Saturday, August 31, 2013

HTMS Krabi Commissioned

The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) officially commissioned into service its first BAE Systems-designed offshore patrol vessel (OPV) at Mahidol Adulyadej Naval Dockyard on 26 August.
HTMS Krabi was built by Bangkok Dock under a technology-transfer agreement signed with BAE Systems in mid-2009. The 90 m OPV is based on the UK Royal Navy's four 80 m River-class OPVs (which entered service between 2003 and 2007), and is similar to the three OPVs the UK shipbuilder recently delivered to the Brazilian Navy.
Laid down in September 2010 and launched in December 2011, Krabi's delivery follows the successful completion of sea trials in which it "exceeded expectations", BAE Systems said.
The ship will be deployed on economic exclusion zone security duties, with missions including border control tasks, disaster-relief operations, and the protection of natural resources including fisheries in the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea.
An additional five vessels are expected to be ordered as funding becomes available.
Displacing 2,540-tonnes, with an overall length of 90.5 m, a beam of 13.5 m, and a draught of 3.5 m, the OPV has a top speed of 25 kt and a range of 3,500 n miles at 15 kt. Accommodation is provided for a crew of 39 plus 50 embarked personnel. Modifications to meet the RTN's requirements include the addition of an OTO Melara 76 mm gun, locally sourced air-conditioning and electrical systems, as well as indigenous fixtures and fittings.
The OPV is also fitted with two MSI 30 mm guns. Sensors include a Variant surveillance and target indication radar and a Lirod Mk 2 lightweight radar/optronic director, both supplied by Thales Nederland, and X- and S-band radars from Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine.
The flight deck supports a medium-sized helicopter, such as the RTN's AgustaWestland Super Lynx 300.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Missile first for Navy

An ESSM is fired from HMAS Perth at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii as part of the final Operational Acceptance Trial for the Australian designed Phased Array Radar and Combat Management System upgrades to the Anzac Class Frigate ASMD system. (photo: Unknown)
An ESSM is fired from HMAS Perth at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii as part of the final Operational Acceptance Trial for the Australian designed Phased Array Radar and Combat Management System upgrades to the Anzac Class Frigate ASMD system.

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) have recently completed the final Operational Acceptance Trial for the Australian-designed Phased Array Radar and Combat Management System upgrades to the Anzac Class frigate Anti-Ship Missile Defence (ASMD) system.

The trial included a number of successful Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) firings from HMAS Perth at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) in Hawaii. During the trials, the ASMD system was challenged by a number of demanding firing scenarios. These included successful missile engagements against multiple sea-skimming targets including, for the first time in the RAN, an engagement by an ESSM against one of the world’s most advanced supersonic targets.
Perth’s Commanding Officer, Captain Lee Goddard, said the firing clearly demonstrated the effectiveness of the upgraded ASMD system.
“The targets were detected by the Australian designed and built CEA Phased Array Radar and the missiles were successfully launched and controlled in flight by the ship’s ASMD systems, resulting in the destruction of the targets,” Captain Goddard said.
“This proves the accuracy and precision of the upgraded systems to guide the weapon in a complex warfighting scenario.”   
Perth is the first of eight Anzac Frigates to enter the ASMD upgrade to improve her weapons systems and sensor arrays. 
The Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, said “The ASMD upgrade provides the Anzac Class with a significantly enhanced level of self and local area defence against modern anti-ship missiles. The complexity of the firing scenarios is unsurpassed in the RAN’s history, particularly the successful firings against supersonic targets. The results from this activity are a ringing endorsement of the capability flowing from the ASMD program.”
The RAN and DMO acknowledge that the success of the program has largely been due to the outstanding efforts and collaboration by Navy, the DMO, Canberra-based CEA Technologies, SAAB Systems and the Defence Science and Technology Organisation.

HMS Dragon proves versatile in the Gulf

One of the Royal Navy’s fleet of brand new air defense warships – Dragon was designed with a flight deck which can accommodate many different types of aircraft.
And, to demonstrate this versatility, SH-60 Seahawk helicopters from the US Navy and US Marine Corps and all 3 types of Royal Navy helicopter – the Lynx, Merlin and Sea King – have all operated from the ship in the space of a week.
The flight deck, which remains unmanned throughout take off and landing, also has an automation and signalling system – involved in launching and recovering aircraft – that can land helicopters as large as a Chinook on board.
This flexibility gives the Type 45 an unrivaled capability among her counterparts in the Royal Navy and other forces operating in the region. HMS Dragon and her sister ships can operate aircraft with specialist roles in everything from maritime security to airborne early warning – which is vital to give awareness of the surrounding environment.
A Sea King Mk7 Airborne Surveillance and Control helicopter
A Sea King Mk7 Airborne Surveillance and Control helicopter lands on HMS Dragon [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Dave Jenkins, Crown copyright]
Lieutenant Commander Jason White, the Principal Warfare Officer on board HMS Dragon, said:
"Our sensors are highly sophisticated and provide plenty of information about the operating environment. We can gather much more information to make earlier and better decisions by working and operating with these aircraft. The challenge we have is in adapting our procedures to make the most out of our mutual capabilities.
Working with the Sea King Airborne Surveillance and Control helicopter has also allowed us to build on our knowledge of air activity in the Gulf by giving us the full surface picture, enabling us to know what is going on for hundreds of miles around."
Dragon has also been able to experience how aircraft from other nations operate and how foreign navies do similar operations but in different ways. One such chance was in a joint fast-roping exercise between Dragon’s Royal Marines boarding party and a US explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) team based on board the USS Nimitz.
An HH-60H Seahawk helicopter
An HH-60H Seahawk helicopter from the USS Nimitz lands on HMS Dragon [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Dave Jenkins, Crown copyright]
Royal Marine Captain Guy Filmore was impressed by what he saw. He said:
"They operate in a very different way to us but it definitely works; their EOD capability really complements our specialist boarding role and it would be good to work with them again and carry out joint exercises."

Taiwan set to spend US$100 mil. on work at disputed Spratlys

File:Spratly Islands-CIA WFB Map.png

Taiwan plans to spend more than US$100 million to build a dock big enough for warships in the disputed Spratly Islands, a legislator said Thursday, as other claimants strengthen their regional military presence.
The plan submitted to parliament Thursday by the coastguard would cost TW$3.4 billion (US$112.4 million). Sources said the spending is expected to be approved.
The dock will be an upgrade on the existing pier at the Taiwan-controlled island of Taiping, the biggest island in the Spratlys. It is scheduled to become operational in 2016.
“National security authorities have decided to expedite the project as the other countries in the region have been increasing their naval and air force deployment in the past few years, further complicating the issue,” legislator Lin Yu-fang said in a statement.
Once it is completed, large supply ships and even naval frigates will be able to berth, said Lin, a legislator from the ruling Kuomintang party who sits on parliament's defense committee.
The current pier caters only to small patrol boats.
Once the dock work is completed the runway on Taiping will be extended, Lin said.
Taiwan built a 1,150-meter (3,800-foot) runway on Taiping in mid-2006, despite protests from other countries with claims to the disputed island group.
Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, China, Malaysia, and the Philippines claim all or part of the potentially oil-rich Spratlys.
All claimants except Brunei have troops based on some part of the archipelago of more than 100 islets, reefs and atolls, which have a total land mass of less than 5 square kilometers (2 square miles).
Overlapping claims in the South China Sea are seen as a potential military flashpoint, and there has been a series of disputes in recent years.
The Philippines and Vietnam have been strengthening their military deployment in the sea after complaining that China is becoming increasingly aggressive in asserting its own claims.

(Taiwan Headline Service)

U.S. Navy Awards Lockheed Martin $37 Million Contract For Heavyweight Torpedo Program

Lockheed Martin will provide the U.S. Navy and allied navy customers from Canada and The Netherlands with upgrade kits and services for the MK 48 heavyweight torpedo under a new, $37 million contract award, part of a five-year effort to upgrade the entire submarine fleet.
The Mod 7 Common Broadband Advanced Sonar System (CBASS) upgrade kit equips the heavyweight MK 48 with increased bandwidth and streamlined targeting and tracking capabilities. The kit includes a broadband analog sonar receiver, a guidance and control box, and a pre-amplifier. Since the CBASS program was first awarded to Lockheed Martin in 2011, the U.S. Navy has awarded more than $70 million for functional item replacement kits, engineering services, spares, and production support material.
"The CBASS upgrades dramatically enhance the performance and capabilities of the MK 48," said Tom Jarbeau, Lockheed Martin program director. "The refinements we've made to the torpedo's guidance and control systems provide the U.S. Navy with a highly capable weapon in both littoral and deep sea environments."
The replacement kits will upgrade the heavyweight torpedoes used by the entire United States submarine fleet for anti-submarine or anti-surface warfare. The MK 48 heavyweight torpedo is also employed by the allied navies of Australia, Canada, and The Netherlands.

Lockheed Martin's Marion, Mass., facility will perform the CBASS work, with additional support from other company locations, including Manassas, Va.; Syracuse, N.Y.; and Newport, R.I.  Lockheed Martin subsidiary Polaris Contract Manufacturing will build the circuit card and module assembly.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

FLIR Systems Awarded U.S. Navy Contract Valued at up to $137 Million to Support Rotary Aircraft Initiatives

FLIR Systems, Inc.
Wilsonville OR August 29, 2013 - FLIR Systems, Inc. announced today that it has been awarded an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract from the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, to support Naval Air Systems Command's UH-1 program and the Vertical Takeoff Unmanned Aerial Vehicle program. The contract is valued at $136.6 million and is for FLIR's commercially developed, military qualified BRITE Star® II gimbaled electro-optical/infrared imaging systems, BRITE Star® I upgrades, and related spares and services. These advanced imaging systems will provide intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, detection, identification, and targeting capability in day or night operations for both manned and unmanned platforms. An initial delivery order of $4.2 million was received.

Work under this award is expected to be performed out of FLIR's facility in Wilsonville, OR, and is expected to be completed by August 2018.
BRITE Star II"This contract award was the result of our team's continued effort to bring highly advanced commercially developed solutions to government markets," said Andy Teich, President and CEO of FLIR. "Our innovative technology, high reliability, timely delivery, low total cost of ownership, and global customer support drive our success in these markets. We are proud to have been selected to provide the U.S. Navy with these highly tactical solutions."

ThyssenKrupp Elevator to supply 14 elevators for new locks

The 81.6 kilometer long Panama Canal, one of the world’s most important waterways, is currently undergoing extensive civil construction, widening and deepening at a cost of around four billion euros. A key element of the Expansion Program is the construction of two new lock complexes on the Atlantic and Pacific sides, each around 1,200 meters long. Passage through the three-step locks will be controlled and monitored from two control towers. Access to these towers will be by elevator – made and installed by ThyssenKrupp Elevator. The Panama Canal expansion contract includes a total of fourteen modern passenger elevators, mainly to transport people quickly from one side of the lock to the other. Installed at various points along the locks, the elevators descend to a depth of roughly 50 meters and are then connected by tunnels known as “crossunders” running beneath the lock chambers, which hold millions of liters of water and are used by gigantic passenger and merchant ships. All elevator components are dust and spray proof to guarantee maximum availability even under the harshest of climatic conditions.
The Canal is currently used by some 14,000 ships a year to avoid a two-week trip around the South American continent via Cape Horn. But the ever-increasing size of container ships and tankers means the Panama Canal has reached its maximum capacity resulting in a bottleneck; today the man-made waterway is simply too small for the growing world merchant fleet. The new, water-saving locks will allow the passage of ships up to 366 meters long and 49 meters wide – equivalent to a capacity of approximately 13,000 containers. At the same time, the capacity of the Canal is being doubled. The new set of locks is expected to be operational for commercial use by the second quarter of 2015.
The order underpins ThyssenKrupp Elevator's strategic focus on the markets of the future and continues its success in the growth regions. The team from ThyssenKrupp Elevator has already demonstrated its capabilities and engineering skills in Panama in the past: Based on its long-standing experience in all phases of project management – from planning to installation to regular maintenance – the company supplied and installed 37 elevators and two escalators at the 5-star Hotel Trump Ocean Club in Panama City.

Newport News Shipbuilding Redelivers Aircraft Carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Following Refueling and Complex Overhaul

Newport News August 29, 2013 - Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) redelivered the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) to the U.S. Navy today. The redelivery took place following successful sea trials that tested the ship's systems after its refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) at the shipyard.
The sea trials, conducted by the U.S. Navy alongside NNS shipbuilders onboard, tested the carrier's systems and operations at sea, including high-speed operations. The trials team put the ship through a series of tests designed to prove system performance and demonstrate all the carrier's capabilities at sea.
"The ship's refueling and modernization was an enormous undertaking made successful by the joint efforts of the shipyard, Navy and government team," said Chris Miner, NNS' vice president, in-service aircraft carrier programs. "Her strong performance during sea trials is a source of pride for the 4,000 shipbuilders who worked tirelessly to return Roosevelt to the Navy's operational fleet today."
The RCOH process is performed only once during the ship's 50-year lifetime and involves upgrades to nearly every space and system on the ship. Tanks, the hull, shafting, propellers, rudders, piping, ventilation, electrical, combat and aviation support systems were repaired, upgraded and modernized. Work also included defueling and refueling the ship's two nuclear reactors and repairs and upgrades to the propulsion plant.
NNS is the only shipyard with the skilled workforce and facilities equipped for this nearly four-year project, which was described in a 2002 Rand Study as one of the most challenging and highly industrial tasks undertaken by any organization. The fourth Nimitz-class carrier to undergo an RCOH, Roosevelt has had up to 4,000 shipbuilders assigned to her at peak manning periods. USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) arrived at NNS in March and is currently undergoing her RCOH.

Boeing Advanced Super Hornet Demonstrates Significant Stealth, Range Improvements

Boeing photo
During three weeks of flight testing the Advanced Super Hornet, Boeing and partner Northrop Grumman demonstrated that the fighter can outperform threats for decades to come with improvements that make the jet much harder for radar to detect and give it significantly more combat range. 
Through 21 flights in St. Louis and Patuxent River, Md., that began Aug. 5, the team tested conformal fuel tanks (CFT), an enclosed weapons pod (EWP), and signature enhancements, each of which can be affordably retrofitted on an existing Block II Super Hornet aircraft or included on a new jet.
“We continually insert new capabilities into today’s highly capable, already stealthy Super Hornet, and the Advanced Super Hornet is the next phase of this technology evolution,” said Debbie Rub, Boeing Global Strike vice president and general manager. “Boeing and our industry partners are investing in next-generation capabilities so warfighters have what they need when they need it, and so the customer can acquire it in a cost-effective manner.” 
Improvements to the aircraft’s radar signature, including the enclosed pod, resulted in a 50 percent reduction compared with the U.S. Navy’s stealth requirement for the current Super Hornet variant. The tests also showed that the CFTs increase the jet’s combat radius by up to 130 nautical miles, for a total combat radius of more than 700 nautical miles.  
"Even though we added components to the aircraft, their stealthy, low-drag design will enhance the combat capability and survivability of the Super Hornet on an aircraft that has a combat-proven history launching and recovering from aircraft carriers,” said Mike Wallace, the Boeing F/A-18 test pilot who flew the Advanced Super Hornet configuration. 
The improvements will ensure that the Advanced Super Hornet outpaces enemy aircraft and defenses through 2030 and beyond, especially when that enemy tries to deny access to a specific area, such as skies over international waters near its assets.    
Boeing and Northrop Grumman funded the testing. The companies, along with Hornet Industry Team partners GE Aviation and Raytheon, are investing in more advanced technologies for the Advanced Super Hornet, including internal Infrared Search and Track, an enhanced engine and a next-generation cockpit.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

This Day in Naval History

29 August 1861, during the Civil War, Seaman Benjamin Swearer landed with troops from the steam sloop of war Pawnee and took part in the capture of Fort Clark, at Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina. He served throughout the action and had the honor of being the first man to raise the flag on the captured fort. For his “gallant service” throughout the action, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. 

30 Aug 1929, at New London, Connecticut, twenty-six officers and men test the Momsen lung to exit the submerged USS S-4. Following the salvage and repairs on S-4, she was used to development equipment and techniques for submarine and salvage.

31 August 1862, the daily rum issued to US Navy sailors on board vessels was abolished. On 14 July, by an Act of Congress, the spirit ration was to cease on 1 September. Note, Secretary Welles issued a further order requiring captains of naval vessels to remove all distilled liquors from their ships except those that serve as medical stores. “Ale, beer, wine, and other liquors not distilled” were exempted from the provisions of the act of 14 July.

MCB 6's First CO
Cdr Joseph Blundon, Sixth Naval Construction Battalion first CO, peers out of his "office" on Guadalcanal.

1 September 1942, the first Seabee unit to serve in a combat area, the Sixth Naval Construction Battalion, arrives on Guadalcanal.

2 Sep 1945: Japan formally surrenders

3 September 1944, a PB4Y-1 Liberator plane was launched to attack German submarine pens on Helgoland Island. The pilot, Lt. Ralph Spading, set the radio controls and parachuted, the Liberator was then controlled as a drone by Ensign J.M. Simpson in a PV-1. Due to weather problems, the drone hit the barracks and industrial area on Dune Island instead. 

USCGC Northwind

4 September 1954, the icebreakers USS Burton Island (AGB-1) and USCGC Northwind completed the first transit of Northwest passage through McClure Strait.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Northrop Grumman Taps Brian E. Chappel to Lead the F-35 Lightning II Program

Brian Chappel (thumbnail)

Redondo Beach CA August 27, 2013 - Brian E. Chappel has been appointed vice president and program manager for the Northrop Grumman Corporation F-35 Lightning II program. Northrop Grumman is principal partner to Lockheed Martin on the F-35.
Chappel will be responsible for directing and overseeing cost, schedule, technical matters, quality and customer satisfaction for the production of the aircraft's center fuselage.
Most recently, Chappel was vice president of Business Management and chief financial officer for the company's Advanced Development Programs business unit. Since joining the company from the U.S. Air Force in 1993, Chappel has served in leadership positions for such functions as business development, proposals, contracts, pricing and program business operations. He also has held several leadership positions on the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System program.
"Over 20 years, Brian has proven himself very capable of leading business and program efforts in what is a highly complex and competitive industry," said Pat McMahon, sector vice president and general manager of military aircraft systems. "In today's environment, balancing innovation and affordability is more important than ever, and he will continue Northrop Grumman's outstanding performance on the most technologically advanced military aircraft program in aviation history."
Chappel earned a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from Pennsylvania State University and a master's degree in business administration from the University of California, Los Angeles.

QinetiQ's Paramarine software selected by Republic of Korea's Agency for Defense Development

QinetiQ GRC’S Paramarine ship and submersible design software, one of the world’s fastest growing ship design tools, has been selected by Republic of Korea’s Agency for Defense Development (ADD) for submarine concept design.
The ADD was established in 1970 as the corner stone for the goal of making Korea self-reliant in terms of defense. Today the ADD holds core technology development capabilities for a wide range of advanced weapon systems and has established itself as a world class agency for defense science and technology development.
“We selected Paramarine because of its proven track record and extensive use by submarine designers and builders around the world in the design of submarines. Of particular interest to us is not only its powerful early design capabilities but also the support services that QinetiQ GRC can offer us in terms of training and naval architecture design,” commented Dr Shin, Principal Researcher, ADD.
“Paramarine has established itself as the world’s leading naval architecture software tool for the design of submarines. Six of the world’s top ten submarine builders use its powerful capabilities. The selection by Republic of Korea’s Agency for Defense Development is further testament to its powerful and proven capabilities,” said Vittorio Vagliani, Managing Director, QinetiQ GRC.
Paramarine is based on 20 years’ experience in marine design and has a wealth of submarine specific analyses in one integrated product. Confidence in its capabilities comes from the independent validation of results and that it is approved for use by the UK MoD. The recent launch of the latest version of Paramarine (V8) has further extended the software’s functionality with the introduction of probabilistic damage modelling and assessment, as well as enhancements to its emergency response, reporting, and stability assessment capabilities.

LCS 4 Completes Acceptance Trials

Austal photo

The future USS Coronado (LCS 4) successfully concluded acceptance trials after completing a series of graded in-port and underway demonstrations for the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV), the Navy announced Aug. 28. 

Acceptance trials are the last significant milestone before delivery of the ship to the Navy, which is planned for later this fall. The ship completed trials Aug. 23. 

"Coronado's performance was strong" said Rear Adm. Robert Wray, INSURV president. "[This was] the most complete and rigorous trial on the Independence variant to date. I remain bullish on these seaframes."

During the four-day trial, the Navy conducted comprehensive tests intended to demonstrate the performance of the propulsion plant, ship handling and auxiliary systems. While underway, the ship successfully performed launch and recovery operations with both the 7-meter and 11-meter rigid hull inflatable boats, a four-hour full power run, surface and air self defense detect-to-engage exercises, and demonstrated the ship's tremendous maneuverability performing tight turns and accomplishing speeds in excess of 40 knots.

"Coronado encompasses lessons learned from the construction and operation of its predecessor USS Independence. The value of those changes was evident in the strong performance of the ship during her trial." said LCS Program Manager Capt. Tom Anderson. "It's a very exciting time in the LCS program."

Following delivery and commissioning, Coronado will be homeported in San Diego with its sister ships USS Freedom (LCS 1), USS Independence (LCS 2) and USS Fort Worth (LCS 3). 

Milwaukee (LCS 5), Detroit (LCS 7), Little Rock (LCS 9) and Sioux City (LCS 11) are under construction at the Marinette Marine Corp. shipyard in Marinette, Wis., and Jackson (LCS 6), Montgomery (LCS 8), Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) and Omaha (LCS 12), are under construction at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Ala. 

Wichita (LCS 13) and Billings (LCS 15) are under contract with Marinette Marine Corp and in the pre-production phase, while Manchester (LCS 14) and Tulsa (LCS 16) under contract with Austal and in the pre-production phase. 

The littoral combat ship class is designed to defeat threats in coastal waters where increasingly capable submarines, mines, and swarming small craft operate. To deliver capabilities against these threats, the Navy introduced LCS with innovative concepts, such as modular mission packages, to quickly respond to an evolving threat.

The Navy is committed to a 52-ship LCS class.

NOAA confirms wreck is lost 19th century U.S. Coast Survey steamer

In 1852, W.A.K. Martin painted this picture of the Robert J. Walker. The painting, now at the Mariner's Museum in Newport News, Virginia, is scheduled for restoration.
In 1852, W.A.K. Martin painted this picture of the Robert J. Walker. The painting, now at the Mariner's Museum in Newport News, Va., is scheduled for restoration. (Credit: The Mariners' Museum)
August 27, 2013 - More than 153 years after it was lost in a violent collision at sea, government and university maritime archaeologists have identified the wreck of the ship Robert J. Walker, a steamer that served in the U.S. Coast Survey, a predecessor agency of NOAA.
The Walker, while now largely forgotten, served a vital role as a survey ship, charting the Gulf Coast ‒ including Mobile Bay and the Florida Keys ‒ in the decade before the Civil War. It also conducted early work plotting the movement of the Gulf Stream along the Atlantic Coast.
Twenty sailors died when the Walker sank in rough seas in the early morning hours of June 21, 1860, ten miles off Absecon Inlet on the New Jersey coast. The crew had finished its latest surveys in the Gulf of Mexico and was sailing to New York when the Walker was hit by a commercial schooner off New Jersey. The side-wheel steamer, carrying 66 crewmembers, sank within 30 minutes. The sinking was the largest single loss of life in the history of the Coast Survey and its successor agency, NOAA.
Surveyers onboard NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson produced this multibeam sonar image of the Walker wreck.
Surveyers onboard NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson produced this multibeam sonar image of the Walker wreck.  (Credit: NOAA)
“Before this identification was made, the wreck was just an anonymous symbol on navigation charts,” said Rear Admiral Gerd Glang, director of NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey. “Now, we can truly honor the 20 members of the crew and their final resting place. It will mark a profound sacrifice by the men who served during a remarkable time in our history.”
Built in 1847, the Walker was one of the U.S. government’s first iron-hulled steamers, and was intended for the U.S. Revenue Service, the predecessor of the United States Coast Guard. Instead, the Walker and some of its sister steamers were sent to the U.S. Coast Survey.
Admiral Robert J. Papp, commandant of the Coast Guard, said that Walker represented the transition from sail to steam for government vessels, “reflecting the enduring need of the United States to harness the power of new technology to promote its maritime interests.”
“Coast Guardsmen are always saddened by the loss of life at sea and especially so when those lost were working to make the lives of other mariners safer by charting the waters of the United States,” Papp said. 
Observations from NOAA's Maritime Heritage program's diving team confirmed the identity of the Walker wreck.
Observations from NOAA's Maritime Heritage program's diving team confirmed the identity of the Walker wreck.  (Credit: NOAA)
The U.S. Coast Survey is NOAA’s oldest predecessor organization, established by President Thomas Jefferson in 1807 to survey the coast and produce the nation’s nautical charts. In 1860, as the Civil War approached, the Coast Survey redoubled efforts to produce surveys of harbors strategically important to the war effort along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.
The New York Herald, in reporting the Walker’sloss on June 23, 1860, noted that a “heavy sea was running, and many of the men were doubtless washed off the spars and drowned from the mere exhaustion of holding on, while others were killed or stunned on rising to the surface by concussion with spars and other parts of the wreck.”
NOAA is able to confirm the identity of the Walker using various criteria, including the ship's unique paddlewheel flanges.
NOAA is able to confirm the identity of the Walker using various criteria, including the ship's unique paddlewheel flanges.  (Credit: NOAA)
The Walker wreck site initially was discovered in the 1970s by a commercial fisherman. The wreck's identity has been a mystery despite being regularly explored by divers. Resting 85 feet underwater, the vessel’s identity was confirmed in June as part of a private-public collaboration that included research provided by New Jersey wreck divers; Joyce Steinmetz, a maritime archaeology student at East Carolina University; and retired NOAA Corps Capt. Albert Theberge, chief of reference for the NOAA Central Library.
While in the area to conduct hydrographic surveys after Hurricane Sandy for navigation safety, NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson sailed to the wreck site and deployed its multibeam and sidescan sonar systems. Hydrographers searched likely locations based on analysis of historical research by Vitad Pradith, a physical scientist with NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey.
A NOAA Maritime Heritage diving team, on a separate Hurricane Sandy-related mission in the area, was able to positively identify the Walker. Key clues were the size and layout of the iron-hulled wreck, and its unique engines, rectangular portholes, and the location of the ship, which was found still pointing toward the Absecon lighthouse, the final destination of a desperate crew on a sinking vessel.

“The identification of Walker is a result of excellent collaboration with the local community,” said James P. Delgado, director of maritime heritage for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. “We look forward to working with our local partners to share Walker’s story with the public in a manner that both promotes educational dive tourism and protects this nationally significant wreck and gravesite.”
NOAA’s intent is not to make the wreck a sanctuary or limit diving, but to work with New Jersey’s wreck diving community to better understand the wreck and the stories it can tell.
After a ceremony last month onboard NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson, Ensign Eileen Pye lays a wreath over the waters where USCS Robert J. Walker sank.
After a ceremony last month onboard NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson, Ensign Eileen Pye lays a wreath over the waters where USCS Robert J. Walker sank.  (Credit: NOAA)
“We want to enhance the dive experience and support the dive industry with enhanced access to this wreck,” Delgado said. “New Jersey is home to some of the most accomplished wreck divers who not only understand history and wrecks, but who have also been in the forefront of wreck exploration. We look forward to working with them on the Walker.”
NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey is the nation’s nautical chartmaker. Coast Survey updates charts, surveys the coastal seafloor, responds to maritime emergencies, and searches for underwater obstructions that pose a danger to navigation. 
NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries serves as trustee for a system of 14 marine protected areas, encompassing more than 170,000 square miles of America’s ocean and Great Lakes waters. Through active research, management, and public engagement, national marine sanctuaries sustain healthy environments that are the foundation for thriving communities and stable economies. 

Jacobs Joint Venture Awarded Contract from the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. announced today that its joint venture with Architects Hawaii Ltd. was recently awarded an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Pacific to provide architecture-engineering services.
“We are pleased to receive this contract award and are honored to be providing our services in support of the Navy’s facilities needs in the Pacific.”
The maximum order limit is $10 million. The contract duration is one base year with four one-year option periods.
Under the terms of the contract, Jacobs and Architects Hawaii are providing design, engineering, specification writing, cost estimating, and related services for NAVFAC Pacific projects at various locations.
In making the announcement, Jacobs Group Vice President Tom McDuffie stated, “We are pleased to receive this contract award and are honored to be providing our services in support of the Navy’s facilities needs in the Pacific.”
NAVFAC Pacific provides engineering and acquisition expertise to the U.S. Pacific Fleet by serving as the Navy's facilities, installation, and contingency engineers in the Pacific area of responsibility.
Architects Hawaii (AHL) is a multi-disciplinary architectural firm with Hawaii Pacific and international experience in architecture, planning, interior, and sustainable design.
Jacobs is one of the world's largest and most diverse providers of technical, professional, and construction services.

International Hydrofoil Society Establishes the Mandles Prize for Hydrofoil Excellence

FRESH-1. IHS photo.
To be clear, hydrofoils are "wings under water" that can substantially increase the speed, maneuverability and stability of suitable boats, ships and other watercraft by lifting them above the surface and waves of water through which they might otherwise experience significant resistance, delay and discomfort.
Founded in England in 1965 and based in the United States since 1970, the International Hydrofoil Society (IHS) remains an all-volunteer, not-for-profit professional society for everyone, everywhere who is involved with or fascinated by commercial, military or recreational hydrofoils of many sizes and types including, but not limited to, passenger ferries, search and rescue boats, patrol craft, cabin cruisers, race boats, speedboats, jet skis, water skis, sailboats and human-powered water bikes.
The IHS is now initiating an annual Mandles Prize for Hydrofoil Excellence in recognition of hydrofoil engineering, design or construction achievement by college and university students. The $2,500 prize and up to two $1,000 honorable mentions each year will be based on submissions from individual students or groups of up to six students with the signature of a faculty advisor endorsing each submission. Rules and other details are accessible at the home page of the Web site of the Society,, under "Mandles Prize." Questions and submissions should be addressed to
The namesake and benefactors of these awards are Connie and Martinn Mandles of Los Angeles, CA. In the early 1960s, Martinn was the first co-pilot of Boeing's only jet-powered hydrofoil research hydroplane, and then of the Navy's unique Boeing built and operated high-speed research hydrofoil, FRESH-1. After completing his engineering degree at Stanford University, receiving his commission as a military officer and serving in Vietnam, Martinn became the first captain of the Navy's prototype hydrofoil gunboat, the Boeing built USS Tucumcari, in 1968.
In his four-decade civilian career that followed, Martinn rose to be Chairman of the Board of a prominent company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. He now serves as an independent executor and trustee of several large estates.

Naming and launching of offshore patrol vessel at STX Finland’s Rauma shipyard

STX photo
The Offshore Patrol Vessel UVL10, currently being built for the Finnish Border Guard at STX Finland Oy’s Rauma shipyard, was named Turva at a festive naming and launching ceremony on Friday 2 August. Minister of the Interior Päivi Räsänen acted as godmother for the ship, wishing the vessel and its crew luck and success in their future maritime operations. In her speech as the ship’s godmother, Minister Räsänen stated that taking delivery of the ship is an important part of the preparation for the risks of increasing maritime transport and prevention of environmental damage, written down in the Government Program. According to the Minister, the vessel represents the collaborative thinking promoted by the government, since it has been designed by a team of various experts and it supports various authorities at their work.
The technically advanced, 96 metres long and 17 metres wide vessel, scheduled for delivery at the end of year 2013, is now painted blue and white. This colour scheme, echoing the colours of the national flag, lends support to its operations in the international operational environment of our regional waters. The open ship naming contest produced a total of 1,358 name suggestion for the vessel. Out of these suggestions, the Finnish Border Guard selected a name that has traditions and appropriately fits the key tasks of the Border Guard. When completed, the vessel will be stationed on the Gulf of Finland, where it will sail year round, over 300 days a year.
The offshore patrol vessel will be used for the purposes of frontier supervision, maritime search and rescue (SAR), environmental protection, monitoring of natural resources, oil spill response on the open sea and cooperation with other authorities. The vessel can provide support for the operations of auxiliary ships and helicopters. The ship will be used under any weather and visibility conditions on the Baltic Sea and it is capable of independent long-term operation at extended ranges. The ship hull and its systems have been designed with seaworthiness and operational dependability in mind to ensure functioning capacity under extreme conditions.
The vessel features a large working deck and an oil recovery system and high-capacity tanks for recovered oil, facilitating long operating times. If necessary, open sea oil spill response activities can be performed on rough seas and in winter conditions. The ship also features capability to respond in case of serious chemical accidents. The offshore patrol vessels has versatile search and rescue (SAR) capability and she is capable of operating under difficult conditions and it can function as an on-scene command post in the event of multimodal accidents requiring multiple response capabilities. The ship has extensive fire fighting capacity for extinguishing ship fires and the capability to rescue large numbers of people from the sea or from another vessel. In addition, the ship features sickbays and a helicopter deck for potential evacuation of passengers. The ship’s 100-tonne emergency towing capability is also an excellent feature in situations where large ships in trouble need to be towed. The offshore patrol vessel is also designed to have high tolerance for damage in case of stranding, fire, engine failure or any other problem situation. The vessel features a double hull and double engine rooms for redundancy and separate systems for maintaining functioning capacity.
The ship can also be used for provision of assistance in minor and major maritime accidents within and beyond Finland’s maritime SAR area of responsibility, serving as e.g. evacuation platform, oil recovery unit, on-scene command post, or even refueling station for helicopters to extend their operating time at the scene of the accident.
In the design of the vessel, special attention has been paid to environmentally friendly and energy-efficient solutions. The ship uses liquefied natural gas (LNG) with low emission levels and diesel oil as fuels, which keeps the ship’s own emissions small.
“The launching and naming ceremonies are unique events in the ship’s building process. They always make us proud - particularly so in case of this technically advanced and environmentally friendly vessel designed for border control duties. From this moment forward, the shipbuilding process will remain intensive until the moment the vessel is handed over to the client at the end of 2013," says Jari Anttila, EVP & COO of STX Finland and Director of the Rauma shipyard.
“The launching and naming ceremonies are from the customer´s point of view, one-time unique events of which we can be proud of. The ship will significantly increase our performance in sea area of Finland. This vessel which now was named Turva is a proof of the end user’s and the shipyard’s professional competence in both design and construction. Preparations will proceed aiming for the timely commissioning of the ship”, says Captain (Navy) Jukka Jaakkola, Chief of Technical Department of Finnish Border Guard Headquarters.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Joint Russia/Ukraine Examination of Submarine Sch-216 Wreck in Black Sea

Sunk by German auxiiary submarine chaser UJ 103 and UJ 106 west of Sevastopol, Crimea in position 44º37'N, 32º04'E. All hands lost. Courtesy of

Official Russian Navy photo.
GOOGLE translation from Russian: Today, specialized ships Black Sea Fleet took part in a technical examination of the deceased at Cape Tarkhankut (Crimea), a Soviet submarine "u-216" returned to the places of permanent deployment.

In the period of the Black Sea Fleet ships successfully interact with an experienced ship General Directorate of deep research of the Defence Ministry, "Seliger".

Three Russian ship - "Seliger", "GS-86" and the diving vessel "BM-54", together with the courts of the Center of search and rescue operations of the Naval Forces of Ukraine have pinpointed the location of the submarine at the bottom, assessed her condition, examined the bottom for the presence of explosives and obstacles that may interfere with the divers.

Russian specialists for further examination of the underwater object used multibeam sonar, remotely controlled unmanned underwater vehicle "Browse" autonomous unmanned underwater vehicle "Gavia".

In the course of the pre-established that the boat is on the ground with a roll of 12 degrees to starboard, and her body is 80% covered in fishing nets. Explosive devices were found at the bottom.

"U-216" has a significant damage in the first and second compartments, the pilot house slipped the gun to the nose, tail number is not visible. Frustrated with the bow gun mounts and is on the ground at the right side of the boat. In the stern of more than 5 meters is not an easy case. Horizontal steering wheel turned to the right, and feed vertical rudders laid on the ascent.

It is expected that, subject to receipt of the preliminary information the Black Sea Fleet and the Ukrainian Navy will continue to work on the site of the death of "u-216" not before the middle of September. It is planned that during this period on the sunken submarine divers will work.

Ensign Hoisting Date for Research Ship Seliger Appointed
RFS Seliger

Sunday, August 25, 2013

USS Theodore Roosevelt Underway for Trials

USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) departs Newport News Shipyard August 25, in Newport News, Va. The air craft carrier is underway for the first time in four years, conducting Sea Trials, following Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH). U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cory Asato.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Unusual Member of the RAN Second World War Fleet

Abraham Crijnssen

HMAS Abraham Crijnssen
Jan van Amstel Class
Werf Gusto, Schiedam, Holland
22 September 1937
26 May 1937
5 May 1943
Returned to Royal Netherlands Navy.
Dimensions & Displacement
Displacement476 tonnes
Length56.69 metres
Beam7.77 metres
Draught2.11 metres
Speed15 knots
MachineryTriple expansion engines, two Yarrow 3-drum boilers, twin shafts, 1690 hp
  • 1 x 3 inch gun
  • 2 x 20mm Oerlikon guns
Other ArmamentOutfit of depth charges
Battle HonoursPACIFIC 1941–45
Abraham Crijnssen was one of eight Jan van Amstel steel class mine warfare vessels built for the Royal Netherlands Navy between 1936 and 1939. Other ships of the class included: Jan van AmstelPieter De BitterEland DuboisJan van GelderAbraham van der HulstPieter Florisz and William van Ewijck.

HMAS Abraham Crijnssen dressing ship.
HMAS Abraham Crijnssen dressing ship.
At the outbreak of the Pacific war (1941) Abraham Crijnssen and several of her sister ships were operating in the Netherlands East Indies. By February 1942 the situation in Java had become critical as Japanese forces gained air superiority and control of the sea. In the face of crushing naval defeats during the Battles of the Java Sea and Sunda Strait a general evacuation was ordered and the remaining Allied vessels began to withdraw in an attempt to reach Australia. Pieter De Bitter was scuttled at Sourabaya on 2 March to prevent her from falling into Japanese hands, Eland Dubois was scuttled on 8 March and Jan Van Amstel was sunk by the Japanese destroyer Arashio on the same day following an unsuccessful attempt to break through the Lombok Strait into the Indian Ocean. Only Abraham Crijnssen succeeded in escaping, and only by sailing close to the coast at night and hiding, camouflaged with trees and foliage, by day. She eventually reached Fremantle on 20 March 1942. She was the last vessel to successfully escape from Java.
Abraham Crijnssen camouflaged during her escape from Java
Abraham Crijnssen camouflaged during her escape from Java
Abraham Crijnssen was transferred to the RAN and commissioned on 28 September 1942 as an anti-submarine escort vessel. Appointed in command was LEUT Arthur Irwin Chapman, RANR (S) who wrote of the commissioning some thirty years later:
Rita Hayworth, the popular actress who graced the wardroom of the Abraham Crijnssen throughout her commission.
Rita Hayworth, the popular actress who graced the wardroom of the Abraham Crijnssen throughout her commission.
I marched on board the Crijnssen with a white ensign under one arm and two framed pictures under the other - one of H.M. King George VI and the other of the actress Rita Hayworth (in a very fetching black negligee). The latter had been in the wardroom of my previous ship and was my property. In the interest of international goodwill it was agreed that H.M. Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands would remain in the Crijnssen's wardroom and so King George was installed in my cabin. It was agreed however that Miss Hayworth was worthy of wardroom status and she was installed on the bulkhead opposite Queen Wilhelmina.
Crijnssen's ship's company comprised one division of Dutch seamen, another division of Royal Navy seamen, some of whom were survivors from HMS Jupiter lost following the Battle of the Java Sea, as well as officers and sailors of the RAN, RANR & RANVR.
Although not designed as an ocean-going vessel, the Abraham Crijnssen performed vital escort duties for convoys on passage along the eastern Australian coast. She was low slung, with a flush deck and shallow draught. This, combined with a heavy steel pole mast with a 20-inch search light mounted on top, all contributed to her pitching and rolling heavily in rough weather. During one period of particularly rough weather in early 1943 LEUT Chapman recalled that "it was all we could do to look after ourselves, let alone the convoy". Another of her officers, SBLT Marsden Hordern, wrote of the event in his memoirs:
The gale held on stubbornly. The convoy's speed was down to four knots and when two days out from Sydney we were already one day behind schedule. The ships, all out of station, were straggling over the ocean, presenting easy targets for any prowling submarines. Like all gales, this one finally passed, and in gradually abating weather we reassembled our flock and ran on.
On 26 January 1943, while escorting a Sydney bound convoy through Bass Strait, Crijnssen in company with the corvette HMAS Bundaberg made a firm ASDIC contact displaying all the characteristics of a submarine approximately 700 yards on her port beam. Action stations were sounded and orders quickly passed to the engine room to increase to full speed. Two depth charges were hastily dropped over the stern and set to explode at the shallow setting of 50 feet. The resultant explosion sent columns of water soaring into the air and shook Crijnssen violently. A further full pattern of depth charges set to explode at 100 feet was then dropped and oil and scum were observed on the surface. Ordering the convoy to scatter, the two warships then continued to press home the attack, but no wreckage or bodies appeared on the surface and the search was later abandoned. In her attack on the submarine contact, Crijnssensuffered damage to her stern frame and she later spent a week in dry dock on her return to Sydney having all of her sprung centreline rivets replaced.
HMAS Abraham Crijnssen underway
HMAS Abraham Crijnssen underway
LEUT Chapman wrote of the incident:
The Crijnssen had not picked up sufficient speed from her patrol speed and two depth charges set at 50 feet severely shook up the after section, smashing every bit of crockery, tearing off light switches and fittings and fracturing several minor pipe lines. Queen Wilhelmina crashed to the deck, King George was hanging crazily on one screw but Miss Hayworth was completely secure.
On 5 May 1943 Abraham Crijnssen was officially handed back to the Royal Netherlands Navy. She continued to operate as a convoy escort until 7 June 1945 at which time she deployed to northern Australian waters operating from Darwin. With the cessation of hostilities Abraham Crijnssen swept the passage into Koepang Harbour in Timor for the vessels taking part in the Japanese surrender of that area. Later she was involved in carrying out anti-revolutionary patrols in the Netherlands East Indies (now Indonesia).
Abrahma Crijnssen under Dutch colours
Abrahma Crijnssen under Dutch colors
In August 1951 the Crijnssen left the East Indies to return to the Netherlands. In March 1956 she was converted to a Boom Defence vessel before finally de-commissioning in 1961 and being donated to the Sea Cadet Corps for training purposes. She was berthed at The Hague from 1962-1972 and later moved to Rotterdam. In 1995 the Crijnssen was donated to the naval museum at Den Helder and refitted to her wartime configuration.