US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.

Yesterday at 8:08 PM
Mar 7, 2018
now Boeing KC-46 delays are frustrating Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson
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As the Boeing tanker continues to see delays and cost overruns, the Air Force is airing its complaints.
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lit into
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today over delays in the
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, complaining the company is more focused on commercial work than on its Pentagon accounts, and continues to be “overly optimistic” about the
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, which is already months behind schedule.

“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,” Wilson told the House Armed Services Committee. She added that service officials met with Boeing reps last week in Seattle.

The aircraft was slated for first deliveries in August 2017. As it stands now, the first planes won’t make it to air wings until this summer at the soonest, putting it at least a year behind schedule.

Asked about Wilson’s comments, a Boeing spokesperson emailed me that “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.”

But the Air Force secretary expressed little faith in the company’s ability to deliver. “Boeing is saying they are going to deliver in the second quarter of 2018,” she said, adding that the company “has been overly optimistic in all of their schedule reports.” While Boeing says it will begin delivering by October, the Air Force believes that target will slip to the spring of 2019.

The company spokesperson declined to posit a delivery date for the first 18 aircraft,

The plan is to eventually replace the 60-year-old KC-135 Stratotankers and get new planes into the rotation to meet the service’s 479-tanker requirement. The Air Force plans to buy 179 tankers from Boeing. In its fiscal 2019 budget request, the Air Force outlined plans to buy 15 KC-46 tankers.

Thanks to the delays, Boeing is on the hook to use its own funds under its fixed priced-incentive fee contract to make up for the added costs. The contract puts a lid on the Air Force’s spending at $4.9 billion, and the service estimates that the program will eventually come in at around $6.3 billion. Boeing counters that the program will be completed for $5.9 billion.

The company has already compensated the government for previous schedule slippages, “and I anticipate that will be an issue in the coming months with Boeing, as well, for these most recent slips,” a visibly annoyed Wilson told lawmakers. “We have asked them to put their A-team on this to get these problems fixed and get this aircraft to the
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Yesterday at 9:23 PM
Saturday at 6:48 PM and Wasp ESG, 31st MEU sails from Okinawa for Indo-Pacific patrol
Posted March 19, 2018
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now F-35B Begins First Shipboard Deployment
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The Marine Corps’ F-35B Lightning II strike fighter began its first operational shipboard deployment on March 19, Navy officials said.

A six-aircraft detachment of Marine Fighter-Attack Squadron 121, based at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, was on board the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp as it began its spring patrol in the Western Pacific. The Wasp Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG), with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Group embarked, is on a routine patrol of the Indo-Pacific region.

“For the first time, the 31st MEU will conduct its missions utilizing the F-35B Lighting II, which flew aboard amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1), March 5,” a March 20 release from Amphibious Squadron 11 noted. “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 Wasp ESG include Wasp, amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland, amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay and the guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey.

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

The F-35Bs replace the AV-8B Harrier II attack aircraft that have deployed for decades on amphibious assault ships.
Dec 21, 2017
some time ago Jun 13, 2015

now US Navy’s new missile sub cruising for cost overruns, warns watchdog
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and Navy to Congress: Columbia-class Submarine Program Still on Schedule with Little Margin for Error
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Overheating problems with a test motor being developed Navy’s next nuclear ballistic missile submarine has not thrown the “no-margin-for-error” program off-schedule, senior service leaders have told Congress.

Testifying Tuesday
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, Rear Adm. John Tammen Jr. said the problem, discovered before the motor arrived at Philadelphia “consumed considerable flex time” in the program. But “the risk is manageable and well in hand,” Rear Adm. Michael Jabaley, program executive officer for submarines, added.

Last week before the Senate Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, Navy nuclear programs director Adm. James Caldwell said “it required us to have another motor built” by the subcontractor. The overheating problem was traced to faulty insulation. The new motor has not yet been tested.

By overlapping some other testing in the program and other tweaks, the overall Columbia program is on schedule. “We’re managing it very tightly” to meet the 2021 date to begin construction,
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James Geurts, the assistant secretary for Research, Development and Acquisition, said at Tuesday’s hearing “early work on missile tubes” for the new submarine also was a factor in keeping to schedule. Also having 83 percent of the ship’s design done at this stage of production, versus 42 percent for Virginia-class at a comparable time helps the program’s on-time prospects.

Delivery for the first Columbia boomer is expected in 2031. The no-margin-for-error comes with that date because the first Ohioclass ballistic missile submarine is set to retire.

Caldwell termed the development of the
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“a pretty big step for us” at the Senate hearing. Instead of coming in for refueling as nuclear-powered carriers do every 25 years, the core for Columbia class is to last the ship’s 40-plus-year service life. This longer core life is central to the Navy’s planning for 12 ballistic missile submarines instead of the 14 in the existing Ohio class.

Even with the
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, he told the panel that the longer life core “requires new materials,” which can present additional challenges. “We expect to start building the new core next year.” Caldwell added the longer life core would first be installed in future Virginia-class submarines.

Tuesday, Jabaley said the combined work on the quad-pack missile tubes and payload with the United Kingdom “is going very well.” The first five tubes have been delivered to the United States — four to Quonset Point, R.I., and one to Cape Canaveral, Florida.

He added the congressionally-approved continuous production authorities have been helpful aids in keeping the schedule intact. The Navy is looking to expand authorities into other areas, possibly the electric drive motor.

“It allows a more smooth ramp up” in building as repair work for other submarines decline, he said. That also helps Electric Boat maintain a steady skilled workforce over a long period of time. The authorities also “de-risk” the dangers of the early work problems surfacing in new class building, delaying the program and raising costs.

At the Senate panel last week, Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, recently confirmed as undersecretary for nuclear security at the Department of Energy, said the across-the-board nuclear weapons modernization programs has “everything is on track and on budget.” But she warned the panel that even with her program’s $15.1 billion budget request for Fiscal Year 2019, Congress “needs to sustain predictable funding” to deliver systems such as the replacement vessels for aging ballistic missile submarines.

In her opening statement, Gordon-Hagerty noted that $1.8 billion has been put against naval reactors in that request. “That’s a 20 percent increase” over last year’s and in line with Navy shipbuilding plans.

David Trimble, from the congressionally-established the General Accountability Office, agreed the longstanding challenge will be sustainability for all the nuclear programs — from ships to weapons. He also raised the affordability issue of bringing all the modernization programs into the services on schedule. He added a further problem may lay in having all this work done at the same time as the Department of Energy is overhauling existing laboratories, reprocessing plants and other facilities such as the Naval Reactors Facility in Idaho.

Gordon-Hagery said the facilities are on the average 40 years old.

For example, recapitalization of the naval facilities at the Idaho Nuclear Laboratory is closely linked to
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Keeping all that spending in balance makes the task more daunting. “A change in one area [one weapons program] can affect others [infrastructure and other weapons program]” dramatically, he said.

Trimble categorized the weapons programs as being on the “high-risk list” because of their demands on the overall budget, the need to keep each synchronized with the other, all requiring infrastructure modernization and many needing a growing, competent workforce with the necessary security clearances even for non-nuclear work.

Gordon-Hagerty projected the nuclear weapons modernization program alone would have “a sustained, profound and significant” impact on the Pentagon’s budget. She told the panel the cost would consume about 6.5 percent of the defense budget, up from slightly more than 3 percent in recent years.

“We are leaning as far forward as we can” on all these efforts and making sure “that we have priorities correct.”

She told the panel she expected to report back by year’s end on infrastructure needs with cost estimates.
Mar 8, 2018
just not to forget what's going on which is "Though the
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keeps the government open, the 2018 appropriations bill won’t pass until March 23rd, almost halfway through the fiscal year. Once it passes, federal agencies will have to rush to spend any additional one-year money before it expires on Oct. 1. For the many programs getting budget increases, the challenge will be efficiently spending whatever the extra amount is about the CR level. For new-start programs, however, where the CR level is zero, they’ll have to spend all their one-year money in the next six months."
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and the time has come:
Congress races to pass $1.3T defense-friendly omnibus and avoid shutdown
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The sweeping
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that congressional leaders unveiled Wednesday includes $654.6 billion for the Pentagon. But it’s unclear whether Congress can pass the proposal without
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Lawmakers touted the bill as providing the biggest year-over-year increase in defense funding in 15 years. Pentagon appropriations include $589.5 billion in the base budget and $65.2 billion in the overseas contingency operations (OCO) budget — an increase of $61.1 billion over the 2017 enacted level, when combined with other previously enacted funding.

The bill surpasses President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2018 request for the Pentagon by $15.5 billion.

Leadership and the heads of the appropriations committees struck a deal on a spending bill to fund the Pentagon and 11 other departments through the end of the fiscal year. The hard-won deal also involved funding to address the opioid crisis and strengthen’s the country’s gun background check system, but it does not include a fix for expiring protections for young immigrants.

Republican leaders in the House and Senate say the legislation will come to a vote in both chambers before the end of the week. To avoid a government shutdown, lawmakers have to sprint to pass the bill before the latest stopgap funding measure runs out at at 11:59 p.m. Friday.

On Wednesday afternoon, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., went to the White House to win over the president, who was upset the bill was not providing enough for a border wall. Ultimately, the White House signaled his intent to sign the bill, and the bill includes $1.6 billion toward physical barriers on the southern border.

However Sen.
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who forced a brief government shutdown last month, would not say Wednesday whether he would move to obstruct the massive spending bill. To pass the bill quickly, Senate leaders would need unanimous consent to wave its rules.

“I will oppose the bill. I haven’t made a decision yet on whether or not I will consent to time agreements,” CNN quoted Paul as saying.

McConnell and Ryan have messaged, as they did with the recent deal to ease budget caps, that a vote for the massive government spending bill is a vote for the troops.

Hardline House GOP conservatives, however, have signaled they will vote against the bill because negotiations have been too friendly to Democrats. Their non-support forces the GOP to rely on Democrats for the votes to pass it.

According to a summary, the measure provide $137.7 billion for personnel and pay, which includes a 2.4 percent pay raise; $89.2 billion for research and development, an uptick of $16 billion over 2017; $144.3 billion for procurement, which is $25.4 billion above fiscal 2017.

It also includes $238 billion for operations and maintenance, which is $853 million above the request to reduce readiness shortfalls. Those shortfalls were a concern in the Pentagon and a central argument for pro-defense lawmakers.

The bill would provide some limited
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to the Pentagon for O&M, as House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee Chair Kay Granger and others sought to compensate for the bill arrival midway through the fiscal year.

The agreement increases a cap on spending in the last two months of the fiscal year from 20 percent to 25 percent. It also changes the reprogramming threshold from $15 million to $20 million, and modifies the guidelines for realignments between readiness budget line items from requiring prior approval to written notification.

“These flexibility changes will allow for smarter execution of the $230 billion in base and OCO funding provided for the operation and maintenance accounts by avoiding the ‘use it or lose it’ dilemma and allowing more timely execution of readiness line items that have been affected by fact-of-life changes or emergent requirements,” a bill summary reads.

The defense bill includes $705.8 million for Israeli cooperative programs. A separate State and Foreign Operations bill includes $9 billion in base and OCO funding for international security assistance, with $3.1 billion for Israel, $1.3 billion for Egypt and $1.5 billion for Jordan.

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, there is $23.8 billion to procure 14 Navy ships, including funding for one carrier replacement, two DDG-51 guided missile destroyers, two Virginia-class submarines, three littoral combat ships; one expeditionary sea base; one expeditionary fast transport; one amphibious ship replacement; one fleet oiler; one towing, salvage, and rescue ship, and one oceanographic survey ship.

For aviation, there is $10.2 billion for 90 F-35 aircraft; $1.8 billion for 24 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft; $1.6 billion for 30 new build and 50 remanufactured Apache helicopters; $1.1 billion for 56 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters; $225 million for 20 MQ-1 Gray Eagle unmanned aerial vehicles; $1.7 billion for 10 P-8A Poseidon aircraft; $1.3 billion for 14 V-22 aircraft; $2.9 billion for 18 KC-46 tanker aircraft; $2.4 billion for 25 C/HC/KC/MC-130J aircraft, and $103 million for A-10 wing replacements.

For land vehicles, there is $348 million for 116 Stryker Double V-Hull upgrades; $300 million for Stryker lethality upgrades; $1.1 billion for the upgrade of 85 Abrams tanks; $483 million for the upgrade of 145 Bradley fighting vehicles, and $220 million for National Guard High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle recapitalization, including $120 million specifically for ambulance modernization.

Munitions are funded at $16.2 billion, $1.9 billion above the president’s budget request, for the procurement of missiles and ammunition. “Additional funds address unfunded requirements identified by the military services, industrial base capacity support, and munitions replenishment,” according to the summary.

For space, there is $1.4 billion for three evolved expendable launch vehicles and $675 million for two wideband gap-filler satellites. Air Force space programs net $800 million, with $100 million above the budget request for space launch vehicle and engine development activities.

There’s also $9.5 billion for the Missile Defense Agency, bringing the FY18 total for MDA to more than $11.3 billion when combined with the previously passed supplemental, according to the summary.
Congress readies boost to Navy shipbuilding in FY2018 spending bill
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Congress is preparing to vote on
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that would fund 14 new ships, give the Navy more than $3 billion more than it asked for in
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A draft of the omnibus spending bill released Wednesday night showed the Navy in line to get $23.8 billion for its
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, $2.6 billion more than in 2017. The budget buys, among other things, an aircraft carrier, two Virginia-class submarines, three littoral combat ships, two destroyers, a new LX(R) amphibious ship, a salvage ship, and an oceanographic survey ship.

The bill also funds about $862 million in advanced procurement for the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine program.

Aviation also got a boost. The budget is buying 10 more F/A-18 Super Hornets than the Navy asked for, meaning they’ll get 24 of the jets out of this budget, if its enacted as written. It will also get six MQ-8C Firescouts after not requesting any in 18.

Congress is also giving the Navy an extra three P-8A Poseidon sub hunters over the seven requested.

The bill needs to race through both the House and Senate over the next two days to avert a government shutdown Friday.
Apr 18, 2017
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why instead didn't you pick lasers on Strykers? :)

"Laser weapons will protect Strykers on-the-move and Forward Operating Bases as part of an effort to save Soldiers from incoming enemy attacks such as missiles, drones, mortars and artillery. This is the first-ever integration of a laser weapon onto an Army combat vehicle."
Army Lasers Will Soon Destroy Enemy Mortars, Artillery and Drones From Strykers
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yeah no armor but
US Army successfully demos laser weapon on Stryker in Europe
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= Kanonenfutter according to me

The U.S. Army successfully demonstrated a
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over the weekend, but the service acknowledges range limitations there are holding back exercising its full capability and training.

Col. Dennis Wille, the Army G-3 strategic program chief for U.S. Army Europe, told an audience March 21 at the Booz Allen Hamilton Directed Energy Summit in Washington, that over the weekend the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment supported by the 7th Army Training Command and the Fires Center of Excellence at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, conducted a live-fire engagement of the 5-kilowatt Mobile Expeditionary High Energy Laser (MEHEL) demonstrator at the Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany.

“The 2nd Cavalry troops successfully engaged a dozen commercial-off-the-shelf drones during this live event and all members of the team, from operators to acquisition, learned many valuable insights into how to conduct this training,” Wille said.

But while the demonstration was successful, in order to ensure proper range safety, all engagements had to be below-the-horizon, “which limits the realism embedded in the training,” Wille said.

“Above-the-horizon would have impacted aviation corridors for a few hundred kilometers around Grafenwoehr,” he added.

And due to the risk to eye safety, Wille said, the scenario was limited. “We recognize the need for a viable scenario where we can combine a live-fire engagement with other maneuver forces in the field,” he said.

The 2nd Cavalry and the 7th Army Training Command’s initial recommendations following the demonstration is to focus on developing high-fidelity simulation devices and software that allow for combined maneuver training while maintaining eye safe practices, according to Wille.

“Developing better simulation techniques will apply to all electronic warfare technologies and not just directed energy,” he noted.

And while the demonstration is still fresh, Wille said he anticipated there would be a quick push among NATO and other partner nations to work with the United States to develop better training range complexes in Europe that can accommodate directed energy weapon systems.

“This is extremely new and so I know that there will be many efforts to try and find locations where above-the-horizon becomes a standard place to do that,” Wille said. “Today there are not very many places on the planet where we can put this in a field environment where it is a standard capability instead of a new experimental capability so we have a lot to learn on that.”

It was just under two years ago that U.S. Army Europe identified gaps in electronic warfare capability in Europe and acknowledged the need to rapidly advance directed energy capability.

Not even a year after sending operational needs statements back to the Pentagon, the acquisition community began to deliver a small number of capabilities into the hands of assigned Brigade Combat Teams which immediately implemented them in field environments, according to Wille.

U.S. Army Europe has since learned many lessons on how to operate electronic warfare capabilities, to include directed energy, in Europe — primarily involving getting permission from host nations and figuring out how to operate in an electromagnetic spectrum used not just for military applications but for ordinary, every day civilian purposes, Wille said.

The MEHEL system will participate in the Joint Warfighting Assessment later this spring in Europe. It was first put to the test at Fort Sill
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in the spring of 2017.

Lasers on Stryker have a promising future. The Army is eyeing directed energy for a
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and is determining whether it can
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Also in Europe is a counter-unmanned aircraft system capability — the C-UAS Mobile Integrated Capability or CMIC — that is a companion system to MEHEL, which defeats small, slow UAS through radio frequency directed energy rather than through lasers, according to Wille. It is also installed on a Stryker vehicle.
Mar 6, 2018
Feb 27, 2018
now Congress to ‘balance‘ JSTARS recap with something new, key lawmaker says
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and Congress’ new omnibus bill sets up hurdles for JSTARS recap cancellation
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In the newly released fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill, Congress doesn’t exactly force the Air Force to move forward with JSTARS recap, which the service
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. But lawmakers didn’t make it easy for the service to walk away from it.

If passed by Congress, the language in the spending bill would prohibit the Air Force from using the $405 million designated for the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System recapitalization program on any other effort, including the service’s new
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However, it does offer up a back door: Congress might be willing to move the funding to another program if requested by the Air Force, and if the Defense Department submits a report about alternatives to JSTARS recap.

“Despite years of affirmations to Congress on the need to pursue JSTARS recapitalization and an ongoing source selection process, the Air Force asserts that the program will not be viable in future contested environments and lacks compelling improvements over legacy capabilities,” the omnibus language states.

However, “the proposal to cancel JSTARS recapitalization, pursue alternatives, and ensure no duplication between efforts requires careful consideration by Congress through the fiscal year 2019 budget process.”

The Air Force requested $417 million in fiscal 18 to continue development of the JSTARS recap, with a contract award to a single vendor — either
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or Northrop Grumman — expected in calendar year 2018.

But service leadership including
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and Chief of Staff
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that modified commercial planes would not be able to survive a battle with a peer competitor in a contested environment. By September, the service had acknowledged that it was seeking
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that the service should move forward with JSTARS recap and pursue a more disaggregated solution later, citing previous analysis supporting the effort and more than $265 million already spent on the recap program.

According to the bill, the defense secretary must submit a report to congressional defense committees that includes the following information:

  • The plan for retiring the current E-8C JSTARS fleet and options for retaining them
  • Whether the Air Force can address concerns about the survivability of the JSTARS recap by changing requirements, such as
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    , weight, power and cooling margins of the aircraft
  • The cost and schedule of the Advanced Battle Management System plan from FY19 to FY23
  • The cost and schedule of procuring Army and Navy platforms that could help conduct the battle management and surveillance mission currently done by JSTARS
In February,
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said the service is still working out the finer details of its new Advanced Battle Management System plan, but the general idea is that the Air Force could network together some of its existing capabilities to fill the JSTARS role.

Near-term plans include retaining seven E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft and upgrading them with new communications gear, as well as outfitting some MQ-9 Reaper drones with a new ground moving target indicator radar.


Tyrant King
rated to 12.7mm all around Strykers were never intended to be heavy armor but they beat the protection levels of a Humvee. Add in the double V hull and it's mine protected slat armor stops RPGs but if the Army gets Iron Curtain on them it will be even better
US Army successfully demos laser weapon on Stryker in Europe
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= Kanonenfutter according to me
Because the Lasers on Strykers are limited capacity to light Anti air. Where the 30mm is multi role able to kill light armor including some better protected IFVs from the rear or side. And even some antiaircraft capabilities