dimarts, 19 de juny de 2012

Russia 'sending warships to Syria' *

The move is seen as an attempt to ensure the safety of Russian nationals stationed at the strategic naval base Moscow operates on Syria's Mediterranean coast. 

An unidentified officer confirmed that "Two major amphibious ships – The Nikolai Filchenkov and The Tsezar Kunikov – are preparing to be dispatched to Tartus outside of their schedule."
It is believed the two ships will be carrying a large group of marines and could be used to evacuate Russian citizens and property. There has been no official confirmation of the report from the navy or the defence ministry.
The deployment of the two ships is a sure sign of the deterioration of the situation in Syria as the country descends into all-out civil war.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has confirmed that government forces continued to bombard rebel positions in Homs and Damascus on Monday, despite warnings by the UN that such actions amount to crimes against humanity. 

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama, is due to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Mexico to discuss differences over what to do about the escalating conflict. 

According to the Observatory, 67 people were killed in clashes across the country over the weekend. 

Government forces bombarded rebel positions in Homs province and in eastern Deir Ezzor. A member of the Local Coordination Council (LCC), made up of opposition activists on the ground, confirmed that the town of Qoudsaya in Damascus province had come under "heavy shelling" and that "snipers are shooting at any moving object". 

Another member told AFP that the Syrian army had "imposed a suffocating blockade" on the areas around Qoudsaya and that "huge military reinforcements" had arrived in the town. 

He added that the wounded could not be treated due to the intensity of the shelling and sniper fire.

Regime forces backed by aircraft also pounded a region known as the Kurdish Mountain in the northwest province of Latakia for more than seven hours forcing many residents to flee, according to the Observatory. 

The escalation of violence over the weekend has prompted UN observers to suspend their monitoring mission in the country. Leader of the UN mission in Syria, Major General Robert Mood also admitted that "attempts to extract civilians" from the besieged city of Homs over the past week had been unsuccessful. 

Meanwhile, speaking at the opening of its 20th session, UN rights chief Navi Pillay has accused the Syrian government of crimes against humanity and "possible" war crimes. She also asserted that those responsible for attacks on UN observers in Syria must be brought to justice. 

More than 14,400 people have died in the 16-month uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, according to the Observatory. 

* Notícia publicada a The Telegraph. L'enviament de dues unitats amfíbies russes, envia un senyal bastant clar de que Rússia vei la intervenció contra Al-Assad com quelcom més que prossible.

diumenge, 17 de juny de 2012

Iran 'designing nuclear submarine' *

"Initial steps to design and build nuclear submarine propulsion systems have begun," Admiral Abbas Zamini, the technical deputy navy chief, told the agency. 

"All countries have the right to use peaceful nuclear technology, including for the propulsion system of its vessels," he said.
Iran's navy "needs the (nuclear-powered) propulsion system to succeed in realising very long-distance operations."
 He did not provide further details. 
Iran regularly boasts about advances in military and scientific fields, but in most cases fails to provide proof they were ever carried out. Western military experts regularly cast doubt on its claims. 

Just a handful of nations - the United States, Russia, France, Britain and China - have the technology to make their own nuclear-powered submarines. India has a model under development. 

The navy official's announcement comes as the P5+1 group of world powers are preparing for a new round of crunch talks with Iran in Moscow on June 18 and 19 over Tehran's disputed nuclear activities. 

Iran is pushing forward with an ambitious nuclear programme despite UN Security Council resolutions demanding a halt to uranium enrichment. 

The nuclear programme is at the heart of a decade-long standoff between a defiant Tehran and Western powers that fear the Islamic regime is covertly conducting research for atomic weapons capability. 

* Notícia publicada a The Telegraph. Amb aquestes darreres declaracions, el propi règim iranià ha demostrat que el seu programa nuclear no és només per finalitats pacífiques. Pocs arguments racionals queden per oposar-se a una intervenció israeliana.

Navy May Need to Design Ships With Laser Guns in Mind*

After more than 20 years of research and development, the Navy’s dreams of laser weapons are about to come true. But like the dog who chases the car and doesn’t know what to do when he catches it, the Navy’s thoroughly unprepared for its coming arsenal of focused-light weapons. A new congressional study warns that the Navy runs the risk of outfitting its surface ships with laser guns that their on-board power systems can’t handle. 

As Chris Partlow says to Marlo Stanfield in The Wire, this is one of those good problems.
Laser weaponry has progressed to the point where it’s only a matter of time before they’re disabling ships and burning missiles out of the sky. “Over the next few years,” estimates a new Congressional Research Service report acquired by Danger Room, lasers “capable of countering certain surface and air targets at ranges of about a mile could be made ready for installation on Navy surface ships.” Laser weapons with a 10-mile range aren’t much farther away. If only the ships can handle them. 

If the Navy hasn’t come to grips with the imminence of its laser cannons, Congress needs to step in, the report suggests. One major issue: “the potential implications of shipboard lasers for the design and acquisition of Navy ships, including the Flight III DDG-51 destroyer that the Navy wants to begin procuring in [fiscal year] 2016.” In plain English: Unless the Navy starts designing ships to carry laser weapons right from the shipyard, it may never get the futuristic weapons it wants. 

The principle at work is pretty simple, from an engineering perspective, although it’s largely been an obscure concern limited to Navy geeks. Unlike weapons that fire traditional ammunition, the Navy’s coming inventory of laser weapons just need electrical power to fire. To get it, they’ve got to tap the on-board power generation systems of ships they’d be mounted on. 

But the ships weren’t designed with the expectation that they’d pack laser weapons. Their generators aren’t built to create the kind of juice necessary to power laser guns without siphoning it away from their propulsion systems. It’s a problem that gets worse when considering a laser gun’s “magazine” is as full or as empty as the fuel source it draws from. All that creates exactly the kind of choice the Navy never wants to confront: a choice between effective weapons and maneuverability. A wheezing, slow ship is a tempting target. 

Current Navy shipbuilding plans hold shipbuilding basically steady at 285 ships for the next five years, after which the Navy plans to ramp up production in advance of about 70 ships aging out of service during the 2020s. The congressional study effectively asks if it’s time to start baking the laser guns into the Navy’s shipbuilding cake. 

A laser is considered militarily practical if it can generate a 100 kilowatt beam — which, as yet, no Navy laser under development can generate. The most powerful laser, the experimental Free Electron Laser, can potentially generate a megawatt’s worth of pew-pew-pew. But the ships can barely handle that, at best.
“Some Navy ships might be able to support, under battle conditions, an SSL [solid-state laser] with a power somewhat above 100 kW,” the study finds. “No existing Navy surface combatant designs have enough electrical power or cooling capacity to support an SSL with a power level well above 100 kW.” Worse yet for the Free Electron Laser, it’s still so massive that it could only fit on an aircraft carrier or maybe a big-deck amphibious assault ship.

Accordingly, the study urges Congress to consider making the accommodation of laser guns standard for the next round of surface ships under construction — much like how any decent car comes to the dealership already tricked out with power steering and other creature comforts. One option: “design the new Flight III version of the DDG-51 destroyer, which the Navy wants to start procuring in [fiscal] 2016, with enough space, electrical power, and cooling capacity to support an SSL with a power level of 200 kW or 300 kW or more — something that could require lengthening the DDG-51 hull, so as to provide room for laser equipment and additional electrical generating and cooling equipment.” 

The report recommends the same power boosts for a potential new destroyer class if souping up the DDG-51 is unappealing. And it wants Congress to consider building the next big-deck amphibs and Ford-class aircraft carriers to generate 300 kilowatts or more. 

Expensive? No doubt. Cheaper than building a ship and then retrofitting its power-generation systems to accommodate a laser gun? Almost definitely. 

And the shipbuilding problems aren’t the only obstacles Navy lasers still need to overcome. As the study points out, the Navy’s lasers need to get much better at scaling up the power of their beams; managing all the heat they generate; improving “target detection and tracking”; and integration into the rest of a ship’s systems. These are “not trivial” challenges, the study notes. 

But they’re also direct consequences of something the Navy may not have suspected it would ever have with laser technology — success. Laser cannons are no longer science fiction. But the report points out an important distinction. Just because a weapon is increasingly realistic doesn’t mean it’s increasingly practical.

* Anàlisi publicat al Danger Room de Wired. Compartim amb els lectors d'aquest bloc una interessantíssima reflexió sobre la implementació dels làsers a la US Navy, així com les necessitats de les futures naus de la flota.

Northrop introduces US Navy's first MQ-4C BAMS UAS*

Northrop Grumman has introduced the first MQ-4C broad area maritime surveillance unmanned aircraft system (BAMS UAS) for the US Navy at its facility in Palmdale, California, US.

Formally named Triton, the MQ-4C BAMS UAS will provide persistent surveillance for the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force (MPRF) to carry littoral strike missions.

Duke Dufresne, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems sector vice president and general manager for unmanned systems, said that the MQ-4C Triton UAS was a BAMS UAS programme's key element that represents the future of naval aviation and a strategic element of the US Navy.

"The BAMS UAS programme will revolutionise persistent maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance," Dufresne said.

Unmanned aviation and strike weapons programme executive officer rear admiral Bill Shannon added: "Their efforts will enable the BAMS system to provide the fleet a game-changing persistent maritime and littoral intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability."

The naval version of the US Air Force's RQ-4 Global Hawk aircraft, the MQ-4C BAMS UAS has been designed to conduct maritime surveillance, gather enemy battle information, carry out battle damage assessment and port surveillance missions.

The BAMS UAS provides reliable intelligence information about potential maritime surface threats for the military commanders to efficiently patrol a wide range of open ocean and littoral regions.

The navy is planning to buy nearly $12bn worth of MQ-4Cs, including five test aircraft, while the first MQ-4C aircraft is expected to be operational in 2015.

The programme is managed by the Navy's program executive office (unmanned aviation and strike weapons) and the persistent maritime unmanned aircraft systems program office.

The US Navy's Fifth Fleet is currently using Northrop-built Block 10 RQ-4 BAMS demonstrator, equipped with maritime sensors, which provides full persistent capabilities glimpse of the Triton's 360° multi-function active sensor (MFAS) radar.

* Notícia publicada a Naval Technology. L'endrada en servei del RQ-4 BAMS serà tot un pas endavant en matèria de vigilància marítima persistent. L'obtenció d'informació no només és cabdal per guanyar conflictes, també ho és per evitar que esclatin.

divendres, 8 de juny de 2012

German Navy christens third Berlin-class ship*

The German Navy's third Type 702 Berlin-class combat support ship (CSS) has been formally christened Bonn (1413) at Emder Werft und Dockbetriebe.

Managed by the federal office of defence technology and procurement (BWB), the batch of the CSS is being built by a consortium of four dockyards in Fr. Lürssen Werft, Flensburger Schiffbau Gesellschaft, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and Peene-Werft.

The third CSS features improved functional areas as compared to 1411 and 1412 ships and has been designed to support current operational constraints mainly in environmental protection safety.

As a central and flexible support unit, the third ship will help meet the German Navy's worldwide operational needs and also provide protection for the soldiers.

The CSS Bonn design has reduced operation and maintenance costs, creating a financial leeway for the German Navy in future.

Peene-Werft constructed the CSS Bonn hull in Wolgast, while Flensburger Schiffbau Gesellschaft designed its deckhouse in Flensburg.

Emder Werft und Dockbetriebe, subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, had outfitted the CSS Bonn since May 2011 and the ship is scheduled for commissioning by the end of September 2012.

The German Navy currently operates two Berlin-class CSS ships CSS Berlin (1411) and CSS Frankfurt Am Main (1412), which were commissioned in 2001 and 2002 respectively.

Powered by two diesel engines, the Berlin-class frigates feature in-flight refuelling-capabilities (HIFR) and replenishment-at-sea (RAS) systems in accordance with Nato regulations.

The 173.70m-long Berlin-class vessels can carry two helicopters and are equipped with two 24t cranes and an array of 14 medium to small calibre self-defence weapons.

Capable of carrying a crew of 237, the second batch of Berlin-class vessels have a displacement capacity of 20,000t, a beam of 24m and cruising speed of 20k with 45 days of endurance period.

* Notícia publicada a Naval Tecnology. Disposar de naus logístiques per missions a llarg abanst és quelcom vital per qualsevol marina amb voluntat de projecció global. El aquest aspecte encaixa la 3a unitat de la classe Berlín.

dimecres, 6 de juny de 2012

Botadura del LHA 6 America

La primera unitat de la nova classe America, LHA 6, va ser botada el passat dilluns dia 4 de juny. Us en pengem aquí unes imatges.

dimarts, 5 de juny de 2012

70è aniversari de la Batalla de Midway