April 1, 2023

Navy’s ISR Balancing Act

p-8a poseidon torpedo

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Breaking Defense analyzes the Navy’s balancing act between intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) options, including the MQ-4C Triton UAV, P-8 Poseidon manned aircraft and the planned UCLASS aircraft. Although the Triton is designed for 24-hour-plus patrols at 50,000 feet, it can’t do the job by itself. It will provide high-altitude, theater-spanning coverage that guides more tactically-focused recon aircraft such as the land-based P-8 and the carrier-launched UCLASS. The three simultaneous ISR programs represent a complex challenge for the Navy, especially in a time of tightening budgets.

The US needs to have a fleet of 11 aircraft carriers says SecNav Ray Mabus, siding with lawmakers seeking to save the USS George Washington from budget cuts, reports The Hill. “We need 11 to have the constant presence that we need. We need 11 to get them into a more regular cycle of maintenance and training.” Under a waiver from Congress, the Navy is now operating with 10 carriers.

DefSec Chuck Hagel ordered underperforming military medical facilities to improve treatment access, quality of care, and patient safety, reports The New York Times. Mr. Hagel says medical care at 55 military hospitals and hundreds of clinics in the US and abroad is generally “comparable to civilian counterparts.”

The Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account created last decade to pay for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will continue to be used by the Pentagon, reports Defense One. The controversial war spending account is exempt from federal budget caps, but now has some new strings attached.

The Pentagon appears to be assembling technology for unmanned fighters to allow them to shoot down enemy planes, according to The Week. DARPA reportedly met earlier this year to explain to defense industry officials what the agency wants from the new Distributed Battle Management (DBM) program. DBM is software meant to automate decision-making in aerial battles “involving manned combat aircraft as well as fighting drones.”

International Auto Logistics (IAL), the defense contractor responsible for moving service member’s personal vehicles to and from overseas bases, is facing contract cancellation, reports Military Times. Senator Patty Murray, (D-Wash.), wants military officials to consider cancellation and cited ongoing, significant delays and problems with the process. IAL made on-time deliveries for only 20 percent of vehicles earlier this summer, well below the 98 percent on-time mandate of their contract.

A Special Operations Command report on including women in the elite Navy SEAL community was due in July, but officials aren’t able to confirm whether it’s been completed or when leadership will be briefed, according to Navy Times. However, NavSec Ray Mabus says that the service is on track to make a final decision about admitting women to the teams by 2016 and concluded, “In my opinion, if people meet the qualifications, I don’t think gender should matter.”

The Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA) storefront capability to allows military services and agencies to order IT services a la carte, is scheduled to roll out in this fall, reports C4ISR&Networks.

Denmark’s Sky-Watch A/S has become the latest Nordic manufacturer of military-application UAVs to emerge from the region’s fast-growing drone sector, according to DefenseNews. The company joined three other Nordic UAV producers in 2012 all of which are supported by state-financed defense agencies.

The first Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter completed its inaugural flight at a Navy facility in the US, reports airforce-technology.com.

Siemens Industry, Inc. is suing a joint venture between Grunley Construction and Goel Services, Inc., one of its subcontractors and the companies that issued surety bonds on a construction job at NAS Pax River, according to Washington Business Journal.

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