PARIS AIR SHOW: Flight hour costs have dropped while readiness rates have improved for the V-22, a rare feat indeed for a modern combat aircraft. Critics have pointed to the V-22′s readiness rates and costs as yet another reason to curtail the program, but when I asked Marine Col. Greg Masiello, manager of the Joint… Keep reading →
America’s defense industry is deep in economic pessimism but the rest of the world isn’t defined by sequestration and the Afghan drawdown, and that will be very clear at next week’s Paris Air Show. This year’s show will probably be defined by commercial aviation, especially the twin aisle jet market. Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner will return… Keep reading →
PENTAGON: The Navy would get the largest budget share among the three military services in the 2014 budget submitted Wednesday, but would still see a drop in total funding from what Congress provided for this year in the final version of the continuing resolution.
The $155.8 billion requested for the Navy Department in the president’s proposed defense budget of $526.6 billion is level with the president’s 2013 request but is $11.4 billion above the request for the Air Force and $26.1 billion larger than that for the Army. Keep reading →
We attended the christening last week of the newest US Navy ship, an 80,000 ton (fully laden) vessel that is not an aircraft carrier.
Instead, the USNS Montford Point is the first of a new class of Navy ships, a Mobile Landing Platform, in essence a deployed port at sea. The ship, built at General Dynamics’s NASSCO shipyard in San Diego, adds to the ongoing revolution in what is called “seabasing,” the idea of supplying and sustaining military operations directly from ships at sea without requiring ports or staging bases on the land, a revolution which is being made possible by new ships, new aircraft, and new ways to use existing capabilities as part of the evolving seabase Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: As the government hurtles towards the latest fiscal cliff, March 1st, the Marine Corps‘ deputy commandant for resources outlined a host of painful potential consequences, from reduced rifle training to cancelled deployments to grounded fighter squadrons. Lt. Gen. John Wissler appealed to Congress for so-called reprogramming authority that would at least let the Marines move around the money they do have to mitigate the worst effects.
[Click here to read about the readiness problems for the Army, Air Force, and Navy]
“Our money’s just in the wrong places in some instances,” Wissler told reporters after his speech this morning to the Navy League. But they can’t move it without explicit permission from Congress, he explained: “What we would need is to move things between appropriations, and they would need to help us there.” Keep reading →
Time was, only a masochist could enjoy managing the V-22 Osprey program office. The Marines put the tiltrotor troop transport into service in 2007 after a quarter of a century of development that included design problems, a four-year battle pitting the Corps and their pro-Osprey allies in Congress and industry against a sitting defense secretary, repeated schedule delays and cost overruns, three fatal crashes that led the Pentagon to consider cancelling the helicopter-airplane hybrid in 2001 and an unrelenting drumbeat of media and other criticism.
How much have things changed? Today, the ninth Osprey program manager, Marine Col. Greg Masiello, can honestly say: “It’s a great time to be the joint program manager of the V-22.” Keep reading →
ARLINGTON, Va: Col. Frank Donovan, commander of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, was standing on the flight deck of the USS Iwo Jima as the amphibious assault ship sailed near the Horn of Africa one day last October, seven months into a nine-month deployment, when a young lance corporal asked to speak to him.
“I said, ‘Yeah, what’s up?’” Donovan recalls. “And she says, ‘Everyone says we’re America’s nine one one force.’ I said, ‘Yeah, we are.’ She goes, ‘How come no one’s calling?’” This was asked, remember, when the Middle East and Maghreb were boiling over after the Arab Spring ripened.) Keep reading →
YUMA: The first F-35 Bravos are arriving at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma later this month. By early next year, the full complement of 16 F-35 Bs will have arrived to replace Yuma’s four existing squadrons consisting of 56 AV-8B Harriers. This is the beginning of the next 100 years of naval aviation for the Marines. [Our picture shows an F-35B at Elgin Air Force Base, due a paucity of good pictures showing the plane at Yuma. The Editor]
They are following the model of the Osprey roll-out. Once the aircraft was ready to fly and to be part of a training effort, the Marines began to use it. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: The military is in for another eight years of tight budgets, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos predicted today. The good news is that the relationship between the four Joint Chiefs who craft their budgets and their chairman is “better than it ever has been.”
In his public remarks, the commandant hammered home the point that the Joint Chiefs are confronting austerity shoulder-to-shoulder, without the usual interservice sniping over budget shares and that there is no daylight in particular between the two land forces, Army and the Marines. Keep reading →
The Air Force plans to reinstate substantial formation flight training for CV-22 Osprey pilots that it eliminated four years ago, AOL Defense has learned. Reinstatement of the training four years after the service ended it is an implicit admission, V-22 aviators said, that better training might have prevented the June 13 crash of a CV-22B in Florida.
From now on, Air Force pilots going through initial Osprey flight training with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron 204 (VMMT-204) at Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., will take a classroom course in formation flight, fly two formation flights of two hours each in a V-22 simulator, and fly one actual two-hour formation flight in the tiltrotor troop transport. Keep reading →