13 mai 2022 | International, Naval

The light amphibious warship is delayed, but the Marine Corps has a temporary solution

Sur le même sujet

  • Air Force Acquisition Chief: Reaper Replacement Plan Should Come in FY ’22 Budget Request

    17 mars 2020 | International, Aérospatial

    Air Force Acquisition Chief: Reaper Replacement Plan Should Come in FY ’22 Budget Request

    The Air Force is conducting a study that will inform how the service will continue its critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions as it begins to phase out production of its MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial systems, acquisition chief Will Roper said March 10. The service plans to reduce the General Atomics Aerospace Systems Inc.-developed MQ-9 Reaper combat lines from 70 to 60 by eliminating 10 contractor-operated lines while maintaining all MQ-9 aircraft in the fiscal year 2021 budget plan. House Armed Services Committee (HASC) member Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas) sought clarity on why the production line would be reduced in a Tuesday hearing on Capitol Hill. “Why the major change in plans, and how will the Air Force address its ISR gap?” he asked. Roper told the committee that the Air Force is planning to build the “next generation” of ISR drones with a mixture of options, including “more high-end, unique” systems that will require lots of money to ensure their survivability, as well as commercial platforms that can “push the price point down” and provide attritable systems for added capacity. “We’re doing studies now to see what our mix could be, and I anticipate that will be one of our major decisions in our FY ’22 budget for the Air Force,” Roper said during the hearing. The study is being led by the Air Force’s Program Executive Office for ISR and Special Operations Forces at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, he told a small group of reporters after the hearing. He expects it to be complete before the end of the fiscal year to inform the service’s FY ’22 Program Objective Memorandum (POM), which is currently in development, he added. “It’s a really great time to give [PEO ISR & SOF] an innovative program because as their portfolio appears to be trending down … it’s important that they have something that’s the new version of them that’s innovative, that’s indicative of their future,” he said. The Air Force has to work on dropping the cost of the counter-violent extremism mission, both in manpower and unit price, Roper said. He added that employing commercial drone services in the defense industry could help smaller, newer companies begin to scale their production while offering the service a “much lower, much cheaper” way to sustain cost. “Working with the Defense Department, you don’t need the kind of production capacity that the globe does, so we’re a pretty good first stop,” he said. He also told the committee that while the Reaper had “undeniable overmatch in a low-end fight and has certainly saved many lives, … as we look to the high-end fight, we just can’t take them into the battlefield.” Roper warned that if the Defense Department does not move quickly to engage builders of large UAS, the market could go the same way of small, hobbyist UAS and be saturated by Chinese products, as was seen with DJI’s Phantom drone. The service’s ISR portfolio could look very different in FY ’21 if Congress approves its proposed FY ’21 presidential budget request, released Feb. 10 (Defense Daily.) It includes the retirement of 24 Block 20/30 RQ-4 Global Hawks, including three EQ-4B drones equipped with Northrop Grumman’s Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) system, as well as reducing the MQ-9 lines. In order to provide sufficient levels of ISR with the divestment of the Global Hawk 20/30 assets and reducing MQ-9 combat lines, the Air Force will maintain and modernize the U-2 [Dragon Lady ISR aircraft] and the Global Hawk Block 40 fleets and maintain 60 government-owned/government operated MQ-9 combat lines, the Air Force previously told Defense Daily. The service also plans to procure one Bombardier E-11A BACN-enabled aircraft through the five-year future years defense plan (FYDP), with plans to bring the total fleet up to eight by FY ’26. One E-11A aircraft suffered a fatal crash in Afghanistan last month, leaving the Air Force with three in its current inventory. Vela also asked whether the Air Force’s proposed MQ-9 retirements could affect other services operating the Reaper. Marine Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder, the service’s deputy commandant for aviation, said during the hearing that while the Marines recently welcomed their first MQ-9 operators at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, he is also looking at the “wide-open” unmanned systems industry for the service’s next generations of drones. “We hope to be able to continue to operate with the Air Force,” he told Vela. However, “We’re ready to step out on our own system,” he added. https://www.defensedaily.com/air-force-acquisition-chief-reaper-replacement-plan-come-fy-22-budget-request/budget/

  • Who Will Build 651 Parachuting Trucks For The Army?

    9 octobre 2019 | International, Terrestre

    Who Will Build 651 Parachuting Trucks For The Army?

    By   SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR.   WASHINGTON: Three very different teams are vying to build the Army’s Infantry Squad Vehicle, a truck tough enough to parachute out of an airplane and then drive away cross-country with nine heavily armed infantrymen. By Nov. 13th, each team owes the Army two vehicles for testing, with the winner getting a contract for 651 ISVs next year. Let’s meet the players. The Oshkosh-Flyer team is the closest thing to an incumbent in the competition. The Army had earlier picked the Flyer-72 as an interim air-droppable transport, the A-GMV, and Flyer is offering an upgraded version for the follow-on program, ISV. Actual mass production will be done by Oshkosh, which makes a host of Army trucks — most prominently, the beefed-up successor to the Humvee, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), which the Army and Marine Corps plan to buy over 50,000 of in the coming decades. What’s more, Oshkosh plans to build the 5,000-pound ISV on the same assembly line as all its other vehicles, from the 14,000-lb JLTV to 10-ton FMTV dump trucks. (The earlier version of the Flyer-72 was mass-produced by General Dynamics). The ISV will be the lightest vehicle on the Oshkosh line, VP George Mansfield told me, but the company is confident it can build the air-droppable trucks more affordably than Flyer could — and at least as well. In fact, Mansfield said, he expects the Oshkosh-built version to be more reliable. That’s in part because of Oshkosh’s manufacturing expertise — it won the JLTV contract in large part because its offering broke down less than half as often as uparmored Humvees — and in part because of Flyer’s extensive field experience with the earlier versions built for the Army and Special Operation Command. As a team, Mansfield told me, “we’ve learned a lot about reliability, we’ve learned a lot about life-cycle cost, that now we can take here at Oshkosh with our extensive knowledge of all the other product lines we sell to the Army.” Polaris and SAIC both have plenty of defense experience. Polaris’s DAGOR did lose the earlier A-GMV contest to Flyer, but numerous DAGOR variants are in widespread service with Special Operations Command, the 82nd Airborne Division (shown in the video above), Canada, and other foreign customers the company can’t disclose. “The DAGOR is already certified” — by the Army itself — “for all of the transport requirements that the Army is looking for, whether that’s internal air transport, sling-load transport, or air-drop,” Polaris VP Jed Leonard told me. And each of those prior customers required tweaks to the platform or special mission equipment — heavy weapons, sensors, radios — that the DAGOR could easily accommodate. Integrating such high-tech kit is SAIC’s core competency. While not a manufacturer itself, SAIC has done decades of integration work for the military, most extensively on the MRAP program, fitting other companies’ vehicles with the sophisticated electronics that turn a truck into a weapons system. It also provides extensive maintenance and other support worldwide. The two companies have worked together on and off, on small projects, for years, as various customers bought Polaris vehicles and then asked SAIC to equip them for specific military missions. But the current partnership is a big step up for both. The odd man out is GM Defense, which giant General Motors created — in a sense, re-created — not quite two years ago after selling off most of its defense programs back in 2003. GM Defense president David Albritton just came aboard a year ago and has spent much of his time working with “Mother GM” on potential joint projects and spin-offs, from self-driving car technology to hydrogen fuel cells, he told me in an interview. “I’m not reporting any revenues at this point,” he said, although GM Defense does already have some contracts he can’t disclose. GM’s offering is the only contender without a prior track record in the military. But their ISV is derived from the Chevrolet Colorado, of which US customers have bought more than 100,000 a year of since 2016, giving GM staggering efficiencies of scale no competitor can match. Specifically, the GM ISV a beefed-up, militarized version of the Colorado’s offroad racing variant, the ZR2, with which it shares 70 percent of the same parts — parts that are available from Chevy dealers worldwide. GM builds over 10,000 ZR2s a year: a rounding error for General Motors but a megaprogram for the Army. GM’s scale advantage is not just in production and parts. It’s also in engineering. The company spends over $7 billion a year on R&D, Albritton told me, and its ISV offering includes advanced suspension systems like jounce shocks and dynamic spooling. GM’s challenge is overcoming its inexperience in the defense sector — especially, proving it can integrate military electronics onto its civilian-derived vehicle. LRPF: Long-Range Precision Fires. NGCV: Next-Generation Combat Vehicle. FVL: Future Vertical Lift. AMD: Air & Missile Defense. SL: Soldier Lethality. SOURCE: US Army. (Click to expand) The Big Picture Overall, ISV is an especially interesting competition because none of the contenders is a classic defense prime: Oshkosh and Polaris both have lots of civilian customers alongside their extensive military business. Flyer is a subunit of a modest aerospace and defense components-builder called Marvin Group. SAIC is a systems engineering and service firm rather than a traditional Original Equipment Manufacturer. And GM of course is one of the biggest civilian manufacturers in the country. “We make upwards of nine million cars a year,” Albritton told me, each put together out of roughly 30,000 different parts. Compare and contrast the Army’s Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle program, which is de facto down to a single competitor — defense industry stalwart General Dynamics (which bought GM’s previous defense business back in 2003). ISV shows the kind of variety that the Army wants to encourage and needs to infuse innovation and competition into its programs. Yes, at 651 trucks — at least, in the initial 2020 contract — this is a modest program in both size and technological ambition. It’s easily overshadowed by the hypersonic missiles, high-speed aircraft, and robotic tanks of the Army’s Big Six priorities. By contrast, for the predecessor competition (the one Flyer won) back in 2015, we ran eight stories in three months because there was so little else the cash-strapped and acquisition challenged Army was buying at the time. But the Infantry Squad Vehicle is still an important piece of the larger Army puzzle. The Army’s infantry brigades — especially its 82nd Airborne parachutists — are its most strategically deployable units, easily packed into aircraft and flown around the world overnight, while heavy armored forces cram two tanks into one C-17 or, more often, go by ship. But once the infantry arrives, it moves on foot. (Although we bet everyone in the 82nd remembers being called a “speed bump” in this Defense Science Board study.) The idea of ISV is a troop transport light enough to be air-dropped or, more often, delivered by helicopter. That way, the troops can land a long distance from their target — specifically, far enough their transport planes or helicopters aren’t shot down by anti-aircraft missiles — and then advance quickly overnight before attacking on foot at dawn. We expect to see all three competing vehicles on the show floor at the Association of the US Army megaconference next week. https://breakingdefense.com/2019/10/who-will-build-651-of-the-armys-parachuting-truck/

  • Can UAM, Advanced Air Mobility Escape From The Hype Phase?

    16 février 2021 | International, Aérospatial

    Can UAM, Advanced Air Mobility Escape From The Hype Phase?

    Michael Bruno Stop me if you have heard this before: A whole new class of aircraft will democratize and revolutionize seemingly everything, starting with air travel. Will it be advanced air mobility or maybe very light jets? Aviation consultant Brian Foley recalls the latter while thinking of the former, since both are in the news recently. Disruptive paradigms are not a new threat to aviation, even this century, he notes. The Eclipse very light jet (VLJ) was intended to make airborne commuting more of a reality before it became a $1.5 billion “smoking crater in the ground.” In November, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware authorized the sale of Eclipse Aerospace and the Eclipse Aircraft project to AML Global Eclipse, backed by British businessman Christopher Harborne, for $5.25 million. Now some observers wonder whether urban air mobility (UAM) and advanced air mobility (AAM) will experience something similar. “There are two sides of the fence, and you’re either on one side or another,” Foley pointed out in a recent edition of the Aerospace Executive Podcast with talent finder Craig Picken. “One side of the fence is that this is disruptive technology, and this will just change the whole landscape of how people travel in cities and between regional points. Some investors believe that, too, and they are putting some chips down on the different potential winners if this thing does come out on the other end and is successful. “There are others that are a little bit curious to see how this thing works,” Foley continued. “We’ve had helicopter service for years, which isn’t all that much different. There are some concerns over noise—these things are overgrown drones.” Yes, billions of dollars are pouring into UAM/AAM, but is it actually significant yet? Silicon Valley is behind this, as are multiple other investors. But UAM/AAM represents a fraction of their investments, which are otherwise cast far and wide and could include UAM/AAM only as a one-off gamble. “Even though it seems like a big number to us, it’s just pocket change to them,” Foley said. “They hope there is a return. Right now, there are as many arguments why it’s going to succeed and won’t succeed.” Such context is easy to forget amid the flurry of recent headlines, such as Joby Aviation’s takeover of Uber Elevate and a reported public trading debut on the horizon. What is more, consultants continue to publish eye-catching reports about the market’s value in coming decades. The latest from Deloitte consultancy and the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) says the UAM/AAM sector could be worth $115 billion a year by 2035, employing more than 280,000 “high-paying” aerospace workers and generating an annual $20 billion in U.S. exports. “It’s become increasingly apparent that this particular area has become more real,” AIA Vice President for Civil Aviation David Silver told Aviation Week ahead of the release of the Jan. 26 study. “This is very real technology that is just on the horizon, and there is no single silver bullet that is going to make it happen.” Deloitte’s global and U.S. aerospace and defense leader, Robin Lineberger, concurred during the interview. The report pushes for a sustained, collaborative approach by the public and private sectors for electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) aircraft to be widely accepted and adopted, sooner rather than later. “With the market poised to grow sevenfold between 2025 and 2035, it’s important for U.S. policymakers and industries to cooperate now to ensure American leadership in this transformative emerging sector,” he said. Already, the global race for AAM leadership is intensifying, the groups said, and the U.S. faces strong competition from China, Germany and South Korea. As a result, the AIA-Deloitte document calls for streamlined eVTOL testing and certification as well as seamlessly integrating aircraft into the U.S. airspace system. Silver said it is important to shed light on the issue now, at the beginning of the Biden administration, as Washington is expected again to consider domestic infrastructure development as a key priority. The point is to broaden policymakers’ horizons, he said, so that they wonder, “Are we even asking the right questions?” Still, other observers point out that—like almost everything in aerospace—paradigm shifts come slowly compared with other business sectors. Take the City-Airbus vision from the European giant: “Realistically, we will have to wait until the end of the decade to see more than a demonstrator,” Airbus Helicopters CEO Bruno Even acknowledged in a November press briefing. Even’s boss, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury, was even more clear-eyed days later in a separate online debate with an automotive CEO. Faury explained that eVTOL projects, such as the Vahana two-seater and the CityAirbus four-seater, should be seen primarily as low-cost demonstrators for future technology on commercial aircraft. Faury stressed: “There will be a market eventually, but profitability will be tricky at the start." https://aviationweek.com/aerospace/urban-unmanned-aviation/can-uam-advanced-air-mobility-escape-hype-phase

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