dimarts, 30 de juliol de 2013

No, China’s Coast Guard Won’t Reduce Tensions *

The China Coast Guard officially took to the seas last week, to considerable fanfare.An international conference on marine safety descended on Beijing to mark the event. The organizer of the gathering, former deputy assistant secretary of state Susan Shirk, hailed the debut of a unified coast guard as a "positive development." Why? "It's good for China's neighbors and the United States," she opined, "because we know who is responsible and who we can hold responsible." Shirk predicted that the China Coast Guard will pattern itself on its American and Japanese counterparts. As Chinese coast guardsmen "develop a sense of professionalism in accordance with international law," furthermore, "it should make for lower risk of accidents."Well … maybe. An influential Western verdict on China's misconduct at places like Scarborough Shoal or the Senkaku Islands faults skippers for overstepping their authority, whether through an excess of zeal, unclear bureaucratic lines of authority, or situations that fall outside their service's narrow purview. Unifying the hodgepodge of agencies that once policed Chinese-claimed waters — China Marine Surveillance, the fisheries police, and so forth — under one high command should assure that the China Coast Guard executes its duties uniformly, and in keeping with national law and decrees from the political leadership. If not, as Shirk notes, outsiders will at least know where to affix blame.And sure, streamlining and simplifying the bureaucratic wiring diagrams may make some difference — at the margins. Cutting down on accidents that might escalate into something nasty can't be a bad thing. But bear two things in mind. One, even if we stipulate that the controversies agitating the China seas got their start through ship crews' mistakes, Beijing deliberately chose to double down on those mistakes. Just ask Manila, which has effectively lost jurisdiction over an atoll deep within its exclusive economic zone. Or ask Tokyo, whose own coast guard has been run ragged by Chinese enforcement ships — and now, it bears noting, is being run ragged by the four China Coast Guard vessels that took station off the Senkakus around the time Susan Shirk was uttering her hopeful words. These prolonged struggles are no accidents; they reflect conscious political choices made in Beijing.And two, let's not take too much comfort in the idea that the fledgling coast guard will conduct itself according to Chinese domestic law, let alone international law. The Chinese Communist leadership transcribed its island claims into domestic law in 1992, enacting itsLaw on the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone. That's the law the coast guard will uphold. Chinese officialdom, moreover, insists in effect that the claims codified by the famous "nine-dashed line" and other such artifacts predate, and thus supersede, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and other newfangled treaties and accords — never mind China's assent to those agreements. Again, this provides scant comfort.With admirable frankness — you've gotta like a stand-up guy — military researcher Zhang Junshe states in the PLA Daily that the new agency's purpose is to "show the international community that China has undisputable jurisdiction over the waters." Zhang, of course, is repeating the standard line that China holds "indisputable sovereignty" over all sea areas and geographic features it claims. And sovereignty means a monopoly of force if it means anything. The coast guard will help impose that monopoly.So in reality, the advent of the China Coast Guard furnishes little cause for cheer among Asian sea powers. In all likelihood, as my friend Arthur Ding of Taiwan's National Chengchi University observes, the new agency will step up enforcement actions. If so, it will generate new frictions rather than smooth them out. It will prosecute Beijing's territorial claims more efficiently and effectively than the previous, motley crew of maritime enforcement services ever could. But hey, at least we'll know whom to hold responsible!Sci-fi master Robert Heinlein had a thumb rule for life: never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don't rule out malice. Creating the China Coast Guard helps rule out bureaucratic stupidity as an explanation for Chinese behavior at sea. Which leaves … hmm.

* Notícia publicada a The Naval Diplomat. Continua l'increment de les tensions entre la Xina i els seus veïns.

divendres, 26 de juliol de 2013

French Navy demonstrates Alister 100 AUV capability*

The French Navy is conducting ECA robotics-built Alister 100 lightweight autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) trials as a preliminary to receiving six AVUs over the coming months.
The 2m-long Alister 100 AUV weighs 70kg and will be used by the French Navy as underwater drones to support mine warfare missions.
In 2010, the French Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) had awarded a contract to ECA Group to design, develop and deliver six Alister 100 AUVs for the French Navy.
Under the contract, the company will deliver the underwater systems for the French Navy's mine disposal diver group for testing by the end of 2013.
Following completion of trials of the autonomous vehicles, the French Navy officials will use the testing results to decide whether to deploy the system for operational missions.
Capable of conducting port clearance missions, the GPD will deploy the systems for supporting missions such as a seabed survey or reconnaissance, as well as advanced operations including in very shallow water, or for channel assault.
The AUV, which can be operated by two sailors sitting on a dock or onboard an inflatable boat, is fitted with advanced systems and sensors to provide an accurate navigation capability for the navy to detect potential underwater mines.
In addition to supporting minehunting operations, even in narrow sea areas such as channels or inlets, the autonomous underwater vehicle can be used to exchange of information with other combat systems used for mine warfare.
The vehicle is also equipped with a Klein-type sonar, designed to operate on different frequencies, in order to support either sensing range or image definition, depending on operational circumstances.

* Notícia publicada a Naval Technology. El camp dels sistemes no tripulats continua en augment. Certament, poder confiar les tasques de desminat a aquests sistemes pot salvar moltea vides.

Spanish fishing boat enters Catalan Bay*

A Spanish fishing vessel entered Catalan Bay at midday on Thursday, coming inside the confines of the buoys.
The beach police confirmed that the boat, of the type known as a “conchero”, entered from the south and put down its nets before crossing northwards and leaving the beach.
The RGP was called but was engaged in the incident off the runway.
The boat entered at around 5 to 12 and left after only five or ten minutes, but caused outrage among beachgoers due to how close it came to the shoreline.
Photo courtesy of Troy Jeffries.
* Notícia publicada a GBC news. No deixa de ser simptomàtica l'actitud de l'Estat espanyol vers Gibraltar. El menyspreu constant cap al Regne Unit tindrà conseqüències.

dissabte, 20 de juliol de 2013

Hetman Sahaydachniy frigate to act jointly with Norwegian, Danish, U.S., Dutch navies in NATO counter-piracy mission*

"The flagship of the Ukrainian Navy, Hetman Sahaydachniy frigate, as part of NATO's counter-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden and off the Horn of Africa - Operation Ocean Shield will perform combat missions within a naval group of the Alliance along with the naval forces of Norway, Denmark, the U.S. and the Netherlands, Ukrinform has learnt from Ukraine's military representative at NATO, Major-General Anatoliy Petrenko."

"Together with the Ukrainian forces and resources in the area of operation there will be a command ship of the Norwegian Navy, Danish Navy frigate, U.S. Navy destroyer, Danish Navy maritime patrol aircraft, Dutch Navy submarine," Major-General Petrenko said. He said that the command of the multinational naval task force will be carried out by Norway's representative, Commodore Henning Amundsen. Major General Petrenko noted that the Ukrainian Navy frigate Hetman Sahaydachniy along with the decked helicopter Ka-27, and a special operations team (review team) will be located off the Horn of Africa as part of participation in the Operation Ocean Shield in the period from September 2013 to January 2014. "From a purely military point of view, the involvement of the Ukrainian Navy in carrying out anti-piracy combat missions at sea is a unique opportunity to improve the level of training of Ukrainian forces and resources to perform tasks in the far sea zone in close cooperation with the naval forces of other countries," Petrenko emphasized. As reported, after participating in the Operation Ocean Shield from January 2014, the Ukrainian Navy frigate Hetman Sahaidachniy will continue to perform its combat mission off the Horn of Africa as part of the EU Atalanta counter-piracy operation.

dijous, 18 de juliol de 2013

Inside the Ring: New naval harassment in Asia*

The Chinese ship also warned the Navy vessel it was operating “illegally” despite being in undisclosed international waters. The Chinese also said the ship was not a “noncombatant” ship.
“The American vessel USNS Impeccable is far from being a noncombatant,” the Chinese posting stated. “The Impeccable is one of five American surveillance ships equipped with passive and active low-frequency towed-array sonar, and it is effective at detecting submarines, directly serving the American naval fleet by doing so.”
The Navy is stepping up surveillance of China’s submarine force, which has expanded by more than 50 submarines in the past two decades.
The Sinocism posting stated that the U.S. ship was within 100 nautical miles of the Chinese coast and that China had not granted permission for it to operate in that region.
The Chinese photos appear to have been taken by a cellphone camera from a distance of about 10,000 yards. Analysts suggested the Chinese were engaged in long-distance countersurveillance, thus raising questions about Chinese claims of a “fierce” encounter.
A video of the confrontation posted on another website shows a Chinese security officer on ship speaking into a microphone and demanding that the U.S. ship must first get China’s permission to be in the area.
An unidentified U.S. official was then heard in the radio message as saying the Impeccable was operating legally in international waters. (The video can be viewed at cjdby.net/redianzhuizong/2013-07-04/military-4476.html.)
The last time the Impeccable was harassed by the Chinese was in March 2009 when five Chinese ships shadowed the surveillance vessel and sprayed it with water in what the Pentagon at the time said was a “dangerous” effort to force the ship out of its operating zone. Another spy ship, the Victorious, also was harassed several years ago.
A U.S. Pacific Command spokesman would not address the U.S.-China ship incident. Capt. Chris Sims, the spokesman, referred Inside the Ring to comments made last week by Adm. Samuel J. Locklear, head of U.S. Pacific Command.
Asked about an increase in Chinese naval activity around Guam and Hawaii, in apparent retaliation for U.S. naval spying on China, Adm. Locklear said the United States and China disagree on U.N. definitions of controlled waters.
“We believe, the U.S. position is that those activities are less constrained than what the Chinese believe,” the four-star admiral said in a meeting with reporters July 11.
Adm. Locklear said economic exclusion zones cover “most of the major sea lines of communication” that are vital for trade and shipping.
Asked about earlier Chinese military provocations and if the Chinese today are less provocative, Adm. Locklear said, “I would say it’s not provocative certainly. I’d say that in the Asia-Pacific, in the areas that are closer to the Chinese homeland, that we have been able to conduct operations around each other in a very professional and increasingly professional manner.”
“Some of this had to do with the lessons that were learned a number of years ago by some of the unfortunate encounters,” he added.
The U.S. military is holding an “ongoing dialogue” with the Chinese military with the aim of creating “rules of the road,” as China’s navy expands and operates farther from its coast, Adm. Locklear said.
“The U.S. presence in the Asia-Pacific’s not going anywhere,” he said. “So we have to manage our ability to operate around each other. And I think that’s a doable thing.”
The official said there is serious concern within the Pentagon about what will happen under the new “Samantha Power doctrine,” if she is confirmed for the U.N. post.
“People are shuddering over its implication” for the Department of Defense, the official said.
The official noted that during her nomination hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, Ms. Power did not back down from her past contention that the United States was guilty of “war crimes,” apparently carried out by omission or commission by the U.S. government and military.
“DOD senior officials believe she is very influential with the left wing of the administration, so they are following closely what senators are asking and her replies,” the official said.
Ms. Power supports humanitarian intervention, including aid to Syrian rebels. She was the key policy driver behind the “leading-from-behind” policy used to oust Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi that has left the oil-rich North African nation unstable and facing a growing problem with Islamist militias.
Pentagon officials are concerned there will be policy disputes between Ms. Power and Defense SecretaryChuck Hagel, who opposes all U.S. interventions and argues that there is no budget for military intervention because of the Pentagon’s current funding crunch.
Ms. Power came under sharp questioning during her Senate hearing Wednesday from Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican.
Mr. Rubio asked the Ireland-born Ms. Power about a 2003 article she wrote calling for a “historical reckoning with crimes committed, sponsored or permitted by the United States.”
After repeating several times how much she likes the United States, Ms. Power then explained that she was referring to the lack of response by the Clinton in administration to the 1994 Rwanda tribal genocide.
Mr. Rubio pressed her to explain what crimes the United States had committed or sponsored in Rwanda.
Ms. Power sidestepped the question, saying only: “I think this is the greatest country on Earth. I — we have nothing to apologize for.”
“But do you believe the United States has committed or sponsored crimes?” Mr. Rubio asked.
She repeated that she believed the United States is the greatest country on Earth.
Ms. Power did no repudiate her demand for an accounting of U.S. crimes but suggested she “would absolutely” have stated it differently.
President Obama last month dismissed any suggestion that he should get involved in bringingEdward Snowden to justice for disclosing top-secret National Security Agency programs and documents obtained while he worked as a computer technician contractor for the agency.
The president appeared to be signaling to the U.S. and international press that dealing with the illegal release of U.S. secrets and getting a leaker to face prosecution was something below his paygrade.
“I’m not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker,” Mr. Obama said June 27 at a news conference in Senegal during his weeklong trip to Africa.
“I’m not going to have one case with a suspect who we’re trying to extradite suddenly be elevated to the point where I’ve got to start doing wheeling and dealing and trading on a whole host of other issues, simply to get a guy extradited so he can face the justice system.”
That apparently changed Friday when Russian President Vladimir Putin called Mr. Obama to discuss the Snowden case.
The White House “readout” of the call said the two leaders spoke about “the status of Mr. Edward Snowden” among other issues.
Asked if the president asked Mr. Putin to return Mr. Snowden, White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden did not answer directly.
“Our message to every country continues to be that there is a legal basis to expel Edward Snowden back to the U.S., and we want to see that happen without delay,” she said.
Russia made clear on Wednesday that it would not return the renegade NSA contractor, who has requested temporary asylum in Moscow.
Mr. Putin, however, said relations should not be upset by “squabbles between special services.”
“We have our own goals as regards development of Russian-American relations,” he said.
“We won’t behave the way other countries do. We are an independent country and we have an independent foreign policy.”

*Notícia publicada al Washington Times.

dimecres, 17 de juliol de 2013

Lithuanian Navy commissions Royal Navy’s two former minehunter vessels*

The Lithuanian Navy has received and commissioned the UK Royal Navy's two former Hunt-class ships into its fleet during a ceremony held at the Klaipeda naval base, Lithuania, following an extensive Thales UK-led refurbishment and reactivation programme.
The Royal Navy's former Hunt-class ships HMS Dulverton and HMS Cottesmore were renamed to LNS Skalvis and LNS Kuršis respectively, and have been equipped with minehunting capabilities by Thales for the Lithuanian Navy.
Thales UK naval business head Ed Lowe said: "The commissioning of LNS Skalvis and LNS Kuršis now gives the Lithuanian Navy a world-class, cutting-edge minehunting capability that really is second to none."
Earlier, the UK Ministry of Defence's (MoD) Disposals Services Authority (DSA) placed orders with Thales to refit the two former British minehunters for delivery to the Lithuanian Navy.
The contract involved modernisation of the platforms and installation of a new combat system including Sonar 2193, Thales MCUBE command and control system, advanced hull-mounted wideband minehunting sensor system, propulsion, degaussing, mine disposal, machinery control and surveillance systems."The commission gives the Lithuanian Navy a world-class, cutting-edge minehunting capability."
The majority of the reactivation work on the vessels has been carried out at A&P Falmouth shipyard in Cornwall, UK while Thales-led team for the programme includes Finning, Polyamp, ECA and Northrop Grumman's Sperry Marine.
The 750t Hunt-class ships have a beam of 10.5m, draught of 2.2m and provide a very low magnetic signature for mine countermeasure operations.
Capable of accommodating a crew of 45 with five officers, the vessels feature Thales Sonar 2193 hull-mounted wide band sonar to support both minesweeping and minehunting as well as patrol missions.
Powered by two 1.42MW Ruston-Paxman 9-59K Deltic diesel engines driving two shafts, the Hunt-class ships are armed with MSI DS 30B 30mm naval gun to fire 0.36kg shells in single-shot or burst firing up to 650 rounds a minute.

* Notícia publicada a Naval Technology. La Marina de la República de Lituània continua el seu procés d'ampliació i modernització. Un exemple per prendre'n nota.

dilluns, 15 de juliol de 2013

US Navy Eyes C-2, H-60 Replacement Programs*

WASHINGTON — The Sikorsky H-60 Seahawk helicopter and Northrop Grumman C-2 Greyhound carrier-on-board delivery (COD) plane are longtime stalwarts of US Navy operations. The 35 Greyhounds constantly shuttle passengers and cargo to and from the fleet’s aircraft carriers, while some 460 H-60s of various models carry out a wide range of missions.
Both aircraft types will become due for replacement, and the way ahead for each has yet to be determined.
The newest C-2A dates from 1990, and the service is planning to award a replacement contract in 2016. Among the contenders are an updated version of the C-2A from Northrop, and a COD version of the Bell-Boeing MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.
“Frankly, we’re looking at tilt-rotors as a potential option to replace the COD in the future. It’s a pretty versatile capability,” Rear Adm. Bill Moran, the US Navy’s director of air warfare at the Pentagon, said during a recent interview.
While the flexibility of a tilt-rotor is attractive, the Osprey has its issues.
“We’re concerned about its range, about [the lack of a] pressurized cabin, those sorts of things,” Moran said. “But there may be ways to mitigate those effects if we have to. So we are looking at it very hard. We just did an MUA, Military Utility Assessment, on the [carrier] Harry S. Truman with the MV-22s to see early on if that capability could operate inside the busy deck cycle in the carrier environment without disrupting that deck cycle.”
The flying portion of the assessment was completed in June.
“We did crawl, walk, run phases,” Moran said. The crawl phase was to determine if the MV-22 could safely approach, land and take off from the carrier, which was operating with a relatively clear flight deck. For the walk phase, “the carrier was busy, but not stressed.”
The final cycle, he said, “was a very stressed environment where we had to fit in the MV-22 to act like a COD.”
Final results of the MUA are still being compiled.
Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) also is performing structural assessments of all active C-2As.
“We need to see what is the art of the possible,” Moran said. “Not just re-winging them, upgrading those aircraft to carry us much further into the future. And kind of balancing the costs with the effectiveness of both, determining whether we need to change the way we are doing it.”
The 35 aircraft should keep flying until the mid-2020s, Moran said. “Right now is our opportunity to evaluate what we need to do, how much money we want to put towards remanufacturing the wings and the fuselage and the cockpit of the current COD fleet, or do we go with a production line V-22 option? Or do we look at something completely different? We’re looking at all of those options.”H-60 Replacement
The time frame to determine the follow-on for the fleet’s H-60 helicopters is further off, but far more complex. Key missions for the aircraft, according to a request for information for a capabilities-based assessment issued in April, include surface warfare, deep and shallow water anti-submarine warfare, mine warfare, special warfare and combat search and rescue, logistics support, medical evacuation and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
The Navy is steadily replacing its SH-60B, SH-60F and HH-60H models with new MH-60R and MH-60S models, but procurement for the R and S production lines will end after 2016. After that, the H-60, based — like the C-2A — on a design first developed in the 1970s, will need a replacement.
Led by the Army, the Pentagon has been working on a service-wide future vertical lift effort, a partnership among all of the military services and industry. Within that, the Navy’s program to replace the MH-60Rs and MH-60Ss is dubbed the Maritime Helicopter, or MH-XX.
“We are putting our own MH-XX papers through the system, getting that started today to develop what we think are going to be the capability gaps for that, and the kind of technologies we would like to see,” Moran said. The effort is in its earliest stages.
Another airframe that will need to be replaced is Sikorsky’s MH-53E Sea Dragon mine-hunting helicopter. The Marine Corps is developing a new MH-53K model to replace its existing fleet of heavy-lift helos. But the Navy is not planning to invest in the K model.
“Right now, we are not planning to replace those [Sea Dragons],” Moran said. “We are looking at other capabilities. We think there is a path to more unmanned capability to solve the countermine and mine detection” missions.
The Navy and Marines, through the director of expeditionary warfare, are developing a roadmap for airborne mine detection.
“There is a lot of promise to what they are doing, both in the unmanned surface vehicle and unmanned undersurface vehicles,” Moran said. “But we are not developing a new heavy-lift capability.”

*Notícia publicada a Defense News. Caldrà veure si amb uns pressupostos decreixents la US Navy pot cobrir aquests objectius

diumenge, 14 de juliol de 2013

Report: Israeli submarine strike hit Syrian arms depot*

Israeli Dolphin-class submarines carried out a July 5 attack on an arms depot in the Syrian port city of Latakia
, according to a report in the British Sunday Times, which contradicted a previous CNN report that the attack was the work of the Israel Air Force.

The alleged Israeli naval strike was closely coordinated with the United States and targeted a contingent of 50 Russian-made Yakhont P-800 anti-ship missiles that had arrived earlier in the year for Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, the Times cited Middle East intelligence sources as stating.

According to the report, the Israeli fleet of German-built submarines launched a cruise missile at the weapons cache after which Syrian rebels reportedly attested to hearing early-morning explosions at a Syrian port-side naval barracks.
On Friday, anonymous US officials told CNN that Israel had carried out an air strike on the Syrian city.

Three unnamed US officials told CNN the IAF had targeted Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship missiles that could pose a threat to Israel.
Qassem Saadeddine, spokesman for the Free Syrian Army’s Supreme Military Council, said the pre-dawn attack hit Syrian Navy barracks at Safira, near the port of Latakia. The rebel forces’ intelligence network had identified newly supplied Yakhont missiles being stored there, he said.

“It was not the FSA that targeted this,” Saadeddine told Reuters. “It is not an attack that was carried out by rebels. This attack was either by air raid or long-range missiles fired from boats in the Mediterranean.”

A loud explosion was heard near Latakia on Wednesday, an opposition monitoring group said, but the cause of the blast was unclear.

Explosions in Latakia, part of Assad's stronghold on the Mediterranean coast, have been extremely rare during Syria's two-year-old conflict.

Reuters and Ben Hartman contributed to this report.

* Notícia publicada al Jerusalem Post. Els temuts míssils P-800, que Rússia va vendre a Síria i dels que ja us n'havíem parlat, semblen haver estat eliminats en un atac de Marina d'Israel.

Pacific Fleet Ships Deployed In The Sea Of Okhotsk Amid Snap Drills*

MOSCOW, July 14 (RIA Novosti) - Six naval task forces from Russia’s Pacific Fleet
 were deployed in the Sea of Okhotsk on Saturday evening amid a large-scale surprise combat readiness check, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
The naval task groups are to perform “anti-submarine and air defense exercises” in the area, the ministry said.
A part of Pacific Fleet forces will also train anti-piracy efforts as part of the exercises.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the snap drills Friday evening.
 It is the third surprise combat readiness check since January and follows a major shake-up at the top of a military establishment tarnished by persistent evidence of rampant corruption.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Saturday said that up to 160,000 servicemen are involved in the large-scale exercises
 in the Eastern Military District, double the number initially reported.

* Notícia publicada a RIA Novosti. La Flota del Pacífic inicia una altra sèrie d'exercicis. Res de nou més enllà de la constatació de la importància que el Kremlin dóna a l'Extrem Orient.

divendres, 12 de juliol de 2013

Royal Moroccan Navy’s FREMM vessel completes third sea trials*

The Royal Moroccan Navy's DCNS-built frégate Européen multi-mission (FREMM) vessel, to be named Mohammed VI, has successfully completed the third series of sea trials off the Brittany coast, France.
During testing, the ship demonstrated its combat system's main sensors performance capabilities by maintaining consistency of the data analysed and displayed, with the results obtained during shore-based simulations.
Scheduled to be delivered at the end of 2013, the ship has validated its target engagement sequences using Aster anti-air and MM40 anti-ship missiles, as well as undergoing fire-control tests for the 76mm main gun and exhaustive testing of the multifunction radar.
Additional capability trials for the vessel involved helicopter approach control and the various towed devices deployment.
DCNS Morocco FREMM programme manager Gilles Raybaud said the recent sea trials have marked a major milestone for the overall FREMM programme, particularly for the vessel's combat system."Our crews thoroughly tested the full suite of combat system hardware and software that makes FREMM frigates among the most versatile and advanced on the world market."
"Our crews thoroughly tested the full suite of combat system hardware and software that makes FREMM frigates among the most versatile and advanced on the world market," Raybaud said.
DCNS is currently under contract to build 11 FREMM ships for the French Navy and one for the Moroccan Navy.
The French Navy received the first FREMM vessel, Aquitaine, in November 2012, while the third ship of the class, named Normandie, is scheduled to be commissioned in May 2014.
FREMM vessel Provence, the fourth ship of the class, is due to be rolled out of building dock later this year for the French Navy, while the fifth and sixth of type are undergoing construction.
The 142m-long FREMM ships have a displacement capacity of 6,000t, a range of 15k, can cruise at a speed of 27k and are each capable of accommodating a crew of 145.


El submarí científic ICTINEU 3 crea una campanya de micromecenatge a Verkami com a últim recurs per veure acabat el projecte català

L’equip del submarí català ICTINEU 3 acaba de començar una campanya de micromecenatge crowdfunding, a través de la plataforma Verkami, com a últim recurs per aconseguir els 60.000€ necessaris per poder finalitzar el projecte i posar el submarí sota l’aigua el proper mes de setembre. Sota el títol, “Ara és l’hora de la veritat: fem l’esforç final, posem a l’aigua l’ICTINEU 3!”, l’equip emprenedor del submarí fa una crida final en la cerca de la col·laboració de la societat, un factor imprescindible per poder acabar aquest projecte 100% català. L'esforç es traduirà en grans beneficis per a la societat ja que Catalunya disposarà d'una potent eina d'intervenció i investigació submarina. El termini per aconseguir-ho és de 40 dies i aquesta és la segona campanya catalana de Verkami on es fa una crida a recollir una major aportació després del projecte de micromecenatge del documental “L'Endemà” d’Isona Passola.

La construcció de l’ICTINEU 3 -el primer submarí científic i tripulat de Catalunya i l’Estat-està arribant al tram final però la manca de finançament fa perillar el projecte en els últims mesos. Després d'haver-s’hi invertit 2,5 milions d'euros i 10 anys de recerca i desenvolupament, ara el projecte necessita una darrera empenta econòmica un cop esgotades totes les vies habituals de finançament per a un projecte de R+D+I.

Aquest projecte ha pogut créixer en part gràcies a les col·laboracions desinteressades de molta gent. Des de voluntaris que aporten el seu treball, fins a aportacions de capital, col·laboracions en espècies i patrocinis, aportant cadascú el seu gra de sorra, en la mesura de les seves possibilitats. Fins ara més de 743 persones i entitats hi han participat. Ara, les noves aportacions recollides serviran per comprar l’equipament imprescindible que encara falta al submarí, per pagar l’estructura i personal necessaris per a les últimes setmanes de muntatge, per les proves de taller i per poder fer les primeres proves de mar de l’ICTINEU 3.

La nova campanya incorpora novetats en modalitats de donacions i recompenses La campanya de crowdfunding del portal Verkami ofereix novetats importants respecte a les modalitats de donacions i les corresponents recompenses establertes fins ara a través del web d’ICTINEU Submarins. El ventall d’aportacions és molt ampli i va des de 10€ fins a 20.000€, per tal que qualsevol interessat en l’ICTINEU 3 hi pugui trobar un lloc. En funció del donatiu fet, s’ofereixen múltiples recompenses, com ara posar el nom al carenat del submarí, números per al sorteig d’una immersió, invitacions per a la festa de l’avarada, un tros del carenat de record o poder realitzar una immersió amb l’ICTINEU 3. A més, les modalitats de donacions no només estan pensades per a persones individuals, sinó per a tot tipus d’entitats i empreses. Cal destacar també que es busca un proveïdor d'ampolla de cava o similar per al bateig del submarí i alguna persona o entitat que la vulgui trencar el dia de l’avarada. Al lloc web de la campanya es pot visualitzar en detall: http://vkm.is/Ictineu3

L’ICTINEU 3, un projecte català reconegut internacionalment Aquest submarí ha estat reconegut com a projecte de R+D+I per les diferents administracions catalanes i estatals. També a nivell internacional el submarí ha rebut elogis en els més prestigiosos congressos de tecnologia submarina, com el nord-americà Underwater Intervention, així com el reconeixement d’organitzacions del sector de primer nivell, com és el cas del centre francès IFREMER, que ha mostrat interès en les prestacions del pioner sistema de bateries d’ió-liti-polímer desenvolupat per l’equip del submarí. Malgrat tot, el finançament públic mai no ha estat suficient per dur a terme un projecte d’aquesta envergadura.

Els beneficis de l’ICTINEU 3 Aquest 2013 Catalunya pot disposar d'una potent eina d'intervenció i investigació submarina, i el país es convertirà en la sisena potència mundial en capacitat per a baixar a més profunditat, fins a 1.200 metres. L’ICTINEU 3 estarà al servei dels qui gestionen els recursos marins i el patrimoni, dels científics, arqueòlegs, universitats, entitats, i tots aquells que volen conèixer millor els nostres mars i oceans. És un projecte nascut amb vocació de servei públic i amb un gran pes estratègic, tal com li correspon a un país amb vocació d'estar a l'avantguarda mundial. En paral·lel, la tecnologia submarina, amb un fort creixement a nivell internacional, pot ser un gran generador de llocs de treball qualificats, de riquesa i coneixement, un factor que segur que contribuirà a fer sortir el país d'aquesta crisi. En aquest sentit, cal destacar que, segons els primers estudis del Pla Estratègic del Sector de la Tecnologia Submarina a Catalunya que estan realitzant a l'Associació Institut ICTINEU Centre Català de Recerca Submarina, en un horitzó de 10 anys, aquest sector podria donar feina d'alta qualificació a més de 5.000 persones i generar un volum de negoci de més de 2.500 milions d'euros anuals. De tot aquest volum de negoci, l'exportació en representaria més del 70%.

IMATGES: http://bit.ly/12osKVE + www.ictineu.net/premsa/Imatges

* Animem a tothom qui pugui a donae un cop de mà al projecte Ictineu. L'esforç de l'equip així com els beneficis del projecte ho mereixen.

dijous, 11 de juliol de 2013

Don’t Worry About China’s String of Pearls….Yet*

Last month The Economist ran a profile
 of China's port-development projects around the world, concluding that Beijing's "growing empire of ports abroad is mainly about trade, not aggression.” It pains me to quibble with my favorite publication, but this finding is a trifle misleading.
First, sea power isn't an either/or proposition. Its mercantile and military components overlap and reinforce each other. Mahan discerns a symbiotic relationship between commercial and naval pursuits. Indeed, he pronounces the propensity to trade the chief trait qualifying a society for sea power. Forward bases are one of the struts on which seagoing enterprises rest. Not just men-of-war but merchantmen are part of the nautical ensemble. And so on.
By Mahanian logic, a seafaring people should do what China is doing, and what marine states like the United States, Great Britain, and the Netherlands once did. It will seek commercial, political, and military access to regions that are home to important export and import markets. What's about trade today could be about aggression — or, if you prefer a less freighted term, naval power projection — tomorrow.
Second, the Economist writers conflate port development in the Indian Ocean with port development elsewhere around the globe. They evidently reason that if China’s access to, say, Piraeus, Greece, is innocuous, then its South Asian endeavors must be likewise harmless. That may or may not be true. Chinese energy interests in the greater Indian Ocean are far more compelling than commercial interests in the Mediterranean, or the Atlantic, or wherever. That could warrant a standing naval presence in the region that would be unthinkable beyond Asia.
Accordingly, Indian strategists and pundits fret over the prospect of a Chinese "string of pearls," a network of naval bases encircling the subcontinent. Many view commercial ports such as Colombo, on Sri Lanka, or Gwadar, in western Pakistan, as the makings of a string of pearls.
Though premature, such fears are scarcely outlandish. Seaports that can accommodate container ships and the like can accommodate fighting ships for routine functions such as refueling and reprovisioning. They can be further improved to serve as full-up naval stations. In short, Beijing is creating options for itself. Whether it chooses to exercise that option will depend on how swiftly and fully Chinese naval power matures, how successfully Beijing manages events closer to home, and how menacing the South Asian strategic environment appears. Again, great powers covet options to hedge against the unknown. I would do the same.
But third, the good news from the Indian or American standpoint is that converting a commercial port into a full-blown base is a major undertaking, unlikely to escape the notice of watchful rivals. For one thing, Beijing would have to convince the host country to permit such a project — at the risk of antagonizing India, the regional heavyweight. Negotiations might attract attention. For another, Mahan notes that the hallmarks of a naval base are position, strength, and resources. Many prospective pearls occupy opportune strategic positions, to be sure. But most of them also lie within easy striking reach of the Indian Air Force, not to mention the U.S. and Indian fleets.
If Beijing means to develop Gwadar or Colombo into a true naval station, consequently, it will need to harden the port facilities, install defenses against air and naval assault, and so forth. These are conspicuous undertakings. In short, it will have to telegraph its plans, giving New Delhi, Washington, and other regional stakeholders time to mull their response.
What's the old saying, that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty? The same goes for security vis-à-vis an ambitious China.

* Notícia publicada a The Naval Diplomat. Cal no perdre de vista el "Collaret de Perles" xinès i, no oblidar mai, que pot ser una infraestructura de doble us.

divendres, 5 de juliol de 2013

Maestrale Class Frigates*

The Maestrale class frigates were built by Fincantieri for the Italian Navy (Marina Militare). A fleet of eight frigates is currently in service with the Italian Navy. These frigates are expected to be replaced by the FREMM multi-purpose frigates
 by 2013. FREMM is designed by DCNS / Armaris and Fincantieri.
The Maestrale class frigates are primarily equipped for anti-submarine warfare (ASW). However, they also possess anti-aircraft warfare (AAW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) capabilities. They were deployed in various international missions and in the normal operations of the Italian Navy.
The first ship in the class, Maestrale (F570), was launched in February 1981 and commissioned in March 1982. Four frigates were commissioned in 1983 and the rest of the fleet was commissioned by May 1985.Maestrale class frigate design
The Maestrale class is derived from the Lupo class frigates, but has some differences in displacement and weapons fit. It has a larger displacement of around 500t and incorporates more sophisticated and powerful antisubmarine weapons than the Lupo class.
The large superstructure is made of light alloys. It extends without interruption until the hangar and includes one large turret and a single funnel. The hull is divided into fifteen watertight compartments.
Two non-retractable fin stabilisers provide stability to the ship and reduce the body roll by 30° to 3° at a speed of 18kt.Command and control
The IPN-20 command and control system, developed by Alenia Marconi Systems (now Selex Sistemi Integrati), is interfaced with the combat system and integrates the sensors and weapon systems.
It collects data from the onboard sensors and communications and data networks and provides tactical information.Maestrale missiles
The Maestrale class is armed with an Albatros / Aspide octuple launcher, firing Aspide medium range air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles. The system is reloaded by a Riva-Calzoni system.
The ship can carry an additional 16 missiles. Four TESEO Mk 2 missile launchers fitted above the hangar can launch Otomat / TESEO anti-ship missiles. The missile can engage targets within a 160km range, while carrying a 210kg warhead.Naval guns
The main gun mounted on the foredeck is an Otobreda 127mm gun. It can fire 40 rounds a minute at a range of 30km. Two Oto Melara Twin 40L70 DARDO close-in weapon systems (CIWS) are fitted on the vessel.
The CIWS can fire high explosive shells against anti-ship missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and other precision guided weapons. The fire control system and fire control radar assist the unmanned turret to react rapidly to incoming missiles.Torpedoes
The Maestrale class is fitted with two sets of 324mm triple torpedo tubes for Mk 32 torpedoes. There are two 533mm dual-purpose (ASW and AsuW) launch tubes for Whitehead A-184 wire-guided torpedoes.Sensors / radars
The sensor suite includes an RAN10S air and surface search radar, an SPN703 navigation radar, an RTN-10X fire control radar and two RTN-20X radars for the DARDO systems. DE 1164 variable depth sonar and DE1160B hull mounted sonar are fitted to detect and track submarines.Aircraft
The Maestrale class has a flight deck measuring 27m in width, allowing for the operation of AB-212 helicopters. The hangar can accommodate two helicopters.Countermeasures
Two SCLAR rocket-launchers onboard can launch chaff and infra-red (IR) decoys to deceive incoming missiles.
Payloads include Buck DUERAS chaff and IRRAS IR decoys, SNIA 105 LR-C chaff distraction, 105 LR-I illumination, 105 MR-C chaff seduction, 105 MR-IR IR seduction rounds, FR Countermeasures 105mm chaff and IR decoy rounds.
The system is controlled by an ESA-24 calculating system.Propulsion
The vessel is powered by a combined diesel or gas propulsion system integrating two shafts with five-bladed propellers. Two Fiat-General Electric LM-2500 gas turbines and two D Grandi Motori Trieste BL-230-20-DVM diesel engines deliver a total power of 50,000kW. The electrical system consists of two plants providing 3,120kW.
The engine is remotely operated by an electronic system known as the SEPA-7206 digital control system. The direction is changed by activating the two hydraulic rudders. The ship incorporates vibration and noise abatement measures to reduce noise and improve the survivability of the ASW vessels.

* Article publicat a Naval Technology. Compartim aquesta fitxa tècnica per complementar l'anterior informació.

dijous, 4 de juliol de 2013

PH to buy two Maestrale frigates from Italy*

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is set to buy two Maestrale-class frigates from Italy, a defense official said Wednesday, as the Asian nation races to upgrade its military amid mounting territorial disputes with China.
The frigates, along with 12 FA-50 fighter aircraft, are the most significant items on the government’s P75-billion ($1.7-billion) military modernization budget over the next five years, Defense Undersecretary Fernando Manalo said.
“We are modernizing not because we want to go to war with China,” he told a news conference.
He said the government had a sworn obligation to defend the “West Philippine Sea,” using the government’s preferred term for Philippine-claimed areas in the South China Sea.
“We are not saying that this is part of our preparations to assert our sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea. What we are saying is that we cannot just give them up.”
The frigates would add to two refurbished Hamilton-class cutters formerly used by the US Coast Guard that the Philippines acquired from its US ally to upgrade its ageing navy fleet, which includes some vessels that first saw action in World War II.
Manalo said the navy had already decided to acquire two new Maestrale-class frigates instead of buying used ones from the Italian navy, and had budgeted P18 billion for them.
The Philippines could be ready to tender by the end of the year, he added.
Meanwhile, the government had allotted P18.9 billion to acquire the fighter aircraft, which are built by South Korea, he added.
The modernization budget also provides for building or improving facilities to berth and provide maintenance to the vessels on the military’s shopping list, Manalo said.
President Benigno Aquino vowed Monday to rebuild the air force by 2016.
The Philippines, which has one of the weakest military forces in the region, retired the last of its US-designed F-5 fighters in 2005.


dimecres, 3 de juliol de 2013

SSC Pacific recovers Historic Howell Torpedo*

By Elisha Gamboa
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Space and Naval warfare Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific) has discovered and recovered one of the first self-propelled torpedoes developed and used by the U.S. Navy, known as the Howell torpedo.

Primarily the work of Lt. Cmdr. John A. Howell, the Howell torpedo was developed between 1870 and 1889. The Howell torpedo was an 11-foot long brass torpedo, driven by a 132-pound flywheel spun to 10,000 rpm prior to launch. It had a range of 400 yards, a speed of 25 knots, and a warhead filled with 100 pounds of gun cotton. 

"It was the first torpedo that could be released into the ocean and follow a track. Considering that it was made before electricity was provided to U.S. households, it was pretty sophisticated for its time," said Christian Harris, operations supervisor for the SSC Pacific Biosciences Division. 

The Howell torpedo was used by U.S. Navy (USN) battleships and torpedo boats until 1898, when it was replaced by the Whitehead. 

"There were only 50 Howell torpedoes made," said Braden Duryee, operations supervisor for the SSC Pacific Biosciences Division. Only two other such torpedoes are known to exist today.

The Howell torpedo recovered by SSC Pacific, is stamped "USN No. 24." The Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport, Wash. has one on display, and the Naval War College Museum in Newport R.I. holds the other. 

SSC Pacific discovered the Howell torpedo in March 2013, off the San Diego coast, near Hotel Del Coronado, during a mine-hunting training exercise with Navy dolphins. 

"Dolphins naturally possess the most sophisticated sonar known to man. They can detect mines and other potentially dangerous objects on the ocean floor that are acoustically difficult targets to detect," explained Duryee. 

The Navy has an entire program dedicated to studying and training marine mammals, called the Navy Marine Mammal Program (NMMP). The development, training, veterinary care and research facility that supports NMMP is centered in the Biosciences Division at SSC Pacific. 

With the NMMP, the Navy trains dolphins to find and mark the location of underwater objects. Some of the objects the animals find, such as non-explosive Navy training mines, are expensive to replace. Others could present a danger to Navy personnel and vessels. In this case, the object found was an important piece of naval history.

"The animals are very good at their job. We were just doing our daily training exercises with the animals, when one marked an object on the sea floor. About a week later, another animal marked the same object," said Duryee. 

During training and the actual hunting of mines, a dolphin waits to receive a cue from its handler before it begins to search a specific area. Once the dolphin completes its search, it reports back to its handler, giving one response if a target object is detected, and a different response if no target object is detected. 

This time the dolphin detected a mine-like target; the handler sent the dolphin to mark the location of the object so that Navy divers could recover it.

At first, the recovery team thought the object was an old tail section off an aerial drop mine, but once the object was recovered, it was obvious that the object was something completely different. 

"It was apparent in the first 15 minutes that this was something that was significant and really old," said Harris. "Realizing that we were the first people to touch it or be around it in over 125 years was really exciting."

After thorough research, the team discovered that the object was in fact a 130-year-old Howell torpedo. After the noteworthy discovery, SSC Pacific moved quickly to preserve this part of naval history. 

"The torpedo was in remarkably pristine shape, so to preserve it, Braden Duryee had the idea to submerge it into a tank of water to prevent it from breaking down in the surrounding oxygen," said Harris. "Later on, experts confirmed that Braden was correct."

SSC Pacific will continue to preserve the torpedo until it can be shipped by air to the Naval History and Heritage Command, located at the Washington Navy Yard. The Naval History and Heritage Command is an Echelon II command responsible for the preservation, analysis, and dissemination of U.S. Naval history and heritage for present and future generations.

* Notícia publicada al web de la US Navy. Tota una troballa la que van realitzar els dofins de la US Navy, de gran importància per la Història de la tecnologia en general, i militar en particular.

dimarts, 2 de juliol de 2013

Royal Navy of Oman accepts first new ship from BAE Systems

Colourful streamers covered the jetty as the Omani navy accepted its first new ship from Portsmouth shipbuilders.
There was a ceremony this morning at Portsmouth Naval Base to mark the Omani navy’s interim acceptance of RNOV Al Shamikh.
In front of invited guests, workers lowered the BAE Systems flag before Omani sailors raised their own.
The ship, a Khareef-class corvette, will now embark on trials before a full acceptance by the Omani navy.
Nigel Stewart is the commercial director for BAE Systems’ maritime division.
He said: ‘It’s a huge and very proud moment for us.
‘It’s a major milestone in the project.
‘The ship will go out and deliver the capability that it was sent out to do.
‘The people of Portsmouth can be proud at having the skills required to build ships such as these.’
Work will continue on RNOV Al Shamikh’s sister ships, Al Rahmani and Al Rasikh.

* Notícia publicada a The Portsmouth News. Les corbetes Khareef, a banda de les seves qualitats, són una bona mostra de que l'aliança entre el Regne Unit i Oman segueix vigent