Thursday, February 25, 2010

BMT's Caimen-200 fast LCT design

Interesting take on the LCU...

BMT Defense Services Website

Combat Search and Rescue going with the UH-60M

USAF to buy 112 UH-60Ms

The USAF has proposed buying 112 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawks and converting them to an HH-60L configuration for Combat Search And Rescue (CSAR) work to replace the service’s ageing fleet of HH-60G Pave Hawks.
The decision comes in the wake of the abandonment of the CSAR-X program earlier this year and an urgent requirement to replace the oldest HH-60Gs, some of which are more than 20 years old.
The original CSAR-X competition was won in 2006 by Boeing’s HH-47 Chinook over the Lockheed Martin/AgustaWestland HH-71 (EH-101) and the Sikorsky HH-92 (S-92), but protests from the losing bidders were upheld by the US Government Accountability Office in early 2009. In the meantime, the USAF’s CSAR-X fleet has dwindled to fewer than 100 aircraft due to combat losses in Afghanistan and the need to retire aged aircraft.
Wow, that's a huge reversal for the USAF.  Originally this was suppose to be either a HH-47 or an HH-71.  Seems like alot of capability is going to be lost because of the fear of another competition.  The rescue guys themselves have said that the previous helicopter couldn't go far enough or carry enough.  The UH-60M, once its loaded with mission gear will not be much of an improvement over the current helicopter.

*Modest Proposal*
The USAF is facing a conundrum.  It prematurely retired the MH-53J's even though the German Air Force, Israeli Air Force and US Marine Corps have demonstrated that although getting a bit long in the tooth, these aircraft can be modernized to a point of remaining quite effective.  My proposal is that since the CV-22 has taken the MH-53's place as the deep penetrator for Air Force Special Ops, that they simple refurbish them for use by Para-rescue.  This would allow the service breathing room to determine exactly which way it wants to go with its next generation Special Ops/Rescue aircraft.  One thing is obvious though.  Para-rescue better get aboard the idea of eventually using the same aircraft as Special Ops or they won't be in the business of Para-rescue much longer.

A-400 ---the solution to the European view of the highway...

*Additional Info* In an effort to be fair I invite everyone to read Think Defense's response to my update and to implore you to read his site which outlines why he still believe that the A-400 is a good buy. 

Bill Sweetman over at Ares recently wrote an impassioned article stating that Bill Gates should "force" the US Air Force to buy the A-330.

That is a short sighted and wrong view point.  It ignores the fact that EADS, along with its allies in the US Congress are pushing an airplane that does not meet the specifications of this competition.  The Air Force had to jump through hoops to adjust the request for proposal to get the A-330 to be competitive and when it was forced by the GAO to basically be realistic and fair, EADS is crying foul.

The Europeans do have an airplane that is necessary, meets US Army and Marine Corps heavy lift requirements and is needed now.  Its the A-400.  If supporters in Alabama actually want to build an airplane, then it should be to get manufacturing of the A-400 in Mobile.  Now that would be a game changing proposition.
As some would say...not so fast my friend!  After reading the info over at Think Defense website about the A-400, I was sure that this plan was nothing but a winner and was in the process of patting myself on the back.  But again, not so fast.  A little research and I found this disturbing tidbit.
The price of the A-400 has increased to 194 million dollars per airplane!  The USAF is buying C-17 for just over 200 million per plane!  The A-400 isn't a bargain anymore, isn't as capable as the C-17 and is now just a jobs program.  I withdraw this proposal.  The A-400 is just not worth it compared to its (now) prime rival, the C-17. 

F-35 program needed this...

From Stephen Trimble's DewLine Blogsite.

I don't whether to cheer or laugh at the silliness of it.  First I'm no pilot but that hardly looks like anything but a standard landing.  Nothing special and that plane was moving at what looked like normal landing speed.  Next, the timing of this is nothing short of suspicious.  Lastly, if things were going well would this even be noteworthy?

Lockheed Martin has a problem.  That means that the partner nations have a problem.

Time to fire Burbage.

Sea Basing...a concept in search of a mission...

I have been watching and trying to post questions on sea basing over at Information Dissemination.  The posts..
1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 have shown me nothing but one thing.  Sea Basing is a dubious proposition that is threatening to take resources from the Amphibious Ship Program.

First, its slow.  Even in a humanitarian assistance scenario, the exercise has forces arriving in 2 weeks at best.  Its cumbersome and vulnerable.  The exercise contestants quickly came to realize that the connectors to the sea base were vulnerable to enemy activity. And finally, its expensive.  If you look at the proposed ships for the sea base concept, then you'll see that a big deck amphib is to be modified to serve as part of the force!  Let's cut out the middle man --- or in this case the specialized ships and just tweak what we have to make it better.  Sea Basing is not all that its proponents suggest it to be.  Amphibious ships, Maritime Prepositioned ships, Hospital Ships and JHSV along with other aircraft/LCAC are already doing the mission.

USMC Sea Basing Website

More CH-47F's for Australia...

I consider this additional proof of the NH-90's problems that were covered in an earlier post.  This from

New Chinook CH-47 Helicopters

'These new helicopters will give the ADF a robust, deployable medium-lift helicopter capability out to 2040'

(February 25, 2010) -- The Minister for Defence, Senator John Faulkner, today announced that the Government has given second pass approval to a major project to acquire seven CH‑47F Chinook helicopters for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) at a cost of around $755 million.

"The Government has now approved the details of this procurement, announced in last year's White Paper, which will replace the existing fleet of six CH-47D Chinooks," Senator Faulkner said.

"These new helicopters will give the ADF a robust, deployable medium-lift helicopter capability out to 2040."

Senator Faulkner described the existing Chinook helicopters as the mainstay of the ADF's deployable medium-lift helicopter capability. He said the Chinook was an exceptionally versatile aircraft, capable of performing a wide range of roles, including moving combat units into battle, carrying out frontline aero-medical evacuation and performing a vital role in disaster relief.

Senator Faulkner said that while the existing fleet of 'D' model Chinooks had provided outstanding support to the ADF since entering service in 1995, the aircraft faced increasing capability and support issues and had been replaced in production by the new 'F' model.

"Capability and support issues in the current Chinook helicopters will be addressed with the acquisition of the new model aircraft, which will bring safety, supportability and operational benefits to the ADF," Senator Faulkner said.

The CH-47F offers a range of improvements over the CH-47D including a strengthened airframe, to reduce airframe fatigue; significantly improved deployability; and digital systems supporting safer flying.

Senator Faulkner said the new aircraft will be procured and maintained in the same broad configuration as the United States Army Chinooks, the principal CH-47F operator. This will provide enhanced benefits to the ADF in areas including spares, support, training and airworthiness.

The Government will consider whether to participate in the United States Chinook Product Improvement Program when information on this program is of second pass quality. Participation in this program would align the configuration of Australian Chinooks with future United States Army Chinooks.

"The new Australian Chinooks will also receive some additional ADF-specific equipment to meet certain operational and safety requirements," Senator Faulkner said.

The new aircraft will be procured under Project AIR 9000 Phase 5C. They will be based at Townsville, where the existing CH-47D are operated by 'C-Squadron' of Army's 5th Aviation Regiment. The first two aircraft are planned to enter service in 2014, with all seven in service by 2017.

"As with the current Chinook fleet, Australian industry will have the opportunity to support the new helicopters as part of through-life support arrangements," Senator Faulkner said.
One thing stuck out to me.  The Australians are saying that this helicopter will give them increased lift in the medium helicopter range.  The classification of the CH-47 has always been up for grabs with it being marketed as both a heavy and medium helicopter.  I think we can all agree that its firmly in the heavy lift category.  With that being said it backs up my contention that the NH-90 is failing in service.  It was suppose to be the answer to medium airlift, being sized a bit larger than the UH-60.  The German report has laid bare the lie to that claim and now this acquisition decision by Australia confirms it.

Marjah Update...

via Marines TV...


CH-47 Flight Demonstration...

RNLAF CH-47 Flight Demo...

Defense Transformation Website...

Do you remember the Defense Transformation Website?  Its a step back in time to take a look at some of the things that worked, some of the things that didn't and then some of the stuff that we're still working on 6 years later...things that were supposedly reaching maturity back in 2004!  Here are some of the failures or incomplete projects that caught my eye.

BigDog robots trot around in the shadow of an MV-22 Osprey while given commands via remote control at Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., June 26, 2006. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is considering plans such as weaponizing the BigDog robots and using them to carry extra gear to free Marines of the burden of extra weight. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. M. L. Meie
Engineers check the structure after the test flights of the Navy-built Guardian Griffin unmanned aerial vehicle at Fort A.P. Hill, Va., May 18, 2006. The flights demonstrated its capability to support U.S. joint forces with missions ranging from convoy escort and port security to combat patrol. U.S. Navy photo by John Joyce
U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Wendell Morgan, flight officer with the 1st Security Forces Squadron, wears protective kevlar shorts being tested at Langley Air Force Base, Va. The shorts minimize fragment damage from the waistline to the knees. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Dawn M. Bolen
The Advanced Electric Ship Demonstrator “Sea Jet” undergoes sea trials, Nov. 30, 2005, on Lake Pend Oreille in Bayview, Idaho. The 133-foot vessel is testing an underwater discharge water jet called AWJ-21, a propulsion concept with the goals of providing increased propulsive efficiency, reduced acoustic signature, and improved maneuverability over previous destroyer class combatants. U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams
A full-scale model of the Boeing X-45C Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems sits on the flight line, May 14, 2005, as a static display at the 2005 Air Power over Hampton Roads air show held on Langley Air Force Base, Va. Assembly of this revolutionary aircraft began in June 2004 and it is scheduled to make its first flight in 2007. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jason C. Winn
The Stryker is driven robotically through the range at Fort Gordon, Ga., Feb. 10, 2006, during testing for future development of robots that can conduct convoy operations. U.S. Army photo by Larry Edmond