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US Navy to get Additional UGM-133 Trident II D5 Missiles
October 02, 2019
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Lockheed Martin has won a $495 million contract for TRIDENT II (D5) missile production and deployed systems support.

The Trident II D5 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) is a three-stage, solid-propellant, inertial-guided ballistic missile. It can carry multiple independently targeted re-entry bodies for a maximum range of over 7,360km.

Work is expected to be completed September 30, 2024.
 

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Raytheon Rheinmetall Land Systems submits bid for US Army combat vehicle competition


DETROIT, Oct. 1, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Raytheon Rheinmetall Land Systems, a joint venture formed by Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) and Rheinmetall Defence, has submitted its bid for the U.S. Army's new Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, or OMFV, program. The team will offer the next-generation Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicle.

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Lynx is a next-generation, tracked armored fighting vehicle designed to address the critical challenges of the future battlefield. The vehicle provides ample growth capacity to support new technologies over its lifetime, and features lower life-cycle costs.

"U.S. Army soldiers deserve the best possible fighting vehicle when they go into battle and that's exactly what this team is offering," said Sam Deneke, Raytheon Land Warfare Systems vice president. "Lynx provides unparalleled troop protection and features advanced technology that will keep our men and women in uniform ahead of the threat."

Scheduled for fielding in 2026, the OMFV is expected to replace the Bradley fighting vehicle.

"Our team has spent the last year assembling a U.S. supply chain to ensure that Lynx will be built in America by American workers," said Ben Hudson, global head of Rheinmetall's Vehicle Systems division. "This next-generation combat vehicle will help save lives on the battlefield and further bolster the U.S. industrial base – now that's a win-win."

Raytheon technology earmarked for the Lynx includes the company's advanced weapons, Active Protection System, third-generation thermal sights, Coyote® unmanned aircraft system and cyber protection.
 

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BAE Systems opens expanded facility to produce U.S. Army next-generation howitzers
October 02, 2019

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BAE Systems, multinational defense, security and aerospace company, opened the expanded facility in Elgin, Oklahoma that will make next-generation howitzers for the U.S. Army.

Legislators, community members, military officials, and BAE officials came out to celebrate the completion of the project with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, KSWO 7News reported on Tuesday,

The expended 52,000 square feet facility will help deliver the newest M109A7 self-propelled howitzers, otherwise known as Paladin Integrated Management, the U.S. Army. BAE Systems is currently producing the M109A7 configuration for the Army in the low-rate initial production phase.

Jeremy Tondreault, Vice President and General Manager, BAE Systems Combat Vehicles, said the expansion happened because of three things, the community, congressional partners and the people.

“But really, the great people of Oklahoma who come to work every single day either at the fort or here and the BAE Systems to produce these kinds of vehicles for the United States Army to make sure that our soldiers have what they need so they can do their mission and come home safely,” Tondreault said.

The expansion allows them to produce more Howitzers for the Army. Guy Montminy, BAE Systems’ sector president, said they were able to shorten production time by adding a paint booth.

“We have also expanded the facility to provide additional heightened capacity,” Montminy said. “So that we can deliver future capabilities such as extended range cannon assembly for the mobile protected firepower.”

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Littoral combat ship successfully launches Naval Strike Missile
October 2, 2019

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The Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) successfully demonstrated the capabilities of the Naval Strike Missile (NSM) Oct. 1 (local date) during exercise Pacific Griffin, according to a Navy news release.

Pacific Griffin is a biennial exercise conducted in the waters near Guam aimed at enhancing combined proficiency at sea while strengthening relationships between the U.S. and Republic of Singapore navies.
“Today was a terrific accomplishment for the USS Gabrielle Giffords crew and the Navy’s LCS-class,” said Cmdr. Matthew Lehmann, commanding officer. “I am very proud of all the teamwork that led to the successful launch of the NSM.”

The Naval Strike Missile is a long-range, precision strike weapon that can find and destroy enemy ships at distances up to 100 nautical miles away. The stealthy missile flies at sea-skimming altitude, has terrain-following capability and uses an advanced seeker for precise targeting in challenging conditions.

Rear Adm. Joey Tynch, commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific, who oversees security cooperation for the U.S. Navy in Southeast Asia, said Gabrielle Giffords’ deployment sent a crystal clear message of continued U.S. commitment to maritime security in the region.

“LCS packs a punch and gives potential adversaries another reason to stay awake at night,” said Tynch. “We are stronger when we sail together with our friends and partners and LCS is an important addition to the lineup.”

The NSM aboard Gabrielle Giffords is fully operational and remains lethal. The weapon was first successfully demonstrated on littoral combat ship USS Coronado in 2014. It meets and exceeds the U.S. Navy’s over-the-horizon requirements for survivability against high-end threats, demonstrated lethality, easy upgrades and long-range strike capability.

Gabrielle Giffords’ deployment represents a milestone for the U.S. Navy and LCS lethality, and marks the first time that an NSM has sailed into the Indo-Pacific region. The successful missile shoot demonstrates value for long-range anti-ship missiles.

The Gabrielle Giffords, on her maiden deployment, arrived in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility Sept. 16, for a rotational deployment to the Indo-Pacific region. This marks the first time two LCS have deployed to the Indo-Pacific region simultaneously. Gabrielle Giffords is the fifth LCS to deploy to U.S. 7th Fleet, following USS Freedom (LCS 1), USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), USS Coronado (LCS 4) and the currently-deployed USS Montgomery (LCS 8).

Gabrielle Giffords will conduct operations, exercises and port visits throughout the region as well as work alongside allied and partner navies to provide maritime security and stability, key pillars of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific. Its unique capabilities allow it to work with a broad range of regional navies and visit ports larger ships cannot access.

Littoral combat ships are fast, agile and networked surface combatants, optimized for operating in the near-shore environments. With mission packages allowing for tailored capabilities to meet specific mission needs and unique physical characteristics, LCS provides operational flexibility and access to a wider range of ports.
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Textron selected as the U.S. chassis manufacturer for the Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicle
October 02, 2019

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U.S. manufacturer Textron has been selected by the Raytheon Rheinmetall Land Systems, a joint venture of Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) and Rheinmetall Defence, as the U.S. chassis manufacturer for the Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicle.

The team of industry leaders is offering Lynx to meet the U.S. Army’s requirement for an Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV).

The selection was based on the company’s unique capabilities in hull fabrication, rolling chassis assembly, integration and testing to the OMFV program.

“Building Lynx in America will support U.S. manufacturing jobs and revitalize the nation’s defense industrial base,” said Sam Deneke, Raytheon Land Warfare Systems vice president. “Textron Systems is an experienced manufacturer central to our strategy of leveraging a reliable U.S. supply chain to deliver the world’s most advanced combat vehicle to the U.S. Army.”

In parallel, Textron Systems will prepare to build the Lynx chassis during future production phases. Textron Systems intends to perform the work at its Slidell, Louisiana, manufacturing facility.

“When we say Lynx will be built in America, we mean it,” said Ben Hudson, global head of Rheinmetall’s Vehicle Systems Division. “Together with Textron Systems, we will provide the Army with a next-generation combat vehicle that will protect troops and give them a significant advantage in battle.”

The U.S. Army’s OMFV, scheduled for fielding in 2026, is expected to replace the legacy Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

“Textron Systems brings a decades-long heritage of supporting the U.S. Department of Defense and its allies with highly reliable and capable combat vehicles to enhance mission outcomes,” said Lisa Atherton, president and CEO of Textron Systems. “We are proud to be a part of the Lynx team and stand ready to support our teammates and our customer.”

Lynx is a true next-generation, tracked armored fighting vehicle designed to address the critical challenges of the future battlefield. Lynx provides an overmatch advantage for soldiers, growth capacity to support new technologies over the vehicle’s lifetime, and lower life-cycle costs.

Raytheon technology offered for inclusion on Lynx for the U.S. Army includes the company’s advanced weapons, Active Protection System, next-generation thermal sights, the Coyote unmanned aircraft system, as well as cyber protection.
 

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U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS George Washington moves from dry dock
October 02, 2019

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Huntington Ingalls Industries announced that its Newport News Shipbuilding division has completed the dry dock portion of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington’s (CVN 73) refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH).

America’s largest military shipbuilding company has reported that following the recent flooding of more than 100 million gallons of water into the dry dock, George Washington was successfully moved to an outfitting berth, where it will begin final outfitting and testing.

The overhaul now is more than 60% complete and on track to be completed in late 2021.

“Getting George Washington out of the dry dock and back into the water is an important milestone in the overhaul process for shipbuilders, sailors and our government partners,” said Chris Miner, Newport News’ vice president of in-service aircraft carrier programs. “Over the next 24 months we will focus on readying the ship for the next 25 years of its operational life. Once our work is complete, George Washington will leave Newport News Shipbuilding as the world’s most technologically advanced Nimitz-class warship in the fleet.”

During the dry dock phase of the RCOH, George Washington underwent significant upgrades and extensive repair work both inside and outside the ship. In addition to defueling and refueling its power plant, Newport News shipbuilders have re-preserved approximately 600 tanks and replaced thousands of valves, pumps and piping components. On the outside, they performed major structural updates to the island, mast and antenna tower; upgraded all aircraft launch and recovery equipment; painted the ship’s hull, including sea chests and freeboard; updated the propeller shafts, and installed refurbished propellers.

During the next phase of the complex engineering and construction project, shipbuilders will finish up the overhaul and installation of the ship’s major components and test its electronics, combat and propulsion systems before the carrier is redelivered to the Navy. This period also will be dedicated to improving the ship’s living areas, including crew living spaces, galleys and mess decks.

“Taking the ship successfully out of the dry dock and over to our waterside pier marks a significant moment in the ship’s history and in our RCOH period,” said Capt. Kenneth A. Strong, the ship’s commanding officer. “With the ship back in the water, we can turn our attention to our next major milestones and finishing our maintenance period to return this vital national asset back to the fleet.”

USS George Washington arrived at Newport News in August 2017 and is the sixth Nimitz-class aircraft to undergo its RCOH—the mid-life refueling overhaul and maintenance availability that produces a recapitalized carrier capable of supporting current and future warfare doctrine. Once George Washington’s RCOH is complete, the carrier will be equipped to operate in the U.S. Navy fleet for the second half of her 50-year expected service life.
 

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Faxon, Major Tool awarded $600M for next-gen area attack warhead
Oct. 02, 2019
By Ed Adamczyk

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A replacement for the GBU-39B ordnance, pictured, known as the BLU-136/B warhead, is under development by the U.S. Air Force. Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force

Oct. 2 (UPI) -- Two companies share a $600 million contract to produce cases for the U.S. air Force's BLU-136/B next-generation area attack warhead, the Defense Department announced.

Faxon Machining Inc. of Cincinnati and Major Tool & Machine Inc. of Indianapolis received the seven-year, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract on Tuesday, which calls for manufacture of 15,000 warhead cases by September 2026.

The warhead is a 2,000 lb.-class bomb designed to shower metal fragments on enemy forces.

It is a replacement for cluster munitions, which are being phased out by the Pentagon, according to a 2008 directive, because they leave unexploded ordnance and can harm civilian populations.

The new weapon is four times the size of the BLU-134/B Improved Lethality Warhead, currently in production.

The BLU-136/B is compatible with the existing GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition guidance system and the DSU-33 height-of-burst sensor and can be integrated on the F-16 aircraft, officials say.
 

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The Pentagon has created a new office solely focused on China. Is that a good idea?

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Chinese soldiers ride atop tanks as they drive in a parade to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on Oct. 1, 2019, in Beijing. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Since the release of the National Defense Strategy in early 2018, top Pentagon officials have stressed that the department needs to keep its focus on the long-term challenge from China. Now, with the creation of a new office focused solely on China, officials in the department hope to take a major step forward in that effort.

In June, the Department of Defense discreetly created a new job: the deputy assistant secretary of defense for China. Deputy assistant secretaries of defense, or DASD, serve as civilian subject matter experts, three levels down from the undersecretary of defense for policy, traditionally one of the most powerful positions in the Pentagon. The new job, according to a department statement, will serve as “principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense on all things China and will be the single hub for policy and strategy development, oversight, authorities review, and national-level interagency integration to align the Department’s efforts on China.”

On Tuesday, Randall Schriver, the assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, told Defense News that the new position is something he has considered for some time. Speaking at the Brookings Institute, Schriver described the role as both inward and outward facing.

Outwardly, the office will help craft and maintain the military-to-military relationship with China — something Schriver, who is headed to China next week, said top Chinese military officials want to serve as a “stabilizing force” in overall relations with the United States.

“The inward part [is] to help us drive alignment on China across the department as we carry out our National Defense Strategy and its implementation. ... A lot of that is to help us internally, with the Joint Staff and the services, to make their respective decisions” around China, Schriver said.

Before the new office was created, there were three DASDs each with a unique focus in the region: one on Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia; one on Southeast Asia with India, members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Australia and New Zealand; and one on East Asia, tracking Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, China and Taiwan.

The new job is the only one focused on a single country of the now 21 existing DASD-level positions. And along with the creation of the new role came a reorganization of the Southeast and East Asia portfolios, breaking down regional barriers to align nations like Australia and Japan that have strong ties. That broad rearrangement is where both the risks and rewards of the change happen, according to a quartet of former defense officials.

Eric Sayers, a former special assistant to the commander at U.S. Pacific Command and now an adjunct senior fellow with the Center for a New American Security think tank, thinks the change is good, in part because of how it specifically decouples the management of China from the other responsibilities assigned to regional DASDs.

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Chinese soldiers shout as they march in formation during an Oct. 1, 2019, military parade. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

“This change will essentially empower the DASD East Asia to focus on alliance management and integration across the Asia-Pacific [region] while freeing them up from what I understand can be the time-consuming but important work of the bilateral U.S.-China military relationship,” Sayers said.
“Changes like this at DoD occur slowly, but this reorganization and the building of a new DASD office signals a long-term commitment and a shift in DoD priorities consistent with the National Defense Strategy.”

Elbridge Colby, who as the DASD for strategy and force development at the start of the Trump administration had a major hand in crafting the National Defense Strategy, also supports the move, calling it “an incremental step forward that makes increasing focus [on China] more [achievable].”

“It separates the high-end alliance management task from the China bilateral work,” Colby said. “The [People’s Republic of China] is enough to take on for one person. The China DASD will presumably deal with bilateral discussions, mil-to-mil, crisis management. The other regional DASDs will deal with things like improving posture and deepening interoperability with Japan, Australia and South Korea.”
 

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Bell unshrouds Invictus, its answer for the US Army’s future attack recon aircraft
02 Oct 2019
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An artist's rendering shows the Bell 360 Invictus attack reconnaissance helicopter in action in a multidomain fight. Bell revealed the helo design as its entry into the U.S. Army's competition for a future attack reconnaissance aircraft Oct. 1, 2019. (Courtesy of Bell)

WASHINGTON — Bell has pulled the shroud off its Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) design for the Army after keeping it under wraps as a competition for a chance to build prototypes heats up.

Several teams selected to develop FARA designs have been vocal and open about designs, but Bell — which has been flying its V-280 Valor tiltrotor helicopter for nearly two years as part of an Army demonstration to inform the requirements for a long-range assault aircraft — let the suspense build in this case.

The only hint of its plans came from the CEO of Textron, Bell’s parent company, who said during an earnings call that the FARA design would be based on its 525 technology rather than its tiltrotor design like the V-280.

The company revealed Oct. 1 at its Arlington, Virginia, office the Bell 360 Invictus, which is based on 525 technology, but with several key differences, including its size in order to adhere to the Army requirement of 40-foot in diameter rotor blades.

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An artist rendering of the Bell 360 Invictus, the company's design for the Army's Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA). Bell is competing to build a prototype for the service and plans to fly the aircraft in 2022. (Photo courtesy of Bell)

The 525 Relentless is a commercial helicopter that is larger than the Invictus design and, according to Bell, has hit speeds over 200 knots in tests. The plan is for Invictus to more than meet the Army’s speed requirement of 180 knots.

Bell plans to unveil a full-scale mockup of the aircraft at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual show beginning Oct. 14, but showed reporters a video depicting the aircraft’s capability to fly through dense urban terrain, ripping around skyscrapers and hovering over busy city streets.

“Bell is absolutely committed to providing the United States Army with the most affordable, most sustainable, lowest risk, least complex solution for FARA while meeting all the requirements,” Keith Flail, the company’s vice president for advanced vertical lift systems, said.

The design features a single main rotor helicopter in a four-blade configuration, a low-drag tandem cockpit fuselage and transportability in a C-17.

One of the major key technologies derived from the 525 program is high-speed rotor blades, but the 525 has five blades as opposed to the Invictus’ shorter four. Much of the manufacturing techniques to build the smaller blades will carry over from the 525 program as well.

The helicopter will be powered by the Army’s Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP) engine, which is being developed and built by General Electric.

Additionally, the aircraft has a supplemental power unit that engages with the drive system to provide additional horsepower “when required to give us that extra power and speed that we need,” Flail said.

Invictus has lift-sharing wings that will, once the aircraft reaches 180 knots, offload roughly 50 percent of the work to lift the aircraft, he added, and it has an active horizontal stabilizer at the tail.

The helicopter features a ducted/canted tail rotor as well. “By doing that, we get a couple of benefits both in high speed flight and, in hover, we get additional lift for the aircraft,” Flail said.

The design incorporates an integrated munitions launcher that keeps armaments inside the aircraft to eliminate drag in high speeds. The launcher can “actuate the weapons out” when an engagement is needed, Flail said. The landing gear is also retracted to eliminate drag, he added.

The aircraft is outfitted with a 20mm gun and has the ability to carry fires, rockets and air-launched effects.

“Everything we have done has been focused on how do you keep the lowest drag possible on the aircraft,” Flail said. “So we don’t have to add exotic solutions to the aircraft the meet the requirements to get the speeds that you need for the FARA program.”

Lockheed Martin is the mission systems integrator for the company’s V-280 Valor tiltrotor, which is its offering for the Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA), but Bell has partnered with Collins Aerospace for the FARA program.

“There’s several companies that are out there that we believe have modular open systems architecture solutions,” Flail said. “In all of those efforts and talking with colleagues, we believe Collins is the best partner for Bell as we execute the program. Collins Aerospace has been a great partner to the United States Army in the Special Operations world with Little Birds,” he noted, and understands this mission in particular. “We felt it was the best fit,” he said.

Bell is competing with AVX Aircraft Co. partnered with L-3 Communications Integrated Systems, Boeing, a Karem Aircraft-Northrop Grumman-Raytheon team and Lockheed Martin-owned Sikorsky.

The Army awarded each a design contract in April. Only two teams will move forward, at the end of the design phase, to build flyable prototypes of the future helicopter in a head-to-head competition.

AVX and L3 unveiled its design for FARA at the Army Aviation Association of America’s annual summit in Nashville, Tennessee, this spring. The single-engine design uses AVX’s compound coaxial and ducted fans technology.

Karem announced it would team with Northrop and Raytheon but details were scant on how the teaming arrangement would work or on what the design might be based.

Sikorsky’s offering will be based off of its X2 coaxial technology seen in its S-97 Raider and the Sikorsky-Boeing developed SB-1 Defiant, which are now both flying.

The Army continues to look for ways to accelerate FARA fielding and is on an ambitious schedule to get FARA prototypes flying by 2023. Bell said it is preparing to fly in 2022. A production decision could happen in 2028.

FARA is intended to fill a critical capability gap currently being filled by AH-64E Apache attack helicopters teamed with Shadow unmanned aircraft following the retirement of the Bell-manufactured OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters.

The service has tried and failed three times to fill the gap with an aircraft. Bell offered up a souped-up Kiowa during the last attempt to fill the gap in 2012.

This time the Army didn’t want to get locked into keeping inflexible requirements, but did request that aircraft should have a maximum 40-foot rotor diameter. The Army will consider speed, range and payload possibilities, but wants to encourage innovation by industry for designs that push the envelope and make FARA a true next-generation aircraft that can contribute to the fleet for the good part of a century.

“We certainly could have come up with other solutions, but to meet the requirements, and for this to be the knife fighter that they want it to be — to live in the dirt,” Flail said.

“We really wanted to focus on on that simplicity and really drive complexity and risk out of it as much as possible. You look at what we just accomplished in the [Joint Multi-Role] program, take at least a year off of that ... in terms of what we’re trying to do here with FARA," Flail said. "I think we’re very well positioned as a company to be able to execute that because of our cycle of learning from JMR. And this is an extremely fast pace that focusing on simplicity, keeping the complexity and the risk out of it as much as possible, is really important.”

The V-280 Valor was built as one of the two competitive demonstrators for the JMR technology development program designed to inform the Army’s FLRAA program. Valor has been flying for nearly two years and is preparing for its first autonomous flight in January 2020. The Sikorsky-Boeing Defiant flew for the first time earlier this year.
 

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Bell unshrouds Invictus, its answer for the US Army’s future attack recon aircraft
02 Oct 2019
View attachment 10442
An artist's rendering shows the Bell 360 Invictus attack reconnaissance helicopter in action in a multidomain fight. Bell revealed the helo design as its entry into the U.S. Army's competition for a future attack reconnaissance aircraft Oct. 1, 2019. (Courtesy of Bell)

WASHINGTON — Bell has pulled the shroud off its Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) design for the Army after keeping it under wraps as a competition for a chance to build prototypes heats up.

Several teams selected to develop FARA designs have been vocal and open about designs, but Bell — which has been flying its V-280 Valor tiltrotor helicopter for nearly two years as part of an Army demonstration to inform the requirements for a long-range assault aircraft — let the suspense build in this case.

The only hint of its plans came from the CEO of Textron, Bell’s parent company, who said during an earnings call that the FARA design would be based on its 525 technology rather than its tiltrotor design like the V-280.

The company revealed Oct. 1 at its Arlington, Virginia, office the Bell 360 Invictus, which is based on 525 technology, but with several key differences, including its size in order to adhere to the Army requirement of 40-foot in diameter rotor blades.

View attachment 10443
An artist rendering of the Bell 360 Invictus, the company's design for the Army's Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA). Bell is competing to build a prototype for the service and plans to fly the aircraft in 2022. (Photo courtesy of Bell)

The 525 Relentless is a commercial helicopter that is larger than the Invictus design and, according to Bell, has hit speeds over 200 knots in tests. The plan is for Invictus to more than meet the Army’s speed requirement of 180 knots.

Bell plans to unveil a full-scale mockup of the aircraft at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual show beginning Oct. 14, but showed reporters a video depicting the aircraft’s capability to fly through dense urban terrain, ripping around skyscrapers and hovering over busy city streets.

“Bell is absolutely committed to providing the United States Army with the most affordable, most sustainable, lowest risk, least complex solution for FARA while meeting all the requirements,” Keith Flail, the company’s vice president for advanced vertical lift systems, said.

The design features a single main rotor helicopter in a four-blade configuration, a low-drag tandem cockpit fuselage and transportability in a C-17.

One of the major key technologies derived from the 525 program is high-speed rotor blades, but the 525 has five blades as opposed to the Invictus’ shorter four. Much of the manufacturing techniques to build the smaller blades will carry over from the 525 program as well.

The helicopter will be powered by the Army’s Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP) engine, which is being developed and built by General Electric.

Additionally, the aircraft has a supplemental power unit that engages with the drive system to provide additional horsepower “when required to give us that extra power and speed that we need,” Flail said.

Invictus has lift-sharing wings that will, once the aircraft reaches 180 knots, offload roughly 50 percent of the work to lift the aircraft, he added, and it has an active horizontal stabilizer at the tail.

The helicopter features a ducted/canted tail rotor as well. “By doing that, we get a couple of benefits both in high speed flight and, in hover, we get additional lift for the aircraft,” Flail said.

The design incorporates an integrated munitions launcher that keeps armaments inside the aircraft to eliminate drag in high speeds. The launcher can “actuate the weapons out” when an engagement is needed, Flail said. The landing gear is also retracted to eliminate drag, he added.

The aircraft is outfitted with a 20mm gun and has the ability to carry fires, rockets and air-launched effects.

“Everything we have done has been focused on how do you keep the lowest drag possible on the aircraft,” Flail said. “So we don’t have to add exotic solutions to the aircraft the meet the requirements to get the speeds that you need for the FARA program.”

Lockheed Martin is the mission systems integrator for the company’s V-280 Valor tiltrotor, which is its offering for the Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA), but Bell has partnered with Collins Aerospace for the FARA program.

“There’s several companies that are out there that we believe have modular open systems architecture solutions,” Flail said. “In all of those efforts and talking with colleagues, we believe Collins is the best partner for Bell as we execute the program. Collins Aerospace has been a great partner to the United States Army in the Special Operations world with Little Birds,” he noted, and understands this mission in particular. “We felt it was the best fit,” he said.

Bell is competing with AVX Aircraft Co. partnered with L-3 Communications Integrated Systems, Boeing, a Karem Aircraft-Northrop Grumman-Raytheon team and Lockheed Martin-owned Sikorsky.

The Army awarded each a design contract in April. Only two teams will move forward, at the end of the design phase, to build flyable prototypes of the future helicopter in a head-to-head competition.

AVX and L3 unveiled its design for FARA at the Army Aviation Association of America’s annual summit in Nashville, Tennessee, this spring. The single-engine design uses AVX’s compound coaxial and ducted fans technology.

Karem announced it would team with Northrop and Raytheon but details were scant on how the teaming arrangement would work or on what the design might be based.

Sikorsky’s offering will be based off of its X2 coaxial technology seen in its S-97 Raider and the Sikorsky-Boeing developed SB-1 Defiant, which are now both flying.

The Army continues to look for ways to accelerate FARA fielding and is on an ambitious schedule to get FARA prototypes flying by 2023. Bell said it is preparing to fly in 2022. A production decision could happen in 2028.

FARA is intended to fill a critical capability gap currently being filled by AH-64E Apache attack helicopters teamed with Shadow unmanned aircraft following the retirement of the Bell-manufactured OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters.

The service has tried and failed three times to fill the gap with an aircraft. Bell offered up a souped-up Kiowa during the last attempt to fill the gap in 2012.

This time the Army didn’t want to get locked into keeping inflexible requirements, but did request that aircraft should have a maximum 40-foot rotor diameter. The Army will consider speed, range and payload possibilities, but wants to encourage innovation by industry for designs that push the envelope and make FARA a true next-generation aircraft that can contribute to the fleet for the good part of a century.

“We certainly could have come up with other solutions, but to meet the requirements, and for this to be the knife fighter that they want it to be — to live in the dirt,” Flail said.

“We really wanted to focus on on that simplicity and really drive complexity and risk out of it as much as possible. You look at what we just accomplished in the [Joint Multi-Role] program, take at least a year off of that ... in terms of what we’re trying to do here with FARA," Flail said. "I think we’re very well positioned as a company to be able to execute that because of our cycle of learning from JMR. And this is an extremely fast pace that focusing on simplicity, keeping the complexity and the risk out of it as much as possible, is really important.”

The V-280 Valor was built as one of the two competitive demonstrators for the JMR technology development program designed to inform the Army’s FLRAA program. Valor has been flying for nearly two years and is preparing for its first autonomous flight in January 2020. The Sikorsky-Boeing Defiant flew for the first time earlier this year.
So essentially dusting off RAH-66 Comanche from 20 years past :)
 

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Bids are in to replace the US Army’s Bradley fighting vehicle
02 Oct 2019

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WASHINGTON — The bids are in for a chance to build prototypes for the Army’s Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle that will replace its Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle.

Among them is a Raytheon and Rheinmetall team putting forward Rheinmetall’s Lynx 41 Infantry Fighting Vehicle, and General Dynamics Land Systems, which showcased its Griffin III technology demonstrator equipped with a 50mm cannon a year ago at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual exposition.

It is currently unknown if any other teams submitted bids by the service’s set deadline of Oct. 1. None have come forward publicly despite rumors of a dark horse or two.

Absent from the usual brood of combat vehicle manufacturers is BAE Systems. Defense News broke the news earlier this year that the company wouldn’t compete in the OMFV competition.

Textron has joined the Raytheon and Rheinmetall team with plans to, if chosen to build the new vehicle, build Lynx here in the United States at its Slidell, Louisiana, manufacturing facility. Raytheon and Rheinmetall announced a joint venture Oct. 1 — calling it Raytheon Rheinmetall Land Systems LLC — to pursue the OMFV competition.

“General Dynamics Land Systems submitted our OMFV proposal and bid sample to the US Army on 27 September. GD’s bid sample was purpose built to address the desired system lethality, survivability and mobility as substantiation of our response to the Army’s request for proposal,” the company said in a statement sent to Defense News. The company did not provide details on the submission.

GDLS did note, however, that it is proposing a “purpose built vehicle” using technologies from other platforms and “years of investment in advanced capabilities to include a 50mm cannon,” according to the statement.

The Army released its request for proposals in March opening a competition to build prototypes. The service plans to choose from the pool of bidders up to two teams to build 14 prototypes each.

The service will choose a winner that will start replacing Bradleys in 2026 that is designed to better operate in future environments that would allow soldiers to maneuver to a position of advantage and “to engage in close combat and deliver decisive lethality during the execution of the combined arms maneuver,” according to an Army statement issued along with the RFP release.

Some of the threshold requirements for OMFV are a 30mm cannon and a second-generation, forward-looking infrared system, or FLIR. Objective requirements are a 50mm cannon and a third-generation FLIR.

Brig. Gen. Ross Coffman, who is in charge of Next-Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) modernization efforts, said at the Defense News Conference in September that he is confident the requirements set for OMFV are right and had no plans to change them.

The selected prototypes will go through “rigorous” operational testing and soldier assessments.

The Army plans to downselect to one vehicle for low-rate initial production following the assessments and testing.
 

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The Pentagon wants to extend the life of satellites and refuel on orbit
02 Oct 2019

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The MEV-1, which will be launched in the coming weeks, will be the first vehicle to provide commercial servicing for satellites in-orbit, says Northrop Grumman subsidiary SpaceLogistics.

Northrop Grumman is on the verge of launching a new satellite-servicing vehicle that could extend the life of satellites by years, and the Pentagon is interested in becoming a customer.

The life span of a satellite is often limited by its allotment of fuel, which it uses to remain in its assigned orbit or to move to a new one. While a satellite might remain fully operational for years to come, if it runs out of fuel, then it’s the end of the road. So even though the technology already on orbit is still useful to a client, a satellite provider has to launch an entirely new space vehicle with enough fuel to replace the doomed satellite.

But what if satellites could be refueled on orbit?

At the 2019 Global Satellite Servicing Forum on Oct. 1, leaders from SpaceLogistics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Northrop Grumman, said it’s on the verge of doing just that. Starting with the imminent launch of its first Mission Extension Vehicle, or MEV, the company is launching a satellite-servicing solution that can can extend a satellite’s life span by years by docking with on-orbit satellites and augmenting their propulsion.

While the launch of MEV-1 was delayed from Sept. 30, SpaceLogistics leaders expect their initial satellite-servicing vehicle will launch in the coming weeks.

The first client satellite is Intelsat 901, a communications satellite, said Joe Anderson, vice president of operations and business development for SpaceLogistics.

Following the launch, it will take MEV-1 about three months to meet up with Intelsat 901 in geostationary orbit. At that point, the Intelsat satellite will propel itself upward into the geosynchronous graveyard — an area above geosynchronous orbit typically used to dispose of satellites to prevent them from becoming orbital space debris.

From there, the space vehicle will approach the satellite and capture the client satellite.

Once attached, the mission extension vehicle takes control of Intelsat 901 using its electric propulsion to return the satellite to its geostationary orbit. The vehicle will remain docked for the next five years, extending Intelsat 901’s service life, before eventually taking it out to the geosynchronous graveyard for disposal.

Since MEV-1 has a 15-year design life, it can extend Intelsat 901’s service life longer, or move onto another satellite to provide the same service. It’s unclear exactly how much extra life this approach will provide to the serviced satellite.

According to Anderson, SpaceLogistics will be the first to market with its new on-orbit servicing solution.

And the Pentagon is interested in this technology. The Space Enterprise Consortium issued a contract to SpaceLogistics via the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center in late July to study the servicing of four national security satellites in space. The deal is a four-phase contract, explained Joshua Davis, a member of the developmental planning and projects team at the Aerospace Corporation, a federally funded nonprofit that advises the Department of Defense. According to Davis, that contract is currently in a feasibility study phase, which will be followed by a deep technical dive, mission-unique hardware development and, eventually, the execution of a servicing contract.

“We are not buying a servicer, we are procuring commercial services,” Davis said.

He noted that SMC needs to focus on building serviceability into satellites now so that it will be easier to have each satellite’s lives extended once on orbit. The cost of design elements that would make government satellites easily serviceable is negligible, said Davis, and it can save millions of dollars down the line.

Although Davis noted that no SMC satellites with on-orbit servicing features had been launched to date, Anderson said that SpaceLogistics’ space vehicle is compatible with approximately 80 percent of satellites on orbit, including many DoD satellites. And for those military satellites that are incompatible, future vehicles will be able to use robotic attachments to service them, he added.

While the second vehicle is entering production, Anderson said, SpaceLogistics is exploring its next generation of on-orbit servicing products. In the next iteration, a Mission Robotic Vehicle will launch along with a series of Mission Extension Pods. The pods will fan out until they are close to the client satellite in geostationary orbit, and then they will wait. The vehicle will make its way to each pod in turn and go through the process of attaching it to the client satellite, where it will be able to extend each satellite’s service life by augmenting propulsion. Once the pod is attached and working, the vehicle moves on to the next pod/satellite pair that needs to be attached.

In addition to installing the pods, the technology can also be used for basic satellite repairs, inspections and directly docking with on-orbit spacecraft.

Once installed, the pods are controlled by the customer. And when the satellite eventually reaches the end of its extended life, the pod will be able to remove the satellite from orbit or take it to the geosynchronous graveyard, preventing it from contributing to the growing threat of space debris.

SpaceLogistics’ next generation of satellite-servicing crafts is slated for launch in late 2023 or 2024.
 

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Navy starts second round of Ghost Fleet Overload USV tests
Having finished a first round of testing that included turning existing commercial vessels into unmanned vessels, the Navy will now look to integrate command-and-control and other systems.
Oct. 2, 2019

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An unmanned surface vessel sits at its pier following its final Phase I demonstration of its capabilities. The U.S. Navy said on Tuesday that it has begun the second phase of what is known as Ghost Fleet Overlord. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy


Oct. 2 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy announced the start of the second phase of its program of development of unmanned vessels, known as Ghost Fleet Overlord.

Naval Sea Systems Command on Tuesday announced the transition from the first to second phase of development, which officials say will help inform development and use of the branch's eventual USV fleet.

The first phase was dedicated to converting commercial fast supply vessels into USVs, or unmanned surface vessels, for testing. It centered on reliability tests, with over 600 hours of successful autonomous testing,

In the second phase, contracts were awarded to the two industry teams involved in the first phase to concentrate on integration of command-and-control systems and payloads, with more complex experimentation.

The Navy issued a request for proposals on Sept. 5 for the award of multiple conceptual design contracts for the Large USV in Fiscal Year 2020.

A RFP for the development of the Medium USV was issued in July. It has budgeted $400 million in Fiscal Year 2020 for two of the USVs in its research and development budget line. It intends to purchase two per year year until FY 2024, for a total of about $2.7 billion.
 

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AFCENT command moves from Qatar to US to increase resilience
Jeremy Binnie, London
02 October 2019

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The CAOC at Al-Udeid Air Base is seen empty on 28 September when its functions were temporarily taken over by personnel at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina. Source: US Air Force/Senior Airman Sean Campbell


In a proof-of-concept exercise carried out on 28 September, personnel at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina temporarily took over from the Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) at Qatar's Al-Udeid Air Base, US Air Forces Central Command (AFCENT) announced three days later.

"Command and control [C2] of the day's [AFCENT] air operations are happening from the United States at Shaw," said Colonel Trey Coleman, commander of the 609th Air Operations Center that took over from the CAOC. "Going forward, we plan to make this a regular thing. We will command and control airpower from distributed locations for a portion of every 24 hour Air Tasking Order period."

AFCENT Deputy Commander Major General Chance Saltzman noted that AFCENT's ability to provide C2 for US Central Command (CENTCOM) airspace was a critical capability. "Because it is critical, there are actors in the region committed to destroying this capability," he said.

"We now have the capability and capacity to control our forces from this location [the CAOC] and secure locations back in the United States," he added. "This resiliency assures that we can continue our mission to provide security and stability through airpower under any and all threat conditions and phases of operations."
 

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Rolls-Royce receives $109 million to support T56 family of aircraft engines
October 03, 2019

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The U.S. leading aircraft engines supplier Rolls-Royce Corp. has been awarded a maximum $109,252,327 requirements contract for supplies related to the support of the T56 family of aircraft engines, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

The U.S. aerospace company (headquartered in Indianapolis), a business unit of Rolls-Royce plc said that the T56 is a single shaft, modular design, turboprop engine. The gearbox has two stages of gear reduction, features a propeller brake and is connected to the power section by a torquemeter assembly.

The company’s website said the T56 family military turboprop is the leading large turboprop engine globally by a number of units sold and has over 230 million operating hours. It was originally developed by the Allison Engine Company for the Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport entering production in 1954. It has been a Rolls-Royce product since 1995 when Allison was acquired by Rolls-Royce.

The T56 is a robust, reliable turboprop engine operating in military and civil aircraft worldwide. The engine’s commercial version, the T56 501-D, is the world-leading large turboprop engine.
 

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