LRIP approval

Following a successful Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) led review, the U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) obtained positive Milestone C Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) approval. The decision marks the beginning of the production and deployment phase of the Department of Defense (DoD) acquisition process.

Following a successful Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) led review, the U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) obtained positive Milestone C low-rate initial production approval
Following a successful Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) led review, the U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) obtained positive Milestone C low-rate initial production approval

«Triton’s critical technology is mature, and the system development and design review phases have been successful», said Doug Shaffer, vice president, Triton programs, Northrop Grumman. «Completion of the full system Operational Assessment (OA) testing exercised in various real-world scenarios validated the system’s ability to protect the Navy’s fleet from evolving threats. We are extremely pleased with the maritime domain awareness products and results coming from Triton».

An integrated test team made up of Navy personnel from Air Test and Evaluation Squadrons VX-1 and VX-20, Unmanned Patrol Squadron, VUP-19 and Northrop Grumman demonstrated the true reliability of Triton going into Milestone C. The team analyzed and validated sensor imagery and performance at different altitudes and ranges. The aircraft system’s ability to classify targets and disseminate critical data was also examined as part of the OA testing. Successful evaluation of Triton’s time on station confirmed that it will meet flight duration requirements. Triton also transferred full motion video to a P-8A Poseidon in flight, proving a key capability to significantly enhance its ability to detect, track, classify and identify maritime threats.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in autonomous systems, cyber, Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR), strike, and logistics and modernization to customers worldwide.

 

MQ-4C Triton

Northrop Grumman’s MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System provides real-time Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance over vast ocean and coastal regions. Supporting missions up to 24 hours, the high-altitude UAS is equipped with a sensor suite that provides a 360-degree view of its surroundings at a radius of over 2,000 NM/2,302 miles/3,704 km.

Triton builds on elements of the Global Hawk UAS while incorporating reinforcements to the airframe and wing, along with de-icing and lightning protection systems. These capabilities allow the aircraft to descend through cloud layers to gain a closer view of ships and other targets at sea when needed. The current sensor suite allows ships to be tracked over time by gathering information on their speed, location and classification.

Built to support the U.S. Navy’s Broad Area Maritime Surveillance program, Triton will support a wide range of intelligence gathering and reconnaissance missions, maritime patrol and search and rescue. The Navy’s program of record calls for 68 aircraft to be built.

The program portfolio includes the MQ-4C Triton UAS and the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance – Demonstrator (BAMS-D), advanced sensors and technology, and international programs
The program portfolio includes the MQ-4C Triton UAS and the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance – Demonstrator (BAMS-D), advanced sensors and technology, and international programs

 

Key Features

  • Provides persistent maritime ISR at a mission radius of 2,000 NM/2,302 miles/3,704 km; 24 hours/7 days per week with 80% Effective Time On Station (ETOS)
  • Land-based air vehicle and sensor command and control
  • Afloat Level II payload sensor data via line-of-sight
  • Dual redundant flight controls and surfaces
  • 51,000-hour airframe life
  • Due Regard Radar for safe separation
  • Anti/de-ice, bird strike, and lightning protection
  • Communications bandwidth management
  • Commercial off-the-shelf open architecture mission control system
  • Net-ready interoperability solution

 

Multi-Function Active Sensor Active Electronically Steered Array (MFAS AESA) radar:

  • 2D AESA;
  • Maritime and air-to-ground modes;
  • Long-range detection and classification of targets.

MTS-B multi-spectral targeting system:

  • Electro-optical/infrared;
  • Auto-target tracking;
  • High resolution at multiple field-of-views;
  • Full motion video.

AN/ZLQ-1 Electronic Support Measures:

  • All digital;
  • Specific Emitter Identification.

Automatic Identification System:

  • Provides information received from VHF broadcasts on maritime vessel movements.

 

Specifications

Wingspan 130.9 feet/39.9 m
Length 47.6 feet/14.5 m
Height 15.4 feet/4.6 m
Gross Take-Off Weight (GTOW) 32,250 lbs/14,628 kg
Maximum Internal Payload 3,200 lbs/1,452 kg
Maximum External Payload 2,400 lbs/1,089 kg
Self-Deploy 8,200 NM/9,436 miles/15,186 km
Maximum Altitude 56,500 feet/17,220 m
Maximum Velocity, TAS (True Air Speed) 331 knots/381 mph/613 km/h
Maximum Endurance 24 hours

 

Outstanding capabilities

The cooperation between Schiebel, manufacturer of the world’s most capable Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), the CAMCOPTER S-100, and the German company Diehl Defence has been strengthened recently.

The Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) UAS needs no prepared area or supporting launch or recovery equipment
The Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) UAS needs no prepared area or supporting launch or recovery equipment

«Celebrating a milestone like the 10th anniversary of the CAMCOPTER S-100 with more than 300 units sold is a good moment to reflect on where we are today and where we will go in the future. Today we are the world’s leading producer of unmanned helicopters and we plan on further strengthening our position», explains Hans Georg Schiebel, owner of the Vienna-based company.

«The renewal of the teaming agreement is the result of the longstanding cooperation between Diehl Defence and Schiebel. We consider Schiebel a highly competent partner and believe the CAMCOPTER S-100 is the best possible product for all remotely piloted aircraft operations of the German Navy», says Helmut Rauch, member of the Division Board of Diehl Defence.

Schiebel and its partner Diehl Defence represent a strong and complementary team, ideally positioned to meet the demanding requirements of the German customer. Diehl Defence possesses broad know-how in the integration of different defence systems and surveillance equipment into German Navy vessels while Schiebel produces the UAS.

With an impressive track record of supporting maritime customers, the CAMCOPTER S-100 system has meanwhile been successfully proven on over 30 different vessels on all the world’s oceans, demonstrating its outstanding capabilities day and night, in all weather conditions, a proven track record that is unmatched. It is currently deployed with a number of important naval clients in conventional littoral reconnaissance roles; however, the CAMCOPTER S-100 has likewise proven to be hugely successful in the Search and Rescue role. Working with the NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) in the Mediterranean, around 25 000 migrants have been found and rescued since 2014.

In 2008, Schiebel completed extensive flight trials onboard the German Navy’s K130 Class Corvettes Braunschweig and Magdeburg in the Baltic Sea. The S-100 completed more than 130 takeoffs and landings in a total flight time of just 20 hours, achieving results well in excess of expectations and trial requirements. Since then – amongst others – several developments have since taken place to enhance the UAS further. Especially for naval use with the availability of a new heavy fuel engine.

It operates day and night, under adverse weather conditions, with a range out to 200 km, both on land and at sea
It operates day and night, under adverse weather conditions, with a range out to 200 km, both on land and at sea

 

TECHNICAL DATA

Autonomy fully autonomous take-off, waypoint navigation and landing
Navigation redundant INS and GPS
Power plant 50 HP rotary engine
Data/video link fully digital, compressed video (up to four simultaneous feeds)
Typical D/L range 27, 54 or 108 NM/31, 62 or 124 miles/50, 100 or 200 km
Dash speed 120 knots/138 mph/222 km/h
Cruise speed 55 knots/63 mph/102 km/h (for best endurance)
Endurance >6 hours with 75 lbs/34 kg payload plus optional external fuel tank extending endurance to >10 hours
Typical payload 110 lbs/50 kg
Material Take-Off (MTO) weight 440 lbs/200 kg
Empty weight 243 lbs/110 kg
Maximum dimensions Length – 3,110 mm/122.4 inch
Height – 1,120 mm/44 inch
Width – 1,240 mm/48.8 inch
Main rotor diameter 3,400 mm/133.8 inch

 

Japan F-35A

Senior Japanese and U.S. government officials joined Lockheed Martin to celebrate the roll out of the first Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) F-35A Lightning II, marking a major milestone in Japan’s enhanced national defense and strengthening the future of the U.S-Japan security alliance.

Lockheed Martin and Japan Celebrate Roll Out of Japan Air Self Defense Force’s First F-35A Lightning II
Lockheed Martin and Japan Celebrate Roll Out of Japan Air Self Defense Force’s First F-35A Lightning II

The ceremony was attended by more than 400 guests from both governments, militaries and defense industries.

Kenji Wakamiya, Japan’s State Minister of Defense spoke at the event, saying, «With its low observability and network capability, the F-35 is the most advanced air system with cutting-edge capability as a multi-role fighter. As the security environment surrounding Japan has become increasingly severe, because of its excellence, it is very significant for the defense of Japan to commit to acquiring the F-35 year by year. Given that the United States Government has designated Japan as a regional depot in the Asia-Pacific area, introduction of F-35A to Japan is a perfect example, enhancing the Japan-US alliance».

General Yoshiyuki Sugiyama, JASDF Chief of Air Staff, said, «The F-35A has remarkably advanced system. This highly sophisticated 5th generation fighter will bring a great development to air operations as a game changer. In integration with current JASDF assets, it surely promises to enormously contribute to not only the benefit of our national defense and but also regional stability».

Other distinguished guests attending included: Dr. Hideaki Watanabe, commissioner of Japan’s Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency, Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, commander of U.S. Pacific Air Forces, and Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin chairman, president and CEO.

«The men and women of Lockheed Martin are honored to bring the exceptional capability of the F-35A to our partners and friends in Japan», said Hewson. «The security alliance between Japan and the United States has been a cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region for generations, and we are proud to continue that legacy of cooperation with the rollout of the first F-35A to the Japan Ministry of Defense and the Japan Air Self Defense Force today».

Japan’s F-35 program includes 42 F-35A Conventional Take Off and Landing aircraft, acquired through the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales program. The first four aircraft are built in Fort Worth and the remaining 38 aircraft will be built at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Final Assembly & Check-Out facility in Nagoya, Japan, where aircraft assembly is underway. Maintenance training for the first JASDF F-35A technicians is underway at Eglin AFB, Florida, and the first JASDF F-35A pilots are scheduled to begin training at Luke AFB, Arizona, in November.

Three distinct variants of the F-35 will replace the F-16 Fighting Falcon and A/OA-10 Thunderbolt II for the U.S. Air Force, the F/A-18 Hornet for the U.S. Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps, and a wide variety of fighters for at least 11 other countries. Following the U.S. Marine Corps’ July 2015 F-35B Initial Operational Capability (IOC) ‘combat-ready’ declaration, the U.S. Air Force declared F-35A IOC on Aug. 2 and the U.S. Navy intends to attain F-35C IOC in 2018. More than 200 fleet-wide F-35s have flown almost 70,000 flight hours, to date.  Japan’s first F-35A aircraft completed its maiden flight from Fort Worth on Aug. 24, piloted by Lockheed Martin’s F-35 test pilot Paul Hattendorf.

Mr. Kenji Wakamiya, Japan’s State Minister of Defense, address the ceremony audience as Japan’s first F-35A aircraft is revealed at the Lockheed Martin’s production facility in Fort Worth, Texas, September 23. Lockheed Martin photo by Beth Steel
Mr. Kenji Wakamiya, Japan’s State Minister of Defense, address the ceremony audience as Japan’s first F-35A aircraft is revealed at the Lockheed Martin’s production facility in Fort Worth, Texas, September 23. Lockheed Martin photo by Beth Steel

 

Specifications

Length 51.4 feet/15.7 m
Height 14.4 feet/4.38 m
Wingspan 35 feet/10.7 m
Wing area 460 feet2/42.7 m2
Horizontal tail span 22.5 feet/6.86 m
Weight empty 29,300 lbs/13,290 kg
Internal fuel capacity 18,250 lbs/8,278 kg
Weapons payload 18,000 lbs/8,160 kg
Maximum weight 70,000 lbs class/31,751 kg
Standard internal weapons load Two AIM-120C air-to-air missiles
Two 2,000-pound/907 kg GBU-31 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) guided bombs
Propulsion (uninstalled thrust ratings) F135-PW-100
Maximum Power (with afterburner) 43,000 lbs/191,3 kN/19,507 kgf
Military Power (without afterburner) 28,000 lbs/128,1 kN/13,063 kgf
Engine Length 220 in/5.59 m
Engine Inlet Diameter 46 in/1.17 m
Engine Maximum Diameter 51 in/1.30 m
Bypass Ratio 0.57
Overall Pressure Ratio 28
Speed (full internal weapons load) Mach 1.6 (~1,043 knots/1,200 mph/1,931 km/h)
Combat radius (internal fuel) >590 NM/679 miles/1,093 km
Range (internal fuel) >1,200 NM/1,367 miles/2,200 km
Maximum g-rating 9.0

 

Protection and
affordability

Paramount Group, the African-based global defence and aerospace company, unveiled its family of Mbombe Infantry Combat Vehicles (ICVs) at the AAD 2016 expo, taking place at Waterkloof Air Force Base, South Africa.

Paramount Group unveils family of highly advanced Infantry Combat Vehicles at AAD 2016
Paramount Group unveils family of highly advanced Infantry Combat Vehicles at AAD 2016

Showcased together for the first time, the Mbombe vehicle range comprising the Mbombe 4 (or Marauder XT in certain markets), the Mbombe 6 and the Mbombe 8, represent the pinnacle of land system technologies and can be modified to serve as either combat vehicles or armored personnel carriers. The vehicles were developed to meet the increasing demand for multi-role, high mobility and mine hardened platforms, and for the changing demands of the global battlefield. The vehicles are sought after by governments around the world for their sophisticated adaptability, unprecedented protection and affordability.

Unveiled in Africa for the first time, the Mbombe 8 is the newest and ‘big brother’ of the Mbombe family. The major advantage of the Mbombe family is the 80% commonality that exists between the technologies and components used in the three vehicles. This presents significant cost benefits to armed forces due to greater efficiencies and significant savings in maintenance and logistical support.

Ben Jansen, CEO of Paramount Combat Systems said: «The development of Mbombe 8 has enabled Paramount Group to provide potential customers with a complete family of 4×4, 6×6 and 8×8 ICVs which share over 80% of common components to reduce through life costs and make for easier training and logistics. This commonality relates to both the driveline aggregates, as well as the fact that all three vehicles utilise a ‘conventional’ or ‘in-line’ automotive driveline configuration, positioning the powerpack at the front of the vehicle and along its center line. This configuration results in far greater efficiency in terms of the transfer of power from the powerpack to the wheels, as the loss of power associated with a second transfer gearbox necessary for ‘unconventional’ drivelines, such as with side-engined vehicles, is eliminated. This presents a unique opportunity for our global market, affording a prospective end-user of all three vehicles significant savings in the areas of maintenance and logistical support».

Paramount Combat Systems (the newly formed integrated business comprising Paramount Land Systems and Paramount Innovation and Design) has developed and produced a broad range of advanced armored and mine protected vehicles that are in use from South America to Central Asia. Global demand for Paramount Group innovations like the Mbombe has enabled the company to grow significantly in recent years and attract leading global strategic partners. The Mbombe family capitalizes on South Africa’s expertise in asymmetric warfare technologies.

The Mbombe 8 is builds on Paramount’s Mbombe 6 that employs an innovative new form of construction to give unprecedented levels of protection, while keeping profile to a minimum. The 8×8 also draws on the company’s experience of designing the highly effective and battle-tested Marauder and Matador mine-resistant vehicles.

Key features of the Mbombe 8 include:

  • Gross weight of 28 tonnes and kerb weight of 19 tonnes
  • Payload of 9 tonnes which covers weapon system, ammunition, crew and supplies
  • Powered by a 6-cylinder engine turbo charged diesel engine
  • Six speed automatic transmission
  • Max speed of 68 mph/110 km/h
  • Operating range: 497 miles/800 km
  • High levels of ballistic and mine protection: ballistic protection: STANAG 4569 Level 3+ and blast protection: STANAG 4569 Level 4a and 4b
  • Wide range of turrets and weapon stations can be integrated
  • The cooling systems and driveline have been tested and proven in winter conditions of -55 Celsius and desert conditions of +55 Celsius
  • Large internal volume due to position of powerpack

The Founder and Executive Chairman of Paramount Group, Ivor Ichikowitz said: «This is a momentous occasion not only for Paramount Group, but also for South Africa, which pioneered landmine protected technologies. In six years we have designed, developed and manufactured three high speed, long-range and low profile armored combat vehicles, the Mbombe 4, 6 and 8. Without exception, we’ve earned an international reputation for pushing the boundaries and creating armored vehicles that are groundbreaking in their design, protection levels and mobility. Paramount Group’s success is ultimately the success of African innovation. South Africa has been leading the world in armored vehicle and land mine protected technologies for decades and we’re proud to take this heritage into the future».

Mine Hunting Sonar

Northrop Grumman Corporation has delivered the first of three lots of mine hunting sonar upgrade kits to the U.S. Navy’s Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division. The ultimate end users will be the HM-12, -14 and -15 Mine Countermeasures Squadrons.

Northrop Grumman has delivered the first of three lots of mine hunting sonar upgrade kits to the U.S. Navy’s Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division
Northrop Grumman has delivered the first of three lots of mine hunting sonar upgrade kits to the U.S. Navy’s Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division

The production contracts from the U.S. Navy’s PMS-495 (Mine Warfare) are for upgrading 27 AQS-24A mine hunting systems into the more advanced AQS-24B system. The kits contain all the components necessary to upgrade the existing 27 AQS-24A mine hunting systems into the more advanced AQS-24B sonar system. Work is being done in three production lots. The first production lot has now completed delivery. Production lot two will deliver in the fall and production lot three in spring, 2017.

The upgrades eliminate diminishing material issues while increasing performance dramatically by adding the world’s first high speed synthetic aperture sonar, which increases sonar resolution by a factor of three while maintaining 18 knots/20.7 mph/33.3 km/h speed performance.

«The successful delivery of the initial eight production AQS-24B kits allows for the first operational employment of High Speed Synthetic Aperture Sonar technology by the U.S. Navy», said Alan Lytle, vice president, undersea systems, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems.

The Synthetic Aperture Sonar (SAS) enables the device to scan the ocean floor at three times the resolution of the earlier system while operating at a speed of 18 knots/20.7 mph/33.3 km/h, nearly twice as much as any other operational towed mine hunting device in the world. The AQS-24B will be operated from MH-53E Super Stallion helicopters and the Mine Hunting Unmanned Surface Vessels (MHU) currently deployed in the Arabian Gulf.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in autonomous systems, cyber, Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR), strike, and logistics and modernization to customers worldwide.

The AQS-24B will be operated from MH-53E Super Stallion helicopters and the Mine Hunting Unmanned Surface Vessels (MHU) currently deployed in the Arabian Gulf
The AQS-24B will be operated from MH-53E Super Stallion helicopters and the Mine Hunting Unmanned Surface Vessels (MHU) currently deployed in the Arabian Gulf

 

AN/AQS-24 detects, classifies and localizes bottom and volume mines

 

Tomorrow’s minehunting capability available today

Gowind now a reality

On 17 September, DCNS floated the first Gowind 2500 corvette out of its assembly hall at the Lorient shipyard just 12 months after construction began. The Elfateh 971, the first of a series of four Gowind 2500s for the Egyptian Navy, is scheduled for delivery in 2017. The three sister ships will be built under a technology transfer agreement at the Alexandria Shipyard; work on the first having begun in 2016.

Elfateh, the first of four Gowind corvettes on order for the Egyptian Navy, is floated out at the Lorient, Brittany shipyard of DCNS. This is the first vessel of this new design to be built (DCNS photo)
Elfateh, the first of four Gowind corvettes on order for the Egyptian Navy, is floated out at the Lorient, Brittany shipyard of DCNS. This is the first vessel of this new design to be built (DCNS photo)

DCNS developed the Gowind family for navies seeking to acquire compact new-generation warships that are rugged, reliable and well-armed. Gowind corvettes and OPVs (Offshore Patrol Vessels) combine force projection capabilities with powerful sensor and combat systems controlled by a Setis combat management system originally developed for the FREMM frigate programme. All Gowind vessels are true surface combatants designed to Bureau Véritas’s Naval Patrol Vessel Rules. Other features include a high level of built-in equipment redundancy and a compartment architecture ensuring hull stability in the event of flooding.

With ten units sold in 2013 and 2014, the Gowind 2500, the largest of the family, has already proven a winner. The first order was placed by Malaysia; the second by Egypt. The six ships for the Malaysian Navy are being built by Boustead Naval Shipyard with DCNS technical assistance. The first of type was laid down in 2016 and is scheduled to be floated out in 2018.

In addition to its general naval capabilities, the Gowind 2500 can be outfitted to the client navy’s requirements regarding both the propulsion configuration and the combat system, including mission-specific suites for anti-submarine warfare. The ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) version’s sensors include a hull-mounted sonar and a Captas 2 towed variable-depth sonar ensuring high-performance submarine detection. The flight deck and hangar can accommodate a 10t-class helicopter such as the NH90 or Seahawk, which in turn can deploy a dipping sonar and lightweight torpedoes. With the added benefit of DCNS’s proven expertise in platform optimisation for improved sonar efficiency, the Gowind 2500 is a formidable submarine hunter.

Gowind 2500 corvettes are typically equipped with 8 × Exocet MM40 anti-ship missiles and 16 × VL Mica anti-air missiles, both by MBDA. The electronic warfare suite can include Thales’s Vigile and Altesse R-ESM (Radar Electronic Support Measures) and C-ESM (Communications Electronic Support Measures)/ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) solutions and an NGDS (Net-Centric Geospatial Intelligence Discovery Services) or Sylena decoy system. Airspace surveillance is provided by an NS 100 or Sea Giraffe 3D radar.

The Gowind 2500 is the first to feature the DCNS-designed panoramic sensors and intelligence module. In a single block that is assembled separately, the PSIM combines the integrated mast, complete with the radar under its radome and all the other sensors, plus the ops rooms and the associated equipment compartments.

The hangar and flight deck are sized for a 10 t-class helo; a 5 t-class helo (e.g. Panther) and an unmanned aerial system; or up to three UASs. For commando operations, the Gowind 2500 offers side bays for a pair of 21.3 feet/6.5 m RHIBs.

Gowind 2500 (DCNS)
Gowind 2500 (DCNS)

 

Ship characteristics

Length 102 m/334.6 feet
Beam 16 m/52.5 feet
Draft 5.4 m/17.7 feet
Displacement 2,600 t
Propulsion Combined diesel and electric: 10,000 kW
Speed 25+ knots/29+ mph/46 km/h
Range 3,700 NM/6,852 km at 15 knots/17 mph/28 km/h
Crew (+ Pax) 65 (+15)
The Panoramic sensors and intelligence module (Mer et Marine/DCNS)
The Panoramic sensors and intelligence module (Mer et Marine/DCNS)

 

  1. 3D Radar;
  2. Electronic Support Measures (ESM) suite;
  3. Hull mounted sonar;
  4. Variable depth sonar;
  5. Fire control system;
  6. Vertical launching system (16 cells);
  7. Main gun 76-mm;
  8. 8 Surface-to-surface missiles;
  9. Short range gun system;
  10. Torpedo launching system;
  11. Decoy launching system;
  12. Helicopter (10 t) and Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) facilities;
  13. Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs).

 

Vigilant tiltrotor

Speaking before an audience of aviation and military experts assembled at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, unveiled the Bell V-247 Vigilant tiltrotor on September 22.

The modular payload system is designed to accommodate a variety of packages. The V-247 Vigilant can be armed with air-to-ground missiles and other precision munitions. An Elector Optical System and Targeting System provide superior target identification and designation
The modular payload system is designed to accommodate a variety of packages. The V-247 Vigilant can be armed with air-to-ground missiles and other precision munitions. An Elector Optical System and Targeting System provide superior target identification and designation

The Bell V-247 tiltrotor is an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) that will combine the vertical lift capability of a helicopter with the speed and range of a conventional fixed-wing aircraft. The revolutionary UAS is designed to provide unmatched long-endurance persistent expeditionary and surveillance capability and lethal reach, as well as runway independence to operate successfully in maritime environments and locations without secure runway availability.

The Bell V-247 Vigilant satisfies the comprehensive spectrum of capabilities outlined in the 2016 Marine Corps Aviation Plan, and could be available for production as early as 2023. The Bell V-247 Vigilant is a solution designed to address the evolving demands of the military and transportation sectors for unmanned aircraft for a shipborne UAS platform, including:

  • The ability to operate successfully without a runway, such as in maritime environments;
  • Seamless performance in locations without secure runway availability, such as at shrinking land bases in contested areas;
  • Significant reduction of the logistical footprint while retaining the superior operational performance by combining the vertical lift capability of a helicopter with the speed and range of a conventional fixed-wing aircraft;
  • The capacity to control the battle space effectively with 24-hour intelligence provided by unmatched long-endurance persistent expeditionary and surveillance capability.
The V-247 Vigilant tiltrotor can perform day or night as a picket, providing an extended line for sea or land-based assets and giving advanced warning to commanders, and can likewise be armed due to the platform’s air-to-air missile capability. Modular radar and sensor payloads extend the eyes of the Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), providing advanced warning of incoming threats
The V-247 Vigilant tiltrotor can perform day or night as a picket, providing an extended line for sea or land-based assets and giving advanced warning to commanders, and can likewise be armed due to the platform’s air-to-air missile capability. Modular radar and sensor payloads extend the eyes of the Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), providing advanced warning of incoming threats

A Group 5 UAS, the Bell V-247 Vigilant is designed to combine unparalleled capability with unprecedented flexibility to execute a wide array of mission sets, including electronic warfare, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), escort, Command, Control, Communications, and Computers (C4), persistent fire missions and tactical distribution. The UAS is expected to accomplish all of this with the benefits of extended endurance through plug-and-play mission packages.

«The Bell V-247 Vigilant is the next leap in innovation making the future of aviation a reality today – it’s a testament to the power and versatility of tiltrotor flight», said Mitch Snyder, president and CEO at Bell Helicopter. «At Bell Helicopter, we are constantly challenging the traditional notion of what it means to fly by staying on the leading edge of aviation and technological development. The unmanned tiltrotor is the latest example of how we are changing the way the world flies, taking our customers into the dynamic world of next-generation aircraft».

The Bell V-247 Vigilant’s design boasts a number of unrivaled capabilities and transformational features, including:

  • A sea-based platform, which can be sized for compatibility with DDG guided missile destroyers shipboard applications;
  • Single engine tiltrotor unmanned aerial system;
  • 24-hour persistent ISR with a two aircraft system;
  • Speed: 250 knots/288 mph/463 km/h cruise speed; 180 knots/207 mph/333 km/h endurance speed; >300 knots/345 mph/555 km/h at maximum continuous power;
  • Combat range: 450 nautical miles/518 miles/833 km mission radius;
  • Time on station: 11 hours;
  • Size: 16,000 pounds/7,257 kg empty weight/29,500 pounds/13,381 kg max gross weight; 65-feet/19.8 m wing span; 30-feet/9.1 m rotor diameter;
  • As it sits on the deck, the V-247 Vigilant can hold a combination of fuel, armament, and sensors, up to 13,000 pounds/5,897 kg;
  • Blade Fold Wing Stow makes V-247 Vigilant DDG hangar compatible;
  • Expeditionary capability with small logistical footprint;
  • Open architecture and interfaces;
  • Air-to-air refueling;
  • Modular payload system to provide maximum flexibility;
  • Power distribution system to provide maximum mission capability;
  • Redundant flight control system;
  • Electro Optical System and Targeting System.
The Bell V-247 Vigilant can accompany any asset into contested territory, providing protection, early warning, or interdiction. Autonomous flight capability provides added flexibility to the escorted crew chief, allowing for the re-tasking of ISR sensors
The Bell V-247 Vigilant can accompany any asset into contested territory, providing protection, early warning, or interdiction. Autonomous flight capability provides added flexibility to the escorted crew chief, allowing for the re-tasking of ISR sensors

The Bell V-247 Vigilant offers a dynamic profile that is uniquely suited to complete highly versatile operations and support missions. It is designed to provide extended range flying from land or ship, matchless expeditionary capabilities and to remain on-station with heightened loiter times for extended periods. With its signature blade fold wing stow design, it will fit inside a DDG hangar space, and two can be loaded on a C-17 aircraft. The open architecture of the modular payload system enhances flexibility for aircraft customization by mission type. The bays on the Bell V-247 Vigilant are designed to carry high definition sensors, fuel, sonar buoys, light detection and ranging (LiDAR) modules, 360-degree surface radar modules, an MK-50 torpedo or Hellfire or Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) missiles optimally. Regardless of the need, the Bell V-247 Vigilant easily integrates into priority mission sets to complete multiple airborne requirements.

«Leveraging lessons learned from our extensive history and experience with tiltrotors, we have found the best available solution to fulfill the Marine Corps need for a Group 5 UAS», said Vince Tobin, vice president, advanced tiltrotor systems at Bell Helicopter. «The Bell V-247 Vigilant will give military customers the capabilities needed to reduce the complexity of deployment, increase speed of employment, reduce mission times and increase response time – all critical elements to completing missions to save lives and protect our freedom».

Bell Helicopter utilized its decades of applied tiltrotor experience to develop this next generation UAS. The Bell V-247 Vigilant design and capabilities bring to bear experience from the V-22 tiltrotor program and UH-1Y/AH-1Z programs, capturing the V-280 Valor’s unmatched design and performance standards in order to provide unparalleled competency to support ship-board compatibility.

The extended loiter time of the V-247 Vigilant enables revisit rates necessary to satisfy ISR/ Electronic Warfare (EW) needs. The significant internal payload capacity in excess of 2,000 lbs/907 kg provides flexibility to operators to quickly trade out different mission packages
The extended loiter time of the V-247 Vigilant enables revisit rates necessary to satisfy ISR/ Electronic Warfare (EW) needs. The significant internal payload capacity in excess of 2,000 lbs/907 kg provides flexibility to operators to quickly trade out different mission packages

 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

SPEED
Long Range Cruise 240 knots/276 mph/444.5 km/h
Cruise at Maximum Continuous Power >300 knots/345 mph/555 km/h
Best Endurance 178 knots/205 mph/330 km/h
PAYLOAD
Internal Mission 2,000 lbs/907 kg
Sling Load 9,000 lbs/4,082 kg
PERFORMANCE
>11 hours Time On Stations with 600 lbs/272 kg of Mission Payload at 450 NM/518 miles/833 km Mission Radius
Up to 1400 NM/1,611 miles/2,593 km Mission Radius or 17 hours Time On Station
Service ceiling 25,000 feet/7,620 m
OPERATIONAL VIABILITY
Superior range and speed to provide escort capability for the V-22 or V-280
24 hour Persistent ISR with a Two Aircraft System
Open Architecture Modular Payload System
DDG Shipboard Compatible
Retractable tricycle landing gear
Footprint equivalent to UH-1Y when folded
Aerial Refuel Capable
The Bell V-247 Vigilant unmanned system will combine unparalleled capability with unprecedented flexibility to execute a wide array of missions, including ISR, escort, or persistent fire missions – all with the benefits of extended endurance with modular mission packages
The Bell V-247 Vigilant unmanned system will combine unparalleled capability with unprecedented flexibility to execute a wide array of missions, including ISR, escort, or persistent fire missions – all with the benefits of extended endurance with modular mission packages

DCNS floated Bretagne

On 16 September 2016, DCNS floated the FREMM multi-mission frigate Bretagne in Lorient, France. The achievement of this industrial milestone marks an important step in the construction of the vessel. It once again underlines the dynamism of DCNS and its capacity to deliver six FREMM frigates to the French Navy before mid-2019, in accordance with the Military Programming Law 2014-2019.

DCNS floats a new FREMM Frigate
DCNS floats a new FREMM Frigate

DCNS has now floated the FREMM Bretagne on its Lorient site, the seventh frigate in the programme and fifth in the series ordered by OCCAR (L’Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en Matière d’Armement) on behalf of the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) for the French Navy.

This floating, six months after the delivery of the FREMM Languedoc on 16 March 2016, demonstrates DCNS’s capacity to carry out efficient series production, ensuring that it can deliver six frigates to the French Navy before mid-2019.

The FREMM programme is advancing rapidly. Five FREMM frigates were already delivered between 2012 and 2015: three for the French Navy and two for international clients, the Royal Moroccan Navy and the Egyptian Navy.

Three FREMM frigates and one Gowind corvette are currently under construction and at different completion stages at the DCNS site of Lorient:

  • FREMM Auvergne, which will start sea trials at the end of September 2016.
  • FREMM Bretagne, floated today.
  • FREMM Normandie, for which assembling is about to start.
  • The first Gowind corvette, floated on 17 September 2016.

For DCNS, the completion of the FREMM programme will represent the construction of ten frigates, eight of them for the French Navy. In addition to the six frigates to be delivered by 2019, there will be two further frigates with strengthened anti-air capacities which will be delivered before end 2022.

 

Characteristics

Total length 466 feet/142 m
Width 65.6 feet/20 m
Displacement 6,000 tonnes
Maximum speed 27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h
Operation 108 persons (including helicopter detachment)
Accommodation capacity 145 men and women
Cruising range at 15 knots/17 mph/28 km/h 6,000 nautical miles/6,905 miles/11,112 km

 

The Raider

The Air Force’s long-range strike bomber has officially been named the B-21 Raider. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James announced the results of the Air Force Global Strike Command led naming contest alongside selected members during her remarks at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference here September 19, 2016.

Air Force Names the B-21 Bomber the Raider
Air Force Names the B-21 Bomber the Raider

«Today I want to recognize three Airmen who answered the call to be a part of a new Air Force legacy and name our new bomber», James said. «The first two … submitted proposals that captured the essence of the bomber force and they are the winners of our contest».

The third Airmen James recognized, calling him one of the greatest men of his generation, was Doolittle Raider retired Lieutenant Colonel Richard E. Cole. The Doolittle Raiders are known for their surprise attack against Japan during World War II on April 18, 1942, which forced the Japanese to recall combat forces for home defense, and boosted morale among Americans and U.S. allies abroad.

The name was ultimately selected by James and Air Force Chief of Staff General Dave Goldfein after a panel composed of staff from Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) and Headquarters Air Force determined the top-ranked selections from more than 2,100 unique naming submissions.

While there were multiple entries advocating for the B-21 to be dubbed Raider, Air Force officials said the members were selected based on the overall quality of their justification.

James has often highlighted the important role the B-21 Raider will play in allowing the Air Force to operate in tomorrow’s high end threat environment, and in providing the Air Force the flexibility and capability to launch from the continental United States and deliver air strikes on any location in the world. She has also cautioned of the delays the program could face under a continuing resolution.

«A short-term (continuing resolution) is manageable … but, let me tell you, a long-term continuing resolution would be very damaging for the Air Force», James said. «It would cap the production of the KC-46, prevent us from devoting more funds to developing the B-21 next year, and delay about 50 construction projects».

The service’s ability to divest old capabilities and build new is paramount, and modernization remains a priority for the Air Force as it continues to play a major role defending against current and emerging threats.

«We have the oldest aircraft fleet we have ever had, 27 years old on average», James said. «This absolutely needs to be a focus for us».

The B-21 Raider, designed based on a set of requirements that allow the use of existing and mature technology, is currently in the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase and the Air Force plans to field the initial capability of the aircraft in mid-2020s.

B-21 naming contest selected members:

  • Lieutenant Colonel Jaime I. Hernandez, 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron commander, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas;
  • Technical Sergeant Derek D. White, emergency management craftsman, 175th Civil Engineering Squadron, Maryland Air National Guard.

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James announced today the B-21 bomber will be called the B-21 Raider. The name represents the historically important role the new long-range stealth bomber will lead for the next 50 years

Lockheed launched
Wichita

The Lockheed Martin-led industry team launched the 13th Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) into the Menominee River at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard on September 17. Ship sponsor, Kate Lehrer, christened LCS-13, the future USS Wichita, in U.S. Navy tradition by breaking a champagne bottle across the ship’s bow just prior to the launch.

The 13th Littoral Combat Ship, the future USS Wichita, launches sideways into the Menominee River in Marinette, Wisconsin on September 17. Once commissioned, LCS-13 will be the third ship to carry the name of Wichita, Kansas
The 13th Littoral Combat Ship, the future USS Wichita, launches sideways into the Menominee River in Marinette, Wisconsin on September 17. Once commissioned, LCS-13 will be the third ship to carry the name of Wichita, Kansas

«It is an honor and privilege to serve as the sponsor of the future USS Wichita and to be a part of this major milestone in the ship’s journey towards joining the great U.S. Navy fleet», Lehrer said. «I look forward and to an ongoing relationship with Wichita’s future crews and their families throughout the ship’s service».

USS Wichita (LCS-13) will undergo additional outfitting and testing at Fincantieri Marinette Marine before the ship’s anticipated delivery next year.

«The christening and launch of LCS-13 marks an important step in her journey towards joining the fleet», said Joe North, vice president of Littoral Ships and Systems. «The Freedom-variant LCS plays a critical role in the U.S. Navy’s maritime security strategy, and we are committed to getting LCS-13 and her highly capable sister ships into combatant commanders’ hands as quickly as possible».

The Lockheed Martin-led industry team is currently in full-rate production of the Freedom-variant, with six ships under construction at Fincantieri Marinette Marine and three more in long-lead material procurement. The ship’s design and open architecture allows the U.S. Navy to rapidly acquire and deploy a fleet of highly flexible and capable ships at a fraction of the cost of other platforms.

«Fincantieri Marinette Marine is proud to christen and launch another Freedom-variant warship that will enable our Navy to carry out its missions where and when needed», said Jan Allman, Fincantieri Marinette Marine president and CEO. «We continue to optimize our production processes and leverage the craftsmanship and skills of our employees to produce these high quality vessels for our sailors».

USS Wichita (LCS-13) will be the third U.S. Navy ship named USS Wichita. Previous ships to bear the name included a World War II heavy cruiser (CA-45) and a Wichita-class Replenishment Oiler (AOR-1).

The Lockheed Martin-led LCS team is comprised of shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine, naval architect Gibbs & Cox, and more than 500 suppliers in 37 states. The Freedom-variant’s steel monohull is based on a proven, survivable design recognized for its stability and reliability. With 40 percent reconfigurable shipboard space, the hull is ideally suited to accommodate additional lethality and survivability upgrades associated with the Freedom-variant Frigate.

Ship sponsor Kate Lehrer breaks a bottle of champagne across the bow during the christening ceremony for the nation’s 13th Littoral Combat Ship, the future USS Wichita, at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard on September 17
Ship sponsor Kate Lehrer breaks a bottle of champagne across the bow during the christening ceremony for the nation’s 13th Littoral Combat Ship, the future USS Wichita, at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard on September 17

 

Ship Design Specifications

Hull Advanced semiplaning steel monohull
Length Overall 389 feet/118.6 m
Beam Overall 57 feet/17.5 m
Draft 13.5 feet/4.1 m
Full Load Displacement Approximately 3,200 metric tons
Top Speed Greater than 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
Range at top speed 1,000 NM/1,151 miles/1,852 km
Range at cruise speed 4,000 NM/4,603 miles/7,408 km
Watercraft Launch and Recovery Up to Sea State 4
Aircraft Launch and Recovery Up to Sea State 5
Propulsion Combined diesel and gas turbine with steerable water jet propulsion
Power 85 MW/113,600 horsepower
Hangar Space Two MH-60 Romeo Helicopters
One MH-60 Romeo Helicopter and three Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (VTUAVs)
Core Crew Less than 50
Accommodations for 75 sailors provide higher sailor quality of life than current fleet
Integrated Bridge System Fully digital nautical charts are interfaced to ship sensors to support safe ship operation
Core Self-Defense Suite Includes 3D air search radar
Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) gunfire control system
Rolling-Airframe Missile Launching System
57-mm Main Gun
Mine, Torpedo Detection
Decoy Launching System

 

Freedom-class

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Freedom (LCS-1) 06-02-2005 09-23-2006 11-08-2008 San Diego, California
USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) 07-11-2009 12-07-2010 09-22-2012 San Diego, California
USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) 10-27-2011 12-18-2013 11-21-2015 San Diego, California
USS Detroit (LCS-7) 08-11-2012 10-18-2014 San Diego, California
USS Little Rock (LCS-9) 06-27-2013 07-18-2015
USS Sioux City (LCS-11) 02-19-2014 01-30-2016
USS Wichita (LCS-13) 02-09-2015 09-17-2016
USS Billings (LCS-15) 11-02-2015
USS Indianapolis (LCS-17) 07-18-2016
USS St. Louis (LCS-19)
USS Minneapolis/St. Paul (LCS-21)
USS Cooperstown (LCS-23)
LCS-25

 

Future USS Wichita (LCS-13) Launches Sideways Into River