Sea Trails

INS Khanderi (S51), the second of the six Scorpene class submarines being built in India at Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), sailed out on 01 June 2017 from Mumbai harbour for her maiden sea sortie. It was also the first major trial for her propulsion plant and a very important milestone in the construction programme.

Commencement of Sea Trails MDL Yard 11876 (INS Khanderi)
Commencement of Sea Trails MDL Yard 11876 (INS Khanderi)

The successful trial moved the submarine a significant step closer to her induction into the Indian Navy later this year. She will now be put through her paces via a rigorous set of trials, which are designed to test her operating envelop to the maximum.

The first Scorpene, INS Kalvari (S50), is presently being readied for delivery in July/August this year, after having been put through a grueling set of trials over the past one year, including successful live missile and torpedo firings.

Named after ferocious deep-sea predators, the Scorpenes, which operate very silently and are capable of multifarious roles, will add teeth to the might of the Indian Navy by strengthening its crucial Submarine Arm.

Multi-domain battle

Imagine an enemy intent on destroying U.S. ships, say, somewhere in the Western Pacific. A novel but technologically feasible concept called multi-domain battle, or MDB, could frustrate that intent, said General David G. Perkins.

In the Multi-Domain Battle concept, howitzers might one day protect U.S. ships from enemy vessels by firing anti-ship projectiles. Shown here, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters assigned to 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division perform tactical maneuvers to place two M777A2 Howitzer's in position for onlookers during the 82nd ABN Division All-American Week Airborne Review on Sicily Drop Zone at Fort Bragg, N.C., May 25, 2017 (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sergeant Steven Galimore)
In the Multi-Domain Battle concept, howitzers might one day protect U.S. ships from enemy vessels by firing anti-ship projectiles. Shown here, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters assigned to 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division perform tactical maneuvers to place two M777A2 Howitzer’s in position for onlookers during the 82nd ABN Division All-American Week Airborne Review on Sicily Drop Zone at Fort Bragg, N.C., May 25, 2017 (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sergeant Steven Galimore)

Perkins, commander at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), spoke at the «Land Forces in the Pacific: Advancing Joint and Multi-National Integration» conference on May 24. The Association of the United States Army Institute of Land Warfare sponsored the symposium.

Perkins described MDB as a concept that maximizes utilization of all five domains: air, sea, land, space and cyber, in a joint coalition effort.

For MDB to work, the military needs to do away with domain «hogging», he said.

Perkins described domain hogging in the following way: When a crisis occurs in a land domain, the Army or Marine Corps is considered the «owner» of that domain and is expected to respond in a traditional manner, perhaps with mortars or howitzers. If a crisis occurs at sea, the Navy is viewed as owning that domain, so a ship or sub-surface solution is applied.

To demonstrate the usefulness of MDB as an alternative to domain hogging, Perkins described a fictitious MDB-type scenario in the Western Pacific.

Enemy ships armed with mines, torpedoes and missiles are pursuing friendly vessels. The enemy knows the whereabouts of U.S. ships that might come to the aid of friendly vessels. What the combatants not aware of are the presence of Army howitzers or missile batteries, located on islands in the area, which are armed with anti-ship precision fires.

So now, the enemy isn’t just worried about the U.S. Navy – they’re also worried about the U.S. Army, which can emplace its guns in hard-to-detect areas on land.

This type of scenario gives the combatant commander multiple options and the enemy multiple dilemmas, Perkins explained.

MDB also provides the option of relying on partner nation capabilities, in addition to those of sister services in the U.S. military.

Royal Australian Army Major general Roger Noble, who is on loan to the U.S. Army as deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Pacific, provided an example of partner nation-based MDB.

IN a previous assignment last year, Noble was attached to the 101st Airborne Division, which was assisting the Iraqi army in its drive to push the Islamic State out of Iraq. During the fighting, the U.S. Army wanted to use its offensive cyber capabilities to perform a mission that is still classified.

The U.S. Army didn’t have the proper authorities and permissions in place to use that capability, however, but Australia and the United Kingdom did. So, the Army relied on its partner’s capability in the cyber domain, Noble said.

Perkins added that cyber or space domains, regardless of which service or nation owned those assets, could also be used to shut down the enemy’s naval navigation system or anti-ship missiles. It doesn’t matter which partner owns the domains; the assets should be available to whoever needs them, he said.

Some partner nation leaders look at the busy slides Perkins uses to explain MDB, and are intimidated by the complexity. They think «ray guns and flying saucers», Perkins said.

They believe MDB to be complicated and expensive, but Perkins said he tries to reassure partners that they don’t need to be equipped with the most modern hardware to provide MDB assets within a multi-partner force.

For example, a small Pacific nation without a large navy might have a number of small, shallow-water vessels that could contribute to force protection in areas where U.S. and coalition forces are operating.

Or, some small nation with hardly any assets at all might have land located in a strategic area from which land, air and naval power of the coalition forces might be projected. Everyone, he assured, has something to bring to the fight.

Perkins explained that the DOD rolled out the MDB concept last October. Noble said that the first time he saw Perkins’ slides, he immediately understood the concept from his previous experiences.

Noble described that when he was in Iraq last year, coalition forces utilized MDB even before the concept went by that name. Naval aircraft, launched from ships, delivered precision ground fire as multiple nations and military services were worked in and shared multiple domains.

Perkins said there’s nothing like a war situation to test concepts like MDB and to flesh out problems, such as when one nation’s radios don’t communicate another.

The next best learning environment, he said, is conducting rigorous exercises like the ones U.S. Army Pacific Command does year-round in the Pacific with various partner countries.

«We see multi-domain battle as something to put in place right now», Perkins advised.

He added that the Pacific region is a perfect place to test out MDB in rigorous exercises because all domains are well-represented there, and there are multiple coalition partners available to bring multiple capabilities.

Perkins said he’s working with General Robert B. Brown, commander, U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC), to establish an MDB task force «to try to take stuff we have in the Army now and repurpose it», he explained. For example, USARPAC has equipment that could be used in anti-access, area denial.

Perkins added that Brown comes from TRADOC, so he understands MDB and has been an advocate of the concept.

Brown’s supervisor, Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr., commander, U.S. Pacific Command, said he’s excited about MDB. «I want to see the Army shoot down a missile, fired from a plane that launched from a ship», he said. «Then, I want to see the Army shoot down the aircraft that launched the missile and then I want the Army to sink that ship».

«I’m convinced this is the way to fight, particularly when you don’t have a clear advantage over our adversaries», he said. «Adversaries are now fielding new weapons in quantities approaching the zombie apocalypse».

MDB «must be incorporated in the way we train year round», he emphasized.

Harris added that MDB will be hard, risky and expensive, but it will be essential to winning the next campaign in a complex battlespace. «We can’t be afraid to fail in public», he said, pushing for experimentation with out-of-the-box ideas.

Japanese-Built F-35A

The first Japanese-assembled F-35A was unveiled at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Komaki South F-35 Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility here on June 5, 2017. The Japan F-35 FACO is operated by MHI with technical assistance from Lockheed Martin and oversight from the U.S. Government.

AX-5, the first Japanese-assembled F-35A was unveiled in Nagoya Japan on 5 June 2017. The aircraft was built at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) F-35 Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility. The Japan F-35 FACO is operated by MHI with technical assistance from Lockheed Martin and oversight from the U.S. Government (Photo by Thinh Nguyen, Lockheed Martin)
AX-5, the first Japanese-assembled F-35A was unveiled in Nagoya Japan on 5 June 2017. The aircraft was built at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) F-35 Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility. The Japan F-35 FACO is operated by MHI with technical assistance from Lockheed Martin and oversight from the U.S. Government (Photo by Thinh Nguyen, Lockheed Martin)

Approximately 200 people attended the ceremony including Japanese and United States government and defense industry leaders. The ceremony highlighted the strong partnership between the Japanese Ministry of Defense, U.S. Department of Defense, MHI and Lockheed Martin.

Kenji Wakamiya, senior vice minister of defense; General Yoshiyuki Sugiyama, Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) chief of staff; Lieutenant General Jerry Martinez, commander, U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force; Vice Admiral Mat Winter, F-35 Program Executive Officer; Vice Admiral Dave Lewis, Defense Contract Management Agency Director; Naohiko Abe, MHI’s senior vice president and Integrated Defense & Space Systems president, and Orlando Carvalho, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, attended the milestone event.

«Seeing the first Japanese built F-35A is a testament to the global nature of this program», said Vice Admiral Mat Winter, F-35 Program Executive Officer. «This state of the art assembly facility, staffed with a talented and motivated workforce, enables us to leverage industry’s unique talents and technological know-how to produce the world’s best multi-role fighter. The F-35 will enhance the strength of our security alliances and reinforce long-established bonds with our allies through training opportunities, exercises, and military-to-military events».

The Japanese Ministry of Defense competitively selected the F-35A as the JASDF’s next-generation air defense fighter in December 2011, with a Foreign Military Sales program of record of 42 F-35As. The first four JASDF F-35As were previously delivered from the Fort Worth, Texas, production facility. Subsequent deliveries of 38 F-35A aircraft will come from the FACO here in Japan.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Defense selected the Nagoya FACO in 2014 for the North Asia-Pacific regional heavy airframe Maintenance Repair Overhaul & Upgrade (MROU) facility.

«Building upon our enduring relationship with Japanese industry, we are fully committed to our F-35 production partnership with MHI and our support to the Japan Ministry of Defense», Carvalho said. «The skilled workers who achieved this milestone know firsthand the F-35’s capability and how this aircraft will only strengthen the U.S.-Japan Security Alliance, thereby building upon Japan’s strategic vision to ensure the Alliance remains strong for decades to come».

The F-35 Lightning II is a next-generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, advanced mission systems, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and cutting-edge sustainment. More than 220 operational F-35s have been built and delivered worldwide and they have collectively flown more than 95,000 flight hours.

 

Specifications

Length 51.4 feet/15.7 m
Height 14.4 feet/4.38 m
Wingspan 35 feet/10.7 m
Wing area 460 feet2/42.7 m2
Horizontal tail span 22.5 feet/6.86 m
Weight empty 29,300 lbs/13,290 kg
Internal fuel capacity 18,250 lbs/8,278 kg
Weapons payload 18,000 lbs/8,160 kg
Maximum weight 70,000 lbs class/31,751 kg
Standard internal weapons load Two AIM-120C air-to-air missiles
Two 2,000-pound/907 kg GBU-31 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) guided bombs
Propulsion (uninstalled thrust ratings) F135-PW-100
Maximum Power (with afterburner) 43,000 lbs/191,3 kN/19,507 kgf
Military Power (without afterburner) 28,000 lbs/128,1 kN/13,063 kgf
Engine Length 220 in/5.59 m
Engine Inlet Diameter 46 in/1.17 m
Engine Maximum Diameter 51 in/1.30 m
Bypass Ratio 0.57
Overall Pressure Ratio 28
Speed (full internal weapons load) Mach 1.6 (~1,043 knots/1,200 mph/1,931 km/h)
Combat radius (internal fuel) >590 NM/679 miles/1,093 km
Range (internal fuel) >1,200 NM/1,367 miles/2,200 km
Maximum g-rating 9.0

 

Liquid armour

BAE Systems and Helios Global Technologies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to further develop liquid armour technology.

Liquid armour to become a future choice for protecting soldiers
Liquid armour to become a future choice for protecting soldiers

In tests this bullet proof style ‘custard’ has been shown to stop projectiles more effectively, and when combined with Kevlar, the two materials could provide a number of benefits for wider application. What makes the technology so unique is that it features a liquid which actually hardens when struck.

Speaking about liquid armour, Anne Healey, BAE Systems’ General Manager – Canada said: «Liquid armour could offer our troops increased protection but be lighter, allowing for greater manoeuvrability. I’m pleased we have been able to sign this MoU with Helios as their reputation in ballistic and blast protection means they’re well placed to help deliver this capability to Canada in the future».

 

About Helios Global Technologies

Helios Global Technologies is a safety and survivability technology company. They supply products for tracking and communications in remote and hazardous environments. They have development projects in the area of advanced materials for ballistic and blast protection and sensors for stand-off detection of threats. They work closely with the Surviving and Thriving Applied Research Facility of the University of British Columbia (Okanagan).

 

About Liquid Armour

Liquid armour is a material that offers increased protection with reduced mass, wider area coverage, greater manoeuvrability and easy integration with other systems. It can also be incorporated into standard Kevlar body armour. In studies when combined, the two materials offer superior freedom of motion and a reduction in overall thickness of up to 45 per cent.

When a projectile impacts the material at speed, it hardens very quickly and absorbs the impact energy. When combined with Kevlar, the reduced flow of the fluids in the liquid armour restricts the motion of the fabric yarns. This means an increase in area over which the impact energy is dispersed. The material is therefore far less likely to distort than standard body armour, which generally bends inwards when a bullet strikes, preventing death, but causing considerable pain.

Saber Strike in Latvia

The official ceremony in the parade field at Adazi marked the beginning of Saber Strike in Latvia, June 3.

Saber Strike officially opens on Adazi Military Base, Latvia, June 3, 2017 (U.S. Army photo by Sergeant Shiloh Capers)
Saber Strike officially opens on Adazi Military Base, Latvia, June 3, 2017 (U.S. Army photo by Sergeant Shiloh Capers)

The eight countries (Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, United Kingdom and United States) participating in the operation in Adazi gathered together for the annual U.S. Army Europe-led multinational combined forces exercise which occurs in the Baltic region.

Key speakers were Major General Leonids Kalnins, Chief of Defense of Latvia, and Major General Neal Loidolt, commanding general, 34th Infantry Division, Minnesota National Guard.

The exercise is a time for Allies to demonstrate strong commitment to readiness against threats, Major General Kalnins declared in his speech for the ceremony.

Major General Loidolt stated the 2017 exercise held a particular focus for improving land, sea and air integration capabilities. An additional objective was to train with NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroups.

The battle groups stationed in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland are a portion of NATO’s overall deterrence and defense posture, designed to demonstrate the Allies’ determination and ability to act cohesively as a single unit, Loidolt explained.

The demands of the exercise should reflect real experience, as leaders guide their units through the exercise.

«I’m looking forward to the challenging, realistic and successful exercise», Loidolt said.

Operation Saber Strike encourages the multiple nations to demonstrate their professional expertise through their active participation in the exercise, Kalnins relayed.

The ceremony closed with raising the flags of the nations participating in Latvia.

Overall, 20 nations will be involved in the exercise and will span across four countries. The nations in the exercise are Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, United Kingdom and the United States.

Combat King

Airmen from the Alaska Air National Guard on Jun 1, 2017 accepted the first HC-130J Combat King II assigned to an U.S. Air National Guard unit at the Lockheed Martin facility here.

The U.S. Air National Guard received its first HC-130J Combat King II on Jun 1, 2017 (Photographer Amanda Mills, Lockheed Martin)
The U.S. Air National Guard received its first HC-130J Combat King II on Jun 1, 2017 (Photographer Amanda Mills, Lockheed Martin)

This HC-130J will be operated by the 211th Rescue Squadron (RQS), 176th Wing stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. The 211th RQS previously operated legacy HC-130P aircraft to support personnel recovery missions in Alaska and the Pacific Theater. These aircraft also act as aerial refuelers, providing support to the HH-60 Pave Hawk search-and-rescue helicopters that are also assigned to the 176th Wing. This is the first of four HC-130Js that will be delivered to the Alaska Guard.

«The delivery of this HC-130J Combat King II represents a new era for both the Air National Guard and the Alaska Guard. This aircraft provides the increased capabilities and enhanced performance that is essential for these Airmen to support their search and rescue mission», said George Shultz, vice president and general manager, Air Mobility & Maritime Missions at Lockheed Martin. «These men and women live their motto – ‘That Others May Live.’ We’re proud the HC‑130J Combat King fleet plays an essential role in supporting this commitment».

The HC-130J replaces HC-130N/P aircraft as the only dedicated fixed-wing personnel recovery platform in the Air Force inventory. The HC-130J supports missions in all-weather and geographic environments, including reaching austere locations. The HC-130J is also tasked for airdrop, airland, helicopter air-to-air refueling and forward-area ground refueling missions. It also supports humanitarian aid operations, disaster response, security cooperation/aviation advisory, emergency aeromedical evacuation and noncombatant evacuation operations. The HC-130J is also operated by active duty Air Combat Command personnel recovery units.

The HC-130J is one of eight production variants of the C-130J Super Hercules, which is the world’s most proven and versatile airlifter. The C-130J is the airlifter of choice of 17 nations.

HC-130J Combat King II
HC-130J Combat King II

 

Mission

The HC-130J Combat King II replaces HC-130P/Ns as the only dedicated fixed-wing Personnel Recovery platform in the Air Force inventory. It is an extended-range version of the C-130J Hercules transport. Its mission is to rapidly deploy to execute combatant commander directed recovery operations to austere airfields and denied territory for expeditionary, all weather personnel recovery operations to include airdrop, airland, helicopter air-to-air refueling, and forward area ground refueling missions. When tasked, the aircraft also conducts humanitarian assistance operations, disaster response, security cooperation/aviation advisory, emergency aeromedical evacuation, and noncombatant evacuation operations.

 

Features

Modifications to the HC-130J Combat King II have improved navigation, threat detection and countermeasures systems. The aircraft fleet has a fully-integrated inertial navigation and global positioning systems, and Night Vision Goggle, or NVG, compatible interior and exterior lighting. It also has forward-looking infrared, radar and missile warning receivers, chaff and flare dispensers, satellite and data-burst communications, and the ability to receive fuel inflight via a Universal Aerial Refueling Receptacle Slipway Installation (UARRSI).

The HC-130J Combat King II can fly in the day; however, crews normally fly night at low to medium altitude levels in contested or sensitive environments, both over land or overwater. Crews use NVGs for tactical flight profiles to avoid detection to accomplish covert infiltration/exfiltration and transload operations. To enhance the probability of mission success and survivability near populated areas, crews employ tactics that include incorporating no external lighting or communications, and avoiding radar and weapons detection.

Drop zone objectives are done via personnel drops and equipment drops. Rescue bundles include illumination flares, marker smokes and rescue kits. Helicopter air-to-air refueling can be conducted at night, with blacked out communication with up to two simultaneous helicopters. Additionally, forward area refueling point operations can be executed to support a variety of joint and coalition partners.

 

Background

The HC-130J Combat King II is a result of the HC/MC-130 recapitalization program and replaces Air Combat Command’s aging HC-130P/N fleet as the dedicated fixed-wing personnel recovery platform in the Air Force inventory. The 71st and 79th Rescue Squadrons in Air Combat Command, the 550th Special Operations Squadron in Air Education and Training Command, the 920th Rescue Group in Air Force Reserve Command and the 106th Rescue Wing, 129th RQW and 176th Wing in the Air National Guard will operate the aircraft.

First flight was 29 July 2010, and the aircraft will serve the many roles and missions of the HC-130P/Ns. It is a modified KC-130J aircraft designed to conduct personnel recovery missions, provide a command and control platform, in-flight-refuel helicopters and carry supplemental fuel for extending range or air refueling.

In April 2006, the personnel recovery mission was transferred back to Air Combat Command at Langley AFB, Va. From 2003 to 2006, the mission was under the Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Fla. Previously, HC-130s were assigned to ACC from 1992 to 2003. They were first assigned to the Air Rescue Service as part of Military Airlift Command.

 

General Characteristics

Primary function Fixed-wing Personnel Recovery platform
Contractor Lockheed Aircraft Corp.
Power Plant Four Rolls Royce AE2100D3 turboprop engines
Thrust 4,591 Propeller Shaft Horsepower, each engine
Wingspan 132 feet, 7 inches/40.4 meters
Length 97 feet, 9 inches/29.57 meters
Height 38 feet, 9 inches/11.58 meters
Operating Weight 89,000 pounds/40,369 kilograms
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 164,000 pounds/74,389 kilograms
Fuel Capacity 61,360 pounds/9,024 gallons/34,160 liters
Payload 35,000 pounds/15,875 kilograms
Speed 316 knots/364 mph/585 km/h indicated air speed at sea level
Range beyond 3,478 nautical miles/4,000 miles/6,437 km
Ceiling 33,000 feet/10,000 meters
Armament countermeasures/flares, chaff
Basic Crew Three officers (pilot, co-pilot, combat system officer) and two enlisted loadmasters
Unit Cost $66 million (fiscal 2010 replacement cost)
Initial Operating Capability (IOC) 2013

 

Cyber Soldier

The term «cyber Soldier» sounds like something out of a futuristic action film. But that’s exactly what to call the Soldiers from the 780th Military Intelligence (MI) Brigade who serve under U.S. Army Cyber Command (ARCYBER). These Soldiers are part of the elite team at ARCYBER tasked with defending Army networks and providing full-spectrum cyber capabilities.

Spc. Nathaniel Ortiz, Expeditionary CEMA (Cyber Electromagnetic Activities) Team (ECT), 781st Military Intelligence Battalion, conducts cyberspace operations at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, May 9 (Photo Credit: Mr. Bill Roche (Army Cyber Command))
Spc. Nathaniel Ortiz, Expeditionary CEMA (Cyber Electromagnetic Activities) Team (ECT), 781st Military Intelligence Battalion, conducts cyberspace operations at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, May 9 (Photo Credit: Mr. Bill Roche (Army Cyber Command))

In addition, the 780th MI Brigade also conducts expeditionary cyberspace operations and training in support of armored brigade combat teams stationed at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California. It has offered home station training for the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division (2-1 ABCT), Fort Riley, Kansas, in preparation for its NTC rotation since last November.

This is not the first time the cyber brigade has supported an Army combat training center rotation. ARCYBER established a pilot program in 2015 to build unit cyber capacity and to help the Army to operationalize cyber at all echelon levels. Additionally, the program seeks to strengthen other capabilities including information operations, intelligence and electronic warfare.

Helping tactical units maintain the initiative in cyberspace domain requires clear communication between the cyber brigade and the tactical unit’s leaders. «From our experience over several rotations, we have learned that early integration with the supporting BCT is paramount to success at NTC», said Lieutenant Colonel Justin Considine, commander of the 781st MI Battalion, Fort Meade, Maryland.

«Only when we gain the trust and confidence of the BCT Commander and his staff are we able to successfully integrate our capabilities into his operational planning», he said. «Simply put, the supported Commander will not trust our technology if he does not trust that we are members of his team. This process begins at the BCT’s home station six months prior to NTC and also ensures our cyber troops understand as much as possible about how the BCT fights and what is important to the Commander».

Additionally, the 780th MI Brigade has also trained units to develop cyber warfighting scenarios that enhance the cyber training environment at NTC. According to Major Scott Bobier, the cyber brigade support operations officer-in-charge, «This program offers maneuver combat units awareness of cyber key terrain that, if controlled, will provide a clear tactical advantage for the Soldiers who complete the training».

The training also offers feedback for the cyber brigade as well, helping to inform Army discussions about offensive and defensive cyber doctrine that will help define the future structure and integration of cyber training and support into tactical units and decision-making processes.

«What we are learning and applying must be applicable to real-world operations, which is the ultimate test of anything conducted in a training environment», said Considine. «Secondly, the future of multi-domain battle demands we build our capacity to conduct expeditionary cyber warfare in all phases of operational planning – from initial access and reconnaissance in Phases 0 and 1 through open hostilities in Phase 2 and 3».

Successful Missile-Intercept

On May 30, 2017, the Defense Department successfully intercepted an InterContinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) target during a test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element of the nation’s ballistic missile defense system, according to a Missile Defense Agency (MDA) news release.

Defense Department Successfully Intercepts Missile in Test
Defense Department Successfully Intercepts Missile in Test

The successful test was conducted by the Missile Defense Agency, in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force 30th Space Wing, the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense and U.S. Northern Command.

 

‘An Incredible Accomplishment’

«The intercept of a complex, threat-representative ICBM target is an incredible accomplishment for the GMD system and a critical milestone for this program», said MDA Director Navy Vice Admiral Jim Syring. «This system is vitally important to the defense of our homeland, and this test demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat. I am incredibly proud of the warfighters who executed this test and who operate this system every day».

This was the first live-fire test event against an ICBM-class target for GMD and the U.S. ballistic missile defense system.

During the test, an ICBM-class target was launched from the Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Multiple sensors provided target acquisition and tracking data to the Command, Control, Battle Management and Communication system.

The Sea-Based X-band radar, positioned in the Pacific Ocean, also acquired and tracked the target. The GMD system received the target tracking data and developed a fire control solution to intercept the target.

A ground-based interceptor was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, and its exo-atmospheric kill vehicle intercepted and destroyed the target in a direct collision.

 

Flight Data Slated for Evaluation

Initial indications are that the test met its primary objective, but program officials will continue to evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.

The test, designated Flight Test Ground-Based Interceptor-15, will provide the data necessary to assess the performance of the GMD system and provide enhanced homeland defense capabilities.

The GMD element of the ballistic missile defense system provides combatant commanders the capability to engage and destroy intermediate and long-range ballistic missile threats to protect the U.S. The mission of the Missile Defense Agency is to develop and deploy a layered ballistic missile defense system to defend the United States, its deployed forces, allies and friends from limited ballistic missile attacks of all ranges in all phases of flight.

Keel-laying for Margaret

The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) marked the traditional keel-laying ceremony for the second Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessel, HMCS Margaret Brooke, at Irving Shipbuilding’s Halifax Shipyard on May 29, 2017.

Keel-laying ceremony for HMCS Margaret Brooke marks a shipbuilding milestone
Keel-laying ceremony for HMCS Margaret Brooke marks a shipbuilding milestone

A keel-laying ceremony is one of the most significant dates in a ship’s construction. This ceremony was marked by the placing of a coin onto the keel of the ship by Olivia Strowbridge, the first woman in a trade supervisory role at Halifax Shipyard, and its first female certified ship spray painter. In shipbuilding tradition, this coin will remain embedded within the ship’s structure for its entire life, and will invite good luck for all who sail in it. Once the coin was placed, Ms. Strowbridge declared that the keel is now «well and truly laid».

The ceremony was also attended by Rear-Admiral John Newton, Commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic; Mr. Kevin McCoy, President of Irving Shipbuilding; and Commander Michele Tessier, the future Commanding Officer of HMCS Margaret Brooke, among others.

The coin placed on this ship depicts a four-leaf clover; a symbol with special significance to LCdr Brooke, who carried two four-leaf clovers in a silver locket as a good luck charm following her survival of the sinking of the ferry SS Caribou in 1942.

The Harry DeWolf-class Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessels will increase Canada’s capability in the Arctic and along its other two coasts. They will deliver armed, seaborne surveillance and increase Canada’s awareness of activities in these regions.

 

Quick Facts

In traditional ship construction, the keel typically extends the entire length of the vessel, running along the bottom of the ship and serving as its «backbone». Today, many ships, including the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessels, are instead constructed in modules or blocks, fabricated separately then brought together to form the superstructure of the ship. However, the keel-laying tradition has endured.

Construction continues on HMCS Margaret Brooke at Halifax Shipyard. The ship is expected to be officially launched in a Naming/Launching ceremony in 2019.

HMCS Margaret Brooke is named after LCdr Margaret M. Brooke, an RCN Nursing Sister in the Second World War who was named a Member of the Order of the British Empire for her selfless act of bravery in attempting to save the life of a colleague after the ferry they were travelling on, the SS Caribou, was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat off the coast of Newfoundland in October 1942.

When the name of HMCS Margaret Brooke was announced in April 2015, it was the first RCN ship ever to be named after a living Canadian woman. LCdr Brooke passed away the following year at the age of 100.

During her work in Sydney, Nova Scotia, at a naval hospital, a patient gave then-Sub-Lieutenant Margaret Brooke two four-leaf clovers. She had them with her when the SS Caribou was torpedoed and sunk on the night of October 14, 1942. She often said that she felt they were her good luck charm.

The niece of LCdr Margaret Brooke, Ms. Margaret Elizabeth Brooke, is the sponsor of the ship that will bear her aunt’s name.

The Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessels will be large, ice-capable ships, more than 328 feet/100 meters long, and designed for a variety of missions in Canadian waters and abroad. Commander Michele Tessier has been appointed as the first Commanding Officer of HMCS Margaret Brooke.

The Navy accepted

The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of the future USS Washington (SSN-787), the 14th submarine of the Virginia-class, May 26.

An undated photo of the future USS Washington (SSN-787). The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of the 14th submarine of the Virginia-class May 26 (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries by Matt Hildreth/Released)
An undated photo of the future USS Washington (SSN-787). The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of the 14th submarine of the Virginia-class May 26 (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries by Matt Hildreth/Released)

Washington is the fourth of eight Virginia-class Block III submarines and the seventh of the class to be delivered to the Navy by Huntington Ingalls Industries – Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia. Washington began construction in September 2011 and will be commissioned later this year in Norfolk, Virginia. The submarine’s sponsor is Elisabeth Mabus, daughter of the 75th Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.

«Washington’s delivery continues our commitment to deliver Virginia-class submarines within budget and ready to deploy and execute Fleet tasking», said Captain Mike Stevens, Virginia-class submarine program manager.

Washington will be the third U.S. Navy ship, and first submarine, to be commissioned with a name honoring the State of Washington. The previous two ships were an armored cruiser, (ACR 11), which served under the name from 1905 to 1916, and a World War II battleship (BB-56), decommissioned in 1947.

Washington successfully completed the Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) trials earlier this month receiving a score of 96 out of 100, the highest score to date on any new construction Virginia-class submarine. The INSURV board conducts acceptance trials of ships and service craft for the purpose of determining the quality of construction, compliance with specifications and Navy requirements.

Block III submarines feature a redesigned bow, which replaces 12 individual launch tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes, each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles. This, among other design changes, reduced the submarines’ acquisition cost while maintaining their outstanding warfighting capabilities.

Virginia-class submarines are built to operate in the world’s littoral and deep waters while conducting anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface ship warfare; strike warfare; special operation forces support; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. Their inherent stealth, endurance, mobility, and firepower directly enable them to support five of the six maritime strategy core capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence.

 

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/10.0584 m
Hull Diameter 34 feet/10.3632 m
Displacement Approximately 7,800 tons/7,925 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 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 10-29-16 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-787 Washington NNS 03-05-16
SSN-788 Colorado EB 12-03-16
SSN-789 Indiana NNS 04-29-17
SSN-790 South Dakota EB Under Construction
SSN-791 Delaware NNS Under Construction