Category Archives: News & Analysis

New Age in Carrier Aviation Takes Off With X-47B Landing

New Age in Carrier Aviation Takes Off With X-47B Landing

Northrop Grumman's X-47B just before landing on the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on July, 10 2013. US Navy Photo

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.


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Opinion: Military Pay and Benefits Unsustainable

Opinion: Military Pay and Benefits Unsustainable

Sailors assigned to Naval Branch Health Clinic at Naval Support Activity, Bahrain, wait for a uniform inspection on June, 17 2013. US Navy Photo

Sailors assigned to Naval Branch Health Clinic at Naval Support Activity, Bahrain, wait for a uniform inspection on June, 17 2013. US Navy Photo

Study after study show that the U.S. military’s pay and compensation system is unsustainable. Defense experts from all across the Washington Beltway forecast a steep decline in readiness and capability due to escalating personnel costs and overall declining defense budgets. There is an urgent need for a frank discussion on pay and compensation reform throughout the ranks.

Whereas the think tanks and defense experts have offered up all manner of fiscal programs, processes and policies to the chopping block of change or disposal, the fact is military pay, compensation and benefits have received particular attention—and with good cause. The money we make, the money we are promised in retirement, the money that maintains our health care—and that of our families—is eroding our ability to do our jobs. Read More

NAVAIR: P-8A Poseidon Ready for Deployment

NAVAIR: P-8A Poseidon Ready for Deployment

P-8A Poseidon, operated by Patrol Squadron (VP-16) in February, 2013. US Navy Photo

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

Retired Admiral and Biofuel Fan Nominated to be Navy Energy Chief

Retired Admiral and Biofuel Fan Nominated to be Navy Energy Chief

Retired Vice Adm. Dennis V. McGinn speaks at the Earth Day Rally in Washington, DC, April 22, 2012. Earth Day Network Photo

Retired Vice Adm. Dennis V. McGinn speaks at the Earth Day Rally in Washington, DC, April 22, 2012. Earth Day Network Photo

The Obama administration has selected a renewable energy advocate and retired admiral to be the Navy’s new energy chief, according to an announcement from the White House.

Retired Vice Adm. Dennis V. McGinn — former president and chief executive of the American Council of Renewable Energy — has been nominated to be the Navy’s assistant secretary for energy, installations, and environment. Read More

Lawmakers Want to Suspend Egyptian Military Aid

Lawmakers Want to Suspend Egyptian Military Aid

An undated photo of the ENS S. Ezzat, an Egyptian Fast Missile Craft. VT Halter Marine Photo

An undated photo of the ENS S. Ezzat, an Egyptian Fast Missile Craft. VT Halter Marine Photo

In the wake of the public uprising that deposed former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) — senior members on the Senate Armed Services Committee — have called on the Obama administration to suspend $1.5 billion in military aid to Egypt.

“We ought to suspend aid until the new government shows that it is willing to — and in fact does — schedule elections and put in place a process to come up with a new constitution,” Levin said Monday. Read More

Navy Awards Raytheon $276 million Next Generation Jammer Contract

Navy Awards Raytheon $276 million Next Generation Jammer Contract

EA-18G Growler from Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129 during night flight operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) in February 2013.

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

Joint China-Russia Exercise More Political Than Military

Joint China-Russia Exercise More Political Than Military

People's Liberation Army Navy guided missile destroyers in April, 2012. PLAN Photo

People’s Liberation Army Navy guided missile destroyers in April, 2012. PLAN Photo

China and Russia made headlines this past weekend when they participated in the rather blandly titled Joint Sea 2013. Despite the name, Joint Sea was China’s  largest ever joint naval exercise, and one of the more noteworthy bits of naval activity in the past several years. Eighteen surface ships, one submarine, three airplanes, five ship-launched helicopters and two commando units took part in the exercise, participating in a variety of activities including antisubmarine warfare, close maneuvering, and the simulated takeover of an enemy ship. Chinese and Russian officials alike were quick to note that Joint Sea wasn’t directed at any third party, something that might sound insincere but that actually reflects the reality that Chinese and Russian interests in the Pacific are very different. Read More

NAVSEA Awards Three Contracts for Oiler Development

NAVSEA Awards Three Contracts for Oiler Development

USNS Tippecanoe (T-AO 199). Monterey is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility on June 30, 2013. US Navy Photo

USNS Tippecanoe (T-AO 199). Monterey is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility on June 30, 2013. US Navy Photo

Naval Sea Systems Command has issued three contracts to shipyards for work toward the Navy’s next-generation fleet oiler (T-AO(X)).

General Dynamics NASSCO, Huntington Ingalls Industries and VT Halter Marine, “were each awarded firm-fixed price contracts at or below the not-to-exceed amount of $1.7 million as contained in the solicitation for Trade-Off Industry Studies,” according to a Wednesday release from NAVSEA. Read More

U.S. Navy Trading Destroyers for PCs in 5th Fleet

U.S. Navy Trading Destroyers for PCs in 5th Fleet

Three Cyclone-class patrol ships arrive in Bahrain July 3, 2013. US Navy Photo

Three Cyclone-class patrol ships arrive in Bahrain July 3, 2013. US Navy Photo

The Navy is trading high-dollar warships for smaller Cyclone-class patrol craft (PC) to keep the peace in the Arabian Gulf, service officials told USNI News Wednesday in a conference call with reporters.

In an era of tightening budgets and with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, the need for as many large ships, like Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyers (DDG-51), in the Navy’s 5th Fleet is less, said Destroyer Squadron 50 and Combined Task Force 55 (DESRON50/CTF-55) commander Capt. Joseph Naman. Read More