The War Report Vol. 12, June 5, 2017

Welcome to The War Report, your weekly roundup of articles by James Drew, Defense Editor at Aviation Week & Space Technology.

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Raytheon GBU-49 Slated To Fly On F-35 Next Year

The U.S. Air Force has mitigated a looming five-year “capability gap” against moving and maneuvering targets with the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II by integrating Raytheon’s 500-lb. GBU-49 for less than $100,000, those behind the weapons integration push say. Without the dual-mode bomb, an F-35 delivered in the Block 3F configuration at the end of development next year could only destroy fixed and slow-moving targets with laser or GPS/Inertial Navigation System-guided weapons. That is, until the Block 4 version is delivered early in the next decade…

Germany Considers F-35 As Drone-Commanding Tornado Replacement

The German air force’s Panavia Tornado replacement, the Command Fighter Advanced (CFX), could someday take control of fleets of unmanned strike and reconnaissance aircraft. Germany could pick an existing aircraft or join the growing list of nations developing indigenous fifth-generation fighters…

 

Ground-Based Interceptor Takes Out ICBM Target in Key Test

The U.S.’s key shield against intercontinental ballistic missile attacks has notched a much-needed win at a strategically important moment in history. On May 30, the Missile Defense Agency declared victory in its first test of the Boeing-built Ground-based Midcourse Defense since June 2014, and the first time firing against an ICBM…

MDA Speeds Up Multi-Object Kill Vehicle

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency has accelerated development of the warhead-killing Multi-Object Kill Vehicle by five years in response to emerging threats. The program is being competitively pursued by Boeing, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin for introduction on the Boeing/Orbital ATK Ground Based Interceptor missile for homeland defense…

Saab Upbeat About New Sales For Gripen, GlobalEye And Swordfish

Saab expects ‘many-fishing-rods’ strategy to pay off worldwide

Sweden’s Jack of all trades and master of many, Saab Group, arrives at the Paris Air Show with a lineup of new airborne weaponry, from fighter jets to trainers and early-warning and submarine-hunting aircraft. It has even started work on a 21st-century version of the air-launched Robotsystem-15F anti-ship missile introduced in 1982…

USAF To Replace E-4B, E-6B With One ‘Doomsday’ Fleet

The U.S. Air Force is kick-starting a potentially multibillion-dollar program to replace the E-4B “Doomsday Plane” and the U.S. Navy’s E-6B Mercury fleet with a single fleet, called the Survivable Airborne Operations Center (SAOC). The service’s fiscal 2018 budget request rolls the E-4B National Airborne Operations Center and E-4B Aircraft Modernization programs into a single budget line called NAOC Recapitalization…

U.S. Army Aviation Takes Hit But Protects ITEP, FVL

The U.S. Army continues to back the Improved Turbine Engine Program and Future Vertical Lift (FVL) in its fiscal 2018 budget request, despite reducing spending on aviation accounts overall. Budget documents released on May 23 show the Army’s total budget increasing by $7.8 billion to $166.1 billion (including overseas contingency operations funds). But spending on rotary and fixed-wing aircraft has decreased 12.3% from $5.2 billion to $4.6 billion, with lower numbers of CH-47 Chinook and Sikorsky UH-60M helicopters being procured, offset slightly by additional new-build Boeing AH-64 Apache gunships…

U.S. Army Budget Prioritizes Ops Over New Procurement

The U.S. Army’s budget top line has been increased 5.1% to $137.2 billion in President Donald Trump’s spending request for fiscal 2018. The Army also seeks $28.9 billion in Overseas Contingency Operation funding to support operations in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa, and to position forces in Europe…

MDA Launches Hypersonic Defense Program

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) $7.9 billion budget plan for fiscal 2018 includes almost $600 million over five years to finally begin addressing the hypersonic missile threat from Russia and China. Both nations have made significant gains in the development of scramjet-powered missiles and maneuvering hypersonic glide vehicles, designed to thwart the formidable U.S. air and missile defense systems…

Boeing Touts Advanced Fighter Versions As ‘Different Animals’

When Lockheed Martin’s X-35 beat the Boeing X-32 to win the trillion-dollar Joint Strike Fighter program in 2001, Boeing might have thought its days in the fighter business were numbered. Sixteen years later, Boeing’s F-15 and F/A-18 programs appear to have survived the stealth craze of the past two decades that threatened to render them obsolete in the fighter market. As Lockheed’s F-35 Lightning II and now-terminated F-22 Raptor languished in overcost and overschedule development programs, Boeing survived and capitalized…


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