Tag Archives: BAE Systems

Command variant ACV

BAE Systems has handed over the first of a new variant of the Amphibious Combat Vehicle to the U.S. Marine Corps for testing.

ACV-C
First Command Variant for ACV program delivered to Marines for testing

The Command variant (ACV-C) is designed to provide the highest levels of communications, coordination, and analysis on the battlefield to support command and control.

BAE Systems is under contract to deliver two variants to the Marine Corps under the ACV Family of Vehicles program: the ACV Personnel carrier (ACV-P) and the ACV-C. A 30-mm cannon (ACV-30) is currently under contract for design and development and a recovery variant (ACV-R) is also planned.

The ACV-C employs multiple work stations for Marines to maintain and manage situational awareness in the battle space. The work stations access independent networks for advanced digital communications while on the move. This capability supports immediate information synchronization in the application of combat power.

«This ACV’s base design for payload makes it a uniquely adaptable platform for the integration of numerous mission capability sets», said John Swift, director of amphibious programs at BAE Systems. «The delivery of the first ACV-C for testing is significant as it provides Marines with advanced operational control for defeating adversaries. Marines will be able to quickly receive and analyze data, coordinate battlefield functions, and transmit information to provide terminal mission control rapidly from the mobile protected ACV-C».

The ACV platform was designed to grow and adapt to mission needs, allowing space for new capabilities as technology evolves such as turreted, reconnaissance, electronic warfare, anti-air, and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) systems integration.

The Marine Corps and BAE Systems entered full-rate production on the ACV program with a contract award in December, achieving its most significant milestone to date along with the Marine Corps’ decision to declare Initial Operational Capability (IOC). Work is currently underway on the ACV-30 variant.

ACV production and support is taking place at BAE Systems locations in Stafford, Virginia; San Jose, California; Sterling Heights, Michigan; Aiken, South Carolina; and York, Pennsylvania.

Full-rate production

BAE Systems has received a $184 million contract option from the U.S. Marine Corps for more Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACV) under full-rate production.

Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACV)
U.S. Marine Corps awards BAE Systems $184 million for additional ACVs

The order demonstrates the Marine Corps’ confidence in a program that is on track to deliver this critical capability to the Marines.

This contract award will cover production, fielding, and support costs for the ACV Personnel carrier (ACV-P) variant. BAE Systems was awarded the first full-rate production contract option in December for the first 36 vehicles. This option on that contract increases the total number of vehicles under full-rate production to 72, for a total value of $366 million.

«The exercising of this option validates years of teamwork in partnership with the Marines to provide the most adaptable amphibious vehicle possible to meet their expeditionary needs», said John Swift, director of amphibious programs at BAE Systems. «The ACV was designed to meet the Marines’ needs of today while allowing for growth to meet future mission role requirements».

The ACV is a highly mobile, survivable, and adaptable platform for conducting rapid ship-to-shore operations and brings enhanced combat power to the battlefield. BAE Systems is under contract to deliver two variants to the Marine Corps under the ACV Family of Vehicles program: the ACV-P and the ACV Command variant (ACV-C). A 30-mm cannon (ACV-30) is currently under contract for design and development and a Recovery variant (ACV-R) is also planned.

The Marine Corps selected BAE Systems along with teammate Iveco Defence Vehicles for the ACV program in 2018 to replace its legacy fleet of Assault Amphibious Vehicles (AAV), also built by BAE Systems. BAE Systems was also recently awarded an Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract worth up to $77 million for the ACV program that includes the provision of spare and replacement parts, testing equipment, and other services.

ACV production and support is taking place at BAE Systems locations in Stafford, Virginia; San Jose, California; Sterling Heights, Michigan; Aiken, South Carolina; and York, Pennsylvania.

Final Trials

Submarine HMS Talent (S92) has put the world’s most advanced torpedo through its final trials – including firing the lethal weapon at itself.

Spearfish Mod 1
HMS Talent carries out Spearfish torpedo trials off the west coast of Scotland

The Trafalgar-class boat – whose mission is to hunt and, if necessary, kill hostile submarines – fired the upgraded Spearfish on the ranges near the Isle of Skye to rigorously test it before it enters service.

During the three-day trial, the cutting-edge Spearfish was fired at HMS Talent (S92) three times – and was programmed to safely pass the submarine to ensure there was no risk of the boat torpedoing herself.

The trials provided valuable data in the final stages of the upgraded torpedo’s development ahead of its impending entry into service.

Commander Paul Jamieson, Commanding Officer of HMS Talent (S92), said: «Talent has been the host platform on two occasions for this trial and my team are proud to have had a role in this important programme. The Spearfish upgrade will ensure the submarine service continues to possess a very credible weapon system, capable of dealing with potential future threats».

Captain John Aitken, the Spearfish Programme Director, and a former commanding officer of Talent, said: «This trial marks the culmination of a tremendous amount of hard work from the Spearfish team and our partners in industry. The ‘Mod 1’ weapon is at the very cutting edge of torpedo technology and underscores Britain’s position as one of the global leaders in underwater capability. That Talent continues her proud tradition of delivering exactly what is required of her makes this all the more pleasing for me».

Spearfish has been the Royal Navy’s heavyweight torpedo for nearly 30 years and can break the back of frigates, destroyers and similar-sized warships, as well as take out any underwater threats.

The enhanced torpedo features a new warhead, new, safer fuel system, a smarter electronic ‘brain’ and a fibre-optic guidance link with its parent submarine to improve its accuracy and lethality.

The operational version of the weapon will be introduced to all front-line Royal Navy submarines by 2025.

It was the second time Talent, the second oldest boat in the RN’s flotilla, was selected for Spearfish trials, with a Royal Navy, Defence Equipment & Support and BAE team heading aboard.

A dummy run saw the first of four torpedoes launched into a target vessel, before three successful firings pitched Talent against herself, avoiding striking her using ‘geographical depth separation’.

The torpedoes were then recovered and work is now ongoing to study the data from the trial to support decisions made in the next phases of the programme as the torpedo moves towards Initial Operating Capability.

The new CV90 turret

BAE Systems has signed an extensive mid-life upgrade contract worth more than $500 million with the Dutch Defence Materiel Organization (DMO) for the Royal Netherlands Army’s fleet of 122 CV90s, with an option for an additional 19 vehicles.

CV90
BAE Systems receives $500 million contract to provide new turret for Netherlands’ CV90s

The upgrade program with a new turret will vastly improve the vehicle’s capabilities while providing crews with improved protection and ergonomics for increased combat efficiency.

The new CV90 turret, developed by BAE Systems Hägglunds in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, represents a leap forward in design and functionality. The main weapon position is changed to provide even better vehicle balance and enable new ways to introduce a variety of weaponry for increased lethality. It also offers significant ergonomic improvements to benefit the vehicle’s crew.

The enhanced turret design is built on years of combat-proven experience, continuous vehicle improvements, and data analysis from the CV90 User Club – the seven nations currently operating CV90 fleets. The improvements are also based on a recent study conducted by the Royal Netherlands Army, and a BAE Systems’ analysis of cognitive load on Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) crews to address man-machine interaction. The result gives crews increased advantages, such as the ability to choose intuitive and effective modes of operation as well as shorten the time to detection, identification, decision-making, and engagement.

«This is an important step to make sure that our Infantry Fighting Vehicles and our Army are well prepared for many years to come. This mid-life upgrade will also result in a lowering of the vehicles lifetime cost, at the same time as keeping our soldiers safe in the face of new threats», said Colonel Norbert Moerkens, the Royal Netherlands Army’s head of strategy and plans.

Work is already underway to equip the Dutch CV9035 vehicles with several enhanced capabilities such as an Active Protection System (APS) and Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM), as well as a new Electro-Optic Aiming System (EOPS) which gives additional situation awareness. The latest upgrade also includes future-proofing the electronics by upgrading to the fourth generation digital backbone, with embedded and more robust cybersecurity.

«We are committed to delivering the most modern and adaptable IFVs to meet our customers’ requirements and are extremely proud of the technological developments underway as part of this significant mid-life upgrade program», said Tommy Gustafsson-Rask, managing director of BAE Systems Hägglunds. «We look forward to supporting our Dutch customer increase its combat efficiency on the future battlefield».

More than 20 Dutch companies are involved in the supply chain for the mid-life upgrade program to include mechanical and electrical components to BAE Systems Hägglunds and the main subsystem suppliers, which will support the Dutch defense industrial base for many years to come.

There are about 1,300 CV90s of numerous variants in service with Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. The vehicle has a combat-proven track record and is designed to accommodate future growth to meet evolving missions.

The final of five OPV

The final of five new offshore patrol vessels has formally joined the Royal Navy in a short ceremony to raise the White Ensign for the first time on HMS Spey (P234).

HMS Spey (P234)
White Ensign raised as HMS Spey (P234) joins the Royal Navy

She was delivered to Portsmouth Naval Base in October from BAE Systems’ shipyards on the Clyde for the final stages of construction before Spey’s crew took custody of her yesterday afternoon.

Spey’s first Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Ben Evans, said: «It is such a privilege to lead Spey’s complement through the coming trials and training programme and bring her to operational status. In spite of the considerable disruption caused by the pandemic, the Royal Navy has received the fifth and final offshore patrol vessel and our job now is to prepare ourselves and Spey for whatever operations we are assigned».

No guests were invited for the ceremony to change the Blue Ensign – denoting a ship in government service – for White, and only essential personnel were on board with HMS Spey (P234), which is expected to depart Portsmouth next month for the first time.

HMS Spey (P234) will need to complete a series of safety and readiness checks, successfully complete about a month of Operational Sea Training later this year and then she can be formally commissioned into the Fleet like her sisters HMS Tamar (P233) and HMS Trent (P224) did during 2020.

They are both on operations in UK waters, HMS Trent (P224) having returned from her second deployment to the Mediterranean. The first two Batch 2 River Class, HMS Forth (P222) and HMS Medway (P223) are deployed to the South and North Atlantic respectively.

The second-generation River-class programme has delivered five warships inside six years, joining the original Rivers (HMS Mersey (P283), HMS Severn (P283) and HMS Tyne (P283)), with the two most recently constructed benefitting from urea filters which reduce their nitrogen oxide exhaust emissions by 90 per cent.

With Spey’s handover the Batch 2 programme comes to an end, £44 m under its original approved cost of £690 m and on time thanks to effective collaboration between the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and industry.

At its peak, it has sustained about 1,400 jobs within BAE Systems, including more than 200 apprentices, and delivered a supply chain spend of almost £240m to more than 150 suppliers across the UK and Europe.

RFCM system

BAE Systems received a $4 million contract from the U.S. Navy to conduct a quick-turnaround demonstration of a new Radio Frequency CounterMeasure (RFCM) system for the P-8A Poseidon. The pod-mounted RFCM system is a leading-edge, lightweight, high-power system that will add a new self-protection capability to this next-generation U.S. Navy aircraft.

P8-A Poseidon
Image shows large P8-A Poseidon Navy aircraft in flight against a dusk sky with thin cloud coverage with attached AN/ALE-55 Fiber-Optic Towed Decoy

«The ability to meet this unprecedented response time underscores our agility, focus on meeting customer needs, and our ultimate goal of protecting our warfighters», said Don Davidson, director of the Advanced Compact Electronic Warfare Solutions product line at BAE Systems. «A process that used to take 18 to 24 months has been scaled to five or six months, which is remarkable, as is deploying this new self-protection capability».

The rapid response is the result of collaboration among small focus teams who developed an innovative approach to the design and fabrication of the system’s mechanical parts. As a result, BAE Systems will design, build, integrate, and ship the RFCM system in approximately five months, followed by two months of flight testing on the P-8A Poseidon platform. Testing will begin early in 2021.

The RFCM system consists of a small form factor jammer, a high-powered amplifier and the AN/ALE-55 Fiber-Optic Towed Decoy (FOTD).

Work on the contract will be performed at the company’s state-of-the-art facility in Nashua, New Hampshire.

AN/ALE-55 Fiber-Optic Towed Decoy
AN/ALE-55 Fiber-Optic Towed Decoy

 

AN/ALE-55 Fiber-Optic Towed Decoy

The AN/ALE-55 subsystem consists of an on-board signal conditioning assembly and the FOTD. The signal conditioning assembly converts RF frequencies to light for transfer through the fiber-optic line. The system has two modes. In the primary mode, the onboard EW system detects and analyzes a threat, determines the appropriate response, and then sends that response down the line to the FOTD for transmission. The alternative back-up mode is an independent repeater. In this mode, the threat signal is detected, modulated, and then sent down the line to the FOTD. The system can interface with any on-board techniques generator, and can convert any technique. This broad capability enables the system to be installed on a variety of aircraft and to handle both today’s range of techniques and any developed to defeat future threats.

The AN/ALE-55 has been extensively flight-tested on a variety of aircraft, demonstrating robust aerodynamic performance and its ability to jam threats. The AN/ALE-55 is currently in full rate production with over 3,000 FOTDs delivered for U.S. and FMS customers.

The Bug

In collaboration with UAVTEK, we have developed a nano «Bug» drone and delivered the first 30 units to the British Army, which has put it through its paces as part of a trial.

UAVTEK Bug
Collaborating with UAVTEK to develop to develop non ‘Bug’ drone

The Bug is a nano-Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) weighing 196 g/7 ounces – similar to the weight of a smartphone – with 40-minute battery life and a 2 km/1.24-mile range. It boasts a stealthy low visual profile and the ability to fly even in strong winds of more than 50 mph/80 km/h. It was the only nano-UAV able to cope with the uncompromising weather during a recent Army Warfighting Experiment (AWE) event hosted by the Ministry of Defence’s Future Capability Group.

James Gerard, Principal Technologist at BAE Systems’ Applied Intelligence business said: «We delivered the Bug in partnership with UAVTEK, an SME that designs and builds UAVs from its workshop in the Cotswolds. Our experience in developing large volumes of secure hardware means we were able to help the team turn the excellent design into a real product which our Armed Forces can use. This kind of collaboration is happening right across BAE Systems and is a great way to quickly get the best thinking from small companies into the hands of military users».

James Gerard, Principal Technologist, BAE Systems’ Applied Intelligence said: «In even the toughest weather, the Bug can deliver vital tactical intelligence on what’s around the corner or over the next hill, working autonomously to give troops a visual update. Combined with our other information advantage products, this video feed could be shared multi-domain, enabling commanders on land, sea and air to increase their situational awareness and inform their decisions».

Innovations at the annual AWE event are designed to explore emerging technologies and identify specific capabilities, this year focusing on Agile Command, Control and Communication (C3) space suitable for rapid exploitation. Emphasis is placed on innovations which push the boundaries of technology and military capability, testing a range of prototype systems by putting them in the hands of the user whilst giving invaluable military feedback to suppliers.

Jenna Copley, Director at UAVTEK said: «BAE Systems has been extremely supportive of us as an SME and the team has shared procedural knowledge to improve our engineering processes and practices. BAE Systems has effectively offered us a mentoring partnership and supported us in a variety of activities, whilst still enabling us to remain an agile Subject Matter Expert (SME) and keep our core offerings and DNA».

The teams are now working on the next developments on the nano-UAV, exploring sensing equipment and capabilities which could be added, as well as how the Bug could be integrated with other military equipment.

Bug infographic
Bug infographic

Christening of Anson

The fifth Astute class submarine has officially been named Anson in a ceremony at BAE Systems’ Submarines site in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.

HMS Anson (S123)
Fifth Astute class submarine named Anson at Barrow-in-Furness

In line with tradition, Anson was blessed by The Venerable Martyn Gough QHC, Chaplain of the Fleet and Archdeacon for the Royal Navy and then christened with a bottle of cider being smashed against her hull.

The 97 metre long, 7,400 tonne submarine is due to be launched into the water in Barrow early next year, ahead of leaving for sea trials in 2022.

Cliff Robson, Managing Director, BAE Systems’ Submarines: «The naming of Anson is a significant step towards her joining the other four Astute class submarines already in service with the Royal Navy. Throughout this year, we’ve adapted the business to keep our people safe whilst allowing them to continue the important role of delivering critical capability to our customer. Reaching this important milestone is testament to the dedicated work of our workforce, our Royal Navy partners and the Submarine Delivery Agency».

More than 1,700 people work on the Astute programme, which is delivering seven attack submarines to the Royal Navy. Earlier this year, HMS Audacious, the fourth boat in the class, left Barrow for her operational base, at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde in Faslane.

Work is also well under way in Barrow on Astute boats six and seven, as well as the first two boats in the Dreadnought class, which is the next generation of nuclear deterrent submarines.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, work on both Astute and Dreadnought has continued throughout this year, with major changes being implemented across its Barrow and satellite sites to enable employees to work safely and adhere to social distancing. It is for that reason that only a handful of people were able to witness the naming ceremony.

Each submarine has a sponsor whose role includes carrying out the official naming. Anson’s sponsor is Julie Weale, the wife of Rear Admiral John Weale, who retired from the Royal Navy as Head of Submarine Service and Flag Officer Scotland and North Ireland earlier this year.

Ian Booth, Chief Executive, Submarine Delivery Agency (SDA): «This is the first submarine to bear the name, HMS Anson, but the eighth naval vessel to carry the title which has a rich history spanning several hundred years. I am certain she will carry on that heritage well into the future as she joins a world-beating, cutting-edge submarine fleet that is of strategic importance to the UK’s security and prosperity».

Advanced nuclear technology means the Astute class submarines never need to be refuelled and they can manufacture their own oxygen and fresh water from the ocean, meaning they are able to circumnavigate the world without surfacing. With 98 crew able to monitor world-leading sensors, the Astute-class carry both Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missiles (TLAM) and Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes.

BAE Systems’ Submarine business employs approximately 10,000 people mainly in the North West of England with many more in the supply chain. The business spends more than £1 billion per year with over 1,000 suppliers who support the Astute and Dreadnought programmes, more than 85 per cent of whom are based in the UK.

Navy patrol ship

The fifth and final new Royal Navy patrol ship – at the vanguard of the UK’s renewed global aspirations – is at sea for the first time.

HMS Spey (P234)
HMS Spey (P234) sailing from Scotstoun

HMS Spey (P234) has sailed from BAE Systems’ yard at Scotstoun on the Clyde to begin Contractor Sea Trials.

A mix of Royal Navy sailors, BAE employees, contractors, inspections authorities and civilian sailors are crewing the 2,000-tonne warship for the key tests and assessments off the west coast of Scotland.

The sea trials are a significant milestone in Spey’s short life to date and are designed to thoroughly test the capability and integrity of the vessel.

Her systems will be tested to the max and will include live firing of her weaponry (including her main 30-mm gun), pushing the ship’s engines to their full power and testing her top speeds before the ship returns to Scotstoun.

Her maiden voyage comes just weeks after the first sailors of her ship’s company moved on board and ahead of her journey to Portsmouth later this year when she will officially join the Royal Navy fleet.

HMS Spey (P234) is last of five new River-class ships and will join her older sisters HMS Forth (P222), HMS Medway (P223), HMS Trent (P224) and HMS Tamar, all of which are now operational.

When trials and training are complete next year, HMS Spey (P234) will operate as part of the navy’s Forward Presence programme, stationed around the world for several years at a time, with the ship’s company changing on a regular basis.

Spearfish

The world’s most advanced torpedo is on the cusp of entering service with the Royal Navy after extensive trials in Scotland.

Spearfish
Navy’s new torpedo on cusp of front-line service after trials in Scotland

The upgraded Spearfish – the principal weapon of the UK’s Submarine Flotilla against enemy ships and submarines – was ‘fired’ repeatedly at frigate HMS Sutherland (F81) as scientists, engineers and sailors study its performance.

Over four days on special ranges near the Kyle of Lochalsh, the improved weapon was put through its paces, testing both software and hardware enhancements – while the Plymouth-based frigate did its utmost to fend off the torpedo’s attacks.

Spearfish has been the Silent Service’s weapon of choice since the early 1990s, though it has never been fired in anger.

The warhead is a good six times more powerful than that carried by the smaller Sting Ray torpedo, fired by ships like Sutherland or launched from Merlin and Wildcat helicopters.

It can break the back of frigates, destroyers and similar-sized warships, and take out any underwater threats.

The Royal Navy is investing £270 m in upgrading Spearfish, fitting a new warhead, new, safer fuel system, an enhanced electronic ‘brain’ and a new fibre-optic guidance link with its parent submarine to improve its accuracy and lethality.

A team of around 100 engineers and experts from BAE Systems in Portsmouth have spent nearly six years working on the improved torpedo, which will be introduced to front-line hunter-killer and nuclear-deterrent submarines over the next three years – and in service into the 2050s.

The latest trials are the fourth involving Sutherland – which is purpose-built to hunt down hostile submarines – to help introduce the new Spearfish into service.

For the latest workout at the British Underwater Test and Evaluation Centre (BUTEC) – a stretch of water between Skye and the Scottish mainland which is ten kilometres/6.2 miles long, six/3.7 wide, up to 200 metres/656 feet deep and peppered with state-of-the-art sensors – the frigate was assessed to see if she could defeat the new-look Spearfish, using a mix of evasive manoeuvres to evade the torpedo and advanced acoustic counter-measures to lure it away from Sutherland.

Anyone expecting tell-tale submarine wakes streaking through the waters was disappointed as Spearfish was set to ‘run deep’ for safety reasons – so the ‘battle’ was played out on the displays in Sutherland’s operations room, where the shrill sound of whistles announced a torpedo in the water.

«During the trial this week we have put our elite training into action, using a variety of underwater sensors to locate and track the weapon», said 23-year-old Able Seaman Matthew Brown from Perth, one of the underwater warfare specialists who’s been tracking Spearfish. «Having one of the most advanced and capable torpedoes in the world fired at you certainly puts the pressure on».

Weapon Engineer Officer Lieutenant Commander David Tinsley added: «This is not the first time Sutherland has contributed to Spearfish trials, and we’re glad to be supporting a small part of a larger Defence programme which will deliver a world class weapon into Service. A range of military and industrial partners have come together to deliver an efficient trial which in due course will deliver another exciting capability for the Royal Navy».

Following the torpedo trials, Sutherland moved on to join the Americans, Norwegians and Danes on exercise in the Arctic.

A final trial of Spearfish will take place at BUTEC later in 2020 before the weapon is declared operational and begins being delivered to the submarine fleet.