Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding has been awarded a $2.4 billion U.S. Navy fixed-price-incentive contract for the detail design and construction of amphibious assault ship LHA-9. The award includes options, that if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of the contract to $3.2 billion. Ingalls was awarded the original long-lead-time material contract for the fourth ship in the USS America (LHA-6) class on April 30, 2020.
«Ingalls shipbuilders are ready to build the Navy’s newest LHA», said Ingalls Shipbuilding President Kari Wilkinson. «We understand how important this work is, and consider it an honor to be given the opportunity to deliver this capability to the fleet. We value our partnership with the Navy and all of our critical supplier partners».
Construction on LHA-9 is scheduled to begin in December 2022.
Ingalls has a long tradition of building large-deck amphibious ships that are operated by the Navy and Marine Corps. The shipyard has delivered 15 large-decks, including the Tarawa-class, LHA 1-5; the Wasp-class, LHD 1-8; and most recently the America-class, LHA-6 and LHA-7. The third of the America-class, USS Bougainville (LHA-8), is currently under construction.
The America-class is a multi-functional and versatile ship that is capable of operating in a high density, multi-threat environment as an integral member of an expeditionary strike group, an amphibious task force or an amphibious ready group. LHA-9, like Bougainville, will retain the aviation capability of the America-class design while adding the surface assault capability of a well deck and a larger flight deck configured for F-35B Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) and MV-22 Osprey aircraft. These large-deck amphibious assault ships also include top-of-the-line medical facilities with full operating suites and triage.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) successfully completed an air-to-air laser communication link between GA-ASI’s Laser Airborne Communication (LAC) terminals integrated onto two company-owned King Air aircraft. Laser communication is desirable for military applications because of its Low Probability of Intercept/Low Probability of Detection (LPI/LPD) and anti-jam capability that can support much higher data rates than radio frequency systems.
«This air-to-air demonstration was a major success and marks a critical milestone for GA-ASI’s Lasercom development team», said GA-ASI Vice President of Mission Payloads & Exploitation, Satish Krishnan. «The success of this flight will pave the way for more opportunities to demonstrate crosslinks from aircraft to other platforms, including unmanned aircraft, maritime vessels, and space systems».
The aircraft flew out of Montgomery Field in Kearney Mesa, California on September 26, 2022, and performed the test in segregated airspace near Yuma, Arizona During the flight test, the team maintained a link at 1.0 Gigabits per second (Gbps) and exchanged data, including real-time navigation, video, and voice data.
GA-ASI has developed a family of optical communication capabilities and will play an important role in transitioning these capabilities to users in a variety of domains, from air to sea. GA-ASI expects that laser communications will enable Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) produced by the company to perform beyond-line-of-sight communications for airborne, maritime, and ground users who also use optical communications, as well as with future air-to-space optical communication applications. This capability can be applied as a podded solution to GA-ASI’s full line of unmanned aircraft, including MQ-9B SkyGuardian/SeaGuardian, MQ-9A Reaper and MQ-1C Gray Eagle 25M.
Boeing has delivered the first AH-64E Apache Version 6, or v6, Apache helicopter featuring improved performance, sensors and software to the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF).
As part of a Foreign Military Sale through the U.S. Department of Defense, Boeing received a contract in 2019 to remanufacture 28 RNLAF AH-64 Apache D-model Apaches to the advanced AH-64E Apache v6. Delivery for the final E-model Apache to the country is targeted for 2025.
«The Apache is the most advanced and proven attack helicopter, and demand for it continues to increase worldwide», said Kathleen Jolivette, vice president of Attack Helicopter Programs and Senior Mesa Site Executive at Boeing. «By upgrading from the D-model to the E-model Apache, the Royal Netherlands Air Force will gain a significant increase in attack power, versatility and situational awareness for decades to come».
The Dutch have operated D-model Apaches since 1998. Deliveries of remanufactured E-model Apaches represents the next step in the long-term partnership between Boeing and the country. Apaches continue to be an important element of European defense, and are currently operated by several European allied nations.
«It is an honor to receive the first remanufactured Apache Echo. This updated attack helicopter is a great improvement and gives the Royal Netherlands Air Force more combat power and situational awareness. This first delivery is an important step in modernizing our entire Apache fleet», said Vice Admiral Arie Jan de Waard, the Director of the Defence Materiel Organisation.
The AH-64E Apache v6 is the most modern configuration of the Apache attack helicopter. Since 1984, over 2,600 Apaches have been delivered to the U.S. Army and 17 international customers. Currently, there are more than 1,260 Apaches operating worldwide with more than 665 representing the E-model.
The keel for the future USS Robert E. Simanek (ESB-7), a Lewis B. Puller-class Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB), was laid at General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (GD-NASSCO) shipyard in San Diego, October 21.
The ship is named for Private First Class Robert Ernest Simanek, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for shielding fellow Marines from a grenade at the Battle of Bunker Hill during the Korean War. The Medal of Honor was presented to him by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in a White House ceremony in 1953.
Simanek recently passed away on August 1, 2022. In addition to the Medal of Honor, he received a Purple Heart award, the Korean Service Medal with two bronze service stars, the United Nations Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal. His daughter, Ann Simanek, is the sponsor of the ship and attended the keel laying ceremony.
«We are honored this ship will celebrate the late Robert E. Simanek’s legacy as a Medal of Honor recipient and Korean War veteran and his dedication to our country», said Tim Roberts, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office Ships. «ESBs provide a critical capability to the fleet and provide for increased flexibility».
Expeditionary Sea Base ships are highly flexible platforms used across a broad range of military operations supporting multiple operational phases. Acting as a mobile sea base, they are a part of the critical access infrastructure that supports the deployment of forces and supplies to provide prepositioned equipment and sustainment with adaptable distribution capability.
These ships support Aviation Mine Countermeasure and Special Operations Force missions. In addition to the flight deck, the ESB has a hangar with two aviation operating spots capable of handling MH-53E Sea Dragon equivalent helicopters, accommodations, workspaces, and ordnance storage for embarked force, enhanced Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I). These ships support embarked force mission planning and execution and has a reconfigurable mission deck area to store embarked force equipment, including mine sleds and Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs).
In 2019, the Navy decided to commission all Expeditionary Sea Base ships to allow them to conduct a broader and more lethal mission set compared to original plans for them to operate with a USNS designation. A Navy O-6 commands ESBs and a hybrid-manned crew of military personnel and Military Sealift Command civilian mariners. This crew makeup provides combatant commanders with increased operational flexibility in employing the platform.
Construction of the future USS John L. Canley (ESB-6) and the Navy’s John Lewis Class Fleet Replenishment Oilers (T-AO) are ongoing at GD-NASSCO.
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, sealift ships, support ships, boats, and craft.
Trieste, October 22, 2022 took place at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Muggiano (La Spezia) the delivery of the Multipurpose Offshore Patrol ship (PPA – Pattugliatore Polivalente d’Altura) «Francesco Morosini» (P431), second of seven vessels all to be built at the Integrated Shipyard of Riva Trigoso and Muggiano with deliveries expected until 2026.
The PPAs 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).
Attended the event, among others, the Chief of the Italian Navy, Admiral OF-9 Enrico Credendino, and the General Manager Naval Vessels Division of Fincantieri, Dario Deste.
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, i.e., with electric motors for low speeds
Nexter and MBDA now offer a configuration of the NARWHAL (NAval Remote Weapon, Highly Accurate, Lightweight) turret that includes two pods of AKERON Moyenne Portée (AKERON MP) missiles. This configuration allows for easy installation on any version of the NARWHAL turret, including those already in service. This kit, presented for the first time at Euronaval, consists of two AKERON MP missile pods with the associated control electronics and an operator terminal.
The NARWHAL is a remotely operated 20-mm naval turret that can be integrated just as easily onto small patrol boats as onto frigates. Equipped with state-of-the-art optronics, including a day/night sight and a laser range finder, it is effective at more than 2,000 metres/6,562 feet thanks to its 20M621 gun.
The NARWHAL is already a commercial success, in service with six different navies. To meet their needs and those of future customers, our engineers are working to add new capabilities and options that enhance its operational effectiveness.
The NARWHAL turret presented on the Nexter stand is paired with a manual target designator: the Short-Range Pointer (SRP), designed by the German firm Hensoldt. With this easy-to-use tool, an onboard operator can quickly designate a target to the NARWHAL by pointing a laser beam.
The AKERON MP missile (formerly known as the Missile Moyenne Portée, MMP) has been available to French forces since 2017 and has already been selected by five countries, including three in Europe. It is the only latest-generation land combat missile in service to have been successfully engaged in operations on multiple occasions. With more than 150 test and training firings to its credit, the AKERON MP is capable of dealing with all battlefield threats in all types of environment: extreme heat and cold, urban spaces, maritime areas, and mountainous terrain. Finally, a naval capability is being implemented on the AKERON MP missile to facilitate the acquisition of small targets and signatures from naval platforms, including with a mast-mounted configuration, and provide these platforms with an enhanced self-defence capability in coastal environments against sea- or land-based asymmetric threats. AKERON MP offers both «fire-and-forget» and «man-in-the-loop» capability (for engagements where there is a risk of collateral damage).
The integration of MBDA’s anti-missile system on the NARWHAL turret means that the AKERON MP is now available on a new naval platform, as the system also comes in a dismounted version on a light firing post, as well as on a range of other platforms, such as armoured vehicles, light vehicles, ECUME semi-rigid commando boats, fast patrol boats, or larger ships for close protection needs.
On 21st October 2022, the first block of the first FDI HN frigate (Defense and Intervention Frigate) for the Hellenic Navy was laid down in dry dock at Naval Group’s shipyard in Lorient in presence of Vice Admiral Stylianos Petrakis, Chief of Hellenic Navy General Staff. This important step marks the beginning of the assembly of the ship in the building hall.
On 24th March 2022, Greece chose to equip its naval forces with three defence and intervention frigates, plus one optional, and their in-service support. The FDI HN, designed and produced by Naval Group in Lorient, 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.
Vice Admiral Stylianos Petrakis declared: «I am very proud that, as the Chief of the Hellenic Navy General Staff, I am attending the placement in the dry dock of the first FDI HN frigate’s first block. Our aspiration is that the FDI HN will become the spearhead of the Hellenic Fleet and will provide us with new operational capabilities in the near future. As such, the FDI HN program signals our countries will to stand together with solidarity against any threats and sets the foundations of the European defence of tomorrow».
Olivier de la Bourdonnaye, Executive Vice President for Programs at Naval Group, said: «We are proud to be here today to mark this major milestone in the industrial production of the first defence and intervention frigate for the Hellenic Navy. These multi-role, cyber-secure and scalable ships will ensure the superiority of information, engagement and sovereignty of the Hellenic naval forces».
A major program for the Hellenic industry
Thanks to a robust cooperation plan with the Hellenic industry (HIP, Hellenic Industry Participation Plan), the FDI HN program offers numerous industrial opportunities for Greece, creating jobs and added value in the country.
Naval Group’s teams have already established numerous partnerships with Greek industrial players and signed various contracts with the Hellenic industry. Naval Group’s Hellenic Industrial Participation plan will thus contribute to the construction of the FDI HN but also to the creation of a robust naval industrial ecosystem. The structured and longterm partnership proposed by Naval Group will foster production in Greece but also the capability to address future needs.
In this regard, on the 18th of October 2022, several contracts and framework agreements were signed between Naval Group and Greek companies during Euronaval, covering Platform and Combat Systems activities.
FDI HN, a powerful, innovative and cyber-secure multi-role combat 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 protection 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 meters/400 feet
18 meters/59 feet
27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h
10-ton class helicopter, VTOL Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
Northrop Grumman Corporation has delivered the first two 63-inch-diameter/160-centimeter- diameter extended length Graphite Epoxy Motors (GEM 63XL) to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida.
The solid rocket boosters will support the inaugural flight of United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Vulcan Centaur rocket planned for first quarter 2023. At approximately 72-feet-long/22-meters-long, and weighing over 117,000 pounds/53,070 kg, the GEM 63XL is the longest monolithic single-cast solid rocket motor ever produced. Together the two boosters will provide nearly one million pounds of additional thrust for ULA’s Vulcan rocket with each booster contributing over 463,200 pounds/210,104 kgf of thrust at launch.
Lockheed Martin is now under contract to deliver three Orion spacecraft to NASA for its Artemis VI-VIII missions, continuing the delivery of exploration vehicles to the agency to carry astronauts into deep space and around the Moon supporting the Artemis program.
Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor to NASA for the Orion program and has completed two Orion vehicles – EFT-1 which flew in 2014, and Artemis I, which is weeks away from its launch to the Moon – and is actively building vehicles for the Artemis II-V missions.
«Lockheed Martin is honored to partner with NASA to deliver Orion spacecraft for NASA’s Artemis missions. This order includes spacecraft, mission planning and support, and takes us into the 2030s», said Lisa Callahan, vice president and general manager for Commercial Civil Space, Lockheed Martin. «We’re on the eve of a historic launch kicking off the Artemis era and this contract shows NASA is making long-term plans toward living and working on the Moon, while also having a forward focus on getting humans to Mars».
This order marks the second three missions under the agency’s Orion Production and Operations Contract (OPOC), an Indefinite-Delivery, Indefinite-Quantity (IDIQ) contract for up to 12 vehicles. A breakout of these orders includes:
2019: NASA initiates OPOC IDIQ and orders three Orion spacecraft for Artemis
2022: NASA orders three additional Orion spacecraft missions for Artemis VI-VIII for $1.99 billion.
In the future: NASA can order an additional six Orion missions.
Under OPOC, Lockheed Martin and NASA have reduced the costs on Orion by 50% per vehicle on Artemis III through Artemis V, compared to vehicles built during the design and development phase. The vehicles built for Artemis VI, VII and VIII will see an additional 30% cost reduction.
«We’re achieving substantial cost savings from Artemis III through Artemis VIII by extensive structure and system reuse and incorporating advanced digital design and manufacturing processes», said Tonya Ladwig, Orion vice president and program manager at Lockheed Martin Space. «The Artemis II vehicle will reuse select avionics from the Artemis I crew module, and that reuse will continue to dramatically increase to where the Artemis III pressure vessel capsule will be entirely refurbished for the Artemis VI mission».
Additionally, the company will drive out cost from these production vehicles through material and component bulk buys from suppliers and an accelerated mission cadence.
With the Artemis I Orion spacecraft currently on top of the Space Launch System rocket, there are two other Orion vehicles undergoing assembly at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Artemis II and III. Work is well under way on the Artemis IV craft including welding the pressure vessel together at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility near New Orleans and the heat shield at Lockheed Martin’s facility near Denver, and work has already begun on the Artemis V vehicle.
Sensor specialist HENSOLDT is supplying four of its high-performance radars in record time for Diehl Defence’s IRIS-T SLM air defence system, which is designed to strengthen Ukraine’s defence capability. As part of an order from Diehl Defence worth a two-digit million euro sum, one of the TRML-4D radars has already been delivered, with three more to follow within a few months.
Thomas Müller, CEO of HENSOLDT, said: «The situation in Ukraine requires quick and decisive action. Due to a serial production line and the commitment of our employees, we are able to deliver such systems to protect the population in the shortest possible time».
TRML-4D uses the latest Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar technology with multiple digitally shaped beams. It is capable of detecting, tracking and classifying various types of aerial targets, with a focus on small, fast and low-flying and/or manoeuvring cruise missiles and aircraft, as well as hovering helicopters. It ensures the rapid detection and tracking of some 1,500 targets in a radius of up to 250 km/155 miles.
HENSOLDT has decades of experience with radar systems for air defence and actively drives the further development of key technologies in this field. In addition to the TRML-4D multifunction radar, the company’s portfolio also includes the Twinvis passive radar, the Spexer product family and radars for securing ship and air traffic. HENSOLDT supplies radars for the new frigates and corvettes of the German Navy, for airspace surveillance and for approach control at airfields of the German Armed Forces, among others.
As purely German systems, HENSOLDT’s solutions are not dependent on foreign technology and therefore offer the highest degree of approvability and certifiability for operation in Germany, as well as the highest possible security of supply. At the same time, they are fully compatible with NATO’s integrated air defence architecture.