US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.


Yesterday at 7:55 PM
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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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and a tough headline
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After heading off a government shutdown with a “clean” temporary spending bill on
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, lawmakers are scrambling to reach a consensus under
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that funds the government beyond December 22nd. If leaders cannot come to a final agreement on spending levels and other thorny policy issues for a government spending deal before then, there may be a brief government shutdown.

How did we get here? On December 12th, President Trump signed
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into law, authorizing the first increase to military endstrength in seven years, the largest pay increase in eight, and a topline of $700 billion dollars. While Trump praised
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Chairman Mac Thornberry for his work to secure this higher topline, he cautioned that the military has “
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” and submitted a
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about Congress’ proposal.

While several of these worries—particularly the lack of action on
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(BRAC)—are justified, they pale in comparison with the “bigly-est” elephant in the room.

The $634 in base defense spending for fiscal year (FY) 2018 authorized by the bill is $85 billion dollars above the annual Budget Control Act cap spending limit for national defense. What does this mean?

Right now, the law contradicts itself. Even though the National Defense Authorization Act is current law, funding defense at those levels would breach
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spending caps and trigger a sequester. Predictably, the result has been confusion in Washington.

Nevertheless, Congress’ efforts to boost defense spending above levels requested by President Trump will pay off and lawmakers will get to yes. While there are still many variables at this point, there are a fair amount of knowns. Here’s a roundup of what to expect from the end of the year:

Congress will pass a two-year mini deal to amend the Budget Control Act.

At some point soon, likely in the next month, Congress will pass a two-year plan to raise the Budget Control Act spending caps. In the wake of 2013’s government shutdown, President Obama signed a bill just after Christmas
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by $22.4 billion in 2013 and $9.3 billion the next year. This proposal
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by a 332-94 vote and the Senate by 64-36.

At the expiration of that deal, Congress
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. Intended to be prophylactic rather than reactionary, it was signed into law on November 2nd, 2015, barely a month into the fiscal year. While the law once again cleared the Senate with 64 votes, it
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in the House of Representatives.

In part, this was due to the plan’s controversial handling of
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. In addition to raising federal discretionary spending by $80 billion over fiscal 2016 and fiscal ’17, the plan authorized a $7.9 billion increase in the 2016 request for defense-related OCO, despite this account being exempt from statutory caps. This increase was matched by a proportionate plus-up to State Department OCO—
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—and an understanding that FY17 OCO would be
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to what was received in 2016.

These changes more or less codified the use and abuse of OCO as an escape valve to fund State and Pentagon base budget needs to alleviate fiscal pressure on other agencies. Actual 2017 OCO was much higher than the deal suggested, netting $82.8 billion for defense and $20.8 billion for the State Department.

All indicators suggest there will be no letup in the OCO accounting gimmicks to stave off calls for deficit reduction in the coming third mini deal to amend the Budget Control Act. Given the impending midterms and the political costs of supporting massive cuts to programs that benefit constituents, it’s simply too easy not to.
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have already demonstrated their reticence to go along with the administration’s drastic proposed cuts to the State Department and other international aid programs, which the
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touted as amounting to a 29 percent reduction from anticipated 2017 spending. With the need to bring Democrats aboard and placate constituents in their home states, there is little reason to believe the deep cuts proposed by Trump to Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and the departments of the Interior, Justice, Labor, and the Treasury will materialize.

Biggest BCA “Fix” Yet

Where the 2013 “Ryan-Murray” deal added $63.4 billion in new spending above previous limits and the 2015 Bipartisan Budget Act added $80 billion (discounting its OCO shenanigans), raising just the defense cap for 2018 to accommodate the 2018 NDAA’s topline would cost $85 billion. That doesn’t include any increase to the $515.6 billion
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for FY18, which will be required to secure enough votes in the Senate for bipartisan passage.

The most commonly cited number in the rumor mill for a new two-year deal is $200 billion in new discretionary spending. Yet owing to the massive defense need, there are only three ways to reach that level of spending: break the parity between defense and nondefense increases, as
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, set unrealistic expectations for the 2019 caps, or rely more heavily on OCO spending to cover base budget needs. Or some combination thereof.

The price of any budget deal will be near-parity increases for defense and non-defense discretionary spending.

Equal dollar-for-dollar increases to defense and nondefense spending have been the bedrock of both previous bipartisan budget deals. Republicans are now seeking to use their majorities in both chambers of Congress to secure a disproportionate increase for defense spending.

On December 13th,
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Frelinghuysen
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to fully fund national defense for the rest of the fiscal year as part of a Continuing Resolution that funded the rest of the government through January 19th. By supporting this proposal, Democrats would give up their political leverage to use defense increases to secure proportionate increases to domestic programs. Consequently, anything that is not parity or very close to it will not become law. For proof, look no further than the negotiations and outcome of the 2017 government funding bill.

As of now, other rumored
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are to fund defense increases of $60 billion to $70 billion, coupled with nondefense increases of $50 to $60 billion each year for two years. That is the minimum Democrats will likely accept for any spending deal. A
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organized by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pledging to oppose any deal without proportional increases was signed by 44 of the 48 Democratic senators, denying Republicans the 60 Senate votes they need to avoid a filibuster. Given Democrats’ overwhelming leverage, they’re likely to secure 1:1 parity for defense and nondefense, or very close to it.

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Like the previous two deals, the spending increases will be higher in the first year than the second.

In the 2013 BCA deal, 71 percent of the total additions to the caps was for 2014. Likewise, 63 percent of the increases brought about by the 2015 plan were for year one of the deal. The impulse behind these decisions is obvious; it’s always easier to put off spending cuts for another year in the name of instant political gratification. Congress will likely attempt a similar ploy this year, shortchanging fiscal 2019 spending in favor of higher toplines now. Unfortunately for them, military realities—and public testimony by defense leaders—demand a defense increase in FY19 that is more than an afterthought.

Budget negotiators are boxed in by the testimony of defense leadership: the 2019 defense budget must continue to grow.

As Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford
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this summer, the Pentagon must sustain annual real growth of between 3 percent and 5 percent each year over the next three years in order to fully resource the needs of the military based upon the forthcoming National Defense Strategy. In independent testimony over the fall, General Dunford went so far as to suggest that the Pentagon might need
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to keep pace with the worsening international threat environment.

Depending on which starting point one uses—2017 enacted defense spending, President Trump’s budget request for 2018 as
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, or the recent National Defense Authorization Act—and the rate of growth, the future fiscal health of the Pentagon varies widely. By the sunset of the Budget Control Act in 2021, this growth could result in a base defense budget anywhere between $660 billion and $777 billion in then-year dollars, far above the $590 billion BCA cap for FY21. For comparison,
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of what the Pentagon would need to fulfill all its global requirements suggests a $730 billion dollar topline by 2021.

Expect Congress to again use OCO as an relief valve to make up the difference in defense spending between their levels and the White House’s.

With breaking parity between defense and nondefense spending and shortchanging 2019 defense budgets both unlikely, the most probable result is the further misuse of OCO far beyond that for which it was originally intended. Something in the ballpark of the topline recommended by the National Defense Authorization Act, or slightly less, will likely emerge, but with some $30 billion included in that act’s base budget instead funded out of “supplemental” OCO accounts that do not count against the deficit.

Considering the White House’s
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to curtail OCO under Office of Management and Budget director
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, who
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against the account while a Representative from South Carolina in 2014, there is a considerable amount of irony baked into this approach. If OCO remains at its current level and receives more than an additional $30 billion in funding, the Administration may well bear responsibility for the
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despite its initial plans to slash it to
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. In fact, Trump’s original 2018 budget was so aggressive in its efforts to curtail OCO that it would have resulted in just 1.1 compounded annual growth for defense spending, resulting in a decline in defense spending when measured in real terms during the nine out-years of Trump’s 10-year budget.

Despite rhetoric to the contrary, so far the White House has obfuscated rather than clarified the Pentagon’s financial situation. The most evident example was the decision to designate $4.7 billion of Trump’s most recent $5.9 billion supplemental defense funding request as “emergency” funding and the rest as OCO—both of which are
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. Usually, emergency funding is reserved for situations such as hurricane relief. Its use in a defense context has generated confusion in Congress, with the National Defense Authorization Act classifying such money as base and appropriators already designating it as OCO.

Wrapping up fiscal year 2018 negotiations will look a lot like the chaos of the 2017 omnibus, including lopsided policy and spending victories for the minority.

President Trump entered negotiations for the
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seeking an
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in discretionary spending to compensate for his proposed increases to defense and homeland security. However, the trillion-dollar-plus spending omnibus wound up rejecting all of these cuts and upheld domestic spending at the level set forth in the FY17 nondefense cap. Some programs opposed by Trump even saw major wins; for example, while Trump had proposed slashing funds for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the omnibus wound up
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budget by $2 billion instead.

What increases the president did secure for defense and homeland security (each less than half of his request) all came through as emergency funding. While this did not alter the caps in any way, it did represent a disproportionate increase of defense spending without a corresponding increase the nondefense topline, representing one of the clearest breaks in parity between the two accounts since the BCA took effect.

Yet Republicans paid for this in spades; the minority party was also able to rack up a litany of major policy victories in the year-end deal. These included protection for Planned Parenthood funding, no cuts in funding for so-called “sanctuary cities,” a permanent extension of health care for coal miners, funds to help Puerto Rico make up a projected shortfall in Medicaid, and a continuation of Affordable Care Act subsidies to insurers. All funding for a border wall was stripped from the President’s request for additional homeland security funding.

The policy price Republicans paid for a lapse in proportionate increases between nondefense and defense spending in the omnibus suggests that parity is likely to return with a vengeance in the forthcoming deal on the caps.

Time to End the BCA

From the 2013 deal for $63.4 billion to the current plans for almost $200 billion in BCA relief over the next two years, the ballooning size of revisions to the caps suggests just how frivolous they have become. With OCO now accepted by even its staunchest opponents as a convenient loophole to get around statutory limits on spending, the perpetuation of arbitrary spending caps disconnected from strategic realities does little except cause D.C. drama.

While lawmakers will likely take the easy way out with a deal to raise the caps now and a fourth and final extension for fiscal 2020 and 2021 down the road, the most sensible recourse for all would be to acknowledge that the Budget Control Act is a failed experiment. That would be the greatest Christmas present Congress could hope to give the American people.
source is BreakingDefense
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IJFHGR3XHBE3RJMTLJYIDA67HM.jpg

Boeing revealed its first prototype for the U.S. Navy's MQ-25 unmanned tanker competition on Dec. 19, 2017. (Boeing)
cross-posting this picture from the story in
US Navy MQ-25 Stingray Unmanned Aerial Tanker 8 minutes ago
 
LOL the above picture is also inside the USNI News Boeing Unveils Its MQ-25A Stingray Entry Ahead of Jan. 3 Deadline for Proposals
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Boeing unveiled the first photo of its entry in the MQ-25A Stingray unmanned aerial vehicle competition today.

The company is one of three competitors hoping to build the Navy’s first carrier-based UAV, which will serve as a mission tanker for the carrier air wing. General Atomics and
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. Northrop Grumman, who built the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Aircraft Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) used in testing dating back to 2013,
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.

Boeing’s photo shows a wing-body-tail design, a fuel-efficient design shared by
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. Northrop Grumman’s X-47B had a cranked kite, flying wing design that was more geared towards the original stealthy strike and refueling concept, whereas the current MQ-25 requirement focuses just on mission tanking.

“Boeing has been delivering carrier aircraft to the Navy for almost 90 years,” Don ‘BD’ Gaddis, the program lead for Boeing’s Phantom Works division, said in a company news release.
“Our expertise gives us confidence in our approach. We will be ready for flight testing when the engineering and manufacturing development contract is awarded.”

The news release added that Boeing’s entry in the competition is “completing engine runs before heading to the flight ramp for deck handling demonstrations early next year.”

As a rapid acquisition project, the Navy has designated just two key performance parameters for the UAV: mission tanking, and carrier suitability. The winning design will have to launch and recover from an aircraft carrier at sea, just like any manned aircraft, and will have to meet manned planes at range to refuel them during missions,
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g.

The
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following a
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. Boeing noted in its news release that proposals are due Jan. 3.

The Navy hopes to field the first MQ-25 by 2020 and has already announced that aircraft carriers USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) and USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) will be the
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.
 
no pretty picture in this post:
What Does a Government Shutdown Mean for the Department of Defense?
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Four years ago, this staffer for the defense policy undersecretary helped the Pentagon figure out the impacts of a shutdown. Hint: it wasn’t pretty.

What happens to the Defense Department when the federal government shuts down? I can shed some light on this; in October 2013, I was a DoD civilian charged with helping to ensure an orderly shutdown for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.

On Dec. 22, the current continuing resolution will expire. If lawmakers have been unable to reach agreement on an appropriations bill, or pass a third CR for fiscal 2018, appropriations will lapse. By this time, Defense Department planners have long since begun planning — which means the harms to military readiness, service members, DoD civilians, and contractors have already begun.

The planning alone is harmful, absorbing hours of management and senior leaders’ time better spent elsewhere, and damaging morale in the workforce. Based on
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, or OPM, leaders must determine what activities can continue during a government shutdown and what personnel are excepted from shutdown furlough. Making these determinations is more complicated than it seems. Many must be made case-by-case, which is time-consuming and distracting from the Department’s primary missions.

First, shutdowns only apply to things funded through appropriations from Congress. Activities and employees paid for by non-appropriated funds do not shut down. These employees are referred to as “exempt” because the shutdown does not apply to them. For example, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, or DSCA, generates some revenue through administrative fees charged to foreign governments in support of foreign military sales cases; these are non-appropriated funds. Some of DSCA’s employees’ salaries are paid out of these non-appropriated funds; as a result, they are exempt from shutdown. Other DSCA employees are paid through appropriated funds, and are thus subject to shutdown furloughs.

Second, the OPM guidelines allow agencies to make exceptions for personnel necessary to ensure the safety of human life and protection of property, as well as those employees required to ensure an orderly shutdown. These personnel are known as “excepted” because, while the shutdown does apply to them, they are granted an exception from furlough. While this guidance seems straightforward, there is a lot of latitude in these definitions. As a result, senior leaders, managers, and counsel must painstakingly review each of their missions and their workers to determine who may legally report to work.

Finally, Congress may make their own exceptions. In 2013, for example, Congress passed the
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at the eleventh hour, appropriating funds for active-duty military pay and DoD and DHS civilian pay deemed to be supporting the active-duty military. As a result, there was no question that all active-duty service members were to report to work. However, because the legislation was drafted and passed in haste, the guidance for civilians was ambiguous. Executive-branch lawyers spent days attempting to determine which civilians could legally come to work before Congress clarified its intent.

Anyone excepted from shutdown furlough will, by law, be paid eventually. However, whether they will be paid on time is another question entirely. Without action by Congress, service members and excepted civilians do not receive a paycheck until the shutdown ends. As a result, deployed service members have to worry whether their families will receive their housing allowances in time to pay the rent. Furloughed employees must wait until the shutdown ends to find out if Congress will act to pay them for the time they were not working.

A shutdown’s impact on contracts and contractors is even less predictable than for service members and DoD civilian employees. If a contract has already been fully funded, work may proceed during shutdown. In some cases, this outcome is highly inefficient. For example, depending on how a given contract vehicle is set up, contractors who provide administrative support may be required to come to work during a shutdown but may not have anyone to support if their DoD civilian managers are furloughed. Even worse, DoD cannot award any pending contracts until the shutdown ends, delaying work important to the department. Moreover, small contractors awaiting funds from DoD may have concerns about whether they can make payroll during a shutdown.

The majority of DoD civilians and contractors work outside the Washington, D.C., area. A great many of them work in shipyards and maintenance depots, keeping aircraft flying, ships at sea, and ground vehicles on the move. These employees are generally not excepted from a shutdown furlough because they are not immediately engaged in protecting human life or property. But sending them all home for the duration of a government shutdown, or delaying the contracts that enable them to come to work, can have a very real and very negative impact on readiness by delaying badly needed maintenance, creating backlogs that last well beyond the shutdown itself.

Funding the government is Congress’s most basic Article I function. When they fail to do so, the entire nation looks absurdly ineffective, both in the eyes of its own citizens and to foreign observers. With approval ratings already historically low, and public faith in government institutions eroding, Congress cannot afford another shutdown. Nor can the Department of Defense afford the consequences in terms of military readiness and military, civilian, and contractor morale. Most members of Congress understand this dynamic, and consequently they will most likely avoid shutting down the government though another short continuing resolution or a budget deal. However, going down to the wire, as we have so many times in recent years, remains harmful in and of itself.
 

FORBIN

Lieutenant General
Registered Member
Boeing Unveils Its MQ-25A Stingray Entry Ahead of Jan. 3 Deadline for Proposals

Boeing unveiled the first photo of its entry in the MQ-25A Stingray unmanned aerial vehicle competition today.

The company is one of three competitors hoping to build the Navy’s first carrier-based UAV, which will serve as a mission tanker for the carrier air wing. General Atomics and
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. Northrop Grumman, who built the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Aircraft Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) used in testing dating back to 2013,
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.

Boeing’s photo shows a wing-body-tail design, a fuel-efficient design shared by
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. Northrop Grumman’s X-47B had a cranked kite, flying wing design that was more geared towards the original stealthy strike and refueling concept, whereas the current MQ-25 requirement focuses just on mission tanking.

“Boeing has been delivering carrier aircraft to the Navy for almost 90 years,” Don ‘BD’ Gaddis, the program lead for Boeing’s Phantom Works division, said in a company news release.
“Our expertise gives us confidence in our approach. We will be ready for flight testing when the engineering and manufacturing development contract is awarded.”

The news release added that Boeing’s entry in the competition is “completing engine runs before heading to the flight ramp for deck handling demonstrations early next year.”

As a rapid acquisition project, the Navy has designated just two key performance parameters for the UAV: mission tanking, and carrier suitability. The winning design will have to launch and recover from an aircraft carrier at sea, just like any manned aircraft, and will have to meet manned planes at range to refuel them during missions,
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g.

The
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following a
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. Boeing noted in its news release that proposals are due Jan. 3.

The Navy hopes to field the first MQ-25 by 2020 and has already announced that aircraft carriers USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) and USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) will be the
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.
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MQ-25 Stingray Unmanned Aerial Tanker Could Almost Double Strike Range of U.S. Carrier Air Wing
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now I read DDG-51 Program Office Preparing RFP for Next Multiyear Buy; Will Include Options for Additional Ships
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but it doesn't say much except the Pentagon doesn't have 2018 money yet

here's the text, anyway:
The Navy is preparing to release the request for proposals (RFP) for at least 10 Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers (DDG-51),
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and the RFP set for release within the next month, the DDG-51 program manager told USNI News.

Capt. Casey Moton said the multiyear contract, which covers Fiscal Years 2018 through 2022, would be written in a flexible way to account for some uncertainty in destroyer acquisition rates in the coming years.

In the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2018, which has already been signed into law, the House and Senate authorizers gave the Navy permission to buy as many as 15 ships in the upcoming multiyear procurement contract. However, the House and Senate appropriators have not yet agreed to that: the House defense spending bill does not specify a quantity of ships for the upcoming contract, but the Senate defense spending bill allows for just 10 ships in the contract.

Additionally, the DDG-51 program is one of the top two talked-about programs for early efforts in a Navy buildup to a 355-ship fleet, but the specifics of that buildup have not yet been hashed out.

“For [the current fiscal year, 2018], I think we’re at Navy’s budget request, which is two ships, unless something were to happen in final conference on the approps bill,” Moton told USNI News. The NDAA added funding for a third ship this year but the appropriators do not seem interested in providing the money to buy that additional DDG, though they’ve yet to pass a final defense spending bill for the year.
“For future ships, we’re planning on an options construct in the RFP to give us the flexibility of added ships if we need to. And we’re doing that for two reasons: one is because we know that occasionally Congress tries to add ships, and we’re also doing that because obviously there’s a lot of work going on in the Navy and on the Hill on a path to 355, and so from a contractual standpoint we wanted to have a construct in place that would allow us to ramp up if we needed.”

The five-year shipbuilding contract is planned to be awarded to the two builders, Bath Iron Works and Ingalls Shipbuilding, by the end of the current fiscal year.

Moton said that the program, now more than 60 destroyers into production and moving into its fourth flight design, has an “incredible cost baseline” to help inform cost estimates for the upcoming block buy. He said he’s confident in the new Flight III design, which will be introduced in two of the final three hulls of the current multiyear contract, and he said he’s confident the Navy will achieve the required 10-percent cost savings through buying the destroyers in a multi-ship multiyear deal. With the contract expected to yield about $1.8 billion in savings, “it’s like an extra ship, the multiyear gets us an extra ship.”

Moton said he could not discuss how the options would be handled – whether the builders would bid on them now or after Congress makes additional funds available – or other details of the competitive strategy ahead of the bidding process. But he did drive home that “I firmly believe that both shipyards are able to compete for this contract and are able to compete with each other strongly. I truly believe that. And so obviously I can’t disclose what our competitive strategy is going to be … but we’ve done a huge amount of work preparing for our RFP release and how we’re going to handle the competition.”

This FY18-22 contract would begin with DDG-128. The Navy earlier this year finalized a deal with Ingalls and BIW to insert the Flight III design upgrade into the end of the current multiyear contract, with hulls 125 at Ingalls and 126 at Bath being Flight III ships. DDG-127, which Congress added to Navy shipbuilding plans and incrementally paid for in 2016 and 2017, will be built by Bath Iron Works in the Flight IIA configuration.

“The fact that both builders are on contract for Flight III, we think it positions us well for the next multiyear,” Moton said.
 
some Captain Moton praises building of one more FlightIIA copy [emoticon of facepalm], anyway it's interesting DDG-51 Flight III Design Efforts Nearly Complete; Radar, Power Systems Testing in 2018
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The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer program office has completed 3D modeling of its Flight III design upgrade and will spend 2018 testing major components of the new configuration, the program manager told USNI News.

Capt. Casey Moton said the program office has been working all year on Flight III detail design, with the most critical piece being the 3D modeling of the new design – a process that both builders, Bath Iron Works and Ingalls Shipbuilding, had to undertake separately. Both yards recently completed this process, meeting the long-standing December 2017 goal for this milestone, Moton told USNI News in a Dec. 14 interview.

The Flight III design revolves around the addition of the AN/SPY-6(V) Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR), with upgrades to the power and other systems to support the much more powerful radar. About 45 percent of the ship’s drawings zones were affected by the Flight III upgrade, Moton said.

With the 3D modeling complete, the two yards will now go through a “final functional design” effort before fabrication of the Flight III ships can start, to verify that the design changes in the upgrade didn’t unintentionally create any further system-level adjustments that need to be made – additional fire main requirements, for example. Moton said that should wrap up by May, just in time for Ingalls’ planned start of fabrication on its first Flight III hull, DDG-125.

AMDR testing has been going well, Moton said, with all the cooling and power requirements holding steady and no signs that the radar would require any further changes to the ship design. The radar will move to Lockheed Martin’s Aegis Combat System testing facility in Moorestown, N.J., later this fiscal year to be married up with the combat system hardware for integration. Testing will take place in Moorestown, beginning with site activation in Fiscal Year 2019 and spanning several years, Moton said, but is expected to be completed before the radar and combat system have to be installed on the first Flight III ship and prepared for combat system light-off.

As a risk-reduction measure, while the radar itself was testing the transmitting radius in Hawaii, engineers in Moorestown were already working on integrating the back end of the radar system – the electronic cabinets and other components – with Aegis hardware. Some integration issues were identified and are being fixed now, Moton said, noting that identifying those issues as early as possible was the point of this Combat Systems Interface Support Equipment Testing.

The AMDR will also require a new electrical plant for the ship, which Moton said is also performing well in testing. A power conditioning module, which converts the new generators’ 4,160-volt AC power into 1,000-volt DC power, is “nearing completion of testing” with builder Leonardo DRS and should ship to the Land-Based Engineering Site in Philadelphia next month for further testing. The 4,160-volt generators, which were developed for the DDG-1000 program, should also ship to the Philly test site next month. As the remaining power system equipment arrives there early in 2018, the power system will be able to light off in FY 2019.

“The Flight III technical piece is proceeding on schedule, and we haven’t had any major issues,” Moton said.
“Doesn’t mean we haven’t had any issues, but we haven’t had any major issues. Obviously the big piece, a huge step in risk reduction will be when we first light everything off in Moorestown and when we first light everything off in Philadelphia.”

Moton acknowledged the importance of those two light-off dates, but he said he is already comfortable with the maturity of the Flight III design and the progress in developing and testing the radar and electrical plant. Much has been made of the maturity of the design – both because risk was a major factor in contract negotiations with both yards as the Navy looked to insert the Flight III design into an existing multiyear procurement contract, and because
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– but Moton said previous milestones have assured him that the program office is on a path to success with this capability upgrade.

“I don’t want to somehow take away from the fact that when we light everything off at Moorestown and Philadelphia, that’s going to be a big deal for us to get through that,” Moton told USNI News.

“But from an individual component level, when the Navy submitted its [President’s Budget 2018] request, or shortly after that, we submitted a multiyear request for Fiscal 18 to 22, and part of the multiyear request was the Navy certifying a stable design. That had oversight at the [assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition] level and at the [under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics] level. We’ve got to sometimes keep in perspective that on a new ship class … typically detail design doesn’t start until after you’ve awarded a contract to a shipbuilder. So we were already sort of well ahead of that game on Flight III.”

Asked when he could confidently say the risk in the upgrade has been managed, Moton replied, “we think that we’re already there.”

As the detail design and the component testing progressed throughout 2017, so did contract negotiations with Bath Iron Works and Ingalls Shipbuilding for the mid-contract Flight III upgrade. The Navy issued its request for proposals in May 2016, and negotiations lasted more than a year – Ingalls signed a contract in June 2017 and Bath in October 2017.

“If you look at those timelines, you probably know it was a robust discussion. But we were able to get the Flight IIIs awarded within our budget,” Moton said.
“We had a lot of discussions with both shipbuilders about risk-sharing on the contract. The Navy wanted to do a fixed-price contract – now, fixed-price doesn’t mean firm fixed-price; fixed-price incentive, on a shareline, government shares the risk and the contractor shares the risk. It’s probably not much of a secret that there were pretty healthy discussions with both shipbuilders about what that risk-sharing should be, so it took a while.”

Moton noted that Ingalls’ start of fabrication date of May 2018 hasn’t changed despite the lengthy contract negotiations, in part because the Navy provided the shipyard long lead time material and long lead time engineering funding to keep DDG-125 on track.

Talks with Bath Iron Works had the added complication of a second ship – whereas the Navy only wanted Ingalls to change its one FY 2017 ship to the Flight III design, Bath had both a 2017 ship and an additional hull Congress incrementally funded in 2016 and 2017. Ultimately BIW and the Navy agreed to keep that incrementally funded ship in the older Flight IIA configuration.

So, DDGs 125 and 126 will be Flight III, 127 will be a Flight IIA ship, and then 128 and beyond will fall in the next multiyear contract that will be all Flight III ships.

“In the end, we reached a pretty good deal with Bath in the sense that the extra Flight IIA ship gives them one more ship to make sure their
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,” Moton said.
“And it also frankly worked to give them some additional time before they start cutting steel on Flight III, so in the end it worked out, it worked out well.”

Overall, Moton said he’s pleased to have both yards on contract for Flight III construction
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.

“I’d like to think we did a good job working together with both yards to get both sides comfortable with the risk, and the bottom line is we were able to reach an agreement with both shipbuilders for Flight III and contractually on how to handle that risk,” Moton said.
“It’s a big change, but the desire to do that was driven by the operational need. … World events were driving the desire to get this radar out there as quickly as possible. I don’t need to name what those world events are.”
 
I've been following here so called B-52 engines replacement story; the last part:
Dec 3, 2017
Nov 21, 2017

well,
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... and the rest of the article is unrelated to B-52; source is BreakingDefense
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while Now The Air Force Wants New Engines For Its B-52s That Burn 40 Percent Less Fuel
December 20, 2017
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The U.S. Air Force has released new details about its desired requirements for a possible program
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of Boeing B-52H Stratofortress bombers. The service says it is hoping the upgrades could improve fuel efficiency by up to 40 percent, provide more on board electrical power, be hardened against nuclear explosions and cyber attacks, and otherwise keep the aircraft combat ready until at least 2050, at which point the youngest among them will have been in operation for nearly 90 years.

Between Dec. 12 and 13, 2017, the Air Force held a series of meetings with industry representatives at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, home of the 2nd Bomb Wing and its B-52s. The service released the briefing slides from those events
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, the U.S. government’s main contracting website, on Dec. 15, 2017, which
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was first to report. Engine-makers Honeywell,
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,
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,
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, and Safran USA were all in attendance, as was Boeing and various other potential vendors, according to the briefing slides.

“This event does not indicate a promise by the Government to issue a request for proposal or a solicitation of any type,” the Air Force stressed up front. “Nothing discussed in this meeting authorizes you to work, start work, or bill for work.”

The need to re-engine the aircraft is steadily becoming inevitable at this point, though. One of the slides said that Air Force Global Strike Command, which oversees both the B-52s and the United States’ land-based, nuclear-armed
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(ICBM) force, expects the BUFFs to remain operational at least until 2050, and possibly beyond. The aircraft will be the primary launch platform for the up-coming
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(LRSO) nuclear capable cruise missile. The bombers, which began
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that allows them to carry precision guided munitions in their bomb bays in November 2017, will continue
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, well.

Re-engining the bombers will be essential if the service actually expects them to remain combat ready for nearly nine decades, and they clearly know it. The Air Force’s industry day confirmed that it is looking for a one-for-one replacement for each of the eight engines on its 76 B-52s – a full purchase order that would include at least more than 600 new engines, not counting spares, plus new nacelles and pods, electrical systems and other improvements.

The new commercial-off-the-shelf powerplants would need to be at least 20 percent more fuel efficient the existing TF33 turbofans. The last time the Air Force looked into re-engining the fleet in 2014 the minimum requirement was between 15 and 25 percent. But this 20 percent minimum increase in efficiency metric is just a threshold number, the service is hoping it might actually be able to find replacement engines that are up to 40 percent more fuel efficient.

At the same time, the new engines can’t impact the aircraft’s flight performance, center of gravity, or limit its maximum takeoff weight or weapon carrying capacity. The Air Force does say it might be willing to consider changes to the aircraft’s structure that require changes in weapon release envelopes.

In line with the B-52’s nuclear mission, the engines and their associated hardware have to be hardened against electromagnetic pulses from nuclear weapons going off nearby. Any vendor that proposed a commercial engine with the ability to send out information wirelessly about its functionality for maintenance purposes would have to disable that feature and otherwise shield the system from cyber attacks.

However, the Air Force does want the engines to be able to record important functional data to help ground crews spot and identify problems. The 2014 plan called for a minimum of 15 to 25 years of service life on each engine before the need for a major depot-level overhaul and an overall sustainment plan laid out to nearly 2055. The briefing slides do not say whether or not these requirements have changed since then.

The eight engines should also be able to provide at least 400 kilovolt-amps (kVA) of on board power in total at a typical cruise speed, the same as a heavy duty portable commercial power generator, and potentially up to 500 kVA. The Air Force says the extra power is necessary to help support unspecified future upgrades, but lasers and standoff electronic warfare systems are likely growth capacities for a re-engined B-52, all of which require a lot of power.

Above all, the goal is to be able to implement this significant update without the need for dramatic changes to the wings, engine pods and pylons, and cowlings and nacelles. The new powerplants will need to seamlessly work with the existing fuel lines, as well as hydraulic and pneumatic systems.

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