Sunday, December 29, 2013

US welcomes deal on relocating air base in Japan

US welcomes deal on relocating air base in Japan

Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel on Friday praised a decision by Japanese officials to allow the relocation of a US air base in Okinawa, calling it a "milestone" for relations with Tokyo.
Hagel welcomed the approval of the long-delayed move of the US Marine Corps base, which he said would permit a redeployment of American forces in the area and bolster Washington's strategic "rebalance" to the Asia-Pacific region."Reaching this milestone is a clear demonstration to the region that the alliance is capable of handling complex, difficult problems in order to deal effectively with 21st century security challenges," Hagel said in a statement."Our alliance has helped underwrite regional peace, stability, and prosperity for more than half a century, and resolving these years-long issues will enable us to take our relationship to the next level as we revise the guidelines for US-Japan defense cooperation," he said.After more than 17 years of debate and political wrangling, the local government in Okinawa has given a green light to moving the Futenma air station from a densely populated urban area to a new facility to be constructed on the coast. Hagel said he had told Japanese officials that the Pentagon was "committed to working with the government of Japan to build a strong and sustainable US military presence with less impact on the people of Okinawa."Relocating the controversial air base is part of a plan to cut back the overall US military presence in Okinawa. The Pentagon plans to reduce the number of Marines on the island from 18,000 to about 10,000 in coming years, with some redeployed to Australia and the US territory of Guam.Resolving the future of the air base in Okinawa clears the way for Washington's so-called "pivot" to Asia, with plans to deploy more ships and troops in the Pacific.

New Law All but Bars Russian GPS Sites in U.S. -

New Law All but Bars Russian GPS Sites in U.S. - Tucked into the mammoth defense budget bill that President Obama signed into law on Thursday is a measure that virtually bars Russia from building about a half-dozen monitor stations on American soil that critics fear Moscow could use to spy on the United States or worse.
Russia first broached the idea of erecting the domed antenna structures here nearly two years ago, saying they would significantly improve the accuracy and reliability of its version of the Global Positioning System, the American satellite network that steers bomb-bearing warplanes to their targets and wayward motorists to their destinations.
Congressional Republicans, however, harbored suspicions that Russia had nefarious motives behind its plan, which the State Department supported as a means to mend bruised relations between the two rival nations. The Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency sided with congressional critics, concerned about handing the Russians an opening to snoop on the United States within its borders.
The monitor stations have been a high priority of President Vladimir V. Putin for years as a means to improve Moscow’s global positioning network — known as Glonass, for Global Navigation Satellite System — not only to benefit the Russian military and civilian sectors but also to compete globally with GPS.
As the White House sought to reconcile the internal squabbling among government agencies, skeptical members of the intelligence and armed services committees in Congress intervened in recent weeks to deal a near-crippling blow to the prospect of Glonass stations in the United States.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Attack on U.S. Aircraft Foils Evacuation in South Sudan -

Attack on U.S. Aircraft Foils Evacuation in South Sudan - Three United States aircraft flying into a heavily contested region of South Sudan to evacuate American citizens were attacked on Saturday morning and forced to turn back without completing the mission, American officials said. Four service members were wounded, one seriously.

The crisis in South Sudan began last week when its president, Salva Kiir, a member of the majority Dinka ethnic group, asserted that he had uncovered a coup and detained 11 people, including former ministers. Mr. Kiir claimed the coup had been backed by former Vice President Riek Machar, who is a member of the rival Nuer ethnic group.
As the violence grew, Mr. Obama sent 45 American troops to protect the embassy in Juba. The United States also organized evacuation flights that have already ferried at least 450 American Embassy personnel, other Americans and some citizens of other nations out of the country.
As attacks have racked South Sudan, however, there has been mounting concern about the safety of 35,000 civilians who have sought sanctuary at United Nations peacekeeping bases, as well as the safety of the peacekeepers themselves.
Armed youths seized a United Nations base in another town, Akobo, on Thursday, killing at least 13 people, including two United Nations peacekeepers.
About 2,000 armed youths have surrounded the United Nations base in Bor. It has been difficult for American officials to get in touch with local rebel commanders there to establish what areas they might control amid signs that the fighting may be escalating into a broader ethnic conflict.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Lockheed Martin Joint Light Tactical Vehicle Completes Manufacturing Review

Lockheed Martin Joint Light Tactical Vehicle Completes Manufacturing Review: The Lockheed Martin Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) team successfully completed the government's Manufacturing Readiness Assessment (MRA), an important milestone on the path to vehicle production at the company's Camden, Ark., manufacturing complex.

The MRA, which measures manufacturing maturity and assesses technical risk, took place at Lockheed Martin's Camden Operations on Nov. 18 and 19. In October, the company announced plans to produce the JLTV at the award-winning Camden facility, where program officials expect to gain significant production efficiencies and cost reductions.

"We look forward to adding another joint U.S. Army/Marine Corps vehicle-manufacturing program to our Camden Operations," said Scott Greene, vice president of Ground Vehicles for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

"With proven assembly methods, a keen focus on efficiency and a highly skilled workforce, we are confident that the tremendous success we've achieved producing the HIMARS launcher for the Army and Marines will translate to an outstanding JLTV for those very same customers."

The Lockheed Martin JLTV is designed to replace many of the current Army and Marine Corps HMMWV "Humvee" vehicles, providing significant advances in survivability and capability.

Lockheed Martin and the US Navy Strengthen International Alliance with Helicopter Acceptance

Lockheed Martin and the US Navy Strengthen International Alliance with Helicopter Acceptance: The Royal Australian Navy accepted the first two MH-60R helicopters from the U.S. Navy in a ceremony today at the Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] facility in Owego, N.Y.

"The advanced anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capabilities of the MH-60 Romeo are a game-changer in shifting the advantage from the submarine to the helicopter, which is essential in today's maritime security environment," said Rear Admiral CJ Jaynes, program executive officer for Air Anti-Submarine Warfare, Assault and Special Mission Programs, which oversees the U.S. Navy's H-60 program office.

"We are excited to extend our partnership with the Royal Australian Navy through the delivery of these advanced helicopters."

Manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft and provided with advanced mission systems and sensors by Lockheed Martin, the MH-60R is already operational and deploying as the primary U.S. Navy anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare system for open-ocean and littoral zones.

The U.S. Navy answered the Australian Defence Force's requirement for a fleet of 24 new-generation, multi-role naval combat aircraft with the proven MH-60R helicopters. The entire fleet will be delivered incrementally by the end of 2016.

Patriot missiles demonstrate field readiness

Patriot missiles demonstrate field readiness

Raytheon's Patriot Air and Missile Defense System test fired nine Patriot missiles at McGregor Range, N.M., during its annual Field Surveillance Program (FSP), successfully engaging inbound and outbound unmanned air breathing targets.
This was the first FSP conducted with the PAC-2 missiles, using the recently launched Post Deployment Build-7 (PDB-7) software and the modernized radar with radar digital processor."All of our Patriot partners participate in the FSP as part of our Engineering Services Program and contribute randomly picked missiles from their inventory to verify the integrity of the missiles in the field through independent assessment," said Ralph Acaba, vice president for Integrated Air and Missile Defense at Raytheon's Integrated Defense Systems business."Having each partner contribute a small number of missiles for testing is a cost-effective way to ensure the field readiness of the worldwide inventory of missiles that the global Patriot family relies on."

Northrop Grumman Reinvents Satellite Communications for Aircraft

Northrop Grumman Reinvents Satellite Communications for Aircraft

In one year, Northrop Grumman took a satellite communications system normally used in space and transformed it into a high-functioning, low-cost communications system that can be used on aircraft.
The satellite communications (SATCOM) system was successfully demonstrated on board the company's Firebird demonstrator aircraft.Until now, no small communications system has been able to send sensor data to a satellite and back to a ground station at such a high rate of transfer."It's a game changer for those that need high-quality, real-time data, but don't want to - or can't - have a large, heavy communications system onboard," said Brett Amidon, director of Technology Development at Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems."Our system provides beyond line of sight capabilities in a compact, lightweight, low-profile package."During the demonstration, the SATCOM system rapidly provided full-motion video to the ground. For demo purposes, the system and associated test equipment were housed within a pylon-mounted structure attached to the top of the Firebird fuselage.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Obama Panel Said to Urge N.S.A. Curbs -

Obama Panel Said to Urge N.S.A. Curbs - presidential advisory committee charged with examining the operations of the National Security Agency has concluded that a program to collect data on every phone call made in the United States should continue, though under broad new restraints that would be intended to increase privacy protections, according to officials with knowledge of the report’s contents.
The committee’s report, the officials said, also argues in favor of codifying and publicly announcing the steps the United States will take to protect the privacy of foreign citizens whose telephone records, Internet communications or movements are collected by the N.S.A. But it is unclear how far that effort would go, and intelligence officials have argued strenuously that they should be under few restrictions when tapping the communications of non-Americans abroad, who do not have constitutional protections under the Fourth Amendment.
The advisory group is also expected to recommend that senior White House officials, including the president, directly review the list of foreign leaders whose communications are routinely monitored by the N.S.A. President Obama recently apologized to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany for the N.S.A.’s monitoring of her calls over the past decade, promising that the actions had been halted and would not resume. But he refused to make the same promise to the leaders of Mexico and Brazil.
Administration officials say the White House has already taken over supervision of that program. “We’re not leaving it to Jim Clapper anymore,” said one official, referring to the director of national intelligence, who appears to have been the highest official to review the programs regularly.

White House to preserve controversial policy on NSA, Cyber Command leadership - The Washington Post

White House to preserve controversial policy on NSA, Cyber Command leadership - The Washington Post

The Obama administration has decided to preserve a controversial arrangement by which a single military official is permitted to direct both the National Security Agency and the military’s cyberwarfare command, U.S. officials said.
The decision by President Obama comes amid signs that the White House is not inclined to impose significant new restraints on the NSA’s activities — especially its collection of data on virtually every phone call Americans make — although it is likely to impose additional privacy protection measures.    
Some officials, including the top U.S. intelligence official, had argued that the NSA and Cyber Command should be placed under separate leadership to ensure greater accountability and avoid an undue concentration of power. The decision also comes despite a draft recommendation by an external review panel appointed by Obama that a civilian head be installed at the NSA, effectively splitting the roles, according to an official familiar with some of the early recommendations.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

U.S. to boost Israel defense missile funding by $173M

U.S. to boost Israel defense missile funding by $173M: U.S. lawmakers have approved boosting funding for Israel's missile defense program by $173 million in fiscal 2014 as the Jewish state's military establishment draws up a new defense doctrine to protect cities from Hezbollah's growing missile arsenal.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli military intelligence now believes that the Iranian-backed Lebanese movement now possesses around 5,000 long-range missiles that can reach Tel Aviv, the country's largest conurbation, and carry warheads packing between 1,300 pounds and one ton of explosives.

On Monday, leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives Armed Services Committees unveiled a cut-down defense authorization bill for the coming fiscal year that would boost U.S. missile defense spending by $358 million to $9.5 billion.

The legislation also authorizes additional funding of $173 million for joint missile defense projects underway with Israel.

Funds for collaborative missile projects with Israel are separate from the $3.1 billion in military aid the United States provides Israel annually.

The bill must now go before Congress for a final vote. The legislation's promoters called for a vote before the Legislature recesses for the end of the year.

Raytheon, Chemring Group complete first live-fire test of CENTURION launcher

Raytheon, Chemring Group complete first live-fire test of CENTURION launcher: Raytheon and Chemring Group have fired a Javelin missile from the multirole CENTURION launcher during testing at the Defence Training Estate on Salisbury Plain in England.

"We're bringing an entirely new dimension to ship self-defense by providing a sea-based, inside-the-horizon platform protection," said Rick Nelson, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems' Naval and Area Mission Defense product line.

"Chemring's CENTURION launcher, when coupled with Raytheon's combat-proven missiles, offers an evolutionary capability to defeat surface threats with this One System-Multiple Missions technology."

In February, Raytheon Missile Systems and Chemring announced plans to develop a naval anti-surface capability designed for ships ranging in size from small patrol boats to large combatants.

This solution to counter fast inshore attack craft consists of a variety of Raytheon missiles with ranges matched to the intended target. The missiles will be fired from the Chemring CENTURION launcher, with initial target detection, tracking and identification provided by the ship's sensors.

Raytheon demonstrates unparalleled precision in live-fire testing of self-propelled howitzer

Raytheon demonstrates unparalleled precision in live-fire testing of self-propelled howitzer: The U.S. Army and Raytheon have fired 10 precision-guided Excalibur projectiles during the final phase of compatibility testing at Yuma Proving Ground. This live-fire demonstration, funded by the U.S., Germany and supported by Raytheon-funded initial testing, marked the completion of a multi-phase assessment that verified Excalibur's compatibility and performance with the PzH2000 self-propelled howitzer.

During the testing, the PzH2000 fired 10 Excalibur projectiles at targets at ranges from nine to 48 kilometers. Every round delivered precision effects, striking within three meters of the targets, reaffirming warhead lethality and the required three fuze modes.

Average miss distance at 48 kilometers was less than one meter. Additionally, the PzH2000 test demonstrated the projectile's ability to maneuver from the ballistic trajectory to an offset target.

Police Push Into Kiev Square as Crisis Grows -

Police Push Into Kiev Square as Crisis Grows - Battalions of Ukrainian security forces early Wednesday stormed Independence Square, the central plaza in Kiev where protesters had been rallying against the government of President Viktor F. Yanukovich for more than two weeks.

The crackdown by the authorities came hours after a three-and-a-half-hour meeting between Mr. Yanukovich and Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief.
The diplomatic consequences became apparent almost immediately. “I was among you,” Ms. Ashton said in a statement on Wednesday morning. “The authorities did not need to act under the cover of night.”
And in unusually strong language, Secretary of State John Kerry expressed the United States’ “disgust” with the authorities’ decision to use force. “This response is neither acceptable nor does it befit a democracy,” he said in a statement.
He added: “As church bells ring tonight amidst the smoke in the streets of Kiev, the United States stands with the people of Ukraine. They deserve better.”
Western leaders, including Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who spoke by telephone with Mr. Yanukovich on Monday, had sternly warned the government against the use of force on peaceful protests. Earlier, on Tuesday, demonstrators had milled about on Independence Square as they have every day since Dec. 1, when it was occupied and barricaded after a huge demonstration that drew hundreds of thousands. That rally was animated by public anger over a brief but bloody crackdown by the police against demonstrators the day before

Friday, December 6, 2013

US seeks to reassure wary Gulf allies over Iran deal

US seeks to reassure wary Gulf allies over Iran deal: Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel holds talks in Bahrain Friday to reassure anxious Gulf allies that the US military will maintain a robust regional presence despite a nuclear deal with Iran.

Defense Secretary Hagel, who flew to Bahrain on Thursday evening, will convey to Gulf leaders at a security conference that the United States remains a steadfast partner and has no plans to scale back its military deployments or weapons sales to the Gulf Arab states, officials said.

"It's a somewhat tense time for the region. There's a lot of questions about US policy, particularly about where things are going in the wake of the Iran interim agreement," a senior US defence official told reporters travelling with Hagel.

In private meetings and in a speech Saturday, Hagel will seek "to reassure our partners here that nothing has changed in our defence posture as a result of the recent negotiation and interim agreement with Iran," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Less than 90 days: how US will destroy Syria chemical weapons

Less than 90 days: how US will destroy Syria chemical weapons

A ship, two portable treatment plants and less than 90 days: that's the plan the Pentagon unveiled Thursday to destroy "hundreds of tons" of Syria's most dangerous chemical weapons.
After Albania refused to destroy the lethal "priority 1" chemical agents -- including mustard gas, sarin and VX nerve gas -- on its soil, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) turned to the United States.Under an international agreement brokered to avoid US military strikes on the Damascus regime, Syria's most dangerous chemical weapons have to be out of the country by a December 31 deadline.The US proposal aims to take the process off land altogether and into international waters.The Pentagon has already begun loading the necessary equipment on to the MV Cape Ray, a 650-foot (200-meter) cargo ship, part of a reserve fleet, at its Norfolk, Virginia naval base, although it has yet to receive formal orders to carry out the job.The "priority 1" chemical agents, which must be destroyed by April 2014, are on the order of "hundreds of tons" -- or around "150 shipping containers" -- according to a senior US defense official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

LRASM Prototype Scores Second Flight Test

LRASM Prototype Scores Second Flight Test: An unmanned target ship demonstrates the effects of the second successful flight test of a Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) prototype, conducted November 12 off the coast of Southern California.

The test reinforced the results of LRASM's first successful free-flight transition test (FFTT) on August 27, which verified the prototype's flight characteristics and assessed subsystem and sensor performance.

Both tests achieved all of their objectives after the prototypes used their respective onboard sensors to detect, engage and hit the moving 260-foot target ships with inert warheads.

DARPA and the Office of Naval Research (ONR) are collaborating on the LRASM program, which is developing new approaches and advanced capabilities for surface warfare to support a variety of Department of Defense missions.

USMC Conducts Operational Assessment of GATOR System

USMC Conducts Operational Assessment of GATOR System

The AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) system, built by Northrop Grumman for the U.S. Marine Corps, has successfully conducted developmental testing and supported two Weapons and Tactics Instruction (WTI) events at Marine Air Control Squadron (MACS) Yuma over the past 10 months. These events supported the operational assessment of the G/ATOR system for Milestone C.
During the assessment, Northrop Grumman's AN/TPS-80 provided excellent situational awareness by successfully detecting, tracking and identifying a wide range of aerial targets. The radar also demonstrated its ability to extract targets from heavy clutter backgrounds. The radar also exceeded its objective-level operational availability requirement."Under very intense testing conditions, our AN/TPS-80 detected and tracked targets that other systems at the exercise were not able to," said Jeffrey Q. Palombo, Vice President and General Manager of Northrop Grumman's Land and Self Protection Systems Division."We look forward to continuing our strong partnership and collaboration with the Marine Corps on this program as it proceeds to Milestone C."The AN/TPS-80 is the first ground-based, multimission radar to be developed for the Department of Defense. Designed to detect and track a wide variety of threats, the radar is built with an open, scalable architecture to enable digital interoperability and incorporation of new capabilities through software-only updates.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

AF participates in first Israeli Blue Flag exercise > U.S. Air Force > Article Display

AF participates in first Israeli Blue Flag exercise > U.S. Air Force > Article Display

The Air Force participated in the first Israeli Blue Flag exercise at Uvda Air Force Base, Israel, Nov. 24-28.
Blue Flag is the largest multinational aerial warfare training exercise hosted by the Israeli air force. The exercise included forces from the U.S., Israel, Italy and Greece. Its objectives were to improve operational capabilities and combat effectiveness of the participating nations, and to foster combined relations, cultural understanding, and combat experience.
"It was an outstanding experience for the more than 170-person U.S. Air Force team," said Lt. Col. John Orchard, the 492nd Fighter Squadron commander, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, and the Air Force Blue Flag commander. "The Israelis provided an excellent training environment, which offered us the opportunity to learn from each other and to take advantage of good airspace, surface threat replicators, and challenging scenarios. It was a real pleasure integrating with our Israeli, Italian and Greek partners who all offer unique tactical, strategic and cultural perspectives."
The exercise allowed for the partnering nations to integrate their tactical capabilities to complete a specific mission. It also further strengthened relationships and military partnerships.
"This was a very good opportunity for the participating nations to work on efficiencies, to practice becoming more logistically sound, and how to get our forces from point A, to point B," said Capt. Matthew Kuta, a 492nd Fighter Squadron pilot. "It also provided us training on how to actually operate together to continue to provide stability to the area."
The Air Force deployed F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft and support personnel from RAF Lakenheath, and a combat communications team from Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
Prior to the start of the exercise, the visiting nations had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the airspace and flying procedures. The training week offered four days of flying and preparation.
"Week one of Blue Flag was dedicated to training and warm-up towards the actual exercise that took place during week two," Kuta said. “The airspace, mission duration, and some of the procedures were a little different to us. After the training week, we were ready to go."
During the exercise, a realistic war scenario was created which employed a friendly, multinational force (Blue Force) against an enemy aggressor force (Red Force). A simulated threat environment was created, which caused the partnering forces to use careful integration and critical analysis to engage the enemy and survive. The exercise included air-to-air and air-to-surface missions.
The Red Force invaded friendly airspace, simulating opposing air forces' tactics, and attempted to engage specific targets and all approaching aircraft. Their actions called for Blue Force to take action and attempt to eliminate the threat. The combined force merged its tactics, techniques, and procedures that effectively terminated attacks by the adversary Red Forces.
"We successfully completed the biggest multinational exercise in Israel's history," said a senior Israeli air force source. “The exercise required many preparations by air and ground crews, long before the partnering air forces landed in Israel. This has helped Israel improve its general air defense capabilities while learning together and cooperating with global allies."
The U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, visited the exercise location along with a delegation of observers from different countries. The observers were able to witness some of the action to determine if their country would be interested in participating in future Blue Flag exercises. Israel plans to conduct the exercise every two years.
"Israel lives in a dangerous neighborhood," Shapiro said. "We need the best-equipped, best-trained forces as possible to protect our people and our security. We also need allies and we have great allies here, all training together and reinforcing a partnership that gets stronger with each passing year."
The U.S. armed forces routinely participate in training exercises with NATO and other partner nations to improve interoperability and preparedness.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

X-37B Marks One Year On Orbit

X-37B Marks One Year On Orbit: On December 11, 2013, the secretive X-37B robot spaceplane celebrates one year in orbit. This controversial spacecraft has been out of the limelight for a long time, attracting almost no media coverage for most of its mission. The third flight of one of the most secretive objects in space has been its most elusive mission to date!

What is this all about? The X-37B is a small vehicle that's roughly the size of a small truck. It has wings, tail fins and a stubby nose. There's no cockpit and no crew on board. The X-37B does have a small payload bay with clamshell doors, similar to its older cousin, the retired NASA Space Shuttle.

X-37B is launched and controlled by the US Air Force. It made its first launch in April 2010 on a mission that was largely cloaked in secrecy. 224 days later, it returned to a flawless runway landing. A second X-37B vehicle was launched in March 2011. It remained in space for 469 days.

The latest X-37B mission uses the same vehicle that was launched in 2010, making this the first time that an X-37B spacecraft has been re-used.

US Navy deploys Standard Missile-6 for first time

US Navy deploys Standard Missile-6 for first time

The U.S. Navy is deploying Raytheon's Standard Missile-6 for the first time, marking the initial operational capability milestone for the U.S. Navy's newest, most advanced extended range area defense weapon.
"We're very pleased to achieve initial operational capability on schedule," said Capt. Mike Ladner, Surface Ship Weapons major program manager. "The SM-6, with its ability to extend the battlespace, truly offers improved capability for the warfighter. I'm very proud of the entire STANDARD Missile team on this historic achievement."The SM-6 provides extended range protection against fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles. The interceptor combines the airframe and propulsion of legacy Standard Missiles with the advanced signal processing and guidance control capabilities of the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM).

Monday, December 2, 2013

P-8A Aircraft Program Achieves Initial Operational Capability

P-8A Aircraft Program Achieves Initial Operational Capability

The Navy's newest maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, has achieved initial operational capability (IOC) after the first two P-8A Poseidons departed for deployment Nov. 29.

This announcement comes weeks after the completion of the Operational Readiness Evaluation of the first deploying P-8A Poseidon squadron and the commander of Patrol and Reconnaissance Group officially declaring the first P-8A squadron, Patrol Squadron 16 (VP-16), "prepared for deployment" Nov. 4.

"This IOC declaration is the culmination of years of careful planning and coordinated effort by the fleet, resource sponsor, acquisition community, and industry," said Capt. Scott Dillon, program manager for Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft Program Office (PMA-290).

By achieving IOC, the Navy can effectively deploy the P-8A for operational missions and continue to successfully transition from the aging P-3C. The Poseidon program is on track for completing the remaining preparations for the first operational deployment of a P-8A squadron.

"With the P-3 to P-8 transition well underway at Jacksonville, VP-16 is executing an Inter-Deployment Readiness Cycle and is on track to be the first P-8 squadron to deploy. VP-5 has completed their P-8 transition, and VP-45 has commenced P-8 transition after returning from deployment this past summer. In addition to leading the fleet transition process, VP-30 is also producing P-8 qualified replacement personnel for direct accession into P-8 qualified squadrons," said Rear Adm. Matt Carter, Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Group. "There has never been a greater need for a new patrol and reconnaissance aircraft now that the aging P-3 is nearing the end of its life cycle. The P-8 is a true multi-mission platform, which will continue to provide us invaluable capabilities."

"The number of submarines in the world is increasing rapidly. Other countries are either building or purchasing advanced, quiet, and extremely hard to find submarines and we need to be able to match that technology to be able to detect them. The P-8, along with the Triton, will strengthen the maritime mission and provide greater situational awareness," Carter added.

This year was filled with crucial programmatic milestones for the program office, including the successful completion of Initial Operational Test and Evaluation and the on-going delivery of initial production aircraft in support of the first three P-3 to P-8 squadron transitions. To date, 12 low rate initial production aircraft were delivered to the fleet, and the final aircraft in the second production lot is on-track to deliver ahead of schedule and prior to the end of the year.

The program office along with the P-8 Fleet Integration Team in Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Fla., is continuing to support the transitioning squadrons with training by also using the P-8A Integrated Training Center (ITC). The ITC is meeting training requirements of the Fleet Replacement Squadron, VP-30, and the transitioning squadrons.

"We are pleased the P-8A has been, and continues to be, on cost and on schedule," Dillon said. "The program office is continuing to support the needs of the fleet and deliver an aircraft that recapitalizes and improves upon the capabilities of its predecessor; greatly enhancing the effectiveness of the Navy's forward deployed squadrons."