dijous, 20 de desembre de 2012

Britain: A Long-Term Contract to Support the Royal Fleet Auxiliary *

The UK Ministry of Defence’s concerted effort to reform its defense support operations continues. Overall, “future contracting for availability,” rather than paying for parts and labor hours, remains the overall direction. The Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service, which provided a number of services in and around the Royal Navy’s major ports, wasoutsourced to Serco in a GBP 1 billion December 2007 contract.
Now, a deal that could last for 30 years is providing provide through-life support for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary of Britain’s oilers, supply ships, and landing ships.
  • RFA: The Fleet
    • A New Support Model for the RFA
  • Contracts & Key Events
  • Additional Readings

RFA: The Fleet
RFA Largs Bay & Cruise ship
RFA Largs Bay -
now HMAS Choules
(click to view full)
The Royal Fleet Auxiliary is a civilian-manned fleet, owned by the Ministry of Defense, which supports Royal Navy ships around the world with fuel, ammunition and supplies. The USA’s MSC uses a combination of civilians and Navy personnel, while RFA personnel are uniformed civil servants employed under the UK Merchant Shipping Act. They are structurally aligned with the Royal Navy and have a high level of specialist military training.
Britain’s RFA operates 6 Point Class 23,000t roll-on/roll-off sealift ships, operated under a Public/Private Finance Initiative.
Its stores/ dry-cargo ships include 2 Fort Rosalie Class 23,384t vessels, and the 33,675t RFA Fort Victoria. All 3 are expected to be retired in favor of 3 MARS Fleet Solid Stores ships, to be ordered over the next 10 years.
The 4 MARS Tide Class tankers ordered in 2012 will replace the RFA’s 2 current Rover Class 16,160t oilers, and the 37,874t RFA Orangeleaf. In truth, the 4 ships new ships are replacing 5, because another 2 Leaf Class oilers were retired between the original 2008 RFA support contract and the MARS Tide Class deal: Brambleleaf (2009) and Bayleaf (2011). Overall tonnage remains about the same.
The RFA’s 2 Wave Class 31,500t oilers will continue to serve for many more years, alongside the Tide Class.
The 28,000t RFA Argus was originally purchased as an aviation training ship, but following a refit, its main role these days is as a hospital ship.
When the new contract arrangements began, the RFA had 4 Bay Class 16,160t amphibious assault ships, built on the same base “Enforcer” design as the Dutch Rotterdam family and Spain’s Galicia Class. In 2011, the UK’s budget difficulties forced the RFA to sell Largs Bay to Australia very early in her service career, and the ship departed these support arrangements when it because HMAS Choules. The other 3 ships of class remain in the RFA.

A New Support Model for the RFA

RFA Bayleaf
RFA Bayleaf, 1982-2011
(click to view full)
The winning contractors under the new model will maintain ‘clusters’ of ships that are assigned according to their duties and capabilities. Their responsibilities involve the necessary refueling and refit work for the RFA vessels throughout their service lives. The Navy and Minister of Defence will work closely with the contractors to improve their understanding over time, and also help them forecast their workload farther into the future.
This kind of predictability is critical to the maritime industry, which often suffers when order swings and uncertainty make it difficult to maintain a core workforce of skilled and experienced people. This BBC quote is an excellent illustration of the phenomenon, which is not at all unique to Britain:
“Trainee engineer Fred Hawkey, who found work at the docks after a succession of short-term jobs, said: “Employment is a bit hit and miss down here. You may only get work for the summer so if it means I will have regular work for the foreseeable future that would be good.” “

Development & Updates

RFA Wave Ruler
RFA Wave Ruler
(click to view full)
Dec 3: Next phase. Britain’s Ministry of Defence issues the next phase of maintenance contracts. These are expected to be worth GBP 349 million, even though the fleet under care has declined from 16 ships to 13 ships. The oilers Brambeleaf and Bayleaf were retired, and Largs Bay was sold to Australia. The contract is touted as supporting around “800 jobs in the UK maritime sector”, and the companies involved are:
  • A&P Group Ltd’s ship repair facility in Falmouth
  • Cammell Laird Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders Ltd. in Birkenhead
  • Hempel UK Ltd, based in Cwmbran
  • Lloyd’s Register, based in Bristol
  • Trimline Ltd, based in Southampton
*Article publicat a Defense Industry Daily. Tot i no ser tant coneguda com el Military Sealift Command nordamericà, la Royal Fleet Auxiliary compleix un vital paper en suport de la Royal Navy. Creiem important seguir-ne la evolució.

dimecres, 12 de desembre de 2012

No hands on deck – arming unmanned surface vessels*

Armed unmanned surface vessels lag far behind their aerial equivalents in terms of technical capability and deployment, but that may be set to change with a new US Navy programme to develop ocean-going drones into mobile missile launchers. Berenice Baker reviews recent international interest in weaponising naval drones and examines how they could be used.

Mini Typhoon Weapon Station
Designed for anti-tank warfare, possibly the last place you'd expect to see a Rafael Spike fire-and-forget guided missile would be at sea, let alone on a robotic boat, but they may offer a step towards revolutionising sea warfare. The US Navy has for the first time launched six Spike missiles from an unmanned surface vessel precision engagement module (USV PEM), successfully hitting a floating target as far away as 3.5km.

The demonstration was carried out by the Chief of Naval Operation's Expeditionary Warfare Division and the Naval Sea Systems Command's Naval Special Warfare Program Office as part of efforts to develop an arsenal that could successfully engage armed small boat swarms.

The USV PEM platform is an 11m-long inflatable hulled vessel armed with a 0.50 calibre gun alongside the missile launcher. Remotely operated by shore-based sailors at the US Navy's Patuxent River base, the PEM aims, fires and updates the missile in flight.

The Spike missile uses electro-optic and infrared sensors to identify and lock onto the target and send updated targeting information back to the operator through an ultra-thin fibre optic tether.

"The USV PEM project was developed in response to recent world events which have increased the concern over swarms of small attack craft, as well as threat assessments outlined in recent studies conducted by the Naval Warfare Development Command," said Naval Special Warfare Command assistant programme manager Mark Moses.

"The study punctuates the effectiveness of these swarm attacks against both military re-supply ships and naval vessels. Technology demonstrated in this project can provide a capability to combat terrorists who use small low-cost vehicles as weapons platforms."

Israel's pioneering Protector USV

Given its pioneering and market-leading approach to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) it is perhaps little surprise that Israel is ahead of the game in armed USVs too.

Made by Rafael Defense Systems, the Protector Unmanned Naval Patrol Vehicle was deployed as far back as 2005 by the Republic of Singapore Navy, which is continuously plagued by pirates in the Strait of Malacca.

The rigid-hulled inflatable boat has since seen action supporting coalition forces in the Persian Gulf and protecting shipping from pirates in the Gulf of Aden.

Fitted with a remote-controlled, stabilised Mini Typhoon Weapon Station that can operate a range of small-calibre guns, its anti-terror mission payload includes a search radar and Toplite electro-optical pod to enable detection, identification and targeting.

UK to move from underwater to surface

Royal Navy's Type 26 Global Combat Ship
Royal Navy's Type 26 Global Combat Ship

In August 2012 the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced new plans for a fleet of armed maritime drones, including USVs, to reduce costs and carry out dangerous and repetitive tasks in support of Royal Navy operations.
Papers published by the Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) sought help from defence manufacturers to develop vessels which could provide greater support to maritime operations, such as mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare and missile defence.

The document identified that USV technology could be used to track ships and provide intelligence to maritime forces, particularly in combination with other types of drones and in support of covert operations.
"A range of unmanned systems including UUVs, unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) and unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) may be used to support these maritime tasks and could be expected to perform a number of roles, including, but not limited to, remote sensing, communications relay, delivery of effects such as the deployment of weapons or countermeasures," the report said.
Demonstrating the Royal Navy's support for robotic vessels, its future warship, the Type 26 Global Combat Ship, is specifically designed to launch and operate aerial, underwater and surface drones.

Canada considering USV technology

In June, Canada announced that the Royal Canadian Navy was also seeking a fleet of maritime drones, including USVs. Defence Minister Peter MacKay told The Canadian Press that while USV technology was in its infancy compared with aerial drones, they could have a role to play in the near future of the Canadian Navy.
"We're surrounded by water," he said. "Unmanned vessels, like unmanned aerial vehicles, give us reach and capability without the same risk. It allows you to keep harm at a distance, so there's a lot of interest."
In May, the Canadian Ministry of Defence awarded Rolls Royce Naval Marine Canada a C$3m contract as part of a project to automate the deployment of USVs, for everything from detonating mines to checking for oil spills.

Ecuador combating pirates with USVs



Not all armed USV development is in the hands of the big spenders, some is driven by necessity, such as the Ecuadorian Navy's bid to beat piracy in its waters. In February, it tested its prototype USV, B.A.E. Esgrum, on the Guayas River.

Developed for coastal patrol and jungle operations, the Esgrum is less than two metres-long, has a range of five kilometres and comes with an on-board sensor suite, CPU, camera and communication system.
Its weapons system consists of an electronically-ignited assault rifle with no moving parts and a rocket launcher operated by a fire control system.

Built using exclusively commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) materials without technical assistance from other countries, the USV can be remotely operated in remote mode or work in fully autonomous mode to carry out surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

Navy research director Eduardo Cadena said: "Under ideal conditions, the USV can detect installations occulted by high-density vegetation. Basically, you can't see the robot, but the robot can see you."

* Article publicat a Naval Technology. Compartim amb vosaltres aquest article per l'ampli ventall en matèria d'unitats de superfície no tripulades, un tema de plena actualitat.

dimecres, 5 de desembre de 2012

Gunboat diplomacy: Indian navy ready to set sail to South China Sea*

Indian naval warship INS Ranjit (D53) (AFP Photo / Juni Kriswanto)
Indian naval warship INS Ranjit (D53) (AFP Photo / Juni Kriswanto)

India will deploy warships to the South China Sea if the country’s regional interests are compromised, the Indian Navy commander said. As China bolsters its military, the region has witnessed rising tensions over unresolved territorial disputes.
­India is not directly involved in any of the disputes, but its national interests are tied to the turbulent region, Admiral D K Joshi said on Monday, a day ahead of India’s Navy Day. Delhi may deploy its forces to the region if the situation deteriorates.
“Are we preparing for it? Are we having exercises of that nature? The short answer is 'Yes,'” Joshi said.
India’s prime concerns in the dispute are freedom of navigation for all countries, and the extraction of oil by a subsidiary of the Indian Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONSC) off the Vietnamese coast, he explained.
The Indian Navy’s military actions are a bit late, but meant to defend the country’s interests in the region, Sreeram Chaulia, the dean of the Jindal School of International Affairs, told RT.
“It's seen as a belated but necessary move by the Indian military to be able to say that if our interests are now so widespread, then we will also need to show our capabilities to defend our interests come what may. And of course, the situation in the South China Sea has been deteriorating in terms of security and a high level of competition and bickering between some ASEAN countries and China,” said Chaulia.
Drill station Scarabeo 9, working in partnership with ONGC Videsh (Reuters / Desmond Boylan)
Drill station Scarabeo 9, working in partnership with ONGC Videsh (Reuters / Desmond Boylan)
­ONSC Videsh operates three oil exploration blocks in the region. The company announced its possible withdrawal from one of the blocks this year over difficult drilling conditions and unclear prospects on returning a profit, but eventually stayed after Vietnam offered to extend the contract.
However, the territory is contested by China, which claims ownership of the area. Beijing has objected to India’s drilling program, but Delhi dismissed the concerns.
“Should there be a need for some protection [to the ONGC], the Navy will be called upon and we will do that,” Joshi said.
Joshi made his remarks as Indian national security advisor Shiv Shankar Menon visited China to for talks with Beijing’s new leadership. Delhi aims to bolster its military forces to counter a similar buildup in China.
"We have 44 warships and submarines on order, 42 of them in Indian shipyards. Over the next five years, we expect to induct five to six warships/submarines per year," Joshi said.
In spite of this fact, India’s naval forces are not strong enough to challenge Beijing, Chaulia told RT. 
“I think that India’s naval chief’s statement is more about enhancing on capabilities. He’s saying that we’re trying to be more prepared. Certainly the eastern command of the Indian Navy is no match to the People’s Republic of China Navy… There is no comparison,” Chaulia said.
Vietnam will set up civilian patrols, backed by marine police and a border force, beginning January 25 to stop foreign vessels from violating fishing laws in Vietnamese waters. The move is seen as a response to Chinese media publishing new rules stating that police in the southern Chinese province of Hainan can board and seize foreign vessels in the disputed territories.
The oil-rich South China Sea has seen a number of territorial disputes between nations in the region, including China, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Singapure, Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia.
The Chinese naval buildup, which includes the ongoing sea trials of the nation’s first aircraft carrier, have troubled its neighbors, who say that Beijing’s military superiority gives China undue leverage in the disputes.
Joseph Cheng, a Hong-Kong based political analyst, said the latest tensions are about showcasing military might: “Because of domestic nationalism, the Indian government can’t afford to be seen to be weak in dealing with China. Chinese authorities, on one hand, have to satisfy domestic nationalist sentiment, and at the same time, it would like to avoid serious conflict, an escalation of tension with its neighbors.”
Territorial claims by nations in the South China Sea region.
Territorial claims by nations in the South China Sea region.
*Notícia publicada a RT.com . Tot i no descobrir gaire res de nou, creiem bó compartir aquest article per recordar com es mouen les peces al taulell d'escacs marítim del Sud-est asiàtic.

dijous, 29 de novembre de 2012

Spanish Admiral to Lead EU Anti-Piracy Mission*

BRUSSELS, November 27 (RIA Novosti) – A Spanish admiral was appointed on Tuesday to lead the EU anti-piracy operation in the Gulf of Aden, the Council of the European Union said.
Rear Admiral Pedro Angel García de Paredes Perez de Sevilla will take up the post of force commander for operation Atalanta on December 6. He replaces Rear Admiral Enrico Credendino from Italy on the rotation basis.
Operation EU NAVFOR ATALANTA, launched in December 2008, aims to prevent acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast and in the Indian Ocean.
In March 2012 the Council of the EU extended the EU counter-piracy operation until December 2014.
Including land-based personnel, EU NAVFOR consists of around 1,500 military personnel.
The composition of EU NAVFOR changes constantly due to the frequent rotation of units and varies according to the monsoon seasons in the Indian Ocean. However, it typically comprises 4 – 7 surface warships and 2 – 3 maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.
Additionally, a considerable international military naval presence is now in the area, comprising the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), NATO and also units from China, India, Japan, Russia, Taiwan and others.
Task forces from the Russian Navy, usually led by Udaloy class destroyers, operate in the area on a rotating basis.
Russian warships have successfully escorted hundreds of commercial vessels from various countries through pirate-infested waters off the Somali coast since 2008, when Russia joined the international anti-piracy mission in the region.
Russia has also called for the creation of a special UN juridical body to try hijackers captured during anti-piracy operations off the Somali coast.
According to latest UN reports, sea pirates carried out 291 attacks and hijackings around the globe in the first 10 months of 2012. They hold at least 293 hostages.
Pirates are most active in coastal waters around Africa, especially in the Gulf of Aden.

*Notícia publicada a RIA Novosti.

dimecres, 28 de novembre de 2012

The Legend of ENTERPRISE*

USS Enterprise bow shot
USS Enterprise (CVN 65), the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, commemorates a name that has been a continuing symbol of the great struggle to retain American liberty, justice and freedom since the first days of the American Revolutionary War. It is the eighth ship of the Fleet to carry this illustrious name that is literally defined as boldness, energy, and invention in practical affairs.


Enterprise IThe first Enterprise originally belonged to the British and cruised on Lake Champlain to supply their posts in Canada. After the capture of Fort Ticonderoga by the Americans on 10 May 1775, it became the object of desire in the mind of Benedict Arnold who realized he would not have control of Lake Champlain until its capture. He learned it was stationed at a small British garrison at St. John’s on the Richelieu in Canada, and set out from Skenesborough (Whitehall, New York) in the commandeered sloop Liberty for that place on 14 May 1775. He surprised and captured the British garrison on 18 May, took possession of the 70-ton sloop, and sailed it south to Crown Point. It was named Enterprise by Arnold and fitted out with twelve long 4-pounder carriage guns and ten swivels. About 1 August 1775, Captain James Smith was sent by the New York Provincial Congress to General Philip Schuyler and ordered to take command of “the sloop Enterprise.”


Enterprise IIThe second Enterprise was an eight-gun schooner of 25 tons with a crew of 60 men. Granted a letter of marque commission from the state of Maryland, it made a remarkably successful cruise (June-December 1776) under the command of Captain James Campbell. Enterprise was purchased by the Committee of Secret Correspondence of the Continental Congress 20 December 1776. Under the command of Captain Campbell, Enterprise served chiefly in convoying transports in Chesapeake Bay. It was also active in reconnoitering the enemy’s ships and preventing their tenders and barges from getting supplies from the shores of Maryland and Virginia.



Enterprise IIIThe third Enterprise was a twelve-gun schooner built by Henry Spencer at Baltimore, Maryland at a cost of $16,240.00. It had a length of 84 feet, 7 inches; extreme beam of 22 feet, 6 inches; tonnage of 135, depth of hold, 10 feet; and a complement of 70 officers and men. It was originally armed with twelve long 6-pounders and placed under the command of Lieutenant John Shaw. On 1 September 1812, Enterprise got underway in search for British privateers reported off the coast of Maine. After chasing a schooner to the shore on Wood Island, Enterprise discovered what appeared to be a ship of war in the bay near Penequid Point on the coast of Maine. It immediately gave chase and soon found her quarry to be the British brig Boxer, mounting fourteen 18-pounder carronades, and manned by 72 men. When within half a pistol shot, broadsides exchanged by the two brigs brought death to Lieutenant William Burrows as well as to the British commander, Captain Samuel Blyth. Another broadside was exchanged before Enterprise ranged ahead to cross Boxer’s bow and kept up a deadly fire until the enemy hailed and said they had surrendered but could not haul down the colors that were nailed to the mast. The surviving senior officer, Lieutenant Edward R. McCall, took the prize into Portland where a common funeral was held for the two commanders, both well known and favorites in their respective services.


Enterprise IVThe fourth Enterprise was a schooner built by the New York Navy Yard where it launched on 26 October 1831. Its length between perpendiculars was 83 feet, molded beam 23 feet, 5 inches; depth of hold 10 feet and tonnage 197. It was armed with ten 24 and 9-pounder guns. The schooner was placed in commission on 15 December 1831 when Lieutenant Commander Samuel W. Downing assumed command. Its original complement was nine officers and 63 men.


Enterprise VIThe fifth Enterprise was a steam corvette with auxiliary sail power. Its hull was built of live oak in Portsmouth Naval Yard by John W. Griffith. It was launched 13 June 1874 and placed in commission 16 March 1877, Commander George C. Remey in command. The ship measured 185 feet between perpendiculars, breadth, 35 feet; depth of hold, 16 feet, 2 inches; tonnage 615, and displacement 1,375 tons. It had a speed of 11.4 knots and a complement of 20 officers and 164 men. Its original armament was one 11-inch moth bore, four 9-inch broadside guns, one 60-pounder pivot, and 1 short Gatling gun.


Enterprise VThe sixth Enterprise was a 66-foot motor patrol craft purchased by the Navy on 6 December 1916. It was placed in the service of the Second Naval District on 25 September 1917 and performed harbor tug duties at Newport, Rhode Island. It shifted to New Bedford, Massachusetts, on 11 December 1917 for operations inside the breakwaters and was transferred to the Bureau of Fisheries on 2 August 1919.


Enterprise VII (CV 6)The seventh Enterprise (CV 6) was the first of the Enterprise ships to receive the nickname of Big 'E'. Other nicknames included the Lucky 'E', the 'Grey Ghost' and the 'Galopping Ghost'. CV-6 became the sixth aircraft carrier to join the U.S. Navy fleet upon its commissioning as a Yorktown-class carrier on Oct. 3, 1936. It had an overall length of 827 feet and displaced more than 32,000 tons of water. Enterprise fought in many of the key Pacific theater battles of World War II, and was one of only three American carriers commissioned prior to World War II to survive the war (aloCV6 Flight Deckng with USS Saratoga and USS Ranger).
Enterprise was ordered to serve in the Pacific fleet in April 1939, and was sent underway to conduct training and transport Marine Fighter Squadron 211 (VMF-211) to Wake Island in November 1941. Big 'E' was returning to the Hawaiian island of Oahu on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941 when it received news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Enterprise became one of the first ships to respond to its nation's call to war and went on to earn 20 battle stars, the most for any U.S. warship in World War II, for the crucial roles it played in numerous battles including Midway, Guadalcanal, Leyte Gulf, and the 'Doolittle Raid' on Tokyo. Japanese forces announced that the Big 'E' had been sunk in battle on three separate occasions throughout its Pacific campaign.
After its legendary World War II service, the first Big 'E' was decommissioned on Feb. 17, 1947 as the most decorated ship in U.S. naval history.


Enterprise VIII (CVN 65)In 1954, Congress authorized the construction of the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the eighth U.S. ship to bear the name Enterprise.
The giant ship was to be powered by eight nuclear reactors, two for each of its four propeller shafts. This was a daring undertaking. for never before had two nuclear reactors ever been harnessed together. As such, when the engineers first started planning the ship’s propulsion system, they were uncertain how it would work, or even if it would work according to their theories.
Materials used by the shipyard included 60,923 tons of steel; 1507 tons of aluminum; 230 miles of pipe and tubing; and 1700 tons of one-quarter-inch welding rods. The materials were supplied from more than 800 companies. Nine hundred shipyard engineers and designers created the ship on paper, and the millions of blueprints they created, laid end-to-end, would stretch 2400 miles, or from Miami to Los Angeles.
Constructing USS EnterpriseThree years and nine months after construction began, Enterprise was ready to present to the world as “The First, The Finest” super carrier.
The newly-christened Enterprise left the shipyard for six days of builder and Navy pre-acceptance trials. Its escort during the trials, destroyer Laffey, sent this message; “Subject: Speed Trails. 1. You win the race. 2. Our wet hats are off to an area thoroughbred.” When the Big “E” returned to port, the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral George W. Anderson, Jr., stated enthusiastically, “I think we’ve hit the jackpot.”
After years of planning and work by thousands the day finally arrived. At the commissioning of Enterprise, the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, Secretary of the Navy John B. Connally Jr. called it a worthy successor to the highly decorated seventh USS Enterprise of World War II. “The fighting Gray Lady, as it was called, served in such well-known battles as the raid on Tokyo and the Battle of Midway.” Secretary Connally went on to say, “The new Enterprise will reign a long, long time as queen of the seas.”
USS Enterprise Commissioning ProgramIn October 1962, Enterprise was dispatched to its first international crisis. Enterprise and other ships in the Second Fleet set up quarantine of all military equipment under shipment to communist Cuba. The blockade was put in place on October 24, and the first Soviet ship was stopped the next day. On October 28, Soviet leader Krushchev agreed to dismantle nuclear missiles and bases in Cuba, concluding the Cuban Missile Crisis, the closest the U.S. and USSR have ever come to nuclear war.
In the Fall of 2001, Enterprise aborted her transit home from a long deployment after the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington D.C., on Sept. 11, and steamed overnight to the North Arabian Sea. In direct support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Big 'E' once again took its place in history by becoming one of the first units to respond in a crisis with its awesome striking power. Enterprise expended more than 800,000 pounds of ordnance during the operation. The ship returned to home port at Naval Station Norfolk November 10, 2001.
USS Enterprise in Marmaris, TurkeyFollowing several more deployments and an extended shipyard period that began in 2008, Enterprise embarked on its 21st deployment in January 2011, during which the carrier supported operations Enduring Freedom, New Dawn and multiple anti-piracy missions. During its six-month tour of duty, Big ‘E’ made port visits to Lisbon, Portugal, Marmaris, Turkey, the Kingdom of Bahrain and Mallorca, Spain.
Big 'E' became the fourth aircraft carrier in naval history to record 400,000 arrested landings on May 24, 2011. The milestone landing was made by an F/A-18F Super Hornet piloted by Lt. Matthew L. Enos and Weapon System Officer Lt. Cmdr. Jonathan Welsh from the Red Rippers of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 11.
400,000th landing aboard USS EnterpriseEnterprise aircraft launchOn November 25, 2011, Big ‘E’ celebrated its 50th birthday, making the carrier the oldest active duty ship in the U.S. Naval fleet. Enterprise is currently on its 25th and final deployment, expected to make its final return to homeport Norfolk in the fall.

Today, Enterprise Sailors continue to set the standard for excellence aboard the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier - proudly furthering the legend begun by the first Enterprise Sailors more than two centuries ago.

* En motiu de la retirada del servei del USS Enterprise, compartim amb vosaltres aquest article. Una llegenda de la Història militar, que ha estat 51 ANYS EN SERVEI! Al teu honor "Big E" 

Steaming onward

La Armada desguazará el portaaviones Príncipe de Asturias el próximo año*

El portaaviones "Príncipe de Asturias", actualmente inmovilizado en la base naval de Rota, será desguazado el próximo año en los astilleros de Ferrol, tras veinticuatro años como buque insignia de la Armada española. Así lo ha decidido la Armada ante la situación de recortes económicos y tras constatar que poner a punto el portaaviones costaría unos cien millones de euros, según fuentes militares.
Sus partes principales y piezas más importantes tendrán como destino el museo naval u otros museos, según las mismas fuentes que han subrayado la "carga emocional" que supone deshacerse de un buque, que además lleva el nombre del título del heredero de la Corona. Con base en Rota, el emblemático portaaviones española realizó su primera salida al mar el 3 de noviembre de 1987 y fue entregado a la Armada el 30 de mayo de 1988 por la Empresa Nacional Bazán.
Esta incorporación, según la Armada, supuso el ingreso de la Marina española en el selecto grupo de marinas de guerra con un portaaviones. Su misión principal ha sido proporcionar defensa al Grupo de Proyección de la FLOTA (GRUFLOT) y superioridad aérea en la zona de despliegue. El principal medio ofensivo y defensivo del buque era su Unidad Aérea Embarcada, con una capacidad aeronaval máxima de 29 aeronaves. Entre ellas aviones Harrier de despegue vertical, helicópteros SH-3 SEAKING y helicópteros AB-212, cuyas misiones abarcan transporte, Salvamento y Rescate (SAR) y evacuación medicalizada.
Ya en 2007 se acometió una inversión para su reparación y modernización por 3.665.000 euros. Entonces se reformaron las instalaciones de descanso, ocio, aseos y camarotes, y las estancias de oficiales, suboficiales y marinería se diseñaron en estructura modular. En sus 24 años de vida, ha participado en la Operación "Southern Guard" con motivo del conflicto del Golfo Pérsico.
En 1994, ante el recrudecimiento de las acciones contra UNPROFOR, varias naciones de la OTAN enviaron fuerzas navales al Adriático, en previsión de operaciones de protección a los cascos azules. España destacó el Grupo Naval Operativo 81-01, encabezado por el portaaviones "Príncipe de Asturias".
El 28 de junio de 2005 el portaaviones asistió a la Revista Naval Internacional que el Reino Unido organizó en Portsmouth con motivo del II Centenario de la Batalla de Trafalgar. Del 6 de febrero a 30 de marzo de 2006 el buque participó, integrado en una agrupación de la Armada en la que se incluían algunas unidades extranjeras, en el despliegue GALIBER 07 por aguas del Atlántico y Mediterráneo. 

* Notíca publicada a Atenea Digital. Com es va notant, la crisi arriba a tots els àmbits. El portaavions Príncipe de Astúrias, amb només 24 anys de servei s'enviarà a desballestar. Un exemple de que l'adquisició de qualsevol sistema d'armes hauria de comportar també la planificació del cost de manteniment i actualització.

dijous, 22 de novembre de 2012

Type 210 Ula (Type P 6071) *

The Ula is a Norwegian diesel electric submarine. The boats were constructed during 1989-1992 by Thyssen Nordseewerke in Emden Germany. In the Norwegian Navy six boats are currently operational: KNM ULA S300, KNM UTSIRA S301, KNM UTSTEIN S302, KNM UTV�R S 303, KNM UTHAUG S304, KNM UREDD S305. The Ula-class in the Norwegian Navy (Hunter Killer's) bear the names of islands in the near proximity of the base. They are quite outstanding in terms of operational capabilities. The cost was 2.4 billion NOK each when purchased and built in the beginning of the 1990's. ULA Class submarine, including on board equipment, weapons, investment in bases etc, had a calculated price per submarine of approximately 1,197 million.
During World War II KNM Ula was one of three Norwegian submarine, which comprised the Norwegian Section in the 9th Submarine Flotilla. Overall this fleet consisted of Norwegian, British, Dutch, Polish and French submarines. Construction of the Ula was started in autumn 1941 at an English shipyard, where also some Norwegians were hired and participated in the work. The boat was christened by King Haakon VII 28 mars 1943. March 1943. During the ship manager Reidar M. Sars' command completed "Ula" a number of expeditions in the Atlantic, Channel, North Sea and Skagerrak. The submarine did strongly noted, because it was the Allied submarine that sunk the most enemy ships. It was also the only one who succeeded to sink an enemy submarine in submerged condition, and was also the one who survived the most depth charges in an attack - 114 pcs. The submarine was in service until August 1964, when it was discarded.
The Ula class began a series of upgrades in 2006. By 2008, Norway's fleet will have new sonars, periscopes, communications equipment, andelectronic warfare systems. With these additions, the Ula will remain in service until 2020.
On 09 May 2008 Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace signed a contract with the Armed Forces` Logistics Organisation for the delivery of a new Combat System Integration Infrastructure, a new passive sonar system and the upgrading of a tactical simulator for Norway`s six Ula Class submarines. With a scope of MNOK 179, the contract was won in an open international competition. Delivery was scheduled for completion within 52 months.
For more than 30 years, KONGSBERG has delivered command and weapon control systems for Norwegian, German and Italian submarines, and this contract marks an important further development of products within submarine systems. The contract is a response to a campaign conducted over several years to strengthen the company`s position as a supplier of complete, integrated sonar and command and weaponscontrol systems for submarines. The world market includes a rather significant number of submarines that are or will soon be in need of lifeextension programmes. In this context, this is an important reference contract.
KONGSBERG is a multinational, knowledge-based group with more than 4400 employees in more than 25 countries. The Group delivers high-technology systems to discerning customers engaged in offshore oil and gas production, the merchant marine, and the defence and aerospace industries. KONGSBERG is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange (Ticker: KOG) and had a turnover of NOK 8.3 billion in 2007. The subsidiary Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace is Norway`s premier supplier of defence and aerospace-related systems. The company had operating revenues of NOK 3.3 billion and more than 1600 employees in 2007.

Type 210mod

HDW presented a new submarine at SUBCON 2007, the Type 210mod. The design is obviously based on the Type 210, which is better known as the Norwegian Ula class. Several subcomponents will be identical to or derived from Type 212A/214 hardware, others (as with Type 210) will come from the proven Type 209 line. With the Type 210mod HDW said it was trying to tackle "budget" markets, in particular in South America and South-East Asia, to be able to directly compete on price with the current Russian export offensive in those areas. HDW planned this sub as a direct competitor to Amur and SMX-23. Additionally, HDW saw the Type 210mod as a good potential "entry submarine", for navies without submarines. A secondary market is to sell certain navies a new budget submarine instead of costly modernization of existing submarines. And the third market is as a "low-end" supplement to navies with Type 214 or Type 209/1400 (or similar) subs, as HDW will market it with interoperability and straight compatibility (including crew training) to those classes. Type 210mod apparently garnered a lot of interest at SUBCON 2007, at which time TKMS/HDW was in the final design phases and expected to have the design ready for biddings in 2008.

Article publicat a Global Security. Informació complementària per conèixer millor l'Armada Noruega

Norwegian Navy to receive fifth Skjold-class patrol boat from DCNS *

DCNS has delivered the fifth of six Skjold-class fast patrol boats (FPB), P965-Gnist, to the Royal Norwegian Navy.
Delivery of the vessel forms part of a programme led by Skjold Prime consortium, which consists of DCNS serving as the combat system design authority and co-supplier as well as two Norwegian contractors, Umoe Mandal and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace.
Specifically designed to support maritime security and safety missions in Norway's littoral waters, the recently christened 50m-long heavily armed Skjold FPB is integrated with a combat system, modern communications and sensor suites.
The P964-Gnist's combat system comprises eight Kongsberg Nye Sjoemaals Missiler or Norwegian strike missile (NSM) anti-ship missiles and an Oto Melara 76mm Super Rapid gun with a range in excess of 12km that is capable of engaging several targets simultaneously.
DCNS was also awarded a contract by the Norwegian Defense Logistics Organisation (NDLO) to provide support for the Senit 2000 combat management system (CMS), which is equipped onboard the six FPBs.
The Norwegian Navy has already received four of the boats, P961-Storm, P962-Skudd, P963-Steil and P964-Glimt, while the final vessel is expected to be delivered before 2013.
The first P961-Storm was delivered to the Norwegian Navy on 9 September 2010, P962-Skudd on 28 October 2010, while the third and fourth vessels of the class, P963-Steil and P964-Gnist were delivered on 30 June 2011 and in March 2012 respectively.
DCNS had served as the prime contractor for the modernisation of 14 Hauk-class FPBs for the Royal Norwegian Navy between 1997 and 2004.

* Notícia publicada a Naval Technoogy. Noruega continua renovant i adaptant la seva flota a les necessitats del segle XXI.

dimarts, 20 de novembre de 2012

Beijing's Senkaku goal: Sub 'safe haven' in South China Sea +

Quest for isles a strategic aim: former MSDF rear admiral

Staff writer
What's at stake in the smoldering diplomatic crisis with China over the uninhabited Senkaku Islands, which only seem to attract fishing boats and ultranationalists?
News photo
Sub-chaser: Sumihiko Kawamura, ex-commander of the Maritime Self-Defense Force's antisubmarine air wing, is interviewed recently in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo. REIJI YOSHIDA
Many Japanese observers say Beijing, which claims the Japan-controlled islets in the East China Sea and calls them Diaoyu, is trying to secure natural resources in the surrounding area, whereas China says the islets were captured by Japan in the 1890s at the start of its aggression toward China.
But according to Sumihiko Kawamura, a former rear admiral and commander of the Maritime Self-Defense Force's antisubmarine air wing, Beijing has a more critical but less-articulated goal that, if achieved, could tip strategic military superiority from the United States to China in the Pacific.
Kawamura believes Beijing is trying to turn the South China Sea into "a safe haven" for its nuclear-powered submarines, which are armed with ballistic missiles that can reach the United States. For that purpose, seizing the Senkakus — just 190 km east of Taiwan and close to the northern gateway to the South China Sea — is indispensable, Kawamura says.
Submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) are considered China's only viable option to maintain a strong nuclear deterrent against the U.S., because America has identified all of China's ICBM silos and could easily destroy them in a pre-emptive nuclear strike, he says.
If Beijing maintains a second-strike capability with SLBMs that can reach the U.S. mainland, Kawamura says, this risk would possibly dissuade America from intervening in a major conflict involving China.
"This is directly related to the nuclear strategy of China. China will never give up the Senkakus," the former vice principal of the Joint Staff College of the Self-Defense Forces said during a recent interview with The Japan Times.
News photo
"This is just the beginning. Even if it takes 100 years, Beijing will try to seize the islands" to turn the South China Sea into a safe haven for its missile subs, he said.
Kawamura indicated the MSDF has the capability, with the U.S. Navy, to contain China's submarines within the South China Sea, which is partially enclosed by Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam.
The MSDF's nonnuclear "ultraquiet" submarines, working together with the U.S. Navy, can find, track and even sink any Chinese submarine that tries to enter the Pacific Ocean by crossing anywhere along a sea line that runs from the Japanese main islands to the Philippines via Okinawa and Taiwan, Kawamura said. The Chinese navy calls the line the First Island Chain, given its strategic importance.
"(We can) sink Chinese submarines anytime we want if it comes to a showdown" in the Pacific Ocean, said Kawamura, who in August published a book detailing a possible Japanese-Chinese military clash over the Senkaku Islands.
"No option is left (for China) except for trying to make the South China Sea a safe haven and defending submarines carrying nuclear missiles there," Kawamura said.
According to The New York Times, Xiong Guangkai, then deputy chief of staff of the People's Liberation Army, threatened the U.S. in 1995, saying China would consider launching a nuclear attack on Los Angeles if the U.S. were to intervene in a Taiwan conflict.
In 2005, Maj. Gen. Zhu Chenghu sparked a sensation by telling reporters that Beijing would have no choice but to conduct a pre-emptive nuclear strike against American cities if China faced the prospect of defeat in a conventional conflict over Taiwan.
"Japan has been protected by the nuclear umbrella of the U.S. If the U.S. cannot fully trust its deterrence power (against China), the U.S. won't interfere in" military conflicts between Japan and China, nor those involving Taiwan, he said.
Recently, China started calling the South China Sea one of its "core interests," signaling that no compromise would be acceptable and the use of force wouldn't be ruled out to protect its interests in the area.
China has also opened a large naval base on Hainan Island in the South China Sea that reportedly can accommodate as many as 20 submarines. This is part of the strategy to provide its nuclear-armed subs with a safe haven, Kawamura said.
Experts believe China's SLBMs have a maximum range of about 8,000 km. This means the lower 48 states in the U.S. would be out of reach from submarines in the South China Sea.
But China is working to extend the range of its SLBMs so they can hit the U.S. without its subs having to venture too far into the Pacific, according to Kawamura.
He said he believes China is being forced to follow the same tactic the Soviet Navy adopted during the Cold War.
The MSDF and U.S. Navy were able to track "almost all of the Soviet submarines" and thereby minimized the SLBM threat in the Pacific, Kawamura said.
As part of its nuclear deterrence against the U.S., the Soviet Union tried to turn the Sea of Okhotsk into "a bastion" for its nuclear sub fleet by crowding many surface warships and subs there.
China still lacks the technology to make its submarines stealthy. They are far noisier and easier to track than the Soviet subs, Kawamura said.
"When navigating, Chinese submarines sound like they are pounding a drum or bell," he said.
He believes that for now, the MSDF has supremacy over the Chinese navy, particularly because of its advanced antisubmarine warfare capabilities.
Submarine warfare could be the decisive element in a modern naval engagement. At present, China has only four antisubmarine aircraft, whereas 77 MSDF P-3C sub hunters regularly patrol the seas around Japan.
"As far as submarine warfare is concerned, China still doesn't have the ability to do what we were doing 30 years ago (to counter Soviet submarines). They are 30 years behind us," Kawamura said.
China recently launched its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, sparking a media sensation. But the carrier's operational theater would be restricted to just the South China Sea if a real war broke out, given its various technological limitations, Kawamura said.
Echoing many other military analysts, Kawamura noted China lacks the catapult technology to launch heavy carrier-based jets.
China's subs also aren't quiet enough to protect a carrier. The Liaoning would only "fall prey to" MSDF submarines even if it is dispatched, for example, to the East China Sea in the case of a war with Japan, Kawamura said.
"I don't think China will able to have an aircraft carrier that really performs within 10 years or so," he added.
If China were to attack and try to seize the Senkaku Islands now, it might be able to temporarily occupy them. But the occupation would not last long and the Chinese would eventually lose because the MSDF can easily cut off the maritime logistical lines for any occupiers, Kawamura said.
"If China has analyzed (the MSDF's capability) in a calm manner, I don't think it will resort to force. But there can be an accidental escalation" leading to a military clash, he said.
Chinese leaders may also try to use military force to attack the Senkakus to divert the frustration of the Chinese people, Kawamura warned.
He thus urged the government to enact legislation to ease regulations on the MSDF and Japan Coast Guard to allow them to fire warning shots against foreign ships approaching the islets. Otherwise, Chinese ships will keep coming back to the Senkakus for years to show they effectively control the territory, he said.

* Entrevista publicada al Japan Times. Creiem  que les opinions d'un alt oficial amb l'experiència de l'almirall Kawamura són per tenir en molta consideració.