US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.


Jura

General
my favorite quote again
Laser skeptics sometimes note that laser proponents over the years have made numerous predictions about when lasers might enter service with DOD, and that these predictions repeatedly have not come to pass. Viewing this record of unfulfilled predictions, skeptics might argue that “lasers are X years in the future—and always will be.”
(Sep 9, 2015) as Navy Requests $300M to Develop Shipboard Defensive Laser Weapons
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The Navy proposed spending $299 million in Fiscal Year 2019 on laser systems to protect ships against current and anticipated future threats, as part of a rapid prototyping, experimentation and demonstration initiative.

For nearly a decade, the Navy has considered laser technology a more cost-efficient and effective tool to protect ships from emerging threats such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and small patrol craft that could swarm a surface ship, according to a Congressional Research Service report,
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.

The Navy wants to move development of lasers a step closer to deployment, according to budget documents released by the Navy earlier this month.

In the upcoming fiscal year, the Navy wants to purchase four ship-mounted Surface Navy Laser Weapon Systems (SNLWS), which include a High Energy Laser with an integrated low-power laser dazzler. If successful, this system would provide ships with a new means of countering unmanned aerial vehicles, fast inshore attack craft and adversary intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) assets.

The Navy also hopes to install two Optical Dazzling Interdictor, Navy systems (ODIN) on Arleigh-Burke-class guided-missile destroyers in the upcoming fiscal year. This system is described by budget documents as being a near-term shipboard counter-ISR capability.

When contacted by USNI News, officials from the Office of Naval Research declined to comment about the development of the Navy’s laser family of weapons.

Ultimately, the goal for the Navy is to improve the ability of ships to defend themselves against anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs) and anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBMs), according to the CRS report. The Navy’s current ship defense systems have two key limitations: current defensive systems cost much more than the relatively inexpensive threats they protect against, and ships can only carry a finite supply of surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and ammunition for close-in weapons.

“In the FY2018 defense budget, procurement costs for Navy SAMs range from about $976,000 per missile to several million dollars per missile, depending on the type,” reads the CRS report.

In a limited engagement, current systems can provide adequate protection, the report continues.

“But in combat scenarios (or an ongoing military capabilities competition) against a country such as China that has many UAVs and anti-ship missiles and a capacity for building or acquiring many more, an unfavorable cost exchange ratio can become a very expensive – and potentially unaffordable – approach to defending Navy surface ships against UAVs and anti-ship missiles.”

Additionally, the Navy requested funds in the budget to mature other laser weapon technologies it has already begun to pursue. The Navy plans to spend money to research increasing the wattage of its
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. The service will test a Solid State Laser Technology Maturation system, a 150-kilowatt laser weapon demonstrator that will support future laser development for the LPD class of ship. The Navy is also exploring alternative 150-kilowatt laser sources by employing different laser architectures.

In comparison, the Navy in 2014 deployed its first laser system, a 30-kilowatt laser weapon system, aboard USS Ponce (AFSB(I)-15).

Boosting beam power to between 150 kilowatts and 300 kilowatts is considered necessary by Navy researchers to counter “at least some anti-ship cruise missiles,” according to the Congressional Research Service report.

“Even stronger beam powers – on the order of at several hundred kilowatts, if not one megawatt [MW] or more – could improve a laser’s effectiveness against ASCMs and perhaps enable it to counter anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBMS).”
 

timepass

Brigadier
MQ-9 Reaper Getting New Multirole Missions as MQ-1 Retirement Nears...




"Go out for strikes first, gather intel later. It's the way officials are sending out the MQ-9 Reaper drone for a new, tailored multi-role mission to strike Taliban targets in Afghanistan.

A single medium-altitude unmanned Reaper on Thursday dropped four 500-pound precision guided weapons on a Taliban narcotics facility in Helmand Province, destroying its targets, Air Forces Central Command said in a release Monday."

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Jura

General
Saturday at 8:39 PM
Oct 28, 2017
and White House, Boeing In Final Stages of New Air Force One Deal
February 22, 2018
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now Trump, Boeing reach handshake agreement to cap Air Force One program at $3.9B
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The White House and Boeing have reached an informal deal on the new Air Force One planes that will cap the cost of developing and producing the aircraft at $3.9 billion.

CNBC and Fox News both reported the handshake agreement on Tuesday, which was confirmed to Defense News by officials with knowledge of the negotiation. According to a Boeing official, the price includes all previously definitized contracts — including a
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for design work and a
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for two Boeing 747 planes — as well as the engineering, manufacturing and design contract, which has not yet been awarded.

“Boeing is proud to build the next generation of Air Force One, providing American presidents with a flying White House at outstanding value to taxpayers. President Trump negotiated a good deal on behalf of the American people,” Boeing said in a statement.

The White House claims the deal will save taxpayers $1.4 billion, as the original total cost for two new presidential transport aircraft was originally estimated at more than $5 billion.

However, it is not immediately clear where that $5 billion figure was derived. When President Donald Trump, then the president-elect,
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if costs did not come down, he stated that the program was worth more than $4 billion. Experts and officials with knowledge of the budget told Defense News at the time that the $4 billion estimate was accurate.

Last February, Trump claimed he had already shaved $1 billion from the program. Subsequent reporting by Defense One shed light on many cost-saving cuts, including a
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that stripped a mid-air refueling capability and the decision to buy two 747s that were built — but never owned — by a Russian airliner.

However, budget documents
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. Experts said Trump
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to cut $1 billion from the Air Force One program, where the price is driven by the design work needed to transform two commercial airliners into highly-fortified flying White Houses, complete with advanced communications and hardening that would protect the president against nuclear attacks.

Under the Air Force’s Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program, Boeing will produce two new Air Force Ones and is expected to start aircraft modifications in 2019. The new Air Force One planes could begin replacing the aging VC-25A models as early as 2024.
 

Jura

General
Friday at 7:33 AM
Feb 15, 2018
and Here’s what we know about the Air Force’s alternative to the JSTARS recap
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while USAF has no plans for all-weather, wide area surveillance after JSTARS
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The US Air Force has no firm plans to replace a wide area surveillance capability if Congress later this year approves a proposal to retire the Northrop Grumman E-8C JSTARS in 2025, the head of the US Air Force’s Air Combat Command says.

The core of the wide area surveillance capability is the Northrop APY-7 radar, a 7.32m (22ft)-long sensor that can characterise and track moving targets in any weather across thousands of square miles.

Due to limitations of aperture size and power supply, any current or future sensors flown onboard a General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc MQ-9 or Northrop RQ-4 Global Hawk would be unable to match the search area and resolution of the JSTARS radar.

The ACC chief, Gen Mike Holmes, acknowledges the inability of unmanned platforms to match the JSTARS’ sensor capability.

“That’s part of what we’ll figure out with our advanced battle management system analysis of alternatives that we’re going to start this summer,” Holmes says.

The analysis is being launched after the USAF decided in the Fiscal 2019 budget submission to Congress to cancel a planned competition for a contract to develop a JSTARS replacement, using a business jet-sized aircraft.

The USAF decided such a platform would be unusable in combat scenarios after 2025, as Russia and China develop capabilities to defend airspace beyond the 155-mile detection range of the JSTARS radar.

But Air Force leaders know the proposed JSTARS replacement isn’t final.

“It’s entirely possible that the Congress could say, ‘No, we want you to build JSTARS,” Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson told reporters. “They need to understand that we don’t believe JSTARS will survive and be able to be deployed and used in a highly contested environment — China or Russia — post-2025.”

Meanwhile, the Air Force is continuing to fund development by Northrop of a wide area surveillance radar to replace the APY-7, Holmes says. Northrop had declined to describe the radar in any detail, but Holmes described it in a press conference as a modular system, with small modules of arrays that can be stacked together to form larger systems.

“We think there’s still an opportunity to use that technology in the Air Force and the other services for programmes,” Holmes says.

The only equivalent capability exists in the US Navy. The existence of the Navy’s littoral surveillance radar system (LSRS) emerged in 2006, as a radar with ground moving target indication capability for the Lockheed P-3C Orion fleet. The navy also funded Raytheon to develop a follow-on sensor — the Active Array Sensor (AAS) — for the Boeing P-8A, but its status and capabilities are kept secret.
 

Jura

General
Senators introduce bill to restore US Navy surface forces
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so let's wait and see
Two US senators on February 26 introduced a bill aimed at helping the US Navy restore its surface force readiness.

The Surface Warfare Enhancement Act of 2018, introduced by Roger Wicker (R-MS), Chairman of the Senate Seapower Subcommittee, and John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, would address some of the root causes of declining readiness, which were outlined by navy and military officials in the most recent Strategic Readiness Review and Comprehensive Review.

Among the measures proposed by the bill are requirements for the navy to conduct a “clean sheet” review of its organization and chains-of-command, putting a senior Senate-confirmed Navy civilian in charge of ship maintenance and giving the navy more time and flexibility to spend maintenance funds.

The bill would further see the navy deliver realistic baseline projections of sailors’ workloads and ship maintenance in addition to calling for the navy to keep records on watch standing and training completed by surface warfare officers. Other proposals include setting minimum at-sea and simulator-based training requirements to qualify for critical positions on the ships and equalizing manning between ships homeported overseas and at home.

“As we have seen too often in recent months, the significant shortcomings in our navy’s readiness can have disastrous results,” said senator McCain. “The ship collisions, including the USS Fitzgerald and USS McCain, degraded the capabilities of our fleet, cost hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, and – most importantly – took precious lives.

“The status quo is unacceptable. Congress must provide the funding and oversight required to keep our military safe in peace and effective in combat. I commend senator Wicker for his leadership on this legislation to improve the readiness of our Navy, and look forward to working together on these initiatives as part of the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act.”

“Overextended and undermanned ships, overworked crews, fewer officers with naval mastery, and confusing chains of command have contributed to a decline in our naval power. My legislation – based on the Navy’s own recommendations – is specifically designed to address these and other challenges,” senator Wicker said. “Although I have confidence in the Navy’s leadership, I believe Congress needs to play an active role in helping them to succeed in this endeavor.”
 

Jura

General
current pricing of current AShMs inside
Navy, Marine Corps Request Modest $1.7B in ‘Unfunded Priorities List’ to Congress
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:

"The service also asked for $30 million to buy 10 additional Lockheed Marked-built Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles (LRASMs) and for $12 million to buy 48 Boeing Harpoon Block II+ anti-ship missiles."
 

timepass

Brigadier
The US Navy's next advanced aircraft carrier is 70% complete...


A crane moves the lower stern into place on the USS John F. Kennedy in June. US Navy


"The USS John F. Kennedy, the second of the US Navy's Gerald R. Ford-class advanced nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, has reached 70% completion, according to the shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls.

Like the first-in-class Gerald R. Ford, the Kennedy is being constructed using a modular technique, in which smaller parts of the ship are welded to form larger chunks, called superlifts, that then come together."

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Jura

General
Yesterday at 9:35 PM
Saturday at 8:39 PM
now Trump, Boeing reach handshake agreement to cap Air Force One program at $3.9B
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and according to DefenseOne The Air Force One Deal May Be Less Rosy Than Claimed
The White House’s “fixed-price deal” may still leave the taxpayer on the hook. And a spokesman seems to have inflated the projected savings.

An “informal” $3.9 billion deal for new Air Force One jets — brokered by President Donald Trump and Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg — might not be as clear a win for taxpayers as
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.

Although White House spokesman Hogan Gidley
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a “fixed-price” deal on Tuesday, only a “
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” contract would put all potential cost overruns squarely on Boeing.

That’s why government officials had been pushing Boeing to sign a firm, fixed-price deal, according to sources with knowledge of the discussions. Without that kind of contract, the Air Force would have to eat at least some of the extra costs if the company fails to deliver the two highly customized planes on budget, according to sources close to the program.

But the company’s negotiators balked, bringing talks to a standstill and prompting last week’s White House meeting between Trump and Muilenburg.

So just what kind of deal did the president and CEO shake hands on?

The Air Force declined to comment, referring all questions about the new jets to the White House. A White House spokesman did not respond by press time. Boeing merely proclaimed the deal an “
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.”

But throughout the negotiations, Boeing officials have remained adamantly opposed to a firm, fixed-price deal. That reflects recent painful experience — the aerospace firm has eaten more than
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while developing the Air Force’s new refueling tanker — and the expectation that refitting two commercial 747s for presidential service will prove more complicated than hoped.

Sources with knowledge of the deal say Muilenburg would not have agreed to one.

Meanwhile, White House spokesman Gidley said that the project had been expected to cost more than $5 billion. It is not clear why he said that; previous estimates had been
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, a number that then-President-elect Trump
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in December 2016. In any case, he claimed the $3.9 billion handshake deal would save taxpayers $1.4 billion.

Sources in Pentagon and industry expect the jets to ultimately cost more than $3.9 billion — and that Trump’s unprecedented involvement will actually save some money. The actual extent of the savings, if any, will remain a mystery until the two planes land at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington some time next decade.
source:
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Jura

General
Right now it just makes far more sense to leave things as they are. There are a number of Military Space policy elements That need to be organic to the USAF, USN and the more holistic MDA. adding a Star corps without a mission other than maintaining the existing mission is just a whole new layer of Bureaucracy and infighting.
now US Space Corps could launch in 3 years, key lawmaker says
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Congress’ strongest supporters of a new
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have not given up the fight, slamming the U.S. Air Force for wasted time as
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.
Rogers and Cooper argue it’s necessary for the military to have a dedicated space force because the Air Force let space capability atrophy in favor of more traditional air needs.

Rogers on Wednesday accused the Air Force of not taking space seriously enough to send a speaker to the CSIS event.

“Over the years, the Air Force has used space programs as a money pot to reach into and subsidize air-dominance programs when they feel like Congress hasn’t given them enough for tankers, fighter jets, whatever,” Rogers said. “Congress has not given any of the services enough, but that doesn’t mean you starve to death one of your subordinate missions.”

“We could be deaf, dumb and blind within seconds,” House Armed Services Strategic Forces ranking member Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., said Wednesday at a Center for Strategic and International Studies forum on space. “Seldom has a great nation been so vulnerable.”

Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, and the Corps’ biggest champion on Capitol Hill, said a space-focused service could be built in three to five years. By year’s end, Rogers, R-Ala., expects an independent report, required by the 2018 defense policy law, about how that process might look.

White House, Pentagon and Air Force leaders pushed back on a failed proposal from the House Armed Services Committee to create a Space Corps, arguing it would add unneeded bureaucracy. The provision faced opposition in the Senate, and the 2018 defense policy law forbids the creation of such an organization.

The law did give Air Force Space Command authority over space acquisitions, resource management, requirements, war fighting and personnel development — viewed as a start for the potential creation of a Space Corps in the future. And it requires an independent organization develop a road map to start a separate military department to encompass “national security space.”

U.S. military officials have acknowledged that America’s adversaries have caught up to it in space, but classified reports paint a even more troubling picture, the lawmakers said. Rogers called the over-classification of such information “disturbing.”

“There would be a hew and cry in the American public to fix this situation if they knew how bad things were and what we’ve allowed Russia and China to do,” Rogers said.

The commercial sector’s ability to quickly field new capabilities in space, versus the military’s decade-long acquisition schedules, prove the case for a segregated Space Corps, with its own acquisition system, they said. Rogers said he would be open to more agile acquisition authorities for the Air Force.

“I’d be happy to, I would have liked to have had them pose that a year ago instead of fighting us,” Rogers said of the Air Force.
 

Jura

General
Jun 26, 2017
there're interesting moments inside G/ATOR Radar Testing This Summer At Cherry Point, Yuma Ahead of 2018 IOC Decisionit's USNI News
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and Marine Corps Declares Initial Operational Capability on G/ATOR Radar System
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The Marine Corps declared initial operational capability for its AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) after builder Northrop Grumman delivered the final of six Lot 1 and Lot 2 Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) units to the service.

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with the radars at Wallops Island and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, an interoperability demonstration with the new Common Aviation Command and Control System (CAC2S) system, and operational assessments with Marine Air Control Squadron (MACS-1) in Yuma and MACS-2 in Cherry Point.

MACS-1 and MACS-2 will continue working with the radars for operational use, according to a Northrop Grumman news release. The contractor called IOC “a significant milestone that indicates that a system is ready for operational deployment. It is achieved when production systems, spares, logistic support items and documentation have been tested and validated through a rigorous process. As the developer and system integrator, Northrop Grumman has taken G/ATOR from concept through to production.”

“Through our close partnership with the Marine Corps, we have been able to achieve this important early fielding milestone,” Roshan Roeder, vice president of the land and avionics C4ISR division at Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, said in the news release.
“We are looking ahead to full-rate production and getting G/ATOR’s unprecedented capabilities to the Marines in the field.”

These Lot 1 and Lot 2 systems were built with Gallium Arsenide as the conductor. Beginning with Lot 3, Northrop Grumman will substitute a “high-efficiency Gallium Nitride (GaN) antenna technology that can further enhance operational capabilities,” according to the news release.

These units are meant to conduct the G/ATOR Block 1 mission, which includes air defense and air surveillance. Northrop Grumman and the Marine Corps are also developing a Block 2 software, which would track ground-based artillery, rockets and mortars – primarily to identify and attack the source of incoming fires, but also for use during Marine Corps training events, so artillery units can track the accuracy of their outgoing rounds.

The Marine Corps currently plans to buy 17 G/ATOR systems for the Block 1 mission and 28 for the Block 2 mission, USNI News previously reported.
 

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