ON GUARD UP TO SPEED SPEED TO MARKET
There is only one country on the planet that can effectively deploy the necessary defence resources when and if so required. Some come close but only the United States of America is number one at speed to market. The largest retailer on the planet does it with such efficiency that other retailers try to adopt similar policy & procedure in the supply chain. Wal Mart adopted an approach that means that as soon as the transaction between the store and the customer is completed, the same item is being selected from a shelf in a warehouse somewhere in America to be placed into the supply chain to back on the shelf in that store for the customer to repeat the process the next day.
One questions the recent budget allocation for the DOD by the US Government and the contracts that have been awarded for the whole strategic defence policy beyond 2014. The deployment of resources as per the communication ( June 2012 circa) from Leon Panetta previous Secretary for Defence prior to Chuck Hagel, reflects the global pivotal shift that is occurring during Q1 of this century and the response by America to this change. The 60/40 Atlantic/Pacific reversal is estimated to be completed by 2020 and two areas of interest in global strategic defence analysis are R & D and the DOD acquisition of new technology and the systems and weapons upgrades.
Prognosticating, predicting or forecasting the global conflict scenarios is done by experts and by conspiracy theorists. There are only two reasons why there are across the board systems and weapons upgrades and new technology acquisitions by the DOD in America. Readiness capability and speed to market and being on guard in global geopolitical tension just in case the worse case scenario occurs in the world and the other is that of actual strategic resource capability and ease of deployment and speed to market with the next war.
I do hope that effective US Foreign Policy is capable of building functional global agreements and harmonious teamwork with all stakeholders in the prevention, mitigation and reduction of global conflict. The threat of the threat in possible interstate conflict is an old technique that is slowly being outdated as other countries defence capabilities in Q1 close in on America. The example below is just one of many that could have been selected. It was selected because many can relate to this type of aircraft and to highlight the heading.
The $24.6 million agreement stipulates that Boeing will develop a modification to existing weapon launchers so the aircraft can carry smart weapons in the bomb bay, which will enable aircrews to use the B-52′s entire weapons capacity.
“With this modification, we’re converting the bomb bay from dropping just gravity-type bombs to releasing precision-guided weapons.” – Jennifer Hogan of Boeing Communications
“When you combine that ability with the B-52′s unlimited range with air refueling, you have an efficient and versatile weapon system that is valuable to warfighters on the ground,” said Scot Oathout, Boeing’s B-52 program director.
“This weapons capacity expansion joins the Combat Network Communications Technology program, a comprehensive communication upgrade that’s being installed on the aircraft, to give the warfighter even more flexibility.”
Boeing will produce three prototype launchers for test and evaluation. Initial capability is expected in March 2016, and potential follow-on efforts could add more weapons and allow a mixed load of different types of weapons.
Upon completion of the first phase of the upgrade, the B-52 will be able to carry two dozen 500-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions or twenty 2,000-pound JDAMs. Later phases will add the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile and its extended-range variant, as well as the Miniature Air Launched Decoy and its jammer variant.
The bomb bay renovation will enable the B-52 to carry all of its weapons internally, thereby increasing fuel efficiency in flight. The modernization work will use parts from existing Air Force rotary launchers repurposed for conventional missions, as well as hardware and software already developed for the wing pylons.
Engineers from the B-52 Software Avionics Flight at Tinker are modifying the 1760 Integrated Weapon Bay Upgrade Ground Maintenance Computer Program to test the additional Integrated Weapon Interface Unit being added in the bay location on the B-52 in order to launch additional weapons from the weapons bay location.
In addition, engineers from the B-52 Software Avionics Flight are transitioning mission-planning software from a unix-based Mission Planning System to a Windows-based Joint Mission Planning System. The B-52 JMPS Unique Program Component v1.0 software release will include conventional mission planning support for B-52 Software Blocks 04 and 05.
It also adds capability for all variants of JDAM, JASSM and MALD at the bay location to support capability added by the 1760 IWBU program. Formal Qualification Testing will be accomplished by July 2014, and the software will fielded by July 2015.
The CONECT system will enable Stratofortress aircrews to send and receive information via satellite links, which will enable them to change mission plans and re-target weapons while in flight; currently, mission information must be uploaded to a B-52 before a flight.
In addition, pilots will be able to interact better with other aircraft and with ground forces.
Other improvements will include a state-of-the-art computing network with workstations at each crew position and an integrated digital interphone with increased capacity that will allow crew members to talk to each other on headsets equipped with noise-canceling technology.
The $76 million CONECT upgrade installation will be performed during programmed depot maintenance by the 565th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, while Boeing will provide the low-rate initial production of the first CONECT kits, along with spare parts and maintenance and service at Tinker.
By Mike W. Ray
72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs