Yesterday we had a look at the “blended wing body” Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bomber. This morning, here’s a Russian Mikoyan MiG-31 interceptor training with an Ilyushin Il-38 anti-submarine aircraft. They’re flying over the Kamchatka Peninsula, which has some spectacular scenery.
Sadly for Russia, her Air Force is reliant on far too many old designs. The Il-38 first flew in the 1960’s, and the MiG-31 in the 1970’s. Their systems have been modernized since then, but their basic design is well and truly outdated. Russia currently can’t afford to replace them, either. (That’s no grounds to sneer, of course: the USAF has the same problem. In 2015, the average age of the USAF aircraft fleet was 26 years. Things haven’t improved much since then, if at all, AFAIK.)
And the Navy/Marines aren't in much better shape… sigh FYI, more than one carrier/F-14 mistook the IL-38 for a P-3… Led to some 'interesting' comments over the radio! LOL
just because a system is older and not brand new doesn't mean it cannot be effective in many scenarios in today's world. hell, back in the 1970s I was on aircraft as old as I am doing the job it was designed to do as well as anything else out there.
ask people in manufacturing if the machines they operate for a living work well enough to make a profit even if they are fifty to one hundred years old. some of those old paper making machines out there are very old and still are used in industry and are profitable. often, new doesn't mean better.
I'm thinking about this Peter.
The Russians and the Americans must rely on "old" machines (the F-35 and the latest SU machines are not fit for war no matter how each side promotes them). The China based war aircraft have no reliable engines (returning for refabrication after 15 hours of use is not a good thing in war).
Come to no conclusion yet
Note that the USAF current long term plan involves taking the B-1 and B-2 out of service, and replacing them with the B-21 (yet to be flying, but getting closer).
And keep the B-52H (re-engined, since the TF33s haven't been made in decades) flying until 2050+.
@John Ray: The Chinese had serious problems with their engines (all copies or developments of Russian design), so they decided to fix it by throwing copious amounts of money at the problem. $5-$10 billion later, they seem to have done it: their latest engines last a lot longer, and give much less trouble, according to report. That money was invested in factories and equipment that produced components to a much higher quality level, and new technology like single-crystal turbine blades. Investment like that does pay off.