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MV-22BBell Boeing recently test fired laser-guided rockets from the V-22 Osprey aircraft in a series of mock combat demonstrations at Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz., showing for the first time that the tiltrotor aircraft can be used for offensive missile and rocket attacks.

The forward-firing flights at Yuma shot a range of guided and unguided rockets from the Osprey, including laser-guided folding-fin, Hyrda-70 Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System rockets and laser-guided Griffin B missiles, Bell helicopter officials said.

“The forward-firing demonstration was a great success,” Vince Tobin, vice president and program manager for the Bell Boeing V-22 said in a written statement. “We’ve shown the V-22 can be armed with a variety of forward-facing munitions, and can hit their targets with a high degree of reliability.”

Bell Boeing has delivered 242 MV-22 tiltrotor for the Marine Corps and 44 CV-22 for Air Force Special Operations Command.  Bell Helicopter began initial design work on forward fire capability in mid-2013, company officials said. [Continue reading…]

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Air Force GPS LaunchThe Air Force deployed four global positioning satellites into space this past year — the most it has put up in a single year in more than three decades.

But the constellation that helps more than 3 billion worldwide users — military and civilian — get from Point A to Point B also enables the Air Force to carry out another critical mission — watching for nuclear explosions.

Within each satellite is a secondary payload called the Nuclear Detonation Detection System, Air Force 2nd Lt. Christopher Phillips of the 2nd Special Operations Squadron, Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, said in a statement released on Dec. 7.

“NDS performs an important mission,” he said. “It helps verify the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963. It makes sense. The whole reason the GPS constellation has these nuclear detonation sensors is because it provides global coverage. We can see every part of the planet.” [Continue reading…]

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FC-31-2The U.S. Air Force’s air power superiority over China is rapidly diminishing in light of rapid Chinese modernization of fighter jets, cargo planes and stealth aircraft, according to a recently released Congressional review.

The 2014 U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission recommends that Congress appoint an outside panel of experts to assess the U.S.-Chinese military balance and make recommendations regarding U.S. military plans and budgets, among other things.

The Commission compiled its report based upon testimony, various reports and analytical assessments along with available open-source information. The review states that the Chines People’s Liberation Army currently has approximately 2,200 operational aircraft, nearly 600 of which are considered modern.

“In the early 1990s, Beijing began a comprehensive modernization program to upgrade the PLA Air Force from a short-range, defensively oriented force with limited capabilities into a modern, multi-role force capable of projecting precision airpower beyond China’s borders, conducting air and missile defense and providing early warning,” the review writes. [Continue reading…]

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131216-N-ZZ999-101Congress has frozen the construction of several new Littoral Combat Ships until the Navy provides the House and Senate defense committees with specific analytical reports on the program, according to a newly released Congressional budget agreement.

The agreement on the National Defense Act for Fiscal Year 2015, which Congress will vote on before Christmas, emerged from conference session between House and Senate committees responsible for passing the defense budget.

Regarding the LCS, the agreement prevents the Navy from spending money toward the construction of LCS-25 or LCS-26 until certain reports are submitted by the Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.

The Congressional road block is the most recent in a string of controversies and disagreements on the LCS’s future. Many have criticized the platform on the ground that it is not lethal or survivable enough to address the current global threat environment and is poorly suited to perform its intended missions. [Continue reading…]

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China SubChina has plans to grow its navy to 351 ships by 2020 as the Chinese continue to develop their military’s ability to strike global targets, according to a new report.

The 2014 U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission recommended to Congress the U.S. Navy respond by building more ships and increase its presence in the Pacific region – a strategy they U.S. military has already started.

The commission asked Congress to increase its Pacific fleet up to 67 ships and rebalance homeports such that 60-percent of the force is based in the region by 2020.

The commissions’ recommendations, which are based on Congressional testimony, expert assessments and open-source information on China’s military and U.S.-Chinese relations, are consistent with Pentagon’s stated plans for the region. [Continue reading…]

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