FRCSW/COMFRC Top News Clips – Week of August 15, 2016

LOCAL COVERAGE

New fall protection on the rise at FRCSE

Town halls boosting 6.0�s comm efforts

Fault Detection System Will Improve Hornet GCU Service

Sikorsky loses Marine One repair work; about 85 jobs to be affected

Navy Engineers explore the world of Additive Manufacturing

 

WORLD/NATIONAL NEWS

Newest P-8A Poseidon Upgrade Includes ‘Minotaur’ Software

GOP, Dems Dig In For Defense Fight

GAO And Pentagon Disagree On Budgeting For Operations And Maintenance

The Budgetary Game Of ‘Chicken’ Needs To End

Navy F-35s Begin Final Round Of Sea Trials Aboard USS George Washington

Navy Pilots Describe How The F-35�s Brains Will Change Air Warfare

Pilots To Test Fix For F-35 Helmet �Green Glow� Problem

F-35’s New Landing Technology May Simplify Carrier Operations

F-35C Back At Sea For 3rd Round Of Carrier Tests

The Pentagon Is Closer To Extending A Generous New Benefit To Millions Of Veterans

USMC Outlines Super Stallion Fleet Overhaul Plans

The Military�s Real Readiness Crisis; Petraeus & O�Hanlon Are Wrong

Navy Announces Adjustments to Time-In-Grade Waiver Policy

Navy Weighs E-Cigarette Ban Amid Safety Concerns

Q&A: Outgoing Navy Chief Talks Submarines, F-35s And His Legacy

Private Sector To Fill Gaps In Military Aviation Training

 

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LOCAL COVERAGE

New fall protection on the rise at FRCSE

(FLEET READINESS CENTER SOUTHEAST, 12 Aug 16) � Fleet Readiness Center Southeast

 

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. � Fleet Readiness Center Southeast (FRCSE) artisans on the P-3 line now have protection from above.

 

Though they�re made of metal, the P-3 line�s new fall protection devices could prove to be a Godsend if anyone ever falls. In addition to the B-4 stands that provide a walking platform around the massive, four-engine patrol planes, FRCSE engineers and safety personnel purchased 18 Tuff Built �cubes� with telescoping arms that can reach up to 41 feet. The arms, like a crane�s arm, reach yards above the artisans and attach to their harnesses via a cable. If someone slips, the cable locks like a seatbelt.

 

�These provide more safety while the artisans are working on the aircraft more than four feet off the ground,� said FRCSE process engineer Marc Saint-Fleur. �So if they fall off the aircraft, there�s something that can catch them before they land and are possibly injured.�

 

On Aug. 4, sheet metal mechanic Sam Arulraj was attached to one of the devices while he walked about, working on a P-3 wing. FRCSE program management specialist Joe Lubarsky looked on from below.

 

�These flow with the artisans a lot better,� Lubarsky said. �Some of them have used systems similar to this that either put a constant tug of tension on them, or lock up too easily. They seem to think this system is much easier to use.

 

�Now our artisans can hook up their harnesses, go up in the lift and walk directly out on the wing and start working.�

 

Not only are the units safer, they�ll also clear-up room in the hangar.

 

�It will increase hangar bay floor space, because we can remove most of the B4 stands,� Saint-Fleur said. �We�re not going to get rid of all of them, but the ones we do keep won�t be considered fall protection.

 

�They�ll be stands to help the guys put up props or equipment onto the aircraft.�

 

The journey from idea to reality for the new equipment began two years ago.

 

�Our safety office determined there was a big need for fall protection, especially on the P-3 line,� said FRCSE safety and occupational health specialist Don Waters.

 

After months of testing, acquisition and certification, the cubes are now in-use.

 

�Nothing is perfect, but these are the closest things to it,� Waters said.

 

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.NAVAIRNewsStory&id=6336

 

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Town halls boosting 6.0�s comm efforts

(FLEET READINESS CENTER EAST READINESS READER, Aug 2016) � Fleet Readiness Center East Public Affairs

 

�Why did the leadership stop doing town hall meetings � Come talk to us where we are,� was the appeal managers and supervisors made to leaders during a gathering in the spring. And AIR 6.0 Logistics and Industrial Operations Group Head Robynn Storm responded by taking the action to interact with artisans on the production floor.

 

�By the end of this year, I will have talked to every 6.0 employee out there,� said Storm, to a group of logisticians in a town hall assembly May 4 at the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point Theater to kick off the campaign of grassroots assemblies.

 

The group leader � who has oversight of more than 2,600 employees � has been conducting town hall gatherings with members of its numerous shops at the rhythm of about two to three per week since mid-May, and has other meetings scheduled up to November. During the recent gatherings, Storm updated the workforce on FRC East business as well as Naval Aviation Enterprise news. The recent updates included topics such as safety concerns, the organization�s mission statement and ongoing efforts to realize its strategic goals, the aviation maintenance professional�s credo, ready basic aircraft crisis, net operating results and the need for accurate clocking, career planning, and news that the results are in from the organizational assessment survey, which was administered in the fall of 2015.

 

�While I trust my managers and supervisors to get such information to the workforce, I think hearing it from the group leader puts emphasis on where we should be focusing our energy and resources,� she said.

 

Storm said the small assemblies are old school approaches to stimulate dialogue among 6.0 leaders and the largest portion of the FRC East workforce.

 

�I like when we interact, because I want to hear what you are saying,� said Storm to a portion of the workforce July 22 during an afternoon town hall in Building 133. �These are opportunities for the workforce to talk to me face-to-face. What are your issues that may be impacting production?�

 

And as the effects of the approach are yet being gauged, some (who asked to remain anonymous) offered various opinions regarding the engagements.

 

�I think this should happen as often as possible.� �I�ve been here more than a year now and this is the first time I�ve seen our leadership.�

 

�The employees really liked it. It helped put a face with a name.�

 

�It was like a shot to the vein. It made the workforce feel like their issues were being heard by someone who could do something about it.�

 

�Sometimes it�s easier for a person to understand your concerns when they come down and see it for themselves. Coming to the floor helps put things into context � the concerns we have, and gives a visual that an email or a drawing can�t do.�

 

Though the initiative is mainly driven by Storm, the group head is spurring other leaders in the competency to get in on the action.

 

�I�m pushing the competency managers to get out and walk the floors, too,� she said, acknowledging the value in seeing things firsthand and the overall benefit it is to the organization.

 

Storm is also making informal walkthroughs of the work areas to see up close the faces of the workforce and to see firsthand the work being performed, with hopes of strengthening the organization�s communication dimension.

 

�I want the workforce to feel like they have access to its leaders. We�ve had communication issues, and I�m trying to fix part of that by doing more of this,� she said. �I believe it will have big payoffs for FRC East.

 

As Storm continues to schedule the town hall meetings and looks to make more time to conduct impromptu walkthroughs, she encourages the workforce to keep the lines of communication open, especially about ways to improve processes.

 

�Don�t get stuck on the escalator � keep climbing,� she said, making a reference to a video skit featuring Naval Air Systems Command leaders encouraging process improvement initiatives.

 

Storm reiterated to the workforce to use the structured chain for voicing concerns. In cases where issues are not getting the attention necessary to be resolved, individuals can send her an email.

 

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Fault Detection System Will Improve Hornet GCU Service

(FLEET READINESS CENTER SOUTHWEST ALMANAC) � Fleet Readiness Center Southwest Public Affairs

 

To increase the reliability and readiness of F/A-18 Hornet fighter avionics products it provides to the fleet, Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) recently purchased an Intermittent Fault Detection and Isolation System (IFIDS).

 

The IFDIS is solely applicable to the Hornet airframe�s Generator Converter Unit (GCU) chassis. It checks the connection points in the GCU harness, ensuring that all circuitry lines are free of intermittent shorts or opens.

The Hornet GCU is used in the powering of the aircrafts electrical systems.

 

�If there�s a short open it will highlight that path for you � and tell you from which point to which point is bad. And you can do a node mapping which shows all of the different connection points to that one pin, so you can actually see the different paths to where the failure is,� said Moses Simms, electronics integrated systems mechanic and IFDIS operator.

 

Electronics integrated systems mechanic Moses Simms readies the Intermittent Fault Detection and Isolation System (IFDIS) to test the Generator Converter Unit (GCU) chassis of an F/A-18 Hornet in Building 463. The IFDIS not only checks the connection points in the GCU harness for intermittent shorts or opens, but also has the capability to simulate the flight stresses and conditions which Hornet aircraft are exposed.

 

Simms and FRCSW engineer Michael Chang completed a one-week training program conducted by the IFDIS manufacturer, Universal Synapsis.

 

�It�s a very simple system to use,� Simms said. �It�s very user friendly so there�s not a lot of training as far as how to test something. Most of that training should have been received before reaching this point because there�s a certain order to the procedures involved. If someone didn�t actually build a GCU, they�d have a hard time; they�d probably end up doing the setup wrong costing more time than what is needed.�

 

Located in the avionics components section in Building 463, the IFDIS features an environmental simulation compartment that emulates the flight stresses and conditions which Hornet aircraft are typically exposed.

The simulator can vary temperatures from 350 F to -100 F and produce vibration levels to more than 2,200 pounds of force.

 

�In the vibration portion of the test, it looks for and measures any intermittent failures in the harness, which is something that we can�t really simulate here. And in the temperature testing, we have ovens to do that, but we can�t actively test in the oven. You can freeze and test while it�s cold, and heat and test while it�s hot, but where it�s actively checking while it�s freezing or heating, we�ve never had that available to us,� Simms said.

 

�IFDIS combines different parts of active testing and puts them together. That�s what makes it good. So instead of doing the individual sections of testing, we can test everything at the same time. That will save time in a lot of aspects.�

 

The system has internal and external connection points to the GCU chassis and is controlled through a central computer with monitor displays that inform the operator as to what points are being checked and when an intermittent failure is detected. Another monitor indicates whether there is a short or an open.

 

The system also stores the wiring configuration of a good GCU chassis and based upon that, will detect wiring issues when testing subsequent units.

 

The FRCSW Advanced Aircraft Technology Team (AATT) researched the IFDIS at Ogden Air Force Depot in Utah six years ago where the system was being used to test F-16 fighter radar. When the AATT tested five ready-for-issue GCU chassis, IFDIS detected and located intermittent circuitry activity in 80 percent of the units.

 

Prior to IFDIS, artisans used digital and analogue multi-meter testers to identify opens and shorts. However, multi-meters cannot locate intermittent failures in circuitry.

 

�Overall, it�s a great system,� Simms said. �We have something now that shows the possible issues upfront. It could take five or six hours to find one line with a multi-meter, where you could spend an hour or so to find all of the possible leads with the IFDIS. This is why people have to start embracing new technologies.�

 

The number of GCUs to be analyzed through the IFDIS annually has yet to be established because GCU harnesses are typically replaced when damaged beyond the point where they can be fixed in a reasonable amount of time.

�But when modifications come out for the new GCUs, it would probably benefit us to test each harness because they�re already completely torn down prior to reassembly,� Simms noted.

 

Another future use of the system may include testing of other weapons replaceable assemblies, or `boxes� which hold the circuit cards that comprise an avionic function, like radar or certain cockpit displays.

 

�The potential for this to shine is there. It�s just a matter of us applying it to the best of our ability,� Simms said.

FRCSW is the only FRC operating the IFIDS tester.

 

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Sikorsky loses Marine One repair work; about 85 jobs to be affected

(NEW HAVEN REGISTER, 15 Aug 16) � Luther Turmelle

 

Repairs to the current fleet of Marine One helicopters, which transport the president of the United States, no longer will be done in Connecticut after negotiations between Sikorsky Aircraft and the U.S. Navy fell through.

 

Repair work on the fleet will be transitioned to the Fleet Readiness Center Southeast in Florida, said Paul Jackson, a spokesman for Sikorsky Aircraft, which is owned by Lockheed Martin. About 85 unionized Sikorsky employees handle the repairs of the Marine One helicopters at the company�s Stratford plant and Jackson said company officials will work with Teamsters Local 1150 to adjust the size of the workforce.

 

The company will try to reassign some of the workers to other jobs within Sikorsky and will offer voluntary separation agreements, he said. Such agreements typically are what the general public thinks of a corporate buyout package, in which workers are offered certain incentives to leave the payroll.

 

�At this point, we do not yet know the number of job reassignments, how many employees will opt for the (voluntary separation agreements), and how many involuntary reductions ultimately will be required,� Jackson said.

 

Officials with Teamsters Local 1150 did not return phone calls made by the New Haven Register about the potential loss of jobs.

 

U.S. Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-3, said in a statement that the Navy has decided to do the Marine One maintenance work internally in order to cut costs.

 

�We believe this decision is short-sighted on the part of the Navy,� DeLauro said. �Sikorsky has proudly built and supported this aircraft fleet for more than 40 years, and I feel that Sikorsky is best equipped and prepared to perform this work. I have asked the Navy (in a letter dated July 6) to update me on the status of this program and work, and I am still awaiting a response.�

 

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., called the Navy�s decision �misguided.�

 

�I am pressing Lockheed and the Department of Defense for more information and will fight to overturn this decision if possible,� Blumenthal said. �I remain very concerned about a decision to take this important and integral work away from its historical home in Connecticut. Presidential helicopter maintenance work should remain within Sikorsky�s control and the care of the Connecticut workers who have supported this critical capability.�

 

Jackson said the loss of the maintenance contract does not impact separate contracts that Sikorsky has with the Navy to design and build a new version of the Marine One helicopter.

 

News of the loss of the Marine One helicopter maintenance contract comes a month after officials at Lockheed Martin said an unspecified number of Sikorsky workers would be laid off at the end of August.

 

http://www.nhregister.com/business/20160815/sikorsky-loses-marine-one-repair-work-about-85-jobs-to-be-affected?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Military%20EBB%208-17-16&utm_term=Editorial%20-%20Military%20-%20Early%20Bird%20Brief#disqus_thread

 

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Navy Engineers explore the world of Additive Manufacturing

(ENERGY WARRIOR TV)

 

Engineers and scientists at NAVAIR’s Fleet Readiness Center Southwest in Coronado, Calif. are excited to be exploring the various capabilities of Additive Manufacturing–developing and testing the various ways that this revolutionary technology will support our warfighters. “It’s remarkable to think that you designed something in CAD that didn’t exist before and then you just print it out of something that was just a liquid at one point,” said David Price. Hear from these remarkable engineers as they share their passion and insight on how 3D printing will impact our future and make life easier for our warfighters. Additive manufacturing is innovation at its best!

 

 

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WORLD/NATIONAL NEWS

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Newest P-8A Poseidon Upgrade Includes ‘Minotaur’ Software

(FLIGHTGLOBAL, 11 Aug 16) … Leigh Giangreco

 

WASHINGTON � The latest contract for Boeing�s P-8A Poseidon includes a new software capability for the U.S. Navy�s aircraft that will automatically correlate data from sources including sea search radars and electromagnetic spectrum sensors.

 

The USN awarded Boeing a $60.8 million contract as part of the Increment 3 Block 2 improvements for the Poseidon on 5 August. The aircraft�s third increment is expected to reach initial operational capability by 2020, and would improve Poseidon�s ability to detect submarines and surface vessels.

 

The newest modification matures the Block 2 capabilities and includes multi-static active coherent enhancement, new computing and security architecture, common data link upgrades and a new software upgrade known as the Minotaur Track Management and Mission Management system.

 

Developed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Minotaur ingests data from various sensors and disseminates the information to aircraft, a Naval Air Systems Command spokesperson tells FlightGlobal. The software�s baseline capabilities includes surface radar tracking, sensor bias correction, data correlation, mission replay, sensor control, sensor display and track management. Minotaur has already been fielded on other U.S. Navy, Air Force and Customs and Border Patrol aircraft.

 

Minotaur was designed to integrate sensors and data into a comprehensive picture, and will allow multiple aircraft and vessels to share networked information.

 

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/newest-p-8a-poseidon-upgrade-includes-minotaur-sof-428396/

 

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GOP, Dems Dig In For Defense Fight

(THE HILL 14 AUG 16) … Kristina Wong and Rebecca Kheel

 

Democrats and Republicans in Congress are digging in for a fight on defense spending that is unlikely to be resolved until after the election.

 

House Republicans are seeking $18 billion in additional funding for the Pentagon. Democrats and the Obama administration reject that hike, arguing it would unravel a larger budget deal that links defense spending to non-defense spending.

 

A final resolution is likely impossible until Congress and the White House can reach a deal on spending for the entire government for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

 

�I don’t think they can reach a resolution on that $18 billion difference in funding until they reach some sort of a budget deal on the overall federal budget,” said Todd Harrison, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said.

 

Little is likely to happen until after November.

 

Democrats, confident voters will deliver Hillary Clinton to the White House and a Senate majority for their party, expect they�ll have more leverage if they wait.

 

�I think there�s a small chance (but still a chance) that an NDAA conference report could be done in September and get vetoed by the President, but I think the final [NDAA] and defense appropriations [bill] will all get finalized after the election,� said Justin Johnson, defense budget expert at The Heritage Foundation.

 

�That�s not how it should be done, but that�s what the political landscape looks like to me,� he said.

 

Congress must approve a new government-funding bill before the end of September to keep the government open. Most expect a short-term resolution, either into December or next year.

 

�We’re going to start the fiscal year, October 1st on a continuing resolution. It will be at least until December,� said Harrison.

 

Harrison thinks GOPs and Dems will likely work out a new budget deal that raises defense and non-defense spending.

 

�I think after the election, folks will come back to Washington and they will cut a deal, and this will all get resolved in the lame duck session,� he said.

 

Mackenzie Eaglen, a fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, predicts the omnibus will include additional money for defense in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), or war fund, which isn’t subject to spending caps.

 

�More OCO is going to win,� she said. �Period. Take it Vegas. It�s done. It won�t be as high as the GOP is hoping, but it�s going to be more.�

 

Gordon Adams, a professor at American University who oversaw national security budgets at the Office of Management and Budget in the 1990s, agrees that more defense money will be stuffed into OCO as with previous years.

 

�This is no longer a process they are concealing,� he said. �It�s as open as a house of ill-repute with a red light in front. They�ll avoid the question of caps and sequester by simply adding more money in OCO.�

 

The sequester would introduce new budgetary caps on defense and non-defense spending that would cut into projected spending by $100 billion over four years, something both parties would like to avoid.

 

Pentagon leaders and Democratic lawmakers have warned that without raising non-defense spending, too, the 2015 budget deal will unravel and sequester would come back automatically.

 

But experts say despite those dire warnings, it is doubtful that sequestration will happen.

 

Harrison says sequestration can only be triggered if a bill appropriates more than the budget levels reached in the 2015 deal allow, and since the Republicans would take the $18 billion from OCO, which isn’t subject to caps, it wouldn’t happen.

 

Even if sequestration were to come to fruition, the Pentagon will find a way to live within its means, Eaglen said.

�We saw it in 2013,� she said. �It�s not ideal, but it�s not devastating.�

 

Johnson said he doesn’t think there will be a new budget agreement like the one in 2015, and agrees a boost in the overseas account that would give the Pentagon more money overall is more likely.

 

He suggests the final deal will also include more money for non-defense spending as a concession to Democrats.

�Unfortunately, it probably won�t be enough and it will probably be paired to some degree with non-defense spending as well,� he said.

 

http://thehill.com/policy/defense/291095-gop-dems-dig-in-for-defense-fight

 

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GAO And Pentagon Disagree On Budgeting For Operations And Maintenance

(GOVERNMENT EXECUTIVE 17 Aug 16) … Charles S. Clark

 

Under pressure to fund overseas combat operations, the Defense Department has �realigned� monies to and from day-to-day operations and maintenance accounts without fully explaining the numbers to Congress, a watchdog found.

 

One result of transferring some $149 billion over the past five years, said a Government Accountability Office report released on Tuesday, is a shortfall averaging 5.6 percent of what was obligated for base operations and maintenance.

 

Pentagon budget planners, however, balked at GAO�s proposed solution.

 

Operations and maintenance is the department�s largest category of appropriations � it accounts for some 43 percent of President Obama�s request for a defense budget of $582.7 billion in fiscal 2017, GAO noted in a report to the Armed Services Committee chairmen and ranking members. That category consists of 32 accounts, earmarked for each service and some departmentwide missions, including overseas contingency operations in war zones.

 

Enacted funding for operations and maintenance generally has increased over the past six years (2013 was an exception, when sequestration kicked in). But during GAO’s review, the effects of the realignments � of which Congress is notified above set amounts � �on base obligations were not readily apparent because DoD did not report its O&M base obligations to Congress separately from its O&M overseas contingency operations,� auditors wrote.

 

In fiscal 2015, a Senate Appropriations Committee report stated that the panel did not have a clear understanding of enduring activities funded by the OCO budget, posing �potential for risk in continuing to fund non-contingency-related activities through the OCO budget.� The committee directed the department to submit a report last February showing the transfers of OCO funding to the base budget for fiscal year 2016.

 

The Pentagon comptroller�s office told GAO that such a report has not been written because �the evolution of threats in U.S. Central Command�s area of responsibility creates uncertainty over its enduring missions.�

 

Meanwhile, GAO auditors were left to calculate the impact of money transfers on Operations and Maintenance program needs by comparing data from the Defense Department tables on future-spending and five-year plans. Comptroller officials interviewed by GAO approved of the methodology.

 

But in the end, Pentagon planners disagreed with GAO�s recommendation that the department help Congress apply budget oversight by revising its guidance on preparing budget materials and execution reports to break down operations and maintenance by account. Defense cited �the inability of its current financial systems to easily distinguish base obligations,� the report noted.

 

Many of the Pentagon�s active financial accounting systems �cannot distinguish between O&M base and OCO obligations easily, and that due to limited resources as a result of headquarters reductions, the requirement to manually identify these obligations in O&M budget justification materials and quarterly O&M execution reports will be extremely labor-intensive,� Defense said.

 

Once outdated financial systems are replaced, such reporting would be feasible, its response said.

 

GAO stood by its recommendation.

 

http://www.govexec.com/defense/2016/08/gao-and-pentagon-disagree-budgeting-operations-and-maintenance/130833/

 

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The Budgetary Game Of ‘Chicken’ Needs To End

(THE HILL 16 Aug 16) … Fred Ferreira

 

On July 6, 2016, President Obama announced that the United States will leave 8,400 troops in Afghanistan instead of the previously planned 5,500. He says that this troop level of 8,400 will be achieved by the end of the Obama administration and it will be inherited by the next president. Regardless of the wisdom of the President�s Afghanistan strategy or the troop level, one important aspect of this decision will play a major role when Congress comes back in session: how to pay for these troops.

 

It has been reported that the same game of chicken that Republicans and Democrats have been playing for the past five years is going to take place again. Since the Budget Control Act of 2011 divided the discretionary budget into defense and non-defense, defense hawks have been trying to increase the defense portion of the budget, while big government advocates will only accept defense spending increases with increased non-defense spending.

 

This very point has been publicized as a part of a �Statement of Administration Policy� by the White House. It reads �it is critical that the Congress adhere to the principle that any increase in funding must be shared equally between defense and non-defense � a central tenet of last fall’s budget agreement.� Regardless of need or ability to properly leverage increased resources on either side of the discretionary spending budget, if one side gets an increase the other side is required to get one as well.

 

This equitable increase tenet means that for the past five years, budget agreements have been brokered between defense hawks and big government supporters. Both sides get increases and the federal government goes a bit farther into taxpayers� pockets or a little bit more into debt, keeping us on the same track towards insolvency or bankruptcy. The real loser is the American public who get to experience yet another increase in the size of government through a charade that has no end in sight.

 

The divide between defense and non-defense spending in the budget process was initially created to incentivize both parties to reach a compromise in spending reductions after the Budget Control Act to avoid sequestration. Instead it has incentivized both sides to agree to increase government spending equally. The model has failed to achieve the savings that its proponents anticipated. This coming fall we will get a chance to observe it at work again with the increased troop level request.

 

According to estimates published by Politico, the additional troops are expected to cost $3 billion to $6 billion. Congressional politics guarantee that whatever the real number is to keep those additional troops in Afghanistan, it will likely double by the time that the bill comes due. Because the increased troop level was not included in the original budget submission for fiscal year 2017, the funding source still needs to be determined and will require extensive, and likely heated, discussions.

 

One can hope that this coming arguments will be enough to turn the attention of lawmakers to a first step in fixing how the federal government budgets: passing a long term continuing resolution, allowing the 115thCongress develop a new budget process that works.

 

By passing a long term continuing resolution, lawmakers will avoid one crafted during a lame duck Congress, when retiring politicians commit taxpayers to more spending and debt. This better option will leave the 115th Congress, with newly elected � and accountable � legislators, responsible for spending decisions in 2017 and beyond.

 

Fred Ferreira is a policy analyst at Concerned Veterans for America.

 

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/economy-budget/291548-the-budgetary-game-of-chicken-needs-to-end

 

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Navy F-35s Begin Final Round Of Sea Trials Aboard USS George Washington

(NORFOLK VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 15 Aug 16) … Courtney Mabeus

 

ABOARD THE USS GEORGE WASHINGTON � For Navy pilot Lt. Graham �Boss� Cleveland, landing the Navy�s new Joint Strike Fighter aboard a moving aircraft carrier was a relief.

 

That relief came not because landing the Navy�s new fighter is more difficult � it comes with a program called Delta Flight Path that functions as a sort of cruise control for the aircraft, which can help to make that crucial step easier � but because this day has been a long time coming.

 

Cleveland, a landing signal officer who transitioned from the F/A-18C, was aboard for the first two phases of developmental testing of the F-35C Lightning II as the Navy commenced trials in 2014 and 2015. This week, he was at the controls for what�s expected to be the third and final phase of sea-based developmental testing as the Navy puts the aircraft through some of its most rigorous tests yet.

 

�It�s kind of something I�ve been working toward for quite some time,� Cleveland said.

 

Cleveland was among 12 pilots from Strike Fighter Squadron 101 �Grim Reapers,� a fleet replacement squadron based at Florida�s Eglin Air Force Base, to complete carrier qualifications as part of this round of testing. The Navy�s Patuxent River-based Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 will spend the next two to three weeks working through other capabilities, including taking off and landing with external simulated weapons and asymmetrical loading.

 

The F-35 is the military�s next generation fighter. The Navy�s jet is one of three variations, and includes greater internal fuel capability, larger wings and more robust landing gear for carrier settings. The single-engine stealth fighter will replace the Air Force�s A-10 and F-16, the Navy�s F/A-18 and the Marines� AV-8B Harrier jets.

 

The Air Force declared its version combat-ready earlier this month. The Marine Corps, which uses the short takeoff/vertical landing variation, said its was operational in July 2015. The Navy�s version is expected to join the fleet in 2018.

 

Tom Briggs, the Navy�s civilian acting chief test engineer aboard the Washington, said crews will work through about 500 test points to develop instructions for launching and recovering under different conditions.

 

�We�re going to take off, we�re going to land. We�re going to evaluate the handling qualities,� Briggs said. �We�re going to evaluate the compatibility with the ship with those weapons underneath.�

 

The Navy�s previous rounds of carrier testing, including a stint in October with the Norfolk-based USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, have looked at deck handling, hangar bay operations, internal weapons loading and other high-risk exercises designed to test the F-35�s limits for a safe launch.

 

Operating 100 miles off the Virginia coast, Monday�s blistering heat and humidity combined with the blast of the F-35�s jet engine proved no competition to pilots� excitement about the aircraft, which has become one of the military�s most controversial and anticipated in recent years as the program became mired in cost overruns and delays.

 

�It�s just easy,� Cmdr. Ted �Dutch� Dyckman, a test pilot with the VX-23, said Monday. �It�s really easy to fly.�

 

http://pilotonline.com/news/military/local/navy-f � s-begin-final-round-of-sea-trials/article_e05966e9-0509-528c-a9b9-e2f80a5b1a3d.html

 

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Navy Pilots Describe How The F-35�s Brains Will Change Air Warfare

Navy Pilots gave the F-35 rave reviews during a show-and-tell at sea, but questions remain about its troubled software.

(DEFENSE ONE 16 Aug 16) … Patrick Tucker

 

ABOARD THE USS GEORGE WASHINGTON � Navy pilots say piloting the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter on to the flight deck of U.S. aircraft carrier is almost like flying a plane that flies itself. The software aboard the new fighter could enable the military to train pilots faster and, in the event of a major conflict, possibly fly more sorties against the enemy. Pilots would spend less time throttling and figuring for flight conditions and more time coordinating with other aircraft, working with huge volumes of data, and managing complex missions against ever-more sophisticated adversaries.

 

It all was on display Monday as the Navy sought to convince the public that America�s most advanced fighter jet is almost ready for action. The Navy variant of the jet is expected to reach initial operating capability in 2018.

 

�The aircraft does a lot of stuff that, before, I would have to fight the aircraft,� said Marine Major Eric Northam with the VX-23 test squadron. The jet�s Delta Flight Path software, created by F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin has changed all that. �If I want to capture the barrier altitude that I�m climbing to … I dial in the altitude; it will climb up and capture it. If I want to capture the heading I can just use the pedals to dial in a new heading. I can keep my hands on the controls where I need to and then redirect the aircraft as required.�

 

(The F-18 will also soon feature a sophisticated pilot software suite called MAGIC CARPET but it�s not on all the planes yet.)

 

Those additional cruise control features will allow pilots to coordinate with each other, the ground, and air units to execute smarter attacks. The plane�s data synthesizing software plays a key role there.

 

�You�re taking in [forward looking infrared data] the radar, the other sensor data. It fuses it all together and gives me a display. Not only that but I can take [data] from a carrier strike group, or [the Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft]. They can pump that data in from other aircraft in the strike package. The aircraft can synthesize all that other information and pump it back out as a node, if you will, to all the other aircraft,� he said. �Basically, it�s very clear to see a picture of who is a good guy, who is a bad guy. We can send everybody down range to execute whatever attack we deem appropriate at the time.�

 

In the future, small drones launched from C-130, a development program called Gremlins, could also contribute coordinating data. The objective is to essentially out-sense and outsmart every potential adversary.

 

�I can take off, type in an altitude, type in a heading, and just let the jet go out to fly,� said Lt. Graham Cleveland of the VF 101 �Grim Reaper� squadron, who said that pilots would probably keep the software engaged 99 percent of the time while flying, taking off, and landing. �Teaching the very basics will be easier … There�s still a man in the box. But it is safer, more efficient, easier to train to.�

 

The commander said the F-35�s software should allow pilots to learn how to takeoff and land from aircraft carriers sooner than was required in earlier fighter jets. �I think it will dramatically decrease the amount of flight hours needed to get to the boat,� he said.

 

�The F-35 is a lot easier to fly and a lot more difficult to operate,� than the older F-18 Super Hornet, he said, because of the immense amount of data fusing required. Manufacturers and others hope that data load will be easier to manage with the eventual release of the newer, so-called block 3F software.

 

In the meantime, the augmented piloting capability was on display aboard the George Washington. Cleveland said that Delta Flight Path would �significantly increase our ability to safely land aircraft … that could lead to more sorties,� he said.

 

A Stealth Aircraft The First Week Of The War

 

In a major conflict, military officials expect the fighter jets flying initial combat missions would need to do more than just destroy air defenses in stealth mode. So the F-35 also features sophisticated artificial-intelligence enhanced electromagnetic warfare capabilities. The jet also has three points under each wing capable of carrying conventional non-stealthy weapons, like GBU-12 Paveway II 12 laser-guided smart bombs.

 

�Why does a stealth aircraft need external weapons? It�s a stealth aircraft for the first week of the war,� said Thomas Briggs, the lead flight test engineer for the F-35 program. �When you destroy the enemy air defenses. After that, when you need to go out and take as many bombs as you can to prosecute a mission, we can start to strap weapons under the wings and take more ordinance over the target. That�s why that�s there.�

 

ALIS A No Show

 

The F-35C had a successful day of testing on Monday, but the overall program has had its share of bad days as well. In 2014, 60 Minutes revealed the aircraft�s Autonomic Logistics Information System, or ALIS, the system that keeps track of virtually every part on the plan, was resistant to human override. The military has since said that the problem is fixed. But in February, the Pentagon�s office of testing and evaluation issued a scathing report on the jet, and ALIS: �Each new version of software, while adding some new capability, failed to resolve all the deficiencies identified in earlier releases,� it stated.

 

ALIS consists of laptop that a pilot would take to the plane to take the bird�s temperature and a large number of servers to hold the program. Those servers are supposed to be on the aircraft carrier. Despite ample room below deck, ALIS was not aboard the George Washington, which relied on shoreside computers. �We are reaching back to ALIS support on the beach for our operations,� said Briggs. �The ship is not outfitted with the final production system. When we need ALIS information … we reach back through a satellite network, touching ALIS.�

 

He said that ALIS wasn�t important for the sorts of developmental tests that they were conducting. There was supposed to be a deployable version of ALIS aboard the USS Wasp when the Marines declared their version of the F-35, (the F-35B) operational in July of 2015. But there was not.

 

�The Marine Corps conducted F-35 tests onboard the USS Wasp prior to declaring operational capability in July 2015, including day and night carrier missions and maintenance exercises; however, these tests did not include deployability tests of ALIS. According to the Director of Test and Evaluation, these tests were not operationally representative because of the heavy use of contractor support, and lack of other types of aircraft sharing the flight deck. He also noted that this test used the original, nondeployable ALIS server,� according to the Government Accountability Office.

 

Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon say that the problems with ALIS won�t ground the fleet, despite GAO warnings to the contrary. But getting ALIS deployed onto carriers is key if maintainers are going do their job.

 

Basically, if we are at war with China, you don�t want a bunch of aircraft carriers in the pacific streaming terabytes of sensitive maintenance data on all your combat F-35s to Houston. Getting a carrier version of ALIS deployed remains a point of concern for the overall program.

 

When asked if there was any concern about integrating ALIS onto existing carriers in accordance with the testing timeline (it�s supposed to be aboard the USS America for a second round of tests in October) Rear Admiral Roy Kelly, director of Joint Strike Fighter Fleet Integration for the Navy, answered �There is. There is.�

 

http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2016/08/navy-pilots-describe-how-f-35s-brains-will-change-air-warfare/130812/

 

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Pilots To Test Fix For F-35 Helmet �Green Glow� Problem

(DEFENSETECH.ORG 16 Aug 16) … Hope Hodge Seck

 

ABOARD THE USS GEORGE WASHINGTON � In coming days, five test pilots here will begin conducting night trials with a new software load for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter helmet that they believe will spell the end to a troubling issue.

 

Adjustments that decrease the contrast of the Generation III helmet-mounted display should allow pilots of the F-35C to land on aircraft carriers without having their view obscured by the display�s ambient light, said Tom Briggs, acting chief test engineer for the Navy.

 

The service tried out a different fix on its last round of carrier tests aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in 2015, but test pilots ultimately concluded they hadn�t completely solved the issue.

 

�You could describe it as looking through a dirty window,� Briggs said. �It�s not so bad on a really bright night.

 

On a dark night it skewers outside light references for pilots. A pilot cannot pick up the lights on the carrier as well as he�d like to, he doesn�t necessarily pick up non-lighted signals on the ship as he�s taxiing around, he has a harder time picking out aircraft that are flying around.�

 

At $400,000 apiece, the F-35�s helmet is as high-tech as the aircraft itself, with display features that let pilots �see� through the plane�s skin and receive constantly updated information on the visor. The �green glow� problem with this visor display obscuring the field beyond it in dark conditions was first reported in 2012.

 

Briggs said two pilots had reported good results in an initial test with the new helmet update and officials were hopeful they have found the right solution. It�s especially crucial that this round of fixes works because the Navy isbeginning to conduct carrier qualifications for operational pilots as well as test pilots on the F-35C, and they won�t be able to complete night qualifications until the problem is resolved.

 

Capt. James Christie, commanding officer of Strike Fighter Squadron-101, which had 12 pilot-instructors complete daytime carrier qualifications on the F-35C this week, said he hoped software updates would be approved and close to being retrofitted to all F-35 helmets by the end of the year.

 

Christie said the decreased contrast setting is likely to help all pilots who operate in especially dark environments, without aid from the �cultural light� of nearby cities. But on carriers out in the middle of the ocean, it was crucial.

 

�I think we just kind of stomped our feet and said, �we need to have this to be safe around the ship,’� he said.

 

Briggs said nighttime helmet tests were expected to kick off Aug. 20, during the darkest phase of the moon.

 

�So we�re going to go out on a really dark night and we�re going to do our final evaluation on the green glow,� he said. �And we think that that problem is solved.�

 

The third and final round of carrier tests for the F-35C will continue until Aug. 23. The aircraft, which will be used by both the Navy and the Marine Corps for carrier operations, is expected to reach initial operational capability near the end of 2018.

 

Pilots to Test Fix for F-35 Helmet ‘Green Glow’ Problem

 

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F-35’s New Landing Technology May Simplify Carrier Operations

(MILITARY.COM 17 Aug 16) … Hope Hodge Seck

 

ABOARD THE USS GEORGE WASHINGTON � Seven Navy F-35 Joint Strike Fighters spent Monday morning in a round robin off the coast of Norfolk, Virginia, completing a tight succession of take-offs and arrested landings as pilots with Strike Fighter Squadron 101 completed carrier qualifications on the aircraft.

 

The dozen instructors with the squadron each completed the required 10 traps and two touch-and-go maneuvers in less than two days. But thanks to an advanced landing system in the fifth-generation aircraft that limits the variables pilots need to monitor when they catch the wire, officers with the squadron said they could have gotten the practice they needed in much less time.

 

“What has traditionally been required for initial qualifications … that can probably be reduced, because the task becomes mundane after a while,” said Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Kitts, officer in charge of the testing detachment aboard this ship. “You can make corrections so easily.”

 

The system that makes the difference is Delta Flight Path, developed by Lockheed Martin Corp. with input from Naval Air Systems Command. That system is one of more than a half-dozen F-35C features that are being tested in this third and final round of carrier exercises.

 

During a 20-day developmental testing period aboard the George Washington that will conclude Aug. 23, pilots will test the aircraft’s ability to fly symmetrical and asymmetrical external weapons loads, execute aircraft launches at maximum weight and against crosswinds, try out a new helmet software load designed to improve visibility in dark conditions, test the capabilities of Delta Flight Path and the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System, and take out and replace an entire F-35C engine to simulate major maintenance aboard a carrier.

 

At the conclusion of these tests, officials believe the F-35C will be substantially ready for initial operational capability, a milestone the aircraft is expected to hit in 2018.

 

But success of the built-in carrier landing technology may have even wider-reaching effects.

 

Like the Maritime Augmented Guidance with Integrated Controls for Carrier Approach and Recovery Precision Enabling Technologies, or MAGIC CARPET, system now being tested on the Navy’s legacy F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, Delta Flight Path gives the aircraft the ability to stay on glide slope automatically and minimize the number of corrections the pilot must make.

 

“All pilots are trained, we make corrections for glide slope with the throttle. We practice it when we get to our fleet trainers, and we practice it a bunch each and every time before we come out to the boat,” Kitts said. “So what you’re able to do when you come out here is hopefully spend less time practicing, because the workload on the pilot is extremely reduced.”

 

That’s important, Kitts said, because time spent in the field and on the carrier practicing landings is time in which pilots are becoming less tactically proficient because they can’t develop and drill other skills.

 

The commanding officer of VFA-101, Capt. James Christie, said pilots are collecting data as they complete their required takeoffs and landings that could be used to inform a prospective proposal to reduce carrier training and qualification requirements.

 

“We’re not going to move too quickly; we’re going to ensure it’s the right thing to do,” Christie said. “But as soon as we have the empirical evidence that shows we can safely reduce those numbers, I’ll be all for submitting that to leadership.”

 

So far, the data looks good. In this round of testing, there have so far been no bolters, when an aircraft unintentionally misses the wire, and no landing wave-offs attributed to aircraft performance or safety issues, said Lt. Graham Cleveland, landing signal officer for VFA-101.

 

Cleveland said this new technology might enable the Navy to cut ashore training from 16 to 18 field carrier landing practices to between four and six. He said he also envisioned cutting carrier qualification requirements from ten to six traps in the future.

 

“That’s going to save money, that’s going to save fuel, that’s going to save aircraft life, basically,” he said.

The future aside, getting out to the carrier for the first evolution of testing to involve operational pilots as well as test pilots was its own milestone for many at the fore of efforts to ready the F-35C for the fleet.

 

“It’s incredibly gratifying to see them come out and really make this aircraft real from the perspective of the fleet,” said Tom Briggs, acting chief test engineer for the Navy. “This is going to be a viable program, a viable aircraft that’s really going to do what it’s designed to do … watching them come out here and do this, it’s goose-bumpy.”

 

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/08/17/f-35s-new-landing-technology-may-simplify-carrier-operations.html

 

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F-35C Back At Sea For 3rd Round Of Carrier Tests

(DEFENSE NEWS 17 Aug 16) … Chris Cavas

 

ABOARD USS GEORGE WASHINGTON � Two F-35C carrier variant versions of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) lined up Monday on catapults one and two of this aircraft carrier steaming about 75 miles off the Virginia coast. Blast doors lifted from the deck and the aircraft�s control surfaces wiggled as the pilot ran through final checks. The engine revved, the launch shooter saluted and pointed go, and the jets roared down the cat tracks to leap into the air.

Once airborne, the planes circled left into the approach pattern, a maneuver known as the racetrack for its resemblance to the oval outline. Landing gear down, flaps down, the 35Cs � �Charlies� in Navy parlance � lined up on the angled flight deck and came in for a trap, or landing, aiming to catch the third of fourth arresting gear wires with their tailhook and lurch to a sudden stop.

 

Once on deck, the tailhook released the wire, the aircraft moved back up to the catapult, and the cycle was repeated. Over and over and over again.

 

And this was only Day Two of nearly three weeks of expected flight operations aboard the George Washington.

The jets belonged to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 (VX-23), the Navy�s premier east coast test squadron based at Naval Air Station Patuxent, Maryland, and Strike Fighter Squadron 101 (VFA-101), the first operational squadron to fly F-35Cs. This is the third series of at-sea deck trials for VX-23 � a series of tests dubbed DT III � meant to establish hundreds of operating parameters for the new aircraft, which won�t enter initial operational service with the Navy until 2018.

 

The first at-sea tests were held in November 2014 aboard the carrier Nimitz, while DT II took place last October aboard the Dwight D. Eisenhower. DT III is meant to be the final period of at-sea testing for the new jet.

 

The first tests, said Tom Briggs, acting chief test engineer for DT III, focused on day carrier operations and established launch and recovery handling procedures for the flight deck crew. DT II added in night ops, weapons loading on the aircraft�s internal weapons bay and full-power launches.

 

DT III will refine maximum power launches from all four of the carrier�s catapults and work to establish operating parameters with external and asymmetric weapons loading on the aircraft�s wings, along with certifying various systems for landing qualifications and interoperability. Logistics is also a feature of DT III, where an aircraft from VFA-101 will undergo an engine switchout.

 

VFA-101, with five aircraft, was on board to qualify 12 pilots in deck landings, said squadron commander Capt. James Christie. All the pilots will in turn become instructors, as VFA-101�s mission is to become the training squadron for other F-35C squadrons.

 

�We�re developing a syllabus,� Christie said, that will be used by pilots as they transition both from training aircraft and older F/A-18s into the 35C.

 

That�s been the mission for VFA-101 since it was established in 2012. As more pilots are trained and aircraft goes operational, unit will become the fleet replacement squadron for active-duty F-35C squadrons.

 

As on all carriers, pilots perform the duties of landing signal officer (LSO), watching and grading every landing.

 

One of VFA-101�s LSOs is Lt. Graham Cleveland, who is a veteran of all three F-35C at-sea tests.

 

Both VX-23 and VFA-101 pilots were handling LSO duties aboard the George Washington. �It takes a village,� he said, as the test and evaluation and operational squadron LSOs mingled and shared opinions and expertise.

 

Like many of the pilots, Cleveland said the F-35C is a bit easier to fly than the F/A-18s � with a caveat.

 

�The 35 is a lot more easier to fly and a lot more difficult to operate,� he said. �Basic flying is easy but mission systems are more complex.�

 

VFA-101 also brought aboard a number of its support sailors, Christie said. About 65 sailors and 15 contractors with the squadron were gaining experience in deck handling and logistics work with the aircraft.

 

VX-23�s task is detailed and rigorous � even at times tedious � as the squadron�s pilots conduct as many as 500 launch and recovery cycles to establish a wide range of operating parameters. The aircraft�s performance with a variety of weights and loads needs to be established, including how it handles when external weapons are loaded and carried in an uneven fashion.

 

External weapons, of course, break up the aircraft�s stealth signatures. But, as several pilots pointed out, once an enemy�s initial air defenses are defeated stealth becomes less important, and aircraft are needed to carry heavier weapon loads on as many as three external stores stations on each wing.

 

But test pilots need to check how the plane handles in many configurations, including heavy weapons on one side but not the other, and different types of weapons loaded on each station.

 

One issue that rose during the aircraft�s development seems to have been solved. There no longer seem to be any significant problems with the tail hook, which in 2012 was revealed to have a number of reliability issues in catching the arresting wire. A redesign of the hook and its installation appears to have been successful.

 

Maj. Eric Northam of VX-23, the first Marine to fly the F-35C off a carrier, declared there were no problems with the hook.

 

�We�ve had a very successful boarding rate,� he said. �One hundred percent so far.�

 

The carrier did not need special modifications to operate the F-35C, said commanding officer Capt. Timothy Kuehhas, although there were some software upgrades to some operating systems. About 100 crew members, he said, received handling and launch procedure training in the aircraft at the Navy�s carrier flight systems test site in Lakehurst, New Jersey.

 

While the DT III tests represent the final carrier trials for the F-35C, the JSF program is preparing for another round of at-sea trials for the F-35B short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing variant for the Marine Corps. The new tests, program officials said, are scheduled to take place this fall from the amphibious assault ship America off the west coast.

 

http://www.defensenews.com/articles/f-35c-back-at-sea-for-3rd-round-of-carrier-tests

 

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The Pentagon Is Closer To Extending A Generous New Benefit To Millions Of Veterans

(MILITARY TIMES 15 AUG 16) … Karen Jowers

 

Plans are progressing to extend online military exchange shopping privileges to all honorably discharged veterans, Military Times has learned.

 

The Defense Department�s Executive Resale Board voted unanimously Aug. 9 to recommend the policy change, sources said. Extended shopping privileges would apply only to the exchange system’s online stores � not brick-and-mortar facilities located on military installations.

 

The Pentagon did not immediately confirm the’s board move, and its unclear what its next steps will be. Officials have said previously that they’d like to implement the expanded benefit on Veterans Day 2017.

 

Exchanges operate as discount department stores for the military community. Currently, access is authorized only for active-duty service members, reservists, National Guard personnel, retirees, veterans who are 100 percent disabled and immediate family members. Officials estimate that’s about 10 percent of the nation’s 21.7 million veterans.

 

If the plan proceeds, the Defense Manpower Data Center would be called on to verify veterans’ status so they can shop at the exchange online.

 

The idea was proposed in May 2014 by Army and Air Force Exchange Service CEO Tom Shull, who touted it as a way to provide a modest benefit to veterans who didn�t serve long enough to retire from the military, including a number who have served multiple tours in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Navy Exchange Service Command CEO and retired Rear Adm. Robert Bianchi and Cindy Whitman Lacy, director of the Marine Corps Business and Support Services Division, have said they support the idea.

 

This would also benefit those currently serving, officials have said. Any increase in exchange profits would generate more money for the service’s morale, welfare and recreation programs. According to one analysis, the exchanges could see an increase of $18 million to $72 million if online shopping is extended to all veterans.

 

Generally, about half of the exchanges’ profits go to MWR dividends, and the rest goes to capital reinvestment in the exchanges, such as renovations and construction.

 

http://www.militarytimes.com/story/military/benefits/2016/08/15/pentagon-closer-extending-generous-new-benefit-millions-veterans/88775046/

 

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USMC Outlines Super Stallion Fleet Overhaul Plans

(FLIGHTGLOBAL 16 AUG 16) … Beth Stevenson

 

LONDON � All 147 of the U.S. Marine Corps� Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion rotorcraft will be overhauled to address safety and availability issues that have been evident in the fleet since 2014, the service has announced.

 

Following the fatal crash of a U.S. Navy MH-53E Sea Dragon variant in January 2014 which resulted from an electrical fault sparking a fire, an investigation concluded that the condition of the aircraft was �degraded,� and the remaining examples will be �reset� to increase the safety and readiness of the fleet.

 

�What was discovered was that the material condition of the aircraft � both the CH-53E and the MH-53E � was degraded,� says Col Hank Vanderborght, programme manager for the H-53 programme office at U.S. Naval Air Systems Command. �Those helicopters have been around since the early 1980s, so 30-plus years, and we�d been at war for the last 15 years, so the machines had been used pretty hard.�

 

USMC deputy commandant for aviation Lt Gen Jon Davis said earlier this year that the CH-53E had �probably the worst� readiness rate in the service�s inventory, and noted that the overhaul programme was about to begin.

 

Each of the heavy-lift aircraft will undergo a 110-day overhaul that will see it stripped and rebuilt, with changes made to any components as necessary.

 

One aircraft has been completed to date; an example that was used to validate the concept in April at Marine Corps Air Station New River in North Carolina. This was returned to operations in June. The USMC notes that this particular example had not been flown for four years, but was granted operational status again after 12 days of functional flight checks following the overhaul.

 

Five more examples have started to receive the overhaul; three at New River and two at MCAS Miramar in California. There are plans to eventually lift this to 16 being modified at any one time, with seven at each of the sites and two at MCAS Kaneohe Bay in Hawaii.

 

After the incident in 2014, fuel line replacements and rewiring had been carried out on a large part of the fleet, which increased aircraft availability to 30%, after being only 20% in 2015.

 

�We only had 30 or so aircraft up last year,� Vanderborght says. �We�re in the 50s now, so we�ve rebounded pretty well from a year ago.�

 

Preventative work will also be carried out to make sure the fleet does not fall into the same rut, and maintainer training will be a key part of that, Vanderborght notes. The current method emphasises turning around aircraft as quickly as possible, instead of dealing with underlying issues, he says.

 

�Before 2001, maintainers would troubleshoot the system and take a long time to understand it, so there was a lot of knowledge developed by on-the-job training. We�ve kind of lost all that knowledge. I would say the Marines today � not to their fault � are not as knowledgeable about the aircraft as they were prior to the war,� Vanderborght notes.

 

The production line for the CH-53E has been shut down, so overhaul is key to keeping the fleet going until it is replaced with the developmental CH-53K variant.

 

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/usmc-outlines-super-stallion-fleet-overhaul-plans-428516/

 

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The Military�s Real Readiness Crisis; Petraeus & O�Hanlon Are Wrong

(BREAKING DEFENSE, 17 Aug 16) � Justin Johnson

 

It�s no news to Breaking Defense readers that the U.S. military faces a readiness crisis. But retired Gen. David Petraeus apparently disagrees.

 

Yes, the military�s budget has been cut by 25 percent in real terms since 2011�much of it coming from accounts used to maintain and build combat readiness. Yes, leaders from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps have all publicly expressed their deep concerns about readiness levels. And, yes, top brass are publicly discussing �Carter-era� readiness problems and even the prospect of a hollow military.

 

Still, Petraeus and the Brookings Institution�s Michael O�Hanlon took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal last week to bust the �myth� of a military readiness crisis. I deeply respect both men, but they got this one wrong.

 

Pentagon leaders�both civilian and military�as well as their overseers in Congress concur that the readiness crisis is real. Many of the details regarding the problems remain (rightly) classified, but enough facts have been made public to remove any doubt that readiness is a wide-spread problem in the military today.

 

Petraeus and O�Hanlon completely ignore readiness statements from recent and current military leaders. Consider the assessment of Gen. Raymond Odierno, Petraeus� right-hand man during the Iraq Surge. Before leaving his post as Army Chief of Staff last year, Odierno said Army readiness was at �historically low levels.� Current Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley echoed that conclusion. He recently told Congress that he has �grave concerns about the readiness of our force� to deal with a serious challenger like Russia or China.

 

Instead of responding to current military leaders, Petraeus and O�Hanlon offer �reassuring facts� that are worth further consideration.

 

First, they point out that today�s defense budget is higher than the Cold War average in inflation-adjusted dollars. This is true, but it offers a very incomplete picture. Petraeus and O�Hanlon would surely agree that our military today is far different than what we had in the Cold War. Adjusting for inflation does not account for the higher cost of better equipment.

 

Adjusting for inflation, a standard Ford F-150 costs 40 percent more today than it did in 1986. Why? Because today�s F-150 is far more technologically advanced and capable. The same is true for military equipment.

 

A more complete picture of defense spending appears when we look at defense spending in terms of its percentage of GDP and percentage of total federal budget. By both of these measures, the current defense budget is at historic lows.

 

Perhaps more significantly, today�s defense budget is well below the minimums agreed to by bipartisan experts. The National Defense Panel, for example, agreed that former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates� last budget (in fiscal year 2012) represented the bare minimum. For 2017, that budget would be $100 billion more than President Obama�s current request.

 

Second, Petraeus and O�Hanlon point out that the military is on track to spend $100 billion per year to buy new equipment. A nice round number, it bears no relation to what the military truly needs. A strong military is not built by investing an arbitrary number, but by a clear analysis of what threats the nation faces and what equipment the military needs and how big it must be to defend against those threats. The Secretary of Defense has been clear that the military needs significantly more funding over the next few years, particularly to replace equipment that is past its useful life.

 

Third, they argue that �most [military] equipment remains in fairly good shape.� They admit that Marine Corps aviation is not, but recent testimony shows that aircraft across all four services are in similarly rough shape. And as seen in the 2016 Index of U.S. Military Strength, all the services are laden with equipment that is decades old and difficult to maintain. Across the military, the maintenance and modernization challenges are serious and seem to be growing.

 

Fourth, Petraeus and O�Hanlon argue that training is improving. This appears to be true, but once again they ignore concerning statements about where our military stands today.

 

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James has repeatedly stated that less than half of all Air Force squadrons are ready for combat and that the Air Force faces serious shortages of both pilots and mechanics. At the same time, pilot flying hours (i.e. training) have fallen dramatically.

 

Army units are rotating through training centers, but only one-third of this historically small force are considered ready for high-end combat. Training may be improving in some quarters, but the lack of combat-ready units across the services points to serious underlying problems.

 

Petraeus and O�Hanlon are right on one point. The U.S. military remains an incredible fighting force. But its readiness for combat has declined precipitously in the last five years.

 

Today�s men and women in uniform put their lives on the line for our country, but they are doing so with less training, worn out equipment, and fewer brothers and sisters in arms to back them up. With threats rising across the globe, all Americans should be concerned about the troubling state of the U.S. military.

 

Justin T. Johnson is senior policy analyst for defense budgeting at The Heritage Foundation.

 

The Military’s Real Readiness Crisis; Petraeus & O’Hanlon Are Wrong

 

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Navy Announces Adjustments to Time-In-Grade Waiver Policy

(CHIEF OF NAVAL PERSONNEL, 17 Aug 16) � Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

 

WASHINGTON (NNS) — The Navy announced an update to the policy for commanders and captains with at least 24-months Time-In-Grade (TIG) to request a waiver to retire at their current rank before completing their 36 months’ time in grade commitment in NAVADMIN 182/16 Aug. 17.

 

Rather than a blanket authorization for officer communities to forward a TIG request to the Chief of Naval Personnel for approval determination as outlined in NAVADMIN 371/08, now every officer community will decide if TIG requests can be supported and only forward a request for consideration if community health would allow the early loss of that officer. However, hardship or special circumstance cases may be considered for all communities on a case-by-case basis.

 

The message also provides guidance on when an applicant should include a next-lower-grade (NLG) waiver request in the TIG waiver application. NLG waivers provide the option to retire at the next lower grade rather than the current rank. Navy Personnel Command (NPC) may authorize an officer to be retired the lower grade if they do not meet the time-in-grade requirement.

 

A spreadsheet of communities accepting TIG and NLG waivers is posted at www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/officer/communitymanagers/pages/officer-retirement-waivers.aspx, click on Force Shaping Lever Chart to download the spreadsheet. This information will be updated by community managers as needed.

 

Officers are expected to meet their service obligations unless a TIG or NLG waiver is approved.

 

Retirement, TIG and NLG waivers requests for active component commanders and captains are made through NPC Officer Retirements Branch (PERS-835) by calling call (901) 874-3180/3183 (DSN 882-3180), or emailing pers_835_retirements@navy.mil. Reserve officers will submit their requests through NPC’s deputy director for Reserve Personnel Administration (PERS-91B) by calling (901) 874-4482/4483 (DSN 882-4483).

 

For more information, read NAVADMIN182/16 at www.npc.navy.mil.

 

http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=96266

 

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Navy Weighs E-Cigarette Ban Amid Safety Concerns

(NAVY TIMES 17 AUG 16) … David Larter

 

Sailors vaping on ships and bases may soon be a thing of the past.

 

A string of incidents since last year has prompted Navy safety officials to recommend putting the e-smoking lamp out fleetwide.

 

E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that heat up a nicotine liquid and deliver it to the user as a flavored vapor. In an Aug. 11 memo, the Naval Safety Center detailed growing safety concerns as exploding batteries in the devices have led to a dozen injuries since 2015.

 

When the lithium-ion batteries overheat, the memo says, the seal surrounding them can fail and turn an e-cigarette into a small bomb.

 

“The Naval Safety Center concludes that these devices pose a significant and unacceptable risk to Navy personnel, facilities, submarines, ships, vessels and aircraft,” the memo reads, going on to recommend a full ban of the products on Navy property.

 

The report notes that while laptops and cellphones also run on lithium-ion batteries, extensive testing has shown that they don�t tend to explode when they fail.

 

The Navy is taking a hard look at the recommendation, which would ultimately have to be implemented by Fleet Forces Command and U.S. Pacific Fleet.

 

�Leadership is reviewing the Naval Safety Center’s recommendation regarding e-cigarettes, weighing both the safety and health-related risks,� said Navy spokeswoman Lt. Marycate Walsh.

 

The Safety Center recorded 12 incidents between October and May and allowed that there are probably more incidents that were not reported. There were no incidents recorded before October 2015, the memo said.

 

Seven of the incidents occurred on Navy ships and at least two required the use of shipboard firefighting equipment to extinguish fires. Eight of the incidents occurred while the e-cigarette was in a sailor�s pocket, resulting in first- and second-degree burns.

 

Two sailors had their e-cigarettes blow up in their mouths, resulting in facial and dental injuries. All told, e-cigarettes have resulted in three days of hospitalization and more than 150 days of reduced duties for sailors, the report said.

 

Naval Sea Systems Command has issued a partial ban on the lithium-ion batteries at the center of the report. The Safety Center is recommending that the ban be extended to e-cigarettes.

 

�It is strongly recommended that action be taken to prohibit these devices from use, transport, or storage on Navy facilities, submarines, ships, vessels, and aircraft,� the memo reads. �In conjunction with these efforts, it is recommended that the Navy launch a dedicated safety campaign to inform service members about the potential danger of these products.�

 

The problem of exploding e-cigarettes hasn�t been limited to the Navy. The report notes that the injury and failure statistics from the civilian sector track with what the Navy is seeing in its data.

 

https://www.navytimes.com/articles/navy-weighs-e-cigarette-ban-amid-safety-concerns

 

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Q&A: Outgoing Navy Chief Talks Submarines, F-35s And His Legacy

(CONNECTICUT MIRROR 17 AUG 16) … Ana Radelat

 

In a recent wide-ranging interview over lunch, The Connecticut Mirror pressed outgoing Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, the longest serving naval chief in 100 years, about the future of submarine warfare, delays in the F-35 joint strike fighter program and why the Pentagon wants another round of base closings.

 

Appointed by President Obama in 2009, Mabus is a former Mississippi governor and ambassador to Saudi Arabia. He has led the Navy and the Marines in the continuing war with Afghanistan and with ISIS and opened the door to the first female submariners in U.S. history. He has made shipbuilding � and sub building � a priority as part of an effort to build back the Navy�s fleet. We learned he has named the nation�s next generation of nuclear ballistic submarines the Columbia class, after the District of Columbia, and that his favorite desert is ice cream.

 

  1. What is the biggest challenge you�ve had at the Pentagon?

 

  1. I�ve never thought of it that way. Looking back toward the end, we�ve had, I think, enormous and maybe amazing success in this job, in getting things done. You got a lot of constituencies. You�ve got Congress, you�ve got this building, you�ve got the White House, you�ve got the media, you�ve got the think tanks and the American people. I think the challenge was to get those all lined up, to get them all marching on the same page … The Navy and Marine Corps have a history of tradition and being resistant to change. But overall I haven�t found that that much.

 

  1. What did you focus on?

 

  1. One of the things I learned as governor, because I was the governor of the poorest state in the union, is that there were a thousand things every day as governor that would make life better in Mississippi, but if I tried to do all thousand, nothing was going to happen. So I learned you have to focus on a very few things. Almost from the word go I focused on the same things I�m focusing on now, which are the �four Ps.�

 

Q, The Four Ps?

 

  1. People � sailors, marines, civilians, how can we manage the force better … Platforms � when I got here the fleet was declining; it was declining precipitously. How do you turn that around? We simply weren�t giving our sailors and marines the tools they needed to get the job done. The third was power � energy, fuel. When I got here oil was about $140 a barrel and we were having to prioritize mission and deployment over training, which made no sense. The Marines were losing a Marine killed or wounded every 50 convoys of fuel that went into Afghanistan. Way too high a price to pay. I had been ambassador to Saudi Arabia. I knew how fuel could be used as a weapon, and I didn�t want that weapon to be used against us. And finally, there are partnerships. I�ve traveled now more than 1.1 million miles to 151 different countries and territories. By the way, I don�t think anyone is close to that in government, and we are doing something with every one of those countries.

 

  1. You also worked on diversity in the Navy.

 

  1. A more diverse force is a stronger force.

 

Q, And you�re talking about women and minorities?

 

  1. And experience. Diverse experience, diverse backgrounds. Gender diversity. I put women in submarines in 2010. If you get too homogeneous, it�s just not good. There�s a book called �The Wisdom of Crowds� [by James Surowiecki] which says if you�ve got a problem and you bring five experts who�ve spent their lives doing this, whatever the problem is, or you get a group of people with diverse backgrounds, a bigger group, working on it, they�ll be better at solving it.

 

  1. What are the growing geopolitical challenges to the Navy and the role of submarines?

 

  1. The role of submarines, the importance of submarines, the importance of undersea warfare, is rising. It�s always been important, but it�s becoming even more crucial. And it�s being recognized not just by the Russians and Chinese but by virtually everybody. The Russians and Chinese are the most visible, but there are not many seagoing countries that don�t have submarines. And with some of the technological advances � independent propulsion diesel submarines have gotten a lot quieter, the weapons they can deploy are more diverse. We still have a big edge there � in a lot of ways that’s only undersea � but it�s not something that you can take for granted. If you quit evolving, if you quit working on it, you quit building, it can go away real fast.

 

  1. Was there a danger of that?

 

  1. It was part of the overall fleet decline. We simply weren�t building those ships. Between 2001 and 2008 the Navy only put 41 ships under contract, of all kinds. In that same period, the size of the fleet went from 318 ships to 278 ships. Forty one ships was not enough to keep the fleet from continuing to shrink. And it was not enough to keep our shipyards going. I�ve been here for seven years now, so it�s a pretty exact comparison. I�ve put 85 ships under contract, including the biggest contract the Navy ever signed, for 10 (Virginia-class) submarines. But even building two subs a year, if you look out to the late 2020s and early 2030s, we�re going to have a deficit of submarines … and it�s because 30 years earlier, we did not build enough submarines. If you miss a year building a ship, you cannot make it up … they take so long and the skill set is so precise, and we just don�t have that many shipyards. The capacity to build is limited.

 

  1. Now the Navy is beginning to start work on the new ballistic-missile submarine, which you have called the �Columbia class,� but where�s the money going to come from for these expensive boats?

 

  1. The Ohio-class replacement, that�s coming. Starting in 2021 we have to build the first one of those. You have to have 12 of those to maintain the at-sea presence we need for a nuclear deterrence, instead of the 14 we have of the Ohio class, because these don�t need to be refueled. They have a life-of-the-hull reactor, the Ohio class sub you have to refuel at midlife. But if the Navy is expected to pay for [the Columbia class subs] out of the shipbuilding budget, that would take half of the shipbuilding budget for more than 12 years, so it would cut the rest of the budget, including for [Virginia-class] attack submarines.

 

  1. Are you in favor of the National Sea-based Deterrence Fund, which would pay for these new subs outside the Navy�s budget?

 

  1. Sure. Every time we�ve built a ballistic-missile defense submarine [we�ve done that.] The first time in the Sixties called �41 for Freedom,� the second time was the Ohio-class in the Eighties. We were given additional resources to do it because Congress recognized, and they do now, that it is a national program, not just particularly a Navy program, and you just don�t want to destroy the fleet in order to get this. You have to have them both. So we�re paying all the bills right now for the design work, engineering work (for the Columbia.) But when the first boat starts being built in 2021, we�ll need money in the fund.

 

  1. But there�s resistance to the fund. Others support that type of fund for other services. Right?

 

  1. Well, here�s my reply to that. What you are talking about is the Air Force. We have one leg of the nuclear triad, undersea. Air Force has the missiles and the bombers. If Air Force can make that case, fine. But don�t say, �We�re not going to do it for the Navy.� One of the reasons people get so twisted around about this is that we don�t start building until �21. We don�t need to appropriate money until �21 … but everybody recognizes this bill is coming.

 

  1. What do you think of what the direction of the Navy would be in the new administration?

 

  1. We�re on the right trajectory for platforms, ships, planes, systems, But as it�s been shown, it takes a long time to rebuild the fleet. We will get back to 300 ships by 2019; we will get back to 308, which is what our need has been assessed at, by 2021. And this has been building ships at near record rates for seven years. If you miss a year, you don�t get it back. So, whoever comes in, you�ve got to keep that going, you�ve got to. The Navy and the Marines, you�ve got to give America this presence. Around the world. around the clock. Not being just in the right place at the right time but being in the right place all the time, and you�ve got to have enough ships to do that.

 

  1. You say the Navy and Marines are �America�s Away Team� because, unlike soldiers and airmen, they hardly ever come home.

 

  1. A ship in port in the United States doesn�t mean much. If a crisis occurs, we give the president the option of what to do. When the president in 2014 made the decision to strike ISIS for 54 days, the only option was an aircraft carrier. And it wasn�t because we didn�t have aircraft in other countries and in other places. They wouldn�t let us take off. We don�t have to ask anybody, we�re sailing on sovereign American territory.
  2. How happy are you with the F-35 version for the Navy�s aircraft carriers, which isn�t� expected to be operational until at least February of 2019?

 

  1. It�s going to be a great aircraft, the F-35C. But we always want to have two generations on our flight decks. We�re buying more F-18s so we don�t have an aircraft shortage because the F-35 has been delayed.

 

  1. But there are real problems with the F-35…

 

  1. The F-35 tried to be a joint aircraft, one version for the Air Force, one version for the Marines, one version for the Navy. There�s not a whole lot of commonality in those aircraft; they have to do completely different things. But the services haven�t been in charge of the program, and because it�s a joint program nobody is accountable. It�s way over budget; it�s way late. Who do you hold responsible? If this was a Navy project, if this were a ship, they would point at me…

 

  1. You support Sen. John McCain�s efforts to abolish the Air Force�s Joint Strike Fighter office because he says it helped paper over problems with the F-35?

 

  1. Yes. McCain�s�s point, which I just made, is you can�t hold anybody accountable. I think it�s really important to have some responsibility. I�ve got another example of that. The Ford Class carrier. When the Navy in the late Nineties wanted to build a replacement for the Nimitz, the proposal was to put in a lot of new technology. But because there was so much new technology, their proposal was to put a third of the new technology on the first ship, another third on the second ship and the third would have all the new technology. In 2003, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said, �No, we�ll put it all on the first ship.� And because of that, the contract that was supposed to go out in 2004 did not go out until 2007. Costs just ballooned out of control.

 

  1. Although you�re building up the fleet, you support another round of base realignments and closures, right?

 

  1. It�s very clear (the Defense Department) as a whole has excess capacity, you need something to shrink that.

 

  1. The Navy has less excess capacity than the other services, but it would still consider all facilities, including submarine bases, in a new base closing round?

 

  1. I�m sure we�d have something (on the base-closure list), but I don�t know what that would be. As you pointed out, we have far less excess capacity; the Navy and the Marine Corps have less excess capacity than anybody else.

 

CT Mirror Note: This Q&A was edited for length and clarity.

 

Q&A: Outgoing Navy chief talks submarines, F-35s and his legacy

 

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Private Sector To Fill Gaps In Military Aviation Training

(NATIONAL DEFENSE 17 Aug 16) … Sandra I. Erwin

 

A confluence of factors is pushing U.S. combat aviation training units to the brink. With deployment commitments on the rise, neither the Air Force nor the Navy has nearly enough fighter aircraft or pilots to sustain training squadrons. It is a problem that has been a long time in the making � accelerated over the past decade by a combination of budget cuts, low pilot morale and a migration of fighter pilots to drone units.

 

The stressed state of aviation training has alarmed commanders and has compelled both the Air Force and the Navy to consider using contractor-provided aircraft and crews to supplement their own �aggressor squadrons� in live exercises. Also known as adversary or �red� squadrons, they serve as the opposing force in military war games and are expected to provide a realistic foe in combat training.

 

Aviation companies were briefed in March about the Air Force and Navy�s future �adversary air� support needs.

 

Both services have since issued �requests for information� from interested contractors. The needs are significant, according to one of the Air Force solicitations: �There is currently a significant gap between combat force-wide training requirements and adversary-air support availability, resulting in a shortage of 30,000 to 40,000 sorties per year.�

 

The problem is most acute at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, which projects a deficit of more than 3,000 sorties for fiscal year 2016. Nicknamed �home of the fighter pilot,” Nellis is the military�s largest and most demanding advanced air combat training base.

 

The military could start hiring more private companies to fill adversary-air demands as soon as next year. In a sign that the market is poised for growth, one of the most established players in the combat aviation training industry, Airborne Tactical Advantage Company, or ATAC, was acquired this summer by Textron.

 

�What we see is growing interest and need for outsourcing military training tasks,� said Russ Bartlett, CEO and president of Textron Airborne Solutions, a Textron-owned company that was publicly launched in July at a military air show in the United Kingdom.

 

ATAC was Textron�s first acquisition in this sector, and there could be more as opportunities emerge, Bartlett told reporters during a conference call.

 

The military for decades has outsourced pilot training but the business is expanding into new areas like tactical live-air support for conventional fourth-generation and more advanced fifth-generation fighter units.

 

�We created the �outsourced adversary� industry,� said Jeffrey Parker, co-founder of ATAC. The company�s aircraft have racked up more than 25,000 hours as opposing forces to U.S. Navy carrier strike groups, and about 5,000 hours as Air Force adversaries. The industry is �exploding,� Parker said. He is confident the business will grow under Textron ownership. �We were intrigued by Textron�s entrepreneurial approach.�

 

Parker estimated that the size of the industry will double by 2018 based on newly announced training needs by the Air Force and Navy. �They have a requirement of thousands of hours of training to be outsourced,� he said.

 

They do not have enough aircraft or pilots to fill this demand. ATAC operators currently fly 6,000 hours a year as adversary forces. The company projects the Air Force and the Navy will each require 3,000 additional hours per year by 2018.

 

With more F-35 joint strike fighter units projected to start training in the coming years, it is no surprise that the Pentagon is anticipating a bigger demand for opposing forces that can test the capabilities of the fifth-generation fighter. The F-35 creates a �generous appetite for adversaries,� Parker said. �They need robust adversaries to challenge their advanced sensors. It�s not always the most complex equipment that provides the most bang for the buck in training.�

 

The company�s adversary squadrons fly the F-21 Kfir multirole fighter, the MK-58 Hawker Hunter and the L-39 Albatros jet trainer. ATAC employs 30 former military fighter pilots. Based in Newport News, Virginia, the company both buys and leases aircraft. It charges for its services by the hour, and does not mark up fuel costs. The company is always eyeing the used aircraft market, including Israel�s F-15s, Jordan�s F-15s and F-2s. For electronic warfare training, systems are simulated. �If you can emulate capability electronically with virtual technologies why use an F-15?�

 

Financially it makes little sense to challenge F-35s with costly F-15s or F-16s that are not able to detect stealthy fighters, Parker said. �Nobody can see the F-35. Why not use good but not expensive aircraft?� Further, fifth-generation fighter units get better training when they are stressed by a large number of enemy aircraft coming at them at once. Ideally, Parker said, there should be 12 bad guys for every two F-35s, which is more than the Air Force now provides.

 

Bartlett cited recent reports of alarming shortages of Air Force fighter pilots as further evidence that the military will need to rely more on contractors. �The magic of this industry is finding the aircraft that meets the requirement at the lowest possible cost, and provide what you�re getting paid for.�

 

http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/blog/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=2275