Google's Very Own Fighter Jet Taking To The California Skies

Illustration for article titled Google's Very Own Fighter Jet Taking To The California Skies

The Mountain View Voice has sleuthed something interesting in Google Land (which the Times's Bits blog also picked up on)-H211 LLC, the company controlled by the G's execs that operates Larry, Sergey and the rest of the Googlers' private jets, has recently acquired a fighter jet. A Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet, to be exact-a light attack and trainer jet used by air forces around the world. So, aside from performing high-speed low-altitude fly-bys of Jerry Yang's crib, what else does Google have planned for a military aircraft? Science, of course! H211 LLC uses many of its jets for NASA-sponsored experiments, since they operate primarily out of Moffett field, a NASA-controlled airstrip that's conveniently located right next to Google's Mountain View HQ. The jet was acquired to carry scientific instruments that could not be rigged up to Boeing 757/767 and Gulfstream jets the company already operates, some of which were used to monitor the re-entry of the ESA's Jules Verne satellite. So other tech companies probably don't need to worry about an escalating proliferation of military hardware in preparation for a Silicon Vallery air superiority battle just yet. Détente! [">Mountain View Voice, NYTimes]

DISCUSSION

You can buy them used. It's not too hard, you just have to have the money. Something like this one would probably only run you about $5 million. If you can afford that and the ungodly amount of maintenance it takes to keep a fighter jet running, it's completely legal as long as the pilot has the ratings and you obey FAA rules. If you want to arm the sucker, that's a whole different thing. When they sell these privately, they remove all the weapons systems (electronics, and mounting hardware). To get it firing again would take a lot of black market and less-than-legal work done. But with enough money, and the right knowledge of military surplus sales, you could do it.

As a Navy Logostics Officer, my Father worked with Navy JAG a couple decades back on a case where some wealthy rancher out in Montana assembled from surplus parts a full functional Marine Cobra Attack Helicopter, complete with guns and rockets. he used it in his spare time to hunt wolves on his massive piece of property to protect his cattle herds. Needless to say, the government politely asked him to stop...