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August 17, 2020 | International, Aerospace, C4ISR

US Army seeks new airborne tech to detect, defeat radar systems

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army is seeking industry input on new technology allowing aircraft to survive and defeat systems in sophisticated adversarial environments made up of sensitive radars and integrated air defense systems.

A notice posted online Aug. 12 from the Army Combat Capabilities Development Command's Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center is asking industry for ideas ahead of an industry day in September that will provide additional information regarding the technical specifications. The service will also answer questions in depth at the event.

“The future multi-domain operational environment will present a highly lethal and complex set of traditional and non-traditional targets. These targets will include networked and mobile air defense systems with extended ranges, and long and mid-range fires systems that will deny freedom of maneuver,” the notices stated.

To maintain an advantage, the notice stated, the Army aviation community must modernize its reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition and lethality with an advanced team of manned and unmanned aircraft as part of its Future Vertical Lift modernization effort, which calls for a future attack reconnaissance aircraft.

The desired end state of this interconnected ecosystem will enable the penetration, disintegration and exploitation of an adversary's anti-access/area denial environment comprised of an integrated air defense system as well as surveillance and targeting systems, command-and-control capabilities, and communications technology. It will do this through a series of air-launched effects, which are a family of large and small unmanned or launched systems capable of detecting, identifying, locating and reporting threats while also delivering nonlethal effects.

Some of the sensors described include those that can passively detect and locate threats within the radio frequency/electro-optical/infrared spectrums, active detection, electronic or GPS-based decoys, and sensors able to disrupt the detection of friendly systems through cyberspace or the electromagnetic spectrum.

The notice lists five technology areas of interest:

  1. Hardware for the mission payloads.
  2. Hardware, software or techniques for distributed collaborative teaming capabilities to include processing technologies, cyber protection and data links to enable command and control of air-launched effects.
  3. Software or algorithms that can fuse, process, decide and act on sensor data allowing air-launched effects to autonomously react and adapt to countermeasures.
  4. Multimode/multifunction technologies consisting of payloads for synthetic aperture/moving target indicator radar or combined electronic warfare, radar and communication functions that share common apertures.
  5. Modular open-systems architecture.

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    October 12, 2018 | International, Aerospace

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    By: Tara Copp and Shawn Snow The Pentagon announced Thursday it is grounding its entire fleet of F-35s, just days after the first crash of an F-35B led investigators to suspect there is a widespread problem with the advanced fighter's fuel tubes. “The U.S. Services and international partners have temporarily suspended F-35 flight operations while the enterprise conducts a fleet-wide inspection of a fuel tube within the engine on all F-35 aircraft,” the F-35 Joint Program Office announced in a statement Thursday morning. “If suspect fuel tubes are installed, the part will be removed and replaced. If known good fuel tubes are already installed, then those aircraft will be returned to flight status. Inspections are expected to be completed within the next 24 to 48 hours.” The office said the grounding “is driven from initial data from the ongoing investigation of the F-35B that crashed in the vicinity of Beaufort, South Carolina on 28 September. The aircraft mishap board is continuing its work and the U.S. Marine Corps will provide additional information when it becomes available.” In the Sept. 28 crash in South Carolina near the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, the pilot safely ejected from the aircraft, which belonged to 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, known as the “Warlords.” While the F-35′s U.S-based Joint Program Office had indicated that the grounding included aircraft purchased by foreign militaries, the British military signaled Monday that its entire fleet is not grounded. The F-35 Joint Program Office has said safety is a top priority. “The primary goal following any mishap is the prevention of future incidents. We will take every measure to ensure safe operations while we deliver, sustain and modernize the F-35 for the warfighter and our defense partners.” The U.S. grounding comes after the Pentagon announced that a Marine Corps F-35B conducted the platform's first-ever combat mission on Sept. 27. The Marine Corps' aircraft launched from the amphibious warship Essex, striking targets in Afghanistan. In April, a Marine Corps F-35B out the Marine Corps air station at Cherry Point, North Carolina, was forced to make an emergency landing when the aircraft fuel light came on. The grounding news also comes two days after Defense News reported that Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has ordered the military services to get readiness rates on four planes, including the F-35, up above 80 percent by next September. According to data for fiscal year 2017, the most recent available, the Air Force's F-35A models had around a 55 percent readiness rate, well below that target. Although the Marine Corps is the first U.S. service to fly its joint strike fighters in combat, the aircraft has been used by the Israeli air force to strike targets. In May, Israel Defense Forces officials confirmed that the country's F-35 “Adir” fighters had seen combat in two airstrikes somewhere in the Middle East. The Marine Corps declared the F-35B operational in 2015, becoming the first service to integrate the joint strike fighter into its fleet. The Air Force followed by declaring initial operational capability for the F-35A conventional variant in 2016, while the Navy plans to declare initial operational capability for the F-35C carrier variant in February 2019. The F-35 joint strike fighter is the most expensive program in the Pentagon's history. Currently, the U.S. military has purchased 245 aircraft from Lockheed Martin. The Air Force has 156, the Marine Corps has 61 and the Navy has 28, according to data provided by the joint program office. 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