China1National Harbor, Md. — The Navy’s top weapons buyer on Wednesday said sequestration is putting the U.S. at a disadvantage in maintaining its technical edge over a rising China in the Pacific.

Sean Stackley, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, told a crowd at the Sea Air Space Exposition that U.S. dominance across the world is owed to “constant investment” in the Navy and Marine Corps.

He chose to single out a recent demonstration of U.S. Naval power last August to highlight his point. It was a test of an airborne-relay sensor aboard the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye that directed a surface-to-air missile fired from the USS Chancellorsville, a guided missile cruiser. [Continue reading…]

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The Pentagon may not escape the crippling budget cuts on the horizon, but that isn’t stopping the Navy’s top admiral from talking up the sea service’s future weapon programs.

“We have got to better match our mission and tailor our platforms to the missions as to what they carry,” Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert said recently at the Navy League 2014 Sea, Air and Space Exposition. “Our platforms have to be adaptable.”

Greenert showed a video of the electromagnetic railgun the Navy is testing. The service plans to fire the hyper-velocity weapon from a joint high speed vessel in 2016 as part of a broader effort to develop the long-range, high-energy weapon.

“We are beyond lab coats; we are into engineering now,” Greenert said. “We’ve got the power level figured out, we know what the projectile looks like and we are testing it.”

[Continue reading…]

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The U.S. Navy has begun testing “smart” rocket launchers aboard MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, officials said.

The San Diego-based Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 15 is evaluating 22 of the new digital rocket launchers, which were delivered last month as part of a two-year rapid deployment program, according to Capt. Al Mousseau, who manages the service’s Direct and Time Sensitive Program Office.

“There’s a lot of opportunity here,” Mousseau said on Wednesday during a presentation at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space conference in National Harbor, Md. The service plans to integrate another 30 systems onto MH-60S choppers over the next year, he said. [Continue reading…]

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Phantom Badger 1One of the drawbacks of the Marines’ MV-22 Osprey has been its inability to take aboard an all-terrain, multi-role combat vehicle and deliver it to the fight.

The vehicle would have to be only five-feet wide to fit the tight confines of the tilt-rotor aircraft and also have enough power to handle the 60 percent grade of the off-on ramp.

“It was a square peg in a round hole thing,” said Garrett Kasper, a spokesman for Advanced Boeing Military Aircraft. “Those have been the limiting factors.”

Boeing and MSI Defense Solutions, of Mooresville, N.C., have developed the Phantom Badger Internally Transportable Vehicle as a solution to the Marines’ problem. MSI Defense Solutions worked with NASCAR teams before it started working with the Pentagon. [Continue reading…]

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The Coast Guard wants to make its deck-mounted machine guns accurate enough for crowded American harbors.

To do that, Coast Guard gunners need a weapon mount that’s stable enough to turn an M240 machine gun – a weapon designed to kill area targets on the battlefield – into a precision tool capable of putting every round on target.

[Continue reading…]

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