For the first time

For the first time, the U.S. Navy test fired two Raytheon-built Tomahawk cruise missiles from new submarine payload tubes on the Virginia-class USS North Dakota (SSN-784). The tests, in the Gulf of Mexico near Florida, proved the submarine’s ability to load, carry and vertically launch Tomahawk missiles from the new Block III Virginia Payload Tube. The upgraded tubes feature fewer parts and will be even more reliable.

U.S. Navy fires first Tomahawk cruise missiles from new submarine payload tubes
U.S. Navy fires first Tomahawk cruise missiles from new submarine payload tubes

In addition to the new payload tubes, the U.S. Navy is also developing a new Virginia Payload Module (VPM). The new modules will triple the number of Tomahawk missiles that Virginia-class submarines can carry, dramatically increasing each sub’s firepower.

«As the Navy continues to modernize its subs, Raytheon continues to modernize Tomahawk, keeping this one-of-a-kind weapon well ahead of the threat», said Mike Jarrett, Raytheon Air Warfare Systems vice president. «Today’s Tomahawk is a far cry from its predecessors and tomorrow’s missile will feature even more capability, giving our sailors the edge they need for decades to come».

The U.S. Navy continues to upgrade the Tomahawk Block IV’s communications and navigation capabilities, while adding a multi-mode seeker so it can hit high-value moving targets at sea. These modernized Tomahawks are on track to deploy beginning in 2019 and will be in the U.S. Navy inventory beyond 2040.

Fired in combat more than 2,300 times, Tomahawk cruise missiles are used by U.S. and British forces to defeat integrated air defense systems and conduct long-range precision strike missions against high-value targets. Surface ships and other classes of submarines can carry more than 100 Tomahawks when needed.

 

General Characteristics

Primary Function Long-range subsonic cruise missile for striking high value or heavily defended land targets
Contractor Raytheon Systems Company, Tucson, Arizona
Date Deployed
Block II TLAM-A IOC* 1984
Block III TLAM-C, TLAM-D IOC* 1994
Block IV TLAM-E IOC* 2004
Unit Cost Approximately $569,000
Propulsion Williams International F107 cruise turbo-fan engine; ARC/CSD solid-fuel booster
Length 18 feet 3 inch/5.56 m; 20 feet 6 inch/6.25 m with booster
Diameter 20.4 inch/51.81 cm
Wingspan 8 feet 9 inch/2.67 m
Weight 2,900 lbs/1,315.44 kg; 3,500 lbs/1,587.6 kg with booster
Speed about 478 knots/550 mph/880 km/h
Range
Block II TLAM-A 1,350 NM/1,500 statute miles/2,500 km
Block III TLAM-C 900 NM/1,000 statute miles/1,600 km
Block III TLAM-D 700 NM/800 statute miles/1,250 km
Block IV TLAM-E 900 NM/1,000 statute miles/1,600 km
Guidance System
Block II TLAM-A INS**, TERCOM***
Block III TLAM-C, D & Block IV TLAM-E INS**, TERCOM***, DSMAC****, GPS
Warhead
Block II TLAM-N W80 nuclear warhead
Block III TLAM-D conventional submunitions dispenser with combined effect bomblets
Block III TLAM-C and Block IV TLAM-E unitary warhead

* Initial Operational Capability

** Inertial Navigation System

*** TERrain COtour Matching

**** Digital Scene-Mapping Area Correlator

Counter-UAS program

As the use of unmanned aircraft systems rises across the world, researchers from around the Defense Department are testing new ways to counter the new threats they could present.

Defenders from the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron and a researcher from the Air Force Research Lab teamed up to bring a new program to Bagram Airfield (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sergeant Benjamin Gonsier)
Defenders from the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron and a researcher from the Air Force Research Lab teamed up to bring a new program to Bagram Airfield (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sergeant Benjamin Gonsier)

The 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron (ESFS) teamed up with a researcher from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to teach Airmen how to pilot drones and use them to train coalition forces on how to react to them on the battlefield.

«This is a brand-new program for the 455th AEW, where we are able to test our counter-UAS systems coming into BAF, in addition to running base-wide exercises», said 1st. Lieutenant Ryan Wilkerson, a researcher attached to the 455th ESFS.

Wilkerson, who is not a defender by trade, is deployed out of the AFRL, Rome Research Site, New York, and came to test the program at Bagram Airfield, where the challenge is present in real-world scenarios.

A few defenders assisted Wilkerson, serving as drone pilots and using their own down time to practice piloting and learn tactics the enemy may use.

«It’s exciting to be able to pilot these aircraft for a program no one has ever been a part of before», said Senior Airman Christopher Gallman, with the 455th ESFS joint defense operations center. «I can’t wait to see where it is going and to be able to help out the total force».

The drone pilots wear aviator sunglasses and have an aura of swagger around them, as they take pride in being at the forefront of tactical development.

«It’s fun and enjoyable, and knowing how beneficial it is to not only the base, but all of the force, makes flying the drone worth doing», Gallman said.

Training never ends, and while service members train to deploy, training still continues while deployed.

«This allows us to be better prepared», Wilkerson said. «The best way to train is to actually put something in the air and see how people react. We train how we fight, so this is the most efficient way to counter this growing concern amongst coalition partners».

Tactics used by the enemy are constantly evolving, which is why Airmen are constantly adapting to face threats head-on, ready to engage anything that comes their way.

Getica Saber 2017

Booming mortar blasts broke the mountain valley’s silence as Romanian and U.S. artillery fired opening rounds at the July 10 commencement of the annual joint combined training exercise Getica Saber 2017.

U.S. Army Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, maneuver tanks during Getica Saber 17 on July 10, 2017 in Cincu, Romania (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Specialist Antonio Lewis)
U.S. Army Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, maneuver tanks during Getica Saber 17 on July 10, 2017 in Cincu, Romania (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Specialist Antonio Lewis)

The exercise, which runs until July 15, is one of 18 «Black Sea Region Exercises» that U.S. European Command conducts annually with partner nations in Central and Eastern Europe to bolster collective defense.

Paladin mobile artillery launchers and M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems launched coordinated rounds of fire, practicing joint fire-cover that would protect infantry or armor units in a combat situation.

 

INTEGRATING, SYNCHRONIZING

«What we’re really working on is integrating and synchronizing the delivery of joint fires and combined fires in support of a brigade combat team», said Army Colonel Kelly Webster, commander of the 1st Cavalry Division Artillery Brigade. «As the brigade combat teams carry out their maneuvers, they will rely on the artillery to provide backup support and defend them from enemy ground attacks».

While the American military has focused heavily on fighting terrorist and insurgent groups over the last 16 years, EUCOM, NATO allies and partner nations are preparing in case a conventional conflict occurs in Europe.

Threats of regional aggression have weighed heavily on regional military leaders’ minds since the 2014 Ukraine crisis, so leaders look to exercises like Getica Saber to boost their collective defensive capacity.

«For the last 16 years, we’ve been working in an environment where we controlled the airspace, without any ‘near-peer’ threats that challenged that control. We have to be prepared to encounter near-peer threats in the future, and we need to be able to deflect any air-based threats», said Army Capt. John Strickland, a public affairs officer with the 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment. «It’s about preparing to fight an enemy that has similar capabilities to what we bring to the table», he added.

Getica Saber’s planners anticipate a future enemy with extensive ground-based firepower, Strickland said. The U.S. and its allies, he added, would employ combined fires in this scenario to take out not only enemy artillery and armor, but also anti-aircraft launchers that threaten friendly aircraft.

«If we’re facing an enemy that has surface-to-air capability, we need to defeat that capability to get our infantry into the area», he said. «We need to protect the aircraft that are out there transporting or supporting the ground troops».

The 1st Cavalry Division Artillery Brigade is overseeing Getica Saber’s live-fire exercise Joining the unit is the 4th Infantry Division’s 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, which will head up a combined-arms live-fire exercise consisting of tanks and artillery later in the exercise.

 

U.S., EUROPEAN PARTNERSHIP

Romanian artillery units are participating in both exercises, Webster noted. He added that the Romanian army’s Second Infantry Division is overseeing Getica Saber and day-to-day administrative management. The Romanian military leadership is working with U.S. leaders in shared office space inside the Combat Training Center here.

Merging office space with the Romanian command for the exercises fosters interoperability, Webster said. Differences exist between U.S. and Romanian hardware and computer network systems, but working in proximity makes it easier to quickly resolve any technical difficulties, he noted.

«Having combined our headquarters and theirs into one headquarters, we can both operate our computerized systems in a very timely manner», he said. «It’s a very efficient workaround that we’ve found since we’ve started the exercise».

The exercise involves less digital technology and fewer network-connected systems than other U.S.-based exercises frequently have, which is beneficial, said Timothy Lemley, lead planner for Saber Guardian 2017, another Black Sea-area exercise that runs concurrently with Getica Saber.

Lemley pointed out that if a wartime adversary uses cyberattacks to sabotage weapons systems, U.S. and allied troops will need to be prepared to fight in «analog» mode.

«If we look towards sort of the future warfare aspect of things, we’re looking at all kinds of area-of-denial, computer denial and denial-of-service attacks, where we might have to operate in an analog environment», he said. «So, working with these countries that work primarily in an analog environment gives us the opportunity to experience that».

Live firing

The first live firing of MBDA’s Brimstone air-to-surface missile from a Eurofighter Typhoon has been successfully completed as part of ongoing development work to significantly upgrade the capability of the aircraft. The trial is part of work to integrate the Phase 3 Enhancement (P3E) package for Typhoon, which will also deliver further sensor and mission system upgrades.

Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft enhancements move forward with successful live firing of Brimstone missile
Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft enhancements move forward with successful live firing of Brimstone missile

The P3E package forms part of Project Centurion – the programme to ensure a smooth transition of Tornado GR4 capabilities on to Typhoon for the Royal Air Force.

The UK’s IPA (Instrumented Production Aircraft) 6 Typhoon conducted the firing with support from the UK Ministry of Defence, MBDA, QinetiQ, Eurofighter GmbH and the Eurofighter Partner Companies – Airbus and Leonardo. It was designed to test the separation of the low-collateral, high-precision Brimstone weapon when it is released. In total, nine firings will take place to expand the launch and range capabilities.

The initial firing follows completion of a series of around 40 flight trials earlier this year, some of them conducted alongside pilots from the Royal Air Force’s 41(R) Squadron – the Test and Evaluation Squadron – in a Combined Test Team approach.

Volker Paltzo, CEO for Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH, said: «The successful completion of this trial is an important step towards integration of the weapon on to the aircraft. Brimstone will provide the Typhoon pilot with the ability to precisely attack fast-moving targets at range, further enhancing the aircraft’s already highly potent air-to-surface capabilities».

Andy Flynn, BAE Systems Eurofighter Capability Delivery Director, added: «Through the dedicated work of our teams, and with support from our partners, we have been able to reach this milestone in a short space of time. We will now continue to work alongside the Royal Air Force and our partner companies in a joint approach to ensure we successfully deliver this package of enhancements into service».

Andy Bradford, MBDA Director of Typhoon Integration, said: «This first firing is a major milestone for both the Brimstone and Typhoon programmes. Together Brimstone and Typhoon will provide the Royal Air Force and other Eurofighter nations with a world-beating strike capability to beyond 2040».

The successful trial follows completion earlier this year of the flight trials programme for the MBDA Storm Shadow deep strike air-to-surface weapon and the MBDA Meteor ‘beyond visual range’ air-to-air missile. Operational testing and evaluation of those capabilities is currently ongoing with the Royal Air Force ahead of entry into service in 2018.

 

CHARACTERISTICS

Weight 50 kg/110.2 lbs
Length 1.8 m/5.9 feet
Diameter 180 mm/7 inches
Guidance Millimetric Wave Radar and Semi-Active Laser
Warhead Tandem Shaped Charge

 

Upgrade German Puma

The German Bundeswehr has contracted with the Rheinmetall Group to supply expanded capabilities and additional equipment for the Puma Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). The Koblenz-based Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) has awarded the project management company an order for a comprehensive expansion package with a gross value of €260 million (€218 million without VAT). In addition to this comes optional retrofitting with further components, for which €108 million (including VAT) has been allocated. A member of the defence consortium tasked with developing and producing the Puma, Rheinmetall’s share in the current order comes to €115 million (€97 million without VAT); commissioning of Rheinmetall within the consortium will take place in the next few weeks.

Rheinmetall to Upgrade German Army’s Puma IFVs
Rheinmetall to Upgrade German Army’s Puma IFVs

These expanded capabilities will further enhance the infantry fighting vehicle’s combat performance in a number of areas as well as providing improved possibilities for training.

Specifically, the expansion package includes among other things the development of a new Turret-independent Secondary Weapon system (TSWA) for the Puma; the installation of advanced visualization and display technology; and the provision of new training resources.

The TSWA system will significantly strengthen the vehicle’s battlefield performance and especially its self-defence capabilities. Remotely controlled from the vehicle’s rear fighting compartment, it is an unmanned weapon station mounted on the rear section of the vehicle rather than on the rotatable turret. This means that threats can be addressed even at very close quarters without having to use the main armament, which is especially important in urban terrain, significantly enhancing crew protection. The TSWA fires 40-mm lethal and non-lethal (e.g. tear gas and flash-bang) ammunition with a maximum range of 400 metres/1,312 feet.

The new order includes sample integration, readying the system for full-scale production and fabrication of three TSWA prototypes. The actual serial production order, in which the entire Puma fleet will be retrofitted with the weapon system, is expected to come in 2023.

In the visualization domain, the Puma’s will be upgraded to meet current standards, with the current black and white monitor and accompanying optics being replaced by a state-of-the-art, high-performance colour displays. This will provide the vehicle commander and gunner with a high-resolution, highly detailed view of the surrounding terrain and the current tactical situation. It will also open up greater possibilities for reconnaissance and target engagement. A new infrared searchlight mounted on the rear of the vehicle will enhance the driver’s night vision capability. Just awarded, the development order includes sample integration of the visualization technology into three vehicles, with exercise of a subsequent series production option envisaged for 2020.

Another order encompasses additional training resources for the operator of the Puma turret, one of the IFV’s most technically sophisticated subsystems. Separate turret training systems, consisting of the serial turret and the upper section of the Puma’s hull, will in future enable the commander and gunner to train with no need for the actual vehicle. Maintenance personnel can practise repair and assembly procedures in a highly effective, highly realistic manner. This relieves the pressure on scarce resources as well as cutting costs, as it avoids tying up the vehicle hardware and results in less wear and tear. This way training can be conducted in a much more flexible way.

Delivery of the turret trainers is to take place during the 2019-2023 timeframe. The order includes eleven new turret trainers as well as the upgrade of an existing system, which will in future give the Bundeswehr a total of twelve systems, or two per battalion. Specifically, they will be deployed at all German mechanized infantry bases as well as at the Bundeswehr training centres in Aachen and Munster.

The Puma infantry fighting vehicle is the most advanced system of its kind worldwide. When it comes to combat effectiveness, mobility, Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) capabilities and situational awareness, it sets new standards. Along with modular, high-performance protection, the Puma possesses a unique degree of battlefield lethality and is fully capable of taking part in network-enabled operations. Roomy enough to carry nine troops, this state-of-the-art IFV can be airlifted to the area of operations in an A400M military transport plane.

The Puma is currently being introduced into the German Army. Delivery of all 350 vehicles, which began in June 2015, is scheduled for completion in 2020. The first units are now undergoing training in the use and operation of the Puma system.

John Commissioned

The Navy commissioned its newest guided-missile destroyer, the future USS John Finn (DDG-113), during a 10 a.m. HAST ceremony Saturday, July 15, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

John Finn is named in honor of Lt. John William Finn, a chief aviation ordnanceman and the first member of the armed services to earn the Medal of Honor during World War II for heroism during the attack on Pearl Harbor
John Finn is named in honor of Lt. John William Finn, a chief aviation ordnanceman and the first member of the armed services to earn the Medal of Honor during World War II for heroism during the attack on Pearl Harbor

The new destroyer honors Chief Aviation Ordnanceman John Finn, who received the Medal of Honor for heroism during the first attack by Japanese airplanes at Pearl Harbor. While under heavy machine gun fire, Finn manned a .50-caliber/12.7-mm machine gun mounted on an instruction stand in a completely exposed section of the parking ramp. Wounded multiple times, he had to be convinced to leave his post. After receiving first aid treatment, he overcame the effects of his injuries and returned to the squadron area to supervise the rearming of returning planes. Finn served throughout the war, earning a commission and eventually being promoted to the rank of lieutenant. He passed away in May 2010 at the age of 100.

Admiral Harry Harris, commander, U.S. Pacific Command, delivered the ceremony’s principal address. Mrs. Laura Stavridis, wife of retired Admiral James Stavridis, served as the ship’s sponsor.

«The commissioning of USS John Finn marks the beginning of what will be decades of exceptional service for this ship», said the Honorable Sean Stackley, acting secretary of the Navy. «During World War II, Chief Finn distinguished himself through heroic service to his fellow Sailors and our nation. I know the men and women who make up the crew of USS John Finn will carry his legacy forward with the same selfless service he distinguished more than 75 years ago».

Designated DDG-113, John Finn is the 63rd Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and the first of her class commissioned since USS Michael Murphy (DDG-112) joined the fleet October 6, 2012. John Finn will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. John Finn will be capable of engaging in air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and will contain a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare, including Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capabilities.

 

Ship Characteristics

Length Overall 510 feet/156 m
Beam – Waterline 59 feet/18 m
Draft 30.5 feet/9.3 m
Displacement – Full Load 9,217 tons/9,363 metric tons
Power Plant 4 General electric LM 2500-30 gas turbines; 2 shafts; 2 CRP (Contra-Rotating) propellers; 100,000 shaft horsepower/75,000 kW
Speed in excess of 30 knots/34.5 mph/55.5 km/h
Range 4,400 NM/8,149 km at 20 knots/23 mph/37 km/h
Crew 380 total: 32 Officers, 27 CPO (Chief Petty Officer), 321 OEM
Surveillance SPY-1D Phased Array Radar and Aegis Combat System (Lockheed Martin); SPS-73(V) Navigation; SPS-67(V)3 Surface Search; 3 SPG-62 Illuminator; SQQ-89(V)6 sonar incorporating SQS-53C hull mounted and SQR-19 towed array sonars used with Mark-116 Mod 7 ASW fire control system
Electronics/Countermeasures SLQ-32(V)3; Mark-53 Mod 0 Decoy System; Mark-234 Decoy System; SLQ-25A Torpedo Decoy; SLQ-39 Surface Decoy; URN-25 TACAN; UPX-29 IFF System; Kollmorgen Mark-46 Mod 1 Electro-Optical Director
Aircraft 2 embarked SH-60 helicopters ASW operations; RAST (Recovery Assist, Secure and Traverse)
Armament 2 Mark-41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) with 90 Standard, Vertical Launch ASROC (Anti-Submarine Rocket) & Tomahawk ASM (Air-to-Surface Missile)/LAM (Loitering Attack Missile); 5-in (127-mm)/54 (62) Mark-45 gun; 2 (1) CIWS (Close-In Weapon System); 2 Mark-32 triple 324-mm torpedo tubes for Mark-46 or Mark-50 ASW torpedos
The future Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John Finn (DDG-113) is pierside at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in preparation for its commissioning ceremony (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Justin R. Pacheco/Released)
The future Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John Finn (DDG-113) is pierside at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in preparation for its commissioning ceremony (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Justin R. Pacheco/Released)

 

Guided Missile Destroyers Lineup

 

Flight IIA: Restart

Ship Yard Launched Commissioned Homeport
DDG-113 John Finn HIIIS 03-28-15 07-15-17 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
DDG-114 Ralph Johnson HIIIS 12-12-15
DDG-115 Rafael Peralta GDBIW 10-31-15
The future Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John Finn (DDG-113) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in preparation for its commissioning ceremony (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Randi Brown/Released)
The future Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John Finn (DDG-113) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in preparation for its commissioning ceremony (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Randi Brown/Released)

First Deployment

The U.S. Navy’s first purpose-built expeditionary sea base, USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3), departed from Naval Station Norfolk to begin its first operational deployment, July 10. Puller is deploying to the U.S. 5th Fleet to provide operational support for U.S. Navy and allied forces operating in the region.

The Military Sealift Command expeditionary mobile base USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3) departs Naval Station Norfolk for its first operational deployment (U.S. Navy photo)
The Military Sealift Command expeditionary mobile base USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3) departs Naval Station Norfolk for its first operational deployment (U.S. Navy photo)

«We call ourselves ‘Team Puller,’» said Commander Arlen Rose, the military detachment’s officer in charge. «The Puller is a brand-new ship, so we had a lot to learn. The military crew has been training with the ship’s civil service mariners for a year to prepare for this deployment». «We are ready to get Puller out there to takes its rightful place in the fleet», added Rose. «Everyone is really excited to get to work and see what the Puller can do».

USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3) was delivered to the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC) in June 2015 and is the Navy’s first purpose-built expeditionary sea base. The ship has a hybrid-manned crew with a combination of military personnel and civilian mariners (CIVMAR).

«The CIVMARs aboard Puller primarily focus on the operation of the ship», said Captain George McCarthy, the Puller’s master. «The CIVMARs perform a variety of critical tasks including navigation, propulsion and ventilation services».

The 784-foot-long/239-meter-long vessel features a 52,000 square-foot/4,831 square-meter flight deck, fuel and equipment storage, repair spaces, magazines, and mission-planning spaces. Able to accommodate up to 250 personnel, USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3) will support multiple missions, such as air mine counter measures, counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions, and crisis response operations.

According to McCarthy, the Puller is going to be permanently deployed overseas, which saves a tremendous amount of time in terms of operations. So, the ship’s maintenance, repairs and crew swaps will take place in theater.

USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3) is named after Lieutenant General, Lewis Burwell «Chesty» Puller, one of the most decorated members of the Marine Corps. He is one of only two men, and the only Marine, to be awarded five Navy Crosses. He fought in Haiti and Nicaragua, and participated in battles of World War II and the Korean War. Puller retired from the Marine Corps in 1955 and spent the remainder of his life in Virginia.

USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3) is the expeditionary sea base-variant of the expeditionary transfer dock (ESD) which includes USNS Montford Point (T-ESD-1) and USNS John Glenn (T-ESD-2). The second expeditionary sea base, USNS Hershel «Woody» Williams (T-ESB-4), is currently under construction by General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) in San Diego.

MSC operates approximately 120 non-combatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, and strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world, while moving military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.

USNS Lewis B. Puller deploys from Naval Station Norfolk

Patriot in Lithuania

On July 10, the United States of America is for the first deploying Patriot long-range missile system in Lithuania. The deployment demonstrates the steadfast U.S. commitment to the security of Lithuania and its high readiness to send strategic capabilities to the region.

U.S. demonstrates steadfast commitment to Lithuania's security by deploying Patriot long-range air defence system
U.S. demonstrates steadfast commitment to Lithuania’s security by deploying Patriot long-range air defence system

The Patriot will be operating in one pool with Lithuanian and other NATO allies’ air defence systems during Exercise Tobruq Legacy 2017, multinational ground based air defence units exercise for the first time held in Lithuania.

The exercise will train interoperability among NATO ground based air defence units and refine airspace command and control procedures. The exercise aims at enhancing regional and international integration of joint units thus training and strengthening preparedness for a potential NATO collective defence scenario.

Exercise Tobruq Legacy 2017 begins in July 11 to run until July 22 in Šiauliai district. The event will involve roughly 500 soldiers and 30 air defence systems of Lithuania and four more NATO allies – the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Latvia, and Poland.

Tobruq Legacy 2017 will be conducted concurrently in Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Romania under the command of Romania-based Joint Force Air Component Command (NATO JFAC) that will include members of the Lithuanian Air Force. Lithuanian units will also train night air defence operations control at the portion of the exercise in the Czech Republic.

National Exercise Vigilant Falcon 2017 in Lithuania will be an integral part of Tobruq Legacy 2017. The exercise will enhance interoperability and command and control procedures among units of the Lithuanian Air Force.

The host of Exercise Tobruq Legacy 2017 is the United States of America. This is the third time the Lithuanian Air Force is among the participants. In 2015 soldiers of the Lithuanian Air Force were for the first-time training NATO air defence operations in a platoon-sized unit in the Czech Republic, in a battery-sized unit in Slovakia – in 2016, and this year representatives of the Lithuanian Air Force will practice joint actions with NATO allies and providing command to a ground based Air Defence Battalion-level unit.

US Deploys Patriot Battery to Lithuania
US Deploys Patriot Battery to Lithuania

Transducer Array

The U.S. Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation a $9.6 million contract, with options up to $40.5 million, to produce the Transducer Array/Nose Shell Assembly of the MK 48 heavyweight torpedo. The MK 48 is the primary offensive weapon deployed from all U.S. Navy submarines.

Northrop Grumman Awarded MK 48 Heavyweight Torpedo Transducer Array/Nose Shell Assembly Production Contract
Northrop Grumman Awarded MK 48 Heavyweight Torpedo Transducer Array/Nose Shell Assembly Production Contract

The initial contract covers engineering and production of 45 MK 48 torpedo Transducer Array/Nose Shell Assemblies. Three additional options allow for up to 45 units apiece, for a total of up to 180 systems over five years. The contract also includes orders for spare parts and engineering support services. The Transducer Array is the main sensor used to acoustically detect, locate, and guide the torpedo to its intended target.

«Northrop Grumman has a long legacy of torpedo production and we are proud to partner with the U.S. Navy to ensure the viability of the MK 48 torpedo for years to come», said Alan Lytle, vice president, undersea systems business unit, Northrop Grumman. «Between the new MK 48 contract and our existing production of the MK 54 torpedo arrays, we are honored to provide the U.S. Navy with affordable and reliable torpedo components and look forward to future opportunities for design and production of advanced, next generation torpedoes for the fleet».

Northrop Grumman’s experience with torpedo production dates back to World War II with the development and manufacturing of the MK 18 for the U.S. Submarine Force. Northrop Grumman has since produced thousands of torpedoes including more than 3,000 MK 48 torpedoes and nearly 500 MK 50 lightweight torpedoes. Northrop Grumman is currently producing the MK 54 Acoustic Nose Array for the U.S. Navy.

Work on the contract will be performed at Northrop Grumman’s Annapolis, Maryland facility, Ultra Electronics Ocean Systems’ Braintree, Massachusetts facility, and at additional supplier locations. Completed assemblies will be delivered to the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Keyport, Washington, for installation into complete MK 48 torpedoes.

In addition to its work on the MK 54 and MK 48 torpedoes, Northrop Grumman operates one of the world’s largest and most advanced research centers on future undersea warfare technology. Current projects include research on multiple aspects of the very lightweight torpedo for missions in torpedo defense and offensive submarine warfare, development of automated torpedo array assembly and test, and advanced torpedo acoustic element and array design concepts for increased performance, reliability and lethality.

 

General Characteristics

Primary Function Heavyweight Torpedo
Contractor Lockheed Martin
Propulsion piston engine; pump jet
Diameter 21 inches/53.3 cm
Weight 3,520 pounds/1,596.6 kg
Speed greater than 28 knots/32.2 mph/51.52 km/h
Range more than 4.3 NM/5 miles/8 km
Depth greater than 1,200 feet/365.76 m
Warhead 650 pounds/295 kg, high-explosive

 

New Korean Submarine

According to Yonhap News Agency, South Korea’s Navy took over a new 1,800-ton submarine Monday, 10 July, 2017, aimed at beefing up its underwater warfare capability against North Korea.

Launch of the South Korean navy’s Yu Gwan-sun at the Daewoo shipyard on Geoje Island; she is Korea’s sixth Type 214 diesel-electric submarine SSK (DAPA photo)
Launch of the South Korean navy’s Yu Gwan-sun at the Daewoo shipyard on Geoje Island; she is Korea’s sixth Type 214 diesel-electric submarine SSK (DAPA photo)

The delivery ceremony of the Yu Gwan-sun submarine was held at the shipyard of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. on Geoje Island near the country’s southeastern port city of Busan, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).

The submarine, named after the Korean independence fighter Yu Gwan-sun (1902-1920), is the six of the South’s Jang Bogo-II Class fleet launched in December 2008. Jang is the legendary admiral of the ancient Korean kingdom of Silla (57 B.C. – A.D. 935).

The Navy plans to commission the new sub in December after training crew members.

«The Yu Gwan-sun is the world’s top-class diesel-powered submarine capable of handling more than 300 underwater targets at the same time», said Choi Hee-kyung, a DAPA official in charge of the program. «Equipped with a fuel battery system, it can conduct underwater operations for 10 days or longer without surfacing above the water».

«It’s expected to help the South offset its inferiority in the quantity of submarines to the North, known to have more than 80 submarines», Choi added.