US military, technology, arms, tactics

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby ramana » 16 Jan 2020 00:07




Keep the hands in pockets? :)

However more serious way of managing Logistics

Matoush said the briefing, which will include Under Secretary of Defense Ellen Lord and representatives of the Government Accountability Office, will also “evaluate the merits and disadvantages” of an unsolicited proposal by Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed to enter into a long-term, “performance-based” logistics contract for F-35 sustainment.

If accepted -- and delivered on -- that could be worth billions of dollars to the company. The proposal would tie financial incentives to reducing the plane’s cost per hour of flight to $25,000 from $35,000 and maintaining 80% fleet readiness.

Lord said Tuesday at a meeting with defense reporters that she’s still undecided on the proposal’s merits. The Navy is taking the lead in gathering the data needed to thoroughly assess the plan and an official assigned to review it will present his findings Friday, Lord said.


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 16 Jan 2020 00:12

The US DOD is very conservative when it enters into PBL, often waiting years (on new systems) if not longer before signing for one because they need enough data to determine what a good PBL looks like and you need a lot of fleet maintenance and cumulative flight hours to rake that up. Individual components of the F-35 are already under a PBL, such as the EW system, for example. The current plan will put the entire air-vehicle and propulsion on two separate multi-year PBL's. I don't think they'll commit to it before they sign-off on milestone C and enter full-rate production..so probably around late 2021 or 2022.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 16 Jan 2020 01:25

ramana wrote:


Keep the hands in pockets? :)


Well, that is how the hand-shake and the salute came into existence. Senior officers afraid of juniors attacking them, using a concealed weapon (hands in pocket), came up with these two solutions to ensure the juniors could not attack. In those days there were no guns, only knives as an attack weapon, so one had to get close enough to launch one.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby ramana » 16 Jan 2020 05:24

BrarW, Its the logistics contracts that is where the money is.
So to lock up the mfg is good.
Yes there is risk but can have reprice based on actuals incurred as an option in contract.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 16 Jan 2020 06:36

Long term sustainment/logistic contracts are very common in the USDOD. However they have been highly criticized by auditors and other oversight agencies for getting into them early on into a program when maturity standards have not been established and cost baselines are still dynamic. For fighters, the USDOD usually considers a type mature (from a performance, and financial/logistical cost perspective) at around 100K cumulative fleet hours. Those baselines are used to develop a sustianment strategy. Only one F-35 variant has achieved that till date so entering into a PBL this early is going to face some pushback DOD wide. That said, once FRP is cleared, I see this to also be cleared soon thereafter as the DOD annual buy-rate will tick upwards of 110 aircaft a year and all programmatic milestones would have been met.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 16 Jan 2020 07:04



AN/SPY-6(V)4 ready for backfit installations

The Raytheon AN/SPY-6(V)4 radar suite is ready to be backfit on the DDG 51 Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers, Scott Spence, the company's senior director of naval radar systems, told Jane's.

"We can start immediately," Spence said during an interview with Jane's in advance of the Surface Navy Association 2020 Symposium. "The issue is funding."

The company is waiting for the release of the proposed federal government budget, he acknowledged, which will likely take place by mid-February.

"The data package was delivered in October [2019]," he said, noting that the best way to get the AN/SPY-6 capability into the fleet would be through the backfit systems on the older Flight IIA Burkes.


AN/SPY-6(V)4 will go on up to 20 Flight IIA DDG-51's as a retrofit. It will be a 24 RMA (3,456 T/R Modules per side) variant, compared to the 37 RIMA ( 5,328 T/R Modules per side) variant going on the Flight III DDG-51. The Cruiser replacement vessel could potentially accommodate a 69 RMA SPY-6 variant (9900+ T/R Modules per side).

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 16 Jan 2020 21:16

kit wrote:SAMPSON on board the RN is currently one of the most capable, with RN crowing about its prowess as better than the AEGIS.


They are not even in the same league. AEGIS is a combat system and not a a radar. In its currently deployed baseline (9+) it is the only system in the world, currently deployed, that can concurrently do both the BMD mission and the AAW mission with the former including exoatmospheric intercepts and engagement of targets on remote and the latter including Over The Horizon intercepts of air breathing targets.

The higher mount advantage of the SAMPSON is somewhat negated by the fact that most AEGIS vessels at the current, prior, or future baseline, have a dedicated higher frequency sensor (X-band sensor) mounted higher up which is dedicated to low sea-skimming targets and filling the blind spot which a lack of additional altitude for the SPY-X may have provide (but to do that SPY-X would have to shrink in size to be mounted that high). A US and Japan collaboration is currently developing a GaN AESA (X-band) that will become the Next Gen. FXR for the US Navy and Japanese vessels with both a rotator, and a fixed array set up planned depending upon the space, weight and power for backfit on ships that currently utilize the SPQ-9 and forward fit on new destroyers and cruisers built in the future. Both the Toyota (US/Aus DDG) and Lexus (Japanese DDG) variants of the AEGIS destroyers will have these backfitted or forward fitted.

AN/SPQ-9B is an X-Band, pulse Doppler, frequency agile radar which was designed specifically for the littoral environment. It has a very high clutter improvement factor supporting a very low false track rate in the littorals and in high clutter environments.

The AN/SPQ-9B scans out to the horizon and performs simultaneous and automatic air and surface target detection and tracking of low flying Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles (ASCMs), surface threats and low/slow flying aircraft, UAVs and helicopters.


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With AN/SPY-6, and AN/SPY-7 and baseline 10 and beyond, AEGIS will put a further gap between it and pretty much anything else out there. As a combat system, sensor, and shooter combination it tackles everything from exoatmospheric EOR thousands of km's away, to AAW/CMD at targets ranging from 8 km to 350+ km using dedicated interceptors for very short, short, medium and extended range (and OTH) target interception and Ballistic Missile Defense (Exo, and Sea Based Terminal). It is also the only combat system on any naval ship that has a dedicated High Energy Laser integrated into it. 2 DDG-51 ships with a DEW will be delivered this year with a system fully integrated into the combat-system (as opposed to a patched up HEL application on the USS Ponce many years ago).

kit wrote:Besides with the tech progressing at the rate as it is in half a decade, it will be surpassed by AEGIS and SPY 6 radars coming to Australias Hobart destroyers.


Australia is not getting the AN/SPY-6. So far, only the SPY-7 has been exported for AEGIS and non AEGIS applications. Raytheon has to supply dozens of ships (SPY-6 variants will be on 7 ship classes including destroyers, frigates, aircraft-carriers, and amphibs) and with the backfit it could add 20 additional ships as well. Depending upon their production capacity they may not have a lot of room to accommodate export schedules in the near-medium. AN/SPY-7 probably has more wiggle room there and it just about as capable.

The mounting and size of the radar is determined by the demand from the sensor. AEGIS demands are extensive and the sensitivity, and the ability to electronically steer to meet everything from SSA to sea-skimming threats requires a large aperture. Same with mean and peak power. As I mentioned, it is the only combat system that demands as much depth and breadth of capability from its sensor(s). For this you need large radars. In return, those large radars can't be mounted as high so height takes a back seat to overall radar performance with the gap being filled by supplementary systems. The SPY-6 (V) 1 is a fairly large radar but it is still a compromise due to Flight III DDG-51 SWaP restrictions. At 14 ft. it is still the largest such type radar mounted on a naval vessel though the DDG-1000 can accommodate an 18 ft. variant (which it currently does not have). There is a 34 foot SPY-6 variant mocked up on a potential Large Cruiser/Combatant proposed by Huntington Ingalls. That is a reflection on the sort of raid sizes they are looking at for the future in an integrated - Ballistic/Hypersonic - supersonic - and subsonic attack on the defended area (numerous ships). SAMPSON and the UK and rest of European Frigates and Destroyers are just not geared to handle such missions and raid scenarios. The best performing assets that have demonstrated good capability in the IAMD aspect has been the SMART-L sensor in helping AEGIS track Ballistic Missiles at range. But even that is not a disriminating sensor so requires some other sensor to do that portion of the mission.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 17 Jan 2020 21:19

Slowly catching up but it may just be too little too late for them..At this rate the 250+ knots cruise speed demonstration may not happen till later this summer, much after the government has stopped accepting additional data on the two demonstrators. Bell has not only demonstrated its specified performance of 280 Kt cruise speed but bettered by demonstrating 300 Kt along with a whole bunch of stuff that goes over and beyond what the US Army wanted. They've executed the program better than what one would imagine a perfect demonstrator program to be..


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 18 Jan 2020 20:32

X-61A "Gremlins" has its maiden flight for a full up system (it occurred in November of last year but only made public now). It lasted 1 hour and 41 minutes. Gremlins is an air-launched (multiple-platforms) and C-130 recoverable (mid-air-recovery) unmanned aerial vehicle designed to house Electronic Warfare, and ISR payloads that may be too risky or expensive to install on a MALD like system..the idea being to spread the cost of the payload over anywhere from 4-8 missions.

The test took place at Dugway Proving Ground near Salt Lake City, Utah. Testing operations involved one captive-carry mission aboard a TBM, Inc. C-130A and an airborne launch and free flight of the X-61A that lasted one hour and 41 minutes. The test objectives included:

Demonstrating a successful launch of the GAV from the C-130;
Demonstrating a rate capture, wing deployment, cold engine start, and transition to stable, powered flight;
Collecting data on GAV subsystem operation and performance;
Verifying air and ground-based command and control systems, including data link performance and handovers between air and ground control;
Deploying the GAV docking arm;
Demonstrating the flight termination and ground (parachute) recovery of the GAV (demonstration system only – not part of the operational system).
The X-61A flew as predicted with no anomalies, achieving all test objectives that relate to the operational system. At the end of the mission, the engine was shut down and a drogue chute successfully deployed to terminate flight. Unfortunately, the vehicle was lost during the ground recovery sequence due to a failure to extract the main chute.

Managed out of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office (TTO), the overarching goal of Gremlins is to accelerate the ability to perform aerial launch and recovery of volley quantities of low-cost, reusable unmanned aerial systems (UASs). This test is the next step toward the completion of the program’s Phase 3 demonstration objectives, which include a final flight test to demonstrate the ability to recover four GAVs in under 30 minutes.


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 19 Jan 2020 23:59

Next Ford-class Carrier to be Named After Pearl Harbor Hero Doris Miller

The fourth Ford-class carrier will be named in honor of World War II icon Doris Miller, the first black recipient of the Navy Cross, Navy officials confirmed to USNI News on Saturday.

The naming of CVN-81 is expected to be announced during a Monday ceremony in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii by Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, USNI News has learned.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser first reported the news of the ceremony and the carrier name on Saturday.

Modly wanted to name the carrier after a Navy hero and landed on Miller after extensive conversations with current and former Navy leaders, two sources familiar with the process told USNI News. The name was floated to both the White House and Congress with no pushback, the sources confirmed.

Miller was widely recognized as one of the first U.S. heroes of World War II and his legacy has been a touchstone for African American sailors in the service.

“Without him really knowing, he actually was a part of the civil rights movement because he changed the thinking in the Navy,” Doreen Ravenscroft, with the Doris Miller Memorial in Waco, Texas, told the Star-Advertiser.

During the Imperial Japanese Navy attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, then Mess Attendant 3rd Class Miller took charge of an anti-aircraft battery on USS West Virginia (BB-48) firing on enemy aircraft until running out of ammunition.

“It wasn’t hard. I just pulled the trigger and she worked fine,” Miller recalled after the battle. “I guess I fired her for about fifteen minutes. I think I got one of those Jap planes. They were diving pretty close to us.”

Then he assisted the battleship’s commander and several others off the ship before it sank. For his actions, he received the Navy Cross in 1942 presented by Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz on the deck of WWII carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6)....

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 21 Jan 2020 05:56


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Avarachan » 21 Jan 2020 10:39

https://www.propublica.org/article/trum ... re-so-sure

ProPublica, "Trump Says U.S. Is Ready for War. Not All His Troops Are So Sure."
January 17, 2020
T. Christian Miller, Megan Rose, and Robert Faturechi

Over the past 18 months, ProPublica has dug into military accidents in recent years that, all told, call into question just how prepared the American military is to fight America’s battles ....

The services’ problems with readiness burst into public view in the summer of 2017, when two American destroyers collided with two commercial ships in separate incidents that left 17 sailors dead and scores injured. They were the Navy’s worst accidents at sea since the 1970s.

Both the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John S. McCain were deployed to the 7th Fleet, based in Yokosuka, Japan. What both ships needed, ProPublica found, was more time to train and more sailors.

Neither ship was fully qualified for its battle missions; neither ship had a full crew; both ships had patched together navigation systems that failed to work at times.

Sailors on both ships described being shortchanged in training and exhausted by the pace of operations. One-hundred-hour work weeks were not uncommon.

On the Fitzgerald, for instance, a sailor had to manually press a button more than 1,000 times to refresh a radar screen tracking nearby traffic. On the evening of the collision on June 17, the Fitzgerald was under the control of a relatively inexperienced officer who ordered the destroyer to turn directly into the path of a cargo carrier.

On the McCain, the Navy had installed a touch-screen navigation system as a cheaper alternative to traditional steering wheels and throttles. The design of the new system was so confusing that the sailors using it accidentally guided the McCain into an oil tanker in the Singapore Strait on Aug. 21.

Dakota Bordeaux, the young sailor steering the ship, said of the new navigation system, “There was actually a lot of functions on there that I had no clue what on earth they did.”
....

The 7th Fleet, the largest of the Navy’s forward-deployed fleets, was perhaps most vulnerable. In 2017, top officers laid out the armada’s dire conditions for its senior commander, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin.

Training was down. Certifications, which crews received after proving they were prepared to handle crucial war-fighting duties, had dropped from 93% completed in 2014 to 62% in 2016. That year, only two of the fleet’s 11 destroyers and cruisers received all recommended maintenance. One ship got only a quarter of its scheduled upkeep.

Aucoin sent the assessment to the top brass. But the portrait of crisis got him nothing.

Low-level officers on the decks of ships and high-ranking leaders up the chain of command said they made similar warnings and were shut down. Scores of sailors reached out to us and testified to some combination of fear, lack of training and an absence of confidence in the Navy’s leadership ....

The Department of the Navy oversees the Marine Corps. And a Marine Corps aviation accident in December 2018 raised its own questions about readiness. A midair collision between a F/A-18D Hornet and a KC-130J Hercules fuel tanker over the Pacific left six Marines dead.

The same patterns showed up again: Local commanders had warned higher-ups of a lack of training, nonfunctioning aircraft and faulty equipment.

Squadron 242, whose fighter jets were involved in the accident, was designed to leap quickly into an attack against North Korea in case of conflict. The commander’s own reports showed the squadron was consistently not capable of completing seven of its 10 “mission essential tasks,” such as armed reconnaissance and traveling into enemy airspace to bomb known targets.

In commentary written in response to the findings of a safety board investigation after the incident, the commander for the tanker squadron, which lost five Marines in the crash, was unsparing.

“In an [area of operations] where the mantra of ‘Fight Tonight’ is repeated everywhere,” Lt. Col. Mitchell Maury said, referring to the Pacific, “we are not manned, trained, and equipped to execute to the appropriate level of effectiveness.”

In isolation, each of the events seemed an unfortunate accident — regrettable, to be sure, but not a cause for widespread alarm.

But our reporting showed a broad and alarming pattern. The Navy and the Marine Corps had routinely ignored their sailors and Marines, their equipment and their training. The result: men dying during peacetime.

Are the two branches ready to fight a war against Iran tonight? It’s a question that nobody hopes to ever answer. But it’s a question that goes beyond expensive new weapons.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Karthik S » 21 Jan 2020 11:10

So it's not all Nathan James and Tom Chandler.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby chetak » 23 Jan 2020 03:09

An interesting view of the US Air Force One during POTUS's Davos trip

get a load of the antennae just on the top fuselage. It looks mostly geared for SATCOM.

I am sure that there is another bunch of different antennae on the underside of the fuselage too.


Air Force One and a Half before departure from Zurich to Ramstein


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 23 Jan 2020 17:19


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 24 Jan 2020 01:30

Jan 18, 2020 :: Navy builds aircraft carrier drone headquarters

The Navy is building a special new command and control mini "drone-headquarters" space on its aircraft carriers to operate deck-launched drones as part of a strategy aimed at massively increasing the scope of carrier-launched drone missions in coming years.

Launching drones from carriers represents an unprecedented technical leap for the Navy as it seeks to expand surveillance and combat range and mission scope for its Carrier Air Wings. The new space, as explained Jan.16 at the Surface Navy Association Annual Symposium in Arlington, Va. by senior Navy leaders, is being engineered as an adaptation to existing ship-based structures and configurations. The center, called Unmanned Aviation Warfare Center, is being built into both the Navy's new Ford-class carriers as well as its existing Nimitz-class carriers.

“It is the re-purposing of a space on the ship to basically be a control room from which you can send and receive data from unmanned systems and give them updates as needed,” said Capt. Charles Ehnes, in-service aircraft carrier program manager.

As mentioned by Ehnes, this can massively increase target designation and combat-essential data sharing across air and surface Navy assets at war. Drones can not only increase range but also, of course, reduce risks to manned pilots, and such technology is rapidly improving as weapons developers continue to accelerate new methods of manned-unmanned networking and information sharing in real-time.

The Navy’s move to progressively increase the number of carrier-launched drone missions brings several new attack and combat options for ship commanders. The current drone-centered mission scope is largely surveillance and refueling, as evidenced by a first-of-its kind MQ-25 Stingray carrier-launched refueler drone now being developed for Navy carriers. The emerging MQ-25 drone, to reach operational status in the next few years, will greatly extend the attack reach of carrier-launched fighters such as F-35s and F-18s. In effect, a drone of this kind could almost double the reach of Carrier Air Wing attack assets, enabling greater standoff range for carriers and longer “dwell time” on attack missions over enemy territory. For instance, if an emerging F-35C operates at an attack range of 300 to 500 miles before needing to refuel, a carrier-launched aerial refueler could potentially double this and greatly extend mission options.

In recent years, the Navy has been moving quickly to develop and refine new technical paradigms designed to address the many challenges associated with launching and landing drones on carriers -- without the direction of a manned pilot. These included finding ways a drone can withstand rigorous weather conditions such as windy landings, navigate various sea-states, land on large moving ships, land at night and coordinate with other air assets.

Alongside the fast-emerging carrier-launched drone refueling mission, it is conceivable that future carrier-launched drones could operate attack missions -- all while using the carrier-based drone command center to ensure a human is in the loop performing command and control. An armed drone could launch from a carrier, find and identify targets before networking them to manned airborne fighter jets or carrier-based Navy decision-makers.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 25 Jan 2020 16:42

The US Navy's Army's Air-Force gets its first operational naval carrier borne fighter -

First Marine Corps F-35C hits the fleet in California


The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing has received the first Marine Corps F-35C Lightning II ― the carrier-focused variant of America’s most advanced fighter.

Since 2015 the Marine Corps has been operating the F-35B, the vertical take-off variant of the nation’s most advanced aircraft, and used it in combat for the first time in 2018, targeting ground forces in Afghanistan.

But on Tuesday, when Lt. Col. Cedar Hinton, the commander of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314, flew the aircraft the roughly 300 miles from Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, to his unit’s home squadron at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, the Marine Corps finally received the variant specialized for operating on carriers.

The announcement comes just under a year after the Navy’s Argonauts of Strike Fighter Squadron 147 reached initial operating capability for the F-35C.The February 2019 IOC declaration meant the unit had 10 F-35Cs in the squadron, with the requisite spare parts, support equipment, tools, technical publications as well as training and logistics programs to support them.

The new aircraft comes with more internal fuel storage than its F-35B counterpart, along with beefed up control surfaces and landing gear capable of taking the beating involved with catapult take-offs used on carriers.In August 2019, 1st. Lt. Catherine Stark was announced as the first female selected to train and fly the F-35C. Stark began her nine to 12 month training program shortly after her Aug. 2, graduation from flight school.

VMFA has made other firsts

“It should be no surprise that VMFA-314 is once again leading the way into the next generation of fighter attack aircraft,” Hinton said in a Marine Corps press release.

In 1952 the unit, known as the Black Knights, was the first in 3rd MAW to transition to jet aircraft by flying the F9F Panther.

In 1961 the Black Knights became the first Marine squadron to receive the F-4B Phantom, and in 1982 it once again led the way as the first unit in the Department of the Navy to fly the F/A-18 Hornet.

“VMFA-314’s storied history should give the American people confidence that the ‘Black Knights’ will continue to fix, fly, and fight the next generation of aircraft," the press release said.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 26 Jan 2020 19:23

While David tries to somehow connect the image to the NGJ-LB program, it is probably only partially related. Both Northrop Grumman and L3 were required to demonstrate their existing technologies on current pods (with allowable modifications) and once their designs were proven to work against the requirements, they would then proceed to develop and deliver their proposed Full up Pods for further testing, evaluation and competition.

With the bids going in this past week, the US Navy will now select 1 of the 2 (or both of them) to deliver test pods starting June-July time-frame. Those will be technology demonstrator pods (Like what Raytheon did in 2016) and if they like what they see in terms of performance and maturity they will give a further contract for EMD level pods. If the Navy doesn't like what the see in the summer in terms of performance, maturity and reliability..they have reserved the right to open up the competition and allow other competitors to come in and offer their proposals. The USN wants IOC for the LB system by 2024, or about 2 years after the MB system declares IOC. High Band system will probably IOC closed to 2030 given the technical challenges involved.

Here’s Northrop Grumman’s Submission For the EA-18G Growler’s Next-Gen Jammer Low-Band Pod


The NGJ program aims to give the EA-18G fleet advanced airborne electronic attack capabilities through three frequency-focused increments – high-band, mid-band and low-band: in other words, the Growlers will replace the TJS pods operating in the 509 MHz to 18 GHz waveband, using three different pods, designated NGJ-LB (also known as Block/Increment 2), NGJ-MB (Capability Block/Increment 1), and NGJ-HB (Block/Increment 3) and directed specifically against the low- (100 MHz to 2 GHz waveband), mid- (2 GHz to 6 GHz), and high-band (6 GHz to 18 GHz) sections of the overall threat spectrum.....

On Jan. 16, 2020, Northrop Grumman submitted its proposal for the US Navy’s Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) Low Band (LB) Capability Block 1 (CB1) competition, whose deadline was Jan. 17. Although Northrop Grumman and L3 Harris are already going head-to-head building competing Low Band jammer pod prototypes for test and demonstration under the NGJ-LB Demonstration of Existing Technologies contract the new proposal deals with the most important part of the project: the first installment of the Next Generation Jammer-Low Band suite. This is a big deal since whoever is awarded the contract, it will become prime designer/developer/producer/integrator for the future Low Band jammer on the EA-18G Growler......

“Northrop Grumman has submitted our proposal for the Next Generation Jammer Low Band (NGJ LB) Capability Block 1 (CB1) solution,” said Curtis Pearson, Director, Advanced Programs, Northrop Grumman, in an official statement. “Since being selected by the U.S. Navy in October 2018 for the Next Generation Jammer Low Band Demonstration of Existing Technologies (DET) program, our Growler and electronic warfare (EW) mission teams have committed to meeting the Navy’s speed to fleet path. The industry-government team for Low Band have partnered closely on research, design, development, production, integration and test to deliver a complete solution for low band capability. As the Electronic Attack integrator on the EA-18G Growler, we will continue to work closely with the Navy to deliver solutions that maintain warfighter advantage for the EW mission.”

Therefore, while NGJ-MB will replace one of high-band ALQ-99 pods that Growlers carry under each wing, the NGJ-LB, will replace the low-band pod that the aircraft carry on the centerline store position under the fuselage (the third one, a high-band pod, being developed as part of the so-called Increment III, will be carried on the left wing). The NGJ-LB will be extremely important to provide cover to stealth aircraft, threatened by the emerging counter-stealth Low Band radars, engaging enemy threats from increased stand-off distances and employing increased capacity (number of jamming assignments).......

Unlike the NGJ-MB pod, that uses two sets of door to allow ram air to enter and exit while emitting, based on the artist rendering Northrop Grumman has just released [that appears to be based on an actual photo (with some photo filter applied to it)], their NGJ-LB design will feature the typical front propeller of the RAT (Ram Air Turbine) as used in the ALQ-99 to generate power. Noteworthy, the new image of the centerline pod shows a slightly modified design than the original version that circulated last year, with the addition of what seems to be a small air intake on the upper rear section of the pod (whose shape is, for the rest, similar to the one of the ALQ-99).




Image

This design, if representative, makes sense. Much lower drag than Raytheon's MB solution. LB system won't need anywhere near the same levels of power generation, or heat dissipation as the MB or HB system so a lower drag design is probably the best approach though it remains to be seen how much deviation from the ALQ-99 they eventually propose (the lower the better in terms of test and certification and aerodynamic impact).

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 29 Jan 2020 20:00

Pentagon Seeks a Way to Shoot Down Putin’s ‘Invincible’ Hypersonic Missiles

Vladimir Putin calls Russia’s Avangard hypersonic missile “invincible.” The U.S. military is looking to prove him wrong.

On Tuesday, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced that it had awarded $13 million to defense contractor Northrop Grumman for its Glide Breaker program, an experimental effort to develop interceptors to take out highly advanced and highly maneuverable hypersonic missiles.

The U.S. military regards the burgeoning class manueverable hypersonic missiles as a strategic challenge. Shooting down even a conventional missile traveling at five times the speed of sound is hardly easy. “If you’re going Mach 13 at the very northern edge of Hudson Bay, you have enough residual velocity to hit all 48 of the continental United States and all of Alaska. You can choose [to] point it left or right, and hit Maine or Alaska, or you can hit San Diego or Key West. That’s a monstrous problem,” Paul Selva, a former Air Force vice chief of staff, said last year.

Monstrous is different from invincible.

The Glide Breaker program “Intends to advance the United States’ (U.S.) means to counter hypersonic vehicles” by developing the enabling technology critical for an advanced interceptor” that can do the job, DARPA wrote.

One way to think about intercepting a hypersonic missile is to imagine it as more like an aircraft than a conventional ballistic missile, said Thomas Karako, a senior fellow with the International Security Program and the director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “This is essentially advanced air defense. It’s not seen as a magical kind of a challenge. We’re good at it,” Karako said.

In one way, it’s even easier that in conventional air defense, where it can be difficult to tell an enemy aircraft from a friendly one. But If you’re going to track a maneuverable hypersonic you need to do it from above. “That’s why I’m banging the drum on the space sensor layer all the time,” he said, referring to the Pentagon’s push for a new satellite constellation. “You have to see it before you can kill it.”

Says Karako, “It’s important to remember that these things, traveling at high speeds under a lot of thermal pressure, are far from invincible. They have a lot of vulnerabilities.” You might be able to bring together a mix of different approaches, including cyber or electronic warfare effects, to take one down.

To intercept a conventional ICBM, the U.S. would use one or more of its ground-based midcourse defense missiles: 44 in Alaska, four in California. Those don’t have warheads on them, so the intercept has to be incredibly precise.

To shoot down hypersonic missiles, the United States may use exploding warheads, reducing the need for precision. He cited the Arrow 2, SM-6, and PAC-2 interceptors. “Those aren’t hit-to-kill. They’re high explosive. It may be that you want to put a shotgun blast in front of [the hypersonic threat.] You may only need to do a little damage in this fancy control surface, to have an effect,” he said.

Russia made headlines with its claim that it has already deployed the Avangard. Karako says that the U.S. has to take the threat seriously, but “we have to ask the question: What exactly is it they can do that they couldn’t do before?” It’s a niche capability, he said. According to the press reports I saw, they were only deploying two of them.”

If you worry about those hypersonics one day hitting your hometown, Karako notes, recall that Russia has far more than enough conventional ICBMs for that purpose. The real value of a hypersonic weapon is a rapid strike in a conflict closer to either China or Russia.

“If it’s a better regional, tactical, kind of thing, that’s more worrisome. If they can arms that puts on our heels in a regional conflict, that’s more likely to lead to escalation,” he said.




Broad Agency Announcement: Glide Breaker

Another Launch Startup Gets Work from US Air Force

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 29 Jan 2020 20:10

Lockheed Has Best Year Ever, And Expects a Better 2020

Lockheed Martin booked nearly $60 billion in 2019 sales, the best year on record for the world’s largest defense contractor. And its executives are predicting even higher sales this year.

“[W]e really are happy with our current portfolio,” Marillyn Hewson, the company’s chairman, president and CEO, said Tuesday during the company’s quarterly earnings conference call with investment analysts. “We don’t see any gaps right now.”

Lockheed predicts that demand from the Pentagon and U.S. allies will generate between $62.75 billion and $64.25 billion in 2020 sales.

The company grew 11 percent from 2018 to 2019. All four of its divisions increased their sales, earnings, and backlog.

The largest growth came in Lockheed’s Missiles and Fire Control business, which grew 20 percent on tactical weapons, Patriot interceptors, and work on new hypersonic missiles.

Executives said Congress added nearly $3.5 billion for Lockheed-made weapons to the Trump administration’s 2020 spending request. Lawmakers appropriated an extra $2 billion to add 20 F-35 fighter jets to the requested 78 and more than $800 million to add nine C-130J transports to the requested 11. They also increased funding for the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon, Orion space capsule, new missile-warning satellites, and helicopter programs.

“We believe our portfolio is well positioned to address important security needs for our nation with the increasing defense budgets and these additional appropriations actions supporting continued growth opportunities into the future,” Hewson said.

In addition to the record number of 2019 sales, Lockheed has $144 billion in its backlog.

“As you can see, with our very robust backlog, about $144 billion, it gives us an opportunity to not only perform on that work that we have, but to continue to invest in new technologies and new capabilities,” Hewson said. “And that’s what we’ve been doing for a number of years. We have highlighted areas in the radar arena and hypersonics and directed energy.”


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Nikhil T » 30 Jan 2020 08:28

NRao wrote:Lockheed Has Best Year Ever, And Expects a Better 2020

Lockheed Martin booked nearly $60 billion in 2019 sales, the best year on record for the world’s largest defense contractor. And its executives are predicting even higher sales this year.

“[W]e really are happy with our current portfolio,” Marillyn Hewson, the company’s chairman, president and CEO, said Tuesday during the company’s quarterly earnings conference call with investment analysts. “We don’t see any gaps right now.”

Lockheed predicts that demand from the Pentagon and U.S. allies will generate between $62.75 billion and $64.25 billion in 2020 sales.

The company grew 11 percent from 2018 to 2019. All four of its divisions increased their sales, earnings, and backlog.

The largest growth came in Lockheed’s Missiles and Fire Control business, which grew 20 percent on tactical weapons, Patriot interceptors, and work on new hypersonic missiles.

Executives said Congress added nearly $3.5 billion for Lockheed-made weapons to the Trump administration’s 2020 spending request. Lawmakers appropriated an extra $2 billion to add 20 F-35 fighter jets to the requested 78 and more than $800 million to add nine C-130J transports to the requested 11. They also increased funding for the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon, Orion space capsule, new missile-warning satellites, and helicopter programs.

“We believe our portfolio is well positioned to address important security needs for our nation with the increasing defense budgets and these additional appropriations actions supporting continued growth opportunities into the future,” Hewson said.

In addition to the record number of 2019 sales, Lockheed has $144 billion in its backlog.

“As you can see, with our very robust backlog, about $144 billion, it gives us an opportunity to not only perform on that work that we have, but to continue to invest in new technologies and new capabilities,” Hewson said. “And that’s what we’ve been doing for a number of years. We have highlighted areas in the radar arena and hypersonics and directed energy.”



Always amazes me that Congress would authorize more military equipment than what POTUS requested. US military is spoiled for sure.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 30 Jan 2020 08:50

Nikhil T wrote:Always amazes me that Congress would authorize more military equipment than what POTUS requested. US military is spoiled for sure.


This following might help.

103 House lawmakers push for more F-35s

They propose adding 12 F-35As for 60 total — which mirrors the Air Force’s annual unfunded priorities list — but also, 12 F-35Bs for 22 total. It does not add to the request for 20 F-35Cs.




There is always the jobs in their districts and therefore votes angle.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 30 Jan 2020 08:55

Nikhil T wrote:
Always amazes me that Congress would authorize more military equipment than what POTUS requested. US military is spoiled for sure.


The US budget has been sequestered for nearly a decade that the Budget Control Act has been in force. As a result the President's budget does not request everything that the administration may want or what the individual services want (it was same during the Obama years). Congress needs to then negotiate and vote on increasing the spending caps on a year by year basis (or when there are two-year deals). As a result Congress asks each US service to provide a separate Unfunded Priorities List, i.e. a list of thing it needs that it could not put into the budget because of the OMB mandated top line. Congress then uses that UPL to negotiate any spending increases between the two parties. This will end when sequestration goes away in 2022.

Below is what a service UPL looks like -

https://www.airforcemag.com/PDF/DRArchi ... 20List.pdf

Services are known to deliberately ask for less for systems that generally have good Congressional support because they know that those numbers will be upped during the budget negotiations process. This is why you see the USN often terminate funding for a carrier overhaul or refueling in the President's budget request (and all hell breaks loose in the media..) and spends that money elsewhere...only to have that funding put back into the final budget by Congress when higher funding levels are negotiated. In this case (F-35) the USAF asked for X number of F-35A's. When the requirements moved up to the DOD level (Office of SecDef) they decided that the USAF should also be getting F-15 EX aircraft. Since top lines were rigid they reduced some F-35A's and added 8 F-15EX's. Congress went back and restored F-35's in addition to the F-15EX's requested. Similar things happened to the other two operators. This doesn't mean that the USAF never wanted those aircraft and the Congress gifted them those anyways. This just means that when given a top-line the USAF chose a certain mix of procurement (influenced by other considerations at the OSD level). If that topline were to grow they would likewise adjust that #. A UPL guides the Congress as to what could potentially be added into the base budget or OCO in case a higher top line is negotiated.

Regardless, defense spending is a matter for Congress and Congressional committees are as much, if not more powerful stakeholders, then POTUS himself/herself.

----

The most astonishing thing about the Lockheed financial data is the backlog which is approaching $150 Billion and the sheer amount of work they are doing in hypersonic systems where they seem to be taking the competition to the cleaners.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Nikhil T » 30 Jan 2020 13:24

^ thanks sir. Used to think Congress enhances military budgets to save jobs, but sounds like another reason is gaming the budget laws.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Rony » 30 Jan 2020 17:36

A long read about how the majority of US military members come from a limited number of communities with strong family ties to the military. This is consistent with the idea that certain occupations do cluster in families.

Who Signs Up to Fight? Makeup of U.S. Recruits Shows Glaring Disparity
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/10/us/m ... tment.html.

More and more, new recruits come from the same small number of counties and are the children of old recruits.

In 2019, 79 percent of Army recruits reported having a family member who served. For nearly 30 percent, it was a parent — a striking point in a nation where less than 1 percent of the population serves in the military.

military families who have borne nearly all of the burden, and are the most cleareyed about the risks of war, are still the Americans who are most likely to encourage their sons and daughters to join.

In communities where veterans are plentiful, teachers, coaches, mothers, uncles and other mentors often steer youths toward military service. In communities where veterans are scarce, influential adults are more wary.

The South, where the culture of military service runs deep and military installations are plentiful, produces 20 percent more recruits than would be expected, based on its youth population. The states in the Northeast, which have very few military bases and a lower percentage of veterans, produce 20 percent fewer.

The main predictors are not based on class or race. Army data show service spread mostly evenly through middle-class and “downscale” groups. Youth unemployment turns out not to be the prime factor. And the racial makeup of the force is more or less in line with that of young Americans as a whole, though African-Americans are slightly more likely to serve. Instead, the best predictor is a person’s familiarity with the military.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 30 Jan 2020 19:43

Nikhil T wrote:^ thanks sir. Used to think Congress enhances military budgets to save jobs, but sounds like another reason is gaming the budget laws.


Not gaming per say but a process of negotiations. There is no budget law. The NDAA, each year, becomes the law. The Budget Control Act mandates that any spending levels above the cap requires 2/3 support in the Senate and for this they need to negotiate. Once negotiated and passed the NDAA becomes the law of the land once signed by POTUS. It is just a process. Starting 2023, this will end as the budget caps will not be in place and whoever will be the POTUS then will have the power to propose a budget that is not capped by spending limits or the need to negotiate with the other party as a simple majority will be required to get it through Congress.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 30 Jan 2020 19:51

brar_w wrote:The most astonishing thing about the Lockheed financial data is the backlog which is approaching $150 Billion and the sheer amount of work they are doing in hypersonic systems where they seem to be taking the competition to the cleaners.



This graphic from Aviation Week kind reinforces my point there -


Image

Interestingly, one of the programs there that is expected to go into live demonstrations in a couple of years actually uses a throttleable second stage Solid Rocket Motor.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Prasad » 30 Jan 2020 20:49

Interesting that the second one looks like an RV with fins just as it was tested in one of the BM tests.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 30 Jan 2020 21:04

Prasad wrote:Interesting that the second one looks like an RV with fins just as it was tested in one of the BM tests.


All Hypersonic BGV's Re-enter. What their unique features provide is the ability to stay within the atmosphere for more than 50% of their total flight distance (this is crucial as it separates them from a TBM for treaty purposes). So a 3500-4000 km HGV (which the Intermediate ranged system is designed to be) will spend more than half of that within the atmosphere. This is well over an order of magnitute increase in the time spent inside the atmosphere which then requires both the ability to manuever and skip and also completely different thermals. For reference, early experimentation with pre-prototype version of the Common Hypersonic Glide Body performed an 11 minute glide within the atmosphere some 7 years ago. The USN test in 2016/17 bettered that though the exact specifics were not released. The Wedge-shaped BGV's that will soon begin their flight-testing with DARPA's TBG (could be tested anytime now), and will be later fielded under the USAF's ARRW program, are expected to improve that by at least 50% while also being capable of Mid Course updates. Now imagine a tactical BGV skipping and performing atmospheric flight at those high Mach numbers for 20 minutes. Additional the wedge shaped BGV's have an RCS advantage as well..so there is a huge targeting problem because a 2000 km so BG flight means you have no way to really tell (or it gets very difficult) where this thing is actually targeted. With strategic systems you can somewhat do that because those will be used to target population centers, or first strike capability. But with tactical systems your ability to defend against these becomes highly problematic..

Also these are notional representation and not any official designs.
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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 30 Jan 2020 22:06

Lockheed Martin Forges a Path to Greater F-35 Sustainment

Ken Merchant has what he deems a “fiercely complex” job. As the vice president of F-35 Global Sustainment at Lockheed Martin, Merchant works within the company, the supply base and alongside the U.S. Department of Defense to ensure that the more than 450 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft deployed across the globe have access to the parts and expertise they need to stay operational at all times.

“We have three different F-35 variants, three different U.S. services flying the jet, nine partner nations, several current FMS [Foreign Military Sales] customers with more to join, we’ve delivered 458 jets so far and we’re operating out of 20 bases around the world,” says Merchant, adding that those include three ship-borne units operating today. “As you might imagine with those types numbers and with each aircraft having unique mission needs, it’s a rather complex operational landscape we have in front of us.”

Moreover, the company is on track to field more than 140 jets in 2020 and 150 in 2021, with numbers expected to rise from there. As the numbers increase, so does the complexity it takes to ensure that each aircraft is able to access all necessary parts and trained maintenance staff to stay fully operational both at home and when deployed abroad.

But as logistical complexities mount, Merchant and his team have been working alongside government and international partners to not only meet rising operational demands, but also make wide-sweeping improvements across the F-35 pipeline and lifecycle.

While there’s been a spotlight on the many challenges surrounding sustainment efforts for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II aircraft, Merchant points to the many ways that industry and government have been working together to meet cost and sustainment targets.

“The company’s been very proactive in trying to get ahead of costs caused by current inefficiencies in the weapon system and identifying cost reduction initiatives,” says Merchant. “Working with the Joint Program Office in D.C. and the various services, we’ve identified a number of reduction initiatives and we believe that we have a pretty good approach. It’s a pretty good prediction of where we can bring the cost down and specific areas to target.”

Using this tact, there has been major progress in recent months when it comes to improving F-35 fly away and sustainment and costs. Most notably, perhaps, Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon surpassed cost-reduction goals laid out in the “blueprint for affordability” for each variant of the aircraft, reducing the price per aircraft by more than 12 percent across the fleet.

“We will reach a unit-recurring flyaway-cost-per-aircraft target of $80 million for a U.S. Air Force F-35A price by Lot 13, which is one lot earlier than planned — a significant milestone for the Department,” Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord said of the accomplishment.

Maintenance and Sustainment Take Center Stage

In July, Combat Coded F-35s reached their highest mission capable rate to date, at 77.1% the number is a significant leap from the 2018 rate, but improving maintenance capabilities remains a prime target for Lockheed Martin.

Merchant notes that the company is currently working with the USG to update the F-35’s Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) Prognostics and Health Management (PHM) system to improve fault isolation capabilities and improve MC rates even further. The company is also focused on driving down support costs, working to spot and apply efficiencies across the operation with the aim to reduce the cost of F-35 sustainment to $25,000 per flying hour by 2025.

“We see a path to that target going forward,” says Merchant. “We’re identifying specific cost elements, cost reduction improvements and process improvements — just like we did on the production line to reduce the cost per aircraft — that we believe will get us to those reduced costs.”

Ultimately, Merchant believes that continued success relies on a “partnered approach” between commercial entities and the military, as well as longer-termed performance-based contracts, which will help to both drive costs down and incentivize suppliers across the supply chain to invest in additional improvements.

“If suppliers have a longer runway ahead of them to recover their investment, it helps to incentivize both smaller and larger suppliers to improve the performance of the airplane,” explains Merchant. “If we want to get the whole fleet to 80% mission capable rate and drive costs down, we can achieve that by having everyone focused on those same prizes. If all suppliers are focused on bringing cost-per-tail-per-year and cost-per-flying-hour down while we improve the performance of the jet across the board fleetwide for every customer, we can’t help but succeed. We can’t help but have a product that everyone can stand behind and that others will want to invest in.”

This content is made possible by Lockheed Martin; it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Defense One’s editorial staff.


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby ldev » 31 Jan 2020 11:04

Pentagon Seeks a Way to Shoot Down Putin’s ‘Invincible’ Hypersonic Missiles

A $13 million DARPA contract will get Northrop working on the problem.

Vladimir Putin calls Russia’s Avangard hypersonic missile “invincible.” The U.S. military is looking to prove him wrong.

On Tuesday, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced that it had awarded $13 million to defense contractor Northrop Grumman for its Glide Breaker program, an experimental effort to develop interceptors to take out highly advanced and highly maneuverable hypersonic missiles.

The U.S. military regards the burgeoning class manueverable hypersonic missiles as a strategic challenge. Shooting down even a conventional missile traveling at five times the speed of sound is hardly easy. “If you’re going Mach 13 at the very northern edge of Hudson Bay, you have enough residual velocity to hit all 48 of the continental United States and all of Alaska. You can choose [to] point it left or right, and hit Maine or Alaska, or you can hit San Diego or Key West. That’s a monstrous problem,” Paul Selva, the former Vice Chief of Staff, said last year.

Monstrous is different from invincible.

The Glide Breaker program “Intends to advance the United States’ (U.S.) means to counter hypersonic vehicles” by developing the enabling technology critical for an advanced interceptor” that can do the job, DARPA wrote.

One way to think about intercepting a hypersonic missile is to imagine it as more like an aircraft than a conventional ballistic missile, said Thomas Karako, a senior fellow with the International Security Program and the director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “This is essentially advanced air defense. It’s not seen as a magical kind of a challenge. We’re good at it,” Karako said.

In one way, it’s even easier that in conventional air defense, where it can be difficult to tell an enemy aircraft from a friendly one. But If you’re going to track a maneuverable hypersonic you need to do it from above. “That’s why I’m banging the drum on the space sensor layer all the time,” he said, referring to the Pentagon’s push for a new satellite constellation. “You have to see it before you can kill it.”

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 31 Jan 2020 19:42

Defenseone is such a tabloid level publication. Most of those contracts are looking at defeating tactical weapons. The US does not have Air Defenses that can defeat Russia's nuclear deterrence from even 10 years ago so the ability to defeat enhancements do not matter. The use of the Avangard is deterred by the US triad. These programs are aimed at defeating glide weapons when they start showing up on tactical battlefield which is going to be
quite soon given Chinese development.
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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 31 Jan 2020 19:45

‘Eye-Popping’ Budget Plus-Ups for Hypersonics


The fiscal year 2020 defense budget, passed by Congress in late December, included extra funding for a variety of hypersonic weapon projects that the Pentagon is pursuing to keep pace with great power competitors.

The systems — which will travel at speeds greater than Mach 5 and be highly maneuverable to thwart enemy missile defenses — are the Defense Department’s No. 1 research-and-development priority and have received strong backing from lawmakers. The United States is in a race with China and Russia, which are pursuing their own programs.

In a newsletter, Jim McAleese, founder of McAleese & Associates, said there was a “micro-flurry of hypersonic plus-ups” in the 2020 omnibus appropriations bill, which President Donald Trump signed into law just before Christmas. That includes an “eye-popping” $100 million to support the Joint Hypersonics Transition Office and the stand-up of a consortium of universities to facilitate research-and-development work.

The Army’s long-range hypersonic weapon program received $404 million, a “beefy” plus-up of $130 million, McAleese noted.

About $390 million was appropriated for test-and-evaluation infrastructure for high-tech weapons including an additional $20 million for hypersonic test facilities and $45 million for ground testing in support of the National Defense Strategy, according to McAleese.

The budget also fully funds and provides an additional $145 million to develop a common hypersonic glide body, according to a congressional summary of the legislation.

All of the services are pursuing hypersonics capabilities. The Air Force’s air-launched rapid response weapon, or ARRW, and hypersonic conventional strike weapon, or HCSW, were fully funded to the tune of $576 million. Its aerospace vehicle technologies R&D program received an additional $10 million for “hypersonic vehicle structures,” while the manufacturing technology program received $28 million in plus-ups for hypersonics, McAleese said.

The Navy’s conventional prompt strike missile program received $637 million, which McAleese described as a “modest” $87 million cut.

The technology has strong support from the White House. During a nationally televised address in January about tensions with Iran, Trump bragged about the nation’s missile arsenal, saying “many hypersonic missiles” are under construction. The systems are currently in the R&D phase.

The U.S. military plans to begin fielding the new capabilities in the early- to mid-2020s.


“We’re going to make a lot of them very quickly” once production is ready to be scaled, Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy told reporters at the Reagan National Defense Forum. “It’s going to take time and effort, but we have a very aggressive investment profile for the next five years.”

The fiscal year 2021 defense budget request, which is expected to be released in February, will include a funding boost for the technology, he noted.

While Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and other administration officials are gung-ho on pursuing the new systems, McCarthy said he anticipates hypersonic weapons development in the United States will move ahead regardless of who wins the 2020 presidential election because it has bipartisan support.

“It’s going to be a place that will have a tremendous amount of attention no matter what administration is here a year from now,” he said. “This is a national-level priority.”


And it seems the Hypersonic Party will continue into 2021 budget which gets released soon-

Esper: Big Boost for Hypersonics Funding in 2021 Budget


The big increases in research-and-development dollars going toward hypersonics research will be getting even bigger, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Jan. 24.

“The department nearly doubled its long-term investment — almost $5 billion more in FY 2020 — in hypersonics alone in the next five years. And our 2021 budget will be even stronger,” he said during a talk at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

The Defense Department and its agencies — along with the Air Force, Navy and Army — have significantly ramped up flight testing and other hypersonic experiments “so we can accelerate the delivery of this capability in all its forms to our warfighters years earlier than previously planned.”

Esper did not reveal any numbers for the R&D boost. The Trump administration’s 2021 budget proposal is expected to be released Feb. 10

The renewed focus on hypersonics over the past few years has come as rivals Russia and China have reported progress developing their own systems, which have required the Pentagon to boost both its research into offensive and defensive capabilities. Russia last fall announced that its Avangard nuclear-armed hypersonic missile would be operational in December, according to news reports. It claimed it could fly 20 times the speed of sound.

Hypersonic technology is loosely defined as systems that can fly at speeds of more than Mach 5 and also be highly maneuverable, making them difficult to detect and defeat.

Long-range fires is one of the Pentagon’s top technology development priorities, he said. “Winning future conflicts requires us to stay ahead of our competitors growing anti-access/ area denial capabilities,” he said, and hypersonics is a part of that push.

Despite the budget boosts and news reports detailing progress on the technology emerging from Russia and China, Esper denied that there was a hypersonics arms race. It did not resemble the Cold War, an era in which he came of age, he said.

“Hypersonics are just another weapons system that have unique features,” he said. “I don’t see an arms race, per se. … We are always competing against the next generation of weapons systems and this is one of them.”

The United States had early breakthroughs in the field, and now needs to “double down on that,” he said.

“I think it’s another arrow in our quiver that we need to have and we need to develop and modify. And based on the needs of our combatant commanders, we will deploy them in close consultation with our partners and allies,” Esper said.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 31 Jan 2020 20:52

Here’s why Patriot missile defense systems aren’t in Iraq yet


Following the Jan. 8 Iranian ballistic missile attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq, Pentagon officials indicated they were considering moving Patriot missile defense systems into Iraq. But weeks later, there has been no movement of Patriot batteries into Iraqi territory.

According to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, there’s a legal hurdle the military must overcome to deploy those systems there.

“One of the things we have to do is make sure we have permission from the host government, and that’s one of the matters we have to work on and work through,” Esper said at a news conference Thursday. “We need the permission of the Iraqis. That’s one issue. There may be others with regard to the placement, things like that, more tactical, operational — it’s a combination of things.”

Added Milley: “We’re working with the Iraqi government.”

He said the “science of war” is complicating the ability to quickly deploy the missile defense system. A Patriot battalion is “not a small organization, it’s relatively large, so the mechanics of it all have to be worked out. And that is in fact ongoing,” he added.Asked if he felt the Patriot system is needed in Iraq, Milley simply said: “Yes.” Esper later added that the decision comes from the head of U.S. Central Command, but that “we support” that decision.

On Jan. 2, a U.S. airstrike killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Iraq. Days later, Iran retaliated by launching 16 ballistic missiles targeting the al-Asad and Irbil air bases in Iraq. Eleven missiles hit al-Asad and one struck Irbil. The Pentagon claims four failed in flight.

No U.S. troops were killed in the attack, although there is a growing number of uniformed personnel who are suffering from what the Pentagon calls “mild traumatic brain injury” — essentially concussions.The U.S. has a limited number of Patriot systems available at any one time, and it is expected any system that goes to Iraq will be moved from Saudi Arabia, where they were placed in the latter half of 2019.

Whether the Patriot system would have perfectly intercepted the Iranian missiles is impossible to know, but Milley seemed to throw his support behind the system, saying “that’s what they’re designed to do. Can’t say for certain obviously whether in that case, at those altitudes, at those ranges, etc. if that would have happened, but that is exactly what they are deigned to do.”The chairman later added that given the size of the weapons used by Iran — in the 1,000- to 2,000-pound range — it remains his belief that Iran’s intent “was not only to destroy facilities and equipment but also to kill people.”


brar_w
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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 31 Jan 2020 23:04

New rendering of the B-21 just got released by Northrop Grumman / USAF. There is still nothing being released on what solution Northrop has adopted for the exhaust. Both the official graphics don't seem to show anything there..The new images do show off the inlets better and they are some of the nicest looking inlets I've seen on a stealth aircraft and probably as flush as one can ever hope to get..

Artist rendering of a B-21 Raider concept in a hangar at Whiteman, Air Force Base, Missouri, one of the future bases to host the new airframe. (Courtesy photo by Northrop Grumman)


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The original rendering released after Northrop Grumman was awarded the contract to design and produce the first 21 aircraft -

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brar_w
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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 01 Feb 2020 03:46

I wonder how the math on these will work out. A HBGV even in the 2000-3000 km range class is still a Mach 15+ weapon. There is no way one can get a similar "Time-To-Target" with a scramjet powered cruise missile with similar ranges over the next decade given technological challenges. Though a 1000 km ranged scramjet cruise missile (mach 6-8) would be fun it would not compete with the TBG's of the world but it won't replace a need for them. You'd just need a platform to get closer or accept a longer time-to-target.

Scramjet-Powered Cruise Missile Emerges As New U.S. Priority


Fielding an operational scramjet-powered cruise missile has emerged as a new priority for the U.S. Defense Department’s proliferating portfolio of maneuvering hypersonic weapons.

Senior defense officials are putting together a program to develop an operational follow-on to DARPA’s Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC), which currently supports competing scramjet-powered missile demonstrators designed by Lockheed Martin/Aerojet Rocketdyne and Raytheon/Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems teams. “We are in the process of trying to figure out what [an operational program] would look like,” says Mike White, assistant director for hypersonics in the office of the under secretary of defense for research and engineering.

As the U.S. military rushed after 2017 to respond to Russian and Chinese hypersonic advances, air-breathing hypersonic cruise missiles fell to the bottom of the priority list. Funding for operational programs favored boost-glide technology over the seemingly less mature field of weapons powered by scramjets (supersonic combustion ramjets).

But that assumption is being challenged. Along with the flight-test experience accumulated a decade ago by the Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) X-51 scramjet vehicle, recent ground tests and simulations indicate scramjet technology is more advanced than previously understood. In September, the AFRL announced it had achieved thrust levels over 13,000 lb. with a Northrop-designed engine at speeds “above Mach 4” in a hypersonic wind tunnel. In June, Raytheon reported the maturity of its scramjet-powered HAWC demonstrator had exceeded that of its boost-glide design.

In December 2018, Michael Griffin, under secretary of defense for research and engineering, described hypersonic cruise missiles as “further out” than boost-glide weapons. But the technology advanced so quickly that another official, Air Force acquisition chief Will Roper, concluded seven months later the HAWC program would be “a nearer-term not a far-term capability.”

“We’d like to see HAWC transition to a fully operational system,” says Mark Lewis, the Defense Department’s director of research and engineering for modernization. “It’s probably the issue that our hypersonic team is spending most time on right now.”Awareness is also growing for the technical challenges still facing medium-range boost-glide missiles in the class of DARPA’s Tactical Boost Glide (TBG) missile demonstrators. The Air Force’s 2017 decision to launch the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW), an operational follow-on to the TBG, helped legitimize the Defense Department’s revived interest in hypersonic weapons, White says.

“I think people underestimate the importance of this decision of the Air Force [to launch ARRW] in the hypersonic community,” he says. “We’ve always been kind of stuck in the [research and development] realm. The Air Force in 2017, they were the first service that said: ‘Hey, we want hypersonic weapons.’”

But the TBG-derived ARRW represents a particularly difficult technical challenge. The design uses a higher lift-over-drag ratio wing shape, which has never been successfully tested by the U.S. government. By contrast, the axisymmetric shape of the lower lift-over-drag glider developed for the Common Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB)—the front-end designed for the Air Force Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon, the Army’s Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) and the Navy’s Intermediate-Range Conventional Prompt Strike (IRCPS)—has logged several successful flight tests since the late 1970s. The winged TBG’s greater maneuverability, albeit with shorter range, makes it far more challenging to design.

“It’s DARPA-hard, and TBG is hard,” Lewis says.

Ongoing studies by the Air Force’s Warfighting Integration Capability are also starting to highlight the operational benefits of cruise missiles compared to medium-range boost-glide systems. A cruise missile still requires a booster rocket to accelerate to hypersonic speed, but it does not need to carry as much oxidizer and fuel as a boost-glide rocket because it remains within the atmosphere. Air-breathing cruise missiles’ smaller size means a single aircraft, such as a Boeing B-52, can carry them in much greater numbers.

“For a hypersonic boost-glide vehicle you can get two, maybe four, on a B-52,” White says. “But you can get 15 or maybe 20 hypersonic cruise missiles [on a B-52] because the size is much smaller.So you can carry them internally in the rotary rack. There are significant advantages for the air breathers, but they offer different technical challenges.”

The smaller size and increased packaging advantages of air breathers would give the Air Force significant tactical advantage, Lewis adds. “The No. 1 question we should be asking is: ‘How do we deliver lots of these things?’ In my mind, one way to do that is to fit a lot of them in a weapons bay. Getting 15-20 per bomb bay is a lot, but if I’m [launching them from] a single mobile launcher, I’m not sure I can deliver the numbers I need. We are not interested in capability when we build two and declare it a success—that doesn’t do anything.”

The Pentagon’s hypersonic weapons portfolio emerged in a blur of bureaucratic activity between 2017 and 2018. The first step was the Air Force’s decision to launch the medium-range ARRW program in 2017 as the follow-on to TBG. Shortly afterward, the Air Force also decided to launch the longer-range HCSW. In November 2017, the Navy conducted a successful test of the proposed C-HGB, which prompted the Navy and the Army to support funding toward the operational prototypes of the IRCPS and LRHW—for submarine and ground launch, respectively.

As it stands now, the portfolio includes air-launched medium-range and long-range boost-glide systems, an intermediate-range submarine-launched missile and a long-range weapon launched from a tractor trailer. If an operational follow-on of the HAWC is approved, with Air Force and Navy concepts under consideration, new air- and surface-launched options for medium-range targets could become available.

In addition to the offensive programs, the Defense Department’s road map also includes development of a counter-hypersonic system—starting with the Missile Defense Agency’s Regional Glide-Phase Weapon System as well as multiple programs for booster development and continued funding of basic science and technology. Additional DARPA programs include the ground-launched Operational Fires, which seeks to integrate a TBG front-end on a two-stage booster stack that includes a throttled upper stage, and the Advanced Full-Range Engine, a dual-mode ramjet that could power a future hypersonic aircraft.

Such a diverse yet overlapping road map has prompted criticism. In July, the chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee on defense, Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.), warned defense officials that they “need to better define the strategy for the investment in these systems.” Visclosky’s committee proposed cutting some funding for the Army’s hypersonic program, but a joint conference committee of Congressional appropriators ultimately restored the funding and added more for other hypersonic programs.

Lewis believes the development of a multitude of hypersonic missile programs is justified.

“Too many people think hypersonics is just one thing,” Lewis says. “They think, for example, [it’s just for the long-range, conventional prompt strike mission]. But no, it’s a range of capabilities.

“Even at the tactical level it’s, for lack of a better phrase, a high-low mix,” Lewis adds. “We should probably have a mix of air breathers and boost-glide systems. They probably have different capabilities, different ranges and so on. We have F-16s and F-15s, and they have different roles, and that should be the same with tactical hypersonic systems as well.”

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 01 Feb 2020 05:23

Here's an inlet comparison of the B-21 (rendering) and the B-2. If this is indicative of the real deal then the RCS improvement is going to be quite significant. The design and subsequent observations from the media/technical side have pretty much confirmed that this is about 2/3 the size of the B-2.

This is now pretty much a confirmation that the idea behind the B-21 is to create a Penetrating force consisting of multiple systems that are expected to operate inside highly defended areas and open the door for other assets that bring volume.Penetrating Long Range Strike (P-LRS) is the B-21, Penetrating EW/ISR (P-ISR) is the RQ-180 (now operational) and the Penetrating Counter Air (PCA) will be the 6th generation fighter that will be fielded around 2030. I expect a survivable space layer as well that is going to be a part of this.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 01 Feb 2020 19:07

Aviation Week's Guy Norris sketched this up with markings showing some differences to prior Northrop flying wing designs, B-2 and their impact. Good comparison to the B-2. It will be around 2/3 the size, with much improved Low Observability, and probably able to operate more efficiently at higher altitudes. Payload likely to be optimized for the penetrating mission (could explain why the USAF was initially reluctant to add the nuclear mission to it until they were forced to do it by US Congress). The first two aircraft are currently under construction and we may see a roll-out of the first one by the end of this year, or early next year, with possible first flight by the end of next year..

LINK

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Rony » 02 Feb 2020 20:27

How Do You Stop a Hypersonic Weapon? DARPA Is Looking for the Answer

DARPA awarded Northrop Grumman $13 million to study defense against hypersonic weapons.

Hypersonic weapons differ from other weapons in traveling at extremely high speeds through the atmosphere, passing under existing ballistic missile defenses.

Russia's new Avangard hypersonic weapon system travels at up to Mach 27, or in excess of 20,000 miles an hour.



The Army Wants To Use AI To Predict Where the Next Battle Will Take Place

The U.S. Army planes to use drones and AI to help keep tabs on the enemy.

Drones will locate and identify enemy forces, then feed the data to an AI constructing a "big picture" of the battlefield.

The AI will also interpret data to alert friendly commanders to possible enemy attacks.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 02 Feb 2020 20:52

Interesting insight into the AIM-260 JATM from a couple of budget documents released last year. The program details are classified as is the history of how Lockheed defeated Boeing and Raytheon to win this competition -

First is the facilities construction budget justification at Hill AFB which is the home of the first operational F-35 wing. Here they want a classified storage facility to be fully ready by March of 2022. This would put LRIP of the missile somewhere in the Early 2021 range with the first couple of dozen weapons heading to Florida and Edwards for testing and only 2022 lot going to operational units. Based on this flight testing could begin early 2021'ish and ground testing is likely currently happening..Interestingly, the Fifth Generation Aerial Target (5GAT) will fly by March 2020 and will likely be available for duty by the end of 2020 which almost aligns perfectly with the beginning of development testing of the JATM but much ahead of F-35 Block 4 FOTE which was the original justification for the timelines (it appears that the JATM and some other programs were probably the real reason).

The second doc is a range chart which though quite unlikely to be 100% accurate due to classification (otherwise why maintain the program as a SAP) provides a good ballpark estimate of how much more range space AIM-260 testing is going to require compared to the AIM-120 D which itself required about 30% larger range space compared to the AIM-120C. A 50% increase in overall kinematic range is probably a good ballpark to establish though a longer engagement range is highly unlikely to be its primary USP (guidance/discrimination, agility, and communication is likely to be the main thrust/focus). I think this will be achieved with an overall lighter weapon and via highly loaded grain SRM and a LE warhead given lockheed has had tremendous success with its other LE solutions in nearly two decades of testing..


This project is required to support the handling, inspection, and
storing of the Airborne Intercept Missile (AIM)-260A Joint Advanced Tactical
Missile (JATM) assets. The AIM-260A JATM program is rapidly expanding, highly
sensitive missile program developed jointly by the Air Force and Navy to counter
current and projected potential adversary aircraft, and to maintain air superiority
under any war time scenario
. ...

The AIM-260A JATM program is the number
one air-delivered weapon priority for both the Air Force and the Navy; and out
prioritizes other weapon system improvements and modernization efforts on any
fielded aircraft
......


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