Officially named

HMS Audacious (S122), the fourth submarine in the Astute class, was officially named on 16 December 2016 during a ceremony at our Submarines site in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. Guests watched as Lady Jones, Audacious’ sponsor and wife of Admiral Sir Phillip Jones, the First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, named the 7,400 tonne, 318-foot/97-metre-long attack submarine. In keeping with tradition, she then smashed a bottle of locally brewed beer against her hull.

Fourth submarine in Astute class named at Barrow-in-Furness
Fourth submarine in Astute class named at Barrow-in-Furness

Tony Johns, Managing Director of BAE Systems Submarines, said: «Today marks an important milestone in Audacious’ build programme and is the culmination of many years’ hard work. We have already delivered three highly-capable Astute class submarines to the Royal Navy and Audacious now takes another significant step towards joining her sister submarines. This is a fitting end to a very important year for our business, in which we also began construction on the Dreadnought submarine programme and opened the first of our new facilities. The focus for Audacious now turns to getting her ready for launch next year».

Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin said: «HMS Audacious is the fourth in our fleet of Astute Class submarines, the largest and most advanced attack submarines in service with the Royal Navy, already providing unprecedented levels of stealth and attack capability across the world. Backed by a rising defence budget and a £178 billion equipment plan, Barrow will remain the hub of our submarine building programmes for years to come».

HMS Audacious (S122) will stay inside the Company’s main construction facility – the Devonshire Dock Hall – following today’s ceremony, before being launched next year.

BAE Systems is the prime contractor responsible for the design, build, test and commissioning of the seven Astute class nuclear-powered attack submarines. It is also the industrial lead for the Dreadnought programme, the Royal Navy’s next generation of submarines that will carry the continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent.

The Company’s Submarine operation employs approximately 8,000 people and spends more than £300 M per year with over 3,000 suppliers – 85 per cent of whom are based in the UK.

Facts and stats
Facts and stats

Multi-Purpose Vehicle

BAE Systems on 15 December 2016 rolled out the first prototype Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) to the U.S. Army during a ceremony at the company’s York, Pennsylvania facility. The AMPV provides the Army with enhanced mobility, survivability, force protection, and combat superiority.

BAE Systems rolls out first Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle
BAE Systems rolls out first Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle

«The AMPV prototype vehicles are the result of a highly collaborative relationship between the Army and our industry team», said Beach Day, program director for AMPV at BAE Systems Combat Vehicles. «Through this relationship, we have been able to design a vehicle that provides a modern, robust solution that meets the needs of today’s soldier and of the future force».

The AMPV is a fully modern, highly flexible vehicle that includes five variants and is designed to replace the Vietnam War-era M113 family of vehicles. It is a mature, cost-effective solution that leverages proven Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) and Paladin M109A7 Self-Propelled Howitzer designs. It meets the Army’s force protection and all-terrain mobility requirements that enable the AMPV to maneuver with the rest of the Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT). Maximizing commonality within the ABCT reduces developmental risk and provides significant cost savings to the Army.

In December 2014, BAE Systems was awarded a contract worth up to $1.2 billion from the Army for the Engineering, Manufacturing, and Development (EMD) and Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) phases of the AMPV program. The initial award of $383 million, under the EMD phase, is for development and production of 29 vehicles across all of the variants:

  • general purpose,
  • mission command,
  • mortar carrier,
  • medical evacuation,
  • medical treatment.

Today’s ceremony commemorated the rollout of the first of the general purpose variant. Deliveries of the prototype vehicles will continue into 2017, and developmental testing will run through 2018.

Munro delivered

Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division delivered the National Security Cutter (NSC) USCGC Munro (WMSL-755) to the U.S. Coast Guard on December 16, 2016. Munro is scheduled to sail away in February and will be commissioned in Seattle on April 1, 2017.

Huntington Ingalls Industries Delivers National Security Cutter USCGC Munro (WMSL-755) to the U.S. Coast Guard
Huntington Ingalls Industries Delivers National Security Cutter USCGC Munro (WMSL-755) to the U.S. Coast Guard

«Three years ago, this ship consisted of nothing more than steel plates, raw pipe and bundled wire», said Derek Murphy, Ingalls’ NSC 6 program manager. «Since then, we’ve seen an amazing transformation, made possible by the thousands of people who poured their heart and soul into this ship. We have a mission statement in the NSC program that says during the construction of each NSC we will provide the men and women of the United States Coast Guard with the finest ship in their fleet. This excellence will be provided by our shipbuilders through working safely, attention to detail and ownership of work».

Munro is the sixth Legend-class National Security Cutter Ingalls has built for the Coast Guard. Ingalls currently has two more NSCs under construction: USCGC Kimball (WMSL-756) and USCGC Midgett (WMSL-757). These ships are scheduled to be delivered in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

«This is a remarkable achievement in my career and the career of the personnel serving on Munro», said Thomas King, commanding officer of Munro. «National Security Cutters are a great benefit to the Coast Guard because they have the capabilities to fulfill missions while acting independently offshore».

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 from 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 NM/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 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.

Derek Murphy (right), Ingalls’ NSC program manager, presents the key plaque to Captain Thomas King, Munro’s commanding officer, with Christopher Webb, commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Project Resident Office Gulf Coast, observing (Photo by Andrew Young/HII)
Derek Murphy (right), Ingalls’ NSC program manager, presents the key plaque to Captain Thomas King, Munro’s commanding officer, with Christopher Webb, commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Project Resident Office Gulf Coast, observing (Photo by Andrew Young/HII)



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 110
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
USCGC Kimball (WMSL-756) moved across land to the dry dock
USCGC Kimball (WMSL-756) moved across land to the dry dock


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 12-17-2016
Midgett WMSL-757
Stone WMSL-758


Brisbane Launch

15 December 2016, the Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance celebrated another major milestone with the official launch of the second destroyer HMAS Brisbane (DDGH-41) at the Techport Australia facility in Osborne, South Australia.

Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance celebrates launch of Second destroyer Brisbane
Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance celebrates launch of Second destroyer Brisbane

Over 4,000 people including Government, Naval and Defence industry dignitaries, alongside AWD Alliance employees and their families, watched as the ship’s sponsor Mrs. Robyn Shackleton, wife of former Chief of Navy and HMAS Brisbane II Commanding Officer Vice Admiral David Shackleton AO, broke a commemorative bottle of wine on the ship’s bow and officially named the ship «Brisbane».

Following the official naming ceremony, the ship was lowered in the Government of South Australia’s Common User Facility ship lift to float for the first time, signifying a moment of immense pride for the thousands of Australian ship builders and combat system integrators who have worked on the project for more than a decade.

AWD Alliance General Manager Lloyd Beckett said that the launch of Brisbane was further demonstration of significant progress on the Air Warfare Destroyer project and a great opportunity to celebrate the work of Australia’s shipbuilders and system integrators.

«Today’s launch is the culmination of more than a decade of work and dedication by thousands of Australians and other members of the AWD Alliance to deliver Australia’s most complex next generation defence project. It is a significant achievement and an exciting moment in the history of the AWD project, with the milestone marking the AWD Alliance’s return to cost and schedule. Further progress will be evident in 2017 as the first destroyer Hobart completes Acceptance Sea Trials and is delivered to the Department of Defence, while the third destroyer Sydney completes block consolidation and hull integration», he said.

The AWD Alliance, made up of shipbuilder ASC, mission systems integrator Raytheon Australia and the Department of Defence, is responsible for delivering three Hobart Class DDG destroyers and their support systems to the Navy.

AWD Program Manager Commodore (CDRE) Craig Bourke remarked on the naming of the second Air Warfare Destroyer.

«Destroyer Brisbane, the third naval vessel to carry the name, acknowledges the significant contribution of naval personnel who previously served on HMAS Brisbane I and II, including those able to attend the launch today. Joining them are many current serving members of the Royal Australian Navy and crew members of the future destroyer Brisbane who are actively contributing to the delivery of this next-generation warship to the Department of Defence. Over the coming months, we will continue to progress work on Brisbane, proving her engines and gas turbines before the ship undertakes Builder’s Sea Trials at the end of 2017», CDRE Bourke said.

ASC Shipbuilding CEO Mark Lamarre said the launch of the destroyer was a special occasion for the ASC workforce, who through their years of dedication and effort had brought the ship to life, and in doing so proved the knowledge and skill of Australia’s shipbuilding industry.

«The launch of the second destroyer Brisbane further illustrates the highly skilled and professional naval shipbuilding capability here in Australia, with the AWD project laying the foundation for future shipbuilding work in South Australia», he said. Not only are we one step closer to the delivery of this exciting new capability to the Navy but we can take pride in the fact that Australia’s shipbuilding workforce will be able to apply key learnings from this project to future ones. It is entirely fitting that the AWD Alliance workforce is able to show off their remarkable achievements in building this impressive ship to their loved ones at the launch today», Mr. Lamarre said.

Raytheon Australia Managing Director Michael Ward welcomed the launch of Brisbane and commented on the significance of the Alliance mission system integration capability.

«As the combat systems integrator for the AWD project, Raytheon Australia has applied its highly skilled Australian workforce of 320 architects, systems engineers and project managers to the AWD project over the last decade. Raytheon Australia is responsible for the integration of ten major subsystems, including the Aegis Weapon System, which is provided through Foreign Military Sales, and associated delivery of more than 3,500 major pieces of combat system equipment required to establish the warfighting capability of the AWD. This will contribute to making the AWD the most lethal and sophisticated warship ever operated by the Royal Australian Navy. The AWD’s combat system integration activities represent some of the most advanced engineering and project management skills in this country. It is extremely satisfying that our strong investment in local capabilities has contributed so much to this launch milestone today. The success of the combat system integration activity is a source of tremendous pride for Raytheon Australia. Not only have we performed admirably on this project but we have built for Australia a national asset in combat system integration», Mr. Ward said.

The ADW project has made significant progress in 2016 with return of the program to schedule and budget, and the successful completion of Builder’s Sea Trials for the first destroyer, Hobart in September 2016.

2017 also is set to be an exciting and busy year for the program, with a number of significant events on the horizon including completion of Acceptance Sea Trials for Hobart, Builder’s Sea Trials for Brisbane and Hull Consolidation for the third Air Warfare Destroyer, Sydney.

The launch of Brisbane was further demonstration of significant progress on the Air Warfare Destroyer project
The launch of Brisbane was further demonstration of significant progress on the Air Warfare Destroyer project



Length 481.3 feet/146.7 m
Beam 61 feet/18.6 m
Draft 23.6 feet/7.2 m
Full load displacement 7,000 tonnes
Main Engine 36 MW/48,276 hp
Top speed 28+ knots/32 mph/52 km/h
Range at 18+ knots/21 mph/33 km/h 5,000+ NM/5,779 miles/9,300 km
Crew 186
Accommodation 234
Combat System Aegis Weapon System Baseline 7.1
AN/SPY-1D(V) Phased Array Radar (81 NM/93 miles/150 km)
AN/SPQ-9B Horizon Search Radar
Mk-41 Vertical Launch System (48 VLS cells: RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM)/Standard Missile-2 (SM-2)/SM-6)
Mk-45 Mod.4 5” (127-mm) 62 Calibre Gun (Range: 20 NM/23 miles/37 km)
Advanced Harpoon Weapon Control (2 × 4 launchers)
Electronic Warfare (EW) Suite
Very Short Range Air and Surface Defence
Nulka Active Missile Decoy system
Integrated Sonar System incorporating a hull mounted and towed array sonar
Communications Suite
Aviation Flightdeck and hangar for one helicopter
Boats Two Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIBs)
The ADW project has made significant progress in 2016 with return of the program to schedule and budget
The ADW project has made significant progress in 2016 with return of the program to schedule and budget

First ACV 1.1

BAE Systems rolled out the first of 16 Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) 1.1 prototypes to the U.S. Marine Corps in a ceremony on 13 December 2016 at the company’s York, Pennsylvania facility. BAE Systems’ ACV 1.1 offering is a fully amphibious, ship-launchable and ship-recoverable 8×8 wheeled combat vehicle.

Roll out of first Amphibious Combat Vehicle 1.1 to U.S. Marine Corps
Roll out of first Amphibious Combat Vehicle 1.1 to U.S. Marine Corps

«BAE Systems has a long-standing legacy of supporting the Marine Corps’ amphibious mission», said John Swift, the company’s director for the ACV 1.1 program. «That expertise, coupled with the hard work of our dedicated ACV team, has allowed us to deliver the first of these vehicles ahead of schedule».

BAE Systems’ solution for ACV 1.1 leverages an existing platform provided by Iveco Defence Vehicles. It is highly effective at sea when compared to any other amphibious vehicle in production today, providing superior land mobility and state-of-the-art systems survivability.

«As the Marine Corps begins testing we are confident that the capabilities of these vehicles will be proven», Swift said.

The BAE Systems solution balances the Marine Corps’ demands for an affordable, production-ready platform with added designs for increased force protection, water and land mobility, lethality, transportability, and survivability.

BAE Systems’ ACV 1.1 is equipped with a robust 700HP engine, providing a significant power increase over the Assault Amphibious Vehicle currently operated by the Marine Corps. The vehicle excels in all-terrain mobility and has a suspended interior seat structure for 13 embarked Marines, blast protected positions for an additional crew of three, and improved survivability and force protection over currently fielded systems.

The Marine Corps awarded BAE Systems a $103.7 million contract for the Engineering, Manufacturing, and Development (EMD) phase of the ACV 1.1 program in November 2015, one of two EMD contracts issued. During this phase, the company is producing 16 prototypes that will be tested by the Marine Corps starting in the first quarter of 2017.

BAE Systems has long been a trusted supplier to the Marine Corps across multiple domains and has more than 70 years of experience designing and building amphibious vehicles. The company is also a leading provider of combat vehicles, having produced more than 100,000 systems for customers worldwide. Iveco Defence Vehicles brings additional proven experience, having designed and built more than 30,000 multi-purpose, protected, and armored military vehicles in service today.

BAE Systems was awarded a U.S. Marine Corps contract for the Engineering, Manufacturing, and Development phase of the Amphibious Combat Vehicle 1.1 program
BAE Systems was awarded a U.S. Marine Corps contract for the Engineering, Manufacturing, and Development phase of the Amphibious Combat Vehicle 1.1 program



Gross vehicle weight 67,500 lbs/30,617 kg
Payload Up to 7,280 lbs/3,302 kg
Personnel capacity 13 + 3 crew
Speed Paved road >65 mph/105 km/h
Speed Open ocean 6 knots/6.9 mph/11.1 km/h
Range on road at 55 mph/89 km/h Up to 325 miles/523 km
Range at sea followed by land Up to 12 NM/13.8 miles/22.2 km followed by 250+ miles/402+ km on land
Turning radius 36 feet/11 m curb to curb turning radius
Side slope >30%
Gradient >60%
Overall length 350 inches/8.9 m
Width 124 inches/3.1 m
Height (hull) 113 inches/2.8 m

The optimum balance of sea and land mobility, survivability and payload – a true, no-compromise 8×8 amphibious platform

Ninth Cape class

Austal is pleased to announce the successful roll out prior to launch of Hull 380, the ninth Cape-class patrol boat designed and constructed by Austal and the first of two to be delivered to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in 2017.

Austal’s Cape-class patrol boat program for the Royal Australian Navy has directly engaged 348 Australian suppliers and directly employed 350 people over the past 12 months of construction (Photo: Austal)
Austal’s Cape-class patrol boat program for the Royal Australian Navy has directly engaged 348 Australian suppliers and directly employed 350 people over the past 12 months of construction (Photo: Austal)

Australian Defence Industry Minister, The Honourable Christopher Pyne Member of Parliament, Senator Chris Back and Federal Member for Canning, Andrew Hastie Member of Parliament joined Austal Chief Executive Officer David Singleton and Austal Chairman, John Rothwell at the official roll out, completed at Austal’s Henderson Western Australia shipyard.

Mr. Singleton said: «It is with great pride we welcome the Defence Industry Minister here today (December 8, 2016) to celebrate not only the continuing success of Cape-class as an effective maritime border protection solution, but Austal’s proven shipbuilding capability. Austal delivered eight Capes to the Australian Border Force over 2013 – 2015 and we will hand over Capes 9 and 10 to the Royal Australian Navy in the first half of 2017. To date, we have directly engaged 348 Australian suppliers and created and sustained 350 jobs in the delivery of the Cape program».

Austal’s Cape-class patrol boat is a 190 feet/58 meter all aluminium monohull vessel, designed to perform border protection and maritime security tasks, with a top speed of 26 knots/30 mph/48 km/h and a range of up to 4,000 nautical miles/4,603 miles/7,408 km. With a crew of 22, the vessel is capable of undertaking 28 day patrols in (up to) sea state 4 and the ability to launch two boats simultaneously.

New, enhanced maritime security and anti-mine warfare variants of the Cape were announced at Euronaval 2016, which offer even greater capability and feature mission packages that include Unmanned Aerial Vehicle’s (UAV’s), Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV’s) and Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUV’s).

Hull 380 is due to be launched later this week and will undergo final fitout before sea trials commencing in January 2017. Delivery to the RAN is on schedule for April 2017.

The second Cape for the RAN, Hull 381, is due for launch in February 2017.

The Cape-class patrol boat is an effective maritime border protection capability, in service with the Australian Border Force and Royal Australian Navy (Photo: Austal)
The Cape-class patrol boat is an effective maritime border protection capability, in service with the Australian Border Force and Royal Australian Navy (Photo: Austal)

First Tactical Airlifter

Airbus Defence and Space has delivered to the German Air Force its first A400M transport aircraft qualified for tactical operations and able to fly in areas subject to military threats.

Germany Receives First Tactical Standard Airbus A400M Airlifter
Germany Receives First Tactical Standard Airbus A400M Airlifter

The aircraft is the sixth A400M in German service and the first with the new capabilities in addition to the world-leading performance of all A400Ms as strategic transports. All aircraft will be retrofitted to the new standard and receive subsequent enhancements as those are certified.

Key aspects of the aircraft’s latest capabilities are improvements in its self-defence systems, ability to air-drop cargo loads, and paratrooping. Additionally, it can operate on unprepared runways, fly as low as 150 feet/45.7 m above the ground, refuel other aircraft as a tanker, and safely take-off and land in extremely high temperatures.

Airbus Defence and Space A400M Programme Manager, Kurt Rossner, said: «The A400M programme has made enormous progress this year in implementing these critical capabilities on the aircraft. In addition to having twice the payload-range of the legacy transports like the C-160 and C-130 that it is replacing, it can now also operate from any runway that those older aircraft could use. There is no other aircraft in the market with the A400M´s combination of tactical and strategic capabilities and it is going to transform Germany’s air mobility force».

The new aircraft is fitted with a Defensive Aids Sub-System (DASS) incorporating a Missile Warning System, Radar Warning Receiver, and an Expendables Dispensing System to eject flares and radar-confusing chaff. The DASS for all A400Ms is integrated by Airbus Defence and Space at Ulm.

Military and humanitarian loads of up to 8 tonnes/17,637 lbs each, including for example 24 × 1 tonne/2,205 lbs pallets, are fully certified for air-dropping from the aircraft’s ramp and further loads are being continually qualified in flight test.

Paratroops can be dropped from the ramp or side paratroop doors in sticks of up to 20, and sticks of 30 have already been successfully demonstrated with certification to follow. Flight testing continues to build the numbers next to 40 and then 58 in a single pass.

The A400M is certified to operate from grass runways and has successfully completed testing of operations from gravel and sandy soil with certification in process. Low-level flight in mountainous terrain is cleared down to 150 feet/45.7 m above ground by day and 300 feet/91.4 m by night under the pilot’s manual control. Development of automatic low-level flight is well advanced.

The aircraft is certified to receive fuel in-flight from a tanker, and as a tactical tanker itself to refuel fighters and other large aircraft by day, with night operations demonstrated and close to certification.

In this latest configuration the A400M is certified to operate in temperatures up to 55°C at sea level, ensuring excellent «hot and high» performance at operationally challenging airfields around the world. And it is approved to take-off and fly on only three of its four powerful engines in the event of a mechanical problem or battle damage, adding to its outstanding level of operating autonomy.



Overall Length 45.10 m/148 feet
Overall Height 14.70 m/48 feet
Wing Span 42.40 m/139 feet
Cargo Hold Length (ramp excluded) 17.71 m/58 feet
Cargo Hold Height 3.85-4.00 m/12 feet 7 inch-13 feet
Cargo Hold Width 4.00 m/13 feet
Cargo Hold Volume 340 m3/12,000 feet3
Maximum Take Off Weight 141,000 kg/310,850 lbs
Maximum Landing Weight 123,000 kg/271,200 lbs
Internal Fuel Weight 50,500 kg/111,300 lbs
Maximum Payload 37,000 kg/81,600 lbs
EuroProp International TP400-D6 11,000 shp/8,200 kW
Maximum Operating Altitude 12,200 m/40,000 feet
Maximum Cruise Speed (TAS) 300 knots/345 mph/555 km/h
Cruise Speed Range 0.68-0.72 M
Range with Maximum Payload (37,000 kg/81,600 lbs) 1,780 NM/2,050 miles/3,300 km
Range with 30,000 kg/66,000 lbs Payload 2,450 NM/2,796 miles/4,500 km
Range with 20,000 kg/44,000 lbs Payload 3,450 NM/3,977 miles/6,400 km
Maximum Range (Ferry) 4,700 NM/5,406 miles/8,700 km


Five ship programme

BAE Systems welcomed Harriett Baldwin MP, Minister for Defence Procurement to its Govan shipyard in Glasgow on 8 December 2016 to announce the £287 m manufacturing contract for two further River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) and support services for the five ship programme, taking the total value to £635 m.

OPV contract announcement marked by construction of new navy warship
OPV contract announcement marked by construction of new navy warship

Work on the additional two Offshore Patrol Vessels, named TAMAR and SPEY, will sustain skills in Glasgow and the wider supply chain, with over 100 companies involved in the programme across the UK.

To mark the occasion employees were joined at a ceremony by representatives of the Royal Navy and the local community as Harriett Baldwin switched on a plasma cutting machine to cut the first steel plates for the fourth and latest of the River Class OPVs.

During the visit to BAE Systems’ shipyard Harriett Baldwin said: «This contract will deliver two more modern Offshore Patrol Vessels for the Royal Navy and safeguard vital shipbuilding skills and hundreds of jobs in Scotland. Protected by a rising Defence budget, the OPV programme is an important part of the Government’s £178 billion plan to ensure our armed forces have the equipment they need».

Iain Stevenson, Managing Director of BAE Systems Naval Ships, said: «Securing this contract for two further River Class OPVs is testament to the proven capability of the design and the tremendous skill and dedication of employees on the programme. Our investment in the latest digital design technologies and new processes is enabling us to deliver equipment of the highest quality at the lowest possible cost, helping to secure the long-term future of our highly skilled industry in the UK. I am looking forward to seeing both the OPV and Type 26 ships in construction across both our shipyards in Glasgow next year».

This offshore patrol vessel design builds on the Royal Navy’s existing River Class ships with variants already in service in Brazil and Thailand which puts capability at the forefront of their navies.

The first vessel, FORTH, entered the water in August, less than two years after construction started, and is now docked at the Company’s Scotstoun facility where she will complete final systems installation and testing before being delievered to the Royal Navy in the second half of 2017.

The second ship, MEDWAY, is scheduled to enter the water in the spring of 2017 while the third ship, TRENT, is currently at an advanced stage of assembly at Govan.

Flight Testing

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), a leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), tactical reconnaissance radars, and electro-optic surveillance systems, today announced the commencement of flight testing for its MQ-1C Gray Eagle Extended Range (ER) series with the successful first flight of the company’s production representative MQ-1C Gray Eagle ER aircraft from its El Mirage Flight Operations Facility in Adelanto, California, on October 29th.

Gray Eagle Extended Range (GE-ER)
Gray Eagle Extended Range (GE-ER)

«The flight of our capital MQ-1C Gray Eagle ER Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) is a significant milestone in the continued evolution of the MQ-1C program with our U.S. Army customer», said David R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. «This marks the next step in delivering the aircraft’s increased endurance and payload capability to the warfighter».

MQ-1C Gray Eagle ER, developed by GA-ASI on Internal Research and Development (IRAD) specifically to increase endurance and payload capacity, is a next-generation derivative of the combat-proven Gray Eagle UAS, which has accumulated over 300,000 flight hours since 2008. MQ-1C ER is expected to complete flight testing in June 2017, at which point it will begin a series of Army test events culminating in the program’s second Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation in late 2017. The first four aircraft are expected to be delivered in Q2 and Q3 2017, with an additional 15 over the course of 2018.

MQ-1C ER delivers an advanced Medium-altitude Long-endurance (MALE) capability for the Army, adding increased payload capacity, greater range and endurance, and improved maintainability. The aircraft is engineered with a Maximum Gross Takeoff Weight (MGTOW) of 4,200 pounds/1,905 kg compared with Gray Eagle’s MGTOW of 3,600 pounds/1,633 kg. The incorporation of MQ-1C ER’s straight belly design allows for more than 910 pounds/413 kg of internal fuel and a centerline hard point that can accommodate an optional fuel pod with an additional 450 pounds/204 kg. With endurance at more than 40 hours, the aircraft will exceed the Army’s requirement for 14 hours on station at 621 miles/1,000 kilometers for all mission types.

MQ-1C ER features an upgraded Heavy Fuel Engine-180 (HFE-180) which provides increased horsepower and reliability. HFE-180 includes propulsion reliability enhancements, an improved cooling system and high-performance induction system. The new engine began flight tests on Block 1 Gray Eagle in February 2016.

MQ-1C ER’s enhanced capabilities will expand the tactical range for Intelligence, Reconnaissance, Surveillance (ISR), electronic warfare, and attack missions for the U.S. Army and other prospective customers.

Lion maiden flight

8 December 2016, the NH90 Sea Lion naval multi-role helicopter took off on its on-schedule maiden flight at Airbus Helicopters in Donauwörth. Wolfgang Schoder, CEO of Airbus Helicopters Deutschland; Ralph Herzog, Director in the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) and Vice Admiral Andreas Krause, Chief of the German Navy welcomed this important milestone in the programme.

German Navy NH90 Sea Lion performs maiden flight
German Navy NH90 Sea Lion performs maiden flight

«We are proud to be delivering this state-of-the-art naval helicopter to the German Armed Forces on time», said Wolfgang Schoder. «This new generation of NH90 naval helicopters, the Sea Lion, has benefited from experience gathered by other countries who have been using it». The NH90 has an increased number of sensors and improved navigation and communications equipment, which means that this military helicopter will also be able to operate in civil air space. The military friend/foe identification has also been updated to the latest standards.

For the BAAINBw in Koblenz, the Sea Lion is also a special project: «We need to keep to a tight schedule if we are to replace the Sea King in time. This requires all those participating in the project to coordinate quickly and efficiently to achieve this», explained Ralph Herzog. «By using an existing NH90 model as the basis for the Sea Lion and adding the required additional functionalities to it, we have been able to significantly reduce the delivery process. This model is also configured not only to be an adequate replacement for the Sea King but is designed so that it can be adapted to future roles».

«The Navy is looking forward, as the first customer, to be receiving the NH90 Sea Lion on time by the end of 2019», said Vice Admiral Andreas Krause. «We are now expecting a successful test phase». Meanwhile, the Navy is preparing intensively for the acceptance of the helicopters with technical and flight personnel already training. Further measures have commenced at their future home, the Nordholz naval air base. Infrastructural changes and new buildings are necessary.

Deliveries of NH90 Sea Lions to the Navy will start at the end of 2019. When deployed, it will take on a range of roles including search and rescue (SAR) missions, maritime reconnaissance, special forces missions as well as personnel and materiel transportation tasks. The German Armed Forces have ordered 18 of these helicopters altogether, with the last due to go into service in 2022. The second NH90 Sea Lion awaiting qualification testing is currently at the final assembly stage and series production at Donauwörth will commence in the summer of 2017.

In addition to its land-based use in SAR missions, the NH90 Sea Lion is also intended to operate on Type 702 (Berlin class) combat support ships. Thanks to its multi-role capability and future proofing, the Sea Lion will not merely replace the Bundeswehr’s Sea King Mk41 fleet but significantly enhance the Navy’s operational capabilities. The electronic fly-by-wire flight controls of the NH90 Sea Lion reduce the crew’s workload. Other benefits of this control system are its high precision and ease of use, which particularly come to the fore in over-water hovering, even in poor weather conditions.

The NH90 Sea Lion shell is manufactured from advanced, high-strength composite materials. This offers optimum protection for the crew thanks to its excellent crash behaviour.

Five nations are already using the naval NH90 NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter). They have already completed more than 30,000 flying hours with the 69 helicopters delivered so far: in humanitarian and SAR and military missions on land and on board naval vessels. The German NH90 Sea Lion programme has greatly benefited from the experience gained from these operations. Altogether 129 NH90 NFH helicopters have been ordered; the total for all NH90 models comes to 515. The whole NH90 fleet comprising 296 helicopters delivered so far has already completed over 120,000 flying hours.



Overall dimensions (rotors turning)
Length 64.18 feet/19.56 m
Width 53.48 feet/16.30 m
Height 17.42 feet/5.31 m
Maximum Gross Weight 23,369 lbs/10,600 kg
Alternate Gross Weight 24,250 lbs/11,000 kg
Empty Weight 14,109 lbs/6,400 kg
Useful Load 9,260 lbs/4,200 kg
Cargo Capacity
Cargo Hook 8,818 lbs/4,000 kg
Single or dual Rescue Hoist 595 lbs/270 kg
Rescue Hoist on ground 880 lbs/400 kg
Fuel Capacity
7-Cell Internal System 4,486 lbs/2,035 kg
Internal Auxiliary Fuel Tanks (each) 882 lbs/400 kg
External Auxiliary Fuel Tanks (each) 644 lbs/292 kg or 1,102 lbs/500 kg
Internal Dimensions
Width 6.56 feet/2.00 m
Length 15.75 feet/4.80 m
Height 5.18 feet/1.58 m
Volume 536.78 feet³/15.20 m³
Sliding doors opening 5.25 × 4.92 feet/1.60 × 1.50 m
Rear ramp opening 5.84 × 5.18 feet/1.78 × 1.58 m
NH90 General Performance (Basic Aircraft)
Maximum Cruise Speed* 162 knots/186 mph/300 km/h
Economical Cruise Speed* 140 knots/161 mph/260 km/h
Maximum Rate Of Climb* 2,200 feet/min/11.2 m/sec
One Engine Inoperative (OEI) Rate Of Climb 2 min Rating* 850 feet/min/4.3 m/sec
OEI Rate Of Climb Continuous Rating at 6,560 feet/2,000 m* 300 feet/min/1.5 m/sec
Hover Ceiling In Ground Effect (IGE)* 10,500 feet/3,200 m
Hover Ceiling Out of Ground Effect (OGE)* 8,530 feet/2,600 m
Maximum Range 530 NM/610 miles/982 km
Maximum Range with 5,511.5 lbs/2,500 kg payload 486 NM/559 miles/900 km
Maximum Endurance 5 h
Ferry Range (with Internal Aux Fuel Tanks) 864 NM/994 miles/1,600 km

* At 22,046 lbs/10,000 kg