US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.


Jura

General
Jan 19, 2019
...



the latest on B-52 engines is ... Jun 25, 2018



...
now
Lawmakers Want B-52 Re-Engining Details Worked Out Before Granting Funding
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The U.S.
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wants to get new engines for its heavy
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bombers as quickly as possible to keep the long-range aircraft flying for another 30 years. But lawmakers are insisting that service officials nail down contract specifics before they provide funding.

In a background briefing with reporters Monday, House Armed Services Committee staff members said that the Air Force first has to stipulate definitive requirements with defense companies before proceeding with a program.

The Air Force has said it will utilize its Section 804 Authorities Middle Tier Acquisition law authority, which includes
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the process and push decisions down to program officers, to expedite new engines for the aircraft, known throughout the force as the BUFF, or "Big Ugly Fat Fellow."

"We're concerned that … by utilizing that authority, they're not doing their due diligence with regard to the requirements," said a committee staff member, referencing an early draft of the House Armed Services Committee defense bill.

Congress first authorized the practice in the fiscal 2016 National Defense Authorization Act.

"We're going to require that [the service] lock down the requirements, submit them to us, and let us know how they're going to test to those requirements before they receive the full amount of funding in FY20" budget, the staffer said.

The service has been pushing for a
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, which it intends to keep flying into the 2050s. Each aircraft currently has eight Pratt & Whitney TF33-P-3/103 turbofan engines.

Air Force officials had hoped to release a Request for Proposal to defense companies this spring; it's unclear whether the House committee's demands will delay that.

"The Air Force Service Acquisition Executive designated the Commercial Engine Replacement Program (CERP) as a National Defense Authorization Act Section 804 Rapid Prototyping program on September 20th, 2018,"
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.

"Leveraging
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removes 39 months from the CERP schedule," the report states, with production anticipated to begin in 2025.

The Air Force requested $70 million total toward the effort in its fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2019 budget requests for risk reduction and planning efforts, spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said Monday, adding that the service is currently requesting $175 million toward the re-engining program in its fiscal 2020 request.

Through its Future Years Defense Program, or FYDP, the service projects that it will spend $1.3 billion over the next five years on re-engining-related work.

"We've been talking about re-engining the B-52 for a long time," Lt. Gen. Jack Weinstein, then deputy chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration, said last year. He has since retired.

But "every time you renovate a house, you don't realize there's asbestos behind the wall," he said, acknowledging the possibility that problems may develop as the service renovates the Cold War-era bomber.

"Am I going to sit here and say we're not going to have a problem with the re-engining? I'm not going to say that,"
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. "I will tell you an awful lot of work has gone into evaluating how to re-engine, what is the best way to do it, why we [decided] not to do a [service] life extension program on [a] really old engine ... so the work that has been upfront. It's going to take ... constant oversight as we go through the process."

The B-52, under Air Force Global Strike Command, has been prominent in missions such as Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, as well as the
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in Iraq and Syria.

Most recently, B-52 bombers that deployed to the Middle East last month to
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have been
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. A single bomber, alongside
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,
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helicopters and E-2D Growlers,
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in the Arabian Sea on Saturday.

The last B-52 rolled off the
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. The Air Force has 75 Stratofortresses.
the youngest B-52 is at least ten years older than me
 

Jura

General
noted
Navy to Rotate Four Destroyers in Rota, add Helicopter Squadron
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The U.S. Navy plans to rotate the four currently Forward Deployed Naval Force-Europe (FDNF-E) ships with newer, modernized ships in order to posture the most capable forces forward in the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) area of responsibility (AOR). Additionally, the U.S. Navy intends to relocate a helicopter maritime strike squadron (HSM) to Rota, Spain, in support of the destroyers, which will enhance the multi-mission roles of these ships.

Continuing to operate the FDNF-E destroyers out of Rota, Spain demonstrates the enduring relationship between the U.S. Navy and our Spanish naval allies. Additionally, the U.S. and Spanish navies will continue working together to conduct ship maintenance, training, and operations in support of maritime security within the EUCOM AOR.

The rotation of these ships will be staggered, with the first rotation scheduled to begin in 2020. During this rotation, FDNF-E ships will continue to conduct their assigned missions in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations. The transition is expected to be complete by Spring 2022.
recalled
Sep 11, 2018
...


you may want to check this older quote inside Friday at 8:20 AM
:
"... Program Executive Officer for Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS) Rear Adm. Jon Hill said last week at an American Society of Naval Engineers event.

“We put [the ships] out there by themselves, and they’re putting all their radar energy up in space, they’re tracking space objects now, and you have to wonder, hey, can they defend themselves?” he said. After toying with the idea of putting a second ship nearby to protect the BMD destroyer – much like a cruiser protecting an aircraft carrier – the Navy decided the SeaRAM could fill the self-protection requirement ..."
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AND

the recent stuff

The US Navy is fed up with ballistic missile defense patrols
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not mentioning any other destroyers covering those deployed to Rota, Spain or elsewhere on ABM missions;

from what I figured, a SeaRAM put on them was all they got
EDIT I mean if they'd finally have IAMD, as in

"Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD), to include simultaneous air defense and ballistic missile defense missions on Aegis destroyers equipped with the new Multi-Mission Signal Processor"
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Last edited:

Jura

General
Yesterday at 8:42 PM
noted
Navy to Rotate Four Destroyers in Rota, add Helicopter Squadron
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recalled
Sep 11, 2018
EDIT I mean if they'd finally have IAMD, as in

"Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD), to include simultaneous air defense and ballistic missile defense missions on Aegis destroyers equipped with the new Multi-Mission Signal Processor"
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now NavalToday says it's "likely" they'll send IAMD destroyers;
US Navy replacing Spain-based destroyers with newer ones, adding helicopter squadron
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The US Navy intends to start replacing its four Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, with newer platforms in 2020, the US 6th Fleet has announced.

The navy did not disclose which ships would be stationed in Spain to replace USS Porter (DDG 78), USS Ross (DDG 71), USS Carney (DDG 64), and USS Donald Cook (DDG 75).

The Flight I and Flight II destroyers are tasked with providing ballistic missile defense protection in the European theater and will likely be replaced with destroyers that feature the upgraded Aegis Baseline 9 combat system, which includes Integrated Air and Missile Defense capability.

In addition to deploying modernized ships, the navy intends to relocate a helicopter maritime strike squadron (HSM) to Rota, Spain, in support of the destroyers, which will enhance the multi-mission roles of these ships.

All four ship rotations are expected to be completed by spring 2022.
 

Jura

General
Jul 19, 2018
Feb 27, 2018
while now Boeing gets Air Force One contract — and next-gen Air Force Ones to get a new paint job
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and
Lawmakers Want the Final Say on Air Force One Paint Job
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A House panel has drafted legislation that would require congressional approval if Trump wants to change the Kennedy-era livery.

Some U.S. lawmakers want the final say if President Trump decides to change Air Force One’s paint job from the blue-and-white livery that has adorned presidential planes for more than a half century.

Last year, Trump
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that he wants to paint the new planes “red, white and blue, which I think is appropriate.”

But the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee — in its review of the Pentagon’s 2020 budget request — has
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that would require the plane’s paint job to “comply with the criteria set forth in a report of the Boeing Company titled ‘‘Phase II Aircraft Livery and Paint Study Final Report’ as submitted to the Federal Government in April 2017.”

What’s in that report? Boeing declined to comment.

Asked about it, a congressional staffer said, “There were some rumors some time back about proposed changes to the paint job on Air Force One. This language would prevent expenditures on those sorts of changes without Congressional approval.”

The proposed legislation also contains various clauses intended to prevent more expected price hikes in the effort to replace the two 1990s-era jetliners currently used for presidential travel. Initially
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to cost about $4 billion, the estimated price tag for the two planes, extensive modifications and new hangars currently stands around $5.3 billion. Still, Trump and the Air Force
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.

The subcommittee is led by Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., who has long kept a close eye on efforts to upgrade and replace the presidential jets. Last year, Courtney
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a $24 million no-bid contract given to Boeing to install new refrigerators on the current Air Force Ones. The Air Force eventually
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the refrigerator deal, which Courtney said “just didn’t pass the smell test.”

The congressional staffer said the subcommittee’s Air Force One legislation was “routine oversight of the purse strings, and ensuring that we’re exercising fiscal responsibility when it comes to an aircraft that’s already expensive to outfit in every scenario in the first place.”

Even before Trump
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the White House, he had
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of replacing the pair of Boeing 747-200s that have served as Air Force One since 1990. In an effort to reduce the cost, the Air Force
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built for but never delivered to a Russian airline.

Last year, the Air Force awarded Boeing a
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to convert those planes into customized flying White Houses. In March, the two 747-8s were
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in Victorville, California, to a company modification factory in San Antonio, Texas.

The new Air Force One is expected to enter service in late 2024, so a decision about its paint job won’t be needed for a number of years. Planes are typically painted at the very end of the manufacturing process.

“This is just about ensuring that when we do make expenditures on these aircraft, there is some oversight to ensure that they’re being made for the right purposes and with the signoff of Congress,” the congressional aide said.

Because the new 747-8s are larger than the 747-200s they will replace, the Air Force must build a new secure hangar complex. In December, it
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Clark Construction Group $298 million to build the new facility at Joint Base Andrews in the Maryland suburbs of Washington.
 

Jura

General
The Eastern Mediterranean Needs More US Warships
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Regional tensions and distracted allies underscore the need for more naval presence.

As tensions rise in the
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and
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, the Eastern Mediterranean is often an afterthought for American defense planning, despite its geostrategic importance as a crossroads between Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. For the first time since 2016, the
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two Nimitz-class aircraft carriers to the region in April. This was an important signal to America’s partners and adversaries, but more needs to be done to strengthen the U.S. Navy’s presence in these increasingly contested waters.

Russia has established a
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in the Eastern Mediterranean by leasing a naval base in Tartus, Syria; it has deployed naval assets and S-400 anti-aircraft systems to Syria and provided Assad with S-300s of his own. The ultimate effect of these moves on American or Israeli freedom of action is
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, but Moscow’s message is clear: it’s back and here to stay.

Iran also seeks to cement its forces along the Mediterranean. It is set to begin leasing part of the
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in October, which could help smuggle weaponry into Syria and ultimately threaten Israel and the U.S. Sixth Fleet’s freedom of navigation. Indeed, Tehran, through Hezbollah in Lebanon, can already threaten shipping and offshore energy infrastructure.

Energy discoveries off Israel, Egypt, and Cyprus could deepen existing rivalries and generate new ones. Syria’s Assad may look to the Mediterranean to boost trade revenues and energy resources as he works to rebuild his country. Hezbollah in Lebanon could use offshore energy disputes with Israel as a pretext for conflict.

America’s current naval posture in the Eastern Mediterranean is not large or sustained enough to address the region’s increasing competition. The U.S. Navy homeports a few destroyers in Spain and a single amphibious command ship in Italy. Battle groups typically make port visits throughout the region as they transit to and from the Persian Gulf — unless, as happened earlier this week, they are
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to the Gulf to deal with rising tensions there.

And NATO navies are not focused on regional deterrence, despite the growing presence of Russia and Iran, being absorbed with continued flows of migrants and refugees to Europe from North Africa and the Middle East.

However, the U.S. can take several steps to improve its force posture in the region.

First, the Pentagon should use its
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model to maintain deterrent force presence in the region by allocating more ship days to the Eastern Mediterranean. Since this model allows naval forces to deploy in unpredictable force structures or locations, adversaries are less able to prepare for aggressive action in the region. By increasing deployment flexibility, the Navy can more readily respond to crises as they develop and can capitalize on strategic opportunities.

Second, the U.S. Navy should use these extra ship-days to increase the frequency and duration of port visits of EUCOM naval vessels to partner nations in the region. These visits have the dual benefit of strengthening America’s relationship with its allies while deterring its adversaries.

Third, Washington should help regional allies improve their own capabilities and presence in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Navy should combine an increased presence in the Eastern Mediterranean with an expansion of multinational training focused on countering Russian and Iranian forces in the region. The U.S. should also provide more excess vessels and other arms and defense gear.

For the first time since the Cold War, the Eastern Mediterranean is a center of complicated challenges both for the United States and its allies. As adversaries seek to exploit the region’s economic potential and political instability, visible American presence will be crucial to confront these challenges.
that opinion shows to me how the USN lacks a lighter surface force, as in
Friday at 6:14 AM
the USN has been commissioning aluminum scrap in the form of LCSs for more than ten years now,

and the USN has been operating without lighter surface forces for more than five years now,

so I of course won't be surprised if they cancel the FFG(X), as I predicted Oct 30, 2018, and

I won't even be surprised if they keep commissioning some more aluminum scrap in the form of LCSs, going beyond 35 hulls Sep 18, 2018,

and I wouldn't be surprised if they kept operating without lighter forces in decades to come:

the USN transformation in progress
 

Jura

General
May 15, 2019
May 6, 2019
now
Navy Planning Aggressive Unmanned Ship Prototyping, Acquisition Effort
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and I ask if they have ConOps of those things, or poured in "almost $3 billion" just like that?
looks I wasn't alone who asked (LOL) as inside
The Navy's $2.7 Billion Plan to Build Drone Ships Faces Hurdles in Congress
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:

"What we're leaning toward would be go figure out the [concept of operations] on the ships you already either bought or are about to buy, and then we can talk about going into serial production," the staffer said.
 

Jura

General
Yesterday at 2:22 PM
here comes
US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.
:

HASC Subcommittee Worried About B-1 Readiness
6/3/2019
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related:
B-1 Lancer readiness is in the toilet, here’s why
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The
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is bad — really bad — and lawmakers on the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee want the service to come up with a plan to fix the problem.

The United States’ long-range strike capabilities “may be placed at increased risk by
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," according to the panel’s markup of HR 2500, the House’s version of the fiscal 2020 defense policy bill, released Monday. The
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necessary to improve its mission-capable rates.

The situation has gotten so bad, according to the subcommittee, that the number of B-1 aircraft that are fully mission-capable is now only in the single digits. What’s more, B-1 aircrew are being rerouted from flying the bomber to other aircraft, because there aren’t enough Lancers for their necessary training.

The proposed authorization bill would require the Air Force to brief the House Armed Services Committee by March 1, 2020, on its plan to improve B-1 readiness. That plan should address: how the Air Force expects to fix the bomber’s structural issues; its plans to continue analyzing and testing structural deficiency data; repair timelines, and strategies to mitigate these problems in the future.

The subcommittee also wants the Air Force to produce a training plan for pilots and maintainers, and a recovery timeline to meet the B-1′s future deployment requirements. The subcommittee’s requirements must still be approved by the full House and Senate.

In a June 5 statement, Air Force Global Strike Command said that it is currently conducting an extensive engineering review of the Lancer fleet, which will help it determine what workloads and timelines are needed to get back to full capacity.

Global Strike Command also confirmed that the recent stand-down of B-1s, and required maintenance, reduced the number of available bombers to the point where they have not been able to keep all aircrews current.

“In order to preserve the readiness of our aircrews, we are planning to transition certain members to other aircraft and assignments until the B-1B capacity is restored,” Global Strike spokesman Capt. Earon Brown said.

The B-1 fleet has been grounded twice in the past year over concerns with its ejection seats. In late March, Global Strike Command grounded the bombers for nearly a month due to problems with its drogue chute system, which corrects the seat’s angle to allow an airman to safely eject from the bomber.

In May 2018, a B-1B from Dyess Air Force Base in Texas was forced to conduct an emergency landing at a Texas airport when a fire broke out in its wing at the end of a training run. The crew blew the ejection hatch to try to bail out, but an armed but malfunctioning ejection seat refused to eject. The crew stuck together and safely landed the plane together, rather than abandon the airman with the malfunctioning seat. That emergency landing led to a fleet-wide grounding last June.

The Air Force has 62 B-1 bombers. In fiscal 2017, the most recent year for which aircraft readiness data is available, the Air Force said that the Lancer’s mission-capable rate was 52.8 percent, meaning about 32 or 33 bombers were ready to fly at any given time.
 

Jura

General
huh
Bunch: Boeing’s Recent Wins May Signal Change in Cost Estimating Methods
6/5/2019
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Boeing’s cluster of big contract wins last year, which came in billions below Air Force estimates, may soon signal that USAF will have to change its cost estimating system, Gen. Arnold Bunch, head of Air Force Materiel Command, said in an exit interview from his post as top uniformed acquisition official.

Former Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson characterized Boeing’s win on the T-X advanced trainer as coming in at $10 billion below what USAF thought the program was worth, and the UH-1N replacement helicopter program at $1.7 billion below USAF’s estimate. Boeing also won the Navy’s MQ-25 carrier-based refueling drone contract last fall at a bid below the Navy’s estimates.

“Our independent cost estimates are based off historical performance in a lot of areas,” Bunch said, and it will be up to the acquisition shop to assess how it performed in creating those estimates. But before changing methods, it will be necessary to see if those bids are borne out, Bunch said. “You’ve got to see the performance, you’ve got to execute to it before you’d decide that’s how we’re going to do it” in the future.

It’s also important to note that there’s no single way to assess programs. “If you’ve managed one program, you’ve managed one program,” noted Bunch, who recently assumed command of Air Force Materiel Command. “Every one of them is different. But I do believe we’re going to have to look and refine our cost estimating …as we get more data on how these perform.”

Bunch also said better cost estimating is needed because if the Air Force sets aside too many dollars for a program, and the project comes in way under estimates, the savings are great but “maybe I could have used those dollars somewhere else,” and it’s a missed opportunity to fund another priority.

“I’ll tell you what that really does, though,” Bunch asserted. “This round of what we’ve done just shows you the true value of competition.”

What if Boeing’s promises don’t hold up, though? It has lost more than $3.5 billion on the KC-46, which was expected to be a straightforward project with no dramatic innovations required.

Bunch said he strongly endorses the views of former Pentagon acquisition, technology, and logistics czar Frank Kendall, who argued that acquisition pros need to be discerning about when and when not to use a fixed-price contract, such as was used on the KC-46. Kendall argued that fixed-price is only appropriate when the project is extremely well understood, whereas cost-plus should be used when there’s a lot of invention demanded.

There are several factors that should be considered when setting up source selection criteria, including “how we communicate with industry,” how realistic the expectations are and whether or not “we perform,” as well as the technical risk, maturity of the technology, and whether or not there is a possibility of a foreign military sale, Bunch said.

On the KC-46, “we’ve been pretty firm that we’ve not backed away, we’ve not changed the requirements,” Bunch asserted. “Boeing has been a good partner and they realize there are things …that they’ve got to do that they signed up for.” On the other hand, he said, “on the boom, where we gave the wrong requirements…we’ve owned up that we did something we need to go pay for…That’s ours.”
 

Jeff Head

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Jura

General

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