The third trimaran

Austal Limited is pleased to announce that Littoral Combat Ship 6 (LCS-6), the future USS Jackson, has successfully completed U.S. Navy acceptance trials. The trials, the last significant milestone before delivery, were undertaken in the Gulf of Mexico and involved comprehensive testing of the vessel’s major systems and equipment by the U.S. Navy.

Defence vessels designed and built by Austal include focused-mission combatants, such as the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) for the United States Navy
Defence vessels designed and built by Austal include focused-mission combatants, such as the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) for the United States Navy

Austal Chief Executive Officer Andrew Bellamy said it was pleasing that acceptance trials on LCS-6 had been successfully completed. «The LCS program is maturing into an efficient phase of construction. Completion of our first Acceptance Trial on LCS-6 as the prime contractor is a significant and important milestone for Austal. This program is steadily gaining momentum heading towards a smooth transition from LCS to frigate», Mr. Bellamy said.

After delivery of LCS-6, Austal will deliver a further nine Littoral Combat Ships from its shipyard at Mobile, Alabama, under a 10-ship, $3.5 billion block-buy contract from the U.S. Navy. Of those, Montgomery (LCS-8) is preparing for trials and delivery later this year. Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) was recently christened. Final assembly is well underway on Omaha (LCS-12) and Manchester (LCS-14). Modules for Tulsa (LCS-16) and Charleston (LCS-18) are under construction in Austal’s module manufacturing facility.

The Independence Variant of the LCS Class is a high speed, agile, shallow draft and networked surface ship
The Independence Variant of the LCS Class is a high speed, agile, shallow draft and networked surface ship

 

The Independence Variant of the LCS Class

PRINCIPAL DIMENSIONS
Construction Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy
Length overall 417 feet/127.1 m
Beam overall 103 feet/31.4 m
Hull draft (maximum) 14.8 feet/4.5 m
PAYLOAD AND CAPACITIES
Complement Core Crew – 40
Mission crew – 36
Berthing 76 in a mix of single, double & quad berthing compartments
Maximum mission load 210 tonnes
Mission Bay Volume 118,403 feet3/11,000 m3
Mission packages Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
Surface Warfare (SUW)
Mine Warfare (MIW)
PROPULSION
Main engines 2 × GE LM2500
2 × MTU 20V 8000
Waterjets 4 × Wartsila steerable
Bow thruster Retractable azimuthing
PERFORMANCE
Speed 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
Range 3,500 NM/4,028 miles/6,482 km
Operational limitation Survival in Sea State 8
MISSION/LOGISTICS DECK
Deck area >21,527.8 feet2/2,000 m2
Launch and recovery Twin boom extending crane
Loading Side ramp
Internal elevator to hanger
Launch/Recover Watercraft Sea State 4
FLIGHT DECK AND HANGER
Flight deck dimensions 2 × SH-60 or 1 × CH-53 or multiple Unmanned Aerial Vehicles/Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs/VTUAVs)
Hanger Aircraft stowage & maintenance for 2 × SH-60
Launch/Recover Aircraft Sea State 5
WEAPONS AND SENSORS
Standard 1 × 57-mm gun
4 × 12.7-mm/.50 caliber guns
1 × Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) launcher
3 × weapons modules
The littoral combat ship Independence (LCS 2) underway during builder's trials
The littoral combat ship Independence (LCS 2) underway during builder’s trials

Australian Spartan

Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Brown, AO, welcomed the first Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-27J Spartan battlefield airlift aircraft in Australia at a ceremony at RAAF Base Richmond on June 30, coinciding with the 90th anniversary of the base’s establishment.

The first C-27J Spartan for the RAAF touched down at RAAF Base Townsville on 24 June before travelling onwards to its new home of RAAF Base Richmond (Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
The first C-27J Spartan for the RAAF touched down at RAAF Base Townsville on 24 June before travelling onwards to its new home of RAAF Base Richmond (Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)

The acquisition of the C-27J Spartan will fill a gap in Australia’s military capability for tactical fixed wing airlift, which has been left open since the retirement of the Caribou fleet in 2009.

Air Marshal Geoff Brown said the acquisition of 10 C-27J Spartan aircraft, which has been planned since 2012, signifies a $1.4 billion investment in Australia’s airlift capability.

«This acquisition represents a commitment to Australia’s air power capability which is a critical element of Australia’s national security and defence strategy», he said. «The C-27J Spartan will strengthen the Australian Defence Force’s airlift capability by increasing our ability to move troops, equipment and supplies. The aircraft will complement the capabilities of the C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster III and will be able to carry medium-sized loads and access smaller runways that are not suited to other aircraft. This will allow Royal Australian Air Force to support humanitarian missions as well as battlefield airlift in remote locations and unprepared airstrips common in Australia’s region. Under Plan Jericho, the plan to transform Royal Australian Air Force into a fifth generation fighting force for the information age, the C-27J Spartan will operate within an integrated system that is more agile, has an extended reach and gathers and distributes information quicker and more efficiently than ever before».

The C-27J Spartan aircraft provides protection from a range of threats through features such as missile warning systems, electronic self-protection, secure communications and battlefield armour.

Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the C-27J Spartan fleet is planned for late 2016, with Final Operational Capability (FOC) expected within the following two years.

The fleet of C-27J Spartan aircraft will initially be based at RAAF Base Richmond in New South Wales, until their permanent home at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland is completed.

In Australian region, the C-27J can access over 1900 airfields compared to around 500 for the C-130 Hercules aircraft. Within Australia, the C-27J can access over 400 airfields compared to around 200 for the C-130J Hercules aircraft
In Australian region, the C-27J can access over 1900 airfields compared to around 500 for the C-130 Hercules aircraft. Within Australia, the C-27J can access over 400 airfields compared to around 200 for the C-130J Hercules aircraft

 

C-27J Spartan

The C-27J Spartan is the best seller in the new-generation, medium battlefield airlifter category. The C-27J Spartan is a twin-engine, turboprop, tactical transport aircraft with state-of-the-art technology in avionics, propulsion and systems. It provides high performance, extreme operating flexibility and cost efficiency and it is the only aircraft in its class capable of interoperability with heavier airlifters.

The C-27J Spartan can perform a variety of missions including transport of troops, goods and medicines, logistical re-supply, MEDical EVACuation (MEDEVAC), airdrop operations, paratroopers’ launches, Search And Rescue (SAR), firefighting, humanitarian assistance, oil spill relief, and operations in support of homeland security.

The C-27J Spartan is equipped with modern avionics and efficient propulsion system (Rolls Royce AE2100-D2A, assuring a 4,650 shp/3,467.5 kW). The architecture of its avionics system is completely redundant, thus increasing the level of mission security and reliability and permitting operation in any environment condition and in any operational scenario.

The C-27J Spartan, thanks to a loading system, perfectly compatible with that of the C-130 Hercules, can carry pallets weighing up to 10,000 lbs/4,550 kg and 7.2 feet/2.2 m tall, or platforms with a length of 12 feet/3.6 m, weighing up 13,228 lbs/6,000 kg.

The flexibility of the C-27J allows it to undertake a wide range of missions from delivering ammunition to front line troops to undertaking aero-medical evacuation of casualties
The flexibility of the C-27J allows it to undertake a wide range of missions from delivering ammunition to front line troops to undertaking aero-medical evacuation of casualties

The C-27J is capable of taking off from and landing on unprepared strips less-than-500 m/1,640 feet long, with maximum take-off weight up to 70,000 lbs/31,800 kg; it may carry up to 60 equipped soldiers or up to 46 paratroopers and, in the air ambulance (MEDEVAC) version, 36 stretchers or 24 stretchers and two Patient Transport Support System (P.T.S.S), with stretchers and stowage provisions for intensive care medical equipment and six medical assistants.

The large cross section (8.53 feet/2.60 m high, 10.92 feet/3.33 m wide) and high floor strength (10,800 lbs/m/4,900 kg/m load capability) allow heavy and large military equipment to be loaded. The C-27J Spartan can, for example, carry fighter and transport aircraft engines, such as C-130 Hercules, Eurofighter Typhoon, F-16 Fighting Falcon and Mirage 2000 directly on its normal engine dollies without additional special equipment.

The C-27J Spartan has been designed, developed and tested as a true military aircraft. It has obtained Military Qualification Certificate. At the same time the C-27J Spartan is airworthy to civil standards, as witnessed by its certification from the Civil Aviation Authority, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in 2001 for the basic configuration and subsequently EASA/FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) in 2010 for the C-27J JCA configuration.

A №35 Squadron C-27J Spartan flies at low level shortly after departing RAAF Base Townsville for its new home of RAAF Base Richmond on 25 June (Source: Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A №35 Squadron C-27J Spartan flies at low level shortly after departing RAAF Base Townsville for its new home of RAAF Base Richmond on 25 June (Source: Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)

 

Specifications

Manufacturer Alenia/L3
Role Battlefield airlifter
Crew Pilot, co-pilot, loadmaster
Engine 2 Rolls-Royce AE 2100-D2 × 4,650 shp/3,467.5 kW
Length 74.5 feet/22.7 m
Height 31.5 feet/9.6 m
Wingspan 94.2 feet/28.7 m
Weight 67,241 lbs/30,500 kg
Range 5,294 NM/6,092.5 miles/9,805 km
Ceiling 30,000 feet/9,144 m
Maximum Speed 362 knots/416 mph/670 km/h
Capacity 40 troops
21 stretcher patients
17,857 lbs/8,100 kg of cargo
Weapons Electronic self-protection measures

 

The first Alenia Aermacchi C-27J Spartan for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) touched down at RAAF Base Townsville on 24 June 2015, before travelling onwards to its new home of RAAF Base Richmond on 25 June 2015. An acceptance ceremony was then held at RAAF Base Richmond on 30 June 2015 for the first of ten C-27J Spartan battlefield airlifters to enter service with the Royal Australian Air Force

Polish Silesian

According to the Defense-aerospace.com, on July 2, Minister Siemoniak launched and christened the ORP Ślązak (Silesian) patrol boat at the Naval Shipyard in Gdynia. The ORP Ślązak is the first new Polish-built Navy ship in 21 years.

Laid down as a missile corvette, the Gawor proved to be beyond the financial capabilities of the Polish navy, which finally decided to turn it into an OPV, the Ślązak, which was launched on July 2 in Gdansk (Polish MoD photo)
Laid down as a missile corvette, the Gawor proved to be beyond the financial capabilities of the Polish navy, which finally decided to turn it into an OPV, the Ślązak, which was launched on July 2 in Gdansk (Polish MoD photo)

«Thanks to Polish shipyard workers in particular. We believed that they would be able to perform this task, and they acquitted themselves well. We look forward to further ships from Polish shipyards», said the head of the Defense Ministry.

On Thursday, Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak participated in the ceremony of launching and christening of the ship patrol ORP Ślązak, which was held in the Naval Shipyard in Gdynia.

The Minister said that, in accordance with the schedule, the ship should begin to serve late next year. «Now you need to fit it out. We must also train the crew. We anticipate that by the end of next year it will normally come into service. She must also undergo sea trials at this time. This is the plan», the Deputy Prime Minister said, and he added that he is confident about the continuation of work and schedule adherence.

Minister Siemoniak also said that negotiations are continuing with Polish Armament Group for the next six ships – patrol and coast guard vessels. He added that in his opinion, Polish shipyards are absolutely ready for such projects.

«Expansion of the Navy is the need of our time. We need new capability in the Baltic Sea, and to cooperate in the framework of NATO. The Alliance, because of what is happening in Europe and around Europe, looks completely different at sea, as was shown is the recent BALTOPS-2015 exercise. The Baltic Sea is of strategic importance for our interests and the interests of NATO. This is an indication that we should develop our naval forces», stressed the Deputy Prime Minister during the ceremony.

Construction of the ship patrol in the basic version of Ślązak is implemented by the Minister of Defence’s decision to use the platform on the multi-purpose corvette platform Gawron. Upon completion in 2012 of the requisite analysis and consultations, the minister decided that the best solution would be to complete the construction of Gawron as a patrol ship, retrofitting it with equipment and other naval systems required for its re-tasking.

In February of 2013, Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak signed a decision ordering the negotiations for the supply of an Integrated Combat System, and annexing an existing agreement taking into account the new requirements for the ship.

On September 23, 2013 was signed an annex to the original contract directing that the ship be completed by the Naval Shipyard using the existing platform as the patrol ship ORP Ślązak. The contract annex clarifies issues of completing the ship and changing its mission from multipurpose corvettes to patrol boat.

The Polish Navy is growing, but more can be done said the Polish Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak
The Polish Navy is growing, but more can be done said the Polish Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak

 

General characteristics:

Total length – 312.3 feet/95.2 m;

Width – 44.3 feet/13.5 m;

Height to deck – 30.7 feet/9.35 m;

Draught – 11.8 feet/3.6 m;

Standard displacement – approximately 1,800 tonnes;

Autonomy – 30 days;

2 main engines with a capacity of 2 × 3,240 kW;

Turbine peak power of 25,000 kW;

Marine Power Station – 4 generating sets with the 4 × 600 kW;

Maximum speed – 30+ knots/34.5+ mph/55.5+ km/h;

Endurance speeds of 18 knots/20.7 mph/33.3 km/h – 2,000 NM/ 2,301 miles/3,704 km range;

Economical speed of 14 knots/16 mph/26 km/h – 4,500 NM/5,178 miles/8,334 km range;

Accessories – bow thruster azimuth and active stabilizers swings.

 

Planned armament:

Command system with consoles – supplier company THALES;

Sea cannon OTO Melara – 76-mm;

2 guns Marlin – WS – 30-mm;

4 missile launchers – Grom;

4 small-bore – 12.7-mm machine guns;

Radar Station;

Navigational sonar – warning;

Optoelectronic head;

Fire control system;

Means of communication and navigation.

Minister Siemoniak launched and christened the ORP Ślązak (Silesian) patrol boat at the Naval Shipyard in Gdynia
Minister Siemoniak launched and christened the ORP Ślązak (Silesian) patrol boat at the Naval Shipyard in Gdynia

Multifunctional Ship

Fincantieri, one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups and reference player in the naval shipbuilding industry, and Finmeccanica, Italy’s leading manufacturer in the high technology sector, have been awarded the contract for the construction and equipment of one multipurpose amphibious unit (LHD – Landing Helicopter Dock) for the Italian Navy.

A computer-generated image of the Italian Navy’s future LHD, which is expected to displace about 20,000 tonnes
A computer-generated image of the Italian Navy’s future LHD, which is expected to displace about 20,000 tonnes

The total value of the contract is over 1.1 billion euros, with Fincantieri’s share amounting to approximately 853 million euros and Finmeccanica’s to about 273 million euros. The delivery of the unit is scheduled in 2022.

The contract with the consortium Raggruppamento Temporaneo di Impresa (RTI), consisting of Fincantieri, agent, and Finmeccanica, through its subsidiary Selex ES, principal, was signed on behalf of the Ministry of Defence by the Central Unit for Naval Armament (NAVARM) of the General Secretariat.

The consortium RTI was established in accordance with the tight cooperation agreement in the field of naval vessels construction signed between Fincantieri and Finmeccanica last October. Pursuant to the agreement, Fincantieri acts as a sole interface to the client, while at the same time allowing to enhance Finmeccanica’s products range in the naval field and the technical and commercial synergies between the two largest national groups in the naval field.

In general, this multi-year programme for the renewal of the Navy’s fleet (known as the «Defence Act») employs a total funding of 5.4 billion euros and, in addition to the aforementioned LHD unit, foresees the construction of six patrol vessels, with four more in option, and one logistic support unit.

In particular:

  • one multipurpose amphibious unit (LHD or Landing Helicopter Dock);
  • one logistic support unit (LSS or Logistic Support Ship);
  • six patrol vessels (PPA or Multipurpose Offshore Patrol Ship) and four more 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 for civil protection and rescue at sea operations. 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) and biological waste control system.

In addition to building the vessels at its shipyards, Fincantieri will provide support over the lifecycle of the vessels in the first ten years, through the supply of logistic services (training courses, spare parts, technical documentation) during the construction of the vessels and of In-Service Support (ISS), (maintenance services), carried out during post-delivery operations, as well as components and naval machinery produced by the Marine Systems and Components Business Unit, such as shaft lines, wheelhouse, maneuvering propellers, fin stabilizers and other handling systems.

Finmeccanica, through Selex ES, will act as prime contractor for the new unit’s entire combat system. The system will support landing craft, provide vessel self-defence and coordinate and control operations in concert with other naval and ground forces. Selex ES will also provide all the sensor systems including the X band, four-fixed-face, multifunctional scanned-array radar system and also the latest generation integrated communications. Finmeccanica-Selex ES will deliver and integrate all systems, including those of OTO Melara, WASS, and Elettronica, and is also responsible for the provision of support throughout the first decade of use including Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) and In-Service Support (ISS).

Fincantieri’s Chief Executive Officer, Giuseppe Bono, commented: «The announcement of this additional unit completes the first part of the renewal of our Navy’s Fleet, one of the world’s most significant defence programmes of the last years. We are extremely satisfied and excited to be leaders of such an important project, both technically and industrially. It confirms that we are a reference producer worldwide as well in the naval segment, either for the domestic and foreign markets. Fincantieri all will work at this programme with the highest commitment in order to realize on time extremely high quality products».

Finmeccanica’s Chief Executive Officer and General Manager, Mauro Moretti, said: «The contract award represents a new and significant contribution by Finmeccanica and Fincantieri to the Italian Navy’s important fleet renewal programme. All of the systems designed and developed for the new dual-use LHD naval unit are based on the most advanced technology, boosting the efficiency of solutions proposed by Finmeccanica and strengthening its position in the naval sector. The group will continue to invest in this sector, with the goal of increasing the value of its products and solutions able to achieve significant success, also in international markets».

 

LHD – Landing Helicopter Dock

The unit will be approximately 623 feet/190 meters long with a maximum speed of 20 knots/23 mph/37 km/h. It will be equipped with a combined diesel and gas turbine plant (CODOG) and will be able to accommodate on board over 950 people, of whom more than 750 military or civilian transported people.

The LHD’s main mission is the transport of people, vehicles and loads of different kinds and in their transfer on land in port areas through on board systems and in not equipped areas with various kinds of vessels: such as the small Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM) – landing craft units with a load capacity up to 60 tonnes, four of which can be admitted, launched, and recovered through a flooded basin, located on the stern of the vessel.

The Landing Helicopter Dock’s military profile use provides transport and landing, in equipped and non-equipped areas, of troupes, military vehicles, logistic equipment, using the provided features and means of transfer.

The civil profile use provides:

  • healthcare and hospital support;
  • transfer and landing of people and wheeled or crawled means of transport in equipped and non-equipped areas;
  • supply of drinking water to land through onboard desalination plants or storages;
  • supply of electricity to land with 2,000 kW of power and its distribution through containerized conversion and distribution units;
  • possibility of accommodating specialized staff on board or hosting up to 750 civilian personnel, plus the same number in containerized residential units;
  • rescue operations base through helicopters and boar staffing vessels.

Equipped with wide embarkment areas of about 4,500 m2 within dock-garage and hangar-garage and a continuous open deck, able to receive wheeled vehicles of various kinds, containers and helicopters, the unit can perform several military and civil missions.

The different areas of cargo securing are accessible through stern and side ramps, and cargo handling will be managed by internal ramps and elevators.

On board there will be a fully equipped hospital, complete with operating rooms, radiology and analysis rooms, a dentist’s office, and a hospital rooms capable of hosting 28 seriously injured patients (further admissions are possible through duly equipped container modules).

 

Main Characteristics

Length overall 623 feet/190 m
Length Between Perpendicular 548 feet/167 m
Maximum breadth 108 feet/33 m
Breadth 92 feet/28 m
Full Load Displacement 20,000 tonnes
Propulsion Diesel engines 10,000 kWm
Diesel Generators sets 4 × 2,500 kWe
Operational speed 20 knots/23 mph/37 km/h
Range at 16 knots/18 mph/30 km/h 7,000 NM/8,055 miles/12,964 km
Flight deck for up to 6 helicopters EH-101 type
Helicopters hangar for up to 6 EH-101 type
Vehicle deck capability up to 1200 metric lanes
Hospital area about 1,000 m² plus 1,000 m² of convertible areas
Floodable dock about 50 × 15 m
Vehicle ramps 1 stern + 1 side
Accommodation 200 crew + 750 troops

 

Combat System

  • Air & Surface surveillance system (combined air/surface surveillance radar or air + surface surveillance radar’s).
  • Mine avoidance sonar.
  • Artillery: 3 Short Range Gun 25-mm + 2 76-mm OTO Melara 62 caliber (acting also as CIWS – Close-In Weapon System).
  • Electronic Warfare (EW) system (ESM/ECM – Electronic Support Measures/Electronic CounterMeasures + 2 AAW DLS – Anti Air Warfare Decoy Launcher System).
  • Torpedo defense (Towed Array + 2 ASW DLS – Anti Submarine Warfare Decoy Launcher System).
  • Open architectural command & control system able to be implemented also in later phase (i.e. adding operational functions & operator consoles) (400 m² avaible).
  • Integrated communication system (including also the means for landing troops).
  • Integrated navigation system (including X and S band navigation radar’s).

 

German Fox

The Emirate of Kuwait has contracted with Rheinmetall to supply it with twelve state-of-the-art armoured NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) reconnaissance vehicles, the 2 NBC-RS «Spürfuchs». Now binding, the order also includes comprehensive support in the form of training, service and spare parts. Delivery of the vehicle commences in 2017. An accompanying technical support agreement contract covers a period of five years, beginning as soon as the first Fuchs/Fox 2 NBC-RS vehicle enters service. The parties to the contract have agreed not to disclose the cost of the order.

Despite its age, Rheinmetall’s Fox remains the dominant western NBC reconnaissance vehicle, and Kuwait’s will be the first to feature an additional biological detection capability (Rheinmetall photo)
Despite its age, Rheinmetall’s Fox remains the dominant western NBC reconnaissance vehicle, and Kuwait’s will be the first to feature an additional biological detection capability (Rheinmetall photo)

The contractor is Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles GmbH (RMMV). Rheinmetall holds a 51% share in the company, which was founded in 2010 and is located in Munich. The remaining 49% is held by MAN Truck & Bus. RMMV is a globally renowned supplier of military wheeled vehicles, with special expertise in the field of NBC reconnaissance technology.

As Pietro Borgo, Managing Director of RMMV and Member of the Executive Board of Rheinmetall Defence, explains, «This important order is a major vote of confidence by an Arab country in Rheinmetall, Europe’s leading supplier of army technology. We greatly appreciate this. By placing this order, Kuwait will soon possess NBC reconnaissance capabilities that are second to none. We are very pleased to be making a decisive contribution here».

The Fuchs/Fox 2 NBC-RS features a comprehensive, fully integrated suite of devices for identifying NBC warfare agents and other hazardous materials, built into a well-protected, high-mobility 6×6 armoured transport vehicle capable of operating in extreme terrain.

The outcome of a systematic development effort, the vehicles earmarked for Kuwait are the first to feature an additional biological detection capability. This constitutes another major technological advance, made possible thanks to Rheinmetall’s comprehensive, longstanding expertise in this field, in turn underpinning RMMV’s leading position in this segment of the market. When it comes to detecting biological threats, RMMV can supply users not only with the advanced Fuchs/Fox 2 NBC-RS, but – depending on their operational requirements – with a separate biological detection laboratory as well, mounted on the carrier platform of their choice.

Robust and resilient, the Fuchs/Fox wheeled armoured transport vehicle has proven highly effective in crisis regions around the world, with over 1,200 built. Of these, nearly 300 have been configured for NBC reconnaissance operations, performing a vital role in the German Bundeswehr, the US Army and the armed forces of the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Norway and Saudi Arabia.

In addition, the NBC defence forces of Germany, Switzerland and Sweden all have Rheinmetall-made mobile NBC field laboratories in their inventories, which can be transported to the area of operations by road, rail, sea or air. Around the world, these field laboratories have done an excellent job of identifying radiological, biological and chemical hazards.

In the civil defence realm, Rheinmetall has supplied German fire brigades with 397 NBC detection vehicles. These systems help to make sure that German cities are as well prepared as possible to contend with such threats.

Widening its array of mobile NBC reconnaissance systems, in summer 2014 RMMV unveiled the new «CBRN Survivor R», a 4×4 vehicle jointly developed with Austrian vehicle-maker Achleitner, which features a built-in NBC recce kit.

A reliable «workhorse» for the German Bundeswehr: the Fox armoured wheeled vehicle
A reliable «workhorse» for the German Bundeswehr: the Fox armoured wheeled vehicle

 

Fox armoured wheeled vehicle

Foxes are cunning and fast. These attributes of Reynard the Fox are equally true for the versatile and proven armoured transport vehicle called Fox. Thanks to its shrewd design concept, the vehicle can be put to multiple uses. The Fox not only reaches maximum speeds of up to 100 km/h (6×6 drive configuration) but is also highly mobile in difficult terrain.

Already introduced in the 1970s, the Fox wheeled vehicle is today one of the most reliable «workhorses» of the Bundeswehr. The German forces will continue to use around 900 such vehicles in more than 30 different variants (with 16 variants of the 1A8) – many of them having the latest design configuration Fox 1A8 that incorporates modifications based on the experience acquired during many foreign missions. This is, for instance, reflected by the reinforced chassis and power train, high level of protection, new stowage box concept and integration of a remotely controllable weapons station. Although these systems increase the weight of the vehicle to around 20 tons, it has not lost any of its agility.

One particular variant of the Fox is especially well known internationally: the NBC reconnaissance Fox for the detection of nuclear, biological and chemical agents. 102 NBC reconnaissance vehicles are operated by the German NBC corps, 8 of them featuring the 1A8 design status. Great Britain presently has eleven NBC reconnaissance vehicles, Norway and the Netherlands each have six, Saudi Arabia 10 and the UAE 32 such vehicles.

Not only is the vehicle from Rheinmetall: the defence contractor is also responsible for the extensive integration and networking of the many different sensors on board. The vehicle is manned by four persons: the driver, commander, reconnaissance personnel 1 and 2. Numerous civilian forces likewise benefit from Rheinmetall’s expertise in the field of CBRNE defence (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives). For example, the fire department in North Rhine-Westphalia operates NBC reconnaissance vehicles with Rheinmetall technology.

The production «Fox-house» is in Kassel. In the former Henschel factory, Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles today can today offer the systems needed for maintenance, service, modernization – and production of integrated systems including the related carrier vehicle. Thanks to the 2005 order from the United Arab Emirates to deliver 32 modern, fully integrated NBC reconnaissance systems, it was possible to develop the Fox 2 vehicle. The ongoing success of this vehicle demonstrates impressively just how successful the strategy has been. Currently, the first vehicles for Algeria are leaving the factory hall; the North African country will perform final assembly of the vehicles in its own production sites built especially for the purpose.

The cut-away illustration shows some of the systems that can belong to the vehicle
The cut-away illustration shows some of the systems that can belong to the vehicle
  1. Double-wheel sampling system – two silicone-coated wheels for the automatic detection (whilst moving) of persistent warfare agents and hazardous adhering to the ground.
  2. Standoff infrared detector capable of detecting volatile chemical substances in the air from a great distance.
  3. «NBC tail» including the tube magazine for transporting samples, the marker trap, glove opening and tongs for manual sampling.
  4. Mass spectrometer (behind the operator’s position) for chemical analysis of samples collected.
  5. Operator’s position with the Rheinmetall software «NBC Inspector» – the heart of the NBC kit in the Fox reconnaissance vehicle.
  6. Central computer system.
  7. FLW 200 remotely controllable weapon station – operated from the armoured interior as a means of self-defence.

Keel for Manchester

Austal and the U.S. Navy held a keel-laying ceremony on June 29 for the future USS Manchester (LCS-14), marking the first significant milestone in its construction. This new ship is the fifth Independence variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) built at Austal under the 10-ship, $3.5 billion block buy contract awarded to Austal in 2010.

Keel Laying for USS Manchester (LCS 14)
Keel Laying for USS Manchester (LCS 14)

«It has been said that building a high-tech Littoral Combat Ship is more akin to making a spacecraft than a traditional warship», said Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), sponsor of the Manchester. «These ships and their technology are impressive. However, what is always most impressive, to me is the professionalism and excellence of the officers and sailors who serve on these remarkable vessels. We are also grateful to the engineers, the welders, the machinists, the metalworkers and electricians – all the men and women who are working as a team to build the USS Manchester (LCS-14). I am honored and humbled to be her official ship sponsor».

Shaheen, the only woman to serve as both a U.S. senator and state governor, authenticated the keel by welding her initials onto an aluminum plate that will be placed in the keel – a beam around which the hull, or body, of a ship is built. The keel runs lengthwise down the middle of the ship serving as the basic foundation or spine of the structure, providing the major source of the hull’s strength. Shaheen has been part of New Hampshire’s leadership fabric by representing her state in Congress since 2009.

Due to Austal’s modular approach to ship manufacturing, 36 of 37 modules used to form this 127-meter (419-foot) aluminum trimaran are already being fabricated. For Austal, keel laying marks the beginning of final assembly. Nineteen modules have been moved from Austal’s Module Manufacturing Facility (MMF) and erected in the final assembly bay in their pre-launch position. The remaining 18 modules will follow over the coming months.

Austal is a global defense prime contractor and a designer and manufacturer of defense and commercial ships
Austal is a global defense prime contractor and a designer and manufacturer of defense and commercial ships

«With 19 modules of Manchester already erected, and the christening of Gabrielle Giffords just a few short weeks ago, it’s exciting to see just how well the LCS program is maturing here», said Craig Perciavalle, president of Austal USA. «This milestone would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of Austal’s talented design and production team».

Austal’s LCS program delivered USS Independence (LCS-2) in 2009 and USS Coronado (LCS-4) in 2013. Seven additional LCS are under construction at the Mobile, Alabama shipyard. The U.S. Navy conducted acceptance trials on the future USS Jackson (LCS-6) last week, while the future USS Montgomery (LCS-8) is preparing for builders trials later this year. The future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) was christened June 13, and the future USS Omaha (LCS-12) will complete final assembly and prepare for launch later this summer. Modules for the future USS Tulsa (LCS-16) and the future USS Charleston (LCS-18) are in the early phases of construction.

Austal is also building ten 103-meter (338-foot) Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSVs) for the U.S. U.S. Navy under a $1.6 billion block-buy contract. USNS Trenton (JHSV-5) marked the fifth vessel in this class to be delivered since the inception of the program. Both USNS Spearhead (JHSV-1) and USNS Millinocket (JHSV-3) are on humanitarian missions, in Central America and Southwest Asia, respectively.

Austal USA is a full-service shipyard offering design, construction and high-speed vessel service and repair. As Austal USA continues to expand its service and repair capabilities, the company is well positioned for new business with engineering, test and trials capabilities, and a new warehouse and office location in San Diego, California.

Austal also designs, constructs, integrates and maintains an extensive range of patrol and auxiliary vessels for government agencies globally
Austal also designs, constructs, integrates and maintains an extensive range of patrol and auxiliary vessels for government agencies globally

Naval interceptor

It is said in the Jane’s Defence Weekly that the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) has unveiled a new high-speed and stealthy naval interceptor designed to perform a range of missions, including base defence for the service’s two naval facilities, force protection, as well as maritime security operations alongside its existing Fearless-class patrol vessels and future Littoral Mission Vessels (LMV).

The vessel on parade is visibly less equipped than the model shown in a video, suggesting that this particular example is either a prototype or a newly built hull awaiting further outfitting
The vessel on parade is visibly less equipped than the model shown in a video, suggesting that this particular example is either a prototype or a newly built hull awaiting further outfitting

The new interceptor, called the Specialized Marine Craft (SMC), will be officially revealed to the public as part of the military display aimed at showcasing the Singapore Armed Forces’ latest capabilities during the country’s National Day celebration on 9 August. The SMC replaces the service’s Fast Boats, which were retired in 2008.

According to specifications provided by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the 40-tonne SMC – which is based on an aluminium hullform with a low Radar Cross Section (RCS) design – measures 72 feet/22 m in length and has a beam of 18 feet/5.5 m. Kelvin Wong, Jane’s Defence Weekly correspondent understands that the draft of the vessel is approximately 4 feet/1.2 m.

Major Lee Pui Yau, commander of the SMC squadron, told reporters during a media preview event on 27 June that development of the SMC began in 2003 in collaboration with Singapore Technologies (ST) Marine, with the first vessel entering service in 2009 after extensive trials and design refinements in the intervening years.

Maj Lee said the vessel’s complement of four comprises a commander, a coxswain, a navigator, and a weapons specialist. He added that the SMC is not designed to embark additional personnel. Propulsion is achieved with two Hamilton waterjets, likely the HM series that are designed for marine craft ranging from 56 to 197 feet/17 to 60 m, which enable unfettered operation in shallow waters, while enabling the vessel to attain maximum speeds in excess of 30 knots/34.5 mph/55.5 km/h.

The vessel's electro-optical sensor and what is likely to be a navigation radar can be seen mounted on its starboard mast
The vessel’s electro-optical sensor and what is likely to be a navigation radar can be seen mounted on its starboard mast

The SMC is armed with a foredeck-mounted stabilised OTO Melara Hitrole G remote weapons station that is equipped with a 12.7-mm FN Herstal M2HB QCB machine gun and complements the stealthy profile of the SMC with its low-RCS shield. According to company literature, the Hitrole G weapon station is capable of engaging surface and aerial targets and has an internal capacity for 400 rounds of ammunition. Additional ammunition can be stored under the mount. The company also stated that the Hitrole G is also equipped with a daylight camera, a cooled infrared imager, and a laser rangefinder.

Specifics of the SMC’s electronic systems were not disclosed, although MoD said the vessel features «advanced sensors» that provide «state-of-the-art surveillance capabilities» as well as a communications suite that enables improved integration with other RSN fleet assets and facilities. However, Kelvin Wong understands from Maj Lee that the vessel is equipped with a mast-mounted electro-optical sensor turret as well as a radar system, although he declined to elaborate further on their origins.

According to Maj Lee, the RSN currently operates three vessels with a further five expected to enter service by 2017.

The Specialised Marine Craft is armed with a stabilised 12.7-mm OTO Melara Hitrole G remote weapons station, which features a low radar cross section shield design
The Specialised Marine Craft is armed with a stabilised 12.7-mm OTO Melara Hitrole G remote weapons station, which features a low radar cross section shield design

Travelling to Sydney

NUSHIP Adelaide, one of two Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships being built for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), left BAE Systems Williamstown (17 June) to begin sea trials. After some initial trials in Port Phillip Bay, HMAS Adelaide (L01) will spend ten days on the water travelling to Sydney.

The second ship, HMAS Adelaide, is planned to commission in 2016
The second ship, HMAS Adelaide, is planned to commission in 2016

The current testing precedes a second period of sea trials in August, ahead of delivery to the Royal Australian Navy later this year. The sea trials are conducted under a number of scenarios; some require the ship in certain conditions and/or water depths while others require the ship’s systems in specific configurations.

In Sydney, HMAS Adelaide (L01) will be dry docked so her hull and flight deck can be cleaned and painted. NUSHIP Adelaide will then set sail and undertake more sea trials on the return voyage to Williamstown, arriving in mid-July. The August sea trials will focus on communication and combat systems.

BAE Systems Director of Maritime, Bill Saltzer said: «We will undertake approximately 240 hours of testing over 20 days to ensure all systems perform to their capability. Some of the trials will run concurrently and cover everything from basic systems operations such as alarms, to the ship’s manoeuvrability while at sea. We are on track to deliver NUSHIP Adelaide at the end of September this year. The ship is even more ready than HMAS Canberra (L02) was for her first sea trials, reinforcing that we have implemented lessons learned from the first of class and we have continued to improve our productivity».

The LHDs are the largest warships ever to be built for the RAN. As the prime contractor, BAE Systems has worked closely with the Defence Materiel Organization to deliver the project with subcontractors Navantia, which constructed the hulls in Spain, SAAB and L3, which supplied the combat and communications systems respectively.

These 27,000-tonne ships will be able to land a force of over 1,000 personnel by helicopter and watercraft, along with all their weapons, ammunition, vehicles and stores
These 27,000-tonne ships will be able to land a force of over 1,000 personnel by helicopter and watercraft, along with all their weapons, ammunition, vehicles and stores

 

Platform Characteristics

Length Overall                                                                          757 feet/230.8 m

Length Waterline                                                                     680 feet/207.2 m

Beam                                                                                               105 feet/32 m

Design Draft                                                                                23.5 feet/7.18 m

Full Load Displacement                                                         27,831 tonnes

Crew and Embarked Forced Accommodation         1,403

 

Machinery

Propulsion                 2 × Siemens 11,000 kW PODs

Bowthruster             2 × 1,500 kW Brunvoll/Siemens motors

Stabilisers                   2 × Fincantieri

Generators                         1 × 22,000 kW GE LM2500 Gas Turbine and                                                      2 × 7,680 kW Diesel

Integrated Platform Management System              Navantia – Sistemas

Fresh Water              6 × Reverse Osmosis Plants (each 25 tonnes/day)

Sewage                         2 × Treatment Plants

The largest ships ever built for the Royal Australian Navy, the LHDs are being built as a collaboration between Navantia and BAE Systems – Maritime
The largest ships ever built for the Royal Australian Navy, the LHDs are being built as a collaboration between Navantia and BAE Systems – Maritime

 

Performance

Maximum Speed                                   20+ knots/23+ mph/37+ km/h

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

Maximum Range                                   9,250 NM/10,644 miles/17,131 km

Endurance                                                45+ days

 

Capacity

Flight Deck                                                            4,750 m²/51,128.57 feet²

Dock (including ramp)                                    1,165 m²/12,540 feet²

Heavy Cargo Garage                                       1,410 m²/12,270.86 feet²

Light Cargo Garage                                          1,880 m²/20,236 feet²

Hangar                                                                      990 m²/10,656.27 feet²

Garages, Hangar and Well Dock               1,350 lane metre (2.9 m wide)

General Store Rooms                                       1,079 m²/11,614.26 feet²

Future Growth Margin                                    672 tonnes

The flight deck has been configured with six spots on the port side for medium sized aircraft such as the NRH 90 or Blackhawk, which allows for simultaneous take-off and landing operations; alternatively it can support simultaneous take-off and landing operations of four CH-47 Chinooks
The flight deck has been configured with six spots on the port side for medium sized aircraft such as the NRH 90 or Blackhawk, which allows for simultaneous take-off and landing operations; alternatively it can support simultaneous take-off and landing operations of four CH-47 Chinooks

Mighty engine

The 65,000-tonne future flagship of the Royal Navy has undergone months of preparation work by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA) to start the first of her four diesel engines, which are directly coupled to the generators. Together, each power unit weighs approximately 200 tonnes – the weight of two medium size passenger jets.

The first, HMS Queen Elizabeth, was named on 4 July 2014, with her ship commissioning planned for 2017, and an initial operating capability expected in 2020
The first, HMS Queen Elizabeth, was named on 4 July 2014, with her ship commissioning planned for 2017, and an initial operating capability expected in 2020

Minister of State for Defence Procurement, Philip Dunne, officially started the first of the ship’s four diesel generators at the home of the UK’s aircraft carrier programme in Rosyth, Scotland on June 25, bringing the ship to life for the first time.

He also announced that BAE Systems has been awarded a £5.5 million contract to install a new Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS) to assist in the controlling and monitoring of all ship movements within Portsmouth Harbour and the Eastern Solent to prepare for the arrival of the carrier, around the end of 2016, beginning of 2017.

Mr. Dunne said: «It is a real pleasure to be back in Scotland, home of the UK’s shipbuilding industry, to witness the impressive progress that is being made on our new aircraft carriers. Powering up the diesel generator today marks an important milestone on the journey to bring these highly versatile ships into service with our Armed Forces. They will be the largest, most capable and effective surface warships ever constructed in the United Kingdom. The build programme is supporting thousands of jobs across the country, with over 4,000 of those jobs at Rosyth and the Clyde».

The diesel generator sets will provide sufficient electrical power to drive the ship at cruise speeds (25 knots/29 mph/46.3 km/h), but when higher speed is required, two Gas Turbine Alternators will also be used. Together they will produce 109 MW of power, enough to power a medium-sized town.

Rear Admiral Henry Parker, DE&S Director of Ship Acquisition, said: «Every milestone achieved on HMS Queen Elizabeth brings us a step closer to her becoming an operational warship. A great deal of hard work has taken place to bring us to this stage and, with good progress also being made on HMS Prince Of Wales, we are moving ever closer towards these magnificent ships joining the Fleet and becoming the centerpiece of Britain’s future military capability».

The separation and distribution of power generation machinery on the QE Class increases the survivability of the ships, while the electric propulsion system enables the prime movers to operate more efficiently, reducing less fuel consumption and running costs
The separation and distribution of power generation machinery on the QE Class increases the survivability of the ships, while the electric propulsion system enables the prime movers to operate more efficiently, reducing less fuel consumption and running costs

To the end of May 2015, the Ministry of Defence had paid around £3.12 billion to BAE Systems on the Clyde (c. £1.925 billion) and to Babcock at Rosyth (c £1.194 billion) on the Queen Elizabeth Carrier (QEC) programme. Our estimates for the level of remaining work in Scottish yards are currently being updated. QEC work is estimated to support directly some 4,000 jobs and hundreds of apprentices at the Rosyth and Clyde-based shipyards.

The VTMS contract is the latest development in the partnering agreement between BAE Systems, the Royal Navy and Ministry of Defence (MoD) to modernise HM Naval Base Portsmouth and prepare for the arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08).

The new system installation, which is to be completed early 2016, is designed to provide the Queen’s Harbour Master and the Vessel Traffic Service team with the situational awareness they require to control the vessels in their operational area.

Following sea trials (from 2017) and First of Class Flying Trials for helicopters and the F-35B Lightning II (starting in 2018), HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) will undertake a coherent build up towards achieving an Initial Carrier Strike Capability in 2020.

Second of class HMS Prince Of Wales (R09) is now almost half-complete at 30,000 tonnes, the forward island was installed in May 2015 forming the iconic carrier shape of the vessel. Initial Operating Capability (IOC) of HMS Prince Of Wales (R09) is expected in 2023.

The aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) and HMS Prince Of Wales (R09) are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a unique partnering relationship between BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the Ministry of Defence.

Main Diesel Generator Installation
Main Diesel Generator Installation

 

Weapons and sensors

Mission systems complex

Artisan 3D medium range radar

S1850m long-range radar

Navigation radar

Highly mechanized weapon handling system

Phalanx automated close-in weapons systems

30-mm guns & mini guns to counter seaborne threats

 

Mission capability

Capacity to accommodate up to 40 aircraft

280-m flight deck, capable of landing Chinook and Merlin helicopters

Aviation store

Hangar, capable of accommodating and maintaining fixed and rotary wing aircraft

Aircraft lifts (forward and aft)

Diesel generator on board HMS Queen Elizabeth
Diesel generator on board HMS Queen Elizabeth

 

Propulsion

2 × Rolls Royce MT30 gas turbines (36 MW/48,000 hp)

4 × Wartsila diesel generator sets (2× 9 MW/12,000 hp & 2 × 11 MW/15,000 hp)

2 × 33 tonne propellers

4 × advanced induction motors

 

Accommodation

Accommodation for 1,600 personnel

Dedicated accommodation and facilities for embarked forces

Hospital area incorporating eight bed medical suite, operating theatre and dental surgery

Recreational facilities including fitness suites and cinema

HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08)
HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08)

 

Main dimensions

Displacement                                65,000 tonnes

Length                                               280 m/918.63 feet

Maximum beam                           70 m/229.66 feet

Crew size                                         679

Embarked forces up to            921

 

Performance

Top speed                                        25 knots/29 mph/46 km/h

Range                                                 10,000 NM/11,508 miles/18,520 km

 

Minister of State for Defence Procurement, Philip Dunne, officially started the first of the ship’s four diesel generators at the home of the UK’s aircraft carrier programme in Rosyth, Scotland today bringing the ship to life for the first time

 

Anti-Missile System

Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded a delivery order from the Defense Microelectronics Activity (DMEA) to deliver an advanced anti-missile system to the Air National Guard (ANG) and Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC).

The system benefits from the LAIRCM Block 30 configuration, which incorporates the latest system processor technology, infrared missile warning sensors, the Viper laser and a new control interface unit
The system benefits from the LAIRCM Block 30 configuration, which incorporates the latest system processor technology, infrared missile warning sensors, the Viper laser and a new control interface unit

Under the terms of the $31.7 million contract, Northrop Grumman will deliver three modernized third-generation pods, which are based on the Northrop Grumman Guardian system that was developed for the Department of Homeland Security, for the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command’s KC-135 aircraft. The company will also support government flight tests and provide training. The work is expected to be completed by early 2017.

The third-generation pod benefits from the Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) Block 30 configuration, which incorporates the latest system processor technology, infrared missile warning sensors, the Viper laser and a new control interface unit.

«This open architecture configuration, with its increased capability and reliability, provides the next level of aircraft protection», said Carl Smith, vice president, infrared countermeasure programs, Land and Self Protection Systems Division, Northrop Grumman. «Block 30 builds on the company’s more than 15 years of experience in battle-proven laser-based infrared countermeasures. The third-generation role-fit pod configuration offers reliable, flexible protection that is ideally suited to numerous military and commercial aircraft».

LAIRCM System
LAIRCM System

The third-generation pod provides 360-degree protection against a wide range of missile threats. When LAIRCM detects a Man-Portable Air-Defense System (MANPADS) launch, it tracks the incoming missile and uses a laser beam to jam the missile’s guidance system, causing it to miss the target aircraft. The entire process occurs in just a few seconds and requires no action on the part of the aircraft crew. The system includes a multiband laser pointer/tracker and four infrared missile-warning sensors. The system is contained almost entirely in a single pod that mounts to the underside of the fuselage and can be moved easily from one aircraft to another, as needed.

Northrop Grumman’s various infrared countermeasure systems are now installed or scheduled for installation on more than 1,000 military aircraft around the world, protecting 55 different types of large fixed-wing transports and rotary-wing platforms from infrared missile attacks.

All Viper Mid-IR Laser components, including all wavelength conversion and beam- forming optics controller and power supply, fit in a 13-inch/33-cm diameter × 2-inch/5-cm high chassis, weighing less than 10 pounds/4.5 kg
All Viper Mid-IR Laser components, including all wavelength conversion and beam- forming optics controller and power supply, fit in a 13-inch/33-cm diameter × 2-inch/5-cm high chassis, weighing less than 10 pounds/4.5 kg