Category Archives: Navy

Type 31 Frigate

Babcock Team 31 has been selected by the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) as the preferred bidder to deliver its new warships. Led by Babcock, the Aerospace and Defence company, and in partnership with the Thales Group, the T31 general purpose frigate programme will provide the UK Government with a fleet of five ships, at an average production cost of £250 million per ship.

Babcock Team 31 selected as preferred bidder for UK Type 31 frigate programme

Following a comprehensive competitive process, Arrowhead 140, a capable, adaptable and technology-enabled global frigate will be the UK Royal Navy’s newest class of warships, with the first ship scheduled for launch in 2023.

At its height the programme will maximise a workforce of around 1250 highly-skilled roles in multiple locations throughout the UK, with around 150 new technical apprenticeships likely to be developed. The work is expected to support an additional 1250 roles within the wider UK supply chain.

With Babcock’s Rosyth facility as the central integration site, the solution provides value for money and squarely supports the principles of the National Shipbuilding Strategy. It builds on the knowledge and expertise developed during the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier modular build programme.

The announcement follows a competitive design phase where Babcock Team 31 was chosen alongside two other consortia to respond to the UK MOD’s requirements.

Work on the fleet of five ships will begin immediately following formal contract award later this financial year, with detailed design work to start now and manufacture commencing in 2021 and concluding in 2027.

Archie Bethel, CEO Babcock said: «It has been a tough competition and we are absolutely delighted that Arrowhead 140 has been recognised as offering the best design, build and delivery solution for the UK’s Royal Navy Type 31 frigates. Driven by innovation and backed by experience and heritage, Arrowhead 140 is a modern warship that will meet the maritime threats of today and tomorrow, with British ingenuity and engineering at its core. It provides a flexible, adaptable platform that delivers value for money and supports the UK’s National Shipbuilding Strategy».

Arrowhead 140 will offer the Royal Navy a new class of ship with a proven ability to deliver a range of peacekeeping, humanitarian and warfighting capabilities whilst offering communities and supply chains throughout the UK a wide range of economic and employment opportunities.

A key element of the Type31 programme is to supply a design with the potential to secure a range of export orders thereby supporting the UK economy and UK jobs. Arrowhead 140 will offer export customers an unrivalled blend of price, capability and flexibility backed by the Royal Navy’s world-class experience and Babcock looks forward to working closely with DIT and MOD in this regard.

Arrowhead 140 is a multi-role frigate equipping today’s mariner with real-time data to support immediate and complex decision-making.

The frigate is engineered to minimise through-life costs whilst delivering a truly leading-edge ship, featuring an established, proven and exportable combat management system provided by Thales.

Victor Chavez, Chief Executive of Thales in the UK said: «Thales is delighted to be part of the successful Team 31 working with Babcock and has been at the forefront of innovation with the Royal Navy for over 100 years. With the announcement today that Arrowhead 140 has been selected as the preferred bidder for the new Type 31e frigate, the Royal Navy will join the global community of 26 navies utilising the Thales Tacticos combat management system. Thales already provides the eyes and ears of the Royal Navy and will now provide the digital heart of the UK’s next generation frigates».

Babcock will now enter a period of detailed discussions with the MOD and supply chain prior to formal contract award expected later this year.

 

Characteristics

Length 138.7 m/455 feet
Beam 19.8 m/65 feet
Displacement 5700 t
Speed 28+ knots/32+ mph/52+ km/h

 

Underwater Vehicle

General Dynamics Mission Systems released the new Bluefin-12 autonomous unmanned underwater vehicle at Defense and Security Equipment International (DSEI) 2019. This new vehicle builds upon the proven Bluefin autonomy and uses shared Bluefin Robotics’ core capabilities, increased mission modularity and embedded intelligence to complete users’ long endurance, high-consequence and changing missions.

Bluefin-12, the newest member of the Bluefin Robotics family, introduced at DSEI

The base Bluefin-12’s extended modularity supports the integration of user-designated sensors and payloads to deliver new mission-critical capabilities. The Bluefin Robotics core autonomy with Standard Payload Interfaces (SPI), open-architecture compatibility and greater than 4,000 cubic centimeter-payload section supports the rapid integration of sensors and payload needed for the successful completion of new missions. The Bluefin-12 may be configured with an optional turnkey survey package delivering integrated survey capabilities including high-resolution sonar, environmental sensing, powerful on-board data processing and highly accurate navigation.

«The General Dynamics’ team has invested in a completely new generation of vehicles», said Andy Rogers, vice president of undersea systems at General Dynamics Mission Systems. «The new Bluefin-12 provides superior design, high quality, excellent modularity and best-in-class reliability to deliver exceptional mission capability and range».

«We are proud to add the Bluefin-12 to our UUV family of products and to deliver both the Bluefin-12 and Bluefin-9 UUVs to Thales in support of the Royal Australian Navy’s SEA 1778 program», Rogers said.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Diameter 12.8” (32 cm)
Length 15.8’ (4.83 m)
Weight 550 lbs. (250 kg) – with integrated survey package
Buoyancy Buoyant in Fresh and Salt Water

Seamless Transition Between Water Bodies

Lift Points Nose, Mid-section, Aft Mounted Lift-Points
Depth Rating 656’ (200 m)
Energy Four (4) 1.9 kWh rechargeable Li-Ion battery

Designed for rapid removal and replacement – recharges in six hours using rugged battery charger

Endurance 24 hr @ 3 knots

36 hr @ 2 knots

4 hr Transit; 20 hr Survey

Speed Up to 6.0 knots sustained transit, survey at up to 5.0 knots
Propulsion Gimbaled, ducted thruster for propulsion and control
Navigation Real-time accuracy ≤ 0.1% D.T. CEP 50

GPS (1.0 m CEP 50 accuracy)

Dedicated Inertial Navigation System

Doppler Velocity Log

Available Integrated Payloads & Sensors Sonardyne Solstice 3000 Multi-aperture sonar

Removable Data Storage Module (RDSM) w/Camera

Turbidity and Fluorometer Sensor

Sound Velocity Sensor + Temperature + Pressure

Antenna Integrated GPS, Wi-Fi, and Iridium w/ visible strobe
Communications Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Iridium, Acoustic
Safety Systems Ground Fault Detection, Leak Detection, Independently Powered Emergency Operations System
Software Bluefin Dashboard and Bluefin Planner

Optional SeeByte SeeTrack v4 interoperability

 

Fuel Cell System

During its quadrennial SubCon submarine conference held in Kiel, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems unveiled the 4th Generation Fuel Cell (FC4G) for submarine applications after having finished an extensive test program with more than 70,000 operating hours in the test environment. This is an improvement of an already unrivalled and proven system.

ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems unveils 4th Generation Fuel Cell System

Doctor Rolf Wirtz, CEO of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems: «Our customers have been using our fuel cell systems for more than 15 years now. With this 4th generation we are making something great even greater. This is the next big step with huge improvements in availability, redundancy, and stealth. I am proud that we are again advancing our customers by setting new standards».

The FC4G is designed to be a high-availability modular system composed of redundant components to retain a maximum performance at all times. In terms of H2-storage, the systems rely on the well-proven and exceptionally safe system of metal hydride cylinders as previous generations. These cylinders do not contain any active components; thus, reducing failure to a minimum holding hydrogen molecules safe in place in the crystal lattice of the hydride. Since hydrogen is fed to the system in its purest form, no chemical conversion is required and, therewith, the efficiency of the overall system remains very high.

In contrast, reformer systems inevitably create CO2 out of a liquid fuel such as diesel oil leaving a trace of CO2 – and potentially other by-products contained in diesel oil such as Sulphur – that must be dissolved into the surrounding sea water by operating electrical pumps. The same applies to AIP systems based on other principles, such as Stirling engines, closed-cycle diesels, or closed-cycle steam turbines. Not so the FC4G system. The only by-product besides electrical energy is pure water, which is stored on board for weight

compensation. H2 is easily available where ever chemical industry is operative, typically in every customer country, or may be produced by utilizing green energy sources by splitting water into H2 and O2.

Overall signatures of the FC4G are the most favorable ones on the market. No byproducts put overboard, the thermal and the acoustic signatures are kept to a minimum while the overall system efficiency is twice as good as any combustion engine.

Philipp Schön, Head of Product Sales Submarines: «These are the reasons, why 38 systems were contracted so far with 7 customer navies, another 10 systems presently being under negotiation».

National Security Cutters

The Coast Guard commissioned the seventh and eighth National Security Cutters (NSCs), USCGC Kimball (WMSL-756) and USCGC Midgett (WMSL-757), at their Honolulu homeport August 24. The unique joint commissioning ceremony marks the official start of NSC operations in Honolulu where the cutters will carry out activities to safeguard the nation’s maritime safety, security and economic interests.

U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutters USCGC Kimball (WMSL-756) and USCGC Midgett (WMSL-757) sail toward Honolulu, August 16, 2019 (Credit: Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew West)

Admiral Karl Schultz, commandant of the Coast Guard, presided over the ceremony. «In today’s complex geostrategic environment with rising great power competition, the importance and demand for a strong Coast Guard presence in the Pacific has never been greater», Schultz said.

Sumner Kimball, the seventh cutter’s namesake, served as superintendent of the Revenue Marine, establishing a training school that would later become the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. He later was general-superintendent of the Life-Saving Service (LSS) from 1878 until the LSS merged with the Revenue Marine to become the U.S. Coast Guard in 1915. Kimball’s work lead to great strides in standardization of training and equipment.

The eighth cutter was named after the Midgett family and their history of distinguished service in the Coast Guard that continues to this day. At least ten members of the family have earned high honors for their heroic life-saving efforts. One member of the family, Chief Warrant Officer John Allen Midgett Jr., led crewmembers of his lifeboat in heroically rescuing the entire 42-member crew from the British tanker Mirlo after it was torpedoed off the coast of North Carolina in 1918. For his bravery despite the rough seas and fires from the tanker’s cargo, he was awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal. The 378-foot/115-meter High Endurance Cutter (HEC) John Midgett (WHEC-726) was named in his honor.

The NSC acquisition program addresses the Coast Guard’s need for open-ocean patrol cutters with the seakeeping, habitability, endurance and technological advancement to serve as command and control centers in the most demanding maritime environments. The 418-foot/127-meter NSC fleet features advanced command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment; aviation support facilities; stern cutter boat launch; and long-endurance station keeping. The Legend-class cutters are replacing the 378-foot/115-meter HECs, which have been in service since the 1960s.

These newest NSCs are already on their way to making significant operational contributions. Coast Guard Cutter USCGC Midgett (WMSL-757) completed two interdictions of suspected low-profile go-fast vessels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean during the transit to Hawaii, the first July 25 and the second July 31. The boardings resulted in a combined seizure of over 6,700 pounds/3,039 kg of cocaine, estimated to be worth over $89 million.

Eight NSCs are currently in service. Coast Guard cutters USCGC Hamilton (WMSL-753) and USCGC James (WMSL-754) are stationed in Charleston, South Carolina, and Coast Guard cutters USCGC Bertholf (WMSL-750), USCGC Waesche (WMSL-751), USCGC Stratton (WMSL-752) and USCGC Munro (WMSL-755) are stationed in Alameda, California. The ninth cutter, USCGC Stone (WMSL-758), is slated for delivery in fiscal year 2021.

The service awarded a contract option in December 2018 for construction of the 10th and 11th NSCs.

 

Facts

Displacement 4,500 long tons
Length 418 feet/127 m
Beam 54 feet/16 m
Speed 28 knots/32 mph/52 km/h
Range 12,000 NM/13,809 miles/22,224 km
Endurance 60 days
Crew 120
Equipped with Mk-110 57-mm turret mounted gun
6 × 12.7-mm/.50 caliber machine guns
3D air search radar
2 level 1, class 1 aircraft hangers
A stern launch ramp for mission boats
Aviation carried (2) MCH, or (4) Vertical-Launch Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (VUAV) or (1) MCH and (2) VUAV
Stern launch Two cutter boats (Long Range Interceptor and/or Short Range Prosecutor)
Electronic Warfare and Decoys AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare System, Two Super Rapid Bloom Offboard Countermeasures (SRBOC)/2 NULKA countermeasures chaff rapid decoy launcher
Communications HF, VHF & UHF
Sensors and Processing Systems X and S band radar, 3D air search radar, AN/SPQ-9 radar, Identification, Friend or Foe (IFF)

 

Ship list

Ship Hull Number Laid down Launched Commissioned
Bertholf WMSL-750 03-29-2005 09-29-2006 08-04-2008
Waesche WMSL-751 09-11-2006 07-12-2008 05-07-2010
Stratton WMSL-752 07-20-2009 07-23-2010 03-31-2012
Hamilton WMSL-753 09-05-2012 08-10-2013 12-06-2014
James WMSL-754 05-17-2013 05-03-2014 08-08-2015
Munro WMSL-755 10-07-2013 09-12-2015 04-01-2017
Kimball WMSL-756 03-04-2016 12-17-2016 08-24-2019
Midgett WMSL-757 01-27-2017 11-22-2017 08-24-2019
Stone WMSL-758 09-14-2018
WMSL-759
WMSL-760

 

Replenishment vessel

The Royal Australian Navy is another step closer to welcoming its new fleet of support tankers into service, following the successful launch of NUSHIP Stalwart at today’s ceremony in Ferrol, Spain.

Navy welcomes NUSHIP Stalwart

The delivery into service of the Supply class replenishment vessels from next year will provide Navy with vital afloat logistics support to enable our ships to remain at sea longer.

Chief of the Royal Australian Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan AO, RAN said the Supply class AOR vessels will enable Navy to maintain a long-term presence at sea and provide combat support to our frigates, destroyers and combatants wherever they operate in the world.

«NUSHIPs Stalwart and Supply will extend our warships’ endurance and operational range by providing bulk fuels, potable water, stores and explosive ordnance to naval vessels operating at sea», Vice Admiral Noonan said.

NUSHIPs Stalwart and Supply will replace the current replenishment tankers HMAS Sirius and ex-HMAS Success, which was decommissioned on 29 June 2019.

Initial Sea Trials

Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division successfully completed the initial sea trials on the newest Virginia-class submarine, USS Delaware (SSN-791).

The submarine USS Delaware (SSN-791) returns to the Newport News Shipbuilding division following its first set of sea trials with three HII-built aircraft carriers visible in the distance at Norfolk Naval Station (Photo by Ashley Cowan/HII)

The submarine, in the final stages of construction, spent three days at sea proving all of its systems, components and compartments. Delaware submerged for the first time and performed high-speed maneuvers on the surface and underwater.

«Delaware performed well during sea trials, which is a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the incredible team of shipbuilders who are working to uphold our high standards of quality», said Dave Bolcar, Newport News’ vice president of submarine construction. «We look forward to continuing our testing program to deliver the submarine to the U.S. Navy later this year».

The submarine is scheduled to undergo a round of acceptance trials before it is delivered. More than 10,000 shipbuilders from Newport News and teaming partner General Dynamics Electric Boat and thousands of companies across 48 states have participated in Delaware’s construction since the work began in September 2013.

Huntington Ingalls Industries is America’s largest military shipbuilding company and a provider of professional services to partners in government and industry. For more than a century, HII’s Newport News and Ingalls shipbuilding divisions in Virginia and Mississippi have built more ships in more ship classes than any other U.S. naval shipbuilder. HII’s Technical Solutions division provides a wide range of professional services through its Fleet Support, Mission Driven Innovative Solutions, Nuclear & Environmental, and Oil & Gas groups. Headquartered in Newport News, Virginia, HII employs more than 41,000 people operating both domestically and internationally.

The U.S. Navy’s newest Virginia-class fast attack submarine, USS Delaware (SSN-791), submarine successfully completed the initial sea trials

 

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 III

Ship Yard Christening Commissioned Homeport
SSN-784 North Dakota EB 11-2-13 10-25-14 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-785 John Warner NNS 09-06-14 08-01-15 Norfolk, Virginia
SSN-786 Illinois EB 10-10-15 10-29-16 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
SSN-787 Washington NNS 03-05-16 10-07-17 Norfolk, Virginia
SSN-788 Colorado EB 12-03-16 03-17-18 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-789 Indiana NNS 04-29-17 09-29-18 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-790 South Dakota EB 10-14-17 02-02-19 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-791 Delaware NNS 10-20-18

 

Expeditionary Sea Base

General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), a subsidiary of General Dynamics (GD), was awarded a contract by the U.S. Navy worth up to $1.6 billion for the construction of the sixth and seventh ships of the Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) program, as well as an option for ESB-8.

General Dynamics awarded $1.6 billion contract to build additional U.S. Navy Expeditionary Sea Base ships

«We are pleased to be building ESB-6 and ESB-7 for our Navy», said Kevin Graney, president of General Dynamics NASSCO. «ESBs have proven to be affordable and flexible, and as the fleet has gained experience with the platform, we have worked with the Navy and Marines to develop even more capabilities and mission sets».

The contract, announced by the Department of Defense on August 23, 2019, provides $1.08 billion as a fixed-price-incentive modification to a previous contract for the design and construction of the two ships, with an option for the third that, if exercised, would bring the total cumulative value to $1.63 billion.

Named after famous names or places of historical significance to U.S. Marines, ESBs serve as a flexible platform and a key element in the U.S. Navy’s airborne mine countermeasures mission, with accommodations for up to 250 personnel and a large helicopter flight deck. The ship’s configuration supports special warfare and Marine Corps task-organized units.

Work on the two new ships of the ESB program is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2020 and continue to the second quarter of 2023, providing the opportunity to sustain and grow the workforce along San Diego’s working waterfront. NASSCO’s unique location along the historic San Diego Bay provides shipbuilders and skilled tradespeople with unparalleled access to the nation’s leading maritime support businesses, and highly-trained employees allow NASSCO to build and repair some of the world’s greatest ships in the most efficient manner possible.

In 2011, the U.S. Navy awarded NASSCO with a contract to design and build the first two ships in the newly created Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) program, the USNS Montford Point (T-ESD-1) and USNS John Glenn (T-ESD-2). The program expanded with three more vessels, the USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB-3), USNS Hershel «Woody» Williams (T-ESB-4) and the USNS Miguel Keith (T-ESB-5), configured as ESBs. Following the delivery of the first four ships to the U.S. Navy, the fifth ship, the USNS Miguel Keith (T-ESB-5), is scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Integrated Sea Trials

USNS Puerto Rico (EPF-11), successfully completed the first integrated sea trials for an Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) ship August 22. The ship returned to the Austal USA shipyard following two days underway in the Gulf of Mexico.

Mobile, Alabama USNS Puerto Rico (EPF-11) successfully completed the first integrated sea trials for an Expeditionary Fast Transport ship August 22. Integrated Trials combine Builder’s and Acceptance Trials, allowing for the shipyard to demonstrate to the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey the operational capability and mission readiness of all the ship’s systems during a single underway period (Photo by Austal USA)

Integrated Trials combine Builder’s and Acceptance Trials, allowing for the shipyard to demonstrate to the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey the operational capability and mission readiness of all the ship’s systems during a single underway period. During trials, the shipbuilder conducted comprehensive tests to demonstrate the performance of all of the ship’s major systems.

«The EPF program continues to be an example of stable and successful serial ship production», said Captain Scot Searles, Strategic and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. «I look forward to seeing EPF-11 deliver in the fall and expand the operational flexibility available to our combatant commanders».

Expeditionary Fast Transport Ships are non-combatant vessels designed to operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, increasing operational flexibility for a wide range of activities including maneuver and sustainment, relief operations in small or damaged ports, flexible logistics support, or as the key enabler for rapid transport. The ships are capable of interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, as well as on/off-loading vehicles such as a fully combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank.

EPFs support a variety of missions including the overseas contingency operations, conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, supporting special operations forces, and supporting emerging joint sea-basing concepts.

In addition to Puerto Rico, Austal USA is also currently in production on the future USNS Newport (EPF-12), and is under contract to build the future USNS Apalachicola (EPF-13) and EPF-14.

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.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

PRINCIPAL DIMENSIONS
Material Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy
Length overall 103 m/337.9 feet
Beam overall 28.5 m/93.5 feet
Hull draft (maximum) 3.83 m/12.57 feet
MISSION BAY
Area (with tie-downs) 1,863 m2/20,053 feet2
Clear Height 4.75 m/15.6 feet
Turning diameter 26.2 m/86.0 feet
ISO TEU (Twenty Equivalent Units) Stations 6 Interface Panels
ACCOMMODATIONS
Crew 41
Single SR 2
Double SR 6
Quad SR 7
Troop Seats 312
Troop Berths Permanent: 104
Temporary: 46
Galley and Messing 48
PROPULSION
Main Engines 4 × MTU 20V8000 M71L Diesel Engines 4 × 9.1 MW
Gear boxes 4 × ZF 60000NR2H Reduction Gears
Waterjets 4 × Wartsila WLD 1400 SR
PERFORMANCE
Average Speed 35 knots/40 mph/65 km/h @ 90% MCR with 635 mt (700 st) payload
Maximum Speed 43 knots/50 mph/80 km/h without payload
Maximum Transit Range 1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km
Self-Deployment Range 5,600 NM/6,444 miles/10,371 km
Survival Through SS-7
AVIATION FACILITIES
NAVAIR Level 1 Class 2 Certified Flight Deck for one helicopter
Centreline parking area for one helicopter
NAVAIR Level 1 class 4 Type 2 Certified VERTREP (Vertical Replenishment)
Helicopter Control Station
AUXILIARY SYSTEMS
Active Ride Control Transcom Interceptors
Foils: 3.24 m2/34.9 feet2 each, forward on inboard sides of demi-hulls
Vehicle Ramp Articulated Slewing Stern Ramp
Straight aft to 45 Starboard
Telescoping Boom Crane 12.3 mt @ 15 m, 18.2 mt @ 10 m/13.6 Lt @ 49.2 feet, 20.1 Lt @ 32.8 feet

 

Ships

USNS Spearhead (EPF-1), Delivered

USNS Choctaw County (EPF-2), Delivered

USNS Millinocket (EPF-3), Delivered

USNS Fall River (EPF-4), Delivered

USNS Trenton (EPF-5), Delivered

USNS Brunswick (EPF-6), Delivered

USNS Carson City (EPF-7), Delivered

USNS Yuma (EPF-8), Delivered

USNS City of Bismark (EPF-9), Delivered

USNS Burlington (EPF-10), Delivered

USNS Puerto Rico (EPF-11), Under construction

USNS Newport (EPF-12), Under construction

USNS Apalachicola (EPF-13), On order

EPF-14, On order

Keel-laying ceremony

General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) held a keel-laying ceremony for future USS Iowa (SSN-797), the 24th unit in the U.S. Navy’s Virginia-class of nuclear-powered attack submarines. The ceremony took place at General Dynamics Electric Boat Quonset Point facility on August 20, 2019.

Virginia-class attack submarine

The keel laying of a ship is a time-honored tradition. In the days of wooden ships, the start of construction was marked by the laying of the first timber – the backbone of the vessel. Today, this celebration is modified to reflect current manufacturing methods as well as the cylindrical shape of modern submarines. Shipbuilders and sailors refer to the bottom centerline of the submarine as the keel.

The newest USS Iowa (SSN-797) is being built under a teaming agreement between General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) and Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding division wherein both companies build certain portions of each submarine and then alternate deliveries. Iowa is also the fourth U.S. Navy ship to bear the name. The last ship to bear the name was the lead ship of Iowa-class battleships which saw action in World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars and the Gulf War.

USS Iowa (SSN-797) belongs to the Block IV submarines which incorporate improvements that allow them to spend less time undergoing maintenance. They are scheduled to undergo three major maintenance overhauls during their lifetime, compared to their predecessors’ four, enabling them to perform an additional deployment. The submarines are built under a $17.8 billion contract awarded in April 2014 with General Dynamic Electric Boat as the prime contractor.

There are currently eight Virginia-class submarines in various stages of construction at Quonset Point and one Columbia-class hull. Over the next few years, the site will grow considerably, adding an additional 13-acres of hull outfitting space for Virginia and Columbia class submarines.

 

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 10-20-18
SSN-793 Oregon EB Under Construction
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 On Order
SSN-801 Utah EB On Order

 

System-level tests

Raytheon Company and the U.S. Navy completed the first system-level tests of SPY-6(V)2, the Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar (EASR), at the Surface Combat System Center at Wallops Island, VA. In the first test the radar searched for, detected, identified and tracked numerous targets – including commercial aircraft. In a second exercise, the maturity of EASR integration enabled the radar to track multiple targets continuously for several hours during a test event involving another system.

Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar successfully tracks first targets at Wallops Island Test Facility

EASR, the newest sensor in the Navy’s SPY-6 family of radars, provides simultaneous anti-air and anti-surface warfare, electronic protection and air traffic control for aircraft carriers and amphibious warfare ships.

«Moving quickly from radar installation at Wallops Island to ‘tracks on glass’ in less than three months is a major accomplishment», said U.S. Navy Captain Jason Hall, Program Manager for Above Water Sensors, Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems. «The EASR program is progressing extremely well. We are now one step closer to production and delivering the radar’s unmatched capability to the surface fleet».

Two variants of EASR are being built: a single-face rotating array designated AN/SPY-6(V)2 for amphibious assault ships and Nimitz class carriers, and a three fixed-face array designated AN/SPY-6(V)3 for Ford class aircraft carriers and the future FFG(X) guided missile frigates.

Both versions of EASR are built on scalable Radar Modular Assembly, or RMA, technology as well as a software baseline that has been matured through development and test successes of AN/SPY-6(V)1, the U.S. Navy’s program of record for the DDG-51 Flight III destroyers. Each RMA is a self-contained radar in a 2′ × 2′ × 2′ box. These individual radars can integrate together to form arrays of various sizes to address any mission on any ship. EASR also adds air traffic control and weather capabilities to the mature SPY-6 software baseline.

Upon completion of system-level testing in Q4 2019, EASR will shift from the engineering and manufacturing development phase to the production phase. The 1st delivery of AN/SPY-6(V)2 will be to USS Bougainville (LHA-8), the America Class Amphibious Assault Ship.

Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar