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February 2011 Issue

Navy Launches First Aircraft Using Electromagnetic System
The U.S. Navy completed its first aircraft launch using the electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) this December from a test site at Naval Air Systems Command in Lakehurst, New Jersey.

EMALS, which will replace steam catapults on future aircraft carriers, is a carrier-based launch system designed for USS Gerald R. Ford and Ford-class carriers.

The purpose of the electronic system is to replace the current steam catapult system, which is becoming inadequate for newer, heavier and faster aircraft. The Navy said EMALS delivers the necessary higher launch energy with increased efficiency and more accurate end-speed control. The Navy said the system, which is lighter than the current system and requires less maintenance.

Navy Doubles Order for Littoral Combat Ships, Christens LCS-3
The Navy recently awarded Lockheed Martin Corp. (Bethesda, Maryland) and Austal USA (Mobile, Alabama) with contracts for the design and construction of a 10-ship block-buy for a total of 20 littoral combat ships (LCSs).

Both one-ship contracts, awarded in December, include line items for nine additional ships, subject to congressional appropriation. The average cost of $440 million per ship includes government-furnished equipment and a margin for potential cost growth over the five-year procurement period. LCSs will fill critical, urgent warfighting requirement gaps that exist today, the Navy said, and both hull forms will meet the Navy's operational warfighting requirements.

Progress on the existing LCS fleet continues. The Navy christened USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) on December 4 at the Marinette Marine Corp. (Marinette, Wisconsin) shipyard. LCS-3 will have two crews that will rotate the manning of the ship. These core crews will be augmented by one of the three types of mission package crews (anti-submarine warfare, mine countermeasures or surface warfare) as well as an aviation detachment.

Navy Concludes First Phase of Testing on LCS Mine Countermeasure Mission Package
The Navy successfully completed the first testing phase of its shipboard mine countermeasure mission package (MCM MP) on USS Independence (LCS 2) in December, enabling progress toward developmental testing this year.

Comprehensive testing on Independence included the installation and removal of all the mission modules and systems, including removable mission equipment.

The MCM MP first-phase testing demonstrated the full mission cycle, from reconfiguration of the MH-60S Seahawk helicopter to the mission package with organic airborne mine countermeasures equipment; removal of that equipment from support containers; and handling of the MCM MP to the MH-60S and back.

The mission package reconfiguration demonstrated system movement from stowage positions, built-in testing and return to stowage. The Navy also demonstrated combat system connectivity and launch-and-recovery antenna communication link performance. Initial operating capability for the MCM MP is scheduled for 2013.

Department of Navy Outlines $35 Billion in Potential Cuts
The Department of the Navy proposed in January efficiency savings of more than $35 billion over five years.

Cost savings come from reducing manpower ashore and reassigning 6,000 personnel to operational missions at sea; using multiyear procurement to save more than $1.3 billion on the purchase of new airborne surveillance, jamming and fighter aircraft; disestablishing several staffs (but not the associated platforms) of submarine squadrons, patrol aircraft squadrons and destroyer-squadrons, plus one carrier strike group staff; and disestablishing the headquarters of Second Fleet at Norfolk, Virginia.

In its 2012 budget, the Navy is proposing to accelerate development of a new generation of electronic jammers; increase the repair and refurbishment of Marine Corps equipment used in Iraq and Afghanistan; develop a new generation of seaborne unmanned strike and surveillance aircraft; and buy more F-18s and extend the service life of 150 of these aircraft as a hedge against delays in the joint strike fighter (JSF) program.

In addition to terminating the Marine Corps' expeditionary fighting vehicle, the Department of Defense (DOD) is delaying the acquisition of the Marine Corps' variant of the F-35 JSF for two years. DOD is also reducing the number of admirals and generals by 100.


2012:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC
2011:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC

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