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United States Military News

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

  1. SvenSvensonov

    SvenSvensonov MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    MultiSail 17 Drills with our best mate.

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  2. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    acquisition, Air, Intel & Cyber, Land, Sea, space, Strategy & Policy
    Army’s Multi-Domain Battle Gains Traction Across Services: The Face Of Future War
    By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on March 13, 2017 at 4:03 AM
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    National Guard soldiers train with a Stinger anti-aircraft missile.

    HUNTSVILLE, ALA.: Less than six months after its official rollout, the Army’s new concept of future warfare has gotten traction with all four armed services. In brief, Multi-Domain Battle envisions the military — everything from submarines to satellites, tanks to jets, destroyers to drones, grunts to hackers — working together to overwhelm the enemy with attacks from all domains: land, sea, air, space, cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum. While that vision is years from reality, it’s already spurred inter-service cooperation on how to make it real.

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    Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at his first meeting at the Pentagon. Robert Work is at the right.

    This morning, the Association of the US Army kicks off a conference here in Huntsville with at least four panels focused on Multi-Domain Battle. That’s one more sign of how far the concept has come since it formally debuted at AUSA’s grand annual meeting in Washington, D.C., where it was publicly endorsed by a panel including

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    Army ATACMS missile launch.

    In fact, there’s already at least one weapon in the works directly inspired by Multi-Domain Battle: a version of the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMs) modified to strike ships at sea. Both Adm. Harris — eager for every advantage against the growing Chinese fleet — and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley have called for the Army to sink ships, and the Marines are interested as well. That’s a capability the ground services have lacked since the Coastal Artillery disbanded in 1950. Reviving it in the form of long-range precision missiles is the most dramatic and tangible example of the kind of change Multi-Domain Battle can bring — but it’s far from the only one.

    Harris has also called for the Army and Navy to link their separate missile defense networks. That way Army radars could spot targets for Navy launchers and vice versa, creating a much tighter defense against North Korean, Chinese, or Russian missile salvos. It’s a technical feat Navy experts say is feasible.

    Even more ambitiously, the Air Force’s Multi-Domain Command & Control initiative seeks to create a global network that can coordinate operations from all four services and from US allies. MDC2 would build to build on the existing system of Air Force-led Combined Air Operations Centers. These CAOCs, as Gen. Goldfein noted, already include large liaison contingents of soldiers, sailors, Marines, and allies, making them good foundations for further joint coordination.

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    Gen. David Goldfein

    Today, a CAOC is “the one operational level headquarters that actually brings all the components together in a way you can integrate fires and effect,” Goldfein told the Air Force Association recently. When Goldfein himself was Air Component Commander in US Central Command, he said, he soon realized his role and that of the CAOC went far beyond just orchestrating air operations, complex as that was: “Actually, what we did was multi-domain operations.”

    If you want to see what a next-generation CAOC might look like, consider the experimental Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center (JICSPOC), intended to keep America’s spy and communications satellites functioning under attack. “If there is a war on earth, we expect war to extend into space very early, that our [satellite] constellation will be under threat,” Work has said. “Right now, we don’t have the command and control or operational and organizational constructs to allow us to fight that constellation.” Work has praised JICSPOC as the leading model for future command-and-control. He’s particularly impressed by the potential for powerful computers — employing technologies like big data and even artificial intelligence — to pull together vast amounts of disparate data in forms that help human decision-makers instead of overwhelming them.

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    12th Air Force Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC).

    More Than Technology

    In its intense focus on what’s called C4 — Command, Control, Communications, & Computers — the Air Force is definitely on to something. C4 is crucial to future multi-domain operations. You can’t get disparate forces to work together unless they can communicate. But C4 is just the foundation, not the whole building, and technology is just one part of the solution.

    Consider the Marine Corps’ distinctly different take on multi-domain operations. First, the Marine Corps Operating Concept issued last fall doesn’t use the term “multi-domain,” just then entering into vogue. Instead it speaks of “combined arms in all domains,” emphasizing not the novelty of the concept but its deep roots in traditional combined arms warfare.

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    General Robert Neller

    The Marine concept also stresses the human aspects of conflict, including the need to reach out to local populations — not just in counterinsurgency, but as a source of intelligence against even advanced foes. Some thinkers, particularly in Special Operations, call this “the human domain,” elevating it to equal importance with land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace.

    Like the Army with its anti-ship missiles, but even more so, the Marines also want to help the Navy, projecting power from land onto the sea. After all, “the seizure or defense of advanced naval bases” is a primary Marine Corps mission as defined by law. The new Marine concept specifically calls for the fleet to land Marines to establish forward airfields for F-35Bs, which in turn support the fleet — a multi-domain feedback loop from sea to land to air and back to sea again.

    By contrast, the Navy has been supporting land forces non-stop since 9/11, and it’s just now returning its focus to fighting other navies for control of the high seas. That’s probably the reason why, with the exception of Admiral Harris, Navy leaders don’t talk much about multi-domain operations, at least in public.

    That said, modern naval warfare is a multi-domain business in itself: submarines below the water, warships on it, aircraft above it, and satellites even higher above, with cyberspace and electromagnetic spectrum almost everywhere. Add Army and Marine Corps land-based missiles to strike enemy ships and shoot down enemy missiles, as Harris proposes, and you’re drawing on every domain. What’s more, the Navy has played the leading role in reviving the American military’s long-neglected electronic warfare capabilities and tying them to cyber operations, a crucial component of multi-domain battle.

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    Land-based missiles could form a virtual wall against Chinese aggression (CSBA graphic)

    So what does the Army contribute to multi-domain operations? If the Air Force is in the lead on command and control, the Navy on cyber/electromagnetic warfare, and the Marines in the human domain, what does the largest service bring? To start with, the Army has been out in front advocating multi-domain battle as a broad concept, rather than focusing on a specific aspect. In white papers, online, and in public forums like AUSA, the Army has beaten the drum for “multi-domain” louder than any other service.

    That’s not to say multi-domain battle emerged full-grown from the Army’s collective brain, like Athena from the head of Zeus. To the contrary: The concept has such appeal outside the Army because all the services were wrestling with similar ideas to solve the same problem. That problem is the proliferation of precision weapons — plus the sensors to target them and the networks to command them — to potential adversaries, especially to powerful nation-state militaries such as China and Russia. It’s often known by the Pentagon jargon Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) because such weapon-sensor-network systems could keep US forces from intervening in a regional crisis.

    It was the Air Force and Navy that began conceptual work on cracking “A2/AD” with their Air-Sea Battle concept circa 2009. The Army and Marines, still consumed with Afghanistan and Iraq, came in later as junior partners. Then-Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno also tried to create a counterweight concept, Strategic Landpower, that showed promise but never gained interservice traction — unlike multi-domain battle. The difference is that this time the Army has actually articulated a coherent and compelling framework for how all the services can help each other with their common problem.

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    German stosstruppen (storm troopers) on the attack in World War I.

    Lethal And Chaotic

    If I had to pick one specific insight of the Army’s as most important, it would have to be Gen. Milley’s cutting clarity about how lethally chaotic the future battlefield will be. Where American military thinkers once spoke of revolutions in military affairs, transformation, and achieving “dominance,” 16 years of grueling counterinsurgency and the resurgence of great power rivals have had a humbling effect.

    Like the Revolution in Military Affairs theories of the 1990s, multi-domain battle emphasizes the power of networks, sensors, and precision weapons, but unlike the RMA, it expects no easy victories, only hard fighting. The Army’s mind in particular is concentrated by the prospect of facing the Russian bear again, a Red Army that’s lost in numbers but gained in missiles, rockets, drones, hacking, jamming, and overall sophistication both tactical and technical. The Chief of Staff’s remarks at last fall’s AUSA conference are indelible.

    “On the future battlefield, if you stay in one place longer than two or three hours, you will be dead,” Milley said. “That obviously places demands on human endurance…Being seriously miserable every single minute of every day will have to become a way of life, (and) being surrounded will become the norm.”

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    Gen. Mark Milley

    “The sheer volume and speed of conflicting information can easily bring decision-making to a screeching halt,” he said. “Of course that’ll only be a problem if the electronic systems even work…. There is a high probability, a certainty really, that anything electronic will come under cyber or EW attack.”

    All told, “we are on the cusp of a fundamental change in the character of warfare, and specifically ground warfare,” Milley said. ” It will be highly lethal, very highly lethal, unlike anything our Army has experienced, at least since World War II.”

    In 1914, “nations and empires marched off to their destruction, blind, blind to the changes in war,” said Milley. “Let us commit to not march into that abyss, blind to the changes. Let us commit for once, once in our history, to not be unprepared for that first battle.”
     
  3. BMD

    BMD Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    http://www.c4isrnet.com/articles/ne...-system-progress-driven-by-new-tech-practices


    Next-gen GPS OCX control system progress driven by new tech practices
    By: PR Newswire via The Associated Press, March 7, 2017 (Photo Credit: enot-poloskun/Getty Images)
    AURORA, Colo. — Raytheon's use of technology development best practices and its completion of a systems engineering milestone are driving progress on the U.S. Air Force Global Positioning System Next-Generation Operational Control System, known as GPS OCX, according to the company.

    This new system is meant to provide improved performance and security for the GPS technology.

    The milestone provided extra rigor and accountability around the systems engineering for the rest of the GPS OCX program. It also enables more efficient completion of the remaining software development and associated cyber protection capabilities that will harden the system against hackers, double GPS accuracy, enhance its availability, and eventually replace the stop-gap and patching measures currently used on the legacy GPS ground system, the company said.

    The OCX team reduced development cycle times to create more efficient and effective software development by using a commercial best practice called DevOps. DevOps combines commercial cloud technologies, new
    automation and software development processes. This is the first use of DevOps in a large-scale U.S. Department of Defense acquisition program, according to Raytheon.
     
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  4. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    Marines Rush 50 Technologies To Field Test In 9 Months By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on March 23, 2017 at 6:01 PM
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    Marines will experiment with self-driving versions of their venerable Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV), shown here, in April wargames at Camp Pendleton in California.

    QUANTICO: Marines at Camp Pendleton will get to field-test more than 50 different new technologies next month ranging from palmtop mini-drones to self-driving amtracs, from wireless networks to precision-guided mortar shells. Plus there will be plenty of classified systems the Marines can’t talk about, including cyber and electronic warfare gear. Technologies that do well may graduate to a more formal Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL) or to further testing in the Marines’ big Bold Alligator wargame on the East Coast this fall, Col. Dan Sullivan, chief of staff at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory here, told reporters today.

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    Marines landing from a V-22 Osprey tiltrotor.

    (The name of April’s exercise, in classically military fashion, is — deep breath — the Ship To Shore Maneuver Exploration and Experimentation Advanced Naval Technology Exercise 2017, or S2ME2 ANTX).

    That’s a lightning pace for the Pentagon. It normally takes 18 to 24 months to set up a technology demonstration on this scale, and this one is happening in nine, said Aileen Sansone, an official with the Navy’s Rapid Prototyping, Experimentation, & Demonstration (RPED) office. The project launched last summer, when Col. Sullivan’s boss, Lt. Gen. Robert Walsh — in charge of future warfare concepts — reached out to deputy assistant secretary John Burrow — in charge of R&D, testing, and evaluation.

    It was only in October that the project team put out its special notice inviting industry proposals. Well over 100 operators and engineers from different Navy and Marine Corps organizations evaluated the 124 (unclassified) submissions and whittle them down to 50 that would ready for the field by April, said Navy Capt. Chris Mercer, Burrow’s director of RPED. (Another 50 technologies, not quite as ready, will be on display for visiting dignitaries but won’t be used in the exercise).

    “It drives the analysts crazy. Analysts don’t like to go fast,” Sullivan chuckled to reporters. “Are you accepting risk? Yes, you are.”

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    Sean Stackley

    Some of the 50 technologies will probably just plain not work, the team told reporters, and that’s okay. In fact, failing “early and often” is an essential part of innovation. “If we don’t fail, we didn’t do our job,” said Mercer. “This is the time to fail” — before the Marines decide on major acquisition programs, let alone take a technology into combat.

    The project has high-level support to take that risk, including the enthusiastic backing of acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley, who used to head Navy Department Research, Development, & Acquisition (RDA).

    “This exercise provides a unique opportunity for warfighters to assess emerging technologies and innovative engineering in support of amphibious assault operations,” Stackley said in a statement to Breaking Defense. “We are grateful to the government and industry vendors who participate and bring their expertise to assist in supporting our nation’s security.”

    “SecNav’s committed to (1) really accelerating the rate of our innovations and (2) using the new authorities that have been coming to use since about 2015 to really rapidly prototype and rapidly field,” said Mercer. But even as you go fast, he added, you have to make sure “you’ve got the rigor in the process that allows us to use the new authorities.”

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    Marines work on armed MUTT robot in the MIX-16 experiment.

    Six Missions

    So what kinds of capabilities will this project deliver to the field? Almost all of them rely on rapid advances in information technology, and many are outright robotic, like the various drones and self-driving Amphibious Assault Vehicle. There’s no single silver bullet, Sullivan and co. said, and the real tactical payoff comes from combining technologies. That’s why the Marines organized the experiment not by technical categories — e.g. one team handles all unmanned aerial vehicles, another unmanned watercraft, another networks — but by mission, which required experts in different fields from different agencies and companies to integrate disparate technologies towards a single purpose.

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    A Marine Infantry Officer’s Course student uses a commercial tablet in an experimental exercise.

    The team defined six mission areas and gave them nifty codenames:

    • Shield: “early intelligence (and) reconnaissance,” using, for example wide-ranging swarms of robotic scouts in the air, sea, and land, which would allow Marines to identify far more landing sites and potentially bypass defenders by coming ashore in unexpected places. Instead of landing en masse at an obvious 1,000-meter-wide beach, said the Warfighting Lab’s Doug King, “I want to go through a gap in the mangroves.”
    • Spear: “threat identification,” e.g. covert drones coming in for a closer look with high-powered sensors and sending detailed data back using hard-to-intercept transmissions.
    • Dagger: “(follow-on) reconnaissance & threat elimination,” e.g. more drones and manned platforms marking obstacles and mines.
    • Cutlass: “maneuver ashore,” e.g. unmanned boats carrying Marines ashore at high speed or unmanned amtracs swimming in on their own power, with expendable decoy drones.
    • Broadsword: “combat power ashore,” e.g. battlefield 3D printing of spare parts and unmanned ground vehicles providing fire support or carrying supplies.
    • Battleaxe: “amphibious C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, & Reconnaissance),” e.g. high bandwidth networks, resisting to jamming and hacking, that can tie the whole operation together.
    Because of the laser focus on amphibious landings, the Ship to Shore Maneuver task force deliberately didn’t look at other promising technologies, such as, well, lasers. For operations at sea, the Navy already has a drone-killing laser aboard a ship in the Persian Gulf, while the Marines are developing a truck-mounted laser for air defense ashore. Likewise, Sullivan said, the “Sea Dragon” effort with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment is focused more on smaller technologies that a Marine squad can carry with it once it’s landed ashore.

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    Chinese weapons ranges (CSBA graphic)

    What the Ship to Shore Maneuver task force has taken on is the defining task of the Marine Corps: amphibious landing in the face of armed resistance. That’s especially hard when the armed opposition now has so-called Anti-Access/Area Denial defenses: precision-guided cruise missiles with hundreds of miles of range, strike aircraft, submarines, drones, with the sensors to find targets and the networks to coordinate them.

    “Our generation grew up in an environment where we were the only ones who had precision guided munitions. We were the only ones who had UAS (drones). Air supremacy was guaranteed; maritime supremacy was taken for granted,” Sullivan said. That’s changed.

    “For a long time, we were talking about countering shore-based defenses by standoff, but anti-ship cruise missiles (are) just going to continue to extend the range, so we’re going to have to get and persist within that envelope — and if you look at the totality of the capabilities that we’re experimenting, it’s giving us the ability to do that,” Sullivan said.

    “At some point, we’ve got to dismantle the A2/AD integrated defense system,” said Sullivan. “To be considered a great power, you have to be retain a forcible entry capability.”
     
  5. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    Marines Test Killer Hovercraft, Wooden Glider & 3D Printers For The Battlefield By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on March 27, 2017 at 11:09 AM
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    The Navy and Marines are experimenting with converting the standard LCAC transport hovercraft, seen here, into an unmanned platform for rocket launchers.

    QUANTICO: A hovercraft that shoots salvoes of rockets. A speedboat that turns into a submarine. A mobile 3D printing factory. A big wooden box with wings (yes, really). And, of course, more drones than you can shake a stick at (because they swarm).

    These are just a few of the roughly 100 technologies the Marine Corps will check out in its upcoming experimental wargame at Camp Pendleton. About 50 are ready for real-world demonstrations. Another 50 will just be on display, this time, though they might be ready for field tests by the next “S2ME2 ANTX” (that’s Ship To Shore Maneuver Exploration and Experimentation Advanced Naval Technology Exercise 2017).

    Getting all this tech together has been a nine-month crash program, with top Marine and Navy leaders bypassing the normal bureaucracy to counter new threats. Here’s a quick look at some of my fave technologies.


    Professionals Talk Logistics

    My personal favorite is the big wooden box with wings. In essence, it’s an unmanned update of the wood-and-canvas gliders used by airborne troops in World War II. Formally known as RAIN, for Revolutionary Airlift Innovation, it’s basically a cargo crate that delivers itself (once). You can fill the box with almost a ton of cargo (1,600 lbs), load it on a transport aircraft — CH-53 helicopter, MV-22 tiltrotor, or KC-135 turboprop — and kick it out the back in flight. Then the wings pop out, turning the box into a glider, and a computer brain guides it to its destination, up to 75 miles away. Even if you’re resupplying a unit in a city, no worries. The glider can pop a parachute to land between the buildings.

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    LG-1000 Logistics Glider, aka RAIN (Revolutionary Airlift Innovation)

    It’s crude, it’s ugly — and it’s brilliant. The entire prototype cost $600, manufacturer Logistics Gliders Inc. says, “less than 1/3 of the cost of nylon used in today’s cargo parafoils,” which can’t deliver cargo 75 miles away from the aircraft that dropped them. The RAIN glider would make it much easier to deliver supplies to widely dispersed units, which is how the Marines and Army expect they’ll have to fight on future battlefields to avoid being targeted for precision strikes. They also expect enemies with advanced anti-aircraft missiles to keep US air support away: That rules out conventional airdrops, but not necessarily releasing a glider 75 miles out. The manned aircraft can turn back to safety, while the glider — with no engine and almost no metal parts — slips in undetected. If the glider is shot down? Well, we’re out some supplies, but no one died.

    Such supply systems may seem less sexy than new weapons, but combat troops can’t get anywhere or shoot anyone without logistical support, and logistics has been a signature US strength since the Civil War. There are several other logistical systems under study for this exercise, including two different kinds of fuel bladders; Napoleon’s army may have marched on its stomach, but America’s runs on gas. There’s also a computer system called Semantic ITV (In-Transit Visibility) to better track supplies as they move from depot to front.

    Ultimately, the military wants to dispense with supply lines altogether and have frontline units 3D print everything they need. That ideal’s a long way away, but one of the most interesting systems being tested at Camp Pendleton is a significant step towards it. EXMAN, short for Expeditionary Manufacturing, is basically a big metal box that looks like a standard shipping container. Inside, it’s more exciting — filled with additive manufacturing equipment: a 3D printer, a 3-axis mill/lathe, a scanner, and two workstations loaded with software. While such mini-workshops can’t 3D print ammunition (yet), they can quickly churn out repair parts for broken equipment.


    Rise of the Robots

    In the future, the Marines will want a few good men and a lot of good robots. Thousands of Marines died in the amphibious landings of World War II, and weapons have only become more lethal since, so the service wants to send waves of robots on, above, and under the water to scout ahead, strike targets and decoy attacks away from the human landing teams. So it’s no wonder that a third of the technologies on which the Marines provided details (by my rough count) involve unmanned vehicles.

    These systems range from the ExEye, a scout quadcopter that fits on your hand, to self-driving versions of the 29-ton Amphibious Assault Vehicle. (There’s also a project to build a life-size, unmanned decoy AAV to draw fire from the ones full of Marines). Some of them have been in the press before, such as the golfcart-sized MUTT transport or the LOCUST swarm of drones, while others are new and strange, such as the Submaran, whose body moves along just below the surface of the water but has a tall sail to harness both solar and wind power.

    Most of the unmanned systems are scouts. For example, Urban Reconnaissance & Situational Awareness (URSA) uses a modified off-the-shelf quadcopter to fly through buildings ahead of the troops and transmit back detailed interior maps. The Rapid Assessment Capability (RAC) is a quadcopter that looks for naval mines. Razor is a mine-hunting robot that moves by flapping its fins like a fish. The Visual Automated Scoring System (VASS) connects scout drones to the fire control systems on Navy ships, providing precise targeting data for 5-inch guns.


    The Showstoppers

    While most of the systems being tested are quietly useful — for logistics, for surveillance, for targeting — there are a few showy technologies. One brings to mind James Bond, the HyperSub, a speedboat that turns into a submarine, or a submarine that turns into a speedboat. Inventor Reynolds Marion has built a working prototype, the Fathom, shown in the video above.

    Frankly, at first I wasn’t sure what the HyperSub was actually good for, as a military vessel rather than a Bondian toy. Then it hit me: surveillance. A smaller, unmanned HyperSub could travel ahead of the fleet at high speed on the surface, then submerge to sneak through the enemy defenses, then resurface close to shore to scan potential landing zones for obstacles and enemies. If the scout HyperSub avoids detection and survive, it can submerge and slink away again.

    Once you’ve detected an enemy, of course, it’s helpful to destroy him. There are many technologies being tested at Camp Pendleton that help find targets, but only a few that actually strike them.

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    Gen. Robert Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps, inspects an ACERM round (Advanced Capability Extended Range Mortar).

    Probably the most useful in the widest range of situations is the Advanced Capability Extended Range Mortar (ACERM), which turns the standard 81 mm mortar — one of the most common weapons in the Army and Marines — into a precision weapon with a 12.5-mile range. The ACERM’s description boasts it can it moving targets, not just static enemy positions, and alter its trajectory to strike targets between buildings or other hard-to-hit spots.

    When you absolutely, positively have to blow up everyone right away, however, you need more than a mortar. You need a Multiple-Launch Rocket System like the MLRS or HIMARS. If you’re a Marine making a landing, you need it mounted on something that can float. The Naval Surface Warfare Center’s solution to this problem is the Autonomous Landing Craft – Air Cushion. A-LCAC takes the venerable five-man Navy hovercraft, capable of carrying an M1 tank from ship to shore, and turns it into an unmanned rocket launcher that skims over the water at 45 miles an hour. That’s the kind of firepower that can clear a beach in a real hurry.
     
  6. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    US GETTING READY FOR WAR
     
  7. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    The US Armament Research, Development and Engineering Centre (ARDEC) has successfully test-fired a 3D printed grenade from a launcher made from the same process. Named RAMBO (Rapid Additively Manufactured Ballistics Ordnance), The launcher was created in a six month development process involving the US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), the US Army Manufacturing Technology (ManTech) Program and America Makes, the national accelerator for additive manufacturing and 3-D printing. The project was undertaken in order to demonstrate the utility of AM for the design and production of armament systems. A 40 mm grenade launcher (M203A1) and munitions (M781) were selected as candidate systems.
     
  8. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    US Army test fires 3D printed grenade, grenade launcher
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    Written by US Army, Friday, 17 March 2017

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    Researchers at the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Centre (ARDEC) have successfully fired the first grenade created with a 3D printer from a grenade launcher that was produced the same way.

    This demonstration shows that additive manufacturing (commonly known as 3-D printing) has a potential future in weapon prototype development, which could allow engineers to provide munitions to Soldiers more quickly, the US Army said earlier this month.

    The printed grenade launcher, named RAMBO (Rapid Additively Manufactured Ballistics Ordnance), was the culmination of six months of collaborative effort by the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), the U.S. Army Manufacturing Technology (ManTech) Program and America Makes, the national accelerator for additive manufacturing and 3-D printing.

    Every component in the M203A1 grenade launcher, except springs and fasteners, was produced using additive manufacturing (AM) techniques and processes. The barrel and receiver were fabricated in aluminium using a direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) process. This process uses high-powered precision lasers to heat particles of powder below their melting point, essentially welding the fine metal powder layer by layer until a finished object is formed. Other components, like the trigger and firing pin, were printed in 4340 alloy steel, which matches the material of the traditional production parts.

    The purpose of this project was to demonstrate the utility of AM for the design and production of armament systems. A 40 mm grenade launcher (M203A1) and munitions (M781) were selected as candidate systems.

    To be able to additively manufacture a one-off working testable prototype of something as complex as an armament system would radically accelerate the speed and efficiency with which modifications and fixes are delivered to the warfighter, the US Army said. Researchers would be able to manufacture multiple variations of a design during a single printing build in a matter of hours or days instead of waiting months for a prototype.

    Depending on a part’s complexity, there can be numerous steps involved before it is ready for use. For instance, in the case of RAMBO, the printed aluminium receiver and barrel required some machining and tumbling. After printing, the components were cut from the build plate, and then support material was removed from the receiver.

    The barrel was printed vertically with the rifling. After it was removed from the build plate, two tangs were broken off and the barrel was tumbled in an abrasive rock bath to polish the surface. The receiver required more post-process machining to meet the tighter dimensional requirements. Once post-processing was complete, the barrel and receiver underwent Type III hard-coat anodizing, a coating process that’s also used for conventionally manufactured components of the M203A1. Anodizing creates an extremely hard, abrasion-resistant outer layer on the exposed surface of the aluminium.

    The barrel and receiver took about 70 hours to print and required around five hours of post-process machining. The cost for powdered metals varies but is in the realm of $100 a pound. This may sound like a lot of time and expensive material costs, but given that the machine prints unmanned and there is no scrap material, the time and cost savings that can be gained through AM are staggering. The tooling and set-up needed to make such intricate parts through conventional methods would take months and tens of thousands of dollars, and would require a machinist who has the esoteric machining expertise to manufacture things like the rifling on the barrel.

    Beyond AM fabrication of the weapon system, ManTech also requested that a munition be printed. Two RDECOM research and development centres, the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical and Biological Centre (ECBC) and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL), participated in this phase of the project to demonstrate RDECOM’s cross-organizational capabilities and teaming. An integrated product team selected the M781 40 mm training round because it is simple and does not involve any energetics—explosives, propellants and pyrotechnics are still awaiting approval for use in 3D printing.

    The M781 consists of four main parts: the windshield, the projectile body, the cartridge case and a .38-caliber cartridge case. The windshield and cartridge case are traditionally made by injection molding glass-filled nylon. ARL and ECBC used selective laser sintering and other AM processes to print glass-filled nylon cartridge cases and windshields for the rounds.

    The .38-caliber cartridge case was the only component of the M781 that was not printed. The .38-caliber cartridge case was purchased and pressed into the additively manufactured cartridge case. Research and development is underway at ARDEC to print energetics and propellants.


    In current production, the M781 projectile body is made of zinc. Zinc is used because it’s easy to mass-produce through die-casting, it’s a dense material and it’s relatively soft. The hardness of the projectile body is critical, because the rifling of the barrel has to cut into the softer obturating ring of the projectile body. The rifling imparts spin on the round as it travels down the barrel, which improves the round’s aerodynamic stability and accuracy once it exits the barrel. Currently, 3D printing of zinc is not feasible within the Army. Part of the beauty of AM is that changes can be made quickly and there is no need for retooling.

    ARDEC researchers used modeling and simulation throughout the project to verify whether the printed materials would have sufficient structural integrity to function properly. Live-fire testing was used to further validate the designs and fabrication. The printed grenade launcher and printed training rounds were live-fire tested for the first time on Oct. 12, 2016, at the Armament Technology Facility at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey.

    Testing included live firing at indoor ranges and outdoor test facilities. The system was remotely fired for safety reasons, and the tests were filmed on high-speed video. The testing included 15 test shots with no signs of degradation. All the printed rounds were successfully fired, and the printed launcher performed as expected. There was no wear from the barrel, all the systems held together and the rounds met muzzle velocities within 5 percent of a production M781 fired from a production-grade grenade launcher. The variation in velocities were a result of the cartridge case cracking, and the issue was quickly rectified with a slight design change and additional 3-D printing. This demonstrates a major advantage using AM, since the design was modified and quickly fabricated without the need for new tooling and manufacturing modifications that conventional production would require. More in-depth analysis of material properties and certification is underway. The RAMBO system and associated components and rounds are undergoing further testing to evaluate reliability, survivability, failure rates and mechanisms.
    (I want one)
     
  9. BMD

    BMD Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    http://www.defensenews.com/articles/raytheon-radar-executes-first-ballistic-missile-test


    [​IMG]


    Raytheon radar executes first ballistic missile test
    By: Rachael Kalinyak, March 31, 2017 (Photo Credit: Raytheon)
    After a series of previous successes, Raytheon’s AN/SPY-6(V) Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) successfully searched, acquired, and tracked a ballistic missile during the first dedicated ballistic missile defense exercise at the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), the company announced March 31.

    Tad Dickenson, Raytheon’s director of the AMDR program, indicated that “all systems were green” and the successes seen at the PMRF are “significant achievements and a testament to the expertise and commitment of this government and Raytheon team.”

    The AN/SPY-6 remains on track for delivery to DDG 51 Flight III. After completing several milestones throughout the radar’s advancement, it will transition to low-rate initial production. The AN/SPY-6(V) is the first scalable radar built with radar modular assemblies, also known as radar building blocks, which are standalone radars that can be grouped together to build a radar of any size. Because of this, the radar is capable of increasing battlespace, situational awareness, and reaction time thanks to the greater capacity in range, sensitivity, and discrimination accuracy.

    The AMDR will replace SPY-1D radars on new Aegis warships.The scalable sensor – meant to scale up for larger warships with more installed power and down for smaller vessels – is key to the Aegis system’s ability to track and defeat enemy air and ballistic missile targets.
     
  10. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    Intelligence Communications Systems Migrate Worldwide - USAF
    (Source: Air Combat Command; issued April 05, 2017)

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    SAN ANTONIO, Texas --- While protecting the nation and seeking out the enemy, U.S. military forces must exchange sensitive information safely and securely. The Air Force Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System allows multi-media communications between authorized individuals by secure means, and in a timely manner.

    To better utilize the Air Force’s top secret communications system, a migration is nearing completion to consolidate all legacy Air Force and Air National Guard JWICS, synchronizing JWICS Air Force-wide, said Melanie Weems, program manager, AF JWICS Program Management Office.

    Previously, JWICS systems were owned and operated by individual commands and units in the Air Force, said Michael DiCosimo, contract project manager, AF JWICS migration. Over 100 individual sites, comprising 38 legacy domains, were identified for migration.

    The new AF JWICS will standardize the Air Force system globally, but the process for migrating such a large number of dissimilar sites has been very time consuming.

    “The migrations themselves are being done remotely, all from here at JBSA-Lackland,” DiCosimo said. “But, before we migrate a single user or workstation, there are weeks, and sometimes months, worth of site preparation that must occur in order to ensure mission integrity for the migrating site, and the overall success of the migration.”

    The AF JWICS is a centrally managed system that will synchronize core services, such as active directory authentication, exchange services, Microsoft Office, patch management, file storage, anti-virus and other essentials everyone needs to operate securely and productively, DiCosimo said. “It will also include a standard desktop configuration and core operating system package that will be standardized across the enterprise.”

    Legacy applications unique to a unit’s mission will still be run locally by the unit, and not by the AF JWICS enterprise team in San Antonio.

    There are many units on AF JWICS with unique missions, such as weather or remotely piloted aircraft missions, and those specialized applications will still be managed by unit personnel, DiCosimo said.

    The migration and consolidation of legacy JWICS sites into one unified, centrally managed enterprise will help achieve several goals. Everything will be streamlined, and security incidences are expected to decrease, said Weems.

    “We are removing dependence on outside sources, and standardizing networks and naming conventions, in addition to ensuring all anti-virus scans and security updates are run in a timely manner,” she said.

    “In addition to sites managing their own legacy JWICS environments, there are several Air National Guard units currently on Army JWICs, and those sites will also be moved to Air Force JWICs with this migration,” Weems said. This will eliminate dependence on other, non-Air Force systems.

    Benefits the users will see post-migration are ease of access and standardization of experiences.

    Previously, if personnel went on a temporary duty assignment, they couldn’t access their JWICS email or files, Weems said. With the migration, anyone, anywhere, with a JWICS account and access to a secure computer system, can access all of their information.

    The new AF JWICS will assist Airmen in communicating with others securely, when it matters most, she said.

    “With all JWICS programs running from a single location, collaboration will be easier and will better ensure the mission needs are met quickly and efficiently,” Weems said.

    An additional plus of the new system is that it will take fewer personnel to operate.

    “No extra folks will be needed to manage multiple domains,” Weems said. “This will return military personnel to their units for other things.”

    Currently, all 38 legacy domains have been migrated, Weems said. Now, the Air National Guard sites are being scheduled for the conversion.

    Outside of the migration, the 625th Air Communications Squadron is responsible for day-to-day operations of stateside AF JWICS, while additional units manage the overseas AF JWICS.

    Source
     
  11. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    US ground forces communication with Space-Based IR Satellites
    by Staff Writers
    Washington DC (Sputnik) Dec 19, 2016

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    The US military tested the latest version of the ground-based Joint Tactical Ground System (JTAGS) that communicates with space-based infrared satellites, the Army said in a press release.

    "Military operational testers recently conducted the first operational test in 20 years of the Joint Tactical Ground Station (JTAGS) that communicates with the Air Force's space-based infrared satellites (SBIRS)," the release stated on Thursday.

    "The system that underwent the recent testing was a new version of the system." The new JTAGS system provides real time alert information to forces on the ground to facilitate force protection efforts, defense, and attack operations, the release explained.

    SBIRS, is an orbiting network of satellites in Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO), payloads in Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO), and flexible ground processing and control systems that provide a continuous view of the Earth's surface.

    Five JTAGS are deployed worldwide as part of the US Strategic Command's Tactical Event System. Army Space and Missile Defense Command Soldiers operate JTAGS to provide 24/7 support to theater operations.

    Source
     
  12. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    Space aggressors jam AF, allies' systems
    In-Depth Coverage
    By Maj. Jessica D'Ambrosio, 926th Wing Public Affairs / Published February 13, 2017

    SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) -- The 26th Space Aggressor Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base is always gearing up for the next exercise in replicating enemy action against space-based and space-enabled systems.

    Teams of adversary subject matter experts regularly employ jamming techniques to train Air Force, joint and coalition personnel how to recognize, mitigate, counter and defeat threats.

    "Our mission is to train others," said Senior Master Sgt. Benjamin Millspaugh, the 26th SAS superintendent. "Currently, Schriever is the only place in the Department of Defense that provides this type of instruction and training that we use to help get our military partners up to speed."

    The squadron acts like a consultant, teaching its clients how to navigate a world full of noise. The world being space, and the noise being rivals that want to prevent their communications or steal information.

    Acting as the "bad guy," space aggressors deny operators use of their capabilities like GPS and satellite communication (SATCOM) in order to train warfighters how to operate in environments where critical systems are interfered with or completely negated.

    To do this, space aggressors replicate adversary systems to provide a threat representative affect the United States' joint and allied forces. They use a variety of hardware in creative ways to ensure the antennas, amplifiers, and additional hardware are used in the same way an adversary would employ them.

    Additionally, they build waveforms that match GPS signals coming down to jam and knock receivers off the GPS signal. They perform various operational configurations and set up multiple antenna sites just like an adversary.

    Millspaugh compared the ability to discern and understand another's data to talking louder than others. If you want to be heard, you make your voice stand out. The space aggressors stand out by projecting more power or getting closer to the target in order to transmit their signal and block others.

    To successfully interfere: frequency, access and power are needed. SATCOM has many frequencies and can access a signal from a far distance. The traditional SATCOM satellite can see one-third of the Earth, from 22,300 miles away in its geosynchronous orbit. However, GPS is in a completely different orbit and uses various frequencies to update the position, navigation and timing for systems all over the world.

    The space aggressors target two frequencies–L1 and L2– from the ground. So they need to be local in order to accurately affect the training audiences' receivers, otherwise it will affect all signals within range and interfere with entities not participating in the exercise.

    The team spends 200 days a year training others how to combat this interference. Setting up an exercise can take up to six months with all of the internal checks and third-party verifications to ensure they're only affecting signals they're authorized to. Notifications are also made to the Federal Aviation Administration, commercial airlines, and the maritime community a few weeks out to make them aware of the exercises.

    "The United States Air Force Warfare Center decides which exercises to conduct, and the squadron maintains operational flexibility to cater to our client's needs," Millspaugh said. "Then we determine the level and type of interference based on the client's capabilities; it's like referring to a play book."

    One of the exercises the squadron supports is Red Flag, which takes place at Nellis AFB, Nevada, multiple times per year. Their SATCOM is run from Schriever AFB, but the GPS function happens at Nellis AFB since the jamming needs to be localized.

    The 26th SAS has been training troops since World War I. It is the oldest squadron in the Air Force Reserve and one of the oldest in the Air Force. It was inactivated after the Cold War, but was reactivated at Schriever AFB in 2003 when the Air Force recognized a need for aggressors. The unit was realigned under Nellis AFB's 926th Operations Group in 2008.
     
  13. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    Stratcom: Integrating Space With Other Warfare Domains is Key to Deterrence
    In-Depth Coverage
    By Cheryl Pellerin DoD News, Defense Media Activity

    WASHINGTON, March 23, 2017 – Deterring and waging war successfully depends on integrating all domains of warfare, including the space domain, the deputy commander of U.S. Strategic Command said during a space security conference here yesterday.

    Navy Vice Adm. Charles A. Richard spoke at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, noting that Stratcom's job is to respond to an increasingly complex geopolitical situation while promoting a peaceful stance among all spacefaring nations.

    Doing that job, he said, "compels us to answer the question 'How do we deter our adversaries in space while keeping it safe, stable and secure?' We think part of the answer lies in space integration."

    Thinking about land, air, sea, cyber and space as separate domains is obsolete, Richard added.

    "Whether you're guiding ships, jets, drones [or] missiles, space is the domain that enables all the others," he said. "And if we're going to wage war successfully, we have to respond in all domains, all the time."

    Multidomain Integration

    The admiral said strategic, global, multidomain integration is Stratcom's greatest challenge. "The way we integrate is the way we fight," he added, "and the nations that figure out how to integrate global operations across all domains will have a significant advantage on the battlefield."

    With wars underway in multiple theaters, Stratcom has to determine how to integrate space effects in real time while maintaining timing and tempo across multiple domains if it is to maintain an asymmetric advantage, Richard said. "Command and control is the limiting factor when it comes to synchronizing operations in multiple domains," he noted.

    Part of the solution is the newly integrated Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the admiral said. The center facilitates integrated operations across joint forces by serving as a hub for collaboration and experimentation on new space system tactics, techniques and procedures, he explained, and increases Defense Department and intelligence community unity of effort and action to integrate capabilities and enhance space defense.

    Leveraging Space Assets

    The National Military Strategy directs Stratcom to integrate on a global scale, and one of the ways that is done is by leveraging the space assets and operating locations of partners and allies, including Australia, United Kingdom, Norway and others, Richard said.

    Stratcom has information-sharing agreements with 12 nations, 58 international companies and two intergovernmental organizations, he added.

    "The idea is to promote the exchange of information with like-minded spacefaring nations to maintain and improve space-object databases, and to promote the responsible, peaceful and safe use of space and to strengthen cooperation in the global space community," Richard said.

    Stratcom also integrates space operations through exercising and synchronizing its space capabilities with U.S. partners and allies, he added.

    These exercises explore what a conflict in space would look like, how it might be fought and how to guarantee control of the environment, he said, as militaries share information, data and resources to leverage and synchronize capabilities.

    Addressing Issues

    One thing the exercises have highlighted is the difficulty at times of determining the appropriate response due to a lack of rules of engagement in space, Richard said. "We're still sorting out answers to questions like, 'What constitutes an attack in space? What is the indisputable evidence required within the international community to assert violation of sovereign territory in space? What constitutes provocation in space?'"

    He added, "If we're going to act decisively in real time, we have to address these issues legally and operationally."

    By working to establish and maintain international norms of behavior in space and as it demonstrates a rules-based order with allies, Richard said, the United States will facilitate the free flow of commerce, information and ideas in all domains.

    "By building coalitions in space, as in all other domains, with our space-capable allies, I believe we can improve our resiliency tremendously, starting with cultivating and exercising these relationships," the admiral said.

    Source
     
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  14. BMD

    BMD Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    http://defense-update.com/20170411_reaper_rwr.html

    [​IMG]
    The Reaper Kits-up for Operation in Contested Airspace
    By Tamir Eshel -
    Apr 11, 2017
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    For more than two decade unmanned aerial systems (UAS) operated by the U.S. armed forces are used mainly in asymmetric warfare, against irregular forces that do not pose serious threats to U.S. airpower. But in recent years the situation has changed. Irregular forces in many theaters are equipped with air defense assets. In many theaters missions are already flown in airspaces dominated by potentially hostile radars and air defenses. In the South China Sea, the Korean Peninsula, Yemen, Iraq and Syria, such environments would limit the usability of conventional drones, unless suitable mission systems and countermeasures are deployed.

    General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI) has recently demonstrated such a system by equipping their B/MQ-9 Reaper Block 5 equipped with a Radar Warning Receiver (RWR). The test was part of an airborne demonstration of the drone’s capability to operate on the edge of ‘contested airspace’ – areas defended by surface to air missile systems (SAM). For the recent test, the company owned Reaper drone carried a standard pod equipped with Raytheon ALR-69A RWR. This sensor provides enhanced situational awareness to aircrew and air element command and control units by identifying potential radar threats in or near contested airspace environments.


    The ALR-69A is often used as a sensor for self-protection systems, that consist of chaff and flare dispensers, jammers and decoys, but the recent tests on the Reaper employed the RWR as a sensor that detects and alerts operators on hostile radar activity in its operating airspace. Once the RWR spots a hostile radar it cues other onboard sensors (such as an SAR radar or EO/IR payload) to identify and designate it for the attack. The system can also operate in self-protection but this mode has not been tested.

    During the recent tests, the system was operated in various flight profiles. According to GA-ASI, the pod was able to validate RWR performance which met or exceeded current thresholds for both air and ground radar threats. Additionally, the RWR information to the flight crew was deemed useful for triggering flight crew action, such as manually cross-cueing to other onboard sensors to validate threat information. GA-ASI plans further RWR demonstrations later in the year to include integrating with Link 16 communications datalink.

    [​IMG]
    For the RWR demonstration, this B/MQ-9 Reaper Block 5 carried the Raytheon ALR-69A Radar Warning Receiver in a standard payload pod. Once the RWR spots a hostile radar it cues other onboard sensors (such as an SAR radar or EO/IR payload) to identify and designate it for the attack. The system can also operate in self-protection but this mode has not been tested. The RWR Photo: GA-ASI
    The current development of this new capability is conducted by the company as a private investment, with the goal of partnering with potential customers in the near future. “The successful demonstration of a mature radar warning receiver on our company-owned Predator B clearly shows the utility of the aircraft in conducting missions in the proximity of threat radars and enemy air defenses,” said Claudio Pereida, executive vice president, Mission Systems, GA-ASI. “We are pleased to be the first company to demonstrate this capability on a remotely piloted aircraft and hope to make it available to interested customers on a quick-reaction basis.”

    “The ALR-69A provides improved detection range and accurate, unambiguous identification in dense signal environments,” Paul Overstreet, ALR-69A program manager, Raytheon added. “Its open architecture is what allows it to operate on manned or unmanned aircraft.”

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  15. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    I saw one of these yesterday, think they were scouting for girls on the beach, was fairly low, you could see it, but you could not hear it. Expect it was out of McDill
     

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