The eagle hasn’t exactly landed, but it did the next best thing. This afternoon, off the Virginia coast, the Navy’s experimental X-47B UCAS (Unmanned Combat Air System) became the first unmanned aircraft to do a “touch and go” on an aircraft carrier. That’s a major milestone for the pioneering drone, which just this Tuesday conducted… Keep reading →
An aircraft carrier is nothing without aircraft, and a Navy aircraft is worth little without a carrier. It’s ships and planes in synergy that revolutionized war at sea in the 1930s and with new systems now entering service – the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter and the Ford-class carrier – they can do it again. On… Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: The entire F-35 fleet has been cleared to resume flying only one week after being grounded for the second time this year. In vintage Pentagonese, this is how the return to flight was announced today to Capitol Hill:
“Upon completion and compliance with the immediate action Time Compliant Technical Directive (TCTD) issued this week to borescope inspect the LPT stage 3 turbine blades, F-35 LRIP aircraft are returned to flight status. Additionally, a 25 Effective Flight Hour (EFH) reporting cycle of creep damage will now be implemented to monitor and limit turbine creep exposure.” Keep reading →
The start of a new year and of a new administration is a good time to think about the future. A key challenge facing the new Obama administration and the Congress is to ensure that US military capabilities continue to innovate and evolve in challenging times.
Paul Bracken has underscored that we are in a Second Nuclear Age, and in this age deterrence is different, but remains as significant as the first. Bracken is concerned that we are ignoring the rebirth of nuclear weapons within the global dynamic at our peril. Keep reading →
PENTAGON: While the Air Force and the Marines stake their future on a great leap forward to the stealthy F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Navy is taking what one officer called “baby steps” into the future: a careful, incremental upgrade of electronic warfare systems to jam enemy radar instead of just hiding from it. The fleet is moving, slowly but surely, from 1960s-vintage EA-6B Prowlers carrying 1970s-vintage jamming pods — complete with vacuum tubes — to supersonic EA-18G Growlers armed, as of 2020, with a digital Next-Generation Jammer.
Despite persistent rumors the Navy will cut back its F-35 purchase, the service remains officially committed to a carrier-launched version of the F-35, the F-35C. They’re just not counting on the F-35 to penetrate increasingly sophisticated air defenses on its own. Keep reading →
[Corrected 9:35 pm with a note about the EC-130 Compass Call] Is stealth still America’s silver bullet? Or are potential adversaries’ radars getting too smart for US aircraft to keep hiding from them?
That’s literally the trillion-dollar question, because the US military is investing massively in new stealth aircraft. At stake in this debate are not just budgets but America’s continued ability to project power around the world. Keep reading →
Iran. Gaza. Syria. Political opposition in the Emirates and adjoining states. The Persian Gulf region simmers and America may have only one carrier group deployed there at the end of this year. Should we worry?
Let’s examine the puzzle. The USS Nimitz’s planned deployment to the Persian Gulf may be delayed. That is raising concern, since the Navy will be down to just one carrier in the region during the months of December and January. Keep reading →
WHIDBEY ISLAND, WASHINGTON: “Every two weeks, we get another Growler,” Cmdr. Christopher Middleton said at the Navy’s electronic warfare hub here. The Navy target is to buy 114 EA-18G Growler aircraft. And it’s those Growler aircraft that will be the cutting edge of future Naval strikes against future “anti-access area denial” defenses like those being built by China.
To break through such defenses, the Navy is very publicly working on a joint “AirSea Battle” concept with the Air Force, but the two services have taken starkly different approaches to defeating enemy radar. Keep reading →
ST. LOUIS: Boeing renewed its campaign to bash Lockheed Martin’s F-35 and promote its F-18 fighters today, as the president of Boeing Military Aircraft slammed the Joint Strike Fighter while noting declining defense budgets here and abroad.
“The F-35 continues to delay and delay,” Christopher Chadwick told a group of reporters at Boeing’s defense headquarters here. “Yes, the F-35 has all-aspect stealth, but that is used in a relatively small part of the combat envelope.” Keep reading →
On July 10, the U.S. Navy released a request for proposals for the first all-new electronic jammer in over 40 years.
It’s about time since the existing ALQ-99 jammer carried on electronic-warfare planes is gradually losing the ability to keep up with joint requirements — not to mention threats. Keep reading →