Heart breaker, soul shaker
I’ve been told about you
Steamroller, midnight stroller
What they’ve been saying must be true

Talkin’ jivey, poison ivy
You ain’t gonna cling to me
Man taker, born faker
I ain’t so blind I can’t see

China’s J-20 Stealth Fighter In Taxi Tests

Aviation Week – By Bill Sweetman

…The J-20 is a single-seat, twin-engine aircraft, bigger and heavier than the Sukhoi T-50 and the F-22. Comparison with ground-service vehicles points to an overall length of 75 ft. and a wingspan of 45 ft. or more, which would suggest a takeoff weight in the 75,000-80,000-lb. class with no external load. That in turn implies a generous internal fuel capacity. The overall length is close to that of the 1960s General Dynamics F-111, which carries 34,000 lb. of fuel.

The J-20 has a canard delta layout (like Chengdu’s J-10) with two canted, all-moving vertical stabilizers (like the T-50) and smaller canted ventral fins. The stealth body shaping is similar to that of the F-22. The flat body sides are aligned with the canted tails, the wing-body junction is clean, and there is a sharp chine line around the forward fuselage. The cant angles are greater than they are on the Lockheed Martin F-35, and the frameless canopy is similar to that of the F-22.

The engines are most likely members of the Russian Saturn AL-31F family, also used on the J-10. The production version will require yet-to-mature indigenous engines. The inlets use diverterless supersonic inlet (DSI) technology, first adopted for the F-35 but also used by Chengdu on the J-10B—the newest version of the J-10—and the Sino-Pakistani JF-17 Thunder.

The main landing gears retract into body-side bays, indicating the likely presence of F-22-style side weapon bays ahead of them. The ground clearance is higher than on the F-22, which would facilitate loading larger weapons including air-to-surface munitions. Chinese engineers at the Zhuhai air show in November disclosed that newly developed air-to-ground weapons are now required to be compatible with the J-20.

Features at the rear of the aircraft—including underwing actuator fairings, axisymmetrical engine exhausts and the ventral fins—appear less compatible with stealth, so the J-20 may not match the all-aspect stealth of the F-22. There are two possible explanations for this: Either the aircraft seen here is the first step toward an operational design, or China’s requirements do not place as much stress on rear-aspect signatures.

The major open question at this point is whether the J-20 is a true prototype, like the T-50, or a technology demonstrator, with a status similar to the YF-22 flown in 1990. That question will be answered by whether, and how many, further J-20s enter flight testing in the next 12-24 months…

A rapid development program would be a challenge for China’s combat aircraft industry, which is currently busy: The J-10B, FC-17 and Shenyang’s J-11B and carrier-based J-15 are all under development. However, the progress of China’s military aviation technology has been rapid since the first flight of the J-10 in 1996, owing to the nation’s growing economy and the push by the People’s Liberation Army for a modernized military force in all domains. Before the J-10, China’s only indigenous production combat aircraft were the Shenyang J-8 and Xian JH-7, reflecting early-1960s technology from Russia and Europe.

Engine development has lagged airframe development, with reports that the Shenyang WS-10 engine, slated to replace Russian engines in the J-11B, has been slow to reach acceptable reliability and durability levels. That may not be surprising, given that high-performance engine technology is founded on specialized alloys and processes that often have no other uses. (The existence of the J-11B, essentially a “bootleg” version of the Su-27, has been a strain on relationships between the Russian and Chinese industries.)

Progress with avionics may be indicated by the advent of the J-10B, with new features that include a canted radar bulkhead (normally associated with an active, electronically scanned array antenna), an infrared search-and-track system, and housings for new electronic warfare antennas.

One question that may go unanswered for a long time concerns the degree to which cyberespionage has aided the development of the J-20. U.S. defense industry cybersecurity experts have cited 2006—close to the date when the J-20 program would have started—as the point at which they became aware of what was later named the advanced persistent threat (APT), a campaign of cyberintrusion aimed primarily at military and defense industries and characterized by sophisticated infiltration and exfiltration techniques…

Related (Air Power Australia): What China’s New J-20 Stealth Fighter Means for the F-35 JSF and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet

U.S. commander says China aims to be a ‘global military’ power

Asahi Shimbun – BY YOICHI KATO

HONOLULU–Adm. Robert Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, said he believes that China aspires to become a “global military (power)” by extending its influence beyond its regional waters. “In the capabilities that we’re seeing develop, that is fairly obvious,” Willard told The Asahi Shimbun in a recent exclusive interview in Hawaii.

“They are focused presently on what they term their ‘near seas’–the Bohai, Yellow Sea, South China Sea, East China Sea,” he said. “(But) I think they have an interest in being able to influence beyond that point.” Willard also said he believes that China’s anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) system, known as “aircraft carrier killer,” has achieved initial operational capability (IOC), even though “it will continue to undergo testing ・for several more years.” The full text of the interview follows:

Question: What is your assessment of the current situation in the Korean Peninsula? Are the tense moments behind us? What kind of military posture and deployment do you maintain, and will there be any change because of the change of situation?

Answer: As we both know, there was not a response from the North Koreans to the artillery exercise that was conducted by the Republic of Korea on Dec. 20. Given that the South Koreans had been attacked two times by North Korea, I thought Ambassador Susan Rice, our ambassador to the United Nations, put it very well when she said that to everyone it should be obvious why the Republic of Korea feels it necessary to maintain their military readiness through the exercise of their military forces.

I think, for now, we’re past this particular crisis, but we have no doubt, given North Korea’s history, that a next provocation is readied. It’s a matter of assessing how it might be deterred or how the North Koreans might be dissuaded from exercising the next provocation. We think the U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance is part of that deterrence effort. We think the international community and China in particular are another part of it.

Q: Looking at what happened in the Cheonan incident and also the recent shelling of the island, some people ask whether deterrence is effective and if it’s working. Are the North Koreans deterred?

A: There are various levels of deterrence. For 60 years, we’ve successfully deterred war on the Korean Peninsula. The U.S.-ROK alliance, 30,000 U.S. soldiers, the command structure, the advances in the Republic of Korea military, all of those things together have been a successful deterrent across the DMZ and have enabled us to maintain this armistice for many decades.

That said, the other forms of deterrence, deterring their nuclear weapon advancements, denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, our ability to deter that development has not been successful to date, and likewise, in this instance, our ability to deter a series of provocations has not been particularly successful.

We don’t know what we’re able to prevent, given the closed nature of North Korea, but it shouldn’t stop us from continuing to attempt to posture ourselves and to have the international community apply what levers they can to try and deter the next provocations.

Q: In March, you told the Senate Armed Services Committee, “China’s rapid and comprehensive transformation of its armed forces is affecting regional military balances.” Could you elaborate on how China’s military expansion is affecting the regional military balance?

A: Two ways. In one sense, the tremendous advancement in China’s military itself is shifting the overall balance of military powers in the region. It’s been rare in history that any country underpinned by the kind of economic power that China possesses has developed its military so rapidly.

But at the same time, the other countries in the Asia-Pacific region that are troubled by and uncertain of China’s intentions are also advancing their own military capabilities, and this is particularly true in the acquisition of submarines and advanced aircraft. We’re seeing not only China advance, but (also) the other militaries in the region that can afford it seek to advance alongside.

Q: Do you think that kind of procurement, or arms race, is detrimental to stability? Or is it better to have other countries procure a certain level of weapon systems to balance out China’s expansion?

A: I think that’s a very fair question. I think that the nations in the region have a responsibility to be able to maintain security within their territory, and not all of the nations in the Asia-Pacific are self-sufficient militarily. To an extent, the acquisition of systems (and) the advancement of our regional militaries will assist all of us in sharing the responsibility to maintain security across Asia-Pacific.

To the extent the acquisitions are specifically to counter China or any other nation’s growing military, it would raise the question whether or not those acquisitions are properly balanced to achieve self-sufficiency or whether it’s targeted against counter-balancing other military powers.

Q: Is the strategic balance in the region tipping toward China’s favor because of its military expansion?

A: Well, when you say “strategic balance,” you and I would have to help define that because there’s more to strategic balance than just a growing military. I would say that the military balance is undoubtedly shifting as China’s military expands faster than other regional nations, but the strategic balance remains in flux. And again, there is an economic factor in that. There is a diplomatic factor in that. There is a military factor in that. (And) there is an economic factor associated with that.

When we talk strategic balance, we have to talk about relative influence in the international community globally. China bears a responsibility, given its growing economic power, growing diplomatic power globally and growing military, to be a greater contributor to the overall security–of not only the Asia-Pacific but elsewhere–brought about by its many elements of national power. Japan and the United States, two longstanding economic powers, are good examples of nations that have achieved a strategic balance in the world and are meeting many of their global responsibilities.

Q: Let me go into China’s anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) capabilities. What is the current status of China’s anti-ship ballistic missile development, and how close is it to actual operational deployment?

A: The anti-ship ballistic missile system in China has undergone extensive testing. An analogy using a Western term would be “initial operational capability,” whereby it has–I think China would perceive that it has–an operational capability now, but they continue to develop it. It will continue to undergo testing, I would imagine, for several more years.

Q: China has achieved IOC?

A: You would have to ask China that, but as we see the development of the system, their acknowledging the system in open press reporting and the continued testing of the system, I would gauge it as about the equivalent of a U.S. system that has achieved IOC.

Q: Has China already perfected the technology to fly that missile and also the sensor systems for targeting? Has the entire system integration been completed?

A: Typically, to have something that would be regarded as in its early operational stage would require that that system be able to accomplish its flight pattern as designed, by and large.

Q: But they have not conducted the actual flight test or the test to attack moving ships yet, have they?

A: We have not seen an over-water test of the entire system.

Q: But do you believe they already have that capability?

A: I think that the component parts of the anti-ship ballistic missile have been developed and tested.

Q: Is it a bigger threat to the United States than submarines in terms of their A2/AD capabilities?

A: No, I don’t think so. Anti-access/area denial, which is a term that was relatively recently coined, is attempting to represent an entire range of capabilities and capacities that China has developed and that other countries have developed. It’s not exclusively China that has what is now being referred to as A2/AD capability. But in China’s case, it’s a combination of integrated air defense systems, advanced naval systems such as the submarine, advanced ballistic missile systems such as the anti-ship ballistic missile, as well as power projection systems into the region.

The anti-access/area denial systems, more or less, range countries, archipelagos such as Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam, so there are many countries in the region that are falling within the envelope of this, of an A2/AD capability of China. That should be concerning–and we know is concerning–to those countries. While it may be largely designed to assure China of its ability to affect military operations within its regional waters, it is an expanded capability that ranges beyond the first island chain and overlaps countries in the region. For that reason, it is concerning to Southeast Asia, (and) it remains concerning to the United States.

Q: Do you think China already has the area denial capability inside of the first island chain?

A: I think they are growing the capability inside of the first island chain. There is not one system that connotes an A2/AD capability. It’s multiple systems. Some of those systems have the range capability to encompass the first island chain. Other aspects of A2/AD do not. To the extent that China is developing that capability, it is in development and advancing. I think that eventually, it’s very likely that it will encompass what China is referring to as the “near seas,” that extend to the first island chain.

Q: What’s the impact of China’s growing A2/AD capabilities on the power projection capability of the United States? Is the U.S. power projection capability deteriorating because of China’s A2/AD capability?

A: No, I don’t think so. Certainly, this kind of capability should be a concern to the region, and it poses a challenge to any naval or air operations that would be conducted in that area were it to be employed.

Is it affecting my operations today? Not at all. Were it to pose a challenge to the United States, I’m confident that I have the capability to operate in that air space and water space.

Q: It may have an impact on the U.S. power projection in the years to come, but at present, there is no impact at all, right?

A: I would say that it’s my responsibility to assure that the U.S. capabilities pace those kind of challenges, and we’re endeavoring to do that.

Q: In 1996, China launched missiles over Taiwan to influence its election; the United States sent two carrier battle groups close to Taiwan. Some experts say the United States cannot do that anymore unless you are ready to take a lot of risks because of China’s A2/AD capabilities. Is it a fair statement to say you have to run much bigger risks to conduct the same kind of operations near Taiwan now compared with 1996?

A: The anti-access/area denial capabilities, fully employed, will present a challenge to military operations in the region. That will have to be overcome.

Q: The next topic is the collision off the Senkaku Islands. What should we read into the recent Senkaku incident between Japan and China in terms of China’s maritime strategy or expansion?

A: Clearly, China has articulated broad claims, both in the South China Sea and the East China Sea, and as a consequence of that, the Senkakus fall into (those) claims, as we all know, and remain a contested area between Japan and China. For the United States, we don’t take sides in those contested claims areas but rather leave it to the claimants to solve the sovereignty issue between themselves.

That said, in the case of the Senkakus, and regardless of the blame regarding the actual incident that occurred between the fisherman and the Japanese Coast Guard, China’s subsequent actions were illustrative, both to Japan, to us in our observation, and to the region, regarding their willingness to be very assertive regarding those claims.

From the detention of Japanese representatives that were in China to the suspension of rare earth mineral contracts, it was clear that China had intended to exert a number of levers in order to very strongly establish its position regarding the claim and the incident itself. At the end of the day, that was a signal to the region, and I think it was certainly eye-opening enough to raise concerns in ASEAN and in some of the dialogue that occurred subsequent to that.

Q: Don’t you think it backfired?

A: In a way, yes. It appeared to be overplayed and, as a consequence, revealed a great deal to many of the countries, such as that they will be guarded regarding their exposure or their vulnerability to levers such as (the ones) China was exerting.

Q: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Senkakus fall within the scope of Article Five of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. Don’t you think it is necessary for Japan and the United States to work out a joint operation plan for contingencies and conduct a joint exercise based on that plan?

A: First, Secretary Clinton was articulating a longstanding obligation that the United States has, so the fact that an administered set of islands falls under Article Five is not new. To the extent that Pacific Command is obligated to coordinate the defense of Japan with the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and that the U.S. government and the Japanese government are obligated to come together in issues regarding defense of Japan, again (it) is longstanding.

General (Ryoichi) Oriki, (chief of staff, joint staff of the Self-Defense Forces), and I are obligated to discuss my defense relationship and obligations as it pertains to our treaty together and plan accordingly.

Q: So is there going to be planning?

A: There is constant planning (for overall defense of Japan).

Q: The next subject is the air-sea battle concept. It got a lot of attention in Japan when it appeared in the Quadrennial Defense Review, but it hasn’t been clearly explained by the United States. Can you tell us what the joint air-sea battle concept is?

A: There was formerly a ground-air battle construct between our Army and our Air Force that was an effort some years back to more optimally combine the capabilities of our Army and the capabilities and capacities of our Air Force to optimize their ability to conduct joint warfare together.

This, similarly, is the same construct, related to our Navy and our Air Force. The secretary of defense was interested in ensuring that all the things that we’re procuring in terms of future capabilities in our Air Force and our Navy have been optimally combined to achieve the maximum synergy that those two services can achieve in their operations together, and that’s what the study has been about and has accomplished.

This is attempting to optimize not only our current capabilities but our future capabilities together, so that when we are conducting joint warfare between those two services, it is maximizing the capability of both. They’ve added Marine Corps capabilities into it, and in the future, we’re going to add and complement Army’s capabilities as they relate to the maritime domain. At the end of the day, it’s about joint warfare at an even higher level than simply combining our current capabilities and establishing command relations accordingly. Rather, this is about ensuring that our capabilities are optimized and synergistic.

Q: Is it against the A2/AD challenge?

A: That is one of the challenges that it’s designed to be optimized against, but it’s much more general than that. It’s trying to maximize the capability of the two services in any environment. If anti-access/area denial environments are considered to be a particular challenge, then it would optimize the two services’ ability to operate within that kind of an environment.

Q: How does it apply to the Western Pacific or Asia-Pacific in your area of operational responsibility (AOR)? What kind of change are we going to see?

A: The Asia-Pacific AOR is inherently maritime. Look at the Japanese archipelago as an example. It’s an inherently maritime environment, where naval forces and air forces become particularly important in addressing contingencies throughout this region.

As a consequence, the end result of this study and the actions that we take to optimize the naval and air contributions should benefit the Asia-Pacific as much as any other area of responsibility in the world.

Q: What kind of role do you expect Japan to play in this air-sea battle concept?

A: I would hope that, at the point in time when it’s matured enough, that we’ll have that discussion with the Japanese Self-Defense Forces in terms of assisting them in seeing the same benefits in combining the capabilities of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force.

We’ve learned a great deal through the course of this study and the development that’s resulting from it, and it should benefit our allies and partners as well.

Q: Japan has just renewed its National Defense Program Guidelines, a 10-year-long defense plan. One of the pillars is to shift the strategic focus from the north to the southwestern islands, including Okinawa. The idea is to enhance its role as a gatekeeper of those exits in the first island chain. Do you think this is the right way for Japan to shift its strategic focus?

A: In a discussion that I had with General Oriki, we were having a strategic-level discussion of the importance of maritime security (and) sea lines of communication in the region. He showed me a chart. It was a view from the coastline of China and Russia and Korea northward, or upward, to Japan. It was informative in terms of the expanse of the Japanese archipelago, and the relative importance of the East China Sea and South China Sea regions and the sea lines of communication to Japan.

General Oriki made the point to me that the East China Sea and South China Sea are vitally important to Japan and its economy for the purpose of the security of the commerce there.

The idea that Japan would balance Self-Defense Forces’ locations to try and optimize those regions that are of utmost importance to Japan’s economy makes very good sense.

Q: What is the main concern that the United States has for the South China Sea? Is it that the freedom of navigation along the sea lines of communication (SLOCs) would be jeopardized or is it that the South China Sea would be turned into what they call a “bastion” for China’s nuclear submarines equipped to launch ballistic missiles (SSBNs)?

A: It’s very much the sea lines of communication, the fact that this region of the world carries about something in excess of $5 trillion annually of commerce, $1.3 trillion of annual trade for the United States. Those sea lines of communication are exceedingly vital. They’re a national interest to the United States. I would offer they’re a national interest to Japan. And their safety is a major concern. The idea that any nation would become overly assertive in terms of its claims or in terms of its relative influence in the South China Sea, at the expense of the other nations who have that same commercial interest, is the issue at hand.

The ASEAN discussions–the ASEAN Regional Forum, the ASEAN Defense Minister Meeting Plus that occurred, the Shangri-la Dialogue, all of the multinational dialogue that occurred throughout 2010–that asserted the importance of the South China Sea, the importance of the sea lines of communication and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and the relative national interests in the South China Sea were illustrative of that point and, I think, represent the answer to your question.

Q: Some experts I’ve talked with in Washington have said that one of the reasons why China calls the South China Sea a “core interest,” but not the East China Sea, is because of this “SSBN bastion” theory. You don’t quite buy that?

A: I don’t. In fact, we would cast it a little bit differently. We would tell you that the South China Sea “contains” what China refers to as their “core interests,” both economically and from a sovereign standpoint. So does the East China Sea.

Q: What do you think is China’s strategy beyond Taiwan? Do you think they’re just pursuing sea control out to the second island chain or do you think they seek a larger strategic goal, even global hegemony?

A: I think China has global aspirations, and economically, socially, diplomatically and militarily, they are focused presently on what they term their “near seas”–the Bohai, Yellow Sea, South China Sea, East China Sea. They are interested in minimizing foreign military influence in that region, and that’s what we see occurring.

I think they have an interest in being able to influence beyond that point, and they have aspirations to eventually become a global military. In the capabilities that we’re seeing develop, that is fairly obvious.

Q: What’s the strategic chemistry between the United States and China, and is that a competition between the United States and China over primacy in the Asia-Pacific? How do you characterize the nature of the strategic chemistry or competition between the two countries?

A: There is an effort on the part of the United States to engage China. I think there is an effort on the part of China to engage the United States. And I think that it’s very broad. At the Strategic and Economic Dialogue that I attended with Secretary Clinton, I was struck by the very rich and mature engagement across many of our secretariats and many of China’s ministries and the depth of commitment that they both had to their dialogue.

On the military side, we’re relatively immature and behind in our relationship, and I think it affects the perception of that strategic relationship between the two nations. I think that one of the purposes of the restart of our mil-to-mil engagement, on the part of the United States, is to be convincing to the United States regarding the importance of maintaining a continuum of that dialogue so that eventually it can catch up to the other engagement that’s ongoing.

I think there are differences, frankly, in China’s overall approach, strategic approach, and there is divergence in some areas, convergence in others with those of the United States. In those areas of difference, I think the two nations have got to (engage in) dialogue and eventually work those out. When you say, “competition,” I would offer “engagement, with areas of divergence that ultimately have to be resolved between the two countries.”

Q: You said the mil-to-mil dialogue between the United States and China has resumed. But it’s been suspended over half a year because of the Taiwan arms sale. Japan has also experienced a similar suspension because of the Senkaku and other issues. How can we overcome this kind of on and off dialogue with China and make it into a continuum?

A: We need China’s cooperation to do that obviously. The appeal that I made was the relative risk associated with the on-again, off-again nature of mil-to-mil. As China becomes a more consequential military and as the United States and Japan continue to maintain their forward presence in the region, we will come into contact at an ever-increasing rate, and we are doing that now. Therefore, it becomes very important that there be no misunderstanding or no miscalculation between our militaries as they contact with one another.

During those periods when mil-to-mil relations are suspended and there’s no dialogue, we will tend to lose fractions of or whole generations of young officers and enlisted personnel who aren’t familiar with the other military. As a consequence, when they do come into contact, there is risk of misunderstanding, miscommunication and miscalculation.

It’s very important that we prevent that, and it’s a responsibility that China bears, as do we, to ensure that that military dialogue is a continuum. We’re making that appeal to them now. It’s appealing to their leadership and to their responsibility. But again, unless they’re willing to embrace it, it will be hard to overcome what has traditionally been an on-again, off-again experience with them.

Q: Regarding multilateral relationships, Japan is pursuing the enhancement of a security relationship with South Korea and is perhaps looking at some sort of a virtual Japan-U.S.-South Korea trilateral arrangement eventually. I understand the United States is very eager to develop this kind of relationship. Will you discuss how you see the potential of a Japan-South Korea-U.S. trilateral security arrangement?

A: First of all, I think it’s a natural fit. I mean, when you look at our three militaries, and the fact that the United States is allied with both the Republic of Korea and Japan, we’ve grown our militaries to be very complementary, very interoperable and very capable.

All three nations’ militaries are a match, if you will. All three nations are like-minded in many ways. From a security standpoint, we have similar objectives. It would seem natural that we would combine those capabilities and cooperate with one another to ensure the future security of Northeast Asia and, frankly, the broader Asia-Pacific.

In our view, it’s a natural trilateral security arrangement if we can overcome some differences (and) some policy gaps. The things that would enable us to bring three nations’ militaries, three nations’ security establishments, more closely together. That’s been the purpose of the dialogue that has been occurring. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with chiefs of defense of both nations. We’ve had those similar dialogues at the ministerial level and higher. We’re eager to see this advance. I think Japan has been very forward-leaning. We’re encouraged by Korea’s willingness to engage as well.

Small things, like Japanese observers in the recent Sea of Japan exercise, or Korean observers invited into Keen Sword. Those are very positive steps to bring our three militaries together, and when we do come together, all three of us will find ourselves very similar in capability and very like-minded in terms of our military objectives.

Q: What is the impact of eventual operational control (opcon) transfer from the United States to South Korea, upon the future command structure of the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM)? Will it change the status of United States Forces Japan, which is currently an administrative command, so that it can assume the command of, perhaps, Joint Task Force (JTF) in time of war?

A: Well, when you refer to operational control transition in 2015 in the Republic of Korea, that’s intended to address the relationship of Combined Forces Korea and the ROK military, such that Combined Forces Korea becomes a supporting command to the ROK in time of war.

Right now, the Republic of Korea Forces chop to, become under the operational command of, a United States general, in time of war. And we think that, after so many decades of development of the ROK military, that they’re more than capable of assuming the supported role in their own defense.

In terms of how that opcon transition will affect broader command relations in the region, I would only offer that I see potential in U.S. Forces Japan, as a command and staff, in assuming a more effective role in dialogue with the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and their needs insofar as defense of Japan is concerned.

I’ve been working with General Oriki to imagine, at the operational level of command, the kind of command structure that would meet his needs the best, and whether or not United States Forces Japan is the right staff to have that dialogue with. Those discussions continue.

We have a ways to go to see whether the shift in who’s supported and who’s supporting on the Korean Peninsula, what ripple effect that could have in PACOM. But right now I would offer that I regard USFJ (U.S. Forces Japan) very highly and a command with more potential, perhaps, than the administrative nature of its work in the past.

Related Links:

Quadrennial Defense Review Report February 2010 (PDF)

CSBA: Air Sea Battle A Point-of-Departure Operational Concept (PDF)

Female cadet makes it three generations of IAF pilots in her family

Lieutenant C. inherits the flying tradition from both her father and her maternal grandfather.

Haaretz – By Anshel Pfeffer

One of the cadets completing Israel Air Force flight school today has a rich aeronautical family history: She is the daughter and granddaughter of air force pilots, and her great-uncle was one of the most prominent commanders in the air force in the 1970s.

It’s not rare for pilots to be the sons of pilots, but Lieut. C., who is completing the pilot academy’s combat course, is the daughter and also the granddaughter of one. On her mother’s side, she is a descendant of the Harpazes of Kibbutz Mishmar Haemek; her grandfather, Oded Harpaz, enlisted in the Israeli army in 1951, and served in the light plane division after completing flight school. After military service, he worked in agriculture and flew fumigation planes besides working in the kibbutz avocado plantations. He died in a Piper plane crash at age 43, together with his oldest son, Guy, then a 21-year-old paratrooper.

Lieut. C. inherits the flying tradition from both sides of the family. Her father flew Phantom jets in the air force and is today an El Al pilot. Her mother works in education.

An additional close relative is Oded Harpaz’s brother, Col. Rami Harpaz (res. ), one of the leading IAF pilots in the ’60s and ’70s and one of the first to fly a Phantom; in 1969, during the War of Attrition, his plane was hit by a ground-to-air missile, and he was held in an Egyptian prison for three and a half years. Harpaz is one of the writers of the well-known “pilots translation” of “The Hobbit” by R.R. Tolkien, which they translated from English into Hebrew while in captivity. After his release, he continued to advance in the air force; his last post was as commander of the Ramat David base.

Three women are completing the pilot’s course this week (two pilots and one navigator ), which is an all-time high since the academy first accepted women 15 years ago. No woman has finished the course in the past 30 months, but according to a senior IAF officer, steps have been taken to raise the number of women who do so, mainly by encouraging women to enlist in the training courses that precede the pilot course.

A ceremony was held Tuesday at the Hazerim base, in which those completing the course received their ranks. Major General Ido Nechushtan, commander of the IAF, said that “a broad range [of cadets] finished the course and I am happy about these young women, who are all highly skilled.” Nechushtan mentioned that the number of women in the air force engineering staff was also rising.

Littoral Combat Ship Contract Award Announced

DoD Press Rlease No. 1186-10 – December 29, 2010

The Navy has awarded Lockheed Martin Corp. and Austal USA each a fixed-price incentive contract for the design and construction of a 10 ship block-buy, for a total of 20 littoral combat ships from fiscal 2010 through fiscal 2015.

The amount awarded to Lockheed Martin Corp. for fiscal 2010 littoral combat ships is $436,852,639.  The amount awarded to Austal USA for the fiscal 2010 littoral combat ships is $432,069,883.  Both contracts also include line items for nine additional ships, subject to Congressional appropriation of each year’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program requirements.  When all 10 ships of each block buy are awarded, the value of the ship construction portion of the two contracts would be $3,620,625,192 for Lockheed Martin Corp., and $3,518,156,851 for Austal USA.

The average cost of both variants including government-furnished equipment and margin for potential cost growth across the five year period is $440 million per ship.  The pricing for these ships falls well below the escalated average Congressional cost cap of $538 million.

“The awards represent a unique and valuable opportunity to lock in the benefits of competition and provide needed ships to our fleet in a timely and extraordinarily cost effective manner,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.

This award is a unique opportunity to maximize the buying power on the LCS Program by leveraging the highly effective competition between the bidders.  Each contractor’s 10-ship bids reflect mature designs, investments made to improve performance, stable production, and continuous labor learning at their respective shipyards.

The award was based on limited competition between teams led by Lockheed Martin and Austal USA.  Under these contracts, both shipbuilders will also deliver a technical data package as part of the dual award, allowing the government a wide range of viable alternatives for effective future competition.

This approach, which is self-financed within the program by adding a year to the procurement and utilizing a portion of the greater than $2 billion total savings (throughout the Future Years Defense Program), enables the Navy to efficiently produce these ships at an increased rate and meet operational requirements sooner.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead praised the Navy’s plan to add both ship designs to the fleet:  “The LCS is uniquely designed to win against 21st century threats in coastal waters posed by increasingly capable submarines, mines and swarming small craft.  Both designs provide the capabilities our Navy needs, and each offers unique features that will provide fleet commanders with a high level of flexibility in employing these ships.”

The innovation and willingness to seize opportunities displayed in this LCS competition reflect exactly the improvements to ‘the way we do business’ in order to deliver better value to the taxpayer and greater capability to the warfighter.  Moreover, the Navy’s LCS acquisition strategy meets the spirit and intent of the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009 and reflects the Navy’s commitment to affordability.  The benefits of competition, serial production, employment of mature technologies, design stability, fixed-price contracting, commonality, and economies of scale will provide a highly affordable ship construction program.

“The rigor and diligence of the source selection process has resulted in the acquisition of quality, capable ships at fair prices,” said Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition Sean Stackley.  “This dual award strategy exemplifies the Navy’s compliance with Secretary Gates’ and Under Secretary Carter’s direction to improve the buying power of the Defense Department.  Both teams have shown cost control on their second ships, and we look forward to the delivery of these capable fleet assets in the future.”

The Navy remains committed to a 55-ship program and the LCS is needed to fill critical, urgent warfighting requirements gaps that exist today.  The LCS Program is required to establish and maintain U.S. Navy dominance in the littorals and sea lanes of communication choke points around the world.  The LCS Program operational requirements have been virtually unchanged since the program’s inception in 2002 and the both hull forms will meet the Navy’s operational warfighting requirements.

Media may direct queries to the Navy Office of Information at 703-697-5342.

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