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The U.S. Army officially confirmed that it will designate the newest 155mm self-propelled howitzer (SPH) as M1299.

According to new data from the U.S. Army, a new artillery system developing under the Extended Range Cannon Artillery program will be called the M1299 and the prototype designate as XM1299.

The U.S. Army’s extended-range artillery system designed to increase the range and rate of fire on current and future M109A7 self-propelled howitzers. Compared to its predecessors, a new artillery system will receive two leading-edge technology – new XM1113 rocket-boosted shell and a longer howitzer 58 caliber cannon increases range from 38km to 70km+.

In addition, M1299 will have a fully automated ammunition loading system increases rate of fire from 3 rpm to 10 rpm and a communications system that will work in GPS-denied environments.

The U.S. Army aspires to field systems capable of accurately firing at targets 100 kilometers away in the next four years, a dramatic increase over the 30 kilometers a currently-fielded 155mm howitzer shell is capable of when fired at the top zone with rocket assistance.

Building on mobility upgrades, M1299 will increase the lethality of self-propelled howitzers. New SPH provides a “10x” capability through a combination of an increased range, increased rate of fire, increased lethality, increased reliability and greater survivability.

M1299 will provide integrated cannon artillery technology solutions to maximize performance at a system level and regain lethality overmatch for U.S. Army 155mm indirect fire systems for operations in emerging battlespaces and near/peer environments.

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The U.S. Army has approved a draft, “abbreviated” capabilities development document for the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft, or FLRAA, intended to support the service branch’s Future Vertical Lift program.

The DefenseNews confirmed on Wednesday that the U.S. Army Requirements Oversight Council (AROC) approved aircraft program’s draft capabilities development document.

A global magazine about business and technology of defense, DefenseNews, quoting Brig. Gen. Wally Rugen in charge of the service’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) modernization efforts, reported the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) has passed through the gauntlet of the AROC.

The FLRAA is a pre-Major Defense Acquisition Program commissioned to develop and field the next generation of affordable vertical lift utility aircraft to the Army.  New aircraft, developed under Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft program, to replace some Army’s AH-64 Apache and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.

According to FlightGlobal, the US Army wants each aircraft to have an average unit manufacturing cost of $43 million. That’s significantly more than the average unit cost of its current asset, the UH-60M, for which the service paid about $20 million a unit on average in FY2019.

The FLRAA helicopter should be equipped with two turboshaft engines, created by General Electric Corporation under the program of the U.S. Army Future Affordable Turbine Engine (FATE) and having a take-off power of more than 5000 hp.

For the FLRAA program, the Army team expects to award two vendors next year to create competitive prototypes that will perform a government-sponsored fly-off in 2023, Brig. Gen. Walter Rugen, the team’s director, said in March.

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The U.S. Navy’s newest Independence-variant littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Oakland (LCS 24) slid into the waters of Austal USA’s shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

“The future USS Oakland (LCS 24) is now in the water. 4,000 employees and 800+ suppliers across the US (380 in Ala.) work to build these great ships, LCS & EPF. Congrats to the LCS team for reaching today’s milestone!,” it says on its Twitter account.

The future USS Oakland is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. It is designed to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. The ship will be homeported in San Diego.

In a recent announcement, the U.S. Navy said that newest combat ship will be christened during a 10 a.m. EDT ceremony Saturday, June 29, in Mobile, Alabama.

U.S. Representative Ken Calvert of California will deliver the christening ceremony’s principal address. Ms. Kate Brandt, Google’s sustainability officer, will serve as the ship’s sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, Ms. Brandt will christen the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.

“The christening of the future USS Oakland marks an important step toward this great ship’s entry into the fleet,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “The dedication and skilled work of our industry partners ensure this ship will represent the great city of Oakland and serve our Navy and Marine Corps team for decades to come.”

The future USS Oakland (LCS 24) is the third U.S. Navy ship named for the city in California. The first Oakland (2847) was commissioned in 1918 and used for cargo transport. The second, CL 95, was commissioned in 1942 and during seven years of service was key in many antiaircraft missions across the Asia-Pacific theater of operations.

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The U.S. Southern Command is releasing video of a U.S. EP-3 Aries signals reconnaissance aircraft flying July 19, in international airspace over the Caribbean Sea being “aggressively shadowed” by a Venezuelan SU-30 fighter jet.

“Venezuelan SU-30 Flanker “aggressively shadowed” a U.S. EP-3 aircraft at an unsafe distance July 19, jeopardizing the crew & aircraft,” said in a statement.

Also, the U.S. Southern Command stressed that the EP-3 was performing a multi-nationally recognized & approved mission in international airspace over the Caribbean Sea.

The U.S. aircraft was operating in accordance with international law and did not provoke this Venezuelan activity.

“This action demonstrates #Russia’s irresponsible military support to Maduro’s illegitimate regime & underscores Maduro’s recklessness & irresponsible behavior, which undermines int’l rule of law & efforts to counter illicit trafficking,” added in the statement.

According to Military.com, EP-3 Ares is a signals intelligence (SIGINT) reconnaissance aircraft developed by Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems Company.

The EP-3 aircraft is a four-engine, low-wing, electronic warfare and reconnaissance aircraft utilizing state-of-the-art electronic surveillance equipment for its primary mission.

The normal crew complement is 24, 7 officers and 17 enlisted aircrew. The EP-3E typically carries three pilots, one navigator, three tactical evaluators, and one flight engineer. The remainder of the crew is composed of equipment operators, technicians, and mechanics and may include relief crew members as well.

1 of 2 JUST RELEASED #Venezuela SU-30 Flanker “aggressively shadowed” a U.S. EP-3 aircraft at an unsafe distance July 19, jeopardizing the crew & aircraft. The EP-3 was performing a multi-nationally recognized & approved mission in international airspace over #CaribbeanSea. pic.twitter.com/edjmPqXbmP

— U.S. Southern Command (@Southcom) July 21, 2019

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The U.S. Army Contracting Command New Jersey (ACC-NJ) on behalf of the U.S. Army Project Manager Close Combat systems (PM CCS) is seeking information from industry to identify potential sources having an interest and industry technologies available to support and provide the M72-series Light Assault Weapon (LAW) portable one-shot 66-mm unguided anti-tank weapon and its variants.

In a Jul 19 sources-sought notice, the Army Contracting Command announced it is conducting market research to fund information from industry for production program supporting Army and Marine Corps ammunition stockpile requirements for M72 LAW and its variants, the M72AS Sub-caliber Trainer Launcher, the M72AS Sub-caliber Trainer Rocket, and the Components for Shoulder Launched Munitions Training Systems (SLM).

The period of performance of this requirement is expected to be 5 years and will result in a Firm Fixed Price Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contract.

According to notice, the Army Contracting Command requires:

  1. M72A7 LAW with Graze Fuze Function and Night Vision Device (NVD) Mount. The M72A7 LAW utilizes a shaped charge warhead, is used against light armored targets and can only be fired in the open field environment.
  2. M72E8 LAW Fire from Enclosure and NVD Mount. The M72E8 LAW utilizes a shaped charge warhead with base detonating fuze, is used against light armored targets and can be fired from within an enclosure.
  3. M72A9 LAW Anti-Structure Munition and NVD Mount. The M72A9 LAW has the capability to penetrate brick, adobe, concrete block, and urban terrain walls, doors and windows in most common Military Operations and can only be fired in the open field environment.
  4. M72E10 LAW Fire from Enclosure Anti-Structure Munition and NVD Mount. The M72E10 LAW contains an enhanced explosives warhead with base detonating fuze, has the capability to penetrate brick, adobe, concrete block, and urban terrain walls and can be fired from within an enclosure.
  5. M72AS Trainer Launchers. The M72AS trainer launcher is the training system for the M72 weapon system.
  6. M72AS 21mm Subcaliber Training Rockets. The 21mm Training rocket is the ammunition for the M72AS training system
  7. M72AS 21mm Subcaliber Inert Trainer. The Inert Training rocket is a classroom tool for the M72AS training system.
  8. Components for Shoulder Launched Munitions Training Systems (various)

The M72 LAW is a portable one-shot 66-mm unguided anti-tank weapon that is issued as a round of ammunition.

In early 1963, the M72 LAW was adopted by the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps as their primary individual infantry anti-tank weapon, replacing the M31 HEAT rifle grenade and the M20A1 “Super Bazooka” in the U.S. Army. It was subsequently adopted by the U.S. Air Force to serve in an anti-emplacement/anti-armor role in Air Base Defense duties.

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The U.S. Air Force is moving forward with the next-generation 2,000 lb.-class bombs called BLU-136, according to a Federal Business Opportunities notice.

In a notice posted on the Federal website this month, the Air Force Materiel Command announced that the service will issue a pre-solicitation notice/procurement synopsis for the BLU-136/B Next Generation Area Attack – production.

The Direct Attack Munitions Branch (AFLCMC/EBDA), Direct Attack Division (AFLCMC/EBD), Armament Directorate (AFLCMC/EB), Eglin AFB, FL, plans to award a multiple award Indefinite-Delivery Indefinite-Quantity (IDIQ) contract for the production of the BLU-136/B area attack warhead.

The Air Force expects to release a request for proposals by July 31 and intends to set-aside the multiple-award contract to small businesses. Interested parties may submit responses to the presolicitation notice through Aug. 2.

The U.S. Air Force is developing a new type of bombs as a replacement for cluster munitions, which are being phased out by the Pentagon.

Cluster munitions are a type of weapon that has been banned by 102 countries largely because of concerns that they armed and unexploded cluster munitions left on the battlefield pose a long-term hazard to civilians. A 2010 international treaty outlaws the use of cluster bombs, but the U.S. is not a signatory. Although, in practice, the U.S. rarely uses cluster bombs.

According to the current information, the BLU-136/B is a 2,000 lb.-class bomb designed to rain down metal fragments on enemy forces as a replacement for cluster munitions, without leaving behind unexploded ordnance. This weapon is four-times the size of the BLU-134/B Improved Lethality Warhead, which is now being put into production. The BLU-134 and BLU-136 are different designs.

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The U.S. government is planning to expand runways and platforms of old Cold War base in Iceland so the base can handle heavy aircraft up to and including a C-5, according to a U.S. government’s main contracting website notice issued earlier this month.

In a notice posted on the Federal website, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic (NAVFAC LANT) intends to issue a request for proposal for expand and upgrade runways located at Keflavik base in Iceland.

Naval Air Station Keflavik is a U.S. Navy base located at Keflavík International Airport in Iceland. It is located on the Reykjanes peninsula on the south-west portion of the island.

Built during World War II by the United States Army, it served to ferry personnel, equipment, and supplies to Europe.

The U.S. Armed Forces operated the Naval Air Station in Keflavík as a NATO base from 1951 to 2006. Its location was considered to be of great importance during the Cold War. Once an air station home to U.S. Airmen, the permanent military presence at Keflavik ended in 2006, but the basic infrastructure needed to patrol the skies remains.

In 2017 the United States announced its intention to modify the largest hangar on the airbase in order to house the new Boeing P-8 Poseidon ASW aircraft being introduced.

And now, the U.S. government has plans to boost the facilities at Keflavik so that one squadron of aerial refueling tankers can be stationed there and wider effort to boost the US presence in key maritime passageways into the high north.

Expected that will construct a full-depth concrete pavement/subbase aircraft parking apron expansion that supports powered on and off operations for a squadron of US Air Force or North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) aerial refueler equivalent aircraft.

Also will construct a 40,000 square meter graveled area consisting of a full-depth aggregate base course with crushed stone drainage course enclosed by a perimeter security fence.

Dangerous Cargo Pad will construct full-depth concrete pavement/subbase dangerous cargo pad (DCP) with paved asphalt shoulders sized for aircraft up to and including a C-5 Galaxy. A full-depth asphalt pavement/subbase taxiway will be provided for access from the primary taxiway to the DCP.

According to Breaking Defense report, the new work adds to a growing list of US-funded projects at Keflavik, where the Navy has already spent about $36 million over the past several years to renovate hangars to accommodate American P-8 surveillance planes, which have started using the base more frequently for short rotations. It is also regularly used by both the US and NATO fighter aircraft patrolling the far north.

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The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command has reported that Army astronaut Col. (Dr.) Andrew “Drew” Morgan successfully launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, aboard a Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft July 20 for a nine-month mission as a flight engineer for Expedition 60 aboard the International Space Station.

“Twenty-five years ago I made the decision to serve my country as a military officer,” Morgan said. “I view my nine-month mission to the space station as a continuation of that service, not just to my country, but the entire international community. Service to others will keep me focused and motivated while I’m away from my family, living and working on board the International Space Station to successfully complete our mission.”

Morgan, alongside his crew members Italian Astronaut Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and Russian Cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos launched from the cosmodrome’s famous “Gagarin’s Start” launch pad. It is the same one where the world’s first manmade satellite “Sputnik 1” launched from in 1957 as well as the first human in space, Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, in 1961.

Morgan’s launch is on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, which he said is a significant and meaningful way to commemorate the accomplishment for all humanity.

“An international crew launching to an International Space Station on the 50th anniversary of what was the apex of the space race – it’s an interesting contrast,” Morgan said. “The Expedition 60 crew is honored to commemorate Apollo 11’s historic accomplishment for the world with our launch, and proudly bear the torch for the next generation of space exploration.”

Following a six-hour journey, the crew made four orbits around the Earth before docking the Soyuz to the station to begin their mission on the orbital laboratory.

Morgan is the first Army physician in space and is a board-certified Army emergency physician with a sub-specialty certification in primary care sports medicine. During his time aboard the space station, Morgan will participate with his crew mates and others to facilitate numerous medical and technological experiments and tasks, as well as a number of planned high-profile space walks.

His mission, Expeditions 60, 61 and 62, will be the longest single-mission spaceflight for an Army astronaut and be among the longest ever for an American astronaut when complete.

The Army’s involvement in the nation’s space program dates back to the launch of United States’ first satellite, Explorer 1 in 1958. The first U.S. astronaut was launched on an Army rocket. Through the years, 18 Army astronauts have been selected by NASA, with Morgan being the 17th to fly into space.

As a Soldier, Morgan is assigned to the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s NASA Astronaut Detachment and serves as a NASA flight crew member and provides engineering expertise for human interface with space systems.

Morgan was selected as an astronaut candidate in June 2013 and completed his training in July 2015. Prior to his selection as an astronaut candidate he served as an Army medical corps officer and completed combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I am a Soldier, a military physician, and a NASA astronaut, in that order,” Morgan said. “I’m a Soldier first, and the military trained me to be a leader of character, dedicated to taking care of people. Every quality that’s made me a successful astronaut is a product of my military training: from my academic degrees to my operational skills. While I regularly draw on the technical skills and specialized training I learned in the military, it’s my leadership experiences that I rely on the most.”

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The U.S. Army has announced that 1st Cavalry Division Artillery (DIVARTY) conducted a joint live-fire exercise with the 2nd Battalion, 14th Marines, 4th Marine Division; 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery, 1st Cavalry Division; 9th Air Support Operations Squadron, 1st Cavalry Division; and 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, July 18.

According to a statement released by the 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, the intent of the exercise was to prepare the units to be able to work together in a combat environment. By collaborating with units such as the Marine reservists, the DIVARTY is able to become familiar with more and different types of weapons.

“The Cav is fantastic at shooting in the close fight with tanks and maneuver elements,” said Cpt. Thomas Cummins, DIVARTY. “But by being able to use rocket elements from the Marines that can reach a further target than an Abrams, you minimize the amount of enemy in the fight and that increases lethality.”

It can be anticipated for service members to enter a deployed environment and the mission is a joint operation. Since each branch of service has their own approaches to fighting when conducting missions, there can be a few bumps in the road when it comes time to synchronize on the battlefield. Training opportunities such as this gives the separate military branches the opportunity to develop effective communication when working together in order to achieve success.

“One thing the Marines puts emphasis on is combined arms operations,” said 1st. Lt. James Whitney, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marines executive officer. “It is good to know we are a joint force. It is great to talk to other branches and learn more about how they operate, what other skills they have, and to be able to see the other angles in the fight they can provide.”

DIVARTY will continue to train with other branches in the future to continue to improve their Soldiers ‘ability to successfully execute the mission with other forces.

“It is the “Cav Strong” way to train how we fight,” said Cummins “So anything we can do to continue to surpass excellence, we will do.”

Photo by Pfc. Alisha EdwardsM124 HIMARS Photo by Pfc. Alisha EdwardsM124 HIMARS Photo by Pfc. Alisha Edwards
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The Government of Egypt has requested an additional 1000 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles and associated equipment, according to U.S. Army Security Assistance Command.

Since the September 2015, Egypt already has received almost 1000 heavily armored MRAP vehicles under the U.S. Department of Defense’s Excess Defense Articles grant program, in which the vehicles are transferred at no-cost to the Government of Egypt.

A final shipment of 101 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles has completed a foreign military sales case to transfer 930 MRAP vehicles to Egypt using the Excess Defense Articles Grant Program.

Under the grant program, the MRAP vehicles are transferred at no cost to the Egyptian government. Egypt is responsible for arranging shipment of the EDA MRAPs from Sierra Army Depot in California to Egypt.

MRAP refers to U.S. military light tactical vehicles that are designed specifically to withstand improvised explosive device attacks and ambushes. Excess defense articles are materiel that is no longer in the Army’s inventory and allows approved countries to request the materiel through the foreign military sales process.

According to Security Assistance Command Country Program Manager Shawn Arrance, these vehicles will be used by Egypt to fight against terrorism and are part of a broad range of military cooperation initiatives between the two countries.

The sale also supports U.S. national interest and continues to enhance Egyptian army capabilities by increasing the readiness posture of the country to defend its national sovereignty and regional stability, he said.

After arrival in Alexandria, Egypt, in May, the MRAP vehicles were loaded onto trains to be taken to a military workshop in Cairo for refurbishment.

USASAC personnel worked with the Egyptian government and the Tank Automotive and Armament Command Security Assistance Management Directorate to fill the request for 930 MRAP vehicles that was approved in 2015.

The transfer includes M1232 RG33L, M1233RG33L HAGA, M1237 RG33 Plus, M1220 Caiman, and M1230 Caiman Plus vehicles, as well as MRAP Recovery Vehicles. Training is included in the package and is ongoing and scheduled in accordance with the Egyptian land forces needs and requests.

Since the initial case back in September 2015, Egypt has submitted another Letter of Request, which initiates an FMS case, for an additional 1,000 MRAPs, Arrance said.

“USASAC and TACOM SAMD are working case development for an additional 700 MRAPs that have been identified and another 300 remaining to be selected,” he said. “We anticipate offering the case to Egypt in November.” 

Egypt will then need to accept the offer to finalize the agreement for the additional 1,000 vehicles.

The total case value for the 2,000 MRAPs is estimated to be $120 million.

“The MRAPs serve as the most appropriate way of satisfying legitimate Egyptian forces’ requirements and priorities,” Arrance said. “Similar items have been previously provided to Egypt under the EDA program.” 

“It has been a successful program and the good story the U.S. Embassy and the Office of Military Cooperation in Cairo is using as a great example of U.S. and Egypt security cooperation,” said Mohamed Mawari, chief of the MRAP Program Office for TACOM SAMD. “We have a great relationship and partnership with all stakeholders, OMC, USASAC, contractors (ManTech International), TACOM-SAMD and the Egyptian land forces.”

USASAC’s continued assistance around the world improves the security and readiness of a major non-NATO ally, which has consistently been an important force for the political stability and economic progress in Africa and the Middle East.

The Army is committed to strengthening ties to its allies and attracting new partners to amass the greatest possible strength for the long-term advancement of mutual interests and deter aggression.

Interoperability is key to the Army vision; and the military-to-military relationship with Egypt that has endured over several decades continues to support that vision.

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