Chennai joins the Navy

INS Chennai (D65), a P-15A Guided Missile Destroyer, was commissioned into the Indian Navy by the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri Shri Manohar Parrikar at an impressive ceremony held at the Naval Dockyard, Mumbai on 21 November 16. The event marks the formal induction into the Navy of the third and the last of the three «Kolkata» class destroyers, indigenously designed by the Indian Navy’s in-house organisation, Directorate of Naval Design and constructed by Mazagon Dock Limited, Mumbai. On his arrival, the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri was received by Admiral Sunil Lanba, PVSM, AVSM, ADC, the Chief of the Naval Staff and was presented a Guard of Honour by the ship’s crew. The ceremony was witnessed by a large gathering which included several dignitaries and senior officials from the government and all three services.

INS Chennai (D65), commissioned today into the Indian Navy fleet, is the third and final «Kolkata» class destroyer, designed with Russian assistance by the Indian Navy and built by Mazagon Dock Limited, in Mumbai
INS Chennai (D65), commissioned today into the Indian Navy fleet, is the third and final «Kolkata» class destroyer, designed with Russian assistance by the Indian Navy and built by Mazagon Dock Limited, in Mumbai

Hon’ble Raksha Mantri Sh Manohar Parrikar, whilst addressing the gathering, termed the commissioning of INS Chennai (D65), last of the Project P-15A class Destroyers, as a historic day for the Indian Navy as it adds another milestone in our relentless journey towards achieving self-reliance in battle readiness. The ship represents a significant «coming of age» of our warship building capability and defence preparedness, said the Defence minister. He further stated that the Indian Navy, in addition to providing overall maritime security to our country, also plays a crucial role as the ‘net security provider’ in our adjoining seas. In this regard, Shri Manohar Parrikar also stressed that the Navy’s growth and development must keep pace with the nation’s growth and maritime security needs.

Lauding the role played by the naval designers (DGND) and the ship builders i.e. M/s MDL Mumbai, the Raksha Mantri said «with the induction of INS Chennai (D65), a new benchmark has been achieved for our warship design and construction endeavours, with the sophistication of systems and equipment, and utilisation of advanced ship building techniques».

During his address, Admiral Sunil Lanba, the Navy Chief said that commissioning of INS Chennai (D65) marks another milestone in the Navy’s quest for self-reliance as it signifies completion of the challenging Project P-15A and heralds a new era of advanced warships built indigenously by Indian shipyards. The Admiral also stated that indigenisation of platforms, weapons, sensors and equipment with participation of public as well as private sectors, will continue to remain a focus area of the Indian Navy, in line with the «Make in India» policy enunciated by the Prime Minister. He emphasized that the Roadmap for the Navy’s expansion and growth would continue to remain firmly anchored on Self-reliance and Indigenisation.

The Commanding Officer, Captain CR Praveen Nair, read out the Commissioning Warrant, which was followed by the hoisting of «Colours» (ceremony of hoisting the National Flag and Naval Ensign) which marked the commencement of the ship’s service as a warship of the Navy. The Commissioning event was characterised by closely coordinated sequence of drills and events leading to formal unveiling of the ship’s name plaque by the Chief Guest. On completion of the Commissioning Ceremony, the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri also unveiled a special cover to commemorate the Commissioning of INS Chennai (D65) and completion of the prestigious Project 15A class of stealth destroyers.

Following her formal induction, INS Chennai (D65) will be placed under the operational and administrative control of the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command. In due course, the ship will be assigned to the Western Fleet and would be base-ported at Mumbai.

The ship measures 535 feet/163 m in length, 57 feet/17.4 m in breadth with a displacement of 7,500 tonnes and can rightfully be regarded as one of the most potent warships to have been constructed in India. The ship is propelled by four powerful Gas Turbines, in a Combined Gas and Gas (COGAG) configuration, capable of achieving speeds in excess of 30 knots/34.5 mph/55.5 km/h. The ship has enhanced stealth features resulting in a reduced Radar Cross Section (RCS) achieved through efficient shaping of hull, full beam superstructure design, plated masts and use of radar transparent materials on exposed decks.

INS Chennai (D65) is packed with contemporary and sophisticated ‘state of the art’ weapons and sensors such as Surface to Surface Missile and Surface to Air Missiles. The ship is fitted with a modern Surveillance Radar which provides target data to the gunnery weapon systems of the ship. The ship’s Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) capabilities are provided by the indigenously developed Rocket Launchers and Torpedo Launchers. The ship is equipped to fight under Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) warfare conditions.

A unique feature of this ship is the high level of indigenisation incorporated in the production, accentuating our national objective of «Make in India». Some of the major indigenised equipment/system onboard INS Chennai (D65) include Combat Management System, Rocket Launcher, Torpedo Tube Launcher, Automated Power Management System, Foldable Hangar Doors, Helo Traversing system, Auxiliary Control System and the Bow Mounted Sonar.

Named after the iconic port city of Chennai, the ship has a complement of about 45 officers and 395 personnel. Enhancement of crew comfort has been a significant feature of INS Chennai (D65), which has been ensured through ergonomically designed accommodation based on «modular» concepts. The ship will be under the command of Captain CR Praveen Nair, a Communication & Electronic Warfare specialist.

With the changing power dynamics in the Indian Ocean Region, INS Chennai (D65) will augment the Indian Navy’s mobility, reach and flexibility whilst proudly flying the Indian flag.

INS Chennai (D65) has an overall length of 535 feet/163 m and displacement of over 7,500 tons
INS Chennai (D65) has an overall length of 535 feet/163 m and displacement of over 7,500 tons

Poseidon in Australia

Australia’s first P-8A arrived in the capital city of Canberra November 16, carrying Australia’s Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, The Honourable Christopher Pyne, Minister for Defence Industry, The Honourable Peter Dutton, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and other senior government leaders.

First P-8A Poseidon Arrives in Australia
First P-8A Poseidon Arrives in Australia

«The Poseidon is a cutting-edge surveillance and anti-submarine aircraft which will dominate the skies around our nation’s coastline», Prime Minister Turnbull said. «We just had a demonstration of some of the very impressive capabilities on board this morning. It is a potent and highly versatile aircraft».

This is the first of eight Australian P-8As under contract with Boeing as part of a cooperative program with the U.S. Navy begun in 2009 to collaborate on the aircraft’s development. Four additional Poseidon have been approved and funded by the Australian government. In addition to the U.S. Navy, the Indian Navy flies the P-8I variant and the United Kingdom has confirmed its purchase of nine of the P-8A variant.

The P-8A Poseidon is a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations. A derivative of the Next-Generation 737-800, the P-8A combines superior performance and reliability with an advanced mission system that ensures maximum interoperability in the future battle space. The aircraft is militarized with maritime weapons, a modern open mission system architecture, and commercial-like support for affordability.


Technical Specifications

Wing Span 123.6 feet/37.64 m
Height 42.1 feet/12.83 m
Length 129.5 feet/39.47 m
Propulsion 2 × CFM56-7B engines; 27,000 lbs/12,237 kgf/120 kN thrust
Speed 490 knots/564 mph/908 km/h
Range 1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km with 4 hours on station
Ceiling 41,000 feet/12,496 m
Crew 9
Maximum Take-Off Gross Weight 189,200 lbs/85,820 kg


A400M to Spain

The Spanish Air Force has taken delivery of its first Airbus A400M new generation airlifter – the most advanced aircraft to have been produced in Spain and one which will transform the nation’s air mobility fleet.

Airbus Defence and Space delivers first A400M to Spain
Airbus Defence and Space delivers first A400M to Spain

Today’s contractual handover of the first of 27 aircraft that it has ordered makes Spain the sixth nation to put the A400M into service.

Representatives of the Spanish Air Force and Ministry of Defence formally accepted the aircraft, known as MSN44, from Airbus Defence and Space in a brief ceremony at the A400M Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Seville.

Airbus Defence and Space Head of Military Aircraft, Fernando Alonso, said: «Today is truly a special day for all of us who have been involved with the A400M programme over the years – but particularly for the Seville workforce that has worked so hard to make the aircraft a reality. Every delivery to every customer is of huge importance to us, but being able to hand over the first aircraft to Spain from our final assembly line in Seville is a source of particular pride. I would like to thank all our employees, as well as Organisation conjointe de coopération en matière d’armement (OCCAR) and our Spanish customer for achieving this milestone».

In Spanish service the A400M will replace the ageing C-130 aircraft type, carrying about twice the load over the same distance, or the same load twice as far. In addition, it can serve as a tactical air-to-air tanker for other transport aircraft, including other A400Ms.

Uniquely it is able both to cruise at jet-like speeds and altitudes over intercontinental ranges due to its four extremely powerful engines and advanced aerodynamic design, as well as to operate repeatedly from short and unprepared airstrips close to the scene of military action or humanitarian crisis.

Under an agreement signed in September, 14 aircraft will be delivered at a steady pace between now and 2022, and the remaining 13 are scheduled for delivery from 2025 onwards.

The Spanish A400M fleet will be based at Zaragoza in North East Spain and will represent the heavylift element of a transport force that includes the medium C295 and CN235, and light C212 aircraft – all produced by Airbus Defence and Space. MSN44 will fly to Zaragoza in the coming days.

Altogether more than 1600 employees from Airbus Defence and Space work in Spain for the A400m program, including 1100 working directly at the Seville FAL and nearby Tablada Factory. To date eight nations have ordered 174 aircraft of which 34 have now been delivered.

Aircraft leaves final assembly line at Seville to serve at Zaragoza base



Overall Length 45.10 m/148 feet
Overall Height 14.70 m/48 feet
Wing Span 42.40 m/139 feet
Cargo Hold Length (ramp excluded) 17.71 m/58 feet
Cargo Hold Height 3.85-4.00 m/12 feet 7 inch-13 feet
Cargo Hold Width 4.00 m/13 feet
Cargo Hold Volume 340 m3/12,000 feet3
Maximum Take Off Weight 141,000 kg/310,850 lbs
Maximum Landing Weight 123,000 kg/271,200 lbs
Internal Fuel Weight 50,500 kg/111,300 lbs
Maximum Payload 37,000 kg/81,600 lbs
EuroProp International TP400-D6 11,000 shp/8,200 kW
Maximum Operating Altitude 12,200 m/40,000 feet
Maximum Cruise Speed (TAS) 300 knots/345 mph/555 km/h
Cruise Speed Range 0.68-0.72 M
Range with Maximum Payload (37,000 kg/81,600 lbs) 1,780 NM/2,050 miles/3,300 km
Range with 30,000 kg/66,000 lbs Payload 2,450 NM/2,796 miles/4,500 km
Range with 20,000 kg/44,000 lbs Payload 3,450 NM/3,977 miles/6,400 km
Maximum Range (Ferry) 4,700 NM/5,406 miles/8,700 km

Bendable titanium alloy

A bendable titanium alloy suspension system inspired by the hard shells and flexible legs of ironclad beetles could hold the key to protecting future military vehicles from explosive impacts.

New bendable titanium alloy suspension concept
New bendable titanium alloy suspension concept

The alloy is made from the same type of material used in flexible spectacles and allows the suspension to «bounce back» into shape after impact, so that the vehicle can continue its mission. Initial tests of a prototype have proved successful and engineers at BAE Systems in Telford, Shropshire believe that the new suspension system could be made available in the next decade.

Currently, the hulls of combat vehicles and their passengers are protected from blasts such as mines or IEDs, but key operational parts such as the vehicle’s suspension can still be damaged – meaning they must be rescued by other military units. The memory metal alloy was first developed by the United States Naval Ordnance Laboratory in the 1960s, but engineers at BAE Systems believe this is the first time it has been used to build an entire suspension system. Using memory metal also means the spring can be removed entirely from the suspension – strengthening and simplifying the system further.

A prototype of the suspension system has already been constructed and tested by a team of experts and apprentices at BAE Systems as part of their response to a competition placed by the Government’s Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory for an unmanned Highly Robust Ground Platform. The small-scale prototype underwent five increasingly powerful explosive tests, showing significant resilience against the blasts as a result of its highly robust construction.

Now, the Company’s engineers are investigating adapting memory metal suspension for full-size combat vehicles, meaning that bendable titanium alloys could form a part of military operations within the next 10 years.

Marcus Potter, Head of Mobility at BAE Systems Land (UK), said: «This unique use of memory metals could prove a real game-changer for combat vehicles taking part in operations. Being able to adapt to changing situations is hugely important to maintaining effectiveness, and this application of bendable titanium could give armed forces the required flexibility – and survivability – to complete tasks in challenging areas».

The concept of using memory metals for suspension was developed after BAE Systems engineers reviewed a range of innovations in other high technology sectors and considered how they could be applied to combat vehicles.

BAE Systems businesses have a portfolio of patents and patent applications covering approximately 2000 inventions internationally. The Company has developed some of the world’s most innovative technologies and invests in research and development to generate future products and capabilities.

2nd Test Vehicle

Tern, a joint program between DARPA and the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR), seeks to greatly increase the effectiveness of forward-deployed small-deck ships such as destroyers and frigates by enabling them to serve as mobile launch and recovery sites for specially designed unmanned air systems (UASs). DARPA last year awarded Phase 3 of Tern to a team led by the Northrop Grumman Corporation to build a full-scale technology demonstration system. The program has since made significant advances on numerous fronts, including commencement of wing fabrication and completion of successful engine testing for its test vehicle, and DARPA has tasked Northrop Grumman with building a second test vehicle.

Tern, a joint program between DARPA and the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR), has made significant advances during Phase 3 on numerous fronts, including commencement of wing fabrication and completion of successful engine testing for its test vehicle, and funding of a second test vehicle
Tern, a joint program between DARPA and the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR), has made significant advances during Phase 3 on numerous fronts, including commencement of wing fabrication and completion of successful engine testing for its test vehicle, and funding of a second test vehicle

«DARPA has been thinking about building a second Tern test vehicle for well over a year», said Dan Patt, DARPA program manager. «Adding the second technology demonstrator enhances the robustness of the flight demonstration program and enables military partners to work with us on maturation, including testing different payloads and experimenting with different approaches to operational usage».

Tern envisions a new medium-altitude, long-endurance UAS that could operate from helicopter decks on smaller ships in rough seas or expeditionary settings while achieving efficient long-duration flight. To provide these and other previously unattainable capabilities, the Tern Phase 3 design is a tailsitting, flying-wing aircraft with a twin contra-rotating, nose-mounted propulsion system. The aircraft would lift off like a helicopter and then perform a transition maneuver to orient it for wing-borne flight for the duration of a mission. Upon mission completion, the aircraft would return to base, transition back to a vertical orientation, and land. The system is sized to fit securely inside a ship hangar for maintenance operations and storage.

Tern has accomplished the following technical milestones for its test vehicle in 2016:

  • Wing fabrication: Since Phase 3 work started at the beginning of 2016, Tern has finished fabricating major airframe components and anticipates final assembly in the first quarter of 2017. Once complete, the airframe will house propulsion, sensors, and other commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) systems to make up the full-scale technology demonstration vehicle.
  • Engine tests: In Phases 2 and 3, Tern has successfully tested numerous modifications to an existing General Electric engine to enable it to operate in both vertical and horizontal orientations. This type of engine was chosen because it is mature and powers multiple helicopter platforms currently in use.
  • Software integration: This summer, Tern opened its Software Integration Test Station (SITS), part of the System Integration Lab that supports software development for the program. The test station includes vehicle management system hardware and software, and uses high-fidelity simulation tools to enable rapid testing of aircraft control software in all phases of flight. The SITS is helping ensure the technology demonstration vehicle could fly safely in challenging conditions such as launch, recovery, and transition between horizontal and vertical flight.

Additional tests are about to start. A 1/5th-scale version of the approved vehicle model is in testing in the 80’ × 120’ wind tunnel at the NASA Ames Research Center’s National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex (NFAC). Data collected during this test will be used to better characterize aircraft aerodynamic performance and validate aerodynamic models.

«We’re making substantial progress toward our scheduled flight tests, with much of the hardware already fabricated and software development and integration in full swing», said Brad Tousley, director of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office, which oversees Tern. «As we keep pressing into uncharted territory – no one has flown a large unmanned tailsitter before – we remain excited about the future capabilities a successful Tern demonstration could enable: organic, persistent, long-range reconnaissance, targeting, and strike support from most Navy ships».

Tern is currently scheduled to start integrated propulsion system testing in the first part of 2017, move to ground-based testing in early 2018, and culminate in a series of at-sea flight tests in late 2018.

DARPA and the Navy have a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to share responsibility for the development and testing of the Tern demonstrator system. The Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL) has also expressed interest in Tern’s potential capabilities and is providing support to the program.

Tern Phase 3 Concept Video

Paul Ignatius launched

Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division launched USS Paul Ignatius (DDG-117), the company’s 31st Arleigh Burke-class (DDG-51) guided missile destroyer, on Saturday, November 12, 2016.

USS Paul Ignatius (DDG-117) launched
USS Paul Ignatius (DDG-117) launched

«The DDG-51 program provides our U.S. Navy customer and our nation a series of highly advanced and capable warships», said Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias. «For 30 years, our talented shipbuilders have been building these much-needed, quality destroyers. Launching DDG-117 is an important milestone in the life of the ship, which will continue building toward fleet readiness in 2018».

USS Paul Ignatius (DDG-117) was translated via Ingalls’ rail car system to a floating dry dock. Once on, the dry dock was moved away from the pier, and it was ballasted to float the ship.

Ingalls has delivered 28 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to the U.S. Navy. Other destroyers currently under construction at Ingalls include USS John Finn (DDG-113), USS Ralph Johnson (DDG-114), USS Delbert D. Black (DDG-119) and USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG-121). Construction on USS Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG-123) is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2017.

«Ingalls shipbuilders continue to partner with our Navy and Supervisor of Shipbuilding team to conduct these evolutions in a safe and efficient manner», said Kari Wilkinson, Ingalls’ vice president, program management. «This collective team put in a lot of hard work this week, and they should be very proud of their accomplishments».

USS Paul Ignatius (DDG-117) is named in honor of Ignatius, who served as Secretary of the Navy from 1967 to 1969 and was the Assistant Secretary of Defense during President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration.

Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are capable, multi-mission ships and 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 battles. The ship contains myriad offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime defense needs well into the 21st century.

The Ingalls-built destroyer USS Paul Ignatius (DDG-117) launched at first light Saturday morning, November 12, 2016 (Photo by Andrew Young/HII)
The Ingalls-built destroyer USS Paul Ignatius (DDG-117) launched at first light Saturday morning, November 12, 2016 (Photo by Andrew Young/HII)


Ship Characteristics

Length Overall 510 feet/156 m
Beam – Waterline 59 feet/18 m
Draft 30.5 feet/9.3 m
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 (62) Mark-45 gun; 2 (1) CIWS (Close-In Weapon System); 2 Mark-32 triple 324-mm torpedo tubes for Mark-46 or Mark-50 ASW torpedos


Guided Missile Destroyers Lineup

Flight IIA: Restart

Ship Yard Launched Commissioned Homeport
DDG-113 John Finn HIIIS 03-28-15
DDG-114 Ralph Johnson HIIIS 12-12-15
DDG-115 Rafael Peralta GDBIW 10-31-15


Flight IIA: Technology Insertion

Ship Yard Launched Commissioned Homeport
DDG-116 Thomas Hudner GDBIW
DDG-117 Paul Ignatius HIIIS 11-12-16
DDG-118 Daniel Inouye GDBIW
DDG-119 Delbert D. Black HIIIS
DDG-120 Carl M. Levin GDBIW
DDG-121 Frank E. Peterson Jr. HIIIS
DDG-122 John Basilone GDBIW
DDG-123 Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee HIIIS


Flight III

Ship Yard Launched Commissioned Homeport
DDG-124 Harvey C. Barnum, Jr. GDBIW
DDG-125 Jack H. Lucas HIIIS
DDG-126 Louis H. Wilson, Jr. GDBIW


The Ingalls-built destroyer USS Paul Ignatius (DDG-117) launched at first light Saturday morning, November 12, 2016 after translating to the dry dock overnight

First major upgrade

Australia’s Super Hornets have undergone their first major upgrade. The job was finished on budget and two weeks ahead of schedule by the Electronic Attack Enterprise team, consisting of Air Force, Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group, Boeing Defence Australia and Raytheon Australia.

The Royal Australian Air Force’s entire fleet of F/A-18F Super Hornet fighters have cow completed their first upgrade, as part of the Spiral Upgrade Program under which the fleet will receive incremental capability upgrades (RAAF photo)
The Royal Australian Air Force’s entire fleet of F/A-18F Super Hornet fighters have cow completed their first upgrade, as part of the Spiral Upgrade Program under which the fleet will receive incremental capability upgrades (RAAF photo)

The work was the first stage of the Super Hornet Spiral Upgrade Program under which the fleet will receive incremental capability upgrades.

The program is being conducted in parallel with the US Navy F/A-18F upgrade program to ensure the technology remains in line with the world’s largest and only other Super Hornet operator.

The 12-month Increment 1 program delivered updates to the aircraft training system, as well as to software and hardware.

These included the installation of Navigation Warfare to provide GPS navigation protection, a Distributed Targeting System to enable precision targeting, and an upgraded Solid State Recorder for the cockpit.

Five separate structural modifications to improve fatigue life and eliminate hazards were incorporated with the hardware upgrades.

OC Air Combat and Electronic Attack System Program Office Group Captain (GPCAPT) Jason Agius said the program’s success demonstrated a mature and integrated support capability.

«The completion of Increment 1 was essentially a coming-of-age for the Super Hornet support system», he said.

«It was the first time we brought together every element of the support system, from program management, logistics and engineering through to training and deeper maintenance. The project’s completion on budget and ahead of schedule is a testament to how well it worked. As prime contractor, Boeing Defence Australia exhibited ingenuity and innovation in foreseeing and addressing challenges. They used their knowledge to add value and insight at every stage and worked in close partnership with both Air Force and training system services provider Raytheon to guarantee the program’s success. The project’s completion ahead of schedule is a strategically important achievement for Air Force and one of which all involved should be proud».

Boeing Defence Australia’s Super Hornet Program Manager, Chris Gray said the program demonstrated the value of Air Force and industry working as one team.

German laser effector

From 4th to 14th October, MBDA Deutschland successfully conducted tests of a new high-energy laser effector at a military training facility on Germany’s North Sea coast, marking the next step in the progression from technology to product. In this series of trials, the system was tested under real environmental conditions for the first time.

Tracking tests with MBDA Germany’s new laser effector
Tracking tests with MBDA Germany’s new laser effector

The primary purpose of this series of trials was to test the beam guidance and tracking system, with a simulated engagement of airborne targets. In this exercise, the targets were preset, scanned with the laser target illuminator, and an aim point was held on the target for an extended period. The quadcopter, serving as the airborne target, performed a variety of often highly dynamic manoeuvres at a variety of ranges.

«These successful tests demonstrated that our laser effector has achieved a high degree of technological maturity. This puts us in a leading position in the development of laser effectors», said Thomas Gottschild, Managing Director of MBDA Deutschland GmbH.

The tests verified the functionality of the overall system and the performance capability of the further improved tracking system. In spite of often adverse weather conditions, including heavy rain and storms, the system was able to successfully track all the targets involved in the trials. During night trials, the demonstrator proved capable of acquiring and tracking targets even under conditions of poor visibility. In other experiments, the laser team simulated a defence against a swarming attack, which required rapid switching between targets approaching from different directions.

The new system demonstrator builds on the experience gained in previous laser activities and proven technologies. It is integrated in a standard container and is equipped with a highly dynamic 360-degree beam guidance system. The MBDA Deutschland solution features high precision, scalability of effect and low logistics costs. The sophisticated mirror optics are capable of harnessing higher laser power levels than those available today. The laser effector thus has enormous future potential.

Finnish minehunter

On 2 November 2016, at a ceremony held this morning at Porto Lotti (La Spezia), Intermarine, a subsidiary of the Immsi S.p.A. industrial group, handed over the Vahterpaa, a minehunter in the Katanpää class, to the Finnish Navy.

The Finnish Navy’s third and final Mine Hunter, Coastal (MHC), Vahterpaa, has now been handed over by the Intermarine shipyard. Seen here is Katanpää, the lead ship of this small class of advanced minehunters (Internet photo)
The Finnish Navy’s third and final Mine Hunter, Coastal (MHC), Vahterpaa, has now been handed over by the Intermarine shipyard. Seen here is Katanpää, the lead ship of this small class of advanced minehunters (Internet photo)

The formal documentation ratifying the handover of the vessel was signed by the Commander of the Finnish Navy, Rear Admiral Veijo Taipalus, and by the CEO of Intermarine, Livio Corghi.

«Intermarine is a world leader in the design, construction and fitting of special military vessels with particularly stringent operating requirements; these are highly advanced ships which require outstanding levels of expertise at every stage», said Immsi Group Chairman Roberto Colaninno. «Over the years, Intermarine has established a strong position on the international market thanks to the excellent reputation gained as a supplier of special vessels such as this minehunter to the world’s most illustrious navies, and the completion of the order for the Finnish Navy with today’s handover was an important challenge culminating in a success in which we take great pride».

With this delivery, Intermarine has completed the order to supply the Finnish Navy with three minehunters.

The three vessels in the Katanpää class built for the Finnish Navy are the result of a lengthy process to perfect and adapt the Intermarine basic project to the customer’s specific requirements.

A Katanpää class minehunter is 171.9-foot/52.4-meter long LOA with an approximately 32.8-foot/10-meter beam (for a total displacement of 680 tonnes) and is powered by two diesel engines supporting a top speed of more than 13 knots/14 mph/24 km/h. The structure – including the hull – is made with a new type of glass fibre developed specifically for this project, and is built employing the «Unstiffened Monocoque Single Skin» construction technique used for all Intermarine minehunters. The superstructures are made from a «sandwich» material, with two layers of glass fibre and carbon fibre around a balsa wood heart, and built using the vacuum infusion process.

Katanpää class minehunter present a new capability of Mine Countermeasures including minehunting and disposal capabilities along with the already existing minehunting capabilities in the Finnish Navy.

The Procurement is mainly for homeland defense. The Katanpää class minehunter capability can also be used for co-operation between other authorities e.g. seabed mapping, underwater search and identification operations and EOD-operations.

Katanpää class minehunter are EU and NATO operations capable and are designed for international crises handling operations if needed.

Confirming its international leadership in this sector of defence vessels, Intermarine has already built or is building at its facilities, 43 minehunters, in 10 different configurations for the Navies of 9 countries, including the USA, Australia and Italy.

Intermarine Hands Over «Vahterpaa» Minehunter to the Finnish Navy; completion of contract for three minehunters
Intermarine Hands Over «Vahterpaa» Minehunter to the Finnish Navy; completion of contract for three minehunters



The «Katanpää» class mine countermeasures vessels are based on the «Lat Ya» class vessel constructed by Intermarine for the Thai Navy, which entered service in 1999.

The hull of the Katanpää class vessels (length 171.9-feet/52.4 m, width approximately 32.8 feet/10 m, displacement 680 t) is made from glass fibre reinforced plastic, using the special «unstiffened monocoque single skin» construction technique adopted for all Intermarine mine hunters, but with a new type of glass fibre developed specifically for this project.

The superstructures are built in a «sandwich» configuration (two layers in fibreglass and carbon fibre encasing an internal balsa layer) with the vacuum infusion method, already successfully used by Intermarine to build 42.65 feet/13 m patrol boats and for the bridges of 91.86 and 118.11 feet/28 and 36 m patrol boats, but employed for the first time for minehunter superstructures.

The vessels are equipped with two 1 MW MTU 8V 396TE74 diesel engines, each fitted with a five-blade epicycloidal «Voith Schneider» propeller (size 18”, model GH/135-PP), for a top speed of more than 13 knots/14 mph/24 km/h.

For maximum navigation precision in the tricky waters of the Finnish archipelago, propulsion is implemented with two Schottel tunnel bow thrusters.

The vessels feature a complete and highly versatile «Mission Suite», enabling the Finnish Navy to use the MCMVs as tool boxes, selecting the best system for the mission in relation to environmental and operating conditions.

The Katanpää Class MCMVs are fitted with an advanced command and control system (supplied by Atlas Elektronik, with six consoles) and latest-generation mine hunting and neutralisation equipment.

The ability to search for and locate mines is largely based on the use of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), including the HUGIN 1000 (produced by Kongsberg) and the REMUS (produced by Hydroid), flanked by an Atlas HMS-12M hull-mounted sonar and a side scan sonar (supplied by Klein).

Mine destruction capability is guaranteed by a Double Eagle II reusable ROV (from Saab Underwater System) and a Sea Fox underwater vehicle (from Atlas Elektronik).

Armaments consist of a Bofors 40/70-mm gun supplied by the Finnish Navy.


Main technical data

Dimensions 172 × 32.4 feet/52.45 × 9.87 m
Displacement 680 t
Speed 13 knots/14 mph/24 km/h
Crew 34 people
Range 1,500 NM/1,726 miles/2,778 km
Engines 2 × MTU 8V 396 TE74 (2 × 1000 kW)
Propulsion 2 × «Voith Schneider» epi-cycloidal propellers
Armaments Bofors 40-mm gun
Sonar Hull-mounted, Atlas HMS – 12M
R.O.V.s. SeaFox + Double Eagle
Command and control Atlas IMCMS-FN
Underwater vehicles AUV 1 – Kongsberg Hugin 1000
AUV 2 – Hydroid Remus
Side Scan Sonar – Klein


Viper in Romania

Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, is pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with IAR – Ghimbav Brasov Group, a leading company in the Romanian defense and aerospace industry.

Romanian aerospace manufacturer will engage with American manufacturer to discuss potential collaboration on AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter
Romanian aerospace manufacturer will engage with American manufacturer to discuss potential collaboration on AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter

«Bell Helicopter is a strong global partner and we are pleased to have this opportunity», said Ion Dumitrescu, general director of IAR – Ghimbav Brasov. «We look forward to exploring different avenues of cooperation on one of the most capable platforms in the world».

IAR – Ghimbav Brasov specializes in aeronautical structures and electrical work, with a special emphasis on MRO capabilities for helicopters. The company has been in operation for more than eight decades and is well positioned to provide support for the AH-1Z «Viper» attack helicopter should it be purchased by the Romanian government.

«We are excited about potential collaboration with a company as well regarded as IAR – Ghimbav Brasov. Their talented engineers and specialists make them a leader in the Romanian defense industry», said Lisa Atherton, Bell Helicopter executive vice president of Military Business. «The potential for the AH-1Z Viper in Romania is exciting, and the AH-1Z should be a very strong candidate in addressing the Romanian government’s need for an advanced, reliable platform for security and defense».

NATO guidelines published in 2015 encourage member nations to dedicate 2% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for defense spending. The goal is to modernize equipment and enhance capabilities in order to more effectively contribute to national and regional defense. Many governments in Eastern Europe are increasing defense spending to better support the goal of defensive strength and deterrence in response to increasing regional threats. The government of Romania continues to commit funding and resources to help meet the NATO threshold, and expect to exceed their current 1.7% defense spending level in the coming years.

The AH-1Z Viper is the most advanced anti-tank attack helicopter in production.  It is designed in partnership with the United States Marine Corps and carries the widest range of precision weapons and most advanced sensors available. The Viper has a combat radius greater than 149 miles/240 km when carrying 16 Hellfire missiles, 2 AIM-9’s, and 650 20-mm rounds. The Viper offers more capability than other available attack platforms with lower acquisition, maintenance and life-cycle costs.