Production of LCH

Mr. Arun Jaitley, Minister of Finance, Defence and Corporate Affairs (DAC), declared the launch of production of HAL designed 5.8-ton category Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) and dedicated the HAL’s role changer design upgrade program of Hawk-I to the nation in HAL premises here, in Bengaluru, on August 26. Senior officials from Ministry of Defence, Indian Air Force and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited were present on the occasion.

Light Combat Helicopter designed and developed by Hindustan Aeronautics. Beyond the current initial order, the Indian Army has committed to ordering 114 LCHs, and the Indian Air Force another 65 (HAL photo)
Light Combat Helicopter designed and developed by Hindustan Aeronautics. Beyond the current initial order, the Indian Army has committed to ordering 114 LCHs, and the Indian Air Force another 65 (HAL photo)

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Jaitely hailed HAL’s confidence in bringing Hawk-I and LCH indigenously. He said Defence Public Sector Undertaking (DPSU) work culture and performance have highest standards of professionalism. «We are moving in the right direction in evolving ourselves into a major manufacturing hub. In this context today’s experience has been encouraging», he said.

HAL’s Rotary Wing R&D Centre designed the LCH whereas Mission & Combat System R&D Centre (MCSRDC) designed the Hawk-I in association with the Aircraft Division.

The basic version of LCH has been cleared by Center for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC). The DAC has accorded approval for procurement of 15 LCH from HAL under Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured (IDDM) category. Accordingly, the production is launched on August 26.

HAL designed the twin engine Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) of 5.8-ton class featuring narrow fuselage and tandem configuration for pilot and co-pilot/ weapon system operator. The helicopter has indigenous state of the art technologies like integrated dynamic system, bearing less Tail Rotor, anti-resonance vibration isolation system, crash worthy landing gear, smart glass cockpit, hinge less main rotor, Armour Protection and stealth features from visual, aural, radar and InfraRed (IR) signatures. The helicopter is equipped with 20-mm Turret gun, 70-mm Rocket, Air to Air Missile, Electro-Optical Pod (EO-Pod) and Helmet pointing system. The helicopter can carry out operational roles under extreme weather conditions at different altitudes from sea level, hot weather desert, cold weather and Himalayan altitudes. The LCH has demonstrated capability to land and take off from Siachen Range with considerable load, fuel and weapons that are beyond any other combat helicopter.

HAL produced its 100th Hawk jet trainer aircraft with designation as Hawk-I; (Hawk-India). HAL took up the indigenous role change development program to convert the jet trainer into a Combat-Ready platform. The aircraft is upgraded with indigenously designed avionics hardware, software and system architecture enhancing operational role from a trainer aircraft into a Combat-ready platform with improved quality and depth of training by Large Force Engagement (LFE) tactics through Electronic Virtual Training System (EVTS). Hawk-I is capable of delivering precision Munitions including Air to Ground and close combat weapons, self defence capabilities through Electronic Warfare (EW) systems, digital map generator and operational reliability through new Dual Hot stand-by Mission Computer Avionics architecture supported by indigenous high accuracy and high-altitude Radio Altimeter, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) MKXII, Data Transfer system, CounterMeasure Dispensing System (CMDS) and Radar Warning Receiver (RWR). The aircraft was flown during 2017 Aero India at Bangalore with lot of appreciation from users. The integration of indigenous Head-Up display (HUD), Ring Laser Gyroscope (RLG) based Inertial Navigation System (INS) and Anti Airfield Missile is in advance stage.

Mr. Ashok Kumar Gupta, Secretary (Defence Production), outlined the contributions made by Defence PSUS. Mr. T. Suvarna Raju, CMD, HAL in his welcome address said maintaining its excellent track record HAL today has come-up with two new products that would strengthen India’s defence services.

Alpha sea trials

The nation’s newest and most advanced nuclear-powered attack submarine, USS Colorado (SSN-788), returned to the General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard Monday, August 21, following the successful completion of its first voyage in open seas, called alpha sea trials. Colorado is the 15th ship of the Virginia Class, the most capable class of attack submarines ever built. Electric Boat is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (GD).

Submarine Colorado completes first voyage
Submarine Colorado completes first voyage

Colorado’s alpha sea trials included a range of submarine and propulsion-plant operations, submerging for the first time, and high-speed runs on and below the surface to demonstrate that the ship’s propulsion plant is fully mission-capable.

The sea trials were directed by U.S. Navy Admiral James F. Caldwell Jr., director – Naval Nuclear Propulsion. Also participating in the sea trials were Captain Jeffrey Heydon, supervisor of shipbuilding in Groton; and Jeffrey S. Geiger, president of Electric Boat. Colorado is commanded by Commander Ken Franklin.

«The crew and shipbuilders worked as one unit to take Colorado to sea and put it through its paces», said Electric Boat President Geiger. «This required an outstanding effort by everyone involved, and demonstrates the commitment of the U.S. Navy and industry team to sustain the success of the Virginia-class submarine program. I appreciate the contributions made by the U.S. Navy personnel, shipbuilders and suppliers who made it happen».

Electric Boat and its construction teammate, Newport News Shipbuilding, already have delivered 14 Virginia-class submarines to the U.S. Navy: USS Virginia (SSN-774), USS Texas (SSN-775), USS Hawaii (SSN-776), USS North Carolina (SSN-777), USS New Hampshire (SSN-778), USS New Mexico (SSN-779), USS Missouri (SSN-780), USS California (SSN-781), USS Mississippi (SSN-782), USS Minnesota (SSN-783), USS North Dakota (SSN-784), USS John Warner (SSN-785), USS Illinois (SSN-786) and Washington (SSN-787). Fourteen more submarines of the class are under contract.

Virginia-class submarines displace 7,835 long tons/7,961 metric tons submerged, with a hull length of 377 feet/114.9 m and a diameter of 34 feet/10.4 m. They are capable of speeds in excess of 25+ knots/29+ mph/46+ km/h and can dive to a depth greater than 800+ feet/244+ m, while carrying Mark 48 advanced capability torpedoes and Tomahawk land-attack missiles.

Ship’s Crest
Ship’s Crest


General Characteristics

Builder General Dynamics Electric Boat Division and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. – Newport News Shipbuilding
Date Deployed October 3, 2004
Propulsion One GE PWR S9G* nuclear reactor, two turbines, one shaft; 40,000 hp/30 MW
Length 377 feet/114.9 m
Beam 33 feet/10 m
Hull Diameter 34 feet/10.4 m
Displacement Approximately 7,835 long tons/7,961 metric tons submerged
Speed 25+ knots/29+ mph/46+ km/h
Diving Depth 800+ feet/244+ m
Crew 132: 15 officers; 117 enlisted
Armament: Tomahawk missiles 12 individual VLS (Vertical Launch System) tubes or two 87-in/2.2 m Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs), each capable of launching 6 Tomahawk cruise missiles
Armament: MK-48 ADCAP (Advanced Capability) Mod 7 heavyweight torpedoes 4 torpedo tubes
Weapons MK-60 CAPTOR (Encapsulated Torpedo) mines, advanced mobile mines and UUVs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicles)

* – Knolls Atomic Power Laboratories


Nuclear Submarine Lineup


Block III

Ship Yard Christening Commissioned Homeport
SSN-784 North Dakota EB 11-2-13 10-25-14 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-785 John Warner NNS 09-06-14 08-01-15 Norfolk, Virginia
SSN-786 Illinois EB 10-10-15 10-29-16 Groton, Connecticut
SSN-787 Washington NNS 03-05-16
SSN-788 Colorado EB 12-03-16
SSN-789 Indiana NNS 04-29-17
SSN-790 South Dakota EB Under Construction
SSN-791 Delaware NNS Under Construction



The industry-funded Low Cost Terminal (LCT) was successfully tested this month with an on-orbit Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite. This critical milestone demonstrates the ability of an affordable tactical terminal to connect with the Department of Defense’s (DoD) most highly assured protected communications network. The industry development team is led by Northrop Grumman Corporation and Lockheed Martin.

Industry Team Successfully Tests Low Cost Terminal with On-Orbit AEHF Satellite
Industry Team Successfully Tests Low Cost Terminal with On-Orbit AEHF Satellite

The AEHF system, designed for both strategic and tactical users, enables military users around the globe to securely transmit critical information which includes everything from nuclear command and control to real-time video, battlefield maps and targeting data. The AEHF system is already on orbit, and can potentially support many more users than there are terminals available today. LCT can enable more tactical warfighters to be able to use protected satellite communications, so they can have assured connectivity in contested environments.

«This is a huge milestone for protected satellite communications and its military users», said Cyrus Dhalla, vice president of communications systems, Northrop Grumman. «LCT achieves low cost by leveraging existing designs, technology, and investments, while adopting a commercial procurement and production model. It was designed for easy operation and low maintenance and training costs to make it truly affordable for tactical users needing highly protected anti-jam, low probability of detection communications».

This is the first time that a completely industry-funded and developed terminal has been allowed to access the AEHF satellite. In order to reach this milestone, the security architecture had to be validated by the appropriate organizations, and additional approvals had to come from United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) and Air Force Space Command (AFSPC).

«The ability to send sensitive information over a protected network that is resistant to interruption and anti-jam is critical to ensuring the safety and success of our military troops here at home and allies abroad», said Iris Bombelyn, vice president, Protected Communications, Lockheed Martin Space Systems. «The successful over-the-air test of the Low Cost Terminal shows that we are ready to bring this capability to more users in the near-term».

The LCT is currently being developed in three variants: airborne, ground comm-on-the-move and rapidly deployable fixed terminal designs, which can also be deployed for maritime applications. Each variant is significantly smaller in size and weight than fully-capable strategic terminals, making them a better fit for tactical applications, while offering major cost and ease of use. The Industry team is seeking government partners to help champion the final production-version LCT for government certification. Provided testing and certifications are completed in time, the terminals can be available by the end of 2018. No other option for fielding protected Satellite Communications (SATCOM) for the tactical warfighter is possible in the next few years.

The LCT takes advantage of Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin system knowledge and engineering experience gained over 30 years as providers of the nation’s Military Strategic and Tactical Relay (MILSTAR) and AEHF satellite systems for protected military communications. They manage a team which combines commercial and military experience, small and large businesses, which has resulted in the innovations necessary to produce an LCT that will cost a small fraction of the cost of current generation terminals.

Christening of

The U.S. Navy christened its newest Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the future USS Charleston (LCS-18), during a 10 a.m. CDT ceremony Saturday, August 26, in Mobile, Alabama.

Navy christened Littoral Combat Ship Charleston
Navy christened Littoral Combat Ship Charleston

The future USS Charleston, designated LCS-18, honors Charleston, the second-largest city in South Carolina. She will be the sixth ship to be named for Charleston.

The Honorable Richard V. Spencer, Secretary of the U.S. Navy, delivered the ceremony’s principal address. Charlotte Riley, the wife of ten-term, former Mayor of Charleston Joe Riley, served as the ship’s sponsor. The ceremony was highlighted by Mrs. Riley breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow to formally christen the ship, a time-honored Navy tradition.

«I am honored to be here as we christen the newest LCS, the future USS Charleston», said the Honorable Richard V. Spencer, Secretary of the U.S. Navy. «Charleston, like the other ships in the LCS program, is going to be highly maneuverable, able to operate where other ships cannot, and will project power through forward presence. The ship and her crew will serve our nation for decades to come, but let us not forget our industrial force whose service makes this great ship possible. I am grateful for the men and women of Austal for their dedication, and to the citizens of Mobile for their support, as we continue to make our Navy stronger».”

The name Charleston has a long and storied history in the U.S. Navy. The first U.S. Navy ship to bear the name Charleston was a row galley that defended the coast of South Carolina during the Quasi-War with France. The second Charleston (C-2) was a protected cruiser that received the surrender of Guam during the Spanish-American War. The third Charleston (C-22) was a St. Louis-class protected cruiser that performed escort and troop transport duties in World War I. The ship named Charleston (PG-51) was an Erie-class patrol gunboat that earned the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one battle star for her service in the northern Pacific during World War II. The fifth Charleston (AKA-113/LKA-113) was an amphibious cargo ship that served during the Vietnam War.

The future USS Charleston (LCS-18) is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. It is designed to defeat asymmetric «anti-access» threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.

The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for the odd-numbered hulls, e.g. LCS-1). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS-6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).

Each LCS seaframe will be outfitted with a single mission package made up of mission modules containing warfighting systems and support equipment. A dedicated ship crew will combine with aviation assets to deploy manned and unmanned vehicles and sensors in support of mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare or surface warfare missions.

Ship's Crest
Ship’s Crest


The Independence Variant of the LCS Class

Construction Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy
Length overall 421 feet/128.3 m
Beam overall 103 feet/31.4 m
Hull draft (maximum) 14.8 feet/4.5 m
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)
Main engines 2 × GE LM2500
2 × MTU 20V 8000
Waterjets 4 × Wartsila steerable
Bow thruster Retractable azimuthing
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
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 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
Standard 1 × 57-mm gun
4 × 12.7-mm/.50 caliber guns
1 × Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) launcher
3 × weapons modules



Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Independence (LCS-2) 01-19-2006 04-26-2008 01-16-2010 San Diego, California
USS Coronado (LCS-4) 12-17-2009 01-14-2012 04-05-2014 San Diego, California
USS Jackson (LCS-6) 08-01-2011 12-14-2013 12-05-2015 San Diego, California
USS Montgomery (LCS-8) 06-25-2013 08-06-2014 09-10-2016 San Diego, California
USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) 04-16-2014 02-25-2015 06-10-2017 San Diego, California
USS Omaha (LCS-12) 02-18-2015 11-20-2015
USS Manchester (LCS-14) 06-29-2015 05-12-2016
USS Tulsa (LCS-16) 01-11-2016
USS Charleston (LCS-18) 06-28-2016
USS Cincinnati (LCS-20) 04-10-2017
USS Kansas City (LCS-22)
USS Oakland (LCS-24)


Builder’s Trials

The Lockheed Martin-led industry team successfully completed the future USS Little Rock’s (LCS-9) Builder’s Trials on August 17. The ship’s sea trials were completed in Lake Michigan after a successful set of demonstrations which saw the fifth LCS-9 hit speeds over 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h.

LCS-9, the future USS Little Rock, underway on Lake Michigan during Builder’s Sea Trials on August 12. LCS-9 is scheduled to be delivered to the U.S. Navy later this year following Acceptance Trials
LCS-9, the future USS Little Rock, underway on Lake Michigan during Builder’s Sea Trials on August 12. LCS-9 is scheduled to be delivered to the U.S. Navy later this year following Acceptance Trials

«The Freedom-variant LCS plays a critical role in the U.S. Navy’s fleet, and we are committed to getting Little Rock and her highly capable sister ships into combatant commanders’ hands as quickly as possible», said Joe North, vice president of Littoral Ships and Systems. «These are complex vessels, and I’m proud of our workforce, who have the knowledge and expertise it takes to design, build and test these American warships».

Sea trials are designed to test the ship’s performance under a variety of operating conditions. During the builder’s trials, the industry team successfully demonstrated reliability and performance improvements on the ship’s propulsion system. All future Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) will incorporate these improvements.

The Lockheed Martin-led team is now preparing USS Little Rock’s (LCS-9) for acceptance trials in the coming weeks, when the U.S. Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) will conduct inspections and witness final demonstrations before the ship is delivered to the U.S. Navy this year.

Named in honor of the patriotic and hardworking citizens of Little Rock, LCS-9 will be the second U.S. Navy ship to bear the name of Arkansas’ largest city.

The Lockheed Martin-led industry team is currently in full-rate production of the Freedom-variant of the LCS, and has delivered four ships to the U.S. Navy to date. The future USS Little Rock (LCS-9) is one of eight ships in various stages of construction at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, with one more in long-lead production.

The team is on track to complete sea trials for USS Little Rock (LCS-9) and USS Sioux City (LCS-11) this year and deliver each ship shortly thereafter. The remaining hulls under contract will be delivered to the U.S. Navy at a rate of two ships per year.

The Lockheed Martin-led LCS team is comprised of shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine, naval architect Gibbs & Cox, and more than 800 suppliers in 42 states. Costing less than a third of a brand new Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, the Littoral Combat Ship is the U.S. Navy’s most affordable surface combatant shipbuilding program and the ideal platform to grow the U.S. Navy fleet quickly and affordably.

The Freedom-variant’s steel monohull design is based on a proven, resilient design recognized for its stability and reliability.

A rainbow is visible in LCS-9's «rooster tail» during Builder's Sea Trials on Lake Michigan. At top speed, LCS-9’s four water jets move approximately 2 million gallons/7.5 million liters of water per minute producing a 30-foot/9.1-meter wall of water known as a rooster tail. That’s enough water to fill an Olympic swimming pool in 20 seconds
A rainbow is visible in LCS-9’s «rooster tail» during Builder’s Sea Trials on Lake Michigan. At top speed, LCS-9’s four water jets move approximately 2 million gallons/7.5 million liters of water per minute producing a 30-foot/9.1-meter wall of water known as a rooster tail. That’s enough water to fill an Olympic swimming pool in 20 seconds


Ship Design Specifications

Hull Advanced semiplaning steel monohull
Length Overall 389 feet/118.6 m
Beam Overall 57 feet/17.5 m
Draft 13.5 feet/4.1 m
Full Load Displacement Approximately 3,200 metric tons
Top Speed Greater than 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
Range at top speed 1,000 NM/1,151 miles/1,852 km
Range at cruise speed 4,000 NM/4,603 miles/7,408 km
Watercraft Launch and Recovery Up to Sea State 4
Aircraft Launch and Recovery Up to Sea State 5
Propulsion Combined diesel and gas turbine with steerable water jet propulsion
Power 85 MW/113,600 horsepower
Hangar Space Two MH-60 Romeo Helicopters
One MH-60 Romeo Helicopter and three Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (VTUAVs)
Core Crew Less than 50
Accommodations for 75 sailors provide higher sailor quality of life than current fleet
Integrated Bridge System Fully digital nautical charts are interfaced to ship sensors to support safe ship operation
Core Self-Defense Suite Includes 3D air search radar
Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) gunfire control system
Rolling-Airframe Missile Launching System
57-mm Main Gun
Mine, Torpedo Detection
Decoy Launching System



Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Freedom (LCS-1) 06-02-2005 09-23-2006 11-08-2008 San Diego, California
USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) 07-11-2009 12-07-2010 09-22-2012 San Diego, California
USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) 10-27-2011 12-18-2013 11-21-2015 San Diego, California
USS Detroit (LCS-7) 08-11-2012 10-18-2014 10-22-2016 San Diego, California
USS Little Rock (LCS-9) 06-27-2013 07-18-2015
USS Sioux City (LCS-11) 02-19-2014 01-30-2016
USS Wichita (LCS-13) 02-09-2015 09-17-2016
USS Billings (LCS-15) 11-02-2015 07-01-2017
USS Indianapolis (LCS-17) 07-18-2016
USS St. Louis (LCS-19) 05-17-2017
USS Minneapolis/St. Paul (LCS-21)
USS Cooperstown (LCS-23)
USS Marinette LCS-25



Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) on August 24 cut a 35-ton steel plate at its Newport News Shipbuilding division to kick off advance construction of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-80). The steel plate will become part of the foundation of Enterprise, the ninth U.S. Navy ship to bear the legendary name.

Newport News Shipbuilding hosted a first-cut-of-steel event to kick off construction of the third Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise (CVN-80). The steel was cut using an ESAB Avenger Burning Machine, and the order was given by Ship’s Sponsors and U.S. Olympians Simone Biles and Katie Ledecky (Photo by John Whalen/HII)
Newport News Shipbuilding hosted a first-cut-of-steel event to kick off construction of the third Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise (CVN-80). The steel was cut using an ESAB Avenger Burning Machine, and the order was given by Ship’s Sponsors and U.S. Olympians Simone Biles and Katie Ledecky (Photo by John Whalen/HII)

Ship’s sponsors and U.S. Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles and Katie Ledecky gave the order to cut the steel during a ceremony that marks the first construction milestone in the life of the ship. Other ceremony participants included Representative Bobby Scott, Democrat-Virginia; Rear Admiral Brian K. Antonio, program executive officer, aircraft carriers; shipbuilders and their families; and representatives of the recently decommissioned Enterprise (CVN-65).

«Much like U.S. athletes who represent the United States around the world displaying patriotism, pride and strength, so do the ships of our nation», Biles said. «My father served in the U.S. Air Force for over 21 years and taught me discipline, determination and dedication to achieve my goals, and these same values are on display as these advanced ships are built here».

Newport News is performing the work under an advance fabrication contract the shipyard was awarded earlier this year. Award of the USS Enterprise CVN-80 detail design and construction contract is anticipated in 2018. Construction is currently underway on the second ship of the class, USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79), with more than 50 percent of the structural units already erected.

«We really, truly would not be able to compete at the level that we do without the freedom that we have, and that’s something we promise we will never take for granted», Ledecky said. «We’re excited to cut this steel today and start this process».

Newport News Shipbuilding President Jennifer Boykin said CVN-80’s construction will incorporate greater innovation and efficiency. «With this ship, we will ‘boldly go where no one has gone before,’» she said. «She will be built using digital technology rather than traditional paper work packages and drawings. We will build more of this ship indoors, in new facilities so that our people have more opportunities to work under cover and out of the weather. CVN-80 will revolutionize how we build ships, just as her predecessor, CVN-65 – the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier – revolutionized our industry».

USS Enterprise (CVN-80) will be the third Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier. Designed to replace Nimitz-class carriers, the Ford-class features a new nuclear power plant, a redesigned island, electromagnetic catapults, improved weapons movement, an enhanced flight deck capable of increased aircraft sortie rates, and growth margin for future technologies. Each Ford-class ship will operate with a smaller crew than a Nimitz-class carrier and will provide $4 billion in total ownership cost savings for the U.S. Navy. Aircraft carriers provide sovereign, mobile U.S. territory and are a visible symbol of U.S. power. They are the centerpiece of our nation’s security strategy and support and protect the global economy through the protection of sea lanes around the world.

Ship's Sponsors and U.S. Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles (left) and Katie Ledecky (center) join Newport News Shipbuilding President Jennifer Boykin in signing a 35-ton steel plate that will be part of the foundation of the new Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-80) (Photo by Matt Hildreth/HII)
Ship’s Sponsors and U.S. Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles (left) and Katie Ledecky (center) join Newport News Shipbuilding President Jennifer Boykin in signing a 35-ton steel plate that will be part of the foundation of the new Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-80) (Photo by Matt Hildreth/HII)


General Characteristics

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



Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) 11-13-2009 11-09-2013 07-22-2017 Norfolk, Virginia
USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) 08-22-2015
USS Enterprise (CVN-80)


Acceptance Sea Trials

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced on August 21 the successful completion of acceptance sea trials for the amphibious transport dock USS Portland (LPD-27). The San Antonio-class ship, built at HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division, spent last week with the U.S. Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV), performing more than 200 trial events that included both in-port and underway portions.

USS Portland (LPD-27), sails through the Gulf of Mexico during her acceptance sea trials (Photo by Lance Davis/HII)
USS Portland (LPD-27), sails through the Gulf of Mexico during her acceptance sea trials (Photo by Lance Davis/HII)

«These sea trials provide an opportunity to showcase the ship’s tremendous capabilities and the build and test skills of our shipbuilders», Ingalls President Brian Cuccias said. «The success of these milestones is important as we continue to remain competitive and keep our supplier base and production lines active in the construction of these quality amphibious warships».

Key demonstrations performed during acceptance trials for INSURV by the Ingalls’ test and trials team included: the anchor-handling demonstration, ballast/de-ballast demonstration, detect-to-engage exercise, running the ship at full power and steering. Now Ingalls’ shipbuilders will put their final touches on the ship in preparation for delivery this year.

«Our team puts in a lot of hard work and effort to make these sea trials successful», said George Jones, Ingalls’ vice president of operations. «We get better with every LPD we build, and we look forward to delivering a very complex and capable ship to our sailors and Marines. As always, this success was a joint effort between our shipbuilders, test and trials team and our partners at Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Gulf Coast».

USS Portland (LPD-27) is named for the largest city in the state of Oregon. The state has a long history with the U.S. Navy, going back to the construction of hundreds of World War II Liberty and Victory ships at three Portland-area shipyards.

Ingalls has delivered 11 San Antonio-class ships to the U.S. Navy, including USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26) in 2016. In June, Ingalls received an advance procurement contract from the U.S. Navy to provide long-lead-time material and advance construction activities for LPD-29, the 13th amphibious transport dock of the San Antonio class. Ingalls will lay the keel of the 12th San Antonio-class ship, USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28), this fall.

«Portland’s successful sea trial proves the dedication and quality of work our shipbuilders continue to provide to the LPD program», said Steve Sloan, Ingalls’ LPD program manager. «I’m proud of the performance of the shipbuilders and the ship during acceptance trials, and now we will continue to work the final fit-and-finish touches before LPD 27’s delivery this fall».

The San Antonio class is a major part of the U.S. Navy’s 21st century amphibious assault force. The 684-foot-long/208-meter-long, 105-foot-wide/32-meter-wide ships are used to embark and land Marines, their equipment and supplies ashore via air cushion or conventional landing craft and amphibious assault vehicles, augmented by helicopters or vertical takeoff and landing aircraft such as the MV-22 Osprey. The ships support a Marine Air Ground Task Force across the spectrum of operations, conducting amphibious and expeditionary missions of sea control and power projection to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions throughout the first half of the 21st century.


General Characteristics

Builder Huntington Ingalls Industries
Propulsion Four sequentially turbocharged marine Colt-Pielstick Diesels, two shafts, 41,600 shaft horsepower
Length 684 feet/208 m
Beam 105 feet/32 m
Displacement Approximately 24,900 long tons (25,300 metric tons) full load
Draft 23 feet/7 m
Speed In excess of 22 knots/24.2 mph/38.7 km/h
Crew Ship’s Company: 374 Sailors (28 officers, 346 enlisted) and 3 Marines. Embarked Landing Force: 699 (66 officers, 633 enlisted); surge capacity to 800
Armament Two Bushmaster II 30-mm Close in Guns, fore and aft; two Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launchers, fore and aft: ten .50 calibre/12.7-mm machine guns
Aircraft Launch or land two CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters or two MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft or up to four CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters, AH-1 or UH-1 helicopters
Landing/Attack Craft Two LCACs or one LCU; and 14 Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles/Amphibious Assault Vehicles


San Antonio-class

Ship Builder Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS San Antonio (LPD-17) Avondale 07-12-2003 01-14-2006 Norfolk, Virginia
USS New Orleans (LPD-18) Avondale 12-11-2004 03-10-2007 San Diego, California
USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19) Ingalls 11-19-2004 12-15-2007 Norfolk, Virginia
USS Green Bay (LPD-20) Avondale 08-11-2006 01-24-2009 San Diego, California
USS New York (LPD-21) Avondale 12-19-2007 11-07-2009 Norfolk, Virginia
USS San Diego (LPD-22) Ingalls 05-07-2010 05-19-2012 San Diego, California
USS Anchorage (LPD-23) Avondale 02-12-2011 05-04-2013 San Diego, California
USS Arlington (LPD-24) Ingalls 11-23-2010 02-08-2013 Norfolk, Virginia
USS Somerset (LPD-25) Avondale 04-14-2012 05-01-2014 San Diego, California
USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26) Ingalls 11-02-2014 10-08-2016 San Diego, California
USS Portland (LPD-27) Ingalls 02-13-2016
USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28) Ingalls


Portland Completes Acceptance Sea Trials

FAA approval

On August 16th General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) flew a MQ-9B SkyGuardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) from Laguna Airfield at Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona, through National Airspace, to its Gray Butte Flight Operations facility near Palmdale, California. The MQ-9B is a STANAG 4671 (NATO airworthiness standard for Unmanned Aircraft Systems)-compliant version of the Predator B product line. The 275-mile/443-km trip lasted approximately one hour, 45 minutes and required Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval to fly through various classes of non-restricted airspace.

Flight through Multiple Classes of Non-Segregated Airspace Represents another Step towards Certification
Flight through Multiple Classes of Non-Segregated Airspace Represents another Step towards Certification

«This flight is another milestone in our progression towards delivering an RPA system that meets NATO airworthiness requirements for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)», said Linden Blue, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), GA-ASI. «MQ-9B SkyGuardian will be the first RPA system of its kind with a design-assurance level compliant with international type-certification standards, and can therefore be integrated more easily than legacy RPAs into civil airspace operations around the world».

A weaponized variant of the system is being acquired by the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) under the MQ-9B PROTECTOR program. A maritime patrol variant, SeaGuardian, is designed to support open-ocean and littoral surface surveillance. All variants are designed to fly in excess of 35 hours with airspeeds up to 210 knots/242 mph/389 km/h, and to reach altitudes of more than 40,000 feet/12,192 m.

Development of MQ-9B began in 2012 as a company-funded effort. Program highlights include first flight in November 2016 and an endurance flight in May 2017 of 48.2 hours.

Qualification testing for type-certification will continue over the next two years, with deliveries to the RAF expected to begin early next decade.

Cyber Command

On August 18, at the direction of the President, the Department of Defense (DoD) initiated the process to elevate U.S. Cyber Command to a Unified Combatant Command (UCC). The decision is consistent with Title 10 of U.S. Code, section 167b, and the recommendation of the Secretary of Defense.

Emblem of U.S. Cyber Command
Emblem of U.S. Cyber Command

The elevation will mark a significant evolution in the way the department organizes to execute cyberspace missions and comes as a direct result of the efforts of the entire DoD cyber workforce.

Elevation of U.S. Cyber Command from its previous status as a sub-unified command under U.S. Strategic Command reflects the growing centrality of cyberspace to U.S. national security. Raising the organizational status of U.S. Cyber Command is intended to demonstrate visibly DoD’s long-term commitment to cyberspace as a warfighting domain. It also signals the department’s resolve to embrace the changing nature of warfare – thus helping to reassure partners and deter adversaries.

U.S. Cyber Command has matured since its establishment in 2009. This step will make the command even more agile and strengthen its voice in the department.

Today, the Cyber Mission Force is making significant contributions in meeting the department’s toughest challenges, including the fight against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). This progress has been possible thanks to the hard work and commitment of the employees of U.S. Cyber Command and the cyber workforce across the department.

Tracking Data

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the NASA’s Tracking Data and Relay Satellite-M (TDRS-M) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 August 18 at 8:29 a.m. EDT. The TDRS-M is the third and final mission in the series of these third-generation space communication satellites to orbit, as part of the follow-on fleet being developed to replenish NASA’s space Network.

The TDRSS is capable of providing near continuous high bandwidth (S, Ku and Ka band) telecommunications services for Low Earth orbiting spacecraft (including the International Space Station) and expendable launch vehicles like ULA’s Atlas V and Delta IV rockets that use the network to receive and distribute telemetry data during flight
The TDRSS is capable of providing near continuous high bandwidth (S, Ku and Ka band) telecommunications services for Low Earth orbiting spacecraft (including the International Space Station) and expendable launch vehicles like ULA’s Atlas V and Delta IV rockets that use the network to receive and distribute telemetry data during flight

«ULA uses the TDRS system as a primary means of receiving and distributing launch vehicle telemetry data during every flight. In fact, the TDRS-K and TDRS-L spacecraft, launched by ULA in 2013 and 2014 tracked today’s launch», said Laura Maginnis, ULA vice president of Government Satellite Launch. «We are absolutely honored to have delivered this core NASA capability and critical national resource for our country».

All six of the newest TDRS satellites have been delivered to orbit on Atlas V vehicles.

This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V 401 configuration vehicle, which includes a 13-foot/4-meter extended payload fairing. The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine, and the Centaur upper stage was powered by the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C engine. This is ULA’s 5th launch in 2017 and the 120th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.

«Congratulations to our entire ULA team and mission partners at NASA on another successful launch that will enable so many to explore and operate in space», said Maginnis.

The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) is a space-based communication system used to provide tracking, telemetry, command and high-bandwidth data return services. Microwave communications equipment and gimbaled antennae are the primary payload of each TDRS. The system is capable of providing near continuous high-bandwidth telecommunications services for Low Earth orbiting spacecraft and expendable launch vehicles including the International Space Station (ISS).

With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 115 satellites to orbit that aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, provide critical capabilities for troops in the field and enable personal device-based GPS navigation.

An Atlas V rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex-41 with NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-M (TDRS-M). The addition of TDRS-M to the Space Network (SN) provides the ability to support space communication for an additional 15 years