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Euros Dominate Fast Jet Displays At Paris

As sister site DoDBuzz just pointed out the European fighter jet-makers are out in force today. In fact, the only fast jets I’ve seen make aerial demonstrations on this rainy day have been the Rafale about an hour ago, what appeared to be an AleniaAermacchi M346 advanced jet trainer and a Eurofigther Typhoon a half hour ago.

Wait a second, a USAF F-16 out of Spangdahlem Air Base is taking off as I write this. Bout time.

The only American planes I saw in the air before this were the gorgeous Breitling-sponsored Lockheed Super Constellation (pics from today’s flight here) and a U.S. Air Force C-130J Hercules.  Read up on the history of the Super Connies in U.S. service. They did everything from troop transport duities to serve as early AWACS planes in the EC-121 variant.

And, sigh, no sign of the F-35 making a surprise appearance. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.

This fits with what a Boeing PR-guy told me last week when I was asking about the Chicago-based company’s presence at the show. He basically said big B was going to make a minimal appearance compared to previous years; heck, there wasn’t even a Super Hornet flying display today.

Stick around, we’ve got some cool videos for you later today.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

anon June 20, 2011 at 11:40 am

I'm guessing American aerospace companies don't see the need to "sell" their wares: their clients tend to be captive and most everyone seems to flock to American weapons anyways. Many of the nations that would send people to Paris are already waiting for their F-35s and need no persuasion to either buy in or bail out. And now that the entire fighter jet industry seems to be riding on just F-35 or legacy products…

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Prodozul June 20, 2011 at 12:56 pm

A380 lost a wingtip

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brian June 20, 2011 at 1:55 pm

If you get past the dazzle of fast jets, after the action in Libya, the Jets the Euros need most in the C130J since its become apparent all of europe combined cannot project power even a small distance over the Mediterranean on small backwards poorly armed 3rd world dictatorship. They need logistics more than they need fast planes, and the C130J can fill a huge void in that area as well as giving them a cheap gunship for CAS with the conversion kit the marines built.

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blight June 20, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Or even European airlift assets. The hub-bub about "plugging into" American operations has given NATO members an excuse to gut their airlift. A peacekeeping military can depend on the US or Japan or somesuch to supply the airlift while they supply the troops.

Of course, airlift might not mean much in Libya; at least as long as NATO stays off the ground. Most of those strikes are launched from the sea or from land bases, which theoretically have convenient logistics. Their problem is low munitions stockpiles and high expenditure; problems the United States has encountered in GW1 and GW2 (and thus should not be new news to NATO members).

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brian June 20, 2011 at 2:44 pm

thats what I love about the C130J, with the conversion kit, it enhances both logistics and ground operations with a modular snap systems. That C130 can go get ammo from wherever, fly down to Italy, snap on the Gunship module then pound Libya for a long time, come back and repeat.

Not bad.

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blight June 20, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Are we talking Harvest Hawk? I didn't see it doing much in the "pound Libya for a long time" department…and a bunch of commenters hashed it out in the previous Harvest Hawk-related posting.

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Jay June 20, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Fast shiny planes are nice but the Euros seem to have a hard time actually using their planes.

Europe cannot even bomb a nutty 3rd world dictator into submission with their best planes - even when we provide the ordnance, refuel, and intel.

They would not last a week in a real war.

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anon June 20, 2011 at 5:46 pm

oh yeah like how Iraq…oh wait

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William C. June 20, 2011 at 6:01 pm

The same Iraq the United States did the majority of the fighting against?

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Chimp June 21, 2011 at 3:33 am

"Fast shiny planes are nice but the Euros seem to have a hard time actually using their planes."

That they do. It's a pure peacetime military. Its function is to keep boys busy for 12 months in their teens and keep the cash moving. It long ago stopped being about fighting a war.
The UK gets exposed on this every ten years or so. Most of the others don't, because they don't really understand the words "fight" or "war". They have the gear, sort of, in an unbalanced kind of way, but they have no force projection capability and they sure as heck don't have the right mentality for it.
You don't need the latest, greatest gear to fight a war. You need a balanced force that is trained and mentally prepared for it.

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