Again on the offering that was not chosen. The version that was selected places the turret ring on the roof and leaves the passenger section of the hull intact.
Its a close range system so the want of being able to fire sidewinders is not that big. It's mostly aimed for Drones and Rotary wing threats. besides between the two there is not that much a difference in range when fired from the ground.Surprised I don't see any mention of the Leonardo being able to fire Sidewinders like the GDLS version (with the Avenger launcher could). Likely they will rely on Patriot PAC 3s for mid and long range ground intercepts. Stinger will only have marginal capability against fixed wing aircraft.
but the story probably ends
The Air Force scored a major win in the 2019 defense authorization bill: Not only will it be able to
However, the service will have to make some concessions in terms of its plans to retire the existing E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System fleet, which is used for ground surveillance and command and control missions.
The Air Force had planned to retire three E-8Cs in 2019 that had become “hangar queens” cannibalized for spare parts for the rest of the fleet, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said earlier this year.
However, according to the
While the Air Force has not spelled out to the public exactly what comprises its ABMS plan, it involves a host of different upgrades for existing platforms —for instance the MQ-9 Reaper and E-3 AWACS early warning aircraft — that will allow them to network together in new ways.
A congressional aide told Defense News on July 24 that the Air Force have three ABMS increments in a series of classified briefings to members of Congress’ defense committees.
Phase one, which lasts from now until about 2023, involves upgrades to datalinks and some space-based technologies, as well as linking sensors from several stealth platforms and drones together, the aide said.
Increments 2 and 3 quickly get into more classified territory, said the aide, who declined to provide greater specifics.
The defense authorization bill would accelerate ABMS by adding $120 million for six MQ-9 Reapers, which the aide said could be used to help boost the architecture’s ability to prosecute targets during a low-end conflict. It also included $30 million to continue development of the
In addition, Congress levied a number of other restrictions and reporting requirements on the Air Force as part of the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act, including:
The end of the JSTARS recap program is bad news for
- The Air Force’s plan for modernizing and sustaining the current JSTARS fleet, including how it will increase the availability of the E-8Cs to support demands worldwide.
- Quarterly reports from the Air Force secretary on the progress of ABMS.
- Certification by the defense secretary that the Air Force has a long term funding plan that will allow it to retain JSTARS and that the ABMS acquisition strategy is executable.
- A report on ABMS from the Government Accountability Office, which provides independent oversight to Congress. The report will review the maturity of the plan and any risk associated with fielding or funding it.
- A directive to the Pentagon’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office to reexamine the cost and schedule for restarting a re-engine effort of the E-8C, which had begun in 2008 but was since abandoned. The Air Force “procured three ship-sets of engines, after investing $450.0 million, and the engines remain unused,” even though “the legacy E-8C engines are the number one issue driving excessive non-mission capable maintenance metrics for the E-8C fleet,” the bill stated.
Over the past year, Air Force leaders
But while the Senate defense committees leaned in to support ABMS, House lawmakers
Will Roper, the Air Force’s top acquisition official, told Defense News on July 17 that he was hopeful that Congress would move forward with ABMS. However, he still acknowledged that the Air Force had never modernized a “system of systems” like ABMS before.
“It definitely needs to be a program where we embrace failure up front and prototype, because there’s going to be a lot of learning to do about how do you make things work together as a team,” Roper said. “We get a sense of how commercial industry is solving it and I imagine we can use a lot of their lessons learned, but probably not all of them.”
Infighting in Georgia
What was once a disagreement between the House and Senate seems to have turned into a fight among the members of the Georgia delegation.
In a surprising move, Republican Rep. Austin Scott pointed the finger at Sen. David Perdue, a fellow Georgia Republican, for allowing the recap program to be cancelled. Georgia’s Robins Air Force Base is home to the 461st Air Control Wing, the joint Air Force-Army unit that operates JSTARS.
“When Senator Perdue […] withdrew his support of this program which the Georgia Congressional Delegation – including Senator Perdue – has overwhelmingly supported throughout the last seven years, it effectively ended the program,” said Scott.
“Unfortunately […] the replacement aircraft will not be fielded, forcing a higher risk to our men and women in uniform by continuing to fly the 48 year old legacy JSTARS aircraft which are in need of recapitalization.”
Perdue hit back in his own statement, saying that ABMS is a better long term solution for Robins.
“The Advanced Battlefield Management System will give us the capability to access both restricted and non-restricted airspace. This is a necessity in supporting our troops in harm’s way as well as our overall intelligence gathering,” Perdue said. “With the solution I support, we save JSTARS jobs, maintain the JSTARS fleet into the next decade, accelerate the implementation of ABMS, and gain a new mission for Robins. All of this guarantees a very bright future for my hometown base.”
and what's happened is Tactical nuclear weapon launches into development with Pentagon policy bill
The Trump administration is poised to get congressional authorization to start building a controversial new
The Senate and House came together Monday on a $716 billion defense authorization report that authorizes $65 million to develop the weapon, aimed at deterring Russia, according to the bicameral compromise conference report.
The requirement for the weapon — likely to be a submarine-launched Trident II D5 with a W76-2 warhead — is part of the administration’s Nuclear Posture Review.
The report for the sweeping 2019 National Defense Authorization Act is expected to come to a vote in the House this week and the Senate next week. The annual must-pass bill covers military hardware, personnel and a wide swath of hot-button national security issues.
In a win for opponents of the new weapon, Congress would retain a requirement for an act of Congress to develop or modify nuclear warheads going forward, per the Senate version of the NDAA.
That language bars the secretary of energy from starting the engineering and development phase, or any subsequent phase, of a low-yield nuclear weapon unless specifically authorized by Congress. House negotiators backed off their chamber’s language, which would have nullified the requirement, enshrined in the 2004 NDAA.
It’s the latest move in a
Congressional Republicans and the Pentagon are advocating for the systems to deter Russia from using its own arsenal of low-yield nuclear weapons. Still, many Democrats and nonproliferation advocates see it as lowering the threshold for a nuclear war.
More broadly, the compromise conference report includes a sense of Congress that expresses support for the administration’s Nuclear Posture Review—and meets the president’s budget with $142.2 million for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s nuclear weapons activities and defense nuclear nonproliferation program, according to a House Republican summary.
The bill would also increased authorized funding to accelerate two key Air Force nuclear modernization programs: the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent and the Long Range Standoff cruise missile.
GE Aviation plans to offer two engines in the Air Force’s B-52 re-engining program, which is finally gaining steam after decades of debate.
Speaking to reporters at the Farnborough International Air Show in England last week, company CEO David Joyce said GE is confident that both the CF34-10 and the more advanced Passport engine are “good candidates” for the program.
Joyce said the Dash-10, which flies on the Embraer 190, is proven technology, with 7,000 departures every day. It’s not only “incredibly reliable,” but also the “perfect thrust size” for the B-52, he added. However, if the service prioritizes fuel efficiency, Joyce said GE can offer the Passport, which will allow for about 14,000 hours time on wing.
“This is one of my favorite stats. If they pick the Dash-10, they get sustainability right now. That engine is performing on wing with the Embraer 190, 20,000 hours … between overhauls. If you take the 20,000 hours time on wing and put it on a B-52, the airplane might go 50 years without having to remove an engine because of deterioration,” said Joyce, emphasizing the significant cost savings that come with a commercially available motor “that’s demonstrated that level of maintainability and reliability."
But the Passport, he says, could be equally attractive, because it would decrease the fuel burn by double digits, creating a “whole different mission profile.”
Tony Mathis, president and CEO of GE’s military systems operation, said he was encouraged by discussions at the December 2017 industry day, saying it appears the Air Force is trying to speed up the program through a rapid acquisition process. The budget also “seems fairly solid,” he noted.
In its Fiscal 2019 budget request, USAF called for $280 million to update its B-52H fleet, more than doubling the 2018 request of $106 million. Of that, $64.5 million will be used to begin the re-engining program. The service now plans to keep the bomber in service through the 2050s,
The fact that Boeing already has been selected as the systems integrator, “is another indicator the program is going to move and it gave us another indication of who to work with moving forward,” said Mathis.
“They really are looking at how to get through the program as quickly as possible,” he added.
Pratt & Whitney and Rolls Royce also attended the industry day, as did Northrop Grumman, United Technologies Corp., and Safran USA.
U.S. President Donald Trump
The Senate and House did come together Monday on a $716 billion defense authorization report that could set the stage for
“You could view this as some of the preparatory work. They’re trying to get the Air Force in better shape to spin off its space forces,” said Todd Harrison, director of the aerospace security project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“What they’re not doing is trying to integrate space forces across the military. The only way to really do that would be to actually set up a separate department,” Harrison said, adding that the Air Force's space forces are outnumbered by the combined space forces of the other services.
A House-proposed requirement to establish a new numbered Air Force dedicated to space war fighting was dropped, likely to compromise with members of the the Senate Armed Services Committee, where the idea of a separate service was largely met with skepticism, if not opposition.
Stoking fears about the militarization of space, the Pentagon would also have to develop a comprehensive space war-fighting strategy (by April 2019) aimed at attributing attacks in space, resolving conflicts, and deterring, defending against and defeating aggressive behavior in space.
America’s adversaries, and the public, might one day be able to learn more about the military’s secretive activities in space; the Pentagon would have to examine the feasibility of a declassification strategy to ensure deterrence.
The conference report for the sweeping 2019 National Defense Authorization Act is expected to come to a vote in the House this week and the Senate next week. The annual must-pass bill covers military hardware, personnel and a wide swath of hot-button national security issues.
To be clear, when Trump last month
Congress is waiting for one Pentagon report on the topic, due next month, that it mandated in the last NDAA and another from the Center for Naval Analyses by year’s end on a possible road map to establish a separate space service. Congress might then incorporate its recommendations into future NDAAs.
Proponents of a military service for space argue America’s military has become evermore dependent on satellites for communication, intelligence and navigation, and that it must move quickly to counter Russia and China as they work to exploit that vulnerability. Opponents have challenged the idea as creating more bureaucracy, though they may also wish to protect established organizations likely to lose money and power to a newcomer.
It’s unclear whether Trump can secure the necessary congressional support for the eventual plan, what its timeline would be, or whether it would fall under the Department of the Air Force or warrant its own department and budget.
But Trump’s support energized the effort after the White House,
On the other hand, if the House or Senate flip to Democratic control in midterm elections this November, the idea could suffer by association with the president. “Its going to be difficult for Democrats to support it,” Harrison said.
Under the proposed 2019 NDAA, the leader of the sub-unified command for space could, for three years, be a dual-hat position for the commander of Air Force Space Command. That flag officer would be responsible for space strategy, doctrine, tactics and budget proposals — as well as capability requirements, training and personnel.
With the creation of the three-star vice commander of Air Force Space Command earlier this year, the service
The Defense Department, under the NDAA, would be required to develop a plan by year’s end to establish a separate, alternative process for space-related acquisitions, likely meant to cure the current sluggish, bureaucratic acquisition process.
The recently renamed Space Rapid Capabilities Office, which answers to the head of Air Force Space Command, would have streamlined acquisition authorities outside of the standard Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System. It would in part develop classified capabilities as well as “low-cost, rapid reaction payloads, buses, launch, and launch control capabilities in order to fulfill joint military operational requirements for on-demand space support and reconstitution.”
The report emphasizes development of small, medium and large buses; protected satellite communications; space-based environmental monitoring; and next-generation overhead persistent infrared systems, the follow-on for the current Space-Based Infrared System.
The secretary of the Air Force would also develop a plan to improve the quality of the service’s space cadre, likely an attempt to remedy concerns that space is a dead-end career path.
andMay 15, 2018
also funny (the DefenseNews linked in the post right above):
The SASC bill authorizes $2.3 billion to procure 14 KC-46 aircraft, which is one aircraft fewer than the administration’s request, to — according to the bill summary — “restore program accountability.”
The committee was concerned with the program’s repeated delays and is applying its leverage. “It’s a signal to the [Defense] Department and to Boeing that we feel strongly that they need to get their act together and get this program moving forward,“ another SASC aide said."
Another financial quarter unfortunately meant
The newest charge brings Boeing up to $3.4 billion in
The price growth was attributed to delays in the certification process as well as “higher estimated costs” for incorporating needed modifications to six flight test and two early-build aircraft.
After tax, the charges come down to about $334 million, said Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg during the July 25 earnings call.
“We continue to make steady progress towards final certification for the KC-46 tanker and recently completed all flight tests required to deliver the first aircraft, which is expected to be in October of this year, as now agreed upon with the U.S. Air Force,” he said.
“This is a significant milestone for us and our customer, representing the culmination of three years of testing and over 3,300 flight hours.”
Now that the flight testing needed for first delivery is complete and the final configuration of each KC-46 has been defined, Boeing can move ahead on wrapping up the manufacture of the first eight aircraft, Muilenburg said.
“While there is still a lot of work ahead of us, we now have a very clear line of sight what is needed to deliver these highly, mission-capable aircraft to our customers,” he said.
The Air Force plans to buy 179 KC-46s, with the first 18 aircraft under a contractual obligation to be delivered in October. Boeing will likely miss that “required assets available” deadline because the earliest it can deliver the first tanker is October, and the Air Force is not capable of accepting 18 aircraft at a time. However, it is not clear whether Boeing will weather another financial penalty should that happen.
Although Boeing has incurred massive costs over the KC-46’s development, which was capped at $4.9 billion, Muilenburg said Wednesday that the company “remain confident in the long-term value of this franchise” due to a projected program that will number hundreds of planes, as well as associated training and follow-on support.
Raytheon’s top executive, Thomas Kennedy, sees
“NSM is a new missile franchise for Raytheon, and our goal is to replace the existing domestic and international inventory of Harpoon and other international surface-to-surface missiles, making NSM a multibillion-dollar franchise opportunity,” Kennedy said.
In June, Kongsberg missile systems executive Oeyvind Kolset said the U.S. Navy’s selection of Naval Strike Missile for LCS and FFG(X) positions the missile well, as the market for surface-to-surface missiles is expected to increase in the coming years.
Many of the world’s anti-ship missiles are coming to the end of their service lives, and the selection of the missile by the U.S. Navy bodes well for future sales, Kolset said.
The Naval Strike Missile has a range of more than 100 nautical miles and has target-recognition capabilities that limit the need for another ship or aircraft to hold a track on the target.
And its not just the U.S. Navy that is eyeing the NSM. The U.S. Army has been flirting with the capability as it explores ways to make itself relevant in a largely maritime Pacific theater with China on the rise.
On July 12, the U.S. Army
Its use dovetails with a concept that the Army and the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force have been developing, known in some circles as “archipelagic defense,” which in essence calls for the use of ground forces to deny Chinese forces free movement through the theater by deploying anti-ship and anti-air missiles throughout the island chains that pepper the Asia-Pacific region.
But Boeing, which makes the Harpoon, isn’t taking the competition lying down, and the missile has been on a roll recently.
The U.S. and partner nations successfully fired six Harpoons at the Rim of the Pacific exercise, including a Harpoon from the attack submarine Olympia, which marks the first time the missile has been fired from a sub in more than 20 years, according to a Boeing news release.
Both Australian and American P-8 aircraft also fired Harpoons.
Boeing is currently marketing Harpoon Block II+, which includes a data link that allows operators to re-target the missile during its flight.
The U.S. Navy expects to declare initial operational capability on Harpoon Block II+ this year, according to the Boeing release, and said it continues to develop an extended range Harpoon.