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US Preparing to Put Nuclear Bombers Back on 24-Hour Alert

US Preparing to Put Nuclear Bombers Back on 24-Hour Alert

(Source: Marcus Weisgerber/DefenseOne)
BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. — The U.S. Air Force is preparing to put nuclear-armed bombers back on 24-hour ready alert, a status not seen since the Cold War ended in 1991.

That means the long-dormant concrete pads at the ends of this base’s 11,000-foot runway — dubbed the “Christmas tree” for their angular markings — could once again find several B-52s parked on them, laden with nuclear weapons and set to take off at a moment’s notice.

This is yet one more step in ensuring that we’re prepared,

Gen. David Goldfein, Air Force chief of staff, said in an interview during his six-day tour of Barksdale and other U.S. Air Force bases that support the nuclear mission.

I look at it more as not planning for any specific event, but more for the reality of the global situation we find ourselves in and how we ensure we’re prepared going forward.

Goldfein and other senior defense officials stressed that the alert order had not been given, but that preparations were under way in anticipation that it might come. That decision would be made by Gen. John Hyten, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, or Gen. Lori Robinson, the head of U.S. Northern Command. STRATCOM is in charge of the military’s nuclear forces and NORTHCOM is in charge of defending North America.

Putting the B-52s back on alert is just one of many decisions facing the Air Force as the U.S. military responds to a changing geopolitical environment that includes North Korea’s rapidly advancing nuclear arsenal, President Trump’s confrontational approach to Pyongyang, and Russia’s increasingly potent and active armed forces.

Goldfein, who is the Air Force’s top officer and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is asking his force to think about new ways that nuclear weapons could be used for deterrence, or even combat.

The world is a dangerous place and we’ve got folks that are talking openly about use of nuclear weapons,

he said.

It’s no longer a bipolar world where it’s just us and the Soviet Union. We’ve got other players out there who have nuclear capability. It’s never been more important to make sure that we get this mission right.

During his trip across the country last week, Goldfein encouraged airmen to think beyond Cold War uses for ICBMs, bombers and nuclear cruise missiles.

I’ve challenged…Air Force Global Strike Command to help lead the dialog, help with this discussion about ‘What does conventional conflict look like with a nuclear element?’ and ‘Do we respond as a global force if that were to occur?’ and ‘What are the options?’

he said.

How do we think about it — how do we think about deterrence in that environment?

Asked if placing B-52s back on alert — as they were for decades — would help with deterrence, Goldfein said it’s hard to say.

Really it depends on who, what kind of behavior are we talking about, and whether they’re paying attention to our readiness status,

he said.
Already, various improvements have been made to prepare Barksdale — home to the 2d Bomb Wing and Air Force Global Strike Command, which oversees the service’s nuclear forces — to return B-52s to an alert posture. Near the alert pads, an old concrete building — where B-52 crews during the Cold War would sleep, ready to run to their aircraft and take off at a moment’s notice — is being renovated.

Inside, beds are being installed for more than 100 crew members, more than enough room for the crews that would man bombers positioned on the nine alert pads outside. There’s a recreation room, with a pool table, TVs and a shuffleboard table. Large paintings of the patches for each squadron at Barksdale adorn the walls of a large stairway.

One painting — a symbol of the Cold War — depicts a silhouette of a B-52 with the words “Peace The Old Fashioned Way,” written underneath. At the bottom of the stairwell, there is a Strategic Air Command logo, yet another reminder of the Cold War days when American B-52s sat at the ready on the runway outside.

Those long-empty B-52 parking spaces will soon get visits by two nuclear command planes, the E-4B Nightwatch and E-6B Mercury, both which will occasionally sit alert there. During a nuclear war, the planes would become the flying command posts of the defense secretary and STRATCOM commander, respectively. If a strike order is given by the president, the planes would be used to transmit launch codes to bombers, ICBMs and submarines. At least one of the four nuclear-hardened E-4Bs — formally called the National Airborne Operations Center, but commonly known as the Doomsday Plane — is always on 24-hour alert.

Barksdale and other bases with nuclear bombers are preparing to build storage facilities for a new nuclear cruise missile that is under development. During his trip, Goldfein received updates on the preliminary work for a proposed replacement for the 400-plus Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles, and the new long-range cruise missile.

Our job is options,

Goldfein said.

We provide best military advice and options for the commander in chief and the secretary of defense. Should the STRATCOM commander require or the NORTHCOM commander require us to [be on] a higher state of readiness to defend the homeland, then we have to have a place to put those forces.

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Supacat Announces at DVD2018 That Its All Terrain Mobility Platform Will Be Upgraded

Supacat Announces at DVD2018 That Its All Terrain Mobility Platform Will Be Upgraded

Millbrook, Bedfordshire, the UK (BulgarianMilitary.com), 20 September 2018, Editor: Galina Zdravkova, Photo credit: Supacat

The UK maker of high mobility vehicles, Supacat, has announced at the Defence Vehicle Dynamics (DVD) 2018 exhibition a new programme, under which its All Terrain Mobility Platform (ATMP) will be modernized, learned BulgarianMilitary.com

The original vehicle is still reliable, flexible and capable workhorse although it has been in service with the UK MOD, foreign militaries and other non-defence sectors since the early 1980s (more than 30 years).

Read more: The Procedures for the Bulgarian Land and Air Force Modernization Projects Start

“This is an exciting time for Supacat as we seek to harness the rapid advances in hybrid propulsion and autonomous technologies made over the last few years to enhance the capabilities of our products and team for the benefit of our defence and non-defence customers,” underlined the Engineering Director at Supacat Steve Austen

The modernization programme will include upgrading of the engine and drive train. A hybrid drive train will be integrated into the platform as well. For the purposes of developing the alternative drive solution Supacat are working together with the University of Exeter.

Read more: 21 BMP-2 Fighting Vehicles Upgraded for the Slovak Armed Forces

“The Knowledge Transfer Partnership is an exciting opportunity for us to use the latest academic research in industry to improve and modernize what is already a hugely successful vehicle. It is fantastic to work with a company like Supacat who have a huge wealth of experience and a really agile approach to engineering,” said Matthew Harvey of the University of Exeter comments.

The All Terrain Mobility Platform of Supacat is designed to carry a payload of 1600 kg. The Platform has already been successfully proven in lots of military and humanitarian missions in Canada, Malaysia, Afghanistan, the Gulf, the Falklands, Bosnia, and Kosovo. It can be transported within or underslung below a range of air platforms.

DVD is a biennial two-day Defence industry exhibition held at Millbrook Proving Ground. This year it has been scheduled to take place on 19th and 20th September 2018.

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Cyber and Electronic Warriors of the Future Will Be Trained at New Leonardo Facility

Cyber and Electronic Warriors of the Future Will Be Trained at New Leonardo Facility

ROME, Italy (BulgarianMilitary.com), 19 September 2018, Editor: Galina Zdravkova, Photo credit: Leonardo

The global high-tech company and one of the key players in aerospace, defence and security Leonardo announced on Friday, 14 September 2018, that at a ceremony on the same day the UK’s Chief of Defence Intelligence Air Marshal Philip Osborn officially opened a new training facility of the company, learned BulgarianMilitary.com

The new training facility will be used by Leonardo to train and educate technical specialists within the Cyber and Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA) domain. The company has in invested in that new training centre more than £2M in response to the growing market demand for training in the skills needed to operate in today’s electronics-driven battlespace.

Read more: Leonardo Unveiled Its BriteCloud 55-T for Military Transport Aircraft Protection

It shall be reminded that Lenorado has run a base in Lincoln since 2009, where UK Armed Forces based at the nearby Air Warfare Centre at RAF Waddington and visiting delegates from allied nations have been trained.

At the new Leonardo Academy facility, UK MoD personnel will be trained in protection of platforms against high-tech threat radar systems. In addition, the Academy will offer a range of domain knowledge modules that provide users with a structured course of education from overview to expert across the CEMA environment, some of which will be part of a Masters of Science (MSc) programme.

The Leonardo Academy in Lincoln will also host delegates from international allies, including Brazil and South Korea. Approximately 70% of the training is expected to be provided to international customers.

The company is quite well prepared to provide the mentioned types of training because it employs some of the best UK experts in CEMA and is one of the main suppliers of such technology to the UK Armed Forces. It shall be mentioned here that Leonardo provides more than 60% of the avionics needed for the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft in service with the RAF and its allies, It also delivers protective equipment and support for the helicopter fleet of the UK.

Read more: Extra money for technical support or C-27J Spartan stays on the ground

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Technology of Sonardyne Selected by the USNSWC for Underwater Vehicle Testing Ground

Technology of Sonardyne Selected by the USNSWC for Underwater Vehicle Testing Ground

HOUSTON, Texas, the USA (BulgarianMilitary.com), 18 September 2018, Editor: Galina Zdravkova, Photo credit: Sonardyne/The US Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Carderock Division’s SFOMF (South Florida Ocean Measurement Facility).

An underwater target tracking technology of the Houston-based company, Sonardyne Inc., has been selected by the US NSWC (Naval Surface Warfare Center), Carderock Division for use at its SFOMF (South Florida Ocean Measurement Facility), learned BulgarianMilitary.com

Read more: Lockheed Martin Will Provide up to 200+ eCASS Stations for the US Navy

The Carderock Division of the NSWC is located in Maryland. It is the research, engineering, modelling, and test centre for surface and undersea technologies of the U.S. Navy or “the force behind the fleet” as its motto is. It is the largest, most comprehensive organization of this type in the world. The Division is close to the Gulf Stream, due to which Carderock’s SFOMF ensures an important open ocean test environment for developing subsea systems and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) not only for the U.S. Navy, but also for the maritime industry as a whole.

Read more: The US Cyber Security Office Will be Supported by Booz Allen Hamilton for 5 Years

Therefore, for the purposes of supporting the above mentioned activities of the Centerk, Carderock Division has ordered the high accuracy Ranger 2 Ultra Short Baseline (USBL) acoustic tracking system of Sonardyne together with a GyroUSBL transceiver, Nano and Wideband Sub-Mini 6 Plus (WSM 6+) transponders as revealed by the company today.

Read more: The High-Speed USNS Carson City Is Tested on the Black Sea for Logistics Purposes

The Ranger 2 system is intended for accurate tracking of the underwater position of any subsea system or UUV. The system may track systems in shallow and deep water, near the surface and over very long ranges. With the help of Nano and WSM 6+ transponders, vehicles of any size may be accommodated.

The Ocean Engineer at the NSWC Matt Young commented, “During the tender process, Sonardyne’s Survey Support Group was able to provide us with performance predictions using their USBL System Error (USE) software tool. This service isn’t offered by anyone else and was invaluable when selecting the perfect system to suit our needs. The team was also forthcoming with information and technical details about Sonardyne’s products; no question was too much trouble to answer.”

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BAE Systems Introduced Its Innovative New Information Security and RMF Capability

BAE Systems Introduced Its Innovative New Information Security and RMF Capability

NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland, the USA (BulgarianMilitary.com), 18 September 2018, Editor: Galina Zdravkova, Photo credit: BAE Systems

Yesterday, 17 September 2018, BAE Systems introduced its innovative new information security and risk management framework (RMF) capability, Epiphany, at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference at National Harbor, Maryland, the USA, learned BulgarianMilitary.com

The VP and GM of BAE Systems’ Air Force Solutions business Pete Trainer underlined, “After just a few minutes of answering common organizational process questions, Epiphany can begin automating an organization’s most complex and time consuming processes, including the completion of detailed regulatory paperwork. The solution meets Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement security standards and is ready for use in stand-alone, cloud, or public facing environments.”

Read more: BAE Systems Is Developing Software Modelling Conflicts for DARPA

Epiphany is a highly configurable solution, which uses electronic workflows, centralized storage, and smart data optimization features for reducing the labour and documentation and putting enterprise data to work to solve agency challenges.

Epiphany is a process, as well as a secure information management solution capable of searching an organization’s historical data and completing automatically many standard compliance documents while safeguarding the processing, storing, and transmission of critical national security and weapon system information.

Read more: Thales, BAE Systems and CGI Team Up for the Needs of the UK Royal Navy

The detailed document repository of Epiphany stores all relevant project information for managing document version control, while tracking in real-time the status of all reviews and approvals. The framework of Epiphany is customizable and features an easy to use workflow guide for creating new process document templates. As soon as these user-generated templates are added to Epiphany’s library, the completion of future reports by using the new templates can also be automated through using its built-in smart data capabilities.

About BAE Systems

BAE Systems provides a wide range of solutions and services and thus enables militaries and governments to successfully carry out missions. The company offers large-scale systems engineering, integration, and sustainment services in the air, land, sea, space, and cyber secotrs.

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