USNI News polled its writers, naval analysts and service members on what they consider the most important military and maritime stories in 2017.
The following is part of a series. Please also see Top Stories: International Acquisition, Navy Operations, Marine Corps Operations, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Acquisition, International Operations and New Administration.
2017 began with the promise of planning for a larger fleet: at the end of 2016, the Navy announced a 355-ship requirement, and the incoming Trump Administration expressed its support for a larger military and a heftier Navy. Few concrete steps were taken this year, though, to begin a buildup – though many programs that will be pivotal to the 355-ship fleet of the future reached significant programmatic milestones in 2017.
Boeing’s MQ-25 unmanned aircraft system is completing engine runs before heading to the flight ramp for deck handling demonstrations next year. The aircraft is designed to provide the U.S. Navy with refueling capabilities that would extend the combat range of deployed Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler, and Lockheed Martin F-35C fighters. Boeing photo.
Boeing unveiled the first photo of its entry in the MQ-25A Stingray unmanned aerial vehicle competition today. Read More
Newport News Shipbuilding cut a 35-ton steel plate to kick off advance construction of the aircraft carrier Enterprise (CVN 80) on Aug. 24, 2017. Ship’s sponsors and U.S. Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles (left) and Katie Ledecky (center), along with Newport News Shipbuilding President Jennifer Boykin (right), signed the steel that will become part of Enterprise’s foundation. Newport News Shipbuilding photo.
The upcoming contract award for the future aircraft carrier Enterprise (CVN-80) will be part of a Defense Department pilot program to award major contracts faster, and Navy leadership is eyeing it as an opportunity to save money by buying two carriers instead of one. Read More
Sgt. Ethan Mintus, an unmanned aerial system (UAS) operator with Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 3 (VMU-3), shakes hands with Lt. Col. Kenneth Phelps, the commanding officer of VMU-3, after receiving an award during a ceremony at Hangar 103, Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Dec. 11, 2017. Mintus was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with the newly authorized Remote Impact (“R”) Device alongside Sgt. Joseph Latsch, a fellow UAS operator with VMU-3, for their performance during combat operations. US Marine Corps photo.
Two Marine Corps unmanned aerial system (UAS) operators last week became the first in the service to earn the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with the new Remote Impact (“R”) Device. Read More
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The USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker is sponsored by CNA.
These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy’s deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of Dec. 18, 2017, based on Navy and public data. In cases where a CSG or ARG is conducting disaggregated operations, the map reflects the location of the capital ship. Read More
An F-35C Lightning II assigned to the Grim Reapers of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101 lands on the flight deck of aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72). Abraham Lincoln is underway conducting training after successful completion of carrier incremental availability. US Navy Photo
USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) recently notched some significant firsts for air operations, including using a new landing system during carrier operations and qualifying its first F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aviators.
Lockheed Martin successfully fired production-configuration Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles from a U.S. Air Force B-1B bomber. (U.S. Navy photo)
The Pentagon’s next generation anti-ship missile was successfully fired at and hit multiple targets during a recent test over the Sea Range at Point Mugu, Calif.
A UH-1 Huey flown autonomously by an enlisted Marine with a tablet. US Marine Corps Photo
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. – The Marines showed off a high-tech system that could deliver life-saving supplies by air to troops operating in rugged terrain in a future conflict, without risking the lives of an aircrew. Read More
U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the Japan Ministry of Defense (MoD), and U.S. Navy Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) successfully conducted a flight test Feb. 3 (Hawaii Standard Time), resulting in the first intercept of a ballistic missile target using the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA off the west coast of Hawaii. US Navy Photo
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Taking out incoming missiles during the boost phase – the period just after launch – is something the military’s missile defense leadership is confident will occur in the not too distant future.
Capt. Matthew Kutryk, Royal Canadian Air Force pilot, flies a specially painted CF-18 Hornet commemorating Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation during the Wings Over Wayne Air Show, May 21, 2017, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. US Air Force Photo
The Canadian government will start a new competition to buy 88 fighters to replace the aging fleet of Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornets, Ottawa announced on Tuesday. Read More