Monday, March 31, 2014

Ingalls Shipbuilding Awarded $497 Million Contract for Seventh U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter

National Security Cutter Stratton (WMSL 752)
Ingalls Shipbuilding's third National Security Cutter, USCGC Stratton (WMSL 752), was commissioned in 2012.

Pascagoula March 31, 2014 - Huntington Ingalls Industries announced today that its Ingalls Shipbuilding division has received a $497 million fixed-price, incentive-fee contract from the U.S. Coast Guard to build a seventh Legend-class National Security Cutter (WMSL 756).
"We have a hot production line with this class of ships, and we continue to get better—a tangible result demonstrating the value of serial production," said Ingalls NSC Program Manager Jim French. "Each ship is built more effectively and more affordably than the one before it, and this is due to the hard work of our shipbuilders who are implementing efficient build plans and bringing our learning curve down as each ship is delivered. We look forward to starting construction on this ship in January 2015."
Ingalls has delivered the first three NSCs and has three more under construction. Hamilton (WMSL 753) is 81 percent complete and will deliver in the third quarter of 2014; James (WMSL 754) is 52 percent complete and will launch in April, and the sixth NSC (WMSL 755) began construction late last year and is scheduled for launch in the fourth quarter of 2015. The seventh ship, WMSL 756, is scheduled for delivery in 2018.
Legend-class NSCs are the flagships of the Coast Guard's cutter fleet. Designed to replace the 378‐foot Hamilton-class high-endurance cutters that entered service during the 1960s, they are 418 feet long with a 54-foot beam and displace 4,500 tons with a full load. They have a top speed of 28 knots, a range of 12,000 miles, an endurance of 60 days and a crew of 110.
NSCs are capable of meeting all maritime security mission needs required of the high-endurance cutter. They include an aft launch and recovery area for two rigid hull inflatable boats and a flight deck to accommodate a range of manned and unmanned rotary wing aircraft. The Legend class is the largest and most technologically advanced class of cutter in the Coast Guard, with robust capabilities for maritime homeland security, law enforcement, marine safety, environmental protection and national defense missions. NSCs play an important role enhancing the Coast Guard's operational readiness, capacity and effectiveness at a time when the demand for their services has never been greater.

Navy weapons program delivers new capability for H-60 helicopters

A MH-60S Seahawk helicopter fires the Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System (APKWS) from a modernized, digital rocket launcher (DRL) during a test event in fall 2013. The Direct Time and Sensitive Strike Weapons program (PMA-242) delivered DRL to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 15 in March for pre-deployment training in preparation for deployment this summer.
(U.S. Navy photo)
An MH-60S Seahawk helicopter fires the Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System (APKWS) from a modernized, digital rocket launcher (DRL) during a test event in fall 2013. The Direct Time and Sensitive Strike Weapons program (PMA-242) delivered DRL to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 15 in March for pre-deployment training in preparation for deployment this summer. (U.S. Navy photo)

NAS Patuxent River March 31, 2014 - A modernized rocket  launcher will soon enable MH-60 Seahawk helicopters to carry and deploy a variety of weapons for the first time.
As part of an Early Operational Capability (EOC), the Navy delivered the new system, called the Digital Rocket Launcher, to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 15 in March for pre-deployment training.
DRL is the answer to an urgent operational needs statement (UONS) from the Navy, and its quick fleet deployment is the result of the hard work and cooperation of a number of program offices here at Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), said Cmdr. Alex Dutko, the Airborne Rockets and Pyrotechnics team lead for the Direct Time and Sensitive Strike Weapons program (PMA-242).
Dutko’s team worked closely with the H-60 Multi-Missions Helicopter Program (PMA-299) to deliver DRL to the fleet in less than 24 months.
This new, “smart” launcher will first be integrated onto the MH-60S as part of a Rapid Deployment Capability (RDC) and later, onto the MH-60R and potentially other platforms.
“The fleet is very excited because this launcher will make an armed helo even more lethal than it already is,” said John Male, PMA-299’s Common Weapons lead. “The H-60 Sierra is already a significant threat, but the new launcher, and all that it brings, will allow the aircraft to engage a larger set of threats.”
Though the helicopter can be equipped with a variety of other weapons systems, the DRL will permit employment of the Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System (APKWS), Dutko said. A semi-active laser guidance section added to legacy rocket components, APKWS offers greater precision than the unguided rockets currently employed from helicopters.
Additionally, the DRL’s digital interface makes it capable of employing a wider variety of rocket configurations, offering significant flexibility to engage different target sets. DRL allows for sequential and selective single fire; selective and all ripple fire; and rocket-inventory tracking, not available in its legacy predecessor, which required aircrew to keep a physical record of rockets fired.
“When the vice chief of naval operations (VCNO) told us to 'Get lead in the air,' that was a clear, concise and direct statement reflecting the urgency with which we needed to accomplish this effort,” said Capt. Jim Glass, PMA-299 program manager. “Having a UONS is in integral part of this process, but when Navy leadership reinforced the urgency of the need with a short direct edict, the imperative was crystal clear, and this joint team responded.”
In 2012, the team was challenged to complete the project in 24 months and deliver EOC to the fleet in March 2014.
“We have a lot of important programs in our portfolio,” Capt. Al Mousseau, PMA-242 program manager explained. “While all of these programs are developing and delivering capability crucial to the warfighter, DRL is an RDC that Navy leadership asked us to deliver to the fleet as quickly as possible — at least one year ahead of what a normal program would have delivered."
Throughout the accelerated development effort, the team overcame numerous technical challenges and ultimately produced 22 launchers that fully incorporate a multitude of configuration changes. These launchers will support the scheduled deployment of HSC-15 later this summer.
“It’s not often that you see a program go from a sketch on a piece of paper, to a reality,” Dutko said. “I keep telling the team: this is unique, special. EOC is just the first step to equipping the fleet with the capability and lethality that we need to be effective and successful in countering the fast inshore attack craft threat.”
PMA-242 is responsible for the acquisition, development and sustainment of weapon systems, including anti-radiation missile systems; airborne rocket systems; precision guided munitions; airborne gun systems; and joint air-to-ground munitions. PMA-299 provides full-spectrum, worldwide support for the Navy’s SH-60B, SH-60F, HH-60H, MH-60S and MH-60R helicopters and user communities.

Acquisition Update: Ninth Fast Response Cutter Delivered to the Coast Guard

Coast Guard Cutter Kathleen Moore
Coast Guard Cutter Kathleen Moore. Photo courtesy of Bollinger Shipyards.

March 28, 2014 - The U.S. Coast Guard on March 28, 2014, accepted delivery of Coast Guard Cutter Kathleen Moore, the ninth vessel in the Coast Guard’s Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutter recapitalization project, in Key West, Fla.  Kathleen Moore is the third of six FRCs to be homeported in Key West, Fla., and will be commissioned into service May 10, 2014. It will support operations in the Seventh Coast Guard District, an area comprised of 1.8 million square nautical miles of ocean ranging from the South Carolina coast to the Caribbean. 
To date, eight FRCs have been commissioned into service. The eighth FRC, Charles Sexton, was commissioned March 8, 2014. The Coast Guard plans to acquire 58 FRCs to replace the service’s 110-foot Island Class patrol boat fleet, which range in age from 22 to 29 years old. Nine FRCs are currently in production at Bollinger Shipyards in Lockport, La. The Coast Guard has ordered 24 FRCs to date.
The Sentinel-class FRC project is representative of the Coast Guard’s disciplined approach to rebuild its surface fleet. It has a flank speed of 28 knots and a 2,500 hours per year operational employment target. It uses state-of-the-market command, control, communications and computer technology interoperable with the Coast Guard’s existing and future assets, as well as Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense assets.
The cutter’s namesake is Lighthouse Keeper Kathleen Moore. Her father became keeper of the Black Rock Harbor lighthouse on Fayerweather Island near Bridgeport, Conn., in 1816.  Moore would stand her first watch at the lighthouse in 1824 at the age of 12 and would soon take over all duties at the Black Rock Harbor lighthouse due to her father’s continuing ill health.  However, she would not receive her official appointment as head keeper until 1871. She retired in 1878 and is credited with saving 21 lives during her tenure.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Maritime Helicopter Support Company Breaks Ground on Navy’s MH-60R Helicopter Maintenance Facilities

Lockheed Martin

Nowra NSW March 26, 2014 - The Maritime Helicopter Support Company (MHSCo) — a Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin joint venture company — today broke ground to build the maintenance and warehouse facilities that will provide Through Life Support logistics services for the Royal Australian Navy’s new fleet of 24 MH-60R SEAHAWK® helicopters. Once completed in early 2015, the two buildings, totaling more than 11,400 square meters (120,000 square feet), will house as many as 120 personnel with the knowledge and ability to keep the fleet in peak flight readiness during its estimated 30-year lifespan.
“Excavation and construction of these Through Life Support buildings begin an important chapter for the long-term readiness of Australia’s most sophisticated maritime helicopter,” said Rod Skotty, President of MHSCo. “Our company’s experience supplying repaired parts for more than 500 U.S. Navy H-60 maritime helicopters around the world will directly carry over to a larger business model specially configured for Australia’s maritime helicopter needs, and carried out by skilled Australian technicians and administrators inside a modern, dedicated space.”
Sited at the Albatross Aviation Technology Park, adjacent to the Royal Australian Navy’s MH-60R operational squadron facilities at the Naval Air Station Nowra, the Through Life Support facilities consist of an 8,300-square-meter (89,000 square feet) Maintenance Repair Operation building to service the 24 helicopters and a warehouse of 3,100 square meters (33,000 square feet). The buildings are to be completed in early 2015.
The facilities also will house representatives from Brisbane-based Sikorsky Helitech (which specializes in helicopter aftermarket support), Lockheed Martin Australia (mission systems and avionics), and General Electric (engines).
While NAS Nowra personnel will perform day-to-day operational maintenance on the MH-60R fleet, MHSCo’s Through Life Support facilities will be responsible for a higher level of maintenance at periodic intervals. Aircraft will be inducted for scheduled and unscheduled depot level airframe maintenance, or deeper level maintenance, as it is known in Australia.
MHSCo also will carry out logistics and inventory management of spares and repaired parts; house ground support equipment; provide periodic helicopter and component maintenance; install aircraft upgrades and modifications; and conduct a full strip and repaint of aircraft.
MH-60R helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky and mission systems integrator Lockheed Martin formed MHSCo in 2000 to respond to the U.S. Navy’s need for a single point of contract for hundreds of helicopter parts from multiple suppliers. Today, MHSCo supplies more than 1,300 different components for five U.S. Navy H-60 helicopter types, at high efficiency levels.
Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin have delivered to the U.S. Navy a total of 185 (of 280) MH-60R aircraft for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare missions. To date, the Royal Australian Navy has received four completed MH-60R aircraft, as part of a Commonwealth/U.S. Government agreement, contracted in 2011.
The Royal Australian Navy’s first eight MH-60R helicopters will transition with their aircrews from the training site in Jacksonville, Fla., to NAS Nowra beginning in late 2014. At that time, MHSCo’s current staff of 30 employees will have grown to more than 70 employees.
Sikorsky Helitech is overseeing construction of the MHSCo Through Life Support facilities and associated infrastructure by Jones Lang LaSalle, which is contracted to complete the work to meet the latest national and international standards for health and safety.

Future UAS trainer makes cross country voyage to support Triton program

A retired U.S. Air Force Global Hawk is loaded onto a truck destined for the Manned Flight Simulator (MFS) facility at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Md., to support MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System training.  Three trucks departed Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., with components of the unmanned aircraft en route to its temporary location at Pax River on March 1. The Persistent Maritime Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program Office (PMA-262) will partner with the Naval Aviation Training Systems Program Office (PMA-205) to convert the aircraft to an MQ-4C Triton maintenance trainer capable of providing hands-on power plants, landing gear and flight control services. Using the former Air Force aircraft is projected to yield significant cost avoidance for the Navy. Completion of the first of  six  MQ-4C trainers is projected for late 2016 with  final destination being Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, Calif., the future home of the Triton maintenance training schoolhouse. The Triton, based on the Air Force’s Global Hawk airframe, will play a key role in providing commanders with a persistent, reliable picture of surface threats, covering vast areas of open ocean and littoral regions, minimizing the need to utilize other manned assets to execute surveillance and reconnaissance tasks.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

100 days to go until new aircraft carrier is named

The Queen Elizabeth at the shipyard in Rosyth (library image) [Picture: Aircraft Carrier Alliance]
The Queen Elizabeth at the shipyard in Rosyth
Today, 26 March, marks 100 days to go until the historic event and major milestone in the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier program.
The Queen Elizabeth will be officially named by Her Majesty The Queen in a ceremony at Rosyth on Friday 4 July. The naming of the carrier comes 5 years after the first steel was cut on the ship and only 33 months since the first section entered the dry dock at Rosyth marking the start of her assembly.
Ian Booth, Queen Elizabeth (QE) Class program director at the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, said:
The excitement around the naming of the Queen Elizabeth continues to grow and the daily countdown will undoubtedly add further momentum to this. We’re working hard to prepare the ship and plan the celebrations which will mark this significant phase in the programme to deliver the nation’s flagships.
Getting to this point is testament to the hard work and commitment of everyone involved in the program, from the teams across the Aircraft Carrier Alliance to our suppliers in every region of the country.

Computer-generated image of a Queen Elizabeth Class carrier
Computer-generated image of a Queen Elizabeth Class carrier alongside a Type 45 destroyer at sea 
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:

"The naming ceremony in July will be a significant step forward for the Royal Navy and industry who have been working hard to make sure HMS Queen Elizabeth is on track to deliver carrier strike capability by 2020.
Combined with the Lightning II aircraft, the QE Class will bolster the Royal Navy’s ability to project power across the world and there is a lot of excitement about the ship nearing completion after years of hard work by thousands of highly skilled workers."

With the vessel now structurally complete, outfitting work continues on the carrier in the lead up to her naming and subsequent ‘flood up’, which will take place in mid-July. Meanwhile, work continues on sections of Queen Elizabeth’s sister ship, the Prince of Wales, at sites across the UK, with assembly at Rosyth beginning later this year.

The Queen Elizabeth at the shipyard in Rosyth
The Queen Elizabeth at the shipyard in Rosyth
The aircraft carriers Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a unique partnering relationship between BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the Ministry of Defence.
The QE Class will be the centrepiece of Britain’s defence capability for the 21st century. Each 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier will provide the armed forces with a 4-acre military operating base which can be deployed worldwide operating Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II jets and a number of types of helicopter.
The carriers will be versatile enough to be used across the full spectrum of military activity from war-fighting to providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

Photos from Aircraft Carrier Alliance

Northrop Grumman Wins Supplier Award for Role in Royal Navy's Astute Submarine Program

HMS Astute
Royal Navy
London March 26, 2014 – Northrop Grumman Corporation has received the Customer Focus Award from BAE Systems Maritime-Submarines in recognition of the role the company has played in supplying the platform management system (PMS) for the U.K. Ministry of Defence's (MOD) Astute nuclear-powered submarine programme.
The award was presented during BAE's 2014 Annual Supplier Forum to Northrop Grumman's Sperry Marine business unit in recognition of its performance in the integrated deployment and management of the programme's resources and for continuously improving performance standards in delivery and support.
"Our extensive track record of delivering reliable, high-performance navigation and ship control solutions has helped to establish us as a preferred supplier for Royal Navy platforms," said Alan Dix, managing director, Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine. "This award is a great achievement and we are proud to be contributing to the most capable submarine ever built for the Royal Navy."
Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine is supplying the PMS to BAE Systems Maritime–Submarines for installation on the Royal Navy's Astute Boat 4 and under an innovative performance partnering arrangement for boats 5, 6 and 7 at its shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.
The PMS includes control and monitoring software, human interface equipment and programmable logic controller-based hardware located throughout the submarine. All hardware has been system-engineered to meet naval standards for shock, vibration, temperature and electromagnetic compatibility requirements and meets the stringent safety requirements for this type of vessel.
Based on Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine's innovative approach to configuring commercial off-the-shelf hardware and software to meet exacting military and commercial applications, the PMS is expected to reduce life cycle costs and minimize programme risk for the MOD. The system provides an advanced network design that includes the stringent levels of safety and redundancy associated with nuclear submarine control systems. The open architecture design of the PMS is also expandable and versatile allowing it to interface with third-party equipment via standard field-bus technology.
Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine in the U.K. has had a long and successful relationship with the Royal Navy, supplying and supporting machinery control systems, navigation radars, gyrocompasses and other navigation equipment. The company has also provided the PMS for the Royal Navy's Type 45 destroyers and the Hunt Class Minehunters, and is supplying the integrated navigation and bridge System for the Queen Elizabeth Class carriers. The company has provided ships' inertial navigation systems for a variety of the Royal Navy's other surface ships and submarines.

Northrop Grumman Australia, DSTO Confirm Research Partnership

From left to right, back row, Mr Phil Rector, Ken Crowe, Jim Bandcroft and Steve Zanias.<br /><br />From left to right, front row, Chief Defence Scientist Dr Alex Zelinsky and Northrop Grumman Australia Chief Executive Mr Ian Irving.
Northrop Grumman Australia and the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) have signed a strategic alliance to conduct collaborative research in a range of high-end defense technologies. The agreement was signed today in Canberra by Northrop Grumman Australia Chief Executive Mr Ian Irving and Chief Defence Scientist Dr Alex Zelinsky. Under the agreement Northrop Grumman and DSTO will collaborate on projects of mutual interest and DSTO will have access to Northrop Grumman’s specialized defense knowledge. From left to right, back row, Mr Phil Rector, Ken Crowe, Jim Bandcroft and Steve Zanias. From left to right, front row, Chief Defence Scientist Dr Alex Zelinsky and Northrop Grumman Australia Chief Executive Mr Ian Irving.

Canberra March 26, 2014 - Northrop Grumman Corporation and the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) have signed a strategic alliance to conduct collaborative research in a range of advanced defence technologies.
The agreement was signed today in Canberra by Northrop Grumman Australia Chief Executive Ian Irving and Chief Defence Scientist Alex Zelinsky.
Under the agreement, Northrop Grumman and DSTO will collaborate on projects of mutual interest and DSTO will have access to Northrop Grumman's specialized defence knowledge.
"This agreement is a further demonstration of Northrop Grumman's commitment to Australia and to the defence organization," Irving said. "Northrop Grumman has significant experience in C4ISR, electronic warfare and unmanned systems. We've seen significant developments in these areas in recent years and they will continue to transform defence forces around the world. Northrop Grumman looks forward to working with DSTO to keep Australia at the forefront of these advanced technologies."
DSTO also welcomed the agreement. "We look forward to collaborating with Northrop Grumman," Zelinsky said. "DSTO and Northrop Grumman have strong levels of expertise in cutting-edge technology and working together will increase our ability to find the right technological solutions for the future of the Australian Defence Force."

Coast Guard Accepts 17th HC-144A Ocean Sentry

17th HC-144A Ocean Sentry
Seville, Spain – Members of the Coast Guard’s acceptance team were on hand to accept delivery of the 17th HC-144A Ocean Sentry. The aircraft will be one of three Ocean Sentries operating from Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The Coast Guard accepted delivery of the 17th HC-144A Ocean Sentry Maritime Patrol Aircraft March 20, 2014, at the Airbus Military factory in Seville, Spain. When the newest Ocean Sentry arrives in the United States, the Coast Guard will induct it into the Aviation Configuration Management System at the Coast Guard Aviation Logistics Center, Elizabeth City, N.C.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

HASC Leaderships Implores Obama to Act

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Buck McKeon, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, along with the seven subcommittee Chairmen on the Armed Services Committee, sent the following letter to the President regarding the crisis in the Ukraine. An additional classified letter was sent Wednesday afternoon. The letter is signed by Rep. Buck McKeon, Rep. Mac Thornberry, Rep. Randy Forbes, Rep. Joe Wilson, Rep. Michael Turner, Rep. Mike Rogers, Rep. Rob Wittman, and Rep. Joe Heck.
Chairman McKeon said on the release of the letters: “Russia’s war on Ukraine has already started. It is time to stop speculating about possibility, and start dealing with reality. Europe will unite behind American leadership. It’s time we demonstrate it. Continued inaction by the President in the face of Mr. Putin’s invasion will make further Russian aggression more – not less – likely. Any show of resolve from the White House will have my full support.”
You can view the letter HERE
Text of the letter provided below 
Dear Mr. President,
            We write today with urgency and alarm, based on new information in the committee’s possession.  We are gravely concerned about the aggressive posture of Russian forces along the eastern border of Ukraine, as well as reports that Moscow may be making threatening moves towards allies in the Baltics.  We urge your administration, working with our NATO allies, to share available intelligence information with the government of Ukraine that would enable it to take prudent and timely measures to protect the very “sovereignty and territorial integrity” that you have committed to maintain.  We also believe it is imperative that the United States take precautionary steps to improve the posture and readiness of U.S. military forces in the region, and pursue additional measures to bolster the security of our eastern and central European allies and partners.
           While the details informing our concerns remain classified and will be outlined in an accompanying classified letter sent through appropriate channels, we would point to multiple unclassified reports and comments by senior officials within your administration, highlighting the tens of thousands of Russian troops massed near the eastern border of Ukraine conducting “military exercises,” the presence of Russian Spetsnaz special forces in eastern Ukraine fomenting civil unrest and chaos, and the large footprint of Russian naval forces and coastal troops in the Baltics. There is deep apprehension that Moscow may invade eastern and southern Ukraine, pressing west to Transdniestria, and also seek land grabs in the Baltics.
          Both the commander of U.S. European Command (EUCOM) and the NATO Secretary General are raising the alarm.  Earlier this week in Brussels, EUCOM Commander, General Philip Breedlove, stated, “The [Russian] force that is at the Ukrainian border now to the east is very, very sizeable and very, very ready.” He also stated, “There is absolutely sufficient [Russian] force postured on the eastern border of Ukraine to run to Transdniestria if the decision was made to do that and that is very worrisome.”  NATO Secretary General Rasmussen has also emphasized, “We are very much concerned about the Russian military build-up along the borders of Ukraine.”
            Mr. President, you have stated that you “are in close communication with the Ukrainian government.”  We would expect this communication to immediately include any intelligence on Russian troop movements and possible attack scenarios into Ukraine, and to provide such information with sufficient time to allow the Ukrainian government to take prudent defense measures to protect its people, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.   
            We also believe it is crucial that you direct the Secretary of Defense to increase and enhance the alert posture and readiness of U.S. forces in Europe without delay, including maintaining forward-deployed U.S. quick reaction forces. A failure to take such deterrent actions in the face of continued Russian aggression will certainly risk the very diplomatic and peaceful outcome that we all desire. Inaction by the U.S. and NATO will only further embolden Russian military planners, making further escalation more–not less–likely.
             As we have learned in previous crises elsewhere, if U.S. forces are not positioned in advance to respond to foreseeable threats, the options for senior decision makers become severely limited.  To that end, we further call on you to convene an emergency session of the North Atlantic Council, to be led by Secretary Hagel and Chairman Dempsey, and to request that our NATO allies also enhance their force readiness in the event that an Article V response is required.
          Mr. President, we still have opportunity to deter Russia aggression, but President Putin must see our commitment to Ukraine and to our European allies and partners.  He must visibly see our resolve, including our military resolve, and clearly understand the costs. 

Comment on statement regarding the Swedish stand on the underwater domain from the the Minister for Defence

Defence and security company Saab is currently working on the order from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) regarding a study on a consolidated underwater strategy. Commenting the article by Karin Enström, Swedish Minister for Defence, in the Swedish business daily Dagens Industri, Saab would like to clarify that no further order has been placed. 
As previously announced, defence and security company Saab, received a contract from FMV at the end of February 2014. The order was to conduct a study on a consolidated underwater strategy. This study is now being carried out within the business area Security and Defence Solutions.
It is with interest Saab notes the article in Dagens Industri from the Minister for Defence. Being one of the leading companies in the naval domain in Sweden, Saab has extensive experience in several of the areas mentioned in the article. 
Up to this date, Saab has not received any further order in the under water domain from FMV. 
Saab serves the global market with world-leading products, services and solutions ranging from military defence to civil security. Saab has operations and employees on all continents and constantly develops, adopts and improves new technology to meet customers’ changing needs.

Navy Identifies Deceased Sailor at Naval Station Norfolk

An undated file photo of Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Mark A. Mayo.
Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Mark A. Mayo. Mayo, 24, was killed during a shooting incident at Naval Station Norfolk Monday, March 24. Mayo was assigned to Naval Security Forces at Naval Station Norfolk. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Mark A. Mayo, 24, was killed during a shooting incident at Naval Station Norfolk March 24. 
Mayo was assigned to Naval Security Forces, Naval Station Norfolk. A Hagerstown, Md. native, Mayo enlisted in the Navy in October 2007 and reported to Naval Station Norfolk in May 2011.
"Petty Officer Mayo's actions on Monday evening were nothing less than heroic. He selflessly gave his own life to ensure the safety of the Sailors on board USS Mahan (DDG 72)," said Capt. Robert E. Clark, Jr., commanding officer, Naval Station Norfolk. "Petty Officer Mayo's family has endured a tremendous loss, as have the men and women of Naval Station Norfolk, in the loss of a shipmate and friend."
The events of Monday evening are under investigation but it is known at approximately 11:20 p.m. there was a shooting on board Mahan at Pier 1. The suspect approached the Mahan's quarterdeck and was confronted by the ship's petty officer of the watch. A struggle occurred and the suspect was able to disarm the Sailor. Mayo, serving as the chief-of-the-guard, rendered assistance after seeing the suspect board the ship. Mayo put himself between the gunman and the petty officer of the watch and as a result was fatally wounded.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

General Dynamics Mission System Continues to Power Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship

MOBILE, Ala. - Austal christened the future USS Jackson (LCS 6) at its state-of-the-art shipyard in Mobile, Ala.
US Navy
Fairfax VA March 24, 2014 - The U.S Navy christened its newest Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the future USS Jackson (LCS 6), at the Austal shipyard in Mobile, Ala., on March 22, 2014. As systems integrator on the Austal USA-led team, General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems is continuing to apply its proven open architecture and open business model approach to the LCS program. General Dynamics' open architecture computing infrastructure, OPEN CI, serves as the technology backbone for the ship's core mission system and provides the Navy with unprecedented flexibility to rapidly and affordably address mission-critical needs.
"Our open architecture computing infrastructure ensures commonality in the ship's interfaces, allowing for the rapid upgrading and swapping of mission capabilities to enhance performance where and when it's needed most," said Carlo Zaffanella, vice president and general manager of Integrated Platform Solutions at General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems. "With OPEN CI, we are helping the Navy drive time and cost out, and innovation and capability in."
LCS 6, the third Independence-variant ship to be built for the Navy, includes a significant number of core mission system improvements that are the direct result of the lessons learned and the rapid evolution of technology from the LCS 2 and LCS 4 design to the current version. Applying its open architecture approach to the Independence-variant ships, General Dynamics has made it possible to increase system capability, address obsolescence and maintain compatibility with the ship's many subsystems, while substantially lowering the cost ship-over-ship.

US Navy achieves initial operating capability on Patrol Coastal Griffin Missile System

File:AGM-176 Griffin launch.jpg
Tucson March 25, 2014 - The U.S. Navy has achieved initial operational capability (IOC) on the MK-60 Patrol Coastal Griffin Missile System that includes the Raytheon Company Griffin missile.  The milestone comes as the Navy continues to conduct littoral security operations in areas that require an immediate and precise response to confirmed threats.
The MK-60 Patrol Coastal Griffin Missile System includes a proven laser targeting system, a Navy-designed launcher and battle management system combined with Raytheon's combat-proven Griffin missile.  
"The Griffin missile and MK-60 system assure the accuracy and lethality our sailors need to combat growing regional threats," said Captain Mike Ladner, Major Program Manager Surface Ship Weapons, U.S. Navy Integrated Warfare Systems 3.0 program office. "IOC signals the beginning of improved ship self-defense on the Patrol Coastal fleet and provides an immediate response to potential maritime threats, especially small craft on the move."
IOC follows extensive maritime testing that began in March 2012.  During that time, the Navy developed, integrated and tested a complete system using mature components combined with Raytheon's Griffin missile.
"Griffin is a mature, lightweight precision weapon that delivers reliable operational effectiveness to the warfighter," said Mike Jarrett, vice president of Air Warfare Systems for Raytheon Missile Systems. "The Navy's declaration of IOC with the Griffin Missile System is a significant accomplishment that demonstrates Griffin's flexibility and shows the missile is ideally suited to protect against the small boat threat on a variety of platforms."  
The Griffin missile is a multi-platform, multi-service weapon that has a proven track record for successful rapid integration on land, sea and air assets. The combat-proven Griffin AGM-176A is an aft-eject missile designed for employment from platforms such as the C-130 aircraft. The Griffin BGM-176B is a forward-firing missile that launches from rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft, ground-launch applications and maritime platforms. The Griffin missile is 43 inches long, weighs 33 pounds, has a 13-pound warhead, and is in production today.

DRS Technologies to Provide Communications Support to Royal Australian Navy Frigates

Chris Sattler
Arlington VA March 25, 2014 - DRS Technologies, a Finmeccanica Company, announced today that its Canadian subsidiary will be providing communications systems in support of the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) ANZAC-class frigates.
The subcontract was awarded to DRS Technologies Canada Ltd. (DRS TCL) in support of a communications modernization contract by Selex ES.  DRS Technologies Canada Ltd. (TCL) is the primary subcontractor to Selex ES.
Under the subcontract DRS will provide all internal tactical and secure voice switching systems and terminals, including the SHINCOM 3100 central switching unit, wideband audio network data switching system, console dual screen terminals, outdoor terminals, jackboxes and ancillaries.
SHINCOM 3100 is the latest generation of shipboard communications switch technology; and provides reliable, red/black secure tactical communications for Navy operators.
DRS TCL will produce and deliver eight ship-sets and two shore systems under the subcontract.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for DRS TCL to deliver the SHINCOM 3100 system to the Royal Australian Navy.  This system, leverages the existing installed base with the Royal Canadian Navy and the United States Navy," says Steve Zuber, vice president and general manager, DRS Technologies Canada Ltd. "This program will allow these Navies to share key interoperability, technology and applications, ensuring that SHINCOM 3100 remains the premier internal communications system for years to come," Zuber said.

NATO Secretary General Invites Chicago Council President Daalder to Participate in Group to Re-Examine Transatlantic Bond

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs

Chicago March 24, 2014 - Ambassador Ivo H. Daalder, president of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, has been invited by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to participate in a policy experts group that will provide NATO with ideas on strengthening the Alliance's transatlantic bond. Rasmussen announced the launch of an Alliance-wide public debate involving young leaders, lawmakers and policy experts on Wednesday, March 19.

"With a view to our NATO Summit in Wales, and considering the link across the Atlantic that NATO embodies, I have asked three groups -- the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, a group of experts and a group of young leaders -- to consider how we can strengthen our transatlantic bond and strengthen our security today and tomorrow," Rasmussen said.
"I am honored to be part of this important effort," said Daalder, who served as the US Ambassador to NATO until July 2013. "With the events in Ukraine, the need for a strong and enduring transatlantic bond is now more evident than any time since the end of the Cold War."
The group of policy experts will be led by Robin Niblett, who is the director of Chatham House, London. He will be joined by:
  • Martin Butora, Head of the Institute of Public Affairs, Bratislava
  • Ivo Daalder, President, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Chicago
  • Camille Grand, Director of the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, Paris
  • Ana Palacio, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain and member of the Consejo de Estado of Spain
  • Roland Paris, Director of the Centre for International Policy Studies, Ottawa
  • Volker Perthes, Director Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Berlin
  • Nathalie Tocci, Deputy Director, Istituto Affari Internazionali, Rome
  • Sinan Ulgen, Director of Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM), Istanbul
  • Marcin Zaborowski, Director of Polish Institute for International Affairs, Warsaw
The aim of the project is to draw on the perspectives and experiences of the three groups to provide the Secretary General and the North Atlantic Council with creative input on strengthening transatlantic relations. Rasmussen said the Alliance is also interested in hearing from the general public "about what the transatlantic relationship has meant to you and how we can preserve it and make it even stronger for future generations."
The policy experts group is expected to submit its findings in early June at a conference in Brussels that will discuss the recommendations. The work of the conference will feed into the September NATO Summit, which will address The Future of NATO -- making sure the Atlantic Alliance has the equipment and skills it needs to deal with challenges like terrorism, unstable states, piracy, missile and cyber attacks. It will also reaffirm the importance of the transatlantic bond.
Ambassador Daalder became president of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs in July 2013. Prior to joining the Council, he served as the US Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for more than four years. For his service, he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service by Secretary Chuck Hagel. Ambassador Daalder also served on the National Security Council staff as director for European Affairs from 1995-97. Follow him on Twitter @IvoHDaalder.

Navy marks friend, foe identification system milestone

NAS Patuxent River - Skies are becoming a little friendlier for our military members thanks to a little grey box.
This month, the 10,000th  Mark XIIA Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system, or Mode 5 capable Common Digital Transponder, rolled off the production line in preparation for installation on nearly every surface, subsurface and airborne, manned and unmanned, platform of the Navy, Army, Coast Guard and Military Sealift Command.
Mode 5, a product of the Naval Air Traffic Management Systems Program Office (PMA-213), is a cooperative identification system that uses installed interrogators and transponders to send, receive and process friendly identification of targets.
“Mode 5 provides the warfighter with positive, secure and reliable line-of-sight identification of friendly air and surface platforms,” said Capt. Darrell Lack, PMA-213 program manager. “It improves situational awareness, reduces fratricide, reduces enemy disruption of IFF functions and ensures the safe return of friendly aircraft.”
The Mode 5 system full-rate production decision was reached in 2012, it is a modification to the existing Mode 4 system in use by the United States and its allies for more than 45 years.
Since 2006, production maturity was demonstrated through low-rate initial production deliveries and in 2012 the system was determined to be “Effective and Suitable” during Integrated Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E).
Tests were conducted on multiple ship and airborne platforms that included: Guided Missile Destroyers (DDG), Cruisers (CG), USAF F-15C/E’s, E-3 AWACS, F/A-18C, MH-60R/S, AH-1Z, UH-1Y, P-3C and Army UH-60L and AH-64D helicopters.
“Mode 5 IOT&E was a truly integrated test effort,” said Tracy Wathen, assistant Program Executive Officer for Tactical Aircraft (PEO(T))  for test and evaluation. “The integrated test team showed great planning and facilitated data sharing with Commander Operational Test Forces (COTF) to supplement their test points.”
While Mode 5 is a military asset, it is compatible with civilian IFF systems to ensure interoperability of military and civilian aircraft. This capability will be a part of the Combat Identification (CID) Family-of-Systems strategy employed by U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)/Allied forces.
Once fielded, the Mode 5 capability will be a key enabler for both surface and airborne advanced warfare strategies.
“The Mode 5 capability brings an order of magnitude increase in confidence of secure identification and level of situational awareness to the warfighter,” Lack said. “High confidence in identifying contacts and bringing home our men and women home safely makes the system worth more than its weight in gold.”

USS Miami to Decommission Friday

KITTERY, Maine (March 15, 2012) The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Miami (SSN 755) enters dry dock to begin an engineered overhaul at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. On May 23 of that same year, Miami was the victim of a deliberately set fire with damage so severe, repairs would have been too costly to return to service. (U.S. Navy photo by Jim Cleveland/Released)

Portsmouth NSY March 25, 2014 - The Navy will formally decommission Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Miami (SSN 755), March 28, during a 10 a.m. ceremony at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine.
The time-honored ceremony will be held in the shipyard's main auditorium and attended by current crew members, their families and other invited guests. The event will mark the end of Miami's nearly 24 years of active service in the fleet.
The ship's first commanding officer, retired Capt. Thomas Mader, will be the keynote speaker. Rear Adm. Ken Perry, commander of Submarine Group 2, will be the guest speaker. Cmdr. Rolf Spelker, who assumed command of Miami on Nov. 15, is also scheduled to speak.
Miami is currently undergoing an inactivation process the Navy announced last fall. Her crew of 111 officers and enlisted personnel will all be reassigned to other units by December.
Miami was commissioned June 30, 1990 as the Navy's 44th Los Angeles-class submarine.
The 11 commanding officers and hundreds of Sailors who have manned the ship over the course of two decades carry forward her legacy of exceptional service. 

Triton UAS Achieves Test Mileston

A MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system makes its approach for landing March 13 at Palmdale, Calif., marking the conclusion of initial flight testing. (Photo by Alan Radecki)
San Diego March 24, 2014 – Northrop Grumman Corporation and the U.S. Navy have successfully completed the first major milestone of the Triton unmanned aircraft system (UAS) flight test program, clearing the aircraft to fly at various altitudes, speeds and weights.
During the test program, which is known as initial envelope expansion, the Northrop Grumman/Navy test team validated more than 568 test points. The flights took place at the company's manufacturing facility in Palmdale, Calif.
"Following Triton's first flight in May, we've seen a steady increase in the number of test flights and test points being accomplished," said Capt. James Hoke, Triton program manager with Naval Air Systems Command. "We're now working to fly the second test aircraft and then prepare to ferry both aircraft to Naval Air Station Patuxent River."
The test team conducted 13 flights during this effort, including several long-endurance flights totaling 81 hours at altitudes up to 59,950 feet, Hoke added.
Once both Triton test aircraft reach Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., the test team will install and flight test the aircrafts' sensor suite to validate the capabilities of each payload.
"As part of this effort, thousands of hours of simulated flight tests have been conducted in our laboratory," said Mike Mackey, Northrop Grumman's Triton program director. "This is a valuable activity because we can review test points in simulated environments that leaves us with less needing to be cleared during actual flight tests. Not only does this save time, it also costs less money by flying only to ensure test points are cleared."
Triton carries a variety of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensor payloads that allow military commanders to gather high-resolution imagery, use radar to detect targets, and provide airborne communications and information-sharing capabilities to military units across long distances.
The Navy plans to build 68 Triton UAS and they will be used with the manned P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to conduct persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions across vast ocean and coastal regions.

Navy Prepares Black Box Locator for Flight 370 Search

Malaysian Airlines
March 24, 2014 - U.S. Pacific Command has ordered U.S. Pacific Fleet to move a black box locator into the region where searchers are continuing efforts to locate Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared March 8 shortly after leaving Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, bound for Beijing.
Officials said the order is a precautionary measure in case a debris field is located.
If a debris field is confirmed, officials added, the Navy's Towed Pinger Locator 25 will add a significant advantage in locating the missing aircraft's black box.
"In the event a debris field is located, we're moving some specialized locator equipment into the area," said Navy Cmdr. Chris Budde, U.S. 7th Fleet operations officer. "The Towed Pinger Locator has some highly sensitive listening capability so that if the wreck site is located, we can hear the black box pinger down to a depth of about 20,000 feet. Basically, this super-sensitive hydrophone gets towed behind a commercial vessel very slowly and listens for black box pings.
"This movement is simply a prudent effort to pre-position equipment and trained personnel closer to the search area," he continued, "so that if debris is found, we will be able to respond as quickly as possible, since the battery life of the black box's pinger is limited."
If found, the acoustic signal of the pinger is transmitted up the cable and is presented audibly, and can be output to either an oscilloscope or a signal processing computer, 7th Fleet officials explained. The operator monitors the greatest signal strength and records the navigation coordinates. This procedure is repeated on multiple track lines until the final position is triangulated.

Successful C-Guard Trials on Danish Frigate Niels Juel

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Copenhagen March 24, 2014 - Terma and The Danish Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organization (DALO) recently conducted a successful Sea Acceptance Test (SAT) of Terma’s C-Guard Decoy Launching System onboard HDMS “NIELS JUEL”.

The C-Guard System is a decoy launching system for naval platforms made to defeat stream attack with multiple missiles and torpedoes from multiple directions.
The SAT was conducted in 6 hours and comprised a full functional and operational system test including a full integration test with Terma C-Flex Combat Management System.
C-Guard is now operational on the two Danish frigates HDMS “PETER WILLEMOES” and HDMS “NIELS JUEL” of the Iver Huitfeldt class. A similar test is planned later this year for HDMS “IVER “HUITFELDT”. Part of the test was a live firing exercise with Mk214 Seagnat 130mm chaff seduction round as well as Mk 216 advanced chaff distraction round decoy ammunition. Each vessel is equipped with 8 x 6-tubes Mk137 Decoy Launchers.
The system will effectively counter advanced threats like small range gate Radio Frequency (RF) missiles, imaging InfraRed (IR) seekers missiles, and advanced next generation torpedoes. These threats require fast response and utilization of advanced tactics supporting the latest in decoy technologies available.
C-Guard was originally developed to protect naval platforms against airborne threats but as a result of a retrofit program the system as of today also offers an effective protection against torpedoes. With more than 150 systems deployed and operational at +15 navies around the world C-Guard has proven to be a cost-effective solution with a high degree of operational time.  

Mexican Navy Places Initial Order for Beechcraft T-6C+ Trainers

Wichita March 25, 2014 - Beechcraft Corporation, part of the Textron Aviation segment of Textron Inc., announced today it has received an initial order from the Mexican Navy Secretaría de Marina (SEMAR) for two T-6C+ military trainers. This purchase represents the first step in modernizing the Mexican Navy’s fixed-wing aviation fleet and follows a recent expansion of the Mexican Air Force training fleet to include 12 T-6C+ aircraft. The Navy trainers are scheduled for delivery in the summer of 2014.
In addition to the aircraft, Beechcraft’s Global Mission Support organization is working on a second contract with SEMAR that is expected to include two years of parts support, training for pilots and mechanics, and the placement of Field Service Representatives who will provide technical expertise and training to maintenance personnel.
“We are pleased to expand the reach of the T-6C+ to a second military fleet customer in Mexico with this initial order from the Mexican Navy,” said Russ Bartlett, senior vice president, Defense. “SEMAR not only recognizes the value of a proven, reliable airframe with the T-6C+ in standing up its new training capability, but this selection also acknowledges the significant benefits our Global Mission Support team offers in providing on-the-ground service, support and training for the fielded aircraft.”
The T-6C+ features a hard-point wing, Heads-Up Display, Up-Front Control Panel, an integrated glass cockpit and an advanced Esterline CMC Cockpit 4000 avionics suite that greatly expands advanced training opportunities. The systems are integrated with a Hands-On Throttle and Stick (HOTAS), providing the student pilot and instructor with a simpler interface to the digital cockpit. The CMC Cockpit 4000 avionics suite is the first in its class to incorporate a fully integrated and FAA-certified dual FMS/GPS navigation suite that meets the required navigation performance standards for current worldwide airspace equipment. The open architecture design of the Cockpit 4000 provides the flexibility to expand capabilities and continuously meet current and future training needs.
In addition to accommodating instruction in instrument flight procedures and basic aerial maneuvers, the T-6 delivers world-class training capability that is appropriate for teaching the most basic introductory flight training tasks through the more challenging and complex advanced training missions that could previously be accomplished only in far more expensive jet aircraft. The T-6 has been used to train pilots, navigators, and weapons systems operators from more than 20 countries around the world. To date, Beechcraft has delivered more than 825 T-6 trainers, which have amassed more than 2.2 million flight hours.

AIC Awarded Contract by the Naval Air Systems Command

McLean VA March 24, 2014 - The Avionics Department (AIR-4.5) at the Naval Air Systems Command, Naval Air Station Patuxent River awarded Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) a prime contract to provide technical and scientific research, development, integration, analysis, assessment, and test and evaluation for its Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) sensor systems. The multiple-award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract has a five-year period of performance, and a total contract ceiling value of approximately $50 million available to all awardees. Work will be performed primarily in Patuxent River.
The next generation of SAIC.
AIR-4.5 develops advanced sensors and systems that support a variety of aviation missions. Most of the sensors will be air deployed via manned or unmanned aircraft, but ground, surface and undersea deployable sensors may also be included when mission driven.
Under the contract, SAIC will provide planning, coordination, technology development, systems definition, systems acquisition, systems integration, modification, and product support for manned and unmanned platform avionics and sensors in support of the Acoustic Systems Division and the Electro-Optics and Special Mission Systems Division. Additionally, SAIC will provide the development and modification of ASW sensor systems and the equipment used to develop, integrate, test and evaluate avionics systems. 
"This award expands upon our relationship with the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River. The scope of this contract encompasses many areas of expertise within SAIC," said Tom Watson, SAIC senior vice president and general manager of the Navy and Marine Corps Customer Group. "We look forward to providing these additional capabilities to our customer."

Friday, March 21, 2014

CAE awarded contract to develop six additional P-8A operational flight trainers for Boeing and the U.S. Navy

Tampa March 20, 2014 - CAE today announced that Boeing has ordered simulator hardware for six additional P-8A Poseidon operational flight trainers (OFTs) and five additional P-8A Aircraft equipment Desktop Environment (AeDTEs) trainers for the United States Navy. 
CAE will manufacture the P-8A simulators and a suite of P-8A (AeDTE) trainers, which will be used as role playing stations during training of P-8A aircrews.
The order for two of the P-8A OFTs was booked during CAE's fiscal 2014 third quarter. The order for four of the P-8A OFTs was booked during CAE's fiscal 2014 fourth quarter and included in the total value of contracts CAE announced today.
"The P-8A program is a perfect example of the Navy's increasing use of synthetic training and we are pleased to be working with Boeing to deliver some of the high-fidelity training systems required for training P-8A aircrews," said Ray Duquette, President and General Manager, CAE USA. 
CAE has previously been awarded contracts from Boeing to design and manufacture hardware for ten P-8A OFTs and 17 P-8A AeDTE trainers. This order brings the total number of P-8A OFTs that CAE will develop for the U.S. Navy to 16. CAE designs and manufactures the P-8A OFT hardware to Level D standards, the highest qualification for flight simulators. CAE also provides the 737-800 OFT software baseline and simulation-based software lab environment that is used for P-8A OFT development and integration tasks. CAE then delivers the simulators to Boeing, who installs and integrates software specific to the P-8A aircraft and completes delivery to the U.S. Navy. 
The P-8A Poseidon is a new long-range anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft currently being developed for the U.S. Navy by prime contractor Boeing. The P-8A is a derivative of Boeing's next-generation 737-800 aircraft and will be used for maritime and littoral operations. The U.S. Navy plans to acquire 117 P-8A aircraft to replace its current fleet of P-3C Orion aircraft. The Indian Navy, the first international customer for the P-8, has ordered eight P-8I aircraft.

Triton Unmanned Air System completes initial flight test phase

The Navy's unmanned MQ-4C Triton approaches Northrop Grumman's flight test facility in Palmdale, Calif., March 13. This flight completed Triton's initial flight test phase bringing the unmanned air system one step closer to introduction to the fleet in 2017. (Photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman)
The Navy's unmanned MQ-4C Triton approaches Northrop Grumman's flight test facility in Palmdale, Calif., March 13. This flight completed Triton's initial flight test phase bringing the unmanned air system one step closer to introduction to the fleet in 2017. (Photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman)
The US Navy's MQ-4C Triton completed its initial flight test phase at Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif., facility March 13, bringing the unmanned air system one step closer to introduction to the fleet in 2017.
The flight testing, called Initial Envelope Expansion, is designed to measure the air vehicle’s performance under a variety of speeds and altitudes.  The combined Navy and Northrop Grumman team completed this phase of testing in 13 of the 14 scheduled flights for the test.
"The system performed exceptionally well during flight test, which is a reflection of years of hard work and dedication by our team," said Capt. Jim Hoke, Triton UAS program manager. "Our job is far from over with fleet delivery still a few years away, but each of our team members should reflect on how far we have come and be proud of this accomplishment."
During IEE, the MQ-4C flew a total of 81 hours, reached a maximum altitude of 59,950 feet and executed 568 data points.
The Triton’s software and sensor systems are being tested separately on a surrogate aircraft. This includes a multi-function array sensor (MFAS), configured to function in a maritime environment.
After testing completion at Palmdale, the team has a planned maintenance period to prepare for the system's transition to Naval Air Station Patuxent River. The MQ-4C will take its first cross-country flight in the June/July timeframe, followed by the second test aircraft shortly after. Sensors will be integrated onto both aircraft before resuming flight test this summer.
As an adjunct to the manned P-8A aircraft, the Triton will cover more than 2.7 million square miles in a single mission. Its ability to perform 24/7 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance with a range of 2,000 nautical miles will allow P-8A, P-3C and EP-3E aircraft to focus on their core missions, adding the capability the Navy's Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Navy to Christen Littoral Combat Ship Jackson

An artist rendering of the littoral combat ship USS Jackson (LCS 6).

The Navy will christen its newest littoral combat ship, the future USS Jackson (LCS 6) in a ceremony at the Austal USA Shipyard in Mobile, Ala., March 22, at 10 a.m. CDT.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus will deliver the principal address at the ceremony, and Dr. Katherine Holmes Cochran will serve as the ship's sponsor. Cochran is the daughter of U.S. Senator Thad Cochran. 
"Every ship we christen is important, but LCS 6, the future USS Jackson, has a special place in my heart," said Mabus.  "As a native Mississippian, it is especially meaningful to me that, at this christening, we are able to celebrate the great state of Mississippi, the great city of Jackson, and, above all, the hard work and dedication of countless shipbuilders and others who have worked so diligently to construct this great warship."
LCS 6 is the first U.S. Navy vessel christened in tribute to the capital city of Mississippi, and honors the state's deep ties to the U.S. Navy and the shipbuilding industry.
Jackson is an innovative surface combatant designed to operate in littoral seas and shallow water to counter mines, submarines and fast surface craft threats in coastal regions. 
The ship is capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots and can operate in water less than 20 feet deep.  Jackson will address a critical capabilities gap in the littorals and conduct the Navy's mission to enhance maritime security by deterring hostility, maintaining a forward presence, projecting power and maintaining sea control.
The ship launched Dec. 14, 2013, following construction at the Austal USA shipyard. These ships are the first vessels procured under the block buy contract awarded in 2010 and represent the true beginning of "serial production" for the class. 
Jackson will continue to undergo outfitting and testing at Austal USA. The ship is expected to deliver to the Navy in early 2015 following acceptance trials. 

DRS Technologies to Supply Hybrid Electrive Drive to New South Korean Frigates

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Arlington March 19, 2014 – DRS Technologies Inc., a Finmeccanica Company, announced today a contract award to design and produce a Hybrid Electric Drive (HED) propulsion system for the Republic of Korea Navy’s future Incheon-class multipurpose frigate known as FFX Batch II (FFX-II). 
The contract, valued at more than $9 million USD, was awarded to DRS’s Maritime and Combat Support Systems group by Korea’s Hyosung Corporation and will include the design, testing, and production of hybrid electric drive (HED) permanent magnet motors and associated motor drives for the first ship-set to be delivered in 2015. 
The Incheon-class frigates are coastal defense frigates of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy. The frigates are expected to replace the aging fleet of Pohang-class corvettes and Ulsan-class frigates, and to take over multi-role operations such as coast patrol, anti-submarine warfare and transport support. The first FFX-II ship is being built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and will include a DRS HED system that will allow for more efficient and quiet operation of the propulsion plant. Up to eight FFX-II ships are planned over the next several years. 
DRS’s HED permanent magnet motors, designed and built by DRS Power Technology, Inc. in Fitchburg, MA, have significant advantages in size, weight and power over conventional electric motors and produce more torque from the same amount of supplied current. Their smaller footprint allows more flexibility in engine room design and increased cargo space, and their simpler construction results in proven reliability and durability. The complementary naval marine advanced HED motor drives are designed and built by DRS Power and Control Technologies in Milwaukee, WI. With high efficiency performance at full and part load, these systems can provide significant fuel and maintenance costs savings, along with operational flexibility, when incorporated into a ship propulsion system.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for DRS to become a primary player in marine hybrid drive systems and to continue to expand our products into international markets,” said Roger Sexauer, President of the DRS Maritime and Combat Support Systems Group. “The Korean shipbuilding industry is one of the strongest in the world and we are thrilled to now be a part of it.”