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AIRCRAFT COMPATIBILITY TESTING BEGINS ABOARD USS GERALD R. FORD
Thursday, January 16, 2020
ATLANTIC OCEAN -- The aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) departed its homeport of Norfolk, Jan. 16 to begin Aircraft Compatibility Testing (ACT) off the East Coast as the first aircraft, an E-2D landed, on board.

ACT continues the at-sea testing of Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) - two Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment (ALRE) systems unique to Ford - previously conducted in 2018 by the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet.

During this upcoming phase of ACT, compatibility testing will include: T-45 Goshawks, F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets, and E/A-18G Growlers from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 (VX-23); and E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes and C-2A Greyhounds, from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 20 (VX-20). This will be the first time the T-45, E-2D, C-2A and E/A-18G aircraft will launch and recover from the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier.

Ford last flew aircraft in January 2018 and has 747 launches and arrestments to date. This round of testing will allow the crew to further test the improvements made during its post-shakedown availability (PSA) at Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding while also allowing the crew to gain experience on these unique systems.

EMALS is the launch system of choice for Ford and all future Ford-class aircraft carriers. Its mission and function remains the same as traditional steam catapults; however, it employs entirely different technologies. EMALS uses stored kinetic energy and solid-state electrical power conversion. This technology permits a high degree of computer control, monitoring and automation. The system will also provide the capability for launching all current and future carrier air wing platforms - lightweight unmanned to heavy strike fighters.

The software-controlled AAG is a modular, integrated system that consists of energy absorbers, power conditioning equipment and digital controls, with architecture that provides built-in test and diagnostics, resulting in lower maintenance and manpower requirements. AAG is designed to provide higher reliability, increased safety margins and reduce the fatigue impact load on aircraft. Similar to EMALS, it will also allow for the arrestment of all current and future air wing assets.

The information captured during ACT will continue to inform improvements and modifications for Ford and follow-on Ford-class of aircraft carriers.

Source:  U.S. Navy
Associated URL: Click here to visit

 
CBO REPORT: THE COST OF REPLACING THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE’S CURRENT AVIATION FLEET
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Air Force, Army, and Department of the Navy-which includes the Navy and the Marine Corps-operate large fleets of aircraft. The Congressional Budget Office produced three reports about those fleets, projecting the number and costs of aircraft the Department of Defense (DoD) would need to procure to maintain the fleets’ current size through 2050. In a new report, CBO synthesizes the information in the three reports and compares the military services’ procurement costs.

The Air Force’s fleet is much older, on average, than those of the Army and the Department of the Navy. If the Air Force maintained its current fleet size, CBO estimates, its costs for procuring aircraft in upcoming years would rise considerably. Those increases would result in an overall increase in DoD’s costs for procuring aircraft, CBO projects. Between 2000 and 2018, DoD’s annual costs for procuring aircraft averaged about $26 billion (in 2018 dollars); CBO projects that the costs of DoD’s procurement plans would average $40 billion in the 2030s.

Source:  CBO
Associated URL: Click here to visit

 
U.S. COAST GUARD MH-65 PROGRAM MOVES INTO FULL RATE PRODUCTION
Thursday, January 16, 2020
ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. -- The U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 short range recovery helicopter program began full rate production of the MH-65E configuration Nov. 21, 2019, with the transfer of CGNR 6522 to the Aviation Logistics Center (ALC) in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Two additional aircraft - CGNR 6514 and CGNR 6593- were transferred to the ALC production line in December 2019 and one - CGNR 6507 - was transferred in January 2020. The program is executing concurrent Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) work and avionics upgrades for the MH-65E conversion on the entire fleet.

Full rate production means that the ALC will transition to producing MH-65Es at a rate of 22 aircraft per year.

The avionics upgrades include reliability and capability improvements for the Automatic Flight Control System; installation of a digital cockpit display system and an upgraded digital weather/surface search radar; integration of a robust command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance suite; and modernization of the digital flight deck with Common Avionics Architecture System, common with the Coast Guard H-60 medium range recovery helicopter and similar Department of Defense aircraft. Once the upgrades are complete, the helicopter is redesignated an MH-65E.

At the same time, the Coast Guard is completing SLEP activities to replace five major structure components: the nine-degree frame, canopy, center console floor assembly, floorboards and side panels. These mission-critical improvements are designed to extend the service life of the helicopter by 10,000 flight hours.

The avionics upgrades and SLEP are being completed at the same time to achieve schedule and cost efficiencies.

The Coast Guard plans to convert all 98 aircraft to the MH-65E configuration by fiscal year 2024.

Source:  U.S. Coast Guard
Associated URL: Click here to visit

 

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