back to article Raptor over Blighty: Watch the stealth fighter in infrared

This week the Reg flying car, killer robot and general military crazytech desk has been attending the Farnborough Airshow. One of the show's highlights this year is the reappearance of the US F-22 Raptor ultrafighter, previously seen publicly in the UK for just one brief Monday display at Farnborough '08. This time the …


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  1. jason 7
    Thumb Up

    Shucks...The world at large doesnt want war machines!

    Some sanity still exists.

    1. Doug Glass

      "The price of peace is eternal vigilance"

      You enjoy the freedoms you have today because of the awesome sacrifices made by your fellow countrymen before you were born. Likely long before you were born.

      Grow up.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Yeah, 'cos

        Under a Nazi German government we would have all of our information recorded on a central database, be under almost constant surveillance, be unable to take photographs in public places and be subjected to invasive searches because we wanted to fly anywhere.


        Hang on...

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge


          You forgot to include the right to make *any* kind of protest and the right to change the government by something as simple as an actual *vote*.

        2. Marvin the Martian

          @nazi government

          Aren't you forgetting that other chestnut, that without US intervention all of western europe would be learning to speak german now (totally unlike now, when they're of course learning english)?

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Swoon, an fae-mouse..

        Haven't we seen you before, with the "Armchair Generals" and "Animal Fannies" tags, on ifyoulikeitsomuchwhydontyougolivethere?

      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        @Doug Glass

        "ou enjoy the freedoms you have today because of the awesome sacrifices made by your fellow countrymen before you were born. Likely long before you were born."





      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Doug Glass

        "Grow up."

        Really? That's your whole argument for throwing massive amounts of money at technology with zero purpose? That's the reason we should all be happy about the current policy of aggravating people into wanting to blow us up on our trains and buses - because you think that acting rationally and questioning the morons in the Pentagon and Whitehall with their unlimited job-creation schemes is childish and naive?

        I don' t know where you come from, but around here it's generally regarded as a childish trait to blindly accept everything handed down by arbitrary authority figures who tell you that they need to be in charge of your life because they know better. Growing up normally involves leaving that sort of simple-mindedness behind and, you know, thinking for yourself. You should try it some time.

    2. Daniel 1

      But we'd miss all those cheesy "war machine backing tracks"

      For instance, this one sounds a bit like a remix of an instrumental version of "Two Tribes Go to War" ... Which I suppose it is...

      Let's call it "One Tribe Goes to War, but Everyone Still Gets Bombed".

  2. Willy Messerschmitt

    Actually, How Many Raptors Are There In Afghanistan ?

    The F-22 does not have hardpoints (as they would diminish Stealthiness) and that is exactly what you need in the land of Crack: Lots of ammo hanging on a long-enudurance plane with a proper targeting system.

    The most economic solution would probably be an sensors-beefed-up Mig23 (IAI could help with that), as the opposition has zero technology to attack a fast-moving plane. Or maybe an A320 with sensors and a bomb bay ?

    Anyway, the Eurofighter is definitely better suited to help in Afghanistan than the F-22.

    Also, if you would like to see how the Merkin Miltiary Industry is doing Delays and Cost Overruns, read this:

    "In April 1994, the C-17 program was still experiencing cost overruns, and did not meet weight, fuel burn, payload and range specifications. It also failed several key criteria and tests that had been conducted to evaluate its air-worthiness.[22][23][24] Airflow issues caused problems with parachutes and there were other technical problems with mission software, landing gear, etc.[25] In May 1994 a proposal to cut the aircraft's production numbers to as low as 32 planes emerged, but was rescinded.[26] A July 1994 GAO document revealed that to justify investing in the C-17 rather than in the C-5, Air Force and DoD studies from 1986 and 1991 had claimed that the C-17 could use 6,400 more runways outside the US than the C-5; it was later discovered that this study had only considered the runway dimensions, but not their strength or Load Classification Numbers (LCN)"

  3. Anonymous Coward

    And both of them are pretty useless for most conflicts

    World has come full circle. We are going back to the days of "Dogs of War". Most conflicts are once again fought by cannon fodder with 20+ year old equipment and mercenaries or "consultants" providing "training and support".

    Super-Duper modern kit which costs hundreds of millions is of very little use in such wars and in the few cases where it is really needed you do not need 150 of them.

    As the French recently demonstrated in Africa all it takes is one sortie by a modern jet squadron to completely wipe out the airforce of a muppet dictator wannabie who has gone out of league. You do not need 150 jets to do that.

    So unless Britain intends to pick a fight with one of the tier 2 nuclear powers there is no need for 250 fifth generation fighter jets (sum of Eurofighter and F35).

    1. Captain Thyratron

      Taking air superiority for granted?

      An adversary may well be a hole in the wall whose military hardware is out of date, but some of that equipment may nonetheless include operational fighter jets, like the one that sank the HMS Sheffield.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon


        "include operational fighter jets, like the one that sank the HMS Sheffield"

        My history may be a bit off here, but didnt we win air superiority in that war with Harrier Jump Jets?

        Hardly F-18's were they?

  4. Old Painless
    Thumb Up

    truly a jaw dropper..

    saw this monster at Fairford this weekend, and you would genuinely fancy its chances if it was dropped into a dogfight with a cylon - it actually drew gasps from the crowd

    the eurofighter on the other hand, brough forth much scoffing and a collective "blehh" - how do we get it wrong every single f-ing time???does NOBODY get shot for their mistakes anymore??

    1. James 132


      The F-22 (also saw it at Fairford) is a monster. The article's a bit of a Page classic, though. They're different things for different jobs. It's the ultimate air-superiority fighter; I don't think we'll see the likes of one ever again. The Typhoon is popular with those that use it.

      TVC isn't unique to the Raptor though. The MiG-29 OVT in 2006 did a similarly exciting display, and that's basically a MiG-29M with fly-by-wire and TVC engines.

      1. Mike Richards

        Isn't Typhoon meant to be an air superiority fighter?

        In which case it is perfectly reasonable to compare the two planes.

        Unless of course BAE have suddenly decided it's an awesome ground attack plane and are busy charging us again to turn Typhoon into a dead dog like the Tornado ground attack variant which was slightly better at killing its crews than Iraqis in Gulf War 1.0

        Oh and it looks a bit crap too - compared to the sci-fi swoopiness of the Raptor or even the Russian fighters, it looks all cheap and nasty. Two things Typhoon most certainly isn't.

    2. Daniel 1

      Re: Does NOBODY get shot for their mistakes anymore?

      When did people in the military top brass get shot for their mistakes? I'll agree, mistakes have been made - and on many of those occasions, a good many people have been shot, as a result...

      For instance: "All ranks to advance at walk, arms at port, bayonets fixed, and under no circumstances to return fire." A great many people got shot, that time, but I don't recall the ones who made the mistake being amongst them.

  5. deshepherd

    Clearly more stealthy than you realize

    > (F-22) previously seen publicly in the UK for just one brief Monday display at Farnborough '08

    Not quite ... it was at the RIAT at Fairford last weekend. And while the F-22 may have stealth features there was nothing stealthy about the commentary during the display on its capabilities given by someone from the USAF with volume and enthusiasm turned up way past 11 (sounded like he was auditioning for the ring announcers job at the next Boxing Heavyweight Worldchamps bout!)

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Loud septic

      Too right. I saw it fly in rehearsal on the Friday, and the only time that day when we could hear anything more than tinny music from the PA was when that git commentator was creaming himself.

  6. Matthew 3

    Didn't Concorde also use the get-rid-of-heat-in-fuel system?

    I'm pretty sure I read that it did, as part of the mechanisms for disposing of all that Mach2 friction heat.

    NOTE TO THE YOUNG: Concorde was the world's fastest passenger aeroplane built back when we were still able to be the best in the world at something. It was stopped when some soulless penpushers realised that travelling slower was more profitable. (bitter, me?)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      And also stopped

      because the Yanks made it difficult to fly over their land- and this being a plane most suited for transatlantic flights that was a bit of a problem.

      This may have been because of some safety concern, or it may have been because they never managed to build a supersonic passenger plane.

      'course, this is a Lewis Page article. So the lack of an American one proves their technical superiority and the value for money of their tech or something.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Bitter much?

        The Concorde was fantastically expensive to build, maintain, and operate which necessitated high ticket prices. The rich were the only ones to ever really use it.

        Plus you may recall that one of them exploded in Paris several years back. Quite dramatic. Made the news and everything.

        1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

          Slight correction...

          Expensive to build, yes, but it was actually making an operating profit for most of its operational life (with BA at least).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            And to continue

            Although you'd be surprised at the no. of incidents of tyres bursting and puncturing Concorde fuel tanks (, the no. of other airliners that have expired in a spectacular fashion over the decades is far higher and almost all of the types involved either still fly or did until retired due to old age.

        2. Tim #3

          Most unusual

          You can change "The Concorde" to "Princess Diana" without affecting the accuracy of AC's post by much at all.

          Did anyone else notice that?

          1. DavCrav
            Thumb Up

            @Tim #3

            You sick puppy. Funny, but sick.

          2. BorkedAgain
            Paris Hilton

            Genuinely giggled out loud at that...

            ...then felt a bit bad about it. Poor princess of hearts...

            Naughty Tim. Naughty, funny Tim.

            Paris... You know why...

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge


        Just to stoke your annoyance a little higher..

        Most of the public protests were over *noise*. A mixture of takeoff noise (only civilian aircraft fitted with afterburner) and the probable "Boom carpet" laid down over various parts of the US.

        It was an early successful NIMBY *green* protest. NB it was comparable to the the noise levels of the turbojet airliners flying at the time of its *design*, but not the levels of the turbofans in service when it started flying into New York. A fact *any* new supersonic aircraft would have to address. It's *extremely* doubtful that supersonic turbofans are a reasonable option for supersonic cruise. BTW the 17th Concorde would have designed out the afterburner and given enough fuel to go to New York from Germany, upping the range of potential customers.

        The Americans design competition (between Lockheed and Boeing as they then were) was won by Boeing with a variable geometry wing design (Would have been the first civilian swing wing. The subtlety of Concorde's wing design to eliminate *neding* this is *rarely* commented on). Both teams went with Titanium to get M3 but only Lockheed had actually *built* an aircraft (the SR71) with it before.

        1. Mike Richards

          American SST

          It's also worth pointing out the US spent as much on their SST as we did on Concorde. We got the most gob-smackingly gorgeous, stunning piece of technology since someone thought of knocking the edge off a piece of flint; They got a plywood model and a huge chip on their shoulder.

          It must have been even more embarrassing when they realized the Soviet Union had also got a working SST and they didn't.

          Does anyone think over-land supersonic flight would have been banned if the US had an SST of their own?

          And I'm not sure how many passengers would have wanted to get on an all titanium Mach 3 jet - the Blackbird's tanks only seal when the airframe gets hot.

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

            @Mike richards

            "They got a plywood model and a huge chip on their shoulder."

            But it was a *really* nice plywood model.

            "It must have been even more embarrassing when they realized the Soviet Union had also got a working SST and they didn't."

            They went the traditional Russian way of getting the KGB to steal the design. Sadly even *they* did not get the full trickiness of the wing shape, hence the canards. Lockheed did and used chines on their SST design but I suspect they could not really explain *why* as it would have meant a *lot* of questions on the detail design of the SR71.

            "Does anyone think over-land supersonic flight would have been banned if the US had an SST of their own?"

            Probably not. Amaziningly enough their has been *some* work done (in the context of bullet design) on shapes which don't create a sonic boom (strictly its a double bang due to leading and trailing edge effects). *If* it works that would change *everything* but fuel economy is *critical*. The pre 1973 oil price was $3 a barrel. No that is *not* a typo.

            "And I'm not sure how many passengers would have wanted to get on an all titanium Mach 3 jet - the Blackbird's tanks only seal when the airframe gets hot."

            Not sure how to say this but the last book B Beaumont (Concorde test pilot) wrote before he died has some pictures of the area under the wings and fuselage. That pool of liquid is not the overflow from the in flight lavatory.

            Note the speed difference between M2.3 and M3+ is *very* important. M2.3 is roughly the upper limit for high temperature use aluminium alloys (the specific one used in Concord was developed for piston heads on Rolls Royce internal combustion aero engines in the late 1930's, so it had substantial pedigree). I suspect that Concorde being an open programme in a way the SR71 was not they had staff they could devote to the tank sealing problem.

            In contrast Kelly Johnson (head of Lockheed Special Projects who designed and built the SR71) was a pragmatist who went with a more stable fuel instead to get it flying sooner rather than later.

            1. Anonymous Coward


              Kelly Johnson's primary skill was taking credit for other people's work. He was a manager. The only real engineering he did was some wind-tunnel work on the Hudson prior to WWII. He never actually designed a single plane for Lockheed. Thanks to his endless self-promotion, no one remembers, for example that B.T. Salmon actually designed the P-38. Similarly, the real designers of the F-104, SR-71, etc are all forgotten now.

              1. Wesley Parish

                additional to the above

                or for that matter, that P.T. Barnum designed the Liberator

  7. LuMan


    ...on the Raptor's first pass it was flanked by 2 stealth fighters.

    What?? You didn't see them??

    Mine's the one with Jane's Aeronautic Joke Book (unread) in the pocket...

  8. Dave Bell

    No contest

    I know which 'plane I'd rather be flying.

    That's MK356, I think,

    1. BorkedAgain

      Count me out.

      I don't think I'd want to be flying either. Pretty sure it'd be terminally exciting...

      Mine's the flightsuit with "Ditch" on the pocket, thanks...

  9. Matthew Smith

    Pooh to the F22

    Why does Lewis always do down UK war tech, but not have a problem with US tech? Yes the raptor is at the top of the tree, but it should be at the cost of it. Its about 3 eurofighters worth, and just as prone to the same stray bit of metal on the runway. When in combat, speed wins. Why then use the main thrust to change course? It might dodge the missile once, but you'll be a sitting target when the next one arrives cos you've just used your own thrust to kill your momentum. The eurofighter can make the same turn and come out running. The eurofighter is having problems adjusting to be a ground attack craft, but theres no hope of that with the F22. So give the eurofighter a break; its still the best currently out there after the F22.

    1. Ian McNee

      Missing the point...

      Read what is written and engage your brain rather than your patriotism to analyse it.

      In summary Mr Page says:

      (i) the F-22 is an amazingly impressive if pointless and extortionately expensive bit of kit that even the Pentagon has decided it cannot afford;

      (ii) the Eurofighter is, in comparison, an unimpressive if pointless and extortionately expensive bit of kit that most of Europe is now deciding it cannot afford.

      1. Daniel 1

        Oh well, look on the bright side

        In thirty years time, there'll be collection plates, out, to keep the last surviving examples of them, both, flying... After all, they were both iconic planes, in the unfolding events, of wars that never happened - so hang the expense.

        Who needs Catholicism, when you have obsolete military hardware?

  10. David Eddleman


    "That's in the same price range as a Raptor (just 185 Raptors are to be made, which has pushed their unit price up)."

    Well, the Raptor may not be made anymore. The latest 2010 funding has no space for them, and there is a law banning export of this craft (not so with the F-35 IIRC). They're great air superiority fighters, and are meant for that. Their primary armament is AMRAAM missiles, which are Air-to-Air (not Air-to-Ground).

    "The F-22 does not have hardpoints"

    WRONG. The F-22 and F-35 both have external hardpoints (F-22 has 4, 2 each wing, and the F-35 has 6, 3 each wing). However you are correct about diminishing stealthiness. As it breaks angles (and missiles have all kinds of right angles) it makes it have a much larger radar signature. Without external stores, the F-22 is described as having a "radar signature of a steel marble".

    1. OrientalHero

      Russian Radar Control Tower

      <russian sigint operator>Sir, we have a track!

      <russian sigint leader>vhat is it!

      <russian sigint operator>it appears to be an airborne steel marble!

      <russian sigint leader>have you not read the latest El Reg Article by zat US loving writer Lewis Carrol? It's obviously an F22!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Well, if they wont play... suggests the Typhoon, always dissed here on El Reg, can meet the F22, although the yanks don't like discussing that. There's also the suggestion that the yanks are displaying the F22 around the world for all they're worth to try to offload the things as they try to rein in their uncontrolled military spending.

    AC because I hear helicopters dispensing Pagean vengeance ;-)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    slight correction

    "The F-22 does not have hardpoints" - it does, its just that they're currently configured for AIM120 AMRAAM missiles or fuel only. Should be easy enough to change in future though.

    That said, what idiot would deploy the worlds greatest air combat fighter to chuck bombs at AK-wielding taliban? Far better to use current kit, and much more economical.

    The F22 is an awesome plane and I love it, but come on.... the F15 has a 104-0 air to air kill combat ratio, not even USAF pilots are THAT valuable to justify the expense of the F22!

    I'd love to see a proper air-air combat simulation between the Typhoon and the F22, settle the issue once and for all.

    1. Ben 56
      Black Helicopters

      Probably already done and you can guess the result

      Training exercises have certainly already been done by the US to plan against the UK's, Europe's and Saudi Arabia's Eurofighter contingencies and any future tranches (i.e. the kind that might be deployed if war with the US were to come about and an advantage was needed to counter the F35). The reason I think we don't know the (likely confidential) results is probably down to the fact that it's too close to call or embarrassing (i.e. you don't want other countries to know that their jets can best your latest and greatest), otherwise we'd have "league" tables showing kill ratios like they do for (e.g.) US vs Russian vs old jets.

    2. Willy Messerschmitt

      Quote Correctly

      "If stealth is not required, additional missiles can also be carried externally on underwing pylons. The F-22 can be equipped with four external pylons, two beneath each wing. These extra hardpoints are intended primarily for ferry missions, but each can be configured to carry two AIM-120 or AIM-9 missiles on a LAU-128/A launcher. This extra carriage capacity provides room for an additional eight air-to-air missiles, allowing a maximum of 16 between the internal and external loadouts."

      Note the "These extra hardpoints are intended primarily for ferry missions".

      What this means is that these hardpoints can be installed, but this takes time and is probably one of the exotic features everybody hates because it has never been properly developed. Like the C-17 landing on a grass field. Theoretically possible, practically to be avoided at great cost.

      All the stealthiness goes away if you mount (unstealthy) big missiles and bombs externally. If the whole system (plane and weapons) had been designed for stealthy external-carriage, they might have reached the objective off high load and stealthiness.

      They never tried and now it is way too late to do that. So the F-22 is definitely just a air-dominance weapon and only a minor ground-attack plane, if stealthiness is required.

      Definitely what Lewis needs when he is stuck in the mud Trying To Enlighten People At Gunpoint.

  13. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Yep, Concorde

    was designed to scrub heat into the fuel, reaching about 80 deg centigrade, so I was told by an old boy engineer in a pub in the West Country.

    Also, a pilot once stowed his hat in a gap between two bulkheads in the cabin... the gap was designed to allow for thermal expansion. Upon landing, it was a very flat hat!

    Flatter than the mortar board sported by the Ped. Grammer Nazi in this icon!

    : D

    1. Anonymous Coward

      They are still there!

      From what I understand Hats were put in the panels on the last flights they are still there!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        That is correct....

        ...but those hats belonged to the Flight Engineers, without whom a Concorde flight would have been impossible as it was their job to manage the engines, monitor the inlets (which at Mach 2 provide ten times the thrust of the engines) and move the fuel around to keep the C of G in the right place.

        The panel gap that opens up is at the rear of the FE's panel in the cockpit.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      @Dave 126

      "was designed to scrub heat into the fuel, reaching about 80 deg centigrade, so I was told by an old boy engineer in a pub in the West Country.

      Also, a pilot once stowed his hat in a gap between two bulkheads in the cabin... the gap was designed to allow for thermal expansion. Upon landing, it was a very flat hat!"

      The parallels with the SR71 are quite striking. both used fuel cooling, both had substantial thermal growth at operating speed and both have *very* complex inlet and exhaust systems. Apparently it also *leaks* like the SR71 until it gets to operating temperature. AFAIK concorde does not use the fuel to move the hydraulic actuators and runs on standard civilian jet aircraft fuel grades rather than the specialist JP7 grade.

      Could we do better now? Duplicating the payload with better fuel economy (no afterburner) almost certainly. But it was *never* commercially viable if you factored in the true purchase costs. "Concorde II" "would *have* to be at least 300 seats (which is a real problem, the wing rides *inside* the "Mach cone," which depends on maximum speed, either it becomes a *lot* longer or the wing has go partly supersonic).

      As for raising the money for the development programme......

  14. Peter 6


    Yes because the late and over budget F22 was definitely value for money for the US Government. So much so that Robert Gates canned it the minute he got into the Pentagon.

    Meanwhile the Typhoon stands a good chance of being exported to India and Japan because the US Government isn't going to export the F22 under any circumstances. Most of the world would call that an "export success" while El Reg and Lewis Page would call it a "costly fiasco."

    Hardly the "off the shelf American" tech you keep prattling on about.

    1. Mike Richards


      I wonder how long this American high mindedness will last if the Saudis decide to buy Typhoons; especially when Tel Aviv gets on the phone to say their F15s are getting mighty old...

  15. Annihilator Silver badge

    Best. Caption. Ever.

    "One of these is a truly great British-made fighter plane"

    Quick question tho - do I not recall a faux dogfight between a Typhoon and a Raptor, with the Raptor limping home much to the Yanks' disgust?

  16. Alf the Unlucky

    A little disingenuous

    Whatever else it may be the Typhoon is undeniably cheaper than the F-22. It's cheaper because it's not a stealth fighter and doesn't have some of the capabilities of the F-22. That's not to say it isn't still very, very capable.

    It shouldn't have cost so much but political interference played a major part in delays and cost over-runs. However, it remains the most potent fighter in the world aside from the F-22 and, unlike the Raptor, is exportable.

    Some of the author's claims are disingenuous to say the least.

    "The RAF is likely to receive 160 planes for this, though many will be mothballed as the service does not require and cannot man up nearly so many Typhoons.

    The likely useable UK fleet of say 120-30 jets...will thus have cost Uk taxpayers £200m apiece or more, well north of $300m at current rates."

    There is a fixed element of R&D in the programme cost. Cut the order from 232 to 160 and you immediately add £20m to the overall unit cost. If the RAF does indeed operate a fleet of only 130 aircraft then either the non-used aircraft will be stored and therefore capable of being activated in an emergency or they will have been sold and generated revenue for the MoD. Either way, to calculate the unit cost of £200m from a low front-line fleet total and compare this unfavourably with the F-22 is highly misleading.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      LP, a *little* disingenuous about British tech? Shurely shome mishtake.

      "The RAF is likely to receive 160 planes for this, though many will be mothballed as the service does not require and cannot man up nearly so many Typhoons"

      Written entirely to make it seem a bad idea. What do you suggest as an alternative LP? It's been decided the RAF should have 120-30 so we buy 120-30 and when one is lost we just reduce the number in service? Fire a ground crew or two and disband squadrons as losses mount? How many will be left at the end of the service life? Or maybe we just write out a requisition slip for a new one each time one gets pranged cos y'know the factories will all be there still, they just need to start the machines up a Robert's your mothers brother.

      Let me fix that quote above for you:

      The RAF is likely to receive 120-30 planes for service plus sufficient spares to ensure no loss in combat capability throughout their operational life. Whilst losses in combat are far less likely than they seemed when the Typhoon project was started losses due to mechanical failure and pilot error are a fact of life in running a well trained air force. The RAF could receive as many as 40 spare aircraft which may seem excessive but it ensures that the pilots flying Typhoons in 30 years are as well trained as those flying today. It is not uncommon for training hours to be limited as a plane approaches retirement due to the way in which every component including the airframe is 'lifed'. Keeping a good quantity of mothballed spares demonstrates a refreshing degree of foresight on the part of the MOD all be it uncomfortable on the taxpayers wallet.

      Same message, opposite spin.

  17. Anomalous Cowturd
    Black Helicopters

    Saw two yesterday...

    Flew low (<1000 ft) over Folkestone yesterday afternoon (Tuesday). Quite noisy, and they certainly weren't giving it the big one.

    I wondered what they were, as they were quite unlike other planes in silhouette.

    Now I know.

    Thanks elReg.

    You ain't seen me. Right?

  18. Matthew Smith

    More fail

    What nationality is Lewis? The Italian government might have slashed its buying 121 jets to 96, but thats more to do with economic conditions than faith in the aircraft. The US government has cut back the F22 too for exactly the same reasons.

    I'm not going to mention the radar. Any modern fighter wandering around enemy airspace with its radar on isn't going to live very long, stealth or otherwise.

    The Spitfire was late, complicated to make, and very nearly dropped because it was a merely a short range, single purpose aircraft. Lewis would be dissing that too.

    1. SkippyBing

      Any modern fighter wandering around enemy airspace with its radar on isn't going to live very long,

      Not heard of LPI then?

    2. SkippyBing

      Spot on

      about the Spitfire though, terribly over-rated.

  19. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Tear in my eye...

    We don't get to see Spitfires flying on this side of the pond. Ever.

    I saw the F-22 "fly" at an Kennedy Space Center airshow. It did a couple lame turns 'way up there and left. I've seen Cessna 182s do better. The crowd was not impressed.

    Don't forget the Raptor was designed to fight a scary high-capability latest-generation Soviet fighter threat that's now disappeared, and is vastly overdesigned for anything else. There's a reason Boeing and LockMart are laying off aerospace engineers by the thousands now.

    1. Willy Messerschmitt

      Check Su34

      And then think again about the F15 "dominating" airspace. The Mig29 (much less capable than the Sukhoi) is clearly much better in dogfights than the F15. Excercises proved that. Plus they have the thrust-vector Vympel AAM, which can only be matched by weapons like the IRIS-T.

      In the meantime I am sure the Russkies have developed a proper long-range RADAR and the corresponding missile.

      As a historic note, the German Army was under the stupid impression that they were not just Übermenschen, but that they also had Über-Panzer. It turned out the Russians had successfully developed (and hid) the best tank of the world - the T34. The Vympel AAM is a very similar story.

      Only because Stalin had killed the majority of his senior officers (colonel and above), the German Army could advance so far. In WW2, the Russians simply had to train a new generation of senior officers; they got a very, very realistic training. If it hadn't been for that Russkie madman, the German madman would have seen a T34 knocking at the door in 1942.

    2. seven of five

      We don't get to see Spitfires flying on this side of the pond. Ever.

      Reno air race should do the trick.

      1. Dug Fin

        T-34 On Balance

        As long as we are talking history, and fighting the last war- or even the war two or three wars ago I feel like speaking up.

        T-34 was well armored, mobile, and well armed. It was not as good as it seemed because it was not, with the exception of squad leaders, radio equipped. It had very poor visibility in the first two years production. These two weaknesses meant that in combat the T-34s were rarely where they needed to be after the initial attack. In defence they were poor because the tank commander usually could not see the threats before they were attacked. The well trained German infantry would sneak up and attack with explosives and they would know to hit the tank with the radio antenna first! (squad commander) The Red Army lost many T-34 in this way which was aggravated by the shortage of well trained infantry to support the tank attacks and keep the German infantry at arms length.

        Stalin knew little of war but controlled everything. He didn't understand the importance of balance in his forces. To him the tank was the miracle weapon that would defeat all enemys. The complexities of command and control were beyond him. Attacks in 1942 failed because battalions of tanks would run out of fuel and the crews would walk home or be captured.

        The Red Army only started becoming competent as they learned that they needed a balanced force that they could control and support logistically. That was where all the thousands of all wheel drive trucks from the United States came in. The Red Army had fearsome weapons but had totally overlooked (under Stalin's orders) the fact that they could not be supported in combat. The battle at Korsun-Shevchenkovsky in early 1944 saw the Red Army defeat the Germans with major credit going to the Russian forces mobility thanks to all wheel drive trucks which they had and the Germans did not. A large number of German forces did finally escape capture after losing all equipment thanks to the Red Army's shortage of infantry and the armored forces reluctance to close with German foot solders without infantry support.

        So the question in the modern circumstances is 'Are these fighters really the best use of resources for a fighting force in the current situation?' How do they fit into the 'balance' of forces we need? Are we needing more 'trucks' or more 'tanks'?

  20. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Asymetric combat

    Good guys: A $Bn fighter aircraft capable of evading any other $Bn fighter aircraft

    Bad guys: A road side bomb that kills the pilot

    Some general said - the ultimate fate of the USAF would be that they would finally spend a $100Bn on the perfect invincible aircraft and a bit of the hanger roof would collapse and destroy it !

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Do you know how Col John Stapp got the USAF interested in car crash research?

      Simple. He pointed out that more USAF pilots died in car crashes than in combat *or* flight accidents.

      It's less of a coat, more of a bomber jacket.

  21. Jerry H. Appel

    Beautiful Photo

    A Typhoon turning with a Mk. IX Spitfire in formation! Cool. Just about every year now we get to see an F-15C doing the same bit with a P-51D piloted by Frank Borman. Top that!

    As to the Raptor vs Typhoon vs $$$$ argument. I've watched TSR, Tornado, Concorde, and Typhoon go way over budget and time. Too many chiefs! Back in the USA we have too many generals and members of Congress causing the same problems.

    As to the Afghanistan problem of needing a low-tech, high-payload strike aircraft. I'd suggest an AD-1 Skyraider. While the "Spad" is hard to find now, an A-10 would do quite nicely. I'd bet it would cost less than a couple of Typhoons to re-open the production line. Remember how much respect the Afghans had for Soviet Hind choppers, and how much respect the Wehrmacht had for Sturmoviks? A couple of Warthog wings would cause the same havoc.

    1. Nexox Enigma

      Mmmmm A-10

      """an A-10 would do quite nicely."""

      I was thinking that same thing not long ago. Damned fine cannon, and they managed to wrap some pretty durable aircraft bits around it. I imagine that an A-10 would be pretty much unharmed by most of the weapons likely to thrown about in that area, and it could probably reply with adequate (read excessive) violence.

      Strap on a few of those high-end sensor pods they're putting in UAVs these days, plus a sat uplink, and they'd probably become rather useful loitering randomly around the desert. Someone back at base can look at the photos / radar / etc and pick out some targets that are badly in need of a few extra-large holes. Man I wonder how many Hellfires an A-10 could carry on all of those hard points : -)

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: Mmmmmm A-10

        "....pretty durable aircraft bits...."

        A masterpiece of understatement. I remember seeing an interview with an A-10 pilot from GW1. He was sloping along, felt a bump and lots of warning lights lit up. The horizontal section of the right wing was completely missing bar the spar and the now exposed undercarriage, leaving only the upturned section at the end. He flew back and landed, carefully as the right wheel tyre was also missing.

        That evening in the bar when the usual ribbing from the fast jet boys started he opened with: "I did something today that you bastards can't do."

        "What was that?"

        "Took a SAM in the right wing and flew home afterwards........."

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge


          "Took a SAM in the right wing and flew home afterwards........."

          Not *strictly* true as an Israeli pilot of an F15 lost most of wing and came home.*

          His case was one of those that kicked off the programme to learn how to land an aircraft by throttle control *only*.

          *However so much fuel was streaming over the stump of the missing wing he did not *know* it was missing. I'd still prefer Warty.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      @Jerry H. Appel

      "As to the Afghanistan problem of needing a low-tech, high-payload strike aircraft. I'd suggest an AD-1 Skyraider. While the "Spad" is hard to find now, an A-10 would do quite nicely. I'd bet it would cost less than a couple of Typhoons to re-open the production line. "

      Funny you should mention those.

      The A-10 was designed to learn the lessons of *using* the Skyraider in Vietnam. Carrying *lots* of ordnance at highish speed to a battlefield then cruising around fairly slowly while dropping it all over the enemy (who might be a quite dispersed insurgent force, hence the long high mpg cruising. Sound familiar) and soaking up enemy fire (including heat seeking SAMs) .

      Roughly 35 years later the Warthog has found its *perfect* war. *Everyone* in flying condition should be in Afghanistan. This is the kind of conflict it was *made* to fight.

      Not so sure about the DU firing cannon (presumably they can fire something a little more appropriate to the targets they are likely to meet). It is butt ugly but I think pilots have an *excellent* chance of getting back to base in a way that some of the new stuff does not. Stealth (and all the costs and compromises you have to make to achieve a high modern standard) only count if the Taliban use radar habitually. I'm not sure they use it at *all*.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        A-10 would never get a job in Top Gun

        Butt ugly, but for ground attack, gets the job done. Unless the job is expending very expensive ordinance I guess. A-10 could load more HEI instead of API/DU and lots of rocket pods, but don't know how that would work fighting in Afghanistan compared to attack helicopters.

        For defence contractors, replacing a cheap, survivable ground attack plane like the A-10 with sexy, fast movers like the F-35, F-22 or Typhoon makes sense I guess from a budget pov. Lots more money in maintenance, spares, reloads etc. As for F-22 vs Typhoon, I'd be happy having either, but neither is fitted with an ashtray afaik.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          We have a winner

          "Butt ugly, but for ground attack, gets the job done. Unless the job is expending very expensive ordinance I guess."

          Well, the job IS expending very expensive ordinance. The bottom line to Iraq and Afghanistan is that it's all about jobs and money for the US military with the big bonus of lots of oil to feed the consumer pacification machine for the plebs. No one's interested in anything that doesn't funnel a fortune into the various companies that own the Pentagon.

          Without constant war, there's a lot of people (a really huge number, in fact) in America that would be out of work. The top level of these people is, of course, made up of fantastically rich and powerful individuals who make sure that it never happens and that the country expends ten fortunes a second on bombing the living hell out of someone somewhere - anywhere - preferably in time for the evening news.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lewis showing his ignorance again...

    The Typhoon has stood up very well to the Raptor in tests and, as said, encompasses different roles that the F22 is not suitable for. But, as usual, Lewis being Lewis can only drool after the American stuff like some kid - he still uses the "jumpjet" tag after all...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    anyone expecting... see the Raptor display anymore this week at Farnborough, or on the public days, is in for a really stealthy performance, since they left on Tuesday.

  24. David Eddleman

    Yet more

    "Good guys: A $Bn fighter aircraft capable of evading any other $Bn fighter aircraft

    Bad guys: A road side bomb that kills the pilot"

    Exactly. You simply CANNOT compare the F-22 and the Typhoon at all. The F-22 is a 5th gen air superiority fighter, designed exclusively to combat enemy planes. It's best effort is a set of JDAM-equipped Mk83 (1000lb) bombs internally, which reduces how much anti-air power it can carry.

    If you want to compare a US-made fighter to the Typhoon, compare the F-35. It IS a multi-role fighter, capable of carrying more firepower (internally AND externally) and capable of taking on many different targets. Hell, it can carry Mavericks and JSOWs, something that the F-22 can't. It has superior stealth and flight tech.

    If you want a better aircraft to compare to the Typhoon in terms of tech and cost, look at the F/A-18 Hornet (or better yet, Superhornet).

  25. Beachrider

    F22 and F35 versus Typhoon...

    Interesting potential scenario. The French use to do the same with Mirage against anything-American. F-35 is a lower-cost, potentially export-able platform to compare to Typhoon. The F22 is just a bigger plane with radically more long-range capability.

    F22 would never be used in Europe. It might survive a few more fights with MiGs & EFs, but nowhere near enough to justify its costs. It is more geared to long-range power projection in hard-to-get-to locations. F18 and F35 are more geared to the European theater.

    I understand the A10 and Air Calvary aficionados. It is realistic to expect that ground-oriented technology actually settles war scenarios. The issue is that we end up looking for a very small number of very high-value targets (OBL, etc.). Fast power projection and (now) robotic AG platforms suit those special-needs better.

  26. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Nice clear IR picture

    It'd sort of expected something a less distinct, sort of blurry. Note that while these pictures were taken at close range *relative* to its likely operating height ( 40Kft?) it's should be well *below* supersonic so skin friction (IIRC one of the reasons neither the F117 or B2 are supersonic) should not be heating the whole airframe.

    Note the Warsal Pact seemed to have a greater fondness for IR sensors than NATO. Given what it costs I hope it does have an IR suppression system. Pilots flying into an enemy equipped with IR might find themselves with a *very* nasty surprise, just before they eject.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I miss the Concorde :(

    Certainly the best looking airliner in history :)

    Its a pity that it was so loud (it wasn't the sonic boom that got it banned from crossing U.S. airspace, but the landing noise that prevented it from landing at all but select U.S. airports).

    And its a tragedy that because the Concorde was supersonic, its low speed flight performance wasn't great. It had to take off and land at higher speeds than subsonic airliners. That indirectly lead to the Paris crash when a piece of metal on the runway shredded the more rapidly spinning tires (product of a faster takeoff) and the tire shrapnel thrown off by the centrifugal force from that spinning punctured the fuel tanks and started the fatal fire. There was a similar incident with the Concorde at Dulles International Airport outside Washington D.C. in the late 70s that did not result in a fire or a crash, but did cause significant tire shrapnel damage the Concorde in question. The investigation of that incident lead to a letter from the head of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to his French counterpart calling the accident "near catastrophic". Unfortunately nobody really listened to that :(

    Alas for the Concorde...... :(

    By the way--F-22s are great, but thats a heck of a lot of money to pay for a fighter.....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A high point for me

      used to be riding past the end of the runway at Heathrow on the M25 when a Concorde either landed or took off. Especially after dark what with the reheat. The noise didn't bother me at all and it was so low it felt like you could reach up and touch it. I certainly miss that!

  28. Jemma

    ...this might be just me...

    But when i see the words heatsink and aviation fuel in the same sentence I have what is generally referred to as a bad feeling - and I dont mean about a battlemoon...

    Americans have a long history of building kit that didnt quite work as it should - a good example being the power recovery turbines on the engines used for the superfortresses (the nickname 'parts recovery turbines' should give you some sort of clue to *that* situation)...

    So I'm thinking - did someone think about what happens when you have a fighter with semi full tanks (a nice side order of ullage - look it up..) and some bright spark, pun not intended, presses the button to dump an order of "waste heat to go" into what is basically fuel fumes in a pressurized container...?

    1st Yokel: Did you hear about what happened at Buncefield?...

    2nd Yokel: Wheres Buncefield...?

    1st Yokel: Precisely....

    And yes it might look pretty - but does it actually have a purpose other than that and to cost millions at a time when the global economy is so far down the toilet its got its own channel on Freeview?

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge


      "But when i see the words heatsink and aviation fuel in the same sentence I have what is generally referred to as a bad feeling - and I dont mean about a battlemoon..."

      Rightly so. It's not typically used by civilian aircraft *ever*. Possibly the most unusual use for it was cooling the grossly under powered minicomputers on board Nimrod AEW attempt by the UK to build an independent AWACS aircraft.

      Nowadays military combat planes use purged fuel systems which inject inert gas (usually nitrogen) into the ullage space above the fuel as it's used. This counters the effects of weapons fire detonating the fuel/air vapour as an explosive. Typically the heat exchanger is on the outlet, so think of it more as a fuel preheater (handy given some recent crashes have been attributed to ice formation in the fuel lines to the engines)

      Large civilian aircraft are *starting* to do this as it has now been realized at least some explosions have been the result of part filled tanks (non uncommon in commercial aviation) being "boiled dry" by long running air conditioning located below the tank. While most passenger aircraft don't have to deal with random gunfire up until recently they did have a *lot* of Kapton insulated wiring fitted as standard. Kapton *explodes* when there are short circuits around, rather than smouldering or self extinguishing.

      There are a *lot* of passenger aircraft flying with Kapton insulated wiring routed through fuel tanks. The purge retro fit is quite attractive to operators of such aircraft.

      Deliberately vaporizing propellant to fill the ullage space is a fairly common practice in launch vehicle design. I guess the idea is to force any explosive mixture *out* of the tank. A small fire *looks* bad but is harmless, while a confined fire can turn into an explosion.

    2. SkippyBing

      Flash points

      Going by the previous example of Concorde heating its fuel to 80C I can't see it being a problem as this is well below the flash point of jet fuel, actually the fuel used in the SR-71 could be used to put out BBQs.

      Additionally to avoid the fuel vapour problem fast jets tend to have an inert gas suppression system that takes up the space the fuel vapour would otherwise occupy, this means it's less likely to blow up when it takes a shell to the fuel tank. Admittedly the RAF's Tornados only got this about a month before Gulf War 1 as it'd been a cost saving...

  29. Narg

    We're sunk...

    Humans are pre-programmed for fighting each other. Some are lucky and get over it, but not many. Sad for them and us.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    anyone expecting to see the Raptor display anymore

    "at Farnborough, or on the public days, is in for a really stealthy performance, since they left on Tuesday"

    You mean they had advance warning of the adverse weather forecast, and didn't want to get their not-so-shiny black elephant wet.

  31. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Does stealth coating work in the damp now?

    Only that seemed to be a problem with earlier generations.

    This may have been why the Serbes shot down an F117.

    Crew thought they were invisible.

    They weren't.

    Total surprise achieved. But not by the crew.

    Still I guess if you skimp on the development budget what can you expect for *only* a few hundred million $.

    1. Desk Jockey

      F117 in Serbia

      Actually the Serbs didn't see the F117, they heard it. More to the point, the USAF made the silly mistake of using the same ingression route more than once. When the next F117 came along, the Serbs put up a blind wall of flack in the right direction and hoped for the best...

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        @Desk Jockey

        Thanks. I knew about trouble with the stealth coating in less than desert conditions (IE just about every part of Northern and Eastern Europe) and put 2 and 2 together to make 22.

        "the USAF made the silly mistake of using the same ingression route more than once."

        I wonder if that sounds as *amazingly* dumb to professional aviators as it does to a layman like me.

        I guess I thought part of the thing with stealth is you could (more or less) fly *any* path you wanted. The enemy would *never* be able to predict incoming or outgoing directions over a target except in the *most* general terms.

    2. David Eddleman

      It does

      The F-22 has the old-gen issues with the stealth system, but the F-35s newer stealth system uses a new system that's more effective, doesn't degrade under poor conditions and doesn't require nearly as much work to maintain on the ground.

  32. annodomini2

    Another Concorde fact

    It was the first fly-by-wire commercial aircraft

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Thumb Up


      "It was the first fly-by-wire commercial aircraft"

      Forgot about that.

      In this it was actually *ahead* of the SR71. Again the Blackbird's designers were pragmatic. *Only* the bits that *really* needed to be cutting edge were so. It's controls are mechanical and hydraulic and some pneumatics (which were felt to be more temperature resistant than even the fuel, which was also the hydraulic fluid). A lot of the cockpit instruments were absolutely standard (although the stuff on the recon systems operators cockpit was a different story).

  33. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge


      "The point that the UK is the world's 2nd largest defence exporter, and that the Eurofighter, unlike the Raptor, is exportable."

      *Could* be exported. The question is will it (or has it?) achieved sales *outside* the original developing countries.

      If not it's simply a case of spinning the money around.

      1. Willy Messerschmitt


        Austria, Saudi-Arabia, Greece all bought the EFA. This makes the Eurofighter the biggest commercial success in fighter sales for the last few years. Much like these other Wicked Euro Projects like the Airbus (now 50% marketshare in everything as large or bigger than an A319), Ariane V, EuroLeopard; Type 212 submarine, Panzerhaubitze 2000, Mirage, IRIS-T, CERN.

        Instead of always thinking "NAPOLEON !" when hearing the term "euro", you Brits should start to look into the future an Smell The Chinese Coffee.

        Or maybe choose to be bossed around by the CHICOMs.

        1. Alf the Unlucky

          Export correction

          "Austria, Saudi-Arabia, Greece all bought the EFA. "

          Erm, I think you'll find Greece cancelled its Typhoon order.

          It seems likely that Oman will order Typhoon soon although whether these will be new-build aircraft or ex-RAF Tranche 1 machines is not clear.

  34. Steven Davison
    Thumb Down

    No F-22... Sad Face

    I can confirm that the F-22 is not scheduled to make a display for the public days @ Farnborough this year...

    Source : -

    However we may get to see a pair as they escort the B-52 on it's flyby which is due (providing they don't overfly Blackbushe instead)

    1. David Gosnell

      Wasn't on today either

      The F-22 wasn't on show today either, and the visiting B-52 was strictly solo in its usual disdainful "oh do I have to?" fly-past.

      Farnborough really has got pretty lame and repetitive in recent years, sad to say.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Radar signature of a steel ball

    flying at 35000 feet and mach 2 - not take many GCSEs to work out its a stealth fighter and not just a steel ball.....

    Lewis page hates anything not from the USA and he really has a problem with us buying Eurofighters rather than the F22 despite the obvious point that the USA wouldn't sell us the F22 anyway.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge


      "flying at 35000 feet and mach 2 - not take many GCSEs to work out its a stealth fighter and not just a steel ball....."

      Well spotted. The steel ball simile is used to denote the *size* of object the radar system would have to *detect*.

      When you drop the effective area of the target from 10s of square metres (earlier generation aircraft) to square centimetres (that's the point. The *radar* image is a *lot* smaller than the actual object) you have to up the power you transmit by about the same factor (10000) to get the same return. That is a *very* substantial increase. It's likely modern radars will up th epoer and increase the sensitivity of their receivers (but these already cope with signal strength ranges of 100 000:1) Depending on what generation radar you're dealing with

      In short older the radar return is so weak it *might* drop below the noise floor and be ignored *entirely*.

      Still shows up pretty well on IR however.

  36. justanotheruser

    they're both too costly in my opinion


    Now it may be down to my ignorance of the matter but won't profits from exports of the Eurofighter go to the likes of BAE (or whoever is actually making the bloody thing) and not the UK government? So we'd see a bit of it from taxes but it won't be seeing a fantastic return on all the money lost on that project.

    I also look at the A10 and wonder why the hell so much money has been dumped into the likes of the Eurofighter or the Rapter. Who cares which one is better under what conditions, the question should be do we need either of them at all?

  37. Jemma

    @ Lee

    The US are probably more than happy to sell us the export (read *crippleware*) version - but if we buy it there is no point keeping our own 'industry' going since all it is going to be is three blokes who probably bear a resemblance to Fred Dibnah. One will be sitting at a steam powered computer (ex - schools IT) ordering the bits from the US on Netscape; The other will be fitting them (with a stilson wrench and 2lb lump hammer) and the third will be the lad who makes the tea (which tastes & looks like its been boiled orange in a builders boot).

    It doesnt matter either way since both planes are a waste of space - for most of what the RAF does these days you might as well either get some of the old Tornados out of storage (not that they didnt have their own problems) - or contract someone to build you either a few IL-2 Sturmoviks, some reconditioned SLUFs (Short Little Ugly F*****) from America (better known as the Corsair II) - or as someone else has mentioned a few A10's.

    These days its ground attack/support and thats about it - even if the worst comes to the worst and the Chinese kick off - it wont really matter what we/the US/europe have because they'll clobber us with weight of numbers anyway like they have done every other time - so you might as well save the money and spend it on schools and the rest of the things that are actually worthwhile

  38. Anonymous Coward

    Few points here

    Ok if you want to show a truly great british aircraft design then a mosquito would have been a better choice than a spitfire. Truly multirole and stealthy before anyone ever even though of it.

    Designs that work well and are popular and effective tend to be those which are easy to maintain, versatile and easy to use. The problem for the typhoon is that as a design it's some 20 years old, out of date before it even got produced. Which says a lot more about BAE and the euro consortium than it does about Typhoon. It should be compared to designs like f-16, f-18, f-15, mig-29.

    As usual you buy what you need. The RAF toting around over afghanistan in F-22s would be as much use as a chocolate teapot.

  39. asdf

    Brit jealously

    Must suck being outclassed in virtually every military aspect by an ex-colony. Still as has been pointed out both are going to be largely worthless. Both were meant as very expensive pork projects that created far fewer jobs than they should have for the cost. Still sad in western culture there is a lot more money to made killing people instead of helping them.

    1. SkippyBing

      Reminds me of the time

      a US task group signaled to a Royal Navy battleship

      'What's it feel like being the second biggest navy in the world?'

      To which the RN replied

      'What's it feel like being the second best?'

  40. Dick Pountain

    Always look on the bright side...

    So, to summarize, they're both obsolete, neither has a function (except perhaps to fight each other) and we can't afford either. But on the bright side, what we have learned about working titanium will enable us to make the BEST swords, spears and shields in history...

    1. Glyph

      Not hardly

      Titanium isn't hard enough in any alloy. It would make a terrible sword. Its a bit too brittle as well. And I've been told that the plastic feel to most titanium you get your hands on is actually a polymer coating to prevent your hand's oils from working its way into microfractures and weakening the material. I had a watch band that didn't have this coating and it came apart on me one day when it snagged on my shirt as I took it off. The titanium links now bend like lead.

  41. gimbal

    I can fix!

    Just lease out those birds as commuter craft for the Fortune 500 in the respective NATO nations, and there's some more income, right there - too easy....

  42. Anonymous Coward

    enough of the F-22 already

    I wanna see the TR3B on show!

  43. Big-nosed Pengie


    without the volume off, thanks to the idiotic technocrap those morons decided to assail our ears with.

  44. fnj

    Flash points

    SkippyBing: "Going by the previous example of Concorde heating its fuel to 80C I can't see it being a problem as this is well below the flash point of jet fuel"

    Where'd you pull that one from? Jet-A, Jet-A1, and JP-8 have a flash point of 38 C, JP-4 (the old kerosene-gasoline blend) is -18 C, and JP-5 is 60 C. Diesel is about the same as JP-5. Flash point is the point above which a flammable vapor is evolved. Every car on the road is driving around above the flash point (gasoline flash point is -40 C). I.e., the gasoline tank in every car is always filled with flammable vapor. By design, the design is that this vapor is so rich that it is above the upper mixture limit, so a spark won't ignite it within the tank, but if it escapes the tank into the atmosphere in an accident, the mixture is no longer safe and it can be easily ignited.

    Autoignition temperature is something else. It is above 200 C for all of the above mentioned substances. That is why it won't just automatically burst into flame at 80 C.

  45. PirateSlayer

    Is it a Stealth, is it an's a Catalina!

    Farnborough did a number on me this year.

    Not only were all displays distinctly lacklustre, the A380 which I had come to see took off early (before The Blades) and I missed it, then the F22s FAILED to make any kind of appearance (except on the Monday apparently for all of those budding dictators). So I was stuck with the thing that runs off farts, loads of WWII filler (without my favourite Mustang I might add), and to add insult to injury the Catalina!

    At least the Vulcan flew. Always sublime.


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