Cape-class Patrol Boat

Austal Australia has welcomed Assistant Minister for Defence, The Honorable Andrew Hastie MP, to officially launch the second of six Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boats to be delivered to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

Cape-class Patrol Boat
Austal Australia has successfully launched the second of six Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boats for the Royal Australian Navy at the company’s shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia (Image: Austal)

The 58-metre/190-foot aluminium monohull patrol boat was launched following 18 months of construction at the company’s shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia.

Austal Limited Chief Executive Officer Paddy Gregg said it was very fitting that the Assistant Minister for Defence officially launched the vessel, which is one of nine naval ships to be delivered to the Commonwealth of Australia by Austal this calendar year.

«I’m proud to say the Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boat Project for the Royal Australian Navy is progressing at pace. We will be handing over the First of Class in March, with follow-on vessels delivered every 4 months thereafter. Our hardworking Austal team and supply chain partners continue to achieve greater efficiencies and productivity, working together with the Department of Defence to provide new capability in support of the Navy’s operational requirements and further develop the National Shipbuilding Enterprise», Mr. Gregg said.

«The Evolved Capes for the Royal Australian Navy is just one of two major naval shipbuilding projects Austal is continuing to deliver this year – the second is the Guardian-class. In total, Austal Australia is going to deliver an unprecedented nine naval ships to the Commonwealth of Australia in 2022», he added.

Assistant Minister for Defence, the Honorable Andrew Hastie MP said the Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boats were a vital capability that would be used by Navy to continue to secure our borders and protect Australia’s sovereignty at sea.

«This is a great day for WA’s defence industry. Today marks another important milestone in the Government’s Naval Shipbuilding Plan – further strengthening our sovereign defence industry capability and delivering the largest regeneration of our naval fleet since the second world war», Assistant Minister Hastie said. «I was pleased to launch this vessel today. Building these vessels here in Western Australia means a stronger defence force that will protect our borders and our national security interests and create long-term local jobs».

The new Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boats for the Royal Australian Navy include several enhancements that further extend the capability of the proven vessel and the fleet; with modifications developed through the in-service experience of ten Cape-class Patrol Boats already operating with the Navy and Australian Border Force throughout Northern Australia.

The A$324 million contract for the Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boat Program (SEA1445-1), comprising six 58-metre/190-foot vessels, was awarded to Austal Australia in May 2020 and has directly employed approximately 400 people in Henderson, Western Australia and hundreds more through supply chain partners across Australia.

Drone Killer

The Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded a contract for Mjölnir, a next-generation counter electronics weapon system, to defend against adversarial drone activity, to Leidos Inc.

AFRL awards contract for drone killer, Mjölnir; brings new drone «hammer» to the fight

Building upon the success of the Tactical High-Power Operational Responder (THOR) technology demonstrator, Leidos will build an advanced High-Power Microwave (HPM) weapon system to bring the newest technology to bear against the growing threat from unmanned aircraft.

«The new prototype will be called Mjölnir, the mythical Norse God Thor’s mighty hammer», said Adrian Lucero, THOR program manager at AFRL’s Directed Energy Directorate at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. «Because THOR was so successful, we wanted to keep the new system’s name in the family».

The AFRL team, working from Kirtland Air Force Base, are experts in High Power Electromagnetics technology. The THOR demonstrator used bursts of intense radio waves to disable small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) instantly.

«The lessons learned from our successful overseas operational testing, now define the new requirements for the Mjölnir program, and will be the baseline configuration for future systems to be deployed around the world», Lucero said.

The $26 million Mjolnir prototype, will use the same technology as THOR, but will add important advances in capability, reliability, and manufacturing readiness.

«We are transitioning AFRL technology to our industry partner Leidos, who has the knowledge and capability to build multiple systems in the future», said Lucero. «Mjölnir will focus on creating a detailed blueprint for all future cUAS HPM systems with enhanced range and technology for detecting and tracking UASs. This will ensure the U.S maintains our electromagnetic spectrum superiority».

AFRL is working closely with cross-service partners to field these systems for base defense.

«As the danger from drone swarms evolves, all services are working closely to ensure emerging technologies like Mjölnir, will be ready to support the needs of warfighters already engaged against these threats. The program will begin this spring with a delivery of the prototype weapon in 2023», said 1st Lieutenant Tylar Hanson THOR deputy program manager.

Future Fights

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) is pleased to announce its new category of future-forward Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), focused on information dominance and airspace supremacy. Leveraging three decades of experience across millions of successful combat flight hours, the new Evolution line of advanced UAS joins GA-ASI’s existing Predator-class and Mojave-class aircraft in delivering next-generation UAS that lead the pack in advanced, affordable, attritable and autonomous combat power.

GA-ASI Announces Evolution Class of UAS for the Future Fights of Tomorrow

The name Evolution refers to the evolutionary path GA-ASI has followed as it chartered the realm of unmanned aircraft through its rich, 30-year history of UAS innovation, designing for the future, and the force-multiplying power UAS provide modern warfighters. In the past three decades, GA-ASI has launched more than 25 UAS variants, beginning with the Gnat in 1992.

Evolution establishes a third aircraft class within GA-ASI, joining the well-known Predator line and recently announced Mojave line of expeditionary UAS featuring Short-TakeOff and Landing (STOL) capability. Evolution includes the development of GA-ASI’s next-generation UAS solutions designed to meet the needs of the U.S. Air Force’s vision for its future force, as well as new UAS concepts such as Defender, Sparrowhawk and the recently announced Gambit.

«We’re continuing to grow and respond to the rapidly changing world», said GA-ASI President David R. Alexander. «As we celebrate our 30-year anniversary as a company, our new Evolution-series aircraft will merge our unique heritage of advanced and affordable UAS technologies with innovative technologies for the future. We’re looking ahead to new concepts and never-before-seen aircraft that meet the needs of our customers today and tomorrow».

Bearing Support Structures

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced on March 2, 2022 that it has delivered to the U.S. Navy the first of two Bearing Support Structures (BSS) for installation in the first Columbia-class submarine USS Columbia (SSBN-826) currently under construction. GA-EMS has been under contract with Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division (NSWCCD) since 2019 to fabricate and deliver the BSSs according to exacting U.S. Navy specifications and construction schedules.

USS Columbia (SSBN-826)
General Atomics Delivers First of Two Bearing Support Structures For Columbia-Class Submarines

«For a project involving the size and complexity of a BSS, we brought the technical strength of our manufacturing engineering, machining, welding and quality expertise together to successfully execute the deliverable on spec and on time», stated Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. «We are extremely proud of our team as we continue to manufacture and deliver these critical structures to support the Navy’s Columbia-class submarine program».

GA-EMS was awarded the second BSS delivery order in September 2021. Manufacturing activities have started at GA-EMS’ facilities in Tupelo, Mississippi. GA-EMS will deliver the second BSS at the end of 2023 to support the full construction start date of the U.S. Navy’s second Columbia-class submarine in fiscal 2024. The U.S. Navy intends to build 12 Columbia-class submarines over the next 20 years.

«The Navy has stated that the BSS is the largest nickel-copper weldment built to such exacting specifications ever created in the U.S.», said Forney. «The BSS is indeed one of the most significant projects we’ve undertaken and demonstrates our extensive technical expertise and unique manufacturing capabilities to meet the needs of the Navy for a variety of complex components».


Ship statistics

Type Ballistic missile submarine (SSBN)
Displacement (submerged) 20,810 long tons/metric tons 21,144
Length 561 feet/171 m
Hull Diameter 43 feet/13.1 m
Speed 20+ knots/23+ mph/37 km/h
Diving Depth 800+ feet/244+ m
Range Unlimited
Complement 155 (accommodation)
Propulsion Nuclear, Electric Drive
Missile Tubes 16
Weapons System Trident II D5 (LE)


Nuclear Submarine Lineup

Name Laid down Christened Commissioned Homeport
USS Columbia (SSBN-826)
USS Wisconsin SSBN-827


Missile Warning System

Lockheed Martin has selected Raytheon Technologies Corporation to provide a second mission payload for the Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared Geosynchronous Earth Orbit Block 0 missile warning satellite system – also known as NGG. Both Raytheon Technologies and Northrop Grumman Corporation are each already on contract to provide one mission payload for the three-satellite procurement.

Lockheed Martin’s Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (NGG) Block 0 early missile warning satellite (Photo credit: Lockheed Martin)

Lockheed Martin is currently under contract with the United States Space Force (U.S.S.F.) Space Systems Command (SSC) to build three survivable NGG satellites with enhanced missile warning and resiliency capabilities to stay ahead of the emerging threats. As part of risk-reduction efforts to meet the U.S.S.F.’s imperative to launch the first satellite by 2025, Lockheed Martin selected Raytheon Technologies and Northrop Grumman/Ball Aerospace to develop mission payload designs. The payload designs from both competitors have completed the critical design phase and are on track to fly on the first two NGG satellites. It has yet to be determined which payload will be aboard the first NGG satellite launched in 2025.

«For this ‘Go-Fast’ program, both teams had to meet stringent schedule and performance requirements – which they’ve done. I want to congratulate and thank both teams for their tireless work and we look forward to the first flights of both the mission payloads», said Joseph Rickers, Lockheed Martin’s NGG program vice president. «These advanced OPIR payloads will support the critical mission by leveraging technologies with new capabilities on an aggressive schedule».

For this rapid acquisition program, both competitive payload teams were selected and placed under contract just 45 days after the prime contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin in 2018. Aiming to have their advanced payloads eventually integrated into Lockheed Martin’s resilient LM2100 Combat Bus space vehicle, the teams quickly completed preliminary design reviews in 2020 and critical design reviews in 2021. Both teams successfully completed environmental testing of their payload engineering development units.

Manned Unmanned Teaming

The capstone flight test used real mission sensors on multiple unmanned military platforms and a manned military fighter aircraft, to execute a combat mission.

BAE Systems demonstrates manned-unmanned teaming capabilities in flight test

BAE Systems and the Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense’s Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO) have completed a successful flight test of advanced Manned Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) technology at a Department of Defense flight test range. The technology enables the rapid infusion of new payloads and platforms into the fleet to quickly enhance mission effectiveness and counter adversary technology.

The capstone flight test used real mission sensors on multiple unmanned military platforms and a manned military fighter aircraft, to execute a combat mission. The team of Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) worked together to develop and execute autonomously the necessary tactics to complete the mission. The aviator used the Human Machine Interface (HMI) to monitor the mission’s progress and interact with the UAVs as desired.

«The development of autonomous technology is crucial to protect our warfighters against emerging threats», said Ehtisham Siddiqui, vice president and general manager of Controls and Avionics Solutions at BAE Systems. «This flight test demonstrates our team’s commitment to accelerate the deployment of reliable and innovative manned-unmanned teaming solutions for mission success».

During this most recent flight test, the team achieved its primary goal of demonstrating collaborative mission execution in an operationally representative environment. BAE Systems’ HMI was developed through extensive virtual and constructive simulation testing with assistance from pilots and electronic warfare officers. Test feedback from the manned aircraft operator also underscored the maturity of the MUM-T technology offering, highlighting its user-friendly interface, which increases mission safety and lethality.

«Our deep expertise in developing and fielding safety-critical flight control systems means that safety and assurance are integrated into our MUM-T architecture and software from the ground up», said Matthew Trouve, director of Development Programs for Military Aircraft Systems at BAE Systems. «This provides the warfighter with the necessary trust and confidence in our solution to operate in the same environment as autonomous unmanned teammates».

BAE Systems has developed its purpose-built architecture to be open, flexible, and assured. The company’s underlying MUM-T algorithms enable decentralized autonomous decision-making at the tactical edge, allowing the architecture to be easily adapted for new missions and incorporate future technology. A software development kit also allows third parties to introduce new algorithms and technologies to support future missions.

Over the next year, BAE Systems will continue development efforts with the DOD and invest in additional capabilities to further mature its MUM-T suite for operational readiness. The next phase of flight tests will enhance the mission suite’s capabilities and technology, showcasing flexibility and openness for integration on an additional manned aircraft type and another unmanned platform to execute a different mission.

BAE Systems’ MUM-T program leverages its more than 40 years of experience in flight control systems and 20 years of autonomous systems development expertise. Work for the MUM-T program is based at the company’s state-of-the-art facility in Endicott, N.Y.

Gerald R. Ford

Global engineering and defense technologies provider HII announced on March 01, 2022 that the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division completed the first Planned Incremental Availability (PIA) for aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78). Gerald R. Ford is the first ship in a new class of aircraft carriers that incorporates 23 new technologies, designed to support the Navy’s air wing of the future.

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78)
Ford-class aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) departs HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division on Friday, February 25, 2022 after its planned incremental availability

«It is truly an honor and a privilege for our shipbuilding team to ready this most technologically advanced aircraft carrier for the Navy fleet», said Lucas Hicks, vice president of the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) and USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) aircraft carrier programs. «We look forward to folding what we learned into the entire Gerald R. Ford class, extending the Navy’s power projection advantage around the globe».

Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers incorporate new technologies such as electromagnetic catapults and weapons elevators, a redesigned flight deck and island, and more than twice the electrical capacity of Nimitz-class carriers. These aircraft carriers are designed to be the centerpiece of the Navy’s deployed battle force and alongside allies and partners, they defend freedom, preserve economic prosperity and keep the seas open and free.

The PIA involved six months of modernization and maintenance work to ensure Gerald R. Ford has the most current upgrades prior to the carrier’s maiden deployment. The ship entered the PIA in September 2021 after completing full ship shock trials and a successful post-delivery test and trials period.

Three other Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers are currently under construction at Newport News Shipbuilding. They include USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79), USS Enterprise (CVN-80) and USS Doris Miller (CVN-81). In addition, Newport News Shipbuilding is conducting mid-life refueling complex overhauls on two Nimitz-class aircraft carriers – USS George Washington (CVN-73) and USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74). These overhauls will extend the service life for each platform by another 25 years, ensuring the Navy is positioned to deploy a fleet of aircraft carriers ready to support national security requirements.


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



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)
USS Doris Miller (CVN-81)



Electric Boat (EB) delivered the nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Oregon (SSN-793) to the U.S. Navy on February 26, 2022. Oregon is the 20th submarine of the Virginia Class, which provides the Navy with the capabilities required to retain undersea dominance well into the 21st century. With the other ships of the class, Oregon represents a revolution in submarine design, construction and mission capability. This versatile and powerful vessel – unobtrusive, non-provocative and connected with land, air, sea and space-based assets – will maximize the contribution the U.S. submarine force makes to national security.

USS Oregon (SSN-793)
Electric Boat delivers submarine USS Oregon (SSN-793)

«Today is a great day for the Oregon, a great day for the Navy and a great day for Electric Boat», said Pete DiNapoli, ship manager of USS Oregon (SSN-793) at her delivery ceremony on February 28. DiNapoli addressed the shipbuilders of Electric Boat, noting their excellent performance leading up to the significant achievement of delivering EB’s latest contribution to national security. «This journey was not easy, and each and every one of you rose up to the challenge and made it look easy. Shipbuilding is a big team sport, and I thank you all for your hard work».

Stan Gwudz, director of the Virginia program and ship’s management, also offered his acknowledgement of the EB team. «I couldn’t be more proud to be part of a team that makes our Navy the best in the world», said Gwudz.

Sea trials for Oregon, directed by U.S. Navy Admiral Frank Caldwell Jr., director – Naval Nuclear Propulsion, began in December 2021. The trials included a range of submarine and propulsion-plant operations, submerging for the first time, and high-speed runs on and below the surface to demonstrate that the ship’s propulsion plant is fully mission-capable.

«I was on that boat, and I wish every one of you, and really every American, could see what I see on those boats», said Electric Boat President Kevin Graney following Oregon’s Alpha trials. «It is eye-watering, unsurpassed technology. It is sailors who are at the pointy end of the spear and are absolute masters at submarine warfare. It is EB people fiercely proud of what they’ve built».

The Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) gave the Oregon a score of 95 following her final INSURV trial, continuing the trend of high performance on Virginia-class new construction. Oregon is commanded by Commander Lacy Lodmell.

Oregon is the second of the 10-ship group of Virginia-class submarines known as the Block IV series, continuing a whole new level of capability for the Virginia Class. Increased stealth, improved surveillance and design changes that increase the component-level lifecycle of the submarine and reduce total ownership cost are the hallmarks of this newest attack submarine. By making these smaller-scale design changes to increase the component-level lifecycle of the submarine, the Navy will increase the periodicity between depot maintenance abilities and increase the number of deployments. Blocks I-III of Virginia-class submarines are planned to undergo four depot maintenance availabilities and conduct 14 deployments, while Block IV design changes are intended to reduce these planned availabilities by one to three, increasing deployments to 15.

Virginia-class submarines displace 7,835 tons, with a hull length of 377 feet/114.8 m and a diameter of 34 feet/10.3632 m. They are capable of speeds in excess of 25 knots and can dive to a depth greater than 800 feet/244 m, while carrying Mark-48 advanced capability torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles.


General Characteristics

Builder General Dynamics Electric Boat Division and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. – Newport News Shipbuilding
Date Deployed October 3, 2004
Propulsion One GE PWR S9G* nuclear reactor, two turbines, one shaft; 40,000 hp/30 MW
Length 377 feet/114.8 m
Beam 33 feet/10.0584 m
Hull Diameter 34 feet/10.3632 m
Displacement Approximately 7,800 tons/7,925 metric tons submerged
Speed 25+ knots/28+ mph/46.3+ km/h
Diving Depth 800+ feet/244+ m
Crew 132: 15 officers; 117 enlisted
Armament: Tomahawk missiles Two 87-in/2.2 m Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs), each capable of launching 6 Tomahawk cruise missiles
Armament: MK-48 ADCAP (Advanced Capability) Mod 7 heavyweight torpedoes 4 torpedo tubes
Weapons MK-60 CAPTOR (Encapsulated Torpedo) mines, advanced mobile mines and UUVs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicles)

* – Knolls Atomic Power Laboratories


Nuclear Submarine Lineup


Block IV

Ship Yard Christening Commissioned Homeport
SSN-792 Vermont EB 10-20-18 04-18-20 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-793 Oregon EB 10-05-19
SSN-794 Montana NNS 09-12-20
SSN-795 Hyman G. Rickover EB 07-31-21
SSN-796 New Jersey NNS 11-13-21
SSN-797 Iowa EB Under Construction
SSN-798 Massachusetts NNS Under Construction
SSN-799 Idaho EB Under Construction
SSN-800 Arkansas NNS Under Construction
SSN-801 Utah EB Under Construction


Handheld Targeting System

Northrop Grumman Corporation has been selected to provide the U.S. Marine Corps with the Next Generation Handheld Targeting System (NGHTS). This compact targeting device provides unparalleled precision targeting and is capable of operation in GPS-denied environments.

The U.S. Marine Corps has selected Northrop Grumman to provide the Next Generation Handheld Targeting System (NGHTS), a laser-based device that will give Marines an enhanced capability to identify and designate targets from extended ranges

«NGHTS will significantly enhance the ability of Marines to identify ground targets under a wide range of conditions», said Bob Gough, vice president, navigation, targeting and survivability, Northrop Grumman. «Connected to military networks, NGHTS can provide superior situational awareness and accurate coordinates for the delivery of effects from beyond the line of sight».

Northrop Grumman’s NGHTS is capable of performing rapid target acquisition, laser terminal guidance operation and laser spot imaging functions. Its high-definition infrared sensors provide accuracy and grid capability over extended ranges. Additional features include a high-definition color display and day/night celestial compasses.

Northrop Grumman is a technology company, focused on global security and human discovery. Our pioneering solutions equip our customers with capabilities they need to connect, advance and protect the U.S. and its allies. Driven by a shared purpose to solve our customers’ toughest problems, our 90,000 employees define possible every day.

Near Future Submarine

22.2.22 (February 2, 2022) is a palindrome number, it was also the date where a major milestone was delivered for the NFS Programme; namely the System Design Review (SDR). This is a highly challenging project, which will enhance Italy’s strategic submarine capabilities.

U212 NFS
U212 NFS programme

The second milestone of the U212 Near Future Submarine (NFS) Programme has been successfully delivered, in accordance to the strict principles of the System Engineering adopted for this design.

The delivery of the second milestone was a very demanding activity, which required a conspicuous amount of effort from both internal and external stakeholders, including NFS Programme Division, OCCAR PMSD, Contractors and Industry. It saw Nation’s support through its specialised submariners skills.

All efforts aimed at completing the required activities within the expected timescales and deadlines in order to comply with the baselined programme schedule. Although Italy is the only current PS, the NFS Programme is a catalyst for enhanced international skills technologies amongst EU and non-EU countries. The SDR was a real success, so much so that participants and stakeholder initiated discussions immediately after to address the Critical Design Review (CDR). It is OCCAR’s intention to meet Nations’ requirements and to comply with cost, time and performance.