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Thread: USAF not F-35 thread

  1. #901
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    yes but on another hand you don't want to replace the F-15s too early if they're still flyable for like 8 more years. The defense budget of the current administration may not be available in 5 years if Trump is not reelected. So how many planes you'll be able to buy is pretty much a wild guess.

  2. #902
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hotshot View Post
    yes but on another hand you don't want to replace the F-15s too early if they're still flyable for like 8 more years. The defense budget of the current administration may not be available in 5 years if Trump is not reelected. So how many planes you'll be able to buy is pretty much a wild guess.
    No you wouldn't replace them right now. You would replace them later timed with their phasing out in the absence of a SLEP. A short term increase in production would allow you to accelerate your recapitalization of the rest of the fleet freeing up out year deliveries to switch ANG squadrons that currently fly the F-15.

    This is exactly what the Marine Aviation Plan does. It brings the F/A-18 phase out plan to the left compared to where they wanted to be just a couple of years ago. In the USAF's context they would just transition squadrons earlier than planned under the current F-35 A program of record.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  3. #903
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    yeah they could do that but it still remains that you don't know yet how many F-35s will be built per year after Trump"s administration. If the budget is lower you might not be able to recapitalize the active duty force as you intended to do, so you can't replace the F-15s.

  4. #904
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    They could upgrade 10 F-15C's and someone could come to the WH and not upgrade the others and you will end up with the same situation. This is quite an easy thing to game out. If you don't fund something it won't get built, overhauled, delivered or operated. No F-15C will be retired earlier than its actual non SLEP life limit. If you want to keep flying them longer you need to put cash out to get them to that level which for many if not ALL means wings and center fuselage overhauls/rebuilds and mission system upgrades.. That cash will need to be sustained after Trump administrations current and potential second term. Same with the F-35. If you want it to replace squadon X in 2029 you have to fully fund those aircraft by 2027. There is always a chance that someone comes in 4 or 8 years from now and takes money for squadron X's jets away but that could happen for any effort or program including the F-15C upgrade, sustainment or support.

    What the Air Force can do is shape its FYDP based on where the current administration and Congress allows and make investments to make buying the aircraft more affordable to buy earlier. Hence it is being rumored that all three services may be submitting plans to buy more aircraft in the short-medium term than what was submitted by Obama along with the FY17 SAR's. The FY18 process is underway so we will know exactly what they have submitted, what eventually makes the cut and what passes Congress over the next year or two but expect the FY18 SAR's to be a lot different than what were submitted for the FY17 budget. And its the Congress that pays for it and if recent history is a judge the President has limited sway in shaping the NDAA. This is amplified in the BCA years but is unlikely to change beyond as well.
    Last edited by bring_it_on; 14th April 2017 at 17:56.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  5. #905
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    Aviation Week's reporting on Textron's quarterly earnings -

    Textron Aviation, meanwhile, has flown the second production-representative Scorpion light-attack/reconnaissance aircraft and plans to fly a third before the U.S. Air Force’s OA-X flight experiments planned for August-September at Holloman AFB, New Mexico.

    Textron has proposed both the turboprop AT-6 and twin-jet Scorpion for participation in the flight experiments, which are being staged to inform an Air Force decision of whether to launch a program of record to procure up to 300 light-attack aircraft to augment the A-10.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  6. #906
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    Atlantic Trident 17 - F-15E Red Air

    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  7. #907
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    Last edited by bring_it_on; 23rd April 2017 at 14:06.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  8. #908
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    http://www.defensenews.com/articles/...ement-proposal

    Claims 1 million per airframe to replace longerons, allow the aircraft to serve into 2030's. They make a good point about the investments already made into the F-15 fleet: APG-63v3, upcoming EPAWSS.

    Just does not seem they are realistically looking to retire the F-15C, the government just signed another contract for 18 more APG-63v3 at the same time the story about possible retirement was floated:

    http://www.afcea.org/content/?q=Blog...ar-improvement
    Last edited by FBW; 24th April 2017 at 12:10.

  9. #909
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    The EPAWSS POR is currently in EMD so they haven't yet locked in the numbers. The radars they will need regardless of when they 'begin' the process of retiring the fleet. It is all based on budget math and if they get into a situation of constant CRs through the end of BCA, or an extension of the BCA triggered sequester (the reason why CRs are now a reality) then it will be looked at more seriously. We have to look realistically and look past the rhetoric of a defense budget increase which is all just a proposal that requires at least 8 democrats (more like 10) to sign off on which basically ensures gridlock and more CRs. Sequesteration forces bad choices and trades..they just have to determine which is the best out of a series of bad ones.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  10. #910
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    $1 million to replace longerons on an F-15C is a good deal.

    It cost $2.5 million to take an F-16 Block 15 or 20 out of storage at AMARG and return it to flying status so Boeing can spend another $1+ million turning it into a QF-16 target drone. And a QF-16 only flies 15-20 flights before it is shot down.

  11. #911
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    Electronic warfare upgrade for USAF F-15s passes CDR



    The F-15 Eagle Passive/Active Warning and Survivability System (EPAWSS) upgrade for the US Air Force (USAF) has passed its Critical Design Review (CDR), it was announced on 1 May.The programme prime, Boeing, completed its CDR of the system in February following a review of the CDR of the system's electronic warfare (EW) suite that was undertaken by sub-contractor BAE Systems in late 2016.

    EPAWSS is designed to sample the radio frequency (RF) spectrum, identify threats, prioritise, and allocate jamming resources against them, and will replace the 1980s-vintage Tactical Electronic Warfare Suite (TEWS) currently fitted to the USAF's more than 400 F-15C and F-15E-variant Eagles.

    Boeing was awarded a USD478.8 million contract for the engineering, manufacturing, and development (EMD) of EPAWSS in November 2016. With the CDR now passed, aircraft modification and flight testing will begin. As noted by BAE Systems, the programme is running about a month ahead of schedule. The system should be ready for operational fielding by 31 August 2020.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  12. #912
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    Raptors take out aerial targets in milestone missile tests


    F-22 Raptors from the 411th Flight Test Squadron completed developmental tests of air-to-air missiles against an aerial target April 18 at the Utah Test and Training Range as part of a major capability upgrade.

    The Raptors launched inert AIM-9 and AIM-120 missiles against multiple BQM-167A sub-scale aerial targets, marking a significant effort along the 3.2B developmental test and evaluation upgrade timeline.

    “The shots at UTRR were the graduation live fire event of a two-year long 3.2B upgrade,” said Lt. Col. Randel Gordon, 411th FLTS commander. “The achievement of those shots is a huge technical accomplishment for the 412th Test Wing and 411th FLTS.”

    The 3.2B modernization update to the F-22 is the fighter jet’s biggest capability upgrade since reaching Initial Operating Capability in December 2005, according to the testers. Once fielded, it will add capability boosts to U.S. Air Force air superiority and further support coalition efforts overseas.

    Gordon praised the coordination with the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron, which deployed from the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida to provide the flying targets in the missile tests.

    The BQM-167A is a high-performance, remotely-controlled subscale aerial target used to provide a threat-representative target drone to support the Air-to-Air Weapon System Evaluation Program and other Air Force and Department of Defense air-to-air test and evaluation programs.

    "We deployed a group of 15 active duty members, government civilians and contractors to launch, fly and recover up to eight BQM-167A targets over three days,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Garrison, 82nd ATRS commander. "Because we are the only Air Force unit with the aerial target mission, we take our responsibility for developmental and operational flight testers very seriously, including deployments to meet them on their local ranges.”

    Gordon added that live-fire missile shot events at the 411th FLTS are named after 1980s’ movie action stars as an informal way to keep track of the test milestones. Because of the importance of this past test, the event was named after “the biggest action star of the 80s.”

    “We saved the best for last. This was the Chuck Norris shot,” said Gordon. “It was really a technically challenging shot and a graduation shot following two years of hard work. I’m deeply proud of those people in my squadron who made this happen.”
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  13. #913
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    ARLINGTON, Va., May 8, 2017 – Boeing [NYSE: BA] and the U.S. Air Force recently demonstrated that multiple aircraft and ground stations can efficiently and securely communicate using the Boeing-developed Talon HATE airborne networking system.

    During flight testing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Talon HATE pods on two F-15C aircraft enabled test pilots to share information through the military’s Link 16, Common Data Link and Wideband Global SATCOM satellites.

    The tests also validated intra-flight datalink network capabilities used by F-22 aircraft.

    Pilots using the system can transmit information quickly between the F-15C and other Air Force aircraft and weapon systems, enabling efficient information sharing in real time.

    “We’ve completed developmental flight test,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Bradley, Air Force Talon HATE manager. “We look forward to fielding this system, not only to immediately provide aircrews with actionable information faster and at a higher quality, but also to help the Air Force learn important lessons for the employment of tactical gateway systems in the future.”

    “This aerial network is a giant leap forward in tactical fighter capability with real-time connectivity and expanded information sharing,” said Paul Geery, vice president, Phantom Works Mission Solutions and Boeing’s Talon HATE program manager. “We are now demonstrating secure datalink connections between F-15Cs and F-22s in a way that integrates information for the pilot into a common operating picture.”

    Boeing will conduct additional tests later this year with advanced sensors, which will offer improved aircraft targeting capabilities.

  14. #914
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    F-15 program to upgrade world's fastest mission computer


    Boeing recently received a $434.8 million contract to upgrade F-15C and F-15E aircraft with Suite 9, a series of new hardware and software releases that will power advanced capabilities for the fighters.

    Suite 9 is the first software release to add capability to the new Advanced Display Core Processor II computer. Program officials say it’s the world’s fastest flight mission computer and capable of processing up to 87 billion instructions throughput per second.

    "This is another step in advancing the proven F-15 fighter to ensure the U.S. Air Force’s air superiority and strike dominance now and for decades to come," said Deborah Redlin, U.S. Air Force Suite 9 program manager.

    Suite 9 uses a common operational flight program for both F-15C and F-15E aircraft, a cost-saving measure for the U.S. Air Force. The suite also updates multiple subsystems on the jet to ensure the F-15 maintains its combat advantage.

    "With this software suite, the doors are opened to run new and advanced capabilities on the F-15’s proven platforms," said Steve Henry, Suite 9 program manager. "Suite 9 will release the Eagle Passive/Active Warning Survivability System, a new threat detection system that will protect flight crews on future missions."
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  15. #915
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    U.S. Air Force selects Textron's Scorpion jet and AT-6 for light attack aircraft demo


    WASHINGTON — Textron’s Scorpion jet and AT-6 will be joining the A-29 Super Tucano in the Air Force’s light attack aircraft demonstration this summer, the company confirmed May 15.

    “Textron Aviation Defense can confirm the Scorpion and AT-6 have both been invited by the United States Air Force to participate in the experimentation this summer to demonstrate their respective class-leading light attack capabilities,” a Textron spokeswoman said Monday in response to an emailed query from Defense News.
    The first set of demonstrations, which will be held this July at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, could potentially lead to a program of record, but as of yet no formal requirement exists for light attack aircraft.

    However, Air Force officials — including Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein and Air Combat Command head Gen. Mike Holmes — have postulated that a buy of light aircraft could help mitigate certain readiness and training concerns. The service’s current inventory of aircraft is already overtaxed with worldwide operational missions, leaving few resources for high-end training. If it decides to purchase a small fleet of inexpensive, production-ready light aircraft, low-end missions could be offloaded to those planes, leaving its more sophisticated aircraft free for training and operations where specialized capability is needed. On Friday, Sierra Nevada Corp. and Embraer announced that the A-29 Super Tucano had been invited to participate in the light attack aircraft demo. The two Textron planes and the Super Tucano, which was built by Brazilian firm Embraer and with Sierra Nevada as its U.S. prime contractor, are the only known offerings for the experimentation campaign. Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and IOMAX have all stated that they would sit out.

    In a March interview, Textron officials confirmed the company’s plan to propose both Scorpion and AT-6 — two very different aircraft with varied levels of capability.
    "I think the Scorpion has some capabilities with the sensors that it can carry to tackle that kind of a mission that may be a little more difficult for an AT-6,” Bill Harris, Textron AirLand’s vice president of Scorpion sales, said then.

    The Scorpion jet is more expensive but offers more capability than either the AT-6 or the A-29. It was designed by Textron as a modular aircraft that could be optimized with different sensors and weapons for missions such as close air support (CAS) or intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), Harris said. The aircraft’s low levels of noise, coupled with its higher performance, could make it a better fit for conducting CAS in urban environments.

    The AT-6, an attack version of the T-6A used by the Air Force for basic pilot training, is more of a match for the A-29. The low-cost turboprop plane features seven hard points for general-purpose, laser-guided and inertially aided weapons, and it can be flown for less than $1,000 per hour, said Jim Grant, Textron Aviation's senior vice president of military programs. In a formal competition, the A-29 might have a leg up on the Textron planes because the U.S. military has already purchased the aircraft for the Afghan air force. Goldfein has expressed his desire to partner with other nations to drive procurement costs down, if the Air Force does move forward with a buy. However, because the Super Tucano was designed by a Brazilian company, it could undergo political scrutiny as a result of Trump's "America First" policies.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  16. #916
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    USAF Agile Pod Industry Day -
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    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  17. #917
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    AFRL - Low Cost Attritable Aircraft
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  18. #918
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    Any information on the dimensions of the LCAAT model? The stated cost goal of the air vehicle was 3 million dollars. Interesting concept. An ISR/Strike drone capable of swamping IADS.

    A PAC-2 GEM costs more than 3 million.

  19. #919
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    A BMD interceptor obviously has different design considerations and cost drivers but for this particular program, the AFRL had a target design between 20-30 ft. in length, with a wingspan of 15-30 feet and an empty weight of 1500-2500 pounds. Part of the program is to explore the application of commercial processes and technologies and the AFRL is willing to explore relaxation of air-worthiness requirements in order to facilitate that. Combat range if 3000 nautical miles with a 500 lb payload (2 x SDB, or a sensor package) is still a desired performance requirement. Lets see where Kratos takes this with their demonstrator and how this evolves as actual hardware begins to inform future RFPs.

    he LCASD system KUSD will provide represents a configurable design for multiple variants anticipated to perform various missions that could require Nap-of-The-Earth (NOE) Flight, Cruising at High Altitudes, Defensive Counter Air (DCA) Maneuvers, Offensive Counter Air (OCA) Maneuvers, the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) and the Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses (DEAD). Additionally, the System will also incorporate performance capability including extreme agility for missile avoidance maneuvers for improved survivability. The Kratos LCASD design will meet or in certain cases significantly exceed the following stated Air Force goals for the program:

    UAS Acquisition Cost: $3 million or less for the first unit up to 99 units, and $2 million or less for 100 or greater unit quantity purchases.
    1,500 nautical mile mission radius with a 500 lb. payload.
    Capable of Mach 0.9 Dash.
    Maximum G load limits, maneuver rates, and subsystem environmental suitability.
    Internal weapons capability; sized to carry and deliver at least two GBU-39 small diameter bombs.
    Runway Independent Take-off and Landing capability.
    Emphasis on the use of Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) materials, sub-systems, manufacturing processes, and open mission system architecture concepts.
    Tactical consideration of the vehicle shape, elimination of gaps and mismatches, and aero-structural inlet integration.
    http://ir.kratosdefense.com/released...leaseid=978805
    Last edited by bring_it_on; 19th May 2017 at 13:36.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  20. #920
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    XQ-222 Valkyrie, like the UTAP-22, is rail-launched and recovered by parachute. The aircraft measures 29 ft. tip-to-tail with a 22-ft. wingspan, twice that of the Mako.

    The aircraft is distinguished by its low-drag, V-tail design that is shaped for a low radar cross section. It has a maximum speed of March 0.85 and ceiling altitude of 45,000 ft.

    “It’s low cost when excluding payloads, so depending on the quantities, about $2-3 million per airplane,” DeMarco says. “It carries a significant internal payload.”

    DeMarco says Kratos is building the first three aircraft at its Sacramento facility. One will be delivered to AFRL and two will be owned and operated by the company.

    LCASD recently completed a government program review that “went outstandingly well,” DeMarco says. “We’re on budget and on schedule to fly the airplane in either the second or third quarter of 2018.”


    http://aviationweek.com/combat-aircr...-mako-valkyrie
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  21. #921
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    A BMD interceptor obviously has different design considerations and cost drivers but for this particular program, the AFRL had a target design between 20-30 ft. in length, with a wingspan of 15-30 feet and an empty weight of 1500-2500 pounds.
    I was referring more to the relative cost of a high capability SAM (PAC-2 is dual use) to the LCAAT air vehicle cost goal. Granted the mission systems will be added to that, but attritable indeed.

    An MQ-9 has a flyaway cost of around 16 million in 2017.

  22. #922
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    Yeah, but I guess "How attritable" is what they will refine further as the current demonstration progam informs future acquisition, and I assume there would be versions that would be more so than others.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  23. #923
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    Air Force charts first step of JASSM-ER development effort

    The Air Force plans to award a five-year contract to combine multiple follow-on efforts for the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile's extended-range variant, in order to address outdated parts of Lockheed Martin's JASSM-ER and add new capabilities for future production lots.

    The service said in a May 16 sources-sought notice, "the weapon's electronics, hardware, and operational flight software changes must be holistically approached to leverage design, engineering, and test activities" at a system level. The notice tells companies to contact Lockheed about subcontracting opportunities.

    In a May 18 email from a spokeswoman, Jason Denney, Lockheed's long-range strike systems program director, said the notice marks the start of a development effort to improve JASSM-ER performance.

    "Lockheed Martin has already started looking at the engineering and aerodynamic improvements for future wing designs to support increased range," Denney wrote. "Additional studies, testing, and qualification will include software and hardware upgrades, as well as a new missile control unit to support the missile upgrades."

    "Lockheed Martin has a dedicated development team working this project, providing uninterrupted production support at all levels," he added.

    According to the sources-sought notice, the "group one" contract for completely assembled missiles includes systems engineering and program changes to streamline and phase design, development, integration, testing and verification of new components and subsystems for JASSM-ER's baseline electronics, hardware, firmware and operational flight software.

    "Group one shall also include preparation for final [all-up-round] integration, system-level ground and flight testing, and qualification," the Air Force notice stated. "This effort shall concurrently mature a new missile control unit, new wings and chine, and the [anti-jam GPS] receiver, and necessary hardware and infrastructure to support group one production cut-in."

    New hardware and software will be added to the missiles in the "earliest production lot possible," Denney said. Last month, the company negotiated a price for Lot 15, which will include 360 JASSM-ER units, Inside the Air Force previously reported.

    Alan Jackson, vice president of strike systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, told ITAF a "rather dramatic" increase in JASSM-ER range could be delivered at a date "not too far in the future" but did not provide a figure.

    Last October, Denney told ITAF Lockheed is pursuing a block upgrade program to improve range, GPS-denial, survivability and payload capabilities. The company is experimenting with laminar flow wings, which allow for uninterrupted airflow without friction, to boost JASSM-ER's farther than its current range of more than 500 nautical miles. In addition to several survivability initiatives, Lockheed is exploring ground- and star-based navigational techniques and inertial measurement unit improvements that could kick in if the guided missile loses its GPS connection. JASSM could also be modified to carry payloads like other missiles or small unmanned aircraft instead of its 1,000-pound warhead.

    JASSM-ER is flown on the B-1B, was flight-tested on the F-15 earlier this year, and is planned to move to the B-52 later in 2017, to the F-16 in 2018 and later to the B-2. The Air Force plans to buy 2,034 JASSM and 2,866 JASSM-ER for $7.2 billion over the life of the program, Inside Defense previously reported.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  24. #924
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    AFSOC to add Laser SDB to MQ-9 in FY-20, with SDB II to follow


    Air Force Special Operations Command is planning to integrate Boeing's Laser Small Diameter Bomb onto an MQ-9 Reaper for the first time, as the first step of a plan to field Raytheon’s SDB II on the unmanned aerial aircraft in the future.

    Bill Lane, chief of AFSOC's strike and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance division, wrote in a May 18 email the LSDB will improve payload capacity and weapon options for the MQ-9 and allow the service to mix and match warheads to enhance the UAV’s strike capability.

    "AFSOC has the need for an all-weather, standoff weapon, for both preplanned and fleeting targets," Lane told Inside Defense. "The LSDB can be carried and provide capability as both a laser-guided weapon or a GPS-guided weapon, depending on the need. It also gives the ability to increase weapon payload capacity with a dual-carriage rack."

    An April 12 Federal Business Opportunities notice announced a forthcoming contract to General Atomics will pay for "support, planning, analysis, installation, testing and execution of GBU-39B/B integration via the Universal Armament Interface onto a Block 5 MQ-9 Reaper UAS via a dual-carriage system with a Block 30 ground control station."

    General Atomics, which builds the MQ-9, is expected to receive the integration contract in January 2018, Air Force spokesman Brian Brackens told Inside Defense in an April 26 email. The contract’s value and length have not been determined.

    Although Brackens said the service has not set testing and fielding time lines, Lane said the effort is funded to deliver a dual-carriage rack and to support integration for limited initial capability in FY-19. Full fielding is slated for FY-20.

    "This integration is the first step to integrating a dual-mode weapon on the MQ-9," Lane wrote. "The follow-on plan is to integrate SDB II onto the AFSOC MQ-9."

    Brackens did not offer further details on expanding the LSDB to the rest of the MQ-9 fleet.

    "Once the capability is integrated onto the AFSOC MQ-9 weapon system, it will be compatible with all AFSOC MQ-9s," Lane added.

    First intended as a weapon for the AC-130, Boeing added a laser seeker to its SDB I for higher accuracy when fired at moving targets. Flying the LSDB on a Reaper would not change the types of targets the UAV pursues, according to Lane.

    The LSDB could be added to other platforms in AFSOC's inventory as well, Lane said.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  25. #925
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    US Air Force in source selection for SHiELD laser



    The US Air Force's Research Laboratory (AFRL) expects to award a contract in mid- to late 2017 for the laser portion of its Self-protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD), according to a key official.

    Lieutenant Tyler Brewer, a laser defence physicist within the AFRL's applications branch directed energy directorate, told Jane's on 18 May at the Pentagon that the programme has already awarded two contracts. The first contract, worth USD39 million, was awarded to Northrop Grumman in August 2016 to develop the beam-control system. Lt Brewer said Boeing and Lockheed Martin were awarded a contract to jointly develop the pod and integration structure.

    Lt Brewer said the goal is to show that laser technology has matured to the point where the US Air Force (USAF) can incorporate it into a pod, place the pod on small tactical aircraft, and improve that aircraft's survivability by defeating a variety of aerial threats. He said the USAF does not want to simply blind sensors, it wants to use the laser to heat up a target to the point where it is defeated by potentially destroying the target's circuit boards, control fins, or control sections.

    Lt Brewer said the USAF, in the past, had studied supersonic air flow, optics, and lasers propagating through turbulent air, but has never studied all three at once. He said the USAF has taken lessons learned from previous programmes, including testing an airborne laser on a Boeing 747 commercial airliner and an advanced tactical laser on a Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft, to design a system for supersonic speeds, which are objects traveling faster than the speed of sound.

    The programme, Lt Brewer said, is taking a "walk, then run" two-phased approach. He said the first phase will be demonstrating that the service can track the target effectively and compensate for the atmospheric distortions in the laser beam. Then the programme will characterise how the supersonic environment around the aircraft and around the pod affect beam propagation. Lt Brewer called this cutting-edge technology.

    The SHiELD programme anticipates flight tests. Lt Brewer said the AFRL will conduct Phase 1 flight testing with a low-energy laser demonstrating tracking and the supersonic environment "probably" within the next year or two. Phase 2 full-scale testing will take place by 2021, Lt Brewer said.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  26. #926
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    Air Force's FY-18 request would boost weapon production, add two F-35s

    The Air Force's $132 billion fiscal year 2018 base budget seeks a slight boost to F-35 procurement, adds funding for studies and planning for new fighter and unmanned platforms and “maximizes” production capacity for key munitions.

    According to a budget overview released May 23, the Air Force wants to buy 46 F-35A aircraft in FY-18, a slight increase from its FY-17 plan to buy 44. The Air Force also appears to be mounting a major shift in its weapons procurement, particularly for the Small Diameter Bomb and the Joint Direct Attack Munition. SDB quantities jump from the 460 projected in the FY-17 request to 7,312 in the FY-18 request, and JDAM quantities increase from 7,377 in last year's budget to more than 27,000 in FY-18.

    “Demand for munitions continues to rise, while operational expenditures have outpaced production of critical munitions,” the service says in its overview. “Since operations countering ISIS began in August 2014, the Air Force has expended over 50,000 weapons, drawing down the current inventory levels. The FY-18 budget request maximizes production capacity on many weapons.”

    The request also reflects an updated cost estimate for the Presidential Aircraft Replacement program, led by prime contractor Boeing. The service had expected to need $625.6 million for PAR in FY-18, but its updated request calls for $434 million.

    “There's no content change on PAR,” Carolyn Gleason, the Air Force's civilian budget deputy, said during a May 23 media briefing. “It reflects the current acquisition strategy . . . and the new requirements baseline. It's informed by Boeing's risk-reduction activities so it's basically a change in a cost estimate and reflects the same content.”

    For unmanned aircraft systems, the budget proposes adding 16 MQ-9 Reapers to the service's inventory and requests procurement funds for one new EC-X, the platform that will host the EC-130H Compass Call. It also includes plans to start an analysis of alternatives for a next-generation ISR strike aircraft.

    Additionally, the budget indicates the Air Force now plans to keep Lockheed Martin's U-2 Dragon Lady in service indefinitely, after previously slating it for retirement in FY-19.

    Air Force Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget Maj. Gen. James Martin told reporters more funding would keep the U-2 flying for the foreseeable future alongside the upgraded RQ-4 Global Hawk, built by Northrop Grumman, to meet the growing demand for ISR.

    For legacy fighter platforms, the budget would continue a number of ongoing upgrade efforts, including a new Advanced Electronically Scanned Array Radar for the F-16. It also would fund a service-life extension program for the F-15's fuselage longerons.

    The Air Force is requesting $3.3 billion for space procurement. That funding reflects a change to FY-18 procurement plans for the next-generation GPS constellation, pushing near-term buys into later years to better support the service's competitive launch acquisition strategy. The service had planned to buy two satellites in FY-18, but its request does not call for any GPS III space vehicles that year.

    The overview also notes the start of a new space program, the Evolved Strategic Satellite Communications System. The document does not include details on the system's mission, but an Air Force spokeswoman confirmed to Inside Defense it refers to a protected satellite communications effort.

    Overall, the budget requests a $5 billion increase in research and development funding -- from about $20 billion in FY-17 to $25 billion in FY-18. Included in that increase is a shift of about $2.3 billion in civilian pay from operations and maintenance accounts to research and development.

    The overview book notes that the research and development request “begins an increase in the Air Force's commitment to fielding a future penetrating counterair capability,” though it does not provide specific funding levels. The service is in the midst of an AOA to better define those options.

    An Air Force spokeswoman explained May 23 the PCA work is included as part of a broader Next-Generation Air Dominance effort, which ramps from $21 million in the FY-17 budget to $295 million in FY-18, according to the overview book.

    “That funds the studies and analysis to really look at how we get after future threats,” Martin said.

    The Air Force also aims to boost research and development funding for key nuclear modernization efforts. The Long-Range Strike Bomber's funding jumps from $2.1 billion projected for FY-18 in the FY-17 budget request to more than $2.9 billion in this year's request. The Long-Range Standoff Weapon's account would increase to $451 million in FY-18 -- $30 million more than the service projected in FY-17.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  27. #927
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  28. #928
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    The USAF always wanted to retain capability and not shed either of these enterprises. It was and still is a matter of funding and service budget caps. If they run into a similar funding wall that forces them to choose and make trades, they will again have to do the same. A 4-5% increase in their topline buys them a little bit of breathing room, but not much given the giant modernization bill that awaits them in the 2020s.
    Last edited by bring_it_on; 25th May 2017 at 19:32.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  29. #929
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    National Military Strategy could inform larger B-21 fleet-size requirement


    Two ongoing Pentagon posture reviews could shape a requirement for additional B-21 bombers beyond the 100-aircraft floor the Air Force has set over the last year.

    Lt. Gen. Jerry Harris, deputy chief of staff for plans and requirements, told the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee May 25 the service's B-21 fleet-size requirement will be informed by the ongoing Nuclear Posture Review, expected to continue through the end of the year, and the National Military Strategy, which should to be completed within a few months.

    Over the last year, the Air Force has adjusted its public discussion of B-21 quantities, shifting from quoting a need for between 80 and 100 bombers to setting 100 as its minimum requirement. Independent studies, including one published last year by the Air Force Association, have said the service would need as many as 163 new bombers to manage a two-war scenario with Iran and North Korea, and some have called for upwards of 250 bombers. Questioned by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) about whether those numbers are accurate, Harris said they “aren't incorrect.”

    "When we look at some of these efforts that are put out there, we do agree that probably 165 bombers is what we need to have," he said. "There are numbers that support that, depending on the scenarios."

    However, Harris cautioned that the service has not set a firm requirement and doesn't "want to get in front" of the National Military Strategy being conducted by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

    "We know we're going to need at least 100. We'll possibly need more than that," Harris said. "We don't want to put down a number that might change in a couple months. So we would rather sit back and say 100 at this point . . . and then move on until we get guidance from the secretary of defense."

    Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, the Air Force's military deputy for acquisition, noted that wherever the service and department land on fleet size, they will need enough bombers to not only perform operational missions, but to train pilots and maintainers and be available for programmed maintenance.

    "It's not just a number that we immediately deploy," he said. "There are a number of components that lead into that, and we base that off our operations plans, doing analysis, running scenarios, and coming up with a number that we believe."

    The Air Force's fiscal year 2018 budget requests $13.5 billion to fund B-21 development through FY-22 -- $2 billion of that in FY-18. Most program details are classified, including the value of prime contractor Northrop Grumman's development contract.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

  30. #930
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    Makes sense to maximise B-21 production, the next 30-60 aircraft will come off the line at a great price, especially if the production rate is kept high.

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