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Wilson: End of Sequestration, Increased Defense Spending Coming Soon
The tide is turning in favor of increased defense spending and ending sequestration, the chairman of the House Armed Services readiness subcommittee told attendees at an American Enterprise Institute forum on Thursday.

Rep. Joe Wilson, (R-S.C.), said at the Washington, D.C., think tank the combined leadership of the chairmen of the two armed services committee, Defense Secretary James Mattis and President Donald Trump will succeed in raising Pentagon spending to $640 billion in Fiscal Year 2018.

The president, “has the commitment to the promises he made” during the campaign, and increased defense spending was one of his priorities. “The downward slide will be reversed.” Wilson cited the “existential” threat posed by Russia with its modernized forces, its seizure of Crimea and meddling in Ukraine and China’s “developing bases on what had been rock formations” as key reasons to raise the defense budget.

Sequestration “was intended to be catastrophic” and wasn’t intended to be enacted, Wilson said. But the cuts were put in place under the Budget Control Act of 2011.

“Just the word ‘sequestration’ has been so confusing to the public,” who want to see overall government spending come down. Wilson said many “did not know that 50 percent [of the cuts] came from one department, defense.”

Wilson said having newer members of Congress with military experience helps in explaining the need for more defense spending and the impact budget caps has on national security to other members and the public.

“Hope springs eternal; we are not going to give up” in ending sequestration.

To pay for the rise in defense spending, Wilson said there needs to be entitlement reform. He said he also favors a balanced budget requirement for the federal government, as many states have in their constitutions.

Wilson said it was important for Vice President Mike Pence to say “Article 5 means Article 5” in the NATO alliance, referring to a section of the treaty that an attack on one is an attack on all. He said the European Reassurance Initiative, which includes sending more American armored forces to the continent, is a “really clear demonstration of peace through strength.”

At the same time, Wilson, who was at the recent European security meeting in Munich, said the allies need to understand that spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense was in their own best interest. “It’s amazing to me that Greece has made it [to the 2 percent threshold], but Germany has not.”

Five of the 28 NATO members spend two percent or more of GDP on national security. Wilson said he was encouraged by Sweden and Finland — who are not members of the alliance — have stepped up their defense spending.
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Lieutenant General
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Wow !

Installation of Abrams Reactive Armor Tiles (ARAT) on M1A2 SEP V2 tank
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Tank Urban Survival Kits TUSK
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U.S. Soldiers install reactive armor tiles on its Abrams tanks
U.S. Soldiers installed Abram reactive armor tiles at the 7th Army Training Command’s Grafenwoehr Training Area, here, Feb. 28.

The installation of the Abram reactive armor tiles will enhance the tank’s defensive capabilities, providing a greater deterrent against aggression as the unit maintains a persistent presence in central and eastern Europe.

The Soldiers, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, are part of a continuous rotations of armored brigades deploying to Europe from the United States as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

Since April 2014, Army Europe has led land forces efforts on behalf of the U.S. military, by conducting continuous, enhanced multinational training and security cooperation activities with allies and partners in eastern Europe.

These multinational training and security cooperation activities are taking place in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary. These training events improve interoperability, strengthen relationships and trust among allied armies, contribute to regional stability, and demonstrate U.S. commitment to NATO.

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First C-130J Super Hercules of U.S. Air Force is heading Yokota’s way

The first of 14 Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules transports that will be assigned to the U.S. Air Force installation at Yokota Air Base, Japan, departed the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics facility on Feb. 24, 2017. This marks the first U.S. Air Force combat delivery C-130J-30 to be permanently assigned to the Pacific region.

The C-130J-30s will be flown by 36th Airlift Squadron crews at Yokota, and the new aircraft will recapitalize the unit’s existing C-130H fleet. The C-130Js will be used to support critical peacekeeping and contingency operations in the Western Pacific region, including cargo delivery, troop transport, airdrop and aeromedical missions. The 36th AS – known as the “Eagle Airlifters” – is one of several flying squadrons under the 374th Airlift Wing.

“It is an honor for Lockheed Martin to deliver this milestone C-130J to the Airmen who fly, support and maintain the 374th Airlift Wing’s Hercules fleet,” said George Shultz, vice president and general manager, Air Mobility & Maritime Missions at Lockheed Martin. “The 374th has a long, distinguished history with the C-130 and its C-130J fleet will continue — and expand — the wing’s unmatched and vital airlift capabilities.”

The C-130J Super Hercules is the current combat delivery C-130 production variant, offering superior performance and new capabilities, with the range and flexibility for every theater of operations and evolving requirements. The U.S. Air Force operates the largest C-130J fleet in the world and its C-130 crews have been large contributors to the global Super Hercules fleet’s more than 1.5 million flight hours.

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oh really?
Loose lips sink ships: Adm. Richardson asks Navy to dial back discussion of capabilities
As the U.S. military’s technological competitive advantage begins to shrink next to its competitors like China and Russia, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson is asking the Navy to dial back its discussions of the Navy’s warfighting capabilities, according to a memo published by
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"I need your help to ensure we are not giving away our competitive edge by sharing too much information publicly,” Richardson said. “When it comes to specific operational capabilities however, very often less is more.”

The memo goes on to advise service members to “scrutinize information,” and to avoid events focused on marketing that do not make an “intellectual contribution to warfighting.”

“Sharing information about future operations and capabilities, even at the unclassified level, makes it easier for potential adversaries to gain an advantage,” Richardson said.

Adm. Richardson further clarifies that he is not asking members of the Navy to avoid discussions with the public or the media. “Telling the Navy’s story is important to maintain public trust and confidence,” he said.
source is NavyTimes
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The U.S. Army Is About to More Than Double the Range of Its Howitzers

The U.S. Army is closing in on its goal of doubling the shooting distance of its 155-millimeter howitzers, giving it the ability to out-range new Russian artillery systems. It's all part of an effort to refocus the Army away from low-intensity Afghanistan-type conflicts back to fighting a well- funded, highly trained, high-tech "near-competitor" foe. Like Russia.

The M777 howitzer equips most U.S. Army light and medium weight combat brigades, including light infantry, mountain, airborne, air assault, and Stryker brigades. The M777 is a towed weapon, hitched to a truck and driven to a firing position.

This howitzer entered service in 2005 and has seen service in both Iraq and Afghanistan, providing artillery support for ground troops. The M777 has an effective range of 14.9 miles firing regular artillery shells and 18.6 miles firing rocket-assisted shells. That's about average for modern howitzers—or it was until the Russian 2S35, or Koalitsiya-SV, howitzer came along.

The Koalitsiya-SV is Russia's latest self-propelled howitzer. Koalitsiya-SV consists of a 152-millimeter howizter encased in a turret and fitted to a tank-like tracked chassis. It has a maximum firing range of 70 kilometers (43 miles). Early versions of the howitzer actually had two guns, one mounted on top of the other, doubling the vehicle's firepower

The threat of being out-sticked by Russian artillery and forced to operate within their range is not appealing to American artillerymen. As a result, the Army is developing the M777ER, or Extended Range, which should be able to shoot beyond 70 kilometers. Tests conducted late last year at the U.S. Army's
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research and development facility have led officials to believe they're on the right track.

The upgrades add another 94 inches to the length of the M777's barrel, increasing projectile velocity and, as a result, range. The other two main ingredients leading to a longer range are the
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, which uses a rocket motor to power the shell at the expense of explosive payload, and the XM654 supercharge. Other improvements include an autoloader and a new fire control system.

The improvements are calculated to add no more than 1,000 pounds to the M777. Picatinny Arsenal is paying careful attention to weight changes, as the longer barrel already looks like it will tip the howitzer over (even though Army officials say it won't). That much extra steel does change the howitzer's center of gravity, though, and the Army has to be mindful of exactly how much.

The Army also has to keep track of the amount of powder, and force, the howitzer uses. The forces involved in containing a small explosion in a large steel tube exert a tremendous amount of heat and pressure, contributing to barrel fatigue. The power unleashed in shooting a 155-millimeter howitzer shell is a new frontier. The new howitzer may have a shorter barrel life than its predecessors. A worn-out barrel may lead to less accuracy and even present a safety hazard to friendly troops on both ends.

Tests of the M777ER package will continue through 2018. If successful, the new barrel and technologies will be extended to the Paladin self-propelled howitzers equipping the Army's heavy brigade combat teams. The Army-wide upgrades will add much more capability to existing systems at a fraction of the cost of buying new ones.

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now I read A US-Based Army Can’t Get to the Fight Fast Enough
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We need to rebuild our forward-based troop strength, get serious about strategic lift, and more.

The global security environment has changed since it was decided in the mid-2000s to base the U.S. Army primarily in the continental United States. It is no longer clear that the U.S. has the ability to deploy sufficient land power quickly enough to prevail against emerging threats. This shortcoming undermines conventional deterrence — and may help explain the increasingly aggressive actions of Russia in Europe since 2008.

If the U.S. doesn’t have sufficient forward-deployed land forces – and for many scenarios, it doesn’t – it needs to be able to get them there, and quickly. But it can’t, at least not in large numbers, because the military lacks the strategic airlift and sealift that would carry Army forces from their stateside bases to the world’s hot spots.

With an increasingly dangerous world and unpredictable global challenges, this major capability gap poses a serious risk to our nation, our allies, and our coalition partners. It demands urgent attention.

Danger of Looking Weak
A smaller forward-deployed force posture increases the possibility that a potential adversary may misread our military capabilities and underestimate our national resolve. A prime example is recent comments by the Russian ambassador to the United Kingdom, who called for dismantling NATO and the European Union. He also
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that Russia now can fight and win a conventional war in Europe.

Even a fully resourced and trained force has limited deterrent value if an adversary believes it can achieve its strategic objective before U.S. land forces arrive. This is why Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of U.S. Army Europe, stresses “speed of assembly” as critical to deterrence in Europe.

Prepositioning equipment, such as an armored brigade’s worth of tanks and other heavy combat equipment, can shorten crisis response times, and regular rotations of combat forces into Europe for exercises with allies can provide visible evidence of commitment and the ability to quickly mobilize. That still might not be enough.

Today, the U.S. Army in Europe consists of only two brigade combat teams and a total of 30,000 soldiers, and depends on rotational forces from the U.S. to provide even a modest level of reassurance and deterrence. Add in the U.S. military’s heavy focus on counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations over the past 15 years, and we have a U.S. land force in Europe optimized more for a low-tech irregular threat than for a recently modernized military like that of Russia.

As for our ability to move our forces into position around the world, the news is getting worse, not better. Most of the Defense Department’s surge capability that made the 1991 Desert Storm troop movement so effective will retire by 2030. Aging ships, planes, railcars, and infrastructure — chronically underfunded for the past decade – further degrade our power-projection capabilities.

This will affect not only deployment of our high-profile Brigade Combat Teams, which account for only 20 percent of the Army’s initial sealift requirements, but also the flow of critical enabling forces and initial sustainment stocks upon which the joint force depends. These kinds of strategic mobility issues don’t garner the attention of high-visibility programs such as the F-35 fighter or Ohio-class nuclear submarines or even a new pistol. But they are vitally important, and their resolution is overdue.

A clear-eyed assessment of our current situation leads to several conclusions:

  • U.S. force posture requires a relook. The Army’s increasingly U.S.-based posture is misaligned with challenges in strategic mobility and deployability, not only for Brigade Combat Teams, but for the theater support capabilities that consume 80 percent of our strategic sealift capacity.
  • The security environment in Europe, its value as a stationing location for potential contingencies in the Middle East, and deployment timelines argue for a return to permanent stationing of an Armored Brigade Combat Team in Europe and the conversion of a headquarters to oversee the rotational deployment of a combat aviation brigade.
  • Investments in strategic mobility should not be viewed as transportation to move Army equipment, but rather as investments that extend joint capability and national influence.
  • Rapid access to a trained and ready Reserve Component is essential. Enough investment must be put into the readiness of those forces to make them viable for rotations and even the early stages of a crisis response.
Here’s what ought to happen next:

  • The House and Senate armed service committees should convene immediate closed hearings to ask defense leaders whether they can execute their current war plans today and into the future, given current and projected threats and our limitations in strategic deployment platforms.
  • The Defense Department should work promptly within the new administration to revise strategic and budgetary guidance so the services can adjust their structure, readiness, and modernization plans accordingly.
  • The defense secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff should report to Congress within 12 months on a strategic mobility sufficiency analysis and associated risk mitigation plan from 2020 through 2040.
  • The U.S. Army should reinvigorate its power projection program to increase its capability to rapidly project decisive land power in support of combatant commander requirements.
Working with Congress, the Defense Department can use this difficult situation to better posture our military to be capable of rapidly projecting and sustaining decisive land power in support of the Joint Force and its allies. A forthcoming Institute of Land Warfare Special Report published by the Association of the U.S. Army will help frame this issue with additional detail and analysis and will be the subject of discussion at several AUSA forums in 2017.

But resources are limited, and there is no consensus on the most critical priority actions. Any prescribed remedies will be painful to implement. The only outcome more painful would be to ignore them.


Tyrant King
Next-gen tanker must be survivable, not stealthy

  • 02 MARCH, 2017

The US Air Force’s KC-Z tanker may not be stealthy, but should be persistent and able to change its waveform signature management, according to the service’s head of air mobility command.

Gen Carlton Everhart clarified earlier comments he made last September, when he told reporters the USAF was considering whether the next-generation tanker should include standoff, stealth or penetrating capabilities.

During a 2 March interview at the Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida, Everhart told reporters the tanker must maintain persistence and survivabililty as it flies close to other USAF aircraft. He clarified that the tanker may not be stealthy, but should fend off enemy aircraft by manipulating radar signatures.

“I don’t consider it stealth, I consider it waveform management,” Everhart says. “How do we protect that signature, that’s what we talk about.”

Whether that waveform management entails a serpentine shape would depend upon the results of a tanker capabilities-based assessment study which will conclude this summer, he adds.

Industry may be ahead of the air force with potential designs and on the floor at AWS, several vendors showed off a lifting wing body design. Those shapes often indicate a stealthy signature, but could also provide up to 70% more efficiency over a tube and wing design, Everhart says. Combined with USAF and NASA engine research, which could increase an aircraft’s efficiency by 30%, a lifting body design could increase efficiency by 100%, he adds.

If KC-Z becomes a material solution, the USAF could leverage the lifting body design as a common platform for other missions, from cargo mobility platform to moving distinguished visitors.

“That persistence can also translate into spin-off technologies that can also go into our mobility weapons systems,” Everhart says. “We’re also teaming up with research labs and other folks to look at the high value aircraft assets that we have.”
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Northrop Submits G550 Bizjet Proposal For J-Stars Recap
Mar 2, 2017
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| Aerospace Daily & Defense Report
  • joint-stars-recap-northropgrumman.jpg

    Northop Grumman

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    has settled on a Gulfstream G550 business jet proposal for the U.S. Air Force’s J-Stars recap competition, and submitted its bid to the service March 2.

    Northrop, along with its partners Gulfstream and L3 Technologies, is the first of three potential teams to publicly acknowledge that it has submitted its bid for the J-Stars recap. Proposals were due to the Air Force March 2.
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    is working with
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    on a proposal based on the Canadian company’s Global 6000 business jet; meanwhile,
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    is offering a modified version of its
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    commercial airliner.

    Northrop had been considering basing its J-Stars bid on the G650, a slightly bigger airframe, but decided the G550 was the “right-sized” platform for the program due to its performance and maturity, Northrop J-Stars lead Alan Metzger told Aviation Week March 2.

    “We believe the G550 is the best-performing aircraft with the best balance of cost schedule and risk to go with that,” Metzger said.

    The launch of the $6.9 billion competition for 17 J-Stars aircraft has been a long time coming. The industry solicitation was held up due to statutory language that would have compelled the Air Force to pursue a fixed-price contract; the service finally issued the request for proposals in December after the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer waived the language. Meanwhile, the competitors have been working to mature their proposals under risk reduction contracts for several years now.

    The Air Force is planning initial operating capability (IOC) for J-Stars in 2024, but Northrop can accelerate that schedule by “several to many months,” Metzger said.

    Northrop settled on a business jet rather than an airliner because a smaller airframe allows operations in more locations around the world, while at the same time affording substantially less fuel burn than other platforms and subsequently lower life cycle cost, Metzger said.

    “It has very low fuel consumption, it flies very high, and higher altitude equates to seeing more things on the ground,” Metzger said. “If you see more things on the ground, the more information can be passed to our warfighters.”

    Northrop, which builds the existing E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (J-Stars), submitted two proposals to the Air Force for J-Stars: one using the company’s long-range, wide-area surveillance radar, and another using
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    ’s competing system, according to Metzger. The other teams also may take advantage of the Air Force’s decision to allow the competitors to submit two proposals with different radar options.

    A modern active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar is key to the next-generation J-Stars effort. The legacy E-8C J-Stars, identified by a long, canoe-shaped space under the forward fuselage that houses a 24-ft. radar, tracks movement in the battle space and relays tactical pictures to ground and air theater commanders. The use of a modern AESA radar will allow the new J-Stars to fulfill its mission

    Northrop is confident it has what it takes to win the J-Stars competition based on its experience with the legacy platform and the maturity of its platform, Metzger said.

    “The main thing is our maturity. If you think about what we’ve done over the last 30 years we basically have eliminated, I’d wager to guess, all of the unknown unknowns, we have built expertise in this core mission area, we have been on every deployment with our customers... so we understand the mission,” Metzger said. “When you take the domain expertise and you combine it with mature components that you are using to build this new weapon system, that allows you to focus your time and energy on integration, and with unknowns unknowns gone we believe we have a better handle on the known knowns of what’s in front of us.”
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Tyrant King
Northrop changes JSTARS leadership after grounding aircraft
  • 03 MARCH, 2017

Northrop Grumman changed leadership at its JSTARS sustainment facility after the US Air Force grounded almost a quarter of the E-8C fleet for inspection.

Last September, the USAF initiated an investigation for safety of flight issues on four of the 17 JSTARS delivered from depot maintenance at Northrop’s sustainment facility in Lake Charles, Georgia. Northrop has since assigned new executive leadership and implemented operational improvements at Lake Charles, according to a Northrop spokesman.

The USAF’s investigation found some quality escapes and safety issues related to bolts improperly installed on the aircraft, Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, commander of Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, told reporters 2 March at the annual Air Warfare Symposium. The air force found the bolts that needed to be corrected and Northrop retrained its workforce, she says.

“We did circle back and look at a few more of the fleet just to make sure the things we saw were not present elsewhere,” Pawlikowski says. “We have increased the amount of review before we accept another aircraft from the depot, as they’re coming out we have put a number of additional reviews and inspections.”

The USAF also modified the incentive structure on Northrop’s current JSTARS sustainment contract to focus on quality rather than speed, she adds. Part of the quality escapes on the JSTARS sustainment evolved out of the USAF’s changing strategy on the fleet’s recapitalisation. When the USAF planned to retire five jets from the E-8C in 2011, Northrop responded by scaling down its full-time depot workforce and hiring contract workers. But Congress thwarted those plans and the service continued flying the modified 707s. Demand for repairs on the legacy fleet increased over the years, causing a backlog at the depot.

“We went to a degree with that platform of having oversight, checkers checking checkers, then the program office doing oversight” Pawlikowski says. “As we backed off on some of that...we went from too many checkers to not enough people checking.”

Pawlikowski expected Northrop to respond to the USAF’s demand signal, but also notes the company has the ability to flex its workforce based on the need for depot maintenance.

“I don’t want to point the finger,” she says. “We made the decision to downsize and then go up.”
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AW139 bid for Huey replacement kicks off with a glitch

  • 02 MARCH, 2017

Boeing and Leonardo’s joint bid for the US Air Force’s UH-1N Huey helicopter recapitalisation did not take off last week after a system aboard the AW139 failed.

Though an impending thunderstorm had threatened to cancel the 25 February media flight, reporters were waiting on the ground next to the helicopter after one of its modular avionics units malfunctioned. The two MAUs aboard the AW139 communicate with each other but also run independent responsibilities such as monitoring the aircraft’s engines. Before the media flight, one MAU gave the pilot a “miscompare,” says Andrew Gappy, director of US Navy programmes at Leonardo.

“I’m not sure what the miscompare was, it was enough to set off a warning light that we were getting a miscompare,” he says. “Part of what you didn’t get to see was that 90% of the avionics are right under the nose, so they were able to pretty quickly open up the nose, do some troubleshooting and say it’s one of the carts inside the MAU that’s failed.”

The pilot could have flown the helicopter, but Boeing decided against the risk. Boeing and Leonardo could have fixed the aircraft on the spot, if they had the part, Gappy says.

“It’s not even very difficult to replace, it’s just not one that’s very common that you would carry it with you,” he says. “It’s not a failure you see very often.”

Despite its aborted media flight, Boeing maintains it could deliver the militarised MH-139 straight off its AW139 production line in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Almost 900 AW139s operate around the world and 250 have been assembled and delivered from Philadelphia. Boeing also emphasised its “made in America” tagline, although the company is pairing with an Italian partner.

Boeing will serve as the prime contractor providing the parts, military modifications and logistics support for the AW139. Leonardo will support spares, technology hubs and interim contract support on the flight line, says Rick Lemaster, director of sales and marketing for vertical lift at Boeing.

The team is providing a roomier helicopter for the USAF’s Huey mission, with transmissions contained in the top deck to allow a cleaner cabin space and elevated rotor. The lowest tip of the MH-139’s tail rotor is more than 2.13m (7ft) above the ground, providing safer movement around the aircraft for operators, Gappy says.

While the air force has delayed its final request for proposal for the Huey replacement, Boeing and Leonardo predict their basic MH-139 will meet all of the service’s requirements. The Huey accomplishes a distinguished visitor airlift mission and protects the nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile bases in Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota. Although the VIP mission dominates much of the Huey fleet, Boeing sees the ICBM missile field mission as the RFP’s prime motivator.
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