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Discussion in 'The Americas' started by brain_dead, Sep 19, 2010.

  1. BMD

    BMD Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    https://www.scribd.com/doc/291713432/EPAWSS?secret_password=jiwnnoTQXB2zZ1ogDFNA

    Boeing (St. Louis, MO) has chosen BAE Systems (Nashua, NH) to develop and manufacture the Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS) for the US Air Force's F-15C and F-15E fighter aircraft. With the F-15 now scheduled to remain in service through 2040, the next-generation, all-digital, EW system is part of a multi-billion dollar program to develop a complete, integrated aircraft protection system for the aircraft as well as provide it with improved situational awareness.

    EPAWSS will replace the F-15's current Tactical Electronic Warfare Suite (TEWS) on F-15C and F-15E model aircraft. Originally developed in the 1970s
    and upgraded several times since then, TEWS is a federated EW system incorporating BAE Systems' (Nashua, NH) AN/ ALR-56C Radar Warning Receiver (RWR), Northrop Grumman's (Rolling Meadows, IL) AN/ALQ-135(V) radar jammer, and BAE Systems' AN/ALE-45 chaff/flares countermeasures dispenser. Intended to address both advanced RF and electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) threats, the EPAWSS will be a multispectral system that provides wideband radar warning and RF jamming, as well as increased chaff and flare protection. As described by Brian Walters, Vice President and General Manager of Electronic Combat Solutions at BAE Systems, "To be able to operate in the future threat environment, the F-15 is going to need a new, highly-capable EW system.

    EPAWSS really leverages a lot of the work we've done over the last 15-20 years providing EW suites to the F-22, F-35 and, recently, we were selected to provide a digital EW system, the DEWS system, for Boeing's Advanced F-15 program. As, an all-digital system, [EPAWSS] leverages some very agile architectures and allows us to adapt to changing threats. Its processing capability, together with the way we go about processing signals, means it's able to handle an incredible level of threat density and be extremely flexible in terms of dealing with modern Integrated Air Defense Systems (IADS).''

    The US Air Force awarded Boeing, as the platform integrator, a $171 million contract for the Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction (TMRR) phase of EPAWSS. Boeing subsequently chose BAE Systems to develop and produce the system. As described by Evelyn Moore, Boeing F-15 EPAWSS Program Manager, "Although the total program is valued at over $4 billion, the Air Force doesn't necessarily have $4 billion in funding for EPAWSS right now, so the program is broken up into individual phases. We've received a contract for the design phase, and BAE is leveraging the DEWS system and pieces from EW systems on other programs that all come together in this TMRR design phase for EPAWSS at Boeing."

    The Air Force and Boeing began work on EPAWSS with a small characterization contract in which they conducted trade studies on potential system performance,
    installation and locations, removal of the old system, the volumes in which the new system would be installed, and other considerations. A source selection for
    the EPAWSS supplier was begun in 2014. Says Moore, "We did multiple studies. We started off with four bidders and we ran through a vigorous competition process at Boeing with oversight from the Air Force and the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA)."

    Although Boeing would not comment on the other competitors, it has been previously reported that Harris (Clifton, NJ), Northrop Grumman (Rolling Meadows, IL) and Raytheon (El Segundo, CA) had expressed interest in the program. Mike Gibbons, Boeing Vice President F-15 Programs, says "it was an iterative downselect
    process, and definitely a very competitive environment. Beyond the four bidders, there were also a number of other companies that were in discussions early on to learn if their offerings might be competitive. EPAWSS is a major component of the F-15's future out beyond 2040, and BAE's system is a game-changer,
    building a lot on what BAE has been doing with other EW systems both for the F-15 and other platforms."

    BAE's Walters recalls the process as "a very efficient and disciplined pursuit," noting that "one thing that Boeing and the Air Force did that I think is a best practice, is that they wove in a Systems Requirements Review (SRR) as part of each competitors offering. This gave everyone an opportunity to say 'Do we all
    understand the requirements, and do we all understand how we will meet the requirements?' When I first heard of this, I kind of scratched my head, but in the
    end, it allowed all of us to bring forth the best solution for the F-15 and will serve the program well going forward."

    One of the questions surrounding the design of EPAWSS has been the choice of technology that would be used to power the system's jammer transmitters, whether a solid-state amplifier approach or more conventional traveling wave tube (TWT) technology. Walters answers that question saying BAE's approach is a GaN-based solid-state amplifier design. "We already consider it to be in the TRL-7 to TRL-9 range, and it will definitively be TRL-9 very shortly. We're already deploying this technology on other programs."

    In addition to improved aircraft protection, EPAWSS will also provide pilots with improved situational awareness. Says Walters, "This is possible because of the advancements that we've made in algorithm processing, as well as hardware performance. It's enabled us to do a lot of things on the electronic support measures (ESM) side or RWR side that provide precision location, reduce ambiguity, improve emitter ID, and better understand the intent of the different emitters. This all leads to providing the pilot with better situational awareness of the environment that he is operating in.

    " EPAWSS will also improve the F-15's chaff and flare capabilities, including design work on the aircraft's tail to enable it to carry more "buckets" of both chaff and flare expendables. Moore points out that there are extensive aircraft modifications required to put a new EW system on an aircraft including, in this case, removal of the wings and replacement of the aircraft's 'tailbone' between the engine exhaust nozzles. "A lot of work has to be done all over the aircraft to support the program. We're taking off all of the TEWS components,with a savings of 13 LRUs [Line Replaceable Units] going from TEWS to EPAWSS, so a lot of weight is being removed from the aircraft, as well as providing for a smaller footprint." Moore adds that the determination of the composition of the Group A (cables, panels, etc.) and Group B (actual EPAWSS components) modification kits, including any"swing" elements was also a challenge. Boeing makes these determinations together with the Air Force. "It's always the case with a system of this complexity," says Moore. "However, we're leveraging a lot of the work that we've already performed on the Advanced F-15 and, although that is a new aircraft build and this is a retrofit, we're able to leverage some of the design that we've already done on the platform, which is helpful."

    Boeing anticipates receiving a follow-on EPAWSS contract from the Air Force in September 2016 for the EMD, integration and test phase of the program. This will be followed by a low rate initial production (LRIP) phase currently anticipated for August 2019. As Moore notes, "EPAWSS is an Acquisition Category 1 program (a program over $2 billion), so we go through an extensive acquisition process and must pass through each of the Air Force's milestone gates to proceed into the next phase." In the LRIP phase, 24 F-15E model aircraft and 18 F-15C model aircraft will be modified. The remaining aircraft will be upgraded in the full-rate production phase with, ultimately, over 400 F-15E and F-15C model aircraft to be equipped with the new system. Initial Operational Capability (IOC) is targeted for 2021 for E-model aircraft, and late 2022 for C-models.

    In the EPAWSS Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) phase completed last year, the Air Force and OSD made a number of recommendations for the program going
    forward. Among these were a missile warning system and a fiber-optic towed decoy (FOTD), as well as advanced geolocation capabilities for the ESM system. In
    order to expedite development and fielding of the most essential capabilities, however, the Air Force decided to pursue these capabilities under a follow-on "second increment" of the program. However, as explained by Moore, "Although we will have growth provisions in the system for advanced geolocation and an FOTD, the Air Force has since decided not to fund the second increment at this point. There are several threats that are of concern, but we have to balance funding against the requirements and the time frame, and the most important item is to get the capability out to the fleet as soon as possible.

    So the delay with the FOTD was basically because we didn't want to hold up the entire program. We wanted to keep it moving forward." Should the Air Force decide to fund the second increment in the future, Moore says they'd anticipate a second contract to start developing the requirements, "but we wouldn't see that until FY2017." Going forward, Gibbons says they're always looking at how to link the EPAWSS EW upgrade with other ongoing activities for the F-15 in terms of life extension and other new capability upgrades. "This is, of course, always an Air Force decision, but as we look at their interest in flying the aircraft for decades through 2040 and beyond, it's obvious that there will be other upgrades and life extensions. The aircraft modifications alone mean that we will want to look for possible synergies with doing other things. With an IOC in 2021, and mods ongoing through 2029, it just makes sense that there will be other upgrades and life-extension components that will be added."
     
  2. BMD

    BMD Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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  3. BMD

    BMD Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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  4. BMD

    BMD Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/bell-unveils-v-247-vigilant-unmanned-tiltrotor-429616/

    Bell unveils V-247 Vigilant unmanned tiltrotor

    • 22 SEPTEMBER, 2016
    • BY: LEIGH GIANGRECO
    • WASHINGTON DC


    Bell Helicopter has unveiled a unmanned tiltrotor aircraft, the V-247 Vigilant, as it looks towards a future requirement from the US Marine Corps for a large, armed platform capable of operating from ships.

    Although the USMC already has smaller group 1 and 3 UAVs in its inventory, including the Textron Systems RQ-7 Shadow and Boeing Insitu RQ-21A Blackjack, the service outlined its need for larger armed systems in its 2016 Marine Aviation flight plan – an effort to end its reliance on the the US Air Force’s fleet of MQ-9 Reapers and MQ-1 Predators for expeditionary missions.

    Dubbed the Marine Air Ground Task Force – Unmanned Expeditionary Capabilities, also known as MUX, the service’s UAV concept envisions a multi-sensor, electronic warfare, C4 and strike platform that would complement the Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor and Lockheed Martin F-35B.

    However, the service is still defining the precise requirements of MUX, it says.

    Bell has not addressed MUX specifically, but says Vigilant will satisfy the USMC’s needs as outlined in the plan, and could make the aircraft ready for production as early as 2023.

    That would align with the service's timeline, which calls for a technology demonstration effort in 2018 and initial operational capability in 2026.

    [​IMG]

    Bell Helicopter

    But Bell believes technologies leveraged from its developmental V-280 Valor can help it address the likely MUX requirements.

    “We said could produce an aircraft that looks like it meets the requirements or the concepts that the plan put out: shipboard compatibility, expeditionary, lethal reach and digitally interoperable,” says Todd Worden, who handles global military business development at Bell. “We used all that information to generate this design.”

    Vigilant leverages some capability from Bell's previous Eagle Eye tiltrotor UAV, such as autonomous control capabilities, but the single-engined 13,100kg (29,000lb) system is larger, says Vince Tobin, vice-president of advanced tiltrotor systems at Bell Helicopter.

    Bell has yet to select an engine provider for Vigilant but is seeking one in the 5,000-6,000shp (3,670-4,410kW) range, Tobin says.

    The Vigilant is equipped with three internal payload bays, a centerline payload and the capability to house up to two underwing pylons per side, Worden says. The aircraft could handle Lockheed AGM-114 Hellfire or JAGM missiles, but the specific weapons will depend on the USMC's requirements, he adds.
     
  5. BMD

    BMD Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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  6. BMD

    BMD Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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  7. BMD

    BMD Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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  8. Technofox

    Technofox Geeky fox MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    ATACMS is being upgraded with anti-ship capabilities - http://breakingdefense.com/2016/10/army-atacms-missile-will-kill-ships-secdef-carter/

    [​IMG]

    WASHINGTON: The Army’s long-range artillery rocket, ATACMS, will get upgraded to strike moving targets on land and at sea, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced today. After at least two years of pressure from Congress and vague promises from Pentagon leaders, and for the first time since the Coastal Artillery Corps was disbanded 66 years ago, the Army is officially back in the business of killing ships. That gives the largest service a big new role in countering Russian aggression in the Baltic and Black Seas or defending allies like the Philippines against China.

    The project to upgrade the Lockheed-built ATACMS is sponsored by the Strategic Capabilities Office, created by Carter back in 2012 and headed by his protégé, Will Roper. (Our exclusive interview with Roper is
    here and here). SCO’s involvement, incidentally, explains why no one in the Army or industry said this was happening: SCO keeps secrecy locked tight — its very existence was classified at first — unless and until they decides the deterrent value of letting adversaries know about a weapon in peacetime outweighs the tactical value of surprising them with it in wartime.

    “A prominent theme of SCO’s work is spearheading creative and unexpected new ways to use our existing missiles and advanced munitions, and across varied domains,” Carter said this morning at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “One example of this that I want to highlight – something I haven’t talked about publically before today – is SCO’s project to develop a cross-domain capability for the Army Tactical Missile System, or ATACMS. By integrating an existing seeker onto the front of the missile, they’re enabling it to hit moving targets, both at sea as well as on land. With this capability, what was previously an Army surface-to-surface missile system can project power from coastal locations up to 300 kilometers into the maritime domain.”

    SCO’s hand is evident in the low-hanging fruit approach Carter described. Rather than develop the Army a purpose-built shore-based anti-ship missile, or even buying one of the many available on the global market, the project is taking an existing, proven weapon, ATACMS, and fitting it with an existing seeker. (Carter didn’t say what program the seeker came from). Currently, ATACMS can only navigate to a specified set of coordinates, so it can only hit static targets with precision. (It can hit moving targets, like tanks, by blanketing their general area with
    cluster munitions, but the US is phasing those out). With a seeker added, however, ATACMS can pick out a moving target and home in on it. And once you’ve made a missile capable of hitting moving targets of whatever kind, industry officials have told me, it’s relatively easy to make it capable of hitting targets on both land and sea.

    The US hasn't had an anti-ship capable ballistic missile since Pershing II was withdrawn from service:

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Technofox

    Technofox Geeky fox MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    In other news: the first upgraded Stryker armed with Kongsberg's MCT-30 has been rolled out.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
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  10. Picard

    Picard Lt. Colonel RESEARCHER

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    They should rather consider replacing that death trap with a proper tracked IFV.
     
  11. BMD

    BMD Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    There is no shortage of innovative ways to shoot down drones. Some companies are pitching lasers, others prefer radio-frequency disruption or, if you prefer explosions, the U.S. Army has tested Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and fired course-corrected projectiles with forward-blast fragmentation warheads from a 50-mm Bushmaster cannon. But could a whole swarm be destroyed electronically with a 1-millisec. zap?

    The answer may lie with the Phaser system, designed and developed by Raytheon’s Albuquerque, New Mexico-based Ktech group, the same team that worked with Boeing to produce the “CHAMP” counter-electronics cruise missile for the Air Force.

    High-Power Microwave Knockout

    Ground-based HPM weapon promises to clear the skies of drones and other electronically guided devices

    Raytheon’s Phaser weapon performed a live-fire demo Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2013, at Fort Still, Oklahoma—video below was just cleared by Pentagon

    Phaser was used to bring down Tier I Flanker and Tier II Tempest drones

    There was a time when radio-controlled drones were mostly in the hands of militaries and model-aircraft hobbyists, but now anybody, including terrorists, can purchase relatively sophisticated and inexpensive unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) online.

    Although UAS were once feared for their spying potential, there have been several accounts of self-proclaimed Islamic State group militants in Iraq and Syria using them as flying improvised explosive devices.

    Finding agile, inexpensive way to destroy these threats has become a priority for the Pentagon in recent years, and in response, Raytheon has turned its high-power microwave (HPM) technology skyward.

    On Sept. 10, the company provided Aviation Week with footage of its deployable, ground-based Phaser knocking out two small drones during a 2013 experiment at the Army Fires Center of Excellence at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. The Defense Department cleared the video footage of the live-fire demonstration for public release on Oct. 5, but some details such as its effective range remain classified.

    The technology is not known to have been fielded operationally, although several initiatives are underway to transition the technology to programs of record. Raytheon lifted the veil on its Fort Still experiment during a media roundtable in Washington in June, saying the trailer-mounted device is effective against drone swarms over a wide area, has been proven to stop cars and vehicles and could even throw off missiles guided by electronics. Unlike lasers, these types of HPM weapons can disrupt or destroy electronic devices across a wide area.

    Fort Sill is home to the Army Field Artillery School and is leading the development of directed-energy doctrine for the service. It conducted a live-fire investigation of the Raytheon-built weapon from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3, using it to bring down a Tier I Flanker and Tier II Tempest drone.

    The HPM weapon is mounted on a 20-ft. trailer with power provided by an internal diesel generator. The Phaser system can detect and track threats using its own radar or be cued by third-party sensors. The device’s parameters can be set to “disrupt” or “damage.” In this demonstration, the Flanker and Tempest drones were detected, tracked and cued for destruction by a three-dimensional X-band Thales/Raytheon MPQ-64 Sentinel radar and vehicle-mounted Ku-band Close Combat Tactical Radar, with Raytheon’s radio-linked Command View-Tactical system providing command and control.

    “The objectives of this investigation were to engage real targets with a deployable directed-energy system, attack more than one type of threat, engage multiple threats simultaneously and kill these threats at operational ranges,” the video’s narrator says. “The Phaser system engaged and shot down two types of UAS targets. Both engagements took place at the speed of light, and target kill confirmation was immediate.”

    [​IMG]
    Raytheon’s Phaser weapon can destroy whole swarms of drones with a single burst of microwave energy. Credit: U.S. Army

    In June, Raytheon’s Albuquerque site director, Steve Downie, said the Phaser demonstrated multiple kills in a single shot over the target area, as opposed to a laser, which must narrow in on a single point until the air vehicle is burned out of the sky. Anything that flies through the HPM’s beam will be destroyed, he says.

    Because the HPM weapons do not discriminate between friendly or enemy electronics, extra care must be taken to avoid wrecking your own systems. But the technology shows promise for fixed-base protection or to destroy airborne threats on the move as part of a convoy. Raytheon says it has already halved the size of the Phaser payload since the experiment in 2013, believes it can deliver an operational system with 18 months of a contract award and could build 5-10 units per year at its Albuquerque site.

    “The effect from a high-power microwave is not instantaneous but certainly within milliseconds,” Downie says. “A laser is typically going to focus on a target for seconds to kill it. If you’re addressing a swarm, an HPM is going to put out a field and anything that flies through that field is going to go down. Once you’re invested in the cost of the system, it costs cents per firing. It is negligible compared to a missile. This technology really does exist.”

    The Air Force was among the first to build an operational microwave weapon, the non-lethal, vehicle-mounted Active Denial System or “Pain Ray” that was deployed to Afghanistan to disperse crowds or force people to drop their weapons by causing a burning sensation under their skin. In 2012, Boeing and Raytheon successfully flight-demonstrated their cruise-missile-based HPM weapon under the Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project, or CHAMP, experiment, launching one from a B-52H bomber to destroy electronics at the Utah Test and Training Range. Three of those weapons were built, and Raytheon has been put on contract to refurbish two unexpended rounds as test and training assets.

    Meanwhile, the Air Force and Navy are now embarking on another demonstration effort, led by the Air Force Research Laboratory’s directed-energy division at Kirtland AFB in New Mexico. That program, dubbed High-power Joint Electromagnetic Non-Kinetic Strike or HiJENKS, will probably explore a more operationally relevant version of the CHAMP weapon based on a modern cruise missile instead of the outdated AGM-86C Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missile, with flight testing expected around 2018-19, based on available funding.

    Directed-energy proponent Mark Gunzinger, of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, says the government needs to do a better job transitioning successful experiments into operational weapons systems. Examples of missed opportunities include CHAMP and the Boeing X-51 WaveRider, a hypersonic missile prototype. He has called on the incoming Trump administration to more quickly move directed-energy and electronic-warfare systems from the laboratory into programs of record, particularly for defending U.S. forces and bases from air and missile threats.*

    “The new administration needs to begin to transition new, mature technologies to acquisition programs rather than continue to fund a seemingly endless series of experiments and demonstrations,” Gunzinger tells Aviation Week.

    http://www.w54.biz/showthread.php?1...her-such-matters&p=68720&viewfull=1#post68720
     
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  12. BMD

    BMD Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    http://www.popularmechanics.com/mil...904/new-concrete-protects-against-emp-attack/

    Scientists Invent Concrete That Could Stop an EMP

    Just in case you still want to use your iPad after a nuclear war.

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    By Kyle Mizokami
    Nov 15, 2016

    • 509
    A new concrete formulation designed to keep winter surfaces ice-free also has the unexpected benefit of protecting electronics from electromagnetic attack. Developed by scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the concrete serves as a shield from pulses of electronic energy that threaten to disable everything from military equipment to TV sets.

    The effects of an electromagnetic pulse were first observed in the early 1960s, when a 1.4 megaton thermonuclear bomb detonated in the mid-Pacific knocked out electronics as far away as Hawaii. This confirmed what many had theorized—nuclear explosions generated a powerful pulse of electromagnetic energy that flew invisibly through the air and capable of overloading and frying circuits in all kinds of devices. Despite being nearly 900 miles away, the pulse burned out streetlights across the state of Hawaii and tripped burglar alarms.

    RELATED STORIES
    [​IMG]
    Army Test a Real-Life Anti-Drone "Phaser"

    [​IMG]
    Watch F-15 and F-16 Fighters Land on a Highway


    EMP became a key concern for nuclear war, and it was often assumed the opening shot would be a gigantic nuclear bomb detonated in low-earth orbit over the United States, to cripple the Pentagon's ability to fight back. As a result military power systems, communications, and weapons were "hardened" against its effects. This involves placing whatever you want to protect in a so-called Faraday cage, a metal enclosure that prevents the pulse from getting in. Those fancy new wallets you've seen that claim to block RFID hacking? Faraday cages.

    Now, UNL engineers Christopher Tuan and Lim Nguyen and have come up with a concrete mixture that would also block an electromagnetic pulse. The researchers were originally attempting to come up with a concrete that would melt snow and ice from infrastructure such as roads and bridges. It was only after they had invented the concrete they realized it had the ability to block electromagnetic energy.

    [​IMG]
    Early Faraday cage, Germany 1931. Via Getty Images.
    According to Phys Org, the special concrete mixture has bits of carbon and metal added to it to absorb energy. A key ingredient is magnetite, a mineral and iron ore with magnetic properties.

    Used in construction, the new concrete can create buildings and structures that protect against both explosive threats and electromagnetic threats. The Nebraska university has licensed the technology to a Florida-based company that builds disaster-proof buildings. The concrete could be used to protect power plants, communications, and other critical infrastructure not only from nukes but conventional EMP generators and coronal mass ejections. You could build your home from it to protect your electronics but be forewarned—the Wi-Fi signal in your backyard will probably suffer.
     
  13. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog Staff Member MODERATOR

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    U.S. Air Force Preps a Controversial No-Bid Purchase of Spy Planes

    Last year, the U.S. Air Force tried to retire most of its EC-130 Compass Call spy planes, worn from years of flying over Iraq and Afghanistan. Now service officials say replacements are needed urgently — so urgently that they must write a no-bid contract for 10 aircraft whose price tag could top $1.6 billion.

    Not so fast, says Congress.

    “[T]he Air Force’s proposal to recapitalize the EC-130H Compass Call aircraft using a sole source purchase of ten business class aircraft would not give us any confidence that the Air Force is achieving the maximum value for the American taxpayer,” reads a Senate Armed Services Committee report on the 2017 defense authorization bill.

    Built in the 1980s, the 14 Compass Call aircraft are Lockheed Martin C-130 cargo planes packed with special computer equipment and a spiderweb-like antenna that allows the crew to eavesdrop on and attack enemy communications. The planes have been heavily used in the post-9/11 counterinsurgency campaigns.

    But instead of replacing the Compass Calls with new C-130s, the Air Force wants to take a different approach: installing the special electronics on a Gulfstream G550 business jet, according to Pentagon sources and congressional documents. The service would call this new spy plane the EC-37B.

    It’s unclear whether the EC-130’s 13-member crew and electronic suite would fit inside the smaller Gulfstream. But more immediately disturbing to lawmakers is the Air Force’s plan to offer a no-bid, sole-source contract to an EC-37B team that includes Gulfstream, which makes the jets, and BAE Systems, which handles the electronic gear.

    Air Force officials told lawmakers that the Gulfstream is the “only option that does not require development and/or certification work,” according to a House report on the 2017 defense authorization bill.

    Officials also said the shift from C-130 to G550 is driven by unspecified foreign threats, and the increased cost of maintaining old aircraft.

    “The threat has evolved and we need to get started to be able to provide that capability, which is critical to the combatant commanders,” Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, the Air Force’s military deputy for acquisition, said at an Air Force Association conference outside Washington last week. “We actually have letters of support from two of the combatant commanders showing how critical this capability is, and we need to do it expeditiously.”

    The Air Force has asked Congress for $165.7 million to buy and convert a Gulfstream G550 into a Compass Call starting in 2017. (The service already has a small fleet of G550 business jets to fly senior Pentagon officials around the globe.) The request was not included in the Air Force’s 2017 budget request to Congress in February, but was submitted to lawmakers separately in a “technical adjustment” letter, according to a House report.

    A new, unmodified Gulfstream G550 costs just over $61 million, according to Aviation Week, which means the 10-aircraft purchase would send more than $600 million to Gulfstream, the business jet arm of General Dynamics. Gulfstream has built special intelligence versions of the G550 for foreign governments, including Israel.

    Even more money, about $100 million per plane, would go to BAESystems, which would install specialized electronics equipment designed for the C-130 into the smaller Gulfstream.

    General Dynamics is “aggressively lobbying” for about 14 newEC-37B aircraft to extend G550 production, defense consultant Jim McAleese wrote in an Aug. 24 note to investors.

    Some lawmakers, as well as officials with competing defense companies, say that buying Gulfstream G550 aircraft through a no-bid contract will prejudice future competitions. The Air Force is looking to modernize other fleets of intelligence planes, based on Boeing 707 jetliners built in the 1960s and 1970s.

    “[A]llowing this sole source award to proceed could potentially prejudice source selections for other Air Force recapitalization programs, such as the program to replace the Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) aircraft,” the Senate report reads.

    Northrop Grumman, which made the current E-8C JSTARSplanes, is working with Gulfstream to offer a new JSTARS aircraft based on a G550. Boeing has offered a larger 737 and Lockheed Martin has teamed up with business jet-maker Bombardier.

    At the Air Force Association conference last week, Boeing showed off a model of its Compass Call version of the 737 commercial jetliner. Company executives point out that a G550 cannot refuel in flight, as do the EC-130H and the P-8, a submarine-hunting 737 flown by the Navy.

    Some experts argue the Air Force needs a comprehensive plan to buy new intelligence planes — like the RC-135 Rivet Joint and E-3 AWACS — before rushing to start the Compass Call shift to a Gulfstream.

    Despite its purported urgency, the Air Force plan would implement the Compass Call replacement much more slowly than projects of similar importance. The Air Force wants to buy one new G550 from Gulfstream annually for a decade, using money currently slated for EC-130H maintenance and upgrades, Bunch said.

    When the Air Force has an urgent operational need, it typically works to buy equipment through a secretive acquisition office known as Big Safari. When the service raced to get a fleet of small intelligence planes into battle in 2008, Big Safari purchased a handful of used and new King Air 350 turboprops. The planes reached the battlefield in less than a year, a remarkable feat for a Pentagon acquisition system that sometimes takes decades.

    “Almost any time that you can do a competition, we really think that the military ends up getting better weapon systems,” Mandy Smithberger, director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Project On Government Oversight, said of the Compass Call plan. “We always think that you have to be very cautious when you’re going to waive those kinds of requirements, particularly it’s not very expeditious to fulfill the requirement over 10 years.”

    This isn’t the first time the Air Force has taken fire for looking to no-bid contracts in an attempt to circumvent the slow Pentagon acquisition process. In 2010, it wanted to buy 93 Black Hawk helicopters, valued at about $1 billion from Sikorsky to replace old UH-1 Huey helicopters that patrol far-flung ICBM bases. The move was eventually quashed in favor of competition, but the Air Force has yet to buy new helicopters.

    For now, the Compass Call project is in a holding pattern, as the Air Force waits for lawmakers in the House and Senate to iron out a unified version of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. Bunch said the Air Force is waiting for lawmakers to provide direction before proceeding.

    “What I really want as the military acquisition individual is give me the max flexibility that I can to use the acquisition authorities that we have whether that is full-and-open competition or that is less-than full-and-open competition so that we can do this in an expeditious manner,” Bunch said.

    The Senate version of the authorization bill restricts funding for the effort while the House version encourage the Air Force speed up plans to shift to the Gulfstream aircraft.

    The White House has backed the Air Force plan, arguing that the “Air Force requires the flexibility to employ appropriate contracting authorities as allowed by law, including the exemptions to full and open competition in order to efficiently and effectively execute” the shift to move from the EC-130H to the EC-37B.

    http://www.defenseone.com/business/...troversial-no-bid-purchase-spy-planes/131881/
     
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  14. Picdelamirand-oil

    Picdelamirand-oil Lt. Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    he U.S. Navy has temporarily grounded all its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler jets after a ground incident at Whidbey Island.

    The U.S. Navy Naval Air Forces commander has suspended flight operations of both Super Hornet and Growler types after a canopy incident involving an EA-18G from the VAQ-132 “Scorpions” caused unspecified injuries to the aircrew on Friday, Dec. 16.

    According to a release from the USN the aircraft suffered an “on-deck emergency” shortly before take off from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

    The injured crew was transported to a Medical Center in Seattle for evaluation by a base SAR (Search And Rescue) helicopter.

    Since the systems used by the Boeing Super Hornet and the Growler, its Electronic Attack variant, are similar, the U.S. Navy has decided to ground both types as a precaution pending further investigation.

    It’s not clear whether the EA-18Gs supporting the war on ISIS will be affected by the flight restrictions as well (even though a Navy spokesperson said that exceptions will be authorized on a case-by-case basis) but, depending on its length, the grounding may have an impact on the US ability to conduct “kinetic” EW (Electronic Warfare) missions, a kind of task currently only two other platforms can carry out: U.S. Air Force F-16CJs and U.S. Marine Corps EA-6B Prowlers.

    The grounding of the most advanced Hornet variants comes in a period of serious concern surrounding the crash rate recorded by the U.S. and foreign fleets of “Legacy Hornets” (that is to say the A, B, C and D versions): as reported at the beginning of December, the recent U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18C crash that caused the death of a Marine pilot was the 9th major incident involving a “Legacy Hornet” (including a Swiss F/A-18C and the Canadian CF-18 lost on Nov. 28, 2016) in the last 6 months.

    In the wake of three Hornet crashes from June through October, the U.S. Marine Corps temporarily grounded its non-deployed Hornets for 24 hours, before losing two more F/A-18Cs few days after the ban was lifted.

    [​IMG]

    Image credit: U.S. Navy

    https://theaviationist.com/2016/12/...lers-grounded-after-incident-injured-aircrew/
     
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  15. Picdelamirand-oil

    Picdelamirand-oil Lt. Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    SecDef: US Will Shoot Down North Korean Missiles If Necessary
    RYAN PICKRELL


    [​IMG]
    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guides on the spot the underwater test-fire of strategic submarine ballistic missile in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on April 24, 2016. KCNA/via REUTERS

    If North Korea tests a ballistic missile that the U.S. determines is a threat to itself or allies, American national security officials will use interceptors to shoot it down, the secretary of defense revealed Sunday.

    Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter stressed that North Korea’s ongoing nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs constitute a “serious threat” to U.S. national security.

    The U.S. would shoot down a North Korean ballistic missile “if it were coming towards our territory or the territory of our friends and allies,” Carter explained during an appearance of NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

    North Korea has been rapidly expanding its ballistic missile capabilities. The North tested an unprecedented number of missiles last year.



    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2017/01/09/s...h-korean-missiles-if-necessary/#ixzz4VIfaFEay
     
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