BARAK MX is IAI’s flagship Air & Missile Defense System and is a part of the Naval Combat Suite IAI is integrating on the Israeli Navy’s Sa’ar 6 premier defense warship. Chosen by the Israeli Navy to be Sa’ar 6 primary defense system. The system will provide a layer of defensive and offensive capabilities from air and sea.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is integrating offensive and defensive systems, to enhance the ‘Sa’ar 6′ corvette’s capabilities and usher the Israeli Navy into a new technological era, under the guidance of Israel’s Ministry of Defense (IMoD) and the IDF.
IAI’s BARAK MX interceptors along with IAI’s complete naval combat suite will provide advanced defense systems to the Israel Navy’s Sa’ar 6 corvettes. The systems will be used to protect Israel’s exclusive economic zone and strategic facilities that face diversified threats in the marine arena. The BARAK MX system was chosen after it was demonstrated to meet the operational requirements and future challenges faced by the Israeli Navy.
IAI’s naval solutions are battle-proven naval systems and technology, IAI sets new standards for Maritime Domain Awareness, Naval Combat Systems, Network Centric Operation, EEZ Protection, and Coastal Security. From sensors and weapon systems to integrated systems-of-systems, IAI offers a broad portfolio of solutions to the requirements and challenges of today’s naval forces. These combat systems are designed to maximize and optimize the individual systems’ performance and capabilities in a manner that will enable them to operate synergistically with efficiency and full effectiveness.
The BARAK MX Air & Missile Defense System developed by IAI’s is one of the world’s advanced operational air defense systems, used by IDF naval forces and the Indian Land, Navy and Air Force. The BARAK MX Air & Missile Defense System provides both wide-area and targeted defense capabilities to an array of threats, including: land, air and sea. The system aggregates several key cutting-edge systems: digital radar, weapon control system, launchers, and a range of interceptors for different ranges with advanced homing devices, data-link communication and system wide connectivity. Developed by IAI, the BARAK family includes various range interceptors: 35 km/21.75 miles, 70 km/43.5 miles, and 150 km/93.2 miles, and combines the capability to intercept various air defense threats from naval and land platforms.
Boaz Levy, President and CEO of IAI, said: «The combat and air defense systems installed on the Sa’ar corvettes represents the significant tier now being integrated on the rest of Israel’s air defense array, an integral aspect of IAI’s system wide naval solutions. With land and naval modules, the system provides a complete response to a wide range of threats and is developed to work with other systems. IAI’s air defense systems boast successful, combat proven operational experience and we are proud to be the home of the Israeli Navy’s systems».
Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, has successfully completed its 100th consecutive on-time delivery of the AH-1Z Viper aircraft to the U.S. Marine Corps, which began nearly four years ago. Bell accomplished this milestone through tight coordination with its manufacturing and assembly facilities, UAW 218, numerous suppliers, and government partners. The H-1 series consists of the AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom, which provide light attack and utility helicopter support to the Marines while maintaining a small logistical footprint through the 85% commonality between the airframes.
«Performance like this takes a lot of work, communication, and trust to ensure alignment between numerous partners, all working toward the same objective. I could not be more proud of our Bell employees», said Mike Deslatte, Bell H-1 vice president and program director. «Our front line workers, engineers, and supply chain professionals all help support the Marines. Their work designing, manufacturing, and assembling critical components while ensuring quality parts reach the production line on time help the Marines ensure our nation’s security».
Bell and its Team Viper/Venom partners collaborate with the U.S. Marine Corps H-1 Light/Attack Helicopter program (PMA-276) to provide integrated solutions and increase combat lethality and readiness. In addition to delivering production aircraft on time, Bell directly supports scheduled maintenance. The company is also working on new capability upgrades to equip the Marines with the most advanced technology available.
«This is a feat only possible through the determination of our production team and the program’s strong relationship with our industry partners and suppliers», said Colonel Vasilios Pappas, PMA-276 program manager.
Bell is currently working toward the U.S. Marine Corps program of record (POR) and anticipates production of Marine Corps H-1 through 2022. The U.S. Marine Corps H-1 production contract is for 349 aircraft, consisting of 160 UH-1Y Venom and 189 AH-1Z Viper. Bell will continue manufacturing aircraft for foreign military customers including contracts for Bahrain AH-1Zs and a mixed Czech Republic fleet of both AH-1Zs and UH-1Ys.
BAE Systems is showcasing its latest CV90 with the new D-series turret at Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) on September 14-17.
This is the first time the upgraded digital turret has been unveiled and represents a leap forward in design and functionality.
Recently selected by the Royal Netherlands Army as part of an extensive $500 million mid-life upgrade program for the CV9035NL, the new turret configuration is also included in the CV90 Mk-IV offer for the Czech Republic.
Developed by BAE Systems Hägglunds in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, the turret on display at DSEI is a 50-mm gun. The main weapon position is changed to provide even better vehicle balance and enable new ways to introduce a variety of weaponry for increased lethality. It also offers significant ergonomic improvements to benefit the vehicle’s crew. The enhanced turret design is built on years of combat-proven experience, continuous vehicle improvements, and data analysis from the CV90 User Club – the seven nations currently operating CV90 fleets.
«We are extremely proud to display the new D-series turret at DSEI to demonstrate the latest technology on the combat-proven CV90 platform», said Tommy Gustafsson-Rask, managing director of BAE Systems Hägglunds. «The new turret configuration provides CV90 crews with improved protection and increased combat efficiency. It represents our continued commitment to delivering the most modern, advanced Infantry Fighting Vehicle that meets our customers’ requirements now and in the future».
The CV90 is also equipped with Elbit Systems’ Iron Fist Active Protection System solution and an integrated, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems’ SPIKE-LR long-range anti-tank guided missile. Other significant improvements include the latest generation of sensors, Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality software to increase the CV90s multi-domain capabilities on the battlefield.
BAE Systems’ DSEI exhibit also features the armoured, articulated, all-terrain BvS10, operated today by Austria, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The platform builds on BAE Systems’ legacy Bv206 vehicles, of which more than 10,000 have been sold to over 40 countries.
The BvS10 can traverse rock, mountain, snow, swamp, and operate in Arctic environments. Its amphibious capability allows it to seamlessly transition to swimming. The vehicle’s flexible and modular design accommodates changing mission requirements, including advanced battle management. Earlier this year, the Swedish Army ordered an additional 127 new BvS10s to add to its existing fleet for command and control as well as logistics vehicles.
Lockheed Martin introduces the LMXT as America’s next strategic tanker – built in America by Americans for Americans. Offered in response to the U.S. Air Force’s KC-Y Program, the LMXT represents the newest chapter in Lockheed Martin’s 60+ year history of producing and delivering tanker and cargo aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy and multiple operators around the world.
The LMXT complements the U.S. Air Force’s tanker capabilities by providing the most advanced aerial refueler to meet America’s immediate and long-term mission requirements. The LMXT strengthens and expands the U.S. aerospace industrial base by working with existing and new American suppliers. The LMXT also cultivates and sustains high-tech, high-skill American manufacturing jobs.
«Lockheed Martin has a long and successful track record of producing aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, and we understand the critical role tankers play in ensuring America’s total mission success», said Greg Ulmer, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. «The LMXT combines proven performance and operator-specific capabilities to meet the Air Force’s refueling requirements in support of America’s National Defense Strategy».
The LMXT offers a proven airframe with distinct U.S. Air Force-only capabilities designed to meet operator requirements, with advantages that include:
Significantly improved range and fuel offload capacity;
A proven fly-by-wire boom currently certified and used by allies to refuel U.S. Air Force receiver aircraft in operations around the world;
The world’s first fully automatic boom/air-to-air refueling (A3R) system;
Operational and combat proven advanced camera and vision system;
Open system architecture JADC2 systems;
A multi-domain operations node that connects the LMXT to the larger battlespace, increasing onboard situational awareness to provide resilient communications and datalink for assets across the force.
The Lockheed Martin strategic tanker builds on the combat-proven design of the Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT). As the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin works directly to implement U.S. Air Force-specific requirements within the LMXT. As the strategic tanker of choice for 13 nations, the MRTT has logged more than 250,000 flight hours refueling U.S. and allied fighter, transport and maritime patrol aircraft in combat theater environments.
Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States have agreed to the creation of an enhanced trilateral security partnership – AUKUS.
The security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region have grown significantly. Military modernisation is occurring at an unprecedented rate and capabilities are rapidly advancing and their reach expanding. The technological edge enjoyed by Australia and our partners is narrowing.
AUKUS will build on the three nations’ longstanding and ongoing bilateral ties, and will enable the partners to significantly deepen cooperation on a range of emerging security and defence capabilities, which will enhance joint capability and interoperability. Initial efforts under AUKUS will focus on cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and additional undersea capabilities.
This is an historic opportunity for the three nations, with like-minded allies and partners, to protect shared values and promote security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.
AUKUS will complement Australia’s network of strategic partnerships, including with our ASEAN friends, our Pacific family, our Five Eyes partners, the Quad and other like-minded partners.
First initiative under AUKUS
The first initiative under AUKUS is for Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarine technology, leveraging decades of experience from the US and UK.
Under AUKUS, the three nations will focus immediately on identifying the optimal pathway to deliver at least eight nuclear-powered submarines for Australia.
Over the next 18 months, Australia, the UK and US will intensely examine the full suite of requirements that underpin nuclear stewardship and demonstrate a clear pathway to becoming a responsible and reliable steward of this sensitive technology. Australia will establish a Nuclear-Powered Submarine Taskforce in the Department of Defence to lead this work.
Nuclear-powered submarines do not have the same limitations that face conventional submarines on weapons storage, speed and endurance. They can stay completely submerged for many months, limiting the opportunities for detection by adversaries.
As a three-ocean nation, it is necessary for Australia to have access to the most capable submarine technology available. As a nation, we are ready to take the step to pursue the most advanced submarine technology available to defend Australia and its national interests.
Australia has no plans to acquire nuclear weapons and this proposal will remain consistent with Australia’s longstanding commitment to nuclear non-proliferation. All three nations are deeply committed to upholding leadership on global non-proliferation.
The Government’s intention is to build the nuclear-powered submarines in South Australia, maximising the use of Australian workers.
Building the submarines in Australia is the best way to develop a strong and effective sustainment industry, which will enable us to meet every requirement to safely operate and maintain nuclear-powered submarines.
Attack class submarine program
The pursuit of nuclear-powered submarine technology means that Australia will no longer proceed with the Attack class conventional submarine program with Naval Group.
The Government would like to thank the Attack class submarine workforce, Naval Group, the Government of France and Lockheed Martin Australia for their efforts to date. However, accelerating changes to regional security make conventional submarines unsuited to our operational needs in the decades ahead.
The Government will actively work with industry to ensure the people and skills developed under the existing program are not lost to the Government’s Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise as we establish a new program to support the delivery of nuclear-powered submarines to the Navy.
The existing submarine workforce are prime candidates for the unprecedented work that needs to be performed across the Enterprise over the coming decades, where we will rely on their expertise more than ever.
The Government will partner with our Australian-owned sovereign shipbuilder, ASC, to manage and implement a new Sovereign Shipbuilding Talent Pool.
The Government is committed to finding a role within the Sovereign Shipbuilding Talent Pool for each and every skilled shipbuilding worker impacted by this announcement.
The Sovereign Shipbuilding Talent Pool will re-deploy the existing shipbuilding workforce throughout current and new shipbuilding programs, while building the nuclear-powered submarine skills that will be crucial for the success of the nuclear-powered submarine program.
This decision was not taken lightly. Our partnership with the Government of France and Naval Group on the Attack class conventional submarine program would have resulted in the most capable and lethal conventional submarine ever built.
As likeminded liberal democracies, Australia and France share a common commitment to the rules-based global order that has delivered stability and prosperity to the Indo-Pacific.
We look forward to continuing to work closely and positively with our French counterparts. France is a key friend and partner to Australia and the Indo-Pacific.
The Government will also acquire additional long-range strike capabilities for the Australian Defence Force.
Throughout the decade, Australia will rapidly acquire long-range strike capabilities to enhance the ADF’s ability to deliver strike effects across our air, land and maritime domains.
Tomahawk Cruise Missiles, to be fielded on our Hobart class destroyers, enabling our maritime assets to strike land targets at greater distances, with better precision.
Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (Extended Range) will enable our F/A-18 A/B Hornets and in future, our F-35A Lightning II, to hit targets at a range of 559 miles/900 km.
Long-Range Anti-Ship Missiles (Extended Range) (LRASM) for the F/A-18F Super Hornet.
Continuing collaboration with the United States to develop hypersonic missiles for our air capabilities.
Precision strike guided missiles for our land forces, which are capable of destroying, neutralising and supressing diverse targets from over 248.5 miles/400 km.
Accelerating $1 billion for a sovereign guided weapons manufacturing enterprise – which will enable us to create our own weapons on Australian soil.
These capabilities, coupled with the planned Life-of-Type Extension of Australia’s Collins class submarine fleet, will enhance Australia’s ability to deter and respond to potential security challenges.
The management of this transition, and other capability acquisition options that will meet Australia’s strategic requirements, will be at the forefront of consultations through AUKUS over the next 18 months.
The U.S. Navy and Boeing have used the MQ-25TM T1 test asset to refuel a U.S. Navy F-35C Lightning II fighter jet for the first time, once again demonstrating the aircraft’s ability to achieve its primary aerial refueling mission.
This was the third refueling mission for the Boeing-owned test asset in just over three months, advancing the test program for the U.S. Navy’s first operational carrier-based unmanned aircraft. T1 refueled an F/A-18 Super Hornet in June and an E-2D Hawkeye in August.
«Every test flight with another Type/Model/Series aircraft gets us one step closer to rapidly delivering a fully mission-capable MQ-25 Stingray to the fleet», said Captain Chad Reed, the U.S. Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Aviation program manager. «Stingray’s unmatched refueling capability is going to increase the U.S. Navy’s power projection and provide operational flexibility to the Carrier Strike Group commanders».
During a test flight September 13, an F-35C Lightning II test pilot from the U.S. Navy’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Two Three (VX-23) conducted a successful wake survey behind T1 to ensure performance and stability before making contact with T1’s aerial refueling drogue and receiving fuel.
«This flight was yet another physical demonstration of the maturity and stability of the MQ-25 Stingray aircraft design», said Dave Bujold, Boeing’s MQ-25 Stingray program director. «Thanks to this latest mission in our accelerated test program, we are confident the MQ-25 Stingray aircraft we are building right now will meet the U.S. Navy’s primary requirement – delivering fuel safely to the carrier air wing».
The T1 flight test program began in September 2019 with the aircraft’s first flight. In the following two years, the test program completed more than 120 flight hours – gathering data on everything from aircraft performance to propulsion dynamics to structural loads and flutter testing for strength and stability.
MQ-25 Stingray is benefitting from the two years of early flight test data, which has been integrated back into its digital models to strengthen the digital thread connecting aircraft design to production to test to operations and sustainment. Boeing is currently manufacturing the first two MQ-25 Stingray test aircraft.
T1 will be used to conduct a deck handling demonstration aboard a U.S. Navy carrier in the coming months to help advance the carrier integration progress.
As the world’s most capable and flexible ground based multi-function long-range radar, Lockheed Martin’s TPY-4 has received its official U.S. Government nomenclature – AN/TPY-4(V)1 – officially marking the radar’s maturity and its ability to deliver fully-digital technology, and therefore setting a new standard for the future of radars.
«Our team has worked diligently to deliver this advanced radar supporting domestic and international air surveillance requirements», said Chandra Marshall, vice president and general manager at Lockheed Martin. «This designation represents our commitment to furthering our radar capabilities to specifically overmatch emerging, complex, and advanced threats».
Lockheed Martin’s specialized team has spent more than 10 years and more than $100 million in research & development funds for the TPY-4 radar, including the construction, operation, and testing of prototype radar systems. TPY-4 offers multi-mission capabilities, such as early warning, situational awareness, tactical ballistic missile surveillance and air defense. It also integrates the latest mature commercial technologies to create a revolutionary radar architecture.
Recent Testing Achievements
The first TPY-4 is well ahead of any competition and already in production to be unveiled later this year. The radar’s production sub-assemblies are passing environmental and performance tests, attributed to the foundation built and validated under Lockheed Martin’s investment and the commonality with the U.S. Army’s Sentinel A4 radar. The radar’s test results continue to surpass model predictions, as validated by open air testing, furthering the qualification of this advanced radar.
The TPY-4 Radar: A Fully Digital Solution for Today’s and Tomorrow’s Threats
TPY-4 is an internationally available, transportable, multi-mission radar that can operate in contested RF environments and provide the warfighter an ability to detect and track threats better than any previous radar available today. It accomplishes this with a fully digital, software-defined sensor architecture, allowing users to maintain ongoing surveillance throughout the mission.
That’s because the TPY-4 radar users are not locked by the system’s hardware. Users have the ability to transmit and receive digitally, allowing for more enhanced target identification and classification. Earlier radars may have some level of digitization, but Lockheed Martin’s software-defined TPY-4 radar is digital at every element and across the entire architecture. Users don’t have to account for downtime for time-consuming actions, like hardware upgrades or manual data transfers.
«Our digital transmitter and receiver architecture provides flexibility to adjust performance for evolving missions, threats, and environments», said Rick Herodes, Lockheed Martin’s Radar and Sensor System’s Ground Based Air Surveillance program director. «TPY-4 provides unprecedented flexibility through software updates without invasive or time-consuming architectural redesigns, therefore making it the most effective risk management solution for national defense».
Lockheed Martin Radar Family History
TPY-4 was developed to include all the experience that Lockheed Martin’s radar product family offers. The technology investments include Gallium Nitride (GaN), which Lockheed Martin has been delivering worldwide since 2017, providing greater efficiency and improved reliability as compared to legacy systems.
Lockheed Martin’s long range and medium range surveillance radars have set the industry standard for ground-based air surveillance for decades. With more than 60 years of experience developing and delivering ground-based radar solutions to its customers around the world, Lockheed Martin has a long history of high-performing, high-reliability radar systems.
The future of the Royal Navy and how it could further embrace autonomous technology, including drones, has been unveiled.
Led by a design challenge for young engineers from UK Naval Engineering Science and Technology (UKNEST), the Royal Navy will develop a Future Autonomous Fleet programme that could shape how it operates over the next 50 years.
Stemming from the design challenge, the future vision envisages drones based in the stratosphere to be launched at a moment’s notice; uncrewed fast attack crafts housing smaller autonomous boats; aircraft carriers propelled by both sea-based biofuels and wind power; and an underwater flagship at the centre of the fleet. Other conceptual ideas include the increased use of artificial intelligence to assist with low-level planning and underwater transport units carrying anything from munitions to food.
Although in the conceptual phase, the Royal Navy is on track to implement one of these futuristic visions into reality over the coming decade – The Persistent Operational Deployment Systems (PODS).
PODS are interchangeable modules that can be fitted to the surface fleet. Similar in design to a shipping container, the PODS create the idea of a ‘plug and play’ warship and will enable Royal Navy ships of all sizes to be more adaptable and versatile when deployed.
Delivered using innovative technology such as heavy-lift drones or autonomous boats, a ship will be able to receive the equipment it needs to be re-tasked quicker without the need to go into a port to collect it.
Large in size, the PODS will house assets vital to supporting Royal Navy operations. These may include an autonomous boat for surveillance and reconnaissance, quadcopter drones to deliver supplies, humanitarian aid and disaster relief stores or medical equipment. Versatile in their approach, they have the capacity to become an additional medical room for service personnel at sea or a control centre for Royal Marines’ operations.
Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Nick Hine said: «In a future scenario if we find ourselves unable to compete traditionally in terms of mass, we must think differently if we are to regain operational advantage. The young engineers who worked on this project are thinking radically and with real imagination and reflects how the Royal Navy is thinking too».
Outlined in the recent Defence Command Paper, the Royal Navy is focussed on investing in a more innovative and automated fleet. Enhanced by the £24 billion increase in spending across four years as announced by the Prime Minister last November, the Royal Navy will improve the sustainability, lethality and availability of its vessels.
UKNEST young engineer, Fiona McIntosh said: «The collaborative nature of the project, coupled with us being unconstrained in the ideas and technologies we discussed, really helped us base our concept on technologies we thought would be key to innovation over the coming decades. The sessions were really interesting and it was great to see all of the concept designs in a presentation to senior Royal Navy Officers at the end. It was encouraging to see that the designs had some similar features and the groups had envisioned similar technologies being utilised by the future fleet. Hopefully we’ll see some of our ideas incorporated into future platforms».
Supported by the future conceptual ideas, the Royal Navy continues to be at the forefront of maritime technology as it adapts to meet future threats and maintain competitive advantage.
On September 01, 2021, Electric Boat (EB) held a keel laying ceremony for the 28th ship of the Virginia class, the submarine USS Utah (SSN-801), at Quonset Point. EB senior staff, including President Kevin Graney and Vice President for QP Operations Sean Davies, joined U.S. Navy leadership, EB employees, and members of the USS Utah (SSN-801) commissioning committee to mark this important construction milestone.
Utah will be the second U.S. Navy vessel named after the «Beehive State», the first being a Florida-class battleship (BB-31) commissioned in 1911. BB-31 served during the Mexican Revolution, World War I, and provided a covering force for Allied convoys near Britain in 1918.
The battleship met its fate during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 where it was moored as an anti-aircraft gunnery training ship. «The six torpedoes used on Utah could have potentially destroyed a third or fourth battleship, further crippling U.S. naval power in the Pacific and changing the course of the war», said Graney. «Today the hull of Utah remains at Pearl Harbor as a memorial to the 58 officers and crew who lost their lives that day. May the spirit of those brave souls guide the future crew of the second USS Utah, whose keel-laying today celebrates the ceremonial birth of the ship. In the days of wooden ships, the start of construction was marked by the laying of the first timber – the backbone of the vessel». Graney explained how this tradition has been modified to reflect current manufacturing methods and the cylindrical shape of modern submarines, also noting that the bottom centerline of these ships is referred to as the keel.
Ship Sponsor, Ms. Kate Mabus, delivered her remarks and expressed her dedication to the future crew of the USS Utah (SSN-801). «This Utah will be a fitting tribute to those who served on the original USS Utah. I recognize the responsibility I have as sponsor to be a part of this submarine’s life. I am immensely excited to meet the sailors that will serve on the Utah, and the Captain who will command her. As a plank owner and honorary member of the first crew, I will be connected with the Utah for the decades she serves in the fleet. As we lay the keel today, I also want to celebrate the amazing ship builders here at Electric Boat as well as those at Huntington Ingalls in Newport News, Virginia who are building the other parts».
Steven Tavares, an X-Ray welder in D921 was selected to weld the sponsor’s initials on the keel plate that will permanently be installed in the USS Utah (SSN-801). Tavares joined EB in 2013 as an entry level welder in D915 after working in the concrete/masonry industry for 11 years. He was selected for his high weld acceptance rate, as well as the quality and complexity of the welds he performs.
After verifying her initials on the plate that will be installed in the Utah for the entire service life of the boat, Ms. Mabus concluded the event with the declaration, «I declare this keel to be well and truly laid».
General Dynamics Electric Boat Division and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. – Newport News Shipbuilding
October 3, 2004
One GE PWR S9G* nuclear reactor, two turbines, one shaft; 40,000 hp/30 MW
377 feet/114.8 m
33 feet/10.0584 m
34 feet/10.3632 m
Approximately 7,800 tons/7,925 metric tons submerged
25+ knots/28+ mph/46.3+ km/h
800+ feet/244+ m
132: 15 officers; 117 enlisted
Armament: Tomahawk missiles
Two 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
MK-60 CAPTOR (Encapsulated Torpedo) mines, advanced mobile mines and UUVs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicles)
The CH-53K King Stallion successfully recovered a Navy MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter from Mount Hogue in the White Mountains of California on Sunday, September 5. The two-day operation was the first official fleet mission for the Marine Corps’ new heavy lift capability, which is in the midst of Initial Operational Test and Evaluation with Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron One (VMX-1) at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California.
«VMX-1 received a request for assistance from the Naval Safety Center about an MH-60S Knighthawk that suffered a hard landing near Mount Hogue, California, at an elevation of 12,000’ Mean Sea Level (MSL) in July», said Lieutenant Colonel Luke Frank, CH-53K King Stallion Detachment Officer in Charge for VMX-1.
The MH-60S Knighthawk was sitting on a high altitude ridge in very rugged terrain near the California-Nevada line on July 16 following a hard landing. The helicopter was supporting a search and rescue effort for a lost hiker. All four crewmembers survived without injury and were rescued the following day.
According to Frank, both the MH-60S Knighthawk unit and the Naval Safety Center had exhausted all other resources for recovery, including Army National Guard, Navy and Marine Corps fleet squadrons. «They all lacked the capability to lift the aircraft without an extensive disassembly», he said.
VMX-1’s CH-53K King Stallion detachment quickly examined the environmental conditions and conducted a quick feasibility assessment of support and determined that the CH-53K King Stallion could conduct the lift. The CH-53K King Stallion fulfills the heavy lift mission of the Marine Corps as it greatly expands the fleet’s ability to move equipment and personnel throughout its area of operations.
«After two weeks of exhaustive planning and assembling a team of more than 25 Marines and sailors from VMX-1 and 1st Landing Support Battalion from Camp Pendleton, California we deployed two CH-53Ks to Bishop, California, and got to work», he said.
The CH-53K King Stallion was designed to lift nearly 14 tons (27,000 lbs.) at a mission radius of 110 nautical miles/126.6 miles/203.7 km in high and hot environments; a capability that expands the service’s range in supporting joint and coalition forces against potential adversaries.
The MH-60S Knighthawk weighed approximately 15,200 lbs./6,894.6 kg and was positioned in a tight ravine at nearly 12,000’ MSL and needed to be transported over 23 nautical miles/26.5 miles/42.6 km to the Bishop, California airport.
«After six months of flight operations with the CH-53K King Stallion, the detachment had every confidence in the aircraft’s abilities to conduct the mission safely. Our main concern was the environmental factors ground support personnel would have to endure», said Frank.
«This is exactly what the K is made to do», he said. «Heavy lift is a unique and invaluable mission for the Marine Corps. Horsepower is our weapon system and the CH-53K King Stallion is armed to the teeth. The entire team of Marines at VMX-1, 1st Landing Support Battalion, and Naval Air Station (NAS) Fallon Search and Rescue were extremely motivated to execute this mission and we are all very proud to have completed this one flawlessly. To be the first group of professionals to complete a real-world, heavy lift/high altitude mission in support of a unit who thought all options were off the table is extremely rewarding», said Frank. «This is sure to be the first of what will be many, many successful missions for this aircraft and for heavy lift squadrons».