22 février 2021 | International, Aérospatial

Steady F-35 Price Reductions Likely at an End - Air Force Magazine

Unit prices aren't likely to decrease much, if at all, in the next three lots of F-35 production—now being negotiated, says Lockheed Martin.


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  • U.S. Military Turns To Remote Pilot Training

    15 juin 2020 | International, Aérospatial

    U.S. Military Turns To Remote Pilot Training

    Lee Hudson June 11, 2020 Once the global coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S., the military moved to ramp up remote pilot training options. But it is unclear if the trend will continue after the contagion passes. Before COVID-19, the Air Force was developing immersive training devices that would help instruct students remotely as part of Air Education and Training Command’s Pilot Training Next program, says Lt. Col. Ryan Riley, commander of Detachment 24. Instead of the pupil coming into the office, receiving an in-person brief, locating a training device and executing a mission, Riley’s team was looking at how to conduct those events with both the student and instructor at separate locations. Army pauses to assess training options Air Force and Navy immediately pivot to remote instruction “What we wanted to see, prior to COVID-19, was how far [we could] push the bounds of remote instruction,” Riley says. The pandemic turned that desire into a need to provide students the same level of instruction remotely as they would in person. The Air Force and training companies were already working to develop virtual training systems when COVID-19 struck, and the pandemic seems to have accelerated adoption. “There are only so many places to train,” says Todd Probert, defense and security group president at CAE. Though the military was once reluctant to fully tap into distance training, the question has become: “Is there a way to centralize that instruction?” he says. Pilots more than 100 mi. from a training base would be required to quarantine for two weeks once they arrived. The technology, however, was “very glitchy,” Riley says. The main problem was latency. So the team got to work, disassembling hardware and issuing the newest equipment to students and some of the instructor corps. Another issue was the fact that the detachment’s home-use devices were running off a laptop. The team discovered that various software programs such as remote screen-sharing were taxing the central processing unit (CPU) heavily, overwhelming laptops, says Lt. Col. Robert Knapp, Detachment 24 operations officer. “No matter how good a laptop you buy, they’re just never going to run at the same speed as a desktop computer,” Knapp says. “We took some of our older desktop computers that were in the building and sent those home with students to replace the laptops, which opened up a lot more CPU bandwidth.” The students also were asked to plug their devices into their routers instead of using wireless home internet, which reduced latency and resulted in a more streamlined, less glitchy process. Meanwhile, the Army was tackling similar challenges at Fort Rucker in Dale County, Alabama, where the service produces pilots to fly the Boeing AH-64 Apache and CH-47 Chinook and Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk. In addition to training its own pilots at Fort Rucker, the service also assists with the training of foreign military aviators from as many as 47 countries annually at the base. The Army established a virtual instructor’s course so that the instructor pilots could learn how to teach using a digital platform, says Maj. Gen. David Francis, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general. “COVID-19 has enabled us to really take a look at ourselves and how we’re delivering training,” he says. Francis envisions a blend of in-person and virtual training once the crisis passes. As the pandemic took hold, the Navy, too, set up remote instruction with unprecedented speed. With 45 students per class, the service would not have been able to comply with social distancing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to Lt. Tim Benoit, aviation preflight indoctrination instructor at Naval Aviation Schools Command located in Pensacola, Florida. So in just five days, the Navy created a digital classroom and launched classes for its student Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy pilots. Benoit had selected flight instructors to test the new digital system, and the next day he prepared a presentation to train the rest of the instructors. “We were able to adapt to this without missing any productivity targets,” Benoit says. The Navy does not plan to employ remote instruction after the COVID-19 crisis but views the technology as an alternative when a natural disaster such as a hurricane hits. The service is recognizing the advantages of remote learning, however, which include saving time and money. Students have access to each session’s recording and associated course materials, and the technology would allow students not in Pensacola to take the courses.  “It can also be used in conjunction with in-person training to prep students . . . and it’s been used to enable guest speakers” in another city, Benoit says. “Those are some things that I think may persist beyond the pandemic.” https://aviationweek.com/defense-space/budget-policy-operations/us-military-turns-remote-pilot-training

  • No more Army adviser brigades or amphib ships? This proposed report could radically change how the services fight

    14 juin 2018 | International, Terrestre

    No more Army adviser brigades or amphib ships? This proposed report could radically change how the services fight

    A Senate committee is asking for a report that could radically alter the “roles and missions” of the services — especially the Army and Marine Corps. Senate bill 2987 calls for the services to put together this report by February. However, the bill is still in draft form and would require House agreement to become law. The proposal for the report suggests the Marine Corps could take over all counterinsurgency missions from the Army, thereby eliminating the newly established and deployed Security Force Assistance Brigades. The bill’s authors instead want the Army to beef up its presence in the “great power competition” against Russia and China by increasing the size and strength of its vehicle fleet. The service would also use more drones and fewer manned aircraft to support ground units in the multi-domain fight. The Senate Armed Services Committee’s request also calls for the services to conduct or provide the following: An assessment whether the joint force would benefit from having one service dedicated primarily to low-intensity missions, thereby enabling the others to focus more exclusively on advanced peer competitors. A detailed description of, and accompanying justification for, the total amount of forces required to perform the security force assistance mission and the planned geographic employment of such forces. A re-validation of the Army plan to construct six Security Force Assistance Brigades, and an assessment of the impact, if any, of such plan on the capability of the Army to perform its primary roles under the National Defense Strategy. An assessment whether the security force assistance mission would be better performed by the Marine Corps, and an assessment of the end strength and force composition changes, if any, required for the Marine Corps to assume such a mission. The analysis isn’t limited to ground forces either. The SASC wants an assessment of the feasibility of current plans and investments by the Navy and Marine Corps to operate and defend their sea bases in contested environments. One assessment may strike deeply into current Marine Corps and Navy projects — amphibious connectors and the ships that carry them. SASC is asking the Pentagon to conduct the following: An assessment whether amphibious forced entry operations against advanced peer competitors should remain an enduring mission for the joint force considering the stressing operational nature and significant resource requirements of such missions. An assessment whether a transition from large-deck amphibious ships to small aircraft carriers would result in a more lethal and survivable Marine Corps sea base that could accommodate larger numbers of more diverse strike aircraft. An assessment of the manner in which an acceleration of development and fielding of longer-range, unmanned, carrier-suitable strike aircraft could better meet operational requirements and alter the requirement for shorter range, manned tactical fighter aircraft. Special operations forces would join the Army’s shift back to fighting big militaries, getting out of the counterinsurgency business as well, according to the Senate proposal. Senators are seeking: A detailed assessment whether the joint special operations enterprise is currently performing too many missions worldwide, and whether any such missions could be performed adequately and more economically by conventional units. A detailed assessment whether the global allocation of special operations forces, and especially the most capable units, is aligned to the pacing threats and priority missions of the National Defense Strategy. A detailed description of the changes required to align the joint special operations enterprise more effectively with the National Defense Strategy. Additional reviews include the space mission, requirements for the KC-46 tanker aircraft, and logistics in contested environments. If approved, the Senate Armed Services Committee wants the report by Feb. 1. https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2018/06/13/no-more-army-adviser-brigades-or-amphib-ships-this-proposed-report-could-radically-change-how-the-services-fight/

  • Roper Sees Air Force ‘Flying Cars’ In Production By 2023

    17 avril 2020 | International, Aérospatial

    Roper Sees Air Force ‘Flying Cars’ In Production By 2023

      "We are going to accelerate this market for domestic use in a way that also helps our military," Roper stressed. "The Air Force is all in." By   THERESA HITCHENSon April 16, 2020 at 7:15 PM   WASHINGTON: ‘Flying cars’ using electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) technology could be in full-up production for Air Force use in moving cargo and people within three years, says Air Force acquisition head Will Roper. Such a capability, Roper enthused, would give the US military the ability to undertake missions “in three dimensions that we normally do in two,” giving the services “much greater agility.” This is why the Air Force program for investing in commercial firms now pursuing eVTOL vehicles is called “Agility Prime,” he noted. The Air Force will take a first look at vendor offerings in a virtual pitch event at the end of the month, with a focus on small eVTOL vehicles that could be used for missions involving transport of only a few people. Roper told reporters today that the size of any future Air Force vehicle buys would depend on what missions eVTOL vehicles prove capable of carrying out. “If it’s helping us to do logistics at the edge, we could end up buying these in higher quantities. If it’s things like security and rescue, it will be smaller quantities,” he explained. Roper has previously said he envisions large flying cars for carrying cargo, as well as smaller vehicles for Special Operations-type missions.  But no matter what, Roper added that he expects that granting commercial producers Air Force safety certifications and allowing them to rack up flying hours under Agility Prime “will really help accelerate domestic use of these vehicles and [allow some companies to] get FAA certification sooner that it would have come if we had not interjected ourselves into the market.” The Agility Prime program will hold a “virtual launch event” April 27 to allow vendors to showcase their capabilities and interact with potential investors from both the private sector and the military, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) announced earlier this week. Roper, who will give a keynote, said the event originally had been planned as a live demonstration of capabilities by chosen vendors at the annual South By Southwest music festival in Austin that was scheduled for March 13-22, but cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The objective of the event is to reinforce the Air Force commitment to partnering with industry, investors, and the interagency to help ensure there is a robust domestic capability in this new aerospace sector,” AFLCMC explained. Agility Prime is designed as a “challenge” where eVTOL vehicle makers compete in a series of demonstration that ultimately could result in a contract for full-scale production. According to documents provided for potential competitors on the program website, the Air Force is asking potential vendors to be able to complete a flight test by Dec. 17. In the first round, companies will need to demonstrate the following specifications: Payload: 3-8 personnel Range: Greater than 100 miles Speed: Greater than 100 mph Endurance: Greater than 60 minutes Roper said the second round of the competition would be dedicated to larger vehicles for cargo, and multiple people. Agility Prime is a unique effort that involves a number of service entities working together, including AFLCMC, the Program Executive Office for Mobility, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability (AFWIC) office, AFWERX, and the new AFVentures office that serves as an intermediary between vendors and venture capital providers. Roper said that besides helping to move the US into a prime spot in an emerging marketplace, he intends Agility Prime to also serve as an example to the commercial sector that the Air Force is serious about being “a good innovation partner.” One of the hallmarks of Roper’s term as Air Force acquisition chief has been his focus on figuring out how to leverage commercial research and development to help DoD ensure that it can stay ahead of China in the pursuit of new technology — arguing that innovation is the new battlefield. https://breakingdefense.com/2020/04/roper-sees-air-force-flying-cars-in-production-by-2023

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