US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.

Thursday at 5:24 PM
I don't like the viewer used by USNI News so just

From the Report:
In December 2016, the Navy released a new force structure assessment (FSA) that called for a fleet of 355 ships—substantially larger than the current
force of 280 ships. In response to a request from the Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces of the House Committee on Armed Services, the Congressional Budget Office explored the costs of achieving that goal in a previous report. To expand on that analysis, CBO has estimated the costs of achieving a 355-ship fleet under two alternatives. e agency then compared those scenarios with two other alternatives involving smaller fleets. For all four alternatives, CBO explored shipbuilding and operating costs, the composition and capabilities of the fleet, and effects on the shipbuilding industry.

The four alternatives would affect the size and composition of the Navy in the following ways, CBO estimates:

  • Under the first alternative, the Navy would create a 355-ship fleet by building more ships over the next 20 years, achieving the force goal by 2037. The cost to build, crew, and operate a 355-ship fleet achieved by new construction would average $103 billion (in 2017 dollars) per year through 2047.
  • Under the second alternative, the Navy would attain
a 355-ship fleet sooner, in about 2028, but would not achieve the composition that the service wants until 2037—by using a new-ship construction schedule similar to the schedule under the first alternative, and also by extending the service life of some large surface combatants, amphibious ships, attack submarines, and logistics ships. Its costs would average $104 billion annually through 2047.
  • Under the third alternative, the Navy would maintain a fleet comparable in size and composition to today’s fleet of 280 ships. It would cost an average of $91 billion annually through 2047.
  • The fourth alternative would cost the least and illustrates the long-term implications of funding the Navy at roughly the level it has received historically for ship procurement. By 2047, the fleet would fall to 230 ships. In total, that alternative would cost an average of $82 billion per year over the next 30 years.
Congressional Budget Office Report on 355-Ship Navy Costs
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
Navy End Strength Not on Pace to Run a 355-Ship Fleet
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

Recent challenges to Navy recruiting and retention have left the sea service 11,000 sailors short of its required manpower level in the short term, and about 50,000 sailors short of the estimated force needed to crew a 355-ship fleet.

Though the Navy has successfully fought for additional manpower funding in the last few years, the service is near its lowest end strength in almost a decade. As of Friday, the Navy had 323,947 active duty sailors, which includes
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
working sailors and the midshipmen brigade at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Navy officials recognize the challenges they’re facing when recruiting and retaining sailors. Service leaders have long hinted at the competition for talent in public speeches and congressional testimony and have waged a campaign to retain sailors. But lawmakers worry the service does not have a long-term manpower ramp-up plan to accompany the shipbuilding ramp-up, and it is also unclear how the Navy will bring in 11,000 new personnel in the next year and a half.

“We are in a growing Navy. This requires more people, at a time when we are still working our way back to desired sea duty manning levels, and when the competition for talent is especially keen. We will certainly recruit and train many more sailors to help meet these demands, but that will not be enough,”
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
, the chief of Naval Personnel, said in a December instruction canceling the early outs programs, which had allowed sailors to leave active duty before their commitments were complete.

On Wednesday, Burke is scheduled to appear before the House Armed Services military personnel subcommittee, where it is likely he’ll be asked by lawmakers about the Navy’s recruiting and retention plans.

However, the Navy currently does not have a long-term force structure strategy. A force structure plan is being created, a Navy spokesperson told USNI News earlier this month, but the Navy would not comment on future personnel needs because force structure plan is still under development.

Some lawmakers are skeptical there is a plan being developed, and if one is created, how well it will address growing manning needs.

“Given the fact that this administration just submitted a 30-year shipbuilding plan that would never actually achieve 355 ships, it seems pretty clear to me that they don’t have a realistic plan to man a 355-ship Navy, nor a realistic plan to build a 355-ship Navy at this point,” Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the House Armed Services Committee ranking member, told USNI News in a written statement.

Defining the Shortfall
The Navy has 18 months to add the nearly 11,400 new sailors needed to hit its publicly stated projected end-strength goal for Fiscal Year 2019 – the largest proposed increase in active duty personnel in more than a generation.

Within the next five years, the Navy projects growing the number of all active duty sailors by about 20,700 to nearly 344,800, a 6.4 percent jump from the 323,947 sailors now on active duty, according to its
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

Currently, about one of every three sailors – about 111,600 sailors, including those in carrier air wings – serve aboard ships, according to a USNI News calculation of how many sailors currently serve on each type of ship, based on Navy data.

The Navy is already on a growth path based on an aggressive ship construction program over the last several years that saw the largest increase in shipbuilding in a generation. As the new hulls come online during the next several years the Navy will already need to increase the sea-going force by about 7,700 sailors to man the ships currently under contract.

At a time when the Navy’s size has remained relatively flat – at close to 320,000 sailors for the past five years – such a jump in the number of sailors as proposed by the Navy’s FY 2019 budget request could appear optimistic.

The need for increased manning becomes more pronounced during the next couple of decades as the Navy plans to increase the fleet to 355-ships.

Estimating the total number of sailors the Navy needs for its fleet in the 2050s is difficult, as it is unclear how many sailors will be required to operate new classes of ships; during that time, today’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and Littoral Combat Ships may be replaced by a Future Surface Combatant family of ships that’s yet to be designed, for example. Increased automation and a reliance on unmanned systems operating off ships could help reduce the needs for sailors on future classes of ships.

Taking all of these factors into account, a recent study released by the
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
predicts the Navy would need about 125,000 ship-based sailors by 2047 to crew a 355-ship fleet.

Overall, if the Navy’s ratio of about one out of every three sailors serving aboard a ship were to hold through the fleet expanding to 355 ships, the Navy would need close to 375,000 total active duty sailors, a 17-percent increase from today’s end strength.

The last time the Navy had 376,000 sailors was 2003 – just before the service instituted its optimal manning program and shed active duty sailors year after year for the next decade, finally settling in 2013 at what has basically been the size of the Navy for the past five years: about 320,000 active duty sailors.

... goes on below due to size limit
... the rest of the USNI News posted right above:
Mitigating the Shortfall
People are the Navy’s greatest asset, Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer said in December at the Naval Institute Defense Forum Washington.

“We don’t win without them, and we need to keep the winners that we have,” Spencer said.
“Our ships, planes, submarines, vehicles – they’re all just hunks of metal. They can’t do much without the human interface.”

Navy officials are not shy about the need to recruit and retain sailors. A series of initiatives are geared toward attracting new sailors and keeping current sailors in uniform. The Navy’s 2019 budget request for personnel, according to a Navy spokesperson, is meant to “reduce manning gaps at sea, reflect force structure decisions, and improve Fleet readiness.”

Part of the Navy’s strategy is continuing to promote serving in the Navy as a way to experience adventure, acquire training and pay for advanced education, Capt. Vincent Segars, the Navy’s director of military community management in Millington, Tenn., recently told USNI News.

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
– 45,546 total active duty and reserve officers and enlisted joined in FY 2017. But Segars said the service is competing for talent against a private sector often offering more lucrative pay, better hours, and better quality of life. Traditional selling points are not going to be enough to retain talent, he said, especially during today’s tight labor market.

“We are competing for talent, and we have to mature our policies to deal with that,” he said.

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
, the Navy’s program to create policies making serving in the Navy easier for today’s sailors, is part of the strategy Segars said will help recruit and retain talent.

The program includes several initiatives, such as revamping the pay system, overhauling training to include more waterfront training in the
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
, and allowing sailors the option to take short breaks from their Navy service to start a family or work in the private sector.

Navy leadership also believes the military’s new retirement system, which started in January, offers a new way to compete with the private sector. Under the new Blended Retirement system, active duty personnel are offered retirement plans operating similar to the 401K plans in the private sector.

Instead of only offering active duty personnel retirement benefits if they serve a full 20 years, the portability of the blended system can be used as a recruiting aid, Spencer said while speaking at a recent event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Spencer developed the blended retirement system idea while a member of the Defense Business Board.

With the ability to take some retirement savings from time spent in the military into the private sector, the thinking is active duty personnel might be encouraged to remain in the service longer than their initial commitment — maybe not a full 20 years, but more than an initial tour of three to five years.

At the same time, Spencer says allowing active duty personnel to leave early with some retirement benefits opens the service to competition from the private sector. The potential exists for mid-career officers and senior enlisted to leave active duty earlier than maybe they would have considered under the 20-year pension system.

“I truly believe the blended retirement system is a benefit that is going to draw people into the service,” Spencer said.

Meanwhile, acknowledging new recruits will not be enough to fulfill staffing needs, the Navy is also making it harder for sailors to leave active duty early.

In the past few months, along with canceling early retirement programs, the Navy has tweaked other personnel policies, apparently designed to keep sailors in the service longer by reducing the ways they can leave. The Navy also just changed its
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
. Sailors who fail their physical readiness tests can remain in the Navy but will not be able to advance in rank until they pass the test or their commitment is over.

“It has been decades since the last period of major personnel growth in our Navy. You will see many additional policy changes in the coming weeks and months to set us on the right course,” Burke said in his December instruction.
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
Mar 7, 2018
Today at 8:45 PM
Boeing’s KC-46 Tanker Delayed Again
Mar 6, 2018
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
now Boeing KC-46 delays are frustrating Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

The U.S. Air Force’s top civilian has blasted Boeing over
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
plaguing the
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
, accusing the company of focusing too much on its commercial business at the expense of defense projects.

“One of our frustrations with Boeing is they’re much more focused on their commercial activity than on getting this right for the Air Force and getting these aircraft to the Air Force. And that’s the message we took to them in Seattle last week,” Secretary Heather Wilson said of a recent meeting between Boeing and Air Force officials.

The remarks came as Wilson, Army Secretary Mark Esper and Navy Secretary Richard Spencer testified before the House Armed Services Committee about the defense budget and implementation of acquisitions reform legislation.

Boeing responded after the hearing with a statement:

“There is no greater priority at The Boeing Company right now than the delivery of the KC-46. Boeing has continued to demonstrate its commitment to deliver the tankers as soon as possible and believes in our partnership with the US Air Force.”

Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee Chairman Rob Wittman, R-Va., asked during the hearing how a series of deficiencies with the KC-46, recently reported, were impacting schedule delays: “Boeing is still saying they will deliver on time, the Air Force is changing the timeline; can you give us some perspective on where things are?”

“Boeing is saying they are going to deliver in the second quarter of 2018,” but the Air Force believes it will slip, Wilson said.

“Boeing has been overly optimistic in all of their schedule reports,” she asserted.

Wilson outlined unanticipated test delays Boeing faced — and the Air Force was skeptical about its schedule when it was put forward — as well as deficiencies involving the remote vision system and centerline drogue systems.

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
went to Boeing headquarters for a “deep dive,” Wilson said.

“We have asked them to put their A-team on this to get these problems fixed and get this aircraft to the Air Force,” she added.

Rep. Donald Norcross, D-N.J. — whose district is near to Joint Base McGuire–Dix–Lakehurst, where the KC-46 would be based — lamented the schedule slippage and pressed Wilson.

Wilson noted that the Air Force’s fixed-price contract means the delays are costing time, but not money.
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
over a previous schedule slip, “and I anticipate that will be an issue in the coming months with Boeing, as well, for these most recent slips.”

“In this case, having done a fixed-price contract with Boeing was the right thing to do,” Wilson said.

“I’m not the kind of person who thinks about what I would have done in the past, had I been here,” she said. “My focus right now is to get the aircraft from Boeing and get them up there flying so we can modernize the fleet.”

The Air Force will likely have to keep the KC-10 in service longer than planned, she added.
Today at 4:58 PM
Feb 3, 2018 and DoD’s cost of low-yield nuclear warhead for submarines set at $48.5 million
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
now I skimmed over the related article

To deter Russia, US needs new low-yield nukes, says STRATCOM head
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

and it's upsetting, they want to threaten Russians with what? peppering with Hiroshima-strong-only nukes ... and after that what? things should be OK huh?
good news now:
Lockheed completes sixth successful LRASM test firing
20 March, 2018
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

Lockheed Martin has completed a sixth successful test firing of a production version of its Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), with the munition striking a stack of shipping containers aboard a boat on the Pacific Ocean.

The guided missile, launched from a US Air Force Boeing B-1B Lancer, hit its floating dummy target within the sea range off NAS Point Mugu in California on an undisclosed date.

LRASM is a precision-guided, anti-ship standoff missile based on the company's already deployed Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile - Extended Range. It is designed to be used by the US Navy and air force in battle against the surface ships of advanced foes, such as China or Russia.

The missile uses a variety of sensors, encrypted communications and a digital anti-jamming GPS to find and hit specific targets within a group of ships at sea, according to Lockheed Martin.

LRASM is built to also use semi-autonomous guidance algorithms to pinpoint specific targets on its own, reducing dependence on other communication channels and information sources, which could be disrupted by enemy electronic warfare activities.

Lockheed Martin says the air-launched variant of the missile will have early operational capability for the USN's offensive anti-surface warfare Increment I requirement, and will be deployed on the USAF's B-1B Lancers in 2018 and the navy's Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets in 2019.

now noticed what NavalToday had to say:
Long Range Anti-Ship Missile completes sixth flight test
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

The Lockheed Martin-developed production-configuration Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) completed its sixth flight test at the Point Mugu Sea Range.

The test was carried out by a US Air Force B-1B bomber from the 337th Test Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.

According to Lockheed Martin, the missile hit the maritime target and met test objectives.

“LRASM has now proven itself in six consecutive flight missions,” said David Helsel, LRASM program director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “The reliability and outstanding capability of LRASM will provide an unmatched weapon to our warfighters in their quest for sea control in contested environments.”

LRASM is designed to detect and destroy specific targets within groups of ships by employing advanced technologies that reduce dependence on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms, network links and GPS navigation in electronic warfare environments.

LRASM is a precision-guided, anti-ship standoff missile based on the successful Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range (JASSM-ER). It is designed to meet the needs of US Navy and Air Force warfighters in contested environments. The air-launched variant provides an early operational capability for the US Navy’s offensive anti-surface warfare Increment I requirement to be integrated onboard the US Air Force’s B-1B in 2018 and on the US Navy’s F/A-18E/F in 2019.
Last edited:
Saturday at 6:48 PM
Mar 4, 2018
as I said, it's going to be interesting to watch this development, 'CSG Lite'

centered on an LHD with F-35Bs

"For example, while the upgunned ESG won’t have an equivalent of a CSG’s E-2 Hawkeye airborne early warning radar aircraft, the F-35’s onboard sensors could expand the targeting ability of the three-ship SAG." (the sentence from the USNI News posted Nov 25, 2016)

paired with Aegis of AB destroyer(s) etc.

hope it's obvious CSG Lite is my classification LOL!
now noticed ‘Up-gunned’ Wasp ARG ships stop in Okinawa after concluding amphibious, F-35B certifications
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
and Wasp ESG, 31st MEU sails from Okinawa for Indo-Pacific patrol
Posted March 19, 2018
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

Ships of the Wasp Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) departed Okinawa, Japan March 19 after embarking more than 2,300 Marines and equipment of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).

The ESG and the MEU are now deployed together for a routine patrol in the Indo-Pacific region meant to strengthen regional alliances and be postured forward in the event of a contingency.

“Once again the ARG [Amphibious Ready Group]-MEU team has come together as a well synchronized force to embark the MEU and deploy,” said Capt. Ed Thompson, commodore, Amphibious Squadron 11, the squadron overseeing the ESG. “The persistent nature of the close relationship of the ARG and the 31st MEU is our core competency. Having the MEU embarked enables our ships to be fully mission ready.”

The Okinawa-based 31st MEU has the capability of conducting a wide variety missions from a sea base such as an amphibious assault, airfield seizure, embassy reinforcement, evacuation of non-combatants, and disaster relief.

As part of the initial phase of the patrol, the ships of the ESG and the MEU will practice these missions to ensure proficiency and integration in working together.

For the first time, the 31st MEU will conduct its missions utilizing the F-35B Lighting II, which flew aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) on March 5. The fifth-generation aircraft can support precision strike, close-air-support for Marines inserted inland, and relay over-the-horizon information to aid the commander’s battlefield awareness.

"The members of the 31st MEU are excited for this historic deployment," said Col. Tye R. Wallace, commanding officer of the 31st MEU. "The new F-35B Lightning II is a great addition to the team. It's a flexible aircraft, which will greatly enhance our capabilities as a MEU to execute missions across the spectrum."

In addition to the F-35B, the guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105) will support operations and practice missions that benefit the overall capability of the landing forces and survival ability of amphibious ships in the Blue Water domain.

The addition of Dewey and F-35B advances the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s Up-Gunned ESG that leverages advanced sensors and weapons systems to allow for expeditionary forces to operate in multi-threat maritime environments.

Ships of the Wasp ESG consist of Wasp, amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48), amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20), and Dewey.
according to AirForceMag USAF Adapts to "Infinite War"
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

It is almost inevitable that the Air Force will be outbuilt and out-spent by adversaries, most notably China, in the decades to come. This means USAF will have to rapidly introduce disruptive capabilities to stay ahead of its enemies in what could be an infinite game of “great power competition,” top combat commanders and industry advanced-technology leaders predicted at the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in February.

In 50 years, China’s economy could well outstrip that of North America, Europe, and Africa combined, Air Combat Command chief Gen. James M. Holmes warned, and so the US itself will have to resort to asymmetric means to counter China’s power. It will be impossible to match China—which is building its own air force in emulation of USAF—plane for plane, he said.

The US “is coming to the end of the period where our joint force has dominated the landscape,” Holmes asserted, assessing that the “high-water mark” of US domination occurred at about the time of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. China is closing the technology gap swiftly, he said.

“We’re not going to win because we build more or better things,” Holmes said. The US will win these potential future conflicts, but it will be because of good ideas from the ranks. If “given the opportunity,” he said, airmen will come up with the ideas and operational concepts that will provide the edge. The new ideas—and new capabilities from industry, acquired through a much more streamlined procurement system—will allow the US to “stay in the game,” Holmes said.

“This is up to us,” he stated flatly.

In a speech concluding the symposium, which was focused on innovation in organization, technology, and creative thinking, Holmes said the US did not win the last big round of great power competition—the Cold War—so much as the other side “quit.” It was an example of a “finite game” where the players were well-known and the rules were mutually understood.

Already, the US is engaged in an “infinite game,” Holmes asserted, where not all the players are known, they shift frequently, and the rules are changing. Moreover, the criteria for winning are unclear, except when “everybody else quits,” an outcome he does not anticipate.

Holmes warned that “hubris kills,” and the US must not become complacent because it has been militarily successful for so long. Overestimating US capabilities—or underestimating those of an enemy—sets the nation up “for a fall.”

Industry and government leaders who specialize in quickly turning new ideas into advanced military assets said their model of developing technology may well become the norm in the coming years. Randall G. Walden, head of USAF’s Rapid Capabilities Office—which is developing the classified new B-21 bomber and also runs the secretive X-37B spaceplane program—said the “secret sauce” in swiftly delivering leap-ahead technologies is culture. The successful technology organizational culture will have tightly focused goals, a short reporting chain, and managers with clearly defined responsibilities and the authority to make things happen, he said, adding that this model borrows from Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works operation. The members of an organization have to “know what they’re doing” from long experience in high-tech endeavors, and they “have to do systems engineering right.”

When they fail, he said, they need to “fail forward” and have top cover from leadership to be allowed to learn from their mistakes, which are an inevitable part of inventing new technology. Moreover, if policies are presenting an unreasonable obstacle, there must be the courage to change them.

Walden noted that China does not have to observe the so-called “5000-series,” an onerous set of acquisition regulations, giving the Communist juggernaut an inherent speed advantage. For the US, sometimes the book will have to be thrown out to go fast, he said.

Robert F. Weiss, an executive vice president at Skunk Works, said a key element in succeeding quickly is to have a short time horizon in the first place, structuring a program for speed and making other considerations secondary if the need is urgent. He noted the P-80 fighter went from contract to first flight in 180 days; the U-2 spyplane was developed in nine months; the SR-71 spyplane in 32 months; and the F-117 in two years. “We’re doing that today,” he said of whatever secret projects Skunk Works is now developing. There needs to be “an urgency to get the job done,” an attitude that must be shared by government and industry, alike.

Asked, “How rapid is ‘rapid?’ ” Walden answered that advanced technology has a window of six months to a couple of years.

Air Commodore L. S. Taylor of the UK Royal Air Force said there also must be a constant effort to avoid becoming risk-averse, to “supercharge, not subvert” the process of invention. He advised that high-tech military organizations not “fear failure,” and “fail fast” to find solutions more quickly. Taylor also said militaries should avoid trying to find exquisite solutions and instead accept constant spirals of improvement. Militaries need to be more accepting of “good enough for right now” if they want capabilities in the field before they become obsolete, he said.

A dissenting note was struck by Scott Winship, head of Northrop Grumman’s Advanced Air Warfare Development unit. Also a veteran of Skunk Works, Winship said, “I don’t like the ‘fail often, fail quickly,’ ” idea. He prefers to “solve problems before they become big questions” as to whether a project is feasible.

Mark Cherry, head of Boeing’s Phantom Works—the Chicago-based company’s rapid development shop—advised attendees to “disrupt yourselves” and not wait to react to an external push to move toward revolutionary new systems. This will be key to “staying ahead of the other guys.”

All the advanced development leaders said the No. 1 thing that government can do to grease the rails of technological innovation is to create a relationship of trust with their industry partners, instead of designing an adversarial system in which government assumes industry is trying to cheat. He said government should assume the contractor is doing his best to “protect the country” and shouldn’t be presumed dishonest.

Weiss lamented that in the early days of Skunk Works, it took just half a day to write and sign a contract for a project such as the U-2. Getting back to a similar relationship of trust is something the government should aim for, he said. Cherry summed it up as “the speed of trust.”

To help set the stage for a more rapid flow of new technology to frontline units, Holmes said the Air Force has created the Warfighting Integration Capability at the Pentagon, a hybrid of a study and permanent office aimed at anticipating the projects USAF should be investing in now to be ready for future threats and disruptions.

“What they’re designed to do is think about how the Air Force will fight against a peer adversary in the future and then work backward about what capabilities will be required,” he explained. While “individual projects” will flow from that process, “it won’t happen overnight,” he added.


Raytheon's Laser Dune Buggy Set to Fry Enemy Quadcopters....

"It may look like R2-D2 from Star Wars slapped on top of a dune buggy, but Raytheon says its new laser weapon holds the promise of providing maneuver formations with portable air defenses against drones.

"This can identify a quadcopter out to five clicks," or 5,000 meters, and then fry it with a laser, said Evan Hunt, business development lead for high-energy lasers at Raytheon."

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!


Tyrant King
Interim solution for US Army’s Short Range Air Defense to be chosen by end of year
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
  1 day ago

An Avenger fires a Stinger missile during Artemis Strike, a live-fire exercise at the NATO Missile Firing Installation off the coast of Crete, Greece, on Nov. 6, 2017. (Sgt. 1st Class Jason Epperson/U.S. Army)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army plans to choose an interim solution to meet a much-needed
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
in Europe by the end of the year, according to Brig. Gen. Randy McIntire, who is leading the service’s modernization efforts in air and missile defense.

The directed requirement for a SHORAD solution has been signed by the Army vice chief of staff, and now the Army’s cross-functional team — assigned to work on air and missile defense, or AMD, modernization — is working with the Army acquisition community to come up with a procurement plan, McIntire told Defense News in a March 14 interview.

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

There are
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
to address the service’s top six priorities. AMD is the fifth.

“But the plan is right now, we think we’ve got enough knowledge points,” McIntire said, “that by the fourth quarter of the year, we should be able to downselect to one [vendor]. There are really two
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

The Army has
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
into the maneuver force since then-U.S. Army Europe commander Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges about a year and a half ago
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
for conflicts against near-peer threats such as Russia.

The Army had pushed its SHORAD capability into the reserves and stopped investing in it during the wars in the Middle East where SHORAD was not needed to counter insurgency forces that had very little capability to attack from the air.

The service has already moved an Avenger unit from the National Guard into Europe and plans to continue rotations, but it acknowledges the need to go beyond that. The Army envisions needing to use air defense protection for the maneuver force as it penetrates highly contested enemy territory. SHORAD will also hold off enemy air capability in order to provide avenues for the U.S. Air Force to fly into enemy air space and take out critical targets.

Other capabilities like the
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
that is designed to go up against rockets, artillery and mortars as well as unmanned aircraft systems and cruise missiles is more designed for fixed sites, McIntire said, it’s not ideal for trying to keep up with Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles and the Abrams tanks in the fight.

And just keeping Avenger is not an option due to its survivability and range limitations, McIntire added.

The directed requirements call for 144 SHORAD systems which is about four battalions worth of equipment, McIntire said.

The CFT figures it will be able to field 12 systems — a battery — by fiscal 2020, with the remainder of the first battalion by FY21. The second battalion would be complete by FY22, according to McIntire.

The Army has also identified the first active-force battalion to be equipped with a SHORAD capability that will go to Europe — 4th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery Regiment — and is working the overseas stationing packet, McIntire said.

The first unit will stand up in FY19 with refurbished Avengers, but as the SHORAD vehicles come online, those systems from the 1980s will be replaced.

“We weren’t even talking about SHORAD just a little over a year ago, so by FY21 we will have that capability in Europe,” McIntire said.

The plan is to build four battalions, but it’s possible the service could take it further at a future decision point to provide every division, both active-duty and National Guard with a battalion of SHORAD, he added.

What the Army will be choosing by the end of the year is not the platform. The service has already decided the interim
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
. “The Stryker gave us the survivability that we needed compared to the Avenger” and was better in terms of size, weight and power considerations in order to potentially integrate directed energy onto the system.

In the service’s FY19 budget documents, it says the Army will assess the possibility of integrating a
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

“So we’ve got the bottom figured out and we are trying to figure out what that top of the turret looks like,” McIntire said.

The Army is looking most seriously at using existing systems, guns and missiles, particularly stuff already in the inventory so it can move out fast.

“As long as we got the potential to grow it, spiral develop things on it, we will do that,” McIntire said.

For instance, Lockheed Martin is expecting the Army to choose its Longbow Hellfire missile as part of the solution.

“Our plan was to take existing systems today, just get something out there, and so we do like the Longbow Hellfire, the [Joint Air-to-Ground Missile] capability, we’ve got Stingers in the inventory, so let’s use some Stinger missiles as well and get some quick wins,” McIntire said.

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
and is currently under development by Lockheed Martin.

And there is a variety of other options and configurations that have cropped up over the past year. The Army held a SHORAD demonstration for vendors with solutions in September and is using that as well as “paper submissions” to help it make a decision on the way forward by the end of the year, according to McIntire.

Looking beyond the interim solution, the Army believes SHORAD could potentially be integrated right onto the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle, another modernization priority for the service, he added.

“We will work with NGCV as they develop that platform with our directed-energy efforts. We will take the lead for that and we will help them inform that, but ultimately in the end we will be on the Stryker for the next 15 years,” McIntire said. “But we would ultimately maybe get on the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle with some of our capabilities down the road.”
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
since I now read it, I post Navy Still Struggling With Readiness Balance Between Overseas and U.S.-based Forces
Uneven readiness preparations favored funding deployed forces over those based in the U.S., creates a “tale of two navies” that persists, service leaders told a congressional panel on Tuesday.

A year ago, forward deployed units were described as being operationally ready to respond to any challenge, something U.S.-based units were not ready to do, said, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), during a Tuesday House Armed Services readiness subcommittee hearing.

She asked if the strain on U.S.-based units been reduced since then.

“I would say it still is a tale of two Navies, absolutely, and the reason is because we haven’t received the additional funding that’s requested in the FY 18 bill,” said Vice Adm. William “Bill” Lescher, in charge of the Navy’s integration of capabilities and resources.

The Navy is currently operating under Fiscal Year 2017 funding levels as part of the latest continuing resolution, Lescher said. The FY 2017 budget did not provide enough funding to pay for supplies and critical infrastructure projects, he said. the Navy would not be able to work on a backlog of readiness-related projects until the FY 2018 and FY 2019 budgets were approved.

Rep. Joe Wilson, (R-S.C.), the readiness subcommittee chair, asked about a current readiness issue related to the Navy’s heavy lift capabilities. The Navy grounded its fleet of C-130-T cargo planes in July after a
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
in Mississippi.

The four-engine turboprop planes – the backbone of the Navy’s ability to transport supplies and people between theaters – remain grounded because the Navy hasn’t received the $121 million required to purchase a new propeller system needed to get aircraft working again.

What has grounding the C-130T cargo planes done to readiness, Wilson asked.

“Right now, we have 42 percent degradation in that capability and that is related to the grounding of the C-130 Tangos,” said Vice Admiral Luke M. McCollum, chief of the Navy’s reserve force.

The Navy relies on reservists to crew its fleet of C-130T and C-40A cargo planes. To pick up the slack, McCollum said his fleet of reservists operated C-40 A aircraft are currently operating at 100 percent capacity.

If funded, McCollum said he estimates replacing the propeller systems would take between 12 and 18 months. Fulling funding the program now would help the Navy finish the program sooner. The propeller systems, though, are currently listed as unfunded priorities in the Navy’s FY 2019 budget request.

“The Navy is laser-focused on executing this funding responsibly, closely scrutinizing the spending while driving performance,” Lescher said.
it's USNI News
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!