Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lockheed Martin Submits Final Proposal For Air & Missile Defense Radar

Lockheed Martin has submitted its final proposal to the U.S. Navy to design, build, integrate and test the new Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) for the future DDG-51 Flight III class destroyer.

The scalable AMDR S-band radar and radar suite controller will provide significantly increased sensitivity for simultaneous long-range detection and engagement of advanced anti-ship and ballistic missile threats.

"Our team has advanced a mature, affordable and highly reliable radar system with substantial investment by our company and the Navy," said Carl Bannar, vice president of Integrated Warfare Systems & Sensors at Lockheed Martin's Mission Systems & Sensors business. "Designed with the sailor in mind, our modular, open hardware and software architectures minimize ship design changes, simplify operations and maintenance and enable capability improvements to accommodate future mission needs."

As the leader in tactical, naval S-band radar technology, Lockheed Martin has more than 40 years experience in the design, integration, production, and sustainment of radars for surface combatants, providing a low-risk path to installation on the DDG-51 Flight III.

The company's SPY-1 family of radars - with proven anti-air warfare and ballistic missile defense multi-mission capability - is fielded on more than 100 surface combatants worldwide.

HMAS Melbourne transfers maritime security operations to HMAS Anzac

Chris Sattler photo.

HMAS Melbourne has departed the Middle East Area of Operations after a successful six-month deployment as part of Operation SLIPPER.

Melbourne heads home to Fleet Base East in Sydney, NSW, after conducting maritime security patrols, counter-piracy and anti-smuggling operations from the Red and Arabian Seas to the Gulfs of Aden, Oman, Aqaba and the Straits of Hormuz and Bab-Al-Mandeb.

HMAS Melbourne also provided maritime security and executed counter-terrorism activities around the Horn of Africa in support of the regional 26 member nation Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).

Commanding Officer of HMAS Melbourne, Commander Richard Boulton, said Melbourne’s crew have done themselves, the Navy and Australia proud.

“The men and women of Melbourne have given the mission everything they’ve got,” Commander Boulton said.

“Their performance has earned Melbourne an outstanding reputation in the region and the coalition nations working as part of the Combined Maritime Forces.
“We also had the honour of embarking three sailors from the New Zealand Navy for the deployment.”

“It is certain to be both a proud and emotional homecoming as the ship’s company lines the upper decks when we sail into Sydney harbour and reunite with loved ones,” Commander Boulton said.

HMAS Melbourne is the Royal Australian Navy’s 28th ship to patrol the region since 2001.

Commander Joint Task Force 633, in the Middle East Area of Operations, Major General Stuart Smith, praised HMAS Melbourne on a successful mission.

“HMAS Melbourne has had a crucial role in minimising harmful activity in the Middle East maritime environment; ultimately interrupting criminal support to terrorist organisations and violent extremists further a field, in places such as Afghanistan.”

“She has also provided freedom, security and profitability for legitimate mariners who rely on either transiting through or making a living off the sea lanes,” General Smith said.

HMAS Melbourne and her 230 personnel will return to Fleet Base East in late August where the crew will enjoy some well-earned leave and respite.
HMAS Anzac takes over security operations from Melbourne as part of Operation SLIPPER in the Combined Maritime Forces today. 

Raytheon awarded $53 million to advance Dual Band Radar development

The Dual Band Radar (DBR) is the first radar system in the U.S. Navy fleet capable of simultaneously operating
over two frequency ranges (S-band and X-band), coordinated by a single resource manager.
Raytheon Company has been awarded two U.S. Navy contracts for the Dual Band Radar, the multimission air defense radar for the future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), America's next-generation aircraft carrier. Under the contracts, with a total value of $53.6 million, Raytheon will enhance the system's software to optimize power efficiency and ready the radar suite for the next phase of testing and evaluation.
"DBR is the first U.S. naval radar system capable of simultaneous, coordinated operation across two frequency ranges," said Raytheon's Kevin Peppe, vice president of Integrated Defense Systems' Seapower Capability Systems. "Leveraging proven technologies and our radar expertise that spans 70 years, DBR will be the U.S. Navy's most capable radar and a critical asset for the fleet."
The DBR is an advanced air defense radar that will provide superior surveillance capabilities supporting CVN 78 air operations and ship self-defense.
The radar combines the benefits of the X-band AN/SPY-3 Multi-Function Radar and the S-band Volume Search Radar (VSR), which operate together in a complementary manner. DBR provides superior performance in a broad range of environments and supports a wide variety of mission requirements, including self-defense/anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, situational awareness, land attack, naval gunfire support, surface search, navigation and air traffic control.
The upcoming test and evaluation follows a significant May 2010 milestone: For the first time in history, the U.S. Navy successfully tracked targets with a multiband radar featuring a common radar suite controller. DBR simultaneously used AN/SPY-3's and VSR's search capabilities to acquire and track the targets. This event also demonstrated the system's ability to perform automatic handover from S-band to X-band in precision-tracking mode, a key feature of the radar and its single track manager.
The DBR is the result of more than a decade of collaboration between Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and the Navy. The radar is now in production for the Ford class aircraft carrier, where it will replace six legacy radar systems.

Monday, July 30, 2012

French Navy Receives Latest NH-90

NHI is pleased to announce the delivery of two NH90s helicopters to the French Army Aviation (ALAT) and the French Navy. 
The delivery event took place in Marignane, (Eurocopter facility) , where both helicopters were assembled, in the presence of General Olivier de la Motte Commander of the EALAT (French Army Aviation training school), GAMSTAT and governmental authorities.
The French DGA (Délégation Générale de l’Armement) took delivery of this 100th N90 TTH variant. It is the second FOC (Final Operational Capability) standard NH90 TTH “Caiman” delivered by industry to the French Army. This helicopter will be based in Le Cannet des Maures EALAT French Army base where it will be operated by the CFIA (Joint Military Training unit) for training missions.
The French Navy took delivery the same day of its seventh NH90 NFH Caiman which will be based in Hyères Navy base. 
“These two deliveries, occuring only nine days after the delivery of an additional NH90 TTH to the German Air force is a clear demonstration of the production capabilities of NHI and its partner companies” declared Xavier Poupardin Delegated Managing Director of NHIndustries.
The French Army ordered 34 NH90 TTH plus 34 options in order to replace its Puma helicopters while the French Navy ordered 27 NH90 NFH to replace its Lynx and Super Frelon Helicopters in Hyères and Lanveoc-Poulmic Naval Air Stations. 
As of today, NHI has delivered 118 NH90s to 11 countries.
The French NH90 TTH (Tactical Transport Helicopter) variant is a helicopter of 11 ton class primarily configured to perform tactical transport missions in all environments by day and night. The NH90 TTH flexibility allows its users to perform additional missions such as internal/external load transport, Heliborne Operations, Special Operations, Search and Rescue, Casualties Evacuation and Training missions.
The NH90 TTH is the most modern helicopter of its class available on the market. It features a high level of system integration built around a state of the art Core Avionic System, full glass cockpit with Multifunction Displays, Fly-by-wire controls with 4-axis Automatic Flight Control System. The dedicated Mission System includes among others: Piloting Forward Looking Infrared system, Helmet Mounted Sight and Display, Electronic Warfare System, Tactical Control and Tactical Communication System, Weather Radar, Digital Map Generator and an on-board Monitoring and Diagnostic System. It features a fully composite crashworthy fuselage fitted with a rear ramp which allows the transport of a light tactical vehicle. The two Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca RTM322 modern engines provide power reserve in all environments. The NH90 helicopter has provision for a number of role equipment to enable mission flexibility and effectiveness coupled with a high level of safety and survivability.
The NH90 NFH is the most recent and most flexible helicopter for naval warfare, it is designed according to precise NATO Staff Requirements, it is equipped with a state of the art weapon system combining on a modern platform several types of sensors with a complete weapon suite.
The NH90 NFH is able to cover AsuW and ASW primary missions in any type of environment and to perform the widest spectrum of missions such as SAR, Amphibious operations , Anti Piracy, Boarding Party and Maritime Surveillance. 
The twin-engine, medium-size NH90 helicopter program is managed by the consortium NHIndustries, the Company owned by AgustaWestland (32%), Eurocopter (62.5%), and Stork Fokker (5.5%).
The NH90 helicopter programme is the largest ever launched in Europe, with firm orders now reaching 529 units for 19 Armed Forces of 14 Nations: France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Greece, Oman, Australia, New-Zealand, Spain and Belgium.

Northrop Grumman, U.S. Navy Conduct First East Coast Flight of X-47B Autonomous Unmanned Aircraft

X-47B UCAS Makes First Flight from Pax River (thumbnail)

The Northrop Grumman Corporation-built X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator has successfully completed its historic first flight from Naval Air Station Patuxent (Pax) River.
The 36-minute flight -- the first for the tailless, strike-fighter-sized aircraft since it was transported to the Navy base in June from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. -- was successfully completed on July 29 at 11:36 a.m. Eastern time. It marks the first time a tactical unmanned aircraft has been fully integrated into the air traffic patterns and the command and control structure of the Pax River flight test complex.
"This flight of the X-47B is the first time an autonomous, carrier-capable unmanned system has flown at Pax River," said Carl Johnson, vice president and Navy UCAS program manager for Northrop Grumman. "It's also a major milestone for the program as the Navy/Northrop Grumman team prepares the aircraft to enter carrier suitability testing this fall, the last major phase of testing before we begin carrier trials in 2013."
Northrop Grumman is the Navy's prime contractor for the Navy's UCAS Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) program. The company designed and built two X-47B demonstrator aircraft for the program, which is managed by Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR).
During the flight, which comprised two precision racetrack patterns over the Chesapeake Bay, the aircraft reached a maximum altitude of 7,500 feet and a maximum air speed of 180 knots.
First Flight of X-47B from NAS Patuxent River is Flawless (thumbnail)
"This flight makes two critical points for the Northrop Grumman/Navy Integrated Test Team," said Daryl Martis, Northrop Grumman's X-47B test director. "It validates the performance of the aircraft demonstrated during its initial flight testing at Edwards, and it proves that we've successfully implemented the command and control structure required to operate the X-47B safely from Pax River."
Martis reported that the flight reconfirmed the aircraft's aerodynamic performance, and the performance of its propulsion and flush air data systems. Mission operators also confirmed that the aircraft responded correctly to commands from its onboard guidance, navigation and control system.
The team of mission operators for the first Pax River flight included Lt. Cmdr. Brian Loustaunau, U.S. Navy, NAVAIR's lead flight test project officer on the UCAS-D program.
"It's very significant to have a Navy mission operator fully integrated into test operations during the X-47B's first flight at Pax River," said Loustaunau. "The team is performing well and looking forward to our next phase of testing."
During the flight, the aircraft communicated with a shore-based version of the aircraft carrier systems that will help guide the X-47B to precision landings on the carrier deck, which are located in the Navy UCAS Aviation/Ship Integration Facility at Pax River.
In 2013, the UCAS-D program plans to demonstrate the ability of the X-47B to safely operate from a Navy aircraft carrier, including launch, recovery, and air traffic control operations. Those trials will be followed by a demonstration of autonomous aerial refueling in 2014. The program also plans to mature technologies required for potential future Navy unmanned air system programs.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

LPD 25 Somerset Christened

Mrs. Mary Jo Myers (right) breaks a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow of the Ingalls-built amphibious transport dock LPD 25. 
120728-N-ZZ999-001 AVONDALE, La. (July 28, 2012) Mrs. Mary Jo Myers (right) breaks a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow of the Ingalls-built amphibious transport dock LPD 25, officially christening the ship Somerset. Also pictured (left to right) are Master Chief Larry Lynch, prospective command master chief, LPD 25; Lt. Cmdr. John Moore, prospective executive officer, LPD 25; Patrick White, president, Families of Flight 93, and keynote speaker; and Irwin F. Edenzon, president, Ingalls Shipbuilding. (Photo courtesy of Huntington Industries Inc./Released)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

FuelCell Energy Awarded $3.8 Million Contract by U.S. Navy to Develop Power System for Unmanned Underwater Vehicle

Donna R. Ferenz (small)

DANBURY, Conn., July 26, 2012 - FuelCell Energy, Inc., a leading manufacturer of ultra-clean, efficient and reliable fuel cell power plants, today announced a $3.8 million contract award from the U.S. Navy to develop and test a Hybrid Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC)-Battery power system for large displacement undersea vehicle propulsion. The objective of the project is to develop a refuelable power system, with high energy density, that is suitable for undertaking long duration underwater missions of unmanned submersibles. The Hybrid SOFC-Battery system will be capable of generating 1,800 kilowatt hours of electricity during a 70 day mission with no exhaust discharged outside of the vehicle at any time. It will use liquid fuel and be self-contained with no reliance on external air.
"This is a challenging and exciting project due to the unique installation and we expect to apply knowledge gained from this project into a range of other applications including maritime applications of fuel cells and auxiliary power units," said Tony Leo, Vice President Application Engineering & Advanced Technology Development, FuelCell Energy, Inc. "Developing a compact solid oxide fuel cell balance of plant with a liquid fuel, will not only have potential for deployment in defense-related applications, but has viability as power systems for use in commercial underwater vehicles, marine vessels, and remote-sites."
The FuelCell Energy Hybrid SOFC-Battery power system is attractive for underwater vehicle applications as its high efficiency minimizes usage of both stored fuel and oxygen in the confined spaces available onboard the vehicle. The system achieves air independence by utilizing a unique oxygen storage technology, maintains neutral buoyancy with no discharge of system products and is capable of responding to the peak power demands for a typical Large Displacement Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (LDUUV) as defined by the U.S. Navy.
A consortium will work with the FuelCell Energy team to fulfill the program requirements. The SOFC fuel cell stack is based on the technology developed by Versa Power Systems, an SOFC developer that is partially owned by FuelCell Energy. Other team partners include the Energy Systems Division of NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Yardney Technical Products, Inc., Naval Underwater Warfare Center (NUWC), and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). This diverse team has the expertise required to meet the state-of-the-art system design, safety, and reliability of U.S. Navy specifications. NASA will develop the oxygen storage required by the power system, Yardney will supply the battery technology, and PNNL will provide compact fuel processing design knowledge. NUWC will complement the team on a range of topics including the logistics of systemization, integration, and tie-ins with the balance of LDUUV systems.
This 18 month phase I award will fund development and laboratory testing of the SOFC propulsion system. Successful performance results may lead to a phase II award that would involve the delivery of a full scale system for testing in an unmanned undersea vehicle.

Justice Department Requires Divestitures in Order for United Technologies Corporation to Proceed with Its Acquisition of Goodrich Corporation

The Department of Justice announced today that it will require United Technologies Corporation (UTC) to divest certain assets used in the production of electrical power systems and aircraft engine control systems in order to proceed with its acquisition of Goodrich Corporation.   At approximately $18.4 billion, the acquisition is the largest merger in the history of the aircraft industry.   The department said that the acquisition, as originally proposed, likely would have resulted in higher prices, less favorable contractual terms and less innovation for several critical aircraft components, including generators, engines and engine control systems.

The department’s Antitrust Division filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to block the proposed acquisition.  At the same time, the department filed a proposed settlement that, if approved by the court, would resolve the competitive concerns alleged in the lawsuit.

“The acquisition as originally proposed would have lessened the vigorous competition that currently exists among manufacturers of large main engine generators, aircraft turbine engines and engine control systems for large aircraft turbine engines,” said Jamillia Ferris, Chief of Staff and Counsel at the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.

The department’s Antitrust Division, the European Commission and the Canadian Competition Bureau cooperated closely throughout the course of their respective investigations, with frequent contact among the agencies.   In addition, the Antitrust Division had discussions with other competition agencies, including the Federal Competition Commission in Mexico and the Administrative Council for Economic Defense in Brazil.

“The Antitrust Division’s dialogue with our international counterparts around the world facilitated our investigation,” said Ferris. “In particular, the division’s close cooperation with the European Commission and Canadian Competition Bureau resulted in a coordinated remedy that will preserve competition in the United States and internationally.”

The department’s complaint alleges that the proposed acquisition would lessen competition substantially in the worldwide markets for the development, manufacture and sale of large main engine generators, aircraft turbine engines and engine control systems for large aircraft turbine engines.   The department said that the acquisition, as originally proposed, would combine the only two significant suppliers of large main engine generators for aircraft in the world.   UTC also would acquire Goodrich’s engine control systems business, which supplies critical components to several of UTC’s leading competitors for aircraft turbine engines.   Finally, UTC, which is currently one of three leading suppliers of engine control systems for large aircraft turbine engines, would acquire Goodrich’s 50 percent share in a joint venture that forms one of the other two producers of such engine control systems.

Aircraft main engine generators produce the electrical power used by communication and navigation equipment, environmental control systems, interior and exterior lighting and other aircraft systems.   Large main engine generators are complex mechanical devices that are difficult to produce, and for which there are no substitutes .   Turbine engines power virtually all modern commercial, business and military aircraft.   UTC is one of the few firms worldwide that produce aircraft turbine engines.  Engine control systems, consisting of electronic engine controls, pumps, fuel metering units and related components, control the flow of fuel into an aircraft turbine engine such that the engine performs in a safe and efficient manner.   It would be difficult and time-consuming for an engine producer to switch to an alternative supplier of engine control systems.

The proposed settlement requires UTC to divest the following assets:
  • Goodrich’s business that designs, develops and manufactures large main engine generators for aircraft, including Goodrich’s shares in TRW-Thales Aerolec SAS (Aerolec);
  • Goodrich’s business that designs, develops and manufactures engine control systems; and
  • Goodrich’s shares in Aero Engine Controls (AEC), a joint venture to manufacture engine control systems for large aircraft turbine engines.
In addition, the proposed settlement provides: 
  • UTC must extend the term of certain contracts held by customers of Goodrich’s engine control systems business for a period of 30 days after the divestiture of the engine control systems business;
  • UTC must provide various supply and transition services agreements to the acquirers of the assets being divested in order to assist in the transition of the businesses and allow the acquirers to continue to fulfill obligations of the divested businesses; and
  • UTC must extend the period for its joint venture partner, Rolls-Royce Group plc (Rolls Royce), to exercise its option to acquire the Goodrich business that provides aftermarket services for Rolls-Royce engines equipped with AEC engine control systems.
The extension of Rolls-Royce’s option to acquire the Goodrich aftermarket business will ensure that Rolls-Royce has sufficient control over the AEC aftermarket business. The extension of the customer contracts for the engine control systems business will ensure that Goodrich’s engine control systems customers have a reliable source of supply during the divestiture period.

UTC is a Delaware-based company that produces a wide range of products for the aerospace industry and other industries, including, among other products, aircraft generators, aircraft engine control systems and components, aircraft engines and helicopters.   UTC’s main aerospace divisions are Pratt & Whitney, Hamilton Sundstrand and Sikorsky.   In 2010, UTC had revenues of approximately $54 billion.

Goodrich is a New York-based company that produces a variety of products for the aerospace industry, including, among other products, aircraft generators, aircraft engine control systems and components, landing gear and actuation systems.   In 2010, Goodrich had revenues of approximately $7.2 billion.

As required by the Tunney Act, the proposed settlement, along with a competitive impact statement, will be published in the Federal Register.  Any person may submit written comments concerning the proposed settlement during a 60-day comment period to Maribeth Petrizzi, Chief, Litigation II Section, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 450 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 8700, Washington, D.C. 20530.  At the conclusion of the 60-day comment period, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia may approve the proposed settlement upon finding it is in the public interest.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

F-35C flying a more comfortable ball

  ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 3, 2011) An F-35B Lightning II conducts initial sea trials over the Atlantic Ocean. The F-35B is the Marine Corps Joint Strike Force variant of the Joint Strike Fighter and is designed for short takeoff and vertical landing on Navy amphibious ships. The aircraft is operating with the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). ( photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin)</p>

Flying approaches for a carrier landing just might be a little easier in the future.

The F-35 Integrated Test Force here completed the first dedicated test flight May 4 to evaluate the F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter’s approach handling characteristics with new flight control laws.

The new flight control software, called Integrated Direct Lift Control (IDLC), translates pilot commands into choreographed changes to engine power and control surface movement, greatly improving glide path control, according to one test pilot.

“I’ve landed [F/A-18] Hornets on a carrier, and I can tell you there is a lot less lag in the F-35C with the IDLC,” said Marine Corps Lt. Col. Matthew Taylor, an F-35 test pilot. “I would have been comfortable making the approaches in the carrier environment after just two to three passes.”

Precise glide path control is critical to landing safely on the carrier as a pilot concentrates on maintaining glide slope, angle of attack and lineup.

“Landing on a carrier with current fleet aircraft requires the pilot to make dozens of precise three-part power corrections,” said Lt. Cmdr. Robert Bibeau, carrier suitability department head for Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23. “It’s an acquired skill, needs practice and intense concentration, like hitting a baseball.”

Pilots typically qualify to land on a carrier by completing around 30 landings while in initial flight training and at their fleet replacement squadrons.

“We have to spend a significant amount of training time on carrier landings, especially night landings,” Bibeau said. “To make all the little high-pressure adjustments takes headwork, intellect and reflexes. It’s unforgiving.”

But with the new flight control software IDLC in the F-35, Taylor sees “the potential to reduce the training burden for new pilots going to the ship.”

The F-35C carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter is distinct from the F-35A and F-35B variants with its larger wing surfaces and reinforced landing gear to withstand catapult launches and deck landing impacts associated with the demanding aircraft carrier environment. The F-35C is undergoing test and evaluation at NAS Patuxent River prior to delivery to the fleet.

Navy to Christen Amphibious Transport Dock Ship Somerset

File:PCU Somerset 120414-N-ZZ999-001.jpg

The Navy will christen the newest amphibious transport dock ship, Somerset, Saturday, July 28, 2012, during a 10 a.m. CST ceremony at the Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard in Avondale, La.
            The ship is named in honor of the courageous passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93.  Their actions prevented terrorist hijackers from reaching their destination only to have the airplane crash near Shanksville in Somerset County, Pa., Sept. 11, 2001.
            Patrick White, president of the Families of Flight 93, will deliver the ceremony's principal address.  Mary Jo Myers, the wife of Gen. Richard Myers, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is the ship's sponsor, and in accordance with Navy tradition, will break a bottle of champagne across the bow to formally christen the ship.
            During the weeks following the Flight 93 crash, recovery personnel retrieved more than 95 percent of the airplane's wreckage from the crash site.  An American flag was hoisted on the top of a power shovel or "dragline" on a hill dominating the area.  The dragline had been used in coal stripping at one time, and the equipment with the flag became a symbol of the effort.
            In the summer of 2008, steel from the dragline's bucket was melted down and cast into Somerset's bow stem.  Somerset is the final of three ships named to honor heroes of the September 11 attacks, joining the USS New York and USS Arlington, respectively.
            Designated LPD 25, Somerset is the ninth amphibious transport dock ship in the San Antonio class.  These versatile ships incorporate both a flight deck to accommodate CH-46 helicopters and MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, and a well deck that can launch and recover landing craft and amphibious vehicles.  The San Antonio class' increased vehicle space and substantial cargo-carrying capacity make it a key element of 21st century Amphibious Ready Groups, Expeditionary Strike Groups, and Joint Task Forces.
            Somerset will provide improved warfighting capabilities, including an advanced command-and-control suite, increased lift-capability in vehicle and cargo-carrying capacity and advanced ship-survivability features. The ship is capable of embarking a landing force of up to 800 Marines.
            The future USS Somerset will be the fifth U.S. naval vessel to carry the name Somerset.  The four previous ships of that name were a side-wheeled ferryboat (1862-1865), a motorboat (1918), a transport (1945), and a patrol escort (1944-1955).
            The ship will be led by a crew of 360 officers, enlisted personnel and Marines.  The 24,900-ton Somerset is being built at the Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard in Avondale, La.  The ship is 684 feet in length, has an overall beam of 105 feet, and a navigational draft of 23 feet.  Four turbo-charged diesels power the ship to sustained speeds of 22 knots. 
            To view the ceremony via live webcast, please go to:  http://www.vistasat.com/HIIWebcast.html .

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

International F-35 Fleet Begins Build Up At Eglin Air Force Base

FORT WORTH, Texas, July 23, 2012 – ZM135, a British F-35B and the first international Lockheed Martin Lightning II, takes off from Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base at 9:03 a.m. CDT en route for Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., United Kingdom Royal Air Force Squadron Leader Jim Schofield piloted the short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) jet for the 90 minute ferry flight. The U.K. officially took ownership of ZM135 at a ceremony in Fort Worth last week. The jet will be used for operational testing and evaluation.   

HMAS Farncomb celebrates successful sinking at RIMPAC

Former United States Navy Ship Kilauea breaks apart and sinks following a torpedo attack from the Collins Class submarine HMAS Farncomb, on the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) off Hawaii, during RIMPAC 2012.
HMAS Farncomb fired a Mark 48 Torpedo into the Kilauea's hull, striking the ship below the bridge. 
Midcaption: Australia is one of 22 nations attending RIMPAC that includes six submarines, 40 surface ships and an aircraft carrier participating in a realistic maritime warfare scenario. Australian soldiers from 1 RAR are also participating in the amphibious aspect of the exercise, alongside US Marines. RAAF AP-3C Orions and a Wedgetail are also providing air support.

The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Collins Class submarine HMAS Farncomb has successfully sunk a target ship, the 12,106-tonne former USNS (United States Navy Ship) Kilauea in Hawaii.

Farncomb, a Collins Class submarine, fired one Mark 48 Torpedo and achieved a hit just below the bridge of the ship as part of a sinking exercise, or “SINKEX,” at Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012.

The former USNS Kilauea broke into two parts and sank about 40 minutes later.

The submarine’s Commanding Officer, Commander Glen Miles, said the firing is a significant milestone for both himself and his 60-strong crew.

“This is the result of professionalism and teamwork,” Commander Miles said.

“Those of us who drive these boats know that the Collins’ weapons systems are among the most capable in the world.”

Australia is among 22 nations attending Exercise RIMPAC that includes six submarines and 40 surface ships participating in a realistic maritime warfare scenario.

Australian soldiers from 1 RAR are also participating in the amphibious aspect of the exercise, alongside US Marines. RAAF AP-3C Orions and a Wedgetail aircraft are also providing air support.

Australia’s contingent commander, Commodore Stuart Mayer, said RIMPAC provided the ADF with a realistic, high tech and challenging training opportunity.

“HMAS Farncomb’s success reminds us yet again of the invaluable role submarines play in modern warfare,” Commodore Mayer said.

“RIMPAC allows us to train with our allies for a worst case scenario in a real life environment.”

The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC, provides a unique training opportunity helping participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans.

RIMPAC 2012 will conclude on 3 August 2012.   

DOD Identifies Sailor Murdered in Afghanistan

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a sailor who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. 
Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael J. Brodsky, 33, of Tamarac, Fla., died July 21 in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, from injuries related to a dismounted improvised explosive device blast.  He was assigned to Navy Region Southwest Security Detachment, San Diego. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Navy Frigate Makes It to the Moon And Back

HMNZS Te Kaha in the waves
The odometer on New Zealand’s frigate HMNZS TE KAHA has just clicked over 500,000 nautical miles – the equivalent of travelling to the moon and back.
The milestone demonstrates the significant contribution the ship has made to regional and global security. The ANZAC-class frigates are the mainstay of the Royal New Zealand Navy’s combat forces, and have a range of over 7000 nautical miles. TE KAHA was commissioned in to service on 22 July 1997 and in the 15 years since has deployed the world over, including being on operational service in East Timor (1999), the Arabian Gulf (1999), Solomon Islands (2000-2001) and the Gulf of Oman (2002-2003).
The Navy’s frigates are armed with a 5 inch gun, torpedoes, air defence missiles and close-in weapons systems for self defence. The frigates also carry a SH-2G Seasprite helicopter armed with air-to-surface missiles, making these ships the sharp end of New Zealand’s maritime defences.
In addition to her operational missions TE KAHA has travelled to the mid Southern Ocean (63oS), and northwards through the Asia Pacific region as a regular contributor for New Zealand’s commitment to the Five Power Defence Arrangements (UK,NZ, Australia, Malaysia and Singapore).
The current Commanding Officer, Commander Jon Beadsmore, is proud to be at the helm during this milestone, the equivalent of circumnavigating the globe 23 times: “This was the first ship I served in with the RNZN and as such is something of an alma mater for me,” he said while preparing the ship for her next task at Exercise Rim of the Pacific.
“The current crew is very much like all those before us, a broad range of ages and backgrounds and all immensely proud of our Ship,” Commander Beadsmore says.
HMNZS Te Kaha chaff firing seen from helicopter
In order to keep up with the times the ship has undergone a number of equipment improvements most recently a set of powerful new engines. Next on the list are improvements to the way equipment on board is controlled and then a sensors and weapons upgrade “to keep her eyes and teeth sharp”.
TE KAHA is currently participating in the world’s largest naval exercise and is in the company of 42 ships, six submarines and over 200 aircraft from 22 different nations. She is joined by the RNZN Operational Dive Team, Mine Counter Measures Team, a Rifle Platoon from 1 RNZIR, a P-3K maritime patrol aircraft (with two crews) and personnel working ashore and afloat in a number of Headquarters.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

DOD Identifies Navy Casualties

 File:CH-53 minesweeping.jpg

            The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two sailors who died in a helicopter crash July 19 in Oman. 
            Senior Chief Aviation Warfare Systems Operator Sean P. Sullivan, 40, of St. Louis, Mo., and Naval Aircrewman (Helicopter) Second Class Joseph P. Fitzmorris, 31, of West Monroe, La., were declared deceased following an extensive search of the wreckage and the surrounding areas of the crash. 

Sailor Among Those Killed in Aurora, Colo. Shooting

Navy officials confirmed a sailor was among those killed July 20 when a gunman opened fire in an Aurora, Colo. movie theater.
Petty Officer Third Class John Larimer, 27, of Crystal Lake, Ill., died from injuries sustained in the incident. One other sailor was treated for injuries and released at the scene. Both sailors were from a unit that belongs to U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. Tenth Fleet, located at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo.
"I am incredibly saddened by the loss of Petty Officer John Larimer--he was an outstanding shipmate," said Cmdr. Jeffrey Jakuboski, Larimer's commanding officer. "A valued member of our Navy team, he will be missed by all who knew him. My heart goes out to John's family, friends and loved ones, as well as to all victims of this horrible tragedy."
Larimer joined the Navy June 16, 2011 and was a cryptologic technician third class. He had been stationed in Aurora since October 2011.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Navy Accepts Support Vessel For Iraq

The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of the future Al Basrah (OSV 401), the first of two 60-meter offshore support vessels procured on behalf of the Iraqi navy, from prime contractor RiverHawk Fast Sea Frames LLC of Tampa, Fla., July 16. 

The new vessel will conduct maritime security operations in the Northern Arabian Gulf alongside previously delivered Iraqi navy patrol boats. 

"This delivery highlights the strong relationship between the U.S. and Iraqi navies," said Frank McCarthey, program manager for Support Ships, Boats and Craft at Program Executive Office (PEO), Ships. "We look forward to officially transferring custody of OSV 401 to the Iraqi navy to aid in its mission of providing maritime security later this year." 

OSV 401 is a multi-function vessel providing a wide range of capabilities to support oil production platforms and provide the command and control requirements associated with security of those platforms. The vessel will provide transport support for crew changes and resupply to the platforms. OSV 401 is equipped with guns and outfitted with fast attack boats to defend it and the offshore platforms. The vessel has a vertical replenishment deck to facilitate the transfer of crew and supplies as needed.

Production of OSV 401 was accomplished by RiverHawk's primary subcontractor, Gulf Island Marine Fabricators LLC at their facility in Houma, La. 

The Support Ships, Boats and Craft Program Office in PEO Ships is managing the acquisition of the OSV as a foreign military sales case.

PEO Ships currently manages the design and construction of all U.S. Navy destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, as well as a wide range of small boats and craft for U.S. agencies and allied nations. Since its creation in November 2002, PEO Ships has delivered more than 40 warships and hundreds of small boats and craft from more than 20 shipyards and boat builders across the United States. 

MOD and Thales to Commercialize Naval Technology

120130 HMS Daring PR

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) and Thales UK are working to commercialise the UK’s fully digital radar electronic support measures system, which has had its first use in the Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyer fleet.
A licence agreement has been signed between Thales and Ploughshare Innovations Ltd, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’s (Dstl) technology transfer company. It gives Thales the opportunity to further develop and supply the technology to other naval forces beyond the UK MOD.
The direct radio frequency sampling and wideband digital receiver technology was developed as part of Dstl’s research program, resulting in a complete digital solution from antenna to console.
The system, which has been awarded world patent rights, provides increased quality in the information it contributes to overall situational awareness. In comparison to existing systems, it provides greater accuracy, improved sensitivity and the ability to continue to operate in high density signal environments, while the radical elimination of many expensive microwave components results in a significant benefit in terms of through-life costs.
Thales, working with Dstl, has matured this technology into world class in-service equipment, providing the Royal Navy with a new generation of electronic warfare support and threat-identification capabilities.
The system will continue to deliver these into future systems and system upgrades.
Jim Ashe of Ploughshare Innovations says: “Ploughshare is delighted that Thales will now have the opportunity to open up international markets and provide capability to allied nations by taking on this licence.”
Thales is also looking to further invest in the technology and enhance the capability, with the possibility of making land and aircraft-based systems.
Phil Naybour, head of Thales UK’s naval business says: “Thales is excited to be working with Ploughshare to develop a world-class technology. This is now in-service with the Royal Navy and is providing them with an unrivalled capability, even in the most demanding of theatres. With this exclusive licence, Thales is looking forward to the launch of a new export product later this year.”

Thales delivers four maritime patrol aircraft to Turkey

Ankara – Thales has completed delivery of initial standard maritime patrol aircraft under the Meltem II programme for Turkey, with four aircraft entering service between February and June 2012. Pierre Eric Pommellet, Executive Chairman of Thales Systèmes Aéroportés, officially handed over the aircraft during a ceremony at the Tusas Aerospace Industry (TAI) facility in Ankara attended by representatives of the Turkish Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM), the Turkish Naval Command, the Turkish Coast Guard Command, the local contractors involved in the programme – TAI, Aselsan, Havelsan and Milsoft – the French defence procurement agency (DGA) and the French embassy in Ankara.

Thales is prime contractor for the Meltem II program, which calls for delivery of six maritime patrol aircraft for the Turkish Navy and three maritime surveillance aircraft for the Turkish Coast Guard. The aircraft are based on modified CASA CN-235 platforms. The program also includes the provision of 10 additional maritime patrol systems for integration on ATR 72 aircraft in service with the Turkish Navy. Seven of these have already been delivered to the SSM. The 19 mission systems are based on Thales's AMASCOS solution (Airborne MAritime Situation & Control System).

The four initial standard aircraft underwent significant modifications to accommodate the mission system and have completed airworthiness qualification by the DGA in France. Turkish Navy pilots and aircrews have been trained with the new aircraft and mission systems and performed a series of test flights covering a range of operational mission profiles: surveillance, search and rescue, target designation, anti-surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare. On the basis of these test flights, the aircraft have been accepted into operational service.

The initial standard aircraft provide the Turkish Navy with an operational maritime patrol capability.

Mr Yakup TAŞDELEN, Department Head in SSM, said: “this delivery marks a true milestone in the development of our maritime patrol capability. The Turkish Navy can now rely on Thales state-of-the art solution to conduct their mission.”

Pierre Eric Pommellet emphasised: “the climate of confidence and dedication which drove Thales and its partners during the last couple of years and which made possible the delivery of a solution tailored to the operational need of our customer.” Pommellet added “Thales is now looking forward to delivering the next systems to the Navy and to the Coast Guard.”

This success marks a major milestone in the Meltem II programme and is a further endorsement of the high level of maturity of the AMASCOS solution. It consolidates Thales's market leadership in maritime patrol systems and its positioning as a world-class systems supplier and integrator offering a wide range of mission systems to meet the specific requirements of forces around the world. 

NNSY Returns Truman To Fleet

Tugboats assist USS Harry S. Truman  pull into Norfolk Naval Station.
NORFOLK (July 10, 2012) Tugboats assist the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) pull into Norfolk Naval Station after 16 months at Norfolk Naval Shipyard during its docking planned incremental availability. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Benjamin Kelly/Released)

Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) completed its largest Docking Planned Incremental Availability (DPIA) July 15, returning USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75) to the fleet after 470,000 man-days of maintenance.

Nimitz-class aircraft carriers have a set maintenance plan which must be adhered to in order for these ships to last the 50 years they're designed for. 

Part of the maintenance plan includes periodic dry docking to perform work below the waterline, which isn't possible while the ship is in water. 

"Truman has easily been the most challenging project of my career," said Matt Durkin, NNSY project superintendent. "We learned a lot along the way, and we're proud of the cohesive team we've developed." 

As a Naval Sea Systems Command field activity, the shipyard's focus on technical rigor and discipline in ship maintenance procedures ensures quality work and results in higher fleet readiness.

Truman entered dry-dock in March 2011, for extensive overhaul of the hull, tanks, seawater systems, and propulsion shafting as well as complex replacements of reactor control systems and the main combat system mast. Following undocking in late January 2012, Truman spent six months pierside completing production work and an in-depth equipment testing and crew certification phase.

"The entire shipyard family is proud to have returned such a vital asset to the fleet," said Capt. Mark Bridenstine, NNSY shipyard commander. "Our goal, as always, is to deliver world-wide first-time quality material readiness to the ships of the United States Navy and to the men and women who serve on them."

Following the availability, Truman will begin preparations for its sixth full deployment since being commissioned in 1998.

Norfolk Naval Shipyard is a field activity of the Naval Sea Systems Command, and the oldest industrial facility belonging to the U.S. Navy. The shipyard specializes in repairing, overhauling and modernizing ships and submarines.

VAQ-130 Lands Its First Growler Aboard Truman

Crew members conduct post-flight checks on a Growler.

Airborne Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 130, the Zappers, landed its squadron's first operational EA-18G Growler on the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), July 18. 

The Growler, a variant of the F/A-18F Super Hornet, replaced the EA-6B Prowler as the primary electronic warfare strike aircraft for Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3.

Getting Growlers aboard Truman is a huge achievement for the squadron, said Cmdr. Jeff Chism, the Zappers' executive officer.

"This is the first time our squadron has landed a Growler aboard a ship," said Chism. "Truman is only the second carrier on the East Coast with a VAQ squadron embarked, and we are thrilled to be here."

Zappers' Commanding Officer Cmdr. Rich Vaccaro landed the Growler on Truman.

"The Prowler is an older aircraft," said Lt. Nathan Gingery, a VAQ-130 pilot. "The Growler will extend the electronic attack mission into the distant future." 

The Growler has implemented and improved upon much of the old EA-6B equipment, said Gingery. 

"The advanced radar jammers, while similar to the Prowler's, have been integrated in a totally different way into the Super Hornet's frame allowing for new additions like a better communication system," said Gingery. "The new system allows data transfer and communication between various aircraft and ships in the air wing and carrier strike group."

Pilots in VAQ-130 had no trouble adapting from the EA-6Bs to the Growler's Super Hornet air frame, said Gingery.

"We went from crews of four in the Prowlers to only needing two pilots in the Growlers," said Chism. "The pilots' transition from the EA-6B to the EA-18G's cockpit was almost seamless. It was streamlined by the Super Hornet's user-friendly controls."

Due to its Super Hornet air frame, the Growler allows for better integration with other squadrons embarked aboard Truman.

"Maintenance of the Growler's frame is much easier as we can now share parts with other squadrons," said Chism. "We never saw this type of squadron integration with the old EA-6Bs."

VAQ-130 is scheduled to train aboard Truman throughout flight deck certifications and carrier qualifications.

USS Ohio Completes Major Maintenance Period, Rejoins Fleet

The guided-missile submarine USS Ohio (SSGN 726) arrives at Naval Magazine Indian Island after a 14-month forward deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF) completed its most expansive Major Maintenance Period (MMP) July 11, with USS Ohio's (SSGN 726) certification for unrestricted operations. 

Major Maintenance Periods are part of a guided missile/special operation forces boat's (SSGN) normal operating cycle and occur after the submarine has been forward deployed for 12 months. 

Ohio's fourth MMP since being converted from a ballistic missile submarine included more than 56,400 man-days of work across 110 calendar days, 65 of which were in dry dock. 

"Even with the extensive and complex work package, the teamwork between Ohio's crew and the project team to get the job done well was unbeatable," said Jerry Piotrowski, SSGN program superintendent. "This is a testament to the quality craftsmanship of the boat and the skill of the mechanics who accomplished the work. 

Additionally, more than 8,000 man-days of contractor work were completed. These efforts included significant upgrades to the navigation, communication, radar, and sonar systems. The shipyard conducted work on the diver air system, superstructure, depth control tanks, air conditioning units, fairwater planes, and a number of seawater and ventilation valves. 

Team members from PSNS & IMF's Bangor site made significant contributions in repairing a number of valves, allowing the Machine Shop to complete other work. The team also conducted troubleshooting and repaired several indication issues that had prevented the crew from monitoring water levels and movement remotely from the Ballast Control Panel. Ohio's Blue and Gold crews demonstrated teamwork as they augmented one another to help complete all testing.

PSNSY & IMF is one of four NAVSEA public shipyards that play a major role in maintaining America's fleet and providing wartime surge capability to keep the nation's ships ready for combat. 

Boeing Receives US Navy Contracts for SLAM ER and Harpoon Missiles

SLAM-ER under plane's wing (Neg#: D4C-122500-9)

Boeing on June 29 received a firm-fixed-price contract from U.S. Naval Air Systems Command for the production of nearly 90 Harpoon Block II missiles and associated hardware for the U.S. and four foreign militaries. The $145.1 million contract also includes exercise and test variants of the Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response (SLAM ER). The first missile deliveries are scheduled for this August and contract work is expected to run through December 2013.
Boeing received two related weapons contracts from the Navy in May: One procured Harpoon and SLAM ER weapons system components for the U.S. and also supported foreign military sales for 12 countries. The other was for Advanced Harpoon Weapons Control software integration for one of the international customers.
"After four decades of cooperation with our Navy partners, Boeing continues to find innovative ways to incorporate system upgrades to enhance Harpoon's reach and interoperability," said Debbie Rub, vice president and general manager for Boeing Missiles and Unmanned Airborne Systems. "This contract allows us to further partner with the Navy to enhance the capabilities of Harpoon and SLAM ER to quickly and affordably meet the evolving needs of warfighters around the globe."
Harpoon Block II missiles feature autonomous, all-weather, over-the-horizon capability and can execute missions against sea and land targets, including coastal defense sites, surface-to-air missile sites, exposed aircraft, port or industrial facilities, and ships in port. More than 600 ships, 180 submarines, 12 different types of aircraft and land-based launch vehicles carry Harpoon missiles. Boeing has delivered more than 7,300 Harpoon and Harpoon Block II missiles to the U.S. Navy and more than 30 international military customers since the inaugural Harpoon contract was awarded by Naval Air Systems Command on June 21, 1971.
SLAM ER, a derivative of Harpoon, is an air-dropped surgical strike weapon against high-value land targets or ships at sea or in port. A highly accurate man-in-the-loop cruise missile, SLAM ER can be launched from a range of more than 150 nautical miles and is reprogrammable in flight.

Newport News Shipbuilding Awarded $43 Million Contract Modification for Aircraft Carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) Materials

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced July 19th that its Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division has received a $43.4 million modification to a previously awarded contract from the U.S. Navy for purchase of materials for the construction of the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), the second ship in the Navy's newest class of carriers.
The funds awarded to NNS will be used to purchase major, long-lead-time equipment, such as the ship's elevator machinery and large pumps. NNS is performing work on CVN 79 under a construction preparation contract that allows for engineering, planning, long-lead-time material procurement and initial manufacturing to begin before the full construction contract is awarded. The full contract is scheduled to be awarded in 2013.
"This award enables us to continue our construction preparation efforts, allowing us to provide a more efficient approach to building the ship that supports one of our most important goals, affordability," said Mike Shawcross, NNS' vice president, CVN 79 construction. "We see the Ford, the first ship of the class, steadily taking shape in our dry dock, and it's exciting to know we will be building John F. Kennedy right behind it."
John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) will continue the Navy's legacy of highly capable nuclear-powered aircraft carrier ship platforms. Enhancements incorporated into the design of the new class include flight deck changes, improved weapons handling systems and a redesigned island, all resulting in increased aircraft sortie generation rates. The Ford class will also include new nuclear power plants, increased electrical power generation capacity, allowance for future technologies and reduced workload for the sailors, translating to a smaller crew size and reduced operating costs. The result is a class of carrier that will have lower total ownership cost for the Navy and improved capability.

Australian Navy explores alternative fuel use with United States

Secretary of the U.S Navy the Honourable Ray Mabus and Royal Australian Navy Fleet Commander Rear Admiral Tim Barrett shake hands after signing the Great Green Fleet agreement.

Mid Caption: The Royal Australian Navy has signed up to a plan to explore the increased use of environmentally friendly fuels. The agreement may lead to significant environmental benefits for both the Australian Defence Force and the Australian economy. 

In a show of solidarity with the United States Navy, an Australia Seahawk helicopter landed on USS Nimitz and refuelled with biofuel in acknowledgment of the importance of the project, both for the world’s environment and for national security.

Photo by CPL Chris Dickson
1st Joint Public Affairs Unit

The Royal Australian Navy has signed an agreement with the US Navy to explore the increased use of environmentally friendly fuels.

Australia’s Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, AO, CSC, RAN and the US Secretary for Navy, Ray Mabus, have signed a Statement of Cooperation which recognises the potentially significant benefits research into alternative fuels can bring. It acknowledges the importance of the project, both for the environment and for national security.

The RAN’s Fleet Commander, Rear Admiral Tim Barrett, AM, CSC, RAN delivered the Statement of Cooperation for the signing ceremony on board the US aircraft carrier USS Nimitz with Secretary Mabus on 19 July.

Rear Admiral Barrett said the project had enormous potential.

“All of us have a responsibility to be more environmentally aware. As things stand today, biofuel remains too costly to use across our fleet. However, this project could lead to a cheaper alternative fuel,” he said.

The US Navy is moving towards the general use of a 50/50 blended biofuel product by 2020.

The RAN will observe the USN as it further develops the use of alternative fuels in time for a joint deployment in 2016. The ‘Great Green Fleet’ initiative aims to replicate the famous ‘Great White Fleet’ deployment when US ships circumnavigated the globe in 1907.

“We are making sure that we look to the future so that we can continue to operate with the US as we do in company around the world,” Rear Admiral Barrett said.

As part of the event, a Royal Australian Navy Seahawk helicopter landed on USS Nimitz and refuelled with a biofuel blend, before flying the Fleet Commander to HMAS Darwin. This is the first time a RAN aircraft has flown with a biofuel blend. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lockheed Martin Chairman And CEO Bob Stevens Urges Congress To Avoid Automatic Defense Cuts

Bob Stevens
In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee today, Lockheed Martin Chairman and CEO Bob Stevens warned against the consequences to U.S. national security and the economy of the automatic cuts known as sequestration, calling on Congress to find a better solution to address our nation's fiscal challenges.
"Every month that goes by without a solution is a month of additional uncertainty, deferred investment, lost talent and ultimately, increased cost," Stevens said. "Respectfully, I urge you to take action to stop the sequestration process and ask that you do so soon."
Stevens outlined Lockheed Martin's recent cost-cutting efforts resulting in billions of dollars in reductions over the past three years, removing 1.5 million square feet in its facilities' footprint, with another 2.9 million square feet reduction before the end of 2014. The corporation has reduced its workforce by 18 percent, or 26,000 employees, since 2009.
Based on the limited information available on how sequestration will be implemented, the company roughly calculated that they could be required to lay off as many as 10,000 employees.
"But which 10,000? And when? That is difficult to determine without additional guidance from the Government that allows us to narrow the potential impacts," Stevens said. "We are very hungry for more guidance, very hungry for more information so we can narrow this and behave responsibly."
"Most tragically, we feel we will be unable to provide the equipment and support needed by our military forces, and we are unable to reliably estimate how many employees are going to lose their jobs and how many families are going to be disrupted."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

USNS Henry J. Kaiser delivers biofuel for RIMPAC's Great Green Fleet demo

Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187), which is currently providing logistical support for U.S. Pacific Fleet's biennial Rim of the Pacific exercise off Hawaii, will deliver 900,000 gallons of a 50-50 blend of advanced biofuels and traditional petroleum-based fuel July 17 to the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) strike group. The fuel delivery is part of the Navy's Great Green Fleet demonstration, which allows the Navy to test, evaluate and demonstrate the cross-platform utility and functionality of advanced biofuels in an operational setting. This will achieve one of the five energy goals established by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus: to demonstrate a Great Green Fleet in local operations by 2012.

Kaiser is scheduled to deliver 700,000 gallons of hydro-treated renewable diesel fuel, or HRD76, to three ships of the strike group. Kaiser will also deliver 200,000 gallons of hydro-treated renewable aviation fuel, or HRJ5, to Nimitz. Both fuels are a 50-50 blend of traditional petroleum-based fuel and biofuel comprised of a mix of waste cooking oil and algae oil.

Using fuel hoses connected to the two ships moving at tandem at approximately 13 knots, Kaiser will transfer the HRJ5 fuel to Nimitz, and the HRD76 fuel to guided-missile destroyers USS Princeton (CG 59) and destroyers USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) and USS Chaffee (DDG 90), during individual underway replenishments, or unreps. The biofuel delivery is part of Kaiser's schedule of logistics support to the multinational forces participating in RIMPAC 2012. Kaiser, along with MSC dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Matthew Perry (T-AKE 9) and MSC fleet replenishment oiler USNS Yukon (T-AO 202), will support RIMPAC throughout the nearly five weeks of the exercise that lasts through early August. The MSC ships will deliver fuel and supplies to participating ships in a scheduled series of approximately 180 replenishments at sea.

"This is a great opportunity for both my crew and me," said Kaiser's civil service master, Capt. Joseph Trogdlen. "MSC's mission is service to the fleet and that is what RIMPAC is all about. Being able to bring a cutting edge technology like the biofuel to the fleet is an exciting part of a very busy schedule of UNREPS that we are conducting in support of this exercise."  

Held every two years, RIMPAC 2012 is a multinational maritime exercise that takes place in and around the Hawaiian Islands. This year's RIMPAC exercise is the 23rd in the series, which began as an annual exercise in 1971. RIMPAC 2012 is scheduled to last from June 29 to August 3, and features 22 nations, 40 surface ships, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel. Units from Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore and the United States will participate in RIMPAC, along with military personnel from Colombia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Republic of Philippines, Thailand, Tonga and the United Kingdom. Participating forces will exercise a wide range of capabilities during RIMPAC, demonstrating the inherent flexibility of maritime forces. These capabilities range from disaster relief and maritime security operations, to sea control and complex warfighting that includes amphibious operations, gunnery, missile, anti-submarine, and air defense exercises, as well as counter-piracy, explosive ordnance disposal operations, diving and salvage operations.

"This is just another example of the critical role MSC ships play in supporting significant Navy strategic priorities," said Rear Adm. Mark H. Buzby, commander, Military Sealift Command.