US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.


... Clearly there is a case and a need to address capacity through additional F-15 purchase but it will come at the expense of an equivalent number of F-35 buy. There is no getting around this problem when money is tight.

did you mean reducing the total procurement numbers of the F-35s because of those new F-15s?? from what I figured, this shouldn't happen according to what they say at this point in time;

inside Lockheed, Frustrated with US Air Force, Eyes Foreign F-35 Sales
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... Pentagon leaders have been “very clear that they’re going to stay on their full procurement plan for that jet.”

“They don’t have any intention to pull away from that at all,” Hewson said. “We see that going forward. How [Pentagon leaders] manage what they buy year-to-year — that’s always been a challenge as they look at what their overall needs are relative to the budgets that they have to work with.”

etc., and linked inside Friday at 2:35 PM
The following is the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter Production Status from Vice Adm. Mat Winter, the director of Joint Strike Fighter program office.

As of April 2019, 386 F-35 air systems have been delivered, with about 20 percent going to international partners and customers. Ultimately, international partners and customers are expected to receive 780 F-35 aircraft.

The U.S. military will eventually receive 2,456 divvied up among the service branches as follows:

  • 1,763 F-35A fighters to the Air Force
  • 353 F-35B fighters to the Marine Corps
  • 67 F-35C fighters to the Marine Corps
  • 273 F-35C fighters to the Navy

Air Force Brat

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Not total buy but annual buy.
That's right, and this is a problem when you are attempting to increase production efficiencies and drive down costs, its also a problem at the squadron level, as you continue to have a higher percentage of early production aircraft, which will no doubt have a lower readiness rate....

So yes, those F-15's will slow down F-35 procurement,,, but, I'm rather convinced that the F-15's should be bought, and the F-15 fleet is suffering, time to buy more..... it just has to be.... had we bought a sufficient number of F-22's, we would NOT be having this conversation...


Apr 11, 2019
May 17, 2018
now no pricing inside
Marine Corps, Lockheed Martin to Sign CH-53K Helo Production Contract in ‘Weeks’
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Troubled Lockheed Helicopter Needs New Review, Inhofe Tells Pentagon
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  • GOP senator cites concerns about delayed $31 billion program
  • Navy set to award contract for up to 14 more King Stallions
The Pentagon needs to undertake another review of
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’s $31 billion CH-53K heavy lift helicopter program amid continuing technical problems and delays, according to the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Republican Senator James Inhofe said the importance of the CH-53K King Stallion to the Marine Corps means that a “comprehensive, independent update” on the long-delayed program is overdue. Inhofe’s role leading the committee that authorizes defense spending means his request will almost certainly be heeded.

“We need to get it right, and this report should give us a current assessment and reestablish a baseline for the program to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely,” Inhofe said in a statement to Bloomberg News. The senator cited concern that the chopper “is more than a year behind schedule and has over 100 outstanding deficiencies that still require resolution.”

Inhofe’s request comes as the Navy plans to award a production contract for as many as 14 new King Stallions next month, though so far only two of a planned 200 helicopters are under contract. The Navy program office and Lockheed’s Sikorsky Aircraft unit are still working to address 126 technical deficiencies, according to the Pentagon’s latest report on the system. The Oklahoma senator stopped short of suggesting the contract not be signed.

Missing a Deadline
The Navy acknowledged in the Pentagon’s latest Selected Acquisition Report to Congress that the helicopter designed to carry heavy cargo won’t meet its December target date for initial combat capability. The new tentative date is September 2021, according to the document obtained by Bloomberg News.

“Resolution of remaining technical issues and completion of airworthiness certification testing remain top priorities” to solve, according to the report.

The Navy and Lockheed plan to resolve these technical issues by June 2020, “with the majority of the designs completed” by December of this year, it said. There are no significant software-related issues with this program at this time, it said.

Sikorsky’s performance on the contract for the first two production-model aircraft has been marred by “part shortages and purchase orders for suppliers late to award or not yet on contract,” according to the report.

The Navy “is working with the contractor on solutions for issues identified” in the report, according to Captain Danny Hernandez, a spokesman for the Navy’s assistant secretary for acquisition. The department is in the final stages of awarding the production contract in the next few weeks, and the fixed-price contract will contain provisions intended to “address the outstanding issues,” he said. “The Navy is confident with the design” and the now-restructured program “will address these issues and verify them in testing.”

The King Stallion will be the same size as its predecessor, the Super Stallion, but will be able to haul almost triple the cargo, lifting 27,000 pounds (12,200 kilograms), according to Lockheed. The Navy’s plans to buy 200 copters for the Marines was a prime motivation for Lockheed’s $9 billion acquisition of Sikorsky Aircraft from United Technologies Corp. in 2015.

Lockheed’s Response
Bill Falk, the King Stallion program manager for Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed, said in a statement that “the team has identified technical issues over the course of flight testing, corrected many, and have approved plans in place for the remaining items. The remaining technical design items are not new, and are agreed upon with the government for closure.”

“Sikorsky anticipates we will soon reach an agreement with the government” for the next low-rate production contracts, Falk said.

The two helicopters currently under contract were awarded in April 2016 under a $286 million fixed-priced contract with incentive payments.

Company officials said they understand the chopper’s most pressing problem -- exhaust gas sucked back into the second of the helicopters’ three engines -- “and have found fixes,” according to Loren Thompson, chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute, a defense research organization that receives funding from Lockheed.

Still, citing concerns about the exhaust issue, House Armed Services Committee Representative Adam Smith this month agreed to shift only half of the $158 million the Navy requested to increase testing. Smith, a Democrat from Washington state, said he’d approve the remaining $79 million only after the Marines and the Pentagon’s test office provide a report about progress the Navy was making solving the exhaust problem.


Friday at 3:04 PM
Yesterday at 7:45 AM
now, on the train back, read Rogoway's bitching:
Updating America's Land-Based Ballistic Missile 'Nuclear Sponge' Is A $100B+ Waste
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and now, in my bedroom, LOL! read
Official: U.S. Far Behind China, Russia in Modernizing Nuclear Arsenal
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China and Russia had their money on winning asymmetric advantages in conventional and nuclear forces in the last decade, and now the United States is playing catch-up in modernizing its sea, air and land nuclear forces, the Pentagon’s top policy official said Wednesday.

David Trachtenberg, the Pentagon’s deputy undersecretary for policy, said the United States put off modernizing the three legs of its nuclear deterrent for almost 20 years, he told USNI News following a presentation at the Brookings Institution.

“In the 2000s, we skipped a generation” in modernizing the triad – ballistic missile submarines, bombers and ballistic missiles. He added that the United Kingdom and France, both nuclear powers and NATO allies, reduced their weapons stockpiles while continuing to modernize their nuclear forces during that same time. The United Kingdom has sea-based ballistic missile submarines; France has both submarines and aircraft capable of delivery of nuclear weapons.

At the same time, North Korea, India and Pakistan established themselves as nuclear powers.

“Most of the nation’s nuclear deterrence was built in the 1980s or even earlier,” Trachtenberg said during the presentation. The triad was “aging into obsolescence.”

Trachtenberg said in answer to a question during the forum that the United States is not engaged in a new arms race with Moscow or starting one with China, but “Russia is re-scoping” its nuclear and conventional forces, including using low-yield nuclear weapons to get its way in a confrontation.

During the presentation and follow-up conversation with USNI News, he emphasized that the Pentagon’s move to modifying existing sea-launched cruise and ballistic missiles are designed to “close a gap” that Moscow is exploiting with its positioning of ground-based intermediate range cruise missiles on its borders. The United States has said their deployment violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) agreement between the two.

China was not a party to that treaty and has missiles of that range in its arsenal. The United States has announced is pulling out of the agreement. Whether that move will lead to the United States leaving other arms agreements is unclear.

In answer to an audience question, he said the administration has not yet decided on continuing in the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty.

“We’re not attempting to match Russia system for system,” but “to close a gap” that the Kremlin believes gives it a “coercive advantage” in a European crisis. He said the American sea-launched systems “provide a mix and range of capabilities” needed in a changed security environment, do not violate any arms agreement and do not require congressional approval.

Trachtenberg said during the session that Russia’s military doctrine accepts the use of “so-called tactical nuclear weapons and [nuclear-armed] cruise missiles” in resolving a confrontation. As for the United States’ position on “first use” of nuclear weapons, he added it is one of “constructive ambiguity,” the same as the United Kingdom’s announced policy.

He specifically cited “the novel nuclear systems that President [Vladimir] Putin unveiled with great fanfare a couple of months ago” as yet another development designed to throw into question the United States’ commitment to “extended deterrence” to its allies in Europe and the Indo-Pacific.

“Extended deterrence does not exist in a vacuum.” That includes allies and partners wanting it, believing that it is there for their protection and would be employed if necessary, and a willingness to do their part, he said.

In addition to the nuclear arsenals of the United Kingdom and France to help deter Russian aggression, he cited the deployment of the F-35A Lightning II showing allied commitment to extended deterrence. For some nations, it will be replacing the dual-weapon capable F-15E.

For allies like Japan and Korea, the deterrence centers on their continued belief that the U.S.’s “nuclear umbrella” protects them as well as the American homeland and the placement of sophisticated air and missile defense systems like Patriot and Theater High-Altitude Area Defense on the peninsula and Aegis Ashore on the home islands.

He added Asian allies “may hold different view than our European allies” on the exact meaning of extended deterrence; and even among European allies, views may differ from one nation to another.

Trachtenberg linked the Nuclear Posture Review and the Missile Defense Review as showing the administration’s commitment to extended deterrence and how the United States values allies and partners. The administration also has remained committed to spending 3.5 percent of the Pentagon’s overall budget [or $25 billion annually] on its nuclear weapons programs, a percentage that would grow about 7 percent as costs of Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines and new bombers come more into play.

A modernized nuclear triad “is the ultimate guarantor of our security.” Extended deterrence is “more challenging” now – especially with North Korea possessing nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.


during a discussion in Japan Thread Apr 13, 2019

(ironically I had been reading about the F-16s to fly into the 2040s before I noticed your post; the link just to show I'm not bluffing LOL
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and here's the story dated Apr 24, 2019:
Lockheed Targets 9-Month F-16 Modification Schedule
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A six-year-old service life extension program (SLEP) for
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is transitioning from the proof-kit stage to the full production phase at the government depot at Hill AFB, Utah, a company official said on April 24.

Lockheed inducted the first proof-kit aircraft—an F-16D Block 42 trainer—in June 2016 to begin a painstaking, 34-month SLEP process, said Christopher Crowley, a Lockheed aeronautics engineer stationed at the Hill AFB depot. The proof-kit is a term for a prototype used to test the repairs and inspections called for by the list of SLEP tasks.

Since the first SLEP induction, the pace of proof-kit installations has increased significantly. The depot next inducted two F-16 Block 52s acquired from the Thunderbird demonstration team. The first aircraft entered the depot in September 2016 and emerged 18 months later, Crowley said. The depot completed the second Thunderbird aircraft in 14 months. A fourth and final proof-kit F-16 entered the depot in September 2018 and remains in the SLEP process eight months later, he added.

The program’s goal is to reduce the time required for each aircraft SLEP to nine months by the time the seventh F-16 enters the program, Crowley said. More depots will be stood up elsewhere to support F-16s operated in the Pacific region and Europe, he added.

The U.S. Air Force plans to extend the service life of 300 F-16s to keep the fleet active through 2046.

In 2013, the Air Force launched the SLEP program by assigning Lockheed to perform a full-scale fatigue test of an F-16 Block 50 with 1,834 effective flight hours. Lockheed’s engineers spent the next two years applying loads that simulated the effective of 27,712 effective flight hours, Crowley said.

The fatigue testing caused more than 200 structural cracks throughout the aircraft, which resulted in 39 recommended modifications for the F-16, Crowley said. Sensing that the initial proposal was too costly, Lockheed developed a process to scrub recommendations that reflected “requirements creep,” he added. The final modification package was whittled down to 12 structural replacements, the lower bulkhead where the main landing gear meets the wing, canopy sill longerons and a bulkhead that supports the vertical tail. The inner and outer support beams for the horizontal tails are also being replaced, Crowley said.

The roughly $3 million per aircraft for each SLEP extends service life by 73%, Crowley said.

Jeff Head

Staff member
Super Moderator
The F-35 Bravo version being out there on the decks of numerous US and allied warships, is going to be a real game changer and the US and its allies should get in position now to take full advantage of it.

The NEED to have to support what it brings to the table with better AEW and better ASW off of those platforms than they have provided to date. You all know my own thoughts on this matter. The platform to provide that improvement already exists and has already been well thought out for both missions. It is just waiting for someone to pick it up. That someone should be the US since the US will be the largest single purchaser of the Bravo aircraft, and will have it on the largest number of very expensive and very capable LHD and LHA vesels.

Having an AEW capability that triple or even quadruples what some of the helicopter based AEW packages provide from the existing vessels is critical to ensuring overall mission success and protection. The same is true for ASW capabilities.

I am going to buy a couple of V-22s and build them up, in some detail, for both missions. I will then get really decent videos of them and ensure that people I know at USNI and within the forces see them and can consider those options. Bell is anxious for someone to make a move.

I believe Japan will want to make such a move...but right now with only two vessels, and probably a maximum of four, they do not have, and never will have, the ability to buy as many aircraft as the US Navy would for its LHDs and LHAs on behalf of protecting the US Marine personnel and F-35Bs on those vessels. I believe those ships can and should use a small squadron of each of the V-22 aircraft I am talking about whether they are carrying a standard Amphibious Assault support squadron of six F-35B aircraft, or a sea control/escort carrier number of 20 or more F-35Bs. That would mean ten+ squadrons of aircraft for AEW, each squadron having a minimum of 3 aircraft, or more advisably four aircraft. Each one should also carry a minimum squadron of four, and a more advisable squadron of six ASW V-22s. Then you need a training regiment of four to six squadrons and a test regiment of two to thee squadrons.

That means the most advisable would be 10 squadrons of four for the vessels, six training squadrons of four, and three test squardons of four, or a total of 19 it 20 squadrons of four aircraft and you need 80 AEW and 120 ASW V-22 aircraft for the US alone.

Then you look at say Japan. Right now they would need two squadrons of four for their ships, two squadrons of four each for training and two squadrons of four each for testing. That's six squardorns of four or twenty four AEW and 36 ASW aircraft.

Korea would need the same.

Italy would need the same.

Spain would need less for their single vessel unless they decided to get a second carrier...which IMHO would be advisable.

India has interest, but for a three carrier grouping so they will need more, probably nine total squadrons.

If that was the entire need, you are talking about 50-55 total squardns, or about 220-240 AEW aircraft and 300-330 ASW aircraft. That's a sizable total number and something that the US and its allies should very seriously consider and begin talking with Bell about from a total need standpoint so they can fet the best costing available.

We'll see what happens...but I know the need is there...and in fact the US Navy could use the ASW version for all of its CVNs as well and add at least another ten squadrons for that...or another 60 aircraft, meaning now the need goes up over 400 total aircraft for the ASW version.

Later, 20-30 years from now, you then upgrade that capability with the newer VTOL aircraft that will be coming out in the 2030s to those newer platforms, transitioning in the 2040 time frame.

@bd popeye @Air Force Brat @Deino @asif iqbal @duncanidaho @Equation @Brumby @TerraN_EmpirE @SamuraiBlue


during a discussion in Japan Thread Apr 13, 2019
and here's the story dated Apr 24, 2019:
Lockheed Targets 9-Month F-16 Modification Schedule
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The F-16 program upgrade is a bit complicated to follow because of the different series and the frequent changes to the upgrade plans. There is a recent article in the Aviation News April edition that featured the F-16 program. Included below is an extract on the upgrade plans.

The service refers to the Block 25/30/32 F-16s as Pre-Block aircraft and the Block 40/42 and 50/52 as Post-Blocks. The Pre-Blocks have a service life of 10,800 flight hours while the Post-Block models are limited to 8,000 hours. In April 2017, the USAF confirmed that with structural upgrades the Post-Blocks can fly to 12,000 hours or beyond.

Modernisation plans now include a service-life extension programme (SLEP) that will extend the Certified Service Life (CSL) of 300 Post-Block aircraft from 8,000 to around 12,000 flight hours permitting them to remain in service for 15-20 additional years. The renamed Ogden Air Logistics Complex’s (OO-ALC) 573rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron completed structural modifications on the first Block 52 aircraft at Hill AFB, in April 2018. The fighter, which is assigned to the USAF’s Thunderbirds display team, was the first of four F-16s to serve as ‘validation and verification’ aircraft for the SLEP. Once the programme reaches full-production, the OO-ALC plans to complete each SLEP jet in nine months at a cost of $2.4m. Plans currently call for 300 aircraft to undergo SLEP by 2023, but the project could ultimately modify, repair or replace life limited airframe components on as many as 841 of the fighters.
Developed from the Block 60’s Northrop Grumman AN/APG-80 radar, the Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) was first tested on an F-16 at Edwards AFB in 2010 and was initially selected over Raytheon’s Advanced Combat Radar to equip the USAF Viper fleet as part of the planned Combat Avionics Programmed Extension Suite (CAPES) programme in 2013. Cancelled the following year in order to fund other priority programmes, CAPES would have provided a new active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, high-resolution, multifunction colour displays, an upgraded AN/ALQ-213 electronic warfare suite and an integrated broadcast system (IBS). The latter piece of equipment was designed to collect, correlate and display data from off-board data links and the aircraft’s own sensors for use by the pilot. Funding earmarked for the cancelled CAPES programme was shifted to the SLEP.

Plans for a replacement radar system were resurrected in response to a US Northern Command Joint Urgent Operational Need (JUON), in March 2015, when the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) released a ‘sources sought’ document associated with a new AESA system. The programme will initially replace the AN/APG-68 mechanically scanned radar on ANG F-16Cs that make up 56% of the nation’s aerospace control alert (ACA) fighter force with the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-83 SABR system. AFLCMC awarded Northrop Grumman an initial $244m contract to provide 72 systems in June 2017. Giving as many as 300 F-16Cs an upgraded radar remains under consideration.

Further upgrades will equip the Pre-Block fleet with a new communications suite, a Hybrid Flight Control Computer (HFLCC), AGCAS and replacement of the MIDSLow Volume Terminal (MIDS-LVT) with the MIDS-Joint Tactical Radio System (MIDSJTRS). Additionally, ANG and AFRC F-16s will be the first to get Rockwell Collins Digital GPS Anti-Jam Receivers (DIGAR) that will provide reliable navigation in contested electromagnetic environments.


US Air Force provides X-60A hypersonic flight test details
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The US Air Force (USAF) plans to use the first two test flights of its X-60A GOLauncher1 (GO1) hypersonic flight research vehicle as capability demonstrations before using further test flights for experimentation, according to a key official.
Doug Dolvin, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) research leader for hypersonic flight research and experimentation, told Jane's on 25 April that the first test flight will perform sustained Mach 5 speeds while the second test flight will exceed Mach 6. The capability demonstrations, he said, will be used to validate system engineering.
Dolvin said the first two flight tests will be performed at the Cecil Spaceport in Jacksonville, Florida, and will fly south off the coast of Cape Canaveral.