- The Air Force put 9 A-10 Warthogs into reserve, pushing the resources fielding those close air support fighters toward the F-35 program.
- The Navy will buy three blocking boats (with an option for a fourth) built in 2008 and 2009 that have been used to service submarines in both the Atlantic and Pacific. The Navy will pay Hornbeck Offshore Services $114 million and retain Hornbeck as the ships’ operator and maintainer through 2025. The Navy telegraphed its intent to sole source this contract back in July.
- People are drawing a connection between the Navy’s renewed interest in plussing up the Growler fleet of jammers and a possible re-think of the military’s reliance on stealth technology for its fighters. Just a few months ago, musing that stealth might be a bad bang-for-the-buck would earn someone incredulous stares. While there has not been much evidence to suggest stealth is going to get dumped from future platforms, it is fast becoming accepted to at least ask the question of whether or not the cost of stealth is worth it, and whether stealth’s efficacy lasts more than a few years of detection technology advancements.
- The Army is test fielding a new mounted version of Blue Force Tracker, the satellite-based situational awareness system for ground combat forces. The primary feature addition of the Joint-Battle Command Platform being touted is quicker and more intuitive communication between operators, including flexible “chat rooms.”
- General Dynamics is reportedly trying to parcel off a piece of the enormous new Army AMPV contract that BAE won. It didn’t actually bid on the contract, but lost a protest in regard to the RFP, and is now attempting to get a congressional mandate that some of the AMPVs (a medical evacuation variant) be wheeled vehicles, which would put them in GD’s area of expertise and exclude the BAE tracked vehicle.
- France in January stood up a centralized joint geointelligence unit, combining their satellite data with other resources to get analyzed information out to commanders via field laptops.
- A German and U.S. delegation will conduct a fly-over of Russia, as delineated in the 2001 Open Skies treaty. They will use the Boeing OC-135B.
- Australia tested JDAM wing kits called the JDAM ER (standing for extended range), tripling range from 24 miles to 72 miles. They were launched out of F/A-18s. The RAAF will purchase the kits later in 2015 pending additional certification tests.
- China is relentlessly publicizing its anti-corruption campaign within its military. This after several scandals came to light about promotion bribery and personal business conflicts of interest. It also may justify an ongoing political consolidation of power under Xi Jinping. The office of the president previously did not have absolute control over the military, but rather shared the authority with two levels of party committees. A couple key competing political figures who were current or former members of those committees have succumbed to very public corruption trials.
- An overview of the Blue Force Tracker system…