Saturday, December 27, 2014

MIL Corporation Wins Navair SATCOM Contract

Lexington Park MD December 22, 2014 -  MIL Corporation is pleased to announce the award of the Satellite Communications (SATCOM) contract with the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD), Special Communications Requirements (SCR) Division, 4.11.4. This is a five-year contract valued at $57.3M with a place of performance in St. Inigoes, Md.
Under this contract, MIL’s Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4) Integrated Systems (C4IS) Sector will provide engineering and technical services to the SCR Division in support of the rapid design, development, integration, testing, evaluation, installation, fielding, certification, maintenance, logistics, and operational support of SATCOM, RF, Video, and Networking Technologies.
MIL’s winning team includes five subcontractors: AV3; By Light; EMW; iDirect Government Technologies; and Zekiah Technologies.
"This opportunity builds upon our enduring and productive relationship supporting the SCR Division," stated Program Manager Tom Clark. "By selecting the MIL team, SCR will increase their ability to deliver leading edge SATCOM systems and engineering services to their warfighting sponsors."
The MIL C4IS Sector provides project management, engineering, production, integration, fielding, and technical services for a wide range of communications-electronic systems, subsystems, and equipment. Focused on providing outstanding customer service and delivering high quality products and deliverables, the C4IS Sector embraces our customer’s mission as our own.

MQ-8C Fire Scout completes first ship-based test period

The MQ-8C Fire Scout conducts test operations aboard USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) Dec. 17 off the coast of Virginia. During the five-day underway period, the MQ-8C completed its first ship-based flights to prepare for operational test in 2015.  (Photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman)

NAS Patuxent River December 23, 2014 - The Navy’s new, larger MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter returned  from a five-day test period aboard  USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) Dec. 19 after successfully completing its first ship-based flights off the Virginia coast.
The Fire Scout test team and Sailors aboard Dunham conducted dynamic interface testing with the MQ-8C  to verify the system’s launch and recovery procedures before the system undergoes operational test next year.
“By better understanding ship operations, we will have a smoother transition into operational test,” said Capt. Jeff Dodge, Fire Scout program manager. “This exercise gives us insight into operating from an air-capable ship and will help us mitigate any risk associated with the system.”
During this underway period, the Fire Scout completed three flights and 32 takeoffs and recoveries. The data collected during these test events helped the team  assess the system's performance at different combinations of wind and ship motion and get a better understanding of  how the aircraft behaved around the ship, he said.
"This system has the potential to enhance the fleet's ability to conduct airborne-over the horizon searches and targeting that would expand a myriad of missions, while maintaining a conceivably small support element,” said Cmdr. Darren Dugan, commanding officer for DDG 109.  “I'm excited to be part of this testing and evaluation period for the MQ-8C."
The MQ-8C Fire Scout is an upgrade to the existing “B” variant, which first deployed in 2009.  With its larger airframe, the “C” can fly nearly twice as long and carry three times more payload than its predecessor.
The MQ-8C team is leveraging lessons learned from MQ-8B operations.  The “B” variant has routinely flown from frigates and most recently from the littoral combat ship (LCS).
Since most of the MQ-8Cs components are identical to the “B” variant, the team has high confidence that it will operate effectively from the ship, Dodge said. The system performed  “very well” during the yearlong ground-based tests in Point Mugu, California so he anticipates seamless integration with Dunham this week.
Teamed with the manned MH-60 helicopter, the MQ-8 Fire Scout extends the range and endurance of ship-based operations.  It provides unique situational awareness and precision target support for the Navy.
In addition to 30 MQ-8Bs that have been delivered by Northrop Grumman, the Navy plans to procure a total of 40 MQ-8Cs to support LCS and other air-capable ships.

Friday, December 26, 2014

New ROK Navy Base (Google Translation)

Jeju naval base in Ulleungdo progress status Jeju Bosporus

Jeju military bases that the composition is made by 2015. Looking at the gongjeongryul April 2014 neomgyeotgo 50% to 60% would like to do neomgyeotdago September would close at the end of December to 70%. I captured of the information reported in the Jeju MBC and then map gongjeongryul of 60% seems to be passed. The captured parts of the screen shown in Jeju MBC is out-of-region accommodation. To out-of-region accommodation for officers and NCOs and single exterior wall construction shows that nearly ended. 
In the following map aerial photos that are estimated to have climbed around June 2014. No matter the place for the out-of-region shows a hostel appearance. For the breakwater east, west, south breakwater that was caught in the form east breakwater concrete phase difference seems to have maxed out the remaining part seems to have. South breakwater is shown to proceed in filling the caisson some looks that filled it. Standing up to the end of the breakwater is seen as concrete fill. When compared to the magnitude of the breakwater pier is gone now, giving you the feeling of beginning. Submarine docks to look out the large selection Park Pier progress is not progress is underway. MAIN Navy submarine support facilities, maintenance facilities, military police, for duty, dormitory, welfare, religious facilities did not proceed the progress. The map is shown to have been a lot of progress now 6 am around the map. (Click image to enlarge)
Looking at the 2015 defense budget Jeju 5,600 million won and 298 billion Bosporus been formulated seems to proceed with the rest.
The Jeju naval base and naval base construction is taking place separately from Ulleungdo original completion time in 2015. Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs is 217.5 billion won, and the Department of Defense 1000 versus 345 billion each method has a naval base is constructed of a 300m long private pier. Sadonghang primary construction is finished here I drive to build 2 has a construction site next map is not visible. Originally completed in 2015 inde year is likely to be so delayed completion 2016. 

As from 2014 into the construction boyeojyeo construction seems to be not much progress. Here is shown to be anchored in place by a couple pretending to Incheon next class frigates. Sometimes King Sejong the Great class is also anchored mooring as is possible and seems to belong to a catch of the Coast Guard. Private 5,000-ton passenger ship is moored 3 that the scale is possible. Poor design of the Phase II part I'm not sure that is reflected in hayeotdago may require design modifications in the Navy. 

Once completed, the Navy is the naval base in Ulleungdo is shown to be able to gain access to the islets is fast approaching. Most of the border is always another show that is possible and can be done quickly spread. 
Ulleung airport as runway length 1100m, 80m wide in scale construction and plans to build the Pohang and elated about half of the runway can be operated 50 passenger aircraft, and the size of the Ulleung airport invested 493.2 billion won by 2020. In the case of the Ulleung airport is completed is shown to be possible even if only for civilian aircraft take-offs and landings. A fighter must be at least 1,100m to 1,500m to the landing. If malyijyo yigetjiman 2,000m stable overall. However, the length of the aircraft, depending on the political situation in one days is shown to be able to vary. The one hand, there will be may not be filed due to the necessity of a military airport tanker introduced. Ulleung Island, the Navy 118 The Early Warning Squadron stationed helicopter equipped with a ramp and two helicopters, landing is possible.
Compared to the fierce opposition of the Jeju naval base and military bases Ulleungdo Ulleungdo airport construction can be seen that too quiet. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Elbit Systems of America Awarded a $106 Million Contract for the Upgrade of C-1A Aircraft for the Brazilian Navy


Fort Worth December 23, 2014 - Elbit Systems of America, LLC, a subsidiary of Elbit Systems Ltd., announced today that it received a directed subcontract from the Brazilian Navy to upgrade four Grumman C-1A aircraft. The prime contract is held by Marsh Aviation Company of Mesa, Arizona. The subcontract, valued at $106 million, will be performed by Elbit Systems of America over a five-year period.
The upgrade work will be performed in San Antonio, Texas, at the facilities of M7 Aerospace, an Elbit Systems of America subsidiary, under the supervision of Brazilian Navy officers who are currently deployed to San Antonio. When upgraded, the Grumman C-1A aircraft will be designated as KC-2 COD/AAR (Carrier Onboard Delivery/Air-to-Air Refueling) aircraft, for the ultimate use on the Brazilian Navy's aircraft carrier, the NAe São Paulo. AEL Sistemas S.A., Elbit Systems' Brazilian subsidiary, located in Porto Alegre, Brazil, will provide in-country contractor logistic support services for the program as a subcontractor to Elbit Systems of America.
"We are pleased to upgrade the Brazilian Navy's aircraft," commented Elbit Systems of America's President and Chief Executive Officer Raanan Horowitz. "We built a solid reputation of meeting commitments to our customers, and with the successful execution of this overhaul and modernization program we will be able to assist in enhancing the capabilities of the Brazilian Navy."
The Grumman C-1A upgrade will include aircraft return to service, engine replacement, installation and integration of new avionics (Glass Cockpit), new communication and ECS systems and air-to-air refueling capabilities.
"As an OEM and type certificate owner of twin-engine, fixed wing aircraft, we have the expertise to maintain transport and special mission aircraft," continued Horowitz. "Our process-driven solutions, including aircraft maintenance, modification and engineering support, are tailored to meet the unique requirements of the end-user. Through similar contractor logistic support efforts, our experienced workforce has sustained military platforms for over 20 years in the United States and globally with field and depot maintenance services, helping to keep the pilots in the air to complete their missions."

Bollinger Shipyards announces new leadership

Lockport LA December 23, 2014 - Bollinger Shipyards announced that Ben Bordelon will assume the duties of Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the company.  
Ben Bordelon, along with the Chouest family from Galliano, LA, has acquired all assets and stock of Bollinger Shipyards, Inc. 
Bordelon has served in many capacities during his career at Bollinger, and has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2002.  He has served as Executive Vice President of Repair and most recently as Chief Operating Officer of Bollinger Shipyards.
Donald G. Bollinger founded the shipyard in 1946 as Bollinger Machine Shop & Shipyard, Inc. and he served as Chairman until 1985.  Mr. Donald’s son, Boysie Bollinger, served as Chairman from 1985.  Boysie Bollinger’s son, Chris Bollinger, also served on the Board of Directors during his employment at Bollinger.  As the founder’s grandson, Ben Bordelon transitions Bollinger Shipyards to its third generation, as the new leadership of Bollinger Shipyards.

Monday, December 22, 2014

USS Vicksburg Relieves USS Leyte Gulf as SNMG2 Flagship


Naples December 20, 2014 - USS Vicksburg (CG 69) relieved USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55) as the Standing NATO Maritime Group (SNMG) 2 flagship in the Port of Naples.
Vicksburg, homeported in Mayport, Fla., departed North America Dec. 4 on a regularly scheduled deployment to serve as the SNMG2 flagship, and support NATO tasking. The ship recently participated in Joint Warrior 14-2, a United Kingdom (UK)-led multinational exercise, and earned her Independent Deployer Certification during the USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG)/24th Marine Expeditionary Unit's (MEU) Composite Training Unit Exercise.
“It is a unique opportunity to work for NATO and we are very honoured and excited to be serving as the flagship of this maritime group,” said Capt. Lyle Hall. “My sailors have worked tirelessly to ensure that they and the ship are at the highest possible standards of training and readiness.”
Vicksburg will take over Leyte Gulf’s responsibilities as SNMG2 flagship, performing as a command center for the group as it supports NATO’s Maritime Command. SNMG2 is available to NATO to participate in NATO and allied-led exercises designed to enhance the Alliance’s maritime capabilities, readiness, and interoperability, and support real world operations, like Operation Active Endeavour (OAE), NATO’s maritime mission to combat terrorist activities in the Mediterranean region.
Vicksburg’s assignment as SNMG2 flagship is part of the U.S.’s year-long commitment to lead one of NATO’s naval response force groups.
Leyte Gulf, commanded by Capt. Dean Rawls, formally detached from SNMG2 after more than six months as the group’s flagship. During this time, she completed three transatlantic crossings, five multinational exercises with allied countries, and multiple OAE surges.
“Leyte Gulf has every reason to be proud of the stellar performance exhibited during this deployment,” said Commander, SNMG2, Rear Adm. Brad Williamson. “The captain and his crew accomplished a great deal as SNMG2’s flagship. I wish them the best as they sail home from here and will remain grateful for their service to the Alliance.”
Upon completion of the handover, Leyte Gulf will return to her homeport of Norfolk, Va. The crew will enjoy some well-deserved time off before the ship undergoes scheduled maintenance and repairs.

Acquisition Update: Second C-27J Joins Coast Guard Fleet

CG-2707 arrives at Elizabeth City, North Carolina, Dec. 18. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

December 19, 2014 - The Coast Guard C-27J Asset Project Office in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, received the second C-27J into the fleet Dec. 18, 2014.

The aircraft is the second C-27J to complete regeneration at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group’s facility in Tucson, Arizona. Regeneration is the process by which planes held in long-term preservation are reactivated and cleared for flight. Based on its inspections and examination of maintenance documentation, the regeneration team completed repairs required for the plane to be certified as airworthy.

APO personnel have been flying the first C-27J since delivery last month, conducting initial training flights, proficiency flights and pilot standardization flights. The aircraft recently flew to Air Station Sacramento, California, on a validation flight, confirming the engine fuel burn rates and advertised range that the aircraft can reach California from North Carolina in a single flight.

With the delivery of the second aircraft at the APO, additional pilot and aircrew training will commence.

The Coast Guard will regenerate 13 C-27Js under this project, with expected delivery of the third aircraft this spring.

U.S. Navy Flies Supersonic With Gevo ATJ

Englewood CO December 22, 2014 - The U.S. Navy, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), and Gevo, Inc. (GEVO), the world's only commercial producer of renewable isobutanol, announced today the first successful "alcohol-to-jet" (ATJ) supersonic flight at the Naval Air Warfare Center in Patuxent River, Md. This is the first aviation test program to comprehensively test and evaluate the performance of a 50/50 ATJ blend in supersonic (above Mach 1) afterburner operations - a critical test to successfully clear the F/A-18 for ATJ operations through its entire flight envelope.
The U.S. Navy is exploring alternative fuels that can serve as drop-in replacements to petroleum, as the availability of additional fuel sources can increase resiliency for operational commanders and help reduce U.S. dependence on fossil fuels. The Navy Fuels Team at Patuxent River is leading the Navy's test and qualification efforts of alternative fuel sources. The F/A-18 testing is a significant milestone leading to a military specification (MIL-SPEC). This MIL-SPEC would allow for commercial supply of ATJ fuel to the Navy and Marines Corps.
Gevo's ATJ is produced at its demo biorefinery in Silsbee, TX, using isobutanol produced at its Luverne, MN, fermentation facility. Gevo is currently operating its Luverne plant in Side-by-Side operational mode, whereby isobutanol is being produced in one of the facility's four fermenters, while the other three fermenters are dedicated to ethanol production. The isobutanol that Gevo is producing is meeting product specifications for direct drop-in applications, as well as for use as a feedstock for the Silsbee biorefinery to produce hydrocarbons such as ATJ.
"We're extremely proud to have contributed to the U.S. Navy's successful ATJ test flights," said Patrick Gruber, Gevo's Chief Executive Officer. "These flights represent an accumulation of over four years of hard work involving innovative testing with multiple players and years of research. Together, we have proven that ATJ fuel is a viable alternative for both military and commercial applications. This is a great accomplishment for Gevo and the biofuels industry; we've validated that the isobutanol that we are successfully producing at Luverne, is an affordable, clean-burning, U.S.-made, drop-in fuel, that can also be further processed into direct replacement hydrocarbon products, such as ATJ fuel."
The F/A-18 Hornet is a single-and two-seat, twin engine, multi-mission fighter/attack aircraft that can operate from either aircraft carriers or land bases. Its engine thrust from 36,000 pounds to 44,000 pounds utilizing two General Electric F414 turbo-fan engines.

Carestream Health is First Company to Receive U.S. Navy Certification to Implement Medical Image Management Systems

Carestream Vue PACS (Photo: Business Wire)
Carestream Vue PACS (Photo: Business Wire)

Rochester December 22, 2014 - Carestream is now the first company approved to provide the latest Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS) for use in U.S. Navy medical facilities as a result of meeting some of the most stringent product security requirements for the Navy’s DIACAP certification process.
Carestream has received an official ATO (Authorization to Operate) from The Department of Defense (DoD) Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process (DIACAP) that enables the Navy to implement Carestream’s Vue PACS at any Naval Medical Treatment Facility across the globe. DIACAP is a process by which information systems are tested and certified for compliance with DoD security requirements and accredited for operation.
PACS are used by hospitals, clinics and medical practices to store, manage and access patient medical images and information. As the only PACS now DIACAP approved to reside on a U.S. Navy network, Carestream’s Vue PACS can support multi-site reading of diagnostic exams and sharing of radiology information to help physicians determine the best treatment for each patient’s condition.
While security testing of new systems typically occurs in a lab environment, Carestream’s PACS—along with its cardiology PACS feature—was successfully tested in an extremely complex environment at one of the largest DoD hospitals that performs more than 300,000 radiology exams a year. Carestream’s native reporting application—a voice recognition and reporting feature that allows remote reading by radiologists, which expedites the delivery of radiology reports and helped eliminate transcription costs—was also included in the Navy’s field testing process.
With the diagnostic viewing capabilities of Carestream’s Vue PACS, users can consolidate the reading of all medical imaging exams onto a single platform, which can boost productivity while simplifying operations and support. Its scalable, Web-enabled platform integrates smoothly with complex environments and complies with XDS, HL7, DICOM and IHE standards.
Carestream Vue PACS offers radiology reading tools such as MPR, MIP, MinIP, volume rendering, tissue definition, vessel tracking and cardiac analysis. The PACS can automatically register 3D imaging data sets (such as MR and CT) to help highlight subtle changes in anatomy and improve clinical collaboration. Vue PACS also provides lesion management as a native clinical tool that can simplify the comparison process between different data sets and supports oncology follow-up with bookmarking and tracking of general anatomy over time.
As part of Carestream’s “Knowing Matters” customer strategy, Carestream’s Vue portfolio of healthcare IT solutions is designed to offer greater value and insight for clinicians, foster collaboration, control costs and streamline dataflow. The company's Vue solutions amplify the clinical, business and IT value of radiology services.
Carestream’s X-ray products and healthcare IT systems are used by the U.S. Government’s Veterans Integrated Service Networks, the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force, as well as by many foreign governments around the world.
The company regularly receives high marks for the performance of its Vue PACS for use in radiology, cardiology and mammography, and some of the most well-known hospitals and national healthcare systems have implemented Carestream’s PACS.

Navy Awards Contract for Ranger Dismantling

Washington December 22, 2014 - The Navy awarded a contract, Dec. 22, for the towing and dismantling of the decommissioned aircraft carrier Ranger (CV 61) to International Shipbreaking Ltd. 
Under the contract, the company will be paid $0.01, a price that reflects the net price proposed by International Shipbreaking, Inc., which considered the estimated proceeds from the sale of the scrap metal to be generated from dismantling. 
This is not a sales contract, it is a procurement contract; $0.01 is the lowest price the Navy could possibly have paid the contractor for towing and dismantling the ship.
The ship will be towed from the Navy's inactive ships maintenance facility in Bremerton, Washington, to International Shipbreaking, Ltd.'s ship dismantling facility in Brownsville, Texas, for complete dismantling and recycling. 
The ship is expected to depart Bremerton via tow in January or February, and arrive in Brownsville after four to five months. The ship is too large for passage through the Panama Canal and must be towed around South America.
Ranger was the third Forrestal-class aircraft carrier to be built. The ship was laid down Aug. 2, 1954, by Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Newport News, Virginia, and commissioned at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Aug. 10, 1957. Ranger was the only ship of the Forrestal class to spend its entire career in the Pacific. The ship made a total of 22 Western Pacific deployments, was an active participant in the Vietnam War, and was the only West Coast-based carrier to deploy in support of Operation Desert Storm. 
Ranger was decommissioned July 10, 1993, after more than 35 years of service. It served as a retention asset for potential future reactivation until stricken from the Naval Vessel Register, March 8, 2004, and redesigned for donation. After eight years on donation hold, the USS Ranger Foundation was unable to raise the necessary funds to convert the ship into a museum or to overcome the physical obstacles of transporting her up the Columbia River to Fairview, Oregon. As a result, Ranger was removed from the list of ships available for dismantling and designated for dismantling. 
While there are many veterans with strong desires that the Navy not scrap the ship they served on, there were no states, municipalities or nonprofit organizations with a viable plan seeking to save the ship. The Navy cannot donate a vessel unless the application fully meets the Navy's minimum requirements for donation, and cannot retain inactive ships indefinitely.

U.S. Navy Awards General Dynamics $498 Million for Mobile Landing Platform Afloat Forward Staging Base

San Diego December 22, 2014 - The U.S. Navy has awarded General Dynamics NASSCO a $498 million contract for the detail design and construction of the Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB). NASSCO is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics.
Under this option, NASSCO will provide the detail design and construction efforts to build the second AFSB of the Mobile Landing Platform-class ships. The work will be performed at NASSCO's San Diego shipyard and is scheduled to be completed by March 2018.
The MLP AFSB is a flexible platform and a key element in the Navy's large-scale airborne mine countermeasures mission. With accommodations for 250 personnel and a large helicopter flight deck, the MLP AFSB will provide a highly capable, innovative and affordable asset to the Navy and Marine Corps.

Accenture Awarded $19.8 Million Contract to Enhance Navy Enterprise Resource Planning System

The U.S. Department of the Navy has awarded Accenture Federal Services five task orders under an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract to provide information technology support and training for the Navy Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Each task order has a one-year period of performance. The total value of all five task orders is $19.8 million.
“Navy ERP is an important system in the Navy’s business systems portfolio. It meets critical fleet supply needs, provides financial visibility and improved auditability, and delivers more accurate information for better decision-making. We are proud to be selected to help the Navy sustain the system”
Accenture is helping support, maintain and improve the Navy ERP system, built on the SAP® ERP application, for the Naval Supply Systems Command’s (NAVSUP) Business Systems Center (BSC) in Mechanicsburg, Pa. NAVSUP delivers information technology solutions with specific emphasis on logistics and financial-related products and services for the Navy, U.S. Department of Defense, Military Services and other federal agencies.
Work under the task orders includes supporting the financial and supply chain systems, providing technical system development and enhancements, and delivering functional training support to system users.
Navy ERP is an integrated financial and business management system that manages more than 50 percent of the Navy’s total obligation authority, with more than 68,000 users worldwide. The system is integral to achieving the Navy’s goal of producing auditable financial statements in compliance with U.S. Department of Defense and Navy audit guidance.
“Navy ERP is an important system in the Navy’s business systems portfolio. It meets critical fleet supply needs, provides financial visibility and improved auditability, and delivers more accurate information for better decision-making. We are proud to be selected to help the Navy sustain the system,” said Vince Vlasho, who leads Accenture’s work with the Navy.
Accenture also supports the Navy with comprehensive audit readiness services and IT effectiveness evaluations for the Navy as well as program management and engineering services for the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific.
Accenture Federal Services is a U.S. company, with offices in Arlington, Va., and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Accenture LLP. Accenture’s federal business has served every cabinet-level department and 30 of the largest federal organizations with clients at defense, intelligence, public safety and civilian agencies.

In One Aspect of Vision, Computers Catch up to Primate Brain

Newest computer neural networks can identify visual objects as well as the primate brain. MIT.

By Anne Trafton 

December 18, 2014 - For decades, neuroscientists have been trying to design computer networks that can mimic visual skills such as recognizing objects, which the human brain does very accurately and quickly.
Until now, no computer model has been able to match the primate brain at visual object recognition during a brief glance. However, a new study from MIT neuroscientists has found that one of the latest generation of these so-called “deep neural networks” matches the primate brain.
Because these networks are based on neuroscientists’ current understanding of how the brain performs object recognition, the success of the latest networks suggest that neuroscientists have a fairly accurate grasp of how object recognition works, says James DiCarlo, a professor of neuroscience and head of MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the senior author of a paper describing the study in the Dec. 18 issue of the journal PLoS Computational Biology.
“The fact that the models predict the neural responses and the distances of objects in neural population space shows that these models encapsulate our current best understanding as to what is going on in this previously mysterious portion of the brain,” says DiCarlo, who is also a member of MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research.
This improved understanding of how the primate brain works could lead to better artificial intelligence and, someday, new ways to repair visual dysfunction, adds Charles Cadieu, a postdoc at the McGovern Institute and the paper’s lead author.
Other authors are graduate students Ha Hong and Diego Ardila, research scientist Daniel Yamins, former MIT graduate student Nicolas Pinto, former MIT undergraduate Ethan Solomon, and research affiliate Najib Majaj.
Inspired by the brain
Scientists began building neural networks in the 1970s in hopes of mimicking the brain’s ability to process visual information, recognize speech, and understand language.
For vision-based neural networks, scientists were inspired by the hierarchical representation of visual information in the brain. As visual input flows from the retina into primary visual cortex and then inferotemporal (IT) cortex, it is processed at each level and becomes more specific until objects can be identified. 
To mimic this, neural network designers create several layers of computation in their models. Each level performs a mathematical operation, such as a linear dot product. At each level, the representations of the visual object become more and more complex, and unneeded information, such as an object’s location or movement, is cast aside.
“Each individual element is typically a very simple mathematical expression,” Cadieu says. “But when you combine thousands and millions of these things together, you get very complicated transformations from the raw signals into representations that are very good for object recognition.”
For this study, the researchers first measured the brain’s object recognition ability. Led by Hong and Majaj, they implanted arrays of electrodes in the IT cortex as well as in area V4, a part of the visual system that feeds into the IT cortex. This allowed them to see the neural representation — the population of neurons that respond — for every object that the animals looked at.
The researchers could then compare this with representations created by the deep neural networks, which consist of a matrix of numbers produced by each computational element in the system. Each image produces a different array of numbers. The accuracy of the model is determined by whether it groups similar objects into similar clusters within the representation.
“Through each of these computational transformations, through each of these layers of networks, certain objects or images get closer together, while others get further apart,” Cadieu says.
The best network was one that was developed by researchers at New York University, which classified objects as well as the macaque brain.
More processing power
Two major factors account for the recent success of this type of neural network, Cadieu says. One is a significant leap in the availability of computational processing power. Researchers have been taking advantage of graphical processing units (GPUs), which are small chips designed for high performance in processing the huge amount of visual content needed for video games. “That is allowing people to push the envelope in terms of computation by buying these relatively inexpensive graphics cards,” Cadieu says.
The second factor is that researchers now have access to large datasets to feed the algorithms to “train” them. These datasets contain millions of images, and each one is annotated by humans with different levels of identification. For example, a photo of a dog would be labeled as animal, canine, domesticated dog, and the breed of dog.
At first, neural networks are not good at identifying these images, but as they see more and more images, and find out when they were wrong, they refine their calculations until they become much more accurate at identifying objects.
Cadieu says that researchers don’t know much about what exactly allows these networks to distinguish different objects.
“That’s a pro and a con,” he says. “It’s very good in that we don’t have to really know what the things are that distinguish those objects. But the big con is that it’s very hard to inspect those networks, to look inside and see what they really did. Now that people can see that these things are working well, they’ll work more to understand what’s happening inside of them.”
The high performance of the latest computer models “is exciting not just as an engineering feat, but it also gives us better computational tools for modeling how biological brains work, including the human brain,” says Nikolaus Kriegeskorte, a principal investigator in the United Kingdom’s Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, who was not part of the research team. “Along with two other recent studies, this work suggests that the deep learning models solve the complex task of visual recognition in ways somewhat similar to biological brains.”
DiCarlo’s lab now plans to try to generate models that can mimic other aspects of visual processing, including tracking motion and recognizing three-dimensional forms. They also hope to create models that include the feedback projections seen in the human visual system. Current networks only model the “feedforward” projections from the retina to the IT cortex, but there are 10 times as many connections that go from IT cortex back to the rest of the system.
This work was supported by the National Eye Institute, the National Science Foundation, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Babcock Awarded Contract for Carrier Engineering Support

December 16, 2014 - Babcock has been awarded a 12 month contract to assist in designing the engineering support solution for the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers.
Under the £1.17 million contract the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Babcock and BAE Systems will work together to develop the optimum, fit-for-purpose engineering support solution for the new aircraft carriers, as part of the wider ‘Support Development Phase’.
Babcock and BAE Systems will be involved in four support development phase work-streams – Class Management, Design Management, Maintenance Management, and Information Knowledge Management.  Under these work-streams Babcock and BAE Systems will design technical services and maintenance solutions to ensure the carriers are available for their operational requirements.
Mike Whalley, Babcock Managing Director Warships said:  “We have a unique and timely opportunity to deliver an innovative support solution that is focussed not only on the successful transition of the Queen Elizabeth Class into Service but will also underpin and de-risk her operational support programme worldwide.  This is further testament to the benefits of operating in an enterprise with BAE Systems, Royal Navy and the Ministry of Defence to deliver optimised engineering support.” 

Sparton Acquires Argotec Sonar Transducer Products

Schaumburg IL December 22, 2014  - Sparton Corporation announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Sparton DeLeon Springs, LLC completed the acquisition of certain assets of Argotec Inc. on December 8, 2014 in an all-cash transaction.
“As we enhance our current product offerings with these newly acquired products and components, we will explore new engineering development opportunities within the U.S. Navy, foreign naval operations, and prime defense contractors.”
Argotec, located in Longwood, FL, develops and manufactures sonar transducer products and components for the U.S. Navy, and provides aftermarket servicing. The products, primarily hydrophones and projectors, are used in test equipment, environmental sensor arrays, and various military and commercial sonar applications. These products will be consolidated into the Navigation & Exploration (NavEx) segment of Engineering Components and Products (ECP) located at Sparton’s DeLeon Springs, FL facility.
"Although not material in size, Argotec brings valuable intellectual property to our NavEx segment, as well as a consistent single-sourced revenue stream for key military end applications, further enhancing our growth opportunities,” stated Cary B. Wood, president and chief executive officer of Sparton. “As we enhance our current product offerings with these newly acquired products and components, we will explore new engineering development opportunities within the U.S. Navy, foreign naval operations, and prime defense contractors.”
“We are pleased to consolidate Argotec’s products into the NavEx business segment. The products we are acquiring have been a mainstay for a number of key niche military applications. The intellectual property, in conjunction with Sparton’s current acoustic transducer expertise, will undoubtedly provide our customers with new and innovative solutions in the future,” commented Jim Lackemacher, group vice president of Engineered Components & Products. “In the coming weeks, we will be transitioning Argotec’s customers to our DeLeon Springs facility in an orderly and seamless manner, using tools such as Sparton’s New Product Introduction (NPI) and Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) processes.”
“This tuck-in acquisition, the second this month, furthers our strategy to maximize existing assets and enhances our portfolio of proprietary products. The acquisition is expected to be accretive to earnings within the next six months, following the completion of transitioning activities,” Mr. Wood concluded.

Friday, December 19, 2014

General Dynamics Awarded $36 Million for Development of Advanced Submarine Technologies

Groton December 19, 2014 - General Dynamics Electric Boat has been awarded a $36.5 million contract modification from the U.S. Navy to develop advanced submarine technologies for current and future undersea platforms. Electric Boat is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics.
Under the terms of the modification, Electric Boat will perform advanced submarine research and development studies in support of a wide range of technology areas including manufacturability, maintainability, survivability, hydrodynamics, acoustics and materials. Electric Boat also will conduct research and development work in additional areas including affordability, manning, hull integrity, performance, ship control, logistics, weapons handling and safety. Additionally, the contract supports near-term Virginia-class technology insertion, future submarine concepts and core technologies.
Initially awarded in November 2010, the contract has a potential value of $710.6 million over a total of five years if all options are exercised and funded.

Lockheed Martin-Built MUOS-3 Secure Communications Satellite Encapsulated In Launch Vehicle Fairing

Cape Canaveral December 19, 2014 - The third Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite built by Lockheed Martin for the U.S. Navy was encapsulated into its payload fairing Dec. 18. It is scheduled to launch Jan. 20 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
MUOS operates like a smart phone network in the sky, vastly improving current secure mobile satellite communications for warfighters on the move. Unlike previous systems, MUOS provides users an on-demand, beyond-line-of-sight capability to transmit and receive high-quality, prioritized voice and mission data, on a high-speed Internet Protocol-based system.
"MUOS is a game changer in communications for our warfighters and will allow them to have high-fidelity voice conversations, networked team calls and data exchange, including video, with anyone connected to a secure terminal around the world," said Iris Bombelyn, vice president of Narrowband Communications at Lockheed Martin. "The launch of MUOS-3 will increase our network coverage to about three-quarters of the globe."
Replacing the legacy Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Follow-On system, MUOS satellites have two payloads to ensure UHF narrowband communications accessibility and new capabilities. MUOS' advanced Wideband Code Division Access (WCDMA) payload incorporates commercial technology and a new waveform to provide users priority-based capacity. Once fully operational, MUOS will provide comparatively 16 times the capacity of the legacy system. More than 50,000 terminals in the field today can be retro-fitted with WCDMA.
MUOS is expected to provide warfighters global coverage before the end of 2015. MUOS-1 and MUOS-2, launched respectively in 2012 and 2013, are already operational and providing high-quality voice communications. MUOS-4 is on track to launch later in the year. The fourth and final required MUOS ground station also is expected to be operational early next year.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Sunnyvale, California, is the MUOS prime contractor and system integrator. The Navy's Program Executive Office for Space Systems and its Communications Satellite Program Office, San Diego, California, are responsible for the MUOS program.

NSM Coastal Defence contract valued at NOK 1.3 Billion with Poland

December 19, 2014 - Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace has signed a contract with the Polish Ministry of National Defence for an NSM (Naval Strike Missile) Coastal Defence System valued at NOK 1.3 Billion. The scope of delivery is a Squadron-size unit similar to the contract won with Poland in 2008.
After a successful delivery and acceptance of the first Squadron, this second Squadron will increase the cooperation with the Polish Government and industry and further enhance security of supply by establishing the capability to maintain the system in Poland in an alliance with WZE (Wojskowe Zakłady Elektroniczne S.A).
The system uses NSM in conjunction with a command and weapon control system similar to the renowned NASAMS air defence system in use by four NATO countries, including the US. The radar system, communications system and trucks carrying launch ramps are provided by Polish subcontractors.
The NSM is a fifth generation Strike Missile, developed by KONGSBERG for the Norwegian Navy. NSM reached Initial Operational Capability on the new Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen Class frigates and the new Norwegian Skjold Class corvettes in 2012. NSM was also recently tested by the US Navy on LCS (Littoral Combat Ship) #4 Coronado.
"This agreement proves the leading position of NSM and our position as a reliable partner and supplier to Poland. Polish industry and KONGSBERG successfully delivered the first NSM Coastal Defence Squadron through a close cooperation with the Polish Government. With this contract we continue our ambition of involving even more Polish companies and expand our cooperation into a broader technological arena", says Harald Ånnestad, President of Kongsberg

DDG 1000: Future is here

By Capt. David M. McFarland, USN
Deputy Director, Surface Warfare, N96B

As 2014 draws to a close, we begin to focus on some of the important strides forward the Surface Force will make in the coming year, specifically the commissioning and initial operational testing of the USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000), the first of the three ship Zumwalt class. USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) and USS Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002), will join the fleet in 2018 and 2021, providing the Navy with the world’s most sophisticated destroyers.
Earlier this year, the christening of the Zumwalt captured the imagination of the American public, as it saw for the first time the distinctive, powerful shape of this futuristic warship bristling with new technologies and capabilities designed to influence world events and sail American naval power where it matters, when it matters. DDG 1000 will provide sea control and power projections options that will help protect and sustain our national interests, assure friends and allies, and dissuade potential adversaries.

Mouzetta Zumwalt-Weathers Christens the guided-missile destroyer Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Zumwalt (DDG 1000) during a christening ceremony at Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, April 12, 2014. The ship, the first of three Zumwalt class destroyers, will provide independent forward presence and deterrence, support special operations forces and operate as part of joint and combined expeditionary forces. The lead ship and class are named in honor of former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo R. "Bud" Zumwalt Jr., who served as chief of naval operations from 1970-1974.(U.S. Navy photo courtesy of General Dynamics Bath Iron Works by Dennis Griggs/Released)
Mouzetta Zumwalt-Weathers Christens the guided-missile destroyer Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Zumwalt (DDG 1000) during a christening ceremony at Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, April 12, 2014. The ship, the first of three Zumwalt class destroyers, will provide independent forward presence and deterrence, support special operations forces and operate as part of joint and combined expeditionary forces. The lead ship and class are named in honor of former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo R. “Bud” Zumwalt Jr., who served as chief of naval operations from 1970-1974.(U.S. Navy photo courtesy of General Dynamics Bath Iron Works by Dennis Griggs/Released)

The first thing one notices about this ship is its shape. Its tumblehome hull is designed to pierce through oncoming waves, rather than ride atop them. The second thing is its size and its distinct lack of sharp angles and protrusions creating a radar image significantly smaller than the DDG 51 class, though the ship is half again as large at 14,000 tons. Forward of the conformal deckhouse, one finds two mammoth Advanced Gun System 155mm mounts, capable of hurling GPS-guided projectiles in excess of 60 miles in support of ground operations or in a quick-strike capability. Yet with all the capability visible to the outside, much of this ship’s value to the war-fight resides inside.
Internally, the heart of this ship is an innovative electric drive system in which four massive gas turbine engines provide all the power this ship needs for propulsion and the advanced weapons systems. Rated at a total of 78 megawatts of power, the equivalent to the power needed to serve 47,000 average U.S. homes, it creates the conditions necessary for the future seamless integration of forthcoming weapons such as the electromagnetic Rail-Gun and high-energy lasers.
Ringing the main deck are four, 20-cell Peripheral Vertical Launch Systems, each of which will accommodate a range of advanced missiles to be used against air, surface, subsurface and land targets.  A next generation of bow mounted, dual high and mid-frequency sonar is integrated with the aft mounted multifunction towed sonar array providing detection and classification of even the most sophisticated adversary submarines and torpedoes.
We see this ship operating both independently and in concert with others. As the centerpiece of a Hunter-Killer group joined by an Arleigh Burke class Guided Missile Destroyer (DDG 51) and an littoral combat ship, DDG 1000 will provide lethal sea control. In support of amphibious forces and land attack missions, DDG 1000 will add a new range and depth of fires to expeditionary power projection, and will be a strong complement to F-35B’s operating off large deck amphibious ships.

The Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyer DDG 1000 is floated out of dry dock at the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard.
The Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyer DDG 1000 is floated out of dry dock at the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard.

The technology this ship brings to the Fleet is impressive, and while only three will be built, they will undoubtedly be in high demand in every ocean as the center-piece of high end surface actions groups.
For the Surface Navy, the future is now, and now is the DDG 1000. We look forward to continuing to provide updates on the progress of system testing as this exciting ship moves steadily toward joining the Fleet.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

DDG Modernization

By Capt Ted Zobel
Program Manager for Surface Combatant Modernization

Operating as integral players in global maritime security while engaging in air, undersea, surface, strike and ballistic missile defense (BMD), the Navy’s Arleigh Burke class DDG 51 destroyers are the workhorses of the Fleet. With 62 destroyers currently in service and an expected service life of 35 years or greater, the sustained maintenance and modernization of these ships is crucial to their continued role as an essential component of surface warfare.
To date, the Navy has modernized 11 destroyers with hull, mechanical and electrical (HM&E) upgrades and one with combat systems upgrades.  USS Russell (DDG 59) successfully completed its HM&E mid-life upgrade and subsequent sea trials in October 2014.  By the end of the year, two additional ships, USS Barry (DDG 52) and USS Benfold (DDG 65) will complete combat system modernization availabilities.
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Sept. 6, 2014) The guided-missile destroyers USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) and USS Mitscher (DDG 57), the guided-missile frigate USS Simpson (FFG 56) and the guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio (CG 96) align in a column behind USS Vicksburg (CG 69), not pictured.
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Sept. 6, 2014) The guided-missile destroyers USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) and USS Mitscher (DDG 57), the guided-missile frigate USS Simpson (FFG 56) and the guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio (CG 96) align in a column behind USS Vicksburg (CG 69), not pictured.

These efforts are part of Naval Sea Systems Command’s Surface Warfare Directorate (NAVSEA 21) and is a comprehensive lifecycle modernization program for the Navy’s DDG 51 destroyers. The modernization program enhances Fleet capability and ensures Navy’s surface combatant mission-relevance by pacing the  evolving threat.. The destroyer modernization program is fully mature, executing on cost and schedule with two ships projected to complete availabilities in 2015.
The highly successful DDG 51 modernization program began in 2006 by identifying the most resourceful and effective ways to upgrade Navy destroyers. The program proceeded with upgrades to Flight I and II destroyers (DDGs 51-78) in 2010 with upgrades to USS Arleigh Burke’s (DDG 51) HM&E system. This set of critical upgrades incorporated technology improvements to reduce workload and total ship ownership costs and included a fully integrated bridge, improved machinery and damage control systems, wireless communications and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) computing equipment.  Since 2010, eleven DDG 51s have received HM&E upgrades and redeployed to the Fleet.
GULF OF THAILAND (Oct. 29, 2014) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89) is underway during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Cambodia 2014.
GULF OF THAILAND (Oct. 29, 2014) USS Mustin (DDG 89) is underway during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Cambodia 2014.
In addition to HM&E systems upgrades, ships receive combat systems enhancements including improvements to BMD capability, the gun system, and anti-submarine warfare systems.Arleigh Burke destroyers are equipped with Navy’s Aegis system, the world’s foremost integrated naval combat management system. Upgrades to DDG 51 combat systems began in 2012 with USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) becoming the first destroyer to receive these very important upgrades.  The upgraded combat system network of both on-board and off-board sensors provides ground-breaking defense capability against cruise missiles and other modern threats.Following John Paul Jones, two more DDGs will complete combat systems upgrades by the end of 2014.
Beginning in 2014, the Navy evolved its modernization strategy to provide additional air defense capabilities to the Fleet by increasing the rate of combat systems modernization of DDG Flight IIAs (DDG 79 and later) to align with the date in which these ships were commissioned.  This approach will maximize the Navy’s return on investment (ROI) by modernizing Flight IIA ships at their midlife, increasing overall ship operational availability by combining separate combat systems and HM&E modernization periods into one. Modernization availabilities forFlights I and II will continue as planned, and modernization of Flight IIA destroyers will commence in 2017.
The Flight IIA modernization strategy increases the Navy’s BMD capabilities, and in turn the surface Fleet’s capability by incorporating BMD upgrades across all flights of DDG 51s. Modernized Flight I and II destroyers retain their very stable and operationally-proven Aegis baseline 5.3.9 computer program and receive the upgraded BMD 4.1 system. Newer destroyers, Flight IIA and beyond, will receive the upgraded Aegis weapon system baseline 9 which includes the BMD 5.0 system and the Multi-Mission Signal Processor which together enable simultaneous processing of Anti-Air Warfare and BMD threats.  Not only does the transition to baseline 9 provide significant air defense capabilities to our warfighters, it also simplifies and builds concurrency with the new construction DDG 51 efforts, effectively saving money on both procurement and training costs.
PEARL HARBOR (July 8, 2014) The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111) departs Pearl Harbor for the at-sea phase of Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014.
PEARL HARBOR (July 8, 2014) The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111) departs Pearl Harbor for the at-sea phase of Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014.

In addition to enhanced BMD capabilities, the modernization strategy includes equipping all destroyers with the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC). The integration of CEC into the DDG 51 enables a wide ranging set of ships and aircraft to link onboard sensors to build a composite operational picture of the entire battle space. To address the underwater warfighting requirement, Navy is installing the SQQ-89A(V)15 Anti-Submarine Undersea Warfare System with Multi-Function Towed Array (MFTA) that includes superior capabilities in underwater fire control, on-board training, a highly-evolved display subsystem and integration with the Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) helicopter. These improvements effectively and dramatically increase the battle space and provide the Navy with an unparalleled 21st century fighting edge at sea.
The modernization program office plans the modernization availabilities well in advance of arriving at the shipyard so that complex technical modernization efforts are balanced, aligned and ready for installation. This type of preparation improves efficiency and increases the probability that the ship will complete its availability on time and in budget, fully ready to resume its operational commitments.
These major shipboard system upgrades on DDG 51 class ships improve the combat power of the surface Fleet and its ability to execute a wide spectrum of missions. By incorporating smarter technologies, the Navy ensures destroyers are not only more capable but are combat relevant for years to come.
The destroyer modernization program is evidence of the central role NAVSEA 21 performs in the rapid development and delivery of key capabilities required to pace the threat for the life of the ship.  NAVSEA 21 continues to manage and execute critical proven programs enabling the Navy to stay mission-relevant and meet combatant commander requirements in an increasingly complex and challenging budget environment. Through the implementation of modernization programs, the Navy ensures its ships are primed and ready for tasking in the most sustainable, cost efficient manner.

Swift Boats Were Workhorses of Brown Water Navy in Vietnam

Swift Boat PCF-1 is on display at the National Museum of the United States Navy located at the Washington Navy Yard in Southeast D.C. PCF-1 was a training boat at the U.S. Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado, Calif., until April 1975 when it left for Panama to patrol the Panama Canal where it was utilized in Operation Just Cause—the removal of Manuel Noriega and his regime in 1990. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eric Lockwood (released)

By Laura Hockensmith, National Museum of the United States Navy

Not since the end of the Civil War did the U.S. Navy have a need for a riverine force, or Brown Water Navy. But that all changed as the United States got deeper and deeper into conflict between North and South Vietnam. Due to the nature of the fighting and supply lines in Vietnam, the Navy needed fast, strong, reliable boats that could patrol the waterways and stop the Viet Cong infiltrated into South Vietnam from receiving guns and ammunition from the Communists in North Vietnam.
At first, they borrowed ships from the Coast Guard, cutters and river patrol boats up-armored for combat with a .50-caliber machine gun and 81-mm mortars installed on the forecastle and four .50-caliber deck guns on the fantail.
The U.S. Navy found what they were looking for in the Gulf of Mexico. Oil rig workers off the coast of Louisiana and Texas were shuttled to and from the rigs in strong aluminum boats built by Seward Seacraft Company of Louisiana. The taxi boats were sturdy, quiet and with a draft of 3 ½ feet, powered by two diesel engines with twin screws and speeds up to 28 knots. With the addition of weapons and living amenities, they were the perfect craft for patrolling the waterways of Vietnam.
On Dec. 18, 1965 the U.S. Navy formalized a Brown Water Navy, commissioning the water taxis as Patrol Craft, Fast, or swift boats. From the Cau Mau peninsula in South Vietnam to the western inland waters at the border of Cambodia, the Sailors patrolled the brown water.
The PCFs were not given names, only numbers, unlike the Navy’s larger blue water vessels. The Sailors who navigated the PCFs through murky waterways and manned the .50-caliber machine guns were soon recognized for their courage and actions on the battlefield.
Swift boats patrolled the waterways, interrupted enemy supply lines, and participated in complex insertion and extraction operations, while enduring monsoons, riverbank ambushes, mines laid by the Viet Cong, and difficult nighttime operations. Swift boat Sailors brought the naval fight inland and had a decisive role in the fight against the Viet Cong.
Following the Vietnam War, PCFs continued to have a role in the Navy in various ways, such as coastal patrols and anti-piracy campaigns throughout the world. One swift boat, PCF-1, is on display at the National Museum of the United States Navy located at the Washington Navy Yard in Southeast D.C.
PCF-1 was a training boat at the U.S. Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado, Calif., until April 1975 when it left for Panama to patrol the Panama Canal. Because of its Sailors’ intimate knowledge of the Panamanian waterways, PCF-1 was utilized in Operation Just Cause—the removal of Manuel Noriega and his regime in 1990. It found its permanent home at the Navy Yard in 1998. Its bow faces the Anacostia River, and in the words of then-Sen. John Kerry, “May she always be a shining example of Navy ingenuity and creativity, Navy commitment and courage…and may she stand here in constant vigil guarding the memory of those who served on Swifts but did not return.” Kerry, the current Secretary of State, was a former officer-in-charge of Swift boats during his service in Vietnam.
Forty-nine years ago the Brown Water Navy was born. With that came a class of Sailors with undeniable courage and commitment to their duty and their fellow Sailors, navigating waters deep into hostile territory to interrupt the shipping pipeline bringing supplies to the enemy.

Battelle Unifies Maritime Technologies Leadership Structure

Columbus December 18, 2014 - Battelle announced this week that its wide array of maritime technologies will now be housed under one leadership structure lead by Rear Admiral Fred Byus, USN (Ret'd) to better meet the accelerating growth of the government and commercial maritime technology markets.
Over the course of the last decade, Battelle has seen accelerating growth of the government and commercial maritime technology markets alongside simultaneous expansion -- both organically and through investments and acquisitions -- of its maritime portfolio of businesses. These include for-profit, wholly owned, and autonomous subsidiaries Bluefin Robotics and SeeByte. Byus will be working closely with Rich Leonard, interim CEO of Bluefin Robotics and SeeByte CEO Bob Black.
"By streamlining our operations, we're positioned for a better customer response and more agility in this marketplace which has growing significance for us," said Battelle National Security President Steve Kelly.
"I'm excited about this new chapter for our robust maritime business," Byus said. "Battelle and our subsidiaries have a lot to offer government and commercial customers."
"SeeByte is enthusiastic about this consolidation." said Bob Black of SeeByte. "Unified operational alignment will allow us to improve our already strong customer support while assuring the distinctiveness and vibrancy of our brand."

INS Arihant Video

Deterring hybrid warfare: a chance for NATO and the EU to work together?

In response to the conflict in Ukraine, NATO has decided to take on an ambitious task: developing a set of tools to deter and defend against adversaries waging hybrid warfare.
As the conflict in Ukraine illustrates, hybrid conflicts involve multilayered efforts designed to destabilise a functioning state and polarize its society. Unlike conventional warfare, the “centre of gravity” in hybrid warfare is a target population. The adversary tries to influence influential policy-makers and key decision makers by combining kinetic operations with subversive efforts. The aggressor often resorts to clandestine actions, to avoid attribution or retribution. Without a credible smoking gun, NATO will find it difficult to agree on an intervention.
Undoubtedly, prevailing in hybrid warfare presents NATO with an institutional challenge. To effectively counter irregular threats, the Alliance will need to strengthen cooperation with international organisations, particularly with the EU.
NATO has a wide range of instruments at its disposal. The Alliance has expended a great deal of effort in recent years to stay abreast of new threats, especially in cyberspace. Nevertheless, NATO, as a military alliance, will never embrace the full spectrum of challenges embodied in hybrid warfare.
Why two is better than one
The current NATO deterrence policy for hybrid warfare is based on a rapid military response. This policy has three potential weaknesses. First, member states may find it difficult to agree on the source of a conflict, creating a significant barrier to prompt collective action. Second, to counter irregular threats, hard power alone is insufficient. Regardless of how rapid a response may be, deploying military force to an area swept by hybrid warfare will turn out as “too little too late”. Too often, the conflict evolves under the radar. Finally, a deterrent built upon military force alone will not be credible. To deal with irregular threats, NATO cannot simply revive the strategy of massive retaliation, or rely exclusively on one course of action.
NATO should consider a more flexible policy and strive to deter prospective adversaries with a wide range of instruments. By partnering with the EU and expanding its set of instruments, the Alliance will be able to tackle the threat from multiple angles. What is more, it may be even able to prevent it.
The EU seems the organisation best suited to complement NATO’s crisis management efforts, as it offers a diversity of instruments that can be employed in hybrid warfare. NATO and the EU could create an effective institutional tandem that has a wide range of both political and military instruments at its disposal. The NATO Summit in Wales acknowledged the EU as a strategic partner of the Alliance. And the common threat of hybrid warfare within the Euro-Atlantic area presents a solid opportunity to develop this partnership even further.
NATO and the EU should intensify consultations and engage in joint planning, especially in implementing the EU Council decisions on security in December 2013. The inter-institutional cooperation should become more systematic and pragmatic.
Events in Ukraine have changed the threat perception in Europe. Recent pledges to reverse declining defence budgets confirm this. NATO and the EU should take advantage of this momentum. Through close coordination in defence planning, both organisations can avoid duplication and achieve greater convergence. The European Council meeting in June 2015 will offer a good opportunity to review and possibly adjust the future course of cooperation. NATO’s Secretary General should not miss the opportunities this meeting will bring.
The importance of security sector reform
Prevention represents the best possible means of countering hybrid warfare. Irregular threats are far more difficult to manage once they become an overt attempt at destabilisation. Rolling armour columns and exchanges of open fire, as witnessed in Ukraine, signify that a hybrid conflict had entered its later stages. Skirmishes such as these may easily evolve into an insurgency with no foreseeable political or military solution. As appears likely in Ukraine, the result may be a “frozen conflict.”
States that appear vulnerable to destabilisation can adopt measures to increase the resilience of their security sectors in advance. The concept of Security Sector Reform (SSR), embedded in UNSC (United Nations Security Council) Resolution 2151 offers an indispensable tool to tackle the challenges of hybrid warfare. SSR aims to strengthen a state’s ability to provide public safety and secure the rule of law, while embracing transparency and accountability. The transatlantic community should call upon the countries prone to destabilisation to take on the SSR initiative. These measures will not only better prepare the country to counter external threats, but will also help pave its way to sustainable development and prosperity.
The EU has incorporated SSR into its Common Security and Defence Policy operations. It’s now concluding its first successful mission of this kind in the Democratic Republic of Congo and has recently launched an SSR mission in Ukraine. A strong security sector and well-developed soft power serves as the best measure to secure peace and stability in European neighborhood, particularly against the subversive threats witnessed in Ukraine.
An opportunity not to be missed
To effectively defend against hybrid warfare, I believe the Alliance will need to expand its capabilities and strengthen its cooperation with the EU. Through a comprehensive approach, NATO and the EU will be able to employ an entire palette of instruments to an emerging conflict. By embracing the concept of SSR, NATO and the EU can focus their efforts on the most vulnerable states and help them to become more resilient against destabilising threats. The two organisations should not miss out on this chance to advance their partnership to a new level. By more closely coordinating their efforts, NATO and the EU could not only avert irregular threats, but could help secure peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area for the foreseeable future.