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9 avril 2014 3 09 /04 /avril /2014 11:20
photo US Navy

photo US Navy


Apr.8, 2014 by Jon Hemmerdinger - FG


Washington DC - The US Navy insists that its decision to exclude eight Boeing P-8 Poseidon anti-submarine warfare aircraft from its fiscal year 2015 budget request will not affect its plan to transition to a fleet of the type.


However, Boeing says a reduction of eight aircraft orders would likely cause P-8 unit prices to climb."There is no impact on the transition plan," says Martin Ahmad, the USN's P-8 deputy programme manager. "The transition has not changed as a result of those aircraft at all."


Ahmad made his comments at the Navy League's Sea-Air-Space Exposition near Washington, DC, on 8 April.


The USN's budget proposal, which still requires Congressional approval, calls for the service to buy eight Poseidons in FY2015: down from an original plan to order 16. The service now plans acquire 109 P-8s through FY2019.


While the USN has removed the eight aircraft from its budget request, the service indicates it still wants to buy them by including eight P-8s in a list of unfunded priorities it sent to Congress in recent weeks.


The eight aircraft have "essentially been rephrased", Ahmad says, noting that the USN's requirement for P-8s remains unchanged at 117 aircraft.


But if Congress doesn't add those aircraft back into the budget, the cost of P-8s will likely increase, says Rick Heerdt, Boeing's P-8 vice-president and programme manager.


"Will there be a cost impact [with] the lower numbers? That's probably likely. We don't really know much right now," says Heerdt.


He adds, however, that the cost impact will likely be less substantial than if Boeing's production line was solely dedicated to P-8s, which are partly made on the commercial 737 production line. "The commercial production line mitigates [the impact] somewhat," he says.


The USN's budget request estimates P-8s will have unit flyway costs of nearly $271 million, including weapons systems, in FY2015.


Meanwhile, Ahmad and Heerdt describe the P-8 programme as having made great strides since the beginning of 2013, with Boeing delivering eight aircraft to the USN and the first international P-8 to India. The US service now has 13 of the type.Boeing reached initial operational capability with the P-8 in 2013, and also last year won a contract to produce 13 aircraft as part of a fourth lot of low-rate initial production.


In February 2014, the company also announced it had won its first full-rate initial production contract for the type, with an order for 16 P-8s from the USN. It also secured an order from Australia for eight aircraft, plus four options.


The USN says the new aircraft brings much more capability to its fleet of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft, which has for decades been composed primarily of Lockheed P-3 Orions.


Ahmad says the service and Boeing are working on "increment two" improvements that will give P-8s the ability to conduct wide-area ASW acoustic search; a capability currently available on upgraded P-3Cs.


Increment two upgrades, which are scheduled to be introduced on aircraft in FY2016, will also allow P-8s to deploy weapons from higher altitudes and give the aircraft an automatic identification system that will identify other ships, including commercial vessels, says the USN.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 11:35
USA: P-8 Poseidon Performs First Missions in Korea During Foal Eagle

<< Sailors from the Republic of Korea Navy prepare to board a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft March 30 in Busan for a tour facilitated by U.S. Navy crew members assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 16. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Joshua Bryce Bruns)

01 April 2014 By MC1 Joshua Bryce Bruns - Pacific Sentinel


SEOUL - The U.S. Navy's P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft conducted its first training missions in the Republic of Korea (ROK) March 27-31 in support of exercise Foal Eagle 2014.


During the combined U.S. and ROK armed forces training events, flight crewmembers from Patrol Squadron (VP) 16 operated with P-3 Orion maritime patrol crews from the ROK navy. The exercise gave the pilots, mission planners, and flight crews from both the U.S. and ROK navies the opportunity to train together and exchange ideas and concepts.


"This was a great opportunity to strengthen relationships and show what operational capabilities this aircraft brings to the Pacific and to our allies," said Lt. Cmdr. Dwight Brungard, the P-8 mission commander. "Everyone was discussing the similarities and differences between the P-8 and the P-3 and how we can operate efficiently in the operational environment. It's so important for us to understand each other and continue to work seamlessly together."


Exercise Foal Eagle in an umbrella of regularly scheduled, annual exercises between U.S. and ROK armed forces. The naval portion of these bi-lateral exercises test skills in a variety of warfare disciplines including maritime patrol.


"We are excited to have the P-8A Poseidon performing its first missions in Korea as a part of Foal Eagle 2014," said Rear Adm. Lisa Franchetti, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea. "The presence of this modern and dynamic aircraft operating with our Korean counterparts further demonstrates the U.S. Navy's commitment to our alliance with the Republic of Korea and represents the physical manifestations of our rebalance to the Pacific."


The P-8A Poseidon is designed with the latest avionics and onboard systems making it one of the most advanced anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft in the world.


Six P-8A aircraft are currently deployed in support of the U.S. 7th Fleet conducting maritime stability, patrol, and search operations throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific.


US Pacific Fleet

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4 décembre 2013 3 04 /12 /décembre /2013 08:35
Les Etats-Unis déploient leurs nouveaux avions de surveillance à Okinawa


02.12.2013 lepopulaire.fr


La Marine américaine a déployé à Okinawa (Japon) son tout nouvel avion de surveillance et de lutte anti-sous-marine, en pleine montée de tensions après l'instauration par Pékin d'une zone aérienne d'identification, a affirmé lundi une de ses responsables.

Deux premiers P-8 Poseidon, qui avaient décollé vendredi de Floride (sud-est des Etats-Unis), sont arrivés sur la base de Kadena, située sur l'île d'Okinawa. Ils devraient être rejoints dans les jours à venir par quatre appareils supplémentaires, selon cette responsable s'exprimant sous couvert de l'anonymat.


Ce déploiement était "prévu depuis longtemps" et vise à remplacer les vieux P-3 Orion en fin de vie, selon cette responsable. Il n'est donc pas lié à l'instauration par Pékin d'une zone aérienne d'identification (ZAI) au-dessus de la mer de Chine orientale. Mais en déployant ce tout nouveau matériel, Washington renforce ses capacités dans cette zone qui couvre les îles Senkaku --Diaoyu pour la Chine-- au centre des tensions entre Tokyo et Pékin.


Le P-8 Poseidon entre à peine en service opérationnel. Construit à partir de la structure d'un Boeing 737, il dispose d'une autonomie et d'un rayon d'action accrus par rapport au P-3 et emporte torpilles et missiles anti-navires.


Le Japon, la Corée du Sud et les Etats-Unis ont chacun fait voler des avions dans la zone aérienne d'identification la semaine passée, sans en informer les Chinois, pour montrer qu'ils ne reconnaissaient pas cette ZAI chinoise, conduisant Pékin à envoyer des chasseurs à la rencontre de ces appareils.


Un porte-parole du Pentagone, le colonel Steven Warren, a toutefois noté lundi que la réaction des autorités chinoises aux vols américains dans la zone restait habituelle et "normale", plaidant que les vols américains se poursuivaient comme de coutume.


De nombreux experts estiment que la ZAI s'inscrit dans une démarche chinoise visant à affirmer peu à peu son rang de superpuissance politique, diplomatique et militaire, face à Washington qui, dans le cadre de sa stratégie dite de "pivot" vers l'Asie, entend renforcer ses moyens militaires dans le Pacifique.


Le vice-président américain Joe Biden est arrivé lundi à Tokyo, première étape d'une tournée qui le conduira ensuite en Chine et en Corée du Sud et qui risque d'être dominée par les tensions provoquées par la ZAI.

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3 octobre 2012 3 03 /10 /octobre /2012 17:15

MK-54 torpedo-test-03-2012


October 2, 2012 By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. – aol.defense


The Navy's jet-powered P-8 Poseidon patrol plane boasts plenty of advances over the P-3 Orion turboprops it will replace, but for the sensor operators the favorite feature will be very basic: They won't throw up as much.

The P-3's notoriously rough ride at low altitudes and the gunpowder-like stench from the launch tube shooting sonar buoys out the back meant that, "typically, every mission or two you'd have somebody get sick [and] start throwing up into their air sickness bag," said Navy Captain Aaron Rondeau, a P-3 veteran who now runs the P-8 program. "We haven't seen that much with the P-8."

With its more modern and less rigid wing, "it's a much smoother ride than the P-3," Rondeau explained, and the buoys are now launched by compressed air, without the old system's stink. And that just means, he said, that "If your aircrews aren't sticking their heads in barf bags, they can do their missions better."

Not everyone really cares whether the operators barf in the back and believe in the P-8's higher-altitude approach. "I don't think it will work as well," noted naval expert Norman Polmar said bluntly. "It's rather controversial."

In particular, after some waffling back and forth, the Navy decided to leave off a sensor called the Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD), which can detect the metal hulls of submarines -- if the plane flies low enough. MAD was crucial to the P-3's traditional low-altitude tactics. Significantly, the P-8 variant that  Boeing is building for the Indian Navy will still have it; only the US Navy P-8 will not. Both Rondeau and Boeing argue that the P-8 can more than compensate with more sophisticated sensors and by using its superior computing power to interpret their data.

So with the P-8, the Navy is not just replacing a sixties-vintage propeller plane with a more modern jet, derived from the widely used Boeing 737. It's also betting on new technology to enable a high-altitude approach to both long-range reconnaissance and hunting hostile submarines.

Traditional "maritime patrol aircraft" like the P-3 spend part of their time at high altitude but regularly swoop down, sometimes as low as 200 feet above the waves, to drop sonar buoys, scan for subs with the magnetic anomaly detector, launch torpedoes, and simply eyeball unidentified vessels on the surface. But jets like the P-8 are significantly less fuel-efficient at low altitudes than turboprops like the P-3.

"There's a misconception," said Rondeau. "Some people think that that means P-8 can't do low-altitude anti-submarine warfare [ASW]. We can, and it's very effective down low, [but] we will eventually get to the point where we stay at higher altitudes."

For some of the new sub-hunting technologies, Rondeau argued, going higher actually gives you a better look. Today, for example, one key tool is a kind of air-dropped buoy that hits the water and then explodes, sending out a powerful pulse of sound that travels a long way through the water and reflects off the hulls of submarines, creating sonar signals that other, listening-device buoys then pick up. (The technical name is Improved Extended Echo Ranging, or IEER). Obviously, an explosive buoy can only be used once, and the sonar signal its detonation generates is not precisely calibrated. So the Navy is developing a new kind of buoy called MAC (Multistatic Active Coherent), which generates sound electronically, allowing it to emit multiple, precise pulses before its battery runs down.

"It will last longer and you're able to do more things with it," Rondeau said. And because a field of MAC buoys can cover a wider search area, he said, "we need to stay up high... to be able to receive data from all these buoys and control all these buoys at the same time."

An early version of MAC will go on P-3s next year and on P-8s in 2014, but only the P-8 will get the fully featured version, as part of a suite of upgrades scheduled for 2017. The Navy is deliberately going slow with the new technology. Early P-8s will feature systems already proven on the P-3 fleet and will then be upgraded incrementally. The P-8 airframe itself is simply a militarized Boeing 737, with a modified wing, fewer windows, a bomb-bay, weapons racks on the wings, and a beefed-up structure.

This low-risk approach earned rare words of praise from the Government Accountability Office, normally quick to criticize Pentagon programs for technological overreach. "The P-8A," GAO wrote, "entered production in August 2010 with mature technologies, a stable design, and proven production processes." (There have been issues with counterfeit parts from China, however).

"We had to have this airplane on time," Rondeau said: The P-3s were getting so old, and their hulls are so badly metal-fatigued, that they were all too often grounded for repairs.

So far, Boeing has delivered three P-8As to the training squadron in Jacksonville, Florida. They were preceeded by eight test aircraft, some of which have just returned from an anti-submarine exerise out of Guam. The first operational deployment will come in December 2013, to an unspecified location in the Western Pacific. There the Navy will get to test its new sub-seeking techniques against the growing and increasingly effective Chinese underwater force.

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29 décembre 2011 4 29 /12 /décembre /2011 08:00
Airborne Platforms Bolster Ocean Patrol

Photo: Boeing


Dec 28, 2011 By David Eshel - defense technology international


Tel Aviv - Regional threats to stability, growing tension over the exploitation of natural resources in economic exclusion zones (EEZ), the impact of piracy and terrorism, and criminal activities in the littorals are among factors driving demand for advanced airborne maritime surveillance assets.


Maritime surveillance is one of the fastest-growing defense markets, with countries seeking a range of technologies to improve their ability to monitor traffic in territorial waters and secure ports and other shore facilities from threats. For naval forces, airborne assets are needed to track and warn of submarine activities and protect disputed territories. Strong and effective surveillance is also a key component in assembling international coalitions for stability operations and in fighting piracy.


Effective and far-reaching maritime monitoring is a priority in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. In the eastern Mediterranean, deep-sea drilling has yielded major deposits of oil and natural gas off Israel and Cyprus, and shown the importance of defending offshore rigs (DTI November, p. 22). In Asia the dramatic growth of the Chinese navy has increased tension with countries such as India over energy sources and territorial claims, and led to a surge in submarine fleets, and with it demand for maritime patrol and antisubmarine-warfare (ASW) aircraft.


The Lockheed P-3 Orion has compiled a decades-long record of maritime patrol, and is in use with the U.S. Navy and other maritime forces around the world. Modernization programs have kept the iconic aircraft relevant in a rapidly changing world of evolving threats and capabilities. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) was awarded two contracts worth $37 million to integrate the EL/M-2022A surveillance radar, developed by IAI and its Elta subsidiary, onto P-3s. The contracts were awarded by two undisclosed militaries that are upgrading their patrol aircraft. The radar sets were tailored to fit in the nose and tail. One forward-looking antenna will provide 240-deg. coverage and two additional antennas will provide 360-deg. coverage.


The EL/M-2022A is an advanced, multimode surveillance system incorporating synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and inverse SAR 3-D technology, as well as expertise gained by missions conducted by the Israeli military. EL/M-2022A can be deployed on maritime aircraft in support of ASW, EEZ patrols, coastal defense, drug smuggling and fisheries patrols, and search-and-rescue missions. The radar’s modular architecture permits integration onto rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). It has a high degree of commonality with Elta’s EL/M-2032 fire-control radar. Excluding the operator’s console, EL/M-2022A hardware weighs less than 100 kg (220 lb.).


A patrol aircraft developed by Boeing, the P-8 Poseidon, will replace the U.S. Navy’s remaining P-3Cs. The P-8A is a long-range multi-mission platform. It has an advanced mission system that ensures maximum interoperability in battlespace. According to Boeing, all sensors on board contribute to a single fused tactical situation display, which is shared over military standard and Internet Protocol data links, allowing for seamless delivery of information among U.S. and coalition forces.


After several years of debate, the Navy decided to replace its specialized versions of P-3 reconnaissance aircraft with UAVs by the end of the decade. Northrop Grumman is team leader and prime contractor for the MQ-4C Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) UAV. The high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) platform is based on the Global Hawk, and designed to cruise at 60,000 ft. Unlike Global Hawk, which flies only at high altitude, MQ-4C is required to descend to lower altitude to get a closer view of suspected targets. To fly safely with manned and unmanned aircraft, the MQ-4C will be equipped with sense-and-avoid radar, which alerts an operator to air traffic in its vicinity. The MQ-4C will have 36-hr. endurance and operate at 60,000 ft., avoiding strong winds and severe weather. The payload is 3,200 lb. The UAV will have 2-D advanced, electronically scanned array radar for 360-deg. coverage of vast sections of ocean.


Another UAV for maritime use, Northrop Grumman’s MQ-8B Fire Scout, a vertical-takeoff-and-landing rotorcraft, accommodates a variety of sensors. It was deployed for the first time aboard the USS McInerney.


The P-8A and BAMS programs are in their advanced stages. Last January, Boeing received a $1.6 billion contract for low-rate initial production of the first six aircraft. Initial operational capability is slated for 2013. In 2008, the Navy awarded Northrop Grumman a $1.16 billion System Development and Demonstration contract for BAMS.


The P-8A/MQ-4C duo already provides a role model for Asia-Pacific nations that are challenged with covering vast ocean areas from shore bases. The Royal Australian Air Force, currently operating 18 Lockheed AP-3Cs, has expressed interest in the P-8A and its HALE component. As part of Project Air 7000 Phase 1, Canberra is expected to buy eight P-8As to replace its 18 AP-3Cs. The P-8A aircraft will be augmented by seven UAVs to fulfill the remaining roles. Australia completed the last upgrade of its AP-3Cs in 2005, which included the installation of an Elta’s EL/M-2022(V)3 maritime surveillance radar and a FLIR Systems Star Safire II thermal imager.


Israel is investing in its maritime surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to protect new finds in offshore oil and gas deposits, which have become a security priority for coming years. One segment that will likely get much attention is enhancing unmanned maritime surveillance in the eastern Mediterranean, to guard the gas and oil drilling platforms being moved within Israel’s vulnerable EEZ and in other areas.


Eli Gambash, marketing manager for IAI’s Malat division, says the company’s Heron-1 and Heron-TP UAVs, equipped with the new EL/M-2022 inverse SAR and automatic identification system, are ideal for maritime surveillance, coastal protection and antipiracy missions. The Heron-TP has also been tested with SAR for maritime surveillance, with the antenna stored in a belly fairing. “The Heron-1 with Elta radar covers a 400-nm. radius and identifies objects amid the clutter of the sea with enormous precision,” says Gambash, a captain in Israel’s naval reserve. “With the Heron you can remain in a certain place, completely passive, yet be in full situational control.”


India is rapidly expanding maritime surveillance, targeting and ASW capabilities with acquisitions of advanced systems. The country is a pioneer in the use of unmanned systems for surveillance. Its navy has been operating Israeli Searcher II and Heron I UAVs for years—Searchers carry EL/M-2022U lightweight maritime surveillance radar, and Herons are equipped with a suite of sensors, including radar, electro-optic payloads, sigint, comint and electronic support measures sensors, and line-of-sight or satellite data links. Israel is believed to have offered the newer Heron-TP to India to augment current UAVs.


India is also embarking on two maritime patrol programs to upgrade the littoral surveillance capabilities of the navy and coast guard. New Delhi is evaluating a potential buy of six aircraft, as part of the navy’s Medium-Range Maritime Reconnaissance program. These aircraft would cover 500 nm., flying 6 hr. on station, and replace the navy’s Dornier Do-228 aircraft, currently used for littoral surveillance.


A similar platform is being considered to replace the coast guard’s Britten-Norman BN-2B Islanders.


A third program in the planning stage seeks nine amphibious aircraft for surveillance over territorial waters in the Andaman Sea. The platforms likely to meet the requirement are the CASA/IPTN CN235MP—produced and supported in Indonesia—and the Saab 2000 MPA. The latter will be offered with advanced AESA radar from Selex, addressing what Saab considers a new Indian requirement. The plane will be fitted to carry RBS-15 antiship missiles, manufactured by Saab Bofors Dynamics. Optional weapons include the Boeing Harpoon missiles India is buying for the P-8I, the Indian version of the P-8A aircraft.

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10 novembre 2011 4 10 /11 /novembre /2011 18:10



November 9, 2011 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Lexington Institute; issued November 9, 2011)


When it is not focused on the repetitive crisis in the European Union, Washington’s attention, including that of the Pentagon, is increasingly focused on Asia, in general, and China, in particular. This is understandable for economic, political, demographic and security reasons. China’s march towards economic superpower status, if paced by steady investments in modern military capabilities, poses the danger of eroding the relative stability of the region. Strategy discussions at the Pentagon have been moving slowly towards a greater focus on the Asia-Pacific region.


U.S. arms sales and technology investments with the region will be an important factor in ensuring a balance of powers in the region and dissuading China from using force to achieve its policy objectives. With arms sales comes training, cooperative development of tactics, exchanges of military personnel and often improved industrial and technical cooperation. When several nations in a region possess the same systems it is relatively easy to network them together along with deployed U.S. forces to create a capability more effective than the sum of its parts. This is the central guiding principle behind the European Phased Adaptive Architecture missile defense concept that seeks to network European air and missile defense systems with increasingly capable U.S. sea and land-based missile defenses to be deployed to the European region over the next eight years.


Over the fifty odd years of the Cold War, the United States through the NATO alliance forged an integrated military capability that deterred and contained the Soviet Union. Many of the principles that enabled NATO to be so effective can be replicated in the Asia-Pacific region without having to create a single continent-spanning security system. Much can be done to achieve a practical and militarily effective bulwark against potential Chinese aggression through a combination of smart arms sales and the integration of allied and U.S. capabilities.


The international co-development program for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is an example of how international arms sales can reduce the costs to individual countries of modernizing military forces, leverage national defense industrial investments and also weld together a multi-national military capability. The partner countries -- the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Australia and Turkey -- have formally joined the U.S. and contributed money toward the program. All but one of these countries is in NATO. When deployed by these nations, the F-35 will provide the United States and its allies with an unparalleled and highly integrated defense capability.


The U.S. effort to provide the F-35 to close allies in Asia can have a similar beneficial effect. In addition to the Australian role in the co-development programs, the F-35 is a candidate to replace Japan’s aging F-4 fighter fleet and to be South Korea’s next fighter. The Obama Administration has indicated strongly that it would be willing to sell the F-35 to India. Since the administration chose not to allow Taiwan to acquire new F-16 C/D aircraft but only to upgrade older F-16 variants sometime down the road the F-35 could find its way into that country’s arsenal too. Imagine the power of an air defense “alliance” stretching from Korea to Australia and thence to India.


The integration of European national air and missile defense capabilities under the Phased Adaptive Architecture could also see a parallel program in Asia. Japan, South Korea and Taiwan all deploy the U.S. land-based Patriot air and missile defense system. Japan also has the sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System and is co-developing an advanced version of the Standard Missile, the SM-3 Block IIA. The Aegis ashore system could be deployed to U.S. allies in Asia.


India has become a major purchaser of other U.S. military hardware, including the C-17, C-130J, P-8 maritime patrol plane and most recently the AH-64D Apache. Future collaboration could include missile defense, ASW and airborne surveillance.


The current situation vis-à-vis China does not warrant standing up a new, formal defensive alliance. Much is being done bilaterally. But one of the best forms of strategic dissuasion should Beijing ever contemplate aggression is a network of common military capabilities that stretches across the Asia-Pacific region.

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