Amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland (LPD-27) successfully disabled an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) with a Solid State Laser – Technology Maturation Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (LWSD) Mark 2 MOD 0 on May 16.
LWSD is a high-energy laser weapon system demonstrator developed by the Office of Naval Research and installed on Portland for an at-sea demonstration. LWSD’s operational employment on a Pacific Fleet ship is the first system-level implementation of a high-energy class solid-state laser. The laser system was developed by Northrup Grumman, with full System and Ship Integration and Testing led by NSWC Dahlgren and Port Hueneme.
«By conducting advanced at sea tests against UAVs and small craft, we will gain valuable information on the capabilities of the Solid State Laser Weapons System Demonstrator against potential threats», said Captain Karrey Sanders, commanding officer of USS Portland (LPD-27).
The U.S. Navy has been developing directed-energy weapons (DEWs), to include lasers, since the 1960s. DEWs are defined as electromagnetic systems capable of converting chemical or electrical energy to radiated energy and focusing it on a target, resulting in physical damage that degrades, neutralizes, defeats, or destroys an adversarial capability.
Navy ships face an increasing number of threats in conducting their missions, including UAVs, armed small boats, and adversary intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems. The Navy’s development of DEWs like the LWSD, provide immediate warfighter benefits and provide the commander increased decision space and response options.
«The Solid State Laser Weapons System Demonstrator is a unique capability the Portland gets to test and operate for the Navy, while paving the way for future weapons systems», said Sanders. «With this new advanced capability, we are redefining war at sea for the Navy».
Portland is the 11th San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship. While it is the third ship to bear the name ‘USS Portland,’ it is the first ship to be named solely after the largest city in Oregon.
USS Portland (LPD-27) successfully disabled an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) with a Solid State Laser
The first steel plate of the hull of the first of the four new Bâtiments Ravitailleurs de Force (BRF) – replenishment vessels – of the French Navy has been cut on May 18, 2020 during a ceremony held in the machining workshop of Chantiers de l’Atlantique, in presence of Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, and Admiral Prazuck, Chief of French Navy. This ceremony marked symbolically the start of the construction of the first vessel of the Flotte logistique (FLOTLOG) program.
The order for the construction of the four ships was notified in January 2019 to the temporary association of companies formed by Chantiers de l’Atlantique and Naval Group. Deliveries are scheduled from end 2022 to 2029. This order for the French Navy is part of a Franco-Italian program led by Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’ARmement (OCCAR), on behalf of Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), the French Defence Procurement Agency, and its Italian counterpart Naval Armaments Directorate (NAVARM).
The BRF with a capacity of 13,000 m3 have a mission of logistical support of the combat vessels of the French Navy. They carry fuel, ammunition, spare parts, as well as food for the vessels.
Compliant with international standards, their characteristics are adapted to their specific missions of support to the aviation group constituted around the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, flagship of the naval air force group.
Chantiers de l’Atlantique carries out the global design and the construction of the four ships, and ensures the integration and the implementation of the embedded systems.
«We are at the very start of a new industrial story, which will feature once again our know how in design, building and integration of cutting edge technologies», states Laurent Castaing, General Manager, Chantiers de l’Atlantique. «This is also an excellent opportunity to demonstrate our complementarity of our businesses with those of our partner Naval Group».
Naval Group is responsible for the design, development and integration of the military systems of the platform. The combat system of the four ships, whose architecture is based on the Polaris Combat Management System of Naval Group, ensures the protection against close threats and the fight against asymmetric threats.
«Naval Group is proud to stand once again by Chantiers de l’Atlantique in the frame of this European program. This cooperation brings together the best civilian and naval expertise and will benefit our customers both on economic and operational aspects», highlights Pierre-Eric Pommelet, Naval Group CEO.
Main Characteristics of the vessels
Full loaded displacement
194 m/636.5 feet
27.60 m/90.5 feet
190 people, including 130 crew members and 60 passengers
The Royal Australian Navy has welcomed its newest Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) into the Fleet in the first commissioning of an Australian warship at sea since the Second World War.
The ceremony, conducted off the coast of New South Wales on Monday, 18 May 2020, marked the moment the 147-metre long Air Warfare Destroyer HMAS Sydney (DDG-42) became one of Her Majesty’s Australian Ships.
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, and Commander of the Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead, were aboard the guided missile destroyer, to officially welcome Sydney into service.
Vice Admiral Noonan told the commissioning crew that Sydney’s history was of a legendary pedigree.
«You will all form part of the HMAS Sydney (DDG-42) fabric. You are sailors and officers who will all continue the proud Sydney legacy. It is a great responsibility – one I know each and every one of you is capable of honouring and carrying forward into the future. HMAS Sydney (DDG-42), welcome home, welcome back to our Fleet. Your name once again takes pride and its rightful place in Her Majesty’s Fleet», Vice Admiral Noonan said.
During the ceremony the ship received a blessing and Sydney’s Commanding Officer, Commander Edward Seymour, read the ship’s commissioning order before the Australian White Ensign was hoisted, signifying completion of the commissioning.
The crew also watched video messages of congratulations from Governor-General David Hurley, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds, and the ship’s sponsor, Mrs. Judy Shalders.
Commander Seymour said he was proud to lead the ship’s company and carry forward the legacy of previous Australian warships that carried the name: «It isn’t often in a naval career that you are part of commissioning a brand new warship, but to do so at sea and carrying the significant legacy behind the name Sydney, is a special feeling for the entire ship’s company. A lot of hard teamwork has led us to this moment of bringing a world-class warship into the fleet and we’re eager to now prove what Sydney can do. She brings an outstanding, Australian-built air warfare capability over an exceptional range and gives Navy a surface combat capability like never before».
HMAS Sydney (DDG-42) is the last of three Hobart Class vessels built for Navy at Osborne in South Australia and is based on the Navantia F100 frigate design.
She is equipped with advanced combat systems, providing the ship with layered offensive and defensive capabilities to counter conventional and asymmetric threats.
HMAS Sydney (DDG-42) will now undergo her test and evaluation period where she will integrate into the fleet and Navy personnel will develop their proficiencies with her cutting-edge Aegis combat system.
Sydney’s sister ships, HMAS Hobart (DDG-39) and HMAS Brisbane (DDG-41), commissioned in 2017 and 2018 respectively and all three vessels are homeported at Fleet Base East in Sydney.
The first Royal Australian Navy vessel to be commissioned at sea was HMAS Matafele. The World War II stores carrier was commissioned on 1 January 1943.
481.3 feet/146.7 m
61 feet/18.6 m
23.6 feet/7.2 m
Full load displacement
36 MW/48,276 hp
28+ knots/32 mph/52 km/h
Range at 18+ knots/21 mph/33 km/h
5,000+ NM/5,779 miles/9,300 km
Aegis Weapon System Baseline 7.1
AN/SPY-1D(V) Phased Array Radar (81 NM/93 miles/150 km)
Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a business of Raytheon Technologies, has begun the first phase of developing the XM1155 Extended-Range Artillery Projectile under a $7.9 million U.S. Army Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) through the Combat Capabilities Development Command Armaments Center at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey. The new, cannon-launched, ramjet-powered artillery round will double the U.S. military’s range to greater than 100 kilometers/62 miles, delivering precision strikes in all terrain and weather conditions.
Raytheon Missiles & Defense is teamed with Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek, or TNO, an organization based in the Netherlands that will design the ramjet engine. Raytheon Missiles & Defense will integrate the engine with the system’s airframe, seeker, warhead and other components.
«The ramjet-powered artillery round will allow our nation’s military to strike farther and faster than anything our adversaries have in their arsenals», said Tom Laliberty, vice president of Land Warfare & Air Defense.
The tactical 155-mm XM1155 will be able to strike moving and stationary high-value targets on land and at sea. The maneuverable, extended-range airframe will be compatible with legacy and future 155-mm artillery systems.
The XM1155 builds on Raytheon Missiles & Defense’s experience with guided projectiles, including the Excalibur munition, an extended-range weapon that can engage targets precisely at all ranges and in adverse weather.
This effort was sponsored by the U.S. government under the DoD Ordnance Technology Consortium OTA (W15QKN-18-9-1008) with the National Armaments Consortium. The U.S. government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for government purposes notwithstanding any copyright notation herein.
Austal Limited is pleased to announce that Austal Australia has been awarded a A$324 million contract to design and construct six evolved Cape-class Patrol Boats (CCPBs) for the Royal Australian Navy.
It is the largest contract for an Australian vessel construction program ever awarded to Austal in the Company’s 30-year history.
The six new vessels, to be constructed at Austal’s Henderson shipyard in Western Australia, will add to the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) existing fleet of two CCPB’s delivered in 2017 and further extends Austal’s Cape-class Patrol Boat program to a total of 18 vessels. This includes eight patrol boats operated by the Australian Border Force and two currently under construction for the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard.
Austal Chief Executive Officer David Singleton said the new contract both reaffirmed the Cape-class as Australia’s pre-eminent patrol boat platform and represented a clear commitment by the Australian Government to strengthen Australia’s sovereign shipbuilding industry during a challenging global environment, brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic.
«Since its introduction by the Australian Border Force (ABF) in 2013, the Cape-class has proven to be a high-performing, reliable and effective maritime asset, utilised for a wide variety of constabulary and naval missions, playing a critical role in Australia’s national security», Mr. Singleton said. «With ten Capes currently in operation with the ABF and RAN, it is a smart, logical step to build upon the existing fleet with additional vessels that will enhance the nation’s ability to protect and secure our maritime borders. These new, evolved Capes add even greater national security at this critical time during the COVID-19 pandemic, by ensuring at least 700 jobs are maintained at Austal and supply chain opportunities continue for Australia’s shipbuilding industry».
The proposal to replace the existing fleet of 13 Armidale-class patrol boats (designed and manufactured by Austal) with new, evolved Capes was first proposed by Robert Jackson, Head of Business Development – Sustainment at Austal.
«The Defence department is always seeking smart cost saving ideas and I knew that jobs in the industry was a critical issue for everyone, so I proposed replacing older Armidales with newer, larger, more efficient Capes. That concept was supported at Austal and I’m thrilled to see that as a result of this proposal, jobs are being created at a critical time while also supporting the Royal Australian Navy with enhanced capability and lower operating costs», Mr. Jackson said. «This new contract will ensure Austal continues to engage the thousands of suppliers that are contributing to the success of the current Cape-class program, the SEA3036-1 Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project (Guardian-class Patrol Boat program) and the multiple commercial ferry projects being delivered by Austal Australia. In total, we’re talking about more than a thousand jobs across Australia that will be maintained, and continue to develop; building our nation’s sovereign shipbuilding capability».
Based on Austal’s proven 58 metre/190 feet aluminium monohull design, the new RAN evolved Capes will include a number of enhancements that further extend the capability of the vessel and the fleet. These evolved Cape-class patrol boats include modifications determined through the extensive in-service experience of the RAN and ABF Capes currently operating throughout Northern Australia.
Crew capacity has been increased by 10 people, to now total 32 and quality-of-life provisions have been enhanced, ensuring those who operate the new Capes have connectivity to the outside world regardless of the operating environment. Further improvements have been incorporated into the new RAN Cape design, developed during the design and construction of two Cape-class patrol boats for the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard; an export contract awarded on 16th August 2019 and won with the strong support of the Australian Government and Export Finance Australia.
The Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard Capes (Hulls 398 and 399) are currently in an advanced state of construction and are scheduled for delivery later in 2020. Page 3 of 5 Construction of the six Capes for the RAN will commence immediately at Austal Australia’s Henderson, Western Australia, shipyard with deliveries scheduled from September 2021, then successively through to mid-2023.
Austal has designed, constructed and sustained the Commonwealth of Australia’s entire fleet of patrol boats since 1998; including the Bay, Armidale and Cape-class operated by the Royal Australian Navy and Australian Border Force, comprising 32 vessels.
Austal is also delivering 21 Guardian-class Patrol Boats for 12 Pacific Island nations and Timor Leste under the SEA3036-1 Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project, with six patrol boats delivered since 2018.
Austal provides in-service support to both the Cape and Guardian-class Patrol Boat fleets through service centres located in Henderson, Western Australia; Cairns, Queensland; and Darwin, Northern Territory.
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 501 rocket carrying the United States Space Force-7 (USSF-7) mission for the U.S. Space Force lifted off on May 17, 9:14 a.m. EDT, from Space Launch Complex-41. This marks the 84th successful launch of an Atlas V rocket, 139th launch for ULA, the second launch for the U.S. Space Force and the sixth flight of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV-6).
«The success of this mission resulted from collaboration with our customer while working through challenging, and ever changing, health and safety conditions», said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs. «We were honored to partner with the U.S. Space Force to dedicate this mission to first responders, front-line workers, and those affected by COVID-19. It is truly a unique time in our history and I want to thank the entire team for their continued dedication and focus on mission success».
Along with OTV-6, this mission deployed FalconSat-8, a small satellite developed by the U.S. Air Force Academy and sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to conduct experiments on orbit. The mission also carried two NASA experiments, including a material sample plate to determine the results of radiation and other space effects on various materials, and an experiment which will assess space effects on seeds used to grow food. Another experiment sponsored by the Naval Research Laboratory will examine the ability to transform solar power into radio frequency microwave energy which could be transmitted to the ground.
This mission launched aboard an Atlas V 501 configuration rocket that included a 5-meter-diameter payload fairing. The Atlas booster was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine, and the Centaur upper stage was powered by the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C-1 engine.
ULA’s next launch is NASA’s Mars 2020 mission carrying the Perseverance rover on an Atlas V rocket. The launch is scheduled for July 17 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
To date ULA has a track record of 100% mission success with 139 successful launches.
With more than a century of combined heritage, ULA is the world’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully launched more than 135 missions to orbit that provide Earth observation capabilities, enable global communications, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, and support life-saving technology.
The U.S. Navy received its 100th P-8A Poseidon aircraft from Boeing on May 14, 2020 as the global fleet, which also includes the Indian navy and the Australian and U.K. air forces, approaches 300,000 flight hours of hunting submarines and providing aerial reconnaissance capabilities around the world.
«We’re honored by the Navy’s faith and confidence in our employees and the P-8 Poseidon system», said Stu Voboril, vice president and program manager. «Our focus has been, and will be, on delivering the world’s best maritime patrol aircraft, bar none».
The P-8 Poseidon is a proven long-range multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft capable of broad-area, maritime and coastal operations. A military derivative of the Boeing 737 Next-Generation airplane, the P-8 Poseidon combines superior performance and reliability with an advanced mission system that ensures maximum interoperability in the battle space.
This is the 94th mission-capable airplane to enter the U.S. Navy fleet, with six additional jets used as Engineering Manufacturing Development test aircraft. The 100th fully-operational delivery is scheduled for later this year. Boeing has also delivered 12 jets to the Royal Australian Air Force, two to the U.K.’s Royal Air Force and eight P-8Is Poseidon to the Indian Navy. Multiple U.S. Navy squadrons have deployed with the P-8A Poseidon, and the Indian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force are conducting missions with the P-8 Poseidon as well.
123.6 feet/37.64 m
42.1 feet/12.83 m
129.5 feet/39.47 m
2 × CFM56-7B engines
27,000 lbs/12,237 kgf/120 kN thrust
490 knots/564 mph/908 km/h
1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km with 4 hours on station
The U.S. Navy has awarded Boeing a combined $3.1 billion in contracts for Harpoon and Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response (SLAM ER) weapon systems in support of Foreign Military Sales (FMS). About $2.6 billion of that was contracted today while the remainder had been previously awarded.
«We are pleased to continue our long legacy of partnering with the U.S. Navy to build weapons that defend America and its international partners», said Cindy Gruensfelder, vice president, Boeing Weapons. «These awards will not only extend production of the Harpoon program through 2026, they will also restart the production line for SLAM ER and ensure deliveries through 2028».
Boeing last delivered the SLAM ER weapon system in 2008. In October 2019, Boeing began construction on a new 35,000 sq. feet/ 3,252 sq. meters manufacturing facility to support increased production for the Harpoon and SLAM ER programs. Construction is expected to be complete in 2021.
Kongsberg will deliver up to 150 MCTs (Medium Caliber Turret) in a phased program as part of this contract. Test article delivery will commence early 2021 followed by production phases.
The Kongsberg MCT-30 is the first remotely operated 30-mm turret to be qualified and fielded in the United States. The system provides highly accurate firepower for wheeled or tracked combat vehicles. It is remotely controlled and operated from a protected position inside the vehicle compartment for optimized crew safety.
The MCT-30 leverages a link-less medium caliber cannon providing lethality, extremely high reliability and multi-user functions to the Marine Corps ACV and other platforms.
«The ACV-30 with Kongsberg’s MCT-30 turret signifies a powerful lethality capability for the Marine Corps, representative of a new era in U.S. amphibious operations», said Pål E Bratlie, Executive Vice President Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace.
The U.S. Army, in 2015, chose Kongsberg’s MCT-30 to increase the lethality of the Stryker Brigade in Europe. The system has been fielded and operated with the Army as part of the European Deterrence Initiative since 2018.
It is the primary armament and fire control system for the Infantry Carrier Vehicle – Dragoon (ICV-D) Strykers. All MCT-30s, and any remote weapon stations, bound for U.S. customers are manufactured in the Kongsberg Johnstown, PA facility leveraging a U.S. supply base located in over 30 states.
In partnership with the U.S. Space Force and Space Development Agency, DARPA’s Blackjack program is targeting flights to Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) later this year and 2021. Using a series of small risk reduction satellites, the program aims to demonstrate advanced technology for satellite constellation autonomy and space mesh networks. Blackjack seeks to develop and validate critical elements of global high-speed autonomous networks in LEO, proving a capability that could provide the Department of Defense with highly connected, resilient, and persistent overhead coverage.
The upcoming demonstration flights are all planned as rideshares, catching a ride to LEO on a launch with other missions. The first demonstration, Mandrake 1, is a cubesat that will carry supercomputer processing chips. Mandrake 2 is a pair of small satellites that will carry optical inter-satellite links for broadband data. These could form the basis of future optically meshed computer networks in LEO.
The program also is targeting a risk reduction payload called Wildcard, a software-defined radio that will experiment with links from LEO to tactical radios. A data fusion experiment with the ability to host advanced third party algorithms, known as massless payloads, is intended for an upcoming Loft Orbital mission.
«It’s important that we get the design right», says Paul «Rusty» Thomas, the program manager for Blackjack. «We focused first on buses and payloads, then the autonomous mission management system, which we call Pit Boss. We anticipate we’ll begin integrating the first two military payloads next summer with launch via rideshare in late 2021, followed by the remainder of the Blackjack demonstration sub-constellation in 2022».
Blackjack aims to demonstrate sensors that are low in size, weight, and power, and that can be mass produced to fit on many different buses from many different providers, for less than $2 million per payload.
The agency is evaluating buses from Airbus, Blue Canyon Technologies, and Telesat, all of which have progressed through preliminary design review. The final selection of buses will happen in 2020. The program recently completed preliminary design review for Pit Boss, selecting SEAKR as the primary performer for the on-orbit autonomy system. The agency also awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin as the satellite integrator.
Several sensor payloads are under consideration for the Blackjack demonstration sub-constellation, including Overhead Persistent InfraRed (OPIR) from Collins Aerospace and Raytheon; radio frequency systems from Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, Trident, and Systems & Technology Research; position, navigation, and timing from Northrop Grumman; optical inter-satellite links from SA Photonics; and electro-optical/infrared from L3Harris. The program also recently completed a Small Business Innovation Research contract with Augustus Aerospace to work on an Army Space and Missile Defense Command-related payload.
Over the next few months, the program will run simulations to test payloads in virtual constellations of all types of missions. The goal is to show interoperability between the commoditized buses and the various payloads being considered.
«We need to show the constellations can move the right amount of data and support the data fusion and command and control we want from Pit Boss», Thomas said. «From there, we will start building the actual hardware. By late next spring, we will have hardware and then spend next summer focused on satellite-level qualification for launch readiness in late 2021».