3-megajoule railgun

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced on June 22 that projectiles with on-board electronics survived the railgun launch environment and performed their intended functions in four consecutive tests on 9-10 June at the U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. The week of test activity included marking the 100th successful launch from the GA-EMS’ 3 megajoule Blitzer electromagnetic railgun.

Blitzer 3-megajoule Electromagnetic Railgun
Blitzer 3-megajoule Electromagnetic Railgun

«This is a significant milestone in the technology development toward a railgun weapon system and marks the first time flight dynamics data have been successfully measured and down-linked from an aerodynamic projectile fired from our railgun on an open test range», stated Nick Bucci, Vice President Missile Defense Systems, GA Electromagnetic Systems Group. «GA-EMS’ successful testing and on-going investment to advance our scalable railgun and projectile technologies illustrates our commitment to mature this transformational weapon system and provide the warfighter multi-mission advantages across several platforms».

During the week of testing, the electronics on-board the projectiles successfully measured in-bore accelerations and projectile dynamics, for several kilometers downrange, with the integral data link continuing to operate after the projectiles impacted the desert floor. On-board measurement of flight dynamics is essential for precision guidance. The test projectiles were launched at accelerations over 30,000 times that of gravity and were exposed to the full electromagnetic environment of the railgun launch.

GA-EMS’ Blitzer railgun is a test asset designed and manufactured by GA-EMS to advance technology development toward multi-mission weapon systems. Railguns launch projectiles using electromagnetic forces instead of chemical propellants and can deliver muzzle velocities greater than twice those of conventional guns. Blitzer railgun technology, when integrated into a weapon system that includes the launcher, high-density capacitor driven pulsed power, and weapon fire control system, can launch multi-mission projectiles with shorter time-to-target and greater effectiveness at longer range.

GA provides energy storage units for U.S. Navy 32-megajoule Railgun
GA provides energy storage units for U.S. Navy 32-megajoule Railgun

 

Electromagnetic Systems Group of General Atomics

The Electromagnetic Systems Group of General Atomics (GA-EMS) is actively working to bring electromagnetic railgun technology to the Department of Defense for multiple missions: integrated air and missile defense, surface fire support and anti-surface warfare.

GA-EMS’s expertise in electromagnetics stems from GA’s long history in high power electrical systems, from developing and building both fission and fusion reactors, through the Navy’s first electromagnetic launch and recovery equipment for aircraft carriers.

GA-EMS has developed, built and successfully tested two railguns, the internally funded the Blitzer 3 MJ system and a 32 MJ launcher for the Office of Naval Research (ONR). GA-EMS also designed and built the pulse power supply for both guns and is developing projectiles for air and missile defense and precision strike.

GA-EMS is continuing the Blitzer family of railguns with a 10 MJ system designed for mobile and fixed land-based applications.

Railguns deliver muzzle velocities up to twice those of conventional guns, resulting in shorter time to target and higher lethality at greater range with no propellant required onboard the platform. Railguns offer much deeper magazines and lower cost per engagement compared with missiles of comparable range.

Shorter time to the target and extended range

Railguns can reliably launch projectiles to muzzle velocities of Mach 6-7+. A round fired at sea level can reach the horizon in 6 to 7 seconds and still be traveling faster than a conventional gun‑launched munition at its muzzle.

Lethality without high explosives

Hypervelocity impact achieves high lethality through kinetic energy, eliminating the safety and logistic burdens of explosives.

Multi-mission capability

Railgun weapon systems employ guided, maneuverable projectiles, which can accomplish multiple missions with the same round. Railguns can also fire a family of different projectiles with varying capabilities, levels of sophistication, and cost.

Elimination of propellant

Because rounds are launched electromagnetically, propellant is not required. This results in much smaller rounds, enabling many more stowed rounds in a constrained volume as well as improved safety and reduced logistics burden.

Lower cost

The confluence of microelectronics, nanotechnologies, and electromagnetic acceleration enable missile performance without rocket motors. Railgun-launched guided projectiles are expected to be much lower cost than current assets for integrated air and missile defense.

Higher firepower

With deep magazines and high, sustained firing rates, railguns provide unprecedented firepower.

Reduced Asymmetry

The lower cost and higher firepower of railguns levels the playing field with potential adversaries.

General Atomics Railgun Projectile Development Passes Critical Tests at U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Ground

John Warner Delivered

Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division delivered the nuclear-powered fast attack submarine USS John Warner (SSN-785) to the U.S. Navy on Jun 25, 2015. The Virginia-class submarine, the first to be named for a person, was delivered two and a half months ahead of schedule.

The submarine USS John Warner (SSN-785) delivered on June 25, 2015, two and a half months ahead of schedule (Photo by Chris Oxley/HII)
The submarine USS John Warner (SSN-785) delivered on June 25, 2015, two and a half months ahead of schedule (Photo by Chris Oxley/HII)

«This submarine embodies the spirit of Senator Warner and symbolizes his unwavering support for the Navy and the shipyard», said Jim Hughes, Newport News’ vice president of submarines and fleet support. «It’s truly special to have a boat named after a living person, and we as shipbuilders are proud to deliver John Warner to the Navy because this submarine will continue Senator Warner’s enduring legacy».

John Warner is the 12th Virginia-class submarine and the sixth to be delivered by Newport News. Nearly 4,000 shipbuilders have worked on the submarine since construction began in 2010. The nuclear-powered fast attack submarine was named for John Warner, who served as Secretary of the Navy and represented Virginia in the Senate for 30 years. USS John Warner (SSN-785) was christened by Senator Warner’s wife, Jeanne Warner, on September 6, 2014. Commissioning is scheduled on August 1.

«Today, we are excited to join the operational fleet and to bring Senator Warner’s legacy back to the Navy, carrying on his tradition of service to our nation», said Commander Dan Caldwell, the submarine’s commanding officer. «The crew and the ship have performed exceptionally well during the acceptance trials, and we are prepared and excited to conduct the operational missions which await us».

Newport News is teamed with General Dynamics Electric Boat to build Virginia-class submarines, which use advanced technologies to increase firepower, maneuverability and stealth. The 377-foot-long/114.8-meter-long submarines are capable of submerged speeds of more than 25 knots/28 mph/46.3 km/h and can stay submerged for up to three months at a time.

She will be the first in the class to be named after a person
She will be the first in the class to be named after a person

 

General Characteristics

Builder Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. – Newport News Shipbuilding
Date Deployed Jun 25, 2015
Propulsion One S9G* nuclear reactor, one shaft
Length 377 feet/114.8 m
Beam 33 feet/10.0584 m
Hull Diameter 34 feet/10.5156 m
Displacement Approximately 7,800 tons/7,925 metric tons submerged
Speed 25+ knots/28+ mph/46.3+ km/h
Diving Depth 800+ feet/244+ m
Crew 132: 15 officers; 117 enlisted
Armament: Tomahawk missiles two 87-inch/2.2-meter Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs), each capable of launching 6 Tomahawk cruise missiles
Armament: MK-48 ADCAP (Advanced Capability) Mod 7 heavyweight torpedoes 4 torpedo tubes
Weapons MK-60 CAPTOR (Encapsulated Torpedo) mines, advanced mobile mines and UUVs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicles)

* – Knolls Atomic Power Laboratories

The Virginia-class submarine USS John Warner (SSN-785) completed alpha sea trials on Saturday. All systems, components and compartments were tested. The submarine also submerged for the first time and operated at high speeds on the surface and underwater (Photo by Chris Oxley/HII)
The Virginia-class submarine USS John Warner (SSN-785) completed alpha sea trials on Saturday. All systems, components and compartments were tested. The submarine also submerged for the first time and operated at high speeds on the surface and underwater (Photo by Chris Oxley/HII)

 

Nuclear Submarine Lineup

Ship Yard Christening Commissioned Homeport
SSN-774 Virginia EB 8-16-03 10-23-04 Portsmouth, New Hampshire
SSN-775 Texas NNS 7-31-05 9-9-06 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
SSN-776 Hawaii EB 6-19-06 5-5-07 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
SSN-777 North Carolina NNS 4-21-07 5-3-08 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
SSN-778 New Hampshire EB 6-21-08 10-25-08 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-779 New Mexico NNS 12-13-08 11-21-09 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-780 Missouri EB 12-5-09 7-31-10 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-781 California NNS 11-6-10 10-29-11 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-782 Mississippi EB 12-3-11 6-2-12 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-783 Minnesota NNS 10-27-12 9-7-13 Norfolk, Virginia
SSN-784 North Dakota EB 11-2-13 10-25-14 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-785 John Warner NNS 09-06-14

EB – Electric Boat, Groton, Connecticut

NNS – Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia

Concept phase

The concept phase start-up for a new European helicopter, Airbus Helicopters’ X6, was announced on June 16 at the Paris Air Show, initiating a two-year definition period on this next-generation heavy-lift rotorcraft that will be tailored for the civil market. X6 will initially target oil and gas missions and will also be perfectly suited for Search and Rescue, VIP and other applications.

Airbus Helicopters launches X6 concept phase, setting the standard for the future in heavy-lift rotorcraft
Airbus Helicopters launches X6 concept phase, setting the standard for the future in heavy-lift rotorcraft

Major marketing, architecture and design choices for the twin-engine aircraft will be assessed to meet customer operational requirements during the concept phase, supported by a significant dialog with customers worldwide to validate the X6’s value creation for their operations.

The X6 is the newest arrival in Airbus Helicopters’ H generation, continuing on from the success of the recently unveiled H160. In line with its company-wide transformation, Airbus Helicopters continues to live up to the excellence of the Airbus name and sets its ambitions looking forward.

«X6 will be for the heavy segment in the next decade what the H160 is today for the mediums. It will set new standards in the industry not only for design, but for its production strategy as well, as we will rely on the industrial capacities of our core countries, including the upcoming pillar in Poland», explained Guillaume Faury, the President & CEO of Airbus Helicopters. «Our objective is to bring to the market the most efficient helicopter solutions adapted for how our customers’ needs and the industry itself will evolve in the future».

In defining and developing the X6, Airbus Helicopters will build on its reputation as a recognized leader in the industry, resulting in a next-generation, twin-engine rotorcraft that is mature and all-weather ready – including full de-icing – from the first delivery. One of the major innovations to be integrated on X6 is the Fly-by-Wire flight control system.

As the latest program to benefit from Airbus Helicopters’ long history of innovation and expertise, the X6 will share commonality features with the company’s latest rotorcraft – including the new H175 and H160. As one of the key-programs for the coming decades, the X6 also will maintain Airbus Helicopters’ leadership in the oil and gas sector.

Once adequate program maturity has been achieved in the concept phase, a subsequent development phase will follow, leading to an X6 entry into service anticipated in the 2020s.

 

King’s Fuselage

Spirit AeroSystems has successfully delivered to Sikorsky the third fuselage section for the CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter program’s System Demonstration and Test Article (SDTA) contract. Consisting of an integrated cockpit and cabin structure with a separately attached tail section, the composite-skinned fuselage will enable prime contractor Sikorsky to begin assembling the third of four SDTA aircraft to further solidify the final production configuration of the CH-53K aircraft for the U.S. Marine Corps.

Spirit AeroSystems has design and build responsibility on the composite fuselage for the Sikorsky CH-53K helicopter
Spirit AeroSystems has design and build responsibility on the composite fuselage for the Sikorsky CH-53K helicopter

«Spirit AeroSystems is pleased to be a major supplier to a new generation, heavy-lift helicopter capability for the Marine Corps», said Phil Anderson, Spirit senior vice president of Defense Programs. «The strong, lightweight composite structures we are providing to Sikorsky will in turn give the Marine Corps a much needed increase in payload capability».

Sikorsky came under contract to the U.S. Navy in 2013 to assemble and deliver the four SDTA aircraft by 2017 in support of the Marine Corps operational evaluation of the CH-53K platform. Spirit is on contract to deliver to Sikorsky the final SDTA fuselage unit later this year.

The U.S. Marine Corps will employ the four SDTA aircraft to verify the helicopter’s design capability to carry 27,000 pounds/12,247 kg over 110 nautical miles/126.6 miles/203.7 km under «high hot» ambient conditions, tripling the external load carrying capacity of the current CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter.

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

 

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

Cyclone to Canada

On June 19, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. delivered six CH-148 Cyclone helicopters to the Canadian government during an acceptance celebration joined by Canada’s Defense Minister Jason Kenney, Public Works and Government Services Minister Diane Finley, Justice Minister Peter MacKay and Regional Ministers. Representing Sikorsky, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., was William Gostic, Vice President of the Maritime Helicopter Program (MHP), who hailed the event as «a major milestone for the Canadian Armed Forces, our industry partners, Sikorsky and all of our employees committed to this unique and highly sophisticated aircraft».

MHP has a contract in place to supply 12 Canadian – Recovery, Assist, Secure and Traverse Systems (formerly known as Helicopter Hauldown Rapid Securing Devices) for the 12 Halifax-class ships in service with the Canadian Armed Forces
MHP has a contract in place to supply 12 Canadian – Recovery, Assist, Secure and Traverse Systems (formerly known as Helicopter Hauldown Rapid Securing Devices) for the 12 Halifax-class ships in service with the Canadian Armed Forces

The six helicopters represent the first of 28 Cyclone aircraft that Sikorsky will deliver to the Canadian Armed Forces to perform a full range of anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, search and rescue, and utility missions in various environments. Sikorsky will introduce increased capabilities that will be phased in while the Royal Canadian Air Force determines operational strategy and more personnel are trained to fly and maintain the aircraft. More than 40 military personnel have completed initial training already. Completion of all deliveries and capability upgrades will enable replacement of the venerable Sea King fleet, also provided by Sikorsky, beginning in 2018.

«In addition to today’s deliveries, Sikorsky will continue developing and enhancing the capability of the Cyclone to meet all of Canada’s required operational capabilities. In our view, the CH-148 Cyclone will be the world’s most advanced maritime helicopter», said Gostic. «In parallel to the development effort, Sikorsky and our Canadian partners are committed to delivering world class, in-service support of the Cyclone to the men and women who fly and maintain the aircraft. It is a privilege for us to serve the Canadian Armed Forces, and one we take with the highest sense of responsibility».

«Today is an exciting day as we take another significant step forward in the Cyclone project», said The Honorable Jason Kenney, Minister of National Defense, during the aircraft acceptance celebration at the Canadian Forces’ base in Shearwater. «I am confident this modern aircraft will improve our aviators’ and sailors’ ability to work together in defense of Canada from current and future threats».

The new CH-148 Cyclone, in its final configuration, will be a leading maritime helicopter at the forefront of modern technology
The new CH-148 Cyclone, in its final configuration, will be a leading maritime helicopter at the forefront of modern technology

The Honorable Diane Finley, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, said, «Last year our government committed to delivering the first CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopters, and I am pleased to be here today to see them now safely in the hands of the Canadian Armed Forces. This marks an important milestone in our Maritime Helicopter Project and demonstrates our commitment to equipping our men and women in uniform with state-of-the-art helicopters».

«Our government is committed to supporting our men and women in uniform across the country», said The Honorable Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. «With today’s announcement, this government is once again showing its support for our forces by providing them with the lifesaving equipment they need to do their challenging job protecting Canadians».

Sikorsky International Operations Inc., as the prime contractor for MHP, will build the CH-148 in Bridgeport, Connecticut and West Palm Beach, Florida. General Dynamics Canada Ltd. and L-3 MAS are principal sub-contractors to Sikorsky. Development of the mission data management system, integration testing of the integrated mission system and development of all shipboard and ground-based support systems will be performed by General Dynamics Canada Ltd. at their Ottawa and Calgary engineering facilities.

The Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone helicopter is a military variant of the Sikorsky S-92
The Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone helicopter is a military variant of the Sikorsky S-92

 

Characteristics

Power plant and fuel system
Number of Engines 2
Engine Type General Electric CT7-8A
Maximum Take Off 2,520 shp/1,879 kW
One Engine Inoperative (OEI) horsepower 2,740 shp/2,043 kW
Performance
Maximum Gross Weight 26,500 lbs/12,018 kg
Maximum Cruise Speed 151 knots/174 mph/280 km/h
Maximum Range – No Reserve 539 NM/621 miles/999 km
Hovering In Ground Effect (HIGE) Ceiling 9,000 feet/2,743 m
Hover Out of Ground Effect (HOGE) Ceiling 6,500 feet/1,981 m
OEI Service Ceiling 5,000 feet/1,524 m
All Engine Operable (AEO) Service Ceiling 15,000 feet/4,572 m
Accommodations
Cabin Length 20 feet/6 m
Cabin Width 6.6 feet/2 m
Cabin Height 6 feet/1.8m
Cabin Area 132 feet2/12 m2
Cabin Volume 792 feet3/21.6 m3

 

Valor at the start

Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, and Spirit AeroSystems Inc. announced on June 15, 2015 that major assembly has started on the Bell V-280 Valor fuselage. The delivery of the first V-280 fuselage to the Bell Helicopter facility in Amarillo, Texas, is expected later this year. First flight of the V-280 Technology Demonstrator is anticipated in the second half of 2017.

Textron has started on the fuselage assembly
Textron has started on the fuselage assembly

«Spirit AeroSystems brings decades of composite manufacturing experience to the team which allows us to quickly build an aircraft like the V-280», said Phil Anderson, Spirit AeroSystems senior vice president of Defense. «This is a major milestone for the technology demonstrator unit. Spirit AeroSystems is proud to be on Team Valor and we are excited to be designing and building the composite cabin and cockpit for the V-280».

«U.S. ground forces require significant increase in speed and range to operate against and strike adversary systems much deeper than existing platforms», said Mitch Snyder, executive vice president of Military Business for Bell Helicopter. «That is the vision for Future Vertical Lift (FVL). The V-280 advanced technology tiltrotor provides the Department of Defense (DoD) with unmatched speed, range and payload for expeditionary maneuver to win these future conflicts. We are confident in the capability that the V-280 will provide, and we are proud to have Spirit AeroSystems adding their expertise to Team Valor and to the Bell V-280. Spirit AeroSystems beginning major assembly on the V-280 fuselage brings this high-performance aircraft one step closer to completion».

With more than twice the speed and twice the range of current helicopter platforms, the Bell V-280 is designed to provide combatant commanders with the ability to reach the battlefield while providing superior low-speed agility at the objective. The efficient speed and reduced reaction time provided by the V-280 will allow operators to outmaneuver their adversaries. The tiltrotor’s speed, range and payload significantly reduce logistical, security and medical footprints, freeing up personnel and additional combat power.

Bell Helicopter has led the formation of Team Valor, a group of preeminent aerospace companies bringing the best engineering resources and industrial capabilities to meet the Department of Defense’s anticipated needs.

In August 2014, the JMR-TD government team selected Bell Helicopter to build and fly the V-280 Valor as part of the demonstration program
In August 2014, the JMR-TD government team selected Bell Helicopter to build and fly the V-280 Valor as part of the demonstration program

 

Facts

Speed:                                       280 KTAS/322 mph/518 km/h

Combat Range:                    500-800 NM/575-920 miles/926-1,481 km

Strategically Self-Deployable:    2,100+ NM/2.416.5 miles/3,889 km

High/Hot 6k/95F Hover Out of Ground Effect (HOGE) Performance

Carries crew of four and 14 troops

Useful load of 12,000+ lbs/5,443+ kg

Triple redundant fly-by-wire flight control system

Conventional, retractable landing gear

Two 6’ wide large side doors for ease of rapid ingress/egress

Enhanced situational awareness and sensing technologies

Advanced tiltrotor to offer significant capabilities increase in speed, range and access
Advanced tiltrotor to offer significant capabilities increase in speed, range and access

 

Team Valor includes:

Lockheed Martin

Spirit AeroSystems

Astronics

Eaton

General Electric

GKN Aerospace

Israel Aerospace Industries

Lord

Meggitt

Moog

TRU Simulation and Training

 

The Future of Vertical Lift has taken shape, as a full-scale mockup of the Bell V-280 Valor

 

H160’s first flight

Airbus Helicopters’ highly innovative H160 flew for the first time in Marignane on Saturday, 13 June, shortly after beginning its ground runs end of May. The aircraft flew for about 40 minutes in ground effect that allowed the flight test team to check the overall behavior of the aircraft and to verify the measurements.

The first prototype of Airbus HC’s new H160 helicopter has begun flight tests, with two more prototypes to follow; service introduction is scheduled for 2018 (Airbus HC photo)
The first prototype of Airbus HC’s new H160 helicopter has begun flight tests, with two more prototypes to follow; service introduction is scheduled for 2018 (Airbus HC photo)

«The first flight was very promising in terms of stability, vibrations, and sound levels», said Olivier Gensse, the flight test pilot, upon landing the Airbus aircraft. The flight test campaign has now been launched and the next flights will begin to open the flight envelope progressively. The new aircraft already reached 130 knots/150 mph/240 km/h during the second flight on Wednesday, 17 June.

«We are very proud that the H160 has reached another milestone on time», said Bernard Fujarski, head of the H160 program. «The dedication of the team working on the program has paid off and we are all looking forward to the final development phase to bring this highly anticipated helicopter to the market».

In order to complete this final development phase and to ensure the H160’s entry into service in 2018, Airbus Helicopters is relying on three dedicated prototypes and two helicopter zero integration test means. The first prototype will pursue its flight test campaign, including its first hot weather flight tests planned for this summer. The second Airbus prototype performed its first power-on 12 June.

Airbus Helicopters has renamed its product range replacing the former «EC» designation with an «H»
Airbus Helicopters has renamed its product range replacing the former «EC» designation with an «H»

The H160 opens a new chapter in the history of Airbus Helicopters. Joining the product range between the H145 (formerly EC145) and the H175 (formerly EC175), this innovative medium helicopter becomes the first new member of the H generation.

The entire design was based on one overriding goal: to create added value for customers in terms of performance, economic competitiveness, safety and comfort. Both cleaner and quieter, the H160 takes a step forward in respect for the environment.

Configurations being developed include offshore transportation, business and private aviation, public services, and commercial passenger transport. The H160 was unveiled at the Heli-Expo trade show in March 2015.

 

Three months after its introduction to the public at the Heli-Expo air show in Orlando, Florida, UAS, and following its first ground run on May 28, the H160 has now successfully performed its first flight in Marignane on Saturday, 13 June

 

The Second FREMM

On June 12th in Brest, DCNS delivered the FREMM multi-mission frigate D652 Provence to the French Navy, as stipulated in the contract. This frigate is the second of the series ordered by OCCAR (l’Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’Armement – Organisation for Joint Armament) on behalf of the DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement – French armament procurement agency).

The D652 Provence, the French navy’s second FREMM-class multipurpose frigate, leaves Lorient after being officially handed over. DCNS now has four similar frigates in various stages of completion, and additional orders are planned (DCNS photos)
The D652 Provence, the French navy’s second FREMM-class multipurpose frigate, leaves Lorient after being officially handed over. DCNS now has four similar frigates in various stages of completion, and additional orders are planned (DCNS photos)

Delivery of the FREMM multi-mission frigate Provence is the result of a design and construction process managed by DCNS in close cooperation with the French Navy, DGA and OCCAR teams. All DCNS sites, its partners and subcontractors took part to this technological and industrial success to ensure compliance with the industrial milestones, in particular the launching in September 2013 and the first sea outing in September 2014.

The delivery of the second series to the French Navy took place just a few weeks after the first successful firing in Europe of a naval cruise missile from the first-of-class, the FREMM D650 Aquitaine. The sale of a frigate to the Royal Moroccan Navy and the Egyptian Navy, as well as the announcement of the launch of the intermediate-size frigates programme, boost DCNS ambitions for international development thanks to a broader offer of first of rank surface ships.

«The delivery of the FREMM Provence represents an opportunity to applaud the industrial and technological prowess of DCNS and its subcontractors. It underlines our ability to produce first of rank combat ships that meet our client navies needs, such as those of Morocco and Egypt», stated Anne Bianchi, Director of FREMM programmes. «Today, we are proud to deliver this second ship to the French Navy».

DCNS designs, builds and maintains submarines and surface vessels
DCNS designs, builds and maintains submarines and surface vessels

 

SETIS, one of the most effective sea-proven combat systems on the market

The delivery of the FREMM Provence marks the culmination in the ramping up of SETIS (Ship Enhanced Tactical Information System), the latest-generation combat system developed by DCNS. The ship is now equipped with a cutting-edge solution that is perfectly integrated on board. Indeed, the successful firing of the naval cruise missile on May 19th 2015 from the FREMM Aquitaine is a demonstration of the anti-land warfare capabilities directed at targets located deep in enemy territory. Added to the anti-submarine, anti-surface and anti-air warfare capabilities, the FREMM has now reached its full technological capabilities.

«DCNS has successfully accomplished this essential step for the FREMM SETIS combat system. We are proud to have contributed to the successful firing of a cruise missile from a surface ship, a first in Europe. This result is a demonstration of DCNS expertise in the area of the design and integration of combat systems», stressed Anne Bianchi.

The FREMM D652 Provence delivered on 12 June 2015
The FREMM D652 Provence delivered on 12 June 2015

 

Four FREMM at different stages of construction at DCNS Lorient Shipyard

For DCNS, the FREMM programme currently involves the construction of ten frigates, eight of them for the French Navy. Six of these are to be delivered by 2019 and the remaining two frigates, equipped with extended anti-aircraft capabilities, will be delivered before 2022. Two other were sold for export clients: the Royal Moroccan Navy and the Egyptian Navy.

The delivery of the FREMM Provence takes place at a time when the FREMM programme is powering ahead on the DCNS site in Lorient. To date, three FREMM frigates are under construction and one is being prepared before being delivered:

The FREMM D650 Aquitaine, first in series, delivered in 2012.

The FREMM 701 Mohammed VI, for the Royal Moroccan Navy, delivered in 2014.

The FREMM D652 Provence, delivered on 12 June 2015.

The FREMM intended for the Egyptian Navy, formerly the FREMM D651 Normandie, will be delivered in summer 2015.

The FREMM D653 Languedoc will make its first sea outing in autumn 2015.

The FREMM D654 Auvergne is currently in the final stages of construction and will be launched in September 2015.

The FREMM D656 Bretagne is currently being assembled.

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

 

Technical characteristics of the FREMMs

The FREMM multi-mission frigate is one of the most technologically advanced and competitive ships on the market. Its versatility and manoeuvrability meet the operational requirements of numerous navies around the world. Equipped with high-tech sensors and weapons, integrated with the SETIS latest-generation combat system developed by DCNS, the frigate can counter all types of threats, whether air, surface, submarine or land-based.

The heavily armed FREMM frigate is equipped with the most effective weapons systems and equipment, such as the Herakles multifunction radar, the Aster and Exocet MM 40 missiles, or the MU 90 torpedoes. It is innovative and offers unequalled levels of interoperability and availability. This combat ship is capable of meeting the expectations of numerous navies.

Total length: 466 feet/142 m

Width: 65.6 feet/20 m

Displacement: 6,000 tonnes

Maximum speed: 27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h

Operation: 108 persons (including helicopter detachment)

Accommodation capacity: 145 men and women

Range: 6,000 nautical miles/6,905 miles/11,112 km at 15 knots/17 mph/28 km/h

Provence 's broader weapons and equipment fit includes: the Thales HERAKLES multifunction radar and ARTEMIS panoramic surveillance system; the Terma Scanter 2001 navigation and surveillance radars; Thales' UMS 4110 CL and CAPTAS 4 hull-mounted and towed sonar systems; the DCNS SETIS combat management system; Sagem's Vigy MM fire-control system; Thales' SIC 21 command-and-control information system; 16 Aster 15 surface-to-air missiles, 16 Missile de Croisiere Naval (MdCN) long-range cruise missiles, and eight Exocet MM 40 Block 3 anti-ship missiles, all from MBDA; Oto Melara's 76/62 Super Rapid gun; 19 Eurotorp MU90 lightweight torpedoes; Sagem's NGDS decoy launchers; and Thales Surfsat-L SATCOM terminals
Provence ‘s broader weapons and equipment fit includes: the Thales HERAKLES multifunction radar and ARTEMIS panoramic surveillance system; the Terma Scanter 2001 navigation and surveillance radars; Thales’ UMS 4110 CL and CAPTAS 4 hull-mounted and towed sonar systems; the DCNS SETIS combat management system; Sagem’s Vigy MM fire-control system; Thales’ SIC 21 command-and-control information system; 16 Aster 15 surface-to-air missiles, 16 Missile de Croisiere Naval (MdCN) long-range cruise missiles, and eight Exocet MM 40 Block 3 anti-ship missiles, all from MBDA; Oto Melara’s 76/62 Super Rapid gun; 19 Eurotorp MU90 lightweight torpedoes; Sagem’s NGDS decoy launchers; and Thales Surfsat-L SATCOM terminals

Christening of Gabby

The U.S. Navy christened its tenth Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10), during a midday ceremony June 13 at Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. LCS 10 is named after former United States Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

The future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10), a Littoral Combat Ship built at the Austal USA shipyards in Mobile, Alabama, is christened during a ceremony Saturday, June 13, 2015, on the Mobile River
The future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10), a Littoral Combat Ship built at the Austal USA shipyards in Mobile, Alabama, is christened during a ceremony Saturday, June 13, 2015, on the Mobile River

«The christening of the future USS Gabrielle Giffords marks the beginning of what is certain to be a long life for this great ship», said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. «It is also a celebration of the skill and dedication of the men and women who have built LCS 10 and the courage of her namesake. This ship truly embodies the Navy motto of Semper Fortis – Always Courageous».

During the event, Second Lady of the United States Doctor Jill Biden, the ship’s sponsor, smashed a champagne bottle on the bow as other dignitaries, including Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle and former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and her husband Captain Mark Kelly, USN (Retired), were watching from the platform.

Though Gabby’s comments were brief, Giffords’ excitement shown through every word during Saturday’s christening ceremony. «Thank you to all the people who built this ship. She’s stealthy. She will defend freedom around the world. Go Navy», Giffords said.

The LCS class consists of the Freedom variant and Independence variant, each designed and built by different industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for odd-numbered hulls, e.g., LCS-1). The Independence variant team is led by General Dynamics (LCS-2 and LCS-4) and Austal USA (for the subsequent even-numbered hulls). Purchased under the innovative block-buy acquisition strategy, there are 12 ships currently under construction.

While capable of open-ocean tasking, LCS is intended to operate in the littorals – shallow, coastal waters. As such, the ships can operate in water as shallow as 20 feet/6 meter deep and can travel at speeds in excess of 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h. USS Freedom (LCS-1) and USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) recently demonstrated these critical capabilities as part of their operational deployments to U.S. 7th Fleet in the Asia-Pacific region.

The ship is Austal's fifth in a $3.5 billion, 10-ship Independence-class LCS contract with the Navy
The ship is Austal’s fifth in a $3.5 billion, 10-ship Independence-class LCS contract with the Navy

 

The Independence Variant of the LCS Class

Principal dimensions

Construction:                         Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy

Length overall:                       417 feet/127.1 m

Beam overall:                          103 feet/31.4 m

Hull draft (maximum):        14.8 feet/4.5 m

 

Payload and capacities

Complement:                          Core Crew – 40

Mission crew – 36

Berthing:                                   76 in a mix of single, double & quad berthing compartments

Maximum mission load:   210 tonnes

Mission packages:               ASW, SUW, MIW

 

Propulsion

Main engines:                        2 × GE LM2500

2 × MTU 20V 8000

Waterjets:                                4 × Wartsila steerable

Bow thruster:                         Retractable azimuthing

It is 16th U.S. naval ship to be named for a woman and only the 13th since 1850 to be named for a living person
It is 16th U.S. naval ship to be named for a woman and only the 13th since 1850 to be named for a living person

Performance

Speed:                                         40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h

Range:                                         3,500 NM/4,028 miles/6,482 km

Operational limitation:      Survival in Sea State 8

 

Mission/Logistics deck

Deck area:                                  >21,527.8 feet2/2,000 m2

Launch and recovery:          Twin boom extending crane

Loading:                                       Side ramp

Internal elevator to hanger

 

Flight deck and hanger

Flight deck dimensions:      2 × SH-60 or 1 × CH-53

Hanger:                               Aircraft stowage & maintenance for 2 × SH-60

 

Weapons and sensors

Standard:

1 × 57-mm gun

4 × 12.7-mm/.50 caliber guns

1 × Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) launcher

3 × weapons modules

The ship is a 417-foot trimaran designed to destroy mines, hunt submarines, interdict drugs and rush humanitarian relief to distant shores
The ship is a 417-foot trimaran designed to destroy mines, hunt submarines, interdict drugs and rush humanitarian relief to distant shores

Mobile Landing Platform

On June 12, 2015 General Dynamics NASSCO, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (GD), delivered the U.S. Navy’s newest ship, the USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP-3/AFSB-1). The ship is named in honor of the late U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant General Lewis «Chesty» Puller, the most decorated Marine and the only one to be awarded five Navy Crosses. Construction on the USNS Lewis B. Puller began in 2013.

The USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP-3/AFSB-1) sails past Point Loma during its Builders Trials on April 9th, 2015
The USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP-3/AFSB-1) sails past Point Loma during its Builders Trials on April 9th, 2015

«Today’s delivery of the USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP-3/AFSB-1) to the U.S. Navy symbolizes an immense culmination of efforts made by the hard-working men and women of the General Dynamics NASSCO shipbuilding team», said Kevin Mooney, vice president of operations at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard. «At NASSCO we are building and delivering affordable ships that are providing new and revolutionary capabilities for America’s Navy and Marine Corps».

The Afloat Forward Staging Base (ASFB) modifications add a 52,000 square-foot/4,831 square-meter flight deck, fuel and equipment storage, repair spaces, magazines, mission planning spaces and accommodations for up to 250 personnel. The ship is capable of supporting multiple missions including Air Mine Counter Measures (AMCM), counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions and Marine Corps crisis response. The ship is designed to support MH-53 and MH-60 helicopters, and will be upgraded to support MV-22 tilt rotor aircraft.

Earlier this year, NASSCO shipbuilders christened the ship with a ceremony at the company’s shipyard in San Diego. The commandant of the Marine Corps, General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., was the ceremony’s principal speaker. Ms. Martha Puller Downs, daughter of General Puller, served as the ship’s sponsor.

The U.S. Navy has awarded NASSCO a contract for the detail design and construction of a fourth Mobile Landing Platform (MLP), to be configured as another Afloat Forward Staging Base. Construction of the fourth MLP-4/AFSB-2 is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2015.

The USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP-3/AFSB-1) undergoes Builders Trials April 9th, 2015
The USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP-3/AFSB-1) undergoes Builders Trials April 9th, 2015

 

General Characteristics

Builder:                                              NASSCO

Propulsion:                                      Commercial Diesel Electric Propulsion

Length:                                              785 feet/239.3 m

Beam:                                                 164 feet/50 m

Displacement:                               78,000 tons (fully loaded)

Draft:                        29.5 feet/9 m (fully loaded); 39 feet/12 m (load line)

Speed:                                                15 knots/17 mph/28 km/h

Range:                      9,500 nautical miles/10,932 miles/17,594 km

Crew:                                                 34 Military Sealift Command personnel

Accommodations:                      250 personnel

 

Ships:

USNS Montford Point (MLP-1)

USNS John Glenn (MLP-2)

USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP-3/AFSB-1)

USNS (MLP-4/AFSB-2) – Under construction

General Dynamics NASSCO Delivers USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP-3/AFSB-1)
General Dynamics NASSCO Delivers USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP-3/AFSB-1)