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    US Navy and Naval Aircraft: News

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    Post  max steel on Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:29 pm

    A Navy carrier just broke the record for dropping bombs on ISIS lol1

    The USS Harry S. Truman is celebrating the work of its crew after setting the record for ordnance dropped on ISIS. The Truman launched over 1,118 ordinance pieces against terrorist targets over the past five months, surpassing the 1,085 dropped by the USS Theodore Roosevelt's pilots in 2015.

    The Truman’s Carrier Air Wing 7 flew 1,407 combat sorties and dropped over 580 tons of ordnance on the Islamic State.

    “Since our arrival in the Arabian Gulf, the Truman Strike Group has been conducting operations around the clock,” Capt. Ryan B. Scholl, Truman’s commanding officer, told a Navy journalist. “This deployment is busier than any other I’ve seen. Every Sailor is doing great work individually and executing as a combat team to reach this milestone. It is due to this dedication as a combined force that Truman is making a significant difference fighting for our country.”

    The bombing missions by the Navy and Air Force, in addition to raids by the Army’s Delta Force and artillery strikes by the U.S. Marine Corps, have weakened ISIS and helped allied ground forces push them back. The strikes have been moving so quickly that the Pentagon has warned of shortages of bombs.

    Meanwhile, the Navy has also hit ISIS targets with cruise missiles when necessary.


    All these blows have left ISIS weak, but it has failed to dislodge them entirely. While the predictions continue that ISIS will soon collapse, the fact that the organization is largely self-funded by taxing economic activity and collecting money from black market trade has made it hard to starve the group out. Recent airstrikes targeting ISIS cash and financial leaders — as well as the capturing and killing of ISIS accountants — have hurt the group’s ability to pay its fighters.

    And strikes alone can not wipe out the terrorist organization. A January piece from the Council on Foreign Relations pointed out that ISIS had about 30,000 fighters when airstrikes began and had lost 20,000 fighters to strikes by Jan. 2016. Still, their total number of fighters hovered somewhere around 30,000 due to the presence of new recruits.

    The recent financial troubles of the so-called caliphate have finally triggered a downtick in fighter numbers, but it’s likely that Navy air wings will be busy dropping bombs on the terrorists for a long time to come.
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    Post  max steel on Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:37 pm

    New U.S. Navy ship gets thumbs up after successful sea trials

    US Navy and Naval Aircraft: News - Page 6 New-US-Navy-ship-gets-thumbs-up-after-successful-sea-trials

    A future amphibious transport dock for the U.S. Navy has successfully competed acceptance trials conducted by the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey.

    The six days of at-sea and in-port testing of the John P. Murtha (LPD 26) validated the functionality of ship's system, The Navy reported.

    "The INSURV team provided a detailed assessment of the ship's readiness through a rigorous schedule of test events," said Capt. Darren Plath, LPD 17-Class program manager, Program Executive Office, Ships. "This included several systems new to the LPD 17-Class to include the SPS-48G air search radar and the Navy Multi-band Terminal satellite communications system.

    "Overall, LPD 26 performed very well and will soon be another highly capable, combat ready ship delivered to the U.S. Fleet."

    The Navy said the tests included a full-power run, self-defense detect-to-engage exercises, steering checks, boat handling, anchoring and rapid ballast and de-ballast demonstrations.

    "It's been two and half years since Ingalls (Shipbuilding) last conducted LPD acceptance trials," said Supervisor of Shipbuilding Capt. Joe Tuite. "The team did an excellent job preparing the ship for a successful trials period. The ship was cleared for sea on the morning of the second day, the earliest of any of the previous nine LPDs."

    The John P. Murtha is the 10th LPD 17 San Antonio-class vessel. It is scheduled to be commissioned in Philadelphia this fall. Its home port will be San Diego.

    San Antonio-class ships are for the deployment of combat and support elements of U.S. Marine expeditionary units and brigades. They can transport and debark air-cushioned or conventional landing craft, and can handle helicopters or MV-22 vertical take-off and landing aircraft.

    The ships are about 684 feet long, displace 25,000 tons and have a speed of 22 knots.
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    Post  sepheronx on Sat Apr 23, 2016 7:48 am

    http://sputniknews.com/us/20160423/1038479284/us-threatens-russian-jets.html

    So US is claiming that they may engage the next aircraft that does an attempt like Su-24's did last time. I would respond by saying "shoot down our plane in international space, we will sink your ship in international space". See how the US will respond? Next time they sail close to the base, fly more aircrafts near it, and armed ones too.
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    Post  GarryB on Sat Apr 23, 2016 9:14 am

    The shape of the nose of the hull looks like it would force the hull down in high seas... I wonder if its real stealth secret is that in a storm it becomes a submarine...

    Next time they sail close to the base, fly more aircrafts near it, and armed ones too.

    Or announce an exercise with Cuba to be held off the US coast... 12NM off the US coast... that is international waters... the Russian ships can operate as air cover for cuban ships in their exercise to deliver a strike against US shipping... all simulated and in international waters of course...
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    Post  max steel on Mon Apr 25, 2016 10:12 pm

    Navy Green-Lights Development of New Helicopter-Airplane Hybrid

    Jointly built by helicoptering powerhouses Boeing (NYSE:BA) and Textron (NYSE:TXT), the V-22 Osprey is a marvel of engineering. Launching and landing vertically, flying at speeds in excess of 300 mph and as high as five miles in the sky, the Osprey can carry up to 32 troops (or 15 tons of cargo) into combat, to battlefields as far as 1,000 miles distant.

    The Osprey is so popular that, according to the plane-counters at Flightglobal World Air Forces 2016, the U.S. Air Force has acquired 42 of these helicopter/airplane hybrids already, with eight more on order. The Marines like the Osprey even more, having put 222 Marine variant MV-22s into service -- with a further 107 on the way.

    And now, the Navy wants some Ospreys of its own.

    Long a fan of Sikorsky's Seahawk family of aircraft (of which it owns nearly 500), the U.S. Navy recently awarded Textron's Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office $151.3 million in funds to develop a "Navy variant" of the V-22, to be designated CMV-22B. The Navy has asked Textron and Boeing to add "extended range" and "high frequency beyond line-of-sight radio" to the base model MV-22, resulting in an aero-helo hybrid that can perform cargo-carrying functions over long distances at sea and support special forces operations as well.

    Follow the money

    The money train won't stop there. Assuming Textron and Boeing are up to the task, the Navy says it's ready to buy as many as 44 CMV-22Bs for its fleet. How much money will this generate for the contractors involved?

    According to data from the mil-tech analysts at BGA-Aeroweb, your average MV-22 Osprey costs about $71.9 million "flyaway" (i.e., inclusive of all equipment, and in particular including the cost of two Rolls-Royce (NASDAQOTH:RYCEY) AE1107C engines, which make up 6% of the aircraft's total cost). Times 44 units, that works out to nearly $3.2 billion worth of new revenue for Textron and Boeing. (Minus a few dollars subcontracted out to Rolls-Royce, of course.)

    What does it mean to investors?

    For providing the engines to power the Navy's new Ospreys, Rolls-Royce can expect to earn just over $203 million -- a not-inconsequential sum, to be sure, but probably not enough money to get the stock out of its current difficulties. Boeing and Textron's share of the loot, on the other hand, promises to be much more substantial.

    Subtract Rolls' $203 million, but add back in the value of the development contract awarded to Boeing and Textron, and we're still looking at about $3.2 billion in revenue going to Boeing and Textron. Assuming a roughly equal split between the two joint venture partners, $1.6 billion in rev works out to 1.7% of the business Boeing does in a year. And reportedly, the Navy is looking to take possession of these aircraft ASAP, so the money should be forthcoming pretty quickly.

    What should really get investors' attention, though, is what this contract could do for Textron.

    According to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, all four of Textron's major business divisions combined did only $13.4 billion in business last year. Textron's share of the Navy Osprey contract, therefore, could cover nearly 12% of the money Textron makes in a year. What's more, the impact would be especially keenly felt in the company's Bell helicopter division -- only Textron's third-largest division at present, but easily its most profitable, with an 11.6% operating profit margin.

    Long story short, this single contract win could produce $185 million in profits for Textron, or nearly $0.68 per share. Viewed in that light, while this contract is clearly a win for Textron's joint venture with Boeing, it's an even clearer win for Textron, period.
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    Post  max steel on Wed May 11, 2016 12:34 am

    U.S. Navy Dings Lockheed on Littoral Ship Quality Controls

    Lockheed Martin Corp. is under orders from the U.S. Navy to correct quality control failures in building its version of the Littoral Combat Ship, an issue that has delayed deliveries and resulted in three citations from the service’s shipbuilding inspectors.
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    Post  max steel on Wed May 11, 2016 12:39 am

    New 30-year shipbuilding plan falls short of Navy goal

    The Navy’s new 30-year shipbuilding plan projects a fleet of 292 ships in 2046 — a fleet that is short of the service’s 308-ship goal, is down from the 305 ships projected last year and raises questions about the Obama administration’s vision of a larger Navy.

    The projected 292 ships would be a 20-ship increase from today’s battle-force fleet of 272. But the shipbuilding plan — obtained by POLITICO ahead of its planned delivery to Congress in the next few days — acknowledges that getting to that number would require “funding that exceeds levels the Navy has historically committed to new ship construction.”


    The size of the Navy has been an issue on the presidential campaign trail, both in 2012 — when President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney famously tangled over the issue during a debate — and in the current cycle, with several of the now-vanquished Republican contenders calling for big shipbuilding boosts.

    This latest annual shipbuilding plan shows the impact of Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s decision in December to order the Navy to cut its total planned purchases of Littoral Combat Ships from 52 to 40, saying the Navy was too focused on ship quantity and should instead invest more in ship lethality.
    Carter has butted heads over the issue with Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who has defended the service’s emphasis on quantity as key to providing “presence.”

    “That unrivaled advantage, that presence — on, above and beneath the seas — reassures our allies and deters our adversaries,” Mabus said in a speech earlier this year, blasting politicians who’ve described the Navy as shrinking. “In the seven years following 2009, we will have contracted 84 ships, more than the last three Navy secretaries combined.”

    Under the new shipbuilding plan, the Navy would not shrink — as a number of prominent Republicans have charged — but it also wouldn’t grow as much as projected just a year ago.

    The plan projects the Navy getting to 300 battle-force ships in fiscal 2019 and peaking at 313 ships in fiscal 2025, achieving a milestone of reaching a 300-ship force. But the size of the fleet would then begin dropping, reaching 292 ships by 2046, the result of aging ships being decommissioned and fewer LCSs than previously envisioned to replace them.

    Under last year's plan, the Navy would have peaked at 321 ships in fiscal 2028 and then declined to 305 ships in 2045.

    The report, however, notes the Navy faces a number of challenges getting to even the reduced total, including how to pay for a new fleet of Ohio-class replacement ballistic missile submarines. The service’s answer: more money.

    The Navy “contends that the only way to effectively overcome these challenges while supporting the defense strategy is with increases in [Navy] topline funding,” the report says.

    Navy advocates in Congress have been pressing for a military-wide fund, separate from the Navy’s normal shipbuilding account, to pay for the new ballistic-missiles submarines — a plan opposed by some senior appropriators because it would effectively force the Army and the Air Force to subsidize a shipbuilding program.

    Ultimately, according to the report, the Navy will be able to carry out all its highest-priority missions even with the reduced number of ships. The Navy, the report says, “can and will achieve the requisite mix of ships providing this shipbuilding plan continues to receive stable and sufficient funding over the long haul.”

    A Navy official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said long-term shipbuilding projections should be taken with a grain of salt given all the things that could change between now and 2046.

    "Most 30-year shipbuilding plans are not worth much beyond three to five years," the official said, explaining that the Navy was doing a new force structure assessment this year to update the previous one from 2014. And that could have a big impact on its long-term shipbuilding goals.
    Also, the official noted, a new presidential administration next year could decide it wants to change the current shipbuilding trajectory.


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    Post  max steel on Tue May 17, 2016 1:39 am

    The Lessons of the Littoral Combat Ship: Analyzing the events of the past 15 years reveals at least four reasons for the current mess

    From its inception, the Littoral Combat Ship, or LCS, has been one of the Navy’s most controversial procurement programs. Questions have been continuously raised about its costs, survivability, lethality, and range limitations.

    In 2014, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel changed the final 20 of the proposed 55-LCS purchase to fast frigates. The following year, Secretary Ash Carter cancelled 12 of these 20 LCS/FF variants. In February, Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Jack Reid, D-R.I., the chair and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, criticized the program and concluded that the Navy’s recent history of turning LCS plans into reality is not encouraging.

    However, the Navy still wants to buy 40 of the various versions of these small combatants. In fact, in its 2017 budget the service proposes to build two additional ships at a total cost of $1.5 billion, and ultimately plans to spend about $30 billion on the program.

    Even if Congress approves funding for the 27th and 28th LCSs in this year’s budget and allows the Navy to buy the entire 40 vessels, we should strive to understand how and why we got into this predicament and what we can learn from it. Analyzing the events of the past 15 years makes it clear that there are at least four reasons for the current mess.

    First, the Navy was too focused on the number of ships rather than their capabilities. Ever since the drawdown of defense spending after Vietnam, the Navy and many of its political supporters became fixated on this metric. Between 1968 and 1977, when the total number of ships dropped from 976 to 464, the Navy adopted a goal of 600 ships, a number that was embraced in the 1980 Republican platform. Although the size of the Navy rose dramatically under President Ronald Reagan, budget constraints forced him to abandon the 600-ship goal (a policy that then-Navy Secretary Jim Webb publicly criticized and as a result was forced to resign), topping off at 566. After the end of the Cold War, the fleet dropped to 279, and the new goal became a 300-ship Navy.

    But even under the generous defense budgets that followed 9/11, the Navy could not reach that number by purchasing the normal mix of ships, so it settled on the LCS. For example, the Navy originally planned to purchase 32 Zumwalt-class Destroyers. But because of cost growth, it could afford only three, at a cost of $23 billion. On the other hand, the initial projections for the LCS envisioned buying 52 for less.

    Any serious analyst will note that it is not the number of ships that is an appropriate proxy for capability—rather, it is the type. But politically, the number plays well. For example, in an effort to try to get Congress to repeal the Budget Control Act in 2011, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta publicly proclaimed that if the law was not changed, the Navy would be smaller than at any time since before World War I. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made the same point in the 2012 presidential debate.
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    Post  max steel on Thu May 19, 2016 10:55 pm

    They have dummies based on Russian Supersonic Ashm's like Sunburn for example. Even French Navy intercepted supersonic Ashms.


    USN to deploy new tube-launched UAV

    The US Navy is to deploy a newly developed tube-launched unmanned air vehicle, able to launch from below or above the surface of the ocean from either a manned or unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV).
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    Post  max steel on Sun May 29, 2016 11:24 pm

    U.S. Naval Aviation’s Readiness Crisis

    The U.S. Navy’s strike fighter squadrons are in dire straits with only one out of three Boeing F/A-18 Hornet airframes being ready for war at any given time. In order to meet its operational requirements, the service is routinely raiding squadrons that are not deployed to secure enough jets for the air wings at are about to go to sea.

    “If I have to ensure that I have ten like strike fighters are in a single squadron on that aircraft carrier and they need the same capability, I will tax units that are back here at home,” Adm. Philip Davidson, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command testified before the House Armed Services Committee on May 26. “If I need ten forward, I do routinely operate four aircraft in squadrons in the rear.”

    Within the Navy, only one out of four Hornets is fully mission capable. “That one in four is currently deployed,” Capt. Randy Stearns, Commodore of Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic told the committee. “The other three in four are the aircraft that are back in the maintenance phase or going through another FRP [fleet response plan].”

    The Navy currently has four air wings that are ready for war, but it has no ability to surge any additional forces. In previous years, it would have taken the Navy about 90 days to ready another air wing for deployment—now it takes roughly three times as long. If tasked to surge another air wing, Stearns said that it would take between six months and a year to gather enough aircraft and pilots to get another air wing ready for war. “There is no chance of getting those ready,” Stearns said. “There is nothing to pull from in the back, we’ve already put everything forward. There’s nothing left.”

    Though cannibalization of operational Hornets is a last resort, such measures are now routine throughout the fleet, Stearns said. And its not just the legacy A through D model Hornets, the newer, more capable Super Hornets have also been suffering from a lack of spare spares over the last three years due to automatic sequestration budget cuts. “We’ve never caught up,” Stearns said.

    Part of the problem was caused by repeated delays to the Lockheed Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter—but also wartime usage of the Hornet fleet, Stearns said. As a result, the service has a backlog in its depots of older Hornets because those facilities were never intended to extend the life of the F/A-18 airframe past 6000 hours. The service is now flying those older aircraft—of which the service has five remaining squadrons—out to 10,000 hours, far longer than anticipated.

    Moreover, the Navy—because of the F-35C’s continual delays—was forced to transition additional squadrons onto the Super Hornet by raiding its attrition reserves. “We’ve transitioned about 10 squadrons of Super Hornets unexpectedly to get out of legacy and also to meet the gap for the JSF just to meet operational demands,” Stearns said. “So now we’re taxing hours and utilization on our attrition aircraft.”

    The Navy needs more aircraft to either come off the Boeing production line or to come out of depot overhaul. But it’s not even just the deployed forces; the Navy cannot shortchange its fleet replacement squadrons—its “seed-corn”—that trains new aviators to fly the Hornet. “We’re chewing up about 40 aircraft worth of hours a month and if we’re not buying that much or putting that much through the depot – we’re falling behind,” Stearns said.

    The lack of fully combat-capable Hornets—both classic and Super—is damaging the Navy’s overall readiness and training. Indeed, the situation is so bad that the Navy will be forced to reduce the flying hours for one of its non-deployed air wings (CVW-1) to zero to make up for the shortfall—and save money. In other words—the Navy will shut down an entire air wing for four months.

    However, the proposal—if enacted—will have a devastating readiness impact on that air wing and its pilots and maintainers. “Never going to get those hours back,” Stearns said—noting there are knock-on impacts to overall fleet readiness that will occur as result of such a “cold iron” shutdown.

    But while naval aviation seems to be on the verge of collapse—the Navy’s surface ships and submarines are not doing much better. Indeed, even the newest and most capable Navy warships are being cannibalized so that other vessels can put to sea. Effectively, the Navy is facing what can only be described as a readiness disaster.

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    Post  Guest on Mon May 30, 2016 12:05 am

    "Two U.S. Navy warplanes collided off the North Carolina coast on Thursday and crashed in the Atlantic, where the four crew were rescued by a commercial fishing boat and flown by helicopter to a Virginia hospital, the Coast Guard said.

    The two F/A-18 fighter jets belonged to strike fighter squadron VFA-211, based at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Virginia, officials said. The crew members appeared to be in good condition, MSNBC reported, adding that one person had a leg injury.

    "We had three Coast Guard helicopters, one Coast Guard C-130, naval vessel Mesa Verde, all involved in the rescue effort," Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said.

    The fishing boat Tammy recovered some of the crew about 25 miles (40 km) east of Oregon Inlet, North Carolina, the Coast Guard said.

    A Coast Guard helicopter from Elizabeth City, North Carolina, flew to the fishing vessel, hoisted the Navy fliers aboard and took them to Norfolk Sentara General hospital, the Coast Guard said.

    Local TV images showed a second U.S. Coast Guard helicopter arriving at the local hospital in Norfolk, Virginia. Two service members wearing olive green jumpsuits and white helmets were seen walking without assistance toward the hospital alongside medical staff. (Reporting by Idrees Ali, David Alexander, Suzannah Gonzales, Letitia Stein, Susan Heavey and Megan Cassella; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Alan Crosby)"

    Source: http://wncy.com/news/articles/2016/may/26/us-coast-guard-seeks-downed-military-planes-near-north-carolina-coast/
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    Post  Guest on Tue May 31, 2016 2:55 am

    "The U.S. Marine Corps’ newest helicopter, the CH-53K, completed its first external load flight test carrying a 20,000 lb. load May 26 at Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation’s Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Fla.

    Envelope expansion tests will continue with incrementally increasing speeds with the 20,000 load, and then on to the CH-53K’s requirement, a 27,000-lb. external payload.

    The first two CH-53K heavy lift helicopters achieved their first flights on October 27, 2015, and January 22, 2016, respectively. To date these helicopters have achieved over 50 flight hours combined including one flight at speeds over 140 knots. The third and fourth King Stallion aircraft will join the flight test program this summer.

    US Navy and Naval Aircraft: News - Page 6 DSC_8822_20K-load-696x465

    As the King Stallion flight test program proceeds, both of the current flying aircraft will be exercised to expand the external load envelope. Initial external payloads weighing 12,000 pounds will be flown first in hover and then incrementally to speeds up to 120 knots. The aircraft will then carry 20,000 and 27,000 pound external payloads.

    The CH-53K King Stallion is a large, heavy-lift cargo helicopter currently being developed by Sikorsky Aircraft for the United States Marine Corps (USMC). The design features three 7,500 shp(5,590 kW) engines, new composite rotor blades, and a wider aircraft cabin than previous CH-53 variants. It will be the largest and heaviest helicopter in the U.S. military."


    Source: http://defence-blog.com/news/ch-53k-heavy-lift-helicopters-completes-first-20k-lift.html
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    Post  max steel on Wed Jun 01, 2016 12:52 am

    New U.S. Navy Transport Osprey Will Reach an Insane 280 Miles Per Hour

    The Navy is in the early stages of building its own variant of the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft to perform its critical Carrier-Onboard-Delivery mission to delivery forces, supplies and weapons to forward-stationed ships at sea.

    The service plans to procure 44 new CMV-22B Ospreys for the COD mission, replacing the 1960’s era C-2 Greyhound aircraft.

    Unlike the C-2 fixed wing aircraft, which requires a catapult to lift off of the deck of a carrier, the Osprey tiltrotor can both reach airplane speeds of 220mph and also hover like a helicopter such that it can come in for vertical landings on the carrier deck.

    “280mph is the maximum speed,” Rick Lemaster, Director for Business Development, Bell Boeing, told Scout Warrior in an interview.

    The Navy has contracted Bell-Boeing to develop the engineering changes needed to meet this range requirement, as well as the other changes, to enable the CMV-22B to fulfill Navy's COD mission.
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    Post  GarryB on Wed Jun 01, 2016 12:00 pm

    Hahahahaha... and when those transport aircraft are moving at 280mph what will be supporting them and giving them top cover?

    AH-64s will be too slow and F-35 will burn a lot of fuel flying at such low speed...
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    Post  Guest on Wed Jun 01, 2016 12:33 pm

    GarryB wrote:Hahahahaha... and when those transport aircraft are moving at 280mph what will be supporting them and giving them top cover?

    AH-64s will be too slow and F-35 will burn a lot of fuel flying at such low speed...

    Well normally over sea they would fly from supply ships to forward deployed forces so they will rarely require aerial support, most likely would fly most of the time under own shipborne air defences, and when they would it would be given from high altitude on aircrafts "normal" speeds, they would fly circles over transport routes.
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    Post  GarryB on Fri Jun 03, 2016 12:42 pm

    Well normally over sea they would fly from supply ships to forward deployed forces so they will rarely require aerial support...

    So landing troops in forward areas don't require attack helo support... are they really that fast? Razz
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    Post  max steel on Mon Jun 06, 2016 1:14 pm

    Submarine Launched Blackwing Drone to Enable Strikes in Denied, Contested Environment

    US Navy and Naval Aircraft: News - Page 6 Sub_launched_drone_725


    The U.S. Navy plans to deploy unmanned aerial systems (UAS) on board submarines, to provide covert intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and target acquisition to support special operations and full-scale warfare, on sub-surface and surface operations. According to the Navy’s plans, attack and guided missile submarine will be equipped with a miniature UAS known as ‘Blackwing,’ produced by Aerovironment Inc. The Navy plans to buy 150 such systems. The company introduced the new unmanned vehicle at the Sea Air Space event in Washington DC.

    Typical operation will see the Blacking deployed in the vicinity of targets in contested or denied airspace, where activities of other manned or unmanned platforms would be too risky. From its forward position, the Blackwing will provide target acquisition and battle damage assessment, in support of strikes performed from stand-off range.

    Blackwing is believed to be a derivative of Aerovironment’s Switchblade Lethal Miniature Aerial Missile System (LMAMS), redesigned to fit the submarine’s 3” torpedo decoy launcher. It was developed under the Navy’s Advanced Weapons Enhanced by Submarine UAS against Mobile targets (AWESUM) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) launched in 2013. During the demonstration phase (2013-2015) the AWESUM “demonstrates submarine launch, data sharing and control across naval, special operations and air-force units,” the Navy announcement. This JCTD ended in September 2015 with a strong recommendation to transition the capability into the fleet.

    The Navy also plans to evolve the submarine-launched drone concept with larger vehicles, launched through 21” torpedo tubes. In 2013, the Navy Research Lab (NRL) demonstrated a submerged launch of the Sea Robin UAV, from a modified Tomahawk cruise missile canister.

    According to Aerovironment, The Blackwing drone is not limited to a submarine platform, and can also be integrated with and deployed from a variety of surface vessels and mobile ground vehicles to provide rapid response reconnaissance capabilities.
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    Post  Guest on Sat Jun 11, 2016 5:24 am

    GarryB wrote:
    Well normally over sea they would fly from supply ships to forward deployed forces so they will rarely require aerial support...

    So landing troops in forward areas don't require attack helo support... are they really that fast?  Razz

    Flying from supply ship to landing ships near shore, those would provide further payload deployment and support, they wouldnt fly supply missions ashore with these probably unless its safe. But where their speed would count, above sea they will be safe most of the time.
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    Post  Guest on Sat Jun 11, 2016 5:24 am

    Delays with the F-35 program has forced the U.S. Marine Corps to bring 30 legacy Hornets out from the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) facility at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base to cover shortfalls, Jane’s reported.
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    Post  JohninMK on Sun Jun 12, 2016 10:29 pm

    Noticed a strange design feature on this LCS compared to a 'normal' bridge as per the destroyer behind it. Although it has an angled bridge there are no side looking bridge windows. They have to open the door.


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    Post  JohninMK on Sun Jun 12, 2016 11:12 pm

    An article from last month with a US view on the Chinese DF-21D and forthcoming DF-26 anti ship missiles. The article seems balanced but the comments are..........well it is a US site.

    http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/chinas-df-26-anti-ship-ballistic-missile-what-does-the-16260


    Also a 'journalists' view on the top 5 attack submarines of the Cold War, one from each of US/UK/Germany and two from Russia. Only 13 comments with what seems to be a Russian poster standing his ground.

    http://nationalinterest.org/feature/the-five-best-submarines-the-cold-war-10314
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    Post  max steel on Wed Jun 15, 2016 12:16 am

    JohninMK wrote:An article from last month with a US view on the Chinese DF-21D and forthcoming DF-26 anti ship missiles. The article seems balanced but the comments are..........well it is a US site.

    http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/chinas-df-26-anti-ship-ballistic-missile-what-does-the-16260


    Also a 'journalists' view on the top 5 attack submarines of the Cold War, one from each of US/UK/Germany and two from Russia. Only 13 comments with what seems to be a Russian poster standing his ground.

    http://nationalinterest.org/feature/the-five-best-submarines-the-cold-war-10314

    The National Interest magazine seriously--most of its publications are wet dreams of "professionals" from political pseudo-science and technophile amateurs who love those big guns and sexy planes. But once in a while even TNI publishes a  good piece.
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    Post  max steel on Wed Jun 15, 2016 5:41 pm

    Navy helicopter crashes in river

    An MH-60S helicopter crashed in the James River in Virginia during a training mission Tuesday but all crew members were rescued, the Navy said.

    The three crew members were taken to Naval Medical Center Portsmouth with non-life threatening injuries, the Navy said in a press release, while adding that the helicopter was based at Norfolk Navy Station Chambers Field.

    The Navy announced an investigation to look into Tuesday's incident in Virginia to determine its cause.
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    Post  max steel on Wed Jun 15, 2016 7:28 pm

    Boeing confident of extending Super Hornet and Growler production

    Boeing anticipates an extension of its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler production lines as a result of an increased operational tempo by the US Navy (USN) and strong international interest in procuring the platform, company officials told reporters on 10 June.

    Speaking at Boeing's Global Sustainment and Support (GS&S) site at Cecil Field in northern Florida, Dan Gillian, Vice President of the F/A-18 and EA-18G programmes, said that, with the USN burning through airframe hours at a far higher rate than originally intended and with additional exports expected in the near term, the company is confident of extending production from the current mid-2018 cut-off point through into the next decade.

    "I believe that we will continue to build new Hornets and Growlers. We have slowed production down to two aircraft per month, and we will keep it at that level through to mid-2018. There is strong domestic and international demand that we see sustaining production through to the mid-2020s," Gillian said.

    The US Navy's current programme of record is for 568 Super Hornets and 160 Growlers. As Gillian noted, however, the service has identified a 'Super Hornet shortfall' that will materialise in the 2030s/2040s as aircraft prematurely reach the end of their 6,000 hour airframe lives owing to the high operational tempo being flown today. To try and mitigate this, additional aircraft have already been requested in the fiscal year defence budget, and Gillian expressed his confidence that these will be approved.

    On the international front, Gillian noted that a deal with Kuwait is currently going through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process with the US government and should be finalised in the not-too-distant future. Current legacy Hornet operator Finland has issued a request for proposals (RfP) that Boeing is preparing its response to, as has Belgium. Spain, which also now flies the Hornet, is in the early stages of a fighter procurement project for which Boeing will bid the Super Hornet, while India and Canada are being offered the platform to fulfil their respective requirements also.
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    Post  max steel on Sat Jun 18, 2016 6:35 pm

    LCS Survives First Shock Test, Preps For More


    The new littoral combat ship (LCS) Jackson was showered by spray and shaken by a large explosion June 10 as she endured the first of a series of controlled tests intended to prove the design’s ability to withstand and survive combat and damage.

    A 10,000-pound explosive charge was set off about a hundred yards from the Jackson – the Navy wouldn’t say exactly how close, saying the actual distance is classified – in waters off Florida’s Atlantic coast.

    So was there any damage?

    “Nothing unexpected,” said Capt. Thurraya Kent, a spokesperson for the Navy’s acquisition directorate. She acknowledged that minor damage was expected, such as items falling to the deck or glass cracking, and some components could be stressed.

    Other sources indicated that initial results show the ship withstood the explosion better than expected, although evaluations continue.

    About 260 instruments are placed throughout the ship to measure various aspects of the blast, which strikes above and below the water. After the test, the Jackson returned to the Mayport Naval Station where engineers downloaded instrument data, examined the ship and made necessary repairs, Kent said.

    Another test is scheduled to take place around June 22, she said. A third and final shot planned for July 8. Each test will use the same 10,000-pound explosives charge, but the ship will be moved progressively closer to the explosion.

    The test schedule, Kent noted, is volatile, subject to weather conditions, traffic in the vicinity of the blast and marine fish and mammal activity. The first test, she noted, was delayed several days by weather.

    The ship’s crew of about 50 and a number of engineers and observers – many from the Pentagon’s Office of Test and Evaluation (OT&E) -- were on board during the test. Kent added that a veterinarian was included “to assess sea mammal’s safety and security.”

    “We take the safety and security of marine mammals seriously,” Kent added. “We have to keep in mind migration patterns in addition to the other variable of sea state and weather. We also have additional lookout, more than you would normally have when you’re out to sea. We do not conduct test shots if a marine mammal is in the proximity.”

    Full Scale Shock Trials (FSST) are performed on most new US Navy ship designs, although Congress – at the urging of Pentagon OT&E director Michael Gilmore – actually wrote into law a requirement for the LCS tests. Thus, the tests are coming earlier in the LCS production line than originally planned.

    Gilmore himself is expected to be aboard for the third test shot on Jackson.

    The last time the Navy conducted FSSTs was in 2008 with Mesa Verde, the third ship of the San Antonio-class of amphibious transport docks.

    Kent noted that a great deal of testing already has been accomplished on individual components built into the ships.

    “Individual equipment shock trials, modelling and testing and other surrogate testing already have been done. They give you an idea of what to expect,” she said.

    “Shock trials become the validation of those tests and demonstrate the ship’s ability to withstand an explosion. Shock trials are actually the culmination of all the trials that have been done to date.”

    With two different LCS designs in production, there will be two series of shock trials. Jackson represents the Independence LCS 2 class, while the Milwaukee will test the Freedom LCS 1 design.

    The Milwaukee recently completed a maintenance period and is also operating from Mayport. Her first test shot is scheduled for Aug. 9 and the last on Sept. 13. The ship recently completed a firing exercise using her 57mm gun.

    The full series of LCS shock trials will cost about $65 million, Kent said, using research, development, testing and evaluation funding.

    In the Pacific, meanwhile, the Freedom and another Independence-class ship, the Coronado, are preparing to take part in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercises that begin in late June.

    The Coronado completed the initial operational testing and evaluation of the SeaRAM Rolling Airframe Missile weapon system for its class on June 2, and is expected to leave San Diego for Hawaii June 22, fitted with launch canisters for the Harpoon missile, the first installation of a new over-the-horizon (OTH) capability developed by the Navy.

    After taking part in RIMPAC, the Coronado will continue to Singapore to begin the first deployment of an LCS 2-class ship. She’s expected to operate in the region up to 18 months or more.

    The Freedom will not travel to Pearl Harbor, but rather will take part in a Southern California series of RIMPAC exercises with five other ships. This fall, she will be fitted with launchers for the Raytheon/Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile, a Norwegian weapon that is being considered, along with Harpoon, as the OTH weapon for LCSs and the follow-on LCS frigate.

    And in Singapore, engineers are working to restore as much of the Fort Worth’s engineering capability as possible before the ship leaves for San Diego.

    The Fort Worth’s power plant was severely damaged Jan. 12 in a pier side accident at Singapore’s Changi naval base, in which the ship’s engines were mistakenly engaged and the combining gear, a complex piece of equipment that allows the ship’s two gas turbines and two main propulsion diesel engines to be cross-connected to propulsion shafts, was wrecked.

    In a combined diesel and gas turbine plant, ships routinely travel on economical diesel engines, bringing on the less-efficient gas turbines for high speeds. Travelling long distances on gas turbines alone is inefficient, potentially damaging to the plant, and requires frequent refueling. Nevertheless, the Navy decided in April the ship would return to San Diego for full repairs, even if she could only use her turbines. At that time, it was hoped the Fort Worth could leave Singapore as early as June.

    But, according to several sources, engineers now believe they’re able to get at least one of the diesels on line for the passage, using a combination of software reconfiguration and partial mechanical repairs. Some are reportedly hopeful both diesels can be used.

    A test configuration already has been successfully evaluated aboard the Fort Worth’s sister ship Freedom.

    Reconfiguring the engineering plant, however, will add to the time needed to prepare the Fort Worth for the long trans-Pacific voyage. Combined with the need to provide an escorting oiler – many of which will be engaged in RIMPAC – it’s now likely the Fort Worth won’t leave Singapore at least until sometime in August. That raises the possibility that the Coronado could arrive at Changi before Fort Worth leaves.


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