Final Sea Trials

HMAS Adelaide (L01), Australia’s second Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ship, is successfully completing her second and final sea trials in Port Phillip Bay. The 27,800-tonne warship will return to BAE Systems’ Williamstown shipyard later on August 28 where she will then be prepared for delivery to the Department of Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) and the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

Having completed its sea trials, the future HMAS Adelaide (L01) will now be handed over to the Department of Defence’s CASG while its future crew works up (AUS DoD photo)
Having completed its sea trials, the future HMAS Adelaide (L01) will now be handed over to the Department of Defence’s CASG while its future crew works up (AUS DoD photo)

The main focus of the final sea trials was on testing the ship’s combat and communications systems. They were undertaken over a 10-day period throughout the ship’s journey from Williamstown to Jervis Bay, NSW and the return voyage. These areas were chosen to provide maximum flexibility and proximity to the Australian Defence Force assets being used.

The Royal Australian Navy will have the opportunity to perform various routine alongside exercises as it continues to build its capability for crewing the vessel while the ship compartments and systems are progressively handed over to the HMAS Adelaide (L01) crew as part of the overall ship delivery process.

The crew has already been trained for its role on the RAN’s second LHD ship. BAE Systems Australia trained all 700 crew serving on HMAS Adelaide (L01) and HMAS Canberra (L02) at the Company’s state-of-the-art training facility at Mascot, Sydney.

Director of Maritime, BAE Systems Australia, Bill Saltzer said: «The upcoming handover will of course be a very proud day for all involved with building HMAS Adelaide (L01), but it won’t be the end of our involvement with these mighty ships. As prime contractor for LHD In Service Support, our team of experienced engineers, technicians and logisticians in both Sydney and Williamstown will continue to be the key partner to the CASG and RAN in managing the availability of these two ships at Garden Island, Sydney. Our LHD team is now focused on the final elements of work in preparing HMAS Adelaide (L01) for delivery. Some of the team members on the LHD build program will then transition to the support services group. Some have already made that transition since the time of delivery of HMAS Canberra (L02). BAE Systems has the capability, experience and facilities to support and upgrade the Navy’s ships, as we are currently successfully demonstrating on the Anzac Frigate Anti-Ship Missile Defence upgrade project and our other support activities on both Anzac and Adelaide Class Frigates, Hydrographic Vessels and systems/components installed on the RAN’s minehunters and submarines».

HMAS Canberra (L02) off the north Queensland coast with five MRH 90 aircraft on deck and her four Landing Craft deployed (AUS DoD photo)
HMAS Canberra (L02) off the north Queensland coast with five MRH 90 aircraft on deck and her four Landing Craft deployed (AUS DoD photo)

 

Characteristics

PLATFORM CHARACTERISTICS
Length Overall 757 feet/230.8 m
Length Waterline 680 feet/207.2 m
Beam 105 feet/32 m
Design Draft 23.5 feet/7.18 m
Full Load Displacement 27,831 tonnes
Crew and Embarked Forced Accommodation 1,403
MACHINERY
Propulsion 2 × Siemens 11,000 kW PODs
Bowthruster 2 × 1,500 kW Brunvoll/Siemens motors
Stabilisers 2 × Fincantieri
Generators 1 × 22,000 kW GE LM2500 Gas Turbine and 2 × 7,680 kW Diesel
Integrated Platform Management System Navantia – Sistemas
Fresh Water 6 × Reverse Osmosis Plants (each 25 tonnes/day)
Sewage 2 × Treatment Plants
PERFORMANCE
Maximum Speed 20+ knots/23+ mph/37+ km/h
Economic Speed 15 knots/17 mph/28 km/h
Maximum Range 9,250 NM/10,644 miles/17,131 km
Endurance 45+ days
CAPACITY
Flight Deck 51,128.57 feet²/4,750 m²
Dock (including ramp) 12,540 feet²/1,165 m²
Heavy Cargo Garage 12,270.86 feet²/1,410 m²
Light Cargo Garage 20,236 feet²/1,880 m²
Hangar 10,656.27 feet²/990 m²
Garages, Hangar and Well Dock 1,350 lane meter (2.9 m wide)
General Store Rooms 11,614.26 feet²/1,079 m²
Future Growth Margin 672 tonnes

 

Helicopter destroyer

According to Sam LaGrone, USNI News editor, Japan has launched the second in its new class of helicopter carrier – the largest Japanese ships since World War II – in a Thursday (August 27) ceremony in Yokohama. The 24,000-ton Kaga (DDH-184) – built by ship builder Japan Marine United – bears the same name as the World War II Imperial Japanese Navy carrier Kaga that was part of Pearl Harbor attack and was sunk in the Battle Midway.

JMSDF will commission the JS Kaga (DDH-184) in March 2017
JMSDF will commission the JS Kaga (DDH-184) in March 2017

The ship follows JS Izumo (DDH-183) which entered service in the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) in March. The Japanese have said the primary roles of the two ships are Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations. The ships «heightens our ability to deal with Chinese submarines that have become more difficult to detect», a JMSDF officer told Asahi Shimbum in March.

The ships will field seven Mitsubishi-built SH-60 ASW helicopters and seven AgustaWestland MCM-101 Mine CounterMeasure (MCM) helicopters, U.S. Naval Institute’s Combat Fleets of the World. There is a potential for the two ships to work with American MV-22s and potentially the Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). However, the Japanese say they have no plans to operate the JSF from either ship.

When JS Kaga (DDH-184) commissions Japan will have four helicopter carriers. Along with Izumo, Japan have 18,300-ton Hyuga-class helicopter carriers already in commission.

 

General characteristics

Standard Displacement 19,500 long tons
Full Displacement 24,000 long tons
Length 813.6 feet/248 m
Beam 124.7 feet/38 m
Draft 24 feet/7.3 m
Installed power 112,000 hp/84 MW
Speed 30 knots/34.5 mph/55.5 km/h
Aircraft carried 7 ASW helicopters and 7 MCM helicopters
Construction of the ship cost 115.5 billion yen
Construction of the ship cost 115.5 billion yen

Fire Scout

Northrop Grumman Corporation and the U.S. Navy successfully demonstrated endurance capabilities with the MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter. On a planned 10+ hour flight and range out to 150 nautical miles/173 miles/278 km flight from Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu; the MQ-8C Fire Scout achieved 11 hours with over an hour of fuel in reserve.

MQ-8C Fire Scout demonstrates a long range, long endurance flight part of a capability based test at Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu (Photo by Northrop Grumman)
MQ-8C Fire Scout demonstrates a long range, long endurance flight part of a capability based test at Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu (Photo by Northrop Grumman)

The long range, long endurance flight was part of a series of capability based tests used by the U.S. Navy to validate their concept of operations and previously tested performance parameters. The U.S. Navy conducted the demonstration with support of Northrop Grumman engineers.

«Endurance flights provide a full evaluation of the MQ-8C Fire Scout systems», said Captain Jeff Dodge, program manager, Fire Scout, Naval Air Systems Command. «We can better understand the capability of the system and look at crew tasks and interactions in a controlled environment. This will allow us to adjust operational procedures to maximize the system’s effectiveness».

This is a new flight record set for the MQ-8 Fire Scout; a system designed to provide persistent reconnaissance, situational awareness, and precision targeting support for ground, air and sea forces.

«Today’s MQ-8C Fire Scout performance matches our model exactly. With adjustments, our production aircraft will have 12 hours of total endurance on a standard day. This prolonged endurance gives the Navy’s commanders a tremendous operational advantage», said George Vardoulakis, vice president, medium range tactical systems, Northrop Grumman. «Increased time-on-station and fewer launch and recovery cycles better enables the Navy’s diverse missions».

The MQ-8C Fire Scout completed its developmental flight test program earlier this year and has operational assessment planned for later this year. The MQ-8C Fire Scout has accumulated over 513 flight hours and flown 353 sorties.

Unmanned helicopter providing unprecedented maritime multiple intelligence persistence (Photo by Northrop Grumman)
Unmanned helicopter providing unprecedented maritime multiple intelligence persistence (Photo by Northrop Grumman)

 

Specifications

Length 41.4 feet/12.6 m
Width 7.8 feet/2.4 m
Blades Folded Hangar 7.8×34.7×10.9 feet/2.4×10.6×3.3 m
Height 10.9 feet/3.3 m
Rotor Diameter 35 feet/10.7 m
Gross Take-Off Weight (GTOW) 6,000 lbs/2,721.5 kg
Engine Rolls-Royce 250-C47B with FADEC (Full Authority Digital Electronic Control)
Maximum Speed 140 knots/161 mph/259 km/h
Operational Ceiling 17,000 feet/5,100 m
Maximum Endurance 14 hours
Maximum Payload (Internal) 1,000 lbs/453.6 kg
Typical Payload (11 hours endurance) 600 lbs/272 kg
Maximum Sling Load 2,650 lbs/1,202 kg

 

nEUROn flight test

The flight test campaign in Italy of the Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle nEUROn has been successfully concluded with the achievement of all established goals, thus allowing an important step forward for the program.

Alenia Aermacchi (Italy) contributes to the project with a new concept of internal weapon bay (Smart Integrated Weapon Bay – SIWB), an internal EO/IR sensor, the bay doors and their operating mechanisms, the electrical power and distribution system, and the air data system
Alenia Aermacchi (Italy) contributes to the project with a new concept of internal weapon bay (Smart Integrated Weapon Bay – SIWB), an internal EO/IR sensor, the bay doors and their operating mechanisms, the electrical power and distribution system, and the air data system

The nEUROn is the European full-scale technological demonstrator for an Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) developed by an industrial team led by Dassault Aviation with the collaboration of Finmeccanica-Alenia Aermacchi, Saab, Airbus Defence and Space, RUAG and HAI.

The aircraft has been deployed at the Italian Air Force’s Decimomannu Air Base, in Sardinia, Italy, where it has fulfilled a series of important operational tests. In particular, the 12 highly sensitive sorties have allowed to verify the characteristics of nEUROn’s combat capability, its low radar-cross section and low infrared signature, during missions flown at different altitudes and flight profiles and against both ground-based and air radar «threats», using in this latter case, an Eurofighter Typhoon.

During the deployment in Italy, the nEUROn has confirmed its already ascertained excellent performance and high operational reliability. Starting this summer, the next testing phase will be run in Sweden, at the Vidsel Air Base, where tests of low observability and use of weapon delivery from the aircraft’s Weapon Bay will be carried out.

The demonstrator’s development activity is an important step in the technology maturation process of the acquired technology, mitigating the level of risk of future investments for UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) in Europe and moving towards systems’ development for operational uses.

Powerplant: 1 × Rolls-Royce/Turboméca Adour/Snecma M88, 40 kN/8,992 lbf thrust each
Powerplant: 1 × Rolls-Royce/Turboméca Adour/Snecma M88, 40 kN/8,992 lbf thrust each

 

The nEUROn is the European full-scale technological demonstrator for an UCAV developed by an industrial team led by Dassault Aviation with the collaboration of Finmeccanica-Alenia Aermacchi, Saab, Airbus Defence and Space, RUAG and HAI

 

Oshkosh JLTV

The U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) has awarded Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation company, a $6.7 billion firm fixed price production contract to manufacture the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV). The JLTV program fills a critical capability gap for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps by replacing a large portion of the legacy HMMWV fleet with a light tactical vehicle with far superior protection and off-road mobility. During the contract, which includes both Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) and Full Rate Production (FRP), Oshkosh expects to deliver approximately 17,000 vehicles and sustainment services.

Adaptable suspension can be raised and lowered to meet transportability requirements using interior controls
Adaptable suspension can be raised and lowered to meet transportability requirements using interior controls

«Following a rigorous, disciplined JLTV competition, the U.S. Army and Marine Corps are giving our nation’s Warfighters the world’s most capable light vehicle – the Oshkosh JLTV», said Charles L. Szews, Oshkosh Corporation chief executive officer. «Oshkosh is honored to be selected for the JLTV production contract, which builds upon our 90-year history of producing tactical wheeled vehicles for U.S. military operations at home and abroad. We are fully prepared to build a fleet of exceptional JLTVs to serve our troops in future missions».

The JLTV program provides protected, sustained and networked light tactical mobility for American troops across the full spectrum of military operations and missions anywhere in the world. The JLTV production contract awarded to Oshkosh includes a base contract award and eight option years covering three years of LRIP and five years of FRP. Oshkosh will begin delivering vehicles approximately ten months after contract award.

«Because of the JLTV program, our Soldiers and Marines are getting a level of technical performance that no other vehicle can match», said U.S. Army Major General (Retired) John M. Urias, executive vice president of Oshkosh Corporation and president of Oshkosh Defense. «Our JLTV has been extensively tested and is proven to provide the ballistic protection of a light tank, the underbody protection of an MRAP-class (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicle, and the off-road mobility of a Baja racer. The Oshkosh JLTV allows troops to travel over rugged terrain at speeds 70% faster than today’s gold standard, which is our Oshkosh M-ATV. Looking to future battlefields, we know that our troops will face a myriad of threats. Soldiers and Marines can be assured that the highly capable Oshkosh JLTV will perform the mission».

Advanced hull designs that are built to optimize survivability against a full range of blast and ballistic threats
Advanced hull designs that are built to optimize survivability against a full range of blast and ballistic threats

The JLTV Family of Vehicles is comprised of two variants, a two-seat and a four-seat variant, as well as a companion trailer (JLTV-T). The two-seat variant has one base vehicle platform, the Utility (JLTV-UTL). The four-seat variant has two base vehicle platforms, the General Purpose (JLTV-GP) and the Close Combat Weapons Carrier (JLTV-CCWC).

The Oshkosh JLTV combines the latest in automotive technologies with the Oshkosh CORE1080 crew protection and TAK-4i independent suspension systems to provide next generation performance. In designing its JLTV, Oshkosh leveraged its extensive experience producing and sustaining more than 150,000 heavy, medium and protected MRAP vehicles for the U.S. and its allies.

«Developing our Oshkosh JLTV solution has been an incredible journey», said Szews. «For the past decade, our entire team has been focused on putting our troops behind the wheel of the world’s most capable light vehicle. It is our relationship with our troops and our deep appreciation for their service that inspires our best work every day. I offer my sincere thanks to our employees and suppliers for their years of dedication to reach this historic day».

Blast protected seats, restraints and stowage to minimize crew impact during adverse events
Blast protected seats, restraints and stowage to minimize crew impact during adverse events

 

The Oshkosh JLTV Journey

2005: Oshkosh begins developing its next generation TAK-4i independent suspension system

2007: Oshkosh develops the Light Combat Tactical Vehicle (LCTV) technology demonstrator

2010: The Oshkosh LCTV is the first military-class vehicle to complete the Baja 1000 desert off-road race

2011: Oshkosh evolves its design and introduces the Light Combat Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle (L-ATV), the platform for the Oshkosh JLTV solution

2012: U.S. Government awards Oshkosh one of three JLTV Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) contracts in August

2013: Oshkosh builds its JLTV EMD prototypes on a warm production line and delivers them to the U.S. Army for EMD testing and evaluation

2014: During EMD, Oshkosh successfully completes all requirements, testing and evaluation

2015: Oshkosh responds to the U.S. Government’s JLTV Production Request for Proposal in February and Request for Final Proposal Revisions in July

2015: Oshkosh is awarded the JLTV Production contract

Optimized engine power-to-weight ratio to provide superior acceleration, mobility and speed on grade capability
Optimized engine power-to-weight ratio to provide superior acceleration, mobility and speed on grade capability

Thai helicopter

Airbus Helicopters has completed delivery of an initial four EC725s to the Royal Thai Air Force, providing highly-capable rotorcraft for this military service’s search and rescue and troop transport duties. The order of four EC725s was signed in 2012, with the deliveries having just been completed. They are expected to begin operations later this month. Two additional EC725s were booked in 2014 for deliveries to the Royal Thai Air Force next year.

Fleet will be used for combat search & rescue, national search & rescue flights and troop transportation missions
Fleet will be used for combat search & rescue, national search & rescue flights and troop transportation missions

«With Thailand’s investment in the modernization of its aircraft inventory, the EC725s will become a formidable asset in the Royal Thai Air Force’s helicopter fleet», said Fabrice Rochereau, Airbus Helicopters’ Vice President of Sales and Customer Relations in Asia Pacific.

The EC725 is an 11-ton twin-engine helicopter featuring high-performance navigation and mission systems – including a unique digital four-axis autopilot. Delivering excellent flight autonomy and seating 28 persons, this powerful helicopter is perfectly tailored for the Royal Thai Air Force’s Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) missions, Search and Rescue (SAR) flights, troop transport operations and other tasks.

«We welcome the Royal Thai Air Force as a new Airbus Helicopters operator», said Derek Sharples, the Managing Director of Airbus Helicopters Southeast Asia. «They can count on our full resources to support the successful deployment of the aircraft, and proximity services from our Thailand-based customer center».

Airbus Helicopters’ EC725 is a military rotorcraft of reference for the Asia Pacific region. Indonesia has ordered six units, deliveries of which started in late 2014, while Malaysia is already operating its fleet of 12 aircraft, performing numerous SAR missions at high availability rates.

External dimensions
External dimensions

 

H225M Caracal

Designed for the most demanding missions, the H225M’s reliability and durability have been demonstrated in combat conditions and crisis areas that include Lebanon, Afghanistan and Mali, while also supporting NATO-led operations in Libya. As the latest member of Airbus Helicopters’ military Super Puma/Cougar family, this 11-metric-ton helicopter, previously named the EC725, is ready for multiple missions.

As a true multi-role platform, the H225M enables military forces to deploy wherever and whenever needed. Operating from both ships and land, this helicopter has an all-weather capability – including flight in icing conditions – supported by state-of-the-art night-vision goggle compatibility. The helicopter’s outstanding 700 nautical mile/806 miles/1,296 km range is extended with air-to-air refueling, which can be performed while in forward flight and during hover.

Powered by two latest-generation engines, the H225M’s five-blade rotor provides an exceptionally low vibration level, and the modular design of rotor mechanical assemblies allows for easier maintenance. The H225M is equipped with state-of-the-art avionics and communication systems that reduce crew workload while enhancing mission capability and safety. Airbus Helicopters has incorporated significant advances in terms of man-machine interface, ensuring the most important information arrives to the pilot for the most effective decision-making process.

The flight crew has at their fingertips all navigation and piloting data from the electronic flight instruments in the glass cockpit, including dual-channel full-authority digital engine control for the H225M’s two Turbomeca turboshaft engines.

Airbus Helicopters’ renowned 4-axis, dual-duplex autopilot provides outstanding precision and stability and enables flight in search and rescue patterns as well as automatic approaches in Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) procedures.

Unrivalled redundancy is provided in key onboard systems to maintain full functionality, including the dual-duplex Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS), dual-engine Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) with backup; five LCD electronic flight instruments; and two Vehicle Monitoring Displays, among other features.

Using the proven military heritage of Airbus Helicopters’ Puma and Super Puma rotorcraft, the H225M was conceived with survivability in mind. Its airframe has reinforced structural main frames and is equipped with high energy-absorbing landing gear, along with self-sealing and crashworthy fuel tanks.

This new generation helicopter also features significant advances in terms of man-machine interface ensuring the most important information arrives to the pilot for the most effective decision making process
This new generation helicopter also features significant advances in terms of man-machine interface ensuring the most important information arrives to the pilot for the most effective decision making process

Cockpit protection is provided by armored and energy-absorbing crew seats, while the cabin can be equipped with armor plating in the floors and walls or fitted with armor-plated carpets. The rotor blades’ multi-box construction enhances their resistance to bullet impacts.

Contributing to the H225M’s survivability is a radar-warning receiver, missile approach warning system, and chaff/flare dispensers. The engine exhausts can be fitted with infrared suppressors, with protection against sand and ice provided by inlet design and with installable filters.

The H225M carries a strong «punch» when called on, ready for everything from front-line missions to critical logistics support. Qualified armament includes a 7.62-mm machine gun in the forward cabin windows; along with 180-round 20-mm gun pods and 19-tube 2.75-inch/70-mm rocket launchers.

Included in the mission avionics are a flight management system with Doppler, GPS satellite navigation and SAR modes; a digital moving map; a personal locator system; a loud speaker and a searchlight, among others.

From home base to the most remote locations, Airbus Helicopters conceived the H225M with maintainability in mind.

The Turbomeca Makila 2A1 turboshaft engines are of modular design for easy maintenance, and Airbus Helicopters’ Spheriflex fiberglass main rotor head is easy to adjust. The airframe includes a built-in step to access the engines.

Overall maintenance information is provided through the integrated HUMS (Health Usage Monitoring System).

For cargo transport missions, the H225M’s high-density cabin floor accommodates a sizeable internal load, while the maximum external load sling capacity is 4,750 kg
For cargo transport missions, the H225M’s high-density cabin floor accommodates a sizeable internal load, while the maximum external load sling capacity is 4,750 kg

 

Characteristics

CAPACITY
Troop transport 2 pilots + 1 chief of stick + 28 seats
VIP transport 2 pilots + 8 to 12 passengers
Casualty evacuation 2 pilots + up to 11 stretchers + 4 seats
Sling load 4,750 kg/10,472 lbs
EXTERNAL DIMENSIONS
Length 16.79 m/55.08 feet
Width 3.96 m/13 feet
Height 4.60 m/15.09 feet
WEIGHT
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 11,000 kg/24,251 lbs
MTOW in external load configuration 11,200 kg/24,690 lbs
Empty weight 5,715 kg/12,600 lbs
Useful load 5,285 kg/11,651 lbs
Maximum cargo-sling load 4,750 kg/10,472 lbs
Standard fuel capacity 2,247 kg/4,954 lbs
ENGINES 2 TURBOMECA MAKILA 2A1
Take-off power per engine 1,567 kW/2,101 shp
PERFORMANCE AT MAXIMUM GROSS WEIGHT, ISA*, SL**
Maximum speed (Vne***) 324 km/h/175 knots
Fast cruise speed (at MCP****) 262 km/h/142 knots
Rate of climb 5.4 m/s/1,064 feet/min
Service ceiling (Vz = 0.508 m/s = 100 feet/min) 3,968 m/13,019 feet
Hover ceiling OGE***** at ISA*, MTOW, take-off power 792 m/2,600 feet
Maximum range without reserve at Economical Cruise Speed 909 km/491 NM
Endurance without reserve at 148 km/h/80 knots >4 h 20 min

* International Standard Atmosphere

** Sea Level

*** Never Exceed Speed

**** Mode Control Panel

***** Out of Ground Effect

 


Caracal & Tiger in tandem AirbusHelicopters

 

LRASM Integration

The U.S. Navy began initial integration testing of its Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) onto the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet on August 12 at Patuxent River’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 facility. The program’s flight test team conducted missile load and fit checks using a mass simulator vehicle, designed to emulate LRASM, in preparation for the first phase of airworthiness testing with the F/A-18 E/F scheduled to begin later this month.

Initial fit checks are conducted on the LRASM on August 12 at NAS Patuxent River's Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 facility in preparation for the first phase of airworthiness testing with the F/A-18 E/F (U.S. Navy photo)
Initial fit checks are conducted on the LRASM on August 12 at NAS Patuxent River’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 facility in preparation for the first phase of airworthiness testing with the F/A-18 E/F (U.S. Navy photo)

«These initial fit checks will familiarize the test team with the proper loading, unloading and handling of the LRASM on the F/A-18E/F», said Greg Oliver, LRASM Deployment Office (LDO) assistant program manager for test and evaluation. «This testing will check clearances between the missile and the aircraft to ensure there are no negative impacts when carrying LRASM». Integration efforts and flight-testing will continue over the next few years at both Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River and Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake to clear LRASM for flight operations on the aircraft.

«This is an exciting time for the Navy», said Captain Jaime Engdahl, the U.S. Navy’s Precision Strike Weapons program manager. «This missile will help us pace the growing maritime threat and provide the warfighter with an urgently needed capability to engage surface combatants at extended ranges». When operational, LRASM will provide flexible, long-range, advanced, anti-surface capability against high threat maritime targets.

LRASM is set to be fielded on the B-1B Bomber in 2018 and the F/A-18 E/F in 2019.

The program's flight test team is conducting initial testing to ensure proper loading, unloading and handling of the LRASM on the F/A-18 E/F (U.S. Navy photo)
The program’s flight test team is conducting initial testing to ensure proper loading, unloading and handling of the LRASM on the F/A-18 E/F (U.S. Navy photo)

Full Capacity

An F-35A fired 181 rounds from its four-barrel, 25-mm Gatling gun during a ground test at Edwards Air Force Base, California, earlier this month. The gun is embedded in the F-35A’s left wing and will provide pilots with the ability to strafe air-to-ground or air-to-air targets.

F-35A Fires 25mm Gun at Full Capacity
F-35A Fires 25mm Gun at Full Capacity

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Integrated Test Force aims to complete ground testing this month and start airborne gun testing in the fall. At the end of the program’s system development and demonstration phase in 2017, the F-35A will have an operational gun.

The first phase of F-35A gun testing started June 9, when initial shots were fired from the ground at the base’s gun harmonizing range. Over the next few months, the amount of munitions fired gradually increased until the 181 rounds were fired August 14. To conduct the testing, an F-35A flight sciences aircraft, AF-2, underwent instrumentation modifications and used a production version of the GAU-22/A gun. The ground tests were designed using software to replicate being in flight and the aircraft used a target practice round, PGU-23/U, which does not explode on impact.

In integrating a weapon into the stealthy F-35A aircraft, the gun must be kept hidden behind closed doors, reducing its radar cross section, until the trigger is engaged. The tests certify the gun’s ability to spin up and down correctly. The GAU-22/A system will be further tested with a line production F-35A next year for integration with the jet’s full avionics and mission systems capabilities. Test pilots will then observe qualitative effects, such as muzzle flash, human factors, and flying qualities. The F-35A test team will also monitor the GAU-22/A’s performance and ensure all systems work as designed, validating that the aircraft can withstand the loads of a firing the gun, mitigating potential effects including vibrations, acoustics and airflow.

 

The video clip shows the 181-round gun burst of the gun embedded in the F-35A’s left wing root. The gun will provide operational F-35A pilots an ability to engage air-to-ground or air-to-air weapon targets using its strafing capability in addition to its beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles and precision-guided air-to-ground weapons

 

Guns for Patrol

Irving Shipbuilding of Canada has awarded BAE Systems a contract to deliver up to six modified 25-mm Mk-38 Machine Gun Systems for the Royal Canadian Navy’s Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) program. The award also covers spare parts, technical support, and long-term field support services. Irving Shipbuilding is the prime contractor for the ships and will build them at its Halifax shipyards.

The Mk-38 Mod 2 Machine Gun System (MGS) from BAE Systems
The Mk-38 Mod 2 Machine Gun System (MGS) from BAE Systems

«We will be working very closely with Canadian industry on this program», said Joseph Senftle, vice president and general manager of Weapons Systems at BAE Systems. «BAE Systems is currently selecting its Canadian partners to participate not only in the build of these naval gun systems, but also to join our Mk-38 global supply chain. This will help bring sustained economic value to Canada as part of the AOPS program».

The AOPS program will introduce six vessels that can patrol the Arctic region and remain there for longer than the service’s existing ships to support sovereignty and surveillance operations. BAE Systems’ first gun system will be delivered in 2017, with follow-on deliveries of approximately one per year through 2021, as the AOPS ships are built and become ready for launch.

Each Mk-38 System features a highly accurate gun targeting and surveillance system as well as the M242 Cannon. They will be modified for protection against arctic conditions. The Mk-38 has also been selected by the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and the Spanish Navy.

Harry DeWolf-Class Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship
Harry DeWolf-Class Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship

Mk-38 Mod 2 MGS

The Mk-38 Mod 2 Machine Gun System (MGS) from BAE Systems sets the standard for shipboard defense against small, fast, and agile surface threats. With system variants deployed worldwide, the stabilized, remote control Mk-38 Mod 2 MGS is proven capable in defending against multiple surface threats – in all sea states. The Mk-38 Mod 2 MGS incorporates the service-proven Toplite electro-optical fire control system to optimize effective engagement of enemy targets in all weather conditions, day or night.

Weaponry. The Mk-38 Mod 2 MGS main weapon is the proven M242 NATO standard auto cannon with 2.5-km range and selectable rates of fire.

Lethality. The M242 fires all U.S. Navy (USN) approved 25-mm ammunition at up to 180 rounds per minute, with the Mk-38 Mod 2 MGS providing up to 200 ready rounds on-mount.

Command and Control. The Toplite Fire Control System (FCS) provides four axis gimbal stabilization and superior optics including the forward-looking infrared radar with three fields-of-view, a low contrast, low light level color television camera, and an eye-safe laser range finder.

Survivability. The Mk-38 Mod 2 MGS provides for crew-safe conditions with a remote operation console located in the Combat Information Center or in other protected ship structures.

Adaptability. The enhanced Mk-38 Mod 2 MGS is the USN’s ORDALT choice to upgrade the Mk-38 Mod 0/1 25-mm machine gun.

The system can be applied to a wide range of different ship classes and platform designs of 50 tons or greater displacement. Near term product upgrades include larger magazine, 30-mm cannon, advanced optics, and integration of laser effects.

Artist’s impression of the Harry DeWolf-Class Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship
Artist’s impression of the Harry DeWolf-Class Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship

 

Specifications

Weight (with gun, w/o ammo) 2,300 lbs/1,042 kg
Weapon station
Train ± 15° to ± 165° adjustable to any value in range
Elevation -20° to +40°
Electro-Optical Fire Control System (relative to mount)
Train ± 165°
Elevation -20° to +85°
Gun type 25-mm M242
Ammunition feed Dual
Ammunition capacity 200 ready rounds
Rate of fire 5 rates from single to 180 rpm max
Personnel requirements
Remote 1
Ammunition loading 2
Operability tests and scheduled maintenance (average daily) 6 minutes
Ammunition reloading time 5 minutes
Availability (inherent/predicted) 99.9%

 

With more than 90 system variants deployed worldwide, the stabilized, remote controlled Mk-38 Mod 2 minor caliber gun is proven capable in defending against multiple surface threats – in all sea states

 

John F. Kennedy

Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), on August 22 celebrated the keel laying of the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79), the second ship of the Gerald R. Ford class. Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the ship’s namesake, the 35th President of the United States, is the ship’s sponsor. She declared the keel «truly and fairly laid» via video to signify the ceremonial start of construction.

Newport News Shipbuilding Celebrates the Keel-Laying of Aircraft Carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN-79)
Newport News Shipbuilding Celebrates the Keel-Laying of Aircraft Carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN-79)

«The aircraft carrier came of age in a time of conflict», Caroline said. «It was untested, and the capabilities it brought were questioned. Since those early days, the carrier has come to be recognized as a symbol of peace, strength and freedom».

Caroline’s video was introduced by her cousin, Representative Joseph Kennedy, Democrat-Massachusetts. Other ceremony participants included Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe; Representative Randy Forbes, Republican-Virginia; Representative Bobby Scott, Democrat-Virginia; Vice Admiral William Hilarides; Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Navy Sean Stackley; Rear Admiral Earl Yates, the first commanding officer of CVA-67, the first aircraft carrier to bear the name John F. Kennedy; and Newport News Shipbuilding President Matt Mulherin.

During the ceremony, Caroline’s initials were welded onto a steel plate by Leon Walston, a Newport News welder from Massachusetts. The plate will be permanently affixed to the ship, signifying the sponsor’s enduring relationship with the shipbuilders and crew.

In his remarks, Stackley expressed the significance of aircraft carriers, calling upon shipbuilders to recognize the importance of what they build. «They are our nation’s great instruments of security and … of goodwill», he said. «In times of crisis, they are the first to respond, and when called upon, they will deliver the final word in the bidding of our nation. So let this great purpose serve as a constant reminder – as inspiration to you, the men and women of Newport News Shipbuilding – that shipbuilding is not just what you do; it is who you are. And that building great ships – it is not just your tradition; it is your duty».

USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) is the second aircraft carrier in the Ford Class
USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) is the second aircraft carrier in the Ford Class

Governor McAuliffe emphasized the importance of John F. Kennedy’s future presence in the U.S. Navy fleet. «President John F. Kennedy was an inspiration to all of us», he said, «so it is only fitting today that we now have a U.S. President who now will have two aircraft carriers named after him».

Representative Joseph Kennedy spoke of the original USS John F. Kennedy (CVA-67) and its legacy that will continue with the new aircraft carrier. «USS John F. Kennedy demonstrated strength to our enemies and support for our allies», he said. «Today, as we lay the keel of CVN-79, the next USS John F. Kennedy, we begin construction on a ship with the same mission and the same spirit, but with new capabilities and a new generation».

Mulherin spoke of the shipbuilders constructing USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79), highlighting their commitment to ethics once emphasized by President Kennedy. «While this aircraft carrier that we lay the keel for today will serve as a tangible legacy of our nation’s 35th President, so too will the people behind the steel», he said. «When we say the greatest shipbuilders in the world work right here, it isn’t just because we build the most sophisticated ships known to man. It is also because of the way in which we build them. Our shipbuilders demonstrate ethics, integrity and courage every day».

John F. Kennedy will be the second U.S. Navy ship to bear the name of the 35th President. Crew members who served on the first USS John F. Kennedy (CVA-67) attended and were recognized during the ceremony. To conclude the event, Yates, the first commanding officer of CVA-67, signaled crane operators to lift the aircraft carrier’s engine room No. 2 unit into the dry dock while more than 1,500 guests watched.

A composite photo illustration representing the Ford-class aircraft carrier, USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79). The carrier, underconstruction at Newport News Shipbuilding, is the second Ford-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and the second U.S. Navy carrier named for the 35th U. S. President
A composite photo illustration representing the Ford-class aircraft carrier, USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79). The carrier, underconstruction at Newport News Shipbuilding, is the second Ford-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and the second U.S. Navy carrier named for the 35th U. S. President

 

Quick Facts about CVN-79

Kennedy is the 2nd ship of the Ford class.

At an official naming ceremony at the JFK Library on May 29, 2011, U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced that the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier CVN-79 would be called the USS John F. Kennedy. The announcement was made on what would have been the 94th birthday of President John F. Kennedy.

Since the first cut of steel in 2010, more than 450 of the ship’s 1,100 structural units have been constructed, and more than 60 percent of the total ship’s material funding has been committed to vendors.

CVN-79 marks the second aircraft carrier to be named for the late president. The first, a conventionally-powered carrier, served from 1968 to 2007 and was also built by Newport News Shipbuilding.

Shipbuilders have captured 60,000 lessons-learned from the seven-year process of building Gerald R. Ford, many that are already being implemented as cost-saving initiatives in building John F. Kennedy.

Caroline Kennedy smashes a bottle of American sparking wine across the bow of USS John F. Kennedy (CVA-67) in 1967 (Image courtesy of the Daily Press)
Caroline Kennedy smashes a bottle of American sparking wine across the bow of USS John F. Kennedy (CVA-67) in 1967 (Image courtesy of the Daily Press)

 

General Characteristics

Builder Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia
Propulsion 2 A1B nuclear reactors, 4 shafts
Length 1,092 feet/333 m
Beam 134 feet/41 m
Flight Deck Width 256 feet/78 m
Flight Deck Square 217,796 feet2/20,234 m2
Displacement approximately 100,000 long tons full load
Speed 30+ knots/34.5+ mph/55.5+ km/h
Crew 4,539 (ship, air wing and staff)
Armament ESSM (Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile), RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile), Mk-15 Phalanx CIWS (Close-In Weapon System)
Aircraft 75+
Leon Walston, a Newport News Shipbuilding welder from Massachusetts, displays the welded initials of Caroline Kennedy, the sponsor of the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN-79). Also pictured (left to right) are Rear Admiral Earl Yates, the first commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVA-67); Newport News Shipbuilding President Matt Mulherin; Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe; and Representative Joseph Kennedy (Photo by Chris Oxley/HII)
Leon Walston, a Newport News Shipbuilding welder from Massachusetts, displays the welded initials of Caroline Kennedy, the sponsor of the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN-79). Also pictured (left to right) are Rear Admiral Earl Yates, the first commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVA-67); Newport News Shipbuilding President Matt Mulherin; Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe; and Representative Joseph Kennedy (Photo by Chris Oxley/HII)