Monday, October 31, 2011

Navy's Newest Submarine, California Namesake Joins Fleet in Norfolk

Sailors assigned to the  Virginia-class attack submarine USS California (SSN 781) salute during the commissioning ceremony for the Virginia-class attack submarine USS California (SSN 781).


The Navy commissioned its eighth Virginia-class submarine, USS California (SSN 781), during a ceremony held at Naval Station Norfolk Oct. 29.
More than 1,500 people attended the ceremony at the naval station, while others viewed it live on the Internet.
Rep. Buck McKeon of California, House Armed Services Committee chairman and the ceremony's keynote speaker, welcomed California to the fleet and reminded the crew of the important role they will play in protecting the nation's security.
"Members of the crew: always keep your eyes and your ears open," said McKeon. "Remember your oath and your creed. This nation depends on you and your stewardship of the California. Remember, you are the quiet warriors. You are the silent sentinels. You are the shield around us. You are the chosen few."
Also on hand for the commissioning was Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert, who also spoke about the California crew.
"What this is all about is the Sailors who volunteer to serve," said Greenert. "Your actions reflect our proud heritage and tradition. I am proud of you and I'm proud to serve with you."
Greenert also focused his remarks on how today, this event and this submarine reflected his tenets: Warfighting First, Operate Forward and Be Ready. He also pointed out the fiscal judiciousness of the builders.
"I challenged them (Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding) at the christening to deliver on time and on budget," said Greenert. "They did it."
The builders delivered the submarine eight months early and under budget.
California, the most modern and sophisticated attack submarine in the world, can operate in both littoral and deep ocean environments and presents combatant commanders with a broad and unique range of operational capabilities.
"The Navy and our CNO have been waiting. USS California is the first ship to be commissioned on Admiral Greenert's watch as our new CNO. You are the first warship indelibly marked with his sailing directions from our very birth. He expects you to maintain our superiority in the undersea domain," said Commander, Submarine Forces, Vice Adm. John M. Richardson.
With the traditional first order, "Man our ship and bring her to life," the Navy's wait was over.
"Today, I am excited to receive yet another platform of undersea superiority," said Greenert, "a platform deployable anytime, anywhere, capable of owning the undersea domain."
Greenert is not the only one who has been anticipating California's official arrival.
"Our allies have been waiting. Because they know that you'll soon be on patrol, in the cold, deep, and quiet waters of the arctic to the shallow, warm, crowded waters of the tropics. And they gain assurance knowing that you are a force for good - keeping the global economy flowing freely over the ocean trade routes," said Richardson.
Richardson added that there are some who have not looked forward to the day California would join the submarine force.
"Many have been wishing this day would never come," he said. "Those who would deny freedom, those who oppose our national interests and our calling to protect the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - this is a day that will keep them awake at night."
California will directly enable five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities - sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence.
As the Navy's newest Virginia-class submarine, California will support these capabilities for years to come.
"California has many decades of service ahead," Richardson said, "but we can't afford to lose a single moment. We need California on the front lines now."
California is designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare; anti-ship warfare; strike warfare; special operations; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions.
The submarine is 377 feet long, has a 34-foot beam, will be able to dive to depths greater than 800 feet and will operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged.
Construction on California began February 2006; the submarine's keel was authenticated during a ceremony on May 1, 2009, and she was christened during a ceremony Nov. 6, 2010.
Cmdr. Dana Nelson is California's first commanding officer. Nelson leads a crew of about 134 officers and enlisted personnel. A native of Clinton, Conn., he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1992, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering.
Donna Willard, wife of Commander, U.S. Pacific Command, Adm. Robert F. Willard, serves as the submarine's sponsor. She broke the traditional champagne bottle against the boat's sail during the christening ceremony last November. Her initials were welded into a plaque inside the boat during last year's keel-laying ceremony.
California is the seventh Navy ship, and first submarine, to be named in honor of the people of the Golden State. The most recent USS California was a nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser (CGN 36) that was in service from February 1974 to July 1999.

Navy Researchers Fire 1,000th Shot on Laboratory Electromagnetic Railgun

Scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) hit a materials research milestone in the Office of Naval Research's (ONR) Electromagnetic Railgun program when they fired a laboratory-scale system for the 1,000th time Oct. 31.
"A significant amount of development has been coming out of NRL to support the program," said Roger Ellis, ONR's Electromagnetic Railgun (EMRG) program officer. "It's a key piece of making railgun successful."
The EMRG is a long-range weapon that launches projectiles using electricity instead of chemical propellants. Under development by the Department of the Navy (DON) for use aboard ships, the system will provide Sailors with multi-mission capability, allowing them to conduct precise naval surface fire support, or land strikes; cruise missile and ballistic missile defense; and surface warfare to deter enemy vessels.
"The weapon does all its damage because of its speed," said Dr. Roger McGinnis, program executive for ONR's Naval Air Warfare and Weapons Department, which oversees EMRG. Launched at 2 to 2.5 kilometers per second (4,500 to 5,600 mph) without using explosives, the projectile reaches its target at speeds that require only a small charge similar to that found in automobile airbags to dispense its payload, eliminating the objective through the inherent kinetic energy.
"EMRG will provide the Department of Defense with an advantage in future conflicts by giving troops the ability to fire weapons inexpensively against targets," McGinnis said.
As part of the EMRG development program, ONR and NRL co-funded scientists at NRL to build and operate a 6-meter long, 50 mm diameter railgun as a subscale experimental lab at the Materials Testing Facility (MTF). Researchers fired the first shot in March 2007. After improving the gun's sliding armature and rails, the lab has fired an average of 300 shots per year since 2008.
A railgun launches projectiles by generating magnetic fields created by high electrical currents that accelerate a sliding metal conductor, or armature, between two rails.
"The 1,000th shot is testing new ideas of how the armature interacts with the rails," said Dr. Robert Meger, head of NRL's charged particle physics branch, which conducts about 30 experiments annually on the railgun. Following each test firing, researchers dismantle the gun to examine all the components. They slice up the rails for further analysis under a microscope to reveal surface damage.
During the course of firing all 1,000 shots, NRL scientists have experimented with a variety of materials and geometries to determine which ones can withstand the metal-melting temperatures and pressures of shooting a 1.5-megajoule energy weapon. One megajoule of energy is equivalent to a 1-ton car traveling at 100 miles per hour.
"We've really explored a lot of territory," ONR's Ellis said. "When you couple what we're seeing in testing with what we're seeing in modeling and simulation, it results in some interesting barrel shapes that you wouldn't intuitively think about. Railgun barrels don't necessarily have to be round as in most conventional gun designs."
Since 2005, scientists have been working to increase the railgun's barrel life, muzzle energy and size. Ultimately, their work will help to produce a 64-megajoule railgun with a range of about 220 nautical miles.
"You really have to look at the course of our understanding from the first day they shot to the 1,000th shot today, and how much our understanding of the rail life has dramatically increased, and how much science we have applied to ensure that we're on the path toward a future fieldable system," Ellis said.
Materials science breakthroughs resulting from the test firings have given researchers confidence to transition new technologies to a scaled-up experimental launcher at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren,Va., which fired a world record setting 33-megajoule shot in December 2010.
ONR provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps' technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 70 countries, 1,035 institutions of higher learning and 914 industry partners. ONR employs approximately 1,400 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel, with additional employees at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C.

General Dynamics Completes Acquisition of Metro Machine Corp


FALLS CHURCH, Va.Oct. 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- General Dynamics today completed its acquisition of Metro Machine Corp., a leading East Coast surface-ship repair company that supports the U.S. Navy fleet in Norfolk, Va.  The value of the cash transaction has not been disclosed.
Metro Machine Corp. now becomes part of the shipbuilding and repair operations of San Diego-based General Dynamics NASSCO, a leading provider of ships to the Navy, a major producer of commercial vessels and the largest shipbuilding and repair company on the West Coast.  
"The addition of Metro Machine enhances our ability to compete in the growing naval ship repair market," said Fred Harris, president, General Dynamics NASSCO.  "We have added a solid team with a successful track record that will strengthen our ability to deliver cost-effective maintenance and repair services to the U.S. Navy on the East Coast."
General Dynamics NASSCO, a business unit of General Dynamics, is a prime contractor for multi-ship, multi-option (MSMO) contracts for Navy combat and support ships, including frigates (FFGs), dock landing ships (LSDs), amphibious transport ships (LPDs) and amphibious assault (LHA/LHD) ships.  MSMO contracts provide for maintenance, modernization and repair to all ships of a class in specific homeport areas.  With the addition of former Metro Machine Corp. employees, General Dynamics NASSCO now employs approximately 3,850 people.

Royal Navy displays its wide-ranging abilities

The full gamut of the Royal Navy's abilities were on show in the Solent last week, during a series of high-profile action-packed demonstrations.
Royal Marines Commandos fast-rope onto HMS Bulwark
Royal Marines Commandos fast-rope onto HMS Bulwark to 'take down' a pirate during a demonstration
[Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Martin Carney, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
Around 1,000 sailors and Royal Marines from across the Naval Service took part in the Maritime Combat Power Visit, showing what the Royal Navy does, to more than 300 students from the advance command and staff at the Forces' college at Shrivenham, plus senior officers, academics, the media, MPs, affiliates and other interested parties.
The four-day Maritime Combat Power Visit - formally known as the Staff College Sea Days - is aimed at demonstrating what the RN can do, and indeed does, around the globe.
After a day of rehearsals on Monday, the demonstrations kicked off in earnest on Tuesday, concluding on Thursday, all choreographed by the Navy's training organisation, FOST.
The Commando Helicopter Force, also known as the 'Junglies', and Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines staged a mock boarding, leaping from a Sea King helicopter and roping onto HMS Bulwark's deck to show how they can take down pirates/terrorists.
Royal Marines BvS10 Viking tracked vehicle
Royal Marines BvS10 Viking tracked armoured vehicle during an amphibious landing demonstration onto Browndown Beach at Gosport in Hampshire
[Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Martin Carney, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

RFA Black Rover demonstrated the tricky art of replenishing at sea, while HMS Sutherland showed how to deal with the threat of submarines, and HMS Bulwark showed how the Navy can put men and material onto hostile shores by sending her embarked Royal Marines and their kit onto Browndown Beach in Gosport, Hampshire.
Demonstrating the Navy's abilities at this year's event were:

• flagship HMS Bulwark
• landing support ship RFA Mounts Bay
• Type 23 frigate HMS Sutherland
• tanker RFA Black Rover
• patrol boat HMS Raider
• Sea King helicopters from 846 Naval Air Squadron
• Commando Lynx from 847 NAS
• Lynx helicopters from 815 NAS
•surveillance Sea Kings from 849 NAS
•Hawk jets
•green berets from the Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines, and
• the amphibious skills of 539 Assault Squadron RM.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Articles from POGO


The Military’s Dim View on Whistleblowers

In the chain-of-command-oriented military, whistleblowers rarely fare well. POGO Director of Investigations Nick Schwellenbach says even when all the facts seemingly back the whistleblowers, retaliation against the whistleblowers often goes unchallenged. Read about it on POGO.org.

Embattled DoD Official Resigns

The Pentagon's embattled top personnel official, Department of Defense Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley, has resigned. Stanley was under investigation for complaints of incompetence and cronyism, among other things. POGO was the first to publish three of the whistleblower complaints. Read about it on POGO’s blog.

Debunking 3 Debt Deal Myths

POGO’s National Security Fellow Ben Freeman takes on some of the “doomsday” rhetoric coming from the Pentagon and defense industry lobbyists over possible defense cuts. Read about it on The Hill.

FBI Saw Dark Side of Rep. John Murtha

Newly released documents show that the FBI looked into possible corruption between former Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), lobbyists, and sham companies. There had long been rumors among journalists of corruption, but Murtha’s death allowed the release of the FBI documents. Read about it on Roll Call










Reprinted with permission

Friday, October 28, 2011

USS Iowa leaves mothball fleet



VALLEJO, Calif. -- The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Hawksbill, an 87-foot coastal patrol boat homeported in Monterey, Calif., escorts the USS Iowa, an 887-foot WWII era U.S. Navy battleship, from Benicia, Calif., Oct. 28, 2011. The Iowa is being towed, by commercial tugboats, to Los Angeles where it will be restored and made into a museum. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Levi Read.
Coast Guard Cutter Hawksbill, an 87-foot coastal patrol boat homeported in Monterey, Calif., escorts the USS Iowa, an 887-foot WWII era U.S. Navy battleship, from Benicia, Calif., Oct. 28, 2011. The Iowa is being towed, by commercial tugboats, to Los Angeles where it will be restored and made into a museum. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Levi Read.
VALLEJO, Calif. -- The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Hawksbill, an 87-foot coastal patrol boat homeported in Monterey, Calif., escorts the USS Iowa, an 887-foot WWII era U.S. Navy battleship, from Benicia, Calif., Oct. 28, 2011. The Iowa is being towed, by commercial tugboats, to Los Angeles where it will be restored and turned into a museum. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Levi Read.
Coast Guard Cutter Hawksbill, an 87-foot coastal patrol boat homeported in Monterey, Calif., escorts the USS Iowa, an 887-foot WWII era U.S. Navy battleship, from Benicia, Calif., Oct. 28, 2011. The Iowa is being towed, by commercial tugboats, to Los Angeles where it will be restored and turned into a museum. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Levi Read.
VALLEJO, Calif. -- The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Hawksbill, an 87-foot coastal patrol boat homeported in Monterey, Calif., escorts the USS Iowa, an 887-foot WWII era U.S. Navy battleship, from Benicia, Calif., Oct. 28, 2011. The Iowa is being towed, by commercial tugboats, to Los Angeles where it will be restored and turned into a museum. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Mike Lutz.
Coast Guard Cutter Hawksbill, an 87-foot coastal patrol boat homeported in Monterey, Calif., escorts the USS Iowa, an 887-foot WWII era U.S. Navy battleship, from Benicia, Calif., Oct. 28, 2011. The Iowa is being towed, by commercial tugboats, to Los Angeles where it will be restored and turned into a museum. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Mike Lutz.

Coast Guard interdicts semi-submersible vessel in Caribbean Sea



MIAMI — Crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Cypress on scene above a sunken self-propelled semi-submersible vessel as members of the FBI Laboratory's Technical Dive Team, located at Quantico, Va., recover approximately seven tons of cocaine Oct. 19, 2011. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk interdicted the SPSS in the Western Caribbean Sea Sept. 30, 2011, before its crew sank the vessel. U.S. Coast Guard photo.
MIAMI — Crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Cypress on scene above a sunken self-propelled semi-submersible vessel as members of the FBI Laboratory's Technical Dive Team, located at Quantico, Va., recover approximately seven tons of cocaine Oct. 19, 2011. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk interdicted the SPSS in the Western Caribbean Sea, Sept. 30, 2011, before its crew sank the vessel. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

MIAMI — A sunken self-propelled semi-submersible vessel lay on the floor of the Western Caribbean Sea Oct. 19, 2011. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk interdicted the SPSS in the Western Caribbean Sea Sept. 30, 2011, before its crew sank the vessel. Photo courtesy of the FBI Laboratory's Technical Dive Team located at Quantico, Va.
MIAMI — A sunken self-propelled semi-submersible vessel lies on the floor of the Western Caribbean Sea, Oct. 19, 2011. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk interdicted the SPSS in the Western Caribbean Sea, Sept. 30, 2011, before its crew sank the vessel. Photo courtesy of the FBI Laboratory's Technical Dive Team located at Quantico, Va.

MIAMI — A member of the FBI Laboratory's Technical Dive Team located at Quantico, Va., recovers bales of cocaine from a sunken self-propelled semi-submersible vessel in the Western Caribbean Sea Oct. 19, 2011. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk interdicted the SPSS in the Western Caribbean Sea Sept. 30, 2011, before its crew sank the vessel. U.S. Coast Guard photo.
 A member of the FBI Laboratory's Technical Dive Team located at Quantico, Va., recovers bales of cocaine from a sunken self-propelled semi-submersible vessel in the Western Caribbean Sea, Oct. 19, 2011. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk interdicted the SPSS in the Western Caribbean Sea, Sept. 30, 2011, before its crew sank the vessel. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk, a medium-endurance cutter homeported in Key West, Fla., interdicted a drug smuggling, self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) vessel, commonly referred to as a drug sub, in the Western Caribbean Sea, Sept. 30, 2011.
The total interdiction is approximately seven tons and valued at nearly $180 million wholesale. The crew of the Mohawk stopped two SPSS vessels in 13 days. Used regularly to transport illegal narcotics in the Eastern Pacific, this interdiction is only the third Coast Guard interdiction of an SPSS in the Caribbean. The Coast Guard’s first interdiction of a drug smuggling, SPSS vessel in the Western Caribbean Sea happened July 13.
The crew of a maritime patrol aircraft deployed in support of Joint Interagency Task Force South operations in the Caribbean spotted a suspicious vessel and notified the Mohawk crew of the location.
The Mohawk-based Coast Guard helicopter crew and pursuit boatcrew interdicted the SPSS and detained its crew. The SPSS sank during the interdiction along with the contraband.
Coast Guard Cutter Cypress, a sea-going buoy tender, homeported in Mobile, Ala., commenced searching for the sunken SPSS Oct. 17. Coast Guard crews and the FBI Laboratory's Technical Dive Team, located at Quantico, Va., conducted multiple search patterns. The SPSS was located by the dive crew, Oct. 19.
"The interdiction of a third SPSS in the Caribbean brings to a close an extremely successful fiscal year for the Coast Guard here in Southeast U.S. and Caribbean,” said Rear Adm. Bill Baumgartner, commander of the 7th Coast Guard District. "Working with our interagency and international partners, we detained 98 smugglers and prevented 60,064 pounds of cocaine and 4,412 pounds of marijuana with a combined street value of $727 million from reaching our streets. Although we have been finding highly creative and innovative ways to make our counter drug mission successful, we continued to be challenged by the maintenance requirements and limited capabilities of our aging fleet of larger ships. One of the greatest limitations to our success is the availability of large cutters to patrol the transit zones and new cutters, designed to patrol far offshore in District Seven, will ensure we continue to detect threats at greater distances from U.S. shores and meet the demands of our robust counter-drug mission."
Built in the jungles and remote areas of South America, the typical SPSS is less than 100 feet in length, with four to five crewmembers and carries up to 10 metric tons of illicit cargo for distances up to 5,000 miles. Drug traffickers design SPSS vessels to be difficult to spot and rapidly sink when they detect law enforcement, thereby making contraband recovery difficult.
"This is the second self-propelled semi-submersibles case for this crew and I am extremely proud we were able to stop millions of dollars of cocaine from reaching the streets of America," said Cmdr. Mark Fedor, Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk's commanding officer. "They are a significant threat to our nation and throughout Central and South America because they can smuggle massive amounts of narcotics as well as other illicit goods or people, and we will continue to be out here and stand a vigilant watch." 

Thales sonars key to Royal Navy minewarfare operations

111026 Minehunter PR



A Royal Navy minehunter fitted with Thales sonar has located and destroyed a 2,000-pound mine and torpedo lying on the seabed off the port of Tobruk in eastern Libya.
HMS Bangor, a Sandown-class mine countermeasures vessel (MCMV), has been on NATO operations off the Libyan coast, tasked with searching for and disposing of any ordnance to clear a path for merchant shipping. The Sandown class operates with Sonar 2093, the most successful variable-depth multi-mode sonar in its field.
During this operation, Bangor's advanced sonar - described by the navy as ‘cutting edge’ - successfully detected both the heavily corroded 2,000-pound mine and the torpedo. Bangor was able to destroy both of the weapons using demolition charges dropped by her remotely controlled underwater submersible.
Both munitions were spotted by a mine warfare team working in Bangor's operations room as they kept a close eye on the data fed to them by the ship's sonar sensors.
Ops room supervisor, Petty Officer Steve Moss, says: “When we're mine hunting we have several people watching the screens for any contact. On this task we saw several items that looked about the size of a mine, and two of them turned out to be real. It's not a regular thing to happen, so we're really pleased we found them and we were able to destroy them.”
Earlier this summer HMS Brocklesby, a Hunt-class MCMV, has been patrolling off the Libyan coast during the civil war, keeping the sea lanes clear of any mines laid by pro-Government forces. The Hunt fleet is fitted with Thales’s Sonar 2193, the world’s most advanced hull-mounted wideband minehunting sonar.
Brocklesby used her Thales sonar and her mine-disposal system to locate and dispose of a mine that had been placed near the harbour entrance at Misurata. When Brocklesby had finished her tour of duty she handed over responsibility to HMS Bangor.
Phil Naybour, head of Thales UK’s naval business, says: “This latest operation proves yet again that the Royal Navy has the deserved reputation of being a global leader in mine warfare. To have Sonar 2093 playing such a crucial role in this operation only months after Sonar 2193 was involved the detection of live mines is a testament to the world-class capability of the technology.”

Image courtesy of Royal Navy

Lockheed Martin Team Lays Keel on Nation's Fifth Littoral Combat Ship, the Future USS Milwaukee



A Lockheed Martin-led industry team held a keel-laying ceremony at Marinette Marine's shipyard for the future USS Milwaukee, the U.S. Navy's fifth Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).
The term, lay the keel, in shipbuilding language, means the beginning of a significant undertaking, which is the start of the module erection process that reflects the ship coming to life. Modern warships are now largely built in a series of pre-fabricated, complete hull sections rather than a single keel, so the actual start of the shipbuilding process is now considered to be when the first sheet of steel is cut. It is often marked with a ceremonial event.
"It's a great honor to participate in this event for the future USS Milwaukee," said Herb Kohl, senior Senator for the State of Wisconsin. "The keel laying ceremony is a great milestone for the LCS program, which is so vital to our military and to the people of Wisconsin and our economy. We're proud of our state's long history in shipbuilding and our contribution to the nation's naval defense."
During the ceremony, Senator Kohl authenticated the keel by having his signature welded into it. He was assisted by Executive Director of the Navy's Program Executive Office - Littoral Combat Ships Anne Sandel and Marinette Marine Corporation's Director of LCS programs, Jim LaCosse.
"We are committed to providing the Navy with littoral combat ships affordably and on time," said Joe North, vice president of littoral ship systems at Lockheed Martin's Mission Systems & Sensors business. "LCS 5's construction will benefit from production of the first and second Freedom-variant ships as we continue to drive cost out of the program."
The Navy's naming of the future USS Milwaukee continues the practice of designating LCSs after mid-sized American cities, small towns and communities.
The Lockheed Martin-led LCS team includes ship builder Marinette Marine Corporation, a Fincantieri company, naval architect Gibbs & Cox, as well as domestic and international teammates. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Russian Navy News October 26, 2011


Russian Navy News

RSS
Northern Fleet 32nd Naval School Held Turnout10.26.2011Northern Fleet 32nd Naval School Held Turnout
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SSBN Alexander Nevsky To Launch Bulava No Sooner Than Summer 2012 10.26.2011SSBN Alexander Nevsky To Launch Bulava No Sooner Than Summer 2012
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North Korean Admiral Visited Kamchatka10.26.2011North Korean Admiral Visited Kamchatka
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Armalit-1 To Supply New Minesweeper With Valves10.26.2011Armalit-1 To Supply New Minesweeper With Valves
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Corvette Dagestan Started Sea Trials10.26.2011Corvette Dagestan Started Sea Trials
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Russia Assists Vietnam In Molniya Missile Boats Construction10.26.2011Russia Assists Vietnam In Molniya Missile Boats Construction
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Vympel Shipyard To Build 12 Mangust Boats In 201210.26.2011Vympel Shipyard To Build 12 Mangust Boats In 2012
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Russian Navy Attended International Seapower Symposium10.26.2011Russian Navy Attended International Seapower Symposium
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Pilots Of Western Military District Held Night Flights10.25.2011Pilots Of Western Military District Held Night Flights
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Russian, Japanese Border Guards To Hold Exercise Off Sakhalin10.25.2011Russian, Japanese Border Guards To Hold Exercise Off Sakhalin
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10.25.2011Severnaya Verf Takes European Shipbuilding Stage
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Four "Aurora Pirates" To Face Trial Compulsorily 10.24.2011Four "Aurora Pirates" To Face Trial Compulsorily
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SSBN Alexander Nevsky First Time Took Sea For Trials 10.24.2011SSBN Alexander Nevsky First Time Took Sea For Trials
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North Korea's Admiral Visited Pacific Fleet ASW Ship And Submarine10.24.2011North Korea's Admiral Visited Pacific Fleet ASW Ship And Submarine
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Russian Navy To Commission SLBM Liner Soon10.24.2011Russian Navy To Commission SLBM Liner Soon
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Almaz Shipyard Delivered Two Patrol Ships To Vietnam10.24.2011Almaz Shipyard Delivered Two Patrol Ships To Vietnam
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Vets And Kids Paid Honors To Fallen Heroes10.21.2011Vets And Kids Paid Honors To Fallen Heroes
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Baltic Fleet Held Flight Drills10.21.2011Baltic Fleet Held Flight Drills
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Source: Central Bank Does Not Control Severnaya Verf Assets 10.21.2011Source: Central Bank Does Not Control Severnaya Verf Assets
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Pacific Fleet Commemorates S-178 Crew10.21.2011Pacific Fleet Commemorates S-178 Crew
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NF Pilots Improve Flight Skills10.21.2011NF Pilots Improve Flight Skills
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UAV Eleron-10 Can Be Placed On Russian Icebreakers10.21.2011UAV Eleron-10 Can Be Placed On Russian Icebreakers
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Public consultation launched on dismantling nuclear-powered submarines


The Ministry of Defence will tomorrow start a period of public consultation on the options for dismantling nuclear-powered submarines that have left service with the Royal Navy.

HMS Trafalgar
HMS Trafalgar's fin emerges from the Solent [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Dave Husbands, Crown Copyright/MOD 2005]


These include those that are in afloat storage at Devonport and Rosyth dockyards.
Submarines in afloat storage are maintained safely, in a similar way to operational submarines. As they age, however, and as further submarines leave service, the cost to the taxpayer of maintaining them is rising significantly, and space to store them is running out.
This consultation will seek the public's views on the proposals that have been developed by the MOD's Submarine Dismantling Project for dismantling and disposing of the submarines in a safe, secure and environmentally responsible way.
It will seek views on the three key decisions that need to be made about submarine dismantling:
  • How the radioactive material is removed from the submarines
  • Where we carry out the removal of the radioactive material from the submarines, and
  • Which type of site is used to store the radioactive waste that is awaiting disposal.
The consultation will run for 16 weeks, from 28 October 2011 until 17 February 2012. This period has been extended from the 12-week minimum to account for the Christmas holidays, and in recognition of the interest in the project.
A series of events, including exhibitions and workshops, will be held in and around the Devonport and Rosyth areas, where the candidate sites for the removal of the radioactive waste from the submarines are located. National workshops will also be held in accessible locations in England and Scotland.
Consultation events will be advertised in the local press and on the project website (see Related Links) where all relevant documentation, including extensive supporting information, will also be published.
All the responses received during the consultation process will be considered by the MOD during its further analysis of the options before final decisions are made around 2013. Only then will planning applications for activities on specific sites be made.

HMS Montrose departs on Atlantic deployment


Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose has set sail for a six-and-a-half month deployment to the South Atlantic to maintain a continuous presence protecting British interests.

HMS Montrose passes Devil's Point
Friends and families wave to their loved ones as HMS Montrose passes Devil's Point [Picture: LA(Phot) James Crawford, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]


Leaving her homeport of HM Naval Base Devonport, Plymouth, on Monday 24 October 2011, HMS Montrose passed Devil's Point to the sound of a lone piper, providing a strong hint of the ship's close links with Scotland.
A large number of families and friends braved the adverse weather conditions to wave goodbye to their loved ones, while the crew lined the decks in the driving rain to bid them farewell.
Once clear of Plymouth Sound, HMS Montrose set a southerly course to cover 8,000-plus nautical miles (14,800km) to arrive mid-November 2011.
With a number of port visits en route, there will be the chance to replenish the ship and crew and train and interact with foreign navies and authorities, further cementing the UK's partnerships with her allies.
HMS Montrose leaves Plymouth
HMS Montrose leaves for a six-and-a-half month deployment to the South Atlantic [Picture: LA(Phot) James Crawford, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

This deployment marks a major milestone for HMS Montrose and her crew, having returned from a successful counter-piracy deployment ten months ago, and following on from an intensive period of operational sea training and extensive maintenance.
The busy programme over the preceding months has prepared the ship and crew for the deployment, making sure they are ready in all respects for whatever they may face.
The ship's Commanding Officer, Commander Jonathan Lett, said:
"As an island nation our prosperity and security is totally dependent upon our ability to access the sea.
"Exactly a year ago Montrose was patrolling the key shipping routes in the Somali Basin and Horn of Africa, and in fact one of our most significant counter-piracy successes took place on this day last year.
HMS Montrose
HMS Montrose is due to arrive in the South Atlantic mid-November 2011
[Picture: LA(Phot) Joel Rouse, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

"Fast forward 12 months, and we are now ready do whatever is asked of us in the South Atlantic, providing a reassuring presence in the region and working hard to protect British interests.
"This deployment has been eagerly anticipated for some time, and every member of my team is well prepared and very well trained for the potential challenges ahead."
Commissioned by Lady Edith Rifkind in 1992, HMS Montrose is a Type 23 Duke Class frigate with a length of 133 metres and displacing over 4,000 tonnes.
She has a complement of 185 officers and ratings and is equipped with the latest weapons, sensors and communications systems, including the vertical-launch Sea Wolf missile system for close air defence, a 4.5-inch (114mm) gun, anti-submarine torpedoes, Harpoon anti-ship missiles and a Lynx helicopter.

Ten years of Operation Active Endeavour

Ten years of Operation Active EndeavourPhoto by David Taylor The first flagship of OAE was HMS Chathman and since then numerous surface and sub-surface assets have rotated through the Operation. Today the SNMG2 flagship, TCG Oruchreis along with FGS Schleswig Holstein is patrolling the Mediterranean Sea in support of OAE.


 "On Oct. 26 2001 - ten years ago today - Operation Active Endeavour was formally activated. It was a clear and solid demonstration of NATO’s resolve and solidarity against terrorism, said Vice Adm. Rinaldo VERI, commander Allied Maritime Command Naples and Commander OAE. “The operation has come a long way and evolved enormously over the years but resolve and solidarity are still at the heart of mission.”
The activation followed the Sept. 12 implementation of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty following the 11 September Terrorist attacks against the United States. For the first time in NATO's history, Alliance assets were deployed in support of Article 5 operations. NATO contributed Airborne Warning and Control Systems aircraft to the United States and also deployed elements of its Standing Naval Forces to the Eastern Mediterranean. AWACS provided air surveillance and early warning capability by transmitting data to command and control centers on land, sea and in the air. The Standing Naval Force Mediterranean, which was participating in Exercise Destined Glory 2001 off the southern coast of Spain, was re-assigned in order to provide an immediate NATO military presence in the Eastern Mediterranean.
There have been significant milestones in the development of OAE. These include the April 23, 2003, decision to begin boarding operations following a NAC decision to enhance the effectiveness of naval operations against suspected terrorist activities in the Mediterranean. The boarding operations are conducted in accordance with the rules of international law and are of a compliant nature.
On March 16, 2004, NATO announced the extension of the Area of Operations to the whole Mediterranean and that EAPC/PfP Partners, Mediterranean Dialogue countries and other selected nations would be asked to support OAE.
Furthermore at the NATO Summit in Istanbul, June 28, 2004, the Alliance decided to enhance
Operation Active Endeavour, including through the contributory support of partner countries, including the Mediterranean Dialogue countries. All such offers of support, including by other interested countries, are considered on a case-by-case basis.
The first flagship of OAE was HMS Chathman and since then numerous surface and sub-surface assets have rotated through the Operation. (HMS Chatham was flagship of STANAVFORMED which then also comprised FGS Bayern, frigate, Germany; HS Formion, destroyer, Greece; ITS Aliseo, frigate, Italy; HNLMS Van Nes, frigate, The Netherlands; SPS Santa Maria, frigate, Spain; TCG Giresun, frigate, Turkey; USS Elrod, frigate, U.S.)
Today the SNMG2 flagship, TCG ORUCREIS along with FGS SCHLESWIG HOLSTEIN is patrolling the Mediterranean Sea in support of OAE.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Newest Navy Destroyer Arrives in San Diego

Family and friends greet Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111) as the ship arrives at its new homeport at Naval Base San Diego.


USS Spruance (DDG 111), the newest destroyer to join the Navy's Pacific Fleet, arrived in its homeport of San Diego for the first time Oct. 24.
"The majority of Spruance's crew has been preparing for this day for over two years," said Cmdr. Tate Westbrook, commanding officer, Spruance. "Bringing a new Navy Destroyer (SIC) to life with a new crew is the most challenging 'start-up' project imaginable in any profession. This superb crew has set the processes in place for running this ship successfully that have already earned Spruance numerous 'best-ever' accolades, and will last for years to come."
"Many of these Sailors return home today after being separated from their families in San Diego for eight months," he added. "We are all thrilled to finally get to our homeport, San Diego."
Crewmembers had their own reasons to look forward to their arrival in San Diego.
"I feel really excited to get back," said Operations Specialist Seaman Apprentice Brian Terrell of Homer, Neb. "I've been wanting to see any new movies that have come out, and I'll also be able to see my brother, who just got back from deployment for the Marines."
Operations Specialist Seaman Apprentice Nicholas Woods of Macungie, Pa. has some specific plans for his arrival.
"All I can say is it feels refreshing," he said. "Sure this was my first time out, and I really enjoyed it. But everyone is always happy to finally be back home, even if they had a good time. Plus, I'm getting married to the love of my life, and I wouldn't want to wait any longer to see her and make it official."
As the pre-commissioning crew, the Sailors (SIC) now stationed on the Spruance were able to experience the "birth" of their ship.
"I am very thankful to have been able to meet and work next to the men [and women] who put all of the time, effort, and talent into to building something with such detail and size," said Sonar Technician 3rd Class Amanda Smith of Malta, Ohio.
"The best memory of the process for me was not the first sight of my new ship, but the long walk from the pre-commission detachment through the snow, and the anticipation of the first sight," said Sonar Technician 2nd Class Christopher Bolton of Walker, La.
Spruance was commissioned at Naval Air Station Key West, Oct. 1. It is the 61st ship in the Arleigh Burke-class of Navy destroyers, and the second Navy ship to bear the name. Spruance is named in honor of Adm. Raymond Spruance who commanded Carrier Task Force 16 during the pivotal Battle of Midway in World War II.
Spruance is a multi-mission ship with a crew of 285 Sailors that carries Tomahawk cruise missiles, a 5-inch gun, sonar systems and two helicopters. Spruance is powered by four gas-turbine engines and is capable of speeds in excess of 30 knots.
Spruance, assigned to Destroyer Squadron 23, will help provide deterrence, promote peace and security, preserve freedom of the sea and humanitarian/disaster response within 3rd Fleet's 50-million square mile area of responsibility in the Eastern Pacific, as well as supporting the Navy's Maritime Strategy when forward deployed.

Ramora UK’s New Diving Service Unmatched Outside The Armed Forces


Tuesday 25th October 2011 
 
Ramora UK, world-class experts in dealing with items of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) and the associated risks, has announced a new service offering to be delivered by a highly qualified bespoke bomb disposal diving team. 
 
Comprising of former Royal Navy Clearance Divers, the team will provide a truly global service, including operations in past and present conflict zones. Able to deploy as a stand-alone, fully self contained unit from a range of vessels this new service represents considerable time and cost savings for clients, the specialist unit will undertake UXO search and disposal operations down to a maximum depth of 50m. (For operations at greater depths, Ramora UK will continue to use its proven remote-controlled REODS system). Using many of the skills and techniques employed by Royal Navy divers, all operations will be conducted in accordance with HSE best practice and utilise state of the art diving equipments. 
 
Outside of the armed forces, Ramora UK will be the first and only organisation in the UK providing this level of reactive UXO service. Indeed, in some areas, the company’s capabilities and experience now exceed those that can be deployed by the MOD. 
 
Ramora UK anticipate that demand for this new service will come from a number of quarters, including the offshore oil and gas industry and, increasingly, from the offshore renewables sector. 
 
According to David Welch MIExpE, Ramora UK’s Managing Director: 
“We are confident that our new UXO Clearance Diving service, a unique offering in the commercial world, will give us a truly distinctive edge and confirm our world-class expertise in the UXO field.” 

No visual evidence of oil found onboard S.S. Montebello



The on-scene assessment operations of the sunken World War II tanker S.S. Montebello are nearly complete off the coast of Cambria, Calif., and the unified command has determined that there is no substantial oil threat from the Montebello to California waters and shorelines.  The only operation that remains is the collection of hull samples to help determine corrosion status.
Over the past 11 days, a unified command led by the Coast Guard and California Department of Fish and Game's Office of Spill Prevention and Response assessed cargo and fuel tanks, as well as collected ocean floor sediment samples, using an underwater remotely operated vehicle.  The sediment and tank samples that were collected are being sent for further analysis.
"Our number one objective for this mission was to determine what threat, if any, the Montebello poses to the waters and shorelines of California," said Coast Guard Capt. Roger Laferriere. "After careful evaluation of the data, we have concluded with a high level of confidence that there is no oil threat from the S.S. Montebello."
"This is a new era of prevention," said DFG OSPR Capt. Chris Graff.  "This has been a cooperative partnership using cutting-edge technology and surgical precision. The procedures and techniques used could help conduct threat assessments on other sunken vessels."
NOAA scientists conducted computer trajectory models based on a number of hypothetical release scenarios.
"Given the data discovered and records available, a long-term release model seems most reasonable," said NOAA Scientific Support Coordinator Jordan Stout. "Such model indicates that most of the oil remained offshore and headed south, some would have evaporated within the first few days, and the remainder may have washed ashore but may have been so widely scattered it went unnoticed. There are a number of unknowns associated with this release; therefore, we will probably never know exactly what happened to the oil."
The final report on the Montebello assessment operations is expected to be released sometime next spring.
The assessment operation was funded entirely by the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, a tax paid by the oil industry and not the general taxpayer.  Approximately $5 million was budgeted for the operation.
ROV operations on the Montebello included:
            •            An initial vessel assessment that resulted in the collection of video and data that aided in the assessment of the overall condition of the ship.
            •            Ultrasonic hull thickness gauging indicates the hull is structurally sound.
            •            Neutron backscatter analyses, a non-destructive technology that helps determine the probability of oil within the tank, was performed and helped prioritize tank sample procedures.
            •            Sediment samples have been collected from the area surrounding the vessel and will undergo lab analysis, however, there was no visual evidence of oil contamination.
            •            Tank samples have been drawn and visual inspection indicates there is no quantifiable amount of oil onboard.
            •            Hull samples will be collected for metallurgic testing which will help determine corrosion status.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Naval and ocean engineer to lead NOAA ocean exploration and research office


October 25, 2011

Tim Arcano.
Tim Arcano, the new director of NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER), is slated to begin Nov. 7.  (Credit: NOAA/OER.)
Tim Arcano, an ocean engineer with extensive experience in naval submarine and submersible design and engineering was selected as director of NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER). Arcano is slated to begin Nov. 7.
OER provides direction to NOAA and advises the U.S. Department of Commerce in the field of ocean exploration, research, and advanced technology development. A key element of OER is the Okeanos Explorer Program. It combines America’s ship for ocean exploration, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, with shore-based high-speed networks and infrastructure for live communications, including HD video of the seafloor, to scientists and other audiences ashore. It is the only federal program dedicated to systematic telepresence-enabled exploration of the world ocean.
“I am excited about joining the NOAA OER team to apply science and advanced technologies in ocean exploration and research. This is a tremendous opportunity not only to explore unknown reaches of the ocean in ways that serve NOAA and national objectives, but also to engage people of all ages in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math,” Arcano said.
While serving as the Corbin A. McNeill Endowed Chair in Naval Engineering at the United States Naval Academy, Arcano sought to engage student interest in underwater exploration technologies, including his development of a course on Engineering of Submersible Systems.
Tim Arcano.
Tim Arcano, the new director of NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER).  (Credit: NOAA/OER.)
Previously, he was deputy chief of nuclear safety at the Department of Energy where he spearheaded initiatives on safety-in-design of nuclear facilities and project management. He also served as technical director for the VIRGINIA Class Submarine Program.
During his service with the Navy, he engaged in identifying promising ocean technologies, planning advanced technology developments, and directing the transition of advanced technologies to meet Navy needs. He retired as a captain from the U.S. Navy after 30 years of commissioned service (active and reserve) as an engineering duty officer qualified in submarines, as a salvage diving officer and as an acquisition professional. For the National Science Foundation, he served as an ex-officio member of the Replacement Human Occupied Vehicle (HOV) Oversight Committee, overseeing the development of the replacement for the submersible Alvin.
Arcano earned a Bachelor of Science degree in ocean engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy, a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering and an Ocean Engineer Degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Master of Science degree in national resource strategy from the National Defense University Industrial College of the Armed Forces, and a Ph.D.in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Maryland.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Lockheed Martin successfully completes Builder’s Trials for Fort Worth in Lake Michigan




LCS
The rigorous builder’s trials for LCS 3 included maneuverability tests, high-speed runs, power and navigation system checks, rescue boat launch and recovery, as well as many other ship and system evaluations.




'It’s all ahead full for the nation’s third littoral combat ship (LCS), the Fort Worth.
Built by the Lockheed Martin industry team at the Marinette Marine Shipyard in Wisconsin, Fort Worth successfully completed Builder’s Sea Trials recently in Lake Michigan. The trials included operational testing of the vessel’s propulsion, communications, navigation, mission and support systems.
The rigorous trial period included maneuverability tests, high-speed runs, power and navigation system checks, rescue boat launch and recovery, as well as many other ship and system evaluations.
“Successful completion of Builder’s Sea Trials means that we are on track for the Navy’s Acceptance Trials later this fall, which is one step closer to getting the Navy the ships it needs,” said Joe North, Lockheed Martin vice president of littoral ship systems. “We continue supporting the Navy in growing their fleet affordably and effectively.”
LCS 3 remains on cost and on schedule. Following the trials, Fort Worth returned to the shipyard to prepare for Acceptance Trials later this fall, the last step before the U.S. Navy takes delivery of the ship early next year. Construction began two years ago, with the keel-laying conducted on July 11, 2009.
The Lockheed Martin team built the nation’s first LCS, the USS Freedom, which is currently deployed with the fleet. Using lessons learned from its work on Freedom, the team constructedFort Worth with 30 percent fewer production hours than LCS 1.
Last December, the Navy awarded the Lockheed Martin team a contract to build up to 10 LCS. Construction on the first of those ships, the future USS Milwaukee, began in August. If the Navy exercises all the options, the contract’s total value will reach about $3.6 billion. 
“With each ship, the team continues to drive costs down as a result of efficiencies, investments, design stability and working with suppliers,” North said following the start of the Milwaukee.  “We keep a steadfast focus on delivering this needed capability to the Navy.”
In addition to Marinette Marine, a Fincantieri company, the Lockheed Martin-led team includes naval architect Gibbs & Cox, as well as best-of-industry domestic and international companies.