US military, technology, arms, tactics

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TSJones
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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby TSJones » 21 Oct 2015 17:06

there are only about 400 men in force recon. it's kept tiny because the Marines do not favor special ops.

Navy seals number about 2,500 in comparison.

there are no special schools in the Marines for special ops except for snipers,

Force Recon must obtain their parachute training from the Army and probably their UDT trainng from the Navy as they do for most of their technical training,.

addendum..... things have apparently changed in the last 15 years, there are now about 2000 force recon billets and they are part of the DoD JSOC Command.

and there is now a force recon school at Camp Pendleton, CA.

things change over the years, I guess.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Austin » 23 Oct 2015 13:26

US ICBM replacement to soon emerge, officials seek SLBM commonality
Daniel Wasserbly, Washington, DC - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
The US Air Force's (USAF's) plans for replacing the Boeing LGM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) are being formed now, and the solution could have some commonality with future US Navy (USN) submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).

The Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) programme - previously known as Minuteman IV - is now undergoing an analysis of alternatives to determine specific attributes, Admiral Cecil Haney, head of US Strategic Command, told reporters during a 22 October breakfast meeting.

Once that is done the programme will move through the requirements process and eventually a request for proposals (RfP) would be released, perhaps sometime this year.

"In terms of commonality, I have signed a letter along with [USN acquisition executive] Sean Stackley and [USAF acquisition executive] William LaPlante such that we do look at a common approach where we can associate with a future missile," Adm Haney said.

ICBMs and SLBMs are somewhat different systems, but he noted that commonality is possible in the warhead - and some work on that has been done already - and common approaches are possible for certain components on the missile. "These are discussions that are starting, it's not matured but it's work that's ongoing right now," he said.

GBSD so far appears to be emerging as an iterative effort for replacing the ageing ICBMs, but maintaining much of the infrastructure and associated components. Some of this will be done through replacements or through upgrades.


http://www.janes.com/article/55465/us-i ... ommonality

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Austin » 23 Oct 2015 13:27

Testimony of Gen Bogdan about F-35 development

http://docs.house.gov/meetings/AS/AS25/ ... 151021.pdf

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 23 Oct 2015 15:26

Lockheed wins Long Range Discrimination Radar award for a new Missile defense, long range radar in Alaska. Their solution was an S band, Gallium Nitride (GaN) AESA.

Image
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http://www.defensenews.com/story/defens ... /74405952/

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby ramana » 23 Oct 2015 23:55

Deejay, USAF to run tests on close support mission paramevers between F-35 and A-10

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 24 Oct 2015 00:03

Yes, forced to by a couple of Congress members and 2 senators. Interestingly the same politicians did not provide a single dollar to conduct the tests so one would assume that this would have to come from readiness accounts as usual. Its a hotly debated concern, with the sequester forcing modernization accounts to be paid for by taking away from readiness accounts. That means going ahead with A-10 Phase out in 2018-2020 time-frame instead of 2030 and that means making compromises. We all know how this will end up -

- Time to Station - F-35 ahead of A-10
- Time on Station - A-10 ahead of F-35
- Low, Slow and Gun - A-10 Ahead of F-35
- Non-Permissive-CAS - A-10 cannot do the mission, F-35 survivable
- Gun - A-10 better since more rounds and the ability to go down, low and survive while deploying the gun

But we all know this. This is the exact same debate that took place in 2000 when the JSF was chosen and the USAF was asked to shelve its requirements for an A-X because well, the cold war was over and they were not going to invest in single use aircraft and buy a ton of them. The F-35 does not replace the A-10's CAS mission, it will be a part of the CAS which as has been said umpteen times IS A MISSION and NOT AN AIRCRAFT. Try walking into eastern Ukraine, with the A-10 and find out the low and slow mission does against a credible opponent. In Afghanistan you'd keep A-10's around that had deployed all their weapons just because the presence was scary enough, try doing that against a competent military. Even then the A-10 performed a small fraction of the CAS missions.


That is what the CSAF and the PEO have said, they all know how this story will play out but a couple of senators want to use this to beat the USAF since they don't have enough clout within their own party to convince a small faction of it to lift the limits and fully fund both modernization and readiness to the required levels.

Now if McCain and his puppet really want to do something for CAS they can fund the A-X, but that would contradict McCain's rationale for siding with Gates that the USAF should move away from single use aircraft. Its Arizona politics at play as both the senator and Congresswoman look to shore up both the F-35 for Luke, and not loose the A-10's in the state. If they really wanted the A-10 capability to not go away in 2018, they'd fund it just as the USAF had been asking for the last 5 and a half years now. If they aren't going to fund to 'asked' levels the operators are going to take risks in the areas and as the Cheif has said, when he goes to the Combat Commanders in SOCOM, in PACOM, in EUCOM and CENTCOM, they want more ISR, more survivable aircraft and then CAS and this is exactly the order in which he is funding his priorities. Now if sequester is to be lifted 6 months from now, the USAF will gladly take the appropriated money and fund the A-10 but in the absence, specialty platforms that serve no more than 1 role will have to go away in favor of platforms that can replace more aircraft, and perform multiple missions. Even under the unapproved accelerated phase out plan the A-10's still remain for a few more years unless of course the same Republican senators and congressmen/woman can appropriate to levels and lift the caps on actually maintaining a maintainer base and growing it to support a new enterprise. Under Sequestration, the USAF has to raid the F-16 and A-10 communities (maintainers and logistical capacity) to create the F-35 base (they cannot add new folks because of the CAPS) and under such both these enterprises will be raided. The Politicos can shut up and allow them to build capacity but they don't have the political clout to do that so they must beat down on the service to get their way. The result is that the services are being asked to make do at current appropriations, with surplus money in the OCO that you cannot base multi-year programs on (its illegal to do so) and when they do compromise, the politicos want to come around and have them compromise on their terms. It started off with, we are in sequestration, morph the military over the next 5 years to reflect those realities, and then when each of the services does so, the politicos don't accept it since they want their own interests and agenda to be taken care off. The Navy is facing something even more severe with shipbuilding. Its a political season and the US is badly divided around party lines and this is what is playing out. Who would have thought that a fairly liberal Democratic President would produce a defense budget (FY16) that would be highly praised by those that study budgets, and the republican congress would only circumvent the budget by appropriating money through the OCO which would then be vetoed by the Democratic president. Amidst all this some folks will pretend to still appear to be "HAWKISH" like McCain that hasn't seen a WAR that he hasn't liked ;). Long term capability be damned !

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Viv S » 24 Oct 2015 03:54

Who will fight the next war?

Failures in Iraq and Afghanistan have widened the gulf between most Americans and the armed forces
Oct 24th 2015 | ATLANTA | From the print edition - The Economist

Image

CRUISING a Walmart in Clayton County, Georgia, with Sergeant Russell Haney of US army recruiting, it would be easy to think most Americans are aching to serve Uncle Sam. Almost every teenager or 20-something he hails, in his cheery Tennessee drawl, amid the mounds of plastic buckets and cut-price tortilla chips, appears tempted by his offer. Lemeanfa, a 19-year-old former football star, says he is halfway sold on it; Dseanna, an 18-year-old shopper, says she is too, provided she won’t have to go to war. Serving in the coffee shop, Archel and Lily, a brother and sister from the US Virgin Islands, listen greedily to the education, training and other benefits the recruiting sergeant reels off. “You don’t want a job, you want a career!” he tells them, as a passer-by thrusts a packet of cookies into his hands, to thank him for his service.

Southern, poorer than the national average, mostly black and with longstanding ties to the army, the inhabitants of Clayton County are among the army’s likeliest recruits. Last year they furnished it with more soldiers than most of the rest of the greater Atlanta area put together. Yet Sergeant’s Haney’s battalion, which is responsible for it, still failed to make its annual recruiting target—and a day out with the unit suggests why.

Much of the friendly reception for Sergeant Haney he puts down to fine southern manners; in fact, no one in Walmart is likely to enlist. Lemeanfa has a tattoo behind his ear, an immediate disqualifier. Dseanna has a one-year-old baby, and would have to sign away custody of him. Lily’s girlfriend has a toddler she does not want to leave; Archel won’t leave his sister. Even the cookie-giver is less propitious than he seems: he symbolises, Sergeant Haney says ruefully, as he bins his gift, that paying lip-service to the armed forces, as opposed to doing military service, is all most Americans are good for.

In a society given to ostentatious public obeisance to the services—during National Military Appreciation Month, on Military Spouse Day and on countless other such public holidays and occasions—the figures that support this claim are astonishing. In the financial year that ended on September 30th America’s four armed services—army, navy, air force and marines—aimed to recruit 177,000 people, mainly from among the 21m Americans aged 17-21. Yet all struggled, and the army, which accounted for nearly half that target, made its number, at great cost and the eleventh hour, only by cannibalising its store of recruits for the current year. It failed by 2,000 to meet its target of 17,300 recruits for the army reserve, which is becoming more important to national security as the full-time army shrinks from a recent peak of 566,000 to a projected 440,000 by 2019—its lowest level since the second world war. “I find it remarkable,” says the commander of army recruiting, Major-General Jeffrey Snow. “That we have been in two protracted land campaigns and we have an American public that thinks very highly of the military, yet the vast majority has lost touch with it. Less than 1% of Americans are willing and able to serve.”

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That is part of a longstanding trend: a growing disconnect between American society and the armed forces that claim to represent it, which has many causes, starting with the ending of the draft in 1973. Ever since, military experience has been steadily fading from American life. In 1990, 40% of young Americans had at least one parent who had served in the forces; by 2014, only 16% had, and the measure continues to fall. Among American leaders, the decline is similarly pronounced. In 1981, 64% of congressmen were veterans; now around 18% are.

Seasonal factors, including a strengthening labour market and negative media coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, have widened the gulf. So have the dismal standards of education and physical fitness that prevail in modern American society. At a time of post-war introspection, these factors raise two big questions. The first concerns America’s ability to hold to account a military sector its leaders feel bound to applaud, but no longer competent to criticise. Andrew Bacevich, a former army officer, academic and longstanding critic of what he terms the militarism of American society, derides that support as “superficial and fraudulent”. Sanctified by politicians and the public, he argues, the army’s top brass have been given too much power and too little scrutiny, with the recent disastrous campaigns, and similarly profligate appropriations, the almost inevitable result. The second question raised by the civil-military disconnect is similarly fundamental: it concerns America’s future ability to mobilise for war.

During the Korean war, around 70% of draft-age American men served in the armed forces; during Vietnam, the unpopularity of the conflict and ease of draft-dodging ensured that only 43% did. These days, even if every young American wanted to join up, less than 30% would be eligible to. Of the starting 21m, around 9.5m would fail a rudimentary academic qualification, either because they had dropped out of high school or, typically, because most young Americans cannot do tricky sums without a calculator. Of the remainder, 7m would be disqualified because they are too fat, or have a criminal record, or tattoos on their hands or faces. According to Sergeant Haney, about half the high-school students in Clayton County are inked somewhere or other; according to his boss, Lieutenant-Colonel Tony Parilli, a bigger problem is simply that “America is obese.”

Spurned by the elite

That leaves 4.5m young Americans eligible to serve, of whom only around 390,000 are minded to, provided they do not get snapped up by a college or private firm instead—as tends to happen to the best of them. Indeed, a favourite mantra of army recruiters, that they are competing with Microsoft and Google, is not really true. With the annual exception of a few hundred sons and daughters of retired officers, America’s elite has long since turned its nose up at military service. Well under 10% of army recruits have a college degree; nearly half belong to an ethnic minority.

The pool of potential recruits is too small to meet America’s, albeit shrunken, military needs; especially, as now, when the unemployment rate dips below 6%. This leaves the army, the least-favoured of the four services, having either to drop its standards or entice those not minded to serve with generous perks. After it failed to meet its recruiting target in 2005, a time of high employment and bad news from Baghdad, it employed both strategies zealously. To sustain what was, by historical standards, only a modest surge in Iraq, around 2% of army recruits were accepted despite having failed to meet academic and other criteria; “We accepted a risk on quality,” grimaces General Snow, an Iraq veteran. Meanwhile the cost of the army’s signing-on bonuses ballooned unsustainably, to $860m in 2008 alone.

That figure has since fallen, as part of a wider effort to peg back the personnel costs that consume around a quarter of the defence budget. Yet the remaining sweeteners are still generous: the army’s pay and allowances have risen by 90% since 2000. In a role-play back at Sergeant Haney’s recruiting station, your correspondent, posing as an aimless school-leaver, asked what the army could offer him. The answer, besides the usual bed, board and medical insurance, included $78,000 in college fees, some of which could be transferred to a close relative; professional training, including for 46 jobs that still offer a fat signing-on bonus; and post-service careers advice. Could the army perhaps also overlook the youthful drugs misdemeanour your correspondent, in character, admitted to? Sergeant Fred Pedro thought it could.

It is a good offer, especially set against the bad jobs and wage stagnation prevalent among the Americans it is mostly aimed at. That the army is having such trouble selling it is partly testament to the effects on public opinion of its recent wars. In the three decades following America’s withdrawal from Vietnam, in 1973, the army fought a dozen small wars and one big one, the first Gulf war, in which it suffered only a few hundred casualties in total. Even as Americans grew apart from their soldiers, therefore, they were also encouraged to forget that war usually entails killing on both sides.

In that blithe context, America’s 5,366 combat deaths, and tens of thousands of wounded, in Iraq and Afghanistan have come as a terrible shock. Most young Americans associate the army with “coming home broken, physically, mentally and emotionally”, says James Ortiz, director of army marketing. Almost every member of the journalism class at D.M. Therrell High School in Atlanta concurs with that: “I’d maybe join if there’s no other option. But I just don’t like the violence,” shudders 16-year-old Mayowa.

Decades of army advertising that focused largely on the college money and other perks of service probably added to the misapprehension. “Americans do not understand the army, so do not value it,” says Mr Ortiz. A marketing campaign launched last year, Enterprise Army, instead emphasises the high values and good works the army seeks to promulgate. Yet it will take more than this to turn Americans back to a life which many consider incompatible with atomised, sceptical, irreverent modern living. Moreover, it is also likely that, when the army next needs to surge, it will be for a war much bloodier than the recent ones. America’s biggest battlefield advantage in recent decades, its mastery of precision-guided weapons, is fading, as these become widely available even to the bigger militant groups, such as Hamas or Hizbullah.

The result is that America may be unable, within reasonable cost limits and without reinstituting the draft, to raise the much bigger army it might need for such wars. “Could we field the force we would need?” asks Andrew Krepinevich of the Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. Probably not: “The risk is that our desire to ask only those who are willing to fight to do so is pricing us out of some kinds of warfare.”

From the print edition: United States

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 24 Oct 2015 07:49


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Paul » 25 Oct 2015 21:52

Could not find the F-35 thread

http://www.defensenews.com/story/defens ... /74455726/

Canada's F-35 Decision Poised To Shake Up Fighter Jet Market

Something missing? If Canada drops the F-35 it could leave a hole in its domestic industrial base.(Photo: Lockheed Martin)

WASHINGTON, VICTORIA, British Columbia, LONDON, PARIS and TEL AVIV — In a move that promises to shake up the fighter jet market, Canada's new Liberal Party government is widely expected to pull out of the Pentagon's F-35 program.

Although the remaining international partners are standing by their commitment to the joint strike fighter, Ottawa's potential exit is not exactly a vote of confidence in the fifth-generation fighter jet.

If Justin Trudeau, the newly elected prime minister, follows through on his pledge to cancel the country's planned 65-plane purchase, Canada would become the first country to reject the fifth-generation fighter — and, potentially, the first industrial partner to withdraw participation in the program.

Such a move would reverberate across the globe, with all remaining partners forced to pay higher prices for F-35s.

For Canada's supply base, the stakes are high. Many Canadian companies have spent years building components for the new plane and stand to lose as much as CDN$11 billion (US $8.3 billion) in work over the life of the jet.

On the other hand, the new Liberal government argues that an open competition for Canada's fighter-jet replacement would more than make up for the loss of the F-35 business.

Impact to F-35 Partners

In 2010, Canada committed to buying 65 F-35s on a sole-source basis as the replacement for its fleet of CF-18s. Two years later, then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper paused that purchase amid accusations that his government had lied about the true cost of the fighter program.

The F-35's future in Canada has been called into question since Trudeau's sweeping victory in the Oct. 19 election.

Trudeau has promised to pull out of the F-35 program and to move quickly on replacing Canada's aging CF-18s with another plane through a competition. He has said that Canada does not need a stealth fighter for its defense needs and that the F-35 is too expensive.

In Washington last week, US Lt. Gen. Christopher C. Bogdan, F-35 Joint Program Office chief, said the remaining international partners can blame Canada for a $1 million price increase per jet if Ottawa scraps its 65-plane buy.


DEFENSE NEWS
Top US Senator: Canada 'Stupid' To Drop F-35

"If any partner or any service moves airplanes to the right or takes airplanes out, the price of the airplane" will rise, Bogdan told lawmakers Oct. 21. "We have estimated that the increase in price to everyone else is about 0.7 to one percent [or] about $1 million a copy for everybody else."

If Canada pulls out, there would be no impact to the current development program, which ends in 2017, Bogdan stressed. However, the international partners would be forced to absorb Canada's 2.1 percent share in the cost of future sustainment and follow-on modernization, he said.

But what would happen to the Canadian supply base, which has spent millions to help develop technology and components for the plane?

Bogdan said the JPO does not have a "set rule" to deal with this scenario, but said the international and industry partners should have a "discussion" about what to do with the Canadian companies building parts for the F-35.

Trudeau does not become prime minister until Nov. 4, and details about how he will proceed with the withdrawal from the F-35 program are still unclear.

Asked about the impact on Canadian firms, a Liberal spokesman pointed to the party's election platform, which argues that such companies stand to gain more work from an open competition for Canada's fighter jet replacement. The platform noted that, under a Canada-run competition, Canadian firms would be guaranteed work — unlike under the F-35 program.

Global Reaction

Despite a potential price increase, the other international partners remain committed to the F-35 program.

An Israeli defense source said he was "certainly not happy" about prospective cost growth as a result of Canada's presumptive withdrawal, but insisted that such a scenario would not affect Israel's interest in pursuing follow-on orders for the F-35I.

He noted that additional squadrons of F-35Is — and the US military grant aid to pay for them — will be high on the agenda of Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon when he visits Washington this week to discuss Israel's enhanced security needs. Yaalon's discussions with US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and other top Pentagon officials precedes a scheduled Nov. 9 meeting for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama – their first since conclusion of the so-called P5+1 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Israel has 33 F-35Is on order, with a contractual option for another 17. The first aircraft is expected in December 2016, with initial operational capability planned by the end of 2017. Eventually, the Israeli Air Force expects a full force strength of 75 F-35Is.

Italy, which is planning to buy 90 JSFs, stands to fork out $90 million extra should Canada leave the program.

"We'll negotiate on the price," said a senior Italian defense source when asked about the possibility.

But one fighter-industry executive in the UK, who asked not to be named, said the F-35's problems went deeper than a possible price hike caused by any Canadian withdrawal.

"If the only problem the F-35 had was that the aircraft was $1 million more expensive, they wouldn't have a problem," he said. "The problem is the aircraft is tens of millions of dollars more than they originally told people it would be, and that's just the acquisition price. It's the sustainment cost that will destroy air forces."

Norway's government is showing no deep anxiety that costs relating to acquisition will spiral to a level where it may want to re-negotiate on price or reduce its agreement to buy 52 aircraft. Maj Gen. Morten Klever, director of Norway’s Fighter Replacement Program, said that Norway would conduct its own analysis on cost and the overall development of the F-35 program.

However, the latest wrinkle in the F-35 development has been greeted with interest next door in Sweden where Saab is expected to re-establish contact with Canada about the single-engine Gripen NG fighter, which has notched up several export successes lately, most notably in Brazil, where a contract for 36 aircraft became effective last month. Sweden is also certain to try and garner advantage from the F-35 project’s woes in efforts to sell the Gripen to Finland, which has started its fighter replacement program.

A Saab spokesman would not say whether the company would bid the Gripen NG for a Canadian requirement if Ottawa bails out of the F-35. However, he emphasized the low cost of the aircraft as a reason for Canada to look more closely at the Swedish fighter.

In Denmark, which is due to reach a decision on its multi-role aircraft by the end of 2015, the Ministry of Defense last week suggested that Canada's departure might add $50 million more to the overall F-35 acquisition cost, but the competition's short-listed candidates also include Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault’s Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon. The MoD has asked the office in charge of the competition to conduct a deeper cost assessment.

Doug Barrie, the senior air analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank in London, said the potential impact of a price rise caused by a Canadian withdrawal from the program is a bit of a red herring. Virtually all of the F-35 price escalation is down to US issues, he said.

The biggest danger posed by Canada's presumptive exit is the pressure it puts on potential customers to look at other solutions, he said.

"It's the precedent, not the price, that is the bigger danger for F-35 exports," he said. "If I was in a rival fighter company, I'd be thinking this development gives me a little more market leverage."

What's next for Canada?

Canada's expected decision to drop the F-35 was mixed with politics, as the cost for the fifth-generation fighter had dogged Harper's government. But Trudeau has positioned the argument as one of necessity, emphasizing that Canada should focus more on homeland defense than power projection with its new fighter buy.

Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the Teal Group, points to Trudeau signalling he'll withdraw Canada from military operations against the Islamic State group as proof that the new government is focusing inward, rather than outward, with its security decisions.

"It was form fitting function — it's not about if it's a good fighter, but, rather, if this is a role Canada should have," Aboulafia said. "The F-35 is the perfect plane if Canada is going to be part of coalition warfare. If they just want something that provides air protection for sovereignty, something else fits just fine."

Gene Colabatistto, group president for defence and security at CAE, the largest Canadian-owned defense company, agrees that the primary mission set Canada needs to fulfill is the sovereignty mission.

The question now becomes what jet will fill that mission.

Trudeau has previously suggested that the F-35 would not be considered in any competition, but even if it were invited back in, it seems an unlikely winner. Any new competition immediately becomes a plum prize for jet producers, as there are few large-scale fighter procurements expected in the next few years.


DEFENSE NEWS
Liberal Win in Canada Dims Prospects for F-35 Buy

The obvious choice to replace the Boeing-made CF-18 fleet would be the procurement of Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornets, said Aboulafia. The familiarity of pilots with the jet, interoperability with the older fleet, and the military ties between the US and Canada make it an easy choice.

And, while it seems unlikely Canada would pick a non-American supplier, Aboulafia says not to be surprised if the Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab's Gripen NG enter any competition. Rafale and Eurofighter have mounted strong marketing campaigns in the last six months as uncertainty over the F-35 grew.

Dassault aviation chairman Eric Trappier said Oct. 22 he wrote a letter of congratulations to Trudeau that included a pitch for Rafale.

A spokesman for Eurofighter Typhoon declined to comment, other than to say that officials are closely monitoring the political developments in Canada.

If Canada selects the Super Hornet over the European fighters, it would be a huge win for Boeing, which has sought to extend the life of its facility in St. Louis.

"That buys Boeing three more years," Aboulafia said, while noting it could also have an impact on US procurement. The Navy has argued for the procurement of more F/A-18s, and having the Canadian jets on the line could make the economic case that helps the Navy do just that.

A Boeing win "works out very well for the carrier part of the Navy," Aboulafia said.

But the decision to have a full competition instead of the sole-source selection of F-35 will result in a delay in getting the new fleets online, CAE's Colabatistto said.

That, in turn, means the existing training infrastructure — including the CAE-run NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) program which trains pilots for the Canadian military — will likely need to be extended.

"The net is that [the competition] will delay the acquisition of a new fighter program," he told Defense News on Oct. 22. "It's not going to start in a year or two, which means that the fleet will start to be replaced in the early mid-2020s. Therefore, the training enterprise [will] extend the current training programs to get ready for that."

And, while Canadian firms tied to the F-35 base released a Sept. 25 statement warning Trudeau's decision would cost "current and future jobs," Colabatistto does not see reason to panic.

He sees more of a "reallocation" of defense funds than a major cut coming under Trudeau's government. Funding that may have gone in the short term to fighters will now instead be shifted to maritime assets, he said.

"It's all one budget, and they will have to accommodate that," Colabatistto said. "But I think the most visible part will be the delay, or the stretching, of the fighter programs."

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Singha » 28 Oct 2015 06:59

washington post:

Northrop Grumman on Tuesday won the Pentagon contract to build a fleet of stealthy planes known as the Long Range Strike Bomber, a new generation of aircraft designed to reach deep into enemy territory.

Northrop beat out a team of Boeing and Lockheed Martin in the high-stakes competition for a project likely to be one of the Pentagon’s most significant over the next decade.

---
100 planes at 550 mil each + $20b development budget.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 28 Oct 2015 07:01

Most importantly they are far enough into the development that even the first production aircraft to be built would be built under a fixed price contract i.e. any cost overrun has to be borne by Northrop Grumman. Usually the first 3-4 Low Rate blocks are never fixed price but once the production is stabilized they switch but with this program only development is cost plus and each and every aircraft will be procured under a fixed price award with a not to exceed price of $550 Million adjusted for inflation.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Singha » 28 Oct 2015 11:43

its a low risk project now given the vast amt of basic r&d gone into ELO UCAVs, JSF, F22, B2, F117 in the general usa knowledge pool and their vast family of weapons and avionics, advanced materials and precision manufacturing.

its almost like cobbling together the right components after deciding the form factor and performance.


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Singha » 28 Oct 2015 11:46

my guess is something 70% of the B1 size for both pakda and lrsb. ELO shaping, better engines will impart long range, no need for supersonic, and smaller smarter networked weapons will impact the same bite as the famous 80 jdam loadout of the b1.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 28 Oct 2015 14:38

I already made my guess some months ago which was that 70% the size, 70% the Payload and 60-70% combat radius of the B-2. 2 x F-135 engines in the interim, Variable Cycle third stream adaptive engines in the mid 2020's for 10-15% extra range.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 28 Oct 2015 14:52

Singha wrote:its a low risk project now given the vast amt of basic r&d gone into ELO UCAVs, JSF, F22, B2, F117 in the general usa knowledge pool and their vast family of weapons and avionics, advanced materials and precision manufacturing.

its almost like cobbling together the right components after deciding the form factor and performance.


That is what one would logically think but the acquisition point man explicitly said -


The plane will initially use mature or existing technologies, which should forestall the kinds of cost increases and delays that have afflicted the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and other programs.

“Just because they’re existing and mature doesn’t mean that they’re in the open. It doesn’t mean that any of you even know about them,” LaPlante said. http://www.defenseone.com/technology/20 ... f=d-skybox



The same acquisition boss also said that there are elements of the technology that are secret but also operational at the moment most likely pointing to RQ-180 and its supposed significant advances in aerodynamics and stealth. I have that entire article on the International thread (the one that Austin posted above).

The amount of stealth will be significant and unprecedented but there has to be something significantly more because as was written in the 2000's boeing had made some serious advances in stealth after a couple of their own company funded demonstrators - covering visual, acoustic and IR bands as well. When Robert Gates transformed the Next Generation Bomber to the LRS-B he cited technology that required further maturing to be affordable and one would have to imaging what that was but one does get some idea what Northrop Grumman, Boeing and Lockheed were looking at in the mid 2000's for high end aircraft -

- Wing embedded arrays : Unlike that little Russian glass/plastic UAV demonstrated at MAKS where they had blocks elements used in the structure the sensor craft project saw northrop pioneer a way to embed the entire flexible aperture into the wing skin of the aircraft. They ran tests in the lab with that and were able to test for stresses up to 5 G if I recall correctly. The apertures were both active and passive and did not involve physically embedding antenna arrays as was done in the F-22 or F35 for example.

Here's an example of what was being done a decade or so ago as the transition was made from the NGB to the LRS-B and *surprise* Northrop was at the center of all this research -

Air vehicle and radar designers aspire to the union of form and function: antennas that perform both structural and sensing roles. Such technology could revolutionize battlefield intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), enabling multiband, multimode detection for unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). Today's rigid, heavy and power-hungry electronically scanned phased array radars are suboptimal for UAVs. Conformal, load-bearing antennas, however, would decrease the empty weight and increase the flight time of these aircraft. Such technology, however, has numerous hurdles to clear. It must be robust enough to withstand a lifetime of flexure, and algorithms must be matured to steer the beam over a curved, moving surface. But prototypes exist, thanks to projects like SensorCraft, initiated by the U.S. Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) in 1999. SensorCraft draws on multiple disciplines to develop the sensor, aerodynamic, airframe and propulsion technologies needed to field a long-endurance UAV optimized for ISR.

The vision is to integrate UHF and X-band antennas into the aircraft structure to provide multiband, 360-degree coverage without the weight penalty of conventionally mounted radars, rotadomes, canoes and radomes. Large UHF antennas in the wings, generating high gain and beam scan rate, will be able to detect and track both ground moving targets and air-to-air targets. Northrop Grumman has developed a 5-by-5-element UHF subarray, while Raytheon and Boeing have developed X-band components. Radars in the UHF band (300 MHz to 1.0 GHz) can detect moving targets through foliage, while higher-resolution X-band (8.0 to 12.5-GHz) radar can track and resolve targets. In an operational scenario, the UHF radar would "hand off" the target it has detected to the X-band radar for high-accuracy tracking. Both offerings are electronically steerable arrays.

More here : http://www.aviationtoday.com/regions/us ... jCjELxXbS6




- Cyber Electronic Warfare - Network Cyber warfare was pioneered by USAF's Project Suture and was almost entirely driven by Northrop Grumman's demonstration of network penetration capability where they were able to manipulate IAD networks, to not
penetrate them but manipulate their sensors, their radars etc to show something that did not exist. That capability already exists on some specialized aircraft, and the USAF has Project Suture offshoots on some F-16's as well and it is widely believed that the F-35's cyber capability is just an extension of that.

- Directed Energy Weapons : Both Fiber Lasers and Solid State Lasers are far more mature now , and beam control and turret designs are flying as we speak. It would not be hard in principle to put on 100-120 KW system on the LRSB in the mid 2020's if that is what they wanted. This is obviously the first aircraft designed for directed energy application so expect it to have a subsystem aboard at IOC or provisions for one further down the road.

Then comes stealth and speed - Lockheed bet the company on a super cruising Long Range Strike, and therefore had to partner with Boeing given they had better product experience. It is rumored that the prototype Lockheed Skunks Works built for Boeing for the now cancelled (but wasn't cancelled - simply rolled into the LRS)NGB was a subsonic stealth aircraft. That is the most fascinating part of the entire program. The Skunk Works made what any believe a very impressive large bomber prototype. Boeing got a few hat tips in the early 2000's for its company funded research into stealth and lockheed had made great advances through a lot of pain in the F-22 and F-35 yet Northrop came in without a partner and took the cake without having produced anything for the NGB program. The RQ180 must be one heck of an impressive aircraft if that was what demonstrated a significant de-risking of design and validation of their models for the program.

Finally we were also told (in an indirect way) why the July- August announcement and down-select was delayed to October-November timeframe. The USAF did not ask the Program Office managing the program to do a cost estimate, they also did not ask the bidders to provide their cost estimates. The engaged 2 independent authorities one from within the USAF and the other from CAPE (that produces those ridiculous 55 year 1 trillion projects for the JSF and reduces them every 3 years :) ) and then on top of that waited till the Inspector General concluded his independent assessment of these cost-estimates and the program at large. The Rapid Capabilities Office is a small unit as mentioned in the article posted in the International thread - They are regarded as the ' SKUNK WORKS' of the USAF and DOD acquisition systems - small diverse teams that get only the highly complicated development or procurement programs and deliver on time. All these estimates and third party reviews were probably to make the contract award survive intense scrutiny by the General Accounting Office, which will naturally decide upon the program once a formal protest is made by Boeing next week. That process should be shorter now that the leg work has been done independently.
Last edited by brar_w on 28 Oct 2015 15:15, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 28 Oct 2015 14:53




Full article in the International thread - definitely worth a read!

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Austin » 28 Oct 2015 15:54

Did they opt for Subsonic or Supersonic design for Northrop ?

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Singha » 28 Oct 2015 17:36

not revealed yet but all indicates in recent past are subsonic, the supersonic designs fell out of favour a decade ago and nowhere in the world is a ELO supersonic platform under development, manned or unmanned if you dont count PGS hypersonics which may not be ELO certainly not in IR spectrum.

a 3000km unrefueled combat radius with full payload would still give a 4000km stick if you consider JASSM-ER and other future weapons.

distance from guam to hainan is 3700km

however I think they will try to retain the 5500km combat radius of B2 even if compromising a little on the payload given the whole area denial games and shifting attitudes of fickle/cowardly allies to basing aircraft..given a additional cushion in range and loiter time...might even come with innovative concepts like fat removable composite fuel tanks fitted inside (part of) the internal bay to extend range cheaply for such missions. :lol:

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 28 Oct 2015 18:34

Austin wrote:Did they opt for Subsonic or Supersonic design for Northrop ?


We cannot tell based on what they released. However if one were to deduce one would guess subsonic. Lockheed and Northrop Grumman were the only two companies interested in a supersonic design and the speeds then were around Mach 1.5 to Mach 2 for prolonged periods ( i.e. supercruise for 500-1000 nautical miles at a time). This was in the early days of the Next Generation Bomber. One of the designs Lockheed considered is below. Northrop also worked with AFRL to develop many potential configurations for an efficient supercruising strike bomber as well. However as NGB matured Lockheed dropped all plans to go and compete as a prime, and agreed to partner with Boeing which at the time was publically pushing for an ELO all aspect stealth flying wing. Lockheed's exit can be deduced to the OSD and the program incharge at the time (Global Strike Command) basically giving a NO to a fast aircraft. The question then comes to the benefits of going at say a Mach 1.2 vs a Mach 2 profile. Tactical advantages are few but impact on signature (very hard to still meet the same signature) and cost are significant. I'd guess it flies as fast as the B-2 unless there is something that happened in the dark that no one has even a hint about.

Image

not revealed yet but all indicates in recent past are subsonic, the supersonic designs fell out of favour a decade ago and nowhere in the world is a ELO supersonic platform under development, manned or unmanned if you dont count PGS hypersonics which may not be ELO certainly not in IR spectrum.


You can definitely make an ELO platform supercruise with modern engines but you better be willing to see an impact on size (FUEL) and be able to spend a ton of money for stealth i.e. getting the signature down to the levels. One of the reasons the F-22's stealth portion was significantly more costly to the F-35 was that it would have flown a far greater percentage of its 8000 hour service life at supersonic speeds thereby requiring signature management despite those constraints. There are interesting thigns going on in sonic booms, and other materials but again this program has COST as a design driver since its the first program in Pentagon's history where fly away cost is FIXED PRICE from the start and where the COST is itself a Key Performance Parameter.

a 3000km unrefueled combat radius with full payload would still give a 4000km stick if you consider JASSM-ER and other future weapons.


The AEI (American Enterprise Institute) panel experts agreed on a 2500 nautical mile (4600 km) un-refueled combat radius. 2500 nm is really good since you don't want tanker within a few thousand miles of your target so you can tap up prior to ingresss and have plenty of fuel left for a 1-2 hour loiter even given other responsibilities (Cyber Electronic Warfare, and SEAD). This would put it at around 75-80% of the B-2's range. Even Range/Payload will a scaled down given the dynamics in the Pacific. It will still carry all the larger bombs but will be optimized differently. Plenty of advances have happened in design, materials and most importantly propulsion so it should be fine with 60,000 pounds of dry thrust which a twin modified F135 setup can easily deliver. Going with the F135 allows them to plug in the AETP offshoot adaptive engine as soon as it is ready since it is the same size and meant to be a drop in replacement for the F135 so they'll get a 20-25% range improvement probably half-way through production of the fleet.

Of course that is what we know. La Plante said another interesting thing in that they are trying to make a capability that has never been done before or something like that. I'll dig around to see if any of the media outlets caught it and reported on it. That could mean anything. The most clear thing to come out of the info that was released and going by the CV of the Executive officer is that Network-Penetration and manipulation would be a key aspect of the B-3 or whatever they call it. They have publicly spoken little but from what we know it involves penetrating integrated defense networks and backends to kill radars for example or to feed false targets into the C2.

Hopefully this guy (http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/Biographies/D ... alden.aspx) gives an interview sometime in the future and shuts all the STEALTH is dead because VHF nonsense floating around. He is the Program Manager for the Bomber (The Bogdan of the B-3 if you may) and has lived in the Black world since the mid 1990's including a stint at the USAF Red Team. A basic acknowledgment of how VHF is being managed would be welcomed because mainstream media fails to do basic research. For example the RED team many of whom will be active members in destroying LRS-B proposals to see which one was the most survivable has access to 2 ground based VHF radars they developed specifically for this purpose. Furthermore, there is a UHF AESA equipped AEW flying with the Navy and the Army has an Airborne VHF AESA radar active purposely designed for air-air surveillance (first one if its kind?). Hopefully now that Lockheed is not onboard some reporters can forget their beef with the organization and report facts as they exist, and not as they'd like them to exist.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Singha » 28 Oct 2015 19:29

Pakda designers must be watching all this carefully

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Singha » 29 Oct 2015 09:35

Reuters:
A high-tech U.S. military blimp designed to detect a missile attack came loose on Wednesday and wreaked havoc as it floated from Maryland into Pennsylvania while dragging more than a mile of cable and knocking out power to thousands.

The U.S. military scrambled two armed F-16 fighter jets to keep watch as the massive blimp traveled into civilian airspace after coming untethered from its base at Aberdeen Proving Ground, a U.S. Army facility 40 miles (65 km) northeast of Baltimore.

Pentagon officials said they were unsure why the 242-foot-long blimp broke free at 12:20 p.m. Military officials wrestled for hours over the best way to bring it down safely, but eventually it deflated on its own.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby kit » 29 Oct 2015 10:00

should be interesting to see how much new bomber will cost !

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 29 Oct 2015 14:16

@Kit, the development of the bomber, much like any high end system is a cost plus award i.e. they have a rough estimate of what they think development would cost but are prepared to spend over that since its kind of tough to look through a crystal ball in 2010 (when the program started) and predict what it will cost to Develop the most cutting edge strike platform in your air-force over the next 10-12 years. Those estimates are largely placeholders to see if one should go ahead with the project and to see if even the most basic money is available in out years (5 years for example). There is rarely fixed price development primarily due to the difficulty of judging and estimating the cost to develop something cutting edge. Even large scale commercial programs are prone to development delays and overruns.

However, the production contract which was announced with the award as an 'option' is a 5 block, 21 aircraft fixed price option that would cost a maximum of $550 Million per unit in 2010 dollars (or roughly $600 million in 2016 dollars). The independent cost estimate puts the estimate on producing the winning team's design at roughly $511 million in 2010 dollars. What a fixed price award means is that any cost over-run above the not to exceed price must be borne by the contractors and if the cost is too high so as to financially ruin the contractor a decision is made to either cancel the program, re-award and have someone else produce the aircraft or essentially add more money. Generally Fixed price contracts come after production has mature to a point where the contractors have a grip on their production process, have established a learning curve etc. For example in the F-35, the fixed price awards came in the 5th year of production after Lockheed and co. were well on the curve to learning curve efficiencies. However, this confidence in going for a FPC right from the start seems to suggest that they have in secret largely de-risked some of the most important components - which would not be surprising since the program has existed in the dark for nearly a decade now and they did not bother changing the CODE in the budget for the program as it transitioned from the Next Gen. Bomber to the LRS-B. The $550 award however is for a run of 100, the CAPE that does an independent cost estimation gives a contractor credit in reaching that $550 goal. For example they expect 100 aircraft to cost $550 Million x 100, but the first 10 for example will be more costly than the last 10 etc etc. This is calculated by the CAPE. The cost to produce as I have mentioned is pegged to the annual production rate and not to the total buy. The only folks that love to see an increase in cost due to shortage of procurement are the ones that take the already sunk cost and divide it over the number of aircraft produced which is fine from a pure bean counter perspective but useless from a cost to produce analysis perspective since development is done and dusted by the time you begin production.

In a sharp contrast to the B-2, where everything had to be invented for the first time (even a CATIA equivalent had to be custom made for just this project) the LRS-B has nearly a 15 year , $50+ Billion development pipeline thanks to fifth generation fighter development out of which Northrop Grumman got its fair share for sensors, avionics and even design. Similarly other allied areas such as Electronic warfare, SATCOM, AESA Apertures, Directed Energy Weapons, Beam control turrets, and Low probability of intercept data links have all been extremely well funded outside of this program. In the case of the B-2 none of this was true, in fact there were more firsts in that aircraft than all of those that followed it put together.


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby shiv » 29 Oct 2015 15:59

https://twitter.com/alert5/status/659559818022158336
US wants weapons carrying unmanned wingman for F-35 :D

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 29 Oct 2015 16:08

Makes sense. The french and british want similar stuff for typhoon and rafale. A low observable mule that can seamlessly link up an LPI LAN does not need expensive and hard ro develop avionics since the sensor is the fighter controling it. Drones can also loiter for far longer than a fighter.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Sid » 29 Oct 2015 16:44

Sounds like mothership concept. But to match UCAV loitering time you will need a much long endurance mother craft, maybe like an AWAC that will have enough sensors, power and appropriate man power to direct multiple UCAVs. Else you will end up putting all that intelligence in UCAV which will again make it cost prohibitive.

There was one proposal to change B1B into a A2A missile truck but that too didn't went too far.

I think manned fighter aircrafts are starting to hit ceilings on desired weapon load and endurance.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 29 Oct 2015 16:49

this isnt as much about air to air as it is about strike. A mule allows an F35 doing Cap with 6 missiles to insrantly switch to strike if thats the need of the moment.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Singha » 29 Oct 2015 17:06

the european neuron ucav has I think completed some secretive flight tests in italy recently.
it looks somewhat similar to the RQ170 and various X-nn in america.
it has completed fight and signature reduction tests, only weapons testing is left for the TD.

http://www.airforce-technology.com/news ... ly-4656383

nEUROn, the European full-scale technological demonstrator for an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), has successfully completed a series of important operational tests at the Italian Air Force's Decimomannu Air Base, in Sardinia, Italy.

The UCAV is developed by an industrial team led by Dassault Aviation with the collaboration of Finmeccanica-Alenia Aermacchi, Saab, Airbus Defence and Space, RUAG and HAI.

The aerial vehicle completed 12 highly sensitive sorties to verify its combat capability, its low-radar-cross section and low-infrared signature.

The tests were conducted at different altitudes and flight profiles and against both ground-based and air radar threats.

nEUROn will undergo the next stage phase of testing this summer at the Vidsel Air Base, Sweden.

The next stage will see tests of low observability and use of weapon delivery from the UCAV's weapon bay.

According to Alenia Aermacchi, the development activity of the UCAV is an important step in the technology maturation process of the acquired technology.

nEUROn is expected to be larger and more advanced than other proven UAV systems like the MQ-1 Predator. It would be able to launch precision-guided munitions from an internal weapons bay, and perform an air-to-ground mission in a network centric warfare.

The demonstrator programme was launched by the French Government in 2003 and aims to help the European combat aircraft industry in investigation and validation of technologies required for developing designs of the next-generation UCAV aircraft.

In March, the French Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) completed flight testing of the nEUROn technology demonstrator from Istres, France.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 29 Oct 2015 18:03

Neuron and Taranis are both similar to the X-45C (Boeing) that was an internal Boeing project after it failed to win for the J-UCAS against Northrop. Full up prototypes with stealth designed in unlike the X-47 (Northrop) that was a stealth representative only. Northrop, given its legacy and experience with stealth was given a pass and allowed to design a non-stealthy vehicle for the tech demonstration since there was no objective in the X-47 program that required demonstrating stealth. The USAF has been down this road before, the X-45 family demonstrated autonomous SEAD and Air to Ground munition drops at the turn of the century but the USAF was not interested in a fighter-like UCAV with a fighter like payload/range.

The RQ170 is a bit of a different program since it was a low cost flying wing aircraft for the CIA/USAF. The -180 is the long term high end UCAV designed around ISR and targeting (the sensor for the LRS-B as per some reports) and it is rumored to have a wingspan of a Global Hawk. It was largely seen as a triump of the sort of investments Northrop has made post-B-2 and YF23 given that they beat the skunk works for a category (High end ISR aircraft for USAF and CIA) that they have had a historic near monopoly over (U-2, SR-71, and RQ170).

Secret New UAS Shows Stealth, Efficiency Advances

A large, classified unmanned aircraft developed by Northrop Grumman is now flying—and it demonstrates a major advance in combining stealth and aerodynamic efficiency. Defense and intelligence officials say the secret unmanned aerial system (UAS), designed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, is scheduled to enter production for the U.S. Air Force and could be operational by 2015.

Funded through the Air Force’s classified budget, the program to build this new UAS, dubbed the RQ-180, was awarded to Northrop Grumman after a competition that included Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The aircraft will conduct the penetrating ISR mission that has been left unaddressed, and under wide debate, since retirement of the Lockheed SR-71 in 1998.

Neither the Air Force nor Northrop Grumman would speak about the classified airplane. When queried about the project, Air Force spokeswoman Jennifer Cassidy said, “The Air Force does not discuss this program.”

The RQ-180 carries radio-frequency sensors such as active, electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and passive electronic surveillance measures, according to one defense official. It could also be capable of electronic attack missions.

This aircraft’s design is key for the shift of Air Force ISR assets away from “permissive” environments—such as Iraq and Afghanistan, where Northrop Grumman’s non-stealthy Global Hawk and General Atomics’ Reaper operate—and toward operations in “contested” or “denied” airspace. The new UAS underpins the Air Force’s determination to retire a version of the RQ-4B Global Hawk after 2014, despite congressional resistance. The RQ-180 eclipses the smaller, less stealthy and shorter-range RQ-170 Sentinel.

If the previous patterns for secret ISR aircraft operations are followed, the new UAV will be jointly controlled by the Air Force and the CIA, with the program managed by the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office and flight operations sustained by the Air Force. This arrangement has been used for the RQ-170, which is operated by the Air Force’s 30th Reconnaissance Sqdn., according to a fact sheet the Air Force released after one of the aircraft turned up in Iran.

Northrop Grumman’s financial reports point to a possible award of a secret UAS contract in 2008, when the company disclosed a $2 billion increase in the backlog in its Integrated Systems division. This is the operating unit responsible for building the B-2 bomber, Global Hawk and Fire Scout UAS and X-47B unmanned combat air system (UCAS) demonstrator. This year, Northrop Grumman financial reports acknowledged that an unnamed aircraft program entered low-rate initial production, the Pentagon term for low-volume deliveries that begin as testing nears completion and before the program is approved for full production.

Beyond the financial disclosures, publicly available overhead imagery shows new shelters and hangars sized for an aircraft with a 130-ft.-plus wing span at Northrop’s Palmdale, Calif., plant and at Area 51, the Air Force’s secure flight-test center at Groom Lake, Nev.

The company also pushed for a substantial expansion of its Palmdale production facilities in 2010, perhaps to support work on the RQ-180 (AW&ST Nov. 22, 2010, p. 28).

The new aircraft’s existence explains an inconsistency: Air Force officials have frequently called for a new, penetrating ISR capability. Yet there has been no public evidence that the service has been planning to develop such an aircraft.

At a House Armed Services Committee hearing in April, Lt. Gen. Charles Davis, the Air Force’s top uniformed acquisition official, said the service has no requirement for more Global Hawks beyond 2014 and wants to “use that money for much higher priorities.”

Defending the planned cuts to the Global Hawk, Davis said, “We did not do that without carefully looking at how we cover that [mission] with the U-2 and other classified platforms.” But when asked during the open congressional hearing to explain, he said, “You’d probably need to go into detail within another forum.”

In September, Lt. Gen. Robert Otto, the Air Force deputy chief of staff for ISR, said the service’s “first priority” in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance is “to rebalance and optimize our integrated ISR capabilities.

“The mix is not where it needs to be,” he said. “We are over-invested in permissive ISR and we have to transform the force to fight and win in contested environments. We will seek a more balanced fleet of both manned and unmanned platforms that are able to penetrate denied airspace and provide unprecedented levels of persistence.”

The Air Force could not afford to buy and maintain the target number of 65 MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-1 Predator combat air patrols beyond 2014, Otto added, possibly pointing to a shift in priorities to the new Northrop system.

These public statements are a byproduct of an internal debate over the number of the new secret UAS to be acquired. While there is apparently agreement on the need for a small “silver-bullet” force for special military and CIA missions, a larger fleet could be an enabler for fighters and bombers against a wide range of targets. A 2009 report by the influential think tank the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments recommends a force of five 10-aircraft squadrons of high-altitude, stealthy, ISR unmanned penetrators. But such a large fleet would be costly and could compete for funding with the Joint Strike Fighter, the Long-Range Strike Bomber and other high-priority programs.

In addition, if the U.S. procures more than a few of the secret RQ-180 aircraft, it will be harder to keep them under wraps. Historically, the Air Force has resisted establishing operational units at Area 51, its most secure known operating base, because maintaining compartmentalization there between multiple secret programs becomes difficult. For example, workers are usually confined to their buildings when a classified program other than their own is performing tests outside. The disruption to work grows if one program is running at an operational tempo.

In April, Otto’s predecessor as deputy chief of staff for ISR, Lt. Gen. Larry James, acknowledged that the Air Force had learned lessons about the need to more widely disseminate information on classified programs to ensure operational commanders are fully aware of their capabilities. Responding to a question from Aviation Week at a Stimson Center event in Washington, James said, “We have a whole host of programs covering all the different environments, and we ensure that as we develop new capabilities we are in conversations with people at the right levels. We are much better today than we were 10-15 years ago, [when] you’d have this new super-secret thing and you’d turn up at the combatant commander’s door at the start of an operation. That’s not a good place to be.”

The RQ-180 has its roots in Northrop Grumman’s Joint Unmanned Combat Air System (J-UCAS) project. The main reason for J-UCAS’s cancellation in late 2005 was the divergence in requirements. The Navy wanted a carrier-based aircraft, which led to the X-47B program. The Air Force sought a larger, longer-range “global strike enabler” that would be much more capable than the RQ-170, which was then being developed.

A fiscal 2007 Navy budget document disclosed that the J-UCAS program had been split in December 2005 into a Navy demonstration effort (which led to the X-47B) and “an Air Force classified program.” At the same time, Northrop openly discussed a range of longer-winged X-47C configurations, the largest being a 172-ft.-span design with two engines derived from General Electric’s CF34 and capable of carrying a 10,000-lb. weapon load.

The RQ-180 is smaller than that concept, and it is not clear whether it will conduct strike missions. It is similar in size and endurance to the Global Hawk, which weighs 32,250 lb. and can stay on station for 24 hr. 1,200 nm from its base. The much smaller RQ-170 is limited to 5-6 hr. of operation.

A key feature of the RQ-180’s design is an improvement in all-aspect, broadband radar cross-section reduction over Lockheed Martin’s F-117, F-22 and F-35. This is optimized to provide protection from low- and high-frequency threat emitters from all directions. The design also merges stealth with superior aerodynamic efficiency for increased altitude, range and time on station.

The aircraft uses a version of Northrop’s stealthy “cranked-kite” design, as does the X-47B, with a highly swept centerbody and long, slender outer wings.
Northrop Grumman engineers publicly claimed (before the launch of the classified program) that the cranked-kite is scalable and adaptable, in contrast to the B-2’s shape, which has an unbroken leading edge. The RQ-180’s centerbody length and volume can be greater relative to the vehicle’s size.

Computational fluid dynamics permit new stealth aircraft to achieve “sailplane-like” efficiency, industry officials say. The management of complex three-dimensional airflow is the key to achieving laminar flow over much of the wing and designing stealth-compatible exhaust and inlet systems that are lighter and more efficient than those on the B-2.

Aerodynamics and stealth are often at odds. The B-2’s “toothpick” leading edges—sharp at the nose and wingtip and blunter in between—are the result of a hard-fought trade-off between the team trying to optimize aerodynamic performance and the group concerned with making it hard to detect. Maintaining a high degree of laminar flow on a swept wing is an achievement in itself, because spanwise air flow tends to induce turbulence and is not made any easier by possible spillage from overwing inlets.

The pursuit of laminar flow and efficiency likely drove the development of new structural and manufacturing technologies. Scaled Composites, which Northrop Grumman acquired in 2007, is a world leader in building large composite airframes “outside-in” in female molds, resulting in a consistent and fastener-free surface.

Engine integration always presents challenges for stealthy designs. The length and volume of the serpentine inlet and exhaust systems (used to shield metal engine components from radar) are proportional to engine diameter, because the duct curvature radius must increase with its area to avoid distortion. Also, higher-bypass engines, which are larger in diameter, tend to be less tolerant of flow distortion than low-bypass types. This is one reason why most subsonic stealth aircraft, including the B-2, use adapted fighter engines at a significant penalty to fuel economy.

The RQ-180 could use a medium-­bypass-ratio engine, similar to the modified CF34 engine eyed for early X‑47-based concepts. Its engine probably has more power than the Global Hawk’s 7,600-lb.-thrust Rolls-Royce AE3007H, to provide better altitude performance and electrical power for payload growth.

Operationally, the RQ-180’s range could be extended by inflight refueling, though it is unclear whether the UAS takes advantage of this technology. Before 2008, Northrop Grumman repeatedly stated its belief that the endurance of an X-47-based aircraft could be pushed to 100 hr. with refueling. Beyond that point, the need to reengineer components to extend the time they could be flown between inspections was predicted to be burdensome. The limiting factor on Global Hawk endurance beyond its onboard fuel capacity is oil life.

The Navy pursued probe-and-drogue refueling under the X-47B program, but it used a manned surrogate aircraft for flight tests. The Air Force separately conducted tests in 2008 using its boom-equipped tankers and a manned surrogate, but after 2008, no progress with boom refueling of unmanned aircraft was reported publicly.

Incorporating advances in stealth and aerodynamics, the RQ-180 shows that low-observable technologies can still adapt to counter new threats such as low-frequency radar. It is a stepping-stone to the development of the Air Force’s Long Range Strike Bomber, while also complementing the B-2 and other long-range strike assets. By contrast to its predecessors, the RQ‑180 secures a foothold for stealth in future war plans, in which extremely expensive “do everything” platforms are eclipsed by families of networked, cooperative systems.


Also see this : http://aviationweek.com/awin/reading-se ... -isr-plans
Last edited by brar_w on 29 Oct 2015 18:10, edited 1 time in total.

shiv
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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby shiv » 29 Oct 2015 18:05

Sid wrote:
I think manned fighter aircrafts are starting to hit ceilings on desired weapon load and endurance.

The F-35 certainly bumped its head against a very low ceiling. An unmanned, armed "slave/batman vehicle" is interesting but the following thoughts occur to me

1. It indicates that the prediction made that manned aircraft would become obsolete is now being retracted - with manned aircraft being handed unmanned slave aircraft to leverage the extra weapon load of the latter with the manned smartness of the former

2. If an unmanned aircraft can carry a big weapon load and have sensors that enable other aircraft to "see" what it sees and use its weapons, what is the purpose of the F-35? An F-15 could do the same job

3. The bigger the unmanned armed aircraft is the less stealthy it will be and will be the target of choice to be taken out perhaps by a swarm of drones

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 29 Oct 2015 18:18

The unmanned aircraft still would require an LPI LAN with a LPD BACN like setup something that is extremely tough to do. An F-15 accompanied by a survivable drone is like sending in F-15's to escort a B-2 in a contested environment. LPI/LPD Wide area network, or even an LPD Satcom with enough size and agility to counter, counter network operations (which are increasingly involving cyber operaitons) is beyond the US capability, and will be beyond for the foreseeable future. If you create an unmanned aircraft that essentially performs as a sensor-shooter then you considerably delay its induction because you need very very high levels of autonomy or somehow need to guarantee a pipeline. It also is a major cost-driver. A fairly dumb mule however, that is Low Observable, carries weapons but pairs through a LAN (A LPI LAN that can intermingle with various waveforms on various platforms is already ready) and allows the sensor fusion of a fighter or another aircraft (bomber for example) is far simpler, harder to counter and requires less costly technology to make work.

Larger aircraft can be made to have lower RCS's. The B-2 is larger than the F-117 and has a much lower RCS. However, you would still have to decide whether to give such a mule self-defense capability (soft measures, EW or hard options such as weapons) or have it protected just like you would protect other assets that cannot defend themselves (Like dedicated ISR or EW aircraft). That's a requirements question and the numbers required and cost caps will essentially determine how advanced you want to make such an aircraft. A mule as was envisioned by the USAF earlier (Google SABRE WARRIOR - Lockheed) was essentially a low-cost setup - something like a smart wearable that requires a pairing with a mobile phone to exploit its extensive set of features. If you want an all encompassing drone that does everything itself, then you have to wait for autonomy to catch up and that is why the long term plan with the bomber is to have it optionally manned. The US isn't there yet, and is unlikely to be there till the mid 2030's with the level of autonomy required to do what can be done with a man in the loop.

A companion mule for the F-35 / rafale or typhoon isn't going to do all the missions. It is essentially a weapons-force multiplier much like an AWACS is a sensor force multiplier. They tried to make individual UCAV's do individual missions such as SEAD, CAS but the back end strength requirements are huge. You have to factor in that the enemy is competent at exploiting networks, network vulnerabilities, controlling the EMS and denying SATCOM. For enemies that can't do that (ISIS, Taliban etc) the predator operated out of CONUS is just as good as an unmanned B-2.
Last edited by brar_w on 29 Oct 2015 18:33, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby TSJones » 29 Oct 2015 18:20

The F-35 certainly bumped its head against a very low ceiling. An unmanned, armed "slave/batman vehicle" is interesting but the following thoughts occur to me

1. It indicates that the prediction made that manned aircraft would become obsolete is now being retracted - with manned aircraft being handed unmanned slave aircraft to leverage the extra weapon load of the latter with the manned smartness of the former

2. If an unmanned aircraft can carry a big weapon load and have sensors that enable other aircraft to "see" what it sees and use its weapons, what is the purpose of the F-35? An F-15 could do the same job

3. The bigger the unmanned armed aircraft is the less stealthy it will be and will be the target of choice to be taken out perhaps by a swarm of drones





Unmanned technology now and into the near future cannot match the mix of strike weapons and A2A defense that a manned F-35 presently has.

That should be obvious.

Also any drone that can match the stealth and weapons capability of the F-35 and survive in hotly contested territory is going to be fairly expensive. They will need to be defended which is an additional drain on mission requirements of the strike.

Future tech with advances in AI in the medium to long term range may change this outlook however.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Sid » 29 Oct 2015 19:58

I agree with Shiv. The main selling points for UAVs (and UCAVs in future) since early 2000 have been -

1. Low cost (and cheap to sustain)
2. Low risk (never worry about enemy hitting you and Human-in-the-loop)
3. Very long endurance (pilots need not to worry about changing diapers mid-air :) )

But (1) went out of the window as feature creeping started, basically military started asking for an unmanned F22. There is also higher risk (2) of incident/accident due to long time on station over enemy territory, which can lead to enemy getting hands on this sacred tech.

Now comes this new pitch for unmanned weapon mules, why? When F35 itself cannot loiter for more then few hours (if not minutes) over far away target whats the purpose of carrying so much munitions? Make these UAV small and they wont be able to keep up with F-35 and make them big enough, then F-35 wont be needed.

Just send in a B2, much more efficient. Stealthy, big, super payload. Instead of sending a compromised F-35 with dozen so called "dumb" UAV, whose cumulative cost might equal B2 itself :mrgreen:

Its another marketing pitch to plug F-35 load carrying gaffe. Restart F22 factories.
Last edited by Sid on 29 Oct 2015 20:14, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Sid » 29 Oct 2015 20:04

TSJones wrote:Unmanned technology now and into the near future cannot match the mix of strike weapons and A2A defense that a manned F-35 presently has. That should be obvious.

Also any drone that can match the stealth and weapons capability of the F-35 and survive in hotly contested territory is going to be fairly expensive. They will need to be defended which is an additional drain on mission requirements of the strike.

Future tech with advances in AI in the medium to long term range may change this outlook however.


Exactly, and that's why a command ship in class of an AWAC is required to properly guide these dumb versions of UCAV. There is only so much that a single pilot can do.

Make it super automated and data linked, will ultimately drive up the cost and will put pilot at risk as he will be required on station to dispense all that extra munition.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 29 Oct 2015 20:19

Automation will do the work and a command center concept has been proven to not be survivable as it establishes a single point of failure. The process of off board targeting isn't that complicated from an automation stand point as MADL and F-35's current data fusion already does that in real time, without any pilot input. For example an RF threat that the current EW system cannot fully discriminate will automatically be worked by the automated system using other onboard and through the CNI suite using other assets available. The pilot in this case does not have to command the process, or sanction it. The system autonomously uses the available sensors anywhere in the LAN to detect, ID and track the threat. A weapons mule would make use of the sensors onboard the MADL compatible assets and as such the launch of weapons is no different from cuing someone else's AMRAAM or sending RWR data back to a jamming platform. With a mothership you would need it to stand off and that warrants the use of much higher power, all aspect wide area networks that are not only a big drain but counter to the entire concept of survivability. Smaller pipelines can be made agile, and can be protected due to their directional nature and relatively small range. Something like a Link 16 or similar system is tough to make LPD. You can make it LPI but the sheer amount of emissions you generate to get that WAN set up ensure that LPD is virtually impossible. There is a good reason the USAF is moving very slowly towards an AWACS recapitalization because the red-team analysis at the various war-games has suggested a move towards De-centralized execution and the need to eliminate large points of failure. WAN's have a role in large force deployments but the driving thrust in contested environments is agile waveforms that are short-medium ranged and agile enough to make LPI/LPD. Even the Long Range Strike Family of systems are expected to be based on the RQ-180 or something similar (AvWeek calls it a Boeing led P-AEA aircraft) creating an LPD LAN to function alongside the bomber and other long range strike family of systems.

Only way to generate survivable WAN against any opponent if you develop a decades lead in electronics over your adversary but at a higher level that is not possible.

There is room for large UCAV's being commanded by large manned aircraft but both being relatively close to each other as the LRS concept envisions. Of course if you are not challenged by an access denial environment then you can do this much easily and BACN like aircrafts are already doing this with traditional UAV's. The concept of a companion drone to a fighter dates back to the late 1990's. Lockheed was asked to do a study and it used basically a vehicle that was build around the center fuselage of the F-22 leveraging the same production line. Here is the video -



Since then LPI LPD waveforms have gotten a lot smarter. MADL for example increases the sensor information sharing by a multiple of 3 or 4 compared to the IFDL and unlike the IFDL its totally autonomous in that much like your router at home, compatible crafts can go in and out and keep contributing to the LAN autonomously and also receive info autonomously.,

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Sid » 29 Oct 2015 20:49

Mon ami, single point of failure can also happen in case of F-35. In this case a F-35 with three dumb UAV can carry out a cap by itself. But if it fails the whole flight will be lost.

Yup, and have read about F-22s ability to control UAV. But it was more about augmenting F22 reach, but in case of F-35 it seems like a ploy to augment it weapon carrying shortfalls.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 29 Oct 2015 21:01

It would be a multi point failure since you have more than 1 F-35 (in a LAN) and by creating something around MADL and its upgraded future variant you are essentially enabling the largest fleet in your inventory to control mules specifically designed for tactical duties. The F-22 does not have an ability to control UAV's, it was a capability studied by Lockheed to essentially enable a CAP of F-22's to also have the capability to simultaneously provide targeting for a2g while at the same time protecting and defending airspace.

The F-35 is a tactical strike fighter like the Rafale, Super Hornet, F-16, or Typhoon. It carries a similar payload and in fact in a contested environment it carries the exact same payload as the F-117 while also having the ability to self escort thanks to the EW and kinetic payloads. In an all out capacity where it opens up its external options it can effectively put as many bombs on target as an F-15E and much more than some of the other medium class figthers such as the ones it is intended to replace. It also carries a more diverse payload compared to the F-22. It comes down to what sort of figures you want from your medium fighters as far as bombs per sortie are concerned..and the F-35 does the job there much better than the F-22 in a contested environment (from that angle) and as good as a job of an F-15E which is a heavy in non-contested environment.

See this - That's potentially 2 x 2000 lb bombs, 4 x 500 pound bombs, 2x AMRAAM and 2 x ASRAAM load out along with a fuel load of 18,250 - 20,000 pounds depending upon the variant (A or C). You can replace those 500 pound weapons with heavier ones as well. That's plenty of payload from a medium fighter and something many in its category would struggle to do especially when they have to carry targeting pods, some even jamming pods and ALL need to carry external bags because they have a small internal fuel capacity.

Image

Do keep in mind what the strike requirements are for the JSF, it is tactical strike in a first day of war scenario at a distance (hence radius not range) of 1000-1200 KM for SEAD/DEAD (Here multiple load outs with smaller weapons like SDB are beneficial) or C2C structures (similar 2000 lb capacity to the F117). It also has to perform standard F-16 and F-18 like missions as the chart shows it beats both of those hands down in a non-contested environment because of the flush mounted sensors, very large internal fuel capacity and internal+external stores. In that scenario it performs more like an F-15E than an F-16C. While the F-16 or F-18 have options of large stores they have to carry a lot of external fuel because on internal fuel only they are designed for much smaller combat radius. Those extra bags and pods do eat up into your weapons carriage capacity.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Austin » 30 Oct 2015 11:34

Israel’s all-inclusive F-35I deal doesn’t grant full tech access
The Israeli Air Force has relative freedom to upgrade, modernise and weaponise its Boeing F-15s and Lockheed Martin F16s, and will have extended access to F-35 hardware, but there are still some aspects of the aircraft that will remain off limit, according to the US programme director.

“It is a true statement that some portions of the F-35 are not releasable to any partners or customers on the F-35, not uniquely Israel,” says F-35 JPO head Lt Gen Christopher Bogdan. “Only the US services and US industry can do certain things on the airplane. That’s not unique."

"[With Israel], is if there’s anything unique to put on the airplane, if we can let you do it we will, and if not we’ll work it, in your country or in the US. Israel should be able to do anything it wants to the airplane, sometimes with our help and sometimes not.”

Additionally, Israeli F-35Is will come equipped with Tel Aviv’s own choice of command-and-control, radio and electronic warfare systems, says Bogdan.

“Israel has a bilateral relationship with US on the airplanes they’re going to buy,” he says. “They can uniquely set their own requirements, and we will meet their requirements.”


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