US military, technology, arms, tactics

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brar_w
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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 13 Oct 2020 02:52

The USAF has already forward deployed a portable air-base defense high energy laser to deal with small to small-medium sized drones as it relates to protecting forward air-fields and other interests. I think the deployment is in Afghanistan. An accompanying high-power microwave system is also probably deployed already. Both will inform a contract for a few dozen such systems that will be spread out through CENTCOM and PACOM. At least the HEL portion is capable of V-22 deployment. Higher power level lasers are probably out of scope of the USAF (roles and missions) but that capability will come via the 300 kW HEL the US Army is currently building. That should also be capable of dealing with munitions and subsonic cruise missiles (and supersonic cruise missile seekers).

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Additional sensors, also capable of helo deployment to site, can also provide EW beyond the organic EO/IR sensors of the HEL system itself.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 13 Oct 2020 18:25

EMD test campaign of the 150+ km ranged Guided-MLRS -( Extended Range ) is expected to kick-start in November. The basic design and the proposed changes have already test flown multiple times in proof-of-concept demonstrations conducted between 2017-2019. This will be the first time the final design configuration flies and enters testing before a production cut in FY22.

Moving the controls to the tail frees up valuable space for a seeker which is a US Army requirement for the future in order to hit moving targets on land and sea. They will also have to do another motor bump in the mid term as the objective range requirements for the US Army have since been revised up to 200 km within the same form factor (6 in a pod).

It is believed that the ER-GMLRS is leveraging a first generation highly loaded grain solid rocket motor tech (pioneered by KTA), along with other enhancements, to get that nearly 2x increase in range.

Army, Lockheed prep for first extended-range guided rocket test firing


The Army and Lockheed Martin are preparing for the first test firing of the extended-range version of the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS), which will double the rocket’s reach.

The goal is get the current GMLRS rocket out to 150-plus kilometers, Gaylia Campbell, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of precisions fires and combat maneuver systems, told Defense News in an interview leading up to the Association of the U.S. Army’s virtual conference.

The flight test is expected in mid-November at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, and will be the first of several engineering and manufacturing development-phase tests ahead of a production decision.

“GMLRS is kind of the backbone of the field artillery” and it’s a cost effective way for the Army and its allies with the system to have more flexibility when it comes to reach, Campbell said. “If you think about certain regions of the world, like Poland and Romania, and the reach that a 75-kilometer distance away system gives them today and being able to take that to 150 kilometers gives them a lot more flexibility in how they operate and where they position their forces,” she said.

The design to extend the range of GMLRS includes a modernized pod expected to improve reload operations, which will still contain six rounds per pod, Campbell said. The pod will be able to accommodate both legacy and extended-range rockets.

The GMLRS rounds come in two variants: the Guided Unitary and the Guided Alternative Warhead.

The new pods and the extended-range GMLRS will be compatible with the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System and MLRS M270 launchers, Campbell said.

To double the range of the system, Lockheed used advances in technologies and a “slightly” increased rocket motor size. “We’re doing a tail-driven guidance as well,” she noted.The Army and Lockheed will continue a test campaign through fiscal 2021 with a goal of getting into production beginning in early FY22, Campbell said.

Lockheed is planning to produce the new extended-range rockets at its Camden, Arkansas, facility.

According to a company statement, Lockheed has produced more than 45,000 GMLRS rounds and is under contract to provide another 9,000 GMLRS Unitary and AW rockets as well as over 300 Low-Cost- Reduced-Range Practice Rockets for both U.S. Army and international customers.


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 13 Oct 2020 20:55

Two uncharacteristically specific (for the otherwise rather closed hypersonic progams) observations on the upcoming crop of hypersonic weapons in the USAF and US Army. Both of these weapons will be operational in the next 2 or so years.

1) USAF Maj. Gen. Gebara just disclosed, previously undisclosed design parameters of the AGM-183A ARRW. Range is aprox 1,600-1,800 km with an average speed of Mach 7+. In a previous disclosure, it was estimate that peak BGV speed for this would be around M16 class so you can see that BGV's hover around Mach 5-6 when in their "cruise" phase at 40 km or so altitudes. But still, quite a bit of speed for that range given this is a tactical AL weapon.

The hypersonic ARRW will likely be the first operational hypersonic weapon in the U.S. inventory. Gebara said the B-52 would be able to carry two ARRWs on each of its two wing pylons. Little has been revealed about the ARRW, which uses a booster rocket to accelerate to hypersonic speed, then glides to impact.

“This thing is going to be able to go, in 10-12 minutes, almost 1,000 miles,” Gebara said. “It’s amazing.”

LINK


2) The US Army Secretary just hinted at some of the accuracy measurements in early hypersonic testing (LRHW program). The exact quote was posted by Steve Trimble of AvWeek -

"Hypersonic missiles are hitting their targets with a variance of only a mere 6 in."

LINK

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby kit » 14 Oct 2020 13:42

Would Brar be able to describe how the US was able to prototype and build a 6th generation fighter inside a year ? A revolution itself in the lead time required. Hopefully it could lead to a complete revolution in the aviation sector.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 14 Oct 2020 18:50

kit wrote:Would Brar be able to describe how the US was able to prototype and build a 6th generation fighter inside a year ? A revolution itself in the lead time required. Hopefully it could lead to a complete revolution in the aviation sector.


It really isn't inside a year as an effort (though it may be as a project). The need to identify and build demonstrator aircrafts (yes multiple) was presented in a couple of Obama's budgets and the program related work probably goes back even longer. More specifically, the Obama administration shared this plan in early 2015 as part of the FY16 budget request which kick started this effort in all earnest (i.e. build one demonstrator -> prototype each for the USAF and USN 6th gen need). The adaptive engine programs go back about a decade, if not slightly longer, so that should have been a sign that other areas are also being looked at as there is only so much you can do with engine tech without having a good idea of what sort of propulsion demands you are going to need. It needs a cross-disciplinary approach.

However, finding next generation stealth technologies, avionics, propulsion, materials etc etc has been an ongoing area of OEM and government investment ever since Bob Gates, the then secretary of defense, pivoted from the very large, heavy, and expensive Next Generation Bomber program to a Penetrating-Long Range family of systems comprising of (at least/that we know of) a bomber (which became the Penetrating Long Range Strike or LRS-B/B-21 as we now know it), Penetrating - ISR (which we now know as RQ-180 and which is operational), and a Penetrating-Counter-Air (PCA, which transitioned into the Next Gen Air Dominance program).

This pivot to a family of systems approach was initiated in 2010 so they have been dedicating a lot of resources to making the concept come to life for about a decade. OEM's have recruited, have well funded design teams and are creating hardware supporting multiple programs. So the 2010 plan to field multiple family of systems branched into multiple other programs. The B-21 is being built right now and will be rolled out next year. The RQ-180 has apparently completed its operational testing and the first operational squadron is now operating the aircraft. The NGAD demonstrator began flying in August (with more likely to follow) and that program is picking up pace as far as investment and budget allocation is concerned which points to demo work ending, and actually EMD work starting over the next 2-3 years. And NGAD isn't just about a monolithic Air Dominance fighter (which will be one aspect of it), it is about a portfolio of next generation technologies with some going into a new aircraft, others going into older aircraft and yet others going into UAV's and space based assets. So expect many many OEMs working on lots of bits and pieces instead of contracts funneling down to one program prime as was the case on the ATF or JSF.

Now specifically to the NGAD, The USAF wanted to design, build and buy aircraft differently. It is almost a KPP for this program as in they want full digital engineering, Open Mission Systems (not just open architectures in software but also open standards in hardware), and devsecops to be the cornerstone of how this program designs, builds fields and sustains. They consider a 15 year EMD program a failure for this program (this is what 5GFA averaged) and want to do it in half or less time.

Each one of the 3 big OEMs had their own digital engineering roadmap that they developed in consultation with AFRL. Boeing was the fastest to latch on to this and has incorporated a lot of their in house and third party digital engineering tools into several programs, of which the T-X is the most prominent. Lockheed already uses a lot of digital tools in the F-35 but has a capstone that it did (that is still continuing through its later phases) with AFRL to validate its digital design tools, how it uses third party digital design tools, and how it collaborates with third party partners in the digital space to design and build aircraft. With these new digital tools, it is possible to considerably shrink the lead time in developing and iterating a design before you cut the first set of hardware. Northrop Grumman probably has done some work too but given they are working on two highly classified programs there is less insight into what they chose as their capstone (proof-of-concept) demonstration to validate their tools and their use of third party tools with their design and production partners. My guess would be that they did this on the RQ-180, but we wouldn't know for sure until the veil of secrecy is lifted off of that program.

So it isn't a surprise that they announced this now. It is merely one step in a long process and path that they have been on for about a decade. Also, interestingly, if one looks at quarterly results and listens to major OEM conference calls one can easily see that classified investments are consuming an ever growing chunk of the balance sheet of the Lockheed's, Northrop's and Raytheon's of the world. In fact, Lockheed, a few quarters back basically said that they had transitioned a classified project into production (skunk works so it would be something that flies) so that is as good an indication as any that a few teams have been working hard at a number of family-of-system needs for the future penetrating fleet. So probably lots of flying hardware which is also consistent with the hanger construction and upgrade activity that observers have picked up at the Nevada test site.

kit wrote:Hopefully it could lead to a complete revolution in the aviation sector.


Yes it could. But like any high-risk/high-payoff strategy, it has to go through its paces and survive the challenges of developing something that is going to be this cutting edge at pace. So this is definitely one of the highest risk programs in the Pentagon right now, not too different to what ATF wanted to achieve back in the 1980's when it was stood up (fly a 5th generation demonstrator with prototype 5G engines by 1990). Probably not at the level of requiring "a miracle a day" a la B-2 but still probably quite cutting edge and thus high risk by any standard.
Last edited by brar_w on 14 Oct 2020 20:58, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Philip » 14 Oct 2020 20:06

Finland to buy 64 JSFs for $12.5B.
October 12/20: Finland The US State Department approved external link a $12.5 billion purchase on Friday by Finland for 64 F-35 fighter planes and associated munitions and equipment.

https://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/f-35-lightning-the-joint-strike-fighter-program-edit-037947/
An overview of the JSF programme to date.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 14 Oct 2020 20:39

Philip wrote:Finland to buy 64 JSFs for $12.5B.
October 12/20: Finland The US State Department approved external link a $12.5 billion purchase on Friday by Finland for 64 F-35 fighter planes and associated munitions and equipment.


It is a DSCA (US State Deptt) notification to congress. It does not constitute a contractual offering, or a commitment to buy. This is needed to be approved before the F-35 program office formally submits a bid for the Finnish fighter replacement program. It is more comprehensive than what Finland will end up getting. And it will not cost this much. I think the program cap is $10 Bn. Usually with DSCA what is approved is more comprehensive than what is eventually contracted. This is down primarily because the bidders want more things approved since they don't want to go back with another notification process in case customer demands change, and because the State Deptt is usually fairly mediocre when it comes to estimated weapon costs for yet to be negotiated packages.

And the 12.5 bn request isn't just for the F-35A's. It has a comprehensive A2S package, and a PBL along with integrating a weapon (JASSM-ER) on the F-35 that is currently not part of any formal integration roadmap so is a user specific expense.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 14 Oct 2020 20:59

brar_w wrote:
kit wrote:Would Brar be able to describe how the US was able to prototype and build a 6th generation fighter inside a year ? A revolution itself in the lead time required. Hopefully it could lead to a complete revolution in the aviation sector.


It really isn't inside a year as an effort (though it may be as a project). The need to identify and build demonstrator aircrafts (yes multiple) was presented in a couple of Obama's budgets and the program related work probably goes back even longer. More specifically, the Obama administration shared this plan in early 2015 as part of the FY16 budget request which kick started this effort in all earnest (i.e. build one demonstrator -> prototype each for the USAF and USN 6th gen need)....


Here is a video that I had been trying to dig up for a while. It was posted by one of the AvWeek journos a while back and describes how the funding for demonstrators and prototypes was put into the 2016 defense budget. So they've been lining up all these elements for quite a while -




Here you have the top most Pentagon acquisition official, in 2015, basically laying out what the technology development strategy is for 6th gen demo/p'types. A lead in period followed by X plane demonstrators followed by prototypes. If anything, the Trump administration only accelerated their funding for these programs so they've probably made up some time.

Keep in mind the fielding time line is still 2030 (USAF) which is fast but also not something that they hadn't factored in when it came to providing a lead time. They've been exploring development of the broader set of capabilities since at least 2010, and specifically for this program starting 2016 (that we know of based on publicly disclosed information). They aren't attempting to shrink technology lead times. What they are trying to shrink is EMD time i.e. the time it takes to go from a firm set of requirements to field an operational system. This entails fielding mature designs in the digital space, and iterating in the digital space well ahead of hardware production, and using digital processes and modern software development practices to shrink timelines. So instead a long technology development lead time, followed by a fairly long EMD phase, they want to pivot to a a half or less than half EMD phase with the platfrom capable of absorbing the technology state of the art. They also want to be able to pivot from one platfrom, that incorporates a set of mature (for the time) technologies, to another platfrom that picks up at a different baseline. So a commoditized design that they can shop around and replace with another commoditized design. Its a new way of doing things and they are even explroing other automotive practices. But it comes with substantial risk and chance of failure which would be normal for someone trying to field 6th gen fighter even before majority of the rest of the world has fielded home grown 5th gen figthers.

Between GE and P&W they are building no fewer than 1 dozen adaptive demonstrator engines for testing. That type of pace with AETP, and now with NGAP, isn't consistent with a program focused on the traditional 10-15 year EMD program. It is a sign of a program that is moving a lot faster, not because of some magic (though a lot of new promising technology, not available for 5GFA, is helping) but because they accounted for this and build a tech development roadmap (both specific to the program and specific to next generation technologies more broadly) that they have been executing on for quite a while. And contrary to what many may think, most of what we know is in the public domain and not something that was only recently revealed when they announced the demonstrator flight. Its in the USAF budgets and has been, to some degree, since at least 2016/17. What is unknown is what specific areas of technology they are focusing on, outside of adaptive engines. That area is completely classified.

Classified programs exist in the plenty in the USAF and other services. But it is IMPOSSIBLE to develop and field a fleet of hundreds of aircraft in the US reporting and budgetary transparency requirements. You can build small fleets of ISR aircraft (up to a few dozen), small batches of weapons and drones, and small batches of space assets but complete large $100+ Bn programs cannot be kept out of the public budget (and they shouldn't) for a very long time. That and the fact that it costs a lot of money to maintain high classification (good money that can be instead spent on development) means that these things are eventually relaxed and revealed once they grow beyond a certain program size. Plus you get zero deterrence from keeping everything classified which sort of defeats the purpose of national defense spending which is first and foremost to deter conflict.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby kit » 15 Oct 2020 01:36

Thank you Brar ., i am curious about the technology enablers that actually let the gestation period to be much shorter than anyone expected., is there any open source info on that , the digital engineering term has been bandied about but what ?

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 15 Oct 2020 04:41

kit wrote:Thank you Brar ., i am curious about the technology enablers that actually let the gestation period to be much shorter than anyone expected., is there any open source info on that , the digital engineering term has been bandied about but what ?


The technology gestation period is unlikely to be significantly compressed. They've been at it practically since 2010 so a 2030 LRIP will still mean 20 year of direct and indirect technology development.

As far as shrinking formal program (EMD) in half or more, that is being (or so is the hope) enabled by a combination of digitial engineering, open mission system approach to hardware and agile. Here's a rundown of the new approach which is very much to empower half a dozen or more design teams to constantly work on NGAD and related enablers and the work to never really stop when a down-select is made. This is not just talk. For Skyborg (which is an NGAD enabler) they've now put 13 airframe-OEM's on contract. They won't down-select to one. They'll keep multiple design teams on contact and treat the system as an interchangeable commodity. This will allow them to transition stuff when its ready to transition and retire stuff early if that means getting higher end system faster. Its a new cold-war and gone are the days they can develop something like an F-22 and F-35 and hope to have it lumber around for 3, 4 or more decades without at least something better out there. The view is that rapid capability insertion into existing systems, and completely new systems would be needed about every 5 years if they are to stay ahead of China.

Here's a talk from the USAF's acquisition boss on the new approach, and NGAD (6th gen fighter) isn't the only program it is being applied to.


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby ramana » 15 Oct 2020 05:15

Agile development helped a lot and creative contract funding.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 15 Oct 2020 05:57

The contracting bit is also spurring some change. For example, traditionally in the US system, contractors don't make any money when they design for a program. Programs can suck up a whole bunch of cash that is never recovered during the competitive stage. On the ATF, in the late 1980s', both Lockheed and Northrop took over a billion $ (in then year money) in charges and Northrop never recovered that investment. So the underlying business assumptions are - you take the risk in design, you loose a lot of money, and you make it up over a 30-40 year life of the program as it transitions from development to production and then to sustainment, upgrade and support. So companies fight hard and then lock up the IP so that they can make money on the back end of the program. They want to flip this so that they are giving industry the incentive in that they don't fear loosing money upfront. Skyborg is doing this exact thing i.e. paying for designs and competitive fabrication and then requiring OMS so essentially treating designs as commodities. If they treated this as a traditional program, not many beyond the big 3-4 (Boeing, LM, Northrop, General Atomics) would have been able to compete given the significant company resources required to bring designs and technology to a level of maturity that makes them competitive.

By throwing larger carrots upfront, they were able to expand to 13 design teams comprising of many companies that probably could not have been able to afford competing. This has the potential to spur innovation because when you are talking about a lot of the enabling technologies a great idea isn't always the monopoly of the Boeing's or the Lockheed's of the world and can come from startups and non-traditional sources. This is more true when you need to bring in non-tradtional air-dominance technologies/capabilities. Like a LEO sensing or comms satellite layer. And with OMS you are competing over a broader canvas. Not just airframe, radar, and sub-systems. You have deeper competition right down to components and the OMS framework means you can re-compete whenever you desire as hardware is interchangable. NGAD will be about multiple OEMs working on multiple airframes and enablers so its going to entail a lot of prototyping activity, some successes and some spectacular failures. It could resemble the 1970s where you literally had an X plane fly every few months.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 15 Oct 2020 17:41

The 5th Generation target drone is finally ready for its flight testing -

5GAT Drone Ready for First Flight


The Fifth Generation Aerial Target will take its first flight later this month at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, following nearly flawless completion of ground-based testing in September.

After a multi-month delay due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, 5GAT finished a battery of ground test events at Michael Army Airfield on September 18. Executed by an integrated team of Defense Department personnel and contractors, the testing verified complete aircraft control, safety procedures and key performance milestones for takeoff and landing. The single prototype executed 24 taxi test events (15 low-speed and nine high-speed) in just six days, with no interruptions or major problems.

The office of the director, operational test and evaluation sponsors the 5GAT, which is a full-scale, low-observable air vehicle that represents, more accurately than anything else available, the fifth-generation fighter aircraft threats U.S. forces could face. The low-cost drone is designed to enable air-to-air and surface-to-air platform and weapons test and evaluation, pilot and ground-force training, and the development of tactics, techniques and procedures against a fifth-generation threat.

"To determine whether a system really is combat-credible, we must test it under realistic conditions. That includes putting it up against a realistic threat," Robert Behler, the director, operational test and evaluation said. "Right now, we lack a test platform that truly represents fifth-generation air capabilities. Filling that gap as soon as possible is absolutely essential to both testing and training."

Sierra Technical Services, the prime contractor, has taken an innovative approach to building 5GAT, constructing the airframe from composites using soft tooling to reduce cost. The subcontractor, Fast Optimal Engineering, designed major subsystem solutions, including flight control actuation, electrical power, hydraulics, landing gear and steering. The subcontractor, 5D Systems, was responsible for developing the unmanned 5GAT's complex suite of software. 5GAT utilizes engines and other elements harvested from decommissioned DOD military aircraft, as well as an existing U.S. Army ground-based aircraft control system.

"With 5GAT, we've reinvented the typical acquisition process, and have aggressively used innovative program management and contracting processes to accelerate new capability development and ensure cost savings," Michael Crisp, a retired naval aviator and DOT&E's deputy director for air warfare said. "We pulled in expertise from ‘greybeards,' both industry and military, and the vision of our next generation of pilots, U.S. Air Force Academy cadets. We gave STS the freedom to explore cutting-edge design and manufacturing techniques, and got an even bigger bang for the taxpayer buck by recycling government-owned assets."

Flight testing will begin in late October. Initial flight test objectives include demonstrating 5GAT flight characteristics, various subsystems' performance and the aircraft's auto-takeoff and auto-landing functionality. Subsequent flight tests will progressively expand the aircraft's flight envelope in altitude, speed and greater G-force loading.

"When this unique prototype takes to the air in a few days, we will have gone from a basic concept to first flight in less than three-and-a-half years. That includes periods when the program slowed dramatically due to funding issues and the recent COVID-related delays," Crisp said. "I think 5GAT shows the power, creativity and flexibility that a small but diverse team with few constraints can produce — all to the benefit of the warfighter."


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 16 Oct 2020 22:06

Lockheed Martin is pitching its OpFires weapon system for the US Army Medium ranged targeting needs. OpFires is a DARPA program to fully demonstrate an intermediate ranged two stage hypersonic Boost Glide system with a deep throttling solid fuel second stage mated to a tactical boost glide hypersonic glider that is being developed for the USAF's AGM-183A ARRW program.

DARPA OpFires AUR flight test is scheduled for late 2021 under the DARPA contract. It appears LM may change the first stage booster for it to be a smaller form factor now that the IR is not a requirement (US Army has a separate IR ranged system in the LRHW). They also appear to be offering the vehicle with interchangable payloads which will allow higher rate production given that H-BGV production rate is going to be rather limited initially especially if the same BGV is being shared with an AF program.

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As Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) continues the work with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to advance the unique hypersonic technologies of its Operational Fires (OpFires) program, the company today announced its initial round of key subcontractors on the program. OpFires seeks to develop and demonstrate an innovative ground-launched system to enable a hypersonic boost glide missile system to penetrate modern enemy air defenses and rapidly engage time-sensitive targets.

Joining prime contractor Lockheed Martin on the OpFires Phase Three Weapon System Integration program are Northrop Grumman, Dynetics, and Electronic Concepts & Engineering, Inc (ECE).

“The engineering innovation required to deliver this maneuverable and rapid-response solution demands a best-of-industry team,” said Steven Botwinik, director of Tactical and Strike Missiles Advanced Programs. “OpFires and its unique throttleable booster make it a versatile platform to launch a variety of payloads over varied ranges and for this reason, OpFires is well-suited to address the Army’s Medium Range Strategic Fires needs.” LINK

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 18 Oct 2020 07:48

Some rare (and partial) glimpse of what is likely to be the cornerstone of 6th gen (NGAD) radar suite -

Northrop Grumman Completes System Requirements Review for AFRL Aether Spy Radar Program


Northrop Grumman completed the System Requirements Review for the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Aether Spy next-generation multifunction radar program.

With SRR completion, the company is now moving into the design phase of the program.

Aether Spy advances multifunction wideband digital Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) technology based on the advanced microelectronics created on the DARPA Arrays on Commercial Timescales (ACT) program. It will develop the next generation of integrated circuits that include additional processing and key design features that enable the Department of Defense trusted microelectronics strategy. The advanced devices will be fabricated and integrated into an advanced digital AESA to demonstrate a multifunction system capable of simultaneously performing multiple sensing, communication and electronic warfare functions.

“We look forward to demonstrating how the advanced digital AESA technology enables unmatched system agility that will meet the challenging mission requirements of advanced platforms,” said William Phillips, director, multifunction systems, Northrop Grumman. “The advanced integrated circuits, digital AESA architecture and multifunction software developed on Aether Spy will become foundational building blocks for the next generation of multifunction radio frequency (RF) systems supporting the future mission needs of the DoD.”

“This transition of digital AESA technology aligns well with the Air Force’s digital engineering initiatives,” said Thomas Dalrymple, technical advisor for Sensor Subsystems at the AFRL Sensors Directorate. “Aether Spy will enable significant improvements in surveillance and battle management missions in the future battlespace. The multifunction aspects are enabled by both software and hardware reprogrammability that will ensure this sensor will have operational impact for years to come.”

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 18 Oct 2020 20:07

More on the OpFires Hypersonic weapon from AvWeek (behind a paywall)

OpFires Industry Team Named As Lockheed Looks Long-Term


Lockheed Martin has selected three more suppliers for the Operational Fires (OpFires) hypersonic missile that seeks to demonstrate the first throttleable solid rocket motor. Northrop Grumman will...


The program officially entered its Phase-3 earlier this year which will finally culminate in a AUR flight test next year -

Since 2018, OpFires has made impressive strides developing and demonstrating advanced booster technologies that had never been used in prior systems. Phase 1 and 2 performers Aerojet Rocketdyne, Exquadrum, and Sierra Nevada Corporation continue work towards throttle-able upper stage rocket motors suitable for tactical transport, storage, and engagement.

“The objective of DARPA’s OpFires program is to deliver an intermediate-range surface-to-surface missile in line with the Department of Defense’s push to field hypersonic platforms,” said Army Maj. Amber Walker, the DARPA program manager for OpFires.

The latest milestone of the OpFires program came amid the report that Army will no longer provide funding for OpFires integration work. DARPA announced that it will continue pressing forward with Phase 3 activities to “further advance the program goals of affordability and mobility for U.S. and Allied forward forces”.

“DARPA enjoys a high level of collaboration among a diverse industry and government team that is critical for meeting the Phase 3 program objectives and eventually demonstrating this critical hypersonic capability,” said Michael Leahy, director of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office. “In keeping with its charter to demonstrate breakthrough technologies, we will continue to push towards demonstration of an affordable, mobile system that will be compatible with advanced payloads and offer a variety of future strike capabilities across a large engagement zone.”

Next steps for the OpFires program include a series of full-scale static motor firings, as well as further subsystem tests designed to evaluate component design and system compatibility, culminating in integrated end-to-end flight tests. LINK

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 20 Oct 2020 18:20

U.S. Air Force Performs First Ever Code Change On A Flying U-2 Spyplane Running Kubernetes


On Oct. 16, 2020, a U-2 intelligence gathering aircraft with the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale Air Force Base, California, running a Kubernetes, an open-source container-orchestration system for automating computer application deployment, scaling, and management.

As I’ve explained in detail in a previous article, “Kubernetes is used to deploy and automate microservice-based applications. As opposed to the past when applications were monolithic, current applications are made of collections of services (or micro-services) each one implementing a different feature of the application. For instance, one service in an app is used to implement the search on a website, another one implements the comment section, another one implements the payments and so on. A microservice-based application enables quick and reliable delivery of complex applications and make the change management easier. In fact, each microservices is loosely coupled to the others and can be independently tested, optimized and deployed. This means that developers can test and update the code of a service without touching or affecting the rest of the micro-services. As you may imagine, this approach has significantly shortened the lifecycle of software.”

During the first test, carried out on Sept. 22, Kubernetes was used to pool available on-board computing power: it ran advanced machine learning algorithms on four individual, flight-certified computers. The second test, saw Kubernetes “update” the code on the U-2. Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, Will Roper, unveiled some interesting details about this test:

With the first update, Kubernetes ran a logging container that wrote some text along with a timestamp in a file (whose fetched output was shown by Toper); the second update saw Kubernetes deploy “improved automatic target recognition algorithms” in an unspecified test application/sensor.

We don’t have the whole details here, so the extent of the “update” is not clear (actually, the deployment of a new container in Kubernetes can be seen more like a configuration update than a code change). Anyway, the achievement of the latest milestone proves that the U.S. Air Force is continuing to advance in its program to give its weapons system the ability to leverage the power of containerization.


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 20 Oct 2020 19:25

Interesting development, but questions still remain - how much of a logistics and deployability burden would this be for an expeditionary force? If you can't get to the battle then you aren't all that effective and I don't think there is the appetite or money to pre-position majority stocks of these monstrosities in Europe or the Pacific. The other option, the more rudimentary and manual, Mandus group 155 mm option is much ligher, sits on a standard FMTV is C-130 deployable and is a insignificant burden on logistics given the platform is going to be in theater anyways and has expeditionary support already in place. Beyond a token amount specific for Europe, I doubt the US Army can convince its logisticians, and the USAF for that matter, to operate the larger, and significantly more automated/protected, weapon in quantity. If push comes to shove, you can deploy the entire Stryker BCT via C-130 (with enough lead time at dest). I don't think they would want to loose that capability.

BAE Systems proposes Archer for US Army's towed howitzer replacement competition


The US Army is on the hunt for a new 155 mm wheeled gun system and BAE Systems has submitted its Archer howitzer design, which is currently fielded by the Swedish Army.

Company representatives fielded reporters’ questions about their bid on 19 October and said they have not made significant changes to the fielded Archer system – a 52-calibre howitzer on a Volvo A30 6×6 articulated hauler. By not changing the chassis, BAE Systems can provide the army with a rigorously tested system that can be rapidly fielded, said Director of Business Development Chris King. He also noted that the weapon can be loaded onto a C-17 Globemaster but not easily deployed on a C-130 Hercules.

“The army has to decide what it wants,” King added. “If it wants a 52-calibre system that can go on wheels and keep up with Stryker brigades, then it’s going to be very hard to find something like that that’s going to fit inside a C-130. It could be possible but there would be other tradeoffs like protection if it has to be a lighter weight system.” Archer can fire the BONUS anti-armour munition up to 35 km, conventional munitions up to 40 km, and precision-guided munitions like the M982 Excalibur more than 50 km, and includes a 21-round magazine.

“[Soldiers] can receive a call [while driving], stop on the pavement or the road [and] within 30 seconds be ready to fire and then fire 8 rounds per min,” said Programme Manager Henrik Knape. “Then [soldiers] can get out of the position in less than 30 seconds again and be 500 m away within 45 seconds.”


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vs.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Shameek » 21 Oct 2020 00:35

Well made animation of the first day of the ground war during Desert Storm. The sheer magnitude of ground/air forces used against Iraq is amazing.


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 21 Oct 2020 01:27

brar_w wrote: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...


I think this latest news/contract award sort of confirms my suspicion. If Boeing is going to flight demo a scramjet cruise missile vehicle on a SH in 2022, then they've probably been working in parallel for some time now, either using IR&D or a US Navy classified award (which wouldn't be unusual since a number of technology maturation initiatives were underway over the last 3-5 years to explore if a Harpoon and TLAM replacement can be combined - Boeing could have picked up some hypersonic work from there). There is no way you can go from contract award to a flight demo in under 2 years if you're starting from scratch. Not for this level of tech.

Edit: Steve has since confirmed (with Boeing) that it is a high supersonic ramjet missile (so probably a T3 offshoot) so that still leaves the question - why did USAF decide to include Boeing, which hasn't publicly shown any dollar interest in a scramjet missile for well over a decade, when it had 2 vendors already on contract, executing on a flight test campaign.??

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Based on this these are now the following Hypersonic scram/BGV systems (all distinct) that are in the budget docs or otherwise on contract (may have missed out a couple). This only includes BGV or scramjet weapons and not other hypersonic speed capable weapons like the ER-AARGM, or the 21" SM-6 dual-role missile.


- Lockheed Tactical Boost Glide Vehicle (Going on USAF AGM-183A, and DARPA OpFires)
- Raytheon Tactical Boost Glide Vehicle (Going on DARPA TBG2 with no known follow-on (yet))
- Dynetics/Sandia CPS Hypersonic Boost Glide Vehicle (going on US Army LRHW and US Navy IRCPS)
- Lockheed scramjet tactical missile (HAWC) with engine from Aerojet
- Raytheon scramjet tactical missile (HAWC2) with engine from Orbital ATK/Northrop
- 1 additional hypersonic cruise missile programs with no vendor down-select yet (USAF)
- USAF Mayhem - Larger multi-role scramjet vehicle for weapon and/or ISR application

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 21 Oct 2020 04:31

Is Lockheed Building the Air Force’s Secret Fighter?


Is Lockheed Martin building a secret new fighter jet that U.S. Air Force officials revealed last month?

Company executives dropped some not-so-subtle hints about the company’s growing backlog of classified military work, including one project that requires erecting a new building at its secretive Skunk Works facility in Palmdale, California. They also pointed to revenue growth within the company’s Aeronautics division, which includes the Advanced Development Programs shop that created the fabled U-2 and SR-71 spy planes and F-117 stealth attack jet.

“We do anticipate seeing strong double-digit growth at our Skunk Works — our classified Advanced Development Programs,” Lockheed CFO Ken Possenriede said during the company’s quarterly earnings call with Wall Street analysts. “We continue to execute on...recent awards.”

Last month, Air Force leaders revealed they had built and flown a prototype for the Next Generation Air Dominance program — an effort to develop a new generation of warplanes. Service officials said the project relied heavily on digital engineering, but declined to reveal much else, including what company or companies were working on the new aircraft. The classified aircraft project is believed to have started near the end of the Obama administration.

During an interview after the call, Possenriede mentioned a classified project that was the Aeronautics division’s top priority when he worked there between 2016 and 2019.


“It was bid aggressively [and] we happen to have won that one,” he said. “And we're very happy with the results [and] the outcome right now.”

On the earnings call, Possenriede said that “in the classified area of Aeronautics, there are a multitude of opportunities out there.”

He said the company needs to build a building for a classified project in Palmdale, adding that “There are other customers that have a keen interest in that program.”

In 2019, Lockheed’s Aeronautics division booked $19.6 billion in sales over the first nine months of 2020, that’s up nearly 13 percent higher than what the sector booked over the same period in 2019. Overall, the company will spend about $1.7 billion in capital expenditures, like new facilities, in 2020 and 2021, Possenriede said. As a while, the company will spend about $1.7 billion in capital expenditures, like new facilities, in 2020 and 2021, Possenriede said.

“We're going to keep investing in organic capital expenditures to build capacity to deliver on our core business,” Lockheed CEO Jim Taiclet said on the call. “Much of what we spent this year is on classified programs in both aeronautics and space, that are growing relatively rapidly. And so we're going to continue to do those organic investments every time we can.”

Aeronautics is not the only division seeing a bump in classified contracts. Lockheed’s Space and Missile and Fire Control divisions are also seeing an uptick in secret work.

The missiles division, which is working on hypersonic weapons projects with the Aeronautics and Space divisions, won what Possenriede called a “large classified program” that is still in development.

“We will start to see — in the next four to five years — that go into limited-rate production, and then ultimately into production,” he said.


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 21 Oct 2020 22:05

Roper in a Nutshell. 44 mins


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 22 Oct 2020 18:56

So likely the first offshoot of the GBU-X work that was done a while ago to define the characteristics of the next GBU series of munitions ..

GPAW Will be Next Mass-Produced, Fifth-Gen Ground Attack Munition


The US Air Force is launching a program to acquire a new, highly flexible ground-attack munition to equip its combat aircraft. The service wants a Global Precision Attack Weapon, or GPAW, that would meet an ambitious set of characteristics: small, lightweight, and affordable in numbers, yet capable against hard and deeply buried targets, and with advanced sensors and autonomy.

The GPAW plan, unveiled in a Broad Agency Announcement on Oct. 19, calls for a weapon that would be carried internally on the fifth-generation F-35 fighter and B-21 bomber, but would still be compatible with legacy aircraft.

The weapon is to have “high loadout”—meaning many can be carried on a single platform, suggesting a small size—and digitally engineered, with open-systems architecture. It should enable “maximum flexibility to integrate a suite of technologies,” including position, navigation, and timing and guidance, navigation, control; as well as “cockpit-selectable warhead effect,” fuzing, sensors, propulsion, “signature optimization” or stealthiness, “martime apps, multimode seeker, affordable mass, and autonomy/sensing.”

GPAW will have to operate “within the joint, all-domain functional environment against near-peer competitors.” It was suggested the weapon should be able to collaborate autonomously. The announcement modified a previous announcement published by the Air Force and Special Operations Command in the spring.

The Air Force didn’t specify when it wants to have the weapon ready for use, but the announcement invites white paper responses from industry within a year. Contracts resulting from the solicitation are expected to be worth between $200,000 and $2 million.

The GPAW development program will be in three phases, and the Air Force will select and work with a System Design Agent to get the project started.

Phase 1: The government will characterize the “trade space” for the weapon, including what it can get within the cost and physical size limits it has in mind for GPAW. It will then set the open architecture standards, and develop a work breakdown structure and rough order of magnitude cost.
Phase II: A “best of breed” design will be developed along with various technical packages and a plan for rapid prototyping.
Phase III: The weapon will be competed for production, based on the technical data packages. The BAA suggested more than one manufacturer would be selected, with subsequent competition for lot buys.
The SDA and its partners “will not be excluded” from Phase II or III. “All businesses (small, medium, and large) are encouraged to submit white papers,” the service said.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Rakesh » 23 Oct 2020 05:40

Don't focus on the ship, but read the tweet. The khan is surreal.

215 consecutive days at sea...that is 7+ months at sea, without a single port call!

https://twitter.com/NavalInstitute/stat ... 09857?s=20 ---> Have you ever wondered what 215 consecutive days at sea does to a ship? After returning last week from a record-setting deployment in which the USS Stout went seven months without a port call, the rusty destroyer looked like a derelict vessel.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 23 Oct 2020 06:25

^^ That's CVN + duration deployment. CVN-72 broke the CVN record with a 10-month deployment that ended earlier this year. The DDG, SSN and CVN fleet in the USN get used and then some. A good point to keep in mind when compared to the pristine Chinese DDGs that are generally photographed by their media.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Rakesh » 23 Oct 2020 19:08

Watch the video and click on link below for article....

This F-22 Raptor Wing Tank Storage Facility Looks Like A Science Fiction Movie Set
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/3 ... -movie-set
22 Oct 2020


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 23 Oct 2020 20:55

Some additional commentary on the OpFires program and what DARPA is trying to push out to the US Army in terms of unique capability -

What would OpFires offer the Army it can’t get otherwise? It’s important that it’s both intermediate-range and hypersonic. In 2023, the Army plans to deploy both its first hypersonic missile, the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW), and its first intermediate-range missile since the Cold War Pershing III, the Mid-Range Capability (MRC). But it won’t have a weapon that’s both intermediate-range and hypersonic.

LRHW will be bigger, faster, and longer-ranged than MRC, flying “thousands of kilometers” as opposed to 1,800 km (1,118 miles). LRHW will also be much more expensive and relatively rare, reserved for the most important, distant, and difficult targets.

But just this year, the Army decided it needed MRC as well as a cheaper, more numerous weapon to strike larger numbers of less distant targets. That late start meant the Army couldn’t develop a new weapon by 2023, so it would need to modify a US or allied missile already in service – and none of those is hypersonic.

Having a smaller, cheaper hypersonic option alongside LRHW would be intriguing for Army commanders. “We view ourselves as complementary [to LRHW] and not duplicative,” Walker emphasized.

Significantly, Lockheed Martin has already selected the hypersonic glide body that will carry the missile warhead, coasting to the target (hence “glide body”) at Mach 5-plus once the rocket motors cut off. That glide body is the one Lockheed is already developing for the Air Force’s ARRW program (Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon). While the exact sizes of these weapons are classified, both DARPA and Lockheed Martin confirmed for me that the ARRW glide body is smaller than LRHW’s. That would allow the whole weapon to be smaller, which would make it cost less, too.

Why OpFires Would Be Revolutionary

OpFires isn’t just about building a smaller, cheaper hypersonic missile. If it were, DARPA wouldn’t bother, since the agency’s whole mission is high-risk, high-reward R&D. The “DARPA hard” part of the OpFires program is developing a revolutionary technology known as a “throttleable” rocket motor: In layman’s terms, a rocket that you can turn off at will, instead of having to wait until it burns through all its fuel.

You see, modern solid-fuel rocket motors have basically one setting: ALL AHEAD FULL. Once they’ve started burning and emitting thrust, you can’t turn them down or turn them off. (Liquid-fuel rockets don’t have this issue, but they pose other major problems in a military application). As a result, a solid-fuel rocket has trouble hitting targets that are significantly closer than its maximum range. You can make a long-range rocket hit a short-range target, but if you make it dive back towards the ground a lot earlier than it’s designed to do, that puts tremendous stress on the weapon, which could make it miss or even break apart in flight. That’s especially true for a rocket powerful enough to get the warhead moving at hypersonic speeds.

Simply put, Walker told me, “if you give it a lot of energy, it’s going to go far, and it’s actually really hard to make it go less far… without actually breaking it in the process.”

So instead of having a rocket motor you have to fight to rein in, you want a rocket motor you can just turn off when you’ve reached your target – a throttleable rocket. But that’s not easy either. For reasons of safety and reliability, solid rocket fuel is carefully formulated so it doesn’t either start or stop burning by accident, and historically no one tried to make it stop burning in mid-flight on purpose.

“Rocket motors are built to burn, and in this case, we’re trying to stop it when we want to,” Walker told me, “and, oh, by the way, also make it temperature-insensitive and safe for transport.” Army missiles in particular have to endure all sorts of conditions, from Arctic cold to desert heat to swampy humidity, and still fire reliably on command – and only when commanded to.

So in 2018, after a year of studies and consultation with the Army, DARPA contracted with three companies to develop throttleable rockets: Aerojet, Exquadrum, and Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC). All three successfully demonstrated miniature versions of the motor and got further awards to build and ground-test a full-scale version. Exquadrum has completed that ground test, while Aerojet and SNC hope to do theirs before the end of the year. It’ll be up to Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor, to pick which of the three designs to use for the actual missile to be flight-tested in 2023.

A further wrinkle: The throttleable rocket motor will be the second stage of the OpFires rocket booster. The first stage launches the weapon and boosts it through the thickest part of the atmosphere, which requires different performance characteristics; it will be tested separately in November or December of next year.

Since the throttleable rocket motor is so tricky, DARPA and Lockheed Martin are trying to keep the rest of OpFires as simple as possible. Besides borrowing the ARRW program’s glide body, it’ll use the existing Army fire control system, AFATDS. It will require no new specialized support equipment; and its launcher will fit on the back of a common Army cargo truck, the 10-wheeler Palletized Load System (PLS). The weapon will fire from the back of the PLS in both the 2021 first-stage-only test and the 2023 full-up flight test.

What happens after that? TBD, Walker told me. DARPA’s job is to prove new technologies work, not to field them as integrated, combat-ready weapons systems: That’s the armed services’ job.

“A plan beyond 23? I can’t say that I have one today, but that’s clearly what we’re working to over the next year or two,” Walker told me. “In the ideal world, a service picks that up.”

The Navy might just be interested in OpFires as a lower-cost alternative to its own version of the long-range hypersonic weapon now that the White House wants to place hypersonics on all US destroyers. But DARPA’s big bet is on the Army.

LINK


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 23 Oct 2020 21:55

A very clear video of a pair of F-117's landing and departing Marine Corps Air Station Miramar on October 20th 2020. The F-117's haven't really stopped flying since the type was retired as plenty of folks have seen (and pictures) of them flying out of Tonopah but this is the first (known) time they've had a day-time run at a more accessible air base. The importance of having a LO platform that is dissimilar to other in inventory LO/VLO platforms cannot be overstated. For everything ranging from providing DACT to 4th and 5th generation fighters to supporting development programs for sensors and other equipment it is just a very unique capability that doesn't exist anywhere else in the world. Unlike a one off prototype or demonstrator being used for this (like for example a Bird of prey, X-45/47 etc) a previously operational type can provide this training to a much broader set of platfroms and trainees given it is cleared to deploy and operate from a whole range of infrastructure as opposed to a limited one of system that is generally only cleared to operate around its home base and under strict instrumented test infra. and which is also restricted in terms of what it can and cannot do (due to limited dev/ops testing and flight certification). For the squadrons that get to work with this platform, the LO vs LO, and CLO discussion and training won't just be an academic exercise..it will involve a lot of practical tactics development, refinement and most importantly the confidence that you've practices what you've learnt/developed before going into actual war.




https://twitter.com/Combat_learjet/stat ... 7616975881

Story for context:

The fresh coating of radar-absorbent material—the highly important outer cloak that helps the Nighthawk attenuate radar returns—apparently includes a bright red-and-black checkered tail-band. Notably absent is the 'Dark Knights' moniker seen on one F-117 spotted over the Mojave Desert in 2019. This is likely the unit's name, official or otherwise, that matches with the KNIGHT callsign they commonly use. High-contrast 'TR' tail markings are also present, indicating the aircraft's home base at Tonopah Test Range Airport. The F-117s carried similar tail markings decades ago after being declassified and before they moved from the remote Nevada base to Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.

The F-117 in the photos is also adorned with what appears to be a high-visibility Nighthawk emblem near its intake. The Nighthawk logo I am referring to looks like the one below and was used throughout the operational life of the program.

The shots come to us from Phil Decker who runs the Air Tales Instagram and Youtube accounts. They underline what The War Zone has been saying for some time, that the tiny flying F-117 force has migrated from a test and evaluation activity to also a more formal aggressor role. We may have even captured a photo opportunity at Tonopah Test Range Airport meant to commemorate the unit's establishment or another significant historical marker as a prelude to its first deployment. LINK


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Tuan » 23 Oct 2020 23:48

Sharing an article that has been published on the Project O Five Blog, thanks to Jasmin Sweeney for sharing her thoughts. A great read on the implications of hard power approaches in responding to terrorism. Please take a look!

To What Extent Is Military Force An Effective Response To Terrorism

https://projectofive.ca/2020/10/18/to-w ... terrorism/

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 25 Oct 2020 03:29

A neat picture of the XQ-58A Valkyrie with a view of its launching mechanism -

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Philip » 25 Oct 2020 04:41

The USN plans to equip all its DDGs in the future right down to exg. Arleigh Burkes with hypersonic missiles to meet the threat from the PLAN. First Virginia class SSNs,then Zumwalt DDGs,then the Burkes in that order,since their missile silos are too small to take a larger " boost-glide" hyper M. There is some debate going on though about re-equipping all the Burkes,but once the new missiles start appearing,it will be a quantum leap in capability for the USN.The RuN is already testing hypersonic missiles from its warships ,expected to enter service from 2021. We hope that by 2025 our own BMos- H will arrive.

Some good news for the beleagured F-35. The hugely inefficient ALIS logistic management system aboard the bird is being replaced by a new system called ODIN ( Operational Data Integrated Network) which is both lighter and faster,half the time.ALIS hardware weighs around 800 lbs,ODIN just 70 plus its software is far superior, the ALIS system dating back to the early 2000s.Aircraft will start receiving the new replacement system with the first sqd. completely by autumn 2021,said Lt.Gen Eric Frick, "Programme Executive Officer" for the US Govt.
Having a PEO as headman for the programme answerable directly to the govt. is something the GOI could adopt for its military aircraft programmes, so that they succeed on time,within budget,etc.The absence of a Dir.Gen. for the LCA is why we are where we are.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 25 Oct 2020 04:56

Philip wrote:The USN plans to equip all its DDGs in the future right down to exg. Arleigh Burkes with hypersonic missiles to meet the threat from the PLAN. First Virginia class SSNs,then Zumwalt DDGs,then the Burkes in that order,since their missile silos are too small to take a larger " boost-glide" hyper M...


There are very stark differences in what the Ru Navy is doing and what the US Navy is doing in terms of outfitting its vessels with hypersonic missiles driven by the overall fleet architecture of these two forces, the threat they face and the theater they are optimizing themselves for. The USN's first stab is creating a nearly 4,000 km ranged Intermediate Ranged Conventional Prompt Strike capability that can outgun any A2AD the Chinese have in the pacific. Two guided tests have already happened and its striking targets within 6 inches based on the US Army's latest revelation (it is a joint USN and US Army program).

The US Army will first declare this system operational in 2023, with Navy following suite in 2025 (first SSN deployment with IR-CPS). There are experiments happening on how to get IR-CPS capability onto ships. One of the things being considered is adding the VPM into these ships. With Zumwalt you already have be low deck system that can accommodate them. Rip the guns out and add VPM Tubes. The vessel's low signature and its lack of a BMD mission/role (which allows it to do EMCON in ways a DDG-51 cannot) would allow it to deliver that strike with pretty good survivability. Besides the VPT there are many other options to chose from. Northrop Grumman had prototyped hardware of a large diameter VLS for the US Navy eons ago so they could always scrub the dust off that design. Again, this will be more applicable to ships that have the room like the DDG-1000 class and the LSC.

Russian Navy, in contrast, has a tactical hypersonic weapon which is in the short-medium ranged class and much slower (its air-breathing). So far, the USN has not committed to a tactical air-breathing hypersonic weapon of shorter range to IR-CPS. There are other Mach 5+ capable weapons that are being fielded in the next couple of years like the 21" SM-6 with a faster top speed and a more optimized warhead, but those will be traditional Mach quasi-ballistic missile profiles and likely in the 500-800 km anti-ship range class (and probably not a lot of land target attack capability). That weapon will be compatible with 100% of the MK41 cells that are the staple of the US Navy's destroyer fleet and are even going to be present on the new Frigate fleet. Again, not a BGV but still a fairly fast threat for Chinese to deal with. A Mach 5+ quasi ballistic missile is no joke especially if it is multi-mission (hence optimized magazines) and going into production well ahead of 2025.

The Chinese focus is driving them towards an Intermediate ranged hypersonic system with much faster average speeds with a TTT in mind. They need a prompt strike capability to outstick the Chinese ASBM's so has to be in the 3000-4000 km range at the very least. Will they want it on the DDG-51's? I doubt it. Between the Block V+ Tomahawk with its AESA based Maritime seeker, and the 21" SM-6, the DDG-51's will have plenty of Anti-Ship and land attack capability. Their main role is to act as AAW and BMD escorts to the carrier strike group given that some of the cruiser fleet will retire in the short-medium term. The entire focus of the IR-CPS effort was to field a short TTT weapon (hence "Prompt") that could be launched from outside of the DF family range along with other Chinese A2AD capability. A slower, shorter ranged weapon would run contrary to that and wouldn't really make a whole lot of sense.

The DDG-1000 class, and the next gen LSC should focus on the surface launched IR-CPS capability both from a real-estate perspective but also from a role-mission and doctrinal perspective. Unless the roles and missions change over time, the purpose of the DDG-51 fleet, particularly those Flight III's and IIA's that either have the GaN radars, or will be getting them as upgrades, is to protect the carrier with the offensive capability residing in the carrier-air-wing which is a lot more flexible, and can deliver a lot more sustained firepower than a DDG emptying its cells (no matter how many you pack into it).


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