Marines Seek to Arm MV-22 Osprey, Improve Harvest Hawk System

By: Megan Eckstein, USNI News

“THE PENTAGON – The Marine Corps continues to pursue lethality upgrades to its new aircraft, even as the service is still in the midst of recapitalizing its tactical aviation platforms, the deputy commandant for aviation told reporters on Wednesday.

Previewing this year’s “Marine Aviation Plan 2017” – which has already been signed and should be released soon – Lt. Gen. Jon Davis said the Marine Corps hopes to put a new sensor on the nose of the MV-22 Osprey both for safety of flight and to lead the way to adding weapons to the tiltrotor plane.

The 2016 aviation plan listed a targeting forward-looking infrared (TFLIR) sensor with a laser target designator and video data link as an upgrade the Marines were interested in but had not yet budgeted. The service also listed an enhanced weapon system for medium-range immediate suppression as an unfunded wish.”

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Marine Aviation Going After Small Maintenance Issues that Create Big Readiness Problems

By: Megan Eckstein, USNI News

“THE PENTAGON – The Marine Corps is tackling the little problems that combine to create major burdens on the aviation maintenance community, the deputy commandant for aviation told reporters today.

From a lack of spare parts, to Class C mishaps involving damaging a plane while towing it on the ground, to wasting time moving planes from one squadron to another, Lt. Gen. Jon Davis said at a media roundtable today that he was cracking down on these things that ultimately take maintainers’ attention away from routine maintenance that keeps airplanes flying.

“You guys are all very interested in the Class A mishap rate because that’s the one where airplanes are destroyed and people are killed; we’ve been focused on the little ones as well, because that takes airplanes off the flight schedule [and] I can’t fly my guys the hours they’re supposed to,” he said.”

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Navy Will Be ‘Just Flat Out Out Of Money’ Without Supplemental Funding; Would Cancel Flight Hours, Ship Avails

By: Megan Eckstein, USNI News

“WASHINGTON, D.C. — Without a readiness-focused supplemental spending bill passed by lawmakers this spring, the Navy and Marine Corps would stop flying at home and ship and submarine maintenance availabilities would be canceled, the vice chief of naval operations and assistant commandant of the Marine Corps said at a hearing today.

The continuing resolution currently funding the government at last year’s spending levels is set to expire on April 28, 2017, and even if lawmakers could pass the Fiscal Year 2017 spending bill for the second half of the fiscal year, budget caps already in place mean that the Navy would receive about $5 billion less than it did in FY 2016. Having started the year, then, at a higher spending rate, dropping down to the FY 2017 budget would cause the Navy to almost immediately run out of operations and maintenance dollars in parts of its budget.

If the Navy did not receive a supplemental spending bill with additional funds for FY 2017, “within a month we are going to have to shut down air wings, we are going to have to defer maintenance on several availabilities for our surface ships and submarine maintenance facilities,” Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran told the House Armed Services Committee today at a “state of the military” hearing.”

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Navy Drafting Unmanned Systems Roadmap To Guide Resources

By: Megan Eckstein, USNI News

“The Department of the Navy is creating an Unmanned Systems Roadmap to help integrate unmanned technologies into existing Navy acquisition, programmatic and operational plans.

The roadmap was an early task for the office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Unmanned Systems, which was created one year ago along with the position of Director of Unmanned Warfare Systems (OPNAV N99). Retired Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Frank Kelley was tapped at this time last year to serve as the first DASN Unmanned Systems and spoke about the first year on the job today at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s (AUVSI) annual defense conference.

Kelley said the roadmap would not include program-level schedules or requirements but rather would recommend time and resource investment options to help the Navy integrate unmanned with the rest of its portfolio.”

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Marines Pursuing Large Ship-Based UAV For Comms, ISR, Fires

By: Megan Eckstein, USNI News

“The Marine Corps is in the early phases of developing a large Group 5 unmanned aerial system (UAS) that would operate from a ship and provide long-range, long-endurance capabilities for not only the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) but also potentially the Navy’s fleet and Army ground forces.

The Marines’ initial capabilities document for the MAGTF UAS Expeditionary (MUX) program was approved this month by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC). The document merged what had been two separate Group 5 UAS requirements that the Marine Corps ultimately determined could be fulfilled with a single air system, Lt. Col. Noah Spataro, the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Capabilities Integration and Requirements Officer under the Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration, told USNI News last week. Group 5 UAS typically fly at medium- to high-altitude ranges and can weigh above 1,300 pounds – and are therefore the most complex to launch and recover.”

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New Marine Corps Operating Concept Emphasizes Maneuver Warfare

By: Megan Eckstein, USNI News

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. – “The Marine Corps today released a new operating concept that updates its 2014 Expeditionary Force 21 to include a renewed emphasis on maneuver warfare, while retaining an emphasis on operations in an urban littoral environment against a technologically sophisticated enemy.

The Marine Corps Operational Concept (MOC) begins with the admission that today’s force is not organized, trained and equipped to succeed in a future operating environment where terrains and their populations are complex, technology has proliferated, information is used as a weapon, detecting enemy signatures and managing the Marines’ own signatures is paramount, and the maritime domain is increasingly contested.

“Do we need to fix something? Are we broken? … That has nothing to do with it, but we’ve been fighting a counterinsurgency stability fight … since 2004, and we’ve trained, equipped and organized the force to do counterinsurgency and fight an insurgent,” Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller said today at the Modern Day Marine exposition.”

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III MEF Commander Orders Operational Pause For Harriers In Okinawa After Crash

By: Megan Eckstein, USNI News

“All Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier jets operating out of Okinawa, Japan, have been ordered to take an operational pause after a crash yesterday.

A Harrier crashed into the ocean about 100 nautical miles east of Okinawa, and the pilot safely ejected and was rescued by a U.S. Air Force unit and the Japan Coast Guard. The pilot has since been released from the hospital, the Marine Corps said in a statement today.

III Marine Expeditionary Force Commander Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson ordered a temporary operational pause after the crash to allow for a detailed inspection of all jets.”

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