FRCSW / COMFRC News Clips – Week of June 13

Below are the FRCSW/COMFRC Top News Clips for the week of June 13:

 

LOCAL COVERAGE

COMFRC celebrates Sohl’s legacy; welcomes new commander

Celebrating teamwork at annual NAVAIR Commander’s Awards ceremony

Fleet Readiness Center Western Pacific wins NAVAIR Commander’s Award

RADM Sohl Farewell to Fleet Readiness Centers

COMFRC holds mentoring sessions to discuss CCPM

 

WORLD/NATIONAL NEWS

Danish parliament approves F-35 selection

Canadian Fighter-Jet Debate Turns Testy

Arresting gear on Ford-class carriers under scrutiny

Navy In Dayton: A Top Admiral Says Drones Are Future Of Aviation

Naval Aviation Vision: Legacy Navy Hornets Gone by 2026

 

 

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LOCAL COVERAGE

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COMFRC celebrates Sohl’s legacy; welcomes new commander

(COMMANDER, FLEET READINESS CENTERS, 16 June 16) . Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers Public Affairs

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – It is not prescribed specifically by U.S. Navy regulations, but it is one of the Navy’s oldest traditions: the Change of Command ceremony.

 

Nearly 400 guests gathered June 16 in the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School hangar to honor and to bid farewell to Rear Adm. Paul “LJ” Sohl, Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers (COMFRC), as he handed over the helm to Vice Commander Capt. Mike Zarkowski.

 

Vice Adm. Paul Grosklags, Commander, Naval Air Systems Command, served as the presiding official and credited Sohl with maturing the focus and internal structure of COMFRC and the eight Fleet Readiness Centers (FRCs).

 

Sohl “has made a tremendous, positive impact and will leave a lasting legacy of commitment to his people of the FRC enterprise and to the fleet,” Grosklags said.

 

Grosklags, who eight years ago led COMFRC, congratulated Zarkowski on assuming command. “I have complete confidence in your leadership and ability to keep this command moving forward.”

 

Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, Commander, Naval Air Forces and Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet provided remarks as the guest speaker.

 

“The FRCs clearly play an absolutely critical role to recover readiness across the force and to improve the way we continue to generate that readiness,” Shoemaker stated. “LJ, thank you for the ongoing work to deliver your FRC Vision 2020, which I am confident will give us a more streamlined, agile and responsive organization in the future.”

 

Sohl came on board at COMFRC in August 2013 facing the challenges of budget shortfalls, sequestration and a high operating tempo. To combat those challenges and optimize capability and capacity, Vision 2020 — the strategic plan for regaining readiness across naval aviation — was implemented. The ultimate achievement of Vision 2020 will be the inception of a global maintenance management system. The system will recognize a failing aircraft as soon as it happens and parts, materials, artisan, equipment, testing can be moved to the aircraft to fix it in real time.

 

In a message to the FRC workforce, Sohl emphasized the need to keep focused on the mission:

 

“Your jobs are crucial to naval aviation readiness,” Sohl said. “Without you, nothing happens. We need your skill sets to help continue deploying our assets worldwide and keep our missions growing. Thanks for what you do each and every day. You are making a difference to our fleet.”

 

In his remarks to the audience, Zarkowski stressed that even though this is a time of transition, the mission of COMFRC remains the same: to provide aircraft ready for tasking.

 

“We have complex challenges we must continue to address,” Zarkowski said. “We must continue to commit the necessary resources to stay the course with Vision 2020. With this Vision, the naval aviation force of the future will be able to quickly adapt to emergent maintenance requirements and the Fleet Readiness Centers will be faster, more agile, more geographically independent and cost less.”

 

Notable COMFRC accomplishments under Sohl include:

.Leadership of 16,000 civilian, military and contractor personnel at eight Fleet Readiness Centers and management of a budget of $4.3 billion in maintenance, repair and overhaul.

.With a total of 8,483,281 labor force hours and $1.16 billion in cost, his emphasis on process improvement and maintenance integration resulted in the delivery of 1,434 airframes, 4,294 engines and modules, 155,255 components, 2,151 pieces of support equipment and 9,060 airframe in-service repairs, which achieved a 35 percent reduction in backorders from fiscal year 2014 to 2015 and improved weapon system availability for eight Type/Model aircraft.

.His involvement in the Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers Aviation Rapid Action Team ensured the development and improvement of more than 100 repair processes, enhanced Fleet Readiness Center capabilities and resulted in $13.1 million in cost avoidance while improving readiness and lowering cost per flight hours.

 

The Waterloo, Iowa, native earned his bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his master’s in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Stanford University. He deployed as part of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Enduring Freedom, tallying over 3,200 flight hours in 30 different aircraft.

 

In August, Sohl is slated to become Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force in Norfolk, Virginia.

 

The Navy’s eight Fleet Readiness Centers (FRCs), with locations on the U.S. east and west coasts and in Japan, conduct maintenance, repair, and overhaul of U.S. Navy aircraft, engines, components and support equipment. Each year, roughly 6,500 Sailors and Marines, along with more than 9,500 depot artisans at the FRCs overhaul and repair nearly 1,000 aircraft, thousands of engines and several hundred thousand components valued at over $4 billion.

 

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.NAVAIRNewsStory&id=6293

 

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Celebrating teamwork at annual NAVAIR Commander’s Awards ceremony

(NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, 13 June 16) . NAVAIR Public Affairs

 

HEADQUARTERS, NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – The 16th annual NAVAIR Commander’s Awards ceremony, held here June 8, celebrated technical, business and leadership excellence in support of increasing speed to the fleet, delivering integrated and interoperable warfighting capabilities, and improving affordability.

 

This year, there were 50 nominations, representing a broad spectrum of programs and exemplifying the dedication, innovative spirit and drive for results that enable NAVAIR to accomplish its mission effectively on behalf of the warfighters, said Master Chief Michael Sekeet.

 

“To all of the winners and to everyone here today, thanks for all you do every day for naval aviation,” said NAVAIR Commander Vice Adm. Paul Grosklags. “It is both humbling and gratifying to know that you are passionate about solving real, existing everyday problems that our Sailors and Marines face. At the end of the day, that’s why we’re here. There is no organization more dedicated to finding a solution than you.”

 

The winners are, by category:

 

Business Operations:

 

PMA-207 Commercial Derivative Fixed Wing Airlift/Operational Support Aircraft Team, led by Cmdr. Warren Crouch and James Thompson, Patuxent River

 

This team provides procurement and life-cycle support services for C-9, C-12, C-20, C-26, UC-35, C-37, C-38 and C-40 aircraft. Working collaboratively and creatively, this team harnesses the best of industry’s public and private aircraft acquisition and sustainment practices to support the principles of acquisition reform and develop effective, efficient solutions to meet the warfighters’ requirements.

 

Energy:

 

NAVAIR Energy Team, Facilities and Infrastructure Pillar, led by Franz Kury, Patuxent River

 

The Facilities and Infrastructure Pillar (FAIP) of NAVAIR’s Energy Team works as a cross-competency, interdisciplinary, multi-site team to support the Navy’s energy goals and enhance the capability of naval aviation systems through efficient, effective energy use. In the past year, the FAIP devised and updated its energy strategy, enhanced its measures and metrics, broadened and extended its energy project portfolio, improved means to promote awareness and cultural change, and partnered at the Navy level to improve toolsets and collaboration that will assist NAVAIR and the Navy. The FAIP worked with command, command investment leads and other competencies, along with Naval Facilities Engineering Command and Commander, Navy Installations Command and private industry, to build a broad-based project portfolio of energy-related direct investments. In the past year, the Naval Air Warfare Centers and Maintenance Level III Fleet Readiness Centers invested in more than 100 system upgrades in key focus areas to improve infrastructure energy efficiency. The FAIP’s efforts and activities in the command resulted in an overall $3.8 million reduction in fiscal year 2015 Navy working capital fund and major range test facility base overhead costs.

 

Logistics and Industrial Operations:

 

Fleet Readiness Center Western Pacific (FRCWP), led by Cmdr. Matthew Edwards

 

Headquartered at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan, with detachment sites in Iwakuni and Okinawa, Japan; Guam; Korea and Malaysia, FRCWP provides responsive, affordable readiness for Navy and Marine Corps forces deployed worldwide, ashore and afloat. FRCWP delivers readiness through aircraft and support equipment depot maintenance. In 2015, FRCWP:

.Completed 29 aircraft planned depot events for 13 different squadrons

.Completed 573 urgent unscheduled aircraft repairs worldwide, supporting 77 squadrons, including 180 repairs on board deployed ships

.Performed nearly 700 engineering dispositions

.Overhauled or repaired 134 pieces of support equipment

 

Program Management:

 

P-8A Production Team, led Robert Holmes, PMA-290, Patuxent River

 

This team’s program management and acquisition skills helped the P-8A Poseidon Production Program deliver 13 P-8A aircraft to the fleet in 2015 – one more than planned – and with all deliveries ahead of schedule by 30 days on average, with some aircraft delivered 60 days ahead of schedule. The team’s work gave new warfighting capabilities to the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Fleet and met their P-3 to P-8 transition schedule by providing more than two squadrons of P-8A aircraft for squadron deployment requirements in 2015. Implementing a detailed, comprehensive “should cost” program plan, the P-8A Production Team’s drive to lower cost and increase affordability resulted in $311 million in savings, which enabled the procurement of two additional P-8A aircraft in January 2016.

 

Quality of Service/Customer Service:

 

Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) Urgent Operational Need (UON) 360 Team, led by Cmdr. Molly J. Boron, PMA-290M, Patuxent River

 

In response to a classified UON from the commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, in April 2015, the MPRA UON 360 Team developed, integrated, installed, tested and delivered a new, unique airborne sensor capability, which provides a 360-degree video surveillance and recording capability around U.S. Navy patrol and reconnaissance aircraft. The team achieved key milestones in a short timeline, demonstrating a drive to deliver and deploy enhanced capability on MPRA with a rapid “speed to the fleet” focus. The team delivered an affordable product to the operational commander within six months of program start, resulting in improved situational awareness and safety of aircrews deployed in the western Pacific Ocean operating areas and serving as a deterrent in an increasingly contested theater of operations.

 

Research, Development, Test and Evaluation:

 

Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) Team, led by Adam Ferreira, PMA-234, Patuxent River

 

Responsible for the design, development and procurement of the NGJ capability, the Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) Systems and EA-6B (PMA-234) Program Office’s NGJ Team has exceeded expectations. From their innovative approach to the evolution of AEA to their acceptance as the pilot program in the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Better Buying Power Skunk Works initiative, the team will equip future warfighters with a state-of-the art technology to address emerging electronic warfare gaps and ensure kill chain wholeness against growing threat capabilities and capacity. The team’s focus on speed to the fleet, improved affordability and platform integration proved relevant as the increased jamming capability is critical to sustaining the future missions of the Navy, other services and international partners.

 

Science and Technology:

 

NAVAIR Innovation Challenge Team, led by Antonella Thompson, Patuxent River

 

NAVAIR’s Innovation Challenge Program is a new and creative construct that provides a unique professional development opportunity for the junior workforce to address mission-related technical issues in a vibrant, nurturing and enabling environment. The projects undertaken in the first cycle ranged from harvesting and storing sound energy from jet engines successfully to demonstrating that it is possible to obtain reliable, accurate data for structural health monitoring of metallic 3-D printed parts. One project examined technologies and innovative materials that could potentially allow future gearboxes to run without oil lubrication. The technical efforts resulted in multiple patent applications, technical reports and presentations to acquisition workforce stakeholders. The Innovation Challenge is evolving from an “experiment” to a Navy best practice.

 

Edward H. Heinemann Award for Outstanding Achievement:

 

TH-57 Avionics Upgrade Team, led by Robert Moran, Patuxent River

 

This award is presented annually to the group within NAVAIR who achieved or helped achieve significant improvement in the design or modification of an aircraft or aircraft system. This team, with the support of the Chief of Naval Aviation Training (CNATRA) Fleet Support Team, implemented an integrated solution to replace the obsolete very high frequency (VHF) radio and transponder, to provide a common communications and navigation suite in the TH-57B and TH-57C. This solution also meets the January 2020 Federal Aviation Administration mandate for automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast capability, providing modern VHF communications, navigation and GPS navigation capabilities to the rotary wing training fleet for CNATRA. From concept to engineering change proposal approval, this effort took only 10 months, and the estimated cost to implement the proposal was 20 percent less than the original budget estimate, allowing the team to use existing funds to resolve other TH-57 obsolescence issues.

 

T. Michael Fish Quality of Worklife Award:

 

Janna Roberts, Patuxent River

 

This award is named for the former head of NAVAIR’s Research and Engineering Staff Office and Deputy Assistant Commander for Shore Station Management, recognizing a leader who improves productivity, retention, morale and innovation significantly. Roberts’ volunteerism, fundraising and aggressive recruitment, transition assistance, career placement and resilient advocacy, has inspired the recovery and physical fitness of more than 5,000 wounded warriors and helped more than 924 hires of wounded, ill and/or injured service members to NAVAIR. Read more about her efforts.

 

Small Business Advocacy Awards:

.Individual: Holli W. Galletti, Patuxent River

 

Throughout fiscal year 2015, Galletti served as the principal deputy program manager for the H-60 Program Office (PMA-299). In this role, she became the lead for the program’s small business initiatives and has become a steadfast advocate for small business in both the H-60 Program and across the Program Executive Office for Air Antisubmarine Warfare, Assault and Special Mission portfolio. Galletti began her efforts well before the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition’s January 2015 “Tapping into Small Business in a Big Way” memorandum that formally assigned principal deputy program managers as the small business advocates responsible for identifying opportunities within their programs. In preparation for the MH-60’s shift from production to sustainment, she led a deep dive into potential small business opportunities and shared the findings with the Office of Small Business Programs.

.Team: Airborne Threat Simulation Organization (ATSO) Integrated Product Team, led by Eric Finn, Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, Point Mugu

 

Through early inclusion with NAWCWD’s Office of Small Business Programs, market research and procurement planning, the ATSO Team identified capable small businesses for numerous contracts that were solicited or set aside to small businesses in fiscal year 2015. Instead of having one large prime contractor deliver turnkey airborne electronic attack systems, ATSO, as lead system integrator, manages more than 13 large hardware contracts to procure and integrate the required subassemblies. This approach established unique focus areas of hardware technology and maximized opportunities for small business participation as prime and subcontractors in NAVAIR contracts.

 

Grosklags also made special mention of two teams that exemplify good risk management: the Risk Management Framework and Cyber Warfare Detachment teams.

 

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.NAVAIRNewsStory&id=6286

 

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Fleet Readiness Center Western Pacific wins NAVAIR Commander’s Award

(COMMANDER, FLEET READINESS CENTERS 16 June 16) . Gary Younger, Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers Public Affairs

 

NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – Covering an area larger than that of the Continental United States, it’s a challenge to provide readiness to Naval aviation when and where needed. Fleet Readiness Center Western Pacific (FRCWP), however, consistently does that and was recognized with a Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Commander’s Award for Logistics and Industrial Operations during a ceremony held here June 8.

 

“This award represents FRC West Pac’s commitment to sustaining forward deployed squadrons,” said Cmdr. Matthew Edwards, FRCWP commanding officer, accepting the bright silver Commander’s Award during a ceremony at the Rear Adm. William A. Moffett Building at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. The ceremony was also broadcast via video teleconference to NAVAIR sites around the country.

 

One of seven categories, the Logistics and Industrial Operations award gauges logistics support of fleet operations and maintenance throughout the full life cycle of aviation weapon systems and related equipment as well as technical support to aviation acquisition, life cycle logistics and maintenance planning processes, procurement and supply.

 

Headquartered at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan, FRCWP has detachments in Iwakuni and Okinawa, Japan, Guam, Korea, and Malaysia staffed by a diverse team of dedicated military, U.S. government civilians, and Japanese nationals and commercial contract personnel providing responsive, affordable readiness for Navy and Marine Corps forces deployed worldwide, ashore and afloat. FRCWP supports the fleet outside of the continental United States, including U.S. European Command, U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Central Command and U.S. Pacific Command.

 

“Being aligned for fast response, FRCWP improves NAVAIR’s affordability and rapid response to urgent warfighter depot maintenance needs by maintaining in-theatre scheduled aircraft and support equipment maintenance, Carrier Strike Group In-Service Repair (ISR) teams onboard deployed carriers, and field repair teams available worldwide in 48 hours or less,” wrote Lt. Cmdr. Timothy Tuschinski, FRCWP production officer, in the award nomination packet.

 

In 2015, FRCWP completed 29 aircraft planned depot events for 13 different squadrons; completed 573 urgent unscheduled aircraft repairs worldwide supporting 77 squadrons, including 180 repairs on board deployed ships; expeditiously performed nearly 700 engineering dispositions; and overhauled or repaired 134 pieces of support equipment.

 

“We rely on our contractors in Japan, Korea and Malaysia for scheduled depot maintenance,” said Edwards. “We leverage their vast experience and technical expertise in manufacturing and aircraft maintenance to complete planned maintenance.”

 

Sometimes serving the fleet means going to where the fleet is, and FRC WESTPAC completed more than 1,700 aircraft ISRs onboard 35 deployed ships and at 20 shore-based locations.

 

“We have a dedicated team of technicians who can deploy on a moment’s notice to meet a customer’s need,” said Edwards. “We have guys who come in at eight in the morning, get told they have to deploy, and are on a plane that afternoon.”

 

The Support Equipment Rework Facility, or SERF for short, overhauled and repaired more than 350 pieces of Support Equipment. SERF’s Japanese employees contributed 28,000 man-hours without a single Quality Deficiency Report. SERF also provided field team support and returned six different support equipment items that were unavailable for use for three to six months to a ready-for-issue status in eight days. The on-site repairs saved more than 60 days shipping time and $30,000 in shipping costs.

 

FRCWP also awarded five aircraft depot maintenance contracts in the Western Pacific totaling $62.3 million in the sustainment of forward deployed naval forces in support of F/A-18A-D Hornet, F/A-18 E-F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler, AH-1 Cobra, UH-1 Iroquois, H-53E Super Stallion and KC-130 Hercules. FRCWP also awarded a contract for the first overseas V-22 Osprey depot capability.

 

Other NAVAIR Commander’s Award categories include Business Operations; Program Management; Quality of Service/Customer Service; Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E); Science and Technology; and Energy.

 

COMFRC shares in Commander’s Award for Energy

 

Industrial operations are typically energy intensive and can use or produce by-products that are hazardous to the environment. Danny Miller, COMFRC Environmental and Energy Lead, said the FRCs have worked hard to reduce their energy footprint and environmental impact over the past few years.

 

For its efforts, COMFRC – a part of the NAVAIR Energy team, Facilities and Infrastructure Pillar (FAIP), – shared in the Commander’s Award in the Energy category. In the past year, FRC East, Southeast and Southwest – as well as the Naval Air Warfare Centers – have invested in more than 100 system upgrades to improve infrastructure energy efficiency.

 

In 2015, FRC East upgraded lighting throughout its production area without impacting delivery of aircraft to the fleet. FRC Southwest earned the 2015 Chief of Naval Operations’ Environmental Award (Sustainability-Industrial Activity) for its efforts to prevent or eliminate pollution at the source, including practices that increase efficiency and sustainability in the use of raw materials, energy, water or other resources. FRC Southeast picked up the SECNAV Environmental Award (Sustainability-Industrial Activity) for reducing energy by implementing steam reduction and adding high-efficiency lighting, diverting 250 tons of waste from landfills and recycled more than 160 tons of used oil for energy recovery and reduction.

 

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.NAVAIRNewsStory&id=6289

 

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RADM Sohl Farewell to Fleet Readiness Centers

 

After almost three years at the helm as Commander, Fleet Readiness Center (COMFRC) Rear Admiral Sohl will be leaving COMFRC and continuing to his next assignment as Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force in Norfolk, Virginia. Before heading out, he passes along his thanks and admiration to his Fleet Readiness Center shipmates for their determination and dedication to the warfighter.

 

View the video message at https://youtu.be/E-5QFDDNJKs

 

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COMFRC holds mentoring sessions to discuss CCPM

(COMMANDER, FLEET READINESS COMMAND, 16 June 16) .Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers Public Affairs

NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Maryland — Increasing the speed of service to the fleet is a never-ending quest for Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers (COMFRC). This includes exploring and implementing state-of-the-art business practices to improve production efficiency of much-needed aircraft, components and equipment.

 

To help with the understanding of the concepts and processes of Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) COMFRC’s Carlos Carcamo, N42’s Production Performance Improvement CCPM Lead and Senior Chief Petty Officer Nana Boakye, N42’s Performance Improvement Military Lead held mentoring sessions on CCPM theory, management techniques and Fleet Readiness Center (FRC) implementation on May 4 and May 11 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. Also at the May 4 session, John Gatt, COMFRC Optimized Production System Team Lead, provided technical insight and lessons learned regarding CCPM and implementation of Drum-Buffer-Rope (DBR) in Components, Engines and back shops.

 

“Feedback from the attendees was very positive,” said Yvette Bose, COMFRC AIR-6.0 Logistics and Industrial Operations Group lead.  “Everyone appreciated how the mentors shared a wide-range of scenarios from Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR)/COMFRC, external agencies and commercial entities and made CCPM theory and technical terminology easier to understand.”

 

COMFRC is implementing CCPM and DBR across its eight Fleet Readiness Centers in order to speed production and return much-needed aircraft and components to the fleet. CCPM is a method of planning and managing projects that emphasizes the resources (people, equipment, physical space) required to execute project tasks. DBR details a work schedule for the constraint (Drum), buffering the constraint so that it is never starved (Buffer), and setting a release mechanism to ensure that work gets released into the system at the right time (Rope). This systematic approach protects the weakest link in the production system against process variation and dependency, which maximizes the system’s overall effectiveness.

 

More than 50 logistics, production, quality assurance and financial professionals attended the presentations and actively engaged in questions and answers and sharing of their personal military and civilian experiences with CCPM and DBR.

 

COMFRC 6.0 is working with the College of Logistics and Industrial Operations (CLIO) to establish these CCPM/DBR sessions as course offerings for Programs and Teams with additional information to be announced on the CLIO and NAVAIR University sites.

 

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.NAVAIRNewsStory&id=6294

 

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WORLD/NATIONAL NEWS

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Danish parliament approves F-35 selection

(FLIGHT GLOBAL, 14 June 16) . Craig Hoyle

 

Denmark’s parliament has approved a government recommendation to acquire the Lockheed Martin F-35, with the decision edging Copenhagen closer to an order for 27 examples of the fifth-generation fighter.

 

To be operated from Skrydstrup air base, the conventional take-off and landing F-35As will be delivered between 2021 and 2026, the nation’s defence ministry says. The new type will replace the Royal Danish Air Force’s current Lockheed F-16s, the last of which will leave use in late 2024.

 

Approved on 9 June, the step follows a mid-May recommendation by the Danish government and defence ministry after an evaluation process by the latter’s New Fighter Programme Office. Boeing’s F/A-18F Super Hornet and the Eurofighter Typhoon had also been considered as candidates, but the F-35 was ranked first in all four assessment criteria.

 

“Based on the current level of ambition for the assignment of combat aircraft, the parties agree to purchase 27 F-35A Joint Strike Fighters,” the defence ministry says. It values the aircraft purchase at around DKr20 billion ($3 billion), but adds: “the determination of the acquisition cost will only happen after contracting with the supplier.”

 

With the F-35 still in its development phase and the F-35A yet to achieve initial operational capability with the US Air Force, the defence ministry notes that “there is and will remain a number of risks” to fielding the new type. “The [Danish] parties want to follow the development of the F-35 programme closely, and will be regularly informed of progress and risks,” it adds.

 

During the transition period from the F-16, Denmark will not be able to support international operations between 2022 and 2024, with “a limited number” of F-35s to be available for such activities from the following year.

 

“From 2027 it is expected that the Joint Strike Fighter can solve the all tasks, both nationally and internationally,” says the defence ministry.

 

Copenhagen plans to participate in a proposed multi-year purchase agreement for the F-35, along with several other customers, and says its final number of aircraft could increase if economic conditions allow. However, “prior to contracting for the last six aircraft a status [evaluation] will be made by the parties,” the ministry says. “At this point the parties can decide to purchase fewer aircraft if the first aircraft are not delivered on time and to the expected price.”

 

Welcoming confirmation of the selection, Jens Maaløe, chief executive of Danish company Terma, says: “We look forward to explore new areas of co-operation and bring “best value” to the F-35 programme.” A supplier on the programme since 2005, it currently produces composite aerostructures and radar electronics.

 

Lockheed says it will “continue to work with Danish industry on F-35 production and sustainment”.

 

Denmark will follow Australia, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Turkey, the UK and the USA in signing a production order for the F-35.

 

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/danish-parliament-approves-f-35-selection-426331/

 

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Canadian Fighter-Jet Debate Turns Testy

(DEFENSE NEWS, 8 JUNE 16) . David Pugliese

 

VICTORIA, British Columbia – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has slammed the F-35, labeling the aircraft as a fighter that “does not work,” as his government considers the purchase of Boeing Super Hornets instead.

 

The Liberal Party government’s consideration of a purchase of an undisclosed number of Super Hornets as an “interim” aircraft to deal with a fighter capability gap touched off a storm of controversy in the House of Commons.

 

Conservative Party leader Rona Ambrose accused Trudeau of selecting a fighter jet without the proper knowledge of what the Royal Canadian Air Force needs.

 

But Trudeau said the previous Conservative government botched the procurement of a new jet. “They left us a mess we are going to fix,” he said June 7 in the House of Commons.

 

“Canadians know full well that for 10 years, the Conservatives completely missed the boat when it came to delivering to Canadians and their armed forces the equipment they needed,” Trudeau added. “They clung to an aircraft (the F-35) that does not work and is far from working.”

 

The Conservative government had committed to purchasing 65 F-35s. The plan was put on hold, however, as technical issues with the aircraft continued to make headlines. The Conservatives and the Canadian military were also accused by critics of trying to hide the full cost of the F-35 procurement.

 

During last year’s election campaign Trudeau said if his government was elected it would not buy the F-35. He said the aircraft didn’t fit Canada’s needs and was too expensive.

 

Earlier in the week, industry and defense sources said the Liberals were examining the purchase of the Super Hornets.

 

The Liberal government has not denied those deliberations, with officials arguing that time is of the essence in acquiring a new jet to ensure Canada’s security.

 

“There is a developing capability gap which needs to be managed,” Parliamentary Defence Secretary John McKay said. “We have obligations to NATO. We have obligations to NORAD. We have obligations to our own defence and to expeditionary matters.”

 

The government said no decision on the Super Hornets has yet been made.

 

Some industry officials argue Trudeau has backed himself into a corner on the fighter jet procurement. The prime minister has vowed his government would hold an open and fair competition to replace the CF-18 fighter jet, prompting critics to question how that could be if one specific jet was already ruled out.

 

Alan Williams, the former assistant deputy minister for materiel at Canada’s Department of National Defence, said Trudeau would not have been able to exclude the F-35 from an open competition.

 

If that indeed happened, Lockheed Martin could file a complaint with the federal court or a federal trade tribunal that it had been unfairly excluded from a bid, other procurement specialists noted.

 

But a Canadian provision that allows for the quick purchase of interim equipment without competition for reasons of national security could give the Liberal government the out they desire. They could argue that the Super Hornets are needed on an interim basis to meet Canada’s immediate needs, industry representatives say.

 

The proposed deal to buy Super Hornets on an interim basis would also push off any fighter competition well into the late 2020s, allowing Trudeau to keep his election promise, while dealing with the issue of replacing the country’s aging fleet of CF-18 jets.

 

Boeing did not respond to a request for comment.

 

Cindy Tessier, spokeswoman for Lockheed Martin Canada released a statement noting that, “Lockheed Martin has not been contacted by the Government of Canada on a requirement for an interim fighter solution.”

 

“We are confident the F-35 is the best solution to meet Canada’s operational requirements at the most affordable price,” she added.

 

Besides Super Hornet and the F-35, the potential contenders to replace Canada’s CF-18s include the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Dassault Rafale, and Saab’s Gripen.

 

In their defense platform, the Liberal Party stated that the primary role of a new Canadian fighter jet would be to contribute to the defense of North America and not to act as a “stealth first-strike platform.”

 

The Royal Canadian Air Force is in the midst of planning for a (CAN) $400 million ($300 million) modernization of the CF-18 fighter jets so they can continue operating until 2025. No contracts have yet been awarded on that modernization and it is unclear whether that project will now proceed.

 

http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense-news/2016/06/08/canadian-fighter-jet-f-35-super-hornet/85605450/

 

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Arresting gear on Ford-class carriers under scrutiny

(DAILY PRESS, 13 JUNE 16) . Hugh Lessig

 

Citing cost and performance concerns, a Senate panel wants a full review of the new system designed to safely land planes on the Navy’s new Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers.

 

The Advanced Arresting Gear, or AAG, uses a combination of energy-absorbing water turbines and an induction motor to bring aircraft to a controlled stop. Built by General Atomics, it is meant to be highly adjustable, suitable for a fighter jet, a larger aircraft or an unmanned drone. Its flexibility should reduce aircraft stress and maintenance costs.

 

However, the Senate Armed Services Committee revealed that the Navy is studying whether to continue with AAG in the Ford-class program or revert to a version of the system now used on current Nimitz-class carriers.

 

Newport News Shipbuilding preformed a turn shift for the Gerald R. Ford “CVN 78” rotating the aircraft carrier 180 degrees and docking it back to the pier on Saturday, June 11, 2016.

 

Newport News Shipbuilding builds aircraft carriers for the Navy. While the shipyard bears no responsibility for AAG’s testing and performance, problems with such a critical system can affect schedules and operations at the yard.

 

AAG already is installed on the first-in-class Gerald R. Ford, its construction essentially complete and scheduled to be delivered to the Navy later this year.

 

But the Navy is now reviewing what will happen with the second and third Ford-class ships, the John F. Kennedy and Enterprise, respectively, according to the committee. The Navy has already ordered AAG for Kennedy, making it less likely that a change will happen on that ship.

 

The concerns are outlined in the Armed Services Committee’s report on the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which serves as a blueprint for military spending and priorities. The NDAA comes up for a vote next week.

 

“The committee believes the Navy must pause and reconsider the way ahead, including the best business case, for the arresting gear on CVN-79 (Kennedy) and CVN-80 (Enterprise) and notes the Navy has already begun such a review,” the report states.

 

General Atomics referred questions about AAG to the Navy.

 

Capt. Thurraya Kent, a Navy spokeswoman, said she could not comment on specifics in the Senate report. In a statement emailed to the Daily Press, she said, “The Navy continues to work diligently to deliver the arresting gear system to the CVN-78 (Ford) class in accordance with program requirements. There is no decision to change that direction at this time.”

 

A key financial measure of the AAG is the procurement acquisition unit cost, which considers money spent on research and development, plus the scope of the planned purchase. As of February, it has risen 186 percent from the original baseline estimate in 2009, and 43 percent above the current basement estimate of 2013.

 

Besides cost, performance is also an issue. The committee notes “persistent delays in software development” that prompted the Navy to lower requirements for the AAG and eliminate a measure that it be back-fitted onto Nimitz-class ships.

 

In early 2015, the Navy considered using the current Nimitz-class system, called the Mark 7, on the upcoming Kennedy. It backed off.

 

The Navy “decided to continue with AAG, in part because the installation of the Mark 7 was estimated to cost $87 million more than AAG,” the report states. “This appears to be a shortsighted decision given the extraordinary and continuing development delays and cost growth, including more than $500 million since this decision was made in February 2015.”

 

The committee’s report is the latest in a series of publicly stated concerns about AAG.

 

In November 2014, the Government Accountability Office report noted failures in land-based testing and the potential for delays if the system already installed on the Gerald R. Ford had to be modified.

 

In March 2015, then-Rear Adm. Thomas Moore said the system was about two years behind schedule due to problems discovered in testing that led to further work and redesign. At the time, Moore was the Navy’s program executive officer for carriers. Now Vice Adm. Moore is the head of Naval Sea Systems Command, a post he formally assumed Friday.

 

In October, a Pentagon official told Congress that testing on AAG had not yet accumulated meaningful data, yet it was already installed on Ford.

 

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., a member of the Armed Services panel, said a big challenge with the Ford-class program stems from introducing many new components all at once, instead of phasing in new systems over a series of ships. That decision was made some years ago.

 

As for AAG, he said there is no margin for error.

 

 

“I’m very aware of it,” he said, “and I’ve had discussions with people at the shipyard about it.”

 

He said the redesigned AAG “can’t work 95 percent of the time. That’s got to work 100 or 1,000 percent of the time. That is an area of real concern for the Navy. It’s a concern for the shipyard and it’s a concern for the committee.”

 

Referring to committee’s call for a full review, Kaine said, “We want the Secretary of Defense to basically give us a candid assessment of this, because we’ve got other ships under contract that are being designed. We want to make sure we are not putting our aviators at risk.”

 

http://www.dailypress.com/news/military/dp-nws-aircraft-carrier-arresting-gear-20160612-story.html

 

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Navy In Dayton: A Top Admiral Says Drones Are Future Of Aviation

(DAYTON DAILY NEWS 15 JUN 16) … Barrie Barber

 

DAYTON – A top Navy leader says unmanned aerial vehicles are an “imperative” for the future of naval aviation.

Rear Adm. John R. Haley, a two-star admiral and commander of the Naval Air Force Atlantic fleet in Norfolk, Va., said he not only sees a future for UAVs on aircraft carriers, “I see an imperative for it in the future.”

 

Haley is the highest-ranking naval leader in Dayton this week for the first-ever “Navy Week” in the Gem City from June 13-19.

 

In an interview, he talked about issues facing the sea-going naval aviation fleet, training future sailors, and the tragic death of a Blue Angels pilot, Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, in a June 2 plane crash in Tennessee. The flight team canceled an appearance at this weekend’s air show at Dayton International Airport.

 

The Blue Angels are “hurting,” Haley said. “It’s a tight team, as you would expect,” he said.

 

“We’re looking at all the evidence and doing our investigation and then as soon as we can complete that investigation we’ll get the Blue Angels flying again,” he said.

 

Carrier Drone

 

Flight test demonstrations of the Northrop Grumman X-47B in recent years showed a UAV could autonomously take-off and land on an aircraft carrier, something the admiral described as a “force multiplier.”

 

“If you ask a naval aviator about unmanned drones a lot of them will say, ‘Oh, that’s a threat, they’re going to put us out of business,’ or something like that. And I think folks that think that way are pretty myopic,” he said.

 

“…It’s a force multiplier and it’s doing so without putting another guy in harm’s way and also allowing you to link (sensor) systems together.”

 

The Navy could use a UAV as an aerial refueling tanker at sea and to hoist surveillance sensors into the skies, among future uses, he said.

 

While Dayton is an Air Force town as home of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, it has a small contingent of Navy sailors and scientists.

 

The Naval Medical Research Unit at Wright-Patterson has collaborated with the Air Force to solve oxygen generation problems on both the Air Force’s F-22 and the Navy’s F/A-18 fighter jets, Haley said.

 

The Navy is in the midst of fixing those problems on F-18s, a process that could take about a year to a year and a half to complete, he estimated. Oxygen loss-related incidents in the cockpit have been cut in half in the past year, he said.

 

The naval research unit relocated to Wright-Patterson from Pensacola, Fla., as part of the base realignment and closure process a decade ago. The move, Haley said, has “reaped huge benefits.”

 

“We’re getting a lot of benefit, both Air Force and Navy, from the research that’s being done from the units out there,” he said.

 

Next Generation Fighter

 

Like the Air Force and the Marine Corps, the Navy has waited years longer than initially scheduled for a carrier-based version of the Joint Strike Fighter. The Navy has extended the life of and bought additional F-18 fighters to fill a fighter gap. The F-35’s development has exceeded expectations and cost estimates for the services, but Haley was confident naval aviation will glean lessons from the Marine Corps and the Air Force, both of which will fly the jet in operations before the Navy will.

 

The Marines fly the F-35B today to replace the aging AV-8B Harrier jump jet, and the Air Force expects to start to fly the land-based F-35A in operations late this year to replace the F-16 fighter and A-10 ground attack plane. The Navy will fly the F-35C starting in 2019.

 

“I would tell you that naval aviation is actually in a pretty good spot with the F-35,” Haley said. “…We’re going to be able to take those lessons and incorporate them in the airplane. Is the airplane perfect? No, it’s not perfect, but it’s going to be a great benefit.”

 

For all the hardware and equipment issues, Haley said training sailors is a key focus, too.

 

“…Sailors have to be better trained in a shorter period of time,” he said. “It has to be relevant to what we’re doing and they have to be ready for combat when we get there.”

 

The Naval Academy graduate, once an exchange student at the Air Force Academy, said Ohio’s educational system makes fertile territory to draw future sailors, even in an Air Force town like Dayton.

 

“I think that this area is very cognizant of the Navy more so than most landlocked Air Force-centric areas and so I have no problem coming into the land of Air Force and trying to recruit some great Americans to come into the Navy,” he said.

 

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/local-military/navy-in-dayton-a-top-admiral-says-drones-are-futur/nrgyM/

 

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Naval Aviation Vision: Legacy Navy Hornets Gone by 2026

(SEAPOWER MAGAZINE, 13 June 16) . Richard R. Burgess, Managing Editor

 

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Navy plans to retire its legacy F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters by 2026, according to its latest naval aviation vision statement.

 

“The last F/A-18A/B/C/D aircraft used by operational Navy squadrons will retire in 2026,” the Navy said in its publication “U.S. Naval Aviation Vision 2016-2025.”

 

The legacy Hornets are being replaced by the newer and larger F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to a greater extent than originally envisioned because of delays in the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter program. The F-35C carrier-based version is scheduled to reach initial operational capability in 2018 and from that time forward will replace the remaining Hornets.

 

The planned replacement for the F/A-18E/F and the EA-18G electronic attack aircraft is the F/A-XX.

 

“The aircraft designation F/A-XX is in the concept development phase with the goal to replace the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G when they retire,” the document said. “The future air wing will be an integrated family of systems that combine for greater effectiveness than the sum of its parts. F/A-XX will complement the air wing’s Lightning II, Advanced Hawkeye and rotary-wing aircraft. The ultimate concept must reliably and affordably incorporate future key technologies, including propulsion, sensors, networks and automation.”

 

The document is not clear on the retirement time frame for the Marine Corps’ legacy Hornets, stating only that they will be “sustaining into the future.” The short-takeoff/vertical-landing F-35B and the F-35C are replacing the legacy Hornets in the Corps.