Into the James River

Nine days after christening the U.S. Navy’s newest nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division launched USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) into the James River for the first time, on Monday, December 17, 2019.

Newport News Shipbuilding division successfully launched the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) into the James River on Monday, December 17, 2019, four weeks ahead of the original schedule (Photo by Ashley Cowan/HII)

With the aid of six tugboats, the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) was guided down the river about a mile from Newport News Shipbuilding’s Dry Dock 12, where it has been under construction, to the shipyard’s Pier 3. There, the ship will undergo additional outfitting and begin its testing program three months ahead of its original schedule.

«This move is significant in that it represents a shift in focus from erecting the ship in dock to final completion and outfitting at the pier», said Mike Butler, program director for the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79). «It is also a testament to the amazing teamwork I see every day between Newport News Shipbuilding and the Navy as we work together to build Kennedy with valuable first-of-class lessons from the Ford».

During this phase of construction, which is expected to take about two and a half years, habitability spaces, such as berthing and mess areas, will be completed, and distributive, mechanical and combat systems, such as catapults and radar arrays, will be tested.

The USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) is scheduled for delivery to the U.S. Navy in 2022.

Tugboats move the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) from Newport News Shipbuilding’s Dock Dry 12 to Pier 3 on December 16, where the ship will undergo final completion and outfitting (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)

NNS Launches USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79)

Acceptance Trials

Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 19, the future USS St. Louis, completed Acceptance Trials in Lake Michigan. Now that trials are complete, the ship will undergo final outfitting and fine-tuning before delivery. USS St. Louis (LCS-19) is the tenth Freedom-variant LCS designed and built by the Lockheed Martin-led industry team and is slated for delivery to the Navy early next year.

USS St. Louis (LCS-19) completed Acceptance Trials in Lake Michigan

«The LCS fleet is growing in numbers and capability, and LCS-19’s completion of acceptance trials means the Navy will shortly have 10 Freedom-variant fast, focused-mission ships in the fleet», said Joe DePietro, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager, Small Combatants and Ship Systems. «As each Freedom-variant hull deploys, we seek out and incorporate fleet feedback and lessons learned to roll in capabilities for new hulls. As a result, LCS-19 includes a solid-state radar, upgraded communications suite, increased self-defense capabilities and topside optimization, among other updates».

In total, there are more than 500,000 nautical miles/575,390 miles/926,000 km under the keel of Freedom-variant LCS. The Freedom-variant LCS has completed three successful deployments with a fourth ongoing. In October, LCS-7 (USS Detroit) deployed to the U.S. Southern Command supporting the Martillo campaign – a multinational effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in Central American coastal waters.

LCS is designed to deliver speed to capability and to grow as the missions it serves evolve. Today, the Freedom-variant LCS delivers advanced capability in anti-submarine, surface and mine countermeasure missions. The Freedom-variant LCS is targeted for warfighting upgrades to enhance situational awareness and evolve the ship’s self-defense capabilities. These upgrades are already underway – LCS computing infrastructures are receiving cyber upgrades and over-the-horizon missiles are being installed in support of upcoming deployments.

Unique among combat ships, the focused-mission LCS is designed to support mine countermeasures, anti-submarine and surface warfare missions and is easily adapted to serve future and evolving missions. The Freedom-variant LCS is:

  • Flexible – Forty percent of the hull is easily reconfigurable, able to integrate Longbow Hellfire Missiles, 30-mm guns, and manned and unmanned vehicles designed to meet today’s and tomorrow’s missions.
  • Lethal – LCS is standard equipped with Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM) and a Mark 110 gun, capable of firing 220 rounds per minute.
  • Fast – LCS is capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h.
  • Automated – LCS has the most efficient staffing of any combat ship.

«Progress on the Freedom-variant program and LCS-19’s achievement would not be possible without the expertise and effort of our shipbuilders at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, and our strong partnership with Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Navy», said Jan Allman, Fincantieri Marinette Marine president and CEO. «We are dedicated to delivering an effective, capable product to our armed forces».

 

Ship Design Specifications

Hull Advanced semiplaning steel monohull
Length Overall 389 feet/118.6 m
Beam Overall 57 feet/17.5 m
Draft 13.5 feet/4.1 m
Full Load Displacement Approximately 3,200 metric tons
Top Speed Greater than 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
Range at top speed 1,000 NM/1,151 miles/1,852 km
Range at cruise speed 4,000 NM/4,603 miles/7,408 km
Watercraft Launch and Recovery Up to Sea State 4
Aircraft Launch and Recovery Up to Sea State 5
Propulsion Combined diesel and gas turbine with steerable water jet propulsion
Power 85 MW/113,600 horsepower
Hangar Space Two MH-60 Romeo Helicopters
One MH-60 Romeo Helicopter and three Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (VTUAVs)
Core Crew Less than 50
Accommodations for 75 sailors provide higher sailor quality of life than current fleet
Integrated Bridge System Fully digital nautical charts are interfaced to ship sensors to support safe ship operation
Core Self-Defense Suite Includes 3D air search radar
Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) gunfire control system
Rolling-Airframe Missile Launching System
57-mm Main Gun
Mine, Torpedo Detection
Decoy Launching System

 

Freedom-class

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Freedom (LCS-1) 06-02-2005 09-23-2006 11-08-2008 San Diego, California
USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) 07-11-2009 12-07-2010 09-22-2012 San Diego, California
USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) 10-27-2011 12-18-2013 11-21-2015 San Diego, California
USS Detroit (LCS-7) 08-11-2012 10-18-2014 10-22-2016 San Diego, California
USS Little Rock (LCS-9) 06-27-2013 07-18-2015 12-16-2017 San Diego, California
USS Sioux City (LCS-11) 02-19-2014 01-30-2016 11-17-2018 Mayport, Florida
USS Wichita (LCS-13) 02-09-2015 09-17-2016 01-12-2019 Mayport, Florida
USS Billings (LCS-15) 11-02-2015 07-01-2017 08-03-2019 Mayport, Florida
USS Indianapolis (LCS-17) 07-18-2016 04-18-2018 10-26-2019 Mayport, Florida
USS St. Louis (LCS-19) 05-17-2017 12-15-2018
USS Minneapolis/St. Paul (LCS-21) 02-22-2018 06-15-2019
USS Cooperstown (LCS-23) 08-14-2018
USS Marinette (LCS-25) 03-27-2019
USS Nantucket (LCS-27) 10-09-2019
USS Beloit (LCS-29)
USS Cleveland (LCS-31)

 

LCS 19 Acceptance Trials B-roll Package from Team Freedom on Vimeo.

Medium airlifter

The Czech Air Force has signed a contract for the acquisition of two additional Airbus C295 medium airlifters. The aircraft, equipped with winglets and ordered in transport configuration, are due to be delivered in the first half of 2021.

Czech Air Force orders two additional Airbus C295 aircraft

The agreement takes the Czech Air Force’s total Airbus C295 fleet up to six aircraft. Together with this agreement, an additional contract was also signed for the upgrade of the four Airbus C295s currently in operation with the Czech Air Force.

Alberto Gutiérrez, Head of Military Aircraft at Airbus Defence and Space, said: «We greatly appreciate the confidence shown by the Czech Air Force in the selection of the Airbus C295. This repeat order reinforces its position as the market-leading medium transport and patrol aircraft for operations in all environments».

With this new order the number of global orders for the Airbus C295 rises to 214 aircraft.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

DIMENSIONS
Overall Length 24.50 m/80 feet 3 inch
Overall Height 8.65 m/28 feet 5 inch
Wing Span 25.81 m/84 feet 8 inch
Cargo Hold Length (ramp excluded) 12.70 m/41 feet 8 inch
Cargo Hold Height 1.90 m/6 feet 3 inch
Cargo Hold Width 2.70 m/8 feet 10 inch
Cargo Hold Volume 64 m3/2,260 feet3
WEIGHTS
Maximum Take Off Weight 23,200 kg/51,000 lbs
Maximum Landing Weight 23,200 kg/51,000 lbs
Internal Fuel Weight 6,150 kg/13,600 lbs
Maximum Payload 9,250 kg/20,400 lbs
ENGINE (×2)
Pratt & Whitney PW-127G 2,645 shp (up to 2,920 shp with Auxiliary Power Reserve, APR)/1,970 kW
PERFORMANCE
Maximum Operating Altitude 9,100 m/30,000 feet
Maximum Cruise Speed (TAS*) 260 knots/299 mph/480 km/h
RANGE
Range with Maximum Payload (9,250 kg/20,400 lbs) 700 NM/808 miles/1,300 km
Range with 6,000 kg/13,200 lbs Payload 2,000 NM/2,299 miles/3,700 km
Range with 3,000 kg/6,600 lbs Payload 2,500 NM/2,858 miles/4,600 km
Maximum Range (Ferry) 2,900 NM/3,355 miles/5,400 km

* The true airspeed (TAS; also KTAS, for Knots True AirSpeed) of an aircraft is the speed of the aircraft relative to the airmass in which it is flying

Mars 2020 Rover

The capsule-shaped aeroshell that will protect NASA’s Mars 2020 rover was delivered to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida on December 13, 2019. Built by Lockheed Martin, the aeroshell will encapsulate and protect the Mars 2020 rover during its deep space cruise to Mars, and from the intense heat as the entry system descends through the Martian atmosphere to the surface of Mars.

The aeroshell for the Mars 2020 rover was designed and built at Lockheed Martin Space near Denver and is comprised of two parts, the heat shield and the backshell

Because of the large mass and unique entry trajectory profile that could create external temperatures up to 3,800 degrees Fahrenheit/2,093 degrees Celsius, the heat shield uses a tiled Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator (PICA) thermal protection system instead of the Mars heritage Super Lightweight Ablator (SLA) 561V. This will only be the second time PICA has flown on a Mars mission.

«Even though we have the experience of building the nearly identical aeroshell for the Curiosity Rover, the almost 15-foot/4.5-meter diameter composite structure was just as big a challenge to build and test 10 years later», said Neil Tice, Mars 2020 aeroshell program manager at Lockheed Martin Space. «We’ve built every Mars aeroshell entry system for NASA of its 40 years of exploring Mars, so we pulled from that experience to build this important system».

Along with the Curiosity mission, this is the largest aeroshell/heat shield ever built for a planetary mission at 4.5 meters (nearly 15 feet) in diameter. In contrast, the aeroshell/heat shield of the InSight lander measured 8.6 feet/2.62 m and Apollo capsule heat shields measured just less than 13 feet/3.96 м.

The backshell and heat shield were transported from Lockheed Martin’s Waterton facility in Littleton, Colorado where they were built, to nearby Buckley Air Force Base. They were then loaded onto an Air Force transport plane and flown to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Recently, Lockheed Martin integrated the MSL Entry Descent and Landing Instrument (MEDLI2) onto the heat shield and backshell. Provided by NASA’s Langley and Ames Research Centers, MEDLI2 will collect temperature and pressure data during the spacecraft’s descent through the Martian atmosphere.

The Mars 2020 rover is in testing at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California., which manages the Mars 2020 project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The mission will launch in July 2020 and land on Mars in February 2021 at the Jezero Crater.

CC-RAM program

Boeing and Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, have delivered the first modified MV-22 Osprey to the United States Marine Corps for improved readiness and reliability of the tiltrotor fleet.

Boeing test pilots conduct the maiden flight of the first MV-22 Osprey under the Common Configuration – Readiness and Modernization (CC-RAM) program. Initial test points were completed for functional checkouts to prepare the MV-22 Osprey for delivery to the U.S. Marine Corps customer (Boeing photo)

The Marines have multiple configurations of the MV-22 Osprey aircraft in service. Under the Common Configuration – Readiness and Modernization (CC-RAM) program, Bell Boeing is reducing the number of configurations by upgrading block «B» aircraft to the current block «C» configuration.

«Our first CC-RAM aircraft returning to Marine Corps Air Station New River was a key program benchmark», said U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Matthew Kelly, program manager, V-22 Osprey Joint Program Office (PMA-275). «We are excited to see the capability, commonality and readiness improvements these CC-RAM aircraft bring to the fleet as part of the Marine Corps’ V-22 Osprey readiness program».

As a block «B» configuration, this MV-22 Osprey was originally delivered to the fleet in 2005. In 2018, the aircraft flew from Marine Corps Air Station New River to the Boeing Philadelphia facility for modernization.

«This milestone marks the beginning of an Osprey evolution», said Kristin Houston, vice president, Boeing Tiltrotor Programs and director, Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey Program. «Through a shared focus on safety and quality, the Bell Boeing team is delivering modernized MV-22 Osprey aircraft that are ready to serve our dedicated servicemen and women who rely on this essential aviation resource».

The next CC-RAM delivery is expected in early 2020.

«We look forward to having the remaining MV-22 Osprey block «B» aircraft rejoin the fleet in a block «C» configuration», said Kelly.

In November 2019, the U.S. Navy awarded Bell Boeing $146,039,547 to upgrade nine additional MV-22 Osprey aircraft under the CC-RAM program, with work expected to be completed in March 2022.

Italian Vulcano

The Logistic Support Ship (LSS) Vulcano (A5335), named after one of the Eolian Islands North of Sicily, had her First Sea Going on 5th December 2019, logging her first nautical miles in the in the Gulf of La Spezia. This step of the programme is a key contractual milestone towards the delivery of the ship to the Italian Navy (FOAR), scheduled for September 2020.

LSS Vulcano (A5335) sets sail for the first time, an outstanding achievement and success for OCCAR, Direzione degli armamenti navali (NAVARM) and the Italian Navy

During the First Sea Going (FSG), several Platform and Combat Systems installed onboard have been tested, especially the propulsion, steering and navigation systems.

Only four years and a half have elapsed since the signature of the LSS contract in May 2015 and the FSG. This is a great achievement for Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’ARmement (OCCAR) as contracting authority, given the exceptional challenges to finalize, under extreme time constraints, the reconstruction works of the aft part of the ship, after her launch in June 2018. The LSS Vulcano (A5335) FSG bears witness of the success brought by the combined efforts of OCCAR, Italy as Participating State and Industry.

The Vulcano (A5335) is expected to complete her sea trials by September 2020 and to be delivered to the Italian Navy that same month.

With France joining in January 2019, four more Logistic Support Ships will follow the path of their elder sister Vulcano (A5335), being the first delivery expected by the end of 2022.

The unmistakable outline of the Vulcano (A5335) bridge and aft Replenishment at sea masts

 

TECHNICAL INFORMATION

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS
Length overall 193 m/633.2 feet
Length between perpendiculars 176 m/577.4 feet
Moulded breadth 24 m/78.7 feet
Depth to main deck (deck 1) 16.3 m/53.5 feet
Full load displacement 27,200 t
Transported cargoes up to 15,500 t
Speed (maximum/cruise) about 20/16 knots/23/18.4 mph/37/30 km/h
Range at 16 knots 7,000 NM/8,055 miles/12,964 km
Crew + additional personnel 235 people + 13 hospitalized
ENERGY AND PROPULSION SYSTEMS
Propulsion system COmbined Diesel-eLectric And Diesel (CODLAD) – 2 × DE + 2 EM/2 × Featherable Controllable Pitch Propellers (FCPP)
Generating sets 4 + 2 Shaft generators + 1 Emerg.
HELO CAPABILITIES
Flight deck for NH90 or EH101
Hangar for 2 EH101
COMBAT SYSTEM
1 Internal Networking System
1 Combat Management System (CMS)
1 Integrated Int/Ext Communication System
1 Integrated Navigation System
2 Navigation Radars
1 Helo Decking Radar
1 2D Surveillance Radar 2D RAN 21S
1 Identification, Friend or Foe (IFF) Interrogator System
1 IFF Transponder System
1 IR Surveillance System (2 turrets)
2 Secondary Caliber Guns – 25 mm
2 Long Range Acoustic Devices
1 Obstacle Avoidance Sonar
1 Diver Detection Sonar
1 Electronic Warfare (EW) System (RESM/CESM – Radar Electronic Support Measures/Communications Electronic Support Measures)*
1 Fire Control System (ADT)*
1 Quick Point Device System (2 Pointing Devices)*
1 Main Caliber Gun – 76 mm SR*
1 Decoy Launching System (2 Launchers)**
1 Torpedo Detection System**
1 Reaction Management System**
1 Bathy Termograph Unit**

* Fitted for

** Space foreseen for

Fast Transport ship

Austal Limited is pleased to announce that Austal USA has delivered the Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) ship USNS Puerto Rico (T-EPF-11) to the U.S. Navy during a ceremony aboard the ship at the shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

USNS Puerto Rico (T-EPF-11) was the first EPF to perform and successfully complete integrated sea trials – combining builder’s trials and acceptance trials into one at-sea event (Image: Austal USA)

In August this year USNS Puerto Rico (T-EPF-11) was the first EPF to perform and successfully complete integrated sea trials – combining builder’s trials and acceptance trials into one at-sea event – returning to port flying a broom at her mast indicating a «clean sweep» of the tests the ship and her crew performed in the Gulf of Mexico.

Austal Chief Executive David Singleton said the EPF continues to impress stakeholders, with a flexible platform that is delivering multi-mission capability to the U.S. Navy’s global operations.

«Puerto Rico joins the growing fleet of EPFs constructed by Austal USA and proudly serving with the U.S. Navy in locations as diverse as the USA, Middle East and South East Asia», he said. «The EPF continues to impress the U.S. Navy and indeed many other navies around the world with the genuine flexibility and operability of the platform».

The Spearhead-class EPF, a 103 metre/337.9 feet high-speed aluminium catamaran, provides high-payload transport capability to U.S. combatant commanders around the world and has quickly become known as ‘the pickup truck’ of the fleet; with 10 EPFs in service, including seven deployed internationally.

The Austal-designed EPF’s large flight deck, open mission bay and habitability spaces provide an opportunity to conduct a wide range of missions – from maritime security operations to humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions. The ship’s flexibility also allows it to support potential future missions such as special operations, command and control, and primary medical operations. With its ability to access small, austere and degraded ports with minimal external support, the EPF provides unique options to fleet and combatant commanders.

Two additional Spearhead-class EPFs remain under construction at Austal USA’s shipyard. USNS Newport (T-EPF-12) is in final assembly, while construction recently began on the future USNS Apalachicola (T-EPF-13) at Austal USA’s state-of-the-art Module Manufacturing Facility (MMF).

In addition to the EPF program, Austal is under contract to build Independence-class Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) for the U.S. Navy. Ten LCSs have been delivered, while an additional six are in various stages of construction.

 

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), Delivered

USNS Newport (EPF-12), Christened

USNS Apalachicola (EPF-13), Under construction

USNS Cody (EPF-14), On order

On behalf of Boeing

Antonov Airlines flew four Apache AH-64E Attack Helicopters on behalf of Boeing, from Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport (AZA), Arizona, USA, to Hindan Airforce Base (VIDX) in India.

Antonov Airlines partners with Boeing to transport Apache Helicopters

An Antonov Airlines AN-124-100, which can accommodate up to five Apache helicopters, transported the aircraft, with a total payload of 39 tonnes/85,980 lbs. including their dismantled rotor blades. The mission proved highly successful.

«The Antonov Airlines team was responsive and willing to support deadlines while applying for the complex overflight permits required for military cargo», said Jon Roland, Boeing Program Manager. «Antonov Airlines partnered with us to secure the required clearance and permissions, creating a cooperative environment to ensure smooth delivery».

The Antonov and Boeing engineers collaborated closely on mission planning in real time during the loading process.

«We worked out how to best use the available space during loading to safely transport the cargo», said Amnon Ehrlich, Commercial Director, Antonov Airlines USA. «We also took into consideration the high summer temperatures in Arizona while planning the move. The loading started in the early hours to avoid the high temperatures. Following a night-time departure, the mission was completed 24 hours later».

Boeing has already contracted Antonov Airlines for further Apache helicopter shipments later this year.

The project required special planning and execution due to complex geopolitical issues affecting the flightpath of the cargo

Maiden flight

On Monday 9th December 2019, the maiden flight of the L-39NG aircraft with MSN 7004 took place at Aero Vodochody. This aircraft will be the first pre-serial aircraft. Aero company pilots Vladimír Továrek and Vytautas Požela flew for 32 minutes.

The second flying L-39NG and pre-serial aircraft had its maiden flight

Aircraft with MSN 7004 is a second flying L-39NG. «Today, we mark another important milestone of the L-39NG project. The 7004 has joined as planned the 7001 aircraft and the technology demonstrator aircraft (2626) in the flight programme now, so we can speed up the flight-testing according to our plan and get the advanced trainer certification in the third quarter of 2020. I am proud that Aero was able to produce and assemble three prototype aircraft and one pre-serial aircraft in less than 2 years. The 7004 is also the first pre-serial aircraft which has been built according to serial aircraft final specification and provides additional opportunities for target customers to testify and experience the outstanding capabilities, performance and flight characteristics of that next generation training and light attack aircraft. Worthwhile mentioning, that the L-39NG is one of few trainer development programs in the world that will have three aircrafts flying at the same time for flight test and customer demos», said Dieter John, President & CEO of Aero Vodochody AEROSPACE.

The flight was observed by several guests including representatives of Penta Investment Group, which is 100% shareholder of Aero Vodochody, and management of OMNIPOL company, a strategic partner to Aero Vodochody in the L-39NG project. «The timetable is in line with the established plan, which is essential for us. Today’s flight of aircraft 7004 is an important milestone not only for the whole project, but above all for our further dealings with our business partners and potential customers», said Jiří Podpěra, President of OMNIPOL.

 

Four L-39NGs completed

Aero has until now produced four L-39NG aircraft. Three prototypes – one dedicated to flight tests, one to static tests and one for fatigue tests. The fatigue one has been finished just couple of days ago, the fuselage has already been transported to the VZLÚ (Czech Aerospace Research Centre), the wing should follow in couple of weeks and the testing will start in the beginning of 2020. Static prototype has been passing static testing programme since June 2019 and shall last until mid 2020.

Both flying aircraft, the prototype with MSN 7001 and the pre-serial 7004 aircraft are dedicated to intensive flight tests. Some of the tests are performed also on the technological demonstrator – aircraft with fuselage number 2626, which is former L-39C trainer equipped by new engine, avionics and other modern technologies used in L-39NG. Aero wants to complete certification for the advanced trainer, which will cover also the basic trainer, in the third quarter of 2020. The 7001 aircraft will then continue in certification for light attack aircraft that should be completed in the second half of 2021.

The aircraft was accompanied by the first prototype of L-39NG, 7001, and technology demonstrator (aircraft with fuselage number 2626, former L-39C equipped with the same engine, avionics, wet wing and other features used in L-39NG)

 

L-39NG

The L-39NG aircraft is a modern and effective light jet capable to serve in a role of light attack and/or unified, comprehensive training system for modern air forces. The L-39NG is based on the aerodynamic concept of the current L-39 with optimized features to reduce resistance and increase efficiency and utilizes the latest technologies and equipment. Power is provided by the modern FJ44-4M engine supplied with the TAP Blue engine support service to ensure unprecedented airworthiness and predictable maintenance costs. The aircraft’s avionics are prepared to train future pilots of 4th and 5th generation aircraft and can be tailored to the customer’s requirements. The L-39NG is equipped with five hard-points for weapons. The aircraft also features a broad range of simulation technologies, including the integration into high-tech tactical simulation centres with the goal to increase training efficiency. Strategic partner of the L-39NG project is the Czech company OMNIPOL by having 50% of share and financial contribution in the project.

 

AERO Vodochody AEROSPACE

AERO Vodochody AEROSPACE a.s. focuses on the design, manufacturing maintenance, overhaul and upgrade of military and civil aircraft and is the largest aviation manufacturer in the Czech Republic and one of the oldest aerospace companies worldwide. In the field of military aircraft, Aero has been a reliable long-term partner to many of the world’s air forces and it has a strong position on the market of military training and light combat aircraft.

With a track record of 11.000 aircraft produced over the last 100 years, a broad coverage of 60 military operators and 15 demo teams, a huge existing fleet of L-39 Albatrosses and with a brand new aircraft, the L-39NG now, Aero is maintaining its positioning as a leader in the jet training market. In the field of civil aviation, Aero collaborates with many of the world’s largest manufacturers in a diverse range of projects.  More recently, Aero became a full partner in several risk-sharing programmes, taking responsibility not only for the production of structures but also for development.

 

OMNIPOL

OMNIPOL is a Prague headquartered investment and trading group with more than eighty-five years of experience in both the domestic international markets. The company provides cutting-edge solutions for the defence and security sectors.

OMNIPOL is the owner of two very well known subsidiaries namely ERA and MESIT. They are both production companies with advanced technologies, which mainly focus on passive systems for monitoring air, land and naval targets, military communications, aircraft instruments and precision engineering production, including its own foundry together with galvanic processes. They also deal with related software products, but also cybersecurity, both for the military and civilian sectors. The entire OMNIPOL Group employs more than 1,400 professionals, of which over 200 employees are involved in research and development of new products.

 

BASIC DATA (depends on the version)

Wingspan 9.38 m/30.77 feet
Length, overall 11.70 m/38.38 feet
Empty Weight 3,200 kg/7,054.79 lbs.
Maximum Take Off Weight (MTOW) 5,600-5800 kg/12,345.89-12,786.81 lbs.
Maximum Fuel, internal 1,250 kg/2,755.77 lbs.
Maximum External Store 1,640 kg/3,615.58 lbs.
Maximum Speed 780 km/h/420 KTAS/485 mph
Range, internal fuel 1,150 NM/1,323 miles/2,130 km
Rate of climb S/L 23 m/s/4,500 feet/min
Maximum Thrust 16.87 kN/3,790 lbst
Maximum Structural Limit +8/-4 g

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Prince of Wales

HMS Prince of Wales (R09) has been commissioned into the Fleet on 10 December 2019 as the largest warship ever built for the nation.

Royal Navy commissions its 2nd aircraft carrier – HMS Prince of Wales (R09)

Her Royal Highness (HRH) The Duchess of Cornwall, as the ship’s Lady Sponsor, alongside His Royal Highness (HRH) The Prince of Wales, presided over the ceremony at Her Majesty’s (HM) Naval Base Portsmouth this morning, to an audience of 2,000 from industry, allies, friends and families.

Commanding Officer, Captain Darren Houston, read the commissioning warrant to the crew and guests gathered in the hangar which will soon house F-35B Lightning II jets and a variety of helicopters. Among those watching were the First Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin, ambassadors from France and USA, and the commander of the U.S. Sixth Fleet, Vice Admiral Lisa Franchetti.

The iconic White Ensign then replaced the Blue Ensign which has flown since she left Rosyth in September for her initial sea trials. Leading Writer Megan Ryan (27, from Stoke-On-Trent) was granted the honour of raising the new ensign; and youngest sailor, Chef Seth Day (17), cut the commissioning cake with Liesl Houston, the Commanding Officer’s wife.

«The men and women of my Ship’s Company have demonstrated significant flexibility, patience and resilience. However, I also want to recognise the wider naval family for their support of our achievements, and I am so pleased that so many of our families and loved ones are able to share this special day with us», said Captain Houston.

About 550 VIP guests, 1,400 family and friends of the ship’s company, including guests with connections to the previous HMS Prince of Wales (53), a battleship sunk on that same date 78 years earlier by Japanese forces in the South China Sea, joined the crew for the ceremony.

Leading Writer Ryan said: «I am lucky enough to have been involved in the commissioning of three ships, but this is the one I will always look back on with exceptional pride. Raising the White Ensign for the first time on HMS Prince of Wales (R09) is such a privilege that I will never forget».

Nearly 7,000 miles away, the crew of HMS Enterprise (H88) stopped at the final resting place of HMS Prince of Wales (53) and HMS Repulse (1916) last week to hold a memorial service and lower a White Ensign to the remains.

For the whole crew, from the chefs making the cakes to the warrant officers perfecting the drills, there has been a sense of pride in preparing the ship and themselves for this day.

AET Patrick Gauson (30, from Edinburgh) said: «Having been present at HMS Queen Elizabeth’s commissioning, to be involved in HMS Prince of Wales’ as well is an immense honour and privilege. It’s another day in my career that I can look back on with great pride and a sense of achievement».

AET Sam Ward (21, from York) said: «To be part of such an important day in the ship’s history gives me great pride and it will definitely be an interesting story to regale to the grandkids one day».

HMS Prince of Wales (R09), which by naval tradition will be referred to in the feminine form despite carrying the title of the male heir apparent, is marginally larger and heavier than her sister.

The carrier is powered by four diesel engines and two gas turbines, run by the 170-strong marine engineering department. They are part of a core ship’s company of about 700 which can swell to more than double that with the addition of personnel from Naval Air Squadrons and Royal Marines.

She departed Rosyth in September and conducted her first sea trials before making her first entry to Portsmouth harbour in mid-November.

More than 10,000 people across the UK have contributed to the delivery of the ship as part of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, building on the experience they gained in constructing and operating HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08).

HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) has recently returned from her second deployment to the east coast of North America conducting aviation trials with UK F-35B Lightning II jets and developing her warfighting capabilities. Both carriers are alongside in Portsmouth for routine maintenance and well-earned Christmas leave for their crews before resuming their programmes to reach operational capability.