Category Archives: Aviation

Astronaut Scott Carpenter was 'Trying to Defend the Planet'

Astronaut Scott Carpenter was ‘Trying to Defend the Planet’

Scott Carpenter

Scott Carpenter

Scott Carpenter was one the original Mercury 7 astronauts and a former Naval aviator. Carpenter died on Thursday. He was 88. The following was a 2001 interview in Naval History magazine.

In his Aurora 7 spacecraft on 24 May 1962, one of the original Mercury 7 space pioneers became the second American to orbit the Earth. After a rather rocky flight, overshooting his splashdown target by 250 miles, he was assigned to monitor the design and development of the lunar module for the Apollo project. He then took leave from the space program in the spring of 1965 to serve as an aquanaut in the U.S. Navy’s SeaLab II project, spending 30 days 205 feet below the surface off the coast of La Jolla, California. “The first person to explore both of humanity’s great remaining frontiers” talked recently with Naval History editor Fred L. Schultz between sessions of a Naval Forces Under the Sea symposium sponsored by the Office of Naval Research and the U.S. Naval Academy. Read More

Japan's Amphibious Buildup

Japan’s Amphibious Buildup

Members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force put on camouflage face paint before conducting a beach landing exercise with Marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit on Feb. 10, 2012. US Navy Photo

Members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force put on camouflage face paint before conducting a beach landing exercise with Marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit on Feb. 10, 2012. US Navy Photo

Japan recently has been in the news as a result of several high-profile territorial incidents with its neighbor China. The incidents involve what Japanese call the Senkaku islands—the Diaoyu islands to the Chinese. Japan has legal ownership of the islands, which China disputes. The incidents have involved non-government activists and the coast guards of both nations, with many fearing an escalation could lead to some form of armed conflict. Read More

Naval Institute History Conference: From Mercury to the Shuttle

Naval Institute History Conference: From Mercury to the Shuttle

Capt. Jim Lovell, USN (Ret.) speaking at the Naval Academy on Thursday. US Naval Institute Photo

Capt. Jim Lovell, USN (Ret.) speaking at the Naval Academy on Thursday. US Naval Institute Photo

The following is the on scene report for the U.S. Naval Institute’s 2013 annual history conference, “Past, Present, and Future of Human Space Flight,” with Capt. James A. Lovell, USN (Ret.), Capt. Robert L. Crippen, USN (Ret.), Col. Robert Cabana, USMC (Ret.) and Capt. Ken Ham, USN. The panel was moderated by former Good Morning America host David Hartman. Read More

Document: GAO UCLASS Acquisition Needs More Oversight

Document: GAO UCLASS Acquisition Needs More Oversight

From the Sept. 26 Government Accountability Office report: Navy Strategy for Unmanned Carrier Based Aircraft System Defers Key Oversight Mechanisms.

UCLASS faces several programmatic risks going forward. First, the UCLASS cost estimate of $3.7 billion exceeds the level of funding that the Navy expects to budget for the system through fiscal year 2020. Second, the Navy has scheduled 8 months between the time it issues its request for air vehicle design proposals and the time it awards the air vehicle contract, a process that DOD officials note typically takes 12 months to complete. Read More

X-47B Might Fly into 2015, Next Carrier Tests Could Start in November

X-47B Might Fly into 2015, Next Carrier Tests Could Start in November

A X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator launches from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on July, 10 2013. US Navy Photo

A X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator launches from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on July, 10 2013. US Navy Photo

The Navy is making plans that could extend the testing of Northrop Grumman’s X-47B into 2015 with possible new carrier tests as early as next month, USNI News has learned.

Last week the Navy issued a contract solicitation to extend the testing of the two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) — dubbed Salty Dog 501 and Salty Dog 502 — as part of the Unmanned Combat Air System demonstration (UCAS-D) program. Read More

Search Suspended for Two Missing Crew from Red Sea Knighthawk Crash

Search Suspended for Two Missing Crew from Red Sea Knighthawk Crash

 MH-60S Knighthawk from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28 departs the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) in January.

MH-60S Knighthawk from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28 departs the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) in January.

The Navy has suspended the search for two crewmembers lost following the crash of a MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter on Sunday in the Red Sea, according to a Monday release from U.S. 5th Fleet.

“Navy officials have concluded that given the time elapsed since the incident, aircrew survivability was extremely unlikely,” according to the statement. “The location of the crash site is known, and an extensive area has been searched multiple times by various ships and aircraft.” Read More

Report: Some in Industry Concerned with Shift in UCLASS Requirements

Report: Some in Industry Concerned with Shift in UCLASS Requirements

An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator aircraft is transported on an aircraft elevator aboard the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman (CVN-75). US Navy Photo

An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator aircraft is transported on an aircraft elevator aboard the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman (CVN-75). US Navy Photo

Some potential builders of the Navy’s planned Unmanned Carrier-Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) are worried a shift in focus to the requirements of the program will negate years of private research into fielding the carrier-based unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), according to a Sunday report in Flight.

The Navy undertook a non-traditional route in acquiring UCLASS. Instead of developing a list of requirements and holding a competition early in the program, the Navy instead waited to issue an outline for the aircraft’s requirements leaving companies to develop plans for the aircraft in a vacuum using their own funds for about three years. Read More