A Northrop Grumman Corporation estuda dar a capacidade de destruir alvos móveis ao bombardeiro B-2 Spirit, segundo o contrato feito com a Força Aérea americana (Usaf).A Northrop Grumman é a primeira contratada para o B-2, a mais cara aeronave já produzida no mundo.O contrato, de US$ 9,33 milhões, prevê o transporte de pequenas bombas guiadas de precisão de 250 libras do tipo Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB-II).A Northrop visa modernizar também a aviônica da aeronave de bombardeio como as interfaces de armas para acomodar esse tipo de artefato.O SDB-II está atualmente em desenvolvimento e ensaios. “Esta nova capacidade de Destruir Alvos Móveis (MTK em inglês) é a última série de modernizações definidas pela equipe Usaf/Northrop Grumman para incrementar a letalidade e efetiva destruição dos B-2”, disse Dave Mazur, vice presidente da empresa americana do setor de sistemas integrados.Implementar a capacidade MTK requer também a modernização de equipamentos análogos do B-2, como displays multi-funcionais e radar apto para as funções MTK.A Northrop Grumman também iniciou planos para isntalar o Universal Armament Interface (UAI) no B-2. O sistema UAI é semelhante ao “Plug and Play” dos computadores pessoais e foi desenvolvida pela Usaf para reduzir o tempo e custos requeridos para integrar armas de precisão e plataformas aerotransportadas.Isso padroniza conexões físicas e protocolos de comunicação usados para transportar informações entre uma aeronave e um pacote de armas a bordo. http://airway.uol.com.br/site/noticia/not1567_69.asp
F-15C Eagle air superiority fighters have traditionally used APG-63 radars with mechanically steered arrays. While upgrades over the years have improved them, the mechanical steering components are a point of potential failure given the stresses put on them, and better radar technologies have appeared. With cruise missile defense rising in importance, and longer-range detection of threats desired, upgrades are necessary. They may also correct a known air-air weakness that can reputedly be exploited by aircraft like Russia’s SU-30 family, though other reports claim that the mechanically-scanned APG-63v1s have also worked to close that hole. Thus far, 18 USAF F-15Cs have been modified to carry APG-63v2 radars – a misnomer, since the upgrade uses a revolutionary new AESA technology that bears little resemblance to its predecessor.Active Electronically-Scanned Array (AESA) radars are made of hundreds or thousands of small transmitter/receiver (TR) elements. Moving parts are eliminated; instead, subsets of their array elements are used to focus on each task very quickly and precisely, without having to move them physically, and with little signal “leakage” outside of its focused beams. This makes them more reliable, more powerful, and able to operate in multiple modes at once. There’s also a maintenance advantage. A partial failure in previous radars renders them unfit for use, but AESA radars only suffer a slight performance drop if some of their TR modules fail. The fighter can still fly as it awaits a fix, enjoying all of the radar’s simul-mode, range, focusing, low “leakage,” and communications benefits. AESA radars have taken a while to enter widespread service on fighter aircraft because the cost of each array had to come down to an affordable level, but once that happened their advantages become compelling.The USAF is discussing a retrofit set that would turn the F-15Cs into multi-role fighters; an AESA radar would be part of that, and the program to equip select F-15C units with AESA radars as an air-air improvement continues. They will now be joined by the USAF’s entire 2-seat, multi-role F-15E Strike Eagle fleet, which is now a funded SDD program
Aging Array of American Aircraft Attracting AttentionThe current US Air Force fleet, whose planes are more than 23 years old on average, is the oldest in USAF history. It won’t keep that title for very long. Many transport aircraft and aerial refueling tankers are more than 40 years old – and under current plans, some may be as many as 70-80 years old before they retire. Since the price for next-generation planes has risen faster than inflation, average aircraft age will climb even if the US military gets every plane it asks for in its future plans. Nor is the USA the only country facing this problem.As this dynamic plays out and average age continues to rise, addressing the issues related to aging aircraft becomes more and more important in order to maintain acceptable force numbers, readiness levels, and aircraft maintainability; avoid squeezing out recapitalization budgets; handle personnel turnover that becomes more and more damaging; and keep maintenance costs in line, despite new technical problems are arising that will present unforeseen difficulties. Like F-15 fighters under flight restrictions due to structural fatigue concerns. Or grounded entirely.The biggest contracts aren’t always the ones deserving of the most attention. Enter the USA’s Joint Council on Aging Aircraft (JCAA). Enter, too, DID’s Spotlight article. It seeks to place the situation and its effects in perspective, via background, contracts, and a research trove of articles that tap the expertise and observations of outside parties and senior sources within the US military
Senior House lawmakers are ratcheting up pressure on Defense Department officials to release congressionally approved funding for an Air Force fighter that has been the subject of a running battle between Pentagon and Air Force leaders.In a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who has said he wants the F-22 Raptor's fate decided by the next presidential administration, senior House Armed Services Committee lawmakers demanded an explanation for why $140 million already set aside for the plane's suppliers is being held up.The money would go toward keeping the plane's production line ready for new orders beyond the current plans calling for 183 of the jets to be built. The situation pits lawmakers against Pentagon officials who argue that, at a price tag of about $140 million apiece, the Lockheed Martin Corp. F-22 is too expensive.Lawmakers appropriated $500 million in the fiscal 2009 budget toward an additional 20 jets, which the Bush administration hadn't sought. The $140 million in question is part of that money.Earlier this year, a battle between Air Force leaders and Mr. Gates over the airplane's future contributed to the firing of two senior Air Force officials.In separate statements, Pentagon and Air Force officials didn't directly address the lawmakers' concerns. A Pentagon spokeswoman said the Defense Department "is committed to bridging F-22 production to preserve options for the next administration." An Air Force spokeswoman said the service will do whatever Pentagon officials tell it to do with the program.Mr. Gates has said the plane isn't relevant to post-Cold War conflicts such as those in Afghanistan and Iraq. Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England would rather buy more Lockheed F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, which are cheaper but not as fast or as stealthy.In their Oct. 31 letter to Mr. Gates., lawmakers warned that future F-22 costs would increase dramatically if suppliers are forced to shut down because John Young, the Pentagon's top weapons buyer, has refused to release the $140 million. The letter was signed by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D., Mo.), ranking member Duncan Hunter (R., Calif.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces Neil Abercrombie (D., Hawaii), and the ranking member of the subcommittee, Jim Saxton (R., N.J.).The funds are needed for contacts that have to be awarded late next month, according to the letter from the lawmakers. Restarting production could cost $500 million, they said.A Lockheed spokesman said that this funding "would provide an economic advantage that leverages the investment that has been made by the country in the F-22," and give the next administration time to review the plane's fate.http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1225843 ... smartbrief
Lockheed F-22 Raptors cost about $140 million apiece.
Entre 18 e 31 de Julho mais de quinze mil militares dos EUA, Reino Unido e França participaram nos exercícios JTFEX 08 ao largo da costa oriental dos EUA. Nestes, a Franca enviou duas esquadrilhas de Rafales navais, a 12F e a 4F.O encontro entre os Super Hornet e os Rafale F2 foi muito interessante para os pilotos de ambos os aparelhos: “foi espantoso ver os canards movendo-se em pleno voo”, disse Mike Tremel, da VFA-31 e acrescentando: “o Rafale é um avião altamente manobrável, com uma incrível capacidade para apontar o seu nariz a qualquer direção do céu. Os pilotos franceses pareciam muito satisfeitos com as suas capacidades e com uma concepção do cockpit muito moderna, com MFDs e um side stick. Contudo, eu nunca voei num Rafale, e logo não sei o que estou a perder.”Os Rafales e os Super Hornet do Theodore Roosevelt encontraram-se varias vezes em BFM (1 para 1 em Basic Figher Maneuvering) e em 2 para 2 em missões ar-ar. “O Rafale é definitivamente um caça mais ágil, mas os pilotos da 12F sublinharam que o Super Hornet não fora concebido para dog fighting. O avião da Boeing era um impressionante cargueiro de bombas. Por outro lado, é um avião pesado que não pode acelerar tão depressa com alto angulo de ataque.”Nos exercícios, os Super Hornet utilizaram o novo AIM-9X e alguns com o novo capacete JHMCS (Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System). Ambos podem oferecer uma vantagem decisiva em combates a curta distancia, embora - segundo os pilotos dos Rafales - existam técnicas para a anular…Esta noticia, assim como outra que deu conta da capacidade dos Rafales F2 para bater os Super Hornet em 6 contra 2 no ultimo Red Flag indica que na competição F-X2 em que Gripen NG, Rafale F3 e Super Hornet participam dos dois últimos, o Rafale é o mais manobrável e definitivamente o superior em dogfight e em combate aéreo a curta distancia. Não consegue carregar a mesma quantidade de armamento, nem é no atual padrão F2 um avião tão amadurecido como o Hornet, que se encontra hoje na sua recta final de desenvolvimento. Mas é certamente, o melhor avião dos dois…Mais uma noticia que os decisores do vencedor do F-X2 devem ter na devida conta lá para começos de 2009 quando escolherem o vencedor da competição…
DoD Spends Less Than Lawmakers Want on F-22 PartsUnder mounting pressure from Congress to spend $140 million to buy parts for 20 more F-22 jet fighters, the Defense Department agreed Nov. 12 to spend $50 million on parts for just four of the stealthy planes.Reaction from Capitol Hill was mixed."It's sort of a [screw]-you answer," an aide to a senior Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee said of the $50 million spending plan.Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., contends that keeping the F-22 production line open "is a national security priority," an aide said.Spending $50 million on parts for four F-22s will not keep the production line open long enough for the next president and his defense secretary to decide whether to continue buying Raptors, he said."Sen. Inhofe believes we must keep it open until the F-35 line is fully operational and producing combat-ready aircraft," which is expected to take at least five years, the aide said.A spokeswoman for Rep. Ike Skelton, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said Congressional intent is to spend enough money on the F-22 program to keep it alive until the next administration can decide its fate."It is not yet clear whether DoD's recent proposal will accomplish this goal," she said.Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said he is "deeply disappointed" by the Pentagon's decision not to spend the entire $140 million that Congress allocated for more F-22s.The planes are the most sophisticated fighter jets in the world, he said, and their continued production "is essential to our national security."F-22s are assembled in Marietta, Ga., by Lockheed Martin.Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his deputy, Gordon England, have agreed to keep the F-22 program going long enough for the next defense secretary to decide whether to keep building planes or end the program, according to a Nov. 12 statement issued by the Pentagon.The Air Force has 183 F-22s, some in service, others still under construction. Gates wanted to end the program at that number, but the Air Force wanted at least 381.In a newly signed "acquisition decision memorandum," the Pentagon's top weapons buyer, John Young, instructs the Air Force to "take steps to spend up to $50 million in advanced procurement associated with four F-22 aircraft."The money is to be used to buy aircraft parts, some of which - but not all - could be used on F-35 Joint Strike Fighters if the F-22 program is ended, a House aide said.In written comments, Young said that Gates will include the rest of the funding for the four planes - estimated to be about $590 million - in an emergency war-funding bill that is expected to be sent to Congress in February.Young said the $50 million he wants the Air Force to spend now will "provide a bridge to a January decision by the next administration."That would give Barack Obama and his defense secretary 10 days after the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration to decide whether to keep building F-22s.Young's acquisition memo comes nine days after six senators sent England a letter urging him "to obligate the entire $140 million for advance procurement on long-lead items for 20 aircraft."The senators, led by Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., warned that spending less than $140 million and building fewer than 20 more planes "will cause suppliers to quickly stop F-22-related work, begin shutting down the lines and laying off" 25,000 high-tech workers.The senators' letter followed on the heels of a letter by four members of the House Armed Services Committee that called the $140 million expenditure "a prudent and necessary action to sustain F-22A production."Gates has not supported buying more F-22s and has pointed out to Congress that F-22s, the Air Force's newest and most advanced fighter aircraft, have played no role in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i= ... =AME&s=AIR
A-10s Get The Laser Of DeathNovember 20, 2008: The U.S. A-10C has successfully dropped its first JDAM (Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition). The main difference between JDAM and LJDAM is the sensor unit. The GPS sensor on JDAM is replaced with a laser seeker sensor, turning the JDAM into the LJDAM. The aircraft dropping the bomb uses its laser designator to track the moving target, and the LFDAM bomb hits the moving target. LJDAM can hit a vehicle moving at about 60 kilometers an hour. LJDAM entered service two years ago. It will be useful against enemy convoys of moving vehicles, since the smallest LJDAM uses a 500 pound bomb. A-10Cs will begin using LFDAM next year.The A-10C began operating in Iraq and Afghanistan last year. This is a version of the A-10 with upgraded electronics. The A-10 can fly low and slow, and is designed, and armored, to survive lots of ground fire. The troops trust the A-10 more than the F-16, or any other aircraft used for supporting the ground troops. The new goodies for the A-10C equip the pilot with the same targeting and fire control gadgets the latest fighters have. The new A-10C cockpit has all the spiffy color displays and easy to use controls. The basic A-10 is a three decade old design, so the new stuff is quite spectacular in comparison. New commo gear is installed as well, allowing A-10 pilots to share pix and vids with troops on the ground. The A-10 can now use smart bombs, making it a do-it-all aircraft for troops support.While newly equipped A-10s showed up last year, it will take four more years to upgrade all 350 aircraft in service. Beyond that, the air force is upgrading the engines and structures of the 1970s era aircraft. All the upgrades will cost about $13 million per aircraft. The air force has been trying to retire the ugly, and elderly, aircraft for over a decade. But the A-10s are just too damn effective, and popular, when there's actually a war on.The A-10 could always take out moving vehicles with its 30mm automatic cannon. But this requires getting down and within a few hundred meters of the target. The LJDAM enables the A-10 to stay out of range of ground fire to do the job, and also deliver a bigger bang to the target.http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htairw ... 81120.aspx
Young: 100 F-22s Need $8 Billion For Upgrades Pentagon acquisition executive John Young says the U.S. Air Force will spend $8 billion to upgrade 100 F-22 fighters, which he said would be "lesser models" without the modifications.His comments came one day after he was grilled for more than two hours by lawmakers about the Bush administration's decision to not follow Congress' direction to spend $140 million of advance procurement money on parts for 20 more F-22s, which would help bring the fleet to 203 Raptors.The Bush administration's Pentagon team has bristled at buying more than 183 of the Lockheed Martin-made fighters; the Air Force has long said it needs 381. The Bush defense team opted earlier this year to take steps to keep Raptor production going long enough to allow the next administration to decide whether more are needed.http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i= ... =AME&s=AIR
Chefe do Estado-Maior dos EUA questiona futuro do F-22WASHINGTON (AFP) — O chefe do Estado-Maior das Forças Americanas, almirante Michael Mullen, revelou nesta quarta-feira suas dúvidas sobre o futuro do avião de combate F-22, diante de uma crise econômica que exigirá cortes no orçamento do Pentágono."É importante para todos a redução de nossos orçamentos", disse Mullen, acrescentando que "sobre o F-22, a questão não é se precisamos, porque já o temos, mas de quantos vamos precisar no futuro. O que me preocupa é que trata-se de um sistema bem caro".A Força Aérea pediu mais 60 exemplares do F-22, após encomendar 183. O programa deste caça-bombardeiro de supremacia aérea, conhecido por Raptor, já custou mais de 65 bilhões de dólares, o que representa um custo unitário superior a 350 milhões.O F-22, projetado por Lockheed Martin e Boeing durante a Guerra Fria, é criticado por vários especialistas (entre eles o secretário da Defesa, Robert Gates) por não estar adaptado à guerra regional, como as campanhas dos Estados Unidos no Iraque e no Afeganistão.A Força Aérea defende o programa diante da possibilidade de conflitos convencionais contra países como a China.
F-16s Get Automated Landing SystemDecember 11, 2008: The U.S. Air Force has successfully tested autonomous landing software on an F-16 fighter. Such systems have been available for commercial aircraft since the 1990s. Last year, the U.S. Air Force successfully tested such systems on C-130 transports. Earlier this year, the replacement for the MQ-1B Predator UAV, the MQ-1C Sky Warrior, successfully tested automatic landing and takeoff software. This makes the aircraft easier and safer to use, and also is one step closer to a fully autonomous aircraft. There are already some fully autonomous UAVs, that can operate without any human control. The air force is particularly keen on making their UAVs more autonomous, to help ease the stress on its overworked UAV crews. Such automated systems on manned aircraft reduces the workload for the pilot.http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htairf ... 81211.aspx
B-2 radar upgrade enters production The US Air Force has awarded a notionally $468 million contract to Northrop Grumman to launch low-rate initial production (LRIP) of the B-2 radar modernization programme (RMP).The contract award means the five-year-old effort to upgrade the B-2’s radar antenna to an active electronically scanned array in a new frequency band can shift from development into early production.The award also indicates that Northrop’s redesign of the array, which required an extra year to complete, meets the USAF’s standards. The USAF has not disclosed why the redesign was necessary.Northrop officials were unavailable to comment immediately about the USAF announcementhttp://www.flightglobal.com/articles/20 ... ction.html