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9 février 2015 1 09 /02 /février /2015 17:20
Excalibur 155 mm precision-guided, extended-range projectile - photo Raytheon

Excalibur 155 mm precision-guided, extended-range projectile - photo Raytheon

 

9 février 2015 par Nicolas Laffont - 45eNord.ca

 

D’une manière ou d’une autre, l’armée a perdu trois obus à guidage de précision très sophistiqués, lorsqu’elle a quitté l’Afghanistan en 2011, à la fin de sa mission de combat, Opération ATHENA.

 

Embarrassant, le dossier a déclenché une enquête de la police militaire et du commandement outre-mer qui aura durée près de deux ans, mais la bévue sera restée sans explication.

Des documents obtenus par La Presse Canadienne révèlent que des responsables de la défense ont mené des recherches poussées, sans trouver l’explication de la disparition des obus, des pièces lourdes de 48 kilos.

Les projectiles, nommés Excalibur, coûtent 177.224 $ US la pièce et sont plus précis que les obus ordinaires, pouvant être lancés jusqu’à 40 kilomètres de distance et atteindre leur cible à 20 mètres près.

Dans une note d’information du 18 juillet 2014 pour le commandant des opérations interarmées du Canada – le lieutenant-général Stuart Beare à l’époque – la taille et le poids des obus, ainsi que les mesures de sécurité élevées entourant les munitions de l’armée rendent toutefois le vol «hautement improbable».

Selon les documents, des responsables de la défense ont exigé l’été dernier que les 513.000 $ perdus soient éliminés des livres du gouvernement. Cette requête a été approuvée.

La mystérieuse disparition de ces munitions pourrait avoir également des conséquences sur nos relations avec les États-Unis.

Alors que la situation aurait dû être rapportée au bureau d’accès et de transfert de la technologie contrôlée dans les 48 heures suivant la découverte de la disparition, l’armée n’en a pas soufflé mot durant 15 mois.

L’Excalibur est en effet une technologie des États-Unis, régi par l’International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), et la perte de ces obus aurait dû être signalé au Bureau de l’accès et du transfert de la technologie contrôlée.

Les réglementations strictes du bureau de contrôle requièrent que lui soit notifié dans les 48 heures n’importe quel morceau de technologie qui disparaît. Or, les Forces armées canadiennes ont retardé le rapport de… 15 mois, en disant que, étant donné «les protocoles en place pour tirer un Excalibur, il était quasi-sûr qu’il s’agit seulement d’une erreur de paperasserie».

La possibilité que les munitions auraient été «prêtées, mais pas correctement pris en compte» aux forces américaines opérant dans la même région en 2009 a été considéré.

Plongeant dans cinq années de journaux sur les tirs et déplacements de munitions de l’artillerie, les enquêteurs n’ont jamais été en mesure de trouver trace des trois obus manquants.

Récemment, le Receveur général du Canada indiquait que ce sont tout près de 4.000 armes et accessoires qui auront été volées aux Forces armées canadiennes entre le 1er avril 2013 et le 31 mars 2014. Au cours de l’année fiscale 2013-2014, le ministère de la Défense nationale a indiqué avoir pour un peu plus de 20 millions $ de vols, dommages et pertes de divers équipements.

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9 février 2015 1 09 /02 /février /2015 17:20
USS George Washington (CVN 73) Photo US Navy.

USS George Washington (CVN 73) Photo US Navy.

 

5 February 2015 naval-technology.com

 

The US Navy has awarded a contract to Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) for advance planning of the refuelling and complex overhaul (RCOH) work on the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73).

 

The latest $224m modified contract will finance the planning work for the RCOH and purchase long-lead materials, including pumps, breakers, valves and steel, to support the fabrication of structural units.

 

Newport News Shipbuilding in-service aircraft carrier programmes vice-president Chris Miner said: "The company has worked closely with our navy partners, performing ship checks and selected planning tasks associated with the defuelling of the ship.

 

"This contract award allows us to move beyond defuelling and plan all the work associated with a full RCOH, which underscores the navy's continued commitment to ensuring this great national asset remains in the fleet and operational for another 25 years."

 

 

Work will be performed at HII's Newport News Shipbuilding unit, which has previously undetaken RCOH work on the initial four Nimitz-class ships.

 

USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), the fifth vessel, is 60% complete and set for delivery in 2016.

 

RCOH involves refuelling of the reactors and refurbishing more than 2,300 compartments, 600 tanks and hundreds of distributive systems.

 

The project also involves an upgrade to the food service areas, aircraft launch and recovery systems, combat systems and its island.

 

HII started defuelling work on USS George Washington, which is scheduled for completion by July, last year.

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9 février 2015 1 09 /02 /février /2015 17:20
USS Theodore Roosevelt Fuel Transfer


9 févr. 2015 US Navy

 

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Feb. 6, 2015) Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) participate in a replenishment at sea (RAS) with the Military Sealift Command combat support ship USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8). U.S. Navy ships conduct periodic RAS events during prolonged periods at sea to resupply equipment, goods and fuel. Theodore Roosevelt is underway participating in composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX), which test the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group's ability to effectively react to real-world scenarios and perform as an integrated unit. (U.S. Navy video by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Bounome Chanphouang/Released)

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9 février 2015 1 09 /02 /février /2015 17:20
Construction continues on US Navy's John Warner submarine

USS John Warner during its final outfitting, testing and crew certification phase at Newport News Shipbuilding's submarine pier. Photo: courtesy of Ricky Thompson / HII.

 

4 February 2015 naval-technology.com

 

Construction work on the US Navy's latest Virginia-class submarine John Warner (SSN 785) is 96% complete.

 

The submarine is currently undergoing final outfitting, testing and crew certification phases at Huntington Ingalls Industries' (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding unit.

 

On schedule for delivery later this year, the submarine will undergo initial sea trials, including a series of operational assessments to demonstrate its capabilities.

 

Newport News Shipbuilding submarines and fleet support vice-president Jim Hughes said: "This is a special milestone for the shipbuilders and the crew.

 

"From now on, this ship will take on the personality of her crew as they move aboard. For the shipbuilders, it marks significant progress toward delivery and reminds us that we are not only building a warship, but a home for these sailors as they work to protect our country."

 

John Warner, which is the 12th Virginia-class submarine, is being constructed in compliance with navy requirements.

 

The vessel has sophisticated technology to improve firepower, manoeuvrability and stealth.

 

With a displacement of 7,800t, hull length of 377ft and a diameter of 34ft, Virginia-class submarines are capable of cruising at a maximum speed of more than 25k and can dive more than 800ft deep. They can also stay submerged for approximately three months at a time.

 

The vessels can be armed with Mark 48 advanced capability torpedoes, Tomahawk land-attack missiles and unmanned underwater vehicles, and can be used for anti-submarine, surface-ship warfare and special operations support.

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9 février 2015 1 09 /02 /février /2015 12:20
Photo NASSCO

Photo NASSCO

 

6 February 2015 naval-technology.com

 

The US Navy is set to christen the third mobile landing platform (MLP) ship on 7 February at the General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) shipyard.

 

USNS Lewis B. Puller is named in honour of lieutenant general Lewis "Chesty" Puller, who was awarded five navy crosses.

 

The vessel, which is the first MLP afloat forward staging base (AFSB) variant for the navy, is designed to support special operations including airborne mine countermeasures (AMCM), humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, amphibious and other combat missions.

"Upon being commissioned, it scheduled for deployment to the Gulf theatre to replace USS Ponce."

 

The 837ft-long MLP ships can cruise at a maximum speed of 15k and have a range of 9500nm. They can accommodate a crew of 34 from military sealift command and weigh 60,000t.

 

USNS Lewis B. Puller completed launch and float-off at the NASSCO yard last year and will undergo sea trials before being delivered later this year.

 

Upon being commissioned, it scheduled for deployment to the Gulf theatre to replace USS Ponce, which is the current temporary AFSB operating in the region.

 

With a capacity to accommodate 250 personnel and a large helicopter flight deck, the MLP AFSB is a capable and affordable asset for the navy and US Marine Corps.

 

NASSCO started construction of USNS Lewis B. Puller in February 2014 and in March a $128.5m contract was awarded for detail design and construction efforts to transform it to an AFSB variant.

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9 février 2015 1 09 /02 /février /2015 12:20
US Navy unveils new virtual trainer to protect vessels from missile threats

 

2 February 2015 naval-technology.com

 

The US Navy has unveiled a new virtual trainer that will simulate air strikes and train seamen in how to protect vessels against electronic warfare threats.

 

Called Strike Group Defender, the multiplayer video game exposes players to a range of anti-ship missile attacks, where sailors need to select whether to react with decoy flares, infrared-tracking systems or firepower.

 

Claimed to be the navy's first multiplayer, game-based training programme to test and evaluate personnel in surface electronic warfare, the new trainer is built as part of the US Office of Naval Research (ONR) Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Future Naval Capabilities (FNC) portfolio, managed by PMR-51.

 

ONR programme manager Scott Orosz said: "Strike Group Defender is an affordable, realistic way for personnel to understand and emulate the capabilities being developed in the IAMD FNC and learn how those improvements enhance the means to respond to threats navy ships face around the world.

 

"But beyond that application, this technology will allow sailors and marines to plan, experiment and train whenever they want, whether they are at sea or in a classroom."

 

The trainer was built in collaboration with MIT Lincoln Laboratory and games professionals Metateq and PipeWorks Studios, with assistance from the Naval Postgraduate School and ONR's own TechSolutions Programme.

 

Naval Postgraduate School research associate Perry McDowell said: "While the current content focuses on anti-ship missile defence tactics and training, the larger value of Strike Group Defender is an underlying ecosystem of technologies that we have not yet seen in the navy."

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8 février 2015 7 08 /02 /février /2015 20:20
USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71)  ammo transfer


8 févr. 2015 US Navy

 

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Feb. 05, 2015) MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopters are used to transfer ordnance off the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) to USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) while underway in the Atlantic Ocean. Theodore Roosevelt and George H.W. Bush are conducting training exercises in the Atlantic Ocean. (U.S. Navy videoby Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Bounome Chanphouang/Released)

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8 février 2015 7 08 /02 /février /2015 17:20
Northrop to design clean-sheet T-X trainer for USAF

 

6 Feb 2015 By: Dan Parsons - FG

 

Washington DC - Northrop Grumman has opted to design a brand new aircraft for the US Air Force’s T-X trainer programme rather than a modified version of the BAE Systems Hawk it had planned to pitch. Northrop has delegated the design work to Scaled Composites subsidiary, which is responsible for revolutionary aerospace innovations like the SpaceShipOne commercial space ship. Development of the new aircraft is apparently well along. Northrop says it will fly by the end of 2015.

 

Read full article

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8 février 2015 7 08 /02 /février /2015 12:20
Sikorsky S-97 RAIDER Begins Bladed Ground Runs

 

4 févr. 2015 Sikorsky Aircraft

 

February 4, 2015 marks the start of bladed ground testing, a major milestone, for the S-97 RAIDER™ program. During the ground runs phase, the S-97 RAIDER team is testing the first of two aircraft prototypes as a completed system for the first time. The team will perform initial ground tests with the aircraft tied down and will focus on verifying correct operation of the propulsion system, drive train, rotor control system and pilot-vehicle interface.

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8 février 2015 7 08 /02 /février /2015 08:20
US army seeks upgrades for Hellfire missile guidance system

 

6 Feb 2015 By: Dan Parsons  - FG

 

Washington DC - The US Army has launched the bidding phase of a decade-old programme to replace the Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire missile with a new weapon featuring a dual-mode guidance system. A request for proposals released on 2 February for the joint air-to-ground missile (JAGM) contract gives potential competitors Lockheed and Raytheon up to 60 days to submit bids to the army. The navy also plans to integrate JAGM onto the Marine Corps' Bell AH-1Z attack helicopters. The programme seeks an upgrade to the guidance section of the Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire missile’s backend, which is comprised of the motor, warhead and associated electronics. Lockheed has committed to offering a dual-mode seeker, while Raytheon has not yet committed to competing for the contract.

 

Read full article

 

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8 février 2015 7 08 /02 /février /2015 08:20
Navy delays fielding UCLASS to 2023

 

3 Feb 2015 By: Stephen Trimble - FG

 

A decade-long pursuit of an unmanned, carrier-launched surveillance and strike aircraft (UCLASS) must wait three more years. The Obama Administration’s fiscal 2016 budget request postpones the in-service milestone for the UCLASS aircraft by three years to FY2023. The programme has been held up since top Pentagon officials last September rolled it into a wider study of intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting systems. A request for proposals is now scheduled for release in the second quarter of FY2016, with contract award set for the second quarter of FY2017. The first flight milestone for the selected aircraft is planned for the third quarter of FY2020, followed by the initial operational capability milestone three years later, according to Navy budget documents released on 3 February.

 

Read full article

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7 février 2015 6 07 /02 /février /2015 08:20
Littoral Combat Ship 2014 Highlights


6 févr. 2015 Lockheed Martin

 

The U.S. Navy’s Freedom class littoral combat ship, a revolutionary surface combatant being built by a Lockheed Martin team achieved multiple operational and production milestones in 2014. Following USS Freedom’s return from deployment, the team laid the keel for LCS 11; christened and launch LCS 7; and deployed USS Fort Worth on a 16-month deployment to Southeast Asia. The LCS team is delivering on its commitment to building the agile, affordable next generation warships that the U.S. Navy needs.

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6 février 2015 5 06 /02 /février /2015 08:20
President Obama Talks About the Nation’s Cybersecurity

5 févr. 2015 US Navy

All Hands Update February 6, 2015 #2
President Barack Obama Spoke at the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, calling for a continuing effort to defend the nation's computer systems.

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5 février 2015 4 05 /02 /février /2015 17:20
Behind the Scenes with an F-35 Test Pilot in the Climatic Chamber


4 févr. 2015 Lockheed Martin

 

As the F-35 approaches its IOC debut for the U.S. Marine Corps in 2015, it must be put through the rigors of the McKinley Climate Testing Laboratory climatic chamber. Go behind the scenes to hear all about how the testing works from Lockheed Martin Test Pilot Billie Flynn.

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5 février 2015 4 05 /02 /février /2015 17:20
2014 F-35 Milestones - by Lockheed Martin


5 févr. 2015 Lockheed Martin

 

A video highlight of major 2014 milestones for the F-35 Lightning II program including 23,000 total flight hours, 106 aircraft in assembly, and 9 F-35 bases operating. Discover recent F-35 news: https://www.f35.com/news .

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5 février 2015 4 05 /02 /février /2015 17:20
Naval Research Laboratory Designs Robot for Shipboard Firefighting


4 févr. 2015 US Navy

 

To help further improve future shipboard firefighting capability, scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory have formed an interdisciplinary team to develop a humanoid robot that could fight fires on the next generation of combatants. A humanoid-type robot was chosen because it was deemed best suited to operate within the confines of an environment that was designed for human mobility and offered opportunity for other potential war fighting applications within the Navy and Marine Corps.

 

Read this story and more

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5 février 2015 4 05 /02 /février /2015 17:20
USS Bonhomme Richard AV-8B Harrier II


5 févr. 2015 US Navy

 

Single engine ground attack aircraft capable of vertical or short takeoff and landind. (U.S. Navy video/Released)

Visit USS Bonhomme Richard home page: http://www.public.navy.mil/surfor/lhd...

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4 février 2015 3 04 /02 /février /2015 19:20
Signature de l’entente établissant le Conseil franco‑canadien de coopération en matière de défense

Le ministre canadien de la Défense, Rob Nicholson, et le Secrétaire d’État auprès du Ministre de la Défense français, chargé des Anciens combattants et de la Mémoire, Jean-Marc Todeschini, rendent hommage le 4 février 2015 aux victimes de Charlie Hebdo (ministère français de la Défense)

 

4 février 2015 par Jacques N. Godbout – 45eNord.ca

 

La France et le Canada renforcent leur coopération en matière de défense et aujourd’hui à Paris, le ministre de la Défense nationale, Rob Nicholson, et son homologue français, Jean‑Yves Le Drian, signeront une entente technique établissant le Conseil franco‑canadien de coopération en matière de défense garantissant « ainsi la continuité de l’étroite coopération entre les deux pays dans un monde où la situation sur le plan de sécurité évolue constamment ».

 

« Le Canada et la France coopèrent depuis longtemps dans le domaine de la défense. Je suis honoré d’être ici aujourd’hui pour signer cette entente avec mon homologue français. Nos deux pays ont pu récemment constater à quel point des menaces à la sécurité peuvent toucher le monde entier. En plus de renforcer le dialogue entre nos deux pays sur les grandes questions de défense, cette entente technique cimentera notre coopération en matière de défense et de sécurité sur plusieurs fronts. », a déclaré le ministre Nicholson.

L’entente technique visant à établir un conseil franco-canadien de coopération en matière de défense renforcera, dit la Défense canadienne, le dialogue entre les deux pays sur les grandes questions de défense « en plus de cimenter leur coopération en matière de sécurité et de défense » en s’attaquant à différentes questions prioritaires dont :

  •  l’entretien des relations de longue date essentielles à la sécurité des deux pays et à la continuité de leur engagement envers l’OTAN;
  •  l’intensification du dialogue sur les questions stratégiques et opérationnelles entre tous les services armés, ce qui comprend la revitalisation du Comité coopératif militaire franco‑canadien;
  • la poursuite de la coopération en matière de développement des capacités afin d’augmenter l’interopérabilité nécessaire à la conduite des opérations multinationales et, dans la mesure du possible, des opérations interarmées;
  •  l’établissement de liens concrets et durables en ce qui concerne le soutien opérationnel mutuel;
  •  perfectionner le matériel de défense et renforcer les liens dans le domaine de la recherche et du développement afin de profiter d’une coopération dans les sphères gouvernementale, industrielle et universitaire.

Cette entente, explique le communiqué,  permettra plus particulièrement d’établir une structure flexible pour un dialogue stratégique entre le le ministère de la Défense canadien et les Forces armées canadiennes, d’une part, et le ministère français de la Défense, d’autre part,  sur les questions relatives aux politiques, au domaine militaire, au matériel de défense à la recherche et au développement.

Cette entente technique permet la mise en œuvre du dialogue stratégique cadrant dans le Programme de coopération renforcée Canada-France annoncé par le premier ministre Harper et le président français Hollande en novembre 2014, indique Ottawa.

De plus, un protocole d’entente (PE) entre les Forces armées françaises et canadiennes qui facilitera un échange réciproque d’officiers militaires supérieurs au Collège des Forces canadiennes à Toronto et l’École de guerre et le Centre des hautes études militaires à Paris a été signé.

 

Suite de l'article

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4 février 2015 3 04 /02 /février /2015 18:20
Armement : la coopération franco-canadienne au point mort

DCNS espère toujours que le Canada choisisse sa frégate multi-missions Fremm dans le cadre d’une programme d’achat d’une quinzaine de navires de combats de surface. photo DCNS
 

04/02 Alain Ruello / Chef de service adjoint – LesEchos.fr

 

Paris et Ottawa ont signé ce mercredi un accord de coopération militaire bilatéral très large. Mais les espoirs des industriels français de l’armement de prendre pied au Canada sont minces.

 

« Il y a eu beaucoup de coopération en matière d’armement dans le passé et j’espère que cela va continuer ». S’exprimant ce mercredi en présence de Jean-Yves Le Drian à l’occasion de la signature d’un accord instituant un conseil franco-canadien de coopération militaire, Robert Douglas Nicholson, ministre de la Défense du Canada, a - comme il se doit - salué la qualité de la relation entre Paris et Ottawa. Sur le terrain, il est indéniable que les deux armées s’épaulent souvent, comme on l’a vu au Mali. En matière industrielle en revanche, c’est le calme absolu.

Les chiffres, tels qu’ils ressortent du dernier rapport au Parlement sur les exportations, parlent d’eux-mêmes. De 2009 à 2013, les prises de commandes de matériels français ont à peine atteint 45 millions d’euros. Sur la même période, les livraisons ressortent à 105 millions. Autrement dit, le marché canadien de l’armement est quasiment fermé aux industriels tricolores.

Nexter en sait quelque chose. Le champion de l’armement terrestre a dépensé plusieurs millions d’euros dans une campagne commerciale pour placer son blindé d’infanterie VBCI. En pure perte : bien que la rumeur le donnait gagnant à l’issue de l’appel d’offres, Ottawa a brutalement annulé la procédure , provoquant la colère de l’industriel français.

 

Renault Trucks dans l’attente

 

DCNS, de son côté, espère toujours rafler la mise avec ses frégates multi-missions Fremm. Et quelle mise ! Le Canada caresse le projet d’acheter une quinzaine de navires de combats de surface, même si l’histoire montre qu’entre les ambitions initiales et la réalité, il y a souvent un océan.

Ottawa vient de prendre une décision qui pourrait signifier la fin de la partie : de manière discrète, le chantier naval Irving de Halifax a été désigné comme maître d’oeuvre industriel pour l’ensemble de ce projet . A priori rien d’anormal, sauf qu’Irving cultive des liens très étroits avec Lockheed Martin... Chez DCNS, on continue d’y croire, mettant en avant le fait que la Fremm est un navire en cours de construction et qui correspond parfaitement aux besoins de la marine canadienne. Sous-entendu, Irving ne prendrait aucun risque à choisir la Fremm. On verra.

Chez Dassault en revanche on a sans doute abandonné tout espoir - si tant est qu’ils aient été très forts - de vendre le Rafale . Malgré le coût exorbitant de l’appareil, il est fort probable que le Canada en restera à son choix initial, à savoir le F-35 de Lockheed Martin.

Dans ce contexte de très forte dépendance du Canada vis-à-vis de l’Oncle Sam, tout n’est peut-être pas perdu puisque Renault Trucks Defense seraient bien placé sur un très gros appel d’offre portant sur 1.500 camions, selon nos informations.

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4 février 2015 3 04 /02 /février /2015 12:20
USS Virginia - photo US Navy

USS Virginia - photo US Navy

 

February 3, 2015 David Pugliese

 

The U.S. Navy plans to fund a total of 48 ships through fiscal 2020, according to the 2016 budget sent to Congress, writes my Defense News colleague Christopher P. Cavas.

 

Those ships include 10 new Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and 10 Virginia-class submarines from 2016 through 2020, he noted in his article.

 

More of what Chris Cavas writes:

Advanced procurement for the SSBN(X) strategic missile submarine begins in 2017, with the first ship to be ordered in 2021. The cost to build a class of 12 submarines is expected to dominate service shipbuilding budgets through the 2020s.

Last summer, the Navy estimated the procurement cost for the first of 12 planned SSBN(X) subs to cost about $12.4 billion, but is working to get the average cost of each submarine down to about $5 billion.

 

Full article is here

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4 février 2015 3 04 /02 /février /2015 12:20
Air Weapons: Upgrading Harvest Hawk

 

January 8, 2015: Strategy Page

 

The U.S. Marine Corps has decided to buy only six Harvest Hawk kits instead of nine. Each of these kits can be used to quickly turn one of ten modified KC-130J transports into a gunship. Meanwhile the marines are also upgrading all their Harvest Hawk kits with new or improved software and electronics (mainly for sensors and communications). Such upgrades have been coming regularly since the first Harvest Hawk kit arrived in Afghanistan in 2010. The marines are also upgrading the KC-130Js already modified to use Harvest Hawk. For example in 2012 the first KC-130J got a modified rear door (the Derringer Door) that enables missiles to be fired, and the missile launcher reloaded, without first depressurizing the aircraft and lowering the rear ramp. This solved a major problem because initially you had to lower the rear door to fire missiles and reload the launchers. Since the aircraft usually operated at high altitude (6,400 meters/20,000 feet) the crew had to put on oxygen masks and it took time to depressurize the cargo bay and lower the rear ramp. The new door has ten launch tubes that can be used (for firing or reloading) while the ramp is closed.

 

The KC-130J is the latest, and largest, marine version of the C-130 transport used for aerial refueling. But the KC-130J can also carry cargo and weapons (bombs and missiles) hung from the wings or fired from inside. This last capability is for the Harvest Hawk version of the KC-130J. This "instant gunship" system enables weapons and sensors to be quickly rolled into a C-130 transport and hooked up. This takes a few hours and turns the C-130 into a gunship (similar in capabilities existing AC-130 gunships). The sensor package consists of day/night vidcams with magnification capability. The weapons currently consist of ten Griffin missile launchers plus four Hellfires and at least four Viper Strike hanging from the wings.

 

Viper Strike is a 914mm (36 inch) long unpowered glider. The 130mm diameter (with the wings folded) weapon weighs 20 kg (44 pounds). Because the Viper Strike comes straight down, it is better suited for urban warfare. Its warhead weighs only 1.8 kg (four pounds), and less than half of that is explosives. This means less damage to nearby civilians, but still powerful and accurate enough to destroy its target. A laser designator makes the Viper Strike accurate enough to hit an automobile, or a foxhole.

 

Griffin is a 20.5 kg (45 pounds) glide bomb that has a 5.9 kg (13 pound) warhead. Griffin has a greater range (15 kilometers) than Hellfire because of pop-out wings that allow it to glide after launch. Griffin uses laser, GPS, and inertial guidance. The Hellfire II missile has been around a lot longer, weighs 48.2 kg (106 pounds), carries a 9 kg (20 pound) warhead, and has a range of 8,000 meters.

 

The big thing with gunships is their sensors, not their weapons. Operating at night the gunships can see what is going on below in great detail. Using onboard weapons gunships can immediately engage targets. But with the appearance of smart bombs (GPS and laser guided), aerial weapons are more available to hit any target that is found. So Harvest Hawk would be able to hit targets that were "time sensitive" (had to be hit before they got away) but could also call on smart bombs or laser guided missiles for targets that weren't going anywhere right away. Most of what Harvest Hawk did in Afghanistan was look for roadside bombs or the guys who plant them. The marines wanted to track the bomb planters back to their base and then take out an entire roadside bomb operation. This worked quite well and Harvest Hawk may be returning to Iraq to use what it learned in Afghanistan.

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4 février 2015 3 04 /02 /février /2015 12:20
Air Weapons: The V-22 Gunship

 

January 17, 2015: Strategy Page

 

U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) is arming its V-22 tilt-rotor transports with more weapons, all of them forward firing and, along with temporary armor panels, meant to temporarily turn a V-22 into a gunship as needed. Tests are being performed to see if the V-22 can carry and launch guided missiles. SOCOM has already obtained a GAU-2B machine-gun fitted to the bottom of a V-22 as part of the Universal Turret System (UTS) for Helicopters. Plans for arming the V-22 have always been an option and since 2007 the marines and SOCOM have been developing weapons for use on their V-22s. The main purpose for this is to give V-22s just enough firepower to clear the landing zone long enough to land, unload and get away.

 

The original proposal was for a UTS equipped with a 12.7mm machine-gun, which has a longer range (about 2,000 meters). However, the 7.62mm GAU-17 can lay down more bullets more quickly and usually does so at low speed (1,500 rounds a minute). Experience in Iraq and Afghanistan indicated this would be a more useful defensive measure. Like the similar turret the Marine Corps developed, the SOCOM one is mounted on CV-22s as needed. The armed SOCOM CV-22 provides an option that the other V-22 users can easily adopt. The machine-gun turret was mainly there for protection from local threats, not for turning the V-22 into an assault aircraft. That attitude has now changed.

 

All this began back in 2011 when the U.S. Marine Corps ordered a dozen DWS (Interim Defensive Weapons System) turret gun kits for its hundred MV-22 tilt-rotor transports. Each kit cost about a million dollars. MV-22 crews were trained to use these new weapons which are quickly installed underneath the V-22. The remote control turret used a three-barrel 7.62mm GAU-17 machine-gun. This system has a rate of fire of up to 1,500-3,000 rounds per minute (25-50 per second) and max range of 1,500 meters. The system weighs under 100 kg (220 pounds) and includes 4,000 rounds of ammo. A member of the crew uses a video game like interface to operate the gun. Before the DWS arrived there was some experimentation mounting a heavy machine-gun on the rear ramp. But this did not prove nearly as effective as the turret.

 

The DSW is only mounted on a V-22 if a mission might be in need of some firepower. The DWS can swivel completely (360 degrees) around (useful when mounted underneath). It was apparently this weapon that was carried by an MV-22 sent to pick up the pilot and weapons operator who had to bail out of a disabled F-15E in Libya in 2011. The DWS was tested in Afghanistan in 2010 and by 2012 production models were being delivered. All MV-22 squadrons were given the opportunity to mount a turret on some of their aircraft and try out the weapon using live ammo.

 

The V-22s often have to fly into hostile territory to land their cargo. The V-22 can carry 24 troops 700 kilometers (vertical take-off on a ship, level flight, landing, and return) at 400 kilometers an hour and sometimes has to land in areas where the locals are firing at them. The marine MV-22 is replacing the CH-46E helicopter, which can carry 12 troops 350 kilometers at a speed of 200 kilometers an hour. The MV-22 can carry a 10,000-pound external sling load 135 kilometers, while the CH-46E can carry 3,000 pounds only 90 kilometers.

 

The U.S. Air Force component of SOCOM uses the CV-22 to replace the current MH-53J special operations helicopters. Unlike the U.S. Marine Corps version, the SOCOM CV-22B has a lot more expensive electronics on board. This will help the CV-22 when traveling into hostile territory, especially at night or in bad weather. The CV-22 carries a terrain avoidance radar, an additional 3,600 liters (900 gallons) of fuel, and more gadgets in general. The 25 ton CV-22 is a major improvement on the MH-53J, with three times the range, and a higher cruising speed (at 410 kilometers an hour, twice that of the helicopter). The CV-22 can travel about a thousand kilometers, in any weather, and land or pick up 18 fully equipped commandoes. The SOCOM CV-22s have been in action since 2008 but SOCOM will never have more than fifty of them.

 

The V-22 is the first application of the tilt-rotor technology in active service. The air force is already working on improvements (to make the V-22 more reliable and easier to maintain). The MV-22 gives the marines and SOCOM a lot more capability but, as it often the case, this is a lot more expensive. The initial production models of the CV-22 cost over $60 million each. SOCOM insists on a high degree of reliability for its aircraft. Commando operations cannot tolerate too many mistakes without getting fatally derailed.

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4 février 2015 3 04 /02 /février /2015 08:20
Fully armed MQ-9 takes off on a mission in Afghanistan. Photo US Air Force

Fully armed MQ-9 takes off on a mission in Afghanistan. Photo US Air Force

 

February 2, 2015 By Patrick Tucker - Defense One

 

With the terrorism fight spreading the military wants more drones to fight ISIS.

 

President Barack Obama today requested a healthy increase in the number of MQ-9 Reaper drones that the Pentagon will purchase next year, further reversing the brief trend in fewer drone purchases. The numbers show that the Reaper is becoming the military’s favorite weapon in its fight against ISIS. But some experts say that the modest bump won’t be enough to fix the military’s much bigger drone problem—a growing deficit of drone pilots.

The Reaper, as a machine, is very similar to the famous Predator drone, which the Air Force essentially stopped buying in fiscal 2015. Both the Predator and the Reaper are made by General Atomics and look a lot alike. The difference is a matter of size and, thus, carrying capacity.

The Reaper, with a wingspan of 66 feet and a length of 36 feet—compared to a 55 foot wingspan and a length of 28 feet for the Predator—can carry two 500-pound GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or JDAMs (bombs), and as many as four Hellfire missiles. The Predator can carry two missiles and no bombs. Like the Predator, the Reaper carries a lot of electronic targeting equipment such as the Raytheon AN/DAS-1 multi-spectral targeting system and various other cameras. It also has a variety of radar packages that the Predator doesn’t.

 

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4 février 2015 3 04 /02 /février /2015 08:20
Northrop Grumman to Deliver Additional Mission Packages for US Navy Littoral Combat Ship Program

 

Feb. 2, 2015 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Northrop Grumman Corp.; issued Feb. 2, 2015)

 

BETHPAGE, N.Y. --- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC) has received a $21.6 million contract from the U.S. Navy for two additional Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) mission packages. As the mission package integrator, the company will deliver one mission package for surface warfare and one for mine countermeasures.

 

The capabilities contained in the various mission modules directly support the three LCS primary missions – surface warfare, mine countermeasures and antisubmarine warfare. Mission modules facilitate efficient modular mission package embarkation, mission package operations at-sea, and debarkation / logistics support.

 

"As the mission package integrator for LCS we are committed to meeting the demanding requirements of our warfighters, while providing supplier base stability and reducing cost to the Navy," said Doug Shaffer, director, electronic attack/maritime systems integration programs, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "As more Littoral Combat Ships enter service, the U.S. Navy/Northrop Grumman team has stepped up to make sure the mission modules are available when needed to achieve initial operational capability (IOC)."

 

Northrop Grumman has delivered three mine countermeasures and three surface warfare mission modules for LCS. A fourth mine countermeasures mission module is in production and scheduled for delivery in 2015. The fourth and fifth surface warfare mission modules are also in production and scheduled for delivery in early 2015. Northrop Grumman performs the final integration work and completes delivery at the Mission Package Support Facility located at Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, Calif.

 

 

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide.

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4 février 2015 3 04 /02 /février /2015 07:20
Le budget Obama de la Défense de 534 milliards $ US: un minimum dit le Pentagone

 

3 février 2015 par Jacques N. Godbout  - 45eNord.ca

 

Face aux nouveaux défis au Moyen-Orient et en Ukraine, l’administration Obama a proposé lundi 2 février un budget de base de 534 milliards $ US, plus un fonds de guerre de 51 milliards, exhortant également le Congrès à mettre fin aux réductions de dépenses que la Maison Blanche veut afin de stopper l’érosion de la puissance militaire américaine.

 

Le budget de base proposé dépasse le plafond de dépenses fédérales de 499 milliards $ US pour l’année fiscale 2016, forçant un débat avec le Congrès sur le bien fondé de poursuivre de profondes coupes dans les dépenses discrétionnaires fédérales ou, au contraire, de modifier les limites fixées dans une loi de 2011 qui visait à réduire le déficit budgétaire américain.

Les responsables de la Défense ont reconnu que la demande budgétaire de 534 milliards $ US dépassent les limites de dépenses fédérales, mais le général Martin Dempsey, le chef d’état-major interarmées armées des États-Unis, a déclaré que ce budget «représente le niveau de ressources minimum nécessaire pour rester une force capable, prête et de taille appropriée en mesure de respecter nos engagements mondiaux».

Le chefs d’état-major interarmées adjoint, l’amiral James Winnefield, a déclaré pour sa part que, même avec ce budget, le pentagone est à la limite du «risque gérable».

Le budget proposé inclus 5,3 milliards $ US pour les opérations contre les militants du groupe État islamique en Syrie et en Irak, dont 1,3 milliards $ US pour former et équiper les combattants de l’opposition syrienne.

En outre, pour rassurer les alliés européens inquiets des actions de la Russie en Ukraine et ailleurs dans la région, le budget propose également 789 millions $ US pour renforcer les déploiements militaires et accroître la formation et les exercices militaires avec des partenaires en Europe.

«Les événements géopolitiques de l’année écoulée ne font que renforcer la nécessité d’augmenter les du ministère de la Défense au niveau de financement demandé par le président par opposition à la loi actuelle», insiste le Pentagone dans un communiqué.

Le budget fait suite en effet à plusieurs années de compressions dans les dépenses, aussi connu sous le nom de «séquestration».

Sous l’empire de la «séquestration», honnie par les militaires, les dépenses de défense projetées devaient être réduites d’environ un trillion $ US sur une décennie, mais les responsables n’ont cessé de répéter que pareilles coupes automatiques de la défense érodaient gravement les capacités militaires américaines après 15 années de guerre.

«Un retour au niveau de financement tel que prévu en vertu de la «séquestration» serait irresponsable et dangereux et aurait pour effet une force trop petite et mal équipée pour répondre à l’éventail complet des menaces potentielles pour la nation», a déclaré le Pentagone.

Le budget proposé, lui, permettrait aux forces américaines d’avoir suffisamment de membres en service actif, malgré une légère baisse par rapport à son plan après les guerres en Irak et en Afghanistan. Mais le Pentagone a prévenu que, si la «séquestration» reste en vigueur, les forces américaines devraient être réduites à un niveau qui rendrait plus difficile le respect des engagements.

Le Pentagone a aussi de nouveau sollicité l’approbation de plusieurs réformes auquel s’oppose le Congrès, y compris la mise à la retraite de l’avion de soutien A-10 «Warthog», une nouvelle série de fermetures de bases américaines et la limitation de la hausse du coût des salaires et des avantages sociaux des militaires, des projets de réformes électoralement impopulaires qui, dans certains cas, heurtent les élus de plein fouet dans leur circonscriptions.

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