Archive for the ‘Military Technology’ Category

German Submarine Technology – World’s Most Advanced?

January 19, 2011

The German shipbuilding industry remains a global technology leader in conventional submarine development. Modern day “U-Boats” are sought after by NATO allies, by Israel, and by other nations around the world. In fact they are a leading export item for Germany’s military industry. And the German Navy’s U-Boat flotilla is a welcome partner in ongoing NATO and EU security operations. 

Some experts believe that German conventional submarines have actually assumed the technological lead over nuclear submarines.

Advances in Air Independent Propulsion and Fuel Cell Technology; state-of-the-art Command and Control systems such as the ISUS90 system currently deployed on Class 212A U-Boats; improved sonar, communication suites, and IFF systems; acoustic and electric signature reduction technology; and current as well as developmental weapon systems against underwater, surface, land and aerial targets are all discussed here

Overhauling the KC-135 Tanker

March 8, 2009

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It’s looking like the KC-135 fleet will need an expensive re-skinning circa 2018, says Air Mobility Command boss Gen. Art Lichte. The projection was actually made in 2000 by an independent study of airlifter longevity, but the study has proved remarkably prescient, he noted and added that the prediction still looks valid. As it is, the KC-135s need a $7 million depot maintenance every five years, but the cost and complexity of each visit is growing significantly, Air Force Magazine quotes Lichte. The re-skinning would be a “major re-build” and wouldn’t buy very much in terms of extra years of use, since other aspects of the aircraft would still be Eisenhower vintage. Stepping up the pace at which the new KC-X tanker is bought would diminish the number of re-skins necessary, but Lichte restated the Pentagon’s position that buying two different tankers at once—the only way to skip the re-skins entirely since the more aircraft would be available sooner—is unaffordable, reports Air Force Magazine.

F-22 Raptor — Major Acquisition Unlikely

February 25, 2009

According to Air Force Magazine, US Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz is noncommital on continued F-22 Raptor fighter jet acquisition, but his words sound bearish. Here’s what Air Force Magazine writes:

The Air Force’s new acquisition objective for the F-22 likely won’t be officially announced until President Obama decides whether to certify the airplane as a critical defense program that must be kept going, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz told Washington-based defense reporters Feb. 17.

See the F-22 Raptor in action: History – Modern Marvels : F/A-22 Raptor

Lawmakers in both houses have urged the President to continue Raptor production in the short term, pending another review of the necessary total number. Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen has publicly stated the Air Force is looking at perhaps an additional 60 Raptors. Rumor has it that Mullen will make the final call.

Schwartz said the new number has been run through “an analysis which I feel is credible” and was arrived at “objectively.” He added that the Air Force is not afraid to revisit old assumptions and react to changes.

However, he dodged saying just what strategic considerations have changed that would make the F-22 less important in the future. The new number will be a “moderate risk” inventory, Schwartz said, and “I will be happy to defend the numbers when they become public.” However, he said there was “considerable skepticism about the validity” of the old Air Force target of 381 F-22s. “Maybe there will be equal skepticism of the new number,” he continued, “but it is my number and that is what we will use.”

USS George H.W.Bush completes Sea Trials

February 23, 2009

See the ultimate book on the US Navy’s final Nimitz class aircraft carrier, the USS George Herbert Walker Bush (CVN 77): CVN-77 GEORGE H. W. BUSH, U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier (Colorful Ships #3)

Northrop Grumman  has completed builder’s sea trials of the nation’s newest and most advanced nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77).

Builder’s sea trials provide an opportunity to test systems, components and compartments at sea for the first time. The trials also include high-speed runs and a demonstration of the carrier’s other capabilities.

Read the complete article USS George H. W. Bush Completes Trials

Robot Aircraft Refuel in the Air

February 20, 2009

The Air Force Research Lab has awarded a Boeing-led industry team a four-year, $49 million contract to continue work on the technology that will enable unmanned aerial vehicles to rendezvous autonomously with tanker aircraft and refuel, the company announced Feb. 5. These activities are Phase II of AFRL’s automated aerial refueling program. During Phase I, a Boeing-led team demonstrated that a single UAV could safely maneuver behind a tanker aircraft in refueling positions and conduct a breakaway maneuver. Under Phase II, the consortium, formally named the AAR integrator team, will coordinate flight tests that will include autonomous multi-ship operations and the actual delivery of fuel to a manned surrogate UAV. Boeing’s team includes Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, plus General Electric Aviation, Rockwell Collins, and Sierra Nevada Corp. Phase II will be divided into two parts to mature components to allow boom and receptacle and potentially probe and drogue refuelings.
Read more about robots at war:Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century

Airborne Laser offers new era for ballistic missile defense

February 19, 2009

The ultimate multimedia experience:2009 Lasers in the Military: Defense Department R&D Projects, Current Weapons, Guidance Applications, Bombs and Missiles, High-Energy Lasers (CD-ROM)

Unlike other missile defense systems, which require one or more interceptors to destroy a single ballistic missile, an ABL can destroy up to 20 missiles before its chemical supply is depleted and must be refilled. Thus, a handful of ABL planes potentially could provide around-the-clock protection against fairly sizable missile attacks emanating from a country such as North Korea. [ FULL STORY ]

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F-22 Raptor’s Proud Record

February 17, 2009

Find the F-22 Raptor on posters, framed art prints, 2009 calendars, and greeting card sets. Visit the PatriArt Gallery today — your one-stop shopping site for military and patriotic themed holiday gifts. Worldwide delivery available.

Late last year, the F-22 was verbally trashed by Pentagon acquisition chief John Young, who charged that the Raptor wasn’t meeting key performance parameters and was turning in mission capable rates of only about 60 percent.

Larry Lawson, Lockheed Martin’s F-22 program manager, declined to rebut those remarks directly during an interview with Air Force Magazine. However, he displayed a chart showing that the F-22 meets all KPPs and exceeds about half of them, including range, top speed, acceleration, and radar detection range.

The aircraft’s mission capable rates are coming in around 70 percent—which is the Air Force’s overall fighter average—but they don’t have to meet that level until the aircraft reaches “maturity,” which is around 100,000 flight hours.

Young dinged the F-22 for needing too much maintenance, but the program is on track to meet a specification that calls for three hours mean time between maintenance at maturity in 2010; it’s at 1.8 hours now.

In exercises and simulations, the Raptor racks up a 30:1 kill ratio, vs. 3:1 for the F-35, and slightly better than 1:1 for the F-15. All other fourth-generation fighters in US service score a tossup against foreign fighters.

Lawson also noted that the F-22 program received two performance awards from the Pentagon in 2008—the Secretary of Defense Performance-Based Logistics Award, and Collaborator of the Year.

See the F-22 Raptor in action: History – Modern Marvels : F/A-22 Raptor

NCADE offers effective BMD at bargain-basement cost

February 16, 2009

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Find US military images on tee-shirts, caps, and other casual clothing, as well as on beer steins, mousepads, clocks, and dozens of other office and gift items. Visit The Military Chest today — your one-stop shopping site for military and patriotic themed holiday gifts. Worldwide delivery available.

 

Loren Thompson reports on the Network Centric Airborne Defense Element, a low-cost concept for intercepting short- and medium-range ballistic missiles in boost phase using a modified version of the main air-to-air missile carried on most U.S. fighter aircraft today. [ FULL STORY ]

Worried about America’s future? Read Jack Cafferty’s newest book: Now or Never: Getting Down to the Business of Saving Our American Dream

Navy “VESSEL” – Newest Military “Video Game” Training Tool

February 16, 2009

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Video computer gaming is coming to the Navy as a training tool adapting to a new generation of gaming Sailors.

“This has the look-and-feel of a first-person role-playing game, but it would be better to call it a training simulation designed to enhance a Sailor’s critical thinking, problem solving, decision-making and ultimately ‘on-the-job’ performance,” said Rodney Chapman, director of Learning Strategies (N9) at Naval Service Training Command (NSTC).

“But because a recruit comes into the Navy growing up with gaming technologies it’s hard to get away from calling this a game.”

The new Navy video computer training tool is called VESSEL and stands for Virtual Environments for Ship and Shore Experiential Learning. VESSEL is a computer-based game that combines and resembles first person role-playing, educational and real-time strategy games.

“This is uncharted waters,” Chapman said. “We are using game based technology to supplement instructor led training. This strategy should lead to improved Sailor readiness and performance where the Navy can introduce real time fleet concepts to Sailors at various stages of their career. We happen to be starting this effort in Great Lakes, however, the strength of this technology is applicable and will help improve all Sailors no matter how senior or experienced.”

Although there are flight simulators for Navy pilots and Navy surface officers to learn navigation in large bridge simulators, VESSEL can be accessed by popping a disc into a Sailor’s computer in a workspace or office, like inserting a disk into a PlayStation or Xbox.

Through partnerships with BBN Technologies, Intelligent Decisions Systems Inc., (IDSI), University of California Los Angeles, University of Central Florida, the Office of Naval Research, Recruit Training Command (RTC) and NSTC’s N9 Department have designed a computer-based video “game” training tool built to be an adaptive product to enhance learning and build confidence in handling shipboard scenarios and casualties such as flooding and firefighting.

 Get the very newest Navy comupter game today:Battlestations Pacific

Dr. Clint Bowers, a psychology professor and evaluator with UCF, said the computer “game” and gaming in general that many Sailors are familiar with “has a certain intrinsic quality that motivates young people today.

“If we can tap that motivation so that a Sailor wants to go back to their room or compartment and play and learn and not feel they are in a classroom, we think that will be a great thing.”

Bowers also said his team has seen Sailors who have participated in the evaluation since October 2008. He said they have demonstrated a high level of interest when exposed to the software and that it does have an appeal for today’s generation of gamers. “It’s one thing to build a game, but we need to make sure it works and we are seeing that it is.”

The current “game” or first simulation is designed to have a Sailor investigate a space aboard a ship for flooding from a cracked fire main. A Sailor is introduced with a short story of how he or she has transferred from Naval Station Great Lakes to their first ship in Norfolk, Va. After boarding the ship, the Sailor enters the “game” in a first-person role-playing scenario and must report to his or her repair locker after the general quarters alarm has sounded. From the repair locker, the Sailor is sent out as an investigator and directed to look for a possible flood in a certain space.

A Sailor will need to find the space by locating the correct “bulls-eye” (numbered identification outside the space on the bulkhead, or wall) and, once found, go into the space where they will find there is flooding from a crack on the fire main. The Sailor then has to call Damage Control (DC) Central and report the situation.

“A more senior enlisted Sailor might want to shut down the fire main and cut off the water, but that would be wrong in this simulation,” Chapman said.

“We want the Sailor to report the flooding to DC Central using the shipboard phone IVCS (Integrated Voice Communications System) in the space, then go back to the repair locker and pick up the equipment they might need (Jubilee Patch), bring the equipment back to the space and properly patch the pipe.”

In the simulation, there is only one way to seat the Jubilee Patch, by putting it on the pipe and sliding it from the top down over the crack. If the Sailor doesn’t seat the patch correctly, the video will force it off.
A Sailor is also graded on time from reporting to the repair locker, finding the space with the flooding, reporting to DC Central, returning to the repair locker and patching the pipe.

If a Sailor does all this properly (using the certain buttons on the computer keyboard to move around and grab things) he or she then needs to call back to DC Central and make a final report of what they did and how they accomplished the task. An example of what the Sailor might report would be, “flooding was secured by properly applying Jubilee Patch over crack on fire main in space 1-109-2-L, Admin Berthing. There are two inches of water on deck, or there is no water coming up through the grates. Request dewatering team sent to compartment.”

After a Sailor has made a final report and has been told that a dewatering team has been sent to the space, objectives for the evolution show up on the left side of the computer monitor with a green, yellow or red mark. If an objective lights up green, the Sailor has successfully met that objective. If yellow lights up, the recruit completed the objective but was marginal and could have been faster making reports, getting the right equipment or took too long patching the fire main. A red means a failure for that particular objective and the things performed incorrectly will be identified and the Sailor will need to go through the task again.

When the objectives have been graded, the Sailor will then be directed to an Individual Development Plan (IDP). The plan is based on how well they did and what areas may need. The Sailor is then told where to go to receive more instruction on the areas that need work.

“This was a great experience,” Seaman Apprentice Melvin Cooks, 18, from East St. Louis, Ill., said. “I think this will help Sailors in here at Great Lakes and in the fleet to strengthen and refresh what they learned at boot camp and in school.”

Cooks, a student at Boatswain’s Mate “A” School was an early test-subject of the “game” adding that with tools like Battle Stations and VESSEL Sailors will be more prepared to handle situations and emergencies aboard ships and in the fleet.

Chapman called the IDP the most important thing for each Sailor.

“Ultimately, besides the usability of the ‘game’, we’ve put in enhancements with the Individual Development Plan. If I believed they were going to walk away from the test and remember what they were supposed to work on, I’d be sadly mistaken. We are going to deliver an Individual Development Plan with further instruction and training to make them better Sailors,” he said.

Early indications of improved Sailor performance are encouraging and impressive, according to Chapman. Two groups of Sailors were selected to participate in a study that required them to secure flooding in a main space aboard USS Trayer (BST 21), a 210-foot long Arleigh Burke-class destroyer at RTC, the Navy’s largest training simulator. Both groups had basic damage control training but had no previous exposure to the Trayer’s internal compartments or design. Only one of the two groups played VESSEL. The Sailors who played VESSEL found the flooding compartment using a bull’s-eye, learned from the “game,” in half the time of the Sailors who didn’t play the game (two versus four minutes). Sailors had less than half (eight versus 17) of the communications errors when making reports to DC Central. Twice as many (50 percent versus 25 percent) non-VESSEL participants repaired the leak without permission and 50 percent of the non-VESSEL participants secured the fire main without permission. No one from the group exposed to VESSEL secured the fire main.

Even though N-9 and ONR have been testing the “game” on recruits from RTC since October 2008, the VESSEL is not geared toward passing Battle Stations 21, the final test for a recruit before graduating from the Navy’s only bootcamp. Battle Stations 21 is conducted aboard Trayer a week prior to graduation.

“We didn’t specifically build this for Battle Stations 21, because we knew there would be a far reaching benefit to the rest of the Navy enterprise. We purposely built this so it could be used at RTC or delivered to TSC (Training Support Center) and other training or shipboard commands fleetwide. The educational outcome and benefits will be consistent if you are in recruit training or out in the fleet. Whether you are a recruit, a bluejacket, chief or officer; this will benefit all Sailors.”

The NSTC N-9 team is working with ONR to build more scenarios to accompany the flooding evolution. They are exploring adding oil on top of the flooded water, placing “hot” electric wires in the space, and there will be personnel casualties in the space.

“We are going to add firefighting to it as another training opportunity and continue to build out to be an enterprise-wide learning tool,” Chapman said.

Chapman hopes both delayed-entry personnel as well as Sailors out in the fleet will be able sit down at a computer, put in VESSEL and use it as another training tool.

“We are entering an era where we are demanding more from our Sailors and they have to master things in a shorter period of time. We no longer have the luxury to put Sailors through long periods of training,” Chapman said.

“The nice thing [about the ‘game’] is technology will help us supplement today’s training in a well defined strategy. “Hopefully, in the future this will be just another tool in a Sailor’s toolbox that will help a Sailor identify a situation and react in a positive way to save the ship and save a shipmate.”
Scott Thornbloom (NNS)

UAVs Help Fight Pirates

February 3, 2009

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The guided-missile destroyer USS Mahan (DDG 72) brings an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capability to Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, which enhances the counterpiracy task force’s effectiveness.

This UAV supports the CTF 151 counterpiracy mission by providing maritime surveillance and cueing on suspicious activity.

“This is a significant step forward and is reflective of the increased use of UAVs across the spectrum of military operations,” said Cmdr. Steve Murphy, Mahan’s commanding officer.

The unique attributes of a UAV – namely the ability to stay airborne for long periods and cover hundreds of square miles of ocean during the course of one mission, all the while sending imagery in real time back to Mahan and other assets in the task force – provide a significant tactical advantage.

“It can fly day or night in a covert or overt posture, making it much harder for pirates to hide” said Murphy.
“It is also important to note that the images and information obtained [by the UAV] at sea is shared with our coalition partners, thereby improving overall mission effectiveness and strengthening key partnerships between navies.”

As part of Combined Task Force 151 Mahan is coordinating and deconflicting counterpiracy efforts with approximately 14 nations also operating in the Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea.

Taken in context with other aircraft and ships operating in the area, the UAV is considered by Murphy and other leaders in the task force as a force multiplier. The information the UAV generates also helps CTF 151’s leadership determine where to position all available units.

“It provides high quality imagery in real time, speeding decision making and is a significant advantage in stopping piracy on the high seas,” said Murphy. “It is versatile and very responsive, able to change operating areas and change missions in mid-flight.”

Mahan has integrated the UAV into every mission it has conducted while on deployment, gathering valuable information on maritime traffic patterns and the patterns of those suspected to be involved in illicit activity.

According to Murphy, it also helps protect the ship and crew, providing extended surveillance and early indications of potential threats.

“[The UAV] has great significance as a developing effort to apply 21st century technology to the 21st century challenges that our Navy faces.”

The civilian and Sailor team operating the unmanned aerial vehicle on Mahan is documenting lessons learned during this mission and throughout the ship’s deployment. This information is expected to contribute to the U.S. Navy’s plans for the future of UAVs at sea.

(NNS)