Tag: Lockheed Martin

Navy Looks at Accelerating Super Hornet Transitions

Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy is looking at ways to accelerate the phase-out of F/A-18C “Classic” Hornet strike fighters from its carrier air wings and replacing the last few squadrons with F/A-18E Super Hornets, a Navy spokeswoman said.

“As we balance operational requirements and our initiatives to build the most capable and ready forward-deployed force, we are identifying the most efficient and effective way to safely transition the last four Navy operational Hornet squadrons to Super Hornets,” Cmdr. Jeannie Groeneveld, public affairs officer for commander, Naval Air Forces, said in an e-mail to Seapower.

“In order to provide our most capable warfighting force forward, the Navy began the first of the final transitions of our four operational F/A-18C Hornet squadrons to F/A-18E Super Hornet squadrons in July, with an expected completion in [fiscal] ’19. Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 131, was the first of the four squadrons to begin the transition last month.”

The other three F/A-18C squadrons, all based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., are VFA-34, VFA-37 and VFA-83.

“Accelerating the transition to Super Hornets will allow cost savings and reduce depot maintenance workload,” Groeneveld said. “As the Navy approaches the end of the extended service life for Hornets, the cost per flight hour continues to increase. Additionally, there are shortages in the Department of the Navy’s spare parts and supply system that have contributed to flight line readiness challenges, as well as our ability to extend the service lives of these airframes.”

She also said the transitions give the Navy the opportunity to select its best-condition Hornets for use by the Marine Corps and by Navy support and reserve units, such as Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center, Fighter Composite Squadron 12, Reserve squadron VFA-204 and the Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels.

The Navy is confident it will be able to continue to support all operational requirements as it completes transition of the Hornet fleet to Super Hornets,” she said.

Congress has supported the Navy’s requirements for increased Super Hornet procurement to bridge the gap to the fleet introduction of the F-35C Lightning II strike fighter. The first fleet squadron to make the transition to the F-35C will be VFA-147 in 2018.

 

Lockheed Martin offers F-35 to Canada as ‘interim’ fighter jet

Credit: John Kent

Last year, the Liberals announced a proposal to buy 18 interim fighter jets from Boeing to deal with a capability gap facing the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Lockheed Martin has offered the Liberal government the F-35 as an “interim” fighter aircraft, a move sure to turn up the heat on rival U.S. aerospace firm Boeing still embroiled in a trade dispute with Canada.

Last year, the Liberals announced a proposal to buy 18 interim fighter jets from Boeing to deal with a capability gap facing the Royal Canadian Air Force. But that multibillion dollar plan to acquire Super Hornet jets has been thrown into limbo after Boeing filed a trade complaint in the U.S. against Bombardier of Quebec.

The Liberal government broke off discussions with Boeing on the Super Hornet deal.

But Lockheed Martin has seen opportunity in the rift between Canada and Boeing and has officially offered its F-35 as an interim aircraft to supplement the RCAF’s aging CF-18 jets. Lockheed has long contended the F-35 is more cost effective and more advanced than the Super Hornet.

Asked about the Lockheed Martin offer, Matthew Luloff, a spokesman with Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s office, responded that the federal government continues “to explore many options to provide an interim solution to supplement the CF-18s until the permanent replacement is fully operational.”

Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet

“We have not yet made a decision,” he added in an email. “Discussions must demonstrate that the interim fleet is appropriately capable and can be obtained at a cost, schedule, and economic value that are acceptable to Canadians.”

Lockheed Martin has noted that it continues to provide the Canadian government with updated information on the maturity of the F-35 program and the operational status of the jet.

The F-35 will be showcased Aug. 11-13 in Canada at the airshow at Abbotsford, B.C. The U.S. Air Force will be flying the plane at the show and F-35s from the Netherlands will be making their first appearance in Canada.

The Boeing Super Hornet will also appear at the air show. Boeing declined to comment about Lockheed Martin’s offer to the Canadian government on providing F-35s as interim aircraft.

Boeing was well on its way to wrap up the deal to provide Canada with the 18 Super Hornets. That was expected to be completed by the end of the year and cost between $5 billion and $7 billion.

But in April, Boeing complained to the U.S. government that Quebec-based Bombardier was receiving subsidies, which in turn allowed it to sell its C-Series civilian passenger aircraft at below-market prices. Boeing convinced the U.S. Commerce Department and International Trade Commission to launch an investigation into Bombardier.

That prompted the Liberals to start backing away from a Super Hornet deal with Boeing, although federal officials acknowledged they were still talking with the U.S. government over acquiring fighter aircraft. “It is not the behaviour of a trusted partner,” Sajjan said of Boeing in an unprecedented speech in late May to defence industry executives.

The interim jets would be used to help bridge the gap until a new replacement fleet for Canada’s CF-18 fleet can be purchased. The Liberals have said they will buy 88 new jets to replace the CF-18s.

The previous Conservative government had committed Canada to buying the F-35 but backed off that promise as the aircraft became controversial because of increased costs and technical issues.

Canada, however, still remains a partner in the F-35 program and Canadian firms have contributed a large amount of equipment and parts to the stealth fighter.

But buying F-35 jets for the interim fighter aircraft program would potentially be embarrassing for the Liberals. During the election campaign, Justin Trudeau vowed his government would never buy the F-35. As prime minister, Trudeau later claimed the F-35 “does not work.”

Boeing has declined a Canadian government request to drop its complaint against Bombardier. Boeing has said it considers the issue a commercial matter.

But Boeing’s actions run a risk for the aerospace company that wants to continue to do more defence business in Canada, analysts say.

 

Epic photos of Britain’s giant new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth meeting the USS George H.W. Bush

A pair of F/A-18E/F Super Hornets from the Super-Carrier George HW Bush perform a fly-past over the Super-Carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth

Two of Britain’s and America’s most powerful ships met up on Tuesday during their break from sea trials and training.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, the UK’s new £3.5 billion ($US4.6 billion) aircraft carrier, passed by the USS George H.W. Bush off the Scottish coast en route to its new home port of Portsmouth.

The British mega-ship has spent the summer conducting its first sea trials in the North Sea, while its US counterpart was in the Persian Gulf supporting ground troops in their fight against ISIS.

Getty Images

The Queen Elizabeth is now in British waters to take part in the training exercise known as Saxon Warrior, where it is hosting 60 members of the British Royal Navy and Royal Marines. The training began on August 1.

The British carrier was on its way to Portsmouth after more than two months of sea trials in the North Sea.

Below are some epic photos from the meetup:

The British carrier was on its way to Portsmouth after more than two months of sea trials in the North Sea
The USS George H.W. Bush was taking part in Saxon Warrior, a multiday joint exercise led by the Royal Navy
The British commanders also had some time to socialise. Kyd invited Commodore Andrew Betton, the leader of the Saxon Warrior exercises, on board for drinks and sandwiches
The exercise involved over 60 Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines training on board the US carrier

At full strength, the Queen Elizabeth could have 36 fighter jets and four helicopters on board. But at the moment, it’s empty.

The UK has 10 F-35 fighter jets, a Ministry of Defence spokesman told Business Insider UK, but none is in the country. The US contractor Lockheed Martin built them, and they are scheduled to be delivered to the UK in 2018. The earliest they could fly live combat missions is 2020.

A Royal Navy Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II

The ministry expects to have 138 F-35s in the 2020s, the spokesman added.

 

Britain’s flagship Carrier could arrive home as early as next Thursday, Defence Secretary announces

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has announced that Britain’s iconic HMS Queen Elizabeth Carrier is set to enter her new home in Portsmouth in around two weeks’ time.

The 65,000-tonne Carrier, the biggest warship ever to be built in Britain, has been undergoing sea trials since setting sail from Scotland’s Rosyth dockyard in June. She is now set to make her historic arrival into Portsmouth, where she will be the latest in a long line of famous Royal Navy ships to call the port home.

Whilst weather conditions mean the exact date of the historic moment is yet to be confirmed, the window for entry will open next Thursday (17/08), with her arrival expected to be no later than the following Tuesday (22/08).

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:

In just two weeks’ time, the most powerful warship ever built for Britain’s famous Royal Navy is set to sail into her proud new home in Portsmouth.

HMS Queen Elizabeth‎ will be the Royal Navy’s flagship for the next 50 years, keeping us safe by deploying across the seven seas, using her strike power to deter our enemies.

With only three other countries in the world building aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth will give Britain the capability to lead the way in tackling global issues in an increasingly uncertain world, from providing humanitarian relief to high-end warfighting.

And with the state-of-the-art F-35B Lightning fighter jets on track to make their first trial flights from the Carrier’s deck next year, the UK is now building towards delivering Carrier Strike capability.
Both aircraft carriers are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance.

 

 

Simulation shows F-35B in Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landing on HMS Queen Elizabeth [VIDEO]

Uniquely for a vessel of this type, it will be common to see the jump-jet F-35B appear to land conventionally.

This is a process called Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landing. It is a process designed to land jump-jet aircraft that uses both the vertical thrust from the jet engine and lift from the wings, thus maximising the payload an aircraft can return with and stopping the financial waste that comes with dropping expensive weaponry in the sea in order to land vertically.

 

Read more of this article by clicking on the link below: 

 

South Korea to Deploy 4 More Anti-missile Units

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched from the Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in Kodiak, Alaska, during Flight Test THAAD, July 11, 2017.

South Korea said Saturday it will proceed with the deployment of four additional units of the U.S. THAAD anti-missile defense system after North Korea’s latest launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The deployment of the additional Terminal High Altitude Area Defenae (THAAD) units had been delayed after the initial two units, after South Korean President Moon Jae-in ordered an environmental assessment.

China has been notified of the move to speed up the deployment, the South’s presidential Blue House said.

China’s Foreign Ministry expressed serious concern Saturday about South Korea decision to proceed with the deployment of the additional units.

The deployment will not resolve South Korea’s security concerns and will only make things more complex, the ministry said, reiterating a Chinese call for the system to be withdrawn.

North Korea said earlier Saturday it had conducted another successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that proved its ability to strike all of America’s mainland.

Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), formerly Theater High Altitude Area Defense, is an American anti-ballistic missile defense system designed to shoot down short, medium, and intermediate range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase by intercepting with a hit-to-kill approach. THAAD was developed after the experience of Iraq’s Scud missile attacks during the Gulf War in 1991. The THAAD interceptor carries no warhead, but relies on its kinetic energy of impact to destroy the incoming missile. A kinetic energy hit minimizes the risk of exploding conventional warhead ballistic missiles, and nuclear tipped ballistic missiles will not detonate upon a kinetic energy hit.

Originally a United States Army program, THAAD has come under the umbrella of the Missile Defense Agency. The Navy has a similar program, the sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, which now has a land component as well (“Aegis ashore”). THAAD was originally scheduled for deployment in 2012, but initial deployment took place in May 2008. THAAD has been deployed in the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and South Korea.

The THAAD system is being designed, built, and integrated by Lockheed Martin Space Systems acting as prime contractor. Key subcontractors include Raytheon, Boeing, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Honeywell, BAE Systems, Oshkosh Defense, MiltonCAT and the Oliver Capital Consortium.

On 6 March 2017, two THAAD launcher trucks arrived by air transport at Osan Air Base South Korea, for a deployment. Earlier that day, North Korea had launched 4 missiles. A Reuters article stated that with the THAAD defense system, a North Korean missile barrage would still pose a threat to South Korea, while an article in the International Journal of Space Politics & Policy said that South Korean forces already possess Patriot systems for point defense and Aegis destroyers capable of stopping ballistic missiles that may come from the north, in a three-layer antimissile defense for South Korea. On 16 March 2017, a THAAD radar arrived in South Korea. The THAAD system is kept at Osan Air Base until the site where the system is due to be deployed is prepared, with an expected ready date of June 2017. Osan Air Base has blast-hardened command posts with 3 levels of blast doors.

By 25 April 2017, six trailers carrying the THAAD radar, interceptor launchers, communications, and support equipment entered the Seongju site. On 30 April 2017, it was reported that South Korea would bear the cost of the land and facilities for THAAD, while the US will pay for operating it. On 2 May 2017, Moon Sang-gyun, with the South Korean Defense Ministry and Col. Robert Manning III, a spokesman for the U.S. military announced that the THAAD system in Seongju is operational and “has the ability to intercept North Korean missiles and defend South Korea.” It was reported that the system will not reach its full operational potential until later this year when additional elements of the system are onsite. In June 2017 South Korea decided to halt further deployment. The 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade (United States) has integrated THAAD into its layered defense on the Korean Peninsula.

Even in the face of a North Korean ICBM test on 4 July 2017, which newly threatens Alaska, a Kodiak, Alaska-based THAAD interceptor test (FTT-18) against a simulated attack by an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile had long been planned. FTT-18 was successfully completed by Battery A-2 THAAD (Battery A, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) of the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade (United States) on 11 July 2017. The soldiers used the procedures of an actual combat scenario and were not aware of the IRBM’s launch time.

Also in 2017 another Kodiak launch of a THAAD interceptor is scheduled between 7:30PM and 1:30AM on Saturday 29 July, Sunday 30 July, or Monday 31 July, at alternative times. North Korea is apparently positioning launch equipment in Kusong in preparation for a 27 July holiday. Lee Jong-kul, of South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s Minjoo Party states “The nuclear and missile capabilities of North Korea…have been upgraded to pose serious threats; the international cooperation system to keep the North in check has been nullified..”, citing tensions over the U.S. deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system in South Korea.

Source: Voice of America News.

Lockheed Martin receives contract for work on Israeli F-35s

Lockheed Martin is receiving an $8 million contract modification for logistical support of Israel’s F-35A Lightning II fighters.

The contract falls under the U.S. Department of Defense’s foreign military sales program and provides for maintenance, sustainment operations, supply chain management, work on the Automated Logistics Information system and training.

The work will be performed in Orlando, Fla., Greenville, N.C. and Fort Worth, Texas, with a projected completion date of Dec. 2017. Eight million dollars from the Foreign Military Sales program will be obligated.

Israel currently has five F-35s in service. Three fighters were delivered in April. Orders for 28 more have already been placed, with further procurement expected. They are not yet considered fully operational despite unconfirmed reports of their use in combat missions in Syria.

Israel was the first country under the Foreign Military Sales program to purchase the F-35. It is the first 5th generation stealth fighter to see service with the Israeli Air Force and is expected to form the backbone of their air superiority forces for the next 40 years.

The Israeli model of the F-35A is referred to as the Adir and has some features tailored for Israeli use. It is expected to replace much of Israeli F-15 and F-16 fighter fleets and provide a deep-strike option against heavy air defenses without the massive support needed by more conventional aircraft.

Source: UPI.

USAFE and European partners seek common ground in integrating F-35

Hill Air Force Base F-35A Lightning IIs fly in formation over the Utah Test and Training Range, March 30, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/R. Nial Bradshaw)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — The U.S. Air Force has yet to stand up a squadron of F-35s in Europe, but it’s already working on how to integrate the fifth-generation combat jet with some of its closest allies in the region.

U.S. Air Forces in Europe this week brought together about 50 senior military fliers and planners from eight nations, all with a stake in the newest and most expensive fighter aircraft on the block.

The two-day forum on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter served to promote cooperation among the U.S. and its European counterparts that are already flying the plane or plan to do so. The goal was to share lessons learned and build common approaches that will support integrated flying operations in Europe in the future.

“We have to find a way to nest it all together,” said Gen. Tod Wolters, USAFE and Air Forces Africa commander.

Air Force officers from eight different countries, who attended an F-35 European leadership forum at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, had the chance to use an F-35 simulator set up at the Officer’s Club on Thursday, July 20, 2017. JENNIFER H. SVAN/STARS AND STRIPES.

“At the end of the day, if we can say this is something that we’re fusing into the system … we’re in a great place,” he told the group, which included fighter pilots, base commanders and chiefs of staff. The Army, NATO and the Marine Corps also sent representatives, as did Lockheed Martin, the F-35 Lightning II manufacturer.

The forum, which concluded late Thursday, was the first of its kind in Europe, officials said. It followed a similar conference held in March in the Pacific, where Japan, South Korea and Australia have all purchased the F-35.

Joining the U.S. at the European forum were Israel, Italy, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Turkey. Those nations have all purchased the aircraft. Israel and Italy are the first to be flying the plane in the region.

Royal Norwegian Air Force F-35A

“We like to remind (people that) Italy was the first nation to fly the airplane overseas, across the Atlantic, so we are very proud of that,” said Maj. Gen. Aurelio Colagrande, chief of staff of Italy’s air command, noting that his country’s air force currently has three F-35s in its inventory.

The aircraft has had problems, he said, but that’s to be expected from a “brand-new machine.”

Despite those challenges, “we are very confident that the F-35 is a very capable airplane and all the issues that we are having right now will be solved in the future,” he said.

In the States, too, the F-35 program has been beset by technical and other problems. Most recently, F-35A flight operations at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., were temporarily paused last month when some pilots experienced symptoms similar to hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation.

The U.S. is expected to spend nearly $400 billion to buy about 2,443 aircraft, making it the Pentagon’s most expensive procurement program in history. President Donald Trump, Sen. John McCain and other prominent critics of the program have assailed its budget overruns.

But Lockheed Martin officials said Thursday the company is continuing to drive down costs because of manufacturing efficiencies gained through increased production rates. They expect to drop the cost for one aircraft to $85 million in 2019, about the same price tag as a fourth-generation fighter, said Bob Dulaney, a Lockhead Martin aeronautics representative.

The cost for the Air Force version of the plane fell below $100 million for the first time earlier this year, according to a February report in The New York Times.

The U.S. Air Force in Europe is still on track to stand up its first squadron overseas at Royal Air Force Lakenheath in 2020, said Col. Todd Canterbury, director of Headquarters Air Force F-35 Integration Office.

“Facilities are under construction as we speak,” he said, “as well as other infrastructure that comes with adding two more squadrons.”

It’s been a long time since the U.S. and some of its European allies and partners gained a new aircraft system around the same time, said Maj. Gen Timothy Fay, USAFE-AFAFRICA vice commander.

“Bringing the F-35 into this theater will really change the way we do business here in a way that we probably haven’t seen for decades,” Fay said.

Source: Stars and Stripes.

F-35B begins new ski-ramp testing campaign

F-35B test aircraft BF-1 seen during Phase 2 ski ramp testing. The aircraft is pictured here configured with external pylons and AIM-9X missiles. Source: Dane Wiedmann/Lockheed Martin.

Key Points

  • A land-based ski-ramp has been built at NAS Patuxent River to support testing for the United Kingdom
  • The Phase 2 test programme is designed to expand the ski-jump envelope for the F-35B

The F-35 Lightning II Pax River Integrated Test Force has begun a second round of land-based F-35B ski-ramp testing at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River in Maryland ahead of First of Class Flight Trials (FOCFT) on the UK Royal Navy (RN) carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth , scheduled for 2018.

The Phase 2 test programme began in June and is designed to expand the ski-jump envelope. This includes launches with external stores, increased crosswind conditions, and take offs at a range of different speeds.

The RN’s two new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers feature a 12.5-degree ski-ramp on the bow. This serves to launch aircraft upward and forward, allowing the short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B to improve its payload radius.

As part of the F-35 system design and development phase, a land-based ski-ramp – modelled on the legacy 12-degree design used in the RN’s earlier Invincible-class carriers – has been built at NAS Patuxent River to support UK testing. A first ski-ramp launch was performed in June 2015, and by the end of June 2016 a total of 31 ski-ramp take offs had been performed to complete Phase 1 testing.

Test aircraft BF-01 and BF-04, both instrumented to measure landing gear loads, were used for testing with internal stores only.

Source: Janes.

Romania says any Patriot missile system buy meant to boost defence

 

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.

Romanian military purchases are not intended to put strain on relations with nearby Russia but to strengthen the country’s defences, President Klaus Iohannis said on Saturday.

Earlier this month, the U.S. State Department said it has approved the possible sale of seven Patriot missile defence systems worth $3.9 billion to Romania.

A NATO member since 2004 and European Union member since 2007, Romania has committed to boost its defence spending to two percent of gross domestic product this year.

Asked whether talk of acquiring Patriot missiles and recent military drills were straining relations with Russia, Iohannis told reporters: “Firstly, we must look at what these acquisitions are for.”

“We are not getting ready to attack anyone. We are preparing … for our army to benefit from modern, efficient features. They are meant to defend us, to guarantee the security of Romanians.”

Asked whether recent regional military exercises could deter Russia, Iohannis said “Of course they could, and I think they do so.”

Russia, whose annexation of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 prompted concern among NATO’s eastern members such as Poland and the Baltic states, has said NATO was threatening stability in Eastern Europe by building up its military presence there and staging war games.

A final decision by Romania to buy the missile defences systems, whose prime contractors would be Raytheon Co and Lockheed Martin Corp, has yet to be announced by the country’s defence ministry.

Source: Reuters.