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Los Angeles-class submarine USS Asheville completes homeport change to Guam
US Navy submarine USS Asheville (SSN 758) completed her homeport shift from Pearl Harbor arriving at Naval Base Guam on December 14.

Asheville replaced USS Chicago (SSN 721) as Guam’s fourth forward-deployed Los Angeles-class attack submarine. Chicago shifted homeport to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in September 2017
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Up next 6th Gen fighters.

The F-35 Is Old News: U.S. Military Has Big Plans for a 6th Generation Fighter

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The new 6th-generation fighter will also likely fire lasers and have the ability to launch offensive electronic attacks.
The F-35 Is Old News: U.S. Military Has Big Plans for a 6th Generation Fighter
The Air Force Chief Scientist, Dr. Geoffrey Zacharias, has told Scout Warrior that the US anticipates having hypersonic weapons by the 2020s, hypersonic drones by the 2030s and recoverable hypersonic drone aircraft by the 2040s. There is little doubt that hypersonic technology, whether it be weaponry or propulsion, or both, will figure prominently into future aircraft designs.

The Air Force has begun experimenting and conceptual planning for a 6th generation fighter aircraft to emerge in coming years as a technological step beyond the F-35, service leaders said.

"We have started experimentation, developmental planning and technology investment," Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, Military Deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Acquisition, told Scout Warrior in an interview earlier this year.

The new aircraft, engineered to succeed the 5th-generation F-35 Joint StrikeFighter and explode onto the scene by the mid 2030s, is now in the earliest stages of conceptual development with the Air Force and Navy. The two services are now working together on early conceptual discussions about the types of technologies and capabilities the aircraft will contain. While the Air Force has not yet identified a platform for the new aircraft.

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While Bunch did not elaborate on the specifics of ongoing early efforts, he did make reference to the Air Superiority 2030 Flight Plan which delineates some key elements of the service's strategy for a future platform.

Fighter jets in 20-years may likely contain the next-generation of stealth technology, electronic warfare, sophisticated computer processing and algorithms, increased autonomy, hypersonic weapons and so-called "smart-skins" where sensors are built into the side of the aircraft itself - according to expert aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia, with the Teal Group.

Some of these characteristics may have been on display more than a year ago when Northrop Grumman's SuperBowl AD revealed a flashy first look at its rendering of a new 6th-generation fighter jet.

Northrop is one of a number of major defense industry manufacturers who will bid for a contract to build the new plane - when the time is right. While there are not many details available on this work, it is safe to assume Northrop is advancing concepts, technology and early design work toward this end. Boeing is also in the early phases of development of a 6th-gen design, according to a report in Defense News.

The Navy's new aircraft will, at least in part, replace the existing inventory of F/A-18 Super Hornets which will start to retire by 2035, Navy officials said.

The Navy vision for a future carrier air wing in 2040 and beyond is comprised of the carrier-launched variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35C, and legacy aircraft such as the EA-18G Growler electronic jamming aircraft.

Also, around this time is when Navy planners envision its 6th generation aircraft to be ready, an aircraft which will likely be engineered for both manned and unmanned missions.

Technologies are rapidly advancing in coatings, electromagnetic spectrum issues, artificial intelligence, maneuvering, superiority in sensing the battlespace, communications and data links, Navy leaders have said.

Navy officials also add that the Navy is likely to develop new carrier-launched unmanned air vehicles in coming years as well. For instance, Northrop's historic X-47B demonstrator aircraft was the first unmanned system to successfully launch and land on the deck of an aircraft carrier.

Analysts have speculated that as 6th generation developers seek to engineer a sixth-generation aircraft, they will likely explore a range of next-generation technologies such as maximum sensor connectivity, super cruise ability and an aircraft with electronically configured “smart skins.”

Super cruise technology would enable the new fighter jet to cruise at supersonic speeds without needing afterburner, analysts have explained. As a result, super cruise brings a substantial tactical advantage because it allows for high-speed maneuvering without needing afterburner, therefore enable much longer on-location mission time. Such a scenario provides a time advantage as the aircraft would likely outlast a rival aircraft likely to run out of fuel earlier. The Air Force F-22 has a version of supercruise technology.

Maximum connectivity would mean massively increased communications and sensor technology such as having an ability to achieve real-time connectivity with satellites, other aircraft and anything that could provide relevant battlefield information.The new aircraft might also seek to develop the ability to fire hypersonic weapons, however such a development would hinge upon successful progress with yet-to-be-proven technologies such as scramjets traveling at hypersonic speeds. Some tests of early renderings of this technology have been tested successfully and yet other attempts have failed.

The Air Force Chief Scientist, Dr. Geoffrey Zacharias, has told Scout Warrior that the US anticipates having hypersonic weapons by the 2020s, hypersonic drones by the 2030s and recoverable hypersonic drone aircraft by the 2040s. There is little doubt that hypersonic technology, whether it be weaponry or propulsion, or both, will figure prominently into future aircraft designs.

Smart aircraft skins would involve dispersing certain technologies or sensors across the fuselage and further integrating them into the aircraft itself, using next-generation computer algorithms to organize and display information for the pilot. We see some of this already in the F-35; the aircraft sensor fusion uses advanced computer technology to collect, organize and display combat relevant information from a variety of otherwise disparate sensors onto a single screen for pilots. In addition, Northrop's Distributed Aperture System is engineered to provide F-35 pilots with a 360-degree view of the battlespace. Cameras on the DAS are engineered into parts of the F-35 fuselage itself to reduce drag and lower the aircraft's radar signature.

Smart skins with distributed electronics means that instead of having systems mounted on the aircraft, you would have apertures integrated on the skin of the aircraft, analysts have said.

This could reduce drag, increase speed and maneuverability while increasing the technological ability of the sensors.

It is also possible that the new 6th-generation fighter could use advanced, futuristic stealth technology able to enable newer, more capable air defenses. The air defenses of potential adversaries are increasingly using faster computing processing power and are better networked together, more digital, able to detect a wider range of frequencies and able to detect stealthy aircraft at farther distances.

The new 6th-generation fighter will also likely fire lasers and have the ability to launch offensive electronic attacks.
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inside:
Up next 6th Gen fighters.


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a journalist went hypersonic and fired lasers, while in the real world Yesterday at 9:33 AM
Friday at 8:06 AM

to watch:

"However, the raise and the entire defense budget is caught up in the perennial battle in Congress over continuing resolutions and tradeoffs between military and domestic spending.

The military currently is operating at 2017 spending levels under a continuing resolution that expires on Dec. 22, raising another possibility of a government shutdown.

Congressional leaders have proposed another continuing resolution into next year that would fund the military at 2018 levels of nearly $700 billion, while keeping domestic spending at 2017 levels. It was unclear whether the administration had the votes in the Senate to pass the proposal."
Trump Touts Military Pay Raise That Congress Has Yet to Pass
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Yesterday at 9:33 AM
Friday at 8:06 AM

to watch:

"However, the raise and the entire defense budget is caught up in the perennial battle in Congress over continuing resolutions and tradeoffs between military and domestic spending.

The military currently is operating at 2017 spending levels under a continuing resolution that expires on Dec. 22, raising another possibility of a government shutdown.

Congressional leaders have proposed another continuing resolution into next year that would fund the military at 2018 levels of nearly $700 billion, while keeping domestic spending at 2017 levels. It was unclear whether the administration had the votes in the Senate to pass the proposal."
Trump Touts Military Pay Raise That Congress Has Yet to Pass
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so let's get started with This week in Congress: The Cromnibus and the Christmas shutdown showdown
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As U.S. lawmakers return to the brink of a government shutdown this week, defense insiders are hopeful Congress will find a path to a budget deal that eases military spending limits.

To get beyond the Dec. 22 deadline, lawmakers are mulling a third stop-gap spending bill that fully funds the Pentagon for 2018 but punts on other agencies until Jan. 19. It’s a rough match to the budget cap-busting, House-passed defense appropriations bill, with added missile defense funds requested by the Trump administration.

A large enough bloc of assertive House Republican defense hawks and fiscally conservative Freedom Caucus members are backing this so-called cromnibus that House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has allowed it to advance.

But the proposal is likely dead in the Senate, where any legislation to ease caps needs a supermajority — which means at least eight Democrats must join Republicans.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has insisted on parity for defense and nondefense, and his conference is rejecting the cromnibus. Democrats have mockingly dubbed the same measure the “Puntagon,” for kicking the can on nondefense spending.

“At this late hour it’s ... an unfortunate waste of precious time,” Schumer said Thursday. “House Republicans should have known not to waste everyone’s time with a partisan spending bill that could never pass the Senate.”

Early this week, the main event will be the Republicans sprinting to pass their tax overhaul. They hope to pass the bill in both chambers by the middle of this week, but as of couple days ago, GOP leaders say they have ironed out internal divisions and have the votes to pass it.

From there, time will be short to pass a government spending bill before the Dec. 22 deadline or shut down the government.

Because a Christmastime government shutdown could trip the GOP’s possible victory lap on the tax bill and stain the party heading into 2018 midterm elections, Republican leaders are motivated to make a deal.

“I can’t assure you that there won’t be a shutdown, but I can assure you that there’s a lot of members in the majority party running Congress, and a lot of the minority don’t want a shutdown and are thinking about how to avoid one,” said William “Doc” Syers, the Aerospace Industries Association’s vice president for legislative affairs.

With the midterm election year approaching and Republicans collaborating to reconcile divisions on tax reform, Syers was hopeful that “maybe a little of that spills over on working together to avoid a shutdown.”

The congressional ‘kabuki dance‘

As congressional leaders formulate the stop-gap continuing resolution, they’ll also be focused on the ultimate top lines for the defense and nondefense sides of the budgets.

There was an initial Republican offer several weeks ago to raise defense by $54 billion and nondefense by $37 billion in both fiscal 2018 and 2019 — for a total increase in base discretionary spending of $182 billion.

That would boost the defense limit to $603 billion from the fiscal 2018 cap of $549 billion; and increase nondefense to $553 billion from the cap of $516 billion.

Democrats responded with a counteroffer to increase both defense and nondefense by $54 billion, raising the two-year cost above $200 billion, Roll Call is reporting.

Jim Moran, a former Democratic congressman from Virginia who served for many years on the House Appropriations Committee, told Defense News he expects Democrats to ultimately accept the Republican proposal, or something close to it — after a CR is passed this week.

“There’s not going to be a shutdown, and the members will kick the can far enough down the road that they can all be home for Christmas with only a tinge of anxiety about what will happen when they get back,” said Moran, now a senior legislative adviser with McDermott Will and Emery.

Senate Democrats are privately saying that $37 billion is an acceptable increase, Moran asserted. Plus, any deal can be sweetened with issues important to members on both sides — the reauthorization of child health insurance, funding for a program that permits many veterans to receive private-sector medical care, and disaster relief for California, Texas and Florida.

“The Democrats are looking to next November [elections],” Moran said. “If the Democrats get too insistent about a no-compromise strategy, some of the blame [for a shutdown] might shift to them. Nobody’s interest is served by a shutdown.”

Moran predicted the House may send the partisan cromnibus to the Senate — “one more step in this kabuki dance” on the bill — and that it would be rejected in the Senate.

Lawmakers, he said, will be keen to reach a deal to fund the government and leave Washington to spend the Christmas recess with their families.

“Their wives are going to be furious if they’re not home by the evening of the 22nd,” Moran said. “They’ve all promised their wives — or whoever it is who pulls their strings — that they will be back by the evening of the 22nd.”
 
Sep 8, 2017
Sunday at 8:12 AM
and according to DefenseNews Bell Helicopter ‘within days’ of first ground trials for V-280 Valor tilt-rotor

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now V-280 Valor flies for the first time
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Bell Helicopter’s V-280 Valor tilt-rotor aircraft flew for the first time Monday in a low hover over the ground, according to an official tuned into the proceedings.

The V-280, which took off at approximately 1:59 p.m. CDT at a Bell facility in Amarillo, Texas, was still flying at press time. The flight is expected to last roughly 15 to 20 minutes, according to the official.

The demonstrator aircraft, which Bell finished building in September, began ground runs that month and proceeded to unrestrained ground runs over the past several months, culminating in its first flight, just one week shy of Christmas.

The U.S. Army has been planning — through its Joint Multi-Role demonstrator program — for two very different vertical lift prototypes to begin flight demonstrations this fall as part of a critical path to informing and shaping the design of a Future Vertical Lift helicopter fleet expected to hit the skies in the 2030s.

More significant testing will follow Valor’s first flight over the course of a year as the Army observes the potential capability.

The other prototype’s first flight has fallen behind the originally intended goal of September. The Sikorsky-Boeing SB-1 Defiant coaxial helicopter is now expected to start flying some time in the first half of 2018.

The demonstrator’s delay for first flight can be attributed to challenges in manufacturing its complex rotor blades for the helicopter’s coaxial design, Dan Bailey, the U.S. Army’s JMR program manager, told Defense News in September.

Defiant is based on Sikorsky’s patented X2 technology, which is also being used in the company’s internally developed helicopter, Raider, which experienced a hard landing earlier this summer.

The Army is shooting for a low-rate production goal to build an FVL aircraft by 2030 and Bell Helicopter has said many times that it believes it could potentially shorten that timeline.

The way the Army is approaching its JMR demonstrator program will likely serve as a model for future major acquisition programs where prototyping done earlier in the process leads to more capable and reliable weapon systems delivered to the war fighter faster.
 
Yesterday at 9:23 PM
... if anyone has a link directly to a PDF file (I mean not to the format used by the USNI News), please post
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I now read this point of view:
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While partisans on both sides will try to recast President Trump’s new legally-mandated
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in their own terms, we’re going to try and analyze it in terms of what it actually means.

One of the wisest and most rational defense strategists in this country, Anthony Cordesman, avers the NSS clearly establishes Donald Trump’s commitment to a continuing internationalist view of the world, not the isolationist view that seemed to be predominant at the time of his election.

“One of the most critical aspects of the document is its definition of ‘America First’—one which clearly rejects the isolationism of those who first used the term, and rejects the denial of America’s overseas role that some around the President advocated before he appointed his present national security team. It directly addresses both America’s need to remain committed overseas and deal with competition from Russia
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,” Cordesman writes in
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.

But if you’re an ally, a competitor or someone living in an authoritarian country like China or Syria or North Korea, there’s an important point to note in the strategy. It lists “four pillars”. that are “vital national interests:”
  1. Protect the homeland, the American people, and the American way of life
  2. Promote American prosperity
  3. Preserve peace through strength
  4. Advance American influence
Note that “advance American influence” is last of the four pillars and there’s no mention of human rights or democracy in the top four. China and the European Union will certainly be focused on the idea that promoting American prosperity is our second-most important national security goal.

While Cordesman may be right (he usually is) about America’s continuing involvement overseas, the new Trump strategy seems likely to mean our “involvement” will mean tough bilateral trade negotiations coupled with a great deal of presidential talk, diplomacy and military action about how China in particular must do more to play by the international rules established over the last few centuries, usually referred to as the liberal international order.

One piece of evidence: The Financial Times was fed a good story over the weekend, saying that, “Trump will describe China as a strategic ‘competitor’ on Monday when he releases a national security strategy that accuses Beijing of maintaining a ‘repressive vision’ and pursuing policies of economic aggression aimed at weakening the US.”

The strategy itself calls both China and Russia “revisionist” powers bent on shaping “a world antithetical to US values and interests”. They are, it says, challenging “American power, influence, and interests” and “attempting to erode American security and prosperity.”

“The National Security Strategy is to be commended for acknowledging the reality that the United States is enmeshed in a long-term competition with China and Russia for international influence. It is also to be commended for highlighting the fact that the challenge is a multi-dimensional one,” says Tom Mahnken at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. Importantly, he adds this caveat: “We will now need to see the extent to which this emphasis is reflected in investment in national security, diplomacy, and economic policy.”

While there isn’t a great deal of evidence that human rights and democracy will play much of a role in Trump national security, the strategy does claim “it is principled because it is grounded in the knowledge that promoting American values is key to spreading peace and prosperity around the globe.” But this is much more vague than virtually everything else in the strategy and seems to be offered more as a sop to those Republicans who still believe being the good guy around the world is a good thing to be.

In his introductory comments to the strategy Trump provides more evidence that values are something of an afterthought:

“The American people elected me to make America great again. I promised that my Administration would put the safety, interests, and well-being of our citizens first. I pledged that we would revitalize the American economy, rebuild our military, defend our borders, protect our sovereignty, and advance our values.”

Now it’d be fair to argue that the fact the Trump administration makes any mention of human rights and democracy in any form is noteworthy.

The strategy argues that our country before Trump “stood by while countries exploited the international institutions we helped to build. They subsidized their industries, forced technology transfers, and distorted markets. These and other actions challenged America’s economic security.” In a fairly extraordinary statement for a National Security Strategy, the Trump document argues that “excessive regulations and high taxes stifled growth and weakened free enterprise—history’s greatest antidote to poverty. Each time government encroached on the productive activities of private commerce, it threatened not only our prosperity but also the spirit of creation and innovation that has been key to our national greatness.” This seems to bolster the idea that promoting American prosperity is more important to our national security than is preserving “peace through strength.”

In his speech unveiling the strategy, Trump reintroduced his specious argument that rich countries should “reimburse” the United States for our help in protecting them, pointing to the NATO countries. You could hear NATO ambassadors’ teeth grinding from up and down Massachusetts Avenues.

UPDATE BEGINS If you want some idea of how different the view about allies is from the Pentagon, check out Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ official comment on the strategy, issued late this afternoon:

“As the world’s most lethal armed force, the men and women of the United States military ensure our diplomats always speak from a position of strength. Supported by our allies and partners, we will continue to defend our common security interests as we protect America from those seeking to threaten the freedoms we enjoy (Emphasis added).” It may also be worth noting the emphasis Mattis placed on those freedoms, clearly a fundamental part of what makes America great, now or later. UPDATE ENDS

Here’s the basic layout of threats to the United States:

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seeks the capability to kill millions of Americans with nuclear weapons.
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terrorist groups and openly calls for our destruction.
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such as ISIS and al-Qa’ida are determined to attack the United States and radicalize Americans with their hateful ideology. Non-state actors undermine social order through drug and human trafficking networks, which they use to commit violent crimes and kill thousands of American each year.

“Adversaries (ed: it seems safe to insert “Russia and China” here) target sources of American strength, including our democratic system and our economy. They steal and exploit our intellectual property and personal data, interfere in our political processes, target our aviation and maritime sectors, and hold our critical infrastructure at risk. All of these actions threaten the foundations of the American way of life. Reestablishing lawful control of our borders is a first step toward protecting the American homeland and strengthening American sovereignty.”

In his speech Trump again claimed he will get rid
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He seems to whip this one out every now and then in his major defense speeches although
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to achieve it since being elected. (Those looking for an authoritative analysis of 2018 defense spending and the “defense sequester” please read Mackenzie Eaglen’s op-ed on the subject we are publishing tomorrow morning.)

As Rep. Mac Thornberry, chairman of the
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says in a statement issued just before Trump began his speech, Congress must “pass adequate and reliable funding for our troops. This strategy is a good start, but only sufficient funding for our military can make it real.” So far, there is relatively little evidence that will happen for the next two years.
source is BreakingDefense
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Yesterday at 9:39 PM
Sep 8, 2017

now V-280 Valor flies for the first time
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and now watched

LOL it's bug-looking:
331d2bec1b370b8abeb93a3e5d9d331c.jpg
 

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