US military, technology, arms, tactics

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Anoop » 19 Jul 2020 01:03

Don't know where to put this interview with Boeing's India head. But it contains some good information.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHLwvRykIrE

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Chinmay » 19 Jul 2020 14:19

Anoop wrote:Don't know where to put this interview with Boeing's India head. But it contains some good information.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHLwvRykIrE


Interesting datapoint that the P8s have flown more than 25000 hrs! For a fleet of 12, that seems to be a lot. The forces must find it extremely useful

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby MeshaVishwas » 19 Jul 2020 15:02

Chinmay wrote:
Anoop wrote:Don't know where to put this interview with Boeing's India head. But it contains some good information.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHLwvRykIrE


Interesting datapoint that the P8s have flown more than 25000 hrs! For a fleet of 12, that seems to be a lot. The forces must find it extremely useful

Fleet of 8 atm. #9 will be arriving shortly.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Chinmay » 19 Jul 2020 16:34

MeshaVishwas wrote:
Chinmay wrote:
Interesting datapoint that the P8s have flown more than 25000 hrs! For a fleet of 12, that seems to be a lot. The forces must find it extremely useful

Fleet of 8 atm. #9 will be arriving shortly.


Thanks. So thats an average of 450 hours per airframe per year.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Rakesh » 21 Jul 2020 23:57


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 22 Jul 2020 05:34

Chinmay wrote:
MeshaVishwas wrote:Fleet of 8 atm. #9 will be arriving shortly.


Thanks. So thats an average of 450 hours per airframe per year.


So assuming a 4-5 hour average flight you are looking at just over 100 flights a year. At that rate these airframes will practically last forever and service life will likely be driven by sub-system limitations and growth (which should be robust as well) and cost of system upgrades in the future. Wouldn't be surprised if the IN ends up getting 5 decades or more out of these.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 22 Jul 2020 06:13

Yet another USAF Air to Air Missile program jumping through to the next funding hoop. The $375 Million contract runs through 2023 when the USAF will begin flight testing. The weapon is designed to intercept Air to Air and Surface to Air missiles.

Raytheon To Build Mini-Missile Interceptor For Aircraft Self-Defense


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby arvin » 22 Jul 2020 20:56

brar_w wrote:Yet another USAF Air to Air Missile program jumping through to the next funding hoop. The $375 Million contract runs through 2023 when the USAF will begin flight testing. The weapon is designed to intercept Air to Air and Surface to Air missiles.



Since dimensions are in approx 1m range, they can repurpose the stinger for this.
Designing an anti radiation seeker in that diameter would be a challenge both size and power wise. This requirement may be for threats posed by meteor and SFDR.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 22 Jul 2020 21:07

arvin wrote:
brar_w wrote:Yet another USAF Air to Air Missile program jumping through to the next funding hoop. The $375 Million contract runs through 2023 when the USAF will begin flight testing. The weapon is designed to intercept Air to Air and Surface to Air missiles.



Since dimensions are in approx 1m range, they can repurpose the stinger for this.
Designing an anti radiation seeker in that diameter would be a challenge both size and power wise. This requirement may be for threats posed by meteor and SFDR.



I seriously doubt there would be even a single stinger component in that missile. It is a decades old rocket motor with most of the components no longer in production and high degree of obsolescence. SRM tech has advanced leaps and bounds especially with the HLG and plug and play throttleability which is very very close to being a reality. In fact initial low TRL maturation contracts for this missile were awarded, to primed and propulsion suppliers, in 2016 and a 7-8 year lead time to flight tests point to it utilizing less mature technology instead of repurposing something that is decades old. This missile would have to be highly agile for end game correction perspective given its targeting will likely be from EO/IR.

Why would Meteor and SFRJ be the ones that pose a threat exclusively requiring this approach? I’m not getting what the SFRJ provides outside of extended envelope. You can deter those easily by making yourself extremely hard to target at range and my having long range missiles or your own. Perhaps if they mount them on non combat aircraft like tankers etc or on drones escorting them.

SAMs are a much more relevant threat particularly ones that are small footprint and highly mobile and possibly passive. EW and passive systems are really good now but you probably still have to assume that a good chunk of those will survive initial SEAD and pose a threat particularly to non stealthy aircraft. Active kinetic (like MSDM) and non kinetic like a 50-100 kW airborne HEL will probably be good investments to mount on your less survivable aircraft come 2030s and 2040s. The MSDM and SHieLD are two programs aimed at getting these systems ready ahead of that need. With USAF buying F-15 EXs and the USN having to run their Super Hornets longer now given additional airframe hours ..this seems like a good investment to get ahead of the need.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 23 Jul 2020 01:49

Wouldn't be surprised if the motor had some commonality with this -

Image


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 26 Jul 2020 10:24

USAF awards Skyborg contracts. To be operational in just about 3 years time.

4 Companies Move Forward in Skyborg Competition


The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center on July 23 awarded indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contracts to Boeing Co., General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems, Inc., and Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., authorizing the companies to compete for up to $400 million in delivery orders for the Skyborg Vanguard Program over the next five years.

Skyborg—one of three USAF Vanguard programs outlined in the Air Force Science and Technology 2030 initiative—is an affordable unmanned system that will partner with fighter jets and utilize artificial intelligence to conduct strike and intelligence-collection missions that are too dangerous for manned aircraft.

“Because autonomous systems can support missions that are too strenuous or dangerous for manned crews, Skyborg can increase capability significantly and be a force multiplier for the Air Force,” said Brig. Gen. Dale R. White, program executive officer for fighters and advanced aircraft, in a release. White and Air Force Research Laboratory Commander Brig. Gen. Heather L. Pringle oversee the Skyborg program.

“We have the opportunity to transform our warfighting capabilities and change the way we fight and the way we employ air power,” White said.

The Vanguard initiative looks to speed up the time it takes to go from research to operational use. USAF has said it wants Skyborg to be operationally capable by the end of 2023.

Kratos is already flight testing its XQ-58A Valkyrie, created in partnership with AFRL, and will participate in an upcoming Advanced Battle Management System demonstration. Boeing has said it plans to submit a variant of its “loyal wingman” combat drone designed for the Royal Australian Air Force. Lockheed Martin and General Atomics have not said what they submitted and messages left for the companies were not immediately returned.

Autonomy technologies in Skyborg’s portfolio will range from simple play-book algorithms to advanced team decision making and will include on-ramp opportunities for artificial intelligence (AI) technologies,” Pringle said. “This effort will provide a foundational government reference architecture for a family of layered, autonomous, and open-architecture UAS.”


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 27 Jul 2020 02:53

US Army plans long-range missile fly-offs for future helicopters


The U.S. Army plans to conduct a few fly-offs to test possible long-range precision munitions for its fleet of future helicopters, according to the chief of operations in charge of the service’s Future Vertical Lift modernization efforts.

While the Army has picked Israeli company Rafael’s Spike Non-Line-of-Sight missile as an interim solution to deliver long-range lethality from its current and future helicopter fleets, it is also in the market for other options.

“The Army has not committed yet to a form factor of long-range precision munitions. If it’s Spike, or something else, we have time to work with that. We have time to do one fly-off or more” over the next few years to inform requirements, Col. Matthew Isaacson told reporters during a July 24 briefing.

The service is molding a future fleet for the early 2030s, acquiring two manned helicopters, a tactical unmanned aircraft system, air-launched effects, and long-range precision munitions that will be networked together on the battlefield using a common digital, modular, open-system architecture.

The Army extensively demonstrated Spike on both foreign and American AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, which led to the decision to buy some to tie the service over until it can assess other capabilities and better refine requirements before developing a permanent solution.The service fired the Spike NLOS missile from AH-64s in Israel and at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, last year. Defense News was present for one of six multidomain operations-relevant shots fired from an “E” model Apache at Yuma in August 2019.

Isaacson says there are a number of vendors with capabilities that could meet the future need.

The Army will need to finalize a preliminary design review across the board for assets within its future fleet in the 2023 time frame, so Isaacson said the Army has roughly three years to work with industry to settle on a capability and ensure it is interoperable with platforms “that are still somewhat on the drawing table,” something he said will be challenging.“We are looking at getting outside of the range of our pacing threats,” he said. The Army is “pleased” with Spike’s beyond 30-kilometer range, he added, “so any competitor in any future fly-off will have to demonstrate that they can do very similar and get at a long range in a timely manner after our pacing threats.”

Isaacson indicated the Army will likely work through cooperative research and development agreements among other means to demonstrate long-range precision munition capabilities at small venues. Then the munitions would be put to the test with soldiers at the brigade level, followed by higher-level demonstrations at venues like the Joint Warfighting Assessment, to inform requirements, he added.



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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 28 Jul 2020 18:30

The next Long Range - Precision Guided Kit (LR-PGK) contract has been awarded to see the system through the next phase of trials and to prep for operational capability by 2023. LR-PGK is the PG kit add-on to the XM1113 155 mm shells that will go into the Extended Range Cannon Artillery program and be capable of precision engagements out to 70 km range. It differs from the standard PGK insofar as it required a 3-4 year developmental program and an independent test and certification campaign. It will also be used on a new round which probably also added to the certification and testing schedule.

BAE Systems receives $33 million contract to produce long range artillery guidance system


BAE Systems has received a $33 million multi-year contract from the U.S. Army to further develop its Long Range Precision Guidance Kit (LR-PGK) for 155mm artillery shells, enabling the Army to conduct long range precision strikes in challenging electromagnetic environments.

LR-PGK is a critical program in the Army’s 155mm Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) munitions suite, designed to deliver accurate, lethal fires at greater ranges than near-peer adversaries. The BAE Systems solution builds on proven, mature technology, offering greater performance than current guidance kits through increased maneuverability and an incorporated anti-jam capability.

“We’re helping the Army meet its precision strike objectives with this critical long range artillery capability,” said John Watkins, vice president of Precision Strike at BAE Systems. “Our experience in precision guidance, rugged electronics, and artillery platforms has helped us develop a kit that improves mission effectiveness.”

Under the new contract, BAE Systems will produce a series of LR-PGK fuzes for live-fire testing, further validating the solution and demonstrating its accuracy and reliability in challenging battlefield conditions. Prior to the award, BAE Systems successfully demonstrated the LR-PGK capability and performance at Yuma Proving Ground in September 2019. The company committed significant investment to deliver on the Army’s modernization goals by intentionally designing the LR-PGK’s modular architecture for low-cost production and upgradeability.

LR-PGK is one of several BAE Systems programs that support Long Range Precision Fires, one of the U.S. Army’s top modernization priorities. In addition to designing and manufacturing the M109 family of Self-Propelled Howitzers, BAE Systems has developed and delivered guidance systems for precision munitions for decades and is a major supplier of artillery round explosives and propellants.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby m_saini » 29 Jul 2020 01:49

Don't know if this is the correct thread for this so please move it wherever this fits.

"F-35s Don't Help Families Pay Their Bills": GOP Under Fire for Slipping $30 Billion Pentagon Gift Into Coronavirus Plan

In a floor speech late Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described the GOP's newly released coronavirus stimulus package as a "carefully tailored" plan to provide financial relief to desperate Americans.

The HEALS Act proposes a total of $29.4 billion in new military spending just a week after the House and Senate approved a $740.5 billion Pentagon budget for fiscal year 2021.

It includes $686 million for new #F35 fighter jets.

The draft appropriations portion, made public Monday evening, includes money for fighter jets, helicopters, radars, ships, and armored vehicles that the measure's authors have deemed "emergency" spending that is not capped by the budget control law...

The list of weapons is topped by fully $1 billion for an unstated number of Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance jets. Also on the list is $283 million for Boeing Apache helicopters for the Army.

Boeing's Ground-Based Midcourse Defense anti-missile system, which is aimed at intercepting incoming ballistic missiles from sites in Alaska and California, would receive $200 million, and $243 million more would go to a missile defense radar program.


Wish we would include some money for Tejas etc in our Coronavirus plan as well.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 29 Jul 2020 01:57

US budgets are artificially capped because of the Budget Control Act triggered sequestration. To work around that, both parties routinely find contracting vehicles to get their line items funding. So whether that is Overseas Contingency Operational accounts or COVID relief, these are mere contractual vehicles because the two parties don't want to repeal the BCA itself and are happy to negotiate work-arounds year by year/ case by case depending upon the composition of Congress at the time. As far as defense spending, Congess directly asks the three major US services on their UNFUNDED PRIORITIES and once those lists are delivred each year, they negotiate how and from where (which contractual vehicle) to fund those priorities outside of what the sequestered budget request is from the White House.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 31 Jul 2020 01:51

sudham wrote:
brar_w wrote:^^ There are already around 1500 F-414's that the USN has bought..

Brar ji, agree. Just that I found it interesting that the US which heavily depends on its carrier fleet was running with 50% availability
Puts a lot of our challenges in context.


There is difference between 50% USN MCR and 50% USAF MCR. USN can tier its readiness so the impact of a 50% is less severe than what it would be for USAF that does not tier. But the reduction to pull O&S funding was a deliberate decision of the Obama administration (and the Congress at the time) which could either fund modernization, or readiness and not both given the budget gridlock in Congress. They chose to more heavily focus on modernization. Congress likewise played along because modernization means $$ for congressional districts. Readiness really doesn't (not in the same way).

Only with the higher Trump era budgets did the Pentagon get a chance to address both of those levers simultaneously. When you defer long term O&S investments (the USAF for example have delayed the F-35 organic depot capacity by nearly 8 years) it has a compounding impact on readiness as in you have to spend more to buy it back (it is cheaper to fix parts than to get new ones because parts needing repair/overhaul have a TAT measured in weeks/months due to depot capacity constraints so you are forced to maintain larger stockpiles). This is the spiral that the USN and to some extent the USAF got itself in. It was particularly worst with the Hornet and Super Hornet because predicting a scale back of the deployment cadence the USN cut back its O&S investment and those scaled back deployments and cruises never came. In fact the intensity actually ticked up. It was a perfect readiness storm with Hornets and Super Hornets literally lined up at depots waiting for their turn to be turned around. It was the same with component level readiness challenges.

It has taken nearly 4 years to get out of that readiness hole as Mattis called it.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Shameek » 01 Aug 2020 00:12

One Marine dead, 8 missing after training 'mishap' off California coast

One U.S. Marine has died, another is in critical condition and a rescue operation is underway for eight more after a training exercise "mishap" with an amphibious assault vehicle off the coast of Southern California on Thursday.


Link

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 05 Aug 2020 04:57

The US Missile Defense Agency just presented its test roster for late fiscal year 2020, and into fiscal year 2021. A lot of previously known but not codified tests upcoming including no less than 7 tracking exercises (of opportunity) as part of USAF and DARPA hypersonic (both TBG and scramjet) testing. The flagship event has to be the ICBM intercept attempt by the SM-3 IIA.

Via Stephen Trimble,

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Last edited by brar_w on 05 Aug 2020 18:33, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 05 Aug 2020 18:28

US Army Shows First-Ever Footage Of New Hypersonic Missile In Flight And Impacting


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The U.S. Army has released new video footage of a hypersonic missile test it carried out in cooperation with the U.S. Navy earlier this year, including clips of it in flight and impacting the designated target area. That launch, dubbed Flight Experiment 2, was in support of the development of a common hypersonic boost-glide vehicle that is set to eventually go on top of ground and submarine-launched missiles.

Army Lieutenant General L. Neil Thurgood, the Director for Hypersonics, Directed Energy, Space and Rapid Acquisition within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, showed the video as part of a virtual briefing on Aug. 4, 2020. The presentation was part of the annual Space and Missile Defense (SMD) Symposium, which is being held online this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic....The brief video starts with footage of the test missile sitting on the pad at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii, on the day of the launch, Mar. 19, 2020. It then cuts to the missile blasting off. The clip of the launch itself was previously released. At the time, the Army and Navy said that this "test builds on the success we had with Flight Experiment 1 in October 2017," which involved firing a prototype from an unspecified Ohio class submarine.


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 06 Aug 2020 06:03

Lockheed Martin Delivers U.S. Air Force’s 250th F-35A Lightning II Fighter Aircraft


Lockheed Martin and the F-35 Joint Program Office delivered the U.S. Air Force’s 250th F-35A Lightning II stealth fighter aircraft.The Air Force’s F-35A fleet is the third largest fighter fleet in its inventory with the F-16C/D currently the largest with 938 jets. The U.S. Air Force plans to procure a total of 1763 F-35 jets..The F-35B entered service with the U.S. Marine Corps in July 2015, followed by the U.S. Air Force F-35A in August 2016 and the U.S. Navy F-35C in February 2019. The U.S. had plans to buy 2,443 F-35s through 2037 as of 2013, which will represent the bulk of the crewed tactical airpower of the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps for several decades. The F-35 was first used in combat in 2018, by the Israeli Air Force.


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 06 Aug 2020 07:56

US Missile Defenses Are About to Level Up


Over the next two years, the U.S. military expects to stand up its first "laser battalion," demonstrate that sailors can knock down ICBMs with missiles fired from surface ships, and establish two counter-Russian missile defense sites in Eastern Europe.

It’s all part of a series of soon-to-come innovations in missile defense aimed at deterring Russia, China, Iran, or any other adversary, outlined at the virtual Space Missile Defense symposium on Tuesday.

Among the key ones is the Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense, or MSHORAD, basically a Stryker vehicle outfitted with anti-missile defenses, including the laser-equipped DE-MSHORAD. “Expect to have the first battalion fielded in 2021 with four battalions by 2023,” Lt. Gen. Dan Karbler, commander of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, told the audience.

Lt. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, director for Hypersonics, Directed Energy, Space and Rapid Acquisition in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army, said that the 50kw laser-mounted Stryker was coming in 2022. The service is also working on a 200kw truck-mounted laser dubbed IFPC-HEL that Thurgood said would be deployable (although not necessarily deployed) with platoons in 2024. By the next year, the Army wants to field an even more powerful laser, the 300kw Indirect Fire Protection Capability-High Energy Laser, or IFPC-HEL.

The Army also wants to outfit maneuvering units with mobile microwave weapons, which, Thurgood said, are more useful against drone swarms than lasers, as microwaves can destroy the electronics of more targets at once. But directed microwaves, built at scale, don’t fit easily on a truck. Scientists are reducing the size and weight and making this more feasible.

The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency hopes that by the end of next year in Europe, a new Aegis Ashore missile interceptor site will have been completed in Poland (after delays due, in part, to COVID-19). “We are seeing an uptick in terms of the Army Corps construction,” said Adm. Jon Hill, director of the Missile Defense Agency. “We’re really going to go hot in 2021” toward a projected 2022 completion.

Next year will also see the Navy test its ability to down ICBMs with SM-3 missiles fired from an Aegis destroyer and guided by off-ship radar via the Sea-Based Weapons System, or SBWS, Hill said.

MDA and the Navy also will test the SBWS against a medium-range ballistic missile, and in a separate test against two separate short-range ballistic missiles, he said.

Next year will also mark a key one for the new next-generation interceptor program, an effort to build new missiles capable of hitting more advanced ICBMs that deploy decoys or multiple warheads. MDA went back to the drawing board on the project last August, canceling the program. It drafted a new request and re-awarded it to Northrop Grumman in May.

MDA has “paused” its program to design an interceptor that could take out hypersonic missiles, Hill said, to look at near-term options. But the hypersonic threat is only building. That means that a new request could emerge next year, which could speak to the feasibility of different concepts for countering hypersonic missiles.

All of this activity reflects the growing importance the U.S is placing on deterring and defending against missile proliferation worldwide. Congress put missile defense under the defense undersecretary for research and engineering in 2018. MDA's budget requests and appropriations have shrunk as services have taken on more of the “missile defense” role for themselves.

New missiles and missile defense technology are highly desired by U.S. allies in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, as Russia, Iran, China and others have armed with the fast and low flying weapons, some threatening to top them with nuclear warheads, and as arms control agreements have expired or are set to, shortly. At the end of July, for instance, Russia announced that nuclear-armed hypersonic missiles would be deployed aboard ships.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 07 Aug 2020 18:36

USAF Tests F-35, Stealth Fleet For Integrated Electronic Warfare

The Air Force just wrapped up a first-of-its-kind test to hone how stealthy aircraft can work in tandem in highly contested airspace — with the F-35A providing critical anti-air defense cover for older aircraft, including the B-2 bomber and the highly classified RQ-170 surveillance drone.

The two-day exercise at Nellis AFB in Nevada also included Air Force F-22, F-15E fighters and the Navy’s E/A-18G Growler electronic warfare plane, with the aim of pairing fourth- and fifth-generation aircraft in conducting electronic attacks (EA) missions.

“Most people don’t think of F-35s as electronic warfare aircraft—but they are, and they are incredibly capable,” Mark Gunzinger, director for future concepts and technology assessments at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, told Breaking D in an email today. (Breaking D readers have known that for a much longer time than most.)

“F-35s have EW suites that can detect emissions from radars and other threats, classify and geolocate them, and then distribute threat data to other aircraft. They can also perform active EW tasks such as standoff jamming of airborne and surface threats. Their active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars can also conduct electronic attacks,” he explained.

The $1.4 million Large Force Test Event was “designed to find solutions to Air Force prioritized Tactics Improvement Proposals for Suppression of Enemy Air Defense, low-observable ingress, and 4th-5th generation electronic attack interoperability,” the 53rd Test and Evaluation Group says in a press release today. “As a result of the LFTE, the Air Force to explore unique integration of tactics, techniques, and procedures that have never been tested together,” the release added.

“This exercise is primarily focused on demonstrating LO [low observable] platform effectiveness against advanced threats,” Maj Theodore Ellis, chief of 53rd Wing Weapons, says in the release. “We do this by utilizing emerging technology and tactics to minimize weaknesses and capitalize on joint capabilities.”......

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 07 Aug 2020 19:48

Barath wrote:As the video touches upon, the army fixed aggressive detailed requirements with little flexibility and an aggressive schedule to the point industry complained, bae withdrew, rheinmetall asked for more time to ship their prototype because they couldn't get permits (they effectively proposed submitting it at their own location) and was rejected, resulted in a single bidder situation.. with flaws. And even then, army futures wanted to go ahead and army acquisition didn't.


In all honesty, have to side with the AFC here. If you cannot rely on a vendor to deliver an evaluation unit to you in a timely fashion, despite the unmatched size of the potential contract then perhaps adding that competitor into the mix, just for the sake of having a competitor, isn't such a good idea.

AFC is trying to juggle between more than a dozen cold war legacy systems that need recapitalization. Some require essentially going back to the basics and addressing each and every component one by one (like FVL for example). Others cannot afford that either due to budgets or schedule as fitting all these into the modernization has to be a very finely choreographed to avoid budget disruptions. So going back, just to avoid a single bidder situation (and for an OTA at that) is rather dumb and reflects the "classic" Army acquisition approach that fails to see the value in a sole source OTA which can easily be "overcome" by IR&D if a vendor was so inclined and incentivised. There is no reason why GDLS could not have received an OTA and proceeded with demonstrating their chops when it came to meeting the OMFV requirements. After all why reward a vendor who actually shows up with a product right :roll: The USAF, Army and Navy did that with Lockheed on the hypersonic programs with LM scooping the first half a dozen hypersonic contracts given its historic lead and internal investments. Later, other competitors (particularly Raytheon) were brought in and they caught up (via IR&D and CRAD) and now they are within a couple of years of where Lockheed is in terms of system maturity. And meanwhile a third competitor (Dynetics) was chosen as the production transition partner for the Sandia designed BGV. So despite a flood of initial orders to Lockheed, three OEM's in the US are now capable of producing and delivering hypersonic weapons. The whole point of OTAs is to get hardware in the hands of operators fast and then to see what the next steps are. Sole source OTA's do not create an insurmountable advantage to the awardees.

US Army has been having a very good run of late in the Pentagon, an organization that general prefers to better fund the AF and the Navy. The SecDef, and the CJCS are Army. They know that out of a few dozen cold-war legacy systems that they need to modernize over the next decade, possibly only half can be addressed by clean sheet designs and traditional development programs (given budget profiles). The rest would need maximum off the shelf, or modified off the shelf solutions, solutions to do so affordably. They've decided on the ones that are too critical to rely on off the shelf and where they need to push the technological boundries (radars and helicopters are those for example). So when it comes to programs like the OMFV they need buy the 80% solution and do so fast and efficiently. OTAs were a means to assist in that but now that the traditional (slow and inept) Army acquisition is dominant, I don't have much faith in this going far any time soon. The existential threat is China and the theater isn’t Europe (where land warfare is easy to game out) but the Pacific. If you can’t get these systems to the theater and if they cannot be ready at cost and quickly then they puts a big question mark on whether they are even useful in that context when compared to other platforms and weapons that contribute more to deterrence in that theater.

There is no time for protracted requirements development, development and competitions. The US Army has bought and built equipment for the ME wars that is not optimally designed for what the Pacific theater is likely to throw at it. So in effect, each of those cold war legacy systems has had to last a decade or two longer. The good times (decision makers being sympathetic to Army modernization) will soon end and if the US Army is not careful they'll be stuck with operating some of these legacy systems into the 2030's by when they would be long obsolete. It won't be long before Air-Sea battle 2.0 is brought back and the Army is again thrown out of the modernization $ gravy train.
Last edited by brar_w on 07 Aug 2020 21:34, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 07 Aug 2020 20:40

NGAP is "what comes after" the Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP) effort which is currently in advanced assembly phase.

Budget Shows Flightworthy Sixth-Generation Fighter Engines Ready By 2025


Details of the first of two mostly secret initiatives to support the U.S. Air Force’s five-year-old pursuit of a sixth-generation successor to the Lockheed Martin F-22 are now released and reveal that a critical technology for the Next-Generation Air Dominance program could become flightworthy by mid-2025.

GE Aviation and Pratt & Whitney are scheduled to complete separate competitive designs for a Next-Generation Adaptive Propulsion (NGAP) system by the second quarter of 2022 and finish assessments on a full-scale engine three years later, according to Air Force budget documents.The schedule and spending details on the NGAP appeared for the first time in the Air Force’s budget justification documents for fiscal 2021 that were submitted to Congress in February, but passed unnoticed for several months. The Air Force awarded GE and Pratt each a $427 million contract to support the NGAP program, but the details were shrouded in budget documents within the related Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP), an unclassified effort to develop a reengining candidate for the Lockheed F-35.

After Senate authorizers cited the Air Force’s lack of transparency for justifying a $270 million budget cut for AETP this year, service officials decided to break out funding for the NGAP in budget documents.

In fact, the NGAP program reappeared in the fiscal 2021 budget documents for the first time in more than six years. The Air Force has kept all details about the Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program highly secret since 2016, but there was a brief, two-year window in 2014-15 when senior defense officials provided information about the underlying technology development efforts.

The NGAP was first referenced in testimony by Alan Shaffer before House Armed Services Committee in March 2014. Shaffer is now the deputy to Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment. Six years ago, he was the principal deputy to the director for research and engineering. In that role, Shaffer introduced the NGAP as an enabler to the NGAD program, along with another, complementary initiative focused on new airframes.

This program will develop and fly two X-plane prototypes that demonstrate advanced technologies for future aircraft,” Shaffer said in 2014. “Teams will compete to produce the X-plane prototypes, one focused on future Navy operational capabilities, and the other on future Air Force operational capabilities.

A year later, Frank Kendall, then undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, elaborated on the Aerospace Innovation Initiative (AII). The development of the X-planes would be led by DARPA, he said.

“To be competitive, the Navy and the Air Force each will have variants focused on their mission requirements,” Kendall said. “There will be a technology period leading up to development of the prototypes. This will lead to the systems that ultimately will come after the F-35.”

The results of the AII program have not been released or even acknowledged by Air Force or defense officials since 2015, but the initiative suggests that one or two X-plane aircraft could be in testing now.

Kendall’s remarks to Congress in 2015 came a year before the Air Force received the results of an Enterprise Capability Collaboration Team on the Air Superiority 2030 Flight Plan, which urged the development of a family of systems anchored by a next-generation fighter to replace the F-22. The Flight Plan prompted the Air Force to commission an analysis of alternatives (AoA) in late 2016. The results of that study were originally scheduled to be released by the end of 2017, but the analysis continued until early 2019.

Meanwhile, a 2015 presentation by the Air Force Research Laboratory showed a notional schedule for the NGAD program; a contract award to launch the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase is set for fiscal 2023. As late as the Air Force’s fiscal 2019 budget request, the financial resources devoted to the NGAD appeared to support that schedule: A significant increase in funding starts in fiscal 2023, and $13 billion is set aside overall between fiscal 2019 and 2023. Last year, however, as the results of the AoA study became available, the Air Force appeared to defer the launch of the EMD by at least a few years. The fiscal 2020 budget request included only $6.6 billion for the NGAD from fiscal 2020-24.

Funding for the NGAD and NGAP programs is accounted for separately in Air Force budget documents. The fiscal 2021 budget justification documents reveal that the Air Force spent $106 million for the NGAP in fiscal 2019. Another $224 million is allocated to the NGAP this year. But the program has requested an additional $403 million in fiscal 2021, the budget documents show.

“The Next-Generation Adaptive Propulsion effort consists of four phases: preliminary design, detailed design, engine fabrication and engine assessments,” the Air Force’s budget documents state.

“Program deliverables include military adaptive engine detailed design parameters and models, engine hardware (plus spare parts), matured technologies, major rig assessment data (controls, combustor, etc.), program reviews, and technology, affordability and sustainability studies for next generation fighter aircraft,” the documents add.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Lisa » 07 Aug 2020 22:58

Apologies if this has been previously posted

This Is The First Photo Ever Of A Stealthy Black Hawk Helicopter

Almost a decade since we learned of the stealth Black Hawks used in the Bin Laden raid, we have seen no images of them or of their lineage, until now.

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

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 09 Aug 2020 19:11

B-52 carrying the AGM-183A Hypersonic Weapon (Tactical Boost Glide derived)

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Notional depiction of Lockheed's TBG vehicle (used in this iteration of the AGM-183A ARRW)

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Notional depiction of Raytheon's TBG vehicle, which is about 12-18 months behind Lockheed's in maturity

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 12 Aug 2020 22:24

First B-21 'Starting To Look Like An Airplane,' USAF Says


The first Northrop Grumman B-21 test aircraft in final assembly is “starting to look like an airplane,” a senior U.S. Air Force official said.

The first B-21 entered the assembly process last fall at Northrop’s plant in Palmdale, California, and continues to make progress.

The first test aircraft is being built, and it’s starting to look like an airplane. Suppliers from across the country are delivering parts that are coming together now,” said Randall Walden, director of the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office, which is managing the B-21 development program.

But Walden also continued to emphasize that, although the program is proceeding well, the complexity of developing a modern combat aircraft can still cause setbacks.

Aircraft programs will always have a few surprises early on, and we won’t be any different, but overall the B-21 Raider is coming along nicely,” Walden said.

Walden’s quotes appeared in a little-noticed news release issued by the public affairs officer for Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett on Aug. 3. Barrett and Walden had accompanied Defense Secretary Mark Esper on a visit to Northrop’s design and development headquarters in Melbourne, Florida.

“I am thoroughly impressed by the dedication and progress across the B-21 Raider team,” Esper said.

Gen. Timothy Ray, the head of Air Force Global Strike Command, also joined the tour.

“The progress I saw today further adds to my confidence that the B-21 Raider will preserve our long range strike and penetrating bomber capability,” Ray said.

The B-21 is not expected to achieve first flight until 2022 and arrive at operational bases until the mid-2020s.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 12 Aug 2020 22:31

The USAF transition operational weapons program for DARPA's HAWC scramjet missile is casting a wider net when it comes to potential vendors. The Raytheon-Northrop team, and the Lockheed-Aerojet team (both of these teams already have built their DARPA missiles and are in pre-testing) will have to compete with Boeing. I wonder if Boeing hadn't, in parallel to DARPA's efforts, secured some classified scramjet work given they've been unusually quiet for nearly a decade following their X-51 scramjet efforts and successes. Would be unusual to seek a completely new OEM without any relevant recent experience when the timelines are to operationalize the system in a couple of years especially when the other two OEMs have a half a dozen or more tests already funded and lined up awaiting test resource and range availability.

USAF Names Three Bidders For Hypersonic Cruise Missile


A future hypersonic cruise missile will be competed between Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, the U.S. Air Force has announced. The Aug. 5 selection revives Boeing’s role as a competitor for the Air Force's offensive hypersonic weapons...

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 13 Aug 2020 18:52

So a little over 2 years from now, the Apache replacement engine will enter flight testing. GE's T-901 (ITEP) will also go into the FARA, and is required to have 3000 shaft horsepower (+50% over T-700), a 25% reduction in fuel burn and a 20% longer life compared to the currently installed T700 engines.

US Army validates design for future helicopter engine, remains on track despite COVID


The Army has validated its design for its future helicopter engine, and the program remains on schedule to deliver the first engine for testing in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021, according to service officials in charge of the effort.

The Improved Engine Turbine Program (ITEP) has seen a long — and often delayed — journey as the service wrestled with funding and development strategies for several years. ITEP will replace current engines in both UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters

Since awarding a contract to General Electric Aviation in February 2019, the program has pushed forward on schedule, despite a protest from a competing team comprised of Honeywell and Pratt & Whitney, which paused work for roughly three months.

And, while the Coronavirus pandemic caused some anxiety among Army officials trying to keep the program on track, those in charge were able to complete the critical design review, conducted 100 percent virtually, according to Army spokesman David Hylton.

The ITEP Critical Design Review (CDR) was a multi-month process that consisted of three phases, Hylton told Defense News in a written statement. The engine control system component CDR was completed on June 5, followed by the software CDR on July 17 and the engine systems CDR on July 24, he said.

he Army and GE are making “tremendous efforts to keep COVID-19 impacts from delaying the program,” Hylton wrote.

GE is now working toward a test readiness review ahead of the first engine test.

“We are full steam ahead in terms of understanding where we need to go next with respect to the design, Col. Gregory Fortier, who is in charge of the program office for the Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft, said during a media briefing last month.

The Army has “no reason to believe we will not fly” in fiscal 2023, he said.

According to FY21 Army budget request justification documents, the service plans to fly an aircraft with an ITEP engine installed in the first quarter of FY23 followed by a low-rate initial production decision in the fourth quarter of FY24.

A full-rate production decision is expected in FY26.




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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Manish_P » 13 Aug 2020 19:15

What about the Chinooks? There was also some experimentation with the GE T408 engines IIRC

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 13 Aug 2020 19:50

For now, the post Block II path to Chinook is probably going to be less ambitious-

Honeywell (NYSE: HON) is finalizing a new and improved T55 engine to power the U.S. Army's Chinook helicopters. The newest upgrade for the legendary T55 will offer over 20% more power at sea level, a nearly 10% power increase at high and hot altitudes, and use 9% less fuel than before. This new variant of the T55 will also greatly reduce ownership costs, improving the overall value of what is already one of the most battle-tested engines in the history of warfare.

This current round of optimization and risk-reduction testing is a continuation of Honeywell's internally funded upgrade program for the T55, which has powered Chinook helicopters around the globe for more than five decades. The new T55 also represents the lowest risk to integrate onto the Chinook, as it already fits in the existing nacelle and maintains all the same connections to the aircraft. LINK


Chinook is not a very big priority for the US Army at this point. After FARA, and FLARAA are fielded, or at least well into their development, they'll probably begin some sort of heavy lift program to replace it. So expect minor improvements post Block II.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 14 Aug 2020 04:55

B-21 bomber program survives pandemic disruptions

Despite impacts from the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Air Force’s B-21 Raider program remains on track as Northrop Grumman continues production of the first B-21 bomber, the head of the service’s Rapid Capabilities Office said Thursday.

Speaking at a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies event, RCO Director Randall Walden acknowledged that some B-21 suppliers had been adversely affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. For instance, Spirit AeroSystems — which builds large composite aerostructures for the bomber — has run into challenges not only on its defense side, but also for its commercial division due to the halt in Boeing 737 Max production, Walden said.

Spirit received $80 million in Defense Production Act funds meant to help stimulate struggling businesses, and Walden noted that the company also funneled employees who normally work on the 737 Max line into augmenting B-21 production efforts.

“The folks that are not manufacturing 737s and those components came over to our production line and really kind of beefed up — where people had some COVID issues — they beefed up that portion of our production,” he said. “Right now, the components that we’re building are really for the test fleet, but the good news: All of what we’re doing today is really insightful for what we’re doing for production in the future.”

After completing a critical design review in 2018, B-21 prime contractor Northrop Grumman is currently building the first B-21 test aircraft in Palmdale, California. The Air Force plans to buy at least 100 Raiders.

On Aug. 3, Walden traveled with Defense Secretary Mark Esper to Northrop’s B-21 design and development office in Melbourne, Florida, to receive a program update.

“I think overall his takeaway was he’s happy with the progress we’re making,” Walden said. “The good news is all of the tough critical designs, all of the hard engineering is kind of behind us, and now it’s a matter of actually producing the airplane and actually rolling it out and getting on with the developmental flight test activities.”

Walden said his office has flight tested some B-21 mission systems and avionics on a surrogate aircraft to work though software bugs and design problems before installation on the actual B-21 test aircraft.


“I know we’re not going to be immune from design flaws. We’re going to have to work through those, and we’re doing some of that today. From my perspective, I want to find out what those design deficiencies were as fast as I can, get on with a solution, get that into the program in the development phase, and get on with production.”

In July 2019, Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen Wilson said the Raider could take to the skies in about “863 days,” which would pinpoint an inaugural flight in December 2021. Walden has since said that would be the earliest possible date for first flight.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 16 Aug 2020 19:45

Great to see these retired VLO type be brought back and used for dissimilar counter LO training and familiarity. This is an invaluable training aid for pilots who may have to one day face off against LO fighters, UAV's, bombers and the lot especially since the different from parent_signature (F-35 or F-22) allows the red-air pilots to inject unfamiliar tactics and conops.

F-117 Nighthawks Now Appear To Be Flying As Adversaries In Red Flag Aerial War Games


Now it appears that their role as aggressors has been expanded in the form of participation in Red Flag, the Air Force's largest international air warfare exercise held multiple times a year across the sprawling Nevada Test and Training Range, or NTTR, with the central hub of the exercise being Nellis Air Force Base in North Las Vegas.

What we know is that a handful of the roughly four dozen F-117s still stored at Tonopah Test Range Airport (TTR) have continued to take part in research and development efforts, largely in relation to low-observable testing, which includes trialing new radar-absorbent coatings and off-board sensors. They are a central player in what is emerging to be a low-observable integrated testing task force that largely emanates from TTR and includes access to a number of exotic testbed aircraft, sensors, and threat representative systems. But another part of the F-117's duties has blossomed into a more traditional role.

We were first to report on hard validation of the F-117's aggressor support mission last December when evidence emerged of F-117s, flying under their now well-known "KNIGHT" callsign and working with 64th Agressor Squadron F-16s, participated in a complex air combat exercise likely related to the prestigious USAF Weapons School. Now, barring some strange coincidence of factors, it seems clear that this mission has migrated to the much larger Red Flag exercise.

Then, in May of 2020, the F-117s did something unprecedented, they flew a number of red air missions out over Pacific against a Navy Carrier Strike Group that was undergoing its most deeply integrated and complex training just prior to deployment. Since then, they have been spotted often over the vast expanses of the Mojave Desert and the NTTR. They even landed at Edwards Air Force Base recently, another first since their retirement a dozen years ago, at least as far as we know. All of this has perpetuated a sense that the F-117s are creeping steadily out of the shadows once again.

As Red Flag 20-3, which you can read all about here, hit its crescendo last week before wrapping-up on Friday, August 14th, a division (four aircraft) of F-117s were spotted intermingled with the 64th Aggressor Squadron's F-16s, getting fuel from the 'red air' tanker and participating in actions downrange. Multiple similar missions are said to have occurred throughout that final week of Red Flag and satellite imagery largely confirms this.

Between Aug. 10 and 14, no less than what appears to be six F-117s appear to have been parked in the open on TTR's northern ramp. This was a first as far as we know. Usually, no more than two F-117s go about their shy business from the base. These aircraft typically spend a brief time on the ramp and park in their own hangars after their missions are completed. Having six nighthawks consistently on the ramp during the last week of Red Flag seems very similar to the strip alert-like tactics that aggressors of the past have used at the secretive base. Tonopah Test Range Airport was turned into the sprawling installation it is today thanks in part to its use as a clandestine location to fly captured Soviet fighters out of during the twilight of the Cold War. You can learn more about the Red Eagles program and how TTR came to be in this past post of ours. It's also worth noting that Red Flag increases in complexity to challenge its participants as it wears on, with the most capable threats often saved for the last week or last days of the exercise....


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Rakesh » 18 Aug 2020 03:18

Brar, your feedback below...

Nine Reasons Congress Should Nix the Air Force’s F-15EX Purchase
https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2020/0 ... se/167603/
11 August 2020

BY JOHN VENABLE

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 18 Aug 2020 22:44

Rakesh wrote:Brar, your feedback below...

Nine Reasons Congress Should Nix the Air Force’s F-15EX Purchase
https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2020/0 ... se/167603/
11 August 2020

BY JOHN VENABLE


It is a compelling argument that is hard to debate on facts but for the cost argument, yes, the F-15EX is more costly than a block 4 F-35A (the only F-35A the USAF is buying now given the orders for final 3F aircraft were placed years ago) but then you get an airframe that is designed for 2.5 times the life of the F-35A so from a utilization perspective it is actually cheaper to acquire. Even that is not the most compelling aspect. What is the most compelling is that transitioning the ANG, an F-15C force, into a similar type is extremely efficient and least disruptive on training, tactics, school house and the works. The USAF is already behind >5 years in setting up organic depot capacity for the 250+ F-35A's they already have. Imagine if they were to add between 144 and 200 more over the next 8 years on top of the 500 or so they are likely to receive within that time frame. They would really need to divert a lot of funds into infrastructure to not only catch up to the construction that they need for their current trajectory of deliveries (roughly 50-60 a year) but an additional 12-20 aircraft per annum. If the ANG transitions to the F-15EX, majority of the depot, school house, and MRO investments would be re-used so no additional/incremental cost and no time lost in waiting for all that to be carried out.

Additionally, the F-35A is designed for stealth and for offensive missions. Particularly, it is optimized for stealthy offensive ops in a SAM rich environment. That's its USP and that is an area where it will always stay in terms of prioritization and modernization so that it keeps pace with the threats. That is completely different from the type of environment and missions the F-15EX will be required, and the AN Guard will be doing. There they need a capable defensive fighter that that remain on high alert and swing great distances with least possible burden on the tanker force. There they are basically on alert and fending against soviet era bombers that Russia deploys. Same with the CMD mission where all they really need is a capable radar, an IRST and a capable missile and they can loiter and defend against those threats all day given that Air Superiority will be assured over CONUS. The ANG will have F-35A squadrons for the times when it is asked to carry out more demanding missions but for the most part, their force structure is tasked with cruise missile defense and the homeland defense mission which occurs in an environment where stealth and the ability to take on highly integrated SAM systems isn't a very big priority.

The USAF initially looked at a pure capability argument and, on multiple occasions, rejected the F-15EX. It can never be as capable as the F-35A. Not in networking, not in power generation, not in sensor performance and not in fusion. But modernization isn't just about buying the most capable aircraft that you have in production. It is also about being able to replace a type with a type without taking squadrons out of action for months to years and without disrupting other aspects of your force. The ANG is able to do that with the F-15EX at a reasonable cost that future budgets can sustain. There is a lot more to having ANG transition to the F-35A than just the annual cost of buying 12-14 more F-35A's a year and routing them to these ANG units. You have to essentially completely overhaul how the guard maintains, services, overhauls, stores these aircraft and how it trains with it. A lot of cost resides in doing that for a new type (irrespective of it being a new 4th gen type or a 5th gen type).

People also forget the more realistic choices the ANG faced. It was never a choice between buying new F-35A's or new F-15's. It was between adding 10-15 years to the life of existing F-15C's at close to $25-30 million a pop vs buying something new. One school of though was that they should upgrade the F-15C's and then keep them for a dozen or so years and then later transition to the F-35A. But as far as I can tell (reading between the lines) it appears that the ROI on those F-15C structural upgrades was not that great. It would likely have been slow to do and cost more than initially anticipated. This is probably what led to the Secretary of Defense using somewhat classified costing information to reject the upgrade path and move towards ordering new build aircraft. With the F-15EX the OSD can give 144 aircraft to the ANG and not have to worry about replacing them for the next 3-4 decades.

Finally, the fighter threat has not grown at a pace that is going to be alarming for the USAF. Russia does not even have 1 serially produced SU-57 at the moment and may not get 100 total till about 2030. That's roughly what the US services get in F-35's each year, even in low-rate production. China, which is the more pressing threat, likewise isn't building the J-20 at a very high rate YET. If either of those competitors were building 5th gen fighters at a very high rate then the case to terminate all 4th gen buy and further increase 5GFA would have been more compelling. But given that both Russia and China are buying Su-30's and Su-35's, the ANG with F-15EX's will be more than comfortable given that they'll be a part of a 1000+ 5GFA fleet come 2030. And 6th gen tech demonstrators are probably under construction, if not flying in some shape or form. So the pressure is more around buying efficiently and maintaining good readiness (amidst fluctuating budgets) than about increasing the pace of modernization. I don't think the USAF would like to receive more than 60-70 F-35A's a year. It just creates a difficult to sustain bow-wave as large number of retiring aircraft need to be replaced decades into the future. As it is they are struggling with the F-16 bow wave where planned retirements are going to outpace planned induction given the volume and rate of production during cold war times.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 25 Aug 2020 18:08

Cool perspective on hyperosnic programs as they transition from design, testing to production and scale. Interestingly, Skunk Works is going to be very closely involved with manufacturing, something that they've usually not done since back in the day when the F-117 was built.

New Factory Opening Launches Hypersonic Industrial Phase



Another first in U.S. hypersonic history will take place in November, but not in a wind tunnel nor during a flight test. As military orders shift from minuscule batches of experimental craft to mass-produced missiles, Huntsville, Alabama-based Dynetics will open the first U.S. factory publicly assigned to deliver hundreds—perhaps even thousands—of hypersonic glide vehicles (HGV) during the next several years.

The Defense Department’s $10 billion plan to field at least three different HGV programs by 2025 has fueled rapid development of a new industry sector. The Air Force’s AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) is scheduled to enter service at the end of 2022, followed by the Army’s Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) in 2023 and the Navy’s Intermediate-Range Conventional Prompt Strike (IRCPS) in 2025. As the military’s chosen weapon system integrator for all three programs, Lockheed Martin is the clear industrial leader of a nascent HGV market with two geographic centers: Huntsville and Palmdale, California.

On the heels of the first wave of HGV programs, the Air Force plans to start developing another arsenal of scramjet-powered hypersonic cruise missiles. The Future Hypersonics Program seeks to develop a follow-on to the Hypersonic Air-Breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC), and the newly revealed Mayhem program by the Air Force Research Laboratory seeks to develop a demonstrator for an advanced air-breathing propulsion system.

In Huntsville, Dynetics will assemble the Common Hypersonic Glide Body (CHGB) for the Army’s ground-launched LRHW and the Navy’s IRCPS, then ship the completed gliders to a nearby Lockheed facility. Lockheed’s workers will integrate the CHGB onto a common two-stage, 34.5-in.-dia. missile. The ground-launched version will then be delivered to a new Army artillery unit, and the Navy version will be inserted into a special launch system in development for Virginia-class submarines.

The Air Force’s industrial plans for the ARRW are less clear, but the city of Palmdale announced last December that Lockheed plans to open a new 208,000-ft.2 Low-Bay Advanced Manufacturing Facility in 2021 on the Skunk Works campus, which is also known as Site 10 within the Air Force’s highly secretive Plant 42 complex. The ARRW all-up round includes a smaller-diameter, single-stage booster with an advanced high-lift-to-drag-ratio HGV front end.

By contrast, the Army has been far more public about the industrial plans for the CHGB front ends for LRHW and IRCPS. In August 2019, the Army awarded Dynetics a nearly $352 million contract to deliver the first 20 CHGBs, which will support a series of LRHW and IRCPS flight tests starting in 2021.

Assembly of the first glide body has begun in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the home of Sandia National Laboratories. The CHGB is a derivative of the Sandia-manufactured Advanced Hypersonic Weapon program, which itself was based on the Sandia Winged Energetic Reentry Vehicle. Dynetics is technically the supplier for the first CHGB, but its workers are now shadowing Sandia’s experienced team in Albuquerque. The Sandia team will then travel to Huntsville this fall, where they will shadow Dynetics staff as they assemble the second CHGB.

“The glide body itself is a complicated beast,” says Paul Turner, Dynetics’ hypersonic program manager. “There are tolerances that are very tight in some locations.”

To support the assembly of the second CHGB, Dynetics plans to open the production area in the new Huntsville facility as part of Phase 1 operations in October, Turner says. After securing a certificate of occupancy at a location adjacent to the former Mid-City Mall, Dynetics will be able to start moving heavy equipment, including test chambers, into the production area. Phase 2 will open a high-bay area for final integration and testing, which is scheduled to be completed in mid-December.

A network of suppliers will be feeding subassemblies into the Dynetics production line. The Army will deliver the critical thermal protection system, which is in development under a separate contract. General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems is a subcontractor to Dynetics, producing “a couple of subassemblies” along with the cables for the glide body, Turner says. Raytheon Technologies is responsible for delivering the control module for the CHGB’s four elevon-based flight control surfaces.

“We are building all of the other avionics components within our main campus area” in another area of Huntsville, Turner says. “Those will be delivered to the Mid-City area for final testing, integration and assembly into the glider. In order to be successful, one company can’t do it all. We went through and figured out who has the expertise in the right areas. And we are using that expertise and each other’s strengths to ensure that we deliver what we say we will.”

Anticipating a huge surge in demand for hypersonic propulsion systems, both boosted and air-breathing, Aerojet Rocketdyne is systematically expanding existing manufacturing sites and adding new capabilities through growth and acquisition.

“We’ve invested in the infrastructure and the capital to provide a broad range of capabilities to support hypersonics in the areas of scramjets, solid rocket motor boosters, warheads and targets,” says Tyler Evans, senior vice president of the company’s Defense Business Unit. “We’ve co-located similar methods and manufacturing skills in order to leverage economies of scale, and we’ve created computational tools that improve our ability to repeat and develop incremental improvement.”

Although many of the offensive and defensive hypersonic efforts the company is currently involved in are still developmental in nature, they each provide the potential basis for substantial follow-on operational programs with high production volumes. These range from DARPA’s Glide Breaker and Operational Fires (OpFires) programs to the Advanced Full-Range Engine TBCC propulsion system and the HAWC with Lockheed Martin.

Some of the boosted initiatives have nearer-term production potential than the air-breathing programs. In July, for example, Aerojet Rocketdyne revealed it had successfully completed cold gas tests of the OpFires propulsion system, marking another milestone toward potential transition of the DARPA-led effort to create an operational production version of the ground-launched hypersonic tactical missile. Developed with Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Army, the OpFires missile is due to begin flight tests in 2022.

Much of the initial industrialization focus has been on expanding booster production capability at sites such as the advanced manufacturing facility (AMF) at Huntsville, which opened in 2019, and the follow-on engineering, manufacturing and development (EMD) facility in Camden, Arkansas. In addition to hypersonic work, the 136,000-ft.2 AMF is producing solid rocket motor cases and related hardware for Standard Missile-3, Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense and the Air Force’s next-generation Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent program (GBSD).

Aerojet Rocketdyne says the Camden expansion builds on the company’s decades-long history of solid rocket motor production at the site. “The EMD was specifically designed to serve as the developmental gateway to future large solid-rocket-motor product opportunities, to include GBSD, hypersonics, missile defense targets and small launch vehicles,” it adds.

But with the ramp-up in air-breathing hypersonic weapons and the beginning of new acquisition programs such as the Air Force’s recently disclosed scramjet-powered cruise missile HAWC follow-on, the company is also growing new cost-cutting additive-manufacturing capabilities. Leading this drive was the 2019 acquisition of Florida-based additive-manufacturing specialist 3D Material Technologies (3DMT), which is designed to lower Aerojet Rocketdyne’s production costs across its range of solid and liquid rockets as well as scramjets. Additive manufacturing is “integral to our solution,” Evans says.

As the developer of the scramjet engine for the Air Force’s Boeing X-51 in the 2000s, Aerojet Rocketdyne aims to capitalize on its experience of being the first U.S. manufacturer of a serially produced air-breathing hypersonic propulsion system. “The X-51 was a propulsion demonstrator that showed we could tame the science of supersonic combustion, and it did that. And so, 10 years later, we’re focused on making scramjets practical, making them repeatable, making them affordable,” he adds.

The 3DMT is a key element of the plan, Evans says. “That’s really [based on] having the tools and methods and the capabilities to repeat and affordably produce what we demonstrated 10 years ago. Additive manufacturing gets talked about a lot out in aerospace and defense,” he adds. “Since the X-51, as we’ve looked at the challenge of practicality, additive manufacturing has really proved to be a disruptive enabler of cost improvement and schedule improvement.”

brar_w
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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 02 Sep 2020 22:30

Test Aircraft Have Been Lugging DARPA's Prototype Hypersonic Cruise Missiles Around


Image

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency says it has successfully conducted captive-carry flight tests of prototype air-breathing hypersonic missiles from Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. The goal now is now to proceed to actual free-flight testing before the end of the year.

These tests, which the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) revealed had taken place in a press release on Sept. 1, 2020, are part of the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) program. A captive-carry flight test means that the missiles remained attached to a test aircraft throughout the duration of the flight, which is typically done to gather data about how a particular design, as well as the aircraft carrying it, handles the basic stresses of being carried aloft and taken through various maneuvers.

DARPA did not say where or where the testing had occurred or what aircraft carried the missiles. The U.S. Air Force had previously said that the B-52H Stratofortress bomber would be the test platform for the HAWC program, as well as a number of other hypersonic weapons development efforts. B-52Hs have been used already for captive carry testing of the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW).

However, HAWC is largely a technology demonstration effort, so there would be no need to necessarily to integrate them onto an operational platform, such as the B-52. Northrop Grumman's Stargazer, a heavily modified Lockheed L-1011 Tristar more commonly used a mothership for the Pegasus XL space launch rocket, but which has been used for captive-carry flight tests in the past, was notably observed on flight tracking software making a curious flight from Edwards Air Force Base, the Air Force's premier flight test facility, in August.

"Completing the captive carry series of tests demonstrates both HAWC designs are ready for free flight," Andrew “Tippy” Knoedler, the HAWC program manager within DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office, said in a statement. "These tests provide us a large measure of confidence – already well informed by years of simulation and wind tunnel work – that gives us faith the unique design path we embarked on will provide unmatched capability to U.S. forces."

Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, the latter of which has partnered with Northrop Grumman for this effort, have been working on competing HAWC designs since at least 2019. DARPA had first initiated the project four years earlier in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force Laboratory.

Little is known about either of the prototypes, though they are both known to be air-breathing using some form of high-speed scramjet engine. Scramjets traditionally do not work properly at low speeds and, generally, aircraft or missiles using this kind of propulsion require some kind of rocket booster to first accelerate them.

Raytheon and Northrop Grumman have also said that their design is a "waverider" type. This means that it "skips" along on the shockwaves that are produced as it flies along at hypersonic speed, defined as anything above Mach 5, which produces additional lift to help keep it in the air.....


brar_w
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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 07 Sep 2020 19:36

The US Army let the US Air Force use one of its howitzers to shoot down an aerial (cruise missile) target. This may finally lead to a revision in Goldwater Nichols. What a time to be alive :rotfl:

The Pentagon used a hypersonic bullet to shoot down a mock cruise missile for the first time


The U.S. military's vaunted hypervelocity projectile just took a major step towards knocking incoming cruise missiles out of the sky.

Breaking Defense reports that the Air Force recently used the HVP — a low-drag, guided projectile capable of reaching speeds up to Mach 5 — to down a BQM-167 target drone over the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

The BQM-167 drone "served as surrogates for Russian cruise missiles" during a demonstration of the Air Force's Advanced Battle Management System that's designed to enable the rapid detection and destruction of incoming missiles. The HVP was fired from an Army M109 Paladin-based 155mm howitzer and a Navy deck gun during the demonstration, according to Breaking Defense.

“Tanks shooting down cruise missiles is awesome," Dr. Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology, and logistics, told reporters. "Video game, sci-fi awesome."

Originally developed starting in 2013 as specialized ammo for the Navy's much-hyped (and decidedly stagnant) electromagnetic railgun, the Pentagon's Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO) has since transitioned the HVP for use from conventional powder weapons like Army howitzers and Navy deck guns.

In 2018, the Navy reportedly test-fired 20 next-generation HVP shells from the USS Dewey's Mk 45 five-inch deck guns during the service's annual Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) maritime exercise.

The advantage of the HVP over conventional missile defenses is a matter of cost: While the standard Evolved Seasparrow Missile or Rolling Airframe Missile cost several million dollars apiece, HVP program manager Vincent Sabio pegged the cost of an HVP at around $85,000 apiece...


As originally envisioned, the gun-system utilized a surveillance radar (stock USAF or USMC radar) for SA, and a system-native interferometric radar for projectile guidance.

This may well have been the radar used for the demonstration and proof of concept work that happens a few years ago -


brar_w
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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 08 Sep 2020 22:52

Here's the launch video -

Hypervelocity weapons systems are tested in support of the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) Onramp at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico on Aug. 28, 2020. The effect ABMS is attempting to achieve is Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2). JADC2 is meant to accelerate the speed of the kill chain by connecting sensors to shooters. ABMS is the digital infrastructure which allows a level of connectivity and [sensor] compatibility for our military at war. As a new Joint Warfighting Concept, Joint All-Domain Operations (JADO) seeks to create simultaneous dilemmas for adversary forces, overwhelming them with too many challenges to counter successfully. (U.S. Air Force video by Staff Sgt. Cambria Ferguson)





Chinmay
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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Chinmay » 15 Sep 2020 22:04

The US has flown a 6th gen prototype

“We’ve already built and flown a full-scale flight demonstrator in the real world, and we broke records in doing it,” Will Roper told Defense News in an exclusive interview ahead of the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference. “We are ready to go and build the next-generation aircraft in a way that has never happened before.”


Khan already is in 6th gen while the rest of the world is catching up to the 5th!


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