Thursday, January 07, 2010

ADVANCE PRECISION KILL WEAPON SYSTEM....

CBD sent me this link on the APKWS...its from Trimble's DewLine Blogspot

US Navy wants rockets for 'Hogs and Harriers

How about A-10s and AV-8Bs firing 2.75-in, precision-guided rockets!

The US Navy posted this presolicitation notice on the fbo.gov web site earlier this week. Apparently, the US Air Force or Air National Guard is also on board, hence the A-10s.

Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) intends to award a sole source contract to BAE Systems, Nashua, NH for the FY10-12 development of the Fixed Wing (FW) Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) II for AV-8B and A-10 platforms to support a Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD). It is anticipated that the resultant contract shall be Cost-Plus Incentive Fee type for the development of FW APKWS II weapons that show operational utility upon integration with AV-8B and A-10 platforms. Fifty (50) FW APKWS II plus FW APKWS II tests units (quantities TBD) including Navy Shipping and Storage Containers (NSSC) are to be delivered for technical demonstrations and operational assessments.

What kills me about the whole issue is that BAE has been working on this since 2006.  I guess I shouldn't be too critical because the process to make 2.75 rockets into precision missiles can't be easy.  And the benefit is scary cool.  Instead of a max load out of 16 hellfires (on a cool day) what you can carry instead is (theoretically) 52 rounds of precision munitions...consider them mini-Hellfires...this could be game changing when it comes to aerial support for the ground forces.  Even in conventional combat against regular forces alot of times a Hellfire is overkill.  This could be interesting.  Note the range capability...up to 5kilometers...not too shabby!

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FINALLY A NAVAL OFFICER (RET) SPEAKS THE TRUTH...

This is via ALERT5 from the Washington Times.  You can read the whole thing for yourself on the site but here are some highlights....

There is no question Maj. Hasan should have been court-martialed based on the previous known fact that he was communicating with the enemy, the Yemen-based radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki on jihadism. This failure resulted in 14 Americans (including an unborn child) losing their lives in the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001. Military commanders who had oversight responsibilities for Maj. Hasan must be held accountable. 

Then there's the case of the three elite U.S. Navy SEALs from SEAL Team 10 who face criminal charges after capturing one of the most wanted terrorists in Iraq, Ahmed Hashim Abed. This man was credited with the murder and mutilations of four American security guards in Fallujah. Their bodies were burned and dragged through the city, then two of the bodies were hung from a bridge. The charges against the SEALs are based on an accusation that the terrorist was punched in the stomach and had a "bloody lip." 

When you consider that the Defense Department is well aware of the al Qaeda training manual that provides guidance to its terrorists that if "they are captured, they should claim they were tortured and/or mal-treated," the absurdity is obvious.
In November, the The Washington Times compiled an informal list of current ROEs in Afghanistan. The ROEs are said to reflect a change in our operating culture and put the Afghan people first. A partial list includes:
c No night or surprise searches.
c Villagers have to be warned prior to searches.
c U.S. soldiers may not fire at the enemy unless the enemy is preparing to fire first.
c U.S. forces cannot engage the enemy if civilians are present.
c U.S. forces can fire at an "insurgent" if they catch him placing an improvised explosive device but not if "insurgents" are walking away from an area where explosives have been laid.
Clearly, political correctness has had its impact. There have been too many instances where our forces have been put in jeopardy because we did not employ available capabilities for fear of collateral damage.

Like I said read the rest over at Washington Times.  It appears that while many are still playing the Washington game of sitting in rooms solving problems that don't exist, some at least (even though they're retired) have the pulse of the military and are seeking to solve the real issues of our times.  Too bad they won't be listened to.



Sea Strategy...

Most analyst (who inevitably talk too much while saying too little) like the nuanced approach to naval operations with this strategy(SC-21), but the reason why it is failing now and will continue to fail in the future is because the discussion of warfighting is not at its core.

It is also another reason why the "New Navy Warfighting Machine" is getting so much play.  Instead of soft power silliness, Naval thinkers are focused on developing a Navy with real combat power.  If it is as I contend then the end of the Revolution of Military Affairs for the US Navy is over.  Getting back into the fight is now fashionable.  Unfortunately these same Naval thinkers aren't as artistic as those that came before.  They made what they had on hand work....Is there a reason why we can't engage the pirate issue with what we have on hand now?  Is there a reason why a Expeditionary Strike Group can't be deployed off the coast of North Africa along with other ships to ensure safe passage of commercial ships?  Of course not, but instead of lobbying for action now, these so called thinkers are wrapping themselves around the axle on Washington games of what the next fleet should look like.  Pathetic.



THE SPARTAN SOLOMON????

AH!  My name sake dies in the first few minutes.  That sucks.

VMFAT-501 FLEET REPLACEMENT SQUADRON (F-35B)

Well if you want information on the new squadron tasked with training F-35B pilots it right here....
OFFICIAL WEBSITE FOR VMFAT-501
Unfortunately it doesn't tell ya much.  What it does tell you is...

1.  The Commanding Officer is Lt. Col. James Wellons
2.  A re-activation ceremony for VMFA-451 is 01April2010 in Pensacola, FL.
3.  The re-designation ceremony for VMFAT-501 is 02April2010 on the flight line at Eglin
4.  A SgtMajor for the new unit hasn't been selected yet
5.  It will fall under Marine Air Group 31 which falls under 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing which is subordinate to the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force
6.  No Further Information!

Its to be expected that information is sparse at this time.  I imagine things will be fleshed out pretty quickly now.  This piece of the puzzle is extremely important if IOC of 2012 is to be achieved.  It will be interesting to watch.




BMPT...TANK PROTECTOR SUPREME...PART 2.

Video of the BMPT....

BMPT...TANK PROTECTOR SUPREME...



The BMPT is an unusual solution to a vexing problem.  Before the "Thunder Run" into Baghdad, the Russians did the same to less than favorable results in Chechnya.  Their solution to the problem of Infantry chewing up their heavy armor with missile ambushes and attacking from high up in buildings was the BMPT.

BMPT
Type
Combat Vehicle
Place of origin
Russia
Specifications
Weight
47 tonnes (46 LT; 52 ST)
Length
6.96 metres (22.8 ft)
Width
3.46 metres (11.4 ft)
Height
2.10 metres (6.9 ft)
Crew
5

Secondary
armament
1 x 7.62mm machine gun
Engine
W92S2 diesel
736kW (1000bhp)
Suspension
torsion bar
Operational
range
550 kilometres (340 mi)
Speed
65 kilometres per hour (40 mph)

This is a simple and not entirely elegant solution to a vexing problem.  Previous solutions to the problem of attacking Infantry was to develop the BMP and Bradley type vehicles.  Then the scales swung toward developing wheeled vehicles that were pure Armored Personnel Carriers, yet fast enough (supposedly) to keep up with tanks in the assault.  Now the Russians at least, have moved toward keeping their mechanized elements swift moving by weaponizing tank hulls to deal specifically with the Infantry threat.  I like it.


A COMPETITION PROTEST I CAN SUPPORT...

This is via DefenseNews.com....

FMV Re-Runs AMV tender

By Gerard O'Dwyer

Helsinki - FMV has relaunched an international tender for the Swedish Armed Force's (SAF) next-generation armored modular vehicles. Bids must be received by March 9.
The original armored modular vehicles' (AMV) project was abandoned when BAE Systems Hägglunds appealed FMV's decision to award the $340 million AMV contract to Finland's Patria in June 2009. BAE Systems Hägglunds claimed the FMV-managed bid process lacked fairness and transparency.

BAE Systems Hägglunds, one of the two short-listed contenders, appealed the FMV decision to Sweden's County Administrative court, which upheld the British-American defense group's complaint and ordered FMV to hold a new competition. The overturned contract had included delivery of 113 Patria AMV eight-wheel-drive vehicles, which Patria's Land & Armaments' unit had planned to assemble at its home-manufacturing base in Finland, and together with partner groups in Sweden.

The new process retains core aspects of the initial format, seeking bids for armored all-terrain wheeled vehicles. FMV expects to be in a position to sign a new contract by July. This time frame fits into the SAF's demand for delivery of the first batch of AMVs in 2014.

BAE Systems Hägglunds and Patria have both tendered new bids. The American-British defense group's bid will again center on the Spitterskyddad Enhets Platform (SEP) modular armored tactical vehicle. A total of $192 million had been invested in developing the SEP since 2005. Of this amount, BAE Systems contributed $64 million, while the Swedish state invested $128 million.

This is good news...at least to me.  The SEP would make an ideal, off-the-shelf platform for a future Marine Personnel Carrier.  With it being modular we can expect it to be a replacement for not only a lack of EFVs (if they survive to production) but also LAV-25A2's.  Additionally it can perform some of the missions that are beating the hell out of our MTVR's.  Never the less, that's just my opinion.


USMC PROCUREMENT---WHERE DID WE GO WRONG?

With the problems dogging several USMC programs the question must be asked.  Where did we go wrong?

1.  Allowing families of equipment to become obsolete at the same time.

During the 1990's it was fairly obvious that the following equipment needed to be replaced.  AH-1W, UH-1N, AAV, CH-46, 5 ton truck, M198.  Why whole families of equipment were rode hard, beyond common sense and then expecting to replace them all in one big swoop was insane.  Crazier still it almost worked.  The AH-1Z, UH-1Y are about to hit squadrons in a big way, the MTVR has performed much above expectations and the M777 is getting the job done.  That of course leaves the air side of things as a problem.

2.  Did not take advantage of the 8 year window of opportunity given during the Bush Years to complete programs.

The V-22, F-35 and EFV programs were all going during the Bush years.  If the Marine Corps asked for it, then they got it.  That was the time to strike, that was the time when the defense contractors should have been grinding like there was no tomorrow.

3.  Teaming with contractors instead of being demanding.

This is a general failure on the part of the Pentagon.  Teamwork.  Forget that!  Contractors need to have the whips cracked on them and if they don't get it then you move on to another guy until you get the gear that you need.  The builders of the EFV are actually co-located with the Marine Corps Office!  What kind of bullshit is that!

4.  Forgot frugality. 

My favorite program to hate is the Internally Transportable Vehicle.  I found, through some recreational googling...the M442 Mighty Might that was designed to almost the same standards as the ITV to fulfill the same role.  The idea that each of these ITV's cost almost a million dollars is a crime.  Someone should be fired.

Programs on the brink of cancellation...

EFV...


General Dynamics Land Systems needs to be taken down to the river and have their head held underwater until they stop moving.  Its A CRIME! To have a vehicle in development for this long, only to get it wrong.  IF it survives the QDR and IF the US Army selects it (a big damn if) as their replacement Ground Combat Vehicle then the USMC MIGHT be able to get enough to make a difference.  As it stands now, this will be a boutique weapon that does nothing for us.  I'd rather BAE develop an upgraded AAV with better hydrodynamics and IED protection along with an uprated engine .... as far as the Bushmaster cannon?  Nice to have but I'll take an APC in service rather than an IFV in development or in the garage for repairs.

F-35B...



How in God's name we've gotten to this point with this program is beyond me.  I like the concept, I like the company but so what?  If they can't deliver they can't deliver.  Sometimes you just have to be honest and take the medicine.  We might be at that point.  I'll wait and see what happens but this is another example of a "take your time, we have all day" attitude with some contractors.  No sense of urgency.  No desire to get it done.  Just a desire to milk the gravy train for all its worth.  If they can't get it done then lets give Boeing and BAE a chance.  I'm sick of the silliness.

Programs that "made" it but need to be canceled....

ITV...


A mini jeep that costs a million dollars?  It better massage my nether regions while I drive it.  This is beyond nonsense and better options by design and off the shelf were available.  This is a cluster and is beneath the dignity of the Marine Corps.

Programs to keep an eye on...

V-22


I like the airplane.  I believe it is and will continue to deliver.  But the program manager and Headquarters Marine Corps needs to get a grip and realize that this airplane is still under the microscope.  I think it'll work but they have to do a better job of shaping opinion.  Isn't that the reason behind all the forays into social networks?

Summation...
We can no longer tolerate this "take it easy" approach to weapon procurement/development.  It must be done better and faster.  The attitude of contractors has baffled me for the longest.  What I find amazing is that the company that I love to hate--- EuroCopter...has performed!....they got the UH-72 up and running so fast that no other maker has a chance to even get anywhere close to the program.  They'll do the same with the Scout helicopter contract if they win it.  That's the way you do business.  Yes programs slip but what we're seeing now is alarming.  What we're seeing now is not natural.  Something in the process or in the ethics of these companies is broken and needs repair.