According to the Associated Press, NATO is to deploy an unidentified number of E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft to Turkey as part of a series of reassurance measures recently agreed by the alliance.
The move comes after tensions between Turkey and Russia flared up over the downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber by Turkish F-16s along the Turkish-Syrian border on 24 November.
German Defence Ministry spokesman Boris Nannt stressed on 28 December that the deployment of AWACS aircraft from the NATO Air Base in Geilenkirchen, western Germany, to Turkey will be a «purely defensive measure» and said military planning for the deployment is currently under way.
According to Defense-aerospace.com, the first 209/1400 class submarine (Yard No. 447) for the Navy of the Arabic Republic of Egypt was named and launched at the shipyard of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems in Kiel on December 10, 2015.
This marks an important milestone in the ongoing submarine programme for the Egyptian Navy. «S41» is the first of four submarines. Production of the first submarine started in Kiel. Since then, the construction program has proceeded to schedule and achieved a first important milestone with today’s naming ceremony and launching.
The ceremony has been attended by Vice Admiral Rainer Brinkmann, Deputy Chief of Staff of the German navy, the Mayor of Kiel, top German officials, the Egyptian Ambassador in Berlin, the Egyptian Consul General in Hamburg, the Egyptian Defence Attaché and a delegation from the Egyptian navy.
HDW Class 209/1400mod
The HDW Class 209/1400mod submarine is the most recent version of the HDW Class 209 «family» in a line of 63 boats contracted with 14 customer navies.
Thanks to the large number of orders, every contract profited from the latest results of Research & Development. Improvements were tested during sea trials and then incorporated without delay into the next project.
Like all its predecessors, HDW Class 209/1400mod is a compact and reliable submarine featuring most recent technology, high combat strength, extraordinary battery payload and low signatures. Its comprehensive mission profiles include not only maritime defence and conflict prevention, but also surveillance and intelligence gathering tasks. It is also ideally suited for Special Forces operation missions.
In order to increase their indiscretion rate, HDW Class 209 boats may be equipped with a HDW fuel cell plug-in section for air-independent submarine propulsion. Such integration can be carried out during a regular midlife modernisation and leads to a considerable increase in submerged endurance.
General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, the U.S. Navy and other Navy contractors successfully completed its first set of at-sea tests and trials for the future USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000).
According to Sam LaGrone, the editor of USNI News, during this initial at-sea period, representatives from BIW, USS Zumwalt, the Navy’s Program Office, SUPSHIP Bath, and various technical subject matter experts including Raytheon personnel, demonstrated several ship systems including small boat operations, anchors, Integrated Propulsion System (IPS) and auxiliary systems. Primary risk reduction objectives were successfully met and, as with any trials, the Navy learned a great deal about ship performance during the more than 100 hours of extensive testing.
DDG-51 and DDG-1000 destroyers are warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. Destroyers can operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups, and underway replenishment groups.
Guided missile destroyers are multi-mission (Anti-Air Warfare, AAW; Anti-Submarine Warfare, ASW; and Anti-Surface Warfare, ASUW) surface combatants. The destroyer’s armament has greatly expanded the role of the ship in strike warfare utilizing the Mark-41 Vertical Launch System (VLS).
Features unique to DDG 1000:
Eighty peripheral Vertical Launch System (VLS) cells, two Advanced Gun System (AGS) 155-mm guns, and two 30-mm Close In Guns (CIGs);
A stern boat ramp for two 7-meter Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs), designed with room for two 11-meter RHIBs;
Aviation capacity for two MH-60R or one MH-60R and 3 VT Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs);
It will be powered by an Integrated Power System (IPS) with an Integrated Fight Through Power (IFTP). This is created by an Advanced Induction Motor (AIM);
A superstructure with integrated apertures and low signature profile;
Advanced sensors including a SPY-3 Multi-Function Radar;
A wave-piercing «Tumblehome» hull form.
610 feet/186 m
80.7 feet/24.6 m
27.6 feet/8.4 m
15,761 long tonnes/16,014 metric tonnes
30 knots/34.5 mph/55.5 km/h
104,600 hp/78 MW
158 – Includes Aviation Detachment
Next-generation destroyer Zumwalt (DDG-1000) underway for the first time conducting at-sea tests and trials in the Atlantic Ocean on December 7, 2015
BAE Systems has been awarded an $82 million contract to modernize and deliver 23 upgraded Assault Amphibious Vehicles (AAV7A1) for the Brazilian Marine Corps. The vehicles, which will be the Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability/Rebuild to Standard (RAM/RS) variant, will significantly enhance the current capabilities of the Brazilian Marine Corps.
«These new vehicles will have major capability enhancements, which will give the Brazilian military an amphibious vehicle with improved speed and reliability beyond the current configuration», said Deepak Bazaz, director of new and amphibious vehicles at BAE Systems. «We have a strong track record of supporting the Brazilian military and will continue that close working relationship throughout this program».
Under the terms of the contract, BAE Systems will provide 23 AAV7A1 RAM/RS vehicles and supply all tools and test equipment to support vehicle maintenance. The company will also provide an initial sustainment capability to the Brazilian Marine Corps to include spare parts and field service support, as well as training for the vehicle users.
The AAV7A1 RAM/RS variant provides a more powerful engine and drive train, as well as an upgraded suspension system, allowing the vehicles to meet or exceed original AAV7A1 performance requirements. The RAM/RS variant also provides improved mobility and repair capabilities while transporting troops and cargo from ships.
Work on the contract will take place at BAE Systems’ York, Pennsylvania facility. Production is anticipated to start in June with vehicle deliveries beginning in February 2017. Final delivery to Brazil is expected to take place by the end of 2017, when the training and support for these vehicles will begin.
«BAE Systems has served the Brazilian military for more than 15 years and is also working on other vehicle enhancement programs here, such as the Brazilian Army’s upgrade of its M113B vehicles to the M113A2 Mk1 configuration», said Marco Caffe, the company’s general manager for Brazil. «In the fall of 2015, we completed our 150th M113 upgrade».
The U.S. Navy will get a peek at a future where high energy laser weapons could defend its ships against attack under a contract awarded October 22 to Northrop Grumman Corporation by the Office of Naval Research (ONR).
Under the three-phase Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (LWSD) contract, the company will design, produce, integrate, and support the shipboard testing of a 150-kilowatt-class solid state (electric) laser weapon system.
The initial award of $53 million will support work planned for the next 12 months. The contract could grow to a total value of $91 million over 34 months if ONR exercises all of its contract options.
«Northrop Grumman is integrating the latest in high energy lasers with more than 40 years of experience as a laser weapon system integrator to protect sailors against last-minute, high impact threats», said Guy Renard, director and program manager, directed energy, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. «For about the price of a gallon of diesel fuel per shot, we’re offering the Navy a high-precision defensive approach that will protect not only its sailors, but also its wallet».
During Phase 1 of the LWSD contract, Northrop Grumman will develop a detailed design for the new system. Phase 2 will include assembly and ground test of the system, while Phase 3 will comprise at-sea testing of the system aboard the Navy’s Self Defense Test Ship (SDTS). The U.S. Navy will lead this testing with Northrop Grumman providing technical support. The SDTS is the former USS Paul F. Foster (DD-964).
According to Renard, Northrop Grumman’s LWSD is well suited to support the Navy’s planned initial testing on the SDTS. The company has designed its system to be installed, however, with minimal modification or additional costs, for demonstration on the U.S. Navy’s DDG-51 FLT II class destroyers.
Future Navy laser weapon systems could eventually protect a wide array of naval platforms from advanced surface and air threats.
The Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) of the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D) and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) successfully completed a series of tests of the David’s Sling Weapon System. This test series, designated David’s Sling Test-4 (DST-4), was the fourth series of tests of the David’s Sling Weapon System and the final milestone before declaring delivery of an operational system to the Israeli Air Force in 2016. The test series was conducted at a test range in southern Israel.
The tests examined capabilities and performance of the entire David’s Sling Weapon System. The series included intercepts of multiple threat representative targets by Stunner interceptor missiles in realistic, real-time engagements. During each test, the Multi-Mission Radar (MMR) detected the target after launch and transferred flight information to the Battle Management Center (BMC), which calculated the defense plan. The Stunner interceptor was successfully launched, performed all flight phases, and engaged the target as planned. Preliminary analysis indicates that test objectives were successfully achieved.
Information collected during the test series is being analyzed by program engineers and will be used for ongoing development and fielding of the David’s Sling Weapon System. This test series provides confidence in future Israeli capabilities to defend against large caliber rockets and other developing threats.
The David’s Sling Weapon System is a central part of Israel’s multi-layer defense array. The other layers of defense are: Iron Dome (operational), the Arrow-2 (operational) and Arrow-3 (under development).
The prime contractor for David’s Sling Weapon System is Rafael, with Raytheon Missile Systems as a sub-contractor. The MMR is developed by Elta, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries. The BMC, known as the Golden Almond, is developed by Elisra, an Elbit subsidiary.
The mass production of the system’s Stunner interceptor missiles has already begun and the production of additional radars and fire control stations will begin next year
Austal is pleased to announce that Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 12 was christened at Austal USA’s Mobile, Alabama shipyard on Saturday 19th December 2015.
Austal USA officials joined Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and the ship sponsor of the future USS Omaha, Susan Buffett, in celebrating the christening of the nation’s 12th Littoral Combat Ship.
The Omaha is the fourth LCS in Austal’s 10-ship, $3.5 billion block-buy contract. With its shallow draft of 14.8 feet/4.5 m, the Austal designed and built Independence-variant LCS is an advanced high-speed and agile 417 feet/127.1 m combat ship designed to operate in near-shore environments, yet capable of open-ocean operation.
«On behalf of Austal’s entire shipbuilding team, we are proud to design and build a ship that will carry the great name of Omaha as she defends our nation», said Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle. «We’re equally proud to honour a tremendous American in Susan Buffett who has given so much to so many people through her philanthropic work, and now gives her spirit as the sponsor to this amazing ship».
Buffett, a philanthropist and current resident and native of Omaha, will serve as the sponsor to the ship. She chairs of The Sherwood Foundation, The Buffett Early Childhood Fund, and the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation. She also serves on several national non-profit boards, including ONE, Girls Inc., and the Fulfillment Fund.
According to the Society of Sponsors of the United States Navy, «The sponsor will participate in all or some of the milestones in the life of her ship … far beyond participation in ceremonial milestones, sponsorship represents a lifelong relationship with the ship and her crew».
The aluminium hulled trimaran was officially named after Nebraska’s largest city during an announcement by Secretary Mabus, February 15, 2012. He said the name was «to honour the patriotic, hard-working citizens of Omaha and the state of Nebraska for their support of and contributions to the military». She will be the fourth U.S. Navy ship named «Omaha».
The future USS Omaha (LCS-12), launched in November 20 and scheduled for delivery in 2016, has a maximum speed of more than 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h. The Independence-variant combines superior seakeeping, endurance, and speed with the volume and payload capacity needed to support emerging missions – today and in the future.
«I’m also proud to honour Austal’s workforce today – a group of some of the most dedicated and hard-working professionals I have ever worked with», said Perciavalle. «Their expertise and commitment to excellence is evident in the construction of these incredible warships».
Austal’s LCS program is in full swing with three ships delivered and six ships under construction at this time. USS Jackson (LCS-6) was delivered this past summer and was recently commissioned in Gulfport, Mississippi. USS Montgomery (LCS-8) and USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) are preparing for trials and delivery in 2016.
Final assembly is well underway on USS Manchester (LCS-14) and recently began on USS Tulsa (LCS-16). Modules for USS Charleston (LCS-18) are under construction in Austal’s Module Manufacturing Facility.
The Independence Variant of the LCS Class
Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy
417 feet/127.1 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)
Airbus Helicopters’ customer center in Brazil, Helibras, has delivered three additional H225M to the Brazilian Armed Forces. Two are destined for the Brazilian Army and the third for the Brazilian Air Force, bringing to seven the total number of H225M delivered to Brazil in 2015.
These three aircraft are the first in their operational configuration for the Air Force and the Army. In addition to the systems included in the versions delivered previously to the Armed Forces, these new specially-equipped H225M will provide the Brazilian forces greater security to carry out search and rescue missions in hostile territories (C-SAR). Their new equipment includes an electronic countermeasures system, integrated into the H225M by Brazilian professionals and flight tested locally by pilots of both Helibras and the Brazilian Air Force.
The operating configuration also incorporates certain features that increase the helicopter’s range, such as an additional fuel tank at the rear of the cabin and the presence of an in-flight refueling system (REVO). The REVO allows the H225M to be supplied by another aircraft during a mission without the need to land or interrupt the flight. It is expected that the system will be used in a flight campaign to be held in 2016, in another collaboration between Helibras, Airbus Helicopters and the Brazilian Air Force.
«The delivery of the operational versions is a big step for Helibras», said Richard Marelli, recently nominated as the new president of Helibras. «This phase of the program was quite a challenge for our engineering teams, who had to integrate complex systems, such as the in-flight refueling system, currently available only in three other countries. I believe that the achieved result further qualifies our company and serves as proof of our technological and innovative capacities».
Like all Brazilian H225M, these three new aircraft can be operated using Night Vision Goggles (NVG). Pilots can receive training for this equipment thanks to the Full Flight Simulator at the Helibras Training Center in Rio de Janeiro.
With this delivery, the three armed forces have received 22 aircraft of the total of 50 units included in the contract. The 28 remaining aircraft are to be delivered by 2022.
2 pilots + 1 chief of stick + 28 seats
2 pilots + 8 to 12 passengers
2 pilots + up to 11 stretchers + 4 seats
4,750 kg/10,472 lbs
16.79 m/55.08 feet
3.96 m/13 feet
4.60 m/15.09 feet
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW)
11,000 kg/24,251 lbs
MTOW in external load configuration
11,200 kg/24,690 lbs
5,715 kg/12,600 lbs
5,285 kg/11,651 lbs
Maximum cargo-sling load
4,750 kg/10,472 lbs
Standard fuel capacity
2,247 kg/4,954 lbs
ENGINES 2 TURBOMECA MAKILA 2A1
Take-off power per engine
1,567 kW/2,101 shp
PERFORMANCE AT MAXIMUM GROSS WEIGHT, ISA*, SL**
Maximum speed (Vne***)
324 km/h/175 knots
Fast cruise speed (at MCP****)
262 km/h/142 knots
Rate of climb
5.4 m/s/1,064 feet/min
Service ceiling (Vz = 0.508 m/s = 100 feet/min)
3,968 m/13,019 feet
Hover ceiling OGE***** at ISA*, MTOW, take-off power
792 m/2,600 feet
Maximum range without reserve at Economical Cruise Speed
Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Morel became the first U.S. Marine to fly the Corps’ CH-53K helicopter December 18, 2015 at Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation’s Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Morel, a test pilot with Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 21, and former Weapons and Tactics Instructor with HMH-466 «Wolfpack», took off in Engineering Development Model 1 at 10:30 a.m. to conduct direct mode mechanical stability and hover flight control response data collection.
The flight test ran for 1.5 hours and now marks the sixth flight for the CH-53K. «The aircraft flew very close to the way the simulators and engineers predicted it would», said Morel. «The aircraft was quite stable and handled very predictably. You can feel the huge amount of power and overall, it definitely felt like a 53. Marines are going to love to fly this aircraft».
The King Stallion entered flight test phase on October 27, 2015. «This flight brings us to 8.2 hours on the first test aircraft, and our second test aircraft is almost ready to start flying», said Colonel Hank Vanderborght a U.S. Marine Corps program manager for the heavy lift helicopter program. «The program remains on track for initial operational capability in 2019».
The CH-53K is the Marine Corps’ new build, heavy lift replacement for the CH-53E, which will transport Marines, heavy equipment and supplies during ship-to-shore movement in support of amphibious assault and subsequent operations ashore. The CH-53K will be one of the key enablers of future joint war-fighting concepts by drastically expanding the fleet’s logistical throughput through the joint area of responsibility. Using proven and matured technologies, the King Stallion is designed to lift a 27,000-pound/12,247-kilogram external load at a mission radius of 110 nautical miles/126.6 miles/203.7 km in Navy high/hot environments – three times the CH-53E lift capability.
The launching ceremony of the frigate Luigi Rizzo (F595), the sixth of a series of 10 FREMM vessels – Multi Mission European Frigates – took place on December 19 at the Riva Trigoso shipyard (Genoa). The 10 FREMM vessels have been commissioned to Fincantieri by the Italian Navy within the framework of an Italo-French cooperation program under the coordination of OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Cooperation sur l’Armement, the international organization for cooperation on arms).
Godmother of the ceremony was Mrs. Maria Guglielmina Rizzo, daughter of Luigi Rizzo, two Gold Medals of Military Valor. The ceremony was attended among others by, Giovanni Toti, Governor of Liguria, Admiral Giuseppe De Giorgi, Chief of Staff of the Italian Navy and the CEO of Fincantieri Giuseppe Bono.
After the launching, fitting activities will continue in the Integrated naval shipyard of Muggiano (La Spezia), with delivery scheduled in early 2017. The Luigi Rizzo (F595) vessel will feature a high degree of flexibility, capable of operating in all tactical situations. 472.4 feet/144 metres long with a beam of 64.6 feet/19.7 metres, the ship will have a displacement at full load of approximately 6,700 tonnes. The Luigi Rizzo (F595) will have a maximum speed of over 27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h and will provide accommodation for a 200-person crew.
The ships of the FREMM program represent the state of the art of the European and Italian defence and will replace the Lupo and Maestrale class frigates built by Fincantieri in the 1970s.
The vessels Carlo Bergamini (F590) and Virginio Fasan (F591) have been delivered in 2013, the Carlo Margottini (F592) in 2014, the Carabiniere in 2015 (F593), while the delivery of the Alpino (F594) is scheduled in 2016. With the option exercised last April for the construction of the ninth and tenth vessel, whose delivery is scheduled after 2020, the Italian program has been fully implemented.
Orizzonte Sistemi Navali (51% Fincantieri, 49% Finmeccanica) acts as prime contractor for Italy in the initiative, while Armaris (DCNS + Thales) is prime contractor for France.
This cooperation has applied the positive experience gained in the previous Italo-French program Orizzonte that has led to the construction for the Italian Navy of the two frigates Andrea Doria and Caio Duilio.