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First-ever, 30-year plan Pentagon Aviation Plan Urges IntegratingDrones With Fighter Planes

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Old February 22nd 10, 04:07 PM posted to rec.aviation.military,sci.military.naval,rec.aviation.military.naval
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Default First-ever, 30-year plan Pentagon Aviation Plan Urges IntegratingDrones With Fighter Planes

The 26-page plan assumes annual spending of $29 billion per year
beginning in fiscal year 2016 for tactical aircraft in the Navy and
Air Force. It projects a 177 percent increase -- about 500 aircraft --
in the unmanned aircraft inventory as well as a 350 percent increase
-- an additional 1,000 aircraft -- in fifth-generation fighters over
the next decade. The plan also reveals that the Air Force¹s F-22A
Raptor will conclude its service life around 2025, and notes that the
Navy¹s investment in strike-fighter aircraft will be slashed after
FY-13 when the service stops buying F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and
prepares to ramp up production of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Inventories for the Navy and Air Force will decline by about 10
percent over the next 10 years.
The Pentagon plans to more than double its medium-class unmanned
drones from 300 in FY-11 to more than 800 in FY-20, a 177-percent
increase. As part of that, the Air Force plans to buy 48 MQ-9 Reapers
per year between FY-11 and FY-18 and 39 RQ-4 Global Hawks during that
same period.

DoD 30-Year Ship Plan Needs $16B a Year; Aviation Plan Puts Off New

The U.S. Navy's new 30-year fleet plan demotes the previous goal of a
313-ship fleet to a mere "point of departure" for developing a new
fleet. The service estimates it can buy the ships in the plan for an
average of "no more than $15.9 billion per year" in 2010 dollars.

The Navy is required by Congress to annually prepare a 30-year
shipbuilding plan. Last year's plan was held in abeyance at the
direction of Defense Secretary Bob Gates - a move that angered some
lawmakers. The new plan was sent to the Hill on Feb. 1 to accompany
the president's fiscal 2011 budget.

In the updated plan's near-term period, the Navy plans to
"significantly ramp up" production of ships such as the Littoral
Combat Ship (LCS) and the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) to "support
persistent presence, maritime security, irregular warfare, joint
sealift, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and partnership
building missions." A total of 66 LCS ships is now forecast to be
bought over the 30-year period, including 17 replacements for ships
reaching the end of their service life.

Highlights of the plan include:

* Increasing the number of Navy-operated Joint High Speed Vessel ships
to 23 and expanding their mission range.

* Canceling plans to build two new joint command ships and instead
extend the two 1970s-era ships through 2029.

* Standardizing the combat logistics force to two basic auxiliary ship
types: T-AKE dry cargo ammunition ships and new T-AO(X) double-hulled
fleet oilers.

* Replacing the Maritime Prepositioning Force (Future) (MPFF) squadron
to support high-end, forcible-entry operations with three enhanced
Maritime Prepositioning Squadrons, each consisting of a T-AKE, a new
Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) and a Large Medium-Speed Roll-on/Roll-
off (LMSR) ship transferred from the Army.

The plan, as expected, holds the number of aircraft carriers to 11
ships until dropping to 10 after 2040; reaffirms the 2008 decision to
end the DDG 1000 destroyer program at three ships and last fall's
choice to select a single design for the Littoral Combat Ship program;
confirms the plan to continue development of a new Advanced Missile
Defense Radar (AMDR) to install on DDG 51-class destroyers (scheduled
with the ships to be ordered in 2016); and maintain an amphibious
landing force of "approximately 33 ships."

The plan is divided into thirds: a near-term from 2011 to 2020 "based
on a very good understanding of requirements, costs and capabilities";
a mid-term from 2021 to 2030 featuring ships "yet to be informed by
either concrete threat analyses of formal analysts of alternatives";
and a far-term from 2031 to 2040 based on decisions and assumptions
"certain to change over the next two decades."

The new plan does not plan for a replacement for the four SSGN cruise-
missile and special-mission submarines converted from the ballistic
missile mission. A 12-ship replacement program for the Ohio-class
ballistic missile submarines is to be funded from 2019 through 2033,
but the requirement for the new sub is expected in the forthcoming
Nuclear Posture Review expected to be sent to Congress in early March.

The Navy acknowledges that the 33-ship amphibious fleet "represents
the limit of acceptable risk" in meeting the requirement to deliver
two Marine Expeditionary Brigades in a forcible entry operation,
despite the Corps' desire for 38 ships.

And while the total number of LCS ships to be bought jumps to 66, the
rate of construction significantly drops. Gone are previous years
where six or five ships were to be purchased; instead, the new plan
buys four per year from 2013 to 2015, three a year from 2016 to 2019,
and two or one per year thereafter through 2040.

The combined Air Force-Navy aviation plan sheds new light on the
Pentagon's expectations for fielding a new fleet of long-range

One 10-year outlook chart shows a column of zeros for aircraft
purchases along a row titled "bomber."

"Although the department is spending considerable sums on modernizing
legacy air mobility and long range strike platforms, there will be no
new procurement of aircraft in these categories during FY 2011-2020,"
the plan says. "The picture will change in the 2020s, when the
priority will likely shift to buying long-range strike and strategic
lift aircraft."

Gates told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Feb. 2 that the 2011
budget calls for spending $1.9 billion between 2011 and 2015 to
develop a next-generation bomber.

The plan goes on to use similar language as defense brass in recent
week, stressing the Air Force and Pentagon are busily studying
requirements for a new bomber -- but making no firm commitments.

"Although the characteristics of the next long-range strike aircraft
have not yet been determined, one option under consideration is a
survivable, penetrating aircraft with better stealth capabilities than
current aircraft have, possibly incorporating advanced sensors of the
type previously reserved for ISR aircraft," according to the report.
"Range and payload requirements for a successor system are still under

The aviation plan projects the military's manned fighter inventory
will decline "by 10 percent" between 2010 and 2020. Over the same
span, the plan forecasts the number of multirole unmanned aircraft in
the fleet "will quadruple."

The plan envisions a combined fighter and attack aircraft fleet
composed of 3,264 planes in 2011. The fleet would shrink to 2,929 by
2020, with a low point of 2,883 in 2018.

The multi-role unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) fleet would grow from 72
in 2011 to 223 in 2015. That growth would continue, with a 476-plane
inventory envisioned for 2020.

For intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, the
plan projects the 580-plane fleet of 2011 will shrink to 527 aircraft
in 2015, before growing to 542 airframes by the end of the span.

The military's airlift inventory is described as "robust and stable."
The plan forecasts remarkable stability for strategic lift aircraft,
starting at 313 jets in fiscal 2011, then holding steady at 312
through fiscal 2020. Tanker aircraft and intra-theater air lifter
inventories also are projected to remain relatively the same. The 549-
ship fleet of tankers in 2011 is expected to dip to a low of 531 in
2018 and 2019 before growing to 538 flying gas stations in 2020. The
2011 inventory of 536 intra-theater cargo planes drops to a low of 509
planes in 2016, rising to 538 in 2020.

The document forecasts "3 percent average annual real growth" for DoD
aviation programs between 2011 and 2020.

"Total aviation investments will amount to $268 billion across the
period," the plan states. "In terms of annual funding levels,
expenditures will rise from about $22 billion in FY 2011 to about $29
billion in FY 2020."

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