All posts by Dmitry Shulgin

Keel Laid for Levin

The keel of the future USS Carl M. Levin (DDG-120) was ceremoniously laid at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW) shipyard, February 1.

Keel Laid for future USS Carl M. Levin (DDG-120)
Keel Laid for future USS Carl M. Levin (DDG-120)

Speakers at the ceremony included Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, Secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer, the ship’s namesake, former Senator Carl Levin, and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden.

Senator Levin and the ship’s sponsors, his three daughters, Kate Levin Markel, Erica Levin, and Laura Levin, authenticated the keel by etching their initials into the keel plate to symbolically recognize the joining of modular components and the ceremonial beginning of the ship.

«We are honored to be celebrating this milestone with Sen. Levin, Mrs. Levin, their daughters, and so many distinguished guests», said Captain Casey Moton, DDG-51 class program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. «This has been a special occasion to lay the keel for our Nation’s 70th Arleigh Burke destroyer, and to do so with a namesake that shares the same sense of purpose and commitment to service as our sailors».

The ship’s namesake served in the U.S. Senate for 36 years from 1979-2015. As the longest serving senator in Michigan state history, Levin became a staunch supporter of the armed services through his work and leadership as Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services.

USS Carl M. Levin (DDG-120) will be built in the Flight IIA configuration with the Aegis Baseline 9 Combat System which includes Integrated Air and Missile Defense capability. This system delivers quick reaction time, high firepower, and increased electronic countermeasures capability for Anti-Air Warfare. Delivery to the fleet is planned for Fiscal Year 2021.

These multi-mission surface combatants serve as integral assets in global maritime security, engaging in air, undersea, surface, strike and ballistic missile defense, as well as providing increased capabilities in anti-submarine warfare, command and control, and anti-surface warfare.

In addition to USS Carl M. Levin (DDG-120), BIW has four additional Arleigh Burke class destroyers under construction – USS Daniel Inouye (DDG-118), USS John Basilone (DDG-122), USS Harvey C. Barnum Jr. (DDG-124) and USS Patrick Gallagher (DDG-127), as well as the Zumwalt class destroyer USS Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002). BIW is under contract for an additional six Arleigh Burke class destroyers that will all be constructed in the Flight III configuration with enhanced Air and Missile Defense capabilities.

As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, boats and craft.

 

Ship Characteristics

Length Overall 510 feet/156 m
Beam – Waterline 59 feet/18 m
Draft 30.5 feet/9.3 m
Displacement – Full Load 9,217 tons/9,363 metric tons
Power Plant 4 General electric LM 2500-30 gas turbines; 2 shafts; 2 CRP (Contra-Rotating) propellers; 100,000 shaft horsepower/75,000 kW
Speed in excess of 30 knots/34.5 mph/55.5 km/h
Range 4,400 NM/8,149 km at 20 knots/23 mph/37 km/h
Crew 380 total: 32 Officers, 27 CPO (Chief Petty Officer), 321 OEM
Surveillance SPY-1D Phased Array Radar and Aegis Combat System (Lockheed Martin); SPS-73(V) Navigation; SPS-67(V)3 Surface Search; 3 SPG-62 Illuminator; SQQ-89(V)6 sonar incorporating SQS-53C hull mounted and SQR-19 towed array sonars used with Mark-116 Mod 7 ASW fire control system
Electronics/Countermeasures SLQ-32(V)3; Mark-53 Mod 0 Decoy System; Mark-234 Decoy System; SLQ-25A Torpedo Decoy; SLQ-39 Surface Decoy; URN-25 TACAN; UPX-29 IFF System; Kollmorgen Mark-46 Mod 1 Electro-Optical Director
Aircraft 2 embarked SH-60 helicopters ASW operations; RAST (Recovery Assist, Secure and Traverse)
Armament 2 Mark-41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) with 96 Standard, Vertical Launch ASROC (Anti-Submarine Rocket) & Tomahawk ASM (Air-to-Surface Missile)/LAM (Loitering Attack Missile); 5-in (127-mm)/54 (62) Mark-45 gun; 2 (1) CIWS (Close-In Weapon System); 2 Mark-32 triple 324-mm torpedo tubes for Mark-46 or Mark-50 ASW torpedos

 

Guided Missile Destroyers Lineup

 

Flight IIA: Technology Insertion

Ship Yard Launched Commissioned Homeport
DDG-116 Thomas Hudner GDBIW 04-23-17 12-01-18 Mayport, Florida
DDG-117 Paul Ignatius HIIIS 11-12-16
DDG-118 Daniel Inouye GDBIW
DDG-119 Delbert D. Black HIIIS 09-08-17
DDG-120 Carl M. Levin GDBIW
DDG-121 Frank E. Peterson Jr. HIIIS 07-13-18
DDG-122 John Basilone GDBIW
DDG-123 Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee HIIIS
DDG-124 Harvey C. Barnum Jr. GDBIW

 

Next group of P-8A

The U.S. Navy has awarded Boeing a $2.4 billion production contract for the next 19 P-8A Poseidon aircraft. The contract includes 10 aircraft to add to the current inventory of P-8As in the U.S. Navy fleet, all five jets currently under contract for Norway and the four aircraft remaining for the existing United Kingdom contract, bringing the total United Kingdom acquisition to nine aircraft.

The U.S. Navy has awarded Boeing a $2.4 billion production contract for the next 19 P-8A Poseidon aircraft (Boeing photo)
The U.S. Navy has awarded Boeing a $2.4 billion production contract for the next 19 P-8A Poseidon aircraft (Boeing photo)

The United Kingdom and Norway are acquiring the Boeing aircraft through the Foreign Military Sales process and will receive a variant designed and produced for the U.S. Navy called the P-8A Poseidon. The United Kingdom will receive their first aircraft in 2019 and Norway will begin receiving aircraft in 2021.

The P-8 is a long-range multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations. A military derivative of the Boeing Commercial Next-Generation 737 airplane, the P-8 combines superior performance and reliability with an advanced mission system that ensures maximum interoperability in the battle space.

The P-8 is militarized with maritime weapons, a modern open mission system architecture, and commercial-like support for affordability. The aircraft has been modified to include a bomb bay and pylons for weapons – two weapons stations on each wing – and can carry 129 sonobuoys. The aircraft is also fitted with an in-flight refueling system. With more than 180,000 flight hours to date, P-8 variants, the P-8A Poseidon and the P-8I, patrol the globe performing anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; humanitarian; and search and rescue missions.

 

Technical Specifications

Wing Span 123.6 feet/37.64 m
Height 42.1 feet/12.83 m
Length 129.5 feet/39.47 m
Propulsion 2 × CFM56-7B engines
27,000 lbs./12,237 kgf/120 kN thrust
Speed 490 knots/564 mph/908 km/h
Range 1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km with 4 hours on station
Ceiling 41,000 feet/12,496 m
Crew 9
Maximum Take-Off Gross Weight 189,200 lbs./85,820 kg

 

EW Podded System

Lockheed Martin has been awarded a Prototype Project Agreement through an Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) with Consortium Management Group (CMG) on behalf of Consortium for Command, Control and Communications in Cyberspace (C5) valued at $18 million to design, develop and test a cyber/electronic warfare podded system for the «Air Large» component of the U.S. Army’s Multi-Function Electronic Warfare (MFEW) family of systems program.

Artist rendering of the Silent CROW podded system mounted on a Gray Eagle unmanned aerial system (Credit: Lockheed Martin)
Artist rendering of the Silent CROW podded system mounted on a Gray Eagle unmanned aerial system (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

Lockheed Martin created an open architecture system called Silent CROW that can be easily configured for a variety of airborne and ground platforms, such as a wing-mounted pod for Group 4 unmanned aerial systems. Silent CROW would enable U.S. soldiers to disrupt, deny, degrade, deceive and destroy adversaries’ electronic systems through electronic support, electronic attack and cyber techniques.

«Lockheed Martin’s deep roots in cyberspace allow us to anticipate future threats while actively solving today’s most complex cyber problems», said Deon Viergutz, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Spectrum Convergence. «We’re prioritizing the Army’s critical needs by partnering with them and investing in new technologies that are scalable and affordable».

Lockheed Martin has decades of cyber and integrated electronic warfare experience, providing real-time situational awareness and countermeasure technologies to protect land, sea and air assets from attacks. The team has completed extensive internal research, development and testing on Silent CROW and will continue to evolve it’s cyber and electronic warfare systems to meet the emerging needs of our Department of Defense (DoD) customers and overcome advances in adversary technologies.

Twelfth EPF vessel

The U.S. Navy held a keel laying and authentication ceremony for its twelfth Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) vessel, USNS Newport (T-EPF-12), at Austal USA’s shipyard., January 29. The keel was said to be «truly and fairly laid» as it was authenticated by Charlotte Dorrance Marshall, signing her initials into the keel plate.

Keel authenticated for twelfth Expeditionary Fast Transport
Keel authenticated for twelfth Expeditionary Fast Transport

«We are excited to celebrate a major milestone in the construction of the 12th EPF of the class», said Captain Scot Searles, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. «These ships have proven versatility and capability, allowing them to be strategic assets to our fleet and partners abroad. The milestone we celebrate today is the first of many as we work to deliver another highly capable platform».

EPFs are non-combatant vessels designed to operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, increasing operational flexibility for a wide range of activities including maneuver and sustainment, relief operations in small or damaged ports, flexible logistics support, or as the key enabler for rapid transport. The ships are capable of interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, as well as on/off-loading vehicles such as a fully combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank.

EPFs support a variety of missions including the overseas contingency operations, conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, supporting special operations forces, and supporting emerging joint sea-basing concepts. EPFs are capable of transporting 600 short tons 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots. Each vessel includes a flight deck to support day and night aircraft launch and recovery operations. Burlington will have airline-style seating for 312 embarked forces with fixed berthing for 104.

USNS Burlington (T-EPF-10) was delivered in November2018, and Austal USA is currently in production on USNS Puerto Rico (T-EPF-11), which was christened in November 2018. The U.S. Navy issued Austal long-lead-time material contracts in late 2018 for EPF-13 and EPF-14.

As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

PRINCIPAL DIMENSIONS
Material Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy
Length overall 103 m/337.9 feet
Beam overall 28.5 m/93.5 feet
Hull draft (maximum) 3.83 m/12.57 feet
MISSION BAY
Area (with tie-downs) 1,863 m2/20,053 feet2
Clear Height 4.75 m/15.6 feet
Turning diameter 26.2 m/86.0 feet
ISO TEU (Twenty Equivalent Units) Stations 6 Interface Panels
ACCOMMODATIONS
Crew 41
Single SR 2
Double SR 6
Quad SR 7
Troop Seats 312
Troop Berths Permanent: 104
Temporary: 46
Galley and Messing 48
PROPULSION
Main Engines 4 × MTU 20V8000 M71L Diesel Engines 4 × 9.1 MW
Gear boxes 4 × ZF 60000NR2H Reduction Gears
Waterjets 4 × Wartsila WLD 1400 SR
PERFORMANCE
Average Speed 35 knots/40 mph/65 km/h @ 90% MCR with 635 mt (700 st) payload
Maximum Speed 43 knots/50 mph/80 km/h without payload
Maximum Transit Range 1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km
Self-Deployment Range 5,600 NM/6,444 miles/10,371 km
Survival Through SS-7
AVIATION FACILITIES
NAVAIR Level 1 Class 2 Certified Flight Deck for one helicopter
Centreline parking area for one helicopter
NAVAIR Level 1 class 4 Type 2 Certified VERTREP (Vertical Replenishment)
Helicopter Control Station
AUXILIARY SYSTEMS
Active Ride Control Transcom Interceptors
Foils: 3.24 m2/34.9 feet2 each, forward on inboard sides of demi-hulls
Vehicle Ramp Articulated Slewing Stern Ramp
Straight aft to 45 Starboard
Telescoping Boom Crane 12.3 mt @ 15 m, 18.2 mt @ 10 m/13.6 Lt @ 49.2 feet, 20.1 Lt @ 32.8 feet

 

Ships

USNS Spearhead (EPF-1), Delivered

USNS Choctaw County (EPF-2), Delivered

USNS Millinocket (EPF-3), Delivered

USNS Fall River (EPF-4), Delivered

USNS Trenton (EPF-5), Delivered

USNS Brunswick (EPF-6), Delivered

USNS Carson City (EPF-7), Delivered

USNS Yuma (EPF-8), Delivered

USNS City of Bismark (EPF-9), Delivered

USNS Burlington (EPF-10), Delivered

USNS Puerto Rico (EPF-11), Under construction

USNS Newport (EPF-12), Under construction

EPF-13, On order

EPF-14, On order

Dakota Commissioned

The Navy commissioned its newest fast attack submarine, the USS South Dakota (SSN-790), during an 11 a.m. (EST) ceremony Saturday, February 2, at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut.

The Virginia-class attack submarine USS South Dakota (SSN-790) transits the Thames River at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut. South Dakota is the 17th Virginia-class, fast-attack submarine (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steven Hoskins/Released)
The Virginia-class attack submarine USS South Dakota (SSN-790) transits the Thames River at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut. South Dakota is the 17th Virginia-class, fast-attack submarine (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steven Hoskins/Released)

The principal speaker was U.S. Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota. The submarine’s sponsor is Mrs. Deanie Dempsey, wife of the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey. She gave the order to «man our ship and bring her to life!» in a time-honored Navy tradition.

«USS South Dakota enters service during a period of dynamic security challenges», said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. «I am confident USS South Dakota and its crew will ensure our Navy and nation remain safe and strong, and proudly serve our nation’s interest for decades to come».

USS South Dakota, a Virginia-class submarine designated SSN-790, is the third ship to bear the state’s name. The first South Dakota was an armored cruiser commissioned January 27, 1908. The ship served in a convoy escort role during World War I before being renamed Huron June 7, 1920. She was decommissioned following seven years of service in the Pacific June 17, 1927. The second ship was a battleship commissioned March 20, 1942. She saw service in a number of important World War II battles including Santa Cruz, Guadalcanal, Philippine Sea, and Okinawa, earning thirteen battle stars over the course of the war. South Dakota was present at Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered and was later placed out of commission January 31, 1947.

USS South Dakota (SSN-790) is the 17th Virginia-class attack submarine and the seventh Virginia-class Block III submarine. Virginia-class submarines are built to operate in the world’s littoral and deep waters while conducting anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface ship warfare; strike warfare; special operation forces support; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. Their inherent stealth, endurance, mobility, and firepower directly enable them to support five of the six maritime strategy core capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence.

 

General Characteristics

Builder General Dynamics Electric Boat Division and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. – Newport News Shipbuilding
Date Deployed October 3, 2004
Propulsion One GE PWR S9G* nuclear reactor, two turbines, one shaft; 40,000 hp/30 MW
Length 377 feet/114.8 m
Beam 33 feet/10.0584 m
Hull Diameter 34 feet/10.3632 m
Displacement Approximately 7,800 tons/7,925 metric tons submerged
Speed 25+ knots/28+ mph/46.3+ km/h
Diving Depth 800+ feet/244+ m
Crew 132: 15 officers; 117 enlisted
Armament: Tomahawk missiles Two 87-in/2.2 m Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs), each capable of launching 6 Tomahawk cruise missiles
Armament: MK-48 ADCAP (Advanced Capability) Mod 7 heavyweight torpedoes 4 torpedo tubes
Weapons MK-60 CAPTOR (Encapsulated Torpedo) mines, advanced mobile mines and UUVs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicles)

* – Knolls Atomic Power Laboratories

 

Nuclear Submarine Lineup

 

Block III

Ship Yard Christening Commissioned Homeport
SSN-784 North Dakota EB 11-2-13 10-25-14 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-785 John Warner NNS 09-06-14 08-01-15 Norfolk, Virginia
SSN-786 Illinois EB 10-10-15 10-29-16 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
SSN-787 Washington NNS 03-05-16 10-07-17 Norfolk, Virginia
SSN-788 Colorado EB 12-03-16 03-17-18 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-789 Indiana NNS 04-29-17 09-29-18 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-790 South Dakota EB 10-14-17 02-02-19
SSN-791 Delaware NNS 10-20-18
The official crest of the Virginia-class attack submarine USS South Dakota (SSN-790). The boat's crest pays homage to its namesake and ships bearing the name South Dakota (U.S. Navy graphic/Released)
The official crest of the Virginia-class attack submarine USS South Dakota (SSN-790). The boat’s crest pays homage to its namesake and ships bearing the name South Dakota (U.S. Navy graphic/Released)

LMV Fearless

Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How officiated at the launching ceremony of the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN)’s eighth and final Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV), RSS Fearless 22, at ST Engineering’s Benoi Shipyard. The LMV was launched by Mrs. Heng Soon Poh, wife of Mr. Heng.

Singapore Navy launches final Littoral Mission Vessel, RSS Fearless 22
Singapore Navy launches final Littoral Mission Vessel, RSS Fearless 22

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Heng highlighted the importance of a strong and capable RSN to safeguard Singapore’s sovereignty. He said, «The navy is every maritime nation’s first line of defence. A strong RSN is key to protecting our maritime sovereignty, and keeping our Sea Lines of Communication open. Singapore’s maritime agencies work together 24/7 to monitor threats. The RSN augments this by conducting patrols around the clock – tirelessly – to keep our waters safe and secure. We do this to protect Singapore, Singaporeans, and our Singaporean way of life».

On the launch of Fearless, Mr. Heng encouraged the crew to «live up to the fearless spirit of our founding fathers and continue to live out its legacy. As you embark on your next journey to defend our sovereignty, our security, and our economic prosperity, I am confident that you will overcome all challenges fearlessly, never flagging in adversity».

The launch of RSS Fearless 22 is a significant milestone in the RSN’s continued transformation to enable it to continue safeguarding the sovereignty and security of Singapore’s waters. The LMV programme is progressing well. Since 2017, five LMVs – RSS Independence 15, RSS Sovereignty 16, RSS Unity 17, RSS Justice 18 and RSS Indomitable 19 – have been commissioned. They have rapidly assumed and effectively executed operational duties, including the DPRK-US Singapore Summit and daily maritime security patrols, and have participated in exercises such as the ASEAN Multilateral Naval Exercise and Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise. LMVs Fortitude and Dauntless, launched in 2018, are undergoing sea trials and will be commissioned later this year. All eight LMVs will be fully operational by 2020.

Also present at the ceremony was Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral Lew Chuen Hong, as well as senior officers from the RSN and the Defence Science and Technology Agency.

The Ninth FREMM

The launching ceremony of the «Spartaco Schergat» (F-598) frigate, the ninth of a series of 10 FREMM vessels – Multi Mission European Frigates, took place at the integrated shipyard of Riva Trigoso (Genoa). The 10 FREMM vessels have been commissioned to Fincantieri by the Italian Navy within the framework of an Italo-French cooperation program under the coordination of OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Cooperation sur l’Armement, the international organization for cooperation on arms).

The ninth multipurpose frigate «Spartaco Schergat» launched
The ninth multipurpose frigate «Spartaco Schergat» launched

Godmother of the ceremony was Mrs. Anna Rosa Aonzo Grillo, daughter of the Golden Medal for Military Value, Giuseppe Aonzo.

The President of Fincantieri, Giampiero Massolo, and the CEO, Giuseppe Bono, played host to Giovanni Toti, Governor of the Liguria Region, and to the Chief of Staff of the Italian Navy, Admiral Valter Girardelli, in addition to a number of civil and religious authorities.

After the launching, fitting activities will continue in the Integrated naval shipyard of Muggiano (La Spezia), with delivery scheduled in 2020. The «Spartaco Schergat» (F-598) vessel, like the other units, will feature a high degree of flexibility, capable of operating in all tactical situations. 472.4 feet/144 metres long with a beam of 64.6 feet/19.7 metres, the ship will have a displacement at full load of approximately 6,700 tonnes. The vessel will have a maximum speed of over 27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h and will provide accommodation for a 200-person crew.

The FREMM program, representing the European and Italian defence state of the art, stems from the renewal need of the Italian Navy line «Lupo» (already removed) and «Maestrale» (some of them already decommissioned, the remaining close to the attainment of operational limit) class frigates, both built by Fincantieri in the 1970s.

The vessels «Carlo Bergamini» (F-590) and «Virginio Fasan» (F-591) have been delivered in 2013, the «Carlo Margottini» (F-592) in 2014, the «Carabiniere» (F-593) in 2015, the «Alpino» (F-594) in 2016, the «Luigi Rizzo» (F-595) in 2017, and the «Federico Martinengo» (F-596) in 2018. The Italian program has been fully implemented with the option exercised in April 2015, regarding the construction of the ninth and tenth vessel, whose delivery is scheduled after 2020. Orizzonte Sistemi Navali (51% Fincantieri, 49% Leonardo) acts as prime contractor for Italy in the initiative, while Armaris (Naval Group + Thales) is prime contractor for France.

This cooperation has applied the positive experience gained in the previous Italo-French program «Orizzonte» that has led to the construction for the Italian Navy of the two frigates «Andrea Doria» and «Caio Duilio».

 

Main Characteristics

Length overall 472.4 feet/144 m
Width 64.6 feet/19.7 m
Depth (main deck) 37 feet/11.3 m
Displacement 6,700 tonnes
Maximum speed 27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h
Crew 145 people
Accommodation Up to 200 men and women
CODLAG PROPULSION SYSTEM
Avio-GE LM2500+G4 32 MW
Electric propulsion motors 2 × 2,5 MW
Diesel Generator (DG) sets 4 × 2,1 MW
Propellers 2 × Controllable-Pitch Propeller (CPP)
Endurance 45 days
Range at 15 knots/17 mph/28 km/h 6,000 NM/6,905 miles/11,112 km
COMBAT SYSTEM
Anti-Air Warfare (AAW)/ Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) Capabilities
Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Defence
Electronic Warfare (EW) Capabilities

 

First Two KC-46A

The first two Boeing KC-46 Pegasus aircraft departed Everett’s Paine Field this morning for McConnell Air Force Base (AFB), where the 22nd Air Refueling Wing (22 ARW) will be the first unit to have the world’s newest air refueling tankers.

The first two Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tankers departs Everett, Washington for McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. These aircraft, the first delivered by the program, will join the U.S. Air Force 22nd Air Refueling Wing (Boeing photo)
The first two Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tankers departs Everett, Washington for McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. These aircraft, the first delivered by the program, will join the U.S. Air Force 22nd Air Refueling Wing (Boeing photo)

McConnell, in Wichita, Kansas, will receive two more tankers in the weeks ahead. Then Oklahoma’s Altus Air Force Base will receive four planes to support aircrew training.

The Air Force will soon begin evaluating the Boeing KC-46’s systems in operationally realistic scenarios, which is required before the aircraft can be used in combat. It will also continue validating the Boeing KC-46’s refueling capabilities, with aircraft including the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit bomber, Lockheed C-5 Galaxy cargo plane, and Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter. Prior testing involved the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bomber, Boeing C-17 Globemaster III cargo plane, and McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle and McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet fighters, among others.

 

General Characteristics

Primary Function Aerial refueling and airlift
Prime Contractor The Boeing Company
Power Plant 2 × Pratt & Whitney 4062
Thrust 62,000 lbs./275.790 kN/28,123 kgf – Thrust per High-Bypass engine (sea-level standard day)
Wingspan 157 feet, 8 inches/48.1 m
Length 165 feet, 6 inches/50.5 m
Height 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
Fuel Capacity 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
Maximum Airspeed 360 KCAS (Knots Calibrated AirSpeed)/0.86 M/414 mph/667 km/h
Service Ceiling 43,100 feet/13,137 m
Maximum Distance 7,299 NM/8,400 miles/13,518 km
Pallet Positions 18 pallet positions
Air Crew 15 permanent seats for aircrew, including aeromedical evacuation aircrew
Passengers 58 total (normal operations); up to 114 total (contingency operations)
Aeromedical Evacuation 58 patients (24 litters/34 ambulatory) with the AE Patient Support Pallet configuration; 6 integral litters carried as part of normal aircraft configuration equipment

 

Optimal cruise speed

The Bell V-280 Valor successfully achieved its namesake optimal cruise speed of 280 knots/322 mph/519 km/h on Wednesday, 23 January 2019 at our Flight Research Center in Arlington, Texas.

Bell V-280 Valor achieves key milestone: forward flight at 280 knots/322 mph/519 km/h
Bell V-280 Valor achieves key milestone: forward flight at 280 knots/322 mph/519 km/h

Building on a full year’s worth of testing and more than 85 hours of flight time, Bell’s V-280 Valor reached its namesake cruising speed of 280 knots/322 mph/519 km/h true airspeed.

Bell and Team Valor continue to methodically and very successfully expand the flight envelope. The aircraft continues to prove its performance is well beyond legacy rotorcraft and will deliver revolutionary capability for warfighters as part of the Future of Vertical Lift (FVL) program.

«It is a remarkable achievement to hit this airspeed for the V-280 Valor in just over a year of flight testing. Beyond the exemplary speed and agility of this aircraft, this significant milestone is yet another proof point that the V-280 is mature technology, and the future is now for FVL capability set 3», said Keith Flail, vice president of Advanced Vertical Lift Systems at Bell.

Purpose-built to conduct long range assault at twice the speed and range of existing medium lift helicopters, the V-280’s technical maturity demonstrates that close collaboration between government and industry can deliver transformational capabilities in a rapid and sustainable process.

«Cruising at twice the speed of legacy helicopters, with double the range, really changes the way the U.S. military can enable multi-domain operations. By eliminating forward refueling points alone, leaders can focus on operational goals while minimizing logistical burdens», said Ryan Ehinger, V-280 program manager at Bell.

Additionally, Bell’s digital design and design-as-built methodology for the V-280 focused on creating a sustainable and affordable aircraft. The team took great care to simplify designs and advance technology readiness to inform requirements for FVL CS3.

As the program moves into 2019, V-280 flight testing will continue to prove out Bell’s key performance parameters and reduce FVL risk in the U.S. Army led Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) program. The next stages will expand the performance envelope highlighting further low-speed agility maneuvers, angles of bank and autonomous flight.

These milestones continue to demonstrate that the V-280 Valor is ready and that the Future of Vertical Lift is now.

The latest flight statistics include:

  • Forward flight at 280 knots/322 mph/519 km/h true airspeed;
  • Over 85 hours of flight and more than 180 rotor turn hours;
  • In-flight transitions between cruise mode and vertical takeoff and landing;
  • 45-degree banked turns at 200 knots/230 mph/370 km/h indicated airspeed;
  • 4500 feet/1,372 m per minute rate of climb and sustained flight at 11,500 feet/3,505 m altitude;
  • Single flight ferry of over 370 miles/595.5 km;
  • Demonstrated low and high-speed agility with fly-by-wire controls.

Electronic Warfare

Northrop Grumman Corporation has received authorization to proceed with Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) of Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 3 systems following a successful Milestone C decision for the SEWIP Block 3 AN/SLQ-32(V)7 program.

Northrop Grumman has continued to invest in advanced capabilities in Electromagnetic Maneuver Warfare (EMW). With the U.S. Navy elevating the electromagnetic spectrum as a warfighting domain, SEWIP Block 3 is the cornerstone capability that will meet the urgent operational needs of the Fleet
Northrop Grumman has continued to invest in advanced capabilities in Electromagnetic Maneuver Warfare (EMW). With the U.S. Navy elevating the electromagnetic spectrum as a warfighting domain, SEWIP Block 3 is the cornerstone capability that will meet the urgent operational needs of the Fleet

Milestone C is a government led review to assess a program’s performance and readiness to enter the production and deployment phase. The successful Milestone C decision for SEWIP Block 3 recognizes the accomplishments of the Northrop Grumman and U.S. Navy team in demonstrating the capability of this groundbreaking Electronic Warfare (EW) capability.

«Milestone C approval and the start of LRIP are significant milestones for the SEWIP Block 3 program», said Captain Seiko Okano, the Navy’s Major Program Manager of Above Water Sensors. «SEWIP Block 3 is a critical capability that the Fleet needed yesterday to pace the evolving anti-ship cruise missile threat. We must continue to push to deliver this critical electronic warfare improvement to the Fleet on schedule and cost».

SEWIP Block 3 is the third in a series of block upgrades of the AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare system which provides Electronic Attack (EA) capability improvements required to pace the evolving anti-ship missile threat. Northrop Grumman has provided electronic warfare expertise to the legacy AN/SLQ-32 EW system for over four decades. With the U.S. Navy elevating the electromagnetic spectrum as a warfighting domain, SEWIP Block 3 is a cornerstone capability that will meet the urgent operational needs of the U.S. Navy in that domain. SEWIP Block 3 provides game changing improved capability for non-kinetic electronic attack options.

«I am very proud of the entire team in achieving this significant engineering milestone despite the complexities of pursuing such a demanding technological goal», said Ingrid Vaughan, vice president and general manager, navigation & maritime systems division, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems. «The relentless commitment of the U.S. Navy Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS) and Northrop Grumman team in developing this revolutionary electronic attack capability will dramatically assist our Fleet in pacing 21st century threats».