Friday, February 27, 2015

Indian Navy Concludes Its Annual Exercise

File photo

February 27, 2015 - The Indian Navy concluded its annual Theatre Level Readiness and Operational Exercise (TROPEX) today. This month long war drill encompassed all dimensions of maritime warfare, and witnessed participation of around 50 ships and submarines, along with over 70 aircraft from the three Naval Commands. The exercise also saw participation of units from the India Air Force and the Indian Coast Guard. The area of operations spanned the Arabian Sea and Northern Indian Ocean and was aimed at validating the Indian Navy’s Concept of Operations. During TROPEX-2015, the Navy had deployed two Carrier Task Forces simultaneously at sea, with both Viraat and Vikramaditya operating with their integral flights in an operational scenario. This assumes significance as it makes the Indian Navy, besides the US Navy, capable of deploying more than one Carrier Task Force at sea, at present.
TROPEX also saw extensive deployment of the nuclear submarine Chakra, the recently inducted P-8I Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft, the recently commissioned guided missile destroyer Kolkata and Anti Submarine Warfare corvette Kamorta. The exercise provided the right opportunity for the Navy to integrate these acquisitions into its war-fighting concepts. TROPEX-15 also served to reinforce the Indian Navy’s offensive capabilities across all dimensions, including Network Centric Operations, wherein, the indigenous satellite Rukmani was extensively utilised. The Navy also underscored its Op Logistics capability to effectively sustain Fleet Operations for extended periods at large distances.
The exercise reinforced the Navy’s ability to serve in different roles with relative ease, when it exercised a Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) mission, as part of the build up to the main phase of the exercise. This exercise was conducted against the backdrop of the Lakshadweep and Minicoy Islands having been struck by a super cyclone. The Indian Navy has the inherent capacity and capability to reach outlying islands and coastal areas, with relief and rehabilitation material, and remains continuously prepared for this task.
Overall, the exercise reiterated the Navy’s preparedness and capability to meet various roles mandated for it, in support of national objectives.

The RAN Fleet Air Arm - Ashore in Vietnam

The RAN Fleet Air Arm - Ashore in Vietnam

By John Perryman 

A No 9 Squadron, UH-1D Iroquois helicopter, trailing purple smoke during an early morning flight over Nui Dat in South Vietnam. (photo: Unknown)
A No 9 Squadron, UH-1D Iroquois helicopter, trailing purple smoke during an early morning flight over Nui Dat in South Vietnam.

The Australian International Airshow 2015 pays tribute to Anzac and the heroes of military aviation.  It is the major theme of the event and as such will be the first significant observance of the Gallipoli campaign in its centenary year.  The airshow features an emotional and moving tribute to our aviators from Gallipoli to the present day. During the Australian International Airshow, Navy Daily will highlight the significant contribution of naval aviators from the First World War to the present day.
On 30 April 1975, a North Vietnamese, Soviet supplied, T-54 tank smashed through the gates of the presidential palace in South Vietnam's capital, Saigon. This act symbolically brought 25 years of civil war and the existence of the Republic of Vietnam to an end. Two years previously on 11 January 1973 the Governor- General of Australia had formally declared Australia's 10 year participation in the war over, following the withdrawal of the bulk of our military forces.
The ubiquitous Bell UH1 Iroquois helicopter is still arguably the most instantly recognisable symbol of the Vietnam War. Images of the 'helicopter war' feature prominently in books, films and documentaries; indeed, a granite etched image of an Iroquois extracting troops forms the centrepiece of Australia's national Vietnam Memorial located on Anzac Parade in Canberra.
Not so widely known though is the role that was played by personnel of the Royal Australian Navy's Fleet Air Arm (FAA), in a war that depended heavily on tactical air movement of combat troops, supplies and equipment in what were eventually called air-mobile operations.
On 14 July 1967, the Minister for Defence, Mr Allen Fairhall announced that eight RAN helicopter pilots and supporting staff would join a United States (US) Army helicopter unit in South Vietnam to provide support for allied forces, including the 1st Australian Task Force in Phuoc Tuy province. The new flight, designated the Royal Australian Navy Helicopter Flight Vietnam (RANHFV), was to be integrated with the US Army 135th Assault Helicopter Company (AHC) flying Iroquois helicopters in both the utility and gun-ship configurations. It was also announced that RAN FAA crews would supplement the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF's) 9 Squadron based at Vung Tau.
The first contingent of pilots, observers, naval aircrewmen and support staff was assigned to 723 Squadron at Naval Air Station Nowra in July 1967, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Neil Ralph, RAN. The flight consisted of eight pilots, four observers, four aircrewmen, twenty-four technical sailors and six support staff (drawn variously from cooks, stewards, writers, medical staff and storemen).
Following an eight-week period of training the first contingent arrived in Vietnam on 16 October 1967 and was quickly integrated with the 330 personnel of the 135th AHC. The RAN members took their place in the 135th according to rank and seniority with Ralph as second-in-command as well as officer-in-charge of the RANHFV. As a result of this unique relationship between the RAN and the US Army, the unit was officially designated 'EMU', for Experimental Military Unit. This was fitting, given that the EMU is a native Australian bird, yet amusing at the same time because of the Emu's inability to fly. The unit later adopted the unofficial motto 'get the bloody job done', which was to personify their attitude to air-mobile operations.
The 135th AHC was based at Vung Tau and comprised two troop lift platoons, each with eleven UH-1Ds, a gunship platoon with eight UH-1Cs, a maintenance platoon with a single UH-1D and a headquarters platoon. Six of the gunships were equipped with mini guns, rockets and machine guns. The remaining two were fitted with the XM-5 40mm grenade-launcher system, rockets and machine guns.
The role of 135th AHC was to provide tactical air movement of combat troops, supplies and equipment in air-mobile operations. This included augmentation of army medical services, search and rescue and the provision of a command and control aircraft capability. A typical day's flying would involve one UH1-H command and control helicopter, four UH1-C gunships and ten troop lift aircraft (the latter being known as 'slicks').
The mission would normally be advised the previous day along with the details of the ground element (usually a battalion) that the EMU would be supporting. The air mission commander would attend a joint briefing and provide advice relating to air movement of troops, use of gunships and fuel requirements, and at the same time receive information from the ground force commander on when and where troops were to be inserted.
The mission would begin early the following day with the launch of the command and control aircraft at least half an hour before the rest of the flight. The aircraft would proceed to the location of the battalion commander (usually a field location) where last minute details would be checked and pick-up zones (PZ) and landing zones (LZ) identified. Once identified, an artillery preparation would be fired into the perimeters of the LZ for a 15- minute period before the arrival of the main force.

During an unidentified operation, a soldier on the ground guides a Bell UH-1B Iroquois helicopter into a landing zone in a clearing.

The command and control aircraft would then direct the insertion from above the scene of action. The gunships were usually the first directed into the area to place further 'fire' around the LZ, and once the area was declared clear, the slicks would be ordered into a landing point marked by the command and control helicopter with smoke.
As the slicks entered the LZ they too added their own suppression fire using M60 machine guns on final approach. On landing, the suppression fire ceased and the troops would quickly disembark before the slicks took off and returned to the PZ for their next load. It would normally take about five lifts to move an entire battalion with each of the ten slicks carrying six South Vietnamese, US or Australian soldiers. On completion of the insertion of troops into their objective, the slicks would then return to a reaction site where they awaited further instructions. It was not long before the EMU became fully operational, flying its first mission of this type on 3 November 1967. By the end of November the company had flown 3182 hours in support of the US Army 9th Infantry Division and the 1st Australian Task Force based at Nui Dat, Phuoc Tuy province.
Several major operations followed in support of a combined allied sweep against the 5th Viet Cong Division and it was during one of these operations that EMU helicopters were first hit by enemy fire. The first aircraft to be shot down was a gunship piloted by Lieutenant A.A. Casadio, RAN, on 19 November 1967. After being forced down during an attack on Viet Cong positions in the Rung Sat Special Zone near Saigon, the enemy immediately attacked the helicopter's crew. Despite their relative inexperience, control of the situation was maintained by setting up a defensive perimeter using the helicopter's door-mounted M60 machine guns. The crew was later rescued by another EMU helicopter, but not before they had successfully driven off an unknown number of Viet Cong, killing two. This was a far cry from the carrier-borne flight operations for which the naval aviators had initially been trained.
In December 1967, the 135th AHC was relocated to Camp Blackhorse five miles south of Xuan Loc, in Long Khanh province. In February 1968, the North Vietnamese launched the Tet offensive and Camp Blackhorse came under enemy attack by mortar. Skirmishes on the boundaries became frequent and the enemy mining of the road from Long Binh to Baria, via Xuan Loc disrupted supply convoys causing shortages of aircraft spare parts.
In response to the Tet offensive, operations intensified with EMU aircraft frequently coming under enemy fire and being forced down. The RANHFV suffered its first casualty during a mission to lift out troops of the 18th Army of the Republic of Vietnam near Xuan Loc when Lieutenant Commander P.J. Vickers, RAN, was fatally wounded while piloting the lead aircraft. He was to be the first of five naval aviators killed in action during the flight's four-year deployment to Vietnam.
At the same time, the eight RAN pilots attached to 9 Squadron RAAF were also providing troop-lift capacity for the 1st Australian Task Force, and re-supplying troops in the field with food, ammunition, clean clothing and stores.
An equally important role was aerial fire support, and to give 9 Squadron a greater capacity for direct support of Army ground operations, specially modified UH-1H helicopters were introduced early in 1969. Dubbed 'Bushrangers', these heavily armed aircraft operated as a light fire team of two, escorting slicks in combat assaults, providing suppression fire on enemy bunkers, and protecting medical evacuation aircraft. They also supported slicks that inserted and extracted Australian Special Air Service patrols in enemy occupied jungle areas. The RAN detachment to 9 Squadron played a significant part in enabling it to meet its army support role in Phuoc Tuy Province during 1968 and into 1969, until the last of its pilots returned home in May of that year.

An Army toast to aircrew of the Royal Australian Navy Helicopter Flight after their last operation in South Vietnam

The RANHFV ceased operations on 8 June 1971. During its four-year deployment to Vietnam, over 200 RAN FAA personnel had rotated though the RANHFV in four contingents. Over this period they were continuously engaged in offensive operations, earning not only the pilots but also the maintenance and support staff of the flight, a reputation second to none.
The gallantry and distinguished service of RANHFV members was recognised by the award of three Member of the British Empire medals, eight Distinguished Service Crosses, five Distinguished Flying Crosses (DFCs), one British Empire Medal, twenty-four Mentions-in-Dispatches and numerous Vietnamese and US decorations. 723 Squadron, the RANHFV's parent unit, was awarded the battle honour 'Vietnam 1967-71' on 22 December 1972. The eight-man detachment to 9 Squadron RAAF was also recognised with the award of a DFC and three Mentions-in- Dispatches.
The flexibility demonstrated by FAA personnel in Vietnam, in adapting to offensive helicopter operations in the field in both a joint and coalition force environment, is unique in RAN history. This was best summarised by Captain Andy Craig, RAN (Rtd.), who flew with both the EMU and the RAN detachment to 9 Squadron RAAF during his time in Vietnam:
“The 135th seriously practiced the business of 'getting the bloody job done' - risks were certainly taken but… I don't think the 135th ever missed a task in my time with it. The flying was hard and challenging and, without question, the most exciting of my career".
The personnel of the FAA who flew with 9 Squadron and the 135th AHC in Vietnam remain a close knit group. In April 2002 the then Chief of the Defence Force, Admiral C.A. Barrie AC, RAN, unveiled a plaque in Bomaderry, NSW commemorating the service of the RANHFV and the 135th AHC. Reunion and remembrance ceremonies also took place in the US at Biloxi, Mississippi, on 25-26 May 2005 and at Fort Rucker, Alabama on 27 May 2005.

Upcoming Nautical Institute Events

Listed below are upcoming events. If there's a Nautical Institute event near you then why not go along and meet some like-minded souls.

CPD certificates are provided at many Nautical Institute events - please check with the event organiser.

Room 218, Liverpool John Moores University, Byrom Street, Liverpool L3 3AF

6pm: HQS Wellington, Temple Stairs, Victoria Embankment WC2R 2PN 

7:30 pm: Hyatt Regency Hotel, Near Shindaga Tunnel, Deira Dubai

7.15pm: TBA 

5:30 pm: Port of Tyne Offices, North Shields, NE30 1LJ 

Inn at the Park, 3-4 Deemount Terrace, Aberdeen AB11 7RX 

Montreal Canada (NI members receive a £225 discount)

Hilton Hotel, Stamford, Connecticut

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore (NI members receive a 20% discount)

Inn at the Park, 3-4 Deemount Terrace, Aberdeen AB11 7RX

Room 218, Liverpool John Moores University, Byrom Street, Liverpool L3 3AF

6:30 pm: SSMS Lecture Theatre 1

11:00 am: Feering Community Centre, Coggeshall Road, CO5 9QB, Essex

Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, Amager Boulevard 70, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark  (NI members receive £100 discount)

Marriot Inner Harbour Hotel, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Fort Mason Complex, 2 Marina Boulevard, San Francisco, California, CA94123 

Inn at the Park, 3-4 Deemount Terrace, Aberdeen, AB11 7RX

Fleetwood Nautical Campus, FY7 8JZ

9-10 June - 5th Dynamic Positioning Asia Workshop & Conference 2015
Singapore (NI members receive a 20% discount)

Gdynia, Poland

Aberdeen, Scotland (NI members receive 15% discount) 

London, UK (NI members receive 15% discount) 

Newcastle University, UK

SUNY Maritime College, Bronx, New York

Rhode Island Convention Center, Providence, Rhode Island, USA 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

DRS Technologies Nets Contract from Royal New Zealand Navy

File photo

February 26, 2015 - DRS Technologies Inc.announced today that its Canadian subsidiary will be providing tactical integrated communications systems to the New Zealand Ministry of Defense for the Royal New Zealand Navy's ANZAC-class frigates.
This subcontract was awarded to DRS Technologies Canada Ltd. in support of a communications modernization contract from Lockheed Martin Canada in September 2014.  DRS Technologies Canada Ltd. is the primary subcontractor to Lockheed Martin Canada.
The subcontract includes the provision of all internal tactical and secure voice switching systems and terminals. DRS will provide its Shipboard Integrated Communications System (SHINCOM 3100) central switching unit, helicopter audio distribution system, public address server, recorder storage units, console dual screen terminals, outdoor terminals, jackboxes and ancillaries, as well as the Avaya G450 PABX phone system.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for DRS to deliver the SHINCOM 3100 system to the Royal New Zealand Navy, which leverages the existing installed base with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Australian 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."
SHINCOM 3100 is the latest generation in shipboard communications switch technology which provides reliable, red/black secure tactical communications for Navy operators.
DRS Technologies will produce and deliver two shipsets, the first of which is expected to be delivered in early 2016.

Work Starts on the Eighth Vessel In the FREMM Program


Trieste February 25, 2015 - Today, at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Riva Trigoso (Sestri Levante, Genoa), there was the ceremony to mark the cutting of the first sheeting for the eighth Fremm vessel.
This is a further step in the European Multi Mission Frigate construction program, the most important joint initiative to date among European industries in the Naval Defence field.
The ship will be 144 metres long, 19.7 metres wide with a displacement at full load of approximately 6,500 tons.
Capable of reaching speeds of over 27 knots, the vessel will have an availability of 200 berths and a crew of 145.
This is a highly flexible vessel, able to operate in a wide range of scenarios, especially in patrolling and safeguarding the Mediterranean area.
The prime contractor for Italy on the Fremm program is Orizzonte Sistemi Navali.
The current framework of the program includes the construction of ten vessels in ltaly.

AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense System Tracks, Simulates Engagements of Three Short-Range Ballistic Missiles

February 24, 2015 - The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and sailors aboard the USS Carney, USS Gonzalez, and USS Barry successfully completed a flight test involving the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) weapon system.
At approximately 2:30 a.m. EST today, three short-range ballistic missile targets were launched near simultaneously from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia. Two Aegis BMD destroyers acquired and tracked the targets. Using this data, the Aegis BMD ships conducted simulated Standard Missile-3 Block IB guided missile engagements with the distributed weighted engagement scheme (DWES) capability enabled. The DWES provides an automated engagement coordination scheme between multiple Aegis BMD ships that determines which ship is the preferred shooter, reducing duplication of BMD engagements and missile expenditures while ensuring BMD threat coverage.
Several fire control, discrimination, and engagement functions were exercised. As no SM-3 guided missiles were launched, the test did not include an attempted intercept.
This test was designated Flight Test Other (FTX)-19. This was the first flight test to assess the ability of the Aegis BMD 4.0 weapon system to simulate engagements of a raid consisting of three short-range, separating ballistic missile targets. This was also the first time Aegis BMD 4.0 ships used the DWES capability with live targets.
The MDA will use test results to improve and enhance the Ballistic Missile Defense System and support the advancement of Phase 2 of the Phased Adaptive Approach for missile defense in Europe to provide protection of U.S. deployed forces, our European allies and partners.

The RAN in Korea

Aerial port bow view of the aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney (III). A Fairey Firefly aircraft is on the catapult forward. Other Fireflies and Hawker Sea Furies are arranged on the flight deck further aft. (photo: Unknown)
Aerial port bow view of the aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney (III). A Fairey Firefly aircraft is on the catapult forward. Other Fireflies and Hawker Sea Furies are arranged on the flight deck further aft.

The Australian International Airshow 2015 pays tribute to Anzac and the heroes of military aviation.  It is the major theme of the event and as such will be the first significant observance of the Gallipoli campaign in its centenary year.  The airshow features an emotional and moving tribute to our aviators from Gallipoli to the present day. During the Australian International Airshow, Navy Daily will highlight the significant contribution of naval aviators from the First World War to the present day.
On 31 August 1951, the Majestic class aircraft carrier, HMAS Sydney (III), under the command of Captain David H. Harries RAN, departed Australian waters to join the Commonwealth naval forces participating in the Korean War. It was a historic occasion, being the first time that any Dominion carrier had gone into action. Embarked were RAN Fleet Air Arm squadrons 805 (Sea Furies), 808 (Sea Furies) and 817 (Fireflies). In addition, the United States Navy (USN) would loan Sydney a Dragonfly helicopter and crew. The carrier arrived in Japan on 19 September.
Participating in 'Operation Strangle,' which was intended to cut enemy supply and communications to the front lines, Sydney would share patrol duties on Korea's west coast with Royal Navy (RN) and USN carriers as part of Task Force 95, United Nations Blockade and Escort Force. Seven patrols of roughly 13 days each, including four days in transit to and from bases in Japan, were originally planned. Operations would normally entail ground attack including close air support for ground forces, armed reconnaissance, spotting for ships’ guns and anti-shipping strikes. In addition, the Carrier Air Group (CAG), now bearing the black and white striped markings of the United Nations, would maintain a Combat Area Patrol (CAP) during daylight hours to protect Sydney in the event of an air attack.
Sydney began her first patrol on 4 October and the CAG conducted its first raids the following day with 32 sorties mounted in the 'Wales' area in the south-west of North Korea. On 11 October, operating off the east coast of Korea, Sydney's CAG flew a light fleet carrier record of 89 sorties in one day conducting attacking raids and targeting sorties for the battleship USS New Jersey, and amounting to a total of 147 sorties in two days of operations. This exceptional performance drew high praise from the British Commander-in-Chief Far East Station:

Hawker Sea Fury fighter aircraft lands on the flight deck of HMAS Sydney (III).
Hawker Sea Fury fighter aircraft lands on the flight deck of HMAS Sydney (III).

"Your air effort in the last two days, unprecedented in quantity and high in quality, has been a magnificent achievement on which I warmly congratulate you. Though it is invidious to particularise - the spotters especially did a first class job and New Jersey with [the Commander of the] 7th Fleet embarked said they were the best she has had yet. Eighty-nine sorties in one day is grand batting by any standards, particularly in the opening match..."
Aircraft engineers and maintenance crews also won much well deserved praise achieving remarkable serviceability and turn-around rates to keep the aircraft flying. Ordnance crews were also required to load armaments of up to 227 kgs in all weather, day and night.
It did not take long before Sydney’s CAG earned a reputation as being a proficient strike unit having carried out a number of very successful missions against rail and road bridge targets. Rail and road interdiction became the main role of the squadron throughout the Korean War and this often required the pilots to use low level attacks against heavily defended targets behind enemy lines. Anti-aircraft fire was particularly effective under these circumstances and several Fireflies were lost or damaged as a result. Anti-submarine patrols were also flown by 817 Squadron around the Sydney task group and spotting tasks continued for ships involved in Naval Gunfire Support off the Korean coastline.
On 14 October, Sydney was subjected to the full force of Typhoon Ruth. Battling force 12 winds, and with waves up to 15m high crashing over her deck, Sydney rode out the storm with 13 of her aircraft exposed on deck. Many were damaged and five of them were written off with at least one being washed over board. The carrier itself sustained damage and several of her personnel suffered minor injuries.
During flying operations on 25-26 October, three of Sydney's aircraft were shot down and a fourth badly damaged. One of these, a Firefly from 817 Squadron, piloted by Sub-Lieutenant Neil MacMillan and Chief Petty Officer Phillip Hancox, was forced down in a frozen rice paddy 50 miles behind enemy lines. The two downed aviators resisted capture by enemy soldiers with the aid of an Owen sub-machine gun and a protective overhead umbrella provided by Sea Furies from Sydney and Meteor jet fighters from the Royal Australian Air Force's 77 Squadron. The two airmen were later rescued by Sydney's Dragonfly helicopter which had flown more than 100 miles to carry out the rescue at the limit of its endurance. It then recovered to Kimpo and returned to Sydney with its passengers the following day. The helicopter pilot, Chief Petty Officer Arlene 'Dick' Babbit, USN, was awarded the Commonwealth Distinguished Service Medal as well as the United States Navy Cross for his efforts that day, earning the distinction of being the only allied serviceman in Korea to receive the awards of two nations for the same action.
With the onset of the Korean winter, flying operations became increasingly difficult for both aircrew and maintainers. The icy conditions and subzero temperature on Sydney's windswept, and at times, snow covered flight deck resulted in a number of cases of frostbite and introduced the additional hazard of aircrew freezing to death if an aircraft was forced to ditch at sea.

40mm Bofors Anti Aircraft guns of the aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney (III) at gunnery practice during a tour of duty of Korea 1951
40mm Bofors Anti Aircraft guns of the aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney (III) at gunnery practice during a tour of duty of Korea 1951

Sydney's CAG lost three aircrew during the Korean War, all from 805 Squadron. Lieutenant Keith Clarkson was killed when his aircraft was struck by enemy fire while diving on a road convoy on 5 November 1951. He never recovered from the dive. Clarkson's death shocked the rest of the CAG not just because he was their first fatality, but also because he was 805 Squadron's Senior Pilot and one of the most experienced pilots in the CAG, having served in WWII with the Royal Australian Air Force.
805 Squadron suffered their second loss on 7 December 1951 when Sub-Lieutenant Richard Sinclair was hit by flak north-west of Chinnampo. His aircraft lost oil pressure and the engine caught fire forcing him to bail out. Sinclair was killed when he was struck by the tailplane of his Sea Fury. He was the father of a one month old baby back home in Australia.
The Squadron's final loss was that of Sub-Lieutenant Ronald Coleman who went missing on 2 January 1952 during an otherwise uneventful CAP over the Yellow Sea. Coleman disappeared into cloud and was never seen again. With weather conditions and visibility extremely poor, Sydney launched an arduous, but ultimately fruitless, search.
Sydney's last raids were scheduled for 25 January 1952, striking directly on the North Korean capital of Pyongyang. Extremely poor weather, however, caused the mission to be cancelled and Sydney returned to Australia a few days later via Sasebo and Hong Kong.
Collectively, Sydney's CAG had flown 2,366 sorties over 64 days in the operational area for the loss of three lives (all from 805 Squadron) and 14 aircraft (including those lost overboard or damaged beyond repair by Cyclone Ruth). Sydney had achieved an enviable operational record in Korea and it was noted that enemy activity decreased significantly in Sydney's area of operations.
On October 27 1953 Sydney departed Fremantle for her second tour of duty in Korean waters with 805 (Sea Furies), 816 (Fireflies) and 850 (Sea Furies) squadrons embarked. The July 1953 ceasefire meant that the deployment should have been a comparatively uneventful affair. However, the deaths of two pilots (one from 805 Squadron, the other from 850 Squadron) and the serious injury of an aircraft handler would mar the deployment. 850 Squadron pilot Sub-Lieutenant Michael Beardsall, RN, was killed when his Sea Fury crashed into the sea about 15 kilometres ahead of the ship on 29 December 1953. 805 Squadron pilot Sub-Lieutenant John McClinton was killed on 15 January 1954 when he walked into a rotating propeller on Sydney's flight deck. On 14 February 1954, Naval Airman Keith Hazel, a 'Hookman' whose duty was to race out from the catwalk to secure a landed aircraft once it had caught a wire, appeared to either misjudge a landing or the aircraft slipped a wire and caught a later one. In either case, Hazel ran onto the flight deck too early and an arrestor wire nearly severed his legs. They were saved by a US Army doctor. The incident highlighted how dangerous naval aviation could be for all involved. Sydney departed for Australia on 4 May 1954 and arrived in Fremantle, via Hong Kong and Singapore, on 2 June 1954.

CORONA: Declassified

First Imagery Taken By CORONA - Mys Shmidta Air Field, USSR 18 Aug 1960. Courtesy of NRO.
Twenty years ago this month, the world learned about the existence of the first imaging reconnaissance satellite, codenamed CORONA.
It’s hard to imagine a world without Google maps or satellite imagery, but when CORONA was developed in the 1950s, satellite photo-reconnaissance didn’t exist.
CORONA was created by a small group of CIA, Air Force and private industry experts who were tasked with finding a way to provide broad imagery coverage of the USSR to identify missile launch sites and production facilities.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower formally endorsed CORONA in February 1958.
Known to the public as the U.S. Air Force’s Discoverer program, the classified CORONA project operated during the height of the Cold War to collect pictures over the denied areas of eastern Europe and Asia.
CORONA also had sister programs: ARGON for mapping imagery and LANYARD, a short-lived program designed for higher-quality imagery.
During its operational life, CORONA collected over 800,000 images in response to the national security requirements of the time. On average, individual images covered a geographic area on the Earth's surface of approximately 10x120 miles.
On February 24, 1995, Vice President Gore visited CIA Headquarters to announce Executive Order 12951, signed by President Clinton, which released CORONA, ARGON, and LANYARD imagery to the public.
At the announcement, Gore stated, "Satellite coverage gave us the confidence to pursue arms control agreements--agreements that eventually led to dramatic decreases in the number of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems.''
Gore also noted that satellites, "Recorded much more than the landscape of the Cold War. In the process of acquiring this priceless data, we recorded for future generations the environmental history of the Earth at least a decade before any country on this Earth launched any Earth resource satellites."
Example of Four-Day Coverage of Eurasia During KH-4A Mission 1017. Courtesy of NRO.
More than 800,000 photographs were sent over the following 18 months to the National Archives and the US Geological Survey. The order stipulated that all the imagery would be declassified immediately upon transfer and be made available to the public.
Thanks to the Intelligence Community's persistence, CORONA resulted in one of the largest declassification projects in American history. The end of the Cold War also spurred interest in satellites and their possible use for environmental and other studies.
The full Intelligence Community archive of CORONA, ARGON, and LANYARD imagery has been transferred to the public archive at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the Earth Resources Observation Systems (EROS) Data Center. The NRO History Archive also contains a detailed collection of CORONA history, imagery and other related materials.

L-3 SAM Electronics to Retrofit Taiwanese Research Vessel


Hamburg February 26, 2015 – L-3 SAM Electronics announced today that it has been awarded a contract to retrofit state-of-the-art propulsion control and automation systems aboard the Taiwanese Navy’s Ta Kuan hydrographic and oceanographic research vessel.
The 93-metre-long vessel, built by Fincantieri at its shipyard in Muggiano, La Spezia, Italy in 1995, carries out operations in domestic waters as well as the South China Sea on behalf of Taiwan’s governmental National Science Council and other research institutes. The completion of the retrofit is planned for later this year.
“Ta Kuan is one of our earlier projects, having already been equipped with our propulsion system, and we are very proud to continue our support of this platform for this major upgrade effort,” said Reinhard Swoboda, senior vice president of drives and special systems at L-3 SAM Electronics. “More than 100 successful installations worldwide confirm our role as a reliable partner for diesel-electric propulsion systems.”
Facilities to be supplied and installed by L-3 SAM Electronics comprise an eco-friendly propulsion concept for optimizing drive redundancy and reliability of the existing motors, as well as a high-performance control unit to handle complex monitoring and control tasks.
The retrofit package will be completed by L-3 SAM Electronics’ MCS Platinum automated monitoring and control system, with approximately 1,100 data inputs remotely controlled from several onboard computer workstations. The scope of supply also includes L-3’s Geapas 500 power management system, providing extensive management and protection functions for generator and diesel engines with a common LCD panel for monitoring and control.

Memories of a Pearl Harbor and Midway IJN Veteran

Mori Juzo's autobiography, The Miraculous Torpedo Squadron is a rare first-hand account of Japanese Navy carrier operations at Midway in the Second World War.

By Mori Juzo, translated by Nick Voge
Mori Juzo was a torpedo bomber pilot of the Imperial Japanese Navy and one of the aviators who participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor as well as the attack on the Midway Atoll some six months later. In 1973, Juzo wrote his autobiography, entitled Kiseki no Raigekitai (The Miraculous Torpedo Squadron). This book has, until now, never been translated into English. But one of Vintage Wings readers, Nicholas (Nick) Voge, an American pilot with Oahu’s Makani Kai Air, is also a long-time translator and has been working on an English translation of Mori Juzo’s work. Here, for the first time in English, excerpted from Mori Juzo’s The Miraculous Torpedo Squadron, is his description of the high point for the Japanese attackers at Midway. By the end of the next three days, all four of the participating Japanese fleet aircraft carriers (Akagi, Hiryu, Soryu and Kaga) would be sunk for one American carrier (Yorktown). In addition to the carriers, the Japanese suffered the loss of a heavy cruiser, nearly 250 aircraft, and as many as 3,000 men, many of them seasoned aircrews. It was a violent, all-out pitched battle between two naval air forces and was the first major defeat of the Japanese Imperial Navy. 
The opening blows from the Japanese – excerpted from The Miraculous Torpedo Squadron

I’d been away from the front for some time and was tensed up and ready for battle. As usual though, I felt that while others might die, I would not. Human nature is funny that way.
On we went, our engines purring contentedly. After about fifty minutes the island of Midway began to take shape on the horizon ahead of us. The Zeros dropped their external fuel tanks to ready themselves for action. Suddenly, one of the dive-bombers in front of me burst into flames and fell from formation. An enemy fighter had nailed him. Shit! They were up there waiting for us! Six of the Zeros behind us immediately shot to the front of the formation. In another ten minutes we would be over the island. Out of the corner of my eye I could see a vicious dogfight underway, but we kept right on going.

The tiny twin-island speck of Midway Atoll, sometimes referred to as Midway Island or the Midway Islands, stands, as the name suggests, at a point halfway between the land masses of North America and Asia. The 6.2 square kilometers was, in 1941 when this photograph was taken, home to two airfields under the name of Naval Air Facility Midway. Control of the islands has always been in the hands of the United States, but on June 4-6 of 1942, the Japanese Imperial Navy and its aircraft carriers made a play to attack the islands, rendering the Americans another humiliating defeat and giving them an excellent base from which to launch attacks against the Hawaiian Islands. Photo: US Navy

Midway Atoll is part of a long chain of atolls, volcanic islands and seamounts extending from the Hawaiian group in a general northwest line ending near the western tip of the Aleutian Archipelago. This formation is called the Hawaii-Emperor Chain There are several smaller sand bar islands, but the two main islands are Sand Island and Eastern Island. The former US Navy airfield on Eastern Island is now long abandoned while Sand Island now houses a closed airfield and harbour. The coral reef which surrounds the lagoon traces the outline of the volcanic island which once rose from this spot. Photomap via wikipedia
Looking over my shoulder I could see that Hosoda had a death-grip on his 7.7mm machine gun, ready to ward off enemy fighters.
“Here comes a Grumman!” he yelled. I looked back to see flame spitting from the fighter’s six guns. It looked like the leading edge of his wing was on fire. The Grumman seemed like a very small machine to be crossing swords with our imposing and stately attack planes. We tightened up our formation so as to be able to better concentrate our fire. Then all we could do was wait for the Zeros to come to our rescue. For some reason, none of them did. Hell, we still had to carry out our attack. If we got shot down now it would all be for nothing.

In this diorama, the first wave of attacking Japanese Navy level bombers (the Kates of Mori Juzo and his squadron) and dive bombers are intercepted by the Grumman Wildcats of Marine fighter squadron VMF-221, based at Midway.  In this “Vee of Vees”, Juzo's Kates took the lead. The Fighting Falcons of VMF-221 were scrambled after radar picked up that attackers. They paid a very heavy price taking on the 36 highly experienced Japanese Zero pilots who flew cover for the bombers. The Zero fighter escort was "stepped up" behind the dive bombers; this disposition gave the pilots of VMF-221 a clear shot at the bombers for the first few passes as corroborated by Juzo's description. Once the Zeros were able to engage the Marine fighters, the tables were effectively and terribly turned. Fourteen of the Squadron's pilots had been killed in action, four others had been wounded and only two of the remaining Wildcats were serviceable. Diorama by Norman Geddes 

Suddenly a Grumman appeared in front of our formation. Crap, now we’re done for, was all I could think. They knew we didn’t have any forward-firing guns, so they made frontal attacks. When they couldn’t knock us down from the front they came at us from below. Before I knew it there was another one shooting at me from the left. Damn, I hated their guts but I had to give them credit, they came to fight. Now we’re finished, was all I could think.
That thought had no sooner formed than a Zero flashed over the top of us like a bullet. Yaré! Go get ‘em!
We watched with bated breath as the Zeros latched on the tails of the enemy planes. A few seconds later one of the Grummans suddenly pitched forward and went spinning down towards the ocean. Thank you Zeros! We only needed three more minutes before we could drop our bombs. Just then another Grumman came diving down at us from the upper right. “He’s gonna nail us,” I yelled. But yelling was all I could do, as I had to maintain formation at all costs. Strangely enough, I wasn’t afraid or worried about dying, and since there was nothing I could do about it I just tried to ignore him. In the next instant he too went spinning down trailing smoke and flame, another victim of our skillful Zero pilots.
My number three had apparently been shot up. His left wing was down, but he soon straightened out and rejoined our formation. Hang in there!
Our fighters had already knocked down two enemy fighters and they now climbed up after a third. By now I’d completely forgotten about my own danger and found myself wildly cheering on the Zeros. They got him! They got another one! “Hey look,” I shouted. “The pilot bailed out!” A few seconds later a white parachute blossomed above him like a flower and he floated gently down to the sea. Lucky guy, I thought. He escaped with his life.
It was, in fact, a brilliant escape. However, unlike the enemy, those of us in the attack groups wore no parachutes. This was to avoid the life-long shame of saving ourselves only to be captured by the enemy.
We now peeled off in our dive. There was a lot of anti-aircraft fire coming up at us but the shells were all exploding away from us. You’re never going to hit us with that lousy shooting, I thought.
At the center of the island was a single runway running east and west. To its right, on the island’s north side, were three hangars; to the left was a lot of greenery that looked like a pine forest. That’s where the AA emplacements seemed to be, as I could see the flash of gunfire between the trees.
Our six planes in the third section dove down from the east side of the island from an altitude of 12,000’. The dive bombers were dropping their 500-pounders on the hangars, causing huge fires to erupt.
Ichiro Tada, the rear gunner in the flight leader’s plane, raised his right hand straight up in the air. We were on our bomb run. It seemed to be taking forever but we only had about ten seconds to go before release.
On the signal from the lead plane we all released our bombs at once. Freed of the heavy load the engine suddenly began to run more easily. Looking down to see how we did I could see the first four bombs detonate in quick succession right on the runway. Number five went into the pine forest next to the runway, as did six and seven. Nuts, I thought, they missed. Just then a huge explosion erupted from the forest and all the AA fire stopped. Luck of the draw — sometimes you screw up and it works out in your favor.
It looked like we made direct hit not just on their AA emplacements but on an ammo dump as well. Secondary explosions were still going off and flame and debris were flying in all directions. Looking down on the fireworks I felt a great sense of relief at having successfully done my duty. As we came off the run we made a big sweeping turn to the west, joined up with the other planes and headed back to our ships.

Mori Juzo and his squadron mates aboard Soryū flew the Nakajima B5N (Allied reporting name “Kate”), the standard torpedo bomber of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) for much of the Second World War. At Pearl Harbor, Juzo flew the aircraft as a torpedo bomber which was its primary role. At Midway, torpedos would not be needed in this attack on the island's airfield and so the Kates were armed with 1x 1,760lb bomb or 2 × 550 lb bombs or 6 × 293 lb bombs.  Primarily a carrier-based aircraft, it was also occasionally used as a land-based bomber. The B5N carried a crew of three: pilot, navigator/bombardier/observer, and radio operator/gunner. By 1944, the Kate had been replaced by the Nakajima B6N (Jill) torpedo bomber but a few Kates stayed in service until the end of the war as trainers and target towing. Photo: IJN

After about an hour I was able to make out our fleet steaming grandly along ahead of us. The sight filled me with relief — home at last! It felt great to see the fleet there on the horizon after the successful completion of our mission. Before I knew it I was humming a popular melody. Yep, there’s no place like home!
In this relaxed state of mind I aimed my plane towards our carrier and flew along enjoying the view. Still, I thought, those Grumman put up quite a fight. This was the first time since the start of the Greater East Asian War that we had faced this enemy plane so I suppose that’s to be expected. Those American pilots were pretty good.
Suddenly, one of our destroyers started belching black smoke, the signal that enemy planes had been sighted. Looks like they were out for revenge. Seeing the smoke I immediately tensed up.
Okay, let’s fight! I thought to myself. I became very excited.
We dropped down to 600’ and got inside our fleet’s protective ring. I figured they must be carrier planes, but when I looked up I saw five B-17’s flying over our ships. At that instant at least ten huge geysers of water shot up from the right side of Hiryū. This happened right in front of us and the columns of water completely obscured the carrier from sight.

Shortly after 8 AM on 4 June, the Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Hiryu zig zags under high speed to escape bombs from US Army Boeing B-17s which fall aft and to starboard of her course. It's possible that this is at the moment described above by Mori Juzo. Photo: USAAC 

“Damn! They got her,” I yelled to the guys behind me. But when the water subsided, there was, steaming along at full speed as majestically as ever.
Thank goodness, I thought with relief. But where were the Zeros that were supposed to be providing cover? They could at least have knocked a couple down by ramming them. What the hell were they doing?

Juzo's IJN Soryu scribes a near perfect circle as she attempts to avoid falling bombs (centre) from Midway-based B-17s. Attempting to hit a moving target from a high altitude bomber was, at the best of times, a poor strategy. To sink a carrier, smaller dive bombers and torpedo bombers would have to get in much closer. Photo: USAAC

I had no sooner finished this thought then one of the destroyers at the edge of the fleet starting pumping out black smoke. Looking off to the east I saw what looked like a bunch of baby spiders crawling along the surface of the sea. It was a formation of enemy torpedo planes spread out and flying low over the water. They were headed straight for the fleet. Our fighters were chasing after them and gaining fast.
What follows in The Miraculous Torpedo Sqaudron is a dramatic account of Soryu's sinking and Mori's escape from her. There is also an eyewitness account of the death of Soryu's Captain Yanagimoto, including the last hours of the carriers (Mori's account differs in some respects from the official U.S. histories). This is followed by the virtual house arrest of Mori and his shipmates on their return to Japan. To download the full digital book, a rare account of the Midway misadventure of the Imperial Japanese Navy, visit here

The carrier Soryu under heavy attck during the battle. The Battle of Midway did irrevocable damage to the strength of the Imperial Japanese Navy, gutting much of its carrier force capability – something the IJN would never recover from.  Emboldened by the heavy losses of the Japanese, the Americans began in earnest their extremely costly, but ultimately successful, island hopping campaign to push back the Japanese to their homeland. Just two months after Midway, the Marines started by landing on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, some 3,000 miles to the southwest. Three years later, they would force an end to the war by dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sweden’s FMV Launches Sea Surveillance Project

Stockholm February 23, 2015 - Surveillance cameras, radars and satellites are delivering vast amounts of information.
To be able to see if anything deviates from the normal in this flood of data, to find patterns indicating that something unwanted is about to happen. That was the aim of the FMV project concerning sea surveillance. 
Terrorism and other situations of crisis can show unusual patterns of behaviour. The ability to recognise these signs of potential threats is of great importance. FMV has worked on these questions within the framework of a research and technology development program. 
Ingemar Kjölander, Project Manager, tells that the purpose of the program was to develop and tune an experimental system to be used for sea surveillance, SDS, (Situation Detection Service). 
The basis of this system for compilation of naval traffic was developed in earlier research programmes. Now Ingemar Kjölanderhe task was to further improve the algorithms. 
The SDS-system gets its data from radar, cameras and transponders in the vessels. The system is learning what can be considered a “normal state” by recording all ship movements during a certain period. Vessels moving outside of this pattern are detected. 
The recorded normal states are one side of the system, the other is a so called Rule-editor. In this it can be decided what is to be considered a deviation. It can be too high or low speed or that a vessel is inside or outside of specific areas such as established naval routes. 
Is there a need to have the ability to find these deviations? Yes, both the Swedish armed forces and the civilian rescue services are asking for a tool of this kind that can distinguish deviations from the normal. The aim is, of course, to identify possible threats as early as possible in order to eliminate them. 
Unlawful fishing and pirate activities can be a cause of unusual behaviour on the water. It can also be some problem with the ship or the crew. These are things that the sea surveillance authorities want to know in order to take the right actions. 
By applying more advanced rules of deviation there could for example be an alarm when two ships from different harbours meet at sea and then return to their respective harbours. This could be a sign of smuggling activities. 
After display and demonstrations at the armed forces development centre in Enköping the programme manager Ingemar Kjölander concluded that the experimental system, SDS, delivered according to expectations. 
– In the first version there were too many alarms. When we introduced adjustable parameters for properties and behaviour of the ships the number of alarms went down at the same time the operators found it easier to see the cause of the alarm. 
The conclusion from the research and technology programme, SDS, was that the algorithms worked and that it is possible to build systems to detect deviations. This is also confirmed by that the delivering company SAAB already has implemented the algorithms in new products. 
Apart from the armed forces and the rescue service the coast guard, police and custom authorities are potential users of this system. 

CACI Awarded $38 Million Prime Contract to Provide Weapon Systems Support to Naval Surface Warfare Center

Arlington February 24, 2015 - CACI International Inc announced today it was awarded a $38 million contract to provide test, evaluation, and information assurance services to the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren Division in Dahlgren, Virginia. This five-year (one base year plus two option years and two award term years) contract represents new business for CACI, growing the company’s presence in its C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) market area.
“CACI’s latest award with the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center continues our record of support for this valued customer. We are focused on delivering best-value solutions and services to ensure readiness of the essential systems the Navy relies on to combat global threats whenever and wherever their presence is needed.”
NSWC Dahlgren, a premier research and development center, serves as a specialty site for weapon systems integration. Under this contract, CACI will perform test, evaluation, and information assurance services to support the Strategic and Weapon Control Systems (K) Department in ensuring that strategic and tactical weapon and fire control missile systems are fully operational and certified to Navy-required standards before they are deployed.
With more than 20 years of experience supporting NSWC Dahlgren, CACI’s subject matter experts have in-depth knowledge of the customer’s mission and the complex warfighting systems managed by the K Department. This history of support includes a long-term contract providing technical and engineering services to the Department’s Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile program.
John Mengucci, CACI’s Chief Operating Officer and President of U.S. Operations, said, “CACI brings a unique enterprise-level approach to supporting the test and evaluation requirements of the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren. Through collaboration and standardization of processes and procedures across all weapons systems, we will provide the Navy with time and cost savings as well as the versatility to meet surge efforts.”
According to CACI President and Chief Executive Officer Ken Asbury, “CACI’s latest award with the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center continues our record of support for this valued customer. We are focused on delivering best-value solutions and services to ensure readiness of the essential systems the Navy relies on to combat global threats whenever and wherever their presence is needed.”

Friday, February 20, 2015

Saab Signs Contract with FMV for Underwater Systems


February 20, 2015 - Defence and security company Saab has received orders from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) for continued development of the New Lightweight Torpedo plus maintenance agreements for underwater weapon systems and the Hydra sonar system. The total order value amounts to approximately SEK 175 million.
The orders come under the terms of the Letter of Intent (LoI) between Saab and FMV that was announced on 9 June 2014. The LoI supports the Swedish Armed Forces’ underwater capabilities for the period 2015-2024.
”The New Lightweight Torpedo order represents another important step in developing a new generation underwater weapon, in collaboration with FMV and the Swedish Navy,” says Görgen Johansson, head of Saab business area Dynamics.
“Based on the proven Torpedo 45 with its outstanding shallow-water anti-submarine warfare capability, the New Lightweight Torpedo will deliver significant performance improvements to deal with evolving threats in international scenarios,” says Görgen Johansson.
Saab possesses a unique competence in developing underwater systems for the complex environment in the Baltic Sea, including customised propulsion systems, communication systems and homing devices. Saab’s underwater systems are world-leaders in their market segment.
The contracts for maintenance of underwater weapon systems and the Hydra sonar system cover system support and maintenance for relevant operational systems.
“Saab has been responsible for the maintenance of the Swedish Navy’s underwater weapons for many years. We are pleased to announce that we have now expanded this responsibility to include the Hydra sonar system,” says Agneta Kammeby, head of Underwater Systems at business area Dynamics.

Orbital ATK’s AAR-47 Missile Warning System Awarded $30 Million Production Contract from U.S. Navy

Dulles VA February 20, 2015 - Orbital ATK, Inc. has received a $30 million production contract from the U.S. Navy for the manufacturing of the AAR-47 Missile Warning System. The award encompasses production of new assemblies, including optical sensor converters and computer processors, as well as options for retrofitting weapon-replaceable assembly upgrades and delivery of Orbital ATK's Countermeasures Signals Simulator to test systems operability. The system, deployed since 1987, has protected military aircrew and aircraft in a variety of combat missions.
“In 2013 we completed delivery of 500 systems, demonstrating our commitment to deliver affordable innovation on schedule and on budget to those who protect our nation.”
“This contract continues to provide the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps our demonstrated AAR-47 aircraft survivability system with Hostile Fire Indication,” said Bill Kasting, vice president and general manager of Orbital ATK’s Defense Electronic Systems division of the Defense Systems Group. “In 2013 we completed delivery of 500 systems, demonstrating our commitment to deliver affordable innovation on schedule and on budget to those who protect our nation.”
“Orbital ATK is focused on assuring our military customers get the best force protection equipment with warning systems like the AAR-47 HFI,” said Mike Kahn, executive vice president and president of Orbital ATK’s Defense Group. “Delivering accuracy, reliability and affordability to our customers is core to our business.”
Orbital ATK's AAR-47 Missile Warning System is a combat-proven electronic warfare system designed to protect helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft from surface-to-air threats. The system is the lowest cost, lightest weight and lowest power consumption system that is combat proven. With Orbital ATK’s unique Hostile Fire Indication capability added to the AAR-47, military aircrew flying helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft can detect a wider range of threats to their aircraft, including smaller-caliber weapon fire and rocket-propelled grenades.
The AAR-47 missile warning system is installed on fixed and rotary-wing aircraft flown by the U.S. and its allies in more than 16 countries, including a variety of U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps platforms.
Orbital ATK’s Defense Group is an industry leader in providing innovative and affordable ammunition, precision and strike weapons, electronic warfare systems, and missile components across air-, sea-, and land-based systems.

Prime Minister announces major boost to UK economy with £859 million shipbuilding investment

Type 26

London February 20, 2015 - Prime Minister David Cameron today announced a major boost to the UK’s shipbuilding industry as the Ministry of Defence signs a contract with BAE Systems worth £859 million.
Around 1700 jobs will be sustained as a result of the investment in the future Type 26 complex warship – the next generation Royal Navy frigates – with 600 of the jobs safeguarded in Scotland, where the Type 26 will be built.
Various other sites across the country will also benefit from today’s announcement including in Derbyshire, West Yorkshire, Manchester, Cheshire, Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Hampshire.
Welcoming the announcement, the Prime Minister said, "This is a substantial investment in our shipbuilding industry, safeguarding the jobs of 600 workers in Scotland and many more across the UK. Investing in these warships will ensure we continue to keep our country safe, at home and abroad.
"As part of our long term economic plan, we’re not just building the most advanced modern warships in the world – we are building the careers of many young people with apprenticeships that will set them up for life."
The T26 Global Combat Ship (GCS) will be a multi-mission warship capable of joint and multinational operations across the full spectrum of warfare, including complex combat operations, counter-piracy, humanitarian and disaster relief work.
Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, said, "This announcement is a clear vote of confidence in British industry and forms part of our commitment to invest over £160 billion in equipment and equipment support over the next 10 years.
"As a result, our military will have some of the most impressive and technologically advanced capabilities in the world; from the aircraft carriers and the F-35 Lightning II fighter jets, to the Type 45 destroyers, Scout armoured vehicles, the A400M and the Astute Class submarines."
BAE Systems Chief Executive, Ian King, said, "We have a long and proud heritage of delivering complex warships in the UK and today’s announcement is a significant endorsement of the Government’s commitment to sustain this important national capability. We are committed to working with the Government, the Ministry of Defence and our partners in the maritime supply chain to ensure the Royal Navy has the capability it needs to protect national interests, while ensuring the best value for money for UK taxpayers.
"Through the Type 26 programme, we are transforming the way we design and manufacture naval ships with innovative new technologies, leading-edge processes and modern infrastructure. New ways of working ensure we can continue to deliver the highest quality equipment at the lowest possible cost and compete effectively for future UK and international orders."
The new contract will include investment in essential long lead items for the ships, shore testing facilities. There will also be investment in key equipment for the first three ships – such as gas turbines, diesel generators and steering gear – allowing suppliers to plan, invest and secure their workforce on the project.