ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems has handed over the two ships to the Israeli Navy on July 27, 2021. The SA`AR 6-class corvettes had been christened earlier. This means that all four ships ordered have now been delivered to the Israeli Navy. Due to the pandemic, today’s ceremony took place on a small scale. In his speech to the guests at the ceremony and to the crews of the new ships, Managing Director Dr Alexander Orellano emphasised the good professional and personal relationship with the Israel Navy.
Doctor Alexander Orellano: «In the six years from the signing of the contract until today, we have developed a superior ship together. We have discussed a lot with each other, sometimes even argued. In the end, we, client and contractor, together built a better ship than originally planned».
The SA’AR 6-class ships will form the backbone of the Israeli Navy for the next 30 years. ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems is building the ships in a joint venture with German Naval Yards Kiel. Vice Admiral Eliyahu Sharvit arrived from Israel for the naming and handover ceremony. The Israeli navy commander-in-chief is pleased with his new ships, as he expressed in his speech: «I thank you for your tremendous effort invested in this combined project to ensure its extraordinary success».
The contract for the delivery of four SA’AR 6 corvettes was signed in May 2015.
After the design phase, the construction phase began with the ship’s steel cutting ceremony in February 2018. Just 15 months after the first steel was cut, the ship undocked. In May 2019, the «INS Magen» as first of class received her name in Kiel and was handed over in November 2020. The second ship, «INS Oz» followed in May 2021. On July 27, 2021 with «INS Atzmaut» and «INS Nitzachon» the order was completed.
The ships will be equipped with radar and weapon systems by the Israeli Navy after their arrival in their homeport.
BAE Systems has received a $117 million contract from Lockheed Martin to produce next-generation missile seekers for the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM). The seeker technology enables LRASM to detect and engage specific maritime targets in contested environments with less dependence on traditional navigation systems. The next-generation seeker design reduces overall missile costs.
«We’re committed to providing affordable systems that deliver unmatched capabilities to the U.S. and its allies», said Bruce Konigsberg, Radio Frequency Sensors product area director at BAE Systems. «We’ve designed efficient seeker systems that are easier to build and test without compromising on performance».
Following design improvements conducted under a Diminishing Sources/Affordability contract, BAE Systems is producing next-generation seekers for Lots 4 and 5 that are more capable and easier to produce, with less-complicated manufacturing processes. The next-generation seekers have replaced obsolescent and limited-availability parts, dramatically reducing the system cost.
The LRASM contract will support missiles for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. allies through Foreign Military Sales, as well as research, development, test, and evaluation services.
Leonardo is pleased to announce that the Polish Navy’s first AW101 (ZR285) achieved its first flight on July 19, 2021 at the Company’s site in Yeovil. The flight demonstrated functional checks of the main airframe systems as well as the control system, and engine-handling checks were taken throughout to monitor the speed range of the aircraft. The flight envelope will now be opened further with testing exploring the bespoke mission equipment fitted to the aircraft.
This achievement is indicative of an integrated Leonardo team spanning the United Kingdom, Poland, and Italy. It highlights the strength in collaboration between Leonardo and the Company’s main industrial presence in Poland, PZL-Świdnik which acts as the prime contractor, as all teams work closely across the three nations to ensure this high-end capability for the Polish Ministry of National Defence.
In April 2019, the company announced it would supply four AW101s and a comprehensive integrated logistics and training package to the Polish Ministry of National Defence. The aircraft will significantly enhance the Polish Navy’s helicopter capability.
PZL-Świdnik, acts as the prime contractor and is responsible for the entire contract execution, and at Leonardo in Yeovil, the team assembles the aircraft. The AW101 (ZR285) will perform a range of missions for the Polish Navy including Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR).
The AW101 (ZR285) for the Polish Naval Aviation Brigade will be equipped with the most modern mission systems, including autopilot with SAR modes, data transmission system, tactical navigation system and protection and defence systems (passive and active). In addition, the AW101 (ZR285) will be equipped with a tactical radio, reconnaissance radar, an observation head (FLIR) and an S-mode transponder. It will also be equipped with a 12.7-mm machine gun.
In addition, there will be a searchlight and arrayed lights, which will ensure good visibility in all-weather conditions. The aircraft will be optimized with medical and rescue equipment, including two winches and a system for carrying loads on the external suspension. In addition, the AW101 fleet will be equipped with an emergency float system, life rafts, and a cold climate survival kit.
«This was the first flight of the new AW101 ASW aircraft built here in Yeovil for the Polish military. The flight represents not only the culmination of the design and production processes but also the start of the thorough testing phase of the aircraft’s development. It is expected that there will be a total of 700 hours of flight testing across the four airframes which will confirm the correct function of each aircraft as well as develop and validate a broad range of mission and customer specific changes from the standard AW101», commented Miles Barnett, Senior Test Pilot at Leonardo Helicopters (UK).
Designed with sophisticated avionics and mission systems, coupled with long range and endurance, thanks to its ability to use two out of three engines for cruise flights, the AW101 helicopter provides operational persistence for all missions. This mission flexibility makes the AW101 the most advanced, versatile and capable multi-role helicopter available today. The helicopter is already in service in some of the most important NATO nations, such as Italy, the UK, Canada, Denmark, Norway, and Portugal.
The Joint Precision Approach and Landing System, also known as JPALS, made by Raytheon Intelligence & Space, a Raytheon Technologies business, is now deployed on two international platforms.
The system will be used to perform joint operations with the U.S. Marine Corps aboard the UK Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08). It is also installed on the ITS Cavour, an Italian aircraft carrier, the flagship of the Marina Militare, to support their F-35 Lightning II squadron.
JPALS, a differential GPS precision landing system, guides aircraft onto carriers and amphibious assault ships in all weather and surface conditions. The system is being deployed on all U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships. All F-35 Lightning II aircraft are equipped with JPALS capability, and the system is currently being used on the F-35B Lightning II and F-35C Lightning II.
«The Cavour JPALS is the first system to be permanently installed on a foreign ship», said Denis Donohue, vice president of Communications & Airspace Management Systems at Raytheon Intelligence & Space. «JPALS will add significant mission capabilities for our international allies and partners who are flying the F-35 Lightning II».
The system has completed flight testing and Category I and II certifications in preparation for deployments.
Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division ceremonially authenticated the keel of Legend-class National Security Cutter (NSC) USCGC Calhoun (WMSL-759) on July 23, 2021.
The keel authentication, initially planned for 2020, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
«This is a very special keel authentication ceremony for a multitude of reasons», said George Nungesser, Ingalls’ vice president of program management. «While we were able to work steadily and safely though the pandemic, visitation to the shipyard made commemorating major shipbuilding milestones a challenge. We are proud to be able to celebrate our talented shipbuilders and their successes today during this ceremonial keel laying».
Calhoun recently reached the halfway point of its construction. Ingalls is the builder-of-record for the Legend-class NSC program and has delivered nine national security cutters with two more under construction.
NSC-10 is named for Charles L. Calhoun, the first master chief petty officer of the Coast Guard. He served in the U.S. Navy for three years during World War II and was honorably discharged as a torpedoman second class in February 1946. Seven months later, he enlisted in the Coast Guard and held various leadership positions over the course of 14 years. He served as master chief petty officer of the Coast Guard from August 27, 1969 until August 1, 1973.
The sponsor of NSC-10 is Christina Calhoun Zubowicz, the granddaughter of Charles L. Calhoun.
«I want to thank the entire United States Coast Guard for this opportunity and recognize their fervent efforts in protecting America’s economic, national and border security», Zubowicz said. «May abundant divine protection, luck and blessings surround the ship: and the men and women – the shipbuilders, in crafting the new innovative national security cutter, Calhoun».
The Legend-class NSC is the most technologically advanced ship in the Coast Guard’s fleet, which enables it to meet the high demands required for maritime and homeland security, law enforcement, marine safety, environmental protection and national defense missions. NSCs are 418 feet/127 m long with a top speed of 28 knots/32 mph/52 km/h, a range of 12,000 NM/13,809 miles/22,224 km, an endurance of 60 days and a crew of 120.
4,500 long tons
418 feet/127 m
54 feet/16 m
28 knots/32 mph/52 km/h
12,000 NM/13,809 miles/22,224 km
Mk-110 57-mm turret mounted gun
6 × 12.7-mm/.50 caliber machine guns
3D air search radar
2 level 1, class 1 aircraft hangers
A stern launch ramp for mission boats
(2) MCH, or (4) Vertical-Launch Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (VUAV) or (1) MCH and (2) VUAV
Two cutter boats (Long Range Interceptor and/or Short Range Prosecutor)
Electronic Warfare and Decoys
AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare System, Two Super Rapid Bloom Offboard Countermeasures (SRBOC)/2 NULKA countermeasures chaff rapid decoy launcher
HF, VHF & UHF
Sensors and Processing Systems
X and S band radar, 3D air search radar, AN/SPQ-9 radar, Identification, Friend or Foe (IFF)
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has exercised the clause in its contract with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc (GA-ASI) to manufacture and deliver 13 additional Protector RG Mk1 Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS) that had previously been identified as options. The initial contract order was for three Protector RPAS, establishing 16 as the new total of Protectors to be delivered to the UK MoD.
«Our fleet of 16 Protector aircraft equipped with ultra-modern technology will provide the Royal Air Force (RAF) with a vast global reach allowing us to monitor and protect the battlespace for hours on end. The Protector programme involves industry across the UK with vital parts of the aircraft manufactured on the Isle of Wight, supporting highly-skilled jobs for years to come», said Jeremy Quin, UK Minister for Defense Procurement.
GA-ASI’s MQ-9B SkyGuardian is the baseline system being configured for the RAF as the Protector RG Mk1. It includes X-band satellite communications (SATCOM) and support for UK weapon systems, as well as the aircraft’s onboard sensors such as its electro-optical sensor ball and Lynx Multi-mode Radar.
«This commitment for 13 additional unmanned aircraft confirms the long-term confidence of the UK MoD and the Royal Air Force in the MQ-9B system and the Protector program», said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. «The MQ-9B system will bring unparalleled reconnaissance capability to the RAF and help to ensure the security of the UK and its allies».
In July 2020, the UK MoD and GA-ASI announced a production contract for the first three Protector RPAS. In September 2020, GA-ASI announced the completion of the first Protector-configured MQ-9B, which is now supporting system testing as part of a combined UK MoD, U.S. Air Force and GA-ASI test team. Known as UK1, this first Protector will be delivered to the MoD later this year, but will remain in the U.S. to complete the Royal Air Force’s test and evaluation program before moving to its UK home base in 2022.
«The contract for the additional 13 Protector aircraft, taking the total to 16, is a major milestone for the UK. When Protector enters service in 2024, UK Defence will take an enormous jump forward in capability, giving us the ability to operate globally with this cutting edge, highly adaptable platform», said Air Commodore Richard Barrow, Senior Responsible Owner for the RAF Protector Programme.
The partnership between GA-ASI and the UK MoD also brings significant benefits to UK aerospace and defense industries. One example is GKN Aerospace, which is manufacturing the advanced composite V-tails for the MQ-9B at its centre of excellence in Cowes, the Isle of Wight.
GA-ASI’s development of MQ-9B began in 2014 as a company-funded program to deliver an RPA that meets the stringent NATO STANAG-4671 and UK DEFSTAN 00-970 aircraft system airworthiness requirements. These provide the basis for type certification by NATO member-state military airworthiness authorities. The MQ-9B is designed to accommodate the GA-ASI-developed Detect and Avoid System (DAAS), which helps the aircraft integrate with the normal flow of aviation traffic and keeps operators in contact with air traffic control. The aircraft is built for adverse weather performance with lightning protection, damage tolerance, and a de-icing system. MQ-9B features rapid integration of new payloads with nine hard points. The aircraft can self-deploy using SATCOM-enabled Automatic Takeoff and Landing, which eliminates forward-based launch-and-recovery equipment and personnel. In addition to the Protector and SkyGuardian configurations, MQ-9B is available as the SeaGuardian – with revolutionary anti-submarine and surface search capabilities – for maritime missions.
MQ-9B has garnered significant interest from customers throughout the world. In addition to the UK, SkyGuardian has been selected by the Australian Defence Force under Project Air 7003 and the Belgian Ministry of Defense signed a contract for SkyGuardian.
Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, successfully defeated a swarm of drones with its reusable Coyote Block 3 non-kinetic effector during a U.S. Army test. The demonstration moves the variant closer to deployment.
Derived from the expendable Coyote loitering munition, the Block 3 utilizes a non-kinetic warhead to neutralize enemy drones, reducing potential collateral damage. Unlike its expendable counterpart, the non-kinetic variant can be recovered, refurbished and reused without leaving the battlefield.
«This test demonstrates the effectiveness of Coyote to counter complex, unmanned aircraft systems», said Tom Laliberty, vice president of Land Warfare & Air Defense at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. «As a non-kinetic variant, we’re offering an effective weapon against the threat and value to the Army in the form of an affordable, reusable asset».
During the test, the Coyote engaged and defeated a swarm of 10 drones that differed in size, complexity, maneuverability and range. It achieved several significant firsts:
Air-to-air non-kinetic defeats;
Survivability, recovery, refurbishment and reuse during the same test event;
Successful launch from the Coyote Block 2 system;
Extended range engagements, communication and Ku-band Radio Frequency System (KuRFS) radar track.
Textron Systems Corporation, a Textron Inc. company, on July 19, 2021 announced that it has been pre-awarded the United States Marine Corps Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV) prototype agreement for its purpose-built Cottonmouth vehicle. Through the 22-month period of performance, Textron Systems will produce a Cottonmouth vehicle for the Marine Corps that will go through rigorous testing and evaluation. The data gained from the ARV competitive prototyping efforts will be used to inform a USMC decision point in fiscal year 2023.
Built from a clean-sheet design, Cottonmouth is a 6×6 wheeled amphibious reconnaissance vehicle designed to operate within the Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO) construct. Designed to swim in the open ocean and navigate through surf zones, this vehicle possesses the advanced maneuverability critical to enhanced reconnaissance operations.
As a next-generation naval sensor node, Cottonmouth has the ability to strengthen communication to operate and employ a mix of reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition and command, control, communications networking, and computing (C4) systems. Equipped with cutting-edge technology, such as teammate Elbit Systems of America’s IronVision, a «see-through» technology that provides advance visibility and 3600 situational awareness, this vehicle allows the Marine Corps to see beyond line of sight.
«Built from the ground up in less than nine months, the Cottonmouth is a low-risk, mission-oriented solution backed with over 750 miles of data using scenarios representative to the Marine Corps’ mission profile and requirements», said Senior Vice President David Phillips of Textron Systems. «The Cottonmouth is a testament to Textron Systems’ commitment to the Marine Corps’ vision and needs. We are proud to support the service in this next phase of the competition and look forward to working together».
Textron Systems responded to the requirement released by the Government through the National Advanced Mobility Consortium (NAMC) and the prototype award will be executed under their Ground Vehicle Systems (GVS) Other Transaction Agreement (OTA). Textron Systems expects to begin these activities in fall 2021, with the prototype delivery expected in the first quarter of fiscal year 2023. Per the requirement, a six-month government evaluation period will follow.
Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, has restarted UH-1Y Venom helicopter production for the first international operator. Crestview Aerospace has completed manufacturing the first of eight cabins at the Crestview Florida facility. The aircraft will complete final assembly at the Bell Amarillo Assembly Center. The helicopters are part of the 2020 U.S. Department of Defense contract awarded to Bell for the production and delivery of eight UH-1Y and four AH-1Z Viper helicopters for the government of the Czech Republic.
«Crestview Aerospace is honored and grateful for the opportunity to team with Bell on the continued production of the UH-1Y Venom cabin for the first international customer», said Paul Kohlmeier, senior vice president, Strategy and Business Development, Crestview Aerospace. «Crestview continues to build in the same high quality and reliability into the international Venom helicopters that underpin the aircraft currently operated by the United States Marine Corps around the world».
Bell delivered the final UH-1Y Venom for the United States Marine Corps (USMC) program of record in April 2018 and has continued to produce and deliver the AH-1Z Viper as part of the H-1 production contract for 349 H-1 aircraft, consisting of 160 UH-1Y Venom and 189 AH-1Z Viper.
The UH-1Y Venom shares 85 percent commonality of parts with the AH-1Z Viper. The commonality between the aircraft enabled critical component supply chains to remain active during AH-1Z Viper production for the USMC.
«Time, logistics, and man-hours are all strategic resources», said Mike Deslatte, vice president and H-1 program director, Bell. «Commonality helps ensure everything between the Viper and Venom, from manufacturing, maintenance, and upgrades, remains seamless while simultaneously providing lower program and life cycle costs. It’s a real tactical advantage on multiple levels».
The UH-1Y Venom and AH-1Z Viper share the same engines, integrated mission system and dynamic components, such as the four-bladed rotor system. Both aircraft are specifically designed and produced for expeditionary operations. Together, they provide a full spectrum of military operations, unlike any other helicopter duo.
Bell anticipates USMC production through early 2022, followed by continued production for foreign military customers. Bell has two signed Foreign Military Sales (FMS) cases in production, Bahrain and the Czech Republic.
Thales Alenia Space, Joint Venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), and Axiom Space of Houston, Texas (USA), have signed the final contract for the development of two key pressurized elements of Axiom Space Station – the world’s first commercial space station. Scheduled for launch in 2024 and 2025 respectively, the two elements will originally be docked to the International Space Station (ISS), marking the birth of the new Axiom Station segment. The value of the contract is 110 Million Euro.
Axiom Station will serve as humanity’s central hub for research, manufacturing and commerce in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), expanding the usable and habitable volume of the ISS, attached to the ISS Node 2 module, built also by Thales Alenia Space. When the ISS is decommissioned, the Axiom modules will detach and operate as a free-flying, next-generation commercial space station, a laboratory and residential infrastructure in space, that will be used for microgravity experiments in-space manufacturing, critical exploration life support testing, and hosting both private and professional institutional astronauts. Axiom Space Station will be the cornerstone of a permanent, prosperous human presence and a thriving network of commercial activity in LEO, enabling new advances both on Earth and further out in space. The first two elements to be launched will accommodate up to 4 people each.
Today, in this occasion, Thales Alenia Space and the Italian Air Force have ratified a Memorandum of Collaboration, aiming to promote the access to low earth orbit in favour of institutions, the scientific community, industry and commercial operators, and the development of a research chain on strategic issues (medicine, materials, biogenetics, etc.) as well as to support the possibilities of technological development and OT&E (Operational Testing & Evaluation) in microgravity.
«The contact signed today with Axiom Space confirms the positioning of Thales Alenia Space as a leading industrial player in the New Space ecosystem, both for private and public missions», stated Massimo Claudio Comparini, Thales Alenia Space Deputy CEO and Senior Executive Vice President Observation, Exploration & Navigation business line. «With the development of more than 50% of the ISS’ habitable volume, our Company has marked the history since the origins of Orbital Infrastructures programs. Based on this unique legacy, we are pioneering the future of human presence in LEO. We are pushing back the boundaries of space exploration and setting the basis for the Lunar Gateway and the Moon’s Surfaces ecosystem that will lead manned exploration missions to the red planet by the 2030’s. Humankind’s quest of sense in space is becoming a reality and we are so proud to contribute to making it come true».
Based on its past successful experience in building modules for the International Space Station, Thales Alenia Space is responsible for the design, development, assembly and test of the primary structure and the Micrometeoroid & Debris Protection System for the two Axiom modules.
The welding activities of the primary structure of the first module will start in September 2021, with the assembly process concluding in 2022. The first module will arrive at Axiom facilities in Houston in July 2023, where Axiom will integrate and outfit the core systems and certify it for flight prior to shipping to the launch facility.
«We have convened an elite collection of expertise at Axiom to build and operate the world’s first commercial space station, and Thales Alenia Space fits right into that mold as a partner», Axiom President & CEO Michael Suffredini, who previously served as NASA’s International Space Station Program Manager from 2005 to 2015, said. «This agreement confirms the primary structures for the next-generation destination in space will be constructed with an expert touch, serving as the core of the first human-rated spacecraft to ever be assembled in Houston».
The project is currently undergoing a detailed design phase: the four radial bulkheads for the first module have been recently developed in Thales Alenia Space facilities in Turin. These bulkheads provide the structure to which radial Common Berth Mechanisms (CBMs) and hatches will attach. Together, the four bulkheads, with their accompanying hardware form a cylindrical section, providing four ports for other station elements, including docking adapters. The cylindrical protrusions seen on the bottom half of the bulkhead will serve as a connecting unit, allowing power, data, and fluids to pass from one element to another, including Axiom modules and the ISS.
ABOUT THALES ALENIA SPACE
Drawing on over 40 years of experience and a unique combination of skills, expertise and cultures, Thales Alenia Space delivers cost-effective solutions for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures. Governments and private industry alike count on Thales Alenia Space to design satellite-based systems that provide anytime, anywhere connections and positioning, monitor our planet, enhance management of its resources, and explore our Solar System and beyond. Thales Alenia Space sees space as a new horizon, helping to build a better, more sustainable life on Earth. A joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), Thales Alenia Space also teams up with Telespazio to form the parent companies’ Space Alliance, which offers a complete range of services. Thales Alenia Space posted consolidated revenues of approximately 1.850 billion euros in 2020 and has around 7,700 employees in 10 countries with 17 sites in Europe and a plant in the US.