Patria has delivered the first modernized Hamina class missile boat FNS Tornio to the Finnish Defence Forces. In the Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) project four vessels will be overhauled and modernized, and all the new capabilities will be in use in the Finnish Navy during 2021. Patria acts as the prime contractor, designer and the lead system integrator.
The goal of the Mid-Life Upgrade project is to secure the service life of the vessels until 2030’s and to extend the vessels’ independent operation time. The project will also develop the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and the surface defence capabilities with new features.
Modernization work include:
A BAE Systems Bofors 40 Mk4 40-mm main gun (replacing the 57-mm Mk3);
The German government has announced its intention to select Damen as the main contractor, together with partners Blohm + Voss and Thales, for supplying at least four Multi-Purpose Combat Ship MKS 180 frigates to the German Navy. The Dutch naval shipbuilder is extremely proud of, and satisfied with, the result of the evaluation process announced on 14 January 2020 by the German Government, though of course awaits parliamentary approval in Germany.
The ships will be built at Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg and at other shipyard locations of the North German Lürssen Group. Damen intends to build in this way in order to spend around 80% of the total net investment as added value in Germany. The same applies to the electronic application systems that are supplied by Thales Nederland to its own design. Around 70% of the services will be provided by the German subsidiary of Thales and by other German subcontractors.
With the North German shipyard group Lürssen – parent company of Blohm + Voss – and the Damen Shipyards Group, the partnership is based on two stable family businesses that have been successfully active in marine and commercial shipbuilding for more than 140 years.
The only naval builder in the Netherlands is pleased with this selection to be main contractor in the German project and the division of work between German and Dutch industry. For the Netherlands, it provides national knowledge and expertise. This offers the Dutch Government the option, in the coming Dutch naval construction projects for frigates and submarines, to have these types of strategic programmes devised, engineered, managed and deployed in their own country.
The MKS 180 project contributes to securing the export power and self-creation of both Dutch and German naval construction in the longer term. The project also opens perspectives for the requested European (defence equipment) cooperation.
The developmental Light Combat Aircraft (Navy) MK1 achieved an important milestone on 11 January 2020 with the successful Arrested Landing on board the naval aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya. The aircraft was piloted by Commodore JA Maolankar who also undertook the maiden Ski Jump Take-Off from the carrier on 12 January 2020.
A Technology Demonstrator, LCA (Navy) has earlier been successfully tested during extensive trials at the Shore Base Test Facility at the Naval Air Station (NAS) at Goa.
With the completion of this feat, the indigenously developed niche technologies specific to deck based fighter operations have been proven which will now pave the way to develop and manufacture the Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter for the Indian Navy, which is expected to proudly fly from the aircraft carriers by the year 2026.
This landmark event demonstrates the professional commitment and synergy between various agencies including Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Centre for Military Airworthiness & Certification (CEMILAC) and Indian Navy in harnessing the potential of our scientists, engineers and naval flight testing community towards meeting the expectations of the nation.
The keel of the future USS John Basilone (DDG-122) was ceremoniously laid at General Dynamics (GD) Bath Iron Works (BIW) shipyard, January 10.
Speakers at the ceremony included Captain Seth Miller, DDG-51 class program manager, Diane Hawkins, niece of the ship’s namesake, and the ship’s sponsors, Amy Looney and Ryan Manion.
The ship’s sponsors authenticated the keel by etching their initials into the keel plate, a tradition that symbolically recognizes the joining ofmodular components and the ceremonial beginning of the ship.
«It’s an honor to celebrate this milestone with Ms. Looney, Ms. Manion, and members of the Basilone family», said Miller. «Laying the keel for our nation’s 72nd Arleigh Burke destroyer, and building a ship named for a man who embodied the spirit of commitment and strength, this is a truly special occasion».
The ship’s namesake was a United States Marine Corps gunnery sergeant who was killed in action during the Battle of Iwo Jima in WWII. Basilone received the Medal of Honor for heroism displayed in the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942, and for conspicuous gallantry displayed in the Battle of Iwo Jima, after he single-handedly destroyed an enemy blockhouse and led a Marine tank under fire safely through a minefield.
Arleigh Burke class destroyers are multi-mission surface combatants that serve as integral assets in global maritime security, engaging in air, undersea, surface, strike and ballistic missile defense, as well as providing increased capabilities in Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Command and Control (C2), and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW).
As a Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, the USS John Basilone (DDG-122) will employ the Aegis Baseline 9 Combat System, which includes Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capability, delivers quick reaction time, high firepower, and has increased electronic countermeasures capability for Anti-Air Warfare (AAW).
In addition to the USS John Basilone (DDG-122), BIW has four additional Arleigh Burke class destroyers under construction – USS Daniel Inouye (DDG-118), USS Carl M. Levin (DDG-120), USS Harvey C. Barnum Jr. (DDG-124) and USS Patrick Gallagher (DDG-127), as well as the Zumwalt class destroyer USS Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002). BIW is under contract for an additional six Arleigh Burke class destroyers that will all be constructed in the Flight III configuration with enhanced Air and Missile Defense (AMD) capabilities.
As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, 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)
Northrop Grumman Corporation’s AQS-24 mine hunting sonar recently completed initial in-water testing of a next-generation Deploy and Retrieval (D&R) payload. Operated from the Mine Countermeasures Unmanned Surface Vessel (MCM USV), the AQS-24 D&R demonstrated the unmanned operations needed to perform a mine hunting mission off the MCM Mission Package aboard the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).
«Achieving this important milestone demonstrated reliable unmanned mine hunting operations, while using operationally representative hardware from the LCS MCM Mission Module», said Alan Lytle, vice president, undersea systems, Northrop Grumman. «This allows the program to begin preparation for further at-sea testing of the system for extended duration missions in rigorous conditions».
The MCM USV tests are ahead of planned user-operated evaluation system testing of the AQS-24 on LCSs. The company has multiple versions of the AQS-24 to provide mine hunting capabilities for navies. The AQS-24B is a deployed system which uses side-scan sonar for real-time detection, localization and classification of bottom and moored mines in addition to a laser line scanner for precise optical identification.
Integration of the AQS-24 sonar with USVs allows for the real-time transmission of all AQS-24 data to a remote sonar operator, who can then commence Real-Time Mission Analysis (RTMA) of all recorded mission data. RTMA significantly reduces MCM detect to engage timelines, as well as the real-time reacquisition and identification of bottom mines following traditional mine hunting sorties.
General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced that High Cycle Testing of its Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) system for Ford-class aircraft carriers was successfully completed over a two-day period in October 2019 at the Runway Arrested Landing Site (RALS) in Lakehurst, New Jersey. High Cycle Testing was conducted at RALS on a single AAG system that is identical to the three systems aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78). Five F/A-18E/F Super Hornets were involved in the testing to simulate the operational tempo of carrier flight operations at sea.
«Over and over again, in rapid succession, AAG sustained an aircraft arrestment rate of nearly one per minute, successfully testing the system’s capability to handle the recovery sequence required for combat readiness», stated Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. «Arresting aircraft at a high rate over a sustained period on the same wire is an aggressive test and shows the ability of the system to withstand extreme conditions. The USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) has the capability for an even higher operational tempo than demonstrated at the test site because it has three wires and clears aircraft from the flight path more efficiently».
High cycle testing is part of the verification and validation of AAG System requirements. The AAG system test program has completed more than 5,000 arrestments at the land-based test facilities at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, and 747 arrestments aboard USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) during the ship’s initial sea trials. The U.S. Navy has also issued an Aircraft Recovery Bulletin for the fleet air wing, clearing the AAG system for use on all Ford-class carriers.
«We look forward to USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) getting back out to sea in early 2020 to conduct more robust flight operations», continued Forney. «We anticipate executing significantly more sorties during this phase, utilizing both jet and prop aircraft. AAG works as intended, and we will continue to collaborate with the U.S. Navy to ensure system readiness and reliability to meet operational objectives».
AAG is a turbo-electric system designed for controlled and reliable deceleration of aircraft. AAG is installed on board USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) along with the GA-EMS Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), which uses electromagnetic technology to launch aircraft from the deck of naval aircraft carriers. In addition to USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), EMALS and AAG are being delivered for the future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) and the USS Enterprise (CVN-80).
U.S. Navy coastal patrol ships and U.S. Coast Guard patrol boats conducted an annual test of the MK-60 Griffin guided-missile system in the Arabian Gulf December 10-14.
The annual exercise was conducted with the improved Griffin Missile System (GMS) to test ship interoperability, weapon tactics employment, and new system upgrades.
«This system improves combat capability on our 10 Patrol Craft, ready to work with regional partners and respond to threats; able to maneuver and strike from a distance», said Vice Admiral Jim Malloy, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S 5th Fleet.
Exercise participates included Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) patrol coastal ships USS Sirocco (PC-6), USS Tempest (PC-2), USS Squall (PC-7), USS Hurricane (PC-3), USS Whirlwind (PC-11) and island class patrol boats USCGC Adak (WPB-1333), USCGC Aquidneck (WPB-1309), and USCGC Baranof (WPB-1318).
The ships also conducted live fire exercises with their Mark-38 25-mm machine guns and other crew served weapons to maintain operator proficiency and test new equipment upgrades for future missions.
«The data collected from this year’s exercise will help improve the GMS to provide increased lethality amongst our FDNF ships», Lieutenant commander Ronald Jenkins, commanding officer of the USS Sirocco (PC-6). «Each participating ship can apply lessons learned to sharpen individual tactics and procedures to increase precision in weapons employment».
Eager to integrate and demonstrate the upgraded GMS into their ships’ systems, each captain was impressed with its capabilities and the crew’s performance during the exercise.
«This year’s Fire Exercise (FIREX) was an outstanding opportunity for the crews to test our skills and the capabilities of one of our primary weapons systems», said Lieutenant commander Dale Tourtelotte of the USS Hurricane (PC-3). «It was exciting to see my crew and the various technical experts come together and execute the FIREX successfully».
U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.
«This exercise addresses a validated requirement to out-pace and decisively defeat small boat threats at a distance», said Vice Admiral Malloy. «We can hold any attacker at risk by employing speed combined with accurate striking power», said Vice Admiral Malloy.
MK-60 Griffin Missile System (GMS)
The MK-60 is a surface-to-surface missile system installed for ship self-defense to counter small boat threats.
The Mark-60 GMS is being installed aboard cyclone class ships – Patrol Coastal (PC) combatant. Ten ships will be forward deployed, assigned to Commander, 5th Fleet located in Manama, Bahrain, and installed with the GMS at program completion. Assistant secretary of the Navy (Research, Development, and Acquisition) approved the integration and deployment of the Griffin Missile onboard PC platforms as part of a Rapid Deployment Capability (RDC) leveraging existing Government Off-The-Shelf (GOTS), Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) and Non-Developmental Items (NDI). The RDC for the GMS was approved in June 2011 and achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in October 2013. PC combatants with GMS installed possess a layered small boat defense capability building upon the point defense provided with the Mark-38 gun weapon system. The Mark-60 GMS consists of the following system components: Mark-4 Battle Management System (BMS), Mark-208 griffin launcher module, AN/SSQ-133 BRITE Star II Electro-Optical and InfraRed (EO/IR), Laser Range Finder (LRF) and Linear Displacement (LD) sensor and the BGM-176B Griffin B All-Up-Round (AUR).
Surface-to-surface missile system for ship self-defense against small boat threats
Griffin B AUR contractor is Raytheon Missile Systems
BS II contractor is FLIR Systems Inc.
BMS is a Naval Surface Warfare Center- Dahlgren Division (NSWC DD) GOTS
ARM Reformador project shows economic impact of local shipbuilding
Working in close cooperation, Damen Shipyards Group, the Mexican Navy, subcontractors and suppliers have completed successful sea trials of the Mexican Navy’s POLA-class ARM Reformador (POLA-101). The programme of sea trials was comprehensive, including testing of platform and combat systems in addition to training of Mexican Navy crews. The completion of these sea trials indicate how the project as a whole is progressing: on budget and actually a few weeks ahead of the contracted schedule.
The ARM Reformador (POLA-101) is the latest example of how Damen forms partnerships with navies around the world to build naval vessels in local yards. In this way, the Dutch shipbuilding company is using its considerable amount of experience and expertise to build technologically sophisticated naval vessels in Damen customers yards or in third party yards.
Local economic impact
Damen has built up a strong relationship with the Mexican Navy over the last decade. This has resulted in the construction and delivery of more than ten naval vessels of various designs. Damen has also worked closely with yards like the ASTIMAR 20 naval shipyard in Salina Cruz, Mexico, where the ARM Reformador (POLA-101) has been built.
These collaborative efforts are ensuring a significant transfer of technology and knowledge into the Mexican shipbuilding industry. For example, in order to maximise the local impact of this current project, Damen has placed contracts at local companies for supplies and assistance during the construction of the ARM Reformador (POLA-101).
«This project is having a very positive impact on the local economy. More than 70% of the labour is being realised in Mexico – creating jobs and enabling local companies to develop their skills», notes Horacio Delgado, Damen’s commercial manager for Mexico. «Thanks to our excellent cooperation with the Mexican Navy, we are ensuring that this vessel is being built in Mexico, by Mexicans, and for Mexicans».
Dutch cluster expertise
The 107-metre/351-foot long POLA-class ARM Reformador (POLA-101) is the Mexican equivalent of Damen’s SIGMA Frigate 10514. A key point here is that the ARM Reformador (POLA-101) represents Damen’s tenth time building a SIGMA Frigate. The implications of this are clear: the vessel that has been built for the Mexican Navy is a proven design that benefits from the wealth of knowledge possessed by the Dutch naval shipbuilding industry. This comprises world-renowned research institutes and a dedicated naval cluster of international specialist suppliers such as Thales.
«This shows the real value of the project», adds Frank Verhelst, POLA project director at Damen. «Combining the many benefits of local construction with the high quality of Dutch naval shipbuilding – from Damen and our network of trusted suppliers and partners».
The ARM Reformador (POLA-101) project is also a reflection of Damen’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies. The company has contributed to various local social activities and projects while working in Mexico. Damen’s support of the Mundo de Talentos in the State of Chiapas is an example of this. Mundo de Talentos (World of Talents) is the first sister school of IMC Weekend school in Latin America and introduces students of limited resources from 10-13 years old to the world of interesting professions and study choices.
After the launch of the Suffren last 12 July in the presence of the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, a new milestone was reached with the divergence of the reactor, a prelude to its first sea acceptance tests prior to its delivery in 2020.
The divergence of the Suffren’s nuclear reactor has just been performed by the TechnicAtome and Naval Group teams on the Cherbourg site in accordance with the authorisations issued by the French Nuclear Safety Authority (Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire – ASN) and the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA).
Designed under the responsibility of the French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Agency (CEA), the nuclear reactor was built under the prime contracting of TechnicAtome, reactor designer, Naval Group being responsible for the production of the pressure equipments and the integration of the reactor on-board the Barracuda submarines.
One thousand employees from both companies are working full time in parallel on the six reactors of the Barracuda program.
Loïc Rocard, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of TechnicAtome, declared: «The first divergence of the nuclear reactor is a privileged moment for all those who contributed to make this operational and technological success possible. From the designer to the operator, and including the fitters, testers, welders and so many other trades, this is a rare moment of collective achievement, the symbol of a sector that lives up to its ambitions in the service of the French Navy».
Hervé Guillou, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Naval Group: «The start-up of the nuclear reactor on-board the Suffren submarine is a new demonstration of the know-how of the French nuclear industrial sector, with TechnicAtome and Naval Group in the forefront. This success gives the country an unequalled defence tool with a high degree of industrial autonomy benefitting the sovereignty of France».
Divergence is conducted from the Propulsion Control Station (PCS) of the Suffren. The operation consists in triggering a controlled nuclear reaction in the core for the first time. Lasting only a short time, this operation marks the beginning of the constant monitoring of the nuclear reactor by the operating teams. This operation will be continuous until the decommissioning of the submarine, planned for the 2050 decade.
The Barracuda is the submarine of the 21st century, designed to meet the operational needs of the current and future navy. It features extensive operational capabilities and the latest technologies. More versatile, higher performing and better armed than its predecessors, the Suffren type SSN will go faster and further. It is designed to control all types of marine spaces, from the high seas to coastal areas.
Launched in 1998 by the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA), the Barracuda program renews its Ship Subsurface Nuclear (SSN) component composed of six Rubis type SSNs commissioned at the start of eighties. The associated development contract was notified in December 2006.
The Suffren type SSN is equipped with a nuclear propulsion system which offers a remarkable action range and discretion. It also features communication means allowing its integration within a naval force.
A few figures and key dates
This is a long-term program: more than ten years were necessary to study the feasibility of the project and lead to the definition of a submarine that meets the operational need expressed in
the staff requirement file. The nuclear reactor components required the procurement of raw materials in the early 2000s.
The delivery of the six submarines will span one decade beginning in 2020.
Knowing that the lifespan of Suffren type SSNs will be more than 35 years, this program serves the submarine forces at least up to 2060, making it one of the major weapon systems of this century.
Since the launch of the project, nearly 10,000 people from the program management and industrial subcontracting chain have worked for the Barracuda program.
The Suffren, the first of class, was launched 1st August 2019 and will begin its sea trials in the first quarter of 2020 to arrive in Toulon before the summer.
Raytheon Company will build two additional shipsets of SPY-6 radars under a $250 million contract with the U.S. Navy. The company is now contracted to deliver a total of nine radar shipsets to DDG-51 Flight III destroyers.
SPY-6 is a family of next generation, integrated air and missile defense radars that scale to meet the mission requirements of any ship.
«SPY-6 delivers significantly enhanced range and sensitivity [compared to legacy sensors], and gives geographically dispersed ships the ability to share – and act on – sensor data in ways never before possible», said Scott Spence, senior director of Naval Radar Systems at Raytheon. «This radar gives the Navy unprecedented operational flexibility to defend against ballistic and cruise missiles as well as advanced surface and air threats».
Since its inception in January 2014, the SPY-6 program has met all 20 milestones, ahead of or on schedule. The SPY-6 radar has a track record of performance, demonstrating its multi-mission capabilities against an array of single and multiple, simultaneous targets throughout the Navy’s extensive testing program.
Now in production at Raytheon’s advanced Radar Development Facility, AN/SPY-6(V) remains on schedule for delivery to the first DDG 51 Flight III, the future USS Jack H Lucas (DDG-125). The first delivery of AN/SPY-6(V)2 to USS Bougainville (LHA-8), the America Class Amphibious Assault Ship, is on plan for 2021.