Category Archives: Navy

Italian Navy’s fleet

Fincantieri, one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups and reference player in the naval shipbuilding industry, and Finmeccanica, Italy’s leading manufacturer in the high technology sector, will build and equip the units set out in the renewal plan of the Italian Navy’s fleet.

Artist’s impression of a Pattugliatore Polivalente d’Altura, a hybrid design combining the attributes of an Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) with those of a multipurpose frigate into the same vessel. (Fincantieri image)
Artist’s impression of a Pattugliatore Polivalente d’Altura, a hybrid design combining the attributes of an Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) with those of a multipurpose frigate into the same vessel. (Fincantieri image)

In the framework of this plan, OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Cooperation sur l’Armement, the international organization for cooperation on arms) has signed the order of the contractual performance for the construction of six patrol vessels (PPA, or Multipurpose Offshore Patrol Ship), with four more in option, and for one logistic support unit (LSS or Logistic Support Ship) with the consortium (Raggruppamento Temporaneo di Impresa – RTI) consisting of Fincantieri, agent, and Finmeccanica, through its subsidiary Selex ES, principal.

The value of the contracts for the seven units is approximately 3.5 billion euros (US $4 billion), of which Fincantieri’s share amounts to approx. 2.3 billion euros (US $2.6 billion) and the one of Finmeccanica to about 1.2 billion euros (US $1.4 billion).

The contracts provide different activation phases. Today OCCAR has started Phase 1 for the construction of the first PPA and the logistic support unit for a total value of 372 million euros (US $419 million), of which Fincantieri’s share amounts to 220 million euros (US $248 million) and Finmeccanica’s one to 152 million euros (US $171 million). The activation of the next phases concerning the other units is expected to take place in the upcoming months.

The delivery of the logistic support unit is scheduled for 2019, while the first patrol vessel is expected to be delivered in 2021. The delivery of the following patrol vessels is planned for 2022, 2023, 2024 (two units) and 2025.

In general, this multi-year program for the renewal of the Navy’s fleet (known as the «Defence Act») will employ a total funding of 5.4 billion euros (US $6 billion) and foresees the construction, in addition to the aforementioned units, of one transport and landing unit (LHD) through a public contract with the Italian Ministry of Defence currently being finalized. In particular:

  • 1 logistic support unit (LSS or Logistic Support Ship);
  • 6 patrol vessels (PPA, or Multipurpose Offshore Patrol Ship) and 4 more in option;
  • 1 transport and landing unit (LHD or Landing Helicopter Dock).

The fundamental characteristic common to all three classes of ships is their high level of innovation providing them with a considerable degree of efficiency and flexibility in serving different mission profiles. In particular, these are dual use vessels, meaning that they may be used for both standard military purposes and for civil protection and rescue at sea operations, and they also have a low environmental impact thanks to a state-of-the-art auxiliary propulsion system generating a low level of pollution emissions (electric engines) and biological waste control system.

The consortium (RTI) was established according to the cooperation agreement in the field of naval vessels construction signed last October between Fincantieri and Finmeccanica. Pursuant to the agreement, Fincantieri acts as a sole interface to the client, while allowing to enhance Finmeccanica’s products range in the naval field.

In addition to building the vessels at its shipyards, Fincantieri will provide support over the lifecycle of the vessels in the first ten years, through the supply of logistic services (training courses, spare parts, technical documentation) during the construction of the vessels and of ISS or In Service Support (maintenance services), carried out during post-delivery operations, as well as components and naval machinery produced by the Marine Systems and Components Unit, such as shaft lines, wheelhouse, maneuvering propellers, fin stabilizers and other handling systems, the automation system and a part of the special supplies for PPAs delivered by the subsidiary Seastema S.p.A.

Finmeccanica, through Selex ES, will act as prime contractor for all of the new naval units’ combat systems. Selex ES will provide sensors, such as the new multi-functional radar, and will also take on responsibility for all subsystems, included those provided by OTO Melara, WASS, MBDA and Elettronica.

In addition, Selex ES and Fincantieri will develop together the innovative «Cockpit» system. This system will, for the first time ever, allow for the integrated management of sailing and combat system operations, using augmented reality to allow both functions to be effectively managed with fewer operators.

 

Vessel’s characteristics

 

LSS – Logistic Support Ship

The LSS is a vessel that provides logistics support to the fleet, endowed with hospital and healthcare capabilities thanks to the presence of a fully equipped hospital, complete with operating rooms, radiology and analysis rooms, a dentist’s office and hospital rooms capable of hosting up to 12 seriously injured patients. The ship is capable of combining capacity to transport and transfer to other transport vessels used for liquids (diesel fuel, jet fuel, fresh water) and solids (emergency spare parts, food and ammunitions) and to perform at sea repairs and maintenance work for other vessels.

Fincantieri's Logistic Support Ship (LSS) concept (Photo: Christopher P. Cavas/staff)
Fincantieri’s Logistic Support Ship (LSS) concept (Photo: Christopher P. Cavas/staff)

The defense systems are limited to the capacity of command and control in tactical scenarios, communications and dissuasive, non-lethal defense systems. The vessel is also capable of embarking more complex defence systems and becoming an intelligence and electronic war platform.

  • 165 meters/541 feet long;
  • Speed of 20 knots/23 mph/37 km/h;
  • 200 persons including crew and specialists;
  • 4 replenishment station abeam and 1 astern;
  • Capacity to supply drinking water to land;
  • Capacity to provide electricity to land with 2,500 kW of power;
  • Possibility of embarking up to 8 residential and healthcare modules;
  • Capacity to perform rescues at sea, through recovery and seabed operations (the ship is equipped with an 30 tons offshore stabilized crane stabilized);
  • Base for rescue operations through helicopters and special vessels.

Delivery is scheduled in 2019.

 

PPA – Multipurpose Offshore Patrol Ship

The Multipurpose Offshore Patrol Ship is a highly flexible ship with capacity to serve multiple functions ranging from patrol with sea rescue capacity to Civil Protection operations, and in its most highly equipped version, first line fighting vessel.

Fincantieri's PPA multipurpose offshore patrol ship features a large gun, surface-to-surface missiles, and a large helicopter hangar (Photo: Christopher P. Cavas/staff)
Fincantieri’s PPA multipurpose offshore patrol ship features a large gun, surface-to-surface missiles, and a large helicopter hangar (Photo: Christopher P. Cavas/staff)

There will be indeed different configurations of combat system: a «soft» one for the patrol task integrated for self-defence ability, and a «full» one, equipped for a complete defence ability. The vessel is also capable of operating high-speed vessels such as RHIB (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat) up to 11 meters/36 feet long through lateral cranes or a hauling ramp located at the far stern.

  • 129 meters/423 feet long;
  • Speed of over 31 knots/36 mph/57 km/h;
  • 171 persons of the crew;
  • Equipped with a combined diesel and gas turbine plant (CODAG);
  • Capacity to supply drinking water to land;
  • Capacity to provide electricity to land with 2,000 kW of power;
  • Possibility of embarking modular residential and healthcare zones;
  • 2 modular zones at the stern and at the center of the ship that allow the embarking of various types of containerized operating/logistic/healthcare modules. In particular, the stern area may receive and handle within a covered area up to 5 modules in ISO 20” containers, while the central zone may receive and handle up to 8 ISO 20” containers.

The PPAs will be built at the Integrated Shipyard of Riva Trigoso and Muggiano, with delivery expected, for the first vessel of the class, in 2021, while the following deliveries of the vessels will take place in 2022, 2023, 2024 (two units), and 2025.

 

Damen’s new OPV

On 20 April 2015, Damen Shipyards Group gave a sneak preview of their newly designed 2nd generation Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) during the annual OPVs & Corvettes Asia Pacific conference in Singapore. Damen’s Design & Proposal Manager Piet van Rooij explained how this new OPV has been configured for various missions.

The development of the «Axe Bow Concept» followed, a hull shape with unparalleled seakeeping characteristics: the maximum acceleration ever measured on the bow of an existing Axe-Bow is 1.3 G. Based on this concept, Damen has developed the «Sea Axe» Patrol Boats and Fast Crew Suppliers. Damen has delivered over 150 Axe-Bows since 2006
The development of the «Axe Bow Concept» followed, a hull shape with unparalleled seakeeping characteristics: the maximum acceleration ever measured on the bow of an existing Axe-Bow is 1.3 G. Based on this concept, Damen has developed the «Sea Axe» Patrol Boats and Fast Crew Suppliers. Damen has delivered over 150 Axe-Bows since 2006

This new generation of re-configurable Damen OPVs is highly efficient and incredibly versatile. Damen’s famous Sea Axe hull shape is used for these 2nd generation OPVs. Due to this hull design, these vessels demonstrate superior seakeeping including exceptional low heave accelerations. This makes the vessel very comfortable, even in stormy sea states.

Since the hull is designed to reduce water resistance, the new OPV is also very fuel efficient and capable of speeds up to 25/26 knots/29/30 mph/46/48 km/h.

Versatility has been reinvented by three newly developed multi-mission locations – namely the Bridge, Hangar and Bay. The Multi-Mission Bay (MM Bay) can be equipped with dedicated mission modules (e.g. mission containers) for missions such as counter piracy, counter-drug operations, Anti-Mining Warfare (AMW), Search-And-Rescue (SAR) etc.

The MM Bay is also equipped with a nine-meter Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat (RHIB), which can be launched over a dedicated slipway through the rear of the vessel while the OPV is sailing. In the Damen-built Holland Class Ocean Patrol vessels for the Royal Netherlands Navy this system has already proven to be safe in operations up to SS 5 conditions.

Mission modules (dedicated containers) can be lifted into the Multi-Mission Bay, through the helicopter deck
Mission modules (dedicated containers) can be lifted into the Multi-Mission Bay, through the helicopter deck

Unlike other OPVs, the Command-and-Control Centre (C2 Centre) is located directly behind the bridge. Damen calls this development their Multi-Mission Bridge (MM Bridge). Both spaces can be separated by means of a blinded sliding wall. OPVs are less likely to take part in combat situations such as those faced by a frigate.

During a mission, when lowering the sliding wall, situation awareness in the C2 Centre is improved, allowing C2 Centre officers to observe the situation immediately with their own eyes.

Mr. Van Rooij comments: «Today OPVs don’t engage in combat situations as often as frigates do, however, fast and effective coordination during a ‘chase’ is essential for an OPV».

The Multi-Mission Hangar (MM Hangar) is capable of storing an 11-tonne NH-90 helicopter and an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) such as the Boeing ScanEagle. The MM Hangar has been designed so that the OPV crew can deploy either the helicopter or the UAV without having to move either one. Furthermore, there is space for a spare parts store and workshop for both the helicopter and UAV.

The Damen OPV 2nd generation is available as a standard in four series:

  • 75 meter/246 feet – 1,400 tonnes;
  • 85 meter/279 feet – 1,800 tonnes;
  • 95 meter/312 feet – 2,400 tonnes;
  • 103 meter/338 feet – 2,600 tonnes.
Depending on the mission and the situation, the C&C Centre can be separated from the Bridge by means of a blinded sliding door
Depending on the mission and the situation, the C&C Centre can be separated from the Bridge by means of a blinded sliding door

 

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS

Series OPV 1400 OPV 1800 OPV 2400 OPV 2600
Displacement 1,400 tonnes 1,800 tonnes 2,400 tonnes 2,600 tonnes
Length o.a. 75 m/246 feet 85 m/279 feet 95 m/312 feet 103 m/338 feet
Beam moulded 12.7 m/ 41.7 feet 13.7 m/45 feet 14.4 m/47 feet 14.4 m/47 feet
Draft 3.8 m/12.5 feet 4 m/13 feet 4 m/13 feet 4 m/13 feet
Speed maximum (MSR) 23 knots/ 26 mph/42 km/h 25 knots/ 29 mph/46 km/h 26 knots/ 30 mph/48 km/h 26 knots/ 30 mph/48 km/h
Range 4,000 NM/ 7,408 km 5,000 NM/ 9,260 km 6,000 NM/ 11,112 km 7,000 NM/ 12,964 km
Endurance 25 days 30 days 40 days 40 days
Helicopter & UAV hangar telescopic telescopic telescopic telescopic
Helicopter flight deck & refueling standard standard standard standard
Helicopter hangar area, L×B 19.2×6 m/ 63×19.7 feet 19.2×6 m/ 63×19.7 feet 19.2×6 m/ 63×19.7 feet 19.2×6 m/ 63×19.7 feet
Helicopter flight deck area, L×B 25×12.7 m/ 82×41.7 feet 25×13.7 m/ 82×45 feet 25×14.4 m/ 82×47 feet 25×14.4 m/ 82×47 feet
Take-off weight maximum 6 tonnes 11 tonnes 11 tonnes 11 tonnes
Multi-Mission Bridge standard standard standard standard
Multi-Mission Bay standard standard standard standard
Mission Module Containers 2 3 3 5
Number of RHIBs 2 2 2
Length of RHIBs 9 m 9 m 9 m 9 m
Core Complement capacity 40 60 60 60
Additional in Multi-role compartment 12 36 48 48
Multi-role compartment area 130 m2/ 1,399.3 feet2 190 m2/ 2,045.1 feet2 220 m2/ 2,368 feet2 320 m2/ 3,444.4 feet2
A small slipway makes ultrafast RHIB deployment possible, while sailing
A small slipway makes ultrafast RHIB deployment possible, while sailing

Accompany or escort?

It is said in The DefenseNews that U.S. Navy ships in the Persian Gulf are accompanying U.S.-flagged merchant vessels through the Strait of Hormuz after Iran’s recent seizure of one cargo ship and its harassment of another in international waters. A dozen ships are operating in the area and capable of providing support, the official said on May 1. U.S. warships frequently transit the strait, but it is more unusual for the U.S. to routinely convoy U.S.-flagged merchants through.

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) and the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG-60) operate in the Arabian Sea conducting maritime security operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Anthony N. Hilkowski/Released)
The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) and the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG-60) operate in the Arabian Sea conducting maritime security operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Anthony N. Hilkowski/Released)

The warships include ships with the Theodore Roosevelt carrier strike group, which entered 5th Fleet three weeks ago and spent several days in the waters off Yemen, a show of force that compelled Iranian ships to turn around. The ships at NAVCENT’s disposal include:

  • The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71);
  • The cruiser USS Normandy (CG-60);
  • The destroyers USS Paul Hamilton (DDG-60), USS Milius (DDG-69), USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG-81) and USS Farragut (DDG-99);
  • Coastal patrol ships USS Monsoon (PC-4), USS Typhoon (PC-5), USS Firebolt (PC-10), USS Whirlwind (PC-11) and USS Thunderbolt (PC-12);
  • The minesweeper USS Devastator (MCM-6).
More than 300 Sailors embarked aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG-99) depart homeport at Naval Station Mayport to support the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group. While deployed, they will serve in the U.S. 5th and 6th  Fleet areas of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean P. La Marr/Released)
More than 300 Sailors embarked aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG-99) depart homeport at Naval Station Mayport to support the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group. While deployed, they will serve in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean P. La Marr/Released)

The move comes as tensions rise in the region, with news that Iranian navy ships harassed one U.S.-flagged shipping vessel in international waters and later boarded a Marshall Islands cargo ship, a country under U.S. protection. Only a week before, the Theodore Roosevelt and members of its strike group converged off the coast of Yemen, as rumors swirled that Iranian cargo ships were bringing in weapons to arm the Houthi rebels in their clash against Yemeni government.

The Defense Department is not communicating with Iran, and the country’s motives are, «not clear to the Department of Defense», Pentagon spokesman Army Colonel Steve Warren told reporters. «It’s difficult to know why the Iranians are operating this way», he said said. «We certainly call on them to respect all of the internationally established rules of freedom of navigation, the Law of the Sea, to which they are a signatory, and other established protocols».

The Cyclone-class coastal patrol ship USS Whirlwind (PC-11) transits the Arabian Gulf. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate/Released)
The Cyclone-class coastal patrol ship USS Whirlwind (PC-11) transits the Arabian Gulf. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate/Released)

On the other hand, according to Defense One, when Pentagon officials announced yesterday that they would increase protection for U.S.-flagged vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, they also introduced a bit of confusion. U.S. Navy sailors know what it means to escort another vessel. Generally speaking, a warship meets up with another ship, or even a group of them, and together they set out on a voyage, matching courses and speeds for most of the way. That is what happens when an aircraft carrier deploys with its battle group; that is what happened when U.S. warships shepherded tanker convoys through the war-wracked Persian Gulf of the late 1980s.

However, when Pentagon officials announced that the Navy would be increasing the protection given to U.S.-flagged ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz, they used a different word: «accompany». And it turns out they meant something a bit different from the far more commonly used «escort». A spokesman for the Navy’s Fifth Fleet, Cmdr. Kevin Stephens, explained, «U.S. naval forces will transit the strait along with and nearby such shipping, although it is not as though they’ll necessarily be in some sort of formation».

«Accompanying is basically a step down from escorting», the official said. «The U.S. Navy ships will be in the same general area as the U.S.-flagged merchant vessels and are there to ensure a safe flow of maritime traffic in the Strait of Hormuz».

The mine countermeasures ship USS Devastator (MCM-6) prepares to re-supply during the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX). With a quarter of the world's navies participating including 6,500 Sailors from every region, IMCMEX is the largest international naval exercise promoting maritime security and the free-flow of trade through mine countermeasure operations, maritime security operations, and maritime infrastructure protection in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility and throughout the world. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ace Rheaume/Released)
The mine countermeasures ship USS Devastator (MCM-6) prepares to re-supply during the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX). With a quarter of the world’s navies participating including 6,500 Sailors from every region, IMCMEX is the largest international naval exercise promoting maritime security and the free-flow of trade through mine countermeasure operations, maritime security operations, and maritime infrastructure protection in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility and throughout the world. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ace Rheaume/Released)

Christening of John

Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division christened the company’s 29th Arleigh Burke-class (DDG-51) Aegis guided missile destroyer, USS John Finn (DDG-113), today in front of nearly 1,000 guests.

Ship Sponsor Laura Stavridis smashes a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow of the Ingalls-built Aegis destroyer USS John Finn (DDG-113). Also pictured (left to right) are Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Michael Stevens; Cmdr. Micheal Wagner, prospective commanding, John Finn; and Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias. Photo by Andrew Young/HII
Ship Sponsor Laura Stavridis smashes a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow of the Ingalls-built Aegis destroyer USS John Finn (DDG-113). Also pictured (left to right) are Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Michael Stevens; Cmdr. Micheal Wagner, prospective commanding, John Finn; and Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias. Photo by Andrew Young/HII

DDG-113 is named John Finn after the first Medal of Honor recipient of World War II. Finn received the honor for machine-gunning Japanese warplanes for over two hours during the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor despite being shot in the foot and shoulder and suffering numerous shrapnel wounds. He retired as a lieutenant after 30 years of service and died at age 100 in 2010.

«I often speak to the members of the Chief Petty Officer Mess about the characteristics of a leader and, more specifically, the characteristics I expect to see in my chiefs», said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Michael Stevens, who was the principal speaker. «I tell them that a model chief petty officer is a quiet, humble and servant leader. I believe with all my heart that John Finn exemplified all of these traits through his heroic actions that day».

Laura Stavridis, wife of Admiral James Stavridis (U.S. Navy, Ret.) and DDG-113 ship sponsor, smashed a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow of the ship, officially christening DDG-113 as John Finn. «God bless this ship and all who sail on her», she said.

«Finn outlived 14 fellow sailors who earned the Medal of Honor for their service in World War II», said Mike Petters, HII’s president and CEO. «Unfortunately, he didn’t live long enough to know that a Navy ship would be named after him. I think he would be as humbled by this honor as he was with the title of hero bestowed upon him. Just remember his words: ‘There’s all kinds of heroes.’ And if you ask me, this ship was built for heroes by heroes. All in the name of freedom».

Ingalls Shipbuilding launched the Arleigh Burke-class Aegis guided missile destroyer John Finn (DDG-113) on Saturday morning (Photo by Andrew Young/HII)
Ingalls Shipbuilding launched the Arleigh Burke-class Aegis guided missile destroyer John Finn (DDG-113) on Saturday morning (Photo by Andrew Young/HII)

Ingalls has delivered 28 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to the U.S. Navy. Destroyers currently under construction at Ingalls are USS John Finn (DDG-113), USS Ralph Johnson (DDG-114), USS Paul Ignatius (DDG-117) and USS Delbert D. Black (DDG-119). Earlier this year, Ingalls received a contract modification funding the construction of the company’s 33nd destroyer, DDG-121.

«Rest assured these shipbuilders – Ingalls shipbuilders – understand their noble calling», said Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias. «To build ships like John Finn safe, strong and proud for the sailors and Marines who sail in her, with strength pride and our deepest gratitude and respect».

«The future USS John Finn is the first destroyer built at Ingalls after the U.S. Navy restarted the program», Cuccias continued. «We hit the ground running with the new program, re-establishing the best destroyer team in the world with many best-in-class achievements, and this is already proven, as DDG-113 was launched three weeks ahead of schedule».

Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are highly capable, multi-mission ships that can conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, all in support of the United States’ military strategy. They are capable of simultaneously fighting air, surface and subsurface threats. The ship contains myriad offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime defense needs well into the 21st century.

«I have said it many times, and I mean it every time I say it … Gulf Coast shipbuilders build the greatest warships the world has ever seen», said Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss. «Your craftsmanship is beyond compare, and I know that you all care very deeply about the work you do, because you know how important your work is to our national security and keeping America and our loved ones safe. No matter how many times I see these ships grow from steel plate into the great ship you see here today, I still believe it is an absolute modern marvel».

Finn received the honor for machine-gunning Japanese warplanes for over two hours during the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor
Finn received the honor for machine-gunning Japanese warplanes for over two hours during the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor

 

Ship Characteristics

Length Overall 510 feet/156 meters
Beam – Waterline 59 feet/18 meters
Draft 30.5 feet/9.3 meters
Displacement – Full Load 9,496 tons/9,648 metric tons
Power Plant 4 General electric LM 2500-30 gas turbines; 2 shafts; 2 CRP (Contra-Rotating) propellers; 100,000 shaft horsepower/ 75,000 kW
Speed in excess of 30 knots/34.5 mph/ 55.5 km/h
Range 4,400 NM/8.149 km at 20 knots/23 mph/37 km/h
Crew 380 total: 32 Officers, 27 CPO (Chief Petty Officer), 321 OEM
Surveillance SPY-1D Phased Array Radar 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
Electronics/Countermeasures 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
Aircraft 2 embarked SH-60 helicopters ASW operations; RAST (Recovery Assist, Secure and Traverse)
Armament 2 Mark-41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) with 90 Standard, Vertical Launch ASROC (Anti-Submarine Rocket) & Tomahawk ASM (Air-to-Surface Missile)/ LAM (Loitering Attack Missile); 5-in (127-mm)/54 Mark-45 gun; 2 CIWS (Close-In Weapon System); 2 Mark-32 triple 324-mm torpedo tubes for Mark-46 or Mark-50 ASW torpedos

 

Mrs. Laura Elizabeth Stavridis, Ship Sponsor, christens the guided missile destroyer USS John Finn (DDG-113)

Italian Carabiniere

The frigate Carabiniere (F593) was delivered on April 28, 2015 at the Muggiano (La Spezia) shipyard. It is the fourth vessel of the FREMM program – Multi Mission European Frigates – commissioned to Fincantieri within the international Italian-French program, coordinated by OCCAR (the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation). Orizzonte Sistemi Navali (51% Fincantieri and 49% Finmeccanica) is the prime contractor for Italy in the FREMM program, which envisions the building of 10 units, all already ordered.

The ASW version was fitted with both towed and hull mounted sonars
The ASW version was fitted with both towed and hull mounted sonars

The ship has been named Carabiniere (F593) to celebrate in 2014, year of the launching, the 200th anniversary of the foundation of the Italian Carabinieri Force. Carabiniere (F593) is the fourth FREMM unit which Fincantieri builds and delivers to the Italian Navy completed with a combat system (the third with the ASW – Anti Submarine Warfare configuration), that is the ability of silent navigation speed in significant anti-submarine hunting.

144 meters long and a displacement at full load of approximately 6,700 tonnes, the FREMM frigates represent technological excellence: designed to reach a maximum speed of 27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h and to provide accommodation for 200 people (crew and staff), these vessels are able to always guarantee a high degree of flexibility and to operate in a wide range of scenarios and tactical situations.

The program faces the fleet renewal need of the Italian Navy’s units of the class frigates Lupo (disarment completed in 2003) and Maestrale (close in reaching its operational life limit). It is coordinated by OCCAR (l’Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’ARmement).

These units significantly contribute to the tasks assigned to the Italian Navy, being able to operate in various sectors: anti-aircraft, anti-submarine and anti-naval warfare, fire support from the sea as well as an organic helicopter component embarked. The FREMM units are set to become the backbone of the Italian Navy of the next decades.

D651 «Normandie» FREMM multi-mission frigate (front view)
D651 «Normandie» FREMM multi-mission frigate (front view)

 

Technical characteristics

Overall length 472 feet/144 m
Length between perpendiculars 423 feet/128.9 m
Breadth moulded 64.6 feet/19.7 m
Depth (main deck) 37 feet/11.3 m
Full load displacement at delivery (fld) abt. 6,700 tonnes
Growth margin 4%-abt. 230 tonnes
Crew + extra personnel 145 + 20
Maximum speed >27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h
Endurance 45 days
Range 6,000 NM/11,112 km at 15 knots/17 mph/28 km/h
CODLAG PROPULSION SYSTEM
Avio-GE LM2500 + G4 32 MW
Electric propulsion motors 2 × 2,5 MW
DG (Diesel Generator) sets 4 × 2,1 MW
CPP (Controllable Pitch Propellers) 2

 

Stealth frigates

It is said in The Press Trust of India that Defence PSU (Public Sector Undertakings) Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd has bagged its biggest order of building three advanced stealth frigates for Rs 20,000 crore (approximately $3.14 billion) from the Indian Navy (IN).

The Project 17A is a follow-on of the Project 17 Shivalik-class frigate for the Indian Navy
The Project 17A is a follow-on of the Project 17 Shivalik-class frigate for the Indian Navy

«This is the highest-ever order which Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) has got. This shows how much trust the government and the Navy has on us. It is a big shot in the arm for us», GRSE’s Chairman and Managing Director Rear Admiral A K Verma told reporters. Under the Project P-17A, Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL), Mumbai, will make four stealth frigates while the Kolkata shipyard will make three such frigates, all of which will be of the same design.

«Frigates are one-man army which can attack under water, surface level and also at air. It can also carry helicopters and has detection abilities as well. It will become the most potent weapon of the Indian Navy», Verma said. Once the final design is ready, the construction at GRSE will begin after three years and the first ship will be ready by 2023. «The rest will come at one-year intervals and within ten years all the ships would be ready. We would be working in close collaboration with both the Indian Navy as well as MDL», the official said.

Commodore Ratnakar Ghosh, Director (shipbuilding), GRSE, also noted, they are building a new modernised integrated modular construction unit, which would be used for manufacturing the frigates. «It is because of the modular construction that we can bring down the time of construction to five years. Traditional shipbuilding method takes much more time», Commodore Ratnakar Ghosh said.

GRSE already has Goliath cranes and workshops with sliding roofs from where 200-tonne blocks can be lifted out. The ship will have a displacement of 6,000 tonnes.

 

Prince of Wales

The most iconic section of the second Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier is setting sail on April 24, 2015 from Glasgow on its first sea voyage to Rosyth. Upper Block 07 is where HMS Prince of Wales (R09) will be commanded atop the flight deck and is known as the «Forward Island». As the main hub of the ship, it contains the bridge and approximately 100 vital mission systems compartments.

Three times the size of the Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers, these huge ships use the latest technology and equipment, enabling them to operate with a streamlined crew of 679
Three times the size of the Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers, these huge ships use the latest technology and equipment, enabling them to operate with a streamlined crew of 679

Mick Ord, Managing Director at BAE Systems Naval Ships, said: «This Forward Island is a remarkable feat of engineering designed to command one of the UK’s largest ever warships for more than half a century to come so the last Commanding Officer who will take the helm is not even born yet. I’d like to congratulate everyone involved in building and delivering this iconic aircraft carrier section ahead of schedule and to an incredibly high standard».

The tug delivering the Forward Island will blast its horn passing Ferguson Marine Engineering in Greenock as a final farewell to Glasgow and a salute to BAE Systems’ fellow shipbuilders along the Clyde. Due to stormy weather expected around the north coast of Scotland, the Forward Island will travel around the south coast of the UK on a nine-day voyage before entering the Firth of Forth.

Construction of the Forward Island began in December 2013. It left its dock hall in Govan for the first time last weekend before being driven onto a barge using a single remote control and 144 wheels beneath it.

The Queen Elizabeth Class are the first aircraft carriers to use an innovative twin island design. The second «Aft Island» operates as an airport control tower to co-ordinate aircraft movements, but both islands are designed with the ability to incorporate the other’s role in an emergency, thus increasing the survivability of the ship.

The Forward Island has deck-to-deck windows, which are up to two metres tall to ensure a level of visibility far beyond previous aircraft carriers and are designed to withstand a significant impact, such as a helicopter’s spinning rotor blade.

The 65,000 tonne Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers will be the centre piece of the UK’s military capability.

A key driver is the carriers’ cutting-edge weapons handling system, which can move armaments to the flight deck six times faster, bringing the number of people required to operate the system down from 160 to just 48 crew members
A key driver is the carriers’ cutting-edge weapons handling system, which can move armaments to the flight deck six times faster, bringing the number of people required to operate the system down from 160 to just 48 crew members

 

Weapons and sensors

Mission systems complex

Artisan 3D medium range radar

S1850m long-range radar

Navigation radar

Highly mechanised weapon handling system

Phalanx automated close-in weapons systems

30-mm guns & mini guns to counter seaborne threats

 

Mission capability

Capacity to accommodate up to 40 aircraft

280-m flight deck, capable of landing Chinook and Merlin helicopters

Aviation store

Hangar, capable of accommodating and maintaining fixed and rotary wing aircraft

Aircraft lifts (forward and aft)

The separation and distribution of power generation machinery on the QE Class increases the survivability of the ships, while the electric propulsion system enables the prime movers to operate more efficiently, reducing less fuel consumption and running costs
The separation and distribution of power generation machinery on the QE Class increases the survivability of the ships, while the electric propulsion system enables the prime movers to operate more efficiently, reducing less fuel consumption and running costs

 

Propulsion

2 × Rolls Royce MT30 gas turbines (36 MW/48,000 hp)

4 × Wartsila diesel generator sets (2× 9 MW/12,000 hp; 2 × 11 MW/ 15,000 hp)

2 × 33 tonne propellers

4 × advanced induction motors

 

Accommodation

Accommodation for 1,600 personnel

Dedicated accommodation and facilities for embarked forces

Hospital area incorporating eight bed medical suite, operating theatre and dental surgery

Recreational facilities including fitness suites and cinema

The first, HMS Queen Elizabeth, was named on 4 July 2014, with her ship commissioning planned for 2017, and an initial operating capability expected in 2020
The first, HMS Queen Elizabeth, was named on 4 July 2014, with her ship commissioning planned for 2017, and an initial operating capability expected in 2020

 

Main dimensions

Displacement                                  65,000 tonnes

Length                                                 280 metres/918.63 feet

Maximum beam                             70 metres/229.66 feet

Crew size                                           679

Embarked forces up to              921

 

Performance

Top speed                                          25 knots/29 mph/46 km/h

Range                                                   10,000 NM/18,520 km

 

Delivering HMS Prince of Wales’ bridge

First Refueling

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC) and the U.S. Navy successfully demonstrated fully Autonomous Aerial Refueling (AAR) with the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) aircraft on April 22, 2015, marking the first time in history that an unmanned aircraft has refueled in-flight.

X-47B successfully completes the first autonomous aerial refueling demonstration over the Chesapeake bay on April 22 (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy)
X-47B successfully completes the first autonomous aerial refueling demonstration over the Chesapeake bay on April 22 (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy)

This is another historic aviation milestone for the X-47B, which in 2013 became the first unmanned aircraft to autonomously launch from and recover aboard an aircraft carrier. In combination, these landmark demonstrations constitute a major step forward in autonomy that has application in both manned and unmanned aircraft. Autonomous launch, recovery and refueling have the potential for reducing operational costs in the future.

«AAR testing with the X-47B helps solidify the concept that future unmanned aircraft can perform standard missions like aerial refueling and operate seamlessly with manned aircraft as part of the Carrier Air Wing», said Captain Beau Duarte, the Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Aviation program manager.

During the probe and drogue (or «Navy-style») AAR demonstration, the X-47B performed a close formation flight rendezvous with an Omega K-707 tanker. Upon clearance from the tanker crew, the X-47B maneuvered into position behind the K-707 and successfully engaged the drogue. On completion of the refueling, the X-47B autonomously disengaged the drogue and maneuvered away from the tanker before returning to base.

The X-47B successfully conducted the first ever Autonomous Aerial Refueling of an unmanned aircraft
The X-47B successfully conducted the first ever Autonomous Aerial Refueling of an unmanned aircraft

«We are very pleased with the outcome of this first round of probe and drogue flights with the X-47B», said Pablo Gonzalez, UCAS-D program manager, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. «The AAR system and X-47B both performed as expected. While we would certainly benefit from additional probe and drogue flight testing, we have reached a tipping point at which AAR is now feasible».

Northrop Grumman began developing AAR technology for both Navy and Air Force application nearly a decade ago, pioneering a «hybrid» approach that integrates both GPS and infrared imaging to enhance navigational precision and hedge against GPS disruption. Initial UCAS-D flight-testing began in 2012 using a manned Learjet as a surrogate for the X-47B. These successful proof-of-concept flights demonstrated the overall feasibility of the X-47B AAR system and helped refine its navigation, command and control, and infrared sensor processing components.

Northrop Grumman is the Navy’s UCAS-D prime contractor. The UCAS-D industry team includes Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney, GKN Aerospace, Eaton, General Electric, UTC Aerospace Systems, Dell, Honeywell, Moog, Wind River, Parker Aerospace, Sargent Aerospace & Defense, and Rockwell Collins.

X-47B prepares to engage with an Omega K-707 tanker drogue and complete the first autonomous aerial refueling demonstration over the Chesapeake bay on April 22 (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy)
X-47B prepares to engage with an Omega K-707 tanker drogue and complete the first autonomous aerial refueling demonstration over the Chesapeake bay on April 22 (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy)

 

X-47B Specifications

Length 38.2 feet/11.6 m
Wingspan 62.1 feet/18.9 m
Folded Wingspan 30.9 feet/9.4 m
Height 10.4 feet/3.2 m
Wheelbase 13.9 feet/4.2 m
Powerplant Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220U
Max Gross Take-Off Weight (MGTOW) 44,000 lbs/19,958 kg
Twin Internal Weapons Bay 4,500 lbs/2,041 kg
Top Speed High Subsonic
Altitude >40,000 feet/12,192 m
Range >2,100 NM/3,889 km

 

X-47B First to Complete Autonomous Aerial Refueling

 

The First 15B-ship

The First ship of Project – 15B, Guided Missile Destroyer, christened «Visakhapatnam» was launched on 20 Apr 15 at a magnificent ceremony at Mazagaon Dock Limited (MDL), Mumbai. The ship was launched from Slip Way No. 2 in MDL. The Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral RK Dhowan, was the Chief Guest for the occasion. In keeping with the nautical traditions, the ship was launched by Smt Minu Dhowan, wife of The Chief of the Naval Staff. After an invocation to the Gods was recited, she broke a coconut on ship’s bow, named the ship and wished the ship and «crew to be», good luck.

The destroyer is fitted with the locally developed Ship Data Network, which manages its power, integrated platform and combat management systems
The destroyer is fitted with the locally developed Ship Data Network, which manages its power, integrated platform and combat management systems

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Guest, Admiral RK Dhowan lauded the contributions made by MDL in meeting the growing requirements of the Navy. He also commended the efforts put in by Director General Naval Design (DGND) and his team in the design of the state of the art warships. He was also appreciative of the role played by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the industry for relentlessly contributing towards achieving Indian Navy’s dream of transforming itself from a «Buyers Navy» to a «Builders Navy».

The four ships of Project 15B ships being built at MDL, Mumbai have been designed indigenously by the Directorate of Naval Design, Delhi and bear testimony to the acclaimed legacy of Naval designers. With a displacement of 7300 tons, each ship will be spanning 163 meters/535 feet in length and 17.4 meters/57 feet at the beam and will be propelled by four gas turbines to achieve speed in excess of 30 knots/34 mph/55 km/h. The Project 15B destroyers incorporate new design concepts for improved survivability, sea keeping, stealth and maneuverability. Enhanced stealth features have been achieved through shaping of hull and use of radar transparent deck fittings which make these ships difficult to detect. These ships will be equipped to carry and operate two multiple role helicopters.

The destroyer will be fitted with IAI-Elta EL/M-2238 S-band (2 to 4 GHz) 3-D volume air surveillance radar (STAR) radar and a Thales LW-08 D-band air search radar
The destroyer will be fitted with IAI-Elta EL/M-2238 S-band (2 to 4 GHz) 3-D volume air surveillance radar (STAR) radar and a Thales LW-08 D-band air search radar

These ships are also packed with an array of state of the art weapons and sensors, including vertically launched missile system for long distance engagement of shore and sea-based targets. With significant indigenous content, these ships are a true hallmark of self-reliance attained by India in warship design and shipbuilding.

According to Rahul Bedi, Jane’s Navy International correspondent, Vishakhapatnam would be commissioned in July 2018 and delivery of the three follow-on platforms at two year intervals will be completed by 2024 at an overall cost of INR293.40 billion ($4.89 billion).

The IN officials claims that over 65% of the 164 m-long Vishakhapatnam is indigenously sourced, including its DMR249 A steel and 11 of its weapon and associated sensor systems. Its imported components include four Ukrainian-built Zorya-Mashproekt DT-59 gas turbines.

Vishakhapatnam 's key differences from the Project 15A class include the relocation of its sonar to the bow from the hull; the design of its mast, which houses its main radar, has also been revised to further reduce its radar cross section
Vishakhapatnam ‘s key differences from the Project 15A class include the relocation of its sonar to the bow from the hull; the design of its mast, which houses its main radar, has also been revised to further reduce its radar cross section

Vishakhapatnam would be fitted with the IAI-Elta-designed EL/M-2248 Multi-Function Surveillance Threat Alert Radar (MF-STAR) to provide guidance to 32 Barak-8/NG air-defence missiles, which have a 70 km/43.5 miles range. IN officials claim that MF-STAR is capable of simultaneously tracking multiple seaborne targets up to a distance of 25 km/15.5 miles and fighter aircraft up to 250 km/155 miles away.

Vishakhapatnam’s principal weapon will be eight BrahMos anti-ship cruise missiles. The ship’s anti-submarine warfare capability includes twin-tube launchers and RBU-6000 SMERCH-2 rocket launchers built by private defence contractor Larsen & Toubro (L&T). Other armaments include a licence-built 76-mm OTO Melara Super Rapid Gun, and a 127-mm main gun, which is still under negotiation.

Other changes the Project 15A class include reshaping of the hull to accentuate its stealth features and the addition of a rail-less helicopter traversing system
Other changes the Project 15A class include reshaping of the hull to accentuate its stealth features and the addition of a rail-less helicopter traversing system

Egyptian Corvette

On April 16 2015, DCNS has started cutting metal for the very first GOWIND 2500 corvette under construction in Lorient, in the presence of high representatives of the Egyptian Navy. This vessel is the first of a series of four units that will be delivered to Egypt before 2019.

The Gowind 2500 multi-mission corvette is designed for surveillance, surface and subsurface combat, protection and escort naval missions
The Gowind 2500 multi-mission corvette is designed for surveillance, surface and subsurface combat, protection and escort naval missions

The cutting of the first metal sheets for the first GOWIND 2500 corvette built in Lorient symbolises the launch of the ambitious industrial program conducted by DCNS for the Egyptian Navy. It includes the construction of four latest-generation corvettes, both in France and Egypt. The delivery of the first vessel is slated for 2017, i.e., less than four years after the signature of the contract last summer.

In the frame of an international call for tender, DCNS was able to offer the best product at the most attractive cost. The Group was able to comply with the very tight deadlines to adapt the product to the specific needs of this client for the construction of the vessels in France and in Egypt via technology transfer.

With this contract, DCNS has scored another success for the GOWIND 2500 corvette. The Group had already won a first contract for the Royal Malaysian Navy, which covers the design and construction of six corvettes in Malaysia at the Boustead Naval Shipyard through technology transfer.

The first Egyptian GOWIND 2500 corvette will be built on the DCNS site in Lorient, one of the most modern naval shipyards in Europe. The three following units will be built in Alexandria within the frame of a construction technology transfer agreement.

«This industrial milestone is the concrete output of preliminary work to adapt the vessel to the specific needs of the Egyptian Navy, conducted over the last nine months by the DCNS teams. Today, we have started the construction of the very first GOWIND 2500 corvette, the reference product on the corvette market. We are proud to produce this latest-generation vessel for the Egyptian Navy», declares Bruno Chapeland, director of the Egypt GOWIND program at DCNS.

The Gowind 2500 can also perform presence, maritime surveillance and policing missions against trafficking and piracy
The Gowind 2500 can also perform presence, maritime surveillance and policing missions against trafficking and piracy

 

GOWIND 2500 corvette

Missions

GOWIND 2500 is DCNS’ response to 21st century defence and security challenges, combining unrivalled stealth features, resilience and high availability at sea with outstanding Anti-Air Warfare (AAW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Anti-Surface Ship Warfare (ASuW) performances.

With the Ship Enhanced Tactical information System (SETIS) state-of-the-art Combat System providing the operator with the best management and decision-making aids, GOWIND 2500 ensures supremacy against all conventional and asymmetric threats.

A stealth and multirole combat ship

GOWIND 2500 is a resilient and powerful surface combatant designed to perform complex naval operations as well as low intensity maritime security missions.

Through a 360° sensors coverage and deployable assets, GOWIND 2500 simultaneously detects, tracks and engages multiple airborne, surface as well as submarine threats, providing the best performance in all warfare domains.

GOWIND 2500 offers exceptional stealth capabilities with reduced radiated noise and Radar Cross Section (RCS) significantly improving the tactical advantage compared with other ships of her class.

Integrated operational capabilities

Broad and with excellent seakeeping characteristics, GOWIND 2500 operates an organic 10 t class helicopter, which extends the vessel’s warfare capabilities far beyond the horizon.

GOWIND 2500 is fitted with SETIS, DCNS’ integrated Combat System to counter multiple, multidomain attacks and threats:

  • long range coordinated surface engagement;
  • point air defence;
  • submarine deterrence and tracking;
  • gradual asymmetric engagement;
  • shared accurate tactical picture through;
  • interoperable data links.
1.3D Radar; 2.Electronic Support Measures (ESM) suite; 3.Hull mounted sonar; 4.	Variable depth sonar; 5.	Fire control system; 6.	Vertical launching system (16 cells); 7.	Main gun (57- up to 76-mm); 8.	8 Surface-to-surface missiles; 9.	Short range gun system; 10.	Torpedo launching system; 11.	Decoy launching system; 12.	Helicopter (10 t) and Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) facilities; 13.	Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs).
1. 3D Radar;
2. Electronic Support Measures (ESM) suite;
3. Hull mounted sonar;
4. Variable depth sonar;
5. Fire control system;
6. Vertical launching system (16 cells);
7. Main gun (57- up to 76-mm);
8. 8 Surface-to-surface missiles;
9. Short range gun system;
10. Torpedo launching system;
11. Decoy launching system;
12. Helicopter (10 t) and Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) facilities;
13. Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs).

 

Extended performance

Built to address current and emerging threats, GOWIND 2500 integrates the latest technologies. Unmanned Aerial Systems such as Airbus Defence and Space Tanan extend the ship’s action range and therefore the tactical advantage.

To improve interoperability during joint or international operations, SETIS also integrates additional command support modules as well as collaborative planning tools.

Resilient and sea proven, SETIS provides a high level of reliability with rapid reconfiguration protocols and back-up modes to return to full operational capability even in case of combat damage.

Growth Potential

Mission modules will be integrated on board future GOWIND configurations making the ship even more flexible and adaptable to emerging operational requirements.

Forward-thinking GOWIND development plans also include innovative close-in defence systems integrated into the NextGen Combat Information Centre (CIC) and Combat Bridge.

User friendly

SETIS’s intuitive Man-Machine Interface (MMI) and integrated command aids improve the crew’s ability to synthetise numerous data and react quickly in extreme and rapidly changing conditions, therefore maximizing the tactical advantage against any kind of threats.

SETIS functionally integrates UAS allowing real time control and data fusion for expanded detection and response capabilities.

The radar and other sensors are mounted on a single central mast thus allowing 360° view
The radar and other sensors are mounted on a single central mast thus allowing 360° view

 

Ship characteristics

Length 102 m/334.6 feet
Beam 16 m/52.5 feet
Draft 5.4 m/17.7 feet
Displacement 2,600 t
Propulsion Combined diesel and electric
Speed 25+ knots/29+ mph/46 km/h
Range 3,700 NM/6,852 km at 15 knots/ 17 mph/28 km/h
Crew (+ Pax) 65 (+15)

 

DCNS starts the construction of the first GOWIND 2500 corvette for the Egyptian Navy