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Opinion: Course Corrections in the Littoral Combat Ship Program
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USS Coronado (LCS-4) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam during Rim of the Pacific 2016. US Navy Photo The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program, like the rest of the Navy, has been in the midst of a large turn since the end of the last decade when the Navy began to come to grips with a new global strategic situation. The post-Cold War era where the only threats expected were rogue states such as Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and non-state terrorist actors is receding into the past. A new world of peer competitors, strong regional opponents and powerful terrorist rump states now confronts the United States and its allies. Core U.S. interests such as freedom of the seas for the free flow of trade, however, remain constants even as the United States changes course to meet new strategic challenges. The Navy has also been changing course in terms of the operational construct for the LCS. While the recent adjustments announced in the LCS’s training program, modularity, and operational organization may seem revolutionary, they merely reinforce the ship’s core mission elements. The bulk of the LCS force will be forward-deployed in support of operational commander tasking. There will still be “crew swaps” in order to keep the ships forward deployed for longer periods. Modules may remain with one ship for years at a time, but can be exchanged if operational requirements demand. Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work always suggested that, “After fleet operators get their hands on th [...]
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MQ-4C Triton Approved To Enter Low-Rate Initial Production After Successful Review
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Following a successful Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) led review, the U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system (UAS) obtained positive Milestone C low-rate initial production approval. Northrop Grumman photo. The Navy’s MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system received Milestone C low-rate initial production approval after a successful Milestone Decision Authority review, contractor Northrop Grumman announced today. The decision comes after the Triton program successfully completed an operational assessment in February, the results and data from which informed the review process. Milestone C marks the end of the development phase and the beginning of production under the Pentagon’s acquisition process. “Triton’s critical technology is mature, and the system development and design review phases have been successful,” Doug Shaffer, vice president of Triton programs for Northrop Grumman, said in a company statement. “Completion of the full system Operational Assessment (OA) testing exercised in various real-world scenarios validated the system’s ability to protect the Navy’s fleet from evolving threats. We are extremely pleased with the maritime domain awareness products and results coming from Triton.” During the operational assessment, “an integrated test team made up of Navy personnel from Air Test and Evaluation Squadrons VX-1 and VX-20, Unmanned Patrol Squadron, VUP-19 and Northrop Grumman demonstrated the reliability of Triton over the cours [...]
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PHILIPPINE SEA (Sept. 22, 2016)
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Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Demetrice Cox secures an MH-60s Sea Hawk helicopter, assigned to the "Golden Falcons" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 12, with chocks and chains on the flight deck of the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) during Valiant Shield 2016. The biennial, U.S. only, field-training exercise focuses on integration of joint training among U.S. forces. This is the sixth exercise in the Valiant Shield series that began in 2006. Chancellorsville is on patrol with Carrier Strike Group Five (CSG 5) in the Philippine Sea supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrew Schneider (Released) 160922-N-XQ474-037 [...]
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Headlines for Friday, September 23, 2016
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SECNAV names two Littoral Combat Ships. Navy, Marine Corp team conduct non-combatant evacuation in Oman. ONR to lead team of unmanned warriors in the United Kingdom. [...]
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III MEF Commander Orders Operational Pause For Harriers In Okinawa After Crash
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U.S. Navy flight deck aircraft controllers signal an AV-8B Harrier pilot during flight operations at sea aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6), while underway as part of the 31st MEU and BHR Expeditionary Strike Group, Aug. 27, 2016. US Marine Corps photo. All Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier jets operating out of Okinawa, Japan, have been ordered to take an operational pause after a crash yesterday. A Harrier crashed into the ocean about 100 nautical miles east of Okinawa, and the pilot safely ejected and was rescued by a U.S. Air Force unit and the Japan Coast Guard. The pilot has since been released from the hospital, the Marine Corps said in a statement today. III Marine Expeditionary Force Commander Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson ordered a temporary operational pause after the crash to allow for a detailed inspection of all jets. It is common practice for units to execute operational pauses following a significant mishap,” the Marine Corps statement reads. “During this period, every AV-8B will be inspected to ensure they meet operational readiness standards. Each aircraft has a highly trained and dedicated maintenance crew. These crews conduct pre-flight inspections, pilot inspections, and post-flight inspections in conjunction with each scheduled flight mission.” The service is still investigating the crash and has not released any details regarding what mission the pilot was performing or what the cause of the crash might have been. [...]
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MAYPORT, Fla. (Sept. 2, 2016)
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Rear Adm. Roy Kitchener, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Two, speaks to the crew of amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) during an all hands call. During the call, Kitchener discussed topics such as ship's readiness, safety and also answered questions from Iwo Jima Sailors. Iwo Jima is currently moored at her homeport of Mayport, Fla. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrew Murray (Released) 160922-N-QJ850-027 [...]
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MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Sept. 21, 2016)
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Sailors maneuver an AV-8B Harrier, from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). The 22nd MEU embarked on Wasp, is conducting precision air strikes in support of the Libyan Government of National Accord-aligned forces against Dash targets in Sirte, Libya as part of Operation Odyssey Lightning. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Rawad Madanat (Released) 160921-N-JW440-097 [...]
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U.S., Russian Defense Officials Continue Dialogue on Syrian Airspace
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Defense Department officials participated in a third video conference with their Russian counterparts to discuss the safety of flight in Syria. [...]
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USS Jackson CPO Selectees Hold White Hat Burial at Sea
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Independence variant littoral combat ship USS Jackson (LCS 6) chief petty officer selectees marched onto the flight deck in the fading evening light carrying a casket to the center of the helicopter landing pad, Sept. 14. [...]
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Coast Guard Ready for Possible Offshore Patrol Cutter Protest
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Coast Guard commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft speaking with reporters on Sept. 21, 2016. US Navy Photo NEWPORT, R.I. — The commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard said the service is prepared for a possible protest of last week’s offshore patrol cutter award, he told USNI News on Wednesday. While not saying if the service was expecting the losers in last week’s OPC contract award to submit a protest, Adm. Paul Zukunft said the service would be ready justify its choice of Florida yard, Eastern Shipbuilding. “I’ll just say we’re ready for one. What that does is provide full disclosure. What the other competitors do not know is what we are paying for one of these ships,” he said during the International Seapower Symposium at the Naval War College. “The protest process allows for us to provide full transparency. All of the competitors realize one of the entering arguments into the offshore patrol cutter was affordability, affordability, affordability.” In 2012 the service established an affordability target of $310 million per hull for ship construction for the 360 feet cutter. With the addition of government furnished equipment — like sensors and weapons – the total increases to about $421 million per ship. Coast Guard Image In total, the 25-ship deal could be worth up to $10.5 billion. Last week Eastern won a $110.3 million contract for the first OPC hull and options for eight more for a total contract award that could grow to $2.38 billion. The Florida yard [...]
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USS Decatur Remembers 9/11
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"It was eight days after the towers fell that we were steaming toward the Middle East. The entire crew and myself aboard the nuclear—powered aircraft carrier USS Roosevelt (CVN 71) were still in shock and confused about what happened as the bombs were dropped over Baghdad." [...]
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Spruance Sailors Celebrate Diverse Perspectives for Hispanic Heritage Month
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The crew of guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111) prepares to join the fleet and the rest of the U.S. in recognition and celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. [...]
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Next-Generation Destroyer Zumwalt Sidelined for Repairs After Engineering Casualty
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Guided-missile destroyer Zumwalt (DDG-1000) arrives at Naval Station Newport on Sept. 8, 2016. US Navy Photo Less than a month ahead of its commissioning, the Navy’s next-generation destroyer Zumwalt (DDG-1000) suffered an engineering casualty that could take up to two weeks to repair, Navy officials confirmed to USNI News on Tuesday. The ship’s crew – currently pier side at Naval Station Norfolk, Va. – found the fault in the ship’s engineering plant on Sept. 19 ahead of at-sea tests. Zumwalt is now undergoing repairs that may take anywhere from 10 days to two weeks. “The crew discovered the casualty after detecting a seawater leak in the propulsion motor drive lube oil auxiliary system for one of the ship’s shafts. The built-in redundancy of the ship’s propulsion plant allows this first-in-class ship to operate with multiple engine configurations. However, it was determined that the repairs should be completed in port prior to the ship transiting to sea,” U.S. Naval Surface Forces said in a statement to USNI News. “Zumwalt will conduct the repairs at Naval Station Norfolk prior to getting underway for training and certification operations.” The 16,000-ton destroyer named for former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo Zumwalt is set to commission in Baltimore, Md., on Oct. 15. A Navy official told USNI News the repairs would not affect the commissioning schedule. The ship is based around twin 155mm Advanced Gun Systems that can fire GPS- [...]
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Boxer Holds Chief Pinning Ceremony
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Sixteen Sailors assigned to amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) earned the title of "chief" during a chief petty officer (CPO) pinning ceremony on the flight deck, Sept. 16. [...]
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PHILIPPINE SEA (Sept. 20, 2016)
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Marines conduct maintenance on an SH-53E Super Stallion on the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). Bonhomme Richard, flagship of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group, is operating in the Philippine Sea in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia Pacific region. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class William Sykes (Released) 160920-N-XK809-025 [...]
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A Flying Ace of USS Bonhomme Richard
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With a dazzling smile, she confidently walks across the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) towards her bird; a thick braid of brown hair sticking from the pilot's helmet. [...]
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Golden State's Capital City Welcomes America's Navy
aircrewsystems.com
Sacramento will host the Navy for the third time in eight years when Navy Week kicks off on Tuesday, Sept. 27, at the Sacramento Veterans Auditorium with a concert celebration, and concludes with the Capitol Air Show featuring the Navy Flight Demonstration Team, the Blue Angels. [...]
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Touring the Navy's Newest Aircraft
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Vice Adm. James G. Foggo III and the P-8 Poseidon crew discuss the plane's capabilities. [...]
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ATLANTIC OCEAN (Sept. 16, 2016)
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Aviation Boatswain's Mates assigned to the Wasp-class multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), watch an AV-8B Harrier aircraft landing on the flight deck. Bataan is currently conducting Amphibious Squadron 8 and 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit integrated training. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mutis A. Capizzi (Released) 160916-N-HP188-416 [...]
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Stennis CO Talks Deployment: Dual Carrier Ops, Chinese Interactions
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Vice President Joe Biden meets with Capt. Greg Huffman, USS John C. Stennis’ (CVN 74) commanding officer, on the bridge aboard USS John C. Stennis during the Rim of the Pacific maritime exercise on July 14, 2016. US Navy photo. Last month the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) returned home from a seven-month deployment to the Western Pacific – the first time in several years a carrier from the continental United States had deployed specifically to that region rather than simply passing through on the way to and from the Middle East. In addition to highlighting a shift in focus to the Pacific, the deployment featured an opportunity to practice high-end warfighting skills with another U.S. carrier strike group, several exercises with allies and partners in the region, and persistent but professional contact with Chinese ships sent to shadow Stennis. Stennis Commanding Officer Capt. Greg Huffman detailed the highlights of the deployment in an interview with USNI News. The Nimitz-class Aircraft carriers USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) conduct dual aircraft carrier strike group operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific. US Navy photo. Two-Carrier Operations With the Stennis Carrier Strike Group spending its entire seven-month deployment in the Pacific, plus the Japan-based Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group returning to sea after a maintenance period, the Navy found [...]
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Davidson: Navy’s LCS, DDG-1000 Experience Will Shape Future Surface Combatant Design
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Zumwalt (DDG 1000) transits the Atlantic Ocean on April 21, 2016. US Navy Photo HAMPTON, VA. – Lessons learned on the Littoral Combat Ship’s modularity and the Zumwalt-class destroyer’s power management will help guide discussions on a future family of surface combatants, the commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command said Tuesday. Adm. Phil Davidson said discussions about the future surface combatant are underway and that a key part of current Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson’s tenure will be “to describe what that surface combatant is going forward.” “I don’t know if it’s large and small; I don’t know if it’s large and medium and small; I don’t know if it’s a surface combatant and it has an entirely different capability set,” he said at the American Society of Naval Engineers’ annual Fleet Maintenance and Modernization Symposium, in response to an audience question. “We are going to learn a lot from LCS and its modularity, we are going to learn a lot from DDG 1000 and the transformational capabilities that are put in there in the integrated electric power distribution, hybrid drive and the hull form, all that kind of stuff. That’s a lot of power that we’re managing in that DDG-1000, and we’re going to learn a lot from that, and I think that’s going to help us define what that surface combatant is going forward.” Specifically on LCS, Davidson praised the class for its modularity, which “we’re going to be incredibly grat [...]
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Eastern Shipbuilding Wins Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Cutter Award; Bests BIW, Bollinger
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An artist’s conception of Eastern Shipbuilding’s Offshore Patrol Cutter design. The Coast Guard has selected Eastern Shipbuilding to build its new Offshore Patrol Cutters and awarded the Florida shipbuilder a $110.3 million contract for the first hull and options for eight more, the service announced late Thursday. Eastern beat out General Dynamics Bath Iron Works and Bollinger Shipyards for the design and construction of the potential $2.38 billion program in the Coast Guard’s second round competition for what the service calls its, “highest investment priority.” The first hull is estimated to deliver in 2021. In 2014 the Coast Guard awarded $64 million in design contracts to Eastern, Bollinger and BIW for the competition to build the replacement for the service’s decades-old medium endurance cutters from a field of eight yards competing for the work. The service has estimated the ships would cost about $421 million a hull for a total buy of 25 cutters. The OPC will replace the service’s 210-foot and 270-foot Medium Endurance Cutters. It will feature increased range and endurance, powerful weapons, a larger flight deck, and improved command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) equipment. The OPC will accommodate aircraft and small boat operations in all weather,” read a May Congressional Research Service report on Coast Guard Procurement. In the statement, Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft said, “whet [...]
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Document: Report on June Fatal Blue Angels Crash
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The following is the results of a Navy investigation into the June 2, 2016 crash in which Blue Angels pilot, Capt. Jeffery M. Kuss, USMC was killed in Smyrna, Tenn.  From the report: Executive Summary a. On the afternoon of 2 June 2016, Captain Jeffery M. Kuss, USMC, was pilot in command of an F/A-18C, Blue Angel Number 6, conducting the Team’s first practice show for the Great Tennessee Air Show at Smyrna, Tennessee. Shortly after takeoff, in the middle of the first maneuver, a mishap occurred resulting in the death of Capt Kuss and destruction of the aircraft. b. All relevant evidence pertaining to the mishap has been assembled and thoroughly considered. The investigation did not uncover evidence the mishap was caused by mechanical, maintenance, or other aircraft-related issues. Although there is evidence that the Number 5 and Number 6 solo pilots communicated at the time of takeoff about a cloud near the maneuver location, weather was also not a causal factor. All personal flight equipment was properly functioning and Capt Kuss was fully certified, qualified, and authorized for flight status. c. The cause of the mishap was pilot error. Capt Kuss did not properly transition from the initial High Performance Climb (HPC) to the first maneuver, the “Split S.” In order to conduct the maneuver within existing Blue Angels standard operating procedures, the aircraft should have had an optimum airspeed between 125 and 135 knots and reached a minimum altitude of 3,50 [...]
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Face of Defense: Lieutenant’s Excellence as Legal Intern Earns Incentive Flight
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Air Force 2nd Lt. Chris Hsu earned an incentive flight for his impressive work in different Judge Advocate General divisions during a summer internship. [...]
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Navy Tests 100—percent Advanced Biofuel
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The Secretary of the Navy's energy vision came to fruition this month [September] when the EA—18G "Green Growler" completed flight testing of a 100—percent advanced biofuel at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. [...]
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UPDATED: Littoral Combat Ship USS Montgomery Suffers Engineering Casualty, Fifth LCS Casualty Within Last Year
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USS Montgomery (LCS-8) during sea trials. Austal USA Photo This story has been updated with additional information from the Navy. An earlier version of this post indicated the casualty occurred on Sept. 15 when it in fact occurred on Sept. 13. THE PENTAGON — Littoral Combat Ship USS Montgomery (LCS-8) suffered two unrelated engineering casualty during a transit in the Gulf of Mexico and is heading to Florida for repairs, the Navy told USNI News on Friday. On Sept. 13, Independence-class ship was bound for the Panama Canal when Montgomery suffered two engineering failures. Now the ship is headed to the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo, Cuba under its own power but under propulsion restrictions before returning to Naval Station Mayport, Fla. for repairs, Naval Surface Forces confirmed to USNI News. “The first casualty happened when the crew detected a seawater leak in the hydraulic cooling system. Later that day, Montgomery experienced a casualty to one of its gas turbine engines,” read a late Friday statement. “The built-in redundancy of the ship’s propulsion plant allows these ships to operate with multiple engine configurations. However, with the two casualties resulting in the loss of both port shafts, it was determined that the best course of action would be to send the ship to Mayport to conduct both repairs.” The ship is equipped with two General Electric LM-2500 maritime gas turbine engines — a mainstay in the service’s Arle [...]
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Navy Investigation Concludes Fatal Blue Angels Crash Caused By Pilot Error
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Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss in 2014. Blues Angels Photo The Navy determined that pilot error caused the fatal Blue Angels crash on June 2, with Marine Corps pilot Capt. Jeffery Kuss entering the first maneuver in a training run too fast and losing control of the aircraft. The Navy investigation, signed by Chief of Naval Air Training Rear Adm. Dell Bull on Aug. 25 and by Commander of Naval Air Forces Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker on Sept. 14, notes that the investigation “did not uncover evidence the mishap was caused by mechanical, maintenance or other aircraft-related issues.” Though Kuss, the Blue Angel 6 pilot with solo maneuvers in the show, was “fully certified, qualified, and authorized for flight status,” the pilot entered into his first maneuver, called the “Split S,” too fast and too low. He did not attempt a dive recovery effort after making these initial mistakes, the investigation found, and “the aircraft was simply too low and too fast to avoid impacting the ground,” states the report, released to USNI News today. A more detailed section of the report adds that Kuss, who was designated a naval aviator in November 2009 and had accumulated more than 1,680 hours of military flight hours with no mishaps or violations, was flying at 184 knots while entering the maneuver instead of the optimal 125 to 135 knots. Rather than performing the planned 180-degree roll, Kuss performed a 540-degree roll, which is not part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s approve [...]
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ARABIAN GULF (Sept. 14, 2016)
aircrewsystems.com
Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) Airman Evan Koch, assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), guides an F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the Gunslingers of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 105, onto a waist catapult on the flight deck. THE SHIP and its Carrier Strike Group are deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan T. Beard (Released) 160914-N-QI061-030 [...]
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GULF OF ADEN (Sept. 12, 2016)
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The amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17) visit, board, search and seizure team and medical response team depart on a rigid hull inflatable boat to provide medical assistance to a sick crew member aboard the Liberian general cargo ship Fernando. San Antonio is deployed with the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group to conduct maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jacob Mathews (Released) 160912-N-PI704-098 [...]
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