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Author: Subject: U.S.Navy, 2017 onwards
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[*] posted on 22-5-2017 at 12:37 PM
U.S.Navy, 2017 onwards


Buying 3 carriers at once could save $1.5 billion, cut 2 years off production, shipyard says

By Brock Vergakis

The Virginian-Pilot

May 19, 2017

Bill Tiernan | The Virginian-Pilot


The aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford after passing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel Friday, April 14, 2017 and heading to the Norfolk Naval Station after almost a week of builder's trials during which the ships systems were tested.

NEWPORT NEWS
The only shipyard to build aircraft carriers in the United States says the Navy’s vision for building them more frequently could save $1.5 billion for every three carriers built and reduce construction time for each by up to two years.

The Navy’s top admiral, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, released a paper earlier this week that called for greatly expanding the size of the fleet at a much faster pace. He wants to achieve a 350-ship Navy in the 2020s rather than the 2040s, to keep up with global competitors like China and Russia.

The Navy has about 275 ships today, and its most recent shipbuilding plan puts the service on pace for reaching 310 ships in 2022. The Congressional Budget Office has said getting to 355 ships would cost up to an extra $5 billion a year for 30 years. But those figures don’t include extending the lives of some ships, as Richardson also is proposing.

Newport News Shipbuilding, which builds, refuels and overhauls all U.S. aircraft carriers, says buying three at once instead of the current practice of buying one at a time would create substantial savings.

“This approach would provide stability to Newport News Shipbuilding and our supply chain of more than 2,000 companies in 46 states to better plan and invest in our workforce and facilities,” Christie Miller, a shipyard spokeswoman, said in an email. “It would also allow us to purchase materials in quantity, and to plan and phase work to maximize learning.”

Richardson’s plan calls for buying carriers every three to four years instead of every five or more.

Currently, it takes 10 to 11 years to build a Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier, said Mike Shawcross, Newport News Shipbuilding’s vice president for aircraft carrier construction for the future John F. Kennedy and Enterprise.

It took about eight years to build the older Nimitz-class carriers. Shawcross said ordering three ships at a time would allow the Ford-class ships to be built in a similar time frame. There also would be less time between carrier delivery dates.

The Ford is scheduled to be commissioned later this year, while the John F. Kennedy is scheduled for 2022 and the Enterprise in 2027. If Richardson’s plan is implemented, Shawcross said the faster pace and cost savings could begin with the Enterprise and the two as-yet unnamed carriers that will follow it, which could be finished three years apart.

“Right now the Ford was about 11, the Enterprise would be scheduled for about 10, and I think we could knock a year or two off that,” Shawcross said.
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[*] posted on 24-5-2017 at 12:21 PM


Dual hatted: Navy crew train up on manned and unmanned helos

By: Mike Yeo, May 23, 2017



SINGAPORE — The Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter continues to cut its teeth while operating onboard the third U.S. Navy littoral combat ship, or LCS, to go on a rotational deployment to Singapore as the deployment itself approaches its halfway mark.  

Lt. Cmdr. Arlo Abrahamson, a public affairs officer with the U.S. Seventh Fleet’s Task Force 73, told Defense News that the Fire Scout has been “a very valuable and reliable platform that provides the mission commander with a variety of options for employing the air detachment onboard (the LCS USS) Coronado and has been utilized in nearly every operation and exercise since Coronado arrived in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.”

The biggest change the introduction of the unmanned Fire Scout has meant for operations is that the crew now have to wear the “dual hats” of operating both the manned and unmanned helicopters, having “expanded our roles as individuals and expected to have additional training and additional time that’s divided between two different platforms," Lt. Cmdr. Sean Dougherty told Defense News.

The deployment of the Coronado to Singapore last October marked the first time the MQ-8B with the Telephonics Corporation's AN/ZPY-4(V)1 multimode radar has been involved in an LCS deployment, with previous LCS deployments to Singapore utilizing MQ-8Bs with only the FLIR Systems Brite Star II day/night Electro-Optical turret with a laser target designator fitted.

According to Naval Air Systems Command, the AN/ZPY-4 significantly expands the search area for the ship’s combat team with the ability to simultaneously track up to 150 targets and increase detection accuracy out to 70 nautical miles.

The Fire Scouts are part of an aviation detachment from the Wildcards of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23 Detachment 4, which also includes a Lockheed-Martin MH-60S Seahawk multimission helicopter as part of the Surface Warfare mission package that’s on board the Coronado for the deployment to Singapore.

According to Dougherty, Air Boss of the Wildcards detachment onboard the Coronado, the primary role of the Fire Scout on this deployment is sea surface control, along with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. The pilots of the detachment are qualified to fly both types of embarked helicopters while the aircrew fly in back of MH-60S or operate the sensor packages on the Fire Scout depending on the mission and tasking. 

The Wildcards crew, like the rest of that currently serving on board the Coronado, are new to the region, having arrived in April to relieve the previous crew. Abrahamson says that they will now “continue to look for innovative ways to employ unmanned systems on our ships,” adding that “the Fire Scout will remain a viable tool for our commanders in approaching the variety of missions that the LCS is tasked while operating in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.”

The USS Coronado and its two embarked Fire Scouts were on display at the recent IMDEX 2017 maritime and defense exhibition in Singapore, where trade visitors and naval delegations from around the globe had the opportunity to see the type up close. During the deployment to Singapore, the Coronado has conducted counter-piracy operations and flight operations in the South China Sea and participated in the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training, or CARAT, series of exercises with regional navies.
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[*] posted on 26-5-2017 at 11:10 AM


Gerald R Ford heads to acceptance trials, prepares for delivery

Anika Torruella, Washington, DC - IHS Jane's Navy International

25 May 2017


USS Gerald R Ford pulling into Naval Station Norfolk for the first time on 14 April 2017. Source: US Navy/Matt Hildreth

The US Navy's (USN's) first-of-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) departed Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Virginia and is under way for acceptance trials with the Navy's Board of Inspections and Survey (INSURV) for delivery to the USN, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) announced on 24 May.

Acceptance trials are primarily aimed at demonstrating the ability of the ship to conduct operations at sea to the INSURV and that the ship is constructed in accordance with contract specifications. During this step USN and INSURV official will issue electronic 'starred' trial cards, which indicate deficiencies and note any major discrepancies identified during acceptance trials. The USN has a process in place to correct all starred cards in time to support fleet tasking.

"Over the next several days, CVN 78 sailors will operate many of the ship's key systems and technologies, overseen by INSURV and the navy's Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion, and Repair, and accompanied by shipbuilders from Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding," NAVSEA said in a statement.

According to a NAVSEA spokesperson, flight operations will not be conducted from Gerald R Ford during acceptance trials, and the USN expects to test aircraft operations during subsequent underway periods following delivery to the navy.

This means that two new critical systems, the General Atomics-built Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) and the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) needed to launch and recover aircraft, will not be tested with aircraft until after delivery, although 'no load' cycle testing with EMALS may occur. A Director, Operational Test, and Evaluation (DOT&E) annual report for fiscal year (FY) 2016 warned that stress limits of the aircraft were exceeded during EMALS test launches and that there were problems with "end-of-stroke dynamics with heavy wing stores". The AAG cable shock absorber required modification to provide variable damping in 2013, and the twisters were also redesigned in 2014.

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[*] posted on 3-6-2017 at 03:02 PM


US Navy unfunded requirements list totals $4.8 billion

By: Christopher P. Cavas, June 2, 2017

WASHINGTON — Aircraft top the U.S. Navy’s 2018 unfunded priorities list sent to Congress this week, as the service seeks $2.7 billion to buy 24 more planes. The aircraft are part of an overall $4.8 billion, 48-item Navy list of needs left out of the $171.5 billion Navy fiscal 2018 budget sent to Congress on May 23.

The unfunded lists, requested of each service on an annual basis by Congress, include items for lawmakers to consider as they work through the budget requests. Congress frequently moves and swaps items inside the defense budget, or can add funds for specific programs.

The latest list was sent to Capitol Hill on May 30. While four of the top 10 items relate to buying aircraft, the list presents a smorgasbord of aircraft and weapons spare parts procurement, operations and maintenance needs, and research and development efforts.

“This list predominantly accelerates the recovery of readiness and wholeness of today’s fleet,” Cmdr. Chris Servello, spokesman for Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, said Thursday night.

The list, Servello added, “proposes critical enablers and capabilities including additional Super Hornets to replenish combat-worn aircraft and increase strike fighter inventories; F-35s and unmanned systems to accelerate advanced capabilities; as well as submarine and surface ship modernization to improve and sustain lethality and survivability. Investments in shore readiness are key to preventing further degradation of facilities, docks and airfields after years of underfunding.

“All items on the list are executable in fiscal year '18," Servello asserted.

The aircraft include 10 F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet strike fighters, four F-35C carrier-variant Joint Strike Fighters, six P-8A Poseidon multimission maritime patrol aircraft, and four CMV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft for the carrier-onboard delivery role. The list includes $105 million in spares for the aircraft.

There are no ships in the latest unfunded list, including a littoral combat ship, even though the service is on record to support an additional LCS to the one ship in the original FY18 request. The list includes $312 million to buy five ship-to-shore connector air-cushioned landing craft.

But the unfunded list does include $31 million to develop an over-the-horizon, or OTH, capability for the LCS — an item left out of the original request — as well as $84 million in lethality and survivability upgrades for four LCSs and $110 million for the new LCS training facility at Naval Station Mayport, Florida. The OTH item would provide eight missiles to support outfitting a second LCS with missiles to go along with the Independence-class LCS Coronado, already fitted with Harpoon missile launchers. The list does not specify which missile would be installed, although Navy leaders previously indicated the Raytheon-Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile would be fitted to a Freedom-class ship.

The list includes $74 million to buy more SRQ-6 Ships Signal Exploitation Equipment units for ships already in service and for two new guided-missile destroyers. SSEE, according to a Navy description, “incorporates counter-intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities that improve situational awareness, enhance integrated fires and are key enablers for distributed maritime operations.”

Maintenance for strategic sealift ships also made the list, which seeks $17 million to include service life extensions for two crane ships and an aviation support ship. The list also includes $22 million for maintenance of Military Sealift Command Henry J. Kaiser-class fleet oilers.

The list seeks a total of $494 million, including the LCS training facility at Mayport, and asks for $17 million on Overseas Contingency Operations funding, all for requirements of the Naval Special Warfare Command's counter-Islamic State group efforts. 
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[*] posted on 3-6-2017 at 03:57 PM


More Maintenance $$ Gets Navy To 355 Ships Sooner: NAVSEA

By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

on June 01, 2017 at 2:36 PM


USS Shiloh, a Navy Aegis cruiser, in drydock for a maintenance “availability.”

WASHINGTON: More money for maintenance would allow Navy ships to stay in service longer, the head of Naval Sea Systems Command said today, and accelerate the fleet’s growth to the Trump Administration’s avowed goal of 355 ships by “10 to 15 years with a relatively small investment.”

The Navy’s current long-term plan assumes most warships will wear out after 30 to 35 years. Since each old ship retired cancels out one new ship built, and shipyards can only build new ships so fast, the fleet doesn’t grow to 355 ships until about 2045. But you can get to 355 ships by 2030 instead, Vice Adm. Thomas Moore said today, if you just make your existing ships last longer.

“I’ve told the CNO you could easily get five years out of everything that’s got a steel hull, and that you can probably get more,” Moore told reporters after his talk at the Center for Strategic & International Studies. “If it’s a ship and it’s floating today, we’re taking a look at what it would take to extend the service life.”

In effect, Moore is erasing the traditional tradeoff that says maintenance money contributes to the readiness of today’s fleet but shipbuilding buys the fleet of tomorrow. That tradeoff is acutely evident in the 2018 budget, which cut shipbuilding funds — disappointing all those who’d counted on Donald Trump’s campaign promise of a larger fleet — while adding $9.7 billion to operations and maintenance. If Moore’s math works out, however, maintenance money is not just about readiness here and now: It can also help bolster the fleet over the long term.

What will it take? Two things, neither simple but neither exorbitantly expensive, either. The first step is a detailed study of every ship in the fleet, each of which has its own unique history of wear, repair, and mishaps, to figure out how many years you could get out of each for how much money. Second, Moore said, to implement the study’s recommendations, you’d need new investment in both Navy yards and private-sector shipyards, upgrading facilities and training a historic influx of new workers.

Moore made clear this plan is not a panacea. Three types of vessel may be maxed out as is:

- The biggest shortfall in the Navy’s force structure is submarines. Subs simply can’t last longer than the 35 years they already do, both because their nuclear reactors run out of fuel and because their hulls experience intense, fluctuating pressures as they dive and surface.

- Aircraft carriers, the flattop icons of American power, already last for 50 years. That staggering service life requires one major mid-life overhaul, including refueling the reactors, and a level of meticulous maintenance not enjoyed by the rest of the surface fleet. Indeed, the Navy’s success in keeping carriers in service for so long is one of Moore’s inspirations for trying the same with the rest of the fleet.

- Finally, aluminum hulls don’t hold up as well as steel, and there’s less data on their long-term performance. So it’s not clear whether the Navy can get more life out of Austal’s Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship, though Moore emphasized that “I don’t want to presuppose a decision.”

Another complication is that both the all-aluminum Independence and the steel-hulled Freedom-class LCS were designed to last only 25 years, rather than the 35 of a larger vessel. In the future, Moore said emphatically, “we should not design a ship with a planned service life of 25 years. It doesn’t make sense.”

Even setting aside subs and carriers, however, still leaves you with the vast majority of the Navy, Moore said: “CGs (cruisers), DDGs (destroyers), all your amphibious class ships, LCS (at least the steel ones — ed.), and actually some of the… Combat Logistics Force ships as well,” he said.

It’s worth noting that Congress and the Navy have wrangled repeatedly over retiring aging guided-missile cruisers (CGs). Now Moore is saying the 22 Ticonderoga-class ships could gain at least an additional five years of life, which will please the Hill.

Then there’s the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers (DDGs), the most numerous single class in the fleet: 62 ships in service, seven more under construction, and more purchases planned. The Navy had already planned to keep some late-model Burkes for 40 years, but the rest of the class would retire at 35. Why Moore didn’t give exact numbers, he’s talking about extending the entire class to at least the 40-year mark, a 14 percent increase in service life. In terms of long-term fleet size, that’s the equivalent of buying seven or eight new ships.

So what’s the trade-off, on the margin, between investing $1 in maintaining old ships and investing it in building new ships?

Moore and his staff didn’t provide sufficiently detailed data to do that math. That’s what the Navy will have to study in the coming months, hopefully in time to inform their budget request for 2019. Watch this space.
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[*] posted on 6-6-2017 at 08:14 PM


USN recharges railgun science and technology effort

Geoff Fein, Washington, DC - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

06 June 2017


The ONR is continuing risk reduction work to improve the EMRG's bore life as well as demonstrate the ability to shoot 10 rounds per minute. Source: John Williams/USN

Key Points

- The US Navy asked to cut funding for transitioning EMRG onto a surface combatant
- Instead the service hopes to have a railgun prototype for at-sea testing in 2019

The US Navy (USN) did not request any funding in its fiscal year 2018 (FY 2018) budget to transition the electro-magnetic railgun (EMRG) onto a ship, but the service would continue to fund research and development (R&D) efforts with the goal of fielding a prototype for testing in FY 2019.

its FY 2018 budget the USN requested USD93 million for research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) of several Innovative Naval Prototypes (INPs) that include the EMRG. It is unclear how much would be allocated for railgun because the navy does not publish specific numbers just for EMRG research and development.

Whatever funds are designated for EMRG would be used to continue progressing towards a 32 megajoule (MJ), 10 round per minute railgun capability with a long-life barrel, Tom Boucher, Office of Naval Research (ONR) programme manager for the EMRG, told Jane's.

Unlike conventional surface ship guns, EMRG uses electricity instead of propellants to fire a projectile (without a warhead) out to ranges beyond 100 n miles. Magnetic fields created by high electrical currents accelerate a sliding metal conductor, or armature, between two rails to launch projectiles at 4,500 mph to 5,600 mph.

"We have been working through [a few] technical areas to make sure that can happen," he said. "Much of this work is being done at the subsystem level and components and then we are bringing them together as we go."

The programme office is focused on several areas: achieving a repetition rate of 10 rounds per minute; finding materials that can be used to extend the EMRG's bore life; managing thermal properties within the gun; and designing a power system for the gun.

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[*] posted on 8-6-2017 at 09:33 PM


General Dynamics NASSCO awarded USD105 million for Makin Island maintenance

Anika Torruella, Washington, DC - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

08 June 2017


The eighth and final USN Wasp-class amphibious assault ship heads to dry-docking phased maintenance availability in San Diego, California, after deployment in the Western Pacific. Source: US Navy

The US Navy's (USN) Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) awarded General Dynamics NASSCO USD105 million on 6 June 2017 for the execution of Wasp-class landing helicopter dock (LHD) amphibious ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) fiscal year 2017 (FY 2017) dry-docking phased maintenance availability.

Makin Island returned to San Diego, California in May, following a seven-month deployment to the US Seventh Fleet and Naval Forces Central Command/Fifth Fleet in the Western Pacific. The availability will include a combination of maintenance, modernisation, and repair of Makin Island , with options that, if exercised, would bring the potential total value of the contract to USD106 million. General Dynamics NASSCO's Barrio Logan-based shipyard is also currently developing the detail design for construction of 6 of 17 planned John Lewis-class (TAO-205) oilers (previously known as the TAO(X)) awarded in 30 June 2016.

Northrup Grumman Shipbuilding Makin Island is the final Wasp-class ship procured by the USN, but the first amphibious assault ship to have its existing boiler-based, steam-powered turbine propulsion system design converted to a hybrid, combined diesel electric or gas (CODLOG) turbine, propulsion system to enhance fuel economy. This new system features electronic subsystems managed by a computer-based machinery control system enabled with fibre-optic cables.

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[*] posted on 13-6-2017 at 04:35 PM


How to fast-track to an improved Navy

By: Christopher P. Cavas, June 11, 2017 (Photo Credit: US Marine Corps)

New concept aims to get more from the fleet sooner



WASHINGTON – U.S. Marines based out of Norway, another Marine expeditionary unit operating from Sicily. U.S. submarines forward-deployed to Scotland, littoral combat ships in the Mediterranean. Supply ships, fleet oilers and amphibious ships armed with cruise missiles. A third aviation-centered assault ship. More networked connectivity.

Those are just some of the changes and enhancements proposed by the new iNavy concept – i for Improved Navy -- a set of force enhancements that, according to its proponents, can be implemented over the next five years to make the existing fleet more lethal and effective.

“It’s things we can do between 2017 and 2022 to improve our Navy, to improve our capabilities and to improve the size of the Navy in order to fill some of the gaps we have today. And to do so in a manner that doesn’t preclude us from doing things in the long term to ensure that we’ve got the Navy that we need in 2030, 2035,” said John Miller, a retired vice admiral who led the team that developed the concept.

The concept isn’t dependent on buying more ships, since it’s unlikely any new construction would enter service within five years. Rather, Miller said, the idea is to improve the overall readiness of the service as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“iNavy is a larger Navy. It’s a more lethal Navy. It’s a Navy that’s more forward-deployed and it’s a Navy that’s more ready. It’s those four attributes,” he said.

“We can’t just grow the Navy, that’s not the solution that’s going to meet all the demands we have,” Miller explained. “We really don’t have the money to do that and we don’t have the industrial capacity to just build a bigger Navy in a very short amount of time.

“Most of the Navy we’re going to have in 2022 is already with us. In fact, most of the Navy we’re going to have in 2030 is already with us, about seventy-five percent of it. So you have to look at other things we can do to get more out of the Navy we have.”

Working with the support of Tom Donnelly at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Miller, a former commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, proposes moving a number of U.S.-based forces to forward-deployed locations, with a particular emphasis on beefing up the U.S. presence in Europe. Among the proposals is to establish a Mediterranean base for one of the two aviation-centered assault ships, America or Tripoli. The Mediterranean base would also support cruisers, destroyers and logistics efforts. He advocates an amphibious ready group (ARG) and associated Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) based in Sicily, similar to the ARG and MEU now forward-deployed to Japan.

Another new Mediterranean base would support littoral combat ships, and a U.S. submarine base would be established at Faslane, Scotland, already home to a British Royal Navy sub base.

The emphasis on more units in Europe, Miller said, is a reflection of recent rebalancing efforts to move more forces to the Pacific where, he said, “I think we’ve moved sufficient numbers.”

And forces based in Europe, he added, could move easily to other theaters when needed.

“Where we really see gaps of concern is in the Mediterranean and in the North Atlantic and an area of the Baltics,” Miller said. “Moving forces into the Mediterranean helps you in a couple of different places -- in the Mediterranean, in the North Atlantic and also in West Asia, because you’re closer to that part of the world. You could swing those forces into the Central Command area as a possibility or into the Indian Ocean as well.”

Miller would move more submarines to Guam, shortening the transit time to the Western Pacific or Indian Ocean theaters. He also proposes forward-deploying the other aviation assault ship to the Pacific, and advocates building a third aviation ship, not in current shipbuilding plans. He would beef up purchases of Marine Corps F-35B joint strike fighters to fill out the assault ship decks.  

Miller’s iNavy also embraces distributed lethality concepts to get more firepower out of the fleet. All 22 Ticonderoga-class cruisers would be retained and fully modernized, and the combat systems of all destroyers would be upgraded to Aegis Baseline 9, the current top-of-the-line standard. A key element would be to arm at least six San Antonio-class landing ship docks and six T-AKE dry cargo ammunition ships with vertical launch systems (VLS) able to launch cruise missiles. The ships also would receive cooperative engagement capabilities to allow more sophisticated warships to control the weapons. Miller’s concept also envisions returning all four Supply-class fast supply ships to Military Sealift Command service and providing them with VLS, and considers similar modifications to Kaiser-class fleet oilers.

Miller and his team conducted a series of four war games, running scenarios with and without iNavy concepts.  In every scenario, the iNavy dramatically improved U.S. responses to regional threats.

“The more forward-deployed we are the more ready we are and the more capable we are of responding to crisis,” Miller said. “We need to be more forward-deployed than we are today. You have to have the numbers of ships and aircraft and you have to have sufficient lethality and be properly networked.”

Greater emphasis would be placed, he said, on expanding the Navy Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA) network, which links together weapons and sensors on a variety of different ships, aircraft and shore units.

“A NIFC-CA-configured strike group is one that’s easier to disaggregate and operate in different geographic areas while staying connected,” Miller said. “You have more synergy than if you don’t have a NIFC-CA-configured strike group. That’s mature technology and we’ve deployed it so we understand how it works. It’s just a matter of buying the kit and installing it.”

Miller is beginning to brief Navy brass on the concept, and an AEI report is forthcoming.

“All four of the concepts attributes are required,” Miller said. “It’s not just a bigger Navy or a more ready Navy or a more lethal Navy or more forward-deployed Navy. It’s all four of those attributes together.”

One analyst familiar with the iNavy concept is impressed.

“This was a very focused excursion into how we could do better with what we already have with modest adjustments in the next few years,” said Bryan McGrath, one of the co-authors of a recent fleet architecture study conducted by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “I was grateful to see that group of smart people had looked very hard at the near-term horizon. There are a world of things we can do in the next few years that are interesting and can have impact.”

But McGrath noted that “there’s a considerable amount of diplomacy to be done to make those things happen,” referring to the multiple forward-basing proposals. He also brought up another issue.

“There has to be a reason why, a sense of urgency, compelling reasons to force the Navy and Congress to make these adjustments,” McGrath observed. “But that compelling narrative has not been created, and no one is out preaching it. I know in my heart there is one.

“I think Admiral MIller’s team makes a very useful contribution that when a compelling narrative arrives that makes these things important, they will be useful first steps, and relatively straightforward to implement. But without that narrative it’s going to be difficult to pull off.”
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[*] posted on 14-6-2017 at 01:22 PM


CNO: Navy ‘Taking a Hard Look’ at Bringing Back Oliver Hazard Perry Frigates, DDG Life Extensions as Options to Build Out 355 Ship Fleet

By: Sam LaGrone

June 13, 2017 1:20 PM • Updated: June 13, 2017 2:42 PM

Studies are underway to “take a hard look” at putting eight mothballed Oliver Hazard Perry frigates back into service as well as extending the life of existing Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyers to help the Navy reach its goal of a 355-ship fleet, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said on Tuesday.

Speaking before an audience at the U.S. Naval War College, Richardson said service leaders were looking at “every trick” to put more platforms into the fleet including bringing back some Perrys into service.

“We’re taking a hard look at the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates. There’s seven or eight of those that we could take a look at but those are some old ships and everything on these ships is old… a lot has changed since we last modernized those,” Richardson said in a response to an audience question on how the Navy’s inactive reserve fleet could be used to grow the fleet.

“It’ll be a cost benefit analysis in terms of how we do that. The other part is how we do life extension and how do we plan to keep them out of mothballs longer. That’s going to be money in the bank if we do that.”

He said early looks at extending the planned service life of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers could help the service reach a 355 total ten to 15 years faster.

“If we plan now, for instance, to extend the life Arleigh Burke DDGs beyond the current projections, the initial returns are we could buy ten to 15 years to the left in terms of reaching that 350 ship goal,” he said.

In follow-up tweets to his remarks at the Current Strategy Forum, Richardson and a Navy spokesperson stressed the service was still in the early stages of formulating how it would reach the 355 ship goal and that the progress on the life extension program was more mature than reactivating the frigates.

The service – currently at 275 ships – determined late last year that it needed to grow to 355 ships by the mid-2020s to keep a U.S. advantage over adversaries like Russia and China.
“It’s clear to get beyond that we’re going to have to start building, we’re going to have to build ships,” Richardson wrote in a white paper issued last month.

“And we’re going to have to look at extending the life of ships, we’re going to have to look at just about every way we can to increase our inventory of ships in the United States Navy.”
One naval analyst told USNI News on Tuesday considering reactivating the frigates was a sign of the stress the current fleet is under.

“The fact that this is being considered speaks to the strength and utility of the Perry-class frigate design, as well as the strain being felt by the fleet,” Eric Wertheim, author of U.S. Naval Institute’s Combat Fleets of the World, told USNI News on Tuesday.

“While increasing maintenance and shipbuilding funding could help alleviate some of these challenges in the future, near term gaps still need to be addressed more immediately. Returning retired vessels to the fleet could potentially be one near-term solution, and it sounds like it is now being considered – among other options.”

Bryan Clark, a naval analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and former aide to retired former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, told USNI News that the missions for the frigates would be limited and the cost would be high in reintroducing them to the fleet.

“The Perry class are going to be an expensive proposition to bring out of mothballs and maintain just for the purpose of going out and doing some presence missions,” Clark said.
“You’re talking about having to come up with a 150 billets for each of those ships out of an already stressed manpower pool.

They’re also not going to offer that much in terms of combat capability. So if you bring them back, they’re essentially going to be like how they were when they left the fleet, which was as a theater security cooperation, maritime security asset.”

The last Perry left U.S. service in 2015 with the bulk of the class set aside for foreign military sale or dismantling.

Originally designed as a guided missile frigate, the class was a key platform for the U.S. during the Iran-Iraq War in the late 1980s and later was a key platform for anti-drug trafficking operations in U.S. Southern Command.
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[*] posted on 15-6-2017 at 01:59 PM


“No diagnosis” on pilot oxygen issue

14 June, 2017 SOURCE: Flightglobal.com BY: Leigh Giangreco Washington DC

US Navy pilots flying T-45 Goshawk trainers and F/A-18E/F Super Hornets continue to struggle with oxygen problems, yet the service has found no root cause to date.

The navy grounded its T-45s indefinitely after pilots reported oxygen deprivation. T-45 instructors, but not students, were allowed returned to flying in April but under restrictions. The navy forced instructor pilots to fly under 5,000ft altitude and maintain 2g manoeuvres, an envelope that would not require the use of the use of the on board oxygen generator system (OBOGS).

During a 13 June Senate hearing, Vice Adm Paul Grosklags, commander of Naval Air Systems Command, told members of Congress that the T-45 pilots often experience breathing gas issues while the F/A-18 pilots report pressurization problems.

“We’re not doing well on the diagnosis,” Grosklags told senators this week. “To date, we have been unable to find any smoking guns.”

Despite testing, the navy has not been able to discover a contaminant in the breathing gas, he says. Several aircraft are undergoing testing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, where the service has examined every single component in breathing gas path out of the aircraft from the engine to the mask, he adds. Even after extreme testing, the navy has not found what it considers the cause of contamination or an element being released into the gas.

In the meantime, the US Navy could hemorrhage students if the service does not solve the issue by this fall. The service has not flown any training events with students since March, delaying a crop of about 25 undergraduate pilots per month. By the end of the June, the service will delay 75 students moving to the next squadron, Grosklags says. The US Marine Corps represents about a third of the navy’s production, says the USMC’s deputy commandant for aviation, Lt. Gen. Jon Davis.

“I need to have students loading those up in September,” Davis says. “We have a problem with numbers.”

Meanwhile, 48 F-35A aircraft are still grounded at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona after pilots reported hypoxia symptoms. Davis is not aware of hypoxia issues on the US Navy and USMC’s F-35C and F-35B variants but is watching the incident closely, he says.

Both service and industry officials have not indicated they will abandon the OBOGS, the same system fielded on the F-22, F-35 and T-45, which have all experienced oxygen issues. Boeing is conducting a root cause analysis with the US Navy and has made some progress on the oxygen issue, Boeing executive vice president Leanne Caret said 14 June. When asked whether industry is considering stepping away from OBOGS, Caret said the root cause should be found first.

“Nothing’s off the table,” Caret says. “But we don’t want to predetermine, that’s the worst thing you can do. This is a serious issue for our pilots.”
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[*] posted on 16-6-2017 at 09:48 AM


US Navy seeks next-generation oxygen system for T-45s

15 June, 2017 SOURCE: Flightglobal.com BY: Leigh Giangreco Washington DC

The US Navy and industry will pursue a next-generation on board oxygen generator system (OBOGS) while the service implements fixes to mitigate persistent oxygen and pressurization issues on its Boeing/BAE Systems T-45 trainers and Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets.

Following a comprehensive review of physiological events on the T-45 Goshawks and F/A-18E/F fighters, the navy concluded the OBOGS on both aircraft are not able to provide clean, dry air to pilots and can even allow contaminants to escape into their breathing air that can cause hypoxia. The navy found pressurization issues caused most of the oxygen problems for F/A-18E/F pilots, while the OBOGS emerged as the culprit on T-45s.

In a 15 June call with reporters, vice chief of naval operations Adm Bill Moran admitted that while the report found issues with the OBOGS and the F/A-18E/F’s environmental control system, which provide air for pressurization, heating and cooling, the root cause of hypoxia remains elusive.

“Root cause to me is if you identify a specific system or event or environmental condition that causes a hypoxic event or a pressurization malfunction,” Moran says. “When I say we haven’t found the cause, it may be more than one component or condition that clearly leads to a physiological event. So what we’re doing is systematically going after anything that contributes to the cleanliness, the dryness and pressure of air at any stage of ground or flight operations.”

However, the navy’s review team discovered T-45's OBOGS does not have a water separator mechanism, even though the service fields a similar mechanism on OBOGS in high performance jets, Moran says. When water interacts with contaminants in the OBOGS, it can release the contaminants into the aircrew breathing air. The navy will install water separators on T-45s by this fall, Moran says.

In parallel with ongoing mitigation efforts, industry will install breathing air pressure warning for aircraft fitted with the solid state oxygen monitor (CRU-123) this month and develop a next-generation OBOGS known as GGU-25.

T-45’s current OBOGS is made up of Cobham’s oxygen concentrator (GGU-7), an oxygen monitor (CRU-99) and an aircrew-worn breathing air regulator (CRU- 103).

The CRU-123 is a digital upgrade to the current CRU-99 and will be able to deliver information on both temperature and oxygen pressure to pilots, Moran says. Cobham is looking at the redesigned OBOGS as a potential replacement for the legacy system if the navy’s mitigation efforts do not work, he adds. The effort also includes adding a larger capacity emergency oxygen system on the T-45 to eliminate the current way the navy uses on board oxygen today.

“So we’re doing all that in parallel,” Moran says. “We’re not waiting for next-generation or a complete redesign which will take quite a bit longer we’re installing some mitigation measures.”

Meanwhile, the Navy is sharing its findings on hypoxia issues with the US Air Force, which recently experienced oxygen problems on Lockheed Martin F-35As at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. The Defense Department has asked the navy for information on the hypoxia study and will determine whether the F-35 effort should merit an independent or can follow on the navy’s effort, Moran says.
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[*] posted on 18-6-2017 at 09:26 AM


I suspect the ensuing court martial will see the bridge and CIC watchkeepers crucified and the Captain relieved of command.

US Navy destroyer collides with merchant ship off coast of Japan; extensive damage, flooding; seven sailors missing

The USS Fitzgerald and the ACX Crystal collided with multiple injured and seven sailors are missing



The USS Fitzgerald, a US Navy destroyer collided with a large Philippine flagged merchant ship, the ACX Crystal, off the coast of Japan around 2:30 a.m. local time Saturday. The destroyer, as seen from videos and photos, was heavily damaged on the starboard side and was taking on water. The Fitzgerald limped back to Yokosuka Naval Base and arrived at the base 16 hours later.

Three Navy sailors were injured and medically evacuated from the ship and seven other sailors are still currently missing.

One of the injured sailors was the commanding officer, Cmdr. Bryce Benson.

A retired Navy Captain who wished to remain unnamed told American Military News that “In the middle of the night large cargo ships can look like land on the horizon. Most likely someone on watch screwed up and someone will be relieved of duty.”

Vice Adm. Joseph P. Aucoin, Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet said “This has been a difficult day…I am humbled by the bravery and tenacity of the Fitzgerald crew. Now that the ship is in Yokosuka, I ask that you help the families by maintaining their privacy as we continue the search for our shipmates.”

Here is a video statement by Adm. Aucoin:

Video statement

The US Navy provided this update:

Search and rescue efforts continue by U.S. and Japanese aircraft and surface vessels in the hopes of recovering the seven USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) Sailors still unaccounted for after the ship was involved in a collision with the Philippine-flagged merchant vessel ACX Crystal at approximately 2:30 a.m. local time, June 17, while operating about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan.



“Shortly after the collision the U.S. made a request for support from the Japanese Coast Guard, which first arrived on scene and continues to be lead for finding the seven missing Sailors. The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force ships JS Ohnami, JS Hamagiri, and JS Enshu have joined the JCG ships Izanami and Kano and USS Dewey (DDG 105). A U.S. P-8 Poseidon aircraft is working in concert with two JMSDF Helicopters and a JMSDF P-3 Orion aircraft to search the area. Names of the missing Sailors are being withheld until the families have been notified.“



The Fitzgerald is currently part of the USS Ronald Reagan Strike Group that recently took part in training close to the Korean Peninsula. The training involved the USS Carl Vinson strike group, among others which has been seen as an American response to more aggressive North Korean provocation lately.

Video of the damage

Navy Commander Bryce Benson took command of the Fitzgerald last month.

ENDS









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[*] posted on 19-6-2017 at 12:52 AM


The seven missing crew members have apparently be found dead in the flooded compartments.

Talk about a monumental fuck up!




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[*] posted on 20-6-2017 at 01:01 PM


P-8A Roll Out to U.S. Navy Accelerates With ASW Mission

by Bill Carey - June 18, 2017, 6:50 AM

Recently the recipient of a mischievous “greeting” by a Russian Sukhoi Su-30 fighter over the Black Sea, the Boeing P-8A Poseidon continues rolling out to the U.S. Navy, bringing new capability in anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and no doubt annoying adversaries. Since it first started delivering Poseidons to the Navy in March 2012, Boeing this spring had handed over nearly half of the 117 jets the service seeks.

Prior to the Farnborough Airshow last year, Boeing (Chalets 332, 335) sponsored a press trip to Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, where six U.S. east coast squadrons had completed the transition from the aging Lockheed P-3C Orion four-engine turboprop to the Poseidon, a Boeing 737-800ERX derivative with reinforced 737-900 wings. Last month, the press visited Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound north of Seattle, Washington. There, west coast squadrons are undergoing transition training.

From steamy Jacksonville to chilly Whidbey Island there was at least one familiar face—Capt. Andy Miller, officer in charge of P-8 fleet integration with Patrol Squadron Thirty (VP-30), a flight crew training unit, said he accepted the Navy’s offer to lead the P-3 to P-8 transition on both coasts.

VP-4, “The Skinny Dragons,” achieved safe-for-flight certification to operate the P-8A on May 5 at Whidbey Island, becoming the first U.S. west coast squadron to complete the transition. Formerly based at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, the squadron had received two of the seven Poseidons it will operate for a scheduled deployment next March. VP-47, “The Golden Swordsmen,” was next in line to complete the transition.

Jacksonville-based VP-16, the “War Eagles,” became the first operational P-8A squadron in December 2013 when it deployed with the jet to Kadena Air Base, Japan, to support the Navy’s 7th Fleet. By 2020, the Navy plans to base six P-8A squadrons at Jacksonville and six at Whidbey Island, Miller said.

Some P-3s will be assigned to training and reserve squadrons after 2020; others have been sent to the aircraft “boneyard” at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona. There were 28 P-3s remaining at NAS Whidbey Island, plus a handful at Jacksonville, Navy officers said.

While most P-3 flight training took place on the aircraft, 70 percent of P-8A training is accomplished in a simulator, a major efficiency advantage, Navy officers said. There are 10 CAE-built full-flight simulators at Jacksonville and as of May three of seven planned simulators at Whidbey Island. Transitioning pilots fly 29 four-hour simulator sessions and 40 actual flight hours (50 for commanders), said LCDR Matt Olson assistant officer in charge of the Whidbey Island transition.

P-8A crewmembers described other enhancements the Poseidon brings to the ASW mission. The P-8A has storage capacity for 129 sonobuoys—50 percent more than the P-3 can carry—which are dispensed from rotary launchers in its aft section to detect and track submarines.

The Poseidon’s sensor mix includes SSQ-36 bathythermograph buoys (providing vertical seawater temperature profiles); GPS-enabled SSQ-53G passive and SSQ-62F active sonobuoys; and SSQ-101 multi-static non-coherent source and SSQ-125 multi-static coherent source sonobuoys. Its third generation Multi-Static Active Coherent (MAC) acoustic search system makes use of multiple receiver buoys in a multistatic field to support wide-area searches with greater sensitivity in a wider variety of ocean acoustic environments.

A planned upgrade, the Boeing-built High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Capability (HAAWC) air-launched accessory kit adds GPS guidance and folding wings to the Raytheon MK 54 torpedo, turning it into a glide weapon the Poseidon can release from has high as 30,000 feet; it will undergo flight testing this year. The P-8A cradles five MK 54 torpedoes or MK 82 depth charges in its belly weapons bay, plus AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles on four wing stations. “This is going to be great for our high-altitude ASW,” remarked Lieutenant Max Casillas, a VP-4 tactical coordinator.

The P-8A operates from a ceiling of 41,000 feet down to 200 feet above the water’s surface. “We’re not going as low as that because we don’t need to,” Olson said. “We’re down to 500, 1,000, 1,500 (feet), so we’re still low,” he added. “Because of the speeds, the turn rates (of the P-8) we’re still able to do all the same stuff as with the P-3. It’s good to go down there to show force, too.”

Boeing was under contract with the U.S. Navy for 91 P-8As and with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) for 12. The first two of nine Poseidons the UK plans to buy were contained in $2.2 billion Lot 8 full-rate production contract the Naval Air Systems Command awarded Boeing on March 30. As of that contract award, Boeing had delivered 53 Poseidons to the U.S. Navy and two to the RAAF.

Meanwhile, the Indian Navy had received eight P-8Is and was under contract for four additional aircraft. Boeing started delivering the P-8I with India-unique design features and indigenous subsystems in May 2013.

Among other pending users, Norway plans to buy five P-8As, for which Boeing awaited a foreign military sales contract from the Navy. New Zealand has expressed a need for up to four Poseidons, according to a Pentagon notification to the U.S. Congress in late April. Weeks after that, Saudi Arabia was revealed as a potential seventh P-8 customer when the White House announced a $110 billion arms package during a visit by President Donald Trump to Riyadh in May.
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[*] posted on 21-6-2017 at 10:43 AM


Looks as if the Destroyer was overtaking the Commercial ship and has turned hard starboard into it...

What the hell were they thinking?




In a low speed post-merge manoeuvring fight, with a high off-boresight 4th generation missile and Helmet Mounted Display, the Super Hornet will be a very difficult opponent for any current Russian fighter, even the Su-27/30
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[*] posted on 21-6-2017 at 01:35 PM


I've seen a track of the merchant ship prior to the accident and it's...unusual to say the least





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[*] posted on 21-6-2017 at 03:15 PM


Drunk officer or helmsman in charge at the time?
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[*] posted on 21-6-2017 at 04:01 PM


Navy might get to skip Ford shock trials ahead of first deployment

By: David B. Larter, June 20, 2017

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy might not have to conduct shock trials on its new aircraft carrier. That means the Ford could be on deployment much sooner, easing the burden on the Navy’s overstretched carrier fleet.

The House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee is inserting language in its markup of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act that would strike the requirement to send the ship into shock trials before its first deployment. Carrying out full-ship shock trials has been the plan since Congress mandated it in the 2016 NDAA.

The Navy could still chose to do the shock trials on Ford if it wanted, according to House aides familiar with the matter.  The plan to have the Navy do FSSTs for Ford was pushed by Michael Gilmore, the former director of the office of test and evaluation, and supported by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, McCain, R-Ariz.

If enacted, it would be welcome news to fleet schedule planners who opposed the move because it would delay Ford’s first deployment. The fleet has been strained under the weight of unrelenting requirements for its forces, and budget cuts that have eaten away at readiness and created backlogs in the shipyards. 

The carrier successfully completed its acceptance trials May 26 after the U.S. Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey completed its assessment of the ship and was accepted by the Navy June 1. 

"The Navy initially didn't want to shock-trial [Ford], they wanted to shock-trial [John F. Kennedy]," said an aide to the House Armed Services Committee. "So ... by taking out the shock trial associated with CVN-78 we are at least able to accelerate to Ford delivery by at least a year."

The Navy is still working out the kinks in several new technologies, including the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System and the Advanced Arresting Gear. The service originally had plenty of time to do that, because it wasn't scheduled for deployment until 2022. 

But if they can skip the shock trials, Fleet Forces Command would likely get to move up to Ford's first deployment to 2019 or 2020, which was the original plan. That would put pressure on the Navy and contractor General Atomics to speed up the process.

Getting the Ford earlier would be a win for Fleet Forces, which has been trying to get its new optimized fleet response plan on track. The schedule change would ease the pressure as the Navy looks to maintain a carrier presence off North Korea and in the Persian Gulf as often as possible, said Bryan Clark, an analyst for the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
 
"Ultimately if they don't have to do shock trials it means you can more quickly reduce the stress on sailors and ships," he said. "Once the Ford comes online you can have the East Coast carriers essentially cover the Middle East with short gaps and have the West Coast carriers fill the gaps in the Pacific while Reagan is in its spring maintenance availability."
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[*] posted on 22-6-2017 at 12:37 PM


Huntington Ingalls signs LHA 8 contract

21st June 2017 - 14:30

by The Shephard News Team



Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) shipbuilding division has received a $3 billion contract for the detail design and construction of the US Navy's Bougainville (LHA 8) amphibious assault ship, the company announced on 16 June.
Construction will start in the fourth quarter of 2018, and delivery is expected in 2024.

While Bougainville will retain the aviation capability of the America class design, it will add the surface assault capability of a well deck. The well deck will provide the US Marine Corps the ability to house and launch two landing craft air cushion hovercraft or one landing craft utility as required during maritime missions.

The ship will also feature a larger flight deck configured for Joint Strike Fighter and V-22 Osprey aircraft, which can be used for surface and aviation assaults. The additional area on the flight deck comes in part from a smaller deck house and an additional sponson.
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[*] posted on 27-6-2017 at 01:41 PM


House Armed Services Committee wants US Navy to replace its Reserve Hornets

By: David B. Larter, June 26, 2017 (Photo Credit: Mike Morones/Staff)



The U.S. Navy Reserve's F/A-18A+ Hornets are relics of the Reagan era, but the fleet still uses them to play the bad guy in air-to-air combat simulations. Now the House Armed Services Committee wants the U.S. Navy to plan on replacing them, according to a version of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act released Monday.

The U.S. Navy Reserve has two squadrons of the planes — 33 all together — that they use predominantly as opposition forces for training aviators and painted to look like Russian MiG fighters. But they are supposed to be kept at a high level of readiness to serve as replacement jets if the U.S. Navy suffers combat losses in a crisis. 

The problem, according to the language in Chairman Mac Thornberry's mark of the FY18 NDAA, is that the fighters lag behind the rest of the fleet's Super Hornets in terms of technology and can't fully integrate into today's carrier air wing.

"The committee ... believes these legacy F/A-18+ aircraft need to be recapitalized with next-generation capability in order to provide realistic, threat-representative training for aviators and to maintain operational readiness that provides a relevant and deployable backstop to the Active Duty air wings," the bill reads.

The bill directs that the secretary of the Navy come up with a plan and present it to the committee no later than Dec. 1 of this year. 
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[*] posted on 2-7-2017 at 04:43 PM


Navy struggles with approach to fix crippled destroyer Fitzgerald, as investigation continues

By: David B. Larter, June 30, 2017 (Photo Credit: MC1 Peter Burghart)



WASHINGTON — The collision off Japan that claimed the lives of seven sailors on the U.S. Navy destroyer Fitzgerald punched a hole large enough to drive a tractor trailer through, leaving the service with the considerable task of putting the crippled destroyer back together again. 

The bulbous bow of the ACX Crystal left a 12x17-foot hole beneath the waterline, per three Navy sources who spoke on background, an enormous breach that rapidly flooded three spaces. Sailors had about a minute to evacuate their berthing, and several were awoken by salt water rushing into their rack, per two sources familiar with the details of the accident said 

There is no indication that the ship sounded a collision alarm, which would have alerted sleeping crew members to the looming catastrophe, prior to the collision. Those details, however, are the subject of an ongoing Navy investigation.

The collision also significantly damaged the ship's superstructure and SPY-1 radar array on its starboard side, and flooded out a main engineering space and radio central, rendering millions of dollars of expensive gear and equipment useless. 

While investigators try to puzzle out what breakdowns lead to the tragic accident, the Navy is solving a complicated engineering problem: how to secure the ship enough to get the compromised hull out of the water. And then they have to figure out just how bad the damage is, if it can be fixed and where.

Navy engineers have managed to dewater most of the spaces and are working on a patch for the wounded hull, said 7 th Fleet spokesman Clay Doss in an email.

"USS Fitzgerald is preparing to enter drydock on Fleet Activities Yokosuka early next month to conduct follow on inspections and repairs,” Doss said. “An ammo offload was completed June 25. Additional preparations include dewatering, defueling and temporary patch installation on the hull.  Once the ship is docked, technical assessments will commence that will inform options to conduct long term repairs in the United States.”

Since the outset, the Navy has been intent on fixing the ship. In a press conference immediately following the June 17 collision, 7 th Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin told reporters that it would be a lengthy process.

"Hopefully less than a year,” he said. “You will see the USS Fitzgerald back."

Fixing Fitzgerald 

The emphasis in the early stages will be to stabilize the ship enough to get it out of the water, which the Navy says will likely be somewhere between July 6 and 8. Once its out of the water, the Navy will conduct a full survey of the ship.

One potential concern, according to Navy officials, is that the force of the collision may have warped the superstructure and created an alignment issue for the ship’s SPY-1 radar. Fixing that could add an enormous sum to the repair bill and could even be cost-prohibitive, but those assessments haven’t been completed yet.

Doss declined to comment on the alignment concerns, citing ongoing damage assessments and repair planning.

Just getting the ship out the water is a task in and of itself, said retired Capt. Gordan Van Hook, who was the chief engineer on the frigate Samuel B. Roberts when it struck a mine in 1988.

“Every ship has a docking plan for when you go into dry dock,” Van Hook said in a telephone interview. “It involves putting blocks underneath the keel to support the ship. But if large parts of the hull compromised or penetrated it can create a lot of loads and stresses that the ship wasn’t meant to withstand and if you don’t do it correctly you can bend the keel or damage the strakes.”

That means the ship’s docking plan needs to be redone to account for the damaged hull. Officials believe based on preliminary assessments that the keel of the Fitz made it through the collision ok. Fixing a broken keel would be another enormous cost driver, though the Navy managed to fix the Sammy B, which had a completely fractured keel.

Funding for the repairs would likely come from supplemental funding, said retired Adm. Robert Natter, who was the head of U.S. Fleet Forces Command when the destroyer Cole was attacked by terrorists in Yemen and needed repair.

“The natural place for the Navy to go for the money for repairs would be the [Overseas Contingency Operations fund],” Natter said.

When the Navy had to pony up almost a quarter-of-a-billion dollars to fix Cole, the Navy tapped into a supplemental funding pot. Then-Sen. John Warner, R-Virginia, wrote up legislation to get the Navy the money it needed to fix the ship, Natter said.

Once the ship is in dry-dock, the Navy will complete a thorough assessment of what is wrong with the ship and will get estimates of how much it’s going to cost. In the case of the Cole, it cost the Navy about $250 million – or about two-and-a-half F-35s – to complete the repairs.

The most likely scenario for the repair is that the Navy will have to send Fitz home on a heavy-lift vessel, said Bryan Clark, a retired submariner and analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

"There is no way they can get it repaired overseas,” Clark said. “What they are doing now is trying to determine whether it can be repaired enough to make it home on its own power or if they should put it on a heavy-lift ship. From there it’s going to go into a long repair period at one of the private yards.”

Clark said General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego would be a logical place to do the repair.

The Cole was taken to Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi, where she was built, on board the Heavy Lift Ship Blue Marlin.

For Cole, Ingalls cut out the damaged section of the ship, refabricated the new section and welded it back into the ship. In all the repair replaced 550 tons of steel and both main engines, per a 2002 press release. 

As for the ship's crew, they are returning to work gradually and beginning to get back to a normal routine, Doss said.

"The crew is resuming their normal routine incrementally – standing some in port watches as well as drydock preparations," Doss wrote. "Fitzgerald engineers are conducting the defueling process right now for example.

"The entire waterfront continues to support Fitzgerald Sailors and their families and I would stress that resuming their routine at a measured pace is an important part of the healing process."
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[*] posted on 3-7-2017 at 01:05 PM


They brought the Cole home, and the Stark, and the Roberts, all of whom were at least as badly damaged.

As for the bit about no way they could get it fixed overseas, the Japanese and South Korean yards could fix her, but you can bet congress critters from states with repair yards would raise hell about 'furriners' getting the work.




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[*] posted on 3-7-2017 at 11:24 PM


Quote: Originally posted by unicorn  
They brought the Cole home, and the Stark, and the Roberts, all of whom were at least as badly damaged.

As for the bit about no way they could get it fixed overseas, the Japanese and South Korean yards could fix her, but you can bet congress critters from states with repair yards would raise hell about 'furriners' getting the work.


'They're taking our jewbs......'




In a low speed post-merge manoeuvring fight, with a high off-boresight 4th generation missile and Helmet Mounted Display, the Super Hornet will be a very difficult opponent for any current Russian fighter, even the Su-27/30
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[*] posted on 4-7-2017 at 02:08 PM


Pentagon seeks increased P-8 ties with Norway, UK

By: Aaron Mehta, July 3, 2017

WASHINGTON — The United States, United Kingdom and Norway have agreed in principal to create a trilateral coalition built around the P-8 maritime aircraft — though exactly what that means remains unclear.

The Pentagon announced June 29 that the three countries had established a “statement of intent to lay out guiding principles for a trilateral partnership with P-8A aircraft.” In addition, the announcement said the nations are working on a “framework for further cooperation in areas such as readiness, enhancing defense capability, and interoperability.”

A defense official, speaking on background, told Defense News that nothing is “set in stone,” and this is just a first step toward coordinating around the aircraft. Potential areas of cooperation include joint operations in the North Atlantic, information sharing and the possibility of co-locating maintenance and training assets.

The last point would seem to build on a November pledge between the U.K. and Norway to find ways to jointly drive down costs for the maritime surveillance plane. The U.K. plans on buying nine P-8s, while Norway has agreed to purchase five of the Boeing-made planes.

Given the shared area of responsibility and the small fleet sizes for both nations, analysts believe cooperation around the P-8 is a no-brainer. And while the U.S. has a larger fleet, being able to share assets such as maintenance will help bring costs down and keep readiness rates high for American assets surveilling the waters near Europe.

Asked in December about forming some sort of P-8 coalition between the three nations, Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work said, “We haven’t had something like this since the Cold War, … and that just opens up a whole new level of possibilities for us to in the future do collaborative and coordinated operations."

“When you have that interoperability and you can land and get servicing wherever you land — wash racks, maintenance hangars you can use — it just makes it a lot easier,” Work told Defense News on Dec. 4.

Vice Adm. Joseph Rixey, the outgoing head of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, said in September that he wanted to expand a recent program that allows NATO allies to pool their resources and buy as a group from the U.S., holding up the P-8 as an example where nations could find joint savings.

“Imagine what you could do with lead nation procurement if you could get something like the P-8 — maybe not the P-8 itself, but certainly all the support, the sonobuoys, the spares, everything associated with it that you could buy — in batch quantities and not have to worry about third-party transfer restrictions,” Rixey said then. 
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US Navy forges ahead with Next Gen Jammer increment 2

07 July, 2017 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Leigh Giangreco Washington DC

The US Navy is moving ahead with Next Generation Jammer increment 2 to develop a low-band jamming pod for the Boeing EA-18G Growler and complement the service’s ongoing work on Increment 1's mid-band frequency jammer.

A draft statement of objectives was released by Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) on 29 June to potential bidders for a preliminary demonstration contract.

NAVAIR has asked industry to how existing technologies meet requirements for a new low-band transmitter, which are generally used to jam early warning radars and voice communication frequencies.

However, the contract will only be used to demonstrate, not mature, technology for increment 2, according to an earlier notice on the Federal Business Opportunities website. The navy plans to release a request for proposals by early fiscal year 2018.

In the notice posted on 29 June, NAVAIR did not release the draft objectives publicly, but described the demonstration as exploring frequency coverage, effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP), spatial coverage and spectral purity.

The service had scheduled increment 2 studies to begin in FY2014 and 2015, but funding shortfalls postponed the start date to FY16, the US Government Accountability Office states in a March report. That pushed the start of increment 2’s development from FY2018 to 2020, though programme officials indicate the date could change as studies move ahead.

The US government's proposed FY2018 budget, if approved, would allocate $66.6 million for increment 2 research and development. Milestone B for increment 2 slipped from FY2018 to 2020 and the technology demonstration contract was added to the schedule in the first quarter of 2018, budget documents state.

In 2013, Raytheon won a four-way competition to launch development of the NGJ Increment 1, defeating rival bids by Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems and ITT Exelis, which has since been acquired by Harris.
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