US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.

Thursday at 1:04 PM
"To keep the Eagle flying past the 2020s would require a series of service life extension programmes including a center fuselage overhaul estimated at $40 million per unit, according to the service’s head of Air Combat Command." sounds like a lot :)
Amid budget uncertainty, USAF weighs F-15 retirement
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but now I see
The $30-40 million cost cited by the head of Air Combat Command in March represents the total cost of remanufacturing the center fuselage and installing new wings, Boeing says. That cost estimate was provided at the service’s request, it adds.

“That approach, we believe, is the costliest solution and a worst-case scenario; it’s not something we believe is under serious consideration at this time,” Steve Parker, vice president of Boeing F-15 programs, said in an April 17 interview. “That would take it out another 40-50 years.”
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so I quickly checked google to find out:
McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle/First flight
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July 27, 1972
(I happen to know the first flight of F-16 was in 1974)
Last edited:
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why instead didn't you pick lasers on Strykers? :)

"Laser weapons will protect Strykers on-the-move and Forward Operating Bases as part of an effort to save Soldiers from incoming enemy attacks such as missiles, drones, mortars and artillery. This is the first-ever integration of a laser weapon onto an Army combat vehicle."
Army Lasers Will Soon Destroy Enemy Mortars, Artillery and Drones From Strykers
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Lieutenant General
Registered Member
RAF Mildenhall Base Closure 'To Be Reconsidered'

A decision to close RAF Mildenhall is being reconsidered by the US Department of Defense, according to reports.

The base, which is home to the 100th Air Refuelling wing and more than 3,300 airmen, is due to close in 2023 along with 14 other European US bases.

RAF Mildenhall was the largest base included in the announcement by United States European Command (EUCOM) who are now reportedly reviewing their decision in response to growing security threats in Europe.

In a statement seen by Stars & Stripes EUCOM said:

"Considering the current European security environment, it is a prudent measure to review some of the decisions under the January 2015 European Infrastructure Consolidation effort.”

"These closures were programmed over a number of fiscal years and to date, none of these sites have been returned to the host nation, as we are putting the necessary infrastructure in place to facilitate mission and personnel moves necessary.”

The ultimate decision, however, is down to the US Department of Defense so any decision would need the backing of the Pentagon.

Therefore, if EUCOM decides to keep RAF Mildenhall open, the closures could still go ahead regardless.

It is thought that President Trump's recent actions in Syria and concerns over a more aggressive Russia have led to this review.

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I now read, watched S-97 Raider Soars in New Flight Testing Video
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Lockheed Martin Corp.’s Sikorsky unit has released a new video of its next-generation helicopter prototype, the S-97 Raider, undergoing more flight testing.

The two-and-a-half minute video uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday shows the coaxial chopper flying with wheels down and up, views from the cockpit as test pilots take notes, and multiple shots of the aircraft as it soars over the airport and surrounding environs.

The video comes barely a week after the company released three-and-a-half-minute animation of its proposal for an assault and attack variant of the SB>1 Defiant, a large coaxial design it’s pitching for the U.S.
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‘s Joint Multi-Role (JMR) technology demonstrator and Future Vertical Lift (FVL) programs.

The Raider was initially designed for a $16 billion U.S. Army weapons acquisition program called the Armed Aerial Scout to replace the
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, one of the smallest helicopters in the fleet.

While the service put that acquisition effort on hold due to budget limitations, Sikorsky, maker of the Army’s
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helicopter and other aircraft, still plans to sell the coaxial design in the U.S. and abroad, and the firm along with its suppliers have spent tens of millions of dollars developing the technology.

Textron Inc.’s Bell Helicopter unit, meanwhile, is developing the tilt-rotor V-280 Valor for the JMR program and wants the Army to select its product to replace the Black Hawk helicopter as part of the Future Vertical Lift acquisition effort.

With a V-280 first flight still a year away, one can’t help but wonder if Lockheed is trying to hammer home to Army officials and others the idea that its prototype is already flying.


Tyrant King
Special Operations Command is looking at a new 6.5 mm round for its sniper rifle
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April 18, 2017
Special Operations Command is exploring a new caliber for its semi-automatic sniper rifle needs and upgrading one of its bolt-action sniper rifle systems.

Maj. Aron Hauquitz told Military Times Tuesday that SOCOM is in the preliminary stages of exploring a sniper rifle chambered in the 6.5 mm caliber. The two commercially available rounds being evaluated are the .260 Remington and the 6.5 mm Creedmoor.

Research shows that both rounds will "stay supersonic longer, have less wind drift and better terminal performance than 7.62 mm ammunition," SOCOM officials said.

Hauquitz said that the research is focused on the popularity and availability of the cartridge, and finding out the benefits and drawbacks of the different rounds.

At the same time, SOCOM is working to develop polymer ammunition in 6.5 mm to reduce the load for operators, Hauquitz said. Research is showing a one-third weight reduction for 7.62 mm ammunition, allowing the 6.5 mm to come in at 5.56 mm weight ranges.

While both the rifle and the ammunition are being developed together, Hauquitz said the polymer portion of the research would not delay potential fielding of a 6.5 mm rifle.

He didn't provide a specific date or timeline for when the new rifle would be in operators' hands but said they would have a better idea regarding the caliber later this year.

"We're purely in the exploratory phase," Hauquitz said. "We're trying to see if we can take a weapon that is 7.62 and give it greater range, accuracy and lethality."

Hauquitz said the 6.5 mm exploration came out of preliminary results of the Small Arms Ammunition Configuration study, which evaluates for the military commercially available ammunition, emerging ammunition capabilities, and ammunition technologies for conventional and non-conventional calibers.

Last year, the Army chose the smaller Heckler & Koch G28 Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System for close-quarters fighting to replace the M110 made by Knight’s Armament. Both fire the 7.62 mm round.

At the time, H&K received the $44.5 million contract to manufacture up to 3,643 rifles over two years.

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Meanwhile, the changes SOCOM is seeking for its bolt-action sniper rifle became public earlier this month with a "sources sought" notice. The rifle's development also involves Marine snipers.

The SOCOM contracting office posted the notice for an Advanced Sniper Rifle on the
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website on April 6. Industry responses are due on April 24.

SOCOM's current bolt-action rifle is made by Remington Defense, which won the $79.7 million government contract in 2013 after the initial announcement was posted in 2009. Dubbed the Precision Sniper Rifle, it included three quick-change barrels in calibers 7.62 mm NATO, .300 Winchester Magnum and .338 Lapua Magnum for various distance and power needs.

Lt. Cmdr. Lara Bollinger, a SOCOM spokeswoman, said Friday that the ASR has "far more refined" requirements and performance specifications than the current PSR sniper rifle.

The website states that the posting is not a solicitation or request for proposal but meant to “obtain information for planning purposes only.”

The PSR was designed to replace the three sniper rifles then being used by special ops snipers — the .300 Winchester Magnum MK13, the M40, which shoots 7.62 mm NATO, and the M24, which has separate versions that fire the 7.62 mm NATO and a .338 Lapua Magnum, according to
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The recent announcement asks for industry information about a seemingly identical rifle but adaptable for the 7.62 mm NATO, .300 Norma Magnum and .338 Norma Magnum.

Firearms experts generally cite the Norma Magnum design as producing a faster and more accurate round.

SOCOM listed the following needs for the Advanced Sniper Rifle as a potential Precision Sniper Rifle replacement:

  • A light/sound suppressor that can be attached to the system when needed.
  • A system that includes three caliber conversion kits that can fire the 7.62 mm NATO, .300 Norma Magnum and .338 Norma Magnum.
  • Not to exceed 17 pounds or a total length, without suppressor, of 50 inches.
  • A folding or collapsing stock.
The 2013 PSR contract requested up to 5,150 PSRs and 4.6 million rounds of ammunition, according to the Remington website.

During the development of the PSR, the Marine Corps opted to continue to upgrade the M40 sniper rifle platform, which shoots the 7.62 mm NATO, despite some who argued for the larger caliber .338 as an option.

A Marine spokesman said Thursday that they are continuing to make modifications to the M40A6 while also working with the Army and Special Operations Command to develop the Advanced Sniper Rifle.

The modifications include an improved, shorter barrel, modular stock and 1.2-pound weight reduction, said Billy Epperson of Marine Corps Combat Development Command.

The new barrel increases bullet flight stability, he said. The new stock incorporates a folding adjustable buttstock, and additional accessory rails will support aiming lasers and optics. Each rifle also comes with a new pack, ballistic calculator, weather station and chronograph for muzzle velocity recordings.

As the ASR is developed, Epperson said the Marines are “assessing the MK13 as a potential interim solution” to increase sniper teams’ range and lethality.

The .300 Winchester Magnum MK13 has a farther range than the 7.62 mm NATO round the M40A6 uses. The MK13 is a rifle that has been used by Army snipers and other units.

Regular Army snipers continue to use the bolt-action M2010 Enhanced Sniper Rifle, also produced by Remington. It is chambered in .300 Winchester Magnum.
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Lieutenant General
Registered Member
Boeing to Begin Buying Super Hornet SLEP Materials This Summer Ahead Of Expected 2018 Induction of First Jet

Boeing will begin buying material this summer ahead of inducting the first F/A-18E/F Super Hornet into the service life modification program sometime next year, company officials told USNI News.

The Super Hornet life extension program will begin whenever the first jet hits its 6,000 flight hour limit, and the company expects that will happen next year. A Service Life Assessment Program (SLAP) is ongoing to determine what parts of the airplane will have to be replaced, reinforced or otherwise modified to help the jet get 3,000 more hours of life, Boeing F/A-18 and EA-18G Programs Vice President Dan Gillian told USNI News earlier this month.

“We’re still working through that but we have a lot of that behind us, with a good understanding of what needs to be fixed,” he said.
“The general statement is that, compared to the classic (F/A-18A-D) Hornet, there’s not a single center barrel section kind of thing; it’s more distributed, smaller throughout the airplane. The big challenge that has really hurt the classics that we’re trying to deal with is the unknowns. So our engineering analysis tells us what we should have to change, the tear-down airplane will validate our engineering was right, and then it’s dealing with the unknowns.”

When the Hornets began their service life extension program in 2012 it quickly became apparent that each airplane had its own unique challenges beyond replacing the center barrel section, and the depots charged with performing the modifications were not equipped to rapidly address these “unknowns” that were unique to each plane and not discovered until workers started pulling the planes apart.

To ensure the Super Hornet life extension work goes smoother, Gillian said Boeing is taking a very data-driven “factory production approach” to preparing for the work.

“Today (with Hornets), when you open and airplane and find a problem, you’re now lead-time away from going to order a part to bring it back, compared to using predictive tools and data analytics to have parts available, so when you find a part that needs to be fixed that you weren’t expecting, you can deal with it in a shorter turn,” he explained.

As part of the SLAP analysis work, engineers gathered as much data as they could about the material condition of the Super Hornets and developed an idea of what the service life modification work would look like, and they are now beginning to open up two learning aircraft in St. Louis to see if their predictions match up to the actual condition of these two planes.

“The learning aircraft were designed to help us get a better feel for the unknowns,” Gillian said.
“We do a lot of work with the Super Hornets down at Cecil Field today, that gives us information about corrosion and things like that. And we’re partnered with the Navy and helping support the fleet squadrons and [Fleet Support Teams], so there’s a lot of information that helps us build, using data analytics, models for what we need to buy and put on the shelf to be ready to deal with unknowns, so we can increase the throughput.”

Mark Sears, Boeing’s service life modification program director, said in the same interview that as the SLAP work wraps up, “we’re finishing our analysis for what material we want to lay in in advance of the first aircraft, and we’re facilitizing out St. Louis both from a facility, a tooling and a people perspective.”

Sears added that Boeing will begin buying materials for the first plane’s life extension work in mid-summer, in anticipation of the first life extension contract coming in early 2018 and the first plane being inducted shortly after that.

Gillian said the first few airplanes would probably take about a year and a half to complete, with Boeing looking to lower that figure as time goes on. He declined to say how long the classic Hornets have taken on average but noted the gap in work for each plane due to having to order parts and wait for them to be manufactured and delivered before the life extension work can continue. Gillian acknowledged that some Super Hornets may be more problematic than others but said he expected a much greater throughput at the depots with the Super Hornets compared to their classic Hornet predecessors.

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Tyrant King
Iraqi unit with US and Australian advisers hit by ISIS chemical weapon
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April 19, 2017

Twenty five Iraqi soldiers required medical treatment after their unit was hit with a mustard agent fired from an ISIS rocket on Sunday, according to
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. Their unit included American and Australian advisers, none of whom were reported injured in the attack.

"Daesh has used chemicals in the vicinity of Mosul," said Maj. Gen. Joseph Martin, the commanding general in charge of land forces operating in Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq. However, the attacks have had "no impact on Iraqi security forces, and no impact on our forces," Gen Martin added.

Six Iraqi soldiers were also treated for breathing problems at a nearby field clinic, Iraqi Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool told the Associated Press.

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U.S. officials in Baghdad declined to comment on whether U.S. and Australian advisers were treated for exposure to the chemical agent, or whether they were present when the attack occurred.

"We share the same risks as Iraqi forces," Martin said. "We are forward with the Iraqis."

The chemical weapon attack was delivered by indirect fire and "Iraqi security forces were in the vicinity of one of the strikes, Martin said.

The chemical attack by ISIS is the second of its kind over the last few days as Iraq forces struggle to liberate the denser western side of Mosul. The first attack occurred on Saturday in the Abar neighborhood of western Mosul. Seven Iraqi soldiers were injured in the attack, according to
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Officials in Baghdad downplayed the threat of ISIS chemical weapons capabilities. The attacks have used "all low grade chemicals because [ISIS] has a low production capability," Martin said. Items exposed to the chemical attack have been sent back for further testing.

Iraqi Army officials told CBS News that protective masks have been distributed to protect forces operating in the area.

U.S. troops in Iraq already have all the appropriate equipment to operate in a contaminated environment and are capable of assisting Iraqi forces with further training in protecting their forces from chemical attacks, according to Martin.

The incidents are not the first known suspected chemical attacks carried out by ISIS militants in Iraq. Last March, Kurdish officials claimed Peshmerga forces were injured from a chlorine gas attack when an ISIS suicide bomber detonated a truck filled with gas canisters. Peshmerga forces near the scene of the incident complained of symptoms associated to chlorine gas, including nausea, vomiting, dizziness and weakness, according to
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ISIS fighters were suspected of firing nearly
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at the town of Taza, Iraq, in March, which injured nearly 800 people and killed one. In January, when Iraqi forces retook Mosul University, they
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they believed had been turned into makeshift chemical weapons labs.

As Iraqi forces continue to push into western Mosul, fighting has become fiercer and the pace of operations has slowed to a crawl. We are " likely to see more atrocities from ISIS as it becomes more desperate," Martin said. Eastern Mosul was liberated in January, and has not seen an attack since operations in west Mosul began on February 19.
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