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What’s going on with America’s next fighter designs?

WASHINGTON ― America is developing a pair of two new high-tech fighter aircraft, and you probably haven’t heard much about them. Under the leadership of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, the Pentagon has clamped down on talking about cutting-edge capabilities in development, citing concerns about giving potential foes too much information. Nevertheless, some details have emerged about the ongoing programs, one each from the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy. And inlight of European plans for new fighter designs, it is worth revisiting what is, and isn’t, known about the American efforts. In 2016, the U.S. Air Force unveiled its “Air Superiority 2030” study, which posited that although the service would need a new air superiority fighter jet — called Penetrating Counter Air — as soon as the 2030s, it would be just as important that the new plane fit into a "family of systems” of space,cyber, electronic warfareand other enabling technologies. “When you look at — through the lens of the netw…

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Tech Combo Might Solve Extended Range Problems for the Military

While the government may tout how powerful our military is, it is far from being perfect.  One issue that has been problematic for years involves the ability of firing at long-range targets.  However, a recent article suggests that a defense and aerospace manufacturer might have the solution for solving this problem.
Writer Todd South for the Army Times website posted a recent article that highlights a problem that has bedeviled planners for the military for years.  The issue at hand has to do with the military having difficulties in firing at long range targets; this is not a recent problem and has for years plagued military planners.

Norwegian Company Showcases a Possible Solution

According to South’s article, an announcement was made recently by a defense and aerospace manufacturer that could be the solution to the military’s problem.  The Norwegian company, known as Nammo, showcased recently a solid-fuel and compact ramjet artillery ammunition that the company says can hit targets at ranges of sixty miles and more. 
This far surpasses conventional artillery, which does not go further than a dozen miles, and is almost double the farthest that artillery ammunition can reach.  According to the announcement, Nammo has been creating rocket motors for over half a century.  Erland Orbekk, who is vice president of technology with the company’s business unit of Aerospace Propulsion, said that some years ago, we began looking at using air breathing motors to help extend their range, but we quickly saw the massive impact this could have if we fitted it to an artillery shell. 
Apparently, a rocket assist for firing is required for the ramjet technology to be successful, which the artillery cannon ignition provides so that it can take flight.  The plan by Nammo is to test the firing of the projectile starting next year or at least in 2020; the aim for having a functional round by 2024 or earlier if possible.

Concerns About Being Outgunned

There is a deep concern regarding if the United States is being competitive enough with others who have the ability for long-range strikes.  The Marines are looking to find ways to launch an attack from ships and are asking industries to provide a coastal, mobile missile defense system when conducting expeditionary operations.
Meanwhile, hearings that occurred back in April saw senators probing Army leaders on how they plan on catching up and getting ahead of near-peer competitors regarding the competition to increase rapidity and range of fire systems which includes short-range missiles and artillery.  Responding at the time, Army Secretary Mark Esper commented by saying he spoke independently to each of the combatant commanders in which each brought up being concerned they would be outgunned.
Esper also said that he and Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley are focusing their efforts on three levels of programs which are strategic, tactical and operational.  The strategic-level focus centers around hypersonic projectile technology, the tactical is currently focusing on the Paladin Integration Management program while the operational will center on the Extended Range Cannon Artillery program.
Regarding the goal of the extended range program, the task is to double artillery ranges that currently exist and, if successful, Nammo’s work has the potential of more than quadruple those ranges.