Posts tagged ‘Navy’

UNMANNED SYSTEMS: Armed Services Describe Their Needs and Funding Limitations

What They Want and Can Afford

VIPs watch a convoy of driverless trucks at the Autonomous Mobility Applique System demonstration from roof at the Urban Terrain training site at Fort Hood, Texas. (U.S. Army photo)

VIPs watch a convoy of driverless trucks at the Autonomous Mobility Applique System demonstration from roof at the Urban Terrain training site at Fort Hood, Texas.
(U.S. Army photo)

TYSON’S CORNER, Virginia – Money is tight while national security threats keep evolving, so the Defense Department plans to be careful about what robots, droids and drones it can buy in the future.

That was the overall message from Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps leaders over three days this month at the Unmanned Systems 2014 Program Review, a government robotics conference hosted by the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).

Even though they expect funds for robots and drones to be limited, they say demand will grow for unmanned vehicles – especially ones that can get into small or unsafe spaces like tunnels or denied airspace — to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) information for troops in the field.

All of the services are looking for unmanned systems that share common controllers and other hardware/software. And they want them interoperable so troops on the ground, in the air or at sea – no matter which service – will be able to communicate with all unmanned systems and coordinate their activities.

So here’s a look at some of the capabilities the armed services are looking for.

The Defense Department’s Joint Staff is developing a Joint Concept for Robotic and Autonomous Systems, expected in the summer of 2018, according to Army Col. Charles Bowery of the Joint Staff Robotic and Autonomous Systems Team (JRAST). He said the concept report targets the 2025-2030 time frame and will reflect improved ways for “developing, deploying and acquiring those technologies.” Chartered in 2014, the JRAST seeks to synchronize Robotic and Autonomous Systems development, acquisition, and employment across the Defense Department.

Army

The Army is not buying any new UAS in the near future but it isn’t getting rid of any either. Army plans call for pairing the MQ- 1 Gray Eagle and smaller RQ-7 Shadow UAS with AH-64 Apache attack helicopters to perform the scouting mission once performed by the OH-58 Kiowa manned scout helicopter, which is being retired.

“All of my portfolios are essentially looking at what is the amount of financing or money that is available to meet the requirements,” said Army Major General Robert Dyess, director of Force Development in the financial management (G-8) section of the Army Staff.

On ground vehicles, he told conference attendees, the Amy had just completed joint testing of the Autonomous Mobility Applique System which showed the ability to “essentially, I believe, turn any vehicle in the motor pool – at the commander’s assessment – into a vehicle that has either a semi-autonomous or autonomous type of capability.”

Navy

The Navy has only one program of record for unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), the Advanced Explosive Ordnance Disposal Robotic System (AEODRS), a family of robotic systems ranging from a 35-pound robot that can be carried in a backpack to a vehicle-towed unit weighing about 750 pounds.

Tom Dee, deputy assistant of the Navy for Expeditionary Program and Logistics Management, said the Navy is looking for UGVs that not only replace humans in dangerous situations, but can be force enablers.

“We want to make them team mates with our squads, to be able to assist us, not just to replace us doing things that we’re concerned about doing” like bomb disposal, Dee said. .” He added that AEODRS would be built using open architecture and modular design that would allow the Navy to “plug and play” new developments in sensors, cameras or robotic arms onto a common platform.

Daniel Sternlicht, head of the Sensing Sciences Division at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, said the Navy is looking to improve sensor capabilities as it transitions from a time and manpower intensive method for detecting, identifying and neutralizing explosive mines in the shallows near shore to an unmanned, sensor-driven one.

Among the capabilities sought in this eventual shift is the ability to neutralize a target mine in a single pass or sortie by an unmanned underwater vehicle rather than multiple passes by manned aircraft or surface vessels, said Sternlicht.

The Office of Naval Research is developing a compact modular sensor package that can be mounted on an MQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned helicopter and detect and classify targets in real time. The Compact Modular Sensor Suite could also speed up the process by eliminating the need for post-mission analysis by a manned aircraft.

November 14, 2014 at 1:00 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (October 31, 2014)

Autumn at Sea.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Abe McNatt

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Abe McNatt

It’s Halloween, but instead of some scary ghosts or skeletons we thought we’d show you a beautiful pumpkin-colored sky at sea.

This Navy photo shows the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN77) as it transits the Gulf Aden. The Bush Carrier Strike Group is heading back to Naval Station Norfolk after supporting maritime security operations and carrier-based airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against the ultra radical Islamist extremist group known alternately as the Islamic State, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The Pentagon Calls it Operation Inherent Resolve.

October 31, 2014 at 12:03 am Leave a comment

ARCTIC NATION: Russia Moving on Arctic Bases; Swedes Hunt Russian Sub; U.S. Focusing on Climate Change

Russian Bases.

The Arctic Circle and surrounding territory.

The Arctic Circle and surrounding territory.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shogiu says Russia will complete the deployment of military units Russian territory along the Arctic circle by the end of 2014, according to RIA-Novosti.

“We have been very active in the Arctic region lately, and this year we will have a large number of units deployed along the Arctic Circle, from Murmansk to Chukotka,” Shoigu announced at a meeting Tuesday (October 21) with top military brass in Moscow.

Over the past few years, Russia has been pressing ahead with efforts aimed at the development of its Arctic territories, including hydrocarbon production and development of the Northern Sea Route, which is growing importance as Arctic sea ice recedes as an alternative to traditional routes from Europe to Asia.

Attention has been focused on the Arctic by several nations including the United States, Canada, Norway and Denmark since the region is believed to have large reserves of oil and gas.

On October 20, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a NATO presence in the Arctic isn’t necessary, because, he said, there are no problems in the region requiring the alliance’s participation.

Norway, the NATO member closest to Russia in the Arctic, announced two years ago that it wants more soldiers in the north. “Our ambition is a clear NATO footprint in the north,” said State Secretary Roger Ingebrigtsen of Norway’s Defense Ministry, according to the Barents Observer via Alaska Dispatch News

*** *** ***

Russian Sub?

Meanwhile, Swedish naval forces have been scouring their territorial waters since last week for what they think may be a Russian submarine.

Since October 17, surface vessels and helicopters 200 service personnel were mobilized along with helicopters, minesweepers and an anti-submarine corvette fitted with stealth-type anti-radar masking, according to The Guardian.

The operation began late on Friday following what Sweden’s armed forces said was a reliable tipoff about something in the Stockholm archipelago, which has 30,000 islands and rocky outcrops around which a submarine could lurk. The officer leading the operation declined to give more details, saying only that there had been no armed contact, according to the British newspaper.

Although officially neutral and not a NATO member, Sweden is no stranger to Russian provocations. Besides the possible submarine, Russian planes have violated Swedish and Finnish airspace in recent months. Against the backdrop of Russian military intervention in Ukraine, Sweden, like other countries, is growing increasingly nervous about what Moscow might do next, according to The Economist.

*** *** ***

Papp-Arctic Council

Admiral Robert Papp Jr., the special U.S. representative to the Arctic, says climate change will be a main priority for the U.S. when it takes over chairmanship of the Arctic Council next year.

During one of his first speeches as the nation’s first Arctic envoy, Papp said the U.S. will be “more active and more forward leaning” when it comes to addressing the impact of climate change in the region, according to The Hill.

“It is imperative to address the effects of climate change before it’s too late,” Papp said during a September 30 event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

If it weren’t for the “warming of the Arctic,” said Papp, the former commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard,  no one would be up there exploring, shipping cargo or drilling for oil and gas, which is why the council will need to set more “actionable items and goals.” The U.S. is slated to take over chairmanship of the Arctic Council from Canada next year.

Defense Dept. photo

Defense Dept. photo

 

ARCTIC NATION is an occasional 4GWAR posting on the Arctic. The U.S. “National Strategy for the Arctic Region” describes the United States as “an Arctic Nation with broad and fundamental interests in the Arctic Region, where we seek to meet our national security needs, protect the environment, responsibly manage resources, account for indigenous communities, support scientific research, and strengthen international cooperation on a wide range of issues.”

 

 

 

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October 23, 2014 at 11:58 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (October 17, 2014)

Hitting the Beach.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Private First Class Matthew Casbarro

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Private First Class Matthew Casbarro

This photo is so sharp, you can almost hear the splashing water as U.S. and Filipino Marines (in camouflage helmets) wade toward the beach during a simulated raid for Amphibious Landing Exercise at PHIBLEX15  in Palawan, Philippines on  October 2. (Make sure to click on the photo to see a larger image).

PHIBLEX is an annual, bilateral training exercise conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy to strengthen interoperability across a range of skills including disaster relief and amphibious warfare operations. U.S. Army officials this past week  in Washington at the Association of the United States Army conference  stressed the importance of such multi-national training exercises to solidify both militaries’ readiness for amphibious operations in times of crisis.

 

October 17, 2014 at 1:04 am Leave a comment

THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (October 12-October 18, 1814)

War in the North. 

October 15

Skirmishing at Chippawa

Map-Chippawa-NHS

U.S. Major General George Izard catches up with the British force that had besieged the Americans in Fort Erie over the summer. Even though he outnumbers them nearly three-to-one, Izard finds Lieutenant General Gordon Drummond’s troops dug in along Chippawa Creek — the site of a bloody encounter in July. To the frustration of Major General Jacob Brown, the commander at Fort Erie, Izard has waited too long to pursue Drummond after he broke off the siege allowing his troops to rest and build a defensive position.

Izard exchanges artillery fire with the British and Canadians and plans to attack a British outpost at Cook’s Mill.

October 16

Age of Steam

Shipbuilders in New York City are readying the world’s first steam-powered warship, designed by Robert Fulton, for launching in late October. The 150-foot-long, 2,455-ton  steam frigate, or floating fort, is created to protect New York harbor more efficiently than any land fort because it can move to block enemy warships whichever the direction they attack from. Officially, th massive ship does not have a name yet. Fulton calls it “Demologos,” and Navy records describe it as a U.S. Steam Battery.

The U.S. Steam Battery, later dubbed "Fulton he First." (Naval Historical Center)

The U.S. Steam Battery, later dubbed “Fulton he First.”
(Naval Historical Center)

October 18

New England Storm

Lawmakers and businessmen in the New England states are furious with the Madison administration’s inept prosecution of the war: with the end of the Napoleonic wars in Europe, the Royal Navy has effectively blockaded the entire eastern sea coast, Maine — still a part of Massachusetts – was invaded and occupied by British sailors and Marines July, the White and Capitol were burned by British troops in August, the British are advancing farther in Maine and a naval assault on Boston is expected at any moment.

The blockade has cost thousands of sailors, fishermen, warehousemen, importers and exporters in maritime-dependent New England their jobs. The federal government is nearly broke.

Massachusetts Governor Caleb Strong, of the anti-war Federalist Party, calls a special session of the legislature  on October 5, 1814. A report by a legislative committee calls for resistance to any British invasion, criticizes the Democratic-Republican Party leadership that brought the nation close to disaster, and calls for  a convention of New England states to deal with both their common grievances and common defense. The committee report passes the state senate on October 12 (22 to 12 vote) and the house on October 16 by 260 to 20. Letters go out to the other sates on the 18th.

A letter of invitation was sent to the other New England governors to send delegates to a convention in Hartford, Connecticut. The stated purpose of the convention is to propose constitutional amendments to protect New England’s interests and make arrangements with Washington for the region’s defense. Some of the fiery opponents to the war have mentioned secession as a way to get out from the war and blockade.

October 12, 2014 at 10:33 pm Leave a comment

THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (October 5-October 11, 1814) [UPDATE]

Maritime Setbacks.

USS Wasp in 1814 (via Wikipedia)

USS Wasp in 1814
(via Wikipedia)

 

October 9 [Restores dropped material and fixes typos]

The American sloop-of-war, USS Wasp, is lost at sea. Under Master Commandant Johnston Blakeley, the 22-gun vessel, sank, burned or captured 15 British ships — including three warships — during two raiding cruises in the summer of 1814.

After capturing the British brig Atalanta on September 21, Blakeley sends the prize back to the United States manned by some of his 173-man crew. The Wasp is last seen by a neutral merchant vessel in the mid Atlantic around October 9.

HMS St. Lawrence (Paining by C.H.J. Snider)

HMS St. Lawrence
(Paining by C.H.J. Snider)

 

October 10

The British launch the HMS St. Lawrence, a three-deck gunship from Kingston Navy Dockyard in what is now Ontario. Bigger than HMS Victory, Admiral Nelson’s flagship at Trafalgar, the St. Lawrence is the biggest wooden ship built for fresh water sailing and upends the naval balance of power on Lake Ontario. The big ship will see no action, however, as the war has largely moved south to the Gulf of Mexico.

October 11

The American relief force sent to break the siege of Fort Erie finally arrives on the scene, but the British have already departed. General George Izzard, commander of the U.S. Northern Army, has marched over from Sackets Harbor, New York with more than 4,000 men. Back in August, then-Secretary of War John Armstrong orders Izzard — who was based at Plattsburgh awaiting a British attack on Lake Champlain – to take 4,000 men and march to Sacket’s Harbor, which Armstrong fears is vulnerable to a British amphibious assault. The move leaves Plattsburgh with less than 2,000 troops to defend the vital Lake Champlain Valley. In September he is ordered to relieve Major General Brown and his troops at Fort Erie.

Combined with the Fort Erie defenders, Izard decides he has overwhelming numerical superiority to the retreating British. After two days’ delay, he heads north on the Canadian side of the Niagara River to intercept the retreating British commanded by Lieutenant General Gordon Drummond.

Northern Frontier 1812-1814 (Map: U.S. Army Center of Military History)

Northern Frontier 1812-1814
(Map: U.S. Army Center of Military History)

Be sure to click on the map to enlarge the image. Lake Champlain and Plattsburgh are on the far right. You can follow the St. Lawrence River Southwest (to the left) past Sacket’s Harbor and Kingston on Lake Ontario. Then continue West to Fort Erie and the Niagara River (towards the middle of the map). Put in Bay is where the Battle of Lake Erie was fought in 1813, followed by the Battle of Thames (Moraviantown) a few weeks later.

October 6, 2014 at 1:35 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (October 3, 2014)

Blowing Off Steam.

 U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joshua Card

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joshua Card

How big is the hangar deck of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier? Big enough to store and work on the jets and other aircraft — and still have plenty of room for a half court basketball game.

This photo was taken on the carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). The basketball team practicing their passing game is called the Avengers. Make sure you click on the photo to enlarge the image.

The Navy says the George H.W. Bush is supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. But if you click on this link, you will see how busy the flight deck and crew is — supporting air strikes against the murderous extremist group that calls itself the Islamic State — in Syria and the Levant (ISIL)  or Iraq and Syria (ISIS) depending on whom you’re talking to. No wonder these sailors are letting off a little steam.

And it’s important to remember that even below deck, not everyone is off duty at the same time.

Aviation Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Catherine Byron performs maintenance on a jet engine aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77).  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian Stephens)

Aviation Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class Catherine Byron performs maintenance on a jet engine aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77).
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian Stephens)

 

October 3, 2014 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

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