USAF not F-35 thread

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The raptor drivers are likely to go for the cheapest solution that meets their needs. Its either the Scorpion or the JHMCSII. The ACC has already purchased th Scorpion for the A-10 iirc and they have evaluated it for the Raptor as well.

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No, it is too bulky and if you look at the seat on the F-35, you can see that it has a large and wide headrest to help support that thing. Using the MLD like DAS is feasible and LM has claimed that it has that capability. It would require some extensive software mods(not easy with the Raptor), however. The new helmet study does mention that very possibility though: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/usaf-starts-researching-helmet-mounted-cueing-for-f-22-410575/ The Scorpion HMD has been floated one possible option, was shelved, and has re-emerged as the leading contender to be integrated: http://www.gentexcorp.com/scorpion-helmet-mounted-cueing-system
If the scorpion can do the trick they'll probably chose it, even though it is less capable than the F-35's helmet. It should have the ability to tell the pilot where to look when the MLD has detected a threat. I doubt it would be that hard to display an icon on the visor when the MLD detects a target in a certain direction.

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They need one that can capitalize on the MLD capabilities.
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HELLADS Milestone Hellads Laser Completes Development
SAN DIEGO – 21 May 2015 – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA ASI), a leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions, today announced that the High-Energy Liquid Laser (HELLADS) completed the U.S. Government Acceptance Test Procedure and is now being shipped to the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), New Mexico. At WSMR, the laser will undergo an extensive series of live fire tests against a number of military targets. The HELLADS Demonstrator Laser Weapon System (DLWS) is designed to demonstrate the efficacy of a tactical laser weapon in counter-Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar (CRAM), counter-Air and counter-Missile applications, as well as a number of special applications. The 150 kW Class HELLADS laser has been developed over a number of years to create a completely new approach to electrically-powered lasers with sufficiently low size, weight, and power consumption to enable deployment on a number of tactical platforms. “HELLADS represents a new generation of tactical weapon systems with the potential to revolutionize sovereign defenses and provide a significant tactical advantage to our war- fighters,” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. “It is remarkable to see high-power laser technology mature into an extremely compact weapons system and be deployed for field tests. It will be even more remarkable to witness the impact that this will have on U.S. Defense capability.” The HELLADS laser was developed through a series of stage/gate phases beginning with a physics demonstration and progressing through a series of laser demonstrators at increasing power levels. At each stage, DARPA required beam quality, laser power, efficiency, size, and weight objectives to be demonstrated. The program also developed the world’s highest brightness laser diodes, compact battery storage, and thermal storage systems, and improved the manufacturing process and size of specialized laser materials and optics. The HELLADS DLWS holds the world’s record for the highest laser output power of any electrically-powered laser. Dr. Michael Perry, vice president of Laser and Electro-Optic Systems for GA-ASI, credits DARPA with a unique capability to foster, nurture, and support such a development. “The HELLADS team of program managers, technical support, and DARPA senior management has worked to address the challenges of developing a completely new technology. Additionally, if it were not for the hard work of our scientists and engineers, we could not have succeeded.” “This is the most challenging program that I have been associated with,” said David Friend, HELLADS Program Manager, GA-ASI. “This program has advanced the state-of-the-art in so many areas.” The pioneering HELLADS DLWS represents the first generation of the technology. Through other U.S. Government programs separate from the DARPA-supported work, GA-ASI has demonstrated, second and third Generation versions of the technology which significantly increase the efficiency and reduce the size, weight, and power consumption for the system while increasing the beam quality. The third Generation system is currently being incorporated into a Tactical Laser Weapon Module designed for integration into both manned and unmanned aircraft systems. “Even as we begin development of the fourth Generation system, I am looking forward to seeing HELLADS perform in the live fire tests,” said Dr. Perry. “The laser technology is a means to an end. What matters is the new and cost-effective capability that we can bring to our country.”
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Anyone know what the future holds for the F-15 inventory of the 142nd Fighter Wing (out of Portland, Oregon) ?

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JSTARS recapitalization proposals were submitted to USAF today. If USAF holds true to form, they will announce a winner in February or March '16.
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Anyone know what the future holds for the F-15 inventory of the 142nd Fighter Wing (out of Portland, Oregon) ?
Currently part of the squadron is in Europe. Oregon ANG was slated to lose some of its F-15 inventory ( 123rd or 142nd or both) with the planned cut to roughly 179 (moving target) birds. Currently the procurement plans don't even have all those, previously known as "golden eagles" getting APG-63 (v3) and epawss for quite some time. With 60+ already having the AESA. There will have to be some consolidation and cuts besides the Lakenheath squadron, which was supposed to stand down soon and will definately go when the F-35 beds down there in the '20's. Obviously, the recent events in Europe may save some F-15 units and numbers near term.
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Currently part of the squadron is in Europe. Oregon ANG was slated to lose some of its F-15 inventory ( 123rd or 142nd or both) with the planned cut to roughly 179 (moving target) birds. Currently the procurement plans don't even have all those, previously known as "golden eagles" getting APG-63 (v3) and epawss for quite some time. With 60+ already having the AESA. There will have to be some consolidation and cuts besides the Lakenheath squadron, which was supposed to stand down soon and will definately go when the F-35 beds down there in the '20's. Obviously, the recent events in Europe may save some F-15 units and numbers near term.
According to AFMs April issue, Klamath Falls 173 FW is about to gain 9 Eagles. California ANG 144 FW, Florida ANG 125 FW, Louisiana ANG 159 FW, Massachusetts ANG 104 FW are to get 2 more Eagles each. 142 FW isn't mentioned. But if I had to guess, they will lose the F-15. Aside from being the only unmentioned F-15 ANG wing, Portland IAP is more crowded than Klamath Falls, which is also the F-15C training base. I think that one will stay for quite some time.
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Hm, thanks for the info both of you. It would feel very strange taking off PDX without the Eagles nearby. Then again I imagine I won't even be in Oregon by the time that happens.
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Northrop Teams with Gulfstream, L-3 on JSTARS
WASHINGTON — Northrop Grumman has formally partnered Gulfstream and L-3 on its offering to the US Air Force Joint STARS recapitalization effort. The news makes official what had been widely expected around the industry — that Northrop's JSTARS solution will be based on Gulfstream's G550 business jet. Northrop has been using the G550 as a test bed for JSTARS technology, but had not officially based its business case around the design. Gulfstream is a subsidiary of General Dynamics. While Gulfstream will supply the platform, L-3 will bring its background in modifying aircraft for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to the group. It's a team that Northrop hopes will allow it to keep the JSTARS program in-house. Northrop developed the current fleet of systems. "We have unmatched, proven expertise to advance the US Air Force's battle management command and control, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance mission," Tom Vice, corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, said in a company statement announcing the news. "We meet, or exceed, the Air Force's acquisition requirements by integrating our team's independently developed, mature and proven systems at the lowest cost, with the lowest risk to provide an innovative acquisition solution." The E-8 JSTARS, short for Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, is a modified Boeing 707-300 with long-range radars the Air Force says can locate, track and classify ground vehicles at a distance of up to 124 miles. There are 18 platforms in inventory. Because the 707-300 is no longer being produced, upkeep costs on the existing JSTRS fleet are expected to continue to rise. Those costs, combined with great advances in technology since the JSTARS entered service, have led the Air Force to begin the process of recapitalizing the fleet. However, Northrop and its competition at Boeing are going in two very different directions. While Northrop is going with a small business jet, Boeing has put forth a modified 737-700 commercial airliner as its offering. Last September, Rod Meranda, business development lead for the Boeing JSTARS program, told reporters that they opted for a bigger aircraft in order to meet future requirements, something that is expected to be a factor in the Air Force's decision. Not incidentally, the Northrop release highlights that team's use of "open architecture and commercial-off-the-shelf technologies" to provide capacity for future growth.
Northrop has been flying demonstrations for the ACC for a while now http://aviationweek.com/site-files/aviationweek.com/files/imagecache/large_img/uploads/2014/09/aw091520143214l.jpg I wonder what sensor Boeing is looking to integrate, given that Raytheon has teamed with lockheed Martin.
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A few stories from Insidedefense.com's Inside the Air Force's weekly report OSD Sets Early September Date For JSTARS Recap Milestone A Review
The Pentagon’s acquisition executive has set an early September date to consider the Air Force’s proposal to transi- tion the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System Recapitalization program into the technology maturation and risk- reduction phase of the modernization effort by awarding as many as three contracts. On Sept. 2, the Defense Acquisition Board -- chaired by Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall -- is scheduled to conduct a milestone A review of the JSTARS Recap program, the service announced June 9 in a notice published on Federal Business Opportunities. In early May, Kendall approved a material development decision for the JSTARS Recapitalization program, allowing the Air Force to solicit “requests for quotations” from industry. Replies to this solicitation will be the basis for awarding as many as three contracts as part of the milestone a review, each potentially worth $17 million, according to Air Force budget documents. The competitive landscape for the potential $6 billion Air Force program began to take shape over the last week. Northrop Grumman, prime contractor for the current JSTARS E-8C fleet, announced a teaming agreement with General Dynamics business aircraft maker Gulfstream, and L-3, to compete for the JSTARS Recap program. “This complementary team leverages Northrop Grumman’s role as the prime industry contractor for the Joint STARS E-8C wide area ground surveillance, and battle management command and control mission for the U.S. Air Force for more than 30 years, Gulfstream’s award-winning business aircraft, and L-3’s expertise in aircraft modification and world- class communications solutions,” the company said in a June 12 statement. On June 16, Lockheed Martin announced a teaming arrangement with Raytheon and Bombardier for the new Air Force program. “Lockheed Martin will serve as the lead systems integrator for the program and Raytheon will bring to the team their experience with ground surveillance, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems, mission systems integration, and JSTARS communications,” according to a company statement. “Bombardier will provide its ultra-long-range global business jet platform, which is less expensive to operate than modern airliners and is uniquely suited to the JSTARS mission by allowing the on-board radar to see further and deeper into valleys and survey the battlespace for extended periods of time without refueling,” the Lockheed statement added. Other companies that have eyed the contract but not yet publicly declared plans to pursue the Air Force tender include Boeing, United Technologies and Sierra Nevada Corp. The Air Force’s fiscal year 2016 budget proposal would allocate more than $1.1 billion for JSTARS Recapitalization research and development and $4.8 billion for procurement. The final requirement, however, is potentially subject to revision as part of an ongoing review of Defense Department intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance requirements in both permissive and contested environments. That review, directed by Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work, is ex- pected to inform the final JSTARS requirement. Congress granted the Air Force permission to launch the JSTARS Recapitalization program last summer; the program was allocated $73 million in FY-15 and a dedicated program office was stood up last December at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s battle management division at Hanscom Air Force Base, MA. The program’s goal is to achieve initial operational capability with three operational JSTARS aircraft and two developmental test platforms by the fourth quarter of FY-23, according to the acquisition strategy in the service’s FY-16 budget request. The remaining 12 aircraft would be purchased through full-rate production contracts to support full operational capability by late FY-26. -- Jason Sherman
A2/AD Threats May Drive Requirement For Organic USAF Missile Defense Units
The Air Force, after a generation of thinking about air bases as sanctuaries, must now begin preparing to defend such installations -- including the airspace around and nearby land -- by treating them as battle spaces, a shift that requires new concepts, doctrine and capabilities for operating under attack, including the creation of service air and missile defense units. That is one key finding of a new Air Force-commissioned report by RAND’s Project Air Force that explores options for how the service might respond to anti-access/area-denial challenges being developed by potential adversaries such as China and Iran, notably threats posed to airfields by increasingly accurate ballistic and cruise missiles. “Understanding the air base as a battle space makes its defense a core mission for the USAF and should help build a consensus among senior leaders to push forward new concepts, doctrine, and capabilities for operating under attack, possibly including the creation of USAF air and missile defense units,” the report recommends. Since the 1991 Gulf War when the United States military demonstrated preeminent air power capabilities -- including the large-scale employment of precision-guided munitions, base defense operations have been delegated to security forces and civil engineers, according to the report. Air base defense, according to RAND, has not been a priority for the institutional Air Force because “it has not been conceptualized as a warfighting problem.” Complicating matters for the service, the joint community has also not thought of air base defense as a core warfighting problem, “a critical problem because ground-based air defense of air bases is an Army responsibility,” according to the report. Army units that provide air-base defense include Terminal High Altitude Area Defense and Patriot battalions. “The relatively low priority for air base defense has led to a variety of shortfalls in USAF capabilities and in Army ground-based air defense capabilities,” according to the report. The 80-page report, “Air Base Attacks and Defensive Counters: Historical Lessons and Future Challenges,” extends an analysis originally tasked by the 13th Air Force -- now part of Pacific Air Forces, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickman, HI -- and the Air Force’s operational planning, policy and strategy staff. The study, by Alan Vick, also expands on research RAND conducted to support the fiscal year 2014 Air Force Scientific Advisory Board study “Defense of USAF Forward Bases.” The report also recommends Air Force leaders take steps to prepare for operations at air bases under attack, noting the U.S. military has extensive historical experience to draw on. According to RAND, new concepts of operation could explore, for example, “dispersing aircraft at varying intervals across existing ramp space at a single base, of dispersing small packages of aircraft across multiple air bases, or periodi- cally moving units among a larger set of military and civilian airfields.” A third, and final, recommendation is for the Air Force to investigate organizational options optimized to support distributed and dispersed operations. “Although the mix of air bases’ defense measures will vary by theater and threat, dispersed operations are likely to become central to operational concepts against highly capable adversaries,” the report states. “An organization built around the air wing and intended to operate the wing at a single location (or at most two locations) might now be well suited for combat environments that require small force elements (e.g. squadron size or smaller) to be widely dispersed among many locations.” -- Jason Sherman
AFRL Wants Low-Priced UAS To Disrupt Traditional Cost Trends
An Air Force Research Laboratory project to develop a low-cost, limited-life unmanned aircraft system could inform larger weapon system development efforts as the Air Force looks to procure more capability for a lower cost. The lab on June 4 released a draft broad agency announcement announcing a challenge project to create a low-cost unmanned asset with a high level of capability that would be considered an “attritable” asset. The idea is that the service could pursue a low-cost aircraft without some of the traditional barriers that arise when an aircraft has a longer service life. Bill Baron, the program manager for the project, said the relaxation of those barriers is key. “By considering the aircraft attritable, or a vehicle with limited life, it gives us an opportunity to really challenge a lot of the existing additional specifications and criteria that drive manufacturing,” Baron told Inside the Air Force on June 17. “The fact that these aircraft will live for a shorter period of time allows us to relax a lot of those constraints.” Baron said the program is driven, in part, by a need for low-cost, unmanned assets that could ideally be recovered, but that the Air Force could afford to lose in a contested or denied environment. The system isn’t expendable like a weapon, Baron noted, but it also doesn’t have the price tag of a traditional unmanned aircraft. AFRL expects to award a $7.5 million contract for the one-off effort, but should it become an actual program of record, the price would drop much lower. “We see that there may be an opportunity case for an aircraft that is ultimately low cost and gives us the ability to bring numbers of these aircraft . . . into the field,” Baron said. He noted, too, that many of the unmanned aircraft today that are more attritable are “low and slow,” another way of saying that their capability is less than what is desired. This program aims to change that. “What we envision are concepts coming forward that could represent vehicles that are scaled to some of those smaller aircraft but are enhanced with more efficient subsystems,” Baron said. “We have a pretty good sense from doing our own in-house analysis and design activities as well as looking at the vehicles that are out there that there is an opportunity in this price category to be able to do that.” Along with the immediate operational need for more high-capability, low-cost, unmanned assets, though, Baron views this program as an opportunity to test and prove new acquisition tenets championed under the Pentagon’s Better Buying Power 3.0 program. “When you look at the cost of military aircraft, they continue to grow unimpeded,” he said. Those systems are meant to be highly reliable, he said, but they come with very rigorous maintenance schedules and associated costs beyond development. AFRL’s goal, Baron noted, is to be “disruptive” to that trend by actually providing greater capability at a lower cost. He noted that AFRL does have other programs that have looked at fielding attritable assets at a greater capability -- one example is converting retired fighter aircraft into unmanned platforms. The difference, though, is that with this program, AFRL is taking a clean-sheet approach and is focused on making sure maintenance costs stay low. “We’re looking at the origin cost and the operational construct from development through fielding,” Baron said. So in our mind, the fact that this is an attritable system, we anticipate a very different maintenance construct. The level of maintenance, it may never go to formal depot maintenance. . . . We expect the cost to really be pretty different than what we see with the ownership of a long-term asset.” The program expects to release a formal BAA soon, with the goal of awarding a contract in late October or early November, Baron said. -- Courtney Albon
Advisers Propose New Direction For NATO Surveillance Post-AWACS
NATO should base a future surveillance and command architecture on a distributed network of sensors rather than a single airborne platform alone, a group of trans-Atlantic industry experts has recommended. The proposal comes as alliance officials are mulling their options for watching NATO airspace and managing aerial battles once the 14-plane fleet of Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft -- Boeing E-3 Sentry planes commonly known by the acronym AWACS -- is retired sometime in the mid-2030s. Until then, NATO is estimated to spend roughly $1 billion on upgrades to the aircraft. The NATO Industrial Advisory Group presumes that the capabilities of the envisioned sensors architecture would exceed those of AWACS planes in several key areas. For one, for the first time there is an explicit proposal to spot theater-level ballistic missiles. Also eyed is the detection of small, low-observable targets like aerial drones and cruise missiles. The envisioned Alliance Future Surveillance and Control capability, a major acquisition that could end up costing upwards of $8 billion, in effect could usurp the mission not only of the Boeing E-3 planes, but also that of the Global Hawk-based Alliance Ground Surveillance program in 20 years or so. According to a report from the industry advisory group, netting together space-, air- and ground-based sensors beat out the option of installing a space-only architecture because such a path is deemed too expensive and technologically immature. While banking on an aircraft-centric solution would be “feasible in principle,” the advisers contend that being tied to a single platform would limit the types of missions that can be performed. “The system-of-systems approach provides a much higher mission and programmatic flexibility, for example using predominantly unmanned sensors,” the previously unreported April document states. At the same time, complications arising from such a multifaceted approach would require “a high degree of coordination in procurement and operations,” the report notes. Another advantage in constructing a sensor network would be that the project could be broken down into “manage- able portions” to be pursued by NATO as a whole or individual member countries. The advisers urge companies interested in developing contributions to increase the interoperability of their products. They also warn that existing export barriers and regulations would “present a significant challenge” to the program. NATO officials are expected to further study the potential program requirements over the next year or two before proceeding with more concrete steps, culminating in a contract award by 2025. The envisioned time line “requires continued engagement with key industry, key technology development and timely decisions by NATO,” according to the advisory group’s report. Of the 20-some companies represented on the panel, U.S. participants included Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Sierra Nevada Corp. Among the European companies were Airbus, Diehl, MBDA, INDRA, Kongsberg and Thales. Since the eruption of tensions with Russia last year, alliance and U.S. AWACS radar planes routinely have been sent to support military exercises on NATO’s eastern flank. -- Sebastian Sprenger
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'Innovative' UAV Demo In Alaska Precursor To Autonomous Swarming Project insidedefense.com June 25, 2015
The Defense Department, as part of a high-profile annual military exercise in Alaska, demonstrated an innovative use of a large number of small, unmanned aerial vehicles, a precursor to exhibiting micro-UAVs capable of autonomous swarming behaviors and a move designed in part to display military advantage over China and Russia. The Strategic Capabilities Office conducted last week's demonstration, according to a senior Pentagon official. The office is a Pentagon shop formed in 2012 to spearhead classified projects that cultivate cutting-edge technological concepts in a bid to give U.S. forces new advantages against sophisticated potential adversaries in the Asia-Pacific region. Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work disclosed this development during a June 22 address to RAND Corp.'s newly formed China Aerospace Studies Institute. "The SCO demonstrated innovative tactical uses of large numbers of micro UAVs," Work said, noting the event took place last week as part of Northern Edge 2015, a nearly two-week event that ends June 26. Northern Edge 2015 is a joint training exercise led by U.S. Pacific Command that is intended to prepare forces to respond to operate in the Asia-Pacific region. At press time, the SCO did not respond to a request for further information about the event. In February, the SCO revealed plans for a $12.6 million project using funds authorized in fiscal year 2015 to execute a program called "low-cost payloads" that aimed to deliver "near-term innovative capabilities" to combatant commanders that would culminate with an "end-to-end" demonstration during Northern Edge 2015 of four prototype systems. In the upcoming fiscal year, the SCO plans to transition the "low-cost payloads" project into a "UAV payloads project" that "will leverage existing low-cost payloads by integrating them with UAVs (e.g. micro-UAVs) capable of autonomous swarming behaviors," according to the FY-16 budget request. "This project seeks to demonstrate the operational effectiveness and tactical advantage provided by large numbers of collaborative, expendable platforms. Effectiveness analysis and prototyping of payloads integrated with UAVs will be conducted, with initial demonstrations planned in FY 2016," the request states. The SCO, part of the Pentagon's acquisition directorate, "identifies, analyzes, demonstrates, and transitions game-changing applications of existing and near-term technology . . . to shape and counter emerging threats," according to the FY-16 budget request. "Currently focused on the Asia-Pacific Rebalance, SCO combines capability innovation with concepts of operation and information management to develop novel concepts often crossing Service, Defense-Intelligence, and multi-classification divides," according to the spending request sent to Congress in February. -- Jason Sherman