US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.

Jul 25, 2019
it's actually interesting
Boeing: $85B Competition to Build New ICBMs Favors Northrop Grumman
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Northrop denies Boeing’s request to join ICBM replacement team
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Northrop Grumman has rebuffed a request by Boeing to team up to develop
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, according to the latter company.

The attempt comes months after Boeing
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to compete directly with Northrop on the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program, which is expected to cost about $85 billion over the life of the program.

“In our discussions to date, Northrop Grumman has expressed that they are not interested in partnering with Boeing to form a best-of-industry GBSD team,” Boeing spokesman Todd Blecher said in a statement. “We are increasingly concerned that the Air Force’s deterrence mission and the nation’s security will be deprived of the best solution — a proven approach that leverages both companies’ technical strengths and decades of ICBM experience."

In August 2017, Boeing and Northrop
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to be the final two competitors on the program. But in July 2019, Boeing made the decision to drop out of the program, citing in part its belief that Northrop’s acquisition of solid-fueled rocket motor manufacturer Orbital ATK, now known as Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, gave the competitor an unfair advantage.

In a July letter to the Air Force, the head of Boeing’s Defense, Space and Security division, Leanne Caret, said the current acquisition approach gives Northrop “inherently unfair cost, resource and integration advantages related to [solid rocket motors].”

“As I said in my July 8 letter, we lack confidence in the fairness of any procurement that does not correct this basic imbalance between competitors,” the CEO added.

Caret at the time said it was “not realistic” to expect Boeing and Northrop could develop a competitive, joint bid in the five months before proposals are due, given that both companies have been working on separate proposals for more than two years.

However, that tune seemed to change in recent weeks, with reports emerging that Boeing was hopeful to join onto the project after all. It also comes as external Air Force experts raised concerns that Northrop being the sole bidder on the GBSD could lead to increased costs or delays.

Northrop did not return Defense News’ request for comment by press time.
Thursday at 8:46 AM
Jul 25, 2019
US Air Force restricts KC-46 from carrying cargo and passengers
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"There is no other option at this point," explains Todd Harrison, the director of the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). "The Air Force needs new tankers, and Boeing is the only one making them."
The Air Force and Congress are simply sucking up the latest calamity to befall the KC-46 tanker, with representatives on both sides of Capitol Hill — and the prospective new Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett — expressing support for the beleaguered program.

“There is no other option at this point,” explains Todd Harrison, the director of the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). “The Air Force needs new tankers, and Boeing is the only one making them.”

This is despite the fact that the most recent deficiency discovered by the Air Force — a cargo lock that unlocked itself in mid-air — could endanger the safety of personnel or even cause the plane to crash, as first reported by colleague
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. The incident caused the Air Force to indefinitely ban the plane from carrying any cargo or passengers.

“The rails and locks should be fairly straightforward to fix or replace,” Harrison explained, “but this is an incredibly important safety issue. If cargo comes loose during flight, it can shift the center of gravity of the plane and make it aerodynamically unstable.”

“That’s not good news for Boeing or the Air Force,” he said drily.

UPDATE BEGINS. “The Boeing/USAF team is making good progress to resolve the issue — we are currently pursuing two paths,” the company said in an email statement today. “First, we are working an interim solution to use tie-down straps to secure and carry cargo. This solution is undergoing further analysis and will be shared with the USAF in the coming days. The straps will enable the USAF to resume some cargo operations. Second, we have started testing a robust, longer-term fix to the cargo locking mechanism. We will have the results of this solution shortly and plan to present all options to the USAF early next week. We stand ready to implement any actions as quickly as possible. The safety of the KC-46 aircraft and crew is our top priority.” UPDATE ENDS.

The tanker’s production is already behind schedule, following a spate of problems that caused an interruption in deliveries including
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found littering the plane and issues with the
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built by Rockwell Collins. Boeing’s first delivery came in January, some two years late.

Nonetheless, Barrett endorsed the need for the KC-46 at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) yesterday, in an answer to a question from Sen. Tammy Duckworth about support to the Pacific region.

“The Air Force has been building the KC-46 tankers to do midair refueling so we can extend our reach,” Barrett said. “We need greater reach by our fighters and bombers to be able to access that area.” She added that while there were a goodly number of the tankers in the pipeline, “at the moment we have a great dearth.”

In her written testimony, Barrett noted that the with the current deliver rate of three planes per month, the Air Force will reach its
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However, it is unclear if she was aware of the most recent problem when that testimony was put together.

“The Air Force’s decision to block the KC-46 from carrying cargo and passengers proves the importance of operational tests and evaluations. It is critical that our warfighters are given the time and resources required to vet the operational efficiency of all military assets,” said Monica Matoush, House Armed Services Committee spokesperson, in an email today. “In this case, the aircraft crew executed their mission and found deficiencies. In doing so, the crew’s findings will make the refueling platform safer across the board.”

She added: “The Committee will continue to work with the Air Force to provide proper oversight to assure the safety and security of our service members, while ensuring our military services have the resources they need, when they need them.”

Similarly, Marta Hernandez, communications director for the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in an email yesterday that Chairman James Inhofe “understands the value of the KC-46 and getting it right.” She added that “the Committee will continue to exercise tough oversight over the program as we do with all programs of record.”

The Air Force in July announced it was withholding payments to Boeing due to all the problems and delays. About $360 million has been withheld so far,
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. The initial development contract, a firm-fixed price deal, was worth $4.9 billion. According to Defense News, Boeing has paid some $3.5 billion of its own to fix the various problems.
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Tyrant King
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"The Army is creating a new, lightweight version of its iconic .50-cal machine gun designed to better enable Soldiers to destroy enemies, protect convoys, mount weapons on vehicles, attack targets on the move and transport between missions."

Not much of a surprise, as few other weapons can compare to a .50 cal HMG in terms of versatility and effectiveness. Though one have wonder what kind of design the US Army has now, with 2 rejected earlier designs under their belt.

Can such a feat be achieve ? Of course it is possible, one only needs to look at the Kord or the QJZ-89, both of which Russia and China are perfectly happy with.
@Viktor Jav
There are two major issues with this article.
  1. National Interest. It’s basically a news republishing clearing house that has a bad habit of recycling old stories from years ago like breaking headlines. As such you have to be careful with them.
  2. Scout Warrior. The Scout page is back to Sports. Chris Osborn moved over to Warrior Maven. About a year or so ago. NI doesn’t mention that which may mean this is an old piece. When I went to WM I couldn’t find it. He had a recent article from 2 days ago so he hasn’t stopped writing and this article is supposedly 7 days old however a google search pings this back as April 2016.
The article does mention two of the previous try’s at a new .50BMG the XM312 and XM806. Both had significantly slower rates of fire. I would even say that the XM806 was more or less XM312 repackaged minus the sighting system.
There was a third as well the M85 which was a disappointment to say the least.
Now what happened with this story? They just updated the M2 a little bit. Changed some materials a tweak here and there then added a new Trijicon optical sighting system.
Pompeo blames Iran for drone attacks on Saudi oil field
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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pinned the blame on Iran for
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in a pair of tweets Saturday.
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have disrupted about half of the kingdom's oil capacity, or 5% of the daily global oil supply, CNN Business reported earlier Saturday. Yemen's Houthi rebels took responsibility for the attacks but they are often backed by Iran.
But preliminary indications are that the attacks did not originate from Yemen and likely originated from Iraq, according to a source with knowledge of the incident. The same official said the damage was caused by an armed drone attack.
CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen said there have been more than 200 drone attacks launched by Houthi rebels from Yemen into Saudi Arabia, and none have been as effective as Saturday's attack, lending credence to the belief that the attack did not originate from Yemen.
"Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy," Pompeo
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, referencing Iran's president Hassan Rouhani and foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
"Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen," Pompeo continued, providing no evidence that Iran was behind the attacks.
Saudi Arabia has been leading a
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in Yemen since
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. The conflict is widely seen as a proxy war between the Saudis and Iran, which has been backing the Houthis.
Pompeo also called for other countries to denounce Iran and promised American efforts to help support the energy market.
"We call on all nations to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran's attacks," he
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. "The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression."
According to
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, officials are investigating the possibility that the attacks involved cruise missiles. Also according to the Journal, officials are investigating the possibility that the attacks were launched from southern Iraq and not Yemen.
CNN has independently reached out to the State Department for further information regarding the attack and who was involved.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle weighed in on Pompeo's characterizations of the attack.
"This is such irresponsible simplification and it's how we get into dumb wars of choice," Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut tweeted in response to Pompeo.
"The Saudis and Houthis are at war," he added. "The Saudis attack the Houthis and the Houthis attack back. Iran is backing the Houthis and has been a bad actor, but it's just not as simple as Houthis=Iran."
Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas vowed that "the United States stands with our Saudi partners in confronting Iran's campaign of terror across the Middle East."
"The ayatollahs' desperate efforts to cripple global energy markets will only renew our commitment to maximum pressure, he added in a statement. "The Iranian regime and its proxies ought to face consequences for these attacks."
President Donald Trump called Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman on Saturday to offer his support for the country's self-defense, White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement.
"The United States strongly condemns today's attack on critical energy infrastructure," Deere said. "Violent actions against civilian areas and infrastructure vital to the global economy only deepen conflict and mistrust."
The US government "remains committed to ensuring global oil markets are stable and well supplied," the spokesman said.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry "stands ready to deploy resources from the Strategic Petroleum Oil Reserves if necessary to offset any disruptions to oil markets" as a result of the attack on Saudi oil facilities, Department of Energy spokesperson Shaylyn Hynes said in a statement.
Perry was briefed on the attacks and directed agency leadership "to work with the International Energy Agency on potential available options for collective global action if needed," Hynes added.
A Department of Energy official also noted that the US Strategic Petroleum Oil Reserves "holds 630 million barrels...for exactly this purpose."
Yesterday at 6:12 PM
Thursday at 8:46 AM
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"There is no other option at this point," explains Todd Harrison, the director of the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). "The Air Force needs new tankers, and Boeing is the only one making them."
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Boeing Floats Two-Step Solution for KC-46 Cargo Issue
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Boeing is proposing a two-step solution to address a major new deficiency with its KC-46 tanker, which limits the aircraft’s ability to carry personnel or cargo.

Air Mobility Command
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revealed the deficiency and the restrictions it imposed after multiple incidents in which cargo restraint devices broke open during operational test and evaluation flights. The locks were fully installed and inspected, but still malfunctioned during flight. “No cargo or equipment moved and there was no specific risk to the aircraft or crew,” AMC spokesman Col. Damien Pickart said.

Boeing, in a Sept. 13 statement, said the company and the Air Force team are “making good progress to resolve the issue.”

The company has suggested two paths, one an interim solution and one a long-term fix. For now, the company wants to use tie-down straps to secure the cargo.

“This solution is undergoing further analysis and will be shared with the USAF in the coming days,” the company said. “The straps will enable the USAF to resume some cargo operations.”

Secondly, the company is testing a “robust, longer-term fix” for the malfunctioning lock mechanism. Boeing said it will soon have results of its tests and will present the options to the Air Force early in the week of Sept. 15.

“We stand ready to implement any actions as quickly as possible,” Boeing said. “The safety of the KC-46 aircraft and crew is our top priority.”
I've heard of it before, but only now found (it's dated 19 August 2019 but a month doesn't mean much in that type of stuff)
Averting Crisis: American strategy, military spending and collective defence in the Indo-Pacific
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Executive summary

America no longer enjoys military primacy in the Indo-Pacific and its capacity to uphold a favourable balance of power is increasingly uncertain.

The combined effect of ongoing wars in the Middle East, budget austerity, underinvestment in advanced military capabilities and the scale of America’s liberal order-building agenda has left the US armed forces ill-prepared for great power competition in the Indo-Pacific.
America’s 2018 National Defense Strategy aims to address this crisis of strategic insolvency by tasking the Joint Force to prepare for one great power war, rather than multiple smaller conflicts, and urging the military to prioritise requirements for deterrence vis-à-vis China.
Chinese counter-intervention systems have undermined America’s ability to project power into the Indo-Pacific, raising the risk that China could use limited force to achieve a fait accompli victory before America can respond; and challenging US security guarantees in the process.
For America, denying this kind of aggression places a premium on advanced military assets, enhanced posture arrangements, new operational concepts and other costly changes.
While the Pentagon is trying to focus on these challenges, an outdated superpower mindset in the foreign policy establishment is likely to limit Washington’s ability to scale back other global commitments or make the strategic trade-offs required to succeed in the Indo-Pacific.

Over the next decade, the US defence budget is unlikely to meet the needs of the National Defense Strategy owing to a combination of political, fiscal and internal pressures.

The US defence budget has been subjected to nearly a decade of delayed and unpredictable funding. Repeated failures by Congress to pass regular and sustained budgets has hindered the Pentagon’s ability to effectively allocate resources and plan over the long term.
Growing partisanship and ideological polarisation — within and between both major parties in Congress — will make consensus on federal spending priorities hard to achieve. Lawmakers are likely to continue reaching political compromises over America’s national defence at the expense of its strategic objectives.
America faces growing deficits and rising levels of public debt; and political action to rectify these challenges has so far been sluggish. If current trends persist, a shrinking portion of the federal budget will be available for defence, constraining budget top lines into the future.
Above-inflation growth in key accounts within the defence budget — such as operations and maintenance — will leave the Pentagon with fewer resources to grow the military and acquire new weapons systems. Every year it becomes more expensive to maintain the same sized military.

America has an atrophying force that is not sufficiently ready, equipped or postured for great power competition in the Indo-Pacific — a challenge it is working hard to address.

Twenty years of near-continuous combat and budget instability has eroded the readiness of key elements in the US Air Force, Navy, Army and Marine Corps. Military accidents have risen, aging equipment is being used beyond its lifespan and training has been cut.
Some readiness levels across the Joint Force are improving, but structural challenges remain. Military platforms built in the 1980s are becoming harder and more costly to maintain; while many systems designed for great power conflict were curtailed in the 2000s to make way for the force requirements of Middle Eastern wars — leading to stretched capacity and overuse.
The military is beginning to field and experiment with next-generation capabilities. But the deferment or cancellation of new weapons programs over the last few decades has created a backlog of simultaneous modernisation priorities that will likely outstrip budget capacity.
Many US and allied operating bases in the Indo-Pacific are exposed to possible Chinese missile attack and lack hardened infrastructure. Forward deployed munitions and supplies are not set to wartime requirements and, concerningly, America’s logistics capability has steeply declined.
New operational concepts and novel capabilities are being tested in the Indo-Pacific with an eye towards denying and blunting Chinese aggression. Some services, like the Marine Corps, plan extensive reforms away from counterinsurgency and towards sea control and denial.

A strategy of collective defence is fast becoming necessary as a way of offsetting shortfalls in America’s regional military power and holding the line against rising Chinese strength. To advance this approach, Australia should:

Pursue capability aggregation and collective deterrence with capable regional allies and partners, including the United States and Japan.
Reform US-Australia alliance coordination mechanisms to focus on strengthening regional deterrence objectives.
Rebalance Australian defence resources from the Middle East to the Indo-Pacific.
Establish new, and expand existing, high-end military exercises with allies and partners to develop and demonstrate new operational concepts for Indo-Pacific contingencies.
Acquire robust land-based strike and denial capabilities.
Improve regional posture, infrastructure and networked logistics, including in northern Australia.
Increase stockpiles and create sovereign capabilities in the storage and production of precision munitions, fuel and other materiel necessary for sustained high-end conflict.
Establish an Indo-Pacific Security Workshop to drive US-allied joint operational concept development.
Advance joint experimental research and development projects aimed at improving the cost-capability curve.


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Air Refueling Capable E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Joins U.S. Navy Fleet

A U.S. Navy E-2D Advanced Hawkeye able to be refueled in midair is now with VAW-120, the Carrier Airborne Early Warning community's replacement training squadron. A prototype E-2D with the refueling probe flew first in December 2016. The new capability will bring a huge step forward in capability and endurance.
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Tyrant King
Couple stories of interest.
Raytheon is floating the Peregrine medium range Air to air missile.
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6 feet long 150 lbs. AMRAAM is 12 feet long and 335 lbs. even Aim 9 is about 10 feet long and 188 pounds. So it’s smaller and longer range than Sidewinder?

Boeing SAAB T7A Red Hawk
Named in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen
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Interesting video a US Army AH64E packing an Israeli made SPIKE NLOS.
No word on adoption but clearly some interest.
Speaking of foreign equipment in Army hands Ft. Benning has been hosting the Patria NEMO 120mm mortar system in a AMV.
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kind of real life
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The Navy is rushing to fix its long-broken ship repair and overhaul pipeline as the service prepares itself for "a generational-level of submarine work."
We don’t know who it will be yet but the Navy is creating a new position, deputy assistant secretary for sustainment, to make sure more ships are fitted out and ready to leave port on time after they come in for repairs.

Last year, only 16 percent of the Navy’s workhorse guided missile destroyer fleet managed to get through planned repairs on time. Those slippages have forced combatant commanders to keep tired crews and worn-out ships on patrol for longer periods of time. Those extended deployments on patched-together ships in many ways helped set the conditions that led to accidents like
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that saw the USS John S. McCain and USS Fitzgerald collide with commercial ships, leaving 17 sailors dead.

While Navy officials insist the backlog is improving, the new deputy assistant secretary for sustainment will be tasked with keeping that trend heading in the right direction. Navy acquisition chief James Geurts told reporters in his Pentagon office Friday afternoon he envisions the new office working as the “synchronizer” between the service’s logistics, maintenance, research and development, and sustainment arms, keeping the various offices moving in the same direction.

“Where there are opportunities or things we need to do here at the secretariat level, this will make sure the sustainment functions throughout the Navy and the Marine Corps have an advocate and can help accelerate those,” he said. The idea is to draw the different back-end functions closer together “so we can ensure we’re fully leveraging all the things we’re doing in science and technology and R&D to help sustainment, taking lessons learned from sustainment into new construction so that we don’t have handoff issues there.”

Vice Adm. Tom Moore, head of Naval Sea Systems Command, added that the number of destroyers getting out of their repair availabilities on time has shot up to 40 percent this year, due partially to new contracting methods that have allowed shipyards and industry to plan more efficiently for coming work.

“Six out of the next eight DDGs will be one time so we’re headed in the right direction there,” Moore said, chalking up the better performance to a closer discussion between maintainers, the defense industry, and fleet commanders, along with a push to give industry more lead time to prepare for when ships would come in to dock.

Until recently, shipyards did not know from one ship availability to the next if they would win the contract for repair work, meaning they would wait to hire workers until they received a contract and a ship was ready to pull in.

“What we found was, industry was reluctant to hire so their hiring always lagged behind the work,” Moore said. “The other piece was, the fleet would give us a deployment schedule, and we would then build the maintenance schedules to exactly meet that, and then we would look at the workload of the port and often see that it was completely overloaded.”

The solution to smoothing over these tensions was to have deeper conversations with fleet commanders about schedules and where to do the work, rather than just plugging in data and trying to smooth it out later. This has created a more free-flowing discussion between the operational commanders and the maintainers and logistics arm of the service about what is possible, and what kind of work to do and where.

Thanks in part to the new fixed-price contracts the Navy is awarding, “if you win, you’re going to win availabilities over a 2 to 4 year period head-to-toe, so you can then go and make capital investments, and you can hire,” Moore said.

The moves have given shipyards better visibility over work schedules. Over the past three years, employment at shipyards has risen from 33,800 to 36,100.

The push to turn ships around more quickly isn’t just to keep fleet and combatant commanders happy; it’s a key part in the Navy’s plan to reach its
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in the next several decades. Budget realities being what they are, it’s just not possible for the service to simply build its way to 355. Instead, the admirals have long recognized they’ll have to
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— and do so at a time when shipyard space and capacity are already stretched.

As Geurts pointed out, the service is about to kick off “a generational-level of submarine work,” building new Columbia-class subs and performing major upgrade work on existing Virginia-class boats at the same time. The two programs share a single industrial base, and their
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present a difficult logistical issue for the Navy as, beginning in the early 2020s, plans call for shipbuilders to churn out one Columbia and two to three Virginia subs per year.

Those builds come as the Navy is also building two more Ford-class aircraft carriers, and deciding how it can also begin building a new class of frigates, and a number of large unmanned vessels. There’s a lot of shipbuilding to be done in the coming years, but there’s also work to be completed to ensure that those ships can be equipped and repaired on time, and on budget.
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