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  • Germany picks up two thorny defense and diplomacy assignments in 2019

    4 janvier 2019 | International, Terrestre

    Germany picks up two thorny defense and diplomacy assignments in 2019

    By: Sebastian Sprenger COLOGNE, Germany — Germany begins the new year with two prominent defense and diplomacy assignments: leadership of NATO's highest-alert combat formation, and a two-year seat on the United Nations Security Council. The two new responsibilities follow recent pledges by Berlin to play a more active role in global affairs, offering German Chancellor Angela Merkel an instant test to make good on those proclamations during the final years of her tenure. As of Jan. 1, Germany is on the hook to provide 5,000 soldiers for NATO's Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, or VJTF. The formation must be ready to fight wherever it is needed within 48 to 72 hours. Partner nations for this year's rotation include the Netherlands, Norway, France, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Lithuania, bringing the total package to about 8,000. A key rationale for the quick-reaction force is to display to Russia the ability to rapidly ferry combat power across Europe at a time when speed is believed to be a Russian advantage. European governments are still wary from the 2014 Russian annexation of Ukraine's Crimea, and more recently from a naval standoff between the two countries in the Sea of Asov. Both incidents fit into a pattern of Russia steering clear of outright war while trying to shake up the post-Soviet order around its borders, according to issue experts. The German Defence Ministry's logistics planning for the VJTF role takes into account the need to quickly move combat gear if needed. Its acquisition office last month announced a $110 million support contract to ensure rapid access to military rail transport from civilian providers during Germany's one-year tenure. The Bundeswehr, plagued by equipment shortfalls, management problems or both — depending on who is asked — has had to dig deep to assemble the needed equipment for the task force lead. In the end, funneling supplies from across the force to the tip of the spear appears to have worked, but it has depleted the readiness of many units, said Christian Mölling, an analyst with the Berlin-based German Council on Foreign Relations. “It means the rest of the Bundeswehr is no longer the kind of deterrent it is meant to be,” he said in an interview. With the task force now on high alert, Mölling said, the thing to watch will be Germany's national decision-making process in the event that it will be called up. Parliament and the government, he argues, lack a well-rehearsed process for assessing whether a given conflict warrants deploying the task force, potentially kicking off a comprehensive national debate that would negate any hope of a rapid reaction. That is especially the case because of Moscow's penchant to keep its activities just below the conflict threshold that would trigger Article 5, NATO's clause for collective defense when one member is attacked. Amid deepening global crises and a deteriorating relationship between Europe and the U.S., a German government debating the definition of a worthy VJTF deployment would probably lead to Russian President Vladimir Putin “grabbing a bag of popcorn,” Mölling quipped. “We just don't have the necessary routine for a case like that,” he said. As a nonpermanent member of the U.N. Security Council, it's easy to foresee the animosity between Germany and the Trump administration in Washington coming to a head in New York, said Ulrike Franke, a policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations think tank. Many Germans are deeply wary of the U.S. president and his knocking of NATO and other multilateral institutions that have brought Berlin back from the devastation of World War II. That is even more the case since Jim Mattis, a vocal believer in America's global alliances, called it quits as defense secretary last month. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Jan. 1 tweeted a list of objectives for Germany during its Security Council tenure. They include countering climate change and related global security effects, and a commitment to arms control and disarmament — issues that the Trump administration has dismissed. When it comes to the voting pattern of Berlin and Washington, often aligned on the Security Council stage, things could get a little awkward, Franke predicts. In practical terms, however, “I'm pessimistic that a lot will change,” she said. But Germany's term holds the promise that government leaders here will get into the habit of developing truly global foreign policy positions and selling them to audiences foreign and domestic, she said.

  • UK: Defence Minister signs £250M aircraft deal, sustaining 450 jobs

    4 janvier 2019 | International, Aérospatial

    UK: Defence Minister signs £250M aircraft deal, sustaining 450 jobs

    Defence Minister Stuart Andrew has announced the MOD has signed a £250 million deal to support the RAF's intelligence-gathering Shadow aircraft fleet. Defence Minister Stuart Andrew has announced that the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has signed a £250 million deal to support the RAF's intelligence-gathering Shadow aircraft fleet, supporting 450 jobs. Shadow is a highly capable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft which performs crucial intelligence-gathering on operations all over the world. Shadow, flown by 14 Squadron RAF, has been on operations above battlefields including Iraq and Afghanistan. The newly-signed contract with Raytheon will sustain 200 jobs at the company's facilities in Broughton, North Wales and hundreds more across the UK supply chain. Services will also be established at RAF Waddington, the home of the RAF's ISTAR fleet, to ensure aircraft availability under the new contract. Defence Minister Stuart Andrew said: This £250 million investment will ensure the UK retains its position as a global leader in battlefield intelligence gathering for UK troops and our NATO allies. It is also great news for the economy through the safeguarding of 450 skilled jobs across the country, including 200 in North Wales, confirming the region as a UK centre of excellence for air support. The support contract will provide maintenance, airworthiness, design and supplier management services as well as modification and integration work which will allow Shadow to be upgraded in the future. DE&S Chief Executive Officer Sir Simon Bollom said: DE&S is proud to continue to work with our partners across industry to deliver world-class support to the RAF's Shadow fleet. The continuing investment in support safeguards jobs and expertise which will provide safe and available aircraft in support of UK troops. Under commitments laid out in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, the UK is bringing a total of eight Shadow aircraft into RAF service. Air ISTAR Programme Director, Group Captain Shaun Gee: This contract award marks a key milestone in cementing the excellent partnership between the MOD with RSL(UK). It delivers vital ongoing support to operations and, crucially, enables future, rapid development of the SHADOW Platform which will ensure the capability remains at the cutting edge of technology providing a world-class tactical ISR capability for the UK.

  • Here’s what the battlefield tech industry predicts for 2019

    4 janvier 2019 | International, C4ISR

    Here’s what the battlefield tech industry predicts for 2019

    By: Mike Gruss The new year will likely bring a new secretary of defense, a renewed emphasis on changing how the Pentagon buys weapons systems and a continued focus on watching technological development by the Chinese government. C4ISRNET asked industry leaders what trends they expect to emerge in the battlefield landscape in 2019. Here's what they said: Accelerated acquisition “Right now, your toaster can tell your refrigerator that it needs to order more bread, but the world's most advanced military is still challenged to connect its huge array of systems. That's just not sustainable. Before the military can start tackling huge technological leaps like artificial intelligence, we have to change the way we develop weapon systems. I see 2019 as the point when the DoD really starts moving away from buying proprietary, stove-piped, closed hardware systems and instead looks to the commercial software world as a model for how we develop and integrate weapon systems. Focusing on commercial-style software development is how we'll be able to develop truly open, upgradeable, cyber-resilient systems quickly. And by quickly I'm saying weeks or months for a new system, not years or decades. The pace of technology is moving faster than ever before, especially in the software world. We need to accept that and move with it if we want to stay ahead.” — Todd Probert, vice president of mission support and modernization at Raytheon An increased need for a coordinated response “Today's environment is evolving to warfare coordinated across multiple domains driving our forces to be more adaptable and coordinated in our response. As this threat environment accelerates, we recognize that our customers require methods that will enable them to operate seamlessly and simultaneously across domains. We see C4ISR technologies as the foundation for managing and responding to these more complex missions on a shorter timeline. We will continue to invest in transformational technologies that will help make multidomain operations more predictive and more effective. This includes: Machine-to-machine communication across new and legacy datalinks; Fusion to enable information from several sources into one unified picture of the battlespace and reduce the data to decision timeline; Artificial intelligence to provide decision makers with the ability to react quickly to problems that demand fast-paced analysis and decision making. AI offers the technology to change the human role from “in-the-loop” controller to “on-the-loop” thinker who can focus on strategy versus the execution detail; ‘Algorithmic warfare' to support a partnership between humans and computer systems, exponentially increasing the pace of processing, exploitation, dissemination and C2 operations; and Advanced multi-level secure modeling and simulation to manage patterns of life and actionable changes. — Brent Upson, director of ISR Systems at Lockheed Martin A move to small form factor networking “In 2019 we expect the DoD to significantly increase its investment in small form factor networking, secure wireless and virtualization-enabled compute necessary to improve war-fighter mobility and situational awareness in tactical and expeditionary programs. Tactical communications programs have proven the efficacy of size weight and power (SWaP) reduction by moving to small form factor equipment, and the savings enable entirely new IT-enabled use cases at the network edge. In particular, tactical deployments of classified wireless using commercial technologies, data center services and storage, and defensive cybersecurity solutions will see sizable new adoption in 2019.” — Peggy Miller, chief executive officer at PacStar Audio for authentication “Audio will be the buzz word of 2019 for network solutions. Introducing audio as a security layer in IP video provides a new layer of overall security to physical security solutions. Audio technology allows security professionals to interact with people remotely, as well as provide an automated response to prevent situations from escalating to an incident by identifying aggressive voices, glass breaking and even gunshots. With this new audio technology and analytical capabilities, security professionals can proactively detect, interpret and respond to events and emergency situations.” — John Merlino, government business development manager at Axis Communications, Inc. Attacks on data in the cloud “In the past two years, enterprises have widely adopted the Software-as-a-Service model, such as Office 365, as well as Infrastructure- and Platform-as-a-Service cloud models, such as AWS and Azure. With this move, far more corporate data now resides in the cloud. In 2019, we expect a significant increase in attacks that follow the data to the cloud. With the increased adoption of Office 365, we have noticed a surge of attacks on the service — especially attempts to compromise email. One threat the McAfee cloud team uncovered was the botnet KnockKnock, which targeted system accounts that typically do not have multifactor authentication. We have also seen the emergence of exploits of the trust model in the Open Authorization standard. One was launched by Fancy Bear, the Russian cyber-espionage group, phishing users with a fake Google security app to gain access to user data. "Similarly, during the last couple of years we have seen many high-profile data breaches attributed to misconfigured Amazon S3 buckets. This is clearly not the fault of AWS. Based on the shared responsibility model, the customer is on the hook to properly configure IaaS/PaaS infrastructure and properly protect their enterprise data and user access. Complicating matters, many of these misconfigured buckets are owned by vendors in their supply chains, rather than by the target enterprises. With access to thousands of open buckets and credentials, bad actors are increasingly opting for these easy pickings.” — Sekhar Sarukkai, vice president of engineering, cloud at McAfee The expansion of technology to counter small drones "The ever-expanding proliferation of small UAS (sUAS) has resulted in a rapid rise in sUAS incidents, leaving security personnel starved for a holistic solution to this new and evolving threat. A hobbyist unwittingly flying near a flight line or a drone pilot with nefarious intentions present both risk and unmet challenges. Counter-sUAS (C-sUAS) technology is an essential tool for assessing airspace activity, understanding the severity of drone incursions, and informing new protocols to mitigate potential threats. With C-sUAS technology, security personnel can now observe a drone's behavior and deploy appropriate offensive or defensive countermeasures, which may include direct contact with the pilot or coordination with local law enforcement. In all cases, detection of sUAS activity is the critical foundation of any C-sUAS program. “2018 was a year of testing and evaluating. Rapid prototyping, experimental deployments, and government testing events validated that no single C-sUAS system is a one-size-fits-all solution. Moreover, C-sUAS technology must be flexible to meet the needs of each specific environment.” — Phil Pitsky, vice president of U.S. federal operations at Dedrone

  • Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - January 4, 2019

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

    Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - January 4, 2019

    ARMY Avon Protection Systems, Cadillac, Michigan, was awarded a $92,670,255 firm-fixed-price contract for the joint service aircrew mask, engineering support, special tooling and spare parts. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 21, 2024. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity (W911SR-19-D-0002). AIR FORCE Lockheed Martin, Santa Maria, California, has been awarded a $52,700,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus, and award-fee type, modification (P0009) to contract FA8818-17-D-0001 for engineering, development and sustainment services supporting the Air Force Multi-Mission Satellite Operation Center. This increase provides for continuous services to operate experimental and demonstration satellites; act as the focal point and center of expertise for Department of Defense experimental and demonstrations space and missile operations; support space and missile research, development, test and evaluation and initial operational test and evaluation. Work will be performed in Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is expected to be completed by Jan. 5, 2019. This modification is for work within scope of the contract. Fiscal 2019 other procurement funds will fund this contract. Space and Missile Systems Center, Kirkland Air Force Base, New Mexico, is the contracting activity. NAVY Advanced Management Strategies Group LLC,* Dumfries, Virginia (M00264-19-D-0001); Atkinson Aeronautics and Technology Inc.,* Fredericksburg, Virginia (M00264-19-D-0002); Emerging Technology Support LLC,* Mooresville, North Carolina (M00264-19-D-0003); Get It Done Solutions LLC,* Fredericksburg, Virginia (M00264-19-D-0004); Strategic Ventures Consulting Group LLC,* Falls Church, Virginia (M00264-19-D-0005); and Vickers and Nolan Enterprises LLC,* Stafford, Virginia (M00264-19-D-0006), are each awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts with five-year ordering periods and an option to extend services for up to six months for technical, analytical, and engineering support for the Marine Corps Capabilities Development Directorate. The estimated aggregate ceiling of the contracts is a combined $43,891,128. If the option is exercised, the contract value will be $48,280,241. Each company will have an opportunity to compete for individual firm-fixed-price task orders. The majority of work will be performed at the contractor facilities in Mooresville, North Carolina; Dumfries, Virginia; Fredericksburg, Virginia; Falls Church, Virginia; and Stanford, Virginia, as determined by task orders awarded. Work is expected to be completed in January 2024. With the option exercised, work will continue through July 2024. No funds will be obligated at the time of award. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance (Marine Corps); and research and development (Navy) funds will be obligated on individual task orders as they are issued. These contracts were competitively procured via solicitation on the Federal Business Opportunities website, with nine proposals received. The Marine Corps Installations Command, National Capital Region, Regional Contracting Office, Quantico, Virginia, is the contracting activity. Coffin Turbo Pump Inc., Englewood, New Jersey, is awarded a $15,523,669 indefinite-delivery/indefinite quantity, firm-fixed-priced contract, for up to 33 turbine driven main feed pumps for LHD-1 class main propulsion boilers. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division requires the production of a non-commercial main feed pump unit that will be driven by a steam turbine on a common solid shaft (no couplings). The main feed pump unit is designed to provide feed water to the Navy LHD-1 class main propulsion boilers. Work will be performed in Englewood, New Jersey, and is expected to be complete by January 2024. Fiscal 2017 other procurement (Navy) funding in the total amount of $1,299,325 will be obligated at time of award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with two offers received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the contracting activity (N64498-19-D-4004). Fairbanks Morse Engine, Beloit, Wisconsin, is awarded a $13,552,041 cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with firm-fixed-priced ordering provisions for engineering, logistics and program management services in support of the Navy diesel engine systems. Work includes engineering and technical services, logistics support, engine training, and program management services. Work will be performed in Beloit, Wisconsin, (52 percent); San Diego, California (30 percent); and Norfolk, Virginia (18 percent), and is expected to be complete by January 2024. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance (Navy) funding in the amount of $720,000 will be obligated at time of award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured in accordance with 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1) - only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia Division, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is the contracting activity (N64498-19-D-4001). *Small business

  • Lockheed Martin souhaite livrer 130 F-35 en 2019

    4 janvier 2019 | International, Aérospatial

    Lockheed Martin souhaite livrer 130 F-35 en 2019

    Par Justine BOQUET Lockheed Martin a annoncé sa cible de livraison pour 2019. Lockheed Martin espère pouvoir ainsi livrer 130 avions de combat de cinquième génération F-35. Le 20 décembre, Lockheed Martin a fait le bilan des livraisons du F-35 et a annoncé ses objectifs pour l'année 2019. Lockheed Martin ambitionne ainsi de remettre au moins 130 avions de combat F-35 à ses clients au cours de l'année. Si cet objectif est atteint, Lockheed Martin enregistrera alors une augmentation de plus de 40% de sa production. Une telle hausse a d'ores et déjà été enregistrée au cours de l'année 2018. Avec 91 F-35 livrés, Lockheed Martin a ainsi vu ses cadences de production augmenter de 40% par rapport à 2017 et de 100% en comparaison à 2016. Le 91ème appareil produit en 2018 a été remis au corps de Marines américain. Il s'agissait d'un F-35B. Il vient s'ajouter aux 53 appareils qui avaient d'ores et déjà été remis aux forces américaines au cours de l'année passée. Avec la livraison des 91 F-35 en 2018, ce sont désormais 355 avions de combat de cinquième génération qui ont été livrés par Lockheed Martin. La flotte cumule plus de 175 000 heures de vol, rapporte ainsi l'industriel. Parmi les clients du F-35, on compte donc les Etats-Unis, l'Australie, Israël, l'Italie, le Japon, la Corée du Sud, les Pays-Bas, la Norvège, la Turquie, le Royaume-Uni, le Danemark et la Belgique.

  • Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - January 3, 2019

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

    Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - January 3, 2019

    DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Fulcrum IT Services LLC, Centreville, Virginia, has been awarded a labor-hour contract (HHM402-19-C-0012) with a ceiling amount of $128,003,638 for all-source intelligence analysis and operational support services to the Joint Intelligence Operations Center–Korea (JIOC-K), U.S. Forces Korea and six divisions in Korea. Work will be performed in the Republic of Korea with an expected completion date of July 13, 2024, if all options are exercised. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $10,000,000 are being obligated at time of award. This contract was a competitive acquisition and seven offers were received. The Virginia Contracting Activity, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity AIR FORCE Defense Research Associates Inc.,* Beavercreek, Ohio, has been awarded an $11,098,274 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for research and development. This contract provides research and development to transition technologies related to long-duration multispectral sensor technology utilizing radiation from numerous sources to obtain warfighter objectives/advantages. Work will be performed in Dayton, Ohio, and is expected to be complete by January 6, 2025. This award is the result of a Small-Business Innovation Research Phase III request for proposal. Fiscal 2018 research and development funds in the amount of $200,000 are being obligated at time of award. Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity (FA8650-19-C-1600). Northrop Grumman Corp., Aerospace Systems, Azusa, California, has been awarded a $7,688,550 contract option modification (P00029) to contract FA8810-15-C-0001 for Defense Support Program (DSP) on-orbit satellite and anomaly resolution support. This support provides root-cause analysis as a key component of the lifetime extension of DSP. Work will be performed in Azusa, California; Aurora, Colorado; and Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2019. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $7,688,550 are being obligated at the time of award. Total cumulative face value is $108,244,260. Space and Missile Systems Center, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, is the contracting activity. Awarded on Dec. 31, 2018. ARMY Torch Technologies Inc., Huntsville, Alabama, was awarded an $8,802,273 modification (000043) to contract W31P4Q-09-A-0021 for engineering, integration, test and analysis. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Work will be performed in Huntsville, Alabama, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2019. Fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $8,802,273 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity. CORRECTION: The contract announced on Jan. 2, 2019, for $60,736,752 to O'gara-Hess & Eisenhardt Armoring Co. LLC,* Fairfield, Ohio, has not been awarded. No award date has been determined at this time. *Small business

  • Northrop Grumman Receives $3.6 Billion IDIQ Contract for Infrared Countermeasures Systems

    4 janvier 2019 | International, C4ISR

    Northrop Grumman Receives $3.6 Billion IDIQ Contract for Infrared Countermeasures Systems

    ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. – Jan. 3, 2018 – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has received a $3.6 billion indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) award for Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasure (LAIRCM) systems and support from the U.S. Air Force. Under the IDIQ, the Air Force may issue task or delivery order awards up to the ceiling amount specified in the contract. Work under the contract is set to conclude in 2025. The initial task order is $2.4 million for logistics support services. Northrop Grumman's LAIRCM system protects aircrews by detecting, tracking and jamming incoming infrared threats without the need for user intervention. “This new IDIQ award extends Northrop Grumman's multi-decade support of successful aircrew protection provided by our infrared countermeasure systems, and demonstrates our customer's confidence in LAIRCM's ability to address the rapidly changing threat environment,” said Bob Gough, vice president, land and avionics C4ISR division, Northrop Grumman. Northrop Grumman infrared countermeasures are enabling missions worldwide, having been installed on more than 1,800 aircraft of more than 80 types worldwide. For more information, please visit Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in autonomous systems, cyber, C4ISR, space, strike, and logistics and modernization to customers worldwide. Please visit and follow us on Twitter, @NGCNews, for more information.

  • Boeing to Modernize Entire Spanish Chinook Helicopter Fleet

    4 janvier 2019 | International, Aérospatial

    Boeing to Modernize Entire Spanish Chinook Helicopter Fleet

    Will remanufacture 17 CH-47D Chinooks to the CH-47F configuration for Spain's Army PHILADELPHIA, Pa., Jan. 3, 2019 — Boeing [NYSE: BA] will upgrade all 17 of Spain's CH-47D Chinook helicopters to the F-model configuration, adding features such as the digital automatic flight control system, common avionics architecture system and advanced cargo handling to align that country's fleet with those of other nations. This is the first order from a non-U.S. customer placed through a contract Boeing and the U.S. Army signed in July. That contract covers six new F-models for the U.S. and options for up to 150 more Chinooks for U.S. and international customers. Deliveries to Spain begin in 2021. “The Chinook is a versatile aircraft flown by eight NATO nations, including Spain,” said Chuck Dabundo, vice president, Cargo and Utility Helicopters and H-47 program manager. “With this contract, Spain's Chinook crews will enjoy the platform's current technology and capability, while the country gets an affordable upgrade that builds on its existing H-47 investment.” The CH-47F is a twin-engine, tandem rotor, heavy-lift helicopter. In addition to the U.S. Army and Special Operations Forces, Chinooks are currently in service or under contract with 19 international defense forces. It can fly at speeds exceeding 175 mph and carry payloads greater than 21,000 lbs. In 2017, Boeing and the U.S. Army announced development of CH-47F Block II, which will incorporate a new rotor blade, redesigned fuel system, improved drivetrain and structural improvements to the fuselage. For more information on Defense, Space & Security, visit Follow us on Twitter: @BoeingDefense and @BoeingSpace. # # # Contacts: Marcia Costley Defense, Space & Security Office: +1 310-364-8409 Mobile: +1 714-316-4267 Andrew Africk Defense, Space & Security Office: +1 610-591-2393 Mobile: +1 610-379-6208

  • New in 2019: Air Force looks for new bomb designs to fight Russia and China

    4 janvier 2019 | International, Aérospatial

    New in 2019: Air Force looks for new bomb designs to fight Russia and China

    By: Kyle Rempfer A growing cohort of Air Force researchers are arguing that the service needs to undergo a munitions revolution if it is to take on a peer-level adversary in open conflict. “We're developing a range of technologies to enable next-generation and improve precision effects on the battlefield,” Col. Garry Haase, who helms the Air Force Research Lab Munitions Directorate, told an audience at the Air Force Association Annual Conference this fall. In some instances, that will mean more powerful munitions to breach and destroy Russian and Chinese structures in the event of war. “There is now a shift in emphasis away from minimizing to maximizing effects in a high-end fight,” said John Wilcox, vice president of advanced programs and technology at Northrop Grumman, at the conference. “Requirements from our missions directorate say we continue to have to deal with the whole spectrum of threats as we shift to more of a near-peer threat focus,” Wilcox added. “We are looking at larger munitions with bigger effects.” And while neither members of the AFA panel named Russia or China specifically, a recent study by the Mitchell Institute, which is aligned with the Air Force Association, certainly did. In the document, titled “The Munition Effects Revolution," several retired senior Air Force officers argue that the U.S. munitions arsenal is overdue for a shakeup. “The bomb body, a steel shell filled with explosive material, is relatively unchanged across the past 100 years," the study reads. "But some elements of modern munitions have significantly evolved—particularly guidance elements. Munition effects—the destructive envelope of heat, blast, and fragmentation—remain essentially unchanged.” High demand for combat aircraft is a key driver behind the need for enhanced munitions options, according to the Mitchell Institute. “The Air Force is currently operating the smallest and oldest aircraft force in its history,” the study reads. “Additionally, current mission capable rates are low and pilots are in increasingly short supply. To best meet combatant command requirements amidst these constraints, it is crucial to ensure each sortie flown and every bomb dropped yields maximum potential.”

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