20 juillet 2020 | International, Terrestre

OMFV: Army Wants Smaller Crew, More Automation

The draft RFP for the Bradley replacement, out today, also opens the possibility for a government design team to compete with private industry.

By   on July 17, 2020 at 1:51 PM

WASHINGTON: The Army is giving industry a lot of freedom in their designs for its future armored troop transport, letting them pick the gun, weight, number of passengers and more. But there’s one big exception. While the current M2 Bradley has three crew members – commander, gunner, and driver – a draft Request For Proposals released today says that its future replacement, the OMFVmust be able to fight with two.

Fewer humans means more automation. It’s an ambitious goal, especially for a program the Army already had to reboot and start over once.

The other fascinating wrinkle in the RFP is that the Army reserves the right to form its own design team and let it compete against the private-sector contractors. This government design team would be independent of any Army command to avoid conflicts of interest.

If the Army does submit its own design, that would be a major departure from longstanding Pentagon practice. But the Army has invested heavily in technologies from 50mm cannon to automated targeting algorithms to engines, so it’s not impossible for a government team to put all that government intellectual property together into a complete design.

The Army has embraced automation from the beginning of the Bradley replacement program, and that’s been consistent before and after January’s decision to reboot. OMFV’s very name, Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, refers to the service’s desire to have the option to operate the vehicle, in some situations, by remote control – eventually. But an unmanned mode remains an aspiration for future upgrades, not a hard-and-fast requirement for the initial version of the vehicle scheduled to enter service in 2028.

By contrast, the two-person crew is one of the few hard-and-fast requirements in the draft RFP released this morning. It’s all the more remarkable because there few such requirements in the RFP or its extensive technical annexes (which are not public). Instead, in most cases, the Army lays out the broad performance characteristics it desires and gives industry a lot of leeway in how to achieve them.

That’s a deliberate departure from traditional weapons programs, which lay out a long and detailed list of technical requirements. But the Army tried that prescriptive approach on OMFV and it didn’t work.

Last year, in its first attempt to build the OMFV, the Army insisted that industry build – at its own expense – a prototype light enough that you could fit two on an Air Force C-17 transport, yet it had to be tough enough to survive a fight with Russian mechanized units in Eastern Europe. Only one company, General Dynamics, even tried to deliver a vehicle built to that specification and the Army decided they didn’t succeed.

So the Army started over. It decided heavy armor was more important than air transportability, so it dropped the requirement to fit two OMFVs on a single C-17; now it’ll be satisfied if a C-17 can carry one. In fact, it decided rigid technical requirements were a bad idea in general because it limited industry’s opportunity to offer ingenious new solutions to the Army’s problems, so the service replaced them wherever it could with broadly defined goals called characteristics.

And yet the new draft RFP does include a strict and technologically ambitious requirement: the two-person crew.

Now, since the OMFV is a transport, it’ll have more people aboard much of the time, and when an infantry squad is embarked, one of them will have access to the vehicle’s sensors and be able to assist the crew. But when the passengers get out to fight on foot, there’ll just be two people left to operate the vehicle.

A two-person crew isn’t just a departure from the Bradley. This is a departure from best practice in armored vehicle design dating back to World War II. In 1940, when Germany invaded France, the French actually had more tanks, including some much better armed and armored than most German machines. But a lot of the French tanks had two-man crews. There was a driver, seated in the hull, and a single harried soldier in the turret who had to spot the enemy, aim the gun, and load the ammunition. By contrast, most German tanks split those tasks among three men – a commander, a gunner, and a loader – which meant they consistently outmaneuvered and outfought the overburdened French tankers.

A lot of modern vehicles don’t need a loader, because a mechanical feed reloads automatically. But in everything from the Bradley to Soviet tanks, the minimum crew is three: driver, gunner, and commander. That way the driver can focus on the terrain ahead, the gunner can focus on the target currently in his sights, and the commander can watch for danger in all directions. A two-person crew can’t split tasks that way, risking cognitive overload – which means a greater risk that no one spots a threat until it’s too late.

So how do fighter jets and combat helicopters survive, since most of them have one or two crew at most? The answer is extensive training and expensive technology. If the Army wants a two-person crew in its OMFV, the crew compartment may have to look less like a Bradley and more like an Apache gunship, with weapons automatically pointing wherever the operator looks. The Army’s even developing a robotic targeting assistant called ATLAS, which spots potential targets on its sensors, decides the biggest threat and automatically brings the gun to bear – but only fires if a human operator gives the order.

Now, industry does not have to solve these problems right away. The current document is a draft Request For Proposals, meaning that the Army is seeking feedback from interested companies. If enough potential competitors say the two-man crew is too hard, the Army might drop that requirement. The current schedule gives the Army about nine months, until April 2021, to come out with the final RFP, and only then do companies have to submit their preliminary concepts for the vehicle. The Army will pick several companies to develop “initial digital designs” – detailed computer models of the proposed vehicle – and then refine those designs. Physical prototypes won’t enter testing until 2025, with the winning design entering production in 2027 for delivery to combat units the next year.

https://breakingdefense.com/2020/07/omfv-army-wants-smaller-crew-more-automation/

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  • Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - April 1, 2019

    2 avril 2019 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité, Autre défense

    Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - April 1, 2019

    MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY   Lockheed Martin Corp. Missiles and Fire Control, Dallas, Texas, is being awarded a $2,457,390,566 modification (P00015) to a previously-awarded contract HQ0147-17-C-0032 for the production of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors and associated one-shot devices to support the U.S. government (USG) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) Foreign Military Sales (FMS) case requirements. The THAAD interceptors and associated one-shot devices will be procured under fixed-price incentive (firm target) contract line items. The value of this contract is increased from $1,431,251,585 to $3,888,642,151. One offer was solicited with one offer received. The work will be performed in Dallas, Texas; Sunnyvale, California; Huntsville, Alabama; Camden, Arkansas; and Troy, Alabama, with an expected completion date of April 1, 2026. Fiscal 2019 USG procurement funds in the amount of $922,729,226; and KSA FMS funds in the amount of $1,534,661,340 are being obligated at time of award. The Missile Defense Agency, Huntsville, Alabama, is the contracting activity.   AIR FORCE   The Boeing Co., Boeing Defense Space and Security, St. Louis, Missouri, has been awarded a $250,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for Joint Direct Attack Munition/Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM/LJDAM) technical services, aircraft integration, and sustainment.  This contract provides for JDAM/LJDAM-specific activities including, but not limited to, technical services, aircraft integration, and sustainment.  Work will be performed in St. Louis, and is expected to be complete by March 2029.  This contract involves sales to the U.S. government (52 percent); and foreign military sales (48 percent) to various countries.  Fiscal 2019 (Air Force and Navy) procurement and ammunition funds in the amount of $12,829,441 are being obligated on the first task order at the time of award.  The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity (FA8681-19-D-0005).   Peerless Technologies Corp., Fairborn, Ohio, has been awarded for $47,241,075 for advisory and assistance services to support the Air Force Civil Engineering Center energy directorate.  This contract provides for support of current Air Force energy policy execution, development of new plans and procedures, and implementation of future centralized energy program management endeavors.  Work will be performed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, and is expected to be complete by April 10, 2024.  This award is the result of a competitive acquisition and four offers were received.  Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $8,328,435 are being obligated at the time of award.  The Air Force Installation Contracting Agency, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, is the contracting activity (FA8903-19-F-0126).   NAVY   Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $151,287,000 fixed-price-incentive-firm modification (P00016) to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract (N00019-17-C-0001).  This modification provides for the procurement of long-lead items for the manufacture and delivery of 21 F-35 Lightning II Lot 14 low-rate initial production aircraft for the governments of Australia (15) and Norway (6). Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas (30 percent); El Segundo, California (25 percent); Warton, United Kingdom (20 percent); Orlando, Florida (10 percent); Nashua, New Hampshire (5 percent); Nagoya, Japan (5 percent); and Baltimore, Maryland (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in Dec 2022.  International partner funds in the amount of $151,287,000 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  This contract combines purchase for the governments of Australia ($108,170,000; 71 percent); and Norway ($43,117,000; 29 percent) under a cooperative agreement.  The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.   Moog Inc., Elma, New York, is awarded an $84,801,681 firm-fixed-price, long-term contract for repair of three items used on the V-22 aircraft.  The contract will include a three-year base period with no option periods.  Work will be performed in Elma, New York (85 percent); and Cherry Point, North Carolina (15 percent).  Work is expected to be completed by March 2022.  Annual working capital funds (Navy) will be obligated as individual task orders are issued and funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  This contract was a sole-sourced requirement pursuant to the authority set forth in 10 U.S. Code 2304(C)(1) and Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1, with one offer received.  Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the contracting activity (N00383-19-D-P901).   MLT Systems LLC,* Stafford, Virginia, is being awarded a $44,822,205 firm-fixed-price task order (M67854-19-F-3000) under previously awarded contract N00178-10-D-6179 for Program Manager Advanced Amphibious Assault support services for business, acquisition, logistics, engineering, and test and evaluation (T&E) related activities to include acquisition policy and program documentation development; program analysis; logistics management support to include government furnished property maintenance; financial management; engineering; and T&E support.  Work will be performed in Stafford, Virginia (74 percent); Camp Pendleton, California (18 percent); Aberdeen, Maryland (5 percent); and Albany, Georgia (3 percent); and is expected to be completed by April 23, 2023.  Fiscal 2019 procurement (Marine Corps) funds in the amount of $8,297,486; and fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation (Marine Corps) funds in the amount of $2,067,314 will be obligated at the time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The base contract was competitively procured via SeaPort, Zone 2 – National Capital Region, with four offers received. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Virginia, is the contracting activity (M67854-19-F-3000).   Rockwell Collins Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was awarded a $27,333,806 fixed-price indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract for the procurement of up to 62 430 Aircraft Direction Finders; 123 4230 Radio Tuner Panels; and 123 High Frequency 121 Radios in support of Lots 9, 10, and 11 P-8A Poseidon aircraft.  These are in support of the Navy and the governments of Australia, the United Kingdom, Norway, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea.  In addition, this contract provides for technical and engineering support, repair of repairables, and technical data.  Work will be performed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (95 percent); and Thiais Cedex, France (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in March 2022.  Fiscal 2018 aircraft procurement (Navy); and foreign military sales (FMS) funds in the amount of $6,012,416 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)1.  The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, New Jersey, is the contracting activity (N68335-19-D-0007). (Awarded March 29, 2019)   Lockheed Martin Space, Sunnyvale, California, is awarded $17,976,489 for cost-plus-fixed-fee level-of-effort completion modification P00001 to a previously awarded contract (N00030-18-C-0023) to provide the United Kingdom (UK) with engineering and technical support services and deliverable materials for the Trident II Fleet Ballistic Missile System.  This contract provides for support for technical planning, direction, coordination, and control to ensure that UK Fleet Ballistic Missile Program requirements are identified and integrated to support planned milestone schedules and emergent requirements.  Re-entry Systems UK resident technical support, operational support hardware, and consumable spares are also provided for.  Work will be performed in Cape Canaveral, Florida (39.41 percent); Sunnyvale, California (37.62 percent); Titusville, Florida (9.54 percent); Coulport, Scotland (5.70 percent); St. Mary's, Georgia (2.17 percent); Silverdale, Washington (2.11 percent); and various places below one percent (3.45 percent), with an expected level-of-effort completion date of March 31, 2020, and a deliverable items completion date of June 30, 2021.  UK Funds in the amount of $17,976,489 will be obligated on this award.  Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  This contract was awarded on a sole source basis, pursuant to 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(4), and was previously synopsized on the Federal Business Opportunities website.  Strategic Systems Programs, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity.   Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems, Baltimore, Maryland, is being awarded a $13,429,873 firm fixed-price contract modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-18-C-4208) to exercise options to procure Machinery Control System (MCS) consoles and cabinets for the DDG 51 new construction ship program and DDG 51 midlife modernization program and associated land based engineering sites.  The DDG 51 Class MCS provides control and monitoring capability of the ship’s auxiliary, damage control, electrical, and propulsion systems.  As part of its electrical capability, the MCS interfaces with the ship’s power generation and electrical distribution system.  Work will be performed in Orlando, Florida (90 percent); and Baltimore, Maryland (10 percent), and is expected to be completed by March 2021.  Fiscal 2018 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy); fiscal 2019 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy); and fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) in the amount of $13,429,873 will be obligated at the time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity.   Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., San Diego, California, is being awarded a $12,872,342 modification (P00012) to a previously awarded fixed-price-incentive contract (N00019-17-C-0018).  This modification upgrades three MQ-4C Triton aircraft from a baseline Integrated Functional Capability (IFC) 3 software configuration to a Multi-IFC 4 software configuration.  Additionally, this modification updates drawings and associated technical data in support of the MQ-4C IFC software configuration upgrade.  Work will be performed in Palmdale, California (48 percent); San Diego, California (38 percent); and Moss Point, California (14 percent), and is expected to be completed in October 2021.  Fiscal 2018 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $12,872,342 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.   SJC-BVIL,* Montrose Colorado, was awarded an $11,487,876 firm-fixed-price task order under a previously awarded design-build indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity unrestricted multiple awarded construction contract (N40084-19-F-4319) for commercial and institutional building construction contract to repair receiver site building Facility 201 at U.S. Naval Support Facility, Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory.  The work to be performed provides replacement of engine generators of North Power Plant 730.  The work includes architectural, civil/structural, electrical, mechanical and fire protection.  The work will be performed in Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory, and is expected to be completed by April 2021.  Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance (Navy) contract funds in the amount of $11,487,876 are obligated on this award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  Three proposals were received for this task order.  The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Far East, Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory, is the contracting activity. (Awarded March 31, 2019)   T3W Business Solutions Inc.,* San Diego, California, is awarded a $9,629,274 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee multiple award contract for professional and administrative support services to support Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific (NIWC Pacific) corporate operations.  Support includes total force manpower management; material control; travel services; facilities operations; data management and visualization; and general administrative support.  This is one of three multiple award contracts.  All awardees will have the opportunity to compete for task orders during the ordering period.  This two-year contract includes two, two-year option periods which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to an estimated $30,132,338.  All work will be performed in San Diego, California, and work for the base period is expected to be completed March 31, 2021.  If all options are exercised, the period of performance would extend through March 31, 2025.  No funds will be obligated at the time of award.  Funds will be obligated as task orders are issued using working capital funds (Navy) and operations and maintenance (Navy) funds.  This contract was competitively procured via Request for Proposal N66001-18-R-0177 which was published on the Federal Business Opportunities website and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command e-Commerce Central website.  Nineteen offers were received and three were selected for award.  NIWC Pacific, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity (N66001-19-D-3420).   Thor Solutions LLC,* Arlington, Virginia, is awarded a $9,482,581 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee, multiple award contract for professional and administrative support services to support Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific (NIWC Pacific) corporate operations.  Support includes total force manpower management; material control; travel services; facilities operations; data management and visualization; and general administrative support.  This is one of three multiple award contracts.  All awardees will have the opportunity to compete for task orders during the ordering period.  This two-year contract includes two, two-year option periods which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to an estimated $28,719,124.  All work will be performed in San Diego, California, and work for the base period is expected to be completed March 31, 2021.  If all options are exercised, the period of performance would extend through March 31, 2025.  No funds will be obligated at the time of award.  Funds will be obligated as task orders are issued using working capital funds (Navy); and operations and maintenance (Navy) funds.  This contract was competitively procured via Request for Proposal N66001-18-R-0177 which was published on the Federal Business Opportunities website and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command e-Commerce Central website.  Nineteen offers were received and three were selected for award.  NIWC Pacific, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity (N66001-19-D-3421).   Kros-Wise Inc.,* San Diego, California, is awarded a $9,382,074 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee multiple award contract for professional and administrative support services to support Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific (NIWC Pacific) corporate operations.  Support includes total force manpower management; material control; travel services; facilities operations; data management and visualization; and general administrative support.  This is one of three multiple award contracts.  All awardees will have the opportunity to compete for task orders during the ordering period.  This two-year contract includes two, two-year option periods which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to an estimated $28,378,360.  All work will be performed in San Diego, California, and work for the base period is expected to be completed March 31, 2021.  If all options are exercised, the period of performance would extend through March 31, 2025.  No funds will be obligated at the time of award. Funds will be obligated as task orders are issued using working capital funds (Navy) and operations and maintenance (Navy) funds.  This contract was competitively procured via Request for Proposal N66001-18-R-0177 which was published on the Federal Business Opportunities website and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command e-Commerce Central website.  Nineteen offers were received and three were selected for award.  NIWC Pacific, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity (N66001-19-D-3419).   Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., San Diego, California, is being awarded a $7,241,880 advance acquisition contract modification (P00002) to a previously awarded cost-reimbursable contract (N00019-18-C-1028).  This modification extends the period of performance and provides additional funding to procure long lead components, material, parts and associated efforts required to maintain the MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System planned low rate initial production, lot 4 production schedule.  Work will be performed in San Diego, California (25.3 percent); Baltimore, Maryland (22.7 percent); Salt Lake City, Utah (20.2 percent); Bridgeport, West Virginia (8.2 percent); Red Oak, Texas (4.7 percent); Vandalia, Ohio (.2 percent); various locations within the continental U.S. (15.1 percent); and various locations outside the continental U.S. (3.6 percent), and is expected to be completed in May 2019.  Fiscal 2018 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $7,241,880 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.   DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY   American Water Operations and Maintenance LLC, Voorhees, New Jersey, has been awarded a maximum $49,144,712 modification (P00145) to a 50-year contract (SP0600-08-C-8257) with no option periods for the ownership, operation and maintenance of the water and wastewater utility systems at Fort Polk, Louisiana.  This is a fixed-price prospective redetermination contract.  Locations of performance are Louisiana and New Jersey, with a Jan. 31, 2059, performance completion date.  Using military service is Army.  Type of appropriation is fiscal 2017 through 2059 Army operations and maintenance funds.  The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Energy, Fort Polk, Louisiana.   ARMY   Burns & McDonnell, Kansas City, Missouri, was awarded a $48,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract for architect-engineering services. Bids were solicited via the internet with four received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2024. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City, Missouri, is the contracting activity (W912DQ-19-D-4007).   Korean Airlines Co. Ltd., Seoul, Republic of Korea, was awarded a $9,446,385 modification (P00003) to contract W91QVN-17-D-0003 for depot level helicopter maintenance. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of March 31, 2020. 411th Combat Support Brigade, Seoul, South Korea, is the contracting activity.   World Wide Technology, St. Louis, Missouri, was awarded a $7,883,995 firm-fixed-price contract for information technology hardware. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Missouri, with an estimated completion date of May 3, 2019. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance, Army funds in the amount of $2,739,383 were obligated at the time of the award. 409th Combat Support Brigade, Wiesbaden, Germany, is the contracting activity (W912CM-19-F-0013).   CDW Government LLC, Vernon Hills, Illinois, was awarded a $7,701,689 firm-fixed-price contract for hardware supply, specialty notebooks, standard desktop, performance desktop, Standard Micro Form Factor, Performance Micro Form Factor, rugged tablets and monitors. Bids were solicited via the internet with three received. Work will be performed in Bruchmuehlbach-Miesau, Germany, with an estimated completion date of May 6, 2019. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance, Army funds in the amount of $7,701,689 were obligated at the time of the award. 409th Combat Support Brigade, Wiesbaden, Germany, is the contracting activity (W912CM-19-F-0018).   Raytheon Co., McKinney, Texas, was awarded a $7,383,058 firm-fixed-price contract for logistics maintenance capability, repair parts, replenishment material, configuration management, product assurance support, special engineering studies, system engineering, failure analysis, test and evaluation, equipment publications, obsolescence redesigns, test evaluation material for repairs, field service representative technical assistance, and contractor repair in support of the Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wireless-guided Improved Target Acquisition System. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Work will be performed in McKinney, Texas, with an estimated completion date of March 31, 2022. 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  • Pas de retombées furtives pour le F-35

    6 avril 2022 | International, Aérospatial

    Pas de retombées furtives pour le F-35

    De l’avis des experts, le gouvernement fédéral a fait le bon choix en décidant d’engager des négociations finales avec la multinationale Lockheed Martin en vue de l’achat de 88 avions de chasse F-35. Ces pourparlers devront toutefois générer des retombées économiques conséquentes pour l’industrie aéronautique québécoise, au moins équivalentes à l'importante place qu’elle occupe dans l’écosystème canadien.

  • CH-53E Heavy Lift Helicopter Reaches One Million Flight Hours

    5 août 2019 | International, Aérospatial, Naval

    CH-53E Heavy Lift Helicopter Reaches One Million Flight Hours

    Aircraft First Entered Service With The USMC In 1981 The CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter reached a major milestone this year by logging more than one million flight hours since it first entered service with the Marine Corps in 1981. The CH-53E is a versatile machine used for amphibious assault and long-range insertion, delivering troops, vehicles and supplies. This rapid resupply vehicle is still one of the most used aircraft in the United States military air arsenal. “The CH-53E has seen more work than was ever anticipated it would see,” said Major Matthew Baumann, H-53 In-Service, Naval Air Systems Command Heavy Lift Helicopter program office (PMA-261) co-lead. Currently, there are 142 CH-53E Super Stallions in service. Though out of production, the CH-53E is in the middle of a “RESET” – a rolling period of rebuilding, upgrading and increasing safety, reliability and capabilities to lengthen its service life through 2032. According to Baumann, the first 25 helicopters have completed their RESET process, “allowing the squadron commanders to plan for training, operations and maintenance with renewed confidence,” he said. Resetting of the CH-53E fleet is an important segue from the current platform to the new CH-53K King Stallion, which will be its heavy-lift replacement. “The CH-53K is the most powerful helicopter ever built by the United States military,” said Colonel Perrin, PMA-261 program manager. “It will be safer, faster and more capable than any previous heavy lift helicopter in the battlespace.” Its development is currently in the testing and capability requirements phase, with a goal of bringing the CH-53K to fleet Marines by 2024. “It’s a game-changer,” said Perrin. “We can’t wait to have the K available for fleet use. But for now we’ve got a capable, reliable and safe helicopter doing heavy-lift for our Marines.” http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?do=main.textpost&id=8e63f37f-9874-4fb9-acf1-72e67d6a9cbd

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