03 Aug 21. USAF to delay full-rate production of Grey Wolf helicopter. Boeing’s MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopter will enter full-rate production later than expected, a U.S. Air Force program executive said Tuesday.
The Grey Wolf program was initially scheduled for a Milestone C decision by the end of fiscal 2021, which would trigger the start of full-rate production.
However, ongoing delays in certifying the aircraft with the FAA will force the service to push off the milestone, said Col. William Rogers, the Air Force’s program executive officer for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and special operations forces.
“We are in the process of revisiting our acquisition program baseline, and will be briefing the [service acquisition executive, Darlene Costello] in the near future,” he told reporters during a media roundtable.
Rogers declined to provide further details on when the Milestone C decision could be made, saying it will be up to Costello to approve new target and threshold dates.
The MH-139A is a militarized version of Italian aviation firm Leonardo’s AW139 commercial helicopter, which has already been certified by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency. However, the Grey Wolf’s military-specific technologies need to be tested and certified by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The Air Force and Boeing underestimated how long it would take to obtain supplemental type certifications (STCs) for the MH-139, which are necessary to begin developmental testing and make a full-rate production decision, Rogers said.
On top of that, Boeing is also having to redesign one of the sensor fairings on the front half of the aircraft, which have been discovered to impact the airflow to the helicopter’s pitot tubes — potentially leading to incorrect airspeed readings that can trigger a crash.
“There’s pitot tubes on both sides of the aircraft, so in certain conditions, the pitot tubes would not have the same airspeed readings,” Rogers said. “Boeing is right now in the process of testing the redesign. They have a couple of options and they’re doing the company testing now.”
The Grey Wolf has already obtained one supplementary type certificate and will obtain another two before Christmas, said Matt Beck, the Air Force’s MH-139A system program manager.
“That will get us into [developmental tests], which is good. Then we can really start making progress on the program and testing our military equipment,” he said. “The other STCs will close in FY22.”
The Air Force intends to buy 84 MH-139As to replace the UH-1N Huey. The Grey Wolf will take on missions such as monitoring intercontinental ballistic missile fields, conducting search and rescue, and transporting VIPs in the national capital region.
Boeing won a $2.38bn firm, fixed-price award for the Huey replacement program in September 2018 after submitting a proposal that clocked in at $1.7bn lower than the program’s initial estimate. The company received an initial $375m for the first four helicopters and the integration of military-specific items necessary for the AW139 to meet the Air Force’s requirements.
The service purchased eight MH-139As in FY21 and anticipated buying another eight Grey Wolf helicopters in FY22. However, during the FY22 budget rollout, Air Force officials announced that the service would pause Grey Wolf procurement that year to allow for FAA certification.
In December 2019, Boeing delivered the first Grey Wolf helicopter to the Air Force, and the service set up its first MH-139A detachment at Duke Field, Florida. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
02 Aug 21. FORAGER 21 In Guam ~ Ameican And Japanese Exercise. On Saturday 30th July American and Japanese Paratroopers and Special Forces were dropped onto Andersen Air Force Base on Guam.
This joint exercise by the US Army and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, supported by the US Air Force, involved soldiers from the two nations based in Japan flying to the US island territory of Guam and parachuting in as reinforcements.
Exercise FORAGER 21 is a US Army Pacific (USARPAC) exercise designed to test and refine the US Army’s ability to flow landpower forces into the theatre, execute command and control of those forces, and effectively employ them in support of allies, partners, and national security objectives in the region. FORAGER 21 is an opportunity for the Theater Army to exercise joint, integrated, multi-domain operations in an archipelagic environment, and to test and employ emerging capabilities. This is the first iteration of the exercise and it is the primary exercise in support of DEFENDER PACIFIC 21 (DP21).
Speaking at a press conference at Andersen Air Force Base on Guam on Sunday 1st August Lt. Gen. Jon T. Thomas, the Pacific Air Forces deputy commander, said: “The United States Army Pacific Command, America’s Theater Army here in the region, is dedicated to preserving peace and prosperity of the people in Guam and across [the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana] Islands. “We want to maintain strong relationships and we want to build healthy communities together.
“We are demonstrating our commitment here to the defence of Guam, to the defence of the Nation, and to the values and the principles inherent in a free and open Pacific. This is the foundation of why we conduct exercises like we have today across the Pacific.” (Source: www.joint-forcescom)
04 Aug 21. RAF and French Air and Space Force conduct tactical training. The RAF C-130J and 1400M from the French Air and Space Force’s 61st Transport Wing executed approaches on a grass runway. The Royal Air Force (RAF) has announced that British and French tactical air traffic controllers have joined near Lyon to carry out tactical landings on unprepared surfaces. The RAF C-130J and 1400M from the French Air and Space Force’s 61st Transport Wing executed approaches on to a grass runway. According to RAF, the latest training activity provided an opportunity to develop ‘training tactics and procedures’ and gain knowledge on how each air force conducts such activities in complex environments.
Touchdown training on adverse terrain was initiated with the RAF hosting an AAE A400M military transport exercise at Pembrey Beach in Wales earlier this year.
Ambérieu-en-Bugey Air Base is the only site in France that allows large fighter jets, such as the A400M, to execute rough terrain qualifications.
French Air Force RAF liaison officer squadron leader Cannon said: “This type of training is essential to maintain the skills and competencies of both the aircrew and tactical air traffic controllers ATC personnel, who are required to deploy globally and work with partner nations in support of UK operations.
“It is another demonstration of the strong bilateral relationship between our two air forces.”
The C-130J Hercules is the latest variant of the C-130, which is the US Air Force’s (USAF) principal tactical cargo and personnel transport aircraft. Last month, RAF’s Hercules C-130J detachment from RAF Brize Norton took part in an exercise with Jordanian forces in the Middle East. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
03 Aug 21. US Indo-Pacific Command commences Large Scale Global Exercise 21. Forces from the US, Australia, Japan and the UK are participating in the all-domain exercise.
The US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) has started conducting the Department of Defense (DoD) exercise ‘Large Scale Global Exercise 21 (LSGE21)’.
The all-domain exercise is witnessing participation of forces from the US Army, US Air Force (USAF), US Navy, and US Marine Corps (USMC), as well as the UK Army, Australian Defence Force (ADF), and Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF).
It started on 2 August and will run until 27 August.
INDOPACOM stated: “The United States is committed to working with our unmatched network of alliances and partnerships in this complex operating environment to ensure regional stability, strengthen the internal rules-based order, secure lines of communication, and maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific that benefits all nations.”
The exercise is taking place across the Indo-Pacific region.
It includes activities such as field training, amphibious landings, airborne and ground maneuvers, air operations and logistical support activities.
Maritime operations and other special operational activities are also included.
USINDOPACOM noted that US forces are being trained alongside allied nations to improve interoperability and mutual understanding on addressing security-related challenges.
In March last year, the US Navy announced the postponement of the exercise until 2021 due to restrictions and other safety measures in place to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last month, US, UK and Dutch naval forces conducted a large scale combined, bilateral surface, air and sub-surface joint interoperability exercise in the Gulf of Aden. (Source: naval-technology.com)
02 Aug 21. RAF completes air personnel rescue drills in Romania. During the drill, RAF Regiment Gunners, currently deployed in Romania, extracted downed aircrew from a simulated hostile area. The Royal Air Force (RAF) has completed aircrew rescue drills as part of a Joint Personnel Recovery exercise in Romania. The military drill, called Exercise Titan Salvage, saw RAF Regiment Gunners from across the 121 Expeditionary Air Wing Force Protection detachment deploy conducted an extraction of down aircrew from a simulated hostile area. The Gunners boarded two US Army Black Hawk helicopters from Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base near Constanta in Romania to rescue the downed personnel. During the drill, overflying RAF Typhoons from 121 Expeditionary Air Wing Force provided top cover to the forces and conducted several low-level shows of force to deter simulated enemy moves. The rescuing team also included an RAF paramedic to treat any injuries and a US Army Joint Terminal Attack Controller to direct the air movements.
RAF Regiment exercise conducting officer sergeant Jason O’Rourke said: “The exercise was extremely successful, working with the US Black Hawks has presented an excellent opportunity for the RAF Regiment to advance and learn new techniques, tactics and procedures for Joint Personnel Recovery.
“It was great to see that the US aircrew have similar procedures to us. It builds great confidence that our two nations, alongside our other Nato allies, can work effectively together to complete Joint Personnel Recovery missions.”
The exercise primarily assessed the RAF Regiment Gunners’ capabilities against the Report, Locate, Support, Recover and Re-integrate phases of Joint Personnel Recovery.
The gunners were selected from regular and reserve Regiment Squadrons deployed in Romania to guard four RAF Typhoons stationed in the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base. These jets are in Romania until September 2021 for the Nato enhanced Air Policing mission. Last month, RAF Typhoons completed a tactical refuelling exercise in Norway. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
03 Aug 21. USAF Selects CAE USA to Train Combat Controllers. CAE today announced that the U.S. Air Force recently contracted CAE USA to develop and deploy new build Joint Terminal Control Training Rehearsal System (JTC TRS) simulators as well as upgrade existing systems to a common configuration across the U.S. Department of Defense enterprise.
The JTC TRS is a mission critical simulation system used to train new Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) operators for real-world scenarios such as controlling aircraft and deploying weapons against designated ground targets. This contract now merges both the JTC TRS and Joint Theater Air-Ground Simulation System (JTAGSS) into a single program that will provide comprehensive training for JTAC operators. CAE USA will develop a fully immersive system that allows JTAC-qualified personnel to train for complex missions in a simulated and controlled environment. JTACs communicate and direct actions to ground commanders and aircraft to locate threats and targets.
“CAE is bringing our state-of-the-art training capabilities and resourcing to fill an immediate need for critical training on both the Joint Terminal Control Training and Rehearsal System and the Joint Theater Air-Ground Simulation System programs,” said Lenny Genna, Vice President and General Manager – Systems, CAE USA. “JTACs are on the front line under extremely dangerous circumstances and the training systems we provide will ensure they are prepared and mission ready.”
The JTC TRS will be developed by CAE USA in Arlington, Texas and delivered to 26 Air Force designated training locations around the world. CAE USA will support the installation and ongoing maintenance of the simulation systems required for Joint Terminal Attack Controller training.
The JTC TRS contract was originally awarded to L3Harris’ Military Training business unit. Recently, CAE acquired L3Harris’ Military Training, which is now integrated with CAE USA as part of CAE’s Defense & Security business unit.
“This program is a perfect example of how the acquisition of L3Harris’ Military Training business expands our core offerings across multi-domain operations and brings access to new customers and programs,” said Dan Gelston, Group President, Defense & Security, CAE. (Source: ASD Network/CAE)
02 Aug 21. RSAF’s Peace Vanguard detachment completes training at Idaho ANG facility. Based in Marana, Arizona, US, the Peace Vanguard detachment conducted aerial gunnery for the tenth year. The US Army has announced the completion of the AH-64 Apache aerial gunnery training by the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s (RSAF) Peace Vanguard detachment.
The training has been conducted throughout last month at the Idaho Army National Guard’s (ANG) Orchard Combat Training Center (OCTC).
Since 2001, the Peace Vanguard detachment has been based in Marana, Arizona, US. It was supported by the Arizona National Guard’s US Army Flight Training Detachment.
Currently, RSAF pilots fly eight UH-60 Apache Longbow attack helicopters. They complete similar gunnery requirements and standards as that of the US pilots.
The Peace Vanguard detachment conducted aerial gunnery from 30 June to 29 July at the OCTC for the tenth straight year.
US Army noted that the detachment used ANG’s digital air-ground integrated range (DAGIR) that opened in March.
DAGIR is one of two computerised target practice ranges in the US Army. It allows joint training of air and ground units. The range also receives precise, real-time feedback on pilots’ performance.
US Army Flight Training Detachment commander lieutenant colonel Jack Denton said: “The scoring is instantaneous. The second a target is hit, we know about it.
“It’s a great feature because sometimes you’re not sure if the round went through the target or not.”
The US Army Flight Training Detachment comprises six ANG pilots, who flew with RSAF pilots.
To get trained in desert environments, Republic of Singapore Air Force pilots rotated through the training station in Arizona, along with the US pilots.
Denton added that RSAF pilots executed ‘individual and crew-level qualifications’ at the OCTC.
The pilots also worked with Marine Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) to simulate the provision of close air support.
During the training, each engagement was recorded to allow crews to review their training and receive real-time feedback from senior pilots, range workforce and master gunners.
Furthermore, crews were also able to sleep and refuel at the OCTC while training.
The DAGIR is a 143,000-acre training centre that offers huge terrain and army ranges for brigade combat teams to prepare them for combat in a confined environment. It is one of 23 ranges at the OCTC. (Source: army-technology.com)
30 Jul 21. E-7A Wedgetail Controlling the Air, Land and Sea. Air power has been on display with two RAAF E-7A Wedgetail aircraft from No. 2 Squadron, based at RAAF Base Williamtown, participating in Exercise Talisman Sabre (TS21).
Engaged in the largest bilateral training activity between Australia and the US, the E-7A Wedgetail aircraft delivered a crucial combat picture management capability for the exercise – allowing military leadership to act on and adjust to the evolving scenarios in near real time.
Based on the Boeing 737-700 design, the E-7A Wedgetail is equipped with an advanced multi-role electronically scanned array (MESA) radar, and 10 state-of-the-art mission consoles from which the crew can track airborne and maritime targets simultaneously.
Commanding Officer No. 2 Squadron Wing Commander Warren Haynes said the exercise mission scenarios delivered important training outcomes.
“TS21 has exposed No. 2 Squadron airborne personnel including pilots, air battle managers and airborne electronics analysts to a complex battlespace environment, providing them with familiarity in monitoring and controlling a range of aircraft types and missions,” Wing Commander Haynes said.
“The tempo and variety of missions undertaken by the E-7A Wedgetail also allows the aircraft maintainers to hone their technical skills and flexibility when preparing the aircraft for different environments.
“Fundamentally, TS21 is a highly complex exercise and allows personnel to engage in real-time training scenarios to ensure the squadron maintains the highest level of operational capability and readiness.”
Training and readiness that resulted from TS21 included competency upgrades for participating No. 2 Squadron personnel. The integration and cooperation with exercise participants also ensured the development and validation of tactics, techniques and procedures to ensure proper integration with counterparts within allied forces.
Wing Commander Haynes said the E-7A provided Australia with the most advanced airspace battle management capability in the world as an airborne early warning and control platform capable of gathering information from a wide variety of sources, analysing it and distributing it to other assets.
“With its ability to survey, command, control and coordinate a joint air, sea and land battle in real time, the E-7A is a significant force multiplier for the ADF and our coalition partners,” he said.
“The opportunity to participate in TS21 has been vital to maintain our strong interoperability and lethality, to effectively respond to threats when called upon and achieve mission success.”
Over a 10-hour mission, the E-7A Wedgetail can cover more than four million square kilometres, an area the size of WA or the NT, and is capable of extended long-range deployment with in-flight refuelling, making it a high-endurance airframe.
As part of No. 42 Wing under the command of Surveillance and Response Group, the No. 2 Squadron E-7A Wedgetail makes a significant contribution to the delivery of airborne early warning and control for the joint force. (Source: ASD Network)
30 Jul 21. US and Israel complete Juniper Falcon 21-2 military exercise. The exercise was a continuation of the first-ever virtual Juniper Falcon that was held in February this year. The US European Command and the Israel Defense Forces have completed the latest iteration of the joint military exercise called Juniper Falcon 21-2.The week-long drill was a continuation of the first-ever virtual Juniper Falcon that was held in February this year. Juniper Falcon 21-2 was held at various locations in Israel and focused on honing emergency response and crisis response capabilities. US European Command used two US Air Force C-130J Super Hercules from the 37th Airlift Squadron to deliver equipment and personnel to Israel for the exercise. Juniper Falcon is conducted every two years to improve interoperability between the two military forces and ensure that they are capable to combat any contingency, particularly those related to ballistic missile threats.
US Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa deputy commander and Joint Task Force–Israel commander lieutenant general Steven Basham said: “The US has a long-standing and steadfast commitment to the people of Israel and their right to self-defence.
“We consistently train together so when our personnel and equipment hit the ground, we are fully integrated and ready to face a complex range of dynamic scenarios.
“Due to the global pandemic, we had to redesign how we come together to advance interoperability between our two forces. We are using lessons learned from the last year to improve the Juniper series, while keeping health and safety a priority.”
Earlier this month, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) re-established the 117th First Jet Squadron as a training squadron in the IAF’s F-35I ‘Adir’ Division. Initially, the squadron will focus on training IAF pilots to operate the F-35I. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
29 Jul 21. US DAF completes ADE 5 event designed to achieve decision superiority. The goal of the DAF ADE 5 was to move DoD towards decision superiority mission architecture.
The US Department of the Air Force (DAF) has completed Architecture Demonstration and Evaluation (ADE) 5, the fifth in a series of events designed to achieve decision superiority.
In support of the ADE, the DAF’s Chief Architect Office (CAO) conducted experiments spanning all 11 combatant commands.
These experiments were carried out in collaboration with US Pacific Air Forces, US Northern Command, the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center and the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence & Security.
Particularly, CAO’s ADE 5 aimed to move the Department of Defense (DoD) towards decision superiority mission architecture.
It involved three primary pillars, namely the emerging technology and concepts of operation from the airforce and space force, the third Global Information Dominance Experiment (GIDE), and Pacific Iron 2021 Agile Combat Employment exercise.
Space Force and Air Force chief architect Preston Dunlap said: “Operating without decision superiority is like a tourist driving in New York City without GPS; you may ultimately get where you need to go, but it won’t be efficient and may not be effective.
“Our goal at Department of the Air Force Architecture Demonstration and Evaluation 5 was to move DoD towards an integrated mission architecture that achieves AI-enabled decision superiority anywhere, from combatant commands all the way down to the edge, whether in competition or conflict.”
ADE 5 objectives included increased domain awareness of global actions in competition and crisis; increased information dominance through AI; increased decision superiority by developing feasible deterrence courses of action. The objectives also included increased global integration through rapid cross combatant command collaboration and increased agile decision superiority.
CAO conducted experiments of key enabling technologies. This included the application of artificial intelligence to support decision advantage and providing Pacific Air Forces deployed communications teams with commercial-off-the-shelf networking technologies and commercial communications pathways to enhance network resiliency.
Dunlap added: “Our partnership with forward-leaning organisations like US Northern Command, US Pacific Air Forces, the Joint AI Center, and USDI on ADE 5 has yielded invaluable progress in designing and evaluating the technical architectures that will provide senior leaders and joint warfighters the decision advantage they both need and deserve.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)
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