Thursday, December 15, 2016

USS Arizona Survivor Gets First Live Look Inside Submerged Battleship in Nearly 75 Years Using Deep Trekker ROV

Deep Trekker

November 25, 2016 - Deep Trekker Inc. announced today that its portable remotely operating vehicle (ROV), the DTG2, could offer the first live view inside USS Arizona to one of the last remaining survivors from the ship. The Arizona was a U.S. battleship destroyed in the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Working in partnership with the National Parks Service (NPS) Submerged Resources Center, WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, Autodesk Inc. and E-trac Inc., Deep Trekker staff were on-site to support sonar surveying of the battleship using the larger Deep Trekker ROV, the DTX2. While onsite, the team was asked to perform the first live survey for Donald Stratton and his family who were in attendance. The viewing will be broadcast in the PBS documentary “Pearl Harbor – Into the Arizona,” airing Wednesday, November 23 and December 7.
Donald Stratton, 94, served four years in the United States Navy and was on board the USS Arizona December 7, 1941, the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Seventy-five years later, he returned to Pearl Harbor to witness the multi-faceted survey of the ship.
“Experiencing the ship with Mr. Stratton watching live was absolutely one of the most emotional and touching experiences of my life,” explained Sam Macdonald, President of Deep Trekker Inc., who was piloting the DTG2 ROV for Mr. Stratton and Brett Seymore, deputy chief of the NPS Submerged Resources Center who was providing directions and commentary for the survey. “It was not part of our original plan during our time in Pearl Harbor, and we were extremely honored to have been asked to take part.”
As a matter of dignity and respect to those for whom the USS Arizona is a final resting place, and the danger presented by the aging vessel to divers, NPS upholds a policy of no non-official diving and no human diver penetration into the battleship.
It was because of the portability plus ease of use and deployment that Deep Trekker DTG2 could assist in the project. Spherical, and about the size of a basketball, the underwater drone from could be deployed in just minutes, and maneuver through small and otherwise unreachable areas. The system has internal batteries, requiring no generators or additional equipment to operate the system, while still being robust enough to carry payloads of sediment and water sampling tools, and sonar systems.

“We learned a great deal about the needs of underwater archaeologists at Pearl Harbor and ways we can further push ROV technology to solve the many mysteries of maritime heritage shipwrecks overall,” says Sam. “Simplicity in deployment continues to be one of our cornerstones as we push to bring new technologies to the market that will open up new worlds of discovery in the oceans.”

Portsmouth will be ready to be the home of Britain’s new carriers

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon opens the new Ark Royal Building at HMNB Portsmouth in preparation for the arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth next Spring. © Crown Copyright

November 25, 2016 - A £120m investment will mean that Portsmouth Naval Base will be ready for Britain’s biggest ever warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon told personnel at the ship’s new home today.
The Defence Secretary was speaking during a tour of the new facilities being built to support the first of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers, which include power facilities, a reinforced jetty, and an area equivalent to over 200 football pitches dredged in the harbour so far.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:
Britain’s new aircraft carriers are the biggest and most powerful warships ever built for our Royal Navy.  The over £100 million being invested in Portsmouth Naval Base will ensure that it is a fitting and state-of-the-art home for our new warships from spring next year.
The Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales will lead our powerful and growing Royal Navy and reflect that, in a dangerous world, Britain is stepping up.
The Defence Secretary also opened Portsmouth’s brand new Ark Royal facility and met the personnel responsible for clearing historic ordnance uncovered by dredging work. The Ark Royal Facility will provide the ships company with top of the range facilities before they embark onto the ship for training and operations.
To prepare the harbour and dockyard infrastructure for the 65,000 tonne carriers, 276 metres of jetty have been reinforced with over 3,300 tonnes of new steel work. New navigation lights have been installed in the harbour and Solent, with huge new fenders and gangways delivered to accommodate the giant ships.
Commander of HMNB Portsmouth, Commodore Jeremy Rigby said:
With the opening of Ark Royal building today, we have reached another important milestone in the preparations to get Portsmouth Naval Base ready for HMS Queen Elizabeth. I was delighted to be able to show the Defence Secretary how the last pieces of the complex jigsaw of getting the Naval Base ready for the new era, are falling into place.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, the QEC First of Class, is now well into her commissioning phase. It is expected that she will leave Rosyth for Sea Trials in early 2017 and arrive at her new home in Portsmouth in late spring 2017. These infrastructure works form a major nautical-milestone on her journey to becoming an operational warship, ready for duty: a journey that will see her deploy in every ocean around the world over the next five decades.

Defence Minister Inducts Four Indigenous Naval Systems

November 18, 2016 - The Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar handed over four Naval Systems developed by DRDO to the Indian Navy at a special ceremony here today. The four indigenously developed naval systems viz. ABHAY, HUMSA UG, NACS and AIDSS which will boost underwater surveillance capability of the Indian Navy, were formally handed over to the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba by the Minister.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Parrikar complimented the DRDO and the Navy for their successful joint venture in developing several naval systems, which will provide a fillip to the quest for self-reliance in this critical area of technology. “I expect much more synergy between the Armed Forces and DRDO in the days to come”, he said. He expressed his appreciation to DRDO for its achievements in the last two years particularly in the induction of LCA Tejas, Varunastra Torpedo, Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launcher, Rustom – II UAV and several missile programs.
The Defence Minister said, “Skill development is one of the most important aspects of nation building because unless we have certified skilled manpower, projects like ‘Make in India’ would not succeed.” He expressed happiness that the Indian Navy has taken the lead by imparting training to a large contingent of retiring naval personnel and giving them certificates. He said that the only way to make the nation’s large pool of youth and manpower suitable for the emerging industry and business opportunities is by skilling them to take up specialized jobs.
Addressing the gathering, the Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy said skill initiative program is the brainchild of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. He said the credit of pulling along the skill ecosystem in the Indian Armed Forces should go to the Defence Minister. Shri Rudy said the Defence Minister is not only involved in the skilling process technically but also socially as he has created a new pathway about the program in the Armed Forces.
The four naval systems, ABHAY – Compact Hull Mounted SONAR for Shallow Water Crafts, HUMSA UG – Upgrade for the HUMSA SONAR System, NACS – Near-field Acoustic Characterization System, and AIDSS – Advanced Indigenous Distress SONAR System for submarines have been designed and developed by National Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL), a Kochi based laboratory of DRDO. ABHAY is an advanced Active-cum-Passive integrated SONAR system designed and developed for the smaller platforms such as shallow water crafts and coastal surveillance/patrol vessels. HUMSA-UG has been designed for upgrading the existing HUMSA SONAR system of the Indian Naval platforms. NACS determines the in-situ performance of the SONAR systems which are used to find the frequency-dependent 3-D transmission and reception characteristics of the SONAR. It is also used to measure the magnitude and phase characteristics of the SONAR transmission and reception electronics and the transducers. AIDSS, a distress SONAR is an Emergency Sound Signaling Device which is used to indicate that a submarine is in distress and enable quick rescue and salvage.

Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba and Secretary Department of Defence (R&D) & Chairman, DRDO Dr. S Christopher also addressed the function. Earlier, Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar and Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy jointly distributed Skill Certificates and Placement Letters to retiring Navy personnel. Amongst others, the function was attended by Scientific Advisor to RM Dr. G Satheesh Reddy, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Shri Rajesh Aggarwal and Director, NPOL Shri S Kedarnath Shenoy.

NATO navies start exercise in Aegean Sea


November 28, 2016 - NATO navies began a countermine-warfare exercise in the Aegean Sea on Monday (28 November 2016), aimed at testing combat readiness and strengthening ties between Allies and partners.
Corvettes, patrol boats, mine hunters, fighter aircraft, and unmanned underwater vehicles are taking part in the event which will run until 4 December 2016.  Dubbed “NUSRET” – after a famous Turkish mine layer – the annual exercise is organized by the Turkish navy. Participants will test finding and neutralizing mines, using divers, sonar as well as remotely operated vehicles. NATO has sent ships from Germany, Greece and Turkey to participate in the exercise. Other Allies are participating on a bilateral basis.
“NUSRET” follows exercise “MAVI BALINA” which ran from 22 – 28 November in the eastern Mediterranean and tested international navies’ anti-submarine warfare skills.
Bordering both Iraq and Syria, Turkey is the NATO Ally most exposed to the turmoil in the Middle East.  In response to security challenges in the region, NATO has boosted the defence of Turkey – including, since 2013, with air defence missile systems. In December 2015, NATO decided on a further package measures for Turkey – paving the way for more patrols by AWACS surveillance planes and increased naval presence in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“Turkey faces serious security challenges from many directions,” NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu said. “NATO’s participation in the NUSRET exercise demonstrates Allies’ strong commitment to Turkey’s security, and contributes to increased stability in the region.”

Nautilus Seeks Assurance on UK Staying in EU Counter Piracy Force Post BREXIT


November 22, 2016 - Nautilus has sought assurances from the UK government that the UK will remain in the European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) counter-piracy operation following an attack on a British-registered chemical tanker off Somalia in November.
The Union wrote to foreign secretary Boris Johnson to call for the UK to remain a part of the EUNAVOR’s operation as its commander, Major General Rob Magowan, warned of the need for continued vigilance at sea. The 51,747dwt CPO Korea was targeted by pirates in a high-speed skiff, some 330nm off the east coast of Somalia on 22 October — the first such incident in more than two years.
Major General Magowan commented: ‘This attack shows that pirates still have the intent to attack ships for ransom and cause misery to seafarers and their families. It is imperative that the international community remains vigilant. The EU Naval Force is working with counterpiracy partners to coordinate efforts to ensure pirates do not once again terrorize the waters off the Somali coast.’
Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson said the incident had not come as a surprise and showed the need for vigilance — despite a new report from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) showing piracy and armed attacks on merchant ships around the world had fallen to a 20-year low.
‘We have been very pleased to see the lack of pirate activity in the area — and feel that this is in no small part due to the success of EUNAVFOR’s Operation Atalanta. However, it has been very clear that there is no room for complacency, especially as the political situation ashore in Somalia can best be described as fragile,’ added Mr Dickinson.
In his letter to the foreign secretary, Mr Dickinson called for ‘assurances of the UK’s continued and tangible support for counterpiracy operations, off Somalia and in the other high-risk areas, such as the Gulf of Guinea’.
He told Mr Johnson: ‘I am sure you can understand our concern about the future commitment towards the protection of UK ships and UK seafarers in the light of the UK’s planned withdrawal from the European Union. A great deal of emphasis is being placed upon the UK’s future trading relationships and as 95% of our international trade is by sea, the security and safety of merchant ships and their crews is of paramount importance.’

The IMB report said the first nine months of 2016 witnessed a total of 141 incidents — down by 25% from the same time last year, and down 60% from the same period five years ago. However, the IMB also warned the industry against dropping security levels. It said kidnapping and hostage taking remains a major risk off the coasts of West Africa and SE Asia — pointing out that pirates armed with guns or knives took 110 seafarers hostage in the first nine months of 2016, and kidnapped 49 crew for ransom.

Sea strangulation a real risk warns Nautilus

November 28, 2016 - Britain is at risk of ‘sea strangulation’ because of the dramatic decline of its Merchant and Royal Navies, the maritime union Nautilus International has warned a Parliamentary watchdog.
In a letter to the chairman of the House of Commons defence committee, Dr Julian Lewis, the union says the UK is running grave strategic and economic risks by becoming increasingly dependent on foreign shipping.
Nautilus welcomed the defence committee’s new report, which warns that the Royal Naby has fallen to a historic low – with the fleet now below ‘the critical mass required for the many tasks which could confront it’.
General secretary Mark Dickinson told Dr Lewis that the report raises significant concerns. ‘Maritime security is of immense importance to an island nation that relies on shipping for 95% of its imports and exports,’ he pointed out.
‘Ministers have repeatedly stressed the importance of trade for our economic recovery, and for the post-Brexit relationships with other countries. It is, therefore, more important than ever that our sea lanes are open and secure.’
Mr Dickinson said he believed the defence committee’s report under-states the severity of the threat to the UK’s security as it does not cover the impact of cuts in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, which provides crucial back-up to the Royal Navy.
‘We continue to be concerned that the strategic implications of the decline of the Merchant Navy and the UK’s maritime skills base have been grossly neglected,’ he added. The scale of our dependence on foreign – often flag of convenience – shipping is dangerous, from both a strategic and an economic standpoint.’

Mr Dickinson said he hoped the committee would also examine the delays to the delivery of the RFA Tidespring, the first of the long-awaited new Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) vessels, and to examine the potential for other much-needed new RFA ships to be built in Britain.

Rockwell Collins awarded $27 million to activate U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon radio components depot capability

Rockwell Collins
November 18, 2016 - Rockwell Collins was awarded $27 million to activate a depot capability for the U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft HF-121C and miscellaneous radio components. Under contract through 2020, establishing this depot capability creates military jobs, reduces the repair pipeline and improves availability of aircraft.
“Establishing a depot capability allows our customers to service their own equipment and shorten turnaround time,” said Thierry Tosi, vice president and general manager, Service Solutions for Rockwell Collins. “In addition, the capability allows for enhanced mission readiness and support to the warfighter.”
Delivered in a three-phased approach, the P-8A Poseidon radio component depot capability initially began with an assessment to determine the necessary requirements. The partnership is currently in an activation stage, or the second phase, which involves the knowledge and tools transfer to support the radio components to U.S. Navy personnel. Phase three involves a sustainment plan and likely a public-private partnership.
The HF-121C airborne high frequency (HF) communication system is designed for HF applications requiring voice and data operations at 400W transmit power. The HF-121C and other radio components provide maximum performance to the P-8A Poseidon, allowing for fast and secure data transfer, making it a critical onboard capability.

Work will be performed at the Naval Air Station's Fleet Readiness Center Southwest in North Island, California.