Sunday, January 31, 2016

Details of the recycling of Type 22 frigate HMS Cornwall

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

CGAI: The Royal Canadian Navy: Facing Rough Seas


Note: I’m sorry, but the essay loses credibility when mention is made of a new “JSS” – a project abandoned by Canada and Norway. Canada chose the Berlin Class AOR, not JSS, in a project that has no guarantees of ever being built.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Sikorsky Aircraft CH-53K King Stallion First Flight Video

On Wednesday October 28, 2015 at the Sikorsky Aircraft Development Flight Center the successful first flight of the U.S. Marine Corps’ CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter prototype, known as Engineering Development Model-1 (EDM-1). The 30-minute flight signals the beginning of a 2,000-hour flight test program using four test aircraft.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

USNS Guadalupe Successfully Delivers Biofuel in Support of Navy’s Great Green Fleet Photo Op and Returns to Base

Under the watchful eye of Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack,Military Sealift Command Fleet Replenishment Oiler USNS Guadalupe (T-AO 200) successfully delivered 200,000 gallons of a blended mixture of biofuel to USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110) during two underway replenishments off the coast of San Diego this week. The UNREP marks the beginning of MSC’s support of the Great Green Fleet, a year-long initiative highlighting the Navy’s efforts to transform its energy use to increase operational capability. Lawrence, is one five ships that make-up the USS John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (CSG); the first CSG operating with biofuel. During its Western Pacific deployment, the strike group will use energy efficiency measures, to include technologies and operational procedures, and alternative fuel in the course of its normal operations. Upon completion of the photo op, Guadalupe returned to NAS North Island.

Military Sealift Command's fleet replenishment oiler USNS Guadalupe (T-AO 200) sends a fuel hose over to USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110) in preparation for a delivery of biofuel, off the coast of San Diego.  The biofuel deliver was part of the Department of the Navy's Great Green Fleet initiative that demonstrates the sea service's efforts to transform its energy use. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Armando Gonzales/Released)
Military Sealift Command’s fleet replenishment oiler USNS Guadalupe (T-AO 200) sends a fuel hose over to USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110) in preparation for a delivery of biofuel, off the coast of San Diego. The biofuel deliver was part of the Department of the Navy’s Great Green Fleet initiative that demonstrates the sea service’s efforts to transform its energy use. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Armando Gonzales/Released)
Later this month, the CSG will be joined by the MSC ship USNS Rainer (T-AOE 7), who will deliver biofuel to the remainder of the CSG’s ships, USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) USS Stockdale (DDG 106), USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110), and USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), and will remain with the group, providing logistics services throughout its deployment. 
“Bringing a cutting edge technology like the biofuel to the fleet is historical,” said Cmdr. Ray Franklin, Military Sealift Command Pacific operations officer. “It demonstrates again, that MSC provides important logistics services to the warfighters, and shows that we are an integral part of the United States Navy team.  As the Navy adapts new technologies, so too will we, as well as our ways of delivering them on time and on scene!”

Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus shows Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack a fuel sample of alternative fuel aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110). Mabus and Vilsack flew out to William P. Lawrence to witness it replenishing its tanks with the fuel, made from waste beef fat, from the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Guadalupe (T-AO 200) as part of the Department of the NavyÕs Great Green Fleet initiative that demonstrates the sea service's efforts to transform its energy use. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Armando Gonzales/Released)
Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus shows Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack a fuel sample of alternative fuel aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110). Mabus and Vilsack flew out to William P. Lawrence to witness it replenishing its tanks with the fuel, made from waste beef fat, from the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Guadalupe (T-AO 200) as part of the Department of the NavyÕs Great Green Fleet initiative that demonstrates the sea service’s efforts to transform its energy use. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Armando Gonzales/Released)
According to the Department of Energy, The Great Green Fleet is a year-long, Department of the Navy initiative that demonstrates the sea service’s efforts to transform its energy use. As one of the Secretary of the Navy’s key energy goals, the purpose of the Great Green Fleet is to make our Sailors and Marines better warfighters, able to go farther, stay longer and deliver more firepower. Mabus chose the name Great Green Fleet to honor President Theodore Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet, which helped usher in America as a global power on the world stage at the beginning of the 20th Century. The Great Green Fleet will usher in the next era of Dept. of Navy energy innovation.
Throughout 2016, other Dept. of Navy platforms including ships, aircraft, amphibious and expeditionary forces, as well as shore installations, will participate in the Great Green Fleet by using energy efficient systems, operational procedures, and/or alternative fuel during the course of planned mission functions worldwide.

US Navy

Garmin® Introduces the quatix® 3 Marine GPS Smartwatch

Olathe KS January 21, 2016 - Garmin International Inc. today announced quatix 3, the next-generation marine GPS smartwatch equipped with important cruising, fishing and sailing capabilities. More than a watch, the quatix 3 is a wearable instrument that streams NMEA® 2000 data from compatible onboard Garmin marine electronics. With its sunlight-readable high-resolution color display, rugged aesthetic, and sleek new form factor, the quatix 3 combines the GPS and wearable technology that Garmin is known for. The quatix 3 comes preloaded with marine-specific feature sets, and boasts support for additional multisport activities. Complete with smart notifications, the quatix 3 can be fully customized to the user, so it’s easy to transition from water to land.
“Garmin has been designing wearables for more than a decade, and we’re excited to merge feature and design qualities from the fenix® 3, one of our most popular watches, with marine-centric capabilities for quatix 3 – the first general-purpose boating smartwatch,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales. “Built to withstand the harsh marine environment, it’s the perfect GPS smartwatch for mariners who live an active lifestyle on and off the water.”
Designed for all types of mariners, the quatix 3 boasts a full navigational and marine toolset. It acts as a wearable instrument that wirelessly streams NMEA 2000 boat data so users will have access to important sensor information, including speed, depth, temperature, wind data and more, no matter where they’re at on the boat. Using a quatix 3, mariners can also start and stop recording or take stills with a Garmin VIRB® action camera, and control their FUSION® stereo system* right from their wrist. With safety in mind, a dedicated MOB hotkey also allows users to drop an MOB waypoint and start navigation back to that point. The quatix 3 also features a 3-axis electronic compass, barometer, and auto-calibrating altimeter.
The quatix 3 is preloaded with a number of important marine-specific features and watch faces. Mariners will receive up-to-date tide data* downloaded for the area they’re in through a smartphone, and will have access to that data for seven days. The quatix 3 is also equipped with an anchor alarm to warn users of drift, as well as an alarm clock and anchor rode calculator that tells the user the proper length of anchor line to put out. For fishing, a competition timer and fish catch log are available to help users keep track of the fish they’ve caught and the time remaining before getting back to weigh-in. And for sailing, the quatix 3 features tack assist, race countdown timer, distance to start line, and time to burn.
With its sunlight-readable color display with an LED backlight, data is easily visible in any light. Water rated to 100 meters, the quatix 3 marine smartwatch has a high-strength, scratch-resistant domed sapphire lens with glass-fiber reinforced housing, and can withstand most water activities. With an omni-directional stainless steel EXO™ antenna and high-sensitivity GPS with GLONASS support, it has the ability to track in more challenging environments than GPS alone. The quatix 3 boasts up to 20 hours of battery life in GPS mode, 50 hours in UltraTracTM mode and six weeks in watch mode (depending on settings).
Like other Garmin GPS wearables, the quatix 3 features multisport functions for golfing, SUP, rowing, swimming, hiking, skiing, running, and more. With daily activity tracking1 and connected features, it doubles as a stylish smartwatch. Users can track their daily steps, mileage, and sleep, then wirelessly upload all their data to the recently updated Garmin Connect™ mobile app. They can also connect their watch to a compatible smartphone for call, text and email notifications right on the watch. Additionally, the quatix 3 is Connect™ IQ compatible, so users can customize their watch with a variety of watch faces, data fields, widgets and apps.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Handing Over Ceremony of the Bunga Mas Lima to the Royal Malaysian Navy

Royal Malaysian Navy
Kota Kinabalu January 22, 2016 - MISC Berhad (MISC) today had successfully handed over to the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) the Naval Auxiliary Vessel BUNGA MAS LIMA (BM5), joining the RMN’s current fleet that will be deployed to safeguard the safety of our Malaysian waters and strengthen the RMN’s future maritime defense strategy.
A ceremony to commemorate the handing over of the vessel was held today at the RMN Kota Kinabalu Navy Base, Sabah and attended by representatives from MISC and the RMN. The event was graced by the presence of YBhg. Admiral Dato’ Seri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin, Chief of Navy and Mr. Yee Yang Chien, President/CEO of MISC.
BUNGA MAS LIMA, a 699 TEUs container ship was the first Malaysian vessel to be converted into an RMN Auxiliary Vessel and was tasked with escorting MISC ships sailing through the Gulf of Aden, a high-risk area that was rampant with piracy activities.

Royal Malaysian Navy

The Handing over Ceremony of BUNGA MAS LIMA reflects MISC’s dedication from end to end towards supporting the National Blue Ocean Strategy (NBOS) and RMN’s role in safeguarding the safety of our Malaysian waters.
“MISC’s collaboration with the RMN to convert the BUNGA MAS LIMA into a Naval Auxiliary Vessel was a significant milestone for the company and set a bold precedent for the shipping industry as MISC was the first and only shipping company that has implemented this unique security arrangement to protect its ships, crew and cargo against piracy,” said Mr. Yee Yang Chien, President/CEO of MISC.
“The decision to modify our container ships into Naval Auxiliary Vessels was testament to MISC’s long-term commitment as responsible corporate citizen to improve the security of our vessels, support the RMN in its military operations and most importantly contribute towards the nation’s security. We would like to thank RMN for their support to MISC though all these years as it has helped us in assuring the security of our crew, cargo and assets. The ceremony today marks a new journey ahead for BUNGA MAS LIMA and we wish the RMN all the best in its future endeavors,” Mr. Yee added.

Royal Malaysian Navy

BUNGA MAS LIMA was launched on 1 June 2009 and throughout her involvement in the RMN operations, codenamed OP FAJAR, she safely escorted over 415 vessels of Malaysia’s strategic interest plying the Gulf of Aden and its adjacent area.

Among the notable contributions of BUNGA MAS LIMA includes :

  • Participation in OP FAJAR from June 2009 till May 2014.
  • Mobilised as a sea basing platform in support of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) in July 2014 and was stationed at Sabah's east coast as part of the forward operational base for intercepting cross-border criminals.
  • Played a supporting role in OP PIRAMID in the evacuation of Malaysian students out of Egypt during the 2011 Egyptian Spring revolution.
  • Foiled the hijacking attempt against MT Bunga Laurel in January 2011.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

PT PAL Launches First of Two SIGMA 10514 Perusak Kawal Rudal (PKR) FFGs


January 19, 2016 - PT PAL has launched the first of two SIGMA 10514 Perusak Kawal Rudal (PKR) guided-missile frigates designated for the Indonesian Navy (TNI AL). PT PAL built these ships in collaboration with Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS). The ceremony was attended by the Guests of Honour, namely the Indonesian Minister of Defense, Ryamizard Rycudu along with Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs, Rizal Ramli; ambassadors from neighboring countries; the Governor of East Java, Soekarwo and Chief of the Navy Admiral Ade Supandi.
The SIGMA 10514 PKR frigate was a project initiated in August 2010 by the Indonesian Ministry of Defence. The Ministry awarded a contract to Damen for the construction of the first SIGMA 10514 PKR in December of that year. The first steel was cut by the former Minister of Defence, Mr. Purnomo Yusgiantoro in January 2014 and the keel was laid in April 2014 at PT PAL shipyard in Surabaya. The PKRs are designed and built to endure various missions.
Primarily, the vessel will be operated for Anti-Air Warfare, Anti-Surface Warfare, and Anti-submarine Warfare. However, it is also compatible with Maritime Security, Search and Rescue, Patrol, and Humanitarian Support tasks. TNI-Al will be strongly empowered by this state-of-the-art maritime capacity.
The SIGMA 10514 PKR has a proven design and is uniquely built using a modular approach. SIGMA stands for Ship Integrated Geometrical Modularity Approach. In essence, the PKRs are divided into 6 modules of which 4 were built in PT PAL’s shipyards while the other two modules were built and fully tested at DSNS in the Netherlands. The modular building enables greater flexibility, is more cost effective and allows for building in various locations worldwide. Essentially, it provides a large portion of technological transfer. When the 6 modules were complete, PT PAL had the responsibility of integrating them into one sole vessel.
Technically, the PKR has a length of 105.11 metres, a beam of 14.2 metres and a displacement of 2,365 tons. The vessel features a fully air-conditioned accommodation for up to 122 persons. The helicopter deck is suitable to host a medium sized helicopter hanger with a weight of max 10 tons. The vessel is also equipped with two rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) for rescue and patrol operations. The frigate has a speed of 28 knots, and can sail up to 5,000nm at 14 knots. The endurance is at least 20 days at sea.
The propulsion system of the PKR vessel utilises a combined diesel or electric (CODOE) which consists of two 10,000kW maximum continuous rating (MCR) diesel engines, two 1,300kW electric motors, two double input gearboxes and two 3.65 metre controllable pitch propellers. The vessel is equipped with a sophisticated platform management system that enables operating, control and monitoring of the ship’s auxiliary systems. The vessel will naturally be equipped with a complete, state-of-the-art sensor and weapon package to counter air, surface and sub-surface threats. For self-defence, the vessel is also equipped with comprehensive electronic warfare systems.
The sensory aspect of the SIGMA is equipped with 3-D surveillance radar with a range of 250 km. Furthermore, there is a target indication radar which also has an electro optical fire control system. The sensor array also comprises a Friend or Foe Identification (IFF) system and a hull mounted sonar.

Austal Delivers Brunswick (T-EPF 6)

Mobile January 15, 2016 - Austal Limited is pleased to announce that Expeditionary Fast Transport 6 (T-EPF 6) was delivered to the U.S. Navy on January 14 during a ceremony aboard the ship at Austal USA’s shipyard in Mobile, Alabama, USA.
The delivery of the USNS Brunswick (T-EPF 6) marks the first ship in its class Austal has delivered to the Navy in 2016.
Austal Chief Executive Officer Andrew Bellamy said it’s a testament to the dedication and skill of Austal’s work force.
“The EPF program is now mature and stable. The entire team at Austal USA has much to be proud of in achieving this.  It’s a great ship and a great program,” Mr Bellamy said.
Three additional EPF, formerly Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSV), remain under construction in Mobile as part of a 10-ship, US$1.6 billion block-buy contract from the U.S. Navy. The future USNS Carson City (T-EPF 7) will be christened in January 2016 and will launch soon after, while modules for Yuma (T-EPF 8) and City of Bismarck (T-EPF 9) are under construction in Austal’s module manufacturing facility. Construction of Burlington (T-EPF 10) is expected to begin later in 2016.
T-EPF 11 and 12 were fully funded by Congress in the 2015 and 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Bills. Shipbuilding contracts for EPF 11 and 12 have not yet been finalised however the Navy awarded Austal a $54 million contract in October to fund long lead materials for T-EPF 11.

Austal Hosts Christening for Carson City (T-EPF 7)


Mobile January 15, 2016 - Austal celebrated the christening of Expeditionary Fast Transport USNS Carson City (EPF 7) with a ceremony this morning at its state-of-the-art shipyard here. USNS Carson City is the seventh of 10 Expeditionary Fast Transport vessels (EPF), formerly joint high speed vessels (JHSV), that Austal has under contract with the U.S. Navy as part of a $1.6 billion 10-ship block-buy contract.
EPF 7, a 338-foot shallow draft aluminum catamaran, is a multi-mission, non-combatant transport vessel characterized by its high volume, high speed, and flexibility.  It is the second U.S. Navy ship to be named Carson City after the capital city of Nevada.
When Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus officially named EPF 7 "USNS Carson City" in April 2013 he proclaimed, "Carson City displays American values of community, ingenuity and perseverance at their best.”  He said he chose to name the ship after Carson City to honor those values and the men and women of the community as well as the state of Nevada.
Carson City will soon join her sister EPF’s that have been delivered over the last three years including USNS Spearhead (T-EPF 1) which has over 100,000 nautical miles at sea and is currently on her fifth deployment since she was delivered in 2012.
“We’re very excited to christened Carson City, and at how well this ship is coming together.” Austal USA president Craig Perciavalle said. “The EPF program has really matured very well thanks to the incredible shipbuilding team we have here at Austal, including our Navy teammates.”
The ship’s sponsor, Susan Asbury Crowell is the daughter of U.S. Air Force Colonel Robert Asbury and wife of Captain Robert Crowell, USN (Retired).  Susan and her husband have called Carson City home since the early 1970s.  Active in her community, Susan has been a long-standing member of the Nevada Opera Association as well as president of the Brewery Arts Board of Directors and a member of the Mile High Jazz Band board, two of the premier organizations promoting all art forms in Nevada’s capital city.  She has also served on the Carson Tahoe Hospital Foundation board of directors and is currently a member of the Carson Tahoe Hospital advisory board.
More than 300 naval guests, civic leaders, community members and Austal employees attended the ceremony held beneath the hull of the ship in Austal’s final assembly bay.
Three EPFs and six Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) are currently under construction in Austal’s Mobile, Ala. shipyard.  The company is scheduled to launch EPF 7 before the end of the month, while the future USS Montgomery (LCS 8) prepares for its acceptance sea trials later this spring.
Austal USA operates a full-service shipyard offering design, construction and high-speed vessel service and repair.  As Austal continues to expand its service and repair capabilities, the company is well-positioned for new business with advanced engineering, test and trials capabilities, a west coast operations office in San Diego and a state-of-the-art waterfront facility located in the Port of Mobile on Mobile Bay.

Royal Name for Carrier Jetty

Royal Navy
January 18, 2016 - Plans to rename the jetty which will be home to the first of the Navy’s two new aircrafts carrier have received the royal seal of approval.
Buckingham Palace has agreed Princess Royal Jetty as the new name for the berth at Portsmouth Naval Base which will accommodate the 65,000-tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth.
The jetty, currently known as Middle Slip Jetty, is being strengthened and upgraded to support the carrier which is due to arrive in Portsmouth in early 2017.
Naval Base Commander, Commodore Jeremy Rigby, said: “We are delighted that Her Majesty The Queen has agreed to the Royal Navy’s request to rename the jetty.
"The Princess Royal, as Commodore-in-Chief for Portsmouth, is a frequent visitor to the base and takes a keen interest in all of our activities here.

World’s End – HMS Protector Completes Historic Patrol

January 18, 2016 - The Royal Navy’s Ice Patrol ship has just completed a historic five week patrol to the East Antarctic and Ross Sea.
HMS Protector is the first Royal Navy, or UK Government, vessel to have visited the region in 80 years or to have travelled so far south having dipped below 77 degrees latitude.
Her mission has been to support the work of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) in protecting the unique Antarctic eco-system through close co-operation with Australia and New Zealand. 
During her patrol Protector inspected a number of fishing vessels to ensure they adhere to the strict licensing regulations in the area.
In addition the ship also paid a visit to the Italian Antarctic research station, Mario Zucchelli, while members of the ship’s company paid homage to the legendary British Antarctic explorers; Captain Robert Falcon Scott RN and Sir Ernest Shackleton.  

The view of HMS Protector from Inexpressible Island.
A member of HMS Protector's Ship's Company takes a break during the trek to photograph some of the local wildlife.
An Adelie penguin and HMS Protector in Cape Evans.
L/Cpl Ben Roberts (front) and Marine Luke Bright from the RM detachment onboard Protector.
Personnel from HMS Protector are seen here gathered around the memorial to Capt A.L.A. Mackintosh RNR and V.G. Hayward who perished on the sea ice in a blizzard May 8th 1916. Also the Rev A.P. Spencer-Smith B.A. who died on the Ross Barrier on March 6th 1916.
Personnel from HMS Protector are seen here at Capt Scott's hut, Cape Evans.

An inscription on one of the drawers inside Capt Scott's hut, Cape Evans.
The kitchen area inside Scott's hut.

HMS Protector's workboat 'Terra Nova' is seen here carrying personnel from the ship to the landing point.
HMS Protector Photex from quad copter taken during her ice breaking transit through the Ross Sea. The quad copter was operated by LS(HM)'s Sam Brown and Richard Walton.

"This was my first station visit and it was fascinating to see how the team supported themselves in such an inhospitable environment," said Warrant Officer Jimmy Stuart.
The UK is a founding signatory of the Antarctic Treaty and takes its responsibilities in the region very seriously – determined to uphold the key tenets of the Treaty of protecting the environment and preserving the area for scientific research. 
Within 24 hours of arriving in the Ross Sea, the ice patrol ship had carried out the first of several CCAMLR inspections with six embarked Australian and New Zealand specialists to support.
Lieutenant Commander Ross Hickey, of the Royal New Zealand Navy, said: “It was a pleasure and a privilege to join HMS Protector in the Southern Ocean patrol and to the Ross Sea, particularly due to New Zealand’s involvement in heroic Antarctic exploration in both Scott’s and Shackleton’s expeditions.
“New Zealand is looking forward to hosting Protector when she visits our country later in the month.”
While in the Ross Sea, Protector visited the Antarctic research station, Mario Zucchelli, on the shores of Terra Nova Bay where Italian scientists proudly showed their facility.
Warrant Officer Jimmy Stuart, Protector’s deputy marine engineering officer, said: “This was my first station visit and it was fascinating to see how the team supported themselves in such an inhospitable environment. It is one of our roles to visit stations in order to build up good relationships amongst the Antarctic Treaty nations.
“While it was a bright sunny day when we visited, we have become all too aware of how quickly the weather can turn nasty down here.”
During the Austral Summer, the Ross Sea can lose most of its ice and it is possible for ships to push further south than anywhere else on the continent. 
It was from this region that the great Antarctic explorers mounted their expeditions to reach the South Pole. 
The legendary Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen started the journey that led him to being the first person to reach the South Pole from the Ross Ice Shelf. 
Similarly, the British explorers, Captain Robert Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton commenced their epic journeys from the Ross Sea including Scott’s fateful final expedition in 1911/12. 
In honour of Scott, Shackleton, and the men they led, many of Protector’s ship’s company visited the huts they used as their base stations. 
Protector’s ship’s company were granted permission to visit Scott’s hut at Cape Evans by the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust.
The embarked New Zealand Defence Force liaison officer, Lt Cdr Hickey, acted as guide for the visit and the sailors got to witness a scene that had been untouched in years.
Fur boots and skis lay where they had been left, the wooden bunks still have their sleeping bags and clothes were hung over stoves, as if drying in the warmth.
It was there that Protector’s chaplain, Rev Andrew Allcock, held a remembrance service in memory of those who died during their return journey from the Pole. 
Lieutenant Kate Retallick, operations officer 2, said: “It was a very poignant service outside Captain Scott’s hut for all of us. It is humbling to think of what they went through in the name of discovery.”
After the visit to Scott’s hut the ship went on to pay respect to Sir Ernest Shackleton and his team – fifteen miles to the north, another visit facilitated by the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust.
By visiting this region Protector achieved a latitude of 77 Degrees 56 Minutes South – the very edge of the vast Ross Ice Shelf, named for James Clark Ross who led the exploration of the area. 
No official British ship has been this far south since 1936 and it is believed not since James Clark Ross’s own expedition in 1842. 
Able Seaman Sam Collins said: “Protector is my first ship and to have joined her in Australia and see the Antarctic in my first month on board has been amazing.”  

All photos courtesy of Royal Navy

MOD Announces 12 Sites for Closure

January 18, 2016 - Defence Minister Mark Lancaster has announced the release of 12 MOD sites, as part of the department’s drive for greater efficiency.
The disposal, which will generate £500 million, will provide the land for around 15,000 new homes in support of the government’s ambition to build 160,000 by 2020.
The income generated from the sales will be ploughed back into defence. This follows the announcement in the summer that all MOD savings will be reinvested into a defence budget that will rise every year of this parliament, ensuring that our armed forces have the equipment they need to keep Britain safe. As part of the recent Strategic Defence and Security Review, the equipment budget was recently increased to £178 billion over 10 years. These sites will form the first tranche of the MOD’s plan to reduce by 30 per cent the size of its built estate. MOD’s estate spans one per cent of all UK land and covers 452,000 hectares. As part of that plan, the Ministry has committed to generating £1 billion through land sales during this parliament and contributing up to 55,000 homes.
The move comes almost exactly a year after Defence Secretary Michael Fallon first set the department the challenge of ‘continuous efficiency’ in a speech at the Institute for Government and follows the announcement in November of £9 billion savings in defence.
Defence Minister Mark Lancaster said, "By streamlining the Defence estate, we will ensure that it better meets the needs of the Armed Forces well into the future. Defence has the strongest incentive to become more efficient; with every pound we make by disposing of excess land reinvested into a defence budget that keeps Britain safe.
"We are also making an important contribution of 55,000 homes to the wider government housing targets. Every acre that we can free up will ensure that more people have the opportunity to own their own home."

The 12 sites are:

  • Kneller Hall in Twickenham
  • Claro and Deverell barracks in Ripon
  • RAF sites Molesworth and Alconbury in Cambridgeshire, and Mildenhall in Suffolk.
  • Lodge Hill in Kent
  • Craigiehall in Edinburgh
  • HMS Nelson Wardroom in Portsmouth
  • Hullavington Airfield in Wiltshire
  • RAF Barnham in Suffolk
  • MOD Feltham in London

The MOD will announce further sites in due course, with a full list published in the Footprint Strategy later in 2016.

Raytheon's enhanced Coyote UAV flies into hurricanes for NOAA

Tucson January 20, 2016 - Raytheon Company is providing its enhanced Coyote® Unmanned Air System to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for hurricane tracking and modeling, giving researchers an unprecedented perspective from inside storms that build in the Atlantic Ocean. The Coyote is a small, expendable UAS that can be tube-launched from a host vehicle on the ground or in the air.
Raytheon Company is providing its enhanced Coyote® Unmanned Air System to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for hurricane tracking and modeling.
A team of NOAA and Raytheon scientists will use the latest version of Coyote to monitor the track and intensity of storms. The team recently completed a successful calibration flight over Avon Park, Florida, where a Coyote was launched from a P-3 hurricane hunter aircraft to prepare for deployment during storm season.
"We've made significant improvements to Coyote. It can now fly for up to one hour and 50 miles away from the launch aircraft," said Dr. Thomas R. Bussing, vice president of Advanced Missile Systems product line at Raytheon Missile Systems. "Raytheon technology is playing a key role in enhancing safety for hurricane researchers, and helping to deliver vital information about potentially deadly storms to the American people. Ultimately, that will save lives."
NOAA successfully deployed a Coyote from a hurricane hunter into the eye of Hurricane Edouard in 2014, and intends to expand use of the vehicle this hurricane season.
"This successful flight gives us additional confidence that we will be able to use this unique platform to collect critical continuous observations at altitudes in the storm environment that would otherwise be impossible," said Dr. Joe Cione, a hurricane researcher at NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory and chief scientist of the Coyote program. 

RN Parliamentary Questions Answered

Courtesy of 
Think Defence

Fisheries: Protection: Written question - 21579

Q Asked by Douglas Chapman(Dunfermline and West Fife) 07 January 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, which military assets provide fisheries protection within the UK's exclusive economic zone.

A Answered by: Penny Mordaunt Answered on: 14 January 2016

The River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels HMS TYNE and HMS SEVERN and the Survey Vessel HMS ECHO currently provide the Royal Navy's contribution to fishery protection duties within the United Kingdom's exclusive economic zone.

Aircraft Carriers:Written question - 21186

Q Asked by Andrew Rosindell(Romford) 06 January 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to ensure former aircraft carrier personnel do not become deskilled before the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers come into active service.

A Answered by: Penny Mordaunt 14 January 2016

Comprehensive training programmes, including embedding personnel with the US and French Navies, ensure that skills are retained and developed in support of the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers coming into service.

Navy: Training:Written question - 21360

Q Asked by John Spellar(Warley) 06 January 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether training in celestial navigation is provided for new recruits to the Royal Navy.

A Answered by: Penny Mordaunt 15 January 2016

For new recruits, celestial navigational training is only undertaken by Royal Marine recruits in weeks eight and 10 of their training as part of the Royal School of Military Survey lessons. However, celestial navigational training (referred to as Astro(navigational) training within the Service) is taught to Naval Officers as part of targeted career training courses at the Maritime Warfare School at HMS Collingwood. These include: Initial Warfare Officers, the Fleet Navigation Officers Course and in a Specialist Navigation Course (for those officers undertaking specialist training in navigation at Lieutenant/Lieutenant Commander rank with a view to navigating larger vessels such as carriers and amphibious assault ships).

Nuclear Weapons:Written question - 21550


Q Asked by Paul Flynn(Newport West) 07 January 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, on what date the decision was made not to proceed with developing a future theatre nuclear weapon (FTNW); and how much had been spent on (a) the vehicle element and (b) the warhead element of the FTNW programme up to that point.

A Answered by: Mr Philip Dunne 15 January 2016

On 18 October 1993, the then Secretary of State for Defence informed Parliament (Official Report, column 32): "we have concluded that our previous requirement for a new stand-off nuclear weapon capability is not a sufficiently high priority to justify the procurement of a new nuclear system in the current circumstances. Instead, we will plan, after the WE177 eventually leaves service in the long term, on exploiting the flexibility and capability of the Trident system to provide the vehicle for the delivery of our sub-strategic deterrent."

Also on 19 July 1993 (HC Deb vol 229 cc83-4W), the then Minister for Defence Procurement provided the following information about expenditure to evaluate options for the Future Theatre Nuclear Weapon:

Expenditure to the end of March 1993 on studies of possible vehicles:

Year           £
1989-90 928,518
1990-91 1,372,329
1991-92 1,870,285
1992-93 2,658,471

Information on costs incurred on the Future Theatre Nuclear Weapon warhead programme was withheld for reasons of national security. Those reasons no longer apply but this information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

AWE: Regulation:Written question - 21555

Q Asked by Paul Flynn(Newport West)Asked on: 07 January 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what (a) enforcement action was taken and (b) warning letters were issue against the Atomic Weapons Establishment by regulatory authorities in 2014 and 2015; and which of those enforcement actions are ongoing.

A Answered by: Michael Fallon 15 January 2016

The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) received a single Improvement Notice from the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) on 8 June 2015. This Improvement Notice remains open; the ONR and the AWE have agreed a set of actions that enable this to be closed by the due date of 30 September 2016.
No regulatory authority has taken enforcement action against the AWE in 2014 and 2015, and no warning letters have been issued.

Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft:Written question - 21578

Q Asked by Douglas Chapman(Dunfermline and West Fife) 07 January 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his Department plans to build facilities to simulate the possibility of the future F35B Lightning II aircraft operating in austere operating bases.

A Answered by: Mr Philip Dunne 14 January 2016

The Ministry of Defence is procuring a Lightning II Integrated Training Centre (ITC) at its main operating base at RAF Marham. The ITC will house full mission simulators with the capability of simulating the full range of bases from which the F-35 may be required to operate.

Trident:Written question - 21558

Q Asked by Paul Flynn(Newport West) 07 January 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when he plans to publish the UK's Future Nuclear Deterrent: 2015 Update to Parliament.

A Answered by: Michael Fallon 14 January 2016

A further update will be published this year.

HL4884 – Aircraft Carriers: Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft (Answered)

January 20, 2016


Lord West of Spithead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 18 December 2015 (HL4510), which part of the Strategic Headquarters in the Ministry of Defence will make the decision for Sea Lightning squadrons to be embarked; and whether that part of the Strategic Headquarters is responsible for programming all aspects of ship training that constitute the basis for complex training involving all aspects of whole ship and Sea Lightning operation.

Earl Howe

Following Ministerial direction, the decision to embark our Lightning II Squadrons for operational purposes would be taken by the Chief of Defence Staff, as the military strategic commander responsible for the planning, direction and conduct of all military operations. The Front Line Commands remain responsible for force generation and for ensuring that training requirements are met for all carrier assets.

HL4885 – Astute Class Submarines (Answered)

January 20, 2016


Lord West of Spithead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 8 December 2015 (HL4049), whether HMS Astute was laid down on 31 January 2001, launched on 8 June 2007 and commissioned on 27 August 2010; and whether HMS Artful was laid down on 11 March 2005 and launched on 17 May 2014 and is planned to be commissioned in March 2016.

Earl Howe

The dates that the noble Lord refers to, including the planned commissioning date for Artful, are correct. The build time for the Astute class submarines has reduced with every boat built to date; for HMS Astute, the time taken from start of manufacture to operational handover was 170 months, which included first of class trials, and for Artful was 137 months.

22464 – Aircraft Carriers: Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft (Answered)

January 20, 2016


Douglas Chapman

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many take-off tests for the F35B Lightning II have been completed using the Queen Elizabeth-class simulating ski ramp at US NAS Patuxent River.

Mr Philip Dunne

F-35B ski ramp jump testing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River began in 2015 and, as at 31 December 2015, 20 test launches had successfully been completed. The programme of test launches from the land-based ski jump ramp is scheduled to be completed in late 2017.

22463 – Aircraft Carriers: Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft (Answered)

January 20, 2016

Douglas Chapman

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his Department has commenced a program of testing shipborne rolling vertical landing of the F35B Lightning II.

Mr Philip Dunne

Shipborne rolling vertical landing (SRVL) testing will begin during the UK’s F-35B first of class flying trials, which are scheduled to take place aboard HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH from 2018. SRVL testing is scheduled for completion in 2020. A program of SRVL simulation testing will continue until first of class flying trials begin.

HL4971 – Aircraft Carriers: Harrier Aircraft (Answered)

January 20, 2016

Lord West of Spithead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answers by Earl Howe on 16 December 2015 (HL4512 and HL4513), how long RAF Joint Force Harrier squadrons had to stay on board anti-submarine warfare carriers to ensure all pilots were flight qualified.

Earl Howe

Depending on weather and aircraft serviceability, it usually took Joint Force Harrier Squadron pilots, on average, three to four weeks to qualify for combat operations from an Invincible Class carrier.

HL4886 – Nuclear Submarines (Answered)

January 20, 2016


Lord West of Spithead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 8 December 2015 (HL4047), whether the build time of HMS Vanguard from beginning of whole boat construction to commissioning was six years 11 months; and, if so, why the first Vanguard replacement will take in excess of 14 years, as laid out in the Strategic Defence and Security Review.

Earl Howe

The Vanguard class were built at the end of an extensive period of UK submarine production. UK industrial capacity diminished following the subsequent 10 year gap in submarine building, which is a key factor in the Successor build schedule. Additionally, the Vanguard build duration, which was more than eight years in duration, did not include sea trials, which take several years. The dates for Successor reported in the Strategic Defence and Security Review do include that activity.

HL4931 – Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft (Answered)

January 20, 2016


Lord Campbell of Pittenweem

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their most recent estimate of the in-service date for the F-35B aircraft.

Earl Howe

UK F-35B Lightning II Initial Operating Capability remains on schedule for 2018.

HL4930 – Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft (Answered)

January 20, 2016

Lord Campbell of Pittenweem

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether their most recent estimate of the unit cost of the UK’s F-35Bs has been revised (1) upwards, or (2) downwards, as a result of updated information provided by the US Joint Strike Fighter programme.

Earl Howe

We continue to see a reduction in aircraft unit costs which is in line with the estimates shown in the annual US Selected Acquisition Report. The UK’s F-35 programme remains within its cost approval limit as detailed in the National Audit Office Major Projects Report 2015.

22480 – Minesweepers (Answered)

January 21, 2016

MOD photo of HMS Brocklesby, believed to be one of three mine warfare vessels being cut in latest SDSR

Mrs Madeleine Moon

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many Hunter Class mine countermeasures vessels have completed their re-engineering; when he expects all eight to be completed; and if he will make a statement.

Mr Philip Dunne

To date, work to replace the propulsion system on four of the Hunt Class mine countermeasures vessels has been completed with the fifth due for completion later this year. Due to changes applied to the ships upkeep programme combined with the need to address emerging engineering issues, work on the remaining three vessels is now scheduled for completion by late 2019.

21757 – Australia: Nuclear Weapons (Answered)

January 21, 2016

Stewart Malcolm McDonald

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if the Government will issue issuing an apology to the indigenous people of Australia for British nuclear tests carried out on their land in the 1950s and 1960s.

Mark Lancaster

In 1968, Australia signed an agreement with the UK confirming that the clean-up of all test sites had been completed satisfactorily. As announced to the House on 10 December 1993,(Official Report, column 421), the Government agreed to make an ex gratia payment of £20 million to the Federal Government of Australia as a contribution to the cost of the further clean-up of the Maralinga site. A copy of the note giving effect to this agreement was placed in the Library of the House. The note also records that the Government of Australia indemnified the Government of the UK against claims from Australian nationals or residents. The Government now regards the matter as closed.

Russian Tu-95 'Bear' strategic bomber explodes on runway (VIDEO)

January 18, 2016 (RT) - The footage allegedly shows the moment of the night explosion, which happened at the Ukrainka Airfield in the Amur region on June 8, 2015. The warplane was about to take off for a training flight, but the crew tried to abort the mission due to an engine fire.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

General Atomics Railgun Projectiles Achieve Success in New Series of Critical Open Range Testing

San Diego January 8, 2016 - General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced today that projectiles with prototype components for a Control and Actuation System (CAS) successfully performed programmed actions and communicated component performance to a ground station via a telemetry link in tests carried out 7-10 December 2015 at the U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. Fired at accelerations greater than 30,000 times that of gravity from GA-EMS’ 3 mega joule Blitzer® electromagnetic railgun, the four test projectiles and the critical components within them experienced the multi-Tesla electromagnetic field within the launcher and performed as expected.

“We continue to mature railgun projectile technologies and conduct testing under varied open range, real-world conditions,” stated Nick Bucci, Vice President Missile Defense Systems, GA-EMS. “We remain committed to advancing this transformational weapon system and are making significant progress in the development and testing of multi-mission railgun projectiles and critical component technologies.”
During the December test firings, the projectiles not only survived and operated under the 30,000 G-force and multi-Tesla magnetic field launch conditions, but also successfully performed under ambient operating temperatures ranging between 20 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit, with up to 4 inches of snow on the ground, and with wind conditions ranging from 10 to 50 knots. To date, projectiles have been open range tested under temperatures varying from minus 11 degrees to as high as 105 degrees. 
In June, 2015, GA-EMS successfully tested and received data from projectiles with on-board electronics, and marked the 100th launch of its 3 mega joule Blitzer testing prototype railgun weapon system. After the December test series, the Blitzer railgun system has performed 120 successful launches. Risk reduction and technology maturation testing of additional components will continue in 2016.
GA-EMS’ Blitzer railgun is a test asset designed and manufactured by GA-EMS to advance technology development toward multi-mission railgun weapon systems. Railguns launch projectiles using electromagnetic forces instead of chemical propellants and can deliver muzzle velocities greater than twice those of conventional guns.  Blitzer railgun technology, when integrated into a weapon system that includes the launcher, high density capacitor driven pulsed power, and weapon fire control system, can launch multi-mission projectiles with shorter time-to-target and greater effectiveness at longer range.

QEC Liferaft Shielding Recognized by BAE and Thales

January 18, 2016 - A Frazer-Nash team has won awards from Thales and BAE for its work on a life raft shield for Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) carriers.
The work of the Frazer-Nash team in developing and testing the shielding, which will protect vital life rafts from jet blasts, has been rewarded with a Chairman's Award Business Leader prize from BAE, and a Customer Trust Award from Thales.
The BAE Systems' Chairman's Awards recognise employees, colleagues, partners and customers for outstanding effort and achievement, honouring innovative ideas, actions, and behaviours. The team was nominated by Stuart Justice, ACA Technical Authority on the QEC Program, for an award under the title 'How to save a life (raft)'. Design lead and project manager, James Speedy, received a certificate from a recognition evening held with BAE's Maritime Services and Submarines departments in November.
Thales nominated the Frazer-Nash project team for a Customer Trust Award for Defence Mission Systems UK, in appreciation of its practical and timely solution to the complex aerothermal issue associated with the QEC's ship-aircraft interface.
Describing how the life raft shielding had 'saved significant structural redesign', Thales Director, Eddie Awang, said: "Your system will ensure that future generations of ship's company on QEC can operate the most advanced 5th generation multi-role aircraft safely, in the knowledge that lifesaving equipment is protected and safe to use."
As part of the award, the team won a survival course, where they worked together to develop bushcraft and wilderness skills through building shelters, lighting fires and foraging for and preparing food.
James Speedy said: "We are delighted that the dedication and commitment of the team has been recognised. To be able to deliver a cost-effective solution to help protect the evacuation capability of the QEC required a high degree of creative thinking. It's great to see all the hard work pay off."

Vietnamese frigate sets off for Singapore, India

January 20, 2016 - The 011 Dinh Tien Hoang frigate under Brigade 162, Naval Region 4, on January 20th started its voyage to visit Singapore and take part in the International Fleet Review in India.
It is the first time the warship will cross thousands of nautical miles, from the East Sea (Pacific) to the Strait of Malacca and then to the Indian Ocean for the mission, showing the deep and comprehensive integration of the Vietnam People’s Army in general and the Vietnam People’s Navy in particular with armies and navies of countries in the region and the world.

The Ka-28 naval anti-submarine helicopter on the frigate

During the visits, the Vietnamese frigate will participate in various activities, such as joining friendly sports games and meeting with local authorities in Singapore and India; attending opening ceremonies for an international navigation exhibition and the International Fleet Review Village, and an international navigation seminar; partaking in road marches; exchanging with the event’s participating navies; and hosting a banquet on board.

The 011 Dinh Tien Hoang frigate at Cam Ranh Base in Khanh Hoa province

Senior Colonel Le Xuan Thuy, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Navy and Head of the mission, held that this is a special voyage as this is the first time the Navy has sent a frigate to join an international fleet review. The 011 Dinh Tien Hoang frigate is the first warship of Vietnam to cross the two large territorial waters of the Pacific and Indian Ocean. Notably, the event takes place when people nationwide are making efforts to gain achievements to welcome the 12th National Party Congress and the voyage is the same as the country’s traditional Lunar New Year or Tet festival.
The visits will considerably contribute to promoting the relationship between the Vietnam People’s Navy and the event’s participating navies.
The 2016 International Fleet Review is expected to run from February 5th to 8th in Visakhapatnam, the largest city in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, with the participation from about from 50 maritime countries.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

DISA Awards Harris Corporation Global Network Services Multi-Award IDIQ Contract with $4.3 Billion Ceiling

Herndon VA January 19, 2016 - Harris Corporation was one of eight awardees of a multi-award Global Network Services (GNS) IDIQ follow-on contract by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). The IDIQ contract has a ceiling of $4.3 billion and consists of a five-year base and an additional five one-year options.
“Harris’ proven dynamic bandwidth management architecture ensures DISA will have an architecture agile enough to support current and future customer needs. DISA already counts on Harris to provide bandwidth services at hundreds of locations along the East Coast of the United States.”
The contract provides leased telecommunications services to more than one million U.S. Defense Department users worldwide via the Defense Information Systems Network (DISN) and the Department of Defense Information Network (DoDIN).
“As DISA continues to transform the way it offers network services, incorporating fast-changing and evolving IT capabilities into a single global network is critically important,” said Carl D’Alessandro, president, Harris Critical Networks. “Harris’ proven dynamic bandwidth management architecture ensures DISA will have an architecture agile enough to support current and future customer needs. DISA already counts on Harris to provide bandwidth services at hundreds of locations along the East Coast of the United States.”
The contract will help DISA acquire and deliver telecommunications network services at the enterprise level and will provide end-to-end classified and non-classified information transmission services and capabilities. GNS will enable customizable turn-key global transport solutions. DISA will leverage GNS capabilities to shift from point-to-point circuits to newer technical approaches, including metropolitan area networks, network solutions, short-term circuit leases, fiber, and new services that become commercially available.

KA-52 Shipborne Helicopter Gunship

JSC Russian Helicopters

The Ka-52 Alligator is a next-generation reconnaissance and combat helicopter designed to destroy tanks, armoured and non-armoured ground targets, and enemy troops and helicopters both on the front line and in tactical reserves. The helicopter can operate around the clock and in all weathers. The Ka-52 can provide target acquisition and designation for helicopter teams and ground troop command and control centres. It can also provide fire support for troop landings, fly routine patrols and escort military convoys.

JSC Russian Helicopters

Ka-52 Alligator is fitted with signature control devices as well as electronic and active counter-measures. It meets the latest Russian and international standards for technical operation of military helicopters.

JSC Russian Helicopters

The helicopter has a two-seat cockpit and can be flown by either pilot. Its advanced flight capabilities – achieved in part thanks to its coaxial rotors – make the helicopter highly manoeuvrable in limited space and thus able to adopt an advantageous attack position.

JSC Russian Helicopters

The Ka-52 Alligator’s two VK-2500 turboshaft engines allow the helicopter to operate at altitudes above 5,000m. It has a static ceiling of 4,000m, and is able to take off and land in hot climates and in high mountainous terrain. The Alligator can also operate in cold climates and icy conditions.

JSC Russian Helicopters

The Ka-52 Alligator is equipped with the latest avionics suite and powerful offensive weapons that can be configured for a wide range of combat missions.

JSC Russian Helicopters

The Ka-52 Alligator offers a high degree of protection to its crew, advanced automated systems for ease of piloting, and is easy to service and maintain on the ground.