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.
“The Pentagon improved its buying power on 51 of its 80 programs in 2013, resulting in $23 billion of procurement savings, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. The report, however, did show the estimated cost of DoD’s 80 acquisition programs increased by $14 billion, primarily due to the addition of one new program, the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle.”
“The U.S. Army wants high-powered, rapidly tunable infrared lasers to detect chemical weapons. "High-power sources that can be wavelength-tuned extremely rapidly are needed for the detection and identification of chemical vapors, aerosols, residues on surfaces," reads the small business innovation research solicitation. The Army suggests these devices have great potential. According to the solicitation, technology and industrial tooling used to produce “high-power rapidly tunable infrared sources covering the long wave infrared region have the potential to revolutionize current infrared analysis and remote sensing methods.””
“Army aviators in Kuwait spent much of 2013 training for an unusual mission—flying from Navy ships. This new mission is a major shift for the ground combat branch in the Middle East … and elsewhere. Before 2003, the Army’s primary worry in the Mideast had been another Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The U.S. military first set up shop in the emirate in 1991 after liberating the country from Baghdad’s forces. Now American troops in Kuwait mainly worry about the Persian Gulf—especially the Strait of Hormuz. The narrow waterway is a key route for commercial ships in the region. But it’s hardly the place for the ground forces’ infantry, tanks and artillery.”
“The U.S. Army’s top leaders defended their proposal to strip the Army National Guard of its AH-64 Apaches attack helicopters as part of a cost-saving move. Army Secretary John McHugh and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno said the proposal would help the service avoid some $12 billion in costs — a significant level of savings in an era of automatic budget cuts known as sequestration.”
“The first week of April will be a critical one for what has been a relatively drama-free armored vehicle program for the US Army. The Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV), which formally kicked off as a program in 2012, is slated to replace the Army’s M113 infantry carrier, which service leaders have said can no longer meet the protection or power-generation needs of the modern armored brigade combat team on the battlefield.”
On March 13, the Russian agency in charge of media supervision, Roskomnadzor, blocked several opposition websites, including the blog of Russia’s most famous anti-corruption activist and politician, Alexei Navalny, as well as the website of the opposition radio station Echo Moskvy—for publishing Navalny’s blog. All websites were blocked under the “anti-extremist law,” while the postings in Navalny’s blog had also allegedly violated the rules of Navalny’s recent house arrest.
“Senior Army leadership has doubled down on its support for another round of shuttering and shrinking domestic installations, with Army Secretary John McHugh telling a congressional committee Tuesday morning that the service could save about $1 billion a year by undertaking a new round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC.) “To maintain an unused building is to throw money away” at a time when the Army’s budget is under stress from sequestration and the flattening of topline budget numbers in future budgets, he said. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno added that any new round of BRAC would not be as expensive as the last round of closures in 2005, “and you’ll probably get a bigger return” due to lower maintenance costs combined with the reduction in overall troop numbers.”
“More Marines will be tapped to deploy south of the border as their Mexican counterparts look toward expanding the training mission between the two militaries, building on their recent successes in counter-narcotics operations. Small teams of Marines have been regularly deploying to Mexico since October 2012 as part of the reserve component’s Security Force Assistance Training Teams. Members of 4th Reconnaissance Battalion led the mission for a year, rotating teams to the Yucatan Peninsula in southern Mexico for about two months at a time, according to a recently published newsletter from the Marine Corps Center for Lessons Learned.”
“Some soldiers wanted to break barriers. Others were unaware that the barriers even existed. But in Fort Bragg's artillery community, a growing number of female soldiers are taking positions once restricted to men - and they are holding their own. Today, women fill five of 21 possible officer positions in the 3rd Battalion, 321st Field Artillery Regiment, and seven of 23 possible positions in the 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment.”
Russia’s willingness to export nuclear technology abroad allows it to shape global nonproliferation norms in the long term while strengthening its bilateral relationships. By contrast, the United States’ restrictive approach diminishes its influence and costs the US in its relationships with allies.
“Some of the Navy’s future decisions about ship procurement and sustainment will affect procurement of the MH-60R Seahawk helicopters that operate from them, according to the deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for budget. The MH-60R is deployed on aircraft carriers and helicopter-capable surface combatants, including littoral combat ships (LCSs), for antisubmarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance), rescue and logistics. Carriers strike groups typically deploy with 11 MH-60Rs, some of which are assigned singly or in pairs to the escorting surface combatants. RADM William K. Lescher told Seapower on March 24 that the removal of 29 MH-60Rs from fiscal 2016 in the Future Years Defense Program is “specifically tied to the decision on the 11th carrier and its associated air wing. That’s an affordability decision.”
“The wars of the past decade exposed weaknesses in Army technology for infantry troops. Close-combat equipment such as night vision goggles and weapon sights are bulky and drain batteries fast. In bad weather and darkness, soldiers want better visibility so they can correctly identify targets. They also want to be able to aim their weapons without exposing themselves to enemy fire. The Army believes it has an answer: A wireless network that connects soldiers’ night vision goggles with weapon sights. The idea is that if a soldier can receive the image of the target directly on his night vision goggle, he doesn’t have to bring the weapon up to the eye. In a night firefight, having those extra seconds can make a huge difference, says Army Lt. Col. Timothy Fuller, product manager for soldier maneuver sensors at Fort Belvoir, Va.”
“About 1,150 Marines are deploying to Australia with four CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters, marking the start of the second phase — and largest contingent — of Marines to head Down Under for a six-month rotational deployment. For the first time, an aviation combat element comprising 100 Marines and four Super Stallions will participate in Marine Rotational Force-Darwin. The Marines and aircraft are assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 and Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 24, based out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii. They are expected to arrive in Darwin by Tuesday.”
“When Trey Obering was deputy director of the Defense Department’s missile defense agency in 2002, he was asked to fix one of the most troubled acquisition programs in recent history. The airborne laser — a modified Boeing 747 jet that carried a megawatt laser to shoot down ballistic missiles — was handed over by the Air Force to MDA after eight years of nonachievement. What Obering discovered was an epitome of procurement dysfunction. The Air Force had assembled a “standing army” of managers and engineers who were spending hundreds of millions of dollars on studies and design reviews before anyone ever fired the laser for the first time, says Obering, a retired Air Force lieutenant general and now a senior vice president at the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.”
“Sometimes dark clouds really do have silver linings. The winding down of two wars and the automatic spending cuts called sequestration have been brutal for the Army budget. The service recently had to cancel its top-priority weapons program, the tank-like Ground Combat Vehicle. But even if sequestration continues, said one leading analyst, ground vehicle spending has at the very least bottomed out — and it may well rebound impressively.”
“The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded contracts to four companies to design a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft that is much faster than a helicopter but retains excellent hover capability. “The proposals we’ve chosen aim to create new technologies and incorporate existing ones that VTOL designs so far have not succeeded in developing,” said Ashish Bagai, DARPA’s VTOL Experimental Plane program manager in statement released on Tuesday. “We’re eager to see if the performers can integrate their ideas into designs that could potentially achieve the performance goals we’ve set.”
“Pentagon officials have said time and time again that they are playing by the rules this year, submitting a budget request that is in line with congressional caps. Except for one tiny detail: They want an extra $26 billion. The request for additional money is part of the administration's "Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative" for the 2015 fiscal year—roughly half of which is slated to go to the Pentagon—that would be paid for through a mix of tax and spending reforms. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told Congress earlier this month that the funding is "to try to buy back some of the readiness and modernization that we've lost over the last two years because of the huge abrupt cuts" included in the sequester. But the Defense Department should brace for an uphill fight to get what it wants. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon told Hagel and other top officials that he was not "paying attention" to the prospect of the extra money "because I think that's in the realm of 'it would be wonderful, but it's not going to happen.' " And though the Pentagon's full wish list hasn't been made public yet, we've rounded up the department's major asks:”
“U.S. Marine special operators could soon be known as Raiders -- the name the Corps' original commando battalions went by during World War II. During a recent Facebook town hall meeting, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos said he was reconsidering a request from Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, or MARSOC, to revive the Raider name for its elite units.”
“Army leadership plans to use the research to inform the creation of a physical aptitude test, or series of tests, that could drastically alter how soldiers are assigned to jobs. Officials say the overall effort, dubbed Soldier 2020, has a simple goal: to put the right candidate in the right military occupational specialty, irrespective of gender. Army officials likened the notional test to the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, a multiple-choice cognitive test often administered to potential enlistees in high school by Military Entrance Processing Command to predict their success in various occupations.”
“The U.S. Army is in the early phases of a fleet-wide technology upgrade of its Common Missile Warning System, or CMWS — helicopter sensors that can provide detection against small arms fire in addition to missile threats. So far, the Army has ordered 1,300 CMWS Generation 3 systems, technology which improves the processing power of the original system to add small arms fire detection technology, said Bill Staib, director of threat management solutions, BAE. The existing or prior CMWS technology, now installed across the Army’s helicopter fleet of Apaches, Chinooks, Kiowas and others, places five ultraviolet sensors around the skin of the aircraft in order to detect incoming missiles.”
“Of the three primary missions the Defense Department expects to tackle in the coming decade — protect the homeland, work with allies to increase global security, and prepare for a major conflict — at least one is being cornered by U.S. Special Operations Command. The Pentagon’s forecast of how the military will fight wars in the future — detailed in the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review — continues to hammer on the idea that U.S. forces can’t do it all, and should train foreign allies to help fight insurgencies and terrorist groups.”
“Disagreements over fees for MultiCam, a top-performing contender to be the Army’s main camouflage pattern, have emerged as the main reason the Army has gone in search of a new pattern. In a rare public statement for Crye Precision, of Brooklyn, N.Y., the MultiCam manufacturer said the Army had selected it in May as its “principle camouflage pattern,” but the decision was derailed after the Army asked Crye to reduce its licensing fees to fabric printers who make uniforms for the Army. When the two sides could not reach a deal, the Army offered to purchase the rights to MultiCam, but they could not agree on a price.”