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Author: Subject: U.S.Navy, 2017 onwards
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[*] posted on 20-2-2020 at 03:47 PM


Navy Takes Major Step Toward Building Its Drone Ship Fleet


Sea Hunter, an entirely new class of unmanned sea surface vehicle developed in partnership between the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), completed an autonomous sail from San Diego to Hawaii and back—the first ship ever to do so autonomously, Oct. 31, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo)

19 Feb 2020

Military.com | By Gina Harkins

Dozens of companies will vie for nearly $1 billion in Navy contracts as the service works toward building a fleet of new high-tech, self-driving unmanned ships.

Naval Sea Systems Command selected 40 companies that will compete for work in developing payloads, sensors, autonomous systems and other technologies for the Navy's future fleet of unmanned surface vessels.

The service has some $982.1 million in available contracts over up to a 10-year period. Selecting the 40 companies that will compete for the work is meant to increase marketplace participation, Navy officials said in a recent statement.

"The [multiple-award contracts] ... ensure faster and more efficient turn-around time," the statement adds.

The companies are pursuing the chance to produce systems on some of the Navy's newest experimental ships and those still in development. That includes platforms such as the Sea Hunter, which last year sailed from California to Hawaii and back again with hardly anyone aboard, and future unmanned medium- and large-unmanned surface vessels the Navy is investing billions in over the next several years.

Unmanned vessels were again prioritized in the Navy's 2021 budget request. The service has plans next year to fund a large unmanned surface vessel, which "will ultimately serve as a sensor and shooter," budget documents state.

The Navy wants 10 of those ships by 2025. It also wants six extra-large unmanned undersea vessels.

Navy and Marine Corps leaders have over the past year stressed the need for unmanned vessels that can operate on and below the surface as the services face new threats at sea. The services have continued experimenting with platforms such as the Sea Hunter and the Expeditionary Warfare Unmanned Surface Vessel, which leaders have said could revolutionize naval warfare, some have told reporters.

A lot is still unknown about how the services would use the vessels or what capabilities they would have, but officials have said they want them "sniffing and recording" and even tricking the enemy.

"It can't just be a drone," Lt. Gen. Eric Smith, head of Marine Corps Combat Development Command, said in September. "... It has to be able to look like something it's not."

The companies selected by the Navy to compete for the new contracts include several that have already produced unmanned maritime systems for the military. The full list of organizations can be found here.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.
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[*] posted on 21-2-2020 at 05:31 PM


Here’s $5.4 billion of stuff the US Navy says it wants but wasn’t funded in 2021

By: David B. Larter   5 hours ago


The submarine Virginia pulling into port. The Navy's latest Virginia-class submarine, the Block V, will be much larger and increase the missile capacity of the class, but one of the boats has been cut from the budget. (Navy)

WASHINGTON – You can’t always get what you want.

Every year, the services put together a list of stuff they really wanted but couldn’t fit in the budget. In Fiscal Year 2021, the Navy says it was stiffed to the tune of $5.42 billion, with an additional $582 million missing from the perennially shorted military construction account.

So, here’s an (almost) comprehensive list of what the Navy says it wanted but didn’t get in 2021.

- A Block V Virginia-class submarine at $2.77 billion
- Five carrier-variant F-35 aircraft, $525.5 million
- Two E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft $357 million
- Two CMV-22B Osprey helicopters and spares, $211.4
- Small logistics ship proof of concept: $12 million
- Three next-generation jammers, $115.4 million
- 20 Naval Strike Missiles, 41.4 million
- Two littoral combat ship surface mission modules, $42.8 million
- 100 addition AIM-9X missiles, $42.8 million
- Tech refresh for the Ford-class Dual Band Radar, $113 million
- Unspecified number of sonobuoys
- Additional high energy laser with optical sensor (HELIOS), $88.3 million
- Three CANES Windows 10 modernizations, $11.9
- Emergency repairs to sealift ships discovered this year by Transcom, $57 million
- Advanced communications gear for Military Sealift Command ships, $11.9 million
- F/A-18 E/F Spares, $21.9 million
- Flying hours to make up for shortfalls caused by down T-45 Goshawk trainers, $132.8 million
- Cooperative Engagement Capability testing, $22 million
- More money for depot-level repairs to support 80 percent aircraft mission capable rate goal, $236.8 million
- Upgrades to hospital ship Mercy’s treatment facilities, $11.6
- A counter unmanned aerial system program, $63.5 million

Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Connecticut, said in a statement he was pleased to see the second Virginia-class submarine on the list, which was cut in last-minute budget wrangling.

“It should be no surprise that restoring the second 2021 Virginia-class submarine ranks as the highest unfunded need for the Navy,” said Courtney, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower subcommittee. “Congress has consistently heard from Navy leaders, combatant commanders, and experts about the growing demand for submarine capabilities as countries like China and Russia step up their undersea activity.

“Congress has demonstrated its strong and bipartisan commitment to this second 2021 submarine, having already provided more than $1.1 billion in advanced funding to support it. I welcome and appreciate the Navy’s clear request to Congress to support restoration of this submarine as we begin deliberations on the 2021 defense budget next week.”
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[*] posted on 21-2-2020 at 05:58 PM


Quote:
A Block V Virginia-class submarine at $2.77 billion


:mad:




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[*] posted on 21-2-2020 at 06:17 PM


Quote: Originally posted by ARH  
Quote:
A Block V Virginia-class submarine at $2.77 billion


:mad:


Yep. That's about A$4.17 billion in today's money. :(
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[*] posted on 22-2-2020 at 01:25 PM


Navy Researching New Class of Medium Amphibious Ship, New Logistics Ships

By: Megan Eckstein

February 20, 2020 11:10 AM



A stern landing design concept. Sea Transport Solutions Image
The Navy’s research and development portfolio will devote $30 million to a “next-generation medium amphibious ship design” that will likely be based on an Australian designer’s stern landing vessel.

Shortly after Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger took command of the service in July 2019, he began speaking of a new vision for the amphibious force – one that did not rely on a fleet of 38 traditional amphibious warships that the service had fought for for years, but instead would continue to leverage the aircraft-delivery power of the amphibious assault ship (LHA/LHD) and the command and control prowess of the amphibious transport dock (LPD) but also invest in new alternate amphibs to help the Marine Corps disperse its people and gear around the littorals.

The Navy and Marines announced in the Fiscal Year 2021 budget request that they will seek a medium amphibious ship that can support the kind of dispersed, agile, constantly relocating force described in the Littoral Operations in Contested Environment (LOCE) and Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO) concepts the Marine Corps has written, as well as the overarching Distributed Maritime Operations (DMO) from the Navy. According to a budget overview document, “a next-generation medium amphibious ship will be a stern landing vessel to support amphibious ship-to-shore operations.”

“FY 2021 funds support concept evaluation/design, industry studies and exploration for a medium-lift intra-theater amphibious support vessel. Efforts include requirements development, systems engineering, naval architecture and marine engineering, and operations research analysis,” reads a justification book that accompanies the budget request.

The Navy and Marines had previously cited the Offshore Support Vessel as a possible inspiration for their new design. Naval Sea Systems Command had experience with the OSV through a foreign sales program with the Iraqi Navy, and with the vessel also potentially inspiring a Large Unmanned Surface Vehicle design, experts across the sea services were eyeing the benefits of that hull type.

VIDEO: Stern Landing Vessel (SLV) vs Conventional Landing Craft: https://youtu.be/7uUSJx-8fSc

Frank DiGiovanni, the deputy director of expeditionary warfare on the chief of naval operations’ staff (OPNAV N95B), said in September that his office had already kicked around the idea of the OSV for its operational value under the LOCE and EABO concepts, and Berger’s Commandant’s Planning Guidance added more urgency to look into the idea.

“He doesn’t call it an OSV, but he does say small, scalable, more maneuverable, flexible kinds of things. The OSV is certainly a class or a type of ship we’ve worked with before,” DiGiovanni told USNI News.

However, since that time, Marine Corps planners took another look at the features they’d need on this medium amphibious ship, rather than limiting their talks to existing ship designs, USNI News understands. Those talks led to a realization that they not only wanted a ship that could move Marines around with some range, but they also wanted the ship to be able to beach itself like a landing craft does, to help offload gear and vehicles as needed. These talks led to a new focus on the stern landing vessel designed by Australian company Sea Transport, which could serve as the new inspiration for the medium amphibious vehicle as requirements development and EABO wargaming and simulations take place.

The Sea Transport website advertises that its stern landing vessel design is “similar to conventional landing craft; however the SLV design has overcome the primary problems associated with conventional landing craft, including: Poor head sea capability due to bluff bow ramp, dramatically reducing speed; Poor visibility due to bow ramp; Crew discomfort and fatigue due to location of accommodation directly above machinery spaces; Inadequate power available when de-beaching due to propellers working inefficiently astern, and the need to overcome the forefoot suction effect,” and more.

The Navy and Marines are not committed yet to this design or to Sea Transport, but USNI News understands that something like a SLV would combine a surface ship’s ability to have great enough endurance and range to be operationally useful to commanders and a landing craft’s ability to beach itself to offload larger equipment.

Logistics and Sealift


Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Sean Huntsman, assigned to the guided-missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman (DDG-98), cuts line off a wire rope during a replenishment-at-sea with the fast combat support ship USNS Supply (T-AOE-6) on Dec. 16, 2019. US Navy Photo

The research and development budget request also includes a variety of other initiatives for auxiliaries.

Another $30 million will be invested in a similar effort on a “next-generation medium logistics ship” to also support the distributed small-unit operations under EABO.

“The Navy established the Intra-Theater Small Auxiliary Logistics Platform Task Force in support of the Integrated Naval Force Structure Assessment (INFSA), to evaluate next-generation medium platform solutions for logistics mission requirements in support of Distributed Maritime Operations (DMO) and Littoral Operations in Contested Environment (LOCE). This includes a family of vessels with commercial designs tailored for military applications,” reads the budget justification document.

“FY 2021 funds support concept evaluation, ship configuration development, and industry studies focused primarily on the Refuel, Resupply, and Rearm logistics missions. Efforts include requirements development, systems engineering, naval architecture and marine engineering, and operations research analysis.”

Elsewhere in the logistics portfolio, the Navy wants to spend $13.2 million on the Common Hull Auxiliary Multi-Mission Platform (CHAMP) design effort.

“CHAMP concept leverages a new approach to requirements generation and shipbuilding to replace aging mission specific designs with a common hull to reduce life cycle costs, leverage tailored payloads, and stabilize the industrial base. Identified missions include: sealift, aviation intermediate maintenance support, medical services, command & control, and submarine tending. Funding will inform requirements definition, early industry engagement and follow-on assessment across CHAMP mission functionality,” reads the budget justification book.

After conducting design maturation efforts this current year with four shipyards, in FY 2021 the Navy hopes to begin developing the detail design and construction request for proposals for the sealift variant of the CHAMP, which will move goods – in contrast to the variant that will cover the people-focused tasks such as maintaining submarines and aircraft at sea, commanding and controlling operations at sea and providing hospital care. In FY 2021 the Navy also hopes to develop the Capability Development Document (CDD) for the submarine tender variant, after the sealift variant should have its CDD approved this year.

The sealift variant will remain fast-tracked compared to the sub tender variant. The first sealift CHAMP will be purchased for $500 million in FY 2023, according to the justification books, after the RFP is released in 2022. The sub tender CHAMP would remain a year behind, with the first hull being bought for $500 million in FY 2024.

Future Surface Combatant


USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) passes national historic site Fort McHenry as she departs Maryland Fleet Week and Air Show Baltimore. US Navy Photo

On the combatants side of the portfolio, two efforts will push forward the surface fleet of the future.

$21.5 million will fund conceptual work that “will lay the analytic foundation for the development of the Future Surface Combatant Force (FSCF). Ships produced from this effort will fill critical gaps in the fleet in the 2045 timeframe created by the decommissioning of CG 47, DDG 51, and LCS 1/2 ships. Unmanned surface vessels concepts and CONOPS will be developed to decouple mission capability from manned force structure.”

This project will seek to develop alternative surface ship force structure concepts and evaluate their cost and effectiveness; perform force-wide warfighting and mission effectiveness studies; identify capabilities and characteristics needed to meet future threats; develop a Technology Investment Strategy (TIS) to help guide investments for an effective future fighting force; and more.

Specifically on the Large Surface Combatant program the Navy has been working on the past few years, $46.5 million will “transition (the LSC effort) from concept refinement and requirements development to a Preliminary Design Effort.”

“In FY 2021, the LSC program office will continue the efforts started in FY20, conducting additional cost vs. capability analyses, and concept feasibility studies to support development of a draft Capabilities Development Document (CDD) and draft specifications. A Set Based Design approach will continue to be utilized to narrow subsystem trade space, and develop a draft ship Concept of Operations (CONOPS). Industry engagement will be increased focused on producibility and affordability analyses,” reads the justification book.

“Upon approval of the draft CDD for LSC in Q1FY21, and execution of a successful System Requirements Review in 2QFY21 the Preliminary Design Phase will begin. During FY21 Initial Operational Capability (IOC) of the Integrated Power and Energy System Test Facility (ITF), comprising a digital twin of the ITF, engineering development models and prototypical equipment, will occur to address risks with critical systems.”
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[*] posted on 22-2-2020 at 01:30 PM


The Stern Landing design by our very own Sea Transport mob looks like a pretty damn fine design of amphibious warfare vessel to replace the LCH we got rid of?
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[*] posted on 22-2-2020 at 03:38 PM


Navy Leverages Workforce; Delivers C-ISR Capability Rapidly to Surface Fleet

(Source: US Navy issued Feb 20, 2020)



WASHINGTON --- The U.S. Navy recently installed the first Optical Dazzling Interdictor, Navy (ODIN), a laser weapon system that allows a ship to counter unmanned aerial systems. The first system was installed on the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105), during her recently completed Dry-Docking Selected Restricted Availability.

ODIN’s development, testing and production was done by Navy subject matter experts at Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren Division in support of Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems. Their work on the laser weapon system known as LaWS, positioned them to be designated as the design and production agent for ODIN.

During his recent visit on USS Dewey, Mr. James F. Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for research development and acquisition (ASN (RDA)) was impressed with the rapid progress made by the team. Geurts stated, “This is a great example of our organic talent at the warfare centers all working together with ship’s company to deliver a system which will provide game-changing capability. Bravo Zulu to the entire ODIN team on being mission-focused and delivering lethal capability to the warfighter.”

Going from an approved idea to installation in two and a half years, ODIN’s install on Dewey will be the first operational employment of the stand-alone system that functions as a dazzler. The system allows the Navy to rapidly deploy an important, new capability to the Navy’s surface force in combating Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) threats.

UAS production and employment has increased significantly, and ODIN was developed to counter these threats.

“The Pacific Fleet Commander identified this urgent Counter-Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance need and the Chief of Naval Operations directed us to fill it as quickly as possible,” said Cmdr. David Wolfe, Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems Directed Energy office. “The NSWC Dahlgren Division team did an amazing job addressing challenges and keeping our accelerated schedule on track and moving forward to deliver this capability.”

Within the next couple of years, the ODIN program will have all units operational within the fleet providing a safer and more technically advanced capability to the US Navy. Lessons learned from ODIN’s installation on Dewey will inform installation on future vessels and further development and implementation of Surface Navy Laser Weapon Systems.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 22-2-2020 at 06:22 PM


Quote: Originally posted by bug2  
The Stern Landing design by our very own Sea Transport mob looks like a pretty damn fine design of amphibious warfare vessel to replace the LCH we got rid of?


For a brief moment I got excited and thought this was something the RAN was considering...:(




Repent!

The darkest hour of Humanity is upon us. The world
shall meet it's end and we shall be submerged into a
new dark age. Repent your sins, for the apocalypse,
and the end, is extremely f@#king nigh!
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[*] posted on 23-2-2020 at 10:48 PM


Quote: Originally posted by ARH  
Quote: Originally posted by bug2  
The Stern Landing design by our very own Sea Transport mob looks like a pretty damn fine design of amphibious warfare vessel to replace the LCH we got rid of?


For a brief moment I got excited and thought this was something the RAN was considering...:(


It may still be. Watch this space... :)




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 23-2-2020 at 10:51 PM


It would certainly solve the problem of transporting the M1's to the beach.



Repent!

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[*] posted on 24-2-2020 at 01:05 PM


Navy Still Struggling with Ford Aircraft Carrier

2/21/2020

By Connie Lee

The Navy’s Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier is continuing to face challenges as the lead ship moves into post-delivery test and trials. Designed to replace the service’s current Nimitz-class ships, the new platform has faced a litany of issues that have delayed the program since the USS Gerald Ford, CVN-78, was ordered in fiscal year 2008. The carrier uses the same form as the Nimitz-class for the hull but incorporates new systems so it can generate more aircraft sorties per day with a smaller crew. The first four ships in the class include the Ford, John F. Kennedy (CVN-79), Enterprise (CVN-80) and Doris Miller (CVN-81).

Robert Behler, the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation, said in his fiscal year 2019 annual report that the carriers are continuing to experience problems with systems such as the catapults, arresting gear, weapons elevators and radar. Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, is the prime contractor for the program.

“Reliability of these critical subsystems poses the most significant risk to the CVN-78 [initial operational test and evaluation] timeline,” Behler said in the report.

The Navy’s schedule for the program is “aggressive” and continues to slip, the report stated. Planned ship availability was extended, pushing initial operational testing to fiscal year 2022 and first deployment to fiscal year 2023.

In July 2018, the ship entered post-shakedown availability after eight independent steaming events at sea. The service needed additional time to work on repairs, leading it to extend the phase by three months to October 2019.

William Couch, a spokesperson for Naval Sea Systems Command, said the ship “continues to progress in a series of rigorous test events to demonstrate the effectiveness of the ship’s combat system in self-defense.”

The carrier is slated to finish ship self-defense testing in 2023.

“To date, the Navy has conducted more test events on USS Gerald R. Ford than on any previous aircraft carrier,” he said in an emailed statement. “Compared to Nimitz-class ships, USS Gerald R. Ford is equipped with significant updates to its integrated combat system.”

During post-delivery test and trials, the service is certifying fuel systems, conducting aircraft compatibility testing, exercising the flight deck and testing the on-board combat systems, he said. Combat system ship qualification trials are scheduled for 2021 and additional developmental and operational evaluations will continue over the next 15 months.

So far, the service has conducted one of the four planned self-defense ship operational tests, according to the DOT&E report.

“If the Navy does not conduct all of the remaining events, testing will not be adequate to assess the operational effectiveness of the CVN-78 combat system,” it said.

As the Navy works to fix issues outlined by Behler, General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Group is working on the ship’s advanced arresting gear. In October, high-cycle testing was conducted on a system that is identical to the one on the carrier, according to a company news release.

“Arresting aircraft at a high rate over a sustained period on the same wire is an aggressive test and shows the ability of the system to withstand extreme conditions,” Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS, said in the January announcement. “The Ford has the capability for an even higher operational tempo than demonstrated at the test site.”

The system has completed over 5,000 arrestments at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, and 747 arrestments with CVN-78 during initial sea trials.

Behler’s report also put particular focus on the SLQ-32(V)6 shipboard electronic warfare system, the SPY-3 multi-function radar and the cooperative engagement capability. During a developmental test, the radar and cooperative engagement capability “failed to maintain detectionsand tracks for one of the threat surrogates in the multi-target raid,” while the SLQ-32(V)6 showed poor performance in developmental testing.

“These deficiencies and limitations reduce the overall self-defense capability of the ship,” the report said.

Couch said the SPY-3 radar has performed well in multiple scenarios.

“The SPY-3 MFR successfully demonstrated firm track range against different targets and environments,” he said. “This included own-ship missile acquisition, mid-course guidance support and interrupted continuous-wave illumination.”

Additionally, the weapons elevators are continuing to present problems. In January 2019, former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer announced that he had promised President Donald Trump his resignation if the elevators were not completed by the time post-shakedown availability maintenance work was completed. Spencer was forced to resign in November due to an unrelated matter.

Now, the service predicts that it will have the elevators done before the end of 2021, Capt. Ron Rutan, CVN-78 class program manager, said in January at the Surface Navy Association’s annual symposium in Arlington, Virginia. The service has installed all 11 elevators and certified four. Spencer had predicted that the systems would all be ready before the carrier reaches initial operating capability.

“We’ve done 5,000 cycles with no issues,” Rutan said. “It’s been a challenge getting these things through, but we get it done and we get it done right.”

Rutan expressed confidence that the Navy will be able to get all elevators completed in accordance with the new timeline.

“I believe we’re going to get done before May of next year,” he said. “I think we’ll be able to get it accelerated from there ... but there’s a lot of risk.”

The service needs to continue working on the electronic surveillance system as well, the DOT&E report said.

“In developmental testing on [a self-defense test ship], the SLQ-32(V)6 electronic surveillance system demonstrated poor performance that prompted the Navy to delay additional operational tests until those problems could be corrected,” the report stated.

Behler included multiple recommendations for fixing these issues. For instance, the Navy should fund the remaining self-defense test ship events, which are the tests that helped unearth issues with the systems. Additionally, the service should implement required software updates.

“As applicable, the Navy should utilize the lessons learned from CVN-78 to inform design modifications for CVN-79 and future carriers,” Behler said.

Service leadership is pushing forward to solve these problems. In January, Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly held a “Make Ford Ready” leadership summit to discuss plans for the aircraft carrier outlined in a December memo. Service leaders briefed about 50 stakeholders on the ship’s progress, according to a news release.

Modly plans to receive a monthly status update on the work from the chief of naval operations and the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition.

The December memo detailed the Navy’s schedule goals including: completing combat systems testing and certification by the third quarter of fiscal year 2021; completing aircraft compatibility testing for all aircraft planned for deployment by the second quarter of fiscal year 2020; and delivering parts needed for deployment by the second quarter of fiscal year 2022.

“My expectation is that we will work with diligence and speed to accelerate each deadline if possible,” Modly said in the memo. “The Ford is just the first ship of this new class. It must set the standard for those that will follow.”

Rutan said the carrier’s problems are not unusual. Since CVN-78 was commissioned in 2017, it has completed 747 aircraft launches and 747 recoveries, he noted.

“If you don’t have any problems in your program, you’re not taking on enough risk,” he said. “We pushed the envelope and we’ve done a very good job doing so.”

Moving forward, Rutan said he expected there to be more cooperation among those working on the ship.

“We’re more aligned collectively and we know the pathway we’re going,” he said. “The attention is there. The priorities are there. All is outlined there in the secretary’s” memo.

Throughout the ship’s development, lawmakers have been watching for cost overruns. In a February report titled, “Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress,” the Congressional Research Service noted that estimated procurement costs of CVN-78, CVN-79 and CVN-80 have grown by 24.7 percent, 23.2 percent and 15.1 percent, respectively, since the fiscal year 2008 budget request was submitted. Some of the main sources of risk include the electromagnetic launch system, the advanced arresting gear and the dual-band radar. To lower costs, the Navy opted to award Newport News Shipbuilding a two-carrier contract last year. The decision is expected to save the service about $4 billion, according to presentation slides from Capt. Philip Malone, future aircraft carriers program manager, at the Surface Navy Association conference.

The contract “further improves on CVN-79 efforts to frontload as much work as possible to the earliest phases of construction, where work is both predictable and more cost efficient,” the slides said.

Moving forward, the service plans on using these issues to learn about the maintenance process for the ship, said Capt. Charles Ehnes, the Navy’s in-service aircraft carrier program manager. It does not plan on having a separate program office for Ford-class carrier maintenance.

There are “going to be a lot of lessons learned as you proceed forward,” he said. “We have what we think are the correct engineered periodicities of various pieces of equipment.” However, “things will evolve over time,” he added.
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[*] posted on 26-2-2020 at 06:23 PM


Esper To Navy: Rethink Your Shipbuilding Plan

“The secretary is currently looking at that plan,” a senior defense official confirmed. The Navy has been struggling to define when and how it'll reach 355 hulls, and no answers appear forthcoming.


By Paul McLeary

on February 25, 2020 at 5:47 PM


The future USS Ford is christened at Newport News shipyard.

PENTAGON: Defense Secretary Mark Esper has put a stop to the the expected release of the Navy’s long-term shipbuilding plan, telling the service on Monday to hold off and take another look, several sources confirm.

The plan, announced last year and slated to be wrapped up by Jan. 15, has run into serious headwinds. The Navy insists it can grow the fleet to 355 ships as early as 2030 despite its shipbuilding budget being cut in the recently released 2021 budget, and as officials concede there’s little hope of significant growth in the near-term. Now Esper, who has been reviewing the plan for the past two weeks, is unwilling to sign off on it.

“The secretary is currently looking at that plan,” a senior defense official confirmed Tuesday. Since taking over the department in July, this is his first opportunity to influence a budget, and “he’s taking time to review things.”

Another official confirmed that during the Monday meeting, Esper told the Navy the plan isn’t ready to be released. It is now unclear when it will see the light of day. A separate, but complimentary, Marine Corps plan to reform its own force mix was expected to be released this month, but that also appears to be on hold.

The halt was initially reported by USNI Tuesday afternoon, and confirmed independently by Breaking Defense.

The 30 year plan will kick in on the 2022 budget submission.

The request for 2021, however, has already come under significant fire from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, and was labeled “dead on arrival” by Rep. Joe Courtney, chair of the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces sub-committee.

The proposal calls for a $4 billion reduction from last year’s shipbuilding budget, and asks Congress for $3 billion less overall from 2020, part of an overall reduction of 11 ships the Navy had planned to buy by 2025.

Speaking to a group of shipbuilders earlier this month, Rep. Mike Gallagher, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said “Congress can’t want a bigger and stronger fleet more than the Navy and Marine Corps want a bigger and stronger fleet,” adding “there’s a lot of confusion about the budget,” on the Hill, as the Navy proposes cutting budgets and ships while promising to grow.

President Trump campaigned on building a 355 ship fleet in 2016, but under the administration’s current plan, which includes early ship retirements and cuts to previously planned submarine and destroyer builds, the Navy would only have 305 ships by 2025, 50 short of the 355 goal by 2030. That would make it a smaller fleet than the 317 ships projected by 2025 in Obama administration’s 30-year shipbuilding plan released in 2016.

The Office of Management and Budget ordered the Navy to consider counting unmanned ships as traditional ships late last year in order to help them along the path of reaching 355, but Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday have said their plan would have 355 manned ships, “plus” a number of unmanned vessels.

The two officials will appear before the House Armed Service Committee Thursday morning in what is expected to be a heated meeting with lawmakers clearly frustrated with the service’s inability to come up with a plan for the future.

In a bid to scrape up more money to pump into new hulls, Modly kicked off a “Stem to Stern” review of the entire force this month to find $40 billion in savings over the next five years, by eliminating commands, slashing logistics costs, and cutting or outsourcing back-end functions.
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[*] posted on 28-2-2020 at 01:06 PM


Navy, Marine Corps Seek Tighter Integration

2/25/2020

By Yasmin Tadjdeh


Marines conduct training on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.
Photo: Navy

Amid rising tensions with great power competitor China, the Navy and Marine Corps are planning to more closely integrate their forces.

Speaking at a recent industry conference, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger said China is sailing deeper into blue waters.

“We have watched them ... build [and] expand a conventional defensive force and kind of yawned for a long time — until they went to sea,” he said.

China — alongside Russia — was listed as a peer competitor in the 2018 National Defense Strategy. The nation has beefed up its military spending across the board as it invests in a variety of new ships and advanced weapons. (See story on page 26)

In order for the United States to maintain its maritime advantage, the Navy and Marine Corps will need to more closely integrate, particularly if they want to be ready to take on China in a potential future fight, Berger said.

Successful integration will require a concerted effort after decades of land warfare during conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Berger said.

“We didn’t intentionally walk away from each other,” he said of the sister services. “We had different tasks to do and we did them very, very well. For the next 20, 30, 40 years, we must do a different task, and it has to be integrating — not out of sentiment but out of reality.”

The Marine Corps still has a portfolio of programs geared toward counter- insurgency missions, rather than great power warfare, he noted. Large-scale teaming with the Navy wasn’t viewed as a necessity in the years before the Pentagon’s attention turned to China.

“Why? Because nobody challenged us. Our competition was ourselves,” Berger said. There was “no real peer competition that ... caused us to integrate out- side an amphibious ready group and a Marine expeditionary unit.”

However, the nation can no longer afford to have a Navy and Marine Corps that are not closely intertwined, he said. “It is not a nice to have fiscally, operationally or strategically, Berger said. “It’s a must do.”

In Berger’s planning guidance, which was released over the summer when he took the helm of the service, he noted that adversaries have made advancements in long-range precision fires, making closer naval integration an imperative.

“The focal point of the future integrated naval force will shift from traditional power projection to meet the new challenges associated with maintaining persistent naval forward presence to enable sea control and denial operations,” he said.

Future naval force development and employment will include new capabilities that ensure the sea services cannot be excluded from any region by an enemy, he added.

Berger said he also intends to seek greater collaboration between the Navy and Marine Corps in the program objective memorandum development process, or POM.

“We share a common understanding of the [National Defense Strategy], the pacing threat, the future operating environment, and of those capabilities that provide the greatest overmatch for our Navy,” Berger said. “We must strive to create capabilities that support fleet operations and naval campaigns.”

There will also be integration between the services’ wargaming efforts in the POM, he added.

Maj. Gen. Mark R. Wise, deputy commanding general for Marine Corps Combat Development Command and assistant deputy commandant for combat development and integration, said the goal of increased integration is to give a fleet commander a fuller picture of the battlefield before he or she makes a decision.

“That might come partially from the Marine Corps. It might come from the Navy. But it doesn’t matter to him because it’s an integrated capability,” he said.

The sea services are fleshing out different concepts such as distributed maritime operations, littoral operations in a contested environment and expeditionary advanced base operations, he said.

James Geurts, the Navy’s assistant secretary for research, development and acquisition, said the type of integration the Navy and Marine Corps is pursuing today to meet the requirements of the National Defense Strategy is like nothing he has witnessed since he started his tenure in 2017.

“I have never seen the Navy and the Marine Corps talking, acting and coming up with concepts that are co-dependent at the level I’m seeing right now,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an industry conference.

That cooperation will help better inform future programs, he noted. For example, the Navy team spearheading the Naval Strike Missile project for the littoral combat ship has been working “hand-in-hand” with the Marine Corps. Other areas of collaboration include ground launchers, command-and-control platforms and ground fires.

“It’s really kind of breaking down these silos,” he said. Instead of having two separate teams go after a project, there is one joint effort.

The Navy is particularly impressed with Marine Corps Systems Command, Geurts added.

“They’re doing some amazing work ... [with] prize challenges and OTA awards,” he said, refer- ring to other transaction authority agreements, which have been used to help the military streamline acquisition programs. “We’re lever- aging many of those best practices back in the Navy acquisition side.”

Vice Adm. James Kilby, deputy chief of naval operations for warfighting requirements and capabilities, said the Navy could also learn much from the Marine Corps’ advanced naval technology exercises, or ANTX, where Marines work with new technologies.

The Navy wants to “set up a similar structure and then really work together,” he said. It would not be a Marine Corps or Navy focused event, but rather an integrated naval event.

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Charles G. Chiarotti, deputy commandant for installations and logistics, said the move for closer integration is a fundamental change for the services.

In the past, it once was “let’s bring the Marines to the fight, we’ll drop them ashore, we’ll give them cover and then we’ll go back out and we’ll do the Navy’s business on the high seas,” he said. Now there “is an interdependency on each other really to build the capabilities for a fleet commander to have depth and width on the battlefield.”

And with growing threats around the world, including the Pacific, the move cannot come at a better time, he noted.

With China’s navy asserting controversial territorial claims in the Pacific, the United States no longer enjoys the same freedom of navigation that it once had, he said.

Speed is of the essence, Chiarotti said.

“This is something we need to do today because we’re already missing investment opportunities that are going to get us right for 2030,” he said. The service is currently working on the fiscal year 2022 budget. However, new equipment and weapons it funds will not be delivered until 2024, 2025 and 2026.
The sheer size of the Pacific also makes integration an imperative, Wise noted.

“Just from a physical aspect of how you’re going to get there from here, this has to happen,” he said. “It’s a necessity.”

However, there will be challenges, particularly from a logistics point of view, Chiarotti noted.

Logistics is one of the hardest things to do in the military, he said during a panel discussion. The services will no longer be able to rely on the long logistical tail it needs to sustain the force because it won’t be able to bring that to a future fight with an advanced adversary, he added.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military had control of the air and seas which gave it an advantage, Chiarotti said. It would go so far as to load trans- port aircraft with basic construction materials.

“We were flying concrete and rock in the back of C-17s and C-5s because we could do that,” he said. “In tomorrow’s fight, you won’t be able to do that. So we’ve got to find a way ... [to] support these operations in a distributed maritime environment.”
Berger noted that closer integration will be beneficial in balancing the naval force. Today it is largely built for stand- off capabilities such as long-range fires. But there is also a need for “stand-in” forces, he said.

“This is the balanced force that the [chief of naval operations] and I are striving towards — a structure in the Navy and Marine Corps that provides depth all the way forward, all the way back,” Berger said. “Neither one of us believes that in great power competition you’re going to win that [fight] or successfully deter by standoff only.”

Berger noted that behavior from China over the past several years indicates that long-range fires are not enough.

“That doesn’t work against this adversary,” he said. “The farther you back away from China, [the more] they will move towards you.”

In Berger’s planning guidance, he said stand-in forces are designed to generate “technically disruptive, tactical stand-in engagements that confront aggressor naval forces with an array of low signature, affordable and risk-worthy platforms and payloads.”

Some of these technologies will exploit autonomy, advanced manufacturing and artificial intelligence, he said in the guidance.

By doing so, “naval forces can create many new ... unmanned and minimally manned plat- forms that can be employed in stand-in engagements to create tactical dilemmas that adversaries will confront when attacking our allies and forces forward.”
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[*] posted on 28-2-2020 at 08:25 PM


US Navy carrier Kennedy’s reactor sailors start operating aboard ship

Michael Fabey, Washington, DC - Jane's Navy International

28 February 2020


Reactor Department sailors have begun to work and train aboard aircraft carrier Source: Jane’s/Michael Fabey

US Navy (USN) carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) Reactor Department sailors started to operate aboard the ship this week, marking another early milestone for the ship's construction, which is being completed in the shipyard at Huntington Ingalls Industries' Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia.

"Sailors are beginning to operate on board three months ahead of schedule," Captain Todd Marzano, Kennedy commanding officer, said on 27 February in a statement.

As the sailors move into the compartments aboard the ship, they and the USN take ownership of the newly completed ship spaces - considered to be a construction milestone.

"Working aboard the ship in our permanent spaces," Capt Marzano said, "enables us to begin the process of taking ownership of our equipment, systems, and compartments, which brings us another important step closer to delivering JFK to the fleet."

Kennedy Master Chief Machinist's Mate Gerrit Assink noted, "It allows the Reactor Department to settle into the day-to-day routine."

The sailors will continue their training and certification process aboard Kennedy as they prepare to operate the equipment on board.

Newport News Shipbuilding's construction team was able to complete and turn over 63 compartments to the Kennedy crew more than four months earlier than had been the case during the construction of the carrier-class lead ship, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). The turned-over compartments include a training facility, offices, and habitable spaces. Altogether, 2,700 compartments will be turned over to the ship's crew by the time the carrier is finished.

The completed spaces allow sailors to begin training on the ship while shipyard workers continue final outfitting and testing.

(291 of 455 words)
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[*] posted on 29-2-2020 at 04:06 PM


The US Navy’s FFG(X) could be awarded sooner than expected

By: David B. Larter   14 hours ago


The Italian FREMM Alpino underway off the coast of Virginia during its 2018 deployment to the East Coast. Fincantieri's FREMM is one of the competitors for the FFG(X) competition. (David B. Larter/Staff)

WASHINGTON – The U..S Navy’s next-generation frigate could be awarded within the next few months, earlier than expected, the service’s top civilian said Friday.

Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly told conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt that he had tasked Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition James Geurts to look at accelerating the award of the first ship, which was slated for this fall.

“The plan was to try and do it in the latter part of this year,” Modly told Hewitt. “I’ve asked [Geurts] to try and accelerate that earlier, and he’s looking into the possibilities for doing that.

“But obviously, you know, we have acquisition rules, and we want to make sure that we do this in the proper way.”

The competition has narrowed to bids from Huntington Ingalls Industries; a team of Navantia and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works; Fincantieri; and Austal USA.

Navantia is offering a version of its F-100 design, which is in use by the Spanish Navy; Austal is submitting a version of its trimaran littoral combat ship; Fincantieri is offering its FREMM design; and Huntington Ingalls is believed to be offering an up-gunned version of its national security cutter.

Lockheed Martin’s version of the FFG(X), an up-gunned, twin-screw variant of its Freedom-class LCS, was pulled from the competition in May.

The FFG(X) is supposed to be a small, multimission ship with a modified version of Raytheon’s SPY-6 radar destined for the Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, Lockheed Martin’s Aegis Combat System, as well as some point defense systems and 32 vertical launch cells for about half the cost of a destroyer.

The first ship ordered in 2020 is expected to cost $1.28 billion, according to budget documents, with the next ship in 2021 dropping to $1.05 billion.

The Navy expects it to take six years to complete design and construction of the first ship, which should be finished in 2026. Once construction begins, planners anticipate it will take 48 months to build.

The second frigate is expected to be ordered in April 2021, and from there it should be delivered about five and a half years after the award date. That means that the first ship should be delivered to the fleet in July of 2026, and the second about three months later.
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[*] posted on 29-2-2020 at 04:35 PM


The second frigate is expected to be ordered in April 2021, and from there it should be delivered about five and a half years after the award date. That means that the first ship should be delivered to the fleet in July of 2026, and the second about three months later.

Makes our design / build naval acquisition process look like the pitifully broken fiasco it really is.




It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
It is by the juice of sapho that thoughts acquire speed,
the lips acquire stains,
the stains become a warning.
It is by will alone I set my mind in motion
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[*] posted on 29-2-2020 at 04:57 PM


Lawmaker asks Esper: Should the Army pay for sealift?

By: David B. Larter   15 hours ago


A line of U.S. Army Humvees waits on a dock at the Port of Savannah, Ga., in 2003. The USNS Mendonca was being loaded with military hardware bound for the Arabian Gulf. The Army uses sealift to transport 90 percent of its gear. (Stephen Morton/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — With bills piling up for the U.S. Navy, between manning and training a growing fleet and recapitalizing ballistic missile submarines, an influential Republican lawmaker is wondering if it is time for the nation’s ground force to chip in for its own transportation.

During a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., asked Defense Secretary Mark Esper if the Army should shoulder the financial burden of recapitalizing the aging sealift fleet. In the event of a significant conflict, about 90 percent of the Army’s equipment would be transported by sea. But the sealift fleet charged with performing that mission is woefully unprepared.

“You stated that of the strategic necessities for our nation, that B-21 [next-generation bomber] was responsibility of the Air Force,” Wittman said, referring to an exclusive interview Esper gave to Defense News. “The Columbia-class [submarine] was the responsibility of the Navy.

“Since surge sealift capacity is the ability for the Army to get to the fight, should it not be the Army’s responsibility to fund surge sealift capacity?”

In the interview cited by Wittman, Esper said the Navy must find a way to pay for the Columbia-class program out of its shipbuilding account, which Navy leaders have warned for years would put significant pressure on every other shipbuilding program.

The first boat, which includes many nonrecurring costs for first-in-class production engineering, among other things, will cost in excess of $14 billion paid over three years, according to fiscal 2021 budget documents.

Esper, in response to Wittman, said he agreed that recapitalizing sealift was of vital importance, but admitted he has not looked at having the Army pay for it.

“I completely agree with you on that sealift issue,” the former Army secretary said. “I’ve been concerned about it for a few years now. With regard to your specific question, I have not looked at that with regard to who should pay [for sealift]. It’s traditionally been a Navy bill.

“Each of the services pays bills that they argue should not be theirs. The Air Force, for example, doesn’t like the pass-through [money that goes to a lot of classified] programs. Army has concerns on its front.”

Esper added that the Department of Defense would have to appropriately fund the Navy to produce everything it needs. “I think at the end of the day, what you have to do is find a solution going forward so that we can fund the Navy we need, and that includes not just surface combatants but that includes the strategic sealift,” he said.


Ships assigned to the Maritime Administration’s Ready Reserve Force are moored in Alameda, Calif., on Sept. 28, 2016. These 40-year-old-plus steam ships are maintained to be ready for deployment in five days or less. (Petty Officer 2nd Class Billy Ho/U.S. Navy)

Extra $120 billion

What that funding looks like is shaping up to be an area of fundamental disagreement between the DoD and the Navy.

In testimony Thursday, the Navy’s acting secretary, Thomas Modly, told House lawmakers that assuming there will be a flat budget in FY21, the Navy will need an extra $120-130 billion over the next 10 years to fund all the service’s efforts that will go toward the Navy and Marine Corps integrated force structure assessment, which includes sealift.

But Esper has been reluctant to realign the budget to help the Navy’s recapitalization efforts. Esper told Defense News prior to the FY21 budget rollout that he had to consider the whole force, not just the Navy’s needs.

“We’ve got to build the entire, the total force because we fight as a total force,” Esper said. “One thing that our war gaming and analysis will look at is the total force fight. You just don’t fight one service. You don’t fight the Army, you don’t fight the Air Force, you don’t fight the Navy — you fight the team, the joint team.”

However, in testimony Thursday, Modly reiterated that despite an internal effort to find ways to pay for more of the Navy’s recapitalization and growth needs, it would likely take a larger Navy top line in the end.

“We have to look internally at our own organization and there are many things that we do — the way we operate, the way our business processes are set up, the business system structures that we have — that inhibit our organization to be as agile as it needs to be,” Modly told House lawmakers. “There are overhead structures that are associated with that we don’t need, and we need to funnel that into modernization.

“I think, ultimately, we can dig very deep to find some of that, but at some point there is going to have to be a broader discussion about the higher top line for the Navy. And that’s something that I’m trying to queue up.”
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[*] posted on 3-3-2020 at 06:55 PM


Survey: Navy Receives Low Marks from Industry

3/2/2020

By Connie Lee


Navy photo

Many members of the defense industry find that the Navy is tough to do business with, according to a recent survey.

In October, the National Defense Industrial Association and Michigan State University conducted a study to examine industry partners’ perception of working with the service.

Administrators received 1,226 responses, 56 percent of which were from executives who were currently or had formerly worked with the Navy, according to presentation materials.

In the survey, participants rated the department on multiple attributes such as profitability, clarity of interactions and joint problem solving. The service received scores in the lowest category available for 15 out of 21 attributes.

Out of those who had previously worked with the Navy, 45 percent said the best part about working with the service was the mission and the staff.

“Those who have never been suppliers to the Navy had consistently higher expectations of what was expected from the relationship,” said Steven Melnyk, professor of operations and supply chain management at Michigan State.

Melnyk noted the work highlights the importance of maintaining supplier loyalty. A study by Bloomberg Law showed that the federal supply base shrunk by about 27 percent between fiscal years 2009 and 2018, amplifying the importance of maintaining a strong relationship, he said.

“That is a major concern to most companies because when your supply base shrinks … you’re concerned about the people you’re losing,” he said.

A smaller supply base can also reduce product innovation and competition for contracts, he noted.

Survey respondents also had recommendations for improvement. Some included simplifying requests for proposals; providing proactive feedback and communication; and improving access to the correct points of contact, according to the presentation materials.

The Navy was very open to receiving feedback based on the results, Melnyk noted. To improve the relationship between the service and industry, survey administrators suggested taking short-, medium- and long-term steps to make the Navy a preferred customer. These focus on improving relationship management, communication flow, supplier commitment and transaction management.

“What we were doing is … trying to give them a way of dealing with the issues that had been raised in the survey,” he said.
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[*] posted on 3-3-2020 at 07:26 PM


US Navy F-16A aggressor jets receive structural upgrade

By Greg Waldron3 March 2020

The US Navy has completed update work on 10 Lockheed Martin F-16A fighters that are used in the aggressor role.

The work was undertaken by the Specialized and Proven Aircraft Program office, says the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR).


Source: US Navy
The FalconUp programme extends the F-16As service life by over 500 hours, and sets the stage for Falcon Star.


It involved the FalconUp programme to extend the jets’ fatigue lives by over 500 hours. It also provides the baseline for the Falcon Star upgrade that will add additional 3,750 hours of service life. The Falcon Star work is already funded, says NAVAIR.

“The FalconUp upgrade incorporates structural improvements that extend the service life of the aircraft from 3665 hours to 4250 hours,” says US Navy captain Ramiro Flores.

“The programme procured and installed proven structural modification kits on 10 U.S. Navy aircraft that enhanced and strengthened their internal structure.”

A “Build-to-print” methodology was used for the FalconUp work, with products, equipment, and components exactly tailored to the navy specifications.

The work should extend the operational life of the jets through 2025.
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[*] posted on 4-3-2020 at 07:56 PM


CNO, Commandant Asking for Fleet Wholeness Amid Pause in Future Force Structure Planning

By: Megan Eckstein

March 3, 2020 8:16 PM

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The Navy and Marine Corps are caught in a battle with Pentagon leadership over the right force size to aim for and how quickly to try to get there, but the top officers in the sea services insist that everyone is on the same page about maintaining wholeness and readiness as the service grows.

Almost as soon as Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday took command of their services last July and August, they agreed on the need to conduct a first-ever Integrated Naval Force Structure Assessment to draw out what the future fleet should look like under the National Defense Strategy and to support Distributed Maritime Operations and Expeditionary Advance Base Operations concepts.

That INFSA, which spent months going through simulations and wargames to ensure the uniformed leaders of the sea services were happy with its results, has been put on hold as Defense Secretary Mark Esper ordered more wargames and analysis by outside entities, Gilday said this week at the WEST 2020 event cohosted by the U.S. Naval Institute and AFCEA.

As the future of the fleet remains in flux, Gilday and Berger have spoken about ensuring the future fleet of whatever size it may be is fully manned and maintained.

If the current topline levels remain flat in the coming years as is expected, Gilday said “we can really afford a Navy of between 305 and 310 ships. Right now we’re at 295. So if you want a fleet that’s going to be ready, capable and lethal, you’ve got to make those investments (in manning, maintenance and modernization), rather than a bigger fleet that’s less ready, less capable and less lethal.”

At the same time, civilian leadership is still talking about a buildup of the naval fleet. Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly last week previewed the INFSA results, saying the Navy needed a fleet of 390 manned ships and a combined 435 manned and unmanned vessels. He has also committed to reaching a 355-ship fleet – the goal laid out in the 2016 force structure assessment – by 2030 by shifting money from within the Navy’s own budget before asking for a higher topline that is unlikely to come. Esper, too – though without providing the funds to get there – has said he’s “fully committed” to getting the Navy to 355 ships, which is a notion his boss, President Donald Trump, ran on in the 2016 election.

Asked by USNI News during a panel discussion at WEST what the disconnect was between the civilian leaders’ focus on ship count and the uniformed leaders’ focus on wholeness, Berger replied that “there’s no disagreement at all that any growth in the military has to factor in readiness; we’re not going towards a hollow force. Between the military and civilian side, there may have been some different views on that in the past, but that’s pretty rare. If you’re going to have one more of anything, it’s gotta be readiness. No one is headed towards a hollow large force at all.”

“If we’re allowed to grow above the force level that we have right now, it’s got to come with the resources to sustain that over time: the people, the training, the maintenance, the whole package,” Berger added.

Gilday said he’s not focused on the ship count: “we can chase those numbers all day long, and I’m not sure it’s very productive or satisfying.”

But, the Navy is obligated to provide lawmakers with a long-range shipbuilding plan, which lays out the next 30 years of ship construction, delivery and decommissionings in support of a force structure assessment. Gilday said it’s still unclear if the Navy will deliver a Fiscal Year 2021 shipbuilding plan to Congress based on the INFSA sitting in Esper’s office or based on the 2016 FSA that called for 355 ships. The shipbuilding plan is used to inform Congress’ work taking the Navy’s budget request and turning that into an actual spending plan, and it also informs industry decisions on investments in the workforce, shipyards and supply chains to support the Navy’s new construction needs.

“On the shipbuilding plan, the question really is whether it’s going to be informed by the 2016 force structure assessment or whether you use the integrated force structure assessment that we just finished. And so as the secretary of defense said, he wants to take a deeper look at the integrated force structure assessment and then make a decision on whether or not that influences the shipbuilding plan. And so in due time, he’s indicated that when he’s satisfied” with the new round of analysis he ordered, he’ll make a decision on how to proceed with releasing a shipbuilding plan, Gilday said.

Gilday said he stands by the work the Navy and Marines did on the INFSA, saying the rigorous modeling and wargames it went through were based on warfighting scenarios provided by the Joint Staff based on expected threats and environments.

Because there’s so much uncertainty regarding whether Esper will accept the INFSA or not, Gilday said, “what we’re focused on … isn’t necessarily the numbers of platforms, but it’s the capabilities the Navy brings to the fight. We’re part of a joint team, we’re not going to win unless we fight as a joint team. So what unique naval capabilities do we bring to the fight? Think integrated air wing on an aircraft carrier; think about what submarines bring to the fight; or a multi-mission DDG that does [anti-submarine warfare], has long-range strike capabilities and those types of things.”

The CNO said the answer to that question – what is the Navy expected to bring to the fight – would determine how many of what kinds of ships the service needs.

When the INFSA is eventually released, Gilday said, “you will see discrete ships that we’re bringing online. There’s smaller amphibs – they’re connectors, really – to take advantage of the mobility of the Fleet Marine Force and move them to places where they can bring effects, both kinetic and non-kinetic, to help us with both sea control and sea denial.”

Berger agreed: “the trend, clearly: we’re going to need more unmanned. We’re going to need more smaller, lower-signature, capable ships that can fight dispersed. The trend lines are really clear.”

Both service chiefs also acknowledged they’d have to make budgetary sacrifices in this environment to get to that vision.
Gilday explained Modly’s ongoing Stem to Stern budget review that seeks $40 billion in savings over five years, which will be redirected to growing the fleet.

Gilday said the Navy is being asked to “take a deeper look” at its spending and “put everything on the table, challenge our assumptions, and see what money we could shift” towards shipbuilding as well as maintenance, manning and other enablers for a larger force.

On the Marine Corps side, end strength will have to come down to free up funds to invest in the weapons, networks, connectors and other systems to support EABO and DMO operations.

“This is the time when we have to get smaller to get better. If we’re going to actually directly contribute to sea control, sea denial, then we’ve got to have capabilities we don’t have right now. We’ve got to hold at risk naval platforms, a body of water, a piece of littoral terrain – and those are capabilities we don’t have right now but we need to get,” Berger said.

“So rather than hold onto a larger force structure and not be able to make the change, not be able to pivot in the direction we’ve got to go, we’re making a conscious decision” to “contract some,” though Berger said it’s unclear just how much the force will have to shrink to create the funds needed for investing in new modern systems.

“The end result will be a much more capable Marine Corps that maintains the asymmetric advantage that we have to have,” the commandant said.
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[*] posted on 5-3-2020 at 09:16 PM


5 March 2020 News

GD BIW begins construction on Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyer

General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (GD BIW) has started construction on the US Navy’s Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

The future USS Louis H Wilson Jr (DDG 126) is the first Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyer being built at GD BIW’s structural fabrication facility in Brunswick, Maine.

Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships DDG 51 class programme manager, Captain Seth Miller said: “This is a tremendous occasion as we mark the start of construction on BIW’s first Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

“General Wilson embodied the spirit of our nation in his will to protect his fellow Marines and countrymen. What better way to honour him than to build a highly capable warship that advances our navy’s ability to protect and defend our nation.”

DDG 126 is set to be named in honour of General Louis H Wilson Jr, the 26th commandant of the US Marine Corps and a World War II recipient of the Medal of Honor.

Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are being designed to conduct anti-air warfare and ballistic missile defence missions. These multi-mission surface combatants will be equipped with enhanced capability and capacity to support Integrated Air and Missile Defense missions.

The ships will also engage in global maritime security, air, undersea, surface, and strike operations, as well as anti-submarine warfare, command and control, and anti-surface warfare.

The company is also building other Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, including Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), Carl M Levin (DDG 120) and John Basilone (DDG 122), Harvey C Barnum Jr (DDG 124), Patrick Gallagher (DDG 127) and Zumwalt class destroyer Lyndon B Johnson (DDG 1002).
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[*] posted on 6-3-2020 at 03:03 PM


Beyond The Ford: Navy Studies Next-Gen Carriers EXCLUSIVE

The Future Carrier 2030 Task Force, which the service will announce next week, will study how carriers stack up against new generations of stealthy submarines and long-range precision weapons being fielded by China and Russia.


By Paul McLeary

on March 05, 2020 at 7:37 PM


The $13 billion USS Ford under construction in Newport News, Va.

WASHINGTON: The Navy is launching a deep dive into the future of its aircraft carrier fleet, Breaking Defense has learned, even as the Secretary of Defense, dissatisfied with current Navy plans, conducts his own assessment. The two studies clearly show the deepening concern over how China’s growing might and the Pentagon’s eroding budgets could affect the iconic, expensive supercarriers.

The Future Carrier 2030 Task Force, which the service plans to announce next week, will take six months to study how carriers stack up against new generations of stealthy submarines and long-range precision weapons being fielded by China and Russia.

It comes at a fraught moment time for the fleet, as Defense Secretary Mark Esper has taken personal ownership over the service’s force planning while publicly lambasting the Navy’s deployment model as broken.

Two sources familiar with the planning said the effort is focused on threats in 2030 and beyond — which, given the years it takes to design, develop, and build new classes of ships, could affect budget decisions in the fairly near future. The study could have major implications on how the Navy designs and builds carriers, the sources agreed.

The study will also have to account for knock-on effects on the work shipbuilders would get in the future, which is always a politically-charged issue. For decades, Newport News in Virginia — now owned by Huntington Ingalls Industries — has been the only shipyard in the world capable of constructing a nuclear-powered supercarrier. The yard is currently under contract for the four new Ford-class carriers, worth tens of billions of dollars, which are slated to enter the fleet in the coming decade.

The Future Carrier 2030 Task Force is being put together by Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, who expects a report back in about 180 days.

Modly’s task force study, however, will run in parallel with work already being done on the Navy’s future force structure by Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist. Sec. Esper recently ordered his deputy to review both the Navy’s 30 year shipbuilding plan and its highly-anticipated modernization plan after Esper was unsatisfied with the plans the Navy offered him. The secretary said last week in a letter to the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee he expects the relook to wrap up by summer.

These two parallel — and to some extent competing — studies make Modly’s timeline tricky. His task force won’t wrap up until after the Pentagon’s reviews are done, and Modly will likely have left the secretary’s chair. The White House nominated Amb. Kenneth Braithwaite to be Navy Secretary last week, but it’s unclear when his confirmation hearing will be held.

Modly hinted at his study this morning during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee. “We have a duty to look at what will come after the Ford,” he said, adding that the Navy has “some breathing room” before having to decide what comes after that last Ford is built in 2032.

Modly’s testimony, taken with similar recent comments about capping the Ford carriers at four before moving in a new direction, could signal a major shift in the Navy’s thinking. “I don’t know if we’re going to buy any more of that type,” Modly said in an interview published on March 4. “We’re certainly thinking about possible other classes. What are we going to learn on these four that’s going to inform what we do next?”

Back in January, he voiced similar concerns with the size and design of the current carrier fleet at a Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments event. “The big question, I think at the top of the list, is the carrier and what’s the future going to look like…I think we agree with a lot of conclusions that [carriers are] more vulnerable.”

For decades, American aircraft carrier strike groups, led by massive big decks bristling with fighter planes and surveillance aircraft, have been the key to US power projection.

But with new generations of long-range precision weapons that can smack into a carrier from well beyond the horizon, military planners have started rethinking the risks of putting a 100,000-ton supercarrier anywhere near a contested coastline.

“The Navy is realizing they need to change that approach and perhaps think about using carriers in more peripheral ways in a fight,” Bryan Clark, senior fellow at Hudson Institute, said.

Instead of launching aircraft for strike missions deep inland, as they’ve been used in Iraq and Afghanistan, they’re more likely to “hang out out of range and do sea control,” covering down on large swaths of ocean.

In February, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower performed just such a mission, sweeping a path across the Atlantic for cargo ships full of Army equipment bound for major ground exercise in Europe. The expercise, run under the newly reconstituted 2nd Fleet, was the first drill simulating a contested crossing of the Atlantic since 1986.

The Ike, along with an unidentified submarine sweeping the depths of the ocean for unexpected Russian guests, sailed well ahead of the convoy while fighting off simulated electronic warfare and undersea and aerial attacks in a stress test for how prepared the Navy is to punch its way across the Atlantic.

As the Pentagon and Navy hash out what the Navy of the future should look like to meet challenges posed by China, they are experimenting everywhere. Navy and Marine Corps leadership have warmed to the “lightning carrier” concept, designed to pack amphibious ships with Marine Corps’ F-35Bs and sail them to the hotspots to cover places the big decks aren’t.

Late last year, the USS America photographed in the Pacific with 13 F-35s on its deck, something the services want to do more of as the so-called Gator Navy reinforces more decks to handle the fifth generation fighter. The Marines and Navy are working on a new strategy to more closely align their operations, which would allow both to provide more punch, and give the Marines the ability to launch from both ships and from small ad-hoc land bases to support the fleet.

Any potentially smaller carrier of the future will not be as small as an amphibious ship, as those ships can’t support high sortie rates over long periods of time like a Nimitz or Ford carrier. They would, however, certainly be smaller than the hulking Fords.

Before the carrier fleet can be reshaped, however, the Navy and secretary Esper need to agree on a new modernization plan and a new shipbuilding plan. Those will come along with what is likely to be a new Navy secretary and then taken up with Congress, which has already mandated the Navy have a 12 carriers, a requirement the 11-carrier fleet has been unable to meet.
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[*] posted on 6-3-2020 at 08:53 PM


US Navy decides to change JFK delivery plans as Ford readies for flight-deck certification

Michael Fabey, Washington, DC - Jane's Navy International

06 March 2020


The US Navy decided on a single-phase delivery schedule for aircraft carrier (CVN 79). Source: Jane's/Michael Fabey

The US Navy (USN) has opted for a single-phase delivery for second Ford-class aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), as the lead ship USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) prepares for flight-deck certification.

Before Kennedy , Newport News Shipbuilding had delivered USN carriers in a single phase – that is with hull and combat systems intact at the same time. However, in trying to reduce man hours, costs, and related issues for Kennedy construction, the navy had opted for a dual-phase delivery plan for CVN 79, with the yard delivering the hull in 2022 during the initial phase and the combat systems being completed during the second phase, which marked the final delivery.

It was also thought that the installation of combat systems in a later secondary phase would result in more modern and relevant systems being incorporated into the ship, as those systems often become dated or obsolete during the years it takes to build the entire carrier. Delivering Kennedy in two phases would – it was argued – cut down on the costs and time to overhaul and revamp the combat systems installed in a carrier before the ship entered the USN fleet. USN officials involved in that decision noted the shipyard had to rip out the initially installed combat systems to replace them with newer and more advanced components that were then available and needed to make the new ship relevant.

But USN officials recently started considering a return to the single-phase delivery as a more efficient option. Newport News Shipbuilding officials have told Jane’s such a change would not interfere with CVN 79’s overall schedule for construction and delivery.

(299 of 732 words)
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[*] posted on 7-3-2020 at 01:27 PM


US Navy seeks advanced multi-domain sensor payload technologies for unmanned systems

Carlo Munoz, Washington, DC - Jane's International Defence Review

06 March 2020

Navy research and engineering officials are casting a wide net among industry to help the service develop a new generation of multi-domain sensor payload technologies for manned and unmanned systems.

A broad agency announcement (BAA) issued by Naval Air Warfare Command on 28 February is soliciting technical details and associated cost proposals for a raft of new sensor and communications technologies. "The purpose of these sensors and surveillance systems is to support a variety of Aviation missions including Air-Undersea Warfare (USW), Airborne Strike, Air Warfare, Counter-Air, Close-Air Support and Interdiction, Defense Suppression, Electronic Attack, Naval Warfare and Amphibious Strike, and Anti-Surface Warfare," the solicitation stated.

(130 of 845 words)
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[*] posted on 7-3-2020 at 04:33 PM


Navy Wants Frigate Now, Despite Esper Review

“I see no scenario where frigate isn't a major player where we're heading,” Navy acquisition chief says.


By Paul McLeary

on March 06, 2020 at 3:31 PM



PENTAGON: Even as the Navy waits for Defense Secretary Mark Esper to wrap up his review of their shipbuilding and modernization plans, service leaders are fast-tracking a new frigate program they say will be a critical part of the fleet.

“I see no scenario where frigate isn’t a major player where we’re heading,” Navy acquisition chief James Geurts told a small group of reporters this week following testimony before the Senate Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee.

The frigate program, or FFG(X), was originally slated for contract award this summer, but Navy officials — including Acting Secretary Thomas Modly — have hinted they’re trying to push that date up. Modly told conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt recently he instructed Geurts “to try and accelerate that earlier, and he’s looking into the possibilities for doing that.”

Geurts didn’t give an updated timeline, but said “we’re in the middle of source selection and will announce the output of that soon, and then we’re going to get right into detailed design and construction.”

The competition to build 20 ships at a rate of two per year between 2021 to 2029 took a political turn recently when a bipartisan group of Wisconsin state lawmakers sent a letter to President Trump promoting the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard in the state as best suited for the work.

Wisconsin, a critical tossup state in this year’s presidential election, is very much in play to go either red or blue in November.

“We have witnessed what the loss of opportunity does to the Midwest,” the letter said. “When industry departs, so does hope.” Wrapping up the pitch for close to $20 billion worth of work over the 20 ship contract, the senators concluded by telling the president his “leadership and attention to this opportunity is vital.” Late last month, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers also announced a $29 million grant to upgrade the Port of Marinette to ease changes for frigate construction.

But other shipbuilding heavyweights are involved in the competition. Huntington Ingalls Industries is thought to be offering a more lethal version of its national security cutter; a joint effort between Navantia and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works is submitting a version of its F-100 design already in use by the Spanish navy; Austal is offering a version of its trimaran littoral combat ship; and Fincantieri is offering its FREMM design.

Plans call for the FFG(X) to be a small, multi-mission ship loaded out with the Aegis combat system, 32 vertical launch cells and a new SPY-6 radar system. The first ship to be put under contract this year should cost $1.2 billion, according to budget documents, with the following hull in 2021 dropping to $1.05 billion. The Navy expects the remaining ships to cost closer to $900 million.

But the Navy has made big promises over a smaller, faster, dynamic ship before — and ended up with the Littoral Combat Ship which has yet to find its role in the fleet.

Unveiling the fiscal 2021 budget last month, Rear Adm. Randy Crites, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for budget, acknowledged the specter of the LCS. “The frigate, we don’t want to have a repeat of some of the lessons of LCS where we got going too fast,” he said. “Right now we’ll award one later this year, we’ll award one next year, and the plan is for one next year but that will get looked at. Then we’ll ramp up to two to three, with nine over the next five years.

With that note of caution sounded, the admirals are ready to move out on the program. The frigate is “a key component of the future for us,” Vice Adm. James Kilby, deputy chief of naval operations for war-fighting requirements and capabilities said during the hearing alongside Geurts. “We’re introducing a lot of common equipment that already exists for us” on other platforms, which will allow the Navy to “be able to build more of them eventually.”
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