US military, technology, arms, tactics

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 29 Mar 2021 13:30

Air Force seeks new opportunities to apply the computer-to-prototype model of design

Air Force officials are looking to expand the program under which new equipment is designed completely digitally, and moving to construction without blueprints or clay models. It’s already been proven in several programs. And for what’s ahead, Federal Drive with Tom Temin turned to the Air Force’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Science, Technology and Engineering, Kristen Baldwin.

.......


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 29 Mar 2021 20:18

AFSOCS NEWEST A-29 LIGHT ATTACK AIRCRAFT CLOSER TO FINAL DELIVERY

CENTENNIAL, Colo., March 29, 2021 – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and Embraer Defense & Security reached another milestone in production of the second of three A-29 Super Tucano aircraft for the Combat Aviation Advisor (CAA) mission for Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). The aircraft landed, Code 1, at SNC’s Centennial, Colorado, modification facilities February 23, 2021.

AFSOC will use the aircraft to support CAA training of U.S. allied pilots.

The aircraft is painted in the heritage color scheme of the P-51 Mustang and P-47 Thunderbolt flown by U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II combat operations in the China, Burma, and India campaigns (Circa 1944).

SNC, as prime contractor, and its partner, Embraer Defense & Security, are contracted to deliver three A-29 aircraft, as well as ground support equipment, pilot training, including difference training and instructor pilot upgrade training, contractor logistics support, spares, and sustainment for AFSOCs CAA mission, which helps build international partner capacity.

The final delivery of all three aircraft takes place this year, with training and support activities continuing through 2024. The first two A-29s, including the one pictured, are currently undergoing modification in SNC’s facilities in Centennial, Colorado, with final production and assembly of the third underway now at Embraer´s facilities in Jacksonville, Florida.

About the A-29
The A-29 Super Tucano built in the U.S. by Sierra Nevada Corporation and its partner, Embraer Defense & Security, has been selected by 15 Air Forces worldwide including Afghanistan and Lebanon. The A-29 is a versatile and powerful turboprop aircraft and is known for its rugged and durable design, which allows it to perform operations from unimproved runways and at forward operating bases in austere environments and rugged terrain. The A-29 is the only light attack aircraft in the world with a U.S. Air Force Military Type Certificate (MTC) held under the A-29 Afghanistan platform. Sierra Nevada Corporation is currently seeking MTC on the USAF variant of the A-29 before USAF acceptance delivery later this year.

About Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC)
Owned by Chairwoman and President Eren Ozmen and CEO Fatih Ozmen, SNC is a trusted leader in solving the world’s toughest challenges through best-of-breed, open architecture engineering in Space Systems, Commercial Solutions, and National Security and Defense. SNC is recognized among the three most innovative U.S. companies in space, as a Tier One Superior Supplier for the U.S. Air Force, and as one of America’s fastest growing companies. SNC’s 55-year legacy of state-of-the art civil, military and commercial solutions includes delivering more than 4,000 space systems, subsystems and components to customers worldwide, and participation in more than 450 missions to space, including Mars.

About Embraer Defense & Security
Embraer Defense & Security is the leading aerospace and defense industry in Latin America. In addition to the A-29 Super Tucano light attack and advanced trainer and the multi-mission C-390 Millennium military airlift, it provides a full line of integrated solutions and applications such as Command and Control Center (C4I), radars, ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance) and space. This also includes integrated systems for information, communications, border monitoring and surveillance as well as aircraft for authorities’ transportation and special missions. With a growing presence on the global market, Embraer Defense & Security products and solutions are present in more than 60 countries.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 30 Mar 2021 07:57

Sikorsky tests UH-60 Black Hawk flying autonomously under pilot supervision



Sikorsky and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) conducted an autonomous flight of a UH-60 Black Hawk under on-board piloted supervision in late 2020 Stratford, Connecticut.

The helicopter, which Sikorsky calls an Optionally Piloted Vehicle Black Hawk, demonstrated autonomous take-off, landing and two simulated obstacle avoidance scenarios under the direction of a pilot using a tablet computer, says the company on 29 March. The exact date of the flight test was not disclosed.

Sikorsky’s autonomous flight control software is aimed at allowing a helicopter to be flown by two, one or zero pilots. The technology is also intended to fly the helicopter in day or night time, as well as in battlefields, congested airspace or degraded visual environments. Sikorsky says it wants the technology to free pilots from flight control tasks so that they can focus on other work.

“Developed under DARPA’s Aircrew Labor In-cockpit Automation System and with the support of Sikorsky’s Matrix technology, pilots can focus on saving lives or transporting cargo instead of the mechanics required for contemporary flight,” says the company.

Sikorsky has demonstrated the ability to retrofit the oldest of US Army Black Hawks, the UH-60A, with its Matrix autonomous flight control equipment. That work required removing and replacing the older helicopter’s mechanical flight controls with fly-by-wire controls.

Ultimately, Sikorsky and DARPA want to use the flight control technology on the US Army’s next-generation of helicopters.

“Our end goal is to transition this technology to help address emerging mission requirements, including those outlined in the US Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) programme,” says Igor Cherepinsky, director of Sikorsky Innovations.

The US Army is developing two rotorcraft under the FVL umbrella: the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft and Future Long Range Assault Aircraft.

Sikorsky has said it plans to fly a UH-60 completely autonomously, without pilots on-board, sometime in 2021. After that, the company aims to coordinate the flight of three autonomous helicopters to explore formation flying and communication protocols between aircraft.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 30 Mar 2021 08:06

Air Power @MIL_STD wrote:The USAF has awarded L. Martin a $12.8 MM contract for Defense Experimentation Using Commercial Space Internet to exercise options for hardware and software integration & F-35A flight tests. This would allow the F-35A to communicate using Starlink and other LEO constellations.
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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 30 Mar 2021 19:07

The amount of networking, data sharing needs and capabilities are just amazing and continue to expand in subsequent iterations of the F-35. From being able to offload raw data via MADL, to the Navy F-35's becoming capable of plugging into the higher bandwidth targeting networks. Non line of sight Link-16 (LEO) is also going to become an option in the short-medium term which will be a game changing capability given the terminal proliferation across platforms and services (though raw data sharing won't be possible with L-16 given bandwidth limits). This particular capability will give the F-35 the ability to plug into government licensed commercial vendors and their LEO network in addition to the other GO/GO SATCOM. Given its capability to generate EW and ISR data, I wouldn't be surprised if the F-35 is already able to plug into the CDL organically or using a gateway. Finally, DARPA is going to soon mature the 18-50 GHz array architecture that would allow a common antenna and architecture across frequency diverse LPI waveforms like those on the B-2, F-22 and F-35 (and possibly on the B-21/Rq-180) which would enable single antenna secure communication across these stealth platforms (They'll probably use this to replace or upgrade MADL on the F-35 and IFDL on the F-22 to the new wideband antenna). DARPA has also made good progress with its 100 Gb/s airborne networking efforts and those capabilities should begin fielding in the medium term as well. It's a good thing that the processers are being upgraded on all previous gen. F-35's to be able to process the data. The F-22 and B-2 probably also need a processor upgrade down the road.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 31 Mar 2021 00:22

The U.S. Army Goes to School on Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

BY JACK DETSCH | MARCH 30, 2021, 2:05 PM

When Azerbaijan took over the skies in its fight with Armenia over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh last fall, winning the air war with commercial Turkish and kamikaze drones, one thing started to become clear to U.S. Army strategists: It’s becoming easier to hunt and kill troops than ever before—and to do so on the cheap.

With inexpensive, combat-ready drones proliferating on battlefields all over the world, in the not-too-distant future unsuspecting soldiers might get killed just by getting out of their positions for a moment to go to the bathroom.

“You can see video of tanks being hit by an unmanned aerial system, artillery positions being hit by an unmanned aerial system, troops being hit by an unmanned aerial system,” said Col. Scott Shaw, the outgoing head of the Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group.

What has become apparent after Azerbaijan routed Armenia last fall, he said, is that not only will the U.S. military no longer enjoy uncontested air superiority against peer rivals like China—something Defense Department officials have long resigned themselves to—but that poorer nations can buy themselves a respectable air force mostly off the shelf.

“What’s clear in that conflict is that a less funded nation can do combined arms warfare,” Shaw said. “You don’t have to be the United States or Russia. The price point to entry into combined arms warfare is lower than initially thought. You don’t need something like the United States Air Force, a superbly trained, spectacular capability, in order to conduct potentially a local air-to-ground or air-to-air activity.”

During the six-week conflict, Azerbaijan deployed Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drones and loitering munitions, many of them Israeli-made, to shrink the battlefield and chip away at Armenia’s armored forces as well as the logistical tail that hadn’t even reached the front lines.

As Azerbaijan rolled up more territory in the disputed region, propaganda videos showing the destruction of Armenian convoys and ammunition depots became a calling card of the new military approach. In the waning days of the conflict, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev even touted a laundry list of Armenian equipment purportedly destroyed or captured, including nearly 250 tanks, 50 infantry fighting vehicles, and four Russian-made S-300 missile defense systems, as well as 198 trucks and 17 self-propelled artillery units. In mid-October, Aliyev credited Turkish drones with helping his military to destroy more than $1 billion worth of Armenian equipment.

But it’s not clear how those numbers translate into truth. Shaw said the tremendous amount of disinformation flying around on open-source networks made it difficult to figure out everything that happened in real time.

It’s also still not clear to experts that drones definitively tilt the balance toward attackers or defenders. Some think that the war in Nagorno-Karabakh is another sign that the days of the U.S. military relying on overwhelming “shock and awe” bombing campaigns, like those that marked the start of both Iraq wars, are over. Instead, the United States should prepare for a knock-down, drag-out fight, similar to attrition wars of the past.

“Basically they’re telling themselves a story through convergence and military shock and awe that they’re going to be able to create effects on an opponent that we know through history simply does not happen,” said Michael Kofman, a senior research scientist at CNA and a fellow at the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute, referring to the U.S. Army’s current operating concept for future wars.

Automation is likely to move beyond the skies, too. Shaw, an infantry officer by training, sees weaker militaries following the U.S. lead by deploying unmanned ground and sea vehicles. “If it comes by air, it’s going to come by ground and eventually by sea,” Shaw said. “These unmanned systems are just going to proliferate because they’re cheaper, and they’re just going to get smaller and smaller.”

U.S. defense planners are already moving in that direction. Mark Esper, the former defense secretary, sought to reach the Trump administration’s goal of a 355-ship Navy by investing more into research and engineering for unmanned vessels. It’s not clear yet how the Biden administration will approach the future size and composition of the fleet, but the Navy and Marine Corps released a road map for the use of unmanned systems this month.

Meanwhile, unmanned aerial vehicles are becoming more lethal. Shaw noted that drones will increasingly resemble aerial tanks—flying, armored beasts that can pack a devastating punch. And as drones become harder to kill, troops on the ground will potentially become easier to kill, with battlefield surveillance also getting cheaper. That means the Army, which hasn’t changed its camouflage face paint pattern for more than two decades, needs to find new ways to avoid being spotted, and killed, even by a weaker opponent.

That’s creating new challenges for the U.S. style of maneuver warfare. Even communication over FM radio, which was standard operating procedure for U.S. troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past two decades, will need to be rethought as countries like Russia are getting much more skilled at locating—and striking—units that are careless about staying unmasked on the electromagnetic spectrum.

“We need to be thinking about greater camouflage than just this,” Shaw said. “You can hide a vehicle wherever you want to hide it. Here’s what you can’t hide: the tracks that go into the position, the tank tracks, the mud rucks, or whatever. Same thing with footprints. So at the tactical [level], we’ve got to figure out how to mask our movements, mask our position, mask our headquarters.”

Shaw’s unit, which spent most of the past two decades sending specially trained advisors downrange to fight threats including improvised explosive devices in Iraq and information warfare in Europe, is closing in May, part of a previous reorganization effort by then-Defense Secretary Esper last year. An Army analysis assessed the need to use the group’s resources and manpower to prep for a major-power war.

But Shaw is busy briefing other service leaders, such as Army Training and Doctrine Command chief Gen. Paul Funk, on what he and his soldiers have learned from hours of poring over footage from the Nagorno-Karabakh fight. He has brought on a historian to write a full study of the group’s history.

And he’s hoping that the lessons from the group’s 20 years in business will stay in the Army’s bloodstream, even as service leaders turn their attention away from the wars of the Middle East to deal with an increasingly assertive China—which has also disrupted U.S. planning with increasingly accurate ranged missiles. The Army, which has long enjoyed a firepower advantage in static positions, will have to think about reinventing the wheel to be a constantly mobile force, avoiding detection and incoming fire.

“If survivability moves are constant, that increases your rate of consumption for food, water, fuel. People have to sleep,” Shaw said. “We’re going to have to have leaders who are comfortable operating under the uncomfortable.”

Jack Detsch is Foreign Policy’s Pentagon and national security reporter. Twitter: @JackDetsch


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 31 Mar 2021 06:01

The "campaign" model employed during the original Ford trade studies was comprehensive and still largely valid. The US Naval Academy at Annapolis has plenty of posters covering the Analysis of alternatives and actual scale models of the various designs studied. It proved unequivocally (even to those at the GAO) that the 90-100K large CVN had the flexibility and air-wing accommodations that could execute and win during a sustained expeditionary campaign. John McCain used to have them run that analysis and wargame almost every other year and almost always they were led to the same decision. The L-class vessels are great complement and a great peacetime deterrence when combined with the surface fleet. But for them to be effective as a light carrier during wartime, they have to be paired with a CVN. No light carrier, no matter in what numbers, is going to cut it from an expeditionary perspective with the "away fights" the USN is expected to fight. But a half a dozen aviation focused L-class ships in addition to 9-11 CVN's will be much better mix for both peacetime deterrence/competition and wartime. That's on account of the capability of their airwing in the F-35B and the V-22. But the carrier limitations of magazine, fuel, ability to execute multiple missions concurrently, still remain.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 31 Mar 2021 21:19

RAT 55:

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 31 Mar 2021 23:14

US Air Force proves it can transport a ‘flying car’ on a C-130.

The U.S. Air Force will begin testing in May whether it can use one of the “flying cars” under development for the commercial market for military missions, including rescuing troops, delivering cargo and conducting security checks over an airfield.

..........................

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 01 Apr 2021 05:39

Hans Kristensen @nukestrat wrote:In this video, celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, the commander describes what he calls “the rebirth of the importance of the nuclear mission.”

Video includes interesting peak into warhead section of ALCM.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 01 Apr 2021 05:49

It's budget season in a new administration/Congress. LRSO is the most vulnerable (though the most affordable) part of the Triad.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Mort Walker » 01 Apr 2021 06:52

That display of the ALCM rotary launcher brought back many memories for me. I never thought it would be shown in such detail. About 30 years ago, displaying it as such on a video was not possible.


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 02 Apr 2021 08:15


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 03 Apr 2021 08:40

Biden Taps Current, Former Defense Officials to Oversee Acquisition, Budget, Intel at Pentagon

Roper V2

The Pentagon moved a step closer to getting more of its leadership in place as the White House said President Joe Biden would nominate officials to oversee the budget, acquisition and intelligence.

All three officials have deep backgrounds in defense and national security.

Michael Brown, whom Biden intends to nominate as the undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment, currently leads the Defense Innovation Unit, the Silicon Valley-based arm of the Pentagon that aims to quickly get commercial technology to the battlefield. His expected nomination comes as military leaders look for ways to quickly field new weapons to compete with China.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 05 Apr 2021 08:18

53rd Wing brings cruise missile tests to climatic lab

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An Air Launched Cruise Missile sits on a test stand in the McKinley Climatic Lab, Eglin AFB, Fla. The 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron conducted four functional ground tests of the ALCM during the month of March. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt Savanah Bray)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
The 53rd Wing brought its test and evaluation mission here to the McKinley Climatic Lab in March to test an air-launched cruise missile.

The ground testing was part of Air Force Global Strike Command’s Nuclear Weapons System Evaluation Program or NucWSEP. The wing’s geographically separated unit, the 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron, executes the annual program and its personnel were on hand for the testing here.

“In addition to operational test, modernizing the B-52 fleet, NucWSEP and these functional ground tests are key components of our mission,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Guasco, 49th TES commander.

During the tests, the ALCM is flown on a test stand in a climate-controlled chamber with temperatures ranging from -55 degrees to +120 degrees to simulate free flight.

Throughout the four-hour test, the ALCM sends data to 49th TES technicians. Squadron members operate the test station that emulates the B-52 during the missile launch sequence and monitor missile performance.

This type of testing provides engineering data to augment the assessment of weapon system’s reliability, suitability and supportability normally accomplished via flight testing. It also increases confidence in a weapon system that is one of the backbones of global deterrence.

“It’s because of the men and women of the 49 TES and our Eglin partners that enable us to put these weapons to the test, ensuring they stay effective throughout their lifespan and beyond, directly supporting the NDS,” said Guasco.


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 06 Apr 2021 02:11


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 06 Apr 2021 09:59

Leaders discuss digital engineering, acquisition, ABMS, more

By K. Houston Waters , 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs / Published March 30, 2021

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. (AFNS) --
Air Force and industry leaders came together to discuss digital engineering and acquisition, the Advanced Battle Management System, improvements in cloud and edge computing, artificial intelligence, and other topics during virtual presentations March 23-25.

The second week of New Horizons 2021, sponsored by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association’s Lexington-Concord chapter, included briefings and panel discussions from Steven Wert, program executive officer, Digital, and Col. Amanda Kato, Air Force PEO, Nuclear Command, Control and Communications, both headquartered at Hanscom Air Force Base.

During a PEO Digital panel discussion that featured senior materiel leaders from multiple divisions, Wert provided an update on his $19 billion dollar portfolio. He also detailed business opportunities, shared his thoughts on what makes for an ideal acquisition strategy, and discussed his priorities for 2021.

“Speed, innovation, and technology are major priorities for us,” he said. “We really seek out non-traditional (acquisition) strategies. We want to work with small businesses and start-ups and we want to avoid existential source selections that take years and become a make-or-break for the companies.”

Additional priorities are taking care of people, executing the mission, and using defense-assisted acquisition, he said.

Wert also said Digital is very interested in leveraging partnerships with the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Rome Laboratory, MassChallenge, Northeastern University, Defense Digital Service, and the Defense Innovation Unit.

Over the last decade, PEO Digital has dramatically increased its reliance on small business. In 2012, just 3% of its contracts were with small businesses. That number is now at 24%.

“My notion of an ideal acquisition strategy is to include a large domain expert, a small business or two, and maybe a start-up or two,” he said. “Now, I don’t know if we have a single effort that fits exactly that, but Kessel Run may be close. So that to me is the definition of a healthy acquisition strategy, at least in my mind.”

New to this year's New Horizons were 'Fireside Chats,' where PEOs are able to connect directly with their stakeholders. Maj. Gen. Angela Cadwell, director, Cyberspace Operations, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, discussed opportunities relating to homeland defense. Of particular note was Pathfinder, a NORAD/USNORTHCOM program supported by PEO Digital that unites independent systems across air, land, sea, space, and cyber domains, creating a fused operational platform.

“Since homeland defense is a no-fail mission, we embarked on this prototype effort called Pathfinder, which is a data ecosystem that exploits machine learning to fuse disparate data sets to automate detection and characterization of threats against North America using pattern analysis,” she said. “This gives our commanders the right information at the right time, instant and from the front lines. To accomplish this, we had to accelerate change and leverage promising technologies that were available.”

ABMS was an important topic discussed frequently among panelists at this year’s New Horizons. Wert believes that effort requires program managers across the board, not just those starting something new, to adopt some core principles that will enable the Defense Department to achieve Joint All-Domain Command and Control.

“We just need to start getting after it,” he said. “We need to follow design patterns that enable JADC2. That is, better instrumenting our systems and our software to expose data for many purposes; then to build systems to consume data from many sources to be more effective; (and) to leverage agile software development to enable machine-to-machine connections, as we are already doing in many cases.”

During a brief on NC3, Kato provided details on her $14 billion portfolio, discussed the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center organizational structure, and overviewed business opportunities.

During last week’s sessions, keynote speaker Adm. Chas Richard, commander, U.S. Strategic Command, discussed the importance of artificial intelligence and machine learning to the concept of strategic deterrence, and Maj. Gen. Mike Schmidt, PEO, Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, and Networks, provided an overview of his portfolio and program updates.

New Horizons also featured an innovation panel titled “Accelerating Change Across the Services,” which included discussions by members of the 75th Innovation Command’s Cyber Electromagnetic Activities Team, AFWERX, NavalX, Google Cloud Computing Services, and the Silicon Valley Defense Group.

The conference kicked off last week with a panel composed of former Air Force Electronic Systems Division and Center commanders, all of whom had been stationed at Hanscom Air Force Base.


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 06 Apr 2021 11:11

Just for kicks. 8 mins of silliness, but fun


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 06 Apr 2021 21:30


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 07 Apr 2021 07:40

I think this is an old toy that someone wants to revive, "networked" is new:

The Army Wants Networked Mines That Leap Up To Attack The Tops Of Tanks

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Pratyush » 07 Apr 2021 10:20

Bouncing mine's were Anti personal weapons. The networking and Anti tank application is a new concept.

It will be interesting to see if khan can make it work.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 07 Apr 2021 21:02

Pratyush wrote:Bouncing mine's were Anti personal weapons. The networking and Anti tank application is a new concept.


M93 Hornet

In fact, the intro picture in the theDrive article is the Hornet attacking a tank.

It will be interesting to see if khan can make it work.


A lot to unpack here

* "khan" - here "khan" is the commercial side, refed as .com. Especially they are encouraging start up, small business (8A), to provide ideas. The Services then seed the best ideas in a group - at times as many as 10 companies on solutions to the same problem - they are then weeded out as things progress. So, essentially for a mil or two they get really leading edge (wacky) ideas

* "networking" - huge on networking. "Joint" is the way going forward - granted there is a lot of politics along the way.

Civilians do not care for such internal dynamics, which is what gives such external groups the power to push new ideas. USAF is the most advanced. IF they like an idea, USAF *will get* a VC to the table - they have separate group that does just that (getting VCs). They also have free services to advise on how to market an idea (in the commercial area). USN/USMC and US Army are very slowly catching up.

Anyone can apply: layers: US citizens/GC holder, followed by Allied nations, followed by partner nations. At the start clearances are not insisted on (they are after ideas - Roper was very clear about that)

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 07 Apr 2021 21:07

Here is one example of what I posted above:

AFWERX Invests in Nap of the Earth Flight with Vy 400 VTOL

By Kelsey Reichmann | April 6, 2021

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AFWERX is working with Transcend Air through a new contract that will explore “nap of the Earth” flight, whose flights require the aircraft to fly low and follow the contours of terrain as a way of remaining undetected, with high-speed vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft.

These aircraft would provide military support for small unit resupply and causality evacuation missions, according to an April 5 AFWERX press release.

The contract includes a partnership with Auburn University to explore simplified vehicle operation and flight control laws for these flights using Transcend Air’s Vy 400 VTOL. The Vy 400 VTOL will have to be customized for military support which is also part of the contract.

Peter Schmidt, chief operations officer and co-founder at Transcend Air, told Avionics International the goal of the research and development contract is to develop the flight control laws that will be used as waypoints for these missions.

The customizations of the aircraft will then be made based on the flight control laws. Transcend Air will include a rescue winch and compatible doorway, higher energy absorption landing gear, and an ambulance interior within the aircraft design to meet mission needs.

“The R&D goal is to realize control laws that will transit a pre-defined set of waypoints as fast as possible and as close to terrain as possible without exceeding operator-configured max g (force of gravity) loads,” Schmidt said. “Thus, on the dash out to a rescue situation, the Air Force para-rescue jumper (PJ) operator of the aircraft might select a high max g load because they are fully fit and can take the strain, while on the return with injured personnel, they would typically select a lower g load to protect a wounded patient.”

The Vy 400 is currently still in the design phase and should be ready to enter into service by mid 2024, Schmidt said. The aircraft will have a tilt-wing fly-by-wire design and be able to reach speeds of 405 mph with a range of 550 miles, according to the company’s website. The idea behind its design is to have the speed and comfort of a jet with the flexibility of a helicopter.

Schmidt said the advantage of using the Vy 400 for these missions is its high-speed capabilities.

“The Vy’s advantage is speed,” Schmidt said. “There is a “Golden Hour” to get injured crew members medical treatment before survival rates fall steeply. The Vy can be out and back in an hour to over six times as much area as a conventional helicopter.”

Transcend Air’s partnership with Auburn University will work to balance the Vy 400’s speed with g-forces, Schmidt said. The ability to increase and decrease g-forces quickly will be important for nap of the earth flights because that determines how fast you can fly in mountainous terrain.

Vy 400 will not require a trained pilot and instead will use an operator with less training, according to Schmidt. The simplified vehicle operations work done through this contract will help inform the training program for operators.

“It is designed to fly mission profiles uploaded to it pre-departure, and if need be, the operator can use the stick and power lever inceptors to modify the flight path, for example, to maneuver away from hostiles,” Schmidt said. “By default, the aircraft will return safely to its original route once the operator stops manipulating the controls. They will have simple touch screen buttons to return to base, or to head to one of a set of pre-charted safe landing zones or bases.”

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby tandav » 08 Apr 2021 16:55

Mort Walker wrote:So Brown was referring to the F-36 Kingsnake?
* The U.S. Air Force has expressed interest in a new, non-stealthy fighter jet to replace the F-16.
* Several aviation experts have banded together and invented a new jet out of thin air.
* The result, the F-36 Kingsnake, would use the F-22’s engines, place less of an emphasis on stealth, and use digital engineering.

Image

This Is the F-36 Kingsnake. It Could Be the Air Force's Next Fighter Jet
The F-36 Kingsnake: the ‘fifth-generation-minus’ fighter USAF wants
Speculation of course.


The wing looks very much like the Tejas wing.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 08 Apr 2021 19:06

The most mature F-16 variant never built is/was the F-16 U which was pretty close to becoming reality. So assuming (though chances of this are close to zero) that a new variant is proposed, it is likely to borrow heavily from it if not be the exact same aircraft/proposal as was put forward to the UAE -

A few months ago, I was in Fort Worth, Texas, reporting on BAE Systems’ project to modernize South Korea’s F-16s. I’d known the project’s leader, John Bean, in an earlier job, and on one of his shelves was a memento of that era—a model of a desert-camouflaged airplane that was clearly an F-16 but with a longer body, no horizontal stabilizer, and big delta wings.

I first met Bean in 1994, when Lockheed had just bought General Dynamics’ Fort Worth unit (which made the F-16) and was in the process of merging with Martin. His team was working hard to land a big fighter order from the United Arab Emirates, which wanted more range and weapons load than the standard F-16 could offer.

A dozen years before that, GD had tested the F-16XL, with an arrowhead wing shape that NASA had designed for a supersonic airliner. The longer body and thick wings boosted internal fuel capacity by 80 percent. The new F-16U proposed to the UAE was similar in concept, but used a different wing, designed by GD during the competition that led to the F-22 Raptor.

The UAE was ready to pay the development bill—the F-16U promised range that would get the aircraft well into Iran—but imposed one condition. The U.S. Air Force would have to buy one combat wing’s worth of F-16Us.

It was a show-stopper. The Air Force had decided that all its future fighters would be stealthy, and the project to replace the F-16 was folded into the Joint Strike Fighter program. The F-16U would be a distraction at best and a competitor at worst. Eventually, the UAE bought a simpler adaptation of the F-16.

Some years later, I was talking with some people on the Eurofighter Typhoon program and mentioned the UAE’s delta F-16. “It would have killed us,” one said.

LINK


Image

This is what the General Dynamics proposal was for the ATF (that led to the F-22A). They had various iterations of this design in the tunnel during the period they were involved with concept development and before the cut was made to two teams.

Image

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 10 Apr 2021 02:07

They've exceeded 135 km. Max range shots (at or exceeding 150 km) are planned for June/July IIRC.

Lockheed scores $1.1B contract to build US Army’s guided rocket on heels of extended-range test


WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin scored a $1.1 billion contract from the U.S. Army to build another 11,000 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System rockets, the company announced March 30.

The award came on the heels of another successful test of an extended-range version in development. The ER-GMLRS traveled more than 135 kilometers in the test at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, according to a company news release last week.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 10 Apr 2021 18:09


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 14 Apr 2021 03:34

US Army approves plan to acquire future attack reconnaissance aircraft

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army’s Requirements Oversight Council has approved the acquisition plan to develop and field a new future attack reconnaissance aircraft, a service spokesman confirmed to Defense News.

The council met April 9 and reviewed design iterations from two companies competing to build aircraft. It determined that industry is ready for a fly-off at the end of 2022.

The FARA program will fill a critical capability gap currently covered by AH-64E Apache attack helicopters teamed with Shadow drones following the retirement of the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters. The service has tried and failed three times to fill the gap with an aircraft.

The Army wrapped up its final design readiness review for FARA in December, Rugen told Defense News in an interview earlier this year.

Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky and Bell are in a head-to-head competition to build prototypes and fly them beginning in November 2022. The Army will pick one it wants to build for the force following the competitive fly-off period.

Sikorsky pitched a coaxial rotor blade design based on its S-97 Raider that it is calling Raider X. Bell unveiled its design — the 360 Invictus — at the 2019 Association of the U.S. Army annual conference.

The industry teams have already been bending metal to build prototypes for months (if not several years) to prepare the aircraft for flight by the end of next year.

“What we saw back on the final designs from industry were impressive to the government team. Industry really did more. I think that gets into talent management, to use an Army term, because they had a cheat rep with [Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstration],” said Maj. Gen. Wally Rugen, who is in charge of the Army’s future vertical lift modernization efforts. “The industry teams have really been better than we thought they would be on this design work.”

Bell and Lockheed each have experience in such a process with the Army’s other future vertical lift project to procure a future long-range assault aircraft, or FLRAA. A Sikorsky and Boeing team as well as a Bell team built and flew technology demonstrators ahead of the program of record to inform requirements for the future aircraft. Those aircraft have flown over several years, and are undergoing testing and evaluation as part of a competitive risk-reduction activity.

It is expected those two teams will compete against each other for FLRAA with offerings closely based on Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstration systems.

Brig. Gen. Rob Barrie, the program executive officer for Army aviation, told Defense News earlier this year that the FLRAA request for proposals is expected in the third quarter of fiscal 2021. The draft RFP was issued at the end of 2020.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 14 Apr 2021 05:47

US Army building up force in Europe with two new units

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army is sending two new units to Europe — a Multidomain Task Force and a Theater Fires Command — in a much anticipated move

The two formations, making up about 500 soldiers, will arrive “in the coming months,” according to a statement from U.S. Army Europe and Africa released April 13. This will bring 750 family members to U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden in Germany.

The MDTF unit is set up to activate on Sept. 16 this year and the Theater Fires Command will activate a month later, the statement notes.

The Army has long talked about bringing an MDTF unit to Europe after the first of its kind continues to prove its utility in the Indo-Pacific theater and has been active in high profile exercises there. The first MDTF was set up to experiment with the Army’s warfighting concept Multidomain Operations and now the Army has determined such units will be useful in an operational capacity and has plans to set up an MDTF in the Arctic, a second one in the Pacific and a third one that will deploy where necessary.

Gen. Christopher Cavoli, the commander of U.S. Army Europe and Africa called earlier this year for such a unit as well as a Theater Fires Command.

“The Multi-Domain Task Force-Europe will be comprised of field artillery; composite air and missile defense; intelligence, cyberspace, electronic warfare and space; aviation and a brigade support element. The Theater Fires Command will improve readiness and multi-national interoperability by integrating joint and multi-national fires in exercises and operations, in support of U.S. Army Europe and Africa,” the statement reads.

“The Theater Fires Command and Multi-Domain Task Force in Europe will enable U.S. Army Europe and Africa to synchronize joint fires and effects, control future long range fires across all domains and will create more space, cyber and electronic warfare capabilities in Europe,” Col. Joe Scrocca, the spokesman for U.S. Army Europe and Africa, said.

The Army in Europe will also retain three sites “previously scheduled to be returned to the German government due to growing operational requirements in the European theater.”

President Trump had plans to drawdown U.S. troop presence in Europe against the advisement of military leaders, lawmakers and defense and national security experts.

The sites that will be retained are Mainz Kastel Station and Mainz Kastel Housing in Mainz-Kastel, and Dagger Complex in Darmstadt, according to the statement.

“Our operational requirements are outpacing facility construction and renovations as we continue to work through setting facility conditions for the new units we expect to receive as Army approves the structure. We are thankful for all of our host nation employees, without whom we could not accomplish our important mission,” the statement says.

“New strategies and a continuously changing operations environment requires more capacity to ensure we have the necessary infrastructure for increased capabilities to support our Allies and partners,” Maj. Gen. Chris Mohan, commanding general for 21st Theater Sustainment Command, said. “We’ve worked closely with German officials to come to an agreement on retaining these sites and are very appreciative of their continued support.”

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 15 Apr 2021 17:25



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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 17 Apr 2021 05:04

A B-1B Bomber Suffered Significant Engine Damage While Deployed To Norway

Sources had previously told The War Zone that the incident occurred when a tablet computer was ingested in one of the engines, which caused substantial damage, necessitating the replacement of both engines on one side of the aircraft. The 7th Bomb Wing would neither confirm nor deny any of these specific details.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 17 Apr 2021 05:13

Reserve Airman makes history with innovative Project FoX/F-35 development

Image
The Fighter Optimization eXperiment (FoX) is a project that seeks to rapidly integrate advanced software and hardware technologies to maximize the F-35’s lethality and survivability, while creating an agile development test tool and fielded combat multiplier for all DoD aircraft. The Project FoX team recently conducted a ground test at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, where they proved they could successfully take data output from a flight test instrumentation system and convert an F-35’s data to communicate with mobile applications running on a commercial tablet. Ultimately, the team seeks to transform the combat capability acquisition landscape by making the best tools in the industry and government available to any combat platform through a DoD Combat App Store. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Jamal D. Sutter)


For the first time ever, Air Force personnel livestreamed F-35 data directly from the aircraft’s mission systems computers to a connected computer tablet during a ground test March 31, 2021, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.


F-35 pilots already fly with tablets in the cockpit, but plugging the tablet into the aircraft is a new idea being pioneered by Edwards, Nellis and Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California, he said. Realizing the concerns about safety and security, they started off with just a ground test. The team wanted to prove they could safely connect to the aircraft without interference to the jet’s systems. From a security standpoint, they wanted to prove they didn’t add additional risk.

Also in the works within Project FoX is the FoX BoX. The FoX BoX is slated to contain a cyber-secure chip set designed by a team conducting mission systems testing on the F-18 at NAWS China Lake, just 60 miles north of Edwards. The FoX BoX will run high-level, AI-capable computer processers that will serve as an operating system to communicate to aircraft, allowing the FoX Tablet to function mainly as a visual interface for aircrew.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 17 Apr 2021 18:08

Big win for Space X :-

SpaceX wins contract to build lunar lander for NASA astronauts


It's official: SpaceX will be building the spacecraft that will land NASA astronauts on the moon.

In 2020, NASA awarded contracts to three commercial teams — SpaceX, Dynetics and Blue Origin — for the agency's Human Landing System (HLS) program. They asked each of these companies to develop an innovative landing system to be used under the Artemis program to ferry astronauts down to the lunar surface.

On Friday (April 16), NASA announced that SpaceX had beat out the other two competitors, winning the $2.9 billion contract to build the Artemis lunar lander.

"We have awarded SpaceX to continue the development of our integrated human landing system," Lisa Watson-Morgan, HLS program manager, said during a news conference Friday (April 16). "We're confident in NASA's partnership with SpaceX to help us achieve the Artemis mission and look forward to continuing our work toward landing astronauts on the moon, to prepare for the next giant leap towards Mars."

With its Artemis program, NASA aims to land the first woman and the first person of color to land on the moon. This will be the first time humans will walk on the moon since 1972, with the final lunar landing mission of NASA's Apollo program.

But "this time ... our goal is to return to the moon in a sustainable way to gain insight and bring back lessons that will help propel us into greater exploration that's never been done before," Kathy Lueders, associate administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, said during the news conference.

"When NASA returns to the moon with Artemis program, it will go in a way that reflects the world today," Leuders said.This goal was set to happen by 2024 under the Trump administration but the Biden administration has not yet specified whether it will stick to this very ambitious deadline.

"The NASA team will have the insight into the progress that SpaceX is making and if they're hitting their milestones we may have a shot at 2024," acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk said during the conference. NASA was expected to choose two of the three companies in the running to build the lander, as the agency often has multiple providers to ensure a backup and to keep the energy of competition. However, they have chosen to go ahead with SpaceX alone.

While NASA wanted "to preserve a competitive environment at this stage of the HLS Program," the agency said in a document obtained by The Washington Post, there were budgetary concerns. In response, SpaceX updated the cost of their lander to fit "within NASA's current budget."

When asked if, down the road, NASA might reevaluate having a second company build a lunar lander, Jurczyk said that "we're moving forward. We don't anticipate revisiting this selection."

The $2.9 billion contract carries roughly 13% of the amount that NASA's lunar module would have cost for the agency's Apollo program, which would have cost about $23 billion in 2020, Casey Dreier, Chief Advocate & Senior Space Policy Advisor at The Planetary Society, estimated on Twitter.

For its lunar lander design, SpaceX has pitched a variation on its Starship spacecraft. SpaceX is already on its 15th Starship prototype and has been regularly testing the craft. Many of the prototypes have so far crashed and exploded, with SN10, its 10th Starship prototype being the first to land (though it exploded shortly after landing).

"Just from the human landing system standpoint, we had 27 functional performance requirements that we asked the offers, including SpaceX, to respond to," Watson-Morgan told Space.com during the conference.

"And we went through a very detailed design, technical design, construction standards, safety, as well as health and human performance work, and all of that was pulled together, and that shifted, various aspects of their Starship ... they were able to meet or exceed the items that we had that we require for safe human landing," Watson-Morgan added.

The company is developing Starship to one day carry humans and cargo to the moon, Mars and even more distant destinations, launching the craft aboard the company's Super Heavy rocket. NASA announced today that Super Heavy will launch Starship to the moon as part of the Artemis program.

During this news conference, NASA also announced another competition, this time for commercial transportation services to help make human exploration of the moon more sustainable.

"We're accelerating what we call the human lunar landing services procurement. This competition will provide regularly returning services to the lunar surface that will enable these crewed missions on a sustainable basis," Mark Kirasich, deputy associate administrator for NASA's Advanced Exploration Systems division, said.



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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 19 Apr 2021 21:38

Was not sure what to make out of this news item:

Five Hapag-Lloyd container ships to be converted to US registry at Port Canavaral

Port Canaveral, FL – The Hapag-Lloyd container ship Al Bahia arrived at Port Canaveral yesterday to begin the required conversion process to reflag the vessel in the United States. The Al Bahia will be renamed the Delaware Express and is the first of five Hapag-Lloyd container vessels owned and operated by the global shipping giant scheduled to undergo the U.S. reflagging process in Port Canaveral over the next several months. Once the U.S. reflagging process is completed, each vessel will be included in the federal Maritime Security Program (MSP) and made available for use when necessary by the U.S. government while it continues to operate commercially in international trade.

.................


Until I stumbled across this:

HUNTSMAN Flag of United States @man_integrated wrote:
Not about cabotage or intra-US trade.

They're expecting the US military to have a major sealift requirement in the next 12-36 months.

In other words, HLAG is reading the geopolitical tea leaves and positioning itself for a likelihood of the US going to war at a large scale.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 20 Apr 2021 04:55

Japan-Based USAF F-16s Flew South China Sea Mission Fully Loaded With Live Air-To-Air Missiles

Image
F-16CM serial number 91-0357, which is marked up as the flagship of the 35th Fighter Wing.

Once in the South China Sea, the four jets performed an overflight of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), currently on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

At the same time that the F-16s were conducted their armed patrol, the People’s Liberation Army was sending no fewer than 25 aircraft into Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ, comprising 14 J-16 and four J-10 multirole fighters, four H-6K missile-carrying bombers, two KQ-200 anti-submarine warfare aircraft, and one KJ-500 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft.



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One of the F-16s banks to reveal an armament of five AMRAAMs and a single AIM-9X.

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The four 13th Fighter Squadron F-16CMs buzz the USS Theodore Roosevelt on April 12.

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The F-16s prepare to fly over the USS Theodore Roosevelt, with aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 11 arranged on the deck.


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