05 Aug 14. Indian Navy commissions new VLF facility in Tamil Nadu. The Indian Navy (IN) inaugurated a new very low frequency (VLF) transmitting station on 31 July at INS Kattaboman, near Tirunelvelli in Tamil Nadu, boosting its ability to communicate continuously with operationally deployed ships and submerged submarines. The new facility accompanies the navy’s existing VLF station, which has been in operation for the last 24 years. Sporting the highest mast structures in India, the new station strengthens the current infrastructure, enhancing its reach, redundancy, and operational capabilities. Constructed by private defence contractor Larsen & Toubro (L&T) under the navy’s Project Amber, the VLF station was approved by the Indian Ministry of Defence’s Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan (LTIPP) and the IN’s Maritime Capability Perspective Plan (MCCP) 2007-22. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
06 Aug 14. Pease Air National Guard Base selected to receive KC-46A Pegasus aircraft. USAF officials announced that Pease Air National Guard Base, New Hampshire as the Air Force’s first Air National Guard-led KC-46A Pegasus main operating base. “The KC-46A Pegasus aerial tanker remains one of our top acquisition priorities. Making a final basing decision is an important step in recapitalizing the tanker fleet,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. “We will begin to replace our aging tanker fleet in 2016, but even when the program is complete in 2028 we will have replaced less than half of the current tanker fleet and will still be flying over 200 half-century-old KC-135s.” Pease ANGB was selected as preferred alternative in May 2013. The Air Force recently completed the environmental analysis required by the National Environmental Protection Act to provide further information concerning the basing process. Air Force officials analyzed operational considerations, installation attributes, economic, and environmental factors for each location before making a final basing decision. Subsequent KC-46 basing decisions will use similar criteria. Air Force officials also explained their rationale for choosing Pease. “The Air Force chose this base using operational analysis, results of site surveys, and military judgment factors,” said Timothy Bridges, the Air Force deputy assistant secretary for installations. Officials said Pease ANGB was selected as the first Air National Guard-led KC-46A main operating base because of its highly successful existing active-duty association, which would lead to lower active-duty manpower requirements. Its location in a region of high air refueling receiver demand was also a key consideration. Selection of Pease ANGB will minimize the challenge of fielding a new weapon system and avoid having to simultaneously establish a new active association. “Tankers are the lifeblood of our joint force’s ability to respond to crisis and contingencies,” said Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark A. Welsh III. “The Pegasus will be capable of day and night operations and enable a rapid, global capability that will support U.S., joint, allied and coalition forces. The aircraft will also underpin our humanitarian missions.” Welsh also committed to ensuring continued support of combatant commander tanker requirements during a tanker recapitalization effort that will last decades by continuing to fully fund upgrades and improvements to the KC-135 fleet. The first aircraft are scheduled to begin arriving at Pease ANGB beginning in fiscal year 2018. The formal training unit and first main operating base will begin receiving aircraft in fiscal year 2016. Subsequent KC-46 decisions will use similar criteria.
04 Aug 14. The world’s first commercial vertical rocket launch site will be at Boca Chica Beach, on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico and saddling the Rio Grande. Space Exploration Technologies’ founder Elon Musk announced this morning the strategic decision to build a site in the outskirts of Brownsvil