6 avril 2021 | International, Naval

Navy Orders One E-2D Aircraft Inside Major Support Contract - Seapower

Navy Orders One E-2D Aircraft Inside Major Support Contract - Seapower

ARLINGTON, Va. — The U.S. Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman a contract modification to support the service’s fleet of E-2D Advanced Hawkeye battle management aircraft and to build one additional E-2D.  Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. Aerospace Systems, Melbourne, Florida, was...


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  • SPACECOM is a go: Newest combatant command signed into existence

    30 août 2019 | International, Aérospatial

    SPACECOM is a go: Newest combatant command signed into existence

    By: Aaron Mehta   WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has a new combatant command. With a twirl of the pen, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper signed into creation U.S. Space Command, the 11th war-fighting command for the Defense Department. “This is a landmark day, one that recognizes the centrality of space to America’s national security and defense," President Donald Trump said during the event, held in the Rose Garden of the White House. “It’s all about space,” Trump said, adding that for anyone looking to challenge the U.S. in orbit, “it’s going to be a whole different ballgame.” Air Force Gen. Jay Raymond is the new head of SPACECOM; Army Lt. Gen. James Dickinson has been nominated to become the deputy commander. Upon Trump’s signature, 287 individuals, pulled largely from U.S. Strategic Command, became the first members of the new command. Earlier in the day, Raymond and Stephen Kitay, deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy, told reporters the creation of SPACECOM marked a new era in how the Defense Department approaches space. “We are at a strategic inflection point. There is nothing that we do [as a joint force] that isn’t enabled by space. Zero,” Raymond said. “Our goal is to actually deter a conflict from extending into space. The best way I know how to do that is to be prepared to fight and win” should deterrence fail. SPACECOM’s mission falls into four broad categories: To deter potential adversaries in space. To defend American assets in orbit. To deliver war-fighting capabilities (such as GPS) to other combatant commands. To develop joint war fighters to be able to operate in the space domain. The command will include a traditional headquarters staff, service components from all four armed services and two operational components: Combined Forces Space Component Command — focused on integrating space capabilities around the globe and throughout joint coalition partners — and Joint Task Force for Space Defense — focused on protecting and defending the war-fighting domain. “Space will not be an Achilles’ heel. We will protect and defend and provide it for our way of life and our way of war,” Kitay added. Technically, this is a relaunch of SPACECOM, which existed in another form from 1985 through 2002. However, Raymond said, the two organizations are very different, with a “sharper” focus on the dangers from other nations in space a key part of the new incarnation. Those threats include kinetic and non-kinetic activities from competitors such as China and Russia — and any future competitors who might gain space capabilities in the future.   As if to underscore the changing space environment, news broke Thursday that Iran’s most recent attempt at a space launch appears to have failed on the ground. The effort was the third failed launch attempt this year, but the effort shows Iran is willing to invest significant national capital into putting assets into orbit. SPACECOM will continue to grow, including a final selection on the location of its headquarters. But questions remain about integration plans with an eventual Space Force, should Congress back its creation as a new military branch. The budget for SPACECOM in fiscal 2020 was $83.8 million, of which $75.6 million was shifted from previous organizations. Raymond warned that a continuing resolution this year would have a “significant impact” on the standing up of the new command. “We need to have stable budgets as we build this command. Continuing resolutions are never good, and it would be bad in this case as well,” he said. https://www.defensenews.com/space/2019/08/29/spacecom-is-a-go-newest-combatant-command-signed-into-existence/

  • Expand missile defenses during the pandemic, don’t cut them

    6 mai 2020 | International, Aérospatial

    Expand missile defenses during the pandemic, don’t cut them

    By: Rebeccah L. Heinrichs  Rogue states are taking advantage of the American preoccupation with the COVID-19 pandemic. North Korea may test another long-range missile according to the head of U.S. Northern Command, Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy. He warned Congress in March that the North Korean regime is still a serious threat and is improving its missile program. And last week, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard successfully launched a satellite into space. This was the first for the terrorist paramilitary group, though not the first for the regime. The pandemic is likely to prompt Congress to reassess, cut and redirect spending, but safeguarding the American people from missile attack is an essential service the government cannot afford to scale back. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Rob Soofer said at a recent Hudson Institute event: “[T]oday we are in an advantageous position vis-a-vis North Korea. Forty-four ground-based interceptors. Gen. O’Shaughnessy has complete confidence that the system will work and we can address the threat. Then the question is: Can we wait until 2028?” The Trump administration intends to deploy in 2028 the Next Generation Interceptor, or NGI, meant to handle far more complicated missile threats than what the Ground-based Midcourse Defense, or GMD, system was initially designed to do. Still, as Dr. Soofer explained, threats develop at an unpredictable pace, and so the Pentagon is pushing for initiatives to bolster defense in the meantime. Those initiatives will require serious bipartisan cooperation while concurrently developing the NGI and pursuing other advanced capabilities meant to dramatically increase the ability of the missile defense architecture. It’s a tall order, but critical, nonetheless. First, and to be clear, the Pentagon has not yet embraced this step due to its determination to focus on NGI. But Congress should invest in more than just sustaining the current GMD system; it should improve it by adding 20 GBIs to the already fielded 44. The silos will be prepared for the additional numbers since, in 2017, President Donald Trump called for adding more deployed GBIs considering the heightened North Korea missile threat. The Pentagon began work on preparing for their delivery but never emplaced GBIs into those silos because Pentagon officials canceled the Redesigned Kill Vehicle. The Pentagon had anticipated the Redesigned Kill Vehicle for the nation’s new GBIs. After evaluating the resources and time it would take to restart the production line of the Capability Enhancement II interceptors or to rapidly develop an improved kill vehicle that leverages new technology, the Pentagon should choose the most cost-effective solution. Recall, the Capability Enhancement II was the kill vehicle that performed well in the last complex flight test, which was the first salvo engagement of a threat-representative intercontinental ballistic missile target by GBIs. Regardless of the option the Pentagon would choose, the result would be a near-term enhanced capability by either increased capacity at a minimum, or an increased capacity with improved kill vehicles on 20 of the 64 at best. Either would be a much better scenario than keeping the backbone of homeland defenses stagnant while we anticipate the NGI in 2028. But that is not all the country should do. It should also move forward with steps the Pentagon has embraced. Those steps include improving the discrimination radar capability in the next few years so GMD can better detect and characterize the evolving threat, and deploying other existing systems to bolster GMD. Utilizing current systems with impressive testing records against missiles shorter than ICBM range as part of a layered homeland defense is called the “underlay.” As a key component of the underlay, Congress has directed the Pentagon to test the Aegis SM-3 IIA interceptor against an ICBM target. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, the Missile Defense Agency’s planned flight tests will be delayed, including for the SM-3 IIA. The threats facing the country will not wait for the end of the pandemic, and the Pentagon should reconsider that delay. As soon as the country can test the system, and if it is a success, it would be wise to prepare to deploy Aegis SM-3 IIA as the threat requires. If there is an ICBM attack against the U.S. homeland, a GBI would have the first shot at the incoming missile while it’s in its midcourse phase of flight; and if an enemy missile gets through, and the Aegis SM-3 IIA is positioned correctly, it could have another shot at the missile as it begins its descent. There has been some concern about whether Russia or China have legitimate claims that bolstering homeland defense in this way is destabilizing. But no evidence supports these claims, and, as Dr. Jim Miller, an Obama-era undersecretary of defense for policy, said at a recent Hudson event: “We cannot and must not give Russia or China a veto over the United States’ ability to defend ourselves from North Korea and Iran. That is an absolute no-go for any administration.” Another system that is a natural candidate for the underlay is the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense air defense system. Embracing that concept as well, Dr. Miller said: “It makes sense for certain contexts. And if you’re looking at a shorter-range missile and a relatively small footprint of coverage, THAAD has a real chance to contribute in that. To me, that’s certainly the case for Guam and Hawaii.” But what about cost? That’s the $10 billion question — a question that happens to be valued at more than the current president’s budget requires for the Missile Defense Agency. The budget request that Congress is currently considering for the MDA is roughly $9.2 billion, noticeably less than previous years, even as the role of missile defense is supposed to be expanding in the country’s National Security Strategy. There is no margin for cutting the budget. Congress should rally around this mission and budget, and it should increase funding to sufficiently make these necessary improvements in the near term without paying for them by sacrificing investments like NGI for the not-so-distant future. It can do that without tipping the scale much more than $10 billion this year. That is eminently reasonable given the pressure every government department will feel after the sudden spending splurge due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rebeccah L. Heinrichs is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute where she specializes in nuclear deterrence and missile defense. https://www.defensenews.com/opinion/commentary/2020/05/05/expand-missile-defenses-during-the-pandemic-dont-cut-them/

  • First trans-Atlantic drone flight is set to leave from North Dakota

    11 juillet 2018 | International, Aérospatial, C4ISR

    First trans-Atlantic drone flight is set to leave from North Dakota

      By: The Associated Press   GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Officials say the first trans-Atlantic flight by a medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft is set to take off from an aviation park in North Dakota. The General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. drone is scheduled to leave from the Grand Sky park at the Grand Forks Air Force Base Tuesday afternoon. The flight will cover more than 3,000 miles before landing in Gloucestershire, England, where the Royal Air Force is holding its centennial celebration. The aircraft is an MQ-9B, which is 38 feet long with a wingspan of 79 feet. The plane recently flew continuously for more than 48 hours. General Atomics spokeswoman Melissa Haynes says the flight is meant demonstrate the technology that allows the plane to fly alongside private and commercial aircraft. https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/07/10/first-trans-atlantic-drone-flight-is-set-to-leave-from-north-dakota/

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