December 1, 2023

F-35 Lightning: The Joint Strike Fighter Program

F-35B: off probation (click to view full) The $382 billion F-35 Joint Strike fighter program may well be the largest single global defense program in history. This major multinational program is intended to produce an “affordably stealthy” multi-role fighter that will have 3 variants: the F-35A conventional version for the US Air Force et. al.; […]
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November 29, 2023

KC-46A Pegasus Aerial Tanker Completes Firsts

KC-135: Old as the hills… (click to view full) DID’s FOCUS articles cover major weapons acquisition programs – and no program is more important to the USAF than its aerial tanker fleet renewal. In January 2007, the big question was whether there would be a competition for the USA’s KC-X proposal, covering 175 production aircraft […]
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November 29, 2023

Flexible G/ATORs: The USMC's Multi-Mission AESA Ground Radars

G/ATOR diorama (click to view full) The US military’s long run of unquestioned air superiority has led to shortcuts in mobile land-based air defenses, and the US Marines are no exception. A December 2005 release from Sen. Schumer’s office [D-NY] said that: “Current radar performance does not meet operational forces requirements… consequences could potentially allow […]
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November 28, 2023

MQ-9 Reaper: Unfettered for Export

0 Reaper, ready… (click to view full) The MQ-9 Reaper UAV, once called “Predator B,” is somewhat similar to the famous Predator. Until you look at the tail. Or its size. Or its weapons. It’s called “Reaper” for a reason: while it packs the same surveillance gear, it’s much more of a hunter-killer design. Some […]
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November 27, 2023

CH-53K: The U.S. Marines' HLR Helicopter Program

CH-53K concept (click to view full) The U.S. Marines have a problem. They rely on their CH-53E Super Stallion medium-heavy lift helicopters to move troops, vehicles, and supplies off of their ships. But the helicopters are wearing out. Fast. The pace demanded by the Global War on Terror is relentless, and usage rates are 3 […]
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November 24, 2023

The Fighter Still Remains... The Boxer MRAV APC Family

Boxer MRAV (click to view full) Wheeled armored vehicles have become much more common, but the Dutch-German Boxer stands out from the crowd. Its English acronym is “Multi Role Armoured Vehicle” (MRAV), but rather than being a family of different vehicles, the Boxer will use a single chassis, with snap-in modules for different purposes from […]
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Boeing conducts MQ-25 deck handling demonstration at its facility in St. Louis,
November 22, 2023

UCLASS to be Descoped for CBARS Conversion AKA MQ-25 Stingray

UCAS-D/ N-UCAS concept (click to view full) 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 […]
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November 21, 2023

Tomahawk's Chops: xGM-109 Block IV Cruise Missiles

Block IV Cutaway (click to view full) Block IV Tomahawk is the current generation of the Tomahawk family of cruise missiles. The BGM-109 Tomahawk family began life in the 1980s as sub-sonic, low-flying nuclear strike weapons, before being developed into long-range RGM/UGM-109 conventional attack missiles. They’re most frequently launched from submarines and surface ships, and […]
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November 21, 2023

Serious Dollars for AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD)

AEGIS-BMD: CG-70 launches SM-3 (click to view full) The AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense System seamlessly integrates the SPY-1 radar, the MK 41 Vertical Launching System for missiles, the SM-3 Standard missile, and the ship’s command and control system, in order to give ships the ability to defend against enemy ballistic missiles. Like its less-capable AEGIS […]
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November 21, 2023

RIM-162 ESSM Missile: Naval Anti-Air in a Quad Pack

RIM-162: sections (click to view full) The RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) is used to protect ships from attacking missiles and aircraft, and is designed to counter supersonic maneuvering anti-ship missiles. Compared to the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow, ESSM is effectively a new missile with a larger, more powerful rocket motor for increased range, a […]
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air hh 60ms global medic 2010 lg
November 13, 2023

Sikorsky's $8.5-11.7B "Multi-Year 8" H-60 Helicopter Contract

US Army HH-60Ms (click to view full) In July 2012, the US military signed another huge contract with Sikorsky. With production of the Army’s HH/UH-60M, and the Navy’s MH-60S and MH-60R helicopters, all in full swing, there’s no question about the need for future orders. In that environment, multi-year contracts allow efficiencies in purchasing, and […]
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air bams gulfstream ii test bed
November 14, 2023

The MQ-4C Triton: Poseidon's Unmanned Herald

BAMS Operation Concept (click to view full) The world’s P-3 Orion fleets have served for a long time, and many are reaching the end of their lifespans. In the USA, and possibly beyond, the new P-8 Poseidon Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft will take up the P-3’s role. While the P-8’s base 737-based airframe offers strong service […]
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b 2, b 1 and b 52 in flight
November 14, 2023

USAF New Bomber - B-21 - Gets a Base

B-52H, B-1B & B-2A (click to view full) 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 […]
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air p 8a mma changed wing lg
November 14, 2023

P-8 Poseidon MMA: Long-Range Maritime Patrol, and More

P-8A Poseidon (click to view full) Maritime surveillance and patrol is becoming more and more important, but the USA’s P-3 Orion turboprop fleet is falling apart. The P-7 Long Range Air ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) Capable Aircraft program to create an improved P-3 began in 1988, but cost overruns, slow progress, and interest in opening the […]
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air f 35b testing stovl pax 2011 lg
November 15, 2023

F-35 Lightning: The Joint Strike Fighter Program

  F-35B: off probation (click to view full) The $382 billion F-35 Joint Strike fighter program may well be the largest single global defense program in history. This major multinational program is intended to produce an “affordably stealthy” multi-role fighter that will have 3 variants: the F-35A conventional version for the US Air Force et. […]
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air uav mq 9 reaper armed frontal taxiing lg
November 16, 2023

MQ-9 Reaper: Unfettered for Export

0 Reaper, ready… (click to view full) The MQ-9 Reaper UAV, once called “Predator B,” is somewhat similar to the famous Predator. Until you look at the tail. Or its size. Or its weapons. It’s called “Reaper” for a reason: while it packs the same surveillance gear, it’s much more of a hunter-killer design. Some […]
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wmd trident ii d 5 test launch
November 17, 2023

Trident II D5 Missile: Keeping Up with Changing Times

Trident II D5 Test Launch (click to view full) Nuclear tipped missiles were first deployed on board US submarines at the height of the Cold War in the 1960s, to deter a Soviet first strike. The deterrence theorists argued that, unlike their land-based cousins, submarine-based nuclear weapons couldn’t be taken out by a surprise first […]
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air v 22 cutaway lg
November 20, 2023

V-22 Osprey: The Multi-Year Buys

(click to view full) In March 2008, the Bell Boeing Joint Project Office in Amarillo, TX received a $10.4 billion modification that converted the previous N00019-07-C-0001 advance acquisition contract to a fixed-price-incentive-fee, multi-year contract. The new contract rose to $10.92 billion, and was used to buy 143 MV-22 (for USMC) and 31 CV-22 (Air Force […]
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pub e 2d collage lg
November 6, 2023

E-2D Hawkeye: The Navy's New AWACS

(click to view full) Northrop Grumman’s E-2C Hawkeye is a carrier-capable “mini-AWACS” aircraft, designed to give long-range warning of incoming aerial threats. Secondary roles include strike command and control, land and maritime surveillance, search and rescue, communications relay, and even civil air traffic control during emergencies. E-2C Hawkeyes began replacing previous Hawkeye versions in 1973. […]
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ship ssbn x concept lg
November 7, 2023

SSBN-X Subs: Congressmen Promote Refresh, Have Sub Bases in Districts

SSBN-X concept (click to view full) The US Navy needs new SSBN nuclear missile submarines. Their existing Ohio Class boats will begin to retire at a rate of 1 hull per year, beginning in 2027, as they reach the end of their 42-year operational lifetimes. Hence SSBN-X, also known as the Ohio Replacement Program for […]
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