All posts by Dmitry Shulgin

Full operational
capability

The Department of the U.S. Navy recently declared the Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) C-1 ready for full operational capability.

JSOW C-1 achieves full operational capability
JSOW C-1 achieves full operational capability

All U.S. squadrons are now outfitted with JSOW C-1, the U.S. Navy’s first air-to-ground network-enabled weapon capable of attacking stationary land and moving maritime targets.

«Formal declaration of full operational capability for JSOW C-1 is the final step in a phased approach to introducing this weapon and its capabilities to the fleet», said Commander Sam Messer, JSOW deputy program manager. «It is the culmination of a complete team effort to deliver not only the hardware, but the training, tactics development and support infrastructure to ensure we field a meaningful warfighting capability».

JSOW C-1 reached initial operational capability in 2016. The program then began a series of four fleet-wide exercises that demonstrated the capabilities of the weapon in increasingly complex scenarios.

The road to full operational capability began with RIMPAC 2016 where the JSOW training team executed a virtual network-enabled weapon mission during the harbor phase. The two-day training mission culminated in the loading of Super Hornet mission cards with the appropriate keys and JSOW files for Carrier Air Wing Nine (CVW-9) to fly a JSOW C-1 mission.

A month later, using real-time lessons learned from RIMPAC, CVW-5 executed the first operational shots of live JSOW C-1’s during the Valiant Shield 2016 SINKEX, resulting in high-order impacts and sinking of the former USS Rentz (FFG-46), Oliver Hazard Perry-class of guided missile frigate.

This event included multiple firsts for JSOW including the first ever operational employment of an air-launched network-enabled weapon and receipt of targeting data from the Littoral Surveillance Radar System (LSRS).

In support of the SINKEX, the JSOW team delivered four Captive Air Training Missiles (CATMs) to CVW-5 in Atsugi, Japan ahead of schedule. Naval Air Facility Atsugi was the first fleet location to receive the JSOW C-1 CATM.

Next, JSOW C-1 engaged in Northern Edge 2017, a contingency exercise that prepares joint U.S. forces to respond to crises in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. During this joint forces exercise, at the Gulf of Alaska and around central Alaska, approximately 6,000 military members gather to take on the most challenging scenarios in the Pacific theater.

Northern Edge 17 facilitated network-enabled weapon kill-chain Concept of Operations (CONOPS) development at all threat levels, including the contribution of off-board joint participants in tactical scenarios.

The JSOW training team also delivered CATM training to Top Gun and the Naval Air Warfare Development Center at Naval Air Station (NAS) Fallon, Nevada, and CVW-9 at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, in preparation for the exercise.

Following Northern Edge, the JSOW team embarked aboard the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) in support of coalition network-enabled weapon operations during exercise Talisman Sabre 2017. The biennial combined Australian and United States event is designed to train military forces in planning and conducting combined task force operations to improve the combat readiness and interoperability between the two militaries.

Twelve maritime strike exercise events were conducted employing embedded Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Super Hornets with JSOW C-1 CATMs alongside their U.S. Navy counterparts. RAAF Super Hornets carried JSOW C-1 free-flight vehicles, while U.S. Navy Super Hornets were outfitted with JSOW C-1 CATMs.

This latest JSOW variant includes GPS/Inertial Navigation System (INS) guidance, terminal InfraRed (IR) seeker and a Link 16 weapon data link.

AGM-154A Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW)
AGM-154A Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW)

National security

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 on October 15 at 3:28 a.m. EDT. Designated NROL-52, the mission is in support of national security.

An Atlas V rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 with the National Reconnaissance Office's NROL-52 payload (United Launch Alliance/Jeff Spotts)
An Atlas V rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 with the National Reconnaissance Office’s NROL-52 payload (United Launch Alliance/Jeff Spotts)

«Today’s launch is a testament to the tireless dedication of the ULA team, demonstrating why ULA continues to serve as our nation’s most dependable and successful launch provider», said Laura Maginnis, ULA vice president of Government Satellite Launch. «After recovering from Hurricane Irma that came through the area last month, and the last week’s weather challenges, the team found the right opportunity today to deliver this critical national asset to orbit».

This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) 421 configuration vehicle, which includes a 4-meter/13-foot PayLoad Fairing (PLF) and two solid rocket boosters. The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine, and the Centaur upper stage was powered by the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C-1 engine.

This is ULA’s 7th launch in 2017 and the 122nd successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.

«I want to thank the entire ULA team and our mission partners at the NRO and U.S. Air Force (USAF) who made this, our 26th NRO launch, successful», said Maginnis.

The EELV program was established by the USAF to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense and other government payloads. The commercially developed EELV program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the legacy launch systems.

ULA’s next launch is the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 for NASA and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The launch is scheduled for November 10 at 1:47 a.m. PST from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 120 satellites to orbit that aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, provide critical capabilities for troops in the field and enable personal device-based GPS navigation.

Atlas V NROL-52 Launch Highlights

 

A 4-meter diameter payload fairing, with the National Reconnaissance Office's NROL-52 mission encapsulated inside, is mated to an Atlas V rocket at the Vertical Integration Facility at Cape Canaveral's Space Launch Complex-41
A 4-meter diameter payload fairing, with the National Reconnaissance Office’s NROL-52 mission encapsulated inside, is mated to an Atlas V rocket at the Vertical Integration Facility at Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex-41

Christening of Dakota

The U.S. Navy christened its newest attack submarine, the future USS South Dakota (SSN-790), during a 10 a.m. EDT ceremony Saturday, October 14, at General Dynamics Electric Boat Shipyard in Groton, Connecticut.

Ship sponsor, Deanie Dempsey, christens the USS South Dakota
Ship sponsor, Deanie Dempsey, christens the USS South Dakota

Governor of South Dakota Dennis Daugaard delivered the ceremony’s principal address. The submarine’s sponsor is Mrs. Deanie Dempsey, wife of the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey. The ceremony was highlighted by Mrs. Dempsey breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow to formally christen the ship, a time-honored U.S. Navy tradition.

«Today’s christening of South Dakota brings this submarine one step closer to joining our strong fleet», said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. «For decades to come, this boat and the Sailors who will serve on it will stand as a tribute to the patriotic people of South Dakota and a testament to the value of the partnership between the Department of the Navy and our industry teammates».

USS South Dakota, a Virginia-class submarine designated SSN-790, is the third ship to bear the state’s name. The second ship was a battleship that stood as the lead ship of her class and earned 13 battle stars during her extensive service in the Pacific theater during World War II.

USS South Dakota (SSN-790) is the 17th Virginia-class attack submarine and the seventh Virginia-class Block III submarine. The ship began construction in 2013 and is contracted to deliver in August 2018. USS South Dakota (SSN-790) will provide the U.S. Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation’s undersea superiority well into the 21st century.

Block III Virginia-class submarines feature a redesigned bow, which replaces 12 individual launch tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs), each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Virginia-class submarines are built to operate in the world’s littoral and deep waters while conducting anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface ship warfare; strike warfare; special operation forces support; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. Their inherent stealth, endurance, mobility and firepower directly enable them to support five of the six maritime strategy core capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence.

The USS South Dakota crew poses at the site of SSN 790’s construction in Groton, Connecticut
The USS South Dakota crew poses at the site of SSN 790’s construction in Groton, Connecticut

 

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/10.06 m
Hull Diameter 34 feet/10.36 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 2 × 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)
The official crest for the USS South Dakota (SSN-790) includes a wide variety of imagery representing South Dakota and its history
The official crest for the USS South Dakota (SSN-790) includes a wide variety of imagery representing South Dakota and its history

 

Block III

Ship Yard Christening Commissioned Homeport
SSN-784 North Dakota EB 11-2-13 10-25-14 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-785 John Warner NNS 09-06-14 08-01-15 Norfolk, Virginia
SSN-786 Illinois EB 10-10-15 10-29-16 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-787 Washington NNS 03-05-16 10-07-17 Norfolk, Virginia
SSN-788 Colorado EB 12-03-16
SSN-789 Indiana NNS 04-29-17
SSN-790 South Dakota EB 10-14-17
SSN-791 Delaware NNS Under Construction

 

Overmatch capabilities

Raytheon Missile Systems has presented its offering for the U.S. Army’s Long-Range Precision Fires (LRPF) program, a precision-guided missile aptly named DeepStrike. Raytheon Company to flight test DeepStrike missile in 2019.

Raytheon is developing the DeepStrike missile for the U.S. Army's Long-Range Precision Fires (LRPF) program
Raytheon is developing the DeepStrike missile for the U.S. Army’s Long-Range Precision Fires (LRPF) program

Preserving peace and stability around the world calls for an «overmatch», an affordable solution that offers greater range, precision and combat power than that of potential adversaries. Raytheon is answering the call with the new DeepStrike missile, a longer-range weapon based on advanced technologies that will allow the U.S. Army to field twice as many missiles on its existing launch vehicles.

The new DeepStrike missile was developed for the Army’s Long-Range Precision Fires requirement. The launcher will fire two missiles from a single weapons pod, an innovative and differentiated design that slashes the cost to the customer and doubles the combat power. The missile flies farther, packs more punch and incorporates a more superior guidance system than the current weapon, which is rapidly becoming obsolete.

Raytheon’s DeepStrike missile will integrate with the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) and M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) rocket launchers. The range and speed of the new missile will enable Army combat units to engage targets over vast geographic areas in high-threat environments.

As the next generation of surface-to-surface weapon for the Army, the DeepStrike missile will:

  • offer a low-cost solution;
  • double the firepower;
  • defeat fixed land targets at 186-310 miles/300-499 kilometers;
  • improve lethality and target set over current systems.

Raytheon is a preferred provider of overmatch solutions for both U.S. and international ground forces. The company is also building partnerships with international firms to offer new combat solutions based on existing technologies and future innovations.

Armed JLTV

Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation company, showcased two variants of its Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) with next generation lethality and networking capabilities at the AUSA Conference 2017. The vehicles were on display at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. from October 9-11, 2017.

Oshkosh Defense showcases JLTV vehicles with next generation weapon integration capabilities at AUSA 2017
Oshkosh Defense showcases JLTV vehicles with next generation weapon integration capabilities at AUSA 2017

«The Oshkosh JLTV is engineered to support a wide range of mission kits and weapon systems required for the modern battlefield», said John Bryant, Senior Vice President of Oshkosh Corporation and President of Oshkosh Defense. «Our JLTV will replace existing light tactical vehicles with a platform that is flexible, scalable, and customizable for specific missions ‘outside the wire’. We are proud to be demonstrating this JLTV capability».

The JLTV Family of Vehicles was designed with room for growth to provide Warfighters with next-generation protected mobility in the light vehicle class, while supporting advanced networking and increased fire power. The JLTV General Purpose vehicle on display in the Oshkosh booth is equipped with a Boeing Compact Laser Weapon System (CLWS), a Kongsberg Protector LW 30 Remote Weapon System (RWS) with a M230LF cannon, and a communications suite that includes a Thales VRC-111 and Thales VRC-121 VIPER.

The JLTV Utility vehicle on display (shown above) is equipped with the Boeing Maneuver Short Range Air Defense (SHORAD) Launcher including a M3P .50 cal/12.7-mm machine gun, M299 launcher with four Longbow Hellfire missiles, sensor suite, and a communications suite including a Thales VRC-111.

A third Oshkosh JLTV, a General-Purpose vehicle, will be on the show floor in the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems booth #1911, showcasing Rafael’s Samson RWS Dual Stabilized Remote Weapon Systems (RWS) with M230 LF, and the Trophy Light Active Protection System (APS).

«The JLTV program continues to be run as a model program», said Dave Diersen, Vice President and General Manager of Joint Programs, Oshkosh Defense. «Working closely with our government customer, we have completed Reliability Qualification Testing, accumulating over 100,000 miles/160,934 km and exceeding reliability requirements. Production ramp up is on track and Oshkosh has delivered over 600 vehicles. We are very pleased with program progress and look forward to a successful Full Rate Production (FRP) decision in Fiscal Year 2019».

An additional LCS

The U.S. Navy awarded the Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) team a contract to build an additional LCS. The contract value is under the 2017 congressional cost cap of $584 million per ship.

The future USS Little Rock (LCS-9), the fifth Freedom-variant LCS delivered to the U.S. Navy, underway during Acceptance Trials in Lake Michigan on August 25, 2017
The future USS Little Rock (LCS-9), the fifth Freedom-variant LCS delivered to the U.S. Navy, underway during Acceptance Trials in Lake Michigan on August 25, 2017

LCS-27 will be built at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, the Midwest’s only naval shipyard, and is the 14th Freedom-variant LCS ordered by the U.S. Navy to date.

«We are excited to continue our partnership with the U.S. Navy to build and deliver these capable ships to the fleet», said Joe DePietro, vice president of small surface combatants and ship systems. «With the Freedom-variant now in serial production, our team is increasing efficiency with each ship produced and working to maintain ship and program affordability».

Since the LCS program’s inception, Freedom-variant LCS production has injected hundreds of millions of dollars into local economies throughout the Midwest. The program supports thousands of direct and indirect jobs throughout the United States, including more than 7,500 in Michigan and Wisconsin alone.

«Every day, more than 2,500 workers pass through our shipyard’s gates, put on their hard hats and proudly build these American warships», said Jan Allman, FMM president and CEO. «Our workforce takes great pride in building these ships for the U.S. Navy and we are grateful for the opportunity to build another ship on our hot production line».

The Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine team is currently in full-rate production of the Freedom-variant, and has delivered five ships to the U.S. Navy to date, including the future USS Little Rock (LCS-9) which was delivered to the U.S. Navy on September 25. There are seven ships in various stages of construction at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, with two more in long-lead production.

The Freedom-variant LCS team is comprised of Lockheed Martin, shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine, naval architect Gibbs & Cox, and more than 800 suppliers in 42 states. The industry team invested over $ 100 million to modernize the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard, hire additional staff and train a new workforce. This private investment helped the shipyard achieve full-rate production and create new Midwest manufacturing jobs.

 

Ship Design Specifications

Hull Advanced semiplaning steel monohull
Length Overall 389 feet/118.6 m
Beam Overall 57 feet/17.5 m
Draft 13.5 feet/4.1 m
Full Load Displacement Approximately 3,200 metric tons
Top Speed Greater than 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
Range at top speed 1,000 NM/1,151 miles/1,852 km
Range at cruise speed 4,000 NM/4,603 miles/7,408 km
Watercraft Launch and Recovery Up to Sea State 4
Aircraft Launch and Recovery Up to Sea State 5
Propulsion Combined diesel and gas turbine with steerable water jet propulsion
Power 85 MW/113,600 horsepower
Hangar Space Two MH-60 Romeo Helicopters
One MH-60 Romeo Helicopter and three Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (VTUAVs)
Core Crew Less than 50
Accommodations for 75 sailors provide higher sailor quality of life than current fleet
Integrated Bridge System Fully digital nautical charts are interfaced to ship sensors to support safe ship operation
Core Self-Defense Suite Includes 3D air search radar
Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) gunfire control system
Rolling-Airframe Missile Launching System
57-mm Main Gun
Mine, Torpedo Detection
Decoy Launching System

 

Freedom-class

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Freedom (LCS-1) 06-02-2005 09-23-2006 11-08-2008 San Diego, California
USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) 07-11-2009 12-07-2010 09-22-2012 San Diego, California
USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) 10-27-2011 12-18-2013 11-21-2015 San Diego, California
USS Detroit (LCS-7) 08-11-2012 10-18-2014 10-22-2016 San Diego, California
USS Little Rock (LCS-9) 06-27-2013 07-18-2015
USS Sioux City (LCS-11) 02-19-2014 01-30-2016
USS Wichita (LCS-13) 02-09-2015 09-17-2016
USS Billings (LCS-15) 11-02-2015 07-01-2017
USS Indianapolis (LCS-17) 07-18-2016
USS St. Louis (LCS-19) 05-17-2017
USS Minneapolis/St. Paul (LCS-21)
USS Cooperstown (LCS-23)
USS Marinette LCS-25
LCS-27

 

Stryker-mounted Stinger

Responding to the U.S. Army’s urgent need for mobile air defense to protect ground troops, Raytheon Company integrated and demonstrated a Stinger air defense missile mounted on a Stryker armored fighting vehicle.

Raytheon offers Stryker-mounted Stinger missile for U.S. Army mobile air defense
Raytheon offers Stryker-mounted Stinger missile for U.S. Army mobile air defense

Raytheon incorporated the Stinger missile into a Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station, or CROWS, and mounted it on a Stryker. During a late September demonstration at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the Army fired Stinger missiles from a Stryker vehicle and successfully intercepted airborne targets.

«With so many airborne threats in the battlespace, our ground forces need the protection of additional mobile air defense systems», said Kim Ernzen, Raytheon Land Warfare Systems vice president. «Combining these two proven systems gives the Army an immediate, low risk, high-value solution».

The Army is now evaluating the Stinger missile/Stryker vehicle solution.

The Stinger weapon system is a lightweight, self-contained air defense system that can be rapidly deployed by ground troops and on military platforms. It’s combat proven in four major conflicts and in use by more than 20 nations as well as all four U.S. military services.

Next-Generation Sensor

Lockheed Martin received $337 million in orders to supply Apache Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M‑TADS/PNVS) systems and services to the United States, United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Lockheed Martin delivering next-generation Apache Sensor Systems under new U.S. army contract (Photo credit: Lockheed Martin)
Lockheed Martin delivering next-generation Apache Sensor Systems under new U.S. army contract (Photo credit: Lockheed Martin)

The awards are part of an initial task order under a new Indefinite-Delivery/Indefinite-Quantity (ID/IQ) contract signed with the U.S. Army. The ID/IQ, with at least $2 billion in potential orders and a five-year period of performance, serves as the contracting vehicle to provide M‑TADS/PNVS systems and services to U.S. and international customers.

«Lockheed Martin is committed to a strong and sustained partnership with our customers in the United States and around the world», said Paul Lemmo, vice president of Fire Control/Special Operations Forces Contractor Logistics Support Services at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «This contract enables us to respond rapidly to their emerging defense needs, including requirements for new M-TADS/PNVS systems and upgrades».

Under an order for the U.S. Army, Lockheed Martin is providing upgrade kits for the M‑TADS/PNVS Modernized Day Sensor Assembly (M-DSA) and Modernized Laser Range Finder Designator. For the U.K. Ministry of Defence, it is delivering M-DSA upgrade kits for M-TADS/PNVS refurbishment as part of a remanufacture effort to upgrade D-model Apaches to E models. For the Saudi Ministry of National Guard, it is providing M‑TADS/PNVS systems for new E-model Apaches.

M-TADS/PNVS, known as the «eyes of the Apache», provides pilots with long-range, precision engagement and pilotage capabilities for safe flight during day, night and adverse weather missions. M-DSA increases M-TADS/PNVS designation and ranging capabilities to fully accommodate current weapons and those planned for the future. The upgraded sensor enables Apache pilots to see high-resolution, high-definition, near-infrared and color imagery on cockpit displays. M-DSA also provides a new laser pointer marker that improves coordination with ground troops, and an updated multi-mode laser with eye-safe range designation that supports flight in urban environments and critical training exercises.

Preserving Peace,
Prepared for War

The U.S. Navy with assistance from the submarine’s sponsor Elisabeth Mabus, daughter of the 75th Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, commissioned and brought to life the newest Virginia class submarine, USS Washington (SSN-787), during a ceremony on board Naval Station Norfolk, October 7.

USS Washington Brought to Life, Commissioned at Naval Station Norfolk
USS Washington Brought to Life, Commissioned at Naval Station Norfolk

Washington, named in honor of the 42nd state, is the 14th Virginia-class, fast-attack submarine to join the U.S. Navy’s operational fleet. Elisabeth Mabus expressed how proud she was of the crew and their families.

«I know, though you are all eager to set out on the Washington, this like all naval service will requires you to be away from your families for long stretches, so thank you to the families», said Mabus. «In a very real sense you are plank owners of this ship as well».

Mabus gave the order to «man our ship and bring her to life» before the crew of about 130 men ran across the brow, onto the vessel.

Washington is the fourth of eight Block III Virginia-class submarines to be built. The Block III submarines are built with new Virginia Payload Tubes (VPT) designed to lower costs and increase missile-firing payload possibilities. The first 10 Block I and Block II Virginia class submarines have 12 individual 21-inch/53.34 cm diameter vertical launch tubes able to fire Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMS). The Block III submarines are built with two-larger 87-inch/2.2 m diameter tubes able to house six TLAMS each.

«We won’t know what challenges we will face as a nation in 10, 15 or 20 years, but we know because of the work being done now at Newport News and Electric Boat and by the Sailors who call this ship home, USS Washington will be prepared for whatever is to come», said Mabus.

USS Washington (SSN-787) commanding officer, Commander Gabriel Cavazos, highlighted the Washington’s capability to dominate the undersea domain and enable military success in any engagement.

«As I have told the crew on many occasions, they are the most important component of the ship. They give the ship its personality and warfighting spirit. Without the crew, Washington would not be the warfighting platform she was built to be; however, combine the two, and, together, we are the Blackfish», said Cavazos.

«Today USS Washington is alive and stands ready for mission. Thank you for being here to celebrate this momentous occasion with us», said Cavazos.

Washington is the fourth U.S. Navy ship, and first submarine, to be named honoring the State of Washington. The previous three ships were an armored cruiser, (ACR-11), which served from 1905 to 1916, the battleship (BB-47) a Colorado-class battleship launched in 1921 and sunk as a gunnery target in 1924 after her construction was halted, and the battleship (BB-56) credited with sinking more enemy tonnage than any other U.S. Navy battleship during World War II, serving from 1941 to 1947.

USS Washington (SSN-787) is a flexible, multi-mission platform designed to carry out the seven core competencies of the submarine force: Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW); Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW); delivery of special operations forces; strike warfare; irregular warfare; Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR); and mine warfare. Their inherent stealth, endurance, mobility, and firepower directly enable them to support five of the six maritime strategy core capabilities: sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence.

The submarine is 377 feet/114.8 m long, has a 34-foot/10.36 m beam, and will be able to dive to depths greater than 800+ feet/244+ m and operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots/28+ mph/46.3+ km/h submerged. It will operate for over 30 years without ever refueling.

Construction on Washington began September 2011; the submarine’s keel was authenticated during a ceremony on November 22, 2014; and the submarine was christened during a ceremony March 5, 2016.

The submarine's sponsor was Elisabeth Mabus, daughter of the 75th Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus
The submarine’s sponsor was Elisabeth Mabus, daughter of the 75th Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus

 

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 2 × 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)
USS Washington is the U.S. Navy’s 14th Virginia-Class attack submarine and the third commissioned Navy ship named for the State of Washington (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jeffrey M. Richardson/Released)
USS Washington is the U.S. Navy’s 14th Virginia-Class attack submarine and the third commissioned Navy ship named for the State of Washington (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jeffrey M. Richardson/Released)

 

Block III

Ship Yard Christening Commissioned Homeport
SSN-784 North Dakota EB 11-2-13 10-25-14 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-785 John Warner NNS 09-06-14 08-01-15 Norfolk, Virginia
SSN-786 Illinois EB 10-10-15 10-29-16 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-787 Washington NNS 03-05-16 10-07-17  Norfolk, Virginia
SSN-788 Colorado EB 12-03-16
SSN-789 Indiana NNS 04-29-17
SSN-790 South Dakota EB Under Construction
SSN-791 Delaware NNS Under Construction

 

Pre-Commissioning Unit Washington (SSN-787) pulls into Naval Station Norfolk after completing sea trials. Washington is scheduled to be commissioned October 7, 2017 at Naval Station Norfolk

Autonomous Guidance

In line with its strategy of innovation for the future of vertical flight, Airbus Helicopters is developing an experimental on board image processing management system aimed at performing automatic approaches and landing in challenging conditions, as well as paving the way for future sense & avoid applications on autonomous Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) systems.

Project Eagle aims at improving safety and automation capabilities for existing and future platforms
Project Eagle aims at improving safety and automation capabilities for existing and future platforms

Codenamed Eagle, for Eye for Autonomous Guidance and Landing Extension, this system federates the entire helicopter’s image processing functions and feeds them into the avionics system, thus improving the crew’s situation awareness and reducing the pilot’s workload by automating and securing approaches, take-off and landing in the most demanding environments. Ground tests of Eagle have been ongoing since May this year and initial flights tests on a testbed helicopter will begin shortly.

«While existing missions such as search and rescue and offshore transportation will benefit from Eagle’s capabilities, the system will also help address future requirements for operations in urban environments», said Tomasz Krysinski, Airbus Helicopters Vice-President Research & Technology. «Ultimately, thanks to its ability to provide increased situation awareness, Eagle will also contribute to improve the safety, autonomy and performance of future unmanned vehicles».

The system, which could be embedded in a variety of existing and future Airbus VTOL vehicles, relies on a gyro-stabilized optronics package, which includes three high resolution cameras and state-of-the-art processing units, as well as on-board video analytics providing advanced functionalities such as object detection and tracking, digital noise reduction as well as deep learning.

Future versions of the Eagle system will also integrate a laser, which combined with the high processing capability could open the door to other applications such as a new generation of search lights, obstacles detection and 3D terrain reconstruction.