The Pentagon is increasingly focused on the notion that the might of U.S. forces will be measured as much by the advancement of their algorithms as by the ammunition in their arsenals. And so as it seeks to develop the technologies of the next war amid a technological arms race with China, the Defense Department has steadily increased spending in three key areas: artificial intelligence, big data and cloud computing, according to
Investment in those areas increased to $7.4 billion last year, up from $5.6 billion five years ago, according to Govini, a data science and analytics firm, and it appears likely to grow as the armed services look to transform how they train, plan and fight.
“Rapid advances in artificial intelligence — and the vastly improved autonomous systems and operations they will enable — are pointing toward new and more novel warfighting applications involving human-machine collaboration and combat teaming,” Robert Work, the former deputy secretary of defense, wrote in an introduction to the report. “These new applications will be the primary drivers of an emerging military-technical revolution.”
The United States “can either lead the coming revolution, or fall victim to it,” he added.
In an interview, Work, who serves on Govini’s board, said the advancements in technology are transforming war just as the advent of the rifle, telegraph and railroad did generations ago. Much of the current work is being driven by companies with large presences in the Washington area, including Leidos, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, CACI and SAIC, according to the report.
Service members are using virtual reality to simulate battle conditions in training. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been investing in better computing power designed to handle vast amounts of data, including quantum computing and what’s known as neuromorphic engineering, helping develop incredibly complex computing systems designed to mimic biological systems.
There are signs that AI and human-machine collaboration are already making their way into American weaponry and its intelligence apparatus. The Pentagon is working toward using drones as the wingmen of fighter jets and ships, which can probe into enemy territory on their own. The Marine Corps has been testing cargo helicopters that can fly autonomously and that would allow Marines, using a tablet, to “easily request supplies even to austere or dangerous environments,” according to the Office of Naval Research.
The stealthy F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, with 8 million lines of code, is called a “flying computer” that is as much a sensor in the skies as it is a fighter jet, officials say. As an example, officials point to how F-35s communicate with one another on their own. If one jet in a sortie detects an enemy fighter on its radar that is out of the range of the other F-35s along with it, that information is automatically relayed to the other jets.
Another example is Project Maven, a computing system being designed to sift through the massive troves of data and video captured by surveillance and then alert human analysts of patterns or when there is abnormal or suspicious activity.
The technology in robotics is fast improving, as well. In 2015, when DARPA sponsored a challenge to test how robots could navigate certain obstacles, many of the semiautonomous machines tumbled and fell, crashing in sometimes comical fashion. But last month, Boston Dynamics released a stunning video that showed a humanoid
But despite those advancements, the Pentagon and others are worried that the United States is not moving fast enough.
“The bad news is our competitors aren’t standing still,” Work said.
China in particular has been investing heavily in AI, defense analysts say.
“China intends to seize the initiative to become the ‘premier global AI innovation center’ by 2030, potentially surpassing the United States in the process,” according to a recent report by the Center for a New American Security.
That should serve as a call-to-arms “Sputnik moment,” Work said. “I personally believe that a national challenge like this has to be met with a national response,” he said.
For the past several years, the Pentagon has been wooing Silicon Valley firms that have driven much of the innovation, but have traditionally been loath to work within the Pentagon’s plodding and cumbersome bureaucracy.
In September, Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan wrote in a memo that he was “directing aggressive steps to establish a culture of experimentation, adaptation and risk-taking to ensure we are employing emerging technologies to meet our warfighters’ needs and to increase speed and agility technology development and procurement.”
He also signed a directive to accelerate the development of cloud computing for the Pentagon, which he said “is critical to maintaining our military’s technological advantage.”
December 4, 2017
Gen. Robert Abrams, commander, U.S. Army Forces Command, said the Next Generation Combat Vehicle must be as revolutionary as the Bradley, when it was first introduced. A Bradley belonging to the 1st Cavalry Division is shown here in Rukla, Lithuania during Operation Atlantic Resolve. Abrams was the keynote speaker at the Future Ground Combat Vehicles Summit in Livonia, Mich., Nov. 30, 2017.
The likelihood is high that the Army won’t get to pick the time and place of its choosing for the next battle, said Gen. Robert Abrams.
But it’s likely that the next battle will take place in a megacity, said Abrams, commander of U.S. Army Forces Command. He spoke, Nov. 30, in Livonia, Mich., during the Future Ground Combat Vehicles Summit.
“The chance of fighting in a megacity is going to go through the roof,” he said, pointing out that there are currently 25 megacities across the world. A megacity is defined as a city of 25 million or more inhabitants. By 2035, the number of megacities is projected to double.
Coincidentally, 2035 is also the target delivery date for what is currently the Army’s conceptual Next Generation Combat Vehicle, or NGCV, he said.
Recent fighting in countries throughout the Middle East validate the value of combat vehicles in urban areas, but also reveal vulnerabilities, Abrams said. The NGCV will address such shortfalls.
Dense, urban terrain diminishes the effectiveness of fighting vehicles, which are impacted by obstacles, large civilian populations, and confined spaces, he noted. In such confined spaces, enemy dismounts are better able to isolate individual vehicles at close range, and employ anti-armor fire and IEDs of all types.
In light of those difficulties, requirements for NGCVs will include enhancements to optimize performance in urban environments, he stressed.
Other NGCV requirements
Another key consideration in the design of the NGCV is that the vehicle must contribute to a reduced logistics tail, or supply line, Abrams said. Reducing the logistics tail will enable the maneuver force to move more quickly and with greater agility.
The general offered several ways this could be accomplished. If the NGCV were to employ hybrid energy systems, for instance, that could reduce the need for fuel resupply convoys.
Other ways to reduce sustainment requirements include such things as speed diagnostics that support field maintenance and component ruggedness and life extension, he said.
Other capabilities of the NGCV might include:
— Reactive armor
— Active protection systems
— Artificial intelligence
— Autonomy and/or teaming
— Advanced target sensors
— Precision, extreme-range lethality
— Potential to accommodate future upgrades
“That’s an aggressive list,” Abrams said. “And, it is unlikely all of these can be built into the Next Generation Combat Vehicle in that timeline. But that’s OK.”
What’s important, he said, is that those items signal a green light from the Army to industry to deliver the most capable system that can be produced with existing technology, anchored in doctrine.
Another challenge, he pointed out, is balancing the age-old tradeoff of survivability with weight, agility and lethality.
“Ideally, we would be able to trade weight for protection other than armor,” he said, explaining that will require advances in material science, along with innovations in active and passive defenses.
Whatever the outcome, the end product must be able to dominate peer enemies that have fielded their own version of a next-generation vehicle, he said.
Gen. Robert Abrams, commander, U.S. Army Forces Command, speaks at the Future Ground Combat Vehicles Summit in Livonia, Mich., Nov. 30, 2017.
Avoid envy syndrome
Abrams said when developing the NGCV, the Army must resist the urge to do side-by-side comparisons with other combat vehicles.
For instance, the Russian T-14 tank provided “an avalanche” of recent discussion about their approach of putting all the crew in the hull for the first time for protection, using auto-loaders and re-introducing capabilities to launch missiles through the main gun, Abrams said.
“Don’t rush to judgment that Next Generation Combat Vehicle should have similar capabilities like an automated turret and putting all the crew in the hull,” he said.
“Instead, the conclusion of what the vehicle should look like should be based on optimizing advantages for how we conduct combined arms maneuver and not simply that we want to match Russian or other country approaches,” he said.
Abrams outlined a strategy for pursuing the NGCV.
“I will continue to recommend that we lay out a realistic program, matched with engineering realities and communicate that frequently to Army senior leaders and to Congress. That is a far better approach in my opinion, than our history of overpromising and under-delivering,” he said.
He pointed to the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter Program that was terminated in 2008 as a “cautionary tale of what happens when we adopt too aggressive a timeline linked to gold-plated requirements.”
That does not mean there should be a sub-optimal solution, he added.
The NGCV must have “leap-ahead, breakthrough technology which should be a revolutionary improvement over what’s available today,” he said, noting his own experience in the 1980s as an armor officer, going through the transition to the M-1 Tank and M-2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle.
Those were revolutionary in many aspects, he said.
The M-1 introduced superior crew protection, all-condition precision firepower on-the-move, maneuverability and dash speed which altered the geometry of the battlefield and provided decisive overmatch against Cold War enemies and every enemy since then, he said.
The Bradley was the first true infantry fighting vehicle, he said. Unlike with its predecessor, the M-113 Armored Personnel Carrier, the Bradley gave the Army the ability to get troops to their objective under armor with turret weapons and multiple precision direct fires options: the Bushmaster Chain Gun, Coaxial Machine Gun and TOW anti-tank missile.
“Today, 40 years later, they’re still our primary fighting vehicles,” he concluded. “We’ve made tremendous incremental improvements but they are reaching the end of their lifecycle. We’re in a race against time.”
Naval Today said:Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), the second of three high-tech, “super-stealth” Zumwalt-class destroyers, got underway from Bath Iron Works to start its first round of sea trials.
The ship started construction in March 2010 and was launched and christened on June 16, 2016, at the General Dynamics shipyard in Bath, Maine.
DDG 1001 is now set to undergo a series of trials before being officially handed over to the US Navy and christened sometime in 2018, provided everything goes as planned.
USS Zumwalt, the lead ship in the class, was commissioned on October 15, 2016, as the largest destroyer the US Navy has ever built, measuring 610 feet in length and displacing well over 14,000 tons.
The Zumwalt-class features a completely new electric propulsion system, wave-piercing tumblehome hull, stealth design, and the latest warfighting technology and weaponry available. Their stealth design makes the ships appear much smaller on radar. The destroyers have a radar cross-section of a fishing boat, according to the Naval Sea Systems Command.
They are the first US Navy combatant surface ships to utilize an integrated power system (IPS) to provide electric power for propulsion and ship services. According to the Navy, the new system generates approximately 78 megawatts of power.
The USS Zumwalt will unfortunately not be firing its 155 mm Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) as the shells for the weapon turned out to be too expensive due to the declining number of destroyers that are to be built. Initially, 32 Zumwalt destroyers were supposed to be built. Over the years the number, however, declined to three vessels and a single LRLAP round ended up costing around $800,000.
just that we don't forget what's going on in real world: "Though Congress has abandoned regular order for budgeting and made continuing resolutions routine, the stop-gap measures are unpopular with military leaders because they continue to fund programs at the levels set for the previous year. Without specific exceptions, they also do not permit new acquisition programs to start."nobody appears to care here (LOL) so I'll be brief
Today at 7:59 AM
"For now, it appears congressional leaders are looking to punt the issue for two more weeks, passing a 14-day continuing resolution to give them time to try and find a longer compromise deal."
This week in Congress: December’s first shutdown deadline
6 hours ago
The Defense Department is looking at potential sites for the placement of the THAAD anti-missile system on the West Coast to guard against the increasing threat from North Korea, according to two members of the House Armed Services Committee.
At the Reagan National Defense Forum in California over the weekend, Reps. Mike Rogers, R-Alabama, and Adam Smith, D-Washington, told Reuters that the DoD's Missile Defense Agency [MDA] is surveying West Coast sites for the deployment of the
Earlier this year, a full battery of Lockheed Martin THAAD launchers became operational south of Seoul in South Korea despite objections from China and Russia.
MDA has yet to receive an order to install THAAD on the West Coast, MDA Deputy Director Rear Adm. Jon Hill told Reuters, but Rogers, chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, said, "It's just a matter of the location, and the MDA making a recommendation as to which site meets their criteria for location" and environmental impact.
Both Rogers and Smith said the number of sites for THAAD deployment on the West Coast had yet to be determined.
Currently, the continental United States is primarily shielded by the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system (GMD) in Alaska and California, as well as the
Also at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the White House national security adviser, warned of the approaching threat of war with North Korea, but added that Americans traveling to the Winter Olympics beginning in South Korea on Feb. 9 will be safe.
"I think it's increasing every day," McMaster said of the potential for conflict, "which means that we are in a race, really, we are in a race to be able to solve this problem."
However, McMaster said that the emphasis of the Trump administration's national security team, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, is on a diplomatic solution to the crisis brought on by North Korea's repeated nuclear and missile tests.
North Korea has conducted 15 missile launches this year. Last Tuesday, North Korea test launched a Hwasong-15 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile [ICBM] that flew 10 times higher than the International Space Station. Analysts estimated that it had the range to hit Washington, D.C.
"There are ways to address this problem short of armed conflict, but it is a race because he's getting closer and closer, and there's not much time left," McMaster said, referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
With every missile launch or nuclear test, Kim has improved his country's capabilities, McMaster said.
However, the increasing threat should not imperil the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, about 50 miles south of the Demilitarized Zone, he said.
Americans traveling to the Olympics "should feel safe because we have an extraordinarily ready and capable military, and that military is getting stronger every day," McMaster said.
Following on McMaster's comments on the North Korean threat, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, went on CBS' "Face the Nation" program Sunday to urge that military dependents be withdrawn from South Korea.
"We're getting close to a military conflict because North Korea's marching toward marrying up the technology of an ICBM with a nuclear weapon on top that can not only get to America but deliver the weapon," Graham said.
"I'm going to urge the Pentagon not to send any more dependents to South Korea," he said. "South Korea should be an unaccompanied tour. It's crazy to send
Graham also said that the U.S. might strike first to prevent a North Korean launch. "The policy of the Trump administration is to deny North Korea the capability to hit America with a nuclear-tipped missile, not to contain it," he said.
"Denial means pre-emptive war as a last resort," Graham said. "That pre-emption is becoming more likely as their technology matures."
According to the 38 North website, run by the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins' School of International Studies, the Hwasong-15 ICBM launched by North Korea last Tuesday was "considerably larger" than previous missiles test launched by the North.
"Initial calculations indicate the new missile could deliver a moderately sized nuclear weapon to any city on the US mainland," the 38 North website said.
"The Hwasong-15 is also large and powerful enough to carry simple decoys or other countermeasures designed to challenge America's existing national missile defense [NMD] system," the website said.
whileit's been a long tanker series ... for me it's interesting to read the spin, wishful thinking, statements made to save the day LOL ... the last one in that series: Nov 14, 2017and now
Boeing will miss 2017 delivery goal for first KC-46
Boeing’s first KC-46A tanker slated for the US Air Force operational fleet made its maiden flight this week, pushing the aircraft closer to a newly-delayed, 2018 delivery.
While Boeing has flown six other test articles, the newest 767-2C-based aircraft will be one of the first 18 inducted into the service next year. The USAF had expected Boeing to deliver the first KC-46 by the end of 2017.
According to a Government Accountability Office report released in March, Boeing is expected to deliver the first 18 aircraft by February 2018, a seven-month slip from the previous delivery date. The Cobham wing aerial refueling pods (WARPs) will still be delivered separately in October, Boeing confirms.
Part of Boeing’s schedule woes are attributed to delays in US Federal Aviation Administration certifications. The KC-46 requires both an amended type certification from the FAA for the baseline 767 with tanker provisions, and a supplemental type certification for the militarised variant. Boeing expects to wrap up work for the ATC by the end of 2017 and STC sometime next year.
But the KC-46 isn’t out of the woods just yet, Boeing must solve one outstanding deficiency identified on the tanker earlier this year. The USAF identified three “category 1 deficiencies” on KC-46, including the boom scraping problem that continues to plague the tanker today. Although legacy tankers have also scraped refueling aircraft, Boeing does not know how often the issue occurs on the KC-46 aircraft compared to older aircraft.
SO Jura Asked be a Question in the UK military thread, That feeds into here because both the US and UK have been rethinking their deployment model to deal with the conventional warfare issues flaring in Europe. the push for aa bit of Back to the Future.
What is reads like is that the US Army and British army are both now thinking of trying to reestablish Armored Cavalry Regiments. That is a Formation of Armored vehicle, Aviation assets and organic artillery. ACR's were used extensively before the Current Brigade combat team phase started around the end of the 1999's with the Objective force.
These new Strike Brigades like the Current Stryker BCT still have major issues to fix. First is getting there. The Royal Airforce is nowhere near as large as the USAF and lacks the mega lift of the C5M, raw numbers of the 222 C17, but actually has a better tactical lifter in the A400M well also having C130's but not in the raw numbers. yet still the USAF struggles with rapid deployment of the lighter weight Stryker Interim Armored Vehicle.
I mean Stryker is half the weight of Boxer and Ajax. So deploying such an asset will need a major logistics investment. I mean the British just moved from an 8 tonnes scout to a 38 tonnes. which means The British will be needing perhaps more than ever there Point class Sealift capacity. or to make a major investment in A400M.
Good news side though if you wanted to build a Brigade on common chassis the Boxer and Ajax are not bad choices.
Boxer has as options IFV, APC, Logistics, Command post, Ambulance, recovery vehicle, engineering vehicle even a 155mm Howitzer. Ajax ASCOD base can also be outfitted as such to. moving to a common chassis tends to streamline logistics.
bad news a major step up in aviation would also be needed I mean the RSSG version of the Concept calls for 32 Attack helicopters alone that is almost half the number of Apaches in the British inventory the the other asks for 12 or roughly 1/6th although more reasonable it just shows that more investment would still be needed. There is also the increasing need of Short range Air defence as Drones have moved to the killer role.
The biggest killer is and remains $$$$$$$$ oh... wait I am sorry I meant ££££££££. It will demand a major investment.
It seems likely that the US Army will be moving to a new Vehicle concept in the next decade, the FCS, the GCCV and now the NGCV all show smoke and where Smoke there's fire. The Bradley ECP, Abrams SEP v3, M109A7 and Stryker IAV are all placeholders for some future concept that always seems pushed off again.