One Marine rescued, 6 missing after planes collide off Japan

One U.S. Marine was rescued, but six others were missing late Wednesday after two Marine Corps aircraft collided while refueling in mid-air during a regularly scheduled training exercise off the coast of Japan. The aircraft — a KC-130 and a F/A-18 Hornet — had launched from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, near Hiroshima. The accident occurred … Continue reading “One Marine rescued, 6 missing after planes collide off Japan”

One U.S. Marine was rescued, but six others were missing late Wednesday after two Marine Corps aircraft collided while refueling in mid-air during a regularly scheduled training exercise off the coast of Japan.

The aircraft — a KC-130 and a F/A-18 Hornet — had launched from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, near Hiroshima. The accident occurred at around 2 a.m. Thursday, local time (12 p.m. Wednesday ET).

Japan's Defense Ministry said the two aircraft crashed into the sea south of the Muroto Cape on Shikoku island in southwestern Japan, about 200 miles off the coast.

A U.S. official told Fox News that seven Marines were on board the two aircraft. Two aviators were on the F/A-18 Hornet, while five Marines were on the KC-130.

Japanese officials said the rescued Marine was in stable condition. The Marine Corps said the rescued crew was taken to a hospital at its base in Iwakuni and was being treated, but did not provide any other details.

The Marines said in a separate statement that the incident was under investigation.

The crash is the latest in recent series of accidents involving the U.S. military deployed to and near Japan.

Last month, a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan crashed into the sea southwest of Japan's southern island of Okinawa, though its two pilots were rescued safely. In mid-October, a MH-60 Seahawk also belonging to the Ronald Reagan crashed off the Philippine Sea shortly after takeoff, causing non-fatal injuries to a dozen sailors.

More than 50,000 U.S. troops are based in Japan under the bilateral security pact.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lucas Tomlinson is the Pentagon and State Department producer for Fox News Channel. You can follow him on Twitter: @LucasFoxNews

Second crew member found after US Marine Corps planes collide near Japan

A second crew member has been found in the Pacific Ocean near Japan where two Marine Corps aircraft collided while refueling in mid-air early Thursday during a training exercise, a Marine Corps spokesman confirmed to Fox News.

Five others remain missing.

The second person was found about 60 miles south of Muroto Cape on Shikoku island in southwestern Japan, the Maritime Self-Defense Force said.

The Marines said an F/A-18 fighter jet and a KC-130 refueling aircraft collided and crashed during training around 2 a.m. after the planes took off from their base in Iwakuni, near Hiroshima. The crash occurred about 200 miles off the coast.

The seven crew members included two in the F/A-18 and five in the KC-130. Of the two Marines who were found, one is in fair condition and the other is at a local hospital being treated, the spokesman said.

The U.S. Marines are conducting a search operation for the remaining five members who were aboard the jet and aircraft.

The incident is under investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Bradford Betz is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bradford_betz.

We don’t have enough air and missile defense weapons, Pentagon says

Pentagon weapons developers and military war commanders are expressing concern that deployed forces simply do not have enough Air and Missile defense assets to meet a fast-changing threat environment involving high volumes of dangerous new enemy weapons.

“The requirements exceed the capacity we have today. When it comes to combatant commander needs for missile defense, we find out we simply do not have enough,” Brig. Gen. Clement Coward, Commander, 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command, told an audience at a recent Center for Strategic and International Studies event.

These threats, posed increasingly by major power competitors, include newly emerging weapons such as guided enemy cruise missiles, attack drones, ballistic missiles with maneuvering re-entry vehicles and even “boost-glide” hypersonic weapons.

“We don’t like to say we don’t have air superiority anymore, but there may be forces in locations where we do not have air superiority. We are working on an all-inclusive culture change,” Coward said.

The air and missile defense push supports rapid development of more counter-drone weapons and Short-Range-Air-Defense (SHORAD) technologies – some of which are already being engineered into Army Stryker vehicles. A key goal is to design systems, at their inception, with technologies equipped to meet drone and short-range air defense threats.

“We have to bake in requirements for counter UAS (Drones) as part of this. We cannot allow that to be a segmented problem. We are trying to get Short Range Air Defense back in the units,” said Brig. Gen. Sean Gainey, Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense Organization Director and Deputy Director, Force Protection.

A National Defense University study, called “Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense, “Simplifying an Increasingly Complex Problem,” details further specifics regarding new threat concerns, including the aforementioned weapons such as hypersonic threats and missiles with multiple “re-entry vehicles.”

“These threats demand a multi-layered defense to eliminate exploitable gaps between traditional IAMD (Integrated Air and Missile Defense) categories,” the paper writes.

Other concerns cited in the essay include “lethal, one-way UAS (drones as attack weapons) and long-range, large-caliber rockets equipped with terminal guidance.”

In response, both Coward and Gainey mentioned ongoing collaborative work to revamp weapons networking and integrated fire control technology.

“We are prioritizing upgrades to planned integrative fire control. We are doing a revision of joint integrated fire control across the joint force,” Gainey said.

As a way to further advance this goal, Coward and Gainey cited the example of better networking fire control systems for the PATRIOT Advanced Capability-3 and Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense interceptor missiles. While both of these systems are air and missile defense weapons, THAAD is a longer range system. Connecting radar, targeting and sensor information between these systems brings the US military services closer to the stated objective of having a multi-layered approach.

Integrated Battle Command System

This scenario, involving a specific effort to connect sensors, fire control and targeting information between “nodes” on a dispersed combat area, is what the Army’s Integrated Battle Command System is engineered to do.

IBCS uses a netted-group of integrated sensors and networking technologies to connect radar systems — such as the Sentinel — with fire-control for large interceptors such as PATRIOT and THAAD.

Synergy between nodes, using radio, LINK 16 data networks and GPS can greatly expedite multi-service coordination by passing along fast-developing threat information. IBCS, an Army program of record, uses computer-generated digital mapping to present an integrated combat picture showing threat trajectories, sensors, weapons and intercepts, senior Northrop developers told Warrior in previous interviews.

Coward cited IBCS as an example of how emerging technology is moving the military services closer to its intended objectives.

“Gives us flexibility instead of waiting on a shelter attached to a vehicle. It allows us to bring three Combatant Command needs statements together, as opposed to being stove piped,” Coward said.

In an interview with Warrior Maven, IBCS weapons developers with Northrop Grumman says that now, a Patriot missile does not have to be fired with a PATRIOT radar.

“By integrating sensors together, we can have an environment where any weapon can be used with a common sensor picture. It used to be that you could only fire a PATRIOT with a PATRIOT radar…now you do not have to have that,” Rob Jassey, Air and Missile Defense Program Manager, Northrop Grumman, told Warrior Maven.

Jassey added that, in a prior exercise, Northrop was able to use Sentinel radar maneuver sensors to provide guidance source data for a PATRIOT missile, enabling it to destroy a cruise missile target on the other side of a mountain.

“Because the low altitude trajectory of the target obscured it from the PATRIOT radar field of view, the IBCS used Sentinel composite tracking data to calculate and present the necessary engagement solution,” a Northrop statement said.

F-35 and Ballistic Missile Defense

Northrop Grumman and the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency recently analyzed information from a previous demonstration wherein an airborne F-35 helped perform Ballistic Missile Defense missions.

The demonstration used a ground-based F-35 sensor called the Distributed Aperture System, a 360-degree camera-sensor offering F-35 pilots a real-time view surrounding the aircraft. Using a DAS-configured gateway aerial node to locate a ballistic missile launch and flight path, the technical system was able to send target-tracking information using advanced data links from the air to ground-based command and control location.

Described as multi-function array technology, the DAS system uses automated computer algorithms to organize and integrate target-relevant data from missile warning systems, radar, night vision and other long-range sensors; the array is able to track a BMD target from the air at distances up to 800 nautical miles. Such a technology, quite naturally, enables a wider sensor field with which to identify and track attacking missiles.

An airborne DAS, networked with ground-based Patriot and THAAD weapons, could offer a distinct tactical advantage when it comes to quickly locating incoming missile threats. Air sensors in particular, could be of great value given that, in some envisioned threat scenarios, it is unclear whether there would be enough interceptors to counter a massive enemy ballistic missile barrage into US or allied territories.

Regarding Coward and Gainey’s cited concerns, air based detection and target tracking, it seems, could go a long way toward better fortifying defenses – as they might increase the time envelope during which command and control could cue interceptors to locate and destroy attacking enemy missiles.

Counter Rocket Artillery and Mortar

Northrop developers are also assessing new optical sensors, passive sensors and lasers to widen the target envelope for the Army’s Counter Rocket, Artillery Mortar system such that it can destroy enemy drones, helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft and cruise missiles.

C-RAM uses sensors, radar and fire-control technology alongside a vehicle or ground-mounted 20mm Phalanx Close-in-Weapons-System able to fire 4,500 rounds per minute. The idea is to blanket an area with large numbers of small projectiles to intercept and destroy incoming artillery, rocket or mortar fire. As an area weapon, the Phalanx then fires thousands of projectiles in rapid succession to knock the threat out of the sky. Engineers are also looking at new interceptor missiles to compliment the Phalanx, Northrop developers said.

Adding new sensors and weapons to CRAM could bring nearer term improvements by upgrading an existing system currently deployed, therefore circumventing multi-year developmental efforts necessary for many acquisition programs.

CRAM is deployed at numerous Forward Operating Bases throughout Iraq and Afghanistan and the system has been credited with saving thousands of soldiers’ lives. It is now being analyzed for upgrades and improvements.

Engineers with Northrop Grumman integrate the Raytheon-built Phalanx into the C-RAM system; C-RAM was first developed and deployed to defend Navy ships at sea, however a fast-emerging need to protect soldiers on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan inspired the Army to quickly adapt the technology for use on land; C-RAM has been operational on the ground since 2005.

Ultimately, however, despite the current concerns about the US inventory of air and missile defense systems, both Crawford and Gainey were quite clear on one this – the US is right now ready to fight and defend against any attack.

“There is a lot of effort that goes into getting ready for the fight tonight. We do have capacity for that type of threat. With the joint force, we have alleviated a lot of the threat gaps in the PACOM AOR (Pacific Area of Responsibility),” Gainey said.

-More Weapons and Technology – WARRIOR MAVEN (CLICK HERE)

Newly-released images offer first glimpse of next-generation Marine One prototype

Newly-released images show the prototype of the next-generation Marine One helicopter landing on the White House South Lawn.

A spokesman for the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), which is overseeing development of the new presidential helicopter, told Fox News that the pictures were taken during testing on Sep. 22.

The images show the Sikorsky-built VH-92A helicopter painted in the traditional presidential airlift colors.

TRUMP'S NEW 'BEAST' LIMOUSINE SPOTTED ROAMING NEW YORK CITY

“There isn’t a part of this helicopter that isn’t tested – down to the paint,” explained the NAVAIR spokesman. “We took delivery from Sikorsky in August and began testing.”

The new helicopter is expected to be ready for deployment in late 2020. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Hunter Helis)

The images were first reported by The Drive website.

The aircraft is the first of six test aircraft developed under the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the project, according to NAVAIR. This includes the design, certification and testing of a replacement helicopter “to support the presidential world-wide vertical-lift mission.”

ARMY AND AIR FORCE CRAFT NEW JOINT COMBAT ATTACK PLAN

The landing and take-offs were part of a comprehensive test plan designed to ensure the aircraft meets all operational specifications, NAVAIR said.

Citing a GAO report, The Drive notes that the helicopter’s impact on the White House lawn is an important part of the testing process.

The prototype, known as Engineering Design Model (EDM 1) is the result of a years-long effort to build the new Marine One helicopters.

“The whole program is going exceptionally well,” the NAVAIR spokesman told Fox News.

ARMY SETS SIGHTS ON NEW SNIPER CAMOUFLAGE

The new helicopter is expected to be ready for deployment in late 2020. The White House Military Office will make the decision on when it will actually be used by the President, according to NAVAIR.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

Newly-released images offer first glimpse of next-generation Marine One prototype

Newly-released images show the prototype of the next-generation Marine One helicopter landing on the White House South Lawn.

A spokesman for the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), which is overseeing development of the new presidential helicopter, told Fox News that the pictures were taken during testing on Sep. 22.

The images show the Sikorsky-built VH-92A helicopter painted in the traditional presidential airlift colors.

TRUMP'S NEW 'BEAST' LIMOUSINE SPOTTED ROAMING NEW YORK CITY

“There isn’t a part of this helicopter that isn’t tested – down to the paint,” explained the NAVAIR spokesman. “We took delivery from Sikorsky in August and began testing.”

The new helicopter is expected to be ready for deployment in late 2020. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Hunter Helis)

The images were first reported by The Drive website.

The aircraft is the first of six test aircraft developed under the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the project, according to NAVAIR. This includes the design, certification and testing of a replacement helicopter “to support the presidential world-wide vertical-lift mission.”

ARMY AND AIR FORCE CRAFT NEW JOINT COMBAT ATTACK PLAN

The landing and take-offs were part of a comprehensive test plan designed to ensure the aircraft meets all operational specifications, NAVAIR said.

Citing a GAO report, The Drive notes that the helicopter’s impact on the White House lawn is an important part of the testing process.

The prototype, known as Engineering Design Model (EDM 1) is the result of a years-long effort to build the new Marine One helicopters.

“The whole program is going exceptionally well,” the NAVAIR spokesman told Fox News.

ARMY SETS SIGHTS ON NEW SNIPER CAMOUFLAGE

The new helicopter is expected to be ready for deployment in late 2020. The White House Military Office will make the decision on when it will actually be used by the President, according to NAVAIR.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

Newly-released images offer first glimpse of next-generation Marine One prototype

Newly-released images show the prototype of the next-generation Marine One helicopter landing on the White House South Lawn.

A spokesman for the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), which is overseeing development of the new presidential helicopter, told Fox News that the pictures were taken during testing on Sep. 22.

The images show the Sikorsky-built VH-92A helicopter painted in the traditional presidential airlift colors.

TRUMP'S NEW 'BEAST' LIMOUSINE SPOTTED ROAMING NEW YORK CITY

“There isn’t a part of this helicopter that isn’t tested – down to the paint,” explained the NAVAIR spokesman. “We took delivery from Sikorsky in August and began testing.”

The new helicopter is expected to be ready for deployment in late 2020. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Hunter Helis)

The images were first reported by The Drive website.

The aircraft is the first of six test aircraft developed under the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the project, according to NAVAIR. This includes the design, certification and testing of a replacement helicopter “to support the presidential world-wide vertical-lift mission.”

ARMY AND AIR FORCE CRAFT NEW JOINT COMBAT ATTACK PLAN

The landing and take-offs were part of a comprehensive test plan designed to ensure the aircraft meets all operational specifications, NAVAIR said.

Citing a GAO report, The Drive notes that the helicopter’s impact on the White House lawn is an important part of the testing process.

The prototype, known as Engineering Design Model (EDM 1) is the result of a years-long effort to build the new Marine One helicopters.

“The whole program is going exceptionally well,” the NAVAIR spokesman told Fox News.

ARMY SETS SIGHTS ON NEW SNIPER CAMOUFLAGE

The new helicopter is expected to be ready for deployment in late 2020. The White House Military Office will make the decision on when it will actually be used by the President, according to NAVAIR.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers