Globemaster fleet

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has officially welcomed its newest aircraft into service at RAAF Base Amberley on 2 November 2015. The acquisition of two additional Boeing C-17A Globemaster III aircraft, and associated equipment and facilities, is a $1 billion investment in Australia’s ability to provide vital heavy airlift to a range of global military operations.

The RAAF's eighth C-17A Globemaster touches down at RAAF Base Amberley
The RAAF’s eighth C-17A Globemaster touches down at RAAF Base Amberley

«With extraordinary lift and range, the C-17A Globemaster is an integral part of the Australian Defence Force’s airlift capability. It allows Australia to rapidly deploy troops, combat equipment, tanks, helicopters and humanitarian resources worldwide», Minister Brough said. «The C-17A Globemaster has played a central role in the ADF’s activities, including supporting the international effort to combat Daesh in Iraq and Syria, recovering the victims of the MH-17 tragedy in the Ukraine, and delivering disaster relief to victims of the Vanuatu cyclone and Queensland floods».

Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies, AO, CSC, said the Royal Australian Air Force was part of the global fleet of C-17A Globemasters, including the global sustainment system that delivered improved interoperability with our coalition partners.

«The C-17A Globemaster is an incredibly versatile aircraft. It allows us to provide an air bridge from Australia with supplies to the men and women deployed around the world, support Army operations, and assist at home with disaster relief such as the Queensland floods», Air Marshal Davies said. «Additional aircraft mean we can better meet the demands of moving personnel and equipment, within the short timeframes required in emergency situations, such as floods and cyclones».

Australia has worked closely with the United States Air Force to acquire the additional operating capability within a short time-frame, supporting the Government’s commitment to building a strong, capable and sustainable Australian Defence Force.

This aircraft, A41-212, is part of a two aircraft purchase that was announced by the Federal Government in 2015
This aircraft, A41-212, is part of a two aircraft purchase that was announced by the Federal Government in 2015

 

Technical Specifications

External dimensions

Wingspan to winglet tip 169.8 feet/51.74 m
Length 174 feet/53.04 m
Height at tail 55.1 feet/16.79 m
Fuselage diameter 22.5 feet/6.86 m

 

Cargo compartment

Cargo compartment crew One loadmaster
Cargo floor length 68.2 feet/20.78 m
Ramp length 21.4 feet/6.52 m structural length
Loadable width 18 feet/5.49 m
Loadable height (under wing) 12.3 feet/3.76 m
Loadable height (aft of wing) 14.8 feet/4.50 m
Ramp to ground angle 9 degrees
Ramp capacity 40,000 lbs/18,144 kg
Aerial delivery system capacity
Pallets Eleven 463L(*) pallets (including 2 on ramp)
Single load airdrop 60,000 lbs/27,216 kg platform
Sequential loads airdrop 110,000 lbs/49,895 kg (60 feet/18.29 m of platforms)
Logistic rail system capacity Eighteen 463L(*) pallets (including 4 on ramp)
Dual-row airdrop system Up to eight 18 foot/5.49 m platforms or twelve 463L(*) pallets
Combat offload All pallets from ADS (Alternative Distribution Systems) or logistic rail systems

(*) Each 463L pallet is 88 in/2.24 m wide, 108 in/2.74 m long and 2-1/4 in/0.57 m high. The usable space is 84 in/2.13 m by 104 in/2.64 m. It can hold up to 10,000 lbs/4,500 kg of cargo (not exceeding 250 lbs/113 kg per square inch) at 8 g. Empty, each pallet weighs 290 lbs/130 kg, or 355 lbs/160 kg with two side nets and a top net.

On 2 November 2015, the eighth C-17A Globemaster III transport aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force touched down at its home of RAAF Base Amberley
On 2 November 2015, the eighth C-17A Globemaster III transport aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force touched down at its home of RAAF Base Amberley

 

Seating

Sidewall (permanently installed) 54 (27 each side, 18 in/45.72 cm wide, 24 in/60.96 cm spacing center to center)
Centerline (stored on board) 48 (in sets of six back-to-back, 8 sets)
Palletized (10-passenger pallets) 80 on 8 pallets, plus 54 passengers on sidewall seats

 

Aeromedical evacuation

Litter stations (onboard) Three (3 litters each)
Litter stations (additional kit) Nine
Total capability (contingency) 36 litters and 54 ambulatory

 

Cockpit

Flight crew 2 pilots
Observer positions 2
Instrument displays 2 full-time all-function Head-Up Displays (HUD), 4 multi-function active matrix liquid crystal displays
Navigation system Digital electronics
Communication Integrated radio management system with Communications Open System Architecture (COSA)
Flight controls system Quadruple-redundant electronic flight control with mechanical backup system
RAAF Completes the C-17A Globemaster Fleet
RAAF Completes the C-17A Globemaster Fleet

 

Wing

Area 3,800 feet2/353.03 m2
Aspect Radio 7.165
Wing sweep angle 25 degrees
Airfoil type Supercritical
Flaps Fixed-vane, double-slotted, simple-hinged

 

Winglet

Height 8.92 feet/2.72 m
Span 9.21 feet/2.81 m
Area 35.85 feet2/3.33 m2
Sweep 30 degrees
Angle 15 degrees from vertical

 

Horizontal tail

Area 845 feet2/78.50 m2
Span 65 feet/19.81 m
Aspect ratio 5.0
Sweep 27 degrees

 

Landing gear

Main, type Triple Tandem
Width (outside to outside) 33.7 feet/10.26 m
Tires 50 × 21-20
Nose, type Single strut, steerable with dual wheels
Tires 40 × 16-14
Wheelbase 65.8 feet/20.06 m

 

Engine Specifications

Thrust 40,440 lbs/179.9 kN/18,345 kgf
Weight 7,100 lbs/3,220 kg
Length 146.8 in/3.73 m
Inlet diameter 78.5 in/1.99 m
Maximum diameter 84.5 in/2.15 m
Bypass ratio 5.9 to 1
Overall pressure ratio 30.8 to 1

 

Aerial Gun Test

The F-35A Lightning II completed the first three airborne gunfire bursts from its internal Gun Airborne Unit (GAU)-22/A 25-mm Gatling gun system during a California test flight, October 30. This milestone was the first in a series of test flights to functionally evaluate the in-flight operation of the F-35A’s internal 25-mm gun throughout its employment envelope.

F-35A test pilot Maj Charles «Flak» Trickey fires the first aerial gun test burst of the GAU-22/A 25-mm gun from F-35A aircraft AF-2
F-35A test pilot Maj Charles «Flak» Trickey fires the first aerial gun test burst of the GAU-22/A 25-mm gun from F-35A aircraft AF-2

Three bursts of one 30 rounds and two 60 rounds each were fired from the aircraft’s four-barrel, 25-millimeter Gatling gun. In integrating the weapon into the stealthy F 35A Lightning II airframe, the gun must be kept hidden behind closed doors to reduce its radar cross section until the trigger is pulled.

F-35A Lightning II test aircraft AF-2, a loads-instrumented jet, underwent an extensive structural modification at Edwards Air Force Base, California to a fully production representative internal gun configuration. The first phase of test execution consisted of 13 ground gunfire events over the course of three months to verify the integration of the gun into the F-35A Lightning II. Once verified, the team was cleared to begin this second phase of testing, with the goal of evaluating the gun’s performance and integration with the airframe during airborne gunfire in various flight conditions and aircraft configurations.

«The successful aerial gun test sortie was a culmination of several years’ planning, which intensified in the first half of 2015 at the Edwards F-35 Integrated Test Force (ITF) Flight Test Squadron with a team of Air Force, Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman personnel», said Mike Glass, Edwards ITF flight test director. «The results of this testing will be used in future blocks of testing, where the accuracy and mission effectiveness capabilities will be evaluated».

The 25-mm gun is embedded in the F-35A’s left wing and is designed to be integrated in a way to maintain the F-35’s very low observable criteria. It will provide pilots with the ability to engage air-to-ground and air-to-air targets. The first phase of F-35A Lightning II gun testing started in June, when initial shots were fired from the ground at the Edwards Air Force Flight Test Center’s gun harmonizing range.

The gun system will be further tested with a production F-35A Lightning II next year for integration with the jet’s full mission systems capabilities. The test team will demonstrate the gun’s effectiveness in both air-to-air and air-to-ground employment when integrated with the next generation fighter’s sensor fusion software, which will provide targeting information to the pilot through the helmet mounted display. At the end of the program’s system development and demonstration phase in 2017, the F-35A Lightning II will have an operational gun.

The first two operational F-35A Lightning II aircraft arrive at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, September 2, 2015. The jets were piloted by Colonel David Lyons, 388th Fighter Wing commander, and Lieutenant Colonel Yosef Morris, 34th Fighter Squadron director of operations. Hill will receive up to 70 additional combat-coded F-35s on a staggered basis through 2019. The jets will be flown and maintained by Hill Airmen assigned to the active-duty 388th Fighter Wing and its Reserve component 419th Fighter Wing (U.S. Air Force photo/Alex R. Lloyd)
The first two operational F-35A Lightning II aircraft arrive at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, September 2, 2015. The jets were piloted by Colonel David Lyons, 388th Fighter Wing commander, and Lieutenant Colonel Yosef Morris, 34th Fighter Squadron director of operations. Hill will receive up to 70 additional combat-coded F-35s on a staggered basis through 2019. The jets will be flown and maintained by Hill Airmen assigned to the active-duty 388th Fighter Wing and its Reserve component 419th Fighter Wing (U.S. Air Force photo/Alex R. Lloyd)

 

Specifications

Length 51.4 feet/15.7 m
Height 14.4 feet/4.38 m
Wingspan 35 feet/10.7 m
Wing area 460 feet2/42.7 m2
Horizontal tail span 22.5 feet/6.86 m
Weight empty 29,300 lbs/13,290 kg
Internal fuel capacity 18,250 lbs/8,278 kg
Weapons payload 18,000 lbs/8,160 kg
Maximum weight 70,000 lbs class/31,751 kg
Standard internal weapons load Two AIM-120C air-to-air missiles
Two 2,000-pound/907 kg GBU-31 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) guided bombs
Propulsion (uninstalled thrust ratings) F135-PW-100
Maximum Power (with afterburner) 43,000 lbs/191,3 kN/19,507 kgf
Military Power (without afterburner) 28,000 lbs/128,1 kN/13,063 kgf
Engine Length 220 in/5.59 m
Engine Inlet Diameter 46 in/1.17 m
Engine Maximum Diameter 51 in/1.30 m
Bypass Ratio 0.57
Overall Pressure Ratio 28
Speed (full internal weapons load) Mach 1.6 (~1,043 knots/1,200 mph/1,931 km/h)
Combat radius (internal fuel) >590 NM/679 miles/1,093 km
Range (internal fuel) >1,200 NM/1,367 miles/2,200 km
Maximum g-rating 9.0

 

The gun will provide operational F-35A pilots the ability to engage air-to-ground or air-to-air weapon targets, in addition to beyond visual range air-to-air missiles and precision-guided air-to-ground weapons

 

Lay the keel

The Lockheed Martin-led industry team officially laid the keel for the U.S. Navy’s fifteenth Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the future USS Billings, in a ceremony held at Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisconsin. Ship sponsor Sharla D. Tester completed the time-honored tradition and authenticated the keel of USS Billings (LCS-15). Mrs. Tester had her initials welded into a sheet of the ship’s steel, which will ultimately be mounted in the ship throughout its entire service.

A welder authenticates the keel by welding the initials of LCS-15 sponsor Sharla Tester onto the keel plate. The Keel Laying is the formal recognition of the start of the ship’s module construction process (Photo credit: Joseph Mancini, Lockheed Martin)
A welder authenticates the keel by welding the initials of LCS-15 sponsor Sharla Tester onto the keel plate. The Keel Laying is the formal recognition of the start of the ship’s module construction process (Photo credit: Joseph Mancini, Lockheed Martin)

«It is an honor to serve as sponsor of the future USS Billings. My prayers are with the industry’s shipbuilding team and the future crew», Tester said. «This will be a magnificent warship, and I know the people of Billings, and all Montanans, will proudly support her when she enters the Navy fleet to protect our nation».

Billings is a flexible Freedom-variant LCS that will be designed and outfitted with systems to conduct a variety of missions. The industry team building Billings has delivered three ships with seven others in various stages of construction and testing. The future USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) will be commissioned in Milwaukee on November 21.

The nation’s first LCS, USS Freedom, completed a U.S. Navy deployment in 2013, and USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) is in the midst of her 20-month deployment to Southeast Asia.

«The LCS platform is proving the Navy’s concept of operations with its flexibility in supporting a broad range of missions, from anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare to mine countermeasures», said Joe North, vice president of Littoral Ships and Systems at Lockheed Martin. «This industry has shown it can adapt to meet the Navy’s most challenging missions, anywhere in the world».

The Lockheed Martin-led LCS team includes ship builder Fincantieri Marinette Marine, naval architect Gibbs & Cox, and nearly 900 suppliers in 43 states.

«We are proud to welcome Mrs. Sharla Tester, sponsor of the Billings (LCS-15), to Fincantieri Marinette Marine», said Jan Allman, president and CEO of Fincantieri Marinette Marine. «LCS-15 is the next ship to make the journey through our shipyard before joining the Fleet, and will carry the spirit of Billings and this dedicated industry team, as she sails the globe».

Lay the keel is a shipbuilding term that marks the beginning of the module erection process, which is a significant undertaking that signifies the ship coming to life. Modern warships are now largely built in a series of pre-fabricated, complete hull sections rather than a single keel, so the actual start of the shipbuilding process is now considered to be when the first sheet of steel is cut and is often marked with a ceremonial event.

USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) makes waves during its acceptance trial. The acceptance trial is the last significant milestone before delivery of the ship to the U.S. Navy (Photo by U.S. Navy)
USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) makes waves during its acceptance trial. The acceptance trial is the last significant milestone before delivery of the ship to the U.S. Navy (Photo by U.S. Navy)

 

Ship Design Specifications

Hull Advanced semiplaning steel monohull
Length Overall 389 feet/118.6 m
Beam Overall 57 feet/17.5 m
Draft 13.5 feet/4.1 m
Full Load Displacement Approximately 3,200 metric tons
Top Speed Greater than 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
Range at top speed 1,000 NM/1,151 miles/1,852 km
Range at cruise speed 4,000 NM/4,603 miles/7,408 km
Watercraft Launch and Recovery Up to Sea State 4
Aircraft Launch and Recovery Up to Sea State 5
Propulsion Combined diesel and gas turbine with steerable water jet propulsion
Power 85 MW/113,600 horsepower
Hangar Space Two MH-60 Romeo Helicopters
One MH-60 Romeo Helicopter and three Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (VTUAVs)
Core Crew Less than 50
Accommodations for 75 sailors provide higher sailor quality of life than current fleet
Integrated Bridge System Fully digital nautical charts are interfaced to ship sensors to support safe ship operation
Core Self-Defense Suite Includes 3D air search radar
Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) gunfire control system
Rolling-Airframe Missile Launching System
57-mm Main Gun
Mine, Torpedo Detection
Decoy Launching System
The ninth Littoral Combat Ship, the future USS Little Rock (LCS-9), was christened and launched into the Menominee River in Marinette, Wisconsin, on July 18
The ninth Littoral Combat Ship, the future USS Little Rock (LCS-9), was christened and launched into the Menominee River in Marinette, Wisconsin, on July 18

 

Ship list

USS Freedom (LCS-1)

USS Fort Worth (LCS-3)

USS Milwaukee (LCS-5)

USS Detroit (LCS-7)

USS Little Rock (LCS-9)

USS Sioux City (LCS-11)

USS Wichita (LCS-13)

USS Billings (LCS-15)

USS Indianapolis (LCS-17)

USS St. Louis (LCS-19)

USS Minneapolis/St. Paul (LCS-21)

USS Cooperstown (LCS-23)

Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 112,000 people worldwide
Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 112,000 people worldwide

Navy acceptance trials

Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) 6, the future USNS Brunswick, completed Acceptance Trials, October 23. The ship, which was constructed by Austal USA, is the sixth ship of the EPF class. The EPF class ships were formerly known as Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSV).

After delivery of EPF-6, Austal will deliver a further four Expeditionary Fast Transports from its shipyard at Mobile, Alabama, under a 10-ship, US$1.6 billion contract from the Navy
After delivery of EPF-6, Austal will deliver a further four Expeditionary Fast Transports from its shipyard at Mobile, Alabama, under a 10-ship, US$1.6 billion contract from the Navy

«Conducting Acceptance Trials is a major milestone for the shipyard and the program office», said Captain Henry Stevens, Strategic and Theater Sealift Program manager, Program Executive Office, Ships. «We are very proud of our contractor and government team’s commitment to delivering affordable, quality ships, and look forward to the delivery of T-EPF-6 later this year».

The ship’s trials included dockside testing to clear the ship for sea and rigorous at-sea trials, during which the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) evaluated and observed the performance of T-EPF-6 ‘s major systems. Completion of Brunswick’s Acceptance Trials signifies that the ship is ready for delivery to the fleet in the near future.

EPFs are versatile, non-combatant, transport ships that will be used for fast intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles, and equipment. EPF is designed to commercial standards, with limited modifications for military use. The vessel is capable of transporting 600 short tons 1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km at an average speed of 35 knots/40 mph/65 km/h, and can operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, and on/off-loading vehicles, such as a combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank. Other joint requirements include an aviation flight deck to support day and night aircraft launch and recovery operations. T-EPF-6 will have airline style seating for 312 embarked forces, with fixed berthing for 104.

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

The JHSV program is procuring 10 high-speed transport vessels for the US Army and the US Navy
The JHSV program is procuring 10 high-speed transport vessels for the US Army and the US Navy

 

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
The ships can operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interface with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, and on/off-load a combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank (M1A2)
The ships can operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interface with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, and on/off-load a combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank (M1A2)

 

Ships

USNS Spearhead (T-EPF-1), Delivered

USNS Choctaw County (T-EPF-2), Delivered

USNS Millinocket (T-EPF-3), Delivered

USNS Fall River (T-EPF-4), Delivered

USNS Trenton (T-EPF-5), Delivered

Brunswick (T-EPF-6), under construction

Carson City (T-EPF-7), under construction

Yuma (T-EPF-8), under construction

Bismark (T-EPF-9), under construction

Burlington (T-EPF-10), under construction

The JHSV includes a flight deck for helicopter operations and an off-load ramp that allows vehicles to quickly drive off the ship
The JHSV includes a flight deck for helicopter operations and an off-load ramp that allows vehicles to quickly drive off the ship

New L5 signals

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF-11 satellite for the U.S. Air Force lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 (Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida) October 31 at 12:13 p.m. EDT. GPS IIF-11 is one of the next-generation GPS satellites that incorporate numerous improvements to provide greater accuracy, increased signals and enhanced performance for users.

An Atlas V rocket, with the GPS IIF-11 satellite
An Atlas V rocket, with the GPS IIF-11 satellite

«Congratulations to the entire team on today’s successful launch of the GPS IIF-11 satellite! Today’s launch was made possible by the exceptional performance and teamwork exhibited by the entire team, including the men and women of ULA, our many mission partners, and our U.S. Air Force customer», said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Atlas and Delta Programs. «GPS is omnipresent in our everyday lives and the system provides a critical service to the all of those serving in our military around the world. All of the operational GPS satellites have been launched on Atlas and Delta rockets and the U.S. Air Force does an outstanding job of operating this essential system».

This mission was ULA’s 11th launch in 2015 and the 102nd successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006. This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) 401 configuration vehicle, which includes a 4-meter-diameter payload fairing. The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine and the Centaur upper stage was powered by the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C-1 engine.

GPS IIF-11 will join the GPS worldwide timing and navigation system utilizing 24 satellites in six different planes, with a minimum of four satellites per plane positioned in orbit approximately 11,000 nautical miles/12,656 miles/20,372 km above the Earth’s surface. The GPS IIF series provides improved accuracy and enhanced performance for GPS users.

As a result of increased civil and commercial use as well as experience in military operations, the USAF has added the following capabilities and technologies to the GPS IIF series to sustain the space and control segments while improving mission performance:

  • Two times greater predicted signal accuracy than heritage satellites;
  • New L5 signals for more robust civil and commercial aviation;
  • An on-orbit, reprogrammable processor, receiving software uploads for improved system operation;
  • Military signal «M-code» and variable power for better resistance to jamming hostile meeting the needs of emerging doctrines of navigation warfare.

ULA’s next launch is the Atlas V OA-4 capsule for Orbital ATK scheduled for December 3 from Space Launch Complex-41 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

The EELV program was established by the U.S. Air Force to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense and other government payloads. The commercially developed EELV program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the heritage launch systems.

GPS IIF series satellite is encapsulated inside an Atlas V 4-meter payload fairing
GPS IIF series satellite is encapsulated inside an Atlas V 4-meter payload fairing

 

An Atlas V rocket launches GPS IIF-11, the penultimate GPS IIF satellite, for the United States Air Force

EagleFire Launcher

Raytheon Company has introduced its TOW (Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wireless-guided) EagleFire launcher, an evolutionary development designed to bridge the capabilities of existing launchers and eliminate obsolescence issues. Designed to fire both the wire-guided and wireless radio frequency missiles, TOW EagleFire provides increased capabilities over the TOW 2 launcher at a lower cost.

A TOW 2B missile is fired during a live-fire exercise at the Joint Multinational Training Command in Grafenwoehr, Germany, Feb. 1, 2014. (Photo: U.S. Army)
A TOW 2B missile is fired during a live-fire exercise at the Joint Multinational Training Command in Grafenwoehr, Germany, Feb. 1, 2014. (Photo: U.S. Army)

«We improved target acquisition and engagement found in the older TOW 2 launcher system», said Duane Gooden, vice president of Raytheon’s Land Warfare Systems. «TOW EagleFire is simpler to maintain and more reliable, thanks to built-in test equipment and a significant reduction in system subassemblies».

Other improvements include:

  • Integrated day-and-night sight with range-finding capability;
  • Ergonomic handgrips;
  • Extensive Built-in-Test capability.

TOW EagleFire’s lithium-ion power source allows for a nine-hour silent watch capability, when a vehicle’s engine is off, along with built-in AC and on-vehicle charging capability.

«Because the new system is less complex, we can provide superior performance in a reduced package», said Gooden. «By planning today for tomorrow’s upgrades, TOW EagleFire will accommodate future missile evolution».

Raytheon Company has delivered more than 675,000 TOW Weapon Systems to U.S. and allied warfighters
Raytheon Company has delivered more than 675,000 TOW Weapon Systems to U.S. and allied warfighters

 

TOW

The tube-launched, optically-tracked, wireless-guided Weapon System, with the multi-mission TOW 2A, TOW 2B Aero and TOW Bunker Buster missiles, is the premier long-range, heavy assault-precision anti-armor, anti-fortification and anti-amphibious landing weapon system used throughout the world today.

The weapon system is deployed with more than 40 international armed forces and integrated on more than 15,000 ground, vehicle and helicopter platforms. TOW is also the preferred heavy assault anti-armor weapon system for NATO, coalition, United Nations and peacekeeping operations worldwide.

The TOW 2A, TOW 2B Aero and TOW Bunker Buster missiles can be fired from all TOW launchers – including the Improved Target Acquisition Systems (ITAS), Stryker anti-tank guided missile vehicle (modified ITAS) and Bradley Fighting Vehicles (Improved Bradley Acquisition Subsystem).

With its extended range performance, the TOW Weapon System is the long-range precision, heavy anti-tank and assault weapon system of choice for the U.S. Army Stryker, Bradley Fighting Vehicle, ITAS High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle and Light Armored Vehicle-Anti-tank platforms. The TOW weapon system will be in service with the U.S. military beyond 2050.

The TOW Weapon System has transitioned to wireless guidance and is being produced for the U.S. Army, U.S. Marines and all international customers

Christening of Rafael

The U.S. Navy christened its newest guided-missile destroyer Rafael Peralta, Saturday, October 31, during a 10 a.m. EDT ceremony at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine. The future USS Rafael Peralta, designated DDG-115, honors Marine Corps Sergeant Rafael Peralta. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for actions during combat operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Peralta is credited with saving the lives of fellow Marines during the second battle of Fallujah in 2004.

151031-M-SA716-052 BATH, Maine (Oct. 31, 2015) U.S. Marines, Sailors, and guests honor the American and Navy flag during the USS Rafael Peralta christening ceremony at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, Oct. 31, 2015. The destroyer was named after Marine Corps Sgt. Rafael Peralta who was killed during the second battle of Fallujah in 2004. (U.S. Marine Corps photo Sgt. Gabriela Garcia/Released)
U.S. Marines, Sailors, and guests honor the American and Navy flag during the USS Rafael Peralta christening ceremony at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, October 31, 2015. The destroyer was named after Marine Corps Sgt. Rafael Peralta who was killed during the second battle of Fallujah in 2004 (U.S. Marine Corps photo Sgt. Gabriela Garcia/Released)

«The tremendous efforts of the highly-skilled men and women of the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works team have brought this ship from an idea to a reality», said Secretary of the U.S. Navy Ray Mabus. «Their work will ensure that the heroism, service and sacrifice of Marine Corps Sergeant Rafael Peralta will be honored and remembered by all who come in contact with DDG-115 long after this great warship is christened».

General Robert B. Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps, will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Rosa Maria Peralta, Sergeant Peralta’s mother, will serve as ship’s sponsor and officially christen the ship Rafael Peralta.

USS Rafael Peralta (DDG-115) is the third of 14 ships currently under contract for the DDG-51 program. The DDG-51 class provides outstanding combat capability and survivability characteristics while minimizing procurement and lifetime support costs, due to the program’s maturity. DDG-51 destroyers are warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. Destroyers can operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups, and underway replenishment groups. DDG-113 and follow on DDGs are being built with Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capability.

The 9,217 ton Rafael Peralta is being built by General Dynamics Bath Iron Works. The ship is 510 feet/156 m in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet/18 m, and a navigational draft of 30.5 feet/9.3 m. Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.

Peralta was killed in action on November 15, 2004, while clearing houses in the Iraqi city of Fallujah
Peralta was killed in action on November 15, 2004, while clearing houses in the Iraqi city of Fallujah

 

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 90 Standard, Vertical Launch ASROC (Anti-Submarine Rocket) & Tomahawk ASM (Air-to-Surface Missile)/LAM (Loitering Attack Missile); 5-in (127-mm)/54 Mark-45 gun; 2 CIWS (Close-In Weapon System); 2 Mark-32 triple 324-mm torpedo tubes for Mark-46 or Mark-50 ASW torpedos
Maria Peralta, Sergeant Peralta's mother, serves as the ship's sponsor and officially christened the USS Rafael Peralta
Maria Peralta, Sergeant Peralta’s mother, serves as the ship’s sponsor and officially christened the USS Rafael Peralta

 

Flight IIA: Restart

Ship Yard Launched Commissioned Homeport
DDG-113 John Finn HIIIS 03-28-15
DDG-114 Ralph Johnson HIIIS
DDG-115 Rafael Peralta GDBIW 10-31-15

GDBIW – General Dynamics Bath Iron Works

HIIIS – Huntington Ingalls Industries Ingalls Shipbuilding

DDG – Destroyer, Guided Missile

BIW and the Navy are proud to honor the life and courageous service of Sergeant Rafael Peralta while celebrating the christening of the 35th BIW-built DDG 51 class ship and the 65th ship of the class
BIW and the Navy are proud to honor the life and courageous service of Sergeant Rafael Peralta while celebrating the christening of the 35th BIW-built DDG 51 class ship and the 65th ship of the class

Long-Range
Strike Bomber

The Air Force announced today the contract award of Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) and early production for the Long Range Strike Bomber to Northrop Grumman Corporation. «The LRS-B is critical to national defense and is a top priority for the Air Force», said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. «We face a complex security environment. It’s imperative our Air Force invests in the right people, technology, capability and training to defend the nation and its interests – at an affordable cost».

Northrop plans to work on a potential LRS-B in Florida
Northrop plans to work on a potential LRS-B in Florida

The future threat will evolve through the introduction of advanced air defense systems and development of more capable surface to air missile systems. The LRS-B is designed to replace the Air Force’s aging fleets of bombers – ranging in age from 50+ years for the B-52 to 17+ years for the B-2 – with a long range, highly survivable bomber capable of penetrating and operating in tomorrow’s anti-access, area denial environment. The LRS-B provides the strategic agility to launch from the United States and strike any target, any time around the globe.

«The LRS-B will provide our nation tremendous flexibility as a dual-capable bomber and the strategic agility to respond and adapt faster than our potential adversaries», said Chief of Staff of the Air Force General Mark A. Welsh III. «We have committed to the American people to provide security in the skies, balanced by our responsibility to affordably use taxpayer dollars in doing so. This program delivers both while ensuring we are poised to face emerging threats in an uncertain future».

The Long Range Strike Bomber contract is composed of two parts. The contract for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development, or EMD, phase is a cost-reimbursable type contract with cost and performance incentives. The incentives minimize the contractor’s profit if they do not control cost and schedule appropriately. The independent estimate for the EMD phase is $21.4 billion in 2010 dollars.

The second part of the contract is composed of options for the first 5 production lots, comprising 21 aircraft out of the total fleet of 100. They are fixed price options with incentives for cost. Based on approved requirements, the Average Procurement Unit Cost (APUC) per aircraft is required to be equal to or less than $550 million per aircraft in 2010 dollars when procuring 100 LRS-B aircraft. The APUC from the independent estimate supporting today’s award is $511 million per aircraft, again in 2010 dollars.

Based on current LRS-B independent cost estimates, the Air Force projects the APUC for the program will be approximately a third of the previous B-2 stealth aircraft.

«We believe this is a reasonable and achievable estimate. If we remain disciplined and keep program requirements stable, we should beat this estimate», said Dr. William A. LaPlante, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition.

The Air Force program office conducted design efforts with industry over the last three years to ensure requirements for the aircraft were stable and allowed for the use of mature systems and existing technology while still providing desired capability.

With that said, agile acquisition processes have been built into the LRS-B development and production efforts to ensure the Air Force delivers system capabilities for the best value. The program also effectively incentivizes industry to achieve cost, schedule and performance goals.

The LRS-B is designed to have an open architecture allowing integration of new technology and timely response to future threats across the full range of military operations. This open architecture also provides the opportunity to retain competition across the life cycle of the program.

«The program acquisition strategy has carefully integrated lessons learned from previous programs and considered all elements of life cycle costs in its design for affordability», LaPlante added. «We are primed to deliver this capability in the most affordable, efficient way possible».

Basing decisions and future program milestones for the aircraft will take place over the next several years.

 

First Flight

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., on October 27 announced the successful first flight of the U.S. Marine Corps’ CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter prototype, known as Engineering Development Model-1 (EDM-1). The 30-minute flight signals the beginning of a 2,000-hour flight test program using four test aircraft.

CH-53K Helicopter Achieves First Flight
CH-53K Helicopter Achieves First Flight

«EDM-1’s first flight signifies another major milestone for the CH-53K helicopter program», said Mike Torok, Sikorsky’s CH-53K Program Vice President. «Having independently tested the aircraft’s many components and subsystems, including integrated system level testing on the Ground Test Vehicle, we are now moving on to begin full aircraft system qualification via the flight test program».

Sikorsky delivered the EDM-1 into the test program at the company’s West Palm Beach, Florida-based Development Flight Center in late 2014. During its 30 minute maiden flight the EDM-1 aircraft performed hover, sideward, rearward and forward flight control inputs while in ground effect hover up to 30 feet above the ground. As the flight test program proceeds, the EDM-1 will be joined by an additional 3 EDM aircraft to fully expand the King Stallion’s flight envelope over the course of the three-year flight test program.

«We have entered a much anticipated phase in this developmental program», said Colonel Hank Vanderborght, U.S. Marine Corps Program Manager for Heavy Lift Helicopters. «We have experienced significant learning at the system and sub-system levels, which continues to build our confidence in the capabilities of the 53K. With first flight behind us, we look forward to execution of the development and operational testing and the deployment of this incredible heavy lift capability to our warfighters».

Sikorsky, with support of others in the industry, is developing the CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter for the U.S. Marine Corps. The CH-53K King Stallion helicopter will maintain similar physical dimensions as its predecessor, the three-engine CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, but will nearly triple the payload to 27,000 pounds/12,247 kg over 110 nautical miles/126.6 miles/203.7 km under «high hot» ambient conditions. Features of the CH-53K helicopter include a modern glass cockpit; fly-by-wire flight controls; fourth-generation rotor blades with anhedral tips; a low-maintenance elastomeric rotor head; upgraded engines; a locking, United States Air Force pallet compatible cargo rail system; external cargo handling improvements; survivability enhancements; and improved reliability, maintainability and supportability.

The U.S. Department of Defense’s Program of Record remains at 200 CH-53K aircraft with an Initial Operational Capability in 2019. Eventual production quantities would be determined year-by-year over the life of the program based on funding allocations set by Congress and the U.S. Department of Defense acquisition priorities. The Marine Corps intends to stand up eight active duty squadrons, one training squadron, and one reserve squadron to support operational requirements.

Sikorsky powered ‘on’ the three GE 7,500 shaft horsepower class engines of the first CH-53K heavy lift helicopter prototype, and spun the rotor head without rotor blades
Sikorsky powered ‘on’ the three GE 7,500 shaft horsepower class engines of the first CH-53K heavy lift helicopter prototype, and spun the rotor head without rotor blades

 

General Characteristics

Number of Engines 3
Engine Type T408-GE-400
T408 Engine 7,500 shp/5,595 kw
Maximum Gross Weight (Internal Load) 74,000 lbs/33,566 kg
Maximum Gross Weight (External Load) 88,000 lbs/39,916 kg
Cruise Speed 141 knots/162 mph/261 km/h
Range 460 NM/530 miles/852 km
AEO* Service Ceiling 14,380 feet/4,383 m
HIGE** Ceiling (MAGW) 13,630 feet/4,155 m
HOGE*** Ceiling (MAGW) 10,080 feet/3,073 m
Cabin Length 30 feet/9.1 m
Cabin Width 9 feet/2.7 m
Cabin Height 6.5 feet/2.0 m
Cabin Area 264.47 feet2/24.57 m2
Cabin Volume 1,735.36 feet3/49.14 m3

* All Engines Operating

** Hover Ceiling In Ground Effect

*** Hover Ceiling Out of Ground Effect

 

Full-Scale Assembly

Lockheed Martin and NASA have completed the majority of Orion’s Critical Design Review (CDR), which means the spacecraft’s design is mature enough to move into full-scale fabrication, assembly, integration and test of the vehicle. It also means that the program is on track to complete the spacecraft’s development to meet NASA’s Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) performance requirements. The complete Orion EM-1 CDR process will conclude after the European Service Module CDR and a presentation to the NASA Agency Program Management Council in the spring.

Orion’s total habitable space inside measures 314 cubic feet. Or, about 2 average-sized minivans for future Mars-goers to move around freely
Orion’s total habitable space inside measures 314 cubic feet. Or, about 2 average-sized minivans for future Mars-goers to move around freely

Orion’s CDR kicked off in August of this year. The review focused on the EM-1 design as well as additional common elements that will be included on the Exploration Mission-2 (EM-2) spacecraft. These elements include the structure, pyrotechnics, Launch Abort System, software, guidance, navigation and control, and many others.

Although the EM-1 vehicle is designed to accommodate all the necessary elements for human exploration of deep space, systems unique to the EM-2 mission, such as crew displays and the Environmental Control and Life Support System, will be evaluated at a later EM-2 CDR.

«The vast majority of Orion’s design is over, and now we will only change things when new requirements come into play», said Michael Hawes, Lockheed Martin Orion vice president and program manager. «Considering the incredible complexity of this spacecraft, the team is very proud to have successfully completed the design review and is looking forward to seeing it fly».

In early 2016, Orion’s crew module pressure vessel will be shipped to the Operations and Checkout Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. There it will undergo final assembly, integration and testing in order to prepare for EM-1 when Orion is launched atop NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) for the first time. The test flight will send Orion into lunar distant retrograde orbit – a wide orbit around the moon that is farther from Earth than any human-rated spacecraft has ever traveled. The mission will last more than 20 days and will help certify the design and safety of Orion and SLS for human-rated exploration missions.

Orion experienced temperatures as high as 4,000°F during re-entry. That is hotter than lava, but not quite as hot as the sun’s surface
Orion experienced temperatures as high as 4,000°F during re-entry. That is hotter than lava, but not quite as hot as the sun’s surface