All posts by Dmitry Shulgin

Minehunting sonar

Northrop Grumman Corporation successfully operated the AQS-24 minehunting sonar at depths greater than 400 feet/122 m during system testing off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Northrop Grumman successfully tests AQS-24 Deep Tow

Embarked on the M/V Richard Becker, the Northrop Grumman test team demonstrated reliable AQS-24 system operations with excellent sonar performance at all tested depths, while using the system to classify bottom objects of interest.

«The AQS-24 minehunting system performed superbly at tow depths up to and beyond 400 feet/122 m», said Alan Lytle, vice president, undersea systems, Northrop Grumman. «This latest internal research and development effort underscores our commitment to provide the most innovative, affordable and operationally-proven capabilities to meet the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Mine Countermeasures Mission (MCM) package requirements and future expeditionary MCM needs».

Earlier this year, Northrop Grumman demonstrated an autonomy upgrade path for the AQS-24’s minehunting system by integrating and successfully testing the company’s image exploitation suite, incorporating state-of-the-art machine learning for Automatic Target Recognition (ATR) using multiple ATR algorithms. Following this successful demonstration, the U.S. Navy plans to incorporate this new capability into existing AQS-24 minehunting systems.

The success of Deep Tow is now followed by the recently commenced in-water testing of Northrop Grumman’s AQS-24 system on the Navy’s MCM Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) at Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City. This is in preparation for user operated evaluation system testing aboard the LCS in 2020. The AQS-24’s newly doubled depth capability is planned for integration and test with the MCM USV system.

These major enhancements to the U.S. Navy’s only operational mine hunting towed sonar – running deeper, automatically detecting and reporting targets, and providing the transition to the LCS MCM USV – increases the operational effectiveness of the AQS-24 system while providing the warfighter with an unprecedented capability that affordably meets operational needs and provides a proven path for continued integration of state-of-the-art technology.

Doubles the current AQS-24 program of record depth performance metric

Lithuanian NASAMS

In the end of September specialists of the Lithuanian Air Force began tests of the NASAMS medium-range air defence system made for the Lithuanian Air Force at the Kongsberg factory in Norway. Components of the weaponry system produced specifically for the Lithuanian Air Force will be first tested at the factor and then put to field trials when the air defence systems are brought to Lithuania.

Lithuania has begun testing two batteries of NASAMS medium-range air-defense missiles it ordered for 110 million euros in 2017; Lithuania’s system uses second-hand launchers from the Norwegian army and new AMRAAM missiles from the US (LT MoD photo)

The trials will assess technical and tactical conformity of NASAMS components to the determined weaponry specification. The tests will run until February 2020 and test all the NASAMS components – missile launchers, radars, electro-optical sensors, components of integration with the RBS70 short-range air defence systems, communication, and control components, and vehicles.

The NASAMS medium-range air defence system is planned to be delivered to Lithuania by the end of 2020.

Once the systems are delivered, specialist operator training will begin at the Lithuanian Air Force Air Defence Battalion.

The contract for procuring the NSAMS mid-range air defence system for the Lithuanian Air Force was signed by the Ministry of National Defence and Norway’s Kongsberg NASAMS manufacturer on 26 October 2017.

For the sum of EUR 110 million, equipment for two air defence batteries and logistical maintenance package, as well as training for operators and maintenance personnel of the system are bought from Norwegian NASAMS manufacturer Kongsberg.

Upon the completion of the project, Lithuania will have acquired a complete and integrated medium range air defence capability.

«Protected airspace is one of the main conditions necessary for deployment of allies into the region in case of necessity», Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis says. «NASAMS is an assembled and integrated medium-range air defence capability we needed and did not have till present. This procurement partly fills one of the biggest gaps in national defence – airspace protection».

The system procured by Lithuania is new, except for the launchers that are pre-used by the Norwegian Armed Forces and currently upgraded to manufacturer’s parameters. The systems procured from Norway use U.S.-made AMRAAM aircraft defence missiles capable of destroying aircraft and missiles of an adversary several tens of kilometres away. All the equipment is planned to be fully delivered to Lithuania, personnel trained, and all the components integrated into a system capable of completing air defence tasks: monitor and control air space, issue warning to ground-based units about air threats, and to destroy targets if necessary.

The MoD Work Group analysed mid-range air defence systems available on the market to implement the NASAMS procurement project. Potential procurements were assessed according to such criteria as efficiency, compatibility with systems of NATO allies, maintenance and repair cost, times of delivery, etc. NASAMS was selected as the closest choice to the requirement and criteria formulated.

Lithuanian Air Force experts begin testing NASAMS medium-range air defence system

Patrol Vessel

HMS Spey (P234), the last of five River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs), was named in front of gathered VIPs and employees at an official ceremony in Glasgow on 3 October, 2019.

HMS Spey (P234) named at official ceremony

In keeping with naval tradition, guests watched as Lady Johnstone, HMS Spey’s sponsor, named the 2000 tonne vessel by releasing a bottle of special blend Spey whisky from Speyside Distillery that smashed against the ship’s hull.

HMS Spey (P234) is the last in a class of five vessels that have been built in Glasgow. With construction starting on the first ship in late 2014, these vessels have provided an important opportunity to maintain essential design, construction and systems integration skills, while introducing new processes and technologies that are already being used in the production of the UK’s Type 26 frigates.

David Shepherd, OPV Programme Director said: «Today’s ceremony is a truly significant milestone for the River Class Offshore Patrol Vessel programme and builds on our proud heritage of British shipbuilding here in Glasgow. There has been fantastic momentum on this programme and the naming of HMS Spey serves as a great reminder of the importance of the capability and skills of our employees who are working together with the Royal Navy and partners to deliver these important ships».

Defence Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: «Our Offshore Patrol Vessels play a pivotal role in patrolling our coastline, protecting our domestic waters, and supporting maritime interests from anti-smuggling to fisheries protection. The naming of HMS Spey is an exciting milestone for the OPV programme, demonstrating our commitment to UK shipyards while bolstering the Royal Navy’s capabilities».

HMS Spey (P234) will aid in a range of operations from counter-terrorism, and anti-smuggling to securing the UK’S borders to help keep Britain safe, making her a valuable addition to the Royal Navy fleet.

HMS Forth (P222) and HMS Medway (P223), the first two ships in the class, are now in service with the Royal Navy.

Invictus

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, has announced a new rotorcraft, Bell 360 Invictus, as the company’s entrant for the U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) Competitive Prototype program. Bell’s innovative approach to designing the Bell 360 Invictus combines proven low-risk technologies with advanced processes to deliver soldiers an affordable, agile and lethal solution to win on the modern battlefield. The Bell 360 Invictus meets or exceeds all requirements as laid out under the FARA contract.

Next-generation rotorcraft is designed to provide attack, reconnaissance, and intelligence to shape the tactical environment and deliver operational overmatch in highly complex multi-domain operations

«The Bell 360 will deliver advanced battlefield situational awareness, as well as lethal options, in support of the maneuver force at an affordable cost», said Vince Tobin, executive vice president of Military Business at Bell. «The multi-domain fight will be complex, and our team is delivering a highly capable, low-risk solution to confidently meet operational requirements with a sustainable fleet».

The Bell 360 Invictus’ design emphasizes exceptional performance using proven technologies to fulfill the Army’s FARA requirements at an affordable cost and on schedule. One example is the Invictus’ rotor system. This design is based on Bell’s 525 Relentless rotor system which has been tested and proven at speeds in excess of 200 Knots True Air Speed (KTAS)/230 mph/370 km/h. By incorporating proven designs and the best available technologies from commercial and military programs, Bell delivers a low-risk path to a FARA program of record.

This advanced aircraft will have a transformative impact through next-generation flight performance, increased safety and greater operational readiness – all to deliver decisive capabilities.

Some of the key 360 Invictus features include:

  • Lift-sharing wing to reduce rotor lift demand in forward flight, enabling high-speed maneuverability
  • Supplemental Power Unit increases performance during high power demands
  • Robust articulated main rotor with high flapping capability enabling high speed flight
  • Fly-by-wire flight control system – synthesizes technologies, reduces pilot workload and provides a path to autonomous flight
  • Speed: >185 KTAS/213 mph/343 km/h
  • Combat radius: 135 NM/155 miles/250 km with >90 minutes of time on station
  • Achieves 4k/95F Hover Out of Ground Effect (HOGE)
  • Armed with a 20-mm cannon, integrated munitions launcher with ability to integrate air-launched effects, and future weapons, as well as current inventory of munitions
  • Provisioned for enhanced situational awareness and sensor technologies
  • Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) enabled by a Digital Backbone from Collins Aerospace
  • Robust design integrating lifecycle supportability processes early to ensure high Operational Tempo (OPTEMPO) availability in multi-domain operations
  • Design-as-built manufacturing model and digital thread enabled tools to enhance affordability, reliability, and training throughout the lifecycle of the aircraft

«Bell is committed to providing the U.S. Army with the most affordable, most sustainable, least complex, and lowest risk solution among the potential FARA configurations, while meeting all requirements», said Keith Flail, vice president of Advanced Vertical Lift Systems at Bell. «360 Invictus is an exciting opportunity for us to continue our support of Army modernization. This is the next solution to ensure soldiers have the best equipment available for the multi-domain fight».

Bell has decades of experience providing attack and reconnaissance aircraft to the warfighter, such as the Kiowa Warrior which delivered high reliability and availability through more than 850,000 flight hours. The Bell 360 Invictus design builds from that legacy, Bell’s commercial innovations, and from the success in the development and manufacturing capabilities required for Future Vertical Lift (FVL) as part of the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstration (JMR TD) over the past six years.

Christening of Oregon

The U.S. Navy christened its newest attack submarine, the future USS Oregon (SSN-793), during a 10 a.m. EDT ceremony Saturday, October 5, 2019, at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, Connecticut.

Navy christened submarine USS Oregon (SSN-793)

Representative Greg Walden of Oregon delivered the ceremony’s principal address. The submarine’s sponsor was Mrs. Dana Richardson. The ceremony was highlighted by Mrs. Richardson breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow to formally christen the ship, a time-honored Navy tradition.

«The future USS Oregon will play an important role in the defense of our nation and maritime freedom», said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. «She stands as proof of what teamwork – from civilian to contractor to military – can accomplish. I am confident USS Oregon and her crew will ensure our Navy remains safe and strong to proudly serve our nation’s interest for decades to come».

Oregon, a Virginia-class submarine designated SSN-793, is the third U.S. Navy ship to honor the state. The first USS Oregon was a brigantine ship purchased in 1841 and used for exploration until 1845. The second Oregon (Battleship No. 3) was commissioned on July 15, 1896. Known for one of the most dramatic voyages ever undertaken by a ship of the U.S. Navy, Oregon sailed over 14,000 miles in 66 days, leaving San Francisco in 1898 and travelling south through the Straits of Magellan until finally arriving at Jupiter Inlet, Florida, where she reported for battle in the Spanish-American War. While the ship demonstrated the capabilities of a heavy battle ship, it also eliminated any opposition to the construction of the Panama Canal, as the country could not afford two months to send warships from one coast to another in times of emergency. Decommissioned in 1906, she was later recommissioned in 1911, and remained in the reserve, until stricken from the Navy list in 1942.

The USS Oregon (SSN-793) is the 20th Virginia-class attack submarine and the second Virginia-class Block IV submarine. The ship began construction fall of 2014 and is expected to deliver in the fall of 2020. Oregon will provide the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation’s undersea superiority well into the 21st century.

Block IV Virginia-class submarines include design changes to Reduce Total Ownership Cost (RTOC) and increase operational availability by decreasing the planned number of depot availabilities from four to three.

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

Oregon Crest

 

General Characteristics

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

* – Knolls Atomic Power Laboratories

 

Nuclear Submarine Lineup

 

Block IV

Ship Yard Christening Commissioned Homeport
SSN-792 Vermont EB 10-20-2018
SSN-793 Oregon EB 10-05-2019
SSN-794 Montana NNS Under Construction
SSN-795 Hyman G. Rickover EB Under Construction
SSN-796 New Jersey NNS Under Construction
SSN-797 Iowa EB Under Construction
SSN-798 Massachusetts NNS Under Construction
SSN-799 Idaho EB Under Construction
SSN-800 Arkansas NNS Under Construction
SSN-801 Utah EB Under Construction

 

Cincinnati

The U.S. Navy commissioned its newest Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the USS Cincinnati (LCS-20), during a 10 a.m. CDT ceremony Saturday, October 5, on west pier in Gulfport, Mississippi.

Navy commissioned Littoral Combat Ship USS Cincinnati (LCS-20)

The principal speaker was Representative Brad Wenstrup of Ohio. Former Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker served as the ship’s sponsor. The ceremony was highlighted by a time-honored naval tradition when Mrs. Pritzker gives the first order to «man our ship and bring her to life!»

«USS Cincinnati and her crew will play an important role in the defense of our nation and maritime freedom», said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. «She stands as proof of what teamwork – from civilian to contractor to military – can accomplish. This fast, agile platform will deliver her motto, ‘Strength in Unity’ worldwide thanks to their efforts».

The USS Cincinnati (LCS-20) is the fifth U.S. Navy ship to honor Ohio’s third largest city. The first was a stern-wheel casemate gunboat that served during the Civil War and was sunk by Confederate fire on two separate occasions. Raised both times and returned to service, she was decommissioned following the war. The second Cincinnati was a cruiser commissioned in 1894. She served extensively in the Caribbean before, during, and after the Spanish-American War before being decommissioned in 1919. The third ship to bear the name was a light cruiser commissioned in 1924 that served around the world and earned a battle star for World War II service that included convoy escort and blockade duty. She was decommissioned in 1945 after the war ended. The fourth Cincinnati was a Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine commissioned in 1978. The boat served for 17 years before being decommissioned in 1995.

LCS is a modular, reconfigurable ship, designed to meet validated fleet requirements for surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare and mine countermeasures missions in the littoral region. An interchangeable mission package is embarked on each LCS and provides the primary mission systems in one of these warfare areas. Using an open architecture design, modular weapons, sensor systems and a variety of manned and unmanned vehicles to gain, sustain and exploit littoral maritime supremacy, LCS provides U.S. joint force access to critical areas in multiple theaters.

The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom-variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for the odd-numbered hulls). The Independence-variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS-6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).

 

The Independence Variant of the LCS Class

PRINCIPAL DIMENSIONS
Construction Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy
Length overall 421 feet/128.3 m
Beam overall 103 feet/31.4 m
Hull draft (maximum) 14.8 feet/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 Bay Volume 118,403 feet3/11,000 m3
Mission packages Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
Surface Warfare (SUW)
Mine Warfare (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/4,028 miles/6,482 km
Operational limitation Survival in Sea State 8
MISSION/LOGISTICS DECK
Deck area >21,527.8 feet2/2,000 m2
Launch and recovery Twin boom extending crane
Loading Side ramp
Internal elevator to hanger
Launch/Recover Watercraft 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)
Hanger Aircraft stowage & maintenance for 2 × SH-60
Launch/Recover Aircraft Sea State 5
WEAPONS AND SENSORS
Standard 1 × 57-mm gun
4 × 12.7-mm/.50 caliber guns
1 × Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) launcher
3 × weapons modules

 

Independence-class

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Independence (LCS-2) 01-19-2006 04-26-2008 01-16-2010 San Diego, California
USS Coronado (LCS-4) 12-17-2009 01-14-2012 04-05-2014 San Diego, California
USS Jackson (LCS-6) 08-01-2011 12-14-2013 12-05-2015 San Diego, California
USS Montgomery (LCS-8) 06-25-2013 08-06-2014 09-10-2016 San Diego, California
USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) 04-16-2014 02-25-2015 06-10-2017 San Diego, California
USS Omaha (LCS-12) 02-18-2015 11-20-2015 02-03-2018 San Diego, California
USS Manchester (LCS-14) 06-29-2015 05-12-2016 05-26-2018 San Diego, California
USS Tulsa (LCS-16) 01-11-2016 03-16-2017 02-16-2019 San Diego, California
USS Charleston (LCS-18) 06-28-2016 09-14-2017 03-02-2019 San Diego, California
USS Cincinnati (LCS-20) 04-10-2017 05-22-2018 10-05-2019 San Diego, California
USS Kansas City (LCS-22) 11-15-2017 10-19-2018 San Diego, California
USS Oakland (LCS-24) 07-20-2018 07-21-2019 San Diego, California
USS Mobile (LCS-26) 12-14-2018
USS Savannah (LCS-28) 09-20-2018
USS Canberra (LCS-30)
USS Santa Barbara (LCS-32)
USS Augusta (LCS-34)
USS Kingsville (LCS-36)
USS Pierre (LCS-38)

 

Ghost Fleet

The second phase of the Ghost Fleet Overlord program commenced with the award of contract modifications to the two industry teams who participated in Phase I, the Program Executive Office Unmanned and Small Combatants (PEO USC) announced October 1.

A Ghost Fleet Overlord test vessel sits pier-side following a capstone demonstration during the conclusion of Phase I of the program in September. Two existing commercial fast supply vessels were converted into Unmanned Surface Vessels (USVs) for Overlord testing, which will play a vital role in informing the Navy’s new classes of USVs (Photo by U.S. Navy/RELEASED)

The Overlord program, developed by the Office of the Secretary of Defense Strategic Capabilities Office (OSD SCO) in partnership with PEO USC, will play a vital role in informing the Navy’s new classes of Unmanned Surface Vessels (USVs).

Phase I converted two existing commercial fast supply vessels into USVs and focused on autonomy system integration; demonstration of navigational autonomy; and hull, mechanical and electrical system reliability upgrades. Phase I concluded in September with a successful capstone demonstration of both Overlord vessels executing interactions compliant with the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS). Along with reliability of systems tests, more than 600 hours of autonomy testing was successfully completed during Phase I, including several long-range autonomous transits in a complex navigational environment.

Phase II will be conducted using the same ships from Phase I and will focus on the integration of government-furnished command-and-control systems and payloads and involve more complex and challenging naval experimentation. Phase II will complete in Fiscal Year 2021 at which point the Overlord vessels will transition to the Navy for further experimentation.

The experiences gleaned from both Phase I and II of Overlord are designed to inform and accelerate the Navy’s Large and Medium USV programs, which are managed by the same team in PEO USC.

The Navy issued a request for proposals on September 5 for the award of multiple conceptual design contracts for the Large USV in fiscal 2020. A RFP for the development of the Medium USV was issued July 16.

Missile defense radar

Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $281 million contract by the United States Army to develop the Sentinel A4 radar system.

U.S. Army awards Lockheed Martin contract to develop Sentinel A4 radar

Sentinel A4 is a high-performance modification of the Sentinel A3 (AN/MPQ-64A3) air and missile defense radar that will provide updates to improve the existing Sentinel capability against cruise missiles, unmanned aerial systems, rotary wing and fixed wing threats.

The new Sentinel A4 radar will provide improved surveillance, detection, and classification capabilities against current and emerging aerial threats in order to protect Army maneuver formations and high value static assets to include: command and control nodes, tactical assembly areas and geo-political centers. This needed capability will help protect our warfighters for the next 40 years.

«By leveraging our open scalable radar architecture and production efforts, we believe we provide the lowest risk and best value solution for the U.S. Army that will help protect our warfighters for years to come», said Doctor Rob Smith, vice president and general manager for Lockheed Martin’s Radar and Sensor Systems. «We have fielded numerous tactical Gallium Nitride (GaN) based radars beginning with the delivery of the TPS-77 Multi Role Radar to Latvia in 2018 and we are under contract with the Army to insert GaN into the Q-53 system».

Stealth Frigate

On September 28, 2019, Raksha Mantri [Defence Minister] Shri Rajnath Singh said the Government is making concerted efforts to modernise the Navy and equip it with the best platforms, weapons and sensors to deal with any conventional and unconventional threats to India’s maritime interests.

INS Nilgiri, the first ship of Project 17A class of stealth frigates

Shri Rajnath Singh was speaking at the launch of INS Nilgiri, the first of the Navy’s seven new stealth frigates, at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited in Mumbai. He said, 70% of India’s trade by value and 95% by volume is taking place through the sea route and even a slight disruption of seaborne trade due to piracy, terrorism or conflict, could have serious repercussions on the economic growth and well-being of the nation.

Raksha Mantri said, India is growing and its commercial interests are spreading far and beyond, yet there are challenges, including a hostile neighbourhood. «State-sponsored terrorism remains a challenge and the strong-willed Government will not hesitate to take tough decisions in the larger interest of the country. The repealing of the provisions under article 370 of the constitution is one such decision. We are confident that this will usher a new era of development and prosperity in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh», Raksha Mantri added.

Saying that «any credible defence of a country is based on the indigenous defence capability», Shri Rajnath Singh emphasised on «Make in India» and «Design and Make in India» with regard to defence equipment.

Raksha Mantri highlighted that Directorate of Naval Design has designed over 19 classes of ships to which more than 90 ships have been built since then. He said, today India belongs to an elite group of nations which is building its own Aircraft Carrier and Strategic Submarines. «Out of total 51 ships and submarines on order at various shipyards as on date, 49 are being constructed indigenously. This contributes to our target of building a five trillion-dollar economy by 2025 and 70% defence indigenisation by 2027», he said.

«A vibrant shipbuilding industry can play a major role in the overall economic development of the country», Raksha Mantri said adding that shipbuilding is a labour intensive industry with tremendous potential for employment generation, not only in its own sector, but also in various upstream and downstream industries. He noted that construction of one frigate itself provides direct employment to 4,800 personnel and indirect employment to around 27,000 personnel for a period of 8 years. Almost 87% of the total warship cost is invested in the Indian economy which significantly contributes to nation building.

Raksha Mantri said, the Indian Ocean region is the epicentre of activity and the entire world sees Indian Navy as a Net Security Provider. He said, with growing stature of India in geo-political and geo-strategic dimension and increasing reliance of neighbors on us, it is the Navy’s responsibility to provide credible security and peaceful and prosperous sea routes.

Shri Rajnath Singh added that, «while the Navy is continuously evolving to meet emerging challenges to India’s maritime interests by means of state-of-the-art platforms and infrastructure, the core strength of our forces remains our men and women».

Raksha Mantri expressed confidence that Nilgiri and the other six ships of the Project will proudly fly the Indian Flag across the oceans, showcasing India’s shipbuilding prowess and would spread India’s message of peace and strength across the globe. He appreciated the work done by the workforce of the shipyard, saying that the ship is not just metal and paint, it is a story of hard work, sweat and perseverance of the men and women involved with the project.

INS Nilgiri is the first ship of Project 17A. Project 17A frigates is a design derivative of the Shivalik class stealth frigates with much more advanced stealth features and indigenous weapons and sensors. These frigates are being built using integrated construction methodology. The P17A frigates incorporate new design concepts for improved survivability, sea keeping, stealth and ship manoeuvrability.

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh also commissioned the largest dry dock of Indian Navy – The Aircraft Carrier Dock at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai. He termed it as an «edifice of modern India».

Hungarian PzH 2000

Rheinmetall is taking on an important role in the modernization of the Hungarian Army. The Düsseldorf-based Group is producing the main armament and fire control technology for forty-four Leopard 2 main battle tanks as well as the main armament, fire control technology and chassis for twenty-four PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers. The package also encompasses thirteen HX and TGS logistic trucks. The contract, worth around €300 million, was recently signed. Delivery begins in 2021 and will be completed in 2025.

The PzH 2000 SP gun gave a good account of itself in Afghanistan, where it proved very effective in providing coordinated artillery support to Allied mobile columns; it is gaining a new lease on life with a new order from Hungary (RhM photo)

Rheinmetall has partnered with Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) to carry out the project. In December 2018 KMW won an order from the Hungarian armed forces for forty-four new Leopard 2A7+ tanks and 24 new PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers. This will make Hungary the 19th Leopard 2 user nation and the eighth nation to opt for the PzH2000.

As well as having design authority, Rheinmetall is the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of the 120-mm smoothbore technology used in all versions of the Leopard 2 tank.

The same is true of the 155-mm L52 main gun of the PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer.

Tried and tested around the globe, the Group’s 120-mm smoothbore gun and ammunition have been continuously perfected right from the start. The higher-pressure 120mm L55A1 gun earmarked for the Leopard 2A7+ was successfully qualified at the end of 2017, and already supplied and installed for two Leopard 2 user nations in mid 2018. Moreover, the L55A1 tank gun is capable of firing the programmable DM11 multipurpose round.

In addition, Rheinmetall possesses comprehensive expertise in the field of tracked armoured vehicles, including as an OEM. The Group developed the chassis of the PzH self-propelled howitzer.