Pegasus on the rise

The Boeing KC-46 Pegasus development program completed its first flight of Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) aircraft №1 on December 28. Boeing EMD №1 is a provisioned 767-2C freighter and the critical building block for the KC-46 missionized aerial refueler. The maiden flight took off at 9:29 AM PST from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, and landed at 1:01 PM PST at Boeing Field in Seattle.

The maiden flight took off at 9:29 AM PST from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, and landed at 1:01 PM PST at Boeing Field in Seattle
The maiden flight took off at 9:29 AM PST from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, and landed at 1:01 PM PST at Boeing Field in Seattle

«Getting in the air is a critical step in the development of this important capability for the warfighter», said Brig. Gen. Duke Z. Richardson, the program executive officer for tankers at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. «The team at Boeing has done a remarkable job creating an entirely new aircraft that will soon become the backbone of our ability to project power anywhere in the world».

The 767-2C freighter is the initial step toward producing a KC-46. The aircraft will undergo additional finishing work s at the Boeing facility such as installing the refueling boom and other military specific equipment. The first flight of a Boeing KC-46 Pegasus (EMD №2) is expected in the spring of 2015.

«Today’s flight is a key step in the next generation of tankers», said Col. Christopher Coombs, the KC-46 system program manager. «We know flight testing will lead to some discovery; today’s flight kick-starts that work. There is an aggressive schedule going forward into the Milestone C decision point for approval to start Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP), but we remain cautiously optimistic we can meet the mark».

The Air Force contracted with Boeing in February 2011 to acquire 179 Boeing KC-46 refueling tankers to begin recapitalizing the aging tanker fleet. This flight is an early but important step toward meeting the required assets available date – a milestone requiring 18 KC-46 aircraft and all necessary support equipment to be on the ramp, ready to support warfighter needs, by the August 2017 timeframe.

 

Mission

The Boeing KC-46A Pegasus is intended to replace the U.S. Air Force’s aging fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers, which has been the primary refueling aircraft for more than 50 years. With more refueling capacity and enhanced capabilities, improved efficiency and increased capabilities for cargo and aeromedical evacuation, the KC-46A will provide aerial refueling support to the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps as well as allied nation coalition force aircraft.

The KC-46A is intended to replace the United States Air Force's aging fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers and provides vital air refueling capability for the United States Air Force
The KC-46A is intended to replace the United States Air Force’s aging fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers and provides vital air refueling capability for the United States Air Force

 

Features

The KC-46A will be able to refuel any fixed-wing receiver capable aircraft on any mission. This aircraft is equipped with a modernized KC-10 refueling boom integrated with proven fly-by-wire control system and delivering a fuel offload rate required for large aircraft. In addition, the hose and drogue system adds additional mission capability that is independently operable from the refueling boom system.

Two high-bypass turbofans, mounted under 34-degree swept wings, power the KC-46A to takeoff at gross weights up to 415,000 pounds/188,240 kg. Nearly all internal fuel can be pumped through the boom, drogue and wing aerial refueling pods. The centerline drogue and wing aerial refueling pods are used to refuel aircraft fitted with probes. All aircraft will be configured for the installation of a multipoint refueling system.

MPRS (Multi-Point Refueling System) configured aircraft will be capable of refueling two receiver aircraft simultaneously from special «pods» mounted under the wing. One crewmember known as the boom operator controls the boom, centerline drogue, and wing refueling «pods» during refueling operations. This new tanker utilizes an advanced KC-10 boom, a center mounted drogue and wing aerial refueling «pods» allowing it to refuel multiple types of receiver aircraft as well as foreign national aircraft on the same mission.

A cargo deck above the refueling system can accommodate a mix load of passengers, patients and cargo. The KC-46A can carry up to 18 463L cargo pallets. Seat tracks and the onboard cargo handling system make it possible to simultaneously carry palletized cargo, seats, and patient support pallets in a variety of combinations. The new tanker aircraft offers significantly increased cargo and aeromedical evacuation capabilities.

The aircrew compartment includes 15 permanent seats for aircrew, which includes permanent seating for the aerial refueling operator and an aerial refueling instructor. Panoramic displays giving the ARO (Aerial Refueling Operator) wing-tip to wing-tip situational awareness.

 

Background

The Boeing Company was awarded a contract for the EMD phase of the KC-46 program on February 24, 2011. The first flight of a Boeing KC-46 Pegasus (EMD №2) is expected in the spring of 2015. The current contract, with options, provides the Air Mobility Command an inventory of 179 KC-46 tankers.

Boeing KC-46 Pegasus
Boeing KC-46 Pegasus

 

General Characteristics

Primary Function:                        Aerial refueling and airlift

Prime Contractor:                        The Boeing Company

Power Plant:                                    2 Pratt & Whitney 4062

Thrust:                                                 62,000 lbs/275.790 kN/28,123 kgf – Thrust per High-Bypass engine (sea-level standard day)

Wingspan:                                         157 feet, 8 inches (48.1 meters)

Length:                                                165 feet, 6 inches (50.5 meters)

Height:                                                52 feet, 10 inches (15.9 meters)

Maximum Takeoff Weight:    415,000 pounds (188,240 kilograms)

Maximum Landing Weight:    310,000 pounds (140,614 kilograms)

Fuel Capacity:                                 212,299 pounds (96,297 kilograms)

Maximum Transfer Fuel Load: 207,672 pounds (94,198 kilograms)

Maximum Cargo Capacity:     65,000 pounds (29,484 kilograms)

Maximum Airspeed:                   360 KCAS (knots calibrated airspeed)/ 0.86 M/414 mph/667 km/h

Service Ceiling:                              43,100 ft/13,137 m

Maximum Distance:                    8400 miles/13,518 km

Pallet Positions:                             18 pallet positions

Air Crew:                                            15 permanent seats for aircrew, including aeromedical evacuation aircrew

Passengers:                                       58 total (normal operations); up to 114 total (contingency operations)

Aeromedical Evacuation:         58 patients (24 litters/34 ambulatory) with the AE Patient Support Pallet configuration; 6 integral litters carried as part of normal aircraft configuration equipment

The KC-46A will be able to refuel any fixed-wing receiver capable aircraft on any mission
The KC-46A will be able to refuel any fixed-wing receiver capable aircraft on any mission 

 

Black Panther

According to Jon Grevatt, IHS Jane’s Defence Industry correspondent, South Korean company Hyundai Rotem signed on 29 December a contract to supply an unspecified number of K2 (Black Panther) Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) to the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA).

Main Battle Tank of the Republic of Korea Army
Main Battle Tank of the Republic of Korea Army

The company said that the contract – signed with the government’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration – is worth $820 million and features the supply of a first batch of K2 MBTs fitted with indigenously produced engines and transmission systems.

Hyundai Rotem did not reveal the number of tanks covered by the new contract, although IHS Jane’s understands it features the supply of 100 K2 units. Already in production, these tanks are scheduled to be delivered to the RoKA between the latter half of 2015 and December 2017.

The K2 MBT (Black Panther) is a tank based around a brand-new concept with combat efficiency maximized through digital-based ergonomic designs suited for the 21st century technical combat environment. It features dramatically strengthened firepower due to an extended turret gun and new shells. In addition, it features high mobility and maneuverability through a small powerpack and its advanced suspension and navigation system.

The survivability of the K2 MBT has been reinforced with armored plates made of new material and an active protection system, while its 3D battlefield control capability has been enhanced with the Vetronics system and the combat command and control system. Furthermore, the K2 MBT incorporates advanced intellectualization of its various control systems, most notably including its newest fire control system.

Main gun: 120 mm (55 Caliber)
Main gun: 120 mm (55 Caliber)

 

Specifications

Year of Development:                                      2014

Crew:                                                                         3

Weight:                                                                     55 tonnes

Mobility

Engine:                                                             1,500 hp/1119 kW, Diesel

Underwater fording:                               4.1 m

Attitude Control:                                      Roll/Pitch/Height

Navigation:                                                   GPS/INS

BMS connected with the C4I

Firepower

Main gun:                                                      120 mm (55 Caliber)

Ammo Loading:                                          Automatic

Fire control:                                               Auto Target Detection & Tracking

K2 MBT (Black Panther)
K2 MBT (Black Panther)

The first line of defence

Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace and the Polish Ministry of National Defence have signed a contract worth $173.5 million for a second battalion-sized Nadbrzezny Dywizjon Rakietowy (NDR) unit of the Naval Strike Missile (NSM) Coastal Defence System, reported Doug Richardson, IHS Jane’s Missiles & Rockets correspondent.

A standard NASAMS unit has a modular design comprising a command post FDC, an active 3D radar AN/MPQ64F1 Sentinel, a passive electro-optic and infra-red sensor and a number of missile canister launchers with AMRAAM missiles
A standard NASAMS unit has a modular design comprising a command post FDC, an active 3D radar AN/MPQ64F1 Sentinel, a passive electro-optic and infra-red sensor and a number of missile canister launchers with AMRAAM missiles

NSM was originally developed as a shipboard system for the Royal Norwegian Navy (RNN), and entered service on Norway’s new Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates and Skjold-class corvettes in 2012. An earlier contract signed by Poland in 2008 covered the 6 launchers and 12 missiles needed to arm the first NDR, and deliveries started in mid-2013. This order made Poland the first export customer for the shore-based version. An additional 38 missiles and associated logistics equipment were ordered in December 2008.

A second NDR had always been planned, but in April 2014, Poland decided to speed its procurement as part of the country’s reaction to the current crisis in Ukraine.

The coast-defence variant uses command and weapon control system similar to that of the Kongsberg/Raytheon Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS), while its radar system and communications system are provided by Polish subcontractors, as are the trucks used to carry the missile launchers.

The new contract will also cover the setting-up of a capability to maintain the NSM system in Poland. This will involve the Polish company Wojskowe Zaklady Elektroniczne (WZE). Kongsberg also plans to expand its co-operation with Polish industry to cover what Kongsberg president Harald Ånnestad described as «a broader technological arena».

 

Characteristics:

  • Open architecture provides growth potential;
  • Single and multiple engagement capability;
  • Unprecedented fire capability;
  • Beyond visual range capability with active seeker missile;
  • Strategic and high mobility;
  • Low manpower requirements;
  • Network Centric Warfare principles of operation;
  • High survivability against electronic countermeasures;
  • Look down/shoot down capability;
  • High value asset defense, area and army defense, vital point and air base defense.
The radar and launcher elements can be deployed over a large area separated by up to 25 kilometres, providing an extended coverage with few elements
The radar and launcher elements can be deployed over a large area separated by up to 25 kilometres, providing an extended coverage with few elements

 

Integration of sensors and effectors

The proven, fielded, reliable and highly capable NASAMS system contains a BMC4I (Battle Management, Command, Control, Computers, Communications, and Intelligence) Air Defense capability through the integration of sensors and launchers. It employs the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AIM-120) as the primary weapon. Targets are detected and tracked by a high-resolution, 3D pencil beam radar. Multiple of these radars and the associated Fire Distribution Centres (FDCs) are netted together via radio data links, creating a real-time recognized air picture.

NASAMS can fire on target data provided by external sensors. Advanced emission control features of the radars minimize the risk of revealing the NASAMS unit’s own position. The FDC automatically performs track correlation, identification, jam strobe triangulation, threat evaluation and weapon assignment. The AMRAAM missiles used within NASAMS are identical to those used on fighter aircraft, yielding considerable rationalization returns for the user.

 

NASAMS in operation

The Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF) was the first customer to introduce the NASAMS program. Because of their success during NATO live flying exercises, NASAMS batteries are taken extremely serious by NATO aircrew. From 2004, NASAMS is earmarked by the Norwegian armed forces to be deployed in support of international crisis management operations. NASAMS is under continuous development and every new program is adapted to the latest available technology. Currently, NASAMS is in use in 6 different nations.

NASAMS uses the Raytheon AMRAAM missile, identical to the AMRAAMs used on fighter aircraft
NASAMS uses the Raytheon AMRAAM missile, identical to the AMRAAMs used on fighter aircraft

 

NASAMS features

Status of NASAMS:                            In production and in operational use

NASAMS Tests & tactical firings:             162 (90,5 % success)

AMRAAM Dual use (identical missile): Fighter Aircraft and NASAMS

AMRAAM combat kills:                                  >9

Target sets:                                                            Aircraft, UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), helicopters, cruise missiles, UCAVs (Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles)

NASAMS Architecture:                                  Open SW & HW architecture, COTS (Commercial Off-The-Shelf software), Network Centric

Simultaneous multiple engagements: 72

Engagement modes:                                      Active and/or Passive

Mission of Reference:                                   >70,000 hours in the U.S.(continuous operations (24/7), ongoing)

Transportability:                        Air (C-130 and helicopter), Sea and Land

Data links (implemented and in use):  Link 16, JRE, Link 11, Link 11B, LLAPI, ATDL-1 (Army Tactical Data Link – 1)

Mission Planning Tool:                              Embedded and stand-alone (PC)

NASAMS User nations:                                 6

Air Defence C2 (FDC) User nations:   10

AMRAAM User nations:                             35

 

Aircraft carrier killer

It is said in The Want China Times that The Taiwan Navy formally took delivery of its first locally designed stealth missile corvette, a vessel expected to enhance Taiwan’s anti-ship capabilities. Taiwan defense minister Yen Ming presided over the ceremony in a commercial harbor in Suao, during which the 500-ton corvette – the Tuo Jiang («Tuo River») – was officially handed over from Lung Teh Shipbuilding to the Navy.

Taiwan navy sailors and officers wave as Taiwan made patrol guard Corvette “Tuo Jiang” sets sail during the handover ceremony at Suao port in Yilan county, northeast of Taiwan, Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
Taiwan navy sailors and officers wave as Taiwan made patrol guard Corvette “Tuo Jiang” sets sail during the handover ceremony at Suao port in Yilan county, northeast of Taiwan, Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

The Navy will now begin training personnel to familiarize them with the craft. The vessel, which costs about $66.4 million, is expected to be put into service in March 2015, an unnamed Naval official said. The delivery of the stealth missile corvette comes as part of the Navy’s efforts to replace its aging fleet.

The twin-hull Hsun-hai class corvette will be equipped with several weapons, including the locally developed Hsiung Feng II and Hsiung Feng III anti-ship missiles, a 76-mm gun and Mark-46 torpedoes, the Navy said.

The first-ever captain of the Tuo Jiang will be Lt Cmdr Wang Te-jean, who was formerly the captain of a Chinchiang-class corvette. «I was excited but also nervous when I was told that I would be the captain of the Tuo Jiang», Wang said. Asked by the media about the features of the corvette, he lauded its mobility and high-performance. It also has strong combat capabilities because of the weapons on board, he added. «The ship has good mobility and it can carry as many as eight Hsiung Feng III supersonic missiles, which can be used to attack aircraft carriers», he said. With a range of about 150 kilometers, the supersonic Hsiung Feng III is described as an «aircraft carrier killer».

The Tuo Jiang has a range of 2,000 nautical miles (3,704km), measures 60.4 meters in length and 14 meters in width, and can carry a crew of up to 41 people
The Tuo Jiang has a range of 2,000 nautical miles (3,704km), measures 60.4 meters in length and 14 meters in width, and can carry a crew of up to 41 people

According to its original design, the corvette has a maximum speed of 38 knots (43.7 mph/70 km/h), but has reached 44 knots (50.6 mph/81 km/h) during recent sea trials, Wang said. Another characteristic of the corvette is that the captain can control the vessel via remote control and does not have to stay at the navigation bridge to control the direction of the ship, he said.

Commissioned by the Navy, Lung Teh Shipbuilding began construction of the Tuo Jiang in late 2012, and it was christened in March 2014. It has a range of 2,000 nautical miles (3,704km), measures 60.4 meters in length and 14 meters in width, and can carry a crew of up to 41 people.

The Navy plans to commission between 8 and 12 of the corvettes if sufficient funding can be obtained in the future.

 

Proven, Reliable, Durable

Over the last 30 years, Beretta USA Corporation has delivered over 600,000 M9 pistols (the sidearm of the U.S. Armed Forces) to the Department of Defense (DoD), all of which have been made in the U.S.A. by an American Workforce. On 10 December 2014 Beretta USA submitted to the U.S. Army the new pistol M9 ECP (Engineering Change Proposal) that identifies major improvements to the M9 to increase the operational effectiveness and operational suitability of the weapon. These improvements consist of design and material changes resulting in increased modularity, reliability, durability, and ergonomics.

Beretta M9A3
Beretta M9A3

Beretta USA has also identified a solution to upgrade the existing M9 to an M9A2, nearly replicating the M9A3. The M9A3 features a thin grip with a removable, modular wrap-around grip, MIL-STD-1913 accessory rail, convertible safety/decocker lever to decocker-only lever, removable front and rear tritium sights, extended and threaded barrel for suppressor use, 17-round sand resistant magazine, and numerous improved small components to increase durability and ergonomics, all in an earth tone finish.

The M9A3:

  • requires no new training for users;
  • is compatible with numerous, already-in-service accessories and training systems;
  • minimally impacts the current Integrated Logistics Support Plan (ILSP) for the M9;
  • is more reliable, capable, and durable than the M9;
  • depending on quantities, will cost less than the current M9.

New, enhanced 9 mm ammunition is available on the market today. This ammunition, along with any developmental 9 mm ammunition, should be evaluated for use with the M9A3. In the U.S. Army’s own survey of M9 users, 74% offered recommendations for improvements to the pistol – improvements that are available on the M9A3 today. Small arms program representatives of the U.S. Army have identified and verbalized several concerns regarding ergonomics and performance aspects of the M9; Beretta USA has listened and delivered the M9A3.

The improvements include design and material enhancements resulting in increased modularity, reliability, durability, and ergonomics
The improvements include design and material enhancements resulting in increased modularity, reliability, durability, and ergonomics

 

Specifications

Caliber:                               9 mm Luger (9×19 mm Parabellum)

System of operation:  Short recoil, semiautomic, double/single action

Magazine capacity:     17 rounds standard. Optional 15, 20 and 30 round magazines available

Magazine:                          Sand-resistant magazine with PVD coating

Front sight:                       Blade, dovetailed to slide, tritium dot

Rear sight:                         Notched bar, dovetailed to slide, tritium 2-dot. Adjustable for windage

Safety features:             Decocking/safety lever, automatic firing pin block, loaded chamber indicator, external hammer, half-cock notch, double action first trigger pull (Type F configuration)

Locking system:            Tilting locking block, «3rd Gen» design for increased service life

External hammer:       Provides the energy to the firing pin, virtually eliminating the possibility of misfires due to light primer strikes, even in adverse conditions. Also provides an immediate visual and tactile indicator as to the cocked/uncocked status of the pistol

Finish:                                Flat Dark Earth. CerakoteTM, anodizing, Bruniton, black oxide, PVD. Advanced coatings provide high lubricity, corrosion resistance and excellent wear resistance. Reduced visual and IR signature. Chrome lined bore and chamber

Accessory rail:             Three slot MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rail

Barrel thread:              1/2″ X 28 standard thread on extended barrel, with thread protector

Accessories:                  Wrap-around backstrap grip unit for larger handed shooters

Grip/frame:                  «Vertec» style smaller gripped frame with straight backstrap and thin plastic grips

Additional features: «Universal» slide design to allow Armorer conversion to «G» decocker-only operation using Conversion Kit. «Over-center» safety lever to prevent inadvertent engagement of lever. Oversize beveled magazine well

Overall height:            5.4 in/13.7 cm

Overall width:             1.5 in/3.8 cm (1.3 in/3.3 cm at grips)

Overall length:            8.7 in/22 cm

Barrel length:              5.1 in/13 cm

Sight radius:                 6.3 in/16 cm

Weight unloaded:     33.3 oz/944 g

M9A3 is compatible with numerous, already-in-service accessories
M9A3 is compatible with numerous, already-in-service accessories

 

The Vietnam Era ended

BAE Systems was awarded a contract worth up to $1.2 billion from the U.S. Army for the Engineering, Manufacturing, and Development (EMD) and Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) of the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV). The program aims to provide the U.S. Army with a highly survivable and mobile fleet of vehicles that addresses a critical need to replace the Vietnam-era M113s.

Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV)
Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV)

«This award represents a significant milestone for the United States Army and BAE Systems», said Mark Signorelli, vice president and general manager of Combat Vehicles at BAE Systems. «The Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle will provide a substantial upgrade over the Army’s current personnel carrier fleet, increasing the service’s survivability, force protection, and mobility while providing for future growth potential. It also confirms BAE Systems’ role as a leading provider of combat vehicles».

The initial award is for a 52-month base term, valued at approximately $383 million, during which BAE Systems will produce 29 vehicles across each of the variants. The award also provides an option to begin the LRIP phase immediately following the current EMD phase, at which time the company would produce an additional 289 vehicles for a total contract value of $1.2 billion.

The AMPV capitalizes on proven Bradley and M109A7 designs, meeting the Army’s force protection and all-terrain mobility requirements while enabling the AMPV to maneuver with the rest of the Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT). The maximized commonality within the AMPV family of vehicles and the ABCT will reduce risk and provide significant cost savings to the Army.

BAE Systems’ AMPV capitalizes on the proven Bradley and Paladin designs
BAE Systems’ AMPV capitalizes on the proven Bradley and Paladin designs

«BAE Systems built and demonstrated prototypes for each of the five variants in order to provide the best solution for the Army», said Greg Mole, AMPV capture director at BAE Systems. «Given the maturity of our design and the commonality both within the AMPV and ABCT fleets, we feel this offers significant opportunity to accelerate the program’s schedule».

The program is essential to the future of the ABCT and will fulfill the Army’s strategy of protection, mobility, reliability, and interoperability. The AMPV, which will be integrated with the ABCT, is required to operate alongside the M1 Abrams tank and the M2 Bradley. AMPV has been identified by the Army as its top priority for the safety and survivability of our soldiers, and therefore, must meet tough protection requirements. Compromising or reducing the survivability requirements would put soldiers’ lives at risk. This is where BAE Systems’ Bradley-based AMPV solution comes in.

BAE Systems’ Bradley-based AMPV is a mature, low-risk and cost-effective solution that rapidly delivers continued combat overmatch capability for the Army. The Bradley platform delivers combat proven mobility, survivability and force protection to fight with the ABCT formation. In June 2013, during testing by the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Directorate of Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) their report identified that «the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle survivability requirement is achievable with a Bradley-like platform».

By the way, General Dynamics has argued that the Army’s request for proposals for the new armored vehicle favors BAE’s tracked Bradley Fighting Vehicle while putting General Dynamics wheeled Stryker vehicles at a disadvantage; nonetheless, the U.S. Army rejected all of General Dynamics’ protests on AMPV program.

Armored Medical Evacuation Vehicle (AMEV)
Armored Medical Evacuation Vehicle (AMEV)

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