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MessageSujet: Re: US Marine Corps (USMC)   Mar 21 Déc 2010 - 1:35

CUTAWAY: AH-1Z Viper enters production as substantially new aircraft
Citation :
Initially envisioned as an effort to modernise the drive train of the US Marine Corps' (USMC) veteran fleet of Bell AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters, the AH-1Z Viper has essentially evolved into a new aircraft.

The helicopter, which was developed alongside its close cousin, the UH-1Y, is a significant technological leap over its predecessor. The new airframe offers increased aerodynamic performance and exponentially more sophisticated avionics. The service hopes to procure some 226 AH-1Zs, including 58 new-build airframes and 168 machines remanufactured from the AH-1W.

For the USMC, the appeal of the "Zulu" is focused on the logistical advantages of the UH-1Y/AH-1Z combination; there are those, however, who question the value of this arrangement.

The H-1 programme originated largely because the Marines wanted to avoid ever taking any [Sikorsky] H-60s," says Richard Aboulafia, an analyst at the Teal Group, a Washington DC-based consultancy.

"Taking H-60s would have been enormously sensible in terms of costs, capabilities and intra-service commonality, but it would have jeopardised the [Bell Boeing] V-22 requirement, which was the Marines' highest priority," Aboulafia says.

Further, the US Army's Boeing AH-64D Apache, which is a direct competitor to the AH-1Z on the market, is arguably a superior attack platform.

Comparatively, the Apache possesses roughly equal manoeuverability, but greater range and payload, although the Zulu is faster. More importantly, one experienced army aviator opines that the AH-64D also offers a superior sensor suite.

The AH-1Z, which entered full-rate production on 28 November, has an estimated unit cost of $27 million. While this is projected to decline as production ramps up, the aircraft will still roughly match the $25 million price tag of the AH-64D.

"I think the most important differences are not directly related to aircraft performance," Aboulafia says. "The Apache's much larger user base guarantees a more ambitious and robust product upgrade roadmap than the Zulu. It also guarantees easier and less costly logistics and training. And the Apache's heavier production volume means better manufacturing economics, which reduces some of the Zulu's original appeal as a less costly machine. On the other hand, a customer that preferred a strategic relationship with the US Marines over the army might find the Zulu an appealing product".

OPERATIONAL REQUIREMENTS

Col Harry Hewson, H-1 upgrades programme manager for the US Naval Air Systems Command, argues that the USMC, in nine separate studies - some as recent as 2006 - had concluded the UH-1Y/AH-1Z combination is the most cost-effective means to meet the service's unique operational requirements.

Because a single squadron type operates both machines, commonality between the two airframes during USMC expeditionary operations is far more important than usually across the Department of Defense.

"Eighty-four percent of the components are identical. The same part number can be used on one or the other. That's really one of the strong selling points for this programme," Hewson says. "The Marine Corps exists to operate in an expeditionary environment, being able to pack up and go some place and operate without a lot of support machines for extended periods. So getting your logistics footprint down to as small as possible is critical."


Increased commonality means that personnel costs can also be reduced, he argues. "Now you only have to train one flavour of avionics guy, or one flavour of rotor and powerplant guy. The skills sets focus down much more, which means when you go on some extended operation at some remote site, you can take fewer people."

The reduced number of support troops and associated facilities helps to lower the operating cost of the aircraft over the course of its service life.

While the AH-1Z retains the classic lines of its forebears, one change is immediately apparent to those familiar with the Cobra. Gone are the distinctive two-bladed metal rotors, instead the Zulu boasts a state-of-the-art four-bladed system.

"It's all composite, basically carbon-fibre and epoxy. It's fully rigid," Hewson says, adding that the blades are connected to a bearing-less rotor hub. The rotor hub itself is composed of two fiberglass yokes, which accommodate blade flapping, lead-lag and pitch changes.

The yokes allow for the elimination of all bearings, hinges and vibration absorbers, which would otherwise be required. The new system utilises 75% fewer parts than conventional articulated rotors, significantly reducing its weight. The new blades also provide tangible performance benefits.

"It's an extremely responsive rotor system for manoeuverability, and, of course, a four-bladed system is quite a bit more aerodynamically efficient than a two-bladed system. We're getting quite a bit more performance out of them," Hewson says. While the new rotors boost the aircraft's manoeuverability, the system also increases the helicopter's cruise speed and improves handling characteristics.

The new rotor system is not without its problems, however, he admits. Several rotor components are falling far short of the original 10,000h goal. The rotor cuff, for example, must be replaced after 1,200 flight hours. The programme will redesign the cuff and yoke to improve durability.

However, Hewson adds: "It remains a very high performance rotor head with very high response rates and minimal recurring maintenance."

The Zulu replaces the twin General Electric T700-401 engines found on the AH-1W, which produce 1,680shp (1,250kW) each, with a pair of new T700-401Cs, each producing almost 1,830shp.

While the new engines provide a combined total of almost 3,660shp, the aircraft's transmission is flat-rated for 2,350shp.

"When you look at that, you say, jeez, the transmission can't handle everything the engines can give it," Hewson says. "However, that's at sea level on a standard day. Take it up high into the mountains, the power available running through the engines starts to be degraded by the thinner air, and at that point the transmission and engines match up pretty well." The Zulu can easily hover out of ground effect even in the high elevations and hot climate found in Afghanistan, he notes. Typically, the aircraft will cruise at around 135-140kt (250-260km/h) in a combat configuration while the maximum dash speed is "around 180kt," Hewson says.

Above 180kt, the AH-1Z is limited by parasitic drag. Compared to the AH-1W, "you get either twice the payload in ordnance, or, you can trade some of that and you get twice the range in fuel carriage," according to Hewson.

Another significant enhancement is the new automatic flight control system (AFCS), which stops short of a fly-by-wire system. The AFCS instead "beefs up" the hydraulically-assisted flight controls.

More importantly, the ballistics tolerance of the control system has been significantly expanded, Hewson says. Materials published by Bell Helicopter suggest the controls can withstand 23mm cannon fire. The AFCS also incorporates a four-axis stability control augmentation system, which helps dampen attitude, roll, yaw and the collective.

"In straight and level flight, you can engage that, it's basically an autopilot. You can take your hands off the controls and fly it comfortably hands-off," Hewson says.

The aircraft's AFCS autopilot and navigation systems are precise enough to allow hands-free flight during the hover, which is typically the most difficult flight regime for helicopter pilots.

Hewson, a veteran Cobra pilot, attributes the astonishing capability to the aircraft's advanced software and extremely sensitive embedded GPS/inertial navigation system.

Inside the glass cockpit, most of the avionics hardware is common to both the UH-1Y and the AH-1Z, with only minor variations. The five-display layout includes two 152mm x 203mm (6in x 8in) multi-function screens for each pilot, plus a 102mm x 102mm screen.

BINOCULAR VIEW

The Thales Top Owl helmet, meanwhile, also displays information for heads-up flying in both day and night operations. The helmet display provides a 40e_SDgr binocular field of view and can display forward-looking infrared and video imagery to the pilot. The system can also overlay targeting data and navigational information directly into the pilot's line of sight.

While the Top Owl is capable of 24h operations, the USMC has opted not to use this feature operationally in the fleet. "At night time, we still use conventional night vision goggles. It took a lot of testing and a lot of debate, but the resounding opinion across all Marine aviators is that there is nothing better out there than night vision goggles," Hewson says. "So that's what we decided to stick with."

The AH-1Z also introduces the Lockheed Martin AAQ-30 Target Sight System (TSS), which incorporates a FLIR, digital colour TV camera and a laser designator. The sensor allows the AH-1Z to act as an armed reconnaissance platform in addition to its traditional role as an attack helicopter.

While the TSS is built on a production line co-located with the Apache's Arrowhead sensor, the systems only share a few common components.

The armaments package for the AH-1Z has not appreciably changed from what is currently found on the AH-1W. The aircraft carries a 20mm turret-mounted cannon, which can be slaved to the pilot's helmet-mounted sights. Additionally, the Zulu can also carry a mix of rocket pods, Lockheed AGM-114 Hellfires and Raytheon AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles. A total of 16 Hellfires can be carried, yielding a payload similar to the AH-64D.

In the future, additional weapons will be integrated onto the gunship, including the advanced precision kill weapon system and follow-on missiles.

One area where the AH-1Z is lagging is in terms of its communications and networking systems. Hewson explains: "What we're doing right now is just voice. We can do all the digital encryption and talk on all the voice radios, but data itself, we're not linking. We've got some plans that we are doing some lab work on to come up with some good data link type stuff. But one thing we are doing that we are putting on AH-1W right now - the AH-1W is still going to be around for another 10, 12 years - we're putting something we call the tactical video data link on there. This will take the sensor video that's on the AH-1W and broadcast that down to a forward air controller who has a ROVER system. We can also receive video from another Cobra, a [Boeing] F/A-18 or [Boeing AV-8B] Harrier who has a Litening pod, or if we get a frequency match, we can look at what a UAV [unmanned air vehicle] is looking at, but not control it".

For the future, new data links are very much on the agenda, Hewson says.
Flight International

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MessageSujet: Re: US Marine Corps (USMC)   Mar 11 Jan 2011 - 12:49

Citation :

US Marine Corps F-35 Programme Receives Additional Funding


The US Marine Corps F-35 joint strike fighter has been given an additional $4.6bn funding boost and put on a two-year probation.
The funding and delay in purchase will help Lockheed to demonstrate the fighter's reliability, which could lead to a redesign of the aircraft's structure and propulsion.
The Marines' F-35 joint strike fighter is designed for short take-off and vertical-landing from smaller amphibious warfare vessels, as well as landings on improvised airstrips, and will replace the 25-year-old AV-B Harrier.
The F-35, Pentagon's biggest weapons project, is four years behind schedule and the cost estimate per aircraft has doubled from the original $50m.
The Pentagon is developing three versions of the aircraft in the $382bn programme and the navy plans to buy 371 Marine Corps versions of the 680, according to Bloomberg.

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MessageSujet: Re: US Marine Corps (USMC)   Ven 14 Jan 2011 - 16:01

..........
Citation :


A decade after first flight, the U.S. Marine Corps’ AH-1Z attack helicopter finally graduated from a turbulent operational evaluation and is being readied for its first shipboard deployment.
The service plans to field the AH-1Z Vipers, commonly known as Zulus, with a Marine Expeditionary Unit in November. It will operate alongside its sister aircraft, the UH-1Y Venom, dubbed the Yankee, which achieved initial operational capability in 2008.
This deployment will be the first time the Marines are able to blend the capabilities of these new utility and attack aircraft—and their improved performance—into a single Marine light helicopter attack squadron during operations at sea. Soon thereafter, the Zulus are likely to head inland to support soldiers in Afghanistan.
Progress on the U.S. Navy’s $12.1-billion H-1 upgrade program had been slow and riddled with management, fabrication and reliability problems only a few years ago. But prime contractor Bell Helicopter, a division of Textron, has smoothed out performance on the program as part of a larger effort to be more responsive to customer needs and deliver aircraft on schedule and budget (see p. 44).
The Zulu portion of the H-1 program comprises 189 aircraft, 131 of which will be remanufactured AH-1W Super Cobras. Many Ws are operating in support of troops in Afghanistan, so buying new Zs takes priority over pulling Ws out of the fleet for modification. The service is now 52 attack helicopters short of its requirement, so purchasing 58 new helicopters leaves little margin for attrition, says Col. Scott McGowan, Marine Corps aviation plans branch chief.
The Zulu provides a major capability boost, including a shift to four- from two-blade main and tail rotors and an improved weapons load. Also part of the package are a next-generation Lockheed Martin targeting sight system and fully integrated avionics with a new Northrop Grumman mission computer as well as a glass cockpit.
For those “Whiskeys” being converted, the Marines are using a remanufactured T700-GE-401 engine. The new Zulus will have the 401C engine, which will provide a significant performance improvement in high/hot conditions, such as those now hampering helicopter operations in Afghanistan. The remanufactured Zs are likely to receive the new 401Cs eventually, although firm plans are not yet set, Bell officials say.
The “moneymaker” on the Zulu will be the new AN-AAQ-30 targeting system, says Kevin Kett, H-1 program manager at Bell’s Amarillo, Texas, military aircraft facility. “This is the whole heart and soul of the aircraft,” he notes. It is the same system now in use on the Marine Corps Harvest Hawk, a suppressive-fires palette configured for use on the KC-130J aerial refueler.
On the Zulu, the system operates with the 20-mm. nose-mounted gun, rockets and Hellfire missiles. “The target-sight system can out-range any of the weapon systems that are being deployed against this thing. We can now see things out at a distance where somebody can’t shoot back at us,” says Richard Linhart, vice president of military business development at Bell. “It takes the Zulu back into the urban game, because now we don’t have to blow up a whole building. . . . With a thermobaric Hellfire, if we hit the building [today], there is a good chance that building will end up coming down.” This new targeting system can smoothly zoom in on a target with high definition; the existing system simply offers a stepped zoom feature, says Hank Perry, H-1 business development manager. “You can really reach out much farther than you could before.”
This feature will allow for Zulu operators to detect and identify a target from a safe standoff range. By contrast, Army pilots using the Apache Block II aircraft are required to “physically have an eyeball on the target to identify it before they can shoot it,” Perry says. With the Zulu, the “Marines will be ahead of the Army, which hasn’t happened in a long, long time,” Linhart adds. This will be the case until Boeing’s Apache Block III reaches service in mid-2013. The Zulu’s larger pylon will support two wingtip stations for the AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missile and four universal weapons stations (capable of carrying Hellfires, rockets and AIM-9s). The AH-1W now has two universal pylon positions
In the meantime, Bell is planning to ramp up its international marketing campaign for the Yankee and Zulu in hopes of securing business before Apache Block III can take the aircraft on directly. Bell CEO John Garrison says the near-term focus will be to sell to countries already operating H-1 variants; but he adds that there will be opportunities to capture new customers in the Middle East and Asia.
Linhart says Bell intends to underbid the current Apache model and Eurocopter Tiger HAD, which is being fielded in France and Spain. However, with the near-term focus on adding volume to the USMC fleet, production slots are not likely to emerge for foreign customers until 2012 at the earliest.
Reduced training and logistics costs are one advantage the Marines hope to realize by merging the Huey and Super Cobra upgrade programs. Bell officials say they exceeded the original goal of 70% parts commonality on the two aircraft. Perry says 84% of the parts are “interchangeable by part number. . . . You can even interchange the tail booms; whereas on previous aircraft, between the Whiskey and November, there was very little in common,” Linhart notes. The last UH-1Ns rolled off the production line in 1979, with the attack helos following as late as 1993. Until the mid-1990s, “they were going down separate paths of upgrading,” Perry says.
The savings will emerge as these two helicopters, with their complementary missions, begin to operate in the same squadrons. Because the Yankee’s performance exceeded expectations, the Marine Corps shifted the composition of those squadrons. Today, each has 18 AH-1Ws and nine UH-1Ns; future units will include 15 AH-1Zs and 12 UH-1Ys. “Cobra is optimized for precision weapons. Yankee will never do that as well,” McGowan says. “But when you add it all up across the full spectrum of combat operations, . . . it looks like a better mix for us.”
“They will fill [the Yankee] up with gas and carry weapons. On the way out there to drop off their cargo, they will [get] a call [and] they will go in and lay some fire and then go drop their stuff off,” Kett says. “With the November today, they say, ‘Sorry, we can’t help you.’ . . . When they do their missions with a November, they either have to offload people, fuel or ammunition” because it is so underpowered in Afghanistan.
With the Zulu, the Marines will be able to “carry twice the amount at the same range or carry the current load twice as far,” he adds.
These improvements did not come to fruition without frustration. The Zulu went through three separate operational evaluation phases, the second of which was halted by the Marine Corps because some production parts were not ready. Bell also encountered major assembly problems mating remanufactured November cabins for the Yankee; the company eventually decided to use all-new Yankee cabin structures built by L-3 Communications in Crestview, Fla. Trying to apply modern, three-dimensional modeling to parts built in the 1970s was “like putting socks on a rooster,” Kett says. These new cabins were brought into final assembly in production Lot 3.
At issue for the Zulu’s development were various management, software and reliability issues, says Col. Harry Hewson, Naval Air Systems Command’s H-1 project manager.
These and other issues at Bell prompted Delores Etter, the former procurement chief for the Navy, to examine alternatives to the H-1 upgrade in the event of a termination. The ­company was also one of only two contractors decertified from the Pentagon’s Earned Value Management ­System, which is the standard tool used to track and audit a company’s cost and schedule performance. These issues have since been resolved, and the Zulu was finally deemed suitable and effective last year; the Pentagon approved full-rate production in late November.
Bell is delivering aircraft in Lot 7 now. Nineteen H-1s were handed over in 2010 as planned, says Michael Scruggs, vice president of Bell’s military aircraft assembly and delivery operations. To date, 36 Yankees and 13 Zulus have been delivered. In July, Bell selected Kaman Aerostructures in Jacksonville, Fla., to fabricate cabins for the 58 new-build Zulus. The first of these is included in Lot 7. Lot 8, now being negotiated between Bell and the Pentagon, will include 19 Yankees, eight remanufactured Zulus and three new attack variants. Bell officials are eyeing a multiyear buy of H-1s, possibly in Fiscal 2014, to stabilize work for suppliers and reduce the price of the helicopter.


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MessageSujet: Re: US Marine Corps (USMC)   Lun 17 Jan 2011 - 12:03

Citation :

M1A1 Dust Storm



Posted 1/15/2011
Marines with Delta Company, 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division (Forward) fire the main cannon of an M1A1 Abrams tank during a range at Camp Leatherneck, Jan. 13, 2011. The Marines are part of the first tank unit to deploy to Afghanistan. Photo by Cpl. Ned Johnson

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MessageSujet: Re: US Marine Corps (USMC)   Mar 18 Jan 2011 - 0:44

l'Abrams en A-stan ...

Citation :
LEATHERNECK, Helmand province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – Marines with Delta Company, 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division (Forward), fires the main cannon of an M1A1 Abrams tank during a range at Camp Leatherneck, Jan. 13, 2011. The Marines fired multiple rounds to align their sights and prepare their tanks for upcoming missions.



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MessageSujet: Re: US Marine Corps (USMC)   Mar 18 Jan 2011 - 12:01

Citation :

Marine Corps Commandant Visits F-35 Test Facility




Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford and Lt. Col. Fred Schenk and Lt. Col. Matt Kelly of the F-35 Integrated Test Force inspecting a F-35B test aircraft on December 17, 2010. Earlier that week with reporters, Gen. Amos said, “The programmatic health of the STOVL variant of the F-35 is a matter of great national interest. Right now, we have 11 aircraft carriers and 11 “big deck” amphibious ships – so our nation effectively has 22 carrier-type capital ships to do our nation’s bidding. We need to put fifth generation aircraft on all 22 of those ships if we are to maintain operational flexibility for the National Command Authority and the Combatant Commander.”
Source: NAVAIR press release
Photo courtesy Lockheed Martin.

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MessageSujet: Re: US Marine Corps (USMC)   Sam 22 Jan 2011 - 22:37


Twisted Evil

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MessageSujet: Re: US Marine Corps (USMC)   Jeu 27 Jan 2011 - 12:16

Citation :

Force Recon, Seals and Pararescue



Posted 1/26/2011

Air Force pararescuemen from 103rd Rescue Squadron, 106th Rescue Wing, New York Air National Guard, and West Coast-based Navy SEALs leap from the ramp of an Air Force C-17 transport aircraft during free-fall parachute training over Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Jan. 21. The pararescuemen and SEALs parachuted from an Air Force C-17 transport aircraft over Marine Corps Base Hawaii to fulfill specialty-based sustainment training requirements. They were joined by Marines from 4th Force Reconnaissance Company, 4th Marine Division. Photo by Lance Cpl. Reece Lodder
Citation :

A160 Hummingbird



Related Article: Hummingbird Humps It For Soldiers And Marines
Posted 1/26/2011

A160 Hummingbird unmanned rotorcraft conducting flight test with FORESTER antenna

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MessageSujet: Re: US Marine Corps (USMC)   Jeu 3 Fév 2011 - 16:06

Citation :

GD to Deliver Mortar Ammunition for US Marine Corps



General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical has been awarded a $198.7m contract for the manufacture and delivery of 120mm mortar ammunition for the US Marine Corps expeditionary fire support system.
Work will be performed in France, and Florida, Arkansas and Kentucky in the US, and is expected to be completed by January 2016.
The firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract was awarded by the US Marine Corps System Contracting Command.

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MessageSujet: Re: US Marine Corps (USMC)   Lun 14 Fév 2011 - 11:45

Citation :

Marine Armor Kicking Up Dust



Posted 2/13/2011

Marines with Bravo Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 8, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), along with Marines with 3rd Platoon, Delta Company, 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division (Forward), travel through the desert during a combat logistics patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan, Feb 2. Marines with CLB-8, 1st MLG (FWD), escorted the tank platoon to northern Helmand province where the tanks will assist coalition forces in securing the area. Photo by Lance Cpl. Kenneth Jasik

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MessageSujet: Re: US Marine Corps (USMC)   Jeu 17 Fév 2011 - 15:58

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A US Marine inspects an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at Vehicle Squadron 2, Camp Dwyer in Gamser, Helmand Province on February 15, 2011.







An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is launched at Vehicle Squadron 2, Camp Dwyer in Gamser, Helmand Province on February 15, 2011.





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MessageSujet: Re: US Marine Corps (USMC)   Jeu 24 Fév 2011 - 15:35

Citation :

larger

U.S. Marine Sgt. Jason Epstein controls a Humvee rollover trainer at Camp Zafar, Herat Province, Afghanistan, Feb. 20, 2011. Afghan National Army basic military training recruits practice exiting rolled Humvees in addition to learning combat driving tactics for the vehicle. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Kevin Wallace)



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MessageSujet: Re: US Marine Corps (USMC)   Jeu 24 Fév 2011 - 15:37

Citation :
Exercise Iron Fist



A sailor with Assault Craft Unit 1, guides the driver of an M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank, 1st Tank Battalion Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, from the deck of a landing craft to Camp Pendleton's White Beach, Feb 23.





An M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank, 1st Tank Battalion Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., debarks the deck of a landing craft to Camp Pendleton's White Beach, Feb 23.





A sailor with Assault Craft Unit 1, guides the driver of an M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank, 1st Tank Battalion Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., into position to be secured to the deck of a landing craft aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif. Feb 23.





A sailor with Assault Craft Unit 1, guides the driver of an M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank, 1st Tank Battalion Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., into position to be secured to the deck of a landing craft aboard Camp Pendleton, Feb 23.





A sailor with Assault Craft Unit 1, guides the driver of an M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank, 1st Tank Battalion Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, from the deck of a landing craft to Camp Pendleton's White Beach, Feb 23.




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MessageSujet: Re: US Marine Corps (USMC)   Jeu 10 Mar 2011 - 12:46

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US Marine wants early end to F-35 fighter probation




(Reuters) - The U.S. Marine Corps' top general said he wants an early end to a two-year "probation" imposed on the short-takeoff version of the Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-35 fighter jet and is encouraged by its progress since a major program restructuring.
Marine Corps Commandant General James Amos told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that the Marines had no "Plan B" for how to carry out its missions if the plane was canceled.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates in January put the Marine Corps variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter on a two-year watch, and said it should be canceled if technical issues could not be resolved during that time.
Britain has already decided against buying that version of the new Joint Strike Fighter, leaving the Marines and Italy as the only customers for a model that has run into considerable technical problems and cost overruns.
"My sense is I'm optimistic," Amos said. "We are on a two-year watch. It's my hope that we can get off that well before two years."
Amos said he planned to offer Gates a set of metrics this spring that would measure progress on the plane and allow the Pentagon to lift the current probationary status.
Amos said the Pentagon's new F-35 director, Vice Admiral David Venlet, was the "right guy" to be running the program, and the Pentagon's level of oversight was appropriate.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead and Amos underscored progress on the program since a second restructuring in 12 months, noting that the pace of flight tests was way up.
Amos said he was briefed Monday on structural issues with the short-takeoff, vertical-landing (STOVL) version of the F-35, including issues with the plane's bulkhead and excess weight, and progress was being made.
He said he would focus carefully on the aircraft's performance in flight tests in coming months, any additional weight gain, as well as engineering challenges.
"Right now, we're on a good glide slope in weight growth and they're not going to add a pound that I'm not aware of to that airplane," he said.
Amos said the F-35B, which can take off from much shorter runways and land vertically, like a helicopter, was critical to the way the Marines operated, and its cancellation would erode U.S. military capabilities significantly.
"We get out, we get dirty, we fly in places where ... that are unapproved (air) strips," he said, adding that such actions were critical at the start of the Iraq war in 2003.
"If we lose the F-35B, there is no Plan B for fixed-wing airplanes on the large-deck amphibs. Our nation's capability to project power and influence situations will be cut ... immeasurably," he said. "It would be significant."
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MessageSujet: Re: US Marine Corps (USMC)   Jeu 10 Mar 2011 - 18:08

Citation :

Marines declare AH-1Z Cobra operational


NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND PATUXENT RIVER, Md. - The Marine Corps' newest attack helicopter, the AH-1Z Cobra, achieved Initial Operating Capability ahead of schedule in February.

"Getting the AH-1Z to IOC has been a huge achievement for the entire team," said Col. Harry Hewson, program manager for U.S. Marine Corps Light and Attack Helicopters. "Now we get to put the Zulu in the hands of the Marines and prove that it is indeed the most capable marinized attack helicopter in the world."

As part of the H-1 Upgrades Program, the AH-1Z replaces the currently fielded AH-1W. The AH-1Z will serve a primary role in assault support, offensive air support and air reconnaissance. Cobras will play a supporting role in anti-air warfare, electronic warfare, and control of aircraft and missiles.

The new Cobras feature 10,000 flight-hour airframes, a new four-bladed rotor system with semi-automatic blade fold of the new composite rotor blades, new performance matched transmissions, a new four-bladed tail rotor and drive system, upgraded landing gear, and pylon structural modifications. The Cobra also incorporates modernized, fully integrated cockpits/avionics that will reduce operator work load while improving situational awareness and safety.

The AH-1Z is equipped with two General Electric T700-GE-401 series engines and greatly increased lift capability and stores capacity, giving it a significantly greater ordnance payload for future growth potential. The primary weapon system is the Hellfire missile. It is fully shipboard compatible, and capable of operating from prepared or unprepared landing sites, day or night.

The Marine Corps will remanufacture 131 AH-1W helicopters into AH-1Z aircraft and build 58 new AH-1Zs. The projected inventory for the AH-1Z is 189 helicopters. Full operational capability, defined as when all AH-1Z maintenance and repair support, test equipment, and spares are in place to support active component force primary aircraft authorization, is expected to be achieved in 2020.

AH-1Z Cobras were first delivered in 2007 by prime contractor Bell Helicopter Textron Incorporated. The Department of Defense authorized the Cobra for full-rate production in November 2010. The first deployment of the AH-1Z is scheduled for later this year with a Marine Expeditionary Unit. This will be the first opportunity for the AH-1Z and UH-1Y to deploy together. The UH-1Y is already on its third rotation to Operation Enduring Freedom.

"The expeditionary agility that the Yankee/Zulu package brings to the Marine Air/Ground Task Force is exactly what the Marine Corps needs as we continue to fight two wars and conduct numerous other engagements in every clime and place," Hewson said. "I am proud to be a part of the team that is making that happen."



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MessageSujet: Re: US Marine Corps (USMC)   Sam 19 Mar 2011 - 14:54

Citation :

Marines decide to put cockpit voice recorders in V-22s


This just in from InsideDefense.com (pay-per-viewsite):

The Marine Corps is now committed to putting cockpit voice recorders on its fleet of MV-22 Ospreys for the first time since the requirement became law more than a decade ago, according to Lt. Gen. Terry Robling, the service's top aviation official.

In a March 15 interview with Inside the Pentagon, Robling said he issued verbal guidance last week directing Marine Corps officials to program $10.3 million in the service's fiscal year 2013 budget plan for the technology. That new guidance from Robling, who became the deputy commandant for aviation in January, marks the first time the service has agreed to fund the capability since Congress mandated it for all Ospreys in October 2000.

ITP reported last December that the Defense Department had left the requirement unfunded for years and that the head Air Force investigator of the April 9, 2010, Osprey crash in Afghanistan said such a device could have helped conclusively prove the cause of the disaster. That prompted the House Armed Services Committee in recent days to press the Marine Corps and the Air Force to meet the statutory requirement.

"It's one of those [where] if you don't ask the question, you don't know what the problem is," Robling said, noting the problem came to light "based on the press article given to the members here. And we looked back and said yeah, there's a requirement."

In the decade since the need for the cockpit voice recorders became law in the Fiscal Year 2001 National Defense Authorization Act, the requirement did not successfully compete against other priorities in the military's long-term budget process, Robling said, adding there was "no forcing function" to make it happen. But now that the Marine Corps is funding the requirement, it could still take years to implement.



[url=http://blogs.star-telegram.com/sky_talk/2011/03/marines-decide-to-put-cockpit-voice-recorders-in-v-22s.html#ixzz1H3NB3qAw
star-telegram][/quote] star-telegram[/url]

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MessageSujet: Re: US Marine Corps (USMC)   Mer 23 Mar 2011 - 21:37

Citation :

General Dynamics Awarded $41 Million for RG-31 MRAP Upgrades

The U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command has awarded General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada three delivery order modifications valued at USD$41.4 million for upgrade kits for RG-31 Mk5E vehicles previously delivered under the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle program. General Dynamics Land Systems, the Canadian company's parent corporation, is a business unit of General Dynamics.

The kits will enhance the survivability and operation of the RG-31 vehicles to the latest production configuration. The delivery of the kits is expected to be completed by January 2012.

The contracts were signed through the Canadian Commercial Corporation, a Crown Agency of the Canadian Government.
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MessageSujet: Re: US Marine Corps (USMC)   Jeu 31 Mar 2011 - 14:19

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Harrier crashes off ship, pilot reported OK


An AV-8B Harrier jump jet crashed Tuesday in the Gulf of Aden shortly after taking off from the amphibious assault ship Boxer, military officials told Marine Corps Times.
The pilot ejected and wasn’t seriously injured, according to Marine Corps and Navy officials.
The Harrier is assigned to the Camp Pendleton, Calif.-based 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet region aboard three ships with the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group. It took off from the ship at 5:19 p.m. local time, but “immediately after take off the aircraft rolled right and (the pilot) ejected,” officials said.
The pilot, flying with the call sign of “Evil Eye 55,” was picked up by a Navy MH-60S Seahawk helicopter within about seven minutes of the incident. Once returned to the Boxer, the pilot “walked off the aircraft under his own power.”
The squadron is investigating the cause of the crash.
The 13th MEU and Boxer ARG left California in February on a scheduled deployment to the Middle East and Western Pacific regions. The 4,000-member naval force arrived in the 5th Fleet region on March 25.

marinecorpstimes


Citation :

Copter crash kills 1 Marine, injures 3 off Hawaii




HONOLULU — One Marine was killed and three injured when a helicopter crashed into a bay on the coast of Oahu, a military spokesman said Wednesday
The CH-53 D Sea Stallion, with four Marines aboard, crashed about 7:20 p.m. Hawaii time Tuesday, Maj. Alan Crouch, with the Marines' public affairs office in Hawaii, told NBC News.
One died in the accident and the other three were at The Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu, Crouch said. Two survivors were in critical condition and the third in serious but stable condition.
The names and ages of the Marines were not immediately released, pending notification of next of kin.
It was not immediately clear what caused the crash.
The chopper went down while attempting an emergency landing in shallow water in Kaneohe Bay, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported. The helicopter left its base at Kaneohe Bay about 7 p.m. and crashed about 20 minutes later, 2nd Lt. Diann Olson, a Marine spokeswoman, told the newspaper.
The aircraft was resting on its side in shallow water, the newspaper said.
NBC News

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MessageSujet: Re: US Marine Corps (USMC)   Mar 12 Avr 2011 - 15:45

Citation :

Marine Corps makes aviation history with intercontinental Osprey flight

CAMP BASTION, Afghanistan - The Marine Corps completed an aviation first, April 8, by flying MV-22B Ospreys on the aircraft’s longest movement to date.

Six Ospreys with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 266 returned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit after a trek from Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, to Souda Bay, Greece, with the assistance of a pair of KC-130J Hercules from 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) who provided transport and aerial refueling support.

“As far as aerial refueling missions are concerned, this was a Marine Corps and Naval aviation first,” said Capt. Ben Grant, the executive officer for the Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 detachment currently deployed in support of operations in Afghanistan. “Never before has an MV-22 movement been conducted this far or on this scale. On this mission, the MV-22s travelled in excess of over 2,800 miles from Camp Bastion to Souda Bay, using aerial refueling provided by KC-130Js. We transited three continents over land and water, three combatant commands’ areas of responsibility, and did it with no major issues.”

The mission was conducted to return VMM-266 Marines, cargo and aircraft to the USS Kearsarge and the 26th MEU, which had been tasked to the Mediterranean region in support of operations in Libya.

“This mission validated a capability that should ultimately be seen as routine,” said Grant. “We affirmed the ability of the MV-22 to be long-range deployed with KC-130J support.”

Grant said the mission was conducted over two separate movements consisting of two Hercules and three Ospreys. During both movements, the KC-130Js not only refueled the MV-22Bs, but also transported more than 50,000 pounds of VMM-266’s essential cargo, maintenance and support equipment. Nearly 100 Marines also made the journey, so they could join the rest of the 26th MEU and prepare for their return to the U.S.

“Our weather radar, familiarity with international flying, cargo capacity, communications and navigational abilities, and ability to aerial refuel the MV-22 makes us a combat multiplier for them, ensuring their success,” Grant said of the KC-130J’s abilities.

Grant said the mission went well, a result of not only planning, but the Marines’ ability to adapt to the situation.

“Though we had prepared for a myriad of contingencies, none arose that required us to alter our timelines or routing,” said Grant. “While each movement encountered expected and unexpected friction that had to be immediately addressed, each was handled superbly by the KC-130J and MV-22 Marines. Everyone involved worked as a team of professionals.”

Grant said while the mission was the first of its type at this scale, he believes more missions of this nature will occur in the future. He said he sees movement like this becoming as routine for the Osprey as they are for other Marine Corps aircraft including F/A-18 Hornets, AV-8B Harriers and CH-53E Super Stallions.

“It was not without many learning points for both the MV-22 and KC-130J crews,” said Grant. “We are still developing and refining these procedures as the MV-22 continues to mature. Great credit goes to the MV-22 pilots and crews for their ‘can-do’ attitude and planning of these two movements.”

Since responding to a request to support Regional Command Southwest’s area of operations, the "Fighting Griffins" of VMM-266, based out of Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., have provided aviation and assault support for 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment and other coalition ground forces in Afghanistan, explained Lt. Col. Romin Dasmalchi, the VMM-266 commanding officer. Simultaneously, other elements of VMM-266, including reinforcements from an AV-8B Harrier detachment, participated in other activities, notably recent operations in Libya.

“It’s been a challenging deployment for the Marines here,” Dasmalchi said. “They’ve been split up into two theaters and have found motivation in the fact that the squadron was still able to operate with great success.”

Before VMM-266 departed Afghanistan, the squadron and VMM-264, another New River, N.C.-based MV-22B squadron, conducted an aircraft exchange allowing four of VMM-264’s Ospreys to return back to the U.S. for maintenance. In return VMM-264 inherited four newer Ospreys from VMM-266 to continue to conduct operations in Afghanistan, said Dasmalchi.

“Our Marines had their work cut out for them once we accepted these older aircraft,” said Dasmalchi. “The aircraft had to be operationally sound before we embarked on the long-range flight to Souda Bay. The Marines did an incredible job, logging thousands of maintenance hours, all while supporting Regional Command Southwest simultaneously.”

Grant credited the mission’s success to KC-130J and MV-22 maintenance and support Marines, cooperation from the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force, which aided with ramp space and air traffic control and support from other Marine units, like meteorological service. He also said many Marines throughout the region, other military services, and U.S. government agencies worked behind the scenes to ensure smooth coordination.

“As Marines, we are not just warriors from the sea. We are warriors, from anywhere to anywhere on the globe,” said Grant who also serves as a KC-130J weapons and tactics instructor. “This mission got the MV-22s on their way home. The next mission may be to get them to the fight, or from one fight to another.”
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MessageSujet: Re: US Marine Corps (USMC)   Jeu 21 Avr 2011 - 17:01

Citation :

Fire Scout prepares for CENTCOM deployment


The Navy’s Fire Scout Unmanned Air Vehicle system is about to begin its first land-based deployment to U.S. Central Command this month.

The Fire Scout effort is led by the Navy and Marine Corps Multi-Mission Tactical Unmanned Air System program office, PMA-266, at Patuxent River, Md. In response to an urgent needs requirement from DoD’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance task force, the team rapidly modified, tested and verified the Fire Scout system to adjust to land-based operations and the demanding environmental conditions in CENTCOM.

“This is an exciting time for the Fire Scout program,” said Capt. Tim Dunigan, PMA-266 program manager. “The system has proven its capability on its two ship-based deployments, and I am confident it will perform well in CENTCOM.”

A combined team of military, civilian and contractor personnel loaded 90,000 pounds of equipment, including three aircraft, two ground control stations (GCS) and associated hardware, on U.S. Air Force C-5 and C-17 aircraft. The C-5 left with the GCS and hardware April 8, and the C-17 deployed April 13 with three air vehicles.

“It’s very unique for an aircraft to deploy directly from Pax River,” Dunigan said. “The activity conducted by our test team at Webster Field was done exceptionally well. We were able to meet tight schedule timelines so we could support the warfighter as soon as possible.”

The Fire Scout will provide hundreds of hours of Full Motion Video in theater supporting U.S. Army and coalition forces during its year-long deployment. The system will be operated by contractor personnel.

The Fire Scout’s first flight in CENTCOM is expected this month. The system is also currently deployed aboard the USS Halyburton (FFG 40) tallying more than 200 flight hours to date in support of humanitarian assistance and counter-piracy missions.




Click here for High Resolution Photo


Three Fire Scout air vehicles prepare for deployment to U.S. Central Command April 13. (U.S. Navy photo by Kelly Schindler)



Click here for High Resolution Photo


A team begins to load the MQ-8B Fire Scout on a U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft at Patuxent River, Md., April 13. The Fire Scout will provide hundreds of hours of Full Motion Video in theater supporting U.S. Army and coalition forces during its year-long deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mikel Proulx)



Click here for High Resolution Photo


The Fire Scout air vehicle undergoes a final inspection after being loaded onto the C-17. The Fire Scout’s first flight in CENTCOM is expected this month. (U.S. Navy photo by Steve Kays)




navair.navy.mil

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MessageSujet: Re: US Marine Corps (USMC)   Jeu 28 Avr 2011 - 12:34

Citation :

GD to Provide EFSS to US Marine Corps



General Dynamics (GD) Ordnance and Tactical Systems has been awarded a firm-fixed-price delivery order for Production Lot 4 procurement of individual components of the Expeditionary Fire Support System (EFSS).
Under the $14.2m contract, the company will provide 24 prime movers and 12 M327 rifled towed mortars, basic issue item kits, additional authorisation list hardware, and initial mortar spares.
The EFSS is a launcher, mobility platform, ammunition supply vehicle, and technical fire direction equipment for positioning the weapon for firing and to accurately compute firing data.
The system provides all-weather, ground-based, close supporting, accurate, immediately responsive, and lethal indirect fire.
Work will be carried out at the company's facilities in France, and in North Carolina and Virginia, US, and is expected to be completed by 30 June 2013.
The US Marine Corps Systems Command will be the contracting activity.

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MessageSujet: Re: US Marine Corps (USMC)   Mar 3 Mai 2011 - 15:30

Citation :
Force Protection Logs $106.9 Million USMC Contract for More MRAP Suspension System Kits


LADSON, S.C. | Force Protection Industries, Inc., a Force Protection Inc. group company, announced that it has received a firm fixed price modification to existing contract M67854-07-C-5031 from U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command with a total value of approximately $106.9 million for the purchase of 1,000 independent suspension system (“ISS”) kits. The award consists of 650 ISS kits for Cougar Category I vehicles and 350 ISS kits for Cougar Category II vehicles. Delivery of the kits is expected to begin in the Company’s 2011 third quarter and be completed by December 31, 2011.

Randy Hutcherson, Chief Operating Officer for Force Protection Industries, Inc., said, “The Cougar with independent suspension continues to perform exceptionally well in Afghanistan, and this award is another clear indicator of how vital the Cougar is to the troops in theater. The delivery of these kits and subsequent installation will help ensure that our Cougar vehicles continue to perform critical missions in extremely rugged areas.”

The combination of today’s announcement, other awards previously secured in 2011, and the portion of funded backlog at December 31, 2010 that is anticipated for delivery this year, results in solid visibility for the Company’s previously disclosed outlook for 2011. As such, the Company reiterates its expectation of year-over-year growth in total revenue and earnings, with the majority of its 2011 full year financial results anticipated to be recorded in the second half of the year. Similar to 2010, the Company continues to expect its fourth quarter will be the most financially significant of 2011.
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MessageSujet: Re: US Marine Corps (USMC)   Mer 4 Mai 2011 - 1:46

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SOURCE:Flight International
PHOTO: Crashed helicopter in Bin Laden raid revealed
By Stephen Trimble

News reports show the remains of what appears to be a Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter that crashed in the US military raid that killed Osama bin Laden early on 2 May.

The remains of the helicopter, which include an intact horizontal stabiliser, are shown leaning upside-down against a brick wall with barbed-wire fence.

News reports have quoted US officials saying one of the helicopters involved in the US operation crashed in or near the compound where bin Laden was hiding.



The reports attributed the crash to a mechanical malfunction, although US officials have reportedly said no US troops were injured or killed in the raid.

President Barack Obama announced late on 1 May in Washington DC that bin Laden had been killed inside the compound in Abbottabad.

US forces buried bin Laden's body at sea within 24h of the raid, US officials say.

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MessageSujet: Re: US Marine Corps (USMC)   Jeu 26 Mai 2011 - 1:36

Citation :
Oshkosh Defense to Begin Full-Rate Production of New Vehicles for U.S. Marine Corps

Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation, will deliver more than 200 Logistics Vehicle System Replacement (LVSR) tractors and nearly 70 LVSR wreckers following an order from the U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM). These will be the first full-rate production tractor and wrecker variants, complementing the LVSR cargo variants that have been supporting Marines in Afghanistan since September 2009.

“The LVSR tractors and wreckers allow Marines to navigate some of their heaviest equipment through the most challenging off-road terrain,” said John Bryant, vice president and general manager of Marine Corps Programs for Oshkosh Defense. “In addition to optimizing mobility, the LVSR incorporates technology that provides sophisticated on-board diagnostics information and integrated armor for superior protection. Oshkosh is pleased to support Marine Corps missions with these innovative and highly protected tractors and wreckers.”

The LVSR tractor is designed to haul combat vehicles, semi-trailers and other equipment. It has a fifth-wheel vertical-loading capacity of 25.3 tons and a recovery winch with a 30-ton capacity. The LVSR wrecker supports vehicle recovery in a wide range of terrain – from deserts to mountains – including sand, mud, water and snow. The heavy-payload vehicle can flat tow vehicles weighing as much as 55 tons as well as lift and tow vehicles weighing as much as 48 tons.

The advanced LVSR is produced in three variants – cargo, wrecker and tractor – and features an on-road payload capacity of 22.5 tons and an off-road payload capacity of 16.5 tons. It is equipped with the Oshkosh Command Zone embedded diagnostics system to provide real-time performance feedback on vital vehicle information and uses the company’s patented TAK-4 independent suspension system for off-road mobility in the most challenging environments.

LVSR tractor and wrecker production is scheduled to begin in January 2012 and be completed in September 2012. The order is valued at nearly $125 million.


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MessageSujet: Re: US Marine Corps (USMC)   Jeu 26 Mai 2011 - 12:40

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VMM-161 reaches milestone

SAN DIEGO -- As the first West Coast Osprey squadron to meet final operating capability requirements, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161 is now “an official squadron in the Fleet Marine Force,” said Houston native Maj. Jeffery D. Cabana, the aircraft maintenance officer for the “Greyhawks.”

VMM-161 reached its FOC milestone in the allotted 18 months with 26 pilots flying approximately 2,388 flight hours, 110 maintenance personnel, 12 MV-22B Ospreys and obtaining a T-3 rating in the Defense Readiness Reporting System – allowing the squadron to enter into a Pre-deployment Training Program or Marine expeditionary unit work-up cycle.

However, what makes this significant for VMM-161 is that it is now eligible to enter the deployment cycle and take pressure off the East Coast VMMs – or other aviation squadrons – that are deploying more often due to the non-operational status of the West Coast squadrons, explained Capt. Ahron K. Oddman, a Greyhawks’ pilot training officer from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Furthermore, the squadron can be “Fraged,” or given a fragmentary order, to facilitate and support other units with their training, which can range from troop transport to amphibious shipping and shore-to-base operations.

Another major accomplishment the Greyhawks attained while achieving FOC was completing a large “overtrain” requirement, which meant in addition to the squadron training its own pilots and maintainers to meet FOC, they also trained dozens of other pilots and maintainers from the follow-on West Coast VMMs – namely VMM-166 and 561 – to be better postured to achieve their FOC milestone on timeline, added Oddman.

“It’s an added tax from which we didn’t have, but makes the West Coast MV-22 transition more seamless,” he continued.

Now that the squadron has its FMF status, the Greyhawks look forward to getting into the deployment rotation cycle as early as this fall or as late as next summer.
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