US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.


Feb 28, 2019
Jan 2, 2019
related is
Navy, Experts Make Case For More Than 12 Columbia-Class Boomers
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while now
GAO Says Columbia Submarine Risks Running Over Budget Due to Immature Technology
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The Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine, the Navy’s top acquisition priority, is at risk of running over its $115-billion construction budget because the service underestimated labor costs and overestimated the savings associated with awarding a multi-year contract, according to a General Accountability Office report released Monday.

It also risks running over schedule: several critical technologies are not mature enough to keep up with an aggressive construction schedule, the GAO says, and if any of the technologies encounter a production setback during development, fixing these technologies will require additional labor hours and drive up production costs.

Already, the Columbia program experienced manufacturing defects with the new class of
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and with the integrated power system, requiring added labor costs to correct, according to the report. When the program had to design a new software tool that’s used to generate submarine designs and work instructions due to obsolescence in the original software, developing the new tool proved so challenging that it forced the hiring of 150 additional software engineers and delayed the completion of some designs. The new software now takes longer to generate instructions than initially expected, further adding to the cost.

“The Navy’s $115 billion procurement cost estimate is not reliable partly because it is based on overly optimistic assumptions about the labor hours needed to construct the submarines. While the Navy analyzed cost risks, it did not include margin in its estimate for likely cost overruns,” the GAO report reads.

A Naval Sea Systems Command spokesperson acknowledged a request for additional comment but did not immediately provide a statement on the GAO report.

“The Navy anticipates that it will need 12 million labor hours to directly construct the lead submarine—referred to as touch labor. This represents 17 percent fewer labor hours than what was needed for the lead Virginia-class submarine when adjusted for weight differences,” the GAO report continues. “However, the touch labor hour estimate is overly optimistic—with assumptions on construction efficiencies that are either unsubstantiated or unprecedented compared to Virginia class and other shipbuilding historical data.”

One example the GAO uses to illustrate the risk the Navy faces is a manufacturing defect in the prototype propulsion motor that is part of Columbia’s integrated power system. Fixing the problem required extensive repairs and consumed nine months of the cushion built into the production schedule at the land-based test facility.

The Navy’s solution is to test the motor during the time initially allotted for making any final design changes before starting production. “This could constrain opportunities to implement timely, corrective actions if problems are discovered during testing,” according to the GAO.

Since January 2018, such added labor costs have had a dramatic result on the Columbia program’s costs. The GAO analysis found that “less than a dollar’s worth of work has been completed for each dollar spent.”

The Navy does not agree with all of the GAO’s findings. In a February 2019 letter included in the GAO report, Kevin Fahey, the Department of Defense assistant secretary for acquisition, counters the GAO’s concerns regarding the integrated power system’s prototype motor.

“While the vendor manufacturing the motor has experienced delays in manufacturing the prototype motor, the rest of the integrated power system is being installed and tested at the test facility,” Fahey’s letter states. “In addition, as briefed to GAO, the Navy has taken proactive measures to mitigate the impacts associated with the late delivery of the prototype motor. The actions taken by the Navy retain margin to lead ship production motor in yard delivery date.”

Responding to Fahey’s letter, the GAO stated, “the Navy’s plan to concurrently test and finalize the design increases the risk that any issues identified in testing could delay the delivery of the system to the shipyard. As a result, we continue to identify this as a key risk to the program. Additional details on this system are classified.”

The Pentagon and the GAO do agree the Columbia-class supplier base remains a high risk to construction. Fahey’s letter states early prototype efforts identified issues with suppliers that are being fixed. The GAO is concerned with the shipyards’ and suppliers’ ability to build Columbia-class submarines at the same time work progresses on building the Virginia-class fast-attack submarines.

“To achieve Columbia’s aggressive construction schedule, while simultaneously building Virginia-class submarines, the shipbuilder is working to ensure that it has sufficient shipyard capacity—including new facilities, additional suppliers, and an increased workforce,” the GAO report states.


I see,
House sets $1.3T spending cap, budget talks begin
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The House on Tuesday lifted an overall spending cap to $1.3 trillion to allow its appropriators to craft 2020 spending bills.
“So, I’m hoping that this will be the beginning of a bipartisan agreement, which will be necessary, in order to have an orderly appropriations process not only this year, but next year as well,” he said.

The House bill scuttled Tuesday aimed to reset spending limits for defense at $733 billion for fiscal 2020 and $749 billion for fiscal 2020. The non-defense side of the budget also would come in well above statutory budget caps, at $631 billion and $646 billion, respectively.

The measure, which codified a $733 billion top-line for national defense in fiscal 2020, passed 219-201. Seven Democrats voted “no.”

Technically, the House adopted a “deeming resolution” as part of a rule for floor debate on a
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for defense and non-defense in 2020 and 2021.

House Democratic leaders decided Tuesday to shelve that bill to avoid airing intra-party divisions over military spending, which also means they will not have a strong vote to take into soon-to-start budget negotiations.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters Tuesday that he is in talks with President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-N.Y., on the possibility of a two-year caps deal. They’ve put together a “staff level” group, he said.

McConnell described a “bipartisan desire” to avoid another stopgap continuing resolution and $126 billon in automatic cuts if Congress fails to lift budget caps.

The defense spending number reflects Democratic pragmatism, but the overall proposal put party leaders at odds with Senate Republicans and the White House, who both want to keep non-defense spending close to the cap level. The proposal also alienated progressive Democrats, who wanted to boost domestic spending and lower defense spending.

“The most important task in front of us right now is to raise sequestration caps to stop extreme cuts from being implemented, ensuring that we can make the needed investments in our national and economic security,” the bill’s co-sponsor, House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., said in a statement after Tuesday’s vote.

“There are further conversations we must have to reach consensus between the wings of our caucus, left and right. But we all have a responsibility to govern and obligations to the American people, so our work continues,” he said.

After a closed-door Democratic caucus meeting Tuesday morning, Yarmuth
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it was unclear whether enough Democrats would support the caps bill. Fractures were on display last week when three Democrats on the House Budget Committee voted against the measure.

... and I quit while reading the next paragraph


Apr 3, 2019
since it happened again, I would've called the FBI to look into a possibility of sabotage, they would've quickly identified the individual(s) who had littered the aircraft, I guess, to see if it's just idiot(s), or got paid or motivated to do this
Air Force improves new inspection plan for KC-46s, paving the way for deliveries to restart
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so I hope I won't hear of it again


quote of the day comes from inside of
Army Secretary Defends Decision to Cut CH-47 Chinook Program
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Subcommittee chairman Rep. Pete Visclosky ... asked Army leaders to explain why the service decided to delay procurement of the Chinook Block II upgrade for five years, when a year ago it submitted the effort as a program of record.


here comes
US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.
Marine Harriers set for extended service
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The 2019 US Marine Corps TACAIR plan is out, and for Harrier fans it makes great reading. The Corps says it now plans to retain its AV-8Bs out to 2028, a two-year extension over previous plans. This is being attributed to slower than predicted F-35 Lightning II introduction. The Marine Corps will maintain five operational squadrons until FY22. West Coast VMAs at Yuma will complete transition to the F-35 in FY23; but the East Coast at Cherry Point will maintain Harrier operations until FY28.

The TACAIR plan says that the current AV-8B active inventory consists of 124 aircraft. There are 16 TAV-8B training aircraft, 34 night-attack aircraft and 74 radar-equipped AV-8B+ aircraft with five front line squadrons, plus a training squadron.

While structural integrity is not of concern, keeping the Harriers relevant and capable will mean an ongoing suite of upgrades.

Over the coming five years this will focus on avionics and software improvements including:
• Link 16 datalink.
• Required Navigation Performance (RNP/RNAV).
• Mode 5/S, ADS-B out (Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast) transponder performance.
• A helmet mounted cueing system (in 2023).
• Upgraded survivability equipment (in 2023).

Weapons upgrades are:
• AIM-9X Block II.
• AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM.
• APKWS (Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System).
• AGM-154C JSOW (Joint Stand-Off Weapon).

• Litening IV with ATDL (Advanced Tactical Data Link).
• High-definition video wireless to the cockpit.
• VMF (variable message format) and SATCOMs (in 2023).

The H7.0 Operational Flight Plan is scheduled for release in FY20 and it adds APKWS and AGM-154 JSOW.
H7.1 is scheduled for release in FY21 and brings enhanced avionics and weapons capabilities, including full Link 16 in all AV-8B+ aircraft, this expands on initial Link 16 messages included in H6.2 (FY18) and includes fighter-to-fighter messages. Additionally, AIM-9X Block II be added along with ADS-B out and full Mode5/S plus Litening ATDL.


May 17, 2018
The Corps just received its first CH-53K King Stallion
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price isn't mentioned; LOL as they say
If You Have to Ask The Price,
You Can't Afford it

Sep 1, 2017
now no pricing inside
Marine Corps, Lockheed Martin to Sign CH-53K Helo Production Contract in ‘Weeks’
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The Department of the Navy expects to sign a contract with Lockheed Martin for the CH-53K heavy lift helicopter “in the next coming weeks,” after a pause and a program restructuring effort that sought to rebalance risk and reward between the government and contractor.

Navy acquisition chief James Geurts told the Senate Armed Services seapower subcommittee today that, when he was sworn into his job in December 2017, “the way we set the strategy wasn’t working for us.” The Marine Corps heavy lift helicopter replacement program wasn’t achieving test points as fast as it should have despite the ongoing test flights, and there was no way to address deficiencies found in the helicopters and ensure that the fixes were incorporated into the production line for the first helos to come off the line.

Geurts said the Department of the Navy made a decision to pause testing and pause production contract negotiations.

“We’ve re-laid out the test program, we’ve redone our production contracts, and we’ve included in that negotiation on those contracts we’re about ready to award incorporation of the known fixes into the production lot, as opposed to retrofitting them after delivery, as well as some capacity in those aircraft to deal with problems as we discover them in the future – so we can reduce the concurrency risk, which was really what was bothering,” Geurts said today at the hearing.

Geurts told USNI News after the hearing that “what we’ve been able to achieve with the contractor, who brings great talent and capability, is a shared risk and shared reward. And so when we worked with them on restructuring the program, we wanted to balance the risk and balance the reward. As this program continues to work through the restructure and become successful, there’s opportunities to continue to enhance our abilities there: as we find risk, we need to be able to share those risks.”

He told lawmakers the department and Lockheed Martin are in the final stages of the contract negotiations and would sign a contract in a matter of weeks.

“We’re fairly confident we’ve got the design right,” Geurts said, noting that the helicopter has been through the toughest parts of its test plan and proved that its capability is right to meet the Marine Corps’ needs.
“We have some issues we have to work through, and that was the whole goal on that restructured program.”

Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder, the deputy commandant of the Marine Corps for aviation, said at the same hearing that the capability of the aircraft was just what the Marine Corps needed to support future warfare concepts such as Distributed Maritime Operations and Expeditionary Advance Base Operations.

“There’s no other helicopter in the world that has lifted 36,000 pounds; can take this 100-mile ship-to-shore (flight) with 27,000 pounds, at 100 miles, and go back and forth all day long,” Rudder said.

“Now we need to fix deficiencies: some are seat cushions, the hand-holds; the engine gas re-ingestion. And the vendor and the program office are going to fix these, and we’re going to hold them accountable to fix it,” he continued.
“But if we look at the future of what this nation is going to have to do with the [National Defense Strategy] and distributed operations, you’re going to need logistics; you’re going to need heavy lift because we’re going to be distributed, we’re going to be eating a lot of gas, using up a lot of ordnance; and this is going to be the ship-to-shore connector that’s going to do it for us. There’s nothing else out there in the inventory.”


3100/24 = 129 rounded:
Northrop Grumman gets $3.1B to build 24 E-2D Hawkeye early warning aircraft
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The US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has awarded Northrop Grumman Systems a multi-year contract for the purchase of 24 E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft.

The $3.1 billion contract is in support of full rate production for fiscal years 2019-2023.

This is the second MYP contract awarded to the company after the first one, which was for 25 E-2D AHE aircraft, was awarded in 2014. Congress later increased the number to 26 aircraft.

NAVAIR said the savings for MYP II are projected to be $410.6 million (11 percent) over the five years of the contract. The first MYP contract saved $586.6 million, a 13.9 percent savings compared to the cost of five single-year procurement contracts.

“This is a critical element in providing the next generation of world class command and control aircraft to the fleet,” says Capt. Keith Hash, E-2/C-2 Airborne Tactical Data Systems Program Office (PMA-231) program manager.

Airborne early warning aircraft changed the nature of warfare, and the E-2D AHE is the next generation.

Among the improvements in the E-2D are an all-new electronics suite, enhanced turboprop engines, modernized communications, and upgrade potential for mid-air refueling capabilities. E-2D also brings the new AN/APY-9 radar to the carrier strike group.

The US Navy first took delivery of the E2-D in July of 2010 and began a phased replacement of the venerable E-2C aircraft, which has served the fleet since 1973.


since I've now read it, I post
General: Marines Need Family of Next-Gen Ship-to-Shore Connectors
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The conventional
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ship-to-shore landing craft of past decades may not be rugged or versatile enough to support the service's invasion force in a future fight, the
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said this week.

Lt. Gen. David Berger told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee's subcommittee on seapower Wednesday that the days of building combat power in secure areas of a theater are over.

"The past 18 years of operating out of forward operating bases where you could pile as much sustainment as you want, protect and operate from there -- that fit the operating environment of the Middle East," Berger said. "It does not fit the operating environment that's our primary theater now."

Berger's comments came after Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, asked Berger for a status update on the Marine Corps ship-to-shore connector capabilities during a hearing to discuss ground modernization programs in the proposed fiscal 2020 budget and the Future Years Defense Program.

Current ship-to-shore connectors in use by the Marine Corps include the landing craft-air cushion hovercraft, or LCAC, and the landing craft utility vessel, or LCU. Neither are designed to provide protection in contested environments.

"We are going to need more connectors -- a family of connectors going forward," Berger said. "Connectors to us, before today, was a way to move from ship to shore. But connectors now are ship-to-shore, shore-to-ship, shore-to-shore. We need the vertical. We need the surface ... we need it all."

The Marine Corps, like the rest of the U.S. military, is preparing to fight against a near-peer competitor such as Russia or China in a contested, operational environment that will likely force units to operate on their own for longer periods of time without traditional lines of support, military officials said.

"If we are going disperse and be able to operate in a distributed manner and sustain that force, our view of what connectors are is going to have to broaden," Berger said.

King asked if the Corps is designing these new connectors to be able to cope with the challenges of this new, battlefield environment.

"It seems to me that we are also going to have to think of a contested environment --
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disruption, communications disruptions. Is that part of your thinking in terms of designing these systems?" King asked.

Berger said that command-and-control in a contested environment is the Marine Corps' top priority.

"We have to write it into our requirements for all of our systems," Berger said. "If there is a system that we have that can't function under ... an adversary's pressure, then it's not going to last very long. It's going to go quiet."

Such an environment will require Marine units to fight their way into a fight, said Sen. David Perdue, R-Georgia, who asked Berger to describe how the Corps would protect its sealift capabilities as they move into a contested environment.

Traditional maritime prepositioned stocks of equipment and supplies are not suited to support the future battlefield, Berger said.

"We are going to have to re-look that going forward, because that was built on a premise that you would have secure, benign ports that you could drive up next to in your 38-foot draft vessel and unload as we did in Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and just keep cycling them in," Berger said.

"We need to be able to do those kinds of things at sea to a connector and then maybe onto another connector. Some will be prepositioned forward, either afloat or ashore, and then the rest that is brought in -- the distribution of that sustainment is varsity-level stuff."