Lockheed Martin Completes Maiden Flight of New F-16V Jet
According to company press release, US aerospace company Lockheed Martin has successfully completed the maiden flight of a new F-16V jet.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – US aerospace company Lockheed Martin has successfully completed the maiden flight of a new F-16V jet, the company said in a press release.
"This flight marks a historic milestone in the evolution of the F-16. The new F-16V configuration includes numerous enhancements designed to keep the F-16 at the forefront of international security, strengthening its position as the world’s foremost combat-proven 4th Generation fighter aircraft," Rod McLean, the vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s F-16/F-22 Integrated Fighter Group, said Wednesday.
According to the company, the flight took place on October 16.
The F-16V "Viper" has a new mission computer and a high-capacity Ethernet data bus among other enhancements that add to its combat capabilities.
The F-16 is one of the oldest and most popular combat aircraft in the US Air Force, with over 1200 of the fighters currently in use. It became operational in 1978, and is still flown by many air forces around the world, including Israel, Pakistan, Turkey and Egypt.
"Northrop Grumman has won the contract to build the US Air Force’s next-generation Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B), an industry-shaping deal that breathes new life into the world's sixth-largest defense company. After US financial markets closed Tuesday evening, Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Air Force leadership announced that Northrop beat out the team of Boeing and Lockheed Martin for the contract, which is expected to top $55 billion over the life of the program. It's the largest military aircraft deal since Lockheed Martin won the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) more than a decade ago.
Northrop now has the Pentagon's blessing to build a new fleet of aircraft to replace the Air Force’s aging B-52s and B-1s. As builder of the B-2 stealth bomber, Northrop beat out a joint Lockheed Martin-Boeing team in a closely watched competition that has lasted months longer than anticipated. Speaking at the announcement, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said the bomber would "allow the Air Force to operate in tomorrow's high-end threat environment" and praised the work that went into the selection, in a move that sounded like a preemptive shot to any attempt by Boeing and Lockheed to challenge the award decision. James said service acquisition officials “carefully considered” the offers from both teams, with the entire process carried out “with a high level of transparency with our industrial partners… we believe our decision represents the best value for our nation.”
The service requested that two independent government cost estimators look at the program. The two groups projected that each bomber will cost $511 million in 2010 dollars on average if 100 planes are built, Air Force officials told reporters on Tuesday — substantially less than the original $550 million target cost set by then Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. This translates to $564 million per plane in fiscal year 2016 dollars. LRS-B’s projected unit cost is higher compared to the B-1, but significantly lower relative to the $1.5 billion price tag of Northrop’s B-2, according to an Air Force handout. The expected development cost overall for LRS-B is also lower than for the B-2, at $23.5 billion. The Air Force did not say the value of the contract announced on Tuesday.
At the announcement, service officials revealed:
According to Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, the military acquisition deputy, the two bomber teams offered up proposals with all industrial partners included — meaning providers for subcomponents such as engines have already been decided. However, Bunch said that information would remain secret for security reasons. Risk-reduction efforts cost $1.9 billion from FY11 to FY15. A tentative date for initial operating capability is 2025, although Gen. Robin Rand, commander of Global Strike Command, indicated that could change. While many have referred to the bomber as the “B-3” as shorthand, Rand’s office will have final say on the designation, which has not been reached. Air Force officials will make themselves open to Boeing and Lockheed as early as Friday for an explanation of why Northrop was selected, Bunch said. What remains unknown at this time — details about the plane itself. The size, weight and payload remain unknowns, as do the extent of its stealth capabilities.
Northrop’s win is a game-changer for the aerospace company, which is currently the sixth-largest defense contractor, behind Lockheed and Boeing. With the contract in hand, Northrop will no longer struggle to retain its grip on the combat aircraft market. Not only does the bomber contract boost Northrop’s aviation capital, it also likely keeps the company’s Palmdale, California, facility afloat. Northrop's win is unlikely to directly result in a seismic reshaping of the aerospace and defense landscape, analysts said.
The bigger issue for the defense industrial base is who the subcontractors are for engines, avionics and other major subsystems on the project, many areas of which are classified, said Byron Callan of Capital Alpha Partners. “As much as there’s all this attention on Lockheed/Boeing and Northrop Grumman, it has much broader implications for the rest of the aerospace defense industry,” he told Defense News before the announcement revealed that the subcontractors had already been selected. A spokesman for engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, which makes the F135 engine used to power the F-35 joint strike fighter, said the company "congratulates Northrop Grumman for their selection on this very important program" but declined "to comment on any other questions regarding the Long Range Strike Bomber program."
"The blimp from USAGAPG has come off its tether. If you see it on the ground, call 911." - yep, on Twitter.
"The FAA and NORAD are working to ensure air traffic safety as the un-tethered Army blimp holds at 16,000 feet above Pennsylvania"
"Two F16 fighter jets from Atlantic City National Guard base are tracking the untethered Army blimp from Aberdeen Proving Ground--NORAD"
"A U.S. military 240-foot long blimp has broken loose from its moorings at Aberdeen Proving Grounds and is drifting northeast above the fall foliage of Pennsylvania. The Air Force has scrambled two F-16s from the Atlantic City Air National Guard base to track the blimp, which officials say is holding at 16,000 feet. The blimp broke free at 12:20 eastern time. “NORAD officials are working closely with the FAA to ensure air traffic safety, as well as with our other interagency partners to address the safe recovery of the aerostat,” NORAD said in a statement.
The aircraft is part of a Pentagon plan to create a net to hunt enemy drones and cruise missiles along the Eastern seaboard of the United States. The Pentagon has spent $2.55 billion on the program. The much-maligned Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated netted Sensor System, or JLENS, is not technically a blimp because it it has no propulsion, rather it is a tethered aerostat. Similar but smaller aircraft have been used for overwatch surveillance to protect U.S. bases overseas for years, including in Afghanistan and Iraq. The JLENS has been in testing since 2009. Raytheon, the manufacturer, has billed the JLENS program as a meant to detect missile and large drones via radar. Raytheon demonstrated that the X-band radar could pick up multiple ballistic missiles back in 2012. The JLENS’s ability to track other other objects like drones is much less clear."
At this moment they say its slowly moving towards Canada
"According to manufacturer Raytheon, each JLENS aerostat is helium-filled, "almost the size of a football field," and can carry a payload of up to 3,500 pounds as well as a sophisticated radar system. Each one costs $175 million.
JLENS is normally stationed at an altitude of 10,000 feet, where it looks upon the surrounding area to detect low-flying missiles. The Pentagon deployed the system after it was discovered Russia had placed nuclear-capable cruise missiles on its submarines. The fear was that such missiles could be used to inflict a so-called "decapitation strike" against the U.S. government in the Washington D.C. area. Even if it is attacked by fighters, JLENS could be difficult to shoot down. Raytheon says the aerostat is "neutrally buoyant", meaning the air pressure on the inside is almost the same as on the outside. If shot at, it won't pop like a balloon—just slowly hiss out helium for a long, long time.
On its website, Raytheon notes (now with a bit of irony): "It's anchored to the ground by a 1/8-inch thick super-strong cable. The tether is strong enough to withstand 100-mph winds… and during testing, it accidentally was exposed to a 106 mph storm and did just fine."
And it touched the ground Seems Airforce did not have to destroy it after all >.<
Here you can see the video too: http://www.airlive.net/2015/10/breaking-us-army-aerostat-has-broken.html
"State police brought the wayward JLENS back to Earth in the Pennsylvania countryside on Oct. 28 with around 100 shots using shotguns. U.S. Army Captain Matthew Villa said sensitive radar equipment on board have been removed and it may take up to Friday to remove the blimp. A spokesman for the Army Combat Readiness Center said the incident is being classified as a Class A mishap. Meanwhile, the second JLENS at Aberdeen Proving Ground has been grounded."
"Researchers with the U.S. Air Force may have found a way to detect hypoxia in pilots in real-time during flights by measuring volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, in their breath, according to a new study. Hypoxia is a deficiency of oxygen reaching the tissues. A sudden loss of cabin pressure, speeding up the lack of oxygen flowing through the body, could result in a pilot losing consciousness before being able to take actions in the cockpit for both passengers and to keep the plane in the air.
Researchers at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base think an automatic system may be able to detect hypoxia based on pilot's breath, allowing either the pilot or systems on the plane to take action. "Despite the myriad of advances in aerospace technology, many modern, high-performance aircraft still rely on the pilot to recognize the symptoms of hypoxia in order to initiate appropriate procedures in the event of a malfunction," said Dr. Claude Grigsby, a technical advisor in the Human Signatures Branch in the 711th Human Performance Wing, in a press release. "This research provides the basis for both the utility of exhaled breath monitoring to monitor for hypoxia as well as targets for future solid state senor development." The researchers worked with eight pilots, simulating a "fairly standard" hypoxic event while in flight. The volunteer participants were exposed to five minutes of reduced oxygen levels to simulate higher altitudes, and then were given five minutes of oxygen "recovery," a typical in-flight response to the condition. For each of the participants, VOC levels were measured before and after the simulated hypoxia and recovery, as well as every minute during the simulations. Although the results showed VOC levels drop after a hypoxic event, researchers are unsure how this works.
"We are working to better understand hypoxic episodes mechanistically to validate our findings and to improve our non-invasive chemical sensing platforms," said Dr. Sean Harshman, a research scientist in the 711th Human Performance Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. "Our future and ongoing studies seek to confirm the data presented in this manuscript, develop a flight worthy chemical sensor, and begin further mechanistic studies of respiratory hypoxia."
American logic. If you have fighter that has issues with oxigen delivery sistem to the pilot...build extremly expencive system that will monitor hypoxia....
Air Force Complete Successful B61-12 Life Extension Program Development Flight Test at Tonopah Test Range
The B61-12 LEP refurbishes both nuclear and non-nuclear components to extend the bomb’s service life while improving its safety, security and reliability. The LEP will reuse or remanufacture existing components to the maximum extent possible. With the incorporation of an Air Force provided tail-kit assembly, the B61-12 will replace the existing B61-3, -4, -7, and -10 bombs.
"The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter might not be produced in sufficient numbers to maintain the U.S. Air Force’s current operational capabilities due to budgetary constraints, according to Aerospace Daily & Defense Report. As a result the service is considering filling the capabilities gap with 72 Boeing F-15s, Lockheed-Martin F-16’s, or even Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets. “F-15s and F-16s are now expected to serve until 2045, when an all-new aircraft will be ready, and plans to modernize F-16s with active electronically scanned array radars and other improvements are being revived,” the article states.
U.S. Air Force officials and industry officials revealed as much at the Defense IQ International Fighter Conference, which took place November 17-19 in London. The U.S. Air Force “is struggling to afford 48 F-35s a year” for the first years of full-rate production a senior Air Force officer told Aerospace Daily & Defense Report. Full rate-production is slated to begin in 2019 and the U.S. Air Force wants to buy 60 planes in 2020, and 80 F-35 per year after that. This year, the Air Force is to receive 28 F-35s, whereas in 2016 the number is slated to increase to 44. By 2038, the service wants to have 1763 F-35 aircraft in service. However, this procurement schedule might not be financially feasible for the Air Force.
“Consequently, F-15s and F-16s will serve longer and will outnumber F-35s and F-22s through the late 2020s,” Aerospace Daily &Defense Report notes. The article furthermore explains: The service is looking at a three-tier force, with 300 F-16s and some F-15s being modernized “to augment the F-35 and F-22 in a high-end fight” and others assigned to low-end operations, while the contemplated 72-aircraft buy (an Air Force wing) would sustain force numbers and provide additional modern aircraft.
Interestingly, a senior U.S. Air Force official revealed that “the last time we looked, this was more expensive than buying F-35s in bulk.” However, he confirmed that the option of purchasing 72 aircraft is nevertheless still on the table. The U.S. Air Force has already asked for cost estimates on procuring new F-15s and life-extension/upgrade options. “Also under consideration is a plan to augment U.S. Air Force electronic attack capabilities by fitting some F-15Es with a version of the Raytheon Next Generation Jammer pod,” the article states. Overall, the Pentagon is planning to procure 2,457 aircraft by 2038. Total acquisition costs are estimated at over $400 billion making it the U.S. military’s most expensive acquisition program. Operation and support costs throughout the aircraft’s lifetime are estimated at over a $1 trillion.
The supersonic fifth-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter exists in three variants: The F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variant for the U.S. Air Force; the F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing variant for the U.S. Marine Corps, and the F-35C carrier-suitable variant for the U.S. Navy."
"The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and United States Air Force completed the third development flight test of a non-nuclear B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb at Tonopah Test Range in Nevada on October 20, 2015, the NNSA announced on Nov. 16, 2015. “This demonstration of effective end-to-end system performance under representative delivery conditions marks another 2015 achievement in the development of the B61-12 Life Extension Program,” said NNSA Deputy Administrator Madelyn Creedon. “Completing this guided B61-12 flight test provides additional evidence of the nation's continued commitment to our nation’s security and that of our allies and partners.”
The flight test asset consisted of hardware designed by Sandia National and Los Alamos National Laboratories, manufactured by the National Security Enterprise Plants, and mated to the tail-kit assembly section, designed by The Boeing Company under contract with Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center. This development flight test asset contained representative non-nuclear components but no highly enriched uranium or plutonium, consistent with test treaty obligations. Although the tail-kit assembly guided the test unit, the B61-12 nuclear weapon will have no additional capabilities from the legacy B61 nuclear weapons and is not GPS-guided. This test is the last of three development flight tests for the B61-12 Life Extension Program (LEP). An F-15E from Nellis AFB released the B61-12 test asset and it demonstrated successful performance in a realistic guided flight environment. Initial indications are that all scheduled activities occurred successfully and that telemetry, tracking and video data were properly collected. This test provides additional confidence in the weapon system and instrumentation designs prior to authorizing Phase 6.4, Production Engineering, in 2016.
The B61-12 LEP entered Development Engineering in February 2012 under the oversight of the Nuclear Weapons Council, a joint Department of Defense and Department of Energy/NNSA organization established to facilitate cooperation and coordination between the two departments as they fulfill their complementary agency responsibilities for U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile management. The B61-12 LEP is a joint U.S. Air Force and NNSA program that preserves a critical element of the U.S. Nuclear Triad and demonstrates continued support for extended deterrence and assurance commitments.
The B61-12 LEP refurbishes both nuclear and non-nuclear components to extend the bomb’s service life while improving its safety, security and reliability. The LEP will reuse or remanufacture existing components to the maximum extent possible. With the incorporation of an Air Force provided tail-kit assembly, the B61-12 will replace the existing B61-3, -4, -7, and -10 bombs."
"Orbital ATK conducted a live fire test of the AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) Block 1 Software Upgrade. The test took place on 22 September at China Lake Naval Air Warfare Center and included the use of a Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet platform for the launch of the missile. The missile was used in a complex scenario, which tested its capabilities against an advanced air defence radar system. Before the launch from the Super Hornet, the missile detected, identified and located the target with the use of its anti-radiation homing receiver. The target data were relayed to the pilot who fired the missile in “Target of Opportunity” mode. The millimeter radar of the AGM-88E located the target and performed terminal guidance, which resulted in a direct hit.
This has been the second live fire test of the AARGM Block 1 Software Upgrade, which is also capable of engaging moving ships as per the previous test, which proved the weapon’s versatility, according to Gordon Turner, Orbital ATK’s VP of Programs, Business Development and Strategy for Defense Electronic Systems.
After these tests, the missile is one step closer before the updated version is delivered to the Air Force, according to Cary Ralston, VP and General Manager of Orbital ATK’s Defense Electronic Systems division. AARGM is the product from the cooperation between the US Navy and the Italian Air Force, with the first as the executive service. AARGM reached the Initial Operational Capability milestone in July 2012 and two months later it received the US Navy’s approval for Full Rate Production. The AGM-88E HARM is a supersonic, tactical missile, launched from aircraft. The AARGM kit can be used to upgrade legacy HARMs. As a modern system, AARGM relays to the pilots, in-cockpit, real-time information on the order of battle and situational awareness against ground-based air defence threats. The missile is capable of engaging land or naval-based radar threats and non-radar, time-sensitive targets. AARGM is already in use by the US Navy and US Marine Corps, with the F/A-18C/D Hornet, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and E/A-18G Growler aircraft, and is being integrated at the Italian Air Force’s Tornado ECR aircraft."