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BAE Systems awarded $48 million for next-generation artillery system
October 5, 2019

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M109A6 Paladin self-propelled artillery (left) and an M992 field artillery ammunition supply vehicle. Photo by Capt. Scott Walters


BAE Systems Land & Armaments L.P., a business unit of leading British defense firm BAE Systems, was awarded a $48 million contract modification to support producing of advanced variants of Paladin artillery system.

The contract modification announced on 4 October by the U.S. Department of Defense, calls for the company’s Pennsylvania-based division, to prepare to build the M109A7 self-propelled howitzer and M992A3 field artillery ammunition support vehicle.

The Department of Defense said Friday that BAE Systems received a $48 million modification for long-lead material associated with the build of the newest self-propelled howitzer and carrier-ammunition tracked vehicle. Work will be performed in York, Maine, with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2023.

The M109A7 is the latest howitzer in the BAE Systems M109 family of vehicles, the primary indirect fire support system for the ABCTs. It uses the existing main armament and cab structure of a Paladin M109A6, and replaces the vehicle’s chassis components with modem components common to the Bradley vehicle. The improved chassis structure provides greater survivability and commonality with the existing systems in the ABCT, reducing operational sustainability costs by replacing obsolete components.

The M109A7 program enhances the reliability, maintainability, performance, responsiveness, and lethality of the combat-proven M109A6 Paladin Self-Propelled Howitzer and M992A2 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicle’s (FAASV) while providing increased commonality within the U.S. Army Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT).

The M109A7 is supported by the Army as a vital technology enhancement program to maintain the combat capability of its ABCTs. The M109A7 will solve long-term readiness and modernization needs of the M109 family of vehicles through a critical redesign and production plan that leverages the most advanced technology available today. This state-of-the-art “digital backbone” and power generation capability provides a more robust, survivable and responsive indirect fire support capability for ABCT Soldiers.
 

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Lockheed Martin gets $75 million Littoral Combat Ship contract modification
October 5, 2019

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Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems, a business unit of Lockheed Martin, has been awarded a $75,7 million U.S. Navy contract modification for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program.

Under the modification, Lockheed Martin, Rotary and Mission Systems will provide expert design, planning and material support services for LCS-class ship construction.

Work will be performed in Hampton, Virginia (31%); Moorestown, New Jersey (27%); Washington, District of Columbia (22%); and Marinette, Wisconsin (20%), and is expected to be completed by October 2020.

Lockheed Martin is in full-rate production and has delivered eight Freedom-variant ships to the U.S. Navy. There are eight ships in various stages of production and test. This year, Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine will begin construction on two ships, deliver two ships, complete sea trials for two ships and see three ships commissioned.

The Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship is a resilient flexible warship, designed from the keel up to affordably take on new capabilities – from the most advanced sensors, to the latest missiles, to cutting-edge cyber systems. Its speed, strength and versatility make it a critical tool to help our Sailors achieve the mission.

Like all warships, the LCS is being built to fight. The Freedom-variant LCS meets and exceeds the survivability requirements for the three-ship classes it replaces.
 

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420th Flight Test Squadron reactivated to support super-secret bomber testing
October 5, 2019

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The 420th Flight Test Squadron was reactivated following an assumption of command ceremony on Oct. 4, according to a recent service news release. The squadron will plan, test, analyze and report on all flight and ground testing of the Air Force’s super-secret B-21 Raider long-range strike bomber.

The 420 FLTS is organized under the 412th Test Wing, which is part of the Air Force Test Center, headquartered at Edwards. The squadron, along with the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, will ensure the Air Force delivers this asymmetric capability to the warfighter.

The B-21 will be a highly survivable, next-generation bomber with the ability to penetrate modern air defenses and hold any target at risk globally.

The program has a mature and stable design and is transitioning to manufacturing development of the first test aircraft in Palmdale, California.

“The first flight of the Raider will take it from Palmdale to Edwards AFB, where the legacy of excellence will continue with the reactivation of the 420th Flight Test Squadron,” said Acting Secretary of the Air Force Matthew Donovan, during the Air Force Association Conference Sept. 16.

This legacy of excellence began July 17, 1989, when the B-2 Spirit, the world’s first stealth bomber, took off from Northrop Grumman’s production facility at Plant 42 in Palmdale, and landed 112 minutes later at Edwards for developmental testing by the 420th FLTS.
 

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Lynx 41 disqualified from Bradley replacement competition
05 Oct 2019

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Rheinmetall's KF 41 Lynx on display at the company's facility in Unterleuss, Germany.


WASHINGTON — The Army has disqualified Raytheon and Rheinmetall’s bid for the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle prototype competition, Defense News has learned.

The OMFV is meant to replace the service’s Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle. The Army’s plan was to take the bid samples submitted this week, evaluate them over a period of time and then choose two companies to deliver 14 prototypes each and then would pick a single winner after further evaluation. The Army’s goal was to begin replacing Bradleys in 2026.

The Army would not comment on the disqualification and said in a statement sent to Defense News that the solicitation for the OMFV prototyping effort closed on Oct. 1 and “we are now in the competition sensitive Source Selection Evaluation process.”

The service noted in the statement that it “remains committed to rapidly execute the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle program,” its number two modernization priority.

But multiple sources have confirmed that the bid — Rheinmetall’s Lynx 41 Infantry Fighting Vehicle — was disqualified and the bid sample, the only one in existence, remains in Germany at the company’s facility in Unterluss.

The Army required the competitors to deliver a single bid sample — a full-up working vehicle — to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, by Oct. 1.

The Lynx has left the Rheinmetall compound several times before, notably to travel to be unveiled in Paris at Eurosatory in June 2018 and again at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference last fall. Raytheon and the Rheinmetall announced at AUSA that they would partner on the OMFV program and submit Lynx as its offering.

The disqualification of the team means that General Dynamics Land Systems’ offering is the only vehicle remaining in the competition. According to sources, no other company submitted. Hanwha, a South Korean defense company, was interested in competing but chose not to participate, multiple sources claim.

Industry sources have said that several companies who wanted to compete or submitted bids had asked for extensions, roughly 90 days in the case of Rheinmetall, to meet requirements.

According to multiple sources, potential bidders expressed concern to the service that meeting the requirements, the timeline and a combination of the two wasn’t possible.

What snarled Rheinmetall, for instance, according to sources, was the timeline it needed to get approvals from the local municipal government to transport the vehicle by tractor trailer or rail and then via air.

Sources said that the company had requested a four-week extension to deliver the vehicle to Aberdeen and also offered to hand over the vehicle to the Army under lock and bond in Germany by the Oct. 1 deadline and both were denied.

But a larger issue, multiple sources conveyed, was the clear differences between what the Army acquisition community and what Army Futures Command wanted to do. Sources confirmed that the acquisition side of the house was willing to agree to extensions, for instance, but AFC, who is in charge of rapid requirements development and prototyping efforts ahead of programs of record, insisted the Army must adhere to the schedule.

Industry also expressed concern to the Army over the roughly 100 mandatory requirements, with just six tradeable ones, expected to be met over 15 months using non-developmental vehicles.

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 was confident the requirements set for OMFV are appropriate and had no plans to change them.

Presently, the OMFV competition is on hold due to a congressionally mandated continuing resolution that prevents the effort from kicking off. The Army had planned to begin the $378 million program in the first quarter after taking receipt of the bid samples at the start of the new fiscal year.

As the Army enters its competition to build prototypes to replace the Bradley, Australia is running a similar effort and recently downselected to two competitors: Rheinmetall’s Lynx and an offering from Hanwha. GDLS was competing but did not make the final cut. Australia laid out just five mandatory requirements for its competition.

GDLS has not yet detailed its offering for OMFV but said it was “purpose built” for the U.S. Army.
 

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US ARSOAC/USSOCOM trials GBU-39/B with Gray Eagle UAS
Robin Hughes, London
07 October 2019

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ARSOAC, in association with USSOCOM, conducted successful release trials of the Dynetics baseline and Block I variant GBU-69/B Small Glide Munitions from an ARSOAC MQ-1C ER Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft system at China Lake in August. Source: Dynetics

The United States Army Special Operations Aviation Command (ARSOAC), in association with the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), has performed a series of complex launch trials with the Dynetics baseline and Block I variant GBU-69/B Small Glide Munitions (SGMs) from an ARSOAC MQ-1C Gray Eagle Extended Range (GE-ER) medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aircraft system (UAS).

Conducted in late August at the US Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, the trials mark the first time the GBU-69/B weapon system has been released from a UAS and represent an expanded platform set from which the munition can be employed.

The baseline GBU-69/B SGM is a 60 lbs (27.2 kg)-class precision glide munition, 11.4 cm in diameter, and has a wingspan of 71.1 cm. The system incorporates a Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) GPS receiver, a BAE Systems Distributed Aperture Semi-Active Laser Seeker (DASALS) adapted from the WGU-59/B Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System for terminal guidance, and a 36 lbs (16.3 kg) blast-fragmentation warhead that can be detonated either on impact or using a variable height of burst sensor. The munition features a mid-body fold-out wing assembly and aft lattice control surfaces similar to the Dynetics-developed designs used on the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast and GBU-57A/B Massive Ordnance Penetrator weapons.

An enhanced variant of the baseline SGM, the GBU-69/B Block 1 variant retains the same 36 lbs warhead, but is also furnished with a Raytheon-developed X-Net two-way datalink.
 

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USN pushes carriers through maintenance availabilities
Michael Fabey, Washington, DC

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USS Dwight D Eisenhower (CVN 69) recently completed its Tailored Ship’s Training Availability/Final Evaluation Problem (TSTA/FEP). Source: US Navy
Having completed its Tailored Ship's Training Availability/Final Evaluation Problem (TSTA/FEP) in the latter half of September, aircraft carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower (CVN 69) is gearing up for its Integrated Phase of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan as the ship transitions back to the fleet following its recent extensive maintenance availability.

Those availabilities are key to maintaining overall US Navy (USN) fleet strength with carriers anchoring the USN global deployment strategy.
The USN has begun to hone its execution of those carrier maintenance availabilities.

For example, when USS Nimitz (CVN 68) completed docking planned incremental availability (DPIA) on 27 May at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility four days ahead of schedule, that marked the seventh consecutive early or on-time completion of an aircraft carrier availability at that facility.

Before completing its work on Nimitz , the Puget Sound and its Japan and San Diego detachments had notched similar success in other carrier availabilities.

The USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) planned incremental availability was completed on time in San Diego in December 2016. Another Roosevelt planned incremental availability was completed 25 days early in San Diego in December 2018.

The USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) selected restricted availability was finished one day early in Japan in May 2017. Another Reagan selected restricted availability was completed on time in Japan in May 2018, and a third Reagan selected restricted availability was done on time in Japan in May 2019.
The USS John C Stennis (CVN 74) planned incremental availability was completed five days early in Bremerton, Washington state, in August 2017.
 

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U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jet crashes in Germany
October 8, 2019



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A U.S. Air Force F-16CM/DM Fighting Falcon fighter jet, assigned to the 480th Fighter Squadron, 52nd Fighter Wing, at Spangdahlem, crashed over a forest near Zemmer in Western Germany.

The pilot was able to eject out of the aircraft in time and was taken to hospital suffering minor injuries. According to a U.S. Air Force spokesperson, the plane crashed during a routine training flight.

Base spokeswoman Angela Watson confirmed the plane crashed around 3 p.m. on Tuesday and the pilot was safe. She had no immediate details about the cause of the crash.

The fighter jet came down in an uninhabited area, according to German broadcaster SWR. Police received emergency calls about the crash at around 3:15pm local time.

The crash site is a few miles south of Spangdahlem and north of the city of Trier, according to the Stripes.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.
 

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U.S. Army to hold largest military exercise in Europe since Cold War
October 8, 2019


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The Department of the Army announced today the largest U.S.-based Army exercise of forces to Europe in the last 25 years, since the Cold War.

The exercise, called DEFENDER-Europe 20, will increase strategic readiness and interoperability by exercising the U.S. military’s ability to rapidly move a large combat force of soldiers and equipment from the continental United States to Europe, and, alongside allies and partners, quickly respond to a potential crisis.

The U.S. Army Europe-led, joint, multinational training exercise is scheduled in the spring of 2020 and supports objectives defined by NATO to build readiness within the alliance and deter potential adversaries.

“DEFENDER-Europe 20 is a great opportunity to demonstrate the US Army’s un-matched ability to rapidly project forces across the globe while operating alongside our allies and partners in multiple contested domains,” said Lt. Gen. Charles Flynn, the US Army Deputy Chief of Staff G-3/5/7.

Approximately 37,000 U.S., allied, and partner nation service members are expected to participate, with roughly 20,000 Soldiers deploying from the U.S.

The publication Defense News reported Monday that the division-scaled exercise will test the Army’s ability to deliver a force from “fort in the United States to port in the United States,” and then to ports in Europe, and from there to operational areas throughout Europe from Germany to Poland to the Baltic states and other Eastern European nations, Nordic countries and even Georgia.

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Boeing releases video of second flight of newest unmanned refueling aircraft
October 8, 2019
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The U.S. largest defense-and-aerospace company Boeing posted a video of the second flight of its new unmanned refueling aircraft to its Twitter page on Monday.

“MQ-25 took to the skies again last week, this time with landing gear up!,” Boeing said on Twitter, pointing that the company “continuing a rigorous flight test program for the U.S. Navy unmanned aerial refueler.”

The Boeing-owned test asset is a predecessor to the engineering development model (EDM) aircraft and is being used for early learning and discovery to meet the goals of the U.S. Navy’s accelerated acquisition program. Boeing will produce four EDM MQ-25 air vehicles for the U.S. Navy.

T1 received its experimental airworthiness certificate from the FAA in September, verifying that the air vehicle meets the agency’s requirements for safe flight.

The new Boeing’s MQ-25 Stingray, or drone tanker, is designed to launch from an aircraft carrier at sea and aerial refuel Navy fighter jets such as the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler, and Lockheed Martin F-35C fighters. Integration of the Stingray into the Carrier Air Wing (CVW) will increase the number of F/A-18s and F-35Cs available for strike fighter missions and extend the range of the CVW, improving its performance, efficiency and safety.

The Navy’s goal for the aircraft is to be able to deliver 15,000 lb (6,800 kg) of fuel total to 4 to 6 airplanes at a range of 500 nmi (580 mi; 930 km).

The company’s website said the MQ-25 brings the right combination of refueling, autonomy, and seamless carrier deck integration to deliver a solution that meets the U.S. Navy’s goals: put a low-cost unmanned aerial refueling aircraft on the flight deck as soon as possible.

The Navy awarded Boeing an $805.3 million Engineering, Manufacturing and Development contract for the MQ-25 Aug. 30, 2018.
#MQ25 took to the skies again last week, this time with landing gear up! We’re continuing a rigorous flight test program for the @USNavy unmanned aerial refueler. pic.twitter.com/82aGtkRBIW
— Boeing Defense (@BoeingDefense) October 7, 2019
*video on embedded Tweet
 

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U.S. Army awards contract to BAE Systems for additional Bradley A4 Infantry Fighting Vehicles
October 8, 2019

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The U.S. premiere supplier of combat vehicles BAE Systems has announced that it received an Army’s contract modification worth up to $269 million for continued production of the Bradley.

The award for an additional 168 upgraded Bradley A4 Infantry Fighting Vehicles is part of the Army’s combat vehicle modernization strategy and helps ensure force readiness of the Armored Brigade Combat Teams (ABCT).

The Bradley A4 is equipped with an enhanced powertrain that maximizes mobility and increases engine horsepower, providing rapid movement in reaction to combat or other adverse situations. Wide angle Driver’s Vision Enhancer, improved Force XXI Battle Command Bridge and Below (FBCB2) software integration improves friendly and enemy vehicle identification, enhancing situational awareness. The addition of a High Speed Slip Ring, greater network connectivity and Smart Displays that simultaneously display classified and unclassified information also improve situational awareness.

“The Bradley is one of the most critical vehicles in the Army’s ABCT today because it allows the Army to transport troops to the fight, and provide covering fire to suppress enemy vehicles and troops,” said Scott Davis, vice president of combat vehicle programs for BAE Systems. “Upgrading to the A4 configuration provides soldiers with more power to increase their speed and ability to integrate enhanced technology to ensure they maintain the advantage on the battlefield.”

Previously awarded funding for initial production of 164 Bradley A4 vehicles allowed BAE Systems to begin production. The award of this option brings the total production funding to $578 million. It includes upgrades and associated spares of two Bradley variants: the M2A4 Infantry Fighting Vehicle and the M7A4 Fire Support Team Vehicle.

Work on the program will take place at Red River Army Depot in Texarkana, Texas, and BAE Systems’ facilities in Aiken, South Carolina; Anniston, Alabama; Minneapolis, Minnesota; San Jose, California; Sterling Heights, Michigan; and York, Pennsylvania.
 

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Northrop Grumman successfully tests newest minehunting sonar system
October 8, 2019

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U.S defense giant Northrop Grumman has announced that it successfully operated the new AQS-24 minehunting sonar system at depths greater than 400 feet during system testing off the coast of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Embarked on the M/V Richard Becker, the Northrop Grumman test team demonstrated reliable AQS-24 system operations with excellent sonar performance at all tested depths, while using the system to classify bottom objects of interest.

The AQS-24 sonar is a rapidly deployable sonar system that provides acoustic images for detection, classification and localization of bottom and moored mines. The AQS-24 equipment includes an actively-controlled towed body, an electromechanical tow cable and signal processing and recording electronics. The towed body contains a synthetic aperture side scan, multi-beam sonar that provides a wide range of focused acoustic signals. An optional laser line scan section can be attached to provide optical target identification.

“The AQS-24 minehunting system performed superbly at tow depths up to and beyond 400 feet,” said Alan Lytle, vice president, undersea systems, Northrop Grumman. “This latest internal research and development effort underscores our commitment to provide the most innovative, affordable and operationally-proven capabilities to meet the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Mine Countermeasures Mission (MCM) package requirements and future expeditionary MCM needs.”

Earlier this year, Northrop Grumman demonstrated an autonomy upgrade path for the AQS-24’s minehunting system by integrating and successfully testing the company’s image exploitation suite, incorporating state-of-the-art machine learning for automatic target recognition (ATR) using multiple ATR algorithms. Following this successful demonstration, the U.S. Navy plans to incorporate this new capability into existing AQS-24 minehunting systems.

The success of Deep Tow is now followed by the recently commenced in-water testing of Northrop Grumman’s AQS-24 system on the Navy’s MCM unmanned surface vessel (USV) at Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City. This is in preparation for user operated evaluation system testing aboard the LCS in 2020. The AQS-24’s newly doubled depth capability is planned for integration and test with the MCM USV system.

These major enhancements to the U.S. Navy’s only operational minehunting towed sonar – running deeper, automatically detecting and reporting targets, and providing the transition to the LCS MCM USV – increases the operational effectiveness of the AQS-24 system while providing the warfighter with an unprecedented capability that affordably meets operational needs and provides a proven path for continued integration of state-of-the-art technology.

Currently, Sea mines pose a significant threat to U.S., allied and commercial shipping, particularly in navigation choke points and transit lanes.
 

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V-22 Osprey fleet pass 500,000 flight hour mark
October 8, 2019

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The V-22 Osprey fleet of helicopter-plane hybrid, co-manufactured by Bell and Boeing, has achieved a historic industry milestone: 500,000 flight hours.

More than 375 Ospreys tiltrotor aircraft logged the hours, including the U.S. Air Force CV-22 and the U.S. Marine Corps MV-22.

“The V-22 provides unmatched capability for the U.S. Marines and U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command,” said U.S. Marine Corps Col. Matthew Kelly, V-22 Joint Program Manager. “The platform’s influence on our nation’s defense is seen through its extensive operational and humanitarian impact across the globe.”

The V-22 Osprey is the world’s only production tiltrotor aircraft, enabling servicemen and women to conduct diverse missions throughout the most difficult operating environments. Most recently, the aircraft deployed to assist relief efforts in the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian.

“Since delivery of the first V-22 aircraft, Bell Boeing has ensured that our men and women in uniform have this indispensable asset available to protect heroes and save lives,” said Kristin Houston, vice president, Boeing Tiltrotor Programs and director, Bell Boeing V-22 Program.

Bell Boeing supports V-22 readiness through a comprehensive sustainment effort that includes maintenance, training, on-site field representatives and data analytics. Bell Boeing is also working with the V-22 program office on several efforts to improve V-22 readiness. The Marines’ Common Configuration Readiness and Modernization program (CC-RAM), the Air Force’s configuration reducing modification plan, and nacelle wiring and structure improvements are expected to increase readiness of the V-22 fleet.

“V-22 is one of the highest demand platforms in the Department of Defense. This achievement is a great testament to the Marines and Air Commandos operating this platform in all environments,” said Chris Gehler, Bell V-22 vice president and Bell Boeing deputy program director. “We are committed to providing unparalleled support to our partners by steadily improving Osprey readiness and capabilities now and in the future.”

Since 2007, the V-22 has continuously served the Marines and Navy, as well as Air Force Special Operations. A third variant, the CMV-22, is scheduled to join the U.S. Navy fleet in 2020.
 

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U.S. Navy commissioned its 20th littoral combat ship

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The U.S. Navy commissioned the newest littoral combat ship, USS Cincinnati (LCS 20)during a ceremony in Gulfport, Mississippi.

“I hereby place the United States Ship Cincinnati in commission. May God bless and guide this warship and all who shall sail in her,” said Adm. James Foggo during a ceremony Saturday in Gulfport.

The USS Cincinnati is the ninth of the Independence-variant and 20th littoral combat ship of a planned 32 ships in two designs. Furthermore, it’s the fifth Navy vessel to bear the name of the “Queen City” of Ohio.

The first was a stern-wheel casemate gunboat that served during the Civil War and was sunk by Confederate fire on two separate occasions. Raised both times and returned to service, she was decommissioned following the war.

The second Cincinnati was a cruiser commissioned in 1894. She served extensively in the Caribbean before, during, and after the Spanish-American War before being decommissioned in 1919.

The third ship to bear the name was a light cruiser commissioned in 1924 that served around the world and earned a battle star for World War II service that included convoy escort and blockade duty. She was decommissioned in 1945 after the war ended.

The fourth Cincinnati was a Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine commissioned in 1978. The boat served for 17 years before being decommissioned in 1995.

LCS is a modular, reconfigurable ship, designed to meet validated fleet requirements for surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare and mine countermeasures missions in the littoral region.

The Cincinnati was built by General Dynamics and Austal USA. It holds up to 40 sailors and carries two MH-60R/S Seahawk helicopters and a MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned autonomous helicopter.

An interchangeable mission package is embarked on each LCS and provides the primary mission systems in one of these warfare areas. Using an open architecture design, modular weapons, sensor systems and a variety of manned and unmanned vehicles to gain, sustain and exploit littoral maritime supremacy, LCS provides U.S. joint force access to critical areas in multiple theaters.
Ready for duty! Check out this beauty – the USS Cincinnati commissioned this morning in Mississippi. The Navy combat ship is fast and agile, designed for operation in near-shore environment. @dsmann115 was part of the ceremony @Local12 #usscincinnati photo cred – Heather Whitton pic.twitter.com/xV0cVlxP7z
— meghan mongillo (@meghanmongillo) October 5, 2019
 

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U.S. Navy christened newest nuclear-powered fast attack submarine

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The U.S. Navy has christened its newest Virginia-class attack submarine, future USS Oregon (SSN 793), during a ceremony on Saturday, October. 5, at the General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard in Groton.

Politicians, shipyard leaders and Navy officials gathered for a ceremony, where they spoke about the importance of Virginia-class submarines and praised the skills of the thousands of shipyard workers in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Virginia who built the USS Oregon.

Vice Adm. James Kilby said the USS Oregon, outfitted with the most modern weapons and sensors, will disappear beneath the waves and never be detected until a time and place of its choosing. It “truly represents naval combat power,” said Kilby, a deputy chief of naval operations.

The submarine is expected to cost about $2.7 billion and join the fleet next year. It will officially become the USS Oregon when it’s commissioned.
The SSN 793 will be the third naval ship to bear the name Oregon. The first was a battleship used in the late 1800s. The second was a battleship best known for its roles in the Spanish American War when it helped destroy Admiral Cervera’s fleet and in the Philippine-American War; it performed blockade duty in Manila Bay and off Lingayen Gulf, served as a station ship, and aided in the capture of Vigan.

Oregon’s keel was laid down on 8 July 2017, in a ceremony held at the Quonset Point Facility of General Dynamics Electric Boat in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, with sponsor Mrs. Dana L. Richardson, wife of the Chief of Naval Operations, ADM John Richardson, in attendance.

The next-generation attack submarines will provide the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation’s undersea supremacy well into the 21st century. They will have enhanced stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and special warfare enhancements that will enable them to meet the Navy’s multi-mission requirements.

These submarines will have the capability to attack targets ashore with highly accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct covert, long-term surveillance of land areas, littoral waters or other sea-based forces. Other missions include anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare; mine delivery and minefield mapping. They are also designed for special forces delivery and support.

Each Virginia-class submarine is 7,800-tons and 377 feet in length, has a beam of 34 feet, and can operate at more than 25 knots submerged. It is designed with a reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship, reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time.
 

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U.S. Army’s light armored vehicles to receive solution against GPS jamming threats
October 9, 2019

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Photo by Sgt. Ryan Barwick

The U.S. Army has reported that its light armored vehicles are receiving modern anti-jamming devices that enable reliable GPS/GNSS navigation even in the most challenging military environments.

Currently, GPS jamming threat is one of Army priorities, because jamming and interference can seriously degrade GPS position, navigation and time availability – even to the point of total solution denial. Jammers create excessive noise, overpowering the low power GPS signals and saturating the electronics in a GPS receiver front end.

Sixty-two of the first iteration of mounted anti-jam GPS devices were equipped into light armored vehicles in Germany over the past month, with thousands more scheduled to be installed into U.S. European Command vehicles by 2028, according to a recent service news release.

The Mounted Assured Precision Navigation & Timing System — known as MAPS — was developed to provide trusted PNT to a platform, such as Stryker vehicles, by pairing a GPS receiver with an anti-jam antenna, said Col. Nickolas Kioutas, PNT project manager.

The electronic technology comes amid the Army’s vision for 2028, to best prepare Soldiers for possible warfare with near-peer competitors, who have used electronic warfare to disrupt communications vital to Western forces in recent years.

This year, more than 300 Stryker vehicles, all from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, are expected to be fielded with MAPS technology, said Willie Nelson, the director of the Army’s Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing, or APNT Cross-Functional Team.

Upgraded first-generation and second-generation technology is also expected to be unveiled in the future.

The Army also plans to equip armored brigades with the technology, and put MAPS in vehicles such as the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, M1 Abrams tank, and the M109 Paladin self-propelled howitzer. After those “priority vehicles” the Army will evaluate the mounted device in second-tier priority vehicles, Nelson said.

In the past, armored vehicles have used multiple Defense Advanced GPS receivers, known as DAGR devices

MAPS replaces multiple DAGR devices with one “really good system,” said Kioutas. The new system uses a chip-scale atomic clock for timing,
Selective Availability and Anti Spoof Module, or SAASM, for GPS, and anti-jamming antenna to distribute PNT information.

In addition, future iterations of MAPS will include non-GPS sensors by fusing GPS with alternate navigation and timing technologies to ensure accurate PNT that Soldiers can trust while operating in various threat or denied environments, according to a statement.

A single-point GPS also creates multiple practical benefits for Soldiers, such as less maintenance and system key-failing, Kioutas said, adding many of his team’s decisions are based on Soldier feedback, because listening to them today helps prepare them for tomorrow.

Simply put, “MAPS continues to work whenever a GPS signal is weakened or compromised,” he said.

“This is the first technology equipping for the Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing Cross-Functional Team, and one of the first for Army Futures Command,” Kioutas said.

Nelson noted that they’re “working in parallel with both mounted vehicles and dismounted Soldier’s PNT gear.”

Earlier this year, a requirements document for the dismounted Soldier’s PNT was signed. Now, currently in the prototyping phase, the latest iteration of a dismounted GPS receiver can send secure PNT data wired or wirelessly, Kioutas said.

“A lot is happening here, a lot of good success,” Nelson said, adding, the most important thing for his team is to get the best equipment to “warfighters on the front lines and getting their feedback rolled back into the next generation.”

Nelson will host a Warrior’s Corner presentation Oct. 15 focusing on the PNT CFT’s Tactical Space Line of Effort, at the Walter E. Washington Convention center in Washington, D.C

According to the latest analysis reports, GPS jamming and spoofing threats are increased after the Russian military intervention in Ukraine and Syria.
Russian-linked electronic warfare equipment has been used thousands of times – including outside of the country’s own territories. Using data collected by the International Space Station (ISS), researchers found GPS jamming technology being used in Russian controlled areas of Syria.
 

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