Christening of Newport

The U.S. Navy christened its newest Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF), the future USNS Newport (T-EPF-12), during a 10 a.m. CST ceremony Saturday, November 9, at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

Navy christened Expeditionary Fast Transport, the future USNS Newport (T-EPF-12)

The principal speaker was Rear Admiral Shoshana Chatfield, President of the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. Mrs. Charlotte Marshall, a Newport native, served as the ship’s sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she christened the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.

«This ship honors the city of Newport, Rhode Island, and serves as a reminder of the contributions the community has and continues to make to our Navy», said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. «Newport is a Navy town where many officers begin their careers and then return later for strategic training. It is right that a fourth ship will bear the name Newport to continue our long relationship, and provide our commanders high-speed sealift mobility and agility in the fight to defend our nation».

The first Newport (Gunboat No. 12) was commissioned October 5, 1897. During the Spanish-American War, she received credit for assisting in the capture of nine Spanish vessels. The ship was decommissioned in 1898, but recommissioned in 1900 to serve as a training ship at the Naval Academy and at the Naval Training Station at Newport, Rhode Island, until decommissioning in Boston in 1902.

The second Newport (PF-27) was commissioned September 8, 1944 and decommissioned in September 1945 and loaned to the U.S.S.R. under Lend-Lease and returned to United States custody at Yokosuka, Japan, in November 1949. Recommissioned in July 1950, Newport patrolled off Inchon, Korea, screening during the landings. Decommissioned at Yokosuka in April 1952, she was loaned to Japan in 1953, and commissioned as Kaede (PF-13). She was then reclassified PF-293 and transferred to the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force outright in August 1962.

The third Newport (LST-1179) was commissioned on June 7, 1969. Assigned to the Amphibious Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Newport alternated amphibious training operations along the east coast of the United States with extended deployments to the Caribbean and Mediterranean. She was decommissioned in October 1992, and transferred to the government of Mexico in 2001.

EPF class ships are designed to transport 600 short tons of military cargo 1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km at an average speed of 35 knots/40 mph/65 km/h. The ship is capable of operating in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, and on/off-loading a combat-loaded Abrams main battle tank (M1A2).

The EPF includes a flight deck for helicopter operations and an off-load ramp that will allow vehicles to quickly drive off the ship. EPF’s shallow draft (less than 15 feet/4.57 m) further enhances littoral operations and port access. This makes the EPF an extremely flexible asset for support of a wide range of operations including maneuver and sustainment, relief operations in small or damaged ports, flexible logistics support, or as the key enabler for rapid transport.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

PRINCIPAL DIMENSIONS
Material Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy
Length overall 103 m/337.9 feet
Beam overall 28.5 m/93.5 feet
Hull draft (maximum) 3.83 m/12.57 feet
MISSION BAY
Area (with tie-downs) 1,863 m2/20,053 feet2
Clear Height 4.75 m/15.6 feet
Turning diameter 26.2 m/86.0 feet
ISO TEU (Twenty Equivalent Units) Stations 6 Interface Panels
ACCOMMODATIONS
Crew 41
Single SR 2
Double SR 6
Quad SR 7
Troop Seats 312
Troop Berths Permanent: 104
Temporary: 46
Galley and Messing 48
PROPULSION
Main Engines 4 × MTU 20V8000 M71L Diesel Engines 4 × 9.1 MW
Gear boxes 4 × ZF 60000NR2H Reduction Gears
Waterjets 4 × Wartsila WLD 1400 SR
PERFORMANCE
Average Speed 35 knots/40 mph/65 km/h @ 90% MCR with 635 mt (700 st) payload
Maximum Speed 43 knots/50 mph/80 km/h without payload
Maximum Transit Range 1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km
Self-Deployment Range 5,600 NM/6,444 miles/10,371 km
Survival Through SS-7
AVIATION FACILITIES
NAVAIR Level 1 Class 2 Certified Flight Deck for one helicopter
Centreline parking area for one helicopter
NAVAIR Level 1 class 4 Type 2 Certified VERTREP (Vertical Replenishment)
Helicopter Control Station
AUXILIARY SYSTEMS
Active Ride Control Transcom Interceptors
Foils: 3.24 m2/34.9 feet2 each, forward on inboard sides of demi-hulls
Vehicle Ramp Articulated Slewing Stern Ramp
Straight aft to 45 Starboard
Telescoping Boom Crane 12.3 mt @ 15 m, 18.2 mt @ 10 m/13.6 Lt @ 49.2 feet, 20.1 Lt @ 32.8 feet

 

Ships

USNS Spearhead (EPF-1), Delivered

USNS Choctaw County (EPF-2), Delivered

USNS Millinocket (EPF-3), Delivered

USNS Fall River (EPF-4), Delivered

USNS Trenton (EPF-5), Delivered

USNS Brunswick (EPF-6), Delivered

USNS Carson City (EPF-7), Delivered

USNS Yuma (EPF-8), Delivered

USNS City of Bismark (EPF-9), Delivered

USNS Burlington (EPF-10), Delivered

USNS Puerto Rico (EPF-11), Under construction

USNS Newport (EPF-12), Under construction

USNS Apalachicola (EPF-13), Under construction

USNS Cody (EPF-14), On order

Jammer Pod

Saab carried out the first flight tests with its new advanced Electronic Attack Jammer Pod (EAJP) with successful results on 4 November 2019. The pod’s interfaces with the aircraft’s hardware and software as well as cockpit control and monitoring were tested during the flight.

Saab’s New Electronic Attack Jammer Pod in the Air

The purpose of Saab’s new EAJP pod is to protect aircraft against radars by sophisticated jamming functions, thereby blocking the opponent’s ability to attack them. The first flight marks an important step of the pod’s development programme.

Saab is sharpening its electronic attack capabilities and the new advanced pod is an important element of this development. The EAJP is a strong complement to the built-in electronic attack capabilities of the highly advanced on-board electronic warfare system on Saab’s new Gripen E/F fighter. It can also be used on other aircraft types. The pod forms part of Saab’s Arexis family of electronic warfare systems.

«We performed the flight tests with a Gripen fighter and this new pod is an important part of the development of our new electronic attack capability», says Anders Carp, Senior Vice President and Head of Saab’s business area Surveillance.

Electronic warfare systems are also used for self-protection by passively detecting hostile radar systems and missiles, protecting the aircraft or platform by using active and passive countermeasures. Offensive electronic warfare, also known as electronic attack, involves actively sending jamming signals to disrupt the sensors in the enemy’s air defence systems so they do no longer constitute a threat.

Final Sōryū-Class

According to Naval News, Japan’s shipbuilder Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) launched the 12th and final Sōryū-class diesel-electric attack submarine (SSK) for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). JS Tōryū (SS-512) is the second submarine of the class to feature Li-Ion batteries.

Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) launched the 12th and final Soryu-class diesel-electric attack submarine (SSK) for the JMSDF (KHI picture)

The launching ceremony was held today at the KHI shipyard in Chuo-ku, Kobe. About 380 people from Japan’s Ministry of Defense and KHI participated in the ceremony. As per tradition, Admiral Hiroshi Yamamura, Chief of Staff of the JMSDF, cut the rope which started the launch process and send the new submarine in the water for the first time.

JS Tōryū (SS-512) is the 12th and final Sōryū-class submarine produced for the JMSDF (the 6th built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, the other 6 having been built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries). Tōryū means Fighting Dragon. The name of Toryu is derived from the famous scenic dragon fighting in Kato City, Hyogo Prefecture, where the torrent of the Kako River flows between strangely shaped rocks.

JS Tōryū (SS-512)’s keel was laid in January 2017, and the submarine is set to be delivered to the JMSDF around March 2021.

The keel for the first submarine in the class, JS Sōryū (SS-501), was laid down in March 2005. It was launched in December 2007 and commissioned in March 2009. The latest Sōryū-class SSK joint the fleet is JS Shōryū (SS-510) which was commissioned on March 18, 2019.

Twelve Sōryū-class submarines are currently planned for the JMSDF. The design features improved underwater endurance thanks to lithium-ion batteries from the eleventh submarine in the class. Previous submarines use Lead-acid batteries. Designed by GS Yuasa, the high-performance Li-Ion batteries are said to store about double the power. The last two submarines of the class, fitted with the new battery technology, will probably serve as test-bed for the next generation of Japanese SSK.

The Sōryū-class is an improved version of the Oyashio-class submarine. Sōryū-class submarines are the world’s largest conventionally powered submarines. All submarines of the class are named after dragons: Sōryū means Blue Dragon, Hakuryū (2nd in the class) White Dragon, Sekiryū (8th in the class) Red Dragon, Shōryū (10th in the class) means Soaring Dragon, Tōryū (12th in the class) means Fighting Dragon.

 

Main characteristics

Length 84 m/275.6 feet
Width 9.1 m/29.9 feet
Depth 10.3 m/33.8 feet
Draft 8.4 m/27.6 feet
Displacement 2,950 tons
Engine Kawasaki 12V 25/25SB type diesel engine 2 groups
Kawasaki Kokkamusu V4-275R Stirling engine four
Propulsion motor 1
Number of propellers 1
Speed 20 knots/23 mph/37 km/h

 

Kawasaki Launched The 12th & Final Sōryū-Class JS Tōryū (SS-512) – 2nd Li-Ion Submarine For JMSDF

Night Vision

The 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team (2ABCT), 1st Infantry Division, is the first unit to receive the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle – Binocular (ENVG-B) and the Family of Weapon Sights – Individual (FWS-I). The «Dagger» Brigade received and fielded the new equipment September 23-26.

The U.S. Army’s 1st Infantry Division was the first to receive the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle – Binocular and the Family of Weapon Sights – Individual in late September; these devices increase soldiers’ lethality, mobility, and situational awareness (U.S. Army photo)

The ENVG-B and FWS-I systems are the most advanced night vision equipment in the Army.

The ENVG-B and FWS-I allow Soldiers to see through fog, dust, and smoke, in both day and night environments. The devices increase the warfighters lethality, mobility, and situational awareness through innovative and state of the art capabilities.

«The ENVG-B will truly be the greatest goggle that we’ve ever fielded», said Brigadier General Anthony W. Potts, Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier. «The thermal channel has a day-night capability and we’ve added in things like augmented reality».

2nd ABCT Soldiers spent two-days in a classroom learning the basics of the equipment, followed by hands-on training at firing ranges. «Dagger» brigade will train on the new equipment over the next several months.

«Dagger» Brigade Soldiers are the first to benefit from the collaborative efforts of Army Futures Command (AFC), PEO Soldier, Soldier Lethality-Cross Functional Team (SL-CFT), and Soldier Touchpoints. Soldiers noticed the improvements from previous generations of night vision devices.

The ENVG-B and FWS-I were designed for Soldiers by Soldiers. PEO-Soldier and SL-CFT used Soldier feedback early on in the development at events called Soldier Touchpoints. Overall, there were 11 Soldier and Marine Touchpoints. The user level input ensured the current needs of the warfighter made it to the final product.

«The last one I used is a PVS-14 Portable Visual Search and it’s a massive improvement over that one», said Private First Class Dustin Roy, Infantryman, 1st Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment, 2ABCT, «I can’t even express how much better it is».

«Soldier Touchpoints along the way during a design, build, and test phase give that quick feedback to the Program Executive Officer», said Command Sergeant Major Michael A. Crosby, Army Futures Command. «What you are witnessing here today is a demonstration of rapid prototyping to meet the Army’s organizational priorities».

The ENVG-B and FWS-I give «Dagger» brigade Soldiers improved night vision capabilities, increased situational awareness, and rapid target acquisition in zero light conditions.

«We’re increasing their survivability and lethality», said Sergeant Major of the Army Michael A. Grinston. «I’m really proud that I can be a part of this».

Robotic Mules

The U.S. Army has selected General Dynamics Land Systems to produce the Small Multipurpose Equipment Transport, or S-MET, to lighten Soldiers’ loads by providing Infantry Brigade Combat Teams a robotic «mule» capability.

The S-MET program aims to lighten soldiers’ loads by providing a robotic «mule» capability. A rapid acquisition plan has allowed the US Army to field commercially available technology faster than typical processes allow (U.S. Army photo)

The contract is valued at $162.4 million to produce 624 S-METs. Delivery to Soldiers begins in the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2021.

With the S-MET (pronounced «Ess-Met») program, a phased, quicker acquisition plan allowed the Army to make informed program decisions based on direct Soldier feedback on commercially available technology – fielding equipment faster than typical processes allow.

S-MET’s basic operational capabilities include:

  • Unmanned/optionally manned system;
  • Carries 1,000 lbs./453.6 kg, reducing Soldier weight burden by 100-plus pounds each when in support of a rifle squad;
  • Operates 60-plus miles/96.5-plus km in 72 hours;
  • Generates 3 kilowatts of power (stationary) and 1 kilowatt (moving) keeping equipment and batteries charged on the move.

The Army issued a directed requirement in April 2017 for a rapid materiel acquisition aimed at unburdening infantry brigade combat teams with a robotic capability. To fast-track the acquisition process, the Army’s Program Executive Office for Combat Support & Combat Service Support, awarded S-MET Phase I Other Transaction Authority (OTA) agreements (vs. traditional Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR)-based contracting methods) in June 2017 for eight platforms.

The S-MET program marks one of the Army’s first Middle Tier Acquisitions (MTA) for Rapid Fielding. This acquisition approach foregoes the traditional Department of Defense 5000.02 acquisition process, streamlining the delivery and fielding of capabilities within a period of five years. Use of the MTA approach was granted by Congress in the Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act Section 804.

«The S-MET program has focused on meeting the Army’s emphasis on enhancing Soldier lethality and rapidly fielding modernized capabilities. Our product management team for Applique and Large Unmanned Ground Systems undertook a great challenge to develop a strategy using experimentation and technical demonstrations to streamline the S-MET acquisition process», said Timothy G. Goddette, the Army’s program executive officer for Combat Support and Combat Service Support.

«Using an innovative contracting approach through an Other Transaction Authority, a flexible, collaborative tool designed to speed acquisition and modernization, the S-MET team awarded this capability within two and a half years. Using normal acquisition processes, it could have taken as much as five years», he explained.

The initial candidate platforms participated in the S-MET Phase I Assessment held in September 2017 at Fort Benning, Georgia. The evaluation enabled the Army to learn about each of the candidate platforms’ capabilities and obtain operational feedback based on Soldiers’ interactions with the candidate S-MET systems. Based on the results in November 2017, the Army narrowed to four contractors to evaluate their respective platforms during a 12-month (later reduced to seven-month) S-MET Phase II Technology Demonstration.

Phase II called for each of the four selected contractors to produce 20 platforms. Four of the produced S-METs supported safety testing, Commercial-Off-the-Shelf operator manual verification, Instructor and Key Personnel Training, and Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) development. Upon completion of safety testing, the Product Management Office for Applique and Large Unmanned Systems issued eight of each respective prototype S-METs to IBCTs within the 10th Mountain and the 101st Airborne Divisions in the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2019 for the seven-month Phase II Technology Demonstration. Results from the Technology Demonstration informed program decisions and further solidified S-MET TTPs.

Dismounted Infantry carry water, extra ammunition, and other equipment and gear imposing physical burden. When fielded, S-MET will unburden Soldiers and enable IBCTs to travel greater distances and carry more. Soldier experimentation, touch points, and evaluation has been key in obtaining direct warfighter feedback.

«Thanks to tremendous teamwork across the acquisition, requirements, operational, and resource communities, this is a great modernization success story», said Don Sando, director for the Maneuver Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate, Fort Benning. «Key to this success was involving Soldiers early in the process to get their input and feedback during experiments and assessments. Direct Soldier feedback drove the requirements for the S-MET, and certainly helped determine what systems would work best for IBCTs to fill a capability gap», Sando added.

This enhanced, modernized capability will unburden Soldiers of some of their physical load, thereby also improving Soldiers’ physical and cognitive capabilities. Future capability will feature modular mission payloads tailoring the S-MET to specific mission needs, such as dismounted engineer mobility systems; remote weapon stations; casualty evacuation; and unmanned aerial systems and reconnaissance.

«Getting a modernized capability into the hands of IBCT Soldiers has been the team’s driving focus throughout this program», said Lieutenant Colonel Jon Bodenhamer, the Army’s product manager for Applique and Large Unmanned Ground Systems within the Program Executive Office for Combat Support & Combat Service Support. «Soldiers are why we do what we do, and I’m incredibly proud of the hard-working team that brought us to this point».

Amphibious Vehicles

BAE Systems has received a $120 million contract from the U.S. Marine Corps for additional Amphibious Combat Vehicles under a third order for Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP).

U.S. Marine Corps orders more Amphibious Combat Vehicles

This award is an important next step on the path to full rate production. This latest contract is for the ACV Personnel carrier variant (ACV-P), an eight-wheeled amphibious assault vehicle capable of transporting Marines from open-ocean ship to shore and conducting land operations. Each vehicle embarks 13 Marines in addition to a crew of three.

«This award further validates the Marine Corps’ confidence in the vehicle’s proven capability in meeting their amphibious mission, and represents an important step toward fielding the vehicle in the Fleet Marine Force. The ACV is a highly mobile, survivable and adaptable platform designed for growth to meet future mission role requirements while bringing enhanced combat power to the battlefield», said John Swift, director of amphibious programs at BAE Systems.

Current low-rate production is focused on the ACV-P variant. More variants will be added under full rate production to include the command and control (ACV-C), 30mm medium caliber turret (ACV-30) and recovery variants (ACV-R) under the ACV Family of Vehicles program. BAE Systems previously received the Lot 1 and Lot 2 awards.

The Marine Corps selected BAE Systems along with teammate Iveco Defence Vehicles for the ACV program in 2018 to replace its legacy fleet of Assault Amphibious Vehicles, which have been in service for decades and were also built by BAE Systems.

ACV production and support is taking place at BAE Systems locations in Stafford, Virginia; San Jose, California; Sterling Heights, Michigan; Aiken, South Carolina; and York, Pennsylvania.

Acceptance Trials

The future USS Kansas City (LCS-22) successfully concluded acceptance trials in the Gulf of Mexico after a series of in-port and underway demonstrations, the U.S. Navy announced October 31.

Future USS Kansas City (LCS-22) completes successful Acceptance Trials

«This level of performance is among the best I’ve seen for this class. We continue to see improvements in cost, initial quality and schedule, ship after ship», said Captain Mike Taylor, Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program manager.

Acceptance trials are the last significant milestone before the ship’s planned delivery to the Navy in early December. During trials, the Navy conducted comprehensive tests of LCS 22’s systems, which spanned multiple functional areas essential to a ship being able to perform at sea – main propulsion, auxiliaries and electrical systems. The ship also performed demonstrations of its capability, including a full-power demonstration, steering and quick reversal, anchor drop test and combat system detect-to-engage sequence.

Following delivery and commissioning, Kansas City will be homeported in San Diego with sister ships USS Independence (LCS-2), USS Coronado (LCS-4), USS Jackson (LCS-6), USS Montgomery (LCS-8), USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10), USS Omaha (LCS-12), USS Manchester (LCS-14), USS Tulsa (LCS-16), USS Charleston (LCS-18) and USS Cincinnati (LCS-20).

Four additional Independence-variant ships are under construction at Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama. Final assembly is well underway on the future USS Oakland (LCS-24). All modules for the future USS Mobile (LCS-26) have been erected, and the modules for the future USS Savannah (LCS 28) are under construction. Additionally, Austal is fabricating modules for the future USS Canberra (LCS-30) and is preparing for construction of the future USS Santa Barbara (LCS-32), USS Augusta (LCS-34), USS Kingsville (LCS-36) and USS Pierre (LCS-38).

LCS is a highly maneuverable, lethal and adaptable ship designed to support focused mine countermeasures, anti-submarine and surface warfare missions. The Independence-variant LCS integrates new technology and capability to affordably support current and future mission capability, from deep water to the littorals.

LCS is now the second-largest surface ship class in production. Five LCSs delivered in 2018. The U.S. Navy plans to deliver another three ships in 2019.

 

The Independence Variant of the LCS Class

PRINCIPAL DIMENSIONS
Construction Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy
Length overall 421 feet/128.3 m
Beam overall 103 feet/31.4 m
Hull draft (maximum) 14.8 feet/4.5 m
PAYLOAD AND CAPACITIES
Complement Core Crew – 40
Mission crew – 36
Berthing 76 in a mix of single, double & quad berthing compartments
Maximum mission load 210 tonnes
Mission Bay Volume 118,403 feet3/11,000 m3
Mission packages Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
Surface Warfare (SUW)
Mine Warfare (MIW)
PROPULSION
Main engines 2 × GE LM2500
2 × MTU 20V 8000
Waterjets 4 × Wartsila steerable
Bow thruster Retractable azimuthing
PERFORMANCE
Speed 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
Range 3,500 NM/4,028 miles/6,482 km
Operational limitation Survival in Sea State 8
MISSION/LOGISTICS DECK
Deck area >21,527.8 feet2/2,000 m2
Launch and recovery Twin boom extending crane
Loading Side ramp
Internal elevator to hanger
Launch/Recover Watercraft Sea State 4
FLIGHT DECK AND HANGER
Flight deck dimensions 2 × SH-60 or 1 × CH-53 or multiple Unmanned Aerial Vehicles/Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs/VTUAVs)
Hanger Aircraft stowage & maintenance for 2 × SH-60
Launch/Recover Aircraft Sea State 5
WEAPONS AND SENSORS
Standard 1 × 57-mm gun
4 × 12.7-mm/.50 caliber guns
1 × Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) launcher
3 × weapons modules

 

Independence-class

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Independence (LCS-2) 01-19-2006 04-26-2008 01-16-2010 San Diego, California
USS Coronado (LCS-4) 12-17-2009 01-14-2012 04-05-2014 San Diego, California
USS Jackson (LCS-6) 08-01-2011 12-14-2013 12-05-2015 San Diego, California
USS Montgomery (LCS-8) 06-25-2013 08-06-2014 09-10-2016 San Diego, California
USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) 04-16-2014 02-25-2015 06-10-2017 San Diego, California
USS Omaha (LCS-12) 02-18-2015 11-20-2015 02-03-2018 San Diego, California
USS Manchester (LCS-14) 06-29-2015 05-12-2016 05-26-2018 San Diego, California
USS Tulsa (LCS-16) 01-11-2016 03-16-2017 02-16-2019 San Diego, California
USS Charleston (LCS-18) 06-28-2016 09-14-2017 03-02-2019 San Diego, California
USS Cincinnati (LCS-20) 04-10-2017 05-22-2018 10-05-2019 San Diego, California
USS Kansas City (LCS-22) 11-15-2017 10-19-2018 San Diego, California
USS Oakland (LCS-24) 07-20-2018 07-21-2019 San Diego, California
USS Mobile (LCS-26) 12-14-2018
USS Savannah (LCS-28) 09-20-2018
USS Canberra (LCS-30)
USS Santa Barbara (LCS-32)
USS Augusta (LCS-34)
USS Kingsville (LCS-36)
USS Pierre (LCS-38)

 

Maritime Patrol Aircraft

The first submarine-hunting Poseidon MRA1 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) has been delivered to the Royal Air Force (RAF).

The first Boeing P-8A Poseidon for the Royal Air Force taxies after landing at NAS Jacksonville, in Florida, after flying in from Seattle where it was handed over to the customer. It will be known as Poseidon MRA1 in RAF service (RAF photo)

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is investing £3 billion in nine state-of-the-art jets which will enhance the UK’s tracking of hostile maritime targets, protect the British continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent and play a central role in NATO missions across the North Atlantic.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: «The arrival of the world-class Poseidon aircraft marks a step-change in the UK’s maritime patrol capability. Using the world’s most advanced sensors and operating for long periods, these aircraft will transform the quality of intelligence available to our armed forces and protect our vital nuclear deterrent».

Following an unveiling ceremony in Seattle, the aircraft was flown to Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville in Florida where RAF personnel are being trained to operate the aircraft.

On arrival Michelle Sanders, Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) Delivery Team Leader, signed the paperwork to formally transfer the aircraft, named Pride of Moray, to UK ownership.

Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, Chief of the Air Staff, said: «Poseidon is a game-changing maritime patrol aircraft, able to detect, track and if necessary destroy the most advanced submarines in the world today. With Poseidon MRA1, I am delighted and very proud that the Royal Air Force will once again have a maritime patrol force working alongside the Royal Navy, securing our seas to protect our nation».

First Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin, said: «Poseidon marks a superb upgrade in the UK’s ability to conduct anti-submarine operations. This will give the UK the ability to conduct long range patrols and integrate seamlessly with our NATO allies to provide a world-leading capability. This will maintain operational freedom for our own submarines, and apply pressure to those of our potential foes. I look forward to working with the RAF and our international partners on this superb capability».

The Poseidon MRA1 is designed to carry out extended surveillance missions at both high and low altitudes. The aircraft is equipped with cutting-edge sensors which use high-resolution area mapping to find both surface and sub-surface threats.

The aircraft can carry up to 129 sonobuoys, small detection devices which are dropped from the aircraft into the sea to search for enemy submarines. The systems survey the battlespace under the surface of the sea and relay acoustic information via radio transmitter back to the aircraft.

The aircraft will also be armed with Harpoon anti-surface ship missiles and Mk-54 torpedoes capable of attacking both surface and sub-surface targets.

Michelle Sanders, DE&S Delivery Team Leader, said: «Seeing the first Poseidon MRA1 handed over to the Royal Air Force is an incredibly proud moment for all of the team at DE&S. Close, collaborative working with colleagues in Air Capability, the US Navy and industry has helped us deliver this very capable aircraft».

As leading members of NATO, the UK has signed agreements with both the US and Norwegian militaries to cooperate closely on operating their Poseidon fleets across the North Atlantic.

In August this year, Defence Minister Anne Marie-Trevelyan hosted Norwegian State Secretary Tone Skogen at RAF Lossiemouth to deepen the two country’s partnership on the Poseidon programme.

To maintain the skills required to deliver this vital capability, the RAF has embedded aircrew within MPA squadrons in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA.

The first aircraft will arrive in Scotland in early 2020, with the fleet to be based at RAF Lossiemouth in Moray. All nine aircraft will be delivered by November 2021.

The aircraft will be flown initially by 120 Squadron which was originally stood up on 1 January 1918 and was the leading anti-submarine warfare squadron in WWII. 201 Squadron will also join the programme in due course.

The Poseidon MRA1 programme is bringing significant economic benefits to the communities near RAF Lossiemouth. A total of £460 million is being invested in the station to prepare for the arrival of the new aircraft, including the construction of a £132 million strategic facility for the fleet to be completed next year.

The programme will also bring around 700 additional personnel to Moray, taking the total number of employees there to approximately 2,500.

 

Technical Specifications

Wing Span 123.6 feet/37.64 m
Height 42.1 feet/12.83 m
Length 129.5 feet/39.47 m
Propulsion 2 × CFM56-7B engines
27,000 lbs./12,237 kgf/120 kN thrust
Speed 490 knots/564 mph/908 km/h
Range 1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km with 4 hours on station
Ceiling 41,000 feet/12,496 m
Crew 9
Maximum Take-Off Gross Weight 189,200 lbs./85,820 kg

 

Floods Dry Dock

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) on October 29, 2019 began flooding the dry dock at its Newport News Shipbuilding division where the keel of aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) was laid in 2015.

JThe flooding of Dry Dock 12, which began on Tuesday at Newport News Shipbuilding, was the first time the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) touched water. The ship will be christened in December (Photo by Ashley Cowan/HII)

The controlled process of slowly filling the dry dock with more than 100 million gallons/379 million liters of water takes place over several days, and marks the first time the ship has been in water.

«The flooding of the dry dock is truly a historic event in the construction of the ship and a special moment for the men and women who have worked to get the ship to the point», said Mike Butler, program director for Kennedy. «We have made remarkable progress with Kennedy’s construction, and are pleased to get to this phase of construction three months ahead of the original schedule and fewer man hours. We look forward to the upcoming christening and launch as we prepare to start our testing program».

The flooding of the dry dock takes place in phases during which various tests are conducted. The dock initially was flooded about 10 feet high to its keel blocks, wood-capped concrete pads on which the ship has been supported during construction. Once the dock is fully flooded and initial testing is complete, the ship will be floated to the west end of the dry dock. Next month, additional tests will take place prior to Kennedy’s christening on December 7.

More than 3,200 shipbuilders and 2,000 suppliers from across the country are supporting the construction of Kennedy. Following the christening, the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) will undock into the James River where outfitting and testing of the ship’s systems will continue until the ship is delivered to the U.S. Navy in 2022.

More than 100 million gallons/379 million liters of water began flowing into Newport News Shipbuilding’s Dry Dock 12, where the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) is being constructed (Photo by Matt Hildreth/HII)

 

General Characteristics

Builder Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia
Propulsion 2 A1B* nuclear reactors, 4 shafts
Length 1,092 feet/333 m
Beam 134 feet/41 m
Flight Deck Width 256 feet/78 m
Flight Deck Square 217,796 feet2/20,234 m2
Displacement approximately 100,000 long tons full load
Speed 30+ knots/34.5+ mph/55.5+ km/h
Crew 4,539 (ship, air wing and staff)
Armament ESSM (Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile), RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile), Mk-15 Phalanx CIWS (Close-In Weapon System)
Aircraft 75+

* – Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. serves the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program

 

Ships

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) 11-13-2009 11-09-2013 07-22-2017 Norfolk, Virginia
USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) 08-22-2015 10-29-2019
USS Enterprise (CVN-80)

 

Newport News Shipbuilding Floods Dry Dock for the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79)

Acceptance Trials

The future USS Tripoli (LHA-7) completed acceptance trials when she returned to the Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) – Ingalls Shipbuilding Division’s shipyard following three days underway in the Gulf of Mexico.

Ingalls Shipbuilding announces the successful completion of acceptance trials aboard the U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli (LHA-7)

During the underway, the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey performed a rigorous evaluation on all of the ship’s major systems including propulsion, communications, navigation, combat systems, and aviation capabilities.

«The capability that our large deck amphibs bring to the fight is tremendous», said Tom Rivers, amphibious warfare program manager for Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. «Their ability to embark Joint Strike Fighters and MV-22 Osprey enable this versatile platform to increase the lethality of our expeditionary warfighters».

USS Tripoli (LHA-7) is the second ship of the USS America (LHA-6) class, built to facilitate forward presence and power projection. USS Tripoli (LHA-7) is the last Flight 0 ship planned for construction and features an enlarged hangar deck, realignment and expansion of the aviation maintenance facilities, an increase in available stowage for parts and support equipment, and increased aviation fuel capacity. USS Bougainville (LHA-8) will be the first Flight I ship, reincorporating a well deck to enhance expeditionary warfighting capabilities while maintaining the principal aviation characteristics of the Flight 0 ships.

«There’s been a lot of hard work accomplished to get LHA-7 to this point», said Captain Nathan Schneider, Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair Gulf Coast. «The team’s focus is now on delivering the LHA-7 to the fleet in the best possible condition, fully capable and ready to deploy if called upon».

USS Tripoli (LHA-7) incorporates gas turbine propulsion plant, zonal electrical distribution, and fuel-efficient electric auxiliary propulsion systems first installed on USS Makin Island (LHD-8). USS Tripoli (LHA-7) is 844 feet/257.3 m in length, has a displacement of approximately 45,000 long tons/45,722 metric tons and is capable of operating at speeds of over 20 knots/23 mph/37 km/h.

HII’s Pascagoula shipyard is also currently in production on USS Bougainville (LHA-8), the guided missile destroyers USS Delbert D. Black (DDG-119), USS Frank E. Peterson (DDG-121) USS Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG-123), USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125), and amphibious transport dock ships, USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28) and USS Richard M. McCool Jr. (LPD-29).

As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, boats and craft.

Pascagoula, Mississippi. (October 23, 2019) The future USS Tripoli (LHA-7) transits through the Gulf of Mexico in the early morning hours of October 23, 2019 at the beginning of Acceptance Trials. During the underway, the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey performed a rigorous evaluation on all of the ship’s major systems including propulsion, communications, navigation, combat systems, and aviation capabilities (Photo by Samantha Crane)

 

General Characteristics

Builder Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc., Ingalls Operations, Pascagoula, Mississippi
Date Deployed Delivered to the fleet in on April 10, 2014
Propulsion Two marine gas turbines, two shafts, 70,000 total brake horsepower/52,199 kW, two 5,000 horsepower/3,728 kW auxiliary propulsion motors
Length 844 feet/257.3 m
Beam 106 feet/32.3 m
Displacement Approximately 45,000 long tons full load /45,722 metric tons
Speed 20+ knots/23+ mph/37+ km/h
Crew 1,059 (65 officers)
Load 1,687 troops (plus 184 surge)
Armament 2 RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) launchers
2 NATO Sea Sparrow launchers with ESSM (Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile)
2 20-mm Phalanx CIWS (Close-In Weapon System) mounts
7 twin 12,7-mm/.50 cal. machine guns
Aircraft 9 F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) STOVL (Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing) aircraft
4 AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters
4 CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters
12 MV-22B Osprey VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) tiltrotors
2 MH-60S Sea Hawk Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopters
UH-1Y Huey helicopters

 

Ships

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS America (LHA-6) 07-17-2009 06-04-2012 10-11-2014 San Diego, California
USS Tripoli (LHA-7) 06-22-2014 05-01-2017
USS Bougainville (LHA-8)