Live target testing

Raytheon Company delivered the first AN/SPY-6(V) Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) array to the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii ahead of schedule. The array is now being installed according to plan, in preparation for first radar light-off in early July. SPY-6(V) is the next-generation integrated air and ballistic missile defense radar for the U.S. Navy, filling a critical capability gap for the surface fleet.

AN/SPY-6(V) Air and Missile Defense Radar array at the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii (PRNewsFoto/Raytheon Company)
AN/SPY-6(V) Air and Missile Defense Radar array at the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii (PRNewsFoto/Raytheon Company)

This delivery is the latest in a series of milestones achieved on time or ahead of schedule, as SPY-6(V) advances through the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase, which is now close to 80 percent complete. In less than 30 months, the SPY-6(V) array completed design, fabrication and initial testing. Soon to transition to Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP), SPY-6(V) remains on track for delivery in 2019 for the first DDG-51 Flight III destroyer.

«Several months of testing at our near-field range facility, where the array completed characterization and calibration, have proven the system ready for live target tracking», said Raytheon’s Tad Dickenson, AMDR program director. «The array was the last component to ship. With all other components, including the back-end processing equipment, delivered earlier and already integrated at the range, AMDR will be up and running in short order».

«The extensive testing to date has demonstrated good compliance to the radar’s key technical performance parameters», said U.S. Navy Captain Seiko Okano, major program manager, Above Water Sensors (IWS 2.0). «The technologies are proven mature and ready for testing in the far-field range, against live targets, to verify and validate the radar’s exceptional capabilities».

 

About SPY-6(V) AMDR

SPY-6(V) is the first scalable radar, built with RMAs – radar building blocks. Each RMA (Radar Modular Assembly), roughly 2′ × 2′ × 2′ in size, is a standalone radar that can be grouped to build any size radar aperture, from a single RMA to configurations larger than currently fielded radars. All cooling, power, command logic and software are scalable, allowing for new instantiations without significant radar development costs.

Providing greater capability – in range, sensitivity and discrimination accuracy – than currently deployed radars, SPY-6(V) increases battlespace, situational awareness and reaction time to effectively counter current and future threats. Designed for scalability, reliability and ease of production, SPY-6(V) incorporates innovative and proven technologies, including RMAs, digital beamforming and Gallium Nitride (GaN), to offer exceptional radar capabilities to fit any ship for any mission.

Pietro Venuti
was delivered

The submarine «Pietro Venuti» (S528) was delivered on July 06 at Fincantieri’s shipyard of Muggiano (La Spezia). It is the third of the U212A «Todaro»-class, a series of four sister units which the Central Unit for Naval Armament (NAVARM) has ordered to Fincantieri for the Italian Navy.

The Fincantieri shipyards group has handed over the «Pietro Venuti» (S528), the third of four German-designed Type U212A-class submarines it is building for the Italian navy
The Fincantieri shipyards group has handed over the «Pietro Venuti» (S528), the third of four German-designed Type U212A-class submarines it is building for the Italian navy

The submarine «Pietro Venuti» (S528), as its twin unit «Romeo Romei» (S529), launched last year (4 July) in the shipyard of Muggiano, features highly innovative technological solutions. It is entirely built with amagnetic material, using the most modern silencing techniques to reduce its acoustic signature.

«Venuti» has a surface displacement of 1,509 tonnes, an overall length of 55.9 meters/183.4 feet, a maximum diameter of 7 meters/23 feet, and can exceed 16 knots/18 mph/30 km/h underwater. It has a 27-person crew.

 

The Submarine «Pietro Venuti» (S528)

The «Pietro Venuti» (S528) is the 101st submarine built at the Muggiano shipyard since 1907, when the «Foca» vessel was launched for the Italian Royal Navy. Since then, this shipyard has always stood out for building naval vessels, not only for the Italian Navy, but also for those worldwide (Brazil, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark).

The «Pietro Venuti» (S528) is part of the second pair of submarines to be built in chronological order, and it is just about one year ahead of the «Romeo Romei» (S529), currently under construction at the shipyard of Muggiano. These vessels will replace in the Navy’s fleet, the «Salvatore Pelosi» (S522) and «Giuliano Prini» (S523) submarines («Sauro»-class – third series), built in the late 1980s. The submarine construction programme is the continuation of the project begun in 1994 in cooperation with the German Submarine Consortium, which has already led to the construction of six vessels for Germany and two for Italy – the «Salvatore Todaro» (S526) and the «Scirè» (S527) in the past years. These submarines were delivered by Fincantieri respectively in 2006 (29 March) and 2007 (19 February) and are already successfully operating within the Italian Navy’s fleet.

Like the other vessels of the series, the «Pietro Venuti» (S528) features highly innovative technological solutions. It is entirely built of amagnetic material, using the most modern silencing techniques to reduce its acoustic signature. Furthermore, it is equipped with a silent propulsion system based on fuel cell technology, producing energy through an oxygen-hydrogen reaction, independent therefore from external oxygen, ensuring a submerged range three to four times higher than the conventional battery-based systems. It also features a fully integrated electro-acoustic and weapon-control system, as well as a modern platform automation system.

 

Main Characteristics

Length overall 187.5 feet/57.15 m
Length between perpendiculars 183.4 feet/55.9 m
Maximum breadth (on P.H.) 23 feet/7 m
Height overall (masts in) 38.96 feet/11.875 m
Surface displacement (ready to dive) 1,509 tonnes
Standard displacement 1,460 tonnes
Lead cells battery banks (two sub-batteries)
1 synchronous motor with permanent magnet excitation
1 16-cylinder turbocharged diesel-generators set
Air-Independent Propulsion (A.I.P.) System with 8 + 1 Fuel Cell module
Low signature (acoustic, hydrodynamic, magnetic, radar, I/R)
Maximum surface speed 12 knots/14 mph/22 km/h
Endurance at 8 knots/9 mph/15 km/h on surface 8,000 NM/9,206 miles/14,816 km/h
Maximum submerged speed >16 knots/18 mph/30 km/h
CREW
Officers 9
P.O. & Ratings 15
Extra crew 3
Sanitary spaces masses with Officers seats – 8
P.O./crew seats – 9
Galley
COMBAT SYSTEM
Command & Control Systems based on 4 Multi-functional
Consoles with redundant databus
FULLY INTEGRATED SENSORS
DBQS-40 Sonar System with: Passive Ranging System (PRS), Continuously Active Sonar (CAS), Flank Array Sonar (FAS), Towed Array Sonar (TAS), Mine Avoidance Sonar (MAS), Ice Profiler Sonar (IPS), ONA
Navigation Sensors: Log, Global Positioning System (GPS), Inertial Navigation System (INS), Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS), Echograph
Plotting Table
KH 1007 Navigation Radar
Search Periscope
Attack Periscope
Integrated Communication System: Very Low Frequency (VLF), High Frequency (HF), Very High Frequency (VHF), Ultra High Frequency (UHF), Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)
FL 1800 U Electronic Support Measures (ESM) System
Ultra-Wideband (UW) Telegraphy & Telephony Systems
UHF Satellite Communications (SATCOM) Demand Assigned Multiple Access (DAMA)
WEAPONS
6 × 533-mm launchers for A184 mod. 3 or DM2A4
Mine Laying System (optional)
Torpedo Countermeasure System (optional)

 

Full ship shock trials

Austal Limited (Austal) is pleased to announce it has been awarded a US$11,239,032 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification from the U.S. Navy to provide emergent availability planning and Full Ship Shock Trials (FSST) support for tests to be conducted on Littoral Combat Ship USS Jackson (LCS-6).

Austal awarded U.S. Navy contract modification for USS Jackson (LCS-6) shock trials support
Austal awarded U.S. Navy contract modification for USS Jackson (LCS-6) shock trials support

Specifically, Austal USA will plan for and conduct any «in-between shot» repairs required during the FSST event(s), repair any damage sustained during the FSST period and coordinate the removal of FSST testing equipment and instrumentation following completion of the trials.

The FFST comprise a series of tests designed to demonstrate the ship’s ability to withstand the effects of nearby underwater explosions and retain required capability. USS Jackson (LCS-6) has successfully completed the first of three trials and is performing as expected.

Austal delivered USS Jackson (LCS-6) to the U.S. Navy on 11th August 2015 and last week delivered the future USS Montgomery (LCS-8).

Six additional Independent-variant LCS remain under construction at Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama as part of an 11-ship contract worth over US$3.5 billion from the U.S. Navy. The future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10), USS Omaha (LCS-12) and USS Manchester (LCS-14) are all preparing for sea trials. Assembly is well underway on USS Tulsa (LCS-16) and USS Charleston (LCS-18) while modules for USS Cincinnati (LCS-20) are under construction in Austal’s industry-leading Module Manufacturing Facility (MMF).

 

The Independence Variant of the LCS Class

PRINCIPAL DIMENSIONS
Construction Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy
Length overall 417 feet/127.1 m
Beam overall 103 feet/31.4 m
Hull draft (maximum) 14.8 feet/4.5 m
PAYLOAD AND CAPACITIES
Complement Core Crew – 40
Mission crew – 36
Berthing 76 in a mix of single, double & quad berthing compartments
Maximum mission load 210 tonnes
Mission Bay Volume 118,403 feet3/11,000 m3
Mission packages Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
Surface Warfare (SUW)
Mine Warfare (MIW)
PROPULSION
Main engines 2 × GE LM2500
2 × MTU 20V 8000
Waterjets 4 × Wartsila steerable
Bow thruster Retractable azimuthing
PERFORMANCE
Speed 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
Range 3,500 NM/4,028 miles/6,482 km
Operational limitation Survival in Sea State 8
MISSION/LOGISTICS DECK
Deck area >21,527.8 feet2/2,000 m2
Launch and recovery Twin boom extending crane
Loading Side ramp
Internal elevator to hanger
Launch/Recover Watercraft 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)
Hanger Aircraft stowage & maintenance for 2 × SH-60
Launch/Recover Aircraft Sea State 5
WEAPONS AND SENSORS
Standard 1 × 57-mm gun
4 × 12.7-mm/.50 caliber guns
1 × Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) launcher
3 × weapons modules

 

Independence-class

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Independence (LCS-2) 01-19-2006 04-26-2008 01-16-2010 San Diego, California
USS Coronado (LCS-4) 12-17-2009 01-14-2012 04-05-2014 San Diego, California
USS Jackson (LCS-6) 08-01-2011 12-14-2013 12-05-2015 San Diego, California
USS Montgomery (LCS-8) 06-25-2013 08-06-2014 San Diego, California
USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) 04-16-2014 02-25-2015
USS Omaha (LCS-12) 02-18-2015 11-20-2015
USS Manchester (LCS-14) 06-29-2015
USS Tulsa (LCS-16) 01-11-2016
USS Charleston (LCS-18) 06-28-2016
USS Cincinnati (LCS-20)
USS Kansas City (LCS-22)
USS Oakland (LCS-24)

 

Growing UAVs
Through Chemistry

Ahead of this years’ Farnborough International Airshow, engineers and scientists at BAE Systems and the University of Glasgow have outlined their current thinking about military aircraft and how they might be designed and manufactured in the future.

Lifting the lid on future military aircraft technologies
Lifting the lid on future military aircraft technologies

The concepts have been developed collaboratively as part of BAE Systems’ «open innovation» approach to sharing technology and scientific ideas which sees large and established companies working with academia and small technology start-ups.

During this century, the scientists and engineers envisage that small Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) bespoke to specific military operations, could be «grown» in large-scale labs through chemistry, speeding up evolutionary processes and creating bespoke aircraft in weeks, rather than years.

A radical new machine called a Chemputer could enable advanced chemical processes to grow aircraft and some of their complex electronic systems, conceivably from a molecular level upwards. This unique UK technology could use environmentally sustainable materials and support military operations where a multitude of small UAVs with a combination of technologies serving a specific purpose might be needed quickly. It could also be used to produce multi-functional parts for large manned aircraft.

Flying at such speeds and high altitude would allow them to outpace adversary missiles. The aircraft could perform a variety of missions where a rapid response is needed. These include deploying emergency supplies for Special Forces inside enemy territory using a sophisticated release system and deploying small surveillance aircraft.

«The world of military and civil aircraft is constantly evolving and it’s been exciting to work with scientists and engineers outside BAE Systems and to consider how some unique British technologies could tackle the military threats of the future», said Professor Nick Colosimo, a BAE Systems Global Engineering Fellow.

Regius Professor Lee Cronin at the University of Glasgow, and Founding Scientific Director at Cronin Group PLC – who is developing the Chemputer added; «This is a very exciting time in the development of chemistry. We have been developing routes to digitize synthetic and materials chemistry and at some point in the future hope to assemble complex objects in a machine from the bottom up, or with minimal human assistance. Creating small aircraft would be very challenging but I’m confident that creative thinking and convergent digital technologies will eventually lead to the digital programming of complex chemical and material systems».

BAE Systems has developed some of the world’s most innovative technologies and continues to invest in research and development to generate future products and capabilities.

During this century, scientists and engineers from BAE Systems and The University of Glasgow envisage that small Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) bespoke to military operations, could be ‘grown’ in large-scale labs through chemistry, speeding up evolutionary processes and creating bespoke aircraft in weeks, rather than years

BvS10 for Austria

BAE Systems has been awarded a contract to produce 32 BvS10 military vehicles for Austria under a government-to-government arrangement with Sweden.

The BvS10s feature enhanced crew ergonomics, greater internal volume and advanced protection, building on BAE Systems’ legacy BV206 vehicles
The BvS10s feature enhanced crew ergonomics, greater internal volume and advanced protection, building on BAE Systems’ legacy BV206 vehicles

With this agreement Austria will benefit from the Swedish government’s selection of the BvS10 in an open international competition.

The BvS10 is a highly maneuverable armored vehicle with superior performance for operating in challenging terrain to deliver personnel or cargo in combat and disaster relief scenarios. It is designed with great flexibility to accommodate changing mission requirements and is prepared for advanced battle management and command and control solutions. The contract is for the Armored Personnel Carrier variant of the BvS10 with deliveries beginning in the second half of 2017 and concluding in 2019.

«This investment provides the Austrian Army with a very capable and robust vehicle, and enhances our global position as a leading supplier of military vehicles», said Tommy Gustafsson-Rask, managing director for BAE Systems Hägglunds, which manufactures the BvS10 in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. «Further, this contract is a result of a close and unique cooperation between the Swedish and Austrian governments and BAE Systems».

The BvS10 will also play a role in Austria’s mission in the European Union Mountain Training Warfare Initiative (EU MTI), and BAE Systems is fully committed to providing all required support. Austria will be hosting schools, training and support services. The EU MTI was created to enhance military effectiveness in mountainous terrains, an environment where the BvS10 excels.

The BvS10s feature enhanced crew ergonomics, greater internal volume and advanced protection, building on BAE Systems’ legacy BV206 vehicles, of which more than 10,000 have been sold to more than 40 countries. The BvS10 has been deployed to Afghanistan, Central Africa, the Balkans, and the Middle East.

With the contract Austria is joining France, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom as operators of the BvS10.

The BvS10 is a highly maneuverable armored vehicle with superior performance for operating in challenging terrain to deliver personnel or cargo in combat and disaster relief scenarios
The BvS10 is a highly maneuverable armored vehicle with superior performance for operating in challenging terrain to deliver personnel or cargo in combat and disaster relief scenarios

Air Portability Trials

General Dynamics Land Systems-UK has completed initial air portability trials for the AJAX family of vehicles at the Joint Air Delivery Test and Evaluation Unit (JADTEU) at Royal Air Force (RAF) Brize Norton.

The trials assessed the loading of the ARES prototype platform into the cargo hold of an RAF C-17A Globemaster III
The trials assessed the loading of the ARES prototype platform into the cargo hold of an RAF C-17A Globemaster III

The trials, which took place at the end of May, assessed the loading of the ARES prototype platform, which will be used to deliver and support specialist troops across the battlefield, into the cargo hold of an RAF C-17A Globemaster III and A400M Atlas aircraft. These aircraft provide the RAF with a long-range, strategic, heavy-lift capability, which enables it to project and sustain an effective force close to a potential area of operations for combat, peacekeeping or humanitarian missions worldwide.

The ARES prototype platform was driven onto real-size mock-ups of each aircraft, in order for JADTEU to develop a tie down scheme. These trials form part of the process, which, combined with additional trials, will ensure that the AJAX family of vehicles, when in-service, can be transported anywhere in the world in rapid time to support the British Army.

Chief of Materiel (Land) for the UK’s Defence Equipment and Support organisation, Lieutenant General Paul Jaques, said: «AJAX is the biggest armoured vehicle programme for a generation for the British Army. These trials mark significant progress in the programme; it is essential that these fully-digitised fighting vehicles, which will sit at the heart of the UK’s agile Strike Brigades, can be deployed at short notice worldwide to protect the UK and our interests».

Kevin Connell, vice president of General Dynamics Land Systems-UK, said: «The AJAX programme continues to make excellent progress during this trials period, with these successful trials following quickly on the back of early live fire trials in April. Thanks to the hard work of the project partners and our supply chain, we have been able to successfully demonstrate that the AJAX family meets a key requirement for air portability».

The range of AJAX variants will allow the British Army to conduct sustained, expeditionary, full-spectrum and network-enabled operations with a reduced logistics footprint. It can operate in combined-arms and multinational situations across a wide-range of future operating environments. The first British Army squadron will be equipped by mid-2019 to allow conversion to begin with a brigade ready to deploy from the end of 2020.

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

Contract Design Work

Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division has been selected to perform the majority of the contract design work for the U.S. Navy’s amphibious warfare ship replacement, known as LX(R). The Department of Defense made the announcement Thursday, on June 30, 2016, at the same time Ingalls was awarded a contract to build the next large-deck amphibious assault warship, LHA-8.

LX(R): The Future of Amphibious Warships
LX(R): The Future of Amphibious Warships

LX(R) will replace the Navy’s Harpers Ferry- and Whidbey Island-class dock landing ships and will use the same hull as the San Antonio (LPD-17) class. Ingalls has delivered 10 of the LPD-17 ships to the U.S. Navy, is currently building the 11th, USS Portland (LPD-27), and has received more than $300 million in advance procurement funding for the 12th, USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28).

«With a hot production line, skilled workers, a strong supplier base and deep experience building San Antonio-class LPD amphibious warships, Ingalls stands ready to close the gap between LPD-28 and LX(R), the next generation amphibious warships the Navy-Marine Corps team needs today», Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias said.

 

CHARACTERISTICS

DIMENSIONS
Overall length 684 feet/208.5 m
Beam, Datum Waterline (DWL) 105 feet/31.9 m
Full load Draft 21.7 feet/6.6 m
WEIGHTS
Lightship 17,890 long tons/18,177 metric tons
Full load at delivery 24,085 long tons/24,471.5 metric tons
SURVIVABILITY
Collective Protection System (Single Zone)
Strengthened Structure Against Whipping
Water Mist Fire Extinguishing System
Degaussing System

 

HULL, MECHANICAL, & ELECTRICAL (HM & E) ATTRIBUTES

MACHINERY SYSTEMS
20 MW Main Propulsion Diesel Engine (MPDE)
Direct Drive Reduction Gears
2 × Controllable Pitch Propellers
ELECTRIC PLANT
AC Zonal Distribution System
10 kW
400 Hz Frequency Converters
AUXILIARY SYSTEMS
Air-Conditioning (A/C) Plants, chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) Free 1,500 tons installed
Reverse Osmosis (RO) Plants 72,000 Gallons per Day (GPD) installed
Cargo Elevators 12,000 lbs/5,443 kg capacity
Lift Platform 6,000 lbs/2,722 kg capacity

 

CAPABILITIES

PERFORMANCE
Sustained Speed 20+ knots/23+ mph/37+ km/h
Installed Power 26,820 SHP/20 MW
Service Life 40 years
AMPHIBIOUS SYSTEMS
Vehicle Square (net) 24,900 feet2/2,313 m2
Cargo Cube (net) 18,000 feet3/510 m3
Cargo Fuel, JP-5 310,000 gal/1,173,478 L
Landing Craft 2 × LCAC or 1 × LCU
Well Deck Operations Wet/Dry
AVIATION FACILITIES
Full Maintenance Hangar
4 Land/Launch Spots
2 × CH-53E or
2 × MV-22 or
2 × CH-46 or
2 × AH/UH-1
MEDICAL FACILITIES
Medical Operating Rooms 1
Hospital Ward Beds 8
Dental Operating Rooms 1
ACCOMMODATIONS
Ship’s complement 396
Troop 506 Total

 

COMMAND, CONTROL, COMMUNICATIONS, COMPUTERS (C4)

SURVEILLANCE
2D/3D Radars
AN/SPQ-9B – Fire Control Radar
AN/UPX-29 Central Identification, Friend or Foe (IFF)
COMMUNICATIONS
Special Intelligence (SI) COMMS
HF/VHF/UHF Voice/Data
Digital Wideband Transmission System (DWTS)/Enhanced Position Location Reporting System (EPLRS)
UHF/SHF/EHF SATCOM
SMS
Secure Video Teleconference (VTC)
Shipboard Wide Area Network (SWAN)
ELECTRONIC WARFARE (EW) & DECOY
AN/SLQ-25
AN/SLQ-32A
MK-36 Super Rapid Bloom Offboard Countermeasures Chaff and Decoy Launching System (SRBOC)
WEAPONS
2 × Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Launchers
2 × 25-mm Mk-38
4 × .50/12.7-mm Caliber Machine Guns
NAVIGATION
Navigation Sensor System Interface (NAVSSI)
AN/UQN-4A Sonar Sounding Set
AN/WQN-2 Doppler Sonar Velocity Log (DSVL)
AN/SPS-73 Surface Search Radar
AN/WSN-7
AN/URN-26 Tactical Air Navigation System (TACAN)
Anti-Jam GPS
Integrated Bridge
COMMAND AND CONTROL
Links 11, 16
AN/SPQ-12V
Naval Tactical Command Support System (NTCSS)
Global Command and Control System – Maritime (GCCS-M)
Ships Gridlock System (SGS)/Automatic Correlation (AC)
Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System (CENTRIX)

 

A well deck
inserted back

Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division has been selected to build the U.S. Navy’s next large-deck amphibious assault warship, LHA-8 (America-class). Today’s (on June 30, 2016) contract value, for the planning, advanced engineering and procurement of long-lead material, is $272,467,161. The award includes options that, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of the contract to $3.1 billion.

Rendering of LHA-8 (HII image)
Rendering of LHA-8 (HII image)

«This award adds to the successful amphibious shipbuilding legacy at Ingalls since the 1950s», said Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias. «Our shipbuilders have proven this success by delivering 14 vital and capable large-deck warships to our nation’s amphibious fleet. This contract shows the Navy’s confidence in our ability to build these ships to the highest-quality standards and to do so affordably for the American taxpayers. We look forward to delivering another great ship».

Ingalls is currently the sole builder of large-deck amphibious ships for the U.S. Navy. The shipyard delivered its first amphibious assault ship, the Iwo Jima-class USS Tripoli (LPH-10), in 1966. Ingalls has since built five Tarawa-class (LHA-1) ships, eight Wasp-class (LHD-1) ships and the first in a new class of amphibious assault ships, America (LHA-6), in 2014. The second ship in that class, USS Tripoli (LHA-7), is currently under construction and scheduled to launch next summer.

USS America (LHA-6) and the future USS Tripoli (LHA-7) are aviation-enhanced ships that sacrifice the ability to launch surface craft in favor of having more space to maintain the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter. With Marine Corps ground vehicles getting larger and heavier, in some cases precluding air lift from ship to shore, the U.S. Navy decided to add the well deck back in for LHA-8 and beyond. Ingalls is the only current builder of amphibious ships and would use that experience to balance aviation and surface connector needs in this next big-deck.

«We appreciate the partnerships we continue to have with the Navy/Marine Corps team», Cuccias said. «We are also proud of the support we get from a large, nationwide industrial base of suppliers, who remain an essential ingredient to the construction of these capable and survivable amphibious warships».

«Ingalls operates in an 800-acre (3.237 km2) shipbuilding facility that is optimized to build several classes of complex ships simultaneously», Cuccias said. «As Mississippi’s largest manufacturing employer, we also appreciate the stable partnership we’ve had with the state and the investments they’ve made in our success throughout our nearly 80 years in Pascagoula».

Future LCS Charleston

A ceremony was hosted to celebrate the keel authentication of future USS Charleston (LCS-18), the ninth Independence variant littoral combat ship, June 28.

The U.S. Navy laid the keel for the nation’s 18th littoral combat ship, the USS Charleston (LCS-18), at Austal’s shipyard in Alabama, USA
The U.S. Navy laid the keel for the nation’s 18th littoral combat ship, the USS Charleston (LCS-18), at Austal’s shipyard in Alabama, USA

Charlotte Riley, wife of former Charleston mayor Joseph Riley, serves as the ship’s sponsor and honorary member and advocate for the crew. U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (Republican – Alabama) served as the honorary keel authenticator during the ceremony and was present to weld his initials into the keel plate.

«The future USS Charleston (LCS-18) stands as a testament to the strong and resilient spirit of her namesake city», said Captain Tom Anderson, LCS program manager. «Once complete, this highly versatile warship will sail the world’s seas, carrying with her the backing of a city steeped in naval history».

Built by an industry team led by Austal USA, Charleston will be approximately 417 feet/127.1 m in length and have a width of nearly 103 feet/31.4 m.

LCS is a modular, reconfigurable ship, with three types of mission packages including surface warfare, mine countermeasures, and anti-submarine warfare. The LCS class consists of the Freedom variant and Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin – for LCS-1 and follow-on odd-numbered hulls. The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA – for LCS-6 and follow-on even-numbered hulls.

The Program Executive Office (PEO) Littoral Combat Ships is responsible for delivering and sustaining littoral mission capabilities to the fleet. Delivering high-quality warfighting assets while balancing affordability and capability is key to supporting the nation’s maritime strategy.

 

The Independence Variant of the LCS Class

PRINCIPAL DIMENSIONS
Construction Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy
Length overall 417 feet/127.1 m
Beam overall 103 feet/31.4 m
Hull draft (maximum) 14.8 feet/4.5 m
PAYLOAD AND CAPACITIES
Complement Core Crew – 40
Mission crew – 36
Berthing 76 in a mix of single, double & quad berthing compartments
Maximum mission load 210 tonnes
Mission Bay Volume 118,403 feet3/11,000 m3
Mission packages Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
Surface Warfare (SUW)
Mine Warfare (MIW)
PROPULSION
Main engines 2 × GE LM2500
2 × MTU 20V 8000
Waterjets 4 × Wartsila steerable
Bow thruster Retractable azimuthing
PERFORMANCE
Speed 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
Range 3,500 NM/4,028 miles/6,482 km
Operational limitation Survival in Sea State 8
MISSION/LOGISTICS DECK
Deck area >21,527.8 feet2/2,000 m2
Launch and recovery Twin boom extending crane
Loading Side ramp
Internal elevator to hanger
Launch/Recover Watercraft 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)
Hanger Aircraft stowage & maintenance for 2 × SH-60
Launch/Recover Aircraft Sea State 5
WEAPONS AND SENSORS
Standard 1 × 57-mm gun
4 × 12.7-mm/.50 caliber guns
1 × Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) launcher
3 × weapons modules
The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS-6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls) and was originally led by General Dynamics, Bath Iron Works (LCS-2 and LCS-4)
The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS-6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls) and was originally led by General Dynamics, Bath Iron Works (LCS-2 and LCS-4)

 

Independence-class

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Independence (LCS-2) 01-19-2006 04-26-2008 01-16-2010 San Diego, California
USS Coronado (LCS-4) 12-17-2009 01-14-2012 04-05-2014 San Diego, California
USS Jackson (LCS-6) 08-01-2011 12-14-2013 12-05-2015 San Diego, California
USS Montgomery (LCS-8) 06-25-2013 08-06-2014 San Diego, California
USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) 04-16-2014 02-25-2015
USS Omaha (LCS-12) 02-18-2015 11-20-2015
USS Manchester (LCS-14) 06-29-2015
USS Tulsa (LCS-16) 01-11-2016
USS Charleston (LCS-18) 06-28-2016
USS Cincinnati (LCS-20)
USS Kansas City (LCS-22)
USS Oakland (LCS-24)
USS Jackson (LCS-6) during its christening ceremony at Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama in 2014 (U.S. Navy Photo)
USS Jackson (LCS-6) during its christening ceremony at Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama in 2014 (U.S. Navy Photo)

New radar capability

The MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter recently deployed with the USS Coronado (LCS-4) to begin flight operations using its new maritime surveillance radar.

An MQ-8B Fire Scout conducts flight operations in preparation for deployment with USS Coronado (LCS-4) in June 2016. The unmanned helicopter deployed with a new search radar that will increase situational awareness for the ship's crew in maritime and littoral environments (U.S. Navy photo)
An MQ-8B Fire Scout conducts flight operations in preparation for deployment with USS Coronado (LCS-4) in June 2016. The unmanned helicopter deployed with a new search radar that will increase situational awareness for the ship’s crew in maritime and littoral environments (U.S. Navy photo)

The AN/ZPY-4(V)1 radar, built by Telephonics Corporation, will be used to improve the situational awareness of the MQ-8B Fire Scout operators and the ship’s crew in maritime and littoral environments. The AN/ZPY-4(V)1 will also improve Fire Scout’s target classification for maritime and overland targets.

Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Two Three (HSC-23) will operate both the MQ-8B Fire Scout and the MH-60S Seahawk to increase situational awareness and threat warning in a high-traffic littoral environment.

«This air package will significantly improve the Navy’s surface search capabilities for LCS and its action group», said Captain Ben Reynolds, Commodore, HSC Wing Pacific. «The expanded capability will allow our assets to employ an autonomous aircraft off of a naval vessel for search, detection, surveillance, and tracking of maritime surface vessels».

The radar will be used in support of Surface Unit Warfare objectives. It will significantly expand the search area for the ship’s combat team with the ability to simultaneously track up to 150 targets and increase detection accuracies out to 70 nautical miles/80.5 miles/130 km.

«Our overall goal for the first-ever HSC/LCS deployment is to integrate the MQ-8B Fire Scout and MH-60S Seahawk in all available scenarios in order to act as a force multiplier for ships and to function as a vital arm of distributed lethality for the tactical commander», Reynolds said.

«This capability allows the manned/unmanned aviation detachment, working in concert with the LCS and mission package crew, to expand and vastly improve their battle space awareness while building a more detailed common operational picture», he said.

«We continue to evolve into full manned-unmanned teaming by conducting simultaneous missions in the air by determining how best to use MQ-8B and MH-60S for traditional maritime operations», said Captain Jeff Dodge, Fire Scout program manager.

The MQ-8B Fire Scout will also support the U.S. Navy’s biennially RIMPAC exercise this summer while deployed aboard the USS Coronado (LCS-4).