Nov 30, 2013 14:24 UTC
B-52H, B-1B & B-2A
The good news? 2006 saw a convergence of opinion within the USAF that a new long-range strike platform was needed. This is understandable given the B-52H Stratofortress fleet’s age (40-50 years), the B-1B Lancer’s internal power and electronics issues, both of these platforms’ low survivability against advanced air defense systems, and the B-2A Spirit stealth bomber’s very small numbers (21, of which 7-12 are generally operational). The unmanned J-UCAS program, meanwhile was seen as having inadequate range and payload (Boeing X-45C: 1,400 mile radius with 8 GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs). The USAF decided that J-UCAS wasn’t a solution and pulled out, stalling American UCAV development until the Navy chose to go ahead with the carrier-based N-UCAS.
The bad news? They seemed to have little idea of exactly what they wanted in their bomber. The FY 2010 budget killed those plans anyway, but in September 2010, pressure to field a new bomber began to rise again. By the time fiscal year 2015 budget planning was in motion, both DoD and the Air Force seemed committed to making the program one of the service’s top 3 priorities.
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Nov 28, 2013 00:55 UTC
It’s that time of year again. For those of you celebrating American Thanksgiving, or who just want a feast, the US Defense Commissary Agency has some tips for cooking turkey, and some recipes. Yummly offers some options for your leftovers.
Our big recommendation: if you’re deep-frying your turkey, be safe. Hundreds of years ago, boiling oil was a weapon we would have covered. Treat it accordingly. Common tips include making 100% sure that adding the turkey to the oil will not cause an overflow or near-overflow. The turkey has displacement, and on top of that, oil will boil up a bit when the moisture of the turkey skin hits it. So test displacement first to figure out the fill line, then make sure the bird is fully thawed, and pat that bird dry inside and out. Fire Marshals also advise people to set up the fryer away from one’s house, on a flat, non-wooden surface, and have oil-rated fire extinguishers handy as you monitor the frying. Keep your home safe, and don’t forget to take precautions for yourself and your family, too.
DID offers thanks to all of our readers, and to all American and allied soldiers in uniform. We’ve added a few stories and updates for our international readers today, but won’t be publishing again until Monday.
Nov 27, 2013 12:18 UTC
Latest updates[?]: Article overhaul, incl. addition of LPD Flight II; Ship timelines brought up to date; Preliminary side-by-side comparison of LPD-17 vs. proposed LPD Flight II; LPD 25 tested & delivered; Work on LPD 17 & LPD 25; Raytheon support contract for shipboard electronics.
LPD-17 San Antonio class amphibious assault support vessels are just entering service with the US Navy, and 11 ships of this class are eventually slated to replace up to 41 previous ships. Much like their smaller predecessors, their mission is to embark, transport, land, and support elements of a US Marine Corps Landing Force. The difference is found in these ships’ size, their cost, and the capabilities and technologies used to perform those missions. Among other additions, this new ship is designed to operate the Marines’ new MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, alongside the standard well decks for hovercraft and amphibious armored personnel carriers.
While its design incorporates notable advances, the number of serious issues encountered in this ship class have been much higher than usual, and more extensive. The New Orleans shipyard to which most of this contract was assigned appears to be part of the problem. Initial ships have been criticized, often, for sub-standard workmanship, and it took 2 1/2 years after the initial ship of class was delivered before any of them could be sent on an operational cruise. Whereupon the USS San Antonio promptly found itself laid up Bahrain, due to oil leaks. It hasn’t been the only ship of its class hurt by serious mechanical issues. Meanwhile, costs are almost twice the originally promised amounts, reaching over $1.6 billion per ship – 2 to 3 times as much as many foreign LPDs like the Rotterdam Class, and more than 10 times as much as Singapore’s 6,600 ton Endurance Class LPD. This article covers the LPD-17 San Antonio Class program, including its technologies, its problems, and ongoing contracts and events.
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Nov 25, 2013 18:56 UTC
Polish Leopard 2A4
Germany is almost done selling off one of the world’s most impressive tank fleets, earning itself a solid market around the world in the process, and choking sales of competitive designs. In November 2013, Poland announced that it would buy a 2nd batch of Leopard 2 tanks from Germany, along with assorted other equipment. As usual, the package price was incredibly cheap: just EUR 180 million for 119 more tanks, plus range training fittings, machine guns, radios; and assorted armored tractors, cars, and trucks. Poland’s next question is what to do with the new gear…
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Nov 24, 2013 13:30 UTC
Latest updates[?]: Weapons options not settled, AESA radar under consideration.
UCAS-D/ N-UCAS concept
The idea of UAVs with full stealth and combat capabilities has come a long way, quickly. Air forces around the world are pursuing R&D programs, but in the USA, progress is being led by the US Navy.
Their interest is well-founded. A May 2007 non-partisan report discussed the lengthening reach of ship-killers. Meanwhile, the US Navy’s carrier fleet sees its strike range shrinking to 1950s distances, and prepares for a future with fewer carrier air wings than operational carriers. Could UCAV/UCAS vehicles with longer ranges, and indefinite flight time limits via aerial refueling, solve these problems? Some people in the Navy seem to think that they might. Hence UCAS-D/ N-UCAS, which received a major push in the FY 2010 defense review. Now, Northrop Grumman is improving its X-47 UCAS-D under contract, even as emerging privately-developed options expand the Navy’s future choices as it works on its new RFP.
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