US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.

Apr 6, 2018
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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Work to refurbish Navy Super Hornets part of Pentagon’s $700B budget
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An old fighter jet being
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is the first of several planes being sent to the Boeing facility as the Pentagon spends
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Boeing executives and U.S. Navy members will celebrate with an induction ceremony Thursday.

The first-arrived Super Hornet had been flown since 2004 by the Navy’s Gladiators Strike Fighter Squadron in Virginia Beach. It’s among four planes that will undergo upgrades at a cost of $73 million to keep them in the fleet for another dozen years.

Boeing has a contract to deliver 134
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over the next few years. Each costs more than $70 million.

At $700 billion, the U.S. defense budget is bigger than any other country. The biggest winners in the military buildup are the country’s largest defense contractors, such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, which spend millions of dollars each year lobbying Congress.
Mar 18, 2018
Dec 23, 2017
now (dated 14 March, 2018) USAF likely to issue B-52 engine replacement request for proposals in early 2019
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and here's the latest I found:
USAF Nuke Chief Not Expecting Easy B-52 Engine Upgrade

May 1, 2018
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As the U.S. Air Force embarks on a major re-engining of the
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B-52H, its leadership is under no illusions about the difficulty of the task at hand.

Delivered by Boeing in 1960 and ’61, the Stratofortress has been the service’s principal nuclear-armed strategic bomber for almost six decades. So when it comes time to crack open those old engine cowlings and run new wiring through the wings, artisans can expect to find plenty of surprises.

“Every time you renovate an old house, you didn’t realize there was going to be asbestos behind the walls,” says Lt. Gen. Jack Weinstein, the Air Force’s Deputy chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration. “Am I going to stand here and say we’re not going to have problems with the re-engining? I’m not going to say that. But there has been an awful lot of work gone into evaluating how to re-engine it, and what’s the best way to do that.”

Over the past few years, the Air Force has engaged with engine manufacturers and potential prime contractors about the possibility of upgrading the B-52H’s eight Pratt & Whitney TF33-103s. In the past, the Air Force has considered a four-engine swap, but that approach isn’t practical.

Instead, the Air Force will replace eight TF-33s with eight modern, reliable and fuel-efficient business jet-class engines from the commercial sector. This plan has been deemed technically feasible and shouldn’t require a major recertification of the airframe and weapons.

This sounds enticing in theory, but re-engining an aircraft as old as the B-52 is easier said than done. The Air Force’s two largest re-engining efforts were the KC-135R Stratotanker (
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CFM-56) and
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C-5M Super Galaxy (
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). Boeing installed new engines on 415 Stratotankers, while Lockheed upgraded 52 Super Galaxys.

The B-52 will remain the backbone of the Air Force’s bomber force until large numbers of
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B-21 “Raider” stealth bombers are fielded in the 2020s and ’30s. The service estimates that this warrior of the Cold War will remain in active service at least through 2050.

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has proposed replacing the TF33s with either its Passport or
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turbofan engine products.
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would offer an engine from its BR700 family, most likely the BR725 that powers Gulfstream’s G650 business jet.

Pratt & Whitney maintains that an overhaul of the TF33 sustainment process is required, along with a series of component upgrades to improve the engine’s efficiency, reliability and maintainability. The company disagrees with statements by service officials that the TF33 “is not sustainable past 2030.”

But since the Air Force has ruled out a life extension of the TF33, Pratt & Whitney could instead offer the newly certified PW815 that powers Gulfstream’s G600.
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has also selected the PW815 to power its tanking drone for the U.S. Navy’s MQ-25 Stingray competition, which could offer a pathway toward military certification.

“Why have we decided not to do a life extension? If you look at the civilian industry, overall, engines last forever now and are extremely reliable; hence why nobody in this room has a problem getting on a two-engine airplane and flying to the Pacific or Atlantic—because of the reliability of the engines,” Weinstein explained at a Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies event in Washington on May 1.

“If you look at re-engining the B-52, it’s not something where we woke up one day and said, ‘We need to re-engine the B-52.’ A lot of work has gone into this.

“We’ve been talking about re-engining the B-52 for a long time. What gives me cautious optimism is that I’m proud of the people I work with who have been brought in to help us. The senior acquisition executive, Will Roper, is an extremely talented individual, and the people we’ve put in charge of these programs are really talented, too.”

The Air Force will likely work with Boeing or another prime contractor to install the engines. The service needs 650 engines, which includes 42 spares, to upgrade its remaining inventory of 76 B-52s. Twenty engines will be needed initially for the retrofit of two bombers for flight testing.

A notional schedule presented by the Air Force would start upgrading the first batch of 10 bombers starting in fiscal 2026, the same year the B-21 Raider comes online. The remaining 64 aircraft would be upgraded from 2028-34.
related to

"For example, in its recommendations, the review calls for reestablishing the U.S. 2nd Fleet with an eye toward near-peer competition in the Atlantic ..."


Dec 15, 2017
... and here is the USNI News
Strategic Review: Navy Hasn’t Learned From Its Mistakes, Needs to Be Clear About Ship, Aircraft Readiness
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... goes on below due to size limit

Navy Reestablishes U.S. 2nd Fleet to Face Russian Threat; Plan Calls for 250 Person Command in Norfolk
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but just one sentence for now:

"While the command now exists on paper, the service still needs to work through specifics such as the rank of the commander and how the command and control relationships will work with the joint combatant commands."

by the way disinterest in
US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.
is complete, I guess it's good for you LOL


With an eye on Russia, U.S. Navy re-establishing its Second Fleet

"The United States Navy is re-establishing its Second Fleet, responsible for the northern Atlantic Ocean, nearly seven years after it was disbanded as the Pentagon puts countering Russia at the heart of its military strategy.

"Our National Defense Strategy makes clear that we're back in an era of great power competition as the security environment continues to grow more challenging and complex," Chief of U.S. Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson said in a statement on Friday."

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Tyrant King
Green Highlights by Me.
12-man rifle squads, including a squad systems operator, commandant says
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  2 days ago

Marine Corps Commandant Robert B. Neller announced major changes to ground combat units, including the shift from a 13-man rifle squad to a 12-man squad and the addition of a squad systems operator along with transformations in the gear Marines carry. (Lance Cpl. Christian J. Robertson/Marine Corps)

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has lost a
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but will gain a suite of capabilities in a servicewide initiative to bring powerful
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from information to precision fires to the lowest echelons of combat.

Commandant Robert B. Neller told a crowd of hundreds at the Marine Corps Association and Foundation Annual Ground Awards Dinner on Thursday that the new configuration would consist of three, three-Marine fire teams and a command element of three ― a squad leader, assistant squad leader and squad systems operator.

The systems operator will be the most tech-capable Marine in the formation, Neller said. Rather than create a new Military Occupational Specialty, the systems operator will come from the infantry ranks.

And all squad members will carry the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle.

Each squad will have a squad designated marksman, which is set to be the M38, an accurized version of the M27. The foundational formation of the infantry will also carry a common handheld tablet, multi-channel radio and replace M203 grenade launchers with the M320 grenade launcher.

But for all the accessory weight such as night vision goggles, a sound suppressor and laser sighting tools, other areas will have to be trimmed, he said.

“Everything that Marine wears is going to be changed,” Neller said.

In recent months there had been some debate on the size of the squad and the rifles they would carry.

The sizes being considered were 11-, 12-, or 14-man arrangements, and some considered having the squad systems operator carry the M4 carbine to reduce the load, as it is a smaller, lighter weapon.

But Neller said that he decided against keeping the M4 in the squad because he didn’t want the systems operator to stand out and be easily identifiable on the battlefield.

The M4 will eventually replace the M16A4 carried by most non-infantry Marines, Neller said.
Hold Up wait a sec.... There is something Wrong... well 2 things wrong here.
  1. The M38 is not a Accuratized version of the M27. It's an M27 with a Variable power Scope an a dated one at that. That's it they changed the scope and called it M38.
  2. he decided against keeping the M4 in the squad because he didn’t want the systems operator to stand out and be easily identifiable on the battlefield.
    Wait What? With M110 in a Army Squad this makes some sense as you have a visibly different rifle. but M27 And M4 both have the same stock, similar receivers and Some M4 rail systems and builds can make a very similar rifle, To the Point where you would need to be very very close to see the difference. M27 is longer, but most of the differences are internal.
One of these Marines has a M27 the other a M4, I made this image small intentionally so which is which? with the exception of one detail the Front sight I bet most won't know at a glance.

M27 M4
And If the Marines are really super worried about there rifles standing out perhaps having them painted Black might be counter productive?
While the squad loses a number in manpower, the 13-man variation will remain on paper because as with all the equipment and formation changes that Neller announced, it must be “reversible.”

Other changes included adding drone capabilities at the rifle company level, adding engineer platoons to infantry companies and shifting the engineer squad from nine Marines to 13, he said.

The company commander will also have an intelligence operations cell and a logistics cell at his or her disposal.

Javelin and 81 mm mortar formations will get their own MRZR, a two-person all-terrain vehicle now used by recon marines.

Neller said some changes would happen as quickly as in the coming months while others would take longer, such as developments to extend precision fire ranges and add Active Protection Systems to tanks and other ground vehicles.
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Note MRZR also comes in 4 seat versions and can be carried internally by V22.


Tyrant King
Boeing pushes back on the KC-46 program’s bad reputation with the Air Force

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  1 day ago

SEATTLE — Boeing has now racked up more than $3 billion worth of pretax charges on the KC-46 due to cost overruns and schedule delays, but the head of its defense business told reporters Thursday that the program’s problems are, for the most part, in the rearview mirror.

Last week, the company disclosed another $81 million-pretax penalty on the program in its financial report for the first quarter of 2018.

Leanne Caret, the CEO of Boeing’s defense sector, put a positive spin on the cost growth, saying that the expense indicates the work that is being done to get the product right as the company sprints toward a contractual obligation to deliver 18 certified tankers this year.

“The charges we took are tied to the certification efforts and the test efforts as we continue to finish up towards first delivery,” she said Thursday during a media visit to the company’s KC-46 production facilities in Everett, Washington.

According to the terms of Boeing’s fixed-price development contract with the U.S. Air Force, the company is responsible for any costs over the $4.9 billion award.

“I think what you’re seeing is that the amount of charges has continually decreased over time, again showing there has been no new technical issues,” Caret said. “But we are still in a development program, and I want to make certain that the capability we’re delivering to the war fighter meets their intent. So we’ll do the right thing as we move forward, as we have historically.”

The past several months have been difficult ones for the KC-46 development program as Boeing comes down to the wire in its efforts to deliver the first tanker this summer.

Caret has also maintained that the company can meet the “required assets available” obligation, or RAA, to deliver a total of 18 certified KC-46s and nine refueling pods this year — although the actual deadline is in October.

“This isn’t about one aircraft, and then we’re going to get started on another one,” she said. “We have an entire fleet of tankers here, and as we head toward the first delivery, we’re going to be able to start really ramping up and getting these to the customers the way we need.”

But the Air Force is more pessimistic, saying that its assessments show that the first delivery will likely not occur until the end of the year, with RAA occurring some time next spring.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson has been publicly dismissive of the Boeing’s progress, telling lawmakers that the company has perhaps been too focused on its lucrative commercial business to give the tanker program the attention it deserves.

“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,” Wilson told lawmakers in March.

Boeing obviously sought to combat that perception during its media trip, in which reporters spoke with the men and women fabricating the refueling booms, installing the wiring, flight testing the aircraft and performing quality control at its Everett Modification Center. There, reporters saw four KC-46s awaiting the final touches inside, another seven tankers outside the facility and eight KC-46s about 40 miles away at Boeing Field.

In total, Boeing has 34 KC-46s in some stage of production, and the first four aircraft planned for delivery have already flown and are in storage.

Caret, who took the top Boeing defense gig in February 2016, told reporters that she wanted them to understand the magnitude of work being accomplished in Washington state and the passion of the company’s workers.

Overall, the picture she gave of the program’s trajectory was sunny — and sometimes at odds with the Air Force perception of Boeing continually overselling how quickly it will be able to fulfill its delivery obligations. She downplayed tension with the Air Force, saying that she was “totally in line with them in terms of their sense of frustration” on the program.

Although Air Force leaders have said they are dissatisfied with Boeing’s performance, Caret said Boeing had not made any “specific change” to production efforts because the company had already devoted its full resources to its No. 1 program.

“The real disconnect is working through flow times,” she said. “There’s a lot of paperwork associated with delivering a system such as this, working through our paperwork, working through the FAA and the military paperwork and making sure all of those flows align, and that’s what we’re in conversations with the government on, and it’s collaborative.”

In order to be fully certified, the KC-46 must receive an amended type certificate for the aircraft’s commercial systems and a supplemental type certificate for its military-specific systems. So far, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued an ATC, and the aircraft in April wrapped up the testing necessary for the STC.

The next step will involve additional flight tests with the C-17, F-16 and KC-135 to ensure those aircraft can receive fuel from the KC-46, as well as closing out a key deficiency with the aircraft’s remote visual system that must be corrected before delivery.

So does that mean the Air Force should be doing more to make receiver aircraft available and to expedite the testing process?

“This is a team sport,” Caret said. “We all collectively need to make certain that we’re doing all the proper analysis, that we’re having the right conversations. So I feel very comfortable with our relationship with the U.S. Air Force and the transparency that we have.

“We collectively work together to look at every opportunity, likewise every risk to make sure that there’s a balance going forward and we’re doing the right thing for the war fighter.”

Check back with Defense News on May 7 for an in-depth look at Boeing’s plans to fix ongoing KC-46 technical issues.
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kinda ominous (dated just May 2018):
USAF Adapts to "Infinite War"
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In the Cold War, USAF operated within finite bounds. the future holds no such certainty.

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.
U.S. Navy Orders Additional APKWS Laser-Guided Rockets
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so it's 25k per stick which is an existing Hydra 70 mm:
The U.S. Navy has awarded BAE Systems a $175 million contract for more than 7,000 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) laser-guided rockets, the company announced in a May 8 release.

This latest award was made under the Navy’s 2016 $600 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract, which is the contracting vehicle to supply APKWS to the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force, as well as an increasing number of allied nations. This award extends that contract’s initial unit production cap and total value to meet the growing demand. The company expects additional orders to bring the total number of units for this production lot to 17,500.

“Global demand for our precision-strike capabilities is being driven by a need for munitions that can strike soft targets with accuracy surrounded by friendly forces, civilians and valuable assets,” said Marc Casseres, director of Precision Guidance and Sensing Solutions at BAE Systems. “With APKWS, our customers get a high-quality, reliable, easy-to-use product that is designed to hit intended targets with extreme accuracy.”

BAE Systems continues to ramp up production capacity as it builds toward an annual production level of more than 20,000 units. The company’s state-of-the-art precision guidance manufacturing facilities in New Hampshire and Texas and its strong supplier network have enabled it to accelerate full-rate production, exceed manufacturing expectations, and deliver units to the Navy ahead of schedule.

The innovative APKWS technology transforms standard 2.75-inch (70-millimeter) rockets into precision munitions by simply installing the guidance kit between the warhead and engine of an unguided rocket. The APKWS rocket’s extreme accuracy is ideal for minimizing collateral damage to assets in close proximity to targets, thereby reducing risk for troops in the field while providing close air support.

APKWS rockets are the only guided 2.75-inch rockets qualified both by the U.S. Department of Defense, and for use on multiple military rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft. APKWS rockets are used by the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army, and U.S. Air Force and are available to international customers via the U.S. Foreign Military Sales process.