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Navy pushes shipboard unmanned systems, lethality upgrades
Shipboard electronics use to be about power, navigation, and communications aboard surface warships; now it’s about unmanned systems, futuristic weapons, and ocean networking.

Mar 1st, 2019
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Shipboard electronics use to be about power, navigation, and communications aboard surface warships; now it’s about unmanned systems, futuristic weapons, and ocean networking.By Edward J. Walsh

The U.S. Navy in 2019 is facing growing threats in the Western Pacific, Southwest Asia, and the Eastern Mediterranean — even as the Trump administration seeks to reduce U.S. military commitments overseas. To confront increasingly aggressive naval activity by China and Russia, the Navy, with strong congressional support, is pushing to increase the size of its surface fleet to 355 ships. In early 2019 the fleet had about 290 deployable surface warships.

Last October former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd declared that “China intends to push the U.S. out of East Asia and the Western Pacific, and intime to surpass the U.S. as the dominant global economic power.”

Speaking then at the New China Challenge conference hosted by the U.S. Naval Institute in Annapolis, Md., Rudd said that “China hopes to achieve its national and international dominance through the hollowing-out of U.S. domestic manufacturing and technology by means of state-directed industry ... through the rapid expansion of China’s military and naval presence from the East China Sea ... and across the littoral states of the Indian Ocean and Djibouti in the Red Sea.”

He added that “these factors, along with Russia, combine to form the central strategic challenge to U.S. security and prosperity for the future.”

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, in his White Paper “A Design for Maintaining Maritime Dominance 2.0,” released in December, points out that “China and Russia are deploying all elements of their national power to achieve their global ambitions. ... In many cases, they are gaining a competitive advantage and exploiting our vulnerabilities ... China and Russia seek to accumulate power at America’s expense.”
In January Richardson met with his Chinese navy counterpart Vice Adm. Shen Jinlong in Beijing to discuss ways of reducing tensions at sea — particularly China’s claim to the entire South China Sea.

The friendly relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan remains a sore point for China. The Pentagon has accused China of staging offensive weapons, including anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles, in and around the Spratly Islands, which China also claims. In 2018, citing tensions, the U.S. excluded the Chinese navy from participating in the biannual RIMPAC exercise. China did take part in 2014 and 2016.

The Navy announced the new 355-ship goal in December 2016 — a goal which the congressional fiscal year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act endorsed “as soon as practicable,” subject to available funding.

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The Navy plans three Arleigh Burke class destroyers in its current budget, to be built to the new Flight III design.

Push for shipbuilding
The Navy’s 2019 budget would pay for 10 new ships: two Virginia-class attack submarines; three Arleigh Burke-class Aegis destroyers; one littoral combat ship (LCS); two oilers; one expeditionary sea base ship; and one salvage and rescue ship.

The current five-year shipbuilding plan seeks to build 54 new ships — 11 more than the 43 sought for fiscal year budgets 2019 to 2024 in the 2018 budget submission. These are four Burke-class destroyers, three oilers, two expeditionary sea base ships, one salvage-rescue ship, and one ocean surveillance ship.

The Navy has moved forward smartly on shipbuilding. In late September last year, it awarded a $5.1 billion contract to Huntington Ingalls Industries in Newport News, Va., for six Burke destroyers and a $3.9 billion contract to General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, for four more destroyers. These ships will be built to a Flight III design — a bow-to-stern package of new weapons and sensors, machinery controls, and hull, mechanical, and electrical upgrades.

These awards follow the long-anticipated Navy announcement that the first Flight III ships will be Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125) and Louis H. Wilson Jr. (DDG-126), to be built by Huntington Ingalls and Bath Iron Works respectively. Huntington won the Lucas contract in June 2017 and Bath Iron Works received the Wilson award in September of that year. Sixty-six Burkes of the earlier Flights I, II, and IIA designs now are in service. Patrick Gallagher (DDG-127), under construction at Bath Iron Works, will be a Flight IIA ship.

Last July the Navy awarded contract modifications — all in the $7 million to $8 million range — already awarded to Huntington Ingalls, Austal USA in Mobile, Ala., and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works; as well as the Lockheed Martin-Marinette Marine Corp. team in Marinette, Wis. — for concept designs for a new guided-missile frigate or FFG(X).

The Navy says the FFG(X) design work, to be completed this June, will guide final specifications to be used in the request for proposals for detail design and construction for the FFG(X). The Navy plans a construction award in 2020.

The FFG(X) program was initiated to counter widespread criticism that the Navy’s littoral combat ships are too lightly armed and vulnerable to enemy missiles. The littoral combat ships were conceived as light, high-speed ships that will use specialized mission packages to conduct anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, and mine countermeasures.

Littoral combat ships
Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine are teamed on the Freedom-class (LCS-1) variant of the LCS (odd hull numbers); Austal USA and Bath Iron Works build the Independence variant (LCS-2, even hull numbers). Thirteen littoral combat ships of both variants now are in service — six Freedom ships and seven Independence ships. Austal is building six littoral combat ships, with three more under contract. Seven Freedom-type ships are under construction at Fincantieri Marinette Marine.

The FFG(X) will be a well-armed, well-defended ship. In its request for information from industry in July 2017, the Navy cited many of the systems required, including the Component-Based Total-Ship System – 21st Century (COMBATSS-21) combat management system; SeaRAM anti-ship missile defense system; Mk 53 Nulka decoy launch system; SQS-62 variable-depth sonar; and Mk 110 57-millimeter gun.

Several new ships went to sea, started construction, and were placed on contract in the past year. The Navy commissioned Ralph Johnson (DDG-114) in Charleston, S.C., last March. Thomas Hudner (DDG-116), the 66th Burke-class ship and the 36th built by Bath Iron Works, was commissioned in Boston in December. Frank E. Peterson Jr. (DDG-121) was christened in October at the Huntington Ingalls yard in Pascagoula, Miss.

Also in December, Bath Iron Works launched Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002), the third and last-of-class Zumwalt-class (DDG-1000) destroyer. The Zumwalt class ships are notable for their “tumblehome” hull and integrated electric drive propulsion. The Zumwalts are heavily armed for land- and surface-attack. Zumwalt and Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001) already are in the fleet.

In May the Navy commissioned Manchester (LCS-14), the 12th LCS to join the fleet and seventh Independence ship. Manchester will homeport in San Diego with LCS Squadron 1. Sioux City (LCS-11) was commissioned in May as the sixth Freedom ship and 13th LCS in the fleet. The ship joins LCS Squadron 2, homeporting in Mayport, Fla. The Navy accepted delivery of Tulsa (LCS-16) in April; delivery is the last step before commissioning.

Indianapolis (LCS-17) was christened in April in Marinette, Wis. Cincinnati (LCS-20) was christened in May, and Kansas City (LCS-22) was christened in September — both in Mobile, Ala.

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The SPY-6 Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) will replace the SPY-1 aboard Flight III Burke-class destroyers for ballistic missile defense and integrated air-missile defense missions.

Unmanned Systems
The Navy is pursuing technologies that enable remotely operated tactical systems to increase lethality and reduce costs. Many unmanned airborne, surface, and undersea vehicles (UAVs, USVs, UUVs) already are in service, and the Navy and industry are testing even more capable systems.

In a huge step forward for unmanned systems, the Naval Air Systems Command last August awarded Boeing an $805 million engineering and manufacturing contract for design, development, production, testing, and delivery of four MQ-25A Stingray unmanned refueling aircraft. The award aims at operational capability by 2024. Boeing’s candidate, called the T-1, was developed by the company’s Phantom Works.

The Navy says the UAV refueler will dramatically extend the range of Navy fighter and attack aircraft. The MQ-25A must carry 14,000 pounds of fuel and refuel aircraft 500 miles from their carriers. Lockheed Martin and General Atomics also competed for the award.

Through late summer and early fall 2018, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center sponsored an Advanced Naval Technology Exercise, or ANTX, based on the theme, “Human-Machine Interaction (HMI).” More than 50 participants from industry, university, and Navy labs provided technology demonstrations. Many of the technologies focused on command and control for unmanned vehicles.

The LCS fleet is a primary target for new unmanned systems, especially for mine countermeasures (MCM). The Navy plans to acquire 24 MCM mission packages for the LCS, which will include several unmanned systems: an MCM USV, the WLD-1 remote minehunting vehicle, which will tow the Raytheon AQS-20 sonar; the MQ-8/B/C Fire Scout vertical takeoff UAV, which is equipped with a coastal battlefield reconnaissance and analysis payload (COBRA); and the Knifefish low-frequency sonar, an unmanned influence sweep system.

At ANTX, Northrop Grumman, builder of the Fire Scout, showed an advanced mission management control system for integration of command and control for unmanned systems. The company used a Bell 407 helicopter as a Fire Scout “surrogate” fitted out with sonobuoys.

The helicopter-look-alike Fire Scout “Charlie” is just over 41 feet long and 10 feet high, weighs 6,000 pounds with a full fuel load, and is able to carry a 500-pound internal payload or a 2,650-pound external (slinged) load.

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Boeing won the Navy’s hotly contested competition for the MQ-25a long-range carrier-based refueler UAV with its T-1 aircraft.

Unmanned helicopters
The helicopter-look-alike Fire Scout “Charlie” is able to carry a 500-pound internal payload or a 2,650-pound external (slinged) load. The vehicle is powered by a Rolls-Royce engine, allowing a maximum speed of 135 knots and endurance up to 12 hours. It can reach a ceiling of 16,000 feet.

In September Northrop Grumman started flight testing the MQ-8C at the company’s Moss Point, Miss., facility. The aircraft already has completed initial test and operational evaluation aboard Coronado (LCS-4).

ANTX demonstrated “swarming” technology, in several vehicles fitted with processors to operate in swarms. Aquabotix of Fall River, Mass., demonstrated Swarmdiver, a lightweight USV fitted with sensors and a processor that enables swarm operations at depths up to 150 feet.

In late July Raytheon won a $29.6 million research award from the Office of Naval Research for the low-cost UAV Swarming Technology (LOCUST) innovative Naval prototype. The LOCUST represents research on small UAVs that swarm to approach targets.

Northrop Grumman teamed for the ANTX with Physical Optics Corp., which builds mission data loaders and data transfer systems; Ultra Electronics, a designer and builder of sonobuoys; Hydroid Inc., a unit of Sweden’s Kongsberg, which manufactures marine robots; and Silvus, which develops mobile communications systems.

Kraken Robotic Systems of St. John’s, Newfoundland, teamed with ThayerMahan of Groton, Conn., for several ANTX demonstrations. Kraken showed off its SeaScout Expeditionary Seabed Mapping and Intelligence System.

Kraken says the SeaScout is fitted with an “intelligent” winch called Tentacle that allows dynamic manual, semi-autonomous, or full autonomous control of payloads. Tentacle can operate by itself or with an autonomous launch and recovery system for manned or unmanned surface craft.

In September the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Indian Head division awarded a contract to iRobot Defense Holdings of Chelmsford, Mass., for production and support for the Man-Transportable Robotic System Mk1 program.

In June, Six3 Advanced Systems of Dulles, Va., won a $48.6 million NAVAIR award for installation and support for the AIRWORKS Rapid
Development Product Team supporting new “counter” UAVs for defense of sensitive government sites. The work is for modeling, simulation, and command and control integration. Also last year, Northrop Grumman won five NAVAIR contracts for low-rate initial production and support for the MQ-4C Triton reconnaissance UAV.
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Crewmen aboard the littoral combat ship USS Coronado prepare the MQ-8C Fire Scout UAV for launch in operational testing in June 2018.

Ballistic missile defense
The highest-profile upgrade for the Flight III Arleigh Burke destroyers is the Raytheon-built SPY-6(v)1 air and missile defense radar or AMDR, which will replace the SPY-1 radar built in several versions since the 1980s by Lockheed Martin and installed on the Ticonderoga-class (CG-47) cruisers and all the Burke destroyers now in service.

Other Flight III improvements are more powerful air-conditioning units needed for the SPY-6(v)1; new gas turbine generators, new transformers, power conversional modules, switchgear, and new machinery control system controls.

The SPY-6(v)1 will employ a four-face S-band radar for volume search. An X-band horizon-search capability will be provided by the Northrop Grumman SPQ-9B air-search radar for the first 12 Flight III ships. The SPY-6(v)1 will use a radar suite controller for S- and X-band radar coordination and interface with baseline 10 of the Aegis combat system, now being developed by Lockheed Martin.

Raytheon and Navy officials say that the SPY-6(v)1, will be capable of surveilling twice the range of the SPY-1 for the integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) and ballistic missile defense (BMD) missions.

In December the Navy and the Missile Defense Agency tested the “engage on remote” capability of the Aegis combat system, using Aegis software that will be employed from the Aegis Ashore sites in Poland and Romania against intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs).

For the test, designated FTI-03, conducted at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii, the Aegis system, running the baseline software program 9.B2.0, tracked an IRBM target launched from an aircraft thousands of miles away. Aegis cued the launch of an SM-3 Block 2A missile, which intercepted the target.

The FTI-03 demonstration followed an October test, called FTM-45, carried out from John Finn (DDG-113). The ship’s Aegis system, running baseline 9.C2, directed the remote launch of an SM-3 block 2A to intercept a medium-range ballistic missile target.

MDA and Navy officials say that the “engage on remote” sequence uses only data provided by remote sensors; the launching platform never views the target. Engage on remote is an advanced beyond “launch on remote,” wherein the launch site uses offboard data for the launch but relies on its own radar to lock onto the target during its terminal approach.

The Navy and MDA programs use versions of Aegis baseline 9, designated MDA baseline 5.1. The 9.B MDA program is used solely for Aegis Ashore. The Navy baseline 9.C provides BMD but also controls the ship’s anti-surface, anti-submarine, and anti-air warfare missions for full-up IAMD.

The Flight III destroyers will move to the SPY-6(v)1, but the Aegis Ashore sites will use the SPY-1D(v) Aegis phased-array radar. The Aegis Ashore Romania site became operational in May 2016, using Aegis baseline 9.B1. The Poland site is set to be operational this year and will use Aegis baseline 9.B2.

Under the current plan, 11 of the Navy’s 22 Ticonderoga-class cruisers will get some level of modernization. The entire Burke class will be configured for full-up BMD/IAMD capability.

Shipboard weapons
The Navy last year started other ambitious programs to uparm the fleet. In May, Raytheon, teamed with Kongsberg Defense of Norway, won a $14.8 million award for an over-the-horizon weapon (OTH-W) system for littoral combat ships and the FFG(X). The team will provide Kongsberg’s Naval Strike Missile (NSM) to meet the requirement.

Raytheon is prime contractor for the Navy’s SM-2 anti-air defense missile, SM-3 and SM-6 ballistic missile defense weapons, evolved Seasparrow, and Tomahawk long-range cruise missile, as well as the RIM-116 rolling airframe missile (RAM) and SeaRAM shipboard terminal defense systems.

The NSM is fitted with an advanced seeker, emits a minimal radar signature, and is capable of sea-skimming, terrain-following, and evasive maneuvers to meet the requirement of destroying targets out to 100 nautical miles.
Raytheon will build NSM launchers at its Louisville, Ky., facility and carry out integration and final assembly at its Tucson, Ariz., plant.

The Navy also has funded Raytheon to upgrade the Mk 15 Phalanx terminal defense close-in weapon system, Evolved Seasparrow Missile (ESSM), SM-2, SM-3, SM-6 missiles, and the Tomahawk cruise missile.

The Mk 15 is a 20-millimeter Gatling-gun for use against approaching anti-ship missiles. Raytheon will introduce an electric gun drive to replace the long-used pneumatic drive, and add new technology for the local and remote control stations.

The company is adding new control software for the RAM, creating an enhanced Block 2A variant. The RAM is aboard carriers and amphibious ships and the Freedom littoral combat ships.

The ESSM is a medium-range ship self-defense missile capable of interdicting high-speed, low-altitude missiles. Raytheon will transition the missile to a dual-mode active/semi-active seeker with an IOC of 2021.

The SM-2 area air-defense missile, now fielded in Block 3A and 3B variants, will be upgraded to a Block 3C with addition of the new active/semi-active seeker, to reach IOC this year or in 2020.

The Navy is in a multi-year procurement for the SM-6 missile, capable of anti-air warfare, surface-to-surface attack, and sea-based terminal BMD. SM-6 Block 1A introduces guidance section improvements and completed land-based testing in June 2017.

Upgraded Tomahawk missiles
The Navy is upgrading the current Tomahawk Block 4 in three variants. The first upgrade modernizes the entire Tomahawk inventory by adding a new navigation system and more powerful radio.

In August 2017 the Navy awarded Raytheon a contract to convert several missiles to maritime strike Tomahawks (MSTs) by fitting them with a multi-mode seeker that will enable it to target ships underway.

The MST is set to reach IOC in 2021. Remaining missiles will be modified as joint multi-effects Tomahawks (JMEWS) for attack on hardened targets and area targets. The JMEWS variant will reach IOC in 2022.

Lockheed Martin has invested in the integration of a long-range anti-ship missile (LRASM) with the Navy’s Mk 41 vertical launch system, which is installed on Ticonderoga-class cruisers and Burke-class destroyers. The company also has invested in a topside launcher to launch the LRASM from ships not fitted with the Mk 41.

In 2008 the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency funded the company to modify the joint air-to-surface standoff missile-extended range (JASSM-ER) in two variants: a surface-to-surface variant called LRASM A; and a supersonic variant, which ended in 2010.

The company added new sensors and made structural changes needed for launch from the Mk 41. The missile is scheduled to be operational for the Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft this year. In addition to the cruisers and destroyers, Raytheon sees a requirement for the LRASM for the FFG(X).

Raytheon won Navy contracts to support the USG-2/3 cooperative engagement capability (CEC), which it has built for many years. A November award for $33.8 million is for common array block antenna pre-production antenna. A $61.9 million award in September modifies an earlier award for CEC design agent and engineering services.

The CEC is integrated with the Aegis combat system aboard cruisers, destroyers, and carriers. It uses an advanced processor to distribute sensor data among a network of CEC-equipped ships, such that all ships see the same “netted” sensor threat picture.

In July, DRS Laurel Technologies in Johnstown, Pa., won a $9.6 million award for an option for production of CEC signal processor equipment (SDP-S) sets. Then in August $8.7 million NAVSEA contract for production of CEC equipment sets.

Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics Mission Systems, and Lockheed Martin all won work on the Navy’s long-running surface ship electronic warfare improvement program or SEWIP, an evolutionary transformation of the Navy’s obsolescent SLQ-32(v) EW system, in service aboard nearly all surface ships. In September Northrop received a $9 million modification for long-lead material for SEWIP Block 1 low-rate initial production.

That same month Lockheed Martin was awarded $14.7 million for SLQ-32(v)6 engineering services. In May General Dynamics won a $9.7 million contract for SEWIP Block 1B full-rate production, which includes risk reduction and special signals intercept.

Hull, mechanical, electrical
General Electric’s Marine Solutions business group plans to propose for the FFG(X) a variant of its workhorse LM2500 engine integrated with a carbon-fiber composite enclosure module. The new enclosure module has been tested extensively as a lightweight alternative to the steel enclosure now used for the engine.

The company, working with the Navy and Bath Iron Works, finished acoustic attenuation testing of the composite module, which will house the engine. The analysis projected that the new composite module would reduce engine noise by 60 percent and weight by about 5,500 pounds.

GE and the Navy’s Electric Ship Program Office have discussed potential ways to use GE technology to produce a “power-dense” 25-megawatt gas turbine generator, using advanced power electronics to meet pulse-load needs. GE’s Power Conversion business unit also is working with ONR on development of the hybrid energy storage module, which would be part of the IPES architecture.

In December, DRS Power & Control Technologies received a $13.3 million modification to a contract for low-rate initial production of 12 shipsets of DDG-51 power conversion modules for the SPY-6(v)1 AMDR. The PCMs convert, regulate, troubleshoot, and flow power to the AMDR from the ship’s service power system.

In May 2018 Philadelphia Gear Corp. won a contract valued at $70.8 million for two main reduction gear shipsets for Burke destroyers. Each shipset transmits power from the ship’s LM2500 propulsion engines to the shafts. The two shipsets purchased are for Flight III ships Ted Stevens (DDG-128) and Scott (DDG-129). The work is expected to be complete by November 2020.

That same month Lockheed Martin’s Baltimore unit won an $11.7 million award for common machinery control system consoles for the Burke destroyer’s new construction program and midlife modernization. The control system monitors the ship’s auxiliary, damage control, electrical, and propulsion systems, and interfaces with the ship’s power generation and distribution system.

 

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This Plane Is No F-35 But It Could Terrorize America’s Enemies
Will the Air Force get more Light Attack fighters?
by Kris Osborn
May 20, 2019


Despite the Air Force’s stated intention and the widespread assumption that a low-cost off-the-shelf Light Attack airplane would primarily perform counterinsurgency missions, it seems entirely conceivable that the plane could have limited uses for major power warfare as well.

The Air Force’s Light Attack Aircraft program, including both the Sierra Nevada-Embraer A-29 Super Tucano and Textron AT-6, seeks aircraft optimized for counterinsurgency and other types of warfare wherein the US Air Force largely has aerial dominance. Given this mission scope, the planes are not intended to mirror the speed, weaponry or stealth attributes of a 5th-generation fighter - but rather offer the service an effective attack option against ground enemies such as insurgents who do not present an air threat.

The combat concept here, should the Air Force engage in a substantial conflict with a major, technically-advanced adversary, would be to utilize stealth attack and advanced 5th-gen fighters to establish air superiority - before sending light aircraft into a hostile area to support ground maneuvers and potentially fire precision weapons at ground targets from close range. Over the course of history, there have certainly been instances wherein mechanized forces advanced into heavy combat while still maintaining air superiority. Fast-advancing infantry needing to maneuver through a complex battlespace in great power war wherein they will not only need ground-based supportive fire but also close air support similar to that which the Light Attack aircraft can provide.

Following an initial Air Force Light Attack aircraft experiment earlier in the developmental process, which included assessments of a handful of off-the-shelf options, the Air Force streamlined its approach and entered a 2nd phase of the program. The second phase included “live-fly” assessments of the aircraft in a wide range of combat scenarios. The service chose to continue testing two of the previous competitors from its first phase - Textron’s AT-6 and the Sierra Nevada/Embraer A-29 Super Tucano.

Now, amid some ongoing uncertainty as to the actual Air Force plan for the program, the service appears to be surging ahead with two options; earlier this month, the service announced it would “sole source” A-29 Super Tucanos and Textron’s AT-6 Wolverine. A formal solicitation from the Air Force says, “It is anticipated that formal solicitation will be released in May of 2019, and a contract will be awarded in the fourth quarter of FY19.”

The emerging aircraft is envisioned as a low-cost, commercially-built, combat-capable plane able to perform a wide range of missions in a less challenging or more permissive environment. The idea is to save mission time for more expensive and capable fighter jets, such as an F-15 or F-22, when an alternative can perform needed air-ground attack missions – such as recent attacks on ISIS.

Air Force officials provided these Light Attack assessment parameters to Warrior Maven, during an earlier analysis phase of the program.

-Basic Surface Attack – Assess impact accuracy using hit/miss criteria of practice/laser-guided bomb, and unguided/guided rockets

- Close Air Support (CAS) – Assess ability to find, fix, track target and engage simulated operational targets while communicating with the Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC)

- Daytime Ground Assault Force (GAF) – assess aircraft endurance, range, ability to communicate with ground forces through unsecure and secure radio and receive tactical updates

- Rescue Escort (RESCORT) – Assess pilot workload to operate with a helicopter, receive area updates and targeting data, employ ballistic, unguided/guided rockets and laser-guided munitions


- Night CAS – Assess pilot workload to find, fix, track, target and engage operational targets

A-29 Super Tucano
US-trained pilots with the Afghan Air Force have been attacking the Taliban with A-29 Super Tucano aircraft, a platform which seems well-suited for the Air Force’s intended mission scope. Its integrated weapons and laser-firing technology enable the platform to both lay down suppressive fire in support of advancing infantry as well as pinpoint targets for precision strikes. This mission envelope seems to enable a wide sphere of operational possibilities, to include counterinsurgency and great power challenges.

A-29s are turboprop planes armed with one 20mm cannon below the fuselage able to shoot 650 rounds per minute, one 12.7mm machine gun (FN Herstal) under each wing and up to four 7.62mm Dillion Aero M134 Miniguns able to shoot up to 3,000 rounds per minute.

Super Tucanos are also equipped with 70mm rockets, air-to-air missiles such as the AIM-9L Sidewinder, air-to-ground weapons such as the AGM-65 Maverick and precision-guided bombs. It can also use a laser rangefinder and laser-guided weapons.

The Super Tucano is a highly maneuverable light attack aircraft able to operate in high temperatures and rugged terrain. It is 11.38 meters long and has a wingspan of 11.14 meters; its maximum take-off weight is 5,400 kilograms. The aircraft has a combat radius of 300 nautical miles, can reach speeds up to 367 mph and hits ranges up to 720 nautical miles. Its range of 300 nautical miles positions the aircraft for effective attacks within urban environments or other more condensed combat circumstances.

AT-6 Light Attack
The Textron Aviation AT-6 is the other multi-role light attack aircraft being pursued by the Air Force. Like the A-29, the aircraft’s weapons and communication technologies position it for a wider swath of combat missions than may have initially been intended for the program. The AT-6 uses a Lockheed A-10C mission computer and a CMC Esterline glass cockpit with flight management systems combined with an L3 Wescam MX-Ha15Di multi-sensor suite which provides color and IR sensors, laser designation technology and a laser rangefinder. The aircraft is built with an F-16 hands on throttle and also uses a SparrowHawk HUD with integrated navigation and weapons delivery, according to Textron Aviation information on the plane.


Kris Osborn is a Senior Fellow at The Lexington Institute. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army - Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has a Masters in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

 

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Bell’s V-280 completes low-speed agility tests
By: Jen Judson  
21 May 2019

Bell V-280 Valor recently completed final key performance parameters within the Army's Joint Multi-Role technology demonstration program, proving it can conduct high-level, low-speed agility maneuver. (Photo courtesy of Bell)


WASHINGTON — Bell’s V-280 Valor tiltrotor demonstrator, participating in the U.S. Army’s Joint Multi-Role technology demonstration, has wrapped up low-speed agility maneuver testing — completing the final key performance parameters left to prove out with the system, according to Ryan Ehinger, the company’s V-280 program manager.

Roughly a year-and-a-half since it’s first flight in December 2017, the technology demonstration of the V-280 in Texas has stayed on schedule, ticking of KPPs as the aircraft continued to fly.

“We have met all the KPPs we have set out to meet for JMR,” Ehinger told Defense News in a May 17 interview, and most importantly, proving a tiltrotor can be agile.

The low-speed agility tests demonstrated the Valor has raw control power in pitch, roll and yaw maneuvers that meet the Army’s highest performance standard for handling qualities, he said.

“This latest flight milestone proves that the V-280 Valor tiltrotor delivers first-rate handling for pilots during low-speed maneuvers without sacrificing speed, range or payload that the military needs for multi-domain operations,” Ehinger said.

Bell isn’t grounding the aircraft now that it’s finished ticking off all of the Army demonstration requirements and will now continue to work on incorporating new mission systems beyond its first major mission system demonstration of Lockheed Martin’s Pilotage Distributed Aperture System (PDAS) that allows crew and pilots to “see through” the aircraft.

Lockheed Martin is partnered with Bell on the JMR program, but also owns Sikorsky, which is partnered with Bell’s JMR TD competitor Boeing. Sikorsky and Boeing flew its SB-1 Defiant coaxial helicopter for the first time in March this year — a delay from the original first flight deadline due to blade manufacturing challenges.

What Bell’s V-280 and Sikorsky-Boeing’s SB-1 are proving during the demonstration is informing the Army’s path to acquire a Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft.

Ehinger said Bell also plans to begin demonstrating some autonomous capabilities by the end of the year. Initially, that autonomous flight will include a take-off and hover and an ability to convert from vertical take-off and landing mode into cruise mode.

Bell is also working on building the V-247, an unmanned tiltrotor for the Marine Corps, and both the V-280 autonomy efforts and the V-247 development will inform each other, Ehringer said.

So far, the V-280 has flown over 300 knots true airspeed in forward flight mode, has logged over 110 hours of flight and 225 hours of rotor-turn, has completed 50-degree banked turns and has climbed 4,500 feet per minute and sustained flight at an altitude of 11,500 feet. It has also flown over 370 miles in a single flight ferry and also most recently completed open-door fast-rope demonstrations.

 

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It's Official: The U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship Is a Complete Failure
May 22, 2019
Here come the frigates.
by David Axe



The U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship was supposed to be cheap, fast, flexible and easy to build.

But after spending $30 billion over a period of around two decades, the U.S. Navy has managed to acquire just 35 of the 3,000-ton-displacement vessels.
Sixteen were in service as of late 2018. Of those 16, four are test ships. Six are training ships. In 2019 just six LCSs, in theory, are deployable.

While that number should increase as the remaining ships in the class finally commission into service, the LCS’s low readiness rate calls into question the wisdom of the Navy’s investment in the type.

Indeed, the Navy in 2018 didn’t deploy a single LCS, USNI News reported. “The service was supposed to push forward three ships in Fiscal Year 2018, after a 2016 overhaul of LCS homeporting, command and control and manning constructs.”

“However, USNI News first reported in April 2018 that zero LCSs would deploy in [fiscal year] 2018. Since then, the Navy had not talked publicly about progress made towards getting ready to deploy its first LCSs since ships from a block-buy contract started delivering to the fleet at about four a year.”

Navy officials in early 2019 claimed at least three LCSs would deploy before the end of the current fiscal year in September 2019.

“We’re deploying LCS this year, it’s happening,” Commander of Naval Surface Forces Vice Adm. Richard Brown told reporters. “Two ships are going on the West Coast; one ship is going on the East Coast, followed shortly [by a second] in the beginning of ‘20. And that marks the deployment of LCS; there will always be LCS forward-deployed now, just like we designed the program.”

Brown said the LCSs USS Montgomery and USS Gabrielle Giffords would deploy from San Diego to the Western Pacific while USS Detroit deployed from Florida. USS Little Rock in early 2020 also would deploy from Florida.

U.S. Southern Command in February 2019 announced that Detroit would conduct counterdrug operations. "We expect to have a littoral combat ship this year, and that will be a big benefit for our exercise program for our engagement with partners and because of the flexibility it brings for counter-narcotics interdiction," SOUTHCOM commander Adm. Craig Faller said.

When the Navy in the 1990s first began shaping the LCS program, the idea was for the ships to be small, fast, inexpensive and lightly-manned “trucks” into which the sailing branch could plug a wide array of “modules” carrying equipment for specific missions including surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare and minesweeping.

In a bid to speed up the production of as many as 55 LCSs, the Navy selected two shipyards -- Lockheed Martin’s facility in Wisconsin and an Austal yard in Alabama -- each to build their own variant of the class. Complications and cost compounded.

“The Littoral Combat Ship program has been unnecessarily complicated from the beginning,” the Project on Government Oversight explained in 2016. “Initially the Navy aimed for each ship to cost $220 million, but the Government Accountability Office estimates procurement costs for the first 32 ships is currently about $21 billion, or about $655 million per ship—nearly triple what they were supposed to cost.”

“The program’s three mission packages, according to the latest select acquisition report, add about $7.6 billion.”

In the decade and a half since the program was first sold to Congress, the LCS has already been forced into multiple major program changes, initially driven by large cost overruns, the lack of combat survivability and lethality discovered during operational testing and deployments, the almost crippling technical failures and schedule delays in each of the three mission modules.

Now the Navy has announced it is abandoning the two fundamental concepts behind the program: a multi-mission ship with swappable mission modules and a radically new way of manning it. Instead, each LCS hull will have a single mission and a significantly larger crew assigned a single primary skill set.
It took the Navy nearly two decades to realize the LCS program had failed. The sailing branch in 2014 cut LCS acquisition from 55 ships to 32. Congress eventually added three vessels, boosting the class to 35 ships.

In place of the 20 canceled LCSs, the Navy plans to buy 20 new missile frigates. The service in 2019 asked Congress for around $1 billion for the first ship in the new class.

In contrast to the LCS in its original guise, the new frigate will be a conventional vessel with a large crew and hard-wired systems.

The Navy surely hopes the new vessel is more deployable than the LCS has proved to be. A warship that can’t leave port hardly qualifies as a warship.

David Axe serves as Defense Editor of the National Interest. He is the author of the graphic novels War Fix,War Is Boring and Machete Squad.

 

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Army's new DeepStrike surface-to-surface missile warhead successfully tested
The warhead was detonated in a controlled environment, with Raytheon saying it "exceeds Army performance requirements based on the mass and distribution of fragments."
May 22, 2019
By Ed Adamczyk

An advanced warhead for the U.S. Army's DeepStrike surface-to-surface missile was successfully tested recently, Raytheon Co. said on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Raytheon

May 22 (UPI) -- A warhead for the U.S. Army's DeepStrike long-range surface-to-surface missile program had a successful test, maker Raytheon Co. announced on Wednesday.

The first flight test for the DeepStrike missile, a part of the Precision Strike Missile program, which will replace the Army Tactical Missile System designed in the 1970s, is planned for later this year.

Preliminary design review for the munition was finished in March after development was sped forward to move its operational date up by four years from 2027 to 2023.

"This test, on the heels of our successful preliminary design review for DeepStrike, shows how quickly we are moving to deliver this much-needed capability to ground troops," Dr. Thomas Bussing, vice president of Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems, said in a press release.

In the test, the warhead was detonated within a controlled environment and determined to exceed Army performance requirements, the company said.

Raytheon officials said the warhead "exceeds Army performance requirements based on the mass and distribution of fragments."

The missile carries the ability to defeat land targets up to 310 miles away, and Raytheon says it can fly twice as fast with double the firepower of current systems, at half the cost.

Raytheon and Lockheed Martin were awarded contracts to build prototypes for the program with missiles designed to attack fixed ground locations, including helicopter staging areas or hardened bunkers.

"Adversaries are already equipped with precision strike weapons that could inflict substantial damage at distances beyond the Army's striking power," former Army Col. John Weinzettle, now a program manager at Raytheon's Advanced Missile Systems, said in March.
 

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Marine Corps Harrier pilot safely ejects as jet crashes in North Carolina
Updated May 21, 2019
By Allen Cone


A U.S. Marine AV-8B Harrier II conducts a demonstration performance over the beaches of Fort Lauderdale at an air show on May 7, 2016. File photo by Joe Marino-Bill Cantrell/UPI | License Photo


May 21 (UPI) -- The pilot of a AV-8B Harrier safely ejected when the jet crashed in eastern North Carolina near the world's largest Marine Corps air station.

An AV-8B Harrier, which is part of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing of the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, crashed Monday near the base in Havelock, N.C., the Marine Corps said in a news release. Havelock is 98 miles northeast of Wilmington, N.C.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation, the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

The unidentified pilot was transported to Carolina East Medical Center in New Bern, N.C., for evaluation, where he was later released with no injuries. No civilian casualties or property damage was reported.

"He actually walked off on his own accord," Col. Todd Ferry, commanding officer at Cherry Point, told WCTI-TV. "When I got here he already was put on an ambulance and taken to Carolina East in New Bern so it sounds very positive."

Craven County Emergency Services Director Stanley Kite said they received a call at 6:16 p.m of the crash. A fire was quickly put out.

Personnel from 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing assisted the Havelock Police Department at the scene, which was cordoned off by military officials. The site has been declared "safe and secure" by military and local officials, however environmental and personal protective measures are being implemented.

"I would like to start by thanking the Craven County Sheriff's office and the community for their ongoing support," Major General Karsten Heckl, commanding general of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, said in a statement. "Thankfully, there were no serious injuries. The safety of our Marines and the local community is of the utmost importance to us and we are extremely grateful that everyone who was involved is OK."

Cherry Point, which includes 14,200 military personnel and civilians, is home to the Fleet Readiness Center East aircraft maintenance and repair facility.

The AV-8B Harrier II is a single-engine ground-attack aircraft with vertical short takeoff and landing built between 1981 and 2003. More than 340 Harrier II's were produced, according to Boeing, which purchased McDonnell Douglas.

In 2007, Boeing signed a $258.5 million performance-based logistics contract to support AV-8B Harriers operated by the U.S. Marine Corps, Italy and Spain.

The AV-8B, which is the Marines' only fixed-wing plane, will be replaced by the F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.

 

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Gamechanger For U.S. Navy Against China: New Anti-Ship Missile Dramatically Boosts Firepower

The U.S. Navy harbors many secrets that must be kept from America’s enemies, like where its submarines are operating or how it exploits intelligence from reconnaissance satellites. Some secrets, though, are hiding in plain sight. For instance, do you realize that many of the Navy’s surface combatants—its frigates, destroyers and cruisers—have almost no ability to engage hostile warships?

Unless you follow naval matters closely, you probably wouldn’t know that. There was a time when defeating enemy warships was the top mission of America’s surface combatants. But missions were rearranged with the coming of air power and submarines utilizing nuclear propulsion, so defense of the fleet against overhead and undersea threats came to dominate designs. Once the Red Navy disappeared from the world’s oceans, anti-ship capabilities became an afterthought.

Now the threat posed by hostile warships is back, driven mainly by China’s rise in the Western Pacific. If the U.S. Navy wants to preserve its dominant role in the region, it will need to rebuild its ability to deter and defeat hostile naval forces. And given the pace at which Beijing is modernizing its military, the solution to this challenge has to reach the fleet fast.

There appears to be only one solution with the necessary range, lethality and survivability. It is called the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile, or LRASM (“luh-razzim”). The missile is derived from an Air Force munition called the Joint Air-To-Surface Standoff Missile that in its extended-range version can reach 580 miles, and is so stealthy it is nearly impossible to detect—much less shoot down.

[IMG]


Working with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Navy has evolved a maritime version of the Air Force missile that can be fired from carrier-based aircraft, from launch tubes already installed on most U.S. surface combatants, and potentially by Marines ashore. It can even be launched from angled cannisters retrofitted onto a diverse array of warships such as amphibious vessels.

Whatever deployment mode is used, LRASM can cover the entire distance between China’s coast and the island chain stretching from the Philippines through Taiwan to the Japanese archipelago. China’s naval planners have been trying to turn this area into a sanctuary from which they can exclude U.S. military forces—even though it contains international shipping routes—but with LRASM, the sanctuary turns into a trap for Beijing’s maritime aspirations. China’s navy has little means to counter a maneuvering weapon that generates no trackable radar return or infrared signature.

LRASM is built by Lockheed Martin, which is also the prime contractor for the Air Force missile from which it is derived. Its high-tech seeker was created by BAE Systems. Both companies contribute to my think tank and are consulting clients, which has enabled me to learn a fair amount about how the munition works. It is the epitome of a smart weapon, able to precisely target hostile warships even when enemies are jamming GPS signals, and hit the most vulnerable part of the target. Targeting coordinates can be updated in flight from local or overhead sources, but the seeker is designed to operate autonomously once it is near its target.

It is devilishly difficult to defeat an incoming missile that you can’t see, and that operates in multiple frequencies to find its aimpoint. Once that aimpoint is reached, the missile’s thousand-pound blast fragmentation warhead would make quick work of most Chinese warships. Stealthy smart weapons are intrinsically more efficient that other munitions, because they almost always reach their targets, so few rounds are wasted. Because it is so agile, LRASM can approach well-defended targets only a few feet above the water (that’s called sea-skimming) and it can identify its intended target with high reliability.

As if all of this were not enough, Lockheed Martin has built the missile to be compact so that it fits readily into existing launch systems. If deployed on a U.S. destroyer, for example, the warship can continue to perform its air and missile defense mission even as it assumes a more robust anti-ship role. And growth margin has been incorporated into the munition to allow further refinements as new technology becomes available. The system has been successfully demonstrated on carrier-based F/A-18 fighters and Air Force B-1 bombers (a B-1 can carry two dozen of the weapons, enough to destroy an entire Chinese naval task force).

The goal, of course, is not to threaten China but to enforce U.S. maritime rights in the Western Pacific. Once LRASM is deployed in numbers, Beijing will know that any aggressive move at sea could be stopped in its tracks at relatively low cost to U.S. forces. In other words, the weapon is a potent deterrent—a low-cost, easily deployed, highly lethal system. Years of testing have demonstrated that LRASM works as advertised, so now the question is how widely it will be deployed with Navy and Marine units.

If LRASM follows the same path exhibited by past game-changing weapons, it will be introduced gradually to the fleet, with the number of operators growing as the versatility and cost-effectiveness of the weapons become more apparent. The Marines might eventually elect to deploy it on the entire amphibious fleet, and with ground units going ashore. It all depends on how missions evolve, and what other options are on the table. At the moment, LRASM looks like the best option by far to quickly address the rising challenge that Chinese naval forces pose in the Western Pacific.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lorent...-for-defeating-hostile-warships/#5f33ffc915cb
 

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Raytheon wins $151.5M contract to provide missile support for U.S., 20 allies
By Allen Cone
MAY 23, 2019


The AIM-9X Sidewinder missile is 9.5 feet long and 5 inches in diameter and weighs 190 pounds. It is configured for the F-15, F-16, F/A-18, E/A-18G, F-22 and F-35 fighters. Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force


May 23 (UPI) -- Raytheon Missile Systems was awarded a $151.5 million contract to provide the United States and 20 allies with integrated logistics support and repairs for sustainment of AIM-9X Sidewinder tactical short-range missiles.

The AIM-9X Lot 18 Block II air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles are for the U.S. Navy and Air Force and governments under foreign military sales, the U.S. Defense Department announced Wednesday. The nations are Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Oman, Malaysia, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan and Turkey.


Work is expected to be completed in May 2022, including 90.7 percent at Raytheon's plant in Tucson, Ariz., as well as 7 percent in Chesire, Conn., and less than 1 percent each in other locations in Germany and the continental United States.
Funds will be obligated on individual task orders as issued.

The missile is 9.5 feet long and 5 inches in diameter and weighs 190 pounds. It is configured for the F-15, F-16, F/A-18, E/A-18G, F-22 and F-35 fighters.

"The effectiveness and versatility of the AIM-9X Sidewinder missile have been combat proven in several theaters throughout the world," Raytheon wrote on its website.

The AIM-9 Sidewinder was adopted by the U.S. Air Force in 1956, but it could not engage targets close to the ground, and it didn't have nighttime or head-on attack capability, according to the Air Force website.

The AIM-9X Sidewinder missile, which entered service in November 2003, includes advanced infrared-tracking, short-range air-to-air and surface-to-air capabilities. The Block II variant, which completed its first test firing in November 2008, has a redesigned fuse and a digital ignition safety device to enhance ground handling and in-flight safety.

In December, Raytheon was awarded a $434 million contract for 766 AIM-9X Block II and Block II Plus missiles for the U.S. Navy and Air Force, as well as Israel, Norway, Qatar, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Australia and the Netherlands.

In April, Raytheon was awarded a $12.1 million contract for AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army and 21 allies.

 
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Navy's Zumalt destroyers to join drone ships in new experimental squadron
By Allen Cone
MAY 23, 2019


Capt. Scott Carroll, commander of Zumwalt Squadron ONE, delivers remarks during the establishment ceremony of Surface Development Squadron ONE on Wednesday in San Diego. Photo by Mass Communication Spec. 1st Class Woody S. Paschall/U.S. Navy


May 23 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy has created a new experimental squadron that will eventually include the three Zumwalt class destroyers and unmanned surface vehicles.

Vice Adm. Richard Brown, commander of Naval Surface Forces and Naval Surface Force Pacific, announced the formation of Surface Development Squadron One, or SURFDEVRON ONE, at a ceremony Wednesday in San Diego.

The squadron will integrate the drone vessels and support fleet experimentation to accelerate delivery of new warfighting concepts and capabilities to the fleet, according to the Navy.

The primary functions will support new and emerging surface warfighting capabilities; develop material and technical solutions to tactical challenges; and coordinate training, material, logistics, personnel and facilities requirements for unmanned surface systems.

"By standing up a command dedicated to developing warfighting capabilities and experimentation, we will ensure the U.S. Surface Navy remains the premiere Surface Navy in the world," Brown said.

Only the USS Zumwalt, which formally was designated as Zumalt Squadron One, initially will reside in the squadron with two Sea Hunter unmanned surface vessels next year. The USS Michael Monsoor was commissioned earlier this year and needs combat system activation. The Lyndon B. Johnsonis being built at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Maine.

The first Sea Hunter is in operation and a second Sea Hunter platform will join the squadron when construction is completed around the end of fiscal 2020, the Navy said.

In fiscal year 2024, the SURFDEVRON will be fully ready to tackle its mission of integrating unmanned surface vessels, according to the Navy.

"Without getting into classified discussions, I think that we can do a pretty good job imagining how unmanned could support the Zumwalt-class destroyer in its strike mission," Brown told USNI and other reporters before the standup ceremony. "So I think that there's a natural marriage between the Zumwalt-class destroyer and the capabilities that we think unmanned is going to bring to the fleet."

The first four littoral combat ships, which had been designated as test assets rather than deployable ships under the current LCS squadron construct, would be moved into SURFDEVRON by 2024.

"We believe that's the natural progression of the four LCS test ships, transfer from LCSRON over to the SURFDEVRON. And then all that experimentation exists under one commander, and we're able to just deliver anything that we experiment with or develop for LCS, we do that with SURFDEVRON and then just deliver it over to the LCSRON," Brown told reporters.

The Zumwalt class will be focused on surface strike. The advanced gun systems, which take up most of the front third of the destroyers, are no longer considered practical and are described as a "white elephant," according to The Drive.

"It is such a unique and capable class of ship. We want to be able to quickly experiment with it," Brown said. "So the Zumwalt class will be assigned to a carrier strike group. They will do the whole basic, advanced phase of training, integrated training, go deploy. They'll be in the same under the OFRP [Optimized Fleet Response Plan], much like a cruiser or destroyer -- but the capability that those ships bring is so unique that we really believe they belong in the SURFDEVRON so we can continually and rapidly experiment with them when they're not on deployment."

Capt. Henry Adams relieved Capt. Scott Carroll during a combined change of command/establishment ceremony.

"ZRON ONE embodied Adm. Zumwalt's legacy of warfighting innovation by leading fleet integration of the revolutionary ship class that bears his name," Carroll said. "Establishing this new squadron -- with its focus on experimentation and future warfighting technology -- fulfills and extends ZRON's purpose to the rest of the surface Navy. Although the name has changed, I'm proud to note that Adm. Zumwalt's innovative legacy will persist."

Adams said his team will to work "to execute the Navy's and surface warfare community's vision to build an organization focused on fleet innovation and experimentation. We look forward to the challenge and to working with the broader community of interest -- both inside and outside of the Navy -- as we collaborate to realize SURFDEVRON ONE's full potential."

 

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Raytheon awarded $246M in two contracts for Navy's jet landing systems
MAY 23, 2019
By Allen Cone



A U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II lands aboard the USS Wasp amphibious assault ship in the Pacific using a joint precision approach and landing system. Photo courtesy of Raytheon



May 23 (UPI) -- Raytheon has been awarded two contracts worth $243.6 million for jets' landing systems on the U.S. Navy's aircraft carriers.

One contract is worth $234.6 million for 23 joint precision approach and landing systems, and another one is for a replacement GPS sensor for the JPALS, the Defense Department announced Wednesday.

The contract for the systems also includes three production and installation engineering development model unit upgrade kits, engineering change proposals and associated data.

Sixty-eight percent of the work will be performed at the company's plant in Fullerton, Calif.; 22 percent in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and 10 percent in Indianapolis. It is expected to be completed in August 2023.

Naval fiscal 2019 other procurement and fiscal 2019 shipbuilding and conversion funds in the amount of $49.1 million will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

In the other contract, the sensor replacement resolves obsolescence driven by part shortages in the digital integrated GOS anti-jam receiver, which is a major subassembly of the unit, according to the Pentagon.

Work is expected to be completed in July 2021, including 59.4 percent in Cedar Rapids and 40.4 percent in Indianapolis.

Naval fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the full amount will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

JPALS guide aircraft onto carriers and amphibious assault ships in all kinds of weather and surface conditions, including rough waters, according to Raytheon. They use an encrypted, jam-proof data link, connecting to software on the aircraft's mission computer and GPS sensors, mast-mounted antennas and rack-mounted shipboard avionics.

"The need for precision landings in harsh environments isn't limited to one military service and one airplane," Matt Gilligan, vice president of Raytheon Navigation, Weather and Services, said. "JPALS can help any fixed or rotary-wing aircraft land in harsh, low-visibility environments."

That includes Air Force aircraft landing on runways.

"If a disaster were to strike in an isolated area with little infrastructure and just a dirt runway, the Air Force, using expeditionary JPALS, could rapidly be on the ground, providing humanitarian relief within an hour of arrival," said retired Air Force Col. JW Watkins, a former fighter pilot now with Raytheon corporate business development. "This capability can help provide emergency relief in the aftermath of a disastrous event, getting people food, water, shelter and medicine to those who need it."

 

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Report: U.S. Naval Seaman Admits Wanting To Pass Classified Info To Russia
May 25, 2019
A Yasen-class nuclear-powered submarine at the Sevmash shipyard in 2017

A Yasen-class nuclear-powered submarine at the Sevmash shipyard in 2017

A U.S. naval seaman has been sentenced to three years in a military prison after admitting he sought to share classified information about U.S. nuclear-powered warships with Russia.

The Associated Press reported on May 24 that Petty Officer Second Class Stephen Kellogg wanted to expose waste in the U.S. Navy.

Jeff Houston, of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, told AP that Kellogg, 26, tried to make contact with Sevmash, a major manufacturer of Russian nuclear submarines.

Authorities learned of his plans after arresting Kellogg on August 27 for being drunk as he sought to board a flight from San Diego, California, to New York City.

Court records said Kellogg had bought a one-way plane ticket and planned to meet a friend from high school who is a journalist in New York.

Kellogg worked as an electrician and had classified information relating to the capabilities of the Navy's nuclear propulsion systems.

Kellogg also allegedly told a roommate that he planned to defect to Russia, had written an e-mail to an address associated with Sevmash, and called the company six times.

Based on reporting by AP

 

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Raytheon gets $355.4M contract to refurbish AGM-88B missiles
May 24, 2019
By Ed Adamczyk


The HARM is a tactical, air-to-surface anti-radiation missile, capable of speeds up to twice the speed of sound. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy

May 24 (UPI) -- Raytheon Co. was awarded a $355.4 million contract to refurbish AGM-88B missiles for Qatar, Bahrain and Taiwan, the Defense Department announced.

The firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract calls for AGM-88B High Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles [HARM] replacement exchange, the refurbishment of AGM-88B missiles and the conversion of AGM-88B into Captive Air Training Missiles [CATM-88B].

The HARM is a tactical, air-to-surface anti-radiation missile, capable of speeds up to twice the speed of sound. It is designed to home in on electronic transmissions coming from surface-to-air radar systems.

It can, for example, detect, attack and destroy a radar antenna or transmitter by homing in on enemy radar emissions. In use since 1985, the missile is a part of the arsenal of the U.S. military and of several U.S. allies.

The contract was announced Thursday. Work will be performed at Raytheon's Tucson facility and is expected to be completed by 2027.

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center in Warner Robbins, Ga., is the contracting agent.

 

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Raytheon to upgrade about 1,000 radar-killing electronic warfare (EW) HARM missiles for U.S. allies
Raytheon to upgrade and refurbish about 1,000 radar-killing electronic warfare (EW) HARM missiles for Qatar, Taiwan, and Bahrain in $355.5 million deal.
Author John Keller
May 27th, 2019
Harm Missile 27 May 2019



ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. – Aerial weapons experts at the Raytheon Co. will upgrade and refurbish about 1,000 radar-killing AGM-88B High Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARMs) for U.S. allies under terms of a $355.5 million contract announced last Thursday.

Officials of the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., are asking the Raytheon Missile Systems segment in Tucson, Ariz., to provide HARM Control Section Modification (HCSM) work for legacy AGM-88B missiles for electronic warfare (EW) and electronic attack missions. This contract is for Qatar, Taiwan, and Bahrain.

The HCSM adds a GPS receiver and an improved inertial measurement unit (IMU) for precision navigation on the missile. The upgrade features a digital flight computer that merges targeting solutions from navigation and seeker systems to improve the missile's probability of hit, while controlling where the missile can and cannot fly, Raytheon officials say.

This contract provides for the refurbishment of live AGM-88Bs and conversion of AGM-88B into Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM-88B) for approved Foreign Military Sales countries. The CATM-88Bs are training missiles that simulate live HARM missiles for training purposes.

The AGM-88 HARM missile is for all variants of the F/A-18, Tornado, EA-18G, F-16, EA-6B, and F-35 (external) combat jets. It features an advanced, digital, anti-radiation homing sensor, millimeter wave radar terminal seeker, and GPS/INS guidance.

The missile provides the ability to engage and destroy enemy air defenses and time-critical, mobile targets. It can detect, attack, and destroy a radar antenna or transmitter with minimal aircrew input. It has a fixed antenna and seeker head in the missile's nose.

A solid-propellant rocket motor propels the missile at speeds faster than Mach 2.0. The HARM missile project was led by the U.S. Navy, and first was first carried by the A-6E, A-7, F/A-18A/B, and EA-6B aircraft. The U.S. Air Force (USAF) put the HARM onto the F-4G Wild Weasel aircraft, and later on specialized F-16s.

On this contract Raytheon will do the work in Tucson, Ariz., and should be finished by 2027.

 

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ATK to upgrade 271 radar-killing air-to-ground missile systems with new radar seeker and guidance

AMRAAM on the left, Centre missile -not clear, Right one HARM AGM-88
 

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U.S. fighter jets could work together with high-performance unmanned combat aircraft dogfighting by 2020s
Unmanned combat aircraft by the next decade could join high-performance U.S. military fighter jets as trusted partners in dogfighting, Defense News says.

May 23rd, 2019
Drone Wingmen 23 May 2019



WASHINGTON – The F-35 and F-15EX fighter jets could get drone wingmen in the coming years, as Air Force leaders explore ways to team Lockheed Martin’s F-35 and Boeing’s new F-15EX with the XQ-58 Valkyrie drone or similar unmanned platforms in future dogfighting. Defense News reports.

The Valkyrie, which flew its first test flight at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, on March 5, was designed to perform and maneuver like fighter jets. It can fly at high subsonic speeds, takeoff without a runway, and, according to Kratos, meet or exceed the Air Force’s requirement for a 1,500-nautical-mile range with a 500-pound payload.

The Air Force is also assessing whether other unmanned aerial systems would complement the Skyborg program. A March request for information describes “a modular, fighter-like aircraft” that is autonomous and attritable, with open systems that allow it to be updated with new AI software or new hardware. Desired characteristics include the ability to detect and avoid obstacles and bad weather, and to takeoff and land autonomously.

For the F-35, the pathway to incorporating Skyborg would involve writing software — similar to an iPhone application —that could be installed on the jet during its Block 4 modernization phase in the early 2020s.

 

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