Category Archives: Aviation

UCLASS By the Numbers

UCLASS By the Numbers

The Navy has outlined the specifications for the Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) in a requirements document obtained by USNI News.

Persistence:

Proposed operational ranges of UCLASS. US Naval Institute Illustration

Proposed operational ranges of UCLASS. US Naval Institute Illustration

A UCLASS system should be able to conduct two orbits at 600 nautical
miles or one orbit at 1,200 nautical miles. The system should also be
able to conduct a strike mission at 2,000 nautical miles. Read More

China Carrier Starts Second Round of Jet Tests

China Carrier Starts Second Round of Jet Tests

The PLAN's J-15 fighter jet takes off from Liaoning in this undated 2012 photo. Xinhua News Agency Photo

The PLAN’s J-15 fighter jet takes off from Liaoning in this undated 2012 photo. Xinhua News Agency Photo

The People’s Liberation Army Navy has conducted a second round of jet tests aboard its aircraft carrier with its J-15 carrier-based fighter on Wednesday, according to a report from the Xinhua news agency.

Wednesday’s test of the J-15 aboard Liaoning, follow a November round of flights of the J-15 in which the aircraft successfully landed and launched from the 50,000 ton former Soviet carrier. Read More

NAVAIR Issues UCLASS RFP

NAVAIR Issues UCLASS RFP

Northrop Grumman's X-47B flies over USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on May 14, 2013. US Naval Institute Photo

Northrop Grumman’s X-47B flies over USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on May 14, 2013. US Naval Institute Photo

The Navy is taking its next steps in creating unmanned and autonomous vehicle to provide surveillance and strike capabilities from aircraft carriers, Naval Air Systems Command told USNI News on Monday.

NAVAIR released a request for proposal to four companies on June 10 for further design studies on the Navy’s planned Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike system. Read More

The Future of the Marine Corps

The Future of the Marine Corps

US Marines from Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) Platoon, Battalion Landing Team 3/2, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), drive their AAVs on April 20, 2013. US Marine Corps Photo.

US Marines from Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) Platoon, Battalion Landing Team 3/2, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), drive their AAVs on April 20, 2013. US Marine Corps Photo.

After ten years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Marine Corps is retooling and repositioning itself back into its traditional role as a medium-weight maritime force that can operate with agility from the sea. Instead of training almost exclusively to fight insurgents deep inland, the Marines will focus on roles ranging from conventional warfighting, to conducting humanitarian missions, and to training the armed forces of partner nations. In essence, it will be a case of back to the future for the Marine Corps as it shifts back into its traditional role as the nation’s 911 quick-reaction force, former officials and analysts told USNI News. Read More

Second V-22 Multi-Year Buys 99 Ospreys

Second V-22 Multi-Year Buys 99 Ospreys

MV-22 Osprey assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 161 as it launches from the flight deck of the Amphibious Transport Dock Ship USS Anchorage (LPD-23) on April 23, 2013.

MV-22 Osprey assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 161 as it launches from the flight deck of the Amphibious Transport Dock Ship USS Anchorage (LPD-23) on April 23, 2013.

The Department of the Navy has kicked off its second multi-year buy for 99 V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft with option for 22 more, a NAVAIR official told USNI News on Thursday.

The Pentagon issued a $4.89 billion contract for the Ospreys on Wednesday with Textron’s Bell Helicopter division and Boeing. Read More

Chinese Carrier Leaves for More Sea Trials

Chinese Carrier Leaves for More Sea Trials

An undated photo of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy aircraft carrier Liaoning. PLAN Photo

An undated photo of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy aircraft carrier Liaoning. PLAN Photo

China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning has left its homeport of Qingdao to conduct sea trials, according to a Tuesday report from the Xinhua news agency.

The underway will focus on “scientific experiments and sea training,” Xinhua cited People’s Liberation Army Navy officials. Read More

Midway at 71: Flying into a Beehive

Midway at 71: Flying into a Beehive

Then Lt. Cmdr. John Thach during World War II. US Navy Photo

Then Lt. Cmdr. John Thach during World War II. US Navy Photo

The following is from the June, 2007 issue of Naval History Magazine:
Six Grumman F4FA Wildcat fighters of Fighting Squadron (VF)-3 were the sole protection for the USS 
Yorktown’ s 12 torpedo planes and 17 dive bombers that attacked the Japanese First Carrier Striking Force early on 4 June 1942. Launching nearly two hours after their compatriots on board the USS Enterprise and USS Hornet the F4Fs were led by then-Lieutenant Commander Jimmie Thach and were the only fighters to engage the Japanese over their ships that morning. The following account is adapted from Thach’s U.S. Naval Institute oral history.

Before leaving Pearl Harbor, I was given very brief indications that we expected an attack, and there was obviously a big battle coming up in the middle of the Pacific. That’s about all I was told before I landed aboard the Yorktown (CV-5) on May 30. That night, the air group met in the wardroom where Commander Murr Arnold, the air officer, gave us a complete briefing on everything they knew about the opposing Japanese forces and their probable intentions. So we had a day or so to think before we arrived in position. After this briefing, it was obvious a very serious and crucial engagement was coming up. If we could win this one, we might be able to stop the Japanese advance.

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Midway at 71: 'I Sank the Yorktown at Midway'

Midway at 71: ‘I Sank the Yorktown at Midway’

USS Yorktown after a series of torpedo strikes in 1942. Naval Institute Archives

USS Yorktown after a series of torpedo strikes in 1942. Naval Institute Archives

The following ran in Proceedings in May 1968:

The tension in I-168’s conning tower had been steadily building up for six and a half hours. In the cramped command post, I stood, palms out, waiting to grip the rising periscope’s handles. We were all perspiring heavily. My torpedo petty officer was scanning his switch panel, and a nervous helmsman wiped clammy hands frequently on his pants. Lieutenant (jg) Nakagawa, pencil in hand, mopped his damp brow between looks at the compass and speed indicator. But my gunnery officer, Ensign Watanabe, seemed almost unconcerned. Of the five, his job was by far the simplest. Our submarine was creeping straight toward the crippled American aircraft carrier Yorktown. There were no ballistics problems for Watanabe to work out-the range was point-blank, and target speed was nearly zero.

The whine of the periscope’s lift motor died away as I sighted through the eyepiece. I had been allowing myself a maximum of five seconds on each sight check and I didn’t intend to change the tactic. One quick glance would give me the range, and I could give the order to fire torpedoes.

Read more.

Document: Pentagon's Air-Sea Battle Concept

Document: Pentagon’s Air-Sea Battle Concept

From the Pentagon’s May, 12 2013 Air-Sea Battle Concept outline: 

While ASB is not a strategy, it is an important component of DoD’s strategic mission to project power and sustain operations in the global commons during peacetime or crisis. Implementation of the ASB Concept, coordinated through the ASB office, is designed to develop the force over the long-term, and will continue to inform institutional, conceptual, and programmatic changes for the Services for years to come. The ASB Concept seeks to provide decision makers with a wide range of options to counter aggression from hostile actors. At the low end of the conflict spectrum, the Concept enables decision makers to maintain freedom of action, conduct a show of force, or conduct limited strikes. At the low end of the conflict spectrum, the Concept enables decision makers to engage with partners to assure access, maintain freedom of action, conduct a show of force, or conduct limited strikes. At the high end of the conflict spectrum, the Concept preserves the ability to defeat aggression and maintain escalation advantage despite the challenges posed by advanced weapons systems. Read More

Think Tanks Call For Massive Pentagon Personnel Cuts Under BCA

Think Tanks Call For Massive Pentagon Personnel Cuts Under BCA

Four D.C. think tanks took a crack at cutting the Pentagon's budget under sequestration. CSBA Image

Four D.C. think tanks took a crack at cutting the Pentagon’s budget under sequestration. CSBA Image

Four D.C. think tanks took a crack at balancing the Department of Defense’s budget if the Pentagon has to weather ten years of ten percent across-the-board sequestration budget cuts sequestration on Wednesday.

The consensus of the four (American Enterprise Institute, Center for a New American Security, Center for Strategic and International Studies and Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment) was unanimous.

First, cut the Department of Defense’s civilian employees – including shipyard and depot workers. Then reduce the services’ end strength – particularly the Army’s. Read More