US military, technology, arms, tactics

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Paul » 08 Jun 2021 22:54

Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) aims to produce and deliver about 169 F-35 fighter jets in 2022, the U.S. weapons maker said on Wednesday at a conference hosted by brokerage Bernstein.


When the project was conceptualized as JSF 20 years ago, they were aiming for 1 aircraft per day production. Current production is less than half of what they had envisaged.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 09 Jun 2021 01:18

What was funded (as far as production capacity limits) was the possibility of a peak ramp to 17 aircraft a month (204 deliveries per year) capacity at FW, and residual partner production capacity in Japan and Italy based on their internal demand (and future work allotment based on then year negotiations, foreign sales and workshare negotiations for follow-on variants).

They are not going to get to that 200+ deliveries a year number ever, but they'll exceed 175 aircraft a year at peak production across the enterprise which is quite remarkable if one factors quite a leap from the second most widely mass produced low-observable aircraft (which had a total production run nearly matching 1 years worth of JSF production). That's virtually producing the equivalent of the entire combat coded F-22A fleet every 8 or so months.

The limiting factor to hypothetical annual deliveries is the F-35B and C variants. Their peak capacity is capped at 60 a year due to how those SC's and FACO is structured. The current SC can actually handle close to 200 A's a year if that was the only variant in production and assembly. They also take a dip every time new hardware baseline is fielded so just as they begin cutting block 4 hardware they plan on reducing production rate by 15-20 aircraft / year to allow suppliers to catch up. Same will happen when block 5 is introduced next decade. 2022 deliveries are slightly higher than originally planned because they are also catching up to deliveries that would have fallen in 2021 but that were delayed due to COVID impact on the SC.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 09 Jun 2021 02:51


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 09 Jun 2021 04:00

Memo reveals US Navy must pick between future destroyer, fighter or sub for FY23 plan

.......

“The Navy cannot afford to simultaneously develop the next generation of air, surface, and subsurface platforms and must prioritize these programs, balancing the cost of developing next-generation capabilities against maintaining current capabilities. As part of the [program objective memorandum ‘23] budget, the Navy should prioritize one of the following capabilities and re-phase the other two after an assessment of operational, financial and technical risk,” the memo read.

.......

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 09 Jun 2021 19:37

Interesting quote from the testimony. Confirms first two aircraft are built. First flight is projected Q2/Q3 2022.

Air Force acting acquisition executive Darlene Costello reported that the first two B-21 Raider bombers are complete and ready for testing but said it’s too soon to attempt to accelerate the program...LINK



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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Vayutuvan » 17 Jun 2021 02:28

Deceiving the Enemy: These Are the Drones You Are Looking For
By developing UAVs for physical deception roles to shape an adversary’s ability to visually observe and orient to situations, the US military can decrease risk to air and ground combatants during mission execution by causing adversaries to expend resources, delay their reactions, or react incorrectly to tactical situations.
...
In this scenario, the Taliban operative—still unknown to US forces—remains hidden. He watches multiple helicopters overfly his position and start decelerating to land in areas near him, in numerous directions. A more vulnerable helicopter catches his eye as it attempts to land. With deadly accuracy, he fires his RPG and destroys it with a single rocket shot. Yet not a single life is lost. The enemy has only destroyed an unmanned, half-size variant of an actual Chinook helicopter.
...
This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).

Deceiving the Enemy: These Are the Drones You Are Looking For
(reference AFRL-0302) is currently available for download from the TSP library.


Here is the link to register.

https://www.aerodefensetech.com/account/registration

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 17 Jun 2021 18:28

US Army fires autonomous launcher in Pacific-focused demo


The U.S. Army fired an autonomous launcher in a June 16 demonstration at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, focused on how it might be deployed to take out enemy ships and other defensive systems in multidomain operations in the Indo-Pacific theater.

A concept video shows C-130 transport aircraft landing on a strip in an island in the Pacific Ocean. The Autonomous Multidomain Launcher, or AML, comes off the C-130′s ramp while a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, drives out of the other aircraft. The two launchers deploy as a manned-unmanned team to strategic points on the island. One launcher fires a simulated Precision Strike Missile, or PrSM — the future Army Tactical Missile System replacement — to hit an enemy ship detected in the nearby ocean. The other fires an extended-range version of PrSM to take out an air defense system located on an enemy-occupied island.

Once the missiles destroy their targets, the launchers head back to the bellies of the C-130 and the aircraft takes off while U.S. fighter jets deploy during the window of opportunity created by the destruction of those enemy targets.

In the demonstration, according to Brig. Gen. John Rafferty, who is in charge of the Army’s long-range precision fires modernization effort, the AML repeated the process and subsequently deployed to two other islands following the first scenario.

The 1.25-hour mission was led by soldiers from the HIMARS platoon in the18th Field Artillery Brigade based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Overall, the Army fired seven rockets simulating the PrSM’s future range capability from roughly 500 kilometers to well over that distance, and the service also demonstrated a shorter-range rocket capability in the third island scenario to reflect a more tactical fight in support of divisions and corps, Rafferty told reporters in a phone call directly after the demonstration.

The AML is an adapted HIMARS with technology to include leader-follower autonomy, autonomous waypoint navigation and drive-by-wire capability.



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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby arvin » 17 Jun 2021 20:19


Brilliant work if they managed to integrate active, passive radar and infrared imaging into a single seeker sensor. Unlike say Harpooon which uses active terminal homing, the terminal homing is based purely on IR imaging.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 17 Jun 2021 21:44

arvin wrote:

Brilliant work if they managed to integrate active, passive radar and infrared imaging into a single seeker sensor. Unlike say Harpooon which uses active terminal homing, the terminal homing is based purely on IR imaging.


PrSM's dedicated moving/relocated target strike capability is probably going to feature some sort of passive RF system, along with its standard GPS/INS guidance and the addition of data-links. Perhaps they will include some sort of active sensor but I doubt it. Picking and tracking targets is going to be the job of ISR so that the volume fires (which is what HIMARS gets them) stays affordable. It is a sensitive price point because they don't really want to pay significantly more than the $1 Million a shot that the standard 500 km PrSM is expected to carry. At one time they said that range extension (closer to 700 km) and seeker should not carry more than a 25% cost premium. More expensive guidance will come from the NSM, Tomahawk, and SM-6 1B launchers that the USMC and US Army are also acquiring and all three will be able to strike ships from 200 - 1000+ km away using a combination of active or passive sensors.

The USMC has already demonstrated (actual end to end demonstration) their land launched Naval Strike Missiles mounted on an unmanned JLTV so what the US Army has to bring to the table is probably something different and being able to pepper surface ships, and/or air-defense sites with relatively cheaper precision fires in the form of G-MLRS and PrSM's is probably a really good idea. The US-Army will have longer ranged, more advances land launched anti-ship capability but this fills a pretty important capability set..

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Last edited by brar_w on 18 Jun 2021 20:13, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 17 Jun 2021 23:37

Brown: NGAD Will be a Multirole Fighter

Compared to the F-22, Brown said the NGAD will have “increased weapons load [and] … increased range” necessary to operate at the great distances required in the Indo-Pacific theater.

The NGAD will have “some air-to-ground capability to ensure, one, that it can survive, but also to provide options for our air component commanders and for the Joint Force,” Brown said, suggesting that the NGAD will be able to shoot at air defense systems that threaten it.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 19 Jun 2021 18:00

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Completes First Full Ship Shock Trial Event


On Friday, June 18, the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) successfully completed the first scheduled explosive event as part of Full Ship Shock Trials (FSST).


The first-in-class aircraft carrier was designed using advanced computer modeling methods, testing, and analysis to ensure the ship is hardened to withstand battle conditions, and these shock trials provide data used in validating the shock hardness of the ship.

The U.S. Navy has conducted FSSTs over several decades, most recently for the Littoral Combat Ships USS Jackson (LCS 6) and USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) in 2016; as well as for the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) in 2008, the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) in 1990, and the guided missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) in 1987. The last aircraft carrier to execute FSST was USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) in 1987.

The Navy is conducting the shock trial testing in accordance with Office of the Chief of Naval Operations Instruction 9072.2, and as mandated by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016.

Ford’s shock trials are being conducted off the East Coast of the United States, within a narrow schedule that complies with environmental mitigation requirements, respecting known migration patterns of marine life in the test area. The Navy also has employed extensive protocols throughout FSST to ensure the safety of military and civilian personnel participating in the testing evolution.

Ford is the newest and most advanced aircraft carrier in the U.S. Navy. The ship closed out a successful 18-month Post Delivery Test & Trials period in April, during which the crew completed all required testing, accomplished planned improvements and maintenance ahead of schedule, and learned valuable lessons to increase the reliability of Ford-Class systems. At the same time, the ship also served as the sole East Coast platform for conducting carrier qualifications.

Upon completion of FSST later this summer, Ford will enter a Planned Incremental Availability for six months of modernization, maintenance, and repairs prior to its operational employment.


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 19 Jun 2021 19:17

First set of images from the FSST. The first of these explosions (there will be more in the coming days/weeks) registered 3.9 on the richter scale as per the USGS.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 21 Jun 2021 06:17


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 22 Jun 2021 17:00


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 24 Jun 2021 17:19

It's Time to Wargame Against an AI-Enabled China

The U.S. military, whose wargames generally feature fictitious adversaries that closely resemble today’s Russian and Chinese forces, must start training for the faster-moving conflicts enabled by artificial intelligence and other emerging capabilities, two top military leaders said this week. And the ersatz enemies in these games should be unconstrained by U.S. ethical limits on AI in combat.

“The speed with which our adversary will likely engage, it's going to be faster than anything we've seen,” said Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, who heads the Joint All Domain Command and Control, or JADC2, effort for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

......


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 24 Jun 2021 17:23


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 25 Jun 2021 01:23

New data sharing tech to augment warfighters in contested environments

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – A Hanscom team recently completed demonstrations that tested new techniques on tactical data links to increase data sharing in contested environments and improve warfighter readiness.

The Tactical Data Link Enhancements Team, formed through a partnership between the Aerial Networks Division, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, a federally funded research and development center, traveled to Eielson Air Force Base and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, to test out their new Heimdall tactical data link system.

The system uses innovative techniques to improve overall fighter performance in highly contested, near-peer environments.

“Heimdall provides a critical capability to existing tactical data links that ensures continued operation in future fights,” said Michael McAuliffe, program manager, Tactical Datalinks and Gateways Branch. “What our system does is provide the Air Force with an advanced capability not only for the aircraft of the future but the aircraft of today. We have to keep these current platforms relevant for the modern fight, and that’s our objective with Heimdall.”

The U.S., NATO, and coalition forces use TDLs for transmitting and exchanging real-time data among allies for shared situational awareness.

“The problem with TDL technologies is that they often take years to integrate, decades to field, and you can’t just flip a switch and get everyone on a new system,” said Dr. Bow-Nan Cheng, associate group leader, MIT LL. “With Heimdall, we were able to develop the technology in a way that enables a phased rollout. This not only provides immediate gains, but also increased performance for platforms willing to make long-term enhancements.”

The team demonstrated the new capability on an F-15C Eagle, modified at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, and flown to Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. There, it joined a C-12J Huron, also equipped with the new technology, to fly test missions over the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. The team and aircraft then joined hundreds of other aircraft participating in exercise Northern Edge 21, based out of Eielson and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, and flew test and exercise missions over the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex.

“We wanted to test this critical capability in a live, contested operational environment and we were able to do just that,” said McAuliffe. “During these demonstrations, we put our technology through a wide range of scenarios, against multiple categories of threats, and Heimdall performed successfully across the board.”

Prior to the month and a half of integration and testing, the team collaborated with over a dozen organizations to construct what McAuliffe believes was the most comprehensive and robust threat environment of its type, to date.

Speaking on the installation of the hardware, McAuliffe believes it to be a relatively straightforward process, taking only three days to outfit the F-15C. If the system is fielded, this will ensure downtime for modification is kept to a minimum, he said.

The team is planning additional testing and development, but no future dates have been set.

The TDL Enhancements Team is part of the Aerial Networks Division of the Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks directorate, headquartered here.


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby MeshaVishwas » 26 Jun 2021 20:38


Very informative.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 27 Jun 2021 04:15

Bell V-280 Valor tech demonstrator retires from flight

Bell’s future vertical lift technology demonstrator, the V-280 Valor tiltrotor, has finished its flying career, according to a June 24 company announcement.

The demonstrator was built for the U.S. Army Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator program and flew for the first time in December 2017. It spent the last three-and-half years proving out the service’s requirements for a future long-range assault aircraft, or FLRAA.

The service continued flying the demonstrator beyond the JMR program in a two-phase competitive demonstration and risk-reduction effort.

Bell will continue into the second phase of the risk-reduction effort “to provide initial preliminary designs for major subsystems and the conceptual weapons system, based on data-proven performance that ensures transformational capabilities will be delivered in line with the Army’s schedule,” the company said in its statement.

The Army is close to releasing its request for proposals for FLRAA that will kick off the official program of record. Bell is expected to compete against a Sikorsky-Boeing team that also flew a JMR technology demonstrator — the SB-1 Defiant coaxial helicopter.

The service is on a path to procure two new vertical lift aircraft by 2030, pursuing a future attack reconnaissance aircraft, or FARA, in addition to FLRAA. Bell and Sikorsky are competing against one another in the FARA competition, and each is building an aircraft for a first flight in fiscal 2022.

Although Bell’s first V-280 technology demonstrator is retiring, the technology and lessons learned from the first aircraft will live on in the company’s solution that will be submitted for the FLRAA competition.

Over the demonstration and risk-reduction phase, the V-280 flew more than 214 hours and showed off low-speed agility and long-range cruise capabilities, and reached a maximum 305-knot cruising speed. The Army’s threshold requirement is expected to be in the 230- to 250-knot range for the FLRAA program of record.


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby VinodTK » 27 Jun 2021 20:15

New Air Force weapon can take out hundreds of drones instantly — and silently

The U.S. Air Force unveiled a weapon this month designed to take out hundreds of drones at once with barely a sound.

The Tactical High Power Operational Responder uses a beam of energy to scramble the electronics inside hundreds of drones at once.

“This unique system allows base defense forces to stop [unmanned aerial system] attacks at long range before they threaten critical infrastructure,” the Air Force Research Lab said in a June 16 animated video.
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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 01 Jul 2021 21:00

Meet The MC-145B Wily Coyote Armed Special Ops Transport Plane

The converted Polish transport aircraft is one of five aircraft U.S. Special Operations Command is testing as part of its Armed Overwatch program.


The Sierra Nevada Corporation, or SNC, has given us the first look at its MC-145B Wily Coyote. This armed aircraft, which is derived from the Polish PZL M28 Skytruck, as is the U.S. Air Force's existing fleet of C-145A Combat Coyote special operations light transport planes, is the company's entry into the U.S. Special Operations Command's Armed Overwatch trials.

In May, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) awarded a contract to SNC to demonstrate the MC-145B as part of the Armed Overwatch program, which is ostensibly seeking to acquire a new manned light attack aircraft to support U.S. special operations forces in permissive environments. SOCOM also picked four other companies – L3Harris, Leidos, MAG Aerospace, and Textron – to supply aircraft for tests at Eglin Air Force Base, where had been scheduled to begin earlier this month and wrap up at the end of July. It's unclear how much each firm received, by SOCOM said that the total combined value of all five deals was just under $19.2 million.

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


The article is pretty long, so posting some pictures here

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GRZEGORZ JERECZEK VIA WIKIMEDIA
A Polish M28B-1RM bis Byrza maritime patrol plane with a nose similar to the one on the MC-145B.


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Marketing material showing potential weapons and other stories options for the MC-145B Wily Coyote.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 01 Jul 2021 21:01



The reliable Cessna platform allows for a uniquely versatile special mission aircraft. The MC-208 Guardian can move seamlessly from ISR to CASEVAC/MEDEVAC to precision strike, eliminating the need for multiple specialized platforms.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 02 Jul 2021 06:35

USN approves NGJ-MB for production


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The US Navy (USN) has approved low-rate initial production (LRIP) for the Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band (NGJ-MB) electronic warfare/electronic attack (EW/EA) pods developed by Raytheon for Boeing EA-18G Growler electronic attack (EA) aircraft operated by the service and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

Raytheon Intelligence & Space announced on 29 June that it had completed Milestone C for the USN's NGJ-MB, with Vice President of Electronic Warfare Systems at the division, Annabel Flores, noting, “We're well into development testing. It's time to move towards production.”

Raytheon has been contracted to deliver 15 engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) and 14 flight-certification trial NGJ-MB systems to the USN from its El Segundo facility in California. According to Raytheon, to date NGJ-MB has successfully completed more than 145 hours of developmental flight testing using mission systems and aeromechanical pods; more than 3,100 hours of anechoic chamber and lab testing at Naval Air Stations Patuxent River in Maryland, and Point Mugu in California; chamber testing to evaluate the system's performance both on and off the EA-18G Growler aircraft; as well as jamming techniques and reliability testing.

As previously reported by Janes, Raytheon's NGJ-MB pod is part of a wider Block 2 electronic warfare (EW) capability upgrade for the Growler that also includes the NGJ-Low Band (LB) and NGJ-High Band (HB) pods to replace the current AN/ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System (TJS). In developing three separate NGJ solutions, the USN is looking to enhance the EA capabilities of the Growler in each of the three separate wavebands, as opposed to the current TJS solution that provides a good capability across the entirety of the frequency spectrum.



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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 02 Jul 2021 07:36

Raytheon Awarded $2 Billion Contract for Nuclear Cruise Missile



Raytheon Technologies Corp. was awarded a contract worth as much as $2 billion to develop a new nuclear cruise missile, the first major Biden administration move to field replacements to America’s aging nuclear arsenal, the Pentagon said Thursday.

The Air Force plans to buy up to 1,000 Long-Range Standoff Weapons to replace the Air Launched Cruise Missile first fielded in 1982. The new weapon, if fielded, would be carried on B-52 and B-21 bombers.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 02 Jul 2021 20:11

VMFA-314 will be the second squadron to deploy the F-35C on a CVN, with the first operational US Navy squadron currently deployed on the the USS Carl Vinson. Over the next several years, the USN or USMC will add one deploying F-35C squadron each year to its carrier deployments as more carriers are upgraded to support F-35C ops (currently 3 Nimitz class carriers can support F-35C deployments).

First USMC F-35C squadron declares full operational capability


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FOC is significant in its confirmation that VMFA-314 is fully prepared and equipped successfully deploy aboard United States Navy aircraft carriers, marking the first FOC declaration for Marine Corps. This inaugural event is met after VMFA-314 received their first F-35C on January 21, 2020 when their first jet arrived at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar from Naval Air Station Lemoore.

“Many hours were spent maintaining aircraft, launching and recovering aircraft in Miramar, at other military facilities, and aboard the ship to conduct the training required to meet these goals,” said Major Derek Heinz, VMFA-314 operations officer. “The Marines of VMFA-314 have gained confidence in fighting this aircraft and feel confident we can do so in combat if called upon.”

VMFA-314 is currently continuing its preparations towards future deployments by conducting tailored ship's training availability (TSTA), marking the first F-35C squadron to conduct TSTA in the Marine Corps. This training will consist of communication rehearsals, medical drills, flight operations, and shipboard drills conducted while underway, ensuring the squadron is prepared to deploy in support of maritime campaigns.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 07 Jul 2021 02:45

This will probably be the last official rendering released prior to rollout (which they've said will be a public unveiling) currently expected in the Feb-March 2022 timeframe.

New B-21 Raider Stealth Bomber Rendering Released By The Air Force


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 09 Jul 2021 19:03

Blackjack Program Successfully Deploys Two Mandrake 2 Satellites


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DARPA successfully deployed two satellites on June 30 as part of the SpaceX Transporter 2 launch. Both Mandrake 2 spacecraft, Able and Baker, are functioning well and progressing through checkout and commissioning. Conceived as an early risk-reduction flight for DARPA’s Blackjack program, the Mandrake 2 mission will prove out advanced laser communications technologies for a broad government stakeholder team that includes DARPA, Space Development Agency (SDA), Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/RV), and Office of the Secretary of Defense’s (OSD) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) office.

During its on-orbit mission, Mandrake 2 will demonstrate the viability of low size, weight, power, and cost laser communications terminals that are interoperable. “This constitutes a game-changing advancement and a critical enabler for proliferated space architectures,” said Stephen Forbes who is program manager of the Blackjack program in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office. “Mandrake 2 has already successfully demonstrated a rapid satellite development timeline, since the Blackjack program moved from contract award to delivery of space vehicles at the launch site in less than nine months.”

The successful launch of Mandrake 2 represents the culmination of a rapid design and development effort by a large team of industry performers led by SEAKR Engineering, as the prime contractor. Astro Digital built the satellite buses for Mandrake 2. Advanced Solutions (ASI) wrote the Mandrake 2 flight software and is supporting mission operations. Maverick Space Systems performed integration and test analysis, as well as launch integration services. Lockheed Martin provided integration support and launch procurement. SA Photonics developed the optical inter-satellite link (OISL) hardware demonstrated as part of the Mandrake 2 mission, and SpaceX provided launch services as part of its SmallSat Rideshare Program.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 09 Jul 2021 20:33

There is going to be exciting developments around many manned and unmanned platform prototypes that will be released over the next five or so years by Skunk works and others -

New Factory, Mystery Projects Hint At Digital Skunk Works Push


A photo taken from within a Lockheed Martin Skunk Works facility reveals the existence of four previously undisclosed projects, including one linked to recent job advertisements for a manufacturing program within the intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) portfolio.

The photo and job advertisements offer a rare glimpse inside the Skunk Works’ typically secretive plans to harness the so-called “digital revolution” in design and manufacturing to deliver new military aircraft in cycles of months or a few years rather than decades.

The possibly inadvertent disclosures suggest the Advanced Development Programs division of Lockheed has launched production of multiple new aircraft or missile projects simultaneously. The manufacturing projects have appeared nearly 18 months after Lockheed broke ground on the Low Bay Advanced Manufacturing Facility, the first new building erected on the Skunk Works campus since the 1980s.

Lockheed has not explained the purpose for the new manufacturing plant, but the answer may involve a series of projects that have come before and after a highly publicized new aircraft development program funded by NASA’s aeronautics branch.

The previously undisclosed, proprietary projects appear on a chart shown in a released photo marked “unclassified,” along with the well-publicized X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology aircraft that Skunk Works is building for NASA.

The chart is headlined “Digital Transformation Journey,” and shows the progression of the Skunk Works’ digital engineering and design capabilities over the course of the five projects.

The y, or vertical, axis of the chart is titled “Maturity,” and the x-axis is marked “Time.”

The earliest and least mature project on the chart is called the “P-225,” with “P” as the Skunk Works’ standard nomenclature for a new aircraft or missile project. The most recent project on the chart, which is positioned on the y-axis to show the highest level of maturity, is designated as the “P-731.”

The NASA X-59 project, which began five years ago, falls in the middle of the five projects in terms of maturity and start date, with the “P-727” and “P-95X” projects coming just before and after, respectively.


The Skunk Works released the photo to Jim Goodall, the author of the newly published book, “75 Years of the Skunk Works,” as well as previous books about the Lockheed SR-71 and stealth aircraft.

Goodall published the photo to his Facebook page on July 3, which came shortly after he received a VIP tour of the Skunk Works facilities in Palmdale, California.

The photo shows Goodall inside a Skunk Works assembly building. He is shown standing between a large floor model of the X-59 and a tooling jig for a section of the supersonic jet’s fuselage.

The chart showing the five Skunk Work projects appears on the side of the photo, perched on an easel about 10 ft. to the right of and slightly behind Goodall. The chart includes bulleted descriptions of each of the five projects, but the letters are not legible in the released photo.

A Skunk Works spokeswoman declined to provide additional details about the four previously undisclosed projects, citing the company’s policy on withholding proprietary information even if the information has not been classified as secret by the military.

Since August 2020, Lockheed has released a series of job advertisements to support the P-95X project, with a requisition dated as late as April 20 for a manufacturing engineer with an active secret clearance. Another advertisement that expired last month for a Material Program Integrator described the “P95X” program office as falling within Skunk Works’ ISR & UAS portfolio.

Another advertisement, which is dated May 10, searches for an experienced manufacturing manager at Skunk Works, to support four programs, including the P-727. The same advertisement also references three other programs called the P-26, P-28 and P-47.

The chart’s headline — Digital Transformation Journey — likely refers to the Skunk Works’ adoption of a digital design and engineering process, which is branded as the StarDrive.

Skunk Works officials revealed the StarDrive initiative last September. The process was used to create an air-launched UAS called the Speed Racer.

In February, the Air Force Research Laboratory included Speed Racer in a list of topics that would be discussed during the Armament Industry Roundtable panel about options for introducing more autonomous capabilities in low-cost cruise missiles.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 13 Jul 2021 08:11

https://mobile.twitter.com/TheDEWLine/s ... 9320739840

"The US Army today released a video that clearly shows the classified Long Range Effect that I and a few reporters glimpsed at EDGE 21 two months ago. Still don't know the name or designer."

Follow that tweet to get more info.



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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 14 Jul 2021 03:17

https://twitter.com/TheDEWLine/status/1 ... 2815587334

Steve Trimble wrote:Forty-one USAF F-35As and three more international F-35s lack engines as of July 8. (Source: USAF testimony today at HASC Tactical Air/Land Forces subcommittee hearing.)


cvvhrn wrote:Are these new build air frames that they lack engines for or existing ones that have not been repaired. Either way its a no bueno situation. Plus coupled with the single engine option yikes


Steve Trimble wrote:Existing ones. They had a rush on the depot due to unexpected Calcium-Magnesium-Alumino Silicate (CMAS) degradation on deployed F-35As. And the depot itself has been a bottleneck, with turn times at 2X planned rates earlier this year. Those rates are coming down now.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 14 Jul 2021 08:59

A dec, 2020 vid on C-17 tour. Provides some details not normally talked about. 44.00 min long


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 14 Jul 2021 09:03

"Lack engines" on F-35A should be read more as "lack engine modules" so a depot problem (module is out to the depot, and a spare module isn't readily available because A) you didn't buy enough spare modules, OR B ) you don't have a PBL (which shifts maintaining a service level on the supplier) in place, OR C) your shop is taking too long to turn around existing modules because you're still standing up depot capacity.

41+3 of 500 A's in the field means roughly 9% not serviceable due to "awaiting power mod". You want to be in the 5% range long term on this metric (most PBL's are aiming for that to balance availability with cost) but that is entirely dependent on your depot investments or PBL's (which do not apply since the Pentagon cannot legally enter into a PBL yet with P&W). The USAF (which has a higher 12-13% rate), based on its depot spend has been taking it easy so won't recover to actual needed levels till mid 2020's if not second half. Yet concurrent to that, they will also not have problem hitting 70% capability rates or better on the A's during the same time so the problem is more long term and getting Congress to fund (and USAF to request) sustainment proportionately to the acquisition rate.

What the tweets missed was the part where the sworn testimony was that not a single F-35 delivery was late (even during COVID) on account of a lack of engine availability between 2017 and today and that despite COVID they delivered one extra new engine in 2020. Depot throughput is a separate issue. The USAF was slow to prioritize depot activation and did not keep pace with its increase in deliveries. It operates nearly 300 F-35As now (second largest tactical fighter fleet in the USAF after the F-16) and from a staffing, and capacity perspective they have not kept pace. So when they do discover unexpected issues (like CMAS) they don't have buffer capacity built in to support short term spikes. And the production program is pumping out more than 150 engines a year so they don't have capacity to just crank up the rate of power modules (you have to repair and turn around not try to get a new one as the old one gets repaired) without an appropriate lead time (usually longer than how long the spikes tend to last). So the only solution is to go after the turn around times for the modules since "building up spare module inventory" is not cost effective and not very practical at short notice given the scale of the new build program and projected rate increases planned over the next 3-4 years.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Barath » 14 Jul 2021 11:52

https://www.airforcemag.com/article/mak ... -the-f-35/

The article is worth reading. Scroll down to the section on engines for more insight and metrics. Though even the other sections have useful info (eg LM's PBL pitch vs Govt reluctance to hand even more control to LM), sustainment cost, optimistic assumptions on parts/depot stand up slowness, etc etc. Also about Pratt applying a different coating in respond to CMAS (sand) in Middle east degrading the earlier coating.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 14 Jul 2021 18:42

PBL by its very nature hands more control to the vendors (which is always the other party), in return for a stipulated and contracted service level, availability, and cost. Alternative is to build and manage your store inventory yourself, which can get expensive when the government is doing it, not to mention the uncertainty of annual funding and delayed budgets and just the overall inefficiency. This is why PBL's are so popular the world over. Skinny PBL's work too and the US Navy has successfully done that on its strike fighters. Whatever it is, will always be a partnership so some control has to be given to the vendors who are contractually agreeing to it (otherwise why would they sign up). Technical baselines can be owned by the government but you have to buy them and then be able to do something with what you've bought. I saw the entire hearing, nothing in it was surprising. The JPO had been providing data to the services, and the USAF, during budget crunch of the past, has prioritized procurement over sustainment. Congress on the other hand has refused to retire aircraft at the cadence the USAF has requested which leads to problems with getting enough maintainers freed up, and trained on a new platform. All of this will continue to be an issue until they get their depots stood up and right sized for the fleet (and growth). It is a lesser issue with international customers because those have had the option to be on a PBL for a while now, and many are already using it to manage their fleets.

The USAF declared IOC on the F-35A around mid 2016. Yet, by late 2015/ early 2016 their F135 engine depot barely had the capacity to overhaul modules even though it was supporting the entire test fleet, training fleet, and the operational units that had begun to get equipped with new aircraft. This was fine as long as the production rate was in the 40-60 range as the engine production could be ramped to have an inventory of new modules available as the turn around times for repairs was in the 200+ day range at the depot. But now the production rate is in the 150 range and there is little surplus capability from the engine OEM so they have to improve their depot turn around time. So they were slow to stand up, and were slow to expand and are now lining up double shifts, and what not to catch up. The investments that they have made, and have promised to make will right size their engine depots by about 2025-2026. It's not an easy fix because they neglected these investments in the past so it will be a slow recovery. But because break rates elsewhere (mission systems etc) are better than expected, they will still continue to get or exceed 70% F-35A capability rate and be able to meet their deployment obligations. The biggest problem is that not only does the engine depot need to get going to clear backlogs, the fleet continues to grow. by end of 2024 the USAF will have more than 500 operational F-35A's, and the Navy and USMC inventories would have also increased (USN would have more than 100 operational F-35C's ).

What the USAF needs to do is build up an intermediate depot capacity which they completely did away given the budget outlook in the post 2010 sequester years. They have to build this back up before the fleet gets to a 1000 aircraft and you have the first engine modules reach their 2000 hr overhaul. To get there, they probably need to divest some of their older aircraft which are nearing the end of their life. They consume a lot of resources to keep up in the air and that manpower is going to be needed on the flight line and in running these new facilities along with the civilian workforce.

What the USAF needs is a complete overhaul from the ground up just like was done during the Reagan build up when the 4th generation fleet was purchased. New aircraft, retiring of older aircraft, and creation of new, and upgrades to existing, depot and overhaul facilities to support a larger 5th generation fleet, and the upcoming 6th generation fleet. Given budget realities however, the USAF has had to stagger these, focusing on procurement when budgets were tight and addressing sustainment in subsequent budgets.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 14 Jul 2021 19:33

This is the second high energy laser system deployed after the larger one was deployed on the amphibious ship (USS Portland). ODIN is going to be operational on 8 destroyers, before the focus shifts to the HELIOS and the HELCAP effort which adds more powerful HEL's and shift focus from FAC, UAV's, and sensor degradation to Anti ship cruise missile defeat. All said, about twenty flight IIA destroyers and other vessels are going to be upgraded with the first eight set to deploy in the near term and additional to be outfitted by 2030. The FREMM based frigate that the US Navy has selected will also be pre-fitted with electrical and other systems to support a 150 kW HEL that will be added post delivery.

Here's Our Best Look Yet At The Navy's New Laser Dazzler System

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Images published by the U.S. Navy this week offer the most detailed look yet at the new Optical Dazzling Interdictor, or ODIN, in an operational setting. The directed energy weapon was seen aboard the USS Stockdale (DDG 106) Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer while it was conducting a replenishment-at-sea with the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) on July 12, 2021. ODIN is one of the Navy's premier directed energy weapons initiatives and according to these images and budget documentation, the dazzler may be approaching a largely operational status.

The images shared by the Navy show the turreted ODIN system installed on the Stockdale’s forward close-in weapon system pedestal. ODIN is a lower-power laser system designed to blind adversarial electro-optical and infrared sensors by projecting a “dazzler” laser beam at them. The Navy intends for ODIN to be capable of disrupting and countering sensor systems aboard a wide range of threats including those aboard surface vessels, aircraft and UAVs, and even some anti-ship missiles. The ODIN system also includes a high-power camera system that can be used for other applications beyond its primary role in targeting for the dazzler system. This gives the Arleigh Burke class an additional high-power optical sensor in addition to its already outstanding EO/IR suite...

ODIN is one facet of the larger Navy Laser Family of Systems (NLFoS) which includes the High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-Dazzler System (HELIOS) and the High Energy Laser Counter-ASCM Program (HELCAP).

The Navy has requested $9.5 million for ODIN in its FY 2022 budget documentation, down from $34 million in 2021. The Navy’s budget requests state that the decrease is due to the fact that “the majority of the procurement, assembly, checkout, integration, T&E, and installation of units 1-8 being either complete or in process,” noting that “Funding in FY22 is primarily for the Operation & Sustainment (O&S) of installed ODIN Units.”

In 2020, Frank Peterkin, the Senior Technologist for the Directed Energy at the Office of Naval Research (ONR), indicated ONR had plans to deploy ODIN systems aboard seven more Navy vessels by 2023. "We’ve been working hard for the last five to seven years to try to bring directed energy forward in a meaningful sense to the warfighter and the operational community while at the same time advancing the technology," Peterkin explained, adding that "We’re in a little bit of a golden age for collaboration now for directed energy.”

The appearance of the ODIN laser system aboard the USS Stockdale follows other brief glimpses of Navy directed energy weapons over the last few years. In October 2019, a mysterious object was shipped by Northrop Grumman from Redondo Beach, California to San Diego, which was later determined to be the Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (LWSD) tested aboard the USS Portland to shoot down a drone. Later in 2019, a turret which appears to have been an ODIN system was seen on the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Dewey (DDG-105) in 2019.

These latest images of ODIN point to several lines in the Navy's most recent budget requests which state that seven units are now in operational status with one more in the testing and certification phase. ODIN is already installed aboard three Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, and two more are expected to be installed in 2021. The remaining three will be installed over the next few years.



ODIN's follow on is Lockheed Martins HELIOS system which was delivered to the US Navy in January and is currently being tested prior to installation on a yet to be specified DDG-51 destroyer. Increment one will be 60 kW scalable to 150 kW (without changes to above deck equipment). Increment II will be a new system that will have 300 kW of power, and Increment III is currently reserved for new ship classes that can support a MW class HEL (likely AC's and future large combatants/Zumwalt etc).

Lockheed Martin Delivers HELIOS Laser Weapon System To U.S. Navy

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 17 Jul 2021 19:48

USS Ford (CVN-78) has completed the second round of shock trials. Now they'll come back, go over the data and then head out for the final test which is scheduled for late July.

USS GERALD R FORD CVN78 conducted the 2nd round of FSST Full Ship Shock Trials 16 July, 187 km northeast of Flagler Beach, Florida. Like the first test on 18 June the shock registered magnitude 3.9. A third round is still to be completed. LINK


Image

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 20 Jul 2021 00:57

IBCS Overcomes Electronic Attacks, Downs Cruise Missile

Image

The US Army’s missile defense network, IBCS, has successfully downed a surrogate cruise missile at the White Sands Missile Range, tying together data from F-35As, the Navy’s Cooperative Engagement Capability, the Marine’s G/ATOR radar and a PAC-3 anti-missile battery.

The inclusion of a beefed up electronic attack, combining the pod on the surrogate cruise missile with the effects of a more powerful ground-based system, marks an important achievement for IBCS. Should the Pentagon go to war with China or Russia, it will need to overcome the clutter and confusion electronic attack can cause, because both adversaries have placed great emphasis on EA capabilities.

Mark Rist of IBCS maker Northrop Grumman explained that this effort involved EA against the radars involved in the test, while previous tests had been directed against the communications systems binding IBCS to its sensors. Rist is Northrop’s program director for the missile defense network.


The test included several other firsts, including an F-35 sharing data to the Army’s IBCS and then live firing a PAC-3 missile to destroy the cruise missile. Two F-35s flew during the risk reduction test, which was done to prepare the system for Initial Operational Test and Evaluation this fall.

IBCS is being pushed by Northrop as the Army’s core system to contribute to Joint All Domain Command and Control, one of the centerpieces of All Domain Operations, the new American way of war.

Today’s test demonstrated for the first time a Joint Track Manager Capability (JTMC). This is what allowed IBCS and the CEC to share G/ATOR radar data, Northrop Grumman said in a press release. Two Army Sentinel radars were also part of the test.

What all this demonstrated for Flight 6 of IBCS testing (technically, it’s actually the eighth test) is that IBCS really and truly can connect previously incompatible systems and let any command post on the network get high-fidelity data from different kinds of radars in different locations.


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Vayutuvan » 20 Jul 2021 23:16

How to Bring Digital Twins to 'Any System'
Image

A new mathematical model allows the virtual design representation known as a "digital twin" to be used in a range of engineering systems, from spacecraft to entire cities.

A digital twin is a computational model that evolves over time and continuously represents the structure, behavior, and context of a unique physical “asset," like a bridge, vehicle, or any object that needs monitoring really.

Through advanced mathematical modeling techniques, sensors, and supercomputers, experts from the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and industry partner the Jessara Group improved the capabilities of the digital twin.

The researchers tested out their idea on an unpiloted aerial vehicle (UAV), creating a structural digital twin of a custom-built unmanned aerial vehicle instrumented with state-of-the-art sensing capabilities.


Paper at nature (computational science)


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