Shipbuilding Plan

The Department of Defense (DoD) submitted the Navy’s 2015 shipbuilding plan, which covers fiscal years 2015 to 2044, to the Congress in July 2014. The total costs of carrying out the 2015 plan – an average of about $21 billion in 2014 dollars per year over the next 30 years – would be one-third higher than the funding amounts that the Navy has received in recent decades, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates.

Under the 2015 plan, the Navy would buy a total of 264 ships over the 2015–2044 period: 218 combat ships and 46 combat logistics and support ships
Under the 2015 plan, the Navy would buy a total of 264 ships over the 2015–2044 period: 218 combat ships and 46 combat logistics and support ships

The Navy’s 2015 shipbuilding plan is very similar, but not identical, to its 2014 plan with respect to the Navy’s total inventory goal for battle force ships, the number and types of ships the Navy would purchase, and the proposed funding to implement the plans.

 

Aircraft Carriers

The 2015 shipbuilding plan states that the Navy’s goal is to have 11 aircraft carriers. The Navy intends to buy six CVN-78 Gerald R. Ford class aircraft carriers over the 2015-2044 period. Building one carrier every five years (referred to as five-year centers) would enable the Navy to have a force of at least 11 carriers almost continuously through 2044, with two exceptions. One exception would be from 2015 to 2016, when the number of carriers would be 10. That temporary decline occurs because the Enterprise (CVN-65) was retired in early 2013 after 52 years of service, and the next new carrier, the Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), will not be commissioned until 2016. Any delays in completing that new carrier would extend the period during which the Navy has only 10 carriers. The other exception would be from 2040 to 2044 and beyond. If carriers continued to be built every five years and to serve for 50 years, the Navy’s carrier force would fall to 10 in 2040 and remain at that level.

Annual Inventories Under the Navy’s 2015 Plan
Annual Inventories Under the Navy’s 2015 Plan

The next carrier following the CVN-78 will be the CVN-79, the John F. Kennedy. Funding for that ship began in 2007, the Congress officially authorized its construction in 2013, and appropriations for it are expected to be complete by 2018. The Navy estimates that the ship will cost $11.5 billion in nominal dollars ($160 million more than the estimate under the President’s 2014 budget) and $10.6 billion in 2014 dollars. In its selected acquisition report on the CVN-79, the Navy describes its cost estimate as an «aggressive but achievable target». In contrast, CBO estimates that the cost of the ship will be $12.6 billion in nominal dollars and $11.5 billion in 2014 dollars, about 8 percent more than the Navy’s estimate.

 

Ohio Replacement Ballistic Missile Submarines

SSBNs carry Trident ballistic missiles and are the sea-based leg of the United States’ strategic triad for delivering nuclear weapons. (The other two legs are land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles and manned strategic bombers.) The design, cost, and capabilities of the Ohio Replacement submarine class are among the most significant uncertainties in the Navy’s and CBO’s analyses of the cost of future shipbuilding. Under the 2015 plan, the first Ohio Replacement submarine – sometimes called the SSBN(X) – would be purchased in 2021, although advance procurement funds would be needed starting in 2016 for items with long lead times. The second submarine would be purchased in 2024, followed by one per year from 2026 to 2035.

Annual Inventories Versus Goals for Ballistic Missile Submarines Under the Navy’s 2015 Plan
Annual Inventories Versus Goals for Ballistic Missile Submarines Under the Navy’s 2015 Plan

The Navy currently estimates the cost of the first Ohio Replacement submarine at $12.4 billion in 2014 dollars. The estimated average cost of follow-on ships is now $6.0 billion, which implies a total cost for 12 submarines of $79 billion, or an average of $6.6 billion each. However, the Navy has stated an objective of reducing that $6.0 billion figure to $5.5 billion.

 

Attack Submarines

Under the 2015 plan, the Navy would buy 31 Virginia class attack submarines. Between 2015 and 2033, those purchases would occur mostly at a rate alternating between one and two per year. In 2034, the Navy would switch to an improved Virginia class but maintain the same build rate of one or two per year. With such a procurement schedule, the attack submarine force would remain at or above the Navy’s goal of 48 submarines through 2024 but would then fall to between 41 and 47 submarines between 2025 and 2034 before reaching or exceeding 48 submarines again beginning in 2035.

Annual Inventories Versus Goals for Attack Submarines Under the Navy’s 2015 Plan
Annual Inventories Versus Goals for Attack Submarines Under the Navy’s 2015 Plan

Senior Navy leaders have stated that Virginia class SSNs would have to cost $2.8 billion or less apiece for the Navy to be able to afford 2 per year.24 The President’s 2015 budget indicates a current cost of those vessels of $2.6 billion each. For the entirety of the Virginia class under the 2015 shipbuilding plan, the Navy’s and CBO’s estimates are virtually the same: The Navy estimates that the total cost for all 31 of the Virginia class submarines purchased between 2015 and 2044 would be about $88 billion, and CBO estimates that cost at $90 billion.

 

Large Surface Combatants

The Navy’s 2015 plan incorporates the purchase of the same types of destroyers as the 2014 plan. The service restarted production of DDG-51 Flight IIA destroyers in 2010 and purchased eight ships through 2014 (in addition to the 62 ships that had been purchased when production was initially stopped in 2005). The Navy plans to purchase three more DDG-51 Flight IIAs through 2016. Beginning in 2016 and continuing through 2029, the Navy plans to purchase 27 DDG-51s with an upgraded design, a configuration known as Flight III. In 2030, the Navy would start buying 33 DDG(X)s, a not-yetdesigned destroyer intended to replace the DDG-51 class.

Like the Navy’s 2014 shipbuilding plan, the current plan includes a future class of destroyers intended to replace the DDG-51 Flight I and II ships when they retire in the late 2020s and 2030s.31 The Navy’s 2015 plan describes the ship as a «mid-sized future surface combatant» but does not provide further specification.32 CBO has adopted a generic DDG(X) designation, implying an unknown design.

Annual Inventories Versus Goals for Large Surface Combatants Under the Navy’s 2015 Plan
Annual Inventories Versus Goals for Large Surface Combatants Under the Navy’s 2015 Plan

Under the 2015 plan, production of the DDG(X) would start in 2030, which would make it a successor to the DDG-51 Flight III program. The Navy says that it would buy 35 DDG(X)s at an average cost of $1.8 billion, or about $200 million more than the cost of DDG-51 Flight III ships. Those cost estimates imply that the DDG(X)’s capabilities would represent a relatively modest improvement over those of the DDG-51 Flight III or (if capabilities were significantly improved) the DDG(X) would be a smaller ship than the DDG-51 Flight III.

The large amount of uncertainty about the ultimate size and capabilities of the DDG(X) suggests that the true cost could be substantially different from either the Navy’s or CBO’s estimate.

 

Littoral Combat Ships

In the 2015 plan, the Navy envisions building a force of 52 small surface combatants called littoral combat ships by 2025. The first LCS was authorized in 2005, and the Navy already has 20 of those ships either in its fleet or under construction – 10 each of two different designs being built by two different contractors. Because those ships are assumed to have a service life of 25 years, the Navy would need to begin procuring their replacements in 2030. Therefore, the Navy plans to purchase 32 more LCSs through 2025 to complete its initial force of 52 ships and then to purchase 34 next-generation ships, called LCS(X)s, between 2030 and 2044 to replace the first-generation LCSs as they retire.

CBO’s Estimates of Annual Shipbuilding Costs Under the Navy’s 2015 Plan
CBO’s Estimates of Annual Shipbuilding Costs Under the Navy’s 2015 Plan

Both the Navy and CBO assumed that the LCS(X)s would have the capabilities of the Flight 0 ships they would be replacing rather than those of the later Flight 1 ships. The Navy’s cost estimate for an LCS(X) is $473 million, just slightly more (after adjusting for inflation) than the expected average cost of an LCS Flight 0. CBO estimates the average cost of the LCS(X) would be a little higher, about $500 million per ship. CBO’s current estimate is less than its estimate last year, when CBO assumed that the LCS(X) would look more like the proposed Flight 1. If the LCX(X) were designed to meet or exceed the capabilities of the LCS Flight 1, then its cost would probably be higher than the Navy and CBO now estimate.

 

Amphibious Warfare Ships

The Navy’s inventory goal for amphibious warfare ships is 33. The proposed force would consist of 11 LHA or LHD amphibious assault ships, 11 LPD amphibious transport docks, and 11 replacements for the Navy’s LSD dock landing ships. In pursuit of that force, the 2015 plan calls for buying 7 LHA-6s, at a rate of 1 every four or seven years, to replace LHD-1 class amphibious assault ships as they are retired.38 The plan envisions buying 11 LX(R)s (the replacement for LSDs), 1 every other year between 2020 and 2028 and then 1 per year until 2034, to replace existing dock landing ships in the LSD-41 and LSD-49 classes. Under the 2015 plan, the LX(R) would enter the fleet one year later than under the 2014 plan. (This is the third consecutive shipbuilding plan in which the Navy has delayed the start of the LSD replacement class by one year.) The 2015 plan would also start replacing the LPD-17 class with a new class in the early 2040s, buying one ship each in 2040, 2042, and 2044.

Annual Inventories Versus Goals for Amphibious Warfare Ships Under the Navy’s 2015 Plan
Annual Inventories Versus Goals for Amphibious Warfare Ships Under the Navy’s 2015 Plan

Based on the limited information available now, CBO estimates the cost of the LX(R) at an average of $1.8 billion per ship. CBO used the existing LPD-17 hull as the starting point for its estimate and then adjusted the ship’s size to reflect the reduced capability it expects for the LX(R). CBO’s estimate also accounts for the use of multiyear or block buy procurement authority in a potentially competitive environment. Various factors could cause the actual cost to be above or below the estimate. For example, it is not clear that the Navy would be able to conduct a full and open competition for the LX(R) in light of the fact that the yard currently building the LPD-17 class, Ingalls of Huntington-Ingalls Industries, would presumably enter the bidding with a significant advantage. The Navy might also have a limited ability to benefit from competition for the LX(R) if the Congress directed the Navy to ensure that all of the shipyards building the Navy’s ships received enough business to remain profitable. In contrast, if the Navy designs and builds the LX(R) in ways that are substantially different from the methods used for the LPD-17, then the cost of the new ships could be less than CBO estimates.

 

Ballistic Missile Defense

The U.S. is bolstering its ability to intercept ballistic missiles fired from North Korea with the deployment of another Raytheon missile-defense radar in central Japan, said Brendan McGarry, Military.com correspondent. In a joint announcement, the U.S. and Japanese governments said a second so-called Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance system, or AN/TPY-2, made by Raytheon Co. has been installed on the island nation. The announcement follows discussions last year between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe involving deployment of the technology that drew opposition from China.

In forward-based mode, the radar is positioned near hostile territory, and acquires ballistic missiles in the boost (ascent) phase of flight, shortly after they are launched
In forward-based mode, the radar is positioned near hostile territory, and acquires ballistic missiles in the boost (ascent) phase of flight, shortly after they are launched

The mobile unit is based in Kyogamisaki in the central part of the country, complementing an existing system already located Shariki in northern Japan. The Kyogamisaki site is believed to be ideal for such purposes because any short- or medium-range missile launched from North Korea against American military defenses in Guam or Hawaii would probably fly over the region.

The first step in defeating a ballistic missile that has been fired is «seeing» it. And that is where Raytheon’s AN/TPY-2 X-Band radar comes in. A critical element in the Ballistic Missile Defense System, AN/TPY-2 continually searches the sky for ballistic missiles. Once it detects a missile, it acquires it, tracks it, and uses its powerful radar and complex computer algorithms to discriminate between the warhead and non-threats such as countermeasures.

Depending on the needs of the warfighter, the AN/TPY-2 radar can be deployed in two different modes. In forward-based mode, the radar is positioned near hostile territory, and acquires ballistic missiles in the boost (ascent) phase of flight, shortly after they are launched. It then tracks and discriminates the threat, and passes critical information required by decision makers to the Command and Control Battle Management network.

The high-resolution, X-band, phased-array radar can track all classes of ballistic missiles at various points in their trajectories
The high-resolution, X-band, phased-array radar can track all classes of ballistic missiles at various points in their trajectories

When the AN/TPY-2 radar is deployed in terminal mode, the radar’s job is to detect, acquire, track and discriminate ballistic missiles in the terminal (descent) phase of flight. The terminal-mode AN/TPY-2 also leads the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) ballistic missile defense system by guiding the THAAD missile to intercept a threat.

AN/TPY-2 has a record of flawless performance against all classes of ballistic missiles. In forward-based mode, it has proven capability against short-, medium and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. In terminal mode, AN/TPY-2 has demonstrated its ability to enable an intercept of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. AN/TPY-2 can provide precise tracking information to any number of missile-defense batteries, including the truck-mounted THAAD, systems in the Pacific and the Middle East; the sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System; or the Ground-based Mid-course Defense System in Alaska and California.

According to public U.S. intelligence estimates, there are more than 6,300 ballistic missiles outside of U.S., NATO, Russian and Chinese control, with that number expected to grow to almost 8,000 by 2020
According to public U.S. intelligence estimates, there are more than 6,300 ballistic missiles outside of U.S., NATO, Russian and Chinese control, with that number expected to grow to almost 8,000 by 2020

The radar itself is composed of four mobile components: an antenna unit, an electronics unit, a cooling unit and a prime power unit, according to information from the manufacturer. The system can be transported in such cargo planes as the C-5 Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster III, as well as in ships, railroad cars and trucks.

The U.S. Army, which has already purchased five of the radars, had previously planned to purchase as many as 18 of the units, though that number was reduced amid automatic budget cuts known as sequestration. Last year, each was budgeted to cost about $173 million, according to budget documents.

 

 

The first harbinger

The U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) has received its first Carrier Variant (CV) F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), the Lockheed Martin announced on 22 December 2014.

F-35C Lightning II (aircraft CF-02)
F-35C Lightning II (aircraft CF-02)

Aircraft CF-19 will now be transferred from the Fort Worth production facility in Texas to the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, where it will be assigned to the U.S. Navy’s (USN’s) VFA-101 ‘Grim Reapers’ for pilot training.

The USMC is acquiring a mixed fleet of Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) F-35B and CV F-35C aircraft. The current plan is for the Corps’ current McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier IIs to be replaced by 353 F-35Bs, and its Boeing F/A-18 Hornets to be replaced by 67 F-35Cs. Initial operating capability for the F-35B is slated to be achieving in the coming months, while that for the F-35C is expected in 2018.

According to IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, CF-19 was the 36th and final F-35 to be delivered this year. Aircraft delivered in 2014 comprised 23 Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL) F-35As to the U.S. Air Force (USAF), two F-35As to the Royal Australian Air Force, four F-35Bs to the USMC, six F-35Cs to the USN, and one F-35C to the USMC.

The Department of the Navy decided to base F-35C Lightning II aircraft at NAS (Naval Air Station) Lemoore, California. NAS Lemoore is the newest and largest Master Jet Base in the U.S. Navy. It has two offset parallel runways 4,600 feet (1,400 m) apart.

The F-35C completes catapults and arrestments aboard USS Nimitz on November 12, 2014.
The F-35C completes catapults and arrestments aboard USS Nimitz on November 12, 2014

With the programme still in low-rate initial production (LRIP), the final two lots (LRIP 10 and LRIP 11) are due to be contracted in the next couple of years. After 2016, Lockheed Martin intends to ramp-up to full-rate production of about one aircraft per day.

More than 50 years of carrier based fighter evolution culminates in the Lockheed Martin F-35C Lightning II aircraft. Never before has very low observable stealth been available at sea. With a broad wingspan, ruggedized structures and durable coatings, the F-35C Lightning II CATOBAR (Catapult Assisted Take-Off Barrier Arrested Recovery) aircraft is designed to stand up to harsh shipboard conditions while delivering a lethal combination of 5th Generation fighter capabilities.

The Carrier Variant Lockheed Martin aircraft sets a new standard in weapon systems integration, maintainability, combat radius and payload that brings true multimission capability to naval forces around the world.

It is truly a first-day-of-the-war fighter with the ability to dominate adversaries in the air or on the surface, while surviving the most formidable threat environments.

CF-01 flew with inert AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles on port and starboard pylons to measure flying qualities and aircraft vibrations
CF-01 flew with inert AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles on port and starboard pylons to measure flying qualities and aircraft vibrations

F-35C SPECIFICATIONS

Length:                                                             51.5 ft/15.7 m

Height:                                                             14.7 ft/4.48 m

Wingspan:                                                      43 ft/13.1 m

Wing area:                                                      668 ft2/62.1 m2

Horizontal tail span:                                 26.3 ft/8.02 m

Weight empty:                                             34,800 lb/15,785 kg

Internal fuel capacity:                             19,750 lb/8,960 kg

Weapons payload:                                    18,000 lb/8,160 kg

Maximum weight:                                      70,000 lb 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

Developmental Testing I is the first of three at-sea test phases for the F-35C carrier variant
Developmental Testing I is the first of three at-sea test phases for the F-35C carrier variant

Propulsion (uninstalled thrust ratings):          F135-PW-400

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

Length:                                                                               220 in/5.59 m

Inlet Diameter:                                                              46 in/1.17 m

Maximum Diameter:                                                 51 in/1.30 m

Bypass Ratio:                                                                 0.57

Overall Pressure Ratio:                                           28

F135-PW-400 engine for F-35C Carrier Variant (CV)
F135-PW-400 engine for F-35C Carrier Variant (CV)

Speed (full internal weapons load):                  Mach 1.6 (~1,200 mph/ 1931 km/h)

Combat radius (internal fuel):                             >600 NM/1,100 km

Range (internal fuel):                                                >1,200 NM/2,200 km

Max g-rating:                                                                7.5

 

Planned Quantities

U.S. Navy:                                                                       260;

U.S. Marine Corps:                                                       80;

In total:                                                                             340

 

 

Main battery

According to Igor Tabak, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly reporter, Croatia has ordered 12 Panzerhaubitze 2000 (PzH 2000) 155 mm self-propelled howitzers from ex-German military stocks. A contract for the order was signed in Zagreb on 5 December, 2014 by Viktor Koprivnjak, Croatian deputy minister of defence in charge of material resources, and by Helmut Richter from the Federal Office for Defence Technology and Procurement.

Panzerhaubitze 2000 (PzH 2000)
Panzerhaubitze 2000 (PzH 2000)

The delivery of PzH 2000 to the Croatian Armed Forces (CAF) is to be done in two tranches of six systems: the first in the second half of 2015 and the second in 2016. Germany will prepare the artillery systems for Croatian service prior to their delivery, a process that will include upgrading their communications array and weapon control software.

During the signing, Koprivnjak stated: «The weapons themselves are priced at €12 million ($15 million), while the overall project is valued at €41 million. Apart from the actual PzH 2000 howitzers, there is training, spares, and adjustment of the weaponry and their electronic systems for service in the CAF».

Panzerhaubitze 2000 in Afghanistan
Panzerhaubitze 2000 in Afghanistan

While this procurement is mentioned in the new CAF Long-Term Development Plan 2015-24 (still going through parliament) as a goal to be fulfilled by 2019, the new artillery systems are considered vital for the development of a CAF NATO force capability.

In order to lower the costs of the upgrades and for their operational usage, the contracting for these parts of the programme is being done by the NATO Support Agency’s Land Combat Vehicle (Project PzH 2000) effort in order to benefit from economies of scale.

PzH 2000 155 mm self-propelled howitzer
PzH 2000 155 mm self-propelled howitzer

 

Ground – Artillery – Panzerhaubitze 2000

 

Vertical Take-Off

A UK test team including personnel from BAE Systems, has successfully completed initial aircraft handling trials for ASRAAM (Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile) and Paveway IV weapons on the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II aircraft at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland, United States.

A US Marine Corps F-35B is shown here carrying two Asraam air-to-air missiles and four Paveway IV laser-guided bombs during initial weapon trials in the US
A US Marine Corps F-35B is shown here carrying two Asraam air-to-air missiles and four Paveway IV laser-guided bombs during initial weapon trials in the US

The trial or «dummy» weapons rounds, which are identical in fit and form to the operational weapons, were tested on the Short Take-off Vertical Landing (STOVL) F-35B for the first time during a series of flights from the U.S. Navy’s test facility at Patuxent River Naval Air Station. The initial tests are an important step in integrating weapons onto the F-35B, allowing test pilots to understand how they affect the way the aircraft performs and handles.

The UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF) already uses ASRAAM and Paveway IV on its existing combat air fleet. The successful tests are a step towards full interoperability between the current and future fast jets that will be used by the RAF and the UK’s Royal Navy from 2018.

Two F-35B STOVL aircraft, flown by Billie Flynn, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 test pilot and Squadron Leader Andy Edgell from the RAF, completed nine flights with MBDA’s ASRAAM missiles and Raytheon’s Paveway IV laser guided bombs. The flights involved different configurations of both weapons types on the aircraft.

A United Kingdom Royal Air Force test pilot takes off from the USS Wasp on Aug. 13, 2013. The flight marked the first time a U.K. military pilot flew an F-35B short takeoff mission at sea
A United Kingdom Royal Air Force test pilot takes off from the USS Wasp on Aug. 13, 2013. The flight marked the first time a U.K. military pilot flew an F-35B short takeoff mission at sea

The successful tests will be followed by the next stage of weapons testing due to take place in early 2015. These tests will involve weapon separation and then guided releases of both ASRAAM and Paveway IV from the aircraft.

BAE Systems’ lead test pilot for F-35, Pete Wilson, said: «The team at Patuxent River has got over two thousand hours of flying under their belts for the F-35B variant and the handling and performance of the aircraft has shone through throughout. These latest trials were no exception and help us to move confidently into the next phase of weapons testing».

J.D. McFarlan, Lockheed Martin’s Vice President for F-35 Test & Verification from the Joint Strike Fighter programme added: «These trials show the truly international nature of the F-35 enterprise – being led out of a U.S. Navy facility, involving a joint U.K. Ministry of Defence and industry team, working alongside the U.S. Department of Defence and Lockheed Martin. And the test results for one partner will benefit all, further demonstrating the versatility and capability of the F-35 as a multi-role platform».

An F-35B test aircraft flies in short takeoff/vertical landing mode in November 2013
An F-35B test aircraft flies in short takeoff/vertical landing mode in November 2013

Modern security challenges require a wide distribution of forces and the ability to operate successfully in a broad range of scenarios. Protecting freedom and ensuring security in today’s battlespace calls for an unprecedented aircraft.

For the first time in aviation history, the most lethal fighter characteristics – supersonic speed, radar-evading stealth, extreme agility and Short Take-off Vertical Landing – have been combined in a single platform; the F-35B.

With the F-35B Lightning II in their fleet, expeditionary forces, like the U.S. Marine Corps, have a decisive advantage over their adversaries. The F-35B’s versatility, as demonstrated onboard the USS Wasp (LHD-1), will revolutionize expeditionary combat power in all threat environments by allowing operations from major bases, damaged airstrips, remote locations and a wide range of air-capable ships. The F-35B gives warfighters the ability to accomplish their mission, wherever and whenever duty calls.

F-35B test aircraft BF-1 lands aboard the USS Wasp for the first time on Aug. 12, 2013. The landing marked the beginning of Developmental Test Phase Two for the F-35’s short takeoff/vertical landing variant
F-35B test aircraft BF-1 lands aboard the USS Wasp for the first time on Aug. 12, 2013. The landing marked the beginning of Developmental Test Phase Two for the F-35’s short takeoff/vertical landing variant

 

F-35B SPECIFICATIONS

Length:                                                            51.2 ft/15.6 m

Height:                                                            14.3 ft/4.36 m

Wingspan:                                                     35 ft/10.7 m

Wing area:                                                     460 ft2/42.7 m2

Horizontal tail span:                                21.8 ft/6.65 m

Weight empty:                                            32,300 lb/14,651 kg

Internal fuel capacity:                             13,500 lb/6,125 kg

Weapons payload:                                    15,000 lb/6,800 kg

Maximum weight:                                     60,000 lb class/27,215 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

F135-PW-600 engine for F-35B Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL)
F135-PW-600 engine for F-35B Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL)

Propulsion (uninstalled thrust ratings):                F135-PW-600

Maximum Power (with afterburner):                     41,000 lbs/182,4 kN/ 18,597 kgf

Military Power (without afterburner):                  27,000 lbs/120,1 kN/ 12,247 kgf

Short Take Off Thrust:                             40,740 lbs/181,2 kN/18,479 kgf

Hover Thrust:                                                40,650 lbs/180,8 kN/18,438 kgf

Main Engine:                                                  18,680 lbs/83,1 kN/8,473 kgf

Lift Fan:                                                             18,680 lbs/83,1 kN/8,473 kgf

Roll Post:                                                           3,290 lbs/14,6 kN/1,492 kgf

Length:                                                               369 in/9.37 m

Main Engine Inlet Diameter:                 43 in/1.09 m

Main Engine Maximum Diameter:     46 in/1.17 m

Lift Fan Inlet Diameter:                            51 in/1,30 m

Lift Fan Maximum Diameter:                53 in/1,34 m

Conventional Bypass Ratio:                   0.57

Powered Lift Bypass Ratio:                    0.51

Conventional Overall Pressure Ratio:         28

Powered Lift Overall Pressure Ratio:           29

An F-35B test jet takes off from the USS Wasp on Aug. 21, 2013. The takeoff was part of Developmental Test Phase Two for the F-35 short takeoff/vertical landing variant
An F-35B test jet takes off from the USS Wasp on Aug. 21, 2013. The takeoff was part of Developmental Test Phase Two for the F-35 short takeoff/vertical landing variant

Speed (full internal weapons load):                Mach 1.6 (~1,200 mph/ 1931 km/h)

Combat radius (internal fuel):                           >450 NM/833 km

Range (internal fuel):                                              >900 NM/1667 km

Max g-rating:                                                               7.0

 

Planned Quantities

U.S. Marine Corps:                                                   340;

U.K. Royal Air Force/Royal Navy:                   138;

Italy:                                                                                     30;

In total:                                                                            508

 

 

Fifth Globemaster

The Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence, announced that the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) will acquire a fifth aircraft to augment the current CC-177 Globemaster (Boeing C-17 Globemaster III) fleet.

The CC-177 Globemaster performs touch and goes at Mountain View.On 25 April 2012, at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario, 429 Squadron validated techniques, aircraft systems and training while performing the first Canadian Heavy Equipment Drop from a CC-177, Globemaster
The CC-177 Globemaster performs touch and goes at Mountain View.On 25 April 2012, at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario, 429 Squadron validated techniques, aircraft systems and training while performing the first Canadian Heavy Equipment Drop from a CC-177, Globemaster

The additional CC-177 will improve the Canadian Armed Forces’ response capability to both domestic and international emergencies and provide support to a variety of missions, including humanitarian assistance, peace support and combat. The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring the men and women of Canada’s Armed Forces have the equipment they need to carry out their missions around the world.

The additional Boeing Globemaster will ease the burden on the current fleet and extend the life expectancy of the entire fleet by about seven and a half years.

With the purchase of an additional aircraft, the RCAF is projected to have at least three CC-177 aircraft available more than 90 per cent of the time to respond to concurrent international or domestic crises. This represents an increase of approximately 25 per cent.

The current fleet of Globemaster CC-177s has been playing an integral role in ferrying supplies and troops to Kuwait to establish and resupply the Canadian camp through «Operation Impact». It has also delivered essential armaments and materiel to CF-18s deployed in Lithuania in support of NATO as part of «Operation Reassurance» and the international response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

The CC-177s have also been used domestically to provide support to «Operation Nanook» where they transported both equipment and personnel in Canada’s largest arctic sovereignty operation, and on «Operation Boxtop», where they provide a critical lifeline and resupplies on a semi-annual basis Canadian Forces Station Alert.

The C-177 Globmaster III carrying re-supplies lands at Canadian Forces Station (CFS) Alert in support of Operation Boxtop
The C-177 Globmaster III carrying re-supplies lands at Canadian Forces Station (CFS) Alert in support of Operation Boxtop

Canada’s defence sector will continue to benefit from the purchase of the fifth Globemaster C-17 through the Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy. Boeing’s value proposition includes strong commitments in areas such as supplier development and research and technological development to improve the competitiveness of Canada’s defence sector.

Using existing defence budgets, the acquisition project cost is estimated at $415 million, in addition to 12 years of integrated in-service support valued at $30 million.

«Our Government has made the rebuilding of Canada’s defence capability a cornerstone of our policy agenda at a time when the world remains volatile and unpredictable. Having a fifth Globemaster C-17 will significantly augment the flexibility of the Canadian Armed Forces’ strategic airlift, allowing our men and women in uniform to respond quickly when and where necessary», said Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence.

«The CC-177 fleet has proven to be an extremely effective fleet, one which enables large numbers of simultaneous operations even on short notice. Canada’s addition of a fifth aircraft increases the Royal Canadian Air Force’s flexibility and availability to respond to international or domestic crises», added General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff.

 

Air – Cargo – C-17 Globemaster III

 

MQ-8C takes first flight

Northrop Grumman reported that the U.S. Navy successfully flew the MQ-8C Fire Scout system for the first time off the guided-missile destroyer, USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), Norfolk, VA, Dec. 16, off the Virginia coast.

After more than a year of land-based testing at Point Mugu, California, the MQ-8C Fire Scout grew its sea legs, making 22 takeoffs and 22 precision landings while being controlled from the ship’s ground control station.

 A Northrop Grumman MQ-8C has completed five days of dynamic interface tests on USS Jason Dunham. (Northrop Grumman)
A Northrop Grumman MQ-8C has completed five days of dynamic interface tests on USS Jason Dunham. (Northrop Grumman)

“The MQ-8C Fire Scout’s flights from the USS Dunham represent a significant Navy milestone. This is the first sea-based flight of the MQ-8C and the first time an unmanned helicopter has operated from a destroyer,” said Capt. Jeff Dodge, Fire Scout program manager at Naval Air Systems Command. “The extended capabilities will offer the Navy a dynamic, multipurpose unmanned helicopter with increased endurance, allowing for our ship commanders and pilots to have a longer on station presence.”

“These dynamic interface tests are an essential part in clearing the operational envelope of the system and are proving the system’s ability to operate off any air-capable ship,” said George Vardoulakis, vice president for medium range tactical systems, Northrop Grumman Aerospace System. “We are on track to validate all of the critical performance parameters of this Navy asset and ready the system for deployment and operational use.”

 

 

Air – Unmanned Systems – MQ-8C Fire Scout

 

Operate Forward

The U.S. Navy has awarded General Dynamics NASSCO a $498 million contract for the detail design and construction of the Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB). Under this option, NASSCO will provide the detail design and construction efforts to build the second AFSB of the Mobile Landing Platform-class ships. The work will be performed at NASSCO’s San Diego shipyard and is scheduled to be completed by March 2018.

SAN DIEGO (Nov. 6, 2014) The mobile landing platform Lewis B. Puller (T-MLP-3/T-AFSB-1) successfully completed launch and float-off at the General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. (NASSCO) shipyard.
SAN DIEGO (Nov. 6, 2014) The mobile landing platform Lewis B. Puller (T-MLP-3/T-AFSB-1) successfully completed launch and float-off at the General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. (NASSCO) shipyard.

The MLP AFSB – based on the hull of an Alaska-class crude oil tanker – is a flexible platform and a key element in the Navy’s large-scale airborne mine countermeasures mission. With accommodations for 250 personnel and a large helicopter flight deck (capable of fielding MH-53E Sea Dragon MCM helos), the MLP AFSB will provide a highly capable, innovative and affordable asset to the Navy and Marine Corps.

According to Sam LaGrone, USNI Online Editor at the U.S. Naval Institute, the contract modification that funds the construction follows the first AFSB – USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP-3/AFSB-1) – that was launched at the San Diego yard on November 6, 2014. Lewis B. Puller is slated to become operational in 2015 and will likely replace the current AFSB stand in – USS Ponce (AFSB-(I)-15). The second new AFSB will most likely based in the Pacific.

Jonathan William "Jon" Greenert is a United States Navy Admiral currently serving as the 30th Chief of Naval Operations.
Jonathan William “Jon” Greenert is a United States Navy Admiral currently serving as the 30th Chief of Naval Operations

Jonathan W. Greenert, Admiral, U.S. Navy said, «The need to clear mines and support special operations forces will not end anytime soon. Moreover, because she is over 40 years old, USS Ponce (AFSB-(I)-15) will be an interim solution that will need to be replaced in the near term. To provide an AFSB for the long term, we converted one Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) and build another from the keel up that adds a flight deck, berthing, fuel storage, equipment storage, and repair spaces. Like Ponce, the new AFSBs will have a rotating crew of civilian mariners and military personnel so they can operate forward almost continuously».

«Thus, AFSBs can support patrol craft, auxiliary boats, helicopters, and special operations forces, providing a base of operations for everything from counter-piracy/smuggling, maritime security, and mine clearing to humanitarian aid and disaster relief. Although a port provides the potential for greater logistical capacity, they may not be readily available when or where they are needed most. AFSBs can operate globally in international waters, providing what may be the only way to support an important mission», added Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert.

The Chief of Naval Operations concluded by saying, «MLP/AFSBs are not a new idea, but with rotating crews and increased capacity, the MLP will dramatically improve our capability where it matters most – forward. They are a key element of my tenet to «Operate Forward», and are essential to effectively support our partners and allies in the Arabian Gulf and elsewhere».

An artist’s conception of the Afloat Forward Staging Base
An artist’s conception of the Afloat Forward Staging Base

 

General Characteristics, Montford Point Class

 

Builder:                                    NASSCO

Propulsion:                            Commercial Diesel Electric Propulsion

Length:                                     239.3 meters (785 feet)

Beam:                                        50 Meters (164 feet)

Displacement:                      78,000 tons (fully loaded)

Draft:                                         9 meters (fully loaded); 12 meters (load line)

Speed:                                       15 knots/17 mph/28 km/h

Range:                                       9500 nautical miles/17594 km

Crew:                                         34 Military Sealift Command personnel

Accommodations:              250 personnel

 

Ships:

USNS Montford Point (MLP 1)

USNS John Glenn (MLP 2)

USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP 3/AFSB-1) – Launched November 2014

USNS (MLP 4/AFSB-2) – Under construction

 

Future is here

The first Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II jet arrived at USAF’s Luke Air Force Base. The jet’s arrival marks the first international partner F-35 to arrive for training at Luke.

Australia's first F-35, Fort Worth, Texas.  Pilot Al Norman
Australia’s first F-35, Fort Worth, Texas. Pilot Al Norman

«The Royal Australian Air Force is delighted to be the first foreign partner nation with F-35A aircraft arriving at Luke Air Force Base», Air Commodore Gary Martin, air attaché said. «This is an important milestone for Australia and we are looking forward to the commencement of our fifth-generation pilot training here at Luke in 2015».

Luke will be the central training hub for international F-35A Lightning II training. In the near future, international and U.S. students will be teamed together learning how to effectively employ the fifth-generation strike fighter.

Welcoming the aircraft, Brigadier General Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing Commander said, «Today, we take another tremendous step forward in our transition to the F-35A here at Luke. Australia is the first of 10 nations that will not only become part of the Luke community, but will share in calling the West Valley a home away from home».

«Welcoming our first Australian F-35A is a special day for Luke and the community that has been so supportive of us», Brigadier Pleus said. «Luke’s mission has been to train the world’s greatest fighter pilots. We will continue on that legacy as we train the world’s best F-35 pilots».

«The collaborative training we’ll be doing here on aircraft designed with stealth, maneuverability and integrated avionics will better prepare our combined forces to assume multi-role missions for the future of strike aviation», Pleus said. «From the bed-down of the F-35 and its infrastructure to the execution of training, our partner-nations have been an important piece of Luke’s F-35A team. The relationships we’re building now will be invaluable when we deploy together around the world protecting our respective countries».

Lockheed Martin Fort Worth Texas Photo by Alex Groves
Lockheed Martin Fort Worth Texas Photo by Alex Groves

Australia’s training will be conducted in conjunction with the 61st Fighter Squadron. Other partner-nations that will be joining the U.S. and Australia in the F-35A training program here will be Turkey, Italy, Norway, and the Netherlands, in addition to Foreign Military Sales countries Japan, Korea and Israel.

According to Defense-aerospace.com, the teamwork on the F-35A is not the first time Luke Air Force Base has worked with international partners on an airframe. Luke’s Airmen currently train on base alongside pilots and maintainers from Singapore and Taiwan on the F-16.

Virtually undetectable to an enemy that cannot hide, the Conventional TakeOff and Landing (CTOL) F-35A gives the Royal Australian Air Force the power to dominate the skies – anytime, anywhere. It’s an agile, versatile, high-performance 9g multirole fighter that provides unmatched capability and unprecedented situational awareness.

The F-35A’s advanced sensor package gathers and distributes more information than any fighter in history, giving operators a decisive advantage over all adversaries. Its tremendous processing power, open architecture, sophisticated sensors, information fusion and flexible communication links make the F-35A Lightning II an indispensable tool in future homeland defense, joint and coalition irregular warfare, and major combat operations.

The F-35A brings unparalleled performance to any theater in any conflict against any threat.

AU-1 First Flight, Fort Worth, Texas.
AU-1 First Flight, Fort Worth, Texas.

 

F-35A SPECIFICATIONS

Length:                                                                          51.4 ft/15.7 m

Height:                                                                          14.4 ft/4.38 m

Wingspan:                                                                   35 ft/10.7 m

Wing area:                                                                   460 ft2/42.7 m2

Horizontal tail span:                                              22.5 ft/6.86 m

Weight empty:                                                          29,300 lb/13,290 kg

Internal fuel capacity:                                           18,250 lb/8,278 kg

Weapons payload:                                                  18,000 lb/8,160 kg

Maximum weight:                                                   70,000 lb class/31,751 kg

Standard internal weapons load:                   25 mm GAU-22/A cannon

Two AIM-120C air-to-air missiles

Two 2,000-pound (907 kg) GBU-31 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) guided bombs

F135-PW-100 engine for F-35A Conventional TakeOff and Landing (CTOL)
F135-PW-100 engine for F-35A Conventional TakeOff and Landing (CTOL)

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

Length:                                                                            220 in/5.59 m

Inlet Diameter:                                                           46 in/1.17 m

Maximum Diameter:                                               51 in/1.30 m

Bypass Ratio:                                                               0.57

Overall Pressure Ratio:                                         28

Royal Australian Air Force Logo
Royal Australian Air Force Logo

Speed (full internal weapons load):               Mach 1.6 (~1,200 mph/ 1931 km/h)

Combat radius (internal fuel):                          >590 NM/1,093 km

Range (internal fuel):                                             >1,200 NM/2,200 km

Max g-rating:                                                              9.0

 

Planned Quantities

U.S. Air Force:                                              1,763;

Italy:                                                                         60;

Netherlands:                                                       37;

Turkey:                                                                100;

Australia:                                                            100;

Norway:                                                                 52;

Denmark:                                                              30;

Canada:                                                                  65;

Israel:                                                                      33;

South Korea:                                                      40;

Japan:                                                                     42;

In total:                                                           2,322

 

 

F-35A Lightning II CTOL (Conventional Take-off and Landing)
(http://usairforc.blogspot.ru/2014/11/f-35a-lightning-ii.html)

Upgrading the Spearfish

The UK’s Ministry of Defence has awarded BAE Systems a £270 million ($424 million) contract to upgrade the Spearfish Heavyweight Torpedo for the Royal Navy’s submarines. Following the completion of the design phase, existing torpedoes will be upgraded by BAE Systems at its Broad Oak facility in Portsmouth to the new design with initial deliveries in 2020 continuing until 2024, said BAE Systems’ representatives. Key subcontractors for the Spearfish Upgrade programme include MBDA TDW (responsible for an Insensitive Munitions warhead), Atlas Elektronik UK (fibre-optic guidance link and signal processing in the digital homing head), GE Intelligent Platforms (processing boards), and Altran (safety electronic unit).

Spearfish Heavyweight Torpedo Mod 1
Spearfish Heavyweight Torpedo Mod 1

The upgrade, known as Spearfish Mod 1 extends the life of the torpedo, improves safety through the introduction of an Insensitive Munitions warhead and by utilizing a single fuel propulsion system that will offer cost and safety benefits over the current dual-fuel (using Otto fuel II and HAP, Hydroxyl Ammonium Perchlorate) system and provides more capable data links between the weapon system and the launching vessel (replacement of the current copper/cadmium wire guidance link with a fibre-optic system). This results in capability improvements for the Royal Navy as well as significant reduction in through-life operating costs.

The anti-submarine and anti-surface Spearfish Mod 0 torpedoes are currently deployed the BAE Systems designed and built Trafalgar and Vanguard submarines, as well as the Astute Class submarines. Spearfish can be used in defensive and offensive situations and its advanced design delivers maximum warhead effectiveness at high speed with outstanding maneuverability, low radiated noise, advanced homing and sophisticated tactical intelligence.

The torpedo can operate autonomously from the time of launch and is capable of variable speeds across the entire performance envelope. Its high power density bespoke engine allows it to attain exceptional sprint speed in the terminal stage of an attack. The result is an underwater weapon that provides decisive advantage against the full range of submarine and surface threats in all operational environments. Extensive in-water testing will demonstrate consistently high performance and outstanding reliability.

Spearfish Heavyweight Torpedo Tail
Spearfish Heavyweight Torpedo Tail

John Hudson, Managing Director for BAE Systems’ UK Maritime Sector, said: «Upgrading the Spearfish Heavyweight Torpedo Mod 0 will provide sophisticated advances for the Royal Navy with increased operational advantage in the underwater domain». He continued: «As well as sustaining and creating jobs in the Solent region, the contract allows the opportunity to work on one of the most exciting development programmes in the country, underpinning BAE Systems’ position at the forefront of underwater systems development over the last 40 years».

The contract also ensures the sustainment of the UK’s torpedo manufacturing capability at BAE Systems’ Broad Oak facility in Portsmouth through to the mid-2020s, and underpins plans to maintain Spearfish in Royal Navy service beyond 2050.

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS

Length:                                              5 m

Weight:                                             <2.000 tonnes

Speed:                                                70 mph/61 Knots/113 km/h

Materials:                                        Aluminium and Titanium