Austal Limited (Austal) is pleased to announce Austal Australia has delivered the first of six Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boats (ECCPB’s) to the Royal Australian Navy.
The vessel, ADV Cape Otway, was officially accepted and named by the Minister for Defence, The Hon. Peter Dutton MP at a ceremony held at Austal’s Henderson, Western Australia, shipyard. He was accompanied by the Chief of the Royal Australian Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan AO, and Head of Maritime Systems, Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group, Rear Admiral Wendy Malcolm CSM.
Speaking at the delivery ceremony, Austal Limited Chief Executive Officer Mr. Paddy Gregg said the first Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boat to be delivered reflects the collective skills, teamwork and capability of the national naval shipbuilding enterprise.
«Sheds don’t build ships, people do. And it’s great to celebrate today with representatives from Austal, the Department of Defence, our proud supply chain partners and many more businesses in the defence industry across Australia», Mr. Gregg said. «This first Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boat was a true team effort, drawing on the expertise, drive and commitment of hundreds of talented people who are fundamentally contributing to the national security of this country. Apprentices, university graduates, trainees, tradespeople and professionals; we’re not just building patrol boats, we’re designing and constructing (and indeed, sustaining) naval assets that are keeping Australia’s border secure».
The 58-metre/190-foot aluminium monohull patrol boat is the first of six to be delivered to the Royal Australian Navy under a A$324 million contract awarded to Austal Australia in May 2020. With greater capability than the benchmark Cape-class Patrol Boats, the Evolved Capes feature new, larger amenities to accommodate up to 32 people, improved quality of life systems and advanced sustainment intelligence systems that will further enhance the Royal Australian Navy’s ability to fight and win at sea.
The vessel was constructed in approximately 18 months, employing approximately 400 people directly in Western Australia, and engaging more than 300 supply chain partners across Australia. In 2022, Austal Australia is scheduled to deliver an unprecedented 9 new naval ships to the Commonwealth of Australia, including four Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boats for the Royal Australian Navy (SEA1445-1) and five Guardian-class Patrol Boats to the Department of Defence under the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project (SEA3036-1).
This ASX announcement has been approved and authorised for release by Paddy Gregg, Austal Limited’s Chief Executive Officer.
On March 24, 2022, Greece and Naval Group signed the contracts for three defence and intervention frigates, plus one optional, and their in-service support. Two FDI HN (Hellenic Navy) will be delivered in 2025 and the third one in 2026.
A new step in the strategic partnership with Greece
In accordance with the defence agreement signed last October between Greece and France, the Hellenic authorities have signed two contracts with Naval Group for the supply of three Defence and Intervention Frigates (FDI HN), plus one optional, as well as their in-service support.
The contracts include as well the supply of MU90 torpedoes and CANTO countermeasures. The contracts were signed today in Athens by Vice-Admiral (rtd) Aristeidis Alexopoulos, General Director of the General Directorate for Defence Investments and Armaments, and Pierre Éric Pommellet, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Naval Group, in the presence of the Greek Minister of Defence, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos and the French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly.
Pierre Éric Pommellet, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Naval Group said: “Naval Group is proud, along with its French industrial partners Dassault, MBDA and Thales, to be a part of this new chapter in the strategic alliance between Greece and France. Greece has chosen the latest generation of frigates that bring together the best of French naval know-how and will strengthen the capabilities of the Hellenic Navy. The frigates program is the first of many steps in the partnership between Naval Group and the Hellenic Navy and will contribute to the development of the partnership between our countries, our navies and our industries for decades to come.”
The FDI HN will quickly and sustainably enhance the capabilities of the Hellenic Navy’s surface fleet as they will be delivered in a very short timeframe, starting in 2025 for the first two units and in 2026 for the third one.
A major program for the Hellenic industry
Thanks to a very ambitious cooperation plan with the Hellenic industry (HIP, Hellenic Industry Participation Plan), this program offers numerous industrial opportunities in Greece, creating jobs and skills in the country. Naval Group’s teams have been working in Greece for several months to establish partnerships with local industrial players with the objective of signing the first contracts in the coming months. With its R&D component, the cooperation plan is a sustainable plan that is fully in line with the objective of strengthening the European defence industrial and technological base through Franco-Greek cooperation.
A powerful, innovative and cyber-secure frigate
The FDI HN features high level capabilities in all warfare domains: anti-ship, anti-air, antisubmarine and special forces projection. Its air and surface defences are ensured by the most modern sensors, including the Thales Sea Fire, the first all-digital multifunction radar with an active antenna and fixed panels.
The FDI HN is equipped with a unique integrated mast that brings together all the airborne sensors, enabling permanent 360° surveillance. As the first frigate on the market to be natively protected against the cyber threat, the FDI HN is equipped with two data centers hosting almost all of the ship’s applications.
Technical specifications of the FDI HN
approximately 122 metres/400 feet
18 metres/59 feet
27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h
10-ton class helicopter, VTOL Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
According to Naval News, Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) launched the eighth FFX Batch-II (Daegu-class) frigate, the ROKS Chuncheon (FFG-827), on March 22, local time, in its Ulsan shipyard.
«The ROKS Chuncheon’s offensive capabilities against submerged and surface targets has been greatly improved», said the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) director of combatant forces, Jeong Yeong-soon. «The ship’s enhanced anti-submarine warfare capabilities, in particular, will help defend the Northern Limit Line».
«The ROKN has relentlessly prepared for the future since its founding, producing both warships and competent personnel. Our maritime sovereignty will remain unchallenged as we continue to develop state-of-the-art multi-dimensional combat capabilities», said Admiral Kim Jung-soo, ROKN Chief of Naval Operations.
The ROKS Chuncheon (FFG-827) will be brought into service by late 2023, replacing the 1,500-ton and 1,000-ton corvettes operated by the ROKN.
The first ship of the class, ROKS Daegu (FFG-818), built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), was launched in June 2016 and commissioned in March 2018. ROKS Gyeongnam (FFG-819), the second ship of the class also built by DSME, was launched in June 2019 and commissioned in January 2021. The third and fourth ships, ROKS Seoul (FFG-821) and ROKS Donghae (FFG-822), were built by HHI and launched in November 2019 and April 2020 respectively. DSME launched the fifth and sixth ships of the class in May and September last year while HHI launched the seventh one last November.
The BOLT II «In memory of Mike Holden» flight experiment, managed by the Air Force Research Laboratory/Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFRL/AFOSR), launched on the evening of March 21 from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Doctor Michael Holden, who, up until his passing in 2019, had been a leader in the hypersonics field since the 1960s. The flight experiment successfully flew the planned flight path and acquired tremendous scientific data to further our understanding of boundary layer transition, turbulent heating, and drag at hypersonic conditions.
The goal of the AFRL/AFOSR BOLT II flight experiment is to collect scientific data to better understand Boundary Layer Transition (BOLT) and Turbulence (BOLT II) during hypersonic flight. Monday’s successful launch of the two-stage suborbital sounding rocket has paved the way for the next chapter of discovery in this area of basic research.
«The flight experiment was designed to provide access to hypersonic boundary layer turbulence measurements in a combination of low-disturbance air and high Reynolds numbers seen in flight, but that are not achievable in ground test facilities», said Doctor Sarah Popkin, who oversees the AFRL/AFOSR BOLT II project as AFOSR’s Program Officer for High-Speed Aerodynamics.
«The experimental vehicle included over 400 sensors geared toward correlating surface pressure, heat flux, and skin friction in a hypersonic boundary layer. The two-sided experiment seeks to understand both «natural» and «tripped» turbulent boundary layer development», said Doctor Sarah Popkin.
The BOLT II science team is led by Texas A&M University with key collaborators at NASA, CUBRC, University of Minnesota, United States Air Force Academy, University of Maryland, University of Arizona, and Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics
Laboratory; along with international collaboration from Australia’s Defence Science and Technology group and the University of Queensland. Additional collaborators are mentioned in the BOLT II pre-launch press release.
As well, team members at AFRL’s Aerospace System’s Directorate have been instrumental in this project by doing a lot of the heavy lifting ensuring that the entire team was able to successfully collect the data needed from the experiment.
Strategic partnerships like these are vital to AFRL/AFOSR’s basic research success. By creating and supporting opportunities for highly diversified partnerships such as these, AFRL/AFOSR can also provide important pathways to build the next generation of scientists and engineers who can solve difficult problems and contribute to modernizing the future science and technology needs for the nation.
Similar to the BOLT I program, BOLT II included a symbiotic trio of wind tunnel testing, high-fidelity computations, and a flight experiment. The wind tunnel and computational data acquired during the BOLT II project informed the design and placement of over 400 sensors to capture correlations needed to, in turn, improve and validate boundary layer turbulence models.
Unique to BOLT II, this project provided the first-ever full-scale ground testing of the flight geometry. Post-processing of the flight data will be directly compared to the earlier entry into the CUBRC LENS II shock tunnel. This facility replicated the Mach and Reynolds number conditions expected for the BOLT II trajectory but at higher, conventional disturbance air conditions. «The results from these two data sources provide a one-of-a-kind direct comparison between ground and flight experiment conditions with identical hardware. A second, full-scale wind tunnel test campaign, is being carried out by the University of Queensland, which is also matching flight conditions and simulating vehicle surface heating observed during flight», said Popkin.
«Words cannot express how grateful and happy I am that we have reached this moment. Absolutely, we would not be where we are without our amazing team and I’m excited to see what the data will teach us about high-speed turbulence», said Popkin.
Doctor Rodney Bowersox, professor of aerospace engineering at TAMU and lead principle investigator on BOLT II, couldn’t agree more, «I am very grateful to have been a part of this great team effort involving multiple research groups at TAMU, including Dr. Helen Reed and Doctor Edward White and the cadre of brilliant students, CUBRC, AFRL, NASA, NASA Sounding Rocket Operations Contract (NSOROC), Lockheed Martin, other universities, and most importantly AFRL/AFOSR. I am confident the data obtained will serve the scientific research community for many years to come. Mike Holden would be very proud».
BOLT II exemplifies just how AFRL/AFOSR continues to discover, shape and champion bold, high risk, high reward basic research for the United States Air Force and Space Force. As AFRL/AFOSR celebrates 70 years of innovation, this legacy continues through smart investments in basic research opportunities that take deep dives into scientific transformational principles and conceptions that clear the path to new inventions, products and capabilities. As well, BOLT II illustrates the importance of basic research as a long-term investment that requires commitment and a sound strategy.
The U.S. Navy christened the future USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125), the first Flight III Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, during a 9:55 a.m. CDT ceremony on Saturday, March 26, in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
Jacklyn Harold «Jack» Lucas, the ship’s namesake, served as a U.S. Marine during World War II and was awarded the Medal of Honor at the age of 17, making him the youngest recipient. Private First Class Lucas received the award during the Iwo Jima campaign when he hurled himself on two grenades to absorb the explosion with his own body and protect his fellow Marines. Surviving the blast, Lucas lived until June 5, 2008, when he died from cancer. The future USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125) is the first combat warship to bear his name.
Admiral Michael Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations, delivered the christening ceremony’s principal address. The Honorable Roger Wicker, U.S. Senator from Mississippi; the Honorable Steven Palazzo, U.S. Representative from Mississippi’s Fourth District; the Honorable Meredith Berger, Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary of the U.S. Navy; Major General Jason Bohm, Commanding General, Marine Corps Recruiting Command; and Ms. Kari Wilkinson, President of Ingalls Shipbuilding also provided remarks. In a time-honored Navy tradition, the ship’s sponsors, Ms. Ruby Lucas and Ms. Catherine B. Reynolds, christened the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.
«The future USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125) will serve as a constant reminder of the immense impact actions taken by any one Sailor or Marine can truly have», said Secretary of the U.S. Navy Carlos Del Toro. «Private First Class Lucas is a national hero and this ship and crew will honor his legacy for decades to come».
The ship will be the 75th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and is one of 20 ships currently under contract for the DDG-51 program. The Flight III upgrade is centered on the AN/SPY-6(V)1 Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR). It incorporates upgrades to the electrical power and cooling capacity plus additional associated changes to provide greatly enhanced warfighting capability to the fleet. The AMDR enables Flight III ships to perform Anti-Air Warfare and Ballistic Missile Defense simultaneously, satisfying the Navy’s critical need for an enhanced surface combatant Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capability. The Flight III baseline begins with DDGs 125-126 and continues with DDG-128 and follow on ships. The future USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125) will be 509.5 feet/155.3 meters long and 59 feet/18 meters wide, with a displacement of 9,496 tons. The ship will homeport in San Diego, California.
The DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer (DDG-51) is a multi-mission ship designed to operate offensively and defensively, independently, or part of Carrier Strike Groups, Expeditionary Strike Groups, and Surface Action Groups in multi-threat environments that include air, surface and subsurface threats. These ships will respond to Low Intensity Conflict/Coastal and Littoral Offshore Warfare scenarios, and open ocean conflict, providing or augmenting power projection, forward presence requirements and escort operations at sea. Flight III is the fourth Flight upgrade in the 30+ year history of the class, building on the proud legacy of Flight I, II and IIA ships before it.
510 feet/160 m
Beam – Waterline
66 feet/20 m
30.5 feet/9.3 m
Displacement – Full Load
4 General electric LM 2500-30 gas turbines; 2 shafts; 2 CRP (Contra-Rotating) propellers; 100,000 shaft horsepower/75,000 kW
AN/SPY-6 AESA 3D radar (Raytheon Company) and Aegis Combat System (Lockheed Martin); SPS-73(V)12 Navigation; SPS-67(V)3 Surface Search; 3 SPG-62 Illuminator; SQQ-89(V)6 sonar incorporating SQS-53C hull mounted and SQR-19 towed array sonars used with Mark-116 Mod 7 ASW fire control system
SLQ-32(V)3; Mark-53 Mod 0 Decoy System; Mark-234 Decoy System; SLQ-25A Torpedo Decoy; SLQ-39 Surface Decoy; URN-25 TACAN; UPX-29 IFF System; Kollmorgen Mark-46 Mod 1 Electro-Optical Director
2 embarked SH-60 helicopters ASW operations; RAST (Recovery Assist, Secure and Traverse)
2 Mark-41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) with 96 Standard, Vertical Launch ASROC (Anti-Submarine Rocket) & Tomahawk ASM (Air-to-Surface Missile)/LAM (Loitering Attack Missile); 5-in (127-mm)/62 Mark-45 gun; 2 (1) CIWS (Close-In Weapon System); 2 Mark-32 triple 324-mm torpedo tubes for Mark-46, Mark-50 ASW torpedos or Mark 54 Lightweight Torpedo
The NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) has delivered the last refurbished PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer to the Lithuanian Armed Forces this month.
The NSPA PzH 2000 project team has managed the acquisition of a self-propelled howitzer capability to Lithuania. Support provided by NSPA included procurement of ammunition, customization and modernization of M577 and BPz2 support vehicles, implementation of a new fire control system, and integration and acquisition of new sensors and optronics for forward observers and tactical air control parties.
Members of the Air and Land Combat Systems Programme’s and the Lithuanian Armed Forces’ (LAF) PzH 2000 project teams spent January to March 2022 ensuring the smooth transition of the final self-propelled howitzer to Lithuania.
The PzH 2000 is a self-propelled 155-mm howitzer developed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann in partnership with Rheinmetall in the 1990’s for Germany, the Netherlands, Greece, and Italy. It is one of the most advanced self-propelled howitzers in the world capable of providing sustained artillery coverage for more than 50 km/31 miles.
Boeing Australia congratulates the Australian Government and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) on their selection of ‘MQ-28A Ghost Bat’ as the military designator and name for the first Australian-produced military combat aircraft in over 50 years.
Australia’s Defence Minister, the Hon Peter Dutton MP, announced the designator and name at a dedicated ceremony held at RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland.
«The introduction of the new popular name is a rare and special moment in aviation history for our RAAF partners and industry team of over 35 Australian suppliers», said Glen Ferguson, director Airpower Teaming System Australia and International.
«Selecting the Ghost Bat, an Australian native mammal known for teaming together in a pack to detect and hunt, reflects the unique characteristics of the aircraft’s sensors and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance abilities, and is a fitting name for this pioneering capability», said Ferguson.
With a rapid development timetable of just three years from ideation to first flight, the development program leverages advancements in digital engineering, advanced manufacturing and unique Australian supply chain technologies.
While the RAAF Loyal Wingman development program name will phase out, Boeing’s product name for global customers will remain the Airpower Teaming System.
«Our enduring partnership with Commonwealth of Australia and Australian Defence Force (ADF) is fundamental to the successful development of MQ-28A’s complex technologies and capabilities, and has global export potential for Australia», said Dr Brendan Nelson AO, president Boeing Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific.
During 2022, the program will continue to accelerate the development and testing of the MQ-28A Ghost Bat, with a focus on sensor and missionisation capabilities to deliver on RAAF commitments. These requirements will continue to expand as Boeing moves towards the aim of delivering an operational capability for the ADF.
Boeing unveils Ghost Bat, the new name for Loyal Wingman
Hercules history is made once again, with the announcement that Lockheed Martin recently delivered its 500th C-130J Super Hercules airlifter. This Super Hercules (Lockheed Martin aircraft #5934) is a C-130J-30 Super Hercules aircraft assigned to the 130th Airlift Wing located at McLaughlin Air National Guard Base in Charleston, West Virginia. The 130th Airlift Wing is a longtime C-130 operator that is currently modernizing its legacy Hercules fleet with C-130Js.
The U.S. government operates the largest C-130J Super Hercules fleet in the world. This delivery represents the U.S. government’s continued transition to the C-130J Super Hercules as the common platform across the Air Force, the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard.
«This delivery represents the thousands of people – past and present – that design, build, fly, maintain and support C-130Js around the world», said Rod McLean, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Air Mobility & Maritime Missions (AMMM) line of business. «Like its namesake, the C-130J Super Hercules is a legend defined by its strength and power. Yet, it is the people who are part of the C-130J operator, production, supplier and industry partner communities who truly define the Super Hercules and helped the C-130J Program reach this monumental achievement».
The C-130J Super Hercules is the current production model of the legendary C-130 Hercules aircraft. The airlift choice of 26 operators in 22 nations, the global C-130 fleet has surpassed more than 2 million flight hours and holds more than 54 world records.
Defined by its versatility, there are 17 different mission configurations of the C-130J Super Hercules that includes transport (military and commercial), humanitarian aid delivery, aerial firefighting, natural disaster relief support, medevac, search and rescue, weather reconnaissance, and aerial refueling.
As the most advanced C-130 ever produced, the C-130J-30 Super Hercules (which is 15 feet/4.6 m longer than legacy C-130 models) offers these enhancements and advancements compared to legacy models:
30% more passengers and cargo;
50% more CDS bundles;
44% more paratroopers;
30% crew reduction;
14% more fuel efficient;
20% improvement in payload/range capability;
Integrated defensive suite and 250 knot ramp/door;
Automated maintenance fault reporting;
Unmatched situational awareness with digital avionics and dual HUD.
On March 18, 2022, the delivery of the Multipurpose Offshore Patrol ship (PPA – Pattugliatore Polivalente d’Altura) «Paolo Thaon di Revel» (P430), first of seven vessels, took place at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Muggiano (La Spezia).
The PPAs are built at the Integrated Shipyard of Riva Trigoso and Muggiano, with deliveries expected until 2026, and they are part of the renewal plan of the operational lines of the Italian Navy vessels, approved by the Government and Parliament and started in May 2015 («Naval Act») under the aegis of OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Cooperation sur l’Armement, the international organization for cooperation on arms).
The multipurpose offshore patrol vessel is a highly flexible ship with the capacity to serve multiple functions, ranging from patrol with sea rescue capacity to Civil Protection operations and, in its most highly equipped version, first line fighting vessel. For the seven vessels of the program there will be indeed different configurations of combat system: starting from a «soft» version for the patrol task, integrated for self-defence ability, to a «full» one, which means equipped for a complete defence ability. The patrol ship is also capable of operating high-speed vessels such as RHIB (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat) up to 11 meters long through lateral cranes or a hauling ramp located at the far stern.
143 meters/469 feet long overall
Speed up to 32 knots/37 mph/59 km/h according to vessel configuration and operational conditions
Approximately 135 crew members and accommodation capacity up to 181 beds
Combined diesel and gas turbine propulsion system, with electric motors for low speeds
The Navy accepted delivery of the future USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28), the 12th San Antonio class-amphibious transport dock ship, from Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls (HII) Shipbuilding Division, March 11.
Delivery of LPD-28 represents the official transfer of the ship from the shipbuilder to the U.S. Navy. Prior to delivery, the ship successfully conducted a series of at-sea and pier-side trials to demonstrate its material and operational readiness.
«Following successful builder’s and acceptance trials, LPD-28 will soon be ready to join the fleet to provide critical readiness and capacity to our Sailors said Captain Cedric McNeal, program manager, Amphibious Warfare Program Office, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. «This ship will help expand our advantage in the maritime domain and brings critical capability now and in the future».
The San Antonio-class is designed to support embarking, transporting, and landing Marines and their equipment by conventional or air-cushioned landing craft. The ship’s capabilities are further enhanced by its flight deck and hangar, enabling the ship to operate a variety of Marine Corps helicopters and the Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft (MV-22). Because of the ships inherent capabilities, they are able to support a variety of amphibious assault, special operations, expeditionary warfare, or disaster relief missions, operating independently or as part of Amphibious Readiness Groups, Expeditionary Strike Groups, or Joint Task Forces.
In addition to LPD-28, HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding Division is currently in production on the future USS Richard S. McCool (LPD-29) and the future USS Harrisburg (LPD-30), with start of fabrication for future USS Pittsburgh (LPD-31) planned for later this spring.
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, and boats and craft.