UCAVs gain ground in the USN

June 26, 2009 · Posted in Blogroll, Uncategorized · 7 Comments 

61d04ed8-95f3-4252-a3e5-6f14f3104adb.LargeBill Sweetman reports that UCAVs as a concept, and NG’s X-47B in particular, are getting increasingly popular with the USN’s aviation community:

The Navy is looking at longer ranges, driven by the threat from anti-ship ballistic missiles and other weapons. "Navy aviation is run by a whole generation of Hornet people and their vista is 450 nm, and they assume that the Tomahawks will take care of the IADS [integrated air defense system]. But if the Tomahawk ships can’t get in there…"

Beard showed some new Northrop Grumman comparisons that pit the UCAV against a notional future Navy fighter (resembling a super-F-35 with a greater range). The big difference at long range is that the manned fighter can only run into the target once after hitting the tanker, because of human endurance limits. The UCAV is good for 50 hours endurance and can make four-to-six trips into the target before flying back to the carrier. 

Nice to see that Kurt Plummer’s long-standing arguments in favor of UACVs are finally being recognized :) 

Yuri Dolgorukiy begins sea trials

June 25, 2009 · Posted in Blogroll, Uncategorized · Comment 

Pavel Podvig reports that the Yuri Dolgorukiy, the first vessel of the new Borey class SSBNs, has begun sea trials.

The real prize in this case is the first public photo of the submarine at sea (click to enlarge):


NASIC report: Ballistic & cruise missile threat to US

June 24, 2009 · Posted in Blogroll, Uncategorized · Comment 

nasic09 The FAS Strategic Blog comments on a new report released by NASIC regarding the threat of ballistic & cruise missiles to US forces:

The latest update continues the previous user-friendly format and describes a number of important assessments and new developments in ballistic and cruise missiles of many of the world’s major military powers.

The report also helps dispel many web-rumors that have circulated about Chinese, Russian, Indian and Pakistani nuclear forces.

The entire report is available here.

RSS Archer Launched

June 22, 2009 · Posted in ASW, submarine · Comment 

The first Västergötland class AIP capable sub was launched in Sweden to begin trials for IOC sometime in 2010. RSS Archer and her soon to be launched sister ship, RSS Swordsman will complement Singapore’s aging Sjöormen/Challenger class submarines and Formidable class Frigates most likely dominating the approaches to Singapore and the Straits of Malacca.

Alright maybe a little over the top but here’s a little perspective on submarines in the region courtesy of Kelvin Fong and the Asian Defense Journal.

Designing the next supercarrier

June 22, 2009 · Posted in Blogroll, Uncategorized · Comment 

supercarrier-470-0709Popular Mechanics has a very interesting article about the new design techniques applied to the next USN aircraft carrier:

on a complex project of this scale, there is little margin to correct design mistakes. If not found and fixed, one small flaw can have ramifications that cost tens of millions of dollars, months of hot-metal work or even the life of a sailor not yet born. “These ships are like entire planned cities,” says Eric Wertheim, editor of The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World. “It’s like building Disney World.” 

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