Thursday, September 3, 2015

Ninth C-130J Joins Coast Guard’s Super Hercules Fleet

CGNR 2009 – the ninth C-130J Super Hercules long range surveillance aircraft in the Coast Guard fleet – gets outfitted with Coast Guard colors at Dean Baldwin Painting in Roswell, New Mexico. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

September 3, 2015 - The Coast Guard took delivery of its ninth C-130J Super Hercules long range surveillance aircraft at Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, Sept. 2.
The aircraft – CGNR 2009 – will operate in its base configuration until it undergoes a missionization process that includes installation of specialized systems and sensors for Coast Guard missions beginning in September 2016. When missionization is complete, CGNR 2009 will be designated as an HC-130J.
The service has begun standardizing mission systems across its fixed-wing fleet with the Naval Air Systems Command Minotaur mission control processor. The Coast Guard is reviewing proposals to modify new and retrofit existing Super Hercules aircraft with the Minotaur mission system architecture and expects to award a contract by October.
The HC-130J aircraft offers increased capabilities and reduced operating and maintenance costs compared to the current fleet of HC-130Hs. 
Of the nine Super Hercules aircraft that have been delivered, five are in service at Elizabeth City, one is in depot-level maintenance, two are undergoing missionization under a previous contract for delivery  in 2016, and one is being prepared to serve as the Minotaur prototype at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. 
The next two aircraft are in production at Lockheed Martin and will be delivered in the base configuration in 2016 and 2017. Funding for a 12th HC-130J was received earlier this year.

Austal Delivers Final Cape Class to Australian Border Force

Austal Photo of earlier class member. 

Henderson September 1, 2015 - Austal Limited (Austal) is pleased to announce it has delivered Cape York the final of eight Cape Class Patrol Boats supplied to Australian Border Force (formerly Australian Customs and Border Protection) under a $330 million design, build and in-service support contract.
Austal Chief Executive Officer Andrew Bellamy said that with eight boats successfully delivered within the original timeframe, Austal has demonstrated its credentials as a partner of choice for government defence vessel programs and a world leader in patrol boat design, build and sustainment.
“The on-time and on-budget delivery of all eight Cape Class Patrol Boats is a credit to our highly skilled team at the Henderson shipyard, which has achieved valuable production efficiencies as the program progressed; clearly demonstrating the benefits of continuous shipbuilding and reinforcing Austal’s capability to successfully design, build and sustain multiple naval and border protection vessel programs.”
“Austal has delivered one Cape Class Patrol vessel approximately every 10 weeks over 2014-2015; which has significantly increased Australian Border Force’s capability to reliably deliver on the Border Protection obligations it undertakes for the Commonwealth of Australia, ” Mr Bellamy said.
“Our national sustainment team, services and facilities continues to grow in line with the Cape Class Patrol Boats coming into service; ensuring the operational availability of the Australian Border Force fleet around the country.”
As the sole provider of the Commonwealth’s border patrol capability for the past 17 years and as a successful exporter, Austal has now delivered a total of 72 patrol boats. The company has recently submitted a tender for the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Program, comprising 21 vessels for delivery to Pacific Island nations from 2017.

Next Generation Jammer prototype powers through critical test


McKinney TX September 1, 2015 - In collaboration with the U.S. Navy, Raytheon Company recently completed Effective Isotropic Radiated Power (EIRP) testing for its Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) array prototypes at the Benefield Anechoic Facility at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
"Raytheon and the Navy developed a realistic testing program designed to ensure that the NGJ electronic warfare system meets its 2021 initial operating capability commitment," said Travis Slocumb, vice president of Electronic Warfare Systems at Raytheon's Space and Airborne Systems business. "Completion of EIRP testing, while an early milestone, confirms our progress to date and that the program is successfully executing to both schedule and plan."
The prototype testing, conducted over a six week period, indicated that the NGJ will fulfill the U.S. Navy's stringent requirements for EIRP, a prime indicator of the system's range and capacity for reaching and affecting multiple targets simultaneously.
The NGJ is built on a combination of high-powered, agile, beam-jamming techniques and cutting-edge solid-state electronics to achieve two goals: meet the U.S. Navy's electronic warfare mission requirements and provide a cost-effective open systems architecture for future upgrades. It is scheduled to replace legacy ALQ-99 tactical jamming pods, delivering new capabilities for the Navy's EA-18G Growler.

President Obama Announces New Investments to Enhance Safety and Security in the Changing Arctic

USS Northwind
Washington September 1, 2015 - Climate change is reshaping the Arctic in profound ways. The global Arctic has warmed approximately twice as fast as the rest of the world, resulting in significant impacts on land and sea. Among the most noticeable changes is the retreat of Arctic sea ice, which has experienced significant, sustained declines in both extent and thickness in recent decades. This past February, the Arctic sea-ice maximum reached an all-time record low: about 1.1 million square kilometers – an area more than twice the size of California – below average.  As sea-ice cover diminishes because of climate change, marine traffic is expected to increase in the Arctic, including traffic from fishing and mineral exploration to cargo shipping and tourism.
The Arctic Ocean can be volatile and unpredictable, presenting challenges to safe operations. Arctic ecosystems are among the most pristine and understudied in the world, meaning increased commercial activity comes with significant risks to the environment. Consistent with the priorities laid out in the 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region, today in Seward, Alaska, President Obama will announce new steps to accelerate the acquisition of additional icebreakers to ensure the United States can operate year-round in the Arctic Ocean. In addition, the Obama Administration will announce efforts to enhance scientific observations of the Arctic to increase our understanding of this vital region.
Accelerating the acquisition of new Coast Guard icebreakers. After World War II, the United States Coast Guard had seven icebreakers in its fleet – four under the U.S. Navy and three under the U.S. Coast Guard. Today, the United States technically has three icebreakers in its fleet – all under the command of the U.S. Coast Guard.  However, when age and reliability are taken into account, the fleet is down to the equivalent of two fully functional icebreakers and only one heavy-duty icebreaker. Russia, on the other hand, has forty icebreakers and another eleven planned or under construction.
The growth of human activity in the Arctic region will require highly engaged stewardship to maintain the open seas necessary for global commerce and scientific research, allow for search and rescue activities, and provide for regional peace and stability. Accordingly, meeting these challenges requires the United States to develop and maintain capacity for year-round access to greater expanses within polar regions.
That is why the Administration will propose to accelerate acquisition of a replacement heavy icebreaker to 2020 from 2022, begin planning for construction of additional icebreakers, and call on Congress to work with the Administration to provide sufficient resources to fund these critical investments. These heavy icebreakers will ensure that the United States can meet our national interests, protect and manage our natural resources, and strengthen our international, state, local, and tribal relationships.
Enabling safe marine operations and transportation in the Arctic.  Climate change is readily apparent in the Arctic, especially with the rapid loss of Arctic ice.  One consequence of the warming Arctic is the opening of Arctic Ocean transportation and the dramatic increase expected in oceangoing sea traffic.  Even today, cruise ships are venturing farther north, with routine Arctic marine transit anticipated by approximately 2020.  In response, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) will take action to promote safe marine operations and transportation in the Arctic through mapping and charting efforts in the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas, regions with newly open waters for which existing maps and charts are nonexistent or outdated. This will include a joint NOAA/USCG survey of a transit route through the Aleutians and Bering Strait, as well as a joint effort among NOAA, USGS, and the State of Alaska to use satellite data for shoreline and near-shoreline coastal mapping, critical to observing climate change in action.
Additionally, north of Dutch Harbor, located on the Aleutian Chain, there are no deep-water harbors in the U.S. Arctic capable of providing shelter to vessels operating in, or transiting through, the U.S. Arctic region. In February 2015, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began a process to evaluate the feasibility of deepening and extend Nome’s harbor capabilities. Such a project could potentially enhance the region’s ability to shelter ships from the Arctic weather and serve as a safe standby location for vessels involved in operations farther north.
Ensuring continued subsistence fishing, healthy ecosystems and safety is critical to these efforts. To that end, the Administration, with DOI in the lead, will continue to consult with Alaska Native communities with respect to shipping issues and climate-induced impacts.
In the near future, NOAA will modernize and install additional instrumentation on the Arctic coast to monitor the effects of climate change and enable safe marine operations and transportation—including a permanent National Water Level Observing Network station to monitor sea-level rise, and up to six temporary water-level stations—and in 2015, NOAA will announce the availability of a new operational Arctic sea-ice thickness satellite product.
Launching a demonstration project for Arctic marine-biodiversity observing. This year, the Arctic Marine Biodiversity Network (AMBON) will launch the first of three sampling cruises (with others to launch in 2016 and 2017) as part of a five-year demonstration project. These cruises will gather a broad range of Arctic marine-biodiversity data, including bird and mammal observations, water-column analysis (temperature, salinity, chlorophyll-a extraction, nutrients, etc.), and information on microbes and small eukaryotic plankton, zooplankton, sediment cores, and fishes.
Hosting an international workshop on community-based ecological monitoring. Communities in the Arctic and other Northern regions depend on healthy and productive ecosystems for food and cultural value. Community-based observing has emerged as an important tool in expanding understanding of topics such as human and ecological health, food systems, and weather and climate at local and regional scales, and for providing a mechanism for the Federal Government to partner with non-Federal entities to understand each other’s perspectives and information needs. Federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), NOAA, DOI, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), have all supported community-based observing projects over the past decade. Building on this work, the U.S. Government will work with the Arctic Council’s working groups and other international entities to support a session on community-based observing at the upcoming Arctic Observing Summit to be held in Fairbanks, AK in March 2016. The session will explore best practices for developing and sustaining community-based observing, and how community-based observing projects can foster youth engagement and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, technology development and adoption, and appropriate handling of culturally sensitive data.
Celebrating the National Parks centennial. In conjunction with his visit to Kenai Fjords National Park, President Obama is announcing the transmittal of draft legislation to Congress that would help the National Park Service prepare for its upcoming 100th anniversary by revitalizing national parks, upgrading park facilities, and connecting a new generation to the great outdoors.
As the National Park Service (NPS) approaches its centennial anniversary in 2016, the Administration is working to ensure that our national parks, facilities, and educational programs are of the highest quality.  We are also working to ensure that our parks and historic sites fully represent our nation’s ethnically and culturally diverse communities, and that all Americans, regardless of their background or where they live, are able to access and enjoy these remarkable places.  If enacted, the “National Park Service Centennial Act” would support these goals and establish, clarify, or expand a number of key authorities to enable NPS to better serve the American people.  The Act will also promote volunteerism and help connect the next generation to the outdoors.

Statement by U.S. Coast Guard Commandant, Adm. Paul Zukunft on Proposed Acceleration for Acquisition of U.S. Coast Guard Icebreakers


Washington September 2, 2015 - “The President's announcement demonstrates that the United States is an Arctic nation and affirms the Coast Guard’s role in providing assured access to the Polar Regions. We look forward to working with the Administration, Congress and the many other Arctic stakeholders to ensure these platforms meet our national security objectives well into the 21st century.”
The Coast Guard has been the sole operator and custodian of the nation’s polar icebreaking capability since 1965, providing assured access in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions. National Arctic Region policy emphasizes the importance of the Arctic and the broad interests our nation has in the region and our icebreakers are a key component of our strategy there. The Coast Guard utilizes U.S. Coast Guard Cutters Healy and Polar Star to meet present day icebreaking needs in the Arctic and Antarctic.
The missions of U.S. polar icebreakers are to conduct and support scientific research in the Arctic and Antarctic; defend U.S. sovereignty in the Arctic by helping to maintain a U.S. presence in U.S. territorial waters in the region; defend other U.S. interests in polar regions, including economic interests in waters that are within the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) north of Alaska; monitor sea traffic in the Arctic, including ships bound for the United States; conduct other typical Coast Guard missions (such as search and rescue, law enforcement, and protection of marine resources) in Arctic waters, including U.S. territorial waters north of Alaska.

New Depths and New Colors

Since 1920 the RAN has been responsible for surveying and charting Australian waters, with the Australian Charting Area currently covering an area of approximately 1/8th of the Earth’s surface.

The Royal Australian Navy has some seriously high flying quiet achievers, especially the sailors and officers of the Laser Airborne Depth Sounder Flight, based out of Cairns.
The Flight is a key Royal Australian Navy asset that enables the Australian Hydrographic Service to produce highly accurate nautical charts for the safety of navigation and life at sea.
Currently under the command of Lieutenant Commander Susanna Hung, Navy personnel work in conjunction with civilian contractors to provide a specialised capability operated by only a few military organisations in the world.
The team is about to embark on an eight-week deployment to Norfolk Island to support improved charting of the remote maritime spot using the latest technology from the air.
Petty Officer Hydrographic Systems Manager Russ Hinze is the Flight Survey Coordinator on board.
"A lot of the team are excited about the upcoming deployment to Norfolk Island," he said.
"It is an area of such historical significance to the settlement of Australia and it will be interesting to compare the data we collect to that collected by Captain Cook in the late 1700s."
Since 1920, the Royal Australian Navy has been responsible for surveying and charting Australian waters, with the Australian Charting Area currently covering an area of approximately one-eighth of the Earth’s surface. This includes the waters surrounding Australia and its external territories, the Australian Antarctic Territory and Papua New Guinea. In conjunction with six hydrographic survey vessels, the Laser Airborne Depth Sounder Flight enables the Navy to meet its charting obligations.
Chief Petty Officer Hydrographic Systems Manager Michael Baker is one of the most experienced members of the crew and will also deploy to Norfolk.
"It will be interesting to compare the data with the HMAS Flinders' survey circa 1993 which I undertook as a Seaman Survey Recorder – that was the first time we utilised differential GPS (dGPS) for positioning," he said.
Capable of surveying up to 40 square nautical miles per day over a seven hour sortie, utilising a modified de Havilland Dash-8-200 aircraft fitted with state of the art sensors and a bathymetric laser, the crew typically fly 140 survey sorties each year.
A record 180 sorties were flown in the last financial year—the highest achieved in their history. This resulted in over 6000 nm2 surveyed—a remarkable feat of which everyone who has contributed is deservedly proud.
"180 sorties is an amazing achievement and I'm proud of the team," said Lieutenant Commander Hung.
"They have been tirelessly flying six days a week over the months April – June to make this milestone.
"The Flight has been the survey work horse over the last financial year," she said.
The completion of a new paint scheme for the Dash-8 aircraft will complement the deployment and recent milestone—the first complete re-paint since it replaced the F27 Fokker aircraft in 2009.
The Navy logo is now in a highly visible position on the tail of the aircraft, along with a number of other changes to the layout. Unexpected efficiencies gained following the repainting work package is the reduction in weight aircraft allowing for additional endurance and greater achievable transit airspeed.
Leading Seaman Hydrographic Survey Operator Brendan Palmer is looking forward to the change of scene.
"It’s great to be apart of a unit where so much can be achieved in just eight weeks - everyone is looking forward to surveying an area vastly different to the Great Barrier Reef," he said.
Deploying to Norfolk Island will improve nautical charting in the area for the safe navigation of coastal and commercial shipping. The Flight aims to achieve in just two months what would typically take a hydrographic survey vessel over a year to complete.
Although based in Cairns for the majority of the year, the entire unit is capable of deploying for up to nine weeks (a contractual limitation) to any location in the world.

Raytheon Expanding in Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs September 2, 2015 - Raytheon will speed up growth of its Colorado Springs presence after signing a $700 million multi-year indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to support operations at NORAD's Cheyenne Mountain Complex.
Under the NORAD Integrated Space Support Contract (NISSC), Raytheon will provide 24/7 support to warning and attack assessment systems for air, missile and space threats. The contract was initially awarded to Raytheon in April 2015; however, protest activity delayed its execution. The Government Accountability Office denied the most recent protest on August 25.
Raytheon has recently taken steps to ensure a successful transition of the contract, holding recruiting events in Colorado Springs and other locations and acquiring additional office space. The company plans to hire up to 700 employees in Colorado Springs by the end of 2016. Recruiting day events are planned for the coming weeks, and construction on new office space will be quickly completed.
"With the protest behind us, Raytheon can now focus even more on ensuring a seamless program transition and, in partnership with the Air Force, delivering innovative, efficient operations, maintenance and sustainment," said Todd Probert, vice president of mission support and modernization at Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services. "We are focused on expanding our support to the Air Force in Colorado Springs, investing in our employees and enhancing the local community."
Last month, Raytheon announced a partnership with the Colorado Springs-based Space Foundation. The multi-year commitment will focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs. Raytheon will bring its MathAlive! exhibit to the Space Foundation's Discovery Center in 2016.