Monday, August 31, 2015

Air-to-air missile reaches production milestone

An AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder, a within and beyond visual range air-intercept missile, is loaded on an Air Force F-15 Eagle shortly before take-off from Eglin Air Force Base, Valparaiso, Florida, during a developmental test event. The Sidewinder reached the full rate production milestone Aug. 17.  (U.S. Navy photo)
An AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder, a within and beyond visual range air-intercept missile, is loaded on an Air Force F-15 Eagle shortly before take-off from Eglin Air Force Base, Valparaiso, Florida, during a developmental test event. The Sidewinder reached the full rate production milestone Aug. 17. (U.S. Navy photo)

NAS Patuxent River August 31, 2015 - Featuring a “lock on after launch” capability and other advances, the joint Navy and Air Force air-intercept missile (AIM)-9X Sidewinder Block II reached the full rate production milestone Aug. 17.
Sean Stackley, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, signed the Acquisition Decision Memorandum allowing the Air-to-Air Missile Systems Program Office (PMA-259), located at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, and industry partner, Raytheon Missile Systems, to move forward with mass production of the missile.
“With our adversaries constantly advancing technologies within their aircraft and weaponry, we must continue to advance our capabilities to stay ahead of future threats,” said Capt. James Stoneman, PMA-259 program manager. “AIM-9X FRP is the end product of much engineering and testing to ensure our warfighters are equipped and ready to respond to any scenario.”
Approximately 6,000 AIM-9X Blk II missiles will be procured through 2026.
Upgraded from the Block (Blk) I series, the AIM-9X Blk II missile incorporates new software, an upgraded guidance control unit and a longer battery life.  The new technology improves probability of kill, increases launch range and enhances the target detector functionality. A key characteristic is its rapid response capability in air combat scenarios.
The most significant change incorporated into the Blk II series is the “lock on after launch” capability. Rather than requiring the warfighter to actually see the target to lock the missile on, the warfighter can launch at the target without knowing its exact position.  Once the missile is launched from the aircraft, the seeker - a sensor inside the missile - locates the target either via infrared emissions or via datalink and proceeds to execute its mission.
“The effectiveness, coupled with increased reliability of the AIM-9X, exceeds our original expectations,” said Lt. Cmdr. Betts, AIM-9X Block II military integrated product team lead. He said the effort advanced as scheduled after the Navy reached its initial operational capability milestone in March.
The air-intercept missile is 119 inches in length, weighs 186.2 pounds and is capable of being launched from the Navy’s F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet, the Air Force’s F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon and various international partner aircraft equivalents. Its purpose is to detect, acquire, intercept and destroy a wide range of high-performance airborne and surface threats.
PMA-259 is responsible for the acquisition, life-cycle management and sustainment of air-to-air missile systems for AIM-7, RIM-7, AIM-9 and AIM-120 programs.

Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, partners to survey World War I shipwreck

Diamond Shoals Lightship LV-71.

Nearly 100 years ago, German U-Boat sank American lightship off North Carolina

Washington August 31, 2015 - On Sunday, August 30, teams from NOAA’s Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, began a survey of the historic wreck of Diamond Shoal Lightship No. 71, the only American lightship to be sunk by enemy action during World War I.
The archaeological survey expedition off the coast of Beaufort, North Carolina, will document the wreck site, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places this month. Information from the survey also will be used to create educational exhibits and materials to help recreational divers better interpret the wreck site, which is managed by NOAA and the Coast Guard.
The sanctuary’s research vessel SRVx Sand Tiger will provide the platform for at-sea operations.Other partners for the project include East Carolina University and University of North Carolina Coastal Studies Institute. 
Built in Bath, Maine, in 1897, the lightship, also known as LV-71, served as a floating lighthouse, sound signal station, and navigational beacon. For 21 years, the lightship marked the treacherous waters of Diamond Shoals off of North Carolina to ensure other vessels could navigate safely.
On August 6, 1918, the German submarine U-140 attacked the vessel while it was anchored off Cape Hatteras.  Before it was attacked, LV-71 had reported by radio the presence of a submarine that had torpedoed the unarmed American steamer Merak. The U-140 intercepted the warning and headed for the LV-71. The submarine fired its deck guns at the lightship and first took out the communications room. As the U-140's shelling continued, LV-71's 12 member crew escaped off the doomed vessel. According to A History of U.S. Lightships by Willard Flint, more than 25 friendly vessels were warned away from the area by the LV-71.
"A large part of our country's history is rooted in our maritime heritage," said David Alberg, superintendent of the nearby Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. "This expedition will provide valuable insights into the lives of this heroic crew and shed light on an important chapter of our nation's history that is unknown to many Americans."
Managed by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary was designated in 1975 to protect the wreck of the famed Civil War ironclad USS Monitor, which sank during a storm 16 miles off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina in 1862.

RFA Lyme Bay Enroute to Dominica in the wake of Tropical Storm Erika

RFA Lyme Bay will provide humanitarian support in the wake of Tropical Storm Erika.

London August 31, 2015 - Royal Fleet Auxillary (RFA) Lyme Bay has been rerouted to assist humanitarian relief efforts in the Commonwealth country of Dominica following the devastation caused by Tropical Storm Erika, International Development Secretary Justine Greening announced today.
The British ship is carrying a range of disaster relief stores including bedding, shelter, torches and stretchers, as well as a Lynx Mk 8 helicopter and considerable supplies of fresh water.
Tropical Storm Erika hit Dominica on 27 August 2015, resulting in severe flooding, landslides and wide spread infrastructure damage across the island. RFA Lyme Bay is stationed in the Caribbean and as part of its primary tasking acts as a first responder in the event of a disaster in the region.
Justine Greening said, "It is clear that Dominica has borne the brunt of this storm, with a number of deaths already confirmed and hundreds of people made homeless. Roads, bridges and health clinics have been affected and large parts of the island are without water and electricity. Part of RFA Lyme Bay’s tasking is to respond to just this sort of emergency and the ship is already en route to assist with relief efforts. As well as essential supplies and helicopter support, the ship can also provide vital expertise to help clean-up operations and recovery efforts."

HMAS Canberra Initial Operational Capability

ADF photo

Canberra August 31, 2015 - The Royal Australian Navy’s Amphibious Ship, HMAS Canberra, has completed a graduated operational test and trials program to achieve a key milestone towards Initial Operating Capability.
The program included integration of landing craft as well as trials for both the crew, ship and aviation systems. The Navy’s S70B Seahawk, Army’s S70A Blackhawk and the joint MRH-90 Taipan helicopters have now all been evaluated for operations from the Canberra class ships.
Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, AO, CSC, RAN, said the milestone meant that Canberra had successfully conducted the required training and evaluation to undertake specific Government directed operations.
“Canberra now has another two months of more complex joint collective training and exercises to integrate other elements of the Australian Defence Force amphibious capability,” VADM Barrett said.
“Certification of the Amphibious Ready Element later this year is the final tick to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief support.
“I will then be able to declare the Initial Operating Capability for the Canberra class Amphibious Ships,” he said.
Canberra’s sister ship, NUSHIP Adelaide is expected to enter service later this year and will commence a similar program to Canberra, in early 2016. It is anticipated that Chief of Navy will be able to announce Final Operational Capability for the Canberra class in late 2017.
At that point, Australia will have a world class amphibious capability that can undertake the broad spectrum of operations from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, security and stability operations across the Indo-Pacific region, to defence of the nation.

USS Ronald Reagan completes sea trials, assessments

USS Ronald Reagan, off the coast of San Diego, during Full Power Runs
US Navy

San Diego August 31, 2015 - The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) returned to Naval Base Coronado in San Diego after completing sea trials and a post hull swap assessment, Aug. 29.
In order to prepare the ship for her upcoming patrol and to re-certify shipboard qualifications, the crew completed five days of drills and training. Carrier Air Wing (CVW-11) was embarked to assist. 
"Anytime there is a significant change of personnel the ship has to re-certify its flight deck and hangar bay,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate First Class Demetrius Davis, V-3 division leading petty officer. “The certification process ensured our personnel were able to secure aircraft properly, combat causalities and properly execute drills such as moving aircraft to different spots on the flight deck and hangar bay.”
Not only were newly updated networking systems tested during the evolution, but after completing a recent hull swap with the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) a newly integrated Ronald Reagan team was tested as well. 
“This was our first time operating the entire system underway with the staff, squadron, and airwing onboard,” said Ensign Kyle DeVries, Ronald Reagan’s Combat Systems division officer. “This is a relatively new system for aircraft carriers, so we tested to see how the system would work in support of this ship’s new mission as the forward-deployed aircraft carrier.”
Afloat Training Group (ATG) Pacific was on board for the last time before the ship’s departure to Yokosuka, Japan to evaluate the damage control teams as they conducted drills. 
"ATG was here to evaluate how well the two crews blended together and to provide training to ensure the unified Reagan team is on the right track as we transition to deployment," said Lt. Cmdr. Jeremy Schaub, Ronald Reagan's Damage Control Assistant. "They are here to certify we are training watch standers properly, our flying squad is capable of handling casualties and the ship as a whole is still capable of combating causalities."
Ronald Reagan is the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier.

Defence to Finalize Sale of Former RAN Omega station at Darriman, Victoria

Canberra August 31, 2015 - The Department of Defence has today confirmed that the sale of the former Omega Tower site at Darriman, Victoria, was agreed in August 2015.
The Omega Tower was removed from the site in April this year because of public safety concerns. Since that time, Defence has completed various due diligence activities in order to sell the site.
The Contract of Sale was exchanged in August following an expression of interest process, and Defence will finalise the sale in October.
All proceeds from the sale will be re-invested in support of the Australian Defence Force.

BTT Systems Swordfish and Heron Designs

BTT Systems

Office design and construction company BTT Systems presented two new projects surface ships, the proposed programs Swordfish and Heron for the Polish Navy. The solutions are development projects, the patrol ship 9XX Heron and coastal defense ship 6xy Swordfish, presented in May of this year. by BTT Systems and take account of the new requirements, resulting from observing global trends and optimizing the earlier assumptions.

BTT Systems

BTT Systems

BTT Systems

BTT Systems

BTT Systems

Shipyard visit by Tonga’s Chief of Defence Staff


Canberra August 31, 2015 - Today Head Maritime Systems Rear Admiral Mark Purcell hosted Chief of Defence Staff, His Majesty’s Armed Forces, Tonga Brigadier Lord Fielakepa, at the Forgacs Shipyards in Newcastle, to view a just completed landing craft that will join the Tongan Naval Component next month.
The Australian Government is gifting the new Landing Craft Medium, worth approximately $5 million, to the Kingdom of Tonga as part of our Defence Cooperation Program.
Delivery of this vessel will mark a significant milestone in Australia’s Defence relationship with Tonga.
Tonga is an important security partner in the region, and this important will enhance Tonga’s maritime capacity to reach its outer islands.
The Landing Craft Medium will enable Tonga to transfer stores, people, and equipment across its archipelago for nation building activities.
It will support His Majesty’s Armed Forces to deliver emergency supplies to smaller islands in humanitarian response situations, such as Tropical Cyclone Ian which struck the Ha’apai island group on 11 January 2014.
It will also enable Tonga to participate in regional disaster relief operations, such as the response effort following Cyclone Pam in March this year when a Tongan patrol boat was one of the first assets to assist Vanuatu.
I look forward to visiting Tonga to see the vessel in operation in the near future.
The Department of Defence has worked closely with His Majesty’s Armed Forces to successfully deliver this project, including crew training and wharf infrastructure upgrades. Australia will also deliver a range of services in support of the vessel’s operation, including engineering and technical services.
The vessel was constructed by the Australian shipbuilding company, Forgacs, and is currently undertaking final sea trials ahead of being shipped to Tonga in early September.  
This project complements Australia’s Pacific Patrol Boat Program and follow-on Pacific Maritime Security Program, as a practical demonstration of Australia’s enduring commitment to security, stability and development in the South Pacific.
The contract was award by the Defence Materiel Organisation in May 2014. The landing craft will be gifted to the Kingdom of Tonga by the Australian Government. The 30m craft will be delivered mid 2015 under a long-running defence co-operation program.
The vessel will be built and launched at Forgacs’ Newcastle shipbuilding facility. The scope of work will include: structural fabrication, blast and paint, fit-out and sea trials.
The landing craft will be used for the transport of Tonga Defence Services (TDS) equipment and personnel, amphibious training, disaster relief and emergency towing.
The vessel is designed to carry the following cargo: fuel oil, fresh water, containers, deck cargo & vehicles

Key statistics

Overall length: 30.4m
Beam: 8.0m
Speed: 10 knots
Hull material: Steel
Maximum crew: 6
The craft will boost the Tongan military’s capacity to reach remote communities for nation-building construction activities as well as in response to natural disasters such as cyclones

PLAN Type 056 Update

File Photo

China Xinyang 501 Type 056 Comm 07 Mar 15
China Huangshi 502 Type 056A Comm Mar 15
China Suzhou 503 Type 056
China Suqian 504 Type 056 Del 22 Jul 15
China TBA 505 Type 056
China TBA 512 Type 056 Bldg Jul 15
China Datong 580 Type 056 Comm May 13
China Yingkoku 581 Type 056 Comm 01 Aug 13
China Bengbu 582 Type 056 Comm 25 Feb 13
China Shangprao 583 Type 056 Del Jun 13
China Meizhou 584 Type 056 Comm 31 Jul 13
China Baise 585 Type 056 Comm 12 Oct 13
China Ji’An 586 Type 056 L 25 Feb 13 Comm 31 Dec 13
China Jeiyang 587 Type 056 Comm 25 Jan 14
China Quanzhou 588 Type 05 Comm 09 Aug 14
China Qingyan 589 Type 056 Comm 07 Jun 14
China Weihai 590 Type 056
China Fushun 591 Type 056
China Luzhou 592 Type 056 Comm Jun 14
China Sanmenxia 593 Type 056
China Wei Hou 590 Type 056 Comm 15 Mar 14
China Sanmenxia 593 Type 056 Trials Aug 14 Comm 13 Nov 14
China Zhouzhou 594 Type 056 Comm 06 Nov 14
China Chaozhou 595 Type 056 Comm 29 Nov 14
China Huizhou 596 Type 056 Comm 01 Jul 13
China Qinzhou 597 Type 056 Comm 01 Jul 13
China TBA Type 056 L 17 Jul 15
China TBA Type 056 Ord
China TBA Type 056 Ord

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US Navy and Raytheon Company Visit and Tour Norristown-Based High-Tech Electronics Design and Manufacturing Company LCR Embedded Systems

From left: Dave Freeman, Eastern Regional Sales Manager, LCRES; Shmuel Yankelewitz, Chief Operating Officer, LCRES; Dennis M. Davin, Secretary, PA Dept Community and Econ Development; David Joseph, Director of Aegis Programs Raytheon; Nissen Isakov, President, LCRES; Kevin Kenney, NAVSEA PEO IWS; Suzanne Holloman, Dean of Workforce Dev and Continuing Ed, Montgomery County Community College; Tom Venditti, Statewide Director, WEDnetPA; Kurt Imhof, Regional Rep, Sen. Robert Casey; Philip Innamorato, Field Rep, Sen. Patrick Toomey; John Ennis, Above Water Sensors Lead, Raytheon; Peter George, Sales Rep, LCRES; Mike Shorr, PA Dept of Community and Econ Development; Steve Teahan, Aegis Quality Program Lead, Raytheon; John Long, VP Integrated Systems, LCRES; Rick Nace, Senior Staff Engineer, LCRES; Alvin Edwards, Wire Wrap Supervisor, LCRES; Markeith Carroll, Aluminum Backplane/Header Products Supervisor, LCRES (Photo: Business Wire)

Norristown August 31, 2015 - Executives from the US Navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and the Raytheon Company, together with representatives from the United States Senate and the Secretary for the PA Department of Community and Economic Development, met on August 11, 2015 for a visit and tour at LCR Embedded Systems, a high-end electronics design and manufacturing firm based in Norristown. Also in attendance were representatives of the Workforce and Economic Development Network of Pennsylvania (WEDnetPA).
LCR Embedded Systems has a long and positive relationship with Raytheon as well as with other major defense subcontractors, and during the visit and tour, the focus was on its suite of design, engineering, and integration capabilities as well as how its manufacturing and test capabilities, quick turnaround, and commitment to exceeding customer requirements enabled Raytheon to deliver some of the central hardware for the AN/SPY-1 Radar at the heart of the US Navy’s Aegis Combat System currently deployed on surface ships around the globe.
Attendees included Kevin J. Kenney from the NAVSEA Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems; David Joseph, Director of Aegis Programs for the Raytheon Company; representatives for Senators Robert Casey and Patrick Toomey; and PA Secretary for the Department of Community and Economic Development Dennis M. Davin. Davin, Joseph, and Kenney all spoke at the event, addressing how the long and positive relationship between LCR Embedded Systems and Raytheon benefits the United States Armed Forces, its defense subcontractor customers, and the Pennsylvania economy.
“LCR Embedded Systems is extremely proud to have played such a crucial role in enabling Raytheon and our other defense subcontractor customers to offer the best and most reliable technology to the men and women who place themselves in harm’s way to protect this country, and we look forward to playing that role in the future,” said LCR Embedded Systems President Nissen Isakov.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

First of Class Research Vessel Neil Armstrong (AGOR 27) Completes Acceptance Trials

Anacortes August 27, 2015 - The first-of-class oceanographic research vessel R/V Neil Armstrong (AGOR 27), successfully completed acceptance trials Aug. 7 the Navy reported Aug. 27.
Neil Armstrong is a modern mono-hull research vessel based on commercial design, capable of integrated, interdisciplinary, general purpose oceanographic research in coastal and deep ocean areas.
The Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) found the ship to be well-built and inspection-ready. The trials evaluated the ship's major systems and equipment to include demonstrations of the ship's main propulsion system, dynamic positioning system, navigation, cranes and winches, and communication systems. 
"These trials are the final major milestone prior to delivering Neil Armstrong," said Mike Kosar, program manager for the Support Ships, Boats and Craft office within the Program Executive Office, Ships. "Neil Armstrong performed very well during these trials, especially for a first of class vessel. The results of these tests and the outstanding fit, finish and quality of the vessel, stand as a testament to the preparation and effort of our entire shipbuilding team. It reflects the exceptionalism of AGOR 27's namesake, Neil Armstrong." 
Acceptance trials represent the cumulative efforts following a series of in-port and underway inspections conducted jointly by the AGOR Program Office, SUPSHIP, and builder Dakota Creek Industries throughout the construction, test and trials process. The trials are the last significant shipbuilding milestone before delivery of the ship to the Navy, expected to occur this fall.
Neil Armstrong Class AGORs are 238 feet long and incorporate the latest technologies, including high-efficiency diesel engines, emissions controls for stack gasses, and new information technology tools both for monitoring shipboard systems and for communicating with the world. These ships will provide scientists with the tools and capabilities to support ongoing research including in the Atlantic, western Pacific and Indian Ocean regions across a wide variety of missions. 
Neil Armstrong will be capable of assisting with integrated, interdisciplinary, general purpose oceanographic research in coastal and deep ocean areas. The ship will be operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution under a charter party agreement with Office of Naval Research (ONR). The vessel will operate with a crew of 20 with accommodations for 24 scientists. 
As one of the Defense Department's largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft. Delivering high-quality war fighting assets - while balancing affordability and capability - is key to supporting the Navy's maritime strategy.

Newport News Shipbuilding Conducts Steam Testing on Aircraft Carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72)

Newport News August 27, 2015 - Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding division announced today that it has reintroduced steam to the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) to begin final testing of the ship's steam-powered systems.
Moored at Outfitting Berth 1 at Newport News, Lincoln is in the final stages of its mid-life refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH). Shipbuilders and sailors are beginning to test steam-powered systems on board, including the main engine complex and the electrical generators.
"As steam is reintroduced into Lincoln's piping systems and equipment is operated, the ship is truly coming back to life," said Chris Miner, Newport News' vice president of in-service aircraft carrier programs. "Once the work and final testing, including sea trials, is complete, Lincoln will be redelivered to the Navy as one of the most technologically advanced Nimitz-class carriers in the fleet."
Lincoln's RCOH began in March 2013. The entire process takes about 44 months. Newport News shipbuilders will complete more than 23 million man-hours of maintenance and modernization work preparing Lincoln for its return to the U.S. Navy fleet. The ship is on track to redeliver in 2016.
"We achieved another major milestone recently by establishing shore-steaming capabilities, thanks to my counterparts at Newport News Shipbuilding, but also to the men and women serving aboard USS Abraham Lincoln and many others who all played an important role in accomplishing this feat," said Capt. Ronald Ravelo, the ship's commanding officer.
RCOH is the mid-life refueling overhaul and maintenance availability of a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier that produces a recapitalized carrier capable of supporting current and future warfare doctrine. Once Lincoln's RCOH is complete, the carrier will be equipped to operate in the U.S. Navy fleet for the second half of her 50-year expected service life.

KONGSBERG Establish European Support Center for the Revolutionary Seaglider AUV

The support center will stocking spare parts and battery refurbishment kits and will have the capacity to perform standard vehicle battery refurbishment and minor system repairs. Kongsberg photo.

August 27, 2015 - Kongsberg Maritime is pleased to announce the creation of a European support center in Southampton, UK, for its Seaglider autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV).
Seaglider is a buoyancy driven AUV manufactured by Kongsberg Underwater Technology, Inc. in Lynnwood, Washington, USA. Due to the product's long duration deployments for continuous measurement of oceanographic parameters, Seaglider has revolutionised the way in which oceanographic data is collected.
The product has been designed to be as efficient as possible, accommodating a wide range of oceanographic sensors and its method of propulsion uses very little energy. Seaglider deployments can last for months, enabling it to traverse thousands of kilometers in a single use, saving the costs associated with traditional methods of gathering data.
The new support centre will begin stocking spare parts and battery refurbishment kits immediately and will have the capacity to perform standard vehicle battery refurbishment services and minor system repairs by Q4 2015.
In addition to the new support centre, Kongsberg Maritime will be adding a Seaglider vehicle to the pool of rental equipment maintained by the company's base in Aberdeen, UK, allowing existing system users to expand Seaglider fleets and prospective customers to test ahead of purchase.
Mark Baldwin, who will be leading the new support centre, said: "We have a large number of Seaglider users in the European region and the new centre will greatly enhance our ability to support them. For those customers who do not perform their own routine maintenance, it means they will no longer have to ship vehicles to the United States for service, saving significant time, effort and money."

Vympel Shipyard launches patrol boat Mangust built under import substitution program

Rybinsk August 27, 2015 - On August 26, Vympel Shipyard launched the Mangust, fast patrol boat of Project 12150 (Hull No 02641), the shipyard’s press center says.  

According to the statement, the ship has been built under the program on import substitution –due to the sanctions imposed on Russia, М470МК engine manufactured by Zvezda OJSC (Saint-Petersburg) was installed instead of MTU engine (Germany). 

Upon completion of mooring and sea trials and acceptance/delivery tests, the boat will leave for Vyborg based  Border Service of FSB in  Saint-Petersburg and Leningrad Region. 

All in all, the shipyard is to build 7 patrol boats of Mangust type with engines manufactured by Zvezda.

Rybinsk, Yaroslavl Region based Vympel Shipyard is a fast-growing company specializing in building of medium-, small-tonnage sea-going and river vessels and boats both for military and civil sectors. Since its inception in 1930, VYMPEL Shipyard had built more than 30,000 ships of various types. For the last 40 years the company had built and delivered more than 1,800 boats to customers in 29 countries in Europe, Middle East, South East Asia, Africa and South America. Vympel Shipyard is building serial new generation missile and patrol boats, fast SAR boats, fire-fighting boats, survey and fishery vessels, tugs and other craft.

All photos courtesy Vympel.

Raytheon and US Navy collaborate to optimize minehunting sonar

US Navy photo: The Remote Minehunting System and AN/AQS-20A Minehunting Sonar  on USS Independence (LCS-2)
Portsmouth RI August 27, 2015 - Raytheon Company is working closely with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) – Division Newport to enhance the features of the company's AN/AQS-20A minehunting sonar. Together, the team is analyzing the system's synthetic aperture sonar to fully optimize its ability to capture and process high- and low-resolution images of mine threats undersea.
US Navy photo: The Remote Minehunting System and AN/AQS-20A Minehunting Sonar  on USS Independence (LCS-2)
"Extending our long history of collaboration with our NUWC neighbors, this project brings together our respective sonar experts to maximize the performance of a critical undersea warfare capability," said Kevin Peppe, vice president of Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems' Seapower Capability Systems. "Our goal is to build on the system's proven performance and further the advantage that AN/AQS-20A provides to the Navy to safely detect and effectively identify these undersea threats."
Under a 'work for private party' contract funded by Raytheon, NUWC joins the ongoing initiatives of the AN/AQS-20A team which has been providing these systems to the U.S. Navy for more than 10 years. The system leverages advanced sonar technologies to support the Navy's critical minehunting missions, ensuring safe access and passage for military and civilian vessels on the world's oceans and waterways.
Enhancements provided by the synthetic aperture sonar include higher-quality imaging of objects found deep undersea to aid in the identification and classification of mines. Through a series of lab- and sea-based tests, the team will extensively evaluate and exercise the sonar's features to optimize the quality of both high- and low-resolution imaging.

Serco Awarded $46 Million United States Navy IDIQ Contract in Defense Sector

Reston VA August 27, 2015 - Serco Inc., a provider of professional, technology, and management services, announced the Company has been awarded an U.S. Navy indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) to support the Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Ordnance Information System (OIS). Serco was selected as one of two companies to compete for tasks under this contract with a $45.9 million ceiling value over a five year period of performance. Serco has supported services under this contract since 2010.
Under the contract, Serco provides program management and IT technical support services to continue the operations and enhancements of OIS modules and functional capabilities across all Warfare Enterprises. Work includes financial management, software development, network engineering, cyber security, data center operations, web design and portal management, and project management services.
“Serco has a very strong and experienced team that delivers innovative services to this critical Navy program,” said Dan Allen, Serco Inc.’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We take pride in our continued support of the U.S. Navy Warfighters.”

Indian Coast Guard Ship Visits Vietnam


Ho Chi Minh City August 27, 2015 - Sarang, the Samar-class patrol vessel of the Indian Coast Guard, captained by Commodore Naresh Kumar Kaul, anchored in Ho Chi Minh City Port, starting its five-day friendly visit to Vietnam.
At a reception for the ship, Senior Colonel Le Xuan Thanh, Commander of the Region 3 Coast Guard, welcomed the Indian Commodore and 140 crewmembers and wished the guest a successful visit to Vietnam.


The Vietnamese officer said that the visit would contribute to strengthening the fruitful cooperation between the two countries’ coast guard forces.
For his part, the Indian captain hoped to learn experience from the Vietnamese side through the visit and several exchanges with the Region 3 Coast Guard. He also believed that the cooperation between the two coast guard forces would ensure safer waters for seafarers and clean, environmentally friendly waters.
During their visit to Vietnam, the Indian guests will lay wreaths at the monument dedicated to President Ho Chi Minh, pay a courtesy visit to leaders of Ho Chi Minh City, Military Zone 7, the Vietnam Coast Guard Command, and visit the Region 3 Coast Guard Command and some historical relics and beautiful sceneries in the city.


They will also have a ‘sandbox’ exercise, exchange experience on law enforcement at sea, as well as conduct a search and rescue exercise with the Vietnam Coast Guard force.
This is the fifth time the Indian Coast Guard has sent its ship to visit Vietnam. The Sarang ship,  201m in length and 11.5m in width, has a displacement of 3.4m and weighs 2,000 tonnes. The ship is equipped with a Chetak helicopter and other weapons.
The Coast Guard forces of Vietnam and India are determined to expand and deepen their ties. They inked a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation on cross-border crime prevention and control and development of joint cooperation fields in May 2015, and are proactively driving the implementation of it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Singapore and Indonesia Co-Host Multilateral Exercise for 16 Navies

Some of the participating ships from the 6th WP MCMEX berthed at Changi Naval Base. Singapore Navy photo.

Singapore August 25, 2015 - The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and Indonesian Navy (TNI AL) are co-hosting the 6th Western Pacific Mine Countermeasure Exercise (WP MCMEX) from 25 to 31 August 2015. The Singapore's Chief of Navy, Rear-Admiral (RADM) Lai Chung Han, officiated at the opening ceremony of the exercise at the Changi Command and Control Centre this morning.
More than 800 personnel, 13 ships and five underwater vehicle teams from 16 countries are participating in this year's exercise. The exercise includes professional exchanges, and will culminate in a five-day mine-hunting and mine-sweeping sea phase in the Singapore Strait and the waters off the Indonesian island of Pulau Bintan.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, RADM Lai highlighted the importance of multilateral cooperation in maintaining the freedom of navigation in the sea lines of communication, and the need to remain vigilant and ready to respond to a myriad of threats. RADM Lai said, "As navies, we not only need to be on top of today's challenges - and we have many - we also need to be in time for the future...the activities carried out in the 6th WP MCMEX will build capacity and strengthen interoperability between exercise participants. Beyond delivering professional benefits, multilateral exercises such as this are useful platforms for forging friendships and strengthening mutual understanding."
The WP MCMEX is conducted under the ambit of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS), which promotes mutual understanding, friendship, professionalism and interoperability among the personnel of the participating navies. The participation of the WPNS countries in the exercise reflects their strong commitment to multilateral cooperation and the promotion of regional security. The co-hosting of the exercise by the RSN and the TNI AL also reflects the close and long-standing cooperation between the two navies.

Rolls-Royce Power Systems Showcases MTU's Innovative Drive System for German Transport Minister

Dr Ulrich Dohle (left), CEO of Rolls-Royce Power Systems, talks to Winfried Hermann, Minister of Transport in Baden-Württemberg, about eco-friendly drive concepts for rail transport. Special attention was given to MTU's Hybrid Powerpack, an energy-efficient and ecologically sustainable drive solution.

Friedrichshafen August 25, 2015 - Today, Winfried Hermann, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure of Germany’s federal state of Baden-Württemberg, paid a visit to Rolls-Royce Power Systems in Friedrichshafen, where he was keen to learn about eco-friendly drive concepts for rail transport. MTU's Hybrid Powerpack was one of the technologies shown to him by company CEO Ulrich Dohle. Hybrid Powerpacks consume up to 25% less fuel than conventional state-of-the-art diesel drive systems, and are also much quieter to run and emit significantly less CO2. MTU is part of Rolls-Royce Power Systems within the Land & Sea division of Rolls-Royce.
“Our Hybrid Powerpack is a forward-looking technology that allows our customers to operate ecologically and save money at the same time,” said Dohle. In this drive system, a conventional diesel engine is supported by an electric motor/generator. Recovering the braking energy results in highly cost-effective and ecologically sound operation, particularly in stop-and-go situations on local public transport lines where there are a large number of stops. The electric motor also makes for exceptionally quiet operation when the train is in standstill mode in stations, or is passing through residential areas. 
In the last five years, MTU has played a pioneering role in the development of hybrid technology for rail applications. At the beginning of the year, it carried out its own 6-week trial of the Hybrid Powerpack on the Staudenbahn railway line near Augsburg. The hybrid railcar completed its 2,300-km test run without hitches and achieved a fuel saving of over 18% compared to the conventional state-of-the-art diesel drive system. This result was even obtained on a stretch of track whose profile was not really ideal for proving the value of regenerative braking. Furthermore, the sound level of the train in motion could be lowered by a whole five decibels, while in standstill mode – for example in stations – it was up to 20 decibels quieter because the diesel engine could be switched off and the auxiliary consumers supplied with energy from the batteries.  
“Our Hybrid Powerpack is now ready for the market,” announced Peter Riegger, Senior Manager Research and Technology, Systems, at Rolls-Royce Power Systems. “Rolling stock manufacturers are showing considerable interest in this new technology. The next step for us is to establish our product on the rail market,” he said.

Innovative Stan Pontoon 3011 Water Barge will bring welcome relief to drought stricken areas


August 25, 2015 - The Royal Moroccan Navy, in response to the severe drought that is currently affecting the country, recently awarded Damen Shipyards Group a contract to supply a Stan Pontoon 3011 Water Barge. Due to the urgent need for water in the region, Damen Shipyards Gorinchem, the Netherlands, is putting all its efforts into a fast delivery.
Combining a Stan Pontoon 3011 with water making technology is a first for Damen. Bringing both technologies together in one unit is a unique and innovative solution to the current water shortage in Morocco. No stranger to fast deliveries, Damen is aiming to transport the completed pontoon to Morocco before the end of September 2015.
Damen will install two high capacity water makers and two air-cooled generator sets on board the pontoon. The water makers use reverse osmosis technology to produce clean drinking water. The method is particularly attractive as it can produce potable water from virtually any water source. It is also a relatively energy efficient process.
After delivery, the Royal Moroccan Navy will manage the deployment and operation of the vessel. With its advanced logistics capacities, the Navy is well placed to provide such vital humanitarian support. They will transport the vessel to the worst affected areas to deliver a water making capacity of 2 x 750 m3/day. The water can then either be stored on board the pontoon in bunkers or pumped ashore via a pipeline.
The Damen Stan Pontoon 3011 is an ideal choice for such an assignment: Its standardised components and modular construction mean that Damen can deliver the finished pontoon within a very short timeframe. Furthermore, Damen Stan Pontoons serve as highly flexible platforms that can be fully customised to meet customer-specific requirements.

South Korea intends to design a new submarine rescue ship


August 26, 2015 (China News Network via Google Translate) - According to China National Defense Science and Technology Information Network reported that recently, South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) announced it will design a South Korean navy ship 6,300 tons of new submarine rescue ship, the Navy plans to deliver in 2021 to support plans to Delivery of the 3,000-ton South Korean navy submarine KSS-3 by the end of 2020.
South Korea announced DSME August 13 as the only bidder winning the submarine rescue ship design bidding, the ship was called ASR-2.
South Korean navy currently has a multi-purpose submarine rescue ship, namely 102 meters long, a displacement of 4300 tons of ROKS "Chang Hae Jin" sign (hull number 21), also has a 107 m long, a displacement of 3500 tons multipurpose salvage ship "Tongyeong" number, and can carry helicopters, is designed for submarine rescue and design. The two ships were built in DSME. Daewoo Shipbuilding in developing new submarine rescue ship design process, will build a sister ship.
It is reported that, with 3000 tons of KSS-3 diesel-electric submarine program delivery in 2020, the South Korean Navy began to seek new submarine rescue platform. ASR-2 from the initial idea of ​​view, the ship will be different from the other ship, it is a ship specialized submarine rescue platform.
Daewoo Shipbuilding representative said: "The latest submarine rescue ship will enhance support capabilities to carry out more large-scale expansion of submarine work."
Earlier reports said the South Korean DSME Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) commissioned the first two KSS-3 submarine, the first boat in November 2014 cut the first piece of steel, will be delivered at the end of 2020 the South Korean Navy, the second ship It will be delivered in 2022, and plans to build as many as nine. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Seawolf Completes Six-Month Arctic Deployment

Sailors aboard the fast attack submarine USS Seawolf (SSN 21) remove arctic ice from the hull July 30th after surfacing at the North Pole. Seawolf conducted routine Arctic operations. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Bremerton August 25, 2015 - The fast-attack submarine USS Seawolf (SSN 21) returned to its homeport of Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton Aug. 21, following a six-month deployment.
During the deployment, Seawolf conducted routine submarine operations, which included scheduled under-ice transits and under-ice operations. 
"The crew performed superbly on multiple operations in the 6th Fleet area of responsibility," said Cmdr. Jeff Bierley, Seawolf's commanding officer, from Birmingham, Alabama. "We conducted two polar transits, including a routine surfacing at the North Pole. Operations under the Arctic are part of the Navy's continued commitment to maintain access to all international seas, and Seawolf was just part of that commitment."
The Navy has been operating in the Arctic for decades and it is expected that presence requirements will likely increase as maritime traffic in the region increases. Ships like Seawolf support the Arctic national strategy by developing capabilities, increasing maritime awareness and preserving freedom.
"Seawolf did an exceptional job; they had an accelerated fleet readiness training period so they were really pushed to get all of their preparations, training and certifications done before deployment, including preparations for the very challenging Arctic transit," said Capt. Douglas Perry, commander, Submarine Development Squadron 5, from Alexandria, Virginia. "Arctic transits are important, not just for us to be able to keep our fleet assets around the globe, but it also give us an opportunity to maintain undersea dominance of the Arctic spaces, an area that is very challenging and is changing dramatically."
This was the first deployment for many of the Sailors aboard Seawolf, awarding them the unique experience of visiting the North Pole.
"It was a very interesting deployment full of mixed emotions and the unexpected," said Yeoman 3rd Class Felipe Aparicio, from Los Angeles. "Surfacing at the North Pole was awesome. As you push through the surface it takes your breath away. You feel the ice hit the hull of the boat and you hear thumping back and forth all around you; then it just stops. It was a memorable experience. We got out of the boat, and the best way to describe the North Pole is that it's a cold, snowy desert." 
Seawolf stopped in at Unalaska on her way home to disembark two crewmembers, one of whom had suffered a death in the family. Two replacements boarded via a local tug before Seawolf departed.
These polar transits and the surfacing of submarines demonstrate the U.S. Navy's commitment to assure access to all international waters. USS Nautilus (SSN 571) was the first submarine to complete a submerged polar transit. 
"We are very happy to be home to the Pacific Northwest, and we are eager to spend time with our family and friends," said Bierley.
Seawolf, commissioned July 19, 1997, is the first of the Navy's three Seawolf-class submarines. The Seawolf is significantly quieter than any Los Angeles-class submarine. It is also faster, has more torpedoes tubes and can carry up to 50 torpedoes or missiles, or 100 mines.
All of the Seawolf-class submarines are homeported in the Pacific Northwest - USS Connecticut (SSN 22) and Seawolf at Bremerton, Washington, and USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23) at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.

Singular Aircraft Developing Amphibious UAV

Singular Aircraft was founded by Luis Carrillo Lostao, looking for a way to provide a solution for pilots who risked their lives conducting aerial fire fighting operations.

Singular Aircraft

The initial phase was focused on firefighting, but after the first designs and tests the Singular Aircraft Team saw how The Flyox I could offer a variety of solutions as an alternative  to traditional aviation functions, such as the transport of solid or liquid goods, surveillance or agriculture works. After two years of hard work by the team of engineers, the first prototype, called SA-03, made its first ground and water tests.
With the results of those test, Singular Aircraft manufactured its first unit of the Flyox I series, which successfully performed its maiden flight on May 16, 2015 at the airport in Hofn, Iceland.

Singular Aircraft

Singular Aircraft are excited about the future with The Flyox and are  optimistic and encouraged by the initial results. Singular will continue working with the aim of establishing the Flyox I as a reference point within the UAV market.
Other uses for the technology are plentiful in the defense sector for things such as SAR, UXO, target, reconnaissance and patrol.

Disposing of plutonium cheaper and safer than making it fuel, says leaked US report

Plutonium button
August 25, 2015 - A faltered US disarmament agreement with Russia has left Washington considering far cheaper and effective means of dispensing with 34 tons of surplus weapons grade plutonium, according to a leaked report from the US Department of Energy.
The 68 tons of plutonium the Russian and the US agreed to dispose would power some 17,000 nuclear bombs.
The new plan for the US plutonium,according to the DOE’s leaked document, which was reviewed by Bellona, would involve diluting and storing it at a federal nuclear waste repository in New Mexico for half the cost of current plans that envision converting it as fuel.
savannah river site flickr
The Savannah River Site. (Photo: savannah river site flickr)

Previous disposal plans inked in 2000 by former US President Bill Clinton, and still-reigning Russian President Vladimir Putin, involved both countries converting 34 tons of their respective plutonium stocks into mixed uranium oxide, or MOX fuel, for disposal in conventional reactors.
The DOE at the time pushed for the dilution and disposal option, but the Russian side shouted that down, insisting its plutonium stocks were valuable fuel for its then-nascent power generating fast reactors at Beloyarsk, according to Russian nuclear officials interviewed by Bellona.
Between 2003 and 2006, negotiations over the disposal methods became tedious and protracted, and started to unravel, former DOE officials privy to the negotiations told Bellona.
More recently, both countries began charting their own divergent paths to fulfill the Plutonium Disposition Agreement. Russia has since opted to use its plutonium at the Beloyarsk reactors.
The US, meanwhile, broke ground on a MOX nuclear fuel fabrication facility at the DOE’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina in 2007. The plant was to produce MOX fuel for light-water reactors. The plant’s price tag was estimated at $4.9 billion.
The facility’s design is similar to Areva’s Melox facility at Marcoule, France, but modified to handle metal plutonium ‘pits’ from US weapons and their conversion from metal to plutonium oxide, World Nuclear News reported.
But it’s this part of the process that’s causing problems, the agency reported.
A close view of the MOX plant. (Photo: UCSUS)
Edwin Lyman of the Washington-based Union of Concerned Scientists – which initially obtained the DOE leak – has long been critical of the risks associated with producing MOX.
“Using plutonium-based fuel in nuclear reactors increases the risk of a serious accident,” he said. He added that the MOX program failed to take into consideration tremendous security risks.
“Converting this plutonium to a form that is harder to steal or reuse in nuclear weapons is a critical long-term goal,” he said. “But the MOX project actually increases near-term risks by making it easier for terrorists to steal plutonium during processing, transport or storage.”
In 2014, after two decades, billions of dollars, and minimal progress, the Obama administration mothballed the program, zeroing out its budget and stopping construction of the MOX facility at the DOE’s Savannah River site.
DOE leak recommends ditching the program
Congress, however, has kept it on budgetary life support, with the strong support of South Carolina’s congressional delegation. The leaked study says that sooner or later, the Energy Department will be forced to abandon the fuel plant, the sooner the better.
“The downward performance spiral [expected for the MOX plant] is accompanied by an upward cost escalation spiral that would eventually make [the DOE’s] path-forward decision for them,” the report concluded, “but only after a great deal of money has been wasted.”
A cut-away model of the BN-600 fast neutron reactor on display at the Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Plant, (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
A cut-away model of the BN-600 fast neutron reactor on display at the Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Plant, (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Added to that, said the leaked study, there have been construction snafus, high turnover and management problems on the project that have slowed the MOX plant’s progress.
Despite being 60 percent built, said the leaked report, the MOX plant still needs some 15 years of construction work, and then about three years of commissioning. Once in operation, it would take more than 10 years to work through the plutonium, in accord with the bilateral disposition agreement, at a cost of $700-$800 million a year – putting the total cost of the program at $19 billion to $22 billion on top of what’s already been spent.
In 2013, the DOE estimated the entire project could cost as much as $27 billion. An outside assessment ordered by Congress topped that, concluding it could cost up to $47 billion.
Added to the exorbitant cost, the MOX facility wouldn’t even complete the disposition program within the agreed timeframe with Russia, said the report.
Old way,  better way
Lyman said that the leaked study’s suggestion of dilution and disposal was far preferable – and is a method that the DOE has already used to dispose of several metric tons of plutonium.
Once the plutonium is diluted with an inert, nonradioactive material, it would be sent to New Mexico’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant [WIRR] for burial.
“The bottom line is the MOX program is too expensive and too risky to continue,” said Lyman.
He urged Congress to “stop obstructing the Energy Department from shutting down the MOX program and allow it to ramp up the downblending program at the Savannah River Site.
‘Otherwise, the government will continue to waste hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars every year,” Lyman said.
MOX too risky
Nils Bøhmer, Bellona’s executive director and nuclear physicist, agreed, saying “the [conclusions of the leaked report] are in line with what we have been saying for years – the best option for this material is dilution and disposal.”
But he did flag for concern the possible lack of space to store the material.
“The US must now put more effort into finding one or several disposal sites, both for the plutonium, and also for the country’s growing amount of spent nuclear fuel, which faces a uncertain future since Yucca Mountain was scraped,” said Bøhmer
Lyman’s Union of Concerned Scientists acknowledged this worry in a statement, noting that New Mexico’s WIPP is currently not accepting waste as a result of two accidents in February of 2014. But they noted that the leaked study’s authors said the facility should be operational again by 2020, posing no big delay to downblending the plutonium.
Is this all still just a drop in the bucket?
Still, it is questionable how much of a dent even the dilution and disposal program – coupled with Russia’s burning of plutonium fuel at Beloyarsk – will make in either nation’s stockpiles.
The United States has declared that it has a total weapons plutonium surplus of 100 metric tons. Russia has not declared officially how much it has, but most estimates indicate Moscow is sitting of a surplus of about 150 metric tons of plutonium.

Lockheed Gets Off Far Too Easy for Illegal Lobbying

By Jacob Marx
POGO Researcher

Lockheed Martin Corporation will pay $4.7 million to settle charges that it illegally used taxpayer dollars to lobby the government for a no bid contract extension at one of the nation’s nuclear weapons labs, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
From 2009 to 2012, Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed which manages and operates Sandia National Laboratory, lobbied Congress and high ranking government officials to close bidding on a new seven year deal. Any advocacy by the lab that was funded using taxpayer dollars would have violated the law known as the Byrd Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds for lobbying.
The Project On Government Oversight and Nuclear Watch New Mexico raised concerns over Lockheed’s lobbying in a 2014 letter to the Department of Energy. Among the issues raised by the two organizations, was the hiring of former U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M) and her $226,000 fee for a “contract extension strategy.” Wilson started working for Lockheed the day after she left Congress, and over the next few years earned $450,000 for lobbying on behalf of the nuclear weapons complex—a salary paid by taxpayers.
Last November, a Department of Energy Inspector General Special Inquiry into Lockheed’s lobbying called the company’s behavior “simply unacceptable… inexplicable and unjustified.”
“Given the specific prohibitions against such activity,” wrote the Inspector General, “we could not comprehend the logic of using Federal funds for the development of a plan to influence members of Congress and federal officials to, in essence, prevent competition.”


In other words, how could Sandia have done something so blatantly illegal?
The settlement, announced Friday, is a slap on the wrist for the world’s largest defense contractor, whose contract at Sandia alone is worth $2.4 billion. Lockheed has been fined over $750 million for contract mismanagement in the last decade, but continues to show little regard for the rules. For example, media reported that a Labs spokesperson called the special inquiry conclusions “allegations” rather than findings, and said, “Sandia is confident that the company and the DOE will be able to resolve these issues.”
As POGO and Nuclear Watch New Mexico wrote at the time, “Sandia Corporation does not fully recognize or accept the seriousness of its offense, and instead suggests that this extraordinary circumstance will somehow just be papered over.”
Similarly, the Inspector General noted that, “perhaps [Sandia] felt empowered because it had improperly directed Federal funds to similar activities in the past.” According to an email uncovered during the investigation, Sandia and Lockheed Martin used operating costs to help secure contract extensions in both 1998 and 2003.
Given this behavior, it stands to reason Sandia will continue taking advantage of taxpayers, especially when faced with such soft punishments. Rather than enable more abuse, the Department of Energy should recognize Lockheed cannot be trusted with the stewardship of Sandia National Lab, and bar it from managing the lab in the future.