Lieutenant General Samuel Greaves, Commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) and Air Force Program Executive Officer for Space, has announced the certification of Space Exploration Technologies Corporation’s (SpaceX) Falcon 9 Launch System for national security space missions.
SpaceX is now eligible for award of qualified national security space launch missions as one of two currently certified launch providers. The first upcoming opportunity for SpaceX to compete to provide launch services is projected to be in June when the Air Force releases a Request for Proposal for GPS III launch services.
«This is a very important milestone for the Air Force and the Department of Defense», said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. «SpaceX’s emergence as a viable commercial launch provider provides the opportunity to compete launch services for the first time in almost a decade. Ultimately, leveraging of the commercial space market drives down cost to the American taxpayer and improves our military’s resiliency».
This milestone is the culmination of a significant two-year effort on the part of the Air Force and SpaceX to execute the certification process and reintroduce competition into the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. The Air Force invested more than $60 million and 150 people in the certification effort which encompassed 125 certification criteria, including more than 2,800 discrete tasks, 3 certification flight demonstrations, verifying 160 payload interface requirements, 21 major subsystem reviews and 700 audits in order to establish the technical baseline from which the Air Force will make future flight worthiness determinations for launch.
«The SpaceX and SMC teams have worked hard to achieve certification», said Greaves. «And we’re also maintaining our spaceflight worthiness process supporting the National Security Space missions. Our intent is to promote the viability of multiple EELV-class launch providers as soon as feasible».
Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO and Lead Designer, stated, «This is an important step toward bringing competition to National Security Space launch. We thank the Air Force for its confidence in us and look forward to serving it well».
The certification process provides a path for launch-service providers to demonstrate the capability to design, produce, qualify, and deliver a new launch system and provide the mission assurance support required to deliver national security space satellites to orbit. This gives the Air Force confidence that the national security satellites being delivered to orbit will safely achieve the intended orbits with full mission capability.
The SMC, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the U.S. Air Force’s center for acquiring and developing military space systems. Its portfolio includes GPS, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control networks, space based infrared systems and space situational awareness capabilities.
With its nine first-stage Merlin engines clustered together, Falcon 9 can sustain up to two engine shutdowns during flight and still successfully complete its mission
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), a leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions, announced on May 21, 2015 that the High-Energy Liquid Laser (HELLADS) completed the U.S. Government Acceptance Test Procedure and is now being shipped to the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), New Mexico. At WSMR, the laser will undergo an extensive series of live fire tests against a number of military targets.
The HELLADS Demonstrator Laser Weapon System (DLWS) is designed to demonstrate the efficacy of a tactical laser weapon in Counter-Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar (CRAM), Counter-Air and Counter-Missile applications, as well as a number of special applications. The 150 kW Class HELLADS laser has been developed over a number of years to create a completely new approach to electrically powered lasers with sufficiently low size, weight, and power consumption to enable deployment on a number of tactical platforms.
«HELLADS represents a new generation of tactical weapon systems with the potential to revolutionize sovereign defenses and provide a significant tactical advantage to our war-fighters», said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. «It is remarkable to see high-power laser technology mature into an extremely compact weapons system and be deployed for field tests. It will be even more remarkable to witness the impact that this will have on U.S. Defense capability».
The HELLADS laser was developed through a series of stage/gate phases beginning with a physics demonstration and progressing through a series of laser demonstrators at increasing power levels. At each stage, DARPA required beam quality, laser power, efficiency, size, and weight objectives to be demonstrated. The program also developed the world’s highest brightness laser diodes, compact battery storage, and thermal storage systems, and improved the manufacturing process and size of specialized laser materials and optics.
The HELLADS DLWS holds the world’s record for the highest laser output power of any electrically powered laser. Doctor Michael Perry, vice president of Laser and Electro-Optic Systems for GA-ASI, credits DARPA with a unique capability to foster, nurture, and support such a development. «The HELLADS team of program managers, technical support, and DARPA senior management has worked to address the challenges of developing a completely new technology. Additionally, if it were not for the hard work of our scientists and engineers, we could not have succeeded. This is the most challenging program that I have been associated with», said David Friend, HELLADS Program Manager, GA-ASI. «This program has advanced the state-of-the-art in so many areas».
The pioneering HELLADS DLWS represents the first generation of the technology. Through other U.S. Government programs separate from the DARPA-supported work, GA-ASI has demonstrated, second and third Generation versions of the technology, which significantly increase the efficiency and reduce the size, weight, and power consumption for the system while increasing the beam quality.
The third Generation system is currently being incorporated into a Tactical Laser Weapon Module designed for integration into both manned and unmanned aircraft systems. «Even as we begin development of the fourth Generation system, I am looking forward to seeing HELLADS perform in the live fire tests», said Doctor Perry. «The laser technology is a means to an end. What matters is the new and cost-effective capability that we can bring to our country».
Australia now has the most advanced air battle space management capability in the world, with the Royal Australian Air Force’s Boeing E-7A Wedgetail aircraft achieving Final Operational Capability. The fleet of six Wedgetail aircraft reached the milestone this month with the entire capability, from physical aircraft to logistics, management, sustainment, facilities and training, now fully operational and able to support ongoing operations.
The Wedgetail has already proven to be highly reliable and effective on operations and this achievement will further Australia’s capabilities. The aircraft deployed on Operation Okra in the Middle East region, completing over 100 surveillance sorties with our coalition partners, flying more than 1,200 hours. The Wedgetail also provided coordination and flight safety capability for the air search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the Southern Indian Ocean.
The Wedgetail is tailored to meet the specific Air Force requirements, with six Boeing 737 aircraft modified to accommodate sophisticated mission systems and advanced multi-role radar. The aircraft significantly enhances the effectiveness of Australia’s existing Australian Defence Force and civil surveillance agencies and helps maintain an advanced technological capability.
Deputy Chief of Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal Gavin Davies, AO, CSC said the E-7A Wedgetail provides Australia with the ability to control and survey vast areas of operation, and contribute to Australia’s modern and fully integrated combat force under Plan Jericho.
«The aircraft’s advanced multi-role radar gives the Air Force the ability to survey, command, control and coordinate joint air, sea and land operations in real time», Air Vice-Marshal Davies said. «As we transition into a more technologically advanced force as part of Plan Jericho, the Wedgetail will be able to support future aircraft and surveillance systems».
The home operating base for the E-7A Wedgetail aircraft is Royal Australian Air Force Base Williamtown in New South Wales.
Boeing, Northrop Grumman
Boeing 737-700 Increased Gross Weight (IGW) airframe
Northrop Grumman «MESA» electronically scanned array radar system with 360 degrees/Air and Maritime modes/200+ NM range (230 miles/370 km)/All Weather
Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced on May 26 that the newest Virginia-class submarine, USS John Warner (SSN-785), successfully completed its initial sea trials on Saturday. Sea trials are aggressive operational tests that demonstrate the submarine’s capabilities at sea. John Warner, the first Virginia-class submarine to be named for a person, is being built as part of a teaming arrangement between HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division and General Dynamics Electric Boat.
«Alpha sea trials represent the first underway test of the quality of the craftsmanship that went into the construction of this great vessel and the skill of the crew that operates her», said Jim Hughes, Newport News’ vice president of submarines and fleet support. «Both the ship and the crew performed incredibly well, resulting in extremely successful trials that enable the ship to advance directly into its next set of tests. The USS John Warner is now well on its way to being another successful and early Virginia-class delivery».
All systems, components and compartments were tested during the trials. The new submarine submerged for the first time and operated at high speeds on the surface and underwater. USS John Warner (SSN-785) will undergo several more rounds of sea trials before delivery to the U.S. Navy by Newport News.
«The sea trials were a huge success», said Commander Dan Caldwell, the submarine’s prospective commanding officer. «The ship is in great material condition, and I could not be more proud of the way the crew performed. They have worked tirelessly for the last two years preparing to take this ship to sea, and it showed during sea trials. We look forward to completing the ship’s delivery and joining the operational fleet».
Construction of John Warner began in 2010. The boat is 99 percent complete and on schedule to deliver next month – more than three months ahead of its contracted delivery date.
Nuclear Submarine Lineup
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
SSN-777 North Carolina
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
SSN-778 New Hampshire
SSN-779 New Mexico
SSN-784 North Dakota
SSN-785 John Warner
SSN-790 South Dakota
SSN-795 Hyman G. Rickover
SSN-796 New Jersey
EB – Electric Boat, Groton, Connecticut
NNS – Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a United Technologies Corp. subsidiary, on May 22 announced the successful first flight of the S-97 Raider helicopter, a rigid coaxial rotor prototype designed to demonstrate a game-changing combination of maneuverability, hover ability, range, speed, endurance and survivability. The first flight was conducted at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Center (DFC) where the two-prototype Raider helicopter test program is based.
«Sikorsky has a long tradition of pioneering new aviation technologies including the first practical helicopter. Today’s first flight of the S-97 Raider represents the latest leap forward for Sikorsky, our customers, and the rotorcraft industry», said Sikorsky President Bob Leduc. «The industry has demanded high performance and high value from the products that execute critical missions, and, today, the Raider has given us an exciting look at the future of vertical flight».
During the first test flight, which lasted approximately one hour, S-97 Raider Pilot Bill Fell and Co-Pilot Kevin Bredenbeck took the aircraft through a series of maneuvers designed to test the aircraft’s hover and low-speed capability. With first flight achieved, the Raider now moves into more progressive flight-testing to demonstrate key performance parameters critical to future combat operations including armed reconnaissance, light assault, light attack and special operations. The Raider program is part of the portfolio of Sikorsky Innovations, the technology development organization within Sikorsky Aircraft’s Research & Engineering division.
«It is the Sikorsky Innovations charter to identify the toughest challenges in vertical flight, and to demonstrate solutions to them», said Mark Miller, Vice President of Research & Engineering. «Getting an all-new aircraft into flight, especially one with game-changing capabilities, is a remarkable feat. With this first flight of the S-97 Raider helicopter, Sikorsky Aircraft is proving once again that the tough challenges will always propel us forward».
«This exemplifies the very DNA of Sikorsky Aircraft: to explore, to challenge, to pioneer, and in doing so, to ultimately change what is possible for our customers», Miller said. «It is exciting that the S-97 Raider helicopter leverages a mix of evolutionary rotorcraft technologies that, when combined in this new way, results in revolutionary capability».
Sikorsky launched the S-97 Raider helicopter program in September 2010, with objectives of maturing the Collier-Award winning X2 rotorcraft configuration and demonstrating a helicopter that meets current U.S. Army special operations and armed reconnaissance needs, while maturing technologies for Future Vertical Lift (FVL). The program is 100 percent industry-funded by Sikorsky Aircraft and its 53 industry partners.
Based on the X2 coaxial rotor design, the Raider helicopter is capable of being developed into a unique multi-mission configuration that is able to carry six troops and external weapons. The coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and pusher propeller are expected to provide cruise speeds up to 240 knots/276 mph/444 km/h.
«Based on the capabilities that were demonstrated today, Sikorsky is positioned to develop the S-97 Raider helicopter’s game-changing capabilities to enable helicopter forces to out-perform on the battleground of tomorrow», said Samir Mehta, President of Sikorsky Defense Systems & Services. «With the Raider aircraft’s unmatched combination of speed, maneuverability and acoustic signature, Sikorsky Aircraft is ideally positioned to provide the military with essential mission-specific capabilities. With this flight, we have started the demonstration of solutions to not only near-term capability gaps but also solutions for future vertical lift needs».
The second S-97 Raider helicopter prototype is on track to complete final assembly in 2015. A demonstration tour of the Raider helicopter is planned for 2016.
Low acoustic signature
Exceptional hover capability
High cruise speed
Agility for close air support
Fly-by-wire flight controls
Multi-Mission for Operational Flexibility
Internal aux fuel tank for extended range/increased endurance
Additional ammunition capacity
Six seat cabin
Aerial refueling capable
Maximum gross weight: 11,400 lbs/5,171 kg
HOGE* capability: >6K/95
Endurance (standard fuel): >2.7 h
Range: >373 miles/600 km
Cruise speed: >240 knots/276 mph/444 km/h
C-17 loadout: 4 aircraft
70-mm 2.75″ rockets
12,7-mm .50 cal gun
* HOGE – Hover-Out of Ground Effect. This is the absolute limit of the helicopter’s ability to hover. Factors that contribute to this limit are density altitude, atmospheric temperature, available engine torque, and payload.
The S-97 Raider helicopter successfully achieved its first flight at the Sikorsky Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Florida on May 22. Congratulations to Chief Pilot Bill Fell, Co-pilot Kevin Bredenbeck and the entire Raider team
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket successfully launched the Air Force Space Command 5 (AFSPC-5) satellite for the U.S. Air Force at 11:05 a.m. EDT on May 20, 2015 from Space Launch Complex-41. The rocket carried the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle or OTV, a reliable, reusable, unmanned space test platform for the U.S. Air Force.
«ULA is honored to launch this unique spacecraft for the U.S Air Force. Congratulations to the Air Force and all of our mission partners on today’s successful launch! The seamless integration between the Air Force, Boeing, and the entire mission team culminated in today’s successful launch of the Atlas V AFSPC-5 mission», said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Atlas and Delta Programs.
This Atlas V mission also includes the Aft Bulkhead Carrier (ABC) carrying the National Reconnaissance Office’s (NRO’s) Ultra Lightweight Technology and Research Auxiliary Satellite (ULTRASat). ULTRASat is composed of 10 CubeSats managed by the NRO and NASA. «The ABC contained 8 P-Pods that released 10 CubeSats that were successfully delivered. The CubeSats were developed by the U.S Naval Academy, the Aerospace Corporation, Air Force Research Laboratory, The Planetary Society and California Polytechnic, San Luis Obispo to conduct various on orbit experiments», said Sponnick.
This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V 501 configuration Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV), which includes a 5.4-meter-diameter payload fairing. The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine, and the Centaur upper stage was powered by the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C-1 engine. This was ULA’s sixth launch of the 501 configuration, and ULA’s 54th mission to launch on an Atlas V rocket.
ULA’s next launch is the Atlas V GPS IIF-10 mission for the U. S. Air Force, scheduled for July 15 from Space Launch Complex-41 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
The EELV program was established by the United States Air Force to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense and other government payloads. The commercially developed EELV program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the heritage launch systems.
With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 90 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system.
The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, or OTV, is an experimental test program to demonstrate technologies for a reliable, reusable, unmanned space test platform for the U.S. Air Force. The primary objectives of the X-37B are twofold: reusable spacecraft technologies for America’s future in space and operating experiments, which can be returned to, and examined, on Earth.
The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle is the newest and most advanced re-entry spacecraft. Based on NASA’s X-37 design, the unmanned OTV is designed for vertical launch to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) altitudes where it can perform long duration space technology experimentation and testing. Upon command from the ground, the OTV autonomously re-enters the atmosphere, descends and lands horizontally on a runway. The X-37B is the first vehicle since NASA’s shuttle orbiter with the ability to return experiments to Earth for further inspection and analysis, however the X-37B can stay in space for much longer.
Technologies being tested in the program include advanced guidance, navigation and control, thermal protection systems, avionics, high temperature structures and seals, conformal reusable insulation, lightweight electromechanical flight systems, and autonomous orbital flight, reentry and landing.
The Atlas V vehicle will also launch an Aft Bulkhead Carrier (ABC) containing eight P-Pods will release 10 CubeSats. Following primary spacecraft separation the Centaur will change altitude and inclination in order to release the CubeSat spacecraft, which are sponsored by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The ten CubeSats were developed by the U.S. Naval Academy, the Aerospace Corporation, the Air Force Research Laboratory, California Polytechnic State University, and Planetary Society.
Payload Fairing (PLF)
The AFSPC-5 satellite is encapsulated in a 5-m (14-feet) diameter medium payload fairing. The 5-m PLF is a sandwich composite structure made with a vented aluminum-honeycomb core and graphite-epoxy face sheets. The bisector (two-piece shell) PLF encapsulates both the Centaur and the satellite. The vehicle’s height with the 5-m medium PLF is approximately 63 m/206 feet.
The Centaur second stage is 3 m/10 feet in diameter and 12.65 m/41.5 feet in length. Its propellant tanks are constructed of pressure-stabilized, corrosion resistant stainless steel. Centaur is a cryogenic vehicle, fueled with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. It uses a single RL10C-1 engine producing 101.86 kN/10,387 kg/22,900 lbs of thrust. The cryogenic tanks are insulated with a combination of helium-purged insulation blankets, radiation shields, and Spray-On Foam Insulation (SOFI). The Centaur forward adapter (CFA) provides the structural mountings for the fault-tolerant avionics system and the structural and electrical interfaces with the spacecraft.
The Atlas V booster is 3.8 m/12.5 feet in diameter and 32.46 m/106.5 feet in length. The booster’s tanks are structurally rigid and constructed of isogrid aluminum barrels, spun-formed aluminum domes, and intertank skirts. Atlas booster propulsion is provided by the RD-180 engine system (a single engine with two thrust chambers). The RD-180 burns RP-1 (Rocket Propellant-1 or highly purified kerosene) and liquid oxygen, and delivers 3,826.36 kN/390,180 kg/860,200 lbs of thrust at sea level. The Atlas V booster is controlled by the Centaur avionics system, which provides guidance, flight control, and vehicle sequencing functions during the booster and Centaur phases of flight.
The launch of this mission culminates many months of teamwork between the Air Force Space and Missile System Center (SMC) Launch Systems Directorate (LR), Boeing, ULA and the RCO
A crowd of nearly 6,000 people is gathering at Techport Australia in Adelaide on May 23 to celebrate a major milestone – the launch of the first destroyer built as part of the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) program. The AWD workforce and their families were joined by dignitaries and industry leaders for the launch ceremony, which saw the first destroyer Hobart, lowered into the water until it floats for the first time.
AWD Alliance CEO Rod Equid said today’s event is the culmination of the efforts of thousands of Australians and other members of the AWD enterprise, reaching back more than 10 years. The launch ceremony celebrated the transition of the ship from the hardstand to the water. «As shipbuilders and systems integrators, we are undertaking one of the most complex projects of its type in Australia’s history», Mr. Equid said. «Our teams take enormous pride in the work we are doing, which is why this launch is such a big day and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a tear in the eyes of many of our workers when HMAS Hobart floats for the first time. It is hard to believe that the AWD Shipyard was opened just five years ago following considerable investment by State and Federal Government and ASC. Australia now has a highly skilled and professional naval shipbuilding capability».
Hobart’s launch is a big step forward in the delivery of three next-generation warships to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Over the coming months, progress will be accelerated as the second destroyer, Brisbane, takes the place of Hobart on the hardstand to undergo final block consolidation, and the keel for the third destroyer, Sydney, is laid. The AWD Alliance is responsible for delivering three Hobart Class DDG destroyers and their support systems to the Navy. The Alliance is made up of shipbuilder ASC, mission systems integrator Raytheon Australia and the Government’s Defence Materiel Organisation.
AWD Program Manager Peter Croser said: «Hobart has a strong and important lineage with many who have served in the previous Hobart who take a keen interest in their name-sake ship which now sits in the waters south of Adelaide. They have watched the progress of this ship and some of them will be represented today at the launch. Many members of the RAN future crew are already here working at Osborne contributing expertise for the launch and the next phase of the program. We look forward to setting to work Hobart and proving her capabilities at sea in the coming two-year period, whilst maintaining a focus on the construction of the next two DDGs».
ASC Shipbuilding CEO Mark Lamarre said the launch of the first destroyer is a momentous occasion when masses of steel, pipe, wire and machinery come to life. It is an emotional and solemn moment for those who build ships and for those that take them to sea. «The highly skilled workforce at ASC have consolidated and outfitted a ship, they are learning and improving every day contributing to the nation’s shipbuilding capability», Mr. Lamarre said. «The construction of Hobart and the other ships under construction at our shipyard represent the dedication and determination of all who are involved in this important national program. It is a project of which the whole of Australia should be incredibly proud».
Raytheon Australia Managing Director Michael Ward congratulated the AWD Alliance on the launch of Hobart. «As the AWD mission systems integrator it is a source of pride for Raytheon that we have applied our unique engineering and project management skills to delivering a project that is integrated in Australia», Mr. Ward said. «The AWD’s combat system integration activities represent some of the most advanced engineering accomplishments yet undertaken in such a project in this country and will contribute to making the AWD the most sophisticated warship ever operated by the Royal Australian Navy».
The Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyers (AWDs) will be capable across the full spectrum of joint maritime operations, from area air defence and escort duties, right through to peacetime national tasking and diplomatic missions. The AWD project will provide the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) with one of the world’s most capable multi-mission warships.
The AWDs, equipped with the SM-2 missile, will provide air defence for accompanying ships in addition to land forces and infrastructure in coastal areas, and for self-protection against missiles and aircraft. They will also be equipped with the SM-6 long-range anti-aircraft missile, the most advanced weapon of its type, with a range of more than 370 kilometers/230 miles/200 NM.
The missiles combined with the Aegis Weapon System, incorporating the state-of-the-art phased array radar AN/SPY 1D(V), will effectively extend the air defence protection offered by these superior ships.
The AWDs will carry a helicopter for surveillance and response to support key warfare areas. The surface warfare function will include long-range anti-ship missiles and a naval gun capable of firing extended range munitions in support of land forces.
As they enter service, the AWDs will be equipped with a sophisticated Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC), which will enable each vessel to act as a part of a wider «grid» of sensor and weapon platforms that can share surveillance and targeting information.
The Hobart Class AWDs will also conduct undersea warfare and be equipped with modern sonar systems, decoys, surface-launched torpedoes and an array of effective close-in defensive weapons.
These capabilities will ensure the AWDs have the layered defensive and offensive capability required to counter conventional and asymmetric threats. When the Hobart Class AWDs (HMAS Hobart 39, HMAS Brisbane 41 and HMAS Sydney 42) enter service, there will be around 100 Aegis equipped ships operating across the globe.
481.3 feet/146.7 m
61 feet/18.6 m
23.6 feet/7.2 m
Full load displacement
36 MW/48,276 hp
28+ knots/32 mph/52 km/h
Range at 18+ knots/21 mph/33 km/h
5,000+ NM/5,779 miles/9,300 km
Aegis Weapon System Baseline 7.1
AN/SPY-1D(V) Phased Array Radar (81 NM/93 miles/150 km)
AN/SPQ-9B Horizon Search Radar
Mk-41 Vertical Launch System (48 VLS cells: RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM)/ Standard Missile-2 (SM-2)/SM-6)
Mk-45 Mod.4 5” (127-mm) 62 Calibre Gun
Advanced Harpoon Weapon Control (2 × 4 launchers)
Electronic Warfare (EW) Suite
Very Short Range Air and Surface Defence
Nulka Active Missile Decoy system
Integrated Sonar System incorporating a hull mounted and towed array sonar
Flightdeck and hangar for one helicopter
Two Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIBs)
This computer-generated animation highlights the multi-mission capability of the three naval destroyers being built as part of the Air Warfare Destroyer Project
BAE Systems has been awarded a contract to produce and deliver five Bofors 40 Mk-4 Naval Guns for the Brazilian Navy’s 500T «Macae» Class Patrol Vessels. The 40 Mk-4 gun is the latest naval version of the successful Bofors 40-mm Gun that is used by many Navies and Coast Guards around the world.
«The versatility of our new 40-mm Naval Gun and Ammunition System is attractive to customers around the world», said Lena Gillström, managing director of Weapon Systems, Sweden at BAE Systems. «This award illustrates our strong position as a leading naval gun provider in the Americas».
Series production for the guns starts immediately with deliveries beginning in 2016 and continuing through 2018. A portion of the manufacturing of parts, subsystems, as well as final assembly and test will take place in Brazil through BAE Systems’ new and long-term partners. The company recently teamed with Ares Aeroespacial e Defensa S.A. of Rio de Janeiro for manufacturing, assembly, and installation, as well as after-sales activities for the 40 Mk-4 guns.
«This local production for the naval guns illustrates our commitment to establishing mutually beneficial partnerships with Brazilian industry», said Llyr Jones, vice president for Latin America and Canada at BAE Systems. «We’re applying similar principles with our other Brazilian programs».
In the last 40 years, BAE Systems has delivered close to one hundred 40-mm Guns to the Brazilian Navy, Marine Corps, and Army, as well as many thousands of rounds of 40-mm ammunition. The company’s programmable, multi-purpose 3P round has been manufactured in Brazil since 1999.
In addition to Brazil, countries currently using BAE Systems’ 40-mm Guns include Japan, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Estonia, Uruguay, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
Bofors 40 Mk-4
Its low weight and compact dimensions combine with a long range and a high rate of fire. It has the capability to rapidly switch between optimized ammunition types, including programmable 40-mm 3P all-target ammo. This delivers high tactical and operational flexibility alongside outstanding survivability, giving ships the advantage in conflicts of any kind.
The Bofors 40 Mk-4 can go from warning to destruction in less than 0.5 seconds. The 3P ammo can be programmed for optimized effect against any target, including airburst patterns for new threats that were previously impossible to engage. The automatically loaded, remotely controlled weapon can also be locally controlled as a backup, equipping the operator for any scenario.
The system’s lightweight and modest size is made possible by innovative features including its electric drive system. It also has a fully digitised modular architecture, providing weapon synergies and future flexibility. Programmable 3P ammo means less round types are needed, reducing transport, storage, weight and space. These aspects combine to provide straightforward, cost-effective integration.
Weight excluding ammunition
<2,500 kg/5,511.56 lbs
<2.0 m/6.56 feet
-20 to +80 degrees
unlimited (slip ring)
Remote control with gyro-stabilised local control back-up
12,500 m/7.77 miles/6.75 NM
Rate of fire
1012 m/s/3,643 km/h/2,264 mph (3P)
From warning to destruction
Number of rounds available in gun
up to 5,000 rounds
On-mount TV camera
On-mount muzzle velocity radar
6-mode programmable all-target 3P ammunition
Computer-controlled burst pattern
Air burst capability for small boat defence and engagement of concealed targets
100 rounds ready to fire with the possibility to shift between different types of ammunition
The world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat is no longer afloat after entering dry dock May 19 for a planned multi-year restoration. USS Constitution, eased into historic Dry Dock 1 at Charlestown Navy Yard Boston National Historical Park with the help and coordination of a large team of stakeholders including the ship’s crew, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Naval History and Heritage Command’s Maintenance Detachment Boston, USS Constitution Museum, and the National Park Service.
«We couldn’t have asked for better weather or better support from the dedicated team of professionals who helped with the docking», said Commander Sean Kearns, USS Constitution’s 73rd commanding officer. «We are now positioned to carry out the restoration work which will return Constitution to the water preserving her for the next generation of Americans to enjoy and learn about our nation’s great naval heritage».
Since entering service in the U.S. Navy on October 21, 1797, USS Constitution, undefeated in combat, remains a commissioned U.S. Navy warship. However, since 1907, the ship has been on display opening her decks to the public. According to Naval History and Heritage Command Director Sam Cox, that mission is an important one.
«Her mission today is to preserve and promote U.S. Navy heritage by sharing the history of ‘Old Ironsides’ and the stories of the men and women who have faithfully served with distinction on the warship’s decks for 217 years. When a visitor sets foot on the deck of USS Constitution, he or she is making contact with the beginnings of the U.S. Navy, a navy that has kept the sea lanes free for more than 200 years. Keeping her ready to do so is incredibly important», said Cox.
«Constitution was the product of unique American ingenuity», Cox continued. «At a time when the U.S. Navy was outnumbered by the great European navies, Constitution was designed to outgun anything she couldn’t outrun, and outrun anything she couldn’t out-gun. Coupled with great captains and well-trained and disciplined Sailors, that is why she was undefeated».
According to Vice Admiral William Hilarides, the commander of the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), which oversees the development, delivery and maintenance of the Navy’s ships, the 217-year-old Constitution is a stark reminder of the importance of sound ship design, construction and maintenance.
«The Navy’s strength comes from its Sailors who must be equipped with ships and tools that make it possible for them to successfully sail into harm’s way, and then return safely home to their families», said Hilarides. «When you look at what was cutting edge Naval technology in the late 18th century, you can see Constitution’s crews were equipped with the best tools in the world which enabled them to achieve such a remarkable record of success in combat. It’s a tradition of design, construction and maintenance excellence that continues in America’s shipyards today».
Still, Hilarides said, like any of the Navy’s other nearly 300 commissioned warships, USS Constitution must be maintained to carry out its vital mission.
This restoration will last more than two years and marks the first time Constitution will have been dry docked since 1992. The work of this restoration will include:
replacing lower hull planking and caulking;
removing the 1995 copper sheathing and replacing it with 3,400 sheets of new copper that will protect the ship’s hull below the waterline;
replacement of select deck beams;
on-going preservation and repair of the ship’s rigging, upper masts, and yards.
The estimated cost of the restoration is expected to be $12 million to $15 million and is part of the ongoing care and maintenance the ship receives. It will be a complex work package and among those completing it, is a cadre of craftsmen from the Naval History and Heritage Command’s Maintenance Detachment Boston who have the delicate job of melding new tools and technology into an endeavor that often requires extensive, knowledge of 18th century shipbuilding techniques.
«We do work with modern tools but we still use some of the old methods; the hull planks are still pinned through the deck but we use hydraulics and pneumatics to pull them out», said Detachment Boston’s director, Richard Moore, who says the restoration will require specialized talents. «Back in the day if someone went down, they had someone to replace them. It’s not so easy nowadays to replace a person with someone who is up to speed and knows what they are doing».
Still he believes his team is up to the challenge and he knows they are excited to be a part of the historic restoration.
«They realize the undertaking they are on. I emphasize it all the time, that this is, in my words, ‘a big deal.’ They all know how important it is, they are all proud to work on this vessel, they take such great care and their workmanship is great. I am very proud to work here and so are they».
Beginning June 9, Constitution will reopen to the public and remain open throughout the restoration with tours scheduled:
Tuesday through Friday from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.;
Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. (closed Mondays).
Visitors will see something remarkable – an active shipyard with craftspeople including, blacksmiths, wood workers and others, working to make sure USS Constitution remains ship shape for future generations.
Colonel George Claghorn, Edmond Harrt’s Shipyard, Boston, Massachusetts
October 21, 1797
$302,718 (1797 dollars)
42,710 feet2/3,968 m2 of sail on three masts
204 feet/62.16 m (billet head to taffrail)
175 feet/53.32 m at waterline
Foremast, 198 feet/60.33 m
Mainmast, 220 feet/67.03 m
Mizzenmast, 172.5 feet/52.56 m
43.5 feet/13.25 m
13+ knots/15 mph, 24 km/h
450 including 55 Marines and 30 boys (1797)
32 24-pounder/11-kg long guns
20 32-pounder/14.5-kg carronades
Two 24-pounder/11-kg bow chasers
One 36-feet/11-meter long boat
Two 30-feet/9-meter cutters, two 28-feet/8.5-meter whaleboats
Raytheon Company and the U.S. Air Force successfully completed the Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II) Milestone C decision briefing, paving the way for the program to enter Low Rate Initial (LRI) production. SDB II is an all-weather solution that continues to provide precision even in limited visibility scenarios.
Unlike standard bombs, SDB II employs Raytheon’s revolutionary tri-mode seeker that operates in three different modes:
uncooled imaging infrared;
SDB II can strike targets from a range of more than 40 nautical miles/46 miles/74 km, with a dynamic warhead that can destroy both soft and hard targets. The bomb can also change targets in-flight through the use of a secure datalink.
«The Milestone C decision enables us to begin putting this game-changing capability into the warfighters’ hands», said Colonel Kevin Hickman, USAF SDB II program manager. «The ability to strike moving targets with extreme precision in adverse weather reduces an aircrew’s time in harm’s way and limits collateral damage in the battlespace».
The Milestone C achievement follows a successful functional configuration audit, production readiness review and system verification review. Milestone C will lead to a positive acquisition decision memorandum validating the preparedness of the company and the weapon system to continue to production.
«Achieving Milestone C marks the hard work of the U.S. government and Raytheon teams to verify that we meet or exceed the requirements necessary for a Lot 1 production decision», said Jim Sweetman, SDB II program director for Raytheon Missile Systems. «SDB II’s unique capabilities help ensure that our warfighters maintain their unfair advantage in the fight».
Small Diameter Bomb II
SDB II employs Raytheon’s unprecedented tri-mode seeker. The new seeker operates in multi-attack modes: millimeter-wave radar, uncooled imaging infrared and semi-active laser. These sensors enable the weapon to seek and destroy targets, both moving and stationary, even in adverse weather conditions from standoff ranges.
SDB II can strike targets from a range of more than 40 nautical miles/46 miles/74 km, with a dynamic warhead that can destroy both soft and armored targets, while keeping collateral damage to a minimum through a small explosive footprint. The highly accurate SDB II offers warfighters the flexibility to change targets after release through a secure datalink that passes in-flight updates to the weapon.
The Department of Defense has validated SDB II as a weapon that meets a critical warfighter need and has invested more than $700 million in the SDB II program.
This animation depicts a Raytheon Small Diameter Bomb II using laser guidance to track and destroy a target.
This animation depicts an F-15E aircraft employing a Raytheon Small Diameter Bomb II.
This animation depicts an F-15 employing a Raytheon Small Diameter Bomb II. Using its advanced Tri-mode seeker, the SDB II targets and destroys a moving vehicle.
Small Diameter Bomb II can fly more than 45 miles to strike mobile targets, reducing aircrews’ time in harm’s way. The weapon’s small size allows fewer aircraft to take out the same number of targets as previous, larger weapons that required multiple jets.