Philippine Sea (June 18, 2006) - A B-2 Stealth Bomber assigned to Whiteman Air Force Base (AFB), Mo. leads an aerial flight formation during Exercise Valiant Shield 2006. The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike group is currently participating in Exercise Valiant Shield along with the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and the Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group. Valiant Shield focuses on integrated joint training among U.S. military forces, enabling real-world proficiency in sustaining joint forces and in detecting, locating, tracking and engaging units at sea, in the air, on land and cyberspace in response to a range of mission areas. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Jordon R. Beesley
Odds 'n Ends
Topics posted to this page relate to Modern Day Weapons Systems
Updated September 1, 2014
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Navy's New Ships
USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000)
(11/5/13) EXTERNAL LINK: USS Zumwalt---Super Advanced Destroyer Pictures and details of the most advanced electronics systems being designed into the Navy's newest destroyer.--contributed by Bill Newby
USS Gerald R. Ford (First of the Ford class carriers)
Source: Robert Johnson of the Business Insider
Contributed by Ernie HalleyRobert Johnson of the Business Insider, July 24th, 2013
(10/25/13): The United States is building its next generation of aircraft carrier, the FORD-class carriers. The numbers behind the USS Gerald R. Ford are impressive; about $14 billion in total cost, 224 million pounds, about 25 stories high, 1,106 feet long, and 250 feet wide.
The Ford will handle up to 220 takeoffs and landings from its deck every day. Part of that quick turnaround is because, when aircraft like the new F-35 return for maintenance, the plane's network will already have alerted ground crews to what's needed so they can get the aircraft on its way faster than ever before.
A new electromagnetic catapult system that's more efficient and gentler on the multi-million-dollar jets replaces the steam-generated catapult systems of older generation carriers.
The new FORD-class aircraft carrier will be the largest, most lethal ship ever when it joins the US fleet in 2016.
Click photos to enlarge
This bow (second-from-left photo) alone is more than three stories tall and weighs 116,000 pounds.
- For the first time the Navy will have no urinals on this carrier. Gender neutral toilets mean berthing can be swapped between male and female without concern and one unit means fewer spare parts and repair. The Navy is requesting larger pipes for the Ford to prevent blockage and unpleasant smells, which are common issues on carriers.
- The Sea Sparrow Missile (left photo) also factors into lethality with its ability to fly four times the speed of sound, turn on a dime, and intercept anti-ship missiles more than 30 miles out.
- Ford's lethality is also enhanced by the RIM 116 short-range defensive surface to air missile (third-from-left photo).
- The radar-guided, rotating 20mm Gatling Gun (right-most-photo) called the Phalanx CIWS (Sea-Wiz). That lethality aims to help keep sailors safe and the enemy less so.
The New World of Drones
U.S. Navy Develops Its Carrier Drone---The X-47B
"This UAV makes a pretty good pass at the deck - looked like a steady OK2 or OK3 wire with impressive lineup. But there will never be a time (again) when CAG LSO Sam Flynn's voice calms down the JOs in the groove. 'Roger Ball, clear deck, keep it coming ...' That is our heritage, that is our past. I'm happy to have been part of it, I'm happy to have the memories."---Ken Oden (F8 pilot)
(7/13/13) EXTERNAL LINK: CNBC Link: X-47B Flightdeck OperationsGood discussion about the future of naval aviation drones. Excellent footage. "You can see in the videos that the Navy was so confident in this unmanned vehicle that they did not even bother to move other aircraft away from the landing zone on the deck. This one is fully autonomous - a flying robot - there is no remote pilot." ---Contributed by Robert King's nephew Wes
(5/31/13) EXTERNAL LINK: A link to Navy web page describing the program, with a video of the launch.: The X-47B First fixed wing robotic unmanned aircraft from a carrier. Lots of photos and a video. Contributed by: Robert King's nephew Wes
(2/6/14) EXTERNAL LINK: This excellent video shows flight ops many of us will recognize except it involves a pilotless drone. X-47B Flight ops, including landings and takeoffs-- As you
view the flight deck crew signaling the plane, they are simply signaling the
on-board cameras, who in turn are being manned by staff inside the command
intelligence center ( CIC )onboard the ship. Contributed by Bill Newby
The General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper
- BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq (AP) — The airplane is the size of a jet fighter, powered by a turboprop engine, able to fly at 300 mph and reach 50,000 feet. It is outfitted with infrared, laser and radar targeting, and with a ton and a half of guided bombs and missiles.
The Reaper is loaded, but there is no one on board. Its pilot, as it bombs targets in Iraq , will sit at a video console 7,000 miles away in Nevada .
The arrival of these outsized U.S. "hunter-killer" drones, in aviation history's first robot attack squadron, will be a watershed moment even in an Iraq that has seen too many innovative ways to hunt and kill. That moment, one the Air Force will likely low-key, is expected "soon," says the regional U.S. air commander. How soon? "We're still working that," Lt. Gen. Gary North said in an interview.
The Reaper's first combat deployment is expected in Afghanistan , and senior Air Force officers estimate it will land in Iraq sometime between this fall and next spring. They look forward to it. "With more Reapers, I could send manned airplanes home," North said.
The Associated Press has learned that the Air Force is building a 400,000-square-foot expansion of the concrete ramp area now used for Predator drones here at Balad, the biggest U.S. air base in Iraq , 50 miles north of Baghdad . That new staging area could be turned over to Reapers. It is another sign that the Air Force is planning for an extended stay in Iraq , supporting Iraqi government forces in any continuing conflict, even if U.S. ground troops are drawn down in the coming years.
The estimated two dozen or more unmanned MQ-1 Predators now doing surveillance over Iraq , as the 46th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron, have become mainstays of the U.S. war effort, offering round-the-clock airborne "eyes" watching over road convoys, tracking nighttime insurgent movements via infrared sensors, and occasionally unleashing one of their two Hellfire missiles on a target.
From about 36,000 flying hours in 2005, the Predators are expected to log 66,000 hours this year over Iraq and Afghanistan . The MQ-9 Reaper, when compared with the 1995-vintage Predator, represents a major evolution of the unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV.
At five tons gross weight, the Reaper is four times heavier than the Predator. Its size — 36 feet long, with a 66-foot wingspan — is comparable to the profile of the Air Force's workhorse A-10 attack plane. It can fly twice as fast and twice as high as the Predator. Most significantly, it carries many more weapons.
UNDER THE RADAR: Air Force ramps up in Iraq
While the Predator is armed with two Hellfire missiles, the Reaper can carry 14 of the air-to-ground weapons — or four Hellfires and two 500-pound bombs. "It's not a recon squadron," Col. Joe Guasella, operations chief for the Central Command's air component, said of the Reapers. "It's an attack squadron, with a lot more kinetic ability."
"Kinetic" — Pentagon argot for destructive power — is what the Air Force had in mind when it christened its newest robot plane with a name associated with death. "The name Reaper captures the lethal nature of this new weapon system," Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Air Force chief of staff, said in announcing the name last September. General Atomics of San Diego has built at least nine of the MQ-9s thus far, at a cost of $69 million per set of four aircraft, with ground equipment.
The Air Force's 432nd Wing, a UAV unit formally established on May 1, is to eventually fly 60 Reapers and 160 Predators. The numbers to be assigned to Iraq and Afghanistan will be classified. The Reaper is expected to be flown as the Predator is — by a two-member team of pilot and sensor operator who work at computer control stations and video screens that display what the UAV "sees." Teams at Balad, housed in a hangar beside the runways, perform the takeoffs and landings, and similar teams at Nevada 's Creech Air Force Base, linked to the aircraft via satellite, take over for the long hours of overflying the Iraqi landscape.
American ground troops, equipped with laptops that can download real-time video from UAVs overhead, "want more and more of it," said Maj. Chris Snodgrass, the Predator squadron commander here.
The Reaper's speed will help. "Our problem is speed," Snodgrass said of the 140-mph Predator. "If there are troops in contact, we may not get there fast enough. The Reaper will be faster and fly farther." The new robot plane is expected to be able to stay aloft for 14 hours fully armed, watching an area and waiting for targets to emerge. "It's going to bring us flexibility, range, speed and persistence," said regional commander North, "such that I will be able to work lots of areas for a long, long time."
The British also are impressed with the Reaper, and are buying three for deployment in Afghanistan later this year. The Royal Air Force version will stick to the "recon" mission, however — no weapons on board.
Contributed by Adam Miklovis
The Northrup Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk
Poised to replace Cold War U-2 spy plane.
- Note the mission paintings on the fuselage. It's actually over 250 missions (And I would suppose 25 air medals).
That's a long way for a remotely piloted aircraft. Think of the technology as well as the required quality of the data link to fly it remotely from a source thousands of miles away. Not only that, but the pilot controls it from a nice warm control panel at Edwards AFB, CA.
It can stay up for almost 2 days at altitudes above 60k. The Global Hawk is controlled via satellite.
It flew missions that went from Edwards AFB, CA. and back nonstop.
Basically, they come into the fight at a high mach number using military thrust power, fire their AMRAAMS, and no one ever sees them or paints with radar. There is practically no radio chatter because all the guys in the flight are tied together electronically and can see who is targeting who, and they have AWACS (Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems) direct input, as well as 360 situational awareness from that and other sensors.
The enemy had a definite morale problem before it was all over. It is to air superiority what the jet engine was to aviation. It can taxi out, take off, fly a mission, return, land and taxi back on its own.
There are no blackouts, pilot fatigue, relief tubes, ejection seats, and best of all, no dead pilots, and no POWs.
Contributed by Ernie Halley
(6/30/13) YouTube video---What drones can see at 17,500 feet: super-high resolution photography This is cutting edge, and then some, photography. Having worked in aerial reconnaissance, when I was in the Navy, I can tell you that the size of the area being covered, and the high quality of the imagery are, beyond incredible! What a breakthrough!!!! This imagery is being taken from 17,500 feet up. That is roughly equal to 3-1/2 miles. To say the least, I'm extremely impressed, but I think that just about anyone, particularly those with experience in SERIOUS photography, and especially those having a military photographic background, will be. Prepare to be very impressed. Excerpt from a PBS story. Less than 5 minutes. ---Contributed by Herb Gold PH1, VC-62 circa 1951
(11/15/12) REALLY INTERESTING NEW BOEING SPY PLANE: Boeing's New Spy Plane
Update (9/1/14)--> General Characteristics:
Wingspan: 150 ft (46 m)
Takeoff gross weight: 9,800 lbs (4,445 kg)
Cruise speed: 150 kts
Maximum speed: 200 kts
Altitude: 65,000 ft
Engines: (2) 2.3L 150 horsepower
Endurance: 4 days at 65,000 ft.
Let that sink in -
Wingspan equal to the width of a good size building lot
It's relatively light (at 5 ton), slow, flies at twice the altitude of commercial transport. It's powered by the equivalent of 2 compact car engines and stays aloft for 4 days.
Video - take a look:
PHANTHOM EYE PLANE -Contributed by Robert King & Ernie Halley
Drones of a Different Type
(5/31/13) The Future?---A conception of a mosquito-sized drone
This little 4 minute Boeing video is really something......a first for a full size jet airplane. (2/9/14) F-16 Drone for Realistic Target Practice. Thousands of planes that were grave yard bound, with costs in the
hundreds of millions, now can be used as never before. These F-16
aircraft have been in the bone yard at Davis-Monahan for 15
years and are now being used as drones!--Contributed by Ernie Halley
Advanced Aircraft and High-Tech Weapons
Joint Strike Fighter---The F-35
(2/2/13)EXTERNAL LINK: YouTube video: F-35B launch and landing exercises aboard USS Wasp No catapult... No hook.... It's a new world out there! These are the latest sea trials of the F-35B on the USS Wasp. They were very successful, with 74 VL's (Vertical Launch) and STO's (short take offs) in a three week period. --Contributed by Robert King
Boeing Reveals: Non-lethal Weapon to Shutdown Enemy Electronics & Communications
- (2/25/13) EXTERNAL LINK:
High Energy Force ---to Destabilize Communications. Reveals a potential weapon againt Iran's nuclear sites??--Contributed by George Montgomery
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Created on ... January 27, 2007