US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.

since I read
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at Camp Pendleton will get to field-test more than 50 different
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next month ranging from palmtop mini-drones to self-driving
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, from wireless networks to precision-guided mortar shells. Plus there will be plenty of classified systems the Marines can’t talk about, including
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gear. Technologies that do well may graduate to a more formal Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL) or to further testing in the Marines’ big
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wargame on the East Coast this fall, Col. Dan Sullivan, chief of staff at the
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here, told reporters today.

(The name of April’s exercise, in classically military fashion, is — deep breath — the Ship To Shore Maneuver Exploration and Experimentation Advanced Naval Technology Exercise 2017, or S2ME2 ANTX).

That’s a lightning pace for the Pentagon. It normally takes 18 to 24 months to set up a technology demonstration on this scale, and this one is happening in nine, said Aileen Sansone, an official with the Navy’s Rapid Prototyping, Experimentation, & Demonstration (RPED) office. The project launched last summer, when Col. Sullivan’s boss, Lt. Gen.
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— in charge of future warfare concepts — reached out to deputy assistant secretary
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— in charge of R&D, testing, and evaluation.

It was only in October that the project team put out its special notice inviting industry proposals. Well over 100 operators and engineers from different Navy and Marine Corps organizations evaluated the 124 (unclassified) submissions and whittle them down to 50 that would ready for the field by April, said Navy Capt. Chris Mercer, Burrow’s director of RPED. (Another 50 technologies, not quite as ready, will be on display for visiting dignitaries but won’t be used in the exercise).

“It drives the analysts crazy. Analysts don’t like to go fast,” Sullivan chuckled to reporters. “Are you accepting risk? Yes, you are.”

Some of the 50 technologies will probably just plain not work, the team told reporters, and that’s okay. In fact, failing “early and often” is an essential part of innovation. “If we don’t fail, we didn’t do our job,” said Mercer. “This is the time to fail” — before the Marines decide on major acquisition programs, let alone take a technology into combat.

The project has high-level support to take that risk, including the enthusiastic backing of acting Navy Secretary
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, who used to head Navy Department Research, Development, & Acquisition (RDA).

“This exercise provides a unique opportunity for warfighters to assess emerging technologies and innovative engineering in support of amphibious assault operations,” Stackley said in a statement to Breaking Defense. “We are grateful to the government and industry vendors who participate and bring their expertise to assist in supporting our nation’s security.”

“SecNav’s committed to (1) really accelerating the rate of our innovations and (2) using the new authorities that have been coming to use since about 2015 to really rapidly prototype and rapidly field,” said Mercer. But even as you go fast, he added, you have to make sure “you’ve got the rigor in the process that allows us to use the new authorities.”

Six Missions

So what kinds of capabilities will this project deliver to the field? Almost all of them rely on rapid advances in information technology, and many are outright robotic, like the various drones and self-driving
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. There’s no single silver bullet, Sullivan and co. said, and the real tactical payoff comes from combining technologies. That’s why the Marines organized the experiment not by technical categories — e.g. one team handles all unmanned aerial vehicles, another unmanned watercraft, another networks — but by mission, which required experts in different fields from different agencies and companies to integrate disparate technologies towards a single purpose.

The team defined six mission areas and gave them nifty codenames:

  • Shield: “early intelligence (and) reconnaissance,” using, for example wide-ranging swarms of robotic scouts in the air, sea, and land, which would allow Marines to identify far more landing sites and potentially bypass defenders by coming ashore in unexpected places. Instead of landing en masse at an obvious 1,000-meter-wide beach, said the Warfighting Lab’s
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    , “I want to go through a gap in the mangroves.”
  • Spear: “threat identification,” e.g. covert drones coming in for a closer look with high-powered sensors and sending detailed data back using
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  • Dagger: “(follow-on) reconnaissance & threat elimination,” e.g. more drones and manned platforms marking obstacles and mines.
  • Cutlass: “maneuver ashore,” e.g. unmanned boats carrying Marines ashore at high speed or unmanned amtracs swimming in on their own power, with expendable decoy drones.
  • Broadsword: “combat power ashore,” e.g. battlefield 3D printing of spare parts and unmanned ground vehicles providing fire support or carrying supplies.
  • Battleaxe: “amphibious C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, & Reconnaissance),” e.g. high bandwidth networks, resisting to jamming and hacking, that can tie the whole operation together.
Because of the laser focus on amphibious landings, the Ship to Shore Maneuver task force deliberately didn’t look at other promising technologies, such as, well, lasers. For operations at sea, the Navy already has a
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aboard a ship in the Persian Gulf, while the Marines are developing a
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for air defense ashore. Likewise, Sullivan said, the “Sea Dragon” effort with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment is focused more on smaller technologies that a Marine squad can carry with it once it’s landed ashore.

What the Ship to Shore Maneuver task force has taken on is the defining task of the Marine Corps: amphibious landing in the face of armed resistance. That’s especially hard when the armed opposition now has so-called
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defenses: precision-guided cruise missiles with hundreds of miles of range, strike aircraft, submarines, drones, with the sensors to find targets and the networks to coordinate them.

“Our generation grew up in an environment where we were the only ones who had precision guided munitions. We were the only ones who had UAS (drones). Air supremacy was guaranteed; maritime supremacy was taken for granted,” Sullivan said. That’s changed.

“For a long time, we were talking about countering shore-based defenses by standoff, but anti-ship cruise missiles (are) just going to continue to extend the range, so we’re going to have to get and persist
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— and if you look at the totality of the capabilities that we’re experimenting, it’s giving us the ability to do that,” Sullivan said.

“At some point, we’ve got to dismantle the A2/AD integrated defense system,” said Sullivan. “To be considered a great power, you have to be retain a forcible entry capability.”
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Lieutenant General
Registered Member
U.S. Marine’s helicopters used new auxiliary fuel tanks during flights based from Okinawa

Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267 used new auxiliary fuel tanks to fly the AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom helicopters farther than ever, during flights based from Okinawa, March 10-14.

The helicopters demonstrated a 25% range increase, according to Capt. Christopher Millar, a UH-1Y Venom pilot with HMLA-267, a squadron deployed to Okinawa from Camp Pendleton, California.

“This allows us to support the Marines of III MEF as we project our power further and increase our capability with the fuel tanks,” said Millar, who is supporting Marine Air Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III MEF, through the unit deployment program.

Millar flew one of the helicopters that broke the record, logging 314 nautical miles during a flight from Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, to New Tanegashima Airport, Japan, March 10.

Lt. Col. Jon Livingston, the commanding officer of HMLA-267, confirmed that this was the longest recorded Venom or Viper flight ever.

During the four-day mission, the squadron also visited Osaka, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, and Camp Fuji, Japan.

“The auxiliary fuel capability gives the Marine Air Ground Task Force commander the ability to respond to crises and deploy our forces from the most northern reaches to southern reaches of the area of operations,” said Millar, a native of Saint Louis.

Once the H-1 helicopters arrive at their destinations, they can easily drop their fuel tanks and reconfigure for ordnance operations. The fuel tanks, which resemble torpedoes, attach below both sides of the helicopter bays.

“The auxiliary fuel systems provide the MAGTF commander scalable options to be able to move his assets around the area of operations without relying on strategic lift,” said Millar.

The increased range of the H-1 helicopters supports Marine Corps operations in responding to crises, maintaining a deterrent, forward presence, carrying out combat operations, and providing humanitarian assistance.

“With these auxiliary fuel tanks, I believe it gives H-1s a greater ability to self-deploy and to help the Marines on the ground,” Millar said. “[The H-1s] also help III MEF fulfill the ‘Fight Tonight’ motto and project our power further

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USMC AH-1Z Viper passes Mount Fuji.jpg
in case you didn't know Air Force May Cut Flying Hours Due to ‘$1.3 Billion Math Problem’
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leaders are bracing for an extended continuing resolution in Congress, which would keep the military services’ spending capped at last year’s budget levels.

One of the first things that would be cut? Flying hours.

Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen Wilson said the Air Force is trying to “solve a $1.3 billion math problem by late April.”

“It will force us into actions similar [to those] taken in 2013 for sequestration,” Wilson told audience members during the McAleese defense conference in Washington, D.C., earlier this week.

“I’d have to stop flying sometime this summer,” Wilson said. “I would have to shut down some hiring at our depots, and only fix things at our installations if they broke. That’s what a one-year-long CR does to us.”

The stop-gap funding measure also prevents the start of 60 new programs without an appropriations bill from Congress.

Wilson said that’s at least $500 million worth of flying hours, or about two months of flying time.

“All of this affects readiness, the very thing we’re trying to fix right now,” he said.

In fiscal 2013, the Air Force had to stand down 17 combat squadrons, which came as a surprise because officials thought it “wasn’t going to happen,” then-Air Combat Commander Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle said in 2015.

“We didn’t start [the cuts] until halfway through the year,” he said at the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando at the time, as
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While Pacific Air Forces and U.S. Air Forces Europe-Africa were largely unaffected in their flight time, they did have to cancel exercises with other countries, service officials said at the time.

And that’s what generals such as Air National Guard Director Lt. Gen. Scott Rice are preparing for now when deploying Guard members for temporary assignments overseas with active-duty airmen, or even for stateside exercises.

“There’s a way that I save money in my program because I have a part-time, full-time mix,” Rice told on Wednesday. “I put the part-time force … their piece is two weeks a year, one weekend a month — we do a lot more than that — but the two weeks a year tends to fall into the summer [exercises],” he said.

Guard members could normally see a temporary duty, a flag exercise, or even smaller exercises at combat readiness training centers, Rice said.

“So I take risk in those deployments if I have a CR where I don’t get all that funding, so I will lose training in the summer time — not from flying hours as much as I do from my TDY deployments,” he said. “This affects all of us.”

Leaders in both the House and Senate have until April 28 to extend a stopgap spending measure CR or approve a full-year appropriations bill.
source is DoDBuzz
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now I read
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Chris Pocock may know
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than anyone who doesn’t possess a very high security clearance. He’s written four books about the planes and is passionate about the black beauties. Here’s his take on whether Northrop Grumman’s Global Hawk can rival or surpass the capabilities of the U-2. Read on. The Editor.

Northrop Grumman believes that it can “beef up” the sensor suite of the
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Really? How can this possibly happen, when this drone’s maximum altitude is at least 12,000 feet lower; it takes far longer to get there; its payload-by-weight is 50 percent less; its onboard recorder and comms/datalink capability for sensor transmission is inferior; and it has no electronic warfare capability? I could go on.

The depressing thing about
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of the Global Hawk has been the company’s evident determination to get the Dragon Lady withdrawn from service. Never mind that the US Air Force U-2 fleet has demonstrated a mission effectiveness rate of 97 percent, and has enough collective airframe life to last another 20 years. That is more airframe life than the Global Hawk, by the way.

The truth is, the US and its allies need the capabilities of both these high-altitude reconnaissance platforms. The Global Hawk offers superior endurance, and an alternative imaging system when carrying
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made by UTA Aerospace Systems (UTAS). But UTAS also makes the SYERS-2C 10-band multispectral sensor carried by the U-2. The characteristics and status of the MS-177 version that has been flown on the Global Hawk, needs some clarification.

Upgraded imaging systems like MS-177 and SYERS-2C offer the intelligence analyst superior detection of suspicious activity in a wider range of weather conditions. But ultimately, they cannot defeat cloud cover to the extent made possible by radar imaging systems. And here the U-2 offers a distinct advantage, with its Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar System (ASARS). This has been providing all-weather, day/night coverage of trouble spots around the world for nearly 30 years. Made and supported by Raytheon, these sensors have been upgraded once already, and now a further upgrade with an active electronically-scanned array (AESA) is being developed for flight-test on a U-2 in prototype form.

This ASARS-2B version promises a doubling in range. That’s important for keeping an eye on
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, where the U-2 can offer a deeper look from a safe and higher distance offshore. Incidentally, the U-2 can be quickly dispatched on such a mission from its deployed base at Osan in the south of the Korean peninsula. The Global Hawk must fly hours to reach the same area from its base on Guam. Why not also deploy the drone to Osan? Like many other countries, Korea won’t allow unmanned aircraft to fly in crowded, non-segregated airspace. Even if it did, the Global Hawk would face problems operating from wet and cold Osan – because it doesn’t have a de-icing system! (Editor’s note: Northrop is testing one now.)

The 11 Block 40 Global Hawks carry the new MP-RTIP radar sensor which offers superior moving target indication (MTI) compared with ASARS. But it is
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that are supposed to replace the 26 operational U-2S models. In his latest report published in January, the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) reminded readers that he had “previously identified ground station, air vehicle, communication system, and cybersecurity shortfalls” in the Block 30 Global Hawk. He noted that a follow-on test and evaluation program was required, but not yet conducted.

The bottom line is, there is no other ISR asset flying today or in development, that can accomplish the daily peacetime operations of the U-2S or compete with its potential upgrades. The US Air Force has tried to retire the Dragon Lady several times in the past two decades. On every occasion, combatant commanders have told the Pentagon and Congress that they have an ongoing need for its unique capabilities.

It’s high time that the Air Force removed the threat of retirement, so that the Lockheed Martin SkunkWorks and the U-2 subcontractor team can fully develop the nascent potential that the Dragon Lady still offers. In addition to ASARS-2B, this includes a celestial navigation system to overcome the jamming of GPS signals (think North Korea again!); expanded spectrum SIGINT; extra bandwidth for transmission of sensor data; and a repositioning of the onboard payloads to permit single U-2 to become a ‘Tri-INT’ platform that can carry radar, optical and SIGINT sensors on the same mission.
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Lieutenant General
Registered Member
Patrouille de France en route for USA recently to Lossiemouth soon Greenland, Canada

New painting and original only change for drift
View attachment 37140 View attachment 37141 View attachment 37142
Yes French arrived - 25° to Greenland !
today New Yorck over the Statue of Liberty waouw to 17 h France/N-Y 11 AM :)

Follow-up route
France - Scotland ( Lossiemouth ) - Iceland - Greenland - Canada ( Bagotville )

Tour of the Patrouille de France in the USA
Step 1: Conveyance
As every time an Air Force unit unfolds thousands of miles away, there is an unavoidable stage called conveyance. For the crews of the ten Alphajet de la Patrouille de France, accompanied by an A400M Atlas and a Falcon 50 from the French Navy, the crossing lasted six days. This first episode of the diary retraces this course rich in twists and turns

On March 17, 2017, the Patrouille de France (PAF) flew for a tour across the Atlantic on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the United States' entry into the First World War . One last goodbye to the families and to Salon-de-Provence, its base of belonging, and here it is that leaves the south of France for a month and a half of aerial representations. At his side, an A400M from the 1/61 "Touraine" transport squadron at Orléans Airbase 123 provides logistical support for this tour. It carries about fifty airmen and more than 15 tons of freight, including the essential equipment for the maintenance of the Alphajet

A passage through Greenland
The crews of the PAF can not carry out the conveying of a draft. "The Alphajet is not refuelable in flight and its autonomy can not exceed 2 h 30min," said Lieutenant-Colonel Gauthier Dewas, director of the teams of presentation of the Air Force. Several stages thus punctuated the flight towards the country with the stars and stars. The blue, white and red planes landed successively in Scotland, Iceland and Greenland, before reaching the town of Bagotville in Canada, which marked the end of the convoy. The Alphajet, in their flight over completely white and frozen areas, was accompanied by a Falcon 50 from the French Navy capable of carrying out the SAMAR (maritime rescue) mission in case of ejection of the pilots into icy waters.

An adaptation of every moment
This conveyance experienced some discomfort. An often unfavorable weather and negative temperatures have played some tricks to the machines. However, thanks to the work of the mechanics (with temperatures sometimes approaching 27 degrees below zero) and collective mobilization, the Patrouille de France is expected to join the United States on schedule. "Of course, everything did not happen as initially planned, but we had planned" What if ", that is to say, emergency solutions in case of a last-minute change," says Colonel Christophe Deherre, Head of the mission. The coordination between the various crews has made it possible to achieve the expected results, with the concern to respect the safety rules, despite the extreme conditions encountered

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