that one can take for it – call your state and US representatives and senators and tell them you want something better for your tax money. Considering the massive size of the US defense budget, it certainly ought to get its money’s worth.

The F-16 Fighting Falcon:

  • Top Speed: Mach 2 (1,320 mph / 2,120 km/h at altitude with clean configuration)
  • Service Ceiling: 50,000+ feet (15,240+m)
  • Combat Radius: 340 mi / 547 km with four 1,000 bombs loaded
  • Specialty: Supersonic, multirole fighter, air superiority day fighter, all weather multirole, capable of sustaining pilot through 9-g load acceleration in turns

The A-10 Thunderbolt:

  • Top Speed: 439 mph / 706 km/h (Never exceed speed of 518 mph / 833km/h at 5,000 ft with 18 Mk 82 bomb load)
  • Service Ceiling: 45,000 ft / 13,700 m
  • Combat Radius: 288 mi / 460 km
  • Specialty: Close air support, ground attack, quick action against ground based enemies, forward air controller support

The AV-8 Harrier:

  • Top Speed: Mach 0.9 (673 mph / 1,083 km/h)
  • Service Ceiling: 50,000 feet (15,170 m)
  • Combat Radius: 350 mi / 556 km
  • Specialty: Ground-attack, Vertical and Short Takeoff and landing( VTOL, VSTOL) capability makes for extremely versatile basing, air interdiction (Britain)

A Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet carrying a full load of air-to-air missiles during an Allied Force mission May, 22, 1999. Canadian Air Forces are flying NATO Combat Air Patrol missions to protect refueling tankers and other unarmed aircraft operating in the area. (U.S. Air Force photo by MSgt Joe Cupido 4th Combat Camera)

F-18C Hornet:

  • Top Speed: Mach 1.8 (1,190 mph / 1,915 km/h at 40,000 feet)
  • Service Ceiling: 50,000 ft (15,000 m)
  • Combat Radius: 460 mi / 741 km in an air-to-air mission
  • Specialty: Carrier-capable, multirole combat, fighter and attack aircraft

U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet aircraft assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 115 makes an arrested landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) Aug. 20, 2013, while underway in the Philippine Sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ramon G. Go/Released)

F-18 Super Hornet:

  • Top Speed: Mach 1.6 (1,190mph / 1915 km/h) at 40,000 feet
  • Service Ceiling: 50,000+ ft (15,000+ m)
  • Combat Radius: 449mi / 722km for interdiction mission
  • Specialty: Carrier-capable, multirole fighter.

The F-117 Nighthawk (already retired)

  • Top Speed: Mach 0.92 (617mph / 993 km/h)
  • Service Ceiling: 45,000 ft (13,716 m)
  • Range: 930 nmi (1720km)
  • Specialty: Stealth attack aircraft, bomber. Not a fighter at all.

The F-14 Tomcat (already retired)

  • Top Speed: Mach 2.34 (1,544 mph / 2485 kh/h at high altitude
  • Service Ceiling: 50,000+ ft (15,200m)
  • Combat Radius: 575 miles (926 km)
  • Specialty: (US NAvy) Air Superiority Fighter, Fleet defense interceptor, tactical aerial reconnaissance platform; carrier launch and landing capability

And as promised, the same comparative specs for the F-35 Lightning II:

  • Top Speed:  Mach 1.6 (1,200 mph / 1,930 km/h)
  • Service Ceiling: 50,000+ ft (15,240+m)
  • Combat Radius:  669nmi / 1,239km on interdiction mission on internal fuel
  • Specialty: Ground attack, air superiority, STOL, and STOVL (short takeoff and vertical landing) for F-35B, stealth multirole fighter

 

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4 resignations and counting: May’s government ‘falling apart before our eyes’ over Brexit deal

The beginning of the end for Theresa May’s government.

The Duran

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Via RT


Four high profile resignations have followed on the heels of Theresa May’s announcement that her cabinet has settled on a Brexit deal, with Labour claiming that the Conservative government is at risk of completely dissolving.

Shailesh Vara, the Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office was the first top official to resign after the prime minister announced that her cabinet had reached a draft EU withdrawal agreement.

An hour after his announcement, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab – the man charged with negotiating and finalizing the deal – said he was stepping down, stating that the Brexit deal in its current form suffers from deep flaws. Esther McVey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, submitted her letter of resignation shortly afterwards. More resignations have followed.

Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister, Jon Trickett, predicted that this is the beginning of the end for May’s government.

The government is falling apart before our eyes as for a second time the Brexit secretary has refused to back the prime minister’s Brexit plan. This so-called deal has unraveled before our eyes

Shailesh Vara: UK to be stuck in ‘a half-way house with no time limit’

Kicking off Thursday’s string of resignations, Vara didn’t mince words when describing his reservations about the cabinet-stamped Brexit deal.

Theresa May’s EU withdrawal agreement leaves the UK in a “halfway house with no time limit on when we will finally become a sovereign nation,” his letter of resignation states. Vara went on to warn that the draft agreement leaves a number of critical issues undecided, predicting that it “will take years to conclude” a trade deal with the bloc.

“We will be locked in a customs arrangement indefinitely, bound by rules determined by the EU over which we have no say,” he added.

Dominic Raab: Deal can’t be ‘reconciled’ with promises made to public

Announcing his resignation on Thursday morning, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted: “I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU.”

Raab claimed that the deal in its current form gives the EU veto power over the UK’s ability to annul the deal.

No democratic nation has ever signed up to be bound by such an extensive regime.

Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith said that Raab’s resignation as Brexit secretary is “devastating” for May.

“It sounds like he has been ignored,” he told the BBC.

Raab’s departure will undoubtedly encourage other Brexit supporters to question the deal, political commentators have observed.

Esther McVey: Deal ‘does not honor’ Brexit referendum

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey didn’t hold back when issuing her own letter of resignation. According to McVey, the deal “does not honour” the result of the Brexit referendum, in which a majority of Brits voted to leave the European Union.

Suella Braverman: ‘Unable to sincerely support’ deal

Suella Braverman, a junior minister in Britain’s Brexit ministry, issued her resignation on Thursday, saying that she couldn’t stomach the deal.

“I now find myself unable to sincerely support the deal agreed yesterday by cabinet,” she said in a letter posted on Twitter.

Suella Braverman, MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Exiting the EU © Global Look Press / Joel Goodman
Braverman said that the deal is not what the British people voted for, and threatened to tear the country apart.

“It prevents an unequivocal exit from a customs union with the EU,” she said.

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Five Saudis Face Death Penalty Over Khashoggi Killing; Crown Prince Cleared

According to the Saudi prosecutor, five people charged are believed to have been involved in “ordering and executing the crime.”

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Via Zerohedge


Saudi Arabia public prosecutor Sheikh Shaalan al-Shaalan said on Thursday that the kingdom will seek the death penalty for five suspects among the 11 charged in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, confirming suspicions that members of the murder squad purportedly sent to “interrogate” Khashoggi will now themselves face beheadings as the Saudi Royal Family closes ranks around the Crown Prince, per the FT.

As for Mohammed bin Salman who runs the day to day affairs of the world’s top oil exporter and is the de facto head of OPEC, the prosecutor said had “no knowledge” of the mission, effectively absolving him of any domestic suspicion, if not international.

The charges were handed down after the kingdom dismissed five senior intelligence officers and arrested 18 Saudi nationals in connection with Khashoggi’s disappearance. The Saudi insider-turned-dissident journalist disappeared on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul to pick up documents that would have allowed him to marry his fiance. Khashoggi was a legal resident of Virginia.

According to the Saudi prosecutor, five people charged are believed to have been involved in “ordering and executing the crime,” according to CNN.

The prosecutor said that the former Saudi deputy intelligence chief, Ahmed al-Assiri, ordered a mission to force Khashoggi to go back to Saudi Arabia and formed a team of 15 people.

They were divided into three groups, the Saudi Public Prosecutor said: a negotiation team, an intelligence team and a logistical team.

It was the head of the negotiating team who ordered the killing of Khashoggi, the prosecutor said.

The Saudis stuck by latest (ever changing) narrative that the Washington Post columnist was killed after a mission to abduct him went awry. The deputy chief of intelligence ordered that Khashoggi be brought back to the kingdom, Shaalan said. The team killed him after the talks failed and his body was handed to a “collaborator” in Turkey, he said.

Asked whether Saud al-Qahtanti, an aide to Prince Mohammed, had any role in the case, Shaalan said that a royal adviser had a coordinating role and had provided information. The former adviser was now under investigation, the prosecutor said, declining to reveal the names of any of those facing charges.

Al-Shaalan did reveal that a total of 21 suspects are now being held in connection with the case. Notably, the decision to charge the 5 comes after National Security Advisor John Bolton repudiated reports that a recording of Khashoggi’s murder made by Turkish authorities suggested that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman was behind the murder plot.

But as long as OPEC+ is planning to do “whatever it takes” to boost oil prices, the US’s willingness to give the Saudis a pass could always be tested if crude prices again turn sharply higher.

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U.S. May Impose Sanctions Against Turkey Over S-400 “Threat” To F-35

The United States continues to consider the S-400 air defense system a threat to its F-35 fifth generation stealth fighter platform.

The Duran

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Authored by Al Masdar News:


Turkish officials have repeatedly insisted that Ankara’s purchase of the advanced Russian air defense system poses no threat whatsoever to the NATO alliance. Last month, the Turkish defense ministry announced that delivery of S-400s to Turkey would begin in October 2019.

The United States continues to consider the S-400 air defense system a threat to its F-35 fifth generation stealth fighter platform, and may impose sanctions against Ankara, Turkey’s Anadolu news agency has reported, citing a high-ranking source in Washington.

“I can’t say for certain whether sanctions will be imposed on Ankara over the S-400 contract, but the possibility is there. The US administration is not optimistic about this issue,” the source said.

While admitting that Turkey was a sovereign state and therefore had the right to make decisions on whom it buys its weapons from, the source stressed that from the perspective of these weapons’ integration with NATO systems, the S-400 was “problematic.”

The source also characterized the deployment of S-400s in areas where US F-35 fifth-generation stealth fighters are set to fly as “a threat,” without elaborating.

Emphasizing that negotiations between Washington and Ankara on the issue were “continuing,” the source said that there were also “positive tendencies” in negotiations between the two countries on the procurement of the Patriot system, Washington’s closest analogue to the S-400 in terms of capabilities.

Designed to stop enemy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles at ranges of up to 400 km and altitudes of up to 30 km, the S-400 is currently the most advanced mobile air defense system in Russia’s arsenal. Russia and India signed a ruble-denominated contract on the delivery of five regiments of S-400s worth $5 billion late last month.

Last week, the Saudi Ambassador to Russia said that talks on the sale of the system to his country were ongoing. In addition to Russia, S-400s are presently operated by Belarus and China, with Beijing expecting another delivery of S-400s by 2020.

Washington has already slapped China with sanctions over its purchase of S-400s and Su-35 combat aircraft in September. India, however, has voiced confidence that it would not be hit with similar restrictions, which the US Treasury has pursued under the 2017 Counter America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

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