«Hunter» and «Killer»

As technology advances, so too does the need for Soldiers to be able to multitask without forfeiting their primary duty. With new multi-domain platforms, the Army hopes to give Soldiers the equipment to handle the added responsibility.

The Hunter (right) and Killer vehicles drive up a road toward the experimentation area of the Maneuver Fires Integrated Experiment (MFIX), April 3, at Fort Sill (Photo Credit: Monica K. Guthrie)
The Hunter (right) and Killer vehicles drive up a road toward the experimentation area of the Maneuver Fires Integrated Experiment (MFIX), April 3, at Fort Sill (Photo Credit: Monica K. Guthrie)

One such new platform, called «Hunter» and «Killer», is undergoing testing during the 2017 Maneuver Fires Integrated Experiment (MFIX) from April 3 to 13, here at Fort Sill. The vehicles resemble a dune buggy – a large-wheeled vehicle designed for various types of terrain. But the Hunter and Killer are also designed to track aircraft, perform three-dimensional fires targeting and provide other capabilities.

The vehicles are modular by design, meaning developers can take pieces from other systems and combine them on a single platform. The intent is to make parts interchangeable, according to Scott Patton, science and technology strategist for the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) battlefield operating systems suites team.

However, this system, like many others experimented on at MFIX, is only in its infancy. The Hunter and Killer vehicles were just a concept on a PowerPoint slide back in August and September of 2016, according to Patton, who helped design the Hunter and Killer.

«We came from the last MFIX and a lot of the feedback we got was, ‘Hey we love counter-UAV mobile integrated capabilities, and we like the dismounted kit, but how do you move it?’» Patton said. «’How do you airdrop it? Can we move it somewhere rapidly for the light fighters?’ So, we took that challenge, went back to the lab and came up with a design, and we got the vehicles to them in October».

Patton said the vehicles are designed with units like the 82nd Airborne and 101st Airborne in mind. He hopes the design will prove to be air mobile on helicopters with the ability to be airdropped.

For forward observers, Soldiers who advance to the enemy’s edge and sometimes beyond, technological advances mean new risks and new responsibilities. In addition to their primary duties of gathering intelligence and relaying it back, they may now be called upon to perform precision fires. With the increasing use of unmanned aerial vehicles, they may be asked to intercept UAVs on the battlefield.

With all these challenges in mind, the designers of the Hunter and Killer are experimenting during MFIX 2017 with the platform’s ability to operate with minimal human instruction.

«We want to see how we can automate the software to reduce the task-saturation of the Soldier», Patton said. «We want to reduce their workload. We want [Soldiers] just to be forward observers. If they have to get into these other domains, they can do it for a minute or two, let the software do the thinking for them, and then they go back to their domain».

The platform is meant to fight in multiple domains. For land, the Hunter platform could call precision fires in an automated fashion, and for air Soldiers could use the platform to communicate with an aircraft for support. When performing for maritime, a forward observer could call for an attack from a ship to a target.

The Killer platform adds the ability to fight in the cyber and space domains. A Soldier could request a cyber call to disrupt communications between a UAV and its operator. Soldiers would also be able to call on space-based capabilities.

During MFIX 2017, Patton said, the users and testers of the platform are contractors, but there are plans to put a product in Soldiers’ hands by 2018.

«This is just the first stage of the experiment and it’s also the first stage of the counter-UAV», Patton said. «We also want to give the Soldier options based on rules of engagement. What happens in one theater will be different in another theater, and the rules of engagement may be different. We want to be able to plug those ROEs in – what they can do, what they can automate – and then put the human in the loop when necessary. That’s the objective. We’re not there yet».

First Flight from LCS

Northrop Grumman Corporation’s autonomous helicopter, MQ-8C Fire Scout, took to the air for the first time from a U.S. Navy independence-class Littoral Combat ship, USS Montgomery (LCS-8). The flight took place off the coast of California during the second phase of Dynamic Interface testing, once again demonstrating Fire Scout’s stability and safety while operating around the ship.

MQ-8C Fire Scout Completes Successful First Flight from Littoral Combat Ship
MQ-8C Fire Scout Completes Successful First Flight from Littoral Combat Ship

The two week at-sea event allowed the U.S. Navy to test the MQ-8C Fire Scout’s airworthiness and ability to land and take off from a littoral combat ship throughout a broad operational envelope. The MQ-8C Fire Scout conducted its initial at-sea flight test aboard the guided missile destroyer, USS Jason Dunham (DDG-108) in December 2015.

«Fire Scout’s successful testing aboard USS Montgomery (LCS-8) and USS Dunham (DDG-108) proves its capability to fly from multiple air capable ships», said Captain Jeff Dodge, program manager, Fire Scout, Naval Air Systems Command. «We plan to have the MQ-8C Fire Scout deployed aboard multiple ships in the near future giving the fleet the persistent intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting asset they need».

With the completion of Dynamic Interface testing, the MQ-8C Fire Scout is one step closer to Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) and full operational deployment.

«Fire Scout’s autonomous technology coupled with the range and endurance of the MQ-8C airframe is truly a game-changer», said Leslie Smith, vice president, tactical autonomous systems, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. «When the MQ-8C deploys with its advanced AESA maritime radar, the U.S. Navy will have unmatched situational awareness and the ability to provide sea control in any contested maritime environment».

The MQ-8C Fire Scout builds on the ongoing accomplishments of the MQ-8B Fire Scout program. Helicopter Squadron 23 is currently operating onboard the deployed littoral combat ship, USS Coronado (LCS-4), with two MQ-8B Fire Scouts in the South China Sea.

 

Specifications

Length 41.4 feet/12.6 m
Width 7.8 feet/2.4 m
Blades Folded Hangar 7.8×34.7×10.9 feet/2.4×10.6×3.3 m
Height 10.9 feet/3.3 m
Rotor Diameter 35 feet/10.7 m
Gross Takeoff Weight 6,000 lbs/2,721.5 kg
Engine Rolls-Royce M250-C47B with FADEC (Full Authority Digital Electronic Control)

 

Performance

Speed 140 knots/161 mph/259 km/h (maximum)
Operational Ceiling 17,000 feet/5,182 m
Maximum Endurance 14 hrs
Maximum Payload (Internal) 1,000 lbs/453.6 kg
Typical Payload 600 lbs/272 kg (11 hrs endurance)
Maximum Sling Load 2,650 lbs/1,202 kg

 

Engine Specifications

Power 651 shp/485.45 kW
Pressure ratio 9.2
Length 42.95 inch/1.09 m
Diameter 24.81 inch/0.63 m
Basic weight 274 lbs/124.3 kg
Compressor 1CF (centrifugal high-pressure)
Turbine 2HP (two-stage high-pressure turbine), 2PT (two-stage power turbine)

 

Multi-mission frigate

On 11 April in Toulon, DCNS delivered the FREMM multi-mission frigate D654 Auvergne to the French Navy, as stipulated in the contract. This frigate is the fourth of the series ordered by OCCAR (L’Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en Matière d’Armement) on behalf of the DGA (French armament procurement agency).

Under the project management of DCNS, the heavily-armed FREMM frigates are equipped with the most effective weapon systems and equipment, such as the Herakles multifunctional radar, the naval cruise missile, the Aster and Exocet MM 40 missiles and the MU 90 torpedoes
Under the project management of DCNS, the heavily-armed FREMM frigates are equipped with the most effective weapon systems and equipment, such as the Herakles multifunctional radar, the naval cruise missile, the Aster and Exocet MM 40 missiles and the MU 90 torpedoes

Delivery of the FREMM multi-mission frigate D654 Auvergne is the result of a design and construction process managed by DCNS in close cooperation with the French Navy, DGA and OCCAR teams.

This technological and industrial success employed many DCNS sites and its partners and subcontractors to ensure compliance with the industrial milestones, in particular the launching in September 2015 and the first sea outing in September 2016.

«The delivery of the FREMM Auvergne represents an opportunity to applaud the industrial and technological prowess of DCNS and its subcontractors. The frigate Auvergne illustrates our capacity to produce and deliver on time a series of front-line combat vessels to satisfy the needs of our client navies», indicates Nicolas Gaspard, director of the FREMM programme at DCNS.

On completion, the FREMM programme will represent the construction of ten vessels on the DCNS Lorient site, of which eight for the French Navy. Six FREMM would have been delivered to the French Navy before end of 2019, in accordance with the 2014-2019 military programming law. DCNS is currently completing the FREMM D655 Bretagne, which was floated on 16 September 2016, and is pursuing the assembly of the FREMM D656 Normandie. Furthermore, work has already started on the ninth FREMM in the series, the D657 Alsace, which will be one of the two FREMMs with strengthened anti-aircraft capacities, whose deliveries are scheduled before 2022.

 

Characteristics

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

 

Vulcano Launched

The launching ceremony of the bow section of the LSS logistic support unit «Vulcano», took place today at the shipyard in Castellammare di Stabia (Naples) in the presence of the Italian Minister of Defence, Roberta Pinotti. The unit was ordered to Fincantieri within the renewal plan of the Italian Navy’s fleet.

The bow section of the Italian navy’s future logistic ship, Vulcano, shortly before its launch. It will be transported by sea to the Muggiano shipyard, near La Spezia, where it will be joined with the stern section being built there (Fincantieri photo)
The bow section of the Italian navy’s future logistic ship, Vulcano, shortly before its launch. It will be transported by sea to the Muggiano shipyard, near La Spezia, where it will be joined with the stern section being built there (Fincantieri photo)

Godmother of the ceremony was Mrs. Maria Teresa Piras, widow of the vessel tenant Emilio Attramini, young Italian Navy Officer, who died in 1977 in the air disaster of the Monte Serra.

The ceremony was attended, among others, by the Undersecretary of State for Defence, Gioacchino Alfano, the Chief of Staff of the Italian Navy, Admiral Valter Girardelli, the Mayor of Castellammare di Stabia, Antonio Pannullo, and the Chairman of Fincantieri, Ambassador Giampiero Massolo.

The bow section launched today, 308.4 feet/94 meters long, 78.7 feet/24 meters wide, 53.5 feet/16.3 meters high, weighing about 4,100 tons, will be transported by sea to the shipyard in Muggiano (La Spezia), where it will be assembled to set up the entire unit with the stern section. The delivery of the LSS is scheduled in 2019.

The multi-year program for the renewal of the Italian Navy’s fleet foresees the construction, besides the LSS, of one transport and landing unit (LHD or Landing Helicopter Dock) – this unit, too, to be built in this shipyard with works starting this summer and launching in the summer 2019 – as well as seven Multipurpose Offshore Patrol Ships (PPA), with other three in option.

The fundamental characteristic common to all three classes of ships is their high level of innovation providing them with a considerable degree of efficiency and flexibility in serving different mission profiles. In particular, these are dual use vessels, meaning that they may be used for both standard military purposes and those in favour of the community (as for example for civil protection), and they also have a low environmental impact thanks to a state-of-the-art auxiliary propulsion system generating a low level of pollution emissions (electric engines).

The vessel «Vulcano» will be classified by RINA pursuant international conventions about prevention of pollution regarding the more traditional aspects, like the ones of the MARPOL Convention, as well as those not yet mandatory, as the Hong Kong Convention about ship recycling.

 

Vessel’s characteristics – LSS – Logistic Support Ship

The LSS is a vessel that provides logistics support to the fleet, endowed with hospital and healthcare capabilities thanks to the presence of a fully equipped hospital, complete with operating rooms, radiology and analysis rooms, a dentist’s office and hospital rooms capable of hosting up to 12 seriously injured patients. The ship is capable of combining capacity to transport and transfer to other transport vessels used for liquids (diesel fuel, jet fuel, fresh water) and solids (emergency spare parts, food and ammunitions) and to perform at sea repairs and maintenance work for other vessels. The defense systems are limited to the capacity of command and control in tactical scenarios, communications and dissuasive, non-lethal defense systems. The vessel is also capable of embarking more complex defence systems and becoming an intelligence and electronic war platform.

  • 3 feet/165 meters long
  • speed of 20 knots/23 mph/37 km/h
  • 200 persons including crew and specialists
  • 4 replenishment station abeam and 1 astern
  • Capacity to supply drinking water to land
  • Capacity to provide electricity to land with 3,352.5 hp/2,500 kW of power
  • Possibility of embarking up to 8 residential and healthcare modules
  • Capacity to perform rescues at sea, through recovery and seabed operations (the ship is equipped with a 30 tons offshore stabilized crane stabilized)
  • base for rescue operations through helicopters and special vessels

 

GaN Upgrade

Ballistic missiles will soon be easier to detect and defeat. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency has awarded Raytheon Company a $10 million contract modification to continue the development of hardware and software that will add Gallium Nitride, or GaN semiconductor technology to the AN/TPY-2 ballistic missile defense radar.

A critical element in the Ballistic Missile Defense System, AN/TPY-2 continually searches the sky for ballistic missiles
A critical element in the Ballistic Missile Defense System, AN/TPY-2 continually searches the sky for ballistic missiles

GaN increases the radar’s range, search capabilities and enables the system to better discriminate between threats and non-threats. Gallium nitride technology also increases the system’s overall reliability while maintaining production and operational costs.

«AN/TPY-2 is already the world’s most capable land-based, X-band, ballistic missile defense radar», said Raytheon’s Dave Gulla, vice president of the Integrated Defense Systems Mission Systems and Sensors business area. «Adding GaN technology modernizes the system so it can defeat all classes of ballistic missiles in extreme operational environments».

The AN/TPY-2 is on pace to be the world’s first transportable, land-based ballistic missile defense radar to use GaN technology.

 

The AN/TPY-2 radar operates in two modes:

In forward-based mode, the radar is positioned near hostile territory, and detects, tracks and discriminates ballistic missiles shortly after they are launched.

In terminal mode, the radar detects, acquires, tracks and discriminates ballistic missiles as they descend to their target. The terminal mode AN/TPY-2 is the fire control radar for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense ballistic missile defense system, by guiding the THAAD missile to intercept a threat.

 

About GaN

Raytheon has led development and innovative use of GaN for 19 years and has invested more than $200 million to get this latest technology into the hands of military members faster and at lower cost and risk. Raytheon has demonstrated the maturity of the technology in a number of ways, including exceeding the reliability requirement for insertion into the production of military systems.

Air Defence

The Turnbull Government has provided approval for the development of a Short-Range Ground Based Air Defence system to improve protection for deployed personnel.

The Australian Government has announced that a National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS) solution will be developed for the Land 19 Phase 7B project – the Ground Based Air and Missile Defence capability for the Australian Army through a Single Supplier Limited Tender process to Raytheon Australia
The Australian Government has announced that a National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS) solution will be developed for the Land 19 Phase 7B project – the Ground Based Air and Missile Defence capability for the Australian Army through a Single Supplier Limited Tender process to Raytheon Australia

Minister for Defence Senator the Hon Marise Payne said the project is the first step in the development of the Australian Army’s contribution to the Australian Defence Force’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence Program announced in the 2016 Defence White Paper.

The Government will invest up to $2 billion in the system which will provide the inner most layer of Australia’s enhanced integrated air and missile capability. The capability will be operated by the Army’s 16th Air Land Regiment.

«A modern and integrated ground-based air defence system is needed to protect our deployed forces from increasingly sophisticated air threats, both globally and within our region», said Minister Payne.

«Australia’s current short-range capability is 30 years old and due to be retired early next decade. The replacement system will provide improved protection for our deployed servicemen and women».

A Single Supplier Limited Request for Tender will be released to Raytheon Australia in the first half of 2017 to develop its highly successful National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS) for the Australian Defence Force.

Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, said the project would seek to maximize Australian industry content to ensure our defence dollar helps deliver local jobs and economic growth.

«Through a Risk Mitigation Contract, the Government will ensure there are opportunities for Australian industry participation, with direct access to Raytheon Australia for local businesses to showcase their abilities», Mr. Pyne said. «As part of this contract Raytheon will hold workshops across the country to engage with local industry, giving them an opportunity to be part of the supply chain for this project worth up to $2 billion. Defence will collaborate with Raytheon Australia and Canberra-based CEA Technologies to look at integrating the Canberra-based firm’s radar into an upgraded NASAMS. CEA Technologies’ ground breaking phased array radar system has already been incorporated into Australia’s ANZAC class frigates and this project will trial the technology in a land-based role».

Through the Risk Mitigation Activity Defence and Raytheon will also investigate using Thales Australia’s ‘Hawkei’ protected mobility vehicle, manufactured in Bendigo, Victoria, as a potential platform for the system’s missile launchers.

Defence will complete a detailed analysis prior to returning to Government for final consideration in 2019.

VTOL X-Plane

DARPA has completed flight-testing of a sub-scale version of a novel aircraft design as part of its Vertical TakeOff and Landing (VTOL) X-Plane program, and is proceeding with work to develop a full-scale version of the groundbreaking plane. Developed and fabricated by Aurora Flight Sciences, the revolutionary aircraft includes 24 electric ducted fans – 18 distributed within the main wings and six in the canard surfaces, with the wings and canards tilting upwards for vertical flight and rotating to a horizontal position for wing-borne flight. The successful tests suggest there is a time in the not-so-distant future when VTOL aircraft could fly much faster and farther than any existing hover-capable craft, and take off and land almost anywhere.

VTOL X-plane hovering in place before transitioning to horizontal flight
VTOL X-plane hovering in place before transitioning to horizontal flight

Subscale testing began on the VTOL program in March of 2016 and the first phase of testing ended after six flights with demonstration of auto take off, sustained hover, directional and translational control (including lateral and rearward flight), waypoint navigation, and auto landing. Later, the aircraft wing and canard tilt mechanisms, tilt schedules, and wing-borne flight controls were enabled for testing. Four of the test flights featured an expanded flight envelope in which the vehicle experimented with increases in air speed until the wing generated most of the lift.

«The VTOL demonstrator was designed specifically to test the aerodynamic design of the aircraft, validate flight dynamics, and develop the flight and mission-systems controls for application to the full-scale vehicle», said Ashish Bagai, DARPA program manager. «The aircraft exhibited exceptional flight characteristics, with no loss in altitude even as it transitioned from vertical to horizontal flight. It also demonstrated aerodynamic effectiveness of the distributed propulsive system».

The subscale aircraft flight and mission control architectures will, for the most part, be carried over into the full-scale VTOL aircraft, but with a few additions and improvements. According to Bagai, the full-scale aircraft will incorporate a triple-redundant flight control system instead of a single system. A hybrid turboshaft engine driving electric generators to power the fan units, versus the demonstrator’s batteries, will power the full-scale aircraft. Finally, the full-scale aircraft fan units will be synchronized to the generators and turn at a constant RPM, but incorporate variable pitch, whereas the demonstrator’s fans are speed controlled.

Composite image of VTOL subscale test aircraft in horizontal flight
Composite image of VTOL subscale test aircraft in horizontal flight

In addition to serving as a flight controls systems developmental aircraft, the VTOL subscale demonstrator advanced a number of technologies such as 3D-printed plastics for flight structures and aerodynamic surfaces as well as embedded distributed electric propulsion. The subscale demonstrator also improved methods to develop the aerodynamic databases upon which the air-vehicle control system is modeled, and provided lessons for the flight control system.

With the subscale test flights completed, the aircraft will be preserved for possible additional tests in the future. Meanwhile, all ongoing-program efforts will focus on the development of the full-scale VTOL X-Plane aircraft, which now bears the official designation of XV-24A.

The XV-24A will weigh 12,000 pounds/5,443 kg compared to the demonstrator’s 322 pounds/146 kg, and will aim to demonstrate specific performance objectives stipulated by DARPA: flight speeds in excess of 300 knots/345 mph/555.6 km/h, full hover and vertical flight capabilities, and – relative to helicopters – a 25 percent improvement in hovering efficiency and 50 percent reduction in system drag losses during cruise.

«These are ambitious performance parameters», Bagai said, «which we believe will push current technologies to the max and enable a new generation of vertical flight operational capabilities».

DARPA Completes Testing of Subscale Hybrid Electric VTOL X-Plane

 

She’s underway!

The future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is underway for its first set of sea trials, known as Builder’s Sea Trials (BST). Builder’s sea trials provide an opportunity to test systems, components and compartments at sea for the first time.

The future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) underway on its own power for the first time. The first-of-class ship – the first new U.S. aircraft carrier design in 40 years – will spend several days conducting builder's sea trials, a comprehensive test of many of the ship's key systems and technologies (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ridge Leoni/Released)
The future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) underway on its own power for the first time. The first-of-class ship – the first new U.S. aircraft carrier design in 40 years – will spend several days conducting builder’s sea trials, a comprehensive test of many of the ship’s key systems and technologies (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ridge Leoni/Released)

Over the next several days, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) Sailors, shipbuilders from Huntington Ingalls Industries – Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS), the Navy’s Supervisor of Shipbuilding and Naval Sea Systems Command personnel will be working side-by-side testing many of the ship’s key systems and technologies.

«The U.S. Navy and our industry partners are excited to have the future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) underway under her own power for the first time, executing a rigorous and comprehensive test program for this first-of-class ship», said Rear Admiral Brian Antonio, program executive officer for aircraft carriers. «This milestone is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication, and we look forward to learning a great deal during sea trials. We will continue to work together to deliver Ford’s critical capabilities to the fleet».

Future USS Gerald R. Ford underway for Builder's Sea Trials (BST)
Future USS Gerald R. Ford underway for Builder’s Sea Trials (BST)

 

General Characteristics

Builder Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia
Propulsion 2 A1B* nuclear reactors, 4 shafts
Length 1,092 feet/333 m
Beam 134 feet/41 m
Flight Deck Width 256 feet/78 m
Flight Deck Square 217,796 feet2/20,234 m2
Displacement approximately 100,000 long tons full load
Speed 30+ knots/34.5+ mph/55.5+ km/h
Crew 4,539 (ship, air wing and staff)
Armament ESSM (Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile), RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile), Mk-15 Phalanx CIWS (Close-In Weapon System)
Aircraft 75+

* – Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. serves the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program

Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is the first new aircraft carrier design in 40 years, replacing the Nimitz-class of carriers
Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is the first new aircraft carrier design in 40 years, replacing the Nimitz-class of carriers

 

Ships

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) 11-13-2009 11-09-2013
USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) 08-22-2015
USS Enterprise (CVN-80)
The new aircraft carrier class was redesigned from the keel to the mast of the island house
The new aircraft carrier class was redesigned from the keel to the mast of the island house

Christening of Ignatius

Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division christened its 31st Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, USS Paul Ignatius (DDG-117), with approximately 1,000 guest in attendance at Saturday’s ceremony, April 08, 2017.

Ship’s Sponsor Nancy Ignatius christens DDG-117, the destroyer named for her husband, Paul Ignatius, former Secretary of the Navy. Also pictured (left to right) are Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John M. Richardson; Commander Robby Trotter, the ship’s prospective commanding officer; Doctor Elisa Ignatius, granddaughter of Paul and Nancy Ignatius; Paul Ignatius, the ship’s namesake; Philip Gunn, Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives; and Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias (Photo by Andrew Young/HII)
Ship’s Sponsor Nancy Ignatius christens DDG-117, the destroyer named for her husband, Paul Ignatius, former Secretary of the Navy. Also pictured (left to right) are Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John M. Richardson; Commander Robby Trotter, the ship’s prospective commanding officer; Doctor Elisa Ignatius, granddaughter of Paul and Nancy Ignatius; Paul Ignatius, the ship’s namesake; Philip Gunn, Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives; and Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias (Photo by Andrew Young/HII)

«These Arleigh Burke destroyers provide our leaders with the ability to conduct a wide range of missions», said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John M. Richardson. «That kind of flexibility is increasingly important in the world of maritime competition. … USS Ignatius and her crew will be doing the nation’s work, providing credible options to our nation’s leaders for decades to come. They’ll be respected always, welcome news to our friends and a worst nightmare to our enemies. Our body, the ship, is tough, built with the best materials in the hands of the best shipbuilders and manned by the best crew America can produce».

USS Paul Ignatius (DDG-117) is named in honor of Paul Ignatius, who served as the United States’ 59th Secretary of the Navy from 1967 to 1969. He made significant contributions during the administrations of presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Ignatius is a living namesake and was in attendance for today’s ceremony.

«I want to express my appreciation to the men and women of one of the world’s best – if not the best shipyard – here at Huntington Ingalls, whose ships, as their motto proudly proclaims, are built stronger than steel», Ignatius said. «One of the great strengths of our country is the industrial might that builds ships, tanks and airplanes that ensured victory in World War II and that continue to undergird our efforts to maintain stability amid the new threats that face us».

Nancy W. Ignatius, his wife, is the ship’s sponsor and officially christened the ship after successfully breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across its bow. Paul and Nancy Ignatius have been married nearly 70 years and have four children together. They were escorted to the platform by Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias.

«Ingalls ships are built with one goal in mind: to protect the brave men and women who protect our freedom», Cuccias said. «Working closely with our Navy partner, we continue to improve on each ship we build. And the Paul Ignatius will be no exception. Today, we are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in modernizing our facilities alongside our partners, the leadership of the great state of Mississippi. Combine that with a hot production line and our talented and experienced shipbuilders, and we are uniquely positioned to provide our country with the highest quality, most capable destroyers in the fleet. Simply stated, Ingalls builds the finest, most capable warships the world has ever known … right here in Pascagoula, Mississippi».

Ingalls has delivered 29 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to the U.S. Navy. Other destroyers currently under construction at Ingalls include USS Ralph Johnson (DDG-114), USS Delbert D. Black (DDG-119), USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG-121) and USS Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG-123).

«Two days ago, when the United States fired missiles on Syria, the two ships that fired those missiles were made right here at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula», said Philip Gunn, Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives. «So, as you can see, between World War II and as recently as two days ago and every point in between, Ingalls shipyard has been an integral part of providing freedom. Every one of us ought to feel the weight of that, every one of us ought to be grateful for that, and every one of us ought to be proud of what takes place at Ingalls».

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

Ingalls shipbuilders raise the flag on Paul Ignatius (DDG-117)
Ingalls shipbuilders raise the flag on Paul Ignatius (DDG-117)

 

Ship Characteristics

Length Overall 510 feet/156 m
Beam – Waterline 59 feet/18 m
Draft 30.5 feet/9.3 m
Displacement – Full Load 9,217 tons/9,363 metric tons
Power Plant 4 General electric LM 2500-30 gas turbines; 2 shafts; 2 CRP (Contra-Rotating) propellers; 100,000 shaft horsepower/75,000 kW
Speed in excess of 30 knots/34.5 mph/55.5 km/h
Range 4,400 NM/8,149 km at 20 knots/23 mph/37 km/h
Crew 380 total: 32 Officers, 27 CPO (Chief Petty Officer), 321 OEM
Surveillance SPY-1D Phased Array Radar and Aegis Combat System (Lockheed Martin); SPS-73(V) Navigation; SPS-67(V)3 Surface Search; 3 SPG-62 Illuminator; SQQ-89(V)6 sonar incorporating SQS-53C hull mounted and SQR-19 towed array sonars used with Mark-116 Mod 7 ASW fire control system
Electronics/Countermeasures SLQ-32(V)3; Mark-53 Mod 0 Decoy System; Mark-234 Decoy System; SLQ-25A Torpedo Decoy; SLQ-39 Surface Decoy; URN-25 TACAN; UPX-29 IFF System; Kollmorgen Mark-46 Mod 1 Electro-Optical Director
Aircraft 2 embarked SH-60 helicopters ASW operations; RAST (Recovery Assist, Secure and Traverse)
Armament 2 Mark-41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) with 90 Standard, Vertical Launch ASROC (Anti-Submarine Rocket) & Tomahawk ASM (Air-to-Surface Missile)/LAM (Loitering Attack Missile); 5-in (127-mm)/54 (62) Mark-45 gun; 2 (1) CIWS (Close-In Weapon System); 2 Mark-32 triple 324-mm torpedo tubes for Mark-46 or Mark-50 ASW torpedos

Christening of Paul Ignatius (DDG-117)

 

Flight IIA: Restart

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

 

Flight IIA: Technology Insertion

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

 

Flight III

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

 

Low Rate
Initial Production

Lockheed Martin on April 4, 2017, announced the CH-53K King Stallion program successfully passed its Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) review and achieved a Milestone C decision that enables Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) funding.

U.S. Marines established the King Stallion's capability during initial operational assessment in October 2016
U.S. Marines established the King Stallion’s capability during initial operational assessment in October 2016

«This affirmative Milestone C decision validates the maturity and the robust capability of the King Stallion in meeting the United States Marine Corps mission requirements», said Doctor Michael Torok, Sikorsky vice president, CH-53K King Stallion Programs. «This establishes the CH-53K King Stallion as a production program and marks another critical step toward our goal of delivering this tremendous capability to the USMC».

Numerous, successfully completed pre-requisites preceded the Milestone C decision. Supplier as well as prime contractor Production Readiness Reviews took place throughout 2016 to establish the program’s readiness to move into low rate initial production. Aircraft maturity was established well in advance with over 400 flight hours achieved, and the October 2016 initial Operational Assessment by the USMC fully established the ability of the CH-53K King Stallion to achieve critical mission flight and ground scenarios in the hands of active duty Marines. Overall, post evaluation interviews of aircrew, ground crew and flight surgeons revealed a high regard for the operational capability demonstrated by the CH-53K King Stallion.

«We have just successfully launched the production of the most powerful helicopter our nation has ever designed. This incredible positive step function in capability is going to revolutionize the way our nation conducts business in the battlespace by ensuring a substantial increase in logistical throughput into that battlespace. I could not be prouder of our government-contractor team for making this happen», said Colonel Hank Vanderborght, U.S. Marine Corps program manager for the Naval Air Systems Command’s Heavy Lift Helicopters program, PMA-261.

The CH-53K King Stallion provides unmatched heavy lift capability with three times the lift of the CH-53E Super Stallion that it replaces. With more than triple the payload capability and a 12-inch wider internal cabin compared to the predecessor, the CH-53K King Stallion’s increased payloads can range from multiple U.S. Air Force standard 463L pallets to an internally loaded High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) or a European Fennek armored personnel carrier, to up to three independent external loads at once. This provides extraordinary mission flexibility and system efficiency.

The CH-53K King Stallion also offers enhanced safety features for the warfighter, including full authority fly-by-wire flight controls and mission management that reduce pilot workload and enable the crew to focus on mission execution as the CH-53K King Stallion all but «flies itself». Other features include advanced stability augmentation, flight control modes that include attitude command-velocity hold, automated approach to a stabilized hover, position hold and precision tasks in degraded visual environments, and tactile cueing that all permit the pilot to focus confidently on the mission at hand.

Further, the CH-53K King Stallion has improved reliability and maintainability that exceeds 89% mission reliability with a smaller shipboard logistics footprint than the legacy CH-53E Super Stallion.

The U.S. Department of Defense’s Program of Record remains at 200 CH-53K King Stallion aircraft. The first six of the 200 are under contract and scheduled to start delivery next year to the USMC. Two additional aircraft, the first LRIP aircraft, are under long lead procurement for parts and materials, with deliveries scheduled to start in 2020. The Marine Corps intends to stand up eight active duty squadrons, one training squadron, and one reserve squadron to support operational requirements.

 

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/530 miles/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