US military, technology, arms, tactics

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nam
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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby nam » 31 Oct 2019 18:55

brar_w wrote:This is akin to saying, that because the USAF opted for a single engine aircraft instead of a twin engined F-22A then based on its experience a twin engine aircraft is not required. F-35 lacks supercruise because it was part of the trade space and was traded away quite early on in the requirements process for the sake of affordability and commonality.


I would say some of the criteria like affordability, would be applicable for IAF as well. There is no point having a AMCA with supercruise costing 200M each and taking 5-6 years more. It might meet all of IAF's ASQR , but will be far too expensive to induct.

I can only look at USAF which has experience with super cruise, whether it considers it as a absolute critical capability to have it on it's entire stealth force structure. There is no other active example.

USAF seems to be fine with such a compromise.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 01 Nov 2019 01:32

Indranil wrote:I think you evaded the main the thrust of my questions. The question is “Does the stealth vs. aerodynamics compromise mandate that a fifth generation fighter be sub (or at best at) par to fourth generation aircraft in aerodynamics? I strongly believe that the answer is no. People try to justify otherwise citing the F-35 which is wrong in my opinion. Your rebuttal to making F-22 a truly multirole aircraft is also based along the same lines. If F-22 was being designed today, its bays would have been suitably designed to carry the bombs and missiles required. That would not have affected its shape (and hence its aerodynamic prowess) significantly.

Now, let me argue that if designers were given the sole task of designing a CTOL (or even a CATOBAR) multirole aircraft, the design would go differently from the F35. Aircrafts are designed around engines. And the F35 program was designed to use the same engine for all three variants, including the STOVL variant. This (almost) mandated a single engine fighter. The drive train for the lift fan is a design marvel (and a maintenance headache) in itself. If that had to accommodate power from two engines, it would have been a nightmare. But, there is only so much power that one can derive out a single low bypass engine, and the 119 is up there! So that limits the thrust available. But, then on the other variants, you also have to live with this power and yet provide the extraordinary hangtimes on internal fuel!


I am avoiding answering this in the AMCA thread for I get singled out again (even though I don't know what prompted the last mention). If the main thrust of your question is that do the 5GFA have to be designed to 4th generation maneuverability requirements then the answer is no. The F-35 itself blows the socks off of many of the individual attributes on the F-16, F-18 or Harriers it is replacing. Similarly, the F-22 performs better than the F-15 in many areas. I don't think, I ever argued around that. What I argued was that a clean 5th generation aircraft carries the IWB penalty (it can still perform better despite of that), the RCS optimization penalty, and the large internal fuel capacity penalty. Those constraints do not apply to clean 4th generation fighters and HENCE a direct drag comparison, without factoring in the DI is inappropriate. So a raw statistical comparison of a slick F-15 and a laden F-22 or a F-35 is of no meaningful use hence most modeling is done with a particular mission and DI in mind for reference.

You are also mistaken about the F-35 program. The single engine requirement was not - to make it common across three variants - it emerged and was set in place even before the three services got together on one program. The USAF had a hard single engine requirement, because its entire expeditionary logistical support was developed around the F-16 which is a single engine fighter. In the early 1990's, the USAF had a plan for a new Multi role fighter which would have been the "low" to the ATF. It was expected to cost 1/2 as less than the ATF and be a single engine, single seat aircraft. Around the mid 90's or so, the budget outlook and the pressures to curtail or even terminate the ATF was enough to convince the Pentagon that the USAF could not afford such an aircraft if it pursued it as a service program. Meanwhile, other programs were also in S&T phases which looked at STOVL fighter concepts for USMC and UK. The US Navy was actually a observer on both (AF program and the DON funded Joint ASTOVL program) and it was rightly decided to aggregate this demand so that each service would end up with an aircraft that was higher performing and more affordable than what they could have gotten if they pursued 2 or 3 separate programs. It is wrong to assume that a twin engine trade space was ever open for the USAF.

Also, if one is only interested in an academic exercise then yes, if one were to focus on just one requirement the end product is going to be different. That is not how requirements are framed though and as I mentioned, if Lockheed was tasked with just building something for the USAF, the program, its risk and budget appetite and performance would have been severely degraded. In fact, the USAF would have done well to get something as good as the Rafale. The program survived the post FSU environ because it was a joint program and hence everyone concerned was able to get a higher performing aircaft than what they would have individually gotten. If you think similar hard and soft constraints also do not apply to every other program out there then you are highly mistaken. All requirements are framed in, and all designs represent, some sort of constraint. In this case the decision was to either pursue something that was agreeable to most (not all) or buy duper hornets and F-16 U/F-15E's. The US defense budget (inflation adjusted) decreased by >33% between the peak of the Reagan build up (85-86) and the bottom of the Clinton cuts (97). Successive Republican and Democrat administrations (late Reagan, all of HW Bush, and all of Clinton) had cut defense spending in relative terms and the civilian and military leadership had seen the writing on the wall. The individual service plans like the MRF, or the ASTOVL went no where. They pooled their demand and pursued a DOD wide program.

Indranil wrote:Your rebuttal to making F-22 a truly multirole aircraft is also based along the same lines. If F-22 was being designed today, its bays would have been suitably designed to carry the bombs and missiles required. That would not have affected its shape (and hence its aerodynamic prowess) significantly.


Aircraft are designed to a requirement. Requirements are framed with performance, need, threat, and a cost in mind. The F-22 does not carry the features required for it to be as capable a strike fighter as the F-35 because doing so, without reducing some other requirement would have impacted program risk, complexity and cost and as such it would have probably not survived even the initial few requirements scrubs as the team would have been sent back to the drawing board after deeming the entire effort too expensive. As it is, the baseline F-22A was too expensive to justify beyond an "insurance" fleet size post FSU collapse. There has been a lot of research done around the impact of performance requirements on aircraft design and production cost. Every aircraft is designed within certain requirements for fleet size in mind. If something has to be produced in massive quantities then affordability is important. The F-22A requirements were high end because it was never meant to be a "mass fighter", even in the cold-war force structure (relatively speaking). It would have had a companion "low end" component. In fact, if the F-22A was to be re-designed, knowing what we know today (how much the Congress was willing to pay for it) it would have likely shed some of its performance in favor of a lower cost to buy and operate.
Last edited by brar_w on 01 Nov 2019 02:18, edited 2 times in total.

nachiket
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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby nachiket » 01 Nov 2019 01:53

brar_w, I guess what you are saying is that the designers got more money for R&D because all three services were going to procure the final product than they would have if it was the USAF alone. And hence the contention is that the USAF ended up getting a better aircraft than it would have if it was a USAF only project.

But that money was for designing 3 versions of the aircraft plus the added complexity (and cost) in designing something that would maintain commonality in the 3 versions. If it was a USAF only project, they would not need to design the B and C versions and they might have been able to do come up with something better than the current F-35 as far as pure performance metrics go despite the smaller budget albeit the final design could never fly off an aircraft carrier. Nor would it be possible to modify it to do so easily. And they could have achieved it without having to develop that huge and complex engine too. Your contention that they would have been lucky to get something as good as the Rafale does not hold water considering what we know of the aircraft industry in the US and the massive knowledge and R&D resources they have on tap to match the massive funding that the govt. provides.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 01 Nov 2019 02:08

nachiket wrote:brar_w, I guess what you are saying is that the designers got more money for R&D because all three services were going to procure the final product than they would have if it was the USAF alone


Not necessarily the designers. The services can bake more requirements in that way (EOS as a result of demand aggregation and risk pooling). The Marines would have never been able to sell a stealthy STOVL fighter capable of the type of performance that the F-35B gets. In fact, the F-35B out-ranges the F/A-18 Classic Hornet (USMC inventory) and has a much larger strike envelope compared to the Harrier, and performs better than both in most of those core missions. No way could the USMC even dreamt of those requirements if it were just them and perhaps the UK. The USN admirals were fast busy trying to preserve ship building budgets and were not interested in pursuing a stealthy strike figther for the USN post A-X termination so the USN would have had no real option but to iterate the F-18E/F some more. The USAF couldn't even get the MRF to be sanctioned as the DOD's civilian leadership did not push it through. Moreover, because the USN's investment the USAF got a more capable aircraft. For example, in their initial MRF estimate the USAF determined that they could not afford a size that would accommodate a 2000 lb bomb internally, and in fact they didn't even want an integrated targeting system on all aircraft (they want it on one in three). This was because they were targeting a URF (2008) of around $50 Million or lower. They get the 2000 lb sized bay, a larger aircraft and EOTS and DAS on all aircraft because th USN and DON insisted on the requirement and between them and the UK they had a demand for > 800 aircraft hence were significant in terms of their influence on cost and capability.

nachiket wrote:If it was a USAF only project, they would not need to design the B and C versions and they might have been able to do come up with something better than the current F-35 as far as pure performance metrics go despite the smaller budget albeit the final design could never fly off an aircraft carrier.


USAF could not even get its MRF project approved. Based on their own outlook of what they could have afforded in the early to mid 1990s they were looking at a single engined, single pilot aircraft, smaller than the JSF with a less flexible payload. Had the civilian leadership actually sanctioned that project it surely would have been cancelled in the early 2000's as many programs were given other investment priorities at the time. The JSF survives because from a URF, APUC and PAUC perspective (all three costing metrics) it is extremely affordable as a percentage of overall US defense spending. It gets that affordability because they successfully aggregated demand which brought in Economies of Scale, pooled risk, created multiple stakeholders who could ensure investment was maintained during budget pressures because it was a critical program for all three stakeholders. The "joint" in the program created additional demand of more than 1,000 aircraft which has a significant bearing on how much technology you can fund, and procure due to scale. For reference, all three of the Eurocanards barely get to a 1000 combined.

Developing and buying aircraft Reccurring and Non recurring costs. Former is the unit cost to procure an additional aircraft. The latter is the fixed cost associated with its development. If you have low demand you better hope you use most of your funds on recurring cost and that means you shed risk, opt for more mature and less technically challenging capabilities etc. etc. If you have high demand you can afford to have a larger non-recurring component because the risk is shared, and the benefits of that risk apply to a much larger fleet and therefore the cost-benefit is there. High demand also ensures that the PAUC stays at reasonable levels. This is why most users who have very small demand buy off the shelf. No one (perhaps maybe the French etc for strategic reasons) would invest very heavily in an indigenous program and R&D when they need 100 - 150 aircraft. They would much rather buy off the shelf or modify something they already have. When your aggregated demand approaches closer to 3000, then you can take more risk and invest in higher R&D to get more capability.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Vayutuvan » 01 Nov 2019 02:50

Continuous Fiber Composite for Use in Gears:
Lightweight material brings strength and durability to complex shapes


at technology.nasa.gov

The structure can then meet high specific strength and high cycle fatigue resistance requirements for rotorcraft gears and other applications, including aircraft, power generation such as wind turbine systems, unmanned vehicles, and urban air mobility (UAM).

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 01 Nov 2019 21:47

NRL’s multifunction RF testbed demonstrates antenna sharing and pattern capabilities


Image

Northrop Grumman and the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have demonstrated simultaneous multifunction radio frequency (RF) resource management and antenna sharing during testing of a prototype system at NRL's test facility in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland.

The Low-Level Resource Allocation Manager (LLRAM) programme forms one part of the Office of Naval Research's (ONR) long-running Integrated Topside (InTop) Innovative Naval Prototype (INP) programme.

Building on previous multifunction RF systems research, the InTop INP was established to develop a scalable family of integrated multifunction apertures and electronic subsystems able to support radar, electronic warfare (EW), information operations (IO), and communications functions.Developed by Northrop Grumman since 2011, the LLRAM manages resource allocation, prioritisation, calibration, and frequency deconfliction system-wide to optimise RF performance. It has been integrated with a Multibeam EW/IO/COMMS advanced development model (ADM), also build by Northrop Grumman. The EW/IO/COMMS system prototype leverages four wide-band active electronically scanned array antennas (low-band transmit/receive and high-band transmit/receive) covering C - mmW bands.

According to Northrop Grumman, the company completed a critical test of the LLRAM and Multibeam EW/IO/COMMS ADM during September 2019 at NRL's Chesapeake Bay Detachment. "LLRAM in conjunction with the [EW/IO/COMMS] system demonstrated the simultaneous sharing of a single antenna, while flexing its adaptable size and antenna pattern capabilities, and performing a mission that would have required multiple dedicated antennas in the past," the company said in a 28 October statement, adding: "The significance of the test is to enable future antenna reductions on ships that are already capacity-constrained, allowing for more advanced…capabilities in an ever-increasingly complex [RF] environment."

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 01 Nov 2019 21:49

Saab and Raytheon Complete Successful Test Firings of Guided Carl-Gustaf Munition

Saab and U.S. defence company Raytheon have successfully completed a series of guided flight tests for the shoulder launched Guided Carl-Gustaf® Munition, featuring a semi-active laser guidance system. The tests were performed at the Mile High Range in Sierra Blanca, Texas, United States and at Saab Bofors Test Centre in Karlskoga, Sweden.

The test firings in Sweden that were performed during September 25-26, 2019 was in the presence of an international audience. Three munitions were fired in total; two against static targets and one against a moving target. A semi-active laser was used to guide the munitions to target impact. Other seeker technologies (e.g. imaging IR) were also demonstrated as optional solutions for the final product. The demonstration in Sweden further included dynamic warhead tests against various targets.

Saab’s Carl-Gustaf weapon system is used by the U.S. Armed Forces as well as the ground forces of more than 40 other countries. The guided munition will allow Armed Forces to accurately engage stationary or moving targets up to, and beyond 2,000 meters. The increased range, in combination with a Confined Space capability will offer troops greater tactical flexibility when selecting a firing position.

“The Guided Carl-Gustaf Munition is a next step in the evolution of the Carl-Gustaf system. It will be the most advanced Carl-Gustaf munition yet and will offer greater precision, minimise collateral damage and deliver outstanding performance with pin-point accuracy and multi-target capability,” says Görgen Johansson, Head of Saab business area Dynamics.

“Raytheon and Saab have been working together to start development of a precision-guided munition that will penetrate multiple types of targets, such as light armor, bunkers and concrete structures, at extended ranges. This lightweight round will overmatch potential adversaries while decreasing collateral damage, making it an ideal weapon when fighting under restricted rules of engagement,” says Sam Deneke, Raytheon Land Warfare Systems vice president.

In 2017, Saab announced its partnership with Raytheon to develop new weapons for infantry forces. The Guided Carl-Gustaf munition will be designed to increase the capability of the combat proven, shoulder-launched, multi-role weapon system Carl-Gustaf.




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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 03 Nov 2019 02:52

Podcast: A Stealth Surprise: RQ-180 Goes Operational

Nearly years after Aviation Week confirmed the existence of the stealthy RQ-180, new reporting suggests the Northrop Grumman high-altitude unmanned aircraft system has a new home base in California and has been ready to fly operational missions since at least 2017. Aviation Week editors Guy Norris, Steve Trimble, and Graham Warwick discuss the details of the latest story, along with some of the implications the reporting poses for the acquisition and operational communities.


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 03 Nov 2019 19:13

A good overview of the short term "beyond increment 3.2B" capability upgrades earmarked on the F-22A fleet in the next year or two. In addition to this, an HMS is also part of the upgrade that is expected to be in developmental-operational (DT/OT) testing by next year. Both AIM-120D and AIM-9X Block II (data-link) are already fully operational as are the radar upgrades and the EW system upgrades that were rolled into increment block 3.2 capability along with other changes.

http://airforcemag.com/Features/Pages/2 ... -Year.aspx

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 04 Nov 2019 05:52

Nov 3, 2019 :: Air Force Research Laboratory looks to beam solar energy from space

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (Tribune News Service) — The concept of collecting solar energy through satellites and beaming the power to earth has been around since the 1960s.

But the technology hasn’t been around to do it cost effectively. But that may no longer be the case.

The Air Force Research Laboratory in Albuquerque is helping to develop a system that would collect solar energy in space, convert it to radio frequency, and beam it to earth to be used in remote, forward operational bases during military operations.

AFRL is partnering with Northrop Grumman on the more than $100 million Space Solar Power Incremental Demonstration and Research project, also known as SSPIDR to develop the technology.

“Energy is a strategic enabler and potential vulnerability for our nation and our Department of Defense,” said Col. Eric Felt, director of AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate. “To ensure DOD mission success, we must have the energy we need at the right place at the right time.”

Maj. Tim Allen said the project was “born out of an operational need to provide power to disadvantaged users” such as forward operational bases that rely on fuel convoy deliveries for power. He said the ability to send power from space provides “more safety to our troops so they don’t have to escort those convoys.”

Developers envision a system that is a constellation of satellites with solar panels, about 10,000 square meters — almost the size of two football fields — said Allen and systems engineer Rachel Delaney.

“This whole project is building toward wireless power transmission,” said Allen, who is the demonstrations manager on the project.

He said the solar panels that would be sent into space would “beam power down when and where we choose.”

“The beams are electronically steered so we can put them down in specific locations and keep them steered there without having to turn some large array,” Allen said.

Delaney said AFRL would not be making the final prototype.

“We’re developing different demonstrations that would develop the technology needed for that large-scale prototype,” she said.

Delaney said developing the system faces thermal challenges “and how you support something that big in orbit.”

“Those are areas we’re trying to improve.” Allen said.

Although the project seeks to help military operations, Allen and Delaney believe such a system could be useful nonmilitarily to remote communities worldwide.

“This technology was first looked at in the 1960s or so, and it wasn’t cost-effective then,” Allen said. “Now we’re going down the route to building some experiments to find out if it is cost-effective. If we find that it is and we start producing this operational capability, I believe the commercial industry will be happy to mimic what we’re doing and start providing this power commercially and not just for the military.”

“If you have a spacecraft collecting solar energy beaming it, this spacecraft has nearly constant sunlight and it is able to collect up to eight times more than a ground system would,” Delaney said. She said such a system “would provide solar power through weather, regardless of latitude, and regardless of the time of day as well. New Mexico gets a lot of sun, but there are other places around the world that don’t normally. So we would be able to provide power solar power to them.”

Allen said the capability would provide power at night.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby chetak » 06 Nov 2019 03:58

twitter

The Pentagon is adjusting its supply chains for an age of “great power competition” -> suppliers in any country signed up to BRI are under suspicion. US “trusted capital” is being invited in. https://www.ft.com/content/b9260d54-fcf ... 6c20050229



Image

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 06 Nov 2019 04:52

chetak wrote:twitter

The Pentagon is adjusting its supply chains for an age of “great power competition” -> suppliers in any country signed up to BRI are under suspicion. US “trusted capital” is being invited in. https://www.ft.com/content/b9260d54-fcf ... 6c20050229

<snip>


The original document came out in Sept of 2018:

Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States

Worth a read.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 06 Nov 2019 06:16

US Navy's roadmap for F-35C squadron workups, standing up new squadrons and carrier assignment and deployments. Interestingly, there is one Super Hornet squadron that will transition to the F-35C around 2024-2025. This is likely a unit that has older SH's which would probably enter Block III upgrade and will be cycled to a different squadron. Minus that, the F-35C will be exclusively replacing F-18 A-C and Harrier units. Also on display is the emphasis on PACIFIC units getting priority over Atlantic carrier squadrons. An Atlantic cruise with a couple of squadrons of F-35C on a carrier could not happen till late 2020's with nearly 100% of the first 200 F-35C's bound for the Pacific focused squadrons.

Image

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 06 Nov 2019 10:10



Just to be clear on how serious the US is about Russia and China:

Oct 8, 2019 :: What Is the National Defense Strategy?

The National Defense Strategy — the first new strategy in a decade — was released earlier this year. It has two main goals:

1) To restore America’s competitive edge by blocking global rivals Russia and China from challenging the U.S. and our allies.
2) To keep those rivals from throwing the current international order out of balance.


The root URL: https://www.defense.gov

The only item of interest is that the strategy was that of Mattis:

The Defense Department has been hard at work to put the strategy into action. It now has its largest annual budget, which includes the biggest troop pay increase in nine years. Defense Secretary James N. Mattis has traveled to 58 countries to solidify existing partnerships and form new ones. DOD is conducting the largest consolidated audit in its history. Streamlined contracting and purchasing processes and other reform initiatives are making sure every tax dollar is spent wisely and in keeping with the National Defense Strategy’s three priorities:

* Build a more lethal force
* Strengthen alliances and find new partners
* Reform business practices


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 20 Nov 2019 05:44

Lockheed Martin LM-100J Commercial Freighter Receives FAA Type Certificate Update

Nov 19, 2019.

The Lockheed Martin LM-100J commercial freighter received its type design update certification from the Federal Aviation Administration on Nov. 15.

This particular FAA certification allows the LM-100J to operate from any commercial airfield in the world.

In 2014, Lockheed Martin announced it would update its existing FAA A1SO type certificate for its Model L-382J aircraft to be marketed as the LM-100J, a civil-certified production variant of the military proven C-130J Super Hercules.


Notable operational LM-100J enhancements compared to a legacy L-100s include:

+ 14% more fuel efficient
+ 20% improvement in payload/range capability
+ Automated maintenance fault reporting
+ Unmatched situational awareness with digital avionics and dual HUD
+ Fully CNS/ATM compliant with the FAA Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen)
+ Enhanced Cargo Handling (ECHS) system
+ Carbon breaks
+ An FAA-certified commercial maintenance program

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 20 Nov 2019 05:53

AFRL tests in-house, rapidly developed small engine

Nov 7, 2019

Image
Air Force Research Laboratory engineer Justin Reinhart completes final assembly of the Responsive Open Source Engine turbine in preparation for testing. ROSE is a rapid development effort executed within 13 months and is the first turbine engine designed, assembled, and tested exclusively within AFRL. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Tim

Image
Air Force Research Laboratory engineer Justin Reinhart makes final adjustments on the Responsive Open Source Engine on the test stand. ROSE is a rapid development effort executed within 13 months and is the first turbine engine designed, assembled, and tested exclusively within AFRL. (U.S. Air Force Photo/David Dixon)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – The Air Force Research Laboratory demonstrated a new and ultra-responsive approach to turbine engine development with the initial testing of the Responsive Open Source Engine (ROSE) on Nov. 6, 2019, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The Aerospace Systems Directorate’s ROSE is the first turbine engine designed, assembled, and tested exclusively in-house. The entire effort, from concept initiation to testing, was executed within 13 months. This program responds to Air Force’s desire for rapid demonstration of new technologies and faster, less expensive prototypes.

“We decided the best way to make a low-cost, expendable engine was to separate the development costs from procurement costs,” said Frank Lieghley, Aerospace Systems Directorate Turbine Engine Division senior aerospace engineer and project manager. He explained that because the design and development were conducted in-house, the Air Force owns the intellectual property behind it. Therefore, once the engine is tested and qualified, the Air Force can forego the typical and often slow development process, instead opening the production opportunity to lower-cost manufacturers better able to economically produce the smaller production runs needed for new Air Force platforms.

The applications for this class of engine are many and varied, but the development and advancement of platforms that could make use of it has typically been stymied because the engines have been too expensive. Through this effort, AFRL hopes to lower the engine cost to roughly one fourth of the cheapest current alternative, an almost unheard-of price for such technology, thus enabling a new class of air vehicles that can capitalize on the less expensive engine.

“There’s no end to what might be done, but it’s all enabled by inexpensive production,” said Dr. Greg Bloch, Aerospace Systems Directorate Turbine Engine Division chief engineer. “It’s the ability to turn the economics of warfare around.”

Bloch added that the design and development of this engine was a unique learning opportunity for younger engineers within the directorate. By participating in the entire process, from cradle to grave, junior workforce engineers gained first-hand experience with every aspect of engine development.

“We have a lengthy history of providing technical oversight at a high level to various engine companies as they develop these engines for the U.S. Air Force,” said Bloch. “By teaching our people to do this themselves, we’re instilling in them a level of gravitas that will serve the Air Force well when we then apply that oversight to the traditional engine manufacturers.”

The team says ROSE is more than just a first-of-its-kind engine development project. It represents a shift in thinking about how to do business.

“We’re not trying to compete with our commercial partners, we are leveraging an underutilized sector to meet Air Force needs,” said Lt. Col. Ionio Andrus, Aerospace Systems Directorate Turbine Engine Division deputy division chief.

Andrus added that by working closely with other AFRL organizations, including the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate and the Air Force Institute of Technology, the team leveraged internal expertise that helped advance the project. Additionally, by starting from scratch and performing all the work themselves, the AFRL team developed new tools and models that will be available for use in future iterations and new engine design projects.

“This is the right project for the issues that AFRL, the Turbine Engine Division, and the Air Force are facing,” said Andrus. “There’s a lot of goodness here.”

Following this test event, the team will use the measured data to validate their newly-developed design tools and will work toward developing a second iteration of the engine that will be smaller and lighter. With the tools and know-how already in place, Lieghley expects the second design to be completed even more quickly than the first.

Bloch calls ROSE another milestone in the Turbine Engine Division’s rich legacy in equipping Air Force platforms. However, this one holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the engineers behind it.

“There’s not an Air Force engine fielded today whose technology can’t be traced back to Turbine Engine Division in-house work,” he said. “We’ll eventually hand this off to a manufacturer, but this one is all AFRL on the inside.”

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 20 Nov 2019 19:05

The USAF never wanted a particular/set length as a requirement (in fact, initially they wanted a smaller more simpler aircraft and it was the DON that wanted a larger, more capable aircraft). They wanted adherence to a set of KPP's. Those KPP's evolved over time as the three services aligned and as other decisions forced them to do so. For example, initially the USAF wanted a lighter fighter which was more of a "low" to the F-22 "high" with an intermediate class strike aircraft sandwiched in between that would have been purchased in smaller numbers (possibly a F-22 derivative).

The Marines wanted a STOVL variant of that light'er fighter as a Harrier replacement and something "else" as a Hornet replacement (perhaps the SH).

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By the time the three services aligned on a formal program of record a few things had been made abundantly clear to the "requirement framers" within each service (ACC in the USAF and NAVAIR for DON) : -

- The USAF was not getting any more F-22's (in fact fight was on to save it from outright termination), and there would be no intermediate strike aircraft as an F-15E replacement
- the USMC was not going to get a clean sheet program given its low demand, and the USN had to either align with another service or become a SH operator through the 2030's as it had no political/programmatic capital left to start a new program after the failure of the futuristic A-12.

So when it all went down in the mid to late 90's, the USAF agreed to a more capable and slightly larger requirement to align with what the US Navy was looking for, and the Marines agreed because this also allowed them to replace the capabilities and exceed the performance of both the Harrier (in STOVL) and F/A-18 A-C without resorting to two different types and without having one aircraft only capable of operating from land or requiring CVN's. The demand aggregation created Economies of Scale of roughly 100+ aircraft a year at the high LRIP levels (they are in the 90-95 range currently) and closer to 140 aircraft a year at sustained Full Rate Production levels. This provided all three services/users an opportunity that most of the US's adversaries would not have till decades later - to mass produce 5th generation aircraft and buy at a very high rate to preserve qualitative and quantitative advantage.

JayS wrote:F35 needed a slightly different solution. LM sorted out the issue by having a larger wing created using inserts of larger size in the common wing structure. From what I know there are no severe restrictions on F35's landing weight. So this solution works.


Initially, the program proposed a common CTOL and CV wing that could still meet naval needs (this kept commonality high). The Navy intervened as it viewed its F-35C as a medium-long range first-day strike/attack platform (that is what it was trying to get with the A-12). The USN then roped in the USMC who agreed to buy a decent number of F-35C's to operate off of USN carriers and the total demand allowed them to convince the civilian leaders at the Pentagon that a larger wing, with more fuel, was an ok path to follow as an investment. So it was the collective need to meet naval requirements and increase the range/payload to better meet USN needs that the larger wing was pursued. Initial solutions leveraged more commonality in the wing but the USN has much different reserve-fuel levels in its "combat radius" requirements and in order to match or exceed the USAF variants combat radius on a Carrier aircraft they needed more fuel. The USN views and will operate the F-35 very differently from either the USAF or the USMC. For them, a relatively small number (as a proportion of their overall strike fighter strength) means that it will be a penetrating platform that will enhance the capability of stand off platforms as well as kick down the door. It is very much a strike aircraft optimized for VLO first day usage for them. The USAF on the other hand offloads most of the missions performed by the F-16 and even the A-10 in some instances and the use case is across the entire mission set because the F-35 is available in much higher quantities to them. They will eventually use it for all sorts of stand in, stand off and air to air missions - even integrating longer ranged cruise missiles externally and use it to recapitalize the JASSM/F-16 capability that will go away as that type is retired.

But the F-35/JSF is a case of the stars aligning at a time of intense volatility and budget turmoil in the Pentagon. Just a few years prior to the formal alignment, Bill Perry had had his very famous "last supper" with defense contractors and the cold war had ended and massive budget cuts had already been planned, implemented or were expected in the future. All the force modernization decisions at that point had to grapple with those realities and each of the three services/users had to live with decisions they made including the ones that would have resulted from them stepping away and embarking on an individual service led effort. As it turned out, the USAF chief and Secretary both had to resign/forced out just a few years later because they went head to head with the then Secretary of Defense, regarding the F-22 program..The USN was staring down a huge bow-wave of nuclear fleet capitalization and other high risk projects (CVN-21/Ford, Zumwalt etc. etc.) and the Marines didn't have the budget to fund something on their own even with assistance from the UK. This may not be the case for the IAF and the IN. If ADA/HAL and the services can develop 2 5GAF and 2 4+ generation aircraft in a reasonable time-frame, while simultaneously fielding the LCA MK1 then nothing like it. The US services just did not have the political capital or the funding wiggle room in its budgets in the late 1990s - 2000's , to request separate programs hence chose a path that provided each service with the highest capability within a collective funding profile.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 21 Nov 2019 09:40

May 2, 2019 :: The Navy and Marines Are Deploying a 'Lightning Carrier' to the Pacific

Oct 31, 2019 :: Marines Could Deploy More 'Lightning Carriers' amid High Demand for Flattops

When Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer pitched sending an aircraft carrier into early retirement, he had an idea for how to answer the call for flattops around the world: an amphibious assault ship loaded up with F-35B Joint Strike Fighter jets.

Spencer said he had big plans for what he could do with the $3.8 billion the Navy could save by retiring the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman decades before planned. But the idea to forgo refueling the carrier's nuclear reactor core was unpopular on Capitol Hill and eventually reversed by President Donald Trump.

As the Navy grapples with aircraft carrier maintenance issues, Spencer said he's looking at new options. One possibility is loading up big-deck amphibious assault ships with F-35B Lightning aircraft and sending them out in place of carriers.

"My cost performance there is tremendous," he said at a recent event in Washington, D.C. "Does it have the same punch? No, it doesn't. But it does have a very interesting sting to it."

Marines are already testing the concept. Earlier this month, more than a dozen F-35B aircraft with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 landed on the amphibious assault ship America in the Pacific.

That ship, which was built without a well deck, is designed to be a mini "Marine carrier" since it has more room for aircraft.

Spencer said he wants to see 20 F-35Bs, which are designed to operate from amphibious assault ships, on the America's flight deck.

"You might see us do that in the near future," he said. "We might just launch it out once -- try it out, put it in a couple of exercises and know that we have it up our sleeve."

The Marine Corps called the test on the America "the birth of the most lethal, aviation-capable amphibious assault ship to date." Lt. Col. John Dirk, VMFA-122's commanding officer, said in a news release about the exercise that adding the F-35Bs' sensors and weapons to the amphib fleet is a "lethal combination."

The Navy has struggled to fill combatant commanders' requests for carriers. In March, the former head of U.S. Central Command said he couldn't always get a carrier to the Middle East when he wanted one.

Last weekend, the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group's crews were told they'd have their deployment extended again as the Navy works to repair electrical problems on the carrier set to replace it in the Middle East. Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Robert Burke said last week that he's "very concerned" about carrier maintenance.

Spencer said the money he could save by deploying "Lightning carriers" in place of refueling the Truman could've gone toward much-needed upgrades to Navy technology as the U.S. braces to take on a near-peer adversary. He said the service needs to spend that money on artificial intelligence, machine learning, 3D printing, quantum computing, unmanned ships and other high-tech updates.

"People came up to me and said, 'Are you out of your mind, secretary? Not refueling the Truman ... that's just insane,'" Spencer said.

But if the sea services are going to be ready for the next fight, he said they must be allowed to ditch inefficient equipment. The Ford-class carriers will be able to fly 30% more sorties and operate with 25% fewer people on board than the Nimitz-class ships, he added.

"It's an efficiency game changer," Spencer said. "So let me abandon an older vessel and move to the newer fleet."

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 21 Nov 2019 19:53

T-7A in the new markings--

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 21 Nov 2019 22:51

Around 460 aircraft are currently flying..the road to the next 500 will take roughly 3 or so years..

Northrop Grumman Delivers 500th AN/APG-81 AESA Radar for the F-35 Lightning II


Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has delivered its 500th AN/APG-81 fire control radar for the F-35 Lightning II. The Northrop Grumman AN/APG-81 active electronically scanned array is the cornerstone of the F-35’s advanced sensor suite, providing unparalleled battlespace situational awareness that translates into platform lethality, effectiveness and survivability.

“As a principal member of the Lockheed Martin-led F-35 industry team, our continued investment in facilities and equipment, production enhancements in process and design, and expanded supply chain capability through second sourcing helped reach this milestone,” said Chris Fitzpatrick, director, F-35 programs, Northrop Grumman. “The 500th delivery of this top-of-the-line fighter radar was made possible by our continuous focus on quality and excellence across our company.”

The AN/APG-81 radar has long-range active and passive air-to-air and air-to-ground modes that support a wide range of demanding missions. These modes are complemented by an array of stealth features as well as electronic warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance functions.

Northrop Grumman plays a key role in the development, modernization, sustainment and production of the F-35. In addition to producing the AN/APG-81 radar, the company manufactures the center fuselage and wing skins for the aircraft, produces and maintains several sensor systems, avionics, mission systems and mission-planning software, pilot and maintainer training systems courseware, electronic warfare simulation test capability, and low-observable technologies.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 21 Nov 2019 23:54

Oct 14, 2019 :: Strategic, long-range cannon preps to jump its first tech hurdle

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army is wading into a major science and technology development area to build a strategic, long-range cannon — one that can shoot a projectile 1,000 nautical miles — and plans to put the program through its first test soon, according to Col. John Rafferty, who is in charge of executing modernization efforts for the service’s top priority, long-range precision fires.

The Army is working with the Research and Analysis Center at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, as well as the Center for Army Analysis to confirm the service can accomplish what is expected from such a system, Rafferty told Defense News in an interview ahead of the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference.

The Army wants to demonstrate a prototype of the long-range cannon in 2023, after which it will make a decision on whether to begin a program of record.

The program is structured to pass through “big technology gates,” Rafferty said. “We’re about to knock down one of those gates with a test at [Naval Support Facility] Dahlgren, [Virginia], here very soon.”

If the program passes through that first gate — which Rafferty described as “early ballistic tests” — a report will go to Army leadership for approval.

But the technology needed to achieve such a capability is so cutting edge that it’s unknown whether that specific distance can be achieved at a cost that won’t break the bank.

For the Army, range will be king in operations against adversaries like China and Russia, who have each invested in defensive technologies. The combination of long-range air defense systems, artillery and coastal defenses with seamless integration of long-range, over-the-horizon radars will be difficult to counter, according to Rafferty.

“That integrated system challenges even our most sophisticated aircraft and challenges our most sophisticated ships to gain access to the area,” he said. “That layered enemy standoff at the strategic level was really the fundamental problem. One of the ways to solve that problem is to deliver surface-to-surface fires that can penetrate this [anti-access, area-denial] complex and disintegrate its network and create windows of opportunity for the joint force to exploit.”

That surface-to-surface capability can be delivered by the Army, he added.

There are two complementary systems that would be designed to penetrate enemy territory. There’s the hypersonic missile, which is technologically exquisite, will be expensive and the force “will probably never have enough of those,” Rafftery said. Then there’s the strategic cannon, which “will be able to deliver a volume of more affordable projectiles,” possibly 12, 16 or 20 in shorter order, to destroy a target, Rafferty said

Each of the technology gates through which the Army will try to pass serves as a chance to assess if the capability is meeting lethality and cost goals. “This idea of volume and affordability and lethality is first and foremost in our minds,” Rafferty said.

“A lot of that comes down to cost,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville told Defense News in a recent interview. “If we are able to develop the strategic, long-range cannon system, the rounds may be only $400,000 or $500,000 compared to multimillion-dollar rounds. Cost does matter, and we are concerned about cost. There are some, definitely, physics challenges in doing these types of things, and that is the trade-off.”

The Army is “trying to be innovative, but what they have to do is demonstrate the capability at each phase along the way. And if that doesn’t happen, we are not doing it,” McConville added.


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 22 Nov 2019 19:26

^ The article and the discussion is on page 37 of this thread.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 22 Nov 2019 19:40

The last of the "Classic" E-2C's have now been officially retired. The entire USN AEW fleet is now composed of E-2C Hawkeye 2000's and the advanced E-2D -

Bear Aces retire 30-year-old aircraft, the last of its kind


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — After decades of service, the Bear Aces of Airborne Early Warning Squadron 124 have officially retired the last of the E-2C “Hawkeye” Group II Navigation Upgrade (NAVUP) aircraft.

The aircraft will be replaced by the E-2C Hawkeye 2000.

The aircraft returned to Naval Station Norfolk Tuesday during a ceremony celebrating its 30 years of service. There was a fly-over, then after the plane landed it passed under a water arch.

The ceremony is a longstanding tradition honoring the retirement of an aircraft.

Officials say the new replacement aircraft has superior technology.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 22 Nov 2019 19:49

Barath wrote:
Philip wrote:2 MIG- 35s! :)
I welcome the thought though of acquiring larger guns but would instead prefer the IN to acquire the 8" guns aboard the new Zumwalt class of DDGs which supposedly have an 80+nm range with the LRAP projectiles.That would be great for our future larger surface combatants giving main guns much greater reach.


That gun and its cancelled projectile are the cause of much heart burn in the US Navy. Why would you even think of it ? The gun is super expensive, heavy, required specially built magazine and ammo handling, and was not designed to fire other ammo.

The trend

A single 127mm gun is now the standard main armament for most frigate/destroyer-sized ships


I believe this order may be a replacement for this order as Oto Melara is part of blacklisted FinMeccanica/Leonardo


Actually the cancellation of the AGS and the LRAP is a big relief to the US Navy and not heart burn at all. A large Zumwalt Class fleet would have allowed for that mission - a 3 destroyer fleet allows them to ditch the AGS/LRAP and transform the vessel into a more surface warfare and offensive platform and they are fast at adding offensive power to it. The biggest advantage the Zumwalt enjoys (from a USN perspective) is that it is a non-AEGIS vessel and therefore isn't constantly being pressed into Area-BMD roles which has been the case with the Burke's of late. This allows it to use its large diameter cells for more offensive power starting with the 21" SM-6 and the MST Tomahawk but extending into Hypersonic weapons in the medium term. It is also the only vessel of its type in the US Navy (and possibly the world) that can accommodate a 300kW+ power HEL within its organic power generation suite (and within other SwAP margins). The Burke's really struggle to go past 100-150kW without a complex and costly overhaul to their power generation and thermal management capability.

When the time is right, they can replace the AGS with the Railgun once a common design is narrowed down that can be shared across the 3 Zumwalt's and the 20+ LSCs that they'll need to buy to replace their cruisers and some destroyers. It is quite possible that the future LSC will be derived from the DDG-1000 parent design though they have not yet decided on that and likely won't for a couple of years still. Had the LRAP not been terminated, the Congress would have likely forced them to keep the Zumwalts focused on the original mission which would have made very little sense with the truncated buy.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 23 Nov 2019 20:35

The 4th Fighter Squadron and and about a dozen of its F-35A's returned on the 3rd of November from their 6 month deployment at Al Dhafra, and now the 34th Fighter Squadron is headed to to replace that capability there -

F-35 unit from Hill Air Force Base begins deployment to Middle East


HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — Another Hill Air Force Base squadron equipped with F-35 fighters has left on a combat deployment for the Middle East.

The Standard-Examiner reports that the 34th Fighter Squadron with personnel drawn from active-duty and reserve units at Hill left recently for Al Dhafra Air Base, in the United Arab Emirates.Col. Steven Behmer, commander of the 388th Fighter Wing, said the squadron consists of pilots and other personnel from the 34th Fighter Squadron and from a reserve unit, the 466th Fighter Squadron.

Personnel and jets from Hill’s 4th Fighter Squadron returned recently from a six-month deployment to the same region.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 25 Nov 2019 18:09

Great recap of the year of deployments, combat operations, large force exercises and integration work ups for the USAF 388 Fighter Wing - One of the busiest units in the USAF given deployments, training and inducting new aircraft. The FW now operates around 75 F-35A's between the squadrons housed at Hill AFB and will receive its last 3 by end of the year.

388FW’s F-35s Deploy Again To The Middle East Two Weeks After The End Of Their First Combat Tour in The UAE.It’s been a busy year for Hill Air Force Base’s F-35s so let’s do a quick recap of what the 388th FW’s Lightning II have been up to during 2019.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 25 Nov 2019 18:32

History in the making: final CALCM missile package retired


The sun has set on an integral component of the United States long-range strategic bombing capabilities as the final Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missile (CALCM) package was downloaded and disassembled at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, Nov. 20, 2019.

Initially beginning design in 1974, the CALCM missile has been employed in combat operations to include Desert Storm, Desert Strike, Desert Fox, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Decades later, the final missile package was disassembled to become demilitarized.

“It’s incredible to see the tail end of a weapons system come full circle,” Tech. Sgt. Carlos Solorza, 2nd Munitions Squadron weapons system bay chief said during the final upload of the CALCM weapon system. “I don’t think I’ll ever be apart of another weapon retirement and the fact that I’m here right now is pretty special.”

The CALCM missile is a small, winged missile powered by a turbofan jet engine, able to fly complicated routes through terrain with the guidance of a GPS aided inertial navigation system.

“I’ve loaded this weapon system well over 300 times,” said retired Chief Master Sgt. Paul LaFlame, former weapons superintendent at Barksdale. “This has been the primary weapon system on the B-52 for decades now.”

Although missile design began in the mid-1970s, CALCM wasn’t employed in combat until January of 1991, during Operation Secret Squirrel, a mission in which seven B-52G Stratofortresses took off from Barksdale toward Iraqi targets, launching 35 CALCM missiles.

Opening the first strikes of Operation Desert Storm, the then-new CALCM missiles devastated Saddam Hussein’s forces and marked the first time GPS has been used to guide a missile to a target.

Former members of the mission, retired Cols. Trey Morriss and Warren Ward alongside LaFlame were in attendance for the final download of the last CALCM missiles.

“It’s awesome to see these young Airmen, it makes me feel young,” said Ward. “It’s always great to interact with young troops, they’re phenomenal. It’s great to see the Air Force still moving along seamlessly, with great people who still get the job done,” LaFlame added.

The CALCM weapon system is to be replaced over time as more advanced Long-Range, Stand-Off (LRSO) weapons enter the active stockpile.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 01 Dec 2019 08:12

Nov 20, 2019 :: Special Operations Command Is Experimenting With Bullets That Shoot Through Water

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.— There’s a reason bad guys in spy movies use harpoon guns when they have to fight underwater. Regular bullets lose their deadly momentum when traveling through liquid or other dense substances. U.S. Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, has begun experimenting with new bullets that could allow frogmen to shoot up into enemy boats or helicopter gunners to strafe periscope-depth submarines.

How does it work? The tungsten-tipped CAV-X bullet from Virginia’s DSG Technologies has a nose that creates a small air bubble as it moves through the water. The bubble greatly reduces drag on the bullet, a supercavitation effect that has been part of torpedo design since World War II and is now a feature on some types of boats.

DSG provided bullets to Special Operations Command for testing earlier this month. Odd Leonhardsen, the company’s chief science officer, said the tests will include firing up toward the surface from underwater, and some others he said he wasn’t told about.



DSG officials said the demonstration, which was part of a larger event put on by the Global SOF Foundation, bested an “unofficial” world record that DSG had set just the day before, and another record that they had bested in May.



The company also demonstrated different bullets that can shoot through sandbags, through 2 cm of steel (with no ricochet), and through body armor.

Only recently, said Leonhardsen, has the company entered a phase where it can mass produce the special bullets.

DSG is also selling to other governments, Leonhardsen said. He declined to identify them. He did say those governments were testing how well the bullets performed when fired from helicopters into the water. One potential target: submarines. In tests performed by DSG, the .50-cal. bullets can travel 60 meters through water or penetrate 2 cm of steel through 17 meters of water.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 03 Dec 2019 23:07

US Navy Awards $22B Contract to Electric Boat, Newport News Shipbuilding for 9 Block V Virginia Subs

The Navy signed its largest shipbuilding contract ever, awarding a $22.2-billion contract to General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding for nine Virginia-class Block V attack submarines.

The contract award comes amid a flurry of activity in nuclear shipbuilding, with common suppliers trying to balance the start of the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine program, a two-ship buy in the Ford-class aircraft carrier program and the transition of the Virginia program from the Block IV design to Block V, which adds in acoustic superiority enhancements and 28 Tomahawk missile tubes. The Navy has long said the Columbia SSBN program is its top priority in the coming years, but the fleet desperately needs more attack submarines as well.

“Our whole philosophy going into this is, get Virginia as a stable foundation which then we can build Columbia on top of,” James Geurts, the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, told reporters today.
“We really wanted to make sure we had, from both sides, a balanced, stable foundation; showed our commitment to the industrial base; showed our commitment to our suppliers; showed our commitment to the workforce – from that, then we can add Columbia on top.”.....

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 04 Dec 2019 18:23

LPD -27 USS Portland has deployed with what is stated to be a 150 kW class Solid State High Energy Laser. This is the most powerful HEL to be put on a sea going vessel and is roughly 5X more powerful than the HEL installed on the USS Ponce a few years ago -

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https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/3 ... ser-turret

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 07 Dec 2019 06:55

Dec 5, 2019


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 07 Dec 2019 19:10

F-117 Spotted Playing Stealthy Aggressor Against F-15s And F-22s Over Nellis Range


The F-117 Nighthawk saga is still far from over even as museums begin receiving demilitarized F-117As for public display. Of the fleet of 51 Nighthawks that remain at the shadowy Tonopah Test Range Airport, the vast majority of which are disassembled and packed inside the same hangars they once occupied operationally, a handful continue to fly for various purposes. Now we know that just as I had initially posited, some of these duties include acting as low-observable (stealthy) aggressors to challenge fighter crews during complex training and tactics development scenarios.

Kris Tanjano was out on the snow-covered Nellis Test and Training Range on December 3rd, 2019 when he encountered a very interesting event unfolding overhead. It involved F-16s, F-15s, F-22, F-117s, and possibly B-1Bs in aerial combat. Here is exactly how he explained what he witnessed:

"Recently, I witnessed an F-117 along with 4 F-16s go up against F-15s and F-22s. The F-117's callsign was KNIGHT, the F-16s were GOMER and MIG, and they were communicating on the aggressor frequency. First, the F-16s came in pairs attacking the blue force (F-22s, F-15s, and maybe a B-1) then an F-117 came in at low-level just behind the F-16s towards the blue force. They all fought it out for about five to ten mins then restarted for a second push. Once again the F-16s came high overhead, followed by a low-level F-117.

Several times the aggressors called out a target which was a low-level heavy aircraft which I believe was B-1 but I am not certain. After both fights were done the aggressors called RTB [return to base] and the F-16s headed back to Nellis AFB. But before that, they rendezvoused with the single F-117 on its way to Tonopah. Several minutes later, Silverbow (Tonopah) frequency became active with KNIGHT checking in.
"



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