Category Archives: Air

Gliding weapon

Raytheon Company and the U.S. Navy have conducted a successful operational test of the new Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW) C-1 gliding, precision-guided weapon. Conducted in a challenging flight environment, the test further demonstrated the capabilities of JSOW C-1 against a broad set of land targets.

In this file photo, an F-16 fighter launches a JSOW glide bomb (Raytheon photo)
In this file photo, an F-16 fighter launches a JSOW glide bomb (Raytheon photo)

Launched from an F/A-18F Super Hornet at approximately 29,000 feet/8,839 meters, the JSOW C-1 flew a flawless, preplanned route before destroying its intended land target with precision accuracy. The challenging battlefield scenario included a well-defended target that used tactical countermeasures.

«This test demonstrated yet again JSOW’s ability to deliver decisive battlefield effects with precision stand-off capability against some of the most challenging land targets facing our warfighters», said Celeste Mohr, JSOW program director for Raytheon Missile Systems. «Naval aviators also recently employed JSOW C in a tactically realistic, cave-defeat scenario that included heavy radio frequency countermeasures. The result was two direct hits».

The new JSOW C-1 combines the proven, precision, stand-off land attack capabilities from JSOW C, with the new, state-of-the-art Link 16 data link to also engage moving maritime targets. The JSOW C-1 variant adds a two-way Link 16 data link to engage and destroy moving targets, as well as stationary land targets.

This initial operational test shot was preceded by seven-for-seven, equally successful employments against both stationary land targets and maritime moving targets during the developmental and integration test phases. It paves the way for the next phase of operational testing against large and small maritime moving targets.

JSOW C and C-1 are designed to provide fleet forces with robust and flexible capability against high-value targets, at launch ranges exceeding 62 miles/100 kilometers.

 

About JSOW

JSOW is a family of low-cost, air-to-ground weapons that employ an integrated GPS-inertial navigation system with highly capable guidance algorithms. JSOW C prosecutes fixed land targets and uses an imaging infrared seeker for increased accuracy in the terminal phase.

JSOW C-1 adds the two-way Link 16 data link enhancement, enabling additional target sets with moving maritime target capability.

 

Ready for fleet

The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps’ RQ-21A Blackjack Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) received the official green light for operation January 13, marking a major milestone for the program.

An RQ-21A Blackjack in flight during testing aboard USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19) in 2015. The Marines will deploy with the unmanned air system for its first shipboard deployment in summer 2016 (U.S. Navy photo)
An RQ-21A Blackjack in flight during testing aboard USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19) in 2015. The Marines will deploy with the unmanned air system for its first shipboard deployment in summer 2016 (U.S. Navy photo)

Marine Corps Deputy Commandant for Aviation Lieutenant General Jon Davis, announced the program has achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC), which confirms that the first Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron (VMU) squadron is sufficiently manned, trained and ready to deploy with the RQ-21A system.

«We are ‘go for launch,’» said Colonel Eldon Metzger, program manager for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program Office (PMA-263) whose team oversees the Blackjack program. «Achieving IOC designation means the fleet can now deploy using this critical piece of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) architecture to enhance mission success».

Last month, the first system from Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) lot 3 was delivered to VMU-2 and will be in direct support of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), based in Cherry Point, North Carolina. The Marines will make their first shipboard deployment with this system in the summer.

«The Blackjack team has endured many long hours seeing this program to fruition and I am very proud to lead such a dedicated team of professionals», Metzger said.

A Blackjack system is comprised of five air vehicles, two ground control systems, and launch and recovery support equipment. At eight feet/2.5 m long and with a wingspan of 16 feet/4.8 m, the air vehicle’s open-architecture configuration is designed to seamlessly integrate sensor payloads, with an endurance of 10-12 hours.

The expeditionary nature of the Blackjack, which does not require a runway for launch and recovery, makes it possible to deploy a multi-intelligence-capable UAS with minimal footprint from ships.

Standard Payloads: day/night, full-motion video; electro-optical/infrared cameras; mid-wave infrared imager; infrared marker; laser rangefinder; communications relay; Automatic Identification System receivers for shipping traffic data
Standard Payloads: day/night, full-motion video; electro-optical/infrared cameras; mid-wave infrared imager; infrared marker; laser rangefinder; communications relay; Automatic Identification System receivers for shipping traffic data

 

SPECIFICATIONS

DIMENSIONS
Length 8.2 feet/2.5 m
Wingspan 16 feet/4.8 m
WEIGHTS
Empty structure weight 81 lbs/36 kg
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 135 lbs/61 kg
Maximum payload weight 39 lbs/17 kg
PERFORMANCE
Endurance up to 16 hours
Ceiling >19,500 feet/5,944 m
Maximum horizontal speed 90+ knots/104 mph/167 km/h
Cruise speed 60 knots/69 mph/111 km/h
Engine 8 HP reciprocating engine with Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI); JP-5, JP-8
PAYLOAD INTEGRATION
Onboard power 350 W for payload
Onboard connectivity Ethernet (TCP/IP), data encryption
STANDARD PAYLOAD CONFIGURATION
Electro-optic imager
Mid-wave infrared imager
Laser rangefinder
IR marker
Communications relay and Automatic Identification System (AIS)
The RQ-21A completed its first shipboard flight in February 2013 from USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19)
The RQ-21A completed its first shipboard flight in February 2013 from USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19)

Japanese Hawkeye

Northrop Grumman Corporation has received a U.S. Navy contract modification for non-recurring engineering and recurring support to configure the first Japanese E-2D Advanced Hawkeye.

True 360-degree radar coverage provides uncompromised all-weather tracking and situational awareness
True 360-degree radar coverage provides uncompromised all-weather tracking and situational awareness

The E-2D is an all-weather, Airborne Early Warning (AEW), command and control aircraft that will meet the Japanese Defense Ministry’s requirements for a future airborne early warning platform, according to a statement it released in November 2014. The aircraft will be produced at the company’s Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence in St. Augustine, Florida.

Under the $285,975,244 contract modification, Northrop Grumman will configure the Japanese E-2D aircraft utilizing the same E-2D multiyear production line used for U.S. aircraft to allow for a more efficient and affordable delivery schedule. The E-2D is the world’s only in-production AEW aircraft.

In November 2014, the Japan Ministry of Defense competitively selected the E-2D to fulfill an emerging next-generation AEW requirement.

«The E-2D will provide a critical capability that will serve as a force multiplier for the Japanese government», said Jane Bishop, vice president, E-2D Advanced Hawkeye and C-2 Greyhound programs, Northrop Grumman. «First responders will be able to receive and act on information more quickly than before with greater airborne early warning capability and a networked communications system».

The Japanese Air Self Defense Force has operated the E-2C Hawkeye since the late 1980s. The E-2C is also currently in use by Taiwan, France and Egypt.

The Hawkeye provides all-weather airborne early warning, airborne battle management and command and control functions for the Carrier Strike Group and Joint Force Commander
The Hawkeye provides all-weather airborne early warning, airborne battle management and command and control functions for the Carrier Strike Group and Joint Force Commander

 

E-2D Advanced Hawkeye

The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is a game changer in how the Navy will conduct battle management command and control. By serving as the «digital quarterback» to sweep ahead of strike, manage the mission, and keep our net-centric carrier battle groups out of harms way, the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is the key to advancing the mission, no matter what it may be. The E-2D gives the warfighter expanded battlespace awareness, especially in the area of information operations delivering battle management, theater air and missile defense, and multiple sensor fusion capabilities in an airborne system.

Open architecture compliant, commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS)-based hardware and software enables rapid, cost-wise technology refresh for consistent leading-edge mission tools
Open architecture compliant, commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS)-based hardware and software enables rapid, cost-wise technology refresh for consistent leading-edge mission tools

 

Hardware with system characteristics that provides:

  • Substantial target processing capacity (>3,000 reports per second)
  • Three highly automated and common operator stations
  • High-capacity, flat-panel color high-resolution displays
  • Extensive video type selection (radar and identification friend/foe)
  • HF/VHF/UHF and satellite communications systems
  • Extensive data link capabilities
  • Inertial navigational system and global positioning system navigation and in-flight alignment
  • Integrated and centralized diagnostic system
  • Glass Cockpit allows software reconfigurable flight/mission displays
  • Cockpit – 4th tactical operator
  • Open architecture ensures rapid technology upgrades and customized configuration options
A completely new radar featuring both mechanical and electronic scanning capabilities
A completely new radar featuring both mechanical and electronic scanning capabilities

 

General Characteristics

Wingspan 80 feet 7 inch/24.56 m
Width, wings folded 29 feet 4 inch/8.94 m
Length overall 57 feet 8.75 inch/17.60 m
Height overall 18 feet 3.75 inch/5.58 m
Diameter of rotodome 24 feet/7.32 m
Weight empty 43,068 lbs/19,536 kg
Internal fuel 12,400 lbs/5,624 kg
Takeoff gross weight 57,500 lbs/26,083 kg
Maximum level speed 350 knots/403 mph/648 km/h
Maximum cruise speed 325 knots/374 mph/602 km/h
Cruise speed 256 knots/295 mph/474 km/h
Approach speed 108 knots/124 mph/200 km/h
Service ceiling 34,700 feet/10,576 m
Minimum takeoff distance 1,346 feet/410 m ground roll
Minimum landing distance 1,764 feet/537 m ground roll
Ferry range 1,462 NM/1,683 miles/2,708 km
Crew Members 5
Power Plant 2 × Rolls-Royce T56-A-427A, rated at 5,100 eshp each
Unrefueled >6 hours
In-flight refueling 12 hours
Fully Integrated «All Glass» Tactical Cockpit
Fully Integrated «All Glass» Tactical Cockpit

Testing of the AAS

The U.S. Navy continues integration and testing of the first Advanced Airborne Sensor (AAS), designated the APS-154, aboard the P-8A Poseidon. Testing will confirm the ability of the P-8A and AAS to operate safely and efficiently. Successful testing of AAS on the P-8A is a significant milestone enabling production decisions and leading up to the initial deployment of AAS.

The U.S. Navy plans to purchase 117 P-8As to replace its fleet of P-3C aircraft
The U.S. Navy plans to purchase 117 P-8As to replace its fleet of P-3C aircraft

AAS is an externally mounted radar and a follow-on system to the currently deployed Littoral Surveillance Radar System (LSRS). LSRS currently provides a broad range of capabilities against moving and stationary targets at sea and on land.

Like LSRS, AAS is an integrated Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Targeting (ISR&T) asset, with the additional capability of Mast and Periscope Detection (MPD). AAS employment will increase the Combatant Commanders’ war fighting effectiveness by ensuring a situational awareness advantage, achieving information dominance throughout all campaign phases, and providing on-demand, actionable sensor data to support precision targeting against threats at sea and on land.

Northrop Grumman’s Electronic Systems sector provides the directional infrared countermeasures system, and the electronic support measures system
Northrop Grumman’s Electronic Systems sector provides the directional infrared countermeasures system, and the electronic support measures system

 

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
Raytheon provides the AN/APY-10 radar which delivers all weather, day/night multi-mission maritime, littoral and overland surveillance capabilities
Raytheon provides the AN/APY-10 radar which delivers all weather, day/night multi-mission maritime, littoral and overland surveillance capabilities

32 Super Hercules

Lockheed Martin will deliver 78 C-130J Super Hercules to the U.S. government through a C-130J Multiyear II contract, which was announced by the U.S. government on December 30, 2015.

The C-130J Super Hercules is the most flexible airlifter in the world
The C-130J Super Hercules is the most flexible airlifter in the world

The Department of Defense announced the award of more than $1 billion ($1,060,940,036) in funding for the first 32 aircraft of the Multiyear contract (13 C-130J-30, five HC-130J, 11 MC-130J, two KC-130J and one U.S. Coast Guard HC-130J aircraft). The overall contract, worth $5.3 billion, provides 78 Super Hercules aircraft to the U.S. Air Force (30 MC-130Js, 13 HC-130Js and 29 C-130J-30s) and the U.S. Marine Corps (six KC-130Js). Also through this contract, the U.S. Coast Guard has the option to acquire five HC-130Js. Aircraft purchased through the multiyear contract will deliver between 2016 and 2020.

«We are proud to partner with the U.S. government to continue to deliver to the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard the world’s most proven, versatile and advanced airlifter», said George Shultz, vice president and general manager, Air Mobility & Maritime Missions at Lockheed Martin. «This multiyear contract provides true value to our U.S. operators as they recapitalize and expand their much-relied-upon Hercules aircraft, which has the distinction of being the world’s largest and most tasked C-130 fleet».

The C-130J-30 Super Hercules is a stretch version of the C-130J
The C-130J-30 Super Hercules is a stretch version of the C-130J

Constructed in alignment with the U.S. government’s Better Buying Power initiative, this contract provides significant savings to the U.S. government through multiyear procurement as compared to annual buys.

Lockheed Martin provided 60 C-130Js to the U.S. government through an initial multiyear contract announced in 2003, which delivered aircraft to the U.S. Air Force and U.S Marine Corps from 2003-2008.

The C-130J Super Hercules is the standard in tactical airlift, providing a unique mix of versatility and performance to complete any mission, anytime, anywhere. It is the airlifter of choice for 16 nations and 19 different operators. The Super Hercules worldwide fleet has more than 1.3 million flight hours to its credit.

The HC-130J Combat King II – this C-130J variation specializes in tactical profiles and avoiding detection and recovery operations in austere environments
The HC-130J Combat King II – this C-130J variation specializes in tactical profiles and avoiding detection and recovery operations in austere environments

 

C-130J Super Hercules

Power Plant Four Rolls-Royce AE 2100D3 turboprops; 4,691 horsepower/3,498 kW
Length 97 feet, 9 inch/29.3 m
Height 38 feet, 10 inch/11. 9 m
Wingspan 132 feet, 7 inch/39.7 m
Cargo Compartment Length – 40 feet/12.31 m; width – 119 inch/3.12 m; height – 9 feet/2.74 m
Rear ramp Length – 123 inch/3.12 m; width – 119 inch/3.02 m
Speed 362 knots/Mach 0.59/417 mph/671 km/h at 22,000 feet/6,706 m
Ceiling 28,000 feet/8,615 m with 42,000 lbs/19,090 kg payload
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 155,000 lbs/69,750 kg
Maximum Allowable Payload 42,000 lbs/19,090 kg
Maximum Normal Payload 34,000 lbs/15,422 kg
Range at Maximum Normal Payload 1,800 NM/2,071 miles/3,333 km
Range with 35,000 lbs/15,876 kg of Payload 1,600 NM/1,841 miles/2,963 km
Maximum Load 6 pallets or 74 litters or 16 CDS bundles or 92 combat troops or 64 paratroopers, or a combination of any of these up to the cargo compartment capacity or maximum allowable weight
Crew Three (two pilots and loadmaster)
The MC-130J Commando II is assigned to the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC)
The MC-130J Commando II is assigned to the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC)

 

C-130J-30 Super Hercules

Power Plant Four Rolls-Royce AE 2100D3 turboprops; 4,691 horsepower/3,498 kW
Length 112 feet, 9 inch/34.69 m
Height 38 feet, 10 inch/11. 9 m
Wingspan 132 feet, 7 inch/39.7 m
Cargo Compartment Length – 55 feet/16.9 m; width – 119 inch/3.12 m; height – 9 feet/2.74 m
Rear ramp Length – 123 inch/3.12 m; width – 119 inch/3.02 m
Speed 356 knots/Mach 0.58/410 mph/660 km/h at 22,000 feet/6,706 m
Ceiling 26,000 feet/8,000 m with 44,500 lbs/20,227 kg payload
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 164,000 lbs/74,393 kg
Maximum Allowable Payload 44,000 lbs/19,958 kg
Maximum Normal Payload 36,000 lbs/16,329 kg
Range at Maximum Normal Payload 2,100 NM/2,417 miles/3,890 km
Range with 35,000 lbs/15,876 kg of Payload 1,700 NM/1,956 miles/3,148 km
Maximum Load 8 pallets or 97 litters or 24 CDS bundles or 128 combat troops or 92 paratroopers, or a combination of any of these up to the cargo compartment capacity or maximum allowable weight
Crew Three (two pilots and loadmaster)
The KC-130J Tanker is the global leader in aerial refueling for tactical and tiltrotor aircraft and helicopters
The KC-130J Tanker is the global leader in aerial refueling for tactical and tiltrotor aircraft and helicopters

TERN for Small Ships

Small-deck ships such as destroyers and frigates could greatly increase their effectiveness if they had their own Unmanned Air Systems (UASs) to provide Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and other capabilities at long range around the clock. Current state-of-the-art UASs, however, lack the ability to take off and land from confined spaces in rough seas and achieve efficient long-duration flight. Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node (TERN), a joint program between Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR), seeks to provide these and other previously unattainable capabilities. As part of TERN’s ongoing progress toward that goal, DARPA has awarded Phase 3 of TERN to a team led by the Northrop Grumman Corporation.

DARPA has awarded Phase 3 of TERN to a team led by the Northrop Grumman Corporation. DARPA plans to build a full-scale demonstrator system of a medium-altitude, long-endurance UAS designed to use forward-deployed small ships as mobile launch and recovery sites
DARPA has awarded Phase 3 of TERN to a team led by the Northrop Grumman Corporation. DARPA plans to build a full-scale demonstrator system of a medium-altitude, long-endurance UAS designed to use forward-deployed small ships as mobile launch and recovery sites

The first two phases of TERN successfully focused on preliminary design and risk reduction. In Phase 3, DARPA plans to build a full-scale demonstrator system of a medium-altitude, long-endurance UAS designed to use forward-deployed small ships as mobile launch and recovery sites. Initial ground-based testing, if successful, would lead to an at-sea demonstration of takeoff, transition to and from horizontal flight, and landing – all from a test platform with a deck size similar to that of a destroyer or other small surface-combat vessel.

«The design we have in mind for the TERN demonstrator could greatly increase the effectiveness of any host ship by augmenting awareness, reach and connectivity», said Dan Patt, DARPA program manager. «We continue to make progress toward our goal to develop breakthrough technologies that would enable persistent ISR and strike capabilities almost anywhere in the world at a fraction of current deployment costs, time and effort».

«ONR’s and DARPA’s partnership on TERN continues to make rapid progress toward creating a new class of UAS combining shipboard takeoff and landing capabilities, enhanced speed and endurance, and sophisticated supervised autonomy», said Gil Graff, deputy program manager for TERN at ONR. «If successful, TERN could open up exciting future capabilities for U.S. Navy small-deck surface combatants and U.S. Marine Corps air expeditionary operations».

«Through TERN, we seek to develop and demonstrate key capabilities for enabling distributed, disaggregated U.S. naval architectures in the future», said Bradford Tousley, director of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office (TTO), which oversees TERN. «This joint DARPA-Navy effort is yet another example of how the Agency collaborates with intended transition partners to create potentially revolutionary capabilities for national security».

The TERN Phase 3 design envisions a tailsitting, flying-wing aircraft with twin counter-rotating, nose-mounted propellers. The propellers would lift the aircraft from a ship deck, orient it for horizontal flight and provide propulsion to complete a mission. They would then reorient the craft upon its return and lower it to the ship deck. The system would fit securely inside the ship when not in use.

TERN’s potentially groundbreaking capabilities have been on the U.S. Navy’s wish list in one form or another since World War II. The production of the first practical helicopters in 1942 helped the U.S. military realize the potential value of embedded Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft to protect fleets and reduce the reliance on aircraft carriers and land bases.

The TERN demonstrator will bear some resemblance to the Convair XFY-1 Pogo, an experimental ship-based VTOL fighter designed by the U.S. Navy in the 1950s to provide air support for fleets. Despite numerous successful demonstrations, the Convair XFY-1 Pogo never advanced beyond the prototype stage, in part because the U.S. Navy at the time was focusing on faster jet aircraft and determined that pilots would have needed too much training to land on moving ships in rough seas.

«Moving to an unmanned platform, refocusing the mission and incorporating modern precision relative navigation and other technologies removes many of the challenges the Convair XFY-1 Pogo and other prior efforts faced in developing aircraft based from small ships», Patt said. «TERN is a great example of how new technologies and innovative thinking can bring long-sought capabilities within reach».

DARPA and the U.S. Navy have a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to share responsibility for the development and testing of the TERN demonstrator system. The Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL) has also expressed interest in TERN’s potential capabilities and is providing support to the program.

The Convair XFY-1 Pogo is one of many attempts made after World War II to devise a practical VTOL combat aircraft
The Convair XFY-1 Pogo is one of many attempts made after World War II to devise a practical VTOL combat aircraft