Lewis B. Puller, the first purpose built at-sea platform for Mine CounterMeasure (MCM) helicopters and Special Operations Forces (SOF) was christened at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego, California on February 7, 2015, according to the company. U.S. Marine Corps commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford was the guest speaker at the ceremony.
The Afloat Forward Staging Base – USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP-3/ASFB-1) – was formally named in a ceremony at NASSCO ahead of an anticipated delivery to U.S. Military Sealift Command (MSC) in September. The ship is capable of supporting additional missions including: counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions and Marine Corps crisis response.
The first two ships (USNS Montford Point and USNS John Glenn) have been designated Mobile Landing Platforms (MLP) and will operate as an interface between MSC (Military Sealift Command) cargo ships and Navy landing craft to expand the projection power of the U.S. Marine Corps.
The two planned ships in the class plan to be forward deployed assets for the Navy – one to the U.S. 5th Fleet in the Middle East and one to the U.S. 7th Fleet in the Pacific.
The Navy currently employs the Austin-class LPD, USS Ponce (AFSB-(I)-15), as a Middle East AFSB. In December 2014, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) awarded NASSCO $498 million to start construction on the second AFSB.
The MLP AFSB – based on the hull of an Alaska-class crude oil tanker – is a flexible platform and a key element in the Navy’s large-scale airborne mine countermeasures mission. With accommodations for 250 personnel and a large helicopter flight deck (capable of fielding MH-53E Sea Dragon MCM helicopters), the MLP AFSB will provide a highly capable, innovative and affordable asset to the Navy and Marine Corps.
USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP-3/AFSB-1) was launched at the San Diego yard on November 6, 2014. Lewis B. Puller is slated to become operational in 2015 and will likely replace the current AFSB stand in – USS Ponce (AFSB-(I)-15). The second ship (MLP-4/AFSB-2) will most likely based in the Pacific.
General Characteristics, Montford Point Class
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/17,594 km
Crew: 34 Military Sealift Command personnel
Accommodations: 250 personnel
USNS Montford Point (MLP-1)
USNS John Glenn (MLP-2)
USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP-3/AFSB-1) – Launched – November 6, 2014
According to Sam LaGrone, USNI Online Editor at the U.S. Naval Institute, engineering studies to include an electromagnetic railgun on a Zumwalt-class destroyer (DDG-1000) have started at Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA).
The work will do the math to determine if the Zumwalt-class will have the space, power and cooling to field a railgun – likely replacing one of the two 155-mm BAE Advanced Gun Systems (AGS) ahead of the ship’s deck house, Vice Adm. William Hilarides told USNI News following remarks at the Office of Naval Research Naval Future Force Science and Technology Expo. «We have begun real studies – as opposed to just a bunch of guys sitting around – real engineering studies are being done to make sure it’s possible».
The likely candidate for the weapon would be the third planned Zumwalt, Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002) currently under construction at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW) with an expected delivery date of 2018. Hilarides said the first two ships – Zumwalt (DDG-1000) and Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001) – would be less likely to field the capability initially due to the schedule of testing with the new class. «The team is working diligently now but it would not happen until after delivery of the ships – probably the third ship is where we’d have it», he said. «That would certainly be my recommendation».
The Navy is in early stages of testing and fielding a railgun – which forgoes the gunpowder in the shells of conventional naval guns and instead uses high-powered electromagnetic pulses along a set of rails to shoot a projectile at supersonic speeds.
The Navy plans to test a BAE Systems prototype railgun onboard the Joint High Speed Vessel USNS Millinocket (JHSV-3).
Last year, then Navy director of surface warfare now commander of U.S. Surface Forces Command, Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden told USNI News the Zumwalts would be likely used as test beds for emerging technologies like railguns and directed energy weapons the Navy wants for its next large surface combatant due to the ship’s size an ability to generate power.
The Integrated Power System (IPS) on the 16,000-ton ships – powered by two massive Rolls Royce MT-30 gas turbines and two smaller Rolls-Royce RR450 – allow the ships to route and generate 80 mega-watt power – much more electrical power than the current crop of U.S. destroyers and cruisers.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert said a Zumwalt would likely be the first ship to get the capability. The inclusion of the railgun does mean a capabilities trade for the ship. «We’ll go do the studies and I suspect they’ll say ‘yes,’ but it’s going to come at a cost of some of the capabilities on this ship – of course», Hilarides said. «It’s physics. Without taking something off, you’re not putting on a many ton system, so a gun would be a logical thing to take off and put the railgun in its place».
The three ship Zumwalt-class were – in part – originally designed to address a gap in naval surface fire support with the AGS firing the Long-Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) at a range of up to 75 nautical miles/139 km. Each ship is designed to field two AGS. Zumwalt is expected to deliver to the service next year.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., announced the start of bladed ground testing, a major milestone, for the S-97 Raider program. The Raider is an armed reconnaissance rotorcraft designed to significantly outmatch conventional military helicopters in maneuverability, payload, speed, range and high/hot environmental conditions.
«Testing all of the aircraft’s systems together, for the first time, marks significant progress in the development of this next generation helicopter and moves the program closer to first flight», said S-97 Raider Program Manager Mark Hammond.
During the ground runs phase, the S-97 Raider team is testing the first of two aircraft prototypes as a completed system for the first time. The team will perform initial ground tests with the aircraft tied down and will focus on verifying correct operation of the propulsion system, drive train, rotor control system and pilot-vehicle interface.
This testing comes on the heels of the recent successful completion of software qualification testing, component fatigue testing, and gearbox testing, for the first S-97 Raider prototype. Sikorsky launched the S-97 Raider program in October 2010 with the objectives of maturing the X2 rotorcraft design and offering a helicopter to meet U.S. Army reconnaissance and special operations needs.
In addition to ground runs for the first prototype, the program team at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, is prepared to begin final assembly of the second prototype S-97 Raider helicopter, following acceptance last month of the fuselage structure from Aurora Flight Sciences. Sikorsky rolled out the first prototype in October 2014.
Based on Sikorsky’s rigid X2 rotor coaxial design, the S-97 Raider helicopter features next-generation technologies in a multi-mission configuration, capable of carrying six troops and external weapons. The coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and pusher propeller provide cruise speeds up to 220 knots/253 mph/407 km/h.
«We look forward to the opportunity to demonstrate the Raider’s revolutionary performance and unmatched maneuverability for the U.S. Army», said Steve Engebretson, Director, Advanced Military Programs. «We’re delivering on our promise to design and build a helicopter with performance capabilities not seen before».
Sikorsky S-97 Raider Helicopter
The S-97 Raider aircraft multi-mission capabilities will meet both conventional U.S. Army and Special Operations future requirements in a variety of combat roles. Sikorsky is also reviewing potential applications for USAF, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Marine Corp services.
Like the X2 Technology Demonstrator aircraft that unofficially broke the helicopter speed record on September 15, 2010, the S-97 Raider helicopter prototypes will feature twin coaxial counter-rotating main rotors (in place of one main rotor and a tail rotor) and a pusher propeller. For the armed reconnaissance mission, the S-97 Raider helicopter will have space aft of the cockpit for armament and auxiliary fuel. In an assault configuration, the cabin will afford space to accommodate up to six troops.
In addition to flying at nearly twice the speed of a conventional helicopter, the S-97 Raider prototype aircraft will incorporate other key performance parameters critical to combat operations – increased maneuverability, greater endurance, and the ability to operate at high altitudes. Compared with other light military helicopters, the Raider prototypes are expected to significantly reduce turning radius and acoustic noise signature, while significantly increasing the aircraft’s payload, flight endurance and hot and high hover capability.
Low acoustic signature
Exceptional hover capability
High cruise speed
Agility for close air support
Fly-by-wire flight controls
Multi-Mission for Operational Flexibility
Internal aux fuel tank for extended range/increased endurance
Additional ammunition capacity
Six seat cabin
Aerial refueling capable
Maximum gross weight: 11,400 lbs/5,171 kg
HOGE* capability: >6K/95
Endurance (standard fuel): >2.7 h
Range: >373 miles/600 km
Cruise speed: >200 knots/230 mph/370 km/h
C-17 loadout: 4 aircraft
70-mm 2.75″ rockets
12,7-mm .50 cal gun
* HOGE – Hover-Out of Ground Effect. This is the absolute limit of the helicopter’s ability to hover. Factors that contribute to this limit are density altitude, atmospheric temperature, available engine torque, and payload.
Embraer successfully performed the first flight of the new military transport and aerial refueling jet, the KC-390 on February 3, 2015. Test pilots Mozart Louzada and Marcos Salgado de Oliveira Lima and flight test engineers Raphael Lima and Roberto Becker flew the aircraft for 1 hour and 25 minutes, conducting an evaluation of flying qualities and performance.
«This first flight is a fundamental step toward accomplishing the task with which we were entrusted. The KC-390 is the result of a close cooperation with the Brazilian Air Force and international partners, representing what is most likely the greatest technological challenge that the Company has ever encountered in its history. We are profoundly moved for having achieved this key milestone», said Frederico Fleury Curado, President and CEO of Embraer.
«The program continues to move forward as planned and the KC-390 has drawn interest from several countries around the world», added Jackson Schneider, President and CEO of Embraer Defense & Security. «We are proud to once again keep our commitments in the development of this aircraft, which will set a new standard in the category of tactical military transport».
«The KC-390 will be the backbone of transport aviation for the Brazilian Air Force. From the Amazon to Antarctica, the fleet of 28 aircraft will play a key role in the diversity of projects of the Brazilian State, from scientific research to the maintenance of sovereignty», noted Aeronautics Commander, Lieutenant-Brigadier General Nivaldo Luiz Rossato.
On its maiden flight, the KC-390 crew performed maneuvers to evaluate its flight characteristics and conducted a variety of systems tests, having benefited from an advanced campaign of simulations and extensive ground tests. «The KC-390 behaved in a docile and predictable manner», said Captain Louzada. «The advanced fly-by-wire flight control system and the latest-generation avionics make flying easy and render a smooth and precise flight».
According to Guy Norris from Aerospace Daily & Defense Report, Embraer originally hoped to begin test flights before the end of last year, but took longer than expected to complete a final series of avionics integration tests following the aircraft’s rollout in October. The manufacturer has targeted initial deliveries to the Brazilian air force around the end of 2016, though this looks more likely to slide into 2017 given the ambitious flight test effort ahead of it. A second KC-390 has also been assembled and is set to join the program shortly.
Embraer has so far taken firm orders for 28 aircraft from Brazil, but is confident the fly-by-wire transport could clinch up to 20% of the Lockheed Martin Hercules C-130 replacement market, which it estimates is around 728 aircraft in 77 countries.
The KC-390 is a joint project of the Brazilian Air Force and Embraer to develop and produce a tactical military transport and air-to-air refueling plane that represents a significant advance in terms of technology and innovation for the Brazilian aeronautics industry.
On May 20, 2014, Embraer and the Brazilian Air Force signed the serial production contract for the delivery of 28 KC-390 aircraft and initial logistic support. Besides the order from the Brazilian Air Force, there are current purchase intentions from other countries, for a total of 32 additional aircraft.
The KC-390 is a military transport aircraft developed to establish new capacity and performance standards in its category, delivering at the same time the lowest life-cycle cost in the market.
A genuine multimission aircraft, it can transport and launch cargo and troops, perform medical evacuation, search and rescue, as well as fight forest wildfires, among other missions. The KC-390 can also be used as aerial refueler and it has great flexibility, refueling from helicopters to high-performance fighter aircraft.
Equipped with a modern cargo handling system, the KC-390 can transport large-sized cargo such as pallets, vehicles, helicopters, in addition to troops, paratroopers, medevac stretcher or mixed configurations.
The state-of-the-art integrated avionic system and a fly-by-wire flight control facilitates the aircraft piloting, reducing pilot workload and increasing the mission’s efficiency.
The KC-390 can also be equipped with an advanced self-defense system and has ballistic protection in critical areas, which increases the survival capacity in hostile environments.
The V2535-E5 engine, rated at 31,330 pounds of thrust, was selected in July 2011 by Embraer Defense and Security and the Brazilian Air Force, which established the KC-390 requirements. While Embraer and its customers desire maximum commonality with the V2500 engine, changes have been made to optimize installation with the new airframe.
Turkey completed the maiden flight of its Anka Block B Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) on 30 January, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has announced. According to TAI the first flight included a wide degree of autonomy, with take-off, landing, and much of the flight itself being conducted by an autopilot.
The Anka B is the second generation of the indigenous Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV. It is also the production standard version, with 10 Anka Block B UAVs having been ordered in October 2013 for the Turkish military.
Also known as the Anka-S, the Anka Block B features a more expansive payload to the pre-series/basic Anka Block A. This includes a new High-Definition (HD) Electro Optical Infrared (EOIR) payload including a laser designator/laser rangefinder, an Aselsan/MilSOFT Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), Satellite Communications (SATCOM), an encrypted datalink and an indigenous flight control computer.
Turkey announced in July 2012 that it would develop an armed version of the Anka. While the Anka A was unarmed, it is unclear if the Block B aircraft will be able to carry ordnance – either currently or at a later date.
According to Nicholas de Larrinaga, Jane’s Defence Weekly reporter, the Anka programme has suffered some issues, including the crash of the first aircraft in September 2012 and some problems with the Anka A’s payload, but it now appears to be moving forward in line with a planned first delivery to the Turkish Air Force in 2016. All 10 Anka Bs are scheduled to be delivered by 2018.
The Anka UAV is one of the headline products of Turkey’s indigenous development plan, now over a decade long, overseen by the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries. Through it, Turkey has looked to make itself broadly self-sufficient for defence technologies, with an additional goal of building itself into a major exporter of defence technologies.
In developing and ordering the Anka, Turkey has positioned itself as the only European country to have a MALE UAV in production. With MALE UAVs currently a highly sought after military requirement, the type could well find success on the export market. This is particularly true in the lucrative Middle Eastern market where for various reasons the United States may be unwilling to export MALE UAVs and end-users may be unwilling to buy Israeli products.
Anka Multi-Role ISR System
Anka incorporates a heavy-fuel engine and electro-expulsive Ice Protection System with an Advanced Ground Control Station and dual datalink allowing operational security and ease.
Wing Span: 56.8 feet/17.3 m
Length: 26.2 feet/8 m
Powerplant: Heavy-fuel engine (155 hp/115.6 kW)
Payload Capacity: 441 lbs/200 kg (full endurance)
Power: 9 kW
Endurance: 24 hours
Service ceiling: 30,000 feet/9,144 m (Mean Sea Level, MSL)
Data range: 124 miles/200 km
Day and night, all weather ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) mission capabilities with EO (Electro-Optical)/IR (Infrared)/LD (Laser Designator)/LRF (Laser Range Finder) and SAR/ISAR (Inverse SAR)/GMTI (Ground Moving Target Detection) payloads
Fixed or moving target tracking capability
ATC (Air Traffic Control) radio relay over datalink
On-board data recording capability
Expansion capabilities including SATCOM, SIGINT (Signals Intelligence) & communications relay
Remote Video Terminal option
Fully automous operation
Dual-redundant flight control system
Dual-redundant automatic takeoff and landing system
Dual-redundant electrical power generation
Dual-redundant high data rate digital datalink
Electro-expulsive ice protection system
Easy to Maintain
Control Station Features
NATO compliant ACE III (Air Combat Element III) type shelter
Last week, the Strategic and Theater Sealift Program Manager, Captain Henry Stevens, said that over months of at-sea testing, USNS Montford Point (MLP-1), the first ship of the U.S. Navy’s class of Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) demonstrated exceptional capabilities and inherent flexibility during her participation in a series of Post-Delivery Tests and Trials (PDT&T) events. These events, held in the Pacific Northwest and Southern California, successfully evaluated and demonstrated the performance of the ship and her systems.
PDT&T began on Montford Point in April 2014, following installation of her Core Capabilities Set (CCS) and in advance of achievement of the ship class’ Initial Operating Capability (IOC), which the U.S. Navy looks forward to declaring in April 2015.
Montford Point participated in many of PDT&T events, including the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) end-to-end event, designed to determine the operational effectiveness and suitability of the program. Directly following completion of the end-to-end event, and without pulling into port, USNS Montford Point (MLP-1) displayed her capabilities during the Fleet’s Pacific Horizon 2015, a week-long scenario-driven humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise.
Throughout the course of these tests and exercises, USNS Montford Point demonstrated many of her capabilities by interfacing with prepositioning ships and the Improved Navy Lighterage System (INLS) to offload equipment and supplies for transshipment to shore by Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC). These capabilities are the cornerstone of the U.S. Navy’s seabasing strategy, further enabling large-scale logistics movements from sea to shore forces and prepositioned Marine Corps equipment from the Sea Base to the shore, significantly reducing dependency on foreign ports.
Mobile Landing Platform
The Mobile Landing Platform will become the centerpiece of the Sea Base. It will facilitate the selective offload of prepositioned equipment. In concert with JHSV (Joint High Speed Vessel) and prepositioned LMSRs (Large, Medium-Speed Roll-on/Roll-off Ships), MLP will facilitate movement of forces and prepositioned Marine Corps equipment from the Sea Base to the shore via LCAC. The MLP is planned for use across the range of military operations including Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Response (HA/DR), Theater Security Cooperation, and Major Combat Operations.
Dimensions and Performance
Displacement: 78,000 tons (fully loaded)
Length, Overall: 785 feet/239.3 m
Beam: 164 feet/50 m
Draft: 29.5 feet/9 m (fully loaded); 39 feet/12 m (load line)
Sustained Speed: >15 knots/17 mph/28 km/h
Endurance: over 9,500 NM/17,594 km at 15 knots/17 mph/28 km/h
Twin-screw diesel electric
4 MAN/B&W medium speed diesel main engines
24 MW diesel electric plant
2 MW Azimuth Vertically Retractable Bow Thrusters
Skin to skin transfer to/from LMSR and JHSV
25,000 square feet of vehicle stowage
Fender stowage and handling gear
34 Military Sealift Command (MSC) personnel
Including hotel Services to support berthing modules
3 MW 60 Hz power
Over 100,000 gal potable water
Over 590,000 gal JP-5 (Jet Propellant 5)
3 LCAC spots
Space for LCAC support containers (O-Level support)
According to Rahul Bedi, Jane’s Defence Weekly correspondent, India has invited Japan to compete in the Indian Navy’s (IN’s) long-delayed INR500 billion ($8.1 billion) Project 75I (India) requirement for 6 diesel-electric submarines with land attack and Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) capabilities. Official sources said India had recently forwarded a proposal to Tokyo asking it to consider participating in the Project 75I tender with its 4,200-tonne Soryu-class submarine.
In this connection it is interesting to note that the Soryu class is currently under evaluation by the Royal Australian Navy as a replacement for its six Collins-class boats. India’s offer to Japan to join Project 75I is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s effort at forging closer strategic and defence ties with Tokyo and formulating a wider maritime quadrilateral grouping that would include Australia and the United States.
India is also in advanced negotiations with Japan to acquire 12 ShinMaywa US-2i (formerly Shin Meiwa) amphibious search-and-rescue aircraft for around $1.65 billion, a deal that is likely to be concluded in early 2016.
The Project 75I tender, delayed by nearly seven years, was approved by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in October 2014 and is likely to be dispatched later this year. It is aimed at boosting the IN’s underwater assets, which at 11 submarines is 13 fewer than their sanctioned strength.
Project 75I envisages licence-building a submarine shortlisted from multiple contenders, including DCNS (France), TKMS subsidiary HDW (Germany), Navantia (Spain) and Rosonboronexport (Russia), under a Joint Venture (JV) with an Indian shipyard.
A committee headed by Vice Admiral A.V. Subedar recently completed an audit of seven domestic shipyards – five of them state-owned and two private – to evaluate their submarine-building capability. Officials said it would submit its report to the MoD in February, after which the selected shipyards, along with IN-approved overseas submarine manufacturers, would be invited for trials around 2016 and a platform shortlisted by 2018.
Price negotiations would follow, and IN officials anticipate the first Project 75I submarine being commissioned around 2025-27. Meanwhile, the MoD has for the third time postponed the deadline for local vendors to respond to its Requests for Information (RfI) to indigenously build more than 140 twin-engine Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH).
Industry sources said the RfI response date, for nine potential local bidders, was deferred to 28 February – from the earlier deadlines of 24 November 2014 and 24 January – as many had been unable to conclude JVs with foreign original equipment manufacturers.
India is keen for Japan to participate in its domestic materiel manufacturing programmes as it is seeking technology to boost its defence industrial base. It is also keen to propagate its bilateral strategic partnership with Japan to counter China’s growing military assertiveness in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
Both countries have unresolved territorial disputes with China that erupt periodically. The United States has also been advocating increased defence co-operation between India and Japan and Australia, which shares their collective concerns regarding China.
The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, along with the Honourable Peter MacKay, Regional Minister for Nova Scotia, announced the awarding of the build contract with Irving Shipbuilding Inc. for the construction of six Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS). This contract, valued at $2.3 billion, marks the start of the construction phase under the NSPS (Source: Public Works and Government Services Canada).
The contract has been designed to ensure best value for taxpayers and sets out the plan for the delivery of six ships within a ceiling price.
The AOPS build contract will sustain approximately 1,000 jobs at Irving Shipbuilding as well as many jobs at suppliers across Canada. For example, today, Member of Parliament, Bryan Hayes, highlighted that the majority (60 per cent) of steel plate for the first Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship will be produced at the Essar Steel Algoma rolling mill in his riding of Sault Saint Marie in Ontario. To date, 197 companies in Canada have already benefited from NSPS work.
Construction of an initial block for the first AOPS is scheduled for the summer, while full production will commence in September 2015. Delivery of the first HMCS Harry DeWolf class ship is expected in 2018.
It was also confirmed that Irving Shipbuilding will be the Prime Contractor for the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) project. As outlined in the NSPS RFP (Request For Proposal) and the resulting umbrella agreement with the selected shipyards, Canada retains the right to determine if the shipyard will be designated as the Prime Contractor. After discussions with industry and review by an independent third party, it was determined that Irving is best positioned to manage the contracts associated with the three decades of work to design and build these ships.
The $3.5 billion budget for the AOPS includes acquisition costs (for vessel design and build), project office operations, a provision for infrastructure costs (e.g. for jetties), as well as initial spares and support.
The build contract, valued at $2.3 billion, is a cost reimbursable incentive fee-based contract that provides incentives for Irving Shipbuilding to deliver 6 ships to the Royal Canadian Navy within a pre‑determined and not-to-exceed ceiling price.
The new DeWolf class Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships will be equipped with state of the art sensors and will also be able to operate and support the new Cyclone naval helicopters. Operating in conjunction with other capabilities of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Canadian Coast Guard, the DeWolf class ships will play a critical role in protecting Canada’s offshore sovereignty in the Atlantic, the Pacific as well as in the Arctic.
Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships
Canada defends more coastline than any other country, as it is bounded by three oceans. Canada protects its maritime approaches from smuggling, trafficking and pollution, and also provides life-saving search and rescue as well as opportunities for scientific research. The fleets also act internationally to meet our commitments and protect our interests.
In June 2010, the Government of Canada announced the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. Through this strategy, Canada will replace the current surface fleets of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard, which are reaching the end of their operational lives. First in line will be the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships for the Royal Canadian Navy in the combat package. These will be followed by the Canadian Surface Combatant. The Joint Support Ships (JSS) will be built for the Royal Canadian Navy under the non-combat work package.
The AOPS project will deliver six ice-capable offshore patrol ships that will conduct sovereignty and surveillance operations in Canada’s Exclusive Economic Zone, including in the Arctic. The Royal Canadian Navy will also use the AOPS to support other units of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in the conduct of maritime-related operations and to support other government departments in carrying out their mandates, as required. The AOPS project will also deliver associated jetty infrastructure in Esquimalt (BC), Halifax (NS) and Nanisivik (NU).
The AOPS are key to the Government of Canada’s ability to deliver on three of our guiding strategies – the Canada First Defence Strategy, the Northern Strategy, and the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.
Proposed Ship Capabilities
The AOPS will have a number of capabilities that will allow the ships to assist the Royal Canadian Navy in carrying out missions. The following high-level draft requirements are examples of these capabilities, and will be studied and refined during project definition. AOPS will:
Be capable of performing independent open ocean patrols on the east and west coasts of Canada, and in the Canadian Arctic during the navigable season.
Designed to a Polar Class 5 international ice classification standard, which will allow for operations in first year ice up to one meter in thickness.
Have a capability to manoeuvre in ice, however AOPS will not provide icebreaking services to others.
Be able to sustain operations for up to 4 months.
Have a range of at least 6,800 nautical miles/12,593.6 km at 14 knots/16 mph/26 km/h.
Have a sufficient command, control and communication capability to exchange real-time information with the Canadian Armed Forces Maritime Security Operations Centres.
Have a cruising speed of at least 14 knots/16 mph/26 km/h and a maximum speed of at least 17 knots/19.5 mph/31 km/h.
Have a gun armament.
Remain operational for 25 years beyond Initial Operational Capability (IOC).
Be capable of embarking and operating a variety of helicopter types up to and including the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Cyclone helicopter be capable of embarking and deploying a variety of boat types to support activities such as boarding operations and transfer of cargo and personnel for ship-to-shore transfer as well as arrangements for cargo and container storage to support CAF and Other Government Departments operations.
It is said in the Jane’s Defence Weekly that the Republic of China Navy (RoCN) took delivery on 23 January of a newly completed fast combat support ship Panshih (磐石) AOE 532 (AOE, acronym used in the U.S. Navy).
Panshih was built by state-owned Kaohsiung-based shipbuilder CSBC Corporation at a cost of $130 million. Construction began in 2011 and the ship was launched in 2013.
According to the Ministry of National Defense (MND), Panshih AOE 532 is a multirole vessel and will be used as a transport, maritime rescue, and humanitarian assistance vessel. Defence officials say the navy will begin training personnel this month and that the vessel will enter full operational service by March.
Panshih is 643 ft/196 m long and 82.7 ft/25.2 m wide and has a full load displacement of 20,800 tons (light displacement around 10,000 tons). AOE 532 can carry a crew of up to 165 sailors at maximum speed is 22 knots/25 mph/40 km/h and has a range of 8,000 NM/14,816 km. Panshih is able to replenish two ships at the same time. Prior to its delivery, the RoCN had only one operational supply ship, Wuyi, which entered service in 1990.
Panshih has two 40-mm cannons, two 20-mm Phalanx CIWS (Close-In Weapon System) and short-range air-defense system Sea Chaparral, based on Taiwan-made TC-1 missiles (itself derivate of AIM-9L Sidewinder). In addition, Taiwan’s new combat support ship does not only carry vital supplies for ROCN’s warships but is also able to accommodate SH-60 Sea Hawk (Sikorsky S-70) or CH-47D Chinook helicopters.
Combat support ships usually do not get the same amount of attention like major combat ships. However, they are absolutely crucial for keeping fleet on the open sea, especially under combat conditions when replenishment in ports may be restricted. In a peacetime, AOEs can conduct HADR (Humanitarian And Disaster Relief) operations. For that purpose, Panshih is equipped with medical facilities, including operating room and three regular and one isolation ward.
According to Gavin Phipps, Jane’s Defence Weekly reporter, delivery of Panshih comes as Taiwan’s government looks to invest heavily in the RoCN as a means of boosting the island’s defence capabilities.
The Ministry of National Defense took delivery of the island’s first indigenous Tuo Jiang-class missile corvette earlier in January, and the government approved a $94.46 million four-year design contract for an indigenous submarine in December 2014.
The government increased its 2015 defence budget to $10.7 billion, a 2.6% rise from 2014. Prior to that increase, the island’s defence budget had been in decline since 2009.
The budget was passed by a legislature forced to take a more bipartisan stance on defence spending and production of indigenous weapons systems, as the island faces both a growing threat from China’s fast modernizing military and current U.S. government opposition to the sale of advanced weapons platforms to Taiwan.
The Source: Posted on January 24, 2015 by Michal Thim
Ukraine has renewed development of heavy infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) based on the T-64 Main Battle Tank (MBT), Ukroboronprom has announced January 13. The Kharkov Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau had previously created prototypes of a new IFV based on the T-64 but work is understood to have ceased some years ago. Now the firm has resumed development of the heavy IFV in order to ready the designs for serial production. According to Ukroboronprom, this work could be completed in time to allow for mass production to begin before the end of the year.
The heavy IFV is based on a heavily modified T-64 chassis and hull with its turret removed and the upper portion of the hull significantly raised in order to increase its internal volume and allow for the relocation of the engine forward. These changes allow the BMP-64 IFV, known variously as the BMP-64, BMT-64 and BMPT-64, to accommodate 10-12 dismounts in the rear of the vehicle as well as a crew of three.
Instead of the 125-mm armed main turret of the T-64, a new IFV turret has been added to the vehicle. Boasting an impressive amount of firepower, the original prototype features a turret armed with a ZTM-1 30-mm automatic cannon and a 7.62-mm machine gun. Two anti-tank missiles are mounted on the left-hand side of the turret, while two banks of three grenade launchers are attached to the front of the turret. In addition, the commander’s hatch on the roof of the turret features a cupola armed with a twin GSh-23 mm cannon and a 30-mm automatic grenade launcher.
The T-64 IFVs armour protection has also been increased with the incorporation of Nozh (Knife) advanced dynamic protection system (Explosive Reactive Armour – ERA), although a Defensive Aid Suite (DAS) was not known to have been installed on the original prototype.
According to Ukroboronprom, part of the resumption of development of the vehicle will include efforts with specialists from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence (MoD) to improve the design of the T-64 IFV. This will include improvements to the vehicle’s weapon systems and the installation of «more modern dynamic protection». The latter possibly refers to the Zaslon hard-kill active protection system, which has previously been installed on some T-64BM Bulat MBTs.
According to Nicholas de Larrinaga, Jane’s Defence Weekly correspondent, the Ukrainian military’s principal IFV is the ageing BMP-2, which offers protection only against small arms fire – and can be easily penetrated by shaped-charges, cannon fire, or even armour-piercing heavy machine gun fire. As a result, Ukrainian BMP-2s are understood to have been lost in numbers greater than any other vehicle type in Ukrainian service. While Ukrainian T-64 MBTs have also suffered a high loss rate, the additional armoured protection that a heavy IFV could offer would no doubt be welcomed by Ukrainian infantry and National Guardsmen.
The T-64-based IFV is understood to weigh in at around 34.5 tonnes, making it well over double the weight of the 14.3 tonnes BMP-2 and more akin to the 32.7 tonnes weight of the U.S. Army’s Bradley M2A3 IFV.
Converting MBT hulls into IFVs is not a new concept, with Israel in particular well known for converting first Centurion tank hulls, and now Merkava tank hulls into heavy IFVs – due to their utility in urban warfare, where speed is less relevant and all-round protection is key. The Ukrainian T-64 IFV is, however, dwarfed by the Merkava-derived Namer IFV, which weighs 62 tonnes.