26 septembre 2018 | International, Aérospatial

US F-35 fighter jet poised for combat debut

By Barbara Starr and Zachary Cohen, CNN

Washington (CNN)The US Marine Corps' stealth F-35B Lightning fighter jet could fly its first combat mission within days, according to several US defense officials, who told CNN that the fifth-generation aircraft are currently aboard the USS Essex amphibious assault ship and should soon be in a position to conduct airstrikes over Afghanistan.

The USS Essex has already sailed from the Gulf of Aden into the North Arabian Sea and is expected to move into the Persian Gulf in coming days, one official said.

F-35 pilots have been conducting intelligence and surveillance missions in Somalia while on standby to conduct air support for US troops on the ground there if needed.

While available for support, the advanced fighter jet was not used in an airstrike over Somalia on Saturday that killed 18 militants after US and local forces came under attack.

In May, Israel Defense Forces said they were using their version of the F-35 in operational missions, striking at least two unspecified targets in the region.

Full article: https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/25/politics/us-f-35-combat-missions

Sur le même sujet

  • US Navy prepares major surge of littoral combat ship deployments

    3 août 2020 | International, Naval

    US Navy prepares major surge of littoral combat ship deployments

    By: David B. Larter WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy is taking major steps in an attempt to shake off years of false starts and setbacks with the Littoral Combat Ship program, an effort Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday said he'd oversee on his watch. In an exclusive interview with Defense News on July 16, Gilday listed LCS as a major priority, saying he will turn up the heat on efforts to get the ship to become a major contributor to fleet operations. “There are things in the near term that I have to deliver, that I'm putting heat on now, and one of them is LCS,” Gilday said. “One part is sustainability and reliability. We know enough about that platform and the problems that we have that plague us with regard to reliability and sustainability, and I need them resolved.” “That requires a campaign plan to get after it and have it reviewed by me frequently enough so that I can be sighted on it. Those platforms have been around since 2008 — we need to get on with it. We've done five deployments since I've been on the job, we're going to ramp that up two-and-a-half times over the next couple of years, but we have got to get after it,” he added. “LCS for me is something, on my watch, I've got to get right.” Gilday's renewed focus on LCS comes after years of fits and starts as the Navy struggled with almost every aspect of the complicated program: from manning and maintaining the hulls, to keeping the gear running or even fielding the sensor suites needed to perform the missions for which they were built. The ship has become a perennial whipping boy for a Congress frustrated by the service's struggle to field new technologies, such as those built into the LCS or the Ford-class aircraft carrier, conceived in the early 2000s. Two of the technologies the Navy has yet to field are the mine-hunting mission module, intended to replace the service's aging minesweepers, and the anti-submarine warfare mission module. Both are years overdue, though they have made significant progress. Getting those fielded is among Gilday's top priorities. “I have to deliver ... both the mine and ASW modules,” Gilday said. “These ships are probably going to [start going] away in the mid-2030s if the [future frigate] FFG(X) build goes as planned. But I need to wring as much as I can out of those ships as quickly as I can.” The LCS program comprises two hulls: a monohull version built in Marinette, Wisconsin, by Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri; and a trimaran version built by Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama. Congress funded 35 of the ships and has commissioned 20 of them, but deploying the ship has been a challenge because of reliability problems with the complicated propulsion systems designed to meet the Navy's 40-knot speed requirement. In 2016, the Navy fundamentally reorganized the program, jettisoning the signature modularity of the program where a single LCS would have a small, permanent crew and switch out anti-surface, anti-submarine or mine-warfare mission packages on the pier depending on the mission. Each mission package would then come with a group of specialists to operate the equipment. After a series of accidents, the Navy sought to simplify the concept; semi-permanently assign mission packages to each hull; and change a complicated three-crews-for-two-LCS-hulls model to a blue-and-gold crewing model used in ballistic missile submarines as a way of boosting operational tempo. The reorg was in response to concerns that the rotational crewing model reduced crew ownership of the vessel, potentially contributing to some of the accidents that plagued the program. One of the major accidents wrecked the then-forward-deployed Fort Worth's combining gear (roughly the same as the clutch on a car) when the crew started up the system without lube oil running. Prior to the Fort Worth accident, the combining gear onboard the Milwaukee encountered problems on the ship's transit from the shipyard to its home base in Florida and had to be towed into Norfolk, Virginia. Mission packages Gilday's goal of fielding the mission modules is well along already, according to two sources familiar with the progress, who spoke to Defense News on condition of anonymity. The mine-warfare mission module is on track for a final test and evaluation by the end of this year, a source with knowledge of the program told Defense News, and the individual components have already passed testing and are in initial low-rate production. End-to-end testing of the mine-warfare mission module is set to begin in fiscal 2021 and is on track to have its initial operating capability declared in 2022, another source said. The status of the ASW mission module, which has been a regular target of Congress-imposed budget cuts, is a little less clear. The next major milestones for the ASW mission package will likely slip to next year due to budget cuts, a source with knowledge of the program said. The mission module has been integrated into the LCS Fort Worth and testing began last fall. It's unclear if the testing will be delayed or interrupted if the Navy is able to carry through its plan to decommission the first four littoral combat ships. For the Independence variant — the trimaran hull — testing for the ASW mission module is slated to be installed on the LCS Kansas City, but there is no fixed date yet, according to a Navy official. Missions Aside from the issues with a buggy propulsion train and the delayed mission modules, Gilday said he was happy with where LCS is with regard to manning, and said the blue-gold crewing was giving him a lot of availability to play with. “I do think we have it about right with manning,” Gilday said. “We were honest with ourselves that the original design wasn't going to do it. I really like the blue-and-gold construct because I get way more [operational availability] than I would with just the single crew. “So I can get these ships out there in numbers doing the low-end stuff in, let's say, 4th Fleet where I wouldn't need a DDG.” The Navy deployed the LCS Detroit to South America — the 4th Fleet area of operations — last year on a counternarcotics mission, and it returned earlier this month. Those are the kinds of missions for which the LCS is perfectly suited, Gilday said. “I can deploy these things with a [law enforcement detachment] and a signals intelligence capability, and I can do that on LCS with carry-on gear,” Gilday said. “It's the right kind of platform for that. Also in 5th Fleet, those maritime security missions that we were heavily sighted on in the late 1990s and early 2000s: They still exist, I'd just prefer to do them with an LCS instead of a DDG if I can.” But without getting more reliability out of the propulsion system, even the low-end missions the Navy wants of the LCS will be a challenge. The heart of the issue seems to lie with long ocean transits, such as the one from San Diego, California, to Singapore, where the ships are supposed to be forward based. Cutting back on that transit, and the wear it puts on the ship, should be core to the Navy's strategy to getting more from LCS, said Bryan Clark, a retired submarine officer and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. “The propulsion architecture's unreliability means you are going to have to come up with a different way to deploy the ship that doesn't require every deployment to be transoceanic,” Clark said. “By the time the ship gets to Singapore, it needs a lot of work done to it and your deployment time is cut down by the fact that you have to repair the ship once it arrives. Then it has to return to the U.S. So both those trips are so fraught that the Navy ends up devoting a lot of time and resources to it.” One alternative would be to forward-station the ships for a longer period of time than the 16-24 months the Navy envisioned, and place them in Sasebo, Japan, rather than Singapore, Clark said. Sasebo has always been in the cards for LCS as a home for the mine-warfare LCS hulls. When it comes to the delays on the mission modules, Clark said, the Navy should consider fielding those capabilities in the mine-warfare mission module that are already workable, or consider an alternate structure based on the model used by the Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians. “The other thing they need to do is come up with a way for the mine-warfare capabilities to the degree they are available. And come up with the concept of operations for that, meaning the warfare folks in San Diego would need to come up with concepts for the equipment they do have rather than what they want to have,” he said. As for the ASW mission module, that might be something the Navy will want to revisit, he added. “They need to decide if the ASW mission package is going to be part of LCS,” Clark explained. “The ASW module is the module with the most proven capability in it and is the one that would offer the best improvement in LCS contribution to the fleet. “But it's also the most expensive. And if LCS is not deploying, then why spend the money on it? And with the frigate coming along, it's going to be doing the same missions with the same kind of systems, so why invest in the LCS version?” What is clear is that leadership from the upper echelons of the Navy should help move things along, Clark said. “It's good to hear Gilday is taking it on,” he noted. “But I think part of that is going to be accepting that we're never going to get where we wanted to be on LCS, and accepting second best is probably the best way to get the most from LCS. “You'll have to say: ‘We accept the fact that we're not going to have a full mine-warfare mission module. We accept that we'll have to deploy them forward and eliminate these long transits and ASW is probably out the window.' So it is about making hard choices like that and taking the heat.” https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2020/07/31/the-us-navy-is-preparing-a-major-surge-of-lcs-deployments/

  • Army to work with satellite radar imagery provider ICEYE

    29 novembre 2021 | International, Aérospatial, C4ISR

    Army to work with satellite radar imagery provider ICEYE

    Because SAR isn't dependent on visibility, it can be used to produce imagery at any time of day or night and through cloud cover.

  • Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - January 16, 2019

    17 janvier 2019 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - January 16, 2019

    ARMY Caddell Construction Co. (DE) LLC., Montgomery, Alabama, was awarded a $143,514,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of an airmen training complex dormitory, a dining and classroom facility, supporting facilities, a free standing equipment building, a weapons cleaning pavilion, running track, exercise pads and parking lots. Bids were solicited via the internet with two received. Work will be performed in San Antonio, Texas, with an estimated completion date of June 8, 2021. Fiscal 2019 military construction funds in the amount of $143,514,000 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth, Texas, is the contracting activity (W9126G-19-C-0001). IICON Construction Group LLC,* Colorado Springs, Colorado, was awarded a $15,179,720 firm-fixed-price contract for construction of a National Guard readiness center. Bids were solicited via the internet with five received. Work will be performed in Fort Carson, Colorado, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 31, 2020. Fiscal 2017 military construction funds in the amount of $15,179,720 were obligated at the time of the award. National Guard Bureau, Arlington, Virginia, is the contracting activity (W912LC-19-C-0001). CORRECTION: The contract announced on Jan. 15, 2019, for $474,084,062 to BAE Systems Land & Armaments LP, York, Pennsylvania, has not been awarded. No award date has been determined at this time. DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY Puerto Rico Apparel Manufacturing (PRAMA) Corp.,** Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, has been awarded a maximum $11,648,229 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for various types of coats and trousers. This was a competitive acquisition with seven responses received. This is a one-year base contract with four one-year option periods. Location of performance is Puerto Rico, with a Jan. 10, 2024, estimated performance completion date. Using military services are Army and Air Force. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2019 through 2024 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE1C1-19-D-1127). Alamo Strategic Manufacturing,*** San Antonio, Texas, has been awarded a maximum $8,550,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-quantity contract for knee and elbow pads. This was a competitive acquisition with two responses received. This is a one-year base contract with two one-year option periods. Locations of performance are Texas and Puerto Rico, with a Jan. 30, 2020, performance completion date. Using military services are Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2019 through 2020 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (SPE1C1-19-D-1122). NAVY Gilbane Federal, Concord, California, is awarded a $10,966,383 firm-fixed-price modification to previously awarded contract (N39430-15-D-1634) to decrease the value of the contract for the cleaning, inspection and repair of Fuel Storage Tanks 305, 307, and 308 at Defense Fuel Support Point (DFSP) Tsurumi, Japan. Work on Tanks 305, 307, and 308 is being removed from the contract due to contractor performance problems. After award of this modification, the total cumulative contract value will be $6,426,985. Work will be performed in Tsurumi, Japan, and is expected to be completed by March 2019. Fiscal 2016 defense working capital (Defense Logistics Agency) contract funds in the amount of $10,966,383 are de-obligated on this award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center, Port Hueneme, California, is the contracting activity. Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Co., Stratford, Connecticut, is awarded $7,026,164 for cost-plus-fixed-fee modification P00017 to a previously awarded fixed-price-incentive-firm/cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00019-16-C-0048). This modification provides for Automated Logistics Environment software maintenance operating systems and obsolescence avoidance in support of the low rate initial production CH-53K aircraft. The work will be performed in Stratford, Connecticut, and is expected to be completed in October 2021. Fiscal 2018 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $7,026,164 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. *Small Business **Economically disadvantaged women-owned small business in historically underutilized business zones ***Small disadvantaged business https://dod.defense.gov/News/Contracts/Contract-View/Article/1733689/source/GovDelivery/

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