SIMBAD – Final Trials

MBDA has successfully completed two Mistral firings using a SIMBAD-RC firing post. These trials represent the last technical milestone before delivery to its first customer. They served to validate the interface between the missile and the new twin-launcher, confirming the correct departure of the missile from the firing post, as well as the system’s ability to carry out salvo firings.

Trial on SIMBAD-RC firing post
Trial on SIMBAD-RC firing post

The two firings were carried out using two different launch trajectories. Tests in different mechanical and climatic environments will complete the qualification of the system.

The SIMBAD-RC is a remotely-controlled, very short range naval air defence system that provides highly efficient capabilities against a wide range of threats, from fighter aircraft through to anti-ship missiles or small-sized threats such as Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs). SIMBAD-RC gives an easy to set up, self-defence capability to patrol vessels and support craft, or complements the air defence capabilities of other ship types. Each turret supports two ready-to-fire missiles. The turrets are remotely-operated and so allow the operator to remain under cover, thereby ensuring longer operational availability in case of a combat alert.

Antoine Bouvier, CEO of MBDA, said: «The SIMBAD-RC programme illustrates how MBDA helps customers leverage their previous acquisitions. Starting from a market standard such as the Mistral missile, of which more than 17,000 have been produced and are in service in nearly 30 countries worldwide, we have built a simple to operate and highly automated system that greatly improves the operational use of the missiles already in service».

SIMBAD-RC is featuring an automatic launcher remotely controlled from an interior terminal
SIMBAD-RC is featuring an automatic launcher remotely controlled from an interior terminal

 

Guidance

  • Passive IR homing guidance
  • Proportional navigation guidance
  • Trajectory shaping
  • Self-spinning airframe
  • Control by canard fins

Fire and Forget

Engagement of targets is fully autonomous and is performed by the outstanding infrared homing head of the MISTRAL missile

  • Great accuracy and efficiency
  • No man in the loop
  • Simplicity of operation, low training and maintenance
  • No dedicated fire control system on board

Short reaction time

  • The system is optimised to counter any air target at short notice
  • Firing sequence: less than five seconds
  • High speed missile – short time to intercept

Multi-target

Especially designed for modern naval warfare, MISTRAL can cope with:

  • Head on targets
  • Manoeuvring targets
  • Aircraft before they release conventional armaments
  • Sea skimming and manoeuvring anti-ship missiles
  • Helicopters

96% success rate

96% kill efficiency rate demonstrated during user firings is due to:

  • Outstanding sea and ground clutter rejection by the MISTRAL seeker
  • Interception under a trajectory shaping profile
  • MISTRAL terminal effectiveness: outstanding guidance accuracy – proximity and impact fuzes – 6.6 lbs/3 kg warhead very high reliability
SIMBAD-RC offers a range of turret/SMU-RC configurations and system integration schemes
SIMBAD-RC offers a range of turret/SMU-RC configurations and system integration schemes

 

CHARACTERISTICS

SYSTEM CHARACTERISTICS
Weight 1,102 lbs/500 kg
Bearing +/- 160°
Elevation -15° to +65°
MISSILE CHARACTERISTICS
Weight 43.4 lbs/19.7 kg
Length 6.1 feet/1.86 m
Diameter 3.54 inch/90 mm
Warhead 6.6 lbs/3 kg
Maximum speed Mach 2.5

 

SIMBAD-RC is an extremely simple and lightweight MBDA’s system configured for two MISTRAL missiles

The second King

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, announced on March 14 the second CH-53K King Stallion helicopter has joined the flight test program and achieved first flight. In addition, the first aircraft into the test program has achieved flight envelope expansion to 120 knots/138 mph/222 km/h for the U.S. Marine Corps’ CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter program.

The second CH-53K aircraft achieves its first flight at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Test Center in West Palm Beach, Florida
The second CH-53K aircraft achieves its first flight at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Test Center in West Palm Beach, Florida

«Adding a second aircraft into flight status signifies another milestone for the CH-53K program», said Mike Torok, Sikorsky’s vice president of CH-53K King Stallion Programs. «With both aircraft in flight test, our flight envelope expansion efforts will accelerate as we continue to make good progress toward our initial operational test assessment and full aircraft system qualification».

The first and second CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter Engineering Development Models (EDM) achieved their first flights on October 27, 2015, and January 22, 2016, respectively. To date these helicopters have achieved over 35 flight hours combined including multiple flights with an active duty USMC pilot at the controls. As the flight test program proceeds, these two flying CH-53K helicopters will be joined by two additional aircraft to complete flight qualification of the USMC’s next generation heavy lift capability over an approximately three-year flight test program.

These first two aircraft are the most heavily instrumented of the Engineering Development Models (EDM) and will focus on structural flight loads and envelope expansion. When the other two EDM aircraft join the flight line in 2016 they will focus on performance, propulsion and avionics flight qualification.

«It is exciting to have two CH-53K helicopters flying», said Colonel Hank Vanderborght, U.S. Marine Corps program manager for Heavy Lift Helicopters. «Our program continues on pace to deploy this incredible heavy lift capability to our warfighters».

Sikorsky is now developing the CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter for the U.S. Marine Corps. The King Stallion maintains similar physical dimensions with a reduced «footprint» compared to its predecessor, the three-engine CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, but will more than triple the payload to 27,000 pounds/12,247 kg over 110 nautical miles/126.6 miles/204 km under «high hot» ambient conditions.

Features of the CH-53K King Stallion helicopter include a modern glass cockpit; fly-by-wire flight controls; fourth-generation rotor blades with anhedral tips; a low maintenance elastomeric rotor head; upgraded engines; a locking, United States Air Force pallet compatible cargo rail system; external cargo handling improvements; survivability enhancements; and improved reliability, maintainability and supportability.

The U.S. Department of Defense’s program of record remains at 200 CH-53K King Stallion aircraft. The U.S. Marine Corps intends to stand up eight active duty squadrons, one training squadron, and one reserve squadron to support operational requirements.

The first CH-53K aircraft achieves 120 knots/138 mph/222 km/h at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Test Center in West Palm Beach, Florida
The first CH-53K aircraft achieves 120 knots/138 mph/222 km/h at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Test Center in West Palm Beach, Florida

 

General Characteristics

Number of Engines 3
Engine Type T408-GE-400
T408 Engine 7,500 shp/5,595 kw
Maximum Gross Weight (Internal Load) 74,000 lbs/33,566 kg
Maximum Gross Weight (External Load) 88,000 lbs/39,916 kg
Cruise Speed 141 knots/162 mph/261 km/h
Range 460 NM/530 miles/852 km
AEO* Service Ceiling 14,380 feet/4,383 m
HIGE** Ceiling (MAGW) 13,630 feet/4,155 m
HOGE*** Ceiling (MAGW) 10,080 feet/3,073 m
Cabin Length 30 feet/9.1 m
Cabin Width 9 feet/2.7 m
Cabin Height 6.5 feet/2.0 m
Cabin Area 264.47 feet2/24.57 m2
Cabin Volume 1,735.36 feet3/49.14 m3

* All Engines Operating

** Hover Ceiling In Ground Effect

*** Hover Ceiling Out of Ground Effect

 

Fire Test of SeaRAM

Sailors of USS Porter (DDG-78), a guided-missile destroyer stationed in Rota, Spain, successfully completed a live-fire test from a SeaRAM missile system March 4. SeaRAM, which replaced Porter’s aft Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) mount, is a self-contained detect-to-engage ship self-defense capability that combines the sensor systems of a CIWS with an 11-round Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launcher.

The SeaRAM was installed aboard USS Porter (DDG-78) in response to a formal Urgent Operational Need for forward-deployed naval forces in Europe; four DDGs deployed in Europe will receive the Mk-15 SeaRAM with enhanced-capability Block 2 missiles (USN photo)
The SeaRAM was installed aboard USS Porter (DDG-78) in response to a formal Urgent Operational Need for forward-deployed naval forces in Europe; four DDGs deployed in Europe will receive the Mk-15 SeaRAM with enhanced-capability Block 2 missiles (USN photo)

«The addition of this advanced weapon system to Porter’s arsenal is extremely welcome», said Commander Andria Slough, USS Porter’s commanding officer. «It is a culmination of the cooperation of several program offices and agencies, both at sea and ashore, ensuring that out here on the front lines, we receive the capabilities we need, when we need them».

The SeaRAM installation aboard USS Porter (DDG-78) took place as a response to a formal Urgent Operational Need for forward-deployed naval forces in Europe. USS Porter (DDG-78) is the first of four DDGs to receive the Mk-15 SeaRAM Missile System equipped with enhanced capability RAM Block 2 missiles.

Additionally, the live-fire Combat Systems Ship Qualification Trial (CSSQT) represented the first cooperative effort between NAVSEA agencies and El Arenosillo Test Range off the coast of Huelva, Spain. The success of this CSSQT concluded a year’s worth of ground-breaking effort for the engineering and acquisition professionals at NAVSEA.

«This team was able to go from white paper concept to live-fire testing in 12 months», said Rear Admiral Jon Hill, of Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS). «Our weapons, ship integration, and testing experts coordinated across a number of commands and organizations to identify assets, execute critical engineering requirements, deliver equipment, complete system installation, and conduct testing on a foreign test range … all in record time; professionally and with the urgency of meeting a critical warfighting need».

PEO IWS is an affiliated Program Executive Office of the Naval Sea Systems Command. PEO IWS is responsible for spearheading surface ship and submarine combat technologies and systems, and for implementing Navy enterprise solutions across ship platforms.

USS Porter (DDG-78) successfully conducted live-fire tests for SeaRAM (Mk-15 MOD 33) during Combat Systems Ship Qualifications Trials at El Arenosillo Test Range off the coast of Huelva, Spain

 

Autonomously for Months

On March 10 Boeing introduced Echo Voyager, its latest Unmanned, Undersea Vehicle (UUV), which can operate autonomously for months at a time thanks to a hybrid rechargeable power system and modular payload bay.

51-foot/15.5-meter Echo Voyager largest of three such vehicles Boeing offers
51-foot/15.5-meter Echo Voyager largest of three such vehicles Boeing offers

The 51-foot-long/15.5-meter-long vehicle is not only autonomous while underway, but it can also be launched and recovered without the support ships that normally assist UUVs. Echo Voyager is the latest innovation in Boeing’s UUV family, joining the 32-foot/9.7-meter Echo Seeker and the 18-foot/5.5-meter Echo Ranger.

«Echo Voyager is a new approach to how Unmanned Undersea Vehicles will operate and be used in the future», said Darryl Davis, president, Boeing Phantom Works. «Our investments in innovative technologies such as autonomous systems are helping our customers affordably meet mission requirements now and in the years to come».

Echo Voyager will begin sea trials off the California coast later this summer. Boeing has designed and operated manned and unmanned deep sea systems since the 1960s.

«Echo Voyager can collect data while at sea, rise to the surface, and provide information back to users in a near real-time environment», said Lance Towers, director, Sea & Land, Boeing Phantom Works. «Existing UUVs require a surface ship and crew for day-to-day operations. Echo Voyager eliminates that need and associated costs».

Boeing Unmanned Undersea Vehicle Can Operate Autonomously for Months
Boeing Unmanned Undersea Vehicle Can Operate Autonomously for Months

The latest addition

The U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin delivered the fifth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on March 3, prior to its expected May launch. The spacecraft will be the third MUOS satellite launched in a 16-month span, a cadence that demonstrates the production line concept put into place for the delivery of this five-satellite build.

MUOS-5 is third satellite to launch in 16 months for U.S. Navy’s Smart Phone-Like Network
MUOS-5 is third satellite to launch in 16 months for U.S. Navy’s Smart Phone-Like Network

MUOS-5 is the latest addition to a network of orbiting satellites and relay ground stations that is revolutionizing secure communications for mobile military forces. Users with operational MUOS terminals will be able to seamlessly connect beyond line-of-sight around the world and into the Global Information Grid. MUOS’ new capabilities include simultaneous, crystal-clear voice, video and mission data, over a secure high-speed Internet Protocol-based system, similar to today’s smart phones.

MUOS-5 will complete the U.S. Navy’s baseline constellation and serve as an on-orbit spare for the system, ensuring the network is always available to support U.S. and allied mobile forces.

«As MUOS-5’s launch approaches, MUOS-4 is preparing to begin operations on-station, enabling MUOS’ near-global coverage», said Mark Woempner, program director of Lockheed Martin’s Narrowband Communications mission area. «We are proud that we will soon be providing our mobile forces access to the system’s enhanced communications capabilities from nearly anywhere, including further into polar regions than ever before».

Lockheed Martin manufactured MUOS-5 at its Sunnyvale, California facility. For its trip to Florida the satellite was loaded aboard a C-5 Galaxy aircraft at nearby Moffett Federal Air Field by the 60th Air Mobility Wing of Travis Air Force Base (AFB). Astrotech Space Operations, a Lockheed Martin wholly-owned subsidiary in Florida, will complete MUOS-5’s pre-launch processing.

The satellite joins MUOS-1, MUOS-2, MUOS-3, and MUOS-4 already on orbit. All four required MUOS ground stations are complete. More than 55,000 currently fielded radio terminals can be upgraded to be MUOS-compatible, with many of them requiring just a software upgrade.

Once fully operational, the MUOS network will provide 16 times the capacity of the legacy ultra-high frequency communications satellite system, which it will continue to support, and eventually replace.

On March 3, MUOS-5, the next satellite scheduled to join the U.S. Navy’s Mobile User Objective System secure communications network, arrived at Cape Canaveral after shipping from Lockheed Martin’s satellite manufacturing facility in Sunnyvale, California
On March 3, MUOS-5, the next satellite scheduled to join the U.S. Navy’s Mobile User Objective System secure communications network, arrived at Cape Canaveral after shipping from Lockheed Martin’s satellite manufacturing facility in Sunnyvale, California

Wildcat in Norway

The Royal Marines’ «flying eyes» on the battlefield have come through their «baptism of ice» in the Arctic wilds of northern Norway. For the first time, the new Wildcats of the Commando Helicopter Force have tested their ability to fly – and fight – in the harshest climatic conditions on the planet.

Cool for cats as Royal Marines new helicopter is tested for first time in Norway
Cool for cats as Royal Marines new helicopter is tested for first time in Norway

Four Wildcats from 847 Naval Air Squadron have spent six weeks contending with temperatures down to 30 below zero, snow storms and high winds. Each winter the Commando Helicopter Force takes some of its aircraft, air and ground crew to Bardufoss – roughly half way between Tromsø and Narvik, and a good 170 miles/274 km inside the Arctic Circle.

The training – Exercise Clockwork (because it’s regular as) – is intended to ensure sailors and Royal Marines on the force can survive in such an unforgiving environment (living in tents or snow holes, if necessary, clambering out of holes in the ice if it breaks, cooking the local wildlife if you run out of rations) as well as maintain their helicopters and, in the case of the aircrew, fly them.

The latter saw the fliers run through the gamut of military operations from the basics of landing in snow – the down-draught from the rotor blades throws up a swirling wall of fine snow – to ferrying loads, scouting for the troops on the ground, a spot of shooting practice for the aircrewman with the machine-gun and using the Wildcat to direct Allied jets on to targets.

The Norwegian experience saw the Wildcats packed into the cavernous cargo holds of RAF C-17 transporters for the first time and demonstrated that the helicopters’ mottled grey paint scheme is a highly-effective camouflage in the snow.

«I’ve been to Norway before but this is my first time flying here», explained pilot Lieutenant Alex Lovell-Smith. «The challenges are unique: the weather can change in an instant, so our captaincy and flying skills are always tested. I certainly feel that my aviation skills have improved in a way that only Norway can provide. Everyone on 847 agrees that Norway has given us an excellent opportunity to bond as a squadron – and push the Wildcat to its limits in this new environment».

When 847 arrived in northern Norway, they faced just three hours of daylight. By the time they left that had risen to nine, allowing for plenty of flying.

«The guys have pushed hard to learn the lessons and keep the aircraft on the line. Serviceability has been good – that’s supported a high rate of flying and meant we successfully completed our training», said air engineer technician PO John «Julie» Andrews. «For many of our more junior engineers, this has been their first time in Norway and they are all relishing the chance to come back again».

The squadron made use of the facilities at the Norwegian Air Force Base in Bardufoss, working side-by-side with NH-90 and Bell 412 helicopters, while the Brits showed off their helicopter to their hosts.

«We came to Norway with definite objectives – we’ve not just hit them, we’ve surpassed them», said Commander Graeme Spence, 847’s Commanding Officer. «Wildcat has met the challenge head-on, as have our people. Our flying rate has been high and we’ve achieved a lot more than just qualifying to operate in the Arctic environment. Norway’s always been a special place for the Commando Helicopter Force – and we’ve made the most of the opportunities to test ourselves and our aircraft».

Now back at base in Somerset, the squadron is preparing for the large-scale Anglo-French amphibious exercise in the Bristol Channel and Irish Sea next month, Griffin Strike, followed by desert warfare training in El Centro in southern California.

The fastest way to move around Norway is not skis or even the roads, but aircraft – and the Commando Helicopter Force has deployed to the Arctic in force this winter

 

Light Multi-Role Aircraft

Boeing and the Paramount Group, the South Africa-based global defense and aerospace business, have expanded their 2014 agreement to cooperate on an advanced mission system for a variant of the Advanced, High Performance, Reconnaissance, Light Aircraft (AHRLAC).

Boeing and the Paramount Group will collaborate on an integrated mission system for the Mwari aircraft enabling ISR and light strike missions for the variant of Paramount’s advanced high-performance reconnaissance light aircraft (Photo credit: Paramount Group)
Boeing and the Paramount Group will collaborate on an integrated mission system for the Mwari aircraft enabling ISR and light strike missions for the variant of Paramount’s advanced high-performance reconnaissance light aircraft (Photo credit: Paramount Group)

A high-wing, two-seat aircraft, AHRLAC is designed to incorporate advanced Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities and weapons systems. Boeing will develop an integrated mission system for the aircraft enabling ISR and light strike missions for the AHRLAC safety & security, and military variants. This militarised version will be known as Mwari.

Speaking from the Global Aerospace Summit in Abu Dhabi, Jeffrey Johnson, vice president, Business Development, Boeing Military Aircraft, said, «Through AHRLAC, we’ll not only bring a flexible, persistent and affordable aircraft to the international market, but we’ll also be developing world-class technology in Africa». «Our relationship with Paramount will help us access markets that are new to Boeing», Johnson added.

The Paramount Group is the largest privately owned defense and aerospace business in Africa, providing fully integrated turnkey solutions to global defense, peacekeeping and internal security forces. Since its inception in 1994, Paramount has built strong relationships with governments and government agencies in more than 30 countries around the world. Paramount is a leading innovator in the design and development of state-of-the-art products that it manufactures in locations globally and has partnered with some of the world’s largest and most reputable organizations in the global defense community.

 

GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS

OVERALL LAYOUT
Pusher configuration, jet-like characteristics
Unobstructed forward view for sensors
Internal high velocity 20-mm cannon
Flexible belly-mounted multi-mission sensor pod
High wing for good external view and rough field operation
MAXIMUM TAKE-OFF WEIGHT (MTOW) 8,378 lbs/3,800 kg
PAYLOAD WITH FULL FUEL 1,764 lbs/800 kg +
LANDING GEAR
Retractable, optimised for semi- and unprepared sites
Sized for optional extra-large high flotation wheels
COCKPIT
Tandem seat, two crew
Large vertical cockpit separation and high wing for optimum external view
New generation multi-function IFR Glass cockpit
PERFORMANCE
Take-Off Distance 1,804 feet/550 m Full payload
Maximum Cruise Speed 272 knots/313 mph/504 km/h
Service Ceiling 31,000 feet/9,449 m
External Stores and Armament 6 Wing Hard Points
20-mm Fuselage mounted Cannon
Maximum Mission Range 1,150 NM/1,323 miles/2,130 km
Maximum Ferry Range 2,000 NM/2,302 miles/3,704 km
Length 34.4 feet/10.5 m
Wing Span 39.4 feet/12 m
Height 13.1 feet/4 m
Engine 1 × Pratt & Whitney PT6A-66B 950 HP Flat-rated (Growth to 1,600 HP/1,193 kW)
CONFORMAL AND INTERCHANGEABLE MISSION-SPECIFIC POD ACCOMMODATING COMBINATIONS OF:
Forward Looking InfraRed (FLIRs)
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Radars
Active and Passive Electronic Warfare (EW)
Electronic intelligence (ELINT)/Communications intelligence (COMINT)
High wing for good external view and rough field operation
AHRLAC Mwari delivers a highly flexible mission-configurable payload system, allowing it to be transformed quickly between operational roles
AHRLAC Mwari delivers a highly flexible mission-configurable payload system, allowing it to be transformed quickly between operational roles

GD to Build AJAX

On March 7, 2016 General Dynamics Land Systems-UK inaugurated its new Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) Assembly, Integration and Testing (AIT) facility at Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales. The facility, which will undergo significant refurbishment through 2016 and be fully operational in 2017, will support the delivery of AJAX vehicles to the British Army.

AJAX incorporates cutting-edge and proven technology to provide an unparalleled balance of protection, weight and agility for a vehicle of its class
AJAX incorporates cutting-edge and proven technology to provide an unparalleled balance of protection, weight and agility for a vehicle of its class

At a short ceremony attended by the Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister of Wales, Philip Dunne MP, Minister for Defence Procurement, and Alun Cairns MP, Wales Office Minister, representatives of the British Army and other local dignitaries, the facility was declared open and reaffirms the UK’s proud history of developing and manufacturing AFVs.

The facility was dedicated in the memory of famous Welshman, Sir Tasker Watkins. Born in Nelson, Caerphilly, which is a short distance from Merthyr Tydfil, Sir Tasker earned the Victoria Cross during the Second World War for his gallantry in the face of the enemy. Following the war, he served Wales with equal distinction in many different roles, including as President of the Welsh Rugby Union.

The Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister of Wales, said: «Today’s news is great for Merthyr and great for Wales. We’ve built a strong and close working relationship with General Dynamics – one of our anchor companies – and we have supported a number of their key projects that have brought new work and technology to Wales and created hundreds of new jobs. I am delighted we were able to support this latest, strategically important, investment and welcome the considerable associated economic benefits it will create».

Philip Dunne, Minister for Defence Procurement, commented: «The opening of this new facility is a major development for both Merthyr Tydfil and the British Army. It is another reminder of the importance of Defence investment right across the UK: the AJAX programme alone is sustaining 2,800 jobs across the country, 550 of which are here in Wales. This new facility, like the next generation vehicle it will produce, is more evidence of our £178 billion commitment to provide our Armed Forces with the equipment they need. Thanks to the close partnership between the UK Government and industry, this site will spring back in to life as a significant centre of employment and bring in valuable skills with a lasting legacy for the entire region».

Alun Cairns MP, Wales Office Minister, remarked: «The UK government is determined to see as many MoD projects designed, built and manufactured here in the UK. General Dynamics’ decision to bring the assembly, integration and testing of AJAX vehicles to south Wales is an enormous vote of confidence in the skills and expertise of the workforce here in Merthyr Tydfil. This grows the defence footprint in Wales and is an excellent example of the UK and Welsh Governments working together in the interests of the Welsh economy. The Welsh manufacturing sector is surging from strength to strength. Today’s event showcases the invaluable contribution our home-grown talent is making in the provision of first-class protection and support to the brave men and women working in front line situations around the world».

Kevin Connell, vice president of General Dynamics Land Systems-UK, said: «Today’s inauguration reaffirms our commitment to delivering world-leading AFVs to the British Army from the UK, and firmly establishes Wales as the home of the UK’s AFV industry. I’d like to thank the UK Government, Welsh Government, local council and community for its support as we establish a facility that we can all be proud of, which will lead the way in the delivery of a cutting-edge, fully-digitised fleet of vehicles for the British Army».

Commenting on the dedication of the facility in the memory of Sir Tasker Watkins, Kevin Connell said: «Sir Tasker put his service to his men and country before his own safety during the Second World War, and his gallantry deserves to be continually remembered. Today’s dedication was our way of honouring his memory, and recognising the service of our Armed Forces, who serve our country with distinction every day».

The new facility will support the creation of 250 new jobs, whilst the entire AJAX programme directly supports approximately 2,800 jobs across the UK at more than 210 UK-based companies. General Dynamics Land Systems-UK will begin initial, limited recruitment for the new facility later this year, with further significant recruitment taking place in mid-2017.

AJAX can operate in combined-arms and multinational situations across a wide-range of future operating environments
AJAX can operate in combined-arms and multinational situations across a wide-range of future operating environments

Murtha’s Sea Trials

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced on March 7 the successful sea trials of the company’s 10th San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26). The ship, built at HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division, spent four days in the Gulf of Mexico last week with Ingalls’ test and trials team operating the ship and performing more than 200 test events.

Ingalls Shipbuilding’s 10th amphibious transport dock USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26) sails the Gulf of Mexico for Builder’s Trial (Photo by Lance Davis/HII)
Ingalls Shipbuilding’s 10th amphibious transport dock USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26) sails the Gulf of Mexico for Builder’s Trial (Photo by Lance Davis/HII)

«Overall the builder’s trial was successful, and the ship performed well», said Kari Wilkinson, Ingalls’ LPD-26 program manager. «This shipbuilding milestone is another accomplishment for a seasoned LPD production and test team that is ready to continue the learning on future LPD platforms. This team understands the important mission LPDs provide to our nation, and we look forward to delivering another fine, much-needed asset to our sailors and Marines».

Major evolutions during builder’s trials include the anchor-handling demonstration, ballast/deballast demonstration, detect-to-engage exercise, running the ship at full power and steering.

Shipbuilders will now prepare USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26) for acceptance trials in April to demonstrate the same tests and operational success to the U.S. Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV). The ship is scheduled to be delivered to the U.S. Navy in the second quarter of 2016.

«LPD-26 experienced an excellent builders trials», said George S. Jones, Ingalls’ vice president of operations. «This is another fine testament to the dedicated men and women of Ingalls shipbuilding and their shipbuilding talents. The USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26) is a quality ship, and the ability to deliver her on schedule later this year is a result of great craftsmen and the outstanding Navy partnership we have with the Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Gulf Coast».

LPD-26 is named in honor of the late John P. Murtha, who represented Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District from 1974 to 2010. In addition to his tenured history in the House of Representatives, Murtha was also a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and Reserves. He served for 37 years and received the Bronze Star with Combat «V», two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry for his service in the Vietnam War. He retired as a colonel in 1990.

Ingalls has built and delivered nine ships in the San Antonio-class. In addition to USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26), Ingalls has the 11th LPD, USS Portland (LPD-27), under construction. USS Portland (LPD-27) launched on February 13 and will be christened on May 21. Ingalls received a $200 million advance procurement contract for the 12th ship in the class, LPD-28, in December 2015.

The San Antonio-class is the latest addition to the U.S. Navy’s 21st century amphibious assault force. The 684-foot-long/208-meter-long, 105-foot-wide/32-meter-wide ships are used to embark and land Marines, their equipment and supplies ashore via air cushion or conventional landing craft and amphibious assault vehicles, augmented by helicopters or vertical takeoff and landing aircraft such as the MV-22 Osprey. The ships support a Marine Air Ground Task Force across the spectrum of operations, conducting amphibious and expeditionary missions of sea control and power projection to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions throughout the first half of the 21st century.

Ingalls Shipbuilding conducted Builder Sea Trials for USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26) in the Gulf of Mexico

 

General Characteristics

Builder Huntington Ingalls Industries
Propulsion Four sequentially turbocharged marine Colt-Pielstick Diesels, two shafts, 41,600 shaft horsepower
Length 684 feet/208 m
Beam 105 feet/32 m
Displacement Approximately 24,900 long tons (25,300 metric tons) full load
Draft 23 feet/7 m
Speed In excess of 22 knots/24.2 mph/38.7 km/h
Crew Ship’s Company: 374 Sailors (28 officers, 346 enlisted) and 3 Marines. Embarked Landing Force: 699 (66 officers, 633 enlisted); surge capacity to 800
Armament Two Bushmaster II 30-mm Close in Guns, fore and aft; two Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launchers, fore and aft: ten .50 calibre/12.7-mm machine guns
Aircraft Launch or land two CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters or two MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft or up to four CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters, AH-1 or UH-1 helicopters
Landing/Attack Craft Two LCACs or one LCU; and 14 Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles/Amphibious Assault Vehicles
USS Portland (LPD-27) is seen here in the middle of launch early Saturday morning at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula. Portland is the 11th San Antonio-class landing platform dock (Photo by Andrew Young/HII)
USS Portland (LPD-27) is seen here in the middle of launch early Saturday morning at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula. Portland is the 11th San Antonio-class landing platform dock (Photo by Andrew Young/HII)

 

San Antonio-class

Ship Builder Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS San Antonio (LPD-17) Avondale 07-12-2003 01-14-2006 Norfolk, Virginia
USS New Orleans (LPD-18) Avondale 12-11-2004 03-10-2007 San Diego, California
USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19) Ingalls 11-19-2004 12-15-2007 Norfolk, Virginia
USS Green Bay (LPD-20) Avondale 08-11-2006 01-24-2009 San Diego, California
USS New York (LPD-21) Avondale 12-19-2007 11-07-2009 Norfolk, Virginia
USS San Diego (LPD-22) Ingalls 05-07-2010 05-19-2012 San Diego, California
USS Anchorage (LPD-23) Avondale 02-12-2011 05-04-2013 San Diego, California
USS Arlington (LPD-24) Ingalls 11-23-2010 02-08-2013 Norfolk, Virginia
USS Somerset (LPD-25) Avondale 04-14-2012 05-01-2014 San Diego, California
USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26) Ingalls 11-02-2014 San Diego, California
USS Portland (LPD-27) Ingalls 02-13-2016
USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28) Ingalls

 

SM-6 hits target

Raytheon Company’s Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) successfully engaged a surface target – the decommissioned USS Reuben James (FFG-57) – in a recent flight test. The test was a demonstration of the U.S. Navy’s concept of «distributed lethality», employing ships in dispersed formations to increase the offensive might of the surface force and enabling future options for the joint force commander. The USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53) fired the SM-6 during the test; another Air Defense Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer was on station as the assist ship.

The USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53), configured with AEGIS Baseline 9.C1, executed the series of four missions with five SM-6 missiles for Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation, part of the final testing leading to a likely declaration of Full Operational Capability in 2017
The USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53), configured with AEGIS Baseline 9.C1, executed the series of four missions with five SM-6 missiles for Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation, part of the final testing leading to a likely declaration of Full Operational Capability in 2017

The mission validated that the legacy Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW) capability of the Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) family of missiles and the Mk-7 Aegis Weapon System (AWS) has successfully carried over to SM-6 and the latest Aegis Destroyer baseline 9. The investment in the Standard Missile family resulted in an affordable SM-6 effector that continues to perform beyond expectations.

«This test event demonstrated Raytheon’s decades of continued technological development and partnership with the U.S. Navy», said Dr. Taylor Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president. «The ability to leverage the Standard Missile Family and the legacy AWS in newly fielded systems brings additional warfighting capability to the U.S. Fleet».

In recent testing, SM-6 has shown expanded mission capability in three key areas: Anti-Air Warfare, Sea-Based Terminal and Anti-Surface Warfare. The tri-mission capability of SM-6 continues to emphasize its value by providing additional capability beyond its original intended mission.

Raytheon has delivered more than 250 SM-6 missiles, which were deployed for the first time in 2013. The missile’s final assembly takes place at Raytheon’s state-of-the-art SM-6 and SM-3 all-up-round production facility at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.

A Standard Missile-6 is loaded into a specialized container at the Raytheon Redstone Missile Integration Facility for delivery to the U.S. Navy
A Standard Missile-6 is loaded into a specialized container at the Raytheon Redstone Missile Integration Facility for delivery to the U.S. Navy