US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.

TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
US Navy gearing up for boost in submarine production
By: Julia Bergman, The (New London, Conn.) Day via AP   52 minutes ago
build three attack submarines in some years as opposed to two, and wants to keep five of its attack submarines in service longer than expected to address a dip in the number of nuclear-powered attack submarines in coming years.

The U.S. attack submarine fleet is expected to shrink by 20 percent over the next decade. There are 52 attack submarines today; by 2028, that number is expected to dip to 42. The Navy has said it needs a fleet of 66 attack submarines, but that isn’t expected to happen until 2048 under current plans.

Meanwhile, the Navy continues to drive down the construction timeline for the Virginia-class attack submarine program. At the outset, the boats were built in 84 months. Then the Navy reduced the construction timeline to 74 months, and now the goal is to build them in 66 months.

The Navy wants to knock off even more time, which means pressure is mounting on Electric Boat and hundreds of submarine suppliers in Connecticut to keep on schedule. Already, EB has been busy building two Virginia-class submarines a year with Newport News Shipbuilding and thousands of suppliers across the country. The submarines cost about $2.7 billion each to build.



“Everybody has, I think, reached consensus that this part of the fleet is more and more prized by combatant commanders, and now that the dip in fleet size is getting imminent, time and delivery is even more of a priority,” said U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District.

The Navy is negotiating the contract for the next group of attack submarines it wants to build from 2019 to 2023. Congress authorized the production of up to 13 Virginia submarines during that period, but the Navy has indicated it wants to build 12. That would mean building three submarines in 2022 and 2023, respectively. Costs still are being figured out, and Congress would have to approve any funding.

“I’m still committed to having options in that contract for additional submarines in ’22 and ’23, should that be something we jointly decide to do and can afford,” Assistant Secretary of the Navy James Geurts said at a recent congressional hearing.

The Navy also is proposing to extend for up to 10 years the service life of five Los Angeles-class attack submarines, which the Virginia submarines are replacing. At this point, no Groton-based submarines are being considered for service life extension.

The Virginia program has been hailed for boats being delivered on time and within budget, but there have been setbacks. Some boats were affected by welding issues, causing delays in their getting out into the fleet, and in some cases there’s been delays in getting parts, which has slowed down construction.

The 15 Virginia submarines currently in the fleet were delivered within 5 percent of the contracted deadline, according to Capt. Chris Hanson, the Navy’s new Virginia program manager.

“To do this work, we have to ensure the vendor base, our 5,000 vendors, is feeding the system with quality parts on time,” Hanson said.

Keith Macdowall, vice president of Prime Technology LLC in North Branford, which makes display systems for submarines similar to those seen on car dashboards, said EB has been proactive about alerting its suppliers what to expect with the ramp-up in submarine production.

“The nuclear shipbuilding supply base is poised to ramp up production capacity to support the increased demand associated with the Navy’s Shipbuilding Plan,” Liz Power, spokeswoman for EB, said in an emailed statement. “We have developed strategic plans to ensure we have the workforce, facilities and supply chain in place to respond to current and potential needs, and have shared these plans with the Navy.”

The biggest concern for suppliers is getting materials on time and ensuring they have the equipment and employees in place to do the work, according to Macdowall. Federal lawmakers have appropriated tens of millions of dollars to help suppliers prepare for the ramp-up, such as buying parts in advance.

Macdowall, who is co-chairman of the Submarine Industrial Base Council, said the organization had a record turnout for its annual summit in Washington in March. He estimated 400 people attended, which shows the level of interest in this work, he said.
https://www.defensenews.com/news/your-navy/2018/04/23/us-navy-gearing-up-for-boost-in-submarine-production/

I am sure this next one will draw some ire so please don't spam up the thread with chest thumping. I am just posting the news.
Incoming US Pacific Command chief wants to increase presence near China
By: Mike Yeo   6 hours ago
stationed in the vital region, adding that China is now effectively able to control the South China Sea and challenge the U.S. presence in the region.

In his testimony at last week’s Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing, Adm. Philip Davidson also said he will work to recalibrate U.S. force posture in the Indo-Pacific region to align with the recently released 2018 National Defense Strategy, an effort he said “entails ensuring the continued combat readiness of assigned forces in the western Pacific (and) developing an updated footprint that accounts for China’s rapid modernization.”

Davidson, who has been nominated to take over U.S. Pacific Command, or PACOM, also said the strategic and operational environment outlined in the NDS clearly identifies the importance of developing and fielding a force posture that is capable of “countering Chinese malign influence in the region,” while describing actions in the South China Sea such as the One Belt One Road Initiative as China executing its own deliberate and thoughtful force posture initiatives.

Due to the distances involved in the Indo-Pacific, Davidson stressed that the U.S. cannot solely rely on surge forces from the continental United States to deter Chinese aggression or prevent a fait accompli. He also said PACOM must maintain a robust, blunt layer that effectively deters Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific.




U.S. Navy Adm. Philip Davidson, the incoming PACOM chief, is shown addressing Marines and sailors during a joint promotion and re-enlistment ceremony on May 27, 2016. (Sgt. Rebecca L. Floto/U.S. Marine Corps)
However, he added there is insufficient forward-deployed and rotational forces from all three services in PACOM’s area of responsibility, or AOR, and the current force structure and presence does “not sufficiently counter the threats in the Indo-Pacific.”

He specifically noted that PACOM only has a quarter of its required intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability in its AOR, although he declined to go into further details of the ISR shortfall, instead saying “the shortfalls are identified and have been highlighted in PACOM’s regular contacts with the Joint Staff.”

Additional requirements for the AOR include command-and-control capabilities, as well as the “integration of long-range, high-speed, lethal, survivable and precision munitions capabilities in ships, submarines, patrol craft, land-based formations, bombers and fighters.” These, combined with robust numbers of fifth-generation platforms and the necessary tankers and transports, will provide U.S. forces an advantage in a denied environment in the near term, the officer explained.

Davidson also touched on the continuing effort to field a new generation of weapons such as the Conventional Prompt Global Strike long-range hypersonic weapons, which he said “will help meet military requirements in PACOM” by expanding the competitive space and by taking on adversaries in areas where the U.S. possesses advantages and adversaries lack strength.

Still, he cautioned that China has already been doing the same by weaponizing space and improving its ballistic missile technology and cyber capabilities.

The state of follow-on forces to be deployed to the AOR in the event of a conflict was also an area of worry, with Davidson expressing concern about the manning, training and equipping of U.S. follow-on forces. He emphasized that continuing resolutions, delayed appropriations and sequestration stemming from the budget impasse directly impacts the size and speed of a military response.
https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2018/04/23/incoming-us-pacific-command-chief-wants-to-increase-presence-near-china-isr-capabilities/
 

Jura

General
Feb 8, 2018
Oct 28, 2016
it's so so so so fancy Future Marine Mega-Drone May Carry Same Weapons as F-35

source: http://www.dodbuzz.com/2016/10/27/mega-drone-marines-weapons-f-35/
now
Marines Revisit Shipboard Group 5 UAS Requirements After Industry Warnings of High Cost https://news.usni.org/2018/02/08/31211
and
Marines Zero In On Requirements for Future MUX Unmanned Aerial Vehicle https://news.usni.org/2018/04/23/marines-zero-requirements-future-mux-unmanned-aerial-vehicle
The Marine Corps has refined its vision for a large sea-based unmanned aerial system (UAS) after honing in on capability gaps the Marines most urgently need to fill.

Since creating a program of record for the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) UAS Expeditionary (MUX) in the summer of 2016, the service has learned much about what it really needs, what industry can provide, and how to keep the program’s cost from becoming unmanageable, Col. James Frey, the director of the Marine Corps’ Aviation Expeditionary Enablers branch, told USNI News in an April 18 interview.

MUX is meant to be a Group 5 UAS capability that launches from an amphibious ship or other ship and can land either on a flight deck or in an expeditionary airfield. This large system would supplement the Marines’ Group 3 RQ-21 Blackjack and the ongoing fielding of small quadcopters at the lowest levels of the infantry – dubbed “quads for squads.”

Though the MUX was originally given a lofty set requirements to perform seven distinct – and not necessarily complementary – mission sets, a March 8 request for information prioritized those missions. Tier 1 missions for the MUX are now early warning; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR); electronic warfare; and communications relay. Offensive air support is now a Tier 2 mission, and aerial escort and cargo are listed as important but potentially being re-allocated to other systems in the MAGTF.

In fact, Frey said, the ongoing Future Vertical Lift program is almost certain to cover the Marines’ aerial escort and cargo needs, according to wargames that have been recently conducted. Whatever cargo requirement is not met by Future Vertical Lift could be accomplished with the CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter delivering goods in bulk or by a smaller UAS that the Marine Corps’ Installations and Logistics community is now working to develop, which would deliver smaller loads of supplies to distributed Marine forces.

“So what do we need? It is persistence and endurance and time on station,” he said of MUX, when put into the context of the MAGTF air combat element of the future: the CH-53K and the Future Vertical Lift to do major lifting, and the MV-22 Osprey and F-35B Joint Strike Fighter that would need a UAS that can keep up with their extended-range operations.

The decision to emphasize the four missions – and early warning in particular – was also in part due to how the threat set around the world has evolved and the “National Defense Strategy [that] dictates what missions and roles of the Marine Corps we should focus on,” Frey added.

It was also informed by industry feedback the Marine Corps solicited early on that said “you’re asking for too much, it’s going to cost too much,” Lt. Gen. Robert Walsh, deputy commandant of the Marine Corps for combat development and integration, told USNI News in February.

“The [initial capabilities document] we wrote was really all-encompassing,” Walsh said.
“We started really working with the contractors off the ICD and what we were kind of getting from them was, boy, this is a pretty big broad capability – this is going to be big and this is going to be expensive. They were almost looking to develop a V-22 unmanned sized and cost aircraft. So we looked at that and said, okay, that’s why we’ve got to work with industry more as we develop requirements.”

Ultimately, the new focus on persistence and endurance during these sensor-based missions will affect the shape of the vehicle that can best meet the MUX requirements as they stand today.

“When you put cargo lower, what that does is, you don’t have to have that dead space in the fuselage. That space can be used for fuel, for payload, for other sensors,” Frey said.
“Instead of focusing on 3,000 or 4,000 pounds internally on cargo, I’d rather have that on the wings as electronic attack pod, or look at weapons – weapons take up a lot of your weight, a lot of your drag, so you want to have that capability. So it absolutely will influence the design. Instead of the design having to have so much extra power to come in and deliver cargo … that’s a different model, different rotor. … What you get in efficiencies on slow-speed handling and takeoff, you’re giving up something in endurance. So there’s always a tradeoff, and if you prioritize this thing less on cargo and more on getting on the wing and have endurance at 300 or 700 miles” then industry can optimize the vehicle design for missions that will most benefit the MAGTF.

...
... goes on below due to size limit
 

Jura

General
the rest of the article from the post right above:
Much is yet to be decided about how the MUX will ultimately operate at sea, but Frey described for USNI News a vision of MUX: the air vehicle fits into an H-60 hanger for storage and maintenance, and potentially even folds up to an H-1-sized vehicle so that two can be stored in the H-60 hangar. It operates off the San Antonio-class amphibious transport docks (LPD-17) – or even potentially a frigate, a destroyer or the Future Surface Combatant – and as many as three or four might deploy on the big-deck amphibious assault ships to provide greater support for forces ashore and for the Joint Force. It provides persistent early warning and ISR coverage autonomously, and it could potentially have air vehicle command passed from the control station onboard a ship to V-22 or F-35B pilots nearby to more closely check out a target or to conduct a kinetic or nonkinetic attack.

Though he was careful to note “I’m not writing the Navy’s requirements,” Frey said the Navy’s MQ-8 Fire Scout was scheduled to sundown around the time MUX would reach full fielding, so if the MUX program were executed correctly the Navy could adapt the system for its needs as well.

The RFI outlines a vehicle that would autonomously take off from and land on either an amphibious ship or an Expeditionary Sea Base such as the USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB-3), or from an unsurveyed austere 150-foot-by-150-foot landing zone; cruise at speeds of 200 to 300 knots with a full payload; maintain a minimum time on station of eight to 12 hours at 350 nautical miles from the ship; and fly 350 to 700 nautical miles from the ship unrefueled with a payload to conduct a mission.

Ultimately, Frey said, MUX would be “the eyes and ears for most of the surface fleet. Absent AWACS (the Air Force’s E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System), absent E-2 (the Navy’s E-2C/D Hawkeye), it’s the best thing you have out there.”

Frey said the Air Force’s Group 5 UAS, the MQ-9 Reaper, costs about $15.8 million apiece for the airframe, which serves as a good goal for the MUX cost.

“We know [MUX] will probably be a little bit more than that because the capabilities are apples and oranges, and the vertical is another component” that adds cost, he said, in addition to being sea-based versus land-based. But he cautioned that if the MUX cost grew too much beyond the Reaper cost, it could become unaffordable for the Marine Corps.

To further ensure the Marine Corps is moving down an affordable and technologically feasible path, the service will host an industry day on June 6 and 7, 2018, it announced last week. After hearing from contractors – both those with prototypes already in development and those who just have an individual system or technology to contribute – Frey said the Marine Corps would likely go through multiple draft requests for proposals before releasing a final RFP to solicit industry bids. The analysis of alternatives should be completed in the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2019, he said, with a downselect to two or potentially more contractors that the Marines will work with to develop the technology.

Ultimately, Frey said he’s hoping the program will reach initial operational capability in 2025 or 2026, and full operational capability by 2034. Frey said there may be some lag time between the IOC date and the system’s ability to operate off a ship due to shipboard integration test and certification requirements, but the RFI notes that the sea-based capability must be achieved by 2028. The RFI also notes the Marines are willing to use rapid acquisition authorities to achieve this timeline.

Frey said three systems are in the prototype design phase and should begin flight testing soon – the Lockheed Martin Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System (ARES) ducted fan UAS that will begin flight testing later this year, the Bell V-247 Vigilant unmanned tiltrotor scheduled for flights in the coming years, and the Northrop Grumman TERN tail-sitter UAV that will wrap up a prototype phase with DARPA in FY 2019 and then move into shipboard testing with the Navy’s Self-Defense Test Ship.

Additionally, some manufacturers have technologies for individual components of the UAS that have caught the Marine Corps’ interest. Frey said Karem Aircraft has a new two-speed transmission rotor design that would “revolutionize” tiltrotor technology by slowing down the hub and therefore achieving three times the range. Frey said the company would be doing tests this fall.

Overall, with the MUX program’s lofty goals and challenging timeline for something that’s so new – Frey likened it to the V-22 not in terms of size or cost but rather the potential to overhaul how the military can conduct its missions – Frey said the pressure was on industry to step up.

“We are forcing them to take what they have and accelerate to get to this,” he said.
“We’ll make decisions over the next year, hopefully by the second quarter of FY 1’9. Downselecting to two, and then having a fair competition.”
it's the USNI News https://news.usni.org/2018/04/23/marines-zero-requirements-future-mux-unmanned-aerial-vehicle
 

Jura

General
...

I am sure this next one will draw some ire so please don't spam up the thread with chest thumping. I am just posting the news. https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2018/04/23/incoming-us-pacific-command-chief-wants-to-increase-presence-near-china-isr-capabilities/
oh I'm not sure if people care about this type of stuff anymore LOL I posted it in
China's SCS Strategy Thread Yesterday at 8:32 PM
gotten ignored

actually not sure if people even read any US-Military news anymore
 

timepass

Brigadier
US Army has focused effort to replace Abrams and Bradley with tests by 2019 and deployments by 2025



"By late 2019, the U.S. Army could field up to three manned and unmanned combat vehicles to help determine the future of heavy army fighting vehicles.

The US army effort appears focused and appears inspired by the Russian Armata combat vehicle platform. The Armata is a common platform for tanks, armored vehicles and manned and unmanned systems. The US system will have more lasers and advanced electronics and power generation. The US systems will have proper funding. Russia does not have the funding to buy the Armata in volume."

https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2018/04/us-army-has-focused-effort-to-replace-abrams-and-bradley-with-tests-by-2019-and-deployments-by-2025.html
 

timepass

Brigadier
US Builds Drone Base in Niger, Crossroads of Extremism Fight...



"Three hangars and the first layers of a runway command a sandy, barren field. Niger Air Base 201 is expected to be functional early next year. The base, a few miles outside Agadez and built at the request of Niger's government, will eventually house fighter jets and MQ-9 drones transferred from the capital Niamey. The drones, with surveillance and added striking capabilities, will have a range enabling them to reach a number of West and North African countries."

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2018/04/23/us-builds-drone-base-niger-crossroads-extremism-fight.html
 

TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
By late 2019, the U.S. Army could field up to three manned and unmanned combat vehicles to help determine the future of heavy army fighting vehicles.
True

The US army effort appears focused and appears inspired by the Russian Armata combat vehicle platform. The Armata is a common platform for tanks, armored vehicles and manned and unmanned systems. The US system will have more lasers and advanced electronics and power generation. The US systems will have proper funding.
False, The Army has had programs off and on since the late 90's FCS for the same goals. At this point though they seem to be more practical then FCS or GCV
Russia does not have the funding to buy the Armata in volume.
Absolutely True.

Army officials have laid out the groundwork for developing the Next Generation Combat Vehicle, or NGCV. The NGCV will replace the M-1 Abrams main battle tank and M-2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles (IFV). Both the Abrams and Bradley, while highly successful, were introduced in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The Army regularly updates both with the latest technologies, including new ammunition, anti-shaped charge reactive armor, remote-controlled weapons systems, advanced networking and communications, and ballistic shields for the crew.
They also are starting to add Hard kill and Soft kill APS systems. Abrams is not going to instantly retire though The Army has plans for a M1A2 SEP V4 in the early 2020's has been looking at ways to keep Bradley operational by resets and occasional ECPs. Along with the APMV these will keep existing Heavy brigades of the Army operational as they prepare to transition to the next army vehicles.

The three vehicles will then be assigned to an operational combat unit around 2021. By 2023, seven manned and 14 unmanned vehicles will repeat the schedule, hopefully winnowing the process down to both manned and unmanned systems ready for mass production.
makes sense. Although it seems like actually transitioning will be to the later end of the 2020's

The U.S. Army is making it pretty clear that the manned and unmanned NGCVs will work together on the battlefield. While the manned vehicles will be larger and carry a tank gun or squad of infantry troops,
likley not limited to just the NGCV's either.
the unmanned vehicle will be considerably smaller, but still carry a considerable punch. The unmanned vehicle could be used as a scouting vehicle, traveling ahead of a mixed armored task force. Once it makes contact with the enemy, the unmanned vehicles could identify their positions, attack them with direct fire, and pass their coordinates to nearby field artillery and air support. This buys the manned component time to form a plan, get into position, and launch an attack on an enemy that has had little time to prepare.
They could also be used for security, logistics and escort.

The first generation vehicle could even be the proposed M2A5 Bradley, which includes two to five times more protection for crew and infantrymen riding inside, along with a longer hull to increase the number of mounted infantry to eight.
This is some what dubious. BAE has shown a Next Gen Bradley concept and Although the Army is also buying AMPV also based on Bradley it seems like this is the End game for the Bradley as a whole. basically any M2A5 would be a totally new vehicle branded as a Bradley. The Chassis, Armor, Engine, gun system, Missile system, turret, the whole system is reaching the point where it's no longer capable. They can life extend but being blunt what ever comes now is a New vehicle.

What will the Army eventually end up with? NGCV will probably be a tracked,
Although Wheels are popular for a wide number of missions and roles Tracks are king. Basically anything over 40 tons is Tracked.
50 to 60 ton common chassis
GCV went that route and proved impractical, building a track that heavy puts a lot on the logistics of course on the other side building to light restricts protection. Personally I think a 40-50 ton base with add on armor kits is the sweet spot. Also I doubt that all of them will be a "Common Chassis" Some line unmanned vehicles may be smaller chassis.
available in both tank and infantry fighting vehicle flavors.
To start with yes but I bet it would also have some Artillery and APC options. Don't expect a unmanned tank turret I know the Russians went that way but really there is no solid reason not to keep the crew in the turret for now. An Autoloader maybe a 120mm smooth bore likely possibly 46-48 calibers. on the IFV I am betting a more substantial gun than the 30mm found on the Stryker Dragoon. 35mm was being looked at by the Army and BAE is offering a 40mm CTA cannon that is even better.

The vehicle will have traditional passive steel, composite, and even depleted uranium armor, complemented with an active protection system to protect it from tank gun rounds, anti-tank missiles, and rocket-propelled grenades.
Less so on the steel a number of modern very well protected armored vehicles have shifted from Armor steel to just having a more structural steel and focus more on Armor Appliques. The Hard kill APS will likely be carried over from the work now being down by the US and Isreal to combine Iron fist and Trophy with Rosy to take advantage of the strengths of these three systems. Iron fist which works against Tank rounds, Trophy which kills RPG's and ATGMs and Rosy Rheinmetall Obscuring System which is a new Smoke grenade launcher and Laser warning recever system.
It will be at least as mobile as the M1 Abrams,
This demands a powerful power pack at least 1000hp. I suspect a Hybrid drive system will also be used, it offers good power to weight, lots of getup and go and The tech is more proven now.
be transportable by the Air Force’s C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifter,
C130 and C5 are no longer realistic transport options for regular use. C130 is to light for real modern armor. C5 is at the end of it's life, C5M only has so many.
and generate a large amount of onboard electricity to support lasers, railguns, and possibly some sort of future cloaking device
lasers for sure. Railguns seems longer out at least for Combat vehicles. Cloaking device... Well There are thermal stealth on the Horizon.
 
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