Mil News USA, Canada & Caribbean Nations Military News & Discussion Thread

The Air Force confirmed today it plans to reveal the B-21 Raider in the first week of December during an unveiling ceremony hosted and sponsored by the Northrop Grumman Corporation at its production facilities in Palmdale, California.

The B-21 is a long-range, highly survivable, penetrating strike stealth bomber that will incrementally replace the B-1 and B-2 bombers, becoming the backbone of the U.S. Air Force bomber fleet.

"The unveiling of the B-21 Raider will be a historic moment for our Air Force and the nation," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. "We last introduced a new bomber over 30 years ago. As we look to the threats posed by our pacing challenge; we must continue to rapidly modernize. The B-21 Raider will provide formidable combat capability across a range of operations in highly contested environments of the future."

The Department of the Air Force is investing in the aircraft’s long-range strike capability as part of its seven Operational Imperatives as it develops the advanced communications, sensors, and a broad mix of weapons and supporting systems needed to deter our adversaries and prevail in combat.

We must invest in long-range strike in a highly contested environment by integrating the B-21 bomber with advanced communications, sensors, and a broad mix of weapons and supporting systems.
I will get my Xmas order in :rolleyes:

If we really are going to get a view of it in December - it will be interesting to see what we get to look at a completed test version or a production model

Also, if we are going to get a look at this then what else have they spent a lot of money on that we won't get to see
The American corporation Lockheed Martin showed a promo video of the OpFires ground-based hypersonic complex being developed. These weapons are being created by Lockheed Martin Corporation specialists together with the Defense Research Agency (DARPA). The missile system with a hypersonic glide unit is designed for the US Army ground forces. Work on OpFires started in 2017. The complex will use the electronics of the HIMARS missile system. OpFires is planned to be placed on a five-axle PLS multi-purpose chassis. The launcher will carry two missiles with a hypersonic gliding unit. Initially, it was assumed that the range of OpFires would be 500 kilometers, but after the US withdrew from the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, it was decided to increase the range of the missile system.

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General Dynamics has demonstrated a new American Abrams tank. The tank is still used as a demonstrator of advanced technologies and is a transitional link from the current Abrams tanks to the next generation tank. The prototype is equipped with a hybrid diesel-electric power unit, which allows you to move in silent mode for a short period of time. The crew of the Abrams X tank was reduced to three people, weight and fuel consumption decreased. The machine will be equipped with many sensors and an active protection complex, and the 120mm XM360 gun will also be improved.

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The American company General Dynamics showed a promising Stryker X infantry fighting vehicle. The vehicle will replace the Stryker infantry fighting vehicle, which has been in service for more than 40 years. The BMP is equipped with all-round sensors and provides the crew with a 360-degree view around. The soldiers inside the Stryker X are protected by an integrated active protection system. The vehicle was created on the basis of the Swiss Piranha III armored vehicle and is equipped with a hybrid diesel-electric power unit. The BMP is positioned as a reconnaissance vehicle with the maximum possible silent movement. The manufacturer does not provide technical data.

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Lockheed Martin plans to increase production of its High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, a weapon in high demand in Ukraine and across Europe as Russia continues to sow instability in the region.
The company is poised to boost HIMARS production to 96 launchers annually, up from its current level of 60 launchers, CEO Jim Taiclet told investors during a third quarter earnings call on Tuesday.

The 20 HIMARS sent to Ukraine by the U.S. since the summer have had an outsized effect on the battlefield, allowing Ukrainian forces to reach dozens of miles behind Russian front lines in the Donbas and around Kherson.

Before launching its lightning offensives in the east in September, Ukraine spent the better part of a month targeting bridges and ammunition dumps with precise munitions, sowing uncertainty among Russian forces and throwing their logistics and resupply into turmoil. Twitter users even came up with “HIMARS O’Clock” memes to mark the early evening hours in Ukraine when the strikes often occur, showing videos of ammunition dumps burning and cooking off rockets and ammunition well into the night.

HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding has been awarded a $2.4 billion U.S. Navy fixed-price-incentive contract for the detail design and construction of amphibious assault ship LHA 9. The award includes options, that if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of the contract to $3.2 billion. Ingalls was awarded the original long-lead-time material contract for the fourth ship in the America (LHA 6) class on April 30, 2020.
Construction on LHA 9 is scheduled to begin in December 2022.

Ingalls has a long tradition of building large-deck amphibious ships that are operated by the Navy and Marine Corps. The shipyard has delivered 15 large-decks, including the Tarawa-class, LHA 1-5; the Wasp-class, LHD 1-8; and most recently the America-class, LHA 6 and LHA 7. The third of the America-class, Bougainville (LHA 8), is currently under construction.

The America-class is a multi-functional and versatile ship that is capable of operating in a high density, multi-threat environment as an integral member of an expeditionary strike group, an amphibious task force or an amphibious ready group. LHA 9, like Bougainville, will retain the aviation capability of the America-class design while adding the surface assault capability of a well deck and a larger flight deck configured for F-35B Joint Strike Fighter and MV-22 Osprey aircraft. These large-deck amphibious assault ships also include top-of-the-line medical facilities with full operating suites and triage.

WASHINGTON ― The Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer said he expects Congress to approve new authorities and spending to expand U.S. weapons production in a manner unseen since the Cold War.

To help Ukraine fight Russia and to refill U.S. stockpiles, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Bill LaPlante has for several months called for the Pentagon to receive multiyear contracting authorities for munitions that are typically reserved for Navy vessels and major aircraft.

At a broader discussion at George Mason university last week, LaPlante said he believes Congress will grant the authority and the corresponding dollars.

“They are supportive of this. They’re going to give us multiyear authority, and they’re going to give us funding to really put into the industrial base ― and I’m talking billions of dollars into the industrial base ― to fund these production lines,” LaPlante said of lawmakers Friday. “That, I predict, is going to happen, and it’s happening now. And then people will have to say: ‘I guess they were serious about it.’ But we have not done that since the Cold War.”

Last month, Senate Armed Services Committee leaders introduced a bipartisan amendment that would grant the Pentagon wartime procurement powers, allowing it to buy massive amounts of high-priority munitions. The Senate is expected to vote on the underlying bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, this month.

As drafted, the amendment would let the Pentagon lock in purchases of certain munitions made by Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Technologies, BAE Systems, and Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace over fiscal 2023 and fiscal 2024, a step aimed at encouraging manufacturers to expand production lines for sought-after munitions.

In spite of the billions of dollars in U.S. weapons sent to Ukraine over recent months, some defense firms have said the necessary funding to boost weapons production hasn’t materialized. LaPlante seemed to support that view, saying the starting gun for industry will be formal contracting action by the government.

“Once they see we’re going to put money against it and it’s credible, they’ll get it. Their job is to see where we’re putting our money and to try to capture it,” he said of defense executives. “All that matters is [request for proposals], the contract and the funding. We have not contracted and put in RFPs and [acquisition] strategies assuming large-scale production numbers.”

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Brussels last month pushed to galvanize allied defense-industrial bases “to fire up production for the systems to defend Ukraine, even while meeting our own security needs.” There, LaPlante chaired a group of more than 40 national armaments directors to iron out common problems ― and one of them is that foreign defense firms are also questioning the durability of the Ukraine support effort.

“What industry means, and I get this, is: ‘Are you serious? Sure, you’re going to put a bunch of money against this now during the crisis, but two years from now, you’re going to leave me holding the bag,’” LaPlante said.

Congress already greenlit more than $60 billion in aid to Ukraine, but continuing support has become an issue in U.S. midterm elections, set for Nov. 8. House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy warned last month that Republicans will not write a “blank check” for Ukraine if they win back the House majority, reflecting his party’s growing skepticism.

For Pentagon acquisitions, LaPlante said, the crisis in Ukraine ought to inject a new focus on whether a weapon is easily mass produced and functions as well as whether troops can be trained on it quickly ― and whether it’s applicable in the Pacific.

Those factors should be part of conversations about the viability of developmental projects that rely on emerging technologies or nontraditional avenues like the Defense Innovation Unit and other transaction authorities.

“If somebody gives you a really cool, liquored-up story about a DIU or OTA, ask him when it’s going to production; ask him how many numbers; ask him what the [unit cost] is going to be; ask him about work against China,” La Plante said. “Ask them all those questions because that’s what matters.”

“The tech bros aren’t helping us too much in Ukraine; they want to,” he added. “Ukraine is not holding their own against Russia with quantum [computing], they’re not they’re not holding their own with [artificial intelligence]. They’re not ― whatever your favorite gadget is. It’s hardcore production of really serious weaponry.”
The actual JASSM-ER launch is pretty cool. Cute, almost lovable with its little wings. ?

Video only.
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The first F-16 of the Block 70/72 configuration has rolled out of Lockheed Martin’s Greenville, S.C., facility in preparation for first flight early in 2023. The factory is geared up to build at least 128 more of the jets through the end of this decade.

The jet, destined for Bahrain, should be accepted by the U.S. government early in 2023 and will undergo flight testing at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., before it’s delivered under the Foreign Military Sales program. It completed final assembly and checkout (FACO) and painting at Greenville on Nov. 21.

The rate of work on Block 70s under construction at Greenville will “increase significantly” in fiscal 2023, building to a production rate of up to four aircraft per month, a company spokesperson said. Five countries are on contract for the Block 70/72: Bahrain, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Taiwan, and “one other,” the company noted. Jordan has also signed a letter of offer and acceptance for eight aircraft; when awarded, that contract will bring the backlog to 136 aircraft. Bulgaria has also begun the process of buying additional aircraft. Greenville has “multiple other jets” in various stages of work, a Lockheed Martin spokesperson noted.

The company got an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract in January worth up to $64.3 billion for production of new F-16s for FMS customers as well as upgrades of 405 jets in foreign hands to the F-16V configuration, if all potential work materializes.

Lockheed Martin moved its F-16 production line to South Carolina from Fort Worth, Texas, in 2019 in order to free up space there for increasing F-35 production activities. In addition to producing new F-16s, the Greenville plant is performing modifications and refits on older F-16 models. Moroccan F-16s, for example, will get an upgrade to Block 70/72 configuration at the plant. The company said its backlog will ensure production of factory-new F-16s “through the mid-to-late 2020s.”

The first F-16 Block 70 jet as it completed the final assembly and checkout (FACO) and painting phases at the Lockheed Martin production facility in Greenville, S.C. Lockheed Martin photo.
IIRC the Ft Worth plant was the same set up by General Dynamics, the original designer/builder of the F16.
The US Air Force has unveiled the new B-21 Raider bomber. The manufacturer positions the bomber as the world's only sixth-generation aircraft. According to Northrop Grumman, the aircraft is capable of reaching anywhere in the world, carrying nuclear and conventional weapons, and overcoming the most advanced air defense systems thanks to improved stealth technology. Since the introduction of the B-2 Spirit aircraft, the B-21 Raider has become the first new US Air Force bomber in 34 years. It is reported that using cloud technologies, you can create a "digital twin" of the aircraft, which will help track the performance of combat missions. The B-21 Raider bomber has evolved from the B-2 bomber and should incorporate all the best. As previously reported, the B-21 should become cheaper in terms of purchase and operation costs than its predecessor, the B-2. This should be achieved by reducing the size of the new bomber and its carrying capacity, as well as partial unification with other US Air Force aircraft. The B-21 has been given a more durable surface material for stealth, requiring less maintenance effort and minimizing operating costs and downtime. The price of the aircraft is $750 million. The first flight of the B-21 Raider bomber should take place in 2023. Detailed specifications of the B-21 are classified.

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