Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division officially started fabrication of the America-class amphibious assault ship USS Bougainville (LHA-8) on Monday, October 16, 2018. The start of fabrication signifies that the shipyard is ready for sustained production and ready to move forward with the construction of the ship.
«Our shipbuilders are proud to continue Ingalls’ legacy in amphibious shipbuilding», said Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias. «The start of Bougainville, our 16th large-deck amphib, allows us to continue the serial production of these great ships. Working with the Navy and Marine Corps, we will take advantage of our hot production line and a healthy nationwide supplier base to continue providing these much-needed ships for the defense of our nation and the world’s sea lanes».
USS Bougainville (LHA-8) will retain the aviation capability of the America-class design while adding the surface assault capability of a well deck. The well deck will give the U.S. Marine Corps the ability to house and launch two Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) hovercraft or one Landing Craft Utility (LCU) as needed during their maritime missions. Other additions to Bougainville include a larger flight deck configured for Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) and Osprey V-22 aircraft, which can be used for surface and aviation assaults. The additional area on the flight deck comes in part from a smaller deck house and an additional sponsor.
USS Bougainville (LHA-8) will be the second U.S. Navy vessel to bear the name Bougainville. The name commemorates the Bougainville Campaign that took place during World War II. During the campaign, which lasted from 1943 to 1944, Allied forces secured a strategic airfield from Japan in the northern Solomon Islands, helping the allies break the Japanese stronghold in the South Pacific.
Fifty-five years after the arrival of the first Boeing C135 tanker aircraft, the A330 Phoenix on Friday, October 12, took off from Istres air base on its first flight after having officially joined the Air Force.
Piloted by a crew of the MRTT team of the Military Aviation Expertise Center (CEAM), the new tanker aircraft made a first flight of flight refueling trial with the aircraft of the 2/2 «Côte-d’Or» Calibration Squadron.
This first flight marks the beginning of the experimental and test campaign that will allow the aircraft to be reach Initial Operational Capability (IOC) within a year. Integrated into the 31st EARTS (strategic air refueling squadron), the trial team will perform many test flights to qualify the aircraft for all the missions it will carry out. The first phase will be dedicated to the air refueling missions of the various Air Force aircraft and those of our allies, in multiple configurations, by day or night and in all weathers.
Once the refueling capabilities are validated, the aircraft’s trials will be expanded to include strategic cargo and personnel transport and medical evacuation. The Phénix, so named by the Air Force as a symbol of the aircraft capable of «reborning» any aircraft it refuels in flight, will ultimately replace the Air Force’s entire fleet of strategic aircraft (C135, A310 and A340) which are now used for long-range missions.
Operated by the strategic air forces, the fleet of 12 aircraft (15 after 2025) will be stationed at the 125 Istres air base, whose role as our «logistics hub» will be increased tenfold.
Given that the A330 Phoenix is one and a half times larger than the C135, the entire infrastructure of Air Base 125 has had to be reviewed. A first maintenance hangar, a parking lot and new air traffic routes were thus created at the air base for the reception and implementation of the aircraft.
This site, the largest currently in terms of investments for the Ministry of the Armed Forces, will continue to accommodate 12 aircraft by 2023. In addition to two other maintenance hangars, Istres will have a new terminal for personnel and logistics transport missions which are currently carried out by the 1/60 «Estérel» transport squadron from Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle airport.
The Royal Canadian Navy is operating in an increasingly complex environment, and is monitoring the potential of future innovations to keep its defense systems and strategies ahead of the curve so that potential threats do not become dangerous realities. One of the current innovations the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) is testing are micro and mini drones.
Drones are a threat that has evolved over time. As they get smaller and harder to detect, and as they gain new capabilities like the ability to connect multiple drones and form swarms, they have the potential to pose increasingly dangerous risks to ships at sea.
The Royal Canadian Navy is keeping track of these new capabilities and testing the effectiveness of its systems against a number of drones of varying sizes and abilities.
The Snyper micro Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) is the first drone being tested to provide the Navy with insight into the effectiveness of its tracking systems against smaller threats by conducting tracking and live-fire exercises.
Snyper is a compact, lightweight and cost-efficient drone that is designed to be expendable. «The Snyper is meant to be a target and it is something we would always want to use live fire with», said Chief Petty Officer, 2nd Class Gordon Dolbec, who has been testing the drone. «It only makes sense to use live ammunition».
Snyper is also providing the RCN an opportunity to further explore the needs and requirements of UAS operations in maritime environments. It is among the first of several UAS acquisitions that the RCN is currently managing.
Drones are categorized into different classifications, each with unique restrictions of operation. The Class 1 category is the least restrictive classification, and the category the Snyper belongs to. This provides the RCN with the flexibility to learn in a less restrictive environment, but does not mean its operation is without rules.
«Snyper is going to allow the RCN to develop the foundations for moving forward with unmanned aerial systems, training operators, developing all of our Standard Operation Procedures so that we can eventually reach the Royal Canadian Navy ISTAR Unmanned Aerial System program», said Lieutenant-Commander Greg Atkinson.
Snyper has introduced the RCN to the complexities surrounding training in addition to airworthiness. It is currently helping Navy personnel answer questions such as, «how do we train our operators?», «who is training our operators?», and «what knowledge can be transferred to the larger systems?»
The RCN will continue to develop its capability with Snyper and transfer lessons learned to fully support the Force Generation required for the Intelligence, Surveillance, Target and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) program.
This is not where the capabilities of the Snyper end. Due to the simplicity of the airframe the RCN is able to request modifications to the platform to meet a variety of needs. An early modification to the airframe was to replace the stock camera with a high-resolution camera.
This new payload provides video and imagery capability that was once only feasible through use of a helicopter, at a fraction of the cost. Recently HMCS Charlottetown (FFH-339) used Snyper in support of missile exercise (MISSILEX) as an imaging camera that was flown from the flight deck. Snyper was more recently deployed in the Arctic on Operation Nanook (Op NANOOK) and took some stunning photos.
The U.S. Army awarded Lockheed Martin a contract modification to insert Gallium Nitride (GaN) into the AN/TPQ-53 (Q-53) radar as part of the full rate production configuration.
The Q-53 is the most modern radar in the U.S. Army inventory and has the flexible architecture to address aircraft, drone and other threats in the future. The transition to GaN will provide the Q-53 with additional power for capabilities including long-range counterfire target acquisition. GaN has the added benefit of increasing system reliability and reducing lifecycle ownership costs.
«Lockheed Martin is proud the Army is adding Q-53 to our family of fielded GaN based radars», said Rick Herodes, director of the Q-53 program at Lockheed Martin. «This modification takes advantage of our broad experience with radar production and next generation radar development experience coupled with Lockheed Martin’s continuous investment in GaN and other radar technologies. This update enables Q-53 mission growth for changing Army needs. We realize how critical it is to enhance the capabilities of the Q-53 so it can be responsive to the evolving operational demands and emerging threats our deployed troops face every day».
For more than 10 years, Lockheed Martin has used an open GaN foundry model leveraging relationships with commercial suppliers that utilize the power of the expansive telecommunications market. This process eliminates the cost of foundry operations, takes advantage of the telecommunications industry’s investment in GaN, enables competition and ultimately reduces costs.
The primary mission of the multi-mission Q-53 is to protect troops in combat by detecting, classifying, tracking and identifying the location of enemy indirect fire in either 360 or 90-degree modes. Mounted on a five-ton truck, the Q-53 can be rapidly deployed, automatically leveled then operated remotely or from a command vehicle with a laptop computer. The radar is software defined allowing for quick adjustment to address emerging Army capability needs for air surveillance and counter fire target acquisition.
The Q-53 has protected warfighters around the world since 2010.
Lockheed Martin currently produces multiple Q-53 radars annually. Work on the system is performed at Lockheed Martin facilities in New York, New Jersey and Florida.
Raytheon Company and the U.S. Army completed development of a revolutionary capability for cannon artillery by upgrading the combat-proven Excalibur precision-guided projectile. The Excalibur Shaped Trajectory, or EST, variant will enable soldiers to eliminate targets in hard-to-reach locations by selecting the projectile’s terminal or final phase attack angle.
With the Excalibur EST munition, soldiers can attack a bunker positioned on the opposite side of a mountain slope, target a multi-story building from the side rather than the top or defeat enemy assets positioned under highway overpasses.
«This new version of Excalibur represents a major leap forward in capability for this already advanced guided projectile», said Kim Ernzen, Raytheon Land Warfare Systems vice president. «With these enhancements, enemy forces can no longer hide from the long arm of Excalibur».
The EST variant was successfully demonstrated in August 2018 at the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, and is now being deployed to U.S. forces. This capability will be made available to allies approved to procure the Excalibur projectile through foreign military sales.
With more than 1,400 rounds fired in combat, Excalibur is the revolutionary, extended-range, precision munition for the U.S. and international artillery forces. The weapon is fully qualified in multiple systems, including the M777, M109 series, M198, the Archer and PzH2000. It’s also been tested in the AS90, K9 and G6 howitzers, with plans to integrate it with other mobile artillery systems.
In addition to the Excalibur EST variant, Raytheon has developed Excalibur S, a laser-guided version of the projectile. The company has also developed a 5-inch sea-based variant, the Excalibur N5 munition. It’s expected to more than double the maximum range of conventional 5-inch munitions and will provide the same accuracy as the land-based version.
While traditional ammunition is either stopped or deflected when it hits water, Nammo’s 30-mm Swimmer (APFSDS-T MK 258 Mod 1) swims straight through water, thanks to a groundbreaking design on the supercavitating projectile developed in cooperation with the U.S. Navy. In this article, first published in the 2018 Nammo BulletIN, design engineer Jan Hasslid discusses the implications of this new technology.
25 years ago, Norway became one of the first European countries to acquire an infantry fighting vehicle with a 30-mm × 173 gun, the CV9030N. At the same time, Raufoss Technology AS, now a part of Nammo, negotiated a contract with the Norwegian Army to develop a new generation of 30-mm ammunition. Today, with 30-mm guns becoming more prominent than ever, the experience gained through this early work has allowed Nammo, through its Strategic Alliance Agreement (SAA) with General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GD-OTS), to become one of the main providers of 30-mm ammunition for the U.S. Armed Forces. Following the recent signature of agreements with the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy, both services are now adopting Nammo’s 30-mm APFSDS-T MK 258 Mod 1, or «Swimmer», for use from a multitude of platforms, including the U.S. Army’s latest addition, the Stryker variant known as «Dragoon».
Ammunition used by vehicles generally falls into three categories – armor piercing (APFSDS), for use against other vehicles; High Explosive Incendiary (HEI), for use against lighter targets and aircraft and Target Practice (TP) rounds, that allow cost-effective training.
Nammo today offers ten different types of 30-mm × 173 ammunition across all three categories, ranging from plastic blank and reduced range anti-armor to multipurpose and explosive rounds, as well as dedicated kinetic energy penetrators. The Swimmer round falls into the category of sub-caliber kinetic energy penetrators. These can most easily be described as arrows made out of very heavy materials that use the force of the impact rather than explosives to punch through armor. Traveling at speeds of more than 1 km per second, the energy generated by the impact melts the armor of the vehicle into a fluid and the arrow «swims» through the armored side of the vehicle. In the case of the Swimmer, the force of the arrow is sufficient to defeat anything except main battle tanks.
Nammo’s penetrators, both for vehicles and other types of armor piercing ammunition, are made out of a super tough tungsten alloy, also known as wolfram. More than two times as heavy as steel, it has the second highest melting point of any element, making it ideal for use in armor piercing ammunition. For some ammunition types, including the 25-mm APEX for the F-35, tungsten is mixed with carbon, creating what is known as tungsten carbide. This makes the penetrators harder, but also more brittle, allowing them to fragment once they have penetrated the armor, causing added damage inside the target.
What makes the Swimmer unique, however, is the combination of powerful armor penetration and its ability to swim straight through water. This effect has until now been considered impossible to achieve by ammunition fired from air through water. As demonstrated by a number of popular science TV programs, traditional ammunition is either stopped or deflected when it hits water. In a worst-case scenario, a projectile could hit the surface, bounce off and hit something else. Thanks to the design effort for the kinetic energy penetrator originally developed for the Norwegian Army, and perfected by Nammo in combination with U.S. Navy supercavitation concepts, the Swimmer avoids the ricochet in water problem through the use of a supercavitation nose design. This means that the projectile creates a bubble of steam around itself big enough to pass through, substantially reducing the friction that stops traditional ammunition. This enables the Swimmer to be used in defense of either ships or coastal areas against submerged and surface mines, small underwater vehicles, torpedoes and even small fast attack crafts that might be concealed by waves. This is valuable not only for naval vessels, but also for land vehicles defending harbors, bridges or other key locations.
Going forward, Nammo expects that most armored vehicles armed with medium caliber guns such as the 30-mm will carry one armor piercing round, and one multirole round capable of acting as either a traditional high-explosive or an airburst round. With the Swimmer established as a leading armor piercing round, Nammo is now turning its attention towards developing a new type of programmable 30-mm ammunition that can be used against the kind of targets where the Swimmer is less effective. Based on the same technology as the 40-mm grenades that have been demonstrated against drones, this would allow fighting vehicles to program their ammunition to explode either in the air, or at a specific point inside a target. This would allow future combat vehicles to address the full range with only two ammunition types, and hence be ready for any mission, at any time.
Testing the Swimmer, Nammo’s Supercavitating Ammunition
Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation company, debuted the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) A2 variant, as well as showcase multiple Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV) at the 2018 AUSA Conference. The vehicles were on display at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. from Monday, October 8th through Wednesday, October 10th, 2018.
The Oshkosh FMTV A2 was on display for the first time at AUSA 2018. Oshkosh was awarded the FMTV A2 contract in February 2018, following the Army’s competitive request for proposal (RFP) for an upgraded platform with improved payload, underbody protection, ride quality, mobility, engine power, electronics, diagnostics, and safety enhancements.
«Oshkosh Defense is proud to debut the FMTV A2 at AUSA 2018. We took a great truck and made it even better with greater force protection, improved payload, a smoother ride, and better mobility», said John Bryant, President of Oshkosh Defense and Executive Vice President of Oshkosh Corporation. «We are honored that the U.S. Army selected Oshkosh as the winner of the FMTV A2 production contract earlier this year».
The FMTV A2 fleet of vehicles will be comprised of 16 models, allowing it to perform a wide range of duties from supporting combat missions, to relief efforts, to logistics and supply operations.
In addition to the FMTV A2, three fully integrated JLTVs was also found on the AUSA show floor. The JLTV on display in the Oshkosh Defense booth was outfitted with the Kongsberg Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS) with the Javelin Integration Kit (JIK) and .50 Caliber/12.7-mm Machine Gun.
A second JLTV was integrated with the Kongsberg PROTECTOR II Remote Weapon System (RWS) with a XM914 Lightweight 30-mm Cannon, the JIK, and a 7.62 coax machine gun and was on display in the Kongsberg booth #239. The third JLTV on display was in the IMI Systems booth #3125 featuring the Iron Fist Active Protection System (APS).
«Oshkosh has an exciting few months coming up with the JLTV program», Bryant continued. «First, we expect a Full Rate Production (FRP) decision in early FY19. At that time, we will substantially ramp up our JLTV production. Following the FRP decision, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps will begin fielding JLTVs. We look forward to getting these vehicles into the hands of our service members».
Oshkosh Defense leadership was available in booth #839 to discuss the Oshkosh JLTV and FMTV A2 along with the company’s full portfolio of vehicles, technologies, integration capabilities and aftermarket solutions.
Raytheon Company completed a significant milestone in the development of its long-range DeepStrike missile to meet the U.S. Army’s Precision Strike Missile, or PrSM, requirement. The company has integrated its new launch pod missile container into the Army’s M142 HIMARS and M270 MLRS launchers.
The launch pod missile container integration took place at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in July. During the integration, Raytheon technicians worked side-by-side with soldiers and Marines on operational launchers to ensure proper fit and functionality.
«Raytheon is responding to the U.S. Army’s desire to accelerate its PrSM program», said Doctor Thomas Bussing, Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems vice president. «We are on a fast track to deliver an advanced surface-to-surface missile that exceeds the Army’s requirements by doubling the firepower while reducing the cost».
Featuring an innovative, two-in-the-pod design and an advanced guidance system, Raytheon’s new long-range precision strike missile will fly farther, faster and pack more punch than the current weapon, which is approaching the end of its service life.
As the next-generation surface-to-surface weapon for the Army, the DeepStrike missile will defeat fixed land targets 60-499 kilometers away, improve lethality and responsiveness compared to current systems, and restore the Army’s capability to overmatch the threat.
Double the combat power with Raytheon’s DeepStrike missile system
Raytheon Company and Rheinmetall Defence have joined forces to meet the U.S. Army’s requirement for the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle-Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (NGCV) program. The global industry team will offer the new Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) paired with Raytheon weapons, sensors and system integration expertise to provide the Army with an advanced, modular, survivable and lethal solution with unmatched growth potential.
Scheduled for fielding in 2026, the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle will be optimized for urban combat and rural terrain. The Army has named the NGCV as a top modernization priority supported under the service’s new Futures Command structure.
«We fully understand the Army’s need to quickly modernize its aging family of combat vehicles. Our team offers a fresh, innovative approach, not business as usual», said Doctor Taylor W. Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president. «Raytheon will equip the new Lynx with the world’s most advanced technology to deliver a modern fighting vehicle that will keep U.S. soldiers far ahead of battlefield threats for decades to come».
Raytheon technology earmarked for the Lynx could include advanced variants of Raytheon weapons, next-generation thermal sights, the Coyote unmanned aircraft system and the company’s Active Protection System. Like those systems, the vehicle will be made in America.
Rheinmetall unveiled the latest version of the Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicle earlier this year. The new, tracked, armored vehicle is designed to address the critical challenges of the future battlefield, with a focus on growth capacity and lower life-cycle costs.
The Lynx IFV will provide the Army a next-generation lethal, powerful, lifesaving and adaptable fighting vehicle that represents true leap ahead capability compared to legacy vehicles. The Lynx can also be adapted to enable optional manning features, such as remote operation of the vehicle and Lance turret.
«Rheinmetall and Raytheon have worked together successfully for many years on numerous programs», said Ben Hudson, global head of Rheinmetall’s Vehicle Systems division. «We are once again combining the best of German and American engineering to provide the U.S. Army with a step change in capability, giving soldiers the overmatch advantage, they expect and deserve. Production of the Lynx in the U.S. will enable additional development and sustainment of the world-class American defense industrial base».
The NGCV is expected to replace the Bradley fighting vehicle.
According to Navy Recognition, the 11th Soryu-class submarine, JS Oryu (SS-511), was launched at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shipyard in Kobe on October 4th. JS Oryu (SS-511) features one significant design upgrade: It is Japan’s first submarine powered by lithium-ion batteries.
JS Oryu (SS-511) is the 11th Soryu-class submarine built for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF): the 6th built by MHI, the other five ones having been built by Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation is the shipbuilding subsidiary of Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Oryu’s keel was laid in November 2015 and the submarine is set to be delivered to the JMSDF in March 2020.
The keel for the first submarine in the class, JS Soryu (SS-501), was laid down in March 2005. It was launched in December 2007 and commissioned in March 2009.
The latest Soryu class SSK JS Seiryu (SS-509) was commissioned with the JMSDF on 12 March 2018.
All submarines of the class are named after dragons. Soryū means Blue Dragon, Hakuryū (2nd in the class) White Dragon, Sekiryū (8th in the class) Red Dragon. Shoryu (10th in the class) Soar Dragon.
JS Oryu (SS-511) (おうりゅう or 凰龍 in kanji) means Dragon-Phoenix.
Twelve Soryu-class submarines are planned for the JMSDF. The eleventh and twelfth submarines will feature improved underwater endurance thanks to lithium-ion batteries. The class is an improved version of the Oyashio-class submarine. Soryu-class submarines are the world’s largest conventionally powered submarines. They have an excellent operational track record and are equipped with state-of-the art technologies, including Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP) systems that enable them to remain fully submerged for long periods of time, and advanced stealth technologies that make them more difficult to detect.
Compared to earlier submarines in the Soryu-class, Oryu doesn’t use lead-acid batteries but lithium-ion ones, designed by GS Yuasa. These high-performance batteries are said to store about double the power.
84 m/275.6 feet
9.1 m/29.9 feet
10.3 m/33.8 feet
8.4 m/27.6 feet
20 knots/23 mph/37 km/h
MHI Launched the 11th Soryu-class SSK JS Oryu (SS-511) for the JMSDF