US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.

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Yesterday at 12:06 PM
Stayin' alive: Air Force to order more A-10 wings in FY19 budget request
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Air Force Searching for New Company to Re-Wing A-10s
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is searching for a new company to rebuild wings on the
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after ending an arrangement with Boeing Co., officials said.

The service plans to launch a new competition for the re-winging work and award a contract sometime after Congress appropriates full-year funding for fiscal 2018, which began Oct. 1, they said. (The government is currently running on a short-term funding measure known as a continuing resolution, which lasts through Feb. 8.)
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During a speech on Thursday in Washington, D.C., Gen. Mike Holmes, the head of Air Combat Command, touched on the contract with Boeing and the planned future deal.

"The previous contract that we had was with Boeing, and it kind of came to the end of its life for cost and for other reasons," he said. "It was a contract that was no longer cost-effective for Boeing to produce wings under, and there were options there that we weren't sure where we were going to go, and so now we're working through the process of getting another contract."

When contacted by for additional details, Ann Stefanek, a spokeswoman for the Air Force at the Pentagon, confirmed the planned contract will be "a new and open competition."

Boeing has been upgrading A-10 wings for the Air Force since June 2007, according to Cassaundra Bantly, a spokeswoman for the Chicago-based company. The contract calls for replacing up to 242 sets of wings, and the company has so far received orders to replace 173, she said.

"Boeing stands ready with a demonstrated understanding of the technical data package, tooling, supply chain, and manufacturing techniques to offer the lowest risk option and quickest timeline for additional wings for the A-10 Warthog," Bantly said in an email.

She added, "The ordering period on the current contract has expired, so the U.S. Air Force is working on an acquisition strategy for more wings. Boeing would welcome a follow-on effort for additional A-10 wings.

"We’re currently in the process of delivering the remaining wings on our contract," Bantly said.

During a briefing at the Brookings Institution, Holmes said the Air Force requested funding in the fiscal 2018 budget to continue rebuilding wings on the
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, also known as the Warthog. The aircraft, popular among ground troops though a budget target for previous leaders, recently
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Stefanek recently told the Air Force plans to use $103 million authorized in the National Defense Authorization Act, which sets policy goals and spending limits for the fiscal year, to award a contract for the A-10 work, establish a new wing production line and produce four additional wings.

That work "is all that money funds," she told last week.

Once the Air Force receives the funding, the competition can be announced. Whichever defense contractor wins the contract will pay for the startup to include four sets of new wings.

However, because the wings will be considered a "new start" program, the work can't begin under a continuing resolution -- the program is dependent on the fiscal 2018 and succeeding 2019 appropriations.

"In the [FY]19 program that we're working, we also buy more wings," Holmes said.

With a new contract, like "all new contracts" the first set of wings will be expensive as engineers work through the design phase, Holmes said, referring to working through the production line kinks that come at the start of programs.

How many more A-10s will get new wings still remains in limbo.

Air Force officials have said the service can commit to maintaining wings for six of its nine A-10 combat squadrons through roughly 2030.

"As far as exactly how many of the 280 or so A-10s that we have that we'll maintain forever, I'm not sure, that'll depend on a Department of Defense decision and our work with Congress," Holmes said.

On the exact squadron number, he clarified, "It's not a decision that we have to make right away. It'll depend on what we have, what we need and what's useful on the battlefield year-to-year as we go through it."

Of the 281 A-10s currently in the inventory, 173 have already been outfitted or are in the process of being outfitted with new wings (though one of the newly re-winged planes was destroyed in a crash), Stefanek said. That leaves 109 aircraft remaining in the inventory still slated to receive the upgrades, she said.

The service has struggled with its message on how it plans to keep the fleet flying since the aircraft's retirement was delayed until at least 2022.

Facing financial pressure, the Air Force -- driven by spending caps known as sequestration -- made multiple attempts in recent years to retire the Warthog to save an estimated $4 billion over five years and to free up maintainers for the
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, the stealthy fifth-generation fighter jet designed to replace the A-10 and legacy fighters.

Holmes on Thursday added that as more F-35 amass themselves across U.S. bases, "I won't be able to just add those on top of the [fighter] squadrons that I have."

The service is looking to grow its fighter fleet to stay competitive against near-peer threats such as Russia and China. To do so, it believes it needs to increase its number of fighter squadrons from 55 to 60.

But that means it needs a variety of aircraft to sustain the fight, not just a regurgitation of old planes. Whether this means the Air Force is still weighing retiring
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is unclear. Holmes did not speak to specific aircraft fleets when addressing fighter requirements.

"We'll have to make some decisions" of what kind of aircraft to move or divest, he said.

Preferred basing for F-35 bases is
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, he said. The Air Force has been moving
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s around various bases or into new training units since the F-35 has come online.


Tyrant King
there's a very funny sentence in its
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"Many of the technologies developed by the program were incorporated into the now cancelled
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mostly the fire control and reloading, NLOS-C was a 38 calibre. It's only real advantage being the ability to haul more of them in a C17 flight. and Tech from both was filter to the M109A7.



General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) announced that it has successfully demonstrated its satellite communications (SATCOM)-enabled Automatic Takeoff and Landing Capability (ATLC) through its MQ-9B SkyGuardian/SeaGuardian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

In an official
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, General Atomics states that the ATLC will enable MQ-9B users to taxi the MQ-9B through SATCOM directly. This SATCOM-enabled Launch and Recovery Element (LRE) will negate the need for ground-control stations (GCS) to manage UAV LRE (i.e. take-off and landing).

When relying solely on GCS, drone operators will face a range limit set by the earth’s curvature (though it can also include obstructions, such as mountains). SATCOM enables drone users to operate their aircraft at beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) range.

Currently, the GCS would manage the take-off and flight until it must ‘hand-off’ control to SATCOM (and SATCOM would hand-off to the GCS for landing). General Atomics’ system will remove this process.

General Atomics states that the Royal Air Force’s MQ-9Bs – scheduled for delivery in the early 2020s – will be the first drones to incorporate SATCOM LRE. By removing the need for GCS, MQ-9B operations require fewer personnel and a reduced infrastructure presence for forward deployed operations.

“MQ-9B is continuing its momentous development, which now includes SATCOM taxi, takeoff, and landing capability,” said David R. Alexander, General Atomics’ President of Aircraft Systems. “When we partnered with the RAF … we identified SATCOM ATLC and SATCOM taxi as important safety and efficiency features, and we’re proud to have demonstrated it successfully using one of our capital aircraft.”

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is a medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV capable of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations and deploying guided air-to-surface munitions, such as anti-tank guided missiles. It has a payload of 1,700 kg available through seven external hardpoints.

In addition (or as an alternative) to munitions, the MQ-9B can also be equipped with various sensors, including multi-mode radars, maritime surveillance radars and signals intelligence systems.

The MQ-9B has an endurance of 27 hours (or 35 hours with a range extension kit) and flight ceiling of 45,000 ft, enabling end-users to undertake long-endurance ISR operations over land and at-sea. Countries could use the MQ-9B as a relatively low-cost and low-risk (from a personnel safety standpoint) means for building situational awareness and, in counterinsurgency environments, seeking and neutralizing threats.

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now noticed inside
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"White House wants $716 billion budget for Pentagon in 2019,
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the Washington Post, quoting unnamed U.S. officials. That figure would seem to include the base budget, the OCO fund formerly known as the “emergency supplemental,” and Department of Energy spending on nuclear weapons, as the Post writes that it “would cover the Pentagon’s annual budget as well as spending on ongoing wars and the maintenance of the U.S. nuclear arsenal,” and calculates that it would represent a 7 percent bump over the 2018 budget request.
Caveat #1: Congress has (famously)
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Caveat #2:
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, the (reported) 2019 figure is many billions of dollars over the legal caps installed in 2011.
The actual budget request is expected to go to Congress next month. In the meantime, here’s from the Post: “Pentagon officials said the 2019 budget would focus on modernizing the military’s aging weapons systems and preparing it for a potential conflict with major world powers after a long emphasis on counterterrorism and insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. [Defense Secretary James] Mattis faced some resistance from White House officials, such as [Office of Management and the Budget leader Mike] Mulvaney, who worried that the deficit would explode with a large increase in military spending, combined with Republican tax cuts.” Read on,
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let's wait and see


Tyrant King
... now skimmed over
Army's New Pistols Often Eject Live Rounds and Don't Work Well With Regular Bullets
January 29, 2018
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is it sensationalist?
just a bit but still not likely to make any changes to the program. These fall into teathing problems and based on what was being said at SHOT by the Sign rep there are modifications being offered to the Army.
Also the Glock 19X that has appeared on the Market based directly off there offering to the MHS has been suffering jamming of it's own.
what the heck is this
US Army secretary open to foreign designs for new combat vehicle
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The door is open for foreign companies to join the multibillion-dollar race to build a new combat vehicle for the U.S. Army, according to
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“Many of our NATO allies have very capable tanks,” he said Monday during a briefing with reporters at U.S. Army Europe headquarters. “As I think about a next-generation combat vehicle, we should look at our allies, and look at their designs, and look at how they’ve built combat vehicles and combat systems, and think about adopting some of those.”

Service leaders believe time is of the essence when it comes to closing a gap in tank development caused by several failed attempts to field new technology over the past 10 years or so.

While there have been previous attempts by European armored-vehicle companies to enter the U.S. military market, domestic manufacturers like General Dynamics or BAE Systems have traditionally retained their hold on the large land programs.

“We should look to our partners and allies for good ideas,” Esper said. “We have to think about the NGCV, and we can’t afford to wait 10, 15, 20 years to do that.”

The service awarded a $237 million contract last fall to produce two prototype vehicles by fiscal 2022. The deal went to a U.S. industry team, lead by SAIC, consisting of Lockheed Martin, Moog Inc., GS Engineering, Hodges Transportation, Inc. and Roush Industries,
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Esper repeated the old military acquisition mantra of wanting to avoid costly and time-consuming solutions that are perfect in favor of readily available hardware that is good enough for a given task. Such proclamations had little effect in earlier Army attempts to field new vehicles, and it remains to be seen whether they will this time.

Interested foreign companies may get their best shot of entering their designs when partnering with U.S. firms rather than going it alone, Esper said.

“Of course, we have great capabilities in our own defense industrial base as well, to either go white sheet ― a brand-new design ― or look to others,” he said. “We want to buy best of breed, but I have to be conscious of the U.S. defense industrial base as well.”

Army officials have said they want to field a next-generation combat vehicle in 2035.
Jan 13, 2018
Today at 4:22 PM
now this is interesting, on one side the Pentagon needs the money, on the other side “Communicating that we are broken or not ready to fight invites miscalculation.”:
Pentagon Denies Gag Order, Says ‘Services Are Allowed to Talk About Readiness’
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Congressional hawks want straight talk on military readiness problems
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As the Pentagon prepares to roll out its 2019 budget request next month, the big question on Capitol Hill is just how candid leaders will be about military readiness problems when they are called to testify.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis cautioned military leaders during the 2017 budget season about
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. This came in the wake of press reports about ground units that could not deploy, aircraft that could not fly and ships that were wearing out.

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, added his voice to lawmakers who say Pentagon brass must be more transparent about military readiness problems, to help lawmakers make the case for increased defense spending.

“I think it’s very important people know, it’s very important for our officers to let the people in America know, that we have a real serious problem,” Inhofe, who chairs the committee’s readiness panel, said in a recent interview on C-Span’s “Newsmakers.”

“Because without [public] awareness, we’re not going to get the attention of the House members and Senate members that will have to make the decision on ultimately a budget for the military or a fix of the dilemma we have right now,” Inhofe said.

Those comments came as the staffs of the House and Senate armed services committees prepare the panel’s annual defense policy bill and await hearings on
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— expected in mid-February.

In the same camp as Inhofe is HASC Chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry, of Texas, who said earlier this month that he wants more openness.

“Some of the folks in DoD are reluctant to talk too openly about our shortfalls because you’re broadcasting that to your potential adversaries,” Thornberry said. “And I admit, it’s a fine balance. But if we’re going to convince my colleagues who are not on this committee, as well as the American people, to fix these things, I think we do have to at least talk somewhat openly about what our problems are.”

This week, Democrats and Republicans remained deadlocked over top-line numbers for an omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal 2018, overdue since Sept. 30. Democrats, in return for their help getting to the 60 Senate votes needed to lift statutory spending caps, have demanded any increase for defense be matched on the non-defense side.

Federal government funding, meanwhile, runs out in 10 days, when the fourth and latest continuing resolution to fund the federal government expires.

The House GOP is leading a vote on a massive stand-alone defense appropriations bill for 2018 as early as Tuesday. It’s a token maneuver, as the bill unlikely to win the needed Democratic support to pass the Senate, but it allows House Republicans one more chance to accuse Senate Democrats of playing politics with the military.

“Not going to happen,” the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy, of Vermont, said Thursday, of stand-alone defense appropriations. “We’re going to lift them both,” he said of budget caps for defense and non-defense.

The House bill would allocate $659.2 billion to DoD, with $584 billion in base budget funding and $75.1 billion for the wartime Overseas Contingency Operations account. A similar bill has passed the House before, but this would add $1.2 billion in OCO for the Afghanistan fight.

Otherwise, lawmakers also want Pentagon leaders to share plans for Syria and Iraq, after they refused to send a witness to testify earlier this month. A State Department official recently appeared alone at Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the topic, prompting chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., to say, “The Defense Department, with all due respect, did give us a tremendous run around as it relates to this hearing.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggested earlier this month there would be an open-ended U.S. presence in Syria, after the Islamic State is defeated. Lawmakers in turn have complained such plans would exceed the counter-Islamic State mandate and lack domestic and international legal standing.

For his part, Inhofe voiced support for a residual military presence of some size — “you just can’t get up and walk away” — but he wants to hear the plan and the numbers from Mattis, in an open or closed hearing.

In the meantime, Inhofe plans to go to the region with a few other lawmakers to learn more.

“A lot of times you have to go there to find out, you have to talk to the troops on the ground, you have to talk to the commanders on the ground,” Inhofe said. “You always get a little more accurate story there than having an open hearing here in Washington, D.C.”