Ground Forces in the News - July 3, 2014

Jul 3, 2014

The $100 Billion Helicopter Dogfight
July 2, 2014
Time
By Mark Thompson

"It’s all because the Army is looking to revamp its helicopter fleet over the coming decades, replacing thousands of its trusted UH-60 Black Hawk and AH-64 Apache choppers with something that can fly heavier, faster and further: the trifecta of flight. The industry heavyweights—Bell Helicopter and a Boeing-Sikorsky team—are in the running.

But so are two pipsqueaks: AVX Aircraft and Karem Aircraft.

While Karem is offering a tilt-rotor design like the Bell-Boeing V-22 now being flown by the Marines, AVX’s entry is what’s called a compound coaxial helicopter. It has a pair of rotors spinning in opposite directions atop its carbon-fiber fuselage to lift it, and two ducted-fans at its rear end to push it.

The Army wants its next-gen chopper to be able to fly 265 mph (426 kph), 50% faster than a Black Hawk, and to travel 2,100 miles (3,400 km) from California to Hawaii on its own. And to be able to make that flight autonomously—with no pilot at the controls."

Ground Forces in the News - July 2, 2014

Jul 2, 2014

Rotorcraft's Next Great Step May Start Next Month
July 1, 2014
Breaking Defense
By Richard Whittle

"Want to see an advanced helicopter fly faster than 230 knots? Well, don’t get out your binoculars and cameras yet, aircraft-watchers.

What may be the next great leap forward in rotorcraft technology begins a month from now with a baby step. By early August, the Army-run Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator program is to choose which of four industry competitors will be given money to build a proof-of-concept aircraft incorporating new or exotic means of making rotorcraft fly faster and farther. The JMR TD is one part of a larger Future Vertical Lift program whose goals include producing a new medium-lift rotorcraft able to fly faster than 230 knots – a hundred knots or so as fast as most existing military helicopters cruise.

While the JMR TD aircraft are to start flight demonstrations in late 2017, any actual military aircraft they might help spawn will fly no sooner than a decade or more later, and probably 2035."

Russia Announces Sale of S-400 to China

Jun 30, 2014

By Paul N. Schwartz

In April, Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly approved in principle the sale of the S-400 air defense system to China. [1] The S-400 (NATO codename SA-21 Growler) is currently Russia’s most advanced air defense platform, and thus far has been reserved exclusively for the Russian military.

Ground Forces in the News - June 30, 2014

Jun 30, 2014

Navy Engineers LCS Changes
June 27, 2014
DOD Buzz
By Kris Osborn

"The Navy is implementing specific design and engineering improvements to its Littoral Combat Ship following the construction of the first two vessels, the Freedom and the Independence.

The changes to LCS span a range of areas from adjustments to water jets to efforts to fight corrosion and improve the ships elevators, deck extensions and inflatable rafts.

Vice Adm. Willy Hilarides, commander of Naval Sea Systems Command, said the first two LCS ships were built with a specific mind to continued development of the platform for the long term.

“We forget that we decided to take LCS 1 and 2 and deliver them as ships to the fleet, long before the design was mature — so that we design the right class of ships for the long term,” Hilarides said. “There are 10 to 12 big changes to the ships that are in place. That is what we intended to do.”"

US Armored Vehicle Battle Intensifies
June 29, 2014
Defense News
By Paul McLeary

"The US Army is threatening to slash modernization funding for Stryker, Abrams and Bradley vehicles if the service is forced to halt a $10 billion program to replace thousands of M113 infantry carriers.

The possibility of a pause to the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) program was raised last week, when news surfaced that language might be included in a Senate defense appropriations bill that would force the Army to rewrite its requirements.

In what is shaping up as a struggle between defense industry heavyweights, their lobbyists and members of Congress with their own parochial interests, the AMPV program is becoming a bellwether for how much influence Congress can wield over the requirements process during a defense drawdown, and what implications that might have for the future."

Tactile belts let soldiers feel their way through the field
June 29, 2014
Military Times
By Kevin Lilley

"Soldiers may develop a sixth sense for combat, but the Army’s not done working on the other five.

Case in point: Research on a belt that incorporates “vibrotactile” technology — nodes that surround the wearer’s body, buzzing in response to a GPS marker, a squad leader making hand signals while wearing a tricked-out glove, even a robot.

Vibrotactile gear changes the pathway, bringing the information into the soldier’s brain, trading visual cues for a vibration similar to a silenced smartphone. It also allows soldiers to focus their other senses on incoming threats and, studies show, gives them higher confidence levels that they can recover their bearings when they take detours from a planned route."

June 27, 2014

Jun 27, 2014

Tweets from the week of June 27, 2014.

Ground Forces in the News - June 27, 2013

Jun 27, 2014

Marines Won’t Take The Beaches Head-On Any More; ‘Find the Gaps’
June 26, 2014
Breaking Defense
Colin Clark

“Tarawa. Saipan. Iwo Jima. Peleliu. Okinawa, Inchon. These are among the most sacred names in Marine Corps history. They define the sea-borne warriors’ in so many ways: sacrifice, grit, honor, competence. To most Americans, and to many Marines, those amphibious assaults are the soul of the Corps.

But those bloody and costly frontal assaults are not the future of the Marines, even as they plan for a return to sea-based operations after more than a decade of land wars in Aghanistan and Iraq. For much of the last two years reporters have heard the Marines talk of going back to their roots. Some sort of successor to the failed but fast Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle was in the works, we heard.

Lt. Gen. Kenneth Glueck, deputy commandant for combat development and integration, made clear this morning that the Marines will sidestep the full force of an enemy’s firepower in future amphibious operations. I asked him at a Defense Writers Group breakfast how the Corps would cope with the environment of death expected in an anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) battle for which the US military now trains and equips. “We want to pit strength against weakness,” Glueck told me, adding the Marines would look to exploit the “seams” in an enemy’s force and position.”

USAF Awards Sikorsky, Lockheed CSAR Helicopter Contract
June 27, 2014
Defense News
By Marcus Weisgerber

“The US Air Force awarded Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin a $1.3 billion contract Thursday for the Combat Rescue Helicopter program.

The deal for 112 Sikorsky Black Hawks, outfitted with Lockheed mission equipment, brings to a close a more than decade-long Air Force quest to purchase a replacement for its HH-60G combat search-and-rescue helicopters. The Sikorsky-Lockheed team was the only bidder in the competition.

The contract could be worth as much as $7.9 billion, the Air Force said in a statement. The contract awarded Thursday includes funding for the first four aircraft.”

Ground Forces in the News - June 26, 2014

Jun 26, 2014

Amos rejects recent critique of amphibious combat vehicle
June 26, 2014
Marine Corps Times
By Hope Hodge Seck

"The commandant of the Marine Corps pushed back on criticism of the Marines’ amphibious combat vehicle Tuesday, calling development of the vehicle his top priority for the remainder of his tenure.

During a lecture at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., Amos said the ACV was his “number one operational priority,” and said a lighter, less-armored version was not feasible. Survivability standards set by the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle in the mid-2000s provided a new baseline for armored protection, Amos said, and the ACV would have at least as much protection as the MRAP, if not more.

"'I can spend a lot of money and I can buy a vehicle that the American people will not, ladies and gentlemen, send their sons and daughters into combat in; they will not permit that. And Congress will not,' Gen. Jim Amos said. 'And shame on me if I were to try.'"

AMRDEC’s Bruce Tenney on the Scope, Goals, and Timeframe of the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) Program

Jun 25, 2014

Duration: 00:06:15

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In this February 21. 2014 interview, Bruce Tenney, Chief of Advance Design at Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center, discusses the framework and structure of the FVL initiative and the desire to create a more modern family of four classes of rotorcraft. Tenney details the next steps to align budgets, resources, and operational imperatives.

AMRDEC’s Bruce Tenney on the Relationship Between the Future Vertical and Joint Heavy Lift Programs

Jun 25, 2014

Duration: 00:09:00

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In this February 21. 2014 interview, Bruce Tenney, Chief of Advance Design at Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center, describes the relationship and differences between future vertical lift and joint heavy lift initiatives. Tenney also discusses the evolution of the idea of having a joint family of aviation assets and how this idea has led to the current modern visions for future vertical and heavy lifts.

AMRDEC’s Bruce Tenney on the Implications of Growing Anti-Access/Area Denial Threats for Future Rotorcraft

Jun 25, 2014

Duration: 00:09:18

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In this February 21. 2014 interview, Bruce Tenney, Chief of Advance Design at Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center, discusses the issues posed by the proliferation of A2/AD technologies. Tenney discusses what advanced vertical lift can mean for the Army and how increased speed and range from future rotorcraft can help overcome threats from non-state actors. He sees the depth, endurance, and speed of Vertical Take Off and Landing craft as critical to future operations.

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