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News | July 19, 2016

FRCSW/COMFRC clips for the week of July 11

By frcsw

LOCAL COVERAGE FRCMA Sailor wins Athena DC 1.0 Related - The Pentagon's Secret Weapons Guru Asked For Your Crazy Ideas & Got 1,000 In 1 Month   WORLD/NATIONAL NEWS Pentagon to Issue Directive on Arming Troops at Facilities in the US CSIS Chief Backs McCain's Defense Acquisitions Shakeup Senate Democrats Block DoD Spending Bill, Seeking Omnibus Armed Services leaders encouraged after first conference meeting Funding Gap Hangs Over Defense Policy Bill Negotiations in Congress Marines' New King Stallion Won't Have To Borrow Spare Parts Desperate for planes, military turns to the 'boneyard' Navy F/A-18 Adds Real-Time Fast Attack Video Data Link US Lawmakers Urge Action on Jet Sales to Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain Pentagon Says Near Deal With Lockheed For More F-35 Fighter Jets Navy Issues Roughly $2 Billion In F-35 Contracts Plans Under Way For October F-35B Sea-Based Test F-35C To Conduct Sea Trials in August Aboard Carrier George Washington F-35 to Tap Airbus for Data Protection Technology Marine Corps Aviation Chief Ranks SDB II as F-35 Upgrade Priority   Security Message: Potential for Day of Rage Protests across America   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The NAVAIR Women's Advisory Group (WAG) Breaking Through Barriers: Entry Level Women is pleased to announce our 5th national event!   Guest Speaker: Ms. Emily Harman; Navy Office of Small Business Programs Senior Executive Service (SES) Topic: Crucial Conversations 101 Date: 19 July 2016 Time: 1100-1200 EST (Brown Bag) Location: Patuxent River, MD; National VTC Agenda: 1 hour of discussion and QA based on topic   For any questions, please feel free to contact Meghan Wagner ( or Sara Gravatt (   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   WE'RE SOCIAL! Follow us on Twitter @COMFRC_Sustains, Facebook at and YouTube at     +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ LOCAL COVERAGE +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   FRCMA Sailor wins Athena DC 1.0 (FLEET READINESS CENTER MID-ATLANTIC, 12 July 16) . Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic Public Affairs NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland - One Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic (FRCMA) Sailor has proven he has the ability to think outside the box when working to solve problems for his fellow Sailors and take home a top prize in the process.   Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Pecota, senior Innovation Think Tank member from FRCMA Detachment Patuxent River, was one of six Sailors who pitched innovative ideas in front of spectators and a panel of Naval leaders during the recent Navy League Sea-Air-Space Exposition as part of Athena DC 1.0. The pitches were done in a fashion similar to the TV show, "Shark Tank," where entrepreneurs pitch ideas before a panel of potential investors.   Pecota's idea is to use additive manufacturing, also known as 3-D printing, to design and produce a cover at the cost of about $10 for the $2 million MH-60R Seahawk sonar system's transducer to prevent scraping the foam inside of a shipping or transporting container. This problem has caused an average of two man-hours and cost of $90 to repair each time this happens. This innovative idea stands to have a potential cost savings of more than $76,000 and nearly 1,700 man-hours per year. In short, it was a $10 solution to a $2 million problem.   For presenting the top idea, Pecota received the Admiral Sims Award for Intellectual Courage and command backing for a small functional team to make their idea a reality by leveraging the Athena Network of scientists and engineers.   The Athena Project, an initiative focused on harnessing deckplate innovations to create a cadre of forward-thinking, creatively confident Sailors for the fleet of tomorrow, provides an open forum for Sailors to pitch innovative ideas to improve their command or the Navy. Contestants have five minutes to present their innovative ideas in a casual environment, followed by a five-minute question and answer session from the panel and audience. The contestants are judged in three categories based on idea quality, actionability and presentation.   More than 20 ideas were submitted from throughout the Navy with six being selected by the Athena National Council to compete at Athena DC 1.0.   (return to top)   RELATED -   The Pentagon's Secret Weapons Guru Asked For Your Crazy Ideas & Got 1,000 In 1 Month (DEFENSE ONE 13 JUL 16) ... Caroline Houck   Will Roper, director of the Defense Department's Strategic Capabilities Office, got "exactly what we want" from the public.   An open call for "novel concepts" by the Pentagon's secret-weapons guru William Roper has produced almost a thousand responses in less than one month, some of them surprisingly promising.   Roper heads the Strategic Capabilities Office, or SCO, which is at the head of Defense Secretary Ash Carter's efforts to make the military more innovative and agile. Roper's outfit published a request for research proposals last month, - called a Broad Area Announcement, or BAA, - which asks for "novel concepts in the following focus areas: Autonomy, Command and Control, Cyber, Sensors, and Weapon Technologies," and is what Roper calls "an open door for the outside world to bring us ideas."   "I was afraid when we put the BAA out that I would get the old ideas that I've seen many times, that now have a new label, a new name, a new graphic, but it's the same idea," Roper said. "And there's a little bit of that. But I have seen people put in some things that are different. There are companies that haven't really done a lot of work with the government. All of that is exactly what we want. We want people who have creative ideas to be able to get to us."   The SCO trades in this world of ideas, helping the U.S. military keep its tech advantage in the crazy-quilt of modern warfare by finding creative ways to repurpose existing technologies or integrate them with new ones. Roper's go-to example is the SM-6 missile , which the SCO helped repurpose to strike enemy ships.   He's just recently started talking about the electromagnetic railgun, which captures imaginations and creates "a different paradigm of missile defense," but has also led the military to realize "we were not pulling all of the tricks that we could pull in powder guns," he said.   We now think that we can do pretty revolutionary things with existing powder guns - think the Howizers, the Navy's 5-inch guns. So we've shifted emphasis to that, not because we're not interested in railguns, because we are, but when you look at the delta between fueling and quantity, you've got over 1,000 powder guns, but just a few railguns."   Of course, Roper doesn't discuss the specifics of most of the rest of his office's projects, and declined to reveal the "creative ideas" generated by the BAA. For the new pitches, that's in part due to the legality of government contracting - "obviously for any kind of competitive decision I can't discuss the specific [ones] that jump ahead of the others," he said.   More importantly, though, is the need to keep the majority of the unconventional applications and new technologies confidential. Deciding which surprises to reveal or conceal - enough of the former to deter wars, but enough of the latter to win them - is akin to "multivariate calculus," Roper says.   So don't expect big reveals on the BAA submissions any time in the near future, particularly since the call is staying "open as a revolving door around the year." The SCO has to "generate new ideas in every budget in order to stay around," Roper said, noting that $840 million of the office's $900-million budget was awarded to individually pitched projects.   "If you have an idea," Roper said with a smile, "go to FedBizOps and search for 'SCO.'"   (return to top)   ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ WORLD/NATIONAL NEWS ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Pentagon to Issue Directive on Arming Troops at Facilities in the US (STARS AND STRIPES, 12 Jul 16) . Alex Horton   SAN ANTONIO -- The Defense Department is close to releasing its updated policy for arming troops at facilities in the United States following several attacks, including the shooting deaths of four Marines and a sailor last July, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday.   The policy, which could be unveiled by September, will further clarify commanders' authority to allow servicemembers to carry and store weapons on and off military installations. The guidance will regulate privately owned and military-issued weapons, said Army Maj. Jamie Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.   On July 16, 2015, Mohammed Abdulazeez opened fire at a recruiting station and reserve center in Chattanooga, killing five and wounding one Marine and a police officer.   Investigators concluded a sailor at the reserve center likely returned fire with a personal unauthorized handgun, according to The Washington Post.   The policy that the Defense Department put forth in October 2015, following the Chattanooga attacks, states "qualified personnel shall be armed when required for assigned duties and there is reasonable expectation that DOD installations, property, or personnel lives or DOD assets will be jeopardized if personnel are not armed."   Since 2009, 40 people were killed during single gunman assaults at military facilities, including two shootings at Fort Hood and one at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. The attacks have raised concerns by defense officials and Congress about security measures and force protection shortfalls in the wake of such attacks.   Recruiting stations were identified as the most vulnerable public facilities following a force-wide Pentagon review and the Army Corps of Engineers prioritized security improvements among those installations out of more than 6,000 total facilities, Davis said.   "We're putting in place stronger physical security systems, including stronger entry controls, better alarm systems, reinforced doors, and additional ways to safely exit our facilities," Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in May, describing the upgrades.   But Davis declined Monday to further describe the measures due to security concerns.   The Pentagon will spend $80 million this year and $100 million the next two years for security augmentation at recruiting facilities, including a system to notify and broadcast warnings to troops within a 20-mile radius of a threat, Davis said.   He also said the new arming policy will implement the intent of Congress, alluding to a bill proposed last year that would give commanders in the United States more authority to arm troops at off-site installations, such as recruiting stations, when they deemed it appropriate.   "We take very seriously any decision to place a member of the department in a position to potentially use deadly force. We have to balance that potential against the possibility of an attack on our personnel," Davis said.   Military and civilian personnel performing law enforcement and security duties are typically the only troops authorized to carry weapons on military posts, which are usually handguns. Government issued weapons are kept in secured arms rooms with controlled access, and ammunition is commonly stored in depots away from those weapons, Davis said.   The Chattanooga ambush claimed the lives of one sailor, Navy Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Randall Smith, 26, and four Marines: Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, 40, a Purple Heart recipient for wounds received in Iraq; Lance Cpl. Squire K. Wells, 21; Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, 35, and Sgt. Carson Holmquist, 25.   All four posthumously received a Purple Heart in April. The wounded Marine, Sergeant DeMonte Cheeley, received his Purple Heart in a ceremony in January.   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   CSIS Chief Backs McCain's Defense Acquisitions Shakeup (DEFENSE NEWS 07 JUL 16) ... Joe Gould   WASHINGTON - Defense Policy Board Chairman John Hamre, in a visit to Capitol Hill Thursday, threw his weight behind the Senate's plan to shake up the defense acquisitions hierarchy.   Hamre, a former senior Pentagon official and the current chief of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, an influential Washington think tank, also endorsed a House defense policy bill that would require the National Security Council advisor to be confirmed by the Senate, if the NSC's staff rises above 100. It stands at about 450.   Testifying before the full House Armed Services Committee before it conferences its defense policy bill with its aggressive Senate counterpart, Hamre said he supports a provision to end the office of the Pentagon's chief weapons buyer and divide its duties between two positions, one of them a new chief technological innovator for the Defense Department.   "The No. 3 position in the department needs to be the chief innovation officer, who's going to bring superior technology and put it in the hands of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, going forward," said Hamre. "I strongly support this provision."   The two bills offer differing, but significant, changes to defense acquisitions, DoD's structure and to the National Security Council.   The White House has threatened to veto both bills, and Defense Secretary Ash Carter has charged that the bills represent "micromanagement" from Congress. A White House policy memo last month insisted the Senate measures on acquisitions, "would roll back the acquisition reforms of the last two decades," calling them "inappropriate" as other acquisition reforms begin to show progress.   Hamre, asked by the HASC to weigh in on five of the most significant portions of the Senate bill, drew a distinction between this round of defense reforms and the major reforms of 30 years ago. The 1986 Goldwater-Nichols legislation, he said, was borne out military operational failures without a counterpart today.   "We do not have failure in the field today," he said. "We have policy failure, but it's not military. We need to make changes now because we don't have the resources to support the needs we have. We have to make this organization more agile and streamlined."   Hamre urged lawmakers to use caution.   "Looking at this legislation and how it changes the department, please be careful, we're at war," he said. "We've got at least two wars going on, operations around the world, we're about to change governments, and so I'd ask you to approach this with prudence, please."   1. Elevating the director of defense research and engineering and diminishing the director of acquisition, technology and logistics (AT&L): Yes.   Past bureaucratic changes inadvertently cost DoD better access to innovative hardware. Today AT&L, is "not an innovation organization, they are a compliance organization," Hamre said. "If we have to restore innovation to the department, we have to create a lean, superior position in the department."   2. Cutting general and flag officers by 25 percent: No, but delay the cuts and ask DoD for its plan to make them.   "Simply imposing a cut of 25 percent is pretty arbitrary right now," Hamre said. "My recommendation is to keep the cut in place, but keep the implementation a year away."   3. Cross-functional teams: No.   "I understand the sincerity of the proposal, but I think it's profoundly wrong for Congress to dictate the operational activity of the department," Hamre said. "Hold him accountable, and let him organize to achieve those goals.   4. Bring the Joint Chiefs chairman into the chain of command for select administrative matters: No, as it erodes civilian control of the military, Hamre said.   "Civilian control is a toggle switch, either it's on or its off," Hamre said. "It's not a rheostat where you can dial some level of civilian control and give powers directly to the chairman."   5. Capping the National Security Council: Yes.   Hamre backed an amendment from HASC Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, that would require the Senate to approve the president's national security advisor, if the staff of the NSC rises above 100.   The Senate bill would cap the NSC staff at 150 people.   "The status of the National Security Council rests at a fault line in the Constitution," Hamre said. "Is the NSC an extension of the work of the departments, where Congress has oversight Or is the NSC an extension of the president where the right of presidential privilege gives privacy and autonomy to its deliberations"   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Senate Democrats Block DoD Spending Bill, Seeking Omnibus (DEFENSE NEWS 13 JUL 16) ... Joe Gould   WASHINGTON - With their blockage of defense appropriations, Democrats are signaling that they are done with the process for passing individual appropriations bills and want to negotiate an omnibus.   Republicans, at a press briefing Tuesday blasted Democratic obstruction on defense as a bad faith move against the troops and a losing position on the campaign-trail. But Democrats at their briefing, said Republicans are maneuvering to get military appropriations passed so they can punt on domestic spending.   Asked whether he was sensitive Republican accusations, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, lit up.   "Am I sensitive Let me tell you: They are so obvious that even me with one blind eye can see it pretty easy," said Reid, D-Nev. "All they want to do is they want to get defense appropriations bills passed and then walk away. And then all the other bills would be at their mercy."   Democrats are signaling they want terms similar to last year's bipartisan budget deal, which was supposed to cover 2017. One of the key players in last year's agreement, Senate Appropriations Ranking Member Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said her caucus is seeking parity between defense and non-defense spending, all appropriations bills "recognized" in an omnibus, and no "poison pill riders."   The fear, Mikulski said Tuesday, is that with defense bills in hand, Republicans will pass a stop-gap continuing resolution to fund all domestic spending at last year's levels.   To hear them tell it, whatever trust Democratic leaders had in their Republican counterparts evaporated during the House-Senate process of producing a House-Senate conference report on the Milcon-VA bill, which funds military construction and Veterans Affairs.   Democrats, who fought hard to include $1.1 billion to fight the Zika virus, ultimately withdrew support after House Republicans inserted riders targeting Planned Parenthood, promoting the Confederate flag and cutting veterans' funding by $500 million below the Senate bill.   "What happened in Milcon-VA really destroyed an excellent bipartisan atmosphere," said Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Vice-Chair Sen. Dick Durbin. D-Ill. "We looked at that and said, if that is a picture of what we are going to face with appropriations bills, we're going to have to bargain the whole package."   Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said this is the best deal Democrats will get.   "If we did what the Senate Democrats said they want to do, we get no action on that at all," McConnell said.   You'd strip the veterans out and the military construction out, send the Zika Bill to the House that we know the House wouldn't pass and so we'd leave here having done neither."   On July 7, Democrats fought McConnell's motion to take defense appropriations to the Senate floor. McConnell lost in a 50-44 vote which fell short of the 60 votes he needed.   Tuesday, Durbin said Democrats now need President Obama to sit at the negotiating table, wielding a veto threat. "The last time we had the president sitting at the table, we had a two-year budget agreement," he said.   In the meantime, Republican leadership is publicly shaming Democrats over the stalled defense bill in hopes that it will hurt them at the polls. McConnell had Sen. Dan Sullivan, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a former Marine, speak at Tuesday's press briefing to blast Democrats.   "I think it's indefensible and hopefully they will see the light, because I don't think any senator wants to go home and brag about filibustering supporting our troops with five funding five times in one year," said Sullivan, R-Alaska.   McConnell, too hammered Democrats.   "They have succeeded now in disrupting the process, thereby guaranteeing once again we end up with some indeterminate way of finishing the funding in a way that balls up the process," McConnell said.   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Armed Services leaders encouraged after first conference meeting (THE HILL, 13 July 16) . Rebecca Kheel   The conferees reconciling the House and Senate versions of a defense policy bill had a productive first meeting Wednesday, the leaders of the Armed Services committees agreed.   Still, the meeting made clear the $18 billion gap between the two bills will be a hurdle to overcome, they added.   "We had a very, I think, fruitful discussion, members of the Senate and House, members of both the committees and outside committee," said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "I still believe that with the significant challenges that we face, including the issue of sequestration and others, I don't believe that we're going to break a 53-year tradition of producing a defense authorization bill because we all agree it's too important to the men and women who are serving in our military."   McCain was talking with reporters alongside his counterpart in the House, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), and the ranking Democrats on both committees, Sen. Jack Reed (R.I.) and Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), after a "pass the gavel" meeting where conferees discussed the priorities and issues they want to address during negotiations on the National Defense Authorization Act.   The Senate bill would authorize $543 billion for the base budget and $59 billion for a war fund known as the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account.   In the House bill, $23 billion of the OCO would be used for base budget items. That's $18 billion more than the Obama administration had requested to use for the base budget. As such, the OCO account would only be authorized through April, forcing the next president to request supplemental war funding.   As far as other differences between the two bills, McCain said he doesn't "see a lot of distance."   But the money will be a "stumbling block," he and the others agreed.   "We have not found a way through that yet, but we have just begun," McCain said.   One complicating factor in recent weeks is President Obama's decision to leave more troops than planned in Afghanistan and send more troops to Iraq. Both Thornberry and McCain have said those decisions require more defense spending.   Reports indicate the Pentagon may submit a supplemental funding request, Thornberry said. But in the meantime, he added, lawmakers still have to negotiate the bill.   "Our job is to work on these intense discussions, get our bill ready, come back in September and see what the fiscal landscape looks like, and we'll work our way from there," Thornberry said.   The White House has threatened to veto the House version of the bill, largely because of how it authorizes funding.   The quartet of lawmakers said it's too early in the conference process to say whether the final bill will result in a veto showdown with the White House.   "We are seriously engaging and trying to find a way through this," Reed said.   The lawmakers were confident they will find a way to fund defense despite budget caps.     "We always have," McCain and Smith said in concert.   Added Thornberry: "Our job is to support the men and women who risk their lives to defend the country. And so whatever problems there may be, we've got to work through them because that's what comes first, and that's the mood in this room."   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Funding Gap Hangs Over Defense Policy Bill Negotiations in Congress (DEFENSE NEWS, 13 July 16) . Joe Gould   WASHINGTON - As top US lawmakers fired the proverbial starting gun Wednesday for House-Senate negotiations on a defense policy bill, they expressed confidence they would reach common ground, but the big sticking point is clear.   There is an $18 billion disparity between the bills and no clear path to resolve it, said lawmakers at a rare public press conference hosted by the "Big Four," the armed services chairmen Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, as well as the panels' ranking members Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash.   "I didn't see a major stumbling block, except the issues of sequestration, which we have not found a way through yet, but we have just begun," McCain said.   Outside of the press conference, McCain said, "I don't know the way through it now, but we always seem to get through it."   The committees hosted a closed "pass the gavel" conference meeting in the bowels of the Capitol on Wednesday wherein lawmakers were able to make brief statements about their priorities. Smith agreed the funding controversy was a "significant stumbling block."   "There is that need, there isn't the money, and each of the four committees has taken a different swing at that, and the White House as well," Smith said, referring to the congressional panels with jurisdiction over defense policy and spending. "Figuring out the money is the most important part of our negotiations."   The Senate bill, in keeping with the funding levels in last year's budget deal, authorizes about $543 billion for national defense programs and $59 billion for overseas contingency operations (OCO).   The House bill matches that total but shifts $18 billion in emergency war spending into the base budget, providing for overseas operations funding for only seven months in fiscal 2017-a gambit to force the next presidential administration to request supplemental defense spending.   House Democrats have called that Republican plan risky and irresponsible, and McCain did not support that approach. McCain instead mounted a failed attempt to add $18 billion to the Senate defense policy bill.   On Wednesday, McCain said the military's increased activity in Europe, Afghanistan and the Middle East have added pressures for more defense spending.   "All of those cost money, and the administration has not come over with an additional funding request for those, much less the $18 billion issue that we're also facing," McCain said.   Thornberry pointed to reports the Pentagon is preparing a supplemental spending request.   "Our job is to work in these intense discussions, get our bill ready, come back in September and see what the funding landscape looks like- and work our way from there," Thornberry said.   The White House has issued a veto threat over both bills, but the assembled lawmakers said it was too soon to say what role that threat would play in the negotiations.   Though the press conference began with all involved expressing confidence that they could work toward a solution, lawmakers quickly, but politely, turned to familiar positions.   Reed, whose party leadership is seeking parity for defense and non-defense spending, said that there are national security expenses outside the Pentagon-for agencies such as the FBI.   Smith said the problem is Congress' "desire to spend more than we have" for defense and priorities like the nation's infrastructure-all with a national deficit in the billions. "We can lift the budget caps, but how do we live within our means," Smith said.   "While all those things are true, our job is to support the men and women of this country," Thornberry said. "So whatever problems there may be, we have to work through them because that's what comes first."   In spite of it all, lawmakers circled back to shared optimism. Asked how they would be able to find a solution to persistent sequestration-related funding issues, McCain and Smith said in unison: "Because we always have."   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Marines' New King Stallion Won't Have To Borrow Spare Parts (DOD BUZZ 13 JUL 16) ... Hope Hodge Seck   FARNBOROUGH, England - Under the hood of the much-anticipated CH-53K King Stallion helicopter is a slew of smart systems that will help maintainers keep it flying faster and safer, the Navy's program executive officer for air, anti-submarine warfare, assault and special mission programs said this week.   Speaking at the Farnborough International Airshow on Tuesday, Rear Adm. Dean Peters said the King Stallion, built by the Lockheed Martin Corp.-owned Sikorsky and set to hit the Marine Corps fleet in 2019, would come with native health usage and monitoring systems and enhanced logistics tracking capability that would allow the aircraft to tell the crew when a part was failing or needed maintenance well ahead of a crisis point.   This advanced tech, he said, would allow maintainers to request parts further in advance.   "It's similar to the technology that's used in commercial department stores, so we understand when components are failing or about to fail and we have the part ready and we don't have to rob that from another aircraft and create more maintenance," Peters said.   The aircraft will also come equipped with a high-durability gearbox that are expected to keep the aircraft out of maintenance for longer periods, a key concern now as the Marine Corps grapples with a fleet of heavy-lift helicopters that is largely unfit to fly.   These are just a few ways of many that the King Stallion is expected to save the Marines' aging CH-53 Echo Super Stallion fleet.   The workhorse aircraft, which entered service for the Marine Corps in 1981, has been plagued by readiness shortfalls following a decade-and-a-half of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Marine Corps revealed earlier this year that less than a third of the service's 147 aircraft were cleared to fly and Congress had committed $360 million to refurbishing the fleet.   The Marine Corps "probably kept [CH-53s] in theater a little bit too long," Commandant Gen. Robert Neller told a Senate panel in March.   With fewer aircraft available to fly, officials have also decried a decrease in per-pilot flight hours.   Marine brass have yet to release the cause of a tragic collision of two Super Stallions off the coast of Oahu in January that cost the lives of all 12 pilots and crew members. While Marine Corps Deputy Commandant of Aviation Lt. Gen. Jon Davis said earlier this month there's no correlation between stress on the fleet and decreased flight hours and increased deadly mishaps, he said the Corps has seen an increase in smaller mishaps resulting in up to $500,000 worth of damage.   "We do know that we need to get our pilots more aircraft," Peters said. "That's some of the impetus of pushing this program forward, even in the midst of challenging defense budgets. And those 200 aircraft, as we start to fill in the squadrons there on the Marine Corps side, are going to be very well received in terms of being able to provide an operational capability."   The King Stallion just completed a test in which it successfully lifted a load of 27,000 pounds, a feat it is expected to be able to do under "high-hot" conditions at 6,000 feet in the air, 95 degrees Fahrenheit.   "With better environmental conditions, it will be able to lift even larger loads," Peters said. "This is pretty exciting."   Four King Stallions are now undergoing testing at Sikorsky's Development Flight Test Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. The Marine Corps plans to stand up its first squadron of King Stallions, Marine Heavy Lift Helicopter Squadron 366 [HMH-366] at New River, North Carolina in 2019.   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Desperate for planes, military turns to the 'boneyard' (CNN, 14 July 16) . Zachary Cohen   It's something akin to raising the dead.   A troubling shortage of flyable combat aircraft -- one military official recently called the air fleet the "smallest, oldest and least ready" in history -- is forcing the military to go to its "boneyard."   The Marine Corps announced last month it was taking the extreme step of resurrecting 23 F/A-18 Hornets to meet fleet requirements until the new -- and much-delayed -- F-35 fighter is eventually delivered.   "We are very focused on our current readiness, and at the moment, we don't have enough Hornets for combat, flight instruction and day-to-day training," Sarah Burns, a spokesman for the U.S. Marine Corps, told CNN.   She explained that the out-of-service, aging aircraft are housed at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center -- a desert base in Arizona known as "the boneyard" -- with the "intent to store, maintain, and upgrade them for today's use."   The military regularly sends "mothball" or extra aircraft to the "boneyard" for long-term storage, rather than destroying the planes. However, Lt. Gen. Jon M. Davis, deputy commandant for aviation for the U.S. Marine Corps, noted that while bringing back the planes does provide additional inventory, they are still "old birds" and not as reliable as they once were.   And if planes aren't in the boneyard already, others are getting close.   The delayed arrival of new aircraft, like the fifth-generation F-35, also has forced the military to rely heavily on planes nearing the end of their lifespan.   According to Maj. Gen. Scott West, the director of current operations for the Air Force, airmen are flying some aircraft and bombers, like the B-52 Stratofortress, that are more than 50 years old.   Military brass warn Congress there's a problem   As it presses aircraft back into service, the military is having to lean heavily on a smaller and aging air fleet -- a trend that has leaders across all four armed service branches concerned about combat performance and pilot safety. Appearing before a House Armed Services subcommittee last week, leaders from the Air Force, Navy, Army and Marines warned lawmakers that fiscal constraints, coupled with the critical focus on overseas operations, have seriously degraded training and readiness efforts.   "Twenty-five years of continuous combat operations ... coupled with budget instability and lower-than-planned funding levels, have contributed to one of the smallest, oldest and least ready forces across the full-spectrum of operations in our history," said Maj. Gen. Scott West, director of current operations, Headquarters for the U.S. Air Force.   While each armed service branch has scrambled to find ways to fulfill its combat responsibilities in the short-term, military leaders said delays in the production of next-generation aircraft and shrinking budgets have put a strain on the condition of the current fleet, as well as the servicemen and women who fly and maintain them.   "Fiscal constraints continue to force difficult trades in capacity and readiness for long-term capability improvements," said Rear Adm. Michael Manazir, the deputy chief of naval operations for warfare systems.   The military commanders cautioned that they simply do not have enough aircraft ready for flight to keep up with the current pace of deployment and to safely train aircrews here at home.   "Today, there are not enough flyable aircraft -- our 'ready bench' -- if our nation were subjected to a crisis," Davis said. "Today, I could fly 43% (443 of the 1,040) of the aircraft I should have on my flight lines."   A lack of spare parts and maintenance personnel trained to repair damaged aircraft are two of the main factors contributing to the lack of operational aircraft, according to military brass.   Describing military aviation as a "fragile ecosystem," Davis emphasized the importance of keeping all requisite aspects of that system nourished to keep the entire network healthy.   "We are balancing the need to have our current fleet as ready and modern as possible, to train our pilots and maintainers, and to out match any current foe on the battlefield," he said. "If any get out of balance for long, the whole system can begin to fray and collapse."   The need to improve readiness and training has been further amplified by the shrinking technology advantage that the U.S. holds over potential adversaries like China and Russia, according to Manazir.   "Provocations with state and non-state actors continue to cause instability in almost every region of the world," he told the subcommittee. "We continue to face challenges associated with balancing readiness for today and modernization for tomorrow's fight. More of our force is being demanded, deployed longer than planned. Intended replacements are not keeping pace with attrition."   With that in mind, the Pentagon has fought to extend the life of several aircraft, including the A-10 Thunderbolt, despite calls from Congress to eliminate the program in favor of allocating funding to other initiatives.   But the lack of a clear replacement for the A-10, which specializes in performing close air support missions, has forced Congress to continue the use of the old warbird that first flew in 1975.   Fears about pilot safety   All four military leaders also repeatedly emphasized that the current lack of flyable aircraft could pose a significant risk to pilot safety.   Despite no significant rise in serious mishaps or accidents resulting from any gaps in maintenance and lack of training, the four services noted that the potential for such looms in the near future.   With fewer planes available, Davis said Marine aviators are receiving significantly less flight time. In the past, Marine pilots would receive 1,000 to 1,500 hours but today's aviators only have between 500 and 600 hours.   "I worry about my young aviators that aren't getting the number of hours they need to," Davis said. "As a young guy, I had a couple of close calls. I do not know how I would do having the amount of flight time that my youngsters get."   There has been an uptick in recent minor aircraft incidents resulting in billions of dollars in damage and, in some cases, loss of life, the military brass told Congress.   Many of the incidents are still under investigation to determine whether they were caused by human error or an aircraft malfunction, but both lawmakers and military officials agreed that the limited training of pilots raises concern about the potential for future incidents.   "While it may not show itself directly today in the rate of mishaps, I do believe it exhibits itself in additional risk," said Rep. Robert Wittman, R-Va., the subcommittee chairman.   "There's a common theme here: We're pushing harder. We have fewer resources. We have fewer of the skilled people in the necessary positions to do all the things that we need to do to make sure that we are not just rebuilding that readiness but maintaining the current level of readiness," he said.   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Navy F/A-18 Adds Real-Time Fast Attack Video Data Link (SCOUT.COM 12 JUL 16) ... Kris Osborn   Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets are being outfitted with a new, real-time sensor video data link which will better enable the aircraft to network and attack targets from farther ranges.   The Navy is aggressively seeking to increase the size of its F/A-18 fleet, extend the current service life of existing aircraft and integrate a series of new technologies to better enable the carrier-launched fighter to track and destroy enemy targets, service officials said.   F/A-18s are being outfitted with a real-time video sharing technology called Advanced Targeting FLIR; the system uses electro-optical and infrared cameras with powerful laser technology. This addition will help pilots more quickly zero in on and attack targets with a wider and longer-range envelope of engagement.   "ATFLIR can locate and designate targets day or night at ranges exceeding 40 nautical miles and altitudes surpassing 50,000 feet, outperforming comparable targeting systems. As a powerful net-enabler, it can pass tracking and targeting information to other nodes in the networked battlespace," a Raytheon statement said.   An impetus for the effort has several facets, including a previously unanticipated delay in the delivery of the Navy's F-35C carrier-launched variant of the Joint Strike Fighter - along with the continued operational demands placed on F/A-18s by the need for ongoing attacks against ISIS.   One immediate move from the Navy involves an initiative to begin formal Service Life Assessment Programs for the F/A-18 earlier than previously scheduled, Navy spokesman Ensign Marc Rockwellpate told Scout Warrior.   New Technology for the F/A-18.   to the expectation of extended service mission requirements for the F/A-18 Super Hornets, the Navy has continued to procure and install advanced systems for the aircraft --- such as the Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS), High Order Language Mission Computers, ALR-67v3, ALQ-214v5, Multifunctional Information Distribution System, APG-73 radar enhancements, Advanced Targeting Forward looking Infrared upgrades; and LITENING (precision targeting and ISR system) for the Marine Corps on select Legacy aircraft.   "FA-18A-F aircraft will continue to receive capability enhancements to sustain their lethality and Fleet interoperability well into the next decade. Future avionics upgrades will enable network-centric operations for integrated fire control, situational awareness and transfer of data to command-and-control nodes afloat and ashore," Rockwellpate said.   Additional technologies for Super Hornets include Digital Communication System Radio, MIDS - Joint Tactical Radio System, Digital Memory Device, Distributed Targeting System, Infrared Search and Track (IRST) and continued advancement of the APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar, officials told Scout Warrior. A Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System, or JHMCS, is a technology upgrade which engineers a viewing module proving 20-degree field of view visor.   JHMCS provides several options for the night module including Night Vision Cueing Display called QuadEye (100-degree by 40-degree field of view) or Aviator Night Vision Imaging System (40-degree field of view), with symbology or video inserted into the night-vision scene, Rockwell Collins information explains.   "JHMCS incorporates a highly accurate magnetic tracking system, providing the pilot full situational awareness throughout the canopy field-or-regard. JHMCS is in full-rate production and is operational on the F-15, F-16 and F/A-18," a Rockwell Collins statement said.   Infrared Search and Track   The Navy is integrating 170 F/A-18E/F Block II fighter jets with a next-generation infrared sensor designed to locate air-to-air targets in a high-threat electronic attack environment, service officials said.   The Infrared Search and Track, or IRST, system will be installed by operational squadrons flying F-18s, Navy officials said.   Navy officials have described the IRST system is a passive, long-range sensor that searches for and detects infrared emissions; IRST is designed to simultaneously track multiple targets and provide a highly effective air-to-air targeting capability, even when encountering advanced threats equipped with radar-jamming technology, Navy developers explained.   The IRST technology was specifically engineered with a mind to the fast-changing electromagnetic warfare environment and the realization that potential future adversaries are far more likely to contest U.S. dominance in these areas.   IRST also provides the Super Hornet an alternate air-to-air targeting system in a high threat electronic attack environment, developers explained.   The IRST technology, designed by Boeing and Lockheed Martin, is designed to search for heat signals over long distances, providing the aircraft with key targeting information.   The IRST system -which has been tested on F/A-18s, is passive and therefore harder to detect than some radar technologies which give off radiation, Navy officials said.   The IRST system is being developed under a $135 million contract awarded in 2011 and is currently planned to be deployed by 2017, a Boeing statement said.   The technology has been tested on a Boeing King Air Test Aircraft, the statement added.   F/A-18 Service Life Extension   "Since the F/A-18 E/F fleet, on average, has already consumed approximately 46% of its 6,000 flight hour ESL, the Navy elected to initiate the F/A-18E/F SLAP earlier in the Super Hornet's service life. The ongoing F/A-18E/F SLAP effort is analyzing actual usage versus structural tests to determine the feasibility of extending F/A-18E/F ESL beyond 6,000 flight hours; via a follow-on SLEP (Service Life Extension Program)," he added.   When the F/A-18A and F/A-18C reach 8,000 flight hours, they are sent into the depot for service life extension upgrades with the hope of getting the airframes to 10,000 hours. However, many of the older aircraft are in need of substantial repairs and, at the moment, as many as 54 percent of the Navy's fleet of older Hornets are not in service.   "Enhancements and modifications include replacing the center barrel (section) and extending the fatigue life of the Nacelles, ensuring the airframe structures achieve 100% service life. Additional modifications increase the total landing limit and modifications to catapult attachment components can be incorporated to extend total catapults," Rockwellpate added.   The Navy's goal is to achieve as high as 10,000 flight hours, on a select number of Legacy Hornets, to meet current and future operational demand. To date, 186 High Flight Hour inspections have been successfully completed with 125 inspections currently in-work, he said.   Navy: More Than 35 Additional Super Hornets Needed   As part of a need to better bridge the gap until F-35Cs start arriving, the Navy is looking to add as many as 35 new F/A-18 Super Hornets to the fleet.   The most recent 2017 budget request includes a Navy request for 21 new Super Hornets to be added through 2021. The service also placed 14 more Super Hornets on the so-called "unfunded requirements" list to Congress as part of an attempt at a further increase.   Senior Navy leaders have consistently called for the need to add more F/A-18 Super Hornets to the fleet.   A carrier air wing consists of about 44 strike aircraft made up of two 10-aircraft squadrons and two 12-plane squadrons complemented by several electrical jamming aircraft. Therefore, the Navy's stated need for additional squadrons would require the addition of more than 20 new aircraft.   The current composition of most carrier-based air wings includes 24 Super Hornets and 20 Hornets. The Navy plans to replace the existing Hornets with F-35Cs.The depots cannot keep up with the demand to repair airplanes due to the deployment of F-18s, industry and Navy officials have explained.   The Navy had been planning for the Super Hornets to serve well into the 2030s, but now service leaders say that timeline will need to extend into the 2040s. The Navy plans to begin buying 20 F-35Cs a year by 2020.   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   US Lawmakers Urge Action on Jet Sales to Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain (DEFENSE NEWS, 12 July 16) . Joe Gould   WASHINGTON - A group of Republican lawmakers is pressing the White House to approve long-delayed fighter jet sales to Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar and open up about why it has taken so long.   The sales have been pending for more than two years, but the White House has not yet allowed them to move forward. The hold-up has been linked to Israel's concerns that its qualitative military edge (QME) - which it is US policy to protect - would be eroded if its neighbors obtained the jets. Members of Congress are likely to have concerns of their own about the repercussions of such sales for the region.   Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker said Tuesday he expects the White House to clear jet sales to all three countries after the conclusion of negotiations for the US's new aid package to Israel, a follow-on to the $30 billion, 10-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in 2007. Corker supports the jet sales in line with the US-Gulf Cooperation Council summit in 2015, which yielded a declaration of deeper ties between the US and its Gulf allies.   "Everyone says there's no linkage" between the MoU and the fighter jet sales, "and I happen to think there's linkage," said Corker, R-Tenn. "Again, when the MoU is completed, hopefully as part of that, or shortly thereafter, these sales will be completed ... We're not getting a lot of clarity on these issues [from the White House]."   Reps. Rodney Freylinghuysen, R-N.J., Kay Granger, R-Texas, and Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., signed the July 6 letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Ash Carter and White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice, which argued the "unacceptable" delays are undermining relationships with Mideast allies who are needed for the multinational fight against the Islamic State. Granger chairs the House State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, Freylinghuysen chairs the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, while Crenshaw serves on both subcommittees.   "Inexplicably, at the same time we have asked our partners in the region to assume greater roles in this fight, their requests for U.S. equipment languish," the letter reads. "In some cases, their requests wait for years. This is unacceptable and must be rectified immediately. We are acutely aware of the harmful repercussions of these continued delays."   "They are putting strain on important relationships with partners in the fight, driving countries to purchase weapons from China and Russia, risking U.S. military interoperability with our partners, and damaging the U.S. manufacturing and industrial base."   The lawmakers asked for a briefing by July 14 that includes how and when the administration will resolve the cases.   Qatar has requested 36 to 72 F-15E Strike Eagles and Kuwait requested 28 F-18E/F Super Hornets, both made by Boeing. Bahrain is reportedly in the market for as many as 18 F-16 Fighting Falcons, made by Lockheed Martin.   The delays have driven Kuwait to sign a deal for 28 Eurofighter jets and Doha to buy 24 French Rafale as an alternative to a portion of the fighters initially planned for purchase from the US. It also threatens Boeing's 40-year-old F-15 production line in St. Louis, Missouri.   Boeing Defense chief executive Leann Caret, said Sunday in London that customers were, "hanging in there with us" while employees were looking forward to building the aircraft. While the arms transfer process is taking longer than Boeing wants, Caret acknowledged, "you're dealing with a global perspective and there are issues that from a US perspective, in these nations, that they have to deal with."   Thorny geopolitical concerns are at the root of the delay. One Senate staffer affirmed Corker's assessment that ongoing negotiations between the US and Israel over a consolidated aid package are likely part of the calculus for the US, adding that Israel may be seeking a hedge against its neighbors buying the jets, on top of the 33 US-made F-35 Lightning II jets it is set to buy.   "If I were the Israeli government and I knew our government was required by law and policy to do QME assessments on potential military sales in the region, I would see what I could get beyond the F-35 sale, which is already locked in," the staffer said.   Sen. Chris Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who has criticized certain US arms sales to the region, said the US must be cognizant that Mideast allies who once bought US hardware as "showpieces" are now using it to wage war.   "They're being used to kill civilians, so we need to be a lot more careful today than we have been in the past," Murphy said of US arm sales. "There is an open proxy war in the region between Saudi Arabia and its allies, and Iran - and both sides are arming up, getting ready for the next front in that proxy war."   As it weighs the sales, the White House is likely weighing potential objections from Congress, to include Bahrain's human rights record and Israel's sensitivity to Qatar's support of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Citing Bahrain's progress on human rights, the Obama administration only last year lifted holds on security assistance to Bahrain in place since Bahrain squelched an uprising in 2011.   "What Bahrain is doing today is not a great advertisement for continued US military sales, but Qatar has taken important steps forward in their fight against extremism and answering some of our concerns about domestic worker rights," Murphy said. "A sale to Bahrain right now would certainly raise my antennae, and I know these Israelis have sensitivities about the Qatari sale. These aren't easy calls."   Kuwait, which hosts the US Army component of US Central Command and is a significant partner to US military operations in the region, wants the jets to replace its aging Hornet fleet. One analyst said this sale seems the most non-controversial and obvious one of the three.   "That's a no-brainer," said Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the Teal Group who focuses on aerospace. "In addition to the jobs and cash, you also have a lifeline that keeps St. Louis going as a fighter producer for longer than what's in the [US's] pipeline."   For Qatar, owning 72 of the world's best fighter jets, "would be quite an expansion of their military capabilities," Aboulafia said. "There are a million scenarios that could evolve, and they're potentially creating another military force, with expeditionary warfare capability. It takes time to dig through the ramifications."   Under the Arms Export Control Act and US policy, it is not unusual for transfers of major U.S. weapons systems to take "significant interagency consideration and consultation, given the potentially significant long-term implications for U.S. national security interests," said State Department spokesman Josh Paul.   Paul reaffirmed the US commitment to the security and stability of the Gulf region, citing President Obama's message at the US-Gulf Cooperation Council Summit in April as well as the US's decades-long efforts to build defense capacity across the region.   Lawmakers have been pressuring the administration on the deals for months. With Corker, Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz.; Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., in May wrote a letter to Obama urging him to complete the deals.   McCain, as Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, shepherded an annual defense policy bill through the Senate that would streamline the military's security cooperation authorities.   "These things get stalled and don't move forward, and we need to do it," McCain said of foreign military sales more broadly. "There's allies of ours fighting with us against ISIS that need the equipment."   Aaron Mehta contributed to this report from London.   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Pentagon Says Near Deal With Lockheed For More F-35 Fighter Jets (REUTERS 09 JUL 16) ... Andrea Shalal   RAF FAIRFORD, England -- The U.S. Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin Corp are in the final stages of negotiations about two contracts for 160 fighter jets, tandem deals valued at more than $14 billion, the Pentagon's F-35 program manager said on Saturday.   "We're in the end game," Air Force Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan said in an interview at the Royal International Air Tattoo the world's largest military airshow, where six F-35 Lightning II jets are flying this week.   Bogdan said an agreement could be finalised soon, but declined to predict if it could be announced at the Farnborough International Airshow next week. He said all the major issues had been resolved and the fate of the deal was largely in Lockheed's hands at the moment.   Lockheed's F-35 program manager Jeff Babione had told reporters on Thursday that he expected to reach an agreement soon about contracts for the ninth and 10th production contracts for the new warplane.   Sources familiar with the two contracts said they would likely be valued between $14 billion and $15 billion. Babione said the price of the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing version of the jet would drop to under $100 million per plane in the 10th low-rate production batch, including an engine built by Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp.   Bogdan said he was continuing to work on a block buy deal for international partners on the $379 billion warplane project, the largest arms program in the world, as part of a larger effort to drive down the jets' cost. Buying larger numbers of jets at a time -- starting with the 12th production batch of jets -- could generate savings of $2 billion to $2.8 billion, even if the U.S. military was not able to join in until it got congressional approval, he said.   The U.S. military services would likely join in starting with the 13th and 14th production lots, which would reduce the initially anticipated savings by "hundreds of millions of dollars," he said.   Bogdan told reporters the program office was carefully assessing any potential impact on trade and tariffs stemming from Britain's vote to leave the European Union, but the initial expectation was that it would not have much impact.   A drop in the value of the British pound could help lower some costs, since 15 percent of the jet is built by UK firms.   (return to top)   ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Navy Issues Roughly $2 Billion In F-35 Contracts (DEFENSE DAILY 07 JUL 16) ... Pat Host   The Navy on Thursday awarded a pair of F-35 contracts worth nearly a combined $2 billion, according to a Defense Department statement.   The Navy awarded Pratt & Whitney a $1.5 billion firm-fixed-price, incentive-firm target modification for components, parts and materials for low rate initial production (LRIP) Lot 10 of F135-PW-100 propulsion systems. The contract includes 44 engines for the Air Force, four for the Navy and nine F135-PW-600 propulsion systems for the Marine Corps.   In addition, the contract modification provides components, parts and materials for 36 F135-PW-600 propulsion systems for international partners and two F135-PW-100 propulsion systems for the global spares pool. Work is expected to be completed by September 2019.   The Navy also awarded a $560 million cost-plus-incentive-fee, fixed-price-incentive-firm contract for non-air vehicle spares, support equipment, autonomic logistics information system hardware and software upgrades, supply chain management, full mission simulators and non-recurring engineering services. These are in support of LRIP Lot 10 F-35 aircraft for the Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, non DoD participants and foreign military sale (FMS) customers.   Pratt & Whitney is a division of United Technologies Corp.   (return to top)   ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Plans Under Way For October F-35B Sea-Based Test (FLIGHT GLOBAL 07 JUL 16) ... Beth Stevenson   Lockheed Martin's F-35B is due to embark on a third phase of ship-based developmental testing (DT) in October, the final step before it begins qualification trials on the UK's Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier.   Two examples of the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant will embark on the USS America amphibious assault ship for three weeks at the end of October. It will evaluate operations at the minimum requirement of sea state five, but is expected to go up to sea state six.   Five F-35B test aircraft - designated BF1-5 - are currently being used for the programme, and it is likely that the BF-5 plus BF1 or BF2 will be used for the October tests.   "We're in the last phases of planning," Peter Wilson, STOVL lead test pilot for the F-35 programme told a media briefing at RAF Fairford on 7 July. "We are currently in the throes of testing the high levels of asymmetry, which we have to do before we go to the ship in October."   Asymmetry has to be evaluated to ensure that the aircraft can effectively operate from the ship once some of the weapons payload has been dropped; there are "literally a couple of tests" left to be carried out ahead of the DT-3 phase, Wilson says.   "The US Marine Corps is completely happy with the capability we're providing," Wilson adds.   A separate round of qualification trials will need to be performed using the Royal Navy's Queen Elizabeth-class carriers, on which the UK's F-35Bs will deploy, but Wilson is hopeful this can be wrapped up quickly: "I think the shortest amount of time to do this will be a couple of months," he adds.   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   F-35C To Conduct Sea Trials in August Aboard Carrier George Washington (DEFENSE NEWS, 13 July 16) . Valerie Insinna   FARNBOROUGH, England - The US Navy's F-35C will head back to the seas next month for the third round of developmental tests aboard the aircraft carrier George Washington, the F-35 program executive officer (PEO) said.   During a July 9 interview at the Royal International Air Tattoo, F-35 PEO Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan told Defense News the sea trials would take place off the East Coast of the United States.   "They're going to open up the full envelope of the airplane to land and take off from the carrier, which means things like heavyweight, asymmetric stores, heavy cross winds, high seas," he said. "Plus we'll do a lot of reliability, maintainability and maintenance administrations to make sure we get that right."   At the same time, student pilots will conduct carrier qualifications onboard the ship, he said.   The F-35C has operated aboard an aircraft carrier twice so far: in October 2015 on the Dwight D. Eisenhower and November 2014 on the Nimitz. In those tests, pilots conducted catapult takeoffs, arrested landings, and touch-and-go landings on the deck, gradually working in night operations and opening up the flight envelope of the aircraft.   The second round of tests also included launches and landings with simulated weapons, such as the Joint Direct Attack Munitions and AIM-120 air-to-air missiles, inside the F-35's internal weapons bay.   The "C" model is planned to become operational in 2018, the last of the three joint strike fighter variants to do so.   The US Marine Corps is also preparing for developmental testing of the F-35B aboard the amphibious assault ship America, which will start this fall when the ship is sailing off the West Coast.   "They're going out to do basically the same thing that the Navy is doing," Bogdan said. "We will finally fully open up the envelope for them on different landing spots and different takeoff conditions, including asymmetric stores, short takeoffs, high seas, different winds."   Aside from the developmental tests, the service will also conduct some operational testing with the "B" model, he said.   Previous sea trial events occurred on the amphibious assault ship Wasp in August 2013 and October 2011.   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   F-35 to Tap Airbus for Data Protection Technology (DEFENSE NEWS, 10 July 16) . Andrew Chuter   LONDON - British F-35s will use Airbus technology to help store, distribute and protect encrypted information on the combat jet when it comes into operation in 2018.   Airbus Defence and Space has secured a deal to supply what's known as local key management system (LKMS) technology for the strike aircraft and two other British military aircraft types - the Voyager A330 inflight refuelling jet and Hercules C-130J airlifters - in a deal recently struck with the British Ministry of Defence.   The deal could open the door to sales of the technology to a restricted list of other air forces, including F-35 customers.   "I see no reason why we cannot offer this technology to other F-35 users," said Phil Jones, the head of cyber security operations for Airbus Defence in the UK.   The high sensitivity of the ITAR-free technology may mean Airbus will have to develop an export version for all but a handful of countries, he said.   Airbus is already supplying the technology, developed at its south Wales facility, to British Typhoon combat jets and A400M airlifters.   LKMS receives, translates and packages cryptographic keys so that they can be loaded using a single hand held device into what are known as end crypto units (ECUs) on the aircraft. Input of the crypto information is through a single plug and socket rather than the seven or eight interface points and different handheld devices required previously.   Company officials said the technology permits prolonged out-of-area operation through providing the ability to store and distribute multiple cryptographic keys.   The technology also provides high levels of protection for encrypted data by preventing data compromise that could threaten the safety and security of an aircraft mission, they said.   The crypto technology is likely to eventually find it's way on to helicopters, unmanned air vehicles and other platforms, but company officials were unwilling to comment on potential discussion with the UK MoD about adding the technology to other aircraft. It did however confirm initial conversations with the MoD about the technology's suitability for the new Boeing P-8 maritime patrol aircraft being purchased for the Royal Air Force.   Jones said the use of technology is not just confined to aerospace applications.   "The technology has maritime applications in surface ships and submarines and we are in the early stages of looking at it for critical infrastructure and industrial control systems use as well," he said.   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Marine Corps Aviation Chief Ranks SDB II as F-35 Upgrade Priority (DEFENSE NEWS, 14 July 16) . Valerie Insinna   FARNBOROUGH, England - The US Defense Department is hammering out the final details of its Block 4 upgrade plan for the F-35 joint strike fighter, but the Marine Corps has made clear that Raytheon's Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II) is at the top of its wish list.   Asked by journalists at the Royal International Air Tattoo what he'd most like to see in the modernization program, Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, deputy commandant for aviation, characterized the SDB II as the most critical system.   "That's a fantastic weapon," he said July 8. "I want to get it on there and really increase the capability of the airplane." Days later at Farnborough International Airshow, Davis' executive assistant, Col. William Lieblein, reiterated the service's desire for the SDB II. The service also wants to incorporate full-motion video onboard the F-35 and improve the electro-optical targeting system with forward-looking infrared, he said.   The F-35 will be initially equipped with the first iteration of the weapon, but the follow-on version includes a tri-mode seeker that uses infrared, millimeter wave and laser guidance to identify and destroy targets.   Raytheon and the Air Force recently started up a new round of SDB II flight tests of the weapon's coordinate attack and laser modes, the company announced Monday. When coordinate attack mode is engaged, the SDB II's GPS system will direct it to fixed targets at distances of more than 40 miles, while the latter mode uses a semi-active laser to illuminate targets.   For the most part, the services have finalized which capabilities will funnel into the Block 4 modernization program but are deliberating when those upgrades will funnel into production, Davis said.   A capabilities development document is working its way through the Air Force and will go to the Joint Requirements Oversight Council later this summer, said F-35 program executive officer Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan.   "We have a pretty good idea of what's going to be in the first few increments of Block 4," he said in a July 9 interview. "Now we're working on putting together a funding profile to meet that and the acquisition strategy to do that."   The current plan is to separate the Block 4 upgrades into four increments. Those capabilities will be integrated into the F-35 every two years, starting in 2018 with the first delivery of new capabilities in 2020.   "If a capability is not mature as we develop it, instead of waiting around for it, we'll push it to the next increment," he said. "So we're trying to work the strategy with industry on how to be that flexible with contracting on the business side."   The F-35 joint program office (JPO) estimates the upgrades will cost somewhere around $3.8 billion to $4.8 billion to procure and integrate into the aircraft. That doesn't include unique international requirements such as Norway's joint strike missile. All weapons, including SDB II, will be fielded within the first two increments, Bogdan said.   Other upgrades will include more modern electronic warfare systems, radar, avionics and interfaces, and changes that improve the aircraft's reliability, maintainability and ability to deploy. Generally speaking, the JPO will look to current contractors for Block 4 systems, but could compete capabilities if technology has significantly advanced.   "One of the big things to drive cost down in Block 4 is that we will be looking to outside companies who may not have traditionally had equipment on the airplane," he said. "That's because in Block 4 we're getting computers that are open and modular, an open system, so that you can put new sensors and new things on the airplane easier than having to change the whole infrastructure."   (return to top)     PROVIDED FOR SITUATIONAL AWARENESS ONLY   Potential for Day of Rage Protests across America   According to social media and open source reporting, on 15 JUL 16, multiple protests are scheduled to be conducted across the United States. Being in the vicinity of these protests increases the chance that individuals may become a victim of violence. Although the media has encouraged non-violence and denounces actions taken against police officers that were not involved in the deaths, the protests may be emotionally charged with the potential to quickly erupt into violence.   If you have any questions, please contact your site Security Manager.

Nov. 21, 2023

FRCSW at Fleet Week San Diego

On November 8 2023, Fleet Week in San Diego unfolded as a grand spectacle of innovation and technology, transforming the Port Pavilion Building into a vibrant hub of the future.

Nov. 10, 2023

Honor Flight San Diego’s Tribute to American Veterans

Veterans Day not only offers a moment to reflect upon the sacrifices of service members, but also serves as a poignant reminder of the price of liberty and the importance of acknowledging those who have borne its cost. This day reinforces the timeless truth: freedom is never free, and gratitude towards its guardians is eternally owed. Building on this spirit of reverence, organizations like Honor Flight San Diego (HFSD) work tirelessly to show tangible appreciation to these heroes.

Sept. 5, 2023

FRCSW STEM in Action

When Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) STEM ambassadors visit local communities, their goal is to utilize the STEM outreach program to inspire and create valuable opportunities to learn for both students and educators. The program also tries to empower both the students and FRCSW employees by fostering meaningful connections between Naval STEM efforts and the upcoming generation.

July 20, 2023

FRCSW Engineer Receives Assistant Secretary of Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition) Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists & Engineers of the Year Award

FRCSW Engineer Receives Assistant Secretary of Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition) Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists & Engineers of the Year Award

May 15, 2023

FRCSW Comptroller Receives Department of the Navy and Secretary of Defense Financial Management Awards

FRCSW Comptroller Receives Department of the Navy and Secretary of Defense Financial Management Awards

April 27, 2023

FRCSW E-2D Team Wins NAVAIR Commander’s Award

FRCSW E-2D Team Wins NAVAIR Commander’s Award

April 18, 2023

FRCSW Sailors Named 2023 Sailor of the Year

FRCSW Sailors Named 2023 Sailor of the Year

April 6, 2023

FRCSW Ally Support Strengthens Royal Australian Air Force

Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) successfully completed a first of its kind reconfiguration of a U.S. Navy EA-6B Growler for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

March 31, 2023

Fleet Readiness Center Southwest - Eliminating Waste and Improving Efficiency

For over 100 years, Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) has provided the men and women of the Navy and Marine Corps with the highest quality products and services in the most efficient manner possible. One of the state of the art management systems that makes this possible is the “Lean” process which focuses its attention on eliminating waste and error. FRCSW began the command’s most recent “Lean” process by integrating pre-expendable bins (PEB). Lieutenant Commander Jeffrey Legg, Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) Industrial Supply Officer, in collaboration with the other PEB managers, played a pivotal role in the improvement of PEB inventory.

Sept. 26, 2022

FRCSW Navy’s Sole Maintainer of Rotodome Radar

A primary tool of the Hawkeye’s defensive posture is the rotodome radar system, maintained by Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW).