OSIRIS completed

Lockheed Martin has completed the assembly of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. The spacecraft is now undergoing environmental testing at the company’s Space Systems facilities near Denver. OSIRIS-REx will be the first U.S. mission to return samples from an asteroid back to Earth. OSIRIS-REx – which stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer – is going to Bennu, a carbon-rich asteroid that could hold clues to the origin of the solar system.

The high gain antenna and solar arrays were installed on the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft prior to it moving to environmental testing
The high gain antenna and solar arrays were installed on the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft prior to it moving to environmental testing

«This is an exciting time for the program, as we now have a completed spacecraft and the team gets to test drive it, in a sense, before we actually fly it to Bennu», said Rich Kuhns, OSIRIS-REx program manager at Lockheed Martin Space Systems. «The environmental test phase is an important time in the mission, as it will reveal any issues with the spacecraft and instruments, while here on Earth, before we send it into deep space».

Over the next five months, the spacecraft will be subjected to a range of rigorous tests that simulate the vacuum, vibration and extreme temperatures it will experience throughout the life of its mission. Specifically, OSIRIS-REx will undergo tests to simulate the harsh environment of space, including thermal vacuum, launch acoustics, separation and deployment shock, vibration, and electromagnetic interference and compatibility.

«This milestone marks the end of the design and assembly stage», said Dante Lauretta, principal investigator for OSIRIS-REx at the University of Arizona, Tucson. «We now move on to test the entire flight system over the range of environmental conditions that will be experienced on the journey to Bennu and back. This phase is critical to mission success, and I am confident that we have built the right system for the job».

OSIRIS-REx is scheduled to ship from Lockheed Martin’s facility to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center next May, where it will undergo final preparations for launch. «OSIRIS-REx is entering environmental testing on schedule, on budget and with schedule reserves», said Mike Donnelly, OSIRIS-REx project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. «This allows us to have flexibility if any concerns arise during final launch preparations».

After launch in September 2016, the spacecraft will travel to the near-Earth asteroid Bennu and bring at least a 60-gram (2.1-ounce) sample back to Earth for study.

Scientists expect that Bennu may hold clues to the origin of the solar system and the source of water and organic molecules that may have made their way to Earth. OSIRIS-REx’s investigation will inform future efforts to develop a mission to mitigate an Earth impact of an asteroid, should one be required.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center provides overall mission management, systems engineering and safety and mission assurance for OSIRIS-REx. Dante Lauretta is the mission’s principal investigator at the University of Arizona. Lockheed Martin Space Systems near Denver is building the spacecraft and will provide flight operations. OSIRIS-REx is the third mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages New Frontiers for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

 

The keel authentication

Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division authenticated the keel on October 20, 2015 on the Aegis guided missile destroyer, USS Paul Ignatius (DDG-117). DDG-117 is the 31st ship in the Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) class of destroyers Ingalls is building for the U.S. Navy.

Keel authenticators – ship’s namesake Paul Ignatius, left, and Ingalls hull superintendent Bill Jones – sketch their initials on the keel plate to be affixed to the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Paul Ignatius (DDG-117) (Photo by Lance Davis/HII)
Keel authenticators – ship’s namesake Paul Ignatius, left, and Ingalls hull superintendent Bill Jones – sketch their initials on the keel plate to be affixed to the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Paul Ignatius (DDG-117) (Photo by Lance Davis/HII)

«The keel authentication is an important milestone in a ship’s life and it’s really a foundation upon which the ship is made», said Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias. «Paul Ignatius epitomizes the leadership and agility that has propelled our nation forward – I couldn’t think of a better namesake for USS Paul Ignatius (DDG-117). Over the coming years as we build this great ship, our shipbuilders know what we do is important. We are building great ships to defend our nation, to protect the brave men and women who will serve on this ship and come back safely home to their families».

Ingalls welder Reginald Whisenhunt welded the initials of two authenticators – the ship’s namesake Paul Ignatius and 26-year shipbuilder Bill Jones, an Ingalls hull superintendent – onto a steel plate signifying the keel of DDG-117 to be «truly and fairly laid». The plate will remain affixed to the ship throughout the ship’s lifetime.

«It is a pleasure for me to be here with Huntington Ingalls officials and the men and women who are building DDG-117», said Ignatius, former Secretary of the U.S. Navy. «DDG-117 will become part of our country’s proud destroyer tradition. Built tougher than steel by one of America’s leading shipbuilders, constructed by dedicated and skilled shipyard technicians and manned eventually by the world’s finest naval officers and seamen, this new ship will sail for many decades into the future».

Nancy Ignatius, Paul’s wife, is the ship sponsor and was also present at the ceremony. DDG-117 is named in honor of Ignatius, who served as Secretary of the U.S. Navy from 1967 to 1969 and was the Assistant Secretary of Defense during President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration.

«Every time the men and women of Ingalls craft another destroyer, they build a living, lasting remembrance of either the courage, the leadership or the intellectual contribution of the very best that the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps have to offer», said Captain Mark Vandroff, the U.S. Navy’s DDG-51 program manager.

Ingalls is building three other destroyers – John Finn (DDG-113), which is scheduled to be delivered in 2016, Ralph Johnson (DDG-114), which will launch by the end of the year and Delbert D. Black (DDG-119), which started construction in July.

To date, Ingalls has delivered 28 DDG-51 destroyers to the U.S. Navy. These highly capable, multi-mission ships 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. DDGs are capable of simultaneously fighting air, surface and subsurface battles. The ships contain myriad offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime defense needs well into the 21st century.

Ingalls Shipbuilding launched the Arleigh Burke-class Aegis guided missile destroyer John Finn (DDG-113) on Saturday morning (Photo by Andrew Young/HII)
Ingalls Shipbuilding launched the Arleigh Burke-class Aegis guided missile destroyer John Finn (DDG-113) on Saturday morning (Photo by Andrew Young/HII)

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 Mark-45 gun; 2 CIWS (Close-In Weapon System); 2 Mark-32 triple 324-mm torpedo tubes for Mark-46 or Mark-50 ASW torpedos

 

Flight IIA: Technology Insertion

Ship Yard Launched Commissioned Homeport
DDG-116 Thomas Hudner GDBIW
DDG-117 Paul Ignatius HIIIS
DDG-118 Daniel Inouye GDBIW
DDG-119 Delbert D. Black HIIIS
The Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence (DDG-110) transits the Pacific Ocean
The Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence (DDG-110) transits the Pacific Ocean

 

Police helicopter

On 19 October, the federal-state police of Baden-Württemberg took delivery of the very first H145 in police configuration at Airbus Helicopters’ industrial site in Donauwörth. The aircraft is the first of an order of six to be handed over to the launch customer.

H145 Polizei Baden-Württemberg in flight
H145 Polizei Baden-Württemberg in flight

«It is of the utmost importance for our police to be able to rely on the quality of their resources in order to meet the challenges of their daily missions. With the acquisition of a total of six new police helicopters, we guarantee the high quality standards of the squadron. I’m particularly pleased with the fact that with the world’s most modern police helicopter H145 Baden-Württemberg is once again a pioneer in terms of technical innovation in our country», said Reinhold Gall, Minister of the Interior of Baden-Württemberg.

As the new reference helicopter for law enforcement, the H145 features all-in-one capabilities: deployment of Special Forces units, VIP transport, external load, as well as observation and reconnaissance. It is equipped with a modern mission management system by Euroavionics that facilitates the multi-role capabilities in police missions. The MMS, in combination with comprehensive connectivity options such as LTE and Wi-Fi, makes the aircraft the most modern police helicopter on the market.

Its primary surveillance mission is supported by forward-looking infrared (FLIR) and daylight cameras, controlled by an on-board operator who also handles communications and data exchange with ground-based police resources.

«Now entering service for law enforcement operations, the Police Baden Württemberg will be using the H145’s capabilities for its most challenging missions», explained Wolfgang Schoder, CEO of Airbus Helicopters in Germany. «In line with our company’s commitment to customer satisfaction, we have set up a dedicated logistic team available 24/7 to support mission execution of Police Baden Württemberg».

As one of the three largest German States in size and population, comprising the major cities of Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, Freiburg and Mannheim, the helicopter will cover an area of roughly 13,900 miles2/36,000 km2.

The H145 is the latest member of its family, incorporating new Arriel 2E engines and the company’s Fenestron shrouded tail rotor, along with upgraded main and tail rotor gearboxes, as well as the innovative digital avionics suite Helionix with 4-axis autopilot.

The federal-state police of Baden-Württemberg currently have a fleet of two EC155 and six MD902, which is to be succeeded by the H145. Police forces throughout the country will soon be operating an all-Airbus Helicopters rotorcraft fleet.

Airbus Helicopters is the global leader for the law enforcement market with 45 percent of the deliveries in the last ten years. In Europe, the light-twin H135 and H145 families are the most successful helicopters in this segment with approximately 40 percent of the in-service fleet.

H145 first flight
H145 first flight

 

Characteristics

DIMENSIONS
Length (rotor rotating) 44.72 feet/13.63 m
Fuselage length 38.35 feet/11.69 m
Height 13.12 feet/4 m
Main rotor diameter 36.09 feet/11 m
Width (blades folded) 8.89 feet/2.71 m
CAPABILITIES
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 8,157 lbs/3,700 kg
Useful Load 3,900 lbs/1,769 kg
Sling load 3,307 lbs/1,500 kg
Maximum seating 1/2 pilots + 10/9 troops
ENGINE
2 Turbomeca ARRIEL 2E turboshaft engines
Maximum Continuous Power (MCP) 2×771 shp/2×575 kW
Take-Off Power (TOP) 2×894 shp/2×667 kW
2 min One Engine Inoperative (OEI) 1×1,038 shp/1×775 kW
30 sec OEI-power 1×1,072 shp/1×800 kW
PERFORMANCE AT MTOW
Speed (Vne – never exceed speed) 135 knots/155 mph/250 km/h
Fast Cruise speed (Vh – maximum speed) 132 knots/152 mph/244 km/h
Maximum range 357 NM/411 miles/662 km
Hover ceiling OGE (TOP), ISA 8,858 feet/2,700 m
H145 delivery's ceremony
H145 delivery’s ceremony

Navy accepted Milwaukee

The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of the future USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) during a ceremony at the Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard October 16. Milwaukee is the sixth littoral combat ship to be delivered to the Navy and the third of the Freedom variant to join the fleet. Delivery marks the official transfer of LCS-5 from a Lockheed Martin-led team to the U.S. Navy. It is the final milestone prior to commissioning, which is planned for November 21 in its namesake city.

The littoral combat ship USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) slides into the Menominee River during a christening ceremony at the Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin/Released)
The littoral combat ship USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) slides into the Menominee River during a christening ceremony at the Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin/Released)

«With each LCS delivered, we have succeeded in driving down costs by incorporating lessons learned to provide the Navy with a highly capable and flexible ship», said LCS program manager Captain Tom Anderson. «We are honored to place the Milwaukee in the able hands of her crew as they set sail for the ship’s commissioning».

Captain Warren R. Buller II, commander, Littoral Combat Ship Squadron One, was on hand to mark the occasion. «We are pleased to receive the future USS Milwaukee into the LCS class», said Buller. «Milwaukee is scheduled to conduct Full Ship Shock Trials before joining her sister littoral combat ships in their homeport of San Diego».

Buller’s squadron supports the operational commanders with warships ready for tasking by manning, training, equipping, and maintaining all littoral combat ships in the fleet.

Following commissioning, Milwaukee will be homeported in San Diego with sister ships USS Freedom (LCS-1), USS Independence (LCS-2), USS Fort Worth (LCS-3), USS Coronado (LCS-4) and the future USS Jackson (LCS-6).

LCS is a modular, reconfigurable ship, with three types of mission packages including surface warfare, mine countermeasures, and anti-submarine warfare. The Program Executive Office Littoral Combat Ships is responsible for delivering and sustaining littoral mission capabilities to the fleet. Delivering high-quality warfighting assets while balancing affordability and capability is key to supporting the nation’s maritime strategy.

The littoral combat ship USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) is prepared for its christening ceremony December 18 at the Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard (U.S. Navy photo by Joe Mancini courtesy of Marinette Marine Corporation/Released)
The littoral combat ship USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) is prepared for its christening ceremony December 18 at the Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard (U.S. Navy photo by Joe Mancini courtesy of Marinette Marine Corporation/Released)

 

Ship Design Specifications

Hull Advanced semiplaning steel monohull
Length Overall 389 feet/118.6 m
Beam Overall 57 feet/17.5 m
Draft 13.5 feet/4.1 m
Full Load Displacement Approximately 3,200 metric tons
Top Speed Greater than 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
Range at top speed 1,000 NM/1,151 miles/1,852 km
Range at cruise speed 4,000 NM/4,603 miles/7,408 km
Watercraft Launch and Recovery Up to Sea State 4
Aircraft Launch and Recovery Up to Sea State 5
Propulsion Combined diesel and gas turbine with steerable water jet propulsion
Power 85 MW/113,600 horsepower
Hangar Space Two MH-60 Romeo Helicopters
One MH-60 Romeo Helicopter and three Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (VTUAVs)
Core Crew Less than 50
Accommodations for 75 sailors provide higher sailor quality of life than current fleet
Integrated Bridge System Fully digital nautical charts are interfaced to ship sensors to support safe ship operation
Core Self-Defense Suite Includes 3D air search radar
Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) gunfire control system
Rolling-Airframe Missile Launching System
57-mm Main Gun
Mine, Torpedo Detection
Decoy Launching System
USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) makes waves during its acceptance trial. The acceptance trial is the last significant milestone before delivery of the ship to the U.S. Navy (Photo by U.S. Navy)
USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) makes waves during its acceptance trial. The acceptance trial is the last significant milestone before delivery of the ship to the U.S. Navy (Photo by U.S. Navy)

 

Ship list

USS Freedom (LCS-1)

USS Fort Worth (LCS-3)

USS Milwaukee (LCS-5)

USS Detroit (LCS-7)

USS Little Rock (LCS-9)

USS Sioux City (LCS-11)

USS Wichita (LCS-13)

USS Billings (LCS-15)

USS Indianapolis (LCS-17)

USS St. Louis (LCS-19)

USS Minneapolis/St. Paul (LCS-21)

USS Cooperstown (LCS-23)

 

Laser weapon system

Because enemy aircraft and missiles can come from anywhere, a laser weapon system on a military aircraft will need to be able to fire in any direction. However, the laws of physics say that a laser only can engage targets in front of an aircraft that is travelling close to the speed of sound – unless atmospheric turbulence can be counteracted. That is exactly what Lockheed Martin has done in developing a prototype laser turret for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), paving the way for laser weapon systems on tactical aircraft.

A prototype turret developed by Lockheed Martin for DARPA and AFRL controls and compensates for air flow, paving the way for laser weapon systems on tactical aircraft. Here, a green low-power laser beam passes through the turret on a research aircraft (Photo: Air Force Research Laboratory)
A prototype turret developed by Lockheed Martin for DARPA and AFRL controls and compensates for air flow, paving the way for laser weapon systems on tactical aircraft. Here, a green low-power laser beam passes through the turret on a research aircraft (Photo: Air Force Research Laboratory)

The Aero-adaptive Aero-optic Beam Control (ABC) turret is the first turret ever to demonstrate a 360-degree field of regard for laser weapon systems on an aircraft flying near the speed of sound. Its performance has been verified in nearly 60 flight tests conducted in 2014 and 2015 using a business jet as a low-cost flying test bed. As the aircraft travelled at jet cruise speeds, a low-power laser beam was fired through the turret’s optical window to measure and verify successful performance in all directions.

The design uses the latest aerodynamic and flow-control technology to minimize the impacts of turbulence on a laser beam. An optical compensation system, which uses deformable mirrors, then is used to ensure that the beam can get through the atmosphere to the target. Left unchecked, turbulence would scatter the light particles that make up a laser beam, much like fog diffuses a flashlight beam.

«This advanced turret design will enable tactical aircraft to have the same laser weapon system advantages as ground vehicles and ships», said Doug Graham, vice president of missile systems and advanced programs, Strategic and Missile Defense Systems, Lockheed Martin Space Systems. «This is an example of how Lockheed Martin is using a variety of innovative technologies to transform laser devices into integrated weapon systems».

DARPA and AFRL will use the results of the flight tests in determining future requirements for laser weapon systems on high-speed aircraft and expanding their effectiveness.

Lockheed Martin is positioning laser weapon systems for success on the battlefield because of their advantages of speed, flexibility, precision and low cost per engagement. The corporation’s advances include the development and demonstration of precision pointing and control, line-of-sight stabilization and adaptive optics and high-power fiber lasers.

 

High Speed Support

Austal has rolled out the first of two 72-meter High Speed Support Vessels (HSSV’s) being built for the Royal Navy of Oman (RNO), on October 16, 2015 at the company’s Henderson Western Australia shipyard.

Austal has expertise in integrating complex systems into its ships
Austal has expertise in integrating complex systems into its ships

Austal Chief Executive Officer Andrew Bellamy said the HSSV program successfully represents Austal’s capability to deliver competitive, customised defence solutions from proven designs for both domestic and export markets.

Mr. Bellamy commented, «The rollout of the first Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV)-sized HSSV not only extends Austal’s naval vessel portfolio but further demonstrates our consistency in delivering major, multiple naval vessel programs, on schedule».

Based on the proven Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) platform, previously known as the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV), the HSSV offers a range of capabilities to support naval operations, including helicopter operations, rapid deployment of military personnel and cargo, search and rescue operations, humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions.

Austal was awarded the US$124.9 million contract for the design, construction and integrated logistics support of the two HSSV’s in March 2014 and construction commenced in August 2014.

This first HSSV will be launched next week before undergoing final fit out and sea trials prior to delivery to the RNO early in 2016. The second HSSV is under construction and is on schedule for completion later in 2016.

Rollout of 72-meter High Speed Support Vessel
Rollout of 72-meter High Speed Support Vessel

Second Base

On October 14, 2015 General Dynamics NASSCO, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics, began construction on the second ship of the U.S. Navy’s newly reclassified Expeditionary Base Mobile (ESB) program.

ESB 3D Model
ESB 3D Model

The 785-foot/239.3-meter ship will be configured with 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 will be capable of supporting multiple missions including Air Mine Counter Measures (AMCM), counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions and U.S. Marine Corps crisis response. It will also support MH-53 and MH-60 helicopters, and will be upgraded to support MV-22 tilt rotor aircraft.

In 2011, General Dynamics NASSCO was awarded a contract from the Navy to design and build two Mobile Landing Platforms (MLP), the USNS Montford Point (ESD-1) and USNS John Glenn (ESD-2). MLP was recently reclassified by the Navy as Expeditionary Transfer Docks (ESD). In 2012, a third MLP, the USNS Lewis B. Puller (ESB-1), was added to the contract and reconfigured as an ESB, or formerly known as a MLP Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB). All three ships have been delivered by NASSCO to the U.S. Navy.

Bud McKay, program manager; Dan Reed, manager of steel; Paola Gerardo, honoree; and Ian Busch, manager for initial design for naval architecture
Bud McKay, program manager; Dan Reed, manager of steel; Paola Gerardo, honoree; and Ian Busch, manager for initial design for naval architecture

 

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 30 feet/9 m (fully loaded)
40 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
Honoree Paola Gerardo Measures First Cut for ESB-2
Honoree Paola Gerardo Measures First Cut for ESB-2

Rocket Engine Ban

According to DefenseNews, the Pentagon late last week refused to waive a law banning the use of Russian rocket engines for military satellite launches, rejecting a plea from United Launch Alliance (ULA). ULA, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing that provides spacecraft launch services to the U.S. government, has threatened to skip an upcoming Air Force competition for satellite launches unless it gets some relief from the ban. ULA relies on the Russian RD-180 rocket engine to power its Atlas V rocket, although it also builds a Delta IV rocket powered by U.S. company Aerojet Rocketdyne’s RS-68 engine.

The ULA uses Russian RD-180 rocket engines to power its Atlas 5 rocket (Photo: ULA)
The ULA uses Russian RD-180 rocket engines to power its Atlas 5 rocket (Photo: ULA)

Elon Musk’s SpaceX is the other potential competitor for the Air Force’s GPS III Launch Services solicitation, part of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. SpaceX has invested heavily over the past few years to develop its own Merlin engine to power its Falcon 9 rocket. Proposals for GPS III Launch Services are due November 16.

In response to recent Russian aggression, particularly Moscow’s annexation of Crimea last year, lawmakers in the fiscal 2015 defense budget banned the use of Russian RD-180 rocket engines for military satellite launches after 2019.

The Pentagon remains committed to maintaining two sources of launch services to ensure access to space, according to Lieutenant Commander Courtney Hillson, spokeswoman for the deputy secretary of defense. Department of Defense (DoD) will continue to evaluate the need for a waiver and consider a range of options, including possible sole-source contracts, to keep both companies in business, she continued.

«We are not planning at this time to issue a waiver lifting the prohibition against award of an EELV space launch services contract to a contractor intending to use a Russian manufactured engine, although we will continue to evaluate the need for such waiver, if deemed necessary», Hillson said in a statement emailed to Defense News on October 13.

«We will continue to work with the Administration and Congress to maintain assured access to space, to achieve the mutual goal of a healthy and competitive industrial base, and to ensure a rapid transition away from the Russian RD-180 engine».

 

Egyptian Mistral

On 10 October 2015, DCNS signed a contract with the Ministry of Defence of the Arab Republic of Egypt for the supply of two Mistral-class projection and command ships (BPCs). After the delivery of a FREMM frigate and the construction of four GOWIND 2500 corvettes, currently on-going, this agreement strengthens the strategic relations with the Egyptian Navy, initiated by the Group in 2014. By 2020, the Egyptian Navy will deploy a fleet of at least seven combat ships designed and built by DCNS.

Less than a year after its controversial decision not to deliver two Mistral LHDs to Russia, France has found an alternative buyer in Egypt, and signed the formal sale contract on Saturday October 10
Less than a year after its controversial decision not to deliver two Mistral LHDs to Russia, France has found an alternative buyer in Egypt, and signed the formal sale contract on Saturday October 10

Hervé Guillou, Chairman and CEO of DCNS announced that: «After the contracts for the supply of four GOWIND corvettes and a FREMM frigate, we are proud that the Egyptian Navy continues to place its trust in us today by signing a contract for the delivery of two MISTRAL-class BPCs. With 7 combat ships already ordered to date and a latest-generation frigate already in operation in the Egyptian Navy, DCNS is thus participating in the modernization of the defence infrastructure of this strategic French ally».

The two projection and command ships (BPCs) ordered by the Egyptian Navy from DCNS will join their homeport in the summer of 2016, after the training of the future crews. This training will be given mainly over the 1st half of 2016 in Saint-Nazaire.

With regard to associated BPC support ships, DCNS will supply in particular four new-generation landing crafts (CTM NG), designed by the Group as an integrated system to an amphibious force organized around Mistral ships, and two fast landing crafts (EDAR), designed and built by CNIM.

 

A long-term partnership with the Egyptian Navy

Considering that the first of the four future GOWIND corvettes for the Egyptian Navy is already being built, that the other three will be assembled in Egypt in Alexandria and that the FREMM Tahya Misr frigate was already delivered to the Egyptian Navy on 23 June 2015, the signature of this new contract further strengthens the strategic partnership developed between DCNS and the Egyptian Navy.

It also has an onboard hospital, and can carry out large-scale humanitarian missions
It also has an onboard hospital, and can carry out large-scale humanitarian missions

By 2020, the Group will have supplied at least seven ships to Egypt contributing to the modernization of its defence mechanisms.

This strong partnership between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the French Republic is reinforced by DCNS’ commitment to accompany the Egyptian Navy in the long term, especially with the unfailing support of dedicated service teams for the maintenance of main warships. The Group also states its presence in a wider project of industrial cooperation with the Egyptian party in the field of construction and maintenance of major program units.

Once again, due to this historical agreement, DCNS expects to build a partnership with the Egyptian Navy but also with Egyptian shipyards with which the Group intends to build a long-term cooperation. That is how DCNS has decided to invest in the Egyptian Industry to mutually develop the essential knowledge and means to support a leading Navy.

 

Technical characteristics of the Mistral-class ships

With a length of 653 feet/199 meters, a displacement of 23,000 tonnes and a speed in excess of 18 knots/21 mph/33 km/h, the Mistral-class BPC is defined by its large carrying capacity.

Its highly capable communication system makes it the ideal command ship within a naval force
Its highly capable communication system makes it the ideal command ship within a naval force

The Mistral-class BPC is designed for force-projection, peacekeeping and humanitarian-support operations, and is equipped with a particularly modular command and control centre, featuring efficient communication systems that can be adapted to all shipboard headquarter configurations.

It also has an onboard hospital, and can carry out large-scale humanitarian missions. Its highly capable communication system makes it the ideal command ship within a naval force.

 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Length overall 653 feet/199 m
Breadth 105 feet/32 m at the helicopter deck level
Maximum speed 18 knots/21 mph/33 km/h
Full load displacement 23,000 tonnes
Complement 160 crew, 450 troops
Range at 15 knots 11,000 NM/12,659 miles/20,372 km
Carrying capacities 16 helicopters

 

The third in the trio

HMS Forth leads her sisters Medway and Trent, all three third-generation River-class patrol vessels. Work on October 09, 2015 began on the third and final ship in the trio, Trent, at the BAE yard in Govan as defence procurement Philip Dunne pressed the button to start a plasma cutter at work on sheets of steel.

The three vessels are ideal for performing maritime security in British territorial waters
The three vessels are ideal for performing maritime security in British territorial waters

Forth is already 50 per cent assembled in the neighbouring ship hall – her engines and pipes have now been fitted – and will be complete outwardly by the year’s end. Work piecing together Medway will began in the same building before 2015 is out.

Despite the River-class title, the trio are much closer to patrol ships BAE built for the Thai and Brazilian Navies than Tyne, Mersey, Severn and Clyde – although there are 28 enhancements, such as a stronger flight deck (so a Merlin can use it) and installing BAE’s new command system.

The 800 or so shipwrights and engineers involved with the trio are using lessons from the construction of blocks for carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

In addition, work on the three ships will act as a stepping-stone towards building the Type 26s, the successors to the Type 23 frigates, which begins next year.

«It doesn’t matter whether we building one of the biggest ships we have ever built, or the smallest – pride seeps through all the team. People in this business are very proud to be building warships», said Iain Stevenson, overseeing the construction of all three River-class ships.

Forth is due to join the Fleet in 2017, followed shortly afterwards by her younger sisters.

BAE Systems completed the delivery of three OPVs to the Brazilian Navy in 2013 based on a similar design to those now under construction for the Royal Navy
BAE Systems completed the delivery of three OPVs to the Brazilian Navy in 2013 based on a similar design to those now under construction for the Royal Navy