dimarts, 23 de desembre de 2014

SEIZING THE ASUW INITIATIVE WITH LAND BASED PATROL AIRCRAFT*

By Michael Glynn

Recent months have found uniformed officers and naval strategists writing and speaking about regaining the ability of U.S. Navy (USN) ships to conduct offensive anti-surface warfare (ASuW). The discussion has been lively and featured many authors and many different approaches. Some solutions are incremental, such as fielding more capable long-range weapons in existing launch systems.[i] Others are more radical, such as trading large long-range missile defense interceptors for small point defense missiles and building a new generation of multi-role cruise missiles.[ii]



Missing from the discussion of future acquisitions and new weapons is how the USN can leverage existing land-based airpower to seize the offensive in ASuW. The P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft is deployed today, with the range, persistence, sensors, and network architecture to serve as a self-contained “kill chain.” It is able to disperse and operate in an expeditionary environment during peacetime or contingency operations. If equipped with more suitable long-range anti-ship weapons, this aircraft will provide greatly increased capability for the combatant commander. This will allow more flexibility for USN forces to operate in an A2/AD environment when a carrier is not nearby or in the interim until more capable surface-based ASuW weapons are fielded.


Framing the Challenge

During the last three decades, the USN has divested its surface forces of offensive anti-ship firepower as operations shifted to littoral environments with permissive threat profiles. With the retirement of the Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missile, the service has been left without a weapon that can engage targets at a range beyond that of threat anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCM’s).[iii] Our ships now go to sea armed only with the sub-sonic, medium range Harpoon missile. The removal of Harpoon from Flight IIA DDG-51’s after DDG-79 and proposed cuts to funding for cruisers have exacerbated this glaring deficiency.[iv] The onus for conducting maritime strike has shifted from our surface ships to the aircraft of the Carrier Strike Group (CSG).

As the reach and number of U.S. ASCM’s have decreased, threat systems have proliferated and improved in range, speed and sophistication. China, Russia, and India all possess advanced supersonic long-range ASCM’s. Foreign militaries are equipping themselves not only with the weapons needed to strike, but also the C4ISR capabilities needed to detect and accurately target adversary forces.[v]

Commanders, legislators, and the defense industry have responded with a variety of initiatives, including the development of an Offensive Anti-Surface Weapon (OASuW.) This program is aimed at fielding an advanced cruise missile with sufficient range to allow USN ships to employ outside the reach of threat weapons systems. OASuW Increment 1 will begin fielding the Lockheed Martin Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) in FY17 for carriage on the F/A-18 Super Hornet and USAF B-1 bombers. OASuW Increment 2 will provide for integration of a long-range anti-surface capability onboard surface ships.[vi] By equipping the F/A-18 and B-1 with the ability to carry LRASM, the Department of Defense has signaled that regardless of eventual integration of OASuW onboard surface ships, carrier and land-based airpower will remain a key component of the U.S. anti-surface strategy.

Missing from this conversation on OASuW capabilities is the USN’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance (MPR) force. The MPR community is recapitalizing with the P-8 Poseidon aircraft. The sensors, datalink capabilities, and expeditionary nature of this aircraft make it a natural choice to augment the lack of anti-surface punch. The P-8 and RQ-4C UAS are envisioned to play targeting roles in long-range ASuW engagements, so arming P-8 with upgraded weapons is a logical next step. The Poseidon can allow the fleet to seize the initiative in anti-surface employment, especially in situations where the threat makes the reality of deploying the CSG forward politically unpalatable or disadvantageous.

The Solution

The P-8 Poseidon is derived from the Boeing 737 aircraft. It features long-range, high transit speed, solid persistence, and will soon incorporate the ability to perform air-to-air refueling. The open architecture mission systems are easily reconfigurable and allow for rapid improvement of sensor and weapon capabilities. The P-8 features a Mobile Tactical Operations Center (MTOC), which aids in processing data collected during and after mission flights. The MTOC is fully expeditionary, allowing an MPR detachment to quickly relocate in peacetime or disperse away from main operating airfields and continue to fight in wartime.

The ability to disperse is especially critical in an A2/AD environment. The proliferation of theater ballistic missiles (TBM’s) and cruise missiles has allowed previously weak nations to hold an opponent’s forward bases at risk. By deploying aircraft to auxiliary fields away from large military installations, adversary commanders are faced with a much more challenging targeting problem. The increased cost of building more TBM’s may be daunting to a particular military, and the uncertainty of being able to destroy forward forces is a stabilizing influence. P-8’s ability to deploy to medium sized airfields and sustain itself during combat operations is a force multiplier.

P-8 will also carry the Raytheon Advanced Aerial Sensor (AAS) to provide standoff detection and targeting of maritime and land targets. Descended from the highly-classified APS-149 Littoral Surveillance Radar System, AAS will provide Poseidon crews with the ability to detect, classify, and provide targeting solutions of threats even in highly congested littoral areas.[vii] In A2/AD environments with highly advanced surface to air missile systems, this ability to accurately detect threats from long-range and provide targeting updates to net-enabled weapons isn’t just beneficial, it’s critical.[viii]A MPR squadron equipped with AAS and appropriate weapons becomes its own self-contained targeting and strike force.

In short, P-8 offers a weapons platform that is uniquely suited to maritime strikes. Its crews are far more familiar with operating in the ASuW role than USAF bomber crews and culturally more pre-disposed to emphasize this mission set. The ability to act as an armed sensor platform allows the Poseidon to close the kill-chain itself. P-8 armed with suitable standoff weapons has the ability to detect and attrite adversary surface ships, preserving the ability for our surface forces to deploy forward in wartime, and decreasing the need for our carriers to surge forward into extremely high-risk areas to eliminate surface threats with the air wing. This provides increased flexibility to the combatant commander.

Needed Changes

The MPR force has the potential to act as a powerful ASuW strike force, however this capability can grow stronger with upgrades and training. P-8 should be equipped with an OASuW capability, ideally allowing it to carry the LRASM rounds that will enter production in FY17. The largest roadblock will not be carriage capability or weapons system engineering, rather finding the funding to provide integration and testing for this weapon onboard P-8.

The P-8 currently carries the Harpoon Block IC, which is insufficient for high-end ASuW. The Block IC is not net-enabled, meaning it cannot receive in-flight updates from targeting platforms via a datalink. This makes the weapon less flexible and precise in congested environments. The aircraft is slated to receive the Harpoon Block II, which is net-enabled, but is still constrained by its short range.[ix] This lack of reach prevents it from engaging high-end air defense warships without putting the P-8 and its crew at serious risk.

It is best to utilize the synergy that exists in MPR squadrons and equip these aircraft with both the sensors and the weapons required for standoff targeting and strike. Since AAS equipped P-8’s may be required to provide targeting support to OASuW in a complex surface environment, equipping the targeting aircraft with weapons is the logical next step to close the kill chain. Once P-8 is equipped with LRASM, crews must be required to train frequently with AAS equipped targeting aircraft and LRASM equipped shooter aircraft against representative threat pictures. Maritime targeting is a very dynamic and challenging game, and requires practice to execute properly.[x]

Summary

Equipping the MPR force with a long-range strike capability will capitalize on existing sensors, platforms, and aircrew skills. The ability to call on an existing force structure with incremental upgrades provides a solution to a glaring deficiency in the Navy’s ASuW capabilities. The ability to task highly mobile aircraft rather than SSN’s or carriers to provide ASuW firepower provides a commander with increased options and flexibility. This can reduce risk while raising the enemy’s uncertainty about U.S. operational intentions.

American patrol crews gained fame during World War II for their nighttime raids on Japanese shipping. Operating alone and independent of the carrier they provided a critical force to weaken enemy logistics capability and to disrupt sea lines of control. It is fitting that almost three quarters of a century later we consider the role of our current MPR force. The P-8 can add to our ASuW capability if we make the decision now to properly equip it and provide training to aircrews.

Lieutenant Michael Glynn is an active-duty naval aviator and graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. He most recently served as a P-8 instructor pilot and mission commander with Patrol Squadron (VP) 16. He currently serves as an instructor flying the T-45 with the ‘Fighting Redhawks’ of Training Squadron (VT) 21. The views expressed in this article are entirely his own.

[i] Robert Crumplar and Peter Morrison, “Beware the Anti-Ship Cruise Missile,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, vol. 140, no. 1 (January 2014), http://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2014-01/beware-antiship-cruise-missile.

[ii] Bryan Clark, Commanding the Seas: A Plan to Reinvigorate U.S. Navy Surface Warfare, (Washington, D.C.: Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, 2014), http://www.csbaonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/A-Plan-To-Reinvigorate-US-Navy-Surface-Warfare.pdf.

[iii] Charlie Williams, “Increasing Lethality in Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW),” Center for International Maritime Security, May 31, 2014,http://cimsec.org/increasing-lethality-anti-surface-warfare-asuw-minor-less-minor-course-corrections/11478.

[iv] “LRASM Missiles: Reaching for a Long-Range Punch,” Defense Industry Daily, October 15, 2014, http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/lrasm-missiles-reaching-for-a-long-reach-punch-06752/.

[v] Congressional Research Service, China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities – Background and Issues for Congress, by Ronald O’Rourke, (Washington, D.C., 2014), 34.

[vi] LRASM Missiles, Defense Industry Daily.

[vii] Bill Sweetman, “Navy Moves Forward On Advanced Airborne Radar,” Aviation Week, June 18, 2012, http://aviationweek.com/awin/navy-moves-forward-advanced-airborne-radar.

[viii] Bill Sweetman, Christina Mackenzie, and Andy Nativi, “Net Enabled Weapons Drive Sea Warfare Change,” Aviation Week & Space Technology, September 3, 2012, http://aviationweek.com/awin/net-enabled-weapons-drive-sea-warfare-change.

[ix] Richard R. Burgess, “A ‘Year of Transition’ for the P-8A Poseidon,”Seapower, April 9, 2013, http://seapowermagazine.org/sas/stories/20130409-p-8a.html.

[x] Maksim Y. Tokarev, “Kamikazes: The Soviet Legacy,” Naval War College Review, vol. 67, no. 1, (Winter 2014), 61-84. It should be noted that Soviet Tu-95RT “Bear-D” reconnaissance and targeting aircraft were equipped with Uspekh-1 “Big Bulge” maritime search and targeting radar. This system did not feature Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) capabilities for standoff imaging and identification. The P-8 AAS system and APY-10 search radar both feature ISAR capabilities, simplifying long-range identification challenges. Modern employment scenarios would find ISR aircraft much better able to identify a contact once it had been located and would not be as chaotic as the Soviet experience that Tokarev describes. Maritime targeting still remains an arena that is inherently dynamic and therefore requires proper training to execute reliably and efficiently.

* Article publicat al CIMSEC. Recomanem una lectura reflexiva d'aquest article per la importància que poden tenir els P-8 en la funció ASuW. En un moment en que la major part dels destructors i creuers de la Navy estan lligats a tasques de protecció d'unitats d'alt valor estratègic, els P-8 podrien complementar el buit que queda en operacions contra unitats de superfície. No obstant, mentre se'n analitzin les possibilitats i s'incorporin a l'entrenament i a la doctrina de la US Navy, no podem esperar que aquesta tecnologia per si sola sigui una veritable solució.

dijous, 18 de desembre de 2014

Cuba shift to buoy maritime sector*

US President Barack Obama's landmark decision to begin normalising relations with Cuba has major implications for the cruise, ferry, cargo vessel and port sectors.

In a special address on 17 December, Obama announced "historic steps to chart a new course" with Cuba, conceding that "decades of US isolation of Cuba have failed".

The ban on most US travel to Cuba remains in place, yet the new policy will grant general licenses to travellers in the 12 allowable categories under current law. This represents the first step in the process of facilitating "an expansion of travel to Cuba".

Import and export restrictions will be eased. US exports to Cuba will be opened up for "certain building materials, goods used by private-sector Cuban entrepreneurs and agricultural equipment for small farmers".

The ban on calls at US ports by vessels that have visited Cuba within the prior six months is also being eased. The new policy will "allow foreign vessels to enter the US after engaging in certain humanitarian trade with Cuba".

As previously reported by IHS Maritime, an end to the embargo would create numerous opportunities for the maritime community. For vessel operators, these include new cruise routes calling in Cuba and cruise ships being used as 'floating hotels'; new ferry services from South Florida; an increased market for US agricultural exports and other US goods; and new demand for building supply cargoes and project cargoes.

UBS analyst Robin Farley addressed the cruise potential in a new research note. "Cuba would represent a new itinerary with significant pent-up demand from American tourists and a lack of developed hotel infrastructure," she explained. "While Havana may not currently handle the largest ships, we believe operators would make the investment to build dockside infrastructure."

Development of new cruise terminals would not be the only potential effect for the port sector. Cuba has long been considered as the potential site of a major transhipment hub for container trades, assuming the embargo is ended. Already, PSA has made inroads in the Cuban port sector via its operation of the new terminal in Mariel.

* Notícia publicada al web d'IHS Maritime. Compartim aquestes primeres reflexions de l'impacte del restabliment de relacions entre els Estats Units i Cuba.


dissabte, 13 de desembre de 2014

Silent running: How do you navalise a variable speed drive for a modern warship?*

The Royal Navy's latest large procurement project, the Type 26 anti-submarine frigate, is proceeding well with many of the prime contractors being announced. One of the most fundamental is its propulsion system that has been awarded to General Electric's Power Conversion's naval business.


There are many challenges in providing propulsion on modern marine vessels, not least is one that fundamentally comes under the ambit of being a warship. The Type 26's primary role is searching for submarines, as well as a secondary role as a general support and humanitarian vessel. It means any propulsion system has to offer speed and efficiency, as well as near total silence – though not all at the same time. 

The Type 26 is slightly larger than the Type 23 Frigate it is replacing, with a basic displacement of around 6500 tonnes. It is also slightly longer at 150m, and due to its varied multi-mission role the range of the Type 26 was one of the key drivers during its design, some 7000 nautical miles. 

For this reason the ship uses a fairly well known 'hybrid' configuration in the marine industry known as combined diesel electric or gas (CODLOG). The reality for the Type 26 is that it will use a single large gas turbine that will directly drive both the ship's shaft lines via a splitting gearbox, in combination with four diesel generators. These will produce electricity and in turn power General Electric motors to drive the ships propellers at lower speeds and for near silent operation. 

"When we are running in stealth mode the propellers do not run on batteries," said Paul English, marine business leader for GE Power Conversion. "The diesel generators keep running and produce the power to the propellers and the rest of the ship. So the noise of these engines is isolated by putting them on acoustic mounts and in an acoustic enclosure to reduce the airborne noise." 

The gas turbines and the diesel generators will both use the same single onboard fuel – the NATO designated Dieso. While still broadly considered a distillate light fuel, it is slightly heavier than the diesel most of us are used to at service station pumps. However, it also has a much higher flash point, an obvious advantage for a ship likely to see combat during its service life. 

For higher speeds, the ship uses the gas turbine. "In this mode the gas turbine drives through a splitting gearbox, and then into a second reduction gearbox, which then drives the shafts and propeller." 

However, a gas turbine whirring away might well be an efficient and effective way of producing power and shifting the Type 26 to its top speed in excess of 28knots (32mph / 52kph), but when it needs to remain quiet and locate enemy submarines, its diesel generators kick in to enable near silent running. One of the key technologies enabling this propulsion system is its use of Variable Speed Drive (VSD) technology. 

"When the ship is operating quietly the gas turbine and subsequent gearboxes shut down so to eliminate all the mechanical noise from those pieces of equipment," said English. "The propellers are then turned by the ultra-quiet GE propulsion motors, using electricity produced by up to four diesel generators. The motors receive their electricity from a combination of VSDs. A VSD is basically a frequency converter that controls the frequency it sends to the propulsion motor. We need to do this since the diesel generators run at a constant 'mains' frequency (60Hz), which is fine for the normal equipment on the ship - like the pumps, as their electric motors only need to work at one speed. But, to control the speed of the ship through the water we need to be able to vary the shaft speed, so we obviously need to be able to change the frequency we give to the propulsion motor. 

"There are all sorts of ways of doing that, the Type 23 that this is replacing does it by using direct DC voltage to give us variable speed control, but the modern way of doing it is to modify the fixed AC supply waveform to one of a different frequency for the motor, via an initial conversion to a direct current. This is done by a technique called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM). We're already well in to the design phase for the motors and converters, with the motors being designed at the moment and the VSD technology being based on commercial equipment." 

The VSDs are controlled by computer to create variable frequencies that enable the speed control of the propeller. 

"The greater the frequency out, the faster the motor will go," said English. "Conversely the lower the frequency the slower the motor will go. 

"It is based on our standard MV3000 range of marinised drives. We produce hundreds of these for use in commercial shipping and the core electronics are the same, but we have to navalise it." 

Given the nature of the Type 26's primary role as an anti-submarine vessel, the drives have to ensure that the electrical waveform produced has very little noise and distortion, as any distorted waves going in to the motor will cause vibration and radiate noise in to the water. 

This is achieved using a variety of technologies, including filtering techniques and the use of special PWM strategies to smooth the input to the motor ultimately turning the ships' propellers. 

"The idea is it has to be very quiet as it is an anti-submarine frigate," said English. "So we put in a huge effort to reduce radiated noise from the ship to enable it to operate very effectively in that environment. 

"And like much of the ship's components, generally, the VSDs need to be made more robust and shock hardened. If a ship suffers an explosion, for example, the VSDs need to be designed to survive. We do that by optimising their design using advanced dynamic computer modelling as well as simple techniques like putting it on specific mounts and surrounding it in a strong frame." 

Fundamental to a low noise signature is the design of the motor. The motors, currently under design and development, must be carefully engineered to ensure that they generate a minimum of harmonics and to ensure the maximum of attenuation in the noise conduction paths. This work requires a great deal of computer modelling and the application of many years of data gathered from a large number of different noise quiet motor designs. There are very few companies in the world that have this capability and no other company has supplied more noise quiet, shock proof motors to the surface fleets of western Navies than GE. 

Technology Transfer 
By integrating gas turbines with an enhanced electric propulsion system, the Type 26 will be more efficient and have reduced fuel consumption compared to its predecessor as it is able to configure its electric propulsion system for a wider range of operational demands and over a wider speed range. The integration engineering to deliver a package that works, rather than just a collection of equipment, is key to this and integration is an area where GE Power Conversion has strength in depth; not just in the Naval arena but also in the wide range of commercial electric propulsion packages it produces. 

And this sits well with General Electric's larger marine business. As the International Maritime Organization increasingly look to introduce guidelines around ship efficiency and in particular with CO2 legislation becoming an increasing possibility in many regions, the integration of both gas turbine and electric propulsion technology, in a hybrid arrangement is likely to become much more prevalent in the civil marine industry. 


Author
Justin Cunningham

* Notícia publicada a Eureka Magazine. Article que interessarà a totes aquelles persones familiaritzades amb la guerra anti-submarina (ASW). Sovint pensem més en els sistemes d'armes i sensors que no pas en la propulsió. Quan es tracta de caçar submarins, mantenir el sigil és cabdal ja que una tripulació mínimament ben entrenada procurarà determinar la posició de les unitats d'escorta abans d'iniciar qualsevol maniobra d'aproximació a un grup de superfície. Si el submarí no pot obtenir "marcacions" de sonar prou consistens, s'haurà d'arriscar a aproxinar-se a la superfície... De ben segur que les Type 26 donaran sorpreses.


dijous, 11 de desembre de 2014

PLA's new Type 1130 CIWS can intercept Mach 4 missiles*


Russian media has reported that China's latest indigenous Type 1130 close-in weapon system can fire 10,000 rounds per minute and destroy 90% of hypersonic missiles traveling at a speed four times the speed of sound, reports our Chinese-language sister paper Want Daily.

The system, which is the third-generation of the close-in weapon system developed by China, was recently spotted being installed on a PLA Type 054A frigate.

Compared to its seven-barreled Type 730 predecessor, the Type 1130's Gatling-type gun has the same 30 mm caliber but the number of barrels increased to 11. While the Type 730 has only one magazine which contains 250 rounds, the latest gun carries two magazines each containing 640 rounds. The design allows the gun to fire over 10,000 rounds per minute and raise its hit rate against missiles traveling at Mach 4 to 90%, according to the Russian media outlet cited.

Though the mammoth rotary cannon has been placed on a Type 054A frigate that only has around a 4,000-ton displacement, the Russian media claimed the system should be deployed on ships with a displacement over 12,000 tons due to its size and weight as well as the amount of electricity it consumes.

The system has been installed on both sides of China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning. The Russian media predicted that the system will be deployed on the country's latest guided missile destroyer, the Type 055, in the future.

The Type 1103 will not completely replace the Type 730. Destroyers such as the Types 052, 052B, 052C, 052D and 051C will continue using the latter.

* Notícia publicada a Want China Times. La millora dels sistemes de defensa de punt és quelcom imprescindible. Amb la proliferació de míssils súper o hipersònics, el temps és clau, i no convé refiar-se dels SAM per la destrucció dels ASCM a llarga distància. De fet, no cal que siguin molt ràpids per provocar sorpreses desagradables si passen inadvertits al radar. D'aquí la importància de solucions d'últim recurs.


divendres, 5 de desembre de 2014

Coast Guard Admiral: LCS ‘an Incredible Ship’ for Drug Interdiction*

By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor

WASHINGTON — The Coast Guard’s deputy commandant for operations has high praise for the littoral combat ship (LCS) as a platform for intercepting drug-running boats.

“What an incredible ship … tailor-made for that mission set,” said VADM Charles D. Michel, speaking of the LCS Dec. 4 to an audience at the Defense Forum, an event sponsored by the U.S. Naval Institute.

The LCS has performed drug interdiction operations in the Caribbean Sea area in support of Joint Inter-Agency Task Force South (JIATF-South), the drug-interdiction headquarters in Key West, Fla. The LCSs supported the task force during transits to their new homeport, San Diego, by way of the Panama Canal.

The high speed of the LCS plus its helicopter capability and now Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle capability make it suitable for running down the go-fast boats favored by drug runners.

Michel, a previous director of JIATF-South, said that a shortage of surface vessels was the main challenge in the drug interdiction effort in the Caribbean area. The over-tasked Coast Guard cutters have been augmented for decades by the Navy’s Perry-class frigates, but they are being retired at a rapid rate, with the last ones scheduled for decommissioning in fiscal 2015.

Navy RADM Kevin M. Donegan, acting deputy chief of naval operations for operations, plans and strategy, also speaking at the forum, said the Navy is looking realistically at other platforms for drug interdiction as the frigates are decommissioned, including joint high-speed vessels, coastal patrol ships and other platforms.

“The high-end assets are not going to get placed down there, given the other things that are going on in the world,” Donegan said, speaking of the cruisers and destroyers in high demand for other missions. “There is not an easy answer and there is not going to be an instantaneous fix for that issue.”

The Navy plans to base 10 Freedom-class LCSs at Naval Station Mayport, Fla., some of which could succeed the frigates in the drug interdiction role.

“When times get tough on ships down there, we just get more innovative,” Michel said, naming combatting smuggling networks as the main line of effort.

“It’s all about network identification and attack strategy,” he said. “It’s all about using whole-of-government intelligence to make the assets that we have down there as smart as possible. My goal when I was JIATF-South director was that every turn of a propeller on a ship or a plane down there should be done with specific intent.

“We still do some patrolling in the areas but [we’ve] got to really get inside those networks,” he said, “and there some very sophisticated ways that we do it, working with the intelligence community partners as well as our law enforcement partners. Probably 95 percent of the products removed down there are based on intelligence and different intelligence techniques.

“Last year, JIATF-South facilitated upwards of 100 metric tons of cocaine that was removed off the water before it could get into Central America or into cities in the United States,” he said.

Michel said that 60 percent of the cocaine “removed from planet Earth” was intercepted by the Coast Guard and Navy ships.

* Notícia publicada a Sea Power. Més enllà de la part de propaganda institucional, és bó veure que els LCS encaixin en algun tipus de missió. Si el Departament de Marina dels Estats Units aconsegueix allunyar les grapes dels contractistes de defensa, amb la seva afició a incrementar preus injustificadament, els LCS poden tenir un bon futur.


dilluns, 24 de novembre de 2014

El Parlament no vol més Guàrdia Civil al Port de Barcelona*

Mala maror dels partits polítics catalans, fins i tot CiU, amb Sixte Cambra, el president de l'Autoritat Portuària de Barcelona, per haver signat un conveni amb la Guàrdia Civil que perjudica la policia portuària i incrementa la presència de l'institut armat en una infraestructura de primer ordre per a Catalunya. Aquest conveni implica donar 4 milions d'euros per dotar la Guàrdia Civil d’una instal·lació per atendre competències que, en realitat, són de la policia portuària. 

El cas ja ha arribat al Parlament de mà d'ICV-EUiA. A instàncies dels ecosocialistes, la comissió d'Interior de la cambra catalana, amb els vots de CiU, ERC i PSC va aprovar aquest dijous una resolució que obliga l'Autoritat Portuària a revisar i deixar sense efecte aquest conveni. Una notícia que ha alegrat la policia portuària, el cos que té atribuïdes les competències dins la zona d’aigua arrecerada del Port de Barcelona.

L'impulsor de la revisió, el diputat Jaume Bosch, recorda a Nació Digital "la contradicció que suposa que l’Autoritat Portuària destini quatre milions d’euros a la Guàrdia Civil i alhora ho justifiqui per la davallada d’efectius de la policia portuària”.


“És anacrònic que es reconegui de policia de referència al Port la Guàrdia Civil, com una illa isolada, i no els Mossos i la policia portuària”, és l'opinió de la portaveu d'Interior d'ERC, Gemma Calvet. “Cal ser coherents en els nostres projectes polítics, i si el nostre projecte és la independència i si preparem el país per a això, cal que el Port de Barcelona també ho faci”, rebla Calvet. 

Ara, el president de l’Autoritat Portuària, Sixte Cambra, haurà de comparèixer davant el Parlament per donar explicacions sobre aquest Conveni que ha generat tanta unanimitat com malestar a tots els grups polítics, llevat de PP i C's.





* Notícia publicada a Nació Digital. Deplorem l'actitud de Sixte Cambra, president de l'Autoritat Portuària de Barcelona. No només per l'insult que representa pel Cos de Guardamolls (Policia Portuària) sinó perquè donar control (encara més!) a la Guàrdia Civil al Port de Barcelona és una irresponsabilitat en el moment que vivim.

dissabte, 22 de novembre de 2014

EL PORT DE TARRAGONA REGISTRA EL MILLOR SETEMBRE DE LA HISTÒRIA*

La infraestructura portuària tarragonina ha mogut 3 milions de tones (+32,8%) de mercaderies durant el mes de setembre, la qual cosa el situa com el millor setembre en tràfic de mercaderies de la història del Port

Durant els 9 primers mesos de l'any el Port de Tarragona ha vehiculat 23,1 milions de tones de mercaderies, xifra que representa un creixement de l'11% respecte el mateix període de 2013


El Port de Tarragona ha mogut un total de 3 milions de tones de mercaderies durant el mes de setembre, un 32,8% que el mateix mes de l'any anterior, i que el situa com el millor setembre de la història de la infraestructura portuària en tràfic de mercaderies. El creixement més significatiu en termes percentuals s'ha produït en els sòlids a lloure superant el milió de tones (+59,9%), i en especial en els cereals, pinsos i farines (+127,5%) amb un moviment de 590.285 durant el setembre. Així mateix, durant aquest mes també s'ha incrementat el moviment de líquids a doll (+24,6%) i el de la càrrega general (+0,7%).

La tendència a l'alça en el tràfic d'agroalimentaris durant aquest mes de setembre també es veu reflectida en l'augment del moviment de camions que entre i surten de les instal·lacions portuàries per a carregar la mercaderia, i la seva posterior distribució al client final. D'aquesta manera, el nombre de moviments registrats de camions, d'entrada i sortida, és superior a 62.500 només durant el mes de setembre, xifra que representa un increment del 18,6% respecte el mes d'agost i un 25,6% respecte el setembre del 2013.

El tràfic acumulat durant els 9 primers mesos de l'any ha estat de 23,1 milions de tones; és a dir, un 11% més que en el mateix període de l'any anterior. El creixement és significatiu tant en la càrrega de mercaderies des del Port de Tarragona (+7,6%) com en la descàrrega (+12%), la qual cosa posa de manifest que la infraestructura portuària esdevé una important plataforma logística per a les exportacions i importacions de les empreses del territori i del seu hinterland (àrea d'influència).

Les exportacions de contenidors augmenten un 39,2%
El transport de contenidors és un dels tràfics estratègics del Port de Tarragona i fins setembre el moviment de TEU ha augmentat un 7,6%, fins aconseguir els 118.553 TEU, enfront els 110.168 TEU de 2013. Aquest creixement ha estat motivat per l'impuls de l'exportació de contenidors des del Port de Tarragona a destinacions internacionals (+39,2%) i d'importació (+43,4%). Els principals països de destinació de contenidors procedents del Port de Tarragona són Israel, Nigèria, Ghana i Guinea Equatorial.

El moviment de mercaderies del sector energètic supera 16 milions de tones fins setembre
Els productes energètics, un dels principals tràfics tradicionals de la infraestructura portuària, manté el seu creixement a l'alça. Fins el mes de setembre, les terminals portuàries han manipulat més de 16 milions de tones de productes energètics, un 9,3% més que en el mateix període de l'any anterior. Destaca el bon comportament del gas-oil (+96,2%), el carbó (+46,6%) i els biocombustibles (+74,4%).

Pel que fa al moviment de productes químics, de gener a setembre el Port de Tarragona ha mogut 1,7 milions de tones, xifra que suposa un increment del 10,9% respecte gener-setembre del 2013.
L'augment també és significatiu en productes siderometal·lúrgics (+15,9%), en adobs (+25%) i moviment de materials de construcció (+14,3%).

Impuls dels sòlids a lloure
Quant als sòlids a lloure s'han mogut en total, entre gener i setembre, 6,6 milions de tones de mercaderies. Aquesta xifra suposa un increment del 33,9% pel que fa al mateix període de l'any anterior. Aquest notable creixement s'explica per la recuperació dels tràfics d'agroalimentaris i la importació de carbó per la producció d'energia elèctrica.
El Port de Tarragona és el primer port de l'Estat pel que fa al tràfic de productes agroalimentaris. Fins el mes de setembre el Port ha manipulat 3,3 milions de tones d'agroalimentari, xifra que representa un creixement 27,1% respecte el mateix període de l'any anterior.

La càrrega incrementa un 7,6% fins el mes d'agost
L'increment de les mercaderies carregades al Port de Tarragona, amb destinació la resta de l'Estat o destinacions internacionals, reafirma el paper de la infraestructura portuària tarragonina com a plataforma logística que facilita les exportacions i la internacionalització de les empreses del territori i de la seva àrea d'influència.
Fins el mes de setembre d'aquest 2014, destaca l'increment de la càrrega de productes energètics (+10,1%), els productes químics (+11,1%), adobs (+48,6%) i productes siderúrgics (+71,2%). Les mercaderies descarregades al Port de Tarragona també han registrat un creixement notable (+12%).

* Notícia publicada al web del Port de Tarragona. Pel que sembla, al Port de Tarragona no es noten les plagues bíbliques que s'auguren si Catalunya es mou cap a la independència. Felicitem al Port per la feina ben feta.

Russia and China to Hold 2015 Naval Exercises in Mediterranean, Pacific*

By: Sam LaGrone

Russia and China have committed to a pair of 2015 naval exercises as a sign of growing military cooperation between the two countries, Russia’s minister of defense said this week.

“We plan to conduct a regular joint naval exercise in the Mediterranean next spring,” said Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, according to the Russian TASS news agency.
“Another joint naval drill is planned in the Pacific.”

The announcement from Shoigu follows a Beijing meeting with Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan in which the two countries pledged greater military-to-military cooperation against the backdrop of the so-called U.S. rebalance to the Pacific.

“We believe that the main goal of pooling our effort is to shape a collective regional security system,” Shoigu said.
“We also expressed concern over U.S. attempts to strengthen its military and political clout in the [Asia-Pacific Region].”

Shoigu did not specify the nature of the exercises but Russia and China completed a bilateral exercise in May.

Joint Sea Exercise 2014 was the third between the Russian Navy and People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) since 2011 and featured 14 surface ships, two submarines, nine fixed wing aircraft as well as helicopters and special operation forces (SOF), state controlled Xinhua news service wrote in May.

The new exercises are part of a trend that, “has visibly expanded and gained a systemic character,” Shoigu said.

Russian president Vladimir Putin indicated the same earlier this year.

“It would be no exaggeration if I said that the cooperation between our two countries is at its highest level in history,” he said in May.

Russia has stepped up its surface presence in Asia in the last few months.

Earlier in October, the Black Sea flagship — guided missile cruiser Moscow (or Moskva) — conducted rare live fire drills in the South China Sea.

Russia also sent a flotilla of four surface ships off of the territorial of Australia ahead of the G-20 summit in Brisbane.

For its part, China has also ventured further abroad.

In late October, Chinese and Iranian military leaders pledged greater cooperation following limited bilateral naval exercises in September.

Shoigu said Russian deepening military ties with China was essential for regional security.

“Amid a highly volatile world situation, it becomes particularly important to strengthen reliable good-neighborly relations between our countries,” Shoigu said.
“This is not only an important factor for security of states but also a contribution to peace and stability on the Eurasian continent and beyond.”

Rear Adm. Du Xiping (front right), deputy commander of China’s Beihai Fleet, shakes hands with Capt. 1st Rank Sergei Yuriyevich Zhuga of Russia’s Pacific Fleet during a welcome ceremony at a naval base in Qingdao, in east China’s Shandong Province, on April 21, 2012. Xinhua Photo

* Notícia publicada al US Naval Institute. Per algú ho havia oblidat, el buit estratègic acostuma a omplir-se

divendres, 14 de novembre de 2014

Confirmed submarine in the Stockholm archipelago*



The Swedish Armed Forces now confirms that a submarine has violated Swedish territorial integrity. Results from the analysis following the intelligence operation conducted in October are unambiguous.

-There is no doubt, we have excluded all other explanations. Swedish territory has been seriously and unacceptably violated by a foreign power, says Supreme Commander Sverker Göranson.

On Friday the 17th October the Swedish Armed Forces received credible information on foreign underwater activity in the Stockholm archipelago. An intelligence operation including naval-, ground- and air units was initiated immediately. Apart from the military resources, observations from the public provided important data.

- The decisive observation is made by the Swedish Armed Forces’ sensors. It is a result of a highly skilled operational conduct. The observation meets the requirements for the highest level of assessment grading, confirmed submarine, says Supreme Commander Sverker Göranson.

The Swedish Armed Forces will not account for details on this observation since it could disclose information on Swedish abilities and capacities. The analysis cannot determine the nationality of the intruder.

In addition to the decisive observation, a number of other observations have been analyzed and reach the second highest level of assessment grading. A picture taken by a member of the public shows an object moving at a speed of approximately 1 knot. The picture also shows the kind of spray that arises when water is pushed out of scuttles at the top of a submarine.

A second observation was made by a naval corvette. Following strong indications on its sensors, a closer examination of the area was conducted and recently made traces were found on the bottom. Another observation was made by a resident in the archipelago, observing an underwater body with distinctive features. Sensors from the Swedish Armed Forces also confirmed echoes in the area. Similar observations were made by multiple credible sources.

- Each of these observations has a high credibility. Together with other observations, and a confirmed submarine, they generate a pattern. Thus, the intelligence operation confirms that a foreign power has violated Swedish territorial integrity. The gravity of this is obvious, says


* Notícia publicada al web de les Forces de Defensa de Suècia. Malgrat que l'informe no ho diu tot (comprensiblement) la capacitat de la Försvarsmakten ens mereix molta credibilitat.

dilluns, 3 de novembre de 2014

Philippine Sea Pulls into Barcelona*

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Abraham Loe McNatt, USS Philippine Sea Public Affairs


BARCELONA, Spain (NNS) -- The guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) pulled into Barcelona Spain for a scheduled four day port visit, Nov. 1.

The visit marks the ship's 10th total port visit during deployment and 3rd in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.

"This port visit serves as a perfect reward for all the hard work Philippine Sea Sailors have done during this nine-month deployment," said Command Master Chief Lewis Jackson, the ship's senior enlisted leader. "There is a lot of excitement on board about the opportunity to enjoy such a beautiful city."

The crew will be able to take part in several tours sponsored by the ship's Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) department. The tours offered include wine tasting, museums and the opportunity to attend a professional soccer game. 

"Soccer is by far and away my favorite sport and I'm really excited to be able to attend a game in a place where it's such an important part of the culture," said Quartermaster 3rd Class Seth Dubinski. "I can't think of a better way to finish this deployment."

The crew has also planned to accept a challenge from the Guardia Urbana basketball team, belonging to the Barcelona City Police, to play a game of basketball. Philippine Sea is also expecting to host local media for tours during its stay.

Philippine Sea, homeported in Mayport, Fla., and deployed as part of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group, conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe.





Imatges cortesia de la US Navy i US Consulate Barcelona




* Notícia publicada al web de la US Navy. Sempre és un plaer acollir un creuer Ticonderoga al Port de Barcelona. Aquestes naus foren un desenvolupament a partir dels esbelts destructors Spruance, per proporcionar cobertura anti-aèria davant l'amenaça que representaven (i representen) els atacs de saturació amb míssils de creuer.

dissabte, 1 de novembre de 2014

A century unseen – 100 years of the Royal Navy’s Submarine Service*

By Berenice Baker


The Royal Navy recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Submarine Service, whose motto is “We Come Unseen”. It started off with a scurrilous reputation but soon covered itself in glory, changing the course of sea battles from the First World War onwards. From HMS E9 to Astute, we look at the most important submarines to have served, and some of their most glorious – and occasionally inglorious – moments.




13 September 1914

Until World War I, the Admiralty regarded submariners as little better than a bunch of pirates. In 1914, the Vickers-built E-class submarine HMS E9 under the command of Lieutenant-Commander Horton claimed the first kill by a British submarine when it torpedoed the German cruiser SMS Hela. Three weeks later E9 sank the German destroyer S 116, earning Horton the Distinguished Service Order. On her return to port, the crew of E9 flew a Jolly Roger, cocking a snook at the above-water naval establishment that had snubbed them.

13 December 1914

Three months later, the Royal Navy's last B-class boat HMS B11 departed from the island of Tenedos on a mission to sink the Ottoman battleship Mesûdiye. To get there, it had to navigate at a snail's pace through heavily mined waters with uncharted currents, a journey that took five hours. After a successful torpedo hit sank Mesûdiye, the journey back took even longer - eight hours - as every time the periscope was raised it attracted enemy fire.

Commanding Officer of the B11 Lieutenant Norman Holbrook received the first of five World War I Victoria Crosses awarded to the Submarine Service for his action.
6 April 1942

Ton for ton, the U-class boat HMS Upholder was the most successful submarine of the Second World War, sinking 93,031 tons of enemy shipping comprising twelve Italian and two German vessels, under the command of Lieutenant-Commander Malcolm David Wanklyn. Upholder left for her 25th patrol on 6 April and became overdue on 14 April, and was declared lost with all hands, presumably sunk by depth charges.
30 April 1943

Torpedoes weren't the only thing to be launched from submarines to change the course of the war. As well as carrying out a number of intelligence and special operations missions during World War II, HMS Seraph played a key role in Operation Mincemeat. The corpse of a homeless man, Glyndwyr Michael, was dressed in a Royal Marines uniform and tipped into waters off the coast of Spain by the crew of the Seraph. Attached to the body was a briefcase containing papers identifying him as one Major William Martin, and faked documents designed to cover the Allied invasion of Italy from North Africa.
9 February 1945

Towards the end of the war, V-class submarine HMS Venturer made naval history by becoming the only submarine to deliberately sink another while both were submerged. Under the command of 25-year-old James 'Jimmy' Launders she sailed to the island of Fedje off the Norwegian coast to intercept U-864 based on information decrypted from Enigma coded communications. The German submarine detected the Venturer's presence and embarked on a zig-zag evasion course. Launders manually predicted its three-dimensional course through the water and spread torpedoes into its path, successfully hitting the target.
15 February 1968

At the height of the Cold War, the Resolution class was built as the Royal Navy's first ballistic missile submarine, taking a key role as the UK's nuclear deterrent. HMS Resolution was launched on 15 September 1966 and fired its first nuclear-capable Polaris missile on 15 February, carrying out 69 patrols before being decommissioned in 1994.
2 May 1982

HMS Conqueror made history during the Falklands War in 1982 when she became the first nuclear-powered submarine to sink a surface ship with torpedoes, the ARA General Belgrano. Of the 1,042 people aboard, 323 died in the attack. Controversy surrounding the nature of the Maritime Exclusion Zone around the Falkland Islands and whether the ship had been returning to port followed, not helped by the infamously tasteless Sun headline "GOTCHA!"
4 March 1992

The Resolution class was replaced by the Vanguard class carrying the Trident II system as Britain's at-sea nuclear deterrent, with first in class HMS Vanguard being launched on 4 March 1992. The four submarines in the class carry up to 16 trident missiles each and have represented the UK's sole nuclear platforms since 1998.
5 October 2004

In a rather different example of notoriety, the UK sold Canada four Upholder-class submarines through a 1998 lease-to-buy deal. Shortly after their activation, one of them, renamed HMCS Chicoutimi, was two days out from Scotland on its way to Halifax in Nova Scotia when a fire broke out on board leading to the death of a sailor. This caused some diplomatic strain between Canada and the UK when the British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon stated that Canada would have to pay for the rescue operation and that Canada should have obeyed the maxim 'caveat emptor'.
22 October 2010

Just two months after being commissioned, HMS Astute, first in class of the Royal Navy's new nuclear-powered submarine fleet, ran aground off the west coast of Scotland while taking part in a training exercise. She remained stuck for ten hours until a coastguard tug towed her into deeper water. An enquiry found problems with charting the course of the exercise and the on-board communications. Despite the manoeuvre being carried out at night, the primary radar was switched off. Commanding officer Commander Andy Coles was relieved of his command shortly after the incident.
24 March 2011

The most recent strike by a Royal Navy submarine took place during the Libyan Civil War when a Trafalgar-class submarine launched guided Tomahawk land attack missiles at Libyan air defence targets. The Chief of the Defence Staff's strategic communications officer, Major General John Lorimer, said at the time that the action formed part of a coalition plan to enforce UN resolution 1973 to enforce a no-fly zone, and to ready the UK's contribution to the NATO arms embargo of Libya.
8 December 2011

The MOD overturned a ban preventing women serving on Royal Navy submarines, a sanction originally put in place because the raised levels of carbon dioxide found onboard were thought to be harmful to female health. After training on HMS Vigilant, the first female submariners, Lieutenants Maxine Stiles, Alexandra Olsson and Penny Thackray, earned their 'Dolphins' on 5 May 2014.
26 September 2014

According to media reports, a Royal Navy submarine, most likely HMS Astute, was deployed to the Persian Gulf to support air strikes against Islamic State militant targets and potentially launch Tomahawk missiles. The aim was to support the UK's policy not to have 'boots on the ground' while offering an alternative to aerial bombardment. The MOD refused to confirm speculation for operational reasons

* Article publicat a Naval Technology. Creiem convenient compartir aquest article doncs, injustament, la història de l'arma submarina de la Royal Navy ha quedat eclipsada per les espectaculars accions dels submarins alemanys.

dimecres, 29 d’octubre de 2014

Chinese nuclear submarine base

China has secretly built a major underground nuclear submarine base that could threaten Asian countries and challenge American power in the region, it can be disclosed.





Satellite imagery, passed to The Daily Telegraph, shows that a substantial harbour has been built which could house a score of nuclear ballistic missile submarines and a host of aircraft carriers.


In what will be a significant challenge to US Navy dominance and to countries ringing the South China Sea, one photograph shows China’s latest 094 nuclear submarine at the base just a few hundred miles from its neighbours.

Other images show numerous warships moored to long jettys and a network of underground tunnels at the Sanya base on the southern tip of Hainan island.

Of even greater concern to the Pentagon are massive tunnel entrances, estimated to be 60ft high, built into hillsides around the base. Sources fear they could lead to caverns capable of hiding up to 20 nuclear submarines from spy satellites.

The US Department of Defence has estimated that China will have five 094 nuclear submarines operational by 2010 with each capable of carrying 12 JL-2 nuclear missiles.

The images were obtained by Janes Intelligence Review after the periodical was given access to imagery from the commercial satellite company DigitalGlobe.

Analysts for the respected military magazine suggest that the base could be used for "expeditionary as well as defensive operations" and would allow the submarines to "break out to launch locations closer to the US".

It would now be "difficult to ignore" that China was building a major naval base where it could house its nuclear forces and increase it "strategic capability considerably further afield".

The development so close to the sea lanes vital to Asian economies "can only cause concern far beyond these straits".

Military analysts believe that China’s substantial build up of its forces is gaining pace put has remained hidden from the world in the build-up to the Olympics.

China has diverted much of its resources from the huge Peoples Liberation Army to the navy, air force and missile development.

An old Russian aircraft carrier, bought by Beijing for "leisure activities" has been picked over by naval architects who hope to "reverse engineer" the ship.

Within the next five to 10 years the People's Liberation Navy is expected to build up to six carriers which will also coincide with the Royal Navy’s construction of two major carriers.

The location of the base off Hainan will also give the submarines access to very deep water exceeding 5,000 metres within a few miles, making them even harder to detect.

Britain’s Trident submarines have to remain on the surface when they leave Faslane in north east Scotland and cannot dive to depth until outside the Irish Sea.

While it has been known that China might be developing an underground base at Sanya, the pictures provide the first proof of the base’s existence and the rapid progress made.

Two 950 metre piers and three smaller ones would be enough to accommodate two carrier strike groups or amphibious assault ships.

Christian Le Miere, editor for Jane's Intelligence Review, said the complex underlined Beijing’s plan “to assert tighter control over this region".

"This is a challenge to any hegemonic power, particularly the US which still remains dominant in the region."

So far China has offered no public explanation for its building at Sanya.



* Notícia publicada al Telegraph. Compartim aquest article per l'interés que té per totes aquelles persones que segueixen el creixement xinès que, com es pot veure, avança a pas ferm.

dijous, 23 d’octubre de 2014

Visby Class, Sweden*



The Visby Class of stealth corvettes were built for the Swedish Navy by the Swedish company Kockums (a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems of Germany).

Construction began in 1996 at Kockums' Kalrskrona yard. The lead ship of the class, Visby (K31), was launched in June 2000 and was delivered to the FMV (the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration) in June 2002 for fitting with weapons and combat systems. The second, HMS Helsingborg (K32), was launched in June 2003 and delivered in April 2006. Harnosand (K33) was launched in December 2004. HMS Visby and Harnosand were officially delivered to the FMV in June 2006.

The other hulls are: Nykoping (K34), launched in August 2005 and delivered in September 2006, and Karlstad (K35), launched in August 2006.

Two corvettes, HMS Helsingborg and Harnosand, were delivered to the Swedish Navy in December 2009. The Swedish Navy has cancelled an option on a sixth vessel (Uddevalla K36).

The first four Visby corvettes for the Swedish Navy are for mine countermeasures (MCM) and anti-submarine warfare (ASW). The last vessel will be primarily for the attack and anti-surface warfare role.

A helicopter, such as the AgustaWestland A109M selected by Sweden, can land, take off, and refuel on the upper deck.

Design

The design of the Visby aims to minimise the optical and infrared signature, above water acoustic and hydroacoustic signature, underwater electrical potential and magnetic signature, pressure signature, radar cross section and actively emitted signals.

A stealth corvette of the YS 2000 design has a detection range of 13km in rough seas and 22km in calm sea without jamming. In a jammed environment, the Visby would be detected at a range of 8km in rough sea and 11km in calm sea.

The hull material is a sandwich construction comprising a PVC core with a carbon fibre and vinyl laminate. The material provides high strength and rigidity, low weight, good shock resistance, low radar and magnetic signature.

Command and control
The vessel's CETRIS C3 (command, control and communications) system consists of the Saab Systems 9LV mk3E combat management system, the MAST decision support aid and the integrated communications system.

The 9LV mk3 is based on open system architecture and uses the Windows NT operating system.

The SaabTech CEROS 200 radar and optronic fire control system has been ordered for the Visby and will be fully integrated into the combat management system.

The communications system has a high-capacity digital communications switch, developed by Danish company Maersk Data Defence (formerly Infocom) together with Karlskrona, which interconnects the voice and data communications channels. The system provides internal communications or open conference lines and access to external communications with various radio links and land-based networks.

Missiles

Visby vessels were not initially fitted with an air defence missile system, but could later be equipped with one. It has been reported that the Swedish government has selected the Umkhonto surface-to-air missile system, produced by Denel of South Africa. Umkhonto has infrared guidance, range of 12km and ceiling of 10,000m. The system is capable of engaging up to eight targets.

The corvettes are equipped with eight Saab Bofors Dynamics RBS 15 mk2 anti-ship missiles. The RBS 15 mk2 uses active Ku-band radar homing and has a range of more than 200km. The missile has a high subsonic speed, Mach 0.9, and is armed with a 200kg warhead. The missiles will be installed below deck and be fired through special hatches to maintain the vessel's stealth. The missiles' exhaust plumes will be managed in separate canals.
Anti-submarine warfare

The Visby is equipped with a suite of ASW 127mm rocket-powered grenade launchers, depth charges and torpedoes. There are three fixed 400mm torpedo tubes for Saab Underwater Systems Tp 45 anti-submarine homing torpedoes.

Gun

The Visby is equipped with a Bofors 57mm 70 SAK mkIII general purpose gun. The gun has a fully automatic loading system containing 120 rounds of ready-to-fire ammunition. The gun fires up to 220 rounds a minute to a maximum range of 17,000m.
Mine countermeasures (MCM)

The Visby carries Saab Bofors Underwater system ROVs (remotely operated vehicles) for mine hunting and the Atlas Elektronik Seafox ROV for mine disposal. The minehunting ROVs are a development of the Double Eagle mkIII.

The Visby corvettes are fitted with the Hydra multisonar suite from General Dynamics Canada (formerly Computing Devices Canada), which integrates data from a Hydroscience Technologies passive towed array sonar, C-Tech CVDS-26 dual-frequency active Variable Depth Sonar (VDS), C-Tech CHMS-90 hull-mounted sonar and data from the ROVs.

Sensors

Saab Microwave Systems (formerly Ericsson) Sea Giraffe AMB 3D C-band multi-role radar provides air and surface surveillance and tracking and target indication to weapon systems. It features 3D agile multi-beam technology and can handle multiple threats up to 20,000m (65,000ft) at elevations up to 70°.

ECCM (electronic counter countermeasures) capabilities include ultra-low antenna sidelobes and both frequency and code agility. The antenna has a rotation rate of 30rpm for surveillance and 60rpm for air defence.

There is also an I-band surface search and I/J-band fire control radar.

Countermeasures

The CS-3701 tactical radar surveillance system (TRSS) from EDO Reconnaissance & Surveillance Systems provides electronic support measures (ESM) and radar warning receiver (RWR) functions.

Visby Class vessels are equipped with the MASS (multi-ammuntion softkill) decoy system from Rheinmetall Waffe Munition (formerly Buck Neue Technologien) of Germany.

MASS can launch up to 32 omni-spectral projectiles in a time-staggered configuration against anti-ship missiles and guided projectiles. The MASS decoy covers radar, infrared, electro-optic, laser and ultraviolet wavebands.

Propulsion

The Visby is equipped with a combined diesel and gas (CODAG) turbine arrangement. Four TF 50 A gas turbines from Honeywell and two MTU 16V 2000 N90 diesel motors are connected to two gearboxes which run two Kamewa waterjet propulsors.

The motors provide a maximum speed of 15kt for long duration and 35kt for short duration. The ship has rudders and bowthrusters for harbour manoeuvring.

* Article publicat a Naval Technology. Compartim aquest article per ampliar la informació, sobre les corbetes Visby, molt vistes els darrers dies als nostres mitjans, i de les quals se'n comença a parlar a casa nostra per la futura Força Naval Catalana.


dimarts, 21 d’octubre de 2014

Why would a Russian submarine enter Swedish waters?*

If the Swedish navy’s hunt for a missing “Russian submarine”sounds like a throw-back to the Cold War, it is no coincidence.

Diplomats in Moscow and western capitals may deny that we are seeing the beginning of “Cold War Two,” but the truth is relations are at their lowest point since the end of the Soviet Union.

And the “missing submarine” is most likely guilty of typical Cold War behaviour: spying, or deliberately testing Western reaction.


Espionage

Sweden may not be a member of Nato, the dark alliance that Moscow’s defence chiefs have identified as Russia’s number one enemy. But it has always taken defence of its “neutrality” extremely seriously.

Its shoreline is still dotted with Cold-War era artillery batteries, and to this day it has one of the most advanced navies in the world - its new Visby class corvettes are widely billed as “the world’s first stealth ships.”

In the relatively small Baltic Sea, that makes Sweden something of a naval super-power, and a neighbour that Russia - which has Baltic ports at St Petersburg and Kaliningrad - would naturally keep a very close eye on.

It might be embarrassing to get caught, but it would be far from surprising to find a Russian submarine servicing underwater spy equipment, perhaps installed during the Cold War, or possibly shadowing Swedish navy exercises.


Testing the Waters

Another explanation is that the Russians actually wanted the submarine to be caught.

With the West and Russia at loggerheads over the annexation of Crimea and Moscow’s proxy war in eastern Ukraine, tensions in the Baltic Sea are higher than at any time in recent history.

Nato has held a series of exercises in the region to let Russia know any attempt to repeat the adventure in Estonia, Latvia, or Lithuania will be met with force.

And Russia has sent its own signals via the crude diplomatic telegraph of “training exercises.”

Last month, the Swedish airforce scrambled jets to see off an incursion by two Russian fighters flying out of Kaliningrad.

Their mission appeared simply to see how far they could get into Swedish airspace before being turned back - part of a Cold War era practice designed to probe a neighbour’s defences and signal that the Russian military is back in business.

Western militaries say such flights have become worryingly frequent, with Britain, the United States, and Japan all scrambling fighters to see off Russian aircraft from their airspace in the past few months.

Sending a submarine to skulk off the Swedish coast may be the Russian navy’s way of keeping up with the airforce - and letting the West know that Russia will not be intimidated in this strategically vital sea.


Spy extraction

Then again, as everyone one knows, the best role of a submarine in any Cold War drama is to deliver or extract spies from hostile shores in the dead of night.

Following that logic, the vessel in question almost certainly ran into trouble while delivering a Russian agent to a remote Baltic island to do something swashbuckling and nefarious.

Exactly what such a spy might be up to is anyone’s guess.

After all, Russia and Sweden are not at war, and Aeroflot flies Moscow to Stockholm twice daily (from a very reasonable £73, according to the airline’s website).

So unless Moscow’s spy agencies have lost the ability to travel incognito, there would have to be a good reason to take such a risky and laborious travel option.

Probably the kind of reason that would make a decent airport paperback.


If a Russian submarine really has been stranded off the coast of Sweden, it raises the question - what could it have been getting up to? Roland Oliphant explains


Menacing the West with nuclear weapons

On Sunday, a rumour appeared on Ukrainian Twitter accounts naming the missing submarine as the Dmitry Donskoi - a ballistic missile submarine of Russia’s northern fleet equipped with Russia’s brand-new nuclear-tipped Bulava missiles.

One of the largest submarines ever built, it was implied, had suffered some catastrophic failure and was now stranded somewhere on the Baltic Sea bed, unable to contact Moscow and threatening Scandinavia with a kind of maritime Chernobyl.

The rumour played on memories of the Kursk disaster, when a submarine was lost with all hands in the Barents Sea in 2000.

But it is almost certainly fantasy.

At 175 meters, the Donskoi is almost the size of an aircraft carrier and, in the shallow waters of the Baltic, about as easy to hide.

Whatever is lurking amongst the islands of the Stockholm archipelago, it is not a missile submarine.

Hopefully.



* Noticia publicada a The Telegraph. Més enllà dels esdeveniments diaris, cal plantejar hipotesis plausibles, i la del Telegraph ho és bastant.

dilluns, 20 d’octubre de 2014

Catalunya i el model nòrdic: implicacions del concepte‏*

Com és ben sabut, al nostre país es parla molt del "Model Nòrdic", per part de persones i organitzacions de diferents ideologies, i amb referències creixents a mida que ens acostem a la recuperació de la sobirania.

Res a objectar. Ara sí, és necessari que entenguem tot el que implica, no solament els aspectes més simpàtics.

Aquests dies les Forces Armades de Suècia estan duent a terme una cacera d'un submarí rus, sembla ser que avariat, a aigües properes a la capital. Això és possible perquè, com s'esdevé amb països com Noruega, Dinamarca, i Finlàndia, compta amb unes forces armades modernes i ben equipades i entrenades.

Per tant, quan parlem d'una Catalunya "nòrdica", parlem també d'una Catalunya capaç de dur a terme operacions similars en situacions similars. Per tant d'una Catalunya que disposi també, com ho fa Suècia, d'unes forces armades modernes, ben equipades, i ben entrenades. 

I si hi ha algú que encara cregui que no ens trobarem en casos similars, que pregunti a Gibraltar.


ARTICLES I DOCUMENTS RECOMANATS

Svenska Dagbladet

Could be a damaged russian submarine


The Telegraph

Swedish navy sends 200 people to hunt for 'foreign underwater activity'


Defence News

Sweden Hunts Suspected Foreign Submarine Off Stockholm Coast


Reuters

Sweden steps up hunt for "foreign underwater activity"


Societat d'Estudis Militars

Anàlisi de la política de defensa dels països nòrdics

* Article publicat al bloc de la Societat d'Estudis Militars. Compartim aquest article perquè enllaça perfectament amb els nostres plantejaments: si volem ser una nació adulta cal assumir-ne tots els aspectes. Recomanem especialment consultar el darrer dels enllaços.


divendres, 17 d’octubre de 2014

Coast Guards in the Arctic – Troubles Ahead?*

Coast guards are the maritime workhorses of coastal states, intent on protecting their sovereign rights to fisheries and petroleum resources, while also safeguarding lives and the environment. In an Arctic Klondike, this institution – which often operates in the shadow of national navies – does the heavy lifting. Yet, striking the right balance on fleet structure, investments, and Arctic presence in times of budget austerity is no easy task for Arctic coastal states.

Waking up to a New Reality
Maritime activity levels in the Arctic are increasing, compared to low levels throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. It is not the number of trans-arctic voyages, but the number of ships with a destination in the Arctic itself that has predominately increased. This comes as a result of an increase in the transport of goods to and from the Arctic, and from an increase in cruise ship tourism offering “Arctic Cruises” [1]. Similarly, exploratory drilling in Greenlandic, Alaskan or North Norwegian waters, and record yielding fish stocks in the Barents Sea and North Sea, contribute to this trend [2].



Coast Guard Prerogatives
As activity increases, the need for an active management of the maritime domain increases as well. When fisheries grow in volume, so does the need for fisheries inspections and research to determine the sustainable yield of the stocks. When more vessels operate further north, search and rescue incidents grow in numbers, and as the number of exploratory drillings rises, the potential for accidents related to oil exploration similarly increases. The pressure on coast guards to provide aid to navigation is also increasing, sometimes demanding an ice breaking capacity that requires relatively costly investments in icebreakers [3]. Consequently, this large relative growth in activity spurs demand for a number of coast guard tasks in the Arctic, as depicted below.
The coast guard institutional structure in one Arctic state is very different from the next, ranging from a civilian model without a law enforcing mandate (Canada), to military structures separated from (USA, Russia), or part of (Norway, Denmark), national navies [4]. Yet, as the amount of tasks in northern waters increases, all of the various Arctic coast guards find themselves in a similar position, weighing priorities and resources [5]. In particular, they encounter challenges concerning budget restraints, aging equipment and large areas of operation.


Solving problems together?
Investments in coast guards, on the other hand, in particular in the North American side of the Arctic, are pending. This is mainly a consequence of limited public investments in an area where the return rate of such investments – at least in according to strict economic calculations – can be questioned. In the context of low temperatures and remote operating areas, however, the consequences of a cruise ship accident or an oil spill is likely to become more fatal in the Arctic, than in more densely populated areas further south.
In 2011, Arctic states responded to this challenge by creating a legally binding search and rescue agreement under the auspices of the Arctic Council, dividing the Arctic into areas of responsibility (see map) [6]. In 2013, another agreement was signed on oil pollution, preparedness and response, implementing the same mechanisms for oil spill response [7]. Forming alliances and initiating collaboration across borders with partners in similar situations provides a practical solution to a fiscal challenge. It is also an easier and less expensive remedy than building up domestic assets in isolation.
However, agreeing on zones of responsibility does not inherently enhance maritime capabilities in the Arctic, which ultimately fall under the prerogatives of the various national coast guards. Operational collaboration across borders is also not necessarily an adequate response to new maritime challenges in the Arctic. The share distance between the Arctic maritime zones and the differences in coast guard structures provide barriers to effective collaboration. Additionally, coast guard tasks are often closely linked to the protection of sovereign rights and enforcing national law. Such tasks are not easily transferred or outsourced.

Planning for the future
Working across Arctic maritime borders with your neighbor is undoubtedly beneficial, if not crucial, to jointly manage natural resources and protect the environment. The establishment of an Arctic Coast Guard Forum – building off the already well-functioning North Atlantic Coast Guard Forum – is one such measure.  
Such collaboration will not, however, disband the need for national and local investments in future Arctic capabilities. The processes of coast guard procurement and capacity building are additionally costly and lengthy. Showcasing this challenge, the US Coast Guard has been calling out for more investment in District 17 (Alaska) for almost a decade, while in Canada the acquisition of a much-needed new Coast Guard icebreaker is delayed [8].

Littoral states in the Arctic have to carefully contemplate future investments and needs to avoid finding themselves in a situation where the former and the latter do not match. Arriving in 2030 in a direr state than today will be detrimental to any Arctic development. Preventing disaster is of interest to all littoral states as they determine the future potential of their Arctic maritime areas.


Sources:
[1] Steinicke, S., & Albrecht, S. (2012). Search and Rescue in the Arctic Working Paper (Vol. 2012/05). Berlin: Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik. & Brigham, L. W. (2013). The Fast-Changing Maritime Arctic. In B. S. e. Zellen (Ed.), The fast-changing Arctic: rethinking Arctic security for a warmer world (pp. 1-17). Calgary: Calgary Unversity Press.
[2] Fred Olsen Cruise Lines. (2014). Greenland & Arctic Cruises. Retrieved June 5, 2014, from http://www.fredolsencruises.com/places-we-visit/region/arctic-greenland-cruises & Østhagen, A. (2013a). Arctic oil and gas. The role of regions. In IFS (Ed.), (Vol. September 2). Oslo: Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies (IFS).
[3] Brigham, L. W. (2013). The Fast-Changing Maritime Arctic. In B. S. e. Zellen (Ed.), The fast-changing Arctic: rethinking Arctic security for a warmer world (pp. 1-17). Calgary: Calgary Unversity Press. & Mitchell, J. R. (2013). The Canadian Coast Guard in Perspective: A paper prepared for Action Canada (Vol. August). Ottawa: Action Canada.
[4] Andreas Østhagen (2014). "Coast Guard Collaboration in the Arctic: Canada and Greenland (Denmark)", Toronto: Munk-Gordon Arctic Security Program.
[5] Terjesen, B., Kristiansen, T., & Gjelsten, R. (2010). Sjøforsvaret i krig og fred: Langs kysten og på havet gjennom 200 år. Bergen: Fagbokforlaget.
[7] Arctic Council. Agreement on cooperation on marine oil pollution, preparedness and response in the Arctic Final - Formatted version. http://www.arctic-council.org/index.php/en/document-archive/category/425-main-documents-from-kiruna-ministerial-meeting
[8] http://www.adn.com/article/20140916/us-icebreaker-fleet-will-need-makeover-about-2020-coast-guard-says & Byers, M. (2012, March 27). You can’t replace real icebreakers, The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from http://byers.typepad.com/arctic/2012/03/you-cant-replace-real-icebreakers.html

* Article publicat per The Artic Institute. No és el primer cop que parlem de guardacostes i l'Àrtic. Recomanem una lectura reflexiva d'aquest article així com les seves fonts documentals.