Monday, August 29, 2005

Off the Wire, 8/29

Additional Navigation Systems for Raptor

Source: Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman (Woodland Hills, CA) has been awarded a contract from Lockheed Martin (Ft. Worth, TX) to supply up to 108 additional GPS/inertial-navigation systems (GINS) for the US Air Force's F/A-22 Raptor to fulfill the critical navigation functions of this advanced fighter aircraft. The GINS provides Raptor pilots with aircraft attitude, heading, velocity, and precise position.
The F/A-22 Raptor multirole air-dominance and strike system is the world's first stealthy military aircraft capable of simultaneously conducting air-to-air and air-to-ground combat missions amid large numbers of sophisticated airborne and ground-based threats. The Raptor's speed, maneuverability, and counter-air and precision-strike weapons allow it to fly both night and day in all weather.
The 53 GINS, and 50 to 55 options, will be delivered under lot 5 and lot 6 of the approximately $9-million contract over the next two years. Assembly and testing of the inertial-navigation systems will take place in Northrop Grumman's Salt Lake City, UT, facility.
The GINS, part of Northrop Grumman's LN-100 inertial-navigation-system product line, is ideal for meeting requirements for low noise outputs and high-accuracy pointing. The LN-100G uses standard embedded GPS modules and supports current GPS mandates. LN-100 technology has been applied to aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, launch vehicles, missiles, fighters, helicopters and unmanned underwater vehicles. The LN-100G – used on both US and international military aircraft, including the F/A-18 and EA-6B – has been selected by more than 70 customers worldwide.

For more on the F/A-22 program, see Raptor: Right or Wrong?


SDB Completes Developmental Testing

Source: Boeing

Four Boeing (St. Louis, MO) Small Diameter Bombs (SDBs) were released on Aug. 25 from two separate carriages on a US Air Force F-15E, testing the full capabilities of the SDB guided-weapon system.
The test at Eglin AFB, FL, was conducted at an altitude of 15,000 feet, approximately 20 nautical miles from four separate targets. After receiving target coordinates, the F-15E crew released the four bombs from two separate BRU-61 carriages. Three of the bombs targeted military trucks on the ground, while the fourth targeted a 40-ft. wall of shipping containers, and each SDB hit its intended target. In addition to accuracy, the test was designed to further demonstrate the optimal trajectory to the target and the terminal-dive angle, heading, and velocity of the weapons.
With the final planned free-flight test in the development test program behind it, the SDB team is scheduled to begin operational testing this fall.
The all-weather SDB weapon system includes four bombs and is compatible with every US fighter and bomber aircraft. It has a standoff range of 60 nautical miles. At 71-in. long, this 250-lb. weapon quadruples the number of weapons on each aircraft can carry. The system will first be deployed on the F-15E Strike Eagle in 2006.

For more on the SDB program, see USAF Tests Small Diameter Bomb.


New Remote-Controlled Weapon Station Passes Field Tests

Source: Rafael

The Remote Controlled Weapon Station (RCWS) 30mm, produced by Rafael Armament Development Authority Ltd. has recently completed a series of successful field tests in Finland and in Israel. Both series were carried out on actual fighting platforms – in Finland on the Patria AMV and in Israel on the Achzarit APC – and covered different combat scenarios at a variety of ranges.
The RCWS-30 was developed for use on any modern, light-armored, high-mobility fighting vehicle (either new or upgraded). Its design provides light weight, low silhouette in its folded-down position (compatible with a C-130 or A400 transport aircraft), generous elevation range (–20° to +60°) in its extended position, unlimited traverse range (±n×360°), and minimal occupation of a vehicle's internal volume. The RCWS-30's remote-control capability enables the gunner to assume a safe position anywhere inside the armored vehicle (and allows an optional take-over by the commander) for the designation of targets and operation of weapons.
The 30mm station is a member of Rafael's RCWS family, which also includes the Enforcer (7.62mm) and the 12.7mm weapon stations. The RCWS-30 is also part of a new company-wide approach that provides its customers with a complete upgrade package for combat vehicles that also includes the Trophy active protection system, reactive or passive armor, the Small Arms Fire Detection System (SADS), and Spike multipurpose missiles (or any other anti-tank guided weapon). The weapon station has been designed for complete integration with existing battle-management systems.

For more on remotely controlled weapon stations, see CROWS Deploying to Iraq.


US Navy Wants Persistent Global Surveillance

Source: Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman (Bethpage, NY) has won one of several contracts from the US Navy to study and recommend solutions to the service's requirement for an around-the-clock, worldwide maritime surveillance capability.
The study contract, named Persistent Unmanned Maritime Airborne Surveillance (PUMAS), is worth approximately $1 million for an initial five-month effort, after which the Navy will downselect its contractors to continue the study for another seven months. Total value of the two efforts could approach $4 million.
"This is a much broader, much deeper study than the name PUMAS implies," said Joseph Garone, director and integrated-product-team leader for advanced-concepts development in the company's Integrated Systems sector. "The Navy's mission is to know what's transpiring on the seas worldwide, around the clock and in real time. Unmanned systems will be a major factor in the equation because of their inherent benefits.
"We must determine how those diverse assets that will make up the Navy force structure in about eight years can be integrated into a net-enabled, family-of-systems environment," Garone continued. "Those assets include manned as well as unmanned vehicles, both air-breathing and space-based, some that are in development today and others that the Navy now operates and will be in service then."

For more on maritime surveillance priorities, see Standing Watch.


Transformation of US Forces in Korea Detailed

Source: US Army

Military transformation on the Korean Peninsula is not just a US program. The South Koreans are also very involved, the top military commander of combined forces in Seoul said. Initiatives have allowed military forces to increase capabilities even as numbers decrease, Army Gen. Leon J. LaPorte said during an interview.
Driving the combined forces command transformation is the need to confront the threats of the future and not the world of the 1950s and 1960s, LaPorte said. The program is based on enhancing, shaping, and aligning the force. In the past three years, American and Korean officials have identified more than 300 enhancements to weapon systems, weapon platforms, intelligence platforms, and command-and-control systems, LaPorte said.
The Republic of Korea has bought fully into the military changes. Koreans will assume responsibility for two thirds of the improvements. These enhancements signal one large change in the military relationship: tremendous improvements in the 645,000-man South Korean military, LaPorte said.
Efforts to shape the combined force continue. "The Koreans are changing their force composition, and they are making adjustments to their organizational structures, and so are we," LaPorte said.
The US will reduce its forces in Korea from 37,500 to 25,000 by 2008. "That is in total agreement with the Republic of Korea," LaPorte said. "They're developing a plan to reduce their forces by (40,000) to 50,000 in the same timeframe."
North Korea continues to threaten the peace in Northwest Asia. Yet the alliance continues to defend against such a threat even while reducing numbers. "You can do that because we're getting tremendous returns on investment from the capital investments we made in enhancements," LaPorte said.
Both US and South Korean forces use precision-guided munitions and capable intelligence platforms, and overall the nations have better weapon systems and better communications than North Korea. "So we're able to not only accomplish our current mission but increase our capabilities," LaPorte said. "At the same time, [we are] reducing the number of personnel it takes to do this."
LaPorte stressed that reductions in US personnel do not mean the US is lessening its commitment to the Republic of Korea. "The Koreans fully understand that," he said. They also understand that, between 2003 and 2006, the US appropriated $11 billion directly related to the security of South Korea. This includes forces on the peninsula and regional forces based in Japan, Guam, Hawaii, and Alaska.
Reinforcement is a large part of the US strategy on the Korean peninsula. "We have increased our pre-positioned sets of equipment, so we can easily bring forces from the region or from the continental United States," LaPorte said. "It is very easy for us to bring back additional combat forces [if needed]."
The US is also transferring missions to South Korean forces, which further helps reshape the forces in Korea. "Perhaps 10 or 15 years ago, [these missions] required US military assistance. Today they don't," LaPorte said.
Examples of the missions transferred include providing security for the truce village of Panmunjom, the counterfire mission that has moved from the US 2nd Infantry Division to Korea's 3rd Army, and weather forecasting.
"There were 10 missions that we agreed to," LaPorte said. "So by allowing the Republic of Korea military to do these missions, it allows us to reduce the number of personnel that we have full-time on the peninsula."

For more on US reorganization in Korea, see US Army to Reorganize Helos in Korea; US, Korea Demo Common Logistical Picture; and US, South Korea Agree on Troop Redeployment.



Near-IR Reflectors for US Army Combat ID

Source: TVI Corp.

TVI Corp. (Glenn Dale, MD) announced it has been awarded a five-year blanket purchase agreement to provide the US Army with near-infrared (IR) reflective materials for combat identification of soldiers on the battlefield.
The company's near-infrared reflective material will be sewn directly into the U.S. military's new Army combat uniforms (ACUs) with the aim of minimizing "friendly-fire" incidents. The material being supplied by TVI includes an American flag emblem that is an infrared feedback signal and separate infrared squares sewn into the shoulders of the uniform to identify troops at night. These elements reflect infrared signals to communicate with equipment carried by friendly forces.
The ACUs are currently in production and are expected to be available to the entire Army by 2007.

For more on US combat ID, see State the Password.


Avionics Testers Ordered for JSF

Source: ViaSat

ViaSat, Inc. (Carlsbad, CA), has won a $19.8-million award from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics (Ft. Worth, TX) to supply a Communication Navigation and Identification Function Stimulator (CFS) for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). The contract period of performance is 30 months. Lockheed Martin will add the new ViaSat system to its mission-system-integration lab in Ft. Worth, TX, where avionics-system integration is proceeding in preparation for the first flight of the F-35.
Radio-frequency (RF) stimulators produce a variety of simultaneous signals that simulate a communications environment for testing communication, navigation, identification, and weapon-system devices. Even after each individual subsystem is tested, the interaction of all equipment on board the aircraft can create additional problems in avionics systems as they select and process the desired signals. Measuring total system performance is possible only in the presence of complex time-varying RF stimulation that tests not only the equipment but also the operational procedures to respond to various tactical situations as well.
The F-35 is a next-generation, supersonic, multirole aircraft designed to replace the AV-8B Harrier, A-10, F-16, F/A-18 Hornet, and the UK’s Harrier GR.7 and Sea Harrier. Three versions of the F-35, each derived from a common design, will ensure that the F-35 meets the performance needs of the US Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy; the UK Royal Air Force and Royal Navy; and allied defense forces worldwide.

For more on the JSF program, see JSF International.


Galileo Payload Testing Underway

Source: European Space Agency

Testing of the first Galileo satellites, which form part of what is called the Galileo System Test Bed (GSTB), is underway. One of the two satellites arrived at the ESA-ESTEC test facilities in late July, while the payload of the other spacecraft is now being tested in Italy.
The payload of the GTSB-V2/B satellite, being developed by Galileo Industries, is just completing a first series of tests at the Alenia Spazio facilities in Rome. In particular, the specially developed navigation payload has been subjected to a range of extreme temperatures in a vacuum. This simulation of the space environment realistically validates the payload's performance in orbit.
The campaign will continue with mechanical testing. The payload's functionality will have to be proven while exposed to strong vibration, high acoustic-noise levels, and shock, as encountered during launch. Whereas the mechanical investigations can be considered standard satellite testing, the first validation in the thermal vacuum environment had been awaited with special interest, as it has given early feedback on the in-orbit performance of the newly developed payload.
The GSTB-V2/B satellite features several new technologies that are considered cornerstones in the development of the Galileo navigation payload. One of the most prominent and also most critical developments is the Passive Hydrogen Maser (PHM), an extremely accurate clock that has been developed under a European Space Agency (ESA) contract. The PHM will be the first of its kind to be flown in space and have its performance tested in a realistic environment. The GSTB-V2/B PHM will be the most accurate atomic clock in orbit and will open the door for a wide range of high-precision navigation applications as targeted by the Galileo System. The higher timekeeping accuracy will enable better performance than current global navigation satellite systems.
The results obtained during the first testing in a simulated space environment are very promising and constitute a major milestone in the validation of technology specifically developed for the Galileo System. The tests included simultaneous transmission on three Galileo carrier frequencies (L1, E5, and E6 bands) where, besides the PHM, two rubidium atomic clocks can be selected in combination with the onboard signal-generation unit to produce representative Galileo signals.
The recent data and experience gained with the GSTB-V2/B test campaign are being directly transferred into the development of the Galileo System since Galileo Industries is also the prime contractor to the ESA for the development and roll-out of the Galileo infrastructure.
The completed GSTB-V2/B satellite will weigh 485 kg. Its modular design consists of two cubes, one dedicated to the payload and the other, known as the platform module, to the spacecraft's control and operations subsystems. The overall external dimensions (excluding the deployable solar arrays) will be 1?1?2.4 m. The solar arrays will generate about 940 W of power. The spacecraft is designed for a lifetime of three years in the Galileo orbit (24,000 km). The other Galileo satellite, GSTB-V2/A, is being developed by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. of the UK. The spacecraft test campaign is continuing in the ESA ESTEC Test Center, where thermal balance and vacuum testing have been completed.

For more on the Galileo program, see EU's Rival to GPS Enters Next Stage.


Hungarian L-39 Upgrades Completed

Source: Aero Vodochody

Aero Vodochody (Odolena Voda, Czech Republic) handed the last of eight L-39ZOs aircraft with an extended service life to the Hungarian Air Force (HuAF) on Aug. 25.
Under the service-life extension, the aircraft underwent large-scale checks of the airframe, as well as its systems.
AERO Vodochody, as an original L-39 producer, offers service-life extension programs, which were developed on the basis of service experience with the L-39 aircraft in a large number of countries, as well as experience with unique L-39 airframe testing.
Other companies apart from Aero Vodochody also participated on the service-life-extension program, including Air Workshop Base (Kecskemet, Hungary).

For more on Hungarian air force modernization, see First Hungarian Gripen Takes to the Air.


USMC Details Training for SIGINT Platoons

Source: US Marine Corps

To US Marines, certain tools of the trade are necessary to ensure victory: the rifles, bombs and knives of combat; the wrenches and hammers of fixing and building; the shovels and barbed wire of entrenchment and defense. The usefulness of these tools and the ability of Marines to employ them in defeat of an enemy or accomplishment of an objective is amplified greatly by another tool: intelligence. Knowing where the enemy is and what he is doing allows the infantryman, mechanic and engineer to craft a strategy specific to the precise picture on the ground.
Gathering this intelligence usually falls to highly specialized units of reconnaissance Marines. The “recon” community is small and tightly knit. Parallel to this community, however, there is a smaller group of Marines who gather a specific brand of information called signals intelligence (SIGINT). This mission falls to the leathernecks of radio-reconnaissance platoons. One such platoon is with 2nd Radio Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), at Camp Lejeune, NC.
Radio-reconnaissance platoons (RRPs) are units organic to radio battalions. They draw Marines from the SIGINT and linguist military occupational specialties, said 26-year-old Sgt. Jason D. Martinez, RRP platoon sergeant, 2nd Radio Battalion, II MEF. “We’re basically signals-intelligence Marines with recon training,” said Martinez. A RRP serves as the eyes of the commander on the battlefield, said Martinez, gathering SIGINT to paint a picture of where the enemy is, what he is doing, and how he is communicating. “The mission is to basically provide a radio battalion asset where it’s not feasible for the entire battalion to go forward. We send in a six-man team that is capable of producing a view of the battlefield for the commander,” he said.
Not just anyone from the battalion can walk into a RRP. Radio recon holds an intensive indoctrination for its Marines, described by Martinez as more involved than the one held by battalion or force reconnaissance units. The reasoning for the difficult indoctrination is to prepare the RRP Marines for the physical demands of serving and training with other recon units from around the US Marine Corps (USMC), said Martinez. This includes several highly coveted schools as part of the RRP-training pipeline. “We go through the amphibious reconnaissance school, jump and [Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape] school. From there, they’ll go into more mission-specific stuff, to become analysts or better qualified with language skills,” he said.
The indoctrination consists of five main events. On the first day of the indoctrination is physical-fitness training. The candidate must achieve a first-class PFT. From the PFT course, the candidates go directly to the pool, for a 500-m swim in full camouflage utility uniform, a 25-m underwater swim and retrieving and towing a 10-lb. brick to simulate a rifle with full magazine. The next day, Marines do a “boots-and-utes” run – running in camouflage trousers and boots – to the obstacle course, which they must complete two times back-to-back in under six minutes. After a break, they do another boots-and-utes run, this time six miles, with mock rifles. Directly from there is a strenuous 30-km land-navigation course. For the duration of the course, which can last up to three days, candidates will have on their back an 80-lb. rucksack and a mock rifle. This course is an individual effort on the part of the Marine, who is sent out into the woods for the duration of the land-navigation course alone, with only a two-way radio for use in an emergency.
“It’s a big judge of their character when they’re out there on their own,” said Sgt. Edward A. Tague, RRP operator, 2nd Radio Battalion, II MEF. “They’ll sit down to take a break and all kinds of crazy thoughts start running through their heads. It’s then [that] they decide if they’re going to finish.”
Of the class of 13 Marines that began the indoctrination regimen used in this story, only three remained one day into the land-navigation course. All three were thoroughly exhausted from the days of physical effort exerted in completing the previous events. One of those Marines, Cpl. Joshua N. Trigg, RRP candidate, reflected on the past four days’ events. “Basically, everything wears you down before this,” said Trigg. “Eighty pounds, lots of miles -- it’s rough. The last mile is miles away.”

For more on US Marine modernization, see 'Small Wars' the Norm for USMC.

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