Tag Archives: U.S. Navy

Powering the Pivot

RIMPAC 2014 PHOTOEX

Operational Energy in the Asia-Pacific Theater

The U.S. military will confront different operational energy challenges as large numbers of forces transition from Central Command towards the Pacific region. To explain these changes, DoD Power & Energy Editor George Jagels spoke with Dr. Stacy Closson, who recently co-authored a report for the Center for National Policy entitled “Rebalance to Asia: Implications for U.S. Military Energy Use.”

Dr. Closson is an Assistant Professor at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce and formerly worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. She is a Truman National Security Fellow and was named by the Atlantic Council an Emerging Leader of Environmental and Energy Policy.

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The Charlie Takes Off

pgL_MQ-10027_017

By George Jagels

As the only DoD Program of Record for unmanned vertical takeoff and landing, and one tied to a major but downsizing Navy acquisition project, the Littoral Combat Ship, the Fire Scout is under quite a bit of performance and budgetary pressure. The Navy has purchased 17 of the new MQ-8C variant, but zeroed out acquisition from 2014-2019 in its most recent budget request.

Admiral Mathias Winter, the Navy’s Program Executive Officer for Unmanned Strike Weapons, said that his service’s budget still requests procurement funding for ground control stations (GCSs) and other essential equipment to operate the C variant. “The reason you see zero quantities in [the budget] is because with the 23 MQ-8Bs and 17 MQ-8Cs we already purchased, based on LCS deployments that is enough air vehicles for now,” he said. An LCS can hold two MQ-8Cs and an MH-60S Seahawk.

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Securing the Skies: How Will the U.S. Military Fend Off Unmanned Systems?

This article first appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of Unmanned Tech Solutions.

By George Jagels

If they ever existed, the days of an American monopoly on military unmanned aerial systems (UAS) are surely over. While many countries building new systems are NATO members or longtime U.S. allies, some are not: China, Russia, and Iran produce UAS of varying degrees of sophistication. Much like in the recent past, the Pentagon must deal with both a foreign military challenge—at least 76 states now possess UAVs—and a more asymmetric threat. With  growing capabilities of small UAS comes greater access for non-state actors such as terrorist groups and drug cartels. This still-murky asymmetric threat—particularly as U.S. airpower remains unquestioned—presents an interesting challenge for the Pentagon.

Though the services were unable to comment on much of their counter-UAS doctrine and programs, they are developing them. Since 2010, an annual joint exercise called “Black Dart” has tested capabilities on this front. Late last year, the Army held a meeting at Fort Sill, OK, with allied and industry representatives to discuss countering enemy UAVs. The Navy will deploy a laser weapon system designed to destroy missiles and pilotless aircraft to the Persian Gulf next year.
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