View of Earth

Astro Aerospace, a Northrop Grumman Corporation company, has completed the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) of the AstroMesh radar antenna reflector for the NASA-Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) satellite. The antenna reflector, furnished by Astro Aerospace, is part of the NISAR L-band synthetic aperture radar managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

NISAR will be the first radar imaging satellite to use dual L-Band and S-Band frequencies, providing an unprecedented, detailed view of Earth (Credit: NASA JPL)
NISAR will be the first radar imaging satellite to use dual L-Band and S-Band frequencies, providing an unprecedented, detailed view of Earth (Credit: NASA JPL)

Scheduled to launch in 2021, NISAR will be the first radar imaging satellite to use dual L-Band and S-Band frequencies, providing an unprecedented, detailed view of Earth. NISAR is designed to observe some of the planet’s most complex processes, including ecosystem disturbances, ice-sheet dynamics, and natural hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes and landslides. Data collected from NISAR will reveal information about the evolution and state of Earth’s crust, help scientists better understand our planet’s processes and changing climate, and aid future resource and hazard management. The mission is a partnership between NASA and ISRO.

With 100 percent on orbit success since 1958, Astro Aerospace brings unmatched expertise in space hardware and deployable structures to NISAR. Astro Aerospace utilizes its proprietary AstroMesh deployable mesh reflector for NISAR’s 39.4-foot/12-meter aperture antenna, building an ultralight and extremely stiff reflector that is ideally suited for high frequency communications and radar applications.

The NISAR instrument design review represents a major program milestone. With the preliminary design review successfully completed, the program will move into detailed design and fabrication.

«We are proud to support JPL and the NISAR program on this important Earth science program», said John A. Alvarez, general manager, Astro Aerospace. «Thank you to the entire Astro NISAR team who worked tirelessly to ensure a successful PDR».

NISAR follows the successful engineering, deployment and spin up of JPL’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite, launched January 31, 2015. Astro supplied the 19.7-foot/6-meter AstroMesh antenna for SMAP, the largest spinning reflector ever created.

Since 1958, Astro Aerospace, part of Northrop Grumman’s Aerospace Products business unit, has helped enable complex missions to Earth’s orbit, Mars and beyond with its innovative deployable space structures and mechanisms. The business unit’s products have been successfully deployed on hundreds of space flights with a 100 percent success rate, a testament to Northrop Grumman’s commitment to reliability, quality and affordability.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in autonomous systems, cyber, Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR), strike, and logistics and modernization to customers worldwide.

Surveillance Network

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket carrying the AFSPC-6 mission for the United States Air Force lifted off from Space Launch Complex-37 August 19 at 12:52 a.m. EDT. This is ULA’s seventh launch in 2016 and the 110th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.

ULA's Delta IV rocket lifts off with the AFSPC-6 mission for the United States Air Force
ULA’s Delta IV rocket lifts off with the AFSPC-6 mission for the United States Air Force

«Thank you to the ULA, Air Force and industry partners for the outstanding teamwork and flawless execution that made today’s mission a success», said Laura Maginnis, ULA vice president of Custom Services. «This morning’s AFSPC-6 launch is a prime example of why our customers continue to place their trust us to launch our nation’s crucial space capabilities».

This mission was launched aboard a Delta IV Medium+ (4,2) configuration Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) powered by one common booster core. The common booster core was powered by an RS-68A liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine producing 702,000 pounds/ 318,422 kg of thrust. A single RL10B liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine powered the second stage. The booster and upper stage engines are both built by Aerojet Rocketdyne. ULA constructed the Delta IV Medium+ (4,2) launch vehicle in Decatur, Alabama.

The AFSPC-6 mission consists of twin Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) spacecraft, built by Orbital ATK. The new satellites will join the first two GSSAP spacecraft launched approximately two years ago aboard a Delta IV launch vehicle. GSSAP is a space-based capability that collects space situational awareness data, allowing for more accurate tracking and characterization of man-made orbiting objects. It has a clear, unobstructed, and distinct vantage point for viewing resident space objects orbiting earth in a near-geosynchronous orbit without the weather or atmosphere disruptions that limit ground-based observations. The data from GSSAP greatly improves our ability to rapidly detect, warn, characterize and attribute disturbances to space systems in the geosynchronous environment.

The Air Force's AFSPC-6 payload, encapsulated inside a 4-meter diameter payload fairing, is transported and mated to a Delta IV rocket at Space Launch Complex-37
The Air Force’s AFSPC-6 payload, encapsulated inside a 4-meter diameter payload fairing, is transported and mated to a Delta IV rocket at Space Launch Complex-37

ULA’s next launch is the Atlas V OSIRIS-REx spacecraft for NASA. The launch is scheduled for September 8 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

The EELV program was established by the U.S. Air Force to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense (DoD) and other government payloads. The commercially developed EELV program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the heritage launch systems.

With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 100 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system.

Delta IV AFSPC-6 Launch Highlights

In preparation for launch, the Mobile Service Tower is rolled back from a Delta IV rocket carrying the AFSPC-6 mission
In preparation for launch, the Mobile Service Tower is rolled back from a Delta IV rocket carrying the AFSPC-6 mission

Aegis fleet

The global Aegis fleet will expand in the U.S., Japan and the Republic of Korea under a $490 million deal with Lockheed Martin to bring Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capabilities to new destroyers.

Aegis ships USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53), USS Shoup (DDG-86), Japan’s Chokai (DDG-176), the Republic of Korea’s Sejung The Great (DDG-991) and Gang Gam Chan (DDH-979) steam in formation during exercise Pacific Dragon 2016 in June (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Holly L. Herline/Released)
Aegis ships USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53), USS Shoup (DDG-86), Japan’s Chokai (DDG-176), the Republic of Korea’s Sejung The Great (DDG-991) and Gang Gam Chan (DDH-979) steam in formation during exercise Pacific Dragon 2016 in June (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Holly L. Herline/Released)

The ships will be equipped with Aegis Baseline 9, the latest evolution of the combat system, capable of IAMD. The Aegis system includes Lockheed Martin’s SPY-1 radar, the Navy’s most advanced multi-function radar system. When paired with the Mk-41 Vertical Launching System, it is capable of delivering missiles for every mission and threat environment in naval warfare.

«Lockheed Martin has a proud record of working hand-in-hand with the U.S. Navy, Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces and the Republic of Korea Navy», said Jim Sheridan, director of Lockheed Martin Aegis U.S. Navy programs. «We will continue the Lockheed Martin tradition of providing Aegis on-time and on-budget so these destroyers are prepared to meet the evolving demands of securing the U.S. homeland and its allies».

This contract comes on the heels of a successful joint-missile defense exercise in June in which Aegis destroyers from the three nations shared data while detecting and tracking a simulated missile threat. Under this new production hardware contract, Lockheed Martin will expand the Aegis fleet in the U.S. Navy and in:

  • Japan: The seventh and eighth Aegis ships will join Japan’s fleet. Aegis provides four of Japan’s Kongo-class destroyers and two Atago-class destroyers with advanced sea, air and undersea threat detection capabilities. The Self Defense Forces of Japan joined the Aegis family in 1993.
  • Republic of Korea (RoK): Aegis will join the next three KDX-III Sejong the Great Class destroyers, a multi-purpose destroyer with air and land defense and anti-submarine capabilities. Aegis is aboard three KDX-III destroyers: RoK Sejong the Great (DDG-991), RoK Yulgok Yi I (DDG-992) and RoK Seoae Ryu Sungryong (DDG-993), which are the largest surface warfare ships to carry Aegis. The Republic of Korea joined the international Aegis fleet in 2008, when the navy commissioned the first ship of the class, Sejong the Great.

As the Aegis Combat System Engineering Agent, Lockheed Martin continues to develop new Aegis capabilities and find innovative ways to deploy them across the more than 100 ships in the U.S. and international Aegis Fleets. This innovation is possible in part due to the open architecture of the Aegis Combat System and the Common Source Library, which allows engineers to integrate new systems and capabilities across baselines, as well as affordably distribute the upgrades throughout the fleet in a «build once, use many times» design philosophy.

With more than 40 years of significant investment by the U.S. Navy and its allies, the Aegis Combat System is used globally by six navies. In addition to the U.S., Japan, and the Republic of Korea, Aegis is the maritime weapon system of choice for Australia, Norway and Spain.

Freedom-variant LCS

The Lockheed Martin-led industry team delivered the nation’s seventh Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the future USS Detroit (LCS-7), to the U.S. Navy on August 12. The future USS Detroit (LCS-7) is the fourth Freedom-variant LCS delivered to the U.S. Navy by Lockheed Martin and is scheduled to be commissioned in Detroit on October 22.

The future USS Detroit, the fourth Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship delivered to the U.S. Navy, underway during Acceptance Trials on July 13, 2016
The future USS Detroit, the fourth Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship delivered to the U.S. Navy, underway during Acceptance Trials on July 13, 2016

«Team Freedom is proud to deliver another capable LCS to the Navy», said Joe North, vice president and general manager of Littoral Ships and Systems. «Once commissioned, the USS Detroit will represent the interests of the United States where and when needed, with a level of force that will deter and defeat threats».

The Lockheed Martin-led industry team is currently in full-rate production of the Freedom-variant, with six ships under construction at Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) and three more in long-lead material procurement. The ship’s modular design and plug-and-play architecture enables the U.S. Navy to achieve increased capacity and capability at a fraction of the cost of other platforms.

«We are proud to deliver another proven warship that allows our Navy to carry out its missions around the world», said Jan Allman, FMM president and CEO. «We look forward to working with the U.S. Navy to continue building these highly capable ships for the fleet».

LCS-7 will be the sixth U.S. Navy ship named USS Detroit. Previous ships to bear the name included a Sacramento-class fast combat support ship, an Omaha-class light cruiser, a Montgomery-class cruiser and two 19th century sloops of war.

The Lockheed Martin-led LCS team is comprised of shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine, naval architect Gibbs & Cox, and more than 500 suppliers in 37 states. The Freedom-variant’s steel monohull is based on a proven, survivable design recognized for its stability and reliability. With 40 percent reconfigurable shipboard space, the hull is ideally suited to accommodate additional lethality and survivability upgrades associated with the Freedom-variant Frigate.

 

Ship Design Specifications

Hull Advanced semiplaning steel monohull
Length Overall 389 feet/118.6 m
Beam Overall 57 feet/17.5 m
Draft 13.5 feet/4.1 m
Full Load Displacement Approximately 3,200 metric tons
Top Speed Greater than 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
Range at top speed 1,000 NM/1,151 miles/1,852 km
Range at cruise speed 4,000 NM/4,603 miles/7,408 km
Watercraft Launch and Recovery Up to Sea State 4
Aircraft Launch and Recovery Up to Sea State 5
Propulsion Combined diesel and gas turbine with steerable water jet propulsion
Power 85 MW/113,600 horsepower
Hangar Space Two MH-60 Romeo Helicopters
One MH-60 Romeo Helicopter and three Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (VTUAVs)
Core Crew Less than 50
Accommodations for 75 sailors provide higher sailor quality of life than current fleet
Integrated Bridge System Fully digital nautical charts are interfaced to ship sensors to support safe ship operation
Core Self-Defense Suite Includes 3D air search radar
Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) gunfire control system
Rolling-Airframe Missile Launching System
57-mm Main Gun
Mine, Torpedo Detection
Decoy Launching System

 

Freedom-class

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Freedom (LCS-1) 06-02-2005 09-23-2006 11-08-2008 San Diego, California
USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) 07-11-2009 12-07-2010 09-22-2012 San Diego, California
USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) 10-27-2011 12-18-2013 11-21-2015 San Diego, California
USS Detroit (LCS-7) 08-11-2012 10-18-2014 San Diego, California
USS Little Rock (LCS-9) 06-27-2013 07-18-2015
USS Sioux City (LCS-11) 02-19-2014 01-30-2016
USS Wichita (LCS-13) 02-09-2015
USS Billings (LCS-15) 11-02-2015
USS Indianapolis (LCS-17) 07-18-2016
USS St. Louis (LCS-19)
USS Minneapolis/St. Paul (LCS-21)
USS Cooperstown (LCS-23)
LCS-25

Future USS Detroit (LCS-7) Successfully Completes Acceptance Trials

A look into the future

Raytheon Company has given the U.S. Army a look into the future of missile defense technology, as the company provided its comprehensive vision for the next generation of air and missile defense radar. The information was supplied to the U.S. Army as part of its process to define the requirements for a future Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS).

Raytheon's re-engineered Patriot radar prototype uses two key technologies – active electronically scanned array, which changes the way the radar searches the sky; and gallium nitride circuitry, which uses energy efficiently to amplify the radar's high-power radio frequencies
Raytheon’s re-engineered Patriot radar prototype uses two key technologies – active electronically scanned array, which changes the way the radar searches the sky; and gallium nitride circuitry, which uses energy efficiently to amplify the radar’s high-power radio frequencies

«Raytheon’s solution for the LTAMDS is based on the more than $200 million that the company has invested in Gallium Nitride (GaN) powered Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) technology», said Ralph Acaba, vice president of Integrated Air and Missile Defense at Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems business. «Raytheon showed it can quickly and affordably design, build, test and field a GaN-based AESA radar capable of defeating all threats when we exhibited a potential LTAMDS solution at the winter AUSA tradeshow this past March».

Raytheon’s GaN-based AESA LTAMDS radar is designed to serve as a sensor on the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS) network. It will be fully interoperable with NATO, and also retains backwards compatibility with both the current Patriot system and any future system upgrades fielded by any of the 13-nations that currently own Patriot.

«Others may draw on lesson learned from the terminated Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) air and missile defense project or repeatedly re-baselined naval radars; Raytheon’s LTAMDS solution builds on successful programs such as the U.S. Navy’s Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) and the Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR)», said Doug Burgess, director of Integrated Air and Missile defense AESA programs. «Our response, and our AESA GaN radar rollout at AUSA show there doesn’t need to be a wait of a decade or longer to get the sensor of the future. It will be available much, much sooner».

 

About GaN

Raytheon has been leading the innovation and development of GaN for 17 years and has invested more than $200 million to get this latest technology into the hands of the military faster and at lower cost and risk. Raytheon has demonstrated the maturity of the technology in a number of ways, including exceeding the reliability requirement for insertion into the production of military systems.

Approved for production

The KC-46A Pegasus program received Milestone C approval from Frank Kendall, the under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, signaling the aircraft is ready to enter into production. Work is now underway to award the first two low-rate initial production lots within the next 30 days.

KC-46A Tanker completes aerial refueling required for Milestone C
KC-46A Tanker completes aerial refueling required for Milestone C

«I commend the team for diligently working through some difficult technical challenges», said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James. «The KC-46 program has made significant strides in moving the Air Force toward the modernization needed in our strategic tanker fleet».

Securing approval to begin low-rate initial production required completion of several aerial refueling demonstrations, to include refueling an F-16 Fighting Falcon, C-17 Globemaster III and A-10 Thunderbolt II off the boom, and an AV-8 Harrier II and F/A-18 Hornet off both hose and drogue systems. The KC-46 Pegasus also proved its receiver capability by taking fuel from a KC-10 Extender.

Some demonstrations were delayed due to higher than expected axial loads in the boom. Boeing installed hydraulic pressure relief valves to alleviate loads and last month all remaining demonstrations were quickly completed.

«The KC-46 is ready to take the next step», said Air Force Chief of Staff General David L. Goldfein. «Our Air Force and Boeing team stepped up to meet the recent challenges. I’m especially proud of the employees on the floor of the Boeing plant and employees of all our industry partners, who work every day to deliver game-changing capability to the warfighter. My hat’s off to them and our program leads».

The Air Force will soon award contracts to Boeing for two lots, totaling 19 aircraft, and associated spare parts for a pre-negotiated $2.8 billion combined value.

The first aircraft deliveries will be to McConnell Air Force Base (AFB), Kansas, and Altus AFB, Oklahoma. A total of 18 tankers are scheduled to be delivered by early 2018.

«I am exceedingly proud of the KC-46 program office for clearing the production hurdle», said Darlene Costello, an Air Force Service Acquisition executive. «We have crossed an important milestone, and I appreciate Boeing’s continued focus as they work to finish development prior to first aircraft delivery».

Going forward in the test program, the KC-46 Pegasus will complete a robust schedule of Federal Aviation Administration and military certification flight testing, including refueling test flights, in order to achieve certification for aircraft in the U.S. Air Force and Department of Defense inventory.

15-inch (38.1 centimeter) 787-style advanced electronic displays
15-inch (38.1 centimeter) 787-style advanced electronic displays

 

General Characteristics

Primary Function Aerial refueling and airlift
Prime Contractor The Boeing Company
Power Plant 2 × Pratt & Whitney 4062
Thrust 62,000 lbs/275.790 kN/28,123 kgf – Thrust per High-Bypass engine (sea-level standard day)
Wingspan 157 feet, 8 inches/48.1 m
Length 165 feet, 6 inches/50.5 m
Height 52 feet, 10 inches/15.9 m
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 415,000 lbs/188,240 kg
Maximum Landing Weight 310,000 lbs/140,614 kg
Fuel Capacity 212,299 lbs/96,297 kg
Maximum Transfer Fuel Load 207,672 lbs/94,198 kg
Maximum Cargo Capacity 65,000 lbs/29,484 kg
Maximum Airspeed 360 KCAS (Knots Calibrated AirSpeed)/0.86 M/414 mph/667 km/h
Service Ceiling 43,100 feet/13,137 m
Maximum Distance 7,299 NM/8,400 miles/13,518 km
Pallet Positions 18 pallet positions
Air Crew 15 permanent seats for aircrew, including aeromedical evacuation aircrew
Passengers 58 total (normal operations); up to 114 total (contingency operations)
Aeromedical Evacuation 58 patients (24 litters/34 ambulatory) with the AE Patient Support Pallet configuration; 6 integral litters carried as part of normal aircraft configuration equipment

The KC-46A Pegasus is a widebody, multirole tanker that can refuel all U.S., allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures

Puma Aboard Destroyer

AeroVironment, Inc. on August 11 announced the United States Navy has tested and deployed the RQ-20B Puma small Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) aboard a Flight I Guided Missile Destroyer (DDG Class). Some of these exercises included the use of AeroVironment’s fully autonomous system to recover the aircraft aboard a ship. The U.S. Navy issued a report on August 3 from the Arabian Gulf describing how Puma AE is also being utilized on Navy Patrol Craft.

Puma AE (All Environment) is a fully waterproof, small, unmanned aircraft system designed for land and maritime operations
Puma AE (All Environment) is a fully waterproof, small, unmanned aircraft system designed for land and maritime operations

Following completion of a Puma AE intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission, the AeroVironment Precision Recovery System provides for the autonomous on-board recovery of the aircraft, without interrupting the ship’s operations. Because the RQ-20B Puma AE is also designed to land and float in water, operators can choose to recover it from the ocean, should mission requirements dictate.

The AeroVironment Precision Recovery System occupies a small footprint and can be managed and operated by members of a ship’s crew, as opposed to requiring external contractors. It is transported in tactical packaging that can be hand-carried aboard and readily transferred from one ship to another.

«Our Precision Recovery System expands the capability of Puma AE to support maritime operations. This solution also builds on AeroVironment’s extensive operational experience with small UAS to provide the U.S. Navy with a low-cost, hand-launched capability optimized for contested environments», said Kirk Flittie, vice president and general manager of AeroVironment’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment. «Puma AE’s ability to operate from a wide variety of surface vessels ensures rapid response reconnaissance capabilities that help our customers operate more safely and effectively and proceed with certainty».

Puma AE can be launched and recovered very quickly. The UAS features a gimbaled payload that delivers high quality Electro-Optical (EO) and Infrared (IR) imagery and AeroVironment’s secure Digital Data Link (DDL). These features improve situational awareness for the ship and also for boat crews who carry their own remote video terminal («Pocket DDL») during approach and assist or other missions.

AeroVironment developed the Puma AE system to compete for, and win, a 2008 United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) competitive program of record and subsequently supplied the system to the U.S. Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Coastal Riverine Forces, the US Army for convoy and ground troop support and the US Marine Corps. Most recently, the Navy procured Puma AE systems for use aboard Patrol Craft and also deployed them aboard a US Navy Expeditionary Fast Transport (T-EPF) ship in support of counter illicit trafficking operations in the Caribbean. The Puma AE is also employed by several international partners.

The United States Department of Defense recently established the designation RQ-20B for the block 2 Puma AE small UAS. The block 2 Puma AE system includes a more powerful and lighter propulsion system, lighter and stronger airframe, long endurance battery, precision inertial navigation system and an improved user interface. The new, all environment Mantis i45 gimbal sensor suite for Puma AE delivers a dramatic leap in small UAS image resolution and ISR capability and will be available for ordering in September.

Capable of landing in water or on land, the Puma AE empowers the operator with an operational flexibility never before available in the small UAS class
Capable of landing in water or on land, the Puma AE empowers the operator with an operational flexibility never before available in the small UAS class

 

KEY FEATURES

  • 3+ Hour Flight Endurance
  • Smart Battery options to support diverse missions
  • Gimbaled EO & IR Payload
  • Increased Payload Capacity with optional under wing Transit Bay
  • Powerful and Efficient Propulsion System
  • Precision Navigation System with
  • Secondary GPS
  • Plug and Play Secondary Power Adapter
  • Reinforced Fuselage for Improved Durability
The enhanced precision navigation system with secondary GPS provides greater positional accuracy and reliability of the Puma AE
The enhanced precision navigation system with secondary GPS provides greater positional accuracy and reliability of the Puma AE

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Payloads Gimbaled payload, 360-degree continuous pan, +10 to -90 degrees tilt, stabilized EO, IR camera, and IR Illuminator all in one modular payload
Range 8 NM/9.3 miles/15 km
Endurance 3+ hours
Operating Altitude (Typ.) 500 feet/152 m Above Ground Level (AGL)
Wing Span 9.2 feet/2.8 m
Length 4.6 feet/1.4 m
Weight 14 lbs/6.3 kg
Ground Control System (GCS) Common GCS with Raven, Wasp and Shrike
Launch Method Hand-launched, rail launch (optional)
Recovery Method Autonomous or manual deep-stall landing
AV’s common ground control system allows the operator to control the aircraft manually or program it for GPS-based autonomous navigation
AV’s common ground control system allows the operator to control the aircraft manually or program it for GPS-based autonomous navigation

Pressure Hull Complete

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced on August 9 that its Newport News Shipbuilding division has reached a major milestone in the construction of the submarine USS Indiana (SSN-789). The 16th Virginia-class submarine has reached «pressure hull complete», signifying that all of its hull sections are joined to form a single, watertight unit.

USS Indiana (SSN-789), the 16th Virginia-class submarine, has reached «pressure hull complete», signifying that all of its hull sections are joined to form a single, watertight unit (Photo by Chris Oxley)
USS Indiana (SSN-789), the 16th Virginia-class submarine, has reached «pressure hull complete», signifying that all of its hull sections are joined to form a single, watertight unit (Photo by Chris Oxley)

Ship’s Sponsor Diane Donald, wife of Admiral Kirk Donald (U.S. Navy, Ret.), and Ray Shearer, chairman of Indiana’s commissioning committee, visited the shipyard to see the progress being made on the submarine and meet with its crew.

«Witnessing Indiana come to life is one of the most gratifying experiences of my life», Mrs. Donald said. «The countless hours of hard work the shipbuilders have put into constructing and perfecting this boat is apparent, as Indiana has now taken on the shape of a submarine. I also had the pleasure of spending time with the ship’s crew. As the wife of a submariner, it’s been a real honor getting to know a new generation of sailors and witnessing their enthusiasm and dedicated service to our nation. As Indiana moves closer to joining the Navy’s fleet next year, I look forward to continuing to share this journey with her shipbuilders and crew members».

Pressure hull complete is the last major milestone before the submarine’s christening. Construction began in September 2012 under a teaming agreement between Newport News and General Dynamics Electric Boat. The submarine is about 82 percent complete and is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in the third quarter of 2017.

«We are on track to meet our budget and schedule commitments to the Navy, and I’m proud of the progress that the Newport News Shipbuilding-General Dynamics Electric Boat team is making», said Jim Hughes, Newport News’ vice president, submarines and fleet support. «Our progress demonstrates the efficiency of the Navy’s two-per-year build plan, which helps ensure America’s undersea superiority».

Commander Jesse J. Zimbauer, Indiana’s commanding officer, said, «Newport News Shipbuilding has completed the pressure hull on time for the Indiana, continuing the momentum of the Navy’s most successful build program and moving us another step closer to taking our submarine to sea».

Virginia-class submarine USS Illinois (SSN-786) (GD Electric Boat Photo)
Virginia-class submarine USS Illinois (SSN-786) (GD Electric Boat Photo)

 

General Characteristics

Builder General Dynamics Electric Boat Division and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. – Newport News Shipbuilding
Date Deployed October 3, 2004
Propulsion One GE PWR S9G* nuclear reactor, two turbines, one shaft; 40,000 hp/30 MW
Length 377 feet/114.8 m
Beam 33 feet/10.06 m
Hull Diameter 34 feet/10.36 m
Displacement Approximately 7,835 tons/7,961 metric tons submerged
Speed 25+ knots/28+ mph/46.3+ km/h
Diving Depth 800+ feet/244+ m
Crew 132: 15 officers; 117 enlisted
Armament: Tomahawk missiles 12 individual VLS (Vertical Launch System) tubes or two 87-in/2.2 m Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs), each capable of launching 6 Tomahawk cruise missiles
Armament: MK-48 ADCAP (Advanced Capability) Mod 7 heavyweight torpedoes 4 torpedo tubes
Weapons MK-60 CAPTOR (Encapsulated Torpedo) mines, advanced mobile mines and UUVs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicles)

* – Knolls Atomic Power Laboratories

 

Nuclear Submarine Lineup

 

Block I

Ship Yard Christening Commissioned Homeport
SSN-774 Virginia EB 8-16-03 10-23-04 Portsmouth, New Hampshire
SSN-775 Texas NNS 7-31-05 9-9-06 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
SSN-776 Hawaii EB 6-19-06 5-5-07 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
SSN-777 North Carolina NNS 4-21-07 5-3-08 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

EB – Electric Boat, Groton, Connecticut

NNS – Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia

SSN – Attack Submarine, Nuclear-powered

 

Block II

Ship Yard Christening Commissioned Homeport
SSN-778 New Hampshire EB 6-21-08 10-25-08 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-779 New Mexico NNS 12-13-08 11-21-09 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-780 Missouri EB 12-5-09 7-31-10 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-781 California NNS 11-6-10 10-29-11 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-782 Mississippi EB 12-3-11 6-2-12 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-783 Minnesota NNS 10-27-12 9-7-13 Norfolk, Virginia

 

Block III

Ship Yard Christening Commissioned Homeport
SSN-784 North Dakota EB 11-2-13 10-25-14 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-785 John Warner NNS 09-06-14 08-01-15 Norfolk, Virginia
SSN-786 Illinois EB 10-10-15
SSN-787 Washington NNS 03-05-16
SSN-788 Colorado EB Under Construction
SSN-789 Indiana NNS Under Construction
SSN-790 South Dakota EB Under Construction
SSN-791 Delaware NNS Under Construction

 

Sea Trials For Munro

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced on August 9 the successful completion of builder’s sea trials for the company’s sixth U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter (NSC), USCGC Munro (WMSL-755). The ship, built at HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division, spent three days in the Gulf of Mexico testing all of the ship’s systems.

Munro, the sixth U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter (NSC) built at Ingalls Shipbuilding, spent three days in the Gulf of Mexico testing all of the ship’s systems (Photo by Lance Davis/HII)
Munro, the sixth U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter (NSC) built at Ingalls Shipbuilding, spent three days in the Gulf of Mexico testing all of the ship’s systems (Photo by Lance Davis/HII)

«The National Security Cutter program exemplifies the sustainable success that can be accomplished through serial production of a ship class», said Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias. «Our shipbuilders are providing quality, highly capable ships to our customer in an efficient, affordable manner, which is important to the U.S. Coast Guard sailors who patrol our coastlines in these great ships, protecting our freedom».

Ingalls’ test and trials team conducted extensive testing of the ships’ propulsion, electrical systems, damage control, anchor handling, small boat operations and combat systems. This culminated in the successful completion of a four-hour, full-power propulsion run.

«We experienced a safe and successful builder’s trial, which is a result of outstanding teamwork from our shipbuilders and our U.S. Coast Guard partners», said George S. Jones, Ingalls’ vice president of operations. «It is an exciting time in this program, and the NSC class of ships is truly a high-performing design. The pride of workmanship – from those on trial to the many craftsmen and women, designers, procurement specialists and all other shipbuilders who touched the ship during this process – allowed this ship to perform so well at sea».

Ingalls has delivered the first five NSCs and has three more under construction, including USCGC Munro (WMSL-755), set to deliver in the fourth quarter of this year. USCGC Kimball (WMSL-756) is scheduled for delivery in 2018, and USCGC Midgett (WMSL-757) in 2019.

«The NSC program is really firing on all cylinders, and NSC 6 is another example of how each successive ship just keeps getting better in all aspects», said Derek Murphy, Ingalls’ Coast Guard program manager. «Our shipbuilders continue to meet the challenge of maintaining an aggressive learning curve. Not only did we go to sea five weeks earlier than any previous NSC, we did so with a more complete ship at a significantly reduced cost».

Munro is named to honor Signalman First Class Douglas A. Munro, the Coast Guard’s sole recipient of the Medal of Honor. He was mortally wounded on September 27, 1942, while evacuating a detachment of Marines on Guadalcanal.

Legend-class NSCs are the flagships of the Coast Guard’s cutter fleet. Designed to replace the 378‐foot/115-meter Hamilton-class high-endurance cutters that entered service in the 1960s, they are 418 feet/127 m long with a 54-foot/16-meter beam and displace 4,500 long tons/4,572 metric tons with a full load. They have a top speed of 28 knots/32 mph/52 km/h, a range of 12,000 nautical miles/13,809 miles/22,224 km, an endurance of 60 days and a crew of 110.

NSCs are capable of meeting all maritime security mission needs required of the high-endurance cutter. They include an aft launch and recovery area for two Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) and a flight deck to accommodate a range of manned and unmanned rotary wing aircraft. The Legend class is the largest and most technologically advanced class of cutter in the Coast Guard, with robust capabilities for maritime homeland security, law enforcement, marine safety, environmental protection and national defense missions.

NSCs play an important role enhancing the Coast Guard’s operational readiness, capacity and effectiveness at a time when the demand for their services has never been greater.

The National Security Cutter is the first new design for the service in 20 years, and features enhanced capabilities that will allow the eight-ship class to replace 12 aging high-endurance cutters that have been in service for 40 years
The National Security Cutter is the first new design for the service in 20 years, and features enhanced capabilities that will allow the eight-ship class to replace 12 aging high-endurance cutters that have been in service for 40 years

 

Facts

Displacement 4,500 long tons/4,572 metric tons
Length 418 feet/127 m
Beam 54 feet/16 m
Speed 28 knots/32 mph/52 km/h
Range 12,000 NM/13,809 miles/22,224 km
Endurance 60 days
Crew 120
Equipped with Mk-110 57-mm turret mounted gun
6 × 12.7-mm/.50 caliber machine guns
3D air search radar
2 level 1, class 1 aircraft hangers
A stern launch ramp for mission boats

 

Ship list

Ship Hull Number Laid down Launched Commissioned
Bertholf WMSL-750 03-29-2005 09-29-2006 08-04-2008
Waesche WMSL-751 09-11-2006 07-12-2008 05-07-2010
Stratton WMSL-752 07-20-2009 07-23-2010 03-31-2012
Hamilton WMSL-753 09-05-2012 08-10-2013 12-06-2014
James WMSL-754 05-17-2013 05-03-2014 08-08-2015
Munro WMSL-755 10-07-2013 09-12-2015
Kimball WMSL-756 03-04-2016
Midgett WMSL-757

Munro (NSC 6) Builder’s Sea Trials

Kuwaiti Caracal

On 9 August 2016 Airbus Helicopters has signed a contract with the Kuwait Ministry of Defence for the purchase of 30 H225M Caracal multirole utility helicopters as well as an associated support and services package, during the visit of the French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to Kuwait.

Kuwait Air Force and Kuwait National Guard to operate 30 H225M Caracal multirole utility helicopters for combat search-and-rescue and naval operations
Kuwait Air Force and Kuwait National Guard to operate 30 H225M Caracal multirole utility helicopters for combat search-and-rescue and naval operations

«We are greatly honored that the Kuwait Ministry of Defence has chosen the H225M Caracal as the best platform to fulfill its demanding operational requirements», said Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. «Our relationship with Kuwait dates back more than 40 years with Super Pumas, Pumas and Gazelles having been delivered to the Armed Forces of the State of Kuwait over the past decades. This H225M Caracal contract opens a new chapter in our cooperation. I would like to personally thank the Kuwait Air Force which placed its trust in our products to renew its helicopter fleet, and I am also grateful for the confidence of the Kuwait National Guard which has decided to create its helicopter squadron with the support of Airbus Helicopters», Guillaume Faury added.

During the visit, Airbus Helicopters representatives recognized the key role played by French Minister of Defence Jean-Yves Le Drian who provided his continued support to the realization of this project, in line with the existing France-Kuwait strategic relationship.

Kuwait’s fleet of H225M Caracal will be used for a wide variety of missions such as combat search-and-rescue, naval operations, medical evacuation and military transportation. The helicopters will be operated by the Kuwait Air Force and the Kuwait National Guard. A combat-proven platform with exceptional payload, a world-class automatic flight control system and long endurance, the H225M Caracal has demonstrated its versatility and performance even in the harshest operational environments.

The H225M Caracal is the latest evolution of the successful Super Puma/Cougar family of military helicopters, with more than 500 units delivered worldwide. Kuwait is the latest nation to join the community of Caracal users with 138 H225M Caracal having been ordered so far by France, Brazil, Mexico, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Kuwait.

Country becomes seventh nation to order the H225M Caracal
Country becomes seventh nation to order the H225M Caracal

 

Characteristics

CAPACITY
Troop transport 2 pilots + 1 chief of stick + 28 seats
VIP transport 2 pilots + 8 to 12 passengers
Casualty evacuation 2 pilots + up to 11 stretchers + 4 seats
Sling load 4,750 kg/10,472 lbs
EXTERNAL DIMENSIONS
Length 16.79 m/55.08 feet
Width 3.96 m/13 feet
Height 4.60 m/15.09 feet
WEIGHT
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 11,000 kg/24,251 lbs
MTOW in external load configuration 11,200 kg/24,690 lbs
Empty weight 5,715 kg/12,600 lbs
Useful load 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 909 km/491 NM
Endurance without reserve at 148 km/h/80 knots >4 h 20 min

* International Standard Atmosphere

** Sea Level

*** Never Exceed Speed

**** Mode Control Panel

***** Out of Ground Effect


Caracal & Tiger in tandem Airbus Helicopters