Friday, August 26, 2016

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos Commission in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Coast Guard Sector San Juan Color Guard presents the colors during the commissioning ceremony August 26, 2016. (Coast Guard photo by Eric D. Woodall)

Walt Slater, U.S. Navy Retired Motor Machinist's Mate 3rd Class, presents the ship's long glass to Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Stous, crewmember and plankowner, during the commissioning ceremony August 26, 2016. (Coast Guard photo by Eric D. Woodall)

Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos crew mans the rail during the commissioning ceremony August 26, 2016. (Coast Guard photo by Eric D. Woodall)

Rear Admiral Scott Buschman, Commander of the Coast Guard 7th District, presents Walt Slater, U.S. Navy Retired Motor Machinist's Mate 3rd Class, with a coin after the commissioning ceremony. (Coast Guard photo by Eric D. Woodall) 

Joseph Tezanos conducts sea trials off the coast of Key West, Florida on July 19, 2016. (Coast Guard photo by Eric D. Woodall)

August 26, 2016 - The Coast Guard commissioned into service the latest Fast Response Cutter, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos (WPC-1118), during a ceremony at U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan Friday morning.
The Joseph Tezanos is the sixth fast response cutter to be homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico and the 18th to be commissioned into the Coast Guard fleet, all of which serve within the Coast Guard 7th District.
Prior to her formal commissioning ceremony, the cutter Tezanos responded to the Caribbean Fantasy incident Aug. 17 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  With 511 passengers and crew rescued, the case of the ferry Caribbean Fantasy stands as the largest maritime evacuation in US waters in recent history.
“I am very excited about the commissioning of the Coast Guard Cutter Tezanos,” said Rear Adm. Scott A. Buschman, commander of the Coast Guard 7th District.  “Our Fast Response Cutters have proven to be an invaluable asset for the Coast Guard and the cutter Tezanos will undoubtedly be a vital instrument in supporting critical Coast Guard missions.”
“The crew and I are humbled and honored for the tremendous opportunity to be plankowners of the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos,” said Lt. Nicholas Herndon, Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos commanding officer.  “We will continually strive to emulate our namesake's legacy as we work together with our local, federal and international partners to strengthen the Eastern Caribbean’s regional security and protect our citizens in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”
“As the daughter of Joseph Tezanos I am honored to have the privilege to serve as the ship’s sponsor,” said Susanne Tezanos Landis.  “I feel a tremendous sense of pride and respect for the crew who serve to ensure the maritime safety and security of our great Nation.  The whole Tezanos family is deeply touched by this incredible honor.”
The FRC’s belong to the Sentinel-class of cutters named after an enlisted Coast Guard hero who distinguished him or herself in the line of duty. This cutter is named after Ensign Joseph Tezanos, who initially served as an enlisted Coast Guardsman and later became one of the first Hispanic American officers to serve in the U.S. Coast Guard.  Tezanos was highly decorated for his bravery and leadership during War World II.
Ensign Tezanos fought bravely in amphibious assaults throughout the Pacific and Alaskan Theater.  While serving as an enlisted gunner’s mate second class, Tezanos was recognized for distinguished heroism for his actions on a volunteer boat crew engaged in rescue operations during a major accident in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  His courage and quick thinking assisted in saving approximately 42 injured and exhausted survivors from the water and burning ships.
Born in 1920 in Santander, Spain, Tezanos immigrated to the United States as a child and grew up in upstate New York.
Tezanos began his Coast Guard career on LST 20, a tank landing ship that supported the war effort in the Alaskan Theater.  He held the especially dangerous position of gunner’s mate.  Tezanos participated in bloody amphibious assaults on enemy-held islands in Kiska, Alaska; at Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands; and at Kinajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.  At Tarawa, the Marines encountered some of the fiercest fighting of the Pacific campaign, and support from vessels like LST 20 was critical to the American victory.
LST 20 was moored in West Loch, Pearl Harbor, in 1944, when one of the deadliest accidents of War World II occurred.  Another LST exploded, causing a chain reaction of fire and explosions throughout the vessels in port.  The disaster left more than 600 sailors dead or injured.  Tezanos suffered multiple burns leading a crew of volunteers in a search and rescue mission that recovered injured sailors.
"For his bravery and leadership, Tezanos received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, accompanied by a citation signed for the President, by James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, along with a Coast Guard commendation letter from Commandant Russell Waesche." Following the incident, Tezanos received orders to undertake reserve officer training at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Upon earning his commission in 1945, he became one of the first Hispanic-American officers in the Coast Guard.  He died in 1985 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
The 154-foot long Joseph Tezanos has a beam of 25 feet and a maximum sustained speed of more than 28 knots.  It is armed with a stabilized 25mm machine-gun mount and four crew-served .50-caliber machine guns and is equipped with a highly capable small boat and advanced communications suite.
The FRCs are designed to conduct maritime drug interdiction, alien migrant interdiction, search and rescue, national defense, homeland security, living marine resource protection and other Coast Guard missions. This class of patrol boat is capable of deploying independently to execute Coast Guard missions and prevent potential threats from approaching our shores.  The FRC is part of the Coast Guard’s layered approach to maritime security that includes the National Security Cutter and the future Offshore Patrol Cutter.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

New Book by Saab: A Journey of Change in The Aircraft Industry

August 25, 2016 - Defence and security company Saab is proudly presenting “A Journey of Change in the Aircraft Industry”, a book focusing on military aviation, the Gripen fighter aircraft system, and the operations of Saab business area Aeronautics.
During the years 2000 to 2015, Saab systematically and increasingly utilized change management to adapt the company to rapid and fundamental changes. At the same time, the company also worked to ensure its survival in an increasingly globalized and competitive market. Today, Saab is a world-leading manufacturer of advanced fighter aircraft systems and the new book aims to illustrate some important keys to success.
“With the Gripen program Saab has developed a unique capacity to develop, produce and export highly competitive fighter aircraft at the very forefront of technology. With this book we wish to inspire others to initiate and conduct change management, regardless of organizational type,” says Ulf Nilsson, head of Saab business area Aeronautics.

The new book was launched at a press event in Linköping on Thursday 25 August. Please click here to access the book, which is available digitally in both English and Swedish.

Emphasis on Information a Boost for Aviators

725 Squadron's MH-60R 'Romeo' helicopter conducts a DIPEX serial in the Jervis Bay area. (photo: LSIS Sarah Williams)
While it might not be considered a headline-grabbing topic, Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Chris Smallhorn, has reinforced the need to prioritize information management within his force command.
“Since April 2016 the Fleet Air Arm has been in the process of moving towards a 21st-century information management environment, which will equal the best in Australia,” Commodore Smallhorn said.
He said while many would be familiar with the 'Objective' document and record management system, fewer would be aware of 'Objective Workflows'. These were developed as part of the Navy Information Management Strategy 2012-16 and provide a standardized approach to common business processes.
The adoption of 'eDocument correspondence' and 'Task Tracker' workflows have provided the Fleet Air Arm with a standard way of dealing with correspondence, which has coincided with the acceptance of electronic signatures.
The result has been a significant time-saving giving the Fleet Air Arm Executive complete visibility of the status of all correspondence and tasks.
"In an organization where safety is of prime concern this level of confidence that all safety-related material is addressed in a timely manner is invaluable," Commodore Smallhorn said.
A secondary activity has been the development of a reporting capability. This monitors the volume of workflows which inform management decisions as to the allocation of sometimes scarce resources.
The Fleet Air Arm has been shepherded on this journey by Navy Information Management project manager Joseph Stablum and his team.
Commodore Smallhorn thanked Mr Stablum for his efforts.
“Due to Joseph and his team’s efforts, the Fleet Air Arm is now at the point where we are in full compliance with information management policy and legislation, and are at an Australian best-practice level and we will continue to lever improvements,” he said.

“Importantly we know what we have, who’s dealing with it, and when it must be dealt with. All are critical to the assurance of safety and airworthiness and ultimately contribute to the only game in town: the delivery of effective maritime aviation warfare to the Fleet and achievement of the Navy Warfighting Strategy 2018.”

US Naval Aviators Hone Skills in the Pacific Northwest

August 23, 2016  · The mission of the United States Navy is to maintain, train and equip combat-ready naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas. One aspect of this mission, unique to the Pacific Northwest, is the training of Navy aircrew in electronic warfare.
The Navy has been flying electronic warfare missions from Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island using various aircraft for more than 40 years. Electronic warfare involves the control of electromagnetic energy. People experience various forms of electromagnetic energy each day in their homes. The energy can come from radios, TV remote controls, cell phones, and even the microwave oven.
During combat, electronic warfare operators save U.S. and allied forces lives by eliminating threats such as search and track radars, surface to air missiles, and anti-aircraft artillery batteries. These are known collectively as an integrated air defense system.

EA-18G Growler, VAQ-138 from NAS Whidbey Island, Washington. US Navy photo.

During Operation Odyssey Dawn in March 2011, EA-18G Growler aircraft located and disabled Libyan radar and anti-aircraft sites, which effectively eliminated air and missile defense systems.
The Navy is enhancing electronic warfare training in the Pacific Northwest by adding one land transmitter station and three mobile transmitter vans. The mobile transmitter vans pose no danger to the public, as maximum power output is very similar to the output of microwave-antenna vans used by television news and sports stations.
There is no public health risk from the Navy’s proposed electronic warfare training to humans or wildlife. This type of training has been conducted across the nation for decades with no adverse effects on people, animals or the environment. The public is not exposed to electromagnetic energy from the transmitters because the signals are pointed skyward toward the aircraft in flight.
The mobile transmitters send a narrowly focused electronic directly skyward to Navy aircraft in flight. These mobile transmitters send out transmissions that mimic threat signals, providing a dynamic training environment for more-realistic signal intercept and identification practice.

An EA-18G Growler assigned to VAQ 129 lands at NAS Whidbey Island’s Ault Field. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Hetherington/Released)

Aircrew must also be able to differentiate between specific electronic signals and other sources of electronic signals like radio-wave towers and radar sites. The Navy requested to place the mobile transmitter vans on established U.S. Forest Service roads in remote locations under designated military airspace.
Currently, EA-18G squadrons assigned to Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island fly more than 400 miles each way to a training range near Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, to experience live-signal training. Transit flight hours put unwanted wear and tear on assigned EA-18G Growler aircraft. Eliminating long transit times by hosting localized training promotes training efficiency and reduces fuel costs. Local Electronic Warfare training enhancements are estimated to save U.S. taxpayers $5 million annually.

Scorpene Submarines – Update on Documents Leak

August 25, 2016 - The Government of India is seized of the reported leak of documents related to the ongoing Indian Scorpene submarine program as reported in sections of the media. The documents that have been posted on the website by an Australian news agency have been examined and do not pose any security compromise as the vital parameters have been blacked out.
The Indian Navy has taken up the matter with Director General of Armament of the French Government expressing concern over this incident and has requested the French Government to investigate this incident with urgency and share their findings with the Indian side. An internal audit of procedures to rule out any security compromise is also being undertaken. The matter is being taken up with concerned foreign governments through diplomatic channels to verify the authenticity of the reports.

The Government of India, as a matter of abundant precaution, is also examining the impact if the information contained in the documents claimed to be available with the Australian sources is compromised. The detailed assessment of potential impact is being undertaken by a high level committee constituted by the Ministry of Defence and the Indian Navy is taking all necessary steps to mitigate any probable security compromise.    

SPAWAR Looks to ViaSat to Support and Modernize the U.S. Navy's Proven UHF Satellite Communications Network

August 22, 2016 - Earlier this month, the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), awarded ViaSat Inc., a global broadband services and technology company, a sole source contract for engineering, technical services and hardware/software products in support of the U.S. Navy's joint Ultra High Frequency (UHF) military satellite communications (SatCom) system. This award highlights the U.S. Government's commitment to maintaining the long-term viability of proven UHF systems; ensuring Navy warfighters have ongoing support and access to proven communications technology when in the battlespace.
Under this particular SPAWAR contract, ViaSat will help support the sustainment and modernization of the joint UHF military SatCom network integrated control system, UHF SatCom channel controllers and user terminals. In addition, ViaSat will provide a path to a modern crypto design for next-generation UHF terminals.
"UHF military SatCom has a long history enabling beyond line-of-sight communication across the battlespace, and provides a solid, 'always available' communications solution," said Ken Peterman, senior vice president and general manager, Government Systems Division, ViaSat. "This award reflects the Navy's commitment to using proven UHF radios and channel controllers already deployed worldwide, mitigating risk with non-fielded communications systems in order to ensure continued and enhanced capabilities for the warfighter many years into the future."

ViaSat is a world leader in UHF satellite communications for defense organizations, providing everything from single-user terminals to complete UHF sovereign channel control systems. The Company provides UHF Military SatCom terminals, modems, embeddable modules, simulators, RF infrastructure, and over-all network management. The ViaSat terminals are Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) and NSA certified to ensure compliance with Legacy Demand Assigned Multiple Access (DAMA) Military Standards and provide interoperability with internationally-fielded UHF SatCom terminals. ViaSat enables the transition to Integrated Waveform (IW), the next generation of UHF. IW allows doubling current UHF capacity and enables cell phone-like calling with low latency and enhanced voice quality while retaining legacy interoperability.

USMC Receives 50th KC-130J Super Hercules Aerial Refueler

Lockheed Martin
August 25, 2016 - The U.S. Marine Corps accepted delivery of its 50th KC-130J Super Hercules aerial refueler at the Lockheed Martin facility here on Aug. 18. This KC-130J is assigned to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California. The Marine Corps has the distinction of operating the largest KC-130J fleet in the world.
As a member of the proven C-130J Super Hercules family, the KC-130J is battle-tested and delivers unmatched tanking capabilities -- delivering fuel to a multitude of platforms, from helicopters to the F-35B Lightning II, the world's most advanced 5th generation multirole fighter.
"The U.S. Marine Corps is one of the most visible KC-130J operators in the world, providing vital support where it's needed most," said George Shultz, vice president and general manager, Air Mobility & Maritime Missions at Lockheed Martin. "We value our partnership with the Marine Corps and know that much of the success of the KC-130J platform is due to the multiple missions carried out by Marine crews on this aircraft. Congratulations to the U.S. Marine Corps on delivery of this milestone KC-130J!"
The KC-130J aerial refueling tanker is the latest in a long lineage of combat proven KC-130 Hercules aerial refueler technologies. The new KC-130J builds on proven aerial refueler designs while taking full advantage of tremendous technological and performance improvements inherent in the basic C-130J aircraft. Several international operators also fly the KC-130J.

The C-130J Super Hercules is the proven standard in tactical airlift, providing a unique mix of versatility and performance to complete any mission, anytime, anywhere. The Super Hercules worldwide fleet has more than 1.3 million flight hours to its credit and is flown by 19 different operators.

Japanese Statement on launch of a ballistic missile by North Korea August 24

(Google Translation)

1. 29 pm 5 days today, from the east coast of North Korea, is a pattern that has been fired toward the one shot of the ballistic missile is the Sea of ​​Japan.
2. In response to this, the Minister of Defense issued a directive that "continue, Kise effort in information gathering and surveillance." Then, under the Minister of Defense, such as holding the relationship between executive meeting, we are every effort to support.
3. The Ministry of Defense and the Self-Defense Forces, will continue, along with the increase our best to collect and analyze and surveillance of information on the basis of the Minister of instruction, if you get the information to be published to add the future, you want to announce as soon as possible.

Qatar - Mk-V Fast Patrol Boat FMS Approved

August 23, 2016 -  The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Qatar for Mk-V Fast Patrol Boats, equipment, training, and support. The estimated cost is $124.02 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on August 19, 2016.
The Government of Qatar has requested:
Major Defense Equipment (MDE):
Eight (8) M2HB .50 Caliber Machine Gun
Also included are Mk-V Fast Patrol Boats, Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) Systems, MLG 27mm Gun Systems, 27mm ammunition, 27mm target practice ammunition, .50 Caliber ammunition, support equipment, publications, technical documentation, personnel training, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, in-country support, technical and logistics support services.
The total estimated value of MDE is $0.02 million. The total estimated value is $124.02 million.
This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country. Qatar is an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Persian Gulf region. This proposed sale will provide Qatar with military capabilities to protect its critical sea-based infrastructure and maritime security. Qatar will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.
The proposed sale of this equipment, services, and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
The principal contractor will be United States Marine Incorporated (USMI) in Gulfport, Mississippi. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.
Implementation of this proposed sale will require multiple trips by U.S. Government and contractor representatives to participate in program and technical reviews, system integration, as well as training and maintenance support in country for a period of five (5) years.
There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.
This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.


Minesweeping Trawler Untouched on the Seabed for 100 Years Protected

August 19, 2016 - Rare and exceptionally well-preserved First World War trawler and minesweeper given special protection
First discovered off the Dorset coast in 2014, the wreck is considered to be ‘at risk’ from uncontrolled salvage

Diver looking at the engine of the 'Arfon' - Access to the site is restricted only to divers who have been granted a license from Historic England. © Swanage Boat Charters Ltd
Lying undiscovered on the seabed for a century, a rare steam fishing trawler fitted out as a mine sweeper for the Royal Navy during the First World War, has been given special protection by the Department for Culture Media and Sport on the advice of Historic England.
The Arfon was built in 1908 in Goole, East Riding of Yorkshire. It worked out of Portland Harbour Naval Base during the First World War, sweeping mines laid by German U-boats along the inshore shipping lanes off the Dorset coast for three years before striking a mine in April 1917 and rapidly sinking with the loss of 10 of the crew of 13.
Untouched for 100 Years
The Arfon is exceptionally well preserved with the trawler’s key features such as its mine-sweeping gear, deck gun, portholes and engine room still intact on the seabed off St Alban’s Head.
Most of the wrecks around England’s coast that date from this period have been salvaged for their fixtures and fittings. The Arfon is unique in that it had been untouched for 100 years, until it was first dived in 2014. It is considered to be vulnerable to souvenir hunters and uncontrolled salvage.

The Fleetwood-based trawler ‘City of York’, a comparable vessel to the First World War trawler and minesweeper ‘Arfon’ that has been given protection by the Department for Culture Media and Sport. © Swanage Boat Charters Ltd
Joe Flatman, Head of Listing Programs at Historic England said, "The Arfon shipwreck is a rare survivor of a type of vessel once very common around the coastline of Britain but which has now entirely disappeared, surviving only in documents and as wrecks like this one.
“Trawlers, minesweepers and other coastal patrol vessels played a crucial role in keeping the sea lanes around the British Isles open during both World Wars, a part of the war effort that is often overlooked. The crews who served aboard such vessels faced tremendous dangers with unstinting bravery and devotion to duty. Historic England is proud to help tell part of this hidden story of naval endeavor during the First World War as part of our work."
The finders of the wreck, Martin and Bryan Jones, who run a family dive charter business, are now working to secure preservation of this important site.
Martin Jones said, "We are delighted to be working with Historic England to protect and investigate the Arfon and we’re planning a special commemoration to mark the centenary of its sinking next April.”

The Arfon is protected under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973, which means that access to the site is restricted only to divers who have been granted a license from Historic England.

Queensland to partner US Navy in massive biofuel initiative

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk
August 17, 2016 - Queensland’s future as the biofuel hub for the Asia-Pacific has further been advanced with the signing of a high-level agreement between the Palaszczuk Government and the United States Navy.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and United States Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy for Management Thomas Hicks today signed a Statement of Cooperation as part of the Great Green Fleet initiative.
The Great Green Fleet is a US Navy commitment to source 50 per cent of fuel from renewable sources by 2020.
“This is a huge vote of confidence in our developing biofuels industry and puts Queensland in the box seat to supply the Pacific fleet,” the Premier said.
“The partnership we have signed with the US Navy underlines the huge potential to build a new industry that will make Queensland the biofuel hub of the Asia Pacific.
“I have long been talking about the need to diversify our economy, create new industries, and lock in the next wave of long-term, export-orientated job opportunities.
“The signing of this partnership between Queensland and the US Department of the Navy is a giant stride towards reaching those goals.”
Ms Palaszczuk first discussed Queensland’s role in the Great Green Fleet initiative at a meeting with Mr Hicks at the Pentagon in June last year.
“Since then, there have been significant advances in the development of an industry that I believe will be a huge player in our economic future,” the Premier said.
The Government has dedicated almost $20 million in four funds to stimulate key areas of the state’s industrial biotechnology and bioproducts sector and launched a 10-year Roadmap to develop the industry.
“We have also been able to lure Southern Oil Refining from NSW and the $16 million pilot plant they are building at Yarwun has a key role to play in this emerging giant of an industry,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

The agreement, signed at a Parliament House ceremony, outlines the parties’ commitment to explore the research, development, supply and sale of advanced “drop-in” alternative fuels.

Statements on Possible Computer Hack at DCNS August 24, 2016


“DCNS has been made aware of articles published in the Australian press related to the leakage of sensitive data about Indian Scorpene. This serious matter is thoroughly investigated by the proper French national authorities for Defense Security. This investigation will determine the exact nature of the leaked documents, the potential damages to DCNS customers as well as the responsibilities for this leakage.”


"A case of suspected leak of documents related to Scorpene submarines has been reported by a foreign media house. The available information is being examined at Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of Defence (Navy) and an analysis is being carried out by the concerned specialists. It appears that the source of leak is from overseas and not in India."


The Minister for Defence Industry has received advice from the Department of Defence that what is reported to have taken place in regards to the DCNS project in India has no bearing on the Australian Government’s Future Submarine Program. The Future Submarine Program operates under stringent security requirements that govern the manner in which all information and technical data is managed now and into the future. The same requirements apply to the protection of all sensitive information and technical data for the Collins class submarines, and have operated successfully for decades."    

Two MK VI Patrol Boats Report for Duty in Pacific

US Navy

August 24, 2016 - Commander, Task Force (CTF) 75 took permanent ownership of two MK VI patrol boats at Naval Base Guam, Aug. 24.
The MK VI patrol boats are now permanently assigned in two separate strategic areas of operations. In March, two MK VI patrol boats were delivered to CTF-56, based in Bahrain.
The newest generation of patrol boat, the MK VI is a 85-foot combatant craft and provides a persistent capability to patrol shallow littoral areas for the purpose of force protection of U.S. and coalition forces, as well as safeguarding critical infrastructure.
"Innovative assets like the MK VI allow us to maintain maritime superiority and help strengthen and enable our partners within the Indo-Asia-Pacific region," said Capt. Erich Diehl, commodore, CTF-75. "We are excited to receive and employ the MK VI throughout our area of operations."
The MK VI patrol boat offers the Coastal Riverine Forces a variety of mission sets, from waterborne to mine countermeasures to theater security cooperation, enabling operators to provide their critical security "know-how" and force protection worldwide. The U.S. Navy will utilize the MK VI patrol boats and their crews in a variety of Pacific Fleet exercises and operations.
Navy Expeditionary Combat Command's Cmdr. Raul Gandara emphasized the enhanced capabilities of the Navy's newest and next generation patrol boats.
"The unique design of the patrol boats is its configurability, which will provide the opportunity for installation of future systems directly supporting the operational commander," said Gandara.
The MK VI patrol boats are globally transportable and can operate from amphibious ship well decks to forward locations, while partnering with allied navies at a new and more effective level. Additionally, the MK VI patrol boats will provide enhanced capabilities such as superior speed, range and maneuverability.
The patrol boats can reach speeds in excess of 35 knots and have a range of more than 600 nautical miles.
The Coastal Riverine Force (CORIVFOR) operates in harbors, rivers, bays, across the littorals, and ashore. The primary mission of CORIVFOR is to conduct maritime security operations across all phases of military operations by defending high-value assets, critical maritime infrastructure, ports and harbors, both inland and on coastal waterways, against enemies, and, when commanded, to conduct offensive combat operations.

CORIVFOR is a component of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command and provides flexible responsive maritime security forces capable of performing high-level security. 

MBDA wins £184m MoD contract to supply ASRAAMs for F-35B Lightning II

ASRAAM on F-35B – ©Lockheed Martin
August 16, 2016 - The United Kingdom’s (UK) Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded MBDA a £184M production contract for the supply of the highly capable infra-red (IR) guided air-to-air missile, ASRAAM, to equip the UK’s F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter jet.
ASRAAM will be the first British designed missile to enter service on the F-35. ASRAAM’s large rocket motor and clean aerodynamic design gives it high kinematic capability to deliver superior end-game performance compared with other countries’ in-service IR missiles.
MBDA is currently under contract for an ASRAAM capability sustainment program for the Typhoon fast jet and this new order to equip the F-35 will see the production of additional missiles. Value for money is ensured through the re-use of components from other MBDA products such as the Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM), whilst also ensuring the benefits of a single IR missile across the fast jet fleet is retained.
The missiles will be produced at MBDA’s new £40M Bolton manufacturing and assembly site with engineering activities carried out at MBDA sites in Stevenage and Bristol. The overall ASRAAM program, combined with associated workload around domestic and export programs using the core CAMM system, is employing 400 skilled employees across the MBDA sites and the UK complex weapons supply chain. Collectively these orders also ensure that ASRAAM remains available for overseas customers and future exports.

California Woman Sentenced to 50 Months in Prison for Conspiring to Illegally Export Fighter Jet Engines and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to China

August 19, 2016 - Wenxia Man, aka Wency Man, 45, of San Diego, was sentenced today to 50 months in prison for conspiring to export and cause the export of fighter jet engines, an unmanned aerial vehicle – commonly known as a drone – and related technical data to the People’s Republic of China in violation of the Arms Export Control Act.
The sentence was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Mark Selby of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) in Miami and Special Agent in Charge John F. Khin of the Department of Defense’s Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS).
On June 9, 2016, Man was convicted by a federal jury in the Southern District of Florida of one count of conspiring to export and cause the export of defense articles without the required license.
According to evidence presented at trial, between approximately March 2011 and June 2013, Man conspired with Xinsheng Zhang, who was located in China, to illegally acquire and export to China defense articles including: Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 engines used in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter; Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 turbofan engines used in the F-22 Raptor fighter jet; General Electric F110-GE-132 engines designed for the F-16 fighter jet; the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Predator B Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, capable of firing Hellfire Missiles; and technical data for each of these defense articles.  During the course of the investigation, when talking to an undercover HSI agent, Man referred to Zhang as a “technology spy” who worked on behalf of the Chinese military to copy items obtained from other countries and stated that he was particularly interested in stealth technology.

HSI and DCIS investigated the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Walleisa of the Southern District of Florida and Trial Attorney Thea D. R. Kendler of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section prosecuted the case.

Coast Guard Accepts 19th Fast Response Cutter

August 23, 2016 - The Coast Guard accepted delivery of the 19th fast response cutter, Rollin Fritch, in Key West, Florida, today.
Slated to be the first FRC stationed outside Florida or Puerto Rico, the Rollin Fritch will be based in Cape May, New Jersey. 
The 19th FRC is named after Seaman First Class Rollin Fritch, who died Jan. 8, 1945, during a battle off the coast of Luzon in the Philippines. Fritch remained at his post as a member of a gun crew aboard the USS Callaway under heavy fire until an enemy plane collided with the vessel. He posthumously received the Silver Star.
The 154-foot FRCs patrol coastal regions and feature advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment; improved habitability and seakeeping; and the ability to launch and recover standardized cutter boats from astern or via side davits. The FRCs are replacing the 1980s-era 110-foot Island-class patrol boats and execute critical missions including defense readiness; law enforcement; search and rescue; and ports, waterways, and coastal security. The cutters have an endurance of five days and a top speed of more than 28 knots.
Of the 38 FRCs ordered, 17 are in service: six in Key West, six in Miami, and five in San Juan. The 18th FRC is scheduled for commissioning later this month. The FRC is complemented operationally by the national security cutter, which serves in the open ocean, and will later be joined by the offshore patrol cutter, which will bridge the capabilities of the FRC and NSC.

RAN to Upgrade Paluma Class Vessels with FarSounder Sonars

August 23, 2016 - FarSounder, Inc. has been awarded a contract to provide four complete FarSounder-1000 systems plus spare parts for the upgrade of four Paluma class hydrographic Survey Motor Launches operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Seismic Asia Pacific Pty. Ltd. of Salisbury, Australia will be responsible for the purchase of the equipment and assist with the systems integration. Seismic Asia Pacific is the FarSounder dealer for this project with BAE Systems as the prime contractor.
The 360 metric ton Survey Motor Launches, HMA Ships PALUMA (IV), MERMAID, SHEPPARTON (II) and BENALLA (II), were designed for operations in the shallow waters of northern Australia. Each Survey Motor Launch carries the latest in survey and computerized hydrographic data processing equipment and is fitted with the latest navigation aids. Their twin hulls provide good stability in heavy conditions, along with good living room and space below the main deck.
“The FarSounder team is proud to be a part of this upgrade program for the RAN fleet,” Matthew Zimmerman, Vice President of Engineering at FarSounder, stated. “We appreciate our inclusion and that our products are recognized for the benefit they bring to this class of vessels.”
Seismic Asia Pacific is a leading provider of Hydrographic, Oceanographic and Geophysical systems within Australia and throughout South East Asia and the Pacific Rim. "Including FarSounder's advanced sonar systems in SAP's portfolio of maritime equipment offers our customers the latest in innovative technologies,” said Paul Duncan, Managing Director of Seismic Asia Pacific Pty Ltd Australia.

GE LM2500 Gas Turbine MMP to Lower Costs; Reduce Weight by 50%

GE’s Marine Solutions announced that the LM2500 gas turbine Module Modernization Program (MMP) is now underway with General Dynamics Bath Iron Works and the United States Navy. The MMP will inject updated technology into the gas turbine module system and reduce enclosure weight by approximately 50%*.
GE continually invests in its LM2500 family of marine gas turbines. “For the MMP, the infusion of new technologies will improve the manufacturing and maintainability of the LM2500 marine module, all the while reducing module weight, noise, radiated heat – and most importantly – life cycle costs,” said GE’s Brien Bolsinger, Vice President, General Manager, Evendale, Ohio. “The new marine module will meet global naval requirements, including Mil 901D shock.  Once available in 2018, this lightweight design can easily be applied to LM2500 family gas turbines used by other international navies,” he added.
The U.S. Navy is GE’s largest marine gas turbine customer with over 350 LM2500 engines in operation across multiple programs including DDG-51 ARLEIGH BURKE, LCS-2 INDEPENDENCE and LHA-6 AMERICA class ships. Products developed under the MMP will be introduced to the U.S. Navy’s DDG-51 program starting with Flight III.
The MMP focuses on composite initiatives including the enclosure, inlet barrier wall and inlet screen.  The MMP also targets gas turbine and package sensors to improve condition monitoring and manufacturability. For instance, all bolted joints between the walls and roof panels will be eliminated in the composite enclosure to improve noise attenuation and simplify assembly. The composite enclosure will feature improved entry points via the addition of an access panel to the inlet plenum, enlarged rear access panels and improved top access hatch design (see diagram below). These enhancements will significantly reduce the weight of the door and the hatch and will improve ingress/egress, especially in the nose-down orientation on board ship.
Other key composite improvements include:
  • ·         Reduced enclosure weight by approximately 50%
  • ·         Improved noise attenuation
  • ·         Significant reduction in radiated heat; all external surface temperatures are expected to be less than 110°F
  • Detailed design for MMP products is ongoing, with extensive fire testing on subcomponents planned for 2016. The prototype enclosure is expected to be complete in April 2017, and full scale fire, shock, noise and vibration testing is planned to be completed mid-2018. The new composite enclosure will be available by the fourth quarter 2018.

* Excludes base structure

FarSounder introduces 3D Navigation Systems through the U.S. Navy in Support of Foreign Military Sales

August 20, 2016 - FarSounder, Inc. has been awarded a contract to provide FarSounder-1000 systems for two US Navy transferred OSPREY Class Mine Hunter Coastal (MHC) Vessels. The systems were sold by FarSounder's dealer Voyager Maritime Alliance Group of Ft. Lauderdale, FL via their customer, VSE Corporation. VSE's delivery order is under a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract through the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) International Fleet Support Program.
"This contract award demonstrates the strategic benefits of deploying FarSounder's commercially developed 3D navigation and obstacle avoidance systems,” said Cheryl M. Zimmerman, CEO of FarSounder. "They are advanced, cost-effective products for not only commercial vessels, but also for global defense and border control operations.”
The FarSounder-1000 3D Forward Looking Sonar system offers users safe navigation by providing real time navigation information ahead of the vessel operating at full range even in shallow water.  The user is able to make fast, accurate navigation decisions with a quick view of the intuitive FarSounder display software running on the marinized bridge computer.

Voyager Maritime Alliance Group is an active FarSounder dealer with years of systems integration experience. With their global capability, their team is available to set-up and commission FarSounder's state of the art systems.

USNS Richard E. Byrd, USS Pioneer Conduct Astern Replenishment-at-Sea

August 24, 2016 - Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship USNS Richard E. Byrd (T-AKE 4) and Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Pioneer (MCM 9) conducted a astern replenishment-at-sea in waters south of Japan, Aug. 24.
"While replenishments-at-sea are routine, astern refueling is unique and requires precise navigation and coordination," said Lt. Cmdr. Jason Ileto, fleet replenishment scheduler for Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific. "Pioneer and other minesweeping vessels have fueling stations on their bows and require astern refueling."
Ships fueled at sea during normal replenishment evolutions connect to each other alongside. Astern refueling is the earliest type of replenishment operation used by the U.S. Navy. The receiving ship follows directly behind the supplying ship. This evolution is more limited, as only one transfer rig can be set up.
The astern refueling of Pioneer reflects the flexibility of Military Sealift Command ships and crews to deliver innovative expeditionary logistics support to the fleet. Richard E. Byrd and Pioneer are currently operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

The U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. As the U.S. Navy's largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build maritime partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability and prevent conflict. 

26 Hours of Information Recovered from El Faro Voyage Data Recorder

August 24, 2016 - The National Transportation Safety Board announced Wednesday the convening of a voyage data recorder group, Monday, to develop a detailed transcript of the sounds and discernible words captured on the El Faro’s bridge audio, following the audition of the ship’s VDR.
The voyage data recorder from El Faro, a US flagged cargo ship that sank during Hurricane Joaquin in October 2015, was successfully recovered from the ocean floor Aug. 8, 2016, and transported to the NTSB’s laboratory here Aug. 12. Information from the El Faro’s VDR was successfully recovered Aug. 15.
About 26 hours of information was recovered from the VDR, including bridge audio, weather data and navigational data. Investigators examined the VDR, found it to be in good condition, and downloaded the memory module data in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommended procedures.
Numerous events leading up to the loss of the El Faro are heard on the VDR’s audio, recorded from microphones on the ship’s bridge. The quality of the recording is degraded because of high levels of background noise. There are times during the recording when the content of crew discussion is difficult to determine, at other times the content can be determined using audio filtering.
The recording began about 5:37 a.m., Sept. 30, 2015 – about 8 hours after the El Faro departed Jacksonville, Florida, with the ship about 150 nautical miles southeast of the city. The bridge audio from the morning of Oct. 1, captured the master and crew discussing their actions regarding flooding and the vessel’s list. The vessel’s loss of propulsion was mentioned on the bridge audio about 6:13 a.m. Also captured was the master speaking on the telephone, notifying shoreside personnel of the vessel’s critical situation, and preparing to abandon ship if necessary. The master ordered abandon ship and sounded the alarm about 7:30 a.m., Oct. 1, 2015. The recording ended about 10 minutes later when the El Faro was about 39 nautical miles northeast of Crooked Island, Bahamas. These times are preliminary and subject to change and final validation by the voyage data recorder group.
The VDR group’s technical experts will continue reviewing the entire recording, including crew discussions regarding the weather situation and the operation and condition of the ship.
Families of the El Faro’s crew were briefed about the results of the audition Wednesday prior to the NTSB’s public release of the characterization of the audition.

It remains unknown how long it will take to develop the final transcript of the El Faro’s VDR. The length of the recording and high levels of background noise will make transcript development a time consuming process. An update will be provided when warranted.

New Ship to Deliver Enhanced Naval Capability

August 24, 2016 - Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says the Government has approved a Ministry of Defence and New Zealand Defence Force recommendation to request tenders for a new naval ship to support littoral operations.
The announcement follows last month’s awarding of a $493 million contract to deliver a new naval tanker.
The Littoral Operations Support Capability will provide a platform for Royal New Zealand Navy hydrography, deep diving and mine countermeasures activities.
“This ship will provide the RNZN Littoral Warfare Unit with a dedicated support ship that offers a range of useful capabilities in one hull,” Mr Brownlee says.
“I recently visited members of the Littoral Warfare Unit as they participated in the RIMPAC exercise in Hawaii, and was very impressed by the work they do mapping the sea floor and employing deep divers to conduct a range of operations.
“This new vessel is a much-needed platform for this unit to carry out their important work.”
The new ship will replace two Navy ships, the 40-year-old diving ship HMNZS Manawanui, which is due to retire in 2018, and the hydrographic ship HMNZS Resolution, which was retired in 2012.
Mr Brownlee says the new vessel is one of a range of new capabilities to modernize the NZDF signaled in the recently-launched Defence White Paper.
“The ship will offer new capabilities that will support NZDF sea-to-shore operations in low to medium threat environments.
“It will be used, for example, to identify safe approaches and landing zones when harbour channels or ports are unavailable after natural disasters.
“It will have particular utility in the Pacific, assisting with humanitarian and disaster relief operations.
“The ship will also enhance the NZDF’s ability to support search and rescue, salvage, and hazard clearance activities around New Zealand and in the South Pacific.

The Littoral Warfare Unit is responsible for providing specialist services to the Defence Force, New Zealand Police, Maritime New Zealand and other government agencies in the littoral area.  A formal request for tenders will be issued in early September.

EUNAVFOR Med Operation Sophia Signs Agreement to Train Libyan Coast Guard and Navy

August 23, 2016 - Today the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding on the training of the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy between EUNAVFOR Med Operation Sophia and the Libyan Coast Guard took place in Rome.
The Operation will conduct a training program of Libyan Coast Guards and Navy, in coordination with other EU agencies and international actors, in three consecutive phases - on the high sea on board of EUNAVFOR Med Operation Sophia units; ashore in a Member State or Libya; and on Libyan Coastguard and patrol boats.
The training program will help improve the security of Libyan territorial waters, enhance the capacity of the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy to perform law enforcement actions to tackle human traffickers and smugglers and contribute to prevent further loss of life at sea.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Operation Commander Read Admiral Enrico Credendino on behalf of EUNAVFOR Med and Commodore Abdalh Toumia, Commander of the Libyan Coastguard and Port Security.
EUNAVFOR Med Operation Sophia has been active in International waters since June 2015. Its core mandate is to disrupt the business model of human traffickers and smugglers in the Central Mediterranean. More information is available on the Operation's website.

Huntington Ingalls Industries Awarded $52 Million Modernization Contract for USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75)

HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division has received a $52 million contract from the U.S. Navy for work on the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), shown here transiting the Atlantic Ocean in August. U.S. Navy photo.
Newport News August 22, 2016 - Huntington Ingalls Industries announced today that its Newport News Shipbuilding division has received a $52 million contract from the U.S. Navy for nuclear propulsion and complex modernization work on the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) as part of its planned incremental availability.
The contract covers planning, material procurement, prefabrication, manpower, support services, design integration, engineering and management support, and technical data. Work will be performed at Norfolk Naval Shipyard and is expected to be completed by September 2017.
“We are proud to do the maintenance and modernization work that is vital to the Navy’s ability to carry out its mission,” said Chris Miner, Newport News’ vice president, in-service aircraft carrier programs. “Our shipbuilders look forward to completing this important work in support of re-delivering a first-rate ship that is ready to continue projecting our Navy’s strength at sea.”
USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), named after the 33rd president of the United States, is the eighth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. The ship was launched in September 1996 by Newport News and is homeported at Naval Station Norfolk.

Lockheed Martin Awarded $79.5 Million Contract to Provide an Open Architecture Combat Management System for the U.S. Navy's Frigates

Lockheed Martin

August 23, 2016 - The U.S. Navy selected Lockheed Martin's COMBATSS-21 as the combat management system for the Navy's frigate ship program. COMBATSS-21 is the combat management system in operation on the Freedom variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The five-year contract, which is worth up to $79.5 million, covers fiscal years 2016-2021.
COMBATSS-21 (COMponent-BAsed Total-Ship System--21st Century) is built from the Aegis Common Source Library (CSL), and shares a pedigree with the Aegis Baseline 9 software developed for the Aegis cruiser and destroyer fleet, as well as international ships, the Aegis Ashore system, LCS and the Coast Guard National Security Cutters.   
"We look forward to providing this combat management system to the frigates and potentially other platforms across the U.S. Navy, as it will bring commonality across the fleet of surface combatants and is a step toward realizing the vision of distributed lethality," said Rich Calabrese, director of Mission Systems at Lockheed Martin. "Using the CSL enhances life-cycle affordability by reducing costs for integration, test and certification--and delivers an open combat system architecture in line with the Navy's objective architecture, driving affordability and increasing interoperability across the entire fleet."
The CSL allows surface combatants to rapidly and affordably integrate new capabilities across the fleet. This means that ships using a CSL-derived combat system can incorporate new sensors, weapons and capability upgrades to keep pace with evolving threats. The benefit of the surface combatant CSL is that these updates become available for rollout across other ship classes.

"We can build capability, get it into the CSL and then deploy it in a ship class when the Navy determines the need," Calabrese said. In this way, capability developed on a forward fit program may be applied to ships already in service.

ØKOKRIM drops the corruption case against KONGSBERG

August 16, 2016 - The Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (Økokrim) announced today that the corruption charges against Kongsberg Gruppen ASA and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace have been dropped.
In February 2014 Økokrim charged Kongsberg Gruppen ASA and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS with allegations of corruption related to deliveries of communications equipment to Romania in the period 2000-2008. Økokrim today announced that the charges have been dropped.
- Since we were made aware of the charges more than two years ago we have cooperated with Økokrim. In our opinion, it has been a thorough process where all facts of the case have been shed light on. The decision not to prosecute is in our opinion a correct decision, says Finn Jebsen, Chairman of the Board of KONGSBERG.
As the charges have been dropped, KONGSBERG is no longer under investigation or under suspicion of corruption.
- The case has been challenging, but through the entire period of investigation we have focused on our partners, customers and deliveries. We are satisfied that the corruption charges are dropped and that we can put the matter to rest, says Jebsen.
Independent of the investigation and many years prior to the charges, KONGSBERG has developed and implemented a comprehensive anti-corruption program. Following the charges, KONGSBERG conducted a thorough revision of the company’s anti-corruption and compliance efforts. The consultancy company EY has evaluated KONGSBERG’s practice to be adequate. EY writes in their assessment that KONGSBERG's anti-corruption compliance program compares favorably to other Norwegian companies of comparable size and international operations.
- KONGSBERG continuously focuses on counteracting corruption amongst our employees, consultants and business partners. We work actively with ongoing assessments and developments of our compliance regulations and procedures in line with national and international laws and regulation.
- Økokrim has decided to prosecute a former employee of KONGSBERG with charges of fraud against the company. As a consequence of information the Økokrim investigation revealed, the former employee was dismissed in 2015. This case has given particular insight into the potential of being hit by extensive criminal activity. Through the learning KONGSBERG has had of the case, the compliance programs have been further enhanced, says Jebsen.

MSC Exercises Expeditionary Tactics During UFG 16

Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Dylan Simons (left) and Yeoman 2nd Class Sir Joseph Moses, both with Reserve Unit Expeditionary Port Unit 115, out of Honolulu, examine a satellite dish at Pier 8 here, Aug. 24. U.S. Navy photo by Grady T. Fontana.

August 24, 2016 - About 40 Military Sealift Command (MSC) reserve-component sailors traveled to Korea and Singapore, and are participating in Ulchi Freedom Guardian 2016 (UFG 16), Aug. 24.
Exercise UFG 16 is scheduled from Aug. 17 – Sep. 2 and is an annual, combined command and control exercise designed to improve the Alliance’s ability to defend the Republic of Korea (ROK), and sustain the capabilities that strengthen the ROK-U.S. Alliance. About 25,000 U.S. service members are participating, along with nine other nations: Australia, Canada, Columbia, Denmark, France, Italy, Philippines, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
The MSC sailors were from MSC Far East (MSCFE) Detachment 101 out of St. Louis, Mo.; MSCFE Detachment 102 out of Kansas City, Mo.; Expeditionary Port Unit (EPU) 108 out of Atlanta; and EPU 115 out of Honolulu.
Despite the small exercise footprint of MSC Far East, the scope of the training was both diverse and complex, managing hundreds of simulated U.S. government and commercially contracted dry cargo ships and fuel tankers to and from the Korean area of operations. MSC scenarios included adverse weather, unscheduled maintenance, fueling of vessels, bunkering and working with host nation port authorities.
At the MSCFE headquarters in Singapore, MSCFE Detachment 101 augmented permanent command staff in manning an around-the-clock command and control center, working with counterparts from the staff of Commander, Task Force 73. During UFG, they monitored and directed all simulated MSC shipping traffic throughout the western Pacific.
In Pier 8 here, eight sailors from MSCFE Detachment 102 augmented permanent MSC Office (MSCO) Korea staff. They manned a 24/7 crisis action team, and the Combined Seaport Command Center, a centralized command and control center that can manage cargo ships at ports throughout South Korea. Here, MSCFE sailors worked closely with the Army's Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC), and ROK army and navy personnel.
Also on Pier 8, EPU 115, a highly mobile unit that can deploy quickly and establish port operations even under the most adverse conditions, operated a Mobile Sealift Operations Center (MSOC), which is a full communications suite outfitted inside a standard shipping container. EPU 108 manned a second MSOC at the ROK Naval Base ammunition pier at Chinhae.
During a real-world operation, a foreign port could be overwhelmed by ships and cargo movement. EPUs serve as the military liaison for the local port authority.
“We’re the connector between MSCO Korea, ship’s crew, husbanding agent, stevedores, Army SDDC, Navy cargo handling battalion, port authorities, ROK port operations group, and anybody else,” said Navy Cmdr. Rich Maloney, commanding officer, EPU 115, and reserve-component sailor.
Despite yearly participation, this exercise provides a continuous challenge for the MSC reserve units. Every year, the majority of reserve unit members are fresh to the Korean peninsula and to UFG. Some members have to travel far and infrequent to U.S. drill sites prior to ramping up for the exercise.
“I have 12 reserve sailors with me and they’re from various reserve centers: Hawaii; Albuquerque, N.M.; Denver; Los Angeles; Boston; Norfolk, Va.; Washington D.C.; and Chicago,” said Maloney. “In the reserves we have a lot of sailors who are cross assigned, that’s because we can’t necessarily fill our units with local drilling individuals who have the skills we need.”
As a result, the EPU ended up with sailors who are distributed and the CO had the responsibility to get them trained and ready in as few as three to four drills in a year.
“When they show up, they’re well prepared and ready to go from day one,” said Maloney, while acknowledging their inexperience. “Only four of the 12 have been to Korea before. For seven of the 12, this is their first annual training (AT) with MSC. For the other five it’s been one or two ATs. We’re constantly training the next wave of folks, it’s an ongoing process.”
While the MSCFE Detachments were standing watch at the various locations during one of the largest computer-simulated exercise, they’re also providing valuable training to the EPU units. In between the watch, they were injecting master scenario events list (MSEL) objectives at the EPUs.
“We work closely with the EPU COs to assess unit experience-level and work with the (officers-in-charge) to determine how we want to test them and how we want to grade them,” said Navy Cmdr. Brad Newcomer, MSCFE Detachment 102, operations officer, and reserve-component sailor.
The EPUs are tested based on a wide range of potential scenarios. “It could be anything from delayed sailing, an equipment causality on a ship, a personnel casualty, a security threat like a bomb threat, or a terrorist attack. We evaluate how they respond,” said Newcomer. “We do an after-action-report after each MSEL to see what did we learn, what do we want to do different.”
The EPU CO’s goal is that every member up and down the chain of command is able to act quickly and properly, should a situation arise and those members are the senior person in the MSOC at that time.
“These guys have been training hard; we have a lot of new people but they’re doing well, and between the mix of people that have done this a couple of times, we have the right skills and we have the right people,” said Maloney. “All our preparation at home is paying off.”

Exercise UFG 16 is a United Nations Command, U.S. Combined Forces Command, and United States Forces Korea annual joint/combined command post exercise. The exercise highlights the longstanding and enduring partnership and friendship between the two nations and their combined commitment to the defense of the ROK and ensuring peace and security in the region.