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US military, technology, arms, tactics

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 27 Dec 2017 19:33

It depends where and how you want to use it. The conclusion on the AVEN/MATV paper I linked earlier, and pretty much everything within it clearly points to an advantage of the MATV configuration as the F-16 is concerned. Similar observation was made on other efforts by NASA and USAF/USN/Germany. The Flanker and F-22 experience also shows advantages and in the latter they were able to adjust the control surfaces post ATF selection to account for the TVC (after designing the technology demonstrators to meet all performance requirements w/o need for TVC) and the same is true of the MiG-35. If you want greater agility, particularly in the post-stall and high alpha region, thrust vectoring is a great way of achieving it. Depending upon what the requirements you are designing to it may not be the only way of doing it but it is always an option if you have the technology in hand (For example, both the YF-22 and YF-23 could meet ATF sustained AOA requirements w/o TVC, and the F-35 meets the 50 degree requirement without as well). The US clearly did not pursue AVEN because of the reasons I highlighted earlier so the Chinese will have to weight the same for each of the system they wish to apply this technology on.

In IAF's and MODs case it is a means to an end much like everyone else. If greater high alpha performance and post-stall capability is required in current and future systems then it is one aspect that can be considered. Clearly having access to, or mastering it gives you the option of rolling it into a design as a low risk option as GE was able to do on the MATV and later offer it on the F404/414 family for export customers if they so desired to invest in it.


" The bandits were leery about pointing at MATV since my post-stall "bat turn" and rudder gun attack generally killed them." -- Major Jay Pearsall, 422nd Test and Eval Squadron.

"The bottom line: you have a greatly increase capability to survive and kill with this system."-- Capt Jim Henderson, 422nd Test and Eval Squadron.

" Very impressive. The combined ability to expand the usable flight envelope to CLmax (maximum lift) and to reduce any departure tendency for both air-to-air and airto-ground loadings could increase military utility and safety." -- Brig. Gen. Rich Engel,commander of the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB.

"The performance of the MATV aircraft was very impressive. Handling qualities were good. I found it valuable to see the MATV utilize many of the maneuvers and control schemes conceived in the YF-22 and planned for the F-22." -- Jon Beesley, Lockheed F-16, YF-22, and F-22 test pilot.

"MATV opens up a new era of fighter tactics. Let's hope we see it in the
operational fleet soon." -- Gen. Ron Yates, Head of the USAF Material Command,
Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.


The debate over thrust vectoring has moved from the chalkboard to the cockpit.
The MATV program proved that effective thrust vectoring was not aircraft, engine, or
technology limited, but budget limited. This new technology is a reliable and highly
effective means of control for tactical jet aircraft and significantly enhanced the combat
capability of the F-16. Thrust vectoring can be integrated economically - approximately
$1 million - into the F-16. The capability designed for the F-22 may well find its way
into existing and future versions of the well-fielded F-16. The pilots who have witnessed
this capability first-hand have been very impressed and the data collected will alone
revolutionize future fighter research and development.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby chola » 27 Dec 2017 19:50

^^^ Fantastic post again, Brar ji!

You know what is going through the mushy mango sitting between my ears right now?

F-16 MATV for the SEF!!!

As much as I love the idea of the IN getting cutting rdge EMALS, this technology from 25 years ago — which must have tons of data — would even be better.

This would be ground breaking yet at the same time engender much less risk than a new platform since we will mate a mature, highly successful platform in the F-16 with an incredible innovation that was worked out decades ago!

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 27 Dec 2017 20:31

I don't know how much it makes sense on the F-16 (or how much the F16 makes sense in general) but looking at an AVEN variant for future applications on the LCA and AMCA sounds like a really good idea as long as there is some, even interim, intention of utilizing the GE F414. GE has been shopping the system on the engine family for well over a decade now for potential consideration by SAAB so it is something that can be looked at if TVC is identified as an area of interest on the AMCA.

Below are some images I had shared earlier on the Kaveri and other threads :



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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 28 Dec 2017 21:34

MEHEL participates in MFIX exercise

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama -- An Army team is laser-focused on improving high-energy technologies to support Soldiers in the field.

The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command Technical Center's Air and Missile Defense Directorate participated in the Maneuver Fires Integration Experiment, or MFIX, hosted at the Fires Center of Excellence, or FCoE, at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Dec. 4-14.

At MFIX, a crew of three air defense Soldiers were able to detect, acquire, track and defeat aerial targets as well as ground targets with USASMDC/ARSTRAT's Mobile Experimental High Energy Laser, or MEHEL, vehicle after a week of training.

"I am very proud‎ of our SMDC and contractor MEHEL team," said Adam Aberle, SMDC High Energy Laser Division technology development and demonstration lead. "They worked very hard pulling the MEHEL system together to support the event and did an exceptional job ensuring that MEHEL was able to support FCoE MFIX objectives."

MEHEL is a laser testbed on a Stryker-armored fighting vehicle chassis and serves as a platform for research and development. The current version of MEHEL has a 5kW laser and other capabilities.

The MEHEL crew demonstrated the ability to defeat UAV targets above and below the horizon in both daylight and low visibility scenarios. The team successfully defeated UAV threats and static mortar round engagements.

"The information we learned in the field will be incorporated into future designs," said Dee Formby, SMDC Tech Center Multi-Mission High Energy Laser lead engineer. "The feedback we took from the Soldiers will help improve the performance and user interface. The Soldiers did a great job and picked up the training quickly and also understood that a more mature version of this system could be beneficial to them in the future."

MEHEL successfully met the objectives of the Fort Sill Battle Lab, validating the improvements made since the prior MFIX, and providing valuable feedback from the users.

The data gathered will allow MEHEL to be used to help develop concept of operations and tactics, techniques and procedures for directed energy systems and inform requirements for future directed energy development efforts.

Besides MFIX, the team said the Army is looking at how to utilize the MEHEL during future exercises in the coming year.


A Stryker Mobile Expeditionary High Energy Laser, or MEHEL, participates in the Maneuver Fires Integrated Experiment, or MFIX, Dec. 4-14 at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. The MEHEL was one of more than 40 platforms experimented on during MFIX

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 29 Dec 2017 18:04

Singha wrote:What is advantage of the hypersonic weapon being very
Hot and only mach6 vs the faster mach10 of a traditional irbm?
Does it delay getting tracked by abm radar and is more manouverable via some preset library? Due to buildup of so called plasma around nose can it acquire or send rf signals for passive ew and active radar scans? I believe the pershing2 was doing a radar scan...

Hypersonic Gliders pose challenges throughout the kill chain beginning with the ABM radars. US ABM radars, even the TPY-2 are being upgraded to better manage the threat since they do not inherently perform well against he target set. Then you have to worry about their ability to spend >50% of their time within the atmosphere at very high speed. This complicates intercept dynamics and creates target ambiguity. It is much easier to calculate a PIP and execute an interception against an incoming warhead starting all the way from space using Mid Course systems and then within the atmosphere. Even your traditional gliders that may be able to execute some terminal performance will only do so for a fraction of the time that the BGVs are being designed for so you can adjust launch doctrine to accommodate for that. Keep in mind that the premise behind the US' land based BGV program and why they can test and in the future deploy them is that they will be spending >50% of their time within the atmosphere therefore making them treaty compliant (Plus they'll be air-launching them as well from B-2s and other bombers). That is quite challenging from both a design and development perspective but it also complicates the entire defensive kill chain.China and Russia are also aiming for similar performance.

Singha wrote:Massa had a boeing alcm now retired different from thawk with a fixed dorsal intake that had a massive range . B52 used to carry it. They will likely bring something back

A Conventional LRSO cannot be ruled out in the future if greater range is required. However, the emphasis for the short-medium term is very much to make cruise missiles cheaper, smarter and networked (with each other) so that they can execute swarm behavior against air-defense systems. Think a $2 Million dollar JASSM data-linking with half a dozen Gray Wolf's, each at a fraction its cost and with unique payloads all connected and with a large amount of autonomous capability. Building longer ranged ALCMs is quite easy for these OEMs but developing more capable and smarter missiles at a cost where you can increase inventory by 3-4 x is the real challenge..Lockheed has had the JASSM-XR proposal for some time and has never seen any interest from the USAF. They are developing penetrating systems (F-22/F35, B-21, UCAVs and future fighters) so can trade launch from closer than the legacy B-52s, B-1s and older fighters but if you needed to you could very easily field longer ranged ALCMs or even Ship launched missiles. The combined JASSM and JASSM-ER inventory (when the last ER missile is delivered in 2025) will be 5000..That is not going to cut it given the number of target sets that are likely to emerge. Building larger, longer ranged missiles that are more expensive will only result in smaller inventories. They are looking for a multiple of that number for a future AGM-X application hence the Gray Wolf demo to see if they can make individual weapons cheaper by obtaining capability via collaboration and swarming with other sensors and shooters since the cost of the weapon is to a large part based on novel seekers and electronics designed to make it effective and survivable.

"Lockheed Martin's concept for the Gray Wolf missile will be an affordable, counter-IAD missile that will operate efficiently in highly contested environments," said Hady Mourad, Advanced Missiles Program director for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "Using the capabilities envisioned for later spirals, our system is being designed to maximize modularity, allowing our customer to incorporate advanced technologies such as more lethal warheads or more fuel-efficient engines, when those systems become available."

The Gray Wolf program consists of four spiral-development phases that allow for rapid technology prototyping and multiple transition opportunities. This first phase, defined by an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract, is anticipated to run until late 2019. Initial demonstrations will be from an F-16 aircraft. In addition to the F-16, the system will be designed for compatibility with F-35, F-15, F-18, B-1, B-2 and B-52 aircraft. ... 75550.html

Singha wrote:They will likely bring something back

The CALCM isn't coming back. It has served its purpose and was even used in the 1991 Gulf War from the B-52s. LRSO development is now in full swing and if they are ever interested in fielding weapons with 50-100% more range than the JASSM-ER then they can think of a CLRSO or just dust off the JASSM-XR concept from years ago. Beyond a certain range and performance limit, it is cheaper to develop platforms that can deploy cheaper munitions as opposed to more expensive longer ranged missiles especially when the sheer number of targets call for an inventory in the high 4 digits (for future applications). AGM-X will likely be a Gray Wolf type where you can perhaps buy 2-3 for the cost of each JASSM and then deploy them from every large platform in volume while also developing dedicated, reusable drones capable of deploying them. Having used Air Launched, and Ship Launched cruse missiles in 1991 Gulf War the USAF and even the USN wanted that capability across their fleet and not just on their largest and most expensive platforms. The result was the JASSM and JASSMER, LRASM, and the JSOW (with a powered variant now in testing) which allow even the smallest of the fighter aircraft (F-16s) the ability to carry multiple such weapons.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 03 Jan 2018 19:32

A very detailed synopsis on the US F-35 program status from Jane's DW as far as aircraft and numbers/squadrons are concerned (posting a summary since the article is currently behind a paywall):

Future fighter: F-35 begins transition into US service - Jane's Defence Weekly 03 Jan, 2018

With the US Marine Corps (USMC) having declared initial operating capability (IOC) for the F-35B version of the Lockheed Martin Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) in 2015, the US Air Force (USAF) having done the same for the F-35A in 2016, and the US Navy (USN) set to follow suit with the F-35C in late 2018 or early 2019, the US military is at the beginning of the process to introduce what will be the country’s premier combat aircraft for decades to come.

US Marine Corps

As the first service to declare IOC, the USMC is at the forefront of not just the US effort to introduce the JSF into service, but also of the global effort. With a programme of record for 353 short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) F-35Bs and 67 carrier variant (CV) F-35Cs to be spread across 16 and four squadrons respectively, plus an additional two training units, the corps is already well ahead on its path to fielding the F-35.

To date the corps has stood up Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121 ‘Green Knights’, initially at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma in Arizona and now at MCAS Iwakuni in Japan, and VMFA 211 ‘Avengers’ at MCAS Yuma as its first two operational F-35B units. The next three operational squadrons – VMFA 122 ‘Crusaders’, VMFA 314 ‘Black Knights’, and Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (All-Weather) VMFA(AW) 225 – will transition over from the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet in the coming months, with VMFA 314 being the first of the corps’ four F-35C squadrons. The USMC will first transition over its Hornet units before doing the same with its Boeing/BAE Systems AV-8B Harrier IIs.

In addition to its current and near-term operational units, the USMC has one training unit in VMFAT 501 at MCAS Beaufort in South Carolina, as well as VMX-1 Test Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in California. This unit will move to MCAS Yuma, where it will co-locate with the USMC Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) unit and weapons school.

The transition of VMFA 121 from MCAS Yuma to the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) at MCAS Iwakuni in January 2017 was a key milestone in the F-35B programme for the USMC, coming just six months after IOC for the type was declared in July 2015. Being the first operational unit (the squadron was actually stood up in November 2012), VMFA 121 has been heavily involved in developing the corps’ tactical and austere capabilities for the jet.

In early April 2017, just four months into its inaugural overseas deployment, VMFA 121 trialled the use of ‘hot’ ground refuelling conducted from a USMC Lockheed Martin KC-130J Hercules from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 152. As noted by the USMC at the time, this aviation-delivered ground refuelling (ADGR) trial was the first time that the F-35 had been fuelled with the engine running to enable the aircraft to be replenished in austere locations that are not equipped with the normal infrastructure. This “stepping stone” test, as the marines described it, was followed in September by the first ‘hot loading’ exercise of live missiles, again to develop the tactical capabilities of the aircraft.

With VMFA 121 now operationally deploying the F-35B overseas for the first time, the USMC will conduct the first operational maritime deployments aboard its Wasp- and America-class amphibious assault ships this year. According to Gen Davis, the corps will embark six to eight F-35Bs on shipboard Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) task forces.

US Air Force

Having declared IOC for its conventional take-off and landing (CTOL)-variant F-35A in August 2016, the USAF is now just beginning to ramp up its aircraft numbers. To date the USAF has received approximately 120 F-35As, which are distributed across five bases in the contiguous United States (CONUS).

What is interesting about that number is that it seems like a lot, but we are going to grow to 1,763 aircraft over the life of the programme. So in many ways, even though we have had the aircraft for a number of years already, we have only really just begun,” a USAF spokesperson told Jane’s in October 2017, adding, “The hallmark of the programme over the coming years will be the exponential growth of the number of F-35s and in the number of USAF bases in the US and overseas [such as at RAF Lakenheath in the United Kingdom in the early 2020s].”

Currently the USAF has F-35As located at Edwards AFB in California; Hill AFB in Utah; Eglin AFB in Florida; Luke AFB in Arizona; and Nellis AFB in Nevada. Hill AFB is the combat-ready unit with the 34th Fighter Squadron (FS). If a combatant commander required the F-35A, then this is the unit that would be deployed. As evidence of the 34th FS’ capabilities, in April/May 2017 the unit was deployed to the United Kingdom and across forward bases in Europe. “That training deployment was a huge milestone for that unit to demonstrate its combat readiness – and was also a significant signal from the USAF to show the world that it is ready with this stealth fighter and that we can take it any place that we need to,” the service representative said.

Eglin AFB and Luke AFB are pilot training bases for USAF and international F-35A customers, as well as for USN F-35C pilots, while Edwards AFB is where developmental testing is carried out by four USAF aircraft. The final location where USAF F-35As can currently be found is Nellis AFB, which is home to the 'Red Flag' exercises.

US Navy

The USN is set to receive 273 CV F-35Cs over the life of the programme. For the service the urgency to introduce the F-35 into service has not been as acute as it has been for the USMC and USAF, given that it is still receiving Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growlers fresh from the factory. As such, it will be the last of the three services to declare IOC when it does so toward the end of this year.

Despite the lack of urgency, and contrary to anecdotal reports that of all the US service arms the USN is the least keen to receive the F-35, the service is keenly anticipating the arrival of its future primary combat aircraft. As one senior navy official, speaking under the Chatham House Rule, put it, “The US Navy has never had a fifth-generation stealthy multirole fighter before – and there is much to be excited about.”

In terms of its F-35C stand-up to date, the USN has so far equipped Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101 ‘Grim Reapers’ and VFA 125 ‘Rough Raiders’ as the East and West Coast Fleet Replacement Squadrons respectively. The first operational fleet unit will be VFA 147 ‘Argonauts’, which will transition from the F/A-18E this month.

The service is now anticipating the Block 3F (full combat) software release early this year, with the next phase of operational testing to begin on the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln shortly thereafter. IOC is expected between August this year and February 2019, with the first deployment scheduled for the carrier USS Carl Vinson in 2020/21. Once their future air components are fully stood up, each carrier will be equipped with two F-35C squadrons to complement the two F/A-18E/F squadrons and one EA-18G unit that will also be embarked.

The USN has taken the F-35C to sea for trials four times already and, notwithstanding a tail hook redesign and an issue of excessive head movement for the pilot during catapult launches, the trials have proven successful. “The F-35 has earned her sea legs, and for US Navy aircraft to be operationally relevant we lower our tail hooks and land on big deck aircraft carriers. We have now taken it to sea on [four] different occasions, and have extended the envelope in deteriorating weather conditions, varying sea states, and in both day and night operations. These involved pilots who were new to the F-35; we brought them out to the carrier and the tests proved to be very successful,” the navy official said, adding, “The tail hook was redesigned and is now working well. These kinds of things are going to happen with a new airplane, especially when you bring them to sea where there is less margin for error and much greater forces at play.”

One aspect of the F-35C’s carrier performance that has pleased the navy has been the aircraft’s automatic landing technology, or delta flight path (DFP) mode, as it is officially known. According to the official, “The delta flight path advanced landing capability is something that we are quickly finding is revolutionising our ability to land on the aircraft carrier more accurately. As naval aviators we tend to target the number two or three wire on the flight deck, and with DFP we are able to do this at a phenomenally consistent rate.”

He went on to explain that, “When VFA 101 was doing trials they had zero bolters [ie no aircraft having to abort their landing]. The DFP is coming online at the same time as the Magic Carpet [system] that has been developed for the Super Hornet; it uses the exact same technology. The two systems will revolutionise carrier operations, reducing the time steaming into the wind and the number of tanker aircraft that are needed.”

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 12 Jan 2018 17:37

DARPA's Near-Mid Term RF bets..


Arrays at Commercial Timescales (ACT)

Today’s electromagnetic (EM) systems use antenna arrays to provide unique capabilities, such as multiple beam forming and electronic steering, which are important for a wide variety of applications such as communications, signal intelligence (SIGINT), radar, and electronic warfare. However, wider use of arrays has been limited by lengthy system development times and the inability to upgrade already- fielded capabilities—problems exacerbated by the fact that military electronics have evolved at a slower cadence than in the commercial sector. In particular, the performance gap is widening between the radio frequency (RF) capabilities of fielded military systems and the continuously improving digital electronics surrounding those systems. The Arrays at Commercial Timescales (ACT) aims to shorten design cycles and in-field updates and push past the traditional barriers that lead to 10-year array development cycles, 20- to 30-year static life cycles and costly service-life extension programs.

Specifically, as an alternative to large undertakings focused on traditional monolithic array systems, ACT seeks to develop a digitally-interconnected building block from which larger systems can be formed. The desired building block, composed of a common module and a reconfigurable EM interface, would be scalable and customizable for each application, without requiring a full redesign for each application space.

The ACT program has two thrusts, each focused on a specific enabling technology for rapidly upgradable and widely deployable array architectures:

* A digitally-influenced common module comprising 80 to 90 percent of an array’s core functionality for insertion into a wide range of applications
* Reconfigurable and tunable RF apertures for spanning S-band to X-band frequencies (and points between) for a wide variety of characteristics

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 13 Jan 2018 22:37



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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 19 Jan 2018 02:42

The Pentagon Wants Its Nuclear Tomahawks Back

The Trump administration will embark on a “big-league” revival of the U.S. nuclear complex after decades of decline by reviving production of plutonium cores for new warheads and reintroducing a sea-launched cruise missile, among other plans.

A leaked draft of the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review confirms what has been foreshadowed by U.S. military leaders over the past year: America will respond to the growing might of the nuclear forces of China and Russia, as well as emerging threats from North Korea, by broadly modernizing its outdated nuclear arsenal of Cold War-era bombers, submarines, missiles and nuclear-certified tactical fighters.

The draft policy, if adopted, would “move forward without delay [and] seek opportunities to accelerate” every key modernization program set in motion by the previous administration. This includes the Columbia-class submarine, Northrop Grumman B-21 bomber, Ground-Based Strategic Deterrence ballistic missile, Long-Range StandOff cruise missile, dual-capable Lockheed MartinF-35A Joint Strike Fighter and B61-12 guided free-fall bomb.

It would also reverse several Obama-era arms reduction initiatives by restoring the Navy’s nuclear cruise missile capability and retaining the air-delivered B83-1, the U.S.’s last megaton nuclear bomb. The B61-11 earth penetrator and other conventional bunker bombs will also remain to, if necessary, destroy underground military facilities.

To counter Russia’s “significant advantage” in nonstrategic nuclear weaponry and expand the range of military options against China and North Korea in the Pacific theater, the Defense Department will also retrofit “a small number” of submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) with a low-yield nuclear-strike option and invest in a modern sea-launched cruise missile. This fills a void left by the Obama administration’s retirement of the nuclear-armed Raytheon Tomahawk Land Attack Missile.

The new policy would leave room to buy more Columbia-class submarines than the dozen originally planned, with the program now delivering a “minimum of 12” vessels. In 2020, the Pentagon will also begin studying future replacements for the Trident D5 fleet ballistic missile, which is currently being life-extended for service on the Ohio- and Columbia-class submarines.

To indefinitely sustain the U.S.’s nuclear arsenal, the Trump administration will order the Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration to scale up production of new plutonium pits (the core component of a nuclear warhead) to “at least” 80 per year by 2030, compared to zero today.

Most of America’s plutonium pits were produced in 1978-89 and have been refurbished for additional years of service. In fact, the U.S. has not produced new plutonium cores since the Los Alamos National Laboratory, near Santa Fe, New Mexico, produced some for the W88 warhead program in 2007-12. “At present, the U.S. does not have the ability to produce new nuclear warheads,” the document states.

The overarching strategy behind this revival of the U.S. nuclear force is to dispel the “mistaken perception” of weakness and deter any major attack, nuclear or conventional, according to the leaked review. This now includes interference with the U.S. nuclear command, control and communications network in space and cyberspace.

The document confirms that the Trump administration will not adopt a “no-first-use” policy, as was being actively discussed by the former administration. This means Washington reserves the right to strike first with nuclear weapons, if needed.

Leaked by The Huffington Post, the policy shift has been welcomed by defense hawks in Washington but condemned by arms control advocates.

“This Trump plan seeks to expand the scenarios for the possible use of nuclear weapons against nonnuclear threats, including cyberthreats,” Arms Control Association Executive Director Daryl Kimball says. “That is dangerous and destabilizing. The use of even a small number of these weapons would be catastrophic.”

While the previous administration viewed U.S. nuclear weapons solely as a means of deterring others from launching a nuclear attack, Kimball believes President Donald Trump now seeks “more usable” nukes, as evidenced by the low-yield warhead proposal for the Trident D5 SLBM and planned reintroduction of a sea-launched cruise missile. He says both weapons are “militarily unnecessary” and would only increase the risk of miscalculation in a crisis or conflict.

“There is no evidence that more usable weapons will strengthen deterrence of nuclear-armed adversaries, like Russia, or compel them to make different choices about their arsenals,” Kimball tells Aviation Week. “Rather than lower the threshold for nuclear weapons use and further stimulate global nuclear arms racing, the U.S. needs to show leadership,” he says.

Private defense consultant and nuclear policy commentator Peter Huessy welcomed the change in strategy as a counterbalance to Russia’s conventional and tactical nuclear forces in Europe.

“Russia matches the U.S. and NATO conventionally along the border, and they seek theater nuclear weapons to blackmail or coerce us into standing down in the face of threats and aggression,” he says. “The U.S. has a limited theater nuclear capability, [and] the development of a sea-based cruise missile capability would be an excellent addition to the current mix for extended deterrence,” he contends.

Huessy says the U.S. under every president since Ronald Reagan has reduced its inventory of strategic nuclear weapons by 85% total, which he calls “an unprecedented historical achievement.

“But the world’s security environment since 2010 and the last Nuclear Posture Review is significantly worse,” he cautions. “Russia has threatened to use nuclear weapons against the U.S. some two dozen times between 2009-16.” He adds that “both the Russians and the Chinese have, since 2010, dramatically increased their strategic and tactical nuclear modernization, the latter being under no arms control limits whatsoever. Combined, the Russians and the Chinese have multiple thousands of additional theater weapons compared to the U.S.’s hundreds,” he says.

He goes on to note that in the eight years since Obama’s review, India and Pakistan have “dramatically increased” their nuclear arsenals; China has added hundreds, or perhaps even thousands, of nuclear warheads; Russia has modernized the majority of its strategic and tactical nuclear forces; North Korea has built as many as 100 nuclear warheads; and Iran remains capable of rapidly fielding a nuclear weapon. “In response, the U.S. has not even deployed a single new land-based missile, submarine or bomber and will not do [so] for nearly another decade,” Huessy says.

The Trump administration’s push to accelerate existing nuclear modernization plans while adding a low-yield nuclear warhead and modern sea-launched cruise missile without making any cuts will likely add billions of extra dollars to the modernization bill. The Congressional Budget Office already estimates that current plans to sustain and modernize all three legs of the nuclear triad will cost about $1.2 trillion over the next 30 years: $800 billion for operations and sustainment and $400 billion for modernization projects.

Under Trump’s plan, spending on nuclear forces would peak in 2029, accounting for 6.4% of the total defense budget. For context, spending on nuclear programs accounted for 24.9% of U.S. defense spending in 1962 during the first major buildup and 13.4% in 1984 during Reagan’s recapitalization. However, overall defense spending was comparatively lower in those years.

The Pentagon has so far refused to comment on the draft document because it is predecisional. The final version is still subject to review and approval by the president and defense secretary for rollout in early February.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 21 Jan 2018 19:47

This was awarded to L3 last year and effectively takes the entire Mission system and antenna systems from a latest block EC-130H and ports it on an G550 which flies higher and faster and likely has more room for growth. Compass Call is the primary tactical Electronic Warfare, Communication Warfare and apparently the lead platform for tactical cyber capability as an extension of Project Suter.

US Air Force awards L3 Technologies Compass Call replacement UCA

Jane's International Defence Review; 11-Sep-2017

The US Air Force (USAF) announced on 8 September that it had awarded L3 Technologies an undefinitised contract action (UCA) for the Compass Call replacement programme, according to a service spokesperson.

USAF spokesperson Ann Stefanek said that L3 chose the Gulfstream 550 Airborne Early Warning (AEW) aircraft as the new platform after sharing analysis with the USAF programme office. According to Stefanek, the new Compass Call platform has been designated EC-X.

UCAs are contract actions for which the contract terms, specifications, or price are not agreed upon before performance commences.UCAs are contract actions for which the contract terms, specifications, or price are not agreed upon before performance commences.

L3 spokesperson Jennifer Barton on 8 September deferred comment to the USAF; Stefanek declined further comment.

The USAF announcement follows a 6 September bid-protest decision by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to deny and dismiss, in part, protests from Boeing and Bombardier. Boeing spokesperson Caroline Hutchinson told Jane’s on 9 September that the company would not sue the USAF over the GAO decision.

The protesters argued that the proposed sole-source award to L3 would be improper for a number of reasons, including that it would provide for an improper sole-source contract award for the re-host aircraft at the direction of the government. According to GAO, Bombardier argued that the USAF effectively directed L3 to select Gulfstream for the award of a subcontract to provide the aircraft for the Compass Call re-host; GAO ruled that the decision to select an aircraft will occur under a proposed subcontract – therefore the terms of the subcontract competition, and the merits of the selection decision, are matters outside of GAO’s jurisdiction.

Boeing and Bombardier argued that the proposed sole source would violate the terms of the fiscal year (FY) 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). According to GAO, the companies contended that the NDAA requires the USAF secretary to determine the capabilities of the re-host aircraft before a contract is awarded for the re-host integration: the USAF, the protesters argued, had improperly delegated that decision to L3. GAO said it found no basis to conclude that the USAF violated the NDAA requirements, as there is no specific statutory requirement for the USAF to determine the capability of the re-host integration as a precondition to a procurement.

The protesters additionally argued that the sole source would require L3 to perform an inherently governmental function with respect to the selection of the aircraft. GAO disagreed, saying the parties had failed to demonstrate that the proposed contract violated any procurement law or regulation. The companies further contended that the sole-source award would violate the prohibition on the award of a new lead systems integrator (LSI) contract; GAO concluded that the proposed contract with L3 did not meet the statutory definition of a prohibited LSI contract.

The protesters claimed the USAF had not justified a sole-source award to L3, and argued that L3 has an organisational conflict of interest that prohibits the firm from receiving the award. GAO outright denied both of these allegations.

The USAF possesses 14 Lockheed Martin-BAE Systems EC-130H Compass Call special mission aircraft, but the ageing platforms require significant maintenance and support due to high operational demand. The service has sought to proceed with a Compass Call replacement, but this was delayed by the lack of a FY 2017 spending bill, and a previous bid protest by Bombardier.

The EC-130H is an airborne tactical weapon system using a heavily modified version of the Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules airframe. The system disrupts enemy command and control (C2) communications, and limits the adversary co-ordination that is essential for enemy force management, according to the USAF.

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