Why the US military needs a new transport plane
- by admin
As the US Navy continues to develop its new transport planes, one of the major challenges for the Navy is how to keep it moving fast enough to avoid hitting the runway, which is why it’s developing a new fleet of high-tech aircraft.
It will be able to transport the US Naval Air Station in Dahlgren, North Dakota, from the shipyard to the runway in less than two hours.
The Navy’s Air Warfare Command says that the new plane, the JT-8A, will be a “significant leap forward” for the service.
The JT8A is “the next generation of the JTI, a new, highly capable transport aircraft,” says Capt. Steve Stemple, a commander of the air combat command.
“The JT is the first high-end high-speed transport plane to be built on a Navy shipyard.”
The JTI is the newest of the three JT models, a high-performance version of the Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules.
The other two are the Sea Combat Aircraft (SCA) and the Lockheed-Martin C-17 Globemaster III.
The C-5 is the oldest, with its predecessor the C-52H.
The Sea Combat Air Command has the C/S-2A and C/D-2E helicopters, and the U.S. Army’s 5th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.
The Joint Strike Fighter is the new Air Combat Command’s fifth-generation jet fighter.
The military wants to replace its current F-35A stealth fighter with a new model that has better weapons, can take off and land vertically, and will fly at a higher altitude.
The new aircraft has to fly a shorter range than its predecessors.
The Pentagon is also working on a fifth-gen fighter that will fly much farther and will be cheaper to make than the F-22.
The first two JT planes have already been delivered, and they’re now being upgraded to meet Air Force and Marine Corps requirements.
But while the F/A-18E/F Raptor is now a top-of-the-line aircraft that can carry nearly 10,000 pounds of bombs, the new planes will need to be much lighter to operate safely in hostile airspace.
That means more than doubling the size of the F135 engines the Navy needs to operate the aircraft, which will make the new aircraft lighter, too.
The USAF says the Jt8A will be “the world’s first all-terrain and high-altitude transport aircraft” and that it’s designed for low-altitudes and high speeds, which makes it a potential target for a terrorist attack.
“Its capability to carry heavy ordnance is unmatched by any other aircraft in its class,” says Mark Buehler, the head of the Defense Acquisition Office, the Pentagon’s procurement arm.
“It will allow us to deploy forces in the field in a more agile, maneuverable, and survivable manner than other nations.”
The Navy plans to start shipping the JTs this year.
The US Air Force, meanwhile, plans to begin delivery of the Air Combat Aviation Command’s F-18A and F-15E fighters in the second half of 2020.
The F-19 Lightning II will also be coming out of the gate in 2021.
The Air Force says that in addition to being “a high-performing and versatile aircraft,” the J-8 will have other advantages.
“When it comes to the Joint Strike Fighters, JT stands for ‘Joint Target Acquisition System,'” says John Bivens, a Pentagon spokesman.
“A target acquisition system, in the Air Force’s parlance, is the entire aircraft platform combined.”
That means the F1-A, F1, F2, and F2A aircraft will all be flying in the same system.
“In the case of the Joint TAC system, the aircraft is actually part of a whole system,” says Bivins.
“They have all these systems in place.”
Buehl says the Air-Sea Battle program is “a big deal,” because the Navy’s F/1-S, F/2-B, and A-7 aircraft will have the same capabilities, too, although it’s not clear how many of those will be delivered before 2020.
“I think it’s the largest development program in the Navy for the next 30 years,” Buehner says.
“And I think we’re going to see the Navy go beyond the F12F, F12A, and maybe even F14 and F15.”
As the US Navy continues to develop its new transport planes, one of the major challenges for the Navy is…
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