October 19, 2020

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More Delays for USS Gerald R. Ford

USS Gerald R. Ford

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The USS Gerald R. Ford, with its $13 billion price tag, is already two years behind schedule, and the US Navy’s newest aircraft carrier is facing more delays after the Pentagon’s top weapons tester concluded the ship is still not ready for combat, CNN reports. It was due to be delivered in September 2016. A Defense Department memo said the most expensive warship in history continues to struggle launching and recovering aircraft, moving onboard munitions, conducting air traffic control, and with ship self-defense.

Defense Systems reports that as a heat wave spreads across the US — triple digits in many places — people, while taking care to follow precautions, might want to get a sense of what it’s like for troops deployed in some of the globe’s hottest climates.

Lockheed Martin upgraded its Symphony Block 20 improvised explosive device countermeasure system, adding a modular architecture for ease of maintenance and upgradability, IHS Jane’s 360 reports. The new Symphony Block 40 counter radio-controlled IED electronic warfare system will initially be offered to international customers.

Haaretz asks these questions of its readers: Does Israel really need F-35s? How much will it really cost the Israeli taxpayer? What are its real abilities? Does the Israeli Air Force need the huge number of planes ordered? Doesn’t the advance in drone technology demand that vast investment by Israel in piloted planes be reduced?

Lockheed Martin scored a success with one of its other submarine programs last week when the US Special Operations Command awarded the company a $166 million contract to build non-drone mini-submarines. This contract isn’t as big as the Remote Multi-Mission Vehicle program, but it’s still very important, Motley Fool reports.

The US Navy doesn’t yet have an operational combat drone capable of flying off aircraft carriers, but that could change in the next decade, Motley Fool reports. The hoped-for weapons system, which is expected to be called the MQ-25A Stingray, will use the autonomous take-off, autonomous-flying, and autonomous-landing capabilities as a flying gas station for fighter jets.

The US Cyber Command is working to get its full 6,200-member, 1,333-team complement up to full operational capacity, but its leaders have said all along that individual teams would be put to work as soon as they’re formed, Defense Systems reports. The first teams of cyber warriors are expected to take the field by Sept. 30.

The Philippines receive another warship from the US days after a ruling on Manila’s case against China on the disputed South China Sea. The US already transferred two Hamilton-class cutters to its Southeast Asian ally over the past few years.

The Washington Times reports that two female officers could attend their first Special Forces Assessment and Selection class as early as October. The women, whom US Army officials have declined to identify, will make military history as the first female members of the Green Berets.

After two years of heavy casualties, the Afghan military is trying to retake the initiative in the war against militants with a new offensive against Islamic State group loyalists, an assault that will see US troops back on the battlefield working more closely with Afghan soldiers, the Associated Press reports.

Carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower and its strike group launched jets on their first strikes against ISIS from the Persian Gulf last week, as they continue the campaign to destroy the militants sowing chaos Iraq and Syria, Navy Times reports. The Eisenhower and its Carrier Air Wing 3 have been deployed for nearly two months and earlier carried out ISIS strikes from the Mediterranean Sea.

US Secretary of State John Kerry’s latest proposal for closer US-Russian cooperation against extremist groups in Syria is being met with much skepticism by some in the US government, European allies in the anti-Islamic State coalition and the main Syrian opposition, Reuters reports.

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