US military, technology, arms, tactics

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 15 Nov 2020 21:10

U.S. Army Opens 5-Year Search For Stinger Missile Replacement


The U.S. Army has started a long-term search for a replacement for the Raytheon FIM-92 Stinger short-range air defense surface-to-air missile system, with a contract award for up to 8,000 missiles planned by fiscal 2026.

Any replacement for the Stinger must be compatible with the Initial Mobile-Short-Range Air Defense (IM-SHORAD), which uses the Stinger Vehicle Universal Launcher, according to a market survey released on Nov. 10 by the Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

“The Army is conducting a SHORAD study which will inform efforts to modernize and to address emerging threats, which may increase the demand for MANPADS capable missiles,” said the sources sought notice.

The new missile must also be able to defeat fixed-wing ground attack aircraft, rotary wing aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in a size class that ranges between the Boeing Insitu Scan Eagle and the Textron AAI RQ-7, which are examples of Group 2 and Group 3 UAS.

The Army is extending the service life of the Stinger Block 1, but the original version of the Stinger with a reprogrammable microprocessor will become obsolete in fiscal 2023, the notice said.

The sources sought notice asked interested companies to supply a wide range of information, such as a rough order of magnitude estimate for the cost and schedule of developing and delivering up 8,000 missiles.

The Stinger defined the role of a man-portable air defense system quickly after the Army launched development in 1972. Though designed for ground-launch by a human, the missile has also been integrated on fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and large UAS.

The all-up round includes the 1.52 m-long FIM-92 Stinger missile, a launch tube and a fire control and aiming system. The missile itself is guided by an infrared/ultraviolet seeker, and controlled with four small rectangular fins.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 15 Nov 2020 23:49

Another long(ish) CVN deployment though nothing like the 9+ month deployment CVN-72 did to break the record of the longest deployment by a US carrier -

The U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), returned to Yokosuka, Nov. 14, following a six-month Indo-
Pacific deployment...

Ronald Reagan transited nearly 60,000 miles as embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 flew more than 20,000 flight hours during a deployment that included exercises and operations with allies and partners across the region.

While deployed the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group conducted trilateral integrated operations with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Navy, flight operations in the Indian Ocean for the first time in more than four years, dual-carrier operations with the USS Nimitz (CVN 76) Carrier Strike Group, exercises Valiant Shield and Keen Sword, as well as, Expeditionary Strike Force operations with USS America (LHA 6).

LINK

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 16 Nov 2020 02:30

China’s DF-21D And DF-26B ASBMs: Is The U.S. Military Ready?(Andrew Erickson)


With its continued development of ASBMs and associated targeting architecture, China continues to work on changing the game in the South China Sea and beyond—but so too does the United States with its own developments and countermeasures. The game is afoot, and much is at stake. But by no means is the game over for the U.S. Navy, in the South China Sea or anywhere else. My bottom line: there’s no cause for declinist defeatism.

First, give us your sense of the development of both these missiles? Are you surprised at the speed of how quickly China has developed, deployed and tested them over the last decade?

I’m not surprised at the speed of PRC ASBM development overall. My study of Chinese aerospace history for my doctorate at Princeton revealed Beijing’s early emphasis on ballistic missiles, including some ASBM-relevant thinking. Three sentences alone repaid several years of graduate reading. In 1972 Vice Premier Zhang Chunqiao told China’s Central Military Commission: “We are continentalists. Now guided missiles are well developed. Installed on shore, they can hit any target, and there is no need to build a big navy.” In March 2007, I testified before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission: “China is…thought to be in the process of developing anti-ship homing warheads for its ballistic missiles, which is a very worrisome development…If they work, they would be extremely difficult to defend against.” Several years of intense open-source research culminated in my 2013 book, Chinese Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) Development: Drivers, Trajectories, and Strategic Implications.

That said, the following wording in DoD’s 2020 China report leapt out at me: “The PLA has fielded approximately 200 IRBM launchers and more than 200 missiles.” To me, this is the single most important sentence in what I believe is the best-written report to Congress yet in the two decades that the Pentagon has been issuing them. Reported ranges for systems currently in the PLA Rocket Force inventory suggest that these 200 IRBMs are DF-26s, with some number of the DF-26B ASBM variant among them. The DF-26’s dominance of China’s arsenal within that set of operationally-important range parameters suggests great confidence in this particular missile for two major reasons: (1) extraordinarily fast production and deployment in high numbers of a modern weapon system, and (2) no apparent need to hedge with multiple missile types with broadly overlapping capabilities.

While we knew back in the summer that China tested the DF-21D and DF-26 missiles, we did not know they were tested against moving vessels, as many assumed the missiles splashed down into the sea. What message is China trying to send?

With its recent ASBM tests, reportedly against moving targets, Beijing seeks to demonstrate a maturing capability and enhance deterrence. It seeks to overawe audiences limited in access to technical details and limited in understanding of basic technical principles—and thereby to generate deference that it has not earned operationally. But however sophisticated and successful, these tests are but one element in a far greater equation. First, ASBMs’ effectiveness in practice hinges on a comprehensive reconnaissance and targeting architecture. As datapoints at the last four Zhuhai Airshows I attended impressed upon me, China is clearly working diligently to develop such architecture. But it remains a work in progress that has not been validated concretely in critical respects. Second, growing American countermeasures make this at least a two-sided contest.

In your view, has the United States and its allies taken this threat seriously? Have we done enough to try and mitigate it?

The U.S. Navy has taken this threat very seriously; both in terms of hard kill and soft kill systems. There is certainly more work to be done, but America is pacing the threat with manifold potent countermeasures. Soviet Chief of the General Staff Nikolai Ogarkov termed this struggle of opposites the “dialectic of negation in military affairs.” In American parlance, “The enemy gets a vote.” American military “votes” thus far include Aegis ballistic missile defense, Standard Missile-6, and electronic warfare systems with the potential to confuse incoming ASBMs with false targets that—proportionately speaking—could already far exceed the 355+ ship force that the U.S. Navy is planning to build. As well it should.


Andrew, in his earlier writups has described how the Chinese basically went to school on the Pershing II program while the US was throttled from fielding on follow on systems owing to treaty obligations. The DF-21 bears a striking similarity to PII and its planned off-shoots.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 16 Nov 2020 20:01

If successful (it's probably 50/50 given the various complexities involved), this will be a major accomplishment and by far the hardest test the SM family has been put through (the SM-3 was never designed for ICBM intercepts). It will also be the 50th attempted live ballistic missile target intercept (air-breathing targets for SM2/SM6 aren't counted in this tally) test for the Standard Missile family which itself is a remarkable feat for the US Navy and now Japan.


SM-3 Block IIA Missile Defense test FTM-44 against an ICBM-class target imminent, 17-19 November 2020


Three days ago, on 12 November 2020, a Navigational Warning appeared that denoted three hazard zones in the northern Pacific for the period 17 to 19 November, connected to what clearly is some kind of missile test...

The location of the areas lead me to believe it points to a Missile Defense test: an attempt to intercept a dummy Ballistic Missile launched from Kwajalein towards the US main land. Area A denotes the immediate launch hazard zone for the dummy ICBM at Kwajalein; area B where the first stage of the dummy ICBM will come down; area C the intercept area where the SM-3 interceptor will be fired and the intercept occurs.

Based on the location and shape direction of area C, I initially (and erroneously) thought it might be a Ground-Based Midcourse Defense test from one of the GBMD sites in Alaska. However, after some discussion with the Twitter missile community and some digging around, I am now quite confident that this is not a GMBD test, but an AEGIS SM-3 test, with the SM-3 intercept missile fired from a US Navy Destroyer located in the Pacific in the north of area C. Basically, the situation below..

(those of you who remember the infamous Operation Burnt Frost will know the Standard Missile 3 (SM-3): it was used to destroy the malfunctioned USA 193 satellite on 20 February 2008)

Indeed, a Missile Defense test with an SM-3 Block IIA missile, designated as test FTM-44, is known to have been originally scheduled in the Pacific for the third quarter of 2020. It next was postponed due to the impact of the Corona pandemic, to late 2020.

The Navigational Warning NAVAREA XII 509/20 that appeared three days ago now suggests that the FTM-44 test is imminent, and will take place between 17 and 19 November with the daily window running from 04:00 to 10:00 UT. The locations and shapes of the hazard zones designated in the Navigational Warning NAVAREA XII 590/20 fit well with what we know about the FTM-44 test (see below).

A US Naval Institute news release from August 2020 includes the following schematic graphic for FTM-44: compare this to the graphics above and note the clear similarity (note that my figure above is a view from the north,while the MDA figure below is a view from the south)...

Image



If the above graphic is representative (and not just a poorly made slide) then it is quite remarkable given the fact that they will atttempt an ICBM intercept without the SB-X being utilized for discrimination. This would leave just one TPY-2 radar for advanced extended range discrimination since the LRDR is not yet operational. So not only will it stress the missile, kinematically, the seeker and the SPY-1 will itself will be stressed so they are probably also testing some of the recent AEGIS upgrades that improve the legacy radars ability to discriminate. However, it is quite likely that the grpahic is just a placeholder and the SB-X is in fact used. Tough to imagine no SBX in an ICBM intercept test until the LRDR isn't fully up and ready (and even beyond that since the S-band LRDR doesn't lend itself to the same level of discrimination capability the X-band SBX affords).

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 17 Nov 2020 00:06

AkshaySG wrote:??... The F-35 is the only 5th gen naval fighter currently flying and even that hasn't been operational on a single AC yet.. Its still undergoing trials.


The F-35B is operational and has had multiple flat top cruises and has conducted multiple operational missions while operating from flat tops. The F-35C likewise is also operational and the first unit to deploy is currently training integrating with the carrier ahead of its first long duration operational cruise. That is a carrier integration and scheduling issue and not because it is in trials. They could deploy today had they had a F-35 enabled AC that was ready to workup for a deployment a couple of months ago. But because the Vinson went through a prolonged availability and only came out of the drydock this summer, its workup was the limiting step in a way.

The USN counts a deployment as a long duration (usually 4-6 months) cruise so they will only count "operational deployment" when that happens. However, ahead of a cruise they need to integrate, train and do the pre deployment workups with the rest of the strike group and air-wing. They couldn't have done this because the AC was in "availability" and they began this work as soon as the ship was available. Most of these things are done by all prior to deployment and are already happening so operational F-35C's are currently flying sorties on operational aircraft carriers If war was to break out, the US Navy can put out two operational F-35C squadrons on at least one aircraft carrier right now. Though this will migrate to a formal peacetime cruise early next year because tiered readiness entails a workup training and integration period before the strike group embarks on a cruise. This is the case irrespective of whether the carrier has a new type of aircraft on it or not.



AkshaySG wrote:Even the hyper-advanced US Navy will continue to use the Super Hornets till 2035 and well beyond because they understand that its still a extremely potent system and fulfills most of their requirements.


Realistically, they will continue to use the F-18 E/F in 2035 knowing full well that it would be long obsolete by then. You have to learn to use non-cutting edge equipment because of budget realities and fleet replenishment timelines. By the early to mid 2030's, the SH replacement should be in advanced testing if not already fielded and the entire F-35C inventory would have been fielded. So they can afford to utilize the F-18 fleet differntly as they work through the remaining decade plus or so it will take to recapitalize most of that fleet. I wouldn't be surprised if the entire non-Block III upgraded SH fleet (Block III is a new build and upgrade program) is gone by 2035 leaving probably 200-300 aircraft in service.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 17 Nov 2020 04:22

New upcoming X-Plane -

Aurora Flight Sciences to Develop New X-Plane Under DARPA Contract


Image

Aurora Flight Sciences, a Boeing Company, aims to develop an experimental plane under a new Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) contract. The X-plane seeks to demonstrate the advanced capabilities of Active Flow Control (AFC) as a primary design consideration.

Through DARPA’s Control of Revolutionary Aircraft with Novel Effectors (CRANE) program, Aurora is under contract for Phase 0 in partnership with Boeing and the University of Arizona. The team will develop tools and technology for incorporating AFC in the early stages of aircraft design to later demonstrate in a custom X-plane.

During Phase 0, Aurora will study AFC-enabled designs across multiple mission domains for one year to identify an X-plane demonstrator concept. Phase 1 will follow with preliminary design of an X-plane demonstrator.

This team builds upon decades of AFC research and prototyping, including flight tests of full-scale implementations,” said Per Beith, Aurora President and CEO. “Together with DARPA, we can enable fundamentally new approaches to aircraft design and look forward to exploring game-changing configurations.”

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 17 Nov 2020 19:06

brar_w wrote:If successful (it's probably 50/50 given the various complexities involved), this will be a major accomplishment and by far the hardest test the SM family has been put through (the SM-3 was never designed for ICBM intercepts). It will also be the 50th attempted live ballistic missile target intercept (air-breathing targets for SM2/SM6 aren't counted in this tally) test for the Standard Missile family which itself is a remarkable feat for the US Navy and now Japan.


SM-3 Block IIA Missile Defense test FTM-44 against an ICBM-class target imminent, 17-19 November 2020




This is a very significant development. It now opens up a possible third exoatmospheric shot/attempt at an incoming ICBM against CONUS (Hawaii and other near coast targets/metros) and also allows Japanese and USN ships-at sea to provide high IRBM and ICBM class protection -

US Navy destroyer shoots down an ICBM in milestone test


The U.S. Navy has shot down an intercontinental ballistic missile over the Pacific Ocean with an SM-3 Block IIA missile in a milestone test that demonstrated a potential scheme to defend Hawaii, the Missile Defense Agency announced Tuesday morning.

The test, which comes on the heels of the revealing of a larger North Korean ICBM in October that could potentially strike the U.S. East Coast, is the first time the United States has shot down an ICBM with anything other than a ground-based interceptor, an MDA official said.

Just before 1 a.m. Eastern Time, MDA oversaw a test where a missile was fired from Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll toward the open ocean northeast of Hawaii. The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer John Finn, equipped with Aegis Baseline 9, received a track from an external sensor through the Command and Control Battle Management Communications network.

The ship then fired on and destroyed the target with the SM-3IIA, the release said.

In a statement, the head of the MDA said it was a big accomplishment for the agency and showed how a potential defense of Hawaii scheme could work in conjunction with ground-based interceptors now based in Alaska.

“This was an incredible accomplishment and critical milestone for the Aegis BMD SM-3 Block IIA program,” said Vice Adm. Jon Hill. "The Department is investigating the possibility of augmenting the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system by fielding additional sensors and weapon systems to hedge against unexpected developments in the missile threat.

We have demonstrated that an Aegis BMD-equipped vessel equipped with the SM-3 Block IIA missile can defeat an ICBM-class target, which is a step in the process of determining its feasibility as part of an architecture for layered defense of the homeland.

This was the sixth test of the SM-3IIA from a Navy ballistic missile defense-capable ship, and the first time the Navy has shot down an ICBM. The test was to fulfill a congressional requirement to test the SM-3IIA against ICBMs before the end of the year. It was originally slated for May but was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The successful test marks another positive step for SM-3 after a run of bad luck in recent years, including an incident where a sailor inadvertently triggered a self-destruct of the missile in flight by misidentifying the incoming missile as a friendly target. A test in 2018 also failed.

Raytheon, which developed the SM-3IIA, was thrilled by the successful test.

“This first-of-its-kind test shows that our nation has a viable option for a new layer of defense against long-range threats,” said Bryan Rosselli, vice president of Strategic Missile Defense at Raytheon Missiles & Defense.

Tom Karako, an expert in missile defense policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said in an email that the test was a big deal for the Aegis system, and that while SM-3IIA won’t replace the much larger ground-based missiles, it is reason to celebrate.

“This milestone for homeland defense also represents the continuing success of evolving Aegis to today’s increasingly complex air and missile defense challenges,” Karako said. “Standard [Missiles] are not going to replace missiles of significantly larger diameters anytime soon. But by creating flexibility, this capability buys time and creates a bridge toward a future, next generation capability.”

It’s also a big accomplishment in the Navy’s venerable Aegis program, Karako said, the Navy’s system developed from the late 1960s in recognition that human reaction times would be insufficient in an era of mass missile fires at ships. Today, Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for Aegis today. It was originally developed under auspices of RCA, followed by General Electric.

The system combines highly sensitive radars with sophisticated missiles to combat air threats. It was primarily developed to defend aircraft carriers but as the U.S. has become more invested in ballistic missile defense, the service has expanded the capabilities to include protection from nuclear missile attacks from countries such as Iran or North Korea.

The Aegis project was for years led by Adm. Wayne E. Myer, who died in 2009.

“Admiral Wayne Meyer is looking down with pride on the men and women of the Aegis family, and what they accomplished today,” Karako said.

Last edited by brar_w on 17 Nov 2020 21:29, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 17 Nov 2020 21:16

First launch images from the ICBM intercept -

Image

Image

Image

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 17 Nov 2020 22:00

Posted: An hour ago :: US Air Force chief’s top modernization priorities aren’t what you think they are

1) Nuclear modernization
2) Advanced Battle Management System
3) Cutting-edge acquisition methods

The U.S. Air Force is spending tens of billions of dollars every year to buy new aircraft, including F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, KC-46 tankers, the T-9A trainer jet and more. But none of those platforms makes the list of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown’s top three modernization priorities.

“In some cases, I’m not so much enamored with airplanes, although, you know, I flew airplanes,” Brown said during a Nov. 12 interview where Defense News asked him to list his top three weapons priorities for the Air Force.

“It’s really the capability” that matters, he said. "And as we look at, you know, future conflicts, we may be fighting differently. I don’t know that for a fact. But when I came in, cyber wasn’t a thing. Now it is. Space was a benign environment. Now, not as much.

Here’s what Brown put on his list:

1. Nuclear modernization

Brown pointed to the recapitalization of the Air Force’s nuclear weapons and delivery systems as his No. 1 modernization priority.

“Nuclear modernization is there at the top,” Brown said. “That’s important.”

The Air Force plans to field new ICBMs and develop a new stealth bomber, almost concurrently, through the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent and B-21 Raider programs. During Brown’s four years as chief of staff, both efforts will hit critical milestones.

The B-21 program is further along, having completed a critical design review in 2018. The first B-21 bomber is currently under construction by Northrop Grumman at the company’s facilities in Palmdale, California. In August, Maj. Gen. Mark Weatherington, commander of Eighth Air Force, said the aircraft would fly in 2022.

The Air Force plans to buy at least 100 B-21s, though it is considering a larger program of record.

Meanwhile, the Air Force awarded Northrop a $13 billion contract for the GBSD program in September. Although the legacy Minuteman III ICBMs won’t begin to be retired and replaced until 2029, it will be Brown’s job to ensure the program stays on track and gets the funding it needs during the pivotal early days of its engineering and manufacturing development stage.

Aside from major delivery systems, the Air Force is also pursuing a dual-capable air-launched cruise missile: the Long Range Standoff Missile.

The Air Force is responsible for two legs of the nuclear triad — intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombers — with the Navy responsible for ballistic missile submarines. With the Navy currently replacing its current Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines with the Columbia class, all of the nation’s major nuclear modernization bills will be coming to a head around the same time.

That may create pressure on the Air Force’s and the Navy’s budgets in the coming years, especially as spending is projected to flatten. But the services have contended there is no time to waste when it comes to nuclear modernization — all programs must stay on schedule.

2. Advanced Battle Management System

Like his predecessor, now-retired Gen. Dave Goldfein, Brown wants the Air Force’s shooters and sensors to be able to instantaneously share data with the joint force — a concept the military has termed Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control.

Brown’s second priority, the Advanced Battle Management System, is the Air Force’s effort to field a series of technologies that will make CJADC2 a reality.

“I look at ABMS [as critical] because that’s going to help us enable our decision-making and how we contribute to Joint All-Domain Command and Control,” Brown said. (The “C” in the concept’s name was recently added.)

However, Brown acknowledged the service has more work to do to convince lawmakers of the viability of the ABMS program. The Air Force envisions ABMS as a family of systems — think everything from cloud computing technologies, artificial intelligence algorithms and smart devices alongside traditional communications gear like radios.

Image
Jiren Parikh, Ghost Robotics CEO, briefs service members on the capabilities of the Robodogs during the Advanced Battle Management System demonstration at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., on Dec. 18, 2019. (Tech. Sgt. Joshua J. Garcia/U.S. Air Force)


Instead of issuing exact requirements, the service wants to test what industry has available in a series of “on ramp” exercises, eventually buying what works after technologies are customized to meet user needs.

Congress, however, has been skeptical. While the Air Force requested $302 million for the program in fiscal 2021, the House and Senate Appropriations committees would subtract anywhere from $50 million to almost $100 million from that sum, citing concerns about the service’s acquisition strategy and lack of detailed requirements.

“That’s feedback to me, feedback to the Air Force that something is maybe being lost in the translation,” Brown said. “We’re doing this a bit different than we have done a traditional acquisition program. ... And for us, for the Hill, it is a bit different. I think it’s an area that we, as an Air Force, do need to do a little bit better job of how we talk it up.”

3. Cutting-edge acquisition methods

Brown’s third modernization priority isn’t a program at all: He wants to see continued advancements in new acquisition methods that allow the Air Force to more quickly buy new equipment at lower prices.

Currently, “by the time [new technology] gets to the hands of the war fighter, the software that’s in it is a decade or two decades or 15 years old. How are we able to do things a bit faster in that regard?” Brown said.

He pointed to advanced manufacturing processes like digital engineering, which employs detailed data and models during the design of a product, and simulates how it will be manufactured, tested, operated and sustained throughout its life cycle.

Air Force acquisition executive Will Roper has heralded techniques like digital engineering for enabling the rapid development and recent first flight of a full-scale demonstrator aircraft, which was tested as part of the service’s Next Generation Air Dominance program. Roper told Defense News in September that it will be up to Brown and other Air Force leaders to decide whether it’s worth buying into the Digital Century Series plan for NGAD, which would involve the service more rapidly purchasing small batches of aircraft from various manufacturers.

While Brown didn’t comment on whether the Air Force has committed to the Digital Century Series model for purchasing future combat jets, he cited the approach as one that could potentially speed up the fielding of new technologies.

“If we keep doing the same approach we have since I’ve been in the Air Force and expect a different result, then we’re not going to do very well,” Brown said.

“We have to change our approach. And this drives change in our thinking, change about how we think about acquisition, it changes how we as an Air Force engage with and collaborate with [the Office of the Secretary of Defense], with [the Pentagon’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office], with the Hill, with industry. And, you know, I think we’ve gotten some traction in certain areas, but it’s going to require constant dialogue and collaboration and transparency.”

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 18 Nov 2020 07:12

SECNAV Braithwaite Calls for New U.S. 1st Fleet Near Indian, Pacific Oceans

Just a proposal so far, nonetheless .................

Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite called for the Navy to establish a new numbered fleet closer to the border of the Indian and Pacific Oceans – perhaps out of Singapore – to more fully address the naval challenges in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command area of the world.

The SECNAV said he hadn’t had a chance to talk to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller about the plan but had otherwise “crossed all the other T’s and dotted all the other I’s.”

“We want to stand up a new numbered fleet. And we want to put that numbered fleet in the crossroads between the Indian and the Pacific oceans, and we’re really going to have an Indo-PACOM footprint,” he said.

“We can’t just rely on the 7th Fleet in Japan. We have to look to our other allies and partners like Singapore, like India, and actually put a numbered fleet where it would be extremely relevant if, god forbid, we were to ever to get in any kind of a dust-up,” Braithwaite continued.
“More importantly, it can provide a much more formidable deterrence. So we’re going to create the First Fleet, and we’re going to put it, if not Singapore right out of the chocks, we’re going to look to make it more expeditionary-oriented and move it across the Pacific until it is where our allies and partners see that it could best assist them as well as to assist us.”

A defense official told USNI News that Braithwaite had come up with the idea to stand up 1st Fleet several months ago and had been in talks with former SECDEF Mark Esper, who was onboard with the proposal.

Image
1970s era US 1st Fleet logo

Braithwaite announced his intentions today while speaking at the Naval Submarine League’s annual symposium.

He said at the beginning of his speech that “the Chinese have shown their aggressiveness around the globe. Having just come from the High North (where he previously served as U.S. Ambassador to Norway), Chinese presence in the Arctic is unprecedented. Most recently I was in a trip to the Far East: every single one of our allies and partners are concerned about how aggressive the Chinese have been. I would argue with anybody that not since the War of 1812 has the United States and our sovereignty been under the kind of pressures that we see today.”

Braithwaite said he would in the coming weeks be traveling to India to discuss both their security challenges and how the U.S. Navy can uniquely help them, but also how India can help the U.S. Braithwaite made clear that the U.S. alone cannot stand up to China and that nations around the Pacific and around the globe needed to assist in pushing back militarily and economically if there was a chance for deterrence to work.

Today, 7th Fleet operates out of Japan and covers a massive amount of space from the International Dateline to about the India-Pakistan border. U.S. 3rd Fleet operates out of San Diego and covers from the International Dateline to the U.S. West Coast. Over the years, though, there has been waxing and waning support for allowing 3rd Fleet to help with some of the burden on 7th Fleet, including a Third Fleet Forward concept under former U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Scott Swift.

Adding a 1st Fleet would alleviate some of the strain on 7th Fleet and allow two fleet commanders to give more attention to a smaller number of allies and partners and a smaller amount of geographical space.

Braithwaite provided no details as to how large a staff the fleet would have, if ships would be forward-deployed to 1st Fleet, how exactly the area of operations would be split between 1st and 7th Fleets, or how fluid or rigid a boundary there might be between the two INDO-PACOM fleets.

The U.S. Navy’s previous 1st Fleet existed from just after World War II to the early 1970s

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 18 Nov 2020 07:17

NRao wrote:SECNAV Braithwaite Calls for New U.S. 1st Fleet Near Indian, Pacific Oceans

Just a proposal so far, nonetheless .................



Likely a stunt with the intention to beef up his resume for the next gig given his lame duck status. Had he been serious he would have floated this as a priority back in June when he started and then invested his time and efforts to sell the idea in Congress. It is not a bad idea but someone has to build out the concept, commit ships and talk to various partners in the regions and muster support. It is a major lift that will likely chew up a ton of political capital to get through Congress.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 18 Nov 2020 07:25

brar_w wrote:First launch images from the ICBM intercept -



And now a video -


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 18 Nov 2020 20:21

brar_w wrote:If the above graphic is representative (and not just a poorly made slide) then it is quite remarkable given the fact that they will atttempt an ICBM intercept without the SB-X being utilized for discrimination. This would leave just one TPY-2 radar for advanced extended range discrimination since the LRDR is not yet operational. So not only will it stress the missile, kinematically, the seeker and the SPY-1 will itself will be stressed so they are probably also testing some of the recent AEGIS upgrades that improve the legacy radars ability to discriminate. However, it is quite likely that the grpahic is just a placeholder and the SB-X is in fact used. Tough to imagine no SBX in an ICBM intercept test until the LRDR isn't fully up and ready (and even beyond that since the S-band LRDR doesn't lend itself to the same level of discrimination capability the X-band SBX affords).


Based on the official post test material released it appears that the SBX was not used and that the standard TPY-2 and space based assets were used to track and launch the SM-3 IIA prior to the target entering the SPY-1's horizon. Pretty safe to assume that unlike the last GBI ICBM test (success) this particular ICBM target (built by Northrop) did not employ decoys. This would also be logical since they were really validating the ability of the SM-3 IIA to intercept an ICBM and provide the third layer of protection in certain mission scenarios. If this capability is to be fully developed and fielded then they would expand testing and fire off a few more testing the various other scenarios (also the decoy performance would have been validated during the IRBM testing of the SM-3IIA).

Here's the official animation of the test set up -

https://twitter.com/tinfoil_globe/statu ... 4075919360
Last edited by brar_w on 18 Nov 2020 21:30, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Rakesh » 18 Nov 2020 20:59

https://twitter.com/F22DemoTeam/status/ ... 88225?s=20 ---> Who knew the F-22 could make a rainbow.

Image

Image

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 19 Nov 2020 19:43

Interestingly, a MAD sensor was not part of the IN MH-60R FMS request so there's a possibility that once the USN has fully developed this capability, the IN can upgrade its MH-60's as well.

CAE to provide MAD-XR for US Navy MH-60R


CAE announced it has been awarded a subcontract by Lockheed Martin to supply the CAE Magnetic Anomaly Detection-Extended Role (MAD-XR) system for United States Navy MH-60R Seahawk helicopters.

CAE MAD-XR is a highly sensitive magnetometer designed to sense changes in the earth’s magnetic field and is used as a sensor to detect submarines. Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems is the lead systems integrator for the U.S. Navy’s MH-60R “Romeo” helicopter, which is the Navy’s primary anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare helicopter.

Under terms of a Phase 1 contract from the U.S. Navy, Lockheed Martin has responsibility to integrate the CAE MAD-XR into the MH-60R helicopter. CAE will provide the MAD-XR system and support Lockheed Martin with non-recurring engineering and integration services. Initially, a total of six MH-60R helicopters will be integrated with the CAE MAD-XR during Phase 1.

Over the past several years we have conducted several trials with the U.S. Navy to confirm the capabilities of the MAD-XR system on the MH-60R helicopter,” said Thomas M. Kane, Director, Naval Helicopter Programs, Lockheed Martin. “Adding this to the MH-60R’s sensor suite will further advance the capabilities of the world’s most advanced anti-submarine warfare helicopter.”

The CAE MAD-XR is significantly more compact than previous MAD systems with reduced size, weight, and power requirements. This allows the CAE MAD-XR to be extended to smaller platforms such as unmanned aerial systems (UASs), helicopters and small fixed-wing aircraft.

“The integration of our MAD-XR system on the U.S. Navy’s MH-60R helicopter is testament to its powerful magnetic detection abilities,” said Daniel Gelston, Group President, Defence & Security, CAE. “The MAD-XR system can provide defence forces with enhanced capabilities for operational missions such as submarine detection and search and rescue.”


Product comparison to the AN/ASQ 508A on the P-8I (Also supported by CAI) -

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 20 Nov 2020 20:05

Not a recent article but the facts cited are still true (post FY21 budget release). While a lot gets written about the potential capability that the classified AIM-260 may have, folks in the media often forget that the latest upgraded iteration of the AIM-120 is yet to be fielded (AIM-120D+ with the new signal processor) and the D variant is just getting start as far as FM sales are concerned. Also the Fiscal year 2026 full transition to AIM-260 also hints (though they could purposefully have kept it vague) towards the AIM-260 Milestone-C decision happening sometime in 2025. Milestone C is the last green light before a system is allowed to move to full-rate production. If true, this would mean 3-5 LRIP lots (that also include test components and AURs) followed by FRP. Assuming they stay on schedule.

Raytheon confident about AMRAAM production despite Air Force's JATM plans


The supplier of one of the world's most frequently bought air-to-air missiles is not altering its production strategy in response to the Air Force's stated plan to cut procurement in favor of a longer-range weapon that's under development with another company.

Brig. Gen. Anthony Genatempo, the Air Force's program executive officer for weapons, announced in June that the service will taper off production of Raytheon's AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-To-Air Missile while having Lockheed Martin build more of the emerging AIM-260 Joint Advanced Tactical Missile. The Air Force will purchase its last AMRAAMs in fiscal year 2026, he said.

But according to Raytheon's Jim Long, "Rumors of AMRAAM's demise are exaggerated and premature."

Long, senior manager of the weapon's business development, foresees the company building AMRAAMs at an even higher annual rate over the next decade than the current average of about 700 missiles per year, he told Inside Defense Tuesday.

"Historically we've produced over 21,000 AMRAAM in our 30 lots," he said, adding: "I think we're going to get to 30,000 by 2030, so we are not ramping down or slowing production at all."

He added the Air Force has not advised Raytheon to modify its approach to production and, as such, the company has not made internal changes, saying, "We feel confident from talking to the customers, the warfighter and of course our AMRAAM systems program office that works directly for General Genatempo, to continue this plan."

The most recent budget documents show the Air Force intends to purchase 220, 388, 391, 425 and 425 AMRAAMs each year between FY-20 and FY-24. Long said Raytheon has not received any indication that the Air Force is altering its procurement quantities and has been told to follow the current strategy.

"Now of course, when [the FY-21 proposed budget] comes out next February, that will be very interesting. That would be a good time to see if anything's adjusted," he added.

He did acknowledge that the Pentagon may want to cut off AMRAAM production in the future, at which time Raytheon will nevertheless continue supplying the missile for international customers.

"I think the U.S. government at some point would like to be producing more AIM-260s than AIM-120s every year, but that's going to take a while," he said. "Until that time, we plan to keep producing AMRAAMs for the U.S. government . . . until they decide 'OK, maybe we only want JATM from now on,' and then after that, we plan on producing for the international customers for as long as they want to keep buying AMRAAM."

The Air Force's armament directorate anticipates that Raytheon will maintain stable AMRAAM production as a result of its foreign military sales, telling Inside Defense in an Oct. 3 email, "Projected FMS demand supports a steady production line."

But the Air Force's purchases make up a large chunk of the AMRAAM business. In FY-20, when the Air Force intends to buy 220 missiles, Raytheon's other government customer, the Navy, intends to buy 169. The Navy is a partner on the JATM program and has not stated whether it intends to lower production and eventually cease purchasing AMRAAMs as well.

Meanwhile, the budget documents are unclear about the projected FMS procurement quantity in FY-20, with the Air Force listing 252 and the Navy listing 220. Raytheon currently has 39 foreign AMRAAM customers, and Long expects to reach 40 in 2020, though he would not identify the prospective new customer.

Despite lowered production, the Air Force's armament directorate said foreign customers should receive AMRAAMs on time, explaining, "Projected FMS production rates are high enough to maintain minimum production rate and not impact delivery timing."

The minimum sustaining rate for production in FY-20 is 400 missiles, which has been consistent over the past five years, per the budget documents. Annual FMS production quantities did not meet that number during the same period.

"The Air Force remains committed to continued deliveries of AMRAAM," Maj. Will Russell, a service spokesman, told Inside Defense in a Sept. 16 email.

"The AMRAAM has decades of relevancy left for the U.S. warfighter and international partners. In the event we determine that lowered production rates will result in delayed deliveries to our partners, we'll communicate early with our partners so that they may plan accordingly," he said.

The armament directorate also confirmed that it will continue to maintain oversight of AMRAAM FMS as the Air Force lowers production and ceases procurement.

Meanwhile, Long acknowledged AMRAAM may eventually have to compete with JATM in the international market.

"It could potentially, but right now we don't see it as competition," he said. "We did not export AMRAAM for the first six years it was produced . . . It has to go through U.S. government policy . . . so I think by the time they ever get to that, we will have produced thousands more AMRAAM for our international customer and we still have a very high demand signal from all our customers."

JATM is currently in the engineering and manufacturing development phase, according to the Air Force's armament directorate. While the detailed program schedule is classified, Gen. Genatempo said in June the effort is "proceeding extremely fast" and is looking at flight tests in 2021 and initial operational capability in 2022.

The armament directorate confirmed JATM has not been approved for FMS, and Russell said it is premature to say whether it will be sold to other countries.

"At the moment, it is too early for the emerging AIM-260 Joint Air Tactical Missile program to make any level of export determination. Any decisions regarding export will be properly vetted through the proper U.S. government legal and technical policy forums," he said.


Also note the production quantities. It is still relatively small for the US so just replacing older missiles with the D and not expanding the inventory. Combat Archer uses up around 200 AIM-120's a year in training launches so the net inventory isn't really growing that dramatically but they are modernizing from the C5's to the D.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 21 Nov 2020 03:19

mmasand wrote:
brar_w wrote:The F-35 deal is hardly guaranteed. And even if it happens, the UAE is more likely to begin offloading its F-16 E/F in case it needs to shed capacity for whatever reasons though it is more likely that they'll retain all three types.


DCSA/State Dept have notified Congress on Nov 10th of the intended sale. Unless both houses reject the proposal within 30 days, the sale will go ahead. Ilhar Oman (surprise surprise), and another senator (D) have prepared a resolution to block the sale. Unless Netanyahu now changes his stand on greenlighting the deal, Biden's admin is in a fix, and will have to use a myriad of reasons to block the sale.


Discussing it here since it is OT to the IAF thread:

Congress does not approve or reject the proposal. The DSCA notification informs them that the Executive branch intends to sell the said hardware and to see if they have any objections. Formal objections need to be rolled into enacted legislation that bars the government from executing on its intentions. In fact if the executive is fully committed then this objection needs to be veto proof.

The DSCA notification gives the Congress 30 days to formally cobble up an objection and pass appropriate legislation to modify or block the deal, as it is requested/proposed/approved. Will Congress do this? And if they do, will POTUS be able to / willing to veto such an action? We don't know that yet but those who are against this deal (as it stands) are already getting together and thinking about this.

There are right now multiple legislations in both the Senate and the House trying to block and/or modify what was approved. Do they flow into a more comprehensive legislation that can pass both the chambers remains to be seen. But as far as FMS notifications go, this is one of the most riskiest ones in years IMHO.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced new legislation Wednesday that would halt the Trump administration’s push to circumvent Congress and expedite a $23 billion sale of F-35 fighter jets, Reaper drones and munitions to the United Arab Emirates.

A series of resolutions were announced after lawmakers said they failed to get satisfactory answers from State Department officials over plans to sell the sophisticated weapons. Lawmakers say the administration’s rush to complete the sale is ignoring risks to sensitive military technology posed by UAE’s ties to Russia and China ― and to Israel’s qualitative military edge, or QME, in the Middle East.

Proposed by Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.; Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., the four joint resolutions would reject the sale of 50 F-35s, 18 MQ–9B Reapers, as well as thousands of munitions and hundreds of missiles. Altogether the sale, cleared by the State Department just over a week ago, would constitute the second-largest ever sale of U.S. drones to a single country.....LINK


Having said that, the 30-day rule only applies to a formal, laid-out process to modify or stop a deal. If either the executive or legislature was hell bent on blocking or delaying the deal then they need not be bound by this 30-day formal process. At any stage of the post FMS notification, the Congress or the executive are free to step in and modify, slow-down or completely cancel any defense deal deal, even one that may have gone through the process of FMS approval. The Congress has the power to make laws. The executive has the power to stop agencies under its control to stop any work towards implementing an FMS deal.

This is why I said that until these notifications begin to get codified in formal vendor contracts, this deal is hardly guaranteed since it relies very heavily on the current POTUS instead of broad Congressional support.

The deal probably required a careful balancing of UAE and Israel concerns and wishes. I wouldn't be surprised of Trump administration made some guarantees to Israel as part of the defense aid that it will be receiving in the coming years. If the incoming administration thinks that deal isn't worth it for it then they may well get Israel to backtrack and this may bring into question this deal once again.

Usually FMS deals keep to the process but this wasn't a typical FMS deal. This was something that appears to have been rushed through by the WH and then pushed through during the lame duck period. So until we see production contracts being awarded and the POR adjusted to reflect these additions, there will remain some doubt even if it is minute.

But my broader point was that even IF this deal goes through, why would the UAE, that has maintained 2 strategic supplier base for its combat aircraft, all of a sudden decide that it no longer needs this flexibility especially at a time it is actually using its kit more than perhaps any time since it acquired it? They, IMO, are more likely to sell off a portion of their F-16 E/F fleet if they determine they don't need the additional force structure. The M2K's will most likely be replaced with the Rafale. It is just a matter of When and not IF (IMO).

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 21 Nov 2020 18:10

brar_w wrote:
NRao wrote:SECNAV Braithwaite Calls for New U.S. 1st Fleet Near Indian, Pacific Oceans

Just a proposal so far, nonetheless .................



Likely a stunt with the intention to beef up his resume for the next gig given his lame duck status. Had he been serious he would have floated this as a priority back in June when he started and then invested his time and efforts to sell the idea in Congress. It is not a bad idea but someone has to build out the concept, commit ships and talk to various partners in the regions and muster support. It is a major lift that will likely chew up a ton of political capital to get through Congress.


As a FYI only:

SECNAV Braithwaite Calls for New U.S. 1st Fleet Near Indian, Pacific Oceans

A defense official told USNI News that Braithwaite had come up with the idea to stand up 1st Fleet several months ago and had been in talks with former SECDEF Mark Esper, who was onboard with the proposal


The SECNAV said he hadn’t had a chance to talk to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller about the plan but had otherwise “crossed all the other T’s and dotted all the other I’s.”


Do not think Miller would be even remotely interested in giving Braithwaite an audience.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 21 Nov 2020 19:19

NRao wrote: Braithwaite had come up with the idea to stand up 1st Fleet several months ago


Great. Then clearly they would have left a paper trail of policy discussions, and would have garnered Congressional support, allowing for this to be picked up by the next administration or kept afloat/warm by the relevant sea power congressional committees supporting Naval policy and discussion. Somehow, I doubt this is anything more than a "here's a great idea I had...what do you think about it" (given how it came up) and nothing else. This needs Congressional discussion and support so if were serious he'd lobby Congress and find someone to champion the cause in the next 8 or so weeks he's there (not to mention find allies in the region and see if they support such a move) so that someone can develop the idea (and where to get the ships) further.

NRao wrote:Do not think Miller would be even remotely interested in giving Braithwaite an audience.


Miller doesn't matter. There is not an iota of serious discussion a SecNav can have with Congress, at the moment, until a formal FY21 30-year ship building plan is presented. The same plan that was to be submitted along with the FY21 budget (or soon thereafter) request back in February/March but still hasn't shown up. In fact this will be the case for the incoming administration as well. If they deviate from the traditional standard of informing and discussing with Congress then the Congress will continue to throw landmines their way and may even start shutting off the tap in favor of other services. Congress is basically saying - " treat us like a baby then be prepared for a tantrum". The problem is that the US Navy hasn't had a stable SecNav through the Trump administration. And neither a stable SecDef. So I seriously doubt there is any great new idea that had been developed and carefully nurtured along with Congressional support and input. There are rumors that Biden will put Stackley into the SecNav role. Given his SASC background, perhaps he can work with Congress to develop something. But the relationship between the navy and congress is at an all time low right now and requires a lot of repair. So I somehow doubt that any current civilian leader (like Braithwaite) can really push through a major muscle movement like this. It will end up consuming so much of a SecNav's bandwidth that he/she wouldn't be able to get anyhting else done.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 21 Nov 2020 20:09

With the first 3 Block V Virginia Class SSN's currently under construction, the US Navy is now beginning to discuss what a Block VI Virginia will look like and how it plans to transition from Block VI to SSN(X) sometime in the 2030's.

Navy New Virginia Block VI Virginia Attack Boat Will Inform SSN(X)


The submarine community is nearing a plan for its Block VI Virginia-class submarine, which will be an improvement in stealth and capability compared to the boats under construction today and will be a bridge to the upcoming SSN(X) program.

The Block V Virginia submarines – the first three of which have already begun construction – represent the first time the Navy has made a major investment in increasing the capability of this class of ship. Whereas past blocks have focused on construction and maintenance efficiencies, and incremental capabilities are added through software updates regularly, the Block V design adds 28 more missile tubes to greatly enhance the strike capability of these SSNs, Program Executive Officer for Submarines Rear Adm. David Goggins said this week at the Naval Submarine League annual symposium.

Block VI will continue that trend of adding new capability and lethality to the boats, which will be procured in a multiyear contract from Fiscal Years 2024 through 2028.

“Block VI will focus on building upon the acoustic superiority” technology that’s being built into and tested on the future South Dakota (SSN-790), as well as “really enable that organic subsea, seabed warfare kit release for the first time.”

Specifically, he said the Navy and industry are working on improved stealth to operate in a contested environment; enhanced sonar performance through a new bow conformal array; and the ability to sense and interact with more of the water column, including the sea bed.

Goggins said those ideas have been chosen as priorities for Block VI for two reasons: first, they’ll improve the capability of the Virginia class in the near term, and second, they’ll help prove out technologies that could influence the next-generation SSN(X) design.

“We’ll spend the next year evaluating the maturity and feasibility of these capabilities [on the slide he presented], followed by a downselect next year. And that will really allow us to mature the technology,” Goggins said.

Goggins’ slide also highlighted propulsors, improved payload and vehicle hosting, improved situational awareness and additional payloads as features of the Block VI design.

Elsewhere during the Sub League event, it was clear that the rest of the submarine force is eagerly eyeing the SSN(X) program and what kinds of improvements are within the realm of the possible for that program.

Vice Adm. Daryl Caudle, commander of Naval Submarine Forces and Submarine Force Atlantic, said during his presentation that SSN(X) could be based on the Virginia design, could be based on the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine (SSBN-826) design, or could be a clean-sheet design.

“We’re going to get alternatives and make decisions on how to make this new SSN match what we need to stay ahead of our peers. This is definitely going to be increased speed: there’s no question that speed is basically important to improve every single joint warfare function. Speed is just so important – it plays out so well in all our wargaming, so it helps compensate for bad decisions, it also helps us get to the fight faster and helps us in all-domain maneuver warfare,” he said.

We can never get enough payload capacity, so we do want submarines with large payload capacity. And what’s that going to look like in the future and how’s it going to be modular and customizable is going to be important. Of course, stealth is important, but not just acoustic stealth. It’s stealth across all spectrums. When this new SSN rolls out, we are going to have peer competitors that are going to be able to detect us not just acoustically but through algorithms that are going to break the water interface. And so those capabilities, we think, are coming, and we have to build and basically remain clandestine with those types of capabilities in play.”

Adm. Frank Caldwell, the director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program and a senior submarine officer in the Navy, echoed in his remarks the three design options and said that “key in all of this will be our focus on speed, warfighting capability, greater energy, lethality and sensors, and, yes, the next level of stealth. I want you to know that we are working on this very actively as an enterprise.”

USNI News previously reported that the Navy may be leaning towards a Columbia-like hull for its next attack submarine. With the much wider diameter comes the ability to achieve greater speed and stealth. An SSN(X) design like this would be reminiscent of the Seawolf design – which was used for just three submarines as the Cold War was winding down but is considered the Navy’s most capable attack sub.

In a separate presentation during the event, Congressional Research Service naval affairs specialist Ron O’Rourke said, “I remember one person in public describing the Seawolf class as a boat that was designed to go up into the Soviets’ backyard and do a lot of damage before it had to come home to be rearmed – and so it was designed to be a fairly fast submarine and heavily armed, especially compared to the Los Angeles-class design of the day. So in light of the Navy now talking about this next-generation attack boat being fast and heavily armed, it would not be surprising, as some people have speculated, if that submarine were to have a diameter similar to that of the Seawolf or the Columbia-class design, something in the range of 40 to 43 feet.”

If that were to be the case, he said, SSN(X) might have a similar diameter to Seawolf but a greater displacement, due to modernization in engineering such as the SSN(X) likely having a larger electric drive system instead of a mechanical one.


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby kit » 21 Nov 2020 20:11

brar_w wrote:
NRao wrote: Braithwaite had come up with the idea to stand up 1st Fleet several months ago


NRao wrote:Do not think Miller would be even remotely interested in giving Braithwaite an audience.


Miller doesn't matter. There is not an iota of serious discussion a SecNav can have with Congress, at the moment, until a formal FY21 30-year ship building plan is presented. The same plan that was to be submitted along with the FY21 budget (or soon thereafter) request back in February/March but still hasn't shown up. In fact this will be the case for the incoming administration as well. If they deviate from the traditional standard of informing and discussing with Congress then the Congress will continue to throw landmines their way and may even start shutting off the tap in favor of other services. Congress is basically saying - " treat us like a baby then be prepared for a tantrum". The problem is that the US Navy hasn't had a stable SecNav through the Trump administration. And neither a stable SecDef. So I seriously doubt there is any great new idea that had been developed and carefully nurtured along with Congressional support and input. There are rumors that Biden will put Stackley into the SecNav role. Given his SASC background, perhaps he can work with Congress to develop something. But the relationship between the navy and congress is at an all time low right now and requires a lot of repair. So I somehow doubt that any current civilian leader (like Braithwaite) can really push through a major muscle movement like this. It will end up consuming so much of a SecNav's bandwidth that he/she wouldn't be able to get anyhting else done.


A top-down political decision for a more robust posturing in the Indo pacific region might be possible, and could very well one of the new mandates for a new SecDef. And i don't think the long range fire proposals would find favour with US allies in the region as well. All pointing to the requirement of new deployments., and its now or never ., looking at the exponential growth of the chinese navy.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 21 Nov 2020 20:15

kit wrote:
A top-down political decision for a more robust posturing in the Indo pacific region might be possible, and could very well one of the new mandates for a new SecDef. And i don't think the long range fire proposals would find favour with US allies in the region as well. All pointing to the requirement of new deployments., and its now or never ., looking at the exponential growth of the chinese navy.


Yes, I agree. Though a top down political decision CANNOT create this. The Congress provides for and maintains the Navy. It is right there in the US constitution. The SecDef can announce a fleet but Congress could zero out the funding and it will all become a big joke pretty fast. Hence these decisions are made together with all the forces in alignment (including regional partners). But they've already done that in both posturing and how they've distributed their equipment and modernization with a huge priority through the Pacific deploying vessels. Both the second Obama term and the Trump term basically codified that into practice. Just look at the DDG and CVN deployments that happened, even during COVID, through the Pacific and the total number of FON ops that have taken place in the region over the last 4 years. I think the point was whether a new Fleet, with its own bureaucracy (and no one does "bureaucracy" quite like the US Navy) is warranted here and if so, how does one sell this to the allies and answer some very basic logistical questions (like where to source the ships from and where to base them). At the very least you need Congressional support to have those policy discussions. And then you need to develop it further to see how the rest of your O plans get impacted. If you strip away ships from other fleets then how are their missions, in support of the COCOM's they are supporting, impacted? If you earmark future ships then how does this impact the rest of your modernization? This is why you shouldn't casually drop major policy shifts in conversation with reporters.

The current SecNav is a lame duck put in place in a hurry because the previous one had to be fired. Even if he is well intentioned in all this, he doesn't have the bandwidth to get a major policy shift like this enacted. The pacific - pivot could begin happening (as in get reflected in force structure repositioning and be reflected in budgets) in part because Ray Mabus was a SecNav who had years of on the job expereince and had built up political capital with Congress (not to mention the fact that he himself was an accomplished politician). If you come in the summer of an election year after the budget has already been presented (with the next budget being developed by a lame duck administration) then you can't enact something like this, no matter how many times you've dotted the I's and crossed the T's. Especially not if you are inheriting a relationship that is damanged.

But it goes beyond this. Even if a more competent SecNav comes in, who has the ear of the SecDef, and the time to get major policy decisions implemented, they still need to steer the Navy-Congress relationship back on track first before they begin to address some of these things. Esper and the SecNav's (the last two) have basically been dreaming up some big fleet growth plans (in an election year) without even supplying the basic 30-year ship building plan to Congress. So congress is likely to first demand stability before it takes up any major muscle movement or reconfiguration of the US Navy. And then there is an operational component to this.

The PACOM commander is probably the single most influential uniformed officer with th Congress at the moment (and has been for at least half a decade starting with Harry Harris) given the commitment to pivot at least 60% of defense resources into the region and its COCOM's support. Has he had a say in all this? Keep in mind that in the US system (which is quite unique in that sense) the services directly, and even uniformed service leaders (like the CNO of the Navy or the Chief of staff of the Air Force) don't fight wars - their job being to equip and train a force. The COCOM commanders are responsible for executing and commanding ships and troops in battle. The service chiefs have basically no role in this. So despite of what the Pentagon navy (SecNav and CNO) say, the Congress is likely to balance that with what feedback they get from the COCOM bosses and as far as the pacific is concerned, the PACOM boss is likely to have a greater say in all this than the SecNav or even the CNO.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 22 Nov 2020 03:51

Via Stephen Trimble of Aviation Week (Twitter).

Not sure whether these RQ-4's will work alongside the NP-3D or replace them altogether.

@TheDEWLine
The USAF has started converting an RQ-4 to serve as a telemetry relay for the upcoming series of hypersonic flight tests. The new approach is called Sky Range, and replaces a long picket of telemetry ships stretched out into the Pacific. LINK


Image

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 22 Nov 2020 05:11

The GaN AESA based Electronic warfare / Attack suite (E-PAWSS) for the Strike Eagle upgrade and the F-15 EX being put through its paces -

F-15E Strike Eagle’s New Electronic Warfare Suite Put To The Test In Major Exercise

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 22 Nov 2020 19:25

Rakesh wrote:New, deadly Pinaka rocket gives army cross-border options: (Part 1 of series on Enhancing Indian Firepower)
https://ajaishukla.blogspot.com/2020/11 ... -army.html
12 Nov 2020


The article is confusing with the M270 (MLR) comparisons. There are 4 GMLRS variants with their separate test campaigns that validate (ed) range and accuracy over the years or efforts currently underway. GMLRS-AW for example has demonstrated sub 3 meter median miss distance and the increased accuracy of the GMLRS-Unitary (90kg/200lb HE warhead) has allowed the US Army to successfully test it out to 84 km range though generally it is referred to as a 75 km class weapon. The fourth variant of GMLRS called the Extended Range GMLRS is preparing to kick start its test campaign and will have a range between 150-200 km (with no launcher magazine size impact). It will hit full-rate production in 2023. A yet another variant will add a seeker (to ER-GMLRS) so should be capable of sub 2 meter accuracy and enable moving target attack capability. There was an INS only variant of MLRS produced for a very small batch back many years ago. I believe it was just produced for 2 or 3 lots. For years the production standard has been the IMU+GPS weapon. And in late 2019, the NAVSTRIKE GPS receiver was enhanced with an M-Code upgrade (NAVSTRIKE-M) for higher survivability and accuracy amidst jamming. That has now been cut into production (2020 production lot).

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby ramana » 23 Nov 2020 05:19

Dont worry that article has many other confusions. Not just on US army products.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 23 Nov 2020 19:15

Yesterday's launch was scrubbed but, if successful, this mission would be the 7th mission for the same first stage rocket and a new reusability record for Space X and the fourth 2020 launch for it. I believe the plan is to recover it and continue to use it for future missions so it could be the first rocket to get to 10.

SpaceX going for new rocket reuse record on 100th Falcon 9 launch


SpaceX’s launch from Florida Sunday night will use a booster that’s flown six times before. The seventh flight of the rocket will set a new record
for SpaceX’s rocket reuse program, breaking a mark set by the same booster on its sixth mission in August..

The rocket set for launch Sunday — known as B1049 — debuted in September 2018 with the launch of the Telstar 18 VANTAGE geostationary communications satellite from Cape Canaveral. It launched again from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in January 2019 with 10 Iridium voice and data relay satellites.

The booster flew again in May 2019 with SpaceX’s first set of 60 Starlink internet satellites, followed by three more Starlink missions on Jan. 6, June 3, and Aug. 18.

“This launch will make it the fleet leader,” SpaceX tweeted of the booster Saturday.

Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder and CEO, has said the newest version of the Falcon 9 booster could fly 10 times without any major refurbishment, and perhaps 100 times with periodic overhauls.


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 23 Nov 2020 20:05

Eielson AFB in Alaska now has a dozen F-35A. It appears they're getting them at roughly 2 a month even during COVID. This will need to pick up pace with 42 aircraft required to be delivered over the next 11 months to complete the stand up of the unit in Alaska. Between the F-22A, F-35A, and the upcoming F-15EX, Alaska will have some of the highest concentration of modern fighters anywhere in the world. This will be a great place to visit if one were to coordinate a vacation to say a Northern Edge or Red Flag exercise.. :mrgreen:

Eielson rapidly launches 12 F-35As


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby darshhan » 23 Nov 2020 21:10

brar_w wrote:Eielson AFB in Alaska now has a dozen F-35A. It appears they're getting them at roughly 2 a month even during COVID. This will need to pick up pace with 42 aircraft required to be delivered over the next 11 months to complete the stand up of the unit in Alaska. Between the F-22A, F-35A, and the upcoming F-15EX, Alaska will have some of the highest concentration of modern fighters anywhere in the world. This will be a great place to visit if one were to coordinate a vacation to say a Northern Edge or Red Flag exercise.. :mrgreen:

Eielson rapidly launches 12 F-35As




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Moose and Grizzly for company. What more could one ask for?

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 24 Nov 2020 01:02

Interesting since not much supersonic IWB release video footage is openly available on either the F-35 or F-22.

A mock [nuclear] B61-12’s strike in the dusty Nevada desert successfully completed the first in a series of flight tests with the U.S. Air Force’s newest fighter jet, demonstrating the bomb’s first release from an internal bomb bay at greater than the speed of sound...

During the Aug. 25 flight test, an F-35A flying faster than the speed of sound dropped a B61-12 — containing non-nuclear and mock nuclear components — from about 10,500 feet above Tonopah Test Range. The inert B61-12 struck the desert floor in the designated target area about 42 seconds later.

“We successfully executed this historic, first-ever F-35A flight test at Tonopah Test Range within the specified delivery criteria,” said Brian Adkins, range manager at TTR...




Video of the release is also included in the LINK -

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 24 Nov 2020 18:43

A good look into the current status of the Dev/ops testing on the USS Gerald R Ford first in class CVN -

At sea with USS Gerald R. Ford as the crew gets the last kinks out


Some highlights -


- The elevators can move up to 24,000 pounds from magazines that are a lot bigger than on Nimitz carriers, which means the Ford can carry a wider variety of weapons than other carriers and its ordnance team has new setups and steps to learn as they arm aircraft...Where the red-shirted ordnance sailors work is another new feature of the Ford’s design. In the past, they’d be testing and arming bombs on the busy flight deck — or sometimes at night, on the mess deck, where sailors normally eat.“It’s really a lot easier, it’s making everybody more useful,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Downtrelle Rasberry. Keeping that critical ordnance work off the flight deck or away from the magazines is a huge safety improvement, Castillo said. So is something else about the new elevators, which have drawn their share of criticism from government watchdogs who contend that it is taking too long to certify them.The elevators move on steel rails, powered by travelling “stators” — the electromagnets at the heart of electric motors — or by a backup system of motors on the platform itself. “These are really fine tolerances here, a sixteenth of an inch or less,” he said. The rails, stators and backup platform motors replace the hydraulic systems used in other weapons elevators — and, a key for Castillo and his team — mean there’s no leaking oil or hydraulic fluid around to create a fire hazard while handling explosives.


- Only about 20% of the juice the Ford generates is used, even with the significant increase in electricity use that comes with the new weapons elevators, electromagnetic catapult for launching aircraft from the flight deck and stepped up radar and sensing capability. The idea was to build for the future, Clapperton said. That future could include power-hungry new laser weapons, radar and sensors, in addition to still-to-be-conceived aircraft.



As of October (prior to its most recent detachment) the ship had put nearly 4,500 at sea launch and recovery cycles on EMALS and AAG and qualified all of the US Navy's fixed wing aircraft on the Ford but for the F-35C. They will continue to put this through the cycles well into the summer of 2021 when it goes in for its shock trials. Once that happens, it will go into prolonged availability to remedy any damage caused by the shock trials and then it will begin working up for its first operational deployment which is currently planned for 2022 (but will depend upon how long of an avaialbility is needed to get it back up following shock trials).

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 25 Nov 2020 08:25

brar_w wrote:Yesterday's launch was scrubbed but, if successful, this mission would be the 7th mission for the same first stage rocket and a new reusability record for Space X and the fourth 2020 launch for it. I believe the plan is to recover it and continue to use it for future missions so it could be the first rocket to get to 10.

SpaceX going for new rocket reuse record on 100th Falcon 9 launch




Successfully deployed and recovered. This is the 7th recovery for this particular first stage and the 61st falcon 9 recovery for spacex so far.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 25 Nov 2020 18:11

"The current initiative enables the B-1 "to carry 24 JASSMs [and or] LRASMs internally with 6 to 12 weapons externally," Faggard said. The proposed increase means that two bombers would equal three bombers' worth of weapons, he said."

This clearly is with hypersonics in mind and given the fact that the most tired B-1's are going to be retired to improve the fleet readiness of those that have the most life left in them. Given the IWB capacity of the B-21 is never going to grow having additional payload on the B-1 is always going to be welcomed as it will be widely used as a stand off bomber particularly now that the JASSM-ER inventory is slated to get to 10,000 missiles, the LRASM inventory increase (it is the only USAF platform selected for the LRASM) and the fact that the AGM-183A, the USAF's first hypersonic weapon, is about a year and a half away from becoming operational.

In First, Air Force Flies B-1 Bomber with Externally Mounted Stealthy Cruise Missile


The U.S. Air Force just proved it can externally mount an advanced stealth cruise missile on the B-1B Lancer for the first time, a step forward in plans to have the B-1 carry future ordnance -- like hypersonic missiles -- outside of its internal bomb bay.

In the demonstration, carried out by Air Force Materiel Command and Boeing Co., the B-1 carried an inert AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, known as JASSM, on an external pylon. Then, the aircraft demonstrated its "ability to safely release" a mounted AGM-158 separation test vehicle, according to Air Force Global Strike Command spokesman Lt. Col. David Faggard.

"The captive-carry event is actually not a test, but a demonstration to revalidate the previously dormant external carry capability pre-existing on the B-1," Faggard told Military.com. "No major modifications were needed."

He added, "This demonstration may pave the way possibly for the B-1B to carry hypersonic weapons externally."

"Adapting a small number of our healthiest B-1s to carry hypersonic weapons is vital to bridge between the bomber force we have today, to the force of tomorrow," Gen. Tim Ray, head of AFGSC, said in a statement.

Service officials said the demo does not affect its request to retire 17 B-1B bombers in 2021, reducing the fleet to just 44 aircraft in order to better sustain the most viable planes. The service plans to retire the entire fleet by 2036.

Earlier this year, the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces subcommittee said it would allow the bomber retirements as long as the service keeps 24 combat-coded aircraft; lawmakers previously demanded the service keep at least 36 bombers always ready for combat.

"My goal is to have a limited number of B-1s modified to become the roving linebacker of the western Pacific and the North Atlantic," Ray said.

Some of those missions are already underway: This year, B-1s have been spotted conducting multiple high-visibility patrols in these regions, most notably across the East and South China Seas. In May, bombers from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, also held their first-ever training mission over Sweden near the Arctic.

The external hardpoints on the B-1B were once built to carry nuclear-tipped cruise missiles -- a mission the long-range aircraft no longer has. The conversion process to make the B-1 non-nuclear began under the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, with the final conversion taking place in 2011.

While the external carriage demonstration reactivates the original design and inherent capability, the aircraft "will remain treaty-compliant," Faggard said. "The expanded capabilities will be conventional-only," he said...

During the Syria strike in 2018, the B-1 struck targets using 19 JASSMs, marking the first operational use of any variant of the missile (the standard JASSM-A missile variant was used, not the new extended-range variant, known as JASSM-ER).

In August 2019, the Air Force proved it could transform the Lancer to hold more ordnance, a first step toward carrying hypersonic weapons payloads. The test, also conducted by Edward's 419th Flight Test Squadron, demonstrated that crews could fasten new racks onto the B-1's external hardpoints as well as reconfigure its internal bomb bays to hold heavier weapons.

The B-1 is also capable of carrying the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile, or LRASM. A single B-1B can carry up to 24 LRASMs; the Navy missile, which can autonomously locate and track targets while avoiding friendly forces, achieved early operational capability on the bomber in 2018.

The current initiative enables the B-1 "to carry 24 JASSMs [and or] LRASMs internally with 6 to 12 weapons externally," Faggard said. The proposed increase means that two bombers would equal three bombers' worth of weapons, he said.

The trial also determined that the B-1 can still carry a full, internal weapons complement even if JASSMs are positioned outside the bomb bay, Faggard said. Furthermore, the B-1 is able to employ internal weapons "without expending external weapons first," he said.



Current testing pic -

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Older external cruise missile mounts -

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby ragupta » 25 Nov 2020 22:18

If US is retiring B1B, Can US sell it to India at scrap cost. India can engage US experts, to make it a B1-IR model = B1R+Indian Avionics.
Scraping such a beautiful bomber would be a waste. Which country can Absorb it, if not India.
I meant 17 that are meant to be retired.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 25 Nov 2020 23:58

ragupta wrote:If US is retiring B1B, Can US sell it to India at scrap cost. India can engage US experts, to make it a B1-IR model = B1R+Indian Avionics.
Scraping such a beautiful bomber would be a waste. Which country can Absorb it, if not India.
I meant 17 that are meant to be retired.


It isn't as straightforward. There is a reason why the USAF wants to retire the most fatigued B-1's. They have been used in ways (tactical strike and CAS) that they were never designed to be used and as such have had much more utilization than what the goal was for them leading to structural stresses and O&S footprint that is getting difficult to sustain. As such they are getting extremely hard to keep up and operate within reasonable budgets. What they will likely do is that they'll either completely retire these and use the parts to keep the existing fleet at high readiness or Congress will ask for a compromise and keep them in some state from which they can be brought back in a short time if they ever are needed.

The challenge with the B-1 fleet is explained here -

https://youtu.be/62xiJmvD5hs?t=2085

Folks often compare this to the B-52 which has decades of service life left in them. But a vast chunk of the B-52 fleet literally used to be operated as a nuclear alert platforms which meant that for years many of them just sat on the ground sitting on alert duty and not accumulating massive utilization particularly like what the B-1 fleet had to do so post 9/11. So while those may be older strictly in terms of their calendar age, they have loads of actual airframe life left in them whereas a chunk of the B-1 fleet was used for all sorts of strike and CAS duties over the last few decades. All that utilization takes a toll and thus these need to go and be replaced by B-21s which are now on contract for production with the first expected to be rolled out in 2021.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby mmasand » 26 Nov 2020 00:11

brar_w wrote:
But my broader point was that even IF this deal goes through, why would the UAE, that has maintained 2 strategic supplier base for its combat aircraft, all of a sudden decide that it no longer needs this flexibility especially at a time it is actually using its kit more than perhaps any time since it acquired it? They, IMO, are more likely to sell off a portion of their F-16 E/F fleet if they determine they don't need the additional force structure. The M2K's will most likely be replaced with the Rafale. It is just a matter of When and not IF (IMO).


Thanks for spelling out the intricacies involved. It reminds me of the instance when Carter approved F-15's to be sold to Saudis despite Congressional upheaval, only to be strengthened by Reagan adding fuel pods, AWACS, tankers etc. I suppose it's mystery as to what will the UAE do with these F-35's, between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, there is more than enough to take on a depleted Iranian air assets. The M2K's as I understand are seeing a lot of wear and tear since the IS campaigns in Syria/Libya, Eritrea, Yemen etc. Are they convinced Iran will be supplied with Russian/Chinese stealth in the future ? How do you satisfy the clauses of legislation in maintaining their QME?

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 26 Nov 2020 00:19

mmasand wrote:
Thanks for spelling out the intricacies involved. It reminds me of the instance when Carter approved F-15's to be sold to Saudis despite Congressional upheaval, only to be strengthened by Reagan adding fuel pods, AWACS, tankers etc. I suppose it's mystery as to what will the UAE do with these F-35's, between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, there is more than enough to take on a depleted Iranian air assets. The M2K's as I understand are seeing a lot of wear and tear since the IS campaigns in Syria/Libya, Eritrea, Yemen etc. Are they convinced Iran will be supplied with Russian/Chinese stealth in the future ? How do you satisfy the clauses of legislation in maintaining their QME?



F-35 is a SEAD / DEAD, Anti-IADS, and penetrating platform of choice for its users. You don't just buy it because the other guy wants or is hoping to get a stealth fighter of its own. In fact it is advantageous for a country like the UAE, with its limited space, counter-space, and ISR capability to seek something like the F-35 so that it can threaten to penetrate and strike Iranian targets. Conducting a SEAD/DEAD campaign with 4th gen aircraft requires a lot of support and ISR capability which they don't have. A penetrating stealth platform and one capable of SEAD/DEAD is in a sense also a force multiplier.

The Israeli angle here is fascinating. What did Trump promise them one has to wonder. I could foresee a scenario where the USAF could, in the early 2030's, offload a portion of its F-22A fleet to the IDF. But if anything unreasonable was promised by the White House, to which the new administration disagrees, then Israel could bring back its objections and this deal could take a U turn.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 26 Nov 2020 04:23

F-35 dropping a dummy nuke

https://youtu.be/6HmR2D5ZRnw

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 26 Nov 2020 20:21

brar_w wrote:"The current initiative enables the B-1 "to carry 24 JASSMs [and or] LRASMs internally with 6 to 12 weapons externally," Faggard said. The proposed increase means that two bombers would equal three bombers' worth of weapons, he said."

.
.
.
In First, Air Force Flies B-1 Bomber with Externally Mounted Stealthy Cruise Missile




Video:



Here's the external mounts configurations for the B-1. Since they are aiming for 6-12 additional missiles (depending upon type of missile) this would give them between 30-36 AGM-158C LRASM's per sortie in an Anti-Ship / Maritime warfare configuration. It may also mean that the B-1 would be able to carry more than a dozen hypersonic AGM-183A per sortie.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 26 Nov 2020 21:42

Nov 25, 2020 :: The Commandant of the Marine Corps is charging into the future, but some aren't ready for change

One thing that’s constant through most military organizations is reverence for tradition. The flip side of that, though, is a fear of change. It’s through that lens that many observers are viewing Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger’s Force Design 2030. Some of that criticism comes from distinguished experts, like former Senator and Secretary of the Navy James Webb. But whether it be experts or the internet comments section, all of it comes with a dose of risk aversion and a sense that Berger is somehow ruining the Corps.

There are certainly big changes afoot. Much of the criticism surrounds the cuts Berger has outlined for the force. Most famously, there is the total elimination of Marine tanks. But there were far bigger victims to the ax — three infantry battalions, three tiltrotor squadrons, three heavy helicopter squadrons, two light attack helicopter squadrons, three military police battalions, and cutting tube artillery in favor of rockets, among others. Altogether, Berger’s proposed cuts amount to approximately 12,000 fewer Marines by 2030.

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


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