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 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.
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
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).
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».
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.
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.
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.
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 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 Independence Variant of the LCS Class
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
Main engines: 2 × GE LM2500
2 × MTU 20V 8000
Waterjets: 4 × Wartsila steerable
Bow thruster: Retractable azimuthing
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
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
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.
«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.
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
The largest and the first indigenously-built, 40,642-tonne aircraft carrier (IAC) to be christened as INS Vikrant on commissioning was undocked on Jun 10 at a simple ceremony held at the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL).
The ship, being built at CSL, would be required to undergo a series of fitment and trial processes and tests before it becomes ready for propulsion and inducted into the Indian Navy. Major outfitting work of the ship would be undertaken in the coming months. Prior to its delivery to the Indian Navy, the ship has to undergo basin trials and extensive sea trials. The basic design of the IAC was done by the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design.
The successful completion of aircraft carrier puts India in the elite group of four nations in the world who are capable of designing and constructing aircraft carriers. The other four countries are US, China, UK and France.
The ship has a length of over 860 feet/262 metres and breadth of 197 feet/60 metres. It has two take-off runways and a landing strip with three arrester wires, capable of operating Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) aircraft including the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), as well as a range of helicopters with hangar facilities.
The ceremony of undocking of Vikrant was witnessed by Commodore Kartik Subramaniam, Chairman and Managing Director CSL. Also present during the undocking function were other officials of the shipyard.
Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division delivered the National Security Cutter (NSC) USCGC Joshua James (WMSL-754) to the U.S. Coast Guard on Jun 05, 2015. In mid-July the ship will sail to her August 8 commissioning site in Boston.
«Ingalls shipbuilders continue to prove they’re committed to building the world’s best ships», said Jim French, Ingalls’ NSC program manager. «The National Security Cutter program continues to prove the benefits of continuous production, which allows us to learn and improve from ship to ship. From this learning, we are able to build quality ships affordably, safely and on schedule, all the while maintaining the industry standards. All of the Ingalls-built NSCs have been top quality, and James is no exception».
James will join the rest of the Legend-class fleet as the fifth National Security Cutter Ingalls has built for the Coast Guard. The Legend-class NSC is meant to replace the 378-foot/115-m Hamilton-class cutters, which were first introduced in the 1960s. NSCs are 418 feet/127 m long with a 54-foot/16-m beam and displace 4,500 tons with a full load. They have a top speed of 28 knots/32 mph/52 km/h, a range of 12,000 nautical miles/13,809 miles/22,224 km, an endurance of 60 days and a crew of 120.
«This is a great day for our nation, for our Coast Guard, for Ingalls Shipbuilding and for the plankowner crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Joshua James», said Captain Andrew Tiongson, the ship’s commanding officer. «A lot of people worked thousands of hours to get this point, and we thank you».
The fifth National Security Cutter is named to honor Captain Joshua James of the U.S. Life-Saving Service, who is credited with saving over 600 lives and is considered one of the most celebrated lifesavers in the world.
The Legend-class NSC is capable of meeting all maritime security mission needs required of the high-endurance cutter. The cutter includes an aft launch and recovery area for two rigid hull inflatable boats and a flight deck to accommodate a range of manned and unmanned rotary-wing aircraft. It is the largest and most technologically advanced class of cutter in the Coast Guard, with robust capabilities for maritime homeland security, law enforcement, marine safety, environmental protection and national defense missions.
The Legend-class of cutters plays an important role in enhancing the Coast Guard’s operational readiness, capacity and effectiveness at a time when the demand for their services has never been greater.
Two of the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) MH-60R Seahawk helicopters were loaded onto a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-17 at Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21 at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland, for delivery to their new home in Australia May 27, 2015. These two Seahawks mark the halfway point for the U.S. Navy’s foreign military sales agreement with the Commonwealth of Australia for training and production of 24 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, which began in June 2011.
«As they come off the production line, the Australians have picked them up two at a time», said Commander Scott Stringer, HX-21 MH-60R government flight test director. «This is a multi-year plan that should carry into mid-2016. We are delivering brand new aircraft to the Australians. They still have that new car smell with very few flight hours».
RAN squadron 725 is in the process of establishing MH-60R operations at NAS Nowra, New South Wales. Later this year, HX-21 and RAN squadron 725 are scheduled to test unique modifications on the MH-60Rs. These modifications are based on unique RAN requirements and include the addition of an instrument landing system and a crash-survivable data recorder. The collaborative U.S. and RAN test and evaluation of the MH-60R modifications also allows for an open exchange of professional views and experiences.
Because of interoperability – how the two navies have trained and operated together – Stringer explained how he could foresee a U.S. Navy H-60 pilot seamlessly operating during a cross-deck tour on an Australian ship or vice versa.
«We have six people supporting the MH-60R acquisition and sustainment effort at Pax River and share office space with the RAAF Classic Hornet and Super Hornet sustainment team», said Commander Andrew Dawes, RAN MH-60R project resident team lead. «This is something we take a great deal of pride in and greatly appreciate the support that everyone at NAS Pax River is providing in this process».
The mission of HX-21 is to conduct the highest quality developmental flight test and evaluation of rotary-wing and tilt-rotor aircraft, airborne systems in support of all U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps training, operational combat and operational combat support missions.
MH-60R Seahawk (Romeo)
The MH-60R «Romeo» is the most capable and mature Anti-Submarine (ASW)/Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) multi-mission helicopter available in the world today. Together with its sibling, the MH-60S «Sierra», the Seahawk variants have flown more than 650,000 hours across a 500+ aircraft fleet. The MH-60R Seahawk is deployed globally with the U.S. Navy fleet and a growing number of allied international navies.
The journey from the start of MH-60R Seahawk flight-testing through the first deployment, in 2009, of 11 MH-60R helicopters aboard the USS Stennis, represents 1,900 flight hours, the equivalent of 500 labor years, and a considerable financial commitment by Lockheed Martin.
The MH-60R Seahawk, manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft Corp, and equipped with advanced mission systems and sensors by Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training (MST), is capable of detecting and prosecuting modern submarines in littoral and open ocean scenarios.
In addition, MH-60R Seahawk is capable of conducting stand-alone or joint Anti-Surface Warfare missions with other «Romeo» or MH-60S «Sierra» aircraft. Secondary missions include electronic support measures, search and rescue, vertical replenishment, and medical evacuation.
The advanced mission sensor suite developed and integrated by Lockheed Martin includes:
A weapons suite including torpedoes and anti-ship missiles.
Lockheed Martin MST also produces the Common Cockpit avionics, fielded on both the MH-60R «Romeo» and MH-60S «Sierra». The 400th Common Cockpit will be installed on the first Royal Australian Navy MH-60R. In 2012, the Common Cockpit exceeded 600,000 flight hours across an operational fleet of 360 aircraft. The digital, all-glass cockpit features four large, flat-panel, multi-function, night-vision-compatible, color displays. The suite processes and manages communications and sensor data streaming into MH-60 multi-mission helicopters, presenting to the crew of three actionable information that significantly reduces workload while increasing situational awareness.
The U.S. Navy is committed to a long-term preplanned product improvement program, also known as P3I, to keep the MH-60R Seahawk current throughout its life. Recent upgrades have included vital software and mission management systems in the Situational Awareness Technology Insertion (SATI) package as well as design upgrades to the Identification Friend-or-Foe Interrogator Subsystem. Combined with the aircraft’s Automatic Radar Periscope Detection and Discrimination system, the MH-60R’s range of detection will expand – enhancing situational awareness and advanced threat detection – while interference with civil air traffic control systems will diminish.
The MH-60R Electronic Surveillance Measures (ESM) system, which provides aircrew with valuable threat-warning capabilities, has benefited from the installation and maintenance of an ESM autoloader, and the development of Mission Data Loads, which comprise a database of possible threats within a specific region of operations.
Smaller elements are included as well, including the integration of a new multi-function radio called the ARC210 Gen 5 (which sister-aircraft MH-60S «Sierra» will also receive), crucial spare assemblies and integration of other core technologies. The Gen 5 radio will provide MH-60R Seahawk aircrew with flexible and secure communication.
Survivability and crashworthiness are not just attributes of the Seahawk helicopter, they are inherent to the design. A strict military standard makes the Seahawk helicopter a rugged and extremely durable helicopter that delivers safety. Safety that has been proven in real missions, around the world. Some of our aircraft have over thirty years of service and continue to support operations in the most rigorous of environments known to man.
Marinized airframe structure for improved survivability
Multi-functional and durable cabin flooring
Two jettisonable cockpit doors
Single cabin sliding door
Recovery, Assist, Secure and Traverse (RAST) System
Automatic main rotor blade fold
Built-in work platforms, engine cowlings and hydraulic deck
External rescue hoist
6,000 lbs/2,721.55 kg external cargo hook
Active vibration control system
Enhanced Advanced Flight Control System (AFCS) with naval modules and coupled hover capability
Four 8×10 inch (20.3×25.4 cm) full color, night vision device capable, sunlight readable, multi-function mission and flight displays
Secure Very High Frequency/Ultra High Frequency (VHF/UHF) communication
Ballistically tolerant transmission and drive system
ALQ-210 Electronic Support Measures
Integrated avionics with 1553 data bus
Environmental control system
64.83 feet/19.76 m
53.66 feet/16.35 m
16.70 feet/5.10 m
41.05 feet/12.51 m
11.00 feet/3.37 m
12.92 feet/3.94 m
Main rotor diameter
53.66 feet/16.35 m
Tail rotor diameter
11.00 feet/3.35 m
10.8 feet/3.2 m
6.1 feet/1.8 m
4.4 feet/1.3 m
65 feet2/6.0 m2
299 feet3/8.5 m3
Powerplant and fuel system
Number of Engines
Maximum Take Off
3,426 shp/2,554 kW
One Engine Inoperative Shaft horsepower
1,911 shp/1,425 kW
Maximum Take-Off Gross Weight
23,500 lbs/10,682 kg
Mission Gross Weight (Surface Warfare)
21,290 lbs/9,657 kg
Mission Endurance (Surface Warfare)
180 knots/207 mph/333 km/h
Maximum Cruise Speed
144 knots/166 mph/267 km/h
Hovering In Ground Effect (HIGE) Ceiling
14,847 feet/4,525 m
Hover Out of Ground Effect (HOGE) Ceiling
9,945 feet/3,031 m
All Engine Operable (AEO) Service Ceiling
11,282 feet/3,438 m
Anti-ship missiles, torpedoes, 50 cal. guns
Lieutenant Eugene Cleary, Royal Australian Navy, describes this «formidable ASW and Anti-surface platform». Designed for maritime dominance and deployed with the U.S. Navy, the MH-60R Seahawk is the world’s most advanced multi-mission helicopter. The «Romeo» has also been selected by the Royal Danish Navy
The German Federal Ministry of Defence has chosen the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) as the basis for Taktisches LuftVerteidigungsSystem (TLVS), a next-generation network-based tactical air and missile defense system. It will replace Patriot air defense systems initially fielded in the 1980s. Lockheed Martin will share in development of Germany’s TLVS with its MEADS International partner MBDA Deutschland.
«Lockheed Martin is fully committed to the success of TLVS», said Rick Edwards, president of Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «It reflects our continuing commitment to international partnerships and ongoing support for the German government’s leadership role in European missile defense».
MEADS has been developed through MEADS International, a cooperative venture between MBDA and Lockheed Martin. The TLVS program ensures seamless continuation of this successful development partnership. Lockheed Martin companies in Dallas, Texas; Huntsville, Alabama; Orlando, Florida; and Syracuse, New York, are expected to support the German program.
«With this decision in favour of MEADS, Germany has opted for a powerful, state-of-the-art, long term ground-based air and missile defence system sufficient to meet the threats both of today and of the future», said Thomas Homberg, managing director of MBDA Deutschland. «It is now our shared responsibility, together with the armed forces, to provide a solid basis for the introduction of the system».
In 2013, at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, MEADS became the first air and missile defense system to demonstrate a dual intercept of targets attacking simultaneously from opposite directions. MEADS is designed to significantly reduce operation and support costs by covering a larger area with less manpower and equipment, and less demand on airlift. Once in theater, MEADS elements emplace more quickly and can be repositioned without shutting the system down.
«We are honored that MEADS will provide the foundation for Germany’s next-generation air and missile defense system», said Mike Trotsky, vice president of air and missile defense at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «Only MEADS has demonstrated the advanced network capabilities and 360-degree defense that are now essential requirements for air and missile defense systems».
TLVS is being carried out under the system leadership of MBDA Deutschland, which continues to draw on MBDA Italia capabilities as well as on a proven industry partnership involving Lockheed Martin and Airbus Defence and Space as well as the skills of many German and international subcontractors.
The MEADS-based TLVS can be used for both national and alliance defence and to protect deployed troops during operations. Special features of the system include 360-degree coverage, open system architecture and «plug & fight» capability, which allows for the coupling of additional sensors and weapon systems, as well as rapid deployability. In addition, the TLVS air defence system can be operated at a significantly lower cost to the user than existing systems and with fewer personnel. The technologies generated within the framework of the tri-national MEADS development process represent the equivalent of €4 billion. Germany shouldered a 25% share of the investment.
Medium Extended Air Defense System
The MEADS provides a robust, 360-degree defense using the Patriot Advanced Capability-Three (PAC-3) hit-to-kill Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) against the full spectrum of theater ballistic missiles, anti-radiation missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, tactical air-to-surface missiles, and rotary- and fixed-wing threats. MEADS will also provide defense against multiple and simultaneous attacks by short-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and other air-breathing threats. MEADS can be immediately deployed by air for early entry operations. MEADS also has the mobility to displace rapidly and protect maneuver force assets during offensive operations. Netted, distributed, open architecture and modular components are utilized in the MEADS to increase survivability and flexibility of use in a number of operational configurations. The PAC-3 MSE improves upon the current missile configuration ranges/altitudes and improves performance against evolving threats.
The MEADS weapon system will use its netted and distributed architecture to ensure Joint and allied interoperability, and to enable a seamless interface to the next generation of Battle Management Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (BMC4I). The system’s improved sensor components and its ability to link other airborne and ground-based sensors facilitate the employment of its battle elements.
The MEADS weapon system’s objective battle management Tactical Operations Center (TOC) will provide the basis for the future common Air and Missile Defense (AMD) TOC, leveraging modular battle elements and a distributed and open architecture to facilitate continuous exchange of information to support a more effective AMD system-of-systems.
PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement
The PAC-3 MSE is an evolution of the battle-proven PAC-3 Missile. The hit-to-kill PAC-3 MSE provides performance enhancements that counter evolving threat advancements. The enhancements ensure the PAC-3 Missile Segment of the Patriot Air Defense System is capable of engaging new and evolving threats. The hit-to-kill PAC-3 Missile is the world’s most advanced, and capable theater air defense missile and defender against the entire threat to the Patriot Air Defense System: Tactical Ballistic Missiles (TBMs) carrying weapons of mass destruction, evolving cruise missiles and aircraft.
The PAC-3 MSE design utilizes the latest technology to significantly increase performance. The PAC-3 MSE incorporates a larger, dual pulse solid rocket motor; larger fins; and upgraded actuators and thermal batteries to accommodate increased performance. The modifications extend the missile’s reach.
The PAC-3 MSE is packaged in a single canister that stacks to provide logistical flexibility. Twelve individual PAC-3 MSE Missiles can be loaded on a Patriot Launcher or a combination of six MSEs and eight PAC-3 Missiles (two four packs) can be loaded.
Several successful intercept flight tests of the missiles have been conducted.
PAC-3 MSE has completed operational testing and has received approval for initial production.
On June 6, the Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI), Japan Ministry of Defense (MOD), and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), in cooperation with the U.S. Navy conducted the first flight test, dubbed Cooperative Development Controlled Test Vehicle-01, of an SM-3 Block IIA. The Raytheon SM-3 Block IIA’s larger rocket motors and bigger, more capable kill vehicle will deliver the capability to engage threats sooner and protect larger regions from short- (1,000 km or less) to medium- (1,000 to 3,000 km) and intermediate-range ballistic missile threats (3,000 to 5,500 km).
«The SM-3 Block IIA program reflects the MDA’s commitment to maturing this capability for the defense of our nation, deployed forces and our allies abroad», said Doctor Mitch Stevison, Raytheon Missile Systems’ SM-3 program director. «The success of this test keeps the program on track for a 2018 deployment at sea and ashore».
During the test, a SM-3 Block IIA, a 21-inch/0.53-meter diameter variant of the SM-3 missile, was launched from an Mk-41 launcher located at the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Saint Nicolas Island Facility, California, to test the nosecone performance, steering control section functioning, booster separation and second stage rocket motor separation.
No intercept was planned, and no target missile was launched. Program officials will evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the first flight test.
The Raytheon SM-3 family of interceptors has taken out more threat targets in space than all other comparable programs combined. Key to its success – a so-called «crawl, walk, run» development approach that builds on proven systems. These days, the program is not just hitting its stride, it is sprinting.
The Raytheon SM-3 program is a critical piece of the United States’ Phased Adaptive Approach for missile defense. Currently, U.S. Navy ships carrying SM-3s deployed off Europe’s coast provide the continent’s only «upper tier» defense from the growing threat of ballistic missiles. Starting this year, the first land-based SM-3 site will become operational in Romania, further enhancing Europe’s protection
The flexibility of SM-3 to be both land- and sea-based offers countries that do not have ballistic missile defense-enabled navies to take advantage of the SM-3’s incredible capacity to protect large areas of land, often referred to as regional defense, with fewer interceptor sites when compared to other «lower tier» missile defense solutions.
Whether on land or at sea, the SM-3 continues to excel in testing. In 2014, the SM-3 Block IB was successfully launched for the first time from an Aegis Ashore testing site in Hawaii. Later in the year, an SM-3 destroyed a short-range ballistic missile target during a highly complex integrated air and missile defense exercise in the Pacific.
The program has more than 25 successful space intercepts, and more than 200 interceptors have been delivered to U.S. and Japanese navies.
SM-3 Block IB
The Raytheon SM-3 Block IB has an enhanced two-color infrared seeker and upgraded steering and propulsion capability that uses short bursts of precision propulsion to direct the missile toward incoming targets.
The next-generation SM-3 Block IB became operational in 2014, deploying for the first time on U.S. Navy ships worldwide.
SM-3 Block IIA
The new SM-3 Block IIA is being developed in cooperation with Japan and will be deployable on land as well as at sea. It has two distinct new features: larger rocket motors that will allow it to defend broader areas from ballistic missile threats and a larger kinetic warhead.
SM-3 Block IIA is the centerpiece of the European missile defense system, and Raytheon Company will begin flight-testing in 2015 to keep the program on track for 2018 deployment at sea and on land in Poland.
NATO intelligence reports indicate the threat of ballistic missiles is increasing in number and complexity. By 2018, all of Europe could be at risk. From sensors to interceptors, Raytheon’s proven ballistic missile defense systems provide layered defense around the world. Defending the continent requires a robust system of integrated land, sea and space Ballistic Missile Defense assets. This hypothetical scenario examines two critical Raytheon assets: AN/TPY-2 Radar and Standard Missile-3
The United Kingdom Secretary of State formally started construction of HMS Medway, the second of three River Class Batch 2 vessels (Offshore Patrol Vessel – OPV), by operating the plasma steel-cutting machine at an event attended by representatives from the Royal Navy, the local community and BAE Systems employees.
Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, said: «These new ships are an important part of the £160 billion we are investing over the next decade in the equipment our armed forces need. The contract will benefit the dedicated workers of the Clyde, their families and the local economy in Glasgow. And the investment will ensure these shipyards continue to develop into world class engineering facilities at the heart of a thriving British naval shipbuilding capability».
Mick Ord, Managing Director at BAE Systems Naval Ships, said: «This is a proud day for everyone working on this important programme to deliver three new ships to the Royal Navy. The pace of progress on the River Class vessels reinforces the naval design, engineering and manufacturing skills we have in the UK. We are working closely with our Trade Unions, the Ministry of Defence and partners in the supply chain as we continue to build on our proud shipbuilding heritage. With investments in new technologies, cutting-edge processes, new ways of working and improved facilities we are transforming the way we design and build warships. This will enable us to deliver equipment of the highest quality at the lowest possible cost, helping to secure the long-term future of our highly skilled industry in the UK».
Construction of the first of class vessel HMS Forth is now well underway with its first unit transferred into the Ship Build Outfit Hall in Glasgow last week. The vessel is now being assembled alongside the final sections of the second Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier, which will be delivered to Rosyth during the course of this year.
The 90.5-meter Offshore Patrol Vessel is based on a proven BAE Systems design, which is already in service with the Brazilian Navy and Royal Thai Navy. Engineers at BAE Systems have modified the design to meet the requirements of the Royal Navy in support of UK interests both at home and abroad. The OPVs will be globally deployable and capable of ocean patrol with a range of in excess of 5,500 nautical miles/6,329 miles/10,186 km and a maximum speed of 24 knots/27.6 mph/44.4 km/h.
The vessels will include a modified flight deck capable of operating the latest Merlin helicopters, larger stores and more accommodation for embarked troops. They will also be the first ships to be built with a BAE Systems designed operating system called Shared Infrastructure, which will be rolled out across the Royal Navy’s surface fleet over the next 10 years. Shared Infrastructure is a state-of-the-art system that will revolutionize the way ships operate by using virtual technologies to host and integrate the sensors, weapons and management systems that complex warships require. Replacing multiple large consoles dedicated to specific tasks with a single hardware solution, reduces the amount of spares required to be carried onboard and will significantly decrease through-life costs.
The manufacturing contract for the three 2,000-tonne ships was announced in August 2014 and construction of first of class HMS Forth began in October 2014. The production of HMS Trent, the third River Class ship, is expected to begin by the end of this year. The first ship is due to be delivered to the Royal Navy in 2017.
As the first steel is cut for HMS Medway, take a look back at the progress across the River Class Batch 2 Offshore Patrol Vessel programme