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U.S. Army, Marine Corps and Australia Partner to Improve Range and Accuracy of M777A2 Howitzer
October 26, 2019
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The U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) and Australian Defence Force (ADF) have partnered to increase the range and accuracy of M777A2 howitzer, under an effort termed as Long Range Cannon (LRC) project.

The genesis of the Long Range Cannon project was the M777 Extended Range (ER) Howitzer project, a 2014 prototyping initiative to significantly extend the range of the currently fielded M777A2 variant. That effort involved the incorporation of a longer cannon tube for extended-range firing; a more efficient muzzle brake to minimize blast overpressure on the gun crew; a reinforced recoil yoke for higher firing loads; longer road arms to compensate for the increased tube length; an upgraded recoil system for extended-range charges; and upgrades to the balancer system. In all, no structural changes are needed, as all of these are bolt-on assemblies. Dubbed the ER Kit, the prototype components can quickly be retrofitted onto existing howitzers.

In 2018, Army leadership prioritized the M777ER for acceleration and expanded the scope of the effort by adding the condition of improved accuracy at extended ranges. That, in turn, called for a new name-the Long Range Cannon. To achieve the dual goals of expanded range and improved accuracy as expeditiously and cost-effectively as possible, the Long Range Cannon team hopes to maximize the use of existing resources and leverage several technologies already in development.

Through a system-of-systems approach, the Long Range Cannon program integrates the M777ER with several high-potential, extended range and GPS-degraded or -denied artillery technologies, including the Location and Azimuth Determining System for more secure and accurate survey control and target acquisition; a projectile tracking system for improving impact accuracy; and a high-explosive, rocket-assisted projectile along with a supercharged propellant to achieve the desired maximum ranges.

The team plans to use the extended range armament to modernize the current weapon-ammunition interface, in an effort to further increase the maximum effective range that the M777ER can achieve. The information resulting from the interface modernization will also provide early data points for the Army’s emerging Mobile Howitzer program.
 

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BAE to bring advanced radar jamming tech to US Army aircraft

WASHINGTON — BAE Systems plans to demonstrate an interim advanced radar jammingtechnology next summer for helicopters and unmanned aircraft systems that is lighter and smaller than systems available now.

The company issued a statement Nov. 12 announcing the U.S. Army awarded it a research and development contract to bring the technology to bear. The system “aims to improve air survivability and mission effectiveness” for aircraft “by detecting and defeating complex and unknown threats in electronic combat," the statement read.

BAE will demonstrate the technology in July 2020.

The technology is under development within BAE Systems’ FAST Labs and combines adaptive radio frequency jamming and sensing capabilities into one system, a company statement noted.
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U.S., South Korea conduct joint air exercises
April 24, 2020
By Elizabeth Shim

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U.S. and South Korea militaries trained jointly this week, according to South Korean press reports. File Photo by Kim Hong-ji/EPA-EFE


April 24 (UPI) -- The United States and South Korea conducted joint air exercises this week as rumors swirled Kim Jong Un may be in poor health.

The air drills are replacement exercises for Vigilant Ace, a large-scale joint exercise that began in 2015, South Korean news service Newsis reported Friday.

The drills follow months of scaling back exercises in the wake of diplomatic engagement with the North. Washington and Seoul had agreed to cut back joint training and rename some of the exercises in 2018, but Pyongyang rejected talks the following year and pledged to develop more powerful weapons in January.

On Friday, South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo suggested the drills were being held because of rising North Korean flight activity.

"North Korea's inspections of artillery-focused combat readiness and the North Korean air force's flight activities are increasing, leading to increased military tension," Jeong said.

Seoul's military had also said Pyongyang's air force was "active" following the launches of suspected cruise missiles on April 14.

According to Newsis, North Korean MiG and Sukhoi jet fighters in training recently launched air-to-ground weapons in the East Sea, while North Korean aircraft conducted "unprecedented" drills in the West Sea.

Pro-engagement South Korean groups condemned the air exercises on Friday.

The South Korean Committee on the June 15 Joint Declaration said the military authorities are "once again compromising the spirit of the agreement in the Panmunjom Declaration and the U.S.-North Korea Singapore Statement."

The joint air exercises are practicing moves for a pre-emptive strike, the committee said.

South Korea continues to offer U.S. dollar loans to local banks as part of a currency swap agreement with the United States.

The Bank of Korea conducted a fifth auction of $4 billion in loans, according to News 1 on Friday.

South Korea previously signed a currency swap deal with the United States, in 2008.
 

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Navy accepts delivery of USS Zumwalt
By Christen McCurdy
April 24, 2020

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An SH-60R assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 21 flies near USS Zumwalt as the ship travels to its home port of San Diego, Calif. in 2016. Photo by Liz Wolter/U.S. Navy

April 24 (UPI) -- The Navy announced Friday that it has accepted delivery of the multi-mission surface combatant USS Zumwalt.

According to the service, the Zumwalt will now join the U.S. Pacific Fleet battle force and remain assigned to Surface Development Squadron One for at-sea testing.

"Delivery is an important milestone for the Navy, as DDG 1000 continues more advanced at-sea testing of the Zumwalt combat system," said Capt. Kevin Smith, DDG 1000 program manager, Program Executive Office, Ships.

"The combat test team, consisting of the DDG 1000 sailors, Raytheon engineers, and Navy field activity teams, have worked diligently to get USS Zumwalt ready for more complex, multi-mission at-sea testing. I am excited to begin demonstrating the performance of this incredible ship," Smith said.

The 610-foot Zumwalt, which was commissioned in 2013 and left port for its first operational deployment in 2019, is the first ship of the Zumwalt-class destroyers. Just three of the vessels were commissioned before the Zumwalt program was canceled in 2018.

The USS Michael Monsoor is homeported in San Diego and undergoing combat systems activation, and the future USS Lyndon B. Johnson is under construction at General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works shipyard in Bath, Maine.
 

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USS Kidd reports 18 COVID-19 cases in outbreak, military up to 3,919 cases
April 24, 2020

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Eighteen sailors assigned to the the Aleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd, shown here during a port visit to Seattle in 2010, have tested positive for COVID-19, the Navy said Friday. Photo by Nardel Gervacio/U.S. Navy

Eighteen sailors aboard the USS Kidd have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Navy said Friday, making the ship the latest of more than two dozen Navy vessels dealing with outbreaks on board.

According to the Navy, one sailor tested positive for the virus Thursday, prompting a specialized medical team to conduct contact tracing and additional online testing, with 17 more sailors testing positive for the virus.

The first sailor to test positive on the vessel was medically evacuated to the United States and is now receiving care in San Antonio, Texas.

"The first patient transported is already improving and will self-isolate. We are taking every precaution to ensure we identify, isolate, and prevent any further spread onboard the ship," said Rear Admiral Don Gabrielson, commander U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet. "Our medical team continues coordinating with the ship and our focus is the safety and well-being of every Sailor."

The Kidd will now return to port where a crew will clean and disinfect the ship, the Navy said.

Earlier this week, CNN reported that 26 Navy warships had current coronavirus cases, and another 14 had been hit by the virus, but the afflicted crew members have recovered.

There are 90 ships at sea with no reported cases and the Navy has 297 active duty warships.

The Navy has not publicly named individual ships dealing with coronavirus cases or released the exact number of individual cases out of concerns for operational security.

According to DoD data released Friday morning, 3,919 military service members have tested positive for COVID-19.

Of those, 840 were assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which, according to Navy officials, has completed testing of its crew of 4,800.
 

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Navy leaders recommend Mark Esper reinstate fired Roosevelt commander
April 24, 2020
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Top Navy officials have recommended that Brett Crozier, seen during an all-hands call on the flight deck of the USS Theodore Roosevelt in November 2019, be reinstated to his role as captain of the aircraft carrier. Photo by Nicholas Huynh/U.S. Navy | License Photo

April 24 (UPI) -- Top Navy officials have asked Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper to reinstate Brett Crozier as captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, but Esper has asked for more time before signing off on the decision.

Chief of Naval operations Admiral Michael M. Gilday and Acting Navy secretary James McPherson recommended Crozier's reinstatement in a briefing that took place as officials waited for results on Navy investigation into the matter Friday.

On Friday Pentagon officials confirmed Esper had "received a verbal update" regarding the Navy's inquiry into the COVID-19 outbreak on the Roosevelt.

"After the Secretary receives a written copy of the completed inquiry, he intends to thoroughly review the report and will meet again with Navy leadership to discuss next steps. He remains focused on and committed to restoring the full health of the crew and getting the ship at sea again soon," the statement said.

Crozier was dismissed from his post at the beginning of April after sending a memo asking for more resources to contain a COVID-19 outbreak on the aircraft carrier.

Then-Acting Navy Secretary Thomas B. Modly subsequently resigned from his post after a recording of him calling Crozier "naive or stupid" went public.

Modly had also claimed that Crozier had sent the email to "20 or 30" other individuals, but an investigation by the Washington Post found that it was actually sent to a small number of Navy officials.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released a statement Friday calling for Crozier's reinstatement.

"While Captain Crozier's actions at the outset of the health crisis aboard the TR were drastic and imperfect, it is clear he only took such steps to protect his crew," Smith wrote. "Not only did Captain Crozier have the full support of his crew, he also attempted to work within his chain of command. During this time of crisis, Captain Crozier is exactly what our Sailors need: a leader who inspires confidence."

The Roosevelt has been docked in Guam since the end of March to isolate and test its crew of 4,800 for the novel coronavirus.

As of Friday, 840 crew members had tested positive for the virus. One has died, four are in the hospital and 88 have recovered from the virus.

The rest of the ship's crew remains isolated on the island.
 

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Boeing nabs $75.1M for Super Hornet service life modification
April 24, 2020

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An F/A-18E Super Hornet prepares for landing at Volk Field Air National Guard Base, Camp Douglas, Wisc., in this August 2018 photo. Boeing has just been awarded a $75.1 million contract to extend the service lives of the aircraft, which have been in use since 2001. Photo by Mary E. Greenwood/U.S. Air National Guard


April 24 (UPI) -- Boeing received a $75.1 million contract Friday to support the F/A-18E-F Super Hornet service life modification program, according to the Pentagon.

Under the contract Boeing will provide engineering services to extend the aircraft's service life beyond the original design of 6,000 flight hours.

In February Boeing delivered the first Super Hornet modified under the Service Life Modification program.

The SLM upgrades are expected to extend each aircraft's service life from 6,000 to 7,500 flight hours, with future modification plans that may extend it to 10,000 flight hours.

According to Boeing, there are now 15 Super Hornets in the SLM program on production lines in St. Louis and San Antonio.

Earlier this month General Electric was awarded $51.5 million to provide engines for the Super Hornet, a twin-engine multirole fighter used by the United States and Australia and which first became operational in June 2001.

According to the Department of Defense, funds will be obligated on individual orders as they are issued.

Work on this contract will be divided evenly between St. Louis, Mo., and El Segundo, Calif., and is expected to be complete by April 2025.
 

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Lockheed nabs $147.6M for MK41 components

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Lockheed Martin was awarded a $147.6 million contract modification for components for the Navy's MK 41 Vertical Launching System for the United States and three allies, the Pentagon announced Thursday.

The deal modifies a contract awarded in February for the procurement of electronic components for the MK 41 system, which is installed aboard Navy surface combatant ships, as well as ships belonging to allies.

This contract is funded by the U.S. Navy as well as the governments of South Korea, Finland and Germany through the Pentagon's foreign military sales program.

The MK 41 launching system stores, selects, prepares and launches standard missiles as well as Tomahawk, Vertical Launch Anti-Submarine Rockets and Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles.

The bulk of the work on the deal will be performed in Baltimore, Md., and Fort Walton Beach, Fla., with an expected completion date of March 2025.
 

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Trump announces Blue Angels, Thunderbirds to conduct coronavirus tribute tour

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President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that the Navy Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds will conduct exhibitions over several U.S. cities in the coming weeks in honor of healthcare workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. File Photo by Lori Shepler/UPI | License Photo


President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced that Navy and Air Force flight demonstration teams will conduct exhibitions in several U.S. cities.

Trump said the mission, known as Operation America Strong, will feature airshows by the Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy Blue Angels will take place over the next several weeks, adding the demonstrations were "the idea of our great military men and women" to recognize healthcare workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This is a tribute to them, to our warriors because they're equal warriors to those incredible pilots and all of the fighters that we have for the more traditional fights that we win," he said.

Earlier Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds will jointly fly over Washington, D.C., Baltimore, New York City, Newark, Trenton, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Austin, according to a Pentagon memo.

The Blue Angels are also set to fly separately over 13 other cities including Miami, Tampa, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Detroit, Chicago, Indianapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, Kingsville and Corpus Christi.

The Thunderbirds will conduct separate flights over San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angels, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle.

Although Trump described the flights as "airshows" the memo said they would perform flyovers that will avoid traveling over areas where people can congregate.
 

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Air Force awards $258.7M to Dataminr for push alerts system

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The Air Force has awarded a contract to the AI firm Dataminr to create a push alerts solution. Photo by Jacob Sippel/U.S. Navy


April 23 (UPI) -- The Air Force has awarded Dataminr with a five-year, $258.7 million contract to develop a system of push alerts, the Pentagon announced Thursday.

The contract funds a commercially available license subscription that can "leverage a variety of publicly available information sources, evaluate content to detect emerging events as they are developing and push alerts to users based on user-defined areas and topics of interest."

The contract also requires that the solution Dataminr develops be capable of distributing alerts in near real-time via email, web-based application and mobile platforms.

"The solution must be available commercially in the marketplace and able to scale to a Department of Defense enterprise capability and keep pace with developments and standards within the commercial industry sector," the contract announcement said.

Dataminr is a New York City-based artificial intelligence firm that "detects the earliest signals of high-impact events and emerging risks from within publicly available data."

The company creates products for businesses and the public sector as well as for newsrooms.
 

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Pentagon awards $133M in N95 contracts to 3M, O&M Halyward and Honeywell
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Army 1st Lt. Liston Barber administers an N95 respirator fit test for Air Force 1st Lt. Jennifer Rossi, registered nurse, at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, Friday. The Department of Defense on Tuesday awarded $133 million to three contractors to increase production of the masks. Photo by Jason W. Edwards/U.S. Army

April 21 (UPI) -- The Pentagon announced Tuesday that it is awarding $133 million to increase domestic production of N95 masks by over 39 million over the next 90 days.

Under the deal, 3M will receive $76 million, O&M Halyward will receive $29 million and Honeywell will receive $27.4 million to make the masks, which have been in short supply since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Department of Defense, the investment is intended to ensure the United States government "gets dedicated long term industrial capacity to meet the needs of the nation."

3M is contracted to provide 78 million units within six months, with an additional 13 million units per month by June, where O&M Halyward will add 25 million units within 6 months and an additional 12.5 million masks every month after. Under the contract Honeywell will add 38 million units within six months and 12 million units per month after.

On Tuesday attorneys general from 19 states and the District of Columbia sent a letter to 3M CEO and board Chairman Michael Romando calling on the company more to fight price gouging, saying their offices have been flooded with complaints about excessive prices for the respirators.

Also on Tuesday, National Nurses United, the largest union of nurses in the United States, protested at the White House to demand President Donald Trump "use his authority under the Defense Production Act to order the mass production of PPE, including N95 respirators, face shields, gowns, gloves and shoe coverings, as well as ventilators and COVID-19 testing kits."

Earlier this month the Pentagon awarded an $86.4 million contract to Aurora Industries to provide face masks for the Defense Logistics Agency and last week Battelle Industries was awarded a $415 million deal to decontaminate N95 respirators, increasing the number of times they can be used twentyfold.
 

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Boeing delivers last Block II F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to the US Navy

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Boeing has delivered the final Block II F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to the US Navy (USN), handing over the last aircraft on 17 April, says the service.

“Aircraft E322 will leave Boeing’s production line and head straight to Strike Fighter Squadron 34 based in [Naval Air Station] Oceana,” says USN Commander Tyler Tennille, of the Defense Contract Management Agency, who supervises F/A-18 acceptance testing.

In total, the USN received 322 one-seat F/A-18Es and 286 two-seat F/A-18Fs as part of the Block II Super Hornet programme, which started in 2005. The aircraft fuselage is built at Northrop Grumman’s facilities in El Segundo, California. Final assembly is completed at Boeing’s St Louis facilities.

Compared to the initial tranche of Block I Super Hornets, which began production in 1997, the Block II variant came with Active Electronically Scanned Array radar, larger cockpit displays, upgraded sensors and avionics, and increased range.

The Super Hornet, which is about 3,180kg (7,000lb) heavier and has 50% greater range than the smaller classic Hornet, was ordered by the USN to replace the Grumman F-14 Tomcat, which was retired in 2006.

The USN and Boeing are also working on a Block III Super Hornet variant. The first two of the service’s Block III test jets are scheduled to be delivered in the next two months, says the USN. The service plans to flight test those aircraft at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland and Naval Air Weapons System China Lake in California in late spring 2020.

The Block III aircraft include a faster mission computer and a more-robust communications system – upgrades that could eventually help the aircraft control and direct loyal wingman unmanned air vehicles. The aircraft also have conformal fuel tanks, which carry 1,590kg of extra fuel, and a 10,000-flight-hour lifespan.

The USN plans to buy 72 Block III Super Hornet aircraft between FY2019 and FY2021.
 

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AeroVironment launches Quantix Recon, a military variant of its farm surveying drone
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AeroVironment has launched its Quantix Recon unmanned air vehicle (UAV), a military variant of its farm surveying drone, on the market.

The tail-sitting, vertical-take-off-and-landing UAV requires little to no training to operate, the company says on 22 April. AeroVironment had teased the military variant previously, but after the official announcement the company says it is now available for sale.

The drone is based on the company’s Quantix, a civilian UAV designed to help farmers survey crops. As an agricultural device, the UAV is intended to automatically survey land to help show farmers early signs of crop stress, water issues and estimated crop yields.

The Quantix Recon is able to do aerial reconnaissance using automated flight paths and two 18-megapixel cameras that can capture true color and multispectral images, says AeroVironment. For example, the UAV can be tasked to automatically surveil up to 160ha (395 acres) or 10.8nm (20km) linearly underneath its flight path.

Though AeroVironment has a collection of our group one UAVs, such as its hand-launched Raven and Puma drones, the company says the Quantix Recon is built with a different purpose.

”Quantix Recon addresses high-resolution mapping and image collection in both full color and multispectral bands, whereas our other Group 1 [UAVs] are designed to deliver real-time, full-motion video,” the company says. ”This high-resolution mapping requires flight controls and image processing, [via particular hardware and software], that are tailored to this distinct mission, creating consistent imagery that is georectified in near real-time onboard the aircraft.”

In other words, to stitch together an aerial image of the ground a specially designed UAV is required.

Users control the Quantic Recon and view images via a ruggedised Android touch-screen tablet. The drone’s flight path and surveillance area are set using waypoints or geofencing on the tablet.

AeroVironment says the drone can fly radio silent by relying on its GPS for navigation, something the commercial variant cannot do. The company is touting that feature as a means to avoid detection and radio frequency jamming. Also, the ability to fly disconnected from a radio controller increases the Quantix Recon’s range out to 10.8nm for out-and-back flights or 21.6nm for one-way flights, compared to the 1.1nm radio-range limit on the commercial type.

The drone has a battery pack that gives 45min of flight endurance. The UAV weighs 2.26kg (5lb).

The UAV can fly at altitudes ranging from 150ft to 800ft in winds up to 17kt (32km/h). The company says it is nearly inaudible at 360ft above ground level.
 

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Sikorsky's UH-60V upgrade for US Army, including digital cockpit, finishes initial operational test and evaluation
27 April 2020

The US Army’s UH-60V upgrade package, which enhances the “L” variant of the Sikorsky Black Hawk, has completed initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E).

Part of the upgrade package, the digital cockpit system, reached IOT&E in September 2019, says its manufacturer Northrop Grumman on 22 April.

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Source: US Army -US Army pilots testing UH-60V digital cockpit at Fort Lewis in Washington state

The US Army had not previously announced the UH-60V reaching the milestone. The service did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The service aims to bring the capabilities of the older UH-60L into closer alignment with its most modern example of the helicopter, the UH-60M. Upgrades include a digital glass cockpit with open architecture to replace the older analog gauges in UH-60L helicopters.
“Cockpit similarity with the UH-60M enables a single Army Black Hawk pilot training programme,” says the Pentagon’s Director Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) office in its 2019 annual report. “Once qualified on the UH-60M, pilots can transition to the UH-60V with minimal additional instruction.”

The new glass cockpit will also support navigating via Global Air Traffic Management requirements, a form of satellite-based flight guidance and air traffic control.
“By meeting [Global Air Traffic Management] standards, the UH-60V can file instrument flight plans and deploy anywhere [Global Air Traffic Management] standards are enforced,” says DOT&E, noting that the system is used in Europe.

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Source: US Army - testing UH-60V at Fort Lewis in Washington state US Army

The UH-60V upgrade also includes 10-year service life extension for the airframe

The US Army plans to upgrade more than 700 examples of the UH-60L with the “V” package. Northrop Grumman says low-rate initial production upgrades are currently ongoing.
 

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Blue Angels and Thunderbirds Announce U.S. Flyover Routes for Tuesday, April 28, 2020.
April 27, 2020

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The America Strong flyovers in honor of frontline COVID-19 workers is a rare opportunity to see both U.S. military jet teams flying in formation. (Photos: TheAviationist/Tom Demerly)


Formation Flights Will Honor Health Care Workers During COVID-19 Crisis.

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds have announced their schedule of flyovers in recognition of health care, first responder, law enforcement and all front-line personnel during the COVID-19 crisis for Tuesday, April 28, 2020. It is the first of a series of upcoming dedication flyovers to take place around the U.S. with additional cities and schedules to be announced.

According to a press release from the Air Force Thunderbirds on Monday, April 27, the first of the series of flyovers on Tuesday, April 28 will include, “Flyovers in Newark, New York City and surrounding boroughs will start at noon (EST) and last approximately 35 minutes. Flyovers in Trenton will start at 1:45 p.m. (EST) and last approximately 10 minutes. Flyovers in Philadelphia will start at 2 p.m. (EST and last approximately 20 minutes.”


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The routes and times for the combined Blue Angel/Thunderbird America Strong flyovers were published today with more venues to follow. (Photos: USAF Thunderbirds via Twitter)

As The War Zone was among the first outlets to report, the U.S. premier aerial demonstration teams had flown a rare cooperative training event at the Blue Angels’ home base at NAS Pensacola in Florida in what appeared to be the one of the first signs of secretive preparations for some form of nation-wide morale-boosting event.

The flyovers will include 12 aircraft in the demonstration formation, six USAF F-16 Fighting Falcons of the Thunderbirds in their distinctive red, white and blue color schemes, and six U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornets in their unique navy blue and gold liveries. It is unusual to see the two teams fly together in formation, making these tribute events to frontline COVID-19 workers unique. It is also likely additional aircraft may accompany the Blue Angel/Thunderbird dedication formation as camera aircraft.

The Air Force and Navy have reminded people viewing the dedication flyovers to maintain social distancing guidelines and mask use while outside viewing the aircraft. Both the team’s public affairs officials went on to ask that spectators, “should also refrain from traveling to landmarks, hospitals and gathering in large groups to view the flyover.”

To break down the schedule based on the official press release: The formation is scheduled to appear over Newark at the George Washington Bridge at 12:00 noon. This segment is planned to include several passes at the northwest side of Manhattan. From there the formation will fly over Brooklyn in several planned passes between 12:05-12:20 p.m. (EST). The aircraft formation will approach from different directions (see map) during this time providing excellent photo opportunities. From here the 12-plane formation will begin a large circuit over Hempstead, Bay Shore, Long Island, Stamford, White Plains, and then back between Manhattan and Brooklyn at approximately 12:40 p.m. to finish.

Local weather forecasts for the flyover are excellent, with light winds, scattered clouds and temperatures reaching a high of 65° F (18° C) during the day.

In a press release issued by the Air Force today, Thunderbird 1 and mission commander Col. John Caldwell said, “We are truly excited to take to the skies with our Navy counterparts for a nation-wide tribute to the men and women keeping our communities safe. We hope to give Americans a touching display of American resolve that honors those serving on the frontline of our fight with COVID-19.”

U.S. Navy Blue Angel commander Cmdr. Brian Kesselring said in the press release, “We are incredibly honored to have the opportunity to salute those working on the frontline of the COVID-19 response, we are in awe of your strength and resilience. Thank you to all of those in essential industries keeping our nation moving forward. We will get through this. We are all in this together.”

The ongoing series of dedication formation flyovers, named “America Strong” will continue around the U.S. at additional venues to be announced. The Air Force and Navy have asked that people sharing their images on social media include the hashtag, #AmericaStrong

The Thunderbirds have already carried out a Las Vegas and a Colorado flyover to pay tribute to healthcare workers.
 

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