Sunday, May 31, 2015

Unconfirmed Graphics on Next Indian Carrier Design

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Coast Guard C-27J Successfully Delivers Rescue Gear During Training Mission

Crew from the Coast Guard’s HC-27J Asset Project Office in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, where the service’s first regenerated C-27J medium range surveillance aircraft is based, complete four aerial deliveries of rescue gear to a Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel conducting a training mission in Albemarle Sound May 8, 2015. The deliveries from CG-2714 were part of an effort to validate operational search and rescue procedures for the aircraft and complete upgrade qualification training for the crew. A second aircraft is undergoing maintenance at the APO, and two more are in the regeneration process that will bring them out of long-term preservation at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group facility located at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona. The Coast Guard plans to operate a fleet of 14 HC-27J aircraft. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tugboat RB-365 of project 90600 built by Pella Shipyard completes mooring and sea trials


St Petersburg May 26, 2015 - On May 25, Pella Shipyard completed the mooring and sea trials of the tugboat RB-365 of the project 90600 (Hull No 942). According to the Company, the acceptance/delivery procedure starts on May 26. Upon completion of the state trials, the vessel will be delivered to the customer.
The tugboat is intended for towing and berthing operations in harbor, roadsteads and coastal areas which comply with R3 navigation area, refloating of ships and vessels, fire fighting operations at floating and shore objects, oil spill response activities, cargo transportation, ice breaking and erosion operations.

Technical information:
Length max 25,4 m
Width max 8,8 m
Draught 4,2 m
Speed 11,8 knots
Classificaion Arc4 R3 Aut3 Tug by Russian Register of shipping.
Propulsion system US 155, Rolls-Royce, FPP into nozzles
Powerplant 2*746 kW at 1800 r/min, Caterpillar ?32
Deck equipment: bow electro-hydraulic anchor-towing-mooring winch Fluidmecanica providing 10 t of bollard pull and 847 kN of brake holding force; 23 t towing hook SWL with quick release device.
The tugboat is equipped with cargo crane 2300, Palfinger with lifting capacity of 150 kilos at the boom of 5m.
In order to fulfill fire-fighting operations the tugboat is equipped with external fire fighting system made by FFS (capacity is 800 m3/h, 2 water monitors, water curtains system).
JSC Pella Shipyard based in Russia’s Leningrad region was founded in 1950. In 1992 Pella was privatized as Pella Holding Co. comprising the head office and several subsidiaries. The shipbuilding firm specializes in building tractor tugs with rated power of 1,000hp to 5,000hp, push boats, escort tugs, pilot boats and SAR boats for Russian customers and for export.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Virginia-Class Submarine John Warner (SSN 785) Successfully Completes Initial Sea Trials

Newport News May 26, 2015 - Huntington Ingalls Industries announced today that the newest Virginia-class submarine, John Warner (SSN 785), successfully completed its initial sea trials on Saturday. Sea trials are aggressive operational tests that demonstrate the submarine’s capabilities at sea. John Warner, the first Virginia-class submarine to be named for a person, is being built as part of a teaming arrangement between HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division and General Dynamics Electric Boat.
“Alpha sea trials represent the first underway test of the quality of the craftsmanship that went into the construction of this great vessel and the skill of the crew that operates her,” said Jim Hughes, Newport News’ vice president of submarines and fleet support. “Both the ship and the crew performed incredibly well, resulting in extremely successful trials that enable the ship to advance directly into its next set of tests. The John Warner is now well on its way to being another successful and early Virginia-class delivery.”
All systems, components and compartments were tested during the trials. The submarine submerged for the first time and operated at high speeds on the surface and underwater. John Warner will undergo several more rounds of sea trials before delivery to the Navy by Newport News.
“The sea trials were a huge success,” said Cmdr. Dan Caldwell, the submarine’s prospective commanding officer. “The ship is in great material condition, and I could not be more proud of the way the crew performed. They have worked tirelessly for the last two years preparing to take this ship to sea, and it showed during sea trials. We look forward to completing the ship’s delivery and joining the operational fleet.”
Construction of John Warner began in 2010. The boat is 99 percent complete and on schedule to deliver next month—more than three months ahead of its contracted delivery date.

IMDEX Asia 2015 Attracts Strong International Participation

April 22, 2015 - IMDEX Asia 2015 has attracted strong international interest from senior naval officials, maritime agencies and industry representatives who will converge at the Changi Exhibition Centre in Singapore from 19 to 21 May 2015.
To date, Navy Chiefs from 15 countries such as Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Djibouti, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Malaysia, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Sweden, UAE, UK, Uruguay as well as the Indonesian Air Force Chief have confirmed their participation in IMDEX Asia 2015. The Commanders of HQ Integrated Area Defence System, the Hong Kong Marine Police, the Indonesia Maritime Security Board, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and Vietnam Coast Guard are also attending the show. In addition, as of today, 26 Navies and Coast Guards from Bahrain, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, China, France, India and Indian Coast Guard, Italy National Armament, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Oman and Oman Coast Guard, Pakistan, the Philippine Coast Guard, Qatar and Qatar Coast Guard, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, US, Vietnam, and the Royal Malaysian Air Force will send representatives to the event.
The Warships Display at IMDEX Asia will feature 19 foreign warships from 12 navies, namely Australia (HMAS Perth), Bangladesh (BNS Dhaleshwari), Brunei (KDB Darussalam), China (CNS Yulin), India (INS Satpura and INS Kamorta), Indonesia (a frigate and a patrol craft), Korea (ROKS Incheon), Malaysia (KD Lekir) and Oman (Al-Ofouq-class patrol vessel built by Singapore's very own ST Marine), Russia (Admiral Panteleyev, Pechenga and SB-522), Thailand (HTMS Krabi and P.G.M. 113), US (USS Fort Worth, USS Mustin and 1 submarine) and Singapore Police Coast Guard Craft (Mako Shark).
IMDEX Asia 2015 has also received a strong vote of confidence from both returning and first-time exhibitors. This year, the show will welcome new exhibitors such as Ametek, Kairos Singapore, Kelvin Hughes, KM Kinley, Microflown Maritime, PIO-Ship Design & System Integrate Pte Ltd, Privinvest Holding, QinetiQ, Strategic Marine, Stone Marine and Teho Ropes along with returning major industry players Damen Naval, Elbit, General Dynamics Canada, Israel Aerospace Industries and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.
This strong international participation underscores IMDEX Asia's standing as Asia Pacific's premier international maritime defence show. It also reflects growing opportunities in the region, which has become the world's second largest naval market, after the United States of America. According to AMI International, the Asia Pacific region is expected to spend around US$200 billion on new ships and submarines by 2032, making up roughly 25 per cent of the global projected new ship market.
Southeast Asia, in particular, is set to spend more than US$25 billion on new naval ships through 2031, with patrol vessels, frigates and amphibious ships making up the primary group of future new naval projects in the region.
IMDEX Asia serves as a valuable platform for countries in this dynamic region to update themselves on the latest technologies, network and forge partnerships with key players from navies, governments and industry. The 2013 edition of IMDEX Asia was attended by a record 21 Navy Chiefs from around the world, 9 Directors-General of Coast Guard and heads of maritime agencies and saw over 500 business meetings take place between exhibitors and VIP delegations.
Mr Leck Chet Lam, Managing Director of Experia Events, said: "We are delighted that IMDEX Asia 2015 will again see a strong international participation by navies, coast guards and visiting warships. This underscores the continued relevance of the show as the platform of choice to tap on opportunities in the growing Asia Pacific naval market. It also demonstrates the value that IMDEX Asia brings to delegates and trade visitors as a platform to learn more about the wide range of innovative technologies, network and forge partnerships with industry leaders from around the world."
The strategic and technical conferences offered at IMDEX Asia remains an important platform for government and military officials, business and academia to keep abreast of the latest developments and address challenges faced by the naval and maritime defence industry.
The International Maritime Security Conference (IMSC) with the theme 'Safe and Secure Seas - Strengthening Cooperation in Maritime Security' emphasises the need to embrace a cooperative security approach to ensure the safety, security, and success of the international maritime system. The International Naval Engineering Conference (INEC@IMDEX Asia) themed 'Adapt and Transform - Flexible Capability in an Uncertain Environment' will cover technological developments and advancements in the areas of - multiplying effect, flexible platforms, underwater technology and effective support solutions. The third conference, the 15th Asia Pacific Submarine Conference (APSC) will, for the first time, be held in conjunction with IMDEX Asia. APSC 2015 brings together regional submarine operating navies and organisations with an interest in submarine safety to discuss issues such as submarine survivability, escape and interoperability of rescue assets. This holistic conference line-up will add a new dimension to IMDEX Asia 2015, bringing discussions of trends in the naval and maritime defence industry to a new level.
IMDEX Asia is organised by Experia Events with the support of the Republic of Singapore Navy, the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre and the Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau.

Prince of Wales Bridge Sets Sail From Glasgow

BAE Systems

April 24, 2015 - The most iconic section of the second Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier is setting sail today from Glasgow on its first sea voyage to Rosyth.
Upper Block 07 is where HMS PRINCE OF WALES will be commanded atop the flight deck and is known as the Forward Island. As the main hub of the ship it contains the bridge and approximately 100 vital mission systems compartments.
Mick Ord, Managing Director at BAE Systems Naval Ships, said: “This Forward Island is a remarkable feat of engineering designed to command one of the UK’s largest ever warships for more than half a century to come so the last Commanding Officer who will take the helm is not even born yet. I’d like to congratulate everyone involved in building and delivering this iconic aircraft carrier section ahead of schedule and to an incredibly high standard.”
The tug delivering the Forward Island will blast its horn passing Ferguson Marine Engineering in Greenock as a final farewell to Glasgow and a salute to BAE Systems’ fellow shipbuilders along the Clyde.
Due to stormy weather expected around the north coast of Scotland, the Forward Island will travel around the south coast of the UK on a nine day voyage before entering the Firth of Forth. The public can follow the journey by visiting and searching for the tug, which is called Strathdon.
Construction of the Forward Island began in December 2013. It left its dock hall in Govan for the first time last weekend before being driven onto a barge using a single remote control and 144 wheels beneath it.
The Queen Elizabeth Class are the first aircraft carriers to use an innovative twin island design. The second ‘Aft Island’ operates as an airport control tower to co-ordinate aircraft movements, but both islands are designed with the ability to incorporate the other’s role in an emergency, thus increasing the survivability of the ship.    
The Forward Island has deck-to-deck windows, which are up to two metres tall to ensure a level of visibility far beyond previous aircraft carriers and are designed to withstand a significant impact, such as a helicopter’s spinning rotor blade.
The 65,000 tonne Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers will be the centerpiece of the UK’s military capability.

PLA Navy plays strategic role in maintaining national safety, interest


The Navy, a strategic branch of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), was founded on April 23, 1949.
  The Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese government have attached great importance to the Navy's development. Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee and the Central Military Commission (CMC), the Navy has progressed along with the advancement of the nation. With the rapid elevation of the overall national strengths of China, the Navy has been making great strides in its development.
  Today, the PLA Navy has developed into a strategic, comprehensive and international military force with both nuclear and conventional combat capabilities. It is composed of the submarines, surface ships, aviation troops, Marine Corps, and shore defense wings. It has become an important strategic tool for maintaining state sovereignty, national dignity, state security and development interests and a resolute force for maintaining world peace.
  Currently, the PLA Navy has 235,000 officers and soldiers. It has 3 Fleets, namely the North China Sea Fleet, the East China Sea Fleet, and the South China Sea Fleet. Each Fleet consists of fleet aviation, bases, flotillas, maritime garrison commands, aviation divisions, and Marine Corps brigades.
  The PLA Navy follows the military strategy of active defense and engages in active defense at sea in line with the strategic requirements of offshore defense. Its mandate involves seven key missions: maintaining state unity and territorial integrity; withstanding military invasion from the sea; defending sovereignty of islands and territorial waters and maritime interests of the state; protecting maritime traffic lines; supporting maritime economic development; safeguarding maritime production and personnel; maintaining overseas rights and interests of the state, citizens, and overseas compatriots; maintaining regional and world peace.
  Regular readiness patrol
  The PLA Navy focuses on maintaining state territorial sovereignty and maritime interests and this requires constantly being on alert and thus needs readiness practice.
  In accordance with the principles of effective force-employment, systematic patrol, whole-area monitoring, it organizes and conducts regular readiness patrols to maintain a constant presence in certain areas. Each Fleet keeps a certain amount of vessels and aircraft to routinely patrol areas under their jurisdiction throughout the year and organizes mobile forces to patrol and guard certain areas when necessary.
  Tactical combat drills and training
  The PLA Navy has been taking tactical combat drills and training as the basis for transforming its military training system and improving the level of combat effectiveness of the force. It extensively tests combat concepts in simulated conditions with detailed information to reflect real situations into the practice of training; this includes being focused on information and intelligence, systematic confrontation, precision operations, fusion and integration, winning through a united effort, etc.
  The PLA Navy organizes exercise and training as per the requirements of real combat, wartime force groupings and the operational flow of combat; it emphasizes command-in-confrontation training, real-force autonomous confrontation training and training in complex battlefield environments to improve the overall systematic combat effectiveness of the force based on the concept of information based warfare.
  In recent years, the Navy has continued to explore training modes that involve open sea combat task groups by organizing open sea training programs for task groups composed of new kinds of destroyers, frigates, amphibious landing ships, fast combat support ships and ship-borne helicopters.
  It has deepened studies and training on mission subjects in complex battlefield environments, which emphasizes training in important contexts such as remote early-warning, comprehensive control, open sea interception, long-range raids, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) in open sea, long-range escort, etc.
  Since 2007, the PLA Navy has organized more than 30 open sea trainings in the west Pacific region with over a 100 practice rounds.
  Protecting maritime interests
  It is an important duty of the PLA Navy to resolutely maintain the maritime interests of the state.
  The PLA Navy provides safety support for maritime law-enforcement, fishing vessels and oil and gas exploitation projects alongside its readiness operations. It has also established a coordination and cooperation mechanism with the Chinese Coast Guard. The navy-police-civilian joint defense mechanism has been established and improved.
  In coordination with certain civil departments, the PLA Navy also carries out maritime survey and scientific research, constructing a maritime meteorological monitoring system, satellite navigation system, radio navigation system and a navigational aid system that can issue timely information on weather and shipping conditions. It has also established and improved a navigation safety support system in areas under its surveillance.
  The Chinese navy has held joint maritime law enforcement exercises and drills with the Chinese Coast Guard and has constantly improved the military-civil maritime joint operations to enhance its command, coordination and emergency response capabilities.
  In October of 2012, a total of 11 ships and 8 aircraft participated in a comprehensive exercise called “the East China Sea cooperation - 2012”, which was a joint maritime exercise to safeguard the maritime rights in the East China Sea.
  Protecting overseas interests
  Overseas operations, such as escorting merchant vessels, evacuations and emergency disaster relief are an important way for the PLA Navy to protect the state interests and to fulfill its international obligations.
  For example, in accordance with relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and with the consent of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, the Chinese government dispatched a PLA Navy taskforce on Dec. 26, 2008 to the Gulf of Aden and the Somali waters for escort mission.
  The primary mission of this task force is to protect the safety of Chinese vessels and personnel transiting through this area, protect the safety of vessels carrying humanitarian supplies chartered by World Food Programme (WFP) and other international organizations and provide cover for foreign vessels transiting through this area.
  As of Apr. 10, 2015, the PLA Navy has dispatched more than 50 support missions and over 30 helicopter missions in 20 task groups, which have provided escort for almost 6,000 vessels bearing both Chinese and foreign flags, covered or rescued 11 vessels released by pirates or being attacked by pirates, and rescued 43 vessels from pirate hijack attempts in 32 different incidents.
  In February 2011, the PLA Navy dispatched FFG Xuzhou to Libyan waters to provide support and protection for vessels evacuating Chinese personnel stranded in Libya.
  International disaster relief and humanitarian medical services
  The PLA Navy proactively carries out medical services and assistance in foreign countries and participated in international medical exchanges and cooperation to improve friendship and mutual trust with various countries.
  The PLA Navy hospital ship “The Peace Ark” has conducted medical service tasks as part of the “Mission Harmony” series abroad, during which it provided free medical service to nearly 80,000 people in 22 countries.
  Besides that, it also participated in important events such as the ASEAN Defense Minister Plus Meeting -- Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief and Military Medicine Exercise (ADMM-HADR&MM Exercise), the multinational joint round visits at Labuan Bajo, Indonesia, the humanitarian medical aid for the earthquake-hit Philippines and the world’s largest Naval exercise known as the “Rim of the Pacific Exercise” or RIMPAC in 2014.
  Maintaining the safety of international maritime channels
  The PLA Navy fulfills its international obligations through regular escort operations in the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters.
  Through exchanges and cooperation, it has maintained the safety of international maritime channels together with escort-forces of other countries.
  As of Oct. 10, 2010, the PLA Navy Escort Task Force has escorted 8 World Food Programme (WFP) vessels and over 2,700 foreign ships, assisted 5 foreign vessels and rescued 20 foreign vessels during 15 separate incidents of pirate hijack attempts.
  The PLA Navy has established a good communication mechanism with various navies to conduct joint escort operations, share information and in coordination and liaison efforts.
  It has conducted joint escorts together with Russian naval ships, carried out joint exercises with South Korea, Pakistan, and US naval vessels, and coordinated with the EU when escorting WFP vessels; it has organized cross-deck visits between commanding officers with escort forces from EU, NATO, Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), South Korea, and Singapore; it has exchanged officers for onboard observation with a Dutch naval ship; it also actively participates in international mechanisms such as CGPCS (Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia) and SHADE (Shared Awareness and De-conflict)
  From February to July 2014, the PLA Navy dispatched ships to escort vessels carrying chemical weapons out of Syria.
  Joint exercises and training with other navies
  In recent years, the PLA Navy has participated in the “Maritime Coalition” series of exercises with Russia, conducted the “Blue Strike” series of joint trainings with the Royal Thai Marine Corps, and taken part in the “Peace” series of multilateral maritime joint exercises hosted by Pakistan.
  In June 2014, the PLA Navy sent a task group to participate in the world’s largest Naval exercise known as the “Rim of the Pacific Exercise” or RIMPAC 2014 led by the US navy near Hawaii.
  The PLA Navy also avails opportunities such as cross-deck visits and escort operations in the Gulf of Aden to conduct bilateral or multilateral exercises with Indian, French, British, Australian, Thai, US, Russian, New Zealand, and Vietnamese navies in areas such as communication, formation maneuvers, replenishment at sea, cross-deck landing of helicopters, anti-surface firing, joint escort, visit, board, search and seizure operations (VBSS), joint search and rescue, diving, etc.
  Five major wings of the PLA Navy --The Submarine force
  The submarine force is an important underwater assault force and an important arm that has contributed to the development of the PLA Navy.
  The submarine force is equipped with strategic missile nuclear submarines, attack nuclear submarines, and conventional submarines. It is organized into submarine bases and submarine flotillas.
  After more than 60 years of building, the submarine force has developed into a strong underwater assault force with both conventional and nuclear submarines.
  The submarines’ stealth, underwater endurance and ability to survive have been remarkably improved; their underwater penetration capabilities have been greatly enhanced; the number and total displacement have remarkably increased; it has achieved the transformation from a force focused on increasing its numbers to tone that is now more oriented towards increasing its quality and combat effectiveness.
  Five major wings of the PLA Navy --The Surface force
  The surface force is an important combat force at sea.
  Currently, the 3 Fleets of the PLA Navy have dozens of destroyer flotillas, landing ship flotillas, risk avoidance and life-saving flotillas and combat support ship flotillas.
  There are hundreds of ships above Grade III , with the total tonnage now over 5 times that of the 1980s. The onboard weapons systems in these new warships have been upgraded and modernized. Modern warships have also created the opportunity to utilize a large number of new methods of training and combat.
  Now it has become routine to train in open seas and the level of training has been elevated every year, and the comprehensive combat capabilities have been remarkably improved.
  Five major wings of the PLA Navy – The Aviation force
  The aviation force is an important component of a modern navy.
  With the commissioning of the third-generation fighter planes, the aviation force has made great improvement in its emergency maneuvers, ship-aircraft coordination, air combat, low-level penetration and in its long-range attack and precision strike capabilities.
  All fighter groups are capable of carrying out maneuver and combat tasks out of their defense area; all pilots on readiness duty have undergone real missile firing training.
  All the above indicates that the overall combat capabilities of the naval aviation force in the high-tech conditions have reached a new level.
  Five major wings of the PLA Navy – The Marine Corps
  The Marine Corps is a fast assault force for amphibious operations.
  A well-trained marine can operate not only equipment such as infantry automatic weapons, amphibious tanks, amphibious armored transportation vehicles, self-propelled artillery of various calibers and anti-tank missiles but also special operations weapons.
  With the commissioning of new amphibious tanks, armored vehicles and special operations equipment, the combat effectiveness of the Marine Corps has been elevated overall. Their capabilities have been demonstrated in various PLA-level and PLAN-level exercises and joint exercises with foreign armed forces. They are true to their motto of being like “a Tiger on land and a dragon at sea”.
  Five major wings of the PLA Navy – The Shore defense force
  The shore defense force is deployed at important shore areas and participates in defense operations along the shore.
  Equipped with new generation shore-to-surface missiles that have stronger penetrating capabilities, higher levels of intelligence, longer range and stronger anti-jamming capabilities, the shore defense force has gradually become a new service that is both capable of important area/offshore air defense and can effectively support other services when launching attacks.

Chinese Nationals Sentenced in New Mexico for Conspiring to Violate Arms Export Control Act

Washington April 23, 2015 - This afternoon, a federal judge in the District of New Mexico sentenced two Chinese nationals for conspiring to violate the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) by scheming to illegally export defense articles with military application to the People’s Republic of China, announced Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin and U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez of the District of New Mexico.
Bo Cai, 29, of Nanjing, China, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and his cousin Wentong Cai, 30, of Chifeng, China, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison.  Both will be deported after completing their prison sentences.  The two men were charged in three-count superseding indictment with a scheme to illegally export sensors primarily manufactured for sale to the U.S. Department of Defense for use in high-level applications, such as line-of-sight stabilization and precision motion control systems.  The Arms Export Control Act and the ITAR prohibit the export of defense-related materials from the United States without obtaining a license or written approval from the U.S. Department of State.
Bo Cai entered a guilty plea to all three counts of the superseding indictment in July 2014, and Wentong Cai pleaded guilty to Count 3 of the superseding indictment in December 2014.  In entering the guilty pleas, each admitted that from March 2012 to December 2013, they conspired with each other to illegally export sensors from the United States to China without first obtaining the required export license.  Bo Cai admitted that in March 2012, while he was employed by a technology company in China, he embarked on an illegal scheme to smuggle sensors out of the United States to China for one of his customers despite knowledge that the sensors could not be exported without a license and that the United States did not issue licenses to export the sensors to China.  Wentong Cai admitted that while he was in the United States on a student visa, Bo Cai enlisted him to acquire the sensors under the ruse that he planned to use the sensors at Iowa State University where he was a graduate microbiology student.
Court filings indicate that the investigation of this case began in October 2013, when an undercover U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agent responded to Wentong Cai’s overtures.  After negotiations by telephone and email, in December 2013, Bo Cai and Wentong Cai traveled to New Mexico, where they obtained a sensor from undercover HSI agents and developed a plan for smuggling the sensor out of the United States to China.  On Dec. 11, 2013, Bo Cai was arrested at an airport in Los Angeles, as he was preparing to board a flight to China, after the sensor was discovered concealed in a computer speaker in his luggage.  Wentong Cai subsequently was arrested on Jan. 22, 2014, in Ames, Iowa.
The HSI Albuquerque, New Mexico, office led the investigation of this case with assistance from the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, the Defense Security Service, HSI in Iowa and Los Angeles and the FBI.  Iowa State University cooperated throughout with HSI’s investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dean S. Tuckman and Fred J. Federici of the District of New Mexico prosecuted the case with assistance from Deputy Chief Deborah Curtis and Trial Attorneys David Recker and Brian Fleming of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Central District of California and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Iowa also assisted in the prosecution.

Nation Starts Research On Naval Jet; Move Addresses Gap In PLA's Equipment and Will Further Strengthen Combat Capability

File photo

May May 13, 2015 - China's aviation industry is working on the development of aircraft with short takeoff and vertical landing capabilities needed for an important role in the Chinese navy's future operations, military experts said.
"Research and development on components of STOVL aircraft, such as the engine, have started," Wang Ya'nan, deputy editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, told China Daily.
"The aircraft's principles are not new. They have been known for more than 40 years, so our aircraft designers should be able to develop the plane on their own," Wang said.
In late March, the Aviation Industry Corp of China, the country's leading aircraft maker, announced on its website that two of its subsidiaries - AVIC Chengdu Engine Group and China Aviation Engine Establishment - have signed a cooperation agreement on the development of the STOVL aircraft's engine. The statement said the STOVL aircraft project aims to strengthen the People's Liberation Army navy's amphibious combat capability and address the absence of such a weapon in the PLA's arsenal.
Compared with conventional fixed-wing aircraft, a STOVL plane can be readied for action in a shorter period of time and occupies less space in a hangar bay or on the deck of a ship. These features have made it a popular choice for naval powers since late 1960s, when Britain's subsonic Hawker Siddley Harrier became the first STOVL aircraft to be put in service.
Almost all STOVL aircraft in active service are based on the Harrier design, and they form the backbone of the naval forces of India and Spain.
This move is not the first time China has aimed to build a STOVL aircraft. In the late 1960s, the PLA asked the aircraft institutes to develop a fixed-wing plane capable of vertical takeoff and landing. The project was later abandoned due to technical difficulties.
The PLA also tried to buy the Hawker Siddley Harrier in the late 1970s, but dropped the attempt because of cost, according to Western military observers.
This time, AVIC appears to have made the right decision at the right time as the PLA navy now needs a STOVL aircraft because it will "significantly supplement and improve its amphibious capabilities", Wang said.
"Though the PLA navy now has an aircraft carrier - the CNS Liaoning - it still lacks the experience of developing and manufacturing such a sophisticated naval platform, so there won't be more carriers in the short term," Wang said. "Let's assume that a conflict breaks out between China and another nation in the near future; the PLA navy's limited number of carrier-borne fighter jets, the J-15s, would have to engage in long-distance strikes as well as air defense for the carrier battle group, and they would have to be divided into small groups to perform these tasks simultaneously."
If China had STOVL aircraft, they could be deployed on the CNS Liaoning and other ships to defend against incoming enemy aircraft, relieving the burden on the J-15s, which could then focus on long-range operations, Wang said.
"Actually, in the foreseeable future, I don't see a high probability of China's involvement in a war far from its shores. Being dragged into limited amphibious conflicts in or near our territorial waters would be more likely. The STOVL aircraft will be the best choice for air support in such conflicts," Wang said, noting that it would be a perfect match for China's future amphibious assault ships.

NOAA, partners, survey 'amazingly intact' historic WWII-era aircraft carrier

Features on an historic photo of USS Independence CVL 22 are captured in a three-dimensional (3D) low-resolution sonar image of the shipwreck in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The Coda Octopus Echoscope 3D sonar, integrated on the Boeing Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Echo Ranger, imaged the shipwreck during the first maritime archaeological survey. The sonar image with oranges color tones (lower) shows an outline of a possible airplane in the forward aircraft elevator hatch opening. Credit: NOAA, Boeing, and Coda Octopus

San Francisco April 16, 2015 - NOAA, working with private industry partners and the U.S. Navy, has confirmed the location and condition of the USS Independence, the lead ship of its class of light aircraft carriers that were critical during the American naval offensive in the Pacific during World War II.
Resting in 2,600 feet of water off California's Farallon Islands, the carrier is "amazingly intact," said NOAA scientists, with its hull and flight deck clearly visible, and what appears to be a plane in the carrier's hangar bay.
Independence (CVL 22) operated in the central and western Pacific from November 1943 through August 1945 and later was one of more than 90 vessels assembled as a target fleet for the Bikini Atoll atomic bomb tests in 1946. Damaged by shock waves, heat and radiation, Independence survived the Bikini Atoll tests and, like dozens of other Operation Crossroads ships, returned to the United States.
While moored at San Francisco's Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, Independence was the primary focus of the Navy's studies on decontamination until age and the possibility of its sinking led the Navy to tow the blast-damaged carrier to sea for scuttling on Jan. 26, 1951.

"After 64 years on the seafloor, Independence sits on the bottom as if ready to launch its planes," said James Delgado, chief scientist on the Independence mission and maritime heritage director for NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. "This ship fought a long, hard war in the Pacific and after the war was subjected to two atomic blasts that ripped through the ship. It is a reminder of the industrial might and skill of the "greatest generation' that sent not only this ship, but their loved ones to war."
NOAA's interest in Independence is part of a mandated and ongoing two-year mission to locate, map and study historic shipwrecks in Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and nearby waters. The carrier is one of an estimated 300 wrecks in the waters off San Francisco, and the deepest known shipwreck in the sanctuary.
The mission was conducted last month using an 18.5-foot-long autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), Echo Ranger, provided by The Boeing Company through a cooperative research and development agreement with NOAA's Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. Boeing also partnered with technology company Coda Octopus to integrate its 3D-imaging sonar system, Echoscope, into the AUV.
"Boeing is excited for the opportunity to partner with NOAA to utilize this state of the art technology," said Fred Sheldon, Boeing project manager for AUVs. "The Echo Ranger is uniquely suited for this type of mission and performed perfectly allowing us to conduct a thorough survey of the USS Independence."
Scientists and technicians on the sanctuary vessel R/V Fulmar followed the AUV as it glided 150 feet above the wreck and successfully surveyed the carrier's nearly intact hull. The survey determined that Independence is upright, slightly listing to starboard, with much of its flight deck intact, and with gaping holes leading to the hangar decks that once housed the carrier's aircraft. To see sonar images, historical photos and other materials, visit
"By using technology to create three-dimensional maps of the seafloor and wrecks like Independence, we can not only explore, but share what we've learned with the public and other scientists," said Frank Cantelas, archaeologist with NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, who joined the mission along with Robert Schwemmer, west coast regional maritime heritage coordinator for NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.
Delgado, primary author of a 1990 scientific report on the history and archaeology of the ships sunk at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, said currently there are no plans to enter the vessel or survey drums of hazardous and radioactive waste that were dumped in the sanctuary between 1946 and 1970. No trace of the drums or radiation was observed during the mission, Delgado said.
Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary encompasses nearly 3,300 square miles of ocean and coastal waters beyond California's Golden Gate Bridge. The sanctuary supports an abundance of species including the largest breeding seabird rookery in the contiguous United States, and other species such as whales and white sharks.
NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research is the only federal agency that advances NOAA and national objectives by systematically exploring the planet's largely unknown ocean for the purpose of discovery and the advancement of knowledge.
NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources.

Navy Announces Successful Test of Electromagnetic Catapult on CVN 78

General Atomics

Washington May 15, 2015 - The Navy conducted the first-ever, shipboard, full-speed catapult shots using the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) aboard the aircraft carrier Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), Naval Sea Systems Command announced May 15.
EMALS is a carrier-based launch system designed to expand the operational capability of the Navy's future carriers to include all current and future planned carrier aircraft. The recent test shots, known as "no-loads" because no aircraft or other loads were attached to the launching shuttle, successfully demonstrated the integrated catapult system. Using electromagnetic technology, the system delivers substantial improvements in system maintenance, increased reliability and efficiency, higher-launch energy capacity, and more accurate end-speed control, with a smooth acceleration at both high and low speeds. By allowing linear acceleration over time, electromagnetic catapults also place less stress on the aircraft.
"This is a very exciting time for the Navy," said Program Executive Officer for Aircraft Carriers Rear Adm. Tom Moore. "For the first time in over 60 years, we've just conducted 22 no load test shots using electricity instead of steam technology."
During the tests, generators within the ship produced an electric pulse, which was passed through power conditioning electronics to linear motors just below the flight deck surface. This energy allowed for the linear motors to propel the launching shuttle down the catapult track in excess of 180 knots before bringing the shuttle to a stop at the end of the track.
The next phase of EMALS testing, scheduled for this summer, will involve launching "dead-loads" off of the bow of CVN 78 into the James River. "Dead-loads" are large, wheeled, steel vessels weighing up to 80,000 pounds to simulate the weight of actual aircraft. The dead-loads will be launched from each catapult using a specific test sequence to verify that the catapult and its components are operating satisfactorily.
To date PCU Gerald R. Ford is 90 percent complete and 1550 Sailors have reported for introduction and training. CVN 78 will be commissioned in March 2016.

Cantwell, Murkowski Introduce Bill to Recapitalize Icebreaker Fleet

Washington May 19, 2015 - Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Lisa Murkowski (R- AK) introduced the Icebreaker Recapitalization Act.   The bill would authorize the U.S. Navy to construct up to 6 heavy icebreakers. The new icebreakers would be designed and operated by the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard is the sole service responsible for icebreaking missions.
“Today we take a strong, bipartisan step towards investing in the Coast Guard Arctic infrastructure and operations—by calling for serious investments in our polar icebreaking fleet.” Cantwell said. “Our legislation makes sure that the United States is able to protect our interests in the Arctic, and it gives the men and women in the Coast Guard and Navy the tools they need to do their jobs. Icebreakers protect America’s Arctic interests and support Washington state shipbuilding jobs.”
“As an Arctic nation, America must be a global leader towards an Arctic future as this dynamic region opens up to new opportunities; by contrast, countries from Russia to Canada to China to even India see the worth and importance in investing in icebreakers,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski, Chair of the U.S. Senate Arctic Caucus.  “From a military perspective, this is an imperative; from an economic development viewpoint, it is a down payment on an Arctic future, and as a scientific research opportunity, it opens up a new world of knowledge.”
According to the Coast Guard High Latitude Study released to Congress four years ago, the United States needs six heavy duty and four medium icebreakers to meet the statutory and mission requirements of the Coast Guard and the Navy.  However, while Russia, China and other nations are developing their icebreaking capability, the United States has only two operational icebreakers, the heavy icebreaker the Polar Star and medium-duty Healy which was designed for scientific research.
The heavy-duty icebreaker Polar Star was recently retrofitted in Seattle after years in ‘caretaker’ status, having been brought back into service in 2013.  A second heavy-duty icebreaker, the Polar Sea is currently at risk for the scrap heap.
Polar ice caps are melting at an unprecedented rate, leaving areas of the Arctic Ocean ice-free in the summer months, creating new challenges for national security, law enforcement, environmental protection, and maritime safety.  Increased accessibility makes the Arctic attractive to commercial entities and foreign governments for shipping, tourism, fishing, natural resource development and other economic interests.
The U.S. is lagging behind other Arctic nations such as Russia in developing and maintaining polar icebreakers. Russia operates 11 icebreakers with comparable capabilities to the United States, 6 more under construction – and plans for 5 additional icebreakers.  The Icebreaker Recapitalization Act will ensure that the United States can assert its influence and defend its interests in the Arctic region.

New KVH TracVision TV8 Provides Vessels with Global Satellite TV

The new TracVision TV8 marine satellite TV antenna system provides the tracking, reception, and extended coverage area needed for yachts and merchant vessels calling on ports around the world.

Middletown RI April 20, 2015 – KVH Industries, Inc., announces the introduction of the TracVision TV8 maritime satellite TV antenna system, which is designed to provide the tracking, reception, and extended coverage area needed for yachts and merchant vessels calling on ports around the world. The TracVision TV8 is compatible with nearly all Ku-band services around the globe, and it also supports such services as DIRECTV, DISH Network and DISH HD, and Bell TV in North America, and TrueVisions, Astro, and Sky TV in the Asia-Pacific region. The TracVision TV8 is being unveiled at the Sea Asia conference in Singapore, April 21-23.
A powerful, fully stabilized system, the 81 cm (32 inch) diameter TracVision TV8 enables yacht owners to enjoy their favorite satellite TV programming while on the water; the system also makes it possible for commercial maritime operators to ensure their crew has access to the recreational entertainment services that are now recommended by international regulations such as the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006.
“The TracVision TV8 has the top engineering characteristics our antenna systems are known for around the world,” says Martin Kits van Heyningen, KVH’s chief executive officer. “With its advanced tracking and extended coverage area, it is an ideal system for a superyacht in the Mediterranean, a tanker ship in the Baltic, or any number of ships on the world’s oceans. These rugged systems are fully stabilized and stay locked on the satellite even in heavy seas.”
The TracVision TV8 system represents the latest technology in maritime satellite TV, a market where KVH has produced award-winning products for more than 17 years. KVH’s TracVision satellite antenna systems are currently in use on everything from container ships, tankers, commercial fishing vessels and government patrol boats to cruising sailboats and luxury superyachts.
Innovative features of the new system include the streamlined IP-enabled TV-Hub delivering easy setup and operation. For advanced functionality and performance, the TracVision TV8 includes:
Single coaxial cable for power, data, and video for easy installations and retrofits
High-performance tracking for crystal-clear television picture in heavy seas
IP-enabled antenna control unit with Ethernet connection and built-in Wi-Fi interface for access to system information from any Wi-Fi device
Advanced inertial-based stabilized search for fast satellite acquisition
Exclusive RingFire antenna technology for stronger signals, wider geographic coverage, and better reception
DVB-S2 technology for compatibility with current and future Ku-band satellites
IP AutoSwitch option for multiple receiver installations enabling simple automatic satellite switching on DISH Pro and DiSEqC compatible services

San Diego Storage Company Agrees to Pay $170,000 to Settle Justice Department Allegations That it Unlawfully Sold Navy Service Members' Belongings

May 19, 2015 - Across Town Movers, a San Diego-based storage company, and its owner, Daniel E. Homan, have agreed to pay nearly $170,000 to resolve allegations by the Department of Justice that it unlawfully sold U.S. Navy service members’ stored goods.
The settlement resolves a lawsuit filed in March by the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorneys’ Office for the Southern District of California.  The lawsuit alleged that Across Town Movers had a practice of selling active-duty service members’ storage lots without obtaining necessary court orders.
The lawsuit was filed under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which protects the rights of service members while on active duty by suspending or modifying certain civil obligations.  Under the SCRA, a storage lien may not be enforced against service members during, or 90 days subsequent to, their period of military service without a court order.
Among the aggrieved service members is Master Chief Petty Officer Thomas E. Ward, now retired, who will receive $150,000 as compensation for his auctioned personal property.  A long-time car enthusiast and 30-year veteran, Master Chief Ward placed his valuable car parts and many household items into storage when he was deployed overseas.  He entrusted Across Town Movers to keep his personal property safe until he returned to his home in San Diego.  Just before completing his final tour, Master Chief Ward learned that Across Town Movers had auctioned all of his stored personal property, including rare, vintage car parts, without providing any notice or obtaining a court order.  Moreover, Across Town Movers allegedly continued to collect payment of storage fees from the government after it sold Master Chief Ward’s goods.
“This settlement will not only provide relief to ten service members, but also will ensure that business practices change to better protect others,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart F. Delery.  “I want to thank the United States Navy for referring this case to the Department of Justice.  I’m hopeful that through the department’s newly created Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative, we will continue to build on our strong ties with federal partners and protect the rights of all the brave men and women who serve in our Armed Forces.”
“We hope that this consent order will send a clear message to all storage companies that before they auction off anyone’s belongings, they should check the Defense Department’s military database and their own files to see if the customer is protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division.  “The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the rights of the men and women who serve in our Armed Forces, and we will continue to devote time and resources to make sure that they are given the legal protections they deserve.”
“Federal law protects our military service members and their dependents from businesses taking certain adverse actions against them,” said U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy of the Southern District of California.  “These protections permit service members to devote their full attention to defending the United States.  While Master Chief Ward was overseas focusing on defending our country, he understandably did not expect the very company paid to safeguard his valuable property to instead auction it off in his absence. Across Town Movers’ $150,000 payment provides Master Chief Ward the opportunity to repurchase his lost goods.”
Across Town Movers must also compensate other aggrieved service members for unlawfully auctioning their goods.
Furthermore, as part of the settlement, a consent order has been entered that requires Across Town Movers to make systemic changes to its business practices, including developing new policies and procedures consistent with  the SCRA and providing SCRA training to its employees.  Across Town Movers is enjoined from engaging in future SCRA violations.
A consent order incorporating the terms of this settlement was on Friday, May 14, 2015, in the Southern District of California.  This matter resulted from a referral to the Justice Department by the U.S. Navy.  
Service members and their dependents who believe that their SCRA rights have been violated should contact the nearest Armed Forces Legal Assistance Program office.  Office locations may be found at  Additional information on the Justice Department’s enforcement of the SCRA and other laws protecting service members is available at
This matter is being handled by an attorney from the Civil Rights Division’s Housing and Civil Enforcement Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dylan M. Aste and Leslie M. Gardner of the Southern District of California.

A New Twist to German Arms for Israel

May 12, 2015 - Israeli President Reuven Rivlin is in Germany on the anniversary of German-Israeli relations. In the port of Kiel, four warships will soon be built for Israel - and an Arab company will make money on the deal.
The official program for the third day of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin's visit to Germany was fairly straightforward. At 9:50 a.m. he met with the premier of Schleswig-Holstein state, Thorsten Albig, and held discussions with students. At 11:50 Rivlin's official visit to Kiel was over.
But he didn't travel all the way from Berlin to Germany's northernmost state for just two hours. There was more to Rivlin's schedule - unofficially and without the media. He also visited the shipyards in Kiel where Israel's modern submarines were built and where the keel will soon be laid for four Israeli navy corvettes.
The purchase agreement for the four warships worth 430 million euros was signed in Tel Aviv on Monday. It came the day before the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and West Germany.
"This is proof that the German-Israeli armaments cooperation works" Christian Democratic lawmaker Roderich Kiesewetter told DW. The chairman of the parliamentary foreign relations committee wants Germany to co-finance the deal - as well as with many other previous arms transactions: "In this way we not only equip the Israeli navy and improve its defense capabilities, but also ensure that Israel has a certain level of deterrence in its region and ultimately show that Israel can rely on its European partners."
The German government is expected to support the purchase of the corvettes to the tune of at least 115 million euros. But only the ships will be built in Kiel - all military hardware such as weapons and sensors will be installed in Israel. Then the four ships will have a total value of at least one billion euros. They are unlikely to be ready for use before 2022 at the earliest.
Arab involvement
An interesting detail of the deal is that the German shipbuilder, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS), designed the ship type, but does not build it. This is done by German Naval Yards, also based in Kiel, as a subcontractor. This shipyard previously belonged to TKMS, but it was sold three years ago to the shipbuilding group Abu Dhabi MAR, headquartered in the United Arab Emirates. In other words: an Arab company is building warships for Israel on behalf of a German company.
The new naval deal is not the first between Germany and Israel. Since 1999, TKMS has been supplying Israel with Dolphin-class submarines. A total of six will have been built by 2018. An Israeli crew is currently in Kiel to test the fifth submarine, the "Rahav." It is likely that Rivlin not only visited the shipyard, but also met the crew and examined Israel's newest weapon.
Nukes on board?
For years, the Dolphin submarines have raised a question in Germany: Could Israel use the submarines to launch nuclear weapons? Naval expert Klaus Mommsen assumes that Israel has, or is planning, an air, land and sea-based nuclear deterrent - "Perhaps also using the submarines of the Dolphin class. But Israel is keeping silent - as it generally does on the question of whether it possesses nuclear weapons."
"I would not conclude that all of Israel's submarines are always armed with long-range cruise missiles - whether nuclear or conventional," Berlin peace researcher Otfried Nassauer said.
He dismissed the possibility that Germany had provided a weapons system that could fire nuclear missiles on its own. "To do that, Israel would have to expand the submarine with its own technological capabilities."
Underwater spies
Both Nassauer and Mommsen agree that Israel's main interest in the purchase of submarines is for reconnaissance and to deploy special forces. "The Israelis and other nations use submarines to monitor ports, or coastal targets and operations, up close," Mommsen said.
Either espionage officers would disembark and swim ashore, he said, or the submarine could simply watch through its periscope. Unobtrusive tracking of ships, hunting enemy submarines or exposing saboteurs are possible application scenarios.
Despite this, Israel has apparently used a Dolphin at least once as an offensive weapon. The British newspaper "Sunday Times" wrote in July 2013 that a submarine of this type had destroyed a missile battery near the Syrian port city of Latakia. There has been no independent confirmation of this report.
The best defense
Nassauer said submarines are much more powerful offensive weapons than corvettes. And Mommsen agrees: "A submarine has the advantage that it can fire while hidden, while the corvette has to assume it will be quickly recognized."
The two experts say the new German ships should offer better protection for Israel's coast and increase the navy's radius of action. But they could also guard gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean. These were discovered a few years ago and Israel intends to use them to reduce its dependent on energy imports.

Monday, May 25, 2015

China Builds Latest ASW-Capable Corvette Warship

May 13, 2015 - China has commissioned its 20th Type 056 anti-submarine corvette, the Jiangdao, and plans to eventually have 60 ships of this multi-mission vessels, armed with guns, torpedoes and missiles, in service. (YouTube screenshot)
Images from Chinese state television suggest that the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has commissioned the latest in its Type 056 Jiangdao-class corvette vessels.
Under the name Huangshi, the vessel was built at the Shanghai Hudong shipyard and is now the 20th in-class to be commissioned. According to IHS Jane, the ship was inducted into the PLAN’s North Sea Fleet after a ceremony at the Wiehai maritime garrison.
The type 056 Corvette vessels, which combine a stealth design with modern weapon systems and sensors, are armed with one 76 mm main naval gun, and carry two triple-torpedo launchers and four containerized anti-ship missiles. The vessel also features a stealthy hull design with a sloped surface. While the absence of a hangar aboard the vessel constrains sustained helicopter operations, the flight deck enables the operation of a Z-9C helicopter.
Huangshi will be the fourth in-class vessel to be fitted with towed array and variable depth sonars which, IHS Jane reported, indicates a primary anti-submarine warfare (ASW) role.
Type 056 Corvette was designed in 2012 to replace the older Jianghu class frigates and type 037 model. The Corvette was the first Chinese modular warship that can be deployed as an offshore patrol vessel or multi-role frigate.
Designed and built by China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), Type 056 Corvettes are set to become the backbone of the PLAN, with a class of more than 30 anticipated.

Red River Awarded Navy SeaPort-e Contract

Claremont NH May 21, 2015 - Red River, a leading federal information technology (IT) services provider, today announced that it was awarded the SeaPort Enhanced (SeaPort-e) contract by the U.S. Navy. The multiple-award, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract is worth a maximum of $5.28 billion per year with a seven-year period of performance and provides the U.S. Navy with direct access to professional IT support services.
“Red River is extremely pleased to be able to leverage this contract vehicle to support the mission goals and objectives of the Navy and its affiliated federal agencies,” said Jeff Sessions, senior vice president of Corporate Strategy at Red River. “This contract win validates the depth and breadth of our services organization and showcases the skilled, highly trained and knowledgeable engineers and support professionals that work for Red River.”
SeaPort-e is the Navy’s electronic platform for acquiring support services across seven geographic zones and 22 functional service areas, including software engineering, development, programming and network support, information systems development, information assurance, and information technology support, and research and development support. Red River will be able to pursue task orders throughout six zones and all functional areas, including engineering, financial management and program management, throughout the contract’s period of performance.
Navy Systems Commands (NAVSEA, NAVAIR, SPAWR, NAVFAC and NAVSUP), the Office of Naval Research, Military Sealift Command and the U.S. Marine Corps can procure Red River professional support services through a dedicated portal provided at or by contacting Red River directly at 800.769.3060. Customers can utilize responsive, customized support services through direct access to Red River’s highly-certified, U.S.-based IT experts who are available 24x7x365 to offer technical support, troubleshooting, hardware maintenance and replacement and rapid resolution of advanced IT issues.
Red River has a strong professional services practice dedicated to solving IT challenges, optimizing current infrastructure, leveraging new technology and guaranteeing compliance. The company is also well-practiced at delivering the services and support military agencies need to overcome the complex challenges of fostering homeland security, emergency management and supporting warfighters around the globe. Red River is ISO 9001 certified and its IT experts hold the highest technical certifications, credentials and partnership levels with key OEMs, including Cisco Systems, Dell, HP, EMC, NetApp, Apple and more.
The SeaPort-e award expands Red River’s growing list federal contracts, which include NASA SEWP V, NIH ECS III, GSA Federal Supply Schedule, Veterans Affairs CEC, DHS FirstSource II, Air Force NETCENTS-2 and multiple agency-specific blanket purchase agreements.

150 Years to German Maritime Search and Rescue


Bremerhaven - To celebrate the 150th anniversary of its existence, the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service (DGzRS) will be launching the first of three search and rescue units of the new 28-metre class on 30 May 2015 in Bremerhaven. The new SAR unit is to be based at the Amrum lifeboat station on the western coast of Schleswig-Holstein, where, together with the SAR units at the neighbouring stations, it will help to safeguard this area of the very busy German Bight. The new member of the DGzRS fleet is equipped with two 16-cylinder MTU Series 2000 engines and MTU’s Blue Vision New Generation automation system. The powerful, 2,880 kW propulsion system has been designed to ensure that it will remain operational even when the vessel is listing badly in extremely rough weather conditions. The MTU brand is part of Rolls-Royce Power Systems within the Land & Sea Division of Rolls-Royce.
Collaboration between the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service and MTU has a long tradition. One of the very first vessels to be equipped with MTU engines was the “Theodor Heuss“ back in 1957. It was a search and rescue vessel of the then new 23.2-metre class, subsequently to be established as the Theodor Heuss Class by the DGzRS after the completion of extensive sea trials. This was the first SAR vessel with a daughter boat to be built in series and was regarded as a technical milestone in the further development of SAR units. It was powered by three MTU engines and delivered a total output of 1,290 kW. According to the DGzRS, the construction of modern, versatile lifeboats entered a new, pioneering era when the “Theodor Heuss“ went into service – and still on board to this day is MTU, with propulsion engines, on-board power supply units and ship automation.

In 1957 the DGzRS commissioned the Theodor Heuss,
which was powered by three MTU engines with
a combined power output 1,290 kW.

Today, the largest maritime search and rescue vessel operated by the DGzRS is the ”Hermann Marwede“. With a length of 46 metres, it is twice as long as the ”Theodor Heuss“ – and over five times more powerful. The “Hermann Marwede“ is powered by three MTU Series 4000 diesel engines, delivering a total output of 6,800 kW. The German Maritime Search and Rescue Service currently operates a fleet of some 60 SAR units – the 16 largest members of the fleet are equipped with a total of 27 MTU engines.
Exceptional demands placed on engines
“We head out to sea when others seek a safe haven“ – this is how the German lifesavers themselves describe what they do. SAR units have to be extremely manoeuvrable even in heavy seas. “This means that the engines must deliver high levels of performance and reliability around the clock, whatever the situation,“ says Carsten Panke from MTU Deutschland in Hamburg. He and his staff have been providing the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service with technical support now for many years. A vital feature of the SAR units in life-threatening situations, for example, is that the propulsion units will continue to operate even when the vessel is listing badly. This is made possible by the incorporation of a specially designed MTU system that includes a deep oil pan incorporating baffling, a modified crankcase breather, in addition to an engine monitoring and control system designed specifically for such situations.
A gas protection system was developed specifically for the 23.1–metre class maritime SAR unit. It ensures that the engines operate reliably, even if an explosive gas mixture is drawn into the cylinders from outside – as may be the case in an accident involving gas or chemicals.
Search and rescue at a glance
Each and every year, the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service teams respond to over 2,000 incidents. Since the search and rescue service was founded, close to 82,000 people in distress owe their lives to the rapid and selfless aid provided by the DGzRS, whose work is financed solely by donations and voluntary contributions – with no public funding whatsoever. The DGzRS, whose patron is the German President, receives no taxpayers‘ money to perform its tasks.
MTU Special to celebrate the Anniversary of the DGzRS:

Docked! USS Constitution Shifts Colors for Multi-Year Restoration

150518-N-OG138-276 CHARLESTOWN, Mass. (May 18, 2015) USS Constitution enters Dry Dock 1 in Charlestown Navy Yard to commence a multi-year planned restoration period. This is Constitution's first time in dry dock since its 1992-1996 restoration. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Matthew R. Fairchild/Released)

Boston March 19, 2015 - The world's oldest commissioned warship afloat is no longer afloat after entering dry dock May 19 for a planned multi-year restoration.
USS Constitution, eased into historic Dry Dock 1 at Charlestown Navy Yard Boston National Historical Park with the help and coordination of a large team of stakeholders including the ship's crew, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Naval History and Heritage Command's Maintenance Detachment Boston, USS Constitution Museum, and the National Park Service.
"We couldn't have asked for better weather or better support from the dedicated team of professionals who helped with the docking," said Cmdr. Sean Kearns, USS Constitution's 73rd commanding officer. "We're now positioned to carry out the restoration work which will return Constitution to the water preserving her for the next generation of Americans to enjoy and learn about our nation's great naval heritage."
Since entering service in the U.S. Navy on Oct. 21, 1797, Constitution, undefeated in combat, remains a commissioned U.S. Navy warship. However, since 1907, the ship has been on display opening her decks to the public. According to Naval History and Heritage Command Director Sam Cox, that mission is an important one.
"Her mission today is to preserve and promote U.S. Navy heritage by sharing the history of 'Old Ironsides' and the stories of the men and women who have faithfully served with distinction on the warship's decks for 217 years. When a visitor sets foot on the deck of USS Constitution, he or she is making contact with the beginnings of the U.S. Navy, a navy that has kept the sea lanes free for more than 200 years. Keeping her ready to do so is incredibly important," said Cox.
"Constitution was the product of unique American ingenuity," Cox continued. "At a time when the U.S. Navy was outnumbered by the great European navies, Constitution was designed to outgun anything she couldn't outrun, and outrun anything she couldn't out-gun. Coupled with great captains and well-trained and disciplined Sailors, that is why she was undefeated."
According to Vice Admiral William Hilarides, the commander of the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), which oversees the development, delivery and maintenance of the Navy's ships, the 217-year-old Constitution is a stark reminder of the importance of sound ship design, construction and maintenance.
"The Navy's strength comes from its Sailors who must be equipped with ships and tools that make it possible for them to successfully sail into harm's way, and then return safely home to their families," said Hilarides. "When you look at what was cutting edge Naval technology in the late 18th century, you can see Constitution's crews were equipped with the best tools in the world which enabled them to achieve such a remarkable record of success in combat. It's a tradition of design, construction and maintenance excellence that continues in America's shipyards today."
Still, Hilarides said, like any of the Navy's other nearly 300 commissioned warships, Constitution must be maintained to carry out its vital mission.
This restoration will last more than two years and marks the first time Constitution will have been dry docked since 1992. The work of this restoration will include:
* replacing lower hull planking and caulking,
* removing the 1995 copper sheathing and replacing it with 3,400 sheets of new copper that will protect the ship's hull below the waterline,
* replacement of select deck beams,
* on-going preservation and repair of the ship's rigging, upper masts, and yards.
The estimated cost of the restoration is expected to be $12 million to $15 million and is part of the ongoing care and maintenance the ship receives. It will be a complex work package and among those completing it, is a cadre of craftsmen from the Naval History and Heritage Command's Maintenance Detachment Boston who have the delicate job of melding new tools and technology into an endeavor that often requires extensive, knowledge of 18th century shipbuilding techniques.
"We do work with modern tools but we still use some of the old methods; the hull planks are still pinned through the deck but we use hydraulics and pneumatics to pull them out," said Det. Boston's director, Richard Moore, who says the restoration will require specialized talents. "Back in the day if someone went down, they had someone to replace them. It's not so easy nowadays to replace a person with someone who is up to speed and knows what they're doing."
Still he believes his team is up to the challenge and he knows they're excited to be a part of the historic restoration.
"They realize the undertaking they're on. I emphasize it all the time, that this is, in my words, 'a big deal.' They all know how important it is, they're all proud to work on this vessel, they take such great care and their workmanship is great. I'm very proud to work here and so are they."
Beginning June 9, Constitution will reopen to the public and remain open throughout the restoration with tours scheduled:
* Tuesday through Friday from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.
* Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. (closed Mondays).
Visitors will see something remarkable - an active shipyard with craftspeople including, blacksmiths, wood workers and others, working to make sure USS Constitution remains ship shape for future generations.