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USS WASP (LHD 1) MAINTENANCE, MODERNIZATION AND REPAIR CONTRACT SET
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
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USS Wasp (LHD 1)

.Source: US Navy


USS Wasp (LHD 1)

Source: US Navy


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NORFOLK, Va. -- BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair has been awarded a $197,452,828, firm-fixed-price contract, from the United States Navy, for the execution of the USS Wasp (LHD 1) fiscal 2021 Chief of Naval Operations scheduled docking selected restricted availability. This availability will include a combination of maintenance, modernization and repair of USS Wasp (LHD 1).

This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value to $237,765,941.

Work will be performed in Norfolk, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by May 2022.

Fiscal 2021 operation and maintenance (Navy) (97.2%); and fiscal 2021 other procurement (Navy) (2.8%) funding in the amount of $197,452,828 will be obligated at contract award, of which funding in the amount of $191,836,933 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured using full and open competition via the Federal Business Opportunities website with one offer received in response to Solicitation No. N00024-20-R-4404.

The U.S. Navy's Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity. The contract award number is N00024-21-C-4404.

Source:  U.S. DoD
Associated URL: Click here to visit
Author: U.S. DoD 

 
FLIGHT TESTS TO SHOW B61-12 WILL WORK ON AIR FORCE'S F-35A
Monday, November 23, 2020
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An F-35A drops a B61-12 over Sandia's Tonopah Test Range

.Source: Sandia National Laboratories


An F-35A drops a B61-12 over Sandia's Tonopah Test Range

Source: Sandia National Laboratories


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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A mock B61-12’s strike in the dusty Nevada desert successfully completed the first in a series of flight tests with the U.S. Air Force’s newest fighter jet, demonstrating the bomb’s first release from an internal bomb bay at greater than the speed of sound.

An F-35A Lightning II opens its bomb bay doors and drops a mock B61-12 at Sandia National Laboratories’ Tonopah Test Range. Media can download test flight footage here. (Photo courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories) Click the thumbnail for a larger image.

The flight test of the B61-12 with the F-35A Lightning II this summer was the first ever at Sandia National Laboratories’ Tonopah Test Range featuring the fighter jet. It was also the first of a testing series that will conclude with full-weapon systems demonstrations designed to increase confidence the bomb will always work when needed and never under any other circumstances.

"We’re showing the B61-12’s larger compatibility and broader versatility for the country’s nuclear deterrent, and we’re doing it in the world of COVID-19," said Steven Samuels, a manager with Sandia’s B61-12 Systems Team. "We’re not slowing down. We’re still moving forward with the B61-12 compatibility activities on different platforms."

In partnership with the National Nuclear Security Administration, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Air Force, Sandia completed a B61-12 full-weapon system demonstration with the F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jet in March, and another in July with the Air Force’s B-2 Spirit bomber.

Sandia is the design and engineering lab for non-nuclear components of the nation’s nuclear stockpile, including the B61-12. In addition to non-nuclear component development, Sandia serves as the technical integrator for the complete weapon, assuring the system meets requirements as a full-weapon system.

Showing the bomb’s real-world capability

During the Aug. 25 flight test, an F-35A flying faster than the speed of sound dropped a B61-12 - containing non-nuclear and mock nuclear components - from about 10,500 feet above Tonopah Test Range. The inert B61-12 struck the desert floor in the designated target area about 42 seconds later.

"We successfully executed this historic, first-ever F-35A flight test at Tonopah Test Range within the specified delivery criteria," said Brian Adkins, range manager at TTR.

"The success of this test, as with all other weapons evaluations, is only possible through the detailed planning, combined with full collaboration between TTR and the program engineers, and the execution of the test evolution by the field operators and recovery specialists in the combined team of Sandia and TTR’s operations and maintenance subcontractor, Navarro Research and Engineering," he said. "With the multiple phases and operational activities a test involves, the team at TTR is diligent to integrate safety and security into all segments to ensure proper precautions are implemented for mission success."

Coordination between Sandia, Los Alamos, the NNSA and the Air Force made the flight test possible, and initial data shows that all systems and interfaces between the refurbished bomb and the F-35A worked as expected.

Unlike previous fighter jets, the F-35A carries the bomb internally. The recent flight test was the first demonstration of a fully instrumented B61-12 release from an internal bomb bay on a fighter and the first such release at speeds of Mach 1 or greater, Samuels said.

"This was the first test to exercise all systems, including mechanical, electrical, communication and release between the B61-12 and the F-35A," he said.

The test also came amidst now commonplace COVID-19 workplace restrictions, which can make planning more difficult but are not slowing down Sandia’s important mission work, said B61-12 program senior manager Christine Mitchell. "Sandia National Labs, Los Alamos National Laboratory, NNSA and our Air Force partners are working diligently to ensure F-35A major milestones stay on track, despite the challenges presented by COVID-19."

"The latest test is a critical piece in the F-35A and B61-12 program," Samuels said. "Aboard the newest fighter, the B61-12 provides a strong piece of the overall nuclear deterrence strategy for our country and our allies."

Sandia design and engineering is integral to B61-12 Life Extension Program

The compatibility testing is an essential part of the B61-12 Life Extension Program to refurbish, reuse or replace components, extend the bomb’s service life, and improve its safety, security and effectiveness.

A life extension program allows scientists and engineers to address the aging of nuclear weapons components. Some components are requalified and go back into a weapon without change; others that have aged are remanufactured using the original specifications; and sometimes the original technology is no longer available, so Sandia redesigns those parts using modern technology.

The first B61 entered service 50 years ago, and over the decades numerous modifications have been made to increase safety and reliability. The B61-12 consolidates and replaces most of the previous variants. The National Nuclear Security Administration recently announced plans to manufacture the first refurbished B61-12 in fiscal year 2022.

Source:  Sandia National Laboratories
Associated URL: Click here to visit

 
GLOBAL POWER BOMBER CTF CONDUCTS B-1B EXTERNAL CAPTIVE CARRY DEMONSTRATION
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
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.Source: US Air Force


Source: US Air Force


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EDWARDS AFB, Calif. -- The B-1B Lancer's expanded carriage capabilities comes one step closer to fruition following an external captive carry flight over the skies of Edwards Air Force Base, California, Nov. 20.

The flight featured a B -1B Lancer assigned to the 412th Test Wing's 419th Flight Test Squadron, Global Power Combined Test Force, and carried an inert Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile under an external pylon for the first time.

This demonstration may pave the way possibly for the B-1B to carry hypersonic weapons externally.

"Adapting a small number of our healthiest B-1s to carry hypersonic weapons is vital to bridge between the bomber force we have today, to the force of tomorrow," said Gen. Tim Ray, Air Force Global Strike Command commander. "This is a major step forward in our global precision fires capability and it is important we pursue these technologies to remain ahead of our competitors. My goal is to have a limited number of B-1s modified to become the roving linebacker of the western Pacific and the North Atlantic."

The captive carry flight was the culmination of the numerous ground tests that began with last year's expanded carriage demonstration that included a modified internal bomb bay, which featured a moveable bulkhead. The demonstration showcased a configuration of the B-1 that would allow the aircraft to carry larger-sized weapons both internally and externally.

"We're essentially displaying our external weapons carriage capability," said Maj. Bret Cunningham, a B-1B test pilot with the 419th FLTS. "We have a JASSM weapon on what is traditionally the targeting pod pylon on the forward right hard point, so we are demonstrating that the B-1 has the capability to carry weapons and employ them externally."

This extensive engineering review will help the Air Force understand areas where it needs to focus on to maintain the B-1B as a multi-mission weapon system, potentially laying the groundwork for integration of future weapons on the aircraft.

The B-1B was initially designed to incorporate a moveable bulkhead and usable external hard points for its original nuclear mission, however the U.S. shifted the Lancer’s mission to conventional weapons in 1994. The physical conversion to conventional-only armaments started in 2007 with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), and was finished in 2011.

The current expanded carriage demonstrations will keep the aircraft compliant with the New START agreement, which means the Lancer can once again utilize those features while delivering conventional weapons.

"Since the long bay demo last year this has really been our key focus point in 2020; getting ready for this external weapons release demo as kind of the next step in that progression towards external weapons carriage and hypersonic capabilities for the B-1," Cunningham said. "We're pretty close to the culmination of this demo event and reaching that next milestone."

The demonstration could mean a potential boon for combatant commanders as the increase in weapons stores remedies an immediate shortfall due to the limited number of strategic bombers. The proposed increase in capacity means that two bombers would equal to three bombers' worth of weapons.

Following the captive carry mission, engineers will then review the data gathered from the flight before moving on to the next of phase of the demonstration; an external weapons release.

"For us, we're looking to do this safely, since this is the first time we will release a weapon from the external hard point in over 30 years," said Agustin Martinez, project test lead. "So we pretty much focused on doing a safe build up approach…to make sure the JASSM and the B-1 are communicating correctly; the JASSM has correct surface deployment timelines so once it does get released it will safely separate."

Engineers within the Air Force Test Center enterprise, B-1 system program office and Boeing will verify both the weapon's and pylon’s integration with the B-1B. They are also interested in the physical effects, software, and flying qualities of the new shape on the outer mold line of the aircraft, Cunningham explained.

"The Air Force Test Center is enthusiastically teaming with Global Strike to enable greater flexibility in B-1B operational payloads," said Maj. Gen. Christopher Azzano, AFTC commander. "The external carriage and long-bay mods reflect our ability to keep weapon systems relevant with mid-life upgrades."

AFTC has a long history of certifying external carriage weapons, Azzano added.

That history of test success and uniqueness of the mission is not lost on testers such as Cunningham and his B-1B flight crew.

"This is a great example of how we are accelerating change to meet our adversaries, and the engineers and operators should be commended for their work in getting this demonstration completed," Ray added. "We will continue to invest in and modernize the bomber fleet while increasing the lethality of our global precision fires to be anywhere and anytime."

This demonstration does not affect the Air Force’s request to retire 17 B-1B bombers in 2021.

Source:  U.S. Air Force
Associated URL: Click here to visit

 

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