The fourth Italian General-Purpose frigate (IT-GP), and the eighth Italian FREMM to be delivered, ITS Antonio Marceglia (F-597) finished her sea trials on the 20th of November, after the completion of all tests foreseen for the Platform and Combat System equipment.
As occurred last year for ITS Federico Martinengo (F-596), ITS Antonio Marceglia (F-597) has completed sea trials in only five months after the First Sea Going in last June, confirming the strong coordination that exists between all the actors involved in the programme (NAVARM/UTNAV, IT Navy, FREMM PD, and Industry).
Indeed, in each of the thirteen scheduled sea trials, the effective coordination of all stakeholders played a key role in order to complete all trials on schedule although the activities at sea were challenging, with different GFx (at least ships, airplanes and helicopters).
Starting from ITS Alpino (F-594), delivered to the Italian Navy in 2016, the «Zero ANT» (Activities Not Terminated) objective requested by Italian Navy is the goal to be accomplished. In order to take this achievement through in line with the contractual schedule, the Final Official Acceptance of ITS Antonio Marceglia (F-597) is scheduled for next 16th of April.
Navantia has launched today the first AOR (Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment) «Nuship Supply» of a series of two, for the Royal Australian Navy, according to contract signed in May 2016.
The ceremony was held at the Ferrol facilities at 4:15 pm coinciding with the high tide, and has counted with the attendance of Mrs. Jenny Barrett, as the godmother of the ship, the president of Navantia, Susana de Sarriá, the Ambassador of Australia to Spain, Julie-Ann Guivarra, and the Royal Australian Navy Chief of Navy, VA MJ Noonan.
The president of Navantia was grateful to the Australian Navy for the confidence deposited in the Company that once again has demonstrated the aptitude to design and build the products and services for the most competitive markets, in time and quality. She added that launching a new ship, means that Navantia shows, once again, an enormous potential and with the upcoming Strategic Plan and the F110 frigates, will guarantee supporting these capacities in the future.
The two ships are based on the Spanish Navy ship «Cantabria» which will be tailored to fulfil specific Australian standards and requirements. The agreement with the Commonwealth of Australia also includes the sustainment of the two AOR ships for a period of five years.
This contract means a workforce of 3 million hours for this area, as well as 35,000 hours for the Cartagena shipyard derived from the engines, and 35,000 for Navantia Sistemas derived from the IPMS. That makes a total of 1,800 jobs until 2020.
Besides, this contract includes a significant amount of participation from Australian industry, with companies such as Raytheon as supplier of the Communication System, Saab Australia as supplier of the Combat System, Scientific Management Associates (SMA) as suppliers of engineering services and Baker and Provan as supplier of cranes. In relation to Support, all the sustainment activities will be performed in Australia (NSW and WA) with Navantia Australia and its subcontractors, which has been partnering with Australian companies since 2007.
EU Defence ministers have endorsed on 19 November the EU BLOS (Beyond Line Of Sight) project amongst a list of 17 defence projects aiming at being implemented in the frame of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). Proposed by France and supported by Belgium and Cyprus, the EU BLOS project is the first missile system project to benefit from this new cooperation framework.
Promoting a differentiating operational capability for military operations, this project will contribute to a consistent and autonomous European approach in the land combat domain whilst enhancing the qualitative contribution of European nations to the achievement of NATO’s level of ambition. The land combat domain has been recognized since June 2018 as one of the 11 European capability priorities.
The EU BLOS project aims at developing a family of BLOS missiles with back image and man in the loop capabilities. Based on the MMP missile system, this family of products will be fully mastered by European industry, which provides full autonomy of use, security of supply and future evolutions, to the benefit of the 25 PESCO member nations. One of the first priorities of this project will focus on defining a European doctrine of use and its associated concepts of operation. This project will pave the way for the creation of a European users club which will develop the growth potential of the MMP missile system in terms of missile evolutions as well as in terms of integration to a wide range of land and air platforms.
The EU BLOS project will also benefit from the CAMO (CApacité MOtorisée) bilateral strategic partnership between France and Belgium, helping build operational and capability synergies across the armies of both nations.
The Serbian Minister of Defence Aleksandar Vulin visited the Airbus Helicopters Donauwörth site to accept the first H145M for the Serbian Air Force. In December, two H145Ms will be delivered to the Serbian Ministry of Interior. Altogether, Serbia will receive nine H145Ms, earmarked for the Air Force and for the Ministry of Interior. Four of the Air Force’s aircraft will be equipped with the HForce weapon management system.
«We assess the implementation of the contract as an example of successful cooperation and positive business practice», said Aleksandar Vulin. «All the activities so far have been carried out within the agreed deadlines, and we expect the future activities to be implemented in the same manner. We are particularly pleased to point out that the activities of the industrial cooperation covered by the contract are taking place within the planned timelines».
«I would like to thank the Serbian government and personally Defence Minister Vulin for their trust in the latest member of our H145 family and for the smooth cooperation since the negotiations started in 2016», said Wolfgang Schoder, CEO of Airbus Helicopters Germany. «We see a lot more opportunities for the H145M in Europe and beyond».
The contract between Airbus Helicopters and Serbia foresees transfer of technology, spare parts, tools and documentation for the helicopters’ maintenance and repair. Airbus Helicopters will also certify Serbia’s Moma Stanojlovic aeronautical plant as a centre for the maintenance of Gazelle helicopters and will include it in its overhaul network. Airbus will also support Serbian manufacturing plants and research and development institutions to obtain relevant qualifications and certificates to become a supplier.
The H145M has several optional equipment packages that can be installed or removed depending on the assigned mission. With a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 8,157 lbs/3,700 kg, the H145M can be used for a wide range of tasks, including troop transport, utility, surveillance, air rescue, armed reconnaissance and medical evacuation.
The Serbian aircraft will be equipped with a fast roping system, high-performance camera, fire support equipment, ballistic protection as well as an electronic countermeasures system to support the most demanding operational requirements. The HForce system, developed by Airbus Helicopters, will allow Serbia to equip and operate their aircraft with a large set of ballistic or guided air-to-ground and air-to-air weapons.
The H145M is a tried-and-tested light twin-engine helicopter that was first delivered in 2015 to the German Armed Forces and has since been ordered by Hungary, Thailand and Luxemburg. The programme’s maturity allows Airbus Helicopters to execute orders on cost and on schedule. Mission readiness of the H145Ms already in service is above 95 percent.
Powered by two Safran Arriel 2E engines, the H145M is equipped with Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) and the Helionix digital avionics suite. It includes a high-performance 4-axis autopilot, increasing safety and reducing pilot workload. Its particularly low acoustic footprint makes the H145M the quietest helicopter in its class.
Saab has received an order for deliveries of the new Carl-Gustaf M4 multi-role weapon system to the Slovenian Armed Forces. Deliveries will take place during 2018-2020.
Slovenia is a new customer of the Carl-Gustaf system, and Saab’s ninth customer for the Carl-Gustaf M4 version since its launch in late 2014.
The Carl-Gustaf M4 is the latest version of the portable, shoulder-launched, multi-role weapon system. It gives users a wide range of engagement options and allows troops to remain agile and effective in any scenario. It builds on the system’s formidable capabilities, offering a higher degree of accuracy, lighter construction and compatibility with future innovations. The M4 is also compatible with future battlefield technology developments such as intelligent sighting systems and programmable ammunition.
«The Slovenian order is further proof that Carl-Gustaf M4 is the number one multi-role weapon on the market. We are happy to introduce the Slovenian Armed Forces to Saab’s Carl-Gustaf M4 with outperforming capabilities and high tactical flexibility, and we feel confident that the end user will be satisfied», says Görgen Johansson, head of Saab business area Dynamics.
The new version retains all the effectiveness and versatility of the proven Carl-Gustaf system while introducing a range of major enhancements. These include a lighter weight design (weighing less than 7 kg/15.4 lbs.), a round counter, improved safety and intelligent features, such as compatibility with future intelligent sighting systems and programmable ammunition, which collectively offer significant operational improvements for the soldier. The weapon is fully backward compatible with all ammunition types.
Britain’s new aircraft carrier has «eclipsed aspirations», successfully completing two months of intensive fast jet trials in the USA.
F-35B Lightning II stealth fighters have left HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) after eight weeks flying on and off the 65,000-tonne warship, helping to write the «operator’s manual» so the jets can fly from her deck on front-line operations.
The success of the Westlant 18 deployment – which has also included a very high-profile visit to New York – allows the Portsmouth-based ship to move on to operational trials next year with British-owned F-35s flown by Naval and Air Force aviators based at RAF Marham.
Two jets and four test pilots, based at the Integrated Test Force (ITF) at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland, joined the carrier in late September.
Since then they have performed 200 short take-offs, 187 vertical landings, and 15 «rolling» landings – a technique unique to the UK which allows a Lightning to return to the carrier with a heavier payload – and dropped 54 dummy bombs into the Atlantic.
«This has been one of the most comprehensive flight trials at sea ever conducted», said RAF Squadron Leader Andy Edgell, ITF chief test pilot. «I am very proud to have professionally executed every aspect of this trial and deliver for the UK a capability that can be exploited for years to come».
Naval aviator Commander Nathan Gray – the first person to land a jet on HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) – added: «It has been phenomenal to get through a high profile with such success. This is due to the skills of the designers of both the F-35 and the ship herself. It is beyond question that without the vision of the Royal Navy and the unfailing support of the ship’s company we would not have achieved what we have done today. I am proud to have delivered this future and enduring operational capability».
Weapons experts loaded various configurations of bombs and missiles on to the Lightnings, making use of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s unique automated munitions magazine.
ITF scientists recorded masses of data from the ship and the jets; that data will determine the limits (weather, humidity, pitch and roll of the ship, aircraft weight) at which the Lightnings can safely launch from and land back on HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) and her sister HMS Prince of Wales (R09).
«It goes without saying that this was a phenomenally successful shipboard detachment», said Andrew Maack, ITF Chief Test Engineer and Site Director. «I could not be more proud of the collective team effort between the ITF and the HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) crew to make this happen».
Captain Nick Cooke Priest, HMS Queen Elizabeth’s new Commanding Officer who was in command for the second phase of this current set of F-35 trials said this autumn’s trials had marked «a significant milestone on the Royal Navy’s journey back to big deck carrier operations. The schedule has been busy and challenging and the results have eclipsed the aspiration; this success is largely due to the exceptional relationship that exists between the ship and her embarked staff, and the scientists, engineers and pilots of the F-35 Integrated Test Force, all of whom have shown exceptional professionalism, dedication and drive».
He continued: «This deployment has however delivered far more than the initial integration of fixed wing aircraft with the ship. It has re-introduced the true value that carrier capabilities bring to the UK and her allies, it has deepened our relationship with our closest ally, demonstrated our nation’s engineering prowess and cemented our commitment to the future as a global navy».
The carrier is now spending time in Norfolk, Virginia, offloading the ITF team and their equipment before heading back to Portsmouth in time for Christmas.
«She will come home», said Carrier Strike Group Commander Commodore Michael Utley, with a real buzz on board. «This is positive time to be a Royal Navy sailor, a positive time to be Royal Navy aircrew and a positive time for the UK-US partnership in providing a greater depth of security across the globe».
Saab has received an order to deliver Ultra Lightweight Camouflage Net Systems (ULCANS) for use by the U.S. Army. The order value is approximately USD 66 million (approximately SEK 586 million). Deliveries are expected to take place in 2019-2020.
The new order, comprised of both woodland and desert camouflage systems, will ensure that U.S. warfighters are equipped with the most advanced signature management systems available in the world today. Production of the new systems will take place at Saab Defense and Security USA’s business unit Saab Barracuda, based in Lillington, North Carolina.
«Saab is a recognized world leader in the development and production of signature management solutions. ULCANS provides outperforming multispectral capabilities while it remains lightweight and easy-to-handle», says Görgen Johansson, Senior Vice President and head of Saab’s business area Dynamics.
Saab’s ULCANS is an all-weather, state-of-the-art, signature management concealment system designed for ease of use and high reliability for the users and is the only signature management solution designed and developed entirely in the U.S. specifically to meet the needs of the U.S. Army.
«Saab’s camouflage systems provide the U.S. Army with a state of the art signature management capability for its land forces including exceptional levels of multispectral protection against any possible sensor threat available today», concludes Erik Smith, President and CEO of Saab Defense and Security USA.
Saab draws on more than 60 years of experience designing, developing, and producing signature management solutions for the U.S. military and defense customers in more than 50 nations.
The U.S. Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation a 12-month, $330 million contract for Total System Support Responsibility (TSSR) of the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) fleet. The integrated total systems support contract covers TSSR Period Year 19, which began November 1, 2018 and concludes October 31, 2019.
Under the Joint STARS TSSR program, Northrop Grumman continues its longstanding partnership with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center to provide total systems support to the 116th and 461st Air Control Wings for all facets of sustainment and support of the 16 aircraft Joint STARS fleet at Robins Air Force Base and forward operating locations overseas. Northrop Grumman will provide program management, engineering technical support, aircrew and maintenance training, supply chain and spares management, technical data and publications, program depot maintenance and overall customer support.
«The C2ISR division looks forward to the continued teaming with Northrop Grumman to improve critical aircraft availability to our combatant commanders while executing our Joint STARS 2030 roadmap», said Colonel David Menke, senior materiel leader, Command and Control Information Systems (C2ISR) division, digital directorate, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, U.S. Air Force.
«While supporting the Joint STARS mission over the past 33 years, we have focused on keeping the high-demand E-8C fleet available and mission capable for the combatant commanders. Our commitment to the supported soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen at the forward operating locations remains steadfast», said Jane Bishop, vice president, military aircraft surveillance programs, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.
«The 24/7 support we provide to our warfighters under TSSR coupled with the rapid fielding of new capabilities is an effective way to ensure mission success. We completed the Air Force Tactical Receive System-Ruggedized upgrade in just 12 months and are now implementing a fifth-generation upgrade to the fleet’s central computers», Bishop added. «The E-8C’s continue to serve as a low-risk pathfinder for the U.S. Air Force through continued fleet capability enhancements while the Air Force develops the follow-on advanced battle management system».
Joint STARS is the only platform in the U.S. arsenal that combines accurate wide-area moving target detection with synthetic aperture radar imagery to locate, classify and track surface targets in all weather conditions from standoff distances. The fleet has flown more than 130,000 combat mission hours in support of the U.S. Central Command since September 11, 2001.
Team JSTARS, consisting of the Georgia Air National Guard’s 116th Air Control Wing, the active-duty 461st Air Control Wing and Army JSTARS detachment, provides joint airborne command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support over land and water to combatant commanders around the globe. The total force integration unit operates the world’s only Joint STARS weapon system based out of Robins Air Force Base. In addition to work at Robins Air Force Base, TSSR is supported by employees and partners at the Northrop Grumman Manned Aircraft Design Center of Excellence in Melbourne, Florida, the Lake Charles Maintenance and Modification Center, in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and more than 30 major suppliers across the United States.
Lockheed Martin Skunk Works began manufacturing the first part for the X-59 Quiet Supersonic Technology aircraft, marking a milestone to bring supersonic commercial travel over land one step closer to reality.
«The start of manufacturing on the project marks a great leap forward for the X-59 and the future of quiet supersonic commercial travel», said Peter Iosifidis, Low Boom Flight Demonstrator program manager Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. «The long, slender design of the aircraft is the key to achieving a low sonic boom. As we enter into the manufacturing phase, the aircraft structure begins to take shape, bringing us one step closer to enabling supersonic travel for passengers around the world».
Earlier this year, NASA selected Lockheed Martin to design, build and flight test the Low Boom Flight Demonstrator. The X-59 will conduct its first flight in 2021. It will be used to collect community response data on the acceptability of the quiet sonic boom generated by the aircraft, helping NASA establish an acceptable commercial supersonic noise standard to overturn current regulations banning supersonic travel over land.
X-59 is designed to cruise at 55,000 feet/16,764 meters at a speed of about 940 mph/1,513 km/h and create a sound about as loud as a car door closing, 75 Perceived Level decibel (PLdB), instead of a sonic boom.
According to Xavier Vavasseur, Editor in Chief, Navy Recognition, at IndoDefence 2018, the tri service defense exposition currently held in Jakarta, Indonesia, Dutch shipbuilding group Damen unveiled the new 6,000 tons class «Omega» Frigate design.
Bob De Smedt, one of the naval architects who worked on the Omega project, explained that the scale model on display is representative of an early concept for the future Royal Netherlands Navy (Koninklijke Marine) and Belgian Navy (Marine component/Composante marine) M Frigate replacement. However, the main reason the new Omega class of frigates was unveiled at IndoDefence (and not Euronaval for example which was held two weeks ago) is because Damen is now ready to answer Indonesia’s potential need for a large frigate (hence the «FFI» name on a Damen image, standing for Future Frigate Indonesia).
Omega is actually set to be a new family or product line by Damen, that will come in addition to (and above) the famous Sigma product line. The main difference however is that there will be no «standard Omega lines»: Omega designs will always be fully tailored to customer requirements.
For this reason, a future Indonesian Navy (TNI AL) Omega frigate design is likely to look different to the future M Frigate replacement, unless Indonesia is willing and able to team up with the Dutch and Belgian order. The Netherlands and Belgium are jointly procuring four frigates (two each) to replace their M frigates. Navy Recognition learned from various sources during IndoDefence that TNI AL has an «emerging need» for a 6,000 tons class of frigates as a follow on to its third and fourth PKR frigates (also a Damen design, of the Sigma family).
While this design could be proposed to other navies (New Zealand comes to mind), Damen stressed that this is not the design they are offering for Germany’s MKS 180. Damen could not elaborate further about MKS 180.
Damen explained that the Omega/FFI frigate is based on the proven Air Defence Command Frigates (LCF)/De Zeven Provinciën-class frigate hull form. The vessel features a hybrid propulsion system consisting of 4 × diesel engines (two can be used for economic speed, four for sprint) plus 2 × electric engines. The diesel engines are separated forward and aft for increased survivability. Power generation aboard the ship takes into account future weapon systems such as directed energy weapons.
The Omega frigate features two large multi mission bays: one amidship and one at the stern. As is the trend with latest generation frigates (Type 26 and FTI/Belharra) the midship multimission bay goes across from port to starboard sides with an overhead handling system to load and move containers or launch and recover Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) or Unmanned Surface Vehicles/Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (USVs/UUVs). The midship multimission bay is large enough to accommodate up to 4 × 20-foot containers and the stern multmission bay can accommodate 2 × 20-foot containers. Note that there is an additional space on the upper deck, next to the anti-ship missile launchers for 2 × additional containers.
The futuristic looking (almost Zumwalt-eske) topside of the Omega Frigate is mainly due to the new generation radar suite provided by Thales: Boudewijn Geerink from Thales Netherlands told Navy Recognition at Indodefence 2018 that it is the new S/X suite consisting of the SeaMaster 400 fixed panel S-band radar suite and the Active Phased Array multifunction Radar (APAR) Block 2 X-band multi-function radar, both using gallium nitride technology. According to Thales, the new fixed panel S-band radar solution is the right answer to counter threats posed by airborne or surface drones, precision-guided munitions, or submarine-fired pop-up missiles, typically attacking just above the sea surface (low elevation, sea skimming) or from high elevation angles (high diving). APAR Block 2 defends against saturation attacks in the highest threat scenarios by supporting many simultaneous Anti-Air Warfare (AAW) and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) engagements with both active and semi-active guidance using Interrupted Continuous Wave Illumination (ICWI). Thales SeaMaster 400 offers a range of 450 km/280 miles/243 NM while APAR Block 2 can replace illuminators to directly provide guidance for Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM) and Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) missiles.
Omega frigate is also available with different radar configurations. A version fitted with a rotating radar (such as the Thales NS200) is also being pitched by Damen.
The weapons and sensor suite depend on customers’ requirements as usual. However, the scale model on display at Indodefence shows the Omega frigate fitted with a 127-mm main gun by Leonardo, a 76-mm secondary gun (non-penetrating variant) by Leonardo on top of the helicopter hangar, a Rheinmetall Millenium Close-In Weapon System (CIWS), 2 × Leonardo Hitrole remote weapon stations, 8 × Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile (NSM) anti-ship missiles, 4 × Rheinmetall Multi Ammunition Softkill System (MASS) decoy launchers, a Thales Kingklip hull mounted sonar and a Captas-4 variable depth sonar, 4 × satellite link antennas and 2 × Thales Mirador Electro-Optical (EO) systems. For air defense, the scale model shows 24 × Vertical Launching System (VLS) cells (likely VL MICA NG for Indonesia or ESSM Block 2 for Netherlands and Belgium).
144 m/474.4 feet
18.8 m/61.68 feet
29 knots/33.4 mph/53.7 km/h
5,000 NM/5,754 miles/9,260 km @ 18 knots/20.7 mph/33.3 km/h
30 days at sea
Rudder roll (similar to LCF)
122 sailors (accommodations for up to 160)
Storage space for 3 × 12 meters RHIBs
Hangar space for 2 × medium lift helicopters and/or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)