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Using High-Power Lasers to Recharge Remotely

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Above is a twin-propeller aerial vehicle with a laser converter mounted in the middle. The photovoltaic cells convert laser power to electrical power at high efficiency to power the two propellers. The laser converter is cooled by the downdraft created by the propellers.

Above is a twin-propeller aerial vehicle with a laser converter mounted in the middle. The photovoltaic cells convert laser power to electrical power at high efficiency to power the two propellers. The laser converter is cooled by the downdraft created by the propellers.

By Dr. R.P. Fischer, Dr. A. Ting, and Dr. P. Sprangle

Advances in laser and photovoltaic converter technologies may allow high-power wireless recharging of platforms and sensors at extended ranges. These remote platforms may include flying, land-based, or submerged vehicles, satellites, and sensors at hazardous locations. Commercially available fiber lasers have proven to be an enabling technology in a variety of industrial applications such as cutting, welding, and annealing. These lasers also are having a positive effect in many defense programs—for instance, the Navy’s laser weapon system has recently deployed aboard USS Ponce (AFSB[I] 15) for at-sea testing. In addition, commercially available photovoltaic converters have advanced to a point where high conversion efficiency from laser energy to electrical energy is now possible.

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In the 1890s, Nikola Tesla performed some of the first experiments demonstrating wireless recharging—sometimes called power beaming—using high-frequency electromagnetic radiation. Microwaves have been used since in short-range wireless recharging experiments because of their high power-conversion efficiency. For long-range recharging, however, large transmission and receiving antennae are required because of the longer wavelengths associated with microwave radiation. Practical long-range recharging only can be achieved using the significantly shorter wavelengths associated with laser beams. The use of lasers can significantly reduce the size and weight of the transmitting and receiving platforms.

Research groups at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Kinki University in Japan, LaserMotive Inc., and the Naval Research Laboratory have experimented with wireless recharging using a variety of platforms such as rovers, kite planes, helicopters, and climbers using solid-state lasers and photovoltaic converters. One configuration for remote wireless recharging of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) involves using a high-power, continuous wave fiber laser and beam director. Disturbances in the atmosphere (i.e., turbulence and aerosols) will affect the laser’s power propagation and delivery to the platform and may require adaptive optics for correction.

High-Power Laser Wireless Recharging

Wireless recharging using high-power lasers has been realized because of the improved output power, efficiency, and reliability of commercially available high-power lasers, power-conversion efficiencies as high as 60 percent in photovoltaic converters, and multikilometer propagation of lasers in the atmosphere. Laser recharging can be used to power UAVs, resulting in increased flight duration, reduced battery weight and manpower requirements, and increased power capabilities of vehicles and payloads. Wireless recharging also can be used to provide electrical power to small UAVs for missions such as persistent surveillance and security, communications relay, off-board decoys, electronic warfare, target acquisition, and reconnaissance of remote or hazardous areas such as forward operating bases.

High-power fiber lasers now are commercially available for directed-energy applications. These lasers are made with active optical fibers and semiconductor diodes, a merger between two of the most innovative and advanced laser technologies. Fiber lasers use single-emitter semiconductor diodes as the light source to pump the active fibers. The beam emitted is contained within optical fibers and delivered through an armored flexible cable. Special optical fibers doped with rare earth ions permit kilowatt levels of high-quality laser power to be generated. These fiber lasers are compact, have long diode lifetimes, low maintenance operation, high wall-plug efficiency, and minimum beam divergence. For example, ytterbium-doped fiber lasers are commercially available with wall-plug efficiencies up to 50 percent. The state-of-the-art power levels for these lasers are 10 kilowatts continuous wave for single-mode operation and 100 kilowatts for multimode operation.

Naval Research Laboratory scientists hold the first patent on the laser-beam-combining architecture used by the Navy (“Apparatus for Incoherent Combining of High-Power Lasers for Long-Range Directed Energy Applications,” U.S. Patent No. US 7,970,040 [2011]) and were the first to demonstrate high-power continuous wave (greater than four kilowatts), single-mode, fiber laser beam propagation in the atmosphere over extended distances (greater than three kilometers). These high-power fiber lasers are particularly well suited for remote wireless recharging.

Most photovoltaic cells are designed and developed for the conversion of the broad spectrum of solar energy into electrical power. The cell delivers the maximum optical-to-electrical conversion efficiency when illuminated by monochromatic (laser) light at a wavelength that closely corresponds to the bandgap energy of the photovoltaic material. Efficient cells based on indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) are now available commercially for wavelengths near one micron. An optimized photovoltaic converter on a remote platform, such as a UAV, can efficiently convert (about 50—60 percent) laser energy to electrical power. A wireless recharging architecture using fiber lasers and photovoltaic cells can provide a significant weight reduction by removal of batteries, extended flight duration, and increased range.

Wireless Recharging Experiments

The Naval Research Laboratory has successfully demonstrated the recharging of a UAV in flight using a kilowatt-class fiber laser to transmit power and a photovoltaic cell for collection. The photo above shows a panel of highly efficient InGaAs cells on a laser converter panel. When illuminated with a high-power fiber laser, it converts the laser power to the electrical power required to power the twin propellers. The cells are connected in a configuration that matches the current and voltage characteristics required to drive the propellers. The converter has fins on its back to allow cooling by the downdraft of the propellers.

In 2013, a series of flight tests were conducted over a 40-meter laboratory range. A two-kilowatt, singlemode fiber laser (about one micron wavelength) transmitted power to an array fabricated using InGaAs laser-power converter chips from Spectrolab Inc. mThe individual chips are up to 50 percent efficient at the fiber laser wavelength, and the lightweight array provides 160-190 watts of electricity to the vehicle. Off-the-shelf components were used to develop the optical tracking system, which automatically positioned the laser beam on the center of the laser converter during flight. In the experiment, the remotely controlled vehicle was able to lift off from rest on command. The laser converter lights up (in the inset on page 23) because the laser light, though in the infrared, is visible to the digital camera.

Technological Challenges

There are a number of challenges to address before long-range wireless recharging can be deployed. These include thermally managing the excess heat generated on the photo-voltaic converter and developing higher-efficiency cells capable of more than 60 percent conversion. It is necessary to have a fairly uniform and controlled laser intensity profile on the photo converter. This may require the development of appropriate adaptive optics techniques applied to the outgoing laser beam.

For extended ranges, application of adaptive optics is necessary to control spreading and wandering of the transmitted laser beam as it propagates through atmospheric turbulence. Adapted optics can be implemented by employing a beacon laser beam (low power) on the receiving platform to determine the phase variations placed on the beam because of atmospheric turbulence. Introducing the conjugated phase variation on the high-power outgoing beam will minimize the effects of atmospheric turbulence. Development of efficient, high-power, eye-safer lasers and photovoltaic converters at wavelengths greater than 1.4 microns may be necessary for certain applications. These challenges are of a technological nature, however, and can be overcome in the near term.

Future Directions

Wireless recharging can be an enabling technology that would allow new operational capabilities for the Navy. In addition to UAVs, other unmanned systems stand to benefit from this technology. These include ground vehicles and underwater vehicles. Atmospheric conditions for land-based vehicles, however, are quite different from those for UAV recharging. This is because of the high concentration of scattering particles and increased turbulence affecting laser propagation near the ground. Underwater remote wireless recharging requires laser wavelengths in the blue-green regime.

Wireless recharging of low flying satellites also could be viable to maintain their orbits. Atmospheric turbulence and scattering fall off extremely rapidly as a function of altitude. Hundreds of kilowatts of laser power can be delivered to the satellite at the perigee point (the lowest height position, about 100 kilometers) of the elliptical orbit. The laser intensity on the satellite’s photovoltaic cells can be several hundreds of kilowatts per square meter, which is hundreds of times the sun’s intensity.

Original story can be found here.

About the authors:

Dr. Fischer is senior research engineer in the Plasma Physics Division at the Naval Research Laboratory.

Dr. Ting is section head and experimental group leader in the Plasma Physics Division at the Naval Research Laboratory.

Dr. Sprangle is senior scientist for directed energy physics in the Plasma Physics Division at the Naval Research Laboratory and professor of electrical and computer engineering and physics at the University of Maryland.

The authors would like to acknowledge that funding for this work was provided by the Naval Research Laboratory, and acknowledge the contributions from Greg DiComo and Steve Tayman.

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Air Force Funds Efforts to Mature Nanopowders for Enabling Lasers

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nGimat nanopowder technician Sam Smith transfers precursor solution during development of Yttrium Aluminum Garnet powder. Courtesy Photo

nGimat nanopowder technician Sam Smith transfers precursor solution during development of Yttrium Aluminum Garnet powder. Courtesy Photo

Popular science fiction fantasy literature and film fans have long read about and watched their heroes using lasers to disable or destroy large enemy targets. Yet, these lasers have taken years longer to develop than predicted, partially because the materials from which the lasers are constructed have been problematic. Manufacturing technology under development by the Air Force and a small business partner will enable new lasing materials made from nanopowders and in turn will make these futuristic lasers possible.

nGimat, Co., a contractor to the Air Force Research Laboratory, has developed materials processes for Yttrium Aluminum Garnet (YAG) powder, the ingredient from which new laser amplifiers are made. This technology will lead to lasers providing near instantaneous target engagement, an extremely low-cost per shot — about a dollar per shot versus up to millions of dollars for a missile — and an extremely deep magazine since the laser’s batteries can be recharged during flight.

nGimat’s original SBIR effort to develop their powder for use in laser applications was administered by the Army, and both Phase I and Phase II efforts were technically successful. In 2015, a major defense contractor expressed strong interest in nGimat’s YAG production capabilities and desires a more robust, scaled-up manufacturing process, so that nGimat can supply its high-quality material for laser applications. However, a small company is unable to internally fund such a large development effort, and the Army was budget constrained. As a result, nGimat approached the Air Force for help.

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The Air Force Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) program office is providing an additional $750,000 to nGimat to leverage the company’s past successes and pursue transition of these materials into laser weapon systems and transparent missile domes that could be used by the Air Force.

“The Department of Defense has worked hard to improve polycrystalline YAG for lasers, and this effort by nGimat is the natural next step,” said Dr. Ken Hopkins, the Air Force project engineer.  “In addition, it will enable innovative laser designs being pursued by U.S. defense companies.”

nGimat and another contractor have already begun working the joint effort to develop and manufacture the powders. Doing this requires nGimat to implement system engineering improvements and to design and test first-of-its-kind production systems for the nanomaterials, so that consistent purity levels are achieved for the powder.

“With continued development and the installation of dedicated production systems employing the proper controls and system feedbacks, we expect that nGimat will achieve the proper certifications and manufacturing capabilities to ensure reliability, purity and consistency, and product volumes to meet the DoD’s laser development needs.”

In addition to the SBIR funding, this program leverages over $1.6 million in funding and resources from the Air Force Research Laboratory, partners and from local and state incentives for hiring new employees.  These funds will help ensure the SBIR Phase II effort successfully transitions its technologies into military or private sectors.

The Air Force SBIR and STTR programs are mission-oriented programs that integrate the needs and requirements of the Air Force through research and development topics that have military and commercial potential. The SBIR program was established by Congress in 1982 to fund research and development (R&D) through small businesses of 500 or fewer employees.  The STTR program was established in 1992 to fund cooperative R&D projects with small businesses and non-profit U.S. research institutions, such as universities.

Since 2006, the Commercialization Readiness Program has directly linked Air Force centers to Air Force Research Laboratory technical points of contact to identify and evaluate Air Force needs and innovative solutions.  Its primary objective is to accelerate the transition of SBIR/STTR-developed technologies into real-world military and commercial applications.

The Air Force SBIR and STTR programs provide more than $300 million in funding for research and development activities by small businesses annually.  With this budget, the Air Force funds research from the early stages of concept development until it transitions to military or commercial use.

For more information about these programs, please call the Air Force SBIR/STTR Program Office at 1-800-222-0336, email info@afsbirsttr.com, or visit our website at www.afsbirsttr.com.

Photo: nGimat nanopowder technician Sam Smith transfers precursor solution during development of Yttrium Aluminum Garnet powder.

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Specialized Robots Have Vital Role in Hostage Training

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Specialized_robot2Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians at Cannon Air Force Base conduct hostage situations training by utilizing specialized robots. (Screenshot: Airman 1st Class Treven Cannon)

By Yolanda R. Arrington
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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The Air Force’s 27th Special Operations Wing is programming scenarios into robots to allow airmen to practice their responses to real-life intense moments, like hostage situations. Explosive ordnance disposal technicians at Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico recently conducted training with these specialized robots, learning how to shoot at specific targets while protecting innocent bystanders.

The robot exercise helped the airmen hone their skills so that their reactions in these situations can become second nature.

RELATED LINKS: Brilliant at Any Age: ONR Researchers, Robots and MIT
Story Time: ONR Researchers Create ‘Human User Manual’ for Robots
Army Robots: The Dawn of a New Age

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3-D Printing Saves the Navy Time & Money

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By Yolanda R. Arrington
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

20170315_101707_editShipboard Tactical Additive Manufacturing “Quadcopter” (Photo: Yolanda R. Arrington/DoD News, Defense Media Activity)

The U.S. Navy put its 3-D printing talents on display at a 3-D Print-a-Thon at the Pentagon, March 15, 2017. Twenty naval organizations from across the Naval Research and Development establishment presented 3-D printed innovations. The equipment demonstrated the Navy’s enhanced warfighting capabilities and readiness, but the new innovations are also saving the Navy money.

We’re highlighting a few of the additive technologies that were on display.

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Quadcopter
Naval Surface Warfare Center Port Hueneme, California – Shipboard Tactical Additive Manufacturing “Quadcopter”
Three years ago, the Navy wanted to show how a tactical application of additive manufacturing could be done on board the USS Essex. Researchers worked with the fleet to define the requirements of the tactical operation, emailed files and assisted in the assembly and flight demonstration of a tactical unmanned aircraft, or quadcopter, in support of vessel boarding, search and seizure operations. The quadcopter was flight tested in the hangar bay of the USS Essex.

It took about eight hours to print the unmanned device, which can fly over enemy vessels to show sailors what’s inside. The drone innovation is saved as an open source file, which means anyone can print their own. And, the big advantage for the Navy: it only costs about $800 to print a quadcopter.

NSWC Carderock, Maryland – Optionally Manned Technology Demonstrator (OMTD)
Optionally Manned Technology Demonstrator
At 30 feet long, this is the largest 3-D printed object in the DoD. The full-scale Seal Delivery Vehicle surrogate was fabricated using additive manufacturing. It’s made of chopped carbon and took two days to print. The vehicle holds six sailors, is submersible and completely floods inside so the crew must wear scuba gear while on board. The innovation can be used to covertly move sailors from one place to another while being towed behind a ship.

Carderock is funding a second version of the OMTD that will be able to be towed in its test facility.

Air Amplifier for Zodiac Inflation
NSWC Dahlgren, Virginia – Air Amplifier for Zodiac Inflation
The air amplifier reduces the amount of compressed air needed to inflate Zodiac boats using the Venturi effect to accelerate the compressed air as it flows into the boat. The device is entirely produced by additive manufacturing, costs less than $100 to make and about three hours to print. Use of the air amplifier results in a 66 percent decrease in compressed air needed to inflate the boat.

Humanoid
Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C. – SCIP-RR: Humanoid Robotic Head for HRI
Contemporary robotics platforms have longer lifespans than any of the sensors or computers that operate them. The Naval Research Laboratory created a modular humanoid robotic head that can accommodate a range of sensors and computers. The device also includes an interactive display surface to allow easy communications with its operators.

The entire innovation is 3-D printed, except for the visor.

Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, California – Printed Air Inlet for Solid Fuel Ramjet
Ramjet
The air inlet design is critical to system performance, and conventional manufacturing methods can be limiting, but metal additive manufacturing allows the device to be produced in three days and cuts costs. Inlet development is crucial to the success of the next generation of high speed strike weapons. Traditional ramjets can cost about $14,000 to produce, but the 3-D printed one costs about $6,000. The Navy uses powdered steel to create the ramjet and a laser to fuse it together.

Navy leaders say the innovations displayed at the event demonstrate how the service is using additive manufacturing to enhance its warfighting capabilities, make components more lightweight, improve readiness and solve logistical and supply issues.

“Additive manufacturing is a potential game-changing technology for naval warfare. It accelerates capability development and will increase our readiness by reducing obsolescence or long lead time issues,” said John Burrow, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development, test and evaluation.

The technology also opens the door for new designs that weren’t possible through traditional, legacy manufacturing methods.

“I was excited to see all the examples of how our Department of the Navy workforce is exploring and implementing this technology,” Burrow said.

RELATED LINKS: 3-D Printer Could Turn Space Station into ‘Machine Shop’
Big Data, 3D Printing and Robots: Marine Corps Commandant Touts ONR S&T
3-D Printing: Evolving for Tomorrow Today through Additive Manufacturing

Image credits: Shipboard Tactical Additive Manufacturing “Quadcopter” (Photo courtesy of Naval Surface Warfare Center Port Hueneme Division); Optionally Manned Technology Demonstrator (Photo courtesy of Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division); Air Amplifier for Zodiac Inflation (Photo courtesy of Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division CDSA Dam Neck); Printed Air Inlet for Solid Fuel Ramjet (SFRJ) Technology Demonstration (Photo courtesy of Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake) and SCIP-RR: Humanoid Robotic Head for HRI (Photo courtesy of U.S. Naval Research Laboratory)

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Mattis, Spanish Defense Minister Discuss Security Relationship

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DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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WASHINGTON, March 24, 2017 — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Spanish Minister of Defense Maria Delores de Cospedal met at the Pentagon yesterday, where the two leaders discussed the enduring U.S.-Spain security relationship, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said in a statement.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis greets Spanish Minister of Defense Maria Delores de Cospedal before a meeting at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., March 23, 2017. DoD photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis greets Spanish Minister of Defense Maria Delores de Cospedal before a meeting at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., March 23, 2017. DoD photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith

During the meeting, Mattis recognized Spain‘s important contributions to global security, specifically in combating terrorism in North Africa, the Sahel and in the counter-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria campaign, Davis said.

NATO Commitment

The two leaders also discussed their commitment to NATO, the strong bonds such an alliance creates, and the need for all member nations to reach the two percent of gross domestic product defense spending benchmark, he added.

Mattis also thanked the minister for the Spanish people’s hospitality to U.S. defense personnel and ships hosted at Naval Station Rota and Morón Air Base, Davis said.

The two leaders, he said, look forward to continued future engagements and further strengthening of bilateral defense relations.

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Second Lady Honors Military Women

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By Lisa Ferdinando DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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WASHINGTON, March 23, 2017 — Karen Pence, the wife of Vice President Michael R. Pence, honored military women today as part of events for Women’s History Month.

Second Lady Karen Pence, right, welcomes the Army’s chief legislative liaison, Maj. Gen. Laura Richardson, to the vice president’s residence, in Washington, March 23, 2017. Pence gathered service members from the five armed services for a Women’s History Month celebration at One Observatory Circle. DoD photo by EJ Hersom

Second Lady Karen Pence, right, welcomes the Army’s chief legislative liaison, Maj. Gen. Laura Richardson, to the vice president’s residence, in Washington, March 23, 2017. Pence gathered service members from the five armed services for a Women’s History Month celebration at One Observatory Circle. DoD photo by EJ Hersom

“We just wanted to say ‘Thank you,'” she told three dozen service members at an afternoon reception at One Observatory Circle, the vice president’s residence at the Naval Observatory here.

“I get choked up because I am a military mom,” said Pence, whose son Michael is a Marine Corps officer. “I’ve got my ‘mom pin’ on,” she proudly noted.

Women who serve often face multiple challenges, she said, such as balancing family with military life. The second lady noted she met March 20 at Fort Meade, Maryland, with female service members and heard about some of those challenges.

“They shared with me some of the reasons why they went into the military. They shared with me some of the things they love about being in the military [and] some of the struggles of being a woman in the military,” she said.

“We just had a great visit,” she said.

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Pence pointed out the women at today’s reception represented various ranks and were from the five armed services — Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. The second lady said she wanted to honor the range of women who serve.

“I think a lot of times, people in the military — men and women — aren’t told enough how much we appreciate you,” she said. “It’s not an easy place to be where you are, and I think we’re learning that more and more in the position that we’re in.”

Pence said First Lady Melania Trump wanted her to do something for Women’s History Month. The second lady said she knew immediately she wanted to honor women in the military.

“I just want you to know how much we appreciate you,” she said.

Pence introduced the highest-ranking guest, the Army’s chief legislative liaison, Maj. Gen. Laura Richardson, and thanked her for her years of service and sacrifice.

She then invited two service members to join her as she spoke: Air Force Col. Michelle Pufall, who runs two hospitals in Jordan on the border with Syria; and Marine Corps 1st Lt. Talia Bastien.

The reason for bringing the two women up, Pence said, was because it was their birthdays; she then led the reception in singing ‘Happy Birthday.’

(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)

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Need a Buyer for: 2908 Sumac Road, Fallbrook, ca. 92028

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Enchanting custom built home w/Panoramic View

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• 1st time offered for sale

2908 Sumac Road, Fallbrook, ca. 92028
List Price: $1,200,000—$1,250,000
MLS # 170009431
Tucked away in the quiet community of Fallbrook S.D cnty, with easy access to the freeway is an amazing custom built home. Home feels like a piece of ART. Please view & Bring us a OFFER! East to show
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Brenda Shea, REALTOR®,#00899313
New Trend Properties
28581 Old Town Front St
Temecula, CA 92590
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shearealtor@yahoo.com
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ONE TEAM, ONE FRIGID FIGHT DURING COLD WEATHER TRAINING OPERATIONS

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By Cpl. Mackenzie Gibson, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. — No great battle in history has ever been won by individual effort. Without the determination of the team as a whole, even the greatest army would crumble. What better way to breed a team mentality than putting a group of Marines in the face of adversity?

Facing relentless cold temperatures and waist-high snow, Marines assigned to 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, 1st Expeditionary Force, worked in conjunction with Marines assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269, Marine Aircraft Group 29, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, to complete close air support operations aboard Fort Drum, N.Y., March 16.

“We’re helping HMLA-269 grow their proficiency in their close air support tactics and cold weather operations with inserts and extractions in urban and non-urban environments,” said Staff Sgt. Randall Lester, a fire support chief with 1st ANGLICO.

According to Lester, it takes a team of joint fires observers and joint terminal attack controllers to bring the aircraft from their home location to a forward position, and also guide the action of their attacks to the targeted areas. Without the men on the ground, the pilots would have much more difficulty finding their objectives.

“For us in the back, it’s very hard to see our tracers and impacts when firing on targets,” said Sgt. Ty Morgan, a crew chief with HMLA-269. “So we really have to flex our fundamentals of aerial gunnery skills and rely on the ground support to get us where we need to go.”

Coming from sunny California, Lester stated that his unit does not conduct cold weather training very often and the best part is getting the experience while also working with HMLA-269 to become more skilled in their duties.

“HMLA-269 is an extremely proficient group of aviators and crew members,” said Lester. “Their close air support tactics have been on point this entire trip. They are a group of great professionals who absolutely know their jobs inside and out.”

With only a few days left of training, unit morale remains high and operations are in full swing. It is clear that no matter what the situation is, the Marines will find a way to make it through any challenges that come their way.

“We all understand that we’re freezing out here, but it really builds unit cohesion and gives us something in common that we try to work through,” said Morgan. “Sometimes, it isn’t exactly fun. But its good training and we work well out here as a team.”

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Airman provides the logistics behind Obama’s archival move

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FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (AFNS) — Many former presidents have a library in their namesake, showcasing many records and artifacts from their presidency. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California; the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston are two examples soon to be joined by a library in Chicago honoring the achievements of President Barack Obama.

However, the movement of items that exist inside those libraries and museums aren’t transferred like a typical household goods move. Specially formed teams from the military and the National Archives and Records Administration have worked with White House staff to coordinate the transfer since late 2016 with the final truckload of supplies expected to arrive in Chicago by early 2017.

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Lt. Col. Vianesa Vargas, the chief of Joint Team Records, is leading the charge for the more than 700 mile trek from Washington D.C. to Hoffman Estates, Illinois, just on the outskirts of Chicago. She’s the lead logistician in charge of a joint team of Airmen and Soldiers who’ve prepared semi-trucks full of artifacts. In all, more than 20 trucks are expected to make deliveries.

Vargas described her team as the “muscle behind the move.” NARA is responsible for packaging the items from the White House and then coordinates with Vargas and her team for the shipment.

“Our team will assist NARA in going over to the White House, picking up the documents, records or gift(s) and they bring it all to the National Archives and at that point it’s planned for onward movement,” Vargas said.

On the receiving end at Hoffman Estates is a team of Sailors from Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois, who combined with the team from Washington D.C., Vargas said, has been exceptional and one of the best NARA has said they’ve worked with.

Vargas and her team are responsible for every record and artifact from the time it’s being loaded until it’s on the shelf at Hoffman Estates. She said her team has the ability to track and have visibility during the entire transit, including every stop along the route.

Growing up just outside Sacramento, California, Vargas said she never envisioned being put in the position she’s currently in, having the responsibility of moving historical artifacts for one of the most prominent people on the planet.

“When I left Sacramento I thought I was going to go to school and become a fitness trainer, one of the top fitness trainers in the nation, that was like my goal then … life has a way of kind of pointing you in the direction of where it needs you to go,” Vargas said. “So joining the Air Force ROTC program, that opened up my mind and my heart to something much bigger, much bigger than myself.”

Vargas, who has been in the Air Force for 18 years — her first 11 were active duty and the rest of her time served in the Air Force Reserve – said her various logistics jobs, including joint assignments, have prepared her well for her current assignment.

Aside from working with NARA and White House staff, Vargas has coordinated with multiple agencies from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, and the Air Force District of Washington.

“There’s all these different parts that we have to all work with, and being a logistician, that’s really where we excel – is being the integrator of all of that,” she said.

John Laster, the director of the Presidential Materials Division for NARA, said Vargas and her team are very skilled and have been very efficient throughout the entire process thus far.

Obstacles have not been a factor for Vargas and her team, as Laster said they’ve been very flexible and responsive to meet demands.
Laster said it’s too hard to plan too far ahead, as the current administration is still running the country, and “there’s a lot of decisions that are made very quickly and the military has been fantastic about understanding that.”

Although the library isn’t expected to open until sometime in 2021, Vargas said she can’t wait to take her family to visit and tell them how she had a piece in making it all happen.

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AF announces NAS JRB Fort Worth as the preferred location for next F-35A base

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WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Air Force officials announced Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas, as the preferred location for the first Air Force Reserve-led F-35 base, which is expected to begin receiving its first F-35As in the mid-2020s.

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona; Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida; and Whiteman AFB, Missouri, will be considered as reasonable alternatives during the environmental analysis process which must be completed before the Air Force makes a final basing decision.

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“We selected the Air Force Reserve unit in Fort Worth because it is the location that meets all of the necessary training requirements at the lowest cost,” said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James. “Additionally, the location will provide mission synergy and access to an experienced workforce for recruiting as a result of its proximity to the F-35 manufacturing plant.”According to the Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein, the F-35 is even better than advertised.

“In the hands of our Airmen, the F-35 will be the most lethal, survivable and adaptable aircraft in our inventory for decades to come,” Goldfein said. “No matter how you slice it, the F-35’s stealth characteristics, maneuverability, interoperability and its ability to make other aircraft better through sensor fusion make it unmatched by any adversary.”

In December 2016, the Air Force released the candidate bases for the next two Air National Guard-led F-35 bases. The candidate bases included Dannelly Field Air Guard Station, Alabama; Gowen Field AGS, Idaho; Jacksonville AGS, Florida; Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan; and Truax AGS, Wisconsin.

The Air Force will be conducting on-the-ground site surveys at each candidate location assessing each location against operational requirements, potential impacts to existing missions, infrastructure and manpower, and then develop cost estimates to bed down the F-35A.

The preferred and reasonable alternatives for the ANG bases are expected to be selected in the summer of 2017.

The F-35As are expected to begin arriving at the second and third ANG locations in the early to mid-2020s.

Currently, three active-duty operational locations—Hill AFB, Utah; Royal Air Force Lakenheath, United Kingdom; and Eielson AFB, Alaska— and one ANG location – Burlington AGS, Vermont – have been identified for F-35A basing.

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