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    Heritage foundation - 2018 Defense Authorization Act study

    http://www.heritage.org/defense/repo...act-must-begin
    http://www.heritage.org/sites/defaul...-03/BG3205.pdf

    some key points:
    Nav Air
    - increase spares and depot capacity over buying new build F-18 E/F
    - Buy 16 more Growlers

    USAF
    - Increase retention and numbers of pilot and skilled crew "The Air Force should immediately institute a graduated incentive-pay program for aircraft maintainers that runs for the duration of a maintenance career, and increase flight-incentive pay for each of the 10-year groupings by a factor of seven."
    -Increase O&S funding
    -accelerate F-35 buy, but cap procurement of the type to 1,260. Even at an accelerated buy rate it would take production into the 2030's (ironic- roughly 1,200 was the production number I see as realistic). Keep the fourth gen fleet relevant until then.

    Also;
    - another round of BRAC
    - more funding for electronic warfare
    - upgraded missile defense

    Comment


      Oooh , finally some proposals smelling common sense and realism coming from the other side of Atlantic.

      Well, FBW, seems you only missed those 60 planes for National Guard/Reserve.

      I appreciate also the suggestion of buying more Growler instead of acquiring new, (quite chimerical) advanced SH.
      Last edited by Marcellogo; 31st March 2017, 00:57.

      Comment


        DoD weapons designer: Swarming teams of drones will dominate future wars

        Comment


          AvWeek
          Attached Files
          Old radar types never die; they just phased array

          Comment


            From lieutenant General Mark C. Nowland's written statement during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on USAF modernization -


            * We are currently using legacy munitions on our 5th generation fleet which negates the full advantage these platforms can provide. Investments into programs such as the Small Advanced Capabilities Missile (SACM) and the Stand in Attack Weapon (SiAW) are crucial to realizing the full potential of our next generation of aircraft. The SACM is a smaller, affordable air to air weapon that is required to increase magazine depth and maximize utility of a PCA capability. SiAW is an air-to-surface weapon designed to hold at risk the surface elements that make up the A2AD environment and will be integrated on F-35, B-21 and other future platforms like PCA. With your continued help the USAF must continue to invest in and develop advanced munition capabilities such as these to ensure future air superiority for the Joint Force.....

            * The Air Force is focused on creating feasible investment options throughout its BMC2 portfolio that drive towards the attainment of an advanced MDC2 capability for the joint force. For example, multiple AWACS modernization activities are underway with the most notable being the upgrade to the Block 40/45 mission system which is the foundation for all future AWACS capability improvements. Additionally, the Air Force is in the midst ofaccomplishing activities for a follow-on airborne battle management command and control capability, the Airborne Battle Management and Surveillance (ABMS), which is currently provided by the E-3/AWACS fleet. The ABMS system is envisioned to be an evolutionary leap in capability intended to achieve IOC prior to the end of AWACS projected service life in 2035.

            * We need to regrow our current fighter force to a minimum of 60 combat fighter squadrons and 2,100 fighter aircraft across our Active, Guard, and Reserve components. This balance will evolve as we procure more F-35 aircraft and develop Penetrating Counterair (PCA) from a 4th/5th generation mix to a 5th/6th generation mix.
            Old radar types never die; they just phased array

            Comment


              USAF’s Future ‘SiAW’ Strike Weapon To Arm F-X, B-21


              The U.S. Air Force is moving forward with two new weapons for its future fighters and bombers, the previously undisclosed Stand-in Attack Weapon (SiAW) and Small Advanced Capabilities Missile (SACM).
              SiAW is an air-to-surface weapon, designed to “hold at risk the surface elements that make up the anti-access/area-denial environment,” the service says in written testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 29.

              SACM is a miniature air-to-air weapon that will cost less and can be carried in greater numbers than today’s radar-guided Raytheon AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles and heat-seeking AIM-9X Sidewinder.

              SACM was spawned by the Air Force Research Laboratory and the concept is now being matured under contract with Raytheon, along with the separate Miniature Self-Defense Munition. The laboratory began speaking publicly about SACM last year, but with scant detail.

              There has been no prior mention of the SiAW surface attack weapon, and the acronym does not appear in any recent Air Force budget documents or technology roadmaps.

              Service officials tell Congress that both weapons are being supported and are “crucial to realizing the full potential of our next generation of aircraft.” SACM is intended for future fighters born of the Penetrating Counter-Air (PCA) program.

              SiAW will arm the Lockheed Martin F-35, Northrop Grumman B-21 and PCA/F-X. Both are designed for high-end warfare against peer adversaries such as Russia and China, which have each fielded an eclectic mix of surface-to-air and air-to-air weapons designed to undermine U.S. dominance of the skies.
              Old radar types never die; they just phased array

              Comment


                L3 Technologies To Be Compass Call Kingmaker


                Which new airframe should the U.S. Air Force’s “Compass Call” electronic warfare mission transition to? Facing a dispute with airframers, the service will let the intended prime contractor L3 Technologies decide.
                The longtime lead systems integrator for today’s Lockheed Martin EC-130H Hercules-based Compass Call, Air Force officials say L3 has the inherent expertise needed to lead the re-host program, which will transfer existing and planned mission systems developed by BAE Systems onto a more modern, higher-performance bizjet-class aircraft.

                Controversy over the Air Force’s stated preference for the Israeli-modified Gulfstream G550 Conformal Airborne Early Warning bird still clouds the program. But the service stresses that a platform has yet to be chosen. It will punt decision authority over to L3, which could limit potential protests or a costly legal battle with the losing sides.

                Competition for this Compass Call aircraft contract is heightened by bizjet plans for future Joint-Stars, Rivet Joint, Command Post and Airborne Early Warning and Control replacements, and the service’s desire for a common platform to reduce fleet costs.
                Speaking at a McAleese/Credit Suisse defense programs conference in Washington on March 22, Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, the service’s military deputy for acquisition, confirmed that L3 will receive the prime contract for any Compass Call platform swap. The paperwork is processed, but the award is being held up by the continuing budget resolution passed by Congress for fiscal 2017, which is inhibiting new spending.

                “They have not made a selection of the platform and we haven’t even been able to go on contract yet because of the continuing resolution and everything else,” Bunch says. “But we have made the decision on how we’re going to go forward and have signed off [on] all the paperwork. Now we’re waiting for the [final spending bill to pass].”
                Old radar types never die; they just phased array

                Comment


                  General Atomics, Dynetics Advance 'Gremlins' UAS Concepts


                  Two companies are advancing concepts for small, reusable unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) that can be launched in volleys and retrieved in flight by a C-130 cargo aircraft under the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) “Gremlins” program. Plans call for one team to produce a demonstration system for flight tests in 2019.

                  General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA‑ASI) of San Diego and Dynetics, of Huntsville, Alabama, in March announced Phase 2 contracts from Darpa to refine their air vehicle and recovery-system concepts to the preliminary design stage. Early next year, Darpa will select one company for an 18-month Phase 3 to build and test its system.

                  Composite Engineering, a Kratos Unmanned Systems Division subsidiary, and Lockheed Martin also competed in the program’s first phase under study contracts awarded in March 2016.

                  In separate releases announcing the year-long Phase 2 contract awards, GA-ASI and Dynetics described Darpa’s program objectives in broad terms but provided few details about their respective concepts. GA-ASI said its Gremlins air vehicle can stay on station one hour at a range of 300 nm while carrying a modular, 60-pound payload, satisfying Darpa specifications. It is one in a line of new small UAS the MQ-9 Reaper manufacturer is developing. At the Air Force Association Air, Space and Cyber conference last September, GA-ASI displayed a fullscale model of a Gremlins air vehicle that would weigh 700 pounds.

                  Dynetics said its Phase 2 contract award is worth up to $21 million and recognizes the company’s experience in developing and rapidly fielding air-launched systems. Last summer, the U.S. Special Operations Command awarded Dynetics an $11.65 million contract to qualify and test its small glide munition (SGM), a tube-launched, 60-pound, precision-guided munition designed for carriage by unmanned aircraft or AC-130 gunships.

                  In a teleconference Dynetics held with reporters to discuss the Gremlins program, executives cited the SGM program and earlier work Dynetics performed on the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) conventional bomb the Air Force developed for delivery by the C-130 at the time of the Iraq War.

                  “This is really a niche for us in terms of rapid development and design capabilities for flight vehicles,” said Tim Keeter, Dynetics’ Gremlins program chief engineer. “It’s something we’ve been doing ever since 2003, when we did the very rapid program for the multiple ordnance air burst system, or the ‘mother of all bombs,’ and other types of systems we’ve done with increasing complexity since then. We feel that we’re large enough as a company to offer the technical depth and breadth of a large company but also the agility of a small company.”

                  Dynetics leads an industry team that includes Kratos-Composite Engineering as a subcontractor along with Sierra Nevada Corporation, Applied Systems Engineering, Systima Technologies, Moog, C-130 fleet operator International Air Response, engine manufacturer Williams International and parachute manufacturer Airborne Systems. Kratos, which supplies BQM-series aerial targets to the U.S. military, is “a key part of our airframe design and development, in particular when it comes to production. They’re playing a pretty heavy role in that area,” Keeter said.

                  Reusable Gremlins air vehicles would be deployed by manned aircraft at standoff range from air defenses, carry multiple types of payloads, operate in unison as a swarm and return to a C-130 mother ship. Technologies developed under the Darpa program will contribute to future autonomy and distributed warfare applications in which a UAS swarm can operate independently of a centralized command structure if communications are jammed or interrupted, Dynetics executives said.

                  “This capability will be transformative,” Keeter said. “It will eventually equip the military with the flexibility in the short term to complement current mission objectives by improving standoff [ranges] of manned aircraft, multiplying efforts to geolocate targets and even extending strike capability of different combat platforms. In the future, Gremlins will provide a necessary architecture for a lot of military objectives that you’re seeing Darpa and companies invest in in the areas of autonomy and distributed capabilities and advanced sensors.”
                  Old radar types never die; they just phased array

                  Comment


                    Such a fascinating program. But I have a hard time imagining that long arm for the recovery with all the turbulence and metal to metal interfaces. The rectangular cross-section as it is displayed in the rendered view GA won't help either IMO.
                    But the C-130 looks like really to be the right platform. The use of a trailing tether for the recovery for small UAS could be very challenging. The tensioning forces are dynamically varying and can increase way much than what the hooked mass would suggest. Active dampening is the way to go certainly here.
                    Notice how they trail the recovery vehicle out of the slipstream for the actual operation to proceed out of turbulences.
                    Last edited by TomcatViP; 31st March 2017, 22:19.

                    Comment


                      It is a competitive program so don't expect anything other than some marketing and PR. Neither firm is likely to disclose their proposals via a press release.
                      Old radar types never die; they just phased array

                      Comment


                        Why not just make the mini drone capable of refueling with a miniaturized probe and drogue system? They could stay in the air for days. I don't know, maybe they could make a stealthy refueling pod for stealth aircraft. Even a small plane like an F-35 could refuel a lot of those small drones.

                        Comment


                          For real?
                          https://www.flightglobal.com/news/ar...rement-435721/

                          The air force is undertaking an analysis that compares the purchase of new F-16s and servicing the F-15s, Harris confirmed.

                          Comment


                            if usaf really want transformation, they better ditch fighters as they wear out,
                            and get serious about drones

                            Comment


                              I agree. Or get manned aircraft that can be converted to drones after. Maybe keep some of them manned if they prefer and use the others converted to UCAVs as sensor nodes/shooters. Imagine the savings...

                              Comment


                                Let'us just hope is an April fool's.

                                Originally posted by Hotshot View Post
                                Ok. USAF is sinking in the absurd from decades already but this one will be the top.


                                Naturally not even a though into buying F-35 for this mission: the Mach 1,6+ interceptor is clearly too much, even for them.
                                Last edited by Marcellogo; 1st April 2017, 10:04.

                                Comment


                                  Given the situation with the BCA, and the CRs and the fact that there is a new leadership in the pentagon it would be extremely wise for them to look at a whole set of options and put them on the table during budget deliberations. They looked at new build F-16's and F-15's a few years ago as well but that died down after they did the math and looked at alternatives. Given that a new SECAF is on her way this makes sense to game out. Of course this does not mean that the USAF is retiring the F-15C or buying new F-16's but merely looking at what options it has on the table. They may be real options if we have years of gridlock and Continued resolutions ahead or they could quickly die down if the Congress gets off of its a$$ and passes a budget on time.

                                  Originally posted by obligatory View Post
                                  if usaf really want transformation, they better ditch fighters as they wear out,
                                  and get serious about drones
                                  The USAF is the world's largest operator of the RPAs and plans to increase its footprint even further in the coming decades across the categories of unmanned aircraft. Missions yet not supported directly by RPA's will be included as the next crop of UAV's are developed including Counter Air, Electronic Warfare and Supression of Enemy Air Defenses. They say as much in their UAV roadmap. Between upgrading the current generation of UAV's, or fielding the next generation (RQ-180) they are working across their portfolios to make sure the technologies are lined up. I'm not sure why any one would feel they aren't 'serious' when this category has received a ton of attention and investment over the last 17 or so years.


                                  NextGen RPA will be essential to achieve dominance in the air battle, which, in turn, permits joint forces to operate anywhere at any time without enemy inference. Teamed, manned, and UA will perform air and missile defense, counterair, EW and SEAD missions.

                                  RPA will conduct counterair offensive missions against an enemy’s capabilities to force the enemy into a defensive posture. This will be part of a joint C2 operation that encompasses various ISR platforms; air-to-air, air-to-ground, and surface-to-air air weapons. Integrated teams of unmanned and manned assets will perform defensive counterair measures designed to detect, identify, intercept, and destroy or negate enemy forces attempting to attack or penetrate the friendly air environment. In addition, RPA will conduct offensive operations to destroy, disrupt, or neutralize enemy aircraft (both manned and unmanned), missiles, launch platforms, and their supporting C2 structures and systems both before and after launch. Concepts like loyal wingman, swarming, and AL-SUAS will be integrated with the mission package to execute attack operations, fighter sweep, escort and SEAD missions.

                                  Improvements in RPA payload technologies will enable RPA to provide electromagnetic, directed energy, or antiradiation weapons to attack personnel, facilities, or equipment. RPA provide a unique advantage in endurance and risk tolerance over the manned platforms of today. An EA-equipped RPA should be capable of long-endurance missions and able to carry small, low-cost, air-launched and expendable options (e.g., Miniature Air Launched Decoy-Jammer). Specialized EA payloads for SUAS platforms should also be considered where SWaP limitations permit.

                                  The goal of EW is to prevent or reduce the enemy’s use of the electromagnetic spectrum and protect friendly personnel, facilities and equipment. In support of this mission, RPA should be equipped to search, intercept, rapidly identify threats and locate sources of radiated electromagnetic energy.

                                  Key attributes of future EW platforms include sensor payload flexibility that allows for specialized EW packages to provide selective jamming, spoofing or EA capability. The vision for EA capability is the integration of mature EA payloads on RPA. The components must be modular in nature to allow the use of interchangeable payloads that meet the threat and are reprogrammable to rapidly adapt to new threats. These platforms and payloads must be network-capable to share information with other EA systems, both manned and unmanned. RPA equipped with EW payloads would provide both self-defense and offensive capabilities for EA operations, as directed by the combined force air component commander.

                                  The platform must include countermeasures for survivability, such as towed decoys, missile warning systems, active jammers, and threat alerts while also maintaining sufficient speed, altitude ranges, and maneuverability. The aircraft must be designed with electrical hardening and sufficient power for EW systems. The platform and associated EW accoutrements must enable flexible communications capable of importing target or threat information from other assets. Future antenna and laser designs should enable platforms to create effects independently or by teaming with other manned or unmanned platforms.Key attributes of future counterair platforms are to provide ISR, deception, jamming, or harassment of enemy forces and air defense systems. These capabilities may be used to attack some targets either too dangerous for manned aircraft or where manned aircraft are not present to respond.
                                  Last edited by bring_it_on; 1st April 2017, 10:48.
                                  Old radar types never die; they just phased array

                                  Comment


                                    Originally posted by Marcellogo View Post
                                    Ok. USAF is sinking in the absurd from decades already but this one will be the top.


                                    Naturally not even a though into buying F-35 for this mission: the Mach 1,6+ interceptor is clearly too much, even for them.
                                    Yeah it could have been an april's fool joke.

                                    Those F-15s will have to hold long enough to be replaced by F-35s or something of new generation. Even if they put flight restrictions on them on speed and Gs for the last years...

                                    Comment


                                      Originally posted by Hotshot View Post
                                      Yeah it could have been an april's fool joke.

                                      Those F-15s will have to hold long enough to be replaced by F-35s or something of new generation. Even if they put flight restrictions on them on speed and Gs for the last years...
                                      They are talking about for air policing.

                                      While the USAF is saying news of the F-15s demise has been greatly exaggerated, the services head of Air Combat Command also outlined the increasing costs to keep the Eagle flying. The F-15 would require a series of service life extension programmes including a center fuselage overhaul estimated at $40 million per unit, Gen Mike Holmes told reporters during a 29 March event in Washington.

                                      Im probably not going to do that, he says. So the question is, what year does that happen at the rate were flying them and then theres an end out there and somewhere in the late 20s that you either have to put $30 million or $40 million an airplane into them or stop flying them.

                                      If the USAF retires the F-15, then the service could use block 52 F-16s with a modernized AESA radar to fulfill the Eagles domestic air defense role, Holmes says.
                                      Basically they are comparing the cost of an extensive life extension/modernization program for an old F-15, against some new build F-16s, in the domestic air defense role.

                                      They aren't talking about replacing all F-15s with F-16s, if that were the case they would cancel the 6th generation/PCA effort.

                                      Comment


                                        Yeah for sure, but still, it makes no sense to buy F-16 when the F-35 will be available at not much more. If you want something really cheap for air policing, they can go with a T-X derivative with a small AESA. An F404 is well enough to push the plane at mach 1.5 with 4 missiles. If that's the goal.

                                        Comment


                                          The time is right for Pentagon to run a new long term sustainment plan for USAF.
                                          The risen sustainment cost for the current USAF structure is in plain words, biting Pentagon in the @ss.

                                          Its time to find out how many Sq and which type USAF can really sustain.
                                          We have seen this with all the other small and larger AF around the world. US is not immune to this, not even their their large budget.

                                          This also goes for USN and USMC aviation.
                                          Last edited by haavarla; 1st April 2017, 11:50.
                                          Thanks

                                          Comment


                                           

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