Tag Archives: BAE Systems

The Vietnam Era ended

BAE Systems was awarded a contract worth up to $1.2 billion from the U.S. Army for the Engineering, Manufacturing, and Development (EMD) and Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) of the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV). The program aims to provide the U.S. Army with a highly survivable and mobile fleet of vehicles that addresses a critical need to replace the Vietnam-era M113s.

Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV)
Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV)

«This award represents a significant milestone for the United States Army and BAE Systems», said Mark Signorelli, vice president and general manager of Combat Vehicles at BAE Systems. «The Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle will provide a substantial upgrade over the Army’s current personnel carrier fleet, increasing the service’s survivability, force protection, and mobility while providing for future growth potential. It also confirms BAE Systems’ role as a leading provider of combat vehicles».

The initial award is for a 52-month base term, valued at approximately $383 million, during which BAE Systems will produce 29 vehicles across each of the variants. The award also provides an option to begin the LRIP phase immediately following the current EMD phase, at which time the company would produce an additional 289 vehicles for a total contract value of $1.2 billion.

The AMPV capitalizes on proven Bradley and M109A7 designs, meeting the Army’s force protection and all-terrain mobility requirements while enabling the AMPV to maneuver with the rest of the Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT). The maximized commonality within the AMPV family of vehicles and the ABCT will reduce risk and provide significant cost savings to the Army.

BAE Systems’ AMPV capitalizes on the proven Bradley and Paladin designs
BAE Systems’ AMPV capitalizes on the proven Bradley and Paladin designs

«BAE Systems built and demonstrated prototypes for each of the five variants in order to provide the best solution for the Army», said Greg Mole, AMPV capture director at BAE Systems. «Given the maturity of our design and the commonality both within the AMPV and ABCT fleets, we feel this offers significant opportunity to accelerate the program’s schedule».

The program is essential to the future of the ABCT and will fulfill the Army’s strategy of protection, mobility, reliability, and interoperability. The AMPV, which will be integrated with the ABCT, is required to operate alongside the M1 Abrams tank and the M2 Bradley. AMPV has been identified by the Army as its top priority for the safety and survivability of our soldiers, and therefore, must meet tough protection requirements. Compromising or reducing the survivability requirements would put soldiers’ lives at risk. This is where BAE Systems’ Bradley-based AMPV solution comes in.

BAE Systems’ Bradley-based AMPV is a mature, low-risk and cost-effective solution that rapidly delivers continued combat overmatch capability for the Army. The Bradley platform delivers combat proven mobility, survivability and force protection to fight with the ABCT formation. In June 2013, during testing by the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Directorate of Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) their report identified that «the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle survivability requirement is achievable with a Bradley-like platform».

By the way, General Dynamics has argued that the Army’s request for proposals for the new armored vehicle favors BAE’s tracked Bradley Fighting Vehicle while putting General Dynamics wheeled Stryker vehicles at a disadvantage; nonetheless, the U.S. Army rejected all of General Dynamics’ protests on AMPV program.

Armored Medical Evacuation Vehicle (AMEV)
Armored Medical Evacuation Vehicle (AMEV)

Upgrading the Spearfish

The UK’s Ministry of Defence has awarded BAE Systems a £270 million ($424 million) contract to upgrade the Spearfish Heavyweight Torpedo for the Royal Navy’s submarines. Following the completion of the design phase, existing torpedoes will be upgraded by BAE Systems at its Broad Oak facility in Portsmouth to the new design with initial deliveries in 2020 continuing until 2024, said BAE Systems’ representatives. Key subcontractors for the Spearfish Upgrade programme include MBDA TDW (responsible for an Insensitive Munitions warhead), Atlas Elektronik UK (fibre-optic guidance link and signal processing in the digital homing head), GE Intelligent Platforms (processing boards), and Altran (safety electronic unit).

Spearfish Heavyweight Torpedo Mod 1
Spearfish Heavyweight Torpedo Mod 1

The upgrade, known as Spearfish Mod 1 extends the life of the torpedo, improves safety through the introduction of an Insensitive Munitions warhead and by utilizing a single fuel propulsion system that will offer cost and safety benefits over the current dual-fuel (using Otto fuel II and HAP, Hydroxyl Ammonium Perchlorate) system and provides more capable data links between the weapon system and the launching vessel (replacement of the current copper/cadmium wire guidance link with a fibre-optic system). This results in capability improvements for the Royal Navy as well as significant reduction in through-life operating costs.

The anti-submarine and anti-surface Spearfish Mod 0 torpedoes are currently deployed the BAE Systems designed and built Trafalgar and Vanguard submarines, as well as the Astute Class submarines. Spearfish can be used in defensive and offensive situations and its advanced design delivers maximum warhead effectiveness at high speed with outstanding maneuverability, low radiated noise, advanced homing and sophisticated tactical intelligence.

The torpedo can operate autonomously from the time of launch and is capable of variable speeds across the entire performance envelope. Its high power density bespoke engine allows it to attain exceptional sprint speed in the terminal stage of an attack. The result is an underwater weapon that provides decisive advantage against the full range of submarine and surface threats in all operational environments. Extensive in-water testing will demonstrate consistently high performance and outstanding reliability.

Spearfish Heavyweight Torpedo Tail
Spearfish Heavyweight Torpedo Tail

John Hudson, Managing Director for BAE Systems’ UK Maritime Sector, said: «Upgrading the Spearfish Heavyweight Torpedo Mod 0 will provide sophisticated advances for the Royal Navy with increased operational advantage in the underwater domain». He continued: «As well as sustaining and creating jobs in the Solent region, the contract allows the opportunity to work on one of the most exciting development programmes in the country, underpinning BAE Systems’ position at the forefront of underwater systems development over the last 40 years».

The contract also ensures the sustainment of the UK’s torpedo manufacturing capability at BAE Systems’ Broad Oak facility in Portsmouth through to the mid-2020s, and underpins plans to maintain Spearfish in Royal Navy service beyond 2050.

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS

Length:                                              5 m

Weight:                                             <2.000 tonnes

Speed:                                                70 mph/61 Knots/113 km/h

Materials:                                        Aluminium and Titanium

The Apocalypse Machine

As is known, the Vanguard-class is a British class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) in service with the Royal Navy. Commissioned into service between 1993 and 1999, HMS Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant, and Vengeance were originally designed for a 25-year lifespan. However, this has been extended by up to 13 years, postponing the requirement for a new class of SSBN and bringing the procurement timeframe into line with the Ohio-class replacement program (U.S. Navy).

The first computer generated image of the replacement to the Vanguard class
The first computer generated image of the replacement to the Vanguard class

According to Jon Rosamond, USNI News, the concept work on Britain’s so-called Successor SSBN began in 2007, with the Ministry of Defense appointing an industry team consisting of shipbuilder and design lead BAE Systems plus Babcock (providing the torpedo handling/launch system, signal ejector system, and through-life support expertise) and Rolls-Royce (responsible for the nuclear steam-raising plant). The MOD approved the so-called «Initial Gate» business case for the new submarines in 2011, releasing funds for a five-year assessment phase intended to bring the design to 70 percent maturity.

In 2013, BAE Systems has been awarded contracts totaling £79 million by the UK Ministry of Defence to begin procuring its first long lead items for the Vanguard Successor programme, which will carry the nation’s nuclear deterrent capability from 2028. The MOD released a concept image depicting an aggressively raked sail, X-shaped stern, and bowplanes located below the waterline when the boat is surfaced. Displacing about 17,000 tons, Successor will be slightly larger than the UK’s current SSBNs (15,900 tons).

Propulsion system components, high-grade steel for the pressure hull and other critical long-lead items for the first ship have now been ordered and some manufacturing activities have started. Tony Johns, Managing Director of BAE Systems Maritime – Submarines, said: «Following the Government’s announcement in May 2011 that the programme had passed its «Initial Gate», it is now well into its third year of a five-year design and development phase, during which the submarine’s concept design and operational requirements are being matured into a detailed design. The «Main Gate» procurement decision – giving permission to proceed for full production – is due in 2016».

By aligning the procurement of the Vanguard and Ohio replacements, the U.K. opened up opportunities for collaborative work with the United States in several areas, notably the design of the Common Missile Compartment (CMC) and the nuclear powerplant, and the integration of sonar arrays and associated combat systems.

HMS Victorious is pictured near Faslane in Scotland
HMS Victorious is pictured near Faslane in Scotland

Although Successor will be fitted with three quad-pack CMC modules, providing 12 launch tubes for Trident D5 ballistic missiles (down from Vanguard‘s 16 tubes), the British government has decided that just 8 operational missiles will be routinely carried on patrol. Meanwhile, General Dynamics Electric Boat will supply outfitted tubes – 87 inches (2.21 m) in diameter and 45 feet (13.72 m) high – for CMC assembly in the U.K.

In October 2014, the U.S. Navy awarded Electric Boat $84 million to start CMC missile tube manufacturing: 12 for the Successor lead ship, 4 for the Ohio replacement program and 1 for the Strategic Weapons System-Ashore test facility at Cape Canaveral. Meanwhile Rolls-Royce is developing the RN’s third-generation pressurized water reactor (PWR3) with technological support from the United States, under the terms of a 1958 intergovernmental agreement to share atomic energy technology for defense purposes. The PWR3 design has benefitted in particular from lessons learned with the S9G reactor that powers the Virginia-class submarines.

Compared with the Vanguards’ PWR2 system (27,500 shp, 20.5 MW), the PWR3 has a simpler circulation design and should be easier to operate. According to Rolls-Royce representatives, it promises a «huge improvement in terms of safety, integrity and availability, while at the same time reducing the through-life costs».

Vanguards’ PWR2 system (27,500 shp, 20.5 MW)
Vanguards’ PWR2 system (27,500 shp, 20.5 MW)

Meanwhile, the U.K. is also participating in the U.S.-led Trident missile life-extension program, which will keep the D5 ballistic vehicle – capable of delivering up to 12 independently targetable nuclear warheads – in service into the 2040s.

One major decision remains outstanding: Whether to replace the Vanguards on a one-for-one basis, at an estimated cost of $17.28-$22 billion (at 2006/07 prices), or attempt to benefit from improved reliability and maintainability by ordering just three SSBN submarines. However, the cost savings inherent in a three-boat solution would be too small compared with total program expenditure, and the RN believes that 4 SSBNs is the minimum required to maintain a credible and continuous at-sea deterrent.

«We have a proud history of collaboration with the United States on submarine programs and I’m pleased to say that continues today», Will Blamey, the Successor program director at BAE Systems Submarines said. «We’re more than halfway through the five-year assessment phase and are making good progress with the submarine design. We’re fully focused on achieving our program objectives and remain confident the first submarine will be in service by 2028».