Wednesday, February 29, 2012

General Dynamics Bath Iron Works Awarded Contract to Build Additional DDG 51-class Destroyer General Dynamics Bath Iron Works Awarded Contract to Build Additional DDG 51-class Destroyer


LLTF_May10


BATH, Maine, Feb. 28, 2012- The U. S. Navy has awarded General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, a $663 million modification to a previously awarded contract to construct DDG 116, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.
DDG 116 is the fourth ship in the Navy's Arleigh Burke-class construction-continuation program. Bath Iron Works is also under contract for the construction of DDG 115, the third ship in the program.
Jeff Geiger, president of Bath Iron Works, said, "All of us at Bath Iron Works are very pleased the Navy chose to build DDG 116 in Bath. This additional work will enable us to further refine our shipbuilding processes, reduce costs and maintain the level of Bath-built quality which the Navy expects from us. We understand the importance of affordability in today's challenging economic times and we're committed to providing the Navy highly capable, affordable ships while maintaining quality Maine shipbuilding jobs that contribute to our national security."
DDG 51 multi-mission guided missile destroyers operate in support of carrier battle groups, surface action groups, amphibious groups and replenishment groups, providing a complete array of anti-submarine, anti-air and anti-surface capabilities. Designed for survivability, the ships incorporate all-steel construction and have gas turbine propulsion. The combination of the ships' Aegis combat system, the vertical launching system, an advanced anti-submarine warfare system, two embarked SH-60 helicopters, advanced anti-aircraft missiles and Tomahawk anti-ship and land-attack missiles make the Arleigh Burke class the most powerful surface combatant ever put to sea.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Coast Guard’s Foreign Military Sales Program Delivers 300th Asset


February 28, 2012

Personnel in front of the 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement
Personnel from the Coast Guard’s Office of International Acquisition gather with SAFE Boats International staff at the boat builder’s Bremerton, Wash., facility in front of the 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement that will be delivered to the island nation of Dominica. The vessel is the 300th asset accepted by the Foreign Military Sales program. U.S. Coast Guard photo.
The U.S. Coast Guard’s Office of International Acquisition accepted its 300th asset delivery on Feb. 22 through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. The office manages and executes new-procurement FMS and Excess Defense Article (EDA) transfer projects, delivering assets and services to allies around the world. To date, more than 180 new-procurement boats and aircraft and more than 115 excess boats and cutters have been delivered. Over the past four years, the Coast Guard’s average annual international sales have increased 10-fold from $13 million to more than $138 million.
The 300th asset is a 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement (SPC-LE) boat manufactured by SAFE Boats International. It is one of two SPC-LE boats heading for the Commonwealth of Dominica, a Caribbean island nation, as part of U.S. Southern Command’s Secure Seas program. The boat was accepted at SAFE Boats’ facility in Bremerton, Wash., by the Office of International Acquisition. The boats, which have top speeds in excess of 50 knots, should arrive in Dominica in May and will be used to enhance maritime security throughout Dominica’s territorial waters.
Assets delivered through FMS include vessels that range in size from 25-foot response boats to 378-foot cutters, as well as maritime patrol aircraft. These assets, which have gone to more than 50 nations, are critical to the development of navies and coast guards around the world. Strategic allies who have received these assets include Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Mexico in the Americas; Ghana, Nigeria and Tunisia in Africa; Iraq and Yemen in the Middle East; and Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Philippines in Asia.
33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement manuevers on inlet waters
The 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement that will be delivered to Dominica through the Coast Guard’s Foreign Military Sales program maneuvers on inlet waters off the coast of Bremerton, Wash. The boat has a top speed of more than 50 knots and will enhance maritime security throughout the island nation’s territorial waters. U.S. Coast Guard photo.
Through such transactions, the Coast Guard strengthens national security in the maritime domain by building international partners’ capacity and developing relationships that enhance the pursuit of cooperatively shared maritime safety and security goals. These projects have also benefited the United States by contributing more than $600 million to the U.S. economy and avoiding more than $53 million in disposal costs for the Coast Guard from 1997 to today.
The Coast Guard’s FMS program was originally established to execute EDA transfers, which are typically funded through grants. Using their own funds, countries can purchase spare parts, logistical support, infrastructure support and training. In 2001, the office implemented its first new-procurement FMS case through the Navy International Programs Office. More than 90 percent of FMS management and execution is funded via the Navy International Programs Office from the Department of Defense FMS administration trust fund, a pooled fund supplied via a 3.8 percent surcharge assessed to foreign purchasers on every FMS case.

Military Sealift Command completes annual resupply mission to Antarctica



           Military Sealift Command-chartered container ship MV Green Wave departed McMurdo Station, Antarctica, Feb. 25, after delivering more than 6.8 million pounds of vital supplies in support of Operation Deep Freeze. ODF is the annual Joint Task Force Support For Antarctica mission to resupply the remote scientific outpost.
Green Wave followed MSC-chartered tanker MT Maersk Peary, which brought more than 6.3 million gallons of crucial diesel, gasoline and jet fuel to McMurdo Station Jan. 28-31.
During this single mission, MSC ships deliver 100 percent of the fuel and about 80 percent of the supplies that researchers and support personnel who live and work across Antarctica need to survive and work over the course of a year.
“MSC’s Operation Deep Freeze support is truly a ‘no failure accepted’ mission,” said Tim McCully, MSC Pacific deputy commander. “Without the fuel, food, and other support materials delivered by our chartered ships, researchers could not continue their operations through the brutal Antarctic winter.”
An MSC-chartered dry cargo ship and tanker have made the challenging voyage to Antarctica every year since the station was established in 1955.
Although Maersk Peary and Green Wave have hulls designed to withstand the pressure of ice, both ships were escorted through a 15-mile ice channel – in places more than 13 feet thick – by an icebreaker that carved a safe path to the station.
            Green Wave arrived at McMurdo Station Feb. 13 with cargo loaded on board in Port Hueneme, California in early January, to include supplies like food and research equipment.
Typically, the MSC cargo ship off-loads its valuable cargo at a 500-foot ice pier that juts out from the Antarctic coast. This year’s mission was one of the more challenging in the last two decades due to unfavorable weather conditions that made the ice pier at McMurdo unusable for dry cargo operations.
In lieu of the ice pier, Green Wave carried a disassembled modular causeway system from the U.S. Army’s 331st Transportation Company (Causeway). Once safely anchored at McMurdo Station, 41 Army personnel spent three days assembling the interlocking pieces of the causeway and powered modular warping tugs, which were craned off the ship individually and built into a floating dock capable of handling the ship’s load.
 “The members of the 331st Transportation Company really stepped up to this challenge,” said Timothy Pickering, cargo project officer at MSC headquarters. “The talented men and women in the unit deployed this very unique capability, allowing our ship to accomplish its vital mission.” 
            After the causeway was ready, approximately 60 Navy Cargo Handling Battalion One personnel worked around-the-clock for eight days to off-load Green Wave’s cargo, then load the ship with 391 pieces of cargo for transportation off the continent, including ice core samples carried back to the United States in sub-zero freezer containers. The ship also took on trash and recyclable materials for disposal. Cargo operations ended Feb. 24, and Green Wave is slated to arrive back at Port Hueneme March 26.
MSC operates approximately 110 noncombatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners. 

With a Bang, Navy Begins Tests on EM Railgun Prototype Launcher

A high-speed camera captures the first full-energy shots from the Office of Naval Research-funded electromagnetic railgun prototype launcher that was recently installed at a test facility in Dahlgren, Va.

Engineers have fired the Navy's first industry-built electromagnetic railgun (EM Railgun) prototype launcher at a test facility, commencing an evaluation that is an important intermediate step toward a future tactical weapon for ships, officials announced Feb. 28. 

The firing at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) kicks off a two- month-long test series by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to evaluate the first of two industry-built launchers. The tests will bring the Navy closer to a new naval gun system capable of extended ranges against surface, air and ground targets. 

"We are starting our full-energy tests to evaluate the barrel life and structural integrity of the prototype system," said Roger Ellis, program manager of the EM Railgun, part of ONR's Naval Air Warfare and Weapons Department. "It's the next step toward a future tactical system." 

The EM Railgun launcher is a long-range weapon that fires projectiles using electricity instead of chemical propellants. Magnetic fields created by high electrical currents accelerate a sliding metal conductor, or armature, between two rails to launch projectiles at 4,500 mph to 5,600 mph. 

The 32-megajoule prototype demonstrator, built by BAE Systems, arrived at NSWCDD on Jan. 30. One megajoule of energy is equivalent to a 1-ton car being thrust at 100 mph. The prototype-which now looks more like a naval weapon compared to previous lab-style launchers-is the first of two industry-built launchers to be delivered to the Navy. General Atomics is building the second launcher, scheduled for delivery in April. ONR previously relied upon laboratory-built systems to advance the technology. 

After installing the BAE Systems launcher and outfitting it with a comprehensive suite of sensors, high-speed cameras and measuring devices, engineers fired successful low-energy test shots to prepare it for the evaluation. The team will conduct tests at 20 megajoules and 32 megajoules, shooting test projectiles similar to what was previously fired through NSWCDD's laboratory launcher. 

"The test series will characterize the gun's performance by shooting several rounds through the barrel at various energy levels to fully exercise the capabilities of the prototype," said Ellis. 

When fully developed, the EM Railgun will give Sailors a dramatically increased multimission capability. Its increased velocity and extended range over traditional shipboard weapons will allow them to conduct precise, long-range naval surface fire support for land strikes; ship self-defense against cruise and ballistic missiles; and surface warfare to deter enemy vessels. The Navy's near-term goal is a 20- to 32-megajoule weapon that shoots a distance of 50 to 100 nautical miles. 

To achieve this, the Navy is moving ahead with the EM Railgun program's next phase: to develop thermal management systems for both the launcher and pulsed power to facilitate increased firing rates of up to 10 rounds per minute. Toward this end, BAE and General Atomics have been contracted to begin concept design of a next-generation thermally managed launcher. 

"The next phase of the development effort is to demonstrate the ability to operate at a firing rate of significant military utility," Ellis said. 

Additionally, ONR awarded contracts through Naval Sea Systems Command to General Atomics, BAE Systems and Raytheon Co. to develop a pulsed power system capable of meeting the firing rate goal. 

Various new and existing ship platforms are currently being analyzed for future integration. 

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. 

USS McFaul Heads to the Arabian Sea

Family members of Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul (DDG 74) wave good-bye as McFaul pulls away from the pier at Naval Station Norfolk.


The guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul (DDG 74) departed Naval Station Norfolk today on a regularly scheduled deployment to the Arabian Sea to participate in counter-piracy operations. 

The crew, commanded by Cmdr. Daniel J. Gillen, has been preparing for this deployment since they returned from their last deployment in August 2010.

"I have a great crew and we are ready for this deployment," praised Gillen. "I like to think this ship is like a Swiss Army Knife; we can do everything, from humanitarian relief to full combat operations."

"I look forward to getting over there and bringing this ship, one of the best ships on the Norfolk waterfront, overseas to do our mission," he added.

This will be McFaul's Command Master Chief Dianne Lohner's seventh and last deployment before retiring later this year. 

"It will be a little bittersweet for me," said Lohner. "But I'm excited about all the new experiences we will have and the Naval traditions that we will continue to pass along." 

"For the new Sailors making their first deployment, I stress with them to make sure they make the most out of every day out there," she added. 

This is the first deployment for Navy wives Hillary Chaney, wife of Sonar Technician (Surface) 3rd Class Bryce Chaney and Annie Verteramo, wife of Electronics Technician 3rd Class Jameson Verteramo, who stood together as the ship pulled out.

"I am proud to know that I am married to a man who is going to do this for our country, even though it's sad that he has to leave to do it," Hillary said.

Annie added, "I feel selfish for not wanting him to leave, but I am definitely proud, it is cool to know that your husband is out there doing this."

McFaul, commissioned in 1998, is the 24th Arleigh Burke-Class Destroyer, and was named after Chief Petty Officer Donald L. McFaul. McFaul was a local SEAL Team 4 hero who was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, the Nation's second highest combat valor award, for his heroic actions in saving his teammates during combat operations in December 1989 as part of Operation Just Cause in Panama.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Navantia and Veercraft Marine sign Memorandum of Understanding



21/02/2012
Navantia and Veercraft Marine sign Memorandum of Understanding
February 2012. – Navantia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Veercraft Marine, the shipbuilding company located in South Africa, in which both parties wish to collaborate with regards to the construction of Offshore Patrol Vessels and Inshore Patrol Vessels for the South Africa Navy, in relation with BIRO Project.
The objective of both companies is to identify and pursue possible business opportunities for the construction of OPV’s and IPV’s for the South African Navy and jointly make the necessary efforts for the award of the BIRO Project.
This MoU reflects the interest of Navantia in cooperating with the South African Navy, offering the most technologically advanced designs in close collaboration with the local industry.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Russian Navy News



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Zavarzin: Russia to Spend RUR 1.853 Trillions on National Security in 201202.22.2012Zavarzin: Russia to Spend RUR 1.853 Trillions on National Security in 2012
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SSN Nerpa Arrives in India Late March 201202.22.2012SSN Nerpa Arrives in India Late March 2012
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Media: Vilyuchinsk Base Cannot Accommodate New Borei Subs 02.22.2012Media: Vilyuchinsk Base Cannot Accommodate New Borei Subs
Media: Vilyuchinsk Base Cannot Accommodate New Borei Subs

Northern Fleet Marines Finished Field Drill 02.21.2012Northern Fleet Marines Finished Field Drill
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Community Will Know if Inflamed Sub Had Nuc Arms Onboard - Rogozin02.21.2012Community Will Know if Inflamed Sub Had Nuc Arms Onboard - Rogozin
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Aircraft-Related Facilities of INS Vikramaditya Almost Ready 02.21.2012Aircraft-Related Facilities of INS Vikramaditya Almost Ready
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Russia to Arm Venezuelan Coast Guard with Missile Systems02.21.2012Russia to Arm Venezuelan Coast Guard with Missile Systems
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Putin: Russian Armed Forces Must Outclass Any Opponent Technically02.20.2012Putin: Russian Armed Forces Must Outclass Any Opponent Technically
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Russian Navy Commander Met with Media02.20.2012Russian Navy Commander Met with Media
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Rogozin: Defense Order to Reach RUR 1 Trillion in 2012 02.20.2012Rogozin: Defense Order to Reach RUR 1 Trillion in 2012
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Russia Wants Ukraine to Justify Taxes on Black Sea Fleet Cargoes02.20.2012Russia Wants Ukraine to Justify Taxes on Black Sea Fleet Cargoes
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Chief of General Staff Explained Bulava Faults 02.20.2012Chief of General Staff Explained Bulava Faults
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Two Nuclear Subs to Join Russian Navy in 201202.20.2012Two Nuclear Subs to Join Russian Navy in 2012
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Rogozin Tabooed Open Quarrels on Military Products Quality02.17.2012Rogozin Tabooed Open Quarrels on Military Products Quality
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Amur Shipyard Starts Construction of Corvette Gromky 02.17.2012Amur Shipyard Starts Construction of Corvette Gromky
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Ukraine Won't Raise Taxes for Russian Fleet – Foreign Ministry02.17.2012Ukraine Won't Raise Taxes for Russian Fleet – Foreign Ministry
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Navy Commander Denied Lada Subs Rejection02.17.2012Navy Commander Denied Lada Subs Rejection
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Russian Mistrals to Obtain Home-Made Arms02.17.2012Russian Mistrals to Obtain Home-Made Arms
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

DCNS conducts first helicopter deck landing trials on FREMM Aquitaine





2012/02/20 -DCNS has achieved formal qualification of the FREMM frigate Aquitaine‘s flight deck for operations with the Lynx helicopter. This milestone was reached several months ahead of schedule after a successful deck landing campaign at sea, organised by the French defence procurement agency (DGA) in early February. Trials were conducted with a Lynx helicopter operated by the French Navy.

Trials to qualify the flight deck of the first-of-class FREMM frigate were conducted in early February and supervised by the DGA. French Navy test pilots completed several series of approaches and as many as 50 deck landings with a Lynx five-tonne class helicopter. The operations were a complete success. In particular, the pilots appreciated the absence of turbulence above the flight deck in all landing positions.
This qualification milestone further demonstrates the excellent progress we are making on the programme,” said Vincent Martinot-Lagarde, FREMM programme manager. “DCNS teams stepped up their efforts to ensure that all the equipment needed for deck landing trials on the vessel was ready ahead of the initial schedule. This first qualification of the FREMM flight deck was initially planned to take place after delivery.
As well as the high quality of the safety, communication and navigation systems used for helicopter approach, landing and handling operations, the DGA teams and French Navy crew appreciated the intuitive layout of the flight deck control room used to coordinate helicopter operations. The control room was designed with the aid of 3D tools and offers unprecedented levels of comfort and usability.
Thanks to the concerted efforts of all the teams involved, FREMM frigate Aquitaine has demonstrated its ability to launch and land Lynx helicopters. The vessel’s hangar area is designed to accommodate one of the NH90 Caiman heavy lift (10-tonne class) helicopters now in service with the French Navy. The first deck landing trials with a Caiman will be conducted in the following weeks.

DSIT Discloses the Israeli Navy as One of Its Customers for the AquaShield™ and PointShield™ Diver Detection Sonar Systems


GIVAT SHMUEL, IsraelFeb. 22, 2012 - DSIT Solutions Ltd., a subsidiary of Acorn Energy, Inc., disclosed today the fact that the Israeli navy has purchased and is using the company's AquaShield™ Diver Detection Sonar (DDS) and PointShield™ Portable Diver Detection Sonar systems. The company provided the systems to the Israeli Navy following a comprehensive review and evaluation process in which the Navy investigated competing systems and selected those of DSIT.
Commander R. Leshem, Head of the Israeli Navy's ASW branch, commented, "We have been operating both the AquaShield™Diver Detection Sonar and PointShield™ Portable Diver Detection Sonar systems for quite some time now, to our complete satisfaction. We operate these systems around the clock to protect critical coastal sites and marine assets. We have found that these systems are reliable, easy to work with, and provide a good answer to our operational requirements. I definitely would not like to be a combat diver on an attack mission facing one of these underwater surveillance systems."
Dan Ben-Dov, DSIT's VP Sales & Marketing, said, "A few years ago, we were very pleased to be the only diver detection sonar manufacturer to successfully pass the Israeli Navy's strict evaluation process. The Israeli Navy is reputed worldwide for its advanced anti-terrorism activities, so their decision to procure DSIT's underwater security systems was an important endorsement of our technology. Today, the fact that the Israeli Navy has made our systems an integral part of its ongoing operations is even more gratifying as it highlights DSIT's position as a leader in the market for underwater port security solutions."
Benny Sela, DSIT's CEO, commented that, "We greatly value our good working relations with the Israeli Navy, which has been an important source of feedback regarding their operation of our systems, and are proud to be a vital element in their advanced security framework. DSIT is continuing to enhance its systems based on feedback from all of our customers."
John Moore, CEO of Acorn Energy added: "We are honored and pleased that the Israeli Navy shares our confidence in DSIT's products and team.  Benny and Dan continue to do an outstanding job of not only making the sale, but also effectively collaborating with their customers on a continual basis to ensure optimal performance of the critical security monitoring systems required by today's tumultuous, world-wide conditions."

MOD to order four new RFA tankers


22 Feb 12

A new generation of 37,000-tonne tankers is to be ordered for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) to support future Royal Navy operations around the globe, the MOD has announced today.
Replenishment at sea
A fuel probe comes across the lines from a Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker vessel during a replenishment at sea [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Simmo Simpson, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

The new Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) tankers will maintain the Royal Navy's ability to refuel at sea and will provide fuel to warships and task groups.
They will support deployed amphibious, land and air forces close to the shore, will be able to operate helicopters, and are planned to enter service from 2016, replacing existing Royal Fleet Auxiliary single-hulled tankers.
At over 200 metres long, the four tankers will be approximately the same length as 14 double-decker buses and be able to pump enough fuel to fill two olympic-sized swimming pools in an hour.
Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Peter Luff, announced that Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) is the Government's preferred bidder for the deal. This represents the best value for taxpayers' money, with £452m to be spent on the four new vessels to support the Royal Navy on operations around the world.
A number of British companies took part in the competition, but none submitted a final bid for the build contract. In light of this, the best option for Defence, and value for money for taxpayers, is for the tankers to be constructed in South Korea by DSME.

Sailor watches waves generated during replenishment at sea
A junior sailor keeps a watchful eye on the waves generated between the two ships during a replenishment at sea [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Simmo Simpson, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

UK companies will however benefit from £150m of associated contracts comprising:
• £90m on UK contracts for the provision of key equipment, systems, design and support services. The winning design is being provided by UK company BMT Defence Services
• £60m investment in the UK from customisation, trials and specialist engineering support.
The tankers are part of a multi-billion pound investment programme for the Royal Navy, which includes Type 45 destroyers, Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers and Astute Class attack submarines, employing thousands of people in the UK.
Mr Luff said:
"Over the next decade, the Government will be investing billions of pounds in our maritime capabilities to ensure that our Royal Navy remains a formidable fighting force. This project will inject up to £150m into UK industry, and support and maintenance will also be carried out in the UK. The Government remains committed to building complex warships in UK shipyards."
HMS Liverpool conducts a replenishment at sea
HMS Liverpool conducts a replenishment at sea [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Caz Davies, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

Commodore Bill Walworth, Head of the RFA, said:
"We are delighted the RFA will be able to operate these world class vessels. These fleet replenishment tankers will be flexible ships, able to operate with the Royal Navy and Armed Forces in conflict, and are designed to allow for upgrades and emerging technologies, meaning that they have been designed with the future in mind."
The Chief of Defence Materiel, Bernard Gray, said:
"The competition for the contract sought to engage shipbuilders from across the globe. I believe the winning bidder's solution will offer the UK the best value for money.
"The MARS tanker is an exceptionally versatile platform; able to simultaneously refuel an aircraft carrier and destroyer whilst undertaking helicopter resupply of other vessels. I am looking forward to the award of the contract and the work that will follow in the lead up to the delivery of the ships."

Monday, February 20, 2012

DOD Identifies Navy Casualty



             The Department of Defense announced today the death of a sailor who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. 
            Petty Officer First Class Paris S. Pough, 40, of Columbus, Ga. died Feb. 17, during a port visit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  Pough, a hull technician, was assigned to the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), home-ported in San Diego, Calif. 

Navy's next helicopter completes trials on HMS Iron Duke


The Royal Navy's next generation helicopter, Wildcat, has completed 20 days of demanding trials aboard HMS Iron Duke, laying the groundwork for future operations.

Wildcat helicopter
A Wildcat helicopter undergoing trials from HMS Iron Duke [Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]

Wildcat landed nearly 400 times on the frigate's flight deck by day and night in various weather conditions as the ship sailed off the coasts of southern England and northern Scotland.
The Portsmouth-based frigate sought the most challenging weather conditions around the UK as she took the Wildcat - successor to the long-serving Lynx - to sea to help write the rulebook for the new helicopter.

From 2015, Wildcat will be the principal helicopter used by Royal Navy frigates, including Iron Duke and her Type 23 sisters, and destroyers on operations around the globe.
Although Wildcat looks like the final variant of the Lynx Mk8, currently in service with the Fleet Air Arm, it is classed as a new aircraft - it handles differently for a start, not least thanks to new engines and the distinctive tail boom which marks Wildcat out from its forebears.
As a result, a new rulebook has to be written to define what are known as 'ship-helicopter operating limits' - the guidelines for safe Wildcat operations by day and night in various weather conditions and with different payloads.

A Wildcat helicopter leaves HMS Iron Duke
A Wildcat helicopter leaves HMS Iron Duke [Picture: Lee Howard Photography 2012]

For that, Wildcat needed to go to sea. It enjoyed two ten-day periods of trials aboard Iron Duke, one in mid-January, the second at the beginning of this month, ranging from the waters off the South Coast to the Western Approaches, Irish Sea and northern shores of Scotland as the frigate searched for suitable weather conditions to lay down the limits for safe Wildcat operations.
In all, Wildcat touched down on Iron Duke's flight deck 390 times, including 148 night landings - 76 of them using night-vision goggles.
From Iron Duke's viewpoint, the new helicopter certainly impressed. Commander Nick Cooke-Priest, the frigate's Commanding Officer, said:
"Wildcat is a very capable aircraft, a completely valued successor to the Lynx, and once fully mature will provide significantly enhanced capability to the maritime domain."
Prototype ZZ402 paid a brief visit to Iron Duke just before Christmas, when pilots and technicians tested some of the basics such as whether the flight deck recovery system could pull Wildcat into the hangar, did Wildcat fit in the hangar, can it be easily refuelled and rearmed and 'talk' to the frigate's command systems, all of which were in the affirmative.

A Wildcat helicopter comes in to land on the flight deck of HMS Iron Duke
A Wildcat helicopter comes in to land on the flight deck of HMS Iron Duke
[Picture: Lee Howard Photography 2012]

The prototype's two Fleet Air Arm test pilots assessed and scored the difficulty and workload required for each landing in each different weather condition or sea state, while a myriad of sensors recorded more than 4,000 different items of data from the helicopter's engines, rotor and transmission.
These included video feeds from all the crew positions, stresses and strains from all over the airframe and rotor blades, engine and gearbox parameters and undercarriage loadings.
The crew scores and reams of data are now being analysed by experts (it'll take them until towards the end of the year) to set the limits for day and night operations by Wildcat at sea in various conditions and with various payloads.
In addition to the test pilots, two flight test engineers, aircraft and stress engineers, instrumentation experts and ship's flight personnel (to carry out maintenance on the prototype and move it in and out of the frigate's hangar) - a good 30 extra souls in all - squeezed aboard the Type 23, which was fitted with accurate ship motion and wind sensors for the tests.
Wildcat helicopter landing on HMS Iron Duke's flight deck
A Wildcat helicopter landing on HMS Iron Duke's flight deck [Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]

The trials team used the opportunity of operating Wildcat at sea for the first time to test its mission systems, night-vision cockpit and navigation systems, paving the way for the helicopter's front line duties in three years' time.
Commander Cooke-Priest said that the helicopter is 'ideally suited to the nature and breadth of naval operations', and added that:
"Commanders should be very excited by Wildcat's potential."
While Wildcats work their way along the production line at AgustaWestland's Yeovil factory, ZZ402 will continue her trials, including tests of radar, electro-optics and navigational kit, and conducting missile firings.
The first of 28 naval variants of Wildcat is due to be delivered to its future home of Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton ten days before Christmas for trials with 700W Naval Air Squadron.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Russian Navy News



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Andrei Fomichev: Severnaya Verf to Build Nuclear-Powered Warships 02.16.2012Andrei Fomichev: Severnaya Verf to Build Nuclear-Powered Warships
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NF Pilots Returned to Home Airbase02.16.2012NF Pilots Returned to Home Airbase
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Turn Ekranoplan into Museum, Nizhny Novgorod Mayor Said02.16.2012Turn Ekranoplan into Museum, Nizhny Novgorod Mayor Said
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Strength Hull Sections for SSK Novorossiysk Completed02.16.2012Strength Hull Sections for SSK Novorossiysk Completed
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Defense Minister Arrives at Northern Fleet to Meet Aircraft Carrier02.16.2012Defense Minister Arrives at Northern Fleet to Meet Aircraft Carrier
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Novorossiysk Naval Base Obtained New Commander 02.15.2012Novorossiysk Naval Base Obtained New Commander
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BSF Hydrographic Ship Surveyed Responsibility Area02.15.2012BSF Hydrographic Ship Surveyed Responsibility Area
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BLACKSEAFOR Planning Group Convenes in Krasnodar Region02.15.2012BLACKSEAFOR Planning Group Convenes in Krasnodar Region
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Media: Modernization of SLBM Sineva Makes Navy 2.5 Times Stronger 02.15.2012Media: Modernization of SLBM Sineva Makes Navy 2.5 Times Stronger
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Ukraine to Lay New Taxes on Russian Naval Base 02.15.2012Ukraine to Lay New Taxes on Russian Naval Base
Ukraine to Lay New Taxes on Russian Naval Base

BF Frigate Yaroslav Mudry Proved Worthiness in Deployment02.15.2012BF Frigate Yaroslav Mudry Proved Worthiness in Deployment
BF Frigate Yaroslav Mudry Proved Worthiness in Deployment

Russia to Get 16 Nuc Subs by 202002.14.2012Russia to Get 16 Nuc Subs by 2020
Russia to Get 16 Nuc Subs by 2020

Anatoly Serdiukov Visited Baltic Fleet02.14.2012Anatoly Serdiukov Visited Baltic Fleet
Anatoly Serdiukov Visited Baltic Fleet

Russian Mistrals Can Pass Service Maintenance in St. Petersburg02.14.2012Russian Mistrals Can Pass Service Maintenance in St. Petersburg
Russian Mistrals Can Pass Service Maintenance in St. Petersburg

US Supplies Antarctic Station by Russian Icebreaker02.14.2012US Supplies Antarctic Station by Russian Icebreaker
US Supplies Antarctic Station by Russian Icebreaker

Defense Ministry Ineffectively Spent RUR 2.4 Bln02.14.2012Defense Ministry Ineffectively Spent RUR 2.4 Bln
Defense Ministry Ineffectively Spent RUR 2.4 Bln

Officer Committed Suicide in Submarine02.13.2012Officer Committed Suicide in Submarine
Officer Committed Suicide in Submarine

ASW Ship Admiral Panteleyev Returned to Vladivostok 02.13.2012ASW Ship Admiral Panteleyev Returned to Vladivostok
ASW Ship Admiral Panteleyev Returned to Vladivostok

Research Ship Seliger Started Mooring Trials02.13.2012Research Ship Seliger Started Mooring Trials
Research Ship Seliger Started Mooring Trials










Baltic Fleet Frigate Yaroslav Mudry Completed Deployment


Baltic Fleet Frigate Yaroslav Mudry Completed Deployment