US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.

Jura

General
Jul 6, 2019
"Pulling some of this construction ahead despite what on paper looks like more concurrency risk is what will allow the program to reach 11-percent completion before construction officially starts."
etc. etc.:
Navy: USS Columbia Will Have Most Complete Design Ever at Official Construction Start

May 8, 2019
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+

Navy Columbia(SSBN-826) Class Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress

Updated June 24, 2019
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so let's wait and see what happens once the current program managers are gone
and as of now,
General Dynamics Confident Flat Federal Spending Won’t Slow Down Columbia Class
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A flat but stable defense budget outlook was welcomed by the General Dynamics chief executive, who told analysts she expects important shipbuilding programs will be funded by the spending plan agreed to by Congress and the White House this week.


Pentagon acquisition officials and defense contractors are now preparing for what appears to be two years of relatively flat defense spending thanks to a deal reached but not yet formally passed this week. While the defense base budget is expected only slightly to increase in Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021, the deal eliminates the spending caps imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

“Well, it’s certainly very good news that it looks like we’ve got some clarity in our political landscape at the moment,” said Phebe Novakovic, chief executive of General Dynamics, during a conference call with analysts to discuss the company’s second-quarter financial results.

According to the federal budget deal announced earlier this week, the Pentagon can expect a topline base budget of $666.5 billion in FY 2020 and $671.5 billion in FY 2021.

Against this flat spending backdrop, analysts wanted to know if Novakovic worried about potential delays to Navy shipbuilding. Specifically, they wanted to know if there was any risk to the $109 billion Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine program, which is replacing the fleet’s aging Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines.

“Columbia is a national priority, and I have no doubt that as a national priority funding will be made available for it,” Novakovic said. “There are a lot of different ways to do that from a budget perspective, and I think that the U.S. Congress and our customer is talking about various avenues of ways, to ensure healthy budgeting.”

The Navy estimates the total cost to buy 12 Columbia-class ships is $109 billion. The Navy plans to purchase the first Columbia-class sub in FY 2021, the second in FY 2024 and the remaining ten subs at a rate of one per year between 2026 and 2035, according to a June 2019
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.

The budget deal’s upside, according to Novakovic, is defense contractors know what to expect as the Pentagon draws up spending plans. General Dynamics is building Virginia-class Block IV submarines and has started purchasing long-lead materials for the Block V subs, Novakovic said. She expects a contract to build 10 Virginia-class Block V submarines by the end of this year. General Dynamics also has a backlog to build 11 Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, she said.

There is strong support on Capitol Hill for shipbuilding, Novakovic said, and she doesn’t think the Navy will be in a situation where it prematurely curtails some programs.

“When we did the Ohio in the ‘80s, a separate account was set up. That’s a potential option,” Novakovic said. “So, I don’t worry too much about Columbia crowding other programs out. There is an imperative for the Navy to recapitalize its ships and build more ships.”
 

Brumby

Major
US Navy USS Tripoli LHA 7 successfully completed Builder's Trials
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The Navy's newest America-class amphibious assault ship, the future USS Tripoli (LHA 7), successfully completed Builder's Trials July 19. The ship returned to the Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII)-Ingalls Shipbuilding Division's shipyard following four days underway in the Gulf of Mexico.
Builder's Trials is the Navy's first opportunity to assess the operational readiness of the ship. During the trials, the multipurpose amphibious assault ship underwent dock trials followed by more than 200 at-sea test events.

"The Navy and industry team did a commendable job this week," said Tom Rivers, amphibious warfare program manager for Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. "America class ships bring tremendous capability to our Sailors and Marines and Tripoli will be the first large deck amphib to reach the fleet fully ready to integrate the Marine Corps air combat element to include Joint Strike Fighters."

Tripoli is the second ship of the America (LHA 6) class, built to facilitate forward presence and power projection. LHA 7 is the last Flight 0 ship planned for construction and features an enlarged hangar deck, realignment and expansion of the aviation maintenance facilities, an increase in available stowage for parts and support equipment, and increased aviation fuel capacity. LHA 8 will be the first Flight I ship, reincorporating a well deck to enhance expeditionary warfighting capabilities while maintaining the principal aviation characteristics of the Flight 0 ships.

LHA 7 incorporates gas turbine propulsion plant, zonal electrical distribution, and fuel-efficient electric auxiliary propulsion systems first installed on USS Makin Island (LHD 8). LHA 7 will be 844 feet in length, will have a displacement of approximately 45,000 long tons and will be capable of operating at speeds of over 20 knots.
 

Attachments

Jura

General
Jan 10, 2019
inside
DoD has its topline budget figure
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:

"Asked if the department had finally received its figure, Norquist confirmed it has, but declined to go into details on what the dollar figure would be."

do tell, do tell
LOL!
now
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Presumptive Deputy Defense Secretary Norquist pledged to “revise budget review timelines and data collection standards to maximize senior leader decision-making quality and timing.”

The White House’s pick to be the next Deputy Defense Secretary, David Norquist, has pledged to throw his weight behind tackling one of the Pentagon’s most intractable problems: reforming the military’s complex budgeting and business processes.

The pledge isn’t new. Practically every DoD official has promised to trim the fat surrounding the moribund process for identifying requirements and actually building new weapons systems. But with the rapid rise of China as a military powerhouse and as commercial technologies continue to blow past military capabilities, the issue is more acute than at any other time in history.

In written answers submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee before his nomination hearing Wednesday, Norquist pledged to “focus on improving” the Program Budget Review process, adding, “specifically, I will revise budget review timelines and data collection standards to maximize senior leader decision-making quality and timing.”

Norquist, who as comptroller oversaw the DoD’s first-ever audit last year — the department, as expected, failed — is in a unique position to move the needle if confirmed as deputy given his years of experience looking at the Pentagon’s books. He said elsewhere in his written answers that he plans to “implement new ideas for overseeing the business operations of the Department, to include a focus on monthly execution of critical operations.”

Part of the plan includes pushing the Pentagon to invest more in developing cutting edge technologies like hypersonics and AI. But with research and development spending squeezed by flatlining Pentagon budgets, the Pentagon will have to make some tough choices in the coming years.

Norquist, during his testimony before a friendly Senate Armed Services Committee likely to fast track his nomination, reiterated the areas where the gap between the US and rivals China and Russia “is most noticeable,” including hypersonics, Artificial Intelligence and cyber. But, there’s a but.

“One of the challenges that is facing the department, even as we maintain readiness and the right force structure size, is to ensure that we are investing in those cutting-edge technologies that not only are just advances to warfare, but may change dramatically the way warfare is fought,” he said.

Norquist has been performing the duties of deputy secretary in the Pentagon since Jan. 1. The position sat empty since Patrick Shanahan, who held that job under former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, took over as acting secretary when
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.

There is broad consensus across the Senate and Pentagon that Norquist needs to be seated as soon as possible, given the long, seven-month gap between Senate-confirmed officials at the top of the Pentagon’s hierarchy. Defense Secretary Mark Esper was officially sworn in Tuesday evening, and
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to tackle the crisis in the Persian Gulf with Iran, and has issued memos to staff on combating contamination at domestic bases and doing more outreach to the press.

A key task for Norquist will be managing the research and development budget, which is seeing an influx of critical new programs looking for funding.

While the administration requested $104 billion for R&D in fiscal 2020 — about $8 billion more than what was allocated in 2019 — that came as part of a $750 billion topline. The
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reached between the White House and Congress dropped that to $738 billion, followed by a $740 billion DoD budget in 2021. Those numbers represent next to zero real growth when inflation is taken into account, making the squeeze on R&D budgets even more acute as rising personnel and sustainment costs will vie for major pieces of the pie.

Andrew Hunter, director of the Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told me that tight R&D budgets represent “a core challenge” for DoD, and have significantly hampered the ability of defense planners to implement 2018’s National Defense Strategy. “The problem is even worse than the budget numbers imply,” he said, “because within R&D, the portion of that funding that goes to industry for contracts to develop the next generation of systems fell dramatically under sequestration and has not meaningfully recovered.”

The importance of investing quickly and substantively in next-generation tech like AI, hypersonics, and cyber was underscored recently by the news that six Chinese companies have stormed into the top 15 global defense firms, according to Defense News’ annual
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list of the globe’s biggest defense firms. There’s little daylight between Chinese manufacturers and the government, giving Beijing some advantage over the US in being able to make use of the latest commercial technologies in defense programs.

The Pentagon is trying to close that gap — if even just a little — by making wider use of Other Transaction Authority contracts that allow DoD to fund rapid prototyping projects quickly without having to hack through the cumbersome government acquisition process, but with tighter, more crowded R&D budgets, there may be less opportunity to do that.

Asked Wednesday about the two-year budget deal and if he was concerned over the lack of real growth in 2021, Norquist did not delve into the details. While praising the stability that the end of sequestration and budget stability bring, he said, “I understand the importance of both security and solvency, and that not everyone gets everything they want.”

There are other concerns over the management of the R&D accounts across the Pentagon, as well.

There
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that Mike Griffin, undersecretary for research and engineering (USDR&E), would be the next DoD official to leave the building. Some of Griffin’s decisions have rankled others at the Pentagon, including two senior officials who worked for him on space and rapid acquisition issues.

After just four months on the job, the director of the nascent Space Development Agency,
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, stepped down before he could be asked to resign after just four months on the job. Kennedy and Griffin were said to be at odds over Kennedy’s plans for SDA to
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to quickly field new types of satellites.

Kennedy’s departure came days just after Chris Shank, head of the Strategic Capabilities Office, tendered his own resignation in
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against Griffin’s plan to transfer his shop to live under DARPA. Griffin’s decision came despite the opposition of many on Capitol Hill and senior military commanders and the Joint Staff. Shank left no doubt over the reason for his departure: “My integrity and belief in SCO’s mission is more important to me than my friendship over many years with Mike (Griffin).”
it's
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Jura

General
it's actually interesting
Boeing: $85B Competition to Build New ICBMs Favors Northrop Grumman
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The company says it will sit out if the U.S. Air Force does not change the bidding parameters.

Boeing said Thursday that it would not bid on what could be an $85 billion contract to build new nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles, saying that the U.S. Air Force’s parameters favor Northrop Grumman, the only other company competing.

The project is considered a top priority for the Pentagon, which says it needs new-technology ICBMs to counter Russia’s own nuclear advances. The project, dubbed Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, would replace hundreds of Cold War-era Boeing Minuteman IIIs in concrete silos under the countrysides of Montana, Wyoming, and North Dakota.

“After numerous attempts to resolve concerns within the procurement process, Boeing has informed the Air Force that it will not bid Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) under the current acquisition approach,” Todd Blecher, a company spokesman, said in an emailed statement. “We’ve evaluated these issues extensively, and determined that the current acquisition approach does not provide a level playing field for fair competition.”

Boeing’s decision not to bid was first reported by
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. A spokeswoman for Will Roper, the head of Air Force acquisition, was not immediately available for comment.

In a July 23 letter to Roper, Leanne Caret, CEO of Boeing Defense Space and Security, said the company feels Northrop has an advantage because it purchased Orbital ATK, a company that builds solid rocket motors originally a Boeing supplier.

Northrop initially refused to enter an agreement that would firewall Boeing proprietary data from its offices overseeing its ICBM. A Northrop spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

“Boeing has already been placed at a disadvantage in the development of its proposal by Northrop’s initial unwillingness to enter into a Proprietary Information Agreement (PIA) containing a detailed firewall plan, as the Consent Decree requires,” Caret wrote.

That agreement was finally signed on July 3, but the delay greatly reduced the work that could be done between Northrop’s rocket division and Boeing, a person familiar with the program said.

“We have been raising our concerns about the procurement at all levels of the Air Force for more than a year,” Blecher said. “But after reviewing the latest [request for proposals], it was clear that the Air Force wasn’t going to adequately address our concerns. The competition was not going to occur on a level playing field on which Boeing would have the chance to effectively compete.”

In August 2017, the U.S. Air Force
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to Boeing and Northrop Grumman to begin design and technology work on the new ICBMs. On July 16, the Air Force
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to build about 400 of the missiles. Companies have 150 days to respond. The plan is to choose a winner by the end of fiscal 2020. Few more details are publicly available about the highly classified project.

“On the surface, Boeing’s decision not to participate in the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent program might be viewed as a positive for Northrop Grumman, but it raises multiple questions regarding where this program is headed,” Byron Callan, an analyst with Capital Alpha Partners, wrote in a Thursday morning note to investors. “It would be unusual, in our view, for a program of this size not to be competitively bid.”

Some analysts agree that the bidding parameters favor Northrop, Callan wrote.

Rewriting those parameters could delay the program.

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg made only a passing reference to the new ICBM project on the company’s second-quarter earnings call with investment analysts Wednesday: “[W]e’re focused on leveraging our work to date on GBSD to help deliver this essential national security capability.”

Northrop Grumman CEO Kathy Warden was asked about the parameters on her company’s own second-quarter earnings Wednesday. “We are really seeing what we expected to see and we are positioned to be able to support the U.S. Air Force requirements,” Warden said.

“We have the knowledge and the expertise needed to put together a strong offer for the U.S. Air Force, and we look forward to doing that,” she said.

Rick Berger, a defense analyst with the American Enterprise Institute,
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that Boeing decision not to bid will be “Roper’s toughest test of his tenure. Under no circumstances can GBSD be allowed to slip. Tough needle to thread here.”
 

Brumby

Major


gee... it's at page 6 (10 of 67 in PDF) of
Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress

July 24, 2019
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Based on this new force structure arrangement, I expect a lot more SSC will be built aka Frigates.

The USN tends to come up with fanciful concepts from time to time but with very little follow through beyond the initial idea. The immediate problem I see with this new structure is the dependence on unmanned vehicles acting as sensor nodes. The issues would include command and control associated with integrity of communication links and the security itself of the vehicles being commandeered by hostile forces.
 

Jura

General
Based on this new force structure arrangement, I expect a lot more SSC will be built aka Frigates.
LOL it appears I'm on the verge of a defeat with my prediction (from last summer) of the Pentagon cancelling FFG(X):

yesterday I saw twelve-hundred something million for the first ship in the current version of FY20 budget proposal

(I don't bother with details now as it's just a- paper at this points, and the info would be like everywhere if it got approved)

sounds like a realistic price for a modern frigate by the way

The USN tends to come up with fanciful concepts from time to time but with very little follow through beyond the initial idea. The immediate problem I see with this new structure is the dependence on unmanned vehicles acting as sensor nodes. The issues would include command and control associated with integrity of communication links and the security itself of the vehicles being commandeered by hostile forces.
well if "unmanned direction" was just PR stuff for Popular Mechanics, The National Interest, Scout Warrior etc.,

then why not,

BUT they're going to start throwing away billions for real,
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?
in a kinda similar way as spending 30+b for like specialized frigates (LCSs) without first thinking if a specialized frigate is or isn't a sound concept

(then realizing it is not, but of course the Pentagon and the White House
Jul 10, 2017
Jul 1, 2017

... details emerging:

"On May 23, the U.S. Navy rolled out its 2018 budget request that included one littoral combat ship, or LCS. The logic was that since Congress had given the Navy three in fiscal year 2017, an additional one would keep both builders — Wisconsin-based Marinette Marine and Alabama-based Austal USA — afloat.

But inside the White House, alarm bells went off in some sectors. Peter Navarro, the head of U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade and industrial policy office, was looking at information indicating one ship could trigger layoffs at both shipyards. Those concerns were shared by senior Trump aides Rick Dearborn and Stephen Miller — both old hands of long-time Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions — and together they lobbied and prevailed upon Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney to add a second ship to the request."

Life support: The Navy's struggle to define a LCS bare minimum
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goes on below due to size limit
sticking to it to feed the shipyards, praising the game-changers in the process)
 
Last edited:

Jura

General
Jun 25, 2019
it appears one Virginia Payload Module would cost 400m:
Report to Congress on Virginia-class Attack Submarine Program
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related:
BAE Garners Order for Payload Tubes of Virginia-Class Submarines
Posted on
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BAE Systems has received a follow-on contract to produce 28 more payload tubes for the U.S. Navy’s Block V Virginia-class attack submarines, the company said in a July 25 release.

Under the contract with General Dynamics Electric Boat, a builder of the Virginia class, BAE Systems will deliver seven sets of four tubes each for the Virginia Payload Modules (VPM).

The Navy is adding significant capability to the latest Virginia-class boats by increasing the firepower and payload capacity of the Block V submarines. The VPM extends the length of Block V subs over previous versions of the Virginia class by adding a midbody section to create more payload space. Each large-diameter payload tube can store and launch up to seven Tomahawk and future guided cruise missiles.

“The VPM is critical to the Virginia class because it offers not only additional strike capacity, but the flexibility to integrate future payload types, such as unmanned systems and next-generation weapons, as threats evolve,” said Joe Senftle, vice president and general manager of weapon systems at BAE Systems.

“We’ve invested heavily in the people, processes and tools required to successfully deliver these payload tubes to Electric Boat and to help ensure the Navy’s undersea fleet remains a dominant global force.”

BAE Systems is also providing nine payload tubes under previously awarded VPM contracts. As the leading provider of propulsors and other submarine systems, the company has a long history of supporting the Navy’s submarine fleet. In addition to payload tubes, BAE Systems is also providing propulsors, spare hardware and tailcones for Block IV Virginia-class vessels and is prepared to do the same for Block V. Work under this contract will be performed at the company’s facility in Louisville, Kentucky, with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2021.
 
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