2 février 2021 | International, Naval

Submarine maker to add jobs amid $39 billion backlog in work

By: The Associated Press

GROTON, Conn. — General Dynamics Electric Boat plans to add 2,200 jobs this year in Connecticut and Rhode Island as it tackles a $39 billion backlog of work, the submarine maker's top executive said Monday.

Kevin Graney, Electric Boat's president, made the announcement during a video briefing for stakeholders.

He said the company is facing the largest backlog of work in its history, with orders to build two new ballistic missile submarines and 19 new attack submarines, 11 of which are currently under construction.

The company added more than 2,000 jobs a year ago, much of it at the company's Quonset Point site in Rhode Island.

The new jobs will include shipyard workers, engineers and support staff, Graney said, and the firm expects to be in a “stable hiring mode pretty much for the next decade.”

“We're going to need to sustain the Rhode Island workforce as we grow the Connecticut workforce,” he said.

Electric Boat employs more than 17,000 people, including about 12,000 at its Groton shipyard and more than 4,000 in Rhode Island.

Congress increased funding for submarine programs from about $11.1 billion during the last fiscal year to $11.6 billion this fiscal year.

Members of Connecticut's all-Democrat congressional delegation, who took part in the video conference, said the defense contractor can expect to continue receiving work under the Biden administration.

“It may be unmanned as well as manned weapons platforms, but the future of the submarine is critically important,” U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said.


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  • US Defense Department launches Gremlins drone from a mothership for the first time

    29 janvier 2020 | International, Aérospatial

    US Defense Department launches Gremlins drone from a mothership for the first time

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Defense Department is one step closer to having swarming drones that it can launch from military planes and recover in midair, having successfully conducted the first flight of the Gremlins aircraft in November. The test, which occurred at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, proved that a C-130A could successfully launch an X-61A Gremlins Air Vehicle, said Tim Keeter, who manages the program for Dynetics. The company won the Gremlins contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in 2018. “It gives us a lot of confidence going forward that this vehicle can fly where it's supposed to fly, how it's supposed to fly,” Keeter said during a Jan. 21 phone call with reporters. “Now the team can be principally focused on the other portion of our program plan ... which is to successfully rendezvous with a C-130, dock with our docking system ... and safely recover the vehicle.” During the test, which lasted 1 hour and 41 minutes, the X-61A flew with no anomalies and the DARPA-Dynetics team completed all test objectives, including transitioning the X-61A from a cold-engine start to stable flight; validating the Gremlins' data links and handing off control of the drone between air and ground control stations; deploying the docking arm; and collecting data on the air vehicle. However, during the recovery process, the drone crashed to the ground and was destroyed. The drogue parachute, which deployed first to slow the air vehicle, functioned as planned, Keeter explained. However, the larger main parachute — which would soften the landing of the air vehicle so that the drone could be reused — did not correctly deploy due to a mechanical issue. Dynetics has built four other Gremlins vehicles, leaving enough drones to accomplish the program's primary requirement to fly and recover four Gremlins in 30 minutes, said Scott Wierzbanowski, DARPA's Gremlins program manager. The next demonstration, set for sometime this spring, will verify whether the Gremlins can be successfully recovered by the C-130 while in flight. Wierzbanowski characterized this test as critical for proving that the Gremlins can be reused over multiple missions — a key point for bearing out the cost-effectiveness of the concept. "If I have an expendable vehicle, at some point I'm not going to want to be able to use those things because they're just too expensive,” he said. “But if I can recover them and then amortize the cost of that vehicle over 10 or 20 or 30 sorties, maybe there's a bend in the curve somewhere that really will allow us to benefit from these smaller, more affordable, attritable systems." During the recovery process, the C-130 will lower a towed capture device that will mate with the Gremlins drone, thus avoiding the turbulence generated by the wake of the larger aircraft, Keeter said. Once the drone is stabilized by the capture device, an engagement arm deploys, docking with the X-61A and bringing it inside the C-130 cargo bay to be stowed. https://www.defensenews.com/industry/techwatch/2020/01/28/us-defense-department-launches-gremlins-drone-from-a-mothership-for-the-first-time/

  • Who is Secretly Building the USAF’s New Fighter?

    17 septembre 2020 | International, Aérospatial

    Who is Secretly Building the USAF’s New Fighter?

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Dubbed the Aerospace Innovation Initiative, the project aimed to “develop the technologies and address the risks associated with the air dominance platforms that will follow the F-35, as well as other advanced aeronautical challenges.” Roper wouldn't say whether the NGAD and AII projects are linked, but they sound quite similar. He instead said that he disclosed the plane's existence, in part, to encourage companies to invest more in digital engineering. "The obvious candidates for the NGAD prototype are Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, though General Atomics might be a possible designer—but that's a long-shot," Byron Callan, an analyst with Capital Alpha Partners, wrote in a Tuesday note to clients. "Textron's Scorpion program had recently proven that in one year's time, it could take a new clean sheet design to flight, but we doubt it's been able to elevate this skill to combat aircraft." The plane's engine, Callan wrote, was built by either GE or Raytheon Technologies' Pratt & Whitney. Here's the case for why each of the following companies could have built the new NGAD fighter. Boeing The Chicago-based aerospace giant already knows a lot about digital engineering, having partnered with Sweden's Saab to design and build their T-7A training jet in less than a year, near-lightspeed by U.S. military standards. Air Force officials have gushed about the T-7A, which beat out two other planes, the Lockheed Martin T-50 and Leonardo T-100, that were already being used by foreign air forces. The Boeing plane has a mission computer that can run third-party software and apps, allowing for easy updates. It is also designed for quick assembly: it takes just 15 minutes to assemble the forward and aft fuselages, compared with some 24 hours to assemble a F/A-18 Super Hornet fuselage, according to Leanne Caret, the CEO of Boeing Defense. Northrop Grumman It often gets overlooked that Northrop owns Scaled Composites — the Burt Rutan-founded, XPrize-winning design shop behind SpaceShipOne, the first aircraft to carry private citizens into space. Like Boeing, Northrop's Scaled built a plane from scratch for the Air Force's pilot training jet contest, but in the end didn't submit a bid. Northrop has seen an uptick in classified Pentagon work in recent years. It's been presumed that a sizable portion of that cash has gone to build B-21 stealth bombers, whose existence has been disclosed but are being built in secret. It's conceivable that some of the classified cash flowing into the company's Aeronautical Systems business is for the NGAD test aircraft. Northrop is also building the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, the new intercontinental ballistic missiles that will replace the Cold War Minuteman III, using the same digital design technology often touted by Roper. Lockheed Martin The company's Advanced Development Programs division — far better known as the Skunk Works — has long developed super-advanced, super-secret planes for the U.S. military, including the famed U-2 and SR-71 spy planes and the F-117 ground-attack jet. They also built the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. “ADP seems pretty busy across a number of fronts, but also...looking at the Digital Century Series and also looking at where the services are going to go in terms of sixth-gen and next-gen aircraft,” said Michele Evans, who leads Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and its Skunk Works operation, last week. 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In July, for example, an Air Force solicitation for proposals for drones to accompany manned jets drew 18 entries. “It shows there's a lot of interest from very large [companies], which you would expect, to very small,” Gen. Arnold Bunch, the head of Air Force Materiel Command, said in a Wednesday videoconference call with reporters. “I actually believe as we do the digital campaign and we look at doing digital engineering, it will actually open the door to more people to be able to participate that may not have before.” https://www.defenseone.com/business/2020/09/who-secretly-building-usafs-new-fighter/168541/

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