US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.


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Brigadier
The US Marine Corps is getting a new sniper rifle for the first time since the Vietnam War....



"The US Marine Corps plans on adopting the Mk 13 Mod 7 sniper rifle for Marine scout snipers, officials confirmed to Marine Corps Times on April 2, a much-needed and long-overdue replacement for the M40 system that Marines have wielded since the Vietnam War.

Since the start of the Global War on Terror in 2001, the M40's 1000-yard range has proved limiting for U.S. combat troops engaging militants in sprawling fighting in the mountains and desert of Afghanistan and Iraq."

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TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
The Mk13 mod 7 is not actually a new rifle to the USMC elements of MARSOC have been using it for some time, nor is it the first new sniper rifle to the USMC they have introduced a number of them in limited service and trails, what it is however is a replacement for the M40 series.

The M40 was introduced in the Vietnam war is based off the Remington 700 Short action.
The reasons for this were a few first constantly until Vietnam after a war The US military could cancel it's sniper programs moving to more of a designated marksmen concept.. This is very similar to how after every war until Korea the US would draw down it's military dramatically. Inside the Marines though were some how pushed hard from time to time to reestablish a full sniper program. When the US went to into Vietnam Those Jarheads got there wish the Marines had to restart it's sniper programs. but Marine Snipers it started off with World war 2 era Rifles in the form
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,
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and Korean war era the
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952 with
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all in 30.06

Well when the Marines started getting serious in 1966 they moved to adopt the Remington 700 as a standard sniper rifle rather then having the troops BYOR, The Short action was chosen as the Marines elected to move there new rifles in the .308 Winchester aka the 7.62x51mm Nato which is really a shortened version of the 30.06 that was also used by the M14 rifle. Although basically a commercial hunting rifle with a 3-9 power Redfield scope and wooden stock. the Stock and scope apparently didn't do as well as would have been liked. This lead to the M40A1 soon after which replaced the wood with a McMillan A1 fiberglass stock and a 10× Unertl scope. around this time 1969-1970 the Army had also moved to a New sniper rifle rebuilding some then being phased out M14 rifles into the M21.
The M40A1 would serve a long distinguished service from the End of Vietnam until the Global war on Terror as in 1996 the Marines started rebuilding them in to the M40A3, but before that I want to touch on the Army M24 and why it's different.

The M24 was introduced in abut 1988 as a replacement for most of the M21 sniper rifles of the Army. XM24 was like the M40A1 based on the Remington 700 rifle with a Fiberglass composite H-S Precision stock. but where the M40 is a Short action the M24 is a long action this was because the Army was debating moving to the longer range .300 Winchester Magnum cartridge. Ironically they didn't. I say Ironic because Hindsight is always 20/20 and in 2009 The Army finally did it. The Long action has the space in opening to allow for longer calibers if you configure the rifle that way the Short action is speced to max out at 7.62x51mm. So the Army had room to go larger well the Marines were locked with the M40.

M40A3 was introduced in 1996, This rifle was a massive change to the M40 as almost ever part was changed save the action. In many ways this is a totally custom rifle. The Army M24 was designed to match the Army's wants but was built by Remington The Marines after the M40A1 built there M40 series rifles in house. The Marines corps Armorers in Quantico custom built these Rifles using off the shelf parts from a verity of makers. The M40A3 features a McMillan A4 Tactical stock, Schmidt and Bender P M II LP 3–12×50 scope, 25 inch barrel, Harris bipod and more. in 2007 the Marines farther modified them by adding a removable magazine. in 2009 they added the ability to mount a suppressor.
then in 2015 the Marines started work on the M40A7 which moved to a Remington Chassis system instead of a fiberglass stock a 16 inch barrel for more suppressed use as the next M40.
however the Marines themselves saw that the Army had moved up with the M2010 to the .300 win mag and with the introduction of the Mk11, M39 Enhanced Marksmen Rifles based off M14 rifles and M110 to the Marines 7.62x51mm semi auto sniper and DMR rifles meant that the M40 was now feeling less relevant. I mean a Semi auto with nearly the same accuracy and same reach makes a in the same caliber Bolt action seem obsolete. So the Marines Sniper program have been looking at other options in .338 Lupua magnum, .338 Norma and others favored by other Nato members.
US Socom and the US Army were doing the Same, the Army Adopted the M2010 in 2010 in .300 winchester Magnum. Socom via Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division, custom built a .300 Winchester Magnum rifle called the Mk13 now the Mk13 has been through a number of iterations generally 8 versions starting with mod 0 and there in there are sub modifications as well as these are custom rifles. The Version the Marines seem to be adopting as the Mod 7 is the latest iteration dating to 2015.
MK13-small.jpg
Unlike the M40 series the Mk13 mod7 uses a Stiller bolt action. Stiller makes totally custom rifles and Crane chose there action for the Mk13 Mod 7. The barrel is also from a custom builder Lilja it's 26 inches long and built for a Accuracy international chassis. Which of course leads us to the stock which is a AX AICS this is a modular chassis system with folding stock and oddly Keymod which is inferior to M-lok but that might change. It's Suppressor comparable and I have seen some reports that the Marines will also change scopes. A Haris Bipod is the US DOD Standard. and a detachable 10 round box magazine.
US Socom was supposed to replace these Rifles with the Remington Mk 21 Precision Sniper rifle, a variant of the MSR that is multi caliber but Remington couldn't meet the demanded quality standards so they are back to the drawing board with the Advanced Sniper Rifle program. If Socom pulls that off I am betting the Mk13Mod 7 will be replaced by that so I don't expect a long service life for the Marines Mk13s this is an interim step.
 
Last edited:
Mar 21, 2018
Dec 21, 2017
and Navy to Congress: Columbia-class Submarine Program Still on Schedule with Little Margin for Error
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related is Report to Congress on Columbia-class Nuclear Ballistic Missile Submarine Program
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From the Report
The Columbia (SSBN-826) class program, previously known as the Ohio replacement program (ORP) or SSBN(X) program, is a program to design and build a new class of 12 ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) to replace the Navy’s current force of 14 Ohio-class SSBNs. The Navy has identified the Columbia-class program as the Navy’s top priority program. The Navy wants to procure the first Columbia-class boat in FY2021. The Navy’s proposed FY2019 budget requests $3,005.3 million in advance procurement (AP) funding and $704.9 million in research and development funding for the program.

The Navy as of January 2017 estimates the procurement cost of the lead ship in the class at
$8.2 billion in constant 2017 dollars, not including several billion dollars in additional cost for
plans for the class, and the average unit procurement cost of ships 2 through 12 in the program at
$6.5 billion each in constant FY2017 dollars. A March 2017 GAO report assessing selected major
Department of Defense (DOD) weapon acquisition programs stated that the estimated total
acquisition cost of the Columbia-class program is $100,221.9 million (about $100.2 billion) in
constant FY2017 dollars, including $12,648.1 million (about $12.6 billion) in research and
development costs and $87,426.5 million (about $87.4 billion) in procurement costs. Observers
are concerned about the impact the Columbia-class program will have on the Navy’s ability to
fund the procurement of other types of ships at desired rates in the 2020s and early 2030s.

Issues for Congress for the Columbia-class program for FY2019 include the following:

  • whether to approve, reject, or modify the Navy’s FY2019 funding requests for
    the program;
  • the impact of using CRs to fund Department of Defense (DOD) operations for
    the first several months of FY2018 on the execution of FY2018 funding for the
    Columbia-class program;
  • cost, schedule, and technical risk in the Columbia-class program; and
  • the prospective affordability of the Columbia-class program and its potential
    impact on funding available for other Navy programs.
 
Tuesday at 9:16 PM
Mar 21, 2018
now
Has Boeing Been Neglecting KC-46?

Mar 30, 2018
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anyway Boeing tankers refuel each other in KC-46 milestone test

05 April, 2018
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Boeing announced that its KC-46 Pegasus aerial tanker programme completed its fuel on-load testing, part of its overall supplemental type certificate, by successfully transferring 66,200kg (146,000lb) of jet fuel to another KC-46 during flight using the centreline boom..

The fuel transfer took place during a 3h, 40min-long flight on an undisclosed date, Boeing says. Both aircraft took off and landed at Boeing Field in Seattle and achieved the maximum fuel off-load rate of 1,200 gallons per minute. Having one KC-46 refuel another KC-46 was another step toward receiving the US Federal Aviation Administration’s supplemental type certificate, the approval Boeing needs to modify the commercial 767-2C into a military tanker.

The KC-46 now has demonstrated the ability to receive fuel from three tankers in the USAF fleet: KC-46, KC-135 and KC-10 aircraft, Boeing says. It also has demonstrated refueling with other aircraft including the F-16, F/A-19, AV-8B, C-17 and A-10. To date, the programme's test aircraft have completed 2,700 flight hours and more than 2,500 contacts during refueling flights.

Primarily, the KC-46 will be used to refuel other aircraft, but also must be able to take on fuel while flying to extend its operational range. The tanker’s boom system can transfer up to 4,540l (1,200gal) of fuel per minute, while the Cobham-supplied hose and drogue systems, located on both the plane's wing and centerline, enables the KC-46 to refuel probe-equipped aircraft with up to 1,510l of fuel per minute.

Progress towards the Boeing KC-46 receiving its full FAA certification comes several weeks after Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson criticiced Boeing for what she believed will be further delivery delays of the aircraft. The USAF had expected Boeing to deliver the first KC-46 by the end of 2017. The airframe manufacturer said it would deliver by the second quarter of 2018, but the USAF believes it will miss that target date too.

For its part, Boeing said in response to Secretary Wilson’s comments that it was doing all it can to deliver the tankers as soon as possible. However, the firm did not guarantee that the first batch of tankers would be delivered by the second quarter of 2018.
 

timepass

Brigadier
Army soldiers fire new Abrams tanks for first time...



"U.S. Army soldiers at Fort Stewart in Georgia have started field training with the new M1A1-SA Abrams tanks, the Army announced this week.

Soldiers with the 3rd Infantry Division's Delta Tank Company, 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team fired the main and support weapon systems on the M1A1-SA Abrams tanks during a field training exercise in late March."

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very interesting, the second line in Texas, the NIFCA part, the numbers etc.:
Boeing Super Hornet program gets second life through future sales and upgrades
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Boeing is expecting an important delivery this week: the arrival of the first
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slated to undergo a
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at the company’s production line in St. Louis, Missouri.
“We feel good through the end of 2025 at our current production rate of two per month, and there are lots of opportunities to extend beyond that, perhaps to increase the rate,” Gillian told Defense News in an interview.

That new business translates into a massive windfall for Boeing.

The Navy intends to spend about $9.2 billion to procure 110 Block III Super Hornets from FY19-FY23, budget documents show. Those jets will roll off Boeing’s production line in 2020 with a 9,000-hour service life,
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that increase its range, a new cockpit, an enhanced network architecture and signature management improvements that include a reapplication of its stealthy coating.

And although Boeing is not disclosing the projected value of the SLM and Block III retrofit efforts, they will probably net Boeing a hefty sum by the time they are completed in the late 2020s.

The resurrection of the Super Hornet program can be attributed to several factors, said Richard Aboulafia, an analyst for the Teal Group.

“First and foremost, it’s the rising defense budget. And that’s Trump. That’s the one definite and clear Trump effect,” he said.

Others include a very effective lobbying campaign by Boeing, which was supported by lawmakers in Congress. Navy leaders have grappled with a
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for years, but they kept requests for additional Super Hornets out of their budget requests due to fiscal limitations. Congress, however, could always be counted on to insert funding for more planes to keep the line going, Aboulafia said.

“The price for not having a plane you can afford in sufficient numbers is the risk of losing a carrier in the budget wars,” he said. “Until they feel comfortable with the price and performance of the F-35C, they are extremely reluctant to give up their only fallback production program.”

In February, the Navy awarded the company a $73 million contract for life extension work for the first four F/A-18E/Fs that will begin the process this year. Those jets are part of an initial tranche of aircraft that will have their service life increased to 7,500 hours before returning to the Navy to support carrier air wing requirements amid a fighter shortfall, Gillian said.

“Initial airplanes will take about 18 months on average, and we’ll be opening up the airplanes, we’ll be doing inspections, we’ll be doing some changes to the airplanes to extend the life out to 7,500 hours, cleaning up the airplane the best we can and then giving it back,” he said.

The work will kick off a decade long “service life modification” effort that will increase the lifespan of the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18E/F aircraft from 6,000 to 9,000 flight hours, but also transform them into the newest
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, said Dan Gillian, Boeing’s program manager for the Super Hornet and Growler.

The SLM effort, coupled with future Super Hornet procurement spelled out in the fiscal 2019 budget, has given the F/A-18E/F program a second life. Earlier this decade, it was thought that Super Hornet production could end as early as 2016 or 2017.

Now the situation has changed entirely.

Those planes are slated to return back to Boeing in 2022 for further modifications that will bring the airframe to a 9,000 hour service life and add the Block III upgrades.

“Super Hornet is almost 100 percent of the carrier airwing strike force today,” Gillian explained. “There’s just a few legacy Hornets left, and so they need those airplanes out in the fleet to do the Navy’s mission, so that’s why we’re doing it in the two-phase piece for a small subset of the airplanes.”

Once Boeing has worked through the initial batch of jets, it plans to stand up a second line in San Antonio, Texas, to take on SLM work. The goal, Gillian said, is to optimize the process so that the company can complete the Block III upgrades and life extension in a 12 month period, modernizing 40 to 50 jets per year in St. Louis and San Antonio.

Boeing plans to upgrade all of the Navy’s Block II Super Hornets — about 450 planes — to a Block III configuration. However, it would be cost prohibitive to modernize the service’s remaining Block I jets, which number about 135 aircraft and have a different forward fuselage and less advanced radar, so those will remain in their current configuration.

The new conformal fuel tanks will add 120 nautical of range and the reapplication of stealth coating will reduce the aircraft’s radar cross section by about 10 percent, but the real gamechanger in Block III is the advanced network capabilities, Gillian said.

That upgrade involves a new high-powered computer called the distributed targeting processer network or DTPN and the tactical targeting network technology (TTNT) waveform, both of which are found on the E/A-18G Growler.

Having those upgrades will allow the Super Hornet to quickly crunch sensor data onboard and act like a smart node in the service’s Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA) architecture, which links together the Navy’s air and sea assets.

“We always say that next-generation fighters are networked and survivable, and DTPN and TTNT is how we make Super Hornet a networked fighter,” Gillian said.

Every carrier air wing will have at least one squadron comprised of Block III Super Hornets by 2024. A second squadron is slated to arrive in 2027 or 2028, depending on when aircraft are inducted, he said.
 
(apparently commenting on Wednesday at 9:00 PM
gosh I recall Bill O'Reilly in '01 and '02 screaming on his talk show to send the Army so that the border isn't wide open ... it's almost two decades ago!

now Pentagon says it’s looking at ways to ‘expand’ border duties
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): Wednesday at 9:51 PM
Actually Presidents Bush and Obama both sent National guard units to the Boarder ...
so "In July of 2010, Obama ordered up “
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,” dispatching 1,200 National Guard troops to the border. The Obama order was an extension of
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a 2006 Bush policy that sent 6,000 National Guard troops to the US-Mexico border, where they did everything from help seize drugs to rescue a drowning Central American woman. The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported at the time:

Two Texas guard members working in an entry identification capacity nearby responded to the call for assistance. Disregarding their own safety, the guardsmen jumped into the water to save the drowning woman, pulling her from the depths of the muddy Rio Grande River.

Operation Phalanx
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, while Operation Jump Start cost $1.2 billion over two years."

etc.:
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didn't know it's possible to say "... troops will be sent to help patrol the southern border in lieu of the border wall ...", I mean my English failed me LOL anyway National Guard Headed to Mexican Border Once Governors Approve
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troops will be sent to help patrol the southern border in lieu of the border wall once border state governors give the authorization, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Wednesday.

"We do hope the
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begins immediately," Nielsen said at a White House briefing on President Donald Trump's plan to have the National Guard aid in border security until the "big beautiful wall" he promised during his presidential campaign can be built.

Nielsen, a former aide to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, did not have an estimate on how many National Guard troops will be mobilized and deployed but said, "It will be as many as are needed to fill the gaps."

She said the number of troops would likely be in the range of the 6,000 who deployed as part of "Operation Jump Start" for border security during former President George W. Bush's administration.

As in Jump Start, the troops would be strictly limited to surveillance activities and would not be charged with arresting or tracking those crossing illegally, Nielsen said.

Late Tuesday, the Pentagon said the military is looking at ways to expand upon its limited support for border security in line with Trump's push to have troops involved until he can find funding for a border wall.

"There are a number of ways the Department of Defense is already supporting the DHS [Department of Homeland Security] border security mission," said Dana White, chief Pentagon spokesperson.

White referred mainly to the unmanned aerial system surveillance flights over border areas flown by U.S. Northern Command.

"We are still in consultation with the White House about ways we can expand that support," she said.

Earlier Tuesday, Trump said at the White House that the U.S. military could be used to guard the southern border with Mexico until the wall is built.

The president said he had already discussed the new mission for the military with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. "We are going to be guarding our border with the military," Trump said.

Previous efforts at military assistance for border security during the administrations of Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have involved National Guard and Reserve troops who were limited to surveillance.

Nielsen said that the deployment of the National Guard troops is the result of Trump's "frustration" at not finding funding estimated at $20 billion to $30 billion to build a border wall. He said during his presidential campaign that Mexico would pay for the wall, but Mexico has thus far refused.

Trump had asked for more than $20 billion for the wall in the
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passed by Congress last month, but only $1.6 billion was approved.

The president has proposed taking money from the military's budget for the wall, but Nielsen appeared to take that proposal off the table. She said the military might be asked to build walls only on the small sections of military land abutting the border.
 

TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
BAE Systems has delivered all of the AMPVs built under the Engineering and Manufacturing Design (EMD) phase to the U.S. Army to begin the testing phase of the program.
AMPV: Bringing flexible, multi-missioncapabilities to the U.S. Army
3 Apr 2018


The Army’s primary armored fighting force is the Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT), which consists of layered and synchronized capabilities enabling it to carry out full spectrum operations anywhere in the world.
The Army’s new
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(AMPV) is a key component within the ABCT formation, delivering command and control, troop transport, mortar, medical evacuation and medical treatment to the battlefield. The AMPV accomplishes these wide ranging missions through a flexible, agile design, and by cost effectively leveraging existing technologies and commonality across other vehicle fleets within the ABCT formation.


Testing
BAE Systems has delivered all of the AMPVs built under the Engineering and Manufacturing Design (EMD) phase to the U.S. Army to begin the testing phase of the program.

“The AMPV is essential to the future of the Armored Brigade Combat Team,” said Bill Sheehy, AMPV program director for BAE Systems. “Delivering all EMD vehicles to the Army is a proud moment for us – it means we’re another step closer to delivering the next generation of power, mobility, and survivability to our Soldiers in our combat formations.”

BAE Systems’ five variant AMPV is a fully modern, highly flexible vehicle designed to replace the Vietnam War-era M113 family of vehicles. It is a mature, cost-effective solution that leverages proven designs from the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle, a key component of the ACBT, and the M109A7 Self-Propelled Howitzer. It meets the Army’s force protection and all-terrain mobility requirements, enabling the AMPV to maneuver with the rest of the ABCT. Maximizing commonality within the ABCT reduces developmental risk and streamlines maintenance, providing significant cost savings to the Army.

The goal is to deliver the best capability possible to the Army in order to assist the ABCT in maintaining combat overmatch anywhere in the world, under any conditions at all times, Sheehy said. The process to deliver the best capability is iterative.

“The next phase of testing will help us to better understand the soldier/machine relationship and identify areas we can improve upon,” Sheehy said. “Delivering the best AMPV will not end with formal testing but continue as we field the vehicles throughout the Army and we learn new things about performance and the Soldiers expectations.


Looking forward
AE Systems was awarded a contract worth up to $1.2 billion from the Army in
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for EMD and Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) phases of the AMPV program. The initial award of $383 million under the EMD phase was for the development and production of vehicles across all of the variants: general purpose, mission command, mortar carrier, medical evacuation, and medical treatment.

The company has further leveraged the AMPV’s adaptable design to provide a critical combat capability to Combat Engineers at Echelons Above Brigade (EAB). BAE Systems began an internally funded project in collaboration with the Army to develop an engineer variant to replace EAB M113s. The new variant would be the sixth in the AMPV family of vehicles and designated the engineer vehicle.

Developmental testing is underway. The program then goes into a “Milestone C” review to determine if the program is ready for low-rate production. The AMPV program is currently on schedule to meet the Army’s Milestone C in 2019.

“Like the venerable M113, AMPV is looking forward to a long and effective role in the Army,” Sheehy said.
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Basically the AMPV is a updated Bradley hull being reconfigured to a wider range of missions. The AMPV seeks to replace the M113 series which despite there fan base have thin skins. IEDs and RPG's have basically caused the US Army to substitute MRAPS for M113 vehicles but MRAPS suffer off road. So the Army needs a vehcile it can put back in those missions that has the protection and off road performance. Preferably Tracked. A number of offerings were made including the interesting Tracked Stryker but the Army chose the Bradley to be the basis of the AMPV. Ironically this is a bit of back to the Future, Any one who has Watched Pentagon wars knows that the Bradley was supposed to replace the M113. (However Pentagon wars has alot of B.S. in it as Bradley in it early form was still technically an IFV The movie makes it seem like there was never a Troop carrier with a turret and medium caliber gun on top before, yet by 1958 The Germans had done the Schützenpanzer Lang HS.30. and in there timeline before the Bradley began the Russians had BMP1. But I digress. )
AMPV will come in 5 to 6 flavors a APC, Ambulance, Treatment vehicle Mortar carrier and Command post with BAE now pitching an Engineering vehicle.
AMPV engineering.jpg
It's far from perfect. Bradley has issues it's an older vehicle with older armor. AMPV is supposed to take some of the weight savings from removing the turret for upgraded protection as well as a Suspension upgrade and raising the roof line of some versions.
BAE is also pitching a much needed overhaul to the Bradley IFV's automotive and a SHORAD version, Both are needed really yet the Bradley is running out of room above and below the turret.
 
Today at 6:09 AM
very interesting, the second line in Texas, the NIFCA part, the numbers etc.:
Boeing Super Hornet program gets second life through future sales and upgrades
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related articles are:
Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet production line busy until 2025
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In a swift reversal of fortunes, Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet production line now has a seven-year backlog after nearly expiring two years ago due to a lack of orders.

In March, Kuwait ordered 22 F/A-18E and six F/A-18F Super Hornets for delivery through 202, with options for 12 more. During the same month, Congress topped off the US Navy’s request list with 10 more Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets, worth $739 million. In all, the Navy is buying 24 Super Hornets for a sum of $1.8 billion in fiscal 2018, with more than 100 additional fighters planned for procurement over the next five years.

The company believes production of the aircraft could extend even beyond 2025, citing potential sales of the fighter to India and Finland.

In the case of India, the company said it is in discussions with that government to set up a separate production line within the country, which could be later used to produce other aircraft.

“We think that factory can be used by India to build their next generation fighter,” said Dan Gillian, vice-president of F/A-18 & EA-18G programs. India is in the early stages of developing a stealthy fighter under the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) programme.

He noted that Boeing’s F-15E Strike Eagle and F/A-18 have parts and electronics sourced from Indian manufacturers such as Hindustan Aeronautics and Tata.

“We have a very robust supply chain in India, supporting our commercial and defence products,” says Gillian.

Boeing also claims the aircraft’s low operating cost and ability to be upgraded quickly have made the plane continually appealing.

“What really makes it competitive is the ability to put on capabilities quickly at an affordable cost,” said Jennifer Splaingard, Boeing programme manager for F/A-18 development.

She noted Block III enhancements to the aircraft such as an extended range that comes from its internal conformal fuel tanks, added stealthy characteristics and its Advanced Cockpit System.
and
Boeing receives first Super Hornet for service life modification
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The first F/A-18F Super Hornet scheduled to undergo service life modification arrived at Boeing’s St. Louis, Missouri facilities on 5 April.

The two-seat fighter came from VFA-106, a Super Hornet fleet replacement squadron stationed at NAS Oceana, Virginia. The jet had approximately 6,000 flight hours on it.

Boeing plans to extend the service life of the US Navy’s Super Hornet fleet by replacing components and strengthening the aircraft structure though new parts or reinforcements.

F/A-18E/F Super Hornets undergoing service life modifications before 2020, approximately less than 100 aircraft, will have their service life extended by 1,500h each, Boeing said. The aircraft’s first visit will extend its total service life life to 7,500h and the second visit will extend its life to 9,000h.

At a later date, presumably once Boeing has improved its modification programme, aircraft will have service life extensions of 3,000h done in one visit, the company said. By extending the fighter’s airframe life 3,000h overall, the US Navy aims to add up to 10 years of service life for the 20-year-old fighter design.

Initial Super Hornets received by Boeing will take about 18 months to be modified, though the company believes it can shorten the period down to 12 months over time. After receiving the first six aircraft at its St. Louis facility, the company plans to evenly split its modification work with a facility in San Antonio, Texas.

In February, Boeing was awarded a contract for $73.2 million to perform work on an initial four aircraft by 2020. And, in March, US Naval Air Systems Command announced plans to modify 45 more Super Hornets over the next two years. Eventually, Boeing said it expects to modify 40 to 50 planes a year, so as to extend the lifespan of all of the Navy’s fleet of more than 500 Super Hornets.
 

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