Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The next Air Force One will be a Boeing 747-8



Boeing will build a fleet of three aircraft based on the 747-8 to serve as the next Air Force One, Bloomberg reports. The 747-8 is the latest version of the iconic jumbo jet — a design that dates back to the 1960s — with new wings, new engines, and an extended fuselage. It's been around since 2005, but has seen limited traction with airlines thanks to rising fuel prices over the last several years, limited interest in ultra-high-capacity long-haul routes, and competition from Airbus' A380.

The aging fortress in the sky that currently ferries the President of the United States around the world is a Boeing VC-25, a military variant of the 747-200. The 747-200 is a very old plane: the last one was built in 1991, and newer aircraft are far more fuel efficient, technologically advanced, and — frankly — better showcases for American industrial might, which the President would probably want to show off on his travels. Boeing archrival Airbus, a European company, did not submit a bid for the contract based on its enormous A380 double-decker.

The current president won't get to experience the comfort and luxury of the new ride, though: the first one won't be delivered until 2018, and it'll undergo five years of testing before entering full service.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Roosevelt CSG Underway for COMPTUEX - Latest Update 28 Jan 2015



Latest frequency update 1/26/2015:
From Mike Comer and Jack Nesmith in Central Florida:

8971.0 kHz USB TSC Jacksonville Fiddle Clear voice/ANDVT
8974.0 kHz USB CWC Tango Whiskey Air Defense Net
18795.0 kHz USB CWC Tango Whiskey Air Defense Net

120.950 FACSFAC Jax - Sealord North
133.950 FACSFAC Jax - Sealord South
134.650 FACSFAC Jax

136.775 Air-Air / TR OPFOR
136.875 Air-Air / TR OPFOR

225.350 Pinecastle Range Targets
226.725 Warrior Control / Mustang (OPFOR) / Silent Warrior
233.325 Darkstar with Corvette
234.750 Air Ops

235.350 Pinecastle Target
235.500 Link 11 Data
236.500 Tango Whiskey
242.625 Air-Air / Tron ## (F/A-18G, VAQ-137)

242.750 Secure/Glock
243.375 Air-Air / Tron ## (F/A-18G, VAQ-137)
246.800 Air-Air / OPFOR / Link 11
260.200 Aerial Refueling Boom Bolt ##
261.250 Pinecastle Range (R-2907) Lake George Targets
264.625 Avon Park North Tac Range
267.500 FACSFAC Jax Sealord South
268.525 Red Talon 21
275.650 Air-Air /  River ## Tac VFA-204 (NAS New Orleans)
277.800 Fleet Common
281.150 Red Talon P-8 Check-in with Tango Sierra/Tango Zulu (Surface Warfare Commander)
283.500 Secure
284.300 Magic / Victor calling Tango Foxtrot
284.500 FACSFAC Jax Sealord North
285.000 NAS Jax TOC Fiddle
288.775 CCA (unknown if A or B/Button 15 or 17)

289.200 Pinecastle Range
291.900 Aerial Refueling Boom Bolt ##
292.200 Avon Park Range Control
292.225 TR Strike
293.275 Air-Air VFA-211 Nikel ##
293.375 Air-Air  VFA-11 Ripper ##
296.875 Exercise Guard? / Dart 51
298.475 FAD 2
298.725 Air Ops - Mako Tac

299.475 Air-Air / Rook ##
303.000 Air Ops
308.750 Air Ops
309.300 Air-Air
312.150 NAS Jax TDY Rawhide Base / VFA-204 River Base
313.700 FACSFAC Jax - Sealord North
314.375 Air Ops - Tiger/Glock AIC / Red Talon 11 / Cutlass / Nikel 22
318.325 Departure
318.600 Jax NAS W-158 Discrete / Ivan Control
320.425 Air Ops
320.525 Aerial Refueling
323.725 CCA (unknown if A or B/Button 15 or 17)
324.750 Air Ops
326.825 RESCORT Frequency
328.425 TR Marshal
333.300 Aerial Refueling Boom - Omega
336.025 Air Ops - Ruger 11 / Slayer 01 / Red Talon 12 / Cutlass / Chill 21-22
340.100 Air-Air VFA-136 Hawk ## F/A-18E
340.125 Aerial Refueling Boom - 601, 602, Tiger 31/41 air-air Talon 22 / Tiger/Skull 21 calling Corvette
342.075 Air Ops - Bolt ## / MAGIC (NATO E-3 backend) - Tango Papa
342.325 Air-Air - Mako 31/32 air-air (not 93rd FS), Nickel 73, Sweep 51
348.925 Air Ops - Button 13 - 602 going secondary Tac
349.150 Air Ops - Arrow ## (Unid OPFOR aircraft)
349.450 Air Ops
351.800 Jax Intl App/Dep
354.875 Air Ops - “straight in”
357.000 Pinecastle Range
357.375 Warrior Control
361.100 Air Ops
363.650 Air-Air
363.775 FAD 1
363.825 Air Ops - Button 14? 212 calling Tango Sierra (Surface Warfare Commander) / Tango (E-2D, VAW-125) with Tango Zulu
365.925 Vanguard Control / Trial 23 (possible P-8A) calling for radio check
369.175 Air-Air
370.750 Air Ops
371.050 Red Crown - PIRAZ (Positive Identification Radar Advisory Zone)
371.175 Tiger / Magic
371.600 Air-Air VFA-211 TBolt ## F/A-18C / Shark ## Tac
374.000 Air Ops - REP?
376.900 NAS Jax W-157 Discrete
377.050 Jax Intl App/Dep
377.425 Dragon Slayer 615/616 wkg unid Control
384.100 Air-Air / OPFOR

Confirmed that the FACSFAC Jax airspace areas within W-157, W-158 have been renamed. Each area is now its own Warning area with a new number and letter. W136 begins closest to the coast and goes east to W140 and letters start at A and go south to G.

BOLT ### - KC-135, 6th AMW
CHAOS # - Tactical F/A-18 callsign
CHILL 21 - B-52H, 5th BW
CORVETTE - Unid surface unit
COURAGEOUS WARRIOR
CUTLASS 12 - Side 461, side 500
DART - Lear 35, Phoenix Air Group
DELTA - CWC unid surface unit
DRAGON - Probable F-21 Kfir (Airborne Tactical Advantage Inc (ATAC)
DUSTY ## - F/A-18 Aircraft
FIDDLE - TSC Jacksonville
GLOCK - E-2D tactical call sign
GOLF - CWC unid surface unit
HAWK ## - VFA-136 F/A-18E
HOTEL - CWC unid surface unit
JULIET -  CWC unid surface unit
KILO - CWC unid surface unit
MAGIC - NATO AWACS backend
MAKO ## - A-18 Aircraft
MIKE - CWC unid surface unit
MOTHER 51/52 - Helicopters (Dragon Slayer 615/616)
MUSTANG
NIKEL ## - VFA-211 F/A-18/F
OPFOR - Opposing Forces
OMEGA 10 - KC10 N974VV
OMEGA 74 - KC135 N624RH
RAWHIDE ## - VRC-40 C-2A
RED CROWN - PIRAZ (Positive Identification Radar Advisory Zone)
RED TALON ## - VP-16 P-8A
RIPPER ## - VFA-11 F/A-18F
RIP TIDE 51 - L3 Communications Lear 25
RIVER - VFA-204 (OPFOR) F/A-18A+
RUGER ## - MAGIC tactical call sign
SHARK ## - F/A-18 Aircraft
SILENT WARRIOR
SKULL 21 - B-52H, 96th BS
SLAYER - HS-11?
SWEEP ##
TALON ## - P-8A
TANGO - VAW-125 E-2D CWC call sign
TANGO FOXTROT - CWC Force Track Coordinator
TANGO PAPA - CWC Strike Warfare Commander
TANGO SIERRA - CWC Surface Warfare Commander
TANGO WHISKEY - CWC Air Defense Commander
TANGO ZULU - CWC Sea Combat Commander
TBOLT ## - VMFA-251 F/A-18C
TIGER ## - VAW-125 E-2D
TORINO - Unid surface unit
TRIAL ## - Possible VX-1 P-8A
TRIBE
TRON - VAQ-137 F/A-18G tactical call sign
VANGUARD CONTROL
VICTOR - VAW-125 E-2D CWC call sign
VIPER - Unid OPFOR aircraft (probable VFA-204)
WARRIOR CONTROL

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore  Roosevelt (CVN 71) and embarked Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 12 staff  departed Naval Station Norfolk to begin Composite Training Unit Exercise  (COMPTUEX), January 8. The naval units completed their TSTA training in October 2014.

Theodore Roosevelt will join the rest of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG) to conduct COMPTUEX, which tests TRCSG's ability to effectively react to real-world scenarios and perform as an integrated unit.

"Carrier Strike Group 4 is evaluating how the battle group defends itself, how it projects power and how well they execute pre-planned responses to multiple types of scenarios," said Master Chief Cryptologic Technician (Technical) Todd Womack, CSG 4's senior enlisted advisor, from Cottonwood, Ala.

Throughout COMPTUEX, Theodore Roosevelt will face training scenarios that simulate real-world situations the ship could encounter during its upcoming deployment.

"TR and her crew will be conducting numerous flight operations, identifying contacts and displaying the information to the entire strike group," said Operations Specialist 2nd Class Jeffery Lain, tactical data coordinator aboard TR.

"We will be as tactical as possible while performing in a carrier environment during a realistic wartime scenario," said Lt. Jeffery Mayer, an F/A-18F Super Hornet pilot from the Red Rippers of Strike Fighter Attack Squadron (VFA) 11.

Following the successful completion of COMPTUEX, CSG 4 will declare TR capable of worldwide operations and ready for its upcoming deployment.

TRCSG is comprised of Carrier Strike Group 12 staff, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 2 staff, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, and the DESRON 2 ships; the guided-missile destroyers USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), USS Farragut (DDG 99) and USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), as well as the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60).

There are eigh squadrons assigned to CVW-1:

VFA-11 Red Rippers 
VFA-136 Knighthawks 
VFA-211 Checkmates 
VMFA-251 Thunderbolts 
VAQ-137 Rooks 
VAW-125 Tigertails 
HS-11 Dragonslayers 
VRC-40 Rawhides 

During the TSTA training evolution in October the Carrier Strike Group used 8974.0 kHz USB for their HF CWC Voice Air Warfare Coordination Net (NCS Tango Whiskey). Other HF frequencies we have seen them on in the past include 5281.0 5714.0 6700.0 6703.0 and 8188.0 kHz.

As this training operation steps up here on the east coast, I hope to have further updates on the frequencies being used by the TRR CSG.

Navy Installations to Conduct Exercise Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield 2015

From Navy Installations Command and Fleet Forces Command Public Affairs 

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces (USFF) and Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) will conduct Exercise Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield 2015 (SC-CS15) Feb. 2-13 on Navy installations located in the continental United States.

 This annual anti-terrorism force protection (ATFP) exercise is designed to train Navy Security Forces to respond to threats to installations and units.

 "This is the largest force protection exercise conducted across the Department of Defense and the value of training events like this cannot be underestimated. This exercise enhances the training and readiness of our security personnel and first responders. Additionally, it creates an integrated learning environment for installation and afloat personnel to exercise functional plans and operational capabilities," said William Clark, CNIC's exercise program manager.

 Exercise SC-CS15 is not in response to any specific threat, but is a regularly scheduled exercise. The exercise will consist of roughly 130 simultaneous field training exercise attacks across the country, each designed to test different regional ATFP operations.

 "Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield 2015 provides an opportunity to assess the Navy's ability to respond to and recover from a broad spectrum of antiterrorism threats," said Capt. Greg Sandway, USFF ATFP exercise director. "One of the key components of the exercise is to improve our ability to protect our Navy equities, but this exercise also enables us to integrate with the emergency responders from the various local communities and establish coordinated response and recovery procedures that are mutually beneficial."

 Measures have been taken to minimize disruptions to normal base operations, but there may be times when the exercise causes increased traffic around bases or delays in base access. Residents near bases may also see increased security activity associated with the exercise. Base personnel should register for the AtHoc wide area alert network if they have not already done so as this will keep them updated of force protection conditions and other emergency, environmental, or exercise-related impacts on the area.

USS Green Bay Departs for Forward Deployment to U.S. 7th Fleet

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Elizabeth Merriam, USS Green Bay Public Affairs and Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs 

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- USS Green Bay (LPD 20) departed San Diego Jan. 26 for Sasebo, Japan, where the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship will join U.S. 7th Fleet's Forward Deployed Naval Forces.

 Green Bay is replacing the decommissioned Austin-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver (LPD 9), previously forward-deployed to Sasebo, and will enhance amphibious presence in 7th Fleet as part of the U.S. Navy's long-range plan to send the most advanced and capable units to the Asia-Pacific region.

 "The crew has worked hard to get Green Bay ready," said Commanding Officer Capt. Kristy McCallum. "By my count, we completed a total of 23 training, certification and maintenance cycles in six months. As we've trained, we have prepared ourselves to be ready for a dynamic security environment and diverse missions."

 In addition to the many capabilities inherent to amphibious transport dock ships, Green Bay will bring a host of new technological advancements and warfighting capabilities to 7th Fleet.

 Green Bay is equipped with an advanced command and control suite, increased airlift capacity, substantial increases in vehicle and cargo carrying capability and advanced ship survivability features. The ship supports the rapid transfer of personnel and equipment via landing craft, helicopters, and MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, making this ship a critical element for amphibious ready groups and expeditionary strike groups.

 In 7th Fleet, Green Bay will become part of the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG). The ARG integrates regularly with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit to ensure the services are trained and ready to operate together to provide the most efficient amphibious fighting force in the Asia-Pacific region.

 Green Bay was commissioned in January 2009, embarked on its maiden deployment February 2011 and completed a second deployment in 2013. The ship has since undergone a year-long maintenance availability in British Aerospace Engineering (BAE) systems shipyard and a dry dock period at the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) in preparation for forward deployment to Japan.

 U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Eastern Pacific from the West Coast of North America to the international date line.

USS California Returns from Maiden Deployment

By Kevin Copeland, Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic Public Affairs

GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- The Virginia-class attack submarine USS California (SSN 781) returned to its homeport at U.S. Naval Submarine Base, New London, from its maiden deployment Jan. 24.

 Under the command of Cmdr. Shawn Huey, California is returning from the U.S. European Command area of responsibility where the crew executed the Chief of Naval Operation's maritime strategy in supporting national security interests and maritime security operations.

 "The crew of California performed exceptionally on their first deployment and completed all tasking assigned," said Huey. "We conducted two missions vital to national security, theater anti-submarine warfare, and a multi-national theater anti-submarine warfare exercise.

 During the deployment, California transited more than 40,000 nautical miles.

 Port visits were conducted in Haakonsvern, Norway; Rota, Spain; Faslane, Scotland; and Brest, France.

 "We qualified 31 Sailors in Submarine Warfare, and advanced four chief petty officers, five first class petty officers, six second class petty officers, and eight third class petty officers while deployed," said Huey. "Being deployed over three holidays, we kept the schedule light on those days for scheduled, but we all understood that the ship was conducting deployed operations in support of national and theater tasking over those days.

 "We are looking forward to 30-day stand down where we will be able to take some well-deserved leave, go home to visit our families out of the area and relax with families in the area," said Huey. "There will be a light load of maintenance and repairs to be handled by duty section personnel. More than 25 percent of the crew will rotate in the first six months after the deployment as the crew begins their preparations for the next deployment."

 "I would like to thank the families of California crew members, who without their terrific support and selfless sacrifice, none of these accomplishments would have been possible. Now the crew is looking forward to a well-deserved stand down period to spend some quality time with family and friends," Huey said.

 The eighth Virginia-class submarine commissioned, and the seventh U. S. Navy ship named for the Golden State, California, was built by Huntington Ingalls Industries - Newport News Shipbuilding and commissioned on Oct. 29, 2011, at Naval Station Norfolk, Va.

 California enables five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities: sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence.

 The submarine is designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare; anti-ship warfare; strike warfare; special operations; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions.

 California is 377 feet long, has a 34-foot beam, able to dive to depths greater than 800 feet and operates at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged.

Blazing a Trail With the Pathfinders of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 35, Det. 1

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Antonio Turretto Ramos, USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) Public Affairs

SINGAPORE (NNS) -- The "Pathfinders" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 35, Det. 1, the Navy's first composite expeditionary helicopter squadron, are currently deployed aboard the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) during her maiden 16-month rotational deployment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

 HSM-35, Det. 1, is a self-contained portion of the surface warfare mission package on Fort Worth consisting of one MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter and one MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aircraft system.

 "We bring the venerable MH-60R Sea Hawk," said Lt. Cmdr. Douglas Kay, officer-in-charge of HSM-35, Det. 1."The H-60 platform is a tried and true maritime asset with primary missions of surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare. In our current function with the mission package, we are concentrating on surface warfare, but we also carry out secondary missions like vertical replenishments among a number of other things."

 The MH-60R brings search and rescue capabilities, communication relay, and can carry a potential payload of hellfire missiles and a crew-served 50-caliber machine gun to littoral combat ships. Additionally, the MH-60R is equipped with multi-mode radar that includes Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar and a forward looking infrared electro-optical device, which was used recently during the search for AirAsia Flight QZ8501. The unarmed MQ-8B's primary sensor is a forward looking infrared camera (FLIR). Together the MH-60R and MQ-8B provide enhanced maritime domain awareness with the MQ-8B complementing the MH-60 by extending the detachment's range and endurance capabilities.

 "The Fire Scout increases the aviation detachment's ability to keep eyes on station and provide real time information to the operational commander on the ship," said Kay.
 The 24 Sailors in the detachment are cross-trained to conduct all maintenance and supply for both aircraft. In addition to the helicopter advanced readiness program, as well as the normal workup cycle, the detachment must complete Fire Scout-specific training to fully integrate the unmanned aircraft system into their operations.

 "That's above and beyond what a normal HSM helicopter detachment will have to do," said Kay. "We are currently the only helicopter detachment that does what we do, but HSM-35, Det. 2, is currently in the workup cycle with LCS Crew 103 on USS Freedom (LCS 3) and is preparing to come replace us."

 The first crew swap is scheduled for mid-February, which is when the Pathfinders will rotate to another task, along with LCS Crew 104, after conducting turnover and sharing lessons learned with incoming HSM-35, Det. 2.

 "We're doing great! We've been getting a lot of good flight time in with Sea Hawk and Fire Scout operations and just like our detachment name says, we're the Pathfinders, and we're creating new techniques everyday on how to best operate both Sea Hawk and Fire Scout on a littoral combat ship," said Kay.

 Fort Worth is currently in port Singapore, its maintenance and logistics hub, after having recently returned from supporting the Indonesian-led search to locate the AirAsia plane. Throughout the ship's 13 days on station in the Java Sea, HSM 35, Det. 1, conducted more than 90 hours of search operations using the MH-60R, covering more than 2,500 square nautical miles.

 Over the course of its deployment, Fort Worth will increase LCS operations in the region by visiting more ports, engaging more regional navies during exercises like Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training, and expanding LCS capabilities with tools like the Fire Scout.

 The U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Asia-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy's largest numbered fleet, U.S. 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability and prevent conflict.

Bonhomme Richard Conducts Ammo Onload

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Adam D. Wainwright, USS Bonhomme Richard Public Affairs

SASEBO HARBOR, Japan (NNS) -- The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) conducted an ammo on-load Jan. 22-23 in preparation for its next deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

 Over the course of two days, Weapons Department Sailors craned on and stored more than 1,000 pallets of ammunition and ordnance in preparation for upcoming exercises.

 "When we conduct the on-load, we're bringing on enough ordnance and ammo to act as a war contingency for all of U.S. 7th Fleet and our allies," said Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Christopher Barth, from Medina, Ohio. "Whether it's special warfare forces, explosive ordnance disposal or Marines, we are prepared and ready to assist them in executing their respective missions."

 Gunner's mates, aviation ordnancemen, and Naval Munitions Command (NMC), Sasebo civilian contractors, utilized several tools to safely move ordnance. Barth stressed the importance of taking the proper precautions when moving the ordnance during these evolutions.

 "There are numerous safety hazards when conducting an evolution of this magnitude," said Barth. "Everything from accidents with the forklifts to explosions are things that we need to prevent and be ready to respond to. We've taken every precaution to ensure the safety of our Sailors and our ship."

 This evolution requires Bonhomme Richard's Weapons Department Sailors to not only have the most focused amount of attention to detail to prevent injury, but also a tremendous amount of teamwork.

 "This is the first time 30 of our Sailors have been through this evolution and I'm extremely impressed by their work ethic and positive attitude," said Barth. "We have top notch leadership in weapons department and they've done a tremendous job preparing everyone for the onload."

 The Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group is currently under the tactical command of embarked Commander, Amphibious Squadron 11, Capt. Heidi Agle and reports to Commander, Amphibious Force U.S. 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Hugh D. Wetherald, headquartered in White Beach, Okinawa, Japan.

VP-26 Begins Historic Last Deployment of the P-3C Orion

VP-26 Sailors work beneath a P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft as they prepare for the squdron's last P-3C deployment on Jan. 16. (Photos by MC1 John Smolinski)

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) John S. Smolinski, Naval Air Station Jacksonville Public Affairs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- The "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron (VP) 26 begin their last deployment with the P-3C Orion aircraft with a send-off of their first two planes out of Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Jan. 22.

 The historic occasion was attended by senior leadership, family and friends of VP-26 Sailors and members of the Jacksonville community.

 "This is a historic deployment for you," said Rear Adm. Matthew J. Carter, commander of Patrol and Reconnaissance Group. "You are the last operational P-3 squadron on the East Coast. Once you go, we are a P-8 only force. That does not diminish anything you do with this aircraft. America has given us the best, and this aircraft is still a very capable airplane."

 Carter knows firsthand how much the P-3 community has contributed to the success of the Navy's mission. He served as both executive officer and commanding officer of VP-26, and he told the Sailors just how special it is to wear the Trident colors.

 "We have been flying this aircraft for 50 years," said Carter. "The whole squadron, from the admin department, the maintainers and the aircrew has continued to go out and do great things, and I know you are going to go out on this deployment and do great."

 Preparing the squadron for a deployment presents its challenges which include everything from packing up parts and equipment, preparing junior Sailors for their first deployment and making sure Sailors are up to date with their training.

 "Seeing that there are not many P-3s around and this being the last P-3 deployment for the East Coast," said VP-26 Command Master Chief James B. Daniels. "Getting parts has been a big issue. Also, since most of our preparations have been during the holidays, we needed to work hard to make sure our Sailors were trained on what is expected of them and they were ready for deployment, but the squadron has met its challenges and now is ready to go."

 The support from family and friends is an integral part of the success of the Sailors.

 "My family is so supportive and so much a part of my life," said Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class David Heder. "Having to leave them is the hardest part of deployments."

 Heder's wife and two children were there to show their support. Heder said that he was a little nervous and sad to leave his family.

 "I'm looking forward to this as much as I can," said Heder. "I miss my family when I'm away, but I have a job to do and I enjoy it because I learn something new every day, and I'm challenged every day."

 Heder said this is his second history-making deployment since he has been in the Navy.

 "I actually helped introduce the P-8 while I served at VP-30," said Heder. "It's cool to be able to say that I was a part of the P-8 coming in and now a part of the P-3 going out in Jacksonville."

 Retired Chief William W. Stewart, from the aviation structural mechanic community and a Jacksonville resident, was present to witness this historic day. Stewart served 30 years in the Navy and was factory-trained on the P-3 in 1962.

 "I was assigned to VP-9 as an airframes chief after training with Lockheed on the P-3s and went on their first deployment with the aircraft in November 1964," said Stewart. "It's kind of sad to see the P-3 go, but it's an evolution. It's a new age; we have cell phones, wide-screen TVs and now the P-8s."

 VP-26 became the Navy's first operational P-3B squadron in January 1966, when the squadron received the first production of the P-3B while stationed at Naval Air Station, Brunswick, Maine.

 "I am so proud of all the Sailors who have worked so hard to keep these aircraft flying for so many years," said Cmdr. Gregory Smith, VP-26 commanding officer.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

One Service You Can Hear to Monitor Navy Ships on HF

Interested in listening the Navy ships on HF? Then the U.S. Navy SESEF frequencies are your ticket to make that happen.

The Shipboard Electronic Systems Evaluation Facilities (SESEFs) are land based test sites established to facilitate testing of ships' electromagnetic transmitting and receiving equipment. The SESEFs provide test and evaluation services to U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and Military Sealift Command activities as well as allied foreign navies.
So were do you listen? Set your rig to USB and try our list below. You will hear occasional encrypted comms and the ships will use tactical voice call signs.
* indicates a frequency guarded continuously during normal working hours.

SESEF Norfolk -
4040.0 4515.0 7535.0* 9260.0 12315.0* kHz (USB) 274.800* MHz (AM)
The Norfolk SESEF facility is operational 5 days a week from 0700-1600, excluding weekends and holidays.

The Norfolk SESEF facility is located in Building 102 at Fort Story, Virginia Beach. The facility overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay and the approaches to the Virginia Capes operating area.  In addition to at-sea testing, directional antennas provide LOS support for pier side testing from all naval and shipyard facilities in the Tidewater area.  The Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division, Newport, RI operates this facility.


Norfolk SESEF at Fort Story (US Navy Photo)

SESEF Mayport -
5745.0 kHz (USB) 274.800* MHz (AM)
The Mayport SESEF site is operational 5 days a week from 0700-1600, excluding weekends and holidays.

The Mayport SESEF is located in Building 1860 on  Naval Station Mayport, FL. The facility has LOS capability for pier side testing as well as easy access to ships in the Jacksonville operating area. This facility is operated by NUWC Division Newport, RI and managed by the Norfolk SESEF facility.

Mayport SESEF (US Navy Photo)
SESEF Ediz Hook (PACNW) -
3235.0* kHz (USB) 308.500* MHz (AM)
The Ediz Hook SESEF facility is operational 5 days a week from 0800-1600,
excluding weekends and holidays.

The Ediz Hook SESEF is located on the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station, Ediz Hook, near Port Angeles, Washington. The Puget Sound coastal waters are adjacent to the facilities. This site supports the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bangor Naval Submarine Base, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and Everett Naval Station. NUWC Division Keyport, WA operates this facility.

Navy SESEF Ediz Hook (US Navy Photo)
SESEF Pearl Harbor -
16087.0* kHz (USB) 277.000* MHz (AM)
The Hawaii SESEF facility is operational Monday through Friday from 0700-1530, excluding weekends and holidays.

The Hawaii SESEF is located at the Barber's Point Light Station, Kapolei, HI.  It is within line-of-sight (LOS) of Pearl Harbor, Sand Island, Naval Air Station Barber's Point, and the Fleet Operational Readiness Accuracy Check Site (FORACS) III.  Surface ships, submarines, and aircraft can be serviced at dockside, hanger side and underway.  This facility serves the U.S. Naval Forces in the MIDPAC area.  SESEF testing is conducted in port, during transit to and from Pearl Harbor, and on designated test ranges.  NUWC Detachment, Waianae, HI operates this facility. SESEF Hawaii is located at latitude 21 degrees 17 minutes 48 seconds north and longitude 158 degrees 6 minutes 23 seconds west.

Navy SESEF Hawaii (US Navy Photo)
SESEF San Diego -
5742.0 kHz (USB) 236.200 264.200 MHz (AM)
The San Diego SESEF site is operational 5 days a week from 0700-1600, excluding weekends and holidays.

The San Diego SESEF is located at the SPAWAR Seaside Complex, Building 610, on the ocean side of Point Loma, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This location provides easy access to ships as they transit the entrance of San Diego's harbor. NUWC Detachment, San Diego, CA operates this facility. SESEF San Diego is located at latitude 32 degrees 41 minutes 35 seconds north and longitude 117 degrees 15 minutes 4 seconds west. The Nominal Range Center is located at latitude 32 degrees 41 minutes 12 seconds north and longitude 117 degrees 25 minutes 30 seconds west.

SESEF Facility San Diego (US Navy Photo)
SESEF Yokosuka -
5304.0 kHz (USB) 295.000 MHz (AM)
The Yokosuka SESEF site is operational from 0700-1600, excluding weekends and holidays. 

USS George Washington in Yokosuka (US Navy Photo)
For the radio monitor these are some neat frequencies to monitor and they will let you follow the comings and goings of the fleet.



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

NORAD Falcon Virgo Exercise to be Conducted in Washington DC

The North American Aerospace Defense Command and its geographical component, the Continental United States NORAD Region, will conduct exercise Falcon Virgo 15-04 Wednesday night through Friday morning, in the National Capital Region, Washington, D.C. Flights are scheduled to take place between midnight and 5:30 a.m. (EST) each day.

In  the event of inclement weather, the exercise will take place the following evening.  If bad weather continues, officials will then make a decision to postpone or cancel the exercise.

The exercise is comprised of a series of training flights held in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Capital Region Coordination Center, the Joint Air Defense Operations Center, Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard and CONR’s Eastern and Western Air Defense Sectors.

Exercise Falcon Virgo is designed to hone NORAD’s intercept and identification operations as well as operationally test the NCR Visual Warning System and training personnel at the JADOC. Civil Air  Patrol aircraft and a U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter will participate in the exercise.

These exercises are carefully planned and closely controlled to ensure CONR’s rapid response capability. NORAD has conducted exercise flights of this nature throughout the U.S. and Canada since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the command’s response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

As the continental United States (CONUS) geographical component of the bi-national command NORAD, CONR provides airspace surveillance and control, and directs air sovereignty activities for the CONUS region. CONR and its assigned Air Force and Army assets throughout the country ensure air safety and security against potential air threats.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, CONR fighters have responded to more than 5,000 possible air threats in the United States and have flown more than 62,500 sorties with the support of Airborne Warning and Control System and air-to-air-refueling aircraft.

The New Norm - Russian Spy Ship docks in Havana - Again!

The Viktor Leonov CCB-175 is docked at the port of Havana, on January 20, 2015 (AFP Photo/Francisco Jara)
AFP is reporting that the Russian intelligence warship Viktor Leonov CCB-175 docked in Havana on Tuesday, a day before the start of historic US-Cuba talks aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations.
 
There was nothing stealthy about the arrival of the Leonov, which was moored to a pier in Old Havana where cruise ships often dock. But the visit was not officially announced by Cuban authorities.

The Vishnya or Meridian-class intelligence ship, which has a crew of around 200, went into service in the Black Sea in 1988 before it was transferred seven years later to the northern fleet, according to Russian media.

The vessel previously docked in Havana in February and March last year, staying there for a few days. Those visits were also unannounced.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

DOD Wants To Upgrade Air Force One, 'Doomsday' Aircraft Communications Suites



James Drew on the InsideDefense.com website reported on January 9 that Pentagon comptroller Mike McCord has submitted a reprogramming request to Congress to modify and upgrade the communications equipment aboard Air Force One as well as the nuclear-hardened "Doomsday" aircraft.

Of the $79 million in requested funds transfers, an equal amount will come from several important programs, such as the B-52 digital communications upgrade, where the Air Force believes it has found funding that is "excess to need."

According to a reprogramming request signed Nov. 13, 2014, and published recently, the two VC-25A Air Force One aircraft would receive wireless Internet access through a $2 million modification and a further $37 million would install high-bandwidth commercial satellite communications (SATCOM) equipment.

The E-4B National Airborne Operations Center (NAOC) that is better known as the "Doomsday" aircraft for its specialized nuclear command-and-control mission would receive a super-high-frequency Ka and X-band capability -- at a cost of $40 million.

"This upgrade will ensure the continued connectivity and interoperability needed to keep pace with changes in the satellite and communications infrastructure," the document states.

The two VC-25As are assigned to Air Mobility Command's 89th Airlift Wing and are stationed at Andrews Air Force Base, MD.

Four E-4Bs are assigned to U.S. Strategic Command and are operated by Air Combat Command's 55th Wing from Offut Air Force Base, NB.

Both fleets support strategic national-level missions and are due for replacement over the next decade. The Air Force expects to issue a request for proposals for a new presidential aircraft some time this year.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Top Gear Russia Magazine Accidentally Published An Image Of A Classified Submarine

Top Gear Russia Magazine Accidentally Published An Image Of A Classified Submarine courtesy of Business Insider
In a Business Insider article published online and written by Elena Holodny is reporting that the Russian edition of the automobile magazine published a photo of the classified "AC-12 Project," a nuclear deep-water submarine, nicknamed "Losharik" after a children's movie.

This was first reported by the unofficial blog of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies and picked up by Slon Media, which reached out to an expert for commentary.

Russia is in the midst of a serious military buildup. Among other things, the Russian military is upgrading its navy and by 2020 is hoping to add at least 16 new nuclear submarines to its Northern and Pacific fleets.

Click here for the original pictures, the entire article and comments from readers.



Thursday, January 08, 2015

RAF Mildenhall to Close - Basing Deck Being Reshuffled in Europe

STUTTGART, Germany — A major U.S. Air Force base in the United Kingdom and 14 other installations scattered across Europe will close as part of sweeping reorganization of forces on the Continent, the Pentagon announced.

Operations at RAF Mildenhall, home to Air Force special operations forces, air refueling tankers and 3,200 military personnel, will end and missions carried out there will be moved to other locations such as Germany. Two other facilities in the U.K. — RAF Alconbury and Molesworth — also will close as part of a consolidation effort. Most of the missions there will be moved to RAF Croughton.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon plans to station two squadrons of F-35s at RAF Lakenheath by 2020, which ensures the continuous presence of U.S. air power in the country.

As a result of the moves, there will be a slight reduction in overall force levels. However, Germany and Italy are expected to gain troops through the Pentagon’s moves.

In all, the Pentagon expects to save about $500 billion annually from the consolidations, which have been under review for more than a year.

Other announced closures and consolidations involve support facilities rather than major bases.