National security

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-3 on September 23, at 10:49:47 p.m. PDT. Designated NROL-42, the mission is in support of national security.

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office lifted off from Space Launch Complex-3. Designated NROL-42, the mission is in support of national security (United Launch Alliance/Jeff Spotts)
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office lifted off from Space Launch Complex-3. Designated NROL-42, the mission is in support of national security (United Launch Alliance/Jeff Spotts)

«Congratulations to the entire team for overcoming multiple challenges throughout this launch campaign. From Hurricane Irma schedule impacts to replacing to a first stage battery this week – the team maintained a clear focus on mission success», said Laura Maginnis, ULA vice president of Government Satellite Launch. «NROL-42 marks the 25th ULA-launched NRO mission, building upon our legacy of partnership with the NRO in providing reliable access to space for our nation’s most critical missions».

This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) 541 configuration vehicle, which includes a 5-meter/16-feet PayLoad Fairing (PLF) and four solid rocket boosters. The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine, and the Centaur upper stage was powered by the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C engine.

This is ULA’s sixth launch in 2017 and the 121st successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office lifted off from Space Launch Complex-3. Designated NROL-42, the mission is in support of national security (United Launch Alliance/Jeff Spotts)
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office lifted off from Space Launch Complex-3. Designated NROL-42, the mission is in support of national security (United Launch Alliance/Jeff Spotts)

ULA’s next launch is the NROL-52 for the National Reconnaissance Office. The launch is scheduled for October 5 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

The EELV program was established by the U.S. Air Force to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense and other government payloads. The commercially developed EELV program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the legacy launch systems.

With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 120 satellites to orbit that aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, provide critical capabilities for troops in the field and enable personal device-based GPS navigation.

Atlas V NROL-42 Launch Highlights

Navy Accepts Colorado

The Navy accepted delivery of the future USS Colorado (SSN-788), the 15th submarine of the Virginia-class, September 21.

Navy Accepts Delivery of the Future USS Colorado (SSN-788)
Navy Accepts Delivery of the Future USS Colorado (SSN-788)

The submarine’s sponsor is Annie Mabus, daughter of the 75th Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.

The ship began construction in 2012 and is scheduled to commission in spring 2018. This next-generation attack submarine provides the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation’s undersea superiority.

«Colorado’s delivery brings another Block III Virginia-class submarine to the fleet within budget. The submarine’s outstanding quality continues the Program’s tradition of delivering combat ready submarines to the fleet», said Captain Mike Stevens, Virginia-class submarine program manager. «The Colorado is the most capable Virginia-class submarine bringing advanced capabilities and technology to the Navy fleet».

USS Colorado (SSN-788) is the fifth Virginia-class Block III submarine. Block III submarines feature a redesigned bow with enhanced payload capabilities, replacing 12 individual vertical launch tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes (VPT), each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles. This, among other design changes, reduced the submarines’ acquisition cost while maintaining their outstanding warfighting capabilities.

The submarine will be the fourth U.S. Navy ship to be commissioned with the name Colorado. The first Colorado was a three-masted steam screw frigate that participated in the Union Navy’s Gulf Blockading Squadron that fought in the Second Battle of Fort Fisher with then-Lt. George Dewey serving as her executive officer. In the early years of the 20th Century, the second Colorado (ACR-7) was a Pennsylvania-class armored cruiser that escorted convoys of men and supplies to England during World War I. The third ship of her name, the lead ship of the Colorado class of battleships (BB-45), supported operations in the Pacific theater throughout World War II, surviving two kamikaze attacks and earning seven battle stars.

Virginia-class submarines are built to operate in the world’s littoral and deep waters while conducting anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface ship warfare; strike warfare; special operation forces support; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. Their inherent stealth, endurance, mobility, and firepower directly enable them to support five of the six maritime strategy core capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence.

 

General Characteristics

Builder General Dynamics Electric Boat Division and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. – Newport News Shipbuilding
Date Deployed October 3, 2004
Propulsion One GE PWR S9G nuclear reactor, two turbines, one shaft; 40,000 hp/30 MW
Length 377 feet/114.8 m
Beam 33 feet/10.0584 m
Hull Diameter 34 feet/10.3632 m
Displacement Approximately 7,800 tons/7,925 metric tons submerged
Speed 25+ knots/28+ mph/46.3+ km/h
Diving Depth 800+ feet/244+ m
Crew 132: 15 officers; 117 enlisted
Armament: Tomahawk missiles 2 × 87-in/2.2 m Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs), each capable of launching 6 Tomahawk cruise missiles
Armament: MK-48 ADCAP (Advanced Capability) Mod 7 heavyweight torpedoes 4 torpedo tubes
Weapons MK-60 CAPTOR (Encapsulated Torpedo) mines, advanced mobile mines and UUVs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicles)

 

Block III

Ship Yard Christening Commissioned Homeport
SSN-784 North Dakota EB 11-2-13 10-25-14 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-785 John Warner NNS 09-06-14 08-01-15 Norfolk, Virginia
SSN-786 Illinois EB 10-10-15 10-29-16 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-787 Washington NNS 03-05-16
SSN-788 Colorado EB 12-03-16
SSN-789 Indiana NNS 04-29-17
SSN-790 South Dakota EB Under Construction
SSN-791 Delaware NNS Under Construction

 

Shootdown by Laser

A Lockheed Martin prototype laser weapon system proved that an advanced system of sensors, software and specialized optics can deliver decisive lethality against Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) threats.

In a live-fire demonstration at the Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, a 30-kilowatt class laser weapon system developed by Lockheed Martin brought down five Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with a 100 percent success rate
In a live-fire demonstration at the Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, a 30-kilowatt class laser weapon system developed by Lockheed Martin brought down five Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with a 100 percent success rate

In tests conducted with the U.S. Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command in August, the 30-kilowatt class ATHENA (Advanced Test High Energy Asset) system brought down five 10.8′ wingspan Outlaw unmanned aerial systems at the Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. ATHENA employed advanced beam control technology and an efficient fiber laser in this latest series of tests of the prototype system.

«The tests at White Sands against aerial targets validated our lethality models and replicated the results we’ve seen against static targets at our own test range», said Keoki Jackson, Lockheed Martin’s Chief Technology Officer. «As we mature the technology behind laser weapon systems, we’re making the entire system more effective and moving closer to a laser weapon that will provide greater protection to our warfighters by taking on more sophisticated threats from a longer range».

Lockheed Martin partnered with Army Space and Missile Defense Command on a cooperative research and development agreement to test ATHENA.

The system defeated airborne targets in flight by causing loss of control and structural failure. Lockheed Martin and the Army will conduct post mission reviews, and data collected will be used to further refine the system, improve model predictions and inform development of future laser systems.

ATHENA is a transportable, ground-based system that serves as a low-cost test bed for demonstrating technologies required for military use of laser weapon systems. Lockheed Martin funded ATHENA’s development with research and development investments. It uses the company’s 30-kilowatt Accelerated Laser Demonstration Initiative (ALADIN) that provides great efficiency and lethality in a design that scales to higher power levels. ATHENA is powered by a compact Rolls-Royce turbo generator.

Lockheed Martin is positioning laser weapon systems for success on the battlefield because of their speed, flexibility, precision and low cost per engagement.

ATHENA Laser Weapon System Defeats Unmanned Aerial Systems

Navy Accepts Portland

Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division delivered the amphibious transport dock USS Portland (LPD-27) to the U.S. Navy on September 18.

(Left to right) Captain J.R. Hill, Commander Jon Letourneau and Mike Pruitt sign the DD 250 document officially transferring custody of the amphibious transport dock USS Portland (LPD-27) from HII to the U.S. Navy. Hill is Portland’s prospective commanding officer; Letourneau is the Navy’s LPD 17-class program manager, and Pruitt is Ingalls’ LPD 27 program manager (Photo by Michael Duhe/HII)
(Left to right) Captain J.R. Hill, Commander Jon Letourneau and Mike Pruitt sign the DD 250 document officially transferring custody of the amphibious transport dock USS Portland (LPD-27) from HII to the U.S. Navy. Hill is Portland’s prospective commanding officer; Letourneau is the Navy’s LPD 17-class program manager, and Pruitt is Ingalls’ LPD 27 program manager (Photo by Michael Duhe/HII)

«Today is a great day for this collective industry and customer team», said Kari Wilkinson, Ingalls’ vice president, program management. «For many of the shipbuilders, Supervisor of Shipbuilding representatives and members of the U.S. Navy program office, this is the 11th ship they have built and delivered together. Their personal commitment to excellence has become the hallmark of the LPD program, and we are positioned to continue that tradition on future ships».

USS Portland (LPD-27) was delivered during an afternoon ceremony with shipbuilders, ship’s force and representatives of Supervisor of Shipbuilding Gulf Coast together in attendance. The signing of the DD 250 document officially transfers custody of the ship from HII to the U.S. Navy.

«I am amazed with the shipbuilders here at Ingalls», said Captain J.R. Hill, Portland’s prospective commanding officer. «There are thousands of them who have been working to build this ship and put it into service, and they’ve really done a great job. I’m very impressed with the team Ingalls has put together as well as the 370 crew members present today who are ecstatic about taking control of this ship. We look forward to what she can do in the future».

USS Portland (LPD-27) is named for the largest city in the state of Oregon. The state has a long history with the U.S. Navy, going back to the construction of hundreds of World War II Liberty and Victory ships at three Portland-area shipyards.

Ingalls has delivered 11 San Antonio-class ships to the U.S. Navy and currently has one more, USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28), under construction. In June, Ingalls received an advance procurement contract from the Navy to provide long-lead-time material and advance construction activities for LPD-29, the 13th ship of the San Antonio class.

The San Antonio class is the latest addition to the U.S. Navy’s 21st century amphibious assault force. The 684-foot-long, 105-foot-wide ships are used to embark and land Marines, their equipment and supplies ashore via air cushion or conventional landing craft and amphibious assault vehicles, augmented by helicopters or vertical takeoff and landing aircraft such as the MV-22 Osprey. The ships support a Marine Air Ground Task Force across the spectrum of operations, conducting amphibious and expeditionary missions of sea control and power projection to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions throughout the first half of the 21st century.

USS Portland (LPD-27), sails through the Gulf of Mexico during her acceptance sea trials (Photo by Lance Davis/HII)
USS Portland (LPD-27), sails through the Gulf of Mexico during her acceptance sea trials (Photo by Lance Davis/HII)

 

General Characteristics

Builder Huntington Ingalls Industries
Propulsion Four sequentially turbocharged marine Colt-Pielstick Diesels, two shafts, 41,600 shaft horsepower
Length 684 feet/208 m
Beam 105 feet/32 m
Displacement Approximately 24,900 long tons (25,300 metric tons) full load
Draft 23 feet/7 m
Speed In excess of 22 knots/24.2 mph/38.7 km/h
Crew Ship’s Company: 374 Sailors (28 officers, 346 enlisted) and 3 Marines. Embarked Landing Force: 699 (66 officers, 633 enlisted); surge capacity to 800
Armament Two Bushmaster II 30-mm Close in Guns, fore and aft; two Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launchers, fore and aft: ten .50 calibre/12.7-mm machine guns
Aircraft Launch or land two CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters or two MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft or up to four CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters, AH-1 or UH-1 helicopters
Landing/Attack Craft Two LCACs or one LCU; and 14 Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles/Amphibious Assault Vehicles

 

San Antonio-class

Ship Builder Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS San Antonio (LPD-17) Avondale 07-12-2003 01-14-2006 Norfolk, Virginia
USS New Orleans (LPD-18) Avondale 12-11-2004 03-10-2007 San Diego, California
USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19) Ingalls 11-19-2004 12-15-2007 Norfolk, Virginia
USS Green Bay (LPD-20) Avondale 08-11-2006 01-24-2009 San Diego, California
USS New York (LPD-21) Avondale 12-19-2007 11-07-2009 Norfolk, Virginia
USS San Diego (LPD-22) Ingalls 05-07-2010 05-19-2012 San Diego, California
USS Anchorage (LPD-23) Avondale 02-12-2011 05-04-2013 San Diego, California
USS Arlington (LPD-24) Ingalls 11-23-2010 02-08-2013 Norfolk, Virginia
USS Somerset (LPD-25) Avondale 04-14-2012 05-01-2014 San Diego, California
USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26) Ingalls 11-02-2014 10-08-2016 San Diego, California
USS Portland (LPD-27) Ingalls 02-13-2016
USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28) Ingalls
LPD-29

 

Navy Accepts Omaha

The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of the future Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) USS Omaha (LCS-12) during a ceremony in Mobile, Alabama, September 15.

Navy accepts delivery of future USS Omaha (LCS-12)
Navy accepts delivery of future USS Omaha (LCS-12)

This delivery marks the official transfer of USS Omaha (LCS-12) from the shipbuilder, an Austal USA-led team, to the U.S. Navy. It is the final milestone prior to commissioning, which is planned for early 2018 in San Diego.

«Today marks a significant milestone in the life of the future USS Omaha (LCS-12), as transfer to the Navy occurs, and her in-service counter begins», said LCS Program Manager Captain Mike Taylor. «I look forward to celebrating the commissioning of this fine ship after she departs from Austal and embarks upon her post-delivery test and trials period».

Omaha is the 10th littoral combat ship to be delivered to the Navy and the sixth of the Independence variant to join the fleet. The Independence variant is noted for its unique trimaran hull, ability to operate at high speeds and its large flight deck size.

«We are excited to welcome the future USS Omaha (LCS-12) into the LCS class», said Captain Jordy Harrison, commander, LCS Squadron 1 (COMLCSRON 1). «LCS are in high demand around the globe, and after additional ship testing and crew training, Omaha will join the fleet, serving combatant commanders in a wide range of worldwide missions».

COMLCSRON 1 supports the operational commanders with warships ready for tasking by manning, training, equipping and maintaining littoral combat ships on the west coast.

Following commissioning, Omaha will be homeported in San Diego with her fellow ships USS Freedom (LCS-1), USS Independence (LCS-2), USS Fort Worth (LCS-3), USS Coronado (LCS-4), USS Jackson (LCS-6), USS Montgomery (LCS-8) and USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10).

The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin, with the Independence variant team led by Austal USA.

Each LCS will be outfitted with a mission package made up of mission modules containing warfighting systems and support equipment. A dedicated crew will combine with aviation assets to deploy manned and unmanned vehicles and sensors in support of mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare or surface warfare missions.

Omaha will be commissioned early next year and homeported in San Diego with Littoral Combat Ship Squadron One
Omaha will be commissioned early next year and homeported in San Diego with Littoral Combat Ship Squadron One

 

The Independence Variant of the LCS Class

PRINCIPAL DIMENSIONS
Construction Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy
Length overall 421 feet/128.3 m
Beam overall 103 feet/31.4 m
Hull draft (maximum) 14.8 feet/4.5 m
PAYLOAD AND CAPACITIES
Complement Core Crew – 40
Mission crew – 36
Berthing 76 in a mix of single, double & quad berthing compartments
Maximum mission load 210 tonnes
Mission Bay Volume 118,403 feet3/11,000 m3
Mission packages Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
Surface Warfare (SUW)
Mine Warfare (MIW)
PROPULSION
Main engines 2 × GE LM2500
2 × MTU 20V 8000
Waterjets 4 × Wartsila steerable
Bow thruster Retractable azimuthing
PERFORMANCE
Speed 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
Range 3,500 NM/4,028 miles/6,482 km
Operational limitation Survival in Sea State 8
MISSION/LOGISTICS DECK
Deck area >21,527.8 feet2/2,000 m2
Launch and recovery Twin boom extending crane
Loading Side ramp
Internal elevator to hanger
Launch/Recover Watercraft Sea State 4
FLIGHT DECK AND HANGER
Flight deck dimensions 2 × SH-60 or 1 × CH-53 or multiple Unmanned Aerial Vehicles/Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs/VTUAVs)
Hanger Aircraft stowage & maintenance for 2 × SH-60
Launch/Recover Aircraft Sea State 5
WEAPONS AND SENSORS
Standard 1 × 57-mm gun
4 × 12.7-mm/.50 caliber guns
1 × Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) launcher
3 × weapons modules

 

Independence-class

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Independence (LCS-2) 01-19-2006 04-26-2008 01-16-2010 San Diego, California
USS Coronado (LCS-4) 12-17-2009 01-14-2012 04-05-2014 San Diego, California
USS Jackson (LCS-6) 08-01-2011 12-14-2013 12-05-2015 San Diego, California
USS Montgomery (LCS-8) 06-25-2013 08-06-2014 09-10-2016 San Diego, California
USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) 04-16-2014 02-25-2015 06-10-2017 San Diego, California
USS Omaha (LCS-12) 02-18-2015 11-20-2015 San Diego, California
USS Manchester (LCS-14) 06-29-2015 05-12-2016
USS Tulsa (LCS-16) 01-11-2016
USS Charleston (LCS-18) 06-28-2016
USS Cincinnati (LCS-20) 04-10-2017
USS Kansas City (LCS-22)
USS Oakland (LCS-24)

 

Situational awareness

The 1st Space Operations Squadron (1 SOPS) at Schriever Air Force Base (AFB), Colorado, accepted two new satellites into operation September 12 to expand their Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program’s (GSSAP) ability to characterize and track objects in space to support a neighborhood watch out in orbit.

GSSAP artist rendering
GSSAP artist rendering

GSSAP provides enhanced space-based space situational awareness to improve the ability to rapidly detect, warn, characterize and attribute disturbances to space systems in the geosynchronous environment. This assists in the protection of the assets in space that affect many facets of daily life such as navigation and communication. GSSAP supports U.S. Strategic Command’s ability to collect data on man-made orbiting objects.

GSSAP became operational in September 2015, when the first two GSSAP satellites reached their Initial Operational Capability. The two newest satellites to the program, GSSAP 3 and 4, were launched into orbit August 19, 2016, and have now finished their testing phase.

«GSSAP 3 and 4 will significantly enhance our ability to characterize objects on geosynchronous orbit», said General Jay Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command. «This provides the awareness we need to successfully operate in space».

This addition to GSSAP is vital to expand 1 SOPS’s space-based space situational awareness mission. It not only provides a significant improvement in space object characterization, but also in detecting threats. Because of its near-geosynchronous orbit, it has a clear and distinct vantage point to avoid the weather interruptions that can limit ground-based space surveillance systems.

The GSSAP satellite system can characterize objects in space to a very refined level. Being able to discriminate and characterize objects assists the U.S. and its allies in achieving responsible and safe use of space. The information obtained by this program provides robust spaceflight safety information and ensures free access to, and use of, space.

As space continues to become more congested and contested, GSSAP and other space situational awareness programs are paramount in deterring aggressive action in space. GSSAP continues to enable safe operations and protects U.S. and allied spacecraft by providing timely and accurate situational awareness. Ultimately, GSSAP and 1 SOPS enable a range of decisive responses that will render any counter-space threats ineffective.

Builder’s Trials

The Navy’s ninth expeditionary fast transport vessel, USNS City of Bismarck (EPF-9), successfully completed Builder’s Trials September 14, after being underway for two days in the Gulf of Mexico.

City of Bismarck (EPF-9) completes builder's trials
City of Bismarck (EPF-9) completes builder’s trials

While underway various tests demonstrated the ship’s readiness, including calibration of communication and navigational systems, ship propulsion, ride control, and pollution control. Maneuverability trials tested the ship’s four steerable water jets while a series of high-speed turns demonstrated the stability and agility of the EPF catamaran hull form.

«This is a major step towards delivering City of Bismarck to the U.S. Navy», said Captain Scot Searles, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager, program Executive office ships. «City of Bismarck performed very well during Builder’s Trials, which is a testament to the combined efforts of industry and Navy. The U.S. Navy will benefit from EPF 9’s delivery later this year as the need for versatile ships continues to grow».

USNS City of Bismarck (EPF-9) will now prepare for Acceptance Trials during which the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey will inspect and evaluate the ship to certify its readiness for delivery to the U.S. Navy.

EPF’s are versatile, non-combatant vessels designed to operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, increasing operational flexibility for a wide range of activities including maneuver and sustainment, relief operations in small or damaged ports, flexible logistics support, or as the key enabler for rapid transport.

They are capable of interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, as well as on/off-loading vehicles such as a fully combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank. Each vessel includes a flight deck to support day and night aircraft launch and recovery operations. USNS City of Bismarck (EPF-9) will have airline-style seating for 312 embarked forces with fixed berthing for 104.

As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

PRINCIPAL DIMENSIONS
Material Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy
Length overall 103 m/337.9 feet
Beam overall 28.5 m/93.5 feet
Hull draft (maximum) 3.83 m/12.57 feet
MISSION BAY
Area (with tie-downs) 1,863 m2/20,053 feet2
Clear Height 4.75 m/15.6 feet
Turning diameter 26.2 m/86.0 feet
ISO TEU (Twenty Equivalent Units) Stations 6 Interface Panels
ACCOMMODATIONS
Crew 41
Single SR 2
Double SR 6
Quad SR 7
Troop Seats 312
Troop Berths Permanent: 104
Temporary: 46
Galley and Messing 48
PROPULSION
Main Engines 4 × MTU 20V8000 M71L Diesel Engines 4 × 9.1 MW
Gear boxes 4 × ZF 60000NR2H Reduction Gears
Waterjets 4 × Wartsila WLD 1400 SR
PERFORMANCE
Average Speed 35 knots/40 mph/65 km/h @ 90% MCR with 635 mt (700 st) payload
Maximum Speed 43 knots/50 mph/80 km/h without payload
Maximum Transit Range 1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km
Self-Deployment Range 5,600 NM/6,444 miles/10,371 km
Survival Through SS-7
AVIATION FACILITIES
NAVAIR Level 1 Class 2 Certified Flight Deck for one helicopter
Centreline parking area for one helicopter
NAVAIR Level 1 class 4 Type 2 Certified VERTREP (Vertical Replenishment)
Helicopter Control Station
AUXILIARY SYSTEMS
Active Ride Control Transcom Interceptors
Foils: 3.24 m2/34.9 feet2 each, forward on inboard sides of demi-hulls
Vehicle Ramp Articulated Slewing Stern Ramp
Straight aft to 45 Starboard
Telescoping Boom Crane 12.3 mt @ 15 m, 18.2 mt @ 10 m/13.6 Lt @ 49.2 feet, 20.1 Lt @ 32.8 feet

 

Ships

USNS Spearhead (EPF-1), Delivered

USNS Choctaw County (EPF-2), Delivered

USNS Millinocket (EPF-3), Delivered

USNS Fall River (EPF-4), Delivered

USNS Trenton (EPF-5), Delivered

USNS Brunswick (EPF-6), Delivered

USNS Carson City (EPF-7), Delivered

USNS Yuma (EPF-8), Completed acceptance trials

USNS Bismark (EPF-9), Completed builder’s trials

USNS Burlington (EPF-10), Under construction

USNS Puerto Rico (EPF-11), Under construction

USNS EPF-12, On order

Live firing phase

General Dynamics Land Systems – UK has begun the industry manned live firing phase of the AJAX programme, with the CTA International 40-mm (CT40) cannon.

General Dynamics Land Systems – UK begins AJAX manned live firing phase of programme, using CTAI 40-mm cannon
General Dynamics Land Systems – UK begins AJAX manned live firing phase of programme, using CTAI 40-mm cannon

The five-month trial, which started in early September and takes place at ranges in West Wales, will test the CT40 cannon, Chain Gun and Smoke Grenade Launchers.

AJAX is fitted with instrumentation to record all aspects of the firing of the CT40 cannon and Chain Gun, including lethality performance. Testing will progress from a static vehicle firing on a static target, to a moving vehicle firing on a moving target. The testing is being conducted by General Dynamics Land Systems – UK, the turret developer (Lockheed Martin UK), and with the Ministry of Defence observing.

Over the last 18 months, General Dynamics Land Systems–UK has completed significant unmanned firing of the CT40 cannon and Chain Gun, which provided the assurance needed to begin the manned firing phase of the programme.

Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin said: «The AJAX programme is sustaining hundreds of jobs in Wales, as well as thousands right across the UK, and a lot of hard work has gone into reaching this manned live firing phase».

Kevin Connell, Vice President of General Dynamics Land Systems – UK, said: «The start of the CT40 cannon manned industry firing phase is a significant milestone in the AJAX programme. This cutting-edge capability that enables AJAX to pack a significant punch, alongside its wide-range of best-in-class sensors that makes it an Information Age platform, ensures that the British Army has everything they need to do their job effectively».

In recent months, General Dynamics Land Systems – UK has successfully completed a broad spectrum of AJAX programme trials across its different prototype platforms. These include altitude-climatic trials, air deployability trials, littoral fording trials and driver training trials.

The range of AJAX variants will allow British Army ‘Strike Brigades’ to conduct sustained, expeditionary, full-spectrum and network-enabled operations with a reduced logistics footprint. They will operate in combined-arms and multinational situations across a wide-range of future operating environments.

The AJAX variant will be the medium-weight core of the British Army's deployable all-weather Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability
The AJAX variant will be the medium-weight core of the British Army’s deployable all-weather Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability

Christening of Tripoli

The U.S. Navy christened its newest America-class amphibious assault ship, the future USS Tripoli (LHA-7), during a 10 a.m. CDT ceremony Saturday, September 16, in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

Lynne Mabus, wife of former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, is the ship’s sponsor and officially christened Tripoli after successfully breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across its bow
Lynne Mabus, wife of former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, is the ship’s sponsor and officially christened Tripoli after successfully breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across its bow

Mr. Thomas Dee, performing the duties of the Under Secretary of the U.S. Navy, delivered the ceremony’s principal address. Lynne Mabus, the wife of the 75th Secretary of the U.S. Navy, the Honorable Ray Mabus, served as the ship’s sponsor. The ceremony was highlighted by Mrs. Mabus breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow to formally christen the ship, a time-honored Navy tradition.

«When USS Tripoli, the newest America-class amphibious assault ship, joins the fleet, we’ll be a stronger, more flexible, and better Navy and Marine Corps team», Dee said. «The ship will be a force multiplier, and her crew will proudly serve our country for decades to come. I am grateful to the men and women of Ingalls Shipbuilding for their dedication and to the citizens of Pascagoula for their unwavering support as we continue to make our Navy stronger».

USS Tripoli (LHA-7) will incorporate key components to provide the fleet with a more aviation centric platform. The design of the future USS Tripoli (LHA-7) will feature an enlarged hangar deck, realignment and expansion of the aviation maintenance facilities, a significant increase in available stowage for parts and support equipment, and increased aviation fuel capacity. The ship will also be the first LHA replacement ship to depart the shipyard fully ready to integrate the entire future air combat element of the Marine Corps to include the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

Along with its pioneering aviation element, USS Tripoli (LHA-7) will incorporate a gas turbine propulsion plant, zonal electrical distribution, and fuel efficient electric auxiliary propulsion systems first installed on USS Makin Island (LHD-8). USS Tripoli (LHA-7) will be 844 feet/257.3 m in length, have a displacement of approximately 43,745 long tons/44,449 metric tons and be capable of operating at speeds of over 20+ knots/23+ mph/37+ km/h.

USS Tripoli (LHA-7) will be the third U.S. Navy ship to be named Tripoli. The name honors and commemorates the force of U.S. Marines and approximately 370 soldiers from 11 other nationalities who captured the city of Derna, Libya during the 1805 Battle of Derna. The battle resulted in a subsequent peace treaty and the successful conclusion of the combined operations of the First Barbary War, and was later memorialized in the Marines’ Hymn with the line, «to the shores of Tripoli».

Huntington Ingalls Industries Launches Amphibious Assault Ship USS Tripoli (LHA-7)
Huntington Ingalls Industries Launches Amphibious Assault Ship USS Tripoli (LHA-7)

 

General Characteristics

Builder Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc., Ingalls Operations, Pascagoula, Mississippi
Date Deployed Delivered to the fleet in on April 10, 2014
Propulsion Two marine gas turbines, two shafts, 70,000 total brake horsepower/52,199 kW, two 5,000 horsepower/3,728 kW auxiliary propulsion motors
Length 844 feet/257.3 m
Beam 106 feet/32.3 m
Displacement Approximately 43,745 long tons full load/44,449 metric tons
Speed 20+ knots/23+ mph/37+ km/h
Crew 1,059 (65 officers)
Load 1,687 troops (plus 184 surge)
Armament 2 RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) launchers
2 NATO Sea Sparrow launchers with ESSM (Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile)
2 20-mm Phalanx CIWS (Close-In Weapon System) mounts
7 twin 12,7-mm/.50 cal. machine guns
Aircraft 9 F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) STOVL (Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing) aircraft
4 AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters
4 CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters
12 MV-22B Osprey VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) tiltrotors
2 MH-60S Sea Hawk Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopters
UH-1Y Huey helicopters

 

Ships

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS America (LHA-6) 07-17-2009 06-04-2012 10-11-2014 San Diego, California
USS Tripoli (LHA-7) 06-22-2014 05-01-2017
USS Bougainville (LHA-8)

 

Land Ceptor Unveiled

MBDA’s Land Ceptor air defence system is making its show debut in the outside vehicle park at DSEI 2017 in London from 12-15 September.

Land Ceptor at DSEI 2017
Land Ceptor at DSEI 2017

Land Ceptor utilises the next-generation Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM) and is will be brought into service by the British Army as a replacement for the Rapier air defence system. Compared to Rapier, Land Ceptor has over triple the range (25+ km/15.5+ miles) and is able to intercept the most challenging targets in any weather conditions, including cruise missiles and precision guided munitions.

In total six nations have already chosen the CAMM family to provide their future air defence capabilities in both the maritime and land domains. In Royal Navy service the system is known as Sea Ceptor – which is also making its debut at DSEI 2017 off the back of successful first-of-class firings from the Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll (F231). By purchasing the same missile to meet the air defence needs of both the British Army and the Royal Navy, development costs are significantly reduced and both services are able to utilise a common stockpile that will significantly reduce procurement and support costs.

The Land Ceptor asset present at DSEI, which has been undertaking qualification trials for the British Army, features a substantially revised design to initial development prototypes and incorporates numerous new features. The decision to utilise the in-service HX-77 as the base vehicle for Land Ceptor enables the capabilities of the system to be expanded, whilst minimising the overall fleet size.

A key new feature of the new design is its modular launcher. It features a palletised loading module enabling rapid reload of a full ‘magazine’ of munitions, and a self-mounting/dismounting capability allowing for a wider range of air/sea/rail transport options and for dismounted operations in fixed/semi-fixed locations. A common interface module means the launcher can be easily integrated onto a wide range of vehicles.

The increased payload space provides greater flexibility in mission equipments carried, including – power generation, fire control electronics, on-board Command and Control (C2), missile datalink, radio communications and optional Electro-Optical/InfraRed (EO/IR) sensor modules all available for installation. These systems provide flexibility for the launcher to act as an independent fire unit, as well as in a networked battery configuration. This increased payload could also be used to carry the extended range CAMM-ER interceptor, providing air defence out to 40+ km/24.8+ miles for those customers that require greater range.

Land Ceptor is the launch configuration of the Enhanced Modular Air Defence Solutions (EMADS) stable. EMADS brings together best-of-breed systems and technologies from across MBDA’s European base to save time, development costs and provide a flexible system for air defence provision.

EMADS features a family of system components, including the common launcher developed for Land Ceptor. Also included are a flexible command and control system capable of being