The first Destroyer
after restart

Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division launched the company’s 29th Arleigh Burke-class (DDG-51) Aegis guided missile destroyer (Flight IIA, the 63th ship in the series), John Finn (DDG-113), at first light on Saturday, March 28.

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)

The guided missile destroyer is named after John William Finn, who earned the Medal of Honor for his actions during the attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II. When the attack began, John rushed to the squadron of PBY flying boats he worked on, detached a machine gun and moved to an open position to shoot at Japanese planes for the duration of the attack despite being wounded multiple times.

«It’s exciting to see another Ingalls-built destroyer in the water», said DDG-51 Program Manager George Nungesser. «Our shipbuilders have proven time and time again they can handle whatever it takes to build, test and deliver these extremely complex warships. This launch was no exception. Our hot production line is now in a good state as we have three DDGs under construction and another one in pre-fabrication. What our shipbuilders accomplish every day matters to our quality, cost and schedule, and implementing our learning from ship to ship will allow us to improve in every aspect of destroyer construction».

Ingalls uses a safe and efficient method of launching ships and has been using that process for more than 40 years. John Finn (DDG-113) was moved on rail cars from land to the company’s floating drydock a week prior to launch. Shipbuilders then spent the next week preparing the ship and dry dock for Saturday’s launch.

Arleigh Burke Class Flight IIA
Arleigh Burke Class Flight IIA

«This is the first Arleigh Burke DDG-51-class ship to launch in almost four years, and we’re both proud and excited with the progress the program is making», said Capt. Mark Vandroff, the U.S. Navy’s DDG-51-class program manager. «I look forward to John Finn (DDG-113) joining the fleet and the other ships of her class to continue in the legacy of success that is the Arleigh Burke DDG-51-class destroyer».

Ingalls Shipbuilding has delivered 28 Arleigh Burke DDG-51-class destroyers to the U.S. Navy. Destroyers currently under construction at Ingalls Shipbuilding are John Finn (DDG-113), Ralph Johnson (DDG-114), Paul Ignatius (DDG-117) and Delbert D. Black (DDG-119). Just last week, Ingalls Shipbuilding received a contract modification funding the construction of the company’s 33rd destroyer, DDG-121.

Arleigh Burke DDG-51-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. The guided missile destroyers 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.

Laura Stavridis (right) and Bob Merchent (second from right) mark their initials on the keel plate for the destroyer John Finn (DDG-113) on Monday, November 4, 2013. Stavridis is the ship’s sponsor; Merchent is Ingalls’ vice president of U.S. Coast Guard and surface combatant programs. Also pictured are (left to right) George Nungesser, Ingalls’ DDG-51 program manager, and Ingalls Shipbuilding President Irwin F. Edenzon (Photo by Lance Davis)
Laura Stavridis (right) and Bob Merchent (second from right) mark their initials on the keel plate for the destroyer John Finn (DDG-113) on Monday, November 4, 2013. Stavridis is the ship’s sponsor; Merchent is Ingalls’ vice president of U.S. Coast Guard and surface combatant programs. Also pictured are (left to right) George Nungesser, Ingalls’ DDG-51 program manager, and Ingalls Shipbuilding President Irwin F. Edenzon (Photo by Lance Davis)

 

Ship Characteristics

Length Overall 510 feet/156 meters
Beam – Waterline 59 feet/18 meters
Draft 30.5 feet/9.3 meters
Displacement – Full Load 9,217 tons/9,363 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

Ingalls Shipbuilding Launches Guided Missile Destroyer John Finn (DDG-113)

Peruvian Spartan

The official ceremony for the delivery of the first C-27J Spartan to Peru’s Air Force has taken place on March 27, in Lima, at Las Palmas base. The event has seen the participation of the Peruvian Defence Minister, Pedro Cateriano Bellido, the Commander in Chief of the Peruvian Air Force – General Dante Arévalo Abate, the Italian Defence Minister, Roberta Pinotti, the Italian Ambassador in Lima, Mauro Marsili, and the Alenia Aermacchi’s Vice General Manager, Massimo Ghione.

Alenia Aermacchi delivered the first of four C-27J Spartan airlifters to the Peruvian air force on March 27, during a ceremony attended by the two countries’ defense ministers. The remaining aircraft will be delivered by 2017 (Peru MoD photo)
Alenia Aermacchi delivered the first of four C-27J Spartan airlifters to the Peruvian air force on March 27, during a ceremony attended by the two countries’ defense ministers. The remaining aircraft will be delivered by 2017 (Peru MoD photo)

This aircraft is part of the contract signed between Alenia Aermacchi and the Peruvian Air Force (Fuerza Aérea del Perú, FAP) in December 2013. In December 2014 a second contract was signed for two additional C-27Js bringing to four aircraft the number of these planes ordered by the FAP. The airplanes’ deliveries will end in 2017 and will be managed by the Air Group 8 at the Callao base, on the central coast of the Country.

The C-27J has been selected thanks to is capability of operating safely and efficiently and at competitive costs in all operational scenarios of this Latin American Country, including activities on semi-prepared airstrips of the Andes and of the many local airports, at high altitudes and with hot weather. The FAP will employ the C-27J as a strategic asset in passenger and cargo transport, humanitarian, fire-fighting, search and rescue and internal security missions.

In addition to Peru, the C-27J Spartan has already been ordered by the Air Forces of Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Romania, Morocco and Slovakia, as well as by the United States, Mexico, Australia and by an African Country, for a total of 80 airplanes.

Defence Minister Peter Cateriano received this afternoon the FAP's first aircraft C-27J Spartan,
Defence Minister Peter Cateriano received this afternoon the FAP’s first aircraft C-27J Spartan,

 

C-27J Spartan

The C-27J Spartan is the best seller in the new-generation, medium battlefield airlifter category. The C-27J Spartan is a twin-engine, turboprop, tactical transport aircraft with state-of-the-art technology in avionics, propulsion and systems. It provides high performance, extreme operating flexibility and cost efficiency and it is the only aircraft in its class capable of interoperability with heavier airlifters.

The C-27J Spartan can perform a variety of missions including transport of troops, goods and medicines, logistical re-supply, MEDical EVACuation (MEDEVAC), airdrop operations, paratroopers’ launches, Search And Rescue (SAR), firefighting, humanitarian assistance, oil spill relief, and operations in support of homeland security.

The C-27J Spartan is equipped with modern avionics and efficient propulsion system (Rolls Royce AE2100-D2A, assuring a 4,650 shp/3,467.5 kW). The architecture of its avionics system is completely redundant, thus increasing the level of mission security and reliability and permitting operation in any environment condition and in any operational scenario.

The C-27J Spartan, thanks to a loading system, perfectly compatible with that of the C-130 Hercules, can carry pallets weighing up to 10,000 lbs/4,550 kg and 7.2 feet/2.2 m tall, or platforms with a length of 12 feet/3.6 m, weighing up 13,228 lbs/6,000 kg.

The C-27J Spartan is capable of taking off from and landing on unprepared strips less-than-500 m/1,640 feet long, with maximum take-off weight up to 70,000 lbs/31,800 kg; it may carry up to 60 equipped soldiers or up to 46 paratroopers and, in the air ambulance (MEDEVAC) version, 36 stretchers or 24 stretchers and two Patient Transport Support System (P.T.S.S), with stretchers and stowage provisions for intensive care medical equipment and six medical assistants.

The large cross section (8.53 feet/2.60 m high, 10.92 feet/3.33 m wide) and high floor strength (10,800 lbs/m/4,900 kg/m load capability) allow heavy and large military equipment to be loaded. The C-27J Spartan can, for example, carry fighter and transport aircraft engines, such as C-130 Hercules, Eurofighter Typhoon, F-16 Fighting Falcon and Mirage 2000 directly on its normal engine dollies without additional special equipment.

The C-27J Spartan has been designed, developed and tested as a true military aircraft. It has obtained Military Qualification Certificate. At the same time the C-27J Spartan is airworthy to civil standards, as witnessed by its certification from the Civil Aviation Authority, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in 2001 for the basic configuration and subsequently EASA/FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) in 2010 for the C-27J JCA configuration.

The latest C-27J customer is Peru, which ordered four aircraft. Other customers are Australia, which in 2015 will receive the first of its 10 aircraft, the United States (21, including 14 used by the Coast Guard and 7 for the Army Special Operations Command), Italy (12), Greece (8), Romania (7), Morocco (4), Mexico (4), Bulgaria (3), Lithuania (3) and a sub-Saharan African country. Italy, Romania, USA and Peru also purchased C-27J aircrew training flight simulators from Alenia Aermacchi
The latest C-27J customer is Peru, which ordered four aircraft. Other customers are Australia, which in 2015 will receive the first of its 10 aircraft, the United States (21, including 14 used by the Coast Guard and 7 for the Army Special Operations Command), Italy (12), Greece (8), Romania (7), Morocco (4), Mexico (4), Bulgaria (3), Lithuania (3) and a sub-Saharan African country. Italy, Romania, USA and Peru also purchased C-27J aircrew training flight simulators from Alenia Aermacchi

TERN – Phase 2

DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has awarded prime contracts for Phase 2 of TERN (Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node), a joint program between DARPA and the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR). The goal of TERN is to give forward-deployed small ships the ability to serve as mobile launch and recovery sites for medium-altitude, long-endurance Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs).

Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node: Artist's Concept
Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node: Artist’s Concept

These systems could provide long-range Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and other capabilities over greater distances and time periods than is possible with current assets, including manned and unmanned helicopters. Further, a capacity to launch and retrieve aircraft on small ships would reduce the need for ground-based airstrips, which require significant dedicated infrastructure and resources. The two prime contractors selected by DARPA to work on new systems are AeroVironment, Inc., and Northrop Grumman Corp.

«To offer the equivalent of land-based UAS capabilities from small-deck ships, our Phase 2 performers are each designing a new Unmanned Air System intended to enable two previously unavailable capabilities:

  • the ability for a UAS to take off and land from very confined spaces in elevated sea states;
  • the ability for such a UAS to transition to efficient long-duration cruise missions», said Dan Patt, DARPA program manager.

«Tern’s goal is to develop breakthrough technologies that the U.S. Navy could realistically integrate into the future fleet and make it much easier, quicker and less expensive for the Defense Department to deploy persistent ISR and strike capabilities almost anywhere in the world», added Dan Patt.

The first two phases of the TERN program focus on preliminary design and risk reduction. In Phase 3, one performer will be selected to build a full-scale demonstrator TERN system for initial ground-based testing. That testing would lead to a full-scale, at-sea demonstration of a prototype UAS on an at-sea platform with deck size similar to that of a destroyer or other surface combat vessel.

Unfortunately, DARPA has restricted the bidding teams from revealing most details about their aircraft proposals, said Stephen Trimble, Flightglobal.com reporter.

The agency has released an image of an artist’s concept for a notional TERN vehicle. It reveals a tail-sitter, twin-engined design resembling the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) built by General Atomics and used primarily by the United States Air Force (USAF) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

The artist’s concept demonstrates a sharply dihedral mid-wing and the Predator’s familiar anhedral stabilisers. The new vehicle is shown equipped with a visual sensor.

A dedicated launch and recovery system for the TERN UAS is not visible on either vessel shown in the image. A tail-sitter TERN is shown perched however on the aft helicopter deck of the destroyer, suggesting no catapults or nets are required to launch and retrieve the aircraft.

Tomahawk Block IV

The Navy’s Tactical Tomahawk missile underwent a successful production acceptance test March 19 using Functional Ground Test (FGT) capability at Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division’s (NSWC IHEODTD) Large Rocket Motor Test Facility in Indian Head, Maryland.

Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile can circle for hours, shift course instantly on command and beam a picture of its target to controllers halfway around the world before striking with pinpoint accuracy
Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile can circle for hours, shift course instantly on command and beam a picture of its target to controllers halfway around the world before striking with pinpoint accuracy

The Tomahawk land attack missile – managed by Naval Air Systems Command’s (NAVAIR) Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons (PEOU&W) – is an all-weather, long-range, sub-sonic cruise missile used for land attack warfare, and is launched from U.S. Navy surface ships and submarines.

«This latest FGT – which is the 84th we’ve conducted in the past 25 years – was in support of the RGM-109E Block IV, Vertical Launch System (VLS) full-rate production lot acceptance», said NSWC IHEODTD’s Michael Spriggs, senior engineer and FGT test conductor. «For the test, we used a single, representative missile from the full-rate production line to demonstrate the capability of this lot to perform mission requirements. The data we collected from the test will be used to verify the manufacturing processes and quality of missiles produced».

During the test, the missile is exercised at the system level as it would be in an operational flight through the detonation command, except that the missile is restrained in a specially designed test stand and is equipped with an inert warhead.

«After ‘launch,’ real-time, six-degree-of-freedom accredited mission simulation software provides inputs to the missile’s guidance system to mimic flight, targeting and detonation. The missile ‘flew’ for about an hour and 45 minutes before it successfully acquired the target», said NSWC IHEODTD FGT software lead Mike Gardner.

Because the missile remains intact, special instrumentation can be applied and thorough post-flight inspections can be conducted.

«Preliminary assessment indicates this missile performed as expected and all test objectives were achieved», said Spriggs.

According to Spriggs, the FGT program at NSWC IHEODTD began in 1990 as a basic test capability to support NAVAIR’s Tomahawk Weapons System Program Office (PMA-280), and has evolved along with the missile to support all variants. In addition to acceptance testing, FGTs are conducted to verify new missiles; assess service life of aged missiles; monitor stockpiled missiles; or observe newly engineered components.

«We anticipate conducting the next FGT later this fiscal year to sample a capsule launching system variant», said NSWC IHEODTD’s Phillip Vaughn, FGT program manager.

NSWC IHEODTD is a field activity of the Naval Sea Systems Command and is part of the Department of the Navy’s science and engineering enterprise. The division is the leader in energetics, energetic materials, and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) knowledge, tools, equipment. The division focuses on the research, development, test, evaluation, in-service support, and disposal of energetics and energetic systems as well as works to provide Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and Airmen worldwide with the information and technological solutions they need to detect/locate, access, identify, render safe, recover/exploit, and dispose of both conventional and unconventional explosive threats.

Members of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division team at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head prepare a Tomahawk missile for a functional ground test at the Large Motor Test Facility in Indian Head, Md. The event marks the 84th functional ground test the Division has conducted since the program began 25 years ago (U.S. Navy photo by Monica McCoy/Released)
Members of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division team at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head prepare a Tomahawk missile for a functional ground test at the Large Motor Test Facility in Indian Head, Md. The event marks the 84th functional ground test the Division has conducted since the program began 25 years ago (U.S. Navy photo by Monica McCoy/Released)

 

Tomahawk cruise missile

Description

The Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) is an all-weather, long range, subsonic cruise missile used for land attack warfare, launched from U. S. Navy surface ships and U.S. Navy and Royal Navy submarines.

Features

Tomahawk carries a nuclear or conventional payload. The conventional, land-attack, unitary variant carries a 1,000-pound-class (453.6 kg) warhead (TLAM-C) while the submunitions dispenser variant carries 166 combined-effects bomblets (TLAM-D).

The Block III version incorporates engine improvements, an insensitive extended range warhead, time-of-arrival control and navigation capability using an improved Digital Scene Matching Area Correlator (DSMAC) and Global Positioning System (GPS), which can significantly reduce mission-planning time and increase navigation and terminal accuracy.

Tomahawk Block IV (TLAM-E) is the latest improvement to the Tomahawk missile family. Block IV capability enhancements include:

  1. increased flexibility utilizing two-way satellite communications to reprogram the missile in-flight to a new aimpoint or new preplanned mission, send a new mission to the missile enroute to a new target, and missile health and status messages during the flight;
  2. increased responsiveness with faster launch timelines, mission planning capability aboard the launch platform, loiter capability in the area of emerging targets, the ability to provide battle damage indication in the target area, and the capability to provide a single-frame image of the target or other areas of interest along the missile flight path;
  3. improved affordability with a production cost of a Block IV significantly lower than the cost of a new Block III and a 15-year Block IV recertification interval compared to the eight-year interval for Block III.

Background

Tomahawk cruise missiles are designed to fly at extremely low altitudes at high subsonic speeds, and are piloted over an evasive route by several mission tailored guidance systems. The first operational use was in Operation Desert Storm, 1991, with immense success. The missile has since been used successfully in several other conflicts. In 1995 the governments of the United States and United Kingdom signed a Foreign Military Sales Agreement for the acquisition of 65 missiles, marking the first sale of Tomahawk to a foreign country.

The Tomahawk is a highly accurate, GPS enabled precision weapon that has been used over 2,000 times in combat, and flight tested more than 500 times
The Tomahawk is a highly accurate, GPS enabled precision weapon that has been used over 2,000 times in combat, and flight tested more than 500 times

 

General Characteristics

Primary Function Long-range subsonic cruise missile for striking high value or heavily defended land targets
Contractor Raytheon Systems Company, Tucson, Arizona
Date Deployed
Block II TLAM-A IOC* 1984
Block III TLAM-C, TLAM-D IOC* 1994
Block IV TLAM-E IOC* 2004
Unit Cost Approximately $569,000
Propulsion Williams International F107 cruise turbo-fan engine; ARC/CSD solid-fuel booster
Length 18 feet 3 inch/5.56 m; 20 feet 6 inch/6.25 m with booster
Diameter 20.4 inch/51.81 cm
Wingspan 8 feet 9 inch/2.67 m
Weight 2,900 lbs/1,315.44 kg; 3,500 lbs/1,587.6 kg with booster
Speed about 478 knots/550 mph/880 km/h
Range
Block II TLAM-A 1,350 NM/1,500 statute miles/2,500 km
Block III TLAM-C 900 NM/1,000 statute miles/1,600 km
Block III TLAM-D 700 NM/800 statute miles/1,250 km
Block IV TLAM-E 900 NM/1,000 statute miles/1,600 km
Guidance System
Block II TLAM-A INS**, TERCOM***
Block III TLAM-C, D & Block IV TLAM-E INS**, TERCOM***, DSMAC****, GPS
Warhead
Block II TLAM-N W80 nuclear warhead
Block III TLAM-D conventional submunitions dispenser with combined effect bomblets
Block III TLAM-C and Block IV TLAM-E unitary warhead

* Initial Operational Capability

** Inertial Navigation System

*** TERrain COtour Matching

**** Digital Scene-Mapping Area Correlator

The latest variant (Tomahawk Block IV) includes a two-way satellite data-link that enables the missile to be retargeted in flight to preprogrammed, alternate targets
The latest variant (Tomahawk Block IV) includes a two-way satellite data-link that enables the missile to be retargeted in flight to preprogrammed, alternate targets

Helicopter Destroyer

Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force on Wednesday (March 25, 2015 at the Japan United Marine shipyard in Yokohama, south of Tokyo) took delivery of the biggest (24,000 tons) Japanese warship since World War II, the JS Izumo (DDH-183), a helicopter carrier as big as the Imperial Navy aircraft carriers that battled the United States in the Pacific (Source: Reuters).

This ship could possibly carry up to 28 aircraft. However, only 7 ASW helicopters and 2 SAR helicopters are planned for the initial aircraft complement
This ship could possibly carry up to 28 aircraft. However, only 7 ASW helicopters and 2 SAR helicopters are planned for the initial aircraft complement

The Izumo with a crew of 470 sailors is a highly visible example of how Japan is expanding the capability of its military to operate overseas and enters service as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeks lawmaker approval to loosen the restraints of Japan’s pacifist post-war constitution.

The 248 meter/813 feet long JS Izumo (DDH-183) resembles U.S. Marine Corp amphibious assault carriers in size and design but it is designated as a helicopter destroyer, a label that allows Japan to keep within the bounds of a constitutional ban on owning the means to wage war. Aircraft carriers, because of their ability to project force, are considered offensive weapons.

The JS Izumo is equipped with an OQQ-22 bow-mounted sonar for submarine prosecution while air defence is provided by two Raytheon RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile SeaRAM launchers and two Phalanx close-in weapon systems.

«The vessel can serve in a wide range of roles including peace keeping operations, international disaster relief and aid», Gen Nakatani, Japan’s Minister of Defense said standing beside the vessel after a handover ceremony at the Japan United Marine shipyard in Yokohama. «JS Izumo (DDH-183) also helps improve our ability to combat submarines».

Billed by the Japanese as a platform to assist in anti-submarine warfare and humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations, the ship has flared regional tensions in neighbors — China especially — who view the ship as a power projection platform with a historically aggressive name
Billed by the Japanese as a platform to assist in anti-submarine warfare and humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations, the ship has flared regional tensions in neighbors — China especially — who view the ship as a power projection platform with a historically aggressive name

Abe’s moves to ease Japan’s pacifist constitution and its build up in defense capabilities is unnerving neighbor China, reported Nobuhiro Kubo and Tim Kelly.

Japan is also adding longer-range patrol aircraft and military cargo planes to its defense capability, and buying Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets, amphibious assault vehicles and Boeing’s Osprey troop carrier, which can operate from the Izumo.

The JS Izumo (DDH-183) does not have a catapult necessary to launch fixed-wing fighters, but a planned Vertical-Take-Off-and-Landing (VTOL) variant of the F-35 could fly from the Izumo’s flight deck.

Based at Yokosuka naval base near Tokyo, also the home port of the U.S. Seventh Fleets carrier battle group, the JS Izumo (DDH-183) will join two smaller helicopters carriers already in service, that are also classed as destroyers.

Soldiers untangle a rope before the handing-over ceremony of the Izumo warship at the Japan United Marine shipyard in Yokohama, south of Tokyo March 25, 2015 (Reuters/Thomas Peter)
Soldiers untangle a rope before the handing-over ceremony of the Izumo warship at the Japan United Marine shipyard in Yokohama, south of Tokyo March 25, 2015 (Reuters/Thomas Peter)

Armoured Vehicles

The French Army is scheduled to receive the first three of 95 up-armoured VBCI (Véhicule Blindé de Combat d’Infanterie) 8×8 armoured vehicles next month, said Victor Barreira, Jane’s Defence Weekly reporter. The vehicles will be 29-tonne VCI (Véhicule de Combat d’Infanterie) Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) variants modified to a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of 32 tonnes with improved protection against improvised explosive devices.

Armed with a 25-mm 25M811 automatic cannon
Armed with a 25-mm 25M811 automatic cannon

A contract for the development of the VCI configuration was awarded in December 2010 by the French Direction Générale de l´Armement (DGA) arms procurement agency to the vehicle’s manufacturers, Nexter Systems and Renault Trucks Defense, with contracts for the modification placed in June 2013 for a first batch of 48 vehicles and in September 2014 for another batch of 47 vehicles. Qualification of the prototype by the DGA was declared on 24 September 2014. Deliveries will be completed in June 2017, although further VCIs are expected to be modified.

The order for 630 VBCIs originally purchased to replace the French Army’s AMX-10P tracked vehicles was recently completed with delivery of the last vehicle on 13 March. The programme was concluded with delivery of the last of 520 VCI variants; 110 VPC (Véhicule Poste de Commandement) command post variants were inducted up to mid-2013. The first VBCI was delivered in 2008.

The VCI variant (which itself comes in two configurations: the Rang infantry-carrying version and the Eryx anti-armour missile version) features Nexter Systems’ Tarask turret armed with a 25-mm 25M811 automatic cannon, while the VPC variant is fitted out with the Airbus DS SIR (Système d’Information Régimentaire) information system and FN Herstal ARROWS 300 (Advanced Reconnaissance & Remotely Operated Weapon System) remote weapon station.

VBCI has an unrivalled overall survivability: ballistic, mines and IED protection, «Soft Kill» systems
VBCI has an unrivalled overall survivability: ballistic, mines and IED protection, «Soft Kill» systems

The VBCIs are also being fitted with an integration kit to work with the Sagem FELIN (Fantassin à Équipement et Liaisons Intégrés) soldier system, with work scheduled to be complete by late 2015.

As part of the French Army’s SCORPION (Synergie du COntact Renforcé par la Polyvalence et l’InfovalorisatiON) modernisation programme, a mid-life update of the VBCI is expected in due course with the aim of improving the vehicle’s existing functions, integrating new functions and new technologies, and managing any potential future obsolescence issues.

Current plans include integrating an anti-tank missile capability into the Tarask turret, along with adding the SICS (Système d’Information et de Combat SCORPION) information system, CONTACT (COmmunications Numérisées TACtiques et de ThéâtrE) tactical communications system, enhanced optronics, vetronics, and new ammunition.

From high-intensity combat missions to peacekeeping operations, the VBCI keeps an entire infantry section safe. VCBI is «Combat Proven» and is currently deployed in operation. VBCI represents the best balanced solution between protection, firepower, mobility and payload. VBCI has an unrivalled overall survivability: ballistic, mines and IED (Improvised Explosive Devices) protection, «Soft Kill» systems. It is fitted with CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) equipment. In the IFV variant, VBCI is equipped with medium caliber turrets: 20-mm RWS (Remote Weapon Station), 25-mm, 30-mm, 40-mm. With its mobility performance, its exceptional manoeuvrability and its high firepower, the VBCI is remarkably efficient in combat. VBCI is in service with the French Army.

SICS (Système d'Information et de Combat SCORPION) information system, CONTACT (COmmunications Numérisées TACtiques et de ThéâtrE) tactical communications system
SICS (Système d’Information et de Combat SCORPION) information system, CONTACT (COmmunications Numérisées TACtiques et de ThéâtrE) tactical communications system

 

Specifications

Length <8 m/<26.2 feet
Width <3 m/<9.8 feet
Height <2.5 m/<8.2 feet
Gross Vehicle Weight 32 tons
Empty Weight 19 tons
Payload 13 tons
Engine Intercooler diesel engine 6 cylinders in line
Maximum power 405 kW/550 hp
Max torque 2,450 Nm
Gearbox ZF 7HP902, fully automatic, 7 forward and 2 reverse gear
Drop box Mechanical with 3 shafts
Transfer box Mechanical with 2 shafts
Axles (×4) Interwheel differential lock, Longitudinal clutching (6×8 – 8×8)
Wheels (×8) Independent wheels, Wheel reducer, Tyres 395/90 R22 or 1400 R20, Run flat device
Suspensions Mixed oleo pneumatic, Double wishbones independent suspensions, Combined hydro-pneumatic spring and shock absorber
Brakes Full air, with 2 independent lines (EBS), Anti-lock Braking system (ABS), 8 pneumatic disc brakes, Parking brake and emergency brake, Central tires inflation system (CTIS)
Steering Hydraulic power assistance featuring 2 circuits and 2 pumps, Additional steering system (ASS)
Multiplexed electronic network Based on civilian components, Compliant with EMC Standards, CAN BUS system
Centralized dashboard Alerts management, Diagnostic system
Carrying capacity Up to 14 pax
Maximum speed >62 mph/100 km/h
Maximum range 900 km/559 miles
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Step 0.7 m/2.3 feet
Trench 2 m/6.5 feet
Fording 1.7 m/5.5 feet

 

Renault Trucks Defense 8×8 driveline is designed for combat vehicles up to 32 tonnes (GVW, Gross Vehicle Weight). This high mobility solution is «Combat Proven» with the French VBCI Infantry Combat Vehicle

 

SOCOM buggy

According to Joe Gould, DefenseNews correspondent, US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is making a sole-source purchase of 2,050 light tactical All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) from Polaris Industries, according to a Monday announcement.

Polaris, whose core business is recreational vehicles, has several ATVs modified for military operations
Polaris, whose core business is recreational vehicles, has several ATVs modified for military operations

The contract, to be awarded in June, includes 1,750 of the Medina, Minnesota-based company’s four-seat MRZR-4 and 300 of its two-seat MRZR-2.

SOCOM indicated it selected the vehicles because they can be transported inside the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, Boeing MH-47 special operations helicopter and Sikorsky MH-53 Pave Low, and that they can be dropped from the air.

The contract supersedes a five-year blanket purchase agreement SOCOM and Polaris signed in 2013, which had an estimated value of $9.5 million per year.

Polaris, whose core business is recreational vehicles, has several ATVs modified for military operations. It unveiled its first purpose-built military vehicle last year, the DAGOR, which can transport a nine-person infantry squad or carry 3,250 pounds of payload.

The contract supersedes a five-year blanket purchase agreement SOCOM and Polaris signed in 2013
The contract supersedes a five-year blanket purchase agreement SOCOM and Polaris signed in 2013

 

Specifications

MRZR-2 MRZR-4
Engine Type Polaris ProStar 900 4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder Polaris ProStar 900 4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder
Displacement 875cc 875cc
Fuel System Electronic Fuel Injection Electronic Fuel Injection
Horsepower 88 hp 88 hp
Top Speed 60 mph/96 km/h 60 mph/96 km/h
Transmission/Final Drive Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT): P/R/N/L/H Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT): P/R/N/L/H
Drive System On-demand True All-Wheel Drive (AWD) On-demand True All-Wheel Drive (AWD)
Engine Braking System/ Active Descent Control Standard/Standard Standard/Standard
Front Suspension Dual A-Arm with 12.5 inch/ 31.75 cm travel Dual A-Arm with 12.5 inch/ 31.75 cm travel
Rear Suspension Trailing Arm with 12.5 inch/ 31.75 cm travel Trailing Arm with 12.5 inch/ 31.75 cm travel
Shocks Fox Podium X 2.5 (comp adjust/res.) Fox Podium X 2.5 (comp adjust/res.)
Front/Rear Brakes 4-Wh eel Hydraulic Disc with Dual-Bore Front and Single-Bore Rear Calipers 4-Wh eel Hydraulic Disc with Dual-Bore Front and Single-Bore Rear Calipers
Parking Brake Park in Transmission Park in Transmission
Front Tires MOAPA AT/26 × 9-14 DWT MOAPA AT/26 × 9-14 DWT
Rear Tires MOAPA AT/26 × 9-14 DWT MOAPA AT/26 × 9-14 DWT
Wheels Bead lock Bead lock
Wheelbase 81.4 inch/206.8 cm 107.4 inch/272.8 cm
Dry Weight 1,611 lbs/730.7 kg 1,912 lbs/867.3 kg
Overall Vehicle Size (L × W × H) 115.4 × 60 × 73.6 inch/293.1 × 152.4 × 187 cm 141.5 × 60 × 73.8 inch/359.4 × 152.4 × 187.5 cm
Height w/Collapsed Roll Cage 60 inch/152.4 cm 60 inch/152.4 cm
Ground Clearance 11.2 inch/28.4 cm 11.2 inch/28.4 cm
Fuel Capacity 7.25 GAL/27.4 L 7.25 GAL/27.4 L
Bed Box Dimensions (L × W × H) 33.75 × 45.75 × 20.5 inch/ 85.73 × 116.2 × 52.1 cm 33.75 × 45.75 × 20.5 inch/ 85.73 × 116.2 × 52.1 cm
Front/Rear Rack or Box Capacity 500 lbs/226.8 kg 500 lbs/226.8 kg
Payload Capacity 1,000 lbs/453.6 kg 1,000 lbs/453.6 kg
Passengers 2 (4 with optional rearward facing seats) 4 (6 with optional rearward facing seats)
Litter Capacity 1 2
Hitch Towing Rating 1,500 lbs/680.4 kg 1,500 lbs/680.4 kg
Hitch/Type Standard/2″ Receiver Standard/2″ Receiver
Seating Modular seating with optional rearward facing seats Modular seating with optional rearward facing seats
Seatbelts Four-point harnesses with quick release latch Four-point harnesses with quick release latch
Keyless Ignition Standard Standard
Tilt Steer Wheel/Passenger Grab Bar Standard Standard
Aircraft Tie-downs Front and rear of vehicle Front and rear of vehicle
Cargo System Polaris Metal Racks with Quick Rail System Polaris Metal Racks with Quick Rail System
Winch Polaris 3,500 lbs winch Polaris 3,500 lbs winch
Lighting White LED (High/Low), blackout drive and OEM IR Light wire harness White LED (High/Low), blackout drive and OEM IR Light wire harness
Electronic Power Steering Standard Standard
Color Military Tan Military Tan
Instrumentation Digital Gauge, Speedometer, Odometer, Tachometer, Tripmeter, Hour Meter, Clock, Gear Indicator, Fuel Gauge, Hi-Temp/Low-Batt Lights, DC Outlets (2) Digital Gauge, Speedometer, Odometer, Tachometer, Tripmeter, Hour Meter, Clock, Gear Indicator, Fuel Gauge, Hi-Temp/Low-Batt Lights, DC Outlets (3)

 

Light Tactical All-Terrain Vehicles

King Stallion

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., recently hosted more than two dozen guests, including delegates from NATO’s Joint Capability Group Vertical Lift (JCGVL), for an up close look at the U.S. Marine Corps’ CH-53K heavy lift helicopter. The group toured Sikorsky’s Florida Assembly & Flight Operations Center where they were able to walk along the production lines for both the CH-53K King Stallion helicopter and Black Hawk H-60M aircraft.

The NATO group was able to see the CH-53K Ground Test Vehicle (GTV), a prototype tethered to the ground
The NATO group was able to see the CH-53K Ground Test Vehicle (GTV), a prototype tethered to the ground

The delegates also had the opportunity to visit Sikorsky’s Development Flight Center (DFC), site of full system testing of the heavy lift helicopter. The NATO group was able to see the CH-53K Ground Test Vehicle (GTV), a prototype tethered to the ground. The delegation was also able to view the CH-53K Engineering Development Model 1 (EDM 1), one of four flight test aircraft.

The visit wrapped up with delegates getting a chance to see the first of two prototypes of the S-97 Raider helicopter, developed by Sikorsky to demonstrate the military application of Sikorsky’s X2 Technology. A second Raider prototype will serve as a demonstrator aircraft, offering key customers an opportunity to experience the capabilities of X2 Technology first hand. The Raider helicopter is a rigid coaxial rotor prototype aircraft ideally suited for armed reconnaissance and a wide range of special operations missions. The coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and pusher propeller provide cruise speeds beyond 220 knots/253 mph/407 km/h, more than double the speed of conventional helicopters in this size class.

The visit to Sikorsky was part of the delegation’s semi-annual meeting taking place in West Palm Beach, Florida.

«We are delighted that our honored NATO guests can be here in West Palm Beach to experience, first-hand, our energy and enthusiasm for our CH-53K aircraft», said Mike Torok, Sikorsky’s CH-53K Program Vice President. «The CH-53K King Stallion is destined to fulfill a significant role in the international heavy lift arena for decades to come».

NATO Committee Chairman Hans-Peter Mueller said the visit provided an opportunity to see the CH-53K helicopter in full scale and appreciate its capabilities. «We thank Sikorsky for its hospitality. The delegates enjoyed the informative tour and recognize the value of spending time with the designers and engineers building this heavy lift helicopter», said Mueller.

Sikorsky leads an industry team developing the CH-53K heavy lift helicopter for the U.S. Marine Corps. The aircraft’s 88,000-pound/39,916 kg maximum gross weight is designed to triple the external load carrying capacity of the CH-53E Super Stallion aircraft to more than 27,000 pounds/12,247 kg over a mission radius of 110 nautical miles/204 km under «high hot» ambient conditions.

U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Hank Vanderborght, H-53 Program Manager at the Naval Air Systems Command, said the CH-53K helicopter program will expand the fleet’s ability to move more material and more rapidly using proven and mature technologies. «Our allies will benefit from the U.S. Marine Corps investment in this next generation heavy lift platform», said Col. Vanderborght. «The CH-53K represents not just the continuation of heavy lift capability but a transformation of what we can do to ensure the Marine Corps remains the most ready force».

Sikorsky continues to conduct tests on four flight test aircraft at its facilities in West Palm Beach and Stratford, Connecticut.

The delegation was also able to view the CH-53K Engineering Development Model 1 (EDM 1), one of four flight test aircraft
The delegation was also able to view the CH-53K Engineering Development Model 1 (EDM 1), one of four flight test aircraft

 

Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion

The CH-53K model will be the world’s premier heavy lift helicopter, leveraging the lessons learned over 50 years of manufacturing and operational success with Sikorsky CH-53A/D/E predecessors. Built to thrive in the modern battlefield, the extremely capable CH-53K aircraft will be intelligent, reliable, low maintenance and survivable across the full spectrum of operating conditions for which it was designed. Expeditionary in nature, the CH-53K aircraft will be fully shipboard compatible and capable of operating from austere and remote forward operating bases. The CH-53K helicopter is the Marine Corps’ critical land and sea based logistics connector.

Sikorsky Tests CH-53K Helicopter for Airframe Structural Strength
Sikorsky Tests CH-53K Helicopter for Airframe Structural Strength

 

General Characteristics

Number of Engines 3
Engine Type T408-GE-400
T408 Engine 7,500 shp/5,595 kw
Maximum Gross Weight (Internal Load) 74,000 lbs/33,566 kg
Maximum Gross Weight (External Load) 88,000 lbs/39,916 kg
Cruise Speed 141 knots/162 mph/261 km/h
Range 460 NM/852 km
AEO* Service Ceiling 14,380 feet/4,383 m
HIGE** Ceiling (MAGW) 13,630 feet/4,155 m
HOGE*** Ceiling (MAGW) 10,080 feet/3,073 m
Cabin Length 30 feet/9.1 m
Cabin Width 9 feet/2.7 m
Cabin Height 6.5 feet/2.0 m
Cabin Area 264.47 feet2/24.57 m2
Cabin Volume 1,735.36 feet3/49.14 m3

* All Engines Operating

** Hover Ceiling In Ground Effect

*** Hover Ceiling Out of Ground Effect

Sikorsky powered ‘on’ the three GE 7,500 shaft horsepower class engines of the first CH-53K heavy lift helicopter prototype, and spun the rotor head without rotor blades
Sikorsky powered ‘on’ the three GE 7,500 shaft horsepower class engines of the first CH-53K heavy lift helicopter prototype, and spun the rotor head without rotor blades

 

Airframe

  • New build hybrid composite airframe structure – provides lighter weight and lower vibration throughout aircraft life
  • Improved hydraulics
  • Large composite sponsons
  • Integrated Vehicle Health Management System (IVHMS)
  • Advanced drive system
  • Improved fuel system with refueling probe
  • Enhanced ballistic protection
  • Crashworthy retracting landing gear
  • Single, dual and triple cargo hook with 3 times the lift capability of the CH-53E to 110 NM/204 km (in hot/high conditions)
  • Advanced light weight armor to protect passengers and crew
  • Crashworthy troop seats
  • Integrated Mobile Aircrew Restraint System (IMARS)
  • Integral cargo handling system with rated capacity for two 463L pallets
  • Self-defense weapons

 

Avionics and Flight Controls

  • Rockwell Collins Avionics Management System
  • Fly-by-wire flight controls
  • Pilot/co-pilot/crew chief/4th crew
  • FLIR with helmet-mounted navigational displays
  • Aircraft Survivability Equipment (ASE)

 

Powerplant and fuel system

  • Three T408-GE-400 engines with less fuel consumption, more power and fewer parts than its predecessor, the T64
  • Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) with pneumatic start
  • Integral EAPPS – Engine Air Particle Protection System

 

Rotor and drive system

  • 4th Generation Composite main rotor blades with advanced airfoils
  • New tail rotor head and blades
  • Elastomeric main rotor head
  • Automatic blade fold
  • Advanced drive system with a split torque design main gearbox

 

Electrical

  • Improved electrical systems
The USMC is planning for eight active CH-53K squadrons, one training squadron, and one reserve squadron
The USMC is planning for eight active CH-53K squadrons, one training squadron, and one reserve squadron

Birth of KANT

Germany and France are going to develop the Main Battle Tank of the XXI century. According to DefenseNews, French Nexter Group and German family-controlled Krauss Maffei-Wegmann are on track to forge a cross-border link up in the land weapons sector this year. The French state-owned company said: «On July 1, 2014, the shareholders of the two French and German companies signed a memorandum of understanding for an equally owned alliance. This project is progressing and should produce concrete results in 2015».

The Leopard 2A7+ was developed and qualified for the new tasks of the German Armed Forces. The system components, optimized to protect the crew, prove their worth, currently being in use in Afghanistan with NATO's Partner Canada
The Leopard 2A7+ was developed and qualified for the new tasks of the German Armed Forces. The system components, optimized to protect the crew, prove their worth, currently being in use in Afghanistan with NATO’s Partner Canada

On the business front, the Direction Générale de l’Armement (Defence Procurement Agency, DGA) has awarded a contract worth some €330 million ($349.4 million) to Nexter Systems to upgrade 200 Leclerc tanks and 18 tank recovery vehicles with delivery from 2020, the procurement office said in a statement March 12.

Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has written into his 2015 agenda an agreement for the joint venture deal in July or August, an announcement which caught some in industry by surprise. The proposed joint holding company is named KMW and Nexter Together, or KANT. The Bode family controls KMW through the Wegmann firm.

An accord in the summer, however, seems unlikely as there is a political drag effect due to Nexter’s privatization being caught up in an attempt to liberalize the ailing French economy. There is no problem on the industrial front as Nexter and KMW opened up their books for due diligence and that detailed examination of their businesses will lead to a valuation of the two companies. That scrutiny is going ahead smoothly even if the conclusion might miss the April 1 deadline, an industry source said. The due diligence allows the two shareholders to negotiate the valuation and whether amounts must be paid to bring each side to the 50:50 share in the holding company, noted Pierre Tran, DefenseNews reporter.

The joint holding company will take charge of commercial and product launch strategy, while industrial production will stay with the operating companies and under domestic management
The joint holding company will take charge of commercial and product launch strategy, while industrial production will stay with the operating companies and under domestic management

On the political front, France must privatize Nexter to allow the company to form the planned joint holding company with KMW. However, that will likely take longer than expected as the privatization has been written into a wide-ranging draft legislation proposed by Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, a former investment banker who seeks to inject more competition into the domestic economy. The proposed Macron law has run into strong political resistance from both the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire conservative party and left wing of the Socialist Party. That will likely delay the joint venture agreement to the autumn, the source said.

KMW Chairman Frank Haun on January 14 told the French National Assembly defense committee the alliance would work over the next five years developing a tank – whether it be called Leopard 3, Leleo or Leoclerc – and the new heavy armored vehicle could be delivered 2025-2030 to replace the Leclerc and Leopard 2.

The Russians are working hard on tank development, and Nexter and KMW could exchange their «very interesting» technology to build replacements for the Leclerc and Leopard, Frank Haun said. Fully automated artillery, smart munitions and laser weapons are among the new weapons on which the KANT alliance would work, he added.

Nexter Chairman Philippe Burtin told the committee the SCORPION (Synergie du COntact Renforcé par la Polyvalence et l’InfovalorisatiON) Army modernization program will generate an average annual €200 million of work. The companies will have five years to see if the alliance works and if not, they can back out, Macron said.

The contract to upgrade the Leclerc tank was signed March 5
The contract to upgrade the Leclerc tank was signed March 5

Christening of John

The USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26) was christened at Ingalls Shipbuilding on Saturday, March 21. The vessel is named after the late U.S. Rep. John Murtha, a Democrat from the 12th district, who was the longest-serving congressman in Pennsylvania history. His daughter, Donna Murtha, sponsored the ship and performed the traditional breaking of a bottle of American sparkling wine across the ship’s bow.

For safety reasons, the bottle of sparkling wine is encased in sheetmetal in the Ingalls shops and wrapped by a shipbuilder in decorative ribbons of red, white and blue
For safety reasons, the bottle of sparkling wine is encased in sheetmetal in the Ingalls shops and wrapped by a shipbuilder in decorative ribbons of red, white and blue

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, was the featured speaker at the ceremony. «Jack Murtha poured everything – everything he was, everything he had – into the service of our country and the lives of the American people», she said of her colleague, who represented Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District for 36 years until his death in 2010. «To watch Chairman Murtha legislate was to see a master at work, but more indicative of his character was to watch him communicate with our men and women in uniform, whether on the battlefield or at their bedside. He knew how serious a responsibility it is to send our men and women into harm’s way, and he was unwavering in his conviction that we must honor their sacrifice not only with our words but our deeds. Like its namesake, the John P. Murtha will provide our servicemen and women the means to enter the battle and to make their way back home», Pelosi continued. «Congratulations to Ingalls Shipbuilding and all of the hard-working men and women who have put their skill and determination into this ship and this special day».

Murtha’s daughter, Donna S. Murtha, is the ship sponsor. At the culmination of the ceremony, she smashed a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow of the ship, officially christening LPD 26 as the John P. Murtha. «May God bless this ship and all who sail in her», she said.

HII President and CEO Mike Petters also spoke at the ceremony. «Ingalls is building each ship better than the last, and the team’s performance – and the performance of the delivered LPDs – has strengthened the nation’s confidence in the LPD program», he said. «This was most recently demonstrated by the Navy’s request and the Congressional investment in the 12th San Antonio-class warship – and the Navy’s selection of this proven hull-form for its new LX(R) class of amphibious ships. Ingalls is making a difference».

«The ship we christen today honors Congressman John P. Murtha, who proudly served his country as both a Marine and a statesman for almost 40 years», said Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias. «I can’t imagine a more fitting namesake to represent the marvel of American technology, craftsmanship and strength that is LPD-26. Ingalls shipbuilders know that quality matters. We build our warships as though our own sons and daughters will take them into harm’s way – because they may. And because we owe our warfighters our very best. Our shipbuilders put their hearts and souls into every ship we build – as we have for generations. LPD-26 is no exception. Murtha was the most complete and lowest-cost LPD when she was launched, with many key systems finished months ahead of our historical best. So I’m extremely proud of our LPD-26 shipbuilders».

«Deep in the hull or on scaffolding hundreds of feet in the air – in the Deep South heat – these Mississippians are welding, painting and assembling the living quarters, galley, hospital and the command centers for those who serve», said Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves. «You can see their commitment to a job well done – because they know the invaluable role they play in America’s national security».

Ingalls Shipbuilding Christens Amphibious Transport Dock John P. Murtha
Ingalls Shipbuilding Christens Amphibious Transport Dock John P. Murtha

 

John P. Murtha (LPD-26)

The amphibious transport dock ship John P. Murtha (LPD-26) is the tenth ship in the San Antonio Class. LPD-26 is named in honor of Congressman John P. Murtha, who represented Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District for 36 years – from 1974 until his death in 2010. In addition to his tenured history in the House of Representatives, Murtha was also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and Reserves. He served a distinguished 37 years, receiving the Bronze Star with Combat «V», two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry for his service in the Vietnam War. He retired as a colonel in 1990.

Amphibious transport dock ships (LPD) are warships that embark, transport, and land elements of a landing force for a variety of expeditionary warfare missions. LPDs are used to transport and land Marines, their equipment and supplies by embarked Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) or conventional landing craft (Landing Craft Utility, LCU) and Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles (EFV) or Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV) augmented by helicopters or vertical take-off and landing aircraft (MV-22). These ships support amphibious assault, special operations or expeditionary warfare missions and can serve as secondary aviation platforms for amphibious ready groups.

Collectively, the San Antonio LPD-17 class ships will functionally replace more than 41 amphibious ships (LPD-4, LSD-36, LKA-113 and LST-1179 classes of amphibious ships) providing the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps with modern, seabased platforms that are networked, survivable, and built to operate with 21st century transformational platforms, such as the MV-22 Osprey aircraft, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV), and future means by which Marines are delivered ashore.

A contract for final design and construction of San Antonio (LPD-17), the lead ship in the class, was awarded in December 1996; actual construction commenced in June 2000. USS San Antonio was delivered to the Navy in July 2005. LPDs 18-25 have also been delivered to the U.S. Navy. New York (LPD-21) is the first of three LPD 17-class ships built in honor of the victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The ships bow stem was constructed using 7.5 tons of steel salvaged from the World Trade Center. The Navy named the 8th and 9th ships of the class – Arlington and Somerset – in honor of the victims of the attacks on the Pentagon and United Flight 93, respectively. Materials from those sites were also incorporated into Arlington and Somerset.

LPDs 26-27 are currently under construction at Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) on the Gulf Coast, and will deliver over the next few years. The keel of LPD-27 was laid in August 2013, LPD-26 was launched in October 2014. In fiscal year 2015, the purchase of long lead-time materials for LPD-28 was approved.

John P. Murtha (LPD-26) is the tenth ship in the San Antonio Class
John P. Murtha (LPD-26) is the tenth ship in the San Antonio Class

 

General Characteristics

Builder Huntington Ingalls Industries
Displacement Approximately 24,900 long tons/25,300 metric tons full load
Length 208.5 m/684 feet overall
Beam 31.9 m/105 feet extreme
Draft 7 m/23 feet
Propulsion 4 sequentially turbocharged marine Colt-Pielstick Diesels, 2 shafts, 41,600 shaft horsepower/31,021 kW
Speed In excess of 22 knots/25 mph/41 km/h
Crew 374 Sailors (28 officers, 346 enlisted Sailors) and 3 Marines
Embarked Marine Expeditionary Force of 699 (66 officers, 633 enlisted), surge capacity to 800
Armament 2 × Bushmaster II 30-mm Close in Guns, fore and aft
2 × Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launchers for air defense, fore and aft
10 × 12.7-mm .50 calibre machine guns
Aircraft Launch or land two CH53E Super Stallion helicopters or
Two MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft or
Up to four CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters, AH-1 or UH-1 helicopters
Landing/Attack Craft Two LCACs or one LCU
14 EFV/AAV
Ships USS San Antonio (LPD-17)
USS New Orleans (LPD-18)
USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19)
USS Green Bay (LPD-20)
USS New York (LPD-21)
USS San Diego (LPD-22)
USS Anchorage (LPD-23)
USS Arlington (LPD-24)
USS Somerset (LPD-25)
USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26)
USS Portland (LPD-27)
(LPD-28)

 

Ingalls Shipbuilding Launches John P. Murtha (LPD-26) on October 30, 2014