Saturday, June 30, 2012

Hasan Trial Set for Aug. 20 as Judge Denies Continuance

Hasan nidal.jpg 

FORT HOOD, Texas, June 29, 2012 - The trial of an Army psychiatrist accused of killing 12 soldiers and a civilian employee here in a Nov. 5, 2009, shooting rampage that left 30 others injured will start as scheduled Aug. 20, a military judge ruled today.
Army Col. Gregory Gross denied Maj. Nidal M. Hasan's request for a further continuance until December.
Gross also submitted to questioning from Hasan's defense counsel concerning whether he was biased against the accused and ruled that he was not and that no implied bias existed. After announcement of that ruling, defense counsel stated their intention to appeal the military judge's refusal to recuse himself to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals.
In another matter pertaining to the case, the judge ruled that the commanding general of 3rd Corps and Fort Hood and his staff judge advocate must make themselves available for a joint interview by defense counsel concerning the referral of the case for trial by court-martial.
Hasan was not present in court today and viewed the proceedings via a closed-circuit feed in a trailer next to the courthouse. The judge announced that Hasan still was not clean-shaven as required by Army regulations, that the Army had declined to grant him a religious accommodation for the beard, and that the Army Court of Criminal Appeals refused to hear his appeal of the judge's decision last week to remove him from the courtroom because of the beard.
The judge is expected to rule on other pending motions and take up any new motions at a hearing scheduled for July 6.

DOD, Japan Move Forward on Osprey Fleet Upgrade


WASHINGTON, June 29, 2012 - Working closely with the Japanese government, the Defense Department will replace CH-46 helicopters used by the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force in Okinawa with MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft for operations beginning in August.
At a Pentagon news conference today, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said U.S. officials have had "very good discussions with our Japanese allies" and have given them assurances regarding concerns about the aircraft's safety record.
"But the important thing, we felt, was to be able to deploy these planes there, and that we will continue to brief them with regards to the operations of these planes," the secretary said.
"Actually, we think we've reached a very good compromise here. ... I think we've been able to relieve their concerns with what we've presented to them," Panetta continued. "But we're going to continue to work with them. The good thing is that our ability to deploy these forces will certainly help us with regards to our whole rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific region."
Recent accidents involving an MV-22 and a CV-22 aircraft raised concerns about the fleet upgrade by the governor of Okinawa, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said June 20. Senior Defense Department officials briefed a Japanese delegation on the incidents at the Pentagon June 22.
On April 11 in Morocco, an MV-22 crashed while taking part in a bilateral military exercise. There were no casualties. Flight data indicates the aircraft performed as expected. In a statement, DOD officials said the U.S. Marine Corps determined the aircraft did not suffer a mechanical or material failure and there were no problems with the aircraft's safety.
Earlier this month, a CV-22 crashed during a training mission in Navarre, Fla., leaving five crew members injured. A preliminary review uncovered no information that would preclude the aircraft's continued operation, Pentagon officials said.
The Defense Department, including senior U.S. Air Force leaders, stands behind the CV-22's reliability and is convinced the aircraft is safe for operation, officials said in a statement.
The MV-22 Osprey operates with the speed and range of a turboprop, the maneuverability of a helicopter and the ability to carry 24 Marine combat troops. It travels twice as fast and five times farther than previous helicopters.
The Air Force CV-22 Osprey is a special operations variant of the aircraft. It can fly like an airplane and land like a helicopter.
In response to remaining safety concerns, officials said, the MV-22 will not fly in Japan until results of the investigations are presented to the Japanese government in August. During this time, Japan will be the only location worldwide, including the continental United States, where MV-22 flight operations will be suspended, they added.
The MV-22 Osprey has an excellent safety record and has logged more than 115,000 flight hours, the Defense Department statement said. About a third of those flight hours were flown during the last two years, the statement continued, and the Osprey achieved these flight hours performing combat operations, humanitarian assistance, training, and test and evaluation missions.
Basing the Osprey in Okinawa will strengthen the U.S. ability to provide for the defense of Japan, perform humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, and fulfill other alliance roles, the Pentagon statement said.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Russian Navy News


July 29: Last Day of FRUKUS-2012 Sea Phase06.28.2012July 29: Last Day of FRUKUS-2012 Sea Phase
July 29: Last Day of FRUKUS-2012 Sea Phase

Northern Fleet ASW Aircraft Held Training Flights06.28.2012Northern Fleet ASW Aircraft Held Training Flights
Northern Fleet ASW Aircraft Held Training Flights

Russia, India to Hold First Launch of BrahMos Submarine-Based Missile06.28.2012Russia, India to Hold First Launch of BrahMos Submarine-Based Missile
Russia, India to Hold First Launch of BrahMos Submarine-Based Missile

Scandalous British Furniture Supplier Looks for Russian-Speaking Director06.28.2012Scandalous British Furniture Supplier Looks for Russian-Speaking Director
Scandalous British Furniture Supplier Looks for Russian-Speaking Director

Repair of SSBN Yekaterinburg Started Without Military Contract06.27.2012Repair of SSBN Yekaterinburg Started Without Military Contract
Repair of SSBN Yekaterinburg Started Without Military Contract

Media: New Destroyers to Carry S-500 Missile Defense System06.27.2012Media: New Destroyers to Carry S-500 Missile Defense System
Media: New Destroyers to Carry S-500 Missile Defense System

Corvette Volgodonsk Joins Caspian Flotilla on June 2906.27.2012Corvette Volgodonsk Joins Caspian Flotilla on June 29
Corvette Volgodonsk Joins Caspian Flotilla on June 29

Russian Destroyer Escorts Fifth Convoy Thru Gulf of Aden06.26.2012Russian Destroyer Escorts Fifth Convoy Thru Gulf of Aden
Russian Destroyer Escorts Fifth Convoy Thru Gulf of Aden

Viktor Chirkov: Russian Navy Does Need Tartus Base06.26.2012Viktor Chirkov: Russian Navy Does Need Tartus Base
Viktor Chirkov: Russian Navy Does Need Tartus Base

06.26.2012Cargo Ship Alaed Obtained Russian Flag
Cargo Ship Alaed Obtained Russian Flag
Sea Phase of FRUKUS-2012 Exercise Begins06.26.2012Sea Phase of FRUKUS-2012 Exercise Begins
Sea Phase of FRUKUS-2012 Exercise Begins

Borei-Class SSBN Yury Dolgoruky Joins Navy till July 2906.25.2012Borei-Class SSBN Yury Dolgoruky Joins Navy till July 29
Borei-Class SSBN Yury Dolgoruky Joins Navy till July 29

USC to Construct World-Standard Shipyard for RUR 60 Bln06.25.2012USC to Construct World-Standard Shipyard for RUR 60 Bln
USC to Construct World-Standard Shipyard for RUR 60 Bln

Construction of Mistral Hulls in Russia Costs RUR 2.7 Bln06.25.2012Construction of Mistral Hulls in Russia Costs RUR 2.7 Bln
Construction of Mistral Hulls in Russia Costs RUR 2.7 Bln

MV Alaed to Head for Syria Escorted and Flying Russian Flag06.25.2012MV Alaed to Head for Syria Escorted and Flying Russian Flag
MV Alaed to Head for Syria Escorted and Flying Russian Flag

SSBN Yekaterinburg Arrived at Zvezdochka Shipyard for Repairs06.25.2012SSBN Yekaterinburg Arrived at Zvezdochka Shipyard for Repairs
SSBN Yekaterinburg Arrived at Zvezdochka Shipyard for Repairs

SLBM Bulava Ready to Enter Service06.25.2012SLBM Bulava Ready to Enter Service
SLBM Bulava Ready to Enter Service

United Technologies Subsidiary Pleads Guilty to Criminal Charges for Helping China Develop New Attack Helicopter

Pratt & Whitney Canada: Dependable

United Technologies, Pratt & Whitney Canada and Hamilton Sundstrand Corporations Also Agree to Pay More Than $75 Million to U.S. Government
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Pratt & Whitney Canada Corp. (PWC), a Canadian subsidiary of the Connecticut-based defense contractor United Technologies Corporation (UTC), today pleaded guilty to violating the Arms Export Control Act and making false statements in connection with its illegal export to China of U.S.-origin military software used in the development of China’s first modern military attack helicopter, the Z-10.
In addition, UTC, its U.S.-based subsidiary Hamilton Sundstrand Corporation (HSC) and PWC have all agreed to pay more than $75 million as part of a global settlement with the Justice Department and State Department in connection with the China arms export violations and for making false and belated disclosures to the U.S. government about these illegal exports.  Roughly $20.7 million of this sum is to be paid to the Justice Department.  The remaining $55 million is payable to the State Department as part of a separate consent agreement to resolve outstanding export issues, including those related to the Z-10.  Up to $20 million of this penalty can be suspended if applied by UTC to remedial compliance measures.  As part of the settlement, the companies admitted conduct set forth in a stipulated and publicly filed statement of facts.

China Military Review Photo

Today’s actions were announced by David B. Fein, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut; Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; John Morton, Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); Ed Bradley, Special Agent in Charge of the Northeast Field Office of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS); Kimberly K. Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI New Haven Division; David Mills, Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement; and Andrew J. Shapiro, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs.

The Charges
Today in the District of Connecticut, the Justice Department filed a three-count criminal information charging UTC, PWC and HSC.  Count One charges PWC with violating the Arms Export Control Act in connection with the illegal export of defense articles to China for the Z-10 helicopter.  Count Two charges PWC, UTC and HSC with making false statements to the U.S. government in their belated disclosures relating to the illegal exports.  Count Three charges PWC and HSC with failure to timely inform the U.S. government of exports of defense articles to China.
While PWC has pleaded guilty to Counts One and Two, the Justice Department has recommended that prosecution of UTC and HSC on Count Two, and PWC and HSC on Count Three be deferred for two years, provided the companies abide by the terms of a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department.  As part of the agreement, the companies must pay $75 million and retain an Independent Monitor to monitor and assess their compliance with export laws for the next two years.
The Export Scheme
Since 1989, the United States has imposed a prohibition upon the export to China of all U.S. defense articles and associated technical data as a result of the conduct in June 1989 at Tiananmen Square by the military of the People’s Republic of China.  In February 1990, the U.S. Congress imposed a prohibition upon licenses or approvals for the export of defense articles to the People’s Republic of China.  In codifying the embargo, Congress specifically named helicopters for inclusion in the ban.
Dating back to the 1980s, China sought to develop a military attack helicopter.  Beginning in the 1990s, after Congress had imposed the prohibition on exports to China, China sought to develop its attack helicopter under the guise of a civilian medium helicopter program in order to secure Western assistance.  The Z-10, developed with assistance from Western suppliers, is China’s first modern military attack helicopter.
During the development phases of China’s Z-10 program, each Z-10 helicopter was powered by engines supplied by PWC.  PWC delivered 10 of these development engines to China in 2001 and 2002.  Despite the military nature of the Z-10 helicopter, PWC determined on its own that these development engines for the Z-10 did not constitute “defense articles,” requiring a U.S. export license, because they were identical to those engines PWC was already supplying China for a commercial helicopter. 
Because the Electronic Engine Control software, made by HSC in the United States to test and operate the PWC engines, was modified for a military helicopter application, it was a defense article and required a U.S. export license.  Still, PWC knowingly and willfully caused this software to be exported to China for the Z-10 without any U.S. export license.  In 2002 and 2003, PWC caused six versions of the military software to be illegally exported from HSC in the United States to PWC in Canada, and then to China, where it was used in the PWC engines for the Z-10. 
According to court documents, PWC knew from the start of the Z-10 project in 2000 that the Chinese were developing an attack helicopter and that supplying it with U.S.-origin components would be illegal.  When the Chinese claimed that a civil version of the helicopter would be developed in parallel, PWC marketing personnel expressed skepticism internally about the “sudden appearance” of the civil program, the timing of which they questioned as “real or imagined.”  PWC nevertheless saw an opening for PWC “to insist on exclusivity in [the] civil version of this helicopter,” and stated that the Chinese would “no longer make reference to the military program.” PWC failed to notify UTC or HSC about the attack helicopter until years later and purposely turned a blind eye to the helicopter’s military application. 
HSC in the United States had believed it was providing its software to PWC for a civilian helicopter in China, based on claims from PWC.  By early 2004, HSC learned there might an export problem and stopped working on the Z-10 project.  UTC also began to ask PWC about the exports to China for the Z-10.  Regardless, PWC on its own modified the software and continued to export it to China through June 2005.
According to court documents, PWC’s illegal conduct was driven by profit.  PWC anticipated that its work on the Z-10 military attack helicopter in China would open the door to a far more lucrative civilian helicopter market in China, which according to PWC estimates, was potentially worth as much as $2 billion to PWC. 
Belated and False Disclosures to U.S. Government
These companies failed to disclose to the U.S. government the illegal exports to China for several years and only did so after an investor group queried UTC in early 2006 about whether PWC’s role in China’s Z-10 attack helicopter might violate U.S. laws.  The companies then made an initial disclosure to the State Department in July 2006, with follow-up submissions in August and September 2006. 
The 2006 disclosures contained numerous false statements.  Among other things, the companies falsely asserted that they were unaware until 2003 or 2004 that the Z-10 program involved a military helicopter.  In fact, by the time of the disclosures, all three companies were aware that PWC officials knew at the project’s inception in 2000 that the Z-10 program involved an attack helicopter. 
Today, the Z-10 helicopter is in production and initial batches were delivered to the People’s Liberation Army of China in 2009 and 2010.  The primary mission of the Z-10 is anti-armor and battlefield interdiction.  Weapons of the Z-10 have included 30 mm cannons, anti-tank guided missiles, air-to-air missiles and unguided rockets.
“PWC exported controlled U.S. technology to China, knowing it would be used in the development of a military attack helicopter in violation of the U.S. arms embargo with China,” said U.S. Attorney Fein.  “PWC took what it described internally as a ‘calculated risk,’ because it wanted to become the exclusive supplier for a civil helicopter market in China with projected revenues of up to two billion dollars.  Several years after the violations were known, UTC, HSC and PWC disclosed the violations to the government and made false statements in doing so.  The guilty pleas by PWC and the agreement reached with all three companies should send a clear message that any corporation that willfully sends export controlled material to an embargoed nation will be prosecuted and punished, as will those who know about it and fail to make a timely and truthful disclosure.”

“Due in part to the efforts of these companies, China was able to develop its first modern military attack helicopter with restricted U.S. defense technology.  As today’s case demonstrates, the Justice Department will spare no effort to hold accountable those who compromise U.S. national security for the sake of profits and then lie about it to the government,” said Assistant Attorney General Monaco.  “I thank the agents, analysts and prosecutors who helped bring about this important case.”
“This case is a clear example of how the illegal export of sensitive technology reduces the advantages our military currently possesses,” said ICE Director Morton.  “I am hopeful that the conviction of Pratt & Whitney Canada and the substantial penalty levied against United Technologies and its subsidiaries will deter other companies from considering similarly ill-conceived business practices in the future.  American military prowess depends on lawful, controlled exports of sensitive technology by U.S. industries and their subsidiaries, which is why ICE will continue its present campaign to aggressively investigate and prosecute criminal violations of U.S. export laws relating to national security.”
“Today’s charges and settlement demonstrate the continued commitment of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) and fellow agencies to protect sensitive U.S. defense technology from being illegally exported,” said DCIS Special Agent in Charge Bradley.  “Safeguarding our military technology is vital to our nation’s defense and the protection of our war fighters both home and abroad.  We know that foreign governments are actively seeking U.S. defense technology for their own development.  Thwarting these efforts is a top priority for DCIS.  I applaud the agents and prosecutors who worked tirelessly to bring about this result.”
“Preventing the loss of critical U.S. information and technologies is one of the most important investigative priorities of the FBI,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Mertz.  “Our adversaries routinely target sensitive research and development data and intellectual property from universities, government agencies, manufacturers, and defense contractors.  While the thefts associated with economic espionage and illegal technology transfers may not capture the same level of attention as a terrorist incident, the costs to the U.S. economy and our national security are substantial.  Violations of the Arms Export Control Act put our nation at risk and the FBI, along with all of our federal agency partners, are committed to ensuring that embargoed technologies do not fall into the wrong hands.  Those who violate these laws should expect to be held accountable.  An important part of the FBI’s strategy in this area involves the development of strategic partnerships.  In that regard, the FBI looks forward to future coordination with UTC and its subsidiaries to strengthen information sharing and counterintelligence awareness.”
“Protecting national security is our top priority,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement Mills.  “Today’s action sends a clear signal that federal law enforcement agencies will work together diligently to prevent U.S. technology from falling into the wrong hands.”
Assistant Secretary Shapiro, of the State Department’s Bureau of Political and Military Affairs, said, “Today’s $75 million settlement with United Technologies Corporation sends a clear message:  willful violators of U.S. arms export control regulations will be pursued and punished.  The successful resolution of this case is the byproduct of the tireless work of our compliance officers and highlights the relentless commitment of the State Department to protect sensitive American technologies from being illegally transferred.”
U.S. Attorney Fein commended the many agencies involved in this investigation, including ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in New Haven; the DCIS in New Haven; the New Haven Division of the FBI; the Department of Commerce’s Boston Office of Export Enforcement.  He also praised the Office of the HSI Attaché in Toronto, which was essential to the initiation and investigation of this matter, and the State Department’s Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, for its critical role in the global resolution of this matter.
The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen B. Reynolds and Michael J. Gustafson from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, with assistance from Steven Pelak and Ryan Fayhee of the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

LCS Completes First Stage Of Surface Warfare Developmental Testing

The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) arrives in San Diego Harbor as she completes her maiden deployment.

The U.S. Navy completed the first stage of developmental testing for the Littoral Combat Ship surface warfare mission package, June 24. 

USS Freedom (LCS 1), the first ship of the class, conducted tests and demonstrations of key mission package components, including the MK 46 gun weapon system, 11-meter rigid hull inflatable boats and an MH-60R helicopter outfitted with a Hellfire missile simulator and .50-caliber and 7.62mm machine guns.

"The capabilities included in the surface warfare mission package will project power and presence in key overseas environments," said Rear Adm. James Murdoch, program executive officer Littoral Combat Ships. "An LCS outfitted with these capabilities, teamed with the ship's inherent speed and maneuverability, will provide a capability in a single platform never before available to the U.S. Navy." 

The LCS program's modular approach allows the Navy to rapidly reconfigure each ship with focused mission packages to meet warfighter requirements. To ensure these mission package systems are able to meet their missions, the Navy has implemented a rigorous test and risk mitigation program.

The primary function of the surface warfare mission package is to provide fleet protection from small boats and other asymmetrical threats. The package can also be used to provide operational security in interdiction missions against terrorist suspects and high seas pirates, and can provide defense against shore attacks while operating in the littorals.

"Although data collected during testing remains under analysis, the systems accomplished each of the challenging test scenarios," said Capt. John Ailes, program manager for LCS Mission Module Integration. "The LCS program continues to mature and demonstrate that this ground-breaking concept of operations works and works well." 

Test results will provide an operational snapshot, allowing the Navy to continue to review the performance of these systems. Phase two developmental testing is currently scheduled for August 2013 and, upon completion of developmental testing, the mission package is scheduled to enter initial operational test and evaluation, in January 2014. The mission package is scheduled for initial operational capability and delivery in fiscal year 2014.

Currently 55 ships of the LCS class are planned, along with 24 surface warfare mission packages, 24 mine countermeasures mission packages and 16 anti-submarine warfare mission packages. 

Alion Awarded Contract Valued at up to $542 Million to Support Navy’s “Team Submarine”Alion Awarded Contract Valued at up to $542 Million to Support Navy’s “Team Submarine”

Alion Science and Technology, a global engineering, R&D, IT and operational solutions company, has been awarded a contract valued at up to $542 million to provide technical and management expertise to support the U.S. Navy’s submarine force. The contract, issued by the Naval Sea Systems Command, covers a full range of services to the Team Submarine Program Offices, including engineering, logistics, program management and business and financial management.
“Alion’s experts have been supporting the submarine force for decades, so we fully understand the environment in which they operate. This means we can implement solutions that can make the undersea fleet faster, quieter, safer and more powerful, while meeting the Navy’s financial goals.”
Team Submarine unifies submarine-related organizations across the Navy to focus on strategies and solutions for undersea warfare research, development and acquisition.
“The U.S. undersea forces are crucial to the nation’s security strategy,” said Rod Riddick, Alion Senior Vice President. “Alion’s experts have been supporting the submarine force for decades, so we fully understand the environment in which they operate. This means we can implement solutions that can make the undersea fleet faster, quieter, safer and more powerful, while meeting the Navy’s financial goals.”
The contract supports the acquisition, development, and maintenance of submarines, sensors, combat systems, weapons and payloads. The period of performance runs through June 2017.

Imtech Marine to power Turkish Navy Submarine Rescue vessels

Rotterdam - Imtech Marine announces that Elkon (Istanbul), member of Imtech Marine , signed a contract for the design and supply of the complete electrical systems to power three Turkish Navy Auxiliary vessels. The vessels, consisting of  one Submarine Rescue Mother Ship (MoShip) and two Rescue and Towing Ships (RATships) will be built by Istanbul Shipyard in Tuzla Turkey and are scheduled to be delivered to the  Turkish Navy  by mid of 2015.
Elkon is contracted by Istanbul Shipyard  to design, supply and commission the complete package of electrical systems. The supply range involves major components of the power generation, power distribution and propulsion systems and integrated vessel management system including power management and machinery monitoring & control. Electrical engineering and onboard installations, Integrated Logistic Support and ships’ engine-room and bridge consoles are also part of Elkon’s scope. Elkon, Turkish maritime technical service provider, is a member of Imtech Marine since 2010. The core of its activities consists of electrical and automation system integration, including complete onboard electrical installations. Elkon has a renowned reputation and excellent relationships with the Turkish Navy and Shipyards.
The MoShip will be capable of providing the lifesaving support to a disabled submarine and evacuating the crew. The RatShip will be capable of towing ships as well as firefighting. Both ships will be equipped with modern rescue systems and equipment such as remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV), atmospheric diving suit (ADS), submarine ventilation system, emergency life support system, pressure chambers etc.. The ships can perform underwater repair works and wreck removal through divers, atmospheric diving suit and ROVs & heli operations. MoShip will have the necessary infrastructure for the deployment of both the US Submarine Rescue Diving and Recompression System (SRDRS) and NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS). The availability of two different rescue concepts provides an opportunity for cooperation with other navies.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Second-Generation Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System Completes Second Successful Intercept Flight Test

A Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block 1B interceptor is launched from the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) for the second time during a Missile Defense Agency test in the Pacific Ocean.

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and Sailors of USS Lake Erie (CG 70) successfully conducted a flight test of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system June 26.

The test resulted in the intercept of a separating ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean by the Navy's newest missile defense interceptor missile, the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block 1B.

At 11:15 pm Hawaii Standard Time (5:15 am EDT June 27), the target missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, located on Kauai, Hawaii. The target flew on a northwesterly trajectory towards a broad ocean area of the Pacific Ocean. Following target launch, USS Lake Erie detected and tracked the missile with its onboard  radar. The ship, equipped with the second-generation Aegis BMD 4.0.1 weapon system, developed a fire control solution and launched the SM-3 Block IB missile.

Lake Erie continued to track the target and sent trajectory information to the SM-3 Block IB missile in-flight. The SM-3 maneuvered to a point in space, as designated by the fire control solution, and released its kinetic warhead. The kinetic warhead acquired the target, diverted into its path, and, using only the force of a direct impact, engaged and destroyed the threat in a hit-to-kill intercept.

Today's test event was the second consecutive successful intercept test of the SM-3 Block IB missile and the second-generation Aegis BMD 4.0.1 weapon system. The first successful SM-3 Block IB intercept occurred May 9, 2012. Today's intercept is a critical accomplishment for the second phase of the President's European Phased Adaptive Approach consisting of the SM-3 Block 1B interceptor employed in an Aegis Ashore system in Romania in 2015.

Initial indications are that all components performed as designed resulting in a very accurate intercept.

This was the 23rd successful intercept in 28 flight test firings for the Aegis BMD program. Across all Ballistic Missile Defense System programs, it is the 54th successful hit-to-kill intercept in 68 flight tests since 2001.

Aegis BMD is the sea-based midcourse component of the MDA's Ballistic Missile Defense System and is designed to intercept and destroy short to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats. The MDA and the U.S. Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD Program.

USS New York Lands Apache Helicopters

Amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21) added another milestone to her maiden deployment with the landing of a U.S. Army AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter on its flight deck, June 22.

The Army aviators of 3-159 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion (ARB) landed during a joint training exercise designed to improve the Army and Navy's proficiency when landing on ships, and the ability to accommodate them while on board. 

"This was great training for our Air Department, and it's always nice to work with other branches of services," said Lt. Patrick Blind, air operations officer aboard New York. "It also adds another capability to New York's arsenal."

The capability enables the Army to use New York as a staging base to project power anywhere.

"To come out here and do something a lot of people don't get to do is a good opportunity," said Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Kevin Martin, an Apache pilot assigned to the 3-159 ARB. "It broadens the unit and the pilot's capabilities." 

New York's Air Department benefited from the evolution as well. Aviation Boatswain's Mate [Handling] 3rd Class Hannah Marihugh participated in ship's milestone by being the first New York Sailor to guide an Apache helicopter onto the ship's flight deck. 

"It was exciting and something different. I've never seen an Apache helicopter before, and didn't know what to expect," said Marihugh. 

New York and embarked Marines of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit are part of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group. The ship is on her maiden deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ice patrol ship photos win Royal Navy annual awards

26 Jun 12

Pictures of the Royal Navy's ice patrol ship HMS Protector have won this year's Peregrine Trophy, the Royal Navy's annual photographic competition.
HMS Protector
Winner of the Peregrine Trophy: HMS Protector off James Ross Island in Antarctica
[Picture: LA(Phot) Arron Hoare, Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]
The awards ceremony for the competition took place at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich last night, where the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, announced the winners.
This year's entries included photos from naval photographers deployed in Afghanistan, and on counter-piracy operations and other operations both abroad and in the UK.
See the gallery at Related Links for more photos from the competition.
The entries were judged by a panel of experts from the photographic world in a range of categories, with prizes presented at a reception in the beautiful Old Royal Naval College.
The Peregrine Trophy itself is awarded to the unit which submits the best portfolio of images. They can be taken by one photographer or several.
This year's winning portfolio came from Leading Airman (Photographer) Arron Hoare, who captured the Antarctic's dramatic winter wilderness while he served on the ice patrol ship HMS Protector.
LA(Phot) Hoare's Peregrine Trophy win is even more impressive since it is his first time at sea, as a new entry into the photographic branch. Previously he served at sea as an Able Seaman Communicator.
The winning portfolio captured the experiences of HMS Protector's company as they served in a ship at the end of the world. As well as assisting UK research and exploration in the Antarctic, HMS Protector and her ship's company also act as a floating embassy as they travel to and from the UK.
Royal Marine
Winner of the Commandant General Royal Marines' Prize: A Royal Marine from W Company, 45 Commando, on his radio while out on patrol
[Picture: LA(Phot) Andy Laidlaw, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

Other portfolios of photographs in this year's competition reflect the varied role the Naval Service plays around the world. Images of Royal Marines and Fleet Air Arm helicopters in Afghanistan were entered alongside photographs of the warships on patrol in the Indian Ocean preventing pirate attacks on shipping.
The judges commented that:
"As a collection, these images and short films bring into focus the amazing diversity of the Royal Navy and what an asset the various photographic sections are."
Some of the photographs were taken during exercises designed to prepare ships, submarines, aircraft and Royal Marines for a number of potential situations.
Several images show sailors on humanitarian and disaster relief exercises, whilst the naval aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm feature heavily too, demonstrating the impressive and exciting nature of flying aircraft from ships at sea and in Afghanistan.
When selecting the winners for the various categories, the judges said:
"All entrants are to be congratulated for the high standard of images; it made our job extremely difficult."

Monday, June 25, 2012

Allies Commemorate The War Of 1812

This week marked the at sea portion of the War of 1812 celebrations as sailors serving on 19 ships from eight countries participated in the War of 1812 Commemoration Fleet Exercise, or 1812 FleetEx.

The War of 1812 transformed the maritime world and was the last major war fought under sail, said Kesselring. It is also when the U.S. established many of its lasting naval partnerships.

"[The United States] didn't have a big Navy when [the War of 1812] started, but during the war, we decided as a nation that the Navy was important to U.S. sovereignty," said Cmdr. Mark Kesselring, surface operations officer for Commander, Carrier Strike Group 10. "It was an important turning point for our nation.

"A lot of America's allies and partners are celebrating that 200 year ago, America found its feet in the Navy," said Kesselring. "They're participating ashore and this [FleetEx] is the one time we're out together operating at sea which is always great as a Navy."

Including ships from the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, Portugal, Denmark, and Canada, the 1812 FleetEx, like other fleet exercises, is instrumental to building proper communications and relationships said Rear Adm. Scott Craig, commander, Strike Force Training Atlantic, officer in charge of 1812 Fleet Exercise.

"The purpose of this exercise is to commemorate the War of 1812, but this one also gives all of the navies an opportunity to come to sea, exercise our tactics, operate together and figure out how we can be more interoperable," said Craig.

Participating in joint exercises brings its own challenges, so it is imperative that allies come together as often as possible to find those issues in a safe environment.

"With your foreign partners, there's language, of course, but there are also systems and the systems aren't always interoperable, so the more often we can get together and exercise as navies, the better we can find out what those problems are and address them so we can work together better," said Kesselring. 

Craig said the biggest benefit of bringing these forces together is learning how everyone operates across all of our various missions from live-fire exercises and maritime interdiction boardings to anti-submarine warfare and air defense exercises. 

"It really helps us pull together," said Craig. "We become even closer as we conduct operations, we understand how each other operates and we're able to build relationships very, very quickly and those relationships will last for a long, long time."

The 1812 FleetEx is a weeklong, multinational exercise designed to increase interoperability with allied nations, improve tactical prowess and certification of participating units. It will continue until June 28 when many of the ships will pull in for Fleet Week Boston and the Commemoration of the War of 1812 bicentennial. 

George Washington Carrier Strike Group Operations In The Yellow Sea

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) and embarked Carrier Air Wing Seventeen (CVW-17) departs Naval Station Norfolk.

U.S. Navy is conducting routine carrier operations in international waters west of the Korean Peninsula June 23-25.

The George Washington Carrier Strike Group (GWCSG) is conducting routine operations with the Republic of Korea navy in the Yellow Sea. 

The operations are taking place beyond the territorial seas of any coastal nations and are intended to reinforce regional security and stability, enhance interoperability with allies, and enhance operational proficiency and readiness. The operations include integrated flight operations, surface and anti-submarine warfare training, air defense, replenishment at sea, dynamic ship maneuvers and liaison officer exchanges.

U.S. Navy ships scheduled to participate include the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), with embarked Carrier Air Wing 5 and Destroyer Squadron 15; guided-missile cruisers USS Cowpens (CG 63) and USS Shiloh (CG 67); guided-missile destroyers USS Lassen (DDG 82) and McCampbell (DDG 85). 

The U.S. Navy frequently operates in international waters around the world and has conducted numerous operations and exercises in this area. In October 2009 and November 2010 the GWCSG conducted similar operations in the waters west of the Korean Peninsula. U.S. aircraft carriers frequently visit the Korean Peninsula, such as USS George Washington in September 2011 and November 2010, USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) in January 2011, USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in March 2009, and USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), USS Nimitz (CVN 68), and USS George Washington in 2008.

The U.S. Navy is committed to helping enhance the security and stability of the Asia-Pacific region, and our forward presence activities and engagements in this region are routine. U.S. military operations and exercises are a part of a larger forward presence posture to strengthen our alliances, partnerships, and established security cooperation activities. U.S. forward presence is in accordance with international law, preserves the rights, freedoms, and uses of the sea guaranteed to all nations, and contributes to economic development and international commerce.

Future USS Anchorage Completes Acceptance Trials

The future USS Anchorage (LPD 23) successfully completed acceptance trials June 22, sailing from and returning to Huntington Ingalls Industries' (HII) shipyard in Avondale, La. 

Anchorage is the seventh ship of the San Antonio class of amphibious transport dock ships to be presented to the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) for acceptance. 

"These trials are the final major milestone prior to delivering LPD 23 to the Navy," said Jay Stefany, LPD 17 class program manager for the Navy's Program Executive Office, Ships. "Ingalls continues to make strides since the success of USS San Diego's (LPD 22) trials last fall in providing ships with vital amphibious capabilities to the fleet. LPD 23's performance in these trials reflects the increasing maturity of the class." 

During the trials, the ship demonstrated a variety of systems including main propulsion engineering and ship control systems, combat and communications systems, damage control, various mission systems, food service and crew support and the shipboard wide area network - the electronic backbone of the ship. 

Among the highlights of the at sea trial portion, Anchorage completed a four-hour, full-power run, self defense detect-to-engage exercises, steering checks, a quick reversal, boat handling and anchoring. The at-sea rapid ballast and deballast demonstration is unique to amphibious ships and consists of rapidly flooding the ship's well deck as if landing craft were to be launched or recovered. The ship is then deballasted to return to the normal operating draft. In the case of this acceptance trial, the results of the rapid ballast event beat the 15-minute time standard by almost 2 minutes, a significant achievement. 

In addition to the INSURV team, Navy experts from Naval Sea Systems Command, the LPD 17 class program office, and the Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Gulf Coast, participated in the trials. 

"The government/industry team on the Gulf Coast is on track to deliver three LPDs within a year, a record for this ship class," said Capt. Steve Mitchell, supervisor of Shipbuilding Gulf Coast. "Each team member contributed to quality assurance, testing, and evaluation in the months preceding these trials and the successful completion of over 200 trial events this week." 

The future Anchorage is scheduled to be commissioned in 2013 in the ship's namesake city of Anchorage, Alaska. This is the second ship to be named Anchorage after Alaska's largest city and home to more than 40 percent of the state's population. 

LPD 23 will join USS New Orleans (LPD 18), USS Green Bay (LPD 20), and USS San Diego (LPD 22) as the fourth ship of the class to be homeported in San Diego, Calif.

USS San Antonio (LPD 17), USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), and USS New York (LPD 21) operate out of Norfolk, Va. Three additional LPD 17-class ships are currently under construction at HII facilities on the Gulf Coast including the future Arlington (LPD 24), Somerset (LPD 25), and John P. Murtha (LPD 26). 

As one of the Defense Department's largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft. Currently, the majority of shipbuilding programs managed by PEO Ships are benefiting from serial production efficiencies, which are critical to delivering ships on cost and schedule.

The second Italian FREMM frigate “Virginio FASAN” starts sea trials

On 14th June 2012 the Italian First-of-Class (FoC) Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Fasan Frigate, sailed for the first time, starting the platform sea trials which are planned to be completed by the end August 2012.

Pitch Propeller, Electric Propulsion and Gas Turbine trials were successfully conducted. In addition, all the radars (Navigation and surface search) and communications (VHF, UHF, HF) systems were tested as well, anticipating some of the Combat System sea trials which are scheduled to be started in September 2012.

Fasan Frigate will be delivered to the Italian Navy in August 2013.
Meanwhile, the Italian First-of-Class General Purpose (GP) Bergamini, is regularly carrying the Combat System Sea trials and so the two ships had the opportunity to sail together.

Northrop Grumman to Deliver Advanced Threat Warning Sensors to the U.S. Navy

Close-up of a Department of the Navy's Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasure (DoN LAIRCM) system modeule installed on a CH-53E.
The U.S. Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation an early operational production contract to deliver Advanced Threat Warning (ATW) sensors, an integral component of the Department of Navy Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (DoN LAIRCM) system.
Under the terms of the $25.5 million contract, Northrop Grumman will deliver 110 ATW sensors and will upgrade 200 processors for integration as part of the currently fielded DoN LAIRCM system, which protects aircrews and aircraft from battlefield threats. The ATW sensor is form-fit and A-kit compatible with the currently deployed DoN LAIRCM missile warning system.
"Northrop Grumman's multifunction ATW provides our warfighters with three proven capabilities in one lightweight sensor, including missile warning, laser warning, and hostile fire detection," said Carl Smith, vice president of infrared countermeasures programs at Northrop Grumman's Land and Self Protection Systems division. "ATW's multifunctionality can significantly improve affordability, while reducing size, weight and power, over four individual subsystems."
ATW provides instant warning of heat-seeking missiles, small arms fire, medium-caliber machine gun fire, anti-aircraft artillery, unguided rockets and laser-guided weapons, thereby dramatically improving overall aircrew situational awareness and survivability. ATW provides immediate information enabling the aircrew to avoid the threat or to send information offboard directing ground forces or other aircraft to respond. It can be integrated with a variety of onboard displays including threat warning indicators, multifunction displays and helmet-mounted displays, while contributing to overall battlefield situational awareness as part of a common operating picture.
This award builds on the $35 million contract awarded to Northrop Grumman in 2011 by the Naval Air Systems Command to develop upgrades to the fielded DoN LAIRCM infrared missile warning system. Northrop Grumman designed and built the DoN LAIRCM system.
Northrop Grumman's IRCM systems are now installed or scheduled for installation on more than 700 military aircraft across the Department of Defense to protect approximately 50 different types of large fixed-wing transports and rotary-wing platforms from infrared missile attacks. The system functions by automatically detecting a missile launch, determining if it is a threat, and activating a high-intensity, laser-based countermeasure system to track and defeat the missile.

Lockheed Martin And IAM Reach Tentative Agreement On New Labor Contract; Union Members To Vote Next Week

At the request of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, Lockheed Martin officials met Wednesday through Saturday this week with representatives of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, District 776, which represents about 3,600 striking Lockheed Martin employees in Fort Worth and at Edwards AFB, Calif., and NAS Patuxent River, Md.
"We are pleased to report our discussions with the union have been productive and we reached a tentative agreement this evening to end the strike," said Greg Karol, Lockheed Martin's vice president of Labor Relations. "Lockheed Martin's revised offer will be unanimously recommended for acceptance by the union bargaining committee to the membership at the ratification vote early next week. We look forward to having them back on the job, building the world's best fighters. We appreciate the assistance of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in helping us work out many differences and progress to this point," Karol said.
The company and union negotiators have not disclosed terms of the tentative agreement. The union will hold a mass meeting and vote on the company's proposal at a time and place to be announced.
Members of the IAM rejected the company's previous contract offer on April 22 and went on strike April 23.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Cantwell, Begich, Murkowski Announce Plan to Halt Scrapping of Key Icebreaker

POLAR SEA, Bering Sea Ecosystem Study (BEST) 2010 Science Deployment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On June 15th, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Mark Begich (D-AK) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) announced an agreement with the U.S. Coast Guard to postpone the scheduled scrapping of the Polar Sea through the end of 2012. The agreement was reached during a meeting Thursday between the Senators and the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, Admiral Robert Papp, Jr.

The icebreaker, based in Seattle, had been scheduled to be dry-docked and taken apart beginning Monday. This process would have ripped out the vessel’s hubs and sealed off major portions of the vessel – a key step toward final destruction of the icebreaker.

Scrapping Polar Sea would leave the United States with only one operational icebreaker, the Healy, which was designed primarily as a scientific research vessel and only has medium icebreaking capability. The second heavy duty icebreaker, Polar Star, is currently in Seattle being refitted after years of receiving routine maintenance in ‘caretaker’ status.

The Coast Guard needs a minimum of six heavy duty icebreakers and an additional four medium icebreakers to meet Coast Guard and Navy mission requirements, according to a recent Coast Guard study. The United States Navy has no icebreaking capability.

“We are glad the Coast Guard has agreed to postpone the scrapping of this valuable icebreaker,” Cantwell said. “This is good news for Washington shipbuilding jobs and for America’s icebreaking capability. The Polar Sea’s hull is still in sound condition. Postponing its scrapping allows the Administration and Congress more time to consider all options for fulfilling the nation’s critical icebreaking missions.”

“The Coast Guard has listened to our call to postpone the dry docking of the Polar Sea so we can continue to explore the most cost-effective measures to ensure the United States has adequate icebreaking capabilities,” said Senator Begich. “Rebuilding this valuable cutter would save taxpayer dollars, create jobs, and increase our ability to operate in the Arctic, and I look forward to continuing to discuss next steps in revitalizing the Polar Sea.”

“As an Arctic Nation, we need to proceed intelligently as opportunities open up in our northern waters,” said Senator Murkowski.“Dismantling critical components of the Polar Sea without a complete plan for its replacement and a year before Polar Star will be back in the water would not be the best course of action. While this may only be a six month respite for the Polar Sea, I will use this period to work through my role on the Appropriations Committee to make America’s icebreaking capacity a top priority.”

As the world saw this winter when the Healy cut a path through Arctic sea ice to the town of Nome, Alaska, icebreakers fill a unique and vital role in the nation’s safety, security and environmental operations at sea.

“Vigor Industrial is proud to have serviced and maintained the Coast Guard Icebreakers for many years,” said Frank Foti, CEO of Vigor Industrial, which maintains the Polar Sea, Polar Star and the Healy. “We greatly respect and appreciate the commitment of Senator Cantwell to ensure that a viable and effective Coast Guard icebreaking capacity is maintained. As commerce and national security concerns grow throughout the Arctic region, it is essential that our nation has a strong and ready icebreaking fleet. We know Senator Cantwell understands that and we are grateful for her leadership and effectiveness in this area.”

Cantwell, Begich and Murkowski have a history of working together to preserve and upgrade the nation’s icebreaker fleet. Cantwell and Begich were instrumental in securing the language in the 2010 Coast Guard Reauthorization Act that required the Coast Guard to evaluate the costs and benefits of building new vessels versus refurbishing the existing vessels, in order to save taxpayer dollars.

Begich, Cantwell and Murkowski cosponsored legislation in September 2011 that would prevent the decommissioning and scrapping of the Polar Sea and require the release of the Coast Guard’s business case analysis of icebreaker needs required by the 2010 Coast Guard Reauthorization Act.

On August 18, 2011, Cantwell and Begich urged the Coast Guard to postpone decommissioning the Polar Sea until a business analysis could be completed to determine the most cost-effective way to revitalize the nation’s aging polar icebreaker fleet. In a letter sent to Admiral Papp, the Senators said the lack of icebreaking capacity was unacceptable.

Cantwell also secured Senate Commerce Committee approval on November 2, 2011, of her legislation which would stop the decommissioning or scrapping of the Polar Sea. Cantwell’s amendment was included in the 2012 Coast Guard Authorization Act sponsored by Senators Begich, Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and is pending consideration by the full Senate. Also on November 2, 2011, Senator Cantwell’s language was incorporated into the Maritime Administration Authorization Act of 2011, which requires the Coast Guard to maintain the current icebreaker fleet home ported in Seattle. The legislation is pending consideration by the full Senate.

The polar ice cap melting has opened new passageways through the Arctic ice, creating new opportunity for commerce, which creates national security, law enforcement and maritime safety concerns. Additionally, emerging environmental protection concerns, potential resource development and scientific research critical to understanding global climate change require vessels capable of polar operations. Historically, these vessels have also helped resupply the McMurdo Station, the main U.S. station in Antarctica on the southern tip of Ross Island in Antarctica, but over the last few years the U.S. has been forced to contract foreign icebreaking to fulfill this national need.

Marinette Marine Corporation launches NOAA fisheries survey vessel Reuben Lasker

New ship will support NOAA marine research on U.S. West Coast

June 18, 2012
NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker.NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker will assess fish stocks and study other marine life, including marine mammals and sea turtles, on the U.S. West Coast. (Val Ihde, Marinette Marine Corp.)

Marinette Marine Corporation (MMC), a Fincantieri company, on June 16 launched the Reuben Lasker, a fisheries survey vessel that the Wisconsin shipyard is building for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Pamela A. Lasker, the daughter of the ship’s namesake and its sponsor, christened the ship before the 208-ft. vessel was side-launched into the Menominee River.
“When completed, the Reuben Lasker will strengthen NOAA’s ability to collect and deliver vital information about our fish stocks and the health of our oceans,” said Eric Schwaab, assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries, who attended today’s launch. “In addition to providing critical jobs here in Marinette during construction, scientific information from this ship will support future fishing jobs in our coastal communities for decades to come.”
Funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Reuben Lasker is the fifth in a series of Oscar Dyson-class ships built for the agency. The ship will be equipped with the latest technology for fisheries and oceanographic research, including advanced navigation systems, acoustic sensors, and scientific sampling gear. The Reuben Lasker will primarily support fish, marine mammals and turtle surveys off the U.S. West Coast and in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.
The high-tech ship is also engineered to produce much less noise than other survey vessels, allowing scientists to study fish populations and collect oceanographic data with fewer effects on fish and marine mammal behavior.

kids fishing on pier. VIDEO: Christening and Launch of NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker: June 16, 2012. 

The new vessel is named after the late Dr. Reuben Lasker, a pioneering fisheries biologist who served as the director of the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center’s coastal fisheries division and as adjunct professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego. Dr. Lasker directed a renowned research group that focused on the survival and transition of young fish to adulthood, a topic with implications for fisheries management throughout the world.
The Reuben Lasker will be operated, managed and maintained by NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, which includes commissioned officers of the NOAA Corps, one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and civilian wage mariners. The ship will primarily support NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center. The construction of the vessel is a vital part of NOAA’s effort to revitalize and operate its fleet of research vessels for fisheries management, climate studies and hydrographic surveys. 

HSL 42 Detachment 7 Begins Final Deployment With SH-60B Seahawk

File:US Navy 101123-N-5292M-186 The newly commissioned guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) arrives to its new homeport of Naval Station .jpg
Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 42 Detachment 7 "Proud Warriors," begin its last deployment while embarked aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), June 22. 

During the spring of 2013, the HSL 42 Proud Warriors will transition from the SH-60B helicopter to the new MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter and in the process become Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 72.

"The SH-60B has been a workhorse for many years and this will be a bittersweet time for us in many ways," said Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Chester, officer in charge of HSL 42 Det. 7. "However, we are ready for our mission. We intend to accomplish that mission and establish the warrior legacy as we sundown the SH-60B with honor and pride." 

Dunham and the Proud Warriors, deployed as part of Carrier Strike Group 8, will operate in support of 5th and 6th fleet maritime security objectives. 

The MH-60R combines the best features of the SH-60B and SH-60F into one multi-mission platform. The improvements include an updated cockpit, digital monitors for flight instrumentation and the addition of mission avionics.

While this transition will facilitate many advantages for the pilots and crews, Chester said that it will be hard to say good-bye. 

Even with the upgrades ahead for the squadron, HSL 42 Det. 7 pilots said their current SH-60Bs still have a lot of fight left in them. 

"Our maintenance team does an outstanding job of keeping our aircraft fully mission capable and ready to participate in all operations," said HSL 42 pilot Lt. j.g. Joal Fischer

As for their part, many members of the Proud Warrior crew said they feel a tremendous pride in being the last crew to maintain the SH-60Bs for their squadron. 

"I think it's cool to know we are playing a role in a little bit of history," said Aviation Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Torre Reese. "After this deployment we won't be named HSL 42 anymore, so we want to send it out on a high note." 

Jason Dunham and HSL 42 Det. 7 are deployed along with other CSG 8 ships and aircraft to include USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), guided-missile cruiser USS Hue City (CG 66), guided-missile destroyers USS Farragut (DDG 99), USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), the seven squadrons of Carrier Air Wing 7, and Destroyer Squadron 28.

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