All posts by Dmitry Shulgin

The Apocalypse Machine

As is known, the Vanguard-class is a British class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) in service with the Royal Navy. Commissioned into service between 1993 and 1999, HMS Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant, and Vengeance were originally designed for a 25-year lifespan. However, this has been extended by up to 13 years, postponing the requirement for a new class of SSBN and bringing the procurement timeframe into line with the Ohio-class replacement program (U.S. Navy).

The first computer generated image of the replacement to the Vanguard class
The first computer generated image of the replacement to the Vanguard class

According to Jon Rosamond, USNI News, the concept work on Britain’s so-called Successor SSBN began in 2007, with the Ministry of Defense appointing an industry team consisting of shipbuilder and design lead BAE Systems plus Babcock (providing the torpedo handling/launch system, signal ejector system, and through-life support expertise) and Rolls-Royce (responsible for the nuclear steam-raising plant). The MOD approved the so-called «Initial Gate» business case for the new submarines in 2011, releasing funds for a five-year assessment phase intended to bring the design to 70 percent maturity.

In 2013, BAE Systems has been awarded contracts totaling £79 million by the UK Ministry of Defence to begin procuring its first long lead items for the Vanguard Successor programme, which will carry the nation’s nuclear deterrent capability from 2028. The MOD released a concept image depicting an aggressively raked sail, X-shaped stern, and bowplanes located below the waterline when the boat is surfaced. Displacing about 17,000 tons, Successor will be slightly larger than the UK’s current SSBNs (15,900 tons).

Propulsion system components, high-grade steel for the pressure hull and other critical long-lead items for the first ship have now been ordered and some manufacturing activities have started. Tony Johns, Managing Director of BAE Systems Maritime – Submarines, said: «Following the Government’s announcement in May 2011 that the programme had passed its «Initial Gate», it is now well into its third year of a five-year design and development phase, during which the submarine’s concept design and operational requirements are being matured into a detailed design. The «Main Gate» procurement decision – giving permission to proceed for full production – is due in 2016».

By aligning the procurement of the Vanguard and Ohio replacements, the U.K. opened up opportunities for collaborative work with the United States in several areas, notably the design of the Common Missile Compartment (CMC) and the nuclear powerplant, and the integration of sonar arrays and associated combat systems.

HMS Victorious is pictured near Faslane in Scotland
HMS Victorious is pictured near Faslane in Scotland

Although Successor will be fitted with three quad-pack CMC modules, providing 12 launch tubes for Trident D5 ballistic missiles (down from Vanguard‘s 16 tubes), the British government has decided that just 8 operational missiles will be routinely carried on patrol. Meanwhile, General Dynamics Electric Boat will supply outfitted tubes – 87 inches (2.21 m) in diameter and 45 feet (13.72 m) high – for CMC assembly in the U.K.

In October 2014, the U.S. Navy awarded Electric Boat $84 million to start CMC missile tube manufacturing: 12 for the Successor lead ship, 4 for the Ohio replacement program and 1 for the Strategic Weapons System-Ashore test facility at Cape Canaveral. Meanwhile Rolls-Royce is developing the RN’s third-generation pressurized water reactor (PWR3) with technological support from the United States, under the terms of a 1958 intergovernmental agreement to share atomic energy technology for defense purposes. The PWR3 design has benefitted in particular from lessons learned with the S9G reactor that powers the Virginia-class submarines.

Compared with the Vanguards’ PWR2 system (27,500 shp, 20.5 MW), the PWR3 has a simpler circulation design and should be easier to operate. According to Rolls-Royce representatives, it promises a «huge improvement in terms of safety, integrity and availability, while at the same time reducing the through-life costs».

Vanguards’ PWR2 system (27,500 shp, 20.5 MW)
Vanguards’ PWR2 system (27,500 shp, 20.5 MW)

Meanwhile, the U.K. is also participating in the U.S.-led Trident missile life-extension program, which will keep the D5 ballistic vehicle – capable of delivering up to 12 independently targetable nuclear warheads – in service into the 2040s.

One major decision remains outstanding: Whether to replace the Vanguards on a one-for-one basis, at an estimated cost of $17.28-$22 billion (at 2006/07 prices), or attempt to benefit from improved reliability and maintainability by ordering just three SSBN submarines. However, the cost savings inherent in a three-boat solution would be too small compared with total program expenditure, and the RN believes that 4 SSBNs is the minimum required to maintain a credible and continuous at-sea deterrent.

«We have a proud history of collaboration with the United States on submarine programs and I’m pleased to say that continues today», Will Blamey, the Successor program director at BAE Systems Submarines said. «We’re more than halfway through the five-year assessment phase and are making good progress with the submarine design. We’re fully focused on achieving our program objectives and remain confident the first submarine will be in service by 2028».

 

Striking Distance

The U.S. Air Force has approved full rate production for Lockheed Martin’s Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range (JASSM-ER).

JASSM-ER is integrated on the U.S. Air Force’s B-1B
First B-1B live JASSM drop. China Lake Range

JASSM-ER successfully completed U.S. Air Force Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) flight-testing in 2013. During IOT&E, the program had a 95 percent success rate, scoring 20 successes in 21 flights. Lots 11 and 12 of the JASSM contract awarded in December 2013 included 100 ER missiles.

«The full rate production decision demonstrates that our customer, at all levels of the U.S. Air Force, has confidence in JASSM-ER», said Jason Denney, long-range strike systems program director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «JASSM-ER provides warfighters with a first day, first strike capability in an anti-access, area-denial environment».

Armed with a dual-mode penetrator and blast-fragmentation warhead, JASSM and JASSM-ER cruise autonomously day or night in all weather conditions. Both missiles share the same powerful capabilities and stealthy characteristics, though JASSM-ER has more than two-and-a-half times the range of the baseline JASSM for greater standoff margin. These 2,000-pound cruise missiles employ an infrared seeker and Global Positioning System receiver to dial into specific target aimpoints. The infrared seeker allows the weapon to find its target even in areas where GPS signals are jammed.

JASSM is integrated on the U.S. Air Force’s B-2
JASSM is integrated on the U.S. Air Force’s B-2

«The baseline JASSM has a range in excess of 200 n miles (370 km), is powered by a Teledyne turbojet engine, and carries a WDU-42B (J-1000) 1,000-lb-class blast fragmentation/penetrating warhead. The JASSM-ER is powered by the Williams International F107-WR-105 turbofan engine, but is otherwise identical. It has a range of about 500 n miles (926 km)», Lockheed Martin’s representative Melissa Hilliard told IHS Jane’s.

JASSM and JASSM-ER are critical weapons for the U.S. Air Force. Extremely effective against high-value, well-fortified, fixed and relocatable targets, the stealthy JASSM-ER is integrated on the U.S. Air Force’s B-1B, but there are efforts under way for F-15E, F-16, and B-52 integration. JASSM is integrated on the U.S. Air Force’s B-2, B-52, F-16, F-15E, and internationally, on the Royal Australian Air Force’s F/A-18A/B.

Produced at the company’s award-winning manufacturing facility in Troy, Alabama, more than 1,500 JASSM cruise missiles have been assembled for testing and operational use toward a total U.S. Air Force objective of 4,900.

 

Specifications

Weight:                                  2250 lbs./1020.58 kg

Warhead:                             1000 lbs./453.59 kg (WDU-42/B)

Engine Type:                       Williams International F107-WR-105

Length:                                   168 in/4.267 m

Storage:                                 15 years

Range:                                    >500 NMI/>926 km

 

Antipiracy frigate

It is said in the IHS Jane’s Navy International that state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL has held a keel-laying ceremony for the Indonesian Navy’s second SIGMA 10514 Perusak Kawal Rudal (PKR) guided-missile frigate. Defence minister Ryamizard Ryacudu, who presided over the ceremony at PT PAL’s premises in Surabaya, described the keel laying as a vote of confidence in the local shipbuilding industry’s capability to produce a complex warship like a PKR frigate.

SIGMA FRIGATE 10514
SIGMA FRIGATE 10514

PT PAL is building two PKR frigates in collaboration with Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS, a Dutch shipyard) under a skills and technology transfer arrangement. For the second vessel, the Indonesian shipbuilder PT PAL is producing all of the modules except for the mast/bridge/operations block, which is to be completed by DSNS at its yard in Vlissingen, the Netherlands. For the first ship, PT PAL is responsible for the forward and stern hull modules and the mid and aft superstructure blocks. Both vessels will undergo final assembly and trials in Surabaya, the Indonesian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 11 December 2014.

The Indonesian MoD signed a contract with DSNS for the first vessel in December 2012, while an option for the second ship was exercised in mid-2013. The frigates are scheduled for delivery in January 2017 and October 2017, respectively. Indonesia has planned to acquire at least two more ships in the class, although a contract for these has yet to be finalised.

Perusak Kawal Rudal guided-missile frigate
Perusak Kawal Rudal guided-missile frigate

The Indonesian MoD has said it will deploy the SIGMA PKR frigates for maritime surveillance, including to counter piracy and illegal fishing. The Tentera Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Laut (TNI-AL) plans to equip the warships with AS565 Panther helicopters that will be fitted with the Helicopter Long-Range Active Sonar (HELRAS) dipping sonar and torpedo launching system, bolstering the frigates’ Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) capabilities.

According to Ridzwan Rahmat, Singapore IHS, the Indonesian frigates will be equipped with a variant of the Thales TACTICOS 300 combat management suite, a Rheinmetall Defence Millennium 35 mm Close-In Weapon System (CIWS), a Thales SMART-S Mark-2 surveillance radar, and a 12-cell vertical-launch air-defence system. The ships will also be equipped with six 324 mm torpedo tubes.

PKR frigate
PKR frigate

 

SIGMA FRIGATE 10514

(Perusak Kawal Rudal guided-missile frigate)

GENERAL

Customer:                                            Indonesian Navy

Basic functions:                                 Naval Patrol EEZ, deterrence, Search and Rescue, ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare), AAW (Anti-Aircraft Warfare), ASUW (Anti-Surface Warfare), EW (Electronic Warfare)

Hull material:                                      Steel grade A/AH36

Standards:                                            Naval/Commercial, naval intact/damaged stability, noise reduced, moderate shock

Classification:                                    Lloyd’s Register of Shipping

 

DIMENSIONS

Length o.a.:                                          105.11 m

Beam mld:                                            14.02 m

Depth no.1 deck:                              8.75 m

Draught (dwl):                                    3.7 m

Displacement (dwl):                        2365 tonnes

SIGMA 10514 PKR guided-missile frigate
SIGMA 10514 PKR guided-missile frigate

 

PERFORMANCE

Speed (Maximum power):           28 knots (52 km/h)

Range at 14 knots (26 km/h):    5000 NM (9260 km)

Endurance:                                           20 days at sea

 

PROPULSION SYSTEM

Propulsion type:                              CODOE (Combined Diesel or Electric)

Diesel engines:                                 2 × 10,000 kW MCR (Maximum Continuous Rating) Propulsion type

Electric motors:                               2 × 1300 kW

Gearbox:                                              2 × double input input/single output

Propellers:                                          2 × CPP diameter 3.55 m

Perusak Kawal Rudal frigate
Perusak Kawal Rudal frigate

 

AUXILIARY SYSTEMS

Generator sets:                                6 × 715 kWE (kilowatts electrical)

Emergency gen. set:                      1 × 180 kWE (kilowatts electrical)

Chilled water system:                   2 × units, redundant distrubution

Fire fighting:                                       4 × main pumps + 1 × service pump

Degaussing System

 

DECK EQUIPMENT

Helicopter deck:                   max. 10 tons helicopter, with lashing points

Heli operations:                    day/night with refueling system

Helicopter hangar

RAS (Replenishment at Sea):     on helicopter deck PS&SB, astern fuelling

Boats:                                           2 × RHIB (Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat)

PKR frigate
PKR frigate

 

ACCOMMODATION

Fully air-conditioned accommodation for 120 persons

Commanding Officer:                    1

Officers:                                              26

Chief Petty Officers:                   10

Petty Officers:                                 36

Junior Ratings:                                 29

Trainee Officers:                            18

Provisions for NBC citadel/decontamination

 

WEAPON & SENSOR SUITE

3D-Surveillance & target indication radar & IFF (Identification Friend or Foe)

Radar/electro optical fire control

Hull Mounted Sonar

Combat management system

Medium calibre gun 76 mm

1 × Close In Weapon System

2 × SSM (Surface-to-Surface Missile) launcher

12 cell VL (Vertical Launch) SHORADS

2 × triple 324 mm Torpedo launcher

ESM & ECM (Electronic Support Measures and Electronic Countermeasures systems)

2 × Decoys/chaff

Integrated internal & external communication system

 

NAUTICAL EQUIPMENT

Integrated bridge console, 2 × Radar, ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display & Information System), GMDSS-A3 (Global Maritime Distress and Safety System), reference gyro

 

Air trap

U.S. Air Force finds new effective ways to overcome the modern air defense system. According to Ashley Mehl, Raytheon, the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force successfully collaborated with Raytheon Company for the first flight demonstration of a Miniature Air Launched Decoy Jammer (MALD-J) equipped with a radio data link. Adding the data link expands the weapon’s situational awareness and allows for in-flight targeting adjustments.

MALD is a flexible and modular system that has the potential to keep aviators and aircraft out of harm’s way
MALD is a flexible and modular system that has the potential to keep aviators and aircraft out of harm’s way

Raytheon flew a captive carry mission from the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma (Arizona) to support a Marine Corps Weapons and Tactics Instructor exercise. The exercise used the USMC’s recently released Electronic Warfare Services Architecture protocol and a Tactical Targeting Network Technology radio.

«This flight test shows MALD-J’s ability to integrate new technology that will provide the warfighter more capabilities on the battlefield», said Mike Jarrett, vice president of Air Warfare Systems for Raytheon Missile Systems. «The Marines are operationalizing the Marine Air Ground Task Force Cyberspace and Electronic Warfare Coordination Cell and Raytheon is part of this forward-thinking solution to a complex problem».

MALD-J carried out its assigned radar-jamming mission on the range and was able to send situation awareness data to the Electronic Warfare Battle Manager (EWBM). The EWBM used this information to adjust the MALD’s mission while in flight.

MALD is an expendable air-launched flight vehicle that looks like a U.S. or allied aircraft to enemy integrated air defense systems
MALD is an expendable air-launched flight vehicle that looks like a U.S. or allied aircraft to enemy integrated air defense systems

 

MALD

The MALD is a low-cost, air-launched programmable craft that accurately duplicates the combat flight profiles and signatures of U.S. and allied aircraft. MALD is a flexible and modular system that has the potential to keep aviators and aircraft out of harm’s way. MALD is an expendable air-launched flight vehicle that looks like a U.S. or allied aircraft to enemy integrated air defense systems (IADS).

The U.S. and its allies can confuse and deceive enemy IADS by sending a formation of MALDs into hostile airspace. MALD weighs less than 300 pounds (136 kg) and has a range of approximately 500 nautical miles (575 statute miles, 926 km). After it is launched from its host aircraft, MALD flies a preprogrammed mission.

In addition to protecting valuable aircraft, MALD offers counter air operations to neutralize air defense systems that pose a threat to U.S. and allied pilots.

MALD is a low-cost, air-launched programmable craft that accurately duplicates the combat flight profiles and signatures of U.S. and allied aircraft
MALD is a low-cost, air-launched programmable craft that accurately duplicates the combat flight profiles and signatures of U.S. and allied aircraft

 

MALD-J

MALD-J is the jammer variant of the basic decoy, and the first ever stand-in jammer to enter production. The unmanned MALD-J navigates and operates much closer than conventional Electronic Warfare to the victim radar when jamming the electronics, allowing aviators and aircraft to stay out of harm’s way. Moreover, it is able to loiter in the target area for an extended period – plenty of time to complete the mission.

MALD-J can operate alone or in pairs, but is designed to work with and leverage other electronic warfare platforms. Raytheon began delivery of MALD-Js in the fall of 2012.

Big problems
of small ships

«Something is rotten in the state of Denmark» (Hamlet 1.4). The U.S. Navy again restructures Littoral Combat Ship’s programme. The LCS is known as «the WARship that can’t go to WAR» because of its high vulnerability. «The Navy needs a Small Surface Combatant», Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert, told reporters at the Pentagon.

SUW Configured Independence
SUW Configured Independence

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has directed the Navy «to move forward with a multi-mission Small Surface Combatant (SSC) based on modified Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) hull designs. The new SSC will offer improvements in ship lethality and survivability, delivering enhanced naval combat performance at an affordable price».

Consistent with the Fleet’s views on the most valued capabilities delivered by a Small Surface Combatant, the modified LCS ship will provide multi-mission anti-surface warfare (SUW) and anti-submarine warfare capabilities (ASW), as well as continuous and effective air, surface and underwater self-defense. Adding to current LCS Flight 0+ baseline configurations, which include the 57 mm gun and SeaRAM Anti-Ship Missile Defense System, this ship will be equipped with:

  • over-the-horizon Surface-to-Surface Missiles;
  • air defense upgrades (sensors and weapons);
  • an advanced electronic warfare system;
  • advanced decoys;
  • a towed array system for submarine detection and torpedo defense;
  • two 25 mm guns;
  • an armed helicopter (MH-60R Seahawk) capable of engaging with either Hellfire missiles or Mark-54 torpedoes;
  • and an unmanned Fire Scout helicopter for surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting.
SUW Configured Freedom
SUW Configured Freedom

Modularity design features will also be retained to augment SUW and ASW capabilities as directed by the Fleet Commanders. Available mission modules include Longbow Surface-to-Surface Missiles (Hellfire), two Mark-46 30 mm guns, and two 11M RHIBs for Surface Warfare, or a variable depth sonar for submarine warfare which, when added to the ship’s organic multi-function towed array and embarked helicopter, make this an extremely effective anti-submarine warfare platform.

In addition to the improved weapon systems capabilities for this ship, which reduce its susceptibility to being hit by a threat weapon, the Small Surface Combatant will also include improved passive measures – measures that will reduce the ship’s signature against mine threats, and measures that will harden certain vital spaces and systems against potential damage caused by weapon impact – to further enhance its overall survivability.

From an operational perspective, the sum of these improvements will increase the ship’s capability and availability to participate in SUW Surface Action Groups, ASW Search and Attack Units; escort of High Value Units, and support of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) SUW and ASW operations.

With increased lethality and survivability, the modified LCS will provide the flexibility to operate both independently and as a part of an aggregated force. This decision allows the Navy to add organic multi-mission capabilities to the Small Surface Combatant force while leveraging the benefits and affordability of the LCS program.

SSC improvements to the LCS fleet
SSC improvements to the LCS fleet

The modified LCS ships will complement the planned 32 LCS ships, resulting in a 52 ship Small Surface Combatant Fleet in keeping with the Navy’s Force Structure Analysis. The 32 LCS ships, with their full modular capability, will allow the Navy to deploy assets to meet the Navy’s mine warfare, SUW, and ASW demands.

According to Chuck Hagel, «production of the new SSC will begin no later than fiscal year 2019, and there will be no gap between production of the last LCS and the first SSC. A significant advantage to this approach is the ability to enhance naval combat performance by back-fitting select SSC improvements to the LCS fleet. By avoiding a new class of ships and new system design costs, it also represents the most responsible use of our industrial base investment while expanding the commonality of the Navy’s fleet».

«The new SSC ships will cost about $60 to 75 million more than the current versions of LCS. Over the life of each class, both have come in at less than $500 million a hull, not including the mission packages», Sean Stackley, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development & Acquisition (RDA) told reporters.

USS Independence
USS Independence

However, and this new concept was heavily criticized by some experts. For example, the editor of the defense-aerospace.com says, «the idea that the LCS’ numerous flaws – unworkable modular design, cost overruns, inability to take battle damage, faulty design and construction, unworkable operational concept with interchangeable mission packages and crews (3-2-1) – can be fixed by resigning an improved version called SSC seems unlikely to result in an operationally effective ship, but will certainly add additional cost to the LCS’ already unconscionably high price tag. The LCS was designed, as its name implies, for coastal work in shallow and constrained waters where it could be supported by other larger and better-armed ships. However, it cannot be expected to operate effectively in theaters like the Pacific, and especially not anywhere within hundreds of miles of the Chinese coast, where it would be operationally useless, yet still a sitting duck».

Another example, Clark, the naval analyst, in his report, spells out exactly why the ship’s ASCM (Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles) vulnerability is a fatal one, especially in circumstances where an LCS is tasked with defending a larger ship.

«Given the LCS’s short-range missiles, a defended ship would have to operate too close to the LCS to permit effective maneuvering and the LCS would have to be positioned between the incoming missile and the escorted ship or directly in front of or behind the escorted ship. To ensure the incoming ASCM is intercepted, two RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) would likely be shot at each incoming ASCM. This would result in the LCS’s magazine of RAMs being exhausted after ten ASCM attacks. In the LCS’s envisioned littoral operating environment, more ASCM attacks would likely occur before the ship could reload its RAM magazine».

The avoidance of detection, the LCS’s only real survival capability, will become more difficult thanks to improvements in ship locating technologies. Frank Hoffman, a former deputy director of the Navy’s Office of Program Appraisal, told Defense One that enhancements to Chinese ship detection capabilities would render the LCS a very, very targetable ship.

 

USS Independence (LCS-2)
USS Independence (LCS-2)

The Independence Variant of the LCS Class

 

Principal dimensions

Construction:                        Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy

Length overall:                      127.1 m

Beam overall:                         31.4 m

Hull draft (maximum):       4.5 m

 

Payload and capacities

Complement:                          Core Crew – 40

Mission crew – 36

Berthing:                                    76 in a mix of single, double & quad berthing compartments

Maximum mission load:     210 tonnes

Mission packages:                 ASW, SUW, MIW

 

Propulsion

Main engines:                          2 × GE LM2500

2 × MTU 20V 8000

Waterjets:                                  4 × Wartsila steerable

Bow thruster:                           Retractable azimuthing

 

Performance

Speed:                                             40 knots (46 mph, 74 km/h)

Range:                                             3,500 NM (6,482 km)

Operational limitation:         Survival in Sea State 8

 

Mission/Logistics deck

Deck area:                                    >2000 m2

Launch and recovery:            Twin boom extending crane

Loading:                                         Side ramp

Internal elevator to hanger

 

Flight deck and hanger

Flight deck dimensions:         2 × SH-60 or 1 × CH-53

Hanger:                               Aircraft stowage & maintenance for 2 × SH-60

 

Weapons and sensors

Standard:                                        1 × 57 mm gun

4 × .50 caliber guns

1 × SAM launcher

3 × weapons modules

Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)
Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)

 

Independence Class LCS (Littoral Combat Ship)  (http://navyarm.blogspot.ru/2014/11/independence-class-lcs.html)

The terror
that flaps in the night

According to IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, Poland is adding a standoff cruise missile capability to its air force, signing an agreement to buy the Lockheed Martin AGM-158A Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) on 11 December 2014.

AGM-158A Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile
AGM-158A Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile

In addition to the purchase of the missiles, the programme will also include the upgrade of 46 Polish Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block 52 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft to carry the missiles. Tomasz Siemoniak, Polish minister of national defence and deputy prime minister, stated during the signing ceremony at the 31 Tactical Air Base at Krzesiny (part of the Nowe Miasto district of Poznań, Poland) that «never in Poland’s history have we had such a modern weapon».

Poland is purchasing the new capability as part of an effort to increase its airborne, naval, and land-based long-range strike assets. This is combined with new defensive missile programmes and is intended to deter hostile actions against Poland. These efforts have been given new impetus by the crisis in Ukraine and concerns about Russia’s intentions.

Following the government-to-government letter of offer and acceptance on 11 December 2014, a contract is expected to be awarded to contractor Lockheed Martin in the first quarter of 2015, a company statement said.

The 31st Tactical Air Base
The 31st Tactical Air Base

The agreement to buy the JASSM follows US Congress approval on 2 October 2014 of the sale of up to 40 of the stealthy cruise missiles and the F-16 upgrade package. According to the Polish Ministry of Defence (MoD), the upgrade process for its F-16s will include the installation of retrofit kits and new software for the aircraft to Mid-Life Update tape M6.5 standard.

According to Nicholas de Larrinaga, IHS reporter, beginning in 2015 two Polish F-16s will have the new software integrated and will conduct flight-trials in the United States. The remaining 44 aircraft will receive the software upgrade and retrofit kits at Polish air bases from the second half of 2016 onwards, when the country also expects to receive its first batch of missiles.

When the US Defense Security Co-operation Agency notified the possible sale of the JASSM to Poland on 17 September, it estimated the maximum cost of the programme at $500 million: a figure that Polish sources previously described as «unacceptably high».

However, Polish deputy defence minister Czeslaw Mroczek, responsible for negotiating the purchase, stated that the price of the contract «was negotiated for a long time, but we received a very good price and the contract includes not only the acquisition of JASSM missiles, but also the development of customized software and training».

AGM-158 JASSM
AGM-158 JASSM

 

Overview

JASSM is a long-range, semi-autonomously guided, conventional, air-to-ground, precision standoff missile for the U.S. Air Force. Designed to destroy high-value, well-defended, fixed and relocatable targets, JASSM’s significant standoff range keeps aircrews well out of danger from hostile air defense systems.

A 2,000-pound class weapon with a penetrator/blast fragmentation warhead, JASSM employs semi-autonomous guidance in adverse weather, day or night, using a state-of-the-art infrared seeker in addition to the anti-jam GPS to find a specific aimpoint on the target. Its stealthy airframe makes it extremely difficult to defeat.

JASSM is integrated on multiple aircraft including the B-1, B-2, B-52, F-16, and F-15E. Internationally, JASSM is certified on the Royal Australian Air Force’s F/A-18. Future integration efforts will focus on the U.S. and international versions of Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft and other international platforms. With superior performance and affordable price, JASSM offers the best value of any weapon in its class.

The warhead is a WDU-42/B (1000 lbs./453.59 kg) penetrator
The warhead is a WDU-42/B (1000 lbs./453.59 kg) penetrator

 

Features

  • Simple mission planning
  • Adverse weather operable
  • Global Positioning System/Inertial Measurement Unit guidance
  • GPS jam resistant
  • Autonomous terminal guidance
  • Pinpoint accuracy
  • High lethality
  • Highly survivable
  • Supportable
  • Low cost of ownership
  • Full loadout on F-16C/D, F/A-18C/D, F-15E, B-1, B-2, and B-52 aircraft
  • Full aircraft carrier compatibility

 

Specifications

JASSM’s design incorporates proven technologies and subsystems into a stealthy air vehicle to meet today’s and tomorrow’s threats

Weight:                                   2250 lbs./1020.58 kg

Warhead:                              1000 lbs./453.59 kg (WDU-42/B)

Length:                                   168 in/4.267 m

Storage:                                 15 years

Range:                                    >200 NMI/>370.4 km

 

 

F-16 Fighting Falcon (Multirole fighter)  (http://usairforc.blogspot.ru/2014/11/f-16-fighting-falcon.html)

 

Leopard goes
on the warpath

German Army begins modernizing its battle tank fleet with the Leopard 2 A7, reported Kurt Braatz, the Head of Strategy and Corporate Communications of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. To mark the handover of the first of an initial 20 Leopard 2 A7 tanks to the German Army, Frank Haun, Chairman of the Board of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) welcomed numerous guests from the worlds of politics, the military and business to the company’s headquarters in Munich on 10 December 2014. The German Army has ordered a total of 20 Leopard 2 A7 MBTs (Main Battle Tanks) and the last of these will soon be delivered from KMW’s Munich facility and issued to Tank Battalion 203, which currently operates 44 Leopard 2 A6s.

Leopard 2 A7
Leopard 2 A7

The new Leopard 2 A7 (the best main battle tank all over the World, I reckon) is a product of collaboration between multiple NATO partners and KMW that began seven years ago. As part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mandate, Canada decided in 2007 to borrow 20 Leopard 2 A6Ms with modern mine protection from the German Army. Adapted by KMW to Canadian requirements, the first Leopard 2 A6M CAN was available in the same year and proved itself in operation so effectively that Canada wanted to continue using it. When it was time to return the vehicles, the country acquired surplus Dutch Leopard tanks that were to be converted to the design status of the loaned German vehicles. Canada and Germany agreed that, as part of this conversion work, further modifications could be made, resulting in the Leopard 2 A7 for the German Army.

As IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly noted, the Leopard 2 A7 retains the Rheinmetall 120 mm L/55 smooth bore gun and in addition to firing the latest generation Rheinmetall 120 mm Armour Piercing Fin Stabilised Discarding Sabot – Tracer (APFSDS-T) DM63 round and can also fire the latest programmable Rheinmetall DM12 high-explosive round.

The Leopard 2 A7 not only features optimized protection against asymmetrical and conventional threats, but also has significantly enhanced sustainment. An auxiliary power unit ensures that the weapons system is fully operational even without a running main engine (!) and that turret and crew compartment are kept cool. The Leopard 2 A7 is integrated into the control network via the combat troops control and weapons deployment system. For reconnaissance, it has leading edge sighting equipment. Its range of capabilities has been adapted through the option to fire fuze-programmable high explosive ammunition. This ammunition is particularly effective against bunkers and fortified positions.

Leopard 2 A7+
Leopard 2 A7+

 

According to KMW, amongst others its features includes:

  • Passive all-round protection for the crew against threats such as roadside bombs, mines and bazooka fire;
  • Interface for attaching implements, such as a mine plow, mine roller or a dozer blade for clearing mines, booby traps or building debris blocking the roads;
  • Cooling system for both the turret and chassis;
  • Increased power-rated additional power generators for check-point missions;
  • Communication interface on the exterior of the vehicle for dismounted forces;
  • Combined driver’s night vision (thermal imager/image intensifier) for front and rear view;
  • Improved optoelectronics (day/night) for reconnaissance over long distances;
  • Digitized and multifunctional user concept.
Leopard 2 A7+ MBT
Leopard 2 A7+ MBT

 

Product specification

Length (gun at 12 o’clock):        up to 10.97 m

Width:                                                    3.77 m – 4 m

Height (turret roof):                      2.64 m

Weight:                           63.5 tonnes/70 (Military Load Classification)

Engine power:             1,100 kW (1,500 hp)

Maximum speed:       72 km/h

Cruising range:            450 km

Armament:                     120 mm/L55 or L44 smooth bore gun/7,62 mm machine gun/Light Weapon Station FLW 200 with 40 mm grenade launcher or .50 MG

 

M1A2 Abrams (Main battle tank)(http://usgroundforces.blogspot.ru/2014/11/m1a2-abrams.html)

 

LaserSaber for the Navy

As David Smalley, Office of Naval Research Public Affairs reported, new laser weapon system (LaWS) was for the first time successfully deployed and operated aboard a naval vessel in the Arabian Gulf. The operational demonstrations, which took place from September to November 2014 aboard USS Ponce (AFSB[I] 15), showed a laser weapon working aboard a deployed U.S. Navy ship, besides LaWS operated seamlessly with existing ship defense systems.

An operational demonstration of the Laser Weapon System
An operational demonstration of the Laser Weapon System

«Laser weapons are powerful, affordable and will play a vital role in the future of naval combat operations», said Rear Admiral Matthew L. Klunder, chief of naval research. «We ran this particular weapon, a prototype, through some extremely tough paces, and it locked on and destroyed the targets we designated with near-instantaneous lethality».

Specifically, during the tests, the 30-kilowatt LaWS hit targets mounted aboard a speeding oncoming small boat, shot a Scan Eagle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) out of the sky, and destroyed other moving targets at sea.

The Office of Naval Research sponsored Laser Weapon System
The Office of Naval Research sponsored Laser Weapon System

Sailors worked daily with LaWS over several months since it was installed, and reported the weapon performed flawlessly, including in adverse weather conditions of high winds, heat and humidity. They noted the system exceeded expectations for both reliability and maintainability.

The system is operated by a video game like controller, and can address multiple threats using a range of escalating options, from non-lethal measures such as optical «dazzling» and disabling, to lethal destruction if necessary. It could prove to be a pivotal asset against what are termed «asymmetric threats», which include small attack boats and UAVs.

Chief Fire Controlman Brett Richmond, right, and Lt. j.g. Katie Woodard, operate the Laser Weapon System
Chief Fire Controlman Brett Richmond, right, and Lt. j.g. Katie Woodard, operate the Laser Weapon System

Data regarding accuracy, lethality and other factors from the USS Ponce deployment will guide the development of weapons under ONR’s Solid-State Laser-Technology Maturation program. Under this program, industry teams have been selected to develop cost-effective, combat-ready laser prototypes that could be installed on vessels such as guided-missile destroyers (Arleigh Burke-class) and the Littoral Combat Ship in the early 2020s. Researchers say the revolutionary technology breakthroughs demonstrated by LaWS will ultimately benefit not only U.S. Navy surface ships, but also airborne and ground-based weapon systems.

While laser weapons offer new levels of precision and speed for naval warfighters, they also bring increased safety for ships and crews, as lasers are not dependent on the traditional propellant and gunpowder-based ordnance found on ships. Lasers run on electricity and can be fired as long as there is power.

The Afloat Forward Staging Base (Interim) USS Ponce (ASB(I) 15)
The Afloat Forward Staging Base (Interim) USS Ponce (ASB(I) 15)

They also cost less to build, install and fire than traditional kinetic weapons – for example a multimillion-dollar missile. «At less than a dollar per shot, there’s no question about the value LaWS provides», said Klunder. «With affordability a serious concern for our defense budgets, this will more effectively manage resources to ensure our Sailors are never in a fair fight».

The Navy already has demonstrated the effectiveness of lasers in a variety of maritime settings. In a 2011 demonstration, a laser was used to defeat multiple small boat threats from a destroyer (USS Dewey DDG 105). In 2012, LaWS downed several unmanned aircraft in tests during naval exercises. Specific details on next steps and timeframes are being determined as the data from the current demonstrations are analyzed.

According to Sam LaGrone, the USNI Online Editor at the U.S. Naval Institute, the next step for laser weapons will be a 100 to 150 kilowatt version it plans to test in 2016 or 2017.

 

Rise of the Osprey

Bell Helicopter announced the successful demonstration of forward-firing capability for the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey. The exercise took place in November 2014 at the United States Army Proving Ground in Yuma, Arizona.

The successful demonstration of forward-firing capability for the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey
The successful demonstration of forward-firing capability for the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey

«The forward-firing demonstration was a great success», said Vince Tobin, vice president and program manager for the Bell Boeing V-22. «We’ve shown the V-22 Osprey can be armed with a variety of forward-facing munitions, and can hit their targets with a high degree of reliability. Congratulations to the team who has worked hard from initial design to completion of this demonstration».

According to representatives of Bell Helicopter, V-22 Osprey is now one of the safest aircraft operated by the Marine Corps. Since its deployment in 2007, the V-22 has achieved outstanding mission success in deployments to Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean. The Osprey offers operators (U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command) a wide range of mission capability including raids, Casualty Evacuation, Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel, Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief, resupply, VIP transport, and theater security cooperation.

«Integrating a forward firing capability to the V-22 Osprey will increase its mission set», Tobin continued. «These weapons, once installed, will provide added firepower and reduce reliance on Forward Arming and Refueling Points (FARPs) which are sometimes necessary to supply short range attack rotorcraft in support of V-22 operations. Without the need for FARPs, V-22s can be launched more frequently, and on shorter notice».

Through the end of the third quarter of 2014, Bell Boeing has delivered 242 MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor for the U.S. Marine Corps and 44 CV-22 Osprey for U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). Note also that Bell Helicopter began initial design work on forward fire capability in mid-2013.

Integrating a forward firing capability to the Osprey will increase its mission set
Integrating a forward firing capability to the Osprey will increase its mission set

 

Description and Purpose

The V-22 Osprey is a joint service multi-role combat aircraft utilizing tiltrotor technology to combine the vertical performance of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed wing aircraft. With its engine nacelles and rotors in vertical position, it can take off, land and hover like a helicopter. Once airborne, its engine nacelles can be rotated to convert the aircraft to a turboprop airplane capable of high-speed (277 mph, 443 km/h), high-altitude flight (25,000 ft, 7,620 m). This unique combination allows the V-22 Osprey to fill an operational niche no other aircraft can approach.

The V-22 Osprey can carry 24 combat troops (Marines or Special Forces soldiers), or up to 20,000 pounds (9,072 kg) of internal cargo or 15,000 pounds (6,804 kg) of external cargo, at twice the speed of a helicopter. It features a cross-coupled drive system so either engine can power the rotors if one engine fails!

For shipboard compatibility, the rotors fold and the wing rotates to minimize the aircraft’s footprint for storage. The V-22 Osprey is the only vertical lift platform capable of rapid self-deployment to any theater of operation, worldwide.

 

Customers

The U.S. Marine Corps has a current requirement for 360 MV-22s to perform combat assault and assault support missions. The U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) has a requirement for 50 CV-22s configured for terrain-following, low-level, high-speed flight for long-range special operations.

More than 200 Osprey tiltrotors are currently in operation across 10 Marine Corps and 2 Air Force Special Operations Command Osprey squadrons. The two services have together logged 16 successful combat, humanitarian, ship-based or Special Operations deployments since 2007. The worldwide Osprey fleet has amassed more than 190,000 flight hours, with more than half of those hours logged in the past two years (Source: Boeing).

Safety, survivability and mission efficiency have become hallmarks of the operational fleet. According to Naval Safety Center records, the MV-22 has one of the lowest Class A mishap (in which someone dies or a plane sustains more than $1 million in damage; usually such mishaps are crashes, and all are investigated) rates of any tactical rotorcraft in the Marine Corps during the past decade. Navy flight-hour cost data also show that the Osprey has the lowest cost per seat-mile (cost to transport one person over a distance of one mile) of any U.S. naval transport rotorcraft in each of the last two years.

Marine Corps MV-22s are currently deployed in Afghanistan supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit supporting contingency operations, while AFSOC CV-22s are deployed in support of ongoing Special Operations missions.

The V-22 can be armed with a variety of forward-facing munitions
The V-22 can be armed with a variety of forward-facing munitions

 

Production

Boeing Military Aircraft’s Mobility division is responsible for the fuselage, empennage, and all subsystems, digital avionics, and fly-by-wire flight-control systems. While Boeing partner Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., is responsible for the wing, transmissions, rotor systems, engine installation, and final assembly at its completion facility in Amarillo, Texas.

According to Boeing (as of June 2013), 34 V-22 Ospreys were delivered in 2011 and 39 aircraft were delivered in 2012.

 

Multiyear Contract Details

The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey program was awarded a second V-22 Multiyear Procurement (MYPII) contract agreement to provide a total of 99 aircraft for the Marine Corps and Air Force Special Operations Command over five years with a substantial savings to the Department of Defense (DOD) and American taxpayers of nearly $1 billion.

The multiyear proposal will bring the fleet near to the full program of record: 360 MV-22s for the Marines and 50 CV-22s for the Air Force.

It should also be mentioned separately that 48 V-22s for the Navy remain part of the program of 459 but are currently unfunded.

 

General Characteristics

Propulsion     Two Rolls-Royce AE1107C; 6,150 shp (4,586 kW) each

Length         Fuselage: 57.3 ft (17.48.20 m); Stowed: 63.0 ft (19.20 m)

Width          Rotors turning: 84.6 ft (25.78 m); Stowed: 18.4 ft (5.61 m)

Height   Nacelles vertical: 22.1 ft (6.73 m); Stabilizer: 17.9 ft (5.46 m)

Rotor Diameter                   38.1 ft (11.6 m)

Vertical Takeoff Max Gross Weight             52,600 lbs (23,859 kg)

Max Cruise Speed              Sea Level (SL): 280 kts (277 mph, 443 km/h)

Ceiling                                       25,000 ft (7,620 m)

Mission Radius                     600 nm (1112 km) – MV-22 Blk B with 24 troops, ramp mounted weapon system, SL STD, 15 min loiter time

Cockpit – crew seats         2 MV/3 CV

Load                                            24 troops (seated), 32 troops (floor loaded); up to 20,000 pounds (9,072 kg) of internal cargo or 15,000 pounds (6,804 kg) of external cargo

 

MV-22B Osprey (VTOL/STOL transport)(http://usnavalaircraft.blogspot.ru/2014/11/mv-22b-osprey.html)

 

CV-22B Osprey (U.S. Special Operations Command – USSOCOM)(http://usairforc.blogspot.ru/2014/11/cv-22b-osprey.html)

 

Ocean Eagle

As we know, the Independence-class of Littoral Combat Ships, built for the United States Navy, is the high-speed trimaran vessel. Austal’s team determined that the trimaran hull form offered significant passenger comfort and stability advantages over both a catamaran and a monohull. Although the trimaran hull increases the total surface area, it is still able to reach sustainable speeds of about 50 knots (93 km/h, 58 mph), with a range of 10,000 nautical miles (19,000 km; 12,000 mi). (http://navyarm.blogspot.ru/2014/11/ independence-class-lcs.html)

The Ocean Eagle 43 is designed for surveillance missions and maritime response
The Ocean Eagle 43 is designed for surveillance missions and maritime response

A French shipyard Constructions Mécaniques de Normandie (CMN, located in Cherbourg) decided to repeat the success of its American competitors. CMN has been working on a very innovative design, adopting a trimaran hull, designed with a world expert on this architecture. More precisely, there are two projects: Ocean Eagle 43 and Ocean Eagle 43 MH.

 

Ocean Eagle 43

This conceptual ship is an ocean patrol trimaran combining a very slender hull with two small floats enabling the required stability. This combination, according to the French shipbuilders, reduces the fuel expenditure, increases speed and autonomy, while insuring a good level of comfort even in moderate to rough sea conditions.

Ocean Eagle 43
Ocean Eagle 43

 

Main Characteristics

Length Overall:                                        43.60 m

Beam Overall:                                           15.70 m

Maximum draught:                                1.60 m

Maximum speed:                                     30 Kts (56 km/h)

Range at 18 Kts (33 km/h):                3000 Nautical Miles (5556 km)

Range at 12 Kts (22 km/h):                5000 Nautical Miles (9260 km)

Crew:                                                              13 persons

Fuel:                                                                 21 m3

Fresh water:                                                2.0 m3

Hull & Superstructure:                          Composite Materials

Classification:                                             Bureau Veritas

 

Missions:

  • Sea policing and State action at sea;
  • Fight against piracy, trafficking, smuggling and illegal immigration;
  • Surveillance of exclusive economic and fishing zones;
  • Monitoring of marine environment;
  • Protection of vulnerable vessels and offshore installations and escort of convoys;
  • Defence against asymmetric threats, speedboats and the boarding of terrorists;
  • Safety at sea;
  • Search And Rescue (SAR).

Ocean Eagle 43 can also be adapted for side scan sonar operation, special operations support, surveying and coastal oceanography.

Ocean Eagle 43, concept
Ocean Eagle 43, concept

 

Performance and Competitive Features:

  • Very high fuel economy: 238 nautical miles travelled at 15 knots with only 1 ton of fuel (nearly 50 miles for a mono-hull Offshore Patrol Vessel  at the same speed);
  • Large modularity adapted to the full range of maritime surveillance tasks;
  • High reliability and straightforward maintenance;
  • An excellent ratio of (surface area covered + performance)/operational costs;
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) capabilities increasing largely the line of sight.

 

Typical Mission Systems:

  • 20 mm remote-controlled gun-turret;
  • Electro-optical observation system;
  • Two 12.7 mm side gun;
  • Radio direction finder;
  • C2 system;
  • Rotary UAV.
Ocean Eagle with rotary UAV
Ocean Eagle with rotary UAV

 

Main Equipment & Auxiliaries:

  • 7 m outboard RHIB (Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat) mounted on the stern ramp for policing intervention, transshipments or naval special ops
  • 2 main generators
  • 4 diesel engines
  • 2 CPP (Controllable Pitch Propellers)

 

 

Ocean Eagle 43 MH

This vessel is the mine hunting version of the Ocean Eagle 43. The mine warfare-operating mode is based on the use of autonomous or remote operated vehicles embarked on the Ocean Eagle 43 MH playing the Mother Ship role. Operations are done at safe distance from the trimaran vessel. Detection of the Mines at long range improves the safety for the Mother Ship, assures the integrity of the crew and ensures the success of the mission.

Ocean Eagle 43 MH
Ocean Eagle 43 MH

 

Main Characteristics

Length Overall:                                    43.60 m

Beam Overall:                                       15.70 m

Maximum draught:                             2.00 m

Maximum speed:                                 19 Knots (35 km/h)

Mine hunting speed:                           between 0 to 8 Knots (15 km/h)

Range at 14 Kts (26 km/h):             2500 Nautical Miles (4630 km)

Crew:                                                           15

Fuel:                                                             18 m3

Fresh water:                                            2 m3

Hull & Superstructure:                      Composite Materials

Classification Bureau:                        Veritas

 

Missions:

  • Detection and treatment of naval mines;
  • Deployment of the Mine Warfare equipment Autonomous Underwater Vehicles and Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (AUV and UUV);
  • Support to Mine Warfare diver operations;
  • Sea policing and State action at sea;
  • Fight against piracy, trafficking, smuggling and illegal immigration;
  • Defense against asymmetric threats, speedboats and the boarding of terrorists.
Ocean Eagle 43 MH, concept
Ocean Eagle 43 MH, concept

 

Performance and Competitive Features:

  • Low Magnetic and Acoustic Signature;
  • Very high fuel economy compare to existing mine-hunting vessels;
  • High reliability and straightforward maintenance;
  • An excellent ratio of (surface area covered + performance)/operational costs.

 

Typical Mission Systems:

  • Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) equipped with side scan sonar for detection and classification of mines;
  • 6 Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) for Mine Identification, Inspection or Disposal;
  • Mine hunting data and mission management system;
  • Diving equipment;
  • 20 mm remote-controlled gun-turret;
  • Electro-optical observation system;
  • Two 12.7 mm side guns;
  • Radio direction finder;
  • Command & Control (C2) System.

 

Main Equipment & Auxiliaries:

  • Degaussing system;
  • Electric propulsion with 2 collapsible azimuth thrusters for mine-hunting mission;
  • 2 diesel engines with 2 CPP for cruising and naval mission;
  • 3 generating sets;
  • 5 m outboard RHIB.