Posted late Friday:
An ongoing review into why the Pentagon's most advanced Aegis guided missile interceptor failed during a test last fall is holding up a verdict on the operational effectiveness and suitability of Raytheon's Standard Missile-3 Block IB, which is needed before the Defense Department can proceed with full-rate production.
The office of the Pentagon's director for operational test and evaluation last November estimated that a formal option on the SM-3 Block IB's operational effectiveness and suitability could be rendered by July, but that date is at risk, according to a Defense Department spokeswoman.
"The Director of Operational Test & Evaluation [DOT&E] has not yet completed his operational test evaluation of the SM-3 Block IB guided missile," said Jennifer Elzea, spokeswoman for J. Michael Gilmore, the top weapons tester.
Inside the Navy's top story this week is on new swim requirements for the Amphibious Combat Vehicle:
The Marine Corps announced it had enhanced the swim requirements for its Amphibious Combat Vehicle 1.1 program beyond what was initially envisioned for the Marine Personnel Carrier program at an industry day this month, according to industry sources.
The service emphasized the requirements that caused the vehicle to be a better swimmer than the MPC during the industry day. For example, industry must have a vehicle that is capable of swimming onto a ship and launch off the ship, one source said.
Another requirement change is the ACV must be able to tow another ACV through surf, the industry source continued.
The Marine Corps prefers investing in the JLTV program rather than upgrading humvees:
The Marine Corps is canceling its humvee upgrade program and will instead invest the money into the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program, according to congressional and service sources.
In the fiscal year 2015 budget request, the service asked for about $57 million for the humvee sustainment modification initiative program. The service intends to reprogram $53 million of those funds into the JLTV program, sources said.
The humvee SMI program will restore selected variants of armored humvees to 2004 operational requirements document performance parameters. The service planned to accomplish this through a "modification through kitting" approach, according to FY-15 budget documents.
Senior Navy and Marine Corps officials will be briefed this week on modernizing a key ship in the amphibious fleet:
As the requirements shape up for a notional LX(R) program to replace the Navy's aging dock landing ships, a Marine Corps official told Inside the Navy last week that the new fleet must be able to support an aviation detachment, as well as independent amphibious operations.
Officials on July 30 will brief Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert and the Navy's chief acquisitions officer Sean Stackley on the analysis of alternatives (AOA) to modernize the LSD 41/49-class fleet, Maj. Gen. Robert Walsh, who is leading the effort, told ITN in a July 22 interview.
"That will be an opportunity to brief out the AOA and get guidance from them on what we are doing and what they would like us to do as we move towards [Navy] Gate 2 and Gate 3," Walsh said, noting that "you don't typically get that this early in the program."
Although several officials have said a Navy and Marine Corps team has completed an analysis of alternatives for a notional LX(R) program to modernize the services' aging dock landing ships, the Navy's top acquisition official said Friday that the team is looking at a third and possibly a fourth "pass" on the effort.
"I wouldn't say that the AOA is complete," Sean Stackley said during a hearing of the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee July 25. "This is an iterative process."
The Marine Corps wants to expand the JHSV program's mission:
Australia has become the fourth nation in the Joint Strike Fighter program to receive production F-35 fighter jets following a rollout ceremony for the first two aircraft at the JSF final assembly facility in Fort Worth, TX, July 24.
Over the coming months the two conventional-variant F-35s will undergo fuel system checks ahead of flight testing and their formal transfer to the Royal Australia Air Force later this year, according to a July 24 statement from JSF prime contractor Lockheed Martin.
Lockheed is on contract to deliver Australia's initial order of 14 jets. The Australian government has approved the acquisition of another 58 aircraft with an option for more to eventually replace the country's F/A-18 Super Hornets.
-- John Liang