Wednesday, July 31, 2013

US Lawmaker Seeks to Partner with Russia to Clean Up Space

US Lawmaker Seeks to Partner with Russia to Clean Up Space: A prominent US lawmaker and advocate of the United States' role in space told a conference on the commercialization of space that the US and Russia should team up for extraterrestrial projects - and suggested they start by cleaning up the hundreds of thousands of pieces of manmade space litter and capturing and deflecting asteroids hurtling toward Earth.
"Now that Russia is no longer a communist dictatorship and has been evolving in the right direction, we should reach out to them even more than we did in the past, along with our European allies, to have joint missions in space," Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said by Skype to attendees at the New Space 2013 conference in San Jose, California this past weekend.
"Even when it was the Soviet Union, even when they were our enemies, we were able to cooperate" in space, the vice chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee noted.
The international space team could "clear the space debris that threatens to limit our use of space" and work to "identify and deflect near-Earth objects from hitting Earth," the California lawmaker said.

NASA and Korean Space Agency Discuss Space Cooperation

NASA and Korean Space Agency Discuss Space Cooperation: NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and the president of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), Seung Jo Kim, met in Washington Monday to discuss collaboration in aeronautics research and space exploration, including KARI's robotic lunar mission and NASA's asteroid initiative.
This was the first meeting between Bolden and Kim.
"Our two agencies share a mutual interest in aeronautics research, and have identified opportunities for collaboration," said Bolden. "We also have partnered for several years in the International Space Exploration Coordination Group and are looking forward to continued discussions on potential cooperation in space exploration."
Bolden and Kim also discussed NASA's plans for a new asteroid initiative, previously announced in President Obama's fiscal year 2014 budget proposal. Kim welcomed the chance to discuss opportunities for collaboration.
NASA's asteroid initiative involves robotically capturing a small near-Earth asteroid and redirecting it safely to a stable lunar orbit where astronauts can explore it.

Principle Agreement Reached On Two Lower Cost F-35 Contracts

Principle Agreement Reached On Two Lower Cost F-35 Contracts

The U.S. Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin have reached an agreement in principle for the next two F-35 Lightning II aircraft production contracts (Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) lots 6 and 7), which is expected to include 71 stealth fighter aircraft and continue a reduction in F-35 aircraft pricing. The contracting effort spanned six months from proposal to settlement. A decrease in F-35 LRIP 6-7 unit costs, coupled with negotiating lower prices on a number of other smaller contracts, will allow the Department to purchase all the aircraft originally planned, including those that were in jeopardy of being cut due to sequestration budget impacts. Cost details will be released once both contracts are finalized; however, in general, the unit prices for all three variants of the U.S. air vehicles in LRIP-6 are roughly four percent lower than the previous contract. LRIP-7 air vehicle unit prices will show an additional four percent reduction. The LRIP-7 price represents about an eight percent reduction from the LRIP-5 contract signed in December 2012.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

CNO Defends LCS Program in Wake of GAO Skepticism

CNO Defends LCS Program in Wake of GAO Skepticism

The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program was under a microscope this week after news of an electrical problem resulted in a brief loss of power for USS Freedom (LCS 1) over the weekend and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a critical, 72-page report today scrutinizing the cost of the program.

However, top Navy leadership including the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert view the performance problems as common for any first-in-class platform--especially in an innovative platform such as the LCS with its interchangeable modular payload design enabling the ship to conform to its battle space.

Greenert spoke about the GAO report that was leaked days in advance during a Pentagon press brief held July 19 to discuss the status of the Navy with the Pentagon Press Corps. In his comments Greenert compared the LCS with debuts of previous first- in-class ships and said there was initial skepticism with those platforms too.

"My view is, what we are finding is not that significantly different from the Perry class of the ʻ60s and ʻ70s, the Spruance class of the ʻ70s, nor even the Arleigh Burke class when it comes to the size and the impact on it," Greenert said defending the initial hiccups of the LCS.

Not one for excuses and understanding of our nation's budget constraints Greenert added, "But we need to be vigilant, we need to follow up, and we have work to do."

For CNO, that work continued yesterday, July 24 less than a week after the Pentagon press brief as he toured the Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard July 24 to observe the progress of several Freedom-class variants of the LCS currently under construction.

During his tour, Greenert walked through several of the $74 million improved Marinette Marine shipbuilding facilities to see firsthand future LCSs: (LCS 5) Milwaukee, (LCS 7) Detroit, (LCS 9) Little Rock, and (LCS 11) Sioux City not only being built, but being built better with integrated feedback from industry and Sailors in the fleet.

President and CEO of Marinette Marine Chuck Goddard said efficiencies in the building process resulting from upgrades to the shipyard will drive down costs per unit of the LCS over time while the fleetʼs feedback is resulting in a more superior product for our Sailors charged with protecting the worldʼs sea lanes.

"Iʼm very impressed," Greenert told a group of Marinette reporters following his tour of the shipyard.

Greenert was equally impressed by the communication between the LCS industry and Sailors in the fleet whoʼs valuable feedback is enabling Marinette Marine to change designs and manufacturing processes as necessary to fix issues with current LCS models and prevent them from being integrated into future LCSs.

"We have a team effort," Greenert said about the Sailors who operate the ships and the shipbuilders in Marinette Marine. "Their feedback and connection with what Freedom is undergoing, with what Fort Worth is undergoing back into the design is impressive and it turns quickly into the shipyard."

Greenert reiterated to the Marinette reporters that historically, it's not uncommon to have to modify a first-in-class ship's design once it becomes operational despite best efforts to fix and find all of the bugs during the testing period.

"It really isn't about the quality of the workmanship, I think the question is what decisions the Navy has made to build this type of ship, the decisions we collectively made as to how we were going to build them in sequence, design and changes, that's not unusual," Greenert said. "We need to take them deliberately and seriously and we are in as much of a partnership as we can with the General Accounting Office."

Ultimately, the Navy is committed to the LCS Greenert said.

"This class of ship is so important to us, for its modularity, its speed, its volume," Greenert said.

"I came here to see how are the changes coming around, what is the relationship more long term," Greenert said to reporters at the conclusion of his confidence visit and tour of Marinette Marine. "We're only in the starting pieces of this long program."

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Feature - B-52 CONECT: A reboot for the Digital Age

Feature - B-52 CONECT: A reboot for the Digital Age

One thing is certain: it's not your father's B-52.

The B-52 Stratofortress has been the Air Force's star long-range strategic heavy bomber and premier standoff weapon for more than 50 years. For generations, the B-52 has successfully executed missions all over the globe.

But in the 21st century, the pace of things has accelerated beyond the wildest dreams of the original designers who first put plans for the aircraft on the drawing board more than 60 years ago.

"Things change so quickly now, that you simply can't take 20- to 30-hour-old data into the fight with you any longer," said Alan Williams, the deputy program element monitor at Air Force Global Strike Command.

With digital display screens, computer network servers and real-time communication uplinks, the B-52 of the future will be far removed from the final batch that was delivered to Minot Air Force Base, N.D., in 1962.

The Combat Network Communications Technology, or CONECT, program will help thrust the B-52 into the modern era.

"Now the crews will be able to do final mission planning enroute," Williams said. "They will be able to get targeting updates; they will be able to get intelligence updates, all while they are en route so that they can get the most current data."

The beyond line of sight, or BLOS, communications ability introduced in the CONECT upgrades will allow for a central air operations center to pass along updated threat and targeting data to the aircraft for rapid machine-to-machine retargeting, rather than having the crew and mission be dependent solely upon information that was available at take-off.

"The aircraft will be much more effective and safer for the crew because of being able to receive those threat and target updates," Williams said, adding that CONECT will also allow the aircrew to receive last-minute updates so that they are able to strike the most current or necessary targets and do it rapidly because of the new machine-to-machine targeting capability.

CONECT also brings an unprecedented networking ability to the B-52.

"It provides us with a digital backbone so that we can pass data all the way around the aircraft," Williams said, explaining that with the upgrades, any data available to one crew member will now be available to every other member instantaneously via the new digital displays at each workstation.

These new upgrades will provide a foundation that may help guarantee the aircraft's viability through the remainder of its life span, which is currently projected to extend beyond 2040.

"Now when we add additional systems to the aircraft at some future date, we will be going from a digital component, across our new digital backbone, to another digital component elsewhere in the aircraft," Williams said. "In the future, it will make upgrades easier to do because we'll already have that digital infrastructure in the aircraft."

Williams summed up the CONECT upgrades by saying they would help convert the B-52 from an analog aircraft to a digital platform for today's warfighter.

"It is taking the B-52 from a rotary-dial phone to a smartphone," Williams said.

With the CONECT upgrades in place, the B-52 will be well-equipped to enter the Digital Age. In doing so, "the aircraft" will continue to be an adaptable powerhouse for decades to come.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

'Talisman Saber' shows Army's expanding role in Pacific | Article | The United States Army

'Talisman Saber' shows Army's expanding role in Pacific | Article | The United States Army

 I Corps is playing a key role in Exercise Talisman Saber in Australia, demonstrating the Army's increasing influence in the Pacific, said one of the exercise planners.

Many associate the Navy with the Pacific, but no one lives on the ocean," said Lt. Col. Jade Hinman, deputy plans officer for I Corps. "They live on the land," and that's where the Army's significant capability comes into play.

When Talisman Saber, the largest bilateral exercise between the U.S. and Australia, started in 2005, it was largely "naval-centric," said Hinman.

And, for good reason, as the Army was heavily engaged at the time in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This year, however, the Army is "injecting more land operations" into the biennial exercise, although participation by naval forces and the Air Force remains high, along with Australia's 1st Division, he said.

A main goal of the exercise is to certify I Corps for joint operational readiness. This ensures I Corps will be mission-ready for U.S. Pacific Command should the need arise. The need could be anything from warfare to humanitarian assistance, he said.

U.S. Pacific Command's area covers nearly half the globe, including 36 nations. U.S. Army Pacific represents the Army component, with I Corps taking a main role, along with 8th Army in Korea, and a number of brigades.

Much of the exercise is being done with high-powered computer simulators in the main headquarters in Brisbane, Australia, where Hinman is located, along with simulators and players at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., and in a number of other locations including Alaska, Hawaii and San Diego.

National Guard Soldiers of the 34th and 36th Divisions are participating out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, along with a number of Army active duty and reserve-component units.


The players in the virtual world operate in "real time," with realistic scenarios based on events that could conceivably occur in the Pacific, from natural disasters to all-out war, Hinman said.

"Real time" means Queensland time. Queensland is a state in northeast Australia where Brisbane is located. That means Soldiers at Lewis-McChord, 14 time zones away, are doing a lot of their work at night, he said.

The exercise itself is taking place July 20-28, so the simulators are programmed to crunch months or even years of "crises" into that period of time, and Soldiers and other players need to resolve those crises within that timeframe, he explained.

Soldiers operating the simulators issue orders, resolve conflicts and provide solutions to tricky problems, he said.

It's a pretty stressful environment to work in and operations continue around the clock, he said.

Hinman himself is acquainted with stress, having served several tours in Iraq, including one as a tank company commander. He also is a graduate of the prestigious School of Advanced Military Studies, known as SAMS, a graduate-level program that focuses on complex and ambiguous problems at the strategic level, training that comes in handy for this exercise.


Not all is simulation.

Australia itself has been divided into a number of fictitious countries, each with various problems and conflicts, Hinman said.

One of the scenarios involves a threat to regional and global stability, requiring the Navy and a Marine expeditionary unit to conduct an amphibious landing at Queensland's Shoalwater Bay Training Area.

The landings were real and the Australians were also involved in that, both onshore and offshore.

The Army's boots-on-the-ground piece consisted of some 400 paratroopers from the 25th Infantry Division at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska, flying 16 hours and then jumping into the training area in support of the joint/combined forcible entry effort.

Upon safely hitting the ground, the paratroopers came under the control of the 1st Division (Australia), he said, noting that the two nations share network and communications capabilities and the exercise provided a rigorous test of those systems.

Once the forcible entry and fighting succeeds, assuming that it does, stability operations take place, with the eventual goal of the military handing power over to a legitimately elected political body, all in a matter of days, he explained.

Australia is not the only U.S. partner in the region. Nations throughout the region are "eager to train with us and we with them," he said, and this and follow-on exercises will provide ample opportunity.

This exercise is a lot more than just a game, Hinman emphasized. It was designed to be "painfully realistic" and he said lives could one day depend on getting it right, adding "we care."

Odierno visits India, focuses on future opportunities | Article | The United States Army

Odierno visits India, focuses on future opportunities | Article | The United States Army

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno traveled to New Delhi this week, where he visited with his Indian counterpart, Gen. Bikram Singh, chief of army staff.

The United States and Indian Armies have enjoyed a long-standing partnership over the years, operating alongside one another in training exercises and military exchanges.

During the visit, the generals discussed future opportunities between the two armies to further strengthen the relationship. Odierno also met with other senior leaders, spoke at the Indian National Defense College, and met with Soldiers of the Indian Army.

"It's important to work with other militaries, building relationships with one other, developing trust and understanding," said Odierno. "It was an honor for me to visit with General Singh and his staff. Sharing lessons learned and having a dialogue with other militaries concerning their operations and training is an important part of our mil-to-mil relationships."

Visits with military counterparts are conducted regularly by the chief of staff, both in Washington, D.C., and in host countries around the world. These counterpart visits are critical in sustaining military partnerships, as well as strengthening engagements opportunities.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Army looking at opening more combat jobs to women | Article | The United States Army

Army looking at opening more combat jobs to women | Article | The United States Army

Last month the Army announced its plan to integrate women into combat roles, opening positions within 27 brigade combat teams, which include nine National Guard brigade combat teams.

The Army also opened positions within field artillery battalions down to the company level, so that female officers could be battery commanders and platoon leaders.

Other positions throughout the Army are being examined and could possibly open to women under the "Soldier 2020" initiative, said Col. Linda Sheimo, chief of the Command Programs and Policy Division at the Directorate of Military Personnel Management, Army G-1.


The Army's "Soldier 2020" initiative is about having the best Soldiers possible in the Army by 2020, Sheimo said. Part of that will be re-evaluating standards and validating gender-neutral standards for Army jobs, she explained.

The Soldier 2020 initiative requires the scientific validation of all physical fitness standards that are currently in place. This evaluation could make way for the development of a pre-test, so that individuals can take more time to train and prepare on their own for certain jobs.

"We're not lowering standards," Sheimo said. "We are ensuring that every Soldier knows what the standard is. The reality is that you will have some cases where men will not be able to meet that minimum requirement, they just won't have the physical capability, and there might be some women that do."

By summer 2015, recommendations will be made to Army senior leadership about what jobs can and cannot realistically be opened to women, she said.


Women fighting for their country is nothing new. From enlisting undercover like Deborah Sampson, to firing cannons like Molly "Pitcher" Hays McCauley, women have been fighting in combat since the Revolutionary War.

In the 1940s, the Army first made headway into incorporating women into the ranks. It was then, in 1942, the military allowed women to serve as part of the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps, later the Women's Army Corps. In 1978, that organization was dissolved and the WAC was integrated into the Regular Army.


In 1994, then Secretary of Defense Les Aspen put into effect the Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule, or DGCAR. The rule prohibited women from being assigned to ground combat units below the brigade level.

As part of the DGCAR, the Army's Training and Doctrine Command reviewed positions that were closed to women every three years, Sheimo said.

In February 2012, the Army asked for an exception to the DGCAR to be included as part of the Secretary of Defense's Report to Congress on women in service. This allowed the Army to open up non-commissioned officer, or NCO, and officer ranks in nine brigade combat teams. The Army received the go-ahead, May 14, 2012.

About 280 women were assigned to the newly opened positions, Sheimo said. The Army conducted two rounds of focus groups, interviews and survey, months apart, to assess the integration of women into those units.

"The findings were pretty much all positive," Sheimo said. "There were concerns about women's ability to do physical tasks, but over time, they were able to keep up with physical training and those types of things. There's at least one brigade combat team, which was in that first group, that is actually deployed right now with females serving in those positions."

The women currently serving on those teams will serve as cadre and pave the way for more to follow, Sheimo said.

Former Secretary of Defense Leon Pannetta made the decision to eliminate the DGCAR based on the recommendation of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Sheimo said.

The elimination of the policy meant the Army would now have to ask for an exception to policy to exclude women from units, positions or occupations. Previously, the Army had to request an exception to policy for a woman to serve as stated above based on the DGCAR. However, all notifications or requests for exception to policy must go through the Secretary of Defense to Congress and complete a required waiting period before the changes can go into effect Sheimo said.

"It's about making sure we have access to the best individuals and then giving them the opportunity to find their niche where they can serve the Army the best," Sheimo said.


When the Soldier 2020 recommendations are made in 2015, Sheimo said the default will be to open jobs to women. If the Army wants to keep certain jobs closed to women, officials must present a case for that, and ask for an exclusion, she said.

After passing through Army senior leadership, those recommendations will move on to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and finally to the Secretary of Defense. Then, the Secretary of Defense will notify Congress of any decisions, Sheimo said.

In order to integrate women into new career opportunities as soon as possible, the Army offered female NCOs the option to reclassify into occupations previously closed to women.

The Army will follow a "stairstep" approach in placing officers and senior NCOs in previously closed units to facilitate integration of female Soldiers in positions recently opened to them.

Because the reclassification is voluntary for NCOs, however, there may be few NCOs who will request this opportunity. The changes in the force structure and the size of the Army will also limit the number of NCOs who will be able to reclassify.


Sheimo said she thinks women will be able to integrate into newly-opened units the same way men already integrate themselves into those units, by proving their competency.

"In the cases where women have integrated really well, it is because they proved themselves, just as men have to do," Sheimo said.

Sheimo also said she thinks that having women in units could make them better by bringing to them unique capabilities that closed units don't already have.

"Having females as part of combat teams can be a force multiplier, since women can engage with the local women in a particular country," Sheimo said. "There are some occasions, such as at security check points, where it is inappropriate for a woman to be checked by a man, and there are cultures where it is unacceptable for a woman to interact with a man.

"Could the unit be better because females come into it? Will they raise the bar?" Sheimo asked. "Units do well when competent Soldiers arrive, are able to accomplish all tasks to Army standards and are encouraged to meet their potential, regardless of diversity."

New Military Communications Satellite Built By Lockheed Martin Launches

New Military Communications Satellite Built By Lockheed Martin Launches: The second Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite built by Lockheed Martin for the U.S. Navy is responding to commands after being launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
The Lockheed Martin-led initialization team is now commanding the satellite from the Naval Satellite Operations Center located at the Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, Calif.
The MUOS constellation replaces the legacy Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Follow-On system and delivers secure, prioritized voice and data communications, a first for mobile users who need high-speed mission data on the go.

First Upgraded MQ-8C Fire Scout Delivered to U.S. Navy

First Upgraded MQ-8C Fire Scout Delivered to U.S. Navy: The U.S. Navy got its first look at the upgraded MQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned system when Northrop Grumman Corporation delivered its first MQ-8C system this month. Northrop Grumman is the Navy's prime contractor for the MQ-8 Fire Scout program of record.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Novel Hollow-Core Optical Fiber to Enable High-Power Military Sensors

Novel Hollow-Core Optical Fiber to Enable High-Power Military Sensors: The intensity of light that propagates through glass optical fiber is fundamentally limited by the glass itself. A novel fiber design using a hollow, air-filled core removes this limitation and dramatically improves performance by forcing light to travel through channels of air, instead of the glass around it.
DARPA's unique spider-web-like, hollow-core fiber, design is the first to demonstrate single-spatial-mode, low-loss and polarization control-key properties needed for advanced military applications such as high-precision fiber optic gyroscopes for inertial navigation.
Although hollow-core fiber has been available from overseas suppliers for years, DARPA's ongoing Compact Ultra-Stable Gyro for Absolute Reference (COUGAR) program has brought design and production capacity inside the United States and developed it to a level that exceeds the state of the art.
A team of DARPA-funded researchers led by Honeywell International Inc. developed the technology. The hollow-core fiber is the first to include three critical performance-enabling properties:
+ Single-spatial-mode: light can take only a single path, enabling higher bandwidth over longer distances;
+ Low-loss: light maintains intensity over longer distances;
+ Polarization control: the orientation of the light waves is fixed in the fiber, which is necessary for applications such as sensing, interferometry and secure communications.
Hollow-core fiber can also be bent and coiled while guiding light at speeds 30 percent faster than conventional fiber.

Global poll sees China rising, but high marks for US

Global poll sees China rising, but high marks for US:
The world increasingly believes China will become the top superpower but the United States enjoys a better image in most regions, according to a poll released Thursday. A 39-nation study by the Pew Research Center found that the United States is still enjoying the boost to its reputation that followed the election of President Barack Obama -- except in a number of Islamic nations where Washington remains widely disliked. The survey, the US-based center's largest since 2007, found growing criticism of China in most of East Asia and Europe. "However, even in many countries where America is still seen as the top economic power, most believe China will someday become the leading overall superpower," the study said. In Western Europe, the public in all countries polled except Italy -- where the United States was especially popular -- believed that China has topped or has already surpassed the United States "as the world's leading superpower." But the study put the US favorability rating globally a 63 percent, compared with 50 percent for China. Even nations with widespread anti-US feeling gave higher marks when asked about the American people and most acknowledged that Washington allowed personal freedoms for its own citizens.

Early hardware delivery enables deployment of crucial missile defense radar

Early hardware delivery enables deployment of crucial missile defense radar

The Missile Defense Agency will soon have available a deployment-ready AN/TPY-2 ballistic missile defense radar to help counter the more than 6,300 ballistic missiles outside of U.S., NATO, Russian and Chinese control. Raytheon has delivered a cooling equipment unit (CEU) -- a crucial component of the AN/TPY-2 radar -- more than 14 months early, supporting demand for this critical missile defense asset. The early CEU delivery, and an MDA contract awarded for AN/TPY-2 logistics support, will enable MDA to shift assets, if needed, to meet a growing warfighter and combatant command demand for the AN/TPY-2 radar. If called upon, MDA will now be able to operationally deploy an AN/TPY-2 system that has recently been employed in a string of successful missile defense tests. An integral part of the Ballistic Missile Defense System, AN/TPY-2 is a mobile, X-band phased-array radar that protects the U.S., warfighters, and America's allies and security partners by searching, acquiring and tracking threat ballistic missiles and discriminating between threats and non-threats. "Raytheon's AN/TPY-2 radar is a critical element in defending against the growing ballistic missile threat," said David Gulla, vice president of Global Integrated Sensors for Raytheon's Integrated Defense Systems business. "Giving MDA the flexibility to quickly deploy an additional, operationally-effective AN/TPY-2 is an important step toward meeting the growing demand for this vital radar." The AN/TPY-2 may be deployed globally in either terminal or forward-based mode. In terminal mode, the AN/TPY-2 serves as the search, detect, track, discrimination and fire-control radar for the THAAD weapon system, enabling the THAAD missile to intercept and destroy threats. In forward-based mode, the AN/TPY-2 cues the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) by detecting, discriminating and tracking enemy ballistic missiles in the ascent (boost) phase of flight.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Rocket part made by 3D printing in successful hot-fire test

Rocket part made by 3D printing in successful hot-fire test: NASA say it has completed a series of test firings of its first rocket engine part made using 3D printing technology.
Custom 3D printers spraying layers of metallic powder using lasers were used to create a rocket engine's fuel injector that underwent several hot-fire tests using a mix of liquid-oxygen and gaseous hydrogen, a NASA release reported.
Manufacturing this type of injector with traditional processes would take more than a year but the 3D process produced it in less than 4 months, the agency said.

Hagel orders cuts for Pentagon headquarters

Hagel orders cuts for Pentagon headquarters: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered a 20 percent cut in funding for the Pentagon's top civilian and military headquarters by 2019, saying everyone has to "do their part."
Hagel announced the order Tuesday during a visit to a naval air base in Jacksonville, Florida, portraying the move as a signal that no element of the military's bureaucracy would be immune from budget pressures.
Previous Pentagon leaders also have tried -- with little success -- to scale back the top-heavy bureaucracy.
These past efforts have taken aim at the large number of well-paid civilian officials and senior officers who work for the Joint Staff and the Office of the Secretary of Defense, a mini-administration that supports the Pentagon chief.
Hagel's spokesman, George Little, said the newly proposed reduction would result in savings of roughly $1.5 billion to $2 billion over five years, which by itself would not solve the Defense Department's budget woes.

Raytheon, Chemring Group plan live missile firing for next phase of CENTURION development

Raytheon, Chemring Group plan live missile firing for next phase of CENTURION development: Raytheon, acting through its Missile Systems business, and Chemring Group (LSE: CHG) are finalizing plans to conduct a live missile firing of the multirole CENTURION launcher at the Defence Training Estate on Salisbury Plain during the fourth quarter of 2013.
"Our plan is to launch a missile to help prove our capability against a maneuvering surface threat such as a fast, swarming attack craft," said Rick Nelson, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems' Naval and Area Mission Defense product line.
"Chemring's CENTURION launcher, coupled with a number of Raytheon's combat-tested missiles, brings an entirely new dimension to ship self-defense to provide a sea-based, inside-the-horizon platform protection system."
Low Cost Anti-Surface Weapon System
The solution to counter fast inshore attack craft consists of a variety of Raytheon missiles with ranges matched to the intended target. The missiles would be fired from the Chemring CENTURION launcher, with initial target detection, tracking and identification provided by the ship's sensors.

U.S.-Australia tracking system logistics interoperability

U.S.-Australia tracking system logistics interoperability

A new logistics tracking system between the United States and Australia will help to ensure faster, more coordinated responses to humanitarian crises and other contingencies while laying the foundation for closer cooperation across the Asia-Pacific region, the senior U.S. Pacific Command logistics director reported.

PACOM, through its U.S. Army Pacific component, and the Australian Defence Force launched the Pacific Radio Frequency Identification System in April, Brig. Gen. Mark M. McLeod reported during a telephone interview from the command headquarters at Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii.

The system incorporates technologies commercial retailers have come to rely on to track their goods from the manufacturer to warehouses and into buyers' hands, McLeod said.

It also leverages capabilities NATO introduced about three years ago with the standup of a network exchange hub that promotes information sharing about supply shipments bound for the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

The NATO system uses radio-frequency identification to automatically locate and track shipments through ISAF-member supply chains. Nations connected to a routing hub in Luxembourg transmit logistics data to other users, giving the entire supply chain real-time visibility on the shipments.

The Pacific Radio Frequency Identification system introduces this capability into the PACOM theater to support rotational U.S. Marine Corps forces in Darwin, Australia, and expanded military-to-military cooperation across the region, McLeod said.

The U.S. Defense Department has long used barcode technology to monitor the flow of everything from washers and nuts for a particular aircraft to armored vehicles, he said. This gives logisticians the ability to track shipments throughout the transportation process and keep tabs on inventory stocks.

The new system takes this effort a step further, by using radio frequency identification technology to "read" barcode information on both U.S. and Australian military equipment and supplies. Australian RFID readers recognize the barcodes affixed to U.S. shipments flowing through Australia, then automatically transmits the information to the NATO routing hub. U.S. logisticians can then monitor the flow of equipment or shipments through delivery.

"It gives everybody near-real-time access," McLeod said. "When an individual supply-line item passes along a tracking device, it is automatically read up into a database and distributed. There is literally just a matter of seconds involved in the transmission of the information to everyone's servers about where their equipment is."

The new logistics partnership saves the U.S. the cost of deploying and installing its own RFID systems in Australia at an estimated cost of about $560,000 over the next five years, McLeod said.

"This is a big win for U.S. and Australian forces operating in the Pacific, McLeod said. "This is 'Pacific Rebalance' in action."

With a U.S. defense strategy increasingly focused on the Asia-Pacific region and expanded U.S. engagement across the theater, the system supports closer U.S.-Australian interoperability during exercises, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions and other contingencies, he said.

The system also provides a framework that could be expanded in the future to include more regional allies and partners, he said.

"This is another example of how partner-nation logistics cooperation effectively and efficiently expands military reach and capability in the Asia-Pacific region," the general added.

Historically, the military has struggled with two primary obstacles to logistics-information technology: incompatible systems that made sharing difficult, and security protocols that limited what information could be shared and with whom.

The since-dissolved U.S. Forces Command came up with an initial logistics information-sharing system about seven years ago, McLeod said. It required users from one country to email information to their partner-nation counterparts, who downloaded the file and uploaded it onto their own system.

"It was a clunky way of transmitting information, and not in real time," McLeod said. "It depended on how much manpower and how much time you had, so it wasn't an effective or efficient way of sharing information."

U.S. and Australian officials previously attempted to share logistics information using a direct link between their systems, but were bogged down by slow and cumbersome accreditation processes and servers that had trouble exchanging information. They abandoned the project in early 2011 in favor of the current one, which leverages NATO capabilities.

"The system is fully operational right now," McLeod said. "It was turned on in early April, and it is up and running."

McLeod emphasized the importance of logistics information-sharing, particularly during the U.S. pivot to the Asia-Pacific region.

"Knowing the times and dates when things are going to arrive empowers all the processes that we have in military logistics," he said. "Efficient and integrated international supply chains aren't just important to (international retailers). They are critical enablers for warfighters as well."

This capability will be particularly valuable, he said, in the event that nations need to work together to respond to a natural disaster such as the Operation Tomodachi in Japan.

"We are looking more and more toward our partners and our partner capacity to integrate with us and be more fully interoperable," he said. "This is one of those empowering enabler technologies that allow us to do that."

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

US readies sale of Reaper drones to France

US readies sale of Reaper drones to France: Plans to sell US Reaper drones to France advanced Monday as Congress raised no objections to the contract, Pentagon officials said.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which oversees foreign military sales, had notified Congress on June 27 of the proposed contract, and lawmakers voiced no opposition during a 15-day review period.
"Congress did not propose any joint resolution of disapproval. The case can proceed to be offered," Lorna Jons of the DSCA told AFP.
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had announced on June 11 plans to buy 12 Reaper aircraft from the United States, a purchase worth about $874 million, or 670 million Euros.
An initial two drones, currently in production by San Diego-based manufacturer General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, are due to be delivered to France by the end of the year.
The robotic aircraft will repace Harfang drones, which are technologically less advanced.

Conformal battery unburdens Army's networked Soldiers | Article | The United States Army

Conformal battery unburdens Army's networked Soldiers | Article | The United States Army

The U.S. Army is developing a battery to improve Soldiers' agility on the battlefield while meeting the demands of an increased power burden stemming from new networked electronic devices.

The Conformal Wearable Battery, or CWB, is flexible and integrates into a Soldier's body armor. It conforms to the body, which Army officials say is a significant upgrade to traditional batteries that are rectangular and bulky.

The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command,or RDECOM, and Program Executive Office Soldier have partnered to fulfill the requirements of today's networked Soldier with the CWB.


Developing a battery that fits seamlessly into a Soldier's uniform was one of the project's priorities, said Christopher Hurley, an electronics engineer who leads the battery development projects team at RDECOM's Communications-Electronics Research, Development, known as CERDEC, and Engineering Center.

"Our role is to develop smaller, lighter, cost-effective power sources," Hurley said. "Providing a wearable, ergonomic, comfortable footprint is key. [We took] that big, bulky battery and made it conformable and more comfortable to be worn by the Soldier."

The CWB provides more power, reduces the need for battery re-charging and spares, and serves as a single source of power for all worn electronic devices, Hurley said.

Hurley said the Army's standard batteries, the BA-2590 and BA-5590, were designed to be placed in battery boxes and large communication equipment and not to be worn by the Soldier to power his electronics.

The CWB, however, is made specifically to be worn within a tactical vest, said Steve Mapes, product director for Soldier Power within PEO Soldier's Project Manager Soldier Warrior.

"[The conformal battery] allows the Warfighter to share space with other equipment that he has to carry on his load carriage," Mapes said. "A traditional 2590 or 5590 does not share space on the body armor. It requires its own committed space on the load carriage.

"When you slip a conformal battery into the protective vest and over the [Small Arms Protective Insert] plate, it's virtually invisible and transparent to the Soldier. Now the Soldier can still hang his magazine, grenades or flashlight over the battery. The conformal battery allows the Soldier to share valuable, limited real estate."


Hurley and his fellow CERDEC engineers have developed six CWB prototypes since 2008. During each iteration, the goal has been to demonstrate a battery that is smaller, lighter, provides longer-lasting power and eliminates the need for a separate battery for each electronic device, he said.

"We look to reduce a Soldier's load with the number of batteries [Soldiers] carry and consolidate that into as few batteries as we can," Hurley explained. "The conformal battery is a centralized power source for all the things that a Soldier needs to carry -- GPS, smartphone, radio, other electronics, (and) eliminate the extra batteries for each individual item."

"No longer do you need to carry extra radio or GPS batteries," he continued. "You only need to carry spares for the conformal battery."

CERDEC accomplishes these advancements through experimenting in the laboratory with different chemistry formulations that yield a high-energy, high-power battery that is safe, Hurley said. The target is a battery that enables 72 hours of continuous operation.


The Army's conventional batteries can no longer handle the power demands for worn devices such as Nett Warrior, a handheld tool that provides situational awareness and mission command capabilities, Mapes said.

These networked systems are always sending and receiving data, similar to leaving a cell phone on during a flight. They continuously search for a signal, which rapidly drains the battery.

"The introduction of 'Soldier in the network' brings with it an unprecedented level of capability and amount of power consumers that are worn on the individual warfighter," Mapes said. "You have a power burden that has never before been imposed upon Soldiers, particularly the small-unit leaders. The traditional power strategy for the individual warfighter was fast becoming impractical and irrelevant."


Mapes said the Defense Acquisition Challenge Program,or DAC, helped the Army accelerate the battery's progress and ultimately deliver them to Soldiers sooner. DAC provided a portion of the project's funding from 2010 to 2012.

"DAC allowed us to take samples earlier for testing and validation," Mapes said. "[We received] preliminary Soldier feedback so we could make some immediate improvements on the battery and get a more production-representative version out to the formations. We leveraged everything we could to accelerate tests, user feedback, exposure of the battery to the formation."

"Bottom line, we wouldn't have had the batteries available to go through these tests and get the Soldiers to use and evaluate them had it not been for these earlier efforts," Mapes continued.

The Department of Defense established DAC in 2003 in response to a Congressional mandate for a program that was innovative, flexible, competitive and affordable to integrate mature technologies into the acquisition cycle.

The Office of the Secretary of Defense Comparative Technology Office evaluates the proposals and selects candidates for funding. The RDECOM Global Technology Integration Team manages the program for the Army. DAC was funded through fiscal year 2012.


Hurley emphasized that working with an Army research, development and engineering center includes complete program management -- development, prototyping, engineering support, in-house testing and evaluation.

"Not only do we have the expertise of developing batteries and other power sources, but we also understand how these come together in a Soldier network for something like Nett Warrior," Hurley said. "We understand the integration and how the battery marries up with the other Soldier-borne electronics.

"Our lab is different because we develop complete products. We do not develop a single component. We are a product-oriented organization."


PEO Soldier and CERDEC have taken the CWB to large Army demonstrations and exercises such as the C4ISR Network Modernization, Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment and Network Integration Evaluation. These tests allow the organizations to capture Soldiers' feedback that will shape future versions of the battery.

Mapes said the battery will make a significant improvement in Soldiers' missions.

"We have already realized gains in the area of Soldier load and reduction in the numbers and types of battery. I'm very encouraged by the feedback. I don't have to sell it. I find myself in the pleasant position of not having to convince Soldiers that they need this. They're requesting it. It's very gratifying," he said.

Newest Three Star, Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, Named Deputy USFF

Newest Three Star, Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, Named Deputy USFF

Adm. Bill Gortney, commander U.S. Fleet Forces (USFF) command, promoted Nora W. Tyson to vice admiral in a ceremony held at USFF headquarters aboard Naval Support Activity Norfolk July 15.

Tyson assumes the position of deputy commander USFF and also is Director of the Combined Joint Operations from the Sea Center of Excellence (CJOS COE). CJOS, the only NATO COE in the U.S., provides a focus for the sponsoring nations and NATO in improving allied ability to conduct combined joint operations from the sea in order to ensure that current and emerging global security challenges can be successfully solved.

A native of Memphis, Tenn., Tyson graduated from Vanderbilt University and received her commission from Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I. She earned her wings as a naval flight officer in 1983 and reported to Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron (VQ) 4, where she ultimately served three tours at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Md., and Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., including one as commanding officer.

Tyson also commanded the amphibious assault ship, USS Bataan (LHD 5), leading the Navy's contributions to disaster relief efforts on the U.S. Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and deployed twice to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Her other commands include commander, Task Force 73, commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific based in Singapore and commander, Carrier Strike Group Two, where she led USS George H.W. Bush Strike Group on its maiden deployment in support of operations in both 6th and 5th Fleet areas of responsibility.

Tyson completed a tour as vice director, Joint Staff prior to reporting to USFF.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Lockheed Martin's LRLAP Projectile Scores Four-Of-Four in Tests for U.S. Navy

Lockheed Martin's LRLAP Projectile Scores Four-Of-Four in Tests for U.S. Navy: Lockheed Martin's Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) recently completed four engineering verification flight tests, as part of the U.S. Navy's System Design and Development program.
During the tests conducted at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., four projectiles were fired at various hard and soft targets located 45 nautical miles downrange. All four targets were destroyed. The tests allowed engineers to collect lethality data and assess warhead performance, and provided the U.S. Navy the opportunity to develop new employment scenarios.
LRLAP is a 155-mm projectile fired from the Advanced Gun System for the U.S. Navy's next-generation DDG 1000 destroyer. It provides precision fire support from a safe standoff distance to U.S. Marine Corps, Army and Joint/Coalition forces engaged in expeditionary assaults or urban operations in coastal cities, with minimal collateral damage.
"These tests bring us closer to completing the 35 tests required by the U.S. Navy to demonstrate the maturity and performance of the system," said Richard Benton, LRLAP program manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

NASA's OPALS to Beam Data From Space Via Laser

NASA's OPALS to Beam Data From Space Via Laser: NASA will use the International Space Station to test a new communications technology that could dramatically improve spacecraft communications, enhance commercial missions and strengthen transmission of scientific data.
The Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS), an optical technology demonstration experiment, could improve NASA's data rates for communications with future spacecraft by a factor of 10 to 100. OPALS has arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida from the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. It is scheduled to launch to the space station later this year aboard a SpaceX Dragon commercial resupply capsule on the company's Falcon 9 rocket.
"OPALS represents a tangible stepping stone for laser communications, and the International Space Station is a great platform for an experiment like this," said Michael Kokorowski, OPALS project manager at JPL. "Future operational laser communication systems will have the ability to transmit more data from spacecraft down to the ground than they currently do, mitigating a significant bottleneck for scientific investigations and commercial ventures."

Raytheon awarded contract for Joint Standoff Weapon C-1

Raytheon awarded contract for Joint Standoff Weapon C-1

Raytheon has received an $80.5 million production contract award from the U.S. Navy to procure Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) C-1's. The contract was awarded in Raytheon's second quarter of 2013. "JSOW C-1 enables the warfighter to precisely engage targets well beyond most enemy air defenses, thus limiting the threat of adversarial forces," said Celeste Mohr, JSOW program director for Raytheon Missile Systems. "JSOW is exceptionally dependable and provides immeasurable value to the warfighter." The JSOW C-1 adds a weapon datalink radio and modified seeker software to the existing JSOW C, which increases the anti-surface warfare mission capability. The weapon is designed to provide fleet forces with the capability and flexibility to engage moving maritime targets, while retaining its robust capability against stationary land targets. "With more than 400 JSOW A's employed in combat, this weapon has stood the tests of time," said Harry Schulte, vice president of Air Warfare Systems for Raytheon Missile Systems. "Furthermore, the JSOW program has sustained on-time deliveries for 11 years while concurrently maintaining costs. The JSOW has a remarkable record of reliability, resourcefulness and accuracy."

Friday, July 12, 2013

US-China military ties making 'progress': admiral

US-China military ties making 'progress': admiral: Military ties between the United States and China are showing "significant progress" with both sides engaged in a useful dialogue as well as joint exercises, a top US admiral said Thursday.
Three years since military relations hit a low point with Beijing suspending contacts, senior officers are holding regular talks and gaining a better understanding of each country's concerns, Admiral Samuel Locklear, head of the US Pacific Command, told a news conference.
"And I think that the progress that we're making between our two militaries is quite commendable," Locklear said.
The four-star admiral spoke after having taken part in this week's talks in Washington between the United States and China, an annual meeting that covers security as well as economic issues.
US frustration with Chinese cyber hacking against American companies featured high on the agenda in the discussions but Locklear made no mention of digital spying in his remarks.
The defense dialogue in recent months has underscored common ground while clarifying areas of disagreement, he said, allowing commanders to "manage it (friction) so that diplomacy can continue to work."

Lockheed Martin Completes Captive Carry Tests with LRASM

Lockheed Martin Completes Captive Carry Tests with LRASM\\

Lockheed Martin recently completed a series of Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) captive carry flight tests at the Sea Range in Point Mugu, Calif., advancing the research program toward its first missile release and free flight test later this year. The captive carry missions were flown aboard a U.S. Air Force B-1B from the 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. The primary mission objectives were to collect telemetry for post-flight analysis, verify proper control room telemetry displays and simulate all the test activities that will occur in later air-launched flight tests. All test objectives were met. "Collecting telemetry data while flying in the B-1B bomb bay significantly reduces risk ahead of the first launch," said Mike Fleming, LRASM air launch program manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "Initial assessments indicate the missile performed as expected." The LRASM program is in development with the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) and the Office of Naval Research. After a competition in 2009, Lockheed Martin's LRASM was selected to demonstrate air- and surface-launched capability to defeat emerging sea-based threats at significant standoff ranges.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

US drone lands on carrier deck in historic flight

US drone lands on carrier deck in historic flight

A bat-winged drone touched down smoothly on the deck of a US aircraft carrier on Wednesday, marking a historic milestone for robotic flight. The US Navy's X-47B floated down toward the carrier USS George H.W. Bush at reduced speed and then caught an arresting wire on its tail hook, bringing it to a stop in a textbook landing, as reporters and top brass watched. "You saw the future today," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told journalists afterward. The experimental plane had taken off about an hour earlier from the Patuxent River naval air station in Maryland before arriving at the carrier about 80 miles off the Virginia coast at about 1:40 pm local time (1740 GMT). Naval pilots require years of training to learn how to land a fighter jet on a carrier floating at sea, one of the most daunting tasks in aviation. But Wednesday's unprecedented landing by an unmanned plane showed that sophisticated computer software could perform the same task, guiding a robotic aircraft safely onto the deck of a ship at sea.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Missile plan to go ahead despite test failure: US

Missile plan to go ahead despite test failure: US: The US military will go ahead with the deployment of a missile defense system in Alaska despite the recent test failure of an interceptor missile, officials said Tuesday.
Pentagon spokesman George Little said the unsuccessful test on Friday of a Ground Based Interceptor (GBI) was no reason to scrap deployment of the weapons in Alaska. "The test on Friday was not a success and it's being reviewed to see what went wrong," Little said. "But we maintain that we have a robust defense system in place to defend the United States and her allies from a range of threats. "There are no plans to change our expansion to 44 Ground Based Interceptors." The Pentagon announced in March it plans to deploy 14 additional GBI missiles at Fort Greely in Alaska by 2017. The missiles are in addition to 30 already deployed in Alaska and California, representing a 50 percent increase in GBIs on the continent.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

U.S. Considers Faster Pullout in Afghanistan -

U.S. Considers Faster Pullout in Afghanistan - Increasingly frustrated by his dealings with President Hamid Karzai, President Obama is giving serious consideration to speeding up the withdrawal of United States forces from Afghanistan and to a “zero option” that would leave no American troops there after next year, according to American and European officials.

Mr. Obama is committed to ending America’s military involvement in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, and Obama administration officials have been negotiating with Afghan officials about leaving a small “residual force” behind. But his relationship with Mr. Karzai has been slowly unraveling, and reached a new low after an effort last month by the United States to begin peace talks with the Taliban in Qatar.

Mr. Karzai promptly repudiated the talks and ended negotiations with the United States over the long-term security deal that is needed to keep American forces in Afghanistan after 2014.

A videoconference between Mr. Obama and Mr. Karzai designed to defuse the tensions ended badly, according to both American and Afghan officials with knowledge of it. Mr. Karzai, according to those sources, accused the United States of trying to negotiate a separate peace with both the Taliban and their backers in Pakistan, leaving Afghanistan’s fragile government exposed to its enemies.

Pentagon begins furloughs for 650,000 civilians

Pentagon begins furloughs for 650,000 civilians: Heavy US government spending cuts took a sharp swing on Monday as the Pentagon began putting about 650,000 civilian workers on unpaid leave.
The Department of Defense's civilian employees face furloughs of up to 11 days through the end of the fiscal year on September 30.
The furloughs will slash their paychecks by 20 percent at a time when the US economy is crawling at a modest pace four years after the Great Recession ended.
The pay pinch was expected to have the most immediate impact in areas with a large military presence, such as greater Washington DC, California and Texas.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the furloughs in May as part of the $37 billion cut from the Pentagon's budget under the federal government's broad spending reduction, or sequestration, that took effect on March 1.
The defense budget took the biggest hit under the $85 billion in cuts through the current fiscal year, a drastic program implemented after political parties failed to reach a compromise over longer-term deficit reduction.
The sequestration lowers government spending by five percent, and Pentagon spending by about eight percent.

Report reveals Pakistan-US 'understanding' on drones

Report reveals Pakistan-US 'understanding' on drones

Pakistan reached an understanding with the United States on drone strikes targeting Islamist militants and the attacks can be useful, according leaked remarks from a former intelligence chief. Pakistan publicly condemns US missile attacks on Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives as a violation of its sovereignty, but the new revelations are the latest sign of double-dealing in private. They come in findings of a Pakistani investigation into how Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden evaded detection for nearly a decade, which were published by the Al-Jazeera news network Monday. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, who headed Pakistan's premier Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency at the time of bin Laden's killing in 2011, told investigators that drone strikes had their uses. "The DG (director general) said there were no written agreements. There was a political understanding," the report said. The Americans had been asked to stop drone strikes because they caused civilian casualties, but "it was easier to say no to them in the beginning, but 'now it was more difficult' to do so," it quoted the former spymaster as saying.

Friday, July 5, 2013

US missile defense test fails: Pentagon

US missile defense test fails: Pentagon

America's missile defense system failed on Friday in a test over the Pacific, with an interceptor failing to hit an incoming ballistic missile, the Pentagon said. The miss represented yet another setback for the costly ground-based interceptors, which have not had a successful test result since 2008. The test's objective was to have an interceptor, launched from Vandenberg air base in California, knock out a long-range ballistic missile fired from a US military test site at Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands. But "an intercept was not achieved," US Missile Defense Agency spokesman Richard Lehner said in a brief statement. "Program officials will conduct an extensive review to determine the cause or causes of any anomalies which may have prevented a successful intercept," it said.

NAVSEA: LCS Missile Competition Could Start Next Year | USNI News

NAVSEA: LCS Missile Competition Could Start Next Year | USNI News: The U.S. Navy could start its investigation into its new surface-to-surface missile for its Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program as early as next year, Naval Sea System Command officials told USNI News on Monday.
Currently, NAVSEA is testing the Raytheon Griffin IIB as part of the Surface Warfare (SuW) mission package, only, “as an interim capability,” according to a statement provided to USNI News.
“Subject to funds availability, detailed work on the solicitation contents could start in FY 2014,” NAVSEA said.
“Since this is planned competitive procurement, additional details will be released in the future, as required by Federal procurement regulations, by the cognizant contracting activity.”
The surface-to-surface missile is major missing component of the SuW package. A joint missile with a 25-mile range under development by the Army and the Navy — NLOS-LS — was deemed too expensive and canceled after more than $1 billion in development funds.

U.S. Navy Trading Destroyers for PCs in 5th Fleet | USNI News

U.S. Navy Trading Destroyers for PCs in 5th Fleet | USNI News

The Navy is trading high-dollar warships for smaller Cyclone-class patrol craft (PC) to keep the peace in the Arabian Gulf, service officials told USNI News Wednesday in a conference call with reporters.

In an era of tightening budgets and with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, the need for as many large ships, like Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyers (DDG-51), in the Navy’s 5th Fleet is less, said Destroyer Squadron 50 and Combined Task Force 55 (DESRON50/CTF-55) commander Capt. Joseph Naman.

“Our numbers of DDGs we have out here have declined over the past year. [PCs] are picking up a lot of the missions they were doing, ” Naman said.
“It doesn’t mean we are going to do away with the DDG. They still have a mission here.”

By 2014, the Navy will have ten Cyclones home-ported in Bahrain to operate in the Arabian Gulf and as far afield as the Gulf of Oman, Naman said.

The ships have a range of missions including providing security for infrastructure, like off-shore oil platforms, as well as providing close-in protection for larger ships like DDGs that provide a ballistic missile defense shield for the region.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Canada links up on secure U.S. military telecoms network

Canada links up on secure U.S. military telecoms network: Canada is the first U.S. ally to link up on a new protected military communication network intended to meet increasing global demand on secure bandwidth.
Lockheed Martin, which introduced the satellite network called Advanced Extremely High Frequency for defense operations, said Canada has begun a test period with multiple terminals linked to the system.
Military communications are still seen to be at a high level despite the U.S. drawdown from Afghanistan and reduced responsibilities in Iraq and other defense-related operations, including the Persian Gulf and areas near Iran, analysts said.
The U.S. Air Force has been allowing select groups to use AEHF for testing as it fields the system, but the expansion means more users could soon have access. Britain and some NATO members are known to be the next candidates likely to join the network, security industry analysts said.

Syrian war: Iraqi fighters swell Iran 'foreign legion'

Syrian war: Iraqi fighters swell Iran 'foreign legion'

Hezbollah's deployment of thousands of its fighters in Syria's civil war to aid the Iranian-backed Damascus regime has been widely criticized because it intensified the sectarian nature of the 28-month-old conflict that's becoming a template for a regional conflagration. But the largely overlooked presence in Syria of growing numbers of Iraqi Shiites, battle-hardened veterans of Iranian-backed militias that fought the Americans, underlines how Tehran is forming a "foreign legion" that's spreading across the troubled region. As the war drags on, Iran is reported to be taking an increasingly active role on the ground through the elite covert action wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the al-Quds Force. This organized, trained and armed Iraq Shiite groups to fight Americans during their eight-year occupation of Iraq that ended in December 2011. There have been constant reports that units of the al-Quds Force are in action in Syria.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

U.S. space-based missile alert system moves forward

U.S. space-based missile alert system moves forward: The United States' futuristic missile alert system operating from outer space moved forward with Lockheed Martin's delivery of the third "highly elliptical earth orbit" satellite payload system.
A further fourth HEO is due to complete the USAF order, which will be yet another step toward initiating the Space Based Infrared System. SBIRS is designed to give the U.S. military a global capability to detect and monitor a ballistic missile launch from anywhere.
"The SBIRS program delivers timely, reliable and accurate missile warning and infrared surveillance information to the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, combatant commanders, the intelligence community and other key decision makers," Lockheed Martin said.
The aerospace manufacturer said the system, in addition to enhancing global missile launch detection capability, would support the ballistic missile defense system, expand technical intelligence gathering capacity and bolster situational awareness for fighters on a battlefield.
SBIRS will include what Lockheed Martin calls "a resilient mix of satellites" in geosynchronous earth orbit, hosted payloads in HEO orbit and ground hardware and software.Â

Lockheed Martin Delivers Third SBIRS HEO Satellite Payload To USAF

Lockheed Martin Delivers Third SBIRS HEO Satellite Payload To USAF: Lockheed Martin has delivered the third of four highly elliptical earth orbit (HEO) satellite payloads contracted by the U.S. Air Force as part of the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS).
The SBIRS program delivers timely, reliable and accurate missile warning and infrared surveillance information to the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, combatant commanders, the intelligence community and other key decision makers.
The system enhances global missile launch detection capability, supports the nation's ballistic missile defense system, expands the country's technical intelligence gathering capacity and bolsters situational awareness for warfighters on the battlefield.
The SBIRS architecture includes a resilient mix of satellites in geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO), hosted payloads in HEO orbit, and ground hardware and software. The integrat­ed system supports multiple missions simultaneously, while provid­ing robust performance with global, persistent coverage.

Raytheon awarded NAVAIR contract to build and deploy cross-domain surveillance system

Raytheon awarded NAVAIR contract to build and deploy cross-domain surveillance system

Raytheon has been awarded a contract with the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) to build an integrated multi-INT system to safeguard forward deployed forces. The Persistent Surveillance System Cross Domain Solution (PSS CDS) gives warfighters an advantage by providing a complete picture of impending threats, from both classified and unclassified sources. The contract was awarded in Raytheon's second quarter of 2013. "The PSS CDS is a proven solution and one that offers protection to our warfighters in hostile, remote environments by granting them real-time access to secure, multi-domain intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data," said Mark Kipphut, Tactical Intelligence Systems director for Raytheon's Intelligence, Information and Services business.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

US nudges China on sea disputes

US nudges China on sea disputes

US Secretary of State John Kerry nudged China on Monday to agree a code of conduct to prevent clashes in the South China Sea after the Philippines accused Beijing of a "massive" military build-up. But Kerry, speaking at Asia-Pacific foreign ministerial talks in the tiny petro-state of Brunei, said after a meeting with his Chinese counterpart that the two Pacific powers were united in their opposition to North Korea's nuclear drive. A year after a US-backed push for a South China Sea code of conduct broke down acrimoniously, this year's hosts Brunei have instilled a more cordial tone, with China agreeing Sunday to hold talks on establishing such a code. "We very much hope to see progress on a substantive code of conduct to help ensure stability in this vital region," Kerry said at a meeting with foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Monday, July 1, 2013

Afghan-US pact only when Taliban start talks with Kabul: Karzai

Afghan-US pact only when Taliban start talks with Kabul: Karzai: The Afghan government on Sunday said talks on a key security pact with the US would only re-start when Taliban rebels meet with Kabul's negotiators, further complicating efforts to revive the country's troubled peace process.
The Taliban have consistently refused to meet the High Peace Council (HPC), the official negotiators of the Afghan government, saying that President Hamid Karzai is a puppet of the United States.
Karzai suspended talks over the security pact, which would allow some US troops to stay in Afghanistan after 2014, in protest at how the Taliban had opened an office in Qatar that appeared as if it was an embassy for the rebels.

France seeks $1.5B MQ-9 Reaper deal

France seeks $1.5B MQ-9 Reaper deal

France is seeking to procure MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft from the United States in a package deal worth an estimated $1.5 billion. News of the proposed sale, reported to Congress by the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, closely follows word from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., maker of the Predator B unmanned aerial vehicle that it planned to develop a variant of the aircraft that would meet NATO and general European civil airworthiness requirements The MQ-9 Reaper is another name for the Predator B, a hunter/killer unmanned aerial vehicle designed for long-endurance, high-altitude surveillance. Intelligence and reconnaissance missions by the U.S. Air force. It has a maximum speed of 300 mph, a service ceiling of 50,000 feet, an operational ceiling of 25,000 feet and an endurance of 14 hours when fully loaded.