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  • How stealthy is Boeing’s new Super Hornet?

    9 avril 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    How stealthy is Boeing’s new Super Hornet?

    By: Valerie Insinna WASHINGTON — The Block III Super Hornet is getting a marginal increase in stealth capability, but if you're expecting the invisible aircraft of President Donald Trump's dreams, think again. Building a “stealthy” Super Hornet has been one of Trump's talking points since he was elected to the presidency. During a March trip to Boeing's plant in St. Louis, he claimed the U.S. military would buy Super Hornets with “the latest and the greatest stealth and a lot of things on that plane that people don't even know about.” Trump was referring to one of the Super Hornet's Block III upgrades slated to be incorporated on jets rolling off the production line in 2020: the application of radar absorbent materials or RAM, also known as stealth coating. But far from being “the latest and greatest,” the company has already used the exact same materials on the on the Block II Super Hornet to help decrease the chances of radar detection, said Dan Gillian, who manages Boeing's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and E/A-18G Growler programs. Block III jets will get “a little more” of that coating applied to them, “and in a few different areas to buy a little bit more performance,” Gillian told Defense News in a March interview. All in all, those improvements will reduce the aircraft's radar cross section by about 10 percent, and with very low risk, he said. Although the general public tends to think of stealth like the invisibility cloak from Harry Potter or Wonder Woman's invisible plane, stealth is more of a continuum that is enabled and affected by many factors, experts told Defense News. “It's not a Romulan cloaking device,” said Richard Aboulafia, a Teal Group aviation analyst, referencing a technology from Star Trek that allowed spaceships to be invisible to the naked eye and electro-optical sensors. “It's about reducing the likelihood that an adversary will see you first. And seconds count, so if it buys a little extra time, then it helps.” The most important contributors to low observability are the aircraft's shape and the use of LO coatings, with airframe shape commonly seen as twice as important as the coatings, he said. Stealth fighters from the oddly angled F-117 to the F-22 and F-35, with their rounded edges, were all designed to bounce radar waves away from an aircraft, sometimes at the expense of aerodynamic performance or other attributes, said Brian Laslie, an Air Force historian and author. That being said, the Super Hornet, with it's external stores and pylons, is not going to replicate the low observability of the joint strike fighter, which was designed from the beginning with stealth in mind. “But just because it's not a pure LO aircraft doesn't mean that the designers weren't concerned with the radar return,” said Laslie, who added that it's “reasonable” to expect a 10 percent decrease to the aircraft's signature by augmenting Block III jets with additional RAM coating. Shining a spotlight on the Super Hornet's low observable attributes may have helped sell Trump on future orders, Aboulafia speculated. “It might be useful in the real world too, but in a much more marginal way,” he said. One of those benefits, according to Laslie, is that the LO performance upgrade could also enable the Navy to be more flexible in its mission planning. An aircraft can be more or less easily detected by radar depending on how it is positioned or the route used by the plane, so having more radar-absorbing materials on the Super Hornet could give the pilot more options. “I think what the Navy is doing is trying to maybe reduce enough of the cross section of the F-18 in high intensity combat scenarios,” Laslie said. “I don't think they're trying to make the F/A-18 a stealth aircraft,” he continued. “But if they can reduce the radar cross section enough that in certain scenarios it is more difficult to pick the Super Hornet up, that would be of benefit to the Navy.” While the president has done much to focus public attention on the Super Hornet's upcoming LO upgrade, the Block III actually offers a relatively modest increase in stealth compared to earlier concepts floated by Boeing. In 2013, when the company began evaluating how to attract future sales from the Navy as production slowed, it started promoting an “Advanced Super Hornet” configuration that would have improved the aircraft's signature by 50 percent. That version of the jet included structural enhancements and an enclosed weapons pod, but Boeing ultimately stepped away from that concept. “Those big compromises you have to make to get the higher levels of stealth like putting your weapons in a bay, we don't think that's a necessary part of the Block III story for the Super Hornet,” Gillian said.

  • Missile Defense Review expected in May

    9 avril 2018 | International, Aérospatial, Terrestre

    Missile Defense Review expected in May

    By: Aaron Mehta WASHINGTON ― The Trump administration's review of America's missile defense capabilities is now expected to be released in May. The Missile Defense Review, a strategy document designed to take a holistic view of America's missile defense posture, was expected to be released in February. But finally, it appears the document is nearing completion. Pentagon spokesman Tom Crosson, in response to an inquiry by Defense News, said that the review is “currently in development” and that “we expect to release the review sometime next month.” The review is expected to be unclassified. The review is part of a series of big-picture strategic documents that started with the December release of the National Security Strategy, followed by the January release of the National Defense Strategy, and continued with February's Nuclear Posture Review. Notably, the review was originally positioned as a “ballistic missile defense review,” but the term ballistic has since been dropped by the Trump administration ― something Tom Karako, a missile defense expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said was a wise choice. “The fact that the administration has dropped ‘ballistic' from the review's title indicates the document will probably employ a wider lens,” Karako wrote in a CSIS analysis Friday. “This could include a robust effort to better defend against Russian and Chinese cruise missiles, other maneuvering endo-atmospheric threats like hypersonic boost-glide vehicles (HGVs), and advanced short-range ballistic missiles.” Although no one has spelled out the direction of the review, there have been some hints given about where the administration intends to take missile defense. The FY19 budget request for the Missile Defense Agency, for instance, increased by $2 billion from previous funding levels, with an express focus on defeating a missile threat from North Korea. And Michael Griffin, the Pentagon's new head of research and engineering, has expressed support for investing in airborne missile defense capabilities. Jen Judson in Washington contributed to this report.

  • India opens contest to supply more than 100 fighter jets

    9 avril 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    India opens contest to supply more than 100 fighter jets

    NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India is seeking to buy around 110 fighter jets, the air force said in a request for information issued on Friday, marking the first step toward a long-delayed deal that could be worth more than $15 billion. Boeing (BA.N), Lockheed Martin (LMT.N), Saab (SAABb.ST) and Dassault Aviation (AVMD.PA) are among the manufacturers expected to compete. The aircraft must be built largely in India as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's drive to build a domestic industrial base. The air force said in a notice that “85 percent will have to be made in India by a Strategic Partner/Indian Production Agency”. Lockheed has offered to move its F-16 production line in Fort Worth, Texas, to India and make it the only plant worldwide to produce the F-16 for not only India but also other countries, said Vivek Lall, vice president, strategy and business development at Lockheed Martin. Lockheed has teamed with India's Tata Advanced Systems to build the planes locally while Sweden's Saab has entered into a partnership with the Adani Group, a resources conglomerate. The other contenders have not announced their local partners. The tender will be open for makers of both single engine and twin-engined combat jets, in a widening of the field. The Eurofighter Typhoon and Russian aircraft are also potential contenders under the new requirements. A spokesman for Dassault Aviation which makes the twin-engine Rafale declined to comment. Earlier, the defense ministry had sought expressions of interest from single-engine manufacturers which effectively restricted the contest to Lockheed's F-16 and Saab's Gripen fighter jets. But in February the government asked the air force to open up the competition to twin-engined aircraft, in the latest flip-flop in policy that has delayed the acquisition process for years and left the air force short of hundreds of planes. India began its search for new planes for the Indian air force in 2003 to replace its Soviet-era MiG fighters. The request for information is open until July, the air force said. A request for proposal will then be issued followed by bid evaluations and contract negotiations. The process could take years, officials say.

  • Here’s what the Army wants in future radios

    9 avril 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Here’s what the Army wants in future radios

    By: Mark Pomerleau Advancements in electronics and tactics by high-end adversaries are forcing the Army to change the way it revamps and optimizes its communications network against current and future threats. The problem: adversaries have become more proficient and precise in the sensing and jamming of signals. “What we're looking for in terms of resilience in the future is not only making individual links more anti-jam and resilient, resistant to threats, but also having the ability to use multiple paths if one goes down,” Joe Welch, chief engineer at Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications Tactical (C3T), told reporters during a network demo at Fort Myer in early March. “Your phones work this way between 4G and Wi-Fi and that's seamless to you. That's kind of the target of what we're intending to provide with next-generation transport for the Army's tactical network.” Members of industry are now looking to develop radios to these specifications outlined by the Army. “We have an extensive library of waveforms — 51, 52 waveforms that we can bring to bear — that we can say look we can use this waveform to give you more resilience with this capability,” Jeff Kroon, director of product management at Harris, told C4ISRNET during an interview at the AUSA Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama, in March. “Down the road, we need to talk about resilience and what's going on with the near-peer threats.” Next-generation systems, leaders believe, will be able to provide this necessary flexibility. “The radios that we're looking at buying now — the manpack and the two-channel leader radios — have shown themselves to be able to run a pretty wide range of waveforms and we think it postures us to run some changes to those waveforms in the future as we look at even more advanced waveforms,” Maj. Gen. David Bassett, program executive officer of C3T, told reporters at Fort Myer. While jammers have become more powerful and targeted in recent years, officials contend the entire spectrum can't be interrupted at once. The Army realizes links won't be jam-proof, Bassett told reporters at Fort Myer, so it is looking at how they can be either more jam-resistant or able to switch seamlessly across portions of the spectrum that are not being jammed. Kroon noted that one of the big developments within the radio community down the road will be radios that seamlessly switch frequencies or waveforms without direct user input. “I think, as we move forward, we'll start to have more cognitive capabilities that will allow [the radio] to adapt automatically, and keep the user focused on their own job and let the radio handle the rest,” he said. In addition to multiwaveform and a large range of spectrum coverage, Kroon said the Army is also really looking for multifunction capabilities within radios. Radios also have to have passive sensing capabilities to be able to understand the signals in the environment and provide some level of situational awareness of the spectrum environment. “They have to have visibility into what's going on around them ... not just for [electronic warfare] purposes but sometime just knowing what's going on in the spectrum around you as a planner is really important,” Kroon said. “What's actually going on out there, I don't know I was told this frequency was clear, how do I really know. Having a radio come back and say look what we hit ... it is actually very useful.”

  • Military Times Crash Database

    9 avril 2018 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR

    Military Times Crash Database

    Through multiple Freedom of Information requests, Military Times obtained data for every Class A through Class C aviation mishap that has occurred since fiscal year 2011. More than 7,500 records were obtained. An analysis of the data shows manned warplane accidents have spiked nearly 40 percent since 2013, the year the mandated budget cuts known as sequestration took effect. The records can be searched by aircraft type, base, fiscal year and location. Military Times has published a searchable database that includes more than 7,500 individual records for military aviation mishap reports for the fiscal years 2011 through 2017. An analysis of the data shows that manned warplane accidents have spiked nearly 40 percent since 2013, the year the mandated budget cuts known as sequestration took effect. The data was obtained through multiple Freedom of Information requests and includes every Class A through Class C aviation mishap. The records can be searched by aircraft type, base, fiscal year and location.

  • Le Rafale de Dassault bientôt à nouveau en piste en Inde

    6 avril 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    Le Rafale de Dassault bientôt à nouveau en piste en Inde

    ( — L'Inde a fixé au 6 juillet prochain la date-butoir pour la soumission initiale des offres de renouvellement de sa flotte de jets de combat. Le pays veut s'équiper de 110 appareils mono et biplaces qui doivent être produits localement, a fait savoir l'armée de l'air. L'occasion pour Dassault Aviation de proposer à nouveau son Rafale, que Delhi a déjà commandé à 36 exemplaires en 2016, après un très long processus entamé en 2001. Initialement, l'Inde devait commander 126 Rafale, mais le contrat avait finalement été réduit à 36 appareils après plusieurs volte-face des autorités. Make in India Dassault a depuis joué la carte de la séduction en mettant les bouchées double dans le cadre de l'initiative gouvernementale "Make in India", qui vise à faire profiter à l'industrie locale des grands contrats signaux avec des groupes étrangers. Une usine a vu le jour en coentreprise avec Reliance à Nagpur, pour fabriquer des pièces à destination du contrat Rafale initial. Le groupe français a également exhorté ses sous-traitants à investir dans le pays, pour accroître ses chances d'obtenir un nouveau contrat. Le premier Rafale à voler pour l'Inde devrait être livré en 2019, 18 ans après que le pays eut décidé de moderniser sa flotte d'avions de combat.

  • Marines cyber forces to grow

    6 avril 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Marines cyber forces to grow

    By: Mark Pomerleau The Marine Corps' main cyber war-fighting organization will soon be growing. Maj. Gen. Lori Reynolds, commander of Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command, said her force doesn't have the depth to do what the Army is doing in experimenting with integrated offensive and defensive cyber effects at the tactical edge with full brigades. This is one of the reasons the commandant approved expansion at MARFORCYBER, Reynolds told Fifth Domain following her appearance on an AFCEA-hosted panel in early April. “We've got to do that,” she said, referring to what the Army is doing. “We've got to get the rest of the service, Training and Education Command, we've got to give them the skills and the talent, if you will, to think about how do we prepare the rest of the Marine Corps to integrate cyber effectively. Moreover, the Marine Corps created a cyber career field earlier this year and requested 1,000 billets related to cyber/electronic warfare/information operations in the most recent budget to be better postured to fight and win in an increasingly modern battlefield. MARFORCYBER will get around 40 percent of new career field designees to work on the defensive side with just a couple going to the offensive teams, Reynolds said. The Marines have recognized that cyber is going to be a foundational capability in the future with some ingrained organizational structure behind it. “We just really have to get more return on investment ... and what we want to be able to do is continue to increase our proficiency and skills,” Reynolds said. “When you're constantly moving people out of the cyber workforce, you're starting over again all the time. That doesn't work.” Currently, the Marines deployed on the cyber mission force — a joint force that makes up U.S. Cyber Command's cyber warrior cadre — are lateral moves, Reynolds said, or they're working as signals intelligence Marines and they're just in and out of cyber. While the total number of forces on the CMF will stay the same, the types of Marines filling those roles will change, a MARFORCYBER spokeswoman told Fifth Domain. When a communication officer currently working on a team rotates, that billet will be coded as a cyberspace officer and will be filled only by someone in the new cyber career field, they added. The model going forward should be building a “foundation from the ground up of defensive cyber and then maybe start building some of our offensive capability from the defense while we're still flowing SIGINT through the offensive teams,” Reynolds said. This move comes as the Marines, as well as the other services, are going through a bit of a culture shock when it comes to introducing these nontraditional skill sets into the ranks. “I think the commandant is willing to challenge every assumption we've ever made about how we treat these MOS,” Reynolds said. In fact, during recent congressional testimony, Reynolds noted that the commandant often points out “we may end up with a platoon of warrant officers, and that's got to be okay with us.”

  • In Army’s newest unit, everyone learns cyber skills

    6 avril 2018 | International, C4ISR

    In Army’s newest unit, everyone learns cyber skills

    By: Mark Pomerleau Prior to its deployment to Afghanistan, the Army's newest unit received special assistance in cyber and electronic warfare techniques. The 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, or SFAB, is a first of its kind specialized group designed solely to advise and assist local, indigenous forces. As such, these units need specialized equipment and received training from Army Cyber Command on offensive and defensive cyber operations, as well as electronic warfare and information operations, Army Cyber Command commander Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone wrote in prepared testimony before the Senate Armed Services Cyber Subcommittee in early March. The distinct makeup of the unit ― smaller than a typical brigade and lacking all the resources and technical expertise therein ― means the operators at the tactical edge have to do the networking and troubleshooting themselves in addition to advising battalion sized Afghan units. The command's tailored support sought to advise SFAB personnel how best to leverage a remote enterprise to achieve mission effects, according to the spokesman. That means knowing how to perform electronic warfare and cyber tasks are part of every soldier's basic skill set. This was unique support with tailored training to meet the SFAB's advisory role mission, an Army Cyber Command spokesman said. Team members from Army Cyber Command specializing in offensive cyber and defensive cyber to serve as instructors during SFAB's validation exercise at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana in January, a command spokesman told Fifth Domain. Electronic warfare personnel from 1st SFAB were also briefed on how cyber capabilities in use in Afghanistan currently support U.S. Forces. Specifically, the trainers provided the unit's communications teams best practices to harden networks. The Army Cyber Command team discussed planning factors working with down-range networks and mission relevant cyber terrain with the SFAB, specifically, the need to maintain situational awareness of the blue network and ability to identify key cyber terrain, the Army Cyber Command spokesman said. The unit was also given lessons on implementing defensive measure using organic tools.

  • Lockheed Martin Collaborates with SAS on Cutting-Edge Analytics

    5 avril 2018 | International, Aérospatial, C4ISR

    Lockheed Martin Collaborates with SAS on Cutting-Edge Analytics

    FORT WORTH, Texas, April 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is collaborating with analytics leader SAS to deliver innovative, next-generation analytics across the company's F-35, C-130J and LM-100J programs. Proven capabilities supporting Lockheed Martin programs today also serve stakeholders integrating artificial intelligence and enabling digital transformation. Lockheed Martin's collaboration with SAS underscores the company's commitment to drive innovation that helps customers solve their toughest problems and achieve critical missions. SAS will help Lockheed Martin place powerful analytics at sustainment experts' fingertips to create new efficiencies and ensure cross-platform collaboration is effortless. SAS analytics will infuse decision-making with new insights derived from advanced machine learning, deep learning and natural language processing. "With the first phase of SAS technology completed, these new capabilities enable our data scientists and engineers to quickly develop self-service applications that provide a range of analytics-driven products and services with an initial focus on predictive maintenance, fleet performance management, intelligent diagnostics, and supply chain optimization," said Bruce Litchfield, vice president, Sustainment Operations, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. "The result will be more effective and efficient flight line operations." Powered by SAS® Viya, Lockheed Martin is deploying a broad portfolio of SAS products throughout its global technology platform. "As the industry adapts to the forces of disruptive technological change and new forms of competition, SAS stands ready to help Lockheed Martin capitalize on opportunities to deliver richer products and services from artificial intelligence, machine learning and IoT analytics deployed throughout the value chain," said Jason Mann, vice president of IoT, SAS. Tim Matthews, vice president, F-35 Sustainment Operations, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, added, "These new capabilities will help the F-35 program deliver a total performance-based logistics sustainment solution that meets warfighter needs and significantly reduces total ownership cost." About Lockheed Martin Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 100,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. About SAS SAS is the leader in analytics. Through innovative software and services, SAS empowers and inspires customers around the world to transform data into intelligence. SAS gives you THE POWER TO KNOW®.

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