PteroDynamics, an aircraft design and manufacturing company that develops innovative Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft, is on August 23, 2021 announcing it has secured a contract with Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) to deliver 3 VTOL prototypes for the Blue Water Maritime Logistics UAS (BWUAS) program.
In 2018, Military Sealift Command and Fleet Forces Command identified a need for the United States Navy to develop a capability to autonomously deliver cargo with an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) to and from ships at sea. Their analysis found that 90% of critical repair cargo delivered at sea by helicopters and V-22 Osprey aircraft weighed less than 50 pounds/22.7 kg. A VTOL UAS can fill this critical need and free the manned aircraft to perform other higher priority missions.
«We are honored to be selected for this important project», said Matthew Graczyk, PteroDynamics’ CEO. «This contract is the start of an important partnership, and we look forward to delivering the prototypes to NAWCAD».
PteroDynamics is a US-based aircraft manufacturer headquartered in Southern California
«This is an exciting milestone for our distinctive VTOL aircraft», added Val Petrov, PhD, PteroDynamics’ founder and CTO. «Our design is well suited for operations on ships where windy conditions and tight spaces challenge other VTOL aircraft during takeoffs and landings».
«Using unmanned, autonomous aircraft for delivery of these critical payloads is an important capability for the Navy to have», said Blue Water’s project lead, Bill Macchione. «The innovative design of PteroDynamics offers significant potential for both military and civilian missions».
Boeing, in collaboration with the U.S. Air Force and Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF), celebrated the naming and rollout of Qatar’s advanced F-15, the F-15QA Strike Eagle.
«The rollout of the F-15QA Strike Eagle is momentous, not just in terms of capability but also in terms of the enhanced partnership it represents. The relationship the United States shares with Qatar is critical to the stability and security of the central command area of responsibility, and we are grateful for our coalition partner’s continued focus on building interoperability and combined readiness», said Lieutenant General Greg Guillot, commander of 9th Air Force. «It is a privilege and honor to stand with our Qatari counterparts this day and every day».
The first set of F-15QA Strike Eagle jets will ferry to Qatar later this year following the completion of pre-delivery pilot training.
«The Qatar F-15QA Strike Eagle program further enhanced next-generation technologies in the advanced F-15 such as the fly-by-wire flight controls, an all-glass digital cockpit and contemporary sensors, radar and electronic warfare capabilities», said Prat Kumar, vice president of the F-15 program. «Driven by digital engineering and advanced manufacturing, these aircraft represent a transformational leap for the F-15. The F-15QA Strike Eagle will enhance the superiority of the QEAF with more speed, range and payload than any fighter in the world».
Boeing has been providing maintenance and logistics support for the QEAF during pre-delivery pilot training, which began earlier this year. In addition, Boeing will establish and operate an aircrew and maintenance training center for the QEAF at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar through 2024 while also providing in-country spares and logistics support once aircraft are delivered.
«Boeing is proud to provide a holistic solution to our valued Qatari customer through tailored training and sustainment», said Torbjorn «Turbo» Sjogren, vice president of International Government & Defence for Boeing. «We look forward to our continued partnership with Qatar and further supporting their mission readiness needs».
Sailors aboard amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli (LHA-7) completed the ship’s first-ever Combat System Ship Qualification Trials (CSSQT) earlier this month.
CSSQT is a major milestone where teams demonstrate the ship’s weapons systems’ ability to effectively communicate and destroy incoming threats in an operational environment.
«This test is designed to go through all of the things that form the backbone and execution of combat systems», said Lieutenant Commander Paul Gillett, Tripoli’s Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Combat systems and Interoperability (C5I) officer. «This was just one of several at-sea periods where the team not only had to practice, but execute complex events. This was a huge win for the crew because they got to see all of that hard work come to fruition».
«I can’t say enough about how pleased we are with Tripoli’s performance during the Post Delivery test and trials phase, and their recent successful completion of the Combat Systems Ship Qualification Trials is just another step in the right direction towards fleet introduction for this ship», said Captain Cedric McNeal, Program Manager, Amphibious Warfare Programs, Program Executive Office, Ships. «This is just one of many milestones that USS Tripoli (LHA-7) has met on the path to becoming a command and control center of capability for Amphibious Ready Groups in the future fight».
During the qualification phases, the team conducted multiple trials to validate the ship’s self-defense systems’ performance, including ship’s radars tests, and operating the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM), NATO Sea Sparrow, and Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) weapons systems. «I have been doing this for 26 years», said Master Chief Fire Controlman James Bush, Tripoli’s combat systems maintenance manager. «They’ve been going above and beyond anything that I can expect. I couldn’t be any happier with the fire controlmen that I have on board Tripoli».
With CSSQT trials now complete, USS Tripoli (LHA-7) will focus on additional certifications and qualifications that will ensure it is a combat ready and lethal asset to the U.S. Navy.
«The crew continues to demonstrate time and time again that Assault Carrier 7 is versatile, capable and lethal», said USS Tripoli (LHA-7) Commanding Officer Captain Joel Lang. «The precision at which we performed during CSSQT speaks volumes to the capabilities of this crew and superb warship».
USS Tripoli (LHA-7) is the U.S. Navy’s newest America-class amphibious assault ship homeported in San Diego. The ship is assigned to Amphibious Squadron 7.
Sensor solutions provider HENSOLDT, together with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), is supplying new radars to the German Navy to modernise the sensor technology of the F124 air defence frigates. The Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and Operation (BAAINBw) has placed an order worth approximately 200 million euros for the delivery and installation of four sensor systems consisting of radar and Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system respectively.
With this order the F124 frigate’s radars will be refurbished to overcome obsolescence of electronics components. The order also marks the start of the development of national capabilities in the field of Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD). It includes a shore facility that is a fully functional copy of the ship’s radars. It not only enables training for users and service technicians, but also allows further developments to be tested on land prior to onboard installation.
To this end, HENSOLDT has entered into a strategic cooperation in the field of BMD-capable wide-range radars in S-band with IAI subsidiary ELTA Systems Ltd. This supplies the German customer with a combination of a national partner for certification and long-term support, as well as market-available systems that have been tried and tested in the field.
Previously, the contract for the modernisation of land-based air surveillance in the HADR NF programme, also based on a cooperation with IAI’s ELTA, was awarded to HENSOLDT. The radars used in both projects are largely identical in construction and thus also offer the customer advantages in terms of logistical supply and thus the long-term operation of the systems. In this way, further developments can also be used cross-sectionally and thus be introduced more cost-effectively.
Lockheed Martin has invented a new type of satellite dish technology with a wide range of use on satellites and ground terminals, including space-based 5G. The Wide Angle ESA Fed Reflector (WAEFR) antenna is a hybrid of a phased array Electronically Steerable Antenna (ESA) and a parabolic dish, and increases coverage area by 190% compared to traditional phased array antennas at a much lower cost.
This antenna is part of a larger research and development investment in 5G.MIL technologies that will optimize and securely connect warfighting platforms to enable Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2). Lockheed Martin is uniquely positioned, leveraging commercial best practices, strong partnerships, a broad supply chain and leadership expertise, to bring 5G connectivity and capabilities to the defense community rapidly and affordably.
«We adopted a commercial mindset to quickly mature this technology and discovered there were multiple use cases and applications that could benefit from this new hybrid antenna», said Chris Herring, vice president of advanced program development at Lockheed Martin Space. «5G.MIL technologies like this will bring greater connectivity, faster and more reliable networks, and new data capabilities to support our customers as they navigate the complexity of 21st century battlefields».
The team rapidly prototyped, tested and validated this system in a matter of months compared to what previously took years. WAEFR also features:
High performance gain of a dish with the beam agility of an ESA;
Low Size Weight and Power (SWAP) common product solution to accommodate any orbital altitude or ground terminal application;
Advances in 3D-printing technology and accelerated parts production.
This type of antenna will also benefit the broader communications and ISR communities by providing a more reliable scanning solution compared to gimbaled designs.
«The primary benefit of the WAEFR approach is accomplishing more mission with fewer resources», said Thomas Hand, Ph.D., associate technical fellow at Lockheed Martin Space. «While state of the art ESA solutions can address more demanding link performance, capacity, and data rates using multiple agile analog beams, they do so at a premium».
Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) hosted a ceremonial event on August 25, 2021 at its Newport News Shipbuilding division that marked the first construction milestone in the life of the aircraft carrier USS Doris Miller (CVN-81).
During a small ceremony held inside of a manufacturing facility, Thomas Bledsoe, the great nephew of the ship’s namesake, gave the order to «cut that steel» to shipbuilder Gerald Bish, who operated a large plasma-cutting machine that sliced into a steel plate. Shipbuilders, U.S. Navy leadership, elected officials and Doris Miller’s relatives signed their names on the plate.
«Today we recognize the start of construction of the fourth ship of the Gerald R. Ford class», said Jennifer Boykin, president of Newport News Shipbuilding. «From this day forward, our shipbuilders will put their hearts into every pipe they fit, every unit they lift and every inch of steel they weld. Shipbuilders, I thank you for the hard work, innovation and dedication you will put into transforming this first piece of steel into an awe-inspiring aircraft carrier».
Ceremony participants included U.S. Representative Bobby Scott, Democratic-Virginia, who offered remarks; Rear Admiral James Downey, program executive officer for aircraft carriers; Master Chief Petty Officer of the U.S. Navy Russell Smith; shipbuilders and six members of Doris Miller’s family.
«It is so fitting and timely during a period of significant discussion and change we come together to begin construction of one of our Navy’s next great aircraft carriers, in the name of one of the finest heroes of the greatest generation», Downey said. «We will construct a sound and mighty warship worthy of his legacy».
Members of Virginia’s Congressional delegation, including Representatives Rob Wittman, Republican-Virginia and Elaine Luria, Democratic-Virginia also attended the event. Other guests included, and Captain Andrew P. Johnson, commanding officer of Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair, Newport News.
USS Doris Miller (CVN-81) is the second ship named in honor of Miller, and the first aircraft carrier ever named for an African American. This also is the first aircraft carrier named in honor of a sailor for actions while serving in the enlisted ranks.
Miller is credited with heroic actions while serving aboard the Newport News-built USS West Virginia (BB-48) during the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Miller’s bravery earned him the Navy Cross.
USS Doris Miller (CVN-81) also is the second ship of the two-carrier contract award HII received in January 2019 for the detail design and construction of the Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers; USS Enterprise (CVN-80) being the first ship of the contract.
Newport News currently is performing early manufacturing of the USS Doris Miller (CVN-81), which includes structural fabrication and shop work. The ship also will be the second aircraft carrier built completely using digital drawings and procedures rather than traditional paper work packages and products.
Doris Miller’s keel is scheduled to be laid in 2026 and delivered to the Navy in 2032.
«The Doris Miller story provides so many lessons to us as Americans», said Thomas Bledsoe, great-nephew of the ship’s namesake. «The Miller family cannot express in words what this means to us, to Americans and to anyone inspired by Doris Miller’s story».
The Ford class features new software-controlled electromagnetic catapults and weapons elevators, a redesigned flight deck and island, and more than twice the electrical capacity of the preceding Nimitz-class carriers. These aircraft carriers are designed to be the centerpiece of the nation’s security strategy and support and protect the global economy through the protection of sea lanes around the world.
Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia
The Army recently conducted a successful evaluation of a new directed-energy capability, moving the service one step closer to fielding a platoon of four laser-equipped Stryker combat vehicle prototypes next fiscal year, program leads said Wednesday.
The Directed Energy Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense system, or DE M-SHORAD, is a 50-kW-class laser designed to protect divisions and brigade combat teams against unmanned aircraft systems, rotary and fixed-wing threats, rockets, artillery, and mortars, said Marcia Holmes, the deputy director of hypersonics, directed energy, space and rapid acquisition.
«Our goal is to deliver prototypes that Soldiers can use as the mission requires and that the Army can leverage as a baseline for a program of record», Holmes said. «A Soldier-centered design is a key part to reduce risk and to ensure an operationally effective weapon system».
A strong partnership between the Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office and science and technology industry leaders led to the development and implementation of the first prototype in 24 months, Holmes said.
The addition of the DE M-SHORAD and other directed-energy capabilities like the Indirect Fire Protection Capability-High Energy Laser, or IFPC-HEL, and IFPC-High Power Microwave are all designed to complement the Army’s kinetic air defense capabilities, said Craig Robin, deputy director of the RCCTO’s directed energy project office.
The unique design of the DE M-SHORAD leverages the Stryker’s gas-powered engine to energize its batteries, cooling system, and laser. The self-contained system has enough electricity to address multiple threats at a time before needing a period to recharge, he said.
«There are places where directed energy can provide a significant advantage», he added. «All the bullets are built into the system, so the logistics associated with moving a platform and supplying it requires just gas and parts».
Robin added that directed-energy systems are also more cost-effective from a life cycle perspective, making them a strategic tool to take out low-cost threats like an UAS to save the Army’s kinetic capabilities.
The Army plans to demonstrate the DE M-SHORAD capabilities during Project Convergence 21 (PC 21), where it will participate in a joint and coalition exercise later this year, said Col. Scott McLeod, the program’s manager.
«PC 21 will be a big opportunity for us to show how we can integrate with our systems and demonstrate the capability against other threats», McLeod said.
In July, the prototype proved its abilities during a combat shoot-off at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. During the event, Soldiers faced several realistic scenarios intended to refine future DE M-SHORAD characteristics, as program leads collected extensive data and user feedback to refine the system, McLeod said.
In addition to Project Convergence 21, the DE M-SHORAD development team will make minor adjustments to improve the device’s performance in the coming months, followed by several internal system verifications, he added.
«We are delivering a brand new capability – it is not a modification or an upgrade. It is unlike any other system the Army has fielded to date», McLeod said. «This event was a major step in the prototyping process and an informative waypoint as we move forward with building and delivering a prototype platoon in fiscal year 2022».
The first Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker built for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) recently refueled another KC-46A Pegasus aircraft in the skies over Washington state. The Japan-bound tanker also successfully received fuel in return.
«Refueling with the first Japan KC-46A Pegasus is an important milestone for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force», said Jamie Burgess, KC-46 Pegasus program manager. «KC-46A Pegasus is the world’s most advanced air refueling aircraft and has already transferred more than 42 million gallons of fuel to other aircraft globally through its boom and drogue systems».
Japan is the KC-46 Pegasus program’s first non-U.S. customer and is scheduled to receive its first aircraft this year.
«State-of-the-art refueling makes the KC-46A Pegasus a standout, but this tanker goes well beyond that», said Will Shaffer, president of Boeing Japan. «The ability to carry cargo and passengers while maintaining tactical situational awareness makes the aircraft a critical tool in the security alliance between the U.S. and Japan».
The Japan KC-46A Pegasus is capable of refueling U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and JASDF aircraft.
The U.S. Air Force awarded Boeing a contract for the JASDF’s first KC-46A Pegasus tanker in December 2017. The agreement was completed through the Foreign Military Sale process between the U.S. government and Japan. A second Japan tanker is already in production.
Boeing is assembling the KC-46A Pegasus aircraft for both the U.S. Air Force and Japan on its 767 production line in Everett, Washington. Boeing’s Japanese partners produce 16% of the KC-46A Pegasus airframe structure.
Aerial refueling and airlift
The Boeing Company
2 × Pratt & Whitney 4062
62,000 lbs./275.790 kN/28,123 kgf – Thrust per High-Bypass engine (sea-level standard day)
157 feet, 8 inches/48.1 m
165 feet, 6 inches/50.5 m
52 feet, 10 inches/15.9 m
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW)
415,000 lbs./188,240 kg
Maximum Landing Weight
310,000 lbs./140,614 kg
212,299 lbs./96,297 kg
Maximum Transfer Fuel Load
207,672 lbs./94,198 kg
Maximum Cargo Capacity
65,000 lbs./29,484 kg
360 KCAS (Knots Calibrated AirSpeed)/0.86 M/414 mph/667 km/h
43,100 feet/13,137 m
7,299 NM/8,400 miles/13,518 km
18 pallet positions
15 permanent seats for aircrew, including aeromedical evacuation aircrew
58 total (normal operations); up to 114 total (contingency operations)
58 patients (24 litters/34 ambulatory) with the AE Patient Support Pallet configuration; 6 integral litters carried as part of normal aircraft configuration equipment
The U.S. Navy and Boeing have completed a second carrier-based aircraft unmanned refueling mission with the Boeing-owned MQ-25TM T1 test asset, this time refueling a Navy E-2D Hawkeye command and control aircraft.
During a test flight from MidAmerica St. Louis Airport on August 18, pilots from the U.S. Navy’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadron VX-20 conducted a successful wake survey behind MQ-25 T1 to ensure performance and stability before making contact with T1’s aerial refueling drogue. The E-2D Hawkeye received fuel from T1’s aerial refueling store during the flight.
«Once operational the MQ-25 Stingray will refuel every receiver-capable platform, including E-2D Hawkeye», said Captain Chad Reed, the Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Aviation program manager. «This flight keeps us on a fast track to getting the Stingray out to the fleet where its refueling capability will greatly increase the range and operational flexibility of the carrier air wing and strike group».
The MQ-25 Stingray will be assigned to the carrier airborne early warning squadron within the carrier air wing, which currently operates the E-2 C/D Hawkeye aircraft – known as the «digital quarterback» of the fleet for its role in joint battle management and command and control.
«It was another great flight showing that our MQ-25 Stingray design is performing to plan», said Dave Bujold, Boeing’s MQ-25 Stingray program director. «These historic refueling flights provide an incredible amount of data we feed back into the MQ-25 Stingray digital models to ensure the aircraft we’re producing will be the U.S. Navy’s game-changer for the carrier air wing».
This is the second aerial refueling mission the MQ-25 Stingray team has conducted this summer. On June 4, the MQ-25 T1 test asset became the first unmanned aircraft to refuel another aircraft, a U.S. Navy Super Hornet. Both flights were conducted at operationally relevant speeds and altitudes, with the E-2D Hawkeye and F/A-18 Super Hornet performing maneuvers in close proximity to MQ-25 T1.
Boeing is currently manufacturing the first two of seven MQ-25 Stingray test aircraft and two ground test articles currently under contract. The Boeing-owned MQ-25 T1 test asset is a predecessor to these aircraft. The MQ-25 Stingray is leveraging advancements in model-based digital engineering and design, and ongoing flights are intended to test aircraft design and performance much earlier than traditional programs.
The U.S. Navy christened its newest amphibious transport dock, the future USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28), during a 10 a.m. CDT ceremony Saturday, August 21, at the Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) Ingalls Division shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
The mayor of Fort Lauderdale, the Honorable Dean Trantalis, delivered the ceremony’s principal address. Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Navy for Ship Programs Ms. Bilyana Anderson and Vice Admiral William Galinis, commander, Naval Sea Systems Command, also provided remarks. In a time-honored Navy tradition, the ship’s sponsor, Ms. Meredith Berger, christened the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.
«We christen the future USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28), recognizing a city with a proud naval history», said Secretary of the U.S. Navy, the Honorable Carlos Del Toro. «This momentous occasion brings us one step closer to ‘manning the rails’ with the men and women who will carry on the naval tradition of defending our nation and working towards a more peaceful world».
USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28) is the first ship to be named for the city of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The future USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28) is the 12th San Antonio-class ship. The ships are designed to support embarking, transporting and bringing ashore elements of 650 Marines by landing craft or air cushion vehicles. The ship’s capabilities are further enhanced by a flight deck and hangar, which can operate CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters and the Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft (MV-22). San Antonio-class ships can support a variety of amphibious assault, special operations or expeditionary warfare missions, operating independently or as part of Amphibious Readiness Groups (ARGs), Expeditionary Strike Groups, or joint task forces.
Ship Facts and Characteristics
Four sequentially turbocharged marine Colt-Pielstick Diesels, two shafts, 41,600 shaft horsepower/31,021 kW
684 feet/208.5 m
105 feet/32 m
Approximately 24,900 long tons/25,300 metric tons full load