The Next Bottom-Up Review
The Bottom-Up Review and its two “Medium Regional Contingencies” underpinning are dead—they simply haven’t been buried yet. The cause of death is nothing so rational as their inherent, fatal, substantive flaws, not least of which was planning to fight the last war all over again . . . not once, but twice at the same time. No, their demise is purely budgetary; no administration can balance the budget while maintaining and modernizing the force structure codified in the review.
And so . . . whatever candidate wins the presidency this November, there will be a new review, whose objective will be to create an affordable force structure and a planning strategy that supports it. If the planning strategy comes first, followed by the force structure to support it, the naval service stands to prosper; making the case will be the Department of the Navy’s gravest challenge in the next few months.
Even the most sacrosanct of budgetary traditions—splitting bogeys and plus-ups relatively evenly among the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines—will be subjected to intense scrutiny. Peacetime presence and rapid response are the linchpins of Admiral Jeremy M. Boorda’s new draft “Vision 2020.” General Charles C. Krulak is developing a Marine Corps-oriented version. Both can contest the twin-regional contingency planning context, which totally ignores all that goes before a heavy armored invasion; both should emphasize the lower cost and continuous connectivity of sea-basing as much as possible, which lower America’s footprint ashore in either a military or a humanitarian operation.
Though the Army and the Air Force differentiate between established and unestablished theaters, depending upon whether their infrastructure is in place, the naval service has no unestablished theaters—the infrastructure comes along and is kept out of reach of most potential enemies.
The Army-Air Force differentiation is a vestige of the Cold War, when the two services were established in Europe and Korea—and unestablished everywhere else. Forces not already on the ground in an established theater were referred to as surge forces. With overseas cutbacks in force structure, the vast majority of Army and Air Force operational units have become surge forces.
Naval forces also can be differentiated in this manner, except that about one-third of the Navy is still forward-deployed, with established connectivity and infrastructure wherever it goes. Like the vast majority of the Army and Air Force, the other two-thirds are surge forces—except that they are also “established” combat formations as they transit. While on the surface the difference may seem to be pure semantics, it actually underscores a fundamental difference in capability, a difference that matters when force structure cuts are proposed and modernization is at stake.
There is no question that the next review will cut force structure. The real questions are: whose force structure and how much? How the Navy and Marine Corps present themselves and their capabilities, and whether the new review commission will abandon the sacred cow of equal shares to all, will determine the capabilities of the naval service in the 21st century.
Washington moves from budget cycle to budget cycle. The budget now being debated on Capitol Hill is the product of a two-year process within the Executive Branch. Unfortunately, this year the tortuous two-year budgetary process, most of which takes place inside the five walls of the Pentagon, was tainted at its conclusion by the political expediency of cutting modernization to pay for peacekeeping.
Actual politico-military operations in Haiti and the former Yugoslavia have drained the promised modernization accounts to the point that even the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John Shalikashvili, is expressing public concern. Most four-stars. General Shalikashvili included, now articulate the requirement by 1998 for an annual minimum of $60 billion dedicated to procurement; the Clinton administration this year has budgeted $38.9 billion, and is not planning to hit the $60 billion minimum until 2001. Figures beyond the current year budget submission tend to be inflated anyway, so the Clinton administration will likely never submit a $60 billion procurement budget, even if the President is reelected.
Documents detailing research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E) and procurement funding were issued late because of the budget impasse. As a result, the tables that normally accompany this article, and a commentary, will be published in the June Proceedings.
The story of naval aviation in the past year is one of upgrades (many unfunded, most partially funded, some fully funded); the success of the F/A-18E/F program; and the far-away promise of the Joint Strike Fighter. But first, the reality: both the Navy and the Marine Corps ordered aviation stand downs earlier this year following a series of accidents. The Chief of Naval Operations ordered an F-14 stand down in February, after six F-14s had crashed in the previous 18 months; the Commandant of the Marine Corps first ordered an AV-8B stand down and then a general stand down in late March after losing two AV-8Bs, an F/A-18, an AH-1W, and CH-46E in six weeks. Other Navy losses in early 1996 included an EA-6B and a T-44.
In the case of the F-14 Tomcat, critics say that deciding not to upgrade existing aircraft may have contributed to some of the crashes. They point to a new digital flight-control system developed by GEC-Marconi for the aircraft that would have prevented at least 20 crashes over the past ten years had it been available. Unfortunately, the system failed to make the 1996 budget. With all the F-14AS scheduled to be phased out by 2004, it was hard to justify an $80-million expenditure. Now, the decision is being reconsidered.
Two other F-14 upgrades are partially funded and under way. Originally called the F-14A/B upgrade, the first consisted of a modest capability modernization and a concurrent service-life extension for 197 F-14As and -Bs. Capability upgrades include:
- MilStd-1533 digital architecture
- Enhanced mission computer
- Programmable Tactical information Display
- Programmable Multiple Display indicator Group
- Enhanced AWG-15 fire control system
- BOL chaff expendable system
- ALR-67 radar warning receiver
Unfortunately, the number of aircraft to be modified has been reduced to just 81 F-14Bs, and these numbers may be reduced if the any of the F-14Bs fails to qualify for a service-life extension. The first upgraded F-14B was delivered in 1995 and this version is scheduled to achieve initial operational capability this year.
The second upgrade was to be the Block I Strike. In 1994, the intended fully integrated precision strike capability was deemed unaffordable, and a cost and operational effectiveness analysis was ordered to identify other F-14 precision strike options. The analysis was finished in December 1994; in August 1995, a Navy report recommended a stand-alone forward-looking infrared (FLIR)/laser designator as the precision strike upgrade. The Air Force’s pod-mounted Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) system proved suitable, and 222 F-14s will share 89 LANTIRN pods; the first deployment is scheduled this summer.
Plans call for 12 F-14 squadrons—11 active and one reserve—through fiscal year 2000. As F/A-18E/F squadrons come on line beginning in fiscal year 2001, these squadrons will retire. All 12 should be gone by 2010. The first F-14 squadron will get single-seat F/A-18Es—all remaining F-14 squadrons will get two-seat F/A-18Fs.
Fleet F/A-18C/D upgrades for fiscal year 1997 include:
- Miniaturized airborne Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers for all pre-Lot 17 aircraft (Lots 17-20 will be fitted on the production line)
- Identification friend or foe (IFF) interrogator-transponder
Beginning in fiscal year 2001, Link 16 capability and a digital data link to provide compatibility with U.S. Army fire- support communications will be added, as will improvements in the digital map computer and memory unit.
Fiscal year 1999 upgrades include:
- Joint Standoff Attack Weapon (JSOW)
- Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM)
- SLAM expanded response
- Improved Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM)
Fiscal year 2001 upgrades include:
- AIM-9X short-range, high off-bore-sight Sidewinder
- Joint Helmet-Mounted Cuing System
The F/A-18 Tactical Reconnaissance Program, based on the Air Force’s canceled Advanced Tactical Air Reconnaissance System (ATARS), is scheduled for a review in October 1997, leading to a full-rate production decision in December 1998. If all goes as planned, the Marines will field a few tactical reconnaissance-capable F/A-18Ds in 1999. The ALR-67(V)3 radar warning receiver will be incorporated in Lot 20 production aircraft and back-fitted into all other aircraft once the full-rate production decision is made next year. The APG-73 radar completed its operational evaluation and has entered service with fighter- attack squadrons (VFA)-146 and -147.
Navy and Marine Corps EA-6Bs are in increasing demand. With the scheduled withdrawal from service of the Air Force’s 24 EF-11 Is, the EA-6B will become the nation’s only tactical electronic aircraft. Only 129 EA-6B airframes remain, of which three are unserviceable, and the Navy and Marine Corps have requirements for 80 aircraft.
In 1995, the Office of the Secretary of Defense provided the Navy with funds to increase the active inventory to 104 aircraft to make up for the loss of EF-111s. About 120 are required for pipeline and replacement aircraft, leaving a narrow margin for attrition.
The Navy flies two versions of the EA-6B—Block 82 and Block 89. All will be upgraded to a Block 89A standard that consists of three operational safety improvement programs. Most Block 82 aircraft will be upgraded directly to 89A standard as soon as the new configuration is developed and tested. In its fiscal year 1996 budget legislation, however. Congress added funding to accelerate EA-6B upgrades by taking 20 Block 82 aircraft immediately to Block 89 standard for the joint mission. Those aircraft later will be modified to Block 89A.
Air Force personnel are undergoing familiarization training on the EA-6B at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington. Although Navy EA-6Bs will not be administratively assigned to Air Force commands, supported commanders-in- chief (such as NATO’s Admiral Leighton Smith) will attach Navy EA-6Bs to the appropriate tactical organization for employment, perhaps an Air Force composite wing. The Navy plans to assign EA-6Bs to U.S. Air Force training exercises such as Red Flag to ensure smooth cooperation.
Informal studies have evaluated an EA-6B replacement. While unmanned aerial vehicles and large-body aircraft conceivably could take over some of the functions of the EA-6B, a tactical jamming aircraft still will be necessary. The prime candidate is a variant of the two- seat F/A-18F. Formal studies will begin next year to examine projected technologies, costs, and operational effectiveness of alternatives. McDonnell Douglas claims that, if risk-reduction efforts begin next year, it could have an electronic warfare F/A-18F in service by 2008, two years before EA-6B numbers are projected to drop below requirements.
Plans remain in effect to buy 36 new E-2Cs, although the acquisition schedule has slipped one year. Unfortunately, only 16 aircraft—rather than 18—will get the Group I to Group II upgrade:
- APS-145 radar
- Improved Identification Friend or Foe (IFF)
- Multifunctional Control Display Unit
- Enhanced Main Display Unit
- Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS-Link 16)
- Enhanced High-Speed Processor
The first upgraded aircraft was delivered in late 1995. Eleven more upgrades are on contract through fiscal year 1995, and the remainder will be done one per year through 2000.
Additional upgrades are planned for the E-2C’s mission computer, navigation system, and satellite communications; new aircraft will have these installed on the production line and older aircraft will be retrofitted. The aircraft also will get the cooperative engagement capability (CEC) described in this column over the past two years under theater missile defense systems. An initial operational capability is estimated by 2000.
Five separate programs are designed to sustain the P-3C inventory and improve the fleet’s over-the-horizon capabilities; three of these are designed simply to keep P-3Cs flying:
- The Sustained Readiness Program (SRP), now in the non-recurring engineering, tooling, and kit-fabrication phase will identify and replace P-3C airframe components and systems that can no longer be supported. It is not designed to extend the aircraft’s fatigue life, but to permit the aircraft to reach that goal- E-Systems got the contract in September 1994, and the first kits are scheduled for installation in 1997.
- The Service Life Assessment Program (SLAP), scheduled to begin in fiscal year 1999, will provide a detailed fatigue test analysis of individual aircraft and identify components that must be replaced modified to extend the aircraft’s fatigue life.
► The P-3C Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) will then fabricate and install the components identified earlier.
The Antisurface Warfare Improvement Program (AIP) will give the P-3C fleet greater capability in areas other than antisubmarine warfare. Improvements are programmed not just for surface warfare, but also for surveillance, over-the-horizon targeting, plus command, control, communications, and intelligence.
Commercial off-the-shelf components are being used wherever possible. Unisys (now Loral) got the contract for 146 AIP in September 1994; the pilot production aircraft should be ready for testing next month; the first P-3C AIP aircraft should reach the fleet early in fiscal year 1998.
The P-3C Update III Program is designed to achieve a standard configuration for all aircraft. Two major components are involved: all aircraft will get the ASQ-2I2 central computer and all acoustic processor display will be upgraded to the USQ-78(V) configuration. The ASQ-212 installations will be completed next month, and installation of the upgraded acoustic processor displays will start late next fiscal year.
In addition, all active non-Update III P-3Cs will be brought up to this new configuration. The depot at Jacksonville is upgrading five aircraft for delivery between July and November this year.
Retrofit of the remaining non-Update III aircraft will start in 1999 with deliveries scheduled beginning fiscal year 2001. Twenty-four aircraft are presently scheduled.
The fleet’s S-3s (including ES-3As) are undergoing similar programs to keep them flying through 2015, with a Service Life Assessment Program leading into a Service Life Extension Program under an overarching Critical Structures Program. Lockheed got the assessment contract in November 1995.
As part of the Critical Avionics Program, the Navy will begin replacing obsolete Flight Data Computers and flight instruments, rate gyros, and the Carrier Aircraft Inertial Navigation System this fiscal year in both S-3Bs and ES-3As. During fiscal year 1998, the S-3Bs will get a new Armament Control System.
Other upgrades include a new internal communications system (starting this year), the AYK-23 central computer (fiscal year 1998), new Ada software (2000), Global Positioning System (1997), and external communications improvements (1998). During fiscal year 1997, the ES-3As will get the final hardware necessary to implement the Battle Group Passive Horizon Extension System.
One S-3B is equipped with a contractor-funded technology demonstration package that includes a pod-mounted APG-76 ultra-high resolution synthetic aperture radar and a full-motion video downlink system. Dubbed “Gray Wolf,” this Westinghouse/Norden Systems package provides a small-area, high-resolution system that complements the Air Force’s JSTARS wide-area battlefield management system. The present configuration is not carrier-suitable, and the Navy has not commented on its intentions.
Two rotary-wing upgrade programs have been consolidated. The AH-1W Super Cobra Mid-Life Upgrade originally had three phases:
- Phase I—night targeting system installation
- Phase II—the integration of communication, navigation, flight controls, weaponry, and countermeasures in an upgraded cockpit (called the Integrated Weapon System)
- Phase III—Conversion from a two- to a four-bladed rotor with an enhanced drive system.
Phase I is approximately 30% complete. Phases II and III have been combined with Phase II of the UH/HH-1N Mid-Life Upgrade Program and the overall program has been redesignated the H-1 Upgrades Program. It will begin Engineering and Manufacturing Development in early fiscal year 1997.
The unchanged Phase I of the UH/HH- 1N Mid-Life Upgrade, a major effort, began last fiscal year to address a number of aircraft shortfalls:
- Safety and reliability—replace the main drive shaft with a flexible coupling shaft (completion this fiscal year); replace tail drive-shaft hanger bearing assemblies (completion fiscal year 1997)
- Night fighting—provide monocle head-up display for night vision goggles (NVGs), a navigation FLIR, and NVG-compatible external lighting (completion fiscal year 1997)
- Communications and navigation—provide new equipment (completion 2001)
- Crew-served weapon reliability— replace the M60 machine gun with the M240 machine gun (completion this year)
- Aircraft survivability—upgrade electronic countermeasures (completion fiscal year 1997)
The combined H-l Upgrades Program ensures that all H-l variants will have the same:
- Engines (the T-700 currently in the AH-1W)
- Power drive train
- Four-bladed main and tail rotor systems
- Flight control system
The AH-1W will still get an integrated cockpit similar to that planned for its original upgrade program. Aging UH/HH-1N airframes will be remanufactured and crash survivability provisions improved. A total of 100 UH/HH-1Ns and 180 AH-1Ws will be upgraded. Deliveries will begin in 2005 and 2006 respectively; production will peak at 36 upgrades per year, and the program will be completed by 2011. The Bell H-1 series, which was designed in 1955 as the XH40 and entered Army service in 1959 as the HU-1A, will soldier on well into the next century.
The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
When conceived, the F/A-18E/F was one of many naval aviation development programs; specifically, it was the low end of the high-low mix with the A-12 at the high end. Now, it is the only new naval tactical aircraft on the horizon. Fortunately, the program seems to be slightly ahead of schedule, yielding performance figures slightly better than expected, including an empty weight approximately 1,000 pounds below design weight. This is good news, because the future of naval aviation is dependent upon the success of this aircraft.
The single-seat F/A-18E rolled out on 18 September 1995 and first flew on 29 November, beating the contractually stipulated first flight date by more then a month. The first two-seat F/A-18F should fly early this month. All seven Engineering and Manufacturing Development (E&MD) flying models (four F/A-18Es and three -Fs) will be in place at the Naval Air Warfare Center, NAS Patuxent River by the end of this year. The E&MD flight test program will last for the next three years, and will be followed by a period of operational evaluation leading to a full-rate production decision in Fiscal year 2000. The low-rate initial production decision is scheduled for next spring.
More than 400 contractor and service personnel have assembled at Patuxent River as the F/A-18E/F Integrated Test Team. Ten test pilots, half from the Navy and half from the contractor team, will fly the seven flight test aircraft, which will be instrumented to collect data in the following specific areas: envelope expansion and flying qualities, performance and propulsion, carrier suitability, loads, high angle-of-attack, and weapon system integration. Three ground-test aircraft will remain at McDonnell Douglas in Saint Louis to conduct static, drop, and fatigue testing.
Planned Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the F/A-18E is 2001; according to the Navy’s definition of IOC, this means that at least one squadron will be fully equipped, trained, and ready to deploy. Variants under consideration, but for which no formal requirement has yet been established, include F/A-18F electronic warfare and reconnaissance configurations.
Procurement plans over the next five fiscal years are for 12 aircraft in 1997, 24 in 1998, 36 in 1999 and 2000, and 48 in 2001. The Navy is planning a lifetime buy of 1,000 aircraft for itself and the Marine Corps, and expects significant numbers of foreign military sales to boost that figure.
The Joint Strike Fighter
The Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) Program is nearing completion of the concept development discussed in this feature last year. Early next fiscal year, it will commence its concept demonstration with the competitive award of two contracts for ground and flight demonstrations of a multi-service family of strike aircraft, called the Joint Strike Fighter. The JAST program office issued the request for proposals in March; proposals are due this month.
In order to provide for different service requirements, the Joint Strike Fighter will be designed around a baseline and configured differently for each set of requirements. The commonality goal, according to the JAST Program Office director, is 70%-80%. The Air Force, the principal customer for the aircraft, wants a small, nimble replacement for its F-16, and intends to procure 2,036 aircraft; the Marines want 642 vertical-short takeoff and landing (VSTOL) fighter-attack aircraft; and the Navy wants a total of 300 stealthy aircraft to replace its A-6E and F-14D fleets.
The number of Marine purchases seem to indicate the JSF would be used to replace both AV-8Bs and F/A-18s, leaving open the question of whether the Corps really intends to purchase any F/A-18E/Fs. In the early 1970s, the Navy assumed the Marines would replace F-4s with F-14s, only to have the Corps declare the F-14 to be unaffordable and pull out—boosting the cost of each Navy F-14. The Royal Navy, however, plans to purchase 60 JSFs to replace its Sea Harriers. and last December formally become a partner in the program.
Concept demonstration for each of the two winning contractors will include production of a flying concept demonstrator, concept-unique ground and High1 demonstrators, and continued refinement of the contractor’s preferred weapon systems concepts. The JAST program philosophy gives the contractors a great deal of latitude in meeting service requirements to take advantage of the cheapest, most efficient innovations.
The services probably will complete their Joint Operational Requirements Document in fiscal year 1998. Milestone II for Engineering and Manufacturing Development of the JSF is planned for fiscal year 2001.
The Hunter Unmanned Aerial Vehicle has been canceled; there are no longer any programs for a Close-Range, Short- Range, or Maneuver UAV. The Joint Project for UAVs released a request for proposals in early February for the Tactical UAV, which is to have a 200-kilometer (120 nautical mile) range and an endurance of three to four hours. Responses were due in mid-March and contract award anticipated in April. The Tactical UAV is an Advanced Concepts Technology Demonstration rather than a procurement program, though the effect seems to be the same.
A case in point is the Tier II, Medium Altitude, Endurance UAV Predator. Predator is nearing the end of its two- and-a-half year Advanced Concepts Technology Demonstration program. General Atomics built and delivered ten aircraft, which were outfitted with a suite of electronics including electro-optical/infrared sensors, a synthetic aperture radar, and the ability to communicate over UHF satellite data links. Predator deployed for operations over Bosnia from July to October of last year.
In December 1995, Predator operated with the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) battle group, providing direct exercise imagery for air strikes, war-at-sea, combat search-and-rescue, shore bombardment, open ocean and land area surveillance and reconnaissance, and target acquisition. The Navy plans to conduct demonstrations of an underway submarine’s ability to exercise tactical control over a Predator, but there are no plans to base it afloat.
On 12 May 1995, the Navy awarded a contract to McDonnell Douglas Aerospace for the fiscal year 1995-96 foreign comparative test of Russian M-31 aerial targets. (See “U.S. Evaluates Russian Missile,” Proceedings, January 1996, page 92.) The M-31 is a derivative of the Kh-31 air-to-surface missile (NATO designation AS-17 Krypton). The United States has designated it the MA-31, removed the warhead, and added telemetry. The original contract calls for procurement of four targets with accompanying logistics and support for three-to-four demonstration flight tests. A contract option can be exercised for expanded demonstration testing in fiscal year 1997 with an additional three, 12, or 20 missiles and accompanying support.
The MA-31 program completed separation wind tunnel testing last August. Fit checks have been completed on the QF-4 Phantom II launch platform, and ground-jettison tests have been completed from the Russian AKY-58 launcher. McDonnell Douglas received the first flight- test vehicle last December, and actual flight tests are scheduled to begin in August at Point Mugu.
Numerous mine countermeasure programs passed their first major programmatic hurdles in fiscal year 1995. The following programs together represent a serious, concerted effort to address one of the most vexing problems facing naval forces in littoral operations. (See “Putting America’s 911 Force on Hold,” Proceedings, September 1995, pages 73-76.)
The Remote Minehunting System (RMS) is an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) for mine reconnaissance, designed to be launched, operated, and recovered by a host surface ship. The concept exploration phase of the program was completed in October 1994 with the testing of the Remote Minehunting Operational Prototype. The Navy completed a cost and operational effectiveness analysis last July. The demonstration-validation phase of RMS development was scheduled to be implemented upon approval of the RMS Operational Requirements Document, Single Acquisition and Management Plan, and Management and Acquisition Program Plan scheduled for the second quarter of this fiscal year.
The Near-Term Mine Reconnaissance System and Long-Term Mine Reconnaissance System also are UUVs, but they are designed to be launched and operated by submarines. The near-term version employs considerable off-the-shelf technology for a quick solution to the problem of clandestine reconnaissance of potential minefields. A prototype is scheduled for delivery in fiscal year 1998. The long-term version was approved for development last June and is scheduled for a demonstration/validation program decision next month. Its cost and operational effectiveness analysis was completed in December. Initial design contracts will be awarded by the end of this fiscal year.
The Distributed Explosive Technology (DET) program passed its Milestone I review on 27 October 1995 after it had demonstrated the concept of neutralizing mines in the surf zone with a net array made of detonating cord, and further demonstrated the ability to deploy a full-size net array (60 square yards) with rocket motors. A Milestone II decision is scheduled for the third quarter of this fiscal year following demonstrations of the system’s ability to deploy a full size inert array from a manned air-cushion landing craft (LCAC), to deploy a full-size array on land and detonate one-third of it (the other two-thirds will be inert), and to operate successfully in sea state one. Milestone III is scheduled for the third quarter of fiscal year 1999.
Milestone I for the Shallow-Water Assault Breaching System (SABRE) was approved on 22 December 1995 after the program had demonstrated the ability to deploy a line charge, and to select the most effective explosion for neutralizing mines in the surf zone with a line charge. Like the DET discussed above. SABRE’s Milestone II is scheduled for third quarter of this fiscal year, once the program has demonstrated the deployment of a line charge from an LCAC operating on-cushion at sea, and the deployment and detonation of a line charge- SABRE’s Milestone III decision is also scheduled for the third quarter of fiscal year 1999.
The Explosive Neutralization Program is a preplanned product improvement for the DET and SABRE systems, currently an advanced technology demonstration project that will transition to an acquisition program in fiscal; year 1998. It includes the development of a longer-range rocket, a fire control system, new high energy explosive technologies, and a beach zone array. These developments will increase the standoff range for the launch craft, reduce mission time, and enable DET and SABRE employment in sea state three.
Achieving a combined Milestone I/II/III in September 1995, the Beacon, Breach Lane Ex-7, Mod 0 provides precise guidance through lanes cleared in minefields for LCACs and amphibious assault craft in the final 1,000 yards through the surf zone and onto the beach. The system provides a six degree wide beam of light, broken into two equal colors—red and green. Craft operators approaching the beach use the colors as steering guidance to keep their craft on the cleared lane centerline. Procurement of 50 systems will be completed in fiscal year 1996 with subsequent distribution to Beachmaster units and assault amphibian battalions.
The final deployment of the A-6E Intruder will take place during the last six months of this year. The last A-6E squadron will be disestablished during the second quarter of fiscal year 1997 at NAS Oceana, Virginia. The final A-6E will fly to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ari zona, in September 1997 to join 99 other Intruders in war reserve until 2005. The A-6A Intruder (originally designated A2F-1) entered service in February 1963.
In June 1995, the Department of Defense declared the Raytheon Beechcraft Mk II the winner of the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (JPATS) competition. The aircraft is a variant of the Pilatus PC-9 airframe. After several protests had been denied, the Air Force and Raytheon/Beechcraft signed the program contract on 5 February 1996. The aircraft will enter service in the Air Force in 2001 and in the Navy in 2003. (Next month’s Proceedings will feature a pilot report on the Mk II.)
The Navy retired its last US-3A in 1995.
The Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite, currently operational in the Naval Air Reserve Force, deployed during UNITAS 95 on board the USS Fahrion (FFG-22). Plans call for SH-2Gs to remain in service with both HSL-84 and HSL-94 reserve squadrons in support of Naval Reserve Force and regular Navy frigates and destroyers until 2005.
The Defense Acquisition Board approved the Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV) program in its Milestone I review on 15 March 1995. signaling the beginning of the demonstration/validation phase. The Marines will award a single demonstration/validation contract this fiscal year. Initial operational capability is planned for fiscal year 2006.
Floyd D. Kennedy, Jr. is the Center for Naval Analyses representative at the Naval Doctrine Command in Norfolk, Virginia, and is a captain in the Naval Reserve. The author is indebted to the professionals in Navy public affairs offices, and especially to Lieutenant Darren Morton of the Navy Office Information.