dijous, 11 d’abril de 2013

Deputy SecDef: 4th submarine to be deployed to Guam*

A fourth Navy submarine will be added to the three “forward-deployed” submarines to Guam in a little more than a year, Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter said Monday.
Carter said the deployment of a fourth submarine to Guam will occur in fiscal 2015, which begins in September next year. He did not name the submarine that’s being deployed to Guam.
As Carter made the announcement, the Navy submarine Charlotte, was heading toward Western Pacific waters.
Charlotte left Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on April 2 for a scheduled six-month deployment, the Navy in Hawaii confirmed. The Charlotte can be equipped with Tomahawk missiles, navy.mil states.
The deputy defense secretary made the announcement to station a fourth submarine to Guam at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington while reiterating the Defense Department’s plan to shift more forces toward the Asia Pacific.
As announced by the Pentagon last year, 60 percent of the U.S. Navy’s assets would be assigned to the Asia-Pacific region by 2020 — a substantial and historic shift, Carter said.
Guam currently is home to Los-Angeles-class, fast attack submarines Key West, Chicago and Oklahoma City, information from the Navy website states.
The Key West arrived on Guam in November last year, trading places with the Buffalo, which was moving from Guam to Honolulu.
Navy Adm. Samuel Locklear III, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, said submarines “are re-emerging in the (international) security environment.”
He said there are about 300 submarines in the world today and the United States has the most advanced and the best submarine crew.
Sen. Harry Reed asked Locklear at the hearing if submarines are the preferred “weapons class” other countries seem to be competing with the U.S.
India, China, Malaysia and even Vietnam are expanding their submarine capabilities, Reed said.
Locklear said there’s “a general trend around the globe” that countries want to be able to protect their exclusive economic zones through their waterways, while some countries would like to project power with submarine acquisitions.Marine move
Another component of the plan to shift U.S. military forces to and within the Asia-Pacific region — specifically on reducing the presence of Marines in Okinawa and moving several thousand of them to Guam, Hawaii and Australia — was discussed at the Senate Armed Services Committee oversight hearing yesterday.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin said: “while I support the concept of re-stationing Marines from Okinawa to Guam, it must be done in a fiscally and operationally sound manner.”
Levin said he and Sen. John McCain and then-Sen. Jim Webb, who did not seek re-election last year, “advocated” for the United States and Japan to revisit its 2006 agreement that includes the military buildup on Guam. Both countries announced revised changes to the plan last year. Levin said the revised plan “reflected an appreciation by both governments of the need to make adjustments in order to support the goal of achieving a more viable and sustainable U.S. Marine presence in Japan, on Guam and elsewhere in the region.”
“The Department of Defense is currently working to develop the details of this new plan and the final construction schedule and total costs are not yet known,” Levin said. “After we receive that plan we will be in a position to judge it. But until that plan is forthcoming, the committee has deferred action on associated requirements until previously adopted conditions are met.”
The initial buildup cost was estimated in 2006 at more than $10 billion and would have involved moving 8,000 Marines and about 9,000 of their dependents to Guam.
The revised plan would move about 4,700 Marines to Guam, about 2,500 to Darwin, Australia and about 2,700 to Hawaii, a report last year by the Center for Strategic and International Studies shows.
At the hearing, McCain asked Locklear when the buildup master plan would be submitted as requested by the Armed Services Committee and the Congress.
Locklear said he didn’t have a date for when the Office of the Secretary of Defense would submit the master plan.

*Notícia publicada a Navy Times. El "pivot" al Pacífic en fets.

dimecres, 10 d’abril de 2013

Navy Leaders Announce Plans for Deploying Cost-Saving Laser Technology*

ARLINGTON, Va. (NNS) -- Citing a series of technological breakthroughs, Navy leaders announced plans Apr. 8 at the Sea-Air-Space exposition to deploy for the first time a solid-state laser aboard a ship in fiscal year 2014.

"Our directed energy initiatives, and specifically the solid-state laser, are among our highest priority science and technology programs. The solid-state laser program is central to our commitment to quickly deliver advanced capabilities to forward-deployed forces," Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder said. "This capability provides a tremendously affordable answer to the costly problem of defending against asymmetric threats, and that kind of innovative approach is crucial in a fiscally constrained environment."

The announcement to deploy the laser onboars USS Ponce (AFSB[I] 15) comes as Navy researchers continue to make significant progress on directed energy weapons, allowing the service to deploy a laser weapon on a Navy ship two years ahead of schedule. The at-sea demonstration in FY 14 is part of a wider portfolio of near-term Navy directed energy programs that promise rapid fielding, demonstration and prototyping efforts for shipboard, airborne and ground systems.

"Our conservative data tells us a shot of directed energy costs under $1," Klunder said. "Compare that to the hundreds of thousands of dollars it costs to fire a missile, and you can begin to see the merits of this capability."

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) and Naval Sea Systems Command recently performed demonstrations of high-energy lasers aboard a moving surface combatant ship, as well as against remotely piloted aircraft. Through careful planning of such demonstrations and by leveraging investments made through other Department of Defense (DoD) agencies, researchers have been able to increase the ruggedness, power and beam quality of lasers, more than doubling the range of the weapons.

"The future is here," said Peter A. Morrision, program officer for ONR's Sold-State Laser Technology Maturation Program. "The solid-state laser is a big step forward to revolutionizing modern warfare with directed energy, just as gunpowder did in the era of knives and swords."

Officials consider the solid-state laser a revolutionary technology that gives the Navy an extremely affordable, multi-mission weapon with a deep magazine and unmatched precision, targeting and control functions. Because lasers run on electricity, they can be fired as long as there is power and provide a measure of safety as they don't require carrying propellants and explosives aboard ships.

Lasers complement kinetic weapons to create a layered ship defense capability, providing improved protection against swarming small boats and unmanned aircraft at a fraction of the cost of traditional weapons.

The advancing technology gives sailors a variety of options they never had before, including the ability to control a laser weapon's output and perform actions ranging from non-lethal disabling and deterrence all the way up to destruction. 

"We expect that in the future, a missile will not be able to simply outmaneuver a highly accurate, high-energy laser beam traveling at the speed of light," Klunder said.

Following the USS Ponce demonstration, the Navy and DoD will continue to research ways to integrate affordable laser weapons into the fleet.

Video of the demonstration of the high-energy laser aboard a moving surface combatant ship and against remotely piloted aircraft can be seen here: http://youtu.be/OmoldX1wKYQ

* Notícia publicada al web de la US Navy. Comença el despleganent de lasers a bord de naus de de la US Navy. Un pas ferm per entrar al segle XXI.

Brazilian Navy's third Amazonas-class OPV sails for sea trials*

The Brazilian Navy's third and final BAE Systems-built Amazonas-class ocean patrol vessel (OPV), Araguari (P122), has sailed from Portsmouth to undergo an extensive sea trials programme off the UK coast.
During the two-week maiden sea trials, the ship will validate all of its integrated element's functionalities including its propulsion and combat systems.
BAE Systems Maritime commercial director Nigel Stewart said: "The BAE Systems team will test Araguari's performance and work with her crew to ensure they are ready for the challenges that the ship will face when delivered to Brazil to provide maritime security, humanitarian relief and search-and-rescue."
In 2011, the Brazilian Navy placed orders with BAE to deliver three OPVs and ancillary support services, including a manufacturing licence for further vessels of the same class that will be constructed in Brazil.
Based on the UK Royal Navy's River-class OPVs design, the 90m-long Amazonas-class ships will be used by the navy to conduct maritime security in its territorial waters, including protection of the country's oil and gas reserves.
Capable of carrying a crew of 80, with additional accommodation for 40 troops or passengers, the vessel features a 30mm cannon, two 25mm guns, two rigid inflatable boats as well as a helicopter flight deck capable of landing a medium-sized helicopter.
Expected to be delivered to the Brazilian Navy in June 2013, Araguari ship's crew of 81 has already started training to handle the OPV at HM Naval Base Portsmouth, UK.

* Notícia publicada a Naval texhnology. Comprtim aquesta notícia com a complenent de les anteriors referents al Brasil.

Black Sea Naval Force starts active drills*

MOSCOW, April 9 (RIA Novosti) - Warships from the six nations participating in the international Black Sea Naval Force (Blackseafor) exercise left the Bulgarian port of Varna for the active phase of the drills, the Russian Black Sea Fleet command said on Tuesday.
Bulgaria’s Reshitelni corvette, Georgia’s Sukhumi coastal patrol boat, Russia’s Ropucha-I class Novocherkassk large landing ship, Romania’s Macelariu corvette, Turkey’s Heybeliada corvette and Ukraine’s Cherkassy minesweeper will conduct a three-day exercise at sea, Russian Black Sea Fleet spokesman Capt. 1st Rank Vyacheslav Trukhachev said.
After the active part of the exercise the warships will call at the Romanian port of Constanta on April 12 as part of the second stage of Blackseafor’s 12th activation, running from April 5 to April 23.
The sea exercises will include joint defense drills, the boarding of suspicious civilian ships to prevent human trafficking or the smuggling of arms and dangerous substances, as well as rescue operations at sea and helping ships in distress.
Blackseafor was established in 2001 on Turkey's initiative and comprises Turkey, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, Georgia and Russia.
It is an on-call force and currently has no permanent headquarters. The Blackseafor is activated twice a year and the command structure is based on a rotation principle. Each littoral member state assumes leadership for a one-year period.
According to its charter, the purpose of Blackseafor is to promote security and stability in the Black Sea maritime area and beyond, to strengthen friendship and good relations among the regional states and increase interoperability among those states' naval forces.

*Notícia publicada a RIA Novosti. Un fet curiós que, sense haver-se solucionat el contenciós entre Rússia i Geòrgia practiquin exercicis conjunts.

dijous, 4 d’abril de 2013

Brazil Opens Sub Shipyard, Plans Fleet Update*

LONDON — Brazil’s ambition to build a modern Navy with regional and sometimes global reach took a big step forward in February, when President Dilma Rousseff inaugurated a submarine-building facility that could eventually construct a fleet of nuclear-powered boats.
Rousseff’s presence at the Itaguai facility at the Brazilian Navy’s base on Sepetiba Bay near Rio de Janeiro was the culmination of a near three-year building program undertaken by local company Odebrecht and its joint venture partner, France-based DCNS, to provide the industrial capability to deliver four of the French company’s conventionally powered Scorpene submarines.
The potential for new naval business in Brazil, and elsewhere in Latin America, lies behind the attendance of a large number of maritime companies at the upcoming LAAD Defense and Security show due to kick off in Rio on April 9.
Companies from Britain, China, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, the U.S. and elsewhere are among the list of international naval suppliers with a presence at the show.
All of them will be looking for signs as to whether Brazil’s slowing economy and high spending requirements to fund upcoming international sporting events such as the World Cup and the Olympics will affect the scope and timing of naval update plans.
The Brazilian Navy already operates submarines, but the new unit at Sepetiba Bay is the first time local industry has had a facility to build its own boats. Besides being home to a submarine construction yard, plans call for the Sepetiba Bay facility to house a submarine base able to accommodate and support up to 10 vessels.
Aside from the four diesel-electric boats, the submarine deal agreed to by the French and Brazilian governments in 2008 includes DCNS assistance in the design and production of a nuclear-powered submarine — although the Brazilians alone would be responsible for the reactor.
DCNS is building the forward section of the first Scorpene submarine at its Cherbourg plant in northern France and shipping it over to Itaguai, a company spokeswoman said.
The remainder of the program will be undertaken in country as part of Brazilian moves to build local industrial capabilities across the defense sector.
The first of four submarines in the PROSUB program is due for delivery in 2017, the second in 2018, third in 2020 and fourth in 2021, she said.
The first nuclear-powered submarine is due in 2025, adding Brazil’s name to an exclusive club with the capability: Britain, China, France, India, Russia and the U.S.
Some European executives, though, are concerned whether Brazil, even with non-nuclear assistance from an experienced submarine builder such as DCNS, can meet the in-service target date for the nuclear-propelled attack craft.
Worse than that, they say, the program could divert funds from other weapons programs if it is hit by serious budget overruns.
Beefing up their submarine capabilities isn’t the only naval update the Brazilians are eyeing.
Offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), frigates, an aircraft carrier, inshore patrol craft and eventually logistics support vessels will all likely figure in an update of a surface fleet, which will look pretty tired by 2017, executives said.
Last month saw the surface fleet expand with the handover of the second of three offshore patrol boats acquired from British shipbuilder BAE Systems.
A contract with a local shipbuilder for a batch of inshore patrol craft could be awarded in the next few weeks, executives said.
They add that the award could be followed this year by a consulting deal between Brazil and an overseas yard in what is likely to be the first step toward designing an aircraft carrier to replace the Sao Paulo, the ex-French carrier Clemenceau, by the middle of the next decade.
BAE, Fincantieri, Navantia and others are vying to secure what would be a key deal ahead of Brazil moving toward design and construction.
The Brazilians have begun updating other parts of the surface fleet with the 133 million pound ($201 million) purchase of three OPVs from BAE in January 2012.
The agreement also includes a manufacturing license to allow for a further batch of vessels to be built locally — although there is no guarantee the Brazilians won’t look elsewhere to build up OPV numbers.
The Brazilians have been talking to the British and other contenders about their frigate requirements, and have had engineers embedded for several months in the BAE-led team designing the Type 26 Global Combat Ship for the Royal Navy.

* Notícia publicada al Defense News. El salt del Brasil cap a ser un actor internacional creïble avança a pas ferm. Potser no li cal disposar de submarins nuclears, però disposar d'instal.lacions per producció, manteniment i allotjament d'aquestes naus no és quelcom menor. Un tema a seguir.

dimecres, 3 d’abril de 2013

Russia to scrap the last Soviet-era nuclears sub by 2014*

MOSCOW, April 2 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Nerpa shipyard is to scrap the last Soviet-era nuclear submarine to be withdrawn from the Russian Fleet by 2014, the yard said on Tuesday.
The Project 949A (NATO: Oscar II class) cruise-missile submarine Krasnodar was launched in 1985 and retired from the Russian Navy in 2012, according to rusnavy.com.
The boat will be the last submarine to be dismantled at the shipyard, Nerpa press secretary Irina Anzulatova said.
“Work is currently underway to remove spent nuclear fuel from it,” she said.
According to Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom, a total of 199 nuclear submarines have been decommissioned from the Navy since the late 1980's, including 120 in northwestern Russia and 79 in Russia’s Far East.
Russia has three nuclear submarine disposal enterprises: Zvyozdochka in Severodvinsk (Arkhangelsk region), Nerpa in Snezhnogorsk (Murmansk region) and Zvezda in Bolshoi Kamen (Far East).
Nerpa has dismantled over 50 submarines since 1998. Zvyozdochka completed its submarine dismantling program in 2011. Zvezda currently has no submarine dismantlement contracts, a company representative told RIA Novosti.
Rosatom has confirmed that information to RIA Novosti.

© RIA Novosti.
History of the Russian submarine fleet

During the scrapping process, spent nuclear fuel is removed from the submarine's reactors and put into storage, while the hull is cut into three sections, with the bow and stern sections being removed and destroyed. The hull's reactor compartment is sealed and put into storage.

*Notícia publicada a RIA Novosti. Repassant les xifres de l'antiga Marina russa hom veu fins on va arribar la caiguda dels 90. En qualsevol cas les tasques de desballestament i, sobretot, l'emmagatzematge de combustible nuclear són una oportunitat per crear llocs de treball.

dimarts, 2 d’abril de 2013

Vietnam to receive advanced Russian submarine in 2013*

As tensions remain high in the South China Sea between Vietnam and China
, Hanoi is reportedly set to receive its first of six advanced submarines from Russia.
Ria Novsti reported
 that “The first of six Varshavyanka class (Project 636M) diesel-electric submarines will be delivered to Vietnam in 2013 as scheduled.” Commonly referred to as the Kilo-class, the subsreportedly
 boast “advanced stealth technology, extended combat range and ability to strike land, surface and underwater targets.”
Hanoi placed an order for six of the Russian-made subs back in 2009. According to the report by Ria Novsti, the contract, which also has provisions for the training of Vietnamese submarine crews in Russia, is reportedly worth US$2 billion.
According to a recent article from USNI News
, Vietnam has ordered the most advanced variant of the Kilo, the improved 636MV. TheUSNI article explained
“The Project 636 Kilo-class submarine has been dubbed the “black hole” by the U.S. Navy for its level of quietness. The Project 636MV-class sub has improved stealth features through the removal of flooding ports and treating the hull with multilayer anechoic rubber tiles. The tiles are fitted on casings and fins to absorb active sonar waves that reduce and distort the return signal. The anechoic tiles also shield sounds from within the submarine thus reducing the range of detection by passive sonar.”
The new subs could also be part of Vietnam’s attempt to develop its own anti-access capabilities. As our own Naval Diplomat, James Holmes, pointed out in a recent article
“Submarines offer enormous bang for the buck, and they are survivable. Still, this also means that advances in Chinese antisubmarine warfare could nullify Vietnam’s effort to fend off the PLA Navy. Next, Vietnamese access denial could take on an offensive as well as a defensive character. Vietnamese Kilos could, say, loiter unseen off the Chinese naval station at Sanya, on Hainan Island, holding PLA Navy submarines at risk at the delicate moment when they are entering or leaving port—exposing them to enemy action.”
While such a purchase by Vietnam will surely increase its undersea capabilities, it will take years for such subs to come online. All of the vessels crews will need to undergone extensive training and the subs will also need to be thoroughly tested. Also, all six submarines will not all be available for duty at all times, as such vessels are cycled in and out of service for repair and training.

* Notícia publicada a The Diplomat. El programa de rearmament naval vietnamita segueix endavant. Més enllà de les bones qualitats dels submarins "Kilo", hem de pensar en les qualitats dels homes que els portin. La valentia dels vietnamites queda fora de qualsevol dubte, però sense entrenament i maniobres constants de poc serveix.

dilluns, 1 d’abril de 2013

U.S. Coast Guard meets Corbett*

Reporters say the nicest things. One called the office on Tuesday to talk about the U.S. Coast Guard in the Arctic Ocean
. This person confessed that the idea of entrusting polar waters primarily to the Coast Guard, rather than the U.S. Navy, seems really "out there." Groovy!
But naval historians might disagree. Over the centuries, seafaring states have experimented with many different ways of applying force at sea. Best known as a sea-power theorist, Sir Julian Corbett also authored an excellent series on Sir Francis Drake and the English navy under the Tudor dynasty. Corbett points out that armed merchantmen once fought off pirates — insert obligatory "aaargh, matey"here — and even joined the battle line when war loomed on the high seas.
Ships festooned with guns and missiles can accomplish a lot, whether their hulls are slathered in haze gray, or in white accented with blue and red stripes. Why not let the U.S. Coast Guard spearhead maritime strategy in offshore waters where it will already be performing police and disaster-response duty? The force on scene is the obvious one to manage events there, provided it's up to the task. Let's not needlessly duplicate resources and effort.
Or put a theoretical gloss on this question. The U.S. Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard now operate under a triservice Maritime Strategy. The 2007 Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower
 directs the services to work together, and with foreign allies and partners, to prosecute both combat and noncombat — that is, coast-guard-like — missions. It erects no firewall between the services or their functions. This merger of maritime forces is an extension of longstanding policy holding that that the Navy and Coast Guard comprise a joint National Fleet.
If so, how do national fleets transact business? Corbett divides any navy roughly into two fleets: the battle fleet that duels enemies for command of the sea, and the "cruiser" contingent and "flotilla" that exercise command once enemies have been subdued. The latter are light, inexpensive, and thus numerous combatants and auxiliaries, unfit for slugging it out with capital ships but capable of handling lesser threats. Such craft fan out to safeguard the sea lanes and do the host of things navies do.
If this second fleet runs into trouble, it can summon the battle fleet to come steaming to its rescue, restoring control in the face of new challenges. Indeed, Corbett depicts protecting the cruiser force and flotilla as the battle fleet's chief purpose in life. This is rather like the Navy-Coast Guard division of labor I've bruited about. The Coast Guard would assume the role of cruisers and flotilla while the Navy and Marines supply the backstop. The Coast Guard just needs enough warfighting capability to execute limited combat missions until the cavalry arrives.
That's not a far-out concept; it's classic maritime strategy. Corbett is smiling.

* Notícia publicada a The Naval Diplomat. En temps de crisi cal deixar-se de corporativismes i actuar racionalment. La Guàrdia Costanera nordamericanac pot complir moltes funcions, tot reservant la Marina per les més dures, i cares...