The U.S. Army has awarded BAE Systems a contract worth $110.4 million to convert 36 M88A1 Recovery Vehicles to the M88A2 Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift Evacuation Systems (HERCULES) configuration.
«The HERCULES is an integral part of the U.S. Army’s Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) and essential to its recovery missions as the fleet becomes heavier», said John Tile, director of Recovery Programs at BAE Systems. «This award continues the Army’s stated objective to pure-fleet its M88s to the more capable HERCULES configuration».
The fleet of ABCT vehicles is getting heavier, making it increasingly important that the recovery fleet is upgraded to support it. The HERCULES, which provides recovery support to soldiers in the field, is the only vehicle able to recover the M1 Abrams tank and the heaviest Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) variants in a combat environment.
The M88 plays a critical role in the company’s efforts to maintain the Combat Vehicle Industrial Base by supporting a team of highly skilled professionals and protecting the affordability of the Army’s combat vehicles. The support of Congress and the Army to protect these vital capabilities through M88 upgrades helps sustain the workforce at BAE Systems’ facilities and ensures that they will be available for future programs.
Work on the contract is expected to begin immediately by the existing workforce and will take place primarily at the company’s York, Pennsylvania, and Aiken, South Carolina, facilities. Deliveries will begin in January 2017 and continue through October 2017.
The M88A2 Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift and Evacuation System (HERCULES) improved Recovery Vehicle is the recovery system of choice for today’s 70-ton combat vehicles. With the lowest acquisition, operational and maintenance cost of any 70-ton capable recovery system, HERCULES answers the need for cost-effective, self-supporting heavy recovery performance.
The HERCULES was the primary 70-ton recovery system during Operation Iraqi Freedom. And, U.S. troops found a few other creative uses for its capabilities when they used it to pull down the Saddam Hussein statue in Baghdad on April 9, 2003. HERCULES utilizes a hull designed for the recovery mission and thoroughly proven by U.S. Army testing. Stability and performance are unmatched by any alternate tank-based design.
HERCULES offers operational and logistics commonality with the existing M88A1 fleet, simplifying training and parts availability. Key upgrades include improved power-assisted braking, improved steering, improved electrical system and increased engine horsepower.
HERCULES features overlay armor protection, ballistic skirts, a longer 35-ton boom, a 140,000-pound/63,504-kg constant pull main winch with 280 feet/85 m of cable, and an auxiliary three-ton winch to aid main winch cable deployment. The M88A2 HERCULES is built and equipped to be the world’s recovery champion.
On 4 July 2015, in the presence of the Minister of Justice Andrea Orlando, the Fincantieri shipyard in Muggiano (La Spezia) hosted the launching ceremony for the «Romeo Romei» (S529) submarine, the last of the four U212A «Todaro» class twin units ordered to Fincantieri by the Central Unit for Naval Armament – NAVARM for the Italian Navy.
The ceremony was attended among others by the Chief of Staff of the Italian Navy, Admiral Giuseppe De Giorgi, while Fincantieri was represented by Giuseppe Bono and Vincenzo Petrone, respectively CEO and Chairman, political and local civil authorities.
After the launching, outfitting works will be continued on the unit at the Integrated Naval shipyard in Muggiano (La Spezia), leading to its delivery scheduled in the second half of 2016.
The submarine «Romeo Romei», as its twin unit «Pietro Venuti» launched last October at the Muggiano shipyard, will feature highly innovative technological solutions. It will be entirely built with amagnetic material, using the most modern silencing techniques to reduce its acoustic signature.
The «Romei» submarine
The «Romei» is the 102nd submarine built in the shipyard of Muggiano since 1907, when the Italian Royal Navy’s «Foca» submarine was launched. Since then, this shipyard stands out for naval vessels building, not only for the Italian Navy but also worldwide (Brasil, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark).
The «Romei» is part of the second pair of submarines to be built in chronological order, and follows about one year the «Pietro Venuti», currently under construction at the same shipyard in Muggiano. In the Navy’s fleet these vessels, whose delivery is scheduled in 2015 and 2016, will replace two submarines of the «Sauro» class (third series), built in the late 1980s.
The submarine building programme is the continuation of the project launched in 1994 in cooperation with the German Submarine Consortium, which has already led to the construction in the past years of six vessels for Germany and two for Italy – the «Todaro» and the «Scirè». These latter units, delivered by Fincantieri in 2006 and 2007 respectively, are already operating successfully as part of the Italian Navy’s fleet.
Like the other vessels in the series, the «Romei» features highly innovative technological solutions. It is built entirely of amagnetic material, using the most modern silencing techniques to reduce its acoustic signature. Additionally, it is equipped with a silent propulsion system based on fuel cell technology, producing energy through an oxygen-hydrogen reaction independently from external oxygen, ensuring a considerably higher submerged than the conventional battery-based systems. It also features a fully integrated electro-acoustic and weapon-control system, as well as a modern platform automation system.
«Romei» has a surface displacement of 1,509 tonnes, an overall length of 183.4 feet/55.9 meters, a maximum diameter of 23 feet/7 meters, and can exceed 16 knots/18 mph/30 km/h underwater. It has a 27-person crew.
187.5 feet/57.15 m
Length between perpendiculars
183.4 feet/55.9 m
Maximum breadth (on P.H.)
23 feet/7 m
Height overall (masts in)
38.96 feet/11.875 m
Surface displacement (ready to dive)
Lead cells battery banks (two sub-batteries)
1 synchronous motor with permanent magnet excitation
1 16 cylinder turbocharged diesel-generators set
Air-Independent Propulsion (A.I.P.) System with 8 + 1 Fuel Cell module
Minister for Defence Dr. Ng Eng Hen officiated at the launching ceremony of the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN)’s first Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV), Independence, at the Singapore Technologies Marine (ST Marine)’s Benoi shipyard on July 3. The LMV was launched by Mrs. Ivy Ng, wife of Dr. Ng.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr. Ng highlighted that a strong and capable the Republic of Singapore Navy was critical in securing Singapore’s economic lifeline and protecting our sea lines of communication. He commended the professionalism and commitment of the people of the RSN, saying that it was because of their fervent belief of the mission, «that today we are able to stand here together amid peace and security of our surrounding seas». He also recognised the strong partnership between the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), the defence technology community and local industry partners for the LMV project. Dr. Ng added, «The LMVs are uniquely Singaporean, having been planned, conceptualised and built locally to meet our requirements».
The launch of Independence is a significant milestone in the RSN’s continued transformation to keep Singapore’s seas safe. The new LMVs are smarter and faster ships, equipped with sharper capabilities to further strengthen the RSN’s ability to ensure the seaward defence of Singapore. They possess lethal and non-lethal options to deliver calibrated responses to deter and defend against a wide range of threats. The advanced radars and sensors, as well as the bridge with a 360-degree out-of-window view, enable the LMVs to have an all-round visual awareness of its immediate surroundings in congested waters.
The LMVs – with its Integrated Command Centre comprising the Bridge, Combat Information Centre and Machinery Control Room – will boost operational effectiveness and efficiency, especially during maritime security operations. The networked-centric ships also possess numerous sense making and decision support systems, which are supported by a high level of automation, so that they can be manned by a leaner crew. In addition, logistics and engineering support were considered during the design of the Independence to enhance the operational readiness of the ship.
The first LMV is named «Independence» and continues the tradition set by our pioneers in safeguarding Singapore’s waters. The first ship that was acquired and built for the RSN in 1968 was a patrol craft named RSS Independence. This name was also inherited by the last of RSN’s patrol vessels. The LMV Independence will carry on the legacy of her predecessors to defend Singapore’s independence and protect our maritime interests.
Independence will be delivered to the RSN in 2016 and is expected to be fully operational by 2017. The keel for the second LMV was recently laid in May 2015. All eight LMVs are expected to be fully operational by 2020 and will replace the existing Fearless-class Patrol Vessels (PVs), which have served the RSN well for 20 years.
In addition, present at the ceremony were Second Minister for Defence Mr. Lui Tuck Yew, Minister of State for Defence Dr. Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral Lai Chung Han, senior officials from Ministry of Defence and the SAF, as well as members of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Defence and Foreign Affairs.
Factsheet: Littoral Mission Vessel
In January 2013, Ministry of Defence signed a contract with Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd for the construction of eight littoral mission vessels (LMVs) for the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN). The eight LMVs are «uniquely Singapore» – built by ST Engineering’s subsidiary ST Marine (ST Marine) locally, based on a design jointly developed by ST Marine and Saab Kockums AB. The Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) is the overall programme manager and systems integrator for the LMV programme. The eight new LMVs will replace the RSN’s Fearless-class Patrol Vessels (PVs), which have been in service for 20 years.
LMV Overview: Smarter, Faster, Sharper
The new LMVs are highly capable warships designed and equipped with advanced combat capabilities and technologies to further strengthen the RSN’s ability in the seaward defence of Singapore and protecting our sea lines of communication.
(A) Smarter Ship
Innovative Operating Concepts. The LMVs are designed with an Integrated Command Centre where the ships’ Bridge, Combat Information Centre and Machinery Control Room are co-located. The Integrated Command Centre integrates and synergises the management of navigation, engineering, and combat functions to achieve greater operational effectiveness and efficiency, especially during maritime security operations.
Innovative Logistics and Engineering Design. Key design elements for the LMV were incorporated to improve efficiency in logistics and engineering support. In «designing the support», the LMVs’ operational readiness will be enhanced as less time will be required for maintenance of the ships. One example is the stacked mast, where 90 percent of the parts that require regular maintenance are housed in an enclosed environment and easily accessible within the mast, instead of outside in most ships’ designs. The ship’s platform and combat systems’ health status can also be transmitted back to shore for centralised monitoring and prognosis of the systems to detect anomalies and plan for pre-emptive maintenance.
Advanced Sense-Making and Decision Support Systems. Numerous sense making and decision support systems, complemented by a high level of automation in the ship, are incorporated into the LMV’s combat and platform suite. This will enhance situational awareness and accelerate decision-making. The LMVs’ Combat Management System features a fusion and identification engine to better identify, track and manage contacts, and a threat evaluation weapon assignment engine to prioritise and assign the relevant weapons to counter threats. The LMVs are also designed with an advanced Integrated Platform Management System, which enhances operational effectiveness and is able to better manage consequences such as engineering defects, or fire and flooding situations.
Network-Centric Design. The LMVs are equipped with an advanced integrated communication and network system to enable the crew to communicate and share information on board. This includes tracking of the ship’s equipment and logistics status as well as crew movement. In addition, the LMVs will be connected to the larger Integrated Knowledge Command and Control network in the Singapore Armed Forces to share information with deployed forces and tap on the expertise from shore headquarters in areas such as operations and engineering support.
(B) Faster Speed
In terms of displacement, the LMVs are 2.5 times larger than the PVs and possess better sea-keeping capabilities to operate in higher sea state conditions. The LMVs also have greater endurance and are able to stay at sea for longer periods of time. In addition, the LMV’s ability to respond rapidly to maritime security incidents is further enhanced with its faster speed in excess of 27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h and the ability to support a medium-lift helicopter. The LMVs are also highly manoeuvrable and can operate in confined and congested littoral waters effectively.
(C) Sharper Capabilities
More Versatile. The LMVs are versatile and can be quickly configured with mission modules to take on a wide spectrum of operations. For example, the LMVs can be configured to embark rigid hull inflatable boats, boarding teams and a helicopter to conduct maritime security operations. They could also be configured with medical modules to support Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief and Search-And-Rescue (SAR) operations. In addition, the LMVs may be deployed with unmanned systems for surveillance or mine countermeasure operations.
Calibrated Responses. The LMVs are equipped with both lethal and non-lethal options to deliver calibrated responses to deter or defend a wide range of threats. This ranges from long-range acoustics devices, water cannon system, small and large calibre guns, to anti-missile missiles.
Superior Surveillance Capabilities. Equipped with a three-dimensional surveillance radar system and two high-resolution navigation radars, the LMVs will be able to detect surface targets better in the congested environment. For target identification, the LMVs are equipped with a 360° panoramic day and night camera suite, comprising an all-round surveillance system and four electro-optics directors, and a 360° bridge that offers an unobstructed view to achieve all-round visual awareness of its immediate surroundings. This is essential in our congested waters where there is a high concentration of shipping and fishing activities amidst island groups.
The LMV programme is progressing well. The first LMV, Independence, was launched on 3 July 2015. The launch of Independence marked a significant milestone for the LMV programme. Following the launching, installation of combat systems on board Independence will commence before it undergoes sea trials. Independence is expected to be delivered to the RSN in 2016 and will be fully operational by 2017. All eight LMVs are expected to be fully operational by 2020.
262.5 feet/80 m
39.4 feet/12 m
9.8 feet/3 m
in excess of 27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h
3,500 NM/4,028 miles/6,482 km (up to 14 days)
Thales NS100 3D Surveillance Radar
Kelvin Hughes Sharpeye Navigation Radar
STELOP 360º All-Round Surveillance System
STELOP Compass D Electro-Optic Director
MBDA MICA Anti-Air/Anti-Missile Missile System
OTO Melara 76-mm Gun
Rafael 25-mm Typhoon Gun
OTO Melara 12.7-mm Hitrole Gun
Remote Control Long Range Acoustic Device and Xenon Light
Austal Limited is pleased to announce that Littoral Combat Ship 6 (LCS-6), the future USS Jackson, has successfully completed U.S. Navy acceptance trials. The trials, the last significant milestone before delivery, were undertaken in the Gulf of Mexico and involved comprehensive testing of the vessel’s major systems and equipment by the U.S. Navy.
Austal Chief Executive Officer Andrew Bellamy said it was pleasing that acceptance trials on LCS-6 had been successfully completed. «The LCS program is maturing into an efficient phase of construction. Completion of our first Acceptance Trial on LCS-6 as the prime contractor is a significant and important milestone for Austal. This program is steadily gaining momentum heading towards a smooth transition from LCS to frigate», Mr. Bellamy said.
After delivery of LCS-6, Austal will deliver a further nine Littoral Combat Ships from its shipyard at Mobile, Alabama, under a 10-ship, $3.5 billion block-buy contract from the U.S. Navy. Of those, Montgomery (LCS-8) is preparing for trials and delivery later this year. Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) was recently christened. Final assembly is well underway on Omaha (LCS-12) and Manchester (LCS-14). Modules for Tulsa (LCS-16) and Charleston (LCS-18) are under construction in Austal’s module manufacturing facility.
The Independence Variant of the LCS Class
Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy
417 feet/127.1 m
103 feet/31.4 m
Hull draft (maximum)
14.8 feet/4.5 m
PAYLOAD AND CAPACITIES
Core Crew – 40
Mission crew – 36
76 in a mix of single, double & quad berthing compartments
Maximum mission load
Mission Bay Volume
118,403 feet3/11,000 m3
Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
Surface Warfare (SUW)
Mine Warfare (MIW)
2 × GE LM2500
2 × MTU 20V 8000
4 × Wartsila steerable
40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
3,500 NM/4,028 miles/6,482 km
Survival in Sea State 8
>21,527.8 feet2/2,000 m2
Launch and recovery
Twin boom extending crane
Internal elevator to hanger
Sea State 4
FLIGHT DECK AND HANGER
Flight deck dimensions
2 × SH-60 or 1 × CH-53 or multiple Unmanned Aerial Vehicles/Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs/VTUAVs)
Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Brown, AO, welcomed the first Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-27J Spartan battlefield airlift aircraft in Australia at a ceremony at RAAF Base Richmond on June 30, coinciding with the 90th anniversary of the base’s establishment.
The acquisition of the C-27J Spartan will fill a gap in Australia’s military capability for tactical fixed wing airlift, which has been left open since the retirement of the Caribou fleet in 2009.
Air Marshal Geoff Brown said the acquisition of 10 C-27J Spartan aircraft, which has been planned since 2012, signifies a $1.4 billion investment in Australia’s airlift capability.
«This acquisition represents a commitment to Australia’s air power capability which is a critical element of Australia’s national security and defence strategy», he said. «The C-27J Spartan will strengthen the Australian Defence Force’s airlift capability by increasing our ability to move troops, equipment and supplies. The aircraft will complement the capabilities of the C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster III and will be able to carry medium-sized loads and access smaller runways that are not suited to other aircraft. This will allow Royal Australian Air Force to support humanitarian missions as well as battlefield airlift in remote locations and unprepared airstrips common in Australia’s region. Under Plan Jericho, the plan to transform Royal Australian Air Force into a fifth generation fighting force for the information age, the C-27J Spartan will operate within an integrated system that is more agile, has an extended reach and gathers and distributes information quicker and more efficiently than ever before».
The C-27J Spartan aircraft provides protection from a range of threats through features such as missile warning systems, electronic self-protection, secure communications and battlefield armour.
Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the C-27J Spartan fleet is planned for late 2016, with Final Operational Capability (FOC) expected within the following two years.
The fleet of C-27J Spartan aircraft will initially be based at RAAF Base Richmond in New South Wales, until their permanent home at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland is completed.
The C-27J Spartan is the best seller in the new-generation, medium battlefield airlifter category. The C-27J Spartan is a twin-engine, turboprop, tactical transport aircraft with state-of-the-art technology in avionics, propulsion and systems. It provides high performance, extreme operating flexibility and cost efficiency and it is the only aircraft in its class capable of interoperability with heavier airlifters.
The C-27J Spartan can perform a variety of missions including transport of troops, goods and medicines, logistical re-supply, MEDical EVACuation (MEDEVAC), airdrop operations, paratroopers’ launches, Search And Rescue (SAR), firefighting, humanitarian assistance, oil spill relief, and operations in support of homeland security.
The C-27J Spartan is equipped with modern avionics and efficient propulsion system (Rolls Royce AE2100-D2A, assuring a 4,650 shp/3,467.5 kW). The architecture of its avionics system is completely redundant, thus increasing the level of mission security and reliability and permitting operation in any environment condition and in any operational scenario.
The C-27J Spartan, thanks to a loading system, perfectly compatible with that of the C-130 Hercules, can carry pallets weighing up to 10,000 lbs/4,550 kg and 7.2 feet/2.2 m tall, or platforms with a length of 12 feet/3.6 m, weighing up 13,228 lbs/6,000 kg.
The C-27J is capable of taking off from and landing on unprepared strips less-than-500 m/1,640 feet long, with maximum take-off weight up to 70,000 lbs/31,800 kg; it may carry up to 60 equipped soldiers or up to 46 paratroopers and, in the air ambulance (MEDEVAC) version, 36 stretchers or 24 stretchers and two Patient Transport Support System (P.T.S.S), with stretchers and stowage provisions for intensive care medical equipment and six medical assistants.
The large cross section (8.53 feet/2.60 m high, 10.92 feet/3.33 m wide) and high floor strength (10,800 lbs/m/4,900 kg/m load capability) allow heavy and large military equipment to be loaded. The C-27J Spartan can, for example, carry fighter and transport aircraft engines, such as C-130 Hercules, Eurofighter Typhoon, F-16 Fighting Falcon and Mirage 2000 directly on its normal engine dollies without additional special equipment.
The C-27J Spartan has been designed, developed and tested as a true military aircraft. It has obtained Military Qualification Certificate. At the same time the C-27J Spartan is airworthy to civil standards, as witnessed by its certification from the Civil Aviation Authority, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in 2001 for the basic configuration and subsequently EASA/FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) in 2010 for the C-27J JCA configuration.
Pilot, co-pilot, loadmaster
2 Rolls-Royce AE 2100-D2 × 4,650 shp/3,467.5 kW
74.5 feet/22.7 m
31.5 feet/9.6 m
94.2 feet/28.7 m
67,241 lbs/30,500 kg
5,294 NM/6,092.5 miles/9,805 km
30,000 feet/9,144 m
362 knots/416 mph/670 km/h
21 stretcher patients
17,857 lbs/8,100 kg of cargo
Electronic self-protection measures
The first Alenia Aermacchi C-27J Spartan for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) touched down at RAAF Base Townsville on 24 June 2015, before travelling onwards to its new home of RAAF Base Richmond on 25 June 2015. An acceptance ceremony was then held at RAAF Base Richmond on 30 June 2015 for the first of ten C-27J Spartan battlefield airlifters to enter service with the Royal Australian Air Force
According to the Defense-aerospace.com, on July 2, Minister Siemoniak launched and christened the ORP Ślązak (Silesian) patrol boat at the Naval Shipyard in Gdynia. The ORP Ślązak is the first new Polish-built Navy ship in 21 years.
«Thanks to Polish shipyard workers in particular. We believed that they would be able to perform this task, and they acquitted themselves well. We look forward to further ships from Polish shipyards», said the head of the Defense Ministry.
On Thursday, Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak participated in the ceremony of launching and christening of the ship patrol ORP Ślązak, which was held in the Naval Shipyard in Gdynia.
The Minister said that, in accordance with the schedule, the ship should begin to serve late next year. «Now you need to fit it out. We must also train the crew. We anticipate that by the end of next year it will normally come into service. She must also undergo sea trials at this time. This is the plan», the Deputy Prime Minister said, and he added that he is confident about the continuation of work and schedule adherence.
Minister Siemoniak also said that negotiations are continuing with Polish Armament Group for the next six ships – patrol and coast guard vessels. He added that in his opinion, Polish shipyards are absolutely ready for such projects.
«Expansion of the Navy is the need of our time. We need new capability in the Baltic Sea, and to cooperate in the framework of NATO. The Alliance, because of what is happening in Europe and around Europe, looks completely different at sea, as was shown is the recent BALTOPS-2015 exercise. The Baltic Sea is of strategic importance for our interests and the interests of NATO. This is an indication that we should develop our naval forces», stressed the Deputy Prime Minister during the ceremony.
Construction of the ship patrol in the basic version of Ślązak is implemented by the Minister of Defence’s decision to use the platform on the multi-purpose corvette platform Gawron. Upon completion in 2012 of the requisite analysis and consultations, the minister decided that the best solution would be to complete the construction of Gawron as a patrol ship, retrofitting it with equipment and other naval systems required for its re-tasking.
In February of 2013, Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak signed a decision ordering the negotiations for the supply of an Integrated Combat System, and annexing an existing agreement taking into account the new requirements for the ship.
On September 23, 2013 was signed an annex to the original contract directing that the ship be completed by the Naval Shipyard using the existing platform as the patrol ship ORP Ślązak. The contract annex clarifies issues of completing the ship and changing its mission from multipurpose corvettes to patrol boat.
Total length – 312.3 feet/95.2 m;
Width – 44.3 feet/13.5 m;
Height to deck – 30.7 feet/9.35 m;
Draught – 11.8 feet/3.6 m;
Standard displacement – approximately 1,800 tonnes;
Autonomy – 30 days;
2 main engines with a capacity of 2 × 3,240 kW;
Turbine peak power of 25,000 kW;
Marine Power Station – 4 generating sets with the 4 × 600 kW;
Maximum speed – 30+ knots/34.5+ mph/55.5+ km/h;
Endurance speeds of 18 knots/20.7 mph/33.3 km/h – 2,000 NM/ 2,301 miles/3,704 km range;
Economical speed of 14 knots/16 mph/26 km/h – 4,500 NM/5,178 miles/8,334 km range;
Accessories – bow thruster azimuth and active stabilizers swings.
Command system with consoles – supplier company THALES;
Fincantieri, one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups and reference player in the naval shipbuilding industry, and Finmeccanica, Italy’s leading manufacturer in the high technology sector, have been awarded the contract for the construction and equipment of one multipurpose amphibious unit (LHD – Landing Helicopter Dock) for the Italian Navy.
The total value of the contract is over 1.1 billion euros, with Fincantieri’s share amounting to approximately 853 million euros and Finmeccanica’s to about 273 million euros. The delivery of the unit is scheduled in 2022.
The contract with the consortium Raggruppamento Temporaneo di Impresa (RTI), consisting of Fincantieri, agent, and Finmeccanica, through its subsidiary Selex ES, principal, was signed on behalf of the Ministry of Defence by the Central Unit for Naval Armament (NAVARM) of the General Secretariat.
The consortium RTI was established in accordance with the tight cooperation agreement in the field of naval vessels construction signed between Fincantieri and Finmeccanica last October. Pursuant to the agreement, Fincantieri acts as a sole interface to the client, while at the same time allowing to enhance Finmeccanica’s products range in the naval field and the technical and commercial synergies between the two largest national groups in the naval field.
In general, this multi-year programme for the renewal of the Navy’s fleet (known as the «Defence Act») employs a total funding of 5.4 billion euros and, in addition to the aforementioned LHD unit, foresees the construction of six patrol vessels, with four more in option, and one logistic support unit.
one multipurpose amphibious unit (LHD or Landing Helicopter Dock);
one logistic support unit (LSS or Logistic Support Ship);
six patrol vessels (PPA or Multipurpose Offshore Patrol Ship) and four more in option.
The fundamental characteristic common to all three classes of ships is their high level of innovation providing them with a considerable degree of efficiency and flexibility in serving different mission profiles. In particular, these are dual use vessels, meaning that they may be used for both standard military purposes and for civil protection and rescue at sea operations. They also have a low environmental impact thanks to a state-of-the-art auxiliary propulsion system generating a low level of pollution emissions (electric engines) and biological waste control system.
In addition to building the vessels at its shipyards, Fincantieri will provide support over the lifecycle of the vessels in the first ten years, through the supply of logistic services (training courses, spare parts, technical documentation) during the construction of the vessels and of In-Service Support (ISS), (maintenance services), carried out during post-delivery operations, as well as components and naval machinery produced by the Marine Systems and Components Business Unit, such as shaft lines, wheelhouse, maneuvering propellers, fin stabilizers and other handling systems.
Finmeccanica, through Selex ES, will act as prime contractor for the new unit’s entire combat system. The system will support landing craft, provide vessel self-defence and coordinate and control operations in concert with other naval and ground forces. Selex ES will also provide all the sensor systems including the X band, four-fixed-face, multifunctional scanned-array radar system and also the latest generation integrated communications. Finmeccanica-Selex ES will deliver and integrate all systems, including those of OTO Melara, WASS, and Elettronica, and is also responsible for the provision of support throughout the first decade of use including Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) and In-Service Support (ISS).
Fincantieri’s Chief Executive Officer, Giuseppe Bono, commented: «The announcement of this additional unit completes the first part of the renewal of our Navy’s Fleet, one of the world’s most significant defence programmes of the last years. We are extremely satisfied and excited to be leaders of such an important project, both technically and industrially. It confirms that we are a reference producer worldwide as well in the naval segment, either for the domestic and foreign markets. Fincantieri all will work at this programme with the highest commitment in order to realize on time extremely high quality products».
Finmeccanica’s Chief Executive Officer and General Manager, Mauro Moretti, said: «The contract award represents a new and significant contribution by Finmeccanica and Fincantieri to the Italian Navy’s important fleet renewal programme. All of the systems designed and developed for the new dual-use LHD naval unit are based on the most advanced technology, boosting the efficiency of solutions proposed by Finmeccanica and strengthening its position in the naval sector. The group will continue to invest in this sector, with the goal of increasing the value of its products and solutions able to achieve significant success, also in international markets».
LHD – Landing Helicopter Dock
The unit will be approximately 623 feet/190 meters long with a maximum speed of 20 knots/23 mph/37 km/h. It will be equipped with a combined diesel and gas turbine plant (CODOG) and will be able to accommodate on board over 950 people, of whom more than 750 military or civilian transported people.
The LHD’s main mission is the transport of people, vehicles and loads of different kinds and in their transfer on land in port areas through on board systems and in not equipped areas with various kinds of vessels: such as the small Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM) – landing craft units with a load capacity up to 60 tonnes, four of which can be admitted, launched, and recovered through a flooded basin, located on the stern of the vessel.
The Landing Helicopter Dock’s military profile use provides transport and landing, in equipped and non-equipped areas, of troupes, military vehicles, logistic equipment, using the provided features and means of transfer.
The civil profile use provides:
healthcare and hospital support;
transfer and landing of people and wheeled or crawled means of transport in equipped and non-equipped areas;
supply of drinking water to land through onboard desalination plants or storages;
supply of electricity to land with 2,000 kW of power and its distribution through containerized conversion and distribution units;
possibility of accommodating specialized staff on board or hosting up to 750 civilian personnel, plus the same number in containerized residential units;
rescue operations base through helicopters and boar staffing vessels.
Equipped with wide embarkment areas of about 4,500 m2 within dock-garage and hangar-garage and a continuous open deck, able to receive wheeled vehicles of various kinds, containers and helicopters, the unit can perform several military and civil missions.
The different areas of cargo securing are accessible through stern and side ramps, and cargo handling will be managed by internal ramps and elevators.
On board there will be a fully equipped hospital, complete with operating rooms, radiology and analysis rooms, a dentist’s office, and a hospital rooms capable of hosting 28 seriously injured patients (further admissions are possible through duly equipped container modules).
623 feet/190 m
Length Between Perpendicular
548 feet/167 m
108 feet/33 m
92 feet/28 m
Full Load Displacement
Propulsion Diesel engines
Diesel Generators sets
4 × 2,500 kWe
20 knots/23 mph/37 km/h
Range at 16 knots/18 mph/30 km/h
7,000 NM/8,055 miles/12,964 km
Flight deck for
up to 6 helicopters EH-101 type
Helicopters hangar for
up to 6 EH-101 type
Vehicle deck capability
up to 1200 metric lanes
about 1,000 m² plus 1,000 m² of convertible areas
about 50 × 15 m
1 stern + 1 side
200 crew + 750 troops
Air & Surface surveillance system (combined air/surface surveillance radar or air + surface surveillance radar’s).
Mine avoidance sonar.
Artillery: 3 Short Range Gun 25-mm + 2 76-mm OTO Melara 62 caliber (acting also as CIWS – Close-In Weapon System).
Electronic Warfare (EW) system (ESM/ECM – Electronic Support Measures/Electronic CounterMeasures + 2 AAW DLS – Anti Air Warfare Decoy Launcher System).
The Emirate of Kuwait has contracted with Rheinmetall to supply it with twelve state-of-the-art armoured NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) reconnaissance vehicles, the 2 NBC-RS «Spürfuchs». Now binding, the order also includes comprehensive support in the form of training, service and spare parts. Delivery of the vehicle commences in 2017. An accompanying technical support agreement contract covers a period of five years, beginning as soon as the first Fuchs/Fox 2 NBC-RS vehicle enters service. The parties to the contract have agreed not to disclose the cost of the order.
The contractor is Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles GmbH (RMMV). Rheinmetall holds a 51% share in the company, which was founded in 2010 and is located in Munich. The remaining 49% is held by MAN Truck & Bus. RMMV is a globally renowned supplier of military wheeled vehicles, with special expertise in the field of NBC reconnaissance technology.
As Pietro Borgo, Managing Director of RMMV and Member of the Executive Board of Rheinmetall Defence, explains, «This important order is a major vote of confidence by an Arab country in Rheinmetall, Europe’s leading supplier of army technology. We greatly appreciate this. By placing this order, Kuwait will soon possess NBC reconnaissance capabilities that are second to none. We are very pleased to be making a decisive contribution here».
The Fuchs/Fox 2 NBC-RS features a comprehensive, fully integrated suite of devices for identifying NBC warfare agents and other hazardous materials, built into a well-protected, high-mobility 6×6 armoured transport vehicle capable of operating in extreme terrain.
The outcome of a systematic development effort, the vehicles earmarked for Kuwait are the first to feature an additional biological detection capability. This constitutes another major technological advance, made possible thanks to Rheinmetall’s comprehensive, longstanding expertise in this field, in turn underpinning RMMV’s leading position in this segment of the market. When it comes to detecting biological threats, RMMV can supply users not only with the advanced Fuchs/Fox 2 NBC-RS, but – depending on their operational requirements – with a separate biological detection laboratory as well, mounted on the carrier platform of their choice.
Robust and resilient, the Fuchs/Fox wheeled armoured transport vehicle has proven highly effective in crisis regions around the world, with over 1,200 built. Of these, nearly 300 have been configured for NBC reconnaissance operations, performing a vital role in the German Bundeswehr, the US Army and the armed forces of the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Norway and Saudi Arabia.
In addition, the NBC defence forces of Germany, Switzerland and Sweden all have Rheinmetall-made mobile NBC field laboratories in their inventories, which can be transported to the area of operations by road, rail, sea or air. Around the world, these field laboratories have done an excellent job of identifying radiological, biological and chemical hazards.
In the civil defence realm, Rheinmetall has supplied German fire brigades with 397 NBC detection vehicles. These systems help to make sure that German cities are as well prepared as possible to contend with such threats.
Widening its array of mobile NBC reconnaissance systems, in summer 2014 RMMV unveiled the new «CBRN Survivor R», a 4×4 vehicle jointly developed with Austrian vehicle-maker Achleitner, which features a built-in NBC recce kit.
Fox armoured wheeled vehicle
Foxes are cunning and fast. These attributes of Reynard the Fox are equally true for the versatile and proven armoured transport vehicle called Fox. Thanks to its shrewd design concept, the vehicle can be put to multiple uses. The Fox not only reaches maximum speeds of up to 100 km/h (6×6 drive configuration) but is also highly mobile in difficult terrain.
Already introduced in the 1970s, the Fox wheeled vehicle is today one of the most reliable «workhorses» of the Bundeswehr. The German forces will continue to use around 900 such vehicles in more than 30 different variants (with 16 variants of the 1A8) – many of them having the latest design configuration Fox 1A8 that incorporates modifications based on the experience acquired during many foreign missions. This is, for instance, reflected by the reinforced chassis and power train, high level of protection, new stowage box concept and integration of a remotely controllable weapons station. Although these systems increase the weight of the vehicle to around 20 tons, it has not lost any of its agility.
One particular variant of the Fox is especially well known internationally: the NBC reconnaissance Fox for the detection of nuclear, biological and chemical agents. 102 NBC reconnaissance vehicles are operated by the German NBC corps, 8 of them featuring the 1A8 design status. Great Britain presently has eleven NBC reconnaissance vehicles, Norway and the Netherlands each have six, Saudi Arabia 10 and the UAE 32 such vehicles.
Not only is the vehicle from Rheinmetall: the defence contractor is also responsible for the extensive integration and networking of the many different sensors on board. The vehicle is manned by four persons: the driver, commander, reconnaissance personnel 1 and 2. Numerous civilian forces likewise benefit from Rheinmetall’s expertise in the field of CBRNE defence (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives). For example, the fire department in North Rhine-Westphalia operates NBC reconnaissance vehicles with Rheinmetall technology.
The production «Fox-house» is in Kassel. In the former Henschel factory, Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles today can today offer the systems needed for maintenance, service, modernization – and production of integrated systems including the related carrier vehicle. Thanks to the 2005 order from the United Arab Emirates to deliver 32 modern, fully integrated NBC reconnaissance systems, it was possible to develop the Fox 2 vehicle. The ongoing success of this vehicle demonstrates impressively just how successful the strategy has been. Currently, the first vehicles for Algeria are leaving the factory hall; the North African country will perform final assembly of the vehicles in its own production sites built especially for the purpose.
Double-wheel sampling system – two silicone-coated wheels for the automatic detection (whilst moving) of persistent warfare agents and hazardous adhering to the ground.
Standoff infrared detector capable of detecting volatile chemical substances in the air from a great distance.
«NBC tail» including the tube magazine for transporting samples, the marker trap, glove opening and tongs for manual sampling.
Mass spectrometer (behind the operator’s position) for chemical analysis of samples collected.
Operator’s position with the Rheinmetall software «NBC Inspector» – the heart of the NBC kit in the Fox reconnaissance vehicle.
Central computer system.
FLW 200 remotely controllable weapon station – operated from the armoured interior as a means of self-defence.
Austal and the U.S. Navy held a keel-laying ceremony on June 29 for the future USS Manchester (LCS-14), marking the first significant milestone in its construction. This new ship is the fifth Independence variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) built at Austal under the 10-ship, $3.5 billion block buy contract awarded to Austal in 2010.
«It has been said that building a high-tech Littoral Combat Ship is more akin to making a spacecraft than a traditional warship», said Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), sponsor of the Manchester. «These ships and their technology are impressive. However, what is always most impressive, to me is the professionalism and excellence of the officers and sailors who serve on these remarkable vessels. We are also grateful to the engineers, the welders, the machinists, the metalworkers and electricians – all the men and women who are working as a team to build the USS Manchester (LCS-14). I am honored and humbled to be her official ship sponsor».
Shaheen, the only woman to serve as both a U.S. senator and state governor, authenticated the keel by welding her initials onto an aluminum plate that will be placed in the keel – a beam around which the hull, or body, of a ship is built. The keel runs lengthwise down the middle of the ship serving as the basic foundation or spine of the structure, providing the major source of the hull’s strength. Shaheen has been part of New Hampshire’s leadership fabric by representing her state in Congress since 2009.
Due to Austal’s modular approach to ship manufacturing, 36 of 37 modules used to form this 127-meter (419-foot) aluminum trimaran are already being fabricated. For Austal, keel laying marks the beginning of final assembly. Nineteen modules have been moved from Austal’s Module Manufacturing Facility (MMF) and erected in the final assembly bay in their pre-launch position. The remaining 18 modules will follow over the coming months.
«With 19 modules of Manchester already erected, and the christening of Gabrielle Giffords just a few short weeks ago, it’s exciting to see just how well the LCS program is maturing here», said Craig Perciavalle, president of Austal USA. «This milestone would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of Austal’s talented design and production team».
Austal’s LCS program delivered USS Independence (LCS-2) in 2009 and USS Coronado (LCS-4) in 2013. Seven additional LCS are under construction at the Mobile, Alabama shipyard. The U.S. Navy conducted acceptance trials on the future USS Jackson (LCS-6) last week, while the future USS Montgomery (LCS-8) is preparing for builders trials later this year. The future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) was christened June 13, and the future USS Omaha (LCS-12) will complete final assembly and prepare for launch later this summer. Modules for the future USS Tulsa (LCS-16) and the future USS Charleston (LCS-18) are in the early phases of construction.
Austal is also building ten 103-meter (338-foot) Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSVs) for the U.S. U.S. Navy under a $1.6 billion block-buy contract. USNS Trenton (JHSV-5) marked the fifth vessel in this class to be delivered since the inception of the program. Both USNS Spearhead (JHSV-1) and USNS Millinocket (JHSV-3) are on humanitarian missions, in Central America and Southwest Asia, respectively.
Austal USA is a full-service shipyard offering design, construction and high-speed vessel service and repair. As Austal USA continues to expand its service and repair capabilities, the company is well positioned for new business with engineering, test and trials capabilities, and a new warehouse and office location in San Diego, California.
It is said in the Jane’s Defence Weekly that the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) has unveiled a new high-speed and stealthy naval interceptor designed to perform a range of missions, including base defence for the service’s two naval facilities, force protection, as well as maritime security operations alongside its existing Fearless-class patrol vessels and future Littoral Mission Vessels (LMV).
The new interceptor, called the Specialized Marine Craft (SMC), will be officially revealed to the public as part of the military display aimed at showcasing the Singapore Armed Forces’ latest capabilities during the country’s National Day celebration on 9 August. The SMC replaces the service’s Fast Boats, which were retired in 2008.
According to specifications provided by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the 40-tonne SMC – which is based on an aluminium hullform with a low Radar Cross Section (RCS) design – measures 72 feet/22 m in length and has a beam of 18 feet/5.5 m. Kelvin Wong, Jane’s Defence Weekly correspondent understands that the draft of the vessel is approximately 4 feet/1.2 m.
Major Lee Pui Yau, commander of the SMC squadron, told reporters during a media preview event on 27 June that development of the SMC began in 2003 in collaboration with Singapore Technologies (ST) Marine, with the first vessel entering service in 2009 after extensive trials and design refinements in the intervening years.
Maj Lee said the vessel’s complement of four comprises a commander, a coxswain, a navigator, and a weapons specialist. He added that the SMC is not designed to embark additional personnel. Propulsion is achieved with two Hamilton waterjets, likely the HM series that are designed for marine craft ranging from 56 to 197 feet/17 to 60 m, which enable unfettered operation in shallow waters, while enabling the vessel to attain maximum speeds in excess of 30 knots/34.5 mph/55.5 km/h.
The SMC is armed with a foredeck-mounted stabilised OTO Melara Hitrole G remote weapons station that is equipped with a 12.7-mm FN Herstal M2HB QCB machine gun and complements the stealthy profile of the SMC with its low-RCS shield. According to company literature, the Hitrole G weapon station is capable of engaging surface and aerial targets and has an internal capacity for 400 rounds of ammunition. Additional ammunition can be stored under the mount. The company also stated that the Hitrole G is also equipped with a daylight camera, a cooled infrared imager, and a laser rangefinder.
Specifics of the SMC’s electronic systems were not disclosed, although MoD said the vessel features «advanced sensors» that provide «state-of-the-art surveillance capabilities» as well as a communications suite that enables improved integration with other RSN fleet assets and facilities. However, Kelvin Wong understands from Maj Lee that the vessel is equipped with a mast-mounted electro-optical sensor turret as well as a radar system, although he declined to elaborate further on their origins.
According to Maj Lee, the RSN currently operates three vessels with a further five expected to enter service by 2017.