Tag Archives: Completes

F-35C Completes First Night Flight Aboard Aircraft Carrier

By on Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

The F-35C Lightning II carrier variant Joint Strike Fighter conducted its first carrier-based night flight operations aboard an aircraft carrier off the coast of San Diego Nov. 13.

Navy test pilot Lt. Cmdr. Ted “Dutch” Dyckman piloted F-35C test aircraft CF-03 for the inaugural night flight, taking off from USS Nimitz (CVN 68). At 6:01 p.m. Dyckman conducted a series of planned touch and goes before making an arrested landing at 6:40 pm.

The night flight was part of Development Testing I (DT-I) for the F-35C, which commenced Nov. 3 and is expected to last two weeks. The Nimitz is hosting the F-35 Lightning II Pax River Integrated Test Force from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 during the initial sea trials of the F-35C.

During DT-I, the test team has conducted a series of events designed to gradually expand the aircraft-operating envelope at sea, including crosswind and low-energy, high-wind catapult launches and approaches to test the aircraft’s ability to perform in both nominal and off-nominal conditions.

Through Nov. 13, two test F-35C aircraft have completed 28 flights for a combined 34.5 flight hours and accomplished more than 75 percent of threshold test requirements. The aircraft also performed 108 catapult launches, 215 planned touch-and-go landings, two long touch and go landings, 110 arrested landings and zero bolters.

Testing thus far has demonstrated the aircraft’s exceptional handling qualities throughout all tested launch and recovery conditions. F-35C maintenance and operations have integrated well with standard Navy carrier procedures onboard Nimitz. The F-35C has proven its ability to operate in the carrier environment and has consistently caught the optimal three-wire during arrested landings. The test team successfully landed during every attempt, with zero hook-down bolters, or failures to catch an arresting cable on the flight deck.

The goal of DT-I, the first of three at-sea test phases planned for the F-35C, is to collect environmental data through added instrumentation to measure the F-35C’s integration to flight deck operations and to further define the F-35C’s operating parameters aboard the aircraft carrier. A thorough assessment of how well the F-35C operated in the shipboard environment will advise the Navy of any adjustments necessary to ensure that the fifth-generation fighter is fully capable and ready to deploy to the fleet in 2018.

The successful night flight of the F-35C represents a step forward in the development of the Navy’s next generation fighter.

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Russia’s Third Borey-Class Nuclear Sub Completes State Trials

By on Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Russia’s third Borey-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, the Vladimir Monomakh, has finished a comprehensive state trials program in preparation for commissioning with the Navy, the Sevmash shipyard said Tuesday.

“The Vladimir Monomakh strategic nuclear submarine has returned from the sea trials completing the program of extensive acoustic tests,” Sevmash said in a statement.

According to the statement, the submarine has finished the state trials program and is now being prepared for delivery to the Russian Navy.

The Borey class, Russia’s first post-Soviet ballistic missile submarine design, will form the backbone of the fleet’s strategic nuclear deterrent force after older boats are retired by 2018. Russia expects eight of the boats to enter service by 2020.

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F-16V Completes Major Capability Milestone

By on Friday, August 22nd, 2014

The newest configuration of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the F-16V, has reached a major capability milestone with the integration of a new Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar.

“Completing this milestone on schedule demonstrates our ability to meet program commitments,” said Roderick McLean, vice president and general manager of the F-16/F-22 Integrated Fighter Group at Lockheed Martin. “It proves once again why customers turn to Lockheed Martin to upgrade their F-16 fleets and advance the mission capability of the world’s most effective 4th generation multi-role fighter.”

The completion of this AESA radar Critical Design Review ensures Northrop Grumman’s Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) design meets all specified U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin requirements. Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] will continue with follow-on activities such as development integration and ground and flight test for Taiwan’s fleet of 144 Block 20 F-16A/B fighter jets.

With the upgrade to the new SABR and enhancements to the mission computer, vehicle systems, aircraft structure, cockpit and electronic warfare system, Taiwan moves forward as the launch customer for the new F-16V configuration.

More than 4,550 F-16 aircraft have been delivered to date, and production is expected to continue through 2017, with major upgrades being incorporated for all F-16 versions.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 113,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2013 were $45.4 billion.

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GMLRS Alternative Warhead Completes Operational Flight Tests

Lockheed Martin successfully completed all Developmental Test/Operational Test (DT/OT) flight tests for the new Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) Alternative Warhead at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

The DT/OT tests included rockets fired at both mid and long range. All rockets were fired from a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcher.

The DT/OT tests were the first tactically representative flight tests against simulated targets, and were also the first tests conducted with soldiers operating the fire control system. These missions were preparation for the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation exercise, which will be conducted in the fall of 2014.

“With actual soldiers at the controls in realistic battlefield conditions, the team achieved all of the mission objectives,” said Ken Musculus, vice president of Tactical Missiles at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

In April 2012, Lockheed Martin received a $79.4 million contract from the U.S. Department of Defense to develop the Alternative Warhead Program (AWP). Under the terms of the contract, the Engineering, Manufacturing and Development phase of the program runs 36 months, focusing on system performance, warhead qualification and producibility.

The Alternative Warhead is designed to engage the same target set and achieve the same area-effects requirement as the GMLRS submunitions warhead, but without the lingering danger of unexploded ordnance. The Alternative Warhead is being developed by ATK under subcontract to Lockheed Martin.

The AWP is part of a U.S. Department of Defense plan to create a GMLRS variant which meets the DoD’s cluster-munition policy. The Lockheed Martin GMLRS AWP will also be compliant with the provisions of the Convention on Cluster Munitions international treaty.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 113,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2013 were $45.4 billion.

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Airbus Completes P-3 Orion Modernisation for Brazilian Air Force

By on Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Airbus Defence and Space has delivered the last of nine P-3 Orion anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft modernized with new systems and avionics for the Brazilian Air Force (FAB). The aircraft has been ferried from Seville, Spain to Salvador de Bahía, Brazil, where it will be based.

The nine aircraft were acquired by the FAB from the US Navy in 2006, along with three more to be dismantled for spares, and were upgraded at facilities in Seville and Getafe, near Madrid.

In the aircraft Airbus Defence and Space installed its Fully Integrated Tactical System (FITS) and a completely new suite of mission sensors, communications systems and cockpit avionics. In addition, the aircraft engines and structures were updated, extending the fleet´s operational life for many years to come and providing Brazil with a modern and highly effective asset suitable for military and civic duties including anti-submarine, maritime patrol, search and rescue, and economic exclusion zone enforcement.

Under the terms of the contract, Brazil is benefiting from a comprehensive package of offsets including a range of industrial projects as well as training and research in the aerospace sector.

“This has been a large and complex program and we are very proud of the work done in upgrading the Brazilian P-3 fleet. The FAB now has one of the most modern fleets in its class”, said Antonio Rodríguez Barberán, Head of Commercial for Military Aircraft with Airbus Defence and Space.

Airbus Defence and Space has modernized a total of 12 P-3 Orions, nine for the Brazilian Air Force and three for the Spanish Air Force.

Airbus Defence and Space is a division of Airbus Group formed by combining the business activities of Cassidian, Astrium and Airbus Military. The new division is Europe’s number one defence and space enterprise, the second largest space business worldwide and among the top ten global defence enterprises. It employs some 40,000 employees generating revenues of approximately €14 billion per year.

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Malmstrom AFB Completes Final Minuteman III Missile Configuration

Air Force Global Strike Command met a major milestone June 16, when maintainers at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, removed the last multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle in the Air Force intercontinental ballistic missile inventory from a Minuteman III.

The reentry vehicle is the portion of the missile that houses the nuclear warhead. Re-configuring the missile to carry only a single reentry vehicle helps bring the Air Force towards compliance with the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and comply with direction from the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, Steve Ray, Air Force Global Strike Command missile maintenance division, said.

“This was the last Minuteman III in the Air Force to be ‘deMIRVed,’ and this is a major milestone in meeting the force structure numbers to comply with the New START requirements,” Ray said. “This is historic because we’ve had MIRVs in the field for more than 40 years, since 1970 when the first Minuteman III came on alert.”

The New START, signed by the United States and Russia in April 2010 and entered into force on Feb. 5, 2011, limits the number of deployed strategic warheads to 1,550, and limits the number of nuclear capable deployed and non-deployed delivery vehicles to 800. Of that, 700 can be deployed. These numbers must be met by Feb. 5, 2018.

“The NST sets treaty limits on the number of deployed strategic warheads and strategic delivery vehicles each party to the treaty is allowed, but does not direct the composition of that party’s strategic assets,” Kenneth Vantiger, AFGSC senior arms control analyst, said.

It was the 2010 Nuclear Posture review which dictated that all MMIIIs go to a single reentry vehicle. It states:

“The United States will deMIRV all deployed ICBMs, so that each Minuteman III ICBM has only one nuclear warhead. (A ‘MIRVed’ ballistic missile carries Multiple Independently targetable Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs). ‘DeMIRVing’ will reduce each missile to a single warhead.) This step will enhance the stability of the nuclear balance by reducing the incentives for either side to strike first.”

In April of this year, the U.S. Administration adopted the baseline NST implementation plan that the Air Force has been advocating since 2010, Vantiger said.

That plan calls for the U.S. forces to go to 400 deployed ICBMs with a single reentry vehicle, 60 deployed nuclear-capable bombers, and 240 deployed submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Non-deployed forces will consist of 54 ICBM launchers (silos not containing a missile), 40 SLBM launch tubes (20 tubes on two submarines in non-deployed status for overhaul) and six heavy bombers for a total of 100 non-deployed launchers and heavy bombers. This balanced force structure fully supports U.S. national security objectives, including strategic stability and deterrence, extended deterrence guarantees, allied assurance, and the ability to implement the President’s nuclear weapons employment strategy.

While this final deMIRV was part of meeting NPR and New START requirements, Ray said the Air Force has been moving toward single reentry vehicles on all MMIIIs for some time.

“F.E. Warren had actually already converted to all single reentry vehicles before the New START was even signed,” he said. “This was just one part of several actions we’ll be doing to meet New START requirements.”

While the Air Force was the primary agency responsible for overseeing the deMIRV, it took multiple agencies to make this process happen, Ray said. Coordination was done with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which maintains a database of where all missiles are located, with the Department of Energy for shipment of the weapons, and with U.S. Strategic Command, who must be notified of how many weapons they have supporting them at all times.

“At the base, it took a five-man missile mechanical team to go out and pull the top off the missile, and they were supported by a large security forces team and helicopters, which ensured safe transport to and from the base,” he said. “The missile operators also played a role, as they maintain command and control at the missile sites. Everyone at the heart of the missile operations team was involved. It was a real team effort.”

Being a part of that team was something the maintainers and others were very proud of, Assistant Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of Missile Maintenance Teams at Malmstrom AFB, Master Sgt. Joshua Schoenbein, said.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of something this big in the ICBM community to comply with the new START requirements,” he said. “It feels awesome to complete the deMIRV program, and I know the technicians couldn’t be happier to finish and move on to the next program whatever it might be.”

Schoenbein added, “Overall, it takes many people and hours of planning and work to accomplish even one mission.”

From munitions technicians at the weapons storage area and members of the missile maintenance team to security forces members, a convoy response force and helicopter support, everyone has a role in making the mission a success, he said.

Back at the base, Master Sgt. Jason Thompson, NCOIC of weapons maintenance at Malmstrom AFB, oversaw the team which did the disassembly of the MIRV.

“It’s a great historical event, especially for nuclear weapons technicians, to be a part of,” Thompson said. “We’re a relatively small career field, so to be a part of something so significant is a great morale builder for the Airmen.”

A team of 12 people at the weapons storage area were involved in the process of disassembling and reconfiguring the system to a single reentry vehicle, making sure the maintenance was done in a safe and secure manner.

“There were numerous safety measures in place during the entire process, and there was a lot of coordination between security forces and maintenance personnel to move the weapon from the missile to here for us to do the maintenance,” Thompson said. “That ties back to the significance of our Airmen being a part of this. We put a lot of special trust in our 18 or 19-year-old Airmen to do this type of maintenance, where in other countries it’s left to the officers to do.”

In addition to the hard work by the maintenance teams throughout AFGSC who worked the deMIRV process, Ray said multiple agencies worked together to make it a success.

“It takes a lot of planning and teamwork both at the base and the headquarters to make this happen in a safe, secure manner while still meeting our other mission requirements,” he said.

Those who worked the process should be proud of their accomplishments, Ray said, because they’re a part of history that will help maintain stable deterrence for the U.S. and its allies.

“We’re reducing the number of weapons from a Cold War high in conjunction with the Russians,” he said. “To take these multiple independent reentry vehicles to a single reentry vehicle is a significant milestone in stability and arms control.”

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Saudi Air Force Completes Transatlantic F-15 Deployment for Red Flag 2014

By on Friday, June 13th, 2014

Airbus Defence and Space has congratulated the Royal Saudi Air Force on its successful deployment of eight F-15 fighters to the USA for Red Flag 2014 through the use of its new fleet of Airbus A330 MRTT Multi Role Tanker Transports.

In a letter to RSAF Commander Gen Fayyadh Al Ruwaili, Philippe Galland, Head of Customer Services expressed his appreciation for the “exceptional” wintertime North Atlantic refuelling operation.

Two A330 MRTTs were used to enable the deployment from Saudi Arabia to Nellis AFB in the USA on a three-leg journey of some 9,000nm (16,600km). After three weeks of highly realistic combat training in the USA, the fighters were returned home by the same means.

Staging through Moron AFB in Spain, and McGuire AFB in the USA, the A330 MRTT demonstrated its ability to support long-range oceanic deployments through the type’s first ever transatlantic deployment of fighters.

The two tankers were operated by the RSAF’s first combat-ready tranche of boom-qualified crews (pilots, air refuelling operators, mission operators) who successfully offloaded around a million pounds of fuel through the fly-by-wire boom during the mission despite challenging weather and light conditions.

Using the advanced planning systems of the MRTT, the crews were able to ensure complete safety of their respective formations through detailed real-time monitoring of the fuel state and diversion points of all the aircraft.

Airbus Defence and Space has been working with the RSAF since October last year to support the RSAF in the definition and accomplishment of the associated logistics – providing additional flight training, delivering spare Flyaway Kits and deploying technical specialists to the Main Operating Base as well as to fly on the missions. Philippe Galland said: “It was enormously satisfying to play our role in supporting this complex mission. “We greatly admire the RSAF’s accomplishment of this major deployment at a relatively early stage in their operation of the A330 MRTT.”

He reiterated the company’s commitment to supporting RSAF operations for many years to come.

The Airbus Military A330 MRTT is the only new generation strategic tanker/transport aircraft flying and available today. The large 111 tonnes/ 245,000 lb basic fuel capacity of the successful A330-200 airliner, from which it is derived, enables the A330 MRTT to excel in Air-to-Air Refuelling missions without the need for any additional fuel tank. The A330 MRTT is offered with a choice of proven air-to-air refuelling systems including an advanced Airbus Military Aerial Refuelling Boom System, and/or a pair of under-wing hose and drogue pods, and/or a Fuselage Refuelling Unit.

Thanks to its true wide-body fuselage, the A330 MRTT can also be used as a pure transport aircraft able to carry 300 troops, or a payload of up to 45 tonnes/99,000 lb. It can also easily be converted to accommodate up to 130 stretchers for Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC).

To-date, a total of 36 A330 MRTTs have been ordered by six customers (Australia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom), with one (Saudi Arabia) having already placed a repeat order.

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