Lockheed Martin recently demonstrated their laser weapon system for the U.S. Air Force (USAF) at a government test range at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where the system successfully engaged and shot down multiple fixed wing and rotary drones.
The Advanced Test High Energy Asset (ATHENA) operated in a fully-netted engagement environment with a government Command and Control (C2) system and radar sensor. The radar track was provided to airmen who operated ATHENA via cues from the C2, then ATHENA’s beam director slewed, acquired, tracked and defeated the drone with a high-energy laser.
Validating this type of full kill-chain performance has been a priority of the U.S. Air Force and other branches of the Department of Defense, and it remains a requirement for laser weapons to be effective against Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) on the battlefield.
«We’ve watched in recent news this type of laser weapon solution is essential for deterring unmanned vehicle type threats, so it’s an exciting time for us to watch airmen compete Lockheed Martin’s critical technology. ATHENA has evolved to ensure integration and agility are key and it remains an affordable capability for the warfighter», said Sarah Reeves, vice president of Missile Defense Programs for Lockheed Martin.
The ATHENA system was developed by Lockheed Martin to integrate seamlessly and provide a cost-effective, complementary anti-drone capability with the network of systems the warfighter is already using. ATHENA was operated by USAF personnel during this demonstration, and it was able to destroy multiple drones in engagements representative of what is being encountered by U.S. armed forces today.
The ATHENA high-energy laser system is transportable and therefore enables the Air Force to emplace it anywhere they need to defend bases and high-value assets.
In an historic milestone for the DDG 51 program, the keel of the first Flight III destroyer, the future USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125), was ceremoniously laid and authenticated at Huntington Ingalls Shipyard, November 7.
Ruby Lucas and Catherine B. Reynolds, ship sponsors, authenticated the keel by etching their initials into the keel plate. Although the official start of fabrication began in May 2018, authenticating the ship’s keel symbolically recognizes the joining of modular components and represents the ceremonial beginning of the ship.
«This destroyer was named after an American hero, Medal of Honor recipient Jack Lucas, and I am humbled and honored to be here today as we authenticate the keel on his namesake ship», said Capt. Seth Miller, DDG 51 class program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. «The Flight III ships will bring increased lethality and warfighting capacity to our warfighters, and today’s milestone is the first of many to come as we work to deliver this highly capable ship to the Fleet», he added.
USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125) will be the first Arleigh Burke class destroyer built in the Flight III configuration with improved capability and capacity to perform Anti-Air Warfare and Ballistic Missile Defense in support of the Integrated Air and Missile Defense mission.
The Flight III design contains modifications from the earlier DDG-51 class, to enable the SPY-6 radar, in association with Aegis Baseline 10, which includes larger electronically scanned arrays and the power generation and cooling equipment required to operate the powerful new radar.
These multi-mission surface combatants serve as integral assets in global maritime security, engaging in air, undersea, surface, strike and ballistic missile defense, as well as providing increased capabilities in anti-submarine warfare, command and control, and anti-surface warfare.
HII’s Pascagoula shipyard is also currently in production on the guided missile destroyers USS Delbert D. Black (DDG-119), USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG-121), and USS Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG-123), amphibious assault ships USS Tripoli (LHA-7) and USS Bougainville (LHA-8), and amphibious transport dock ships USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28) and USS Richard M. McCool Jr. (LPD-29).
As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, boats and craft.
The U.S. Navy christened its newest Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF), the future USNS Newport (T-EPF-12), during a 10 a.m. CST ceremony Saturday, November 9, at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.
The principal speaker was Rear Admiral Shoshana Chatfield, President of the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. Mrs. Charlotte Marshall, a Newport native, served as the ship’s sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she christened the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.
«This ship honors the city of Newport, Rhode Island, and serves as a reminder of the contributions the community has and continues to make to our Navy», said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. «Newport is a Navy town where many officers begin their careers and then return later for strategic training. It is right that a fourth ship will bear the name Newport to continue our long relationship, and provide our commanders high-speed sealift mobility and agility in the fight to defend our nation».
The first Newport (Gunboat No. 12) was commissioned October 5, 1897. During the Spanish-American War, she received credit for assisting in the capture of nine Spanish vessels. The ship was decommissioned in 1898, but recommissioned in 1900 to serve as a training ship at the Naval Academy and at the Naval Training Station at Newport, Rhode Island, until decommissioning in Boston in 1902.
The second Newport (PF-27) was commissioned September 8, 1944 and decommissioned in September 1945 and loaned to the U.S.S.R. under Lend-Lease and returned to United States custody at Yokosuka, Japan, in November 1949. Recommissioned in July 1950, Newport patrolled off Inchon, Korea, screening during the landings. Decommissioned at Yokosuka in April 1952, she was loaned to Japan in 1953, and commissioned as Kaede (PF-13). She was then reclassified PF-293 and transferred to the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force outright in August 1962.
The third Newport (LST-1179) was commissioned on June 7, 1969. Assigned to the Amphibious Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Newport alternated amphibious training operations along the east coast of the United States with extended deployments to the Caribbean and Mediterranean. She was decommissioned in October 1992, and transferred to the government of Mexico in 2001.
EPF class ships are designed to transport 600 short tons of military cargo 1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km at an average speed of 35 knots/40 mph/65 km/h. The ship is capable of operating in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, and on/off-loading a combat-loaded Abrams main battle tank (M1A2).
The EPF includes a flight deck for helicopter operations and an off-load ramp that will allow vehicles to quickly drive off the ship. EPF’s shallow draft (less than 15 feet/4.57 m) further enhances littoral operations and port access. This makes the EPF an extremely flexible asset for support of a wide range of operations including maneuver and sustainment, relief operations in small or damaged ports, flexible logistics support, or as the key enabler for rapid transport.
Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy
103 m/337.9 feet
28.5 m/93.5 feet
Hull draft (maximum)
3.83 m/12.57 feet
Area (with tie-downs)
1,863 m2/20,053 feet2
4.75 m/15.6 feet
26.2 m/86.0 feet
ISO TEU (Twenty Equivalent Units) Stations
6 Interface Panels
Galley and Messing
4 × MTU 20V8000 M71L Diesel Engines 4 × 9.1 MW
4 × ZF 60000NR2H Reduction Gears
4 × Wartsila WLD 1400 SR
35 knots/40 mph/65 km/h @ 90% MCR with 635 mt (700 st) payload
43 knots/50 mph/80 km/h without payload
Maximum Transit Range
1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km
5,600 NM/6,444 miles/10,371 km
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
Active Ride Control
Foils: 3.24 m2/34.9 feet2 each, forward on inboard sides of demi-hulls
Saab carried out the first flight tests with its new advanced Electronic Attack Jammer Pod (EAJP) with successful results on 4 November 2019. The pod’s interfaces with the aircraft’s hardware and software as well as cockpit control and monitoring were tested during the flight.
The purpose of Saab’s new EAJP pod is to protect aircraft against radars by sophisticated jamming functions, thereby blocking the opponent’s ability to attack them. The first flight marks an important step of the pod’s development programme.
Saab is sharpening its electronic attack capabilities and the new advanced pod is an important element of this development. The EAJP is a strong complement to the built-in electronic attack capabilities of the highly advanced on-board electronic warfare system on Saab’s new Gripen E/F fighter. It can also be used on other aircraft types. The pod forms part of Saab’s Arexis family of electronic warfare systems.
«We performed the flight tests with a Gripen fighter and this new pod is an important part of the development of our new electronic attack capability», says Anders Carp, Senior Vice President and Head of Saab’s business area Surveillance.
Electronic warfare systems are also used for self-protection by passively detecting hostile radar systems and missiles, protecting the aircraft or platform by using active and passive countermeasures. Offensive electronic warfare, also known as electronic attack, involves actively sending jamming signals to disrupt the sensors in the enemy’s air defence systems so they do no longer constitute a threat.
According to Naval News, Japan’s shipbuilder Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) launched the 12th and final Sōryū-class diesel-electric attack submarine (SSK) for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). JS Tōryū (SS-512) is the second submarine of the class to feature Li-Ion batteries.
The launching ceremony was held today at the KHI shipyard in Chuo-ku, Kobe. About 380 people from Japan’s Ministry of Defense and KHI participated in the ceremony. As per tradition, Admiral Hiroshi Yamamura, Chief of Staff of the JMSDF, cut the rope which started the launch process and send the new submarine in the water for the first time.
JS Tōryū (SS-512) is the 12th and final Sōryū-class submarine produced for the JMSDF (the 6th built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, the other 6 having been built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries). Tōryū means Fighting Dragon. The name of Toryu is derived from the famous scenic dragon fighting in Kato City, Hyogo Prefecture, where the torrent of the Kako River flows between strangely shaped rocks.
JS Tōryū (SS-512)’s keel was laid in January 2017, and the submarine is set to be delivered to the JMSDF around March 2021.
The keel for the first submarine in the class, JS Sōryū (SS-501), was laid down in March 2005. It was launched in December 2007 and commissioned in March 2009. The latest Sōryū-class SSK joint the fleet is JS Shōryū (SS-510) which was commissioned on March 18, 2019.
Twelve Sōryū-class submarines are currently planned for the JMSDF. The design features improved underwater endurance thanks to lithium-ion batteries from the eleventh submarine in the class. Previous submarines use Lead-acid batteries. Designed by GS Yuasa, the high-performance Li-Ion batteries are said to store about double the power. The last two submarines of the class, fitted with the new battery technology, will probably serve as test-bed for the next generation of Japanese SSK.
The Sōryū-class is an improved version of the Oyashio-class submarine. Sōryū-class submarines are the world’s largest conventionally powered submarines. All submarines of the class are named after dragons: Sōryū means Blue Dragon, Hakuryū (2nd in the class) White Dragon, Sekiryū (8th in the class) Red Dragon, Shōryū (10th in the class) means Soaring Dragon, Tōryū (12th in the class) means Fighting Dragon.
84 m/275.6 feet
9.1 m/29.9 feet
10.3 m/33.8 feet
8.4 m/27.6 feet
Kawasaki 12V 25/25SB type diesel engine 2 groups
Kawasaki Kokkamusu V4-275R Stirling engine four
Number of propellers
20 knots/23 mph/37 km/h
Kawasaki Launched The 12th & Final Sōryū-Class JS Tōryū (SS-512) – 2nd Li-Ion Submarine For JMSDF
The 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team (2ABCT), 1st Infantry Division, is the first unit to receive the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle – Binocular (ENVG-B) and the Family of Weapon Sights – Individual (FWS-I). The «Dagger» Brigade received and fielded the new equipment September 23-26.
The ENVG-B and FWS-I systems are the most advanced night vision equipment in the Army.
The ENVG-B and FWS-I allow Soldiers to see through fog, dust, and smoke, in both day and night environments. The devices increase the warfighters lethality, mobility, and situational awareness through innovative and state of the art capabilities.
«The ENVG-B will truly be the greatest goggle that we’ve ever fielded», said Brigadier General Anthony W. Potts, Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier. «The thermal channel has a day-night capability and we’ve added in things like augmented reality».
2nd ABCT Soldiers spent two-days in a classroom learning the basics of the equipment, followed by hands-on training at firing ranges. «Dagger» brigade will train on the new equipment over the next several months.
«Dagger» Brigade Soldiers are the first to benefit from the collaborative efforts of Army Futures Command (AFC), PEO Soldier, Soldier Lethality-Cross Functional Team (SL-CFT), and Soldier Touchpoints. Soldiers noticed the improvements from previous generations of night vision devices.
The ENVG-B and FWS-I were designed for Soldiers by Soldiers. PEO-Soldier and SL-CFT used Soldier feedback early on in the development at events called Soldier Touchpoints. Overall, there were 11 Soldier and Marine Touchpoints. The user level input ensured the current needs of the warfighter made it to the final product.
«The last one I used is a PVS-14 Portable Visual Search and it’s a massive improvement over that one», said Private First Class Dustin Roy, Infantryman, 1st Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment, 2ABCT, «I can’t even express how much better it is».
«Soldier Touchpoints along the way during a design, build, and test phase give that quick feedback to the Program Executive Officer», said Command Sergeant Major Michael A. Crosby, Army Futures Command. «What you are witnessing here today is a demonstration of rapid prototyping to meet the Army’s organizational priorities».
The ENVG-B and FWS-I give «Dagger» brigade Soldiers improved night vision capabilities, increased situational awareness, and rapid target acquisition in zero light conditions.
«We’re increasing their survivability and lethality», said Sergeant Major of the Army Michael A. Grinston. «I’m really proud that I can be a part of this».
The U.S. Army has selected General Dynamics Land Systems to produce the Small Multipurpose Equipment Transport, or S-MET, to lighten Soldiers’ loads by providing Infantry Brigade Combat Teams a robotic «mule» capability.
The contract is valued at $162.4 million to produce 624 S-METs. Delivery to Soldiers begins in the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2021.
With the S-MET (pronounced «Ess-Met») program, a phased, quicker acquisition plan allowed the Army to make informed program decisions based on direct Soldier feedback on commercially available technology – fielding equipment faster than typical processes allow.
S-MET’s basic operational capabilities include:
Unmanned/optionally manned system;
Carries 1,000 lbs./453.6 kg, reducing Soldier weight burden by 100-plus pounds each when in support of a rifle squad;
Operates 60-plus miles/96.5-plus km in 72 hours;
Generates 3 kilowatts of power (stationary) and 1 kilowatt (moving) keeping equipment and batteries charged on the move.
The Army issued a directed requirement in April 2017 for a rapid materiel acquisition aimed at unburdening infantry brigade combat teams with a robotic capability. To fast-track the acquisition process, the Army’s Program Executive Office for Combat Support & Combat Service Support, awarded S-MET Phase I Other Transaction Authority (OTA) agreements (vs. traditional Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR)-based contracting methods) in June 2017 for eight platforms.
The S-MET program marks one of the Army’s first Middle Tier Acquisitions (MTA) for Rapid Fielding. This acquisition approach foregoes the traditional Department of Defense 5000.02 acquisition process, streamlining the delivery and fielding of capabilities within a period of five years. Use of the MTA approach was granted by Congress in the Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act Section 804.
«The S-MET program has focused on meeting the Army’s emphasis on enhancing Soldier lethality and rapidly fielding modernized capabilities. Our product management team for Applique and Large Unmanned Ground Systems undertook a great challenge to develop a strategy using experimentation and technical demonstrations to streamline the S-MET acquisition process», said Timothy G. Goddette, the Army’s program executive officer for Combat Support and Combat Service Support.
«Using an innovative contracting approach through an Other Transaction Authority, a flexible, collaborative tool designed to speed acquisition and modernization, the S-MET team awarded this capability within two and a half years. Using normal acquisition processes, it could have taken as much as five years», he explained.
The initial candidate platforms participated in the S-MET Phase I Assessment held in September 2017 at Fort Benning, Georgia. The evaluation enabled the Army to learn about each of the candidate platforms’ capabilities and obtain operational feedback based on Soldiers’ interactions with the candidate S-MET systems. Based on the results in November 2017, the Army narrowed to four contractors to evaluate their respective platforms during a 12-month (later reduced to seven-month) S-MET Phase II Technology Demonstration.
Phase II called for each of the four selected contractors to produce 20 platforms. Four of the produced S-METs supported safety testing, Commercial-Off-the-Shelf operator manual verification, Instructor and Key Personnel Training, and Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) development. Upon completion of safety testing, the Product Management Office for Applique and Large Unmanned Systems issued eight of each respective prototype S-METs to IBCTs within the 10th Mountain and the 101st Airborne Divisions in the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2019 for the seven-month Phase II Technology Demonstration. Results from the Technology Demonstration informed program decisions and further solidified S-MET TTPs.
Dismounted Infantry carry water, extra ammunition, and other equipment and gear imposing physical burden. When fielded, S-MET will unburden Soldiers and enable IBCTs to travel greater distances and carry more. Soldier experimentation, touch points, and evaluation has been key in obtaining direct warfighter feedback.
«Thanks to tremendous teamwork across the acquisition, requirements, operational, and resource communities, this is a great modernization success story», said Don Sando, director for the Maneuver Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate, Fort Benning. «Key to this success was involving Soldiers early in the process to get their input and feedback during experiments and assessments. Direct Soldier feedback drove the requirements for the S-MET, and certainly helped determine what systems would work best for IBCTs to fill a capability gap», Sando added.
This enhanced, modernized capability will unburden Soldiers of some of their physical load, thereby also improving Soldiers’ physical and cognitive capabilities. Future capability will feature modular mission payloads tailoring the S-MET to specific mission needs, such as dismounted engineer mobility systems; remote weapon stations; casualty evacuation; and unmanned aerial systems and reconnaissance.
«Getting a modernized capability into the hands of IBCT Soldiers has been the team’s driving focus throughout this program», said Lieutenant Colonel Jon Bodenhamer, the Army’s product manager for Applique and Large Unmanned Ground Systems within the Program Executive Office for Combat Support & Combat Service Support. «Soldiers are why we do what we do, and I’m incredibly proud of the hard-working team that brought us to this point».
BAE Systems has received a $120 million contract from the U.S. Marine Corps for additional Amphibious Combat Vehicles under a third order for Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP).
This award is an important next step on the path to full rate production. This latest contract is for the ACV Personnel carrier variant (ACV-P), an eight-wheeled amphibious assault vehicle capable of transporting Marines from open-ocean ship to shore and conducting land operations. Each vehicle embarks 13 Marines in addition to a crew of three.
«This award further validates the Marine Corps’ confidence in the vehicle’s proven capability in meeting their amphibious mission, and represents an important step toward fielding the vehicle in the Fleet Marine Force. The ACV is a highly mobile, survivable and adaptable platform designed for growth to meet future mission role requirements while bringing enhanced combat power to the battlefield», said John Swift, director of amphibious programs at BAE Systems.
Current low-rate production is focused on the ACV-P variant. More variants will be added under full rate production to include the command and control (ACV-C), 30mm medium caliber turret (ACV-30) and recovery variants (ACV-R) under the ACV Family of Vehicles program. BAE Systems previously received the Lot 1 and Lot 2 awards.
The Marine Corps selected BAE Systems along with teammate Iveco Defence Vehicles for the ACV program in 2018 to replace its legacy fleet of Assault Amphibious Vehicles, which have been in service for decades and were also built by BAE Systems.
ACV production and support is taking place at BAE Systems locations in Stafford, Virginia; San Jose, California; Sterling Heights, Michigan; Aiken, South Carolina; and York, Pennsylvania.
The future USS Kansas City (LCS-22) successfully concluded acceptance trials in the Gulf of Mexico after a series of in-port and underway demonstrations, the U.S. Navy announced October 31.
«This level of performance is among the best I’ve seen for this class. We continue to see improvements in cost, initial quality and schedule, ship after ship», said Captain Mike Taylor, Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program manager.
Acceptance trials are the last significant milestone before the ship’s planned delivery to the Navy in early December. During trials, the Navy conducted comprehensive tests of LCS 22’s systems, which spanned multiple functional areas essential to a ship being able to perform at sea – main propulsion, auxiliaries and electrical systems. The ship also performed demonstrations of its capability, including a full-power demonstration, steering and quick reversal, anchor drop test and combat system detect-to-engage sequence.
Following delivery and commissioning, Kansas City will be homeported in San Diego with sister ships USS Independence (LCS-2), USS Coronado (LCS-4), USS Jackson (LCS-6), USS Montgomery (LCS-8), USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10), USS Omaha (LCS-12), USS Manchester (LCS-14), USS Tulsa (LCS-16), USS Charleston (LCS-18) and USS Cincinnati (LCS-20).
Four additional Independence-variant ships are under construction at Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama. Final assembly is well underway on the future USS Oakland (LCS-24). All modules for the future USS Mobile (LCS-26) have been erected, and the modules for the future USS Savannah (LCS 28) are under construction. Additionally, Austal is fabricating modules for the future USS Canberra (LCS-30) and is preparing for construction of the future USS Santa Barbara (LCS-32), USS Augusta (LCS-34), USS Kingsville (LCS-36) and USS Pierre (LCS-38).
LCS is a highly maneuverable, lethal and adaptable ship designed to support focused mine countermeasures, anti-submarine and surface warfare missions. The Independence-variant LCS integrates new technology and capability to affordably support current and future mission capability, from deep water to the littorals.
LCS is now the second-largest surface ship class in production. Five LCSs delivered in 2018. The U.S. Navy plans to deliver another three ships in 2019.
The Independence Variant of the LCS Class
Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy
421 feet/128.3 m
103 feet/31.4 m
Hull draft (maximum)
14.8 feet/4.5 m
PAYLOAD AND CAPACITIES
Core Crew – 40
Mission crew – 36
76 in a mix of single, double & quad berthing compartments
Maximum mission load
Mission Bay Volume
118,403 feet3/11,000 m3
Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
Surface Warfare (SUW)
Mine Warfare (MIW)
2 × GE LM2500
2 × MTU 20V 8000
4 × Wartsila steerable
40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
3,500 NM/4,028 miles/6,482 km
Survival in Sea State 8
>21,527.8 feet2/2,000 m2
Launch and recovery
Twin boom extending crane
Internal elevator to hanger
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)
The first submarine-hunting Poseidon MRA1 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) has been delivered to the Royal Air Force (RAF).
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is investing £3 billion in nine state-of-the-art jets which will enhance the UK’s tracking of hostile maritime targets, protect the British continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent and play a central role in NATO missions across the North Atlantic.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: «The arrival of the world-class Poseidon aircraft marks a step-change in the UK’s maritime patrol capability. Using the world’s most advanced sensors and operating for long periods, these aircraft will transform the quality of intelligence available to our armed forces and protect our vital nuclear deterrent».
Following an unveiling ceremony in Seattle, the aircraft was flown to Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville in Florida where RAF personnel are being trained to operate the aircraft.
On arrival Michelle Sanders, Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) Delivery Team Leader, signed the paperwork to formally transfer the aircraft, named Pride of Moray, to UK ownership.
Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, Chief of the Air Staff, said: «Poseidon is a game-changing maritime patrol aircraft, able to detect, track and if necessary destroy the most advanced submarines in the world today. With Poseidon MRA1, I am delighted and very proud that the Royal Air Force will once again have a maritime patrol force working alongside the Royal Navy, securing our seas to protect our nation».
First Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin, said: «Poseidon marks a superb upgrade in the UK’s ability to conduct anti-submarine operations. This will give the UK the ability to conduct long range patrols and integrate seamlessly with our NATO allies to provide a world-leading capability. This will maintain operational freedom for our own submarines, and apply pressure to those of our potential foes. I look forward to working with the RAF and our international partners on this superb capability».
The Poseidon MRA1 is designed to carry out extended surveillance missions at both high and low altitudes. The aircraft is equipped with cutting-edge sensors which use high-resolution area mapping to find both surface and sub-surface threats.
The aircraft can carry up to 129 sonobuoys, small detection devices which are dropped from the aircraft into the sea to search for enemy submarines. The systems survey the battlespace under the surface of the sea and relay acoustic information via radio transmitter back to the aircraft.
The aircraft will also be armed with Harpoon anti-surface ship missiles and Mk-54 torpedoes capable of attacking both surface and sub-surface targets.
Michelle Sanders, DE&S Delivery Team Leader, said: «Seeing the first Poseidon MRA1 handed over to the Royal Air Force is an incredibly proud moment for all of the team at DE&S. Close, collaborative working with colleagues in Air Capability, the US Navy and industry has helped us deliver this very capable aircraft».
As leading members of NATO, the UK has signed agreements with both the US and Norwegian militaries to cooperate closely on operating their Poseidon fleets across the North Atlantic.
In August this year, Defence Minister Anne Marie-Trevelyan hosted Norwegian State Secretary Tone Skogen at RAF Lossiemouth to deepen the two country’s partnership on the Poseidon programme.
To maintain the skills required to deliver this vital capability, the RAF has embedded aircrew within MPA squadrons in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA.
The first aircraft will arrive in Scotland in early 2020, with the fleet to be based at RAF Lossiemouth in Moray. All nine aircraft will be delivered by November 2021.
The aircraft will be flown initially by 120 Squadron which was originally stood up on 1 January 1918 and was the leading anti-submarine warfare squadron in WWII. 201 Squadron will also join the programme in due course.
The Poseidon MRA1 programme is bringing significant economic benefits to the communities near RAF Lossiemouth. A total of £460 million is being invested in the station to prepare for the arrival of the new aircraft, including the construction of a £132 million strategic facility for the fleet to be completed next year.
The programme will also bring around 700 additional personnel to Moray, taking the total number of employees there to approximately 2,500.
123.6 feet/37.64 m
42.1 feet/12.83 m
129.5 feet/39.47 m
2 × CFM56-7B engines
27,000 lbs./12,237 kgf/120 kN thrust
490 knots/564 mph/908 km/h
1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km with 4 hours on station