Monday, August 31, 2009

Hr. Ms. Evertsen refueled at sea in Saudi Navy

Hr. Ms. Evertsen refueled at sea in Saudi Navy
August 31, 2009, 11.44 hours (Google Translation)

Hr. Ms. Evertsen, flagship of the Dutch EU mission Atalanta, yesterday conducted a marine supply. This was first done with a supply ship from Saudi Arabia, the KSAS Yunbou.

The supply, needed for the longer the frigate afloat, took place in the part of the Gulf of Aden where the ships passing Evertsen protect against pirates. During refueling, this task through. Keep the maritime patrol aircraft in the eye and the helicopter is ready to continue with a report of a suspected piracy of ship immediately into action.

Intensive patrolling
Each day about 60 merchant ships crossing the sea that Hr. Ms. Ever Sten assigned. The Dutch Navy ship is, by itself and with the helicopter actively patrolling the area free of potential pirates.

The staff of the mission is on the frigate. From the ship sends the Dutch commander Peter Binds 10 other ships, 10 helicopters and 4 aircraft on patrol in the fight against piracy.

USS Wenonah Salvage

SAN FRANCISCO -- Coast Guardsmen from the National Strike Team pump water from the sunken tug, USS Wenonah, here, Friday, August 28, 2009. The Unified Command began the salvage process of the Wenonah today at 9:00 a.m. alongside Pier 1 on Treasure Island. The tug sank last week releasing an oil sheen in the Bay. 090828-G-8068R-002 U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Levi Read)

Predator C would operate from carriers

By Andrew Tilghman - Staff writer Air Force Times
Posted : Saturday Aug 29, 2009 15:51:14 EDT

An aircraft carrier version of the Air Force’s Predator? It’s not so far-fetched.

The maker of the medium-range unmanned aerial vehicle wants to make a version, the Predator C, that launches from and lands on a ship. General Atomics and the Navy have discussed the proposal, said Tom Cassidy, president of the company’s aircraft systems group.

To modify the Predator for carrier operations, Cassidy said, engineers would have to reinforce the frame to handle the stress of carrier launches and landings, as well as add folding wings, a tailhook and a towing mechanism on the nose.

The Predator C, or the Avenger, would join the Predator and the armed Predator B, or the Reaper.

Cassidy said the company is hoping to sell the Predator to the Navy to supplement two programs.

A carrier-based predator equipped with advanced sensors could be an alternative to the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance aircraft, the large unmanned patrol aircraft slated to join the fleet in 2015, Cassidy said.

An armed Avenger could provide capabilities similar to a strike fighter or the Navy’s Unmanned Combat Air System, known as the UCAS, the stealthy fighter jet in the early phases of development, Cassidy said.

“A high-end, low-end mix,” Cassidy said. “You don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

The Predators are significantly lighter and less costly than BAMS or UCAS.

A Navy spokeswoman acknowledged the search for an additional UAV but declined to discuss specific options under consideration.

General Atomics says the Predator C drone could complement Navy missions on several fronts, including:

* Strike fighters

* Maritime patrol

* Electronic attack

* Intelligence gathering

Rusty submarine remains on the seabed Photo: Bellona

The wreck of the Russian nuclear powered submarine K-159 is still corroding on the bottom of the Barents Sea. Today, it is six years since the submarine sank near the Kildin Island north of Murmansk, an area important for both Russian and Norwegian fisheries.
K-159, a November-class submarine taken out of operation from the Soviet Northern fleet in the late 80-ties, sunk in bad weather while being towed. Nine sailors died when the sub went down, just before the inlet to the Kola Bay in the early morning of August 30, 2003. The submarine was on its way from the Gremikha naval base to the naval yard in Polyarny where it was supposed to be decommissioned.

The two nuclear reactors onboard still contain the highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel rods. Due to the lethal inventory of the reactors, and the on-going corroding process on the already rusty hull, the submarine is considered to be one of the most dangerous objects in the Arctic Oceans.

After K-159 sunk in 2003, the Russian naval command promised to retrieve the submarine sometime in 2004. But 2004 past without lifting the sub, and since then new lifting plans have been postponed, and again postponed.

In 2007, wrote that the St. Petersburg based design and engineering company Malakhit got the order to prepare the lifting plan. Bellona's website wrote last year that in December 2007, the chief of environmental safety for the Russian military, Alevtin Yunak, promised at a meeting between the government and the Military Industrial Commission that the decision would be made by the beginning of 2008.

Also in 2007, a British Ministry of Defense salvage team said they would examine the submarine's two reactors before deciding whether it could be raised from the depth of 238 meters.

Interviewed by The Sunday Times, project leader for salvage and marine at the British Defense Logistics Organization, Morgyn Davis, said there's an element of fear of the unknown here. Davis' team is consulting the Russian authorities regarding K-159. The first thing to do is to get down to the wreck in remote-control submersibles, cut the pontoon wires around the submarine and put sensors on to check for radiation. We think it is flooded with water, so raising it like that, from that depth, would be very difficult, Davis said to The Sunday Times.

As reported by in 2007, radiation monitoring of the sunken submarine started within the framework of the Arctic Military Environmental Cooperation (AMEC). So far, no radiation leakages are reported from K-159.

K-159 is not the only nuclear powered submarine on the seabed in the Arctic Oceans. On April 7, 1989, the prototype submarine Komsomolets sunk south of the Bear Island in the Norwegian Sea. Laying at more than 1600 metres depth, is is slowly corroding with its single nuclear reactor and two nuclear warheads. Also in the Kara Sea, east of Novaya Zemlya, old submarines and reactor compartments have been dumped in the sea on purpose. Six reactors with spent nuclear fuel and 10 reactors where the fuel were removed before the dumping are located at different locations along the eastern coast of Novaya Zemlya. All the reactors were dumped because they have been involved in accidents and posed a radiation risk if stored at any of the Northern fleets naval bases at the Kola Peninsula or decomissioned at any of the navbases on Kola or in Severodvinsk in the White Sea.

There are currently no plans to lift the dumped Kara Sea reactor compartments. Several studies have concluded that trying to lift the Komsomolets submarine pose a bigger risk than just leaving it at the seabed. The reactor and two plutonium warheads onboard Komsomolets are partly sealed off to avoid radiation from leak out of the sunken submarine.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Brazil's first nuclear submarine to be launched in 2021

Brasilia August 27, 2009 (Xinhua) - Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim confirmed Thursday that the country's first nuclear submarine jointly built by Brazil and France would be sent to water in 2021.
Jobim told the parliament that though the Brazilian nuclear-driven submarine would be equipped with conventional weapons, it would considerably enhance the deterrent force of the Brazilian navy.
Under the agreement signed by the two countries, France was to provide the core nuclear technologies about naval vessels to Brazil, which would help Brazil improve its R&D and production capabilities, Jobim added.

USS Farragut fires Tomahawk missile near Cape Canaveral

A live shooting helps these sailors put their training to use
By Timothy J. Gibbons Story updated at 8:21 AM on Thursday, Aug. 27

The USS Farragut, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, participated in a training mission off the Florida coast near Cape Canaveral that had the crew practicing boarding other ships and a live fire exercises, including the very rare firing of a Tomahawk missile.
Timothy GibbonsPhoto 2 of 2 TIMOTHY GIBBONS/The Times-Union
Crew members of the USS Farragut haul in a mooring line as the ship leaves Naval Station Mayport on Tuesday.Timothy GibbonsABOARD USS FARRAGUT - As launch time grew closer, the ship jockeyed for position.

Some 60 miles off Cape Canaveral, the sailors on the USS Farragut fought the current that threatened to pull them off course while trying to pick a speed that would get them in place at just the right moment to fire a Tomahawk cruise missile.

That task was made a bit harder by uncertainty throughout the morning as to exactly when that moment would be.

That uncertainty cleared at 10 a.m. when the call went out: T minus 30 minutes.

The crew was half an hour away from launching a 20-foot long weapon at a target 825 miles away.

"This is why folks join," Cmdr. Philip Sobeck, commanding officer of the Mayport-based guided missile destroyer, said about the impending launch. "They want to see their training put to use."

This was as close as many sailors would get to firing the sort of missiles that pounded Iraq in both wars.

"We do a lot of rehearsals," said chief engineer Lt. Nathan Rowan. "To be able to do a live shoot is exciting."

It was unclear Wednesday morning, though, if the launch would go off at all.

The main reason for the shoot was to test software modifications made to the missiles. On such tests, the weapons are followed by jets who can take care of anything that goes wrong, but bad weather lingering in the area could make that job impossible.

Around 9:45, though, good news: The lead pilot said the storm clouds might have broken enough to proceed.

The crew would know soon.

"We're going to be launching on short notice," said the captain, down in Combat Control.

It would be the second such firing in two days: Monday, the ship hosted the 2nd Fleet admiral and a group of executives who advise government agencies on national security issues.

On the way out for that shoot, the crew also demonstrated how they'd deal with small attacking ships and suspected smugglers.

In the past, Sobeck said, destroyer crew training would focus on the role they play when they serve as part of a carrier strike group, protecting the big flattop from attack.

Such ships are now working on their own more, with missions ranging from fighting piracy to intercepting drug runners, expanding what needs to be practiced.

"All that sort of stuff is now in my perspective," he said. "This is where we're working."

Bigger picture issues aside, Wednesday's shoot was simply exciting, particularly for a crew that had mostly never experienced one before this week and - at $1.5 million a shot - were unlikely to see such exercises again.

"This is about as good as it gets," said Ensign Dustin Crawford, the officer in charge of the group firing the missile - a group all new to the experience. "There's very few times you get to actually launch one off."

Shortly before 10 a.m., the call went out. The clouds had broken. The shoot could go on.

At 10:10, the count dropped: T minus 10 minutes

Outside, Petty Officer 2nd Class Zo Newsom paced with anticipation, ready to relive what he has seen the day before. "All the hairs on the back of my neck stood up," he said about the earlier launch. "It was intense."

The sailor, one of the dozens milling around the flight deck waiting, looked up as two F-16s raced by overhead, preparing to chase the missile.

At 10:19, a siren sounded. T minus two minutes.

Held breaths, a countdown from 10. Then, toward the rear of the ship, a hatch popped open. Silence, then a wall of flame erupted. A dark streak flashed through a billowing cloud and the missile burst into view, ready to head across the state to a firing range near Eglin Air Force Base.

Down in combat control, the strike team was jubilant.

"I have the coolest job in the world," Crawford said, shortly after watching the launch on a video screen at the control center in the bowels of the ship. "I never get to see anything, but I wouldn't trade it for anything."

The shoot wasn't an unalloyed success: During a "health check" - in which the missile circled for several minutes before being allowed over land - the technicians were unsatisfied with some of the data they received. Opting for caution, they dumped the missile, which didn't have a warhead, in the waters near St. Augustine.

Disappointing for the testers - but for the crew, just a chance to again hone their skills as they head out for another test.

"We now know this ship is ready for battle," Sobeck told his crew, alluding to its scheduled deployment next year. "There's no doubt we're going to take this ship in harm's way and make a difference."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Samuel G. Fuqua

090825-N-3666S-080 PEARL HARBOR (Aug. 25, 2009) USS Arizona Memorial Ferry Boat #39-2 "Samuel G. Fuqua" carries visitors from the Arizona Memorial. The boat is named after Medal of Honor recipient Samuel G. Fuqua and is the second of five bio-diesel fueled boats that shuttles visitors to and from the Arizona Memorial. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Robert Stirrup/Released)

090826-N-0000F-003 U.S. 5th FLEET AOR (Aug. 26, 2009) Somali pirates aboard Motor Vessel (M/V) Win Far fire upon a U.S. Navy SH-60B Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the Scorpions of Light Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HSL) 49. The Helicopter, embarked aboard the cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), was conducting a surveillance mission near the anchored M/V Win Far south of Garacad, Somalia. The video, from Forward Looking Infrared Radar (FLIR), shows the pirates firing a large caliber weapon at the helicopter. No rounds struck the Sea Hawk and no one was injured. (U.S. Navy Photo from Video/Released)

New nuclear submarine to be named after Saint Nicholas

2009-08-26 Barents Observer

The fourth of the new Russian Borey-class strategic nuclear submarine submarines will be named after Saint Nicholas and called “Syvatitel Nikolay”.
It was during a conversation with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, who visited Arkhangelsk last week, that General Director at Sevmash shipyard Nikolay Kalistratov revealed the name of the submarine, reports.
Construction of “Syvatitel Nikolay” is planned to start up in connection with the shipyard’s 70 year anniversary on December 22.
The first nuclear submarine of the Borey-class, the “Yury Dolgoruky”, is currently undergoing testing in Arctic waters. Two other submarines, the "Alexander Nevsky" and the "Vladimir Monomakh", are currently under construction at the Sevmash plant.
Saint Nicholas (270 - 6 December 346) is according to Wikipedia the patron saint of sailors. He is often portrayed on Eastern Orthodox icons shown standing in a boat or rescuing a drowning sailor. Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nicholas the Wonderworker. He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for Santa Claus.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thailand to build offshore patrol vessels

Tuesday, 25 August 2009 01:33 Baird Online

Thailand has an 1,800 nautical mile coastline to protect, with responsibility resting mainly with the Royal Thai Navy (RTN).
With a fleet of over 130 mainly modern vessels, including a small aircraft carrier, 15 frigates and corvettes, and six missile-armed fast attack craft, the RTN is one of Southeast Asia's larger, and better-equipped, maritime forces.
The RTN's major warships are potent symbols of national sovereignty, and regularly provide a high-profile Thai presence in regional exercises with foreign navies.
Also, they sometimes venture further afield on defence diplomacy missions.
Regional concerns are mounting, though, over maritime territorial sovereignty, offshore resource protection, resurgent piracy, terrorism, search and rescue, and, in the wake of the 2004 tsunami, disaster relief.
In response, the RTN has switched its acquisition priorities from deep-sea warships with surface, underwater and air warfare capabilities, to offshore patrol vessels (OPV), suitable for cost-effective patrol, enforcement, response and surveillance duties.
Three locally-built Hua Hin-class OPVs entered service with the RTN in the early 2000s, while in 2005/2006 the RTN commissioned two 96-metre Pattani class OPVs, constructed by Hudong Shipyard, in Shanghai, China.

96-metre Pattani-class OPV
Now, British Shipbuilder BVT Surface Fleet has forged an alliance with Bangkok Dock, for the construction of an advanced OPV for the RTN. Bangkok Dock will build the ship at their dry dock facility in the Thai capital, to a design supplied by BVT.
The design of the helicopter-capable, 90-metre, OPV will be based on that of the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard's (TTCG) three new ships, which are at present in build in UK.
This new class is a development of the British Royal Navy's River class ships, as, incidentally, are the trio of new ships, also currently being built by BVT in Britain, for the Royal Navy of Oman.
The TTCG vessels, which are set for busy operational lives combating the international trade in illegal narcotics, will each be armed with one 30mm cannon, backed up by machine guns. They will be able to operate an Agusta Westland AW-139 medium helicopter from a 20-metre flight deck, and will carry a high-speed RIB for interception and boarding duties.
Long range offshore surveillance will be enabled by the Scanter 4100 radar system, and the advanced Ultra Osiris mission management system will be fitted.
The TTCG ships will be powered by twin MAN 16v 28133D diesels, producing 7.2MW, and linked to controllable pitch propellers to enable a top speed of about 25 knots. The specifications for the RTN ship are likely to be similar to those of the TTCG vessels.
The BVT-Bangkok Dock venture will involve the transfer to Bangkok Dock of BVT technology, design and construction skills, and may include some British-built modules.
Follow-on vessels of the same type may later be built by the Thai company.

This new OPV deal is in accord with BVT's strategy of establishing itself as a major player in Asian warship construction. The main aim is for the company to compete much more effectively, in the potentially highly lucrative regional naval market, by taking advantage of Asian business costs, which are far lower than those in Europe. Local construction will also strengthen BVT's hand in negotiations with prospective customers, which nowadays often include demands for both technology transfer, and offset contracts.
Incidentally, British-designed warships have been built in Thailand before. The three RTN anti-submarine corvettes of the Khamronsin-class, and the similar, but far less heavily armed, Royal Thai Police patrol ship ‘Srinakarin’ were all completed locally, in the 1990s, to a design by Vosper Thornycroft, a company which has since been acquired by BVT.
The Hua Hin-class OPVs were also built to a design based on that of the Khamronsin.
The BVT-Bangkok Dock contract underscores Thailand’s policy of acquiring warships from diverse sources. The RTN has, over the years, commissioned vessels designed and built in China, Europe and the USA, as well as indigenously-constructed craft.
This policy avoids the perils of over-reliance on a small number of suppliers, but can pose maintenance challenges.
BVT's Asian expansion ambitions are not just focused on Thailand, though, and there have been reports that the company is negotiating with both the Indian and Malaysian shipbuilding industries.
The Indians are reportedly particularly interested in importing BVT's expertise in modular shipbuilding techniques, to be used in the construction of a new class of advanced OPVs for the Indian Coast Guard.
Modular building, involving of more than one yard in the build of a ship, so as to take advantage of a geographical spread of skills, and costs, is now not uncommon, and is not confined to the construction of merchant vessels.
For instance, the building of the Royal Australian Navy's new landing ships, and guided missile destroyers, is to be split between yards in Australia and Spain.
For some years, a project for the construction, by BVT, of two upgraded Lekiu guided missile frigates for the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) was in gestation. The plan was for construction of the warships to be shared between UK and Malaysian yards, using modular techniques. The enhanced Lekiu project though, seems recently to have been halted, probably for financial reasons. BVT is instead reportedly offering OPVs, to be built mainly in Malaysia, with British assistance.
Another possibility for BVT is the modification and sale to the RMN, of the three Seawolf missile-armed Bendahara Sakam-class corvettes, completed by BAE Systems for the Royal Brunei Navy in 2003-2004, which are currently languishing alongside in UK.
Following a complex contractual dispute, the Bruneians finally took ownership in 2007, but immediately put them up for sale.
These compact but heavily armed warships could represent an economical alternative to new-build vessels to satisfy the RMN's need for an expanded deep sea presence, but they are not ideally suited for sustained offshore patrol work, particularly as they do not have a helicopter capability. Furthermore, other countries, including Algeria and the UAE, are thought to be interested in acquiring them.
Trevor Hollingsbee

Russia eyes landmark purchase of French assault ship

ULAN BATOR, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Russia plans to buy an advanced warship from France this year, a top general said on Wednesday, in what would be the country's first major foreign military purchase and a blow to domestic arms producers.
Gen. Nikolai Makarov, the chief of Russia's general staff, said that before the end of the year the navy planned to agree the purchase of a 21,300 ton Mistral-class helicopter carrier.
The deal would be Russia's biggest one-off post-Soviet purchase of weapons abroad, representing a major departure for the Kremlin, which has traditionally been protective of domestic arms producers.
"I believe not a single country in the world is capable of producing everything at the highest technological level," Makarov told reporters during Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Mongolia..
Makarov declined to give the cost of the carrier, which is capable of carrying helicopters, armed vehicles and tanks for thousands of miles to launch amphibious assaults.
The Kremlin has made re-equipping the 1.1 million-strong armed forces a top priority after last year's war in Georgia revealed serious problems with hardware and electronic equipment.
The appearance of NATO warships in the Black Sea during the war also highlighted the problem of upgrading Moscow's Soviet-era navy.
But a series of accidents, including the sinking of the Nerpa submarine last year with the loss of 20 crew and five failed tests of the new Bulava intercontinental missile have exposed serious problems with Russian military technology.
Makarov said he hoped to follow up on the purchase of the helicopter carrier by organizing joint Russian-French production of similar ships.
"The talk at this stage is about one (ship), but we want to launch joint production to make at least a series of four or five of these ... We hope to agree on our contractual obligations by year-end."
Makarov also said is was "quite probable" that Russia would seek to buy a small number of French FELIN infantry combat suits, which combine weapons, communication and positioning devices.
In 2004, Paris-based Sagem Defense Systems won a contract to supply FELIN suits for the French army.
"In principle, it is in many respects better than our own (equipment)."
"Our producers do not understand what we want from them," he said. "On Sept. 2-4 we will conduct a conference of all brigade and army commanders. We will show to them modern war technology, what kind of hardware we need."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ukraine military hovercraft to equip Chinese navy

Yesterday, August 24, 2009, 12:46:18 AM (ASIAN DEFENCE)

China's navy is to purchase four Ukrainian military hovercraft in a 315-million-dollar deal potentially shifting the South China Sea naval balance, the Interfax news agency reported. A shipbuilding firm in Ukraine's Black Sea port Feodosia will construct two Zubr (translation - Bison) class craft, and a second pair of vessels will be built in China under the supervision of Ukrainian technicians.A Ukrainian government publication listing state contracts confirmed the order without giving its value. Officials at the Morye shipyard in Feodosia declined comment. The Zubr hovercraft is designed to carry three tanks, 10 armoured personnel carriers, or as many as 500 troops at speeds exceeding 63 knots. The vessel can due to its larger size operate in rougher seas than smaller hovercraft.The Russian, Ukrainian, and Greek navies currently operate the Zubr, with a total ten hovercraft produced since 1988. China's navy currently lacks heavy capacity hovercraft of the Zubr type. The most modern Chinese naval hovercraft in operation, the Jingsah II, has a maximum capacity of 70 troops.The Zubr hovercraft's capacity to deliver substantial combat forces by water at speeds doubling conventional landing ships would, once in Chinese inventory, complicate defence planning for South China Sea nations particularly Taiwan, according to the report.Feodosia's Morye shipyard as co-developer of the Zubr hovercraft with St. Peterburg's Almaz naval design bureau technically is banned from selling Zubr's military technologies to a third party, without Almaz management agreement. China in 2006 was in talks with Almaz on the purchase of six Zubr hovercraft without result. Management at Ukraine's Morye shipyard, actual production of site of all Zubr-class hovercraft, began talks with Chinese naval representatives in 2008, a naval source told Interfax.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Russian Border Guard Vessel Vorovskiy

PORT ANGELES, Wash.- The Russian Border Guard Vessel Vorovskiy makes its way here as part of Excercise Pacific Unity 2009 on August 23rd, 2009. Pacific Unity 2009 is a coordinated North Pacific Coast Guard Forum scenario that is focused on demonstrating the parter nation's ability to provide maritime assets during an excercise occuring in the Pacific Northwest. Japan, Russia, Canada and the united States are sending vessels to take part in the evolutions while two members of the Forum, China and South Korea will participating as observers. Specifically, the partner nations will be coordinating simulated search and rescue, aids to navigation, law enforcement and security operations during the three day event. In addition, there will be opportunities for the crews participating to join together in social and cultural events aimed at building camaraderie and team work. Official Coast Guard photo by PA2 Zac Crawford.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Swedish vessel runs aground in canal

Posted on: Saturday, 22 August 2009, 21:32 CDT
A Swedish navy boat made an unexpected landing Saturday when it ran up on shore during a festival in Soderkoping, a witness said.
A Combat Boat 90 was traveling at high speed and attempted to stop suddenly in front of the audience at Kanalfest along the Gota Canal. Instead of stopping, the vessel bounced over the banks of the canal and skidded until it stopped, The Local reported
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The boat began to wobble back and forth and the bow was very low in the water. Then the boat drove right up on land onto the canal bank, Fredrik Jonson, a photographer for Norrkopings Tidningar, said.
It stopped about 50 feet from the crowd.
The Navy said it was investigating the incident.
Source: United Press International

First look at new submarine USS Missouri

New submarine to be christened in December

Saturday, August 22, 2009 at 11:08 p.m.
JEFFERSON CITY -- A new high tech Navy submarine will bear the name of the state of Missouri.
There have been just four ships named in in honor of the Show-Me state. This new submarine, which is being built in Groton, Conn., will be the fifth.
The last ship named after Missouri is now a floating museum at Pearl Harbor. The USS Missouri World War II battleship was the site of the Japanese surrender in 1945.
For that reason, the new USS Missouri brings with it a sense of history.
"It's a great tradition, a great naming tradition," said Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Lexington), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. "A lot of people don't realize that here in Missouri, in the Midwest, we're still very, very Navy oriented. And I'm very proud of that."
For new crew members, manning the Missouri is responsibility, they say, they won't take lightly.
"It's deeply humbling," said Commanding Officer Tim Rexrode, who will head the USS Missouri. "And it's an honor to bear the name of the the great state of Missouri."
By all accounts, the slick looking, covert, black sub is impressive.
Weighing 7,800 tons and longer than a football field, it's the seventh ship of the new Virginia class nuclear attack submarines. It comes complete with state-of-the-art equipment, computers and weapons.
"It's capable of anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare," said Rexrode. "It's capable of mine warfare, cruise missile strike operations, special operation forces."
The USS Missouri will have 136 sailors on board. Among them will be FT2 Ryan Thruston, 26, a Jefferson City native who says he's excited to represent his home state.
"I'm really proud that I'm a native of Missouri, I grew up here in Jefferson City" said Thruston. "Being what they call a 'plank owner' - the initial crew - has been a great honor."
The wife of Defense Secretary Robert Gates is sponsoring the submarine and will christen it later this year.
The new USS Missouri will then carve its own place in history when it's commissioned next August.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Helicopter Flight Hr. Ms. Evertsen stop pirates

Google Translation
August 22, 2009, 17.42 The Lynx helicopter aboard the frigate HMS Evertsen this morning in the Gulf of Aden with warning shots to stop a suspicious boat forced. Soldiers from the Norwegian frigate Fridtjof Nansen searched then called skiff. On board were small caliber weapons, rocket launchers and ladders were found. The ship was spotted by a Japanese maritime patrol aircraft. This gave the reports to the nearby Norwegian sailing frigate. Evertsen escorted the ships at the time in the corridor about 50 miles away, but immediately sent the helicopter. The skiff tried to escape and accessed from the Lynx some warning shots were fired. Then kept quiet and were soldiers of the Fridjof Nansen boarding. Because the crew had tried to hijack an they were without the seized funds released. Evertsen is currently the flagship of the EU mission Atalanta, which focuses on combating piracy off the coast of Somalia. The Fridtjof Nansen is part of this operation.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Another Spru-can chops into Davy Jones’ AOR

The destroyer Arthur W. Radford, seen here underway in 2002, is to be sunk as an artificial reef off Delaware // Navy
Naval Sea Systems Command announced Thursday it’s transferring one of the fleet’s best-known Spruance-class destroyers to the state of Delaware so it can be turned into an artificial reef. It’s the beginning of the end for the destroyer Arthur W. Radford, also known as “The Finger.”
Although final details for the transfer still must be ironed out, the basics are in place: The Radford will be sunk in the Atlantic at a spot equidistant from Cape May, N.J.; Ocean City, Md.; and Indian River Inlet Del. The ship will rest on the bottom in about 120 feet of water, NavSea said, which will make it a relatively easy dive.
The Radford is one of the last Spruance-class destroyers, ships that were a mainstay in the surface fleet of the 1970s and 80s, before the arrival of the Aegis-equipped Arleigh Burke class. Almost all of them have been sunk as targets or otherwise disposed of. Radford’s career took it around the world for 26 years and included a series of adventures and misadventures detailed on its surprisingly comprehensive Wikipedia page.
The ship earned its nickname “The Finger” after it was outfitted in 1997 with an experimental composite mast, to test the technology later used in the enclosed masts of the Navy’s San Antonio-class gators. In the view of some observers, this made it seem as though the destroyer was flipping you the bird. It won’t take that feature to the bottom, though; the Radford’s composite mast was removed when the ship was mothballed, and other topside features also likely will be cut away before it goes to its final resting place.

Japan Launches Second 'Hyuga Class' Destroyer

YOKOHAMA, Japan, Aug 21 (Bernama) -- Japan's second "Hyuga Class" helicopter-carrying destroyer was launched Friday at IHI Marine United Inc's shipyard in Yokohama, China's Xinhua news agency reported.At a ceremony held at the shipyard, Parliamentary Secretary for Defense Nobuo Kishi, on behalf of Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada, gave the official name of "Ise" to the nation's largest destroyer.The 197-meter long, 13,950-ton Ise can carry up to 11 helicopters aboard by using the deck and the hanger deck beneath it.The vessel is scheduled to be commissioned into the Maritime Self-Defence Force (MSDF) in March 2011.On March 18, the MSDF commissioned its first "Hyuga Class" helicopter-carrying destroyer "Hyuga," which raised concerns in the region.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Yu Feng

In this photo released by the Coast Guard, the Yu Feng, a Taiwanese fishing vessel, is seen in the waters of Sierra Leone, August 17, 2009. The vessel was boarded by a team consisting of United States Coast Guardsmen from the Coast Guard Cutter Legare, homeported in Portsmouth, Va., and members of the Sierra Leone Maritime Wing and Fisheries Ministry after being spotted inside the exclusive economic zone of Sierra Leone. The crew was cited with numerous violations including failure to produce a license, no government observer aboard and employing no crew from Sierra Leone. Yu Feng was escorted to Freetown, Sierra Leone, by Legare where members of the Sierra Leone Maritime Wing embarked the vessel. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer Second Class Shawn Eggert)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


090817-N-0000X-001 HONOLULU (Aug. 17, 2009) The Office of Naval Research R/P FLIP (Floating Instrument Platform) takes part in the second Radiance in a Dynamic Ocean (RaDyO) program, an at-sea research experiment. Twenty-five researchers from the US, Canada, Poland and Australia participated in the RaDyO experiment. Results from this project are expected to enhance our knowledge of imaging through the air-sea interface and through-the-surface optical communications. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

NZ Navy releases sunken ferry pics

The New Zealand Navy has released graphic images of the sunken Tongan ferry Princess Ashika, taken by its submarine on Monday.
The pictures clearly show the vessel's name plate, scattered debris and tangles of cables on the ship's deck. The ship was intact and sitting upright, though one side is obstructed and the the submarine couldn't see the passenger deck.
The remotely-operated submarine was, however, able to take pictures inside the ship's cargo hold.
"The water clarity is reported to be very good and this has allowed the team to be able to conduct a good, thorough search of the sunken vessel," New Zealand Navy Lieutenant Commander Barbara Fleissner said.
The 36-year-old vessel sank around midnight on August 5, 86km northeast of the island's capital of Nuku'alofa.
Tongan police yesterday confirmed two dead, 73 unaccounted for and 54 survivors.
Of those unaccounted for, 67 were on the ferry when it sank, Tongan police commander Chris Kelley said.
The navy submarine had also photographed an upturned ambulance, believed to be that donated to the hospital on the outlying island of Hunga by a church from Bakersfield, California.
The vehicle was filled with medical supplies the congregation of the First United Methodist Church had been collecting for two years, news website reported.
Meanwhile, the board of the Shipping Corporation of Polynesia Ltd (SCP), the Tongan state-owned organisation operating the vessel, have made their first public statement since the sinking.
Addressing a press conference on Monday, SCP chairwoman 'Alisi Taumoepeau extended the company's condolences and sympathy to families of those killed in the sinking, Tongan news website reported.
However, she said the company could not comment on the vessel's seaworthiness or how the sinking happened until the Royal Commission of Inquiry had been completed.
Families of those killed in the sinking had been camping outside SCP's offices since August 5, and the company was providing food, grief counselling and daily updates to them, she said.
"We also have a church minister to talk and pray with families and I think that is the most we can do at this stage," she said.
"We have a very small nation of 100,000 people and about 100 people are lost at sea, which just about touches everybody in the country. And we are just taking it one day at a time and we ensure that our support is ongoing for as long it is needed and just walk with the people."

Karachi Port hosts an Australian warship

Earlier this week, the HMAS Toowoomba, an Australian warship, docked at Karachi Port as part of its six-month deployment in the Arabian Sea. The presence of the Royal Australian Navy along Pakistani shores marks a new defence relationship between the two countries. High-level, bilateral visits are ongoing as Pakistan and Australia work together on counter-terrorism initiatives. (Text: Huma Yusuf. Photography: Stephan Andrew/ White Star)
The HMAS Toowoomba is an ANZAC Class Frigates capable of air defence, surface and undersea warfare, surveillance and reconnaissance. The ship is equipped with anti-ship and anti-air missiles and ship-launched torpedoes. It is named after the town of Toowoomba in Queensland, Australia. On Tuesday, the Toowoomba set sail with a Pakistan navy ship to conduct joint exercises, including coordinating manoeuvres and flying and landing helicopters.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

FGS U-18 is seen entering the pressure testing dock facility at L├╝beck August 18th. Bundesmarine photo.

Arctic Sea Smuggling Missiles for Iran??

Google translation from Danish

Vladimir Pimonov - 12:21 - 18 August 2009 Russ behind the hijacking of ships A Finnish-owned fragskib owned a company run by a Russian - suspected cross missiles on board MOSCOW ( I secretly have the Russian military forces in cooperation with the FSB, formerly KGB, arrested eight persons who in late July kaprede a Finnish-owned cargo ship Arctic Sea in Swedish waters. Contrary to earlier reports on exotic pirates who was behind the hijacking, it is now revealed by the Kremlin that the Russians are among the perpetrators, which also include people from Estonia and Latvia. The Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdjikov has today reported to President Dmitry Medvedev, who personally directed the rescue operation from the Kremlin that all the suspects have been arrested udramatisk on board the missing ship. It was found 300 miles from the Cape Verde islands in the western Africa. Lie Stories Simultaneously, the Russian representative to NATO Dmitry Rogozin, the authorities have deliberately fed the world's press with lies about Arctic Sea with the aim not disclose the Russian military operation. According to the Russian Defense sktee hijack none using a fast dinghy. It sailed to the Arctic Sea 24 July kl. 23.00 in Swedish waters. Inflatables crew who spoke English gebroken, issued out to be intelligence officers who were looking for cocaine. The unknown perpetrators came on board the cargo ship and forced 15 Russian crew members to change course and turn off the radio and navigation equipment. The minister has refused to confirm or deny rumors that the crew of the Arctic Sea itself was involved in ship forsvindingsnummer. Suspected smuggle weapons The Russian press has been reportedly on the Arctic Sea was stopped because of suspected radioactive substances or drugs on board. The investigative journalist Julia Latynina told the radio station Echo of Moscow on Saturday that there might have been Russian smuggle weapons on board. Other sources claim that the Arctic Sea was en route to Algeria intersection with four missiles X 55, chartered in Kalinigrad that Russians will secretly supplying Iran. Despite the fact that the Russian crew are rescued, and they suspected Russian hijackers arrested, continuing mystery of Arctic Sea. The ship is owned by the Finnish company Solchart which is controlled by a Russian director Viktor Matveev.

Tugboat sinks off Treasure Island, spills oil

Tugboat sinks off Treasure Island, spills oil
John King
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
(08-17) 18:36 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- A decommissioned U.S. Navy tugboat sank off Treasure Island on Monday afternoon, spilling a sheen of oil onto San Francisco Bay.
At 11:49 a.m., the tug was reported low in the water near a pier on the southeast corner of the island. By afternoon it was submerged except for the tip of the mast.
A thin sheen of oil had reached as far as Berkeley Marina.
It's unlikely that more than 25 gallons of diesel fuel and 10 gallons of lube oil leaked from the tug, said Diane Shipway of Parker Diving Service, one of two firms brought in by the Coast Guard to assist in the cleanup. Nor are there reports of harm to wildlife, said Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Jeremy Pichette.
Originally the Wenonah, the tug was taken out of service in 1974. It is owned by the Historic Tugboat Education and Restoration Society.
- John King
This article appeared on page C - 2 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Monday, August 17, 2009

INS Viraat refit complete, gears up for golden jubilee

Calcutta News.Net Monday 17th August, 2009 (IANS)
It's an old warhorse, 50 years old to be exact. But after a life-extending refit, India's lone aircraft carrier INS Viraat is back to show it still has enough steam to give the jitters to the enemy.INS Viraat, meaning giant in Sanskrit and which has a crew of 1,500 personnel, has been docked at Cochin Shipyard Ltd for the past year for repair and maintenance. The refit will increase the aircraft carrier's sea life with the Indian Navy till 2015.'The refit of the aircraft carrier has been completed. Currently it is floating (in the docks),' a senior official at the shipyard told IANS requesting anonymity. 'By the beginning of next month, it is expected to go to its parent base at Mumbai in the Western Naval Command.'And it will be received with a great bang. A golden jubilee celebration for completing 50 years of service.The 28,000-tonne INS Viraat, the Centaur class aircraft carrier, was originally commissioned in the British Royal Navy as HMS Hermes Nov 18, 1959. The Indian Navy acquired the platform in 1987 after it had served the Royal Navy for nearly 28 years.An extensive refit - with brand new fire control equipment, navigation radars, improved nuclear, biological and chemical protection and deck landing aids - increased the life of the vessel into the next decade.In September 1993, the engine room of Viraat was flooded, temporarily putting the vessel out of service. By 1995, the vessel was back with a new search radar.Apart from some major and minor refits at different times, including one in 2006, INS Viraat underwent an extensive life-extension refit in 1999-2000, with new and upgraded propulsion, sensors, sonar, radars, weapons, communication and flood-control systems.A Royal Navy team will also attend the golden jubilee celebrations of Viraat.The aircraft carrier gives the Indian Navy an edge over the Chinese navy, which does not have one.The Indian Navy will get its second aircraft carrier - the Russian-built Admiral Gorshkov - which is expected to be inducted by 2012.INS Viraat is pivotal to the navy's aim to project its naval and air power beyond its borders. It provides operation ground for Sea Harrier combat jets. It can embark up to 18 combat aircraft and is suited for supporting amphibious operations and conducting anti-submarine warfare.Gorshkov, on the other hand, will operate 16 MiG-29 K fighter jets. The two aircraft carriers will increase the reach of the India's blue water navy.India earlier this year laid the keel for its indigenous 37,500-tonne aircraft carrier at the Cochin Shipyard. The carrier would be inducted by 2015.On July 26, India launched into the waters its first indigenous nuclear-powered attack submarine, built under the Advanced Technology Vessel project with Russian help. Once this vessel, INS Arihant, is commissioned around 2012, India will become only the sixth country after the US, Russia, China, France and Britain to possess a nuclear-powered submarine.(Ritu Sharma can be contacted at

For Sail? Belfast may lose First World War ship

By Linda Stewart Saturday, 15 August 2009

The last floating survivor of a pivotal First World War sea battle will probably be decommissioned by the end of the year, the Royal Navy has confirmed.
HMS Caroline, which has been moored in Belfast since 1924, needs around £3.5 million worth of refurbishment but the Royal Navy says it cannot foot the bill and the historic vessel is expected to change hands within months.
Heritage enthusiasts fear that while Belfast celebrates the Tall Ships and renovates SS Nomadic, the city could lose one of its finest historic ships once Caroline is decommissioned, as she could be moved to a maritime museum across the water.
The C-class light cruiser was launched and commissioned in 1914, making her the second-oldest ship in Royal Navy service after HMS Victory. She is the last remaining British World War I light cruiser in service and the only floating survivor to have fought at the Battle of Jutland, the only full-scale clash of battleships in that war.
Belfast councillor Lord Wallace Browne said Caroline is no longer suitable for the Royal Navy Reserves because of the amount of asbestos that would have to be removed at high cost.
And he said growing numbers of councillors and MLAs are concerned that, once decommissioned, HMS Caroline could be removed to a maritime museum in England.
“They feel it would be right to keep HMS Caroline in Belfast. There’s a danger she could be removed from Belfast to go back to Portsmouth - it’s all a matter of finance,” he said.
“We hope enough people would be interested to mount a campaign that HMS Caroline should stay. If the money was found to remove the asbestos and make her safe, I think she could form part of the Titanic Signature Project.”

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Turkish navy ship hits reef off Greek coast

ANKARA, Turkey -- A Turkish navy ship ran into a reef Friday (August 14h) in the Mediterranean Sea not far from Greece, according to local TV station ERT. The Bodrum corvette was returning from northern Cyprus. The incident damaged the keel of the vessel. Divers with the Greek marines recovered part of the equipment that had sheared off and returned it to the Turkish crew. Greece and Turkey are NATO allies despite their disputes about sovereignty and related rights in the area of the Aegean Sea and the Cypriot issue. (RIA Novosti, ERT - 14/08/09)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Chinese Missile Destroyer "Shenzhen" Pays a Goodwill Visit to India

The Chinese missile destroyer "Shenzhen" arrived at Kochi Port in India on August 8, 2009, starting the three-day goodwill visit on completion of the escort mission in the Gulf of Aden and the Somali waters.

During the visit, Chinese and Indian navies conducted a number of military exchanges. Rear Admiral Yao Zhilou, Vice Commander of South Sea Fleet met with Vice Admiral Sunil Krishnaji Damle, Indian Southern Naval Command. The Indian navy held a grand welcoming dinner for the Chinese navy. The visit will further enhance the mutual understanding and friendship between the navies of the two countries.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fifth Marines, debark Essex after exercise Talisman Saber 2009

090813-N-9950J-248 OKINAWA, Japan (Aug. 13, 2009) Marines of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit Battalion Landing Team, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, debark Essex after exercise Talisman Saber 2009. Essex is the lead ship of the only forward-deployed U.S. Amphibious Ready Group and serves as the flagship for Task Force 76. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Greg Johnson/Released)

Pirates' attack on Turkish ship foiled in Gulf of Aden

19:08, August 14, 2009

A German military helicopter helped the Turkish navy foil an attempt by pirates to hijack a Turkish cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden early Friday, local media the Hurriyet Daily News reported on its website. The German helicopter received an alert by the Turkish navy frigate TGC Gediz operating in the region and thwarted the attack on the Turkish-flagged "Elgiznur Cebi", which was en route to Saudi Arabia's Ad Damman Port from the Yuzhny Port in Ukraine, said the report, citing a statement by Turkey's Undersecretariat for Maritime Affairs. Nineteen crew members, all of them Turks, were safe and unhurt, said the report. Somali pirates seized a Turkish bulk carrier "Horizon-1" with 23 Turkish crew on board on July 8, negotiations for a ransom settlement are under way, added the report. Turkey currently has two frigates in the Gulf of Aden as part of international naval forces to fight pirates and Somali arms traffickers. Last year, three Turkish vessels were hijacked in the region with the last one being released in February. Piracy has become rampant off the coast of Africa, especially in the waters near Somalia, which has been without an effective government since 1991. Ransoms started out in tens of thousands of dollars and have since climbed into millions. An estimated total of 25,000 ships annually cruise the Gulf of Aden, off Somalia's northern coast. Source: Xinhua

Thursday, August 13, 2009

U.S. Assumes Command of Counter-piracy Task Force

By Lt Iain Jones RN

Special to American Forces Press Service

MANAMA, Bahrain, Aug. 13, 2009 – The combined task force of international navies that counter piracy off the coast of Somalia and throughout the Gulf of Aden was returned to U.S. command at a ceremony here today.

Rear Adm. Scott E. Sanders assumed command of Combined Task Force 151 in a ceremony aboard the coalition counter-piracy flagship USS Anzio while pier-side in Bahrain. Sanders became the first selective reserve admiral to command a combined task force at sea. Sanders relieved Turkish navy Rear Adm. Caner Bener and heralded the Turkish navy's first command of a combined task force as a success.

"Rear Admiral Bener and his staff of Turkish, U.S., Pakistani, Greek and UK sailors have made huge strides, not only in combating piracy, but also in fostering international coordination and the relationships that are crucial to the mission," Sanders said. "The capture of 17 armed and dangerous men and their mother ship, the first pirate mother ship ever captured, demonstrated the ability of CTF 151 to effectively execute counter-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia."

Sanders assumed command of a CTF 151 staff made up of coalition personnel, which "has demonstrated how a staff comprised of personnel from multiple nations can form a cohesive team to tackle piracy," he said.

The Turkish navy assumed command of CTF 151 in early May, relieving U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Michelle Howard and her staff following the successful rescue of Richard Phillips, captain of the U.S.-flagged merchant vessel Maersk Alabama, which had been seized by pirates off Somalia’s coast.

"As a result of cooperative counter-piracy operations, there has been a considerable decrease in piracy activities in the region," Bener said. "The most effective measures we've seen to defeat piracy are nonkinetic and defensive in nature."

CTF 151 was created in January to actively deter, disrupt and suppress piracy in order to protect global maritime security and secure freedom of navigation for the benefit of all nations. It operates in the Gulf of Aden and the east coast of Somalia, covering about 1.1 million square miles.

"While the ultimate solution to the problem of piracy is ashore in Somalia, the combined maritime force made the decision to focus coalition maritime efforts on security and stability at sea in order to create a lawful maritime order and deter acts of piracy on the high seas, while giving the international community time to address the long-term solution of piracy," said Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Combined Maritime Forces.

Russian Navy denies chasing lookalike of missing Arctic Sea ship

MOSCOW, August 13 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Navy dismissed on Thursday media reports that the Black Sea frigate Ladny had been pursuing a ship in the Atlantic that resembled the missing Arctic Sea cargo vessel.
The ship, which is operated by Solchart Arkhangelsk Ltd and has a 15-member Russian crew on board, was last sited off the coast of Portugal and is now feared to have been hijacked.
"The Navy press service stresses the fact that the only reliable source of information is the statements officially and regularly issued by the Russian Navy," a Navy statement said.
"Any other information is based on the personal conjecture of unofficial sources and is, therefore, false," is said.
The statement reiterated that Russian Navy ships continue to carry out the search for the Arctic Sea in the Atlantic, following set courses.
One of the most recent unconfirmed reports said a ship, bearing resemblance to the missing Arctic Sea vessel, has arrived in the Spanish port of San Sebastian.
However, the port authorities said on Thursday that neither Arctic Sea nor similar ships had visited San Sebastian.
"The Port Authority declares that the Arctic Sea vessel is not anchored in our port," a statement posted on the port's website said.
The statement added that the port in San Sebastian, also known as "Pasajes," is not capable of receiving ships as large as the 98-meter Arctic Sea and was built to accommodate only fishing boats and yachts.
The Maltese-flagged Arctic Sea set off from Finland on July 23 carrying a large load of timber, and was due to arrive at the Algerian port of Bejaia on August 4.
Some media reports said contact was lost with the ship on July 28, after masked men claiming to be police briefly seized the vessel in the Baltic Sea on July 24 tying the crew up and searching the vessel. A sailor was quoted by the media as saying the men left the ship after about 12 hours, and the Arctic Sea resumed its voyage.
However, suspicions are growing that the crew member could have been threatened and that the ship was in fact hijacked.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered on Wednesday measures to track, monitor and, if necessary, free the ship from the hijackers after Solchart requested state assistance in the search-and-rescue operation.
Russia's Defense Ministry later said that it had dispatched Black Sea Fleet vessels now on a mission in the Atlantic to hunt for the cargo ship, and all search-and-rescue means, including satellite reconnaissance, have been deployed.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Turkish frigate captures five pirates off Somalia: army


ANKARA — A Turkish frigate intercepted a skiff off Somalia and captured five pirates Tuesday on suspicion that they were preparing for attacks, the Turkish military said.
The Gaziantep, operating with NATO forces in the region, seized the skiff in the Gulf of Aden with the help of a helicopter and amphibian commandos, the statement said.
The operation was launched after intelligence that the boat was moving close to two ships, sailing under the British and Marshall Islands flags, within a "safe corridor" guarded by the multi-national naval force to ensure the safe passage of commercial vessels.
"A possible ship hijacking has been prevented," the statement said, adding that instruments used in piracy were found on the skiff.
The Turkish force captured 12 pirates in two similar operation last month.
The world's naval powers have deployed dozens of warships to the lawless waters off Somalia over the past year to curb attacks by pirates threatening one of the world's busiest maritime trade routes.
Pirates attacked more than 130 merchant ships last year, a rise of more than 200 percent over 2007, according to the International Maritime Bureau.
A Turkish bulk carrier with a 23-strong crew remains captive in the region since July 8.
Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chinese F-22P frigate to arrive on 19th

By Daily Mail Defence Correspondent

ISLAMABAD—The first F-22P Frigate constructed for Pakistan Navy at Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai China under Sino-Pak joint project will reach at Karachi port on 19th September. The F-22P Frigate was delivered to Pakistan Navy on 31st July 2009 at Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai, China in a ceremony in which Pakistan national flag was hoisted at ship with the band playing national anthem. Chinese Navy, Chinese Government Authorities and senior officers of Pakistan Navy including Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Noman Bashir attended the ceremony. Sources said that Pakistan and China had inked a project “Sino-Pak joint project” of US $ 750 million in 2005. According to the project China will provide four F-22P Frigates to Pakistan. The construction of F-22P Frigates weighing 25000 tons was started in 2005 while rest of the three Ships is being underway. The last vessel will be delivered to Pakistan by 2013. It is also said that the frigates are equipped with state-of-the-art weaponry and sensors and would also deploy the Z9EC helicopter as an integral part of the platform. F-22P Frigates will arrive at Karachi Port (Kemari) on 19th September 2009 after travel of 51 days.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Celebrations of 130th Anniversary of the Bulgarian Navy, Varna

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov during the celebrations of the 130th anniversary of the Bulgarian Navy in Varna
Source: BGNES

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Tongan Ferry 'Princess Ashika' search and support mission

(L-R) Members of the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Clearance Diving Team One (AUSCDT ONE), Able Seaman Jess McMichael and Leading Seaman Rob Court prepare their gear for the ferry 'Princess Ashika' Search and Support mission.

08 August 2009

Tongan Ferry 'Princess Ashika' search and support mission
Australian Navy clearance divers have deployed to Tonga to help recover bodies from the sunken ferry ‘Princess Ashika’.
Sixteen RAN personnel landed in the Pacific kingdom at 5am local time on Saturday 8 August after flying from Richmond RAAF base aboard a C-130J Hercules the previous night.
The short notice deployment resulted from an official request from the Government of Tonga for Australian assistance in recovery operations.
The divers from Australian Clearance Diving Team One will work with a diving team from the Royal New Zealand Navy in support of the Tongan Defence Service.
A joint diving reconnaissance mission aboard the Tongan patrol boat VOEA Pangai was launched on Saturday afternoon from His Majesty’s Navy Base Masefield (Touliki). The reconnaissance of the dive site is the precursor to any recovery operation.
The exact location of the ferry is unkown, although a search area has been established.
The Princess Ashika sunk on Wednesday night during a regular weekly service, carrying 141 people aboard.
A Tongan patrol boat recovered two bodies and 54 survivors, including 28 crew members from the ferry. Eighty five people remain unaccounted for.
The sinking of Princess Ashika is Tonga’s worst ferry disaster since December 1977 when the boat ‘Tokomea’ disappeared with 63 people on board.

Friday, August 7, 2009

August 4, 2009 - HMCS Toronto departs from St. John's, Newfoundland, on its way to Iqaluit, Nunavut.
The Canadian Forces (CF) conducts annual operations with other federal and territorial government departments (OGD) and agencies (OGA) to improve coordination in responding to emergencies in the north and to make a visible demonstration of our commitment to exercising and defending Canada's sovereignty over the Arctic. OP NANOOK is comprised of both an exercise portion (EX NANOOK) as well as a real-world operational component.
Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) Toronto is on deployment to OP NANOOK from 29 July to 28 August 2009.
Photo: Corporal Dany Veillette, Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Centre, Ottawa

Thursday, August 6, 2009

USS Sampson (DDG 102)

090804-N-3038W-242 PACIFIC OCEAN (August 4, 2009) The guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102) is currently underway for a scheduled Pacific Deployment in support of Maritime Strategy. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class John Philip Wagner, Jr/Released)

Notice the WSC-3 OE-82 antennas have been replaced by the new WSC-6 system, the 25mm gun (wrapped) and NULKA launcher.

USS Georgia (SSGN 729)

090806-N-1841C-015 KINGS BAY, Ga. (Aug. 5, 2009) The guided-missile submarine USS Georgia (SSGN 729) transits the St. Marys River on her first operational deployment as a converted Guided-missile submarine. Georgia will deploy for approximately one year to the 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility before returning to homeport at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga. (U.S. Navy photo Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kimberly Clifford/Released)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tall ship Unicorn runs aground on rocks

WOODS HOLE, Mass. - A Sea Tow boat works to free the 118-foot tall ship Unicorn after it ran aground on rocks in Great Harbor near Woods Hole, Mass., Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2009. (Coast Guard photo/Seaman Johanna Polanco Garcia)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Royal Navy Task Group Returns to UK

Hundreds of sailors, marines and airmen who have made up the biggest Royal Navy deployment to the Far East in more than a decade have arrived home, six months after sailing from the UK.
The TAURUS 09 Task Group left Devonport in February, originally comprising 10 ships, a nuclear powered submarine, an embarked Air Group and Royal Marines from 40 Commando Royal Marines. Its aim has been to maintain the Royal Navy’s fighting capability as well as develop the UK’s capacity to operate with key partners and allies from NATO countries and other nations, enhancing interoperability and demonstrating the UK’s commitment to the stability and security of the Mediterranean, Middle East and South East Asia.
In exercising its ability to deploy globally, the Task Group has conducted a wide range of activities, including maritime security operations, anti-piracy patrols and exercising amphibious and anti-submarine warfare, culminating in a multi-national amphibious and jungle training exercise in the deployment’s most easterly point of Brunei. At its height, 3,300 personnel took part in the 20,400 mile round-trip deployment, interacting, training and building relations with 17 nations.
Commenting as the TAURUS 09 Task Group sailed back into the UK, Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Rt Hon Bill Rammell MP said:
“Maintenance of Operational Capability across all military disciplines is key for defence. The planning and execution of this deployment has honed essential skills not exercised in current operations. The diplomacy fostered with international partners through TAURUS 09 has ensured that the United Kingdom’s influence and ability to respond in circumstances that requires amphibious intervention, is maintained.”
The Task Group was commanded from amphibious assault ship HMS Bulwark by Commander UK Amphibious Task Group (COMATG), Commodore Paul Bennett OBE who added:
“The TAURUS deployment has been a great success. It has been a substantial undertaking that has sent a clear message to friends and enemies alike that the Royal Navy continues to be a force with which to reckon. We have improved our military amphibious and underwater warfare capabilities, demonstrated the ability to deploy substantial military power around the globe, refreshed important military partnerships and supported UK Government’s efforts in a wide range of countries. The Amphibious Task Group is notable for the array of capability that it offers; large ships, Royal Marines, Landing Craft, Helicopters and a wide range of skills in its sailors. This flexibility has been essential to the success of the last 6 months”.
“The Royal Marines, who have been an integral part of the Task Group throughout, have operated in desert, riverine and jungle environments, have developed close links with local armed forces and have improved their own skills tremendously. All in all, it has been a powerful combination to deploy around the world. It is also the main capability that the UK would deploy for a contingent task and TAURUS has provided an excellent opportunity to make sure the RN is ready whenever called upon to respond”.
Key exercises conducted during the deployment include those alongside the armed forces of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, India, Bangladesh and Brunei.
During Exercise Red Alligator, a major amphibious exercise in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, British troops landed ashore for the first time since the first Gulf War, marking a major step forward in relations between the two nations.
After conducting boarding training with the Yemeni coastguard, the Task Group split in two, with HMS Somerset, RFA Wave Ruler and submarine HMS Talent taking part in Exercise Blue Toreador, an anti-submarine warfare exercise in the Indian Ocean.
Following a visit to India and interaction with the Indian Navy, HMS Bulwark transited to Bangladesh for another landmark exercise, Shomodro Torongo. This was the first such interaction with the Bangladeshi armed forces and security services in a decade and crucially timed as Bangladesh tightens up the policing of its boarders, and increases its internal security and anti-terrorism measures. This multi-agency amphibious exercise provided the Royal Navy with extremely challenging environmental conditions in which to operate, offering superb training for both nations and firmly strengthening UK-Bangladesh relations.
The TAURUS ships then called in to Singapore where HMS Bulwark and HMS Ocean took part in the international maritime defence show IMDEX Asia 2009, which offers trade and industry a one-stop opportunity to keep abreast of the latest maritime defence technologies, platform designs and technology developments.
Whilst HMS Bulwark headed for a visit to Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia, HMS Ocean, HMS Somerset and RFA Wave Ruler departed Singapore for the annual Five Powers Defence Arrangement exercise, Ex Bersama Shield, along with ships from Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand and Australia.
All units were reunited for the culmination of the deployment, Exercise Commando Rajah, a multi-national amphibious exercise which saw the TAURUS 09 ships project their embarked Royal Marine Commando Unit, 40 Commando Royal Marines, into the riverine and primary jungles of Brunei. This provided the Royal Marines with essential jungle training at a time when they are more used to operating in very different environments, such as those provided by operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. On its return, the Task Group attached to Coalition task Force 151 which conducts anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
Summarising the success of TAURUS 09, Cdre Bennett paid tribute to the sailors, Royal Marines and aircrew of the Task Group, commenting:
“Everything that has been achieved in TAURUS 09 has been down to the impressive dedication, hard work and the talents of the men and women of the Task Group. For 6 months, away from family and friends, their flexibility and skill have been the deciding factors in the success of the deployment. They have been a privilege to command, have invariably performed extremely well and deserve the warm welcome and leave that awaits them”.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Super Hornet cleared to fly at higher altitudes, reducing fuel costs

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. - The Navy has certified the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to fly higher, between flight levels 29,000 and 41,000 feet.These altitudes were usually reserved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for commercial airliners in airspace called Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) airspace. This certification culminates a three-year process involving numerous agencies; military, federal and private industry.The certification process reached its conclusion during a certification ceremony held Nov. 4 when Capt. Ralph Portnoy, Air Combat Electronics program manager here, signed the document certifying that all Super Hornets produced from Lot 22 and beyond, approximately 340 aircraft, are RVSM qualified. The authorization to file and fly RVSM was delayed until July 9 to ensure training and Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization (NATOPS) manuals were appropriately updated.“It’s great seeing all of the hard work done by the 209/265 Government/Industry Team get implemented. This effort will directly support our warfighters by addressing a clear operational need. RVSM certification saves precious fuel and reduces Fleet operating costs which is exactly the direction we all need to be heading,” said Capt. Ralph Portnoy, Air Combat Electronics program manager, PMA-209.The Commander, Naval Air Forces (CNAF) estimates that this certification to fly at these altitudes could save the Navy approximately $250,000 per year per squadron in fuel costs.RVSM qualification efforts for the entire F/A-18 community continue. The team, lead by Mr. Dave Staso, PMA-209 Communication, Navigation Systems/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) Integrated Program Team Lead and by PMA-209's Navigation and Sensor Deputy Program Manager, Mr. Walt Gillette, is currently working the certification for the EA-18G Growler and the F/A-18C/D Hornet. Plans are also in place to certify the F/A-18A+.The RVSM technical requirements are defined in a Functional Requirements Document (FRD) authored and published by the CNS/ATM Integrated Program Team in Air Combat Electronics.The first step in the certification process involved a Boeing Company evaluation of the Super Hornet to satisfy the rigors required by the FRD. Their analysis was published in late 2006 acknowledging the precision of the altimetry system. The successful completion of the analysis led to step two in the process, the development of Air Frame Bulletin (AFB) 637.AFB 637 was used to validate and verify the configuration of the Super Hornets that were required to complete step three of the process, FAA-monitored flights that verified the accuracy of the altimetry system.CNAF designated the aircraft to be inspected and monitored and operational squadrons flew the missions. Unfortunately, operational commitments precluded an adequate number of monitoring flights. At this point, the Hornet/Super Hornet program office (PMA-265) and Air Combat Electronics (PMA-209) visited the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA), St. Louis, Mo., to request their help in order to complete the necessary monitoring flights.Of the 29 required flights, DCMA flew the final three during Super Hornet delivery flights. The FAA evaluated every monitoring flight, thereby confirming the Boeing analysis and verifying the accurate altimetry system of the Super Hornet.In 2005, the FAA reduced the separation between aircraft flying in opposing directions from 2,000 feet to 1,000 feet at altitudes between 29,000 and 41,000 feet. Based on FAA regulation, aircraft flying in this reduced separation airspace require dual altimetry systems, a rule that nearly eliminated all military fighter aircraft.The Department of Defense, realizing a drastic increase in fuel consumption for the fighter community, negotiated certification authority for aircraft with single altimetry systems provided that stringent technical requirements are satisfied. Based on FAA permission, the Navy began the certification process to prove the Super Hornet did indeed meet the technical requirements.RVSM certification is just one of many civil requirements affecting naval aircraft that need the capability to fly in civil airspace throughout the world.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Jason Dunham (DDG 109)

090801-O-0000X-004 BATH, Maine, (Aug. 1, 2009) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer Jason Dunham (DDG 109) is translated from the Land Level Transfer Facility at Bath Iron Works into the floating dry dock after its christening ceremony in preparation for float-off later in the day. (Photo courtesy Michael C. Nutter/ General Dynamics/Released)