Friday, July 31, 2015

Second Artillery Corps can be used against enemy aircraft carrier: Yin Zhuo

China's DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile (Internet photo)
WCT

July 31, 2015 - Admiral Yin Zhuo of the People's Liberation Army Navy said that the exercise launched in the disputed South China Sea on July 28 was to test the capability of the Second Artillery Corps, China's strategic missile force, to sink enemy warships, according to the state-run People's Daily.
During the exercise, the abilities of China's Type 052C, Type 052D guided-missile destroyers and Type 054A guided missile frigates to defeat enemy aircraft, missile and electronic reconnaissance were tested under the coordination of the navy's air force and the Second Artillery Corps. Yin Zhou said that the Chinese warships successfully disabled the radar systems of the enemy early warning aircraft with the assistance of the electronic warfare units in Guangzhou Military Region.
At the same time, the exercise allowed the Second Artillery Corps to test its own anti-ship ballistic missile such as the DF-21 as well. Known as the carrier killer, the DF-21D was developed Changfeng Mechanics and Electronics Technology Academy, particularily to sink large warship. Yin Zhuo said those missiles are extremely hard to intercept after they are launched. The Second Artillery Corps has the right to deploy those missiles when China's homeland and islands were attacked, he said.
Yin also said that the exercise was launched to simulate a campaign-level combat simulation. "Even if a war between China and other nations really start in the region of South China Sea, it will not go beyond this level" said Yin. He said that the exercise was launched for political reasons to prove that China has the capability to defend its territory. It was not launched against any country, but the exercise should serve as a warning to rival claimants to the the Spratly islands according to the Chinese admiral.
Beijing lays claim to almost the entirety of the South China Sea and its islands, amid competing claims from the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia. China has recently been pushing its claims, including extensive land reclamation activities on islands it controls with a view to establishing permanent military facilities.

A fond farewell to HMAS Tobruk



Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer, CSC and Bar, RAN, receives a royal salute during HMAS Tobruk's decommissioning ceremony held at Fleet Base East, Sydney.
Sydney July 31, 2015 - The Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove, AK, MC (Ret'd), together with the Assistant Minister for Defence Stuart Robert, MP, and Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, AO, CSC, RAN, today attended the decommissioning of HMAS Tobruk to bid the ship a fond farewell in Sydney.
“In a time-honoured tradition, the Australian White Ensign was lowered for the last time and handed to Commanding Officer, Commander Leif Maxfield,” Mr Robert said.
“Today’s decommissioning is bittersweet and marks the end of almost 35 years of service for this vessel, which has provided significant humanitarian aid and disaster relief, as well as an amphibious heavy lift capability to the Australian Defence Force.”
Tobruk provided sterling service and contributed to operations in Somalia, East Timor and the Solomon Islands, and conducted extensive work both in Australia and around the South West Pacific.
“She has been the workhorse of the Fleet,” Mr Robert said.
“Tobruk has proven herself to be versatile and resilient, supporting numerous humanitarian aid and disaster missions in the Pacific and Philippines and undertaking active service in Africa as part of Operation SOLACE, as well as operations in East Timor and the Middle East.
“Her hard work has paved the way for the future of the Navy by providing an understanding of how to carry out humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions.
“Today it is also important to acknowledge the hard work of the current and former crews who have called Tobruk home.
“Ultimately it is the dedicated men and women of the Navy who transform the platform into a capability, and to you I simply say thank you. I also thank all those individuals who have ever maintained Tobruk and all those who had a hand in building her.”
Tobruk was designed for combined Navy and Army amphibious operations. The ship is a multi-purpose troop and heavy vehicle carrier and includes facilities for bow and stern loading, beaching, a drive-through capacity and inter-deck transfers via ramps.

Mesothelioma Victims Center Now Offers All US Navy Veterans and Manufacturing Workers Instant Access to the Nation's Top Law Firms for Better Compensation Along With a Vital Tip


Washington July 31, 2015 - The Mesothelioma Victims Center says, "The last thing we want to have happen to any US Navy Veteran or manufacturing worker is lose out on the best possible compensation because they fell for the lines, 'start the mesothelioma compensation process after you receive treatment,' or 'you don't need to file a lawsuit to get compensated.'" 
The Mesothelioma Victims Center is the best branded advocate for the best possible mesothelioma compensation in the United States. The group is urging a diagnosed victim in any state, or their family to call them anytime at 866-714-6466 to speak with an expert on how to ensure they have one of the nation's best mesothelioma lawyers advancing their compensation claim.
The Center says, "We recently talked with the widow of a mesothelioma victim who was exposed to asbestos on a US Navy ship as a sailor. This gentleman also worked as a machinist at a major auto manufacturing facility in Michigan during the 1960s and 1970s.
"The widow had called a phone number on a local cable TV ad from a law firm offering to help diagnosed victims of mesothelioma. The attorney referred the victim to at least one other law firm that was too busy at the time to send an attorney out to meet the diagnosed victim. Three weeks after the first call to the law firm, her husband passed away. He never met with nor discussed his asbestos exposure to someone who knew what they were doing.



"This was probably a multi-million dollar exposure case, but because the diagnosed victim and his family chose poorly, they were probably shortchanged out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation or more."
The important tip and moral to this story is if a diagnosed victim of mesothelioma or their family are concerned about the best possible compensation for mesothelioma, they are urged to contact the Mesothelioma Victims Center anytime at 866-714-6466. The group specializes in providing free information about what lawyers or law firms might be most qualified to represent a diagnosed victim regardless of what state they live in.
This is especially true if the diagnosed victim was exposed to asbestos in the US Navy, or as a manufacturing worker. http://MesotheliomaVictimsCenter.Com
The average age for a diagnosed victim of mesothelioma is 72 years old. This year between 2500, and 3000 US citizens will be diagnosed with mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is attributable to exposure to asbestos.
High risk work groups for exposure to asbestos include Veterans of the US Navy, power plant workers, shipyard workers, steel mill workers, oil refinery workers, factory workers, plumbers, electricians, miners, auto mechanics, machinists, and construction workers. Typically the exposure to asbestos occurred in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s. http://MesotheliomaVictimsCenter.Com
According to the CDC the states indicated with the highest incidence of mesothelioma include Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, Louisiana, Washington, and Oregon.
However, based on the calls the Mesothelioma Victims Center receives a diagnosed victim of mesothelioma could live in any state including New York, Florida, California, Texas, Illinois, Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Idaho, or Alaska.
The Mesothelioma Victims Center says, "If you call us at 866-714-6466, we will see to it that you have instant access to the nation's most skilled mesothelioma attorneys, who consistently get the best possible financial compensation results for their clients.
"Before you retain the services of a law firm to advance a mesothelioma compensation claim please call us first to ensure you really are dealing with one of the nation's most experienced mesothelioma lawyers."

Bollinger Delivers Heriberto Hernandez, The 14th Fast Response Cutter To The USCG

Future USCGC Heriberto Hernandez WPC 1114 was delivered July 30th at Key West and will be homeported in San Juan. Bollinger photo.

Lockport LA July 30, 2015 - Bollinger Shipyards has delivered the Heriberto Hernandez, the 14th Fast Response Cutter (FRC) to the United States Coast Guard.
The announcement was made by Bollinger’s President & C.E.O., Ben Bordelon. "We are very pleased to announce the delivery of the latest FRC built by Bollinger Shipyards, the Heriberto Hernandez, to the 7th Coast Guard District in Puerto Rico. We are looking forward to honoring and celebrating the heroic acts of Hernandez at the vessel’s commissioning.”
The 154 foot patrol craft Heriberto Hernandez is the 14th vessel in the Coast Guard's Sentinel-class FRC program. To build the FRC, Bollinger used a proven, in-service parent craft design based on the Damen Stan Patrol Boat 4708. It has a flank speed of 28 knots, state of the art command, control, communications and computer technology, and a stern launch system for the vessel’s 26 foot cutter boat. The FRC has been described as an operational "game changer,” by senior Coast Guard officials.
The Coast Guard took delivery on July 30, 2015 in Key West, Florida, and is scheduled to commission the vessel in Puerto Rico during October, 2015.
Each FRC is named for an enlisted Coast Guard hero who distinguished him or herself in the line of duty. This vessel is named after Coast Guard Hero Heriberto Hernandez. Hernandez, a Fireman aboard the 82-foot Coast Guard Cutter Point Cypress made the ultimate sacrifice as he braved enemy gunfire in South Vietnam while patrolling the Vietnamese coastline. For his bravery as he faced the enemy, Hernandez was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart Medal and the Bronze Star Medal with the Combat "V” device.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Norwegian outcry over sunken Russian sub tests

The K-159 was to become scrap metal, but sank when towed to the dismantling yard, killing the nine sailors on board. (Photo: Courtesy of Bellona Foundation.)

By Atle Staalesen 

July 30, 2015 (Bellona) - A joint team of Norwegian and Russian researchers in 2014 made unique tests of the “K-159”, the nuclear sub which in 2003 sunk during a towing operation in the Barents Sea.
The expedition was to help determine the level of radiation around the vessel and possible threats to the surrounding environment.
Almost a year later, the Norwegians have not yet got access to their samples and there is increasing concern that the tests might never make it across the border, NRK reports. The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority now requests the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to intervene in the case.
Russian authorities reportedly believe that the samples might include information considered state secrets and consequently demand that they are analyzed by Russian researchers before they are sent to the Norwegians.
The test results are currently locked up in a container controlled by the Murmansk Customs, the Norwegian broadcaster informs.
The Russian research vessel “Ivan Petrov” on 22 August 2014 left Arkhangelsk with 15 scientists onboard with a mission determine situation around the “K-159”.  The submarine contains about 800 kilos of spent nuclear fuel and lies on 246 meters less than 130 kilometers from the border to Norway.
Until now, there have been conflicting conclusion made about the state of the sunken submarine. While Russian scientists are deeply worried about the shape of the sunken submarine, the Norwegians believe that the vessel does not pose any major danger to marine life in the area.
“In a study calculating the effects from various contamination scenarios, we have shown that even with the most dramatic pollution, the levels of Cesium-137 in fish will be under the limits set by Norwegian Food Safety Authority,” says scientist Hilde Elise Heldal from the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research.
The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority is not the only Norwegian organization with troublesome experiences from nuclear pollution project in Russia. Last year, the Akvaplan-Niva company was stopped by the Russian Northern Fleet when it was going to conduct a study on the Andreeva Bay nuclear waste dump. That project was a joint initiative by Akvaplan-Niva, the Murmansk Marine Biological Institute and the Russian Academy of Science.

Public invited to join NOAA on deep sea expedition of Pacific marine protected areas

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer systematically explores the deep oceans of the world. (Credit: NOAA)
NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer systematically explores the deep oceans of the world. (Credit: NOAA)
Washington July 30, 2015 - NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer will begin two months of dives using unmanned remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs, to explore marine protected areas in the central Pacific Ocean. Starting on Aug. 1, anyone with an internet connection can virtually explore the deep sea with scientists and researchers from their computer or mobile device.
The ship and its crew will investigate deeper waters in and around Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Johnston Atoll in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, and the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.
“These areas represent some of the last relatively pristine marine ecosystems on the planet,” said Holly Bamford, assistant NOAA administrator for the National Ocean Service performing the duties of the assistant secretary of commerce for conservation and management. “NOAA explores these regions because the data and information we gather helps scientists and resource managers better understand and protect these biological, geological and cultural resources that we are already aware of and those we will discover in the future.”
This map shows the areas NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer will be visiting during its 2015 expedition to marine protected areas in the Pacific. (Credit: NOAA)
This map shows the areas NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer will be visiting during its 2015 expedition to marine protected areas in the Pacific. (Credit: NOAA)
The expedition team will explore the seafloor at depths of 1,300 to 16,250 feet (400 to 5,000 meters) with two ROVs, which are tethered to Okeanos Explorer. The vehicles are outfitted with multiple high-definition cameras to capture imagery which the ship will transmit back to shore. Scientists will participate virtually, guiding the expedition from shore, while the public can tune in and view the exploration in real time at oceanexplorer.noaa.gov.
The work around Johnston Atoll will be the largest scientific effort conducted there since President Obama expanded the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in September 2014.
“These places provide invaluable habitat for corals, birds and many other species — that’s one of the reasons they’ve been protected — but we don’t know much about what’s in the deep-sea areas,” said Samantha Brooke, manager for NOAA’s Marine National Monument Program in the NOAA Fisheries.
Deepwater coral and sponge garden found in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Images courtesy of NOAA-Hawaii Undersea Research Library Archives. (Credit: NOAA)
Deepwater coral and sponge garden found in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Images courtesy of NOAA-Hawaii Undersea Research Library Archives. (Credit: NOAA)




Expedition leaders anticipate finding large deep-sea coral communities known as coral gardens — some with coral colonies thought to be thousands of years old — as well as sponge communities. Both coral gardens and sponge communities provide habitat for a number of other species.
“Given the unexplored nature of these areas, their remoteness and their known status as biodiversity hotspots, I’d be very surprised if we didn’t see many animals and phenomena that are new to science,” said expedition science team lead Christopher Kelley, associate professor of biology and program biologist at the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory, University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Okeanos Explorer just completed two weeks of mapping more than 10,300 square miles (26,700 square kilometers) of seafloor around Johnston Atoll, which is part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.
“Papahānaumokuākea and the sanctuary are home to numerous protected species, undiscovered shipwrecks and sacred maritime landscapes," said Allen Tom, Pacific Islands regional director of NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. “With live streaming video, we will be providing an exciting way for people to ‘visit’ these special places.”
The Pacific Remote Islands and Papahānaumokuākea marine national monuments were established by Presidential proclamations to protect abundant populations of coral, fish, marine mammals and seabirds. Papahānaumokuākea was also established to protect Native Hawaiian heritage and cultural resources. The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary was created by Congress to protect humpback whales and their habitat in Hawaii.
This is the first expedition of a major three-year effort to systematically collect information to support science and management needs within and around the U.S. marine national monuments and NOAA’s national marine sanctuaries in the Pacific.

Surface to Surface Missile Test For LCS Successful

Three missiles from a ripple fire response strike their moving targets during an engineering development tests of modified Longbow Hellfire missiles.
Three missiles from a ripple fire response strike their moving targets during an engineering development tests June 17th of modified Longbow Hellfire missiles off Port Hueneme. The missile system, designated the Surface-to-Surface Missile Module (SSMM), is expected to be fully integrated on Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) in late 2017, increasing the lethality of the Navy's LCS fleet. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Washington July 30, 2015 - Engineering development tests of modified Longbow Hellfire missiles for use on littoral combat ships (LCS) were successfully conducted in June the Navy reported July 30. 
Integration of the Longbow Hellfire missile system, designated the Surface-to-Surface Missile Module (SSMM), will increase the lethality of the Navy's fleet of littoral combat ships. The SSMM is expected to be fully integrated and ready to deploy on LCS missions in late 2017.
"This test was very successful and overall represents a big step forward in SSMM development for LCS," said Capt. Casey Moton, LCS Mission Modules program manager.
Termed Guided Test Vehicle-1, the event was designed to specifically test the Longbow Hellfire launcher, the missile, and its seeker versus high speed maneuvering surface targets (HSMSTs). The HSMSTs served as surrogates for fast inshore attack craft that are a potential threat to Navy ships worldwide.
During the mid-June tests off the coast of Virginia, the modified Longbow Hellfire missiles successfully destroyed a series of maneuvering small boat targets. The system "hit" seven of eight targets engaged, with the lone miss attributed to a target issue not related to the missile's capability. The shots were launched from the Navy's research vessel Relentless.
The test scenarios included hitting targets at both maximum and minimum missile ranges. After a stationary target was engaged, subsequent targets, conducting serpentine maneuvers were engaged. The tests culminated in a three-target "raid" scenario. During this scenario all missiles from a three-shot "ripple fire" response struck their individual targets.
Integration of the "fire-and-forget" Longbow Hellfire missile on LCS represents the next evolution in capability being developed for inclusion in the Increment 3 version of the surface warfare mission package for LCS. When fully integrated and tested, each 24-shot missile module will bring added firepower to complement the LCS's existing 57mm gun, SEARAM missiles and armed MH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter. 
LCS is a modular, reconfigurable ship, with three types of mission packages including surface warfare, mine countermeasures, and anti-submarine warfare. The Program Executive Office Littoral Combat Ships (PEO LCS) is responsible for delivering and sustaining littoral mission capabilities to the fleet. Delivering high-quality warfighting assets while balancing affordability and capability is key to supporting the nation's maritime strategy.

Work to prepare for aircraft carriers well underway in Portsmouth


Work underneath the jetty (Helen Pickering, Crown Copyright MOD 2015)

London July 30, 2015 - Work by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) to ready Portsmouth Naval Base for the arrival of the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers is well underway.
As part of the project Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) is rebuilding Middle Slip Jetty so it can accommodate HMS Queen Elizabeth when she arrives in Portsmouth in early 2017.
The 276 metre jetty was built in the 1920s and last upgraded in the 1970s. Earlier this year DIO appointed VolkerStevin (CORR) as the principal contractor to upgrade the structure as part of a package of work to prepare for the ships.
The total spend on infrastructure to support the carriers is £100 million, with VolkerStevin also providing a high voltage electrical supply, upgrade to the existing drinking water system and navigational aids.

Middle slip jetty at HMNB Portsmouth (All Rights Reserved)

Dredging work to ensure the harbour is deep and wide enough for the carriers will be carried out by Boskalis Westminster, with work expected to start at the end of the year.
Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans Mark Lancaster said, "The Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers are the largest ships ever commissioned for the Royal Navy. But it is not just the ships themselves that are a testament to the best of British engineering and technology.
"The vital infrastructure investment in the naval base, including the refurbishment and strengthening of the jetty, will ensure that Portsmouth continues in its proud maritime traditions and is the home of the carriers for decades to come."
Philip Wise, DIO Project Manager, added, "We are delighted to be delivering this important infrastructure for the navy to prepare for the arrival of the carriers into Portsmouth. The work on the jetty is a key part of this and we are pleased it is now well underway."
Captain Iain Greenlees, Head of Infrastructure at the naval base, said, "This is a huge project and a very exciting one.
"This program confirms the future of Portsmouth Naval Base for the next 50 to 80 years. It will be the only port which can fully support HMS Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales and meet all their needs."

RFID Reduces Inventory Time Aboard Littoral Combat Ship

Wikipedia

Pensacola July 30, 2015 - Sailors aboard the littoral combat ship USS Independence (LCS 2) successfully demonstrated a passive radio frequency identification (RFID) system's utility during mine countermeasures mission package (MCM MP) container testing conducted off the coast of Florida, in early July.
The RFID project showed the technology's ability to dramatically reduce the time Sailors spend conducting parts and equipment inventory in support of ship replenishment.
"RFID reduced the time the Sailors are in the containers in the ship, and that's a goal - to reduce the warfighter's workload," said Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) project engineer Bill Israelson. "With the system's proven accuracy, we can quickly tell what needs to be resupplied so the ship can get what it needs and head back to sea."
During the container testing Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Mine Countermeasure Detachment Sailors scanned and inventoried 1,300 pieces of MCM MP equipment in only 21 minutes during a rapid replenishment evolution between at-sea periods. Previously, this task would have required three Sailors 72 hours to accomplish. 
The inventory occurred once the Sailors returned to port from after conducting at-sea technical evaluations of the littoral combat ship (LCS 2) MCM MP. Once in port, engineers from NSWC PCD, NSWC Port Hueneme Division and contractor support scanned parts and equipment inside the mission package and sent the information to a computer to determine what needed replenishment.
The RFID project is nearing the final test and evaluation stage, necessary to validate the proof of concept. The RFID prototype was initially developed by the Office of Naval Research.

US Federal Contractor Registration: Navy Releases Security Alarm System Install and Monitoring Solicitation on FedBizOpps (FBO) in Louisiana

Washington July 30, 2015 - The United States Federal Government as of Wednesday has 204 open Solicitations in Louisiana where they are currently seeking out properly registered government contractors. According to the new USA Spending website, the federal government has so far spent over $264.2 billion in government contracts over the course of 1,514,718 government transactions in 2015. Currently, the United States Federal Government has spent over $1 billion on government contracts in Louisiana alone. Please see the below available contract released by US Federal Contractor Registration, additional Louisiana contracts can be found at https://www.uscontractorregistration.com.
US Federal Contractor Registration is reporting the release of the Security Alarm System Install and Monitoring Solicitation in Louisiana posted to FedBizOpps (FBO) on July 29, 2015. The official response date for the Security Alarm System Install and Monitoring Solicitation is August 5, 2015. Every business interested in bidding on the Security Alarm System Install and Monitoring Solicitation must be properly registered in the SAM Registration, as well as have the North American Industry Classification System codes 561 - Administrative and Support Services, and 561621 - Security Systems Services (except Locksmiths) filed in their SAM account/vendor profile.
Below is a copy of the Security Alarm System Install and Monitoring Solicitation as originally posted to FedBizOpps (FBO) on July 29, 2015:
This is a combined synopsis / solicitation for a security alarm system prepared in accordance with the format in subpart 12.6 as supplemented with additional information included in this notice. This announcement constitutes the only solicitation; proposals are being requested and a written solicitation will not be issued. The solicitation number is HSCG29-15-Q-XJN461. This combined synopsis constitutes a solicitation and incorporates provisions and clauses in effect through federal acquisition circular 2007. This acquisition is set aside small business. The NAICS code is 561621. The small business size standard is $20.5. The contract type will be a firm fixed price purchase order. The award will be based on Lowest Cost Technically Acceptable.
Installation and monitoring of alarm system for 6 locations in Belle Chasse, LA. Prep and install needed hardware and electrical needed to alarm units with backup power source. Install keypad controller at main entrance points. Include 24/7 monitoring of system.
Vendors Doing Business with the Coast Guard MUST be registered or willing to register with the System for Award Management. The Government will award a contract resulting from this Request for Quote (RFQ) to the responsible offeror whose offer conforming to the RFQ is the Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) quote. The lowest price quote will be evaluated on technical acceptability. If it is found to be acceptable, an award will be made. If it is found to be unacceptable, the next lowest price will be evaluated. This process will continue until a technically acceptable offer is identified; not all offers will be evaluated.
Businesses that would like to learn how to bid on available opportunities or register in SAM can call Acquisition Specialist Justin Jones at 1(877) 252-2700 Ext. 757. Vendors have been enrolling in the Simplified Acquisition Program to win available government contracts, network with procurement officers across the nation, and qualify their business for government contracting. Businesses that would like to learn more about the Simplified Acquisition Program can visit http://www.simplifiedacquisitionprogram.org/.

Cal Guard Launches Remotely Piloted Aircraft to Search El Dorado National Forest for Missing Person

 
USAF

Sacramento July 29, 2015 - At the request of the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office and California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, the California National Guard launched a Remotely Piloted Aircraft at 10:20 a.m. today to help search for 45-year-old Edward Kavanaugh who was last seen July 17 when he went motorcycle riding in the El Dorado National Forest. This is the first time such a vehicle has been used by the National Guard to aid a search-and-rescue effort.
"In 2013, the Cal Guard's remotely piloted aircraft aided firefighters during the Rim Fire, and now — for the first time ever — it is helping an active search-and-rescue mission," said Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin, California's Adjutant General. "This technology allows us to provide persistant coverage of the search area in support of our partner agencies."
The remotely piloted aircraft, an Air National Guard MQ-9 Reaper, departed the March Air Reserve Base near Riverside, California this morning. Equipped with infrared sensors, image-intensified cameras and laser illuminators, it is bolstering the active search-and-rescue efforts in the national forest by providing detailed aerial pictures that are instantly relayed to National Guard ground crews and their civilian partners.
The El Dorado County Sheriff's request for use of the remotely piloted aircraft came to the Cal Guard's leadership last night through the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, which provides the Cal Guard oversight in its state emergency-response missions. On average, the Cal Guard responds to a state incident, including wildfires and search-and-rescue missions, once every three days.
"Having access to mutual aid resources like this is an amazing asset for our state and our local counterparts in times of crisis," said California Governor's Office of Emergency Services Director Mark Ghilarducci. "We hope that this aircraft is able to provide El Dorado County with valuable information to the on-the-ground personnel involved in this search-and-rescue mission."
The Cal Guard has previously used its remotely piloted aircraft for state emergency-response missions when it supported firefighting efforts at Yosemite National Park during the 2013 Rim Fire. During that mission, the MQ-1 Predator provided aerial imagery in support of interagency firefighters on the ground as they battled the third-largest fire in California's history.
The Cal Guard and California Governor's Office of Emergency Services remind the public that privately owned "unmanned aircraft " should not be flown near search-and-rescue or firefighting activities because this can interfere with public safety operations and put lives at risk.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

US Ships Arrive for Seattle Seafair

A crew member aboard Coast Guard Cutter Midgett, a 378-foot high endurance cutter homeported in Seattle, salutes during the Seafair Parade of Ships in Elliott Bay, July 29, 2015. Coast Guard cutters have been participating in the annual Seafair Parade of Ships since its inception in 1950. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Katelyn Shearer.
A crew member aboard Coast Guard Cutter Midgett, a 378-foot high endurance cutter homeported in Seattle, salutes during the Seafair Parade of Ships in Elliott Bay, July 29, 2015. Coast Guard cutters have been participating in the annual Seafair Parade of Ships since its inception in 1950. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Katelyn Shearer.
(Right to left) Spectators, including Vice Adm. Charles Ray, commander, U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Command, Navy Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, commander, 3rd Fleet and Rear Adm. Richard Gromlich, commander, Coast Guard 13th District, watch as U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy and Royal Canadian Navy vessels pass by during Seattle’s Seafair Parade of Ships in Elliott Bay, July 29, 2015.  Seafair has held the event since its inception in 1950 with multiple ships coming into the port of Seattle for the event.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Zac Crawford.
(Right to left) Spectators, including Vice Adm. Charles Ray, commander, U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Command, Navy Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, commander, 3rd Fleet and Rear Adm. Richard Gromlich, commander, Coast Guard 13th District, watch as U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy and Royal Canadian Navy vessels pass by during Seattle’s Seafair Parade of Ships in Elliott Bay, July 29, 2015. Seafair has held the event since its inception in 1950 with multiple ships coming into the port of Seattle for the event. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Zac Crawford.
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Midgett, a 378-foot High Endurance Cutter homeported in Seattle, cruise along the city waterfront as they participate in the 2015 Seafair Parade of Ships in Seattle, July 29, 2015. After the parade, the crew moored the cutter at Pier 66 to provide tours during the event. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Norcross.
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Midgett, a 378-foot High Endurance Cutter homeported in Seattle, cruise along the city waterfront as they participate in the 2015 Seafair Parade of Ships in Seattle, July 29, 2015. After the parade, the crew moored the cutter at Pier 66 to provide tours during the event. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Norcross.
A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Seattle enforces a security zone around the USS Boxer, an 844-foot Amphibious Assault Ship homeported in San Diego, Calif., during the 2015 Seafair Parade of Ships in Seattle, July 29, 2015. The parade consisted of vessels from the U.S Navy Third Fleet, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Navy, and was followed up by a search and rescue demonstration by an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Norcross.
A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Seattle enforces a security zone around the USS Boxer, an 844-foot Amphibious Assault Ship homeported in San Diego, Calif., during the 2015 Seafair Parade of Ships in Seattle, July 29, 2015. The parade consisted of vessels from the U.S Navy Third Fleet, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Navy, and was followed up by a search and rescue demonstration by an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Norcross.
A U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Port Angeles, Wash., passes over two San Diego, based U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyers, USS Gridley and USS Dewey, during Seattle’s Seafair Parade of Ships in Elliott Bay, July 29, 2015. Along with the destroyers, three Royal Canadian Navy ships, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Vancouver, HMCS Whitehorse and HMCS Brandon, the Coast Guard Cutter Midgett, a high-endurance cutter based in Seattle, and the USS Boxer, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, participated in this year’s events. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Zac Crawford.
A U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Port Angeles, Wash., passes over two San Diego, based U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyers, USS Gridley and USS Dewey, during Seattle’s Seafair Parade of Ships in Elliott Bay, July 29, 2015. Along with the destroyers, three Royal Canadian Navy ships, HMCS Vancouver, Whitehorse and Brandon, USCGC Midgett, a high-endurance cutter based in Seattle, and USS Boxer, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, participated in this year’s events. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Zac Crawford.
A U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Port Angeles, Wash., performs a search and rescue demonstration for the crowd during Seattle’s Seafair Parade of Ships in Elliott Bay, July 29, 2015. In addition to the demonstration, numerous vessels from the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard and the Canadian Navy participated in the yearly event. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Zac Crawford
A U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Port Angeles, Wash., performs a search and rescue demonstration for the crowd during Seattle’s Seafair Parade of Ships in Elliott Bay, July 29, 2015. In addition to the demonstration, numerous vessels from the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard and the Canadian Navy participated in the yearly event. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Zac Crawford.

More of Russia’s Lepse-style nuclear service ships headed for radioactive bone yards

DalRAO-1
Dismantlement works on floating nuclear hazards in Russia’s Far East have begun as promised by a new plan announced in June by Sergei Kiriyenko, head of Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom, RosRAO reported today.
Kiriyenko said that the 16 remaining decommissioned nuclear service ships in the Northern and Pacific fleets would be brought into dry dock and dismantled by 2020, in an apparent nod to the successful progress in dismantling the Lepse, one of Northwest Russia’s most hazardous waterborne nuclear installations.
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The Lepse. (Photo: Nerpa Shipyard)
RosRAO, which manages spent fuel, non-nuclear radioactive waste, and decommissioning services, especially of submarines and associated vessels, said it will begin dismantling the Pacific Fleet’s TNT-4 nuclear service vessel.
According to the nuclear.ru news portal, the vessel was last week lifted out of the water and put into dry dock – the critical first step toward unloading is radioactive cargo.
Technical challenges
The operations for dealing with Pacific Fleet service vessels are complicated because the ships are moored at Rasboynik Bay on Cape Ustryts, and they are longer than the Sakurafloating dock vessel, which is meant to shuttle them to dismantlement, said nuclear.ru.
In order to deliver lift the TNT-4 out of the water, a special extended dock vessel was developed at DalRAO – RosRAO’s Far Eastern division.
The firm told nuclear.ru that the newly engineered vessel allows it “with a quickened tempo and significant savings, to complete our part of the government program to dismantle decommissioned nuclear vessels and [their] floating technical bases.”
The vessel, in a manner similar to its cousins in the Northern Fleet, will be cut into two storage packages that will further be sent to a long term storage facility, where they will remain for 70 years, the news portal reported.
“As of July 1, 2015, five reactor compartments and three storage packages from nuclear service ships have been delivered to storage,” RosRAO reported.
Land-based long-term storage. (Photo: Anna Kireeva/Bellona)
Land-based long-term storage. (Photo: Anna Kireeva/Bellona)
Dry dock dismantlement
The importance of dry dock dismantlement was dramatically illustrated over a two-year period in the case of the Lepse nuclear service vessel, which for loaded and unloaded fuel from the Soviet icebreaker fleet at sea between 1961 and 1988.
After its decommissioning, the derelict radiological hazard was docked at Atomflot, Murmansk’s icebreaker port, parking 639 spent fuel assemblies, many of them damaged, in the middle of the port city. After a more than two-decade struggle with Russian authorities, Bellona finally secured its removal to the Nerpa shipyard in 2012.
Upon arrival, however, its dry dock was occupied by the Leninsky Komsomol, the first Soviet nuclear submarine. After two years of official haggling and turf struggles between Rosatom and the Defense Ministry, the Lepse finally put into dry dock and the Leninsky Komsomol will become a museum piece. The delicate dismantlement of the Lepse finally began in April, and should be completed by 2017.
Northwest Russia’s the Volodarsky nuclear service ship was successfully dismantled last year, and its radioactive cargo sent off for reprocessing and storage.
In June, Kiriyenko offered no cost estimate for the dismantlement program, and nuclear.ru offered no figures on how much will be required to break down the TNT-2.
Kiriyenko also touted Rosatom’s success at dismantling huge numbers of decommissioned submarines.
“Of 201, 195 submarines have been dismantled, and six are in the process,” he said, as quoted by Interfax. “We’ve managed to reach a point where the vessels are no longer waiting in a queue, as was the case earlier. When [Rosatom] was put in charge of this function in 1999, 120 submarines were waiting for dismantlement.”

Navy to Commission Submarine John Warner

HII photo

Washington July 29, 2015 - The Navy will commission its newest fast attack submarine, the future USS John Warner (SSN 785), during a 10 a.m. EDT ceremony Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015, at Naval Station Norfolk, in Norfolk, Virginia. The event will be live streamed at http://navylive.dodlive.mil under webcast.
John Warner, designated SSN 785, honors Sen. John W. Warner for a lifetime of service to the Commonwealth of Virginia and to the United States of America as a trusted leader, statesman and public servant. He wore the uniform of our nation as both a Marine and sailor and served as the 61st Secretary of the Navy, 1972-1974.
Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert, will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Jeanne Warner, wife of Sen. Warner, is serving as the ship's sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she will give the order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"
"The commissioning of USS John Warner marks the beginning of what is expected to be 33 years of distinguished service for this great submarine - a fitting tribute to a man who served his nation for so long as a sailor, a Marine, a United States Senator and, as one of my most esteemed predecessors as Secretary of the Navy," said the Honorable Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy. 
"This ceremony is not only a celebration of a man who dedicated so much of his life to his country and to the Department of the Navy, but also a reminder of the partnership our Navy shares with the shipbuilding industry in Senator Warner's home state of Virginia and the continued success of the Virginia-class attack submarine program."
Warner (SSN 785) is the 12th Virginia-class fast attack submarine. While other Virginia-class submarines have been named after U.S. states, SSN 785 holds the distinction of being the first to be named after a person. This next-generation attack submarine provides the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation's undersea supremacy well into the 21st century. It will have improved stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and special warfare enhancements that will enable them to meet the Navy's multi-mission requirements.
Warner has the capability to attack targets ashore with highly accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct covert long-term surveillance of land areas, littoral waters or other sea-based forces. Other missions include anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare; mine delivery and minefield mapping. It is also designed for special forces delivery and support, a subject Warner worked on throughout his career in the U.S. Senate.
Virginia-class submarines are 7,800 tons and 377 feet in length, have a beam of 34 feet, and can operate at more than 25 knots submerged. They are built with a reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time.

Russia to open first repository for extremely hazardous radioactive waste

Seversk chemical combine
Russia’s first point for long terms storage of “special” radioactive waste is to be built at the site of the EI-2 uranium graphite reactor production in Northern Siberia’s closed nuclear city of Seversk by the end of December, Russian news sources reported.
The repository will rely on exclusively natural barriers between the environment and some of the most radioactively dangerous waste produced in the history of nuclear weapons production.
The storage site’s completion should, according to reports in Russian media, coincide with the decommissioning of the EI-2 reactor, which is slated before the end of 2015. The repository will hold waste from that and other weapons-grade plutonium manufacturing reactors at the Seversk site.
Russia’s 2011 law on Management of Radioactive Waste characterizes as “special” radioactive waste that is too risky or too expensive to move.
Siberian Chemical Comine Seversk
The Siberian Chemical Combine at Seversk’s  radiochemical plant. (Photo: Siberian Chemical Combine)
The project to store the special waste at Seversk was announced to RIA-Novostion Tuesday by Andrei Izmestyev of the Pilot and Demonstration Center for Decommissioning of Uranium-Graphite Reactors, a division of Russia’s state nuclear company Rosatom that was tasked with implementing a decommissioning concept for the country’s 13 shut-down uranium-graphite military plutonium production reactors.
The production reactors are located across Russia, with five at Ozersk, which hosts the Mayak Chemical Combine, three at Zheleznogorsk’s Mining & Chemical Combine and five at Seversk. As a whole, they produced 170 tons of weapon-grade plutonium between 1948 and 1994, according to the World Nuclear Association.
The EI-2 will the first of Seversk’s reactors to be decommissioned. The EI-2 is Russia’s first dual-purpose production uranium-graphite reactor, capable of supplying thermal heat for energy and weapons grade nuclear material the same time.
The remaining four reactors at Seversk should be decommissioned by 2030, Seversk’s director, Sergei Tochilin, told RIA Novosti in October.
The decommissioning concept developed by the Pilot and Demonstration Center provides for building multiple safety barriers and sealing off shut down reactors rather than dismantling them individually.
This approach is estimated to cost $ 67 million per reactor. The reactors produced some 170 tons of weapon-grade plutonium between 1948 and 1994, according to the World Nuclear Association.
Izmestyev told the news agency that, by law, waste produced by government armament and defense programs –such as the production reactors at Seversk – and waste which arises as a result of a nuclear accident is automatically characterized as “special.”
Siberian Chemical Combine 2
Centrifuges enrich uranium hexafluoride with uranium 235. (Photo: Atomsrib.ru)
He also said that the technologies that would be used to store the special waste were specifically developed for the purposes at Seversk, and are the first of their kind, RIA Novosti quoted him as saying.
“Thanks to the developed technology […] there’s a way for the first time in world practice to safely decommission a uranium-graphite nuclear reactor via in-situ storage” with the creation of repository for special radioactive waste, he said.
Alexei Shchukin, expert for nuclear programs with the Environmental Rights Center (ERC) Bellona has pointed out the dangers storing graphite associated with RMBK-style reactors, which, like the EI-2, use graphite moderators to control nuclear reactions
“Carbon-12, of which [the graphite cylinder of an RBMK] consists, is transformed during the operation of the reactor by the influence of neutrons into the isotope carbon-14,” Shchukin said. “The ingress [of carbon-14] into the environment is extremely dangerous – it’s a radioactive element with a half life of 5400 years, and which is capable of penetrating the molecules of DNA.”
He added that, “For complete neutralization of the substance, 10 such [half life periods] are required at minimum, so accordingly, no less than 10,000 years.”
Izmestyev said that additional safety barriers between the special waste produced by the EI-2 and the environment were created with exclusively natural materials. He did not specify, however, whether these barriers were built especially for graphite.
“Any technological material has its limited terms of usefulness, where the application of natural materials guarantees nuclear and radiological safety for tens of thousands of years,” he said.

PLA Navy South China Sea Exercise

















National Naval Aviation Museum Ensures USS Forrestal "Trial by Fire" Accident is Forever Remembered

US Navy

Pensacola July 29, 2015 - Two naval aviators were on hand Tuesday at the National Naval Aviation Museum (NNAM) at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola to examine a section of their historic ship that was recently added to the museum's collection. The USS Forrestal (CVA 59) suffered a devastating fire and resulting explosions resulting from a rocket accident on July 29, 1967 which killed 134 Sailors and injured 161.
"Since the decision to scrap Forrestal (CV 59), the museum has sought to obtain this stern plate," said Robert Macon, the museum's acting director. "Every single aircraft that landed on the ship passed over it and to have a section of the ship that was the foundation for the modern supercarriers of today on display will be of great interest to our visitors." 
Workers at All Star Metals in Brownsville, Texas, where the ship arrived for scrapping in February 2014, cut away the stern plate, which has been part of the ship since her commissioning in 1955. It arrived in Pensacola just days before the 48th anniversary. 
Retired naval aviators Rear Adm. Peter Booth and Capt. C. Flack Logan were fighter pilots serving on board the aircraft carrier that day which was operating off the coast of Vietnam when catastrophe struck. A Zuni rocket loaded on one aircraft impacted an external fuel tank of another airplane, starting a fire on the flight deck that caused bombs on fully-loaded aircraft spotted for launch to detonate. 
Observing what was happening around him from the cockpit of his F-4 Phantom II, positioned along the starboard edge of the flight deck aft of the ship's island, Logan climbed out and jumped onto the flight deck. Running forward, he was caught in the explosion of a 1,000-pound bomb, the force throwing him against the island. From his squadron's ready room below decks, Booth made his way to the catwalk and beheld the inferno. 
"My heart was beating and tears welled up for this could not be happening to us," he later wrote. 
"During that first few minutes, many proud and dedicated Sailors died with more to follow in the hours to come." In addition to the significant crew casualties, the fire destroyed 21 airplanes and the ship's survivability was in doubt during the mass casualty. 
In addition to Booth, who later in his career commanded the carrier, and Logan, the survivors included among others future Senator John S. McCain III, and future (and now retired) Commander Pacific Fleet Adm. Ron Zlatoper. 
"The heroic actions of the crew that fateful day embodied the honor, courage, and commitment that are a hallmark of Navy personnel," commented museum historian Hill Goodspeed. "The fact that the lessons of the Forrestal fire are still used in Navy training translates into the fact that most every Sailor is familiar with this ship."
After undergoing preservation by museum staff, the stern plate, which stretches 18 feet in length and weighs upwards of 2,500 pounds, will be placed on public display, where it will join that of the carrier USS Oriskany CV 34). The stern plate of that ship was removed before her 2006 sinking as an artificial reef off Pensacola.
The Navy's maiden supercarrier and the first aircraft carrier named for a naval aviator-James V. Forrestal received his wings in World War I and later served as the first secretary of defense-Forrestal served for 38 years, most of her deployments in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, the exception coming in the summer of 1967, when she steamed to the Western Pacific and suffered the deadly fire off Vietnam.