Not only is the AN/TPQ-53 system the most modern radar deployed by the U.S. Army, it is now poised to be the first and only Army radar system operating with Gallium Nitride (GaN).
«Lockheed Martin recently delivered the first Q-53 system to the U.S. Army equipped with GaN», said Mark Mekker, director, Lockheed Martin Army radar programs. «This critical upgrade will enable the Army to continuously grow and enhance the system’s capabilities to meet changing mission needs».
GaN transmit-receive modules will provide the radar with additional power, reliability and the possibility for enhanced capabilities, including extended range, counterfire target acquisition (CTA) and multi-mission, which delivers simultaneous CTA and air surveillance. The systems upgraded with GaN are part of the Lot 3 contract awarded in 2018.
«We realize how critical it is to develop and build these radars so they will be responsive to the evolving operational demands and threats our deployed troops face every day», said Mekker. «Lockheed Martin’s open, scalable radar architecture is the cornerstone of the systems’ designs and will allow for future upgrades that will not only extend the lives of the radars – but evolve their capabilities over the next 40 years».
About the Q-53
The primary mission of the Q-53 is to protect troops in combat by detecting, classifying, tracking and identifying the location of enemy indirect fire in either 90 or 360-degree modes. The Q-53 has protected warfighters around the world since 2010.
Proven Radar Experience
With broad and deep experience developing and delivering ground-based radar solutions to our customers, our high-performing, high-reliability, Solid State Radar (SSR) systems specialize in counter target acquisition, early warning, situational awareness, and integrated air and missile defense. Our radars are designed with the highest degree of commonality and fully integrated SSR systems. They can operate in all environments, are available in highly mobile configurations, and are deployed worldwide. It’s why Lockheed Martin’s ground-based radars are the choice of more than 45 nations on six continents.
Underwater gliders that can rapidly send vital information that could give an extra edge to the Royal Navy’s submarine hunting operations are being rigorously trialled in the North Atlantic.
One of the Slocum Gliders is right now being tested to the limit as it hoovers up information about the seas west of Scotland during a five-month deployment.
The unmanned Slocum – using its array of cutting-edge sensors – is capable of sending near real-time information on temperature, depth, salinity (salt content), currents, oxygen levels, turbulence and more.
These parameters can impact the efficiency of the sonar and sensors used by the Type 23 frigates and Merlin and Wildcat helicopters – as well as the Royal Air Force’s P-8 Poseidon – during submarine hunting operations.
Currently, data collection takes months, but these gliders can not only provide unparalleled insight, they can also relay information in a matter of hours.
The intention is for the navy to eventually deploy gliders continually to high-threat areas to give a clear and constant picture of the underwater battlespace, meaning operational decisions will be based on the very latest information.
Having this data quickly means sub-hunters will be able to adapt better when they are attempting to detect underwater surface threats.
«Ocean environments are changing – what we knew 20 or 30 years ago doesn’t apply now in many areas, particularly the North Atlantic which is our backyard for submarine operations and probably one of the most complicated and challenging bodies of ocean», said Captain Pat Mowatt RN.
«Salinity, sound velocity and temperature have all changed. We need to know these accurately as we strive to understand more and more about the undersea environment (battlespace) and how this effects the performance of ship and submarine sensors so we can achieve an operational advantage».
The way sound travels through water is greatly affected by the water temperature, pressure and salinity, which impacts the effectiveness of sonar and sensors used by ships and aircraft to track submarines.
The gliders can provide up-to-date information on these matters quickly to TAC HM (tactical hydrography, meteorology and oceanography) trained officers who can then advise submarine hunting commanders about the range of the ship’s sonars and how to adjust settings for best results.
A better understanding of water column properties can also reveal insight into how an adversary might exploit the environment to ‘hide’ in underwater features, such as ocean fronts and eddies.
The glider can dive down to 1,000 m/3,281 feet using controlled buoyancy to drive itself to the surface and back down, which ultimately means it can stay out at sea for months on end and constantly send data.
Right now, the Royal Navy continues to trial these gliders as part of Project Hecla. One of them is currently off the North West coast of the Outer Hebrides.
The Slocum was due to stay out for four weeks but has been extended to up to five months, giving the project the opportunity to test the glider to its limits on a long duration mission for the first time.
The data is being integrated into ocean forecast models by the Met Office and is available for use by the Navy at the Joint Operational Meteorology and Oceanography Centre at Northwood.
These trials are supported by the National Oceanographic Centre, British Oceanographic Data Centre and the Scottish Association of Marine Science.
During these latest tests, the project has been able to look at reducing power consumption of on-board sensors to extend battery life and resolve teething issues of getting data from the shore-side receivers to the Met Office.
Project Hecla was established to optimise the Navy’s ability to collect and exploit hydrographic and oceanographic information and they are continuing to look at other opportunities on top of the gliders.
Among those are ‘profiling floats’ (basically a cylinder packed full of sensors) that can operate for three to four years once they are in the water, sending subsurface measurements to shore.
The project will also trial how autonomous vehicles can aid data collection and exploitation missions alongside NavyX, who are responsible for developing and testing new technology for potential use on the frontlines.
Project Hecla is also involved in maintaining safety of navigation for all ships using autonomous vehicles.
Data from trials of the REMUS (Remote Environmental Monitoring UnitS) autonomous underwater vehicles is used to produce Admiralty Charts for maritime navigation systems.
With the signing of two agreements, Germany and France have reached another milestone in the development of a new, innovative Main Ground Combat System (MGCS).
The Main Ground Combat System project, to be implemented under German leadership, is to replace the German Leopard 2 main battle tanks and the French Leclerc main battle tanks from the mid-2030s. With the project, Germany and France are sending an important signal for European defense cooperation.
Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and her French counterpart Florence Parly have signed a framework agreement that sets out project organization and management structures. Due to the corona situation, the ministers could not meet to sign together.
System architecture study
Both countries should benefit equally from the cooperation, which is why the contracts to be concluded are based on 50 percent financing between Germany and France. In addition, both nations should receive sufficient intellectual property rights for the future intended use of the work results.
The ministers therefore also signed an Implementing Arrangement 1, which forms the basis for the commissioning of a system architecture definition study.
The budget committee of the German Bundestag has only recently cleared the way for the commissioning of this two-year study. Here, too, Germany and France share the costs.
The system architecture is a prerequisite for the development of a technology demonstrator with which the German and French requirements for the MGCS Main Ground Combat System can be evaluated.
According to Defense-aerospace.com, Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, welcomes the first dive in the Suffren at sea, carried out on Tuesday April 28, 2020, after her departure from the naval base of Cherbourg. The Suffren is the first of six Barracuda nuclear attack submarines.
Led by the French Armaments Directorate (DGA), these sea trials, which will last several months, will confirm the robustness and efficiency of the submarine before her hand-over to the French Navy.
At dockside as at sea, the test campaign will follow the specific health prevention and precautionary measures linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The SSNs are real instruments of power, enduring and discreet. Their missions are varied, and range from support to the deterrent force, protection of the carrier strike group, intelligence gathering, and anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare. Suffren-type SSNs will add a land-attack cruise missile capability and will be optimized for the deployment of special forces.
With the Suffren, France is starting to renew its fleet of SSNs, which entered service in the 1980s, and will thus have modern submarines among the most efficient in the world.
With this first outing at sea, the Barracuda program crosses a major milestone after the launch of Suffren, on July 12, 2019, by the President of the Republic.
Over the past eight months, the program’s industrial and state teams have successfully conducted all of the Suffren’s dockside tests aimed at verifying the proper functioning of its various systems and equipment. Three prerequisites have been validated: the combat system has reached the end of its tests on land and is ready for the continuation of assessments at sea; the nuclear reactor was started at the end of 2019 after loading its fuel and, finally, in January 2020 the submarine was floated to validate the first waterproofness tests.
Started in the English Channel, these sea trials will later take the Suffren to the Atlantic and finally to the Mediterranean. Under the supervision of engineers and technicians from the DGA, the French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA), Naval Group and TechnicAtome, they will be carried out by submariners of the French Navy who will gradually check all of the boat’s technical and operational capabilities.
They are due to last several months until her delivery scheduled for later this year. During the entire phase of sea trials, the boat remains the property of Naval Group. She is placed under the responsibility of the French Navy for operational command and as a delegated nuclear operator. As the contracting authority for the Barracuda program, the DGA is responsible for testing up to the acceptance of the boat and her delivery to the French Navy.
The DGA worked with the CEA, the French Navy and industrial prime contractors to allow the program to continue under specific health conditions. Since March 16, the business continuity plan for the Cherbourg site and the Barracuda program takes into account all measures to ensure the health and safety of personnel.
In particular, all personnel on board for sea trials have been placed in preventive quarantine, and have been tested negative for COVID-19. On board, wearing a mask will be mandatory at all times and the rules of hygiene and disinfection will be strictly applied.
The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000), the lead ship of the Navy’s next-generation of multi-mission surface combatants, on April 24.
Following this delivery, the ship will transition from Combat Systems Activation to the next phase of developmental and integrated at-sea testing. This event marks a major milestone of the dual delivery approach for USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000), which achieved Hull Mechanical & Electrical delivery from shipbuilder General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works in May 2016. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems was the prime contractor for the Zumwalt Combat System, and has lead activation and integration for Zumwalt class ships both in Bath, Maine and San Diego.
«Delivery is an important milestone for the Navy, as DDG-1000 continues more advanced at-sea testing of the Zumwalt combat system», said Captain Kevin Smith, DDG-1000 program manager, Program Executive Office, Ships. «The combat test team, consisting of the DDG-1000 sailors, Raytheon engineers, and Navy field activity teams, have worked diligently to get USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) ready for more complex, multi-mission at-sea testing. I am excited to begin demonstrating the performance of this incredible ship».
With delivery, USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) joins the U.S. Pacific Fleet battle force and remains assigned to Surface Development Squadron One. In addition to at-sea testing of the Zumwalt combat system, DDG 1000 will also operate as a key enabler in the acceleration of new warfighting capabilities and rapid development and validation of operational tactics, techniques, and procedures.
The 610-foot/186-meter, wave-piercing tumblehome ship design provides a wide array of advancements. Employing an innovative and highly survivable Integrated Power System (IPS), DDG-1000 has the capacity to distribute 1000 volts of direct current across the ships’ entirety, allowing for enhanced power capability for various operational requirements. Additionally, the shape of the superstructure and the arrangement of its antennas significantly reduce radar cross section, making the ship less visible to enemy radars.
«Every day the ship is at sea, the officers and crew learn more about her capability, and can immediately inform the continued development of tactics, techniques, and procedures to not only integrate Zumwalt into the fleet, but to advance the Navy’s understanding of operations with a stealth destroyer», remarked Captain Andrew Carlson, the Commanding Officer of USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000). «After sailing over 9000 miles and 100 days at sea in 2019, we are absolutely looking forward to more aggressive at-sea testing and validation of the combat systems leading to achievement of initial operational capability».
The USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) is the first ship of the Zumwalt-class destroyers. The USS Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001) is homeported in San Diego and is undergoing combat systems activation. The third and final ship of the class, the future USS Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002), is under construction at BIW’s shipyard in Bath, Maine.
As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft.
The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of the guided missile destroyer USS Delbert D. Black (DDG-119) from Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division, April 24.
Accepting delivery of the USS Delbert D. Black (DDG-119) represents the official transfer of the ship from the shipbuilder to the Navy. Prior to delivery, the ship successfully conducted a series of at-sea and pier-side trials to demonstrate its material and operational readiness.
The 69th Arleigh Burke class destroyer honors Delbert D. Black, the first Master Chief Petty Officer of the U.S. Navy, and will be the first naval ship to bear his name. Black is known for guiding the U.S. Navy through the Vietnam conflict and ensuring enlisted leadership was properly represented Navy-wide by initiating the Master Chief program.
«The DDG-51 shipbuilding program and Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Gulf Coast are proud to accept delivery of Delbert D. Black on behalf of the Navy, a look forward to her commissioning later this year», said Captain Seth Miller, DDG-51 class program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. «Ingalls has delivered another highly capable platform that will sail from our shores and help protect the nation for decades to come».
The DDG-51 class ships currently being constructed are Aegis Baseline 9 Integrated Air and Missile Defense destroyers with increased computing power and radar upgrades that improve detection and reaction capabilities against modern air warfare and Ballistic Missile Defense threats.
In addition to USS Delbert D. Black (DDG-119), HII’s Pascagoula shipyard is also currently in production on the future destroyers USS Frank E. Peterson Jr. (DDG-121), and USS Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG-123), as well as the Flight III ships, USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125), and USS Ted Stevens (DDG-128).
As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and boats and craft.
510 feet/156 m
Beam – Waterline
59 feet/18 m
30.5 feet/9.3 m
Displacement – Full Load
9,217 tons/9,363 metric tons
4 General electric LM 2500-30 gas turbines; 2 shafts; 2 CRP (Contra-Rotating) propellers; 100,000 shaft horsepower/75,000 kW
SPY-1D Phased Array Radar (Lockheed Martin)/AN/SPY-6 Air and Missile Defense Radar (Raytheon Company) and Aegis Combat System (Lockheed Martin); SPS-73(V) Navigation; SPS-67(V)3 Surface Search; 3 SPG-62 Illuminator; SQQ-89(V)6 sonar incorporating SQS-53C hull mounted and SQR-19 towed array sonars used with Mark-116 Mod 7 ASW fire control system
SLQ-32(V)3; Mark-53 Mod 0 Decoy System; Mark-234 Decoy System; SLQ-25A Torpedo Decoy; SLQ-39 Surface Decoy; URN-25 TACAN; UPX-29 IFF System; Kollmorgen Mark-46 Mod 1 Electro-Optical Director
2 embarked SH-60 helicopters ASW operations; RAST (Recovery Assist, Secure and Traverse)
The Emerging Technology Combined Test Force (ET-CTF) successfully completed flight tests on its newest autonomous aircraft test bed last month at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
The flight tests are in support of the Skyborg project with the goal to ultimately provide an autonomous software testing package.
«We are doing function check flights of the BVM (Bob Violett Models) ‘Renegade’ commercial, off-the-shelf, turbine-powered jet aircraft», said Captain Steve DiMaio, ET-CTF, 412th Test Wing. «It is in support of the Skyborg test program testing autonomy. Currently, today we are just doing a build-up approach of expanding the envelope of the airplane, making sure all of our tunes on our autopilot are correct».
The Skyborg program is a developing software tool spearheaded by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) that will allow engineers and researchers to develop autonomous capabilities. AFRL plans to have Skyborg as an Early Operational Capability as early as 2023. The ET-CTF is producing software for testing autonomous aircraft and to make them safer.
Variations of artificial intelligence such as the Automatic Ground and Air Collision Avoidance Systems have been proven to have save lives and aircraft.
The Renegade aircraft falls under the Group 3 classification of unmanned aerial systems as prescribed by the Department of Defense. This classification is for Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) jets weighing more than 55 lbs./25 kg but less than 1,320 lbs./599 kg. The jet can also fly at speeds of 200 knots, or around 230 mph/370 km/h.
«It’s very similar to the previous aircraft that we used, which was called a Shockwave», DiMaio said. «This is slightly bigger; carry a little more gas (with) a bigger engine, not necessarily faster, but it is a great test bed because we have a larger payload capacity. We also have longer flight time and added capability just by that larger capacity inside».
The ET-CTF team, along with their mission partners, produce software for their test beds that push flight safety envelopes to help develop test safety procedures and requirements in the development of the Skyborg program. Engineers are able to install software updates to the aircraft and then study its flight characteristics and behavior to ensure the computer codes produce no harm to the jet and does as it is intended.
The ET-CTF team completed at total of five test flight missions with the Renegade in March, however because of recent minimum manning postures due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, the team has had to rework their upcoming test missions, said John Wilson, ET-CTF Deputy Director.
«The COVID HPCON (Health Protection Condtion) limitations are impacting the next flight of the Renegade», Wilson said. «There are plans to continue to fly the Renegade in the future, but the flights are on hold due to COVID and our current minimum manning posture».
Wilson explained that while the ET-CTF’s mission partners may have travel limitations, ET-CTF is working with them for future flight tests, and in the meantime, the unit is working on furthering their own skill sets.
«There may be opportunity for continued training as ET CTF works to maintain pilot currency», he said.
The recently completed flight testing in March was a success for the ET-CTF and the Skyborg program according to Lieutenant Colonel David Aparicio, ET-CTF Director. It proved the viability of a surrogate small UAS aircraft at a higher speed regime, greater endurance, and a larger payload capacity than previous test campaigns.
«As the 412th Test Wing continues to seek ways to support the 2018 National Defense Strategy, affordable high-speed surrogate aircraft like the Renegade are invaluable to lowering the risk to future autonomy research and development programs», he said.
Despite the current travel restrictions and COVID-19 health protection conditions, ET-CTF and its mission partners are continuing to make advances in autonomy flight test. ET-CTF continues to develop test plans and procedures remotely with its team of operators and engineers. Additionally, ET-CTF developed some innovative procedures to protect its team while providing an ever-ready test capability to support the Warfighter, Aparicio added.
The U.S. Air Force announced plans to continue with Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a business of Raytheon Technologies, on the development of the Long-Range Standoff Weapon (LRSO), a strategic weapon that will replace the service’s legacy Air-Launched Cruise Missile.
«LRSO will be a critical contributor to the air-launched portion of America’s nuclear triad», said Wes Kremer, president of Raytheon Missiles and Defense. «Providing a modernized capability to the U.S. Air Force will strengthen our nation’s deterrence posture».
In 2017, the U.S. Air Force awarded Raytheon and Lockheed Martin contracts for the Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction phase of the program. The Raytheon Missiles & Defense LRSO team recently passed its preliminary design review and is on track to complete the Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction (TMRR) phase of the Defense Acquisition process by January 2022.
Contract negotiations for the engineering and manufacturing development phase, with a strong focus on schedule realism, affordability, and cost-capability trades, will start in Fiscal Year 2021. The contract award is anticipated in FY22.
General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced that the first Dry Combat Submersible (DCS) featuring GA-EMS’ Lithium-ion Fault Tolerant (LiFT) battery system as an energy source was accepted by the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). The DCS is a long endurance delivery vehicle capable of transporting personnel in a dry environment. GA-EMS is under contract with Lockheed Martin Corporation to provide LiFT batteries to power the DCS propulsion and internal support systems.
«With demonstrated performance through sea trials and the confidence of USSCOM, our LiFT battery system is becoming a go-to technology when performance is essential for mission assurance», stated Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. «The acceptance of the first DCS with LiFT technology represents a solid leap toward meeting the demand for battery systems that offer greater reliability, capability and safety to support critical undersea operations. We are proud to be the provider of this energy source and look forward to seeing DCS vehicles with LiFT battery systems onboard achieve USSOCOM acceptance».
The LiFT battery system’s modular design and single cell fault tolerance is designed to prevent uncontrolled and catastrophic cascading Lithium-ion cell failure, improving the safety of personnel and platforms while keeping power available for high mission assurance. LiFT battery systems have undergone rigorous at-sea testing by the Navy and have been classified for use on undersea vehicles by Det Norske Veritas Germanischer Lloyd (DNV-GL), an international accredited registrar and classification society for the maritime industry, further demonstrating the safe operation of the LiFT battery system architecture.
Northrop Grumman Corporation supplied digital cockpit upgrades to the integrated avionics suite for the U.S. Army’s UH-60V Black Hawk, which recently completed Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E). The completion of IOT&E marks a significant milestone for the UH-60V program on the pathway to full-rate production.
«Northrop Grumman’s scalable, fully integrated avionics system will ensure the legacy Black Hawk fleet remains at the forefront of combat capability for decades to come», said James Conroy, vice president, navigation, targeting & survivability, Northrop Grumman. «It is designed with a secure, open architecture that provides greater mission flexibility and a rapid upgrade path».
Benefits include enhanced pilot situational understanding and mission safety, as well as decreased pilot workload and life cycle cost. Additionally, providing a nearly identical pilot-vehicle interface to the UH-60M enables common training and operational employment. The foundational architecture of the UH-60V can be adapted to numerous aircraft platforms and is available globally.
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