July 31st, 2009, Ottawa -- With more than 200 federal, provincial, municipal, and business leaders in attendance, Lockheed Martin Canada [NYSE: LMT] today officially opened its new Maritime Advanced Training and Test Site (MATTS) in the Highfield Industrial Park in Dartmouth, NS. MATTS will support the company’s role as prime contractor for the Combat Systems Integration (CSI) modernization of the Canadian Navy’s Halifax-class frigates.
In April, Lockheed Martin announced that it was expanding its Nova Scotia operation, adding 100 new jobs over five years. The Province of Nova Scotia, through Nova Scotia Business Inc., is supporting this growth with a $1.8 million payroll rebate. As the new permanent home of Lockheed Martin Canada’s Atlantic Operations, the MATTS facility also will allow the company to continue to build on its 25-year legacy as the Navy’s combat systems integrator.
“Lockheed Martin offers the types of career opportunities that students, skilled graduates, and expatriates are demanding,” said Premier Darrell Dexter. “Through NSBI, the province is maximizing the opportunity for Nova Scotians to participate in a long-term, multi-billion-dollar Canadian program with a top defence contractor. This amounts to a generation of work in our province. This is exactly the kind of thing we want to support in Nova Scotia.”
The CSI contract, awarded to Lockheed Martin Canada in 2008, will provide a new command and control system, radars, tactical data links, electronic support measures and other warfare capabilities for the 12 Halifax-class frigates.
The 100,000 square-foot MATTS facility will host critical training systems, simulation and testing labs and a new Technology Collaboration Centre that will provide a near-at-sea environment for Canadian businesses to test and develop solutions to meet the needs of the Canadian Navy. The facility will host land-based testing and simulation of the frigate’s new combat systems prior to installation on each vessel. Additionally, training systems similar to those currently housed at the Canadian Forces base in Stadacona will be installed at the MATTS facility to reflect the new combat system.
"The establishment by Lockheed Martin of the MATTS facility in Dartmouth, close to where our sailors are trained for the Halifax-class, represents a significant capability and efficiency for the Canadian Navy,” said Captain Richard Gravel, deputy project manager for the Halifax-Class Modernization/Frigate Life Extension project. “It is a plus for the navy to have this multi-faceted facility that, beyond training, will also provide for software development, system integration and performance proving with close to at-sea performance. To be able to test systems through actual system operation by leveraging on this location gives us great advantage as we refit the Halifax-Class. This facility once again places Canada’s frigates, and their support, at world-class."
“The opening of this building is not only a critical milestone for the successful, on-time delivery of a modernized Halifax-class frigate, it also establishes a world-class training and simulation facility for the Canadian Navy,” said Tom Digan, Lockheed Martin Canada’s president and general manager.
Lockheed Martin Canada has about 600 employees at facilities in Kanata (head office), Montreal, Halifax, Victoria, Esquimalt, Dartmouth, Valcartier, Petawawa and Wainright in order to provide direct support to its customers.
During exercise Stellar Avenger, the Aegis-class destroyer USS Hopper (DDG 70) launches a standard missile (SM) 3 Blk IA, successfully intercepting a sub-scale short range ballistic missile, launched from the Kauai Test Facility, Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), Barking Sans, Kauai. This was the 19th successful intercept in 23 at-sea firings, for the Aegis BMD program, including the February 2008 destruction of a malfunctioning satellite above the earth's atmosphere. (Photo: U.S. Navy/Released)
July 31, 2009, Kauai, Hawaii -- In conjunction with the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), U.S. Pacific Fleet ships and crews successfully conducted the latest Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) at-sea firing event on July 30.
During this event, entitled Stellar Avenger, the Aegis BMD-equipped ship, USS Hopper (DDG 70), detected, tracked, fired and guided a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block (Blk) IA to intercept a sub-scale short range ballistic missile. The target was launched from the Kauai Test Facility, co-located on the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), Barking Sands, Kauai. It was the 19th successful intercept in 23 at-sea firings, for the Aegis BMD Program, including the February 2008 destruction of the malfunctioning satellite above the earth's atmosphere.
Stellar Avenger was part of the continual evaluation of the certified and fielded Aegis BMD system at-sea today.
At approximately 5:40 pm(HST), 11:40 pm (EDT), a target was launched from PMRF. Three U.S. Navy Aegis BMD-equipped ships, the cruiser, USS Lake Erie (CG 70) and destroyers USS Hopper (DDG 70) and USS O'Kane (DDG 77)
detected and tracked the target with their SPY radars. Each developed fire control solutions. At 5:42 pm(HST), 11:42 pm (EDT) the crew of USS Hopper fired one SM-3 Blk IA missile. The USS Hopper's Aegis BMD Weapon System successfully guided the SM-3 to a direct body to body hit, approximately two minutes after leaving
the ship. The intercept occurred about 100 miles above the Pacific Ocean.
USS O'Kane conducted a simulated engagement of the target. USS Lake Erie, with its recently installed upgraded Aegis BMD 4.0.1 Weapons System, detected and tracked the same target.
After Stellar Avenger, the same three ships participated in the first live engineering evaluation of Aegis BMD's next system upgrade. Engineers and
ships crews recently completed installation and evaluation of an advanced version of the Aegis BMD weapon system. For the first time, the USS Lake Erie used this advanced system during a live firing to evaluate all fire control functions, including launch of a simulated SM-3 Blk IB. This is a typical step in the evaluation of any advancement in the Aegis weapon system. The USS Lake Erie will fire the new SM-3 Blk IB using this advanced weapon system in late 2010. This advanced Aegis BMD system will improve the probability of kill against advanced threats.
MDA and the U.S. Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD Program. Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors of Moorestown, New Jersey is the Combat
System Engineering Agent (CSEA) and prime contractor for the Aegis BMD Weapon System and Vertical Launch System installed in Aegis equipped cruisers and
destroyers. Raytheon Missile Systems of Tucson, Arizona is the prime contractor for the SM-3 missile and all previous variants of Standard Missile.
July 30th, 2009, Sunnyvale, California -- The U.S. Navy supported the May 26 launch of a U.K. Royal Navy Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) built by Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT). The unarmed missile was launched from the submerged Royal Navy submarine HMS Victorious (UK SSBN 06) in the Atlantic Ocean. The Trident II D5 missile now has achieved 127 consecutive successful test flights since 1989 – a record unmatched by any other large ballistic missile or space launch vehicle.
“This performance has been achieved in tests conducted by the U.S. Navy and the Royal Navy over the past two decades,” said Melanie A. Sloane, vice president of Fleet Ballistic Missile programs, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, the Trident missile prime contractor. “The cooperation of both governments, supported by industry, provides a credible strategic deterrent.”
The test was part of a Demonstration and Shakedown Operation following an overhaul of the submarine. For the test, a missile was converted into a test configuration using a test missile kit produced by Lockheed Martin that contains range safety devices and flight telemetry instrumentation.
First deployed in 1990, the D5 missile is currently aboard U.S. Navy OHIO-class and Royal Navy VANGUARD-class submarines. The three-stage, solid-propellant, inertial-guided ballistic missile can travel a nominal range of 4,000 nautical miles and carries multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, Calif., is the prime contractor and program manager for the Trident missile. Lockheed Martin provides program management and engineering services for the United Kingdom’s Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missile program through an annual contract funded by the U.K. Royal Navy, with work performed at facilities in the United States and the United Kingdom. For the period from April 1, 2009, through March 31, 2010, Lockheed Martin has been awarded a contract of $21.3 million contract for United Kingdom technical services in support of the Trident Missile System.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems has been the U.S. Navy’s prime strategic missile contractor since the inception of the program more than 50 years ago. Since 1968, Lockheed Martin has provided program support to the Royal Navy under the terms of the 1963 U.S.-U.K. Polaris Sales Agreement, which was modified in 1982 to provide for the Trident II D5 ballistic missile system.
Boeing [NYSE: BA] employees, U.S. Navy personnel, industry partners, suppliers and elected officials gather around a P-8A Poseidon after its unveiling today in Renton, Wash. Boeing formally rolled out the Navy's new maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft in front of nearly 500 people. (Foto: Boeing/Jim Anderson/Neg. #: P64755)
July 30, 2009, Seattle -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] and the U.S. Navy today formally unveiled the service's newest maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, during a ceremony at the Boeing facility in Renton, Wash.
A derivative of the Next-Generation 737-800, the P-8A is a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations.
"The P-8A Poseidon will equip the U.S. Navy with the most advanced multi-mission maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft in the world," said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. "The Poseidon is also the latest in a decades-long Boeing tradition of working closely with the Navy and other customers to deliver a wide range of platforms that meet their most critical mission requirements, including commercial-derivative military planes, fighters, rotorcraft, and attack, electronic warfare and unmanned aircraft."
As the replacement for the Navy's P-3C Orion aircraft, the P-8A will provide greater payload capacity, significant growth potential, unprecedented flexibility and interoperability, and advanced mission systems, software and communications.
"The P-8A program is an outstanding example of evolutionary acquisition at work," said Capt. Mike Moran, U.S. Navy Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft program manager. "The team has worked hard to stay on schedule and within cost in this development effort, and we all should be extremely proud of the results."
The P-8A is built by a Boeing-led industry team that includes CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Spirit AeroSystems and GE Aviation. The team currently is assembling and testing the first five P-8As as part of the program's System Development and Demonstration contract, awarded in 2004.
The integrated Navy/Boeing team will begin formal flight testing of the P-8A later this year. The Navy plans to purchase 117 P-8As, and initial operational capability is planned for 2013.
Called Calanit - Hebrew for the Anemone category of flowers - the shell is manufactured by Israel Military Industries (IMI) and will begin testing by one of the IDF's armored brigades in the coming week. (Photo: IMI)
July 29, 2009 -- The army will begin testing a new, sophisticated tank shell that can be fired over a hill and explode on top of enemy anti-tank missile squads.
Called Calanit (Anemone), the shell is manufactured by Israel Military Industries and will begin trials with one of the IDF's armored brigades in the next week.
The shell - which is suitable for 120mm cannons - was developed to neutralize anti-tank missile squads that operate behind structures or over a hill and which cannot be targeted by standard tank shells. The Calanit is fired above the squad, stops in mid-air and releases six explosive charges of different sizes.
Hizbullah fired thousands of anti-tank missiles at IDF tanks and troops during the Second Lebanon War.
Israel Military Industries is also supplying the army with the Iron Fist, which has been chosen as the active-protection system for the new Namer armored personnel carrier. The Iron Fist fires a kinetic missile at incoming anti-tank missiles.
The Iron Fist consists of a radar and passive optical system that detects incoming threats and destroys them within a fraction of a second using a combustible blast interceptor.
The Calanit works with an electronic targeting system. All the tank operators have to do is punch in the exact location of their target before loading the Calanit into the tank gun's chamber. The Calanit is a fire-and-forget munition, which means that once fired the tank crew does not need to guide it to the target.
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July 28, 2009 -- Babcock began work today on the refit that will see the Type 23 frigate become the first in the class to receive both a major update to the Seawolf self-defence missile system and the new command system that controls the weapons at the same time.
Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies, said:
“We work closely with industry to equip our Armed Forces and this refit will boost several of HMS Westminster’s systems and making her the most advanced frigate in the fleet.
“The Seawolf update that is being rolled out across the Type 23s is designed to combat the increasing threat of faster, lower flying and more manouvreable missiles today and also to guard against future advances. The system can now track an object the size of a cricket ball at twice the speed of sound from over 20 miles away and launch two counter missiles.”
The new ‘brain’ of the ship’s weapons systems, called DNA(2), is also being installed as part of a class-wide programme upgrade across the Type 23 Frigate Force to help ensure that operational capability can be sustained and optimised for the future.
Director of Ships at Defence Equipment and Support, Rear Admiral Bob Love, said:
“The updated command system is designed to sustain the world-class operational capability of the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates as technology moves forward. Exploiting off-the-shelf computing technology as appropriate, the system will be easier and more cost effective to maintain through life and shares many technological and operational features with that on the Type 45 Destroyers now entering service. This commonality will deliver further support efficiencies and minimise the need for Royal Navy personnel to retrain across ship classes during their careers.”
The contract for the upkeep period was negotiated under the Surface Ship Support Programme, the developing alliance between MOD, Babcock and BVT Surface Fleet.
Routine maintenance work during the upkeep, including replacement of the gearbox mainwheel, will also ensure that the warship remains in top condition for worldwide operations. The class was designed for anti-submarine operations and this refit will also see her state of the art Sonar 2087 system updated to maintain this capability as well as an update that will increase the range and performance of her 4.5” gun.
Harpoon in flight. (Photo: Boeing)
July 30, 2009, St. Louis -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] in June delivered the first four Harpoon Block II missiles equipped with a redesigned Guidance Control Unit (GCU), which provides growth capabilities and resolves obsolescence issues. The missiles were delivered to the U.S. Navy for transfer to two Foreign Military Sales customers.
The new GCU, which controls most of the missiles' functions, incorporates a Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver to improve GPS security. In addition, the GCU can accommodate possible future implementation of a data link for network centric operation.
Boeing began developing this GCU in 2007 to provide a common guidance system for Block II and future versions of the Harpoon missile. All new Harpoon missiles will incorporate the redesigned GCU.
"Boeing's investment in developing a new, more robust GCU positions the Harpoon program to meet our customers' needs for many years to come," said Steve Morrow, Naval Weapon Systems program director for Boeing. "With this upgrade, Harpoon continues to adapt and evolve to meet our customers' requirements."
Boeing has delivered more than 7,100 Harpoon missiles to the United States and 28 allied navies and is scheduled to deliver an additional 31 missiles this year.
Harpoon Block II executes both anti-ship and land-strike missions. The 500-pound blast fragmentation warhead delivers lethal firepower against a variety of land-based targets, including coastal defense sites, surface-to-air missile sites, exposed aircraft, port/industrial facilities and ships in port.
July 28, 2009, St. Louis -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] today announced it has submitted a proposal to the U.S. Air Force to upgrade the cockpits of the service's fleet of 59 KC-10 Extender tanker/transport aircraft. The proposal covers engineering and manufacturing development, production and installation of the KC-10 Communications, Navigation, Surveillance and Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) modification.
CNS/ATM uses a systems approach to improve pilot awareness, streamline tasks, and otherwise enhance safety in a high-technology environment.
"This upgrade will allow the fleet to retain worldwide access to airspace in compliance with Global Air Traffic Management requirements," said Boeing KC-10 Program Director Mike Wright. "Boeing believes it has a strong proposal, given the success of the company's (K) DC-10 Cockpit Upgrade Program (CUP) for the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF). The CUP modification offers an affordable, proven solution for other aircraft, including the KC-10."
Boeing works with the RNLAF and partner Fokker Services on CUP, which includes a new flight-management system, display system and improved communications -- all components of the CNS/ATM configuration. Boeing and Fokker Services are performing the modification on two (K) DC-10 air refueling tankers and one DC-10 transport at a Fokker Services facility in the Netherlands, where the program's ground testing certification is two thirds complete. Flight-test certification and delivery of the first aircraft are scheduled to take place this fall.
Adm. Gary Roughead, the U.S. Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations, addresses the crowd at the rollout ceremony of the first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant The F-35C is on schedule to meet the Navy’s Initial Operational Capability in 2015, and represents a leap in technology and capability over existing fighters, combining stealth with supersonic speed and high agility. (Foto: lockheedmartin/Neal Chapman)
July 28th, 2009, Ft. Worth, TX -- A ceremony today at Lockheed Martin’s [NYSE: LMT] Fort Worth plant marked the rollout of the U.S. Navy’s first-ever stealth fighter, the F-35C Lightning II. The aircraft will enable the Navy to possess 5th generation fighter capabilities at sea, extending America’s reach and reducing the timeline from threat to response.
Top Navy leadership, signal flags and a crowd of employees, including reserve and retired Navy personnel, were on hand to celebrate the strike fighter’s unveiling. Adm. Gary Roughead, the U.S. Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations, welcomed the new aircraft to the fleet.
“The JSF will show the world that our Sailors will never be in a fair fight because this airplane will top anything that comes its way,” Roughead said of the F-35. “It will give our Sailors and pilots the tactical and technical advantage in the skies, and it will relieve our aircraft as they age out.”
Tom Burbage, a former Navy test pilot and the executive vice president and general manager of F-35 Program Integration for Lockheed Martin, thanked Navy leadership for being fully engaged in the F-35’s development and “actively working to define joint and coalition tactics that will exploit this platform in ways we’ve never envisioned. We at Lockheed Martin are both proud and humbled by the trust the U.S. Navy has placed with us to lead the development and introduction of the Navy’s newest stealthy, supersonic strike fighter.”
The first F-35C, known as CF-1, will undergo a wide-ranging series of ground tests before its first flight, scheduled for late 2009. CF-1 is the ninth F-35 test aircraft to be rolled out, and joins a fleet of F-35A (conventional takeoff and landing) and F-35B (short takeoff/vertical landing) variants that have logged more than 100 flights.
The F-35C is on schedule to meet the Navy’s Initial Operational Capability in 2015, and represents a leap in technology and capability over existing fighters, combining stealth with supersonic speed and high agility. The Lightning II employs the most powerful and comprehensive sensor package ever incorporated into a fighter.
The F-35C possesses uncompromised carrier suitability and low-maintenance stealth materials designed for long-term durability in the carrier environment. The Lightning II’s operational and support costs are forecast to be lower than those of the fighters it will replace.
The F-35 and F-22 are the world’s only 5th generation fighters, uniquely characterized by a combination of advanced stealth with supersonic speed and high agility, sensor fusion, network-enabled capabilities and advanced sustainment. The F-35 is a supersonic, multi-role, 5th generation strike fighter. Three F-35 variants derived from a common design, developed together and using the same sustainment infrastructure worldwide, will replace at least 13 types of aircraft for 11 nations initially, making the Lightning II the most cost-effective fighter program in history.
Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. Two separate, interchangeable F-35 engines are under development: the Pratt & Whitney F135 and the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team F136.
July 27, 2009 -- In the face of Hizbullah's heavy deployment inside southern Lebanese villages, the IDF is creating a new training regimen for infantry troops to prepare them for a combination of urban and guerrilla warfare by building special training centers in military bases across the country.
Shortly after the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the IDF built a replica of a Hizbullah "nature reserve" - a forested area where the group had dug bunkers and deployed rocket launchers - to train IDF troops. Now, the IDF is building an urban warfare center - consisting of a mock Lebanese village - which it plans to connect to the replica of the nature reserve.
"Hizbullah has created most of its positions inside homes in southern Lebanon," explained a senior IDF officer last week, adding that an example of this had been demonstrated two weeks ago with the accidental explosion of a Hizbullah rocket cache inside a home in the village of Khirbet Selm.
The home, the IDF later revealed, was also connected to an underground series of tunnels that led to additional positions in nature reserves.
In footage taken several months before the explosion, an IDF aircraft caught several senior Hizbullah operatives entering an underground tunnel near the house and reappearing from an exit 700 meters away.
"During the Second Lebanon War, our biggest challenges were the nature reserves that Hizbullah had created in the open," the officer said. "Now, the challenge will be to fight against Hizbullah in an urban setting and then to move through the tunnels into the forest."
In order to meet the operational challenge, the IDF is creating special training centers like the one at Elyakim, which combine urban and guerrilla warfare. In the coming months, the IDF will begin construction of a similar center at the Lachish training base, near Beit Shemesh.
In addition to constructing the new training facilities, the IDF is purchasing two rubber urban training centers - each consisting of 18 structures - in which soldiers will be allowed to carry out live-fire exercises. In the current urban training centers, the IDF can only hold dry-fire exercises, since live fire would generate shrapnel that could injure the soldiers.
In the new centers, made completely of rubber, the soldiers will be able to shoot live bullets, since they would be absorbed by the walls. The new centers also come with built-in camera systems that enable quick examination of the results of the exercise.
The two rubber centers will be stationed at the Kfir Brigade's training base in the Jordan Valley and the Golani Brigade's training base near Binyamina.
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Hungarian Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai delivers remarks today at a ceremony commemorating the activation of a new airlift capability for 10 NATO and two Partnership for Peace nations, as the first Boeing C-17 Globemaster III acquired by the NATO Airlift Management Organization and the Strategic Airlift Capability consortium officially joins the Heavy Airlift Wing at Pápa Air Base. (Photo: Boeing/Neg. #: MSF09-0142-01)
July 27, 2009, Papa Air Base, Hungary -- The first Boeing [NYSE: BA] C-17 Globemaster III acquired by the NATO Airlift Management Organization and the Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) consortium officially joined the Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) at Pápa Air Base, Hungary, today, as part of a ceremony commemorating the activation of a new airlift capability for 10 NATO and two Partnership for Peace nations.
The advanced airlifter, known as SAC 01, is the first of three C-17s that will be assigned to the HAW in western Hungary this year and will soon start flying missions in support of the International Security Assistance Force operations in Afghanistan.
“I want to extend my thanks to all of the nations that chose to participate in SAC,” said Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero, NATO deputy secretary general. “Because of your commitment, today we are well-positioned to provide aid anywhere, at any time, and on any mission -- humanitarian, disaster relief, or peacekeeping.”
The unique SAC approach to shared use of the strategic airlifter is viewed as a model for the future acquisition and management of defense capabilities. The SAC nations will share acquisition and operating costs for the C-17s over the nearly 30-year course of the agreement. SAC 01 has been contributed by the United States, a member of the consortium. Hungary agreed to both host the wing at Pápa Air Base and to register the C-17s under the Hungarian flag.
U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Richard Johnston, chairman of the SAC Steering Board, praised the nations for setting a new standard of multinational cooperation.
“Visions are only realized when unrelenting dedication to achievement is applied in full measure,” Johnston said. “When applied twelvefold, success becomes destiny. Today, 12 nations witness the activation of their Heavy Airlift Wing.”
The HAW’s first wing commander, U.S. Air Force Col. John Zazworsky, thanked the hundreds of multinational military personnel who prepared the former Warsaw Pact fighter base for its first mission.
"For nearly a year now, personnel from 12 nations have worked as a team here in Pápa, blending their varied skills, military experiences and cultures into a new form of multinational military unit," said Zazworsky. “The team has consistently focused on being able to conduct strategic airlift missions as soon as the first aircraft is delivered. Now that we have reached that milestone, we have the strong sense that we are creating a model for future cooperative military efforts."
“Boeing is proud that the C-17 is a part of this historic day,” said Jean Chamberlin, Boeing vice president, Global Mobility Systems. “It’s the only aircraft capable of performing all of SAC’s airlift missions -- strategic and tactical, military and humanitarian, brigade airdrop and aeromedical evacuation -- and it can do all of that using standard runways or short, austere airfields.”
The SAC group includes 10 NATO nations -- Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, United States -- and Partnership for Peace members Sweden and Finland.
Boeing will deliver SAC’s two remaining C-17s in September and October. A Boeing team assigned to Pápa Air Base will provide material management, depot maintenance and other support for the C-17s under Global Services & Support’s C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership program.
F/A-18. (Photo: Boeing)
July 24, 2009, St. Louis -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today announced that it delivered the 400th F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to the U.S. Navy in June.
The original Super Hornet strike fighter achieved initial operational capability with the Navy in September 2001. The advanced Super Hornet Block II, equipped with the Raytheon-built APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array radar, debuted in 2005 and is in production today.
“The Super Hornet provides 21st-century combat capability to U.S. servicemembers around the world every day,” said Bob Gower, vice president of F/A-18 and EA-18 Programs for Global Strike Systems, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems.
“This delivery is a result of the dedication and pride of the Boeing employees who build this aircraft, as well as the outstanding program partnership with the Navy, the Hornet Industry Team and more than 1,900 suppliers," Gower added. "It’s also an important milestone for U.S. taxpayers, because every Super Hornet, from one to 400, has been delivered on time and on budget.”
The Block II F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is a multirole aircraft, able to perform virtually every mission in the tactical spectrum, including air superiority, day/night strike with precision-guided weapons, fighter escort, close air support, suppression of enemy air defenses, maritime strike, reconnaissance, forward air control and tanker missions.
The Hornet Industry Team includes Boeing, Northrop Grumman, GE Aircraft Engines and Raytheon. Boeing will deliver the first F/A-18F for Australia -- the first international Super Hornet customer -- next week. Boeing is in discussions with several other customers about their interest in procuring the Super Hornet.
“The Super Hornet delivers the cost and schedule certainty that governments rely on and taxpayers expect, while providing warfighters with the advanced capability they need, today,” Gower said.
U.S. Navy Capt. Mark Darrah, F/A-18 and EA-18G program manager, PMA-265, said the 400th Super Hornet delivery is critical to ensuring on-schedule and on-budget capability for the Navy.
“Every Super Hornet delivered to the Navy has been delivered on or ahead of schedule,” Darrah said. “The Navy and our nation depend on the advanced capability the Super Hornet delivers each day around the globe. The F/A-18E/F’s advanced capability, combined with its remarkable program performance, make the Super Hornet a true model for defense acquisition.”
July 26, 2009 -- The IDF has for the first time designated specific helicopter squadrons to operate under the command of infantry brigade commanders, as part of lessons learned from the Second Lebanon War and Operation Cast Lead.
According to a senior officer in the Ground Forces Command, the first units to receive the squadrons were the Golani and Paratroopers brigades. The plan, the officer said, is to assign additional squadrons to other infantry brigades, such as Givati and Nahal.
Under the new hierarchical system, the commander of the IAF squadron approves his orders through the brigade commander and not like the way it used to be - through the IAF.
"It is as if the brigade commander has another battalion under his command to utilize," the officer said. The squadrons assigned to the brigades consist of Apache and Cobra attack helicopters.
This type of setup exists in the United States Army, where field commanders are also allocated air platforms, such as fighter jets and attack helicopters. Due to its relatively small air force and wide spectrum of missions, the IDF has until now kept its air force completely separate from its ground forces when it comes to the chain of command, even during joint operations.
The major change occurred during the operation in the Gaza Strip earlier this year, during which brigade and in some cases battalion commanders were given the authority to give direct orders to pilots who provided air support for troops on the ground.
The intimate relationship between field commanders and pilots was forged ahead of the operation, when brigade and battalion commanders were taken for flights in the attack helicopters to see what the battlefield looks like from a cockpit thousands of feet in the air.
The IAF has also deployed "air support officers" in each brigade, who are responsible for coordinating aerial and ground operations and ensuring that targeting mistakes are avoided. These officers are specially trained to understand both the language used by field commanders and pilots.
"Now that the sides know each other better, they know how to work better together as well," explained a top IAF officer, adding that such cooperation led to air bombings during Cast Lead that were very close to IDF ground troops.
"We are able to take greater risks with our air strikes, since we understand better what the field commanders are saying when describing to us where they are located," the officer continued. "We have reached the point that some of the pilots already understand the field commanders with the blink of an eye."
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