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26 septembre 2013 4 26 /09 /septembre /2013 07:20
Trident II D5 Missile Logs 148th Successful Test-Flight

Sept. 25, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Lockheed Martin; issued September 24, 2013)

 

Lockheed Martin-Built Trident II D5 Missile Achieves A Total of 148 Successful Test Flights Since 1989

 

SUNNYVALE, Calif. --- The U.S. Navy has conducted four successful test flights of the Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missiles built by Lockheed Martin. The U.S. Navy launched the unarmed missiles Sept. 10 and 12 in the Atlantic Ocean from a submerged Ohio-class submarine home-ported at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia.

 

This event marked the 145th, 146th, 147th and 148th successful test flights of the D5 missile since design completion in 1989 – a reliability record unmatched by any other large ballistic missile.

 

"This ultra-capable system serves a critical role in deterring aggression," said Doug White, vice president of Fleet Ballistic Missile programs, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, the Navy's Trident missile prime contractor. "We are dedicated to supporting Navy Strategic Systems Programs in assuring the system's continued readiness, reliability, performance and affordability."

 

The Navy launched the missiles as part of Follow-on Commander's Evaluation Tests. The missiles had been converted into test configurations using kits produced by Lockheed Martin that contain range safety devices and flight telemetry instrumentation. As required by the Department of Defense's National Command Authority, the U.S. Navy conducts a continuing series of operational system evaluation tests of the Trident Strategic Weapon System under the testing guidelines of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

 

First deployed in 1990, the D5 missile is currently aboard U.S. Navy Ohio-class and U.K. Royal Navy Vanguard-class submarines. The three-stage, solid-propellant, inertial-guided ballistic missile can travel a nominal range of 4,000 nautical miles and carries multiple independently targeted reentry bodies. The Fleet Ballistic Missile team has produced six generations, each more capable than its predecessor: the Polaris A1, Polaris A2, Polaris A3, Poseidon C3, Trident I C4 and Trident II D5 missiles.

 

Lockheed Martin has been the Navy's strategic missile prime contractor since the program's inception in 1955. The United States and the United Kingdom signed the Polaris Sales Agreement in 1963, which was modified in 1982 to provide for the Trident II D5 missile system. Since 1968, Lockheed Martin has provided program management and engineering services to the Royal Navy under the terms of the agreement.

 

Lockheed Martin employees, principally in California, Georgia, Florida, Washington, Utah, Virginia, Scotland and England, support the design, development, production, test, operation and sustainment of the Trident Strategic Weapon System.

 

Lockheed Martin leads the industry in performance and domain expertise in strategic missile and missile defense systems, designing and producing ballistic missiles, interceptors, target missiles and reentry systems with unmatched reliability and a focus on affordable high-quality systems and services.

 

 

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 116,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services. The corporation's net sales for 2012 were $47.2 billion.

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26 septembre 2013 4 26 /09 /septembre /2013 07:20
Commentary: US Needs a Minerals Policy

Rare earth oxides. Clockwise from top center praseodymium, cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, samarium, and gadolinium - Photoh by Peggy Greb, US Department of Agriculture

 

Sep. 25, 2013 - by HAL QUINN – Defense News              

 

Reliance on Foreign Sources Risks Readiness

 

In June, the US House Armed Services Committee released a draft of the fiscal 2014 Defense Authorization Act, which included several proposals dealing with critical minerals often used in Defense Department weapon systems.

 

For years, the Pentagon has raised concerns about access to minerals, and yet the government still lacks a modern, coherent minerals procurement strategy and useful mineral resources remain locked beneath US soil. As a result, US military and defense contractors find themselves at the mercy of foreign countries for the minerals they need.

 

Minerals are critical components of the advanced technologies on which modern militaries rely. Each year, DoD must acquire roughly 750,000 tons of minerals for an array of systems to ensure America’s fighting force remains at the cutting-edge. Beryllium, for example, is used in the airborne forward-looking infrared system, missile guidance systems and surveillance satellites, while molybdenum is an effective smoke suppressant and fire retardant — especially useful in the confined spaces on aircraft.

 

Despite the importance of these resources, the military and its suppliers are unable to readily access many of the minerals they need. As revealed by the DoD’s 2013 Strategic and Critical Materials Report, the US faces shortfalls of 23 minerals crucial to national security. This year, the US Geological Survey warned that we remain 100 percent dependent on imports for 18 minerals — many of which were flagged in the DoD’s report.

 

As the world’s population surges and millions join the middle class in fast-rising economies, demand and competition for these vital ores will continue to rise. According to a recent report by retired Army Brig. Gen. John Adams for the Alliance for American Manufacturing, “The increased demand for minerals has encouraged resource nationalism, where countries seek to exert greater control over the extraction and processing of key elements. Many minerals are mined in only a few countries, exposing the United States to potential supply disruptions and other risks.”

 

Night-vision devices (NVDs) offer a prime example of how supply disruptions threaten our military. NVDs are integral to countless defense operations and were key to mission success in capturing Osama Bin Laden. Despite ranking in the top four globally for rare earth reserves, the US imports nearly 80 percent of the rare earth elements needed to manufacture NVDs — among other defense technologies — from China. In recent years, China has imposed export restrictions on rare earths, forcing prices for the minerals to increase by nearly 300 percent and tightening the supplies available to American manufacturers.

 

Simply put, the United States cannot remain at the mercy of foreign governments for key security minerals and continue to jeopardize its strategic autonomy.

 

There is a solution to these escalating supply concerns, one that would both boost America’s security outlook and the economy: the $6.2 trillion worth of key minerals within US borders. Minerals such as copper, zinc and nickel could be extracted in greater abundance domestically with improved regulatory certainty. The extraction of these minerals would also generate a number of other crucial minerals for which we’re facing tight supplies. Copper ore, for example, contains rhenium, selenium and tellurium, along with small amounts of rare-earth elements. Zinc ore contains indium, germanium and cadmium.

 

But under the current minerals mining permitting process — which is marked by unnecessary delays and redundancies at the local, state and federal levels — it can take up to 10 years to secure approval to mine for these and countless other minerals in the United States. This is five times longer than it takes in countries with comparably stringent environmental standards, such as Australia and Canada. This policy pitfall has driven investment overseas, leading to a 13 percent drop in our nation’s share of global investments in metals mining over the past decade and an increased reliance on mineral imports.

 

Encouraging domestic mineral production and establishing secure mineral supply chains for manufacturers and the US military would put our national security back into our own hands. The bipartisan National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2013, introduced by US Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., would address this national challenge. The bill would ensure a predictable and streamlined permitting process that maintains strict environmental protections, making the US more attractive to investment in mining and facilitating the development of minerals needed across our security spectrum.

 

For the US, a stable and robust mineral supply is, and will continue to be, a strong pillar supporting the nation’s global competitiveness, a key driver of its technological prowess and the foundation of countless national defenses. Allies and competitors alike have enacted policies to address minerals security, and it’s time for the United States to do the same. A reformed permitting process for minerals mines is a long-overdue first step.

 

Hal Quinn, president and CEO of the National Mining Association, which advocates on behalf of the US mining industry.

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26 septembre 2013 4 26 /09 /septembre /2013 07:20
GD Wins $152M for Virginia-class SSNs

Sept. 25, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: US Department of Defense; issued Sept. 24, 2013)

 

Pentagon Contract Announcement

 

Electric Boat Corp., Groton, Conn., is being awarded a $152,448,187 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-10-C-2118) to exercise options for continued lead-yard services and development studies and design efforts related to Virginia-class submarines.

 

Work will be performed in Groton, Conn. (91.1 percent), Newport News, Va. (4 percent), Quonset, R.I. (3.5 percent), and Newport, R.I. (1.4 percent), and is expected to be completed by September 2014. Fiscal 2012 and 2013 shipbuilding and conversion, Navy, fiscal 2013 research, development, test and evaluation funding in the amount of $13,097,000 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

 

The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

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26 septembre 2013 4 26 /09 /septembre /2013 07:20
Drone Warfare Version 2.0: Great Power Edition

September 26, 2013 By  Zachary Keck - thediplomat.com

 

The first decade of drone and unmanned warfare has been the exclusive domain of nation states like the U.S. and Israel using armed drones to target leaders of non-state actors like al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Hamas.

 

This type of drone warfare will almost certainly continue into the future, albeit at a reduced pace in the case of the U.S. targeting al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders. Other nation states may decide to make similar use of drones, if reports that China considered using drones to target an international drug trader are any indication.

 

Meanwhile, a second generation of drone warfare is taking shape: one in which countries employ unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) against other nation states.

 

As the world's military superpower, it should come as no surprise that the U.S. is taking the lead in this endeavor. In May of this year, the U.S. garnered some headlines when it launched the X-47B drone from the nuclear aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush off the coast of Virginia. Many more heads were turned in July, when the X-47B drone became the first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to make a landing on the same aircraft carrier.

 

Last week a X-47B drone marked the 100th flight in the U.S. Navy’s Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) program, which is geared toward maturing the capability to operate combat UAVs from aircraft carriers.

 

A press release announcing the 100th flight stated: “The Navy UCAS program successfully completed all objectives for the carrier demonstration phase with the X-47B.” It went on to note: “The program is currently planning for continued carrier integration demonstrations and has also begun surrogate Learjet testing of the autonomous aerial refueling (AAR) capability.” Earlier this month, the Navy announced key successes in this latter, refueling objective.

 

This followed the Navy’s announcement in August that the two prototype X-47Bs would not be retired to museums as planned, but instead would continue to be utilized for the purpose of, among other things, “developing unmanned aircraft carrier fleet concept of operations.”

 

Also in August, the U.S. Naval Air System Command (NAVAIR), which is overseeing the efforts to develop a carrier-based UAV fleet, announced that it had awarded US$15 million Preliminary Design Review (PDR) contracts to four defense companies for the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program, which is designed to provide the U.S. Navy with its first deployed carrier-based unmanned air system.

 

As NAVAIR explained in a press release announcing the contracts, the carrier-based drone “will provide persistent, unmanned, semi-autonomous, carrier-based Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Targeting (ISR &T) with precision strike capability to support 24/7 carrier operational coverage.”

 

According to Defense News, the carrier-based UAVs will initially have a strike capability of around 2,000 km. This hints at a key purpose of the drones; namely, to allow the U.S. to continue to strike China with sea-based aircraft while keeping America’s aircraft carriers outside the range of the PLA’s DF-21 anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM). In other words, the sea-based drones will be a key component of America’s efforts to counter adversaries’ anti access/area denial (A2/AD) strategies.   

 

The U.S. is also putting together the larger infrastructure to execute this strategy. For example, in July Rear Adm. Thomas J. Moore, the Navy’s Program Executive Officer for Aircraft Carriers, confirmed that the Ford-class aircraft carriers, the next-generation U.S. carriers, are being built with the capabilities to launch large fleets of UAVs off them.

 

As Moore explained of the Ford Class: “The flight deck has been designed to be bigger and have a higher sortie generation rate. The ship itself is built with three-times the electrical generating capacity than the Nimitz {Ford predecessor} class has – so it is not hard to envision that we are going to be flying unmanned aircraft off that ship.”

 

One crucial difference between using drones against terrorists in areas where the air force enjoys air superiority, and in using them against peer-competitors in contested air space, is that the vulnerability of the drones to air defense systems becomes a key concern in the latter environment. Thus, whereas U.S. drones can loiter over Pakistani airspace for days trying to pinpoint the location of al-Qaeda operatives, they will enjoy no such luxury in trying to eliminate China’s land-based missile systems.

 

As such, the carrier-based combat drones that come out of the UCLASS will be unlikely to conduct their own surveillance in many of the missions in which they were operate. For that, the U.S. is developing different UAVs. As Foreign Policy reported last month, the U.S. Navy envisions “swarms of tiny drones infiltrating heavily defended skies at will.”

 

Summarizing a U.S. Air Force official, the report noted that “these bug-like surveillance bots will be particularly useful in the Pacific…. Because that represents the toughest challenge for American spyplanes: snooping on say, a China equipped with increasingly advanced air defenses.” Presumably, these nano-drones will collect intelligence on targets for the UCLASS drones.

 

The U.S. is developing another unmanned system to counter China’s A2/AD strategy. Earlier this month, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) solicited bids from defense companies for its Hydra program, which will “develop and demonstrate an unmanned undersea system, providing a novel delivery mechanism for insertion of unmanned air and underwater vehicles into operational environments.” News reports suggest that submarines will also be launched from the Hydra system. This would give the U.S. the ability to launch carrier-based aircraft from devices that would be impervious to China’s ASBMs.

An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator launches from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN_77) May 14, 2013, in the Atlantic Ocean

An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator launches from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN_77) May 14, 2013, in the Atlantic Ocean

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26 septembre 2013 4 26 /09 /septembre /2013 07:20
$18m US Navy LRLAP Artillery Shell Contract

25/09/2013 by Paul Fiddian - Armed Forces International's Lead Reporter

 

The US Navy's next-generation ship-launched artillery shell is moving into production, according to Lockheed Martin's September 2013 statement.

 

Set to equip future US Navy destroyers, the LRLAP (Long-Range Land Attack Projectile) is a 155mm GPS-guided artillery shell with a maximum range of 190 kilometres.

 

The LRLAP programme is being led by Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control and BAE Systems is the prime contractor.

 

According to Lockheed Martin, once it enters service, the LRLAP will deliver a performance capability beyond those of all preceding US Navy artillery shells. Designed to facilitate long-range precision strikes, the shell falls almost vertically - a feature designed to mitigate the risk of collateral damage. Able to strike a variety of targets, the shell also reportedly possess three times the impact capacity of older 5 inch naval ballistic rounds.

 

Long-Range Land Attack Projectile

 

The Long-Range Land Attack Projectile development programme is now in transition, supported by the US National Warheads and Energetics Consortium's (NWEC's) $18 million contract.

 

In times ahead, the LRLAP will be fired from the US Navy's DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class Destroyers. Set to be introduced in 2014, these three stealth-heavy warships will boast state-of-the-art sonar systems and be armed with RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow and Tomahawk missiles, besides the LRLAP-launching 155mm Advanced Gun Systems.

 

LRLAP Shell Production

 

"This contract represents a significant step towards fielding LRLAP to support the Navy's requirement for surface fire support", Lockheed Martin's LRLAP programme manager, Richard Benton, explained in the firm's Long-Range Land Attack Projectile production press release. "Fire support to troops deployed ashore is a critical capabilities gap, which LRLAP fills with precision lethality."

 

It is planned that the LRLAP 155mm artillery shell will be in US Navy service by 2016. By this point, the first DDG 1000 destroyer should have attained IOC (Initial Operational Capability) status.

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26 septembre 2013 4 26 /09 /septembre /2013 07:20
Le patron de la NSA défend la "mission noble" de son agence

25.09.2013 Le Monde.fr (AFP)

 

Le général Keith Alexander, patron de l'Agence américaine de sécurité nationale (NSA) a estimé, mercredi 25 septembre lors d'une conférence à Washington sur la sécurité informatique, le Billington Cybersecurity Summit, que les révélations sur ses programmes de surveillance par l'ancien consultant Edward Snowden, avaient été "dramatisées et exacerbées dans la plupart des médias".

 

Lire : "Prism, Snowden, surveillance de la NSA : 7 questions pour tout comprendre"

 

"Ce qui a été mis en avant dans la plupart des médias, c'est que nous écoutons vos conversations, que nous lisons vos e-mails. Ce n'est pas vrai. Nous savons que notre travail est de défendre ce pays. C'est une mission noble.

L'avenir de ce pays dépend de notre capacité à nous défendre contre les attaques informatiques et les menaces terroristes, et nous avons besoin d'outils pour le faire".

 

Le général Alexander a assuré qu'il y avait eu très peu d'attentats aux Etats-Unis depuis ceux du 11 septembre 2001, au regard de la croissance des menaces dans le monde. "Ce n'est pas un hasard, c'est dû à un gros travail", a-t-il souligné, en rappelant que plus de 50 menaces terroristes dans le monde avaient été contrecarrées grâce aux renseignements recueillis à l'aide des programmes de surveillance, qui ont été très critiqués par l'Allemagne et le Brésil.

 

Au sujet d'Edward Snowden, qu'il n'a pas nommé, il a affirmé : "Nous lui avons fait confiance et il a trahi notre confiance. Cela n'arrivera plus. Cela n'en fait pas un héros."

 

Lire notre infographie : "Plongée dans la "pieuvre" de la cybersurveillance de la NSA"

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26 septembre 2013 4 26 /09 /septembre /2013 07:20
GD Inks 2nd SOCOM Ground Vehicle Contract in a Month

General Dynamics' Advanced Light Strike Vehicle, a variant of the Flyer vehicle, was awarded a test and evaluation contract by US Special Operations Command. (General Dynamics)

 

Sep. 25, 2013 - By PAUL MCLEARY  - Defense News

 

QUANTICO, VA. — General Dynamics has scored a perfect two for two this year when gunning for US Special Operations Command ground vehicle contracts. It won the $562 million Ground Mobility Vehicle (GMV) 1.1 bid in August — though the award is stalled by protests from AM General and Navistar — and has now secured a $5.8 million evaluation contract for a lighter, CV-22 Osprey transportable vehicle on Sept 12.

 

On Wednesday, GD spokeswoman Laurie VanBrocklin confirmed that the company’s Advanced Light Strike Vehicle — a variant of the “Flyer” vehicle that won SOCOM’s GMV contract — was awarded the 12-month test and evaluation contract that includes training and parts.

 

A government website outlines a contract “for a minimum basic quantity of 2 vehicles each with the ability to purchase 8 additional vehicles.”

 

The idea behind the program is to give operators a fast, protected, but lightly armored off-road vehicle that can roll out of the back of an Osprey and begin firing mounted weapons within 60 seconds.

 

In May, Defense News reported on comments made by Marine Lt. Col. Ken Burger, program manager for the Family of Special Operations Vehicles, who told an industry gathering that SOCOM’s plan is to request funding for the program beginning in the fiscal 2015 budget, and that Air Force Special Operations Command will begin doing combat evaluations of prototypes in 2014.

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26 septembre 2013 4 26 /09 /septembre /2013 07:20
Boeing Wins $225M for P-8 Trainers

Sept. 25, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: US Department of Defense; issued Sept. 24, 2013)

 

Pentagon Contract Announcement

 

The Boeing Co., Seattle, Wash., is being awarded a $225,000,000 modification to a previously awarded fixed-price-incentive-firm contract (N00019-12-C-0112) for the procurement of six operational flight trainers, six weapons tactics trainers, two part task trainers, one training systems support center, three 10-seat electronic classrooms, and one 20-seat electronic classroom in support of the U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon low rate initial Production IV and full rate Production I aircraft.

 

Work will be performed in St. Louis, Mo. (30.4 percent); Tampa, Fla. (21.3 percent); Whidbey Island, Wash. (15.2 percent); Huntington Beach, Calif. (5.9 percent); San Francisco, Calif. (4.2 percent); Long Island, N.Y. (2 percent); Tulsa, Okla. (1.9 percent); Jacksonville, Fla. (.9 percent); and various locations throughout the United States (18.2 percent).

 

Work is expected to be completed in March 2018. Fiscal 2013 aircraft procurement, Navy contract funds in the amount of $225,000,000 are being obligated on this award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

 

The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

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25 septembre 2013 3 25 /09 /septembre /2013 18:20
Earlier, Bigger Debt Ceiling Crisis Threatens US Military Pay

Sep. 25, 2013 By RICK MAZE – Defense News

 

With Congress still wrestling with how to avoid a government shutdown on Tuesday, the US Treasury Department issued another piece of bad fiscal news Wednesday, saying that the debt ceiling crisis will arrive sooner and be worse than previous estimates.

 

By no later than Oct. 17, the nation will have just $30 billion in cash to pay bills, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says in a letter to congressional leaders. This is about $20 billion less cash on hand than expected, and the financial crisis involving the nation’s $16.7 billion debt limit comes about two weeks earlier than expected.

 

With the $30 billion in cash and whatever revenue the government takes in, there would not be enough money to pay bills, forcing the Treasury to set priorities.

 

“This amount would be far short of net expenditures on certain days, which can be as high as $60 billion,” Lew warned. “If we have insufficient cash on hand, it would be impossible for the United States of America to meet all of its obligations for the first time in our history.”

 

The House of Representatives approved a plan last week that calls for creditors to receive top priority for payment in order to preserve the nation’s credit standing, with the military and federal civilian payroll, veterans’ benefits, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid payments to doctors, food stamps and benefits ranking lower.

 

Lew called this “ill advised.”

 

“Any plan to prioritize some payments over others is simply default by another name,” he said.

 

“The United States should never have to choose, for example, whether to pay Social Security to seniors, pay benefits to our veterans, or make payments to state and local jurisdictions and health care providers under Medicare and Medicaid,” he said. “There is no way of knowing the damage any prioritization plan would have on our economy and financial markets.”

 

One possibility for dealing with limited cash would be to provide partial payments to beneficiaries, but Lew did not discuss the option in his letter.

 

Like the government shutdown threat, service members would continue to accrue pay even if the government is unable to pay them and would receive full payment when money becomes available.

 

Showdown Over a Shutdown

 

If the White House and lawmakers on Capitol Hill fail to agree on a temporary spending deal by Monday, the US government will shut down for the first time since 1996. Click here for complete coverage.

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25 septembre 2013 3 25 /09 /septembre /2013 17:20
Think-Tank Report Targets Benefits, Force Structure To Hold Down Spending

Sep. 24, 2013 - By RICK MAZE  - Defense News

 

A 27-point plan for the Defense Department to live within 2011 budget caps was unveiled Tuesday by a national security think tank.

 

The Stimson Center plan, the result of recommendations from a group of prominent advisers including several retired four-star flag and general officers, shaves about $21 billion from force structure, $22 billion from management reforms and $6 billion from weapons modernization. It achieves about $50 billion in savings, slightly more than the $47.7 billion reduction needed to stay within the 2015 spending limit cap set for the Defense Department set by the 2011 Budget Control Act.

 

The 2011 caps allow for $476.1 billion of spending on defense in 2015, down from the $527.5 billion budget for fiscal 2013.

 

Management reforms include some dramatic changes in benefits with immediate savings in 2015. These include $5 billion in added out-of-pocket expenses in retiree health care in 2015, $2 billion in reductions in retired pay and $1billion in savings from cutting all taxpayer support for commissaries and exchanges.

 

Also included in management reform is a recommendation for consolidating infrastructure, reducing both federal civilian and contract employees, reducing headquarters staffs and defense agencies, and cutting back on some types of training.

 

The biggest savings recommended in weapons programs is slowing the purchase of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, which cuts $4 billion in 2015.

 

Also recommended is canceling both the Army ground combat vehicle and joint light tactical vehicle, saving $1 billion.

 

The recommendations come from an advisory committee that includes two former vice chairmen of the joint chiefs, a former chief of naval operations and two retired Army four-star generals.

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25 septembre 2013 3 25 /09 /septembre /2013 17:20
Futures wargame prepares Army for 2030

September 24th, 2013 By Army News Service - defencetalk.com

 

The Army doesn’t know for sure what the global environment will look like around 2030, but it’s likely going to have to conduct operations then when called upon to do so.

 

To prepare for that time, the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command conducted a Unified Quest Deep Futures Wargame at Carlisle Barracks, Pa., Sept. 16-20, 2013.

 

The wargame takes predictions about the future strategic environment, from insights that come from the National Intelligence Council 2030 study and other sources, including the Army’s own studies, and uses that environment as the foundation for two teams to independently wargame the same fictional futures scenario.

 

While the future strategic environment is something nobody can be 100 percent sure of, the Army’s wargame works on a futures model predicted by using 40 geostrategic, military, science, and technology trends.

 

Included in futures predictions are the effects of expanding nation states, non-state actors that include groups like Hezbollah and al Qaeda, non-government agencies and even large global corporations. Also included in futures predictions are the effects of climate change, shifting demographics, urbanization, information, and technological trends, said Maj. Gen. Bill Hicks, deputy director, Army Capabilities Integration Center.

 

“What you see in terms of the environment — because of this interconnection, which is also reflected in the globalized nature of our society and the increasing technological dependence of global society — [are] events unfolding more quickly,” Hicks said. “You see the second- and third-order effects of those events impacting on a wider scale in terms of having a global impact. That drives us to consider how do we influence those events at speed — arrest their acceleration, control those events and try to restore to some degree of stability an area that has gone ’tilt,’ if you will.”

 

One team involved in the wargame was equipped as today’s Army, as it is programmed to be in 2030. The other team is equipped with “things that are possible but not yet programmed into the Army,” Hicks said.

 

“One of the outcomes of the more technologically enabled force is that they can respond in the game more rapidly,” Hicks said. “They can cut the time in half, or maybe two-thirds. It allows the political leadership to respond very rapidly to something that is happening very quickly. If the event can be responded to over a longer period of time, what we are really doing is giving the president, the secretary and others more political space to maneuver.”

 

While the two teams worked through the challenges of a theoretical conflict more than 17 years in the future, and each used a different capability set, they were able to develop insights into how today’s Army can better prepare for an uncertain future.

 

This wargame, Hicks said, focuses on two operational issues; one of those is the “imperative of speed.” Key findings of the emerging operating environment is the “momentum of human interaction.” Hicks said that includes the information that can be amassed, and the ideas that can be shared by people through the use of technology, as well as the ability to organize and take action.

 

“That momentum is something we see accelerating into the future, which will compress the decision space of our political leadership, and will drive the imperative for Army forces to be able to respond to it and influence events at the speed at which they occur,” Hicks said. “This creates options both militarily, and, potentially, we should be able to provide more decision space back to our political leadership.”

 

New operational approaches are also a focus in the wargame, he said, in addition to “revisiting” old ones.

 

“Non-linear operations, such as what we saw when we conducted Just Cause in Panama, is something we’re looking at,” he said. “How do we do that on a more routine basis against a variety of different challenges?”

 

The outcome of a wargame such as the one conducted at Carlisle Barracks is the ability to help Army senior leadership of today chart a better course for the Army of tomorrow. Right now, Hicks said, the Army is spinning down from being an operational Army to one that is preparing, or getting ready for the next fight. He said being prepared means being ready for the next fight, and it also means laying the groundwork today that will help an Army in the future be ready to fight.

 

“There are a couple of things we can impact today that we will see the effects of in 2030 and 2040,” Hicks said. “The senior leaders of the Army in 2030-2040 are in the Army today. So we need to look at what are the implications and the things that we need to start doing today with the officers and non-commissioned officers that we have, to start educating them over time, so they are prepared to deal with that environment.”

 

Hicks also said the Army can start thinking now about what types of Soldiers it will need to fight in a future environment; what types of Soldiers it will need to recruit today and in the near future, in order to have a capable Army in 2030.

 

In addition to personnel issues, the Army must also lay the groundwork today to ensure the future Army has the tools and technology it will need. Hicks said that doesn’t necessarily mean buying new equipment today, or spelling out exactly what kinds of weapons are going to be needed. Instead, it means ensuring the Army remains committed to robust science and technology development.

 

“[It's] not predicting the systems the future force will need, but looking to make sure we are focusing our science and technology investments today so that in the mid-2020s, those leaders have more options to draw from as they reshape the force for that decade,” Hicks said.

 

While a “deep futures” wargame can’t truly predict what the strategic environment will look like, Hicks said already the Army is aware of some things it needs to focus on to be more prepared for the uncertainty that is going to come.

 

“It is to our advantage to be more involved in the international environment, working mil-to-mil relationships, enabling diplomatic, economic and information activities around the world, attracting partners, reassuring allies, creating deterrent structures to maintain a degree of balance strategically, and then through all those activities being postured to respond when that strategic balance is upset,” he said.

 

The goal of the Unified Quest Deep Futures Wargame, Hicks said, is to “inform decisions today so we can create options for tomorrow.”

 

The wargame will generate some “insights,” he said, that can be brought to Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno, to better inform him on decisions he will make now to ensure the Army can be successful in the future.

 

“What we will be able to do is bring him some insights and help him think about the implications of this deep future, which really isn’t that far away; to inform his thinking on where he needs to make investments,” Hicks said.

 

Those investments in the future mean the right technology and the right kinds of people, Hicks said.

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25 septembre 2013 3 25 /09 /septembre /2013 17:20
Army Awards Long-Awaited Radio Contract

Sep. 25, 2013 - By PAUL McLEARY – Defense News

 

WASHINGTON — The US Army awarded an $8.4 million delivery order to Harris Radios on Sept 24 for 232 mid-tier networking vehicular radios (MNVR) for testing and evaluation purposes as it works its way toward a low-rate initial production decision for up to 2,500 radios.

 

The MNVR program is the planned replacement for the canceled $2 billion Boeing-led Ground Mobile Radio program, which was axed in 2011 after cost overruns and system failures.

 

A contracting document released in July 2012 said the award should be worth about $140 million over two years, and the Army has issued estimates that it would eventually buy about 2,500 radio sets to equip its brigade combat teams.

 

An industry source says that the program should have the money to meet its targets, since there is still cash from the 2012 budget left over the pay for the program, along with funding streams in the 2013 and 2014 budgets.

 

The MNVR program is expected to play a key role in the Army’s overall modernization program, with the radio systems acting as a bridge between battalion- and brigade-level communications and soldiers on the move either in vehicles or on foot.

 

“With MNVR, information collected at the farthest tactical edge can be quickly shared across the network, enabling our Soldiers to communicate effectively for any mission in any region,” said Col. Gregory Fields, the program’s project manager. “By using a competitive approach to acquire mature technology that meets this need, we will deliver a more affordable, more capable radio to our forces.”

 

BAE Systems, General Dynamics C4 Systems, Harris and the team of Northrop Grumman and ITT Exelis were all in competition for the program.

 

A Sept. 20 memo sent by Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall said that the Army must have a complete MNVR acquisition strategy on his desk by Dec. 1.

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25 septembre 2013 3 25 /09 /septembre /2013 17:20
DoD to Shrink JIEDDO, Realign ISR Task Force

Sep. 24, 2013  MARCUS WEISGERBER - c4isrnet.com

 

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon plans to shrink its organization tasked with defeating roadside bombs and reorganize other quick-reaction task forces born out of more than a decade of counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

 

The decision by senior U.S. Defense Department officials to truncate the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) and realign the Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Task Force comes after a year of debate over how to institutionalize these entities.

 

The reorganizations were set in motion by Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in a memo earlier this month.

 

DoD officials had been contemplating three options for JIEDDO’s future: Eliminate the organization; break up its duties among the military services through a process called disaggregation; or restructure JIEDDO into a smaller office within the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD).

 

JIEDDO’s mission will continue to evolve, a defense official said. The organization’s “evolution will continue to support DoD efforts to retain a flexible and an agile force and also the ability to respond to urgent warfighter needs as they may arise.”

 

Defense officials are still determining the specifics of the downsizing, and the final path forward is still to be determined and pending the budget review process.

 

Senior JIEDDO officials, during a recent visit to Afghanistan, said the organization will be smaller but should maintain some of its most important capabilities, according to a DoD press article.

 

“If you look at the mission statement for JIEDDO, it’s to defeat the IED as a weapon of strategic influence,” Maj. Gen. Patrick Higgins, JIEDDO’s deputy director, said in the article. “Now I’m not ready to come out yet and say ‘mission accomplished,’ but if you look at the work over the last decade of war, what we have done in Iraq and what we are in the process of doing here, that is demonstratively proven.”

 

JIEDDO officials must submit a drawdown plan to OSD in the their 2015 budget proposal. JIEDDO should reach its lower staff level in 2017.

 

As for the ISR Task Force, Michael Vickers, the undersecretary for intelligence, must submit a plan to align the organization as a “permanent entity” within his directorate.

 

“The transitioned organization will be staffed appropriately to enable rapid fielding of new ISR capabilities in support of global warfighter requirement,” Carter wrote in a memo.

 

In addition, Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale and the head of the Joint Rapid Acquisition Cell have been tasked with institutionalizing the funding process for urgent battlefield needs.

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25 septembre 2013 3 25 /09 /septembre /2013 12:20
Boeing Completes Deliveries of Processing Units for Army’s Air, Missile Defense Network

September 25th, 2013 By Boeing Company - defencetalk.com

 

Boeing has recently finished delivering more than 40 computer processing units that will support an integrated network of computer and communication equipment critical to U.S. Army air and missile defenses.

 

Boeing’s Plug and Fight Processing Units are the main computing assets that link together various Army weapons and sensor platforms with the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command Systems (IBCS), a single network with common command and control. Boeing is a subcontractor to Northrop Grumman on the IBCS program.

 

“By providing a centralized, secure processing architecture from which to manage data, these processing units will play a significant role in enhancing the effectiveness of the Army’s network of missile defense sensors and weapon systems,” said Allan Brown, vice president and program director with Boeing Strategic Missile and Defense Systems.

 

Boeing’s units will support the IBCS by efficiently processing a high volume of information exchanged among the various components in the Plug and Fight network.

 

This technology is significant to IBCS objectives for enhanced situational awareness and command and control on the battlefield, improved response time, and reduced costs.

 

These processing units, built and assembled in Huntsville, were produced to support the hardware and software development phase of the IBCS program. In a series of virtual demonstrations, Boeing has verified that these processors can efficiently connect multiple missile defense weapons to the IBCS.

 

Northrop Grumman will use the processors in system demonstrations later this year, in anticipation of transitioning to the test and integration phase of the program.

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25 septembre 2013 3 25 /09 /septembre /2013 12:20
First Flight of the Orion Mega MALE Drone

September 25, 2013 defense-update.com

 

Aurora Flight Sciences Orion UAS has made its first flight last month, on August 24, 2013 the Orion took off from an unnamed airfield in the western test range, on a flight that lasted three hours and thirty-one minutes. The drone reached an altitude of 8,000 feet above mean sea level on that flight.

 

This mission was the first step towards demonstrating a 120-hr. flight at 20,000 ft. carrying a 1,000-lb. multi-sensor payload. Such extended endurance would allow the new drone to provide continuous surveillance carrying a Predator-class payload with fewer takeoffs and landings than current medium-altitude, long-endurance UAS flying 24-hr. missions, significantly reducing the manpower burden and operating cost.

 

Powered by a pair of fuel-efficient Austro Engine AE300 turbo-diesels, the aircraft flew for 3.5 hr., reaching an altitude of 8,000 ft. and airspeed of around 60 kt., says Tom Clancy, vice president of Aurora’s UAS business sector. Within the Defense Department, ownership of the Orion program has changed hands several times.

 

Aurora declined to identify its current customer, but Aviation Week understands it is the U.S. Air Force’s Big Safari program office, which manages the acquisition and modification of special-mission platforms. Using the composite wing and tail of the original HALL design, the Orion was rolled out at Aurora’s Golden Triangle, Miss., plant in November 2010, when it was expected to fly in August 2011.

 

In spite of program delays the basic objectives set at the beginning remain: a 120 hr. autonomous UAS carrying 1,000 lb. to 20,000 ft. There was no mission system on board for the Orion’s first flight, but there will be a payload on the aircraft for the 120 hr. demonstration flight, expected to be conducted by mid-2014. A number of different multi-intelligence payloads are potentially part of the program.

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25 septembre 2013 3 25 /09 /septembre /2013 12:20
Oshkosh Defense Answers U.S. Marine Corps’ Light Vehicle Needs

25.09.2013 Oshkosh - army-guide.com

 

OSHKOSH, Wis. -- The U.S. Marine Corps is reshaping its light vehicle fleet to equip Marines with the right mix of protected mobility for future missions. Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation, has developed vehicle and upgrade offerings to meet those requirements, including a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) solution that will be showcased at Modern Day Marine in Quantico, Va., Sept. 25-27.

 

“The last decade of conflict combined with an aging light vehicle fleet has shaped the Marine Corps’ priorities for its future vehicle fleets,” said John Bryant, senior vice president of Defense Programs for Oshkosh Defense. “Chief among those priorities is the JLTV, a transportable vehicle that will allow Marines to operate in rugged, off-road environments, while keeping them safe in high-intensity combat situations.”

 

The Oshkosh JLTV solution, the Light Combat Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle (L-ATV), delivers unprecedented levels of off-road mobility for a light vehicle. Using the Oshkosh TAK-4i™ intelligent independent suspension system, the vehicle delivers a 25 percent improvement in independent wheel travel over most mobile vehicles currently fielded, giving Marines greater off-road performance across rough terrain. Marines already rely on Oshkosh’s combat-proven vehicles with today’s gold standard in off-road capability, such as the Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) and MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV).

 

Oshkosh Defense was down selected for the Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) phase of the JLTV program in August 2012 and delivered its 22 JLTV prototypes for government evaluations last month ahead of schedule. Oshkosh will provide vehicle training and support for the prototypes as they undergo 14 months of robust military testing.

 

HMMWV Upgrade Solutions

 

In addition to the procuring JLTV, the Marine Corps is seeking to upgrade a portion of its aged High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) fleet. Up-armoring HMMWVs in recent conflicts has diminished key vehicle capabilities, including off-road performance, ride quality and reliability.

 

Oshkosh Defense has developed modular and scalable HMMWV upgrade solutions that provide varying levels of capabilities at a range of price points. The upgrades can be provided individually or as more complete solutions for upgrading all critical vehicle systems. Oshkosh’s comprehensive, cost-effective approach addresses requirements for engine and powertrain, suspension, driveline, hubs and brakes, frame and hull, electrical, cooling, and auxiliary automotive improvements to meet the Marine Corps needs.

 

For example, Oshkosh has tailored its industry-leading TAK-4® independent suspension system to deliver higher levels of mobility, including a 70 percent off-road profile capability, improved ride quality and a 40 percent increase in the vehicle’s maximum speed. The TAK-4 system also gives the HMMWV greater whole-vehicle durability, a restored 2,500-pound payload capacity and a restored ground clearance of 17 inches. Oshkosh also can deliver a modern engine option that’s more powerful than the HMMWV’s stock engine and provides increased fuel efficiency.

 

Oshkosh Defense leadership will be available to discuss the company’s vehicles, technologies and IPS services at Modern Day Marine at booth #2404.

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25 septembre 2013 3 25 /09 /septembre /2013 11:20
USAF Says Global Hawk Is Safest Aircraft

September 24, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: US Air Force; issued Sept. 23, 2013)

 

100K & Going: Global Hawk Makes Mark As Safest Platform

 

GRAND FORKS AFB, N.D. --- Although the days of the bombers and tankers are long gone, Airmen at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., are still finding ways to make Air Force history thanks to the Global Hawk mission.

 

The Northrop Grumman Corporation recently announced that its high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft systems achieved 100,000 flight hours Sept. 5.

 

News of the milestone was well-received by the leadership and members of the 69th Reconnaissance Group, the unit at Grand Forks AFB directly in charge of conducting Global Hawk missions.

 

"This milestone is something in which those of us involved in the Global Hawk mission take great pride," said Col. Lawrence Spinetta, 69th RG commander.

 

According to the Air Force Safety Center, Kirtland AFB, N.M., approximately 85 percent of the 100,000 flight hours for this aircraft were logged by U.S. Air Force Global Hawks. Credit for the remaining flight hours was split among the NASA, German and U.S. Navy versions of the aircraft.

 

The Global Hawk also has the safest record of any fighter, bomber or reconnaissance aircraft in the Air Force's active inventory.

 

"The safety record of the U.S. Air Force Global Hawk fleet is remarkable, especially given the fact that the system was rushed to combat and flew 75 percent of its first 100,000 hours supporting our warfighters in Afghanistan and elsewhere," Spinetta said. "These figures prove the reliability of unmanned aircraft technology. More importantly, it's testament to the professionalism of our Airmen and the pride they take in accomplishing our mission."

 

The Global Hawk is aptly named. Every day, RQ-4s circle the globe, providing critical strategic intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to six combatant commands.

 

"The jet's long endurance is a significant combat force multiplier," Spinetta said.

 

The RQ-4, which can fly for upwards of 30 hours nonstop, has the ability to cover almost half the circumference of the world without refueling. That capability makes it a key contributor to the global vigilance, global reach, and global power of the U.S. Air Force.

 

Spinetta reflected on the recent aviation milestone and contemplated what it means for the history of the Air Force.

 

He told members of the 69th RG that their hard work is "the realization of an Air Force prophecy" by Gen. Henry H. "Hap" Arnold. As the commanding general for the U.S. Army Air Force in 1945, Arnold said, "We have just won a war with a lot of heroes flying around in planes. The next war may be fought by airplanes with no men in them at all...Take everything you've learned about aviation in war, throw it out the window, and let's go to work on tomorrow's aviation."

 

Members of the 69th RG will receive patches from Northrop Grumman commemorating the milestone.

 

"Some people might refer to the patch as badge of honor, however, we know the real honor is knowing we are doing an excellent job protecting our warriors and our nation," Spinetta said. "That's exactly what we will continue to do."

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25 septembre 2013 3 25 /09 /septembre /2013 11:20
CIRCM Passes ‘Safety of Flight’ Tests

September 24, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Northrop Grumman Corporation; issued September 23, 2013)

 

Northrop Grumman Completes Safety of Flight Testing on Common Infrared Countermeasure System

 

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. --- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC) achieved another significant milestone on its Common Infrared Countermeasure (CIRCM) program by completing safety of flight testing on prototype hardware.

 

The Northrop Grumman CIRCM system is a lightweight, low-cost, high-reliability laser-based countermeasure system. It is designed to integrate and operate with legacy and emerging missile warning systems for rotary wing, tilt-rotor and small fixed-wing aircraft across the military services. Safety of flight testing was completed Aug. 14, demonstrating that the production-ready system has matured to the point of operation under stressing flight conditions. The CIRCM was exposed to intense environmental conditions, such as temperature, vibration, altitude and humidity extremes, as well as crash shock and explosive atmospheres.

 

"Passing each of the testing requirements makes a clear statement that the Northrop Grumman CIRCM system is ready and safe to fly, and provides more factual evidence and proof of the maturity of our solution," said Jeff Palombo, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman's Land and Self Protection Systems Division. "Our open architecture solution continues to meet program requirements while achieving on-time performance, propelling us toward the EMD phase of the program and the fielding of the next generation of aircraft survivability for our warfighters."

 

The safety of flight testing comes on the heels of the preliminary design review in July when Northrop Grumman presented the U.S. Army with a system design that surpasses the program's weight and electrical power requirements. After being awarded a technology development contract to develop the CIRCM in 2012, the company completed acceptance testing on the first suite of equipment and delivered a complete hardware set in January – two months ahead of schedule.

 

Northrop Grumman is an industry leader in directional infrared countermeasures system design and manufacture. The company's infrared countermeasures systems have been installed on more than 800 aircraft representing 50 different aircraft types, including large and small fixed-wing, rotary-wing and tilt-wing platforms.

 

 

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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25 septembre 2013 3 25 /09 /septembre /2013 11:20
Should Pentagon Adopt An Industrial Policy?

September 24, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Lexington Institute; issued September 23, 2013)

 

Time to Add A Pinch of Industrial Policy to the Defense Department’s Recipe for Acquisition

 

Through good times and bad, one near-constant in the Department of Defense (DoD) is its refusal to consider an explicit industrial policy. On occasion, the Pentagon’s leadership will make a rather hesitant foray into the world of industrial planning and policy as in the 1990s when there was an attempt to make performance-based logistics common practice in sustainment contracting or in 2009-2010 when insourcing was prescribed as the solution to rising O&M costs. The only concrete example of industrial policy in recent memory was the so-called “Last Supper,” when then-Secretary of Defense Les Aspin told the assembled titans of industry that with the fall of the Soviet Union and planned decreases in defense spending there would not be enough money for all of them to survive. Consequently, Aspin announced, they needed to merge.

 

It is long past time for DoD to get serious about its industrial policy and to tie the maintenance of critical parts of the aerospace and defense industrial base to its acquisition policies and programs. The leadership of U.S. companies, regardless of sector but particularly in the defense space, are neither suicidal nor stupid. It does no good for the Pentagon to urge private companies to be more innovative and spend more of their own resources on R&D for products that the military will not have the money to procure. DoD needs to realize that they will have to take concrete steps to maintain a viable, modern and responsive defense industrial base.

 

Rather than the Pentagon jumping into the deep end of industrial policy, what about taking a baby step? This would be like adding a little salt or pepper to the old family recipe just to spice it a bit. I am thinking specifically about maintaining the C-17 production line which is due to close in the next few years absent major foreign contracts.

 

The end of C-17 production means that this nation will not be producing a large body military aircraft for the first time in some 70 years. Another large body, purpose-built military aircraft will not come along until such time as the Air Force begins acquiring its new strategic bomber. DoD should seriously consider buying a minimum sustaining number of these aircraft to replace older models. Because these airframes still have life left in them, they could be sold internationally.

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25 septembre 2013 3 25 /09 /septembre /2013 11:20
Les Etats-Unis vont signer le traité sur le commerce des armes conventionnelles

25 septembre 2013 Par RFI

 

Les Etats-Unis doivent signer, ce mercredi 25 septembre, le traité sur le commerce des armes conventionnelles. Adopté en avril par l’ONU, il a pour but de rendre plus transparent ce commerce afin d’éviter que des stocks d’armes ne soient transférés à des organisations criminelles ou terroristes, ou utilisés pour commettre des crimes contre l’humanité, des génocides ou des violations des droits humains. Mais le lobby des armes voyait ce traité d'un mauvais œil, la NRA craignant qu'il ne porte atteinte au deuxième amendement.

 

Suite de l’article

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25 septembre 2013 3 25 /09 /septembre /2013 11:20
New Capabilities for Integrated IAMD Command System

September 24, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Northrop Grumman Corporation; issued September 23, 2013)

 

Northrop Grumman, U.S. Army Incorporate Patriot and Sentinel Capabilities Into Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System

 

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. --- The U.S. Army and Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC) have successfully incorporated a key capability of the Patriot family of missiles and the Sentinel radar into the Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS).

 

Under the direction of the IAMD Project Office, the Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon Company, the Sentinel Project Office and Lockheed Martin worked together to host the Patriot Advanced Capability-2 (PAC-2) and PAC-3 missile capability into the IBCS. This allows the Patriot family of interceptors to be launched and controlled by an IBCS engagement operations center in a net-centric approach. The government-industry team also added the Sentinel radar to the IBCS Integrated Fire Control Network, validating the common open architecture-based approach to integrating sensors.

 

"The IBCS open architecture facilitates plugging disparate missiles and sensors into the Army's integrated fire control network," said Kelley Zelickson, vice president of air and missile defense systems for Northrop Grumman Information Systems. "Thus, in addition to affordable integration and expanded capability, IBCS provides the Army with alternatives to buying or upgrading unique command and control systems when it desires to incorporate new missile or sensor components."

 

Northrop Grumman will participate with IBCS in an Army IAMD demonstration planned for the fourth quarter of 2013 at Redstone Arsenal, Ala. The demonstration is a snapshot of IBCS capabilities in the development process and will show integrated Sentinel and Patriot battle command operations. Development and operational testing planned by the Army to begin in 2014 includes testing the IBCS capability to direct the firing of Army IAMD weapons at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

 

The IBCS program resulted from analysis of Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom operations to improve mission command as a top priority. By implementing an open, network-centric, system-of-systems solution, IBCS optimizes battle management command and control and significantly improves cost effectiveness and flexibility. IBCS uses an enterprise, plug-and-fight approach to ensure that current and future sensors and weapon systems can be easily incorporated, allowing warfighters to take advantage of integrated Army and joint capabilities. The IBCS program also focuses on warfighter decision processes and tools to ensure intuitive situational understanding for time-critical engagements.

 

Northrop Grumman's IBCS industry team includes The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Harris Corporation, Schafer Corporation, nLogic Inc., Numerica Corporation, Colsa Corporation, EpiQ Inc., Space and Mission Defense Technologies, CohesionForce Inc., Daniel H Wagner Associates, Qtec Inc., RhinoCorps, Tobyhanna Army Depot, Ultra Electronics Advanced, Sparta Inc., Instrumental Sciences Inc., Intelligent Systems Research Inc., 4M Research Inc. and Cummings Aerospace Inc.

 

 

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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25 septembre 2013 3 25 /09 /septembre /2013 11:20
Defense Firms Need to Get Out of Defense

September 24, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Forbes.com; published Sept. 23, 2013)

 

Five Reasons Defense Companies Need to Start Getting Out of Defense (excerpt)



It’s hard to change when staying the same seems to be working. After listening to warnings of impending doom for the better part of a decade, defense contractors find their share prices at record levels, their margins largely intact, and their dominance of the global arms market growing. So they aren’t showing much urgency about diversifying. Instead, they are buying back stock and raising dividends — the typical behavior of companies that think they are headed for a rough patch ahead, but nothing fundamental in the way of change.

That’s an understandable response, given the performance-driven incentive structure within which industry executives operate. Wall Street wants to hear about the fourth quarter, not the lay of the land four years from now. But such short-term thinking explains why only one of the original Dow Jones 30 industrials (General Electric) is still in the index. It also explains why my hometown of Plymouth, Massachusetts — once home to the world’s biggest rope factory, shipbuilders and textile mills — no longer makes much of anything.

Nothing lasts forever, and that includes the geopolitical forces that forged the modern defense industry in the Cold War. America got along just fine without a big, dedicated military-industrial complex for most of its history, and there are reasons to suspect we are gradually headed back to that state.

Each of the five major factors driving demand for military technology are now pointed downward, a situation that has never existed before in the industry’s history. If defense companies don’t get more aggressive about hedging their bets, they could be headed for a bleak future. (end of excerpt)


Click here for the full story, on the Forbes website.

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25 septembre 2013 3 25 /09 /septembre /2013 07:20
CRS Looks at U.S. Special Operations Forces

September 24, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Congressional Research Service; issued Sept. 18, 2013)

 

U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF): Background and Issues for Congress



Special Operations Forces (SOF) play a significant role in U.S. military operations, and the Administration has given U.S. SOF greater responsibility for planning and conducting worldwide counterterrorism operations.

U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has about 67,000 active duty, National Guard, and reserve personnel from all four services and Department of Defense (DOD) civilians assigned to its headquarters, its four components, and one sub-unified command.

In February 2013, based on a request from USSOCOM and the concurrence of Geographic and Functional Combatant Commanders and Military Service Chiefs and Secretaries, the Secretary of Defense reassigned the Theater Special Operations Commands (TSOCs) to USSOCOM. This means that USSOCOM now has the responsibility to organize, train, and equip TSOCs as it previously had for all assigned SOF units. While USSOCOM is now responsible for the organizing, training, and equipping of TSOCs, the Geographic Combatant Commands will continue to have operational control over the TSOCs.

The current Unified Command Plan (UCP) stipulates USSOCOM is responsible only for synchronizing planning for global operations to combat terrorist networks. This limits its ability to conduct activities designed to deter emerging threats, build relationships with foreign militaries, and potentially develop greater access to foreign militaries. USSOCOM is proposing changes that would, in addition to its current responsibilities, include the responsibility for deploying and, when directed, employing SOF globally with the approval of the Geographic Combatant Command.

In March 2013, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel directed a DOD-wide Strategic Choices Management Review (SCMR). SCMR proposals include a possible reduction of USSOCOM and Service Component Headquarters by as much as 20%, a reduction in headquarters intelligence staff and capabilities, and possible reductions to SOF force structure.

USSOCOM’s FY2014 budget request was $7.483 billion for Operations and Maintenance; $373.693 million for Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation; $1.614 billion for Procurement; and $441.528 million for Military Construction funding. These totals reflect both base budget and Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) requests.

The House and Senate versions of the FY2014 National Defense Authorization Act recommended selected cuts in Operations and Maintenance funding, including limitations on spending for selected proposed family support programs, Regional SOF Coordination Centers, and the USSOCOM National Capitol Region.

The House and Senate Defense Appropriations bills also recommended cuts to the Operations and Maintenance budget request and had similar limitations on family support programs, Regional SOF Coordination Centers, USSOCOM National Capitol Region as well as expressed concern “regarding the quality of the operation and maintenance budget justification submitted by the Special Operations Command (SOCOM).”

Potential issues for Congress include U.S. SOF, the SCMR, and the upcoming 2014 QDR and the Global SOF Network and related concerns about its necessity and how certain aspects of this network will be developed in a highly resource-constrained budgetary environment. This report will be updated.


Click here for the full report (27 PDF pages) hosted on the website of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).

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25 septembre 2013 3 25 /09 /septembre /2013 07:20
Boeing QF-16 Aerial Target Completes 1st Pilotless Flight

Sep 24, 2013 ASDNews Source : The Boeing Company

 

    Provides next generation of combat training for US Air Force

 

Boeing [NYSE: BA] and the U.S. Air Force have completed the first unmanned QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Target flight, demonstrating the next generation of combat training and testing.

 

Two U.S. Air Force test pilots in a ground control station remotely flew the QF-16, which is a retired F-16 jet modified to be an aerial target. The QF-16 mission profile included auto takeoff, a series of simulated maneuvers, supersonic flight, and an auto land, all without a pilot in the cockpit.

 

Read morehttp://www.asdnews.com/news-51259/Boeing_QF-16_Aerial_Target_Completes_1st_Pilotless_Flight.htm

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25 septembre 2013 3 25 /09 /septembre /2013 07:20
Raytheon, Boeing Win $114M for F-18E Retrofits

September 24, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: U.S Department of Defense; issued September 23, 2013)

 

Pentagon Contract Announcement

 

Raytheon Co., El Segundo, Calif., is being awarded $39,000,000 for firm-fixed-price delivery order 0048 against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-10-G-0006) for the procurement of 15 AN/APG-79 AESA radar systems for the F/A-18 E/F aircraft.

Work will be performed in Forest, Miss. (80 percent), and El Segundo, Calif. (20 percent), and is expected to be completed in November 2015.

Fiscal 2013 aircraft procurement, Navy contract funds in the amount of $39,000,000 are being obligated on this award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

 

-- The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded $38,197,820 for fixed-price, incentive-fee delivery order 0073 against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-11-G-0001) for the procurement of retrofit kits in support of the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G trailing edge flap engineering change proposal redesign, including 48 trailing edge flap redesign kits, 48 left hand units and 48 right hand units.

Work will be performed in St. Louis, Mo., and is expected to be completed in July 2017.

Fiscal 2013 aircraft procurement contract funds in the amount $38,197,820 will be obligated at time of award; none of which expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

 

-- The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded $24,575,433 for firm-fixed-price delivery order 0161 against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-11-G-0001) for the procurement of B kits, bulk data cartridge units and mass storage units in support of the F/A-18 E/F Full Rate Production I aircraft Distributed Targeting System engineering change proposal.

Work will be performed in Melbourne, Fla. (75 percent); St. Louis, Mo. (21 percent); North Reading, Mass. (1.6 percent); and various other locations in the United States (2.4 percent); is expected to be completed in August 2015.

This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy ($17,750,379, 72 percent) and the Government of Australia ($6,825,054, 28 percent) under the foreign military sales (FMS) program.

Fiscal 2013 aircraft procurement, Navy and FMS contract funds in the amount $24,575,433 will be obligated at the time of award; none of which expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

 

-- The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded $12,871,280 for firm-fixed-price delivery order 0164 against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-11-G-0001) for the procurement of 114 advanced navigation system retrofit kits for F/A-18E and F/A-18F aircraft.

Work will be performed in St. Louis, Mo., and is expected to be completed in May 2017.

Fiscal 2013 aircraft procurement contract funds in the amount $2,752,243 will be obligated at the time of award; none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

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