18 janvier 2023 | International, C4ISR

Northrop Grumman to Modernize and Advance AFRL Intelligence Information Systems

InSITE will modernize the AFRL/RI’s intelligence information collection, sharing and analysis capabilities by implementing state-of-the-art artificial intelligence solutions


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  • Lockheed Martin Delivers F-35 Distributed Mission Training Capability

    6 juillet 2020 | International, Aérospatial, C4ISR

    Lockheed Martin Delivers F-35 Distributed Mission Training Capability

    Orlando. Fla., July 1, 2020 – Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), the Joint Program Office and the U.S. Air Force successfully connected the F-35, F-22, F-16 and E3 Sentry in a highly contested simulated environment during a Distributed Mission Training final acceptance test at Nellis AFB, Nevada. This simulated training event was the first time these platforms were connected virtually. Additional platforms such as the F-15 can also connect into this shared virtual environment. The F-35 DMT capability creates interoperability across military platforms for continuation training and large force exercises. The initial delivery at Nellis AFB is a major step forward as it establishes the framework for F-35 simulators around the world to interconnect. Previously, F-35 simulators allowed up to four pilots at a facility to fly together in simulated combat. DMT links pilots at Nellis AFB to pilots at other bases through an existing distributed network enabling simulated training events with existing 4th generation and 5th generation platforms. This is the first of many fielded DMT solutions for the F-35 training enterprise. “This base capability lays the foundation for pilots to truly train like they fight by enabling advanced tactics training through multi-domain operations in a simulated environment,” said Chauncey McIntosh, Lockheed Martin, vice president of F-35 Training and Logistics. As a next step, the DMT capability is expected to be rolled out to other USAF bases worldwide. The Navy is expected to receive the DMT capability through an accelerated delivery at NAS Lemoore by the end of the year. For additional information, visit our website: www.lockheedmartin.com About Lockheed Martin Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 110,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. View source version on Lockheed Martin: https://news.lockheedmartin.com/2020-07-01-Lockheed-Martin-Delivers-F-35-Distributed-Mission-Training-Capability

  • FVL: The Army’s 10-Year Plan For FARA Scout

    31 mars 2020 | International, Aérospatial

    FVL: The Army’s 10-Year Plan For FARA Scout

    The Army's urgently developing new air-launched drones, long-range missiles, and electronic architecture to go on the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft that Bell and Sikorsky are vying to build. By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR WASHINGTON: The Army's Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft program is much bigger than the two ambitious high-speed helicopters that Bell and Sikorsky will now get more than $1 billion to build. At least five other major moving pieces must come together on time to turn the final aircraft, whoever makes it, into a working weapon: a new Improved Turbine Engine built by GE; helicopter-launched mini-drones called Air Launched Effects (ALE); a new Long-Range Precision Munition (LRPM), with the Israeli Spike-NLOS as the initial version; an Integrated Missile Launcher (IML) to launch both the missile and the drones; and the underlying electronic framework of standards and interfaces to plug it all together, the Modular Open Systems Architecture (MOSA). The Army is “not just focused on the air vehicle, but focused on the weapon system,” said Brig. Gen. Walter Rugen, Future Vertical Lift director at Army Futures Command, in a call this morning with reporters. Here's the current schedule for everything to come together: 2019 April: The Army awarded five contracts for “initial designs” of the FARA aircraft itself. 2020 March: The Army assessed the five initial designs – including each company's ability to deliver on budget and schedule. Yesterday, they chose Bell and Sikorsky to build prototypes. Each company has already received a “digital model” of how their design must conform to the Modular Open Systems Architecture (MOSA), which will allow the government to plug-and-play MOSA-compliant components from any company, not just the manufacturer, over the life of the program, program manager Dan Bailey said: “We, the government, will control the interfaces internal to the aircraft so we can efficiently upgrade.” December: The Army will conduct a Final Design Review of both designs to confirm “that they are postured for success and risk is acceptable,” Bailey said. “After that, they will begin to build the aircraft.” 2021 Bell and Sikorsky build their prototypes. Despite their very different designs, each company must incorporate certain common Government Furnished Equipment (GFE) provide by the Army. That includes a 20mm cannon; the GE T909 Improved Turbine Engine, which will also be retrofitted to existing Apache and Black Hawk helicopters; and the Integrated Munitions Launcher (IML), which will use MOSA interface standards to connect missiles and ALE mini-drones to the aircraft – without having to modify the aircraft each time a new weapon is developed. If the Army's 2021 budget request is approved, this year the service will buy $152 million of Spike NLOS (Non-Line-Of-Sight) missiles from Israel armsmaker Rafael as an interim Long Range Precision Munition. 2022 Bell and Sikorsky begin ground testing of their prototypes. The Army fields Spike-NLOS missiles on existing aircraft across three Combat Aviation Brigades (CABs), providing both immediate combat power and hands-on experience with the technology to refine either the Spike or a competitor into the full-up LRPM. November: The Bell 360 Invictus and Sikorsky Raider-X fly for the first time. Flight testing begins. 2023 Summer: The prototype aircraft move from their builders' test sites to Redstone Arsenal to begin Army flight testing with all-government crews. The Army finalizes its formal requirements for FARA based on how the prototypes actually perform. Fall: The Army conducts a Weapons System Preliminary Design Review – that is, not of the aircraft alone, but of how all the pieces work together – and, in context of that holistic assessment, selects either Bell or Sikorsky to build the aircraft. By December 31st: The Army launches an official Program Of Record (POR) to acquire FARA. While the first few aircraft will cost more, the service's long-term goal is to spend no more than $30 million per FARA, the same price as the current AH-64 Apache gunship. 2024-2025 The Air-Launched Effects (ALE) mini-drones begin to enter service on existing Army aircraft. As with the Spike missile, this early deployment provides both immediate military benefit and the necessary experience to refine the technology for FARA. 2028-2030 The first FARA aircraft enter operational service. The Army hasn't specified how many it ultimately plans to build or for what price. But the Army's Program Executive Officer (PEO) for Aviation, Patrick Mason, told reporters today that “I have no reason to disagree with” widely circulated independent estimates of 300-400 aircraft for $15-20 billion. “We've got a series of gates” over the years, Mason said. “This is a constant assessment as we go through, and this is really the beauty and benefit of the prototyping design of this program: We will get to see both vendors as they go to their final designs and they build their prototype air vehicle, as we simultaneously carry forward [with] the other elements that are part of the FVL ecosystem.” “We're going to see very, very clear indication of the technology maturity, the readiness, and the ability of the prototype aircraft to meet the requirements,” he said. Novel Contracts, Novel Technology, Tight Schedule It's worth delving into some detail on what happened yesterday, when the Army announced that Bell and Sikorsky would get the chance to build competing prototypes of FARA – the Bell 360 Invictus and the Sikorsky Raider-X – while designs from AVX, Boeing, and Karem were rejected. Each of the five companies had received up to $15 million for design work, while Bell and Sikorsky will each get up to $735 million more to build and test their prototypes. The exact figures are competition-sensitive, and each vendor has invested much of its own money in any case. The contracts call for one-third private funding and two-thirds government funding over the design and prototyping phases combined, but the companies have almost certainly outspent the government so far. Technically, FARA program manager Dan Bailey told reporters, “we actually aren't awarding anything at this time.” Instead, last April, all five contenders got Other Transaction Authority Prototyping (OTAP) contracts for both the design and prototyping phases, but with clauses allowing the Army to cut any vendor at any time. It's that option they've just exercised. Rather than making an award, Bailey said, “yesterday, we notified two that we would continue to fund them into Phase 2 and we notified three that we would stop funding them.” (Emphasis ours). This novel approach, among other benefits, is nigh-impossible for losing bidders to appeal against, Rugen said: “There really is no ability to protest per se with the GAO [Government Accountability Office]. There is legal recourse potentially through the courts but, again, our legal team has advised us the risk is low.” That's helpful because – as the JEDI cloud computing contract proves – legal battles can delay Defense Department programs for months. The Army has a tight timeline for FARA, which it sees as essential to fill the gap in its aerial reconnaissance capability left by the retirement of the aging and much-upgraded Bell OH-58 Kiowa. While the competing designs are very different, Army simulations so far show that either would meet the military needs “Both are advanced rotorcraft configurations,” Brig. Gen. Rugen said. “Both did very well with speed, range, endurance at range, in our European scenario.... The power [for] takeoff with payload out of ground effect was also, again, leap-ahead.” The Bell 360 Invictus is basically a conventional helicopter with small wings for added lift, using fly-by-wire and rotor technology developed for the civilian Bell 525. The Sikorsky Raider-X is a compound helicopter with coaxial rotors and a pusher propeller for added thrust, derived from Sikorsky's S-97 Raider – which is a real, flight-testing aircraft – and ultimately the award-winning X2. “The X2 technology continues to impress,” Rugen said. While Bell's design may not have struck some observers as revolutionary, he said, “the efficiency” with which Bell's engineers stripped out every possible bit of drag – allowing much higher speeds – “was truly innovative. “We've got two great competitors ... on a program that we must deliver for the Army,” Rugen said. https://breakingdefense.com/2020/03/fvl-the-armys-10-year-plan-for-fara-scout

  • Submarine Industrial Base Ready to Grow – But Only If Pentagon, Congress Send the Right Signals

    9 novembre 2020 | International, Naval

    Submarine Industrial Base Ready to Grow – But Only If Pentagon, Congress Send the Right Signals

    By: Megan Eckstein November 6, 2020 3:56 PM Huntington Ingalls Industries is confident its businesses are well-positioned for whatever the future of the Navy is – whether it's the implementation of the Pentagon's Battle Force 2045 plan or something else implemented by new leadership, according to the chief executive. HII president and CEO Mike Petters told investors on Thursday that “we are pleased to see our portfolio of ships in the (Battle Force 2045) plan and recognize that there is still much work to be done to bring any plan to fruition.” “We remain confident that we can create additional capacity that may be necessary to support even the most robust shipbuilding plan,” he added. Asked by investors what a potential change in administration means for the company's outlook, Petters said that “national security tends to be pretty bipartisan, and the Pentagon tends to operate in a world where they're looking external to the country, trying to figure out how to do security. This Pentagon has said we need a bigger Navy to be more secure, and they're working through that process right now. If you have a change in the leadership, in the administration, the new folks are going to be looking at the same outside world that the folks that are there now are. And there might be changes on the edges – is it this many ships or that many ships, or anything like. What I take away from what has been said so far is that the future Navy needs to be bigger, it needs to be faster, cheaper, and probably a bit smaller in terms of sizes of ships. So a faster, cheaper, smaller set of platforms, with a lot more of them. We believe that's going to persist.” Specifically, he said, the undersea domain – both manned submarines and unmanned undersea vehicles – will be at the center of future fleet growth. On the submarine side, HII's Newport News Shipbuilding ran into some struggles on the Block IV Virginia-class SSN deliveries. Some of the delays predate the pandemic, as the supply base and the two shipyards struggled to get up to a two-a-year construction rate. COVID-19 has only increased the challenge, with Petters saying during the last quarterly earnings call in August that the Navy asked Newport News to prioritize repair work – on submarines and aircraft carriers – with the workers who were able to come in on any given day, meaning that the submarine construction side of the business fell further behind. At this point, Petters said this week, workforce attendance is up compared to the spring, and while the company hasn't figured out how to catch back up on Virginia-class construction, they're not falling further behind anymore. “We took a pretty big divot in attendance in April and May. Where we've been since then is, we've been pretty steady in terms of what we can predict in terms of the number of people who are going to be there and who's going to be there and how to allocate those resources. So that's working very well for us, and it's really consistent with the schedules that we reset at the end of Q2,” he said. Petters said the company had about 200 active COVID cases in its workforce now, but due to increases in testing the company can keep fewer people in quarantine and can better predict how the virus is affecting the workforce and therefore how many welders, how many electricians, how many pipefitters they might have on any given day and how to allocate them across all the shipbuilding and ship repair activities. After revamping the SSN construction schedule after falling so far behind in the second quarter of the year, “we're tracking the new schedules. The opportunity to really recover the divot that we took out, we haven't quite figured out how to go and accelerate back to where we were in terms of schedule. But we're working on that. But we're definitely supporting the new schedules we have laid out.” In the longer term, Battle Force 2045 calls for a larger attack submarine force, and Defense Secretary Mark Esper called for the Navy to quickly begin buying three SSNs a year – which would put significant pressure on Newport News Shipbuilding and General Dynamics' Electric Boat, as well as thousands of suppliers across the country, to ramp up production even as they're readying to start construction on the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine, the contract for which was awarded Thursday. Petters said he was confident industry could act to grow their capacity faster than the government could actually get appropriations and contract modifications into place – though he said industry would only make moves to expand if the government was truly committed to buying more submarines over a long timeframe. “I think the shipyards will have to build, maybe invest in more capacity and more workforce. I think that we're going to have to create some parallel capacity, maybe think a little bit more about buying pieces that we were doing organically before, maybe structural units or fittings or foundations or something like that. ... And then I think you really have to be focused: if you ‘re going to get it there, you really have to get the supply chain up to speed. Our supply chain in support of all of shipbuilding, but in particular our nuclear enterprise, it's very capable, but it's also kind of thin. So you really need to have a persistent, consistent, sustainable set of messaging to the industry that you're going to sustain this rate for a significant time to create or attract the investment in technology, capital and people that the supply chain's going to need to go do,” Petters said. “I think there is the capacity to go do that, but it ain't a light switch and you don't turn it on overnight. My rule of thumb though is that if you're persistent on these signals from the government, the capacity in the industry can be built faster than the government can appropriate the funding to go do it. It takes so long to get to the appropriations process, there's a whole set of signals and long lead times and [requests for proposals] and things like that that would let the industry know you're really serious about doing it,” he added. Navy acquisition chief James Geurts and Electric Boat President Kevin Graney spoke at a separate event Thursday and reiterated to reporters that the whole industry was in a position to ramp up if the Navy became serious about buying more than two Virginias a year. Geurts said the Navy had an undersea advantage today that needed to be expanded in both capability and capacity. “It will take investment to enable us to move to a larger program than we have right now,” he said, which is doable, but only if it doesn't hurt the Columbia program. “The teams are looking at how do we do that and what are the strategic investments that we need to make now that enable us to expand the industrial capacity, should that be where the department goes?” he said. “If that's what we choose to do, we set up the right program to do that, we can deliver whatever industrial capacity output we need for the nation. That won't happen overnight, it will take careful program planning and some investments, just as we've expanded from one Virginia to two Virginias, and two Virginias to two Virginias and a [Virginia Payload Module] to two Virginias and VPM and Columbia. So we know how to do this, I have full confidence in America's ability to produce these should we do that.” Graney said during the media call that expanding would take three things: “we've got to make sure that the supply base keeps pace as we increase the tempo; we've got to make sure that our facilities can accommodate the increased footprint that more modules, for example, for the Virginia program might require; and then the last part – and I think they are kind of in that order – supply base, facilities, and then the last part is really the workforce, training up the workforce and making sure they're on the floor when the modules are ready to be built.” He added that talks with the Navy are ongoing to ensure everyone is clear on what it would take to increase submarine construction rates. For Newport News Shipbuilding's submarine business, the expansion in work might not be limited to construction. The Navy is increasingly realizing that, regardless of what efficiencies they're able to accomplish at the four public shipyards to get subs and carriers in and out of maintenance faster, there's still far too much work for just those yards to accomplish. Naval Sea Systems Command chief Vice Adm. Bill Galinis recently told USNI News that more sub repair work would have to go to private yards – Newport News and Electric Boat – in the future and that the Navy was in talks with the yards to look at what would be needed to increase workload both on the construction and repair side. Petters said Newport News has three submarine repairs taking place now, plus tiger teams deployed to submarine homeports to help with pierside maintenance work. He acknowledged that getting back into submarine repairs after about a decade of not doing that work has been a challenge, but he said it would be an important part of the portfolio going forward. “We're working very closely with the Navy, not just on the work that we have but trying to lay out a sustainable, predictable plan for how the, not just Newport News, but how does the private sector in general support the Navy's need to have more submarines at sea?” he said. “That's a big part of what we're talking about with the submarine repair business. ... That's also a big part of what's happening with the future force and the future of the Virginia class and that construction. At the end of the day, I think, no matter how many submarines the nation puts to sea, we're always going to wish we had more out there. So that's a good spot for us, and we're working very hard in that space.” https://news.usni.org/2020/11/06/submarine-industrial-base-ready-to-grow-but-only-if-pentagon-congress-send-the-right-signals

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