Apr 17, 2014 15:50 UTC
Latest updates[?]: SAC passes 12,000 flight hours; New infrastructure at Papa AB.
SAC 01: Come to Papa!
The long-range C-17 Globemaster III heavy transport aircraft remains the backbone of US Air Mobility Command inter-theater transport around the world, and its ability to operate from shorter and rougher runways has made it especially useful during the Global War on Terror. Recent buys by Australia, Britain, and Canada have broadened the plane’s its global use. Now NATO, who has relied on the SALIS arrangement and its leased super-giant AN-124s from Russia, is looking to buy and own 3 C-17s as NATO pooled assets with multinational crews. Participating countries will receive allocated flight hours relative to their participation, and thus far they include 12 nations: Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, and the United States.
This order will not materially change the coming shut-down of C-17 production, but it does look like the inauguration of a pool that will fill a gaping hole in Europe’s defense capabilities – its complete lack of heavy airlift. This article covers NATO C-17 acquisition program, including its structure and ongoing announcements.
Program is now an adequate name, as NATO SAC has signed a contract, all 3 aircraft have been delivered, and SAC C-17s have been busy on missions for a couple of years now.
Continue Reading… »
Mar 17, 2014 19:48 UTC
Israel’s attack helicopter fleet still flies AH-1 Cobras, but larger and more heavily armored AH-64 Apache helicopters began arriving in 1990, and have distinguished themselves in a number of war since. The country received 44 AH-64A helicopters from 1990 – 1993. Additional buys, conversions, and losses placed the fleet at 45 helicopters as of Flight Global’s World Air Forces 2013 report, split between AH-64As and more modern AH-64D Longbows.
The AH-64D Longbow’s sophisticated mast-mounted radar can quickly pick up tanks and other dangerous targets, but isn’t designed to distinguish civilians from combatants, or to hover close over the deck in highly populated areas. Confronted by asymmetrical urban warfare and budget priority issues, and faced with a lack of cooperation from the Obama administration, the IAF decided in 2010 to forego AH-64D upgrades for their remaining helicopters. On the other hand, the type’s consistent usefulness has led Israeli to make extensive improvements of their own, to the point where Israel has effectively created their own improved AH-64A configuration…
Continue Reading… »
Jan 19, 2014 16:00 UTC
Latest updates[?]: USNS Spearhead [JHSV 1] completes IOT&E and deploys; JHSV 3 completes acceptance trials; JHSV 4 is launched; Additional Readings sections updated & upgraded.
Austal MRV/JHSV concept
When moving whole units, shipping is always the cheaper, higher-capacity option. Slow speed and port access are the big issues, but what if ship transit times could be cut sharply, and full-service ports weren’t necessary? After Australia led the way by using what amounted to fast car ferries for military operations, the US Army and Navy decided to give it a go. Both services leased Incat TSV/HSV wave-piercing catamaran ship designs, while the Marines’ charged ahead with very successful use of Austal’s Westpac Express high-speed catamaran. These Australian-designed ships all give commanders the ability to roll on a company with full gear and equipment (or roll on a full infantry battalion if used only as a troop transport), haul it intra-theater distances at 38 knots, then move their shallow draft safely into austere ports to roll them off.
Their successful use, and continued success on operations, attracted favorable comment and notice from all services. So favorable that the experiments have led to a $3+ billion program called the Joint High Speed Vessel. These designs may even have uses beyond simple ferrying and transport.
Continue Reading… »
Dec 11, 2013 20:13 UTC
Latest updates[?]: 2013 updates: Spectrum clash with China's Beidou looks unfixable; Early services will be a year late; EU looks for ways to force Europeans to buy Galileo services; 1st 3D position fix from Galileo; GGTO offset for GPS now live; Galileo FOC-1 completes thermal vacuum testing; Global SatNav augmentation systems draw closer together; Article reformatted for milestone clarity; Extensive research links updated & upgraded; Appendix with project history details revised and restored; Full 2003 - 2014 timeline added.
The USA’s Global Positioning System service remains free, but the European Union is spending billions to create an alternative under their own control. In addition to civilian GPS (the Open Service), services to be offered include a Safety of Life Service (SoL) for civil aviation and search and rescue, a paid Commercial Service with accuracy greater than 1 meter, plus a Public Regulated Service (PRS) for use by security authorities and governments. PRS/SoL aims to offer Open Service quality, with added robustness against jamming and the reliable detection of problems within 10 seconds.
Organizational issues and shortfalls in expected progress pushed the “Galileo” project back from its originally intended operational date of 2007 to 2014/15. After a public-private partnership model failed, the EU gained initial-stage approval for its plan to finance the program with tax dollars instead of the expected private investments. Political issues were overcome in 2007 by raiding other EU accounts for the billions required, but by 2011, it became clear that requests for billions more in public funds were on the way. Meanwhile, doubts persist in several quarters about Galileo’s touted economic model. Security concerns regarding China’s early involvement, and its potential Beidou-2/Compass projects, have been equally persistent, and there is good reason to expect that the constellation has a military purpose. On a European political and contractual level, however, Galileo is now irreversible.
This article offers background, players, developments, contracts, and in-depth research links for Galileo, as well as linked EU programs like GIOVE and EGNOS.
Continue Reading… »