US military, technology, arms, tactics

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 04 Feb 2020 06:50

Sikorsky finally retracts the landing gear..acheives speeds of 130 kts..200 kts + will be the next goal and they will probably hope to demonstrate 250 kts of performance before they retire the demonstrator..


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 04 Feb 2020 06:52

How New B-21 Stealth Bomber Compares To B-2A


A new rendering of the Northrop Grumman B-21A released by the U.S. Air Force Jan. 31 offers a fresh perspective on the overall size and features of the highly secretive stealth bomber, revealing an aircraft that, as expected, broadly resembles the B-2A but with several important differences.Some analysts have speculated the Air Force wanted a new bomber about two-thirds the size of the B-2A, and the rendering appear to back up those estimates. Tellingly, the images show a single-truck main landing gear for the B-21, indicating an aircraft significantly lighter than the B-2, which requires a double-truck gear.

Air Force leaders unanimously say the program is on track and running smoothly, but some concerns still have emerged.It’s possible the renderings offer only a partial—and even intentionally inaccurate or obscured—early glimpse of the final, pre-flight test design of the B-21, but it could be another two years before the first real aircraft comes into public view.

Northrop started assembling the first test airframe for the B-21 in the Site 4 complex at Plant 42 in Palmdale, California—possibly in the same assembly bay of Building 401 where the B-2 fleet was assembled over 25 years ago.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 04 Feb 2020 09:12

TRAINING REVOLUTION

After the Vietnam War, the Air Force shifted its training capabilities to large, air-to-air exercises such as Red Flag. However, the future of warfighting is rapidly changing, and training needs to keep pace with those changes. The Air Force Agency for Modeling and Simulation is the center of training innovation.

Video: The Training Revolution

“Everything we are doing today is creating the realism necessary to fight the future fights and the expandability to incorporate the threats that will be coming versus dealing with yesterday’s fight,” said Col. Robert H. Epstein, AFAMS commander. Augmented and virtual reality gives Airmen the opportunity to train in various environments without physical limitations. Team Orlando, a partnership between military services and civilian organizations, is driving the progression of this simulation-based training.

The Air Force has challenged itself to harness the power of modern-day technology to maximize operational agility by 2035. To meet this challenge, training is shifting to constructive, operational and tactically relevant synthetic training environments to achieve full-spectrum readiness.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 04 Feb 2020 20:07

The first USN boomer deployment with the Low Yield nuclear warhead has happened -

The U.S. Navy has fielded the W76-2 low-yield submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) warhead. In the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, the department identified the requirement to “modify a small number of submarine-launched ballistic missile warheads” to address the conclusion that potential adversaries, like Russia, believe that employment of low-yield nuclear weapons will give them an advantage over the United States and its allies and partners. This supplemental capability strengthens deterrence and provides the United States a prompt, more survivable low-yield strategic weapon; supports our commitment to extended deterrence; and demonstrates to potential adversaries that there is no advantage to limited nuclear employment because the United States can credibly and decisively respond to any threat scenario. LINK

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 06 Feb 2020 02:22


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 09 Feb 2020 19:02

The US Navy Is Arming Attack Submarines With High Energy Lasers


The U.S. Navy's Virginia Class attack submarines are formidable weapons platforms. They carry advanced-capability (ADCAP) torpedoes and Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles. But apparently this is not enough. They are to be the first subs in the world armed with a powerful laser as well..Documents suggest that the High Energy Laser (HEL) could be incredibly powerful, around 300 kilowatts. And eventually be up to 500 kilowatts. The power will come from the submarine’s nuclear reactor which has a capacity of 30 megawatts. And there are indications that it may already have been tested using a towed power generator instead.

It is likely to be incorporated into the periscope system of the submarine. The periscope mast, nowadays called a Photonics mast, is already a highly sophisticated device. It isn’t like periscopes of old where the captain looked directly through it. Instead it has an array of cameras which can snap high resolution photos in 360 degrees. ...

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 09 Feb 2020 21:29

The Ford is closing in on 1,000 onboard/at-sea launch and recoveries with EMALS and AAG. While this number is pretty good, she is expected to do at least 4,000 additional cycles in 2020 as CVN-78 will serve as the sole East Coast qualification carrier for most of this year and will be deployed at sea for about 180 days this year.

USS Gerald R. Ford Passes Aircraft Compatibility Testing

Norfolk (NNS) -- The aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) completed Aircraft Compatibility Testing (ACT) Jan. 31, following 16 days at sea, during which the crew launched and recovered 211 aircraft, testing five different airframes, using first generation, state-of-the-art flight deck systems.

The testing phase included the first-ever underway catapult launches and arrested landings for the T-45 Goshawk and E/A-18G Growler from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 (VX-23); as well as the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye and C-2A Greyhound, from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 20 (VX-20). Crews also tested F/A-18F Super Hornets from VX-23, which earlier had conducted initial compatibility tests on board Ford in 2017.

This second and final round of testing validated the ship’s capability to launch and to recover aircraft with ordnance loadout and fuel states mirroring deployed requirements and operating tempos, using the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG)—two Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment (ALRE) systems unique to Ford.

By completing T-45 testing, the Ford will be able to provide carrier qualification support to the Training Command and to student naval aviators in the jet/E-2/C-2 pipeline.

“There are so many firsts happening, and many of them we frankly don’t even really realize,” explained Ford’s Air Boss, Cmdr. Mehdi Akacem toward the end of the testing evolution. “We’ve had the first ever T-45, EA-18 Growler, E-2D Hawkeye, and C-2A Greyhound, and there are pilots on board this ship right now who will forever be able to say that their contribution to the Navy was to be the first pilot or NFO [Naval Flight Officer] to come aboard the Gerald R. Ford-class in that type aircraft.”

Capt. Kenneth Sterbenz, program manager of the ALRE office (PMA-251) that oversees EMALS and AAG, noted that ACT’s success test demonstrates the capability and versatility of the ship’s EMALS and AAG systems.

“This success is the result of the hard work and collaboration of the men and women in the entire ALRE team, including our government personnel and industry partner General Atomics, and fleet,” said Sterbenz. “I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished together, and am fully confident in our ALRE systems moving forward, especially with the backing of our highly dedicated and professional ALRE team.”

During ACT, test pilots from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 and VX-23 conducted catapult launches and arrested landings in order to verify EMALS and AAG performance mandates. The shipboard events confirmed more extensive testing previously conducted ashore in Lakehurst, New Jersey, ensuring the operational safety of both aircrew and flight deck Sailors.

ACT began on Jan. 16 and concluded with 211 successful launches and arrestments using EMALS and AAG technology. The Gerald R. Ford now has 958 total traps to date and will likely surpass 1,000 launches and arrestments during the upcoming Flight Deck Certification (FDC) phase, currently scheduled for March, when her crew and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) Eight will take over all aspects of flight operations. The crew is fully prepared for FDC, having already received hands-on experience with EMALS and AAG via several training and test events.

ACT also allowed the crew and embarked test personnel to qualitatively evaluate the effect of the Ford-class air wake, or burble, and its compatibility with all types of fleet aircraft the Navy uses on an aircraft carrier. Aircraft were launched and recovered in different environmental conditions and sea states, and with varying aircraft weights—from heavy aircraft in light wind conditions to light aircraft in heavy wind conditions.

“At this point we’ve proven time and time again—this underway with 211 launches and recoveries on-and-off the deck—that we’re ready to shoot and catch all aircraft,” said Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) Louis Mountain from Ford’s Air Department. “We’re happy to show the fleet that we’re ready to start slangin’ and bangin’ and get aircraft on-and-off the deck. Ford is ready.”

The information captured during ACT will continue to inform improvements and modifications for the Gerald R. Ford and follow-on Ford-class aircraft carriers. Coupled with the historic aspect of this ACT, the culmination of this testing phase was not lost on Ford’s Commanding Officer, Capt. John J. Cummings.

“(The crew) came into ACT as pioneers; we wrote the book for the Ford-class for the rest of its history,” said Cummings. “By supporting the five aircraft that came to Ford to validate launch and recovery wind and weight envelopes, our Sailors are fully aware of the importance of this historic event. This was it—the book will be written and our crew’s name will be stamped on it.”Akacem explained that ACT was more than a test and evaluation event—it was also a learning opportunity for Ford Sailors who have never had the opportunity to train on these new systems at sea or who may have never seen flight operations on board the Navy’s newest carrier.

“There’s no simulator for an aircraft carrier,” said Akacem. “There’s a lot of learning going on end-to-end, and we are learning a ton about how to operationalize these new technologies, and that’s the benefit of finally being out here at sea.

“We’re seeing the ship come to life. Just over the last few weeks, we’ve got salt air on the flight deck, we’ve got skid marks on the flight deck, and it’s really starting to feel like an aircraft carrier.”

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 11 Feb 2020 20:55

After a couple of risk-averse leaders, the US Navy seems to have finally found a CNO with the guts to go after the "Rumsfeld Squadron". Signals good times for a service that has had rather lackluster leadership of late.

US Navy proposes decommissioning first 4 LCS more than a decade early

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 12 Feb 2020 04:18

brar_w wrote:


Lockheed/Sikorsky have revealed their entrant into the FARA competition. It's based on their smaller S-97 Raider (though appears quite a bit larger) which is currently flying and derives its technology form their X-2 platform that shares tech across both FARA and FLARA -

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Boeing is teasing its offering for FARA -

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Video - https://twitter.com/BoeingDefense/statu ... 5684027392

Two teams will be selected later this year to develop their proposals which would both fly by 2023.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 19 Feb 2020 23:30

One of the first images of the Raider and the Defiant side by side..

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 21 Feb 2020 00:59

Some pictures of the defiant and raider demonstrators from Sikorsky's media day and US Army leadership event (via twitter) -

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Propulsion System test-bed -

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Short Video -

https://twitter.com/i/status/1230569761232367617

Lose your tail rotor? No problem, Sikorsky says of coaxial Defiant running to replace Black Hawk

Imagine flying into a combat zone and taking a direct hit that shattered the tail boom of the helicopter tasked with removing wounded troops from the field.

In any current configuration, that aircraft and everyone on it would be grounded, wounded themselves, or worse. The Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 Defiant won’t have that problem, according to test pilots that have now taken the machine through 24 hours of flight time.

Defiant’s eight-bladed aft prop is the same diameter as a P-51 Mustang propeller and necessary to push the 30,000-pound aircraft to speeds above 200 knots. Unlike a conventional helicopter, none of Defiant’s tail section is flight critical. If the tail boom, which includes no hydraulics, took a direct hit and literally fell off, the aircraft would still be able to operate as a helicopter. All control surfaces aft of the engine outlet are controlled by electronic actuators.

“You can take significant combat damage back here,” Sikorsky test pilot Bill Fell said Feb. 20 during a media tour of the company’s West Palm Beach facility. “You lose the prop, you’re still a 150-knot machine. You lose the elevator, you’re still a 150-knot machine. The rudders aren’t even used in flight for yaw control below 90 knots. So, you still have a very capable machine.”

The coaxial compound helicopter has flown once every week in 2020, notching at least 24 hours of flight time not including the demonstration shown to Secretary of the U.S. Army Ryan McCarthy and reporters on Feb. 20. It was up against the Bell V-280 Valor advanced tiltrotor in the Joint Multirole Technology Demonstration (JMR-TD) program.

In developing the X2 technology that resulted in the 260-knot compound helicopter now in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Sikorsky established that counter-rotating rotor blades could eliminate the retreating blade stall phenomenon.

“We have conquered the beast,” said Sikorsky President Dan Schultz said of rotor blade stall. That should allow the aircraft to achieve speeds above 280 knots.

First impression of Defiant is that it’s huge. Its dual main rotors are substantial and the fuselage is beefier than a UH-60. But the aircraft fits more or less within the same footprint as a Black Hawk. It is six inches taller and two feet wider than the aircraft Sikorsky is seeking to replace, but shorter head to tail than the legacy aircraft.

“It’s not that different than when we went from Hueys to Black Hawks,” Rotte said. “They weren’t that different in size, but a whole lot more capability. This is not that different in operational size, but a ton more capability.”

In all respects Defiant handles and flies much like its smaller cousin the S-97 Raider, which Sikorsky is developing into an offering for the Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA). Defiant is in line to replace the Black Hawk as the Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA).

Acronyms aside, Boeing and Sikorsky test pilots are enamored with Defiant.

“It flies like a helicopter but you’ve got this added element of maneuver capability,” Fell said. “It does not fly like a big aircraft. The rigidity in the rotor systems, as well as the responsiveness of the flight controls and the ease of flying the machine allows you to operate it as though it is a much smaller machine.”

There are no circuit breakers in the cockpit, which is instead fitted with solid-state electronic power controllers. The prop is controlled with a “beeper” on the collective that increases or decreases thrust. There also is a prop-engage button.

“The handling qualities are really predictable,” he said. “The beauty of the machine is it behaves exactly like you would expect. . . . I don’t think we’ll have any trouble with a 200- to 500-hour aviator right out of flight school teaching them to fly it. . . . On top of that, our companies have advanced flight controls being developed and in the can that are going to be able to be injected into the system to provide very, very high-level flying qualities.”Defiant’s configuration features two side doors that are larger than those on a UH-60, providing plenty of space for a dozen troops to hop aboard and exit or to place litters with wounded onboard. The rigid rotors produce significant downwash but not noticeably more powerful than a Black Hawk.

“Downwash is a function of the gross weight of the machine and the diameter of the rotor system,” Fell said. “Compared to a Black Hawk, it’s a little bit higher. Compared to something with a much smaller rotor that tilts, it’s a lot less.”

Rotor rigidity also makes for no low spots in the rotor disc area. When the aft prop is disengaged, vehicles and troops can approach the aircraft safely from any direction.

“The height of the lower rotor, the inherent stiffness of the blades, coupled with the ability to stop the prop, basically makes safe 360-degree ingress and egress and I don’t know that there is another helicopter in the fight that can say that in any country,” he said.

That rigid rotor system makes the aircraft respond to control inputs more like a fighter jet than a helicopter with a teetering or articulated rotor system. Where the Black Hawk main rotor system is comprised of 450 parts, the Defiant has just over 200, simplifying its performance, responsiveness and reducing maintenance requirements.

“Helicopter pilots who started out their careers flying the UH-1 Huey or the OH-58, those are teetering rotor systems, as opposed to a Black Hawk or Apache . . . and when you jumped to an articulated system they had a sense of ‘Wow, this is a really sporty machine.’ They’re going to get a similar jump when they go for the articulated rotor system to this rigid rotor system. It’s more like a fighter jet response than a helicopter.”


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 21 Feb 2020 05:05

Here's what Sikorsky's Defiant has achieved so far. They are more than a year behind Bell but have till September to get all their test data into the program. They plan on demonstrating 280 KTAS performance in level flight before the program concludes ..

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby chetak » 21 Feb 2020 22:23

Boeing completed the first unmanned flight of its QF-16 aircraft at Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida on September 19th. A pilot completed all normal preflight safety checks before leaving the cockpit.




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewoCUFne3MI


Boeing Completes First Unmanned F16 Flight



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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 21 Feb 2020 22:34

chetak wrote:Boeing Completes First Unmanned F16 Flight

That is from 7 years ago. The USAF has dozens of QF-16's that it currently utilizes for testing Air to Air Missiles, and for providing real world targets for fighter pilots to shoot at.

Current delivery rate is 2 aircraft a month from Boeing with a targeted fleet size in the 130-150 aircraft range. They can grow that significantly given both the # of aircraft at the boneyard and the retiring aircraft lined up over the next decade as the F-35A is entering the USAF squadrons at roughly 60 aircraft a year with most of what it is replacing is the F-16.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby chetak » 21 Feb 2020 23:10

brar_w wrote:
chetak wrote:Boeing Completes First Unmanned F16 Flight

That is from 7 years ago. The USAF has dozens of QF-16's that it currently utilizes for testing Air to Air Missiles, and for providing real world targets for fighter pilots to shoot at.

Current delivery rate is 2 aircraft a month from Boeing with a targeted fleet size in the 130-150 aircraft range. They can grow that significantly given both the # of aircraft at the boneyard and the retiring aircraft lined up over the next decade as the F-35A is entering the USAF squadrons at roughly 60 aircraft a year with most of what it is replacing is the F-16.

wokay.

my bad

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 25 Feb 2020 06:29

Here are rough requirements for the blackhawk replacement program the SB>1 and V-280 are vying for. Though not an RFP it represents the most up to date specs the US Army is looking for. As is evident, they really don't want a helicopter. This is essentially an aircraft spec with the ability to vertically land and TO. Interestingly, the ferry range requirements essentially mean that they can deploy pretty much anywhere without the need for C-17 or C-5. I predict that both will end up winning. The US Army will pick the Sikorsky/Boeing design, while the USN/USMC and SOCOM pick the Bell design. Enough EOS there to support both platforms.

Range: One-way unrefueled range of at least 4,500 km for self-deployment to theater
Combat Radius: 550 km with 30 minute TOS
Cruise Speed: 280 KTAS objective
Payload: 10K lb external payload
Passengers - 10-12



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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 26 Feb 2020 02:30


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 02 Mar 2020 01:24

U.S. Navy Fits Destroyer With ODIN Laser Weapon To Counter Drones


ODIN of one of three High Energy Lasers (SSLs) being fitted on US Navy vessels. There are three systems because each type has different space, weight and power provisions and because dry dock schedule dictates that when vessels comes in they get the one that is available by that date. ODIN is a relatively low powered system for very small UAS and for dazzling. The USS Portland is now fitted with a 150 kW class laser system - SSL-TM. Additionally, Lockheed will fit another DDG-51 Flight IIA ship with a 60-80 kW laser next year (HELIOS) which can be upgraded to 120 kW in the near term when power storage provisions mature (it is currently a program of record with the USN).

It is believed that the current USN destroyers and amphibs have provisions for up to 150 kW systems given current SSL efficiencies. The Zumwalt, which has no provisions for an SSL yet will likely be the path leader for a 0.5 MW SSL later in the decade. The new cruiser will also adopt it.


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USS Portland with its 150 kW SSL -

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 06 Mar 2020 19:16

The Pentagon’s AI Shop Takes A Venture Capital Approach to Funding Tech

Military leaders who long to copy the way Silicon Valley funds projects should know: the Valley isn’t the hit machine people think it is, says Nand Mulchandani, chief technical officer of the Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. The key is to follow the right venture capital model.

........

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Vayutuvan » 13 Mar 2020 02:12

Wearable Device Camouflages Its Wearer Regardless of the Weather
Researchers at the University of California San Diego developed a wearable technology that can hide its wearer from heat-detecting sensors such as night vision goggles, even when the ambient temperature changes. It's a feat that current state of the art technology cannot match. The new technology can adapt to temperature changes in just a few minutes, while keeping the wearer comfortable.
...

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Vayutuvan » 13 Mar 2020 02:18

Sky Devils Provide Critical Link to Soldiers (comes under tactics, I guess)
...
The Shadow is assisted by a hydraulic powered launcher when taking off, which can accelerate the aircraft to 70 knots in 40 feet. While airborne, the Shadow can fly about nine hours and up to 16,000 feet. The Shadow is operated by soldiers using a ground control station mounted on a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle.

Landings are guided by a ground-based micro-millimeter wavelength radar and a transponder on the aircraft. Once the aircraft touches the ground, a tailhook mounted on the Shadow grabs a wire connected to two disk brake drums that can stop the aircraft in less than 170 feet, similar to landing systems on aircraft carriers.
...

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Vayutuvan » 13 Mar 2020 02:26

Blast Tube Tests Simulate Shock Waves Nuclear Weapons Could Face
You can learn a lot from a blast tube when you couple blast experiments with computer modeling. Sandia National Laboratories researchers are using a blast tube configurable to 120 feet to demonstrate how well nuclear weapons could survive the shock wave of a blast from an enemy weapon and to help validate the modeling.

Sandia recently completed a two-year series of blast tube tests for one nuclear weapon program and started tests for another. Each series requires instrumentation, explosives, high-speed cameras and computer modeling. Tests simulate part of the environment a weapon re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere would face if another nuclear weapon went off nearby, said test director Nathan Glenn.

Each series starts with calibration shots that allow team members to verify blast wave parameters and at the same time validate the computer model. The team hangs an explosive charge at one end of the 6-foot diameter tube and places pressure transducers along its length. Transducers sense the strength of the blast pressure moving through the tube — higher pressure closer to the charge, falling off farther away.
...

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 13 Mar 2020 23:02



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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 17 Mar 2020 22:11

The Blackhawk and Apache replacement effort moves into the next round..Meanwhile the future light scout/assault aircraft is also in down-select but is running about 5 years ahead of the bigger project in terms of IOC..

Bell’s Valor, Sikorsky/Boeing Defiant advance in U.S. Army Future Assault Aircraft program


Bell’s V-280 advanced tiltrotor and the Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 coaxial compound helicopter are now the two official contenders for the U.S. Army’s Future Long Range Assault Aircraft, or FLRAA.

The Army announced the competitive demonstration and risk reduction (CD&RR) contracts March 16, after a protracted industry-led demonstration program that launched both aircraft and gathered reams of data on their flight characteristics.The Army’s Aviation program office, working with Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, awarded the project agreements under the Aviation and Missile Technology Consortium Other Transaction Authority (OTA), and the agreements were not announced through the Pentagon’s regular contract award process. Using OTAs allows the Army more flexibility than the Defense Department’s traditional contracting process, but also does not require the service to publish contract amounts.

These competitively awarded OTA agreements consist of risk reduction activities that combine government research with input from industry partners to inform the future development and procurement of the FLRAA weapons system, according to a copy of the public announcement obtained by Vertical.

Under the agreements, each company will produce initial conceptual designs, requirements feasibility, and trade studies using model based systems engineering. These CD&RR agreements will extend over two years, informing the final Army requirements and the program of record planned for competition in 2022.

“These agreements are an important milestone for FLRAA,” said Patrick Mason, program executive officer for Army Aviation. “The CD&RR continues to transition technologies from the JMR-TD effort to the FLRAA weapons system design. We will be conducting analysis to refine the requirements, conceptual designs, and acquisition approach. Ultimately, this information and industry feedback are vital to understanding the performance, cost, affordability, schedule risks and trades needed to successfully execute the FLRAA program.”FLRAA is the program of record that resulted from years of investment into the Joint Multi-role Technology Demonstration (JMR-TD) program that sought to study what leap-ahead vertical lift capabilities industry could deliver on relatively short notice.

Both the SB>1 Defiant and V-280 Valor were financed partially by the U.S. government through the JMR-TD program and partially through each company’s internal research and development funding, to the tune of more than half a billion dollars each. Data gathered on those designs likely will form the basis of each company’s final FLRAA design. Funding for the new CD&RR phase is flipped, with government covering two thirds of the funding and industry pitching in one third. An ultimate winner will take home the FLRAA contract in 2022.

That public-private teamwork played a major role in the decision process, according to Brig. Gen. Wally Rugen, director of the Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) Cross-Functional Team.

“I’m very proud of the collaborative work done by this team of teams and excited about the award of the OTA agreements for the CD&RR efforts to continue burning down risk and setting conditions for the FLRAA program four year acceleration,” Rugen said. “We appreciate the support from Congress and Army senior leaders that postures FLRAA for a stable and executable program of record.”

Informed by the development and operational experience of the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey, the V-280 improved upon its predecessor with tilting nacelles and large side egress doors. Bell got out to an early lead and has been flying aggressively since December 2017. Since then it has achieved speeds of 300 knots in forward flight. In late 2019, Valor demonstrated an end-to-end autonomous flight.

Under the agreement Bell will deliver a refined V-280 Valor design, with supporting technical documentation, that builds on the data captured during the more than 170 hours of flight testing under JMR-TD, the company said in a statement.“Bell and Team Valor are excited to continue working on a system that has proven its ability to bring exceptional capabilities to warfighters,” Bell CEO Mitch Snyder said. “The JMR TD and V-280 show that rapid maturation of new technology is possible with a solid government-industry partnership fueled by our talented and innovative workforce. We look forward to the FLRAA competition.”

For JMR, Boeing jumped ship and teamed with Sikorsky, now owned by Lockheed Martin, on its coaxial X2-inspired Defiant. The 30,000-pound coaxial rigid-rotor design includes a pusher propeller like its smaller cousin the S-97 Raider.

Sikorsky and Boeing’s joint Defiant team said in a statement it is “honored the Army selected our proven, game changing X2 Technology for the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft Competitive Demonstration and Risk Reduction program.”

“We look forward to developing this vital Army modernization capability,” the Defiant team said in a prepared statement. “Since 2013, we committed to developing an aircraft and integrated weapon system solution that combines speed, range, maneuverability and system flexibility — to execute the Army’s joint all-domain operations.”

Defiant first flew in March, lifted off twice more in April 2019 and then was earthbound for several months while engineers sorted out a bearing creep issue found on the ground-based propulsion system test bed.

Defiant returned to flight in late September 2019, flew several more times last year and was airborne once every week in 2020. It has achieved speeds of at least 100 knots and plans are to expand the aircraft’s performance envelope in 40-knot increments out to at least 250 knots.

“We are confident we will deliver a producible FLRAA aircraft that is survivable, affordable, sustainable and provides Army aviators strategic day one battlefield advantages,” the SB>1 team said.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 18 Mar 2020 06:47

Here are two capability upgrades coming online for THAAD. First is an upgrade to the seeker, and the second is a AUR upgrade that will give it the capability to intercept ICBM targets allowing it to act in the US Homeland defense mission -

BAE Systems Starts THAAD Seeker Upgrade

MDA’s FY21 budget paves way for new homeland missile defense plans


MDA is also requesting $273.6 million for THAAD development efforts to include funding for a THAAD homeland defense tier. Specifically, the agency is asking for $139 million in FY21 to start the development and demonstration of a new interceptor prototype for THAAD, which could support a tiered and layered approach to homeland defense.

“This effort will develop prototype software and hardware and perform a series of demonstrations to prove the technologies to enable expansion of engagement options and coverage areas for the THAAD weapon system in a flight test in FY23,” the budget documents state.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Avarachan » 20 Mar 2020 05:26

"N95 Mask Shortage Is A Horrific Manifestation Of America's Crazy "Defense" Priorities"
Tyler Rogoway
March 18, 2020

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

The defense budget for the 2020 Fiscal Year is $738 billion. Funding the larger intelligence and national security ecosystem costs many billions of dollars in addition to this sum. This is money being spent in the name of protecting the American people. For a country that can spend that type of treasure on weapons and warfighting infrastructure, it is downright astonishing that it can't keep a stockpile of cheap respirators around, or at least guarantee the domestic production base to rapidly build more, in order to fight a pandemic that was not only far from unthinkable, it was inevitable. This simple fact alone should make you furious and question the priorities of the U.S. government and those who are tasked with presiding over it.

The N95 respirator is not a high-tech piece of equipment. Far from it. They are disposable masks that, when fitted and worn properly, offer a reliable barrier against a number of things, including viruses. They are considered as essential for healthcare workers who treat patients with infectious diseases that can be transmitted through droplets of bodily fluids, offering them some certainty that they themselves will not end up contracting the patient's illness. As such, they are absolutely critical to fighting a pandemic just like the one we are experiencing. In other words, they are just as important to keeping the American public safe as combat aircraft or a fighting ship ....

So let's just use $0.50 per unit [of a N95 mask] for government stockpile-sized contracted buys, which is likely high. In order for the U.S. Government to have a proper supply on-hand for a pandemic, we are talking about $1.75 billion worth of masks needed in the Strategic National Stockpile at any given time. Since the masks expire roughly every five years, that equates to $350 million a year. That is very roughly the cost of two KC-46 aerial tankers, a single Littoral Combat Ship, roughly one-thirty-eighth of a Ford class supercarrier, or about three F-35s and an F/A-18 Super Hornet. Once again, this is assuming an entire stockpile of 3.5 billion masks is on hand at all times instead of securing emergency production for a portion of that number if needed.

Of course, these are just comparative numbers. The country does need a strong military and you could plug in many other government spending initiatives here for fiscal comparisons, but how on earth do we spend the type of money we do on weaponry in the name of keeping the American people safe, yet we have only a fraction of the stockpile of cheap N95s masks in place necessary to fight a flu-like pandemic while having no way to make up for the difference in the short term? We can prepare for World War III in every way conceivable, but we can't stock some throw-away masks to ensure that our entire healthcare system doesn't implode during a pandemic that has been long considered as just a matter of time.

This is so astonishingly near-sighted it seems criminal.

In doing what I do for a living, I see so much government waste and financial abuse it can get very discouraging at times, but this may be the worst example of absolutely broken fiscal priorities I have ever seen, and it could cost you your life.


If we run out of N95 masks, our healthcare workers will be relegated to a potential death sentence in order to execute their jobs. Beyond their own risk, this would mean that a vast portion of all healthcare workers that are directly exposed to the virus will be knocked off active duty temporarily, and likely most around the time when the masks run out. Not only that, but those sick caregivers themselves will also end up taxing the healthcare system even more than it already is, and in a state with even less capacity to meet those demands than it had before.

Does this sound like a looming disaster on top of a disaster? It is ....

We had every warning: H1N1, MERS, Swine Flu, and Ebola, and that was just in roughly the last decade or so. It wasn't debated if a pandemic was coming, it was just the question of when. Yet the American people will be potentially subject to a 'respirator gap' that could kill far more Americans than the events of 9/11 or even an attack far more deadly by an enemy actor.

We need to understand how this horrible oversight occurred and those who are responsible for it, on all levels, must be held accountable for their decisions or their inaction.

If nothing else, this is the most glaring reminder of just how screwed up the American government's priorities are when it comes to "protecting the folks." How we could have gotten to a point where the Pentagon loses far more money than it would cost to have these medical necessities on hand? It screams of a government and a society that has lost its sense of reality. It also points to a military-industrial complex that has brainwashed or bought those in power to such a degree that the protection the American people are given for their tax dollar is almost entirely against threats that go boom, regardless of the massive scale of harm that could be done by far less glamorous enemies of microscopic nature.

Just ask yourself, which would you rather have right now as an American citizen: $1.75 billion worth of weapons or some non-essential pork or an ample supply of N95 respirators for the soldiers on the front line of a medical war that could be deadlier and more economically damaging than any conflict we have seen in the better part of a century?

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 20 Mar 2020 05:51

Its astonishing that reporters with no real expertise or experience on national security or government matters, besides being researchers and aggregates of information, editorialize like this. The US DOD just will be putting forward about 5 Million N-95 masks, and 2,000 ventilators for domestic use. To put this in context the US DOD is providing an equivilant of 40% of the ventilators available in the UK or France. This they'll pull from their strategic warfighting reserves. National strategic reserves for a domestic use and international response need to be maintain by appropriate agencies and not the Military. The Military stockpiles are based on its O plans and usually scattered all around the globe in support of the various COCOM needs and contingencies. As far as medical contingencies the Military is going to be heavily focused towards trauma and ChemBio warfare and will maintain its reserves and stockpiles accordingly. It shouldn't be their duty to maintain national civil stockpiles on behalf of the federal or state governments. That is the job of the HHS. The DOD which is about 12% of US budget expenditure (relevant year (2018)) is # 4 in terms of the ranking single line items so to compare it to the cost of a bullet, cost of a figther, a tanker etc while enough to generate click-baits isn't really that well thought out. In this case, it is quite likely that the DOD will release more from its warfighting stock though the object is to use it as a buffer till such time that the domestic production of masks and ventilators is ramped up which is expected in the next 3-6 weeks. The defense department's purpose is to be focused on external threats and winning wars. There is no rational argument that would suggest that it should have had sufficient reserves for 330+ million people.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 20 Mar 2020 22:03

U.S. Navy & U.S. Army Jointly Test Hypersonic Glide Body


The U.S. Navy and U.S. Army jointly executed the launch of a common hypersonic glide body (C-HGB), which flew at hypersonic speed to a designated impact point.

Concurrently, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) monitored and gathered tracking data from the flight experiment that will inform its ongoing development of systems designed to defend against adversary hypersonic weapons.Information gathered from this and future experiments will further inform DOD’s hypersonic technology development, and this event is a major milestone towards the department’s goal of fielding hypersonic warfighting capabilities in the early- to mid-2020s.

This test builds on the success we had with Flight Experiment 1 in October 2017, in which our C-HGB achieved sustained hypersonic glide at our target distances. In this test we put additional stresses on the system and it was able to handle them all, due to the phenomenal expertise of our top notch team of individuals from across government, industry and academia. Today we validated our design and are now ready to move to the next phase towards fielding a hypersonic strike capability.”

Hypersonic weapons, capable of flying at speeds greater than five times the speed of sound (Mach 5), are highly maneuverable and operate at varying altitudes. This provides the warfighter with an ability to strike targets hundreds and even thousands of miles away, in a matter of minutes, to defeat a wide range of high-value targets. Delivering hypersonic weapons is one of the department’s highest technical research and engineering priorities.The C-HGB – when fully fielded – will comprise the weapon’s conventional warhead, guidance system, cabling, and thermal protection shield. The Navy and Army are working closely with industry to develop the C-HGB with Navy as the lead designer, and Army as the lead for production. Each service will use the C-HGB, while developing individual weapon systems and launchers tailored for launch from sea or land.The similarities in hypersonic weapon design for sea and land variants provide economies of scale for future production as we build the U.S. hypersonics industrial base.

“Hypersonic systems deliver transformational warfighting capability,” said Mr. Mike White, Assistant Director, Hypersonics, OUSD Research and Engineering (Modernization). “The glide body tested today is now ready for transition to Army and Navy weapon system development efforts and is one of several applications of hypersonic technology underway across the Department. These capabilities help ensure that our warfighters will maintain the battlefield dominance necessary to deter, and if necessary, defeat any future adversary.”

Additionally, MDA is working closely with Army and Navy in sharing data that will inform their development of enhanced capabilities for a layered hypersonic defense to support warfighter need and outpace the adversary threat.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 23 Mar 2020 03:00

U.S. Army Pushes Ahead With Black Hawk Replacement Program


Over the next two years, two teams, Sikorsky-Boeing and Bell, will continue risk-reduction work for the U.S. Army’s effort to replace the aging UH-60 Black Hawk.

The service awarded Sikorsky-Boeing $97 million and Bell $84 million for project agreements under the Aviation and Missile Technology Consortium’s Other Transaction Authority. The companies will deliver initial conceptual designs, requirements feasibility and trade studies over two years, before a formal program of record begins.A $7 million difference exists in the project agreements, because although the scope of each proposal was similar, the companies have different technical and costing approaches, says Col. David Phillips, project manager of Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA).

Two advanced rotorcraft were manufactured for the Army’s Joint Multi-Role (JMR) technology demonstration, the precursor to FLRAA. Bell built the V-280 Valor, which reached 300 kt., while Sikorsky-Boeing constructed the SB-1 Defiant to reach at least 250 kt.

The Valor has flown 170 hr. in flight testing and presented to the Army the data that Bell captured over more than two years. During development, the Valor logged more flight time than the Defiant; however, the Army was comfortable enough with the amount of data the Sikorsky-Boeing team submitted to award a project agreement.

“With the iron bird approach that Sikorsky-Boeing went forward with, even though there was no flight time associated with that . . . a tremendous amount of data came out of that,” says Brig. Gen. Walter Rugen, Future Vertical Lift cross-functional team director. “The flight envelope continues to expand for Sikorsky-Boeing. They’re flying a bit more aggressively now than the V-280, and as the JMR finishes up toward the end of this fiscal year, maybe August, we’re going to see very comparable data on both sides.”

Not every single hour of flight time is valuable for the Army. It depends on what test points were executed during each flight. The same goes for modeling and simulation: The Army puts more weight into what was tested, says Patrick Mason, program executive officer for aviation.

A Defense Department independent review of FLRAA’s technology readiness level (TRL) decided most areas were a TRL 6 or 7, while some were rated a 5, Rugen says. This resulted in the Army’s decision to conduct the two-year competitive demonstration and risk-reduction phase to raise TRLs to between 7 and 9 before entering a program of record.

“We see this as a good competition between two vendors that are moving forward and executing what we need them to do,” Mason says.

Rugen echoes this sentiment. “The proof is in the pudding,” he says. The Army accelerated FLRAA by four years in the fiscal year 2021 budget request.

The service intends to make FLRAA a program of record in fiscal year 2022. At that point, other vendors could enter the competition and bid on follow-on efforts.



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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Gerard » 23 Mar 2020 23:59

Marines Plan to Retool to Meet China Threat
The Marine Corps is undertaking its most sweeping transformation in decades, pivoting from a focus on fighting insurgents in the Middle East to developing the ability to hop from island to island in the western Pacific to bottle up the Chinese fleet.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 24 Mar 2020 00:05

Gerard wrote:Marines Plan to Retool to Meet China Threat
The Marine Corps is undertaking its most sweeping transformation in decades, pivoting from a focus on fighting insurgents in the Middle East to developing the ability to hop from island to island in the western Pacific to bottle up the Chinese fleet.


This has been in the work for quite a while. The USMC became somewhat of an "Army" given the requirements that emerged after the cold-war and specially following 911. They now need to be less of an Army, and more of the specialized littoral force that it is going to be required given the predominantly naval threats in the Pacific.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 25 Mar 2020 19:52

ICBM reentry vehicle program passes system requirements review


The Air Force completed a key milestone last month in the development of a new reentry vehicle that will deliver the W87-1 warhead from the military's next-generation intercontinental ballistic missile system, the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent. The Mk21A program, intended to replace the legacy Minuteman III system's Mk21 reentry vehicle, successfully passed a system requirements review on Feb. 11, Air Force spokeswoman Leah Bryant told Inside Defense in an email Monday.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 25 Mar 2020 20:07

A simple "as the crow flies" search show that this was about a 3,800 km shot which would be consistent with the range of both the Navy and US Army weapon system which is expected to be in the 3000-4000 km class though they both are utilizing a more optimized two staged propulsion solution.

DOD conducts 'successful' long-range hypersonic flight test, declares event 'major milestone'


The Defense Department said today it conducted a successful long-range flight of a hypersonic glide body, an event it called a "major milestone" in advancing Army and Navy prototype weapons, flying an experimental payload more than 2,000 miles over the Pacific Ocean.

On March 19, the Navy's Strategic Systems Program office launched the common hypersonic glide body (C-HGB) from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, HI, at approximately 10:30 pm local time, toward Illeginni Islet, part of the Army's missile defense test site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

"Information gathered from this and future experiments will further inform DOD's hypersonic technology development, and this event is a major milestone towards the department's goal of fielding hypersonic warfighting capabilities in the early- to mid-2020s," said a Pentagon statement announcing the test event. Inside Defense first reported the flight test could take place this week.

The test marks the end of the experimentation phase of the hypersonic glide body technology program -- launched in 2008 as part of the Conventional Prompt Strike program -- and the beginning of system development for prototype weapon systems the Army and Navy aims to deploy by 2023 and 2025, respectively.

"The glide body tested today is now ready for transition to Army and Navy weapon system development efforts," said Mike White, DOD's assistant director for hypersonics. The common-hypersonic glide body "is one of several applications of hypersonic technology underway across the department," he added.

The flight test did not feature Lockheed Martin's new two-stage rocket booster being developed for the potential Army and Navy hypersonic glide vehicle programs; instead the Navy used a surrogate ballistic missile to launch the biconic payload to the edge of space before releasing the vehicle to skip along the atmosphere -- at speeds of at least Mach 5 -- unpowered toward the Marshall Islands.

"This test builds on the success we had with Flight Experiment 1 in October 2017, in which our C-HGB achieved sustained hypersonic glide at our target distances," Vice Adm. Johnny Wolfe, Navy SSP director, said in a statement. "In this test we put additional stresses on the system and it was able to handle them all, due to the phenomenal expertise of our top notch team of individuals from across government, industry and academia. Today we validated our design and are now ready to move to the next phase towards fielding a hypersonic strike capability."

The Missile Defense Agency monitored the event, dubbed Flight Experimental Test-2, and gathered tracking data to inform ongoing development of counter hypersonic development efforts.

Lt. Gen. Neil Thurgood, the Army's Hypersonics, Directed Energy, Space and Rapid Acquisition Office director said in a statement, "This test was a critical step in rapidly delivering operational hypersonic capabilities to our warfighters in support of the National Defense Strategy."

The Navy is spearheading design of the C-HGB and the Army is responsible for production of the glide body for the two services.

"We successfully executed a mission consistent with how we can apply this capability in the future," Thurgood said. "The joint team did a tremendous job in executing this test, and we will continue to move aggressively to get prototypes to the field."


Unless the Corona Virus has shut down other CONUS test ranges and activity, there is expected to be flurry of hypersonic testing in the coming months and through the end of the year. At least 3 other programs, including Lockheed's scramjet powered cruise missile article is expected to be tested before September provided range and infrastructure availability.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 26 Mar 2020 05:03



And now the same two have been awarded for the armed scout replacement competition. They'll now develop full up prototypes and then fly them for an evaluation. Selection to one is about 2.5-3 years away.

Bell And Sikorsky To Compete Head To Head To Make The Army's Future Armed Recon Helicopter


Sikorsky/Lockheed's proposal is bigger than the company funded S-97 Raider demonstrator that is currently flying -

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Bell's proposal -

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 31 Mar 2020 00:13

Bell reveals a little more about their design. It seems to meet all the FARA specs but would likely very little room to grow over time. They seem to have made the bet on both the helicopter programs that the US Army will pick the lower cost/risk solution though on the FLARA the lower risk/cost proposal most definitely will also have better range and cruise speed.

BELL PUSHES 360 INVICTUS AS LOW-RISK FARA CANDIDATE


As a single-rotor helicopter, Bell’s candidate for the US Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) requirement is more conventional in configuration than its Sikorsky RAIDER-X competitor, yet the 360 INVICTUS is an interesting flying machine in its own right – and closely tailored to the US Army’s requirement.

With its stealthy, diamond-shaped cross-section, tandem two-seat cockpit and ducted fan tail-rotor canted at a jaunty angle – which counters the natural tendency of a tail-rotor whose thrust axis is not perfectly aligned with the centre of gravity to put a roll angle on in the hover – the 360 INVICTUS bears a strong visual resemblance to the Boeing-Sikorsky RAH-66 COMANCHE. Bell’s promotional material even uses the Army’s ‘quarterback of the battlefield’ metaphor that became familiar during the LHX competition and then the COMANCHE programme. In biology, this would be called ‘convergent evolution’.

Bell stresses that the aircraft will exceed the 180kt speed requirement at maximum continuous power and full mission gross weight: it will also maintain Level 1 handling qualities up to 4,000ft in altitude and 95°F in the hover. With a 1,40lb payload, it boasts a combat radius of 135nm with more than 90 min on station.

INVICTUS’ single rotor has a lower profile than that of the coaxial system on the RAIDER-X. The four-blade rotor head is derived from the five-blade head of the 16-20 seat Bell 525 RELENTLESS, which uses a fully-articulated design. This means that bearings, rather than flexures, allow for all the pitching, flapping and lead-lag motions the blades must make.

Judging by published drawings of the 525 head, these appear to consist of a single large elastomeric bearing per blade, each positioned inside one of the rings making up the head structure and supporting the closed end of the U-shaped blade grip that passes through the ring, the blade bolting to the other end of the grip.

The powerplant is unusual in that the 3,000shp-class GE901 turboshaft is supplemented by a 588shp Pratt & Whitney PW207D1 that, in addition to its electrical power-generating duties, also provides extra mechanical power for the rotors when needed. Bell says it is used to boost cruise and dash speeds and hover capability, so it appears it will be in use much of the time. Perhaps this little-and-large approach allows both engines to operate in their most efficient load ranges more of the time, minimising fuel consumption.

Unencumbered by weapons, the wing is purely for lift, offloading the main rotor at high speed and leaving more control margin for manoeuvring. It may mean that the retreating blades operate farther from their stall limit at high speeds, allowing the aircraft to fly faster, complementing the blade shaping that minimises retreating blade stall at high speeds. Weapons and other stores are carried inside the fuselage in a large bay and are deployed from fold-out launchers.

Bell is pushing the INVICTUS as the as low-cost, low-risk option for the FARA requirement, which is borne out by its conservative design and the reuse of commercial helicopter technology. First flight is expected in the Autumn of 2022

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 05 Apr 2020 20:38

An excellent article covering the various hypersonic programs and testing in the US (all three services). One of the 4 hypersonic tests planned in Fiscal Year 2020 (which ends in Sep) has happened. The other three are expected to be very closely clustered to one another now because of the Covid-19 disruptions.

In total there are 9 hypersonic developmental programs in the US out of which 7 are known and 2 are classified. Of the 7 that are known one has been "paused" after it successfully completed its Critical Design Review. This was the USAF's Hypersonic Conventional Standoff Weapon (HCSW) which would have produced a longer ranged, but larger boost glide weapon than the AGM-183A ARRW which is going to be shorter ranged but much smaller and more capable (2nd gen. HGV).

If there are delays in the AGM183A which is scheduled to have its IOC in the next couple of years, the USAF may move back to the HCSW and begin its production. The only unique thing on the HCSW that is not going to be in service by the 2023 time-frame is the USAF specific booster (the glide body will be in service with the USN and US-Army) so it will be a relatively easy restart if required. AGM-183A is shorter ranged but smaller and more can be carried by the bombers. It is also a candidate weapon for the F-15 E and F-15 EX.

The Hypersonics Push


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