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  • bring_it_on
    2005-year of the RAPTOR!!

    B-21 passes PDR


    The Air Force confirmed Wednesday it "recently" completed a preliminary design review of the largely classified B-21 bomber program.

    Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen Wilson told the House Armed Services Committee during a March 8 hearing the Northrop Grumman-led program is "making real great progress" and he and the service chief and secretary receive regular updates.

    "We're pleased with where it's headed," he said, noting that the program is meeting cost and schedule goals.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

    Comment

    • bring_it_on
      2005-year of the RAPTOR!!

      USAF TO POTENTIALLY GROW B-21 PROGRAM, SETS 100 BOMBER 'MINIMUM' REQUIREMENT



      The Air Force which once argued a need for a maximum of 100 new bombers has formally inverted its B-21 requirement, adopting 100 aircraft as the "minimum" number of new long-range strike bombers the service now needs -- a move that could set the stage to grow the $80 billion, Northrop Grumman-led project.

      The Air Force -- which launched the B-21 program in 2015 as the Pentagon wrestled with rounds of fiscal belt tightening stemming from the 2011 Budget Control Act -- appears now to be publicly reserving the right to make the case for more additional bombers as the Trump administration pledges to increase military spending.

      Gen. Stephen Wilson, Air Force vice chief of staff, suggested -- in written testimony prepared for a March 8 House Armed Services Committee hearing on nuclear deterrence requirements -- that the new bomber program could grow.

      "We require a fleet size that will ensure sustained dominance well into this century and intend to procure a minimum of 100 B-21s," according to Wilson's statement, which employed bold font for emphasis. "Procuring at least 100 B-21s will also reduce lifecycle ownership costs."

      Defense analysts said Wilson's statement was significant.

      "That's the first time I've heard that in public," said Mark Gunzinger, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment. "That does imply that 100 is a floor and that the future requirement might be more than 100."

      Similarly, Jeremiah Gertler, a military aviation expert at the Congressional Research Service, said: "That's the first time I've seen them say that out loud; that's first time I've seen them use 100 as a floor."

      An Air Force spokesman did not respond to a request for comment by press time (March 9).

      While building the case for a new long-range strike program, the Air Force argued it needed 80 to 100 new bombers. In January 2015, then-Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said analysis indicated "roughly 80 to 100 as the target number for Long Range Strike Bomber."

      "We've stuck with that number for a very specific reason," Welsh said. "We believe that's the number it takes, after doing some very significant operational analysis, to do nuclear deterrence and to do a large scale air campaign."

      By October 2015, the service settled on an acquisition objective of 100 new bombers when awarding Northrop Grumman the contract to develop and build the aircraft. Then, over the last year, service officials have begun arguing that perhaps more than 100 aircraft could be required.

      Gunzinger, a former senior Pentagon official and retired B-52 pilot, said he believed the 100-aircraft acquisition target was driven more by budget considerations than analysis of the requirement based on future threats.

      President Trump has promised to increase U.S. military spending, directing the Pentagon to prepare a fiscal year 2018 budget proposal that would lift total spending by $17 billion compared to the FY-18 spending plan drafted last year by the Obama administration.

      The Air Force currently plans to replace 150 aging B-1 and B-52 bombers with 100 new B-21s. The service is conducting studies to review its B-21 requirement.

      Wilson told the House panel on March 8 that the B-21 program, a largely classified program, "recently" completed an important milestone, demonstrating the design for the new bomber is stable, expected to meet performance requirements and can be executed within the Pentagon's plan to buy 100 for $80 billion.

      The Air Force four-star general told Congress the Northrop Grumman-led program is "making really great progress."

      The critical design review, a key milestone of the engineering and manufacturing development phase of a program, typically marks the culmination of integrated system design in order to segue to system capability demonstration activities and validate supporting manufacturing processes.

      "We're pleased with where it's headed," Wilson said, claiming the program is meeting classified cost and schedule targets.
      Old radar types never die; they just phased array

      Comment

      • FBW
        FBW
        Rank 5 Registered User

        F-22 "Update 6"? https://defensesystems.com/articles/2017/03/14/f22.aspx

        2019 the F-22 fleet will begin to get increment 3.2B. This article mentions a "software update 6", which includes new antennas. Have not seen anything regarding this, what antennas they are talking about (IFDL?, Link-16?, AN/ALR-94?). I doubt it would be for the AN/APG-77, as the T/R modules were updated.

        Update 5 seems to have focused on the AN/APG-77:
        Update 5 combines an OFP upgrade providing software driven radar enhancements, Ground Collision Avoidance System software, and the incorporation of limited AIM‑9X capabilities
        http://www.dote.osd.mil/pub/reports/...f/2016f22a.pdf

        This has not been mentioned in the F-22 incremental roadmap, SAR, or DOT&E documents. Anyone have some insight? B-I-O?

        Comment

        • bring_it_on
          2005-year of the RAPTOR!!

          Originally posted by FBW View Post
          F-22 "Update 6"? https://defensesystems.com/articles/2017/03/14/f22.aspx

          Anyone have some insight? B-I-O?
          Cryptographic modernization (software portion). The hardware part is Link-16 transmit capability, which is also currently expected to be completed by 2020/21. This will be the last tweak they do before the OMS update.
          Last edited by bring_it_on; 16th March 2017, 16:19.
          Old radar types never die; they just phased array

          Comment

          • bring_it_on
            2005-year of the RAPTOR!!

            Air Force seeks immediate, sharp FY-17 funding increase for sixth-generation fighter


            The Air Force is seeking an immediate and dramatic increase in funding for its Next-Generation Air Dominance program, suggesting plans for a new penetrating counterair capability -- also referred to as a sixth-generation fighter -- are poised to accelerate if Congress can provide an additional $147 million in fiscal year 2017 above the $20 million the service originally requested.

            The service is seeking the new funds to support work on a follow-on to the F-22A Raptor as part of the Pentagon's amended FY-17 budget request -- the Trump administration's gambit to add $30 billion to military coffers, a proposal that faces a number of potential political roadblocks in Congress.

            Still, the Air Force -- in budget documents supporting the additional FY-17 spending proposal -- disclosed a previously unknown need for $167.5 million for the Next Generation Air Dominance project, a 735 percent increase compared to the service's original $20.5 million request for the project submitted to Congress in February 2016.

            With the exception of an unnamed, classified project, the additional funding for Next-Generation Air Dominance is the single-largest increase in the research and development accounts in the proposed $30 billion hike in FY-17 military spending.

            At press time, an Air Force spokesman did not respond to a request for an explanation for the increased spending.

            The Air Force planned in FY-17 for a major milestone review for the Next-Generation Air Dominance project -- a materiel development decision -- during which the service would to seek permission to proceed with an analysis of alternatives. The plan was to get an MDD decision during the second quarter of FY-17, between January and March.

            In lieu of traditional weapon system acquisition milestones, the Air Force schedule -- beginning in FY-17 -- calls for an annual presentation of "strategic planning choices."

            As part of the preparation for the material solutions analysis phase of the project, the Air Force planned to identify "candidate technologies early in the analysis process," the service told Congress last year.

            The Air Force's original FY-17 budget request forecast a need for $12.8 million in both FY-18 and FY-19. That forecast now appears to be overcome by events.

            Mark Gunzinger, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment, said the change in the funding profile implies the Air Force is seeking money for more than just the AOA, perhaps looking to finance some technology development in an effort to speed things along.

            "Some initial money that might help accelerate the penetrating counterair effort," Gunzinger said. "If that is their intent, I would applaud them."

            The Air Force has been building the case to launch a new air dominance capability for years, following approval in 2011 by the Pentagon's top brass of a requirement for a follow-on capability to the F-22A.

            "Sir, we started that long ago," Maj. Gen. Jerry Harris, deputy chief of staff for strategic plans, programs, and requirements, told the House Armed Services Committee Feb. 16 when asked when the service should start working on a sixth-generation fighter.

            Last year, the Air Force published a new blueprint for how it plans to ensure air superiority that called for a "penetrating counterair capability" -- which service officials said would be the focus of the Next-Generation Air Dominance analysis of alternatives. As part of the AOA, the service is expected to explore platform, sensor and weapon combinations that optimize operational range, payload, survivability and affordability, including experimentation on concepts like arsenal planes, loyal wingmen and others.

            That blueprint concluded the service "must reject thinking focused on 'next-generation' platforms" because such focus can create "a desire to push technology limits with the confines of a formal program." Such objectives drive risk and can lead to cost growth and schedule delays.

            As an alternative, the document advocates leveraging experimentation and prototyping "to more rapidly infuse advanced technologies into the force," an acquisition approach Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work has encouraged as part of his campaign to orchestrate a hunt for a so-called Third Offset Strategy that would identify new capabilities to bolster conventional deterrence.
            Old radar types never die; they just phased array

            Comment

            • KGB
              KGB
              Senior Member

              "The AIRST was deleted from the F-22 avionic suite during development as a cost saving measure."

              hmm

              Comment

              • bring_it_on
                2005-year of the RAPTOR!!

                Originally posted by KGB View Post
                "The AIRST was deleted from the F-22 avionic suite during development as a cost saving measure."

                hmm
                Yes AIRST and Cheek arrays were both clipped right before production decisions were made. Cheek arrays are being looked at as the next major hardware insertion following the work currently funded but AIRST is highly unlikely, although Sweetman in his extremely detailed article on the F-22 back in the late 1990s did say that there is space, power and cooling provided although we don't know how much of that margin is still surplus.
                Old radar types never die; they just phased array

                Comment

                • KGB
                  KGB
                  Senior Member

                  Originally posted by bring_it_on View Post
                  Yes AIRST and Cheek arrays were both clipped right before production decisions were made. Cheek arrays are being looked at as the next major hardware insertion following the work currently funded but AIRST is highly unlikely, although Sweetman in his extremely detailed article on the F-22 back in the late 1990s did say that there is space, power and cooling provided although we don't know how much of that margin is still surplus.
                  Most people claim that it didn't need it and it wasn't worth the potential stealth compromise. Neither of which are true apparently.

                  Comment

                  • garryA
                    Rank 5 Registered User

                    Originally posted by KGB View Post
                    Most people claim that it didn't need it and it wasn't worth the potential stealth compromise. Neither of which are true apparently.
                    The side arrays are still quite unnecessary, mostly useful for SAR but f-22 isn't really A2G oriented. So it is easy to understand why they cut it to reduce cost
                    The IRST would be a good add on with the amount of stealth platform in the future
                    Last edited by garryA; 17th March 2017, 03:50.

                    Comment

                    • bring_it_on
                      2005-year of the RAPTOR!!

                      Dynetics advances to Phase II of DARPA's Gremlins program


                      Dynetics, Inc. has been awarded a contract for Phase 2 of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)’s Gremlins program, an innovative technology program that seeks to enable aircraft to launch volleys of low-cost reusable unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and safely and reliably retrieve them in mid-air. The Gremlins architecture is designed to enable other technologies such as advanced payloads and autonomous battle management for swarming systems.Beginning in March 2017, Phase 2 is a planned 12-month effort worth up to $21 million in which Dynetics seeks to develop a detailed system design and mature technologies that are critical to achieving Gremlins’ challenging goals.

                      Mark Miller, Dynetics’ Gremlins program manager, said, “We are very pleased and excited that DARPA selected our Gremlins design. This opportunity expands previous work we have performed developing and rapidly fielding air-launched systems and leverages our creativity and agility. Our goal is to not only successfully complete the Gremlins demonstration for DARPA but to also help eventually transition this capability in some form to the warfighter.”

                      Dynetics has assembled a team of technology providers including Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc., Sierra Nevada Corporation, Applied Systems Engineering, Inc., Williams International, Systima Technologies, Inc., Airborne Systems, Moog Inc. and International Air Response.

                      “Our team is made up of multiple divisions within our company providing a diverse set of expertise, and our subcontractors represent the best in their class for their assigned roles. We understand this important challenge is essential for our nation’s defense capability. Successful execution of Gremlins would lay the groundwork for the future use of swarming, recoverable systems for multiple missions,” said Tim Keeter, Dynetics deputy program manager and chief engineer for Gremlins.

                      During Phase 1, Dynetics successfully designed flight demonstration concepts for launch and recovery techniques, low-cost limited airframe designs and high-fidelity analysis, precision digital flight control, relative navigation and station keeping. The company was one of four competing companies awarded a contract in Phase 1.

                      In Phase 2, the focus is on technology maturation. Phase 3 would aim to finalize the design and ultimately demonstrate the ability to launch Gremlins air vehicles and then safely recover them onto a C-130 aircraft. Based on Phase 2 results, DARPA plans to award Phase 3 in early 2018.
                      Old radar types never die; they just phased array

                      Comment

                      • KGB
                        KGB
                        Senior Member

                        Originally posted by garryA View Post
                        The side arrays are still quite unnecessary, mostly useful for SAR but f-22 isn't really A2G oriented. So it is easy to understand why they cut it to reduce cost
                        The IRST would be a good add on with the amount of stealth platform in the future
                        The point being though, that if money was not an issue, they would have kept it on.

                        Comment

                        • halloweene
                          Rank 5 Registered User

                          Isral ngocie l’achat de F-15 Silent Eagle
                          http://psk.blog.24heures.ch/archive/...le-863248.html

                          Isral dsire effectuer une valuation de la version avance du F-15, soit le Silent Eagle et ceci avant de procder toute nouvelle commande de F-35.
                          Israel want to evaluate the advanced version of F-15, aka "Silent Eagle" before any further F-35 order.

                          Comment

                          • bring_it_on
                            2005-year of the RAPTOR!!

                            They have had plans to buy the F-15 using the US aid for some time now. The additional F-35's will be on top of that. What will be unlikely are more F-16Is in the future. The additional 17 they have committed to have upped their total F-35 I count to 50. They should be able to build an F-35 I fleet of between 75-100 F-35 Is in my opinion that would operate alongside the F-16 SUFAs. That leaves quite a few F-15's that do not yet have a replacement. It would be interesting to see how Boeing prices out the F-15s..I see them operating Advanced Strike Eagles, F-35 and F-16 Is along with a much larger unmanned component.

                            https://twitter.com/netanyahu/status...rc=twsrc%5Etfw
                            Last edited by bring_it_on; 18th March 2017, 16:42.
                            Old radar types never die; they just phased array

                            Comment

                            • haavarla
                              Rank 5 Registered User

                              Originally posted by halloweene View Post
                              http://psk.blog.24heures.ch/archive/...le-863248.html



                              Israel want to evaluate the advanced version of F-15, aka "Silent Eagle" before any further F-35 order.
                              More as in Advanced Eagle, not Silent Eagle.
                              Think F-15SA, but with a few different tweaks. Different radar etc
                              Thanks

                              Comment

                              • bring_it_on
                                2005-year of the RAPTOR!!

                                They are likely to go with the AN/APG-82 offered to South Korea and fitted on the USAF F-15Es. DEWS would probably give way to the Israeli Electronic Warfare suite and other indigenous avionics components..plus nearly the full spectrum of their indigenous weapons.
                                Old radar types never die; they just phased array

                                Comment

                                • TomcatViP
                                  Rank 5 Registered User

                                  It's more an incentive for their industry. The kind of story like yesterday Sa5 (?) falling down on Israeli territory will certainly blow some cold into that.
                                  But notice that Pr Trump nominated a former Boeing CEO.

                                  Comment

                                  • bring_it_on
                                    2005-year of the RAPTOR!!

                                    Originally posted by TomcatViP View Post
                                    It's more an incentive for their industry. The kind of story like yesterday Sa5 (?) falling down on Israeli territory will certainly blow some cold into that.
                                    But notice that Pr Trump nominated a former Boeing CEO.
                                    . The IDF's interest in acquiring new F-15's has been talked about for some time. Since they are unlikely to buy any new F-16s, and the have firmed up 50 F-35s that will continue to be delivered till 2024, it leaves an advanced F-15 coupled with upgrades to their current I's as an option. This was being talked about as they were negotiating their Military Aid deal last year. I also expect them to order additional 15-20 F-35Is for deliveries in the 2024-2030 time-frame. But that will come a few years down the road.

                                    http://www.jpost.com/International/I...-F-15-purchase
                                    Last edited by bring_it_on; 19th March 2017, 00:05.
                                    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

                                    Comment

                                    • KGB
                                      KGB
                                      Senior Member

                                      Is there an Israel Af thread or a Lockheed/US export threat ? (Not being snarky)

                                      Comment

                                      • Marcellogo
                                        Rank 5 Registered User

                                        Originally posted by hopsalot View Post
                                        Yes, shaping is for the most part targeting the X-band, but no removing the tail is not "stealthy in any frequency band." When you are talking about the sorts of very low frequency radars that are frequently advertised as having counter-stealth capabilities the entire aircraft effectively resonates. In theory a very large aircraft like a B-2 might be able to shaping effectively in those bands but it won't work for a fighter.




                                        That makes an awful lot of assumptions... the first being that whatever the USAF decides on for its 6th Gen design is more or less a fighter as we know it today and the second that greater stealth would be the principal goal of the design.

                                        A 6th gen design might be quite large for instance... optimized for endurance and perhaps armed with laser weapons that make traditional maneuverability irrelevant. It will also likely take a system of systems approach, where it will act in concert with drones of various types, etc, potentially freeing it of the need to venture directly into the most heavily defended areas.

                                        This is why they take so long studying the problem before launching a program.
                                        That is a sophisticated way to say that they have not a damn clue about it...
                                        Or better said that their supposed prime requisite, i.e. a fighter plane that is stealthy in about all RF specter is a contradiction of terms as it would need a flying wing configuration.
                                        Also because a whole load of breakthrough new radar technologies is about to hit the markets soon, so that end line will surely be put further away a lot in the meantime...

                                        Comment

                                        • bring_it_on
                                          2005-year of the RAPTOR!!

                                          Air Force seeks proposals for light-attack experiment that could feed rapid acquisition program


                                          The Air Force on Friday released a series of documents detailing its plans for a light-attack aircraft experiment this summer that could field a rapid acquisition program to buy around 300 light-attack jets to supplement the service's fighter fleet.

                                          The capability assessment will be managed by the Air Force's office of strategic development planning and experimentation (SDPE). According to an invitation to participate posted to the Federal Business Opportunities website March 17, the service may use rapid acquisition authorities provided through the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act to buy the jets.

                                          "Because of the rapid time lines associated with these authorities, SDPE is conducting this capability assessment as part of its market research to determine whether any non-developmental, light-attack aircraft are available to meet these needs and within the aggressive time lines of these authorities," the document states. "As such, the results of this experimentation campaign will inform future requirements and acquisition decisions, which may or may not lead to one or more defense acquisition programs."

                                          The service will choose up to four respondents to bring one or two non-developmental aircraft to a four-to-six-week assessment at Holloman Air Force Base, NM. Air Force crews will fly the jets to demonstrate basic performance as well as the aircraft's weapons, sensors, communications systems and ability to operate in austere conditions. The assessment could lead to other experiments, demonstrations or prototype efforts, the document states.

                                          Notional requirements for participating jets include the ability to perform light-attack missions and targeting and reconnaissance functions. The aircraft must also be able to support an operations tempo of 900 flight hours per year for 10 years and have a 90 percent mission capable rate for day and night missions. Qualifying jets need to be able to take off using a maximum runway length of 6,000 feet and must have a number of tactical communication and range and endurance capabilities.

                                          The current plan is to conduct 13 mission sorties, one ground event and three other events that could be accomplished as dedicated sorties or worked into planned mission sorties. Sorties include medium-altitude close-air support, an austere field demo and precision-munition basic surface attack. The service is still determining which weapons will be employed as part of the capability assessments, but current candidates include: GBU-12 or GBU inert, BDU-33, RR-170, .50 caliber ammunition, Mk-82 HD, M-206 flares, 70mm Hydra and Mk-81/82.


                                          Among the information the service is requesting from industry is an explanation of the integration and development cost and timeline. The service also asks companies to describe whether production lots could be structured in 40- to 50-jet lots to be delivered within six years of a production decision.

                                          The service doesn't state when it will select participants -- responses to the initial invitation are due April 7 -- nor does it detail how much funding will be provided.
                                          Old radar types never die; they just phased array

                                          Comment

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