14 juin 2018 | International, Aérospatial

Despite some opposition, US on course to deliver F-35s to Turkey on June 21

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government is proceeding with plans to deliver the first F-35 to Turkey, with the country set to accept its first jet on June 21 despite opposition from some in Congress.

A Lockheed Martin spokesman confirmed to Defense News that it's still gearing up for a rollout ceremony at its production facilities in Fort Worth next week.

“The F-35 program traditionally hosts a ceremony to recognize every U.S. and international customer's first aircraft. The rollout ceremony for Turkey's first F-35 aircraft is scheduled for June 21,” the spokesman said in a written statement to Defense News.

“The aircraft will then ferry to Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, where Turkish pilots will join the F-35A training pool.”

The Senate is set to vote this week on the annual defense policy bill, which includes language that would prohibit the U.S. government from “transfer of title” to Turkey until the time that the Defense Department submits a report to Congress on removal of Turkey from the F-35 program.

But even if that language succeeds in the Senate, the defense policy bill will proceed to conference, where a group of armed services committee members will hammer out differences between the House and Senate versions to emerge with a single, final piece of legislation. That process could take months.

Congress's opposition to allowing Turkey to purchase the F-35 hovers around two points: the country's detainment of American pastor Andrew Brunson and a deal to purchase the Russian S-400 air defense system.

But for now, it appears that the Defense Department has no plans to keep Turkey from getting its first F-35 or to put restrictions on its use at Luke AFB.

Thomas Goffus, the Defense Department's deputy assistant secretary of defense for Europe and NATO, acknowledged during an Atlantic Council event Wednesday that Turkey's acquistion of the S-400 could present the U.S. military and NATO alliance with added technical risks.

But he would not go as far to spell out what actions the Defense Department is considering or could consider later down the road — perhaps a sign that the Pentagon is waiting to see how this legislation shakes out.

“We have a process to evaluate the risks to Western technology that that [procurement] would present. Our preference is that they do not acquire the S-400,” Goffus said.

“Given that, they are a sovereign nation, and they are trying to take care of their defense needs,” he added. “What restrictions are placed on them and what Congress will eventually pass, I can't even speculate on it on this point.”

By the time Congress passes legislation that could curb Anakara's F-35 ownership, the country will likely have already started building up its first squadron at Luke AFB. There, Turkish pilots and maintainers will train alongside U.S. ones, moving from academic courseware to live flights.

NATO and U.S. Defense Department officials have warned Turkey that if it continues down the path of purchasing the S-400, it will not be able to plug it in with NATO technologies like the F-35. SASC, in its policy bill, echoed those concerns, saying that Turkey's purchase of Russian hardware would “degrade the general security of the NATO alliance [...] and degrade interoperability of the alliance.”

After a meeting in Washington with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier this month, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu expressed confidence that the United States would not only deliver the first F-35 to Turkey as planned, but that it would ultimately decide to continue F-35 sales to Turkey.

“Turkey rejects threatening language from the U.S. on the issue, it is not constructive,” Çavuşoğlu said on June 4, according to a report from the Turkish newsgroup Anadolu Agency.

Turkey plans to buy 100 F-35As. As a partner of the program, its domestic defense industry helps build the Joint Strike Fighter. Most notably, Turkish Aerospace Industries' serves as a manufacturer of the aircraft's center fuselage. It has also been chosen as a sustainment hub for the international F-35 community.


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  • Mme Parly : Le ministère des Armées n’est pas un « client vache à lait »

    23 janvier 2019 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR

    Mme Parly : Le ministère des Armées n’est pas un « client vache à lait »

    Posté dans Industrie, Politique de défense par Laurent Lagneau Le 22-01-2019 Certes, si la trajectoire financière établie par la Loi de programmation militaire [LPM] 2019-25, promulguée le 13 juillet dernier, est respectée, le budget des Armées va augmenter significativement au cours des prochaines années, avec, au total, une enveloppe de 295 milliards d'euros. Il s'agit de pouvoir moderniser des capacités clés, ce qui signifie un carnet de commandes bien rempli pour les industriels de l'armement. Pour autant, et comme l'avait déjà dit le président Macron en juillet 2017, « l'intérêt des armées doit primer sur les intérêts industriels. » Plus tard, lors de ses voeux aux Armées en janvier 2018, il avait remis une couche en évoquant un « meilleur rapport coût-efficacité » s'agissant des matériels. « L'État est aux côtés de ses industriels, il l'est pour les besoins de ses armées comme à l'export, mais j'attends la même exigence, la même transparence et le même esprit de responsabilité de nos industriels de défense. [...] Nous investissons [...] pour avoir les meilleurs prestations possibles », avait-il affirmé. Depuis, la transformation de la Direction générale de l'armement [DGA] a été amorcée. Il s'agit, entre autres, de revoir la façon dont sont conduits les programmes d'armement, en abandonnant la logique dite en « silo » au bénéfice d'un travail en « plateau ». L'objectif est ainsi de simplifier le cycle d'acquisition d'un équipement, tout en favorisant l'accélération et la réactivité des processus et en maîtrisant les coûts et les délais. Article complet: http://www.opex360.com/2019/01/22/mme-parly-le-ministere-des-armees-nest-pas-un-client-vache-a-lait/

  • Boeing rolls out Australia’s first ‘Loyal Wingman’ combat drone

    6 mai 2020 | International, Aérospatial

    Boeing rolls out Australia’s first ‘Loyal Wingman’ combat drone

    By: Valerie Insinna WASHINGTON — Boeing is set to roll out the first “Loyal Wingman” drone for the Royal Australian Air Force during a Tuesday morning ceremony, putting the RAAF high on the list of countries experimenting with autonomous aircraft. “This a truly historic moment for our country and for Australian defense innovation,” said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. “The Loyal Wingman will be pivotal to exploring the critical capabilities our Air Force needs to protect our nation and its allies into the future.” The RAAF plans to buy three drones, which Boeing calls the Airpower Teaming System, as part of the Loyal Wingman Advanced Development Program. Over a series of flight tests and demonstrations, the RAAF hopes to figure out how to best integrate drones with fighter jets and other combat aircraft, allowing the air force to keep pilots safe by putting lower cost unmanned assets at risk during a fight. “Autonomy is a big element of this, as well as the incorporation of artificial intelligence. Those two elements combined enable us to support existing forces,” said Jerad Hayes, Boeing's senior director for autonomous aviation and technology. The ATS is semi-autonomous, meaning that fighter pilots will not have to remotely control the maneuvers of the drone, said Shane Arnott, Boeing's ATS program director. “When you are teaming, say with a Super Hornet, they don't have the luxury during combat maneuvers or operations to be remotely piloting another aircraft while doing their own,” he said. But one of the biggest technical questions still remains: How much data should be transferred from the ATS to the cockpit of the manned aircraft controlling it, and when does that turn into information overload? That question is one Boeing wants to answer more definitively once ATS makes its first flight later this year and moves into its experimentation phase, Arnott said. “There's a lot for us to figure out [on] what's that right level of information feed and direction. One of the great benefits of working with the Royal Australian Air Force is having the real operators [give feedback],” he said. “We don't have all the answers yet. We have a lot of understanding through our surrogate simulator and surrogate testing that we're doing, but we will prove that out.” Boeing first introduced the Airpower Teaming System at the Australian International Airshow at Avalon in February 2019, when the company unveiled a full-scale model. Since then, the company has moved quickly to fabricate the first of three aircraft, completing the fuselage structure this February. In April, the aircraft stood on its own wheels for the first time and powered on. The ATS air vehicle is 38 feet long, with a removable nose that can be packed with mission-specific sensors and other payloads. Throughout the design process, Boeing simulated a “digital twin” of the aircraft that allowed it to virtualize the operation of the aircraft, as well as how it would be produced and maintained. It also saved money by incorporating resin-infused composite structures, including one that is the largest piece Boeing has ever manufactured using that technique, Hayes said. That large structure snaps into another to form the plane's wings, cutting down on the manpower needed to fabricate the aircraft. While the drone's sleek, twin-tailed design is simple, with only four moving surfaces, it was carefully composed to optimize the aircraft's survivability, maneuverability and cost, Arnott said. While Arnott wouldn't talk about the stealth features of the aircraft, he noted that “there was a lot of thought put into getting that right balance of ‘good enough' across the board, and [radar] signature is obviously an aspect, and affordability is a big one.” Boeing officials have also declined to comment on the price of the aircraft, but Arnott and Hayes made it clear that Boeing intends to keep it cost-competitive with its main competitor, Kratos Defense and Security's XQ-58 Valkyrie. The U.S. Air Force has expressed interest in procuring Valkyrie for the loyal wingman role and to host communications relay payloads that would allow the F-35 and F-22 to share data stealthily. Boeing is also engaged with the U.S. military about potential uses of the ATS, Hayes asid. “We see the Airpower Teaming System platform as capable of going against many different mission sets, and as such, we're engaging across the Department of Defense to understand their specific mission need, what their requirements are for those, and understanding exactly how the Airpower Teaming System fits those,” he said. The nose — which is 8.5 feet long with more than 90k cubic inches volume — is key to the company's strategy to sell the system outside of Australia, Arnott said. Boeing envisions working with international customers to create customized modular payloads that could be built with the help of indigenous suppliers, thus increasing its appeal. “The industrial aspect of this is of a lot of interest for a number of countries,” said Arnott. “Being able to do meaningful work on the systems to the extent of creating whole new payloads or role capability is of great interest.” https://www.defensenews.com/air/2020/05/04/boeing-rolls-out-australias-first-loyal-wingman-combat-drone/

  • Do Soldiers Dream Of Electric Trucks?

    23 avril 2020 | International, Terrestre

    Do Soldiers Dream Of Electric Trucks?

    While Tesla won't be building heavy tanks, the Army Futures & Concepts Center says moving lighter, wheeled vehicles from fossil fuel to electric drive could streamline supply lines – and save lives. By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR. WASHINGTON: In wartime, the cost of gas is often partly paid in blood. Hundreds of US troops have died and thousands have been wounded fighting to move supplies in Afghanistan and Iraq. Against an adversary with long-range missiles like Russia, the carnage among convoys would be worse. The bulkiest cargo and often the most needed (along with bullets and bombs): fuel. If you could dramatically reduce the amount of gas the US military consumes, you could reduce the logistics burden a great deal. Fewer fuel convoys on the road would save money in peacetime and lives in wartime. But how do you get there? With electric vehicles, answers Lt. Gen. Eric Wesley, head of the Futures & Concepts Center at Army Futures Command. “Tesla is building large [semitrailer] trucks,” he told reporters in a wide-ranging roundtable yesterday. “Battery costs have gone down precipitously over the last 10 years,” he said, recharge times have dropped, and ranges has grown longer. What's more, electric motors have many fewer moving parts than internal combustion ones, making them potentially easier to maintain and repair. “The entire automotive industry is migrating towards this idea of electrification,” he said. “We're already, I would argue, late to the need.” Not only do electric motors not need gas, Wesley said. They also can generate power for high-tech combat systems – sensors, command networks, even laser weapons and robots – that currently require dedicated auxiliary power units or diesel generators that burn even more fuel. Imagine a squad of soldiers recharging their jamming-resistant radios and IVAS targeting goggles in their vehicle between missions, or a mobile command post running its servers off the same truck that carried them. The Hard Part Electric motors can even help frontline forces sneak up on the enemy, he said. They run much quieter and cooler than internal combustion engines, making it much harder to hear electric vehicles approaching or spot them on infrared. The Army's cancelled Future Combat System would have included a family of hybrid-electric vehicles. Even the ambitious FCS program didn't try to build all-electric tanks. Now, Wesley isn't talking about electric tanks, just trucks. “Right now, we don't see the technology, on the near-term horizon, being able to power heavy vehicles,” he said. That's because even the latest batteries still provide less power per pound than fossil fuel. (Engineers call this “energy density”). So, for example, the replacement for the Reagan-era M2 Bradley troop carrier – likely to weigh about 50 tons — is going to need an internal combustion engine or at least a hybrid diesel-electric one. But the vast majority of Army vehicles are wheeled, from supply trucks to the JLTV, an armored 4×4 replacing many Humvees: That weight class, up to 10 or even 15 tons, can move on electrical power alone. Wesley had planned to kick off his electrification drive with a panel discussion at last month's AUSA Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, Ala. (I would've been the moderator). But that conference got canceled due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, so he's rolling it out to the press instead. His staff is working on an in-depth internal study for his boss, the four-star chief of Army Futures Command, Gen. John “Mike” Murray. There are a lot of thorny problems to work out, Wesley acknowledges. The big one: Where do you generate the electricity in the first place? In a war zone, you can't just pull into your garage and plug into a charger overnight. “We can't just go buy an electric vehicle. We have to look at the supply chains,” he said. One option the Army's considering, he said, is miniaturized, mobile nuclear power plants – something the Pentagon is now researching and says should be safe even after a direct hit. While Wesley didn't discuss other alternatives, the fallback option is presumably burning some fossil fuel to run a generator, which then charges batteries or capacitators. “We're writing a draft white paper proposal for Gen. Murray and the Army to look at this holistically,” Wesley said, “[and] we are building up a proposal that we will publish here in early summer that is going to describe a recommendation for how the Army transitions toward the future.” “My expectation is that it's about a 10-year horizon right now to do something like that which I just described,” he said. “If that's true, then we have to have a transition plan for the Army to move in this direction.” Extended excerpts from Lt. Gen. Wesley's roundtable with reporters, edited for length & clarity, follow below. He also discussed how Army units have to evolve for future multi-domain operations: more on that later this week. Q: The Army's been interested in electric vehicles and alternative fuel for some time. What's new here? A: We were going to have a panel on this to kick off [at AUSA Global Force]: a broader look at electrification and alternative fuel sources for the Army. We're writing a draft white paper proposal for Gen. Murray and the Army to look at this holistically. And we are building up a proposal that we will publish here in early summer that is going to describe a recommendation for how the Army transitions toward the future. Tesla is building large [semitrailer] trucks. UPS and FedEx are starting to buy these vehicles to learn how they move into that area. The entire automotive industry is migrating towards this idea of electrification, and there's a lot of good reasons for it. And as the entire industry goes to electrification, the supply of internal combustion engine parts is going to go down and therefore prices are going to go up. Battery costs have gone down precipitously over the last 10 years. Recharge times and range [have improved]. The trajectory that all of that is on, in the next two years, it'll be far more efficient to have an electric vehicle than internal combustion, so we're already, I would argue, late to the need. Q: What's slowed the Army down? A: The problem is bigger for the Army than it is for any corporation, industry, or family, because you have to have a means to move the energy and generate the energy at the right time and place. It's not that the Army is slow to move on this, we just have a bigger problem to solve, and I would argue that's what we have to do now. The issue is not whether we can build hybrid vehicles. That's easy. In fact, any one of us could go out and — as long as there's not a waiting list — buy a Tesla tomorrow and sell our Chevy Suburban. You plug it in at home, we've got the infrastructure. You don't have to change your supply chain or your way of life when you buy a Tesla. The Army, we can't just go buy an electric vehicle, we have to look at the supply chains. How are you going to have [electricity] sources for charging? If technology tells us that safe, mobile nuclear power plants, for example, something that goes on the back of a truck, are realistic, and if you add capacitor technology [to store the electricity], you can distribute that forward in varying ways. Q: Are we talking about electric-drive tanks here? Or just trucks? A: The Army hasn't said, we're going all-electric. Right now, we don't see the technology, on the near-term horizon, being able to power heavy vehicles, it's just too much of a drain on the battery. The Next Generation Combat Vehicle, it's still going to require you to have an internal combustion engine. But if we could reduce the fossil fuel consumption by transitioning our wheeled vehicles [to electric motors], you can reduce the volume of travel on your supply route to only [move] fossil fuels for the much heavier vehicles. Q: Could you make an electric version of something like the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle? A: The technology to power a vehicle of that weight exists today. We're talking [up to] about 10-15 tons; that technology exists now. If it exists now, you can anticipate that we're going to have to transition some of this in the next 10 years. And if that's true, then we have to have a transition plan for the Army to move in this direction. It should require a very detailed strategy and step by step pathways. It should include starting to build in hooks into our requirements [for new designs]. And then there are other experimentation efforts where we can learn about enterprise-level supply chain decisions. (Eds. note: We ask all fans of Phillip K. Dick to forgive us for the headline). https://breakingdefense.com/2020/04/do-soldiers-dream-of-electric-trucks

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