Friday, January 31, 2014

Forrestal to Depart Philadelphia for Scrapyard

The decommissioned aircraft carrier Forrestal (AVT 59) is scheduled to begin its final voyage, Feb. 4, weather permitting, when it will depart Philadelphia on its way to a ship dismantling and recycling facility in Brownsville, Texas.
The ship will be towed down the Delaware River, along the eastern seaboard, and across the Gulf of Mexico to arrive at the All Star Metals facility. The best opportunit y for viewing the departure will be from publicly accessible areas along the Delaware River.
The Navy awarded a ship dismantling contract to All Star Metals of Brownsville on Oct. 22, 2013, and All Star Metals subcontracted with Foss Marine Towing to tow the ship to its final destination. 
The first of the "supercarriers," Forrestal was launched Dec. 11, 1954, by Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., and commissioned Sept. 29, 1955.  
Forrestal was decommissioned Sept. 11, 1993, after more than 38 years of service. On June 16, 1999, the Navy announced the ship would be available for donation to an eligible organization for use as a museum or memorial. However, no viable applications were received and the vessel was removed from donation hold in December 2003 and redesignated for disposal. 
In October, the Navy competitively awarded a contract to All Star Metals for the towing, dismantling and recycling of conventionally powered aircraft carriers. Under the terms of the contract, the company will be paid $0.01 for dismantling and recycling ex-USS Forrestal, which is the lowest price the Navy could possibly have paid the contractor for the work.  
The Navy continues to own the ship during the dismantling process until the ship has been fully dismantled. The contractor takes ownership of the scrap metal as it is produced and sells the scrap to offset its costs of operations.
Program Executive Office Littoral Combat Ships is responsible for delivering and sus taining the fleet's littoral mission capabilities. Consistent delivery of high-quality warfighting assets, while balancing affordability and capability, is key to supporting the Navy's Maritime Strategy.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Navy to Christen Second Mobile Landing Platform

The Navy will christen Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) John Glenn on Feb. 1, during a 10 a.m. PST ceremony in San Diego, Calif.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, will deliver the ceremony's principal address.   Lyn Glenn, daughter of Sen. John Glenn, will serve as the ship's sponsor.
The future USNS John Glenn (MLP 2), will honor Sen. Glenn, the legendary astronaut who is the last surviving member of the Mercury 7 crew.  He was the first American to orbit the Earth on Friendship 7 and even flew aboard the Discovery space shuttle at the age of 77.
Upon delivery to the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command (MSC), the John Glenn will be designated as a United States Naval Ship (USNS), and will have a core crew of 34 civilian mariners who will operate and navigate the ship. 
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said, "The christening of the future USNS John Glenn (MLP 2), a ship that will help usher in a new age of Navy and Marine Corps operations, is a fitting tribute to a man whose years of service to his nation as a Marine, a U.S. senator and an astronaut helped shape the future of the United States itself." 
In 1942 while a junior in college, Glenn enlisted in the Naval Reserve to become a naval aviation cadet. He then entered active duty to attend the Naval Aviation Pre-Flight School in Iowa and became a naval aviator while he was a Marine.  Glenn flew 59 combat missions as a Marine during World War II, along with 90 combat missions in Korea.  He was also a U.S. senator, serving for 25 years.
The John Glenn is the second ship of the Montford Point-Class. Using the commercially designed Alaska-class crude oil carrier as its base, the Navy's Strategic and Theater Sealift Program Office worked in conjunction with General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) to develop a design that supports the Navy's core capabilities while maintaining low costs.
The ship will leverage float-on/float-off technology, allowing the John Glenn to partially submerge, facilitating easy movement of cargo and craft.  Additionally, the ship's size allows for 25,000 square feet of vehicle and equipment stowage space, tankage for 100,000 gallons of potable water and 380,000 gallons of JP-5 fuel storage.       
With this set of capabilities, the ship is able to easily transfer personnel and vehicles from other vessels such as the large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ships (LMSRs) onto landing craft air cushioned (LCAC) vehicles and transport them ashore.  
MLP has a maximum speed of 15 knots and range of 9,500 nautical miles.  At 785 feet long, MLPs displace more than 78,000 tons when fully loaded.  The platform with its open, reconfigurable mission deck will serve as an important flexible and transformational asset to the Navy as it can be reconfigured to support a wide variety of future operations.

Discovery Air announces new airborne training services contract with the German Armed Forces

Toronto January 30, 2014 – Discovery Air Inc. announced today that Discovery Air Defence Services Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Discovery Air, has entered into a contract to provide airborne training services to the German Armed Forces.     
Under the Contract, Defence Services will provide fast jet airborne training services to the German Armed Forces for a term of five years utilizing a fleet of seven Douglas A-4 aircraft. The services will be provided from various locations in Europe, including Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy. Defence Services anticipates performing approximately 1,200 flight hours per year under this Contract commencing in January 2015.   
Discovery Air attributes strategic importance to this contract. It establishes Defence Services in Europe, and provides a solid foundation for future expansion in that market. 
Paul Bouchard, President of Defence Services, stated “We are very proud of this significant achievement, and are looking forward to providing high quality airborne training services to Germany’s military. Over the last eight years, we have provided over 41,000 hours of high quality airborne training services to the Canadian Armed Forces and earned a reputation as a premier provider of combat support solutions. The opportunity to provide our services to the German Armed Forces is a testament to the experience and professionalism of the Discovery Air Defence Services Team. This, coupled with the recent acquisition of Advanced Training Systems International, is further evidence of our commitment to expanding our international footprint in the military airborne training space.” 

Navy tests small UAV support equipment

U.S. Navy Photo
Aviation Support Equipment Technician 1st Class (Aviation Warfare) Clyde Williams,left, and engineers Doug Waddell and Wayne Hewitt, from the Support Equipment Test and Evaluation Branch, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. conduct tilt-table testing with the RQ-21A Blackjack unmanned aircraft vehicle Jan.16 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. Tilt-table testing is conducted on all support equipment deployed aboard a ship to ensure stability and proper braking.
During the test, engineers used a steel platform to simulate the flight-deck environment. The unit, in this case the RQ-21A’s transportation cart, was tilted 15 degrees to simulate the ship’s dynamic motion at 24 points around a 360-degree compass.
The RQ-21A Blackjack, managed by the Navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program Office (PMA-263), will operate from both land and sea and will provide persistent maritime and land-based tactical reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition data collection and dissemination capabilities to the warfighter.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New Tugs for Dutch and Swedish Navies

Een artist impression van de nieuwe sleepboten voor de Koninklijke Marine. Afbeelding: Damen Shipyards
Netherlands TBA A 8.. ASD Tug 2810 Del 2015/16
The Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) has signed a contract with Damen Shipyards for the purchase of five tugs: 3 for the Dutch (ASD Tug 2810 Hybrid) and 2 for the Swedish Navy (ASD Tug 3010 ICE). 

ASD Tug 3010 ICE
The tugs are purchased commercial of the shelf. This means that a developed for civilian tugboat was purchased. The builder they still fit to meet the needs of both navies. The Netherlands are hybrid tugs for vessels, while the Swedish boats another propulsion have to be able to operate. In ice cold water 

When purchasing the DMO has worked closely with the Swedish F√∂rsvarets Materielverk, the Swedish equivalent of the DMO. 

The tugs will be delivered in 2015 and 2016 and replaced in the Netherlands Linge class.

AgustaWestland Awarded UK MoD Merlin Life Sustainment Program and Apache Integrated Operational Support Contracts Valued at £760 Million

January 29, 2014 - AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce the award of two contracts by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), together valued at £760 million (approximately €910 million), to convert 25 AW101 Merlin helicopters for maritime operations under the Merlin Life Sustainment Program (MLSP) and to provide the Apache AH Mk.1 Attack Helicopter fleet with comprehensive support and maintenance services for five years. The contracts were announced today by The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, Secretary of State for Defense, during a visit to AgustaWestland’s facility in Yeovil, England.
Daniele Romiti, CEO of AgustaWestland, said “We are delighted to have been awarded these contracts by the UK Ministry of Defense to convert Merlin helicopters for the Royal Navy and to continue delivering the successful Apache Integrated Operational Support service for the UK’s Attack Helicopter force. The Apache IOS contract will deliver further efficiencies over the next five years, demonstrating our commitment to service excellence while delivering the aircraft availability and capability the Army Air Corps require.
He added “The MLSP will ensure the Royal Navy Commando Helicopter Force’s capability will be enhanced as a result of the AW101 Merlin’s greater payload, range, speed as well as benefiting from commonality with the Merlin Mk2 platform.”
Philip Hammond MP, Secretary of State for Defense, on a visit to AgustaWestland’s facility in Yeovil, said: “Our £760m investment is vital in maintaining both the Apache Attack Helicopter and Merlin helicopter as a first class air power assets for our Army and Navy for many years to come.
“This contract also demonstrates the strength and importance of the defense industry to the UK economy and how these programs are supporting 1,000 highly skilled, UK based jobs whilst laying the foundations for long term growth throughout the sector via the supply chain.”

Merlin Life Sustainment Program
Work on the £330 million (€400 million) MLSP design and manufacture contract will start immediately with seven interim “Phase 1” aircraft being delivered to the Royal Navy in 2015 and 2016 and all 25 “Phase 2” standard aircraft being delivered between 2017 and 2020. As part of the programme 25 Royal Air Force AW101 Merlin Mk.3 and Mk3A helicopters are being transferred to the Royal Navy to replace their fleet of Sea King Mk4 helicopters. The aircraft will undergo conversion at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil facility in the UK and will be based at the nearby Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton.
The seven “Phase 1” aircraft will provide the Royal Navy with an interim capability between the withdrawal of the Sea King Mk.4 in early 2016 and the Initial Operating Capability (IOC) of the full MLSP configured aircraft being achieved in mid-2018. These seven aircraft will feature several changes for maritime operations including the addition of lashing points, a powered folding main rotor head, undercarriage modifications and additional communications equipment.
The 25 “Phase 2” aircraft will be fully optimised for ship operations and include automatic main rotor blade folding and tail fold. The aircraft will also be fitted with the same cockpit as the Royal Navy’s Merlin Mk.2 aircraft, giving the Merlin fleet a common cockpit featuring five 10” x 8”  integrated display units, two touch screen units for controlling the aircraft’s systems and mission equipment, as well as two cursor control devices for cursor control of the tactical displays.
The Merlin Mk4 and Mk4A aircraft will continue to be supported through the existing Integrated Merlin Operational Support (IMOS) contract, which has been in place since 2006 with AgustaWestland as prime contractor.
The MLSP contract will help sustain approximately 175 highly skilled jobs at AgustaWestland and more than 500 jobs in the supply chain, including many with SMEs.
Under the D&M contract AW will also manage a competition to deliver a synthetic whole crew training equipment and infrastructure for the Merlin Mk4/Mk4A, building on its experience of Merlin training and the delivery of the training infrastructure for the AW159 Wildcat.

Apache IOS
The five-year Apache Integrated Operational Support (IOS) contract is valued at approximately £430 million (€510 million) and will continue to provide the Apache AH Mk.1 Attack Helicopter fleet with comprehensive support and maintenance services from 1st April 2014 to 31st March 2019.
Under this second contract Apache IOS prime contractor AgustaWestland will continue to be supported by its industrial partners Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Longbow International and Selex ES to deliver complete spares provisioning, engineering, depth maintenance, repair & overhaul and technical support services for the UK MoD’s fleet of Apache AH Mk1 helicopters.
At Wattisham Airfield, the British Army’s main Apache AH Mk.1 operating base, AgustaWestland will continue to manage the Depth Support Unit and the associated workshops, ensuring the throughput of the facility matches the operational requirements of the Army Air Corps. At Army Aviation Center Middle Wallop, AgustaWestland will continue to be responsible for the provision of Apache aircraft on the flight line at the School of Army Aviation, delivering the required number of flight hours to match the Army’s training requirements.
The Apache IOS program office, manned by industry and Ministry of Defence staff, located at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil facility, will continue to manage the IOS contract. The Apache IOS contract will directly sustain around 360 jobs, mainly at Wattisham Airfield, Army Aviation Centre Middle Wallop and AgustaWestland’s Yeovil facility.
The Apache IOS contract will deliver the required levels of aircraft availability whilst reducing through life costs. The contract is output-based, whereby AgustaWestland is incentivized to improve the levels of operational output whilst seeking continuous improvement to reduce through life costs.
The UK Apache AH Mk.1 fleet is fast approaching the 150,000 flying hour milestone and recently more than 40% of annual flying hours have been performed on operations in Afghanistan, providing protection for UK and allied forces.
AgustaWestland also provides support and training services for the UK MoD’s AW159 Wildcat helicopter fleet under the Wildcat Integrated Support and Training (WIST) contract, for the Sea King fleet under the Sea King Integrated Operational Support (SKIOS) contract which continues to the expected out of service date of April 2016 and for the AW101 Merlins under the Integrated Merlin Operational Support (IMOS) contract.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Northrop Grumman Delivers 100th EA-18G Airborne Electronic Attack Kit

Bethpage NY January 28, 2014 - Northrop Grumman Corporation has delivered the 100th airborne electronic attack (AEA) kit for the EA-18G Growler aircraft. The AEA kit is a critical component of the aircraft, which allows warfighters to target and attack the most complex enemy communication and air defense systems.
"This delivery milestone demonstrates the dedication of the Northrop Grumman team to the EA-18G Growler program. Every airborne electronic attack subsystem they have produced is of the highest quality, allowing us to stay ahead of current and evolving threats," said Capt. Frank Morley, U. S. Navy F/A-18 and EA-18G program manager.
The AEA kit features wing tip pods and gun bay pallets, in addition to antennas and receivers. The ALQ-218 Antenna/Tactical Jamming System Receiver allows for selective reactive jamming capability and accurate emitter identification, location and analysis. At the same time, the AN/ALQ-227 Communication Countermeasures Set/Electronic Attack Unit intercepts, processes and jams signals, while determining their direction.
"With the 100th delivery of the EA-18G AEA kit, we continue to provide a high-quality product to those who protect our nation each and every day," said Doug Shaffer, director, electronic attack/maritime systems integration programs, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "We are proud to carry on the company's legacy in developing and producing world-class airborne electronic attack technology platforms."
The various AEA kit components are designed and manufactured at Northrop Grumman facilities in Bethpage, N.Y., St. Augustine, Fla., and Baltimore, Md., and by an expert supplier team. The 100th kit was formally delivered to the EA-18G prime contractor, Boeing, Nov. 26, a week ahead of the contract date.
The Growler is the newest and most advanced airborne electronic attack platform used by U.S. Armed Forces, NATO and coalition forces around the world. Since reaching full-rate production and initial operational capability in 2009, the work of these aircraft in the fleet has been notable, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq or Libya. In 2019, Growlers will have replaced all of the Northrop Grumman-built EA-6B Prowlers operated by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Once this happens, the EA-18G Growler will serve as the only Joint Force airborne electronic attack option.
Northrop Grumman has delivered all 100 AEA kits on time and on budget, demonstrating the company's commitment to its customers. In addition to the kit, Northrop Grumman also produces the center/aft fuselage and vertical tails of the EA-18G Growler.

RQ-21A Blackjack begins operational test phase

An RQ-21A Blackjack is launched at a test range in Boardman, Oregon, early December 2013 during the Navy and Marine Corps acceptance testing. The system is the first low-rate initial production lot to be produced by industry partner Insitu Inc. The system will begin initial operational test and evaluation this month at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif. (Photo courtesy Insitu Inc.)
An RQ-21A Blackjack is launched at a test range in Boardman, Oregon, early December 2013 during the Navy and Marine Corps acceptance testing. The system is the first low-rate initial production lot to be produced by industry partner Insitu Inc. The system will begin initial operational test and evaluation this month at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif. (Photo courtesy Insitu Inc.)
NAS Patuxent River January 28, 2014 - The Navy and Marine Corps' newest small unmanned aircraft system RQ-21A Blackjack began its initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) in early January at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif.
As part of IOT&E, this first low-rate initial production (LRIP) lot of the Blackjack, previously known as RQ-21A Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (STUAS), will demonstrate the system’s effectiveness and suitability in realistic combat conditions.
“Receiving the first production-level Blackjack is a great accomplishment for our government and industry team,” said Col. James Rector, program manager for the Navy and Marine Corps STUAS program office, who oversees the RQ-21A program. “It is a very capable system that will meet the needs of our warfighters deployed on land or at sea with our Marine expeditionary units.”
The Insitu Inc.-built Blackjack is a larger twin-tailed follow-on to the ScanEagle unmanned air vehicle. The system contains five air vehicles, two ground control systems, and launch and recovery equipment.
Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 1 is conducting ground and shipboard testing on Blackjack for the next several months. After completing IOT&E, the government and Insitu team will transition the system to Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron (VMU) 2, located at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. for operational use.  A second LRIP lot, consisting of one system, is scheduled for delivery in the spring.
Lt. Col. Anthony Bolden, commanding officer for VMU-2, said the myriad of capabilities that come with the introduction of Blackjack will provide the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) with a platform that has the payload and persistence to significantly enhance situational awareness.
“RQ-21A brings a new level of flexibility and expeditionary capability not present in any UAS to date,” Bolden said. “As a result, having and operating the Blackjack will posture the Marine UAV squadrons at the forefront of MAGTF operations.”

Navy and Marine Corps team recover a RQ-21A Blackjack during acceptance testing in early December 2013 at a range in Boardman, Oregon.  (Photo courtesy Insitu Inc.)
Navy and Marine Corps team recover a RQ-21A Blackjack during acceptance testing in early December 2013 at a range in Boardman, Oregon.

At eight feet long and with a wingspan of 16 feet, Blackjack provides intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and communications relay to the warfighter on land and at sea. The air vehicle’s open-architecture configuration can integrate new payloads quickly and can carry sensor payloads as heavy as 25 pounds.
Standard payloads include day and night full-motion video cameras, an infrared marker, a laser range finder, a communications relay package and automatic identification system receivers.

Kratos Receives $35M Contract for MH-60 Helicopter Aircrew Training Systems

San Diego January 28, 2014 - Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. announced today that it has received a single contract award valued at over $35 million to deliver four MH-60R Naval Aircrew Training Systems (NATS) and four MH-60S Aircrew Virtual Environment Trainer (AVET) devices for NAVAIR. The period of performance under this new contract award is five years. This contract will be executed in partnership with the prime contractor, BSC Partners LLC.
The NATS and AVET training devices provide a blend of virtual and physical environments for training aircrew members of the MH-60 platform. Aircrew members will be trained in crew coordination, gunnery training, sonar, hoist, search and rescue, and vertical replenishment to include external operations.
This award builds on the MEDEVAC Crew Training system contract recently received to develop UH-60 Black Hawk MEDEVAC air crew training systems for the U.S. Army. Kratos will provide multiple simulated full-fidelity simulators to train Flight Medic students in the operations of all on-board systems. "We are pleased to continue the advancement of highly critical aircrew training requirements with the latest deployment of these high fidelity, immersive training devices," said Jose Diaz, Senior Vice President of Training Solutions. "As a principle provider of air crew training, Kratos is committed to providing these devices and enhancing the training and survivability of aircrew members for the MH-60 platforms."

M/V Cape Ray Deployment

Washington January 28, 2014 - The Department of Defense announced the deployment of M/V Cape Ray from Portsmouth, Va., Jan. 27. 
M/V Cape Ray is the primary contribution of the Department of Defense toward international efforts to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons material program. 
Over the last several months, hundreds of government and contract personnel have worked tirelessly to prepare the vessel to neutralize Syrian chemical materials and precursors using proven hydrolysis technology. This achievement could not have been possible without these remarkable contributions.
The United States remains committed to ensuring its neutralization of Syria's chemical materials prioritizes the safety of people, protects the environment, follows verification procedures of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and with applicable standards. All waste from the hydrolysis process on M/V Cape Ray will be safely and properly disposed of at commercial facilities to be determined by the OPCW. No hydrolysis byproducts will be released into the sea or air. M/V Cape Ray will comply with all applicable international laws, regulations, and treaties.
It is the responsibility of the Assad regime to transport the chemical materials safely to facilitate their removal for destruction. The international community is poised to meet the milestones set forth by the OPCW, including the June 30 target date for the total destruction of Syria's chemical weapons materials. The United States joins the OPCW and the United Nations in calling on the Assad regime to intensify its efforts to ensure its international obligations and commitment are met so these materials may be removed from Syria as quickly and safely as possible.

Monday, January 27, 2014

P-8A aircraft gets green light to enter full rate production

 P-8A Poseidon over the Cascade Mountains of Washington.</p>

On the heels of the P-8A Poseidon squadron’s inaugural deployment, the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft Program Office (PMA-290) recently announced it entered the full-rate production (FRP) phase of its development.
The approval, reached Jan. 3 from the FRP Milestone Decision Authority will allow the program office, resource sponsor, acquisition community and industry to continue to deliver the P-8A to the fleet with the required capabilities needed to ensure the squadrons are getting a stable and efficient system.
"This significant milestone approval moves the program from low-rate into full-rate production, and allows us to manufacture the remaining aircraft over the next several years with an opportunity for a cost-effective procurement," said Cmdr. Tony Rossi, the integrated product team lead for the P-8A program.
Aligned under the Naval Air Systems Command, the program's current objective is to deliver 117 aircraft to the fleet. Thirteen of 37 Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) aircraft have already been delivered to fleet squadrons, with all deliveries on or ahead of schedule. As the Naval Fleet Forces transition to the P-8A, from the P-3C, the Sailors will use these LRIP and future FRP aircraft to train and participate in operational missions.
Currently, Patrol Squadron 16 (VP-16), who deployed in December, is equipped with LRIP aircraft. VP-16 and the second squadron with LRIP P-8As will receive their next upgrades through increments 2 and 3, which are the follow-up phases for capabilities for the P-8A aircraft and weapons systems. The next significant milestone for the P-8A program is initial operational capability (IOC) for Increment 2, which is scheduled for 2016, Rossi said.
The P-8A’s current configuration, Increment 1, consists of the following capabilities: persistent armed anti-submarine warfare (ASW), an integrated sensor suite, and significant improvement in situational awareness. Increment 2 will consist of multi-static active coherent acoustics, automated identification system, and high-altitude ASW weapon capability.
"This FRP milestone is a testament to the incredible effort and dedication of the P-8A team to deliver the P-8A to the fleet as planned,” said Capt. Scott Dillon, PMA-290 program manager. “The team has accomplished a lot over the last six months, from passing the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation period this summer to achieving IOC this fall and the P-8's first operational deployment this winter. We are moving forward with a successful start to 2014 with the announcement of FRP. The high-quality work of the P-8A team has made this milestone possible. We look forward to having continued successes within the program."

Royal Australian Navy accepts first two Romeos in Jacksonville

NUSQN 725 at the 'In Service Date' ceremony for the MH-60R Seahawk Romeo maritime combat helicopter at Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida.  (photo: )
NUSQN 725 at the 'In Service Date' ceremony for the MH-60R Seahawk Romeo maritime combat helicopter at Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida.

The first two MH-60R Seahawk Romeo maritime combat helicopters were accepted by the Royal Australian Navy at an ‘In Service Date’ ceremony conducted by NUSQN 725 at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida on the 24th January.
The first two of twenty-four airframes on order from Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin were delivered to the Defence Material Organisation (DMO) in early December 2013.
 Commanding Officer of NUSQN 725, Commander David Frost says the Sea Hawk Romeo represents a big step forward from Navy’s current ‘Classic’ Sea Hawk, which it is replacing.
“The MH-60R is a potent maritime combat helicopter and they will primarily be used in the Anti Submarine Warfare Role.  The aircraft will also contribute to Navy’s anti-surface warfare role by providing an air-to-surface missile capability,” said Commander Frost.
“Today is a proud day for our Squadron. Not only are we celebrating a significant milestone for the aircraft, we have a chance to reflect on how much we have achieved over the past year.  During 2013, NUSQN725 Officers and sailors have worked hard to master the skills needed to fly and maintain the MH-60R.”
“Since acceptance of the first two aircraft in December, we have commenced a graduated flying program, building on the skills, techniques, and tactics that were taught during Operational Flying Training with the United States Navy,” Commander Frost said.
“We will continue to consolidate our skills over the next 12 months prior to returning to Australia to commence operations at Naval Air Station Nowra, New South Wales, late in 2014.” said Commander Frost. 
The delivery of the first two MH-60R as part of AIR 9000 was achieved on budget and six months ahead of schedule.  The initial aircraft will be joined by an additional five over the course of 2014. 
Aviators, Sailors, family members and special guests of the Royal Australian Navy's NUSQN 725 attend the 'In Service Date' ceremony for the MH-60R Seahawk Romeo helicopters at the Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida.
Aviators, Sailors, family members and special guests of the Royal Australian Navy's NUSQN 725 attend the 'In Service Date' ceremony for the MH-60R Seahawk Romeo helicopters at the Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida.

US Navy confirms its selection of Raytheon for Next Generation Jammer Electronic Warfare Program

El Segundo CA January 27, 2014 - Following the US Navy's confirmation of its Next Generation Jammer contractor, Raytheon Company announced today it is ready to resume work on this critical electronic attack program for the warfighter.
"We commend the GAO's thorough assessment of this contract award and the US Navy's re-evaluation that has solidified us as the provider of the world's Next Generation Jammer program," said Rick Yuse, president of Raytheon's Space and Airborne Systems business. "Our offer represents the best of Raytheon's innovative capabilities and leadership in advanced next generation AESA-based electronic attack systems and we look forward to partnering with the Navy to deliver this critical national security capability for the warfighter."
Building off of a strong technology maturation program, Raytheon will complete the preliminary design of the NGJ system for the EA-18G Growler advanced electronic attack aircraft. The goal is to deliver game-changing electronic warfare capability to the fleet in a timely manner.
The U.S. Navy competitively selected Raytheon's NGJ offering in July 2013 and awarded the company a $279.4 million contract to conduct the technology development phase of the program. In November 2013 the Government Accountability Office recommended the US Navy re-evaluate proposals and properly document the evaluation record following a competitor's protest.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

UANI Releases Geneva Interim Agreement Tracker

New York January 23, 2014 - Today, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) unveiled its Geneva Interim Agreement Tracker, coinciding with this week's implementation of the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1. The tracker can be found at
UANI is tracking the implementation and effect of the Geneva agreement, including Iran's compliance with its obligations, developments of its nuclear program and the pace and effect of the P5+1's sanctions relief.
UANI is also maintaining a comprehensive, up-to-date account of trade delegations and international corporations that are entering Iran, or considering doing so, as a result of the agreement.
Such comprehensive and objective tracking is critical given that Iran and the U.S. have respectively characterized the interim agreement in a starkly different light. While Iranian President Hassan Rouhani boasted that the Geneva agreement "means the surrender of the big powers before the great Iranian nation," President Barack Obama said: "We have made concrete progress. I welcome this important step forward." In regards to sanctions relief and enforcement, Rouhani said: "The sanctions regime will begin to shatter with the (implementation) of this agreement," while David Cohen, the U.S. Treasury Department official tasked with enforcing the U.S. sanctions program, claims that "Iran will be even deeper in the hole six months from now, when the deal expires."
Said UANI CEO, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace:
"The U.S. has characterized the sanctions relief granted to Iran under the interim agreement as 'completely reversible,' and credits the agreement with substantially limiting Iran's nuclear program. Iran clearly believes the opposite -- the regime expects to maintain its industrial scale enrichment program while undermining the international sanctions regime painstakingly assembled over years.
It is therefore critical that we comprehensively and objectively track the implementation of this agreement over the next six months, given the starkly different characterizations of it by the U.S. and Iran. Sanctions relief cannot be both insignificant and significant at the same time--similarly, Iran's nuclear program cannot be simultaneously "rolled back" and "preserved." This resource will inform interested parties about the pace and scale of sanctions relief, and the state of Iran's nuclear program."

UANI's Geneva Interim Nuclear Agreement Tracker will provide updates on:

  • Fulfillment of the provisions of the interim agreement in a comprehensive timeline
  • Iran's nuclear "breakout" time, which nonproliferation experts estimate would only slightly lengthen (from 1.0-1.6 months to 1.9-2.2 months) if Iran fulfills its obligations under the Geneva deal
  • Iran's continued nuclear work during the duration of the interim agreement, such as: construction at the Arak heavy water reactor site, ongoing research and development activities, the development of advanced centrifuges and long-range ballistic missile testing
  • The divisions between the P5+1 and Iran on the provisions of a final agreement, particularly in relation to: the status of the Arak reactor, the fortified underground Fordow enrichment facility, advanced centrifuges and the overall size of Iran's enrichment program
  • Key Iranian economic indicators that show the effect of sanctions relief, such as: the value of the rial, inflation, the Tehran stock exchange and Iran's oil exports
  • National trade delegation and diplomatic missions that are visiting Iran, which indicate the regime's dissipating economic and diplomatic isolation
  • Multinational corporations that are renewing or expanding their business in Iran due to the sanctions easing, or actively preparing to do so
  • Enforcement of sanctions by the U.S. Treasury Department

Northrop Grumman-Built Maritime Surveillance Demonstrator Unmanned Aircraft Surpasses 10,000 Combat Flying Hours

BAMS-D (thumbnail)
The U.S. Navy's Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Demonstrator (BAMS-D) unmanned aircraft surpassed 10,000 combat flight hours supporting intelligence-gathering missions in the Middle East. Based on the Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system designed for land surveillance, the BAMS-D systems were modified to work in a maritime environment. Northrop Grumman photo.
San Diego January 23, 2014 – The Northrop Grumman Corporation built unmanned demonstrator aircraft used for maritime surveillance missions by the U.S. Navy surpassed 10,000 combat flying hours supporting intelligence-gathering missions in the Middle East.
The Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Demonstration (BAMS-D) aircraft are currently flying 15 missions a month and allow fleet commanders to identify and track potential targets of interest using a specialized suite of surveillance sensors.
"BAMS-D has been extremely successful in providing a strategic picture to carrier and amphibious battle groups as they move through areas where we need more awareness," said Capt. James Hoke, Triton program manager with Naval Air Systems Command. "The BAMS-D aircraft started a six-month deployment in 2009 to demonstrate a maritime surveillance capability. Since then, they have continued to be used and have truly found their role in helping secure the safety of the fleet."
Based on the Global Hawk unmanned air system (UAS) designed for land surveillance, the BAMS-D systems were modified to work in a maritime environment. The aircraft regularly fly missions more than 24 hourslong at high altitudes.
The Navy is also using BAMS-D to understand how to best use the new surveillance capabilities for the MQ-4C Triton UAS. Currently under development, Triton uses an entirely new sensor suite optimized for a maritime environment.
"We've designed Triton to carry sensors that can monitor large ocean and coastal areas with a 360-degree field of view," said Mike Mackey, Triton program director with Northrop Grumman. "Coupled with anti-ice/de-ice capabilities and some structural strength improvements, the system will operate in a variety of weather conditions while providing a greatly improved surveillance picture to fleet commanders."
The Navy's program of record calls for 68 Triton UAS to be built. Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the program and is using two test aircraft to develop Triton's capabilities through 2016.

New Zealand joins NATO’s counter-piracy mission Ocean Shield

Following a formal exchange of letters signed Tuesday (21 January 2014) between NATO and the New Zealand Government, the Royal New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS TE MANA is set to join the Alliance’s Operation Ocean Shield on 23 January, marking the second time a partner nation has contributed to NATO’s counter-piracy effort.
The NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen welcomed the contribution from New Zealand. “Piracy threatens all of us and the contribution by New Zealand will help to deter the threat of piracy off the Horn of Africa,” Mr Fogh Rasmussen said.  “I welcome this offer, which will further enhance NATO - New Zealand co-operation and demonstrate the depth of our strengthening partnership that stretches from Afghanistan to the coast of Somalia.  By working together, we not only make a real difference in dealing with today’s security threats, we also improve our ability to operate together.”
New Zealand’s Defence Minister, Dr. Jonathan Coleman stressed that “New Zealand is committed to international efforts to tackle piracy.” He said that “participating in NATO’s Operation Ocean Shield is a good opportunity for the New Zealand Defence Force to test its interoperability with contributing NATO nations. This deployment is an example of New Zealand’s commitment to playing our part in supporting NATO in areas of common interest.”
New Zealand is the second NATO partner nation, after Ukraine, to contribute to Operation Ocean Shield.  New Zealand has previously contributed to NATO operations, including SFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina and ISAF in Afghanistan. 
“We are very happy to welcome our New Zealand partners to the task force,” said Rear Admiral Eugenio Diaz del Rio, CTF-508 Commander.  “The experience they bring will be invaluable to NATO’s counter-piracy mission.  Together we will continue to work to increase maritime security by eliminating the piracy threat to commercial shipping in the region.”

Exelis to Upgrade Carriage and Release Systems on AV-8B Harrier Aircraft

Amityville NY January 23, 2014 - Exelis has received a contract valued at more than $13 million from the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) to supply upgraded carriage and release technology for the AV-8B Harrier aircraft. Exelis is a leading producer of pyrotechnic and pneumatic systems that allow aircraft to safely carry and release a variety of stores, including weapons, pods and external fuel tanks.
“The DITER delivers a modern, high-performance airborne carriage and release capability”
Under the contract, Exelis will produce 181 BRU-70/A digital improved triple ejector rack (DITER) units to upgrade the AV-8B’s existing carriage and release system, the BRU-42. With increased carriage capacity and “smart” precision-guided payload compatibility, the DITER represents a significant capability upgrade for the iconic Harrier “jump jet.”
The DITER delivers a modern, high-performance airborne carriage and release capability,” said Pete Martin, director of defense systems for the Exelis electronic attack and release systems business area. “The systems will improve the Harrier’s ability to deliver payloads successfully and will contribute to overall mission effectiveness.”
Of the 181 units Exelis will produce, 20 will be transferred to Spain, a member of the U.S. Navy-administered joint international program that also includes Italy. Deliveries of the DITER are scheduled to begin in mid-2015 and will be completed by March 2016. Work will be performed at the Exelis Electronic Systems facility in Amityville, N.Y.

Bangladesh Decommissions Type 41 Frigates

Bangladesh has decommissioned their Type 41 frigates, BNS Abu Bakr (ex-HMS Lynx) and BNS Ali Haider (ex-HMS Jaguar) during a ceremony in Chittagong January 22. They will be replaced by two second hand Chinese frigates which are refitting in China now.

BNS Abu Bakr
HMS Lynx (
BNS Ali Haider
HMS Jaguar

Type 41 Cat Class from The Leander Project

The proposed common hull Frigates post WWII were the Type 11 Convoy anti-submarine escort, the Type 12 Fleet anti submarine Frigate, the Type 61 convoy aircraft direction frigate and the Type 41 Convoy anti aircraft Frigate. The 11, 41 and 61 as Convoy Escorts needed range rather than speed, though equity with the new fast submarines was deemed necessary. The frigates would be as large as wartime destroyers but with a proposed power of 16,000 SHP as opposed to 40,000 SHP in a typical destroyer of the same size which would give 28 knots.
In the event no suitable steam plant was available so Diesels were substituted, but the best power that could be achieved was 12,400 SHP giving a speed of 24 knots. The Type 11 was dropped in favour of attempting to combine the function of convoy and fleet anti-submarine in the Type 12.
Eight Crossley ASR1 diesels would push the ships at 24 knots top speed, or 7,500 miles at 16 knots, nearly twice the range of the proposed steam variant, the Type 12, and for half as much fuel.
The Type 41 went ahead as intended, but the program was cut drastically short as in peace time the success of a ship was judged by Fleet excercises which the slower ships could not fully join in. However the endurance of the 41's made them ideal for long range patrols and for years they prowled the oceans to visit the more obscure smaller colonies of the fading Empire.
Their swan song was the fishing disputes dubbed the Cod Wars when they went to the aid of British Trawlers being menaced by Icelandic gunboats, but even then the value of a helicopter equipped ship soon became very apparent in tracking both trawlers and gunboats and they were withdrawn for sale, reserve and scrap.
The Type 41 carried the same Director fit as the Darings, the Type Mk6M with goggle eyes of the 275 radar and CRBFD (Close Range Blind Fire Director), the CRBDF providing independent control of the aft turret if required. She also carried the 960 long range air warning radar which their big cousins the Darings did not.
During build the construction was monitored with a view to simplifying and speeding up construction in the event of war.
Designed as an Air Defense Frigate utilising the Common Frigate Hull concept she was armed with two twin 4.5" Mk VI gun turrets. The RN had finally abandoned it's misplaced love affair with the 4.7" gun which never achieved the capability to operate at high angles. It was hoped the 4.5" with automatic loading would combine the rapid rate of fire of the 4" with most of the punch of the 4.7"
Sadly it did not. The automatic loading mechanism was so prone to jamming that the gun had to hand loaded, although it still retained some automated handling the rate of fire the designed specification of 24 rounds a minute was cut in half and left the barrage capability of the Type 41 sadly depleted. Named for great cats the Type 41 was also known as the Lynx, Leopard or Cat class.

The ships had no funnel, the diesels exhausted through the masts, a system the Americans had christened MACK (Mast And staCK). They were equipped with Stabilizers to improve their ability to provide a stable gun platform. In total defiance of all the lessons of WWII she carried very little light AA, being fitted with only the amazing STAAG system, a twin 40-mm gun mount that weighed in at a boggling 15 tons.

Ship Pennant Laid Down Launched Commissioned Builder Notes
Leopard F14 25-3-1953 23-5-1955 30-9-1958 HM Dockyard Portsmouth Scrapped 1977
Lynx F27 13-8-1953 12-1-1955 14-3-1957 John Browns, Clydebank 1982 sold to Bangladesh as Abu Bakr
Jaguar F37 2-11-1953 20-7-1957 10-12-1959 William Denny, Dumbarton 1978 sold to Bangladesh as Ali Haider
Puma F34 16-11-1953 30-6-1954 27-4-1957 Scotts, Greenock 1976 scrapped
Panther F31 20-10-1955 15-3-1957 31-3-1958 John Browns, Clydebank 1958 sold to India as Brahmaputra
Two additional ships were built for India subsequent to their buying the Panther: the Beas and Betwa. Panther was planned to be built again for the RN but was cancelled.

The ships were based in South Africa and carried out South Atlantic patrols, including the Falklands. When the RN withdrew from South Africa in 1967 they served for a while in various other stations but were all laid up into the reserve Fleet and either sold or scrapped, Lynx remained operational until 1982 but was not reactivated for the Falklands war, an odd omission as her twin turrets would have been very useful for NGS and air support in the cramped waters of San Carlos.
Although 1ft narrower in the beam and 30 ft shorter in length than the steam driven Type 12 the Type 41 actually displaced more, 2,300 tons compared to 2,150 tons, but the Type 41 needed less fuel for greater range so fully laden the two came out at about 2,550 tons each. All ships were fitted with stabilizers to improve stability as a gun platform.
All ships were refitted mid-life, Squid was removed and the STAAG was replaced with a simple Mk IX single mount 40mm, in part because of reliability problems but also to save weight to upgrade the radar systems, the main mast was replaced with a solid type to carry the massive AKE antenna of the 965 radar.
As Built
Post Refit
Displacement 2,300 tons standard 2,520 full load  
Length 340 ft  
Beam 40 ft  
Draught 16 ft  
Complement 205 235
Engines 8 ASR1 diesels, 12,400 SHP on two shafts, variable pitch propellors. Puma with Polar Engines of Glasgow, Lynx & Jaguar with Crossley Bros of Manchester, Leopard by Vickers Armstrong.  
Generators 4 dedicated Diesels driving generators, Puma by Peter Brotherhood and co ltd of Peterborough, Lynx by Vickers Armstrong.  
Speed 24 knots  
Endurance 7,500 NM at 16 knots  
Fuel 220 tons  
Sonar 174 Search, 170 Squid attack Unknown
Type 960 air warning
Type 293Q target indication
Type 277Q height finder
Type 974 Navigation
Type 275 Weapon Director on Mk6M Director
Type 262 on STAAG and CRBFD
Cossor IFF

Type 965 air warning with AKE aerial
Type 993 target indication
Type 277Q height finder
Type 978 navigation
Type 275 Weapon Director on Mk6M Director
Type 262 on CRBFD
Cossor 1010/1011 IFF
Weapons 2 twin 4.5" Mk6 guns
Twin 40mm STAAG
Triple Squid ASW Mortar 2 twin 4.5" Mk6 guns
1 x 40mm Bofors Mk IX

Success for Surface Ship Support

HMS Lancaster

BAE Systems has signed a £6 million contract to extend its support to Warships.
This extension to the existing phase two service contract will allow the continuation of its Class Output Management (COM) and Design Management Services (DMS) which offer through life, global support to ships.
The Class Output Management and Design Services Teams are responsible for providing a one stop shop of support to HMS Illustrious, the Hunt Class and the Type 23 Class warships as part of the Ship Support Alliance (SS(A)), an alliance between industry participants and the UK Ministry of Defence. 
BAE Systems provides ‘Class’ focus by bringing together ship support roles across industry, MOD and the Royal Navy to work together in a single team and act as a single point of contact for ships at the waterfront.  Our aims are to deliver improvement, efficiencies and flexibility to equipment design and class management activities.  With a primary aim to provide the required warship availability to support the Royal Navy’s operational needs.  We deliver available platforms in a sustainable and cost effective manner.  
Previously saving the MOD in excess of £60million, the Alliance model is a proven solution based around the collaboration of partners at Portsmouth and Devonport naval bases. The alliance works closely together to provide the best and most cost effective solutions for the Royal Navy customer. 
High levels of availability have been maintained across all in scope classes of ships and over seventy per cent of programmes have exceeded their specified targets.  Improvements in safety, efficiency and operations have all been achieved as a result of the Class Output Management process.  
Richard Dingley, Fleet Services Director, BAE Systems Maritime Services said: “The extension to the Surface Ship Support contract is hugely important. It will allow BAE Systems to continue delivering platform availability to the Fleet, it gives us the space to build on our successes, and constantly improve upon the service we provide through our business improvement programme."
As well as the ships under the Surface Ship Support programme, BAE Systems will also provide through life support to the Royal Navy's three River class vessels and all 6 of the new Type 45 Destroyers.

BAE Commences Work on Latest River Class Program

Riverlass vessels HMS Severn, Tyne and Mersey

Work is underway on the new £22m contract to support and provide maintenance to the Royal Navy’s River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs).
Following a successful track record of supporting these Portsmouth based ships for over a decade and after a competitive tender process, BAE Systems was awarded the contract in September, guaranteeing the work for the next five years.  
The maintenance contract will provide the Royal Navy with 320 operationally available days per ship per year. This will enable the ships to remain at sea as much as possible to carry out their primary roles of fishery protection, environmental protection, search and rescue and maritime security.  
The success of these arrangements will be based on a strong partnering relationship between BAE Systems, Ship’s Staff, the MOD, and A&P Group who play a key role in the maintenance of the ships.
A similar solution is currently used to support two Royal Navy hydrographic vessels, HMS Echo and HMS Enterprise, as well as HMS Clyde based in the Falkland Islands.
Richard Dingley, Fleet Services Director, BAE Systems Maritime Services said: “This contract award is recognition that our support of the River Class OPVs will be a value for money service.  
“The Royal Navy can be assured that the high ship availability we have achieved over the last ten years will continue.  I am delighted that we have won the contract in competition to deliver this highly regarded service.”

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Exelis receives $32 million award to supply airborne surveillance radars to US Coast Guard

Amityville NY January 22, 2014 - Exelis has received a $32 million, five-year IDIQ (indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity) award to supply airborne surveillance radars, spares, support equipment and technical services to the U.S. Coast Guard.
“As the U.S. Coast Guard’s mission continues to evolve, our radar will enhance the reach and effectiveness of the HC-130J and its crews to protect our shores.”
Integrated on the U.S. Coast Guard’s HC-130J Super Hercules long-range surveillance aircraft, the AN/APY-11 multimode radar is designed to support the service’s maritime reconnaissance mission, which includes long-range surveillance, search and rescue, drug interdiction, counterterrorism and maritime environmental support. The radar’s multifunctionality will augment the U.S. Coast Guard’s situational awareness and ability to conduct missions successfully.
For Exelis, the award further strengthens the company’s position in the growing field of intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and analytics amid evolving operational requirements and increasing global demand for adaptable, cost-effective solutions.
“This latest award is indicative of the value and versatility our radar offers the customer,” said Pete Martin, director of programs, defense systems, for the Exelis electronic attack & release systems business. “As the U.S. Coast Guard’s mission continues to evolve, our radar will enhance the reach and effectiveness of the HC-130J and its crews to protect our shores.”
First provided to the U.S. Coast Guard under a 2005 contract award, the AN/APY-11 multimode radar is produced by Exelis and partner ELTA Systems Ltd. This is the second contract given recently to Exelis to supply the AN/APY-11 radar to the U.S. Coast Guard. The first for $6.5 million was awarded to the company in October 2012.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Airbus Group, Inc. Continues to Successfully Serve the U.S. Coast Guard With Delivery of 16th HC-144A Ocean Sentry Aircraft

Airbus Group, Inc. has delivered the 16th HC-144A Ocean Sentry maritime patrol aircraft to the U.S. Coast Guard. The Ocean Sentry is based on the Airbus CN235 tactical airlifter, more than 235 of which are currently in operation by 29 countries. This is the first of three HC-144A’s planned for delivery this year.
Herndon VA Jan 21, 2014 - Airbus Group, Inc. has delivered the 16th HC-144A Ocean Sentry maritime patrol aircraft to the U.S. Coast Guard. The Ocean Sentry is based on the Airbus CN235 tactical airlifter, more than 235 of which are currently in operation by 29 countries. This is the first of three HC-144A's planned for delivery this year.
The latest aircraft will join a fleet of 15 Ocean Sentries performing roles from Coast Guard Air Stations in Cape Cod, Mass., Mobile, Ala., and Miami, Fla. The Coast Guard is planning in 2014 to stand up the fourth HC-144A air station in Corpus Christi, Texas.
"The Coast Guard competitively selected and is buying the HC-144A because it has proven to effectively and efficiently perform the broad range of demanding maritime patrol missions, including search and rescue, homeland security, disaster response and national defense," said Sean O'Keefe, Chairman and CEO of Airbus Group, Inc.
"The Department of Homeland Security recently recognized the Coast Guard's HC-144A maritime patrol aircraft program as the DHS Project of the Year, and we're proud to have worked with them to deliver this capability consistently on schedule and on cost. We are pleased to be members of the Coast Guard aviation community and to support the dedicated men and women who protect our nation's coasts and waterways," said O'Keefe.
The HC-144A achieved initial operational capability with the Coast Guard in 2008.

Newport News Shipbuilding Opens Field Office in Aiken, S.C.

Newport News Shipbuilding Opens Office in Aiken, S.C.
Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) opened an energy field office today in Aiken, S.C. Pictured at the ribbon-cutting are (left to right) David Jameson, president and CEO, Aiken Chamber of Commerce; Jill O’Donnell, manager, nuclear engineering projects and Aiken field office manager, NNS; Matt Mulherin, president, NNS; and Fred Dohse, executive vice president and chief operations officer, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS). Photo by John Whalen.

Newport News January 21, 2014 - Huntington Ingalls Industries announced today that its Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division has opened a field office in Aiken, S.C., as part of its continuing efforts to expand the company's business in the Department of Energy and commercial energy markets. NNS leadership joined community leaders this morning to officially open the office with a ribbon-cutting event.
"While shipbuilding remains our primary business, we are expanding our efforts into DoE and commercial energy work, and we believe this new field office in Aiken proves our commitment to growth in this market," said Newport News Shipbuilding President Matt Mulherin.
The Aiken office will provide a location from which NNS will manage jobs currently under contract in the area and pursue additional opportunities in the energy industry. The office will focus on marketing professional services for its current contract at Savannah River Nuclear Solutions and to surrounding areas and will be capable of providing any skill-set necessary to design, plan, construct and test a large, complex nuclear project.
The office will join NNS's growing energy division, which includes Newport News Energy, Newport News Industrial, Newport News Nuclear and the recently acquired S.M. Stoller Corp., a leading provider of technical, environmental, ecological, waste management, remediation and consultation services to private-sector companies and the U.S. government. NNS is also teamed with Fluor and Honeywell on the management and operations contract at Savannah River Nuclear Solutions and provides maintenance services at the Kenneth A. Kesselring site in West Milton, N.Y.
"We're all excited about the commitment and investment that Newport News is making with this office in Aiken," said David Jameson, president and CEO of Aiken Chamber of Commerce. "Bringing new investment into our community shows the confidence Newport News has in the talent based here in Aiken."

Friday, January 17, 2014

Congress Continues Support of UH-72A Lakota Helicopter

NAS Pax River Capt. Thomas Huff, Commander, Naval Test Wing Atlantic (center left) and Lt. Col. Roger Cordell, Commander, U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (center right), pose with the Tactical Airlift, Adversary and Support programs (PMA-207) and USNTPS UH-72A team with the five new UH-72A Lakota helicopters in front of one of the USNTPS hangars here. The first Lakota was delivered in November 2009; the last in January 2010. The new Lakota helicopters are the core aircraft in the USNTPS rotary wing curriculum replacing the venerable TH-6B Cayuse helicopter at the school. (U.S. Navy photo)

Herndon VA January 17, 2014 - Airbus Group leaders today welcomed the decision by Congress to fund procurement of 20 UH-72A Lakota helicopters through an omnibus spending package that the President has indicated he will sign into law.
"This continuation of the government contract orders for the Lakota demonstrates the value of affordable, cost-effective programs in a constrained budget environment," said Sean O'Keefe, Chairman and CEO of Airbus Group, Inc. "That support means a lot to the American workers who have delivered every single Lakota on time and on budget over the last seven years."
The UH-72A Lakota is built in Columbus, Miss., by a workforce that is more than fifty percent U.S. military veterans. The Army, National Guard and Navy have taken delivery of 290 Lakotas, for missions ranging from disaster response and border patrol to pilot training. With a unit cost of just $5.5 million, the Lakota has the lowest cost to buy, own and operate of any U.S. military helicopter in production.
Army plans originally called for purchasing 31 Lakota helicopters in Fiscal 2014, but a constrained budget environment resulted in an initial budget proposal that included funding for just ten and plans to terminate the program thereafter.
The final appropriations allocation doubles that number, allowing National Guard units to continue to provide support to citizens around the country.
"We understand that in the current fiscal environment, our customer and the American taxpayer can't afford to waste a penny," O'Keefe said. "This is a time to support programs that deliver what is promised and also have a vital role to play in our national security -- programs like the Lakota."
National Guard Lakotas have provided critical support responding to recent domestic emergencies including this year's wildfires in Colorado, tornadoes in Oklahoma, severe flooding in the West and Superstorm Sandy. They are regularly used to conduct rescues of civilians in distress across the country, and are deployed along the U.S.-Mexico border flying security operations against criminal cartels. 
Lakotas are also being used to train Navy, Marine Corps and Army test pilots at the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School.

DOD to Preserve Historic Images

Image with VIRIN: 80-G-422387
Navy skyraiders from the USS VALLEY FORGE (CVA-45) fire 5 inch rockets at North Korean communist held position. NARA FILE #: 80-G-422387
Washington January 17, 2014 - The Defense Imagery Management Operations Center recently signed a $5 million agreement to digitize, store and provide access to hundreds of thousands of historical images.
DIMOC is the Defense Department's central repository for visual imagery. It exists to preserve visual records first for the DOD, and then for other agencies and members of the public, said Mike Edrington, DIMOC director. Those images are then made available via
But, in addition to its digital archive, the agency has a massive backlog of images on physical, analog media that ranges from photographic negatives and slides to films and VHS tapes.
"That material is deteriorating faster than we can offer it to the National Archives and we need to get it into a digital form" Edrington said. In addition, DIMOC's climate-controlled automated storage facility at March Air Base in Riverside, Calif., is running out of space, he said.
The Riverside facility is where analog visual imagery assets are shipped and processed. Those assets weren't always being stored in ideal conditions before they were sent to DIMOC, Edrington said.
The images are often found in obscure places on bases as they close down or as offices move, he said. "They've found it in corners of warehouses, and sometimes we don't know exactly where the stuff's found, but it comes delivered to us, it shows up on a pallet ... and sometimes the stuff says 'box of stuff.'"
Regardless of condition, images sent to Riverside are never simply destroyed, Edrington noted, "because they're federal records." Everything is assessed, barcoded and stored for later digitization.
"We want the material. If they find it, we want it," Edrington said, noting that DOD personnel can contact DIMOC customer service if they have images they want to accession. They can be reached by email at or by phone at 1-888-PH-DIMOC (743-4662).
The images in DIMOC's digital holdings are also shared with the National Archives, he said.
"There's a lot of history," Edrington said. "It's not just celebrities such as Elvis Presley ... we've got that kind of stuff, but more importantly, we've got soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines doing what they do."
A digitization and storage study conducted in 2010 by the Defense Media Activity, DIMOC's parent organization, found it would take up to 50 years and at least $25 million to digitize the current analog holdings with available government resources, Edrington said.
By taking a different approach, the new contract will shorten that period to five years at a fraction of the cost.
The contract is the first of its kind in the Defense Department, Edrington said. In exchange for digitizing the images, the contractor, T3Media, will be granted a limited period of exclusivity during which they will be able to charge non-DOD users a fair-market fee to use the images.
All DOD personnel will be able to access and download the images for free by accessing a secure website, Edrington said.
In this constrained budget environment, the department can no longer afford to subsidize the access of commercial media and non-government entities to DOD imagery. Changing to a fee-based system will offset the cost of digitizing, storing and providing public access to the imagery.
"This is a true partnership," Edrington said. "It's really in our interest that T3 succeeds."
The fees are essentially a convenience fee for making accessibility to the images a matter of simply going online and searching by keywords, rather than waiting 30-60 days for a response to a Freedom of Information Act Request for images that may or may not exist, Edrington said.
The arrangement is similar to the one made by the National Archives with, he said, which is permitted to charge a fee for access to certain federal records in exchange for digitizing, categorizing and storing those records.