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The Last Jedi
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Just saw this at as posted by navyreco aka xav at

Lockheed Martin's Multi-Mission Combatant as shown during Euronaval 2012. Pitched as the export variant of the LCS, it is essentially an LCS design fitted with extra sensors and weapons which turns it into a potent Frigate-like multirole surface combatant. (On this scale model it is fitted with AEGIS, Thales Sonar, MK41 VLS, Oto Melara 76mm, Harpoon anti-ship missiles and Millenium 35mm guns)

Excerpt from FY15 Budget Preview as Delivered by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Pentagon Press Briefing Room, Monday, February 24, 2014:

Regarding the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship, I am concerned that the Navy is relying too heavily on the LCS to achieve its long-term goals for ship numbers. Therefore, no new contract negotiations beyond 32 ships will go forward. With this decision, the LCS line will continue beyond our five-year budget plan with no interruptions.

The LCS was designed to perform certain missions – such as mine sweeping and anti-submarine warfare – in a relatively permissive environment. But we need to closely examine whether the LCS has the protection and firepower to survive against a more advanced military adversary and emerging new technologies, especially in the Asia Pacific. If we were to build out the LCS program to 52 ships, as previously planned, it would represent one-sixth of our future 300-ship Navy. Given continued fiscal constraints, we must direct shipbuilding resources toward platforms that can operate in every region and along the full spectrum of conflict.

Additionally, at my direction, the Navy will submit alternative proposals to procure a capable and lethal small surface combatant, consistent with the capabilities of a frigate. I’ve directed the Navy to consider a completely new design, existing ship designs, and a modified LCS. These proposals are due to me later this year in time to inform next year’s budget submission.

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Jeff send 'em that frigate suggestion of yours... ReallY!!!

asif iqbal

The problem is this

US Navy is defending the purchase the Pentagon Officals are against it mainly the Office of secretary of defence (OSD)

The result could be 26 or 28 built out of the planned 52, but this is only the condition that they pass the evaluation by the Pentagons Office of the Director Operational Test and Evulation (DOT&E)

DOT & E is not convinced simply because they don't believe the LCS has the survivabilty capability because neither the Freedom and Independance Class has completed survivabilty tests usually performed of all US navy warships

Second issue is that LCS cannot provide export duties becuase it has no VLS and Mk41 VLS is too large

This now could lead to a evolution of the LCS into a air defence FFG

Jeff Head

Staff member
Super Moderator
LCS cannot provide export duties becuase it has no VLS and Mk41 VLS is too large

This now could lead to a evolution of the LCS into a air defence FFG
I am certain that the Independence Class LCS has been designed for, but not with (sort of like some of the options onthe UK Type 45s) a 16 cell Mk-41 VLS. The room and the access and routing for wiring is already there...they would just have to install it, wire it, and then have the sensors to use it.

The Freedom Class, as I undewrstand it, can also add one...but it is a larger issue because although they have room, they would have to cut through deck plates and do other work that was not done before hand, to install it. But there is also room in the Freedom Class for them.


Banned Idiot
This discussion is pretty interesting Japanese plans to create their own LCS-like vessels which are temprarily called DEX. Some basics were revealed recently and indeed, ASW and mine sweeping are some of the priorities while their survivability is big problem considering small size and the extent of missions awaiting.

Jeff Head

Staff member
Super Moderator
Just saw this at as posted by navyreco aka xav at

Jeff send 'em that frigate suggestion of yours... ReallY!!!
You mean this one?

I updated it somewhat for the new FFG propsal

This design would be multi-mission and include ASW, AAW, escort duties, and Littoral ASuW warfare. Clearly the Mk-41 VLS could alter its war load for the type of mission, probably always retaining ESM, and some number of ASM and VLASROC, but could be supplemented with more or less SM6s, cruise missiles, or new, VL anti-swarming missiles.

Mine hunting and claring would not be a part and the existing LCS vessels could be tasked for that.

I would design it with growth and emerging technologies in mind...with enough additional electrical for ultimate replacement of the Mk-38s with potentially a single Naval Laser, and ultimately, if they develop it in that caliber, an ultimate 57mm or 76mm railgun forward.
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Tyrant King
US Navy orders 16 more Boeing P-8A Poseidons
The US Navy has awarded a $2.4 billion contract to Boeing for 16 additional P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine patrol aircraft, bringing to 53 the number of the type on order for the service.

Boeing has already delivered 13 P-8As to the USN, which in December 2013 deployed its first Poseidon patrol squadron at Kadena air base in Japan.

The navy intends to purchase 117 P-8As, which are based on Boeing’s Next Generation 737-800, through fiscal year 2019.

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Initial Poseidons have small-area anti-submarine warfare (ASW) systems similar to those carried by earlier versions of the navy’s Lockheed P-3C Orion, which the P-8As are replacing, according to a 2013 programme report from the Department of Defense’s office of operational test and evaluation.
The Poseidon’s radar and other sensors also make it effective in unarmed anti-surface warfare missions, says the report. Those systems allow it to detect and classify surface targets in all types of weather at short- to medium-range, and to detect and classify larger targets at long range.

However, initial P-8As do not have the broad-area ASW acoustic search systems that have since been added as upgrades to P-3Cs, says the report.

In addition, the Poseidon’s non-acoustic search abilities “are also very limited for evasive targets attempting to limit exposure to detection by radar or other sensors,” it adds.

The upgraded systems will be incorporated into future P-8As beginning in 2015.

Still, Poseidon offers a “significant improvement in system reliability, maintainability and availability compared to the legacy P-3C aircraft,” says the report.

The aircraft also has greater speed, payload and range, with a mission radius of 1,250nm (2,315km)
good move
Lockheed/Piasecki Team Tackles Cargo UAV
By Graham Warwick
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

February 24, 2014
Credit: Lockheed Martin SkunkWorks
What was once a Pentagon research program to demonstrate a flying jeep has been given a new name and a new direction. Formerly called Transformer, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's (Darpa) rechristened Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded Systems (ARES) program will now fly a modular, unmanned vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) delivery system.

While a setback for flying-car advocates, it is not unusual for Darpa to stop or rejig a program when the original idea is not working out. In this case, the original idea was to develop a highly automated military vehicle able to fly four people from ship to shore then drive on and off road, taking to the air when necessary to avoid ambushes or roadside bombs.

Under the original Transformer program, a Lockheed Martin/Piasecki Aircraft team was selected over AAI in 2012 to build a prototype fly/drive vehicle. Their winning design combined a manned vehicle with an unmanned ducted-fan flight module that could detach and operate independently.

Darpa reviewed the program early in 2013 and stopped work on the ground-vehicle portion to focus on demonstrating the flight module as a remotely piloted aircraft. “They took a relook at the flying-car concept,” says Kevin Renshaw, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works program manager. “They were not getting a great response [from the services], but they liked the modular VTOL UAV part.”

ARES is seen as a follow-on to the Lockheed/Kaman K-Max unmanned helicopter now being used operationally in Afghanistan to resupply U.S. Marine Corps forward operating bases. Based on the K-Max's success, the Marine Corps has plans for a cargo UAV program of record and the Army and Navy also have shown interest in unmanned resupply.

In January, Lockheed and Piasecki began work under Phase 3 of the ARES program, which will culminate in flight tests of the ducted-fan cargo UAV. First flight is planned for mid-2015, says Renshaw. Piasecki is building the flight module and its rotating machinery; Lockheed is team lead and responsible for the flight-control software.

For the prototype, the team has stayed with the flight module design developed for the Transformer. The tailless air vehicle has a pair of tilting ducted fans attached to a central wing section and outboard wing panels that tilt with the fans and fold against the ducts when stowed. The detachable payload module fits under the center section, between tall landing skids.

The thick center section houses two helicopter turboshafts that drive the fans mechanically via a combined gearbox and cross-shaft. Flight control is provided by the constant-speed, variable-pitch fans and movable vanes in the duct exhausts. A control surface at the trailing edge of the center section provides long-term steady-state pitch trim, says Renshaw.

The original Transformer requirements for a roadable aircraft limited the size of the flight module to 8.5 ft. wide and 30 ft. long when stowed on top of the vehicle in ground mode. The full-size ARES prototype will be the same size, with a span of 42 ft. with the wings unfolded. The ducts are 8.5 ft. in diameter, enclosing 7.5-ft.-dia. fans.

While a cargo UAV seems much less “Darpa hard” than a flying car, Renshaw says, the challenge is in developing the control system, in which the same effectors produce different results in vertical, transition and forward flight. In the hover, the duct vanes provide yaw control; in forward flight they provide pitch and roll.

The ARES fly-by-wire system employs the “dynamic inversion” control-law technique used on the short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing F-35B Joint Strike Fighter to blend vertical and forward flight control. “The pilot commands up, down, left or right and the flight-control system works it out,” he says.

Wind-tunnel tests to collect data on control effectiveness were conducted last October on a 1/3-scale half-span model of the flight module, with tilting duct, electrically driven fan and variable-pitch blades. “We pick up significant lift on the duct from air being pulled through by the fan,” Renshaw says. “We are still tweaking the duct design and will continue to use the model in the wind tunnel to tune the flight controls.”

The ARES prototype will be completed this year for initial ground tests at Piasecki early in 2015. “We will use the flight vehicle as a test stand,” he says. Flight tests on a government range are planned to begin in June/July 2015. For its graduation demo, the vehicle will take off vertically with payload pod attached, fly to another location, land vertically, disconnect the payload and fly back as just the flight module.

Advantages of a ducted-fan configuration over an unmanned helicopter like the K-Max include its compactness, performance and modularity, Renshaw says. The ARES can use smaller landing areas, while the ducts protect the vehicle and personnel. Speed ranges from 130-150 kt. for best fuel efficiency to a maximum of about 200 kt. “It's faster than a conventional helicopter with a sling load, which is the correct comparison,” he says.

An operational vehicle would have a gross weight in the 7,000-lb. class, about half of which would be available as payload. As an alternative to a cargo pod, the vehicle could carry an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance payload, a special-operations dune buggy or even a casualty-evacuation module.

Because it was originally intended for a manned vehicle, the flight module has redundant engines and hydraulics and triplex flight controls. “We do not expect this to be man-rated out of the box,” says Renshaw. “It is a show-me thing. We have to prove it works, it is reliable and it is safe. But we will show the core capability is there.”

AAI's design for the Transformer program was a 7,500-lb. vehicle with an unpowered rotor for VTOL, fold-out wing for cruise and ducted fan for propulsion. A single turboshaft engine powered electric wheel motors on the ground, spun up the rotor for a “jump” takeoff and drove the ducted fan in flight. Although AAI stopped work on the design after losing the Transformer program, its partner Carter Aviation Technologies has continued to flight-test the stopped rotor/compound (SR/C) configuration on which it was based.

Carter is now seeking FAA approval to demonstrate its SR/C prototype to potential customers as it designs a sea-based unmanned variant under Phase 1 of Darpa's Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node (TERN) program to demonstrate a Predator-class medium-altitude long-endurance UAV capable of operating from small ships.

The SR/C is a combination of autogyro and compound helicopter, with a rotor for vertical lift, a wing for forward flight and a propeller for propulsion. The unpowered rotor is slowed in flight to reduce drag and allow higher speed than a conventional helicopter. Although it cannot hover, energy stored in the autorotating high-inertia rotor allows a “zero-roll” landing.

In forward flight, the SR/C offloads almost all lift from the rotor to an efficient sailplane-like wing and slows the windmilling rotor to where its drag is minimal. “We've achieved a lift-to-drag ratio of 15,” says designer Jay Carter, compared with about six for a conventional helicopter So far, Carter's piston-powered prototype has reached a speed of 175 kt., slowed the rotor to 105 rpm and achieved an advance ratio (airspeed divided by tip speed) of 1.13.

Carter has asked the FAA to change the prototype's certification, to demonstration from research and development, so it can tour the U.S. this year, including visiting military bases, in a bid to drum up interest in the SR/C concept. “If we can raise the money, we plan to perform a shipboard recovery demonstration for Darpa,” Carter says, in support of the TERN program.

Under a previous Darpa program tied to Transformer, Aurora demonstrated an electrically driven ducted lift fan. The fan was driven by a ring motor and, rather than vary blade pitch as in the ARES, the design modulated thrust by controlling fan speed. Sikorsky's unmanned rotor-blown wing concept for VTOL X-plane is a tailsitter with dual prop-rotors, but Boeing's design has embedded ducted rotors and tilting ducted fans.

Lockheed Martin, meanwhile, is doing its own studies of where demonstration of the ARES modular VTOL delivery system could lead. “None of the services have invested yet; they want to see the demo. But everyone understands the modular idea,” says Renshaw. “We are talking to the Marine Corps, Army and special-operations forces. The next big step for Darpa and industry is to identify a transition partner.”
It makes more sense then a Flying Jeep.
Lockheed Secretly Demonstrates New Stealthy Fighter Comms
By Amy Butler [email protected]
Source: AWIN First

February 25, 2014
Credit: USAF
Lockheed Martin has demonstrated a secretly developed capability to fix one of the shortfalls of its stealthy F-22 and F-35 fighters: their inability to link to one another, or to legacy fighters, for air campaigns.

The company recently showcased a new datalink capability for the fighters through Project Missouri, a proprietary program. During the demonstration, Lockheed validated the use of a Link 16 transmit capability from the twin-engine F-22 Raptor as well as showcased a waveform developed by L-3 Communications and optimized for low-probability-of-intercept/low-probability-of-detection transmissions (LPI/LPD), says Ron Bessire, vice president of technology and innovation at the company’s Skunk Works.

The demonstration required 8 hr. of flight time and took place Dec. 17 and 19, Bessire tells Aviation Week. The trials required the use of an Air Force Raptor as well as the F-35 Cooperative Avionics Testbed (CATbird), a 737-based flying laboratory that is used to test F-35 software standing in as a Joint Strike Fighter surrogate. The F-22 was able to transmit to a Link 16 terminal on the ground.

The F-22 was designed to communicate only with other Raptors in an effort to reduce emissions from the aircraft to maintain signal stealth in the event of a peer-to-peer engagement. However, because of a dramatic cutback in the number of Raptors purchased — 187 operational — the aircraft must now communicate with F-35s expected to enter service next year as well as legacy “fourth-generation” fighters such as the F-15, F-16 and F-18 families.

This so-called fourth-to-fifth capability was highlighted as a need last week by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh at the annual Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., but a firm requirement and funding are lacking. Describing the technology as “nothing cosmic,” Welsh said such a link would extend the range and improve the effectiveness of each platform; ultimately what is needed is handoff of weapons-quality data, meaning data from one aircraft can be used by another to accurately fire a weapon.

“We demonstrated the data was being transmitted at a high rate, [enough] to support rapid update of the air tracks to whomever was on Link 16,” Bessire says.

Should such a capability be fielded, the F-22 could be used to enhance the effectiveness of F-15s and F-16s in an air battle though most of the older fighters lack the use of an active, electronically scanned array radar. The F-22’s Northrop Grumman radar is able to detect airborne threats at ranges far exceeding those of radars on the older fighters.

Bessire said the “LPI/LPD waveform still needs some additional maturation,” but he declined to discuss whether it is in use in another platform. Such a waveform would be useful for the B-2, new unmanned aircraft such as the Northrop Grumman RQ-180 and any system hoping to reduce radio frequency emissions to conduct stealthy operations. Equipment and the optics for the waveform are at a technology readiness level of 9, he said, indicating more work needs to be done before it can be proven in a relevant environment and garner full programmatic status at the Pentagon. The F-22 is, however, able to use its existing apertures to operate the waveform, he said.

Installation of a so-called “open system architecture” (OSA) rack and the radio took place within a year of starting the effort to add Link 16 to the Raptor, Bessire said. The OSA racks can also can enable other operations, such as distributed electronic attack, though this was not demonstrated. “What we learned out of this demonstration is that there is tremendous power in the Air Force open mission architecture standard,” Bessire says. The equipment was installed in the F-22’s avionics bay.

Through Project Missouri, Lockheed is trying to package a capability similar to that offered by the Northrop Grumman Joint Strike Fighter Enterprise Terminal (JETpack) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration within a stealthy aircraft. JETpack was a podded solution; incorporating it on the stealthy F-22 and F-35 would compromise their low radar cross section.

Lockheed is briefing the results of the demonstration to Air Force leadership and is hoping to see an official requirement for such a capability. Suppliers, such as L-3, shared in the cost of the demonstration. But the team is hoping for a sign from the Air Force to continue work. If funding weren’t an issue, the Link 16 system could be fielded by the end of this year, Bessire says. “One of the goals of the demonstration was to create a reusable design whether that was software or hardware,” he says.

Company officials are eager to get Air Force reaction. The program was dubbed “Project Missouri” as a response to a demand from Air Combat Command chief Gen. Michael Hostage. He told the company to “show me” it was possible when Lockheed briefed plans for the demonstration to him before it took place. This, Bessire notes, is the motto of Missouri, the “show-me” state.
Always a good thing.
Additionally there is word that Bell is testing to See if Osprey can haul F135 Turbofans for the F35, If so that would be a double boon One step closer to possibly replacing Grumman C-2 Greyhound and would bring new capabilities for the Marines on LHA and LHD types.

Jeff Head

Staff member
Super Moderator
Re: Russia war games over Ukraine prompt US warning

Hi I am not sure if this the right thread to put this news in

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I wonder what will the US response would be if Russia really decide to intervene militarily, will it be Georgia all over again when the US just sits and did nothing?, Or will the US decide to defend Ukraine and confront Russia?
with the era of budget cuts and the current US administration, I think the answer is the former.
Thank youm Bajingan.

We have a thread all about the 2014 Ukrainian Maidan Situation, in the Member's Club Room.

That is where your post and that discussion belongs.

I will move that post and the responses and discussion regarding the Ukraine situation to that thread


Tyrant King
Lockheed Martin starts campaign to save U-2S fleet
With the US Air Force's U-2S fleet facing a threatened early retirement in the Department of Defense's fiscal year 2015 budget request, a previously reticent Lockheed Martin has finally gone on the defensive to save one of its landmark programmes from replacement by the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Block 30 Global Hawk.

Melani Austin, Lockheed’s U-2 programme director, says the U-2S is the only high-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft that can perform the mission based on the USAF’s requirements. That sweeping statement appears to set the U-2S apart not only from the Global Hawk, but also from a classified ISR system disclosed in testimony last year by air force officials before Congress.

Speaking to Flightglobal at the company's Skunk Works unit in Palmdale, California, Austin acknowledged that the company’s campaign to save the U-2S may be hampered slightly by the programme’s legendary status.

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Lockheed Martin

Although the fleet is often confused, the 32 active U-2S "Senior Year" aircraft and TU-2S trainers operated by the USAF today bear little resemblance to the original reconnaissance fleet delivered to the US Central Intelligence Agency in the late 1950s.

Some 40% larger, all members of the current U-2 fleet were delivered between 1982 and 1989, and were subsequently upgraded with a new engine: the General Electric F118-101.

The USAF has spent more than $1.7 billion on U-2S upgrades since 1993, including a recent programme that reduced the cabin pressure altitude from 27,000ft (8,230m) to 14,900ft.

Austin also reveals that up to 10 aircraft in the U-2S fleet were upgraded in 2013 with a new communications gateway payload developed by L-3 Communications. Such a payload allows the type to operate as a flying network administrator, connecting otherwise incompatible radio waveforms.

Whether Lockheed’s now public support will make a difference for the U-2S fleet is difficult to tell. The Global Hawk is an active production line, with the US Navy's MQ-4C Triton following behind. Saving the manned type from retirement will not create more assembly line jobs, Austin acknowledges.
So LockMart wants to save the Dragonlady
James: USAF expects long-range bomber RFP in fall
Feb. 26, 2014 - 07:45PM |

By Aaron Mehta
Staff writer Military times

The Air Force intends to issue a request for proposal (RFP) on its new long-range strike bomber this fall, according to the service’s top civilian official.

“We expect that there will be a full RFP, a final RFP and a competition probably in the fall timeframe,” Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said at a Feb. 26 event, hosted by Bloomberg.

James also told the audience that there are “two teams at present who are working on pre-proposal types of activities, preparing to take the next step in competition on the long-range strike bomber.”

While not identifying the two teams, it has been widely assumed for months that the two competitors for the program are Northrop Grumman and the team of Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

The news came as something of a surprise, as the bomber program has been shrouded in mystery. James also promised more details would come out during next week’s budget rollout.

What is known about the bomber is fairly limited. It has been identified as one of the three key modernization priorities the service is prioritizing, to the point that acting deputy defense secretary Christine Fox told an audience Feb. 26 that “[W]e actually took out more Air Force structure than we would like to protect the new long-range bomber.”

The Air Force intends to start fielding the platforms in the mid-2020s, with penetrating capability in mind. The service will procure between 80 and 100 of the bombers, which will mostly be made with existing technologies. Those platforms will also have both stand-off and direct-attack munitions and room for what Lt. Gen. Burton Field, deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements, has called a “significant” payload.

Service officials have cited a cost figure of $550 million per plane as the ceiling for the program, but even that figure has some mystery to it. Outside observers have noted that the figure does not include research and development costs, which could drive up that amount.

Gen. Larry Spencer, the vice chief of staff for the service, described setting that price point as a way to keep requirements from skyrocketing during development.

“What has happened in the past when wave developed new platforms, what’s happened over time, is the price just starts to skyrocket as people just want to put more and more stuff on it,” Spencer said. “As technology changes, people want more and more capability.”

“We want to get 80 to 100 of these, and the only way to do that is to keep the price down,” he added. “So we have had to turn back the temptation to put more stuff on this bomber.”

Gen Mark Welsh, Air Force Chief of Staff, defended the secrecy around the program during a Feb. 21 media event.

Asked if he could reveal details on the person managing the bomber program, Welsh responded “I don’t know that we need to talk about that right now.”

“This is not something we have to get into right now because we want the program to keep moving and not have the dictations that many other programs have as they get closer to fielding,” the chief said. “It’s fair then, but right now lets just get it on track and keep it on track.”

“I don’t think there’s a lot of information hats being kept deeply secret,” Welsh continued. “I don’t think we know this yet. We’re in ranges, we’re working details, and the program office is working real hard with industry and the people who give us oversight. There are people who are watching this very closely. There’s nothing that’s happening by accident in the bomber program.”

Staff writer Marcus Weisgerber contributed to this report.
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Junior Member
I have a question for anyone! Why doesn't the USN operate any nuclear powered warships other than submarines or aircraft carriers, similar to Russian Kirov- class?

Jeff Head

Staff member
Super Moderator
I have a question for anyone! Why doesn't the USN operate any nuclear powered warships other than submarines or aircraft carriers, similar to Russian Kirov- class?
In the past, the US operated numerous nuclear powered surface vessels. Most were decommissioned in the 1990s and the US went with the standard Arleigh Burke DDG design which has proven very effective.

Here is an entire thread on SD about the US nuclear powered surface ships:

US Navy nuclear powered surface combatants

Take a look. It is an interesting read.
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