Ukrainian brigades

By 2018, Ukrainian brigades will be better equipped to face separatists in the Donbass region after rotating through a combat training center in western Ukraine that the California National Guard helped to establish.

A BMP-2 provides support by fire to Ukrainian infantry during a platoon live-fire on June 23, 2016 at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center near Yavoriv. The location is also the site of a new combat training center, developed with assistance from the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team out of the California National Guard. It's expected that by 2018, the Ukrainian ground forces will be able to put brigade-sized elements through training at the CTC (Photo Credit: Captain Scott Kuhn)
A BMP-2 provides support by fire to Ukrainian infantry during a platoon live-fire on June 23, 2016 at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center near Yavoriv. The location is also the site of a new combat training center, developed with assistance from the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team out of the California National Guard. It’s expected that by 2018, the Ukrainian ground forces will be able to put brigade-sized elements through training at the CTC (Photo Credit: Captain Scott Kuhn)

Colonel Nick Ducich, who serves as commander of the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, which is part of the California National Guard, was instrumental in helping the Ukrainian military build the combat training center. He began formulating the idea for the center back in November 2015, when he was beginning a 14-month deployment to the region.

Ducich met June 7 with reporters in the Pentagon to discuss operations in Ukraine during his deployment. He relayed that he took 54 Soldiers from the California National Guard with him to the Ukraine, which has had a partnership with the California National Guard for more than 24 years as part of the National Guard State Partnership Program.

Ducich explained that the new combat training center is co-located with the existing International Peacekeeping and Security Center (IPSC) in Yavoriv, near the country’s border with Poland. The IPSC already hosts the Rapid Trident exercise each year and so is used to the demands of a training center, Ducich said. «It’s a pretty immense training area, so the foundation was there», Ducich said.

At the IPSC, he said, efforts focused on the training and mentoring of newly assigned personnel, including Ukrainian staff, instructors, and observer-controller trainers, and the soldier participants. The effort was part of an ongoing effort to help Ukrainian forces to achieve defense reform as well as full interoperability with NATO by 2020.

The IPSC added infrastructure such as a site for dedicated to training for military operations in simulated urbanized terrain. Staff instituted «effective range control for terrain management, safety procedures and remediation of unexploded ordnance, among other requirements», Ducich said. These additions «elevated the efficiency and effectiveness of the training area».

During his time in the Ukraine, Ducich reported that he saw five battalions of soldiers from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense rotating through the training center, with each unit on 55-day rotations. Those battalions had previously been fighting separatist forces to regain full control of the Donbass, a heavily populated region that makes up the eastern half of Ukraine.

«These rotations consisted of individual and collective training requirements, emphasizing leader development, team building, and combat arms synchronization, to reflect the necessary interoperability defense reforms», Ducich explained.

«The individual training included marksmanship, movement techniques, communications, and medical combat care», he continued. «The collective training began with pairs, elevating through squad, platoon, company and finally battalion-level events, highlighting defensive operations».

After their training rotations, the Ukrainian units returned to fighting. Ducich said some of the soldiers from each rotation were interviewed within 60 to 90 days after their rotations regarding the effectiveness of their training they received at the center.

«From that, we also learned what the newest techniques that the enemy was using, to try to see how we could adjust the training», Ducich said. «So, we were a learning, adaptive organization, within ourselves, of taking that flow of combat scenarios and actualities from the Donbass and incorporating them into the training plan within the 55-day construct».

Those lessons learned helped refine the focus at the training center to implement enhancements in training for large-scale movement, gunnery, indirect fires, and integration of weapons systems such as air defense capabilities.

The new combat training center is in its infancy, according to Ducich, and there’s still a lot to accomplish. Right now, there are only battalions rotating through the training center, but he hopes that brigade-sized elements will be able to rotate through by 2018.

Ducich said that from what he has seen, he thinks the Ukrainian ground forces are doing remarkably well.

«At brigade level, they are outstanding», he said. «They have been able to hold the line and begin the integration of the new weapons systems and rectify some of the logistical shortfalls that those brigades went to the Donbass with. I see the Ukrainian armed forces getting only stronger each day, whether it be logistically, or in their defensive posture, and in their capabilities».

Ducich said the Ukrainian army had suffered from more than 20 years of «neglect» in terms of funding, but the country is now mobilizing its defense industry, ramping up new capabilities, and focusing on both officer and NCO development.

«So, they are playing catch-up while engaged in conflict at the same time», he said. «So, I have a lot of patience for where they are right now. They are getting stronger every day. They had so many obstacles they had to overcome, on top of engaging an enemy in their own backyard».

Radar Upgrade

The U.S. Air Force selected Northrop Grumman Corporation’s APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) as the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) for its F-16 radar upgrade.

AESA (advanced electronically scanned array)
AESA (advanced electronically scanned array)

Northrop Grumman will upgrade 72 U.S. Air National Guard F-16s to meet a U.S. Northern Command Joint Emergent Operational Need for homeland defense.

«AESA radar upgrades are critically important to give the F-16 community, the tactical advantage it deserves, and we are honored to provide this differentiating technology for the safety and mission effectiveness of our warfighters», said Bob Gough, vice president, combat avionics systems, Northrop Grumman. «The APG-83 SABR system is in full rate production and available now for U.S. and international F-16 upgrades».

The radar upgrade extends the operational viability and reliability of the F-16 and provides pilots with 5th generation fighter radar capabilities to counter and defeat increasingly sophisticated threats.

The greater bandwidth, speed, and agility of Northrop Grumman’s APG-83 SABR enables the F-16 to detect, track and identify greater numbers of targets faster and at longer ranges. In addition, the radar can operate in hostile electronic environments and features all-weather, high-resolution synthetic aperture radar mapping, which presents the pilot with a large surface image enabling precision target identification and strike.

The APG-83 SABR has also been selected by a growing number of international customers and is the base radar for Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70. Northrop Grumman began delivering production APG-83 radars for its first international customer on schedule at the end of 2016.

United States Air Force Selects the Northrop Grumman APG-83 SABR for F-16 AESA Radar Upgrade
United States Air Force Selects the Northrop Grumman APG-83 SABR for F-16 AESA Radar Upgrade

The APG-83 AESA provides the following capability enhancements over legacy mechanically scanned APG-66 & APG-68 radars to ensure F-16s remain operationally viable and sustainable for decades to come:

  • Autonomous, all-environment stand-off precision targeting;
  • BIG SAR wide area high-res maps;
  • High quality, coordinate generation;
  • Greater target detection and tracking range;
  • Faster search and target acquisition;
  • Smaller target detection;
  • Multi-target tracking;
  • Robust electronic protection (A/A and A/G);
  • SABR 5th Gen Capability;
  • Enhanced combat ID;
  • Interleaved mode operations for greater situational awareness;
  • Maritime modes;
  • 3-5× greater reliability and availability.

 

Spirit arrives in UK

Two B-2 Spirit stealth bombers joined B-1B Lancers and B-52H Stratofortresses June 9, 2017, to participate in theater bomber assurance and deterrence operations.

A B-2 Spirit deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, lands on the flightline at Royal Air Force Fairford, United Kingdom, June 9, 2017. The B-2 regularly conducts strategic bomber missions that demonstrate the credibility of the bomber forces to address a global security environment (U.S. Air Force photo/ Technical Sergeant Miguel Lara III)
A B-2 Spirit deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, lands on the flightline at Royal Air Force Fairford, United Kingdom, June 9, 2017. The B-2 regularly conducts strategic bomber missions that demonstrate the credibility of the bomber forces to address a global security environment (U.S. Air Force photo/ Technical Sergeant Miguel Lara III)

Three B-52Hs Stratofortresses from Barksdale Air Force Base (AFB), Louisiana, and three B-1Bs Lancers from Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, along with approximately 800 Airmen, are currently supporting exercises Saber Strike and Baltic Operations in the U.S. European Theater.

While not actively participating in ongoing regional exercises, the B-2s Spirit join the other Air Force Global Strike Command assets in support of recurring bomber assurance and deterrence operations. Bomber deployments enhance the readiness and training necessary to respond to any contingency or challenge across the globe.

«The bomber assurance and deterrence missions these three aircraft are supporting are key to reinforcing our commitment to our allies in NATO – in a very visible, very tangible way – that we stand shoulder to shoulder with them, no matter what», said Colonel Jared Kennish, the 322nd Air Expeditionary Group commander.

U.S. Strategic Command routinely conducts bomber operations across the globe as a demonstration of commitment to collective defense and to integrate with geographic combatant commands operations and activities. This is the first time that all three bomber platforms have been located together in the European theater, and only the second time total in Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) history; the first was in Guam in August 2016.

«This short-term deployment demonstrates the flexible global strike capabilities of the U.S. bomber force, and ensures bomber crews maintain a high state of readiness», said Kennish. «The training will provide opportunities to integrate capabilities with regional partners, and is part of the United States’ commitment to supporting global security».

A number of total force Airmen from Whiteman AFB, Missouri, are supporting the B-2 Spirit operation. Many, including Kennish, are members of the Missouri Air National Guard’s 131st Bomb Wing. The Guard wing has cleared a number of operational performance evaluations and readiness assessments to obtain full operational capability to perform the strategic bomber mission of the B-2 Spirit alongside the active duty 509th Bomb Wing, at home and at Royal Air Force Fairford.

Members of the 131st BW have been a part of every previous bomber assurance and deterrence operation; however, this is the first time that the operations of all three strategic bombers has been led by a guardsman, further signaling the full arrival of the total force construct in AFGSC.

«There may have been a time early in our transition when people wondered if our two wings could make (total force integration) work in the B-2 Spirit operations, maintenance and support missions, but we’ve long since proved the concept at Whiteman (AFB)», said Kennish. «Operations like the ones we’re supporting this month just put an exclamation point on our record of total force team success».

 

General Characteristics

Primary function Multi-role heavy bomber
Contractor Northrop Grumman Corp.
Power Plant 4 General Electric F118-GE-100 engines
Thrust 19,000 lbs/8,618 kg/84,5 kN each engine
Wingspan 172 feet/52.12 m
Length 69 feet/20.9 m
Height 17 feet/5.1 m
Weight 160,000 lbs/72,575 kg
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 336,500 lbs/152,634 kg
Fuel Capacity 167,000 lbs/75,750 kg
Payload 40,000 lbs/18,144 kg
Speed High subsonic
Range 6,000 NM/11,112 km unrefueled; 10,000 NM/18,520 km with one refueling
Ceiling 50,000 feet/15,240 m
Armament Can deliver a variety of conventional and nuclear weapons, including precision-guided munitions, and gravity bombs
Crew Two pilots, with provisions for a third crew member if future missions require it
Unit cost Approximately $1.157 billion
Initial operating capability April 1997
Inventory Active force: 20 (1 test)

 

Gabrielle Commissioned

USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10), the U.S. Navy’s newest littoral combat ship, was brought to life by her crew before a crowd of nearly 2,500 guests at Pier 21 at the Port of Galveston, June 10.

USS Gabrielle Giffords Commissioned in Galveston
USS Gabrielle Giffords Commissioned in Galveston

Admiral William Moran, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, delivered the ceremony’s principal address before officially commissioning the ship into service.

«As we man the rails today, blood gets pumped, the ship comes alive, and the heart begins to beat», said Moran. «It’s the blood that is infused by the spirit, the attitude, and the courage of its namesake. We are so proud to be part of Gabrielle Giffords’ legacy to the United States».

Following the commissioning, Doctor Jill Biden, the ship’s sponsor and wife of former Vice President Joe Biden, gave the time-honored Navy tradition of ordering the crew to «man our ship and bring her to life»!

The crowd sounded its approval as the crew ran aboard the ship to man their assigned stations and complete the ceremony of bringing the ship into active service to end a story that began more than five years ago.

In 2012 the Secretary of the U.S. Navy announced the future ship’s name, and USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) became the 16th ship to be named for a woman and only the 13th ship to be named for a living person since 1850.

The ship is commanded by Commander Keith Woodley, a native of Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, who leads the core crew of 50 officers and enlisted personnel.

During the ceremony Woodley praised the crew for their dedication and hard work in getting the ship ready for service.

«This is not just a new ship. This is a new class of ship and that makes it even more challenging for the crew», said Woodley. «They have risen to that challenge and performed exceptionally well in getting this ship ready for service».

Most other Navy surface combatant ships have a crew of 300 or more Sailors, but Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) like Gabrielle Giffords have more automated systems and much smaller crews than their counterparts. Gabrielle Giffords’ crew is just 73 at the ship’s commissioning.

«It’s not easy being an LCS Sailor», said Gunner’s Mate 1st Class Mark Dobrinin. «We have to wear so many hats and be trained on systems and duties outside of our normal job specialty due to the small crew size. Every enlisted Sailor here volunteered for the program and we’re excited to serve on USS Gabrielle Giffords».

The 3,200-ton USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) was built by Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama. The ship is 421 feet/128.3 m in length and has a beam of 103 feet/31.4 m and a navigational draft of 14.8 feet/4.5 m. The ship uses two gas turbines and two diesel engines to power four steerable waterjets to speeds in excess of 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h.

Littoral combat ships are fast, agile, mission-focused platforms designed to operate in near-shore environments, while capable of open-ocean tasking, and win against 21st-century coastal threats such as submarines, mines, and swarming small craft.

A fast, maneuverable, and networked surface combatant, USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) is capable of operating independently or with an associated strike group. It is designed to defeat growing littoral threats and provide access and dominance in coastal waters.

USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) will depart Galveston and begin her transit to her homeport at Naval Base San Diego.

The crew of the newest littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) «mans the ship and brings her to life» during a commissioning ceremony held in the Port of Galveston, Texas (U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Michael D. Mitchell/Released)
The crew of the newest littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) «mans the ship and brings her to life» during a commissioning ceremony held in the Port of Galveston, Texas (U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Michael D. Mitchell/Released)

 

The Independence Variant of the LCS Class

PRINCIPAL DIMENSIONS
Construction Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy
Length overall 421 feet/128.3 m
Beam overall 103 feet/31.4 m
Hull draft (maximum) 14.8 feet/4.5 m
PAYLOAD AND CAPACITIES
Complement Core Crew – 40
Mission crew – 36
Berthing 76 in a mix of single, double & quad berthing compartments
Maximum mission load 210 tonnes
Mission Bay Volume 118,403 feet3/11,000 m3
Mission packages Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
Surface Warfare (SUW)
Mine Warfare (MIW)
PROPULSION
Main engines 2 × GE LM2500
2 × MTU 20V 8000
Waterjets 4 × Wartsila steerable
Bow thruster Retractable azimuthing
PERFORMANCE
Speed 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
Range 3,500 NM/4,028 miles/6,482 km
Operational limitation Survival in Sea State 8
MISSION/LOGISTICS DECK
Deck area >21,527.8 feet2/2,000 m2
Launch and recovery Twin boom extending crane
Loading Side ramp
Internal elevator to hanger
Launch/Recover Watercraft Sea State 4
FLIGHT DECK AND HANGER
Flight deck dimensions 2 × SH-60 or 1 × CH-53 or multiple Unmanned Aerial Vehicles/Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs/VTUAVs)
Hanger Aircraft stowage & maintenance for 2 × SH-60
Launch/Recover Aircraft Sea State 5
WEAPONS AND SENSORS
Standard 1 × 57-mm gun
4 × 12.7-mm/.50 caliber guns
1 × Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) launcher
3 × weapons modules

 

Independence-class

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Independence (LCS-2) 01-19-2006 04-26-2008 01-16-2010 San Diego, California
USS Coronado (LCS-4) 12-17-2009 01-14-2012 04-05-2014 San Diego, California
USS Jackson (LCS-6) 08-01-2011 12-14-2013 12-05-2015 San Diego, California
USS Montgomery (LCS-8) 06-25-2013 08-06-2014 09-10-2016 San Diego, California
USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) 04-16-2014 02-25-2015 06-10-2017 San Diego, California
USS Omaha (LCS-12) 02-18-2015 11-20-2015
USS Manchester (LCS-14) 06-29-2015 05-12-2016
USS Tulsa (LCS-16) 01-11-2016
USS Charleston (LCS-18) 06-28-2016
USS Cincinnati (LCS-20) 04-10-2017
USS Kansas City (LCS-22)
USS Oakland (LCS-24)

 

Indiana launched

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced on Jun 09, 2017 that the Virginia-class submarine USS Indiana (SSN-789) was launched into the James River at the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division. The boat was moved to the shipyard’s submarine pier for final outfitting, testing and crew certification.

The Virginia-class submarine USS Indiana (SSN-789) has been launched into the James River and moved to Newport News Shipbuilding’s submarine pier for final outfitting, testing and crew certification (Photo by Ashley Major/HII)
The Virginia-class submarine USS Indiana (SSN-789) has been launched into the James River and moved to Newport News Shipbuilding’s submarine pier for final outfitting, testing and crew certification (Photo by Ashley Major/HII)

«Launch is a true testament to our shipbuilders’ roughly four years of hard work», said Matt Needy, Newport News’ vice president of submarines and fleet support. «Over the next several months, we will work closely with the Indiana crew to bring this great ship to life. With the Navy’s recent increase in SSN force structure requirements from 48 to 66 submarines, the shipbuilders here at Newport News and at our teaming partner, Electric Boat, understand the importance of getting these highly valued ships delivered and ready for mission-tasking by our Navy leadership».

USS Indiana (SSN-789) a is the 16th Virginia-class submarine and the eighth that will be delivered to the U.S. Navy by Newport News. Nearly 4,000 shipbuilders have participated in Indiana’s construction since the work began in September 2012.

Indiana was moved out of a construction facility into a floating dry dock using a transfer car system. The floating dry dock was submerged, and the submarine was launched into the James River. The approximately 7,800-ton submarine was moved to the shipyard’s submarine pier, where final outfitting, testing and crew certification will take place.

«Our Indiana sailors are honored to be at the helm as the newest Hoosier boat launches into a new chapter at sea», said Commander Jesse Zimbauer, Indiana’s commanding officer.

Virginia-class submarines, a class of nuclear-powered fast attack submarines, are built for a broad spectrum of open-ocean and littoral missions to replace the Navy’s Los Angeles-class submarines as they are retired. Virginia-class submarines incorporate dozens of new technologies and innovations that increase firepower, maneuverability and stealth and significantly enhance their warfighting capabilities. These submarines are capable of supporting multiple mission areas and can operate at submerged speeds of more than 25+ knots/28+ mph/46.3+ km/h for months at a time.

 

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/10.06 m
Hull Diameter 34 feet/10.36 m
Displacement Approximately 7,835 tons/7,961 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 12 individual VLS (Vertical Launch System) tubes or 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 I

Ship Yard Christening Commissioned Homeport
SSN-774 Virginia EB 8-16-03 10-23-04 Portsmouth, New Hampshire
SSN-775 Texas NNS 7-31-05 9-9-06 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
SSN-776 Hawaii EB 6-19-06 5-5-07 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
SSN-777 North Carolina NNS 4-21-07 5-3-08 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

EB – Electric Boat, Groton, Connecticut

NNS – Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia

SSN – Attack Submarine, Nuclear-powered

 

Block II

Ship Yard Christening Commissioned Homeport
SSN-778 New Hampshire EB 6-21-08 10-25-08 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-779 New Mexico NNS 12-13-08 11-21-09 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-780 Missouri EB 12-5-09 7-31-10 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-781 California NNS 11-6-10 10-29-11 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-782 Mississippi EB 12-3-11 6-2-12 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-783 Minnesota NNS 10-27-12 9-7-13 Norfolk, Virginia

 

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 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-787 Washington NNS 03-05-16
SSN-788 Colorado EB 12-03-16
SSN-789 Indiana NNS 04-29-17
SSN-790 South Dakota EB Under Construction
SSN-791 Delaware NNS Under Construction

 

Echo Voyager

Boeing and Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) are teaming on the design and production of Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (UUVs) in support of the U.S. Navy’s Extra Large UUV program.

Boeing, Huntington Ingalls Industries to Team on Unmanned Undersea Vehicles
Boeing, Huntington Ingalls Industries to Team on Unmanned Undersea Vehicles

«This partnership provides the U.S. Navy a cost-effective, low-risk path to meet the emergent needs that prompted the Navy’s Advanced Undersea Prototyping program», said Darryl Davis, president, Boeing Phantom Works. «We are combining Boeing’s preeminent UUV maritime engineering team with our nation’s leading shipbuilder and Navy technical services company to get operational vehicles to the Navy years ahead of the standard acquisition process».

Boeing is currently testing its newest and largest UUV, Echo Voyager, off the Southern California coast. The vehicle is designed for multiple missions and could include a modular payload bay of up to 34 feet/10.36 meters, offering enhanced endurance and increased payload capacity over traditional UUVs. Echo Voyager is fully autonomous, requiring no support vessel for launch or recovery, enabling operation at sea for months before returning to port.

«We look forward to a long relationship with Boeing as we embark together to field this unmanned force-multiplier for the U.S. Navy», said Andy Green, executive vice president of Huntington Ingalls Industries and president of the company’s Technical Solutions division. «I am confident this team will continue redefining the autonomy paradigm for UUVs».

The partnership will leverage design and production facilities in Huntington Beach, California, Newport News, Virginia, and Panama City, Florida, and will offer access to all of the expertise and capability of Boeing and HII.

Hawk demonstrator

A concept of a future variant of BAE Systems’ highly successful Hawk aircraft has flown for the first time at the Company’s military aircraft facility in Warton, Lancashire. Equipped with a new type of pilot display, a redesigned wing and defensive aids, the Advanced Hawk will meet market requirements for the next generation of fast jet training aircraft.

Successful first flight of the Advanced Hawk demonstrator takes place
Successful first flight of the Advanced Hawk demonstrator takes place

Whilst the existing Hawk continues to be the world’s most successful jet trainer, the Advanced Hawk concept demonstrator builds on these proven successes. The concept demonstrator features an upgraded cockpit equipped with BAE Systems’ LiteHUD (a low-profile head-up display) and a new, large area display that introduces a new student/pilot training experience. It also features a redesigned wing that increases performance in areas such as turn rates, angles of attack and both take-off and landing.

Other technology advances include increased stores capability, a new set of defensive aids and a range of new flight systems, all aimed at ensuring Hawk continues to provide the edge in fast jet pilot training, as well as offering increased operational utility.

The first flight of the aircraft builds on its public debut at Aero India 2017 in Bangalore earlier this year.

Steve Timms, Managing Director Defence Information, Training & Services at BAE Systems said: «The successful first flight of the Advanced Hawk concept demonstrator is the latest step in the aircraft’s development and marks a significant milestone in Hawk’s capability upgrade. We already have the world’s leading advanced jet trainer and the new features in Advanced Hawk have been developed after listening to our customers’ views on where fast jet pilot training will go in the future and how we ensure the Hawk continues to meet their requirements. By using this demonstrator aircraft, we have highlighted to existing users of Hawk that many of the proposed features of an Advanced Hawk, such as the large area display and new wing, could be achievable as upgrades».

The aircraft will now undergo a series of flights to collect test data on the new key capability enhancements.

Sea Trails

INS Khanderi (S51), the second of the six Scorpene class submarines being built in India at Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), sailed out on 01 June 2017 from Mumbai harbour for her maiden sea sortie. It was also the first major trial for her propulsion plant and a very important milestone in the construction programme.

Commencement of Sea Trails MDL Yard 11876 (INS Khanderi)
Commencement of Sea Trails MDL Yard 11876 (INS Khanderi)

The successful trial moved the submarine a significant step closer to her induction into the Indian Navy later this year. She will now be put through her paces via a rigorous set of trials, which are designed to test her operating envelop to the maximum.

The first Scorpene, INS Kalvari (S50), is presently being readied for delivery in July/August this year, after having been put through a grueling set of trials over the past one year, including successful live missile and torpedo firings.

Named after ferocious deep-sea predators, the Scorpenes, which operate very silently and are capable of multifarious roles, will add teeth to the might of the Indian Navy by strengthening its crucial Submarine Arm.

Multi-domain battle

Imagine an enemy intent on destroying U.S. ships, say, somewhere in the Western Pacific. A novel but technologically feasible concept called multi-domain battle, or MDB, could frustrate that intent, said General David G. Perkins.

In the Multi-Domain Battle concept, howitzers might one day protect U.S. ships from enemy vessels by firing anti-ship projectiles. Shown here, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters assigned to 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division perform tactical maneuvers to place two M777A2 Howitzer's in position for onlookers during the 82nd ABN Division All-American Week Airborne Review on Sicily Drop Zone at Fort Bragg, N.C., May 25, 2017 (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sergeant Steven Galimore)
In the Multi-Domain Battle concept, howitzers might one day protect U.S. ships from enemy vessels by firing anti-ship projectiles. Shown here, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters assigned to 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division perform tactical maneuvers to place two M777A2 Howitzer’s in position for onlookers during the 82nd ABN Division All-American Week Airborne Review on Sicily Drop Zone at Fort Bragg, N.C., May 25, 2017 (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sergeant Steven Galimore)

Perkins, commander at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), spoke at the «Land Forces in the Pacific: Advancing Joint and Multi-National Integration» conference on May 24. The Association of the United States Army Institute of Land Warfare sponsored the symposium.

Perkins described MDB as a concept that maximizes utilization of all five domains: air, sea, land, space and cyber, in a joint coalition effort.

For MDB to work, the military needs to do away with domain «hogging», he said.

Perkins described domain hogging in the following way: When a crisis occurs in a land domain, the Army or Marine Corps is considered the «owner» of that domain and is expected to respond in a traditional manner, perhaps with mortars or howitzers. If a crisis occurs at sea, the Navy is viewed as owning that domain, so a ship or sub-surface solution is applied.

To demonstrate the usefulness of MDB as an alternative to domain hogging, Perkins described a fictitious MDB-type scenario in the Western Pacific.

Enemy ships armed with mines, torpedoes and missiles are pursuing friendly vessels. The enemy knows the whereabouts of U.S. ships that might come to the aid of friendly vessels. What the combatants not aware of are the presence of Army howitzers or missile batteries, located on islands in the area, which are armed with anti-ship precision fires.

So now, the enemy isn’t just worried about the U.S. Navy – they’re also worried about the U.S. Army, which can emplace its guns in hard-to-detect areas on land.

This type of scenario gives the combatant commander multiple options and the enemy multiple dilemmas, Perkins explained.

MDB also provides the option of relying on partner nation capabilities, in addition to those of sister services in the U.S. military.

Royal Australian Army Major general Roger Noble, who is on loan to the U.S. Army as deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Pacific, provided an example of partner nation-based MDB.

IN a previous assignment last year, Noble was attached to the 101st Airborne Division, which was assisting the Iraqi army in its drive to push the Islamic State out of Iraq. During the fighting, the U.S. Army wanted to use its offensive cyber capabilities to perform a mission that is still classified.

The U.S. Army didn’t have the proper authorities and permissions in place to use that capability, however, but Australia and the United Kingdom did. So, the Army relied on its partner’s capability in the cyber domain, Noble said.

Perkins added that cyber or space domains, regardless of which service or nation owned those assets, could also be used to shut down the enemy’s naval navigation system or anti-ship missiles. It doesn’t matter which partner owns the domains; the assets should be available to whoever needs them, he said.

Some partner nation leaders look at the busy slides Perkins uses to explain MDB, and are intimidated by the complexity. They think «ray guns and flying saucers», Perkins said.

They believe MDB to be complicated and expensive, but Perkins said he tries to reassure partners that they don’t need to be equipped with the most modern hardware to provide MDB assets within a multi-partner force.

For example, a small Pacific nation without a large navy might have a number of small, shallow-water vessels that could contribute to force protection in areas where U.S. and coalition forces are operating.

Or, some small nation with hardly any assets at all might have land located in a strategic area from which land, air and naval power of the coalition forces might be projected. Everyone, he assured, has something to bring to the fight.

Perkins explained that the DOD rolled out the MDB concept last October. Noble said that the first time he saw Perkins’ slides, he immediately understood the concept from his previous experiences.

Noble described that when he was in Iraq last year, coalition forces utilized MDB even before the concept went by that name. Naval aircraft, launched from ships, delivered precision ground fire as multiple nations and military services were worked in and shared multiple domains.

Perkins said there’s nothing like a war situation to test concepts like MDB and to flesh out problems, such as when one nation’s radios don’t communicate another.

The next best learning environment, he said, is conducting rigorous exercises like the ones U.S. Army Pacific Command does year-round in the Pacific with various partner countries.

«We see multi-domain battle as something to put in place right now», Perkins advised.

He added that the Pacific region is a perfect place to test out MDB in rigorous exercises because all domains are well-represented there, and there are multiple coalition partners available to bring multiple capabilities.

Perkins said he’s working with General Robert B. Brown, commander, U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC), to establish an MDB task force «to try to take stuff we have in the Army now and repurpose it», he explained. For example, USARPAC has equipment that could be used in anti-access, area denial.

Perkins added that Brown comes from TRADOC, so he understands MDB and has been an advocate of the concept.

Brown’s supervisor, Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr., commander, U.S. Pacific Command, said he’s excited about MDB. «I want to see the Army shoot down a missile, fired from a plane that launched from a ship», he said. «Then, I want to see the Army shoot down the aircraft that launched the missile and then I want the Army to sink that ship».

«I’m convinced this is the way to fight, particularly when you don’t have a clear advantage over our adversaries», he said. «Adversaries are now fielding new weapons in quantities approaching the zombie apocalypse».

MDB «must be incorporated in the way we train year round», he emphasized.

Harris added that MDB will be hard, risky and expensive, but it will be essential to winning the next campaign in a complex battlespace. «We can’t be afraid to fail in public», he said, pushing for experimentation with out-of-the-box ideas.

Japanese-Built F-35A

The first Japanese-assembled F-35A was unveiled at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Komaki South F-35 Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility here on June 5, 2017. The Japan F-35 FACO is operated by MHI with technical assistance from Lockheed Martin and oversight from the U.S. Government.

AX-5, the first Japanese-assembled F-35A was unveiled in Nagoya Japan on 5 June 2017. The aircraft was built at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) F-35 Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility. The Japan F-35 FACO is operated by MHI with technical assistance from Lockheed Martin and oversight from the U.S. Government (Photo by Thinh Nguyen, Lockheed Martin)
AX-5, the first Japanese-assembled F-35A was unveiled in Nagoya Japan on 5 June 2017. The aircraft was built at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) F-35 Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility. The Japan F-35 FACO is operated by MHI with technical assistance from Lockheed Martin and oversight from the U.S. Government (Photo by Thinh Nguyen, Lockheed Martin)

Approximately 200 people attended the ceremony including Japanese and United States government and defense industry leaders. The ceremony highlighted the strong partnership between the Japanese Ministry of Defense, U.S. Department of Defense, MHI and Lockheed Martin.

Kenji Wakamiya, senior vice minister of defense; General Yoshiyuki Sugiyama, Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) chief of staff; Lieutenant General Jerry Martinez, commander, U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force; Vice Admiral Mat Winter, F-35 Program Executive Officer; Vice Admiral Dave Lewis, Defense Contract Management Agency Director; Naohiko Abe, MHI’s senior vice president and Integrated Defense & Space Systems president, and Orlando Carvalho, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, attended the milestone event.

«Seeing the first Japanese built F-35A is a testament to the global nature of this program», said Vice Admiral Mat Winter, F-35 Program Executive Officer. «This state of the art assembly facility, staffed with a talented and motivated workforce, enables us to leverage industry’s unique talents and technological know-how to produce the world’s best multi-role fighter. The F-35 will enhance the strength of our security alliances and reinforce long-established bonds with our allies through training opportunities, exercises, and military-to-military events».

The Japanese Ministry of Defense competitively selected the F-35A as the JASDF’s next-generation air defense fighter in December 2011, with a Foreign Military Sales program of record of 42 F-35As. The first four JASDF F-35As were previously delivered from the Fort Worth, Texas, production facility. Subsequent deliveries of 38 F-35A aircraft will come from the FACO here in Japan.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Defense selected the Nagoya FACO in 2014 for the North Asia-Pacific regional heavy airframe Maintenance Repair Overhaul & Upgrade (MROU) facility.

«Building upon our enduring relationship with Japanese industry, we are fully committed to our F-35 production partnership with MHI and our support to the Japan Ministry of Defense», Carvalho said. «The skilled workers who achieved this milestone know firsthand the F-35’s capability and how this aircraft will only strengthen the U.S.-Japan Security Alliance, thereby building upon Japan’s strategic vision to ensure the Alliance remains strong for decades to come».

The F-35 Lightning II is a next-generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, advanced mission systems, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and cutting-edge sustainment. More than 220 operational F-35s have been built and delivered worldwide and they have collectively flown more than 95,000 flight hours.

 

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