14 janvier 2022 | International, Naval

Wanted: New missions for the littoral combat ship

Even as the Navy tries to wrap up testing of two LCS mission packages years after their original fielding dates, service leadership is also polling fleet commanders on alternate mission ideas for the LCS ships.


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  • Space Force picks launch provider for 44 technology demonstration satellites

    14 avril 2020 | International, Aérospatial

    Space Force picks launch provider for 44 technology demonstration satellites

    Nathan Strout   VOX Space will launch 44 technology demonstrator satellites into orbit for the U.S. Space Force, the Space and Missile Systems Center announced April 10. Under the $35 million task order, VOX Space, a wholly owned subsidiary of Virgin Orbit, will provide launch services for Space Test Program-S28 (STP-S28), an effort to put demonstrator satellites on orbit to test and develop new space situational awareness and communications technologies for the military. VOX Space will launch the 44 small satellites into low earth orbit using three of their LauncherOne rockets. Unlike traditional launches where the rockets start from a vertical position on a pad, the LauncherOne rockets are launched in midair from a Boeing 747 aircraft. The first launch is tentatively slated for October 2021. While four companies are battling for five years of contracts under the National Security Space Launch effort, which will place the country’s large exquisite satellites on orbit, the U.S. military and the intelligence community have looked to exploit the growing commercial small launch market under new contracting mechanisms. For instance, the National Reconnaissance Office has begun using its new “rapid acquisition of a small rocket” contract vehicle in 2020, successfully launching its first payload under that program with Rocket Lab in January. A second planned launch with Rocket Lab slated for March was delayed due to the COVID-19 situation. The VOX Space award is the first task order under Orbital Services Program-4 — an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract awarded to eight companies by the Space and Missile Systems Center in October. OSP-4 is a follow-on to OSP-3, which expired in November. Like it’s predecessor, OSP-4 is the Defense Department’s effort to leverage the growing commercial small launch market to put government payloads on orbit. The program enables the launch of payloads greater than 400 pounds to any orbit within 12-24 months after a task order is awarded. Last year, the Air Force said it expected to use OSP-4 to launch 20 missions over a nine-year period. “The competitive award of the STP-S28 task order is a prime example of the flexible and responsive contracting processes the Launch Enterprise is using to deliver resilient and affordable space capabilities to our Nation,” said Col. Rob Bongiovi, director of SMC’s Launch Enterprise Systems Directorate. “In today’s contested space domain, contracts must be flexible and responsive to meet the challenges facing the warfighter. I’m proud of the work the Small Launch and Targets Division accomplished in awarding the STP-S28 task order in only five months using the OSP-4 contract.” https://www.c4isrnet.com/battlefield-tech/space/2020/04/13/space-force-picks-launch-provider-for-44-technology-demonstration-satellites/

  • Support Swells For New Indo-Pacom Funding; Will Money Follow

    29 mai 2020 | International, Naval

    Support Swells For New Indo-Pacom Funding; Will Money Follow

    The National Defense Strategy called the Indo-Pacific the DoD's priority theater. “But all of us also recognize that strategy is budget and budget is strategy, and the budget numbers have not supported, to date, the Indo Pacific’s role as the primary theater.”  By   PAUL MCLEARYon May 29, 2020 at 4:01 AM WASHINGTON: Two prominent senators and a top Pentagon official have come out in support of a new fund aimed at boosting the Indo-Pacific command’s logistic, training, and missile-defense missions. The Pacific initiative will have to contend with the federal government’s massive COVID-19 response and an exploding federal debt, however, some of which may be countered by the increasingly acrimonious relations with China. The idea of a funding package that would build training ranges across the Pacific and beef up missile defense systems in Guam and Hawaii was proposed in April by Indo-Pacom commander Adm. Philip Davidson, who sent a plan to Congress for $20 billion in funding between 2021 and 2026 to bulk up the US presence in the region. The plan received some bipartisan support on Capitol Hill, and will now find its way into the debate hammering out the 2021 budget markup this summer, Sen. Jim Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Thursday. In a joint op-ed with the top Democrat on the committee Sen. Jack Reed, the duo wrote that “with the stakes so high, the time for action is now. That’s why this year we intend to establish a Pacific Deterrence Initiative in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021.”  The fund will “focus resources on key military capabilities to deter China. The initiative will also reassure U.S. allies and partners, and send a strong signal to the Chinese Communist Party that the American people are committed to defending U.S. interests in the Indo-Pacific.” In a Thursday video conference hosted by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, Heino Klinck, deputy assistant Secretary for East Asia said he also supports the idea, while acknowledging that “it’ll be a slog” to get the enhanced funding through Congress while so many other funding priorities are competing for federal dollars. “Obviously, when the National Defense Strategy came out it very clearly stated that the priority theater is for us the Indo-Pacific,” he said. “But all of us also recognize that strategy is budget and budget is strategy, and the budget numbers have not supported, to date, the Indo Pacific’s role as the primary theater.”  Part of the reason for that has been the Trump administration’s inability to extricate itself from ongoing wars in the Middle East, including the fight against ISIS and ongoing tensions with Iran that led to thousands more US troops, aircraft, and aircraft carriers heading to the Middle East over the past year. There have been some signs that the Pentagon is looking to shift focus, however.  On Thursday, the USS Mustin destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of Woody Island in the Paracel Island chain, where China maintains an airfield although the island is claimed by two other countries and has landed bomber aircraft in the past. The Mustin’s pass by was the third time in the past month that American ships have challenged Chinese claims to the Paracel and Spratly islands, and the third since March. US B-1 bombers have also flown over the South China Sea recently, and earlier this month, two Navy ships sailed into the middle of a simmering dispute between China and Malaysia in the South China Sea, while being trailed by a shadowing Chinese warship.  The Littoral Combat Ship USS Montgomery and supply ship USNS Cesar Chavez sailed close to a Malaysian drillship, the West Capella, a signal to Chinese warships who spent weeks harassing the vessel in international waters illegally claimed by Beijing. These and “other organic decisions that have come out of the [Pentagon] have demonstrated that we’re putting more and more resources into the Indo-Pacific,” Klinck said.  “I think the president’s intent of reducing our footprint in the Middle East and in Central Asia will also lead to additional resources being available for the Indo-Pacific,” he added, “so I think the trend lines are positive, but it will be a slog particularly now in this COVID environment as resources are even tighter.” Davidson’s original proposal called for $1.6 billion in the fiscal 2021 budget submitted earlier this year, and $18.4 billion between 2022 and 2026. The biggest funding recommendation is $5.2 billion over the five-year projection for investments in 360-degree air and missile defense systems, long-range precision fires, and ground- and space-based radars. Davidson also identified as “my number one unfunded priority,” the Homeland Defense System-Guam. It’s not clear what the overall contours of the Inhofe-Reed plan might be, but they suggest it will have “the aim of injecting uncertainty and risk into Beijing’s calculus, leaving just one conclusion: ‘Not today. You, militarily, cannot win it, so don’t even try it.’” House Armed Services Committee leaders have also expressed bipartisan support for the idea, with chairman Adam Smith publicly backing the idea, though he hasn’t disclosed any detailed plans. Ranking member Mac Thornberry has suggested finding $6 billion in the 2021 budget on things like  air and missile defense systems and new military construction in partner countries.  That kind of new spending would likely face an uphill battle finding approval across parties and committees with their own priorities, and with flat budget projections going forward, money will be tighter than in previous years. https://breakingdefense.com/2020/05/support-swells-for-new-indo-pacom-funding-will-money-follow

  • La Suisse fait redécoller son projet d’achat d’avions de combat

    9 juillet 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    La Suisse fait redécoller son projet d’achat d’avions de combat

    Philippe Chapeleau La Suisse a lancé un nouvel appel d’offres pour ses futurs avions de combat, après de longues péripéties qui ont conduit à l’annulation de l’achat de 22 Gripen E/F de Saab à la suite d’un référendum en mai 2014. La nouvelle flotte, entre 30 et 40 avions doit remplacer à la fois les Tiger et les F/A-18. Il va y avoir du dog fight (un duel aérien) dans les cieux de la Suisse : les autorités helvétiques ont en effet lancé un nouvel appel d’offres pour doter l’armée de l’air de nouveaux avions de combat en remplacement des F-5 Tiger et des F-18vieillissants. En 2014, les électeurs Suisses avaient dit "non" au projet d’achat d’intercepteurs suédois. L’achat de 22 avions de combat Gripen pour 3,126 milliards de francs avait été rejeté par 53,4 % des votants. Le marché porte sur au moins 30 avions, peut-être 40. Vendredi, Armasuisse, l’agence fédérale qui s’occupe des achats d’armes, a annoncé que cinq avions de combat étrangers allaient être évalués : le Gripen E suédois (Saab), le Rafale français (Dassault), l’Eurofighterallemand (Airbus), et côté américain, le successeur du FA-18, le Super Hornet de Boeing, et le F-35A de Lockheed-Martin. Des tests au sol et en vol en Suisse seront menés entre mai et juillet 2019. Un deuxième appel d’offres pour les jets sera mené en novembre 2019 et les réponses sont attendues pour fin mai 2020. Le choix des modèles devrait tomber vers fin 2020. Le parlement puis le peuple devraient pouvoir se prononcer sur la facture. https://www.ouest-france.fr/europe/suisse/la-suisse-fait-redecoller-son-projet-d-achat-d-avions-de-combat-5869710

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