Monday, June 27, 2016

16th Landing Ship Squadron, 6th Landing Ship Flotilla

Friday, June 24, 2016

Photos of the day: 16th Landing Ship Squadron, 6th Landing Ship Flotilla, South Sea Fleet in action.

On June 22nd, a task force from the 6th Landing Ship Flotilla conducted a "Blue vs Red" confrontation exercise.
The task force was greeted by "Aircraft, missiles, submarines" of the bad guy "red army" upon arrival of an
undisclosed area off South China Sea forcing it to launch the marine shore party under attack.
Here are their action photos.  Please note that "Good Guy's" air cover and other supporting elements were
removed from this PR set for OpSec reasons.  I personally don't see what is the big deal. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Russian Navy to Receive Advanced Torpedo Designated Futlyar

June 22, 2016 - The Russian Navy is expected to adopt for service the advanced Futlyar deep-water torpedo that is undergoing its official tests now, a source in defense industry has told TASS.
According to the source, the Futlyar is an upgraded variant of the Fizik homing torpedo that has entered service recently.
"The new variant of the torpedo is in the official trials at Lake Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan, which are due for completion later in the year. If the torpedo passes the tests, it will enter service and its full-scale production is to begin in 2017," the source said.
According to him, the sophisticated torpedo will be of heat-seeking design like the baseline model is, but it will retain the ability to be controlled from the submarine. "The Futlyar also will be given an improved homing system with an extended underwater target lock-on range. It will retain the baseline model’s range, speed and maximum launch depth - 50 km, over 50 knots and 400 m respectively," the source said.
He stressed that the Futlyar would equip the Project 955A Borei-A (NATO reporting name: Dolgoruky-class), Project 885 Yasen-class (Severodvinsk-class) and Project 885M Yasen-M in the first place. With the beginning of the Futlyar’s full-rate production, the production of the Fizik torpedo will be discontinued. The Futlyar has been developed by the St. Petersburg Research Institute of Marine Hardware and the Dagdizel plant will handle its production.
An official confirmation of the above information is unavailable to TASS at the moment.
In April last year, another source in defense industry told TASS about the service entry and launch of the production of the Fizik torpedo designed to replace the obsolescent USET-80 developed in the 1980s.  

Training Air Wing 5 Receives Final T-6B

US Navy

June 22, 2016 - An unprecedented three-plane formation of the Navy's first, Training Air Wing 5's final T-6B Texan II aircraft arrived to Naval Air Station Whiting Field June 21. The landing marked the command's full complement of primary, fixed-wing aircraft.
The 148th and final T-6B travelled from the Beechcraft factory in Wichita, Kansas and joined in formation with the first and centennial aircraft in Monroeville, Alabama -- with the final T-6B as lead aircraft. Over 100 instructors, students, and civilian contractors gathered at North Field to watch the historical formation. When the crowd heard the loud engine roar in the sky, they rushed outside the hangar to see the formation fly above the airfield, watching as they performed a fan break -- where the three planes simultaneously turned to enter the landing pattern.
The final T-6B was the first to land, followed by the centennial and then the first T-6B. The aircraft taxied in line from the runway toward the south side of the parking line, where two fire trucks were stationed for a ceremonial water arch to honor the aircraft. Everyone cheered as all three approached the hangar and the pilots stepped out of the planes.
Lt. Chris Hill, Training Squadron 2 instructor, and Lt. Cmdr. Nick Ahlen, fixed wing instructor, training unit operations officer, piloted the original T-6B with Lt. Chris Swigart, Training Air Wing (TRAWING) 5 fixed wing assistant operations officer, and Lt. Col. Jeff Hubley, TRAWING-5 operations officer in the centennial plane. Lt. Scott Urbashich, TRAWING-5 instructor of the year, and Capt. Mark Murray, commodore of TRAWING-5, brought home the command's last T-6B. The aircraft is the next-to-last T-6B for the Navy as Naval Air Station Corpus Christi will receive the final one later this month.
The pilots joined the spectators for the commemoration ceremony, where they celebrated the years of hard work from Beechcraft and TRAWING-5 to make it to this day. Murray awarded Urbashich with a certificate to honor the delivery of the final T-6B. Beechcraft Program Management Director Pam Nash presented a model of the T-6B, along with a framed T-6B photo autographed by the employees of Beechcraft to Murray.
"I am most honored to be here today to represent the men and women who built these planes for you," Nash said. "There was a lot of passion put into this program, and we're always focused on safety and quality."
Murray admired the dedication of the employees who crafted the T-6B, comparing it to the work put forth by TRAWING-5.
"I wish everyone here today could walk through their factory," Murray said. "It is about people -- their sweat and hard work. Seeing it will change the way you think when you strap into the aircraft. It is about people and passion, and that doesn't change. It is the same way at Training Air Wing 5."
TRAWING-5 received their first T-6B from Beechcraft August 25, 2009 to replace its aging T-34 Turbomentor fleet. The T-6B had twice the performance power compared to T-34 and came equipped with a digital (glass) cockpit display, heads-up display, and ejection seat.
The process of transitioning one squadron to the T-6B took 9-12 months, and Training Squadron 3 was the forefront of the switch with its first student flight in April 2010. TRAWING-5 officially phased out the T-34 in 2012.
"As of today, Training Air Wing 5 now has 148 Texan II's," Chief Staff Officer Cmdr. Patrick Beam said. "Each was $5.5 million, so that's almost a billion dollars on North Field's flight line."
Since its arrival, TRAWING-5 has flown over 310,000 hours in the T-6B. Combined with the 74,000 flight hours from Training Air Wing 4 in Corpus Christi, Texas, the T-6B has flown an overall total of 384,000 hours as of June 17.
It is the first aircraft student aviators in the maritime services fly and provides them with the basic foundations of aviation. By the time a student completes the 28-week program, they will have flown 43 flight events, 75 flight hours, and 36 simulator events. The program prepares students for the Navy's more advanced training platforms and their fleet aircraft in the future.

"In the foreseeable future, I can see the T-6B in use for another two or three decades," Murray said. "The T-6B cockpit and avionics suite is designed to better facilitate the transition to increasingly sophisticated follow-on training and fleet aircraft, as well as keep pace with emerging air traffic control regulations."

MQ-4C Triton UAS demonstrates new capabilities during flight test

The MQ-4C Triton prepares for a flight test in June 2016 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. During two recent tests, the unmanned air system completed its first heavy weight flight and demonstrated its ability to communicate with the P-8 aircraft while airborne. U.S. Navy photo.

June 22, 2016 – The Navy recently demonstrated two key capabilities for the Triton Unmanned Air System (UAS) program that will enhance future fleet operations.
During a flight test June 2, an MQ-4C Triton and P-8A Poseidon successfully exchanged full motion video for the first time inflight via a Common Data Link (CDL), marking another interoperability step for the program.
The test demonstrated Triton’s ability to track a target with its electro-optical/infrared camera to build situational awareness for a distant P-8 aircrew.
“In an operational environment, this would enable the P-8 aircrew to become familiar with a contact of interest and surrounding vessels well in advance of the aircraft’s arrival in station” said Cmdr. Daniel Papp, Triton integrated program team lead.
The MQ-4C Triton's ability to perform persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance within a range of 2,000 nautical miles will allow the P-8A aircraft to focus on their core missions.
Last week also marked the completion of Triton’s first heavy weight flight that will expand Triton’s estimated time on station significantly. Triton operated in the 20,000-foot altitude band in the heavy weight configuration for the first time and completed all test objectives. A second heavy weight flight on June 14 had Triton operating in the 30,000-foot altitude band.
“The heavy weight envelope expansion work will enable Triton to realize its long dwell capability and become the unblinking eye for the fleet,” Papp added.

Triton is designed to fly missions of up to 24 hours at altitudes over 10 miles high, allowing the system to monitor two million square miles of ocean and littoral areas at a time. Since its first flight in 2013, Triton has flown more than 455 flight hours. The Navy will continue testing Triton at Patuxent River to prepare for its first planned deployment in 2018.

The Jones Act and Homeland Security in the 21st Century

By Daniel Gouré PhD
Lexington Institute

Among the enumerated powers granted to Congress in Article One, Section Eight of the U.S. Constitution is to provide and maintain a Navy. Fulfilling this responsibility requires, inter alia,
that Congress ensure the health of the domestic shipbuilding and repair industrial base and existence of an American merchant marine.
Almost one hundred years ago, the Congress of the United States sought to enhance the nation’s ability to provide and maintain a Navy by passing the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also known as the Jones Act. At the time, the motivating concerns were economic security and maintaining a viable shipbuilding industry and merchant marine in support of a strong Navy. The Act places restrictions on what is called cabotage or the movement of goods between U.S. ports and on U.S. waterways, requiring that only U.S. built and flagged vessels conduct this trade and that at least 75 percent of the crews be U.S. citizens. In addition, the Act restricts the foreign steel content of repair work on U.S. flag vessels thereby restricting such activities to U.S. shipyards. Today, the Jones Act remains critical to the maintenance of a U.S. shipbuilding and repair industry and associated skilled workforce to support the Navy. It is vital also to the sustainment of our merchant marine.
Since 9/11, the Jones Act has taken on new significance for national security in a way that no one in 1920 could have imagined. It now plays an important role in securing the homeland from the threat of international terrorism.

Tugboat pushing a barge westward along the main stem of the Chicago River. Wikimedia photo ©2008 Jeremy Atherton.
The current debate of enhancing U.S. border security has focused almost exclusively on illegal movement of people and drugs into the southern United States from Mexico. Yet, the southern land border is actually the smallest at 1,989 miles. The U.S. border with Canada is almost three times longer at 5,525 miles.
But all this country’s land borders taken together are dwarfed by the 95,000 miles of national shoreline. This includes the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf coasts as well as the
Great Lakes separating the United States from Canada. Along this shoreline are many of America’s greatest cities: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Charleston, Savannah, Miami and Tampa. Virtually all of these are associated with ports through which annually pass millions of cargo containers and hundreds of thousands of passengers.
Moreover, the United States is a nation of rivers as well as the world’s preeminent maritime power. For example, a ship entering the homeland through a coastal port such as New Orleans will have access to the deep interior. The inland waterways of the United States encompass over 25,000 miles of navigable waters, including the Intracoastal Waterway, a 3,000-mile highway that traverses the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. This liquid highway touches most of America’s major Eastern and Gulf Coast cities including Washington DC, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, New Orleans and Mobile. Inland and intracoastal waterways directly serve 38 states from the nation’s heartland to the Atlantic seaboard, Gulf Coast and Pacific Northwest.
The U.S. marine transportation system encompasses all of these waterways, as well as the world’s largest exclusive economic zone. For regulatory, safety and security purposes, it includes 361 ports, over 3,000 facilities and more than 14,000 regulated domestic vessels. In totality, securing not simply America’s waters but all the relevant infrastructure poses a daunting challenge. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, “the vastness of this system and its widespread and diverse critical infrastructure leave the nation vulnerable to terrorist acts within our ports, waterways, and coastal zones, as well as exploitation of maritime commerce as a means of transporting terrorists and their weapons.”
The prospect of terrorists on the inland waterways system is a particularly daunting challenge to homeland security. Via the inland waterways, a terrorist could reach America’s heartland and many of
its largest and most important urban centers. These waterways are heavily traveled by both commercial and pleasure craft. They carry an enormous weight of the nation’s internal commerce. Critical land lines of communications and oil and gas pipelines traverse a number of these waterways. Guarding every potential target along the inland waterways against terrorist attack is an impossible task.

The Saint Lawrence Seaway is a system of locks, canals and channels in Canada and the United States that permit ocean-going vessels to travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, as far inland as the western end of Lake Superior. Wikipedia photo.

The protection of the nation’s maritime transportation system is governed largely by the 2002 Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) and the Security and Accountability for Every (SAFE) Port Act of 2006. The MTSA and SAFE Port acts address not only standards for the physical security of the nation’s ports and maritime facilities and the proper documentation of all vessels, cargoes and people arriving at a U.S. port, but also identity security for those who have access to maritime infrastructure or domestic vessels. SAFE Port instituted the Transportation Worker Identity Credential (TWIC) for the purpose of vetting maritime workers and replacing the hundreds of identity cards then in use with a single, recognizable and tamper-resistant credential.
The Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) along with domestic law enforcement agencies at both the state and federal levels are expending enormous amounts of manpower and resources to monitor and secure the nation’s ports and waterways. Within DHS, the responsibility for maritime security rests with the Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). There are programs to control foreign ships and scan international cargoes at ports of embarkation. Ships, cargoes and their crews are subject also to additional inspections and credential checks when they enter the United States. DHS also manages the TWIC program that issues special credentials to workers who require unescorted access to secure areas of ports, vessels, outer continental shelf facilities and to all credentialed merchant mariners. To be eligible for TWIC, one must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, naturalized citizen or a nonimmigrant alien, asylee, or refugee who is in lawful status.3 Since the inception of the TWIC program, TSA has provided the new credentials to some 2.9 million workers involved in some way with the marine transportation system.
The effort to prevent the entry of foreign terrorists, weapons or contraband into the U.S. homeland is a massive undertaking involving tens of thousands of government personnel to surveil and control the large number of foreign citizens, cargo containers and foreign-owned and crewed ships that enter the United States every year. Their movements and those of their crews are subject to a variety of controls and restrictions. Without valid passports and TWIC documentation, foreign sailors are restricted to their ships and the immediate port area.
The same is not the case for U.S. vessels and their crews engaged in the movement of goods or the provision of services solely within U.S. waters. While there are federal and state laws and regulations governing the operation of ships involved in cabotage, they are far less demanding than those in place to prevent threats or contraband from entering this country’s ports from overseas.
Unfortunately, due to unforeseen scheduling commitments, Brazil is unable to participate in RIMPAC '16. We value our partnership with the Brazilian Navy and look forward to them taking part in RIMPAC 2018.

Herbert P. Brake pushes a new barge east on the Erie Canal in Fairport, New York. Wikipedia photo.

It is particularly important that those vessels and crews which routinely travel between U.S. ports and especially the inland waterways through America’s heartland pose no threat to the homeland. One approach would be to apply the same security conditions for vessels and crews operating in U.S. waters as exist for foreign-owned and operated vessels coming from overseas. This would include advance notification of ship movements, inspections of cargoes, and the vetting of crews. This would be in addition to the regulations governing their operation under the MTSA and the SAFE Port Act.
In addition, the requirement to treat vessels conducting cabotage as if they were potential sources of threats to the homeland on the same order as foreign vessels entering U.S. ports would also necessitate much more extensive intelligence and surveillance on their activities. Extending the same data management and tracking requirements for foreign vessels and crews to those operating in U.S. waters would require an enormous investment of both resources and personnel by DHS components. Given the essentially flat budgets under which DHS has operated for the past several years, the necessary expenditures would only come at the expense of the effort to monitor foreign threats seeking to enter the country. It is for this reason that the higher standards with respect to ownership and manning requirements for Jones Act ships are so significant.

Mississippi Ships on the lower part of the Mississippi River. USDA photo.
The task of securing U.S. seaports and foreign cargoes is daunting by itself. It makes no sense to add to the burden facing domestic security agencies by allowing foreign-owned ships operated by foreign crews to move freely throughout America’s inland lakes, rivers and waterways. The requirement that all the officers and fully 75 percent of the crews of vessels engaged in cabotage be U.S. citizens goes a long way to reducing the risk that terrorists could get onboard or execute an attack on a U.S. target. In effect, there is a system of self-policing that reduces the requirement for law enforcement and homeland security organizations to expend time and effort to ensure that these vessels and crews are safe to traverse U.S. waters. Were the Jones Act not in existence, the Department of Homeland Security would be confronted by the difficult and costly requirement of monitoring, regulating and overseeing foreign controlled, foreign crewed vessels in coastal and internal U.S. waters.

A Message from the CEO of Transas, Frank Coles on the International Day of the Seafarer

As an ex-seafarer, I know of the often challenging circumstances that the seafarer faces in their daily working life. Conversely, I also know how rewarding a career at sea is and therefore, during Seafarer Awareness Week, I implore the younger generation to consider a career at sea when examining their future options.
Imagine that video game you are playing across the internet, challenging someone to a strategy game, communicating with several others in a world domination game.... If you can do this, if you like this, then you should be running a ship, or managing a ship from ashore, or directing ship traffic in today's modern connected world.
Seafarers truly are the beating heart of the shipping industry. On this International Day of the Seafarer, I would like to take the opportunity to applaud and give recognition to the great contribution of seafarers to the global economy and society.
The work that seafarers carry out shifts 90% of world goods around the globe day in-day out, year-upon-year. They keep the world in motion and are truly indispensable. However, it is a role that is often invisible or taken for granted. The important role that seafarers play in enabling the economy must be recognized. Seafarers are truly "At Sea for All".
In today's evolving industry the role of the seafarer must not be overlooked.  It is a fallacy to assume that the talk of autonomous ships will make seafarers a thing of the past. There will still be seafarers on-board.  People will continue to dedicate their life to a career at sea on-board the global shipping fleet.   Proponents of the unmanned ship speak of it for self-serving purposes and without real appreciation of the value of the seafarer on a long ocean voyage.
The modern navigator uses computer games to learn to navigate, to train and to take the world's largest ships into the busy ports and through the busy channels of the world's trade highways.  Technology is becoming the lifeblood of economical shipping and shipping needs modern seafarers to handle this technology.
Therefore, as industry leaders, we must continue to empower these seafarers. Digital innovation and technology should not be considered to be an additional burden. In fact, the advantages that can be reaped from technology and digital integration are innumerable.
The work that we (Transas) are doing will make an immense impact on the lives of seafarers. Lessening the administrative burden that currently sits on the shoulders of ship officers is one challenge that we are tackling, as is the promotion of shared responsibility between the crew and between the ship and shore. We are also working to change current attitudes. Criminalization must be moved from the captain or master; they have a crucial role but not the ultimate role – responsibility must be shared.
Give the seafarers the tools to do their job, give the seafarers the automation to take away the monotony and allow them to focus on the main task.  Improve efficiency by leveraging technology, and also giving empowered seafarers the ability to work with their colleagues ashore in a truly modern connected world.

On this day of recognition, I would like to thank seafarers for being at sea for all. 

NavyBooks Celebrates Launch with Charitable Pledge

June 23, 2016 - A specialist naval publisher and bookseller from Liskeard is celebrating the launch of its new website by putting charity at the heart of what it does.
The new-look, which hosts hundreds of naval titles and thousands of books, ranging from amateur-penned memoirs to established thought-leaders in naval history, warships and maritime warfare, is to donate 1% of all revenue to The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) as its 2016 Charity of the Year.
New NavyBooks owner and Managing Director, Ian Whitehouse, is a former submariner who served with the Second Submarine Squadron in Plymouth and now lives in North Cornwall.
He says that the RNRMC was an obvious candidate to support because of his personal links to the Royal Navy. NavyBooks’ main customers typically also have close links to, and support for, the Royal Navy.
Ian Whitehouse said: “With the launch of the new website, and understanding our customers’ passion for the subject, we thought it was a good time to partner with The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, especially considering their support for the veteran community.”

Steve Bush, NavyBooks editor, is also a Royal Navy veteran. A communications technician he joined the Royal Navy, at HMS Raleigh, Torpoint, in 1978. On leaving the Royal Navy in 2000 he joined Maritime Books, and edits the business’ flagship magazines, such as ‘Warship World’ and ‘Warship World Pictorial’, while also writing books and supporting the venture’s authors and contributors.