Military News & Discussion

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Re: Military News & Discussion

Post  James100 on Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:10 pm

To Marc And Tusk:
Who Did You Guys Vote For???
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Re: Military News & Discussion

Post  Tusker2Zero on Thu Feb 26, 2009 9:57 pm

President Obama.

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Re: Military News & Discussion

Post  Jarhead on Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:13 pm

How about a land based laser that can knock out satellite (the chinese have one in real life). Thats not too powerful a super weapon. It is however harder to play without a radar screen.
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Re: Military News & Discussion

Post  James100 on Fri Feb 27, 2009 7:51 am

Tusker2Zero wrote:President Obama.

Me Too!
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Re: Military News & Discussion

Post  James100 on Fri Feb 27, 2009 7:56 am

Jarhead wrote:How about a land based laser that can knock out satellite (the chinese have one in real life). Thats not too powerful a super weapon. It is however harder to play without a radar screen.

I Don't Know, But It's Not Too Possible If We Include Laser Weaponry. scratch
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Re: Military News & Discussion

Post  Marc15yo [Admin] on Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:59 am

Obama!

Well the only idea that the art of war has in terms of Superweapons are Airstrikes. nothing too super about them but they'll pack a tremendous punch that's for sure.
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Re: Military News & Discussion

Post  Tusker2Zero on Mon Mar 09, 2009 10:49 pm

SEAL lost eye, but teammates never lost nerve

By Gidget Fuentes - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Mar 9, 2009 11:08:12 EDT

CORONADO, Calif. — The story floated around this naval amphibious base last year: An instructor of SEAL candidates yanked out his prosthetic right eye, presumably while lashing out at tired-out candidates suffering from the chilly Pacific surf.

The sun’s rays would reflect the SEAL trident symbol etched onto the surface of the eye. The effect of the trident coming alive, in a way, unnerved quite a few first-phase students who hoped to earn themselves the famous pin.

The story was no tall tale. The Trident eye belongs to retired Special Warfare Operator 1st Class (SEAL) Mark Robbins, who lost his eye in combat in Iraq.

“[The students] didn’t want to look me in the eye. It’s intimidating,” he said. “I tried to use it as a motivational tool, a reason to stop thinking of themselves, maybe to think as a team.”

A bullet went through Robbins’ skull during a battle between a close-knit SEAL team and well-armed insurgents in a farming area near Habbaniyah, Iraq, on April 2, 2007. That day, Robbins’ teammates thought he was dead. Even after a medevac helicopter took him to a military trauma team, they feared that since the bullet cut through his head, he would not live to see another day.

The events that led to the loss of his eye remain fuzzy. “I remember what people tell me,” Robbins said, speaking by telephone from Chicago. Details relayed by his teammates from SEAL Team 5 have helped paint the picture of what happened that day, events that earned one of the SEALs the nation’s third-highest combat award for valor.

Navy Times interviewed several SEALs involved. Some asked that their names not be used. Here is their account.

A wall of lead

During a lull in a morning peppered by some firefights and sniper fire, Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Mitchell Hall came off watch to grab some shuteye and stepped down a stairwell of rubble in a vacant house that was his small team’s observation post north of the Euphrates River in west-central Iraq. The original roof had been blown off, and the third floor now provided an open-air perch for the operators.

Hall passed a room where another SEAL, scanning out a window, asked matter-of-factly: “Does that guy have an AK?”

Some two hours earlier, members of their platoon holed up in another house spotted a band of four or five insurgent fighters, two with Dragunov sniper rifles strapped to their bodies, and others with AK47 automatic rifles, moving deliberately through the fields, dirt roads and canals north of Habbaniyah.

Also that morning, Marines searching for weapons caches in a farmhouse got pinned down by enemy sniper fire; they asked for help from the SEALs.

The rare request got the SEALs’ attention.

“The Marines don’t ask us to do something for them,” said a senior chief with the platoon with SEAL Team 5, who asked not to be named. “Something significant was going on.” A good enemy sniper, he noted, “can influence your tactics.”

Back inside the house, the SEAL’s comment caused Hall to pause. Use the scope, Hall told the SEAL. A group of insurgents was approaching the other structures near their house.

“It went from, ‘Hey, does that guy have an AK?’ to, like, all hell breaking loose in, like, probably 30 seconds,” Hall said.

Hall scrambled back up the rubble to the rooftop. Robbins, too, had just come off watch, and he quickly hugged the rooftop floor with his weapon at the ready.

Downstairs, several other SEALs and Iraqi commandos scanned the area. Two SEALs tossed grenades from the house into nearby palm groves in an attempt to flush out the insurgents.

Hall said he spotted a rocket-propelled grenade launcher on one man’s back.

“So I took a shot,” he said. “Mark took a shot, and as soon as I pulled the trigger, it was like a wall of bullets coming back at us.

“I popped up a few times and shot,” Hall said. “Same response, a wall of bullets.“ Robbins was positioned to the right of Hall.

“I think in that second volley was when he was hit,” Hall said.

Hall saw Robbins’ head kick back and his body slump just several feet from him.

“Mark’s been hit,” he told the ground force commander, now also on the rooftop. “He was kind of slumped over, still in a kneeling position. He was still kind of exposed. I grabbed his left leg and brought him down, so he wasn’t exposed the way he was.”

The ground force commander helped pull Robbins away from the ledge, and he tried for nearly 10 minutes to get Robbins to a safer spot so a corpsman could help him.

Marines and Iraqis, joined by the Marines’ military training team commander, a major, secured a makeshift helicopter landing zone on a grassy patch outside the house and marked the sight with a smoke canister.

Inside the house, a radio operator was trying to get the AH-1Ws that were flying overhead closer down to check the area, when he looked over and saw a CH-46E approaching. The sight of the twin-rotor, Vietnam-era helicopter, its door gunners firing away some covering fire into a “hot” LZ, got the SEALs’ attention, and their respect.

“The CH-46 shows up ... a lumbering cow of a helicopter,” the radio operator recalled, chuckling. “It comes by, all guns blazing.”

A senior chief, an independent duty corpsman by training, rushed over to aid Robbins after leaving his spot in another house. Robbins’ head was bandaged and he was seated in a Humvee awaiting the medevac. The senior chief quickly discovered that a round had entered and exited Robbins’ skull. “I asked him a couple of times if he knew where he was, but he didn’t answer me,” the senior chief said. But “he was alert.”

And he was grumpy. At one point, one of the SEALs told Robbins to get down, but Robbins “picks up some rocks and he throws them at the guy who was yelling at him,” the radio operator said.

Robbins refused to leave the Humvee when the helicopter arrived. “I grabbed him. He pushed back,” the senior chief said, noting Robbins spread his arms and legs to try to stay in the Humvee. “He just wasn’t going to go.”

With the help of the Marines’ MTT commander, he wrestled Robbins out of the vehicle, at one point inadvertently hitting his head on the doorframe, as the helicopter arrived.

The CH-46 crew “was unreal,” the senior chief said. “They were in, helped suppress the HLZ and their guy was waiting to jump off, ramp down. In broad daylight.”

“It was textbook,” Hall added.

The Marines tried to grab Robbins, but he wouldn’t have it. “Mark walked to the helicopter. He didn’t want anybody to touch him,” Hall said.

With their buddy safely inside, the SEALs gave the air crew the thumbs up, and the helicopter flew to the nearby al-Taqaddum air base, just south of Habbaniyah, where a Navy surgical unit would provide trauma care.

Robbins, shot in the right eye with a 7.62mm round, had the only physical injury that morning. The blood that covered the ground force commander was Robbins’, somewhat to the SEALs’ relief. “We thought there were two” casualties, the senior chief said.

The SEALs say they appreciate the Marines’ efforts, from the helicopter crew landing in a hot LZ to the reaction force that drove into a firefight. They haven’t been in touch with them since, though.

“We worried about the Marines and the Iraqis coming in,” the senior chief said.

“The Marines didn’t really know where we were at. They were kind of coming into the blind, not really knowing as they were walking up here where bullets are coming from and what they are getting themselves into,” said Hall, who Jan. 26 received the Silver Star medal for his actions that day for repeatedly exposing himself to enemy fire to kill insurgents, provide covering fire to protect Robbins and the other men in the team, and help secure the landing zone for Robbins’ evacuation. “The bullets were coming this way, and they were coming that way,” he said.

Life after combat

For Hall, the sight of Robbins hit in the eye, his head snapping back, a guttural sound coming from him, remains seared in his memory. “It was reasonable to think he was dead, after all the bullets flying by us.”

“I worried the rest of the day,” he said. “I thought Mark was a dead man.”

While Robbins suffered a serious injury, considering the formidable weaponry and military-quality tactics the insurgents displayed that day, the SEALs said they know the morning could have turned more tragic.

“We took a really bad situation and didn’t make it a hell of a lot worse,” Hall said. “It could have been.”

The best outcome of that morning, the SEALs agreed, was seeing Robbins walk out of the house, then walk onto the helicopter.

The bullet nicked the lower right eyelid as it entered his skull and exited from behind his right ear. He’s had 15 surgeries, including reconstruction of his shattered skull, and has endured weeks in the hospital and countless medical appointments.

“At first, it was a full-time job,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier with the results that they got me. You could barely tell any of this stuff has happened.”

Surgical teams couldn’t save his damaged right eye, which was removed. In its place, Robbins wears a prosthetic eye. Along with the custom-made Trident prosthetic, he also has a normal prosthetic eye matching his brown left eye, which has 20/20 vision.

He has a tiny scar by his eyelid, but most of the other scars are hidden by his hair. He’s suffered some hearing loss and tinnitus, and he’s continuing with his recovery and rehabilitation, including injuries to his brain.

“I’d like to say my brain got a haircut, a little off the side,” he said half-jokingly, adding, “I was actually lucky.”

The Navy medically retired Robbins in December, after he had done short tours working for the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado, which runs the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL course and SEAL Preparatory School at Great Lakes, Ill.

“It was a little bit of a full circle there, just going from BUD/S to the platoons to the deployments and then, unfortunately, getting hurt, but still go back to BUD/S and contribute in a different way,” he said. “It was nice just to get out of that funk, because a lot of the guys who get hurt get caught up. They never really get out of the hospital or get out of bed.”

Robbins agreed to talk with Navy Times to give a “shout out” to the men in his platoon. “For the hell they put themselves out there, [it] definitely changed things,” he said.

It’s part of why he joined the Navy and became a SEAL six years ago. “This was the only type of unit I wanted to be involved with,” he said. “I’ve only been out three months, and I miss it.”

Source - Navy Times:
http://www.navytimes.com/news/2009/03/navy_sealbattle_030909w/

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Re: Military News & Discussion

Post  James100 on Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:50 am

Alas This Is The 5th Seal To Die The Past 5 Years

One: A Seal Comrade (SEAL Team 1) [Death: From 56 Large Nails Went Through His Skull Embarassed ]
Two: A Seal Comrade (SEAL Team 3) [Death: He Was Swimmin Somethin Caught His Leg, And He Got Shot]
Three: Don't Know Him (SEAL Team 2 [Death: Paradrop Mistake He Lost Air And Didn't Make It ]
Four: Don't Know Him (SEAL Team 1) [Death: Mine Explosion Embarassed ]
Five: The One Tusker Said About (I Don't Know Him Though)
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Re: Military News & Discussion

Post  Snake on Wed Mar 11, 2009 2:47 pm

This is a FUBAR situation pale

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Re: Military News & Discussion

Post  Tusker2Zero on Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:02 pm

Navy orders another LCS

By Christopher P. Cavas - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Mar 23, 2009 18:13:42 EDT

The long-delayed order for a third Littoral Combat Ship came through Monday when the Navy and Lockheed Martin agreed on a construction contract.

The ship, to be named Fort Worth (LCS 3), will be built at Marinette Marine Corp., in Marinette, Wis., and delivered to the Navy in December 2012.

The contract award comes after protracted negotiations between Lockheed and the Navy on a fixed-price incentive fee contract. The Navy did not disclose the amount of the contract award, citing the competitive nature of the contract award.

Congress has imposed a $460 million-per-ship cost cap on the LCS program, but the cost cap is not to take affect until the next budget.

Lockheed is in competition with General Dynamics to build the LCS. GD remains in negotiation with the Navy over a construction contract for the Coronado (LCS 4).

Only two LCS ships have been built thus far. The Freedom (LCS 1), from Lockheed, was commissioned in November and is at Norfolk, Va.; construction of GD’s Independence (LCS 2) is continuing, with the ship expected to be delivered to the Navy this fall.

The troubled LCS program has experienced a spiraling series of cost overruns that have more than doubled the original $220 million-per-ship price tag for the new type of warship. The Navy revealed the cost growth at the beginning of 2007, and in April and October of that year canceled construction contracts with Lockheed and GD, respectively, for the second LCS ship from each of those companies. The Navy tried to renegotiate each of those second-ship contracts, ordered in 2006, to more favorable terms, which the shipbuilders were unable to meet.

The contract award announced March 23 uses funds appropriated in fiscal 2009, although the contract re-uses the hull number of the 2006 ship. Such a practice is unusual, in that the hull number is also considered an account identification number for bookkeeping purposes.

Revised acquisition costs for each of the first two ships have yet to be revealed by the Navy, and discussion of the new contract costs for LCS 3 and LCS 4 won’t be revealed until after the next round of contract awards, to be conducted for the fiscal 2010 ships, according to a Navy spokesman.

“The amounts will be released when the fiscal 2010 competition is over,” said Lt. Cmdr. Victor Chen, a spokesman for the Navy’s acquisition team.

The Navy plans to ask for three more LCS ships in the 2010 budget request, with two ships going to the competitor offering the best terms.

All the new LCS ships are referred to by the Navy as “Flight 0+” ships, with minor modifications over the initial, Flight 0, ships.

A total of 55 LCS ships are to be procured by the Navy, which is leaving open the option to continue to build both designs or only one type.

Article from the Navy Times:
http://www.navytimes.com/news/2009/03/defense_lcs_order_032309n/

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Report: Russian navy to rely on tactical nukes

Post  Tusker2Zero on Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:09 pm

Report: Russian navy to rely on tactical nukes
The Associated Press
Published: March 23, 2009

MOSCOW: The role of tactical nuclear weapons in the Russian navy may grow, a news agency quoted a senior Russian admiral as saying Monday.

Vice Adm. Oleg Burtsev told the state-run RIA-Novosti that the increasing range and precision of tactical nuclear weapons makes them an important asset.

"Probably, tactical nuclear weapons will play a key role in the future," said Burtsev, the navy's deputy chief of staff.

He added that the navy may fit new, less powerful nuclear warheads to the existing types of cruise missiles.

"There is no longer any need to equip missiles with powerful nuclear warheads," Burtsev said. "We can install low-yield warheads on existing cruise missiles."

Tactical nuclear weapons have a much shorter range compared to strategic nuclear weapons. They are intended for use within a theater of battle.

The United States and the Soviet Union decided in 1991 to eliminate some of their non-strategic nuclear weapons and withdraw others from duty, including those used by navy ships.

But in 2006 Russia signaled it no longer intended to abide by that decision when then-Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said that Russian submarines were carrying tactical nuclear weapons on patrol.

Last December, chief of the Russian military's general staff, Gen. Nikolai Makarov, said Russia will keep its arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons, which he said were necessary to counter a massive NATO advantage in conventional weapons.

Burtsev said the navy will also build six new nuclear submarines carrying intercontinental ballistic missiles. The first sub in the series, the Yuri Dolgoruky, already has been built and is undergoing tests.

However, the prospective Bulava missile designed to equip the new submarine has failed repeatedly in tests, making prospects of its deployment dim.

Article from the International Herald Tribune:
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2009/03/23/europe/EU-Russia-Nuclear-Weapons.php

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Re: Military News & Discussion

Post  James100 on Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:17 pm

About Russian Nukes, By 2010 Russian Nukes Will Reach By ~ 11000
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Re: Military News & Discussion

Post  Tusker2Zero on Tue Mar 24, 2009 3:33 pm

... and they say the cold war's over. ha! Right... whatever.

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Re: Military News & Discussion

Post  James100 on Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:35 pm

That's Because Future Russia (And Current Russia) Depend A Lot On Their Nukes Like The Soviets
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Re: Military News & Discussion

Post  Tusker2Zero on Fri Mar 27, 2009 9:31 pm

Now this ironic:

Campbell gets new commander

The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Mar 27, 2009 18:11:06 EDT

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — Maj. Gen. John F. Campbell, deputy director for regional operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has been named the new commanding general for Fort Campbell and the 101st Airborne Division.

The military announced the assignment Friday, but it will likely be months before he officially takes command of the installation on the Kentucky-Tennessee state line.

Campbell will replace Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser, who is the commander of U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan.

Schloesser took command in May 2006 and has overseen the division’s split deployment starting in 2007 to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Campbell’s role at the Pentagon was under the J-3 Operations Directorate, which moves military forces, conducts detailed operational briefings and serves as the operational link between the commanders on the ground and the White House. He’s served in his current position since February 2008.

He has previously commanded the 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and was the deputy commanding general for the 1st Cavalry Division out of Fort Hood, Texas. He has served in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

His training background is in Special Forces and he served in the 5th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg before it was moved to Fort Campbell.

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Re: Military News & Discussion

Post  James100 on Sat Mar 28, 2009 3:42 am

Crap! Shocked Shocked Shocked
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Re: Military News & Discussion

Post  Tusker2Zero on Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:26 pm

New Concerns Over Chinese 'Carrier-Killer'
April 01, 2009
U.S. Naval Institute

With tensions already rising due to the Chinese navy becoming more aggressive in asserting its territorial claims in the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy seems to have yet another reason to be deeply concerned.

After years of conjecture, details have begun to emerge of a "kill weapon" developed by the Chinese to target and destroy U.S. aircraft carriers.

First posted on a Chinese blog viewed as credible by military analysts and then translated by the naval affairs blog Information Dissemination, a recent report provides a description of an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) that can strike carriers and other U.S. vessels at a range of 2000km.

The range of the modified Dong Feng 21 missile is significant in that it covers the areas that are likely hot zones for future confrontations between U.S. and Chinese surface forces.

The size of the missile enables it to carry a warhead big enough to inflict significant damage on a large vessel, providing the Chinese the capability of destroying a U.S. supercarrier in one strike.

Because the missile employs a complex guidance system, low radar signature and a maneuverability that makes its flight path unpredictable, the odds that it can evade tracking systems to reach its target are increased. It is estimated that the missile can travel at mach 10 and reach its maximum range of 2000km in less than 12 minutes.

Supporting the missile is a network of satellites, radar and unmanned aerial vehicles that can locate U.S. ships and then guide the weapon, enabling it to hit moving targets.

While the ASBM has been a topic of discussion within national defense circles for quite some time, the fact that information is now coming from Chinese sources indicates that the weapon system is operational. The Chinese rarely mention weapons projects unless they are well beyond the test stages.

If operational as is believed, the system marks the first time a ballistic missile has been successfully developed to attack vessels at sea. Ships currently have no defense against a ballistic missile attack.

Along with the Chinese naval build-up, U.S. Navy officials appear to view the development of the anti-ship ballistic missile as a tangible threat.

After spending the last decade placing an emphasis on building a fleet that could operate in shallow waters near coastlines, the U.S. Navy seems to have quickly changed its strategy over the past several months to focus on improving the capabilities of its deep sea fleet and developing anti-ballistic defenses.

As analyst Raymond Pritchett notes in a post on the U.S. Naval Institute blog:

"The Navy's reaction is telling, because it essentially equals a radical change in direction based on information that has created a panic inside the bubble. For a major military service to panic due to a new weapon system, clearly a mission kill weapon system, either suggests the threat is legitimate or the leadership of the Navy is legitimately unqualified. There really aren't many gray spaces in evaluating the reaction by the Navy…the data tends to support the legitimacy of the threat."

In recent years, China has been expanding its navy to presumably better exert itself in disputed maritime regions. A recent show of strength in early March led to a confrontation with an unarmed U.S. ship in international waters.

Story from Military.com at:
http://www.military.com/news/article/April-2009/new-concerns-over-chinese-carrier-killer.html?col=1186032325324

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Re: Military News & Discussion

Post  Snake on Sat Apr 04, 2009 5:13 pm

Tusker2Zero wrote:(...) range of 2000km. (...)

(...) The size of the missile enables it to carry a warhead big enough to inflict significant damage on a large vessel, providing the Chinese the capability of destroying a U.S. supercarrier in one strike. (...)

(...) Because the missile employs a complex guidance system, low radar signature and a maneuverability that makes its flight path unpredictable, the odds that it can evade tracking systems to reach its target are increased. It is estimated that the missile can travel at mach 10 and reach its maximum range of 2000km in less than 12 minutes. (...)

Shocked, it looks like the Chinese are truly determined in strengthening their influence in the region.

Tusker2Zero wrote:After spending the last decade placing an emphasis on building a fleet that could operate in shallow waters near coastlines, the U.S. Navy seems to have quickly changed its strategy over the past several months to focus on improving the capabilities of its deep sea fleet and developing anti-ballistic defenses.

Precisely, the US Navy is putting a LOT of attention into building and upgrading current anti-missile missiles and defenses, such interceptors are of major importance and will be the primary defense against an incoming anti ship missile, the main attack medium in today's naval battles, we can forget about the large guns of WW2, missiles are the new and main attack medium on a modern naval battle (there are three main types of anti missile missiles):
- Long Range (the primary defense, to engage an enemy missile on a "safe range");
- Medium Range (can be also considered a primary defense);
- Short Range and lastly Close-In Weapon Systems (last measures against an incoming missile).

Just like ground attack cruise missiles, anti ship missiles are being immensely upgraded since the Cold War days (using concepts such as stealth, extremely high speeds, countermeasures, etc.), and are being upgraded by using the same concepts as modern cruise missiles.
Identifying and neutralizing an incoming missile is of major importance, specially since the damage should be generally immense after a hit.

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Re: Military News & Discussion

Post  James100 on Sat Apr 04, 2009 5:20 pm

There's A Thriller... Shocked
Yeah Just Like Russia, China Is More And More Getting Involved In Ballistic Missile Developpment
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Re: Military News & Discussion

Post  Snake on Sat Apr 04, 2009 5:34 pm

Yeah, the Russians have extremely advanced Anti Ship Missiles.

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UAV

Post  Tusker2Zero on Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:11 pm

A couple of UAV related tech articles:

SIMCLAIRS: A European Lightweight UAV Radar Tech -
06-Apr-2009 14:01 EDT

As UAVs begin to take on a wider array of battlefield roles, the ability to carry radars for situational awareness, detection, and targeting will become more and more important. Radars are also important to UAVs’ current functions as long-endurance ground surveillance platforms, however, offering an option that can supplement visual and thermal optics in order to penetrate foliage, and scan over a wider field of view. Many medium and large size tactical UAVs carry them now, from the General Atomics AN/APY-8 Lynx that can equips the MQ-1/9 Predator family, to the 65 pound Thales I-Master that equips Britain’s Hermes Mk450B Watchkeeper UAVs, to the tiny 2-pound NanoSAR radar that Boeing has tested on its small ScanEagle UAV.

France DGA recently announced a tri-national SIMCLAIRS program (Studies for Integrated Multifunction Compact Lightweight Airborne Radars & Systems) research program aimed at keeping European industry competitive in this area….

SIMCLAIRS is a tri-national project involving France, Britain, and Sweden. The industry consortium consists of Saab AB (Sweden), Finmeccanica’s SELEX Sensors & Airborne Systems Ltd (UK), Thales UK Ltd., and Thales Systemes Aeroportes (France).

The goal is to develop the technical base required for small, drone-portable ground surveillance radars; key foci include detection through vegetation, GMTI (ground moving target indicator) type functionality, passive electronic listening, and possibly communications relay as key research foci.

March 31/09: The European Defence Agency (EDA) signs a EUR 21 million (VAT tax excluded), 4-year contract for Studies for Integrated Multifunction Compact Lightweight Airborne Radars and Systems (SIMCLAIRS). The project is classified as an “ad-hoc category B” effort. The EDA release adds that:

”...in order to guarantee the best technology knowledge available in Europe, two open calls for Research Supplier Proposals will be organized by the consortium, without discrimination on grounds of nationality, type of research suppliers and so on…. In the case of successful project, the SIMCLAIRS phase 2 is expected with the participation of the three contributing Member States.”

Sept 18/08: The governments of France, Sweden, and the UK sign an agreement to begin the SIMCLAIRS project. The next step is a contract via the European Defence Agency for a 4-year matching funds program worth up to EUR 21 million on the governments’ side of the ledger. These funds will be funneled to a consortium led by Thales, and including Finmeccanica’s Selex and Saab. DGA announcement [Francais] | Defense News.

Article from Defense Industry Daily at:
http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/Frances-DGA-Issues-Multinational-Contract-for-Lightweight-UAV-Radar-Tech-05125/#more-5125

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GBU-44 Viper Strike: Death From Above -
05-Apr-2009 13:29 EDT

The Viper Strike began life as the BAT – a canceled munition option for ground-fired ATACMS missiles. After USAF Predator UAVs armed with Hellfire missiles began to show promise in the Global War on Terror, however, US Army planners began to examine their options. Could they place a similar capability in the hands of Army ground commanders? In July 2002, these examinations led to the award of a 90-day contract to demonstrate the possibility of BAT deployment on a modified U.S. Army RQ-5 Hunter UAV.

Those tests went well, and Viper Strikes are currently carried by RQ-5B Hunter UAVs in Iraq – see this video of a Viper Strike in testing [MPG, 13.2 MB]. The weapon’s small size (3 feet long, 44 pounds) and special advantages in urban fights, mountainous terrain, etc. make it likely to spread to other platforms. Which is exactly what’s happening, as Special Operations Command shows interest and the US Army slowly moves the program forward.

Is the Viper Strike a case of “the right weapons at the right time”? Or a case of “caught betwixt and between”?...

Viper Strike: The Weapon
MQ-5 GBU-44
MQ-5 w. Viper Strikes
(click to view full)

Northrop Grumman’s GBU-44 Viper Strike is a small, precision attack munition with guide/ glide fins and a 4 lb. HEAT warhead. It uses a semi-active laser seeker for the final attack phase. After the bomb is released, it glides to the target’s vicinity, and its seeker then looks for the laser spot from Hunter’s laser target designator and makes final adjustments to its flight. A GPS module can reportedly be added in order to extend its targeting range.

Using its electro-optical or infrared sensors, Hunter is able to locate an enemy vehicle, report its location to the ground commander, receive permission to engage, fire the weapon, guide the weapon with its laser, and after weapon impact, perform battle damage assessment.

Since it functions as a top attack weapon, Viper Strike’s compact profile and the small HEAT warhead make it especially useful in urban situations, minimizing collateral damage to people and buildings while still allowing it to kill armored vehicles through their weakest point. Viper Strike uses a self-destruct mechanism to eliminate post-strike hazards in urban areas, and the final version of Viper Strike could have options for optional blast fragmentation or thermobaric (fuel-air explosive) warheads.

Other Viper Strike industrial partners include Elbit Systems of America, who manufactures some of the guidance equipment.

The Viper Strike is known to be compatible with Northrop Grumman’s MQ-5 Hunter UAVs. The latest model is the upgraded MQ-5B, which features a pair of 58 hp heavy fuel engines that can use the same fuel as Army vehicles, bigger wings with additional fuel storage, hard points for pylons/weapons like the Viper Strike, control via the multi-UAV model AAI One System ground control station, and an updated avionics suite. The MQ-5B Hunter first flew in July 2005, and deployed to the front lines a year later. Just under 30 UAVs of this type are in service, but they continue to rack up significant flying hours. By June 2007, the MQ-5A/B Hunter fleet had passed 50,000 total flying hours, half of which were spent on combat missions.

The GBU-44 Viper Strike has a number of remarkable characteristics. The question is whether this will be enough to make it a success. Many of the US Army’s UAVs are smaller RQ-7 Shadows, which are unlikely to be able to carry even a weapon as small as Viper Strike. Above the RQ-5 Hunter, Predator family UAVs like the SkyWarrior, MQ-1 Predator, and MQ-9 Reaper use Hellfire missiles instead.

The GBU-44 could end up in the dreaded product trap of being positioned between 2 distinct market segments, unable to fully satisfy either one. If it’s to enter fuller production, it will need to find a key platform and application.

Iraq’s light “Bird Dog” Cessnas and “King Air ISR” surveillance aircraft offer one obvious emerging opportunity. Another may be found closer to home, with US Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

SOCOM’s Solution: Viper Strikes for AC-130s
AIR_AC-130H_Specter_Firing.jpg
AC-130H Firing
(click to view full)

US Special Operations Command believes that its AC-130 fleet of AC-130H “Spectre” and AC-130U “Spooky” Hercules variants, whose mission is the delivery of massive, accurate firepower into land battles where enemy air defenses are weak, offer an excellent potential platform for Viper Strike. At present, 13 AC-130U Gunships are flown by the 4th Special Operations Squadron (SOS) and 8 AC-130H Gunships are flown by the 16th SOS. Both squadrons are located at Hurlburt Field, FL.

While the AC-130s’ 105mm howitzers, 30mm chain guns, and other weapons are very useful against infantry and light vehicles, Viper Strike offers longer-range precision attack capabilities, plus an anti-armor punch that can make a big difference to pinned special forces units.

John Miller, director of the Viper Strike program for Northrop Grumman’s Land Combat Systems in Huntsville, AL put it this way:

“Right now, the AC-130 uses the 105 mm howitzer, and they wind up flying left hand circles at altitudes between 15,000 to 18,000 feet… That puts them in harm’s way. They would really like to be able to fly at higher altitudes with more survivability, more standoff and also to stay pressurized. We believe that if we take Viper Strike, mount them in a rack, and shoot them through the floor, that we can give them that capability. And not only that, but we can give them the capability to shoot multiple targets types [sic].”

The first phase of this effort will demonstrate the use of the SOPGM Viper Strike from the gunship and begin development of operations concepts, as well as launcher and battle-management systems to optimize use of the Viper Strike/ AC-130 combination. The second phase will demonstrate and assess the military utility of the weapon system on the AC-130, along with the idea of adding a datalink for 2-way communications between the aircraft and the weapon.

Contracts & Key Developments
Viper strike concept

Unless otherwise specified, contracts are awarded by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL, USA.

April 2/09: Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. in Huntsville, AL won an $11.3 million firm-fixed-price contract with cost plus fixed fee, line items contract for Viper Strike Munitions and engineering services.

Work is to be performed at Huntsville, AL, with an estimated completion date of April 30/10. One bid was solicited and one bid received (W31P4Q-07-C-0268).

Sept 26/07: Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. in Huntsville, Ala. received a $16.1 million modification to a cost-plus-fixed-fee and firm-fixed-price contract for Viper Strike Munitions and engineering services. Work will be performed in Huntsville, Ala., and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2008. This was a sole source contract initiated on Sept. 5, 2007 (W31P4Q-07-C-0268).

March 12/07: Northrop Grumman of Linthcum, MD received a $7.4 million contract modification for the demonstration of their Viper Strike munition on the AC-130 gunship as a ranged precision-guided munition. This modification action adds the requirement for the contractor to support an extended user evaluation of the munitions on the AC-130, and brings the current total maximum estimated cost of this contract to $29.4 million (H92222-05-C-0020, Modification P00012).

Work will be performed out of Huntsville, AL, and is incrementally funded based on performance. The initial proof of concept work is to be complete by October 2007.

Feb. 28/07: Northrop Grumman announces that a successful round of RQ-5A Hunter and Viper Strike testing was conducted at White Sands Missile Range, NM in January 2007 against moving and stationary targets. The weapons tests were conducted under the auspices of the U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office (PEO) for Aviation and the PEO for Missiles and Space. See release.

Aug 4/05: Northrop Grumman of Linthcum, MD received a sole-source $22 million cost-plus incentive-fee Advanced Concept of Technology Demonstration contract (H92222-05-C-0020) for the demonstration of their Viper Strike munition as a Stand-off Precision Guided Munition on the AC-130 Specter gunship.

Work on this contract will be performed out of Huntsville, AL and is being incrementally funded based on performance. The initial increment of work was expected to be complete in December 2005, and all Initial Proof of Concept work was expected to be complete by December 2006. The $22-million contract is an Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program with a potential full value of $48.6 million.

Article from Defense Industry Daily at:
http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/gbu44-viper-strike-death-from-above-03127/

===============================================================

Mortars from Aircraft? The Shadow Knows… -
04-Jan-2009 17:12 EST

In 2007, US Army RQ-7 Shadow battalion-level UAVs saw their use increase to up 8,000 flight hours per month in Iraq, a total that compares well to the famous MQ-1 Predator. Those trends have continued as workarounds for the airspace management issues that hindered early deployments become more routine. Some RQ-7s are even being used to extend high-bandwidth communications on the front lines.

The difference between the Army’s RQ-7 Shadow UAVs and their brethren like the USAF’s MQ-1A Predator, or the Army’s new MQ-1C Sky Warriors, is that the Shadow has been too small and light to be armed. Larger RQ-5 Hunters have been tested with Viper Strike mini-bombs, and RQ-7s will certainly be eligible for NAVAIR’s 5-6 pound Spike missile project. Meanwhile, as “CENTCOM Looks to Boost ISR Capabilities in 2008-2009” explained, UAVs can still pack a punch without weapons. UAVs can provide targeting data to M30 GPS-guided MLRS rockets, long-range ATACMS MLRS missiles, or GPS-guided 155mm Excalibur artillery shells – as long as those weapons are (a) appropriate and (b) within range.

Using an ATACMS missile to take out an enemy machine gun position seems a bit silly, but that’s exactly the sort of help that could really make a difference to troops on the ground. Precision weapons can also be dropped by fighters or bombers, but their $10,000 – $25,000 cost per flight hour is prohibitive, they require extensive planning processes to use, and their declining numbers affect their potential coverage and response times. With NAVAIR’s mini-missile still in development, and missions in Afghanistan occurring beyond artillery support range, arming the Army’s Shadow UAVs has become an even more important objective. So important, in fact, that it spawned a bright idea: what if smaller UAVs could carry and drop the Army’s 81mm mortar ammunition, which weighs just 9-10 pounds? Enter General Dynamics’ RCFC kit….

Contracts and Key Events
81mm mortar
81mm RCFC test
(click to view full)

Dec 16/08: General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems announces that it has successfully demonstrated the ability to maneuver and guide 81mm air-dropped mortars to a stationary ground target after release from an aircraft. These test results build on previous pre-programmed maneuver flight tests successfully conducted by General Dynamics in 2007, and use the company’s patented Roll Controlled Fixed Canard (RCFC) flight control and guidance system.

RCFC is an integrated fuze and guidance-and-flight control kit that uses GPS/INS navigation, and clips on by replacing current fuze hardware in existing mortars. The Army’s 81mm mortars weigh just 9-10 pounds each, and the new kit does not add much to that. A standard M821 81mm Mortar with fuze weighs 9.1 pounds, and the same mortar with an RCFC Guidance system and fuze weighs just 10.8 pounds.

Application of RCFC technology to 81mm air-dropped mortars was sponsored by the U.S. Army’s Armament Research Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ, in order to provide “Tactical Class Unmanned Aircraft Systems (TCUAS)” with a low-cost weapon option for rapid fielding.

Article from Defense Industry Daily at:
http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/Mortars-from-Aircraft-The-Shadow-Knows-05226/

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Pentagon budget kills F-22, pumps up Special Ops

Post  Tusker2Zero on Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:20 pm

Pentagon budget kills F-22, pumps up Special Ops -
By Gordon Lubold Gordon Lubold – Mon Apr 6, 5:00 am ET
Christian Science Monitor: http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20090406/ts_csm/apentspendone

Washington – Defense Secretary Robert Gates unveiled Monday a defense budget geared toward fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It proposes to end a controversial Air Force stealth-fighter program and to restructure a costly Army combat system while increasing spending on counterinsurgency and expanding the force.

The only Republican holdover from the Bush administration, Mr. Gates made bold proposals that are likely to run up against entrenched defense-industry interests and members of Congress alike, pushing to fundamentally reshape Pentagon spending, which he believes has been out of balance for many years.

"If approved, these recommendations will profoundly reform how this department does business," he said Monday at the Pentagon.

Gates will end the Air Force's F-22 Raptor program, leaving it with 187 airplanes that cost anywhere between $140 million a piece – and as much as $350 million when research and development is taken into account. The move was not unexpected, since Gates had hinted that the F-22, which has not been used in either Iraq or Afghanistan, is geared toward potential threats from a "near peer" adversary such as China rather than current needs.

Gates will also restructure the Army's Future Combat System, a $160 billion program of vehicle sensors and other equipment that has run over cost and has yet to fully prove itself useful in a counterinsurgency environment.

Gates also cancelled the $6.5 billion presidential helicopter program that would have bought 23 new helicopters for the president. That program, also over budget, was scrapped altogether. Gates said an effort to replace the fleet would start anew in 2011.

But the Pentagon's $534 billion budget for fiscal 2010 will contain billions in spending that is relevant to today's conflicts.

Gates announced $2 billion for remote-controlled aircraft and other intelligence assets to support troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, $500 million for more helicopters needed in both war theaters, and another $500 million to train and equip foreign militaries.

He is also proposing to expand Special Operations forces by about 5 percent to assist in counterinsurgency operations as well as some of the foreign-military training seen as key in the effort against extremism.

Gates also announced that he would end the Army's creation of more units called "brigade combat teams" – units more appropriate for conventional warfare. He said that if these units were allowed to expand further, they would leave the Army spread too thin.

In unveiling the entire budget all at once, Gates has taken an unorthodox approach to the Pentagon budget. In this case, he revealed his thinking on major defense programs ahead of President Obama's official, detailed budget that will be unveiled late this month or in early May in order to give the American public the context for understanding his proposals.

Gates acknowledged that his budget reflects a broad overhaul of defense acquisition and strategy.

"It is one thing to speak generally about the need for budget discipline and acquisition and contract reform," said Gates. "It is quite another to make tough choices about specific systems and defense priorities based solely on the national interest and then stick to those decisions over time."

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Other News Tidbits from April 6, 2009

Post  Tusker2Zero on Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:50 pm

Navy to keep carrier fleet, other programs:
By Philip Ewing - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Apr 6, 2009 16:33:00 EDT

'The Navy will maintain its current fleet of 11 aircraft carriers until 2040, when it will drop to a fleet of 10, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday.

Despite apprehension from some defense analysts that the Navy could lose at least one carrier, the Zumwalt-class destroyer program or other major weapons in Gates’ budget this year, the service’s plans escaped relatively unscathed. Although it will begin building carriers every five years, instead of four, and drop down to a permanent force of 10 flattops in 31 years, the Navy’s major programs are essentially unchanged.

It’s possible, however, that technical problems with the aircraft-launching system aboard the Navy’s next carrier, the Gerald R. Ford, could delay its entering service as scheduled in 2015, denying that ship to the fleet as planned. Service officials said last week they think they can get the new equipment to work, but they’re also investigating the possibility of retrofitting the Ford with the steam catapults carried on the current fleet of Nimitz-class ships. ...'

'... He said the Navy would re-negotiate its deal for its advanced Zumwalt-class ships, with the idea that it could save money by building all three at General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works shipyard in Bath, Maine. That’s if the first ship is built on cost and schedule, Gates said; if not, the second and third ships would be cancelled. The other yard that was to build a Zumwalt, Northrop Grumman’s shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., would get first dibs on the Navy’s new series of Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. Then, after the first few copies, further DDG 51s would be built at both Northrop and Bath.

Gates conceded he was not intimately familiar with the details of the Zumwalt program, also known as DDG 1000; that he has not been involved with the details or talked with the contractors. But “people here in the building” — meaning Navy officials in the Pentagon — believe the Navy can save money by having Bath build all three ships, Gates said. That would save the Navy from building two simultaneous first-of-class ships, one by Bath and one by Northrop, and create efficiencies for all three by having them come from the same yard. ...'

'... In addition to the shipbuilding changes, Gates’ proposal calls for the Navy to get money to add ballistic missile defense capability to six Aegis ships next year, and the Defense Department will spend an additional $700 million on the SM-3 missiles they fire at incoming ballistic missiles, as well as other missile defense systems.

On the aviation side, Gates said the Navy would buy 31 F/A-18 Super Hornets in fiscal 2010. Previous planning called for the Navy to purchase 18 Super Hornets. The additional aircraft will help reduce the so-called “fighter gap” — the shortage of aircraft the Navy faces as the older Hornets retire faster than the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter arrives to replace them. ...'

'... Gates also said the Navy would again delay work on the CG(X) cruiser, a large, next-generation surface warship that was to take many of its design and technological cues from the Zumwalts.

Also delayed will be amphibious ships, including an 11th San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock; the Mobile Landing Platform ship; and other “sea-basing programs,” Gates said. '

Full article at:
http://www.navytimes.com/news/2009/04/navy_gates_040609w/


===========================================================

Gates announces major cuts in defense budget:
By Leo Shane III, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Tuesday, April 7, 2009

* Graphic: A look at some key programs, and how they fared.
click here

'... And while other systems saw large cuts, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will see an increase of $4.4 billion to buy 513 aircraft over the next five years. ...'

'... The budget includes $500 million more than fiscal 2009 for recruiting and training helicopter maintenance crews, a major need for current missions overseas. Another $400 million will go towards new medical research, and $300 million more to supplement existing traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder programs.

The military’s special operations forces ranks will be increased by nearly 3,000 next year, and the Pentagon will triple the number of students in its cybersecurity programs. And Gates announced plans to hire up 30,000 new government employees to replace contractor slots over the next five years, 13,000 in 2010 alone. ...'

'... But the budget plan would accelerate the purchase of Navy littoral combat ships, which are designed for close-shore support missions. Plans had called for two next year; Now, the Pentagon will buy three and plan for a fleet of 55 in coming years.

Gates said that the missile defense program will also see cuts while officials re-evaluate ground-based interceptor systems.

Those decisions on missile defense come after North Korea’s launch of a long-range missile this weekend. While U.S. officials said North Korea failed to put a satellite into orbit, the test shows that North Korea can successfully fire a two-stage missile, said defense analyst Bruce Bennett for the RAND Corp.

Gates said he does not think the delay in those missile defense system will endanger U.S. forces or allies, noting plans to ramp up purchase of proven programs like the Patriot missile.

While the plan supports the continued growth in Army end strength to 547,000, it would hold the number of brigade combat teams at 45 instead of the planned 48. Gates said the change would allow for better-staffed BCTs, reducing the need for stop-lossed troops to fill in the gaps.

Lawmakers will begin hearings on the defense budget when Congress returns from break later this month.'

Full article at Stars & Stripes:
http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=61862&source=rss

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Re: Military News & Discussion

Post  Snake on Sat Apr 11, 2009 5:16 pm

It looks like the F-22 won't watch a full scale military service, I wonder what the USAF is planning to do (most probably to keep and modernize the current planes).



Pentagon proposes to revamp spending priorities, shut down F-22


Secretary of Defense Robert Gates today proposed the most radical reshaping of the Pentagon’s spending priorities since the end of the Cold War, including halting Lockheed Martin F-22 production at 186 aircraft.

The secretary will advise President Barack Obama to submit a Fiscal 2010 budget request that will likely kickstart a strong backlash from Congress, where lawmakers often staunchly support weapon systems that provide jobs in their districts.

Gates’s FY10 budget proposes to offset F-22 production by accelerating procurement of the Lockheed F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). Gates says his intent is to buy a fifth generation fighter in greater numbers and at sustainable costs.

The FY10 budget proposal would also cancel pending contracts for new weapons systems such as the combat search and rescue helicopter (CSAR-X) and the transformational satellite communications (TSAT) system.

Gates is also proposing to restart the politically-charged KC-X tanker competition between Northrop Grumman/EADS North America and Boeing in the third quarter after a nearly year-long hiatus.

Gates also noted he would be open to proposals to accelerate purchases for a single tanker replacement fleet, rejecting calls for a split-buy.

The Lockheed/AgustaWestland VH-71A presidential helicopter would also be scrapped, along with plans to start developing a next-generation bomber.

Nothing was said by Gates about the fate of the Boeing C-17 production line, which also requires an infusion of new funds to remain active beyond early 2011. However, even if the C-17 is omitted from the budget request, Congress could still insert the funds to buy the aircraft the war supplemental bill.

Gates described his FY10 budget recommendations as seeking to “institutionalize and enhance our capabilities to fight the wars we are in today and the scenarios we are most likely to face in the years ahead, while at the same time providing a hedge against other risks and contingencies”.

Gates took particular aim at the US military’s portfolio of multi-billion tactical aircraft programmes. In addition to halting production of the F-22 in late 2011, the FY10 budget proposal would also retire 250 of the oldest US Air Force fighters next year.

But Gates claims that tactical air superiority can be maintained by accelerating F-35 purchases, investing $11.2 billion next year to buy 30 low-rate initial production aircraft. The DOD would also buy 513 F-35s over the next five years, much faster than previously planned.

Surprisingly, Gates says the military advice he received, including from USAF officials, recommended halting F-22 production. That appears to conflict with recent statements by USAF Chief of Staff Gen Norton Schwartz, who has repeatedly described a fleet of 183 F-22s as insufficient.

Another major aerospace target was in the area of missile defence, especially the Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser. The first prototype will be kept as a research asset, but Gates will propose scrapping the second planned prototype.

Source:
http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2009/04/06/324872/pentagon-proposes-to-revamp-spending-priorities-shut-down.html



Gates announces major Pentagon priority shifts


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced a 2010 Pentagon budget Monday that reflects major changes in the "scope and significance" of Defense Department priorities.

The proposed budget cuts several traditional big-ticket items while investing in programs designed to bolster the military's ability to wage an ongoing conflict against terrorists and other extremist elements in multiple regions at the same time.

Gates acknowledged that parts of the budget are likely to run into significant opposition on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are concerned in part about preserving valuable defense contracts for their districts and states.

"This is a reform budget, reflecting lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan," Gates said. "There's no question that a lot of these decisions will be controversial."

He called on Congress to "rise above parochial interests and consider what is in the best interests of the nation as a whole."

House Armed Service Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Missouri, acknowledged that congressmen have concerns about job losses in their home districts but said that ultimately, "the national interest overrides anything."

"The buck stops with us," he said. "We still have a lot of hard work ahead of us."

Three key priorities are reflected in the changes, Gates said.

The priorities are a stronger institutional commitment to the military's all-volunteer force, a decision to "rebalance" defense programs to better fight current and future conflicts, and "fundamental overhauls" of the military's procurement, acquisition and contracting process.

Among other things, Gates called for production of the Air Force's most expensive fighter, the F-22 Raptor, to be phased out by fiscal year 2011.

He also called for terminating a proposed fleet of 23 presidential helicopters estimated to cost more than $13 billion. The proposed fleet, he noted, was originally projected to cost $6.5 billion. It "has fallen six years behind schedule and runs the risk of not delivering the requested capability," he said.

Gates maintained that a new fleet of presidential helicopters will still ultimately be necessary, however.

At the same time, he said he did not want to pursue a development program for a new Air Force bomber "until we have a better understanding of the need, the requirement and the technology."

Gates did request 50 Predator and Reaper-class unmanned aerial vehicles by fiscal year 2011, translating to a 62 percent increase in capability over the current level and 127 percent from a year ago.

The Predator has been used extensively by the military in operations along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.

Turning to the military's overall troop levels, Gates proposed spending an additional $11 billion to complete a planned expansion of the Army and Marine Corps while halting reductions in the Air Force and Navy.

A planned 547,000 troop increase, while capping the growth of Army brigade combat teams at 45 as opposed to a previously discussed level of 48, will be sufficient to "ensure that we have better manned units ready to employ and help put an end to the routine use of stop-loss," Gates maintained.

"This step will also lower the risk of hollowing the force," he said.

Gates also proposed a reduction in the use of support service contractors from 39 percent of the Pentagon work force to a pre-2001 level of 26 percent.

The contractors, Gates added, would be replaced with full-time government employees.

To help create a more mobile, flexible force, Gates proposed boosting special operations personnel by 2,800, or 5 percent, as well as purchasing aircraft designed to provide greater lift mobility and rapid transportation of those forces.

Among other things, he cited a proposed increase in the purchase of "littoral combat ships, a key capability for presence, stability and counterinsurgency operations in coastal regions," from two to three ships.

The Pentagon's ultimate goal, he said, is to acquire 55 of these ships.

Another $500 million is directed toward boosting "global partnership capacity efforts" through enhanced initiatives for "training and equipping foreign militaries to undertake counterterrorism and stability operations."

In what may prove to be one of the most controversial aspects of his proposed budget, Gates announced the cancellation or reduction of key elements of the Pentagon's missile defense system, including the installation of additional ground-based interceptor missiles in Alaska.

The proposed overall missile defense system budget was trimmed by $1.4 billion.

A bipartisan group of senators released a letter during Gates' announcement that urged him "not to allow deep cuts in U.S. missile defense programs that are critically important to protecting our homeland and our allies against the growing threat of ballistic missiles."

"The threat from ballistic missiles is significant and on the rise. [It] has been underscored by Iran and North Korea's recent missile tests," they argued.

The letter was signed by both senators from Alaska -- Republican Lisa Murkowski and Democrat Mark Begich -- among others.

Although Gates was initially appointed Pentagon chief by former President George W. Bush, his overall budget received what appeared to be a mixed reception from congressional Republicans.

"Republicans appreciate Secretary Gates' effort to shape the Department of Defense so that we more effectively fight the wars our troops are engaged in today. However, we are concerned about the tradeoffs involved in re-balancing the Department," New York Rep. John McHugh, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services committee, said in a written statement.

"It remains the Congress' responsibility to provide for the common defense," he warned.

Former Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, however, said Gates' budget "is a major step in the right direction."

"It has long been necessary to shift spending away from weapon systems plagued by scheduling and cost overruns to ones that strike the correct balance between the needs of our deployed forces and the requirements for meeting the emerging threats of tomorrow," he said.

"I believe Secretary Gates' decision is key to ensuring that the defense establishment closes the gap between the way it supports current operations and the way it prepares for future conventional threats."

Georgia Republicans slammed President Obama for Gates' announcement about the phase-out of the F-22 Raptor, which is assembled in Cobb County, Georgia.

Rep. Tom Price, whose district includes the Raptor production facility, called the cut "outrageous" and said Obama's "priorities are deeply flawed." Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss said he was "disappointed" in the cuts and accused the administration of being "willing to sacrifice the lives of American military men and women for the sake of domestic programs."

Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, was also dismissive of the F-22 phase-out, although he said he generally supported Gates' moves to modernize the military. Some F-22 production takes place in Connecticut as well.

The proposed overall fiscal year 2010 Defense Department budget is almost $534 billion, or nearly $664 billion when including the costs of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The current Pentagon budget totals slightly over $513 billion, or almost $655 billion including the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

Source:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/04/06/gates.budget.cuts/index.html

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Snake
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Re: Military News & Discussion

Post  Snake on Sat Apr 11, 2009 5:22 pm

It appears the F-35's role will increase dramatically of what was first expected (much more emphasis on the Joint Strike Fighter I mean).


Last edited by Snake on Sat Apr 11, 2009 5:24 pm; edited 1 time in total

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