NASA Global Hawk Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) is capable of flight altitudes greater than 55,000 feet and flight durations of up to 30 hours. NASA Photo
Forget Moby Dick’s white whale – a tropical cyclone is by far the most difficult ocean beast to track. This rotating system of clouds and thunderstorms, most commonly known to North Americans as a hurricane once it reaches a certain size and speed, is typically several hundred miles wide with winds as fast as 155 miles per hour.
These vast storms are essentially a physics puzzle, in which the interaction of moisture, wind, air, heat and other elements can trick even the most knowledgeable scientists trying to forecast both the path and intensity of a hurricane. In the last decade, weather models have gotten much better at predicting path and landfall, but they have been less skillful when trying to estimate pressure and maximum wind speeds. Read More →
The following is from Congressional Research Service’s Ronald O’Rourke June 26, 2013 testimony before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Coast Guard Acquisition.
The Coast Guard’s FY2014 Five Year (FY2014-FY2018) CIP includes a total of about $5.1 billion in acquisition funding, which is about $2.5 billion, or about 33%, less than the total of about $7.6 billion that was included in the Coast Guard’s FY2013 Five Year (FY2013-FY2017) CIP. (In the four common years of the two plans—FY2014-FY2017—the reduction in funding from the FY2013 CIP to the FY2014 CIP is about $2.3 billion, or about 37%.) This is one of the largest percentage reductions in funding that I have seen a five-year acquisition account experience from one year to the next in many years.
About twenty years ago, in the early 1990s, Department of Defense (DOD) five-year procurement plans were reduced sharply in response to the end of the Cold War—a large-scale change in the strategic environment that led to a significant reduction in estimated future missions for U.S. military forces. In contrast to that situation, there has been no change in the Coast Guard’s strategic environment since last year that would suggest a significant reduction in estimated future missions for the Coast Guard. Read More →
Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert and Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos speak at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) as part of their national defense speakers series on July 11, 2013. US Navy Photo
The commandant of the Marine Corps and the chief of naval operations made the case for forward presence in an era of declining defense spending at a Washington to a national security forum think tank last week as events in Egypt threaten to spiral out of control.
Adm. Jonathan Greenert explained how the Navy and the Marine Corps can react quickly to situations citing the movement of USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) and USS San Antonio (LPD-17) into the Red Sea following the Egyptian military’s removal of President Mohamed Morsi from office as an immediate example of forward presence’s value and tailored forces. The ships were sent closer to the conflict, “because we don’t know what’s going to happen” in Egypt. “We can’t garrison and respond. It will be too late,” to handle a possible evacuation of Americans from the country, Greenert said. Read More →
An alleged ballistic missile site outside of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Jane’s Photo
Saudi Arabia appears to have a previously undisclosed ballistic missile site possessing launch sites oriented toward Israel and Iran, according to an analysis of satellite images from Jane’s Defence Weekly.
The site — believed to use Chinese DF-3 ballistic missiles acquired by Saudi Arabia in the 1980s — is about 125 miles southwest of the capital of Riyadh near the town of Al-Watah.
According to the report, one launch pad is oriented toward Israeli targets — including Tel Aviv — while a second pad is set to send missiles in the direction of Tehran. Read More →
Northrop Grumman’s X-47B just before landing on the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on July, 10 2013. US Navy Photo
The Navy has entered a new age in carrier aviation with the successful landing of the unmanned Northrop Grumman X-47B on the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77), the service announced at 1:45 p.m. EST on Wednesday.
Call sign Salty Dog 502 left Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. shortly after 12:00 p.m. EST and flew to the Bush controlled through a complex series of algorithms and navigational sensors and landed on the deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier guided not with a joystick and throttle controls but by an operator with a mouse and a keyboard.
P-8A Poseidon, operated by Patrol Squadron (VP-16) in February, 2013. US Navy Photo
The Navy’s next-generation manned maritime information, surveillance and reconnaissance has been certified to enter regular service, according to a Naval Air Systems Command statement issued late Monday.
The P-8A Poseidon passed an Initial Operational Test and Evaluation that found the aircraft, “operationally effective, operationally suitable and ready for fleet introduction.” Read More →
EA-18G Growler from Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129 to launch during night flight operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) in February 2013.
Raytheon has won a $276 million contract to develop the Navy’s Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) for the service’s electronic attack air fleet, according to a contract released late Monday.
Raytheon beat out Northrop Grumman and a teaming effort between ITT Exelis and BAE Systems for the 22-month contract to develop the replacement to the ALQ-99 jammer — first introduced in the 1970s — currently in use by the Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps. Read More →
An F/A-18F Super Hornet flies from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). US Navy Photo.
The following is the Pentagon’s aviation plan, dated May 2013.
From the report:
Summary of the Annual Plan and Certification
This plan was developed based on the FY14 President’s Budget submission and does not include the effects of sequestration / Budget Control Act funding decreases. The Department is in the process of a Strategic Choices and Management Review (SCMR) to resolve these impacts.
As such, changes to this plan are probable in next year’s report. Moreover, sequestration is already having an adverse effect on readiness across multiple mission areas, including aviation.
Changes in technology and organizational structure make categorizing aircraft into bins of like capability increasingly difficult.
However, this aviation force structure plan provides the diverse mix of aircraft needed to carry out the eleven missions identified above. The capabilities provided by aircraft identified in this plan reflect five principal investment objectives identified Read More →
Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator flies near the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77). George H.W. Bush on May 14, 2013. US Navy Photo
The Navy aims to build a system of stealthy pilotless aircraft to patrol at a minimum range of 600 nautical miles around an aircraft carrier at a maximum cost of $150 million per orbit, according to May Navy requirements documents obtained by USNI News.
The Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) so-called key performance parameters (KPPs) outline an aircraft that will primarily fill information, reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting (ISRT) roles for the service’s carrier strike group with a limited ability to strike targets at a range of 2,000 nautical miles from the strike group in lightly contested environments, according to the documents. Read More →
The Navy has outlined the specifications for the Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) in a requirements document obtained by USNI News.
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 →