Latest posts

New Marine Aviation Plan Pushes Digital

Article by: Mallory Shelbourne - USNI News

 

THE PENTAGON — Key to Marines’ latest aviation plan is using the service’s aircraft to keep small units spread across small islands in the Western Pacific connected through a digital interoperability as it continues its modernization efforts for a lighter, more mobile force.

Following the initial iterations of the Force Design 2030 effort to modernize the service for its island-hopping strategy in regions like the Indo-Pacific, the Marine Corps has a plan to apply those modernization initiatives to aviation with digital links front and center.

“With respect to some of the changes you’ve seen … Force Design 2030 really drove a lot of them. And it also drove the reason why we took a couple of years off, as we started to make some adjustments in order to make sure we were articulating what Force Design was from the aviation perspective,” Lt. Gen. Mark Wise, the Marine Corps deputy commandant for aviation, told reporters on Monday. “And we put that into the programmatic speak of the document itself so that as it came out, it’s as good as the day that it was signed. But things are going to evolve over time and I would expect there would be some changes to next year as we go on, as there are almost every year with a programmatic document like this.”

Wise described his vision for digital interoperability as the “ability to build our own network locally in order to push information to that squad leader, platoon leader, that’s inside the aircraft on his way to a target area. And he’s actually getting real-time [situational awareness] as to what’s happening.”

 

Read more

Navy Wants to Buy Two Arleigh Burkes a Year While Developing DDG(C) Concept

By: Mallory Shelbourne

February 2, 2022 6:56 PM • Updated: February 5, 2022 11:14 AM

The Navy is committed to buying two Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyers per year in tandem with developing its new DDG(X) program, the top surface warfare requirements officer said Wednesday.

While the first priority for the Navy’s surface warfare division director on the chief of naval operations’ staff (OPNAV N96) is delivering the Arleigh Burke-class Flight III destroyers on time, the second priority is seeking a two-per-year cadence for large surface combatants.

“My next priority is related to the first and that is to budget for and build two large surface combatants a year, at a minimum. Two ships a year with a 35 to 40-year service life results in an objective force of 70 to 80 large surface combatants in our navy,” Rear Adm. Paul Schlise said during a speech at a symposium hosted by the American Society of Naval Engineers.

“And two ships a year provides the Navy with the multi-domain dominance it needs to support the security and prosperity of the United States and it ensures the health of our large shipbuilding industrial base, something that I cannot stress enough,” he added. “Strategic competition requires industrial might and we must take steps to ensure this capability is sustained.”

Schlise’s remarks come ahead of the Fiscal Year 2023 budget submission, which is expected to include another multi-year procurement plan for the Navy’s Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

“As N96, I will continue to make the case for our surface shipbuilding priorities to include two large surface combatants a year,” Schlise said today. “And we need to transition from Flight IIIs to DDG(X).”

Schlise described the Flight III destroyers as a “bridge” to DDG(X), and echoed the Navy’s position that it needs a new hull for the future destroyer program because there is no margin left to add new systems to the Arleigh Burke hull.

Jack Lucas and the Flight IIIs that follow are going to be incredibly capable ships and they will pack considerable combat punch, but they are a bridge to the future. They are not the future itself,” Schlise said. “While they represent a superb effort by the shipyards, the acquisition community, and the design and engineering community to fit as much capability as possible within the DDG-51 hull form, there simply isn’t any more margin for growth. Remember, this hull was designed in the 80s.”

The Navy wants the DDG(X) platform to fire both hypersonic weapon and lasers more powerful than what the service currently fields and is planning for margins that would allow it to upgrade systems, USNI News reported last month.

“With DDG(X), we’re designing in margins – space, weight, power and cooling, or SWaP-C – to accommodate future capabilities, capabilities that are under development today and whose will be proven through intense land-based testing and on other platforms already in service,” Schlise told the ASNE symposium. “Were we to wait on full maturation of every one of these future capabilities, we might not be bending metal on DDG(X) for decades, and we’d be marking time while our adversaries move forward.”

“DDG(X) is a culmination of lessons learned from past programs,” he continued. “Rather than tying the success of DDG(X) to developmental technology, we’re using known, mature technologies on a flexible platform that can be upgraded for decades to come, as the technology of tomorrow becomes more proven and mature. This is an evolutionary ship, not revolutionary.”

While making the case for the two-per-year destroyer cadence, Schlise referred to recent remarks from Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), who sits on the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee. Gallagher, a former Marine, called for the Navy to ask for two large surface combatants a year for a decade as the service shifts from the Flight III destroyers to DDG(X).

“So what I propose is the department should commit to funding two large surface combatants a year for – let’s say 10 years – during which the transition from Flight III … to DDG(X) occurs,” Gallagher told the Surface Navy Association’s annual symposium last month. “Congress in turn will commit to fully funding the DDG(X) program and from there, the Navy will need to provide a plan to both Congress and industry to move forward from two Flight IIIs per year to two DDG(X)s per year over a three to five year transition. I know that the next-gen DDG won’t be online for a 2020s fight, but my point here is you can build a battle force 2025 without neglecting our longer-term modernization priorities.”

 

 

Read more

Indo-Pacific Training Exercise

 

PHILIPPINE SEA – Aircraft assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, CVW 9 and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) fly over the Philippine Sea as Nimitz-class aircraft carriers USS Carl Vinson (CNV70) and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), JMSDF Hyuga-class helicopter destroyer JS Hyuga (DDH 181), America-class amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA6), Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Mobile Bay (CG 53 and USS Lake Champlain (CG 57, and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Spruance (DDG 111), USS Chafee (DDG 90) and USS Gridley (DDG 101) transit the Philippine Sea, January 22, 2022.  Operating as part of U.S. Pacific Fleet, units assigned to carl Vinson and Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Groups, America, and Essex Amphibious Ready Groups, alongside JMSDF are conducing training to preserve and protect a free and open Indo-Pacific region. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Haydn N. Smith).

 

Read more

Huntington Ingalls Expected to Deliver LPD-28, DDG-123 This Year

Huntington Ingalls Industries is expected to deliver Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28) in the first half of 2022, the company announced during a press briefing Wednesday.

Fort Lauderdale finished her Bravo trials at the end of 2021, said George Nungesser, vice president, program management for Ingalls Shipbuilding. The ship was christened in August and is the 12th San Antonio-class ship produced by the shipbuilding company.

As Huntington Ingalls finishes with Fort Lauderdale, it has already started outfitting Richard M. McCool (LPD-29), which launched this week, Nungesser said. The ship is the 13th in the San Antonio-class and is expected to be delivered in late 2023.

The shipbuilder is also working on Harrisburg (LPD-30) and is contracted for Pittsburgh (LPD-31), said LPD program manager Steve Sloan.

Ingalls also delivered the 33rd Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer to the Navy. It delivered Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG-121) on Nov. 30.

There are five destroyers under construction currently, Nungesser said, including the future Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG-123), expected to be delivered in 2022. Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee is the last Flight IIA, Nungesser said. The other four destroyers are Flight III DDGs.

The first Flight III destroyer, Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125), has already launched, he said.
Start of construction to delivery date, which Huntington Ingalls plans to meet, is 232 weeks for the Flight IIIs, Nungesser said.

While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused supply chain concerns, Huntington Ingalls has been able to mitigate any major disruptions, Nungesser said.

Looking to the future, Sloan said it is important to see the funding for LPD-32, as well as some predictability for the LHA-10. Huntington Ingalls is already under contract for LHA-9.

It would be nice to have a 30-year plan for shipbuilding from the Navy, Sloan said, adding that it has been some time since there has been a long-term plan. The Navy is expected to give a plan shortly, and Sloan expects to see amphibious assault ships in it.

Article from: USNI News

Read more

Machining Apprentices Learn while they Earn

Article by Beth Ann Miller for the Daily American in Somerset, Pennsylvania November 1, 2021

 

Three Somerset County tradesmen are advancing their machining skills as they learn to make some of the critical components that keep the U.S. Navy’s ships afloat and operating at standard speed.

Logan Miller, 23, of Meyersdale, Thomas Walters, 19, of Listie and Ethan Birth, 18, of Berlin, are participating in a new apprenticeship program at Global/SFC Valve, in Somerset, which manufactures standard valves and components used on U.S. Navy ships, including the U.S.S. Somerset.

Global/SFC Valve received approval from the state last year to start an apprenticeship program, company President Linda Heining said. On Oct. 15, the company was awarded a $21,203 grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development’s Pre-Apprentice and Apprenticeship Grant Program.

The grant covers the costs involved for Global/SFC Valve to offer classroom and on-the-job training to these three apprentices, with coursework supplied by the National Tooling and Machining Association – University, aka NTMA-U.

Becoming a journeyman machinist

Each of the three men are in the first year of their training.  Miller and Walters were hired by Global/SFC Valve in 2020 and started their training last year.  Birth was hired in July of 2021 and started his training shortly thereafter.

The four-year NTMA-U program requires each apprentice to complete 568 hours of classroom instruction and 8,000 hours of machining time, said Sherry Abel, training facilitator at Global/SFC Valve.

“What makes this program very special is in three (more) years, these gentlemen will get their journeyman papers through the state of Pennsylvania,” she said.  “It’s like a four-year (college) degree – and they’ll be machinists (level) 3 also.  If they are successful through the program, every year the company increases their pay as well.”

An apprenticeship program has been a longtime goal for the company, Heining said.  Former CEO and President Bob Kirst saw similar programs offered by other companies and said he wanted to create something there.

“It was always Bob’s dream to have an apprenticeship program, but unfortunately he passed away before it got to be implemented,” she said.

Learning the trade

Miller, Walters, and Birth all learned the basics of machining in high school, through the Somerset County Technology Center’s machine technology program. Walters and Birth also worked part-time at Global/SFC valve during high school, through a co-op program with the technology center.

“Being we got them from the (SCTC) program, they did have some basic skills coming in,” said Skip Bryner, Global/SFC Valve production manager.  “So, you’re not starting at zero.  They come in with good knowledge and a desire to learn. 

“With what they learned there, they come in and they’re definitely going to be a lot faster coming up to speed.  There’s improvement with all three of them and they’re working with somebody all the time to become more independent on their own.”

Learning while earning a paycheck

As apprentices, these three men have an opportunity to advance their education and ear their journeyman machinist papers while working fulltime and earning a paycheck, along with company benefits like health insurance coverage and a retirement savings plan.

“You can go to a university and get the same journeyman papers,” Birth said. “in fact, there are three schools in Pittsburgh that offer a fairly similar program and you get the same journeyman paper from the same institute.  But the people that are going to those universities and getting that same degree, they don’t get the benefits, they don’t have the medical benefits for those four years, they don’t get the paycheck for those four years – and they have debt (when they graduate).

“Going into this apprenticeship, we’re getting paid, we don’t have any debt, we have full medical benefits and we’re getting retirement benefits.”

Investing in their workforce

Heining said the apprenticeship program also enables Global/SFC Valve to invest in its future workforce by hiring and training three young tradesmen who came highly recommended by their SCTC instructor.

“It absolutely helps our workforce,” she said.  “We now have three young guys (working).  A lot of our machinists are getting older and are getting read to retire, so we have some replacements.

“The manufacturing industry has been talking about this for years, that ‘Hey, your workforce is getting older, you need to get some younger people involved.’ And that’s when we came up with the apprenticeship program.”

Bryner added: “It’s all an investment in the employees and the company.”

In addition to these three new apprentices, Global/SFC Valve is training two long-time employees – each with about 20 years of work experience – who wanted to earn their journeyman machinist papers.  They are expected to graduate next June.

“They only needed two years (of study) because they already had the experience,” Heining said.

Supporting Naval operations

Global/SFC Valve has 50 employees, including machinists, welders, inspectors, and assemblers.  Together, these employees produce components that help the U.S. Navy to operate its fleet of nearly 300 active ships and submarines, send tankers to refuel ships at sea and safety transport military personnel throughout the world.

“It’s not just one person working on an entire valve, it’s a whole group of people with team effort putting time an effort into the part,” Walters said.

Heining added: “If one of the valves fail, it could crash the submarine.  Lives are at stake with the products that we make.  We’re considered a critical supplier to the Navy”

The three apprentices said they’re learning a lot from their training and are thankful for the apprenticeship opportunity.

“I went ahead with it because it’s going to be more helpful for me in the company, to learn more about the trade,” Miller said. “It will make me a better machinist, more valuable to the company.”

Walters added: “It means that I get to learn more and it’s helpful for the company, because the better I am at doing my job and learning my job, the better the company is.”

Birth agreed and added that he’s proud to pursue a career that supports the nation’s military.  He mentioned that his brother is currently serving in the U.S. Army. “I wanted to be a mechanical engineer in the Air Force…but I wouldn’t be able to serve,” he said. “This is one of the reasons I decide to come here. I’m not able to serve but at least this way, one, it’s a great company (to work for) and two, it’s making valuable parts for the men and women that are serving and makes their life easier.”

 

Read more