Saturday, October 31, 2015

RE2 Robotics Wins Navy Contract to Design Inflatable Underwater Manipulator Arms

Pittsburgh October 28, 2015 - RE2, Inc., a leading developer of robotic manipulator arms, announced today that the Company has received a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to design Inflatable Underwater Manipulator arms for the US Navy's Office of Naval Research (ONR).
During the Phase I program, RE2 will design a light-weight inflatable underwater manipulation system for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV). The inflatable manipulator arms will be designed as a payload for AUVs. Ultimately, the manipulator arms will be used as a collaborative robotic system to assist Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) divers in dismantling Waterborne Improvised Explosive Devices (WIEDs) and other hazards.
EOD divers are often placed in harm's way while performing underwater location and identification of ordnance on ships, waterways, and underwater structures. The deployment of a cost-effective and reliable manipulation system on an AUV promises to bring the stand-off capabilities that robotic and autonomous systems have brought to EOD technicians operating on land to those operating underwater.
"Our talented engineering team has extensive experience designing and developing robotic arms for EOD robots," stated Jorgen Pedersen, president and CEO of RE2. "Underwater is our next frontier and we are honored that the Navy has entrusted RE2 with the design of this new inflatable robotic manipulation system."
This program is RE2's second contract with ONR this year to develop underwater manipulator arms. RE2 is also developing an Underwater Dexterous Manipulation System for Explosive Ordnance Disposal Applications.

RN Parliamentary Questions Answered

HL2636 – Royal Fleet Auxiliary (Answered)

Lord MacKenzie of Culkein

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the age of each of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships currently in service.

Earl Howe

The year of launch of each Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship currently in service is shown below:

Ship                         Launched
RFA BLACK ROVER 1973
RFA GOLD ROVER 1973
RFA FORT ROSALIE 1976
RFA FORT AUSTIN 1978
RFA ARGUS         1981
RFA DILIGENCE         1981
RFA FORT VICTORIA 1990
RFA WAVE KNIGHT 2000
RFA WAVE RULER 2001
RFA MOUNTS BAY 2004
RFA CARDIGAN BAY 2005
RFA LYME BAY        2005

HL2635 – Royal Fleet Auxiliary (Answered)

Lord MacKenzie of Culkein

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when decisions will be made about replacements for the forward repair vessel RFA Diligence and the aviation training casualty receiving ship RFA Argus.

Earl Howe

The Ministry of Defence is considering a range of options in the Strategic Defence and Security Review; this will include an assessment of the out of service dates of RFA Diligence and RFA Argus.

HL2638 – Royal Fleet Auxiliary (Answered)

Lord MacKenzie of Culkein

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps are being taken to bring the remuneration package for officers serving with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary into line with market rates in the commercial shipping industry.

Earl Howe

The Ministry of Defence is currently conducting a study that will provide a model and methodology to enable comparisons of remuneration packages against Industry.

HL2515 – Aircraft Carriers: Military Aircraft (Answered)

Lord West of Spithead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 1 October (HL2376), whether they were assured that there would be a fully implemented Operational Conversion Unit in addition to the Sea Lightnings embarked; and if so, how many aircraft were expected to be in that Unit.

Earl Howe

The Ministry of Defence does not recognise the term ‘Sea Lightning’. The UK Lightning Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) is planned to commence UK training at RAF Marham from August 2019. The OCU will operate in parallel with 617 Squadron, the front line unit. The OCU will be equipped with 10 Lightning aircraft.
The MOD does not comment on operational capabilities as to do so would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces.
I am withholding the information on planning and costing assumptions as its disclosure would prejudice commercial interests.

12151 – Trident (Answered)

Crispin Blunt

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what his Department’s latest estimate is of (a) the whole life programme cost of the Successor programme, (b) capital costs associated with (i) submarine acquisition, (ii) Trident missile renewal and (iii) basing facilities, (c) the running and support costs of the Successor fleet and associated capability to protect and sustain it, (d) all future costs associated with the Atomic Weapons Establishment maintaining a capability to maintain an on-going nuclear warhead design capability and (e) decommissioning costs.

Mr Philip Dunne

The 2014 Update to Parliament set out an estimate for the Successor submarine acquisition of around £25 billion, based on a four boat solution, spread over some 25 years. These estimates are currently being refreshed to inform the Comprehensive Spending Review and Strategic Defence and Security Review.
Once the new fleet of SSBNs come into service, we expect that the in-service costs of the UK’s nuclear deterrent, which include the costs of the Atomic Weapons Establishment, basing and disposals, will be similar to the current system, at around six per cent of the defence budget.
While we have no plans to replace the current Trident D5 missile, we are participating with our US partners in a programme to extend the current life to the 2060s. The estimated cost is around £250 million.

Dangerous International Environment Cries Out For Larger U.S. Amphibious Fleet

By Daniel Gouré, Ph.D.
Lexington Institute

October 27, 2015 - It has become something of a meme among military planners that we are living through a period in international relations marked by unparalleled complexity, uncertainty and even chaos. As a consequence, the military finds it hard to know how to respond or what kind of forces to build. Force planners go back and forth, vacillating between capacity, which is current forces and operations, and capability, a shorthand for modernization.
But as former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates pointed out last week in his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, having to deal with a challenging security environment is nothing new: “While it is tempting – and conventional wisdom – to assert that the challenges facing the United States internationally have never been more numerous or complex, the reality is that turbulent, unstable and unpredictable times have reoccurred to challenge U.S. leaders regularly since World War II.”

HII

There is one major difference today from the environment of the past seventy-odd years. It is that the U.S. military has never been smaller, older and more stressed. The Army has shrunk to a size not seen since 1940. The Navy has fewer ships today than at any time since World War I.  A substantial portion of the Air Force’s fleets of fighters, bombers and tankers are older than the men and women who fly them, often by decades. As a result, the military is finding it all but impossible to meet current demands for forces to support an expanding set of missions across the world.
Another difference is that the U.S. military can no longer rely on technological superiority to counter numerically superior adversaries that also have the advantage of proximity to theaters of concern. In area after area – air defense, long range strike, space conflict, cyber, electronic warfare and information operations – prospective enemies have caught up or actually surpassed the United States. The Pentagon has called for a major effort to develop new capabilities. As a result, the military is being asked to fund both capacity and capabilities but with shrinking defense budgets.
A capability area that epitomizes the challenges facing the U.S. military is the Navy-Marine Corps’ amphibious warfare force. Today the Navy-Marine Corps have a requirement for 38 amphibious warfare ships – sufficient to deliver two Marine Expeditionary Brigades across a hostile shore – but are forced by budget limitations to plan for only 33. The number of deployable amphibious ships tends to hover around 29.
The size and character of the amphibious fleet also are critical to the Sea Services’ ability to maintain an adequate number of Amphibious Ready Groups/ Marine Expeditionary Units (ARGs/ MEU). The MEU/ARG is unique in the world due to its ability to operate from international waters, the breadth of its capabilities and its overall flexibility. The MEU portion of the team consists of a reinforced infantry battalion with its own command and control, combat support, logistics, vehicles, indirect fires and aviation elements. The ARG half of the combined capability typically consists of three ships – a LHD, LPD and LSD – which not only provide transportation for the MEU’s air and ground elements but can serve as a sovereign base at sea with advanced medical care, intelligence capabilities and support facilities.
The demand for ARG/MEUs exceeds the supply. In 2014, the former Commander of U.S. Pacific forces, Admiral Samuel Locklear III, warned that there were not sufficient amphibious forces to meet worldwide demand. “I’m not the only combatant commander that desires amphibious shipping or the Marines that are on them. So there is a global competition among us as the world situation kind of moves around. [And] the global demand signal today is … greater than what we can resource.” As a result, combatant commanders have taken to breaking up these units, sending individual ships on different missions. In addition, the Marine Corps has established a Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force, an ARG/MEU without the ships, in Moron, Spain to provide a crisis response capability in the Mediterranean.
The Sea Services need both more and better amphibious ships. In particular, the Navy needs to procure the LX(R) to replace the aging LSDs. Based on the proven LPD-17 design, these new ships will have greater space for critical equipment, a well deck for the movement of forces and material from ship to shore and enhanced command, control and communications. Commonality with the LPD-17 will reduce the construction and life cycle costs of the LX(R).
The United States should build a larger amphibious fleet. Given events in the Middle East and North Africa, there needs to be an ARG/MEU regularly deployed in both the Mediterranean and the Arabian Sea. These plus two forward deployed in the Western Pacific means a requirement for no fewer than 38 amphibious ships. The unraveling of the post-World War II international order fairly cries out for a larger and modern U.S. amphibious warfare capability.

USNS Tippecanoe Conducts Fueling At-Sea with MSC Chartered Maersk Peary

MSC

Singapore October 27, 2015 - Military Sealift Command (MSC) fleet replenishment oiler USNS Tippecanoe (T-AO-99) completed a fueling evolution at-sea with the US-flagged MT Maersk Peary (T-AOT 5246) in international waters off the coast of Sasebo, Japan, Oct. 22.
The four-day training event was just the second time in the last 15 years that a U.S. Navy tanker conducted fueling operations at-sea with a commercial vessel. 
"Typically MSC oilers like Tippecanoe are required to dock pier-side at one of the Navy's Defense Fuel Support Points," said Capt. Philippe Grandjean, assistant chief of staff for logistics (N4) for Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific (COMLOG WESTPAC). "The capability exercised during this training evolution pushes the Navy's ability to refuel at-sea via commercial tankers and furthers the vision of a distributed, agile logistics concept."

MSC

Distributed logistics provide flexibility for the U.S. 7th Fleet, which operates in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region; an area of 48 million square miles.
"Our replenishment oiler crews must be proficient in receiving fuel from commercial tankers in case, for some reason - a natural disaster for example - a vital asset cannot make it into port to refuel," explained Cmdr. Michael Wilson, deputy assistant chief of staff for logistics for COMLOG WESTPAC. "These operations provide MSC with flexibility in providing operational support to the 7th Fleet in any situation."
The refueling between Tippecanoe and Maersk Peary marked an important step in increasing proficiency with at-sea fuel consolidation operation between tankers. 
"We are leading the way here in 7th Fleet," said Grandjean. "We are committed to doing this particular training quarterly. The end goal for Navy and MSC is to see this training taking place throughout the fleet on as many tankers as possible."
Maersk Peary is under a long-term charter to MSC and is one of four MSC charters that have been specially outfitted to conduct consolidated cargo capability operations with fleet replenishment oilers.
COMLOG WESTPAC is the U.S. 7th Fleet's provider of combat-ready distributed logistics, operating government-owned and contracted ships to keep units throughout 7th Fleet armed, fueled and fed. Additionally, Task Force 73 is the 7th Fleet's Theater Security Cooperation agent for South and Southeast Asia.

Maritime Theater Missile Defense Forum Completes At Sea Demonstration

Missile fire
NORTH ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 20, 2015) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) fires a Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) as part of an at-sea demonstration showcasing its ability to intercept a short-range ballistic missile target, Oct. 20, 2015. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Mike Wright/ Released)

Faslane October 27, 2015 - The Maritime Theater Missile Defense (MTMD) Forum wrapped up its At Sea Demonstration (ASD) 2015 event, Oct. 27, culminating nearly four years of planning and three weeks of at sea operations in the North Atlantic.
MTMD Forum Chair, Rear Adm. Jon A. Hill, the U.S. Navy's program executive officer for Integrated Warfare Systems lauded the multi-national test team and operators that made the successful demonstration happen.
"Our ships and systems performed superbly," said Hill. "Our approach to ASD15 was to build a little, test a little and learn a lot... we did just that and we are better individually and collectively for our effort."
“I know I speak for all of the nations", Hill continued, "in expressing my appreciation to the multi-national test team that spearheaded preparations for the event. The Forum nations also would like to thank our United Kingdom hosts and the QinetiQ operated Hebrides Range."
While assessment of ship interoperability and the measurement of individual and collective Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capability by participating ships was the primary purpose of the exercise, there were a number of significant events during ASD15.
Canada, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and United States conducted Surface-to-Air missile firing events; France, Norway and the United Kingdom conducted Radar and Combat Systems Development Trials; and the United States, with the assistance of its Forum partners, conducted the first ballistic missile defense (BMD) capable Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) launch in Europe.
Significantly, ASD15 included the first international ship (Netherlands and Spain) transmissions of ballistic missile defense (BMD) cues to a U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer. Finally, Italy, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States were all able to demonstrate their ability to contribute to NATO's BMD link architecture.
Hosted by the United Kingdom and Commanded by Commodore Frank Sijtsma, Royal Netherlands Navy, the MTMD Forum's maritime Task Group successfully assessed the Forum's ability to build a common tactical picture; shared situational awareness; executed coalition-level mission planning and engagement coordination; conducted force level pre-planned responses and as a result are now better able to understand individual and collective capabilities and limitations. Both Australia and Germany provided personnel to the maritime Task Group.
Established in 1999, the MTMD Forum is facilitating the ability of participating nations to improve interoperability and enhance individual and collective maritime integrated air and missile defense capabilities.

APL Ltd. to Pay $9.8 Million to Resolve Alleged False Claims Under the Department of Defense Shipping Contract

October 27, 2015 - APL Limited has agreed to pay the government $9.8 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act in connection with a contract to provide GPS tracking of shipping containers in Afghanistan, the Justice Department announced today.  APL, an ocean carrier based in Scottsdale, Arizona, is a wholly-owned American subsidiary of Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines Limited.  
The Department of Defense contract required APL to affix a satellite tracking device to each shipping container transported from Karachi, Pakistan to U.S. military bases in Afghanistan when the Department of Defense (DOD) requested the tracking services.  The United States alleges that APL billed the DOD for tracking services despite knowing that the tracking devices completely or partially failed to transmit data, or were not affixed to shipping containers.  The government also claims that APL attached a single satellite tracking device to two shipping containers despite being required to affix one device to every container.
“Today’s settlement demonstrates our commitment to ensure that contractors doing business with the military perform their contracts honestly,” said Principal Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “We will continue to ensure that there are appropriate consequences for those who knowingly fail to live up to their bargain and misuse taxpayer funds.”
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to work with our partners to protect the public fisc from government contractors who fail to deliver what they promise,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch of the Northern District of California.
“Thanks to the collaborative efforts of many U.S. law enforcement professionals, APL is today being held accountable for their actions,” said Director Frank Robey of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit.  “I applaud all those responsible for their continued pursuit of those who attempt to take advantage of the U.S. military through false claims for services that were not provided.”
The settlement with APL was the result of a coordinated effort among the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch; the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of California, Affirmative Civil Enforcement Unit; DOD’s Defense Criminal Investigative Service; the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command and DOD’s Defense Contract Audit Agency.
The claims resolved by today’s civil settlement are allegations only; there has been no determination of liability.

Friday, October 30, 2015

UANI Condemns Arrest of American Businessman in Iran

New York October 30, 2015 - United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) today condemned the reported arrests of Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi and U.S. permanent resident Nizar Zakka by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC):
"UANI condemns Iran's unlawful detention of Siamak Namazi and Nizar Zakka and calls on Tehran to immediately and unconditionally release all Americans and other foreigners held on trumped-up charges," said UANI CEO Ambassador Mark D. Wallace and UANI Chairman Joseph I. Lieberman. "These arrests demonstrate why Iran remains an international outlaw and an extremely risky destination for businesses, their employees and representatives.  
"The ongoing harassment and detention of Americans and businesspeople in Iran should be a wake-up call to those hoping for normalization of business and trade activities in Iran with the implementation of the nuclear agreement. Iran's sanctioned Revolutionary Guards are sending a clear message that they intend to continue dominating Iran's economy while ruthlessly controlling society."
Four other Americans have been held hostage by the Iranian regime for years:

  • Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian (1+ year / 466 days in prison)
  • Pastor Saeed Abedini (3+ years / 1,200 days in prison)
  • Marine veteran Amir Hekmati (4+ years / 1,524 days in prison)
  • Former FBI agent Robert Levinson (8+ years / 3,158 days missing)

Jeff Babione Named F-35 Program Leader

Lockheed Martin

Fort Worth October 29, 2015 - Lockheed Martin announced today that Jeff Babione has been named the executive vice president and general manager of the F-35 Program, effective January 1, 2016. Babione succeeds Lorraine Martin who has been appointed to the newly created position of deputy executive vice president, Mission Systems and Training (MST).
As head of Lockheed Martin's F-35 team, Babione will lead development, production, and sustainment efforts across the three F-35 variants for 13 military services in nine partner countries and a growing list of foreign military sales customers. Under his leadership, the F-35 team will focus on completing the System Development and Demonstration Program, ramping up production and supporting the Initial Operational Capability of the U.S. Air Force in 2016 and the U.S. Navy in 2018.
"Jeff is a seasoned leader who is uniquely qualified to lead the F-35 team through this critical phase of the program," said Orlando Carvalho, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. "He brings a deep understanding of the F-35 program, strong customer relationships and a collaborative leadership style that will ensure we continue the positive momentum of the program."
Babione has been with Lockheed Martin for nearly 23 years and has served as the F-35 deputy, vice president and general manager since 2013. Prior to joining the F-35 Program, he was vice president and general manager of the F-16/F-22 Integrated Fighter Group, where he was responsible for all aspects of the development, manufacturing, and sustainment of the F-16 and F-22 programs.
Babione holds a bachelor's degree in Aerospace and Ocean Engineering from Virginia Tech, a master's degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Washington, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Tennessee.

Serco Awarded $15.4 Million U.S. Navy Personnel Management Contract

Reston VA October 22, 2015 – Serco Inc., a provider of professional, technology, and management services, announced today that the Company has been awarded a contract to support the U.S. Navy Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS) as they focus on better aligning their personnel resources.  This new, five year contract has a one-year base period and four one-year option periods, with a total value of $15.4 million, if all options are exercised.
Serco will build and upgrade process support tools for the Navy as they work to enhance their state of personnel readiness.  The Company will develop processes, procedures and forecasting metrics, and conduct data analysis to help the Navy anticipate potential personnel staffing challenges and better align their resources to support the “Street to Fleet” initiative.  The Navy’s “Street to Fleet” charter is to improve the process of the Navy’s enlisted supply chain by utilizing best practices to get the right Sailor to the right billet at the right time with the right skills. 
“Serco takes great pride in delivering essential defense personnel readiness support services to the U.S. military,” said Dan Allen, Serco Inc.’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We are honored to do our part in helping ensure our U.S. Navy has the Sailors in place and available to serve and protect our Country.”

Three Indian OPVs in Sri Lanka for SLINEX-15

Sri Lanka Navy image

Reinforcing the strong neighbourly ties underscored by extensive maritime interaction, the Indian and Sri Lankan Navies would undertake the 4th edition of Sri Lanka-India Exercise (SLINEX) off Trincomalee, Sri Lanka from 27 Oct to 01 Nov 15. SLINEX series of bilateral maritime exercises were initiated in 2005 and since then three successful engagements have been conducted. 
Indian Naval ships Kora, Kirpan and Savitri along with ship-borne integral helicopters entered Trincomalee today to participate in the exercise. Kora and Kirpan, the missile corvettes, are commanded by Commander Ashok Rao and Commander Abraham Samuel, respectively, and the Offshore Patrol Vessel Savitri is commanded by Commander Prashant Negi. In addition, an Indian Naval maritime reconnaissance aircraft will also participate in the exercise. The Sri Lankan Navy will be represented by Sayura, Samudra, Sagara, six Fast Attack Crafts, two Fast Gun Boats and one Fast Missile Vessel. 
The exercise will commence with a Harbour Phase, during which, the participants will engage in professional, cultural and social interactions. The Harbour Phase will be followed by the Sea Phase, which will commence on 30 Oct. The Sea Phase will include complex operations including anti-piracy exercises, gun firings, cross-deck helicopter operations and anti-surface exercises. 
The benefits of operational interactions under the aegis of SLINEX are clearly visible as both the Navies today have an improved and steadfast understanding. SLINEX 15 will further enhance the capability of the two navies to work together at sea and contribute towards maritime security in the region. 
SLINEX aims to promote mutual understanding and provide exposure to both the Navies to each others’ operating procedures, communication procedures and best practices. This allows the two navies to develop greater confidence to operate together, if required, during complex maritime missions. Periodic conduct of this exercise has helped to build on past experiences and further advance professional as well as operational engagements between the two navies. 

Aegis for All Ages

Lockheed Martin

A generation separates the U.S. Navy’s oldest and newest Arleigh Burke class destroyers. Thanks to systems modernizations and installations underway, the crews of the veteran and rookie destroyers will monitor, detect and respond to incoming threats using virtually the same proven, evolving technology: The Aegis Combat System.
The USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), which was commissioned near the end of the Cold War, is undergoing a combat systems modernization in Norfolk, Virginia. The U.S. Navy’s newest destroyer, the USS John Finn (DDG 113), is getting its final touches nearly 1,500 nautical miles away in the warm Gulf Coast waters of Pascagoula, Mississippi.
Both guided missile destroyers will have the latest upgrade to the Aegis Weapon System, called Baseline 9, which expands upon the latest advanced anti-air warfare and ballistic missile defense capabilities. Baseline 9 testing began Sept. 5 on the Arleigh Burke and testing for John Finn commenced Sept. 8.
"Today is the day John Finn goes from being a ship to a warship," said Capt. Mark Vandroff, DDG 51 class program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. "Our industry partners, Huntington Ingalls and Lockheed Martin, have both worked very hard to achieve this important milestone on time. I looked forward to completion of the ship's test program and taking John Finn to sea next spring. We are one step closer today to delivering John Finn's critical warfighting capability to the fleet."
Baseline 9 is part of the Aegis Common Source Library, which enables software reuse and commonality across all modernized and new Aegis systems. Software updates can be developed and quickly released across the fleet in an efficient “build once, field many times” process.
“The Aegis Common Source Library meets two basic customer needs: rapid technology deployment and cost savings,” said Jim Sheridan, Lockheed Martin director of Aegis programs. “Aegis, through the Baseline 9 modernization, is providing the U.S. Navy state-of-the-art technology to pace the threat at a fraction of the cost of unique baselines.”
“The modernization is testimony to the durability and flexibility of both the Arleigh Burke class ships and the Aegis Combat System’s design,” said Jim Sheridan, Lockheed Martin director of Aegis programs. “When sailors take the Arleigh Burke back to sea, they won’t be using combat systems from the 1990s – they’ll use the same, advanced and evolving systems available to sailors on the John Finn.”
USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) will return to the fleet and complete her missions with a sharper degree of efficiency, tenacity and success. Her homeport is Norfolk.
The pre-commissioning unit John Finn (DDG 113) is expected to begin after sea trials in the spring and, after commissioning, will join the proud tradition of the 63 Arleigh Burke class destroyers. Her homeport will be San Diego, California.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Navy to Christen Guided Missile Destroyer Rafael Peralta

General Dynamics

October 29, 2015 - The Navy will christen its newest guided-missile destroyer Rafael Peralta, Saturday, Oct. 31, during a 10 a.m. EDT ceremony at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine. 
The future USS Rafael Peralta, designated DDG 115, honors Marine Corps Sgt. Rafael Peralta. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for actions during combat operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Peralta is credited with saving the lives of fellow Marines during the second battle of Fallujah in 2004.
"The tremendous efforts of the highly-skilled men and women of the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works team have brought this ship from an idea to a reality," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. "Their work will ensure that the heroism, service and sacrifice of Marine Corps Sergeant Rafael Peralta will be honored and remembered by all who come in contact with DDG 115 long after this great warship is christened."
General Robert B. Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps, will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Rosa Maria Peralta, Sgt. Peralta’s mother, will serve as ship's sponsor and officially christen the ship Rafael Peralta.
Rafael Peralta is the third of 14 ships currently under contract for the DDG 51 program. The DDG 51 class provides outstanding combat capability and survivability characteristics while minimizing procurement and lifetime support costs, due to the program's maturity. DDG 51 destroyers are warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. Destroyers can operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups, and underway replenishment groups. DDG 113 and follow on DDGs are being built with Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capability.
The 9,200 ton Rafael Peralta is being built by General Dynamics Bath Iron Works. The ship is 509 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet, and a navigational draft of 31 feet. Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots. 

Partner Nations Preserve, Protect Sunken WWII Wrecks

USN/USNI image

Jakarta October 29, 2015 - Nearly three dozen government officials from Indonesia, the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom gathered in Jakarta, Oct. 29, to continue their efforts to protect and preserve sunken sovereign vessels in the Java Sea, many of which serve as war graves.
"This year's conference was another opportunity to raise awareness about the efforts to protect and preserve these maritime war wrecks," said Naval Attache for the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta Capt. Mark Stacpoole. "The close collaboration during this year's meetings will enable us to unify our efforts to maintain recognition and respect for these final resting places of our service members, who, in the words of Lincoln, 'gave the last full measure of devotion.'" 
Officials from participating countries included representatives from their embassies, navies, and cultural and educational ministries, as well as Indonesian maritime and civil police officers, who have been working to stem unauthorized activities that have impacted the state of preservation of wreck sites in the area. 
During the course of meetings, participants provided background briefs on their protection efforts. The groups also collaborated on other ways to create and sustain awareness to dissuade criminal activity, recognizing there are mutual national interests in doing so.
The parties agreed to open a museum exhibit in Indonesia highlighting the history of the wrecks, which will help educate residents and foster a sense of joint responsibility for respecting the sanctity of those men lost in service. The group has an ambitious completion date of March 1, 2016, for the first phase of the exhibit, which coincides with 74th anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait. In addition to the museum exhibit, there is also a battle site commemoration planned to recognize and honor those lost during the war. 


RAN photo.
"I'm genuinely pleased with the resolve and determination by all involved," said retired Rear Adm. Sam Cox, director, Naval History and Heritage Command. "The partnering our nations have undertaken to ensure the sanctity of these war graves is something that transcends our borders." 
Immediately preceding the multi-national gathering in Indonesia, was an undersea dive conducted from the USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50). U.S. Navy divers, assisted by personnel from the Indonesian Navy, revisited the WWII wrecks believed to be those of HMAS Perth (D29) and the cruiser USS Houston (CA 30). While the visit was limited to visual inspection and documentation, it served as a necessary and important follow up to the June 2014 survey which resulted in the initial assessment of the condition of the Houston wreck. 
As part of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise in June 2014, U.S. Navy divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) ONE, with personnel from the Indonesian Navy, surveyed the wreck. Over the course of 19 dive excursions, both ends of the wrecked vessel were marked with buoys, and the exposed port side, as well as the deck, was documented using video recording. U.S. In a November 2014 report, Navy underwater archaeologists assessed that was conclusive evidence of a pattern of unauthorized disturbance of the gravesite.
USS Houston, nicknamed "The Galloping Ghost of the Java Coast," was sunk in combat during the WW II Battle of Sunda Strait in 1942. Capt. Albert H. Rooks, the ship's commanding officer who was killed in action, posthumously received the Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism, while USS Houston was awarded two battle stars, as well as the Presidential Unit Citation. The site of the sunken ship is the final resting place of nearly 650 Sailors and Marines. 

Camcopter® S-100 Completes Successful Trials for South African Navy

Schiebel

October 27, 2015 - Schiebel’s CAMCOPTER® S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS) continues its successful shipboard trials when demonstrating its outstanding capabilities to the South African Navy from 20 to 23 October 2015 at False Bay, Western Cape, South Africa.
The maritime environment holds unique demands for situational awareness and timely communications. The CAMCOPTER® S-100 is a much needed asset for such requirements, specifically with its ability to persistently extend the “electronic eyes and ears” of maritime commanders to operational ranges well beyond those of the sensors on board. The South African Navy as well as a number of delegates from other South African governmental authorities could convince themselves of these capabilities near the Naval Base Simon’s Town.
The S-100 conducted all flights from the deck of the SAS Protea, a Hecla class deep ocean hydrographic survey vessel of the South African Navy. Turbulent head and crosswinds beyond 25 knots, limited deck size as well as lack of NATO landing grid represented exceptional challenges during the trials. The unmanned helicopter effortlessly conducted automatic takeoffs and landings and all other required maneuvers, thanks to its integrated GPS-independent positioning system, enabling pinpoint precision at a high dynamic range.
During the trials the payload of choice was the Selex ES SAGE Electronic Support Measure (ESM) system, rendering the CAMCOPTER® S-100 capable of detecting, identifying and geo-locating radio frequency sources while it routinely operates out to ranges of 200 km or remains on-station for periods of more than 6 hours. This system provides the perfect support for maritime surveillance missions or anti-piracy operations in which the South African Navy was interested.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Orbital ATK Wins $426 Million Award for Munitions Fuse Program

Dulles October 28, 2015 - Orbital ATK, a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, announced today that it has received an award totaling $426 million for first article test and qualification and production of FMU-139D/B fuses and fuse accessories. The contract, awarded by the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command, includes qualification and first article testing activities. An initial amount of $24 million from the Navy and U.S. Marine Corps will be obligated at time of award.
“This award affirms our position as a technology leader within the military fuse and sensor industry, and will deliver more capability and greater reliability to our warfighter.”
“With our history of innovation and track record for dependable performance, Orbital ATK continues to demonstrate its commitment as a technology partner to the U.S. government,” said Mike Kahn, President of Orbital ATK’s Defense Systems Group. “FMU-139 D/B is a prime example of Orbital ATK’s leadership in precision-guided munitions.”
Building on the success of its all-electronic FMU-167/B Hard Target Void Sensing Fuse (HTVSF), Orbital ATK’s FMU-139D/B will elevate the capability of the military’s longstanding, general purpose FMU-139 bomb fuse. The all-electronic FMU-139D/B will deliver game changing capabilities in the areas of reliability, increased fuse functionality, and added capability to defeat hard and deeply buried targets.
“Orbital ATK’s FMU-139D/B will be the cornerstone of the military’s general purpose bomb fuse for the foreseeable future,” said Pat Nolan, Vice President and General Manager for Orbital ATK’s Missile Products, a division of the Defense Systems Group. “This award affirms our position as a technology leader within the military fuse and sensor industry, and will deliver more capability and greater reliability to our warfighter.”
Working in conjunction with Orbital ATK’s design facility in Plymouth, Minnesota, production will be performed at the company’s Allegany Ballistics Laboratory (ABL) facility in Rocket Center, West Virginia. Production is expected to run through May 2024.
Orbital ATK’s Defense Systems Group is an industry leader in providing innovative and affordable precision and strike weapons, advanced propulsion and hypersonics, missile components across air-, sea- and land-based systems, ammunition and related energetic products.

Monday, October 26, 2015

SS United States is Invited to Brooklyn


Waterfront Alliance

One of the most luxurious ocean liners ever built, the SS United States was and is to this day the fastest. She remains the holder of the Blue Riband for speediest transatlantic crossing—in 1952.
Yet “America’s Flagship” sits at a dingy Philadelphia pier, paint peeling off the hull, weeds sprouting in what were once well-appointed staterooms. Its nonprofit owner, the SS United States Conservancy, has tried for years to ensure its survival, but earlier this month the organization announced that despite progress toward finding a permanent home, the vessel would be sold to a metals recycler unless new donors or investors came forward. “The Conservancy has never been closer to saving the SS United States, nor so close to losing her,” read part of the statement.
The United States will not be consigned to the scrap heap if John Quadrozzi can help it. Mr. Quadrozzi, the owner of Gowanus Bay Terminal in south Red Hook, has the perfect Brooklyn pier to host the great ship, and he won’t even charge rent. Currently, the SS United States Conservancy pays $60,000 per month to the Philadelphia pier owner, and has struggled to pay the bills since purchasing the ship from Norwegian Cruise Line in 2011.
Mr. Quadrozzi and the Conservancy have been talking for more than a year about the United States coming to the Columbia Street Pier in Brooklyn, and they’re close to an agreement. “The SS United States Conservancy is intrigued with the prospect of the SS United States traveling to Gowanus and setting up home there,” Susan Gibbs, Conservancy president, told WaterWire.
Mr. Quadrozzi is getting down to brass tacks. “We need to raise two million dollars to tow the vessel to a dry dock, complete remediation and provide the basic mooring structure,” he said. “Once we get that together and bring her here, the ship is saved.”
“We already have a towing company selected,” he added. “We’re discussing a contract to lock in advantageous prices.”

Waterfront Alliance

As for which dry dock, he’s done his homework here, too. “She does fit into the Brooklyn Navy Yard,” he said. “But it’s going to come down to dollars and cents—the cost of moving the ship and the cost of the dry dock repairs.”
“We’re committed to making it work,” Mr. Quadrozzi told WaterWire. “I’m not saying we wouldn’t want to benefit from the value of the vessel, but we don’t want to add to the burden. We want the vessel to stop the bleeding and develop the next phase of getting the infrastructure done and attracting investors and developers.”
Mr. Quadrozzi is asking colleagues and business associates to consider the opportunities with him. “Oh yeah, every couple days I get somebody down here,” he said. “Some of the big developers are pretty intrigued. I’m not going to allow the kind of gentrifying elements that would affect our own industry, though.”
A big believer in the importance of the working waterfront, Mr. Quadrozzi is in the cement business. He owns 33 acres of underwater property and 13 acres of upland property at Gowanus Bay Terminal, where his bulk carrier MV Loujaine is now a repurposed floating cement silo. Gowanus Bay was once a busy hub of grain deliveries, part of New York’s Erie Canal barge system in the early 20th century. Mr. Quadrozzi dreams of a network of industries here that fuel each other–reuse of building materials, a waste-to-energy facility, a supplier of bio-diesel, etc. The United States, he says, will be “on the edge of industry,” its space possibly used to incubate industrial startups.
“It would be a big economic development project; it would create an enormous amount of jobs,” he said. “We want this to be the place where new business and new industry develops. It’s all going to be complementary to the industrial park that we are now expanding. We’re creating an industrial ecosystem. We want to bring the public to the terminal, and this could be a magnet unlike any other.”
“Once we get the vessel here, it’s all development,” he said. “It’ll really blossom like a flower.” The Columbia Street Pier is 1,300 feet long—a nice fit for the 990-foot-long United States—and edged by a public walkway with seating. Mr. Quadrozzi and Conservancy officials have talked about a café and catering hall on board, event space, opportunities for movie and photo shoots, and a museum that would, according to the Conservancy website, “reveal the ship’s secret features, detail the adventures of real people on the high seas, showcase the ship’s most colorful personalities, and explore the science and technology behind the world’s fastest ocean liner.”
“We’re charting a new course now,” declared Mr. Quadrozzi, who has started to fill in community stakeholders about the proposal. “Full steam ahead!”

U.S. Navy awards Raytheon $159 million for Phalanx production

Raytheon

Tucson October 23, 2015 - The U.S. Navy awarded Raytheon Company a $159.9 million contract to manufacture, inspect and test Phalanx Close-in Weapon Systems (CIWS).
Phalanx 1B encompasses the range of actions required to assure success and shape the battlespace for naval, joint, and combined forces.
The contract, which provides for a $10 million option in FY15 and another valued at $291 million in FY16, includes support equipment for the Phalanx and SeaRAM Weapon Systems, Block 1B radar upgrades and kits for reliability, maintainability, and availability. The contract also covers overhaul of four Land-based Phalanx Weapon Systems.
"Phalanx provides the U.S. Navy's ships with a 'last-chance' defense against anti-ship missiles and littoral warfare threats while SeaRAM extends that inner-layer battlespace," said Rick Nelson, vice president of Raytheon's Naval and Area Mission Defense product line. "Close-in systems give warfighters the ability to automatically carry out functions usually performed by separate systems on other ships."
Work under the contract, which was signed in the third quarter of 2015, is expected to be completed by August 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky.
This contract was announced by the Department of Defense on September, 30, 2015.
Phalanx is a rapid-fire, computer-controlled radar and 20 mm gun system that automatically acquires, tracks and destroys enemy threats that have penetrated all other ship defense systems. More than 890 systems have been built and deployed in navies around the world.
Intended to enlarge Phalanx's keep-out range against evolving anti-ship missiles, rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft and other threats, SeaRAM Anti-ship Missile Defense Systems use advanced Phalanx Block 1B sensors and replaces the gun with an 11-round Rolling Airframe Missile guide. SeaRAM is aboard the Independence-class of the U.S. Navy's Littoral Combat Ships.

Naval Commanders’ to Discuss Technological Enablers for Transformation of the Navy with Focus on Indigenisation/ Make in India

October 23, 2015 - The Naval Commanders’ will be deliberating on the key technological enablers for the transformation of the Navy during the second edition of the biannual Commanders’ Conference, scheduled to be conducted from the 26th to 28th of Oct 15 at New Delhi. These deliberations shall serve as a roadmap for the future Navy till 2030. Indigenisation, in line with the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Hon’ble Prime Minister, is the key driver for this roadmap. The Navy has been at the forefront of indigenisation with 47 ships currently under construction at Indian shipyards.
The Chief of the Naval Staff reviews critical operational and administrative issues in the Navy biannually, during the Naval Commanders’ Conference. The forthcoming conference would focus on multitude issues such as operational readiness of the Commands, infrastructure development, human resource management, coastal security, cyber security in the Navy and foreign cooperation initiatives. The Hon’ble RM would also be addressing and interacting with the Naval Commanders on 26th Oct 15.
The Commanders’ will also delve on the numerous initiatives taken by the Navy to usher in E- governance to provide greater impetus to the Indian Navy’s integration with the ‘Digital India’ initiative. While doing so, measures to further strengthen cyber security in the Navy would also be examined. With the aim to showcase the Indian Navy, foster a better understanding of the navies of the world and share best operational practices; the arrangements for the International Fleet review scheduled at Visakhapatnam in Feb 16 will be reviewed.
To focus on the man behind the machine, the year 2015 is being observed as the ‘Year of the Sailor’. The numerous schemes to improve quality of life and service conditions within the Navy will be reviewed during the conference.
In response to the prevalent geo-economic and geo-strategic scenarios the Navy’s role and responsibilities have expanded significantly in the last decade. These developments have necessitated a revision of the Navy’s strategic guidance document ‘Freedom to Use the Seas; India’s Maritime Military Strategy’ published in 2007. The conference would witness the unveiling of the follow-on edition titled ‘Ensuring Secure Seas: Indian Maritime Security Strategy’ by the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri. This edition aims to highlight the incontrovertible link between the seas and India’s resurgence in the 21st century.
It may be recalled that the first edition of the Commanders’ Conference for the current year was held from 25th to 28th May 15.

Policing foreign fishing in Australian waters

HMAS Launceston enters HMAS Coonawarra basin after a successful interception of a Foreign Fishing Vessel in Australian waters.

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority and the Royal Australian Navy recently conducted a joint operation - Operation GRAB III - to target foreign fishing in Australian waters.
Two of Navy’s Armidale class patrol boats - HMA Ships Launceston and Maitland - with Fisheries Management Authority officers embarked, conducted the operation in Australian waters where a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Indonesia allows for Indonesian people to fish using traditional methods.
Maitland's Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Alisha Withers, described the operation as being a successful effort to refine the capabilities of two patrol boats to work to police fishing activities specifically for seabed species within the Seabed Jurisdiction Area.
“Between Maitland and Launceston, we conducted 22 boardings of foreign fishing vessels during the four days of Operation GRAB,” she said.                     
“On each occasion, we were able to quickly confirm that the vessels were operating in accordance with the MOU, so we were able to educate the crews about permitted activities and reinforce to them that Australian authorities do police the area,” Lieutenant Commander Withers said.
“During our 'down-time' between boarding operations, Maitland and Launceston were able to practice a number of 'in company' exercises, including Officer of the Watch manoeuvres, replenishment at sea approaches and light line transfers.”

HMAS Launceston prepares to tow an apprehended type II Indonesian foreign fishing vessel.

Over the three days of the operation, the two ships were able to clear the entire area defined by the MOU, ensuring maximum reach of fishing boats that regularly operate in the area using traditional means.
On conclusion, the vessels continued on with regular patrols in support of the protection of Australia's maritime security.
An Australian Border Force aircraft conducting a patrol in the area on the last day of Operation GRAB identified a foreign fishing vessel that appeared to be fishing inside Australian waters and outside the MOU area, and Launceston, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Dan Lord, was tasked to investigate.                       
“After making a high speed passage to intercept, our boarding party including an embarked Fisheries Management Authority officer was able to catch the boat by surprise, noting that it had a long line attached.
“After securing the vessel and getting direction from Fisheries Management Authority to apprehend the vessel, our personnel recovered the long line by hand.
“Given that the line was around 700m long, with some 70 hooks attached and four sharks caught, this was a slow operation, taking four hours in the middle of the night.
“Although it was disappointing that three sharks were discovered to have lost their lives, a success was releasing one living shark back to the wild.
“We then commenced a three day passage back to Darwin, with the foreign vessel under tow, where we handed the vessel and its crew over to Fisheries Management and Australian Border Force authorities, respectively, so my crew arrived home exhausted but proud of making a significant apprehension, and ensuring that we had reached out to all vessels within the MOU to ensure compliance with Australian law,” Lieutenant Commander Lord said.

Lieutenant Commander Daniel Lord, Commanding Officer HMAS Launceston (left), Luke Hansen from Australian Fisheries Management Authority (Centre) and Lieutenant Luke McMahon, (Right) Executive Officer HMAS Launceston, on the forecastle of HMAS Launceston while along side HMAS Coonawarra.
Commodore Brenton Smyth, Commander Northern Command, noted that the entire operation was a success due to the close cooperation between the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, the Australian Border Force and Defence.
“This was a great outcome, as we were able to conduct a highly visible operation reinforcing Australia's commitment to policing our waters.
“Members of all three services of the Australian Defence Force together with their colleagues in the Australian Border Force and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority work year round to protect Australia from eight defined maritime security threats, including illegal foreign fishing in Australian waters.
“The work can be exhausting, but it is essential in protecting natural resources, and the security of Australia’s maritime domain,” Commodore Smyth said.

HMS Richmond joins the fight against people smugglers in the Med

RN photo

London October 25, 2015 - HMS Richmond has new powers to stop and detain suspected migrant smugglers and disable their vessels.
The Type 23 frigate’s arrival comes after the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2240 (2015) which gives her Commanding Officer the authority to conduct enforcement action on the high seas, including the boarding and seizing of boats suspected to be involved in migrant smuggling.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said, "These new powers are an important step forward. We will now be able to board the boats and detain the smugglers.
"Sending HMS Richmond to join HMS Enterprise in the Mediterranean shows Britain’s determination to tackle this trade in human misery at source. We’ll hit the traffickers hard.
A FRONTEX liaison officer will be on board HMS Richmond to advise her crew on legal issues including the identification, collection and preservation of evidence which could be used in criminal proceedings.
HMS Richmond joins UK survey vessel HMS Enterprise which continues its activity to locate the migrant smugglers operating on the high seas in support of this phase of the mission.



Wildcat becomes first helicopter to land at St Helena Airport


RN photo


October 23, 2015 - The Royal Navy achieved an historic milestone when HMS Lancaster’s Wildcat helicopter became the first rotary-wing aircraft to land at the island of St Helena’s new airport.

Sitting 1,200 miles off the coast of African and 1,800 miles from South America, St Helena is one of the most remote islands in the world – but all of that is scheduled to change early next year when the airport officially opens on the island.

RN photo

The airport has been a major project for the island, and now as it nears completion, HMS Lancaster’s new Wildcat (callsign Voodoo) touched down and made history.
Lancaster is also the first Royal Navy frigate to deploy with the advanced maritime attack helicopter which has been conducting reconnaissance and taking aerial photos of the island.
Part of 825 Naval Air Squadron, based at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton in Somerset, 'Voodoo' is piloted by Flight Commander Dave Neyland. 
He said: “Landing at St Helena airport was a fantastic opportunity to bring a brand new helicopter to a brand new airport, particularly during such an historic period for the island.  
“The airport will usher in a new era for the local community and I was delighted to be a part of that.”

RN photo

Welcoming the inaugural helicopter flight, the island’s Governor Mark Capes said: “St Helena is working its way through a period of profound change. We are now on the brink of joining the rest of the world, by moving from travelling overseas by sea, to travelling by air. 
“Of course, amid all this change some things will remain constant. As a remote island surrounded by thousands of miles of ocean, our links with the sea will remain strong. Those links are also part of our history, part of our culture and have shaped the way we live.”
Last month the first plane – a Beechcraft King Air 200 – landed at St Helena Airport having flown from Angola prior to conducting a series of calibration flights.

RN photo

HMS Lancaster’s Wildcat is the latest generation of maritime attack helicopter for the Royal Navy and has been designed for a variety of roles, including anti-ship, anti-submarine, ship protection, casualty evacuation, battlefield reconnaissance and general utility.
Portsmouth based frigate HMS Lancaster has now completed seven months of her nine month deployment, having travelled 28,000 miles and making 16 port visits over four continents. 

RN photo

The ship is now on the final leg of her deployment with a busy schedule of Maritime Security and Defence Engagement ahead of her.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Osprey Trials on HNLMS Johan de Witt Video


A very special guest October 23, 2015 for the amphibious transport HNLMS Johan de Witt. For the first time landed a US V22 Osprey (Osprey) transport aircraft on the flight deck of a Dutch Landing Platform Dock (LPD). This happened during the big NATO exercise Trident Juncture 2015 off the coast of Spain and Portugal.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Peel Ports Sign Contract With Saab To Supply And Integrate Multiple Vessel Traffic Management Systems

Peel Ports

October 21, 2015 - Defence and security company Saab has signed a contract with Peel Ports, a leading port group in the UK, for the installation of Saab’s Vessel Traffic Management Services (VTMS) system. The system will be deployed across the UK and is scheduled to be operational by September 2016. 
Saab will build a new-state-of-the-art VTMS control centre in Liverpool, designed to track vessels in real time across five major UK ports. These include Peel Ports harbours in Clydeport, Heysham, Medway, Liverpool and Manchester Ship Canal. Radars will be upgraded to the latest technology and sensors will be installed in each port as part of the deal. 
“This will be the first time a UK port operator will integrate a vessel management system across multiple ports with this level of combined services or interoperability. Various solutions, such as Saab’s TactiCall communications system, R40 AIS base stations and V3000 VTMS come together to provide shipping companies the swiftest service in getting their cargo from the ship onto the next inland transport system. This will add to the attractiveness and profitability of participating ports,” said Anders Carp, head of business unit Traffic Management, Saab.
The Saab VTMS system will allow controllers to accurately guide vessel traffic under all visibility conditions, even when ports are very busy.
The system receives real-time information from latest design radars, AIS and CCTV sensors and combines the information into a consistent traffic overview of all vessel movements. With back-up working positions in each port, the design allows traffic to be managed from any operations office, giving the flexibility to efficiently schedule rotations for operators. This design also makes the system highly resistant to outages.
The resilient design also benefits the communications system, the most essential part of any VTMS. Ship’s masters approaching Peel Ports’ waterways can count on efficient support 24/7, 365 days a year.
“This significant investment in customer service will enable the Statutory Harbour Authorities of Ardrossan, Clydeport, Heysham, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheerness to further advance safety and efficiency of all aspects of Vessel Traffic Management,”said Gary Hodgson, COO of Peel Ports.
Saab’s V3000 VTMS is already installed in more than 70 traffic centres worldwide, including the ports of Rotterdam, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Dubai, as well as along the Scheldt River and Europe’s busiest inland waterway, Waal.

Parliamentary Questions on Royal Navy Answered

Royal Navy

11400 – HMS Forth (Answered)

Douglas Chapman

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the origin was of the steel cut for the hull of HMS Forth.

Mr Philip Dunne

The steel for HMS Forth (as well as HMS Medway and HMS Trent) is sourced via Dent Steel Services (Yorkshire), who conduct shot blasting and priming, from SSAB of Stockholm (previously ‘Swedish Steel’) who are able to supply the grade of steel necessary for this application.'

HL2520 – Libya: Warships (Answered)

Lord West of Spithead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 15 June (HL148), whether the frigate committed to the European Union force off Libya is now a part of the Committed Force.

Earl Howe

The UK is contributing HMS Enterprise and HMS Richmond to the second phase of the EU Naval Force Operation in the Central Mediterranean. Neither vessel is in the Committed Force.

HL2592 – Patrol Craft (Answered)

Lord West of Spithead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the new Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) Forth, Medway and Trent, will operate in addition to the current four OPVs.

Earl Howe

The operation of the three new Offshore Patrol Vessels will be subject to the forthcoming Strategic Defence and Security Review.
The UK is contributing HMS Enterprise and HMS Richmond to the second phase of the EU Naval Force Operation in the Central Mediterranean. Neither vessel is in the Committed Force.

11404 – Warships (Answered)

Douglas Chapman

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, where his Department plans to base (a) HMS Forth, (b) HMS Medway and (c) HMS Trent.

Mr Philip Dunne

The base-port of the three new Offshore Patrol Vessels, HMS Forth, HMS Medway and HMS Trent will be subject to the forthcoming Strategic Defence and Security Review.

General Dynamics Receives $24 Million Contract for Submarine Planning Services

Groton October 22, 2015 - The U.S. Navy has awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat a $24.1 million contract modification to perform reactor-plant planning yard services for nuclear submarines and support-yard services for moored training ships. Electric Boat is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics.
Initially awarded in November 2011, the contract has a potential cumulative value of $121.2 million through 2016 if all options are exercised and funded. Most of the work will be performed in Groton, with the remainder taking place in Charleston, S.C., where the moored training ships are based.
This work will engage Electric Boat's engineering and design organization, which comprises 4,400 employees. Possessing proven technical capabilities, these employees work on all facets of the submarine life cycle from concept formulation and design through construction, maintenance and modernization, and eventually to inactivation and disposal.