German combat ship

The German Navy plans the MKS 180 multi-purpose combat ship as an all-rounder. Mission modules will cover a wide range of missions – with superiority in naval combat the ultimate aim.

Multi-purpose combat ship 180: Concept graphic of the Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Equipment of the Bundeswehr (Bundeswehr image)
Multi-purpose combat ship 180: Concept graphic of the Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Equipment of the Bundeswehr (Bundeswehr image)

The MKS 180 will be an all-purpose weapon. Built-in modules designed for specific military missions will make this possible. These mission modules are at the heart of what «multipurpose combat ship» means in practice.

This modularity is the consequence of both the experience that the Bundeswehr now has with stabilization operations for conflict prevention and crisis management, some of which have lasted for years, as well as the requirements of a national and alliance defense in Europe.

The ship should be able to patrol large sea areas for a long time all over the world, monitor embargoes and, if necessary, evacuate German citizens from crisis situations, in the North Atlantic or the Mediterranean and, if necessary, engage in naval combat against other warships of its kind or underwater. No other single ship type can fulfill such a wide range of tasks so far.

The basic version of the MKS is already a full-fledged combat ship. Interchangeable components supplement this core capability and then adapt the ship for specialist missions. Two such mission modules are currently planned: one for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and one for custody module.

 

Self-defense and combat missions:

  • Creation of a maritime picture above and under water;
  • Maritime surveillance and embargo control, including boarding;
  • Military evacuation in crisis situations;
  • Escort for merchant ships;
  • Leadership of naval task forces;
  • Flexibility thanks to modular system.

The mission ASW module turns the MKS a dedicated submarine hunter. With onboard helicopters and their own sonars – in conjunction with the sensors of allied reconnaissance aircraft and submarines – the ship can secure a large sea area against dangers from the depths.

The custody module turns the MKS into a floating base for anti-piracy missions. Multiple cell rooms allow persons to be temporarily detained; An additional sanitary station makes medical examinations possible under quarantine conditions.

In addition to these two, the Navy plans more modules. One of them is equipped with a diving chamber and other special equipment for mine hunting.

The accommodation of the mission modules is divided into three areas in the ship. A so-called flex deck is located below the flight deck at the stern. Using an external crane, it can be equipped from the top through a hatch. Two additional flex decks are located approximately halfway along the length of the superstructure and can be accessed by an onboard multi-purpose container crane.

The Navy demands from the future shipbuilder that the replacement and commissioning of the modules can be carried out as quickly as possible and worldwide, without interfering with the ship’s structure and without a shipyard. In addition, the modules must withstand the climatic and oceanographic conditions that prevail in their respective field of application. Thus, the MKS will be able to travel in the tropics as well as possess an ice class to navigate polar waters.

 

Essential characteristics:

  • Medium- and short-range anti-aircraft missiles;
  • Long-range anti-ship missiles;
  • Main gun 127-mm with extended-range ammunition;
  • Water cannons, heavy machine guns, marine light guns;
  • Utility boats, reconnaissance drones, ASW helicopters;
  • Modularity needs space.

The modularity of the MKS has several advantages: Unused mission modules can be stored and maintained independently of their ship application platform. The modules do not have to be procured for each ship and can also be purchased independently, at other times. In case of changed operating conditions and technological advances, only the module needs to be modernized, and the standardized interfaces on board allow the development and insertion of new modules.

The size of the MKS ships is very impressive, compared to previous ships of the German Navy, notably because they need, among other things, enough space for the different modules.

The marine architects calculate a length of around 508.5 feet/155 meters for the MKS and a displacement of up to 9,000 tons of water. For comparison, the frigates of the «Baden-Württemberg» class are a good five meters shorter and nearly 2,000 tons smaller. And even these frigates are almost twice as large as the frigates of the «Bremen» class.

Compared to the frigates of the «Baden-Württemberg» class, which the Navy will put into service beginning this year, the MKS will adopt some features – above all automation and low maintenance of the technical equipment as well as the multi-crew concept.

This will also allow these new ships to remain in service for up to two years, while the crew of around 110 will rotate every four months. In addition to this regular crew, up to 70 people can be accommodated in the mission modules.

 

Characteristics

Length approximately 508.5 feet/155 meters at waterline
Displacement maximum 9,000 tonnes
Accommodation 110-person crew, 70 passengers
Operating endurance 24 months
Operating area worldwide
Ice class 1C/E1 for sea areas with ice formation
Service life 30 years

 

Anti Torpedo Torpedo

ATLAS ELEKTRONIK CANADA Ltd announced on April 12, 2019, an agreement with Magellan Aerospace Corporation for the design and development phase of the SeaSpider Anti Torpedo Torpedo (ATT) program. The initial CDN $19 million phase of the program was launched in January 2019 and is expected to conclude in 2023. Magellan will lead the design and development of the SeaSpider ATT rocket motor and warhead sections of the torpedo that includes design, build, test, and product qualification.

Surface Ship Torpedo Defence Trial System on a WTD 71 multipurpose vessel
Surface Ship Torpedo Defence Trial System on a WTD 71 multipurpose vessel

SeaSpider ATT is a new naval defence product by German ATLAS ELEKTRONIK, a company of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, that can be utilized by surface vessels and submarines for «hardkill» defence against attacking torpedoes. The capability of SeaSpider is a marked improvement over currently available anti-torpedo systems that reply on decoy and jammer countermeasures rather than, like SeaSpider, on destroying the attacking torpedo. This technology has initially been developed in Germany by ATLAS ELEKTRONIK together with the German Ministry of Defence and now gains a Canadian element in product development. The SeaSpider ATT will combine the best technology and decades of experience of ATLAS and Magellan – the expertise of ATLAS in Germany with torpedoes as well as submarine and naval systems – and the industry leading rocket technology of Magellan in Canada. ATLAS Canada is positioned to manage and support test and trials activity in Canada for ATLAS Germany and will provide final assembly and logistics services during serial production of the SeaSpider ATT.

«The partnership between ATLAS and Magellan will bring to market an innovative new torpedo defence system that will be the first of its kind, in this growing market», said Mr. Haydn Martin, Magellan’s Vice President, Business Development, Marketing and Contracts. «We welcome the opportunity to collaborate in this exciting new endeavor with the ATLAS Group».

«The SeaSpider ATT is a key element of ATLAS ELEKTRONIK’s global market strategy and this agreement with Magellan Aerospace signifies our commitment to grow our activities in Canada», said Michael Ozegowski, CEO of ATLAS ELEKTRONIK GmbH. «We expect SeaSpider to revolutionize torpedo defence and AntiSubmarine Warfare».

«With such a significant share of the SeaSpider ATT product and its development in Canada we are positioned to participate in a new and innovative product and grow our presence with jobs all across Canada while providing the Royal Canadian Navy and the global defence market with essential underwater defence capabilities», said Rick Gerbrecht, Managing Director of ATLAS ELEKTRONIK Canada Ltd. «Magellan Aerospace is the ideal partner for us».

Amphibious transport

On Friday, April 12, HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division authenticated the keel of the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Richard M. McCool Jr. (LPD-29). Ship’s Co-sponsors Shana McCool and Kate Oja declared the keel to be «truly and fairly laid».

Shana McCool, left and Kate Oja, granddaughters of Richard M. McCool Jr., are ship’s co-sponsors (Photo by Derek Fountain/HII)
Shana McCool, left and Kate Oja, granddaughters of Richard M. McCool Jr., are ship’s co-sponsors (Photo by Derek Fountain/HII)

 

Quotes from Ceremony

«The ships in the San Antonio-class are designed to land Marines anywhere in the world in support of a wide range of military operations – from power projection to threat mitigation to humanitarian aid. They are truly remarkable ships and ones we are proud to build», said Kari Wilkinson, Ingalls’ vice president of program management. «LPD-29 is the 13th San Antonio-class ship under construction at Ingalls. Like the ship’s hero namesake, Richard M. McCool Jr., LPD-29 will be strong and capable. Our men and women in the Navy and Marine Corps deserve nothing less».

«Thank you for having us here today and allowing us to say few words about our grandfather. My grandfather was very humble and one of the most caring men you could ever hope to meet. He never showed off. When asked about the war, he just said, ‘I did my job, and I did what any other person would do.’ My cousins and I grew up seeing pictures on the wall of the Medal of Honor from President Truman, pictures of his ship, but to us he was always just grandpa», said Shana McCool, LPD-29 Ship’s Co-Sponsor

 

Namesake background

USS Richard M. McCool Jr. (LPD-29) is the first U.S. Navy ship named in honor of Richard M. McCool Jr., who received the Medal of Honor for «conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty» as commanding officer of infantry landing support craft during the Battle of Okinawa.

 

Sponsors

Shana McCool and Kate Oja, the granddaughters of Richard M. McCool Jr., are the Ship’s Co-sponsors.

 

San Antonio-class

The San Antonio class is the latest addition to the U.S. Navy’s 21st century amphibious assault force. The 684-foot-long/208.5-meter-long, 105-foot-wide/32-meter-wide ships are used to embark and land Marines, their equipment and supplies ashore via air cushion or conventional landing craft and amphibious assault vehicles, augmented by helicopters or vertical takeoff and landing aircraft such as the MV-22 Osprey.

The ships support a Marine Air Ground Task Force across the spectrum of operations, conducting amphibious and expeditionary missions of sea control and power projection to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions throughout the first half of the 21st century.

Ingalls has delivered 11 San Antonio-class ships to the U.S. Navy and has two more under construction including USS Richard M. McCool Jr. (LPD-29). USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28) will launch in 2020 and is scheduled to deliver in 2021. In March, Ingalls received a $1.47 billion, fixed-price incentive contract from the U.S. Navy for the detail design and construction of LPD-30. The ship will be the 14th in the San Antonio class and the first Flight II LPD. Start of fabrication on LPD-30 is scheduled for 2020.

 

Ship Facts and Characteristics

Propulsion Four sequentially turbocharged marine Colt-Pielstick Diesels, two shafts, 41,600 shaft horsepower/31,021 kW
Length 684 feet/208.5 m
Beam 105 feet/32 m
Displacement Approximately 24,900 long tons/25,300 metric tons full load
Draft 23 feet/7 m
Speed In excess of 22 knots/24.2 mph/38.7 km/h
Crew Ship’s Company: 380 Sailors (29 officers, 351 enlisted) and 3 Marines. Embarked Landing Force: 699 (66 officers, 633 enlisted); surge capacity to 800
Armament Two Mk-46 30-mm close in Guns, fore and aft; two Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launchers, fore and aft: ten .50 caliber/12.7-mm machine guns
Aircraft Launch or land two CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters or two MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft or up to four AH-1 Cobra or UH-1Y Venom helicopters
Landing/Attack Craft Two Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCACs) or one Landing Craft Utility (LCU); and 14 Amphibious Assault Vehicles

 

San Antonio-class

 

Flight I

Ship Builder Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS San Antonio (LPD-17) Avondale 07-12-2003 01-14-2006 Norfolk, Virginia
USS New Orleans (LPD-18) Avondale 12-11-2004 03-10-2007 San Diego, California
USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19) Ingalls 11-19-2004 12-15-2007 Norfolk, Virginia
USS Green Bay (LPD-20) Avondale 08-11-2006 01-24-2009 San Diego, California
USS New York (LPD-21) Avondale 12-19-2007 11-07-2009 Norfolk, Virginia
USS San Diego (LPD-22) Ingalls 05-07-2010 05-19-2012 San Diego, California
USS Anchorage (LPD-23) Avondale 02-12-2011 05-04-2013 San Diego, California
USS Arlington (LPD-24) Ingalls 11-23-2010 02-08-2013 Norfolk, Virginia
USS Somerset (LPD-25) Avondale 04-14-2012 05-01-2014 San Diego, California
USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26) Ingalls 11-02-2014 10-08-2016 San Diego, California
USS Portland (LPD-27) Ingalls 02-13-2016 12-14-2017 San Diego, California
USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28) Ingalls
USS Richard M. McCool (LPD-29) Ingalls

 

Flight II

Ship Builder Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Harrisburg (LPD-30)

 

Undersea threats

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Biological Technology Office selected Northrop Grumman Corporation to prototype sensing capabilities using undersea organisms to assist in passively detecting and tracking undersea threats.

DARPAs Biological Technology Office Selects Northrop Grumman for Persistent Aquatic Living Sensors PALS Program
DARPAs Biological Technology Office Selects Northrop Grumman for Persistent Aquatic Living Sensors PALS Program

As part of the Persistent Aquatic Living Sensors (PALS) program, Northrop Grumman will develop biological sensing hardware that has increased sensitivity for certain sensor modalities, achieving greater range. Artificial intelligence will be applied to observe patterns in the marine environment to help classify targets. Northrop Grumman is partnered with Coda Octopus, Duke University, University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Memphis.

«The detection, classification and tracking of undersea objects is a critical military capability and we are excited to work with DARPA to develop this next generation approach», said Mike Meaney, vice president, advanced missions, Northrop Grumman.

24 Hawkeyes

Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded a multi-year contract modification to deliver an additional 24 E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft to the U.S. Navy. The fixed-price-incentive-firm contract is valued at $3.2 billion; the contract also includes an option for nine additional foreign military sales aircraft. Production of the 24 U.S. Navy aircraft funded by the five-year contract is expected to be complete in 2026.

Northrop Grumman awarded $3.2 billion for 24 E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes to provide advanced early warning capability to the U.S. Navy (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy)
Northrop Grumman awarded $3.2 billion for 24 E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes to provide advanced early warning capability to the U.S. Navy (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy)

The E-2D is the U.S. Navy’s airborne early warning and command and control aircraft system. The carrier-based aircraft provides expanded battlespace awareness for carrier strike groups. Its two-generation leap in radar technology allows the E-2D to work with ship-, air- and land-based combat systems to track and defeat air, ship and cruise missiles at extended range. The aircraft can also be used in a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capacity for civilian emergency coordination.

«This aircraft continues to demonstrate its strategic value to our warfighters with early warning, command and control», said Jane Bishop, vice president and integrated product team leader, manned airborne surveillance programs, Northrop Grumman. «With this contract, we’ll continue production of these highly specialized aircraft while delivering innovative solutions that outpace advancing threats over the life of the fleet».

Under the current program of record Northrop Grumman has delivered 37 E-2D to the U.S. Navy to date, completing all major production milestones on time. In addition to the production and sustainment of the E-2D, Northrop Grumman will deliver a series of capability upgrades. The third upgrade is slated for release in fall 2019 and includes an aerial refueling capability to significantly extend the aircraft’s endurance.

 

General Characteristics

Wingspan 24.56 m/80 feet 7 in
Width, wings folded 8.94 m/29 feet 4 in
Length overall 17.60 m/57 feet 8.75 in
Height overall 5.58 m/18 feet 3.75 in
Diameter of rotodome 7.32 m/24 feet
Weight empty 19,536 kg/43,068 lbs
Internal fuel 5,624 kg/12,400 lbs
Takeoff gross weight 26,083 kg/57,500 lbs
Maximum level speed 648 km/h/350 knots/403 mph
Maximum cruise speed 602 km/h/325 knots/374 mph
Cruise speed 474 km/h/256 knots/295 mph
Approach speed 200 km/h/108 knots/124 mph
Service ceiling 10,576 m/34,700 feet
Minimum takeoff distance 410 m/1,346 feet ground roll
Minimum landing distance 537 m/1,764 feet ground roll
Ferry range 2,708 km/1,462 NM/1,683 miles
Crew Members 5
Power Plant 2 × Rolls-Royce T56-A-427A, rated at 5,100 eshp each
Unrefueled >6 hours
In-flight refueling 12 hours

 

Maiden Flight

According to Defense-Aerospace.com, Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor for the Royal Navy’s Crowsnest airborne early warning variant of the AW101 Merlin helicopter, has provided some information about the program, which made its maiden flight on March 28.

Merlin Crowsnest AEW helicopter makes maiden flight
Merlin Crowsnest AEW helicopter makes maiden flight

Crowsnest, the Lockheed Martin-led programme which will provide the Royal Navy with its Airborne Surveillance and Control (ASaC) platform via a role fit Mission System solution onto the Merlin Mk2, achieved a key milestone on 28 March.

The designated trials aircraft took off from the Leonardo Helicopters facility in Yeovil, at midday, to commence Aero-Mechanical flight trials. This milestone is key to assessing the flight envelope and handling qualities of the aircraft with the external role equipment fitted, and marks the start of a series of flight trials which will take place throughout 2019.

In fact, the aircraft had actually made its first flight several days earlier, and had made several before the official one on March 28. This was still three days earlier than the contractual deadline for first flight, which was March 31.

Lockheed Martin worked closely with industry partners and Ministry of Defence (MOD) to ensure that essential design requirements were met prior to first flight on 28 March 2019. The first flight enables an extended flight test period to expand the flight envelope of the helicopter with the CROWSNEST role equipment installed.

The next key phase of the programme is Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) testing.

Lockheed Martin is committed to delivering the CROWSNEST capability with its industry partners; dedicated management teams and resources are in place to ensure the programme is delivered successfully.

The next program milestone, set for September 30, is the conclusion of Flight Trial Activity required to support initial Aircrew Training, according to the SRO letter, with aircrew training due to begin by October 10 and the delivery of the Airborne Surveillance & Control Mission Trainer by November 14.

Rocket Launcher

Arnold Defense, the St. Louis based manufacturer of 2.75-inch/70-mm rocket launchers, is pleased to announce receipt of the first order for their unique FLETCHER Land Based, Laser Guided Rocket Launcher. The FLETCHER 2.75-inch/70-mm weapon system was first unveiled just 18 months ago at DSEi in London. Since the launch, FLETCHER has been showcased at a number of international exhibitions, generating exceptional levels of interest whilst Arnold Defense have continued with an ongoing development and investment program to broaden and prove the system’s already revolutionary capability.

Arnold Defense announces the first order for Fletcher Laser Guided Rocket Launcher
Arnold Defense announces the first order for Fletcher Laser Guided Rocket Launcher

With FLETCHER, Arnold Defense has made a bold departure from the traditional concept of use for 2.75-inch/70-mm rocket systems; that of an area suppression weapon delivered by aviation assets. Arnold’s evolution has FLETCHER using advanced rocket-guidance technology to utilize ground-based launch platforms, meeting the demands of modern, vehicle-mounted and dismounted asymmetric warfare.

FLETCHER’s unique design allows for ease of operation, maintenance and sustainment. It employs an existing suite of guidance modules, rockets and warheads, already used in well-known programs and readily available to global forces. FLETCHER is supported by a team of global defense industry companies, collaborating under Arnold Defense’s leadership to combine their complimentary expertise.

The first customer for the FLETCHER system, who cannot yet be disclosed, has committed to purchasing FLETCHER due to the system’s ability to accurately engage targets at a range of over 5 km/3.1 miles, with a 100% hit rate in recent test-firings. This first order is for an initial batch of launchers, with a larger order expected to follow once successful user trials and demonstrations have been completed.

Mike Brown, Vice President and COO of Arnold Defense said, «Given that the FLETCHER concept was unveiled to the public only 18 months ago, Arnold Defense is delighted to have signed what we anticipate to be the first of many contracts for the supremely capable FLETCHER surface-based rocket launcher». He added, «FLETCHER has generated huge interest globally with its unique capability to deliver organic, long-range precision firepower to even the smallest tactical element. It is great to see serious international interest now developing into firm orders».

Mobile cruise missile

A new mobile cruise missile system has been tested successfully. This was reported by Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov after the tests were completed in the Odesa region.

A new mobile cruise missile system has been tested
A new mobile cruise missile system has been tested

According to him, this new mobile cruise missile system «was created by Ukrainian scientists, designers and manufacturers in record time».

«The system includes a universal self-propelled launch station, a vehicle for transporting missiles, a transport-charging vehicle, and a command-and-staff module», – Mr. Turchynov said adding that all components of the system, as well as the high-precision cruise missile P-360, had never before been produced in Ukraine, «therefore these tests are of fundamental importance for strengthening the defense potential of our state».

The NSDC Secretary informed that during the tests, the work of all components of the missile system and flight characteristics of the missile were checked. «The cruise missile completed a flight task of a unique complexity: flying over 100 km/62 miles in the direction of the sea, it turned 180 degrees, and on the way back, precisely hit the target», – Mr. Turchynov noticed adding that flight and maneuvering of the missile were recorded by technical means of observation both on the coastline and on Snake Island.

«The new mobile cruise missile systems can quickly be put on certain combat positions and be ready to conduct a missile strike in minutes», – he said stressing that Ukrainian cruise missiles P-360 are capable of precisely striking surface and ground targets at distances of over 300 km/186 miles.

According to Mr. Turchynov, all components of the system and the missile itself «perfectly worked out the tasks and proved their conformity to the given characteristics».

The NSDC Secretary said that an interesting feature of today’s tests was the involvement of cadets and officers from the Institute of Naval Forces of the National University «Odessa Maritime Academy» to participate in them.

«Today, we are creating a fundamentally new weapon, which the Ukrainian army had never had, and therefore, yet at the testing level, we begin to prepare military professionals who should be prepared for the operation and combat use of modern and high-precision missile systems», – Mr. Turchynov summarized.

Acceptance Trials

Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division announced on April 03, 2019, that the National Security Cutter (NSC) USCGC Midgett (WMSL-757) has successfully completed acceptance trials. Midgett, the eighth NSC Ingalls has built for the U.S. Coast Guard, spent two full days in the Gulf of Mexico proving the ship’s systems.

U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter Midgett (WMSL-757) navigates the Gulf of Mexico during builder's trials January 22, 2019 (Photo by Lance Davis/HII)
U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter Midgett (WMSL-757) navigates the Gulf of Mexico during builder’s trials January 22, 2019 (Photo by Lance Davis/HII)

«The success of these trials is a direct result of the hard work and expertise of our shipbuilders, the INSURV team and our U.S. Coast Guard customer», said George S. Jones, Ingalls’ vice president of operations. «At sea, the craftsmanship of every shipbuilder who has worked in this program was proudly on display. From the design phase to the ship’s delivery, these state-of-the-art vessels perform so well because every member of our team understands the importance of the U.S. Coast Guard in protecting our nation, and they take pride in providing these assets to the service».

The U.S. Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) were on board, as Ingalls’ test and trials team led the sea trials and conducted extensive testing of the propulsion, electrical, damage control, anchor-handling, small boat operations and combat systems. The team finished the trials with a completed full-power propulsion run on Midgett.

«With the success of these trials, NSC 8 is one step closer to becoming another highly capable, vital asset to the men and women of our Coast Guard», said Derek Murphy, Ingalls’ Coast Guard program manager. «Our dedicated NSC team has proven themselves once again, and we could not be more proud of what they have accomplished».

Ingalls has delivered seven Legend-class NSCs and has two more under construction, including USCGC Midgett (WMSL-757), set to deliver before the end of the year. USCGC Stone (WMSL-758) is scheduled for delivery in 2020. In December of 2018, Ingalls received two fixed-price incentive contracts with a combined value of $931 million to build NSCs 10 and 11.

NSC 8 is named to honor the hundreds of members of the Midgett family who have served in the U.S. Coast Guard and its predecessor services. At least 10 members of the Midgett family earned high honors from the U.S. Coast Guard for their heroic lifesaving deeds. Seven Midgett family members were awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal, the U.S. Coast Guard’s highest award for saving a life, and three were awarded the Silver Lifesaving Medal.

 

Facts

Displacement 4,500 long tons
Length 418 feet/127 m
Beam 54 feet/16 m
Speed 28 knots/32 mph/52 km/h
Range 12,000 NM/13,809 miles/22,224 km
Endurance 60 days
Crew 120
Equipped with Mk-110 57-mm turret mounted gun
6 × 12.7-mm/.50 caliber machine guns
3D air search radar
2 level 1, class 1 aircraft hangers
A stern launch ramp for mission boats
Aviation carried (2) MCH, or (4) Vertical-Launch Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (VUAV) or (1) MCH and (2) VUAV
Stern launch Two cutter boats (Long Range Interceptor and/or Short Range Prosecutor)
Electronic Warfare and Decoys AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare System, Two Super Rapid Bloom Offboard Countermeasures (SRBOC)/2 NULKA countermeasures chaff rapid decoy launcher
Communications HF, VHF & UHF
Sensors and Processing Systems X and S band radar, 3D air search radar, AN/SPQ-9 radar, Identification, Friend or Foe (IFF)

 

Ship list

Ship Hull Number Laid down Launched Commissioned
Bertholf WMSL-750 03-29-2005 09-29-2006 08-04-2008
Waesche WMSL-751 09-11-2006 07-12-2008 05-07-2010
Stratton WMSL-752 07-20-2009 07-23-2010 03-31-2012
Hamilton WMSL-753 09-05-2012 08-10-2013 12-06-2014
James WMSL-754 05-17-2013 05-03-2014 08-08-2015
Munro WMSL-755 10-07-2013 09-12-2015 04-01-2017
Kimball WMSL-756 03-04-2016 12-17-2016
Midgett WMSL-757 01-27-2017 11-22-2017
Stone WMSL-758 09-14-2018
WMSL-759
WMSL-760

 

Operations Center

The U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) and a consortium of tech firms led by Raytheon are modernizing and simplifying the legacy Space Defense Operations Center (SPADOC), a 1990s-era system that tracks and monitors space debris.

U.S. Air Force and Raytheon collaborate to modernize space command and control system
U.S. Air Force and Raytheon collaborate to modernize space command and control system

Dave Fuino, program director for Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services, said: «Within just a few months we brought together a team, developed the technology to modernize it, got it on contract and held a series of demos to prove it worked. We went from concept to proving the solution in less than a year, which is really remarkable».

The SPADOC system reached the end of its planned service life. The U.S. Air Force is planning to replace it with modern systems that will simplify operations and provide greater space situational awareness and collision avoidance capabilities. However, the new system won’t come online for several years.

«SPADOC provides critical space-tracking capabilities that we must sustain and maintain while we wait for new systems to come online», said Bob Taylor, U.S. Air Force Legacy Space Branch chief. «At the same time, it’s critical that we address the obsolescence risk of an aging SPADOC system. So, we came up with a really innovative, modern solution to this problem».

Raytheon and AFLCMC decided to emulate SPADOC’s capabilities with modern computer hardware. The new emulated environment, SPADOC Emulation Analysis Risk Reduction, known as SPEARR, is designed to provide a more sustainable system that requires less maintenance. The new hardware will provide the same functionality as today’s system, making it easy to learn and operate.

Additional benefits are significant reductions in power and cooling consumption. Most of these reductions are because all of SPADOC’s capabilities are now integrated into two small server racks instead of spread over 1,000 square feet/93 square meters of an aging, analog computer system.

«We used proven emulation technology to help solve our challenge, significantly reducing obsolescence risk», said Taylor. «Innovations in programmatic and technical approaches drove a smarter, better and faster solution. The next step is to evaluate options for fielding SPEARR».

«Between the experience of our North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) teammates, a.i. solutions, Zivaro and E&M Technologies, and leading emulation companies Fundamental Software and M2 Technologies, we addressed the aging SPADOC system. It’s a game changer», said Fuino.