First 360-degree Infrared Sensor Flies on Small Unmanned Aircraft System United States of America, 8 October 2009
Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] recently completed a successful test of a new infrared sensor turret aboard its Desert Hawk III Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), marking the first time a small UAS has flown with a 360-degree infrared sensor.
Battle-proven, the hand-launched Desert Hawk III has provided the British Army with critical Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The small UAS (54-inch wingspan) is specifically designed to operate at high altitudes, in high winds and extreme temperatures.
Successful flight tests of the Desert Hawk III's new payload offering, held September 23- 24 at the Minnesota National Guard's Camp Ripley unmanned vehicle proving grounds, validate the UAS's ability to greatly improve nighttime ISR for ground forces. By providing 360-degree infrared coverage, troops obtain greater target location accuracy and superior image stability. Combined with an upgraded 360-degree color Electro Optic (E/O) sensor, operators gained 10 times continuous zoom capability, significantly aiding in contact identification.
"To assist the warfighter, we have miniaturized the infrared payload, so it fits into a turret weighing less than two pounds," said John Nikolai, director of electronic products & logistics at Lockheed Martin's Tactical Systems business in Eagan, MN. "The E/O camera has been upgraded as well, for improved target identification. With the introduction of these sensor capabilities, users will experience vastly improved nighttime situational awareness."
Lockheed Martin's Desert Hawk III features an open architecture environment and consists of a lightweight, hand-launched, ruggedized air vehicle with snap-on Plug and PlayloadsTM, a portable ground station and a remote video terminal. The snap-on payload capability allows a single operator to swap sensors on the air vehicle in less than one minute to meet immediate and rapidly changing mission requirements.
Currently, the Desert Hawk III offers five modular capability payloads for mission flexibility. The payloads include a 360-degree turret with a mix of E/O and/or black and white low-light imagers, an infrared stabilized imager in a roll axis out to 90 degrees, a signals intelligence sensor, the new 360-degree infrared sensor and the upgraded 360-degree E/O imager with continuous zoom.
USS Denver Bringing Water, Aid to Indonesian Earthquake Victims United States of America, 8 October 2009
ABOARD USS Denver, At Sea -- The forward-deployed amphibious transport dock USS Denver (LPD 9) is transiting to Indonesia to provide life-sustaining necessities to the recent victims of a devastating earthquake in Sumatra.
An earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale struck West Sumatra on Sept. 30, and the Indonesian government had requested international assistance.
"Denver is preparing to carry out our role in the Indonesian relief effort," said Capt. Gregory Fenton, Denver's commanding officer. "We have been officially tasked to take three 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit CH-53s down to support the disaster relief efforts in Indonesia," he said. "Denver is a very capable ship, and there are a lot of ways that we can help in a situation like this. Our ability to produce fresh water can be put to very good use; we're looking at how to efficiently move it ashore," Fenton added.
During previous humanitarian assistance operations, the U.S. Navy has responded with critically needed supplies to help ease human suffering. Since Navy ships can produce large volumes of fresh water, they become a valuable asset during such operations.
Denver's two distilling plants can produce a total of more than 60,000 gallons of potable water each day.
"We can produce all the potable water those 53s can carry off this ship and then a lot more," said Master Chief Machinist's Mate Bruce McDugald, Denver's engineering leading chief petty officer. "We have a distribution tank we can set up right on the flight deck for filling containers and getting water off the ship. It only takes a few people to operate and really speeds up circulation."
In addition to airlift capability, the Denver has other means of delivering relief supplies ashore.
"[We have] the ability to transport using our embarked landing craft," said Fenton. "We can move vehicles, people, stores, supplies as needed for the relief of those suffering in Indonesia."
USS Denver crew members are anxious to put their skills to use in a meaningful way to help people in a time of need.
"It feels good doing something worthwhile like this," said Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Daniel Stevens. "This is why I joined the Navy."
Lockheed Martin Participates In Air Force’s ICBM 50TH Anniversary Symposium United States of America, 7 October 2009
Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is participating in a Tech Exposition at the 50th Anniversary of ICBMs
A 1958 test launch of an Air Force Atlas missile, developed by Lockheed Martin, at Cape Canaveral, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Symposium and Commemoration Oct. 7 to 9 at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. The symposium commemorates the U.S. Air Force’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) force being on alert since Oct. 31, 1959, and its continuing role as an enduring deterrent.
“Lockheed Martin is proud to have been involved in supporting every Air Force ICBM program to date,” said Doug Graham, vice president of advanced programs, Strategic and Missile Defense Systems, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. “Our commitment to providing the highest quality support for the operational ICBM force remains as strong today as it was at the inception of the program.”
Lockheed Martin has continuously supported the Air Force’s ICBM mission since the beginning, as the developer of the Atlas, Titan, MX Peacekeeper and Small ICBMs, and as the provider of reentry systems for multiple ICBM generations and of ground command and control systems for today’s Minuteman III.
A 1958 test launch of an Air Force Atlas missile, developed by Lockheed Martin, at Cape Canaveral, Fla.
U.S. Navy to Commission Guided Missile Destroyer Wayne E. Meyer United States of America, 8 October 2009
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy will commission the newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, Wayne E. Meyer, during a 1 p.m. EDT ceremony Oct. 10 at Penn's Landing, Philadelphia.
Designated DDG 108, the new destroyer honors the late Navy rear admiral who led the development of Aegis, the first fully integrated combat system built to defend against air, surface and subsurface threats. Meyer was regarded as the father of the Navy's Aegis Weapons System.
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations and the first officer to have commanded both an Aegis cruiser and destroyer, will also deliver remarks. Anna Mae Meyer will serve as sponsor of the ship named for her late husband. The ceremony will be highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when she gives the first order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"
Wayne E. Meyer is the 58th of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and carries the 100th Aegis Combat System built. The ship will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. Wayne E. Meyer will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and contains a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare in keeping with "A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower," the maritime strategy that postures the sea services to apply maritime power to protect U.S. vital interests in an increasingly interconnected and uncertain world.
Cmdr. Nick A. Sarap Jr., born in Richmond, Va., and raised in Zanesville, Ohio, will become the first commanding officer of the ship and lead the crew of 276 officers and enlisted personnel. The 9,200-ton Wayne E. Meyer was built by Bath Iron Works, a General Dynamics company. The ship is 509 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet and a navigational draft of 31 feet. Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.
Class and type: Arleigh Burke class destroyer (U.S. Navy)
Length: 509 ft 6 in (155.3 m)
Beam: 66 ft (20 m)
Draft: 31 ft (9.4 m)
Propulsion: 4 × General Electric LM2500-30 gas turbines, 2 shafts, 100,000 shp (75 MW)
ThalesRaytheonSystems Improved Sentinel Radar Performs Successfully During Recent Army Demonstrations United States of America, 8 October 2009
WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2009 -- A ThalesRaytheonSystems (TRS) AN/MPQ-64 Improved Sentinel Multi-Mode radar has performed successfully during recent demonstrations held with the U.S. Army.
"The demonstrations are a positive step toward development of next-generation radar capabilities that are critical for the Army," said Kim Kerry, chief executive officer of ThalesRaytheonSystems, U.S. Operations. "This advanced capability will ensure that Sentinel radar systems continue to maintain mission-critical status in the fight against terrorism and in areas of operation where their ability to detect and counter a variety of 21st century, tactical threats is necessary."
In a joint initiative with the U.S. Army Cruise Missile Defense Systems program office, TRS successfully demonstrated a version of the U.S. Army's Sentinel air defense radar that operates at a higher power and fulfills a variety of mission roles, including 360-degree counter rocket, artillery and mortar capabilities. It also provides greater performance on missions against unmanned aerial vehicles. In a modification of the U.S. Army's existing AN/MPQ-64 Improved Sentinel, the radar increases the Sentinel baseline from two power amplifier modules to four.
As the premier air surveillance and target acquisition-tracking sensor for the Army's Cruise Missile Defense Systems program, the Sentinel radar's primary mission is protecting maneuver forces and critical assets from cruise missile, unmanned aerial vehicle and rotary and fixed-wing threats. The Sentinel accurately acquires targets far enough forward of friendly troops to provide sufficient reaction time for the air defense weapons to engage hostile targets at optimum ranges.
USS McCampbell Heads to Indonesia for Humanitarian Mission United States of America, 8 October 2009
USS MCCAMPBELL, At Sea -- Sailors aboard guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) began transiting from Hong Kong to Padang, Indonesia, Oct. 3 at the request of the Indonesian government, to assist in humanitarian efforts in Sumatra following two earthquakes.
After finishing a scheduled port visit to Hong Kong, McCampbell was called to join the amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver (LPD 9) to provide helicopter support and deliver relief supplies to remote areas of Sumatra affected by the disasters.
McCampbell's embarked helicopter detachment, the "Warlords" of Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron Light (HSL) 51 Detachment 5, is preparing to support the disaster relief effort during the ship's transit.
"Right now, we are preparing to provide support with cargo transportation when we get there. Our aircraft is full of equipment right now, and we are going to take some things out so we can load up the helos with as much cargo as possible," said Senior Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic Chatchai Kampitak, HSL 51's maintenance manager. "We are preparing our aircraft now to make sure everything is up to support whatever missions will be called for and to support the flight schedule."
McCampbell's Commanding Officer Cmdr. Charles Johnson expressed his appreciation for the McCampbell crew's support of the disaster relief effort.
"We will be able to have a very positive effect," said Johnson. "During the transit, we've asked for departments to get a list of volunteers who want to go ashore and provide assistance, and the crew's response has been tremendous. We were anchored off the coast of Bitung less than two months ago to celebrate the sixty-fourth anniversary of Indonesia's independence, and participated in the Indonesia International Fleet Review. Our experience there was incredibly positive. The memories and friendships we made in Indonesia are still fresh in all our minds, and we are honored to come back to provide all the assistance we can in their time of need."
USS McCampbell is assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15 and patrols the 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility conducting routine operations. Operating in the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean, 7th Fleet is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, covering 48 million square miles, with approximately 60-70 ships, 200-300 aircraft and 40,000 Sailors and Marines assigned at any time.
Nimitz Celebrates Its 100,000th Catapult Shot United States of America, 9 October 2009
USS NIMITZ, At Sea -- The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) reached a milestone in history when an EA-6B Prowler, assigned to Tactical Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 135, became the 100,000th aircraft to launch off Catapult Number 1 Oct. 7.
The successful launch was flown by Cmdr. Vincent Johnson, the executive officer of VAQ-135.
"It's obviously a really cool achievement," said Johnson. "It's a little piece of history that I can always take with me."
A ceremony was held Oct. 9 to celebrate this achievement.
"It has been 34 years with 22 sets of work ups, and it's all possible because of the people that work on this to make it happen," said Nimitz Commanding Officer Capt. Paul Monger, during the ceremony. "The fact is this has been kept up for years, and it's tremendous. It's impressive to watch these guys work every day."
Nimitz Air Boss Cmdr. Eric Wright kick started the celebration with admiration for Air Department's V-2 Division that helped to make the launch successful.
"We have about 30 people on that catapult for 10-12 hours a day and around 25 people on nights to make this happen," said Wright. "When you add it all up, it is years of peoples' lives invested, and it's invested for a worthy cause."
Also helping to make the mission possible was the team of people from Air Department's V-4 Division consisting of maintainers, catapult and panel operators and crew members on the flight deck.
"I was the deck edge operator, and I was the one who controlled the catapult for the launch," said Aviation Boatswains Mate Equipment (AW/SW) 2nd Class Alanso ChaconGalindo. "I have been here since 2005, and this is the only catapult out of four that's reached 100,000 launches."
"All of my guys are important out here to make all of this happen," said Chief Aviation Boatswains Mate Equipment (AW) Soji Thomas. "This could not happen without team work."
By accomplishing this milestone, the crew members of Nimitz showed once again why Nimitz's motto is 'Teamwork… a tradition.'
Nimitz is the first Nimitz-class, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and was commissioned in 1975. The ship is named after World War II Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz.
Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (CSG), commanded by Rear Adm. John W. Miller, is comprised of Nimitz, embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, embarked Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23, and the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Chosin (CG 65). Ships assigned to DESRON 23 include the destroyers USS Pinckney (DDG 91), USS Sampson (DDG 102) and the frigate USS Rentz (FFG 46).
Squadrons from CVW 11 include the "Black Aces" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 41, the "Tophatters" of VFA 14, the "Warhawks" of VFA 97, the "Sidewinders" of VFA 86, the "Indians" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 6, the "Black Ravens" of Electronic Attack Squadron 135, the "Providers" of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 30 and the "Wallbangers" of Carrier Airborne Command and Control Squadron 117.
Helicopter detachments include the "Easy Riders" of Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 37, the "Battle Cats" of HSL 43, the "Wolfpack" of HSL 45, the "Scorpions" of HSL 49 and the "Wildcards" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23. Also accompanying the Nimitz CSG are Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11 and the USNS Bridge (T-AOE 10).
INDIAN OCEAN (Oct.7, 2009) An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the Tophatters of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 14 launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68). The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group is in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
U.S. Army Awards Lockheed Martin $133 Million to Provide Persistent Threat Detection Aerostat Systems United States of America, 7 October 2009
Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] recently received a $133 million award to provide the U.S. Army with eight additional Persistent Threat Detection Systems (PTDS) to support coalition forces.
A tethered aerostat-based system in use by the Army since 2004, PTDS is equipped with multi-mission sensors to provide long endurance intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and communications in support of coalition forces. Nine systems are currently deployed, and the additional eight will be provided over the next 11 months.
“PTDS is providing our troops in the field with real-time surveillance and valuable intelligence information,” said Stephanie Hill, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Integrated Defense Technologies business. “These affordable and reliable systems demonstrate the increasing importance of rapidly deployable lighter-than-air platforms to today's warfighters."
Filled with helium, aerostats and other lighter-than-air systems provide low-cost, long-endurance communications and surveillance capabilities not possible with other types of aircraft. Attached by a high-strength tether to a re-locatable mooring system, aerostats can stay continuously aloft for weeks, carrying different types of surveillance equipment to conduct multiple missions.
Rockwell Collins selected for KC-135 Block 45 cockpit upgrade program United States of America, 9 October 2009
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa | The U.S. Air Force has selected Rockwell Collins for the Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) phase of the KC-135 Block 45 cockpit upgrade program. Under the contract, Rockwell Collins will modernize the KC-135 refueling tankers flight deck with the latest generation autopilot, flight director, radar altimeter and electronic engine instrument display. Two prototype aircraft will be modified during the EMD phase to establish the production baseline for 415 additional KC-135 aircraft expected to receive the Block 45 upgrade.
"The Block 45 upgrade continues Rockwell Collins' role in transforming the KC-135 by replacing obsolete components with the latest digital avionics technology for increased safety, efficiency and reliability," said Phil Jasper, vice president and general manager of Mobility and Rotary Wing Solutions for Rockwell Collins. "As the prime contractor for the KC-135 Global Air Traffic Management (GATM) program we've had a very successful history of delivering these upgrades on time and on budget, which played an important role in winning this latest contract."
Rockwell Collins is providing the technology that ensures the KC-135 meets current and future Communication/Navigation/Surveillance and Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) requirements, allowing it to operate in commercial airspace throughout the world. Rockwell Collins has modified and delivered more than 300 GATM equipped KC-135 aircraft to date.
The Block 45 upgrade builds on this success by providing increased safety with a state-of-the-art autopilot system. The autopilot flight director system and upgrades to the flight management software provide the user with vertical navigation capabilities, increasing the already robust KC-135 navigational capabilities. The contract also calls for replacing the aging analog engine instruments with a large format color electronic engine instrument display.
The KC-135 Stratotanker provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. This unique asset enhances the Air Force's capability to accomplish its primary missions, while providing aerial refueling support to Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and allied nation aircraft.
ATK and NASA Team Complete Another Successful Ares I Main Parachute Drop-Test United States of America, 8 October 2009
MINNEAPOLIS, Oct. 8 -- Alliant Techsystems (NYSE: ATK), the prime contractor for the first stage of the Ares I launch vehicle, along with NASA, the U.S. Army, and United Space Alliance (USA), successfully conducted the third in a series of four Ares I main parachute drop-tests. These tests aid the development of the deceleration system for the Ares I First Stage solid rocket motor. The test was conducted at the Army's Yuma Proving Grounds.
The test consisted of extracting a 72,000 pound test payload from a C-17 aircraft flying at 25,000 feet, tying the record for largest single payload pulled from a C-17. Following the extraction, a 60,000 pound test article (jumbo dart) was separated from the pallet. The jumbo dart was then allowed to accelerate to the desired conditions before the 150-foot-diameter main parachute was deployed. The objective of this test was to develop and measure a load on the main parachute similar to that expected during Ares I flight.
"This is yet another successful milestone for the Ares I program, which has been steadily progressing over the past four years," said Mike Kahn, executive vice president of ATK Space Systems. "We are looking forward to seeing this parachute system function in just a matter of weeks during the launch of Ares I-X."
The newly-developed Ares I parachute system is already packed and ready to be used operationally during the flight test of Ares I-X, a full scale launch vehicle with an inert upper stage. Ares I-X is one of many systems that will provide valuable flight data that will aid in finalizing the design of Ares I.
The Ares I launch vehicle, which is slated to replace the Space Shuttle, utilizes a five-segment reusable solid rocket developed from the twin four-segment boosters used to launch the Space Shuttle. Like the recovery system for the shuttle boosters, the Ares first stage recovery system will consist of pilot and drogue chutes that reorient and decelerate the used solid rocket motor prior to deploying a cluster of three main parachutes. Due to the added weight of the extra segment on Ares I and the higher apogee reached by the Ares first stage, the main parachutes for the Ares recovery system were designed to be 20% larger than the one currently used on the shuttle boosters. The parachutes were designed and manufactured by USA at the Kennedy Space Center under a subcontract to ATK.
To date, ATK and its partners have successfully conducted three pilot, two drogue, three single main, and one main cluster parachute drop tests. Four additional parachute drop tests are planned over the next two years. Ares I-X will be the next test of the entire system, followed by further testing next spring.
General Dynamics Awarded Contract for 352 additional Stryker United States of America, 10 October 2009
STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. |The U.S. Army TACOM Lifecycle Management Command has awarded General Dynamics Land Systems a $647 million contract for 352 Stryker vehicles.
Work will be performed in Anniston, Ala.; Sterling Heights, Mich.; Lima, Ohio; and London, Ontario, Canada. Vehicle deliveries will begin in July 2010.
This award continues vehicle production under the Stryker program, which was initially awarded to a General Dynamics team in 2000. To date, General Dynamics has delivered 2,988 vehicles and trained 18,438 soldiers in their operation.
The U.S. Army has seven Stryker Brigade Combat Teams, three of which are deployed in combat zones: two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.
Stryker Brigade Combat Teams have operated with "historically high" mission availability rates in Iraq since October 2003, demonstrating the value of a force that can move rapidly as a cohesive and networked combined-arms combat team. Stryker vehicles have logged a total of more than 24 million miles during twelve rotations at an average sustainment cost of $14 per mile.
Stryker is a family of eight-wheel drive combat vehicles that can travel at speeds in excess of 60 mph on highways, with a range of 312 miles. It is the Army's highest-priority production combat vehicle program and the centerpiece of the ongoing Army Transformation. Stryker operates with the latest C4ISR equipment and an integrated armor package protecting soldiers against improvised explosive devices, rocket propelled grenades, and a variety of infantry weapons.
MQ-9 Reaper UAS takes flight at Holloman AFB United States of America, 7 October 2009
HOLLOMAN AFB, N.M. | The first MQ-9 Reaper to arrive here made its first local flight October 1, expanding the capacity for the remotely piloted vehicle formal training unit here.
Instructors from the 432nd Operations Group, Det. 3, conducted the first flight, while members from the 432nd Maintenance Group, Det. 1, maintained the aircraft.
However, Lt. Col. James Merchant, Det. 3 commander, said this achievement was the result of a great effort by the entire base.
"There were plenty of hurdles along the way, but everyone maintained focus, looked at the individual steps, from power and connections to pattern deconfliction and scheduling," Colonel Merchant said. "Everyone kept moving in a positive direction."
Members of the Reaper FTU have been preparing for this first flight for nearly a year, but only recently reached a fully operational capacity with the arrival of the first aircraft and qualified crew.
"The first flight is ... the first step to becoming independent of another base and wing to do our takeoff and landing," Colonel Merchant said. "Ultimately, it results in more flexibility for us as well, as we will be the only user of the aircraft."
Currently, students enrolled in the FTU are trained with aircraft launched from Creech Air Force Base, Nev., using satellite relays to pick up the Reaper for a total of 18 hours per day. Once Holloman AFB has qualified crews and enough aircraft, the squadron will be able to launch and recover the Reaper themselves.
"From now until we get our second aircraft in December, we will be flying a local line intermittently to build a cadre of qualified launch and recovery crews," Colonel Merchant said.
The squadron is slated to receive its third and fourth aircraft in January 2010.
On October 23, the 432nd OG, Det. 3, will become the 29th Attack Squadron, and the 432nd MXG, Det. 1, will become the 849th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, both of which will fall under the 49th Fighter Wing.
HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- The first MQ-9 Reaper to arrive at Holloman made its first local flight Oct.1, expanding the capacity for the remotely piloted vehicle formal training unit here.
LaBarge Awarded $1.8 Million Contract From Sikorsky for BLACK HAWK Helicopter Program United States of America, 8 October 2009
ST. LOUIS -- LaBarge, Inc. (NYSE Amex: LB) has been awarded a $1.8 million contract from Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. to continue to produce electronic assemblies for various models of UH-60 BLACK HAWK helicopters. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX). LaBarge has supported the BLACK HAWK helicopter program since 2005.
The LaBarge-built electronic assemblies will support the inlet barrier filtration system, which extends the life of the BLACK HAWK engine. Production on the contract has begun at LaBarge's Huntsville, Ark., facility and is expected to continue through July 2010.
PHILDELPHIA (Oct. 10, 2009) Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff addresses the audience at the commissioning ceremony for the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia.
PHILDELPHIA (Oct. 10, 2009) U.S. Navy honor guard presents the colors at the commissioning ceremony for the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia.
PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 10, 2009) The Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) is berthed at Penn's Landing for her commissioning ceremony in Philadelphia.
PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 10, 2009) Crew members render honors during the commissioning ceremony of the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia.
PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 10, 2009) Crew members man-the-rails during the commissioning ceremony of the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia.
October 11, 2009: South Korea has been told by the United States that the 177 JASSM missiles they had ordered (for use on their new F-15K aircraft, to take out North Korean air defenses) would not be available until sometime next year. South Korea had originally expected to begin receiving the missiles last year. But JASSM has been delayed due to test failures. However, the latest round of tests were over 90 percent successful. That kind of good news has arrived just in time.
For the last two years, the U.S. Department of Defense has been on the verge of cancelling the $6 billion JASSM cruise missile program. Lobbying, pleading, a large order from South Korea, and the growing possibility that the missile would be used against Iranian, Chinese or North Korean air defense systems, gave the program a few more lives.
The only problem JASSM has was that, well, it often didn't work. Until this year, the tests have been mostly failures. But the manufacturer has been able to identify all the problems in the failed tests, and convinced the government that these were the result of poor manufacturing. This problem, the builder promised, was fixed. As a result of this, sixteen more missiles, taken from those manufactured as part of the first order, were recently tested. If most, or even a large minority, of them had failed, JASSM would have been dead.
JASSM is the third family of GPS guided smart bombs to be developed. The original JDAM bomb kit (added to 500, 1,000 and 2,000 pound bombs), cost $26,000 each. The longer range JSOW (JDAM with wings and more powerful guidance system), cost $460,000 each. The even longer range JASSM cost $500,000 (the 400 kilometers version) to $930,000 (the 900 kilometer JASSM ER) each. Then there is the SDB (Small Diameter Bomb), a 250 pound JDAM that can also punch through concrete bunkers and other structures. These cost $75,000 each.
The AGM-158 JASSM missiles are 2,300 pound weapons that are basically 1,000 pound JDAMS (GPS guided bombs) with a motor and GPS guidance kit added. JASSM was designed to go after enemy air defense systems, or targets deep in heavily defended (against air attack) enemy territory. The air force and navy planed to buy over 5,000 JASSM, but there has been opposition in the military and in Congress. The missiles are ten times more expensive than a JADM bomb of the same weight. But the aviators make the argument that many aircraft and pilots would be lost if the air defenses of a nation like, perhaps China, were attacked without using JASSM.
The U.S. Air Force ordered the AGM-158 JASSM into full production in early 2004. But only a few have been produced, because of test failures. Air force purchasing plans have been cut way back because of the reliability problems, and this has delayed shipment of the missiles to combat units until sometime next year.
JASSM is stealthy and uses GPS and terminal (infrared) guidance to zero in on heavily defended targets (like air defense sites.) The terminal guidance enables the missile to land within ten feet (three meters) of the aiming point. If there were a war with North Korea, for example, JASSM would be essential to taking out enemy air defenses, or any other targets that have to be hit early in a war (before air defenses can be shut down.) This capability is apparently what attracted the South Koreans, who now have F-15K aircraft that can carry JASSM.
JASSM was designed to handle the most modern Russian surface to air missiles, which are being sold to China. North Korea has older stuff, and can't afford the newer Russian SAMs. But even these older air defenses can be dangerous, and are best addressed with long range missiles. So there is a need for a missile like JASSM, one that works.