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November 10, 2023

Airfields Afloat: The USA's New Gerald Ford Class Super-Carriers

USA’s Nimitz Class & UK’s Invincible Class (click to view full) Some nations have aircraft carriers. The USA has super-carriers. The French Charles De Gaulle Class nuclear carriers displace about 43,000t. India’s new Vikramaditya/ Admiral Gorshkov Class will have a similar displacement. The future British CVF Queen Elizabeth Class and related French PA2 Project are expected to displace about 65,000t, while the British Invincible Class carriers that participated in the Falklands War weigh in at just 22,000t. Invincible actually compares well to Italy’s excellent new Cavour Class (27,000t), and Spain’s Principe de Asturias Class (17,000t). The USA’s Nimitz Class and CVN-21 Gerald R. Ford Class, in contrast, fall in the 90,000+ tonne range. Hence their unofficial designation: “super-carriers”. Just one of these ships packs a more potent air force than many nations. Nimitz Class cutaway (click to view full) As the successor to the 102,000 ton Nimitz Class super-carriers, the CVN-21 program aimed to increase aircraft sortie generation rates by 20%, increase survivability to better handle future threats, require fewer sailors, and have depot maintenance requirements that could support an increase of up to 25% in operational availability. The combination of a new design nuclear propulsion plant and an improved […]
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March 20, 2023

Airfields Afloat: The USA's New Gerald Ford Class Super-Carriers

USA’s Nimitz Class & UK’s Invincible Class (click to view full) Some nations have aircraft carriers. The USA has super-carriers. The French Charles De Gaulle Class nuclear carriers displace about 43,000t. India’s new Vikramaditya/ Admiral Gorshkov Class will have a similar displacement. The future British CVF Queen Elizabeth Class and related French PA2 Project are expected to displace about 65,000t, while the British Invincible Class carriers that participated in the Falklands War weigh in at just 22,000t. Invincible actually compares well to Italy’s excellent new Cavour Class (27,000t), and Spain’s Principe de Asturias Class (17,000t). The USA’s Nimitz Class and CVN-21 Gerald R. Ford Class, in contrast, fall in the 90,000+ tonne range. Hence their unofficial designation: “super-carriers”. Just one of these ships packs a more potent air force than many nations. Nimitz Class cutaway (click to view full) As the successor to the 102,000 ton Nimitz Class super-carriers, the CVN-21 program aimed to increase aircraft sortie generation rates by 20%, increase survivability to better handle future threats, require fewer sailors, and have depot maintenance requirements that could support an increase of up to 25% in operational availability. The combination of a new design nuclear propulsion plant and an improved […]
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October 7, 2022

Airfields Afloat: The USA's New Gerald Ford Class Super-Carriers

USA’s Nimitz Class & UK’s Invincible Class (click to view full) Some nations have aircraft carriers. The USA has super-carriers. The French Charles De Gaulle Class nuclear carriers displace about 43,000t. India’s new Vikramaditya/ Admiral Gorshkov Class will have a similar displacement. The future British CVF Queen Elizabeth Class and related French PA2 Project are expected to displace about 65,000t, while the British Invincible Class carriers that participated in the Falklands War weigh in at just 22,000t. Invincible actually compares well to Italy’s excellent new Cavour Class (27,000t), and Spain’s Principe de Asturias Class (17,000t). The USA’s Nimitz Class and CVN-21 Gerald R. Ford Class, in contrast, fall in the 90,000+ tonne range. Hence their unofficial designation: “super-carriers”. Just one of these ships packs a more potent air force than many nations. Nimitz Class cutaway (click to view full) As the successor to the 102,000 ton Nimitz Class super-carriers, the CVN-21 program aimed to increase aircraft sortie generation rates by 20%, increase survivability to better handle future threats, require fewer sailors, and have depot maintenance requirements that could support an increase of up to 25% in operational availability. The combination of a new design nuclear propulsion plant and an improved […]
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October 28, 2020

Administrations and Defense Procurement Spending

As the U.S. decides who will be president for the next four years a review of procurement spending indicates that the Trump Administration has shown little difference in appropriations versus previous administrations, despite claims to have radically increased spending. The upshot is that the last four years saw about $2.9 in spending appropriated in inflation-adjusted dollars, which was larger than Barak Obama’s second term, but less than the Obama Administration’s first term. President Trump’s campaign speech claims of spending during his term relative to previous terms are incorrect. President Trump claimed this year that military spending in the 90s “used to be ‘million.’ And then, about 10 years ago, you started hearing ‘billion.’ And now you’re starting to hear ‘trillion,’ right?” Of course, U.S. defense spending hit the billions in the late 1940s, and recent spending has been on pace with spending from the decade previous. The Trump Administration has done little to change the often-criticized Pentagon trend of investing more money in fewer pieces of equipment, such as fighter jets that cost a quarter billion dollars each when fully kitted out. The navy is running fewer ships that each cost more. Previous administrations did no better in reversing this […]
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September 13, 2014

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September 13, 2014

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September 13, 2014

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September 13, 2014

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September 13, 2014

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September 13, 2014

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February 26, 2016

Canadians Unhappy with Defense Procurement, Looking at F-35 Alternative

F-35 AA-1(click to view full) Liberal versus Conservative politics are dominating the coverage of Canadian self examination of their defense procurement process. Conservatives came to power criticizing a broken and opaque process run by the Liberals, and now the Liberals are enjoying throwing similar barbs at the majority party. But in the fray, several interesting analyses have surfaced that the defense establishment is taking seriously. The Harper government insists that a defense procurement overhaul conducted last year has yet to toll, and that patience is needed to prove that things have improved. By far, the largest effect is exerted by the major fighter and ship programs, which evolve in year and decade timescales. As to the actual content of the report, much blame is placed at the cutting of procurement staff levels, which have been halved over the past 20 years. Also unpopular among the procurement officials are rafts of the new reporting requirements – reportedly up by about 50 percent – that are part of the Harper governments reforms. Separately, the objectives of major defense procurement projects have also been called into question. Because the F-35 has greatest advantage in the objective of overpowering a state with top anti-air […]
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August 3, 2008

Joint Heavy Lift Program: Breakthrough, Borg, or Backwater?

JHL: QTR Concept(click to view full) In 2005, the US military and NASA announced the kickoff of the Army-led Joint Heavy Lift program, with the award of 5 contracts for the Concept Design and Analysis (CDA) of a Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) Joint Heavy Lift (JHL) rotorcraft. This is a futuristic aircraft that’s imagined as having the C-130 Hercules aircraft’s 20 ton cargo capacity, but with the ability to take off and land like a helicopter. No current US military helicopter platform even comes close to that vision, and so the competitors are deploying some radical and different technologies in their attempts to meet these goals. CH-53E Super Stallion At the same time, the US Marine Corps’ vital medium-heavy lift CH-53E Super Sea Stallion helicopters are beginning to to wear out their airframes. Hence the HLR Heavy Lift Replacement (HLR) program, aimed at fielding new-build CH-53K aircraft beginning in 2013-2015. The US Air Force, meanwhile, has its AJACS program, which aims to produce a C-130 replacement beginning around 2020. All 3 programs may face a rough ride ahead. Runaway cost growth on numerous US defense programs, operational demands, and a looming demographic crisis in social programs all work to […]
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November 1, 2012

Portugal Picks Pandur-II Wheeled APCs

General Dynamics European Land Combat Systems has just finished negotiations to produce 260 Pandur II armored combat vehicles for the Government of Portugal. Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeug GmbH of Vienna, Austria, will be the program manager and system integrator for this $482 million (€365 million) contract, with participation from other General Dynamics European Land Combat Systems elements in Europe and vehicle co-production in Portugal. Read more...
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February 6, 2006

The USA's 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review: Report & Reactions

As of Friday, February 3, 2006, the USA’s 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review has been released. As Title 10, Section 118 stipulates, the QDR’s Congressional mandate is: The Secretary of Defense shall every four years… conduct a comprehensive examination (to be known as a “quadrennial defense review”) of the national defense strategy, force structure, force modernization plans, infrastructure, budget plan, and other elements of the defense program and policies of the United States with a view toward determining and expressing the defense strategy of the United States and establishing a defense program for the next 20 years. DID has a roundup of relevant resources and links:
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March 7, 2005

F-15K's First Flight Successful

The F-15K Strike Eagle made its first flight in St. Louis last week. Flown by Boeing Chief F-15 Test Pilot Joe Felock and Chief Weapons Systems Officer Rick Junkin, the F-15K completed an aggressive speed run easily surpassing Mach 2, accomplished both engine shut-downs and restarts, and passed instrument and avionics checks of primary backup systems.
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October 20, 2005

U.S. Navy Exploring New Concepts, Procurement Priorities for ASW

Modern diesel submarines have advanced propulsion systems and coatings that eliminate echoes, many of these submarines cannot be detected with the current sonar technologies aboard the Navy's nuclear-powered submarines and surface ships. As nations in Asia and beyond race to buy advanced diesel submarines, Navy planners anticipate that adversaries will try to deny U.S. forces access to key strategic coastal areas. In response, the US Navy's Antisubmarine Warfare (ASW) Task Force is preparing for that future with a new "concept of operations" that includes new tactics and new technologies....
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March 10, 2005

Eyak Receives $5M for Network Engineering & Systems

Small Business qualifier Eyak Technology (EyakTek) LLC of Reston, VA received a $5 million firm-fixed-price contract for IT Unclassified and Classified Network Equipment and IT Systems. This sole-source contract was initiated on Dec. 13, 2004, and completion is expected by Aug. 31, 2005. Work will be performed in Fairfax, VA. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency at Fort Belvoir, VA issued the contract (HDTRA1-05-C-0014).
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March 2, 2005

DCIS Investigating Former Acquisition Managers

GovExec.com notes that the Defense Department is investigating a pool of former senior military and civilian Defense managers now working for government contractors for possible criminal violations of federal conflict-of-interest rules. The Defense Criminal Investigative Service(DCIS) is heading the investigation. They declined to say how many former officials were under investigation, but noted that most worked in the acquisition field. DCIS launched its review, known as the Senior Official Project, eight months ago. It covers former civilian and military managers who negotiated and managed large contracts at the Pentagon after 2001 and then went to work in the defense industry. The project was a result of the admission by former Air Force acquisition official Darleen Druyun admission that she favored Boeing in contract negotiations in exchange for jobs for herself and family members.
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February 24, 2005

Raven UAV Draws Raves From The Field

The Army News Service reports that the tiny Raven drone's aerial reconnaissance value has quickly earned the respect of battalion commanders in Iraq, filling a niche at the battalion level when larger UAVs are unavailable. The Raven is the result of fast-tracked development and procurement practices that began in 2002. More inside...
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October 23, 2006

The USA's FY 2007 Defense Budget

The US Department of Defense has submitted its FY 2007 budget request for $439.3 billion. This is 7% more than the FY 2006 request, but slightly less than the $441.5 billion eventually appropriated by Congress in the FY 2006 budget. Note that this is just the first step in a long process that involves bills drawn up in both the House of Representatives and the US Senate, which will add some things, subtract others, and impose conditions. Then the House and Senate bills must be reconciled in committee into one common bill for the President to sign into law. Last year’s FY 2006 budget, introduced in February 2005, was finally signed into law on December 30, 2005. This budget would wait until October 17, 2006 for Presidential signature as Public Law No. 109-364. It provides $462.8 billion in budget authority, and Senate and House conferees added the $70 billion defense supplemental budget request to the act – overall, therefore, the act authorizes $532.8 billion for FY 2007. Because this budget was put together in parallel with the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, it bears some imprints from that process and begins to implement some of the QDR’s proposed directions. Rather than […]
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