dijous, 25 de setembre de 2014

Navy Successfully Tests Norwegian Missile from LCS 4*

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy successfully performed a live-fire demonstration of a Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile (NSM) from USS Coronado (LCS 4) Sept. 23, scoring a direct hit on its intended target, a Mobile Ship Target (MST).
Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS), together with Program Executive Office Littoral Combat Ships (PEO LCS), coordinated the demonstration for purposes of testing the capabilities of the Norwegian-made missile from a ship.
"We are pleased with the results of this surface warfare capability demonstration," said Rear Adm. Jon Hill, program executive officer, Integrated Warfare Systems. "This event was a well-coordinated effort between the Navy and industry, and I'm proud of the teamwork that made this test a success."
Rear Adm. Brian Antonio, program executive officer Littoral Combat Ships said, "This demonstration provided us with a tremendous opportunity to see the capabilities of both the ship and the missile, and what we saw today has great potential for LCS and other fleet assets."
The Kongsberg NSM is a long-range precision strike missile designed to be launched from a variety of ships against a variety of targets. It is currently used on Norwegian Nansen-class frigates and Skjold Class missile torpedo boats, and the Polish Coastal Missile Division. Kongsberg has previously contracted with the U.S. Navy to supply simulation training tools for Navigation, Seamanship, and Shiphandling Training (NSST) programs.
PEO IWS is affiliated with the Naval Sea Systems Command. The PEO IWS organization is responsible for developing, delivering and sustaining surface ship and submarine combat systems, and for implementing Navy enterprise solutions across numerous ship types.
PEO LCS is affiliated with the Naval Sea Systems Command and provides a single program executive responsible for acquiring and sustaining mission capabilities of the littoral combat ship class, from procurement through fleet employment and sustainment. Delivering high-quality warfighting assets while balancing affordability and capability is key to supporting the nation's maritime strategy.

* Notícia publicada al web de la US Navy. Compartim aquesta notícia per complementar la que us vam anunciar fa pocs dies. 

dimarts, 23 de setembre de 2014

Met Israel Newest, Most Expensive Weapon: INS Submarine Tanin*

In a commemoration aboard Israel’s 4th and newest submarine, the INS Tanin (“crocodile,” or “alligator”), the IDF on Sunday held a wreath-laying ceremony at the site where 69 soldiers of INS Dakar went down with the ship, in the Mediterranean Sea some 270 miles off the Israeli coast in 1968, the Israeli army said.

“We will guard, protect, and act in any enemy coast, and fight bravely for the navy and the state of Israel,” Adm. Ram Rothberg, said at the event, The Jerusalem Post noted.

Referring to the prowess of the new Dolphin-class craft, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said that, “Without a doubt, this power, operationally and strategically, is very important for Israel, the IDF and the navy.”

The INS Tanin is the most expensive weapon currently in IDF service, at a cost of over $513 million dollars, and is considered one of the most sophisticated submarines in the world.

“More than four decades passed since INS Dakar’s last voyage… Although the threats have changed, and today you have the most modern equipment, the most advanced technologies, and the most quality means, the mission remains the same mission that the INS Dakar personnel were sent on,  and the responsibility is the same. To protect the Israeli coast, sea waters, and working with all of the IDF’s branches to achieve the relevant goals,” Gantz said.

In addition to the IDF’s top brass, three survivors of the Dakar were aboard: Abraham Szabo, Israel Rosen and Abraham Carmel.

The three, who were supposed to have boarded the submarine, at the last minute received orders to remain dockside and wait a few days before another ship was scheduled to arrive in Israel, according to Israel’s NRG News.

According to the Defense Industry Daily, the diesel-electric attack submarine will be outfitted with its Israeli systems after arrival at a specially-made, secretive dock in Haifa.

The sub is reportedly designed for a crew of 35 and can support 10 passengers. It is said to have a maximum speed of 20 knots, and a maximum range of 2,700 miles (4,500 km).

The craft can fire torpedoes and missiles, perform underwater surveillance, and launch combat swimmers out of wet and dry compartments.

According to Janes, the Dolphin-class subs are reportedly nuclear-armed, possibly with Israel’s Popeye Tubo cruise missile.

The official festive welcoming ceremony is set for Tuesday in Haifa.

The next craft in the fleet, the INS Rahav is scheduled to arrive in Israel during 2015, with a sixth projected to arrive in 2019.

* Notícia publicada a The Algemeiner. Continua el reforç de l'arma submarina israeliana.

dissabte, 20 de setembre de 2014

U.S. Submarines: Run Silent, Run Deep... On Diesel Engines?*

"Underway on nuclear power", radioed the skipper of USS Nautilus in 1955, after taking history's first nuclear-powered attack submarine to sea for the first time. Nautilus's maiden cruise left an indelible imprint on the navy. Her success, cheered on by the likes of Admiral Hyman Rickover, the godfather of naval nuclear propulsion, helped encode the supremacy of atomic power in the submarine force's cultural DNA.

Things were never the same after that. America built its last diesel-electric sub, once the state of the art, not long after Nautilus took to the sea. Not since 1990 has the U.S. Navy operated conventionally powered boats. It's been longer than that since they were frontline fighting ships. For a quarter-century, then, it's been all nukes, all the time. No U.S. shipbuilder even constructs diesel boats nowadays.

That was then. Now may be the time to break up the nuclear monopoly. To wit, imagine permanently forward-deploying a squadron of diesel attack boats, or SSKs, to likely hotspots. Such a force would expand America's silent service, reversing the ongoing slide in numbers of hulls. It would do so at reasonable cost in this age of budgetary stress. A standing East Asia squadron would be close to the action. Likely based in Japan and Guam, it would amplify the U.S.-Japanese fleet's prowess vis-á-vis China's navy and merchant marine. It would empower Washington and Tokyo to deny China access to offshore waters without committing the whole fleet of U.S. nuclear-powered boats to the endeavor. And in the process it would open up new vistas for building and reinforcing alliances.

Greater numbers, middling cost, a heavier punch in battle. That's a major contribution from such humble craft. U.S. submariners' diesel-propelled past could be, and should be, part of their future.

There's nothing new or especially radical about conventional U.S. subs' prowling the Western Pacific deep. They did so to devastating effect during World War II. For instance, the Philippine Islands was home to the largest concentration of U.S. submarines in the Pacific on the eve of hostilities. U.S. commanders squandered a golden opportunity to run wild against transports carrying Japanese troops to invade the Philippines. But their missed opportunity doesn't detract from subs' potential to confound opponents amid Asia's intricate nautical terrain. It's an exception that proves the rule.

And indeed, American submarines vindicated their potential in ensuing years. U.S. Pacific Fleet boats were among the first vessels to return to Asia following the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor. Ordered to sea while the battle line was still ablaze at Ford Island, they helped dismember an island empire. Empires like Japan's depend on ships to ferry all manner of warmaking materiel—raw materials, foodstuffs, finished goods—hither and yon. Take away seaborne movement and you cut the lineaments binding the imperial enterprise together.

The submarine campaign grew more and more effective as the U.S. offensives undulated across the Central and South Pacific. U.S. Navy, Marine and Army amphibious forces wrested outer islands from Japan, letting the navy position, maintenance and logistics outposts closer to the foe. Submarine tenders—floating repair and supply depots for all intents and purposes—staged support operations westward of Hawaii. As the transpacific campaigns progressed, boats wasted less time transiting to and from assigned hunting grounds. They spent more time strewing the seafloor with enemy merchantmen and men-of-war.

Forward bases, then, offset the tyranny of distance—allowing the submarine force to mount a stifling presence in Asian waters. Wartime prime minister General Hideki Tōjō catalogued submarine warfare among three critical determinants of Japan's defeat—high praise from someone in a position to know.

And afterward? Ravaged by undersea combat during World War II, Japan built an impressive submarine force of its own to help prosecute the Cold War. Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) diesel boats turned geography to advantage, lurking in and around the straits that pierce Asia's offshore island chains. Crews monitored and encumbered east-west movement between the China seas and the Western Pacific. Soviet skippers often balked at attempting the passage. The JMSDF, in short, forged itself into a lethal weapon for a cold war beneath the waves.

*Article complet fent click aquí. Tot i que el debat de recuperar els submarins dièsel/elèctrics no és nou, el professor James R. Holmes, torna a abordar el tema. Aquest tema, que ha estat gairebé tabú per l'obsessió quasi religiosa per la "all nuclear fleet", es suma a una altra " heretgia" com és l'aquisició d'un tipus de submarí dissenyat a l'estranger: AL JAPÓ! Esperem que facin cas a aquestes tesis, doncs l'equilibri de forces al Pacífic en depèn directament.

divendres, 19 de setembre de 2014

Navy to Conduct Strike Missile Demonstration Aboard LCS 4*

WASHINGTON — The Navy is scheduled to conduct a live-fire demonstration of a Kongsberg-built Naval Strike Missile (NSM) aboard the littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) while underway in the Pacific Ocean Sept. 24, a Naval Sea Systems Command spokesman announced in a Sept. 18 release.

The Kongsberg NSM is a long-range precision-strike missile designed to be launched from a variety of ships against a variety of targets. This demonstration is intended to test the capabilities of the Norwegian-made missile from a sea-based platform against a Mobile Ship Target (MST) and provide insights into the weapon’s stated capabilities of increased range and lethality. The Navy does not currently have any acquisition or integration requirements for the NSM aboard any of its ships.

“We saw what the missile could do from a Norwegian ship during RIMPAC [Rim of the Pacific exercise], and now have the opportunity to see it perform from one of our ships,” said RDML Jon Hill, program executive officer, Integrated Warfare Systems. “We’re excited to see what potential the missile has as a possible future warfighting tool for the U.S. Navy.”

The planned live firing demonstration of the NSM will take place under the Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT) program and will act as a demonstration of the ship’s potential to execute an increased anti-surface warfare role. The FCT program is designed to test items and technologies of foreign allies that have a high Technology Readiness Level in order to satisfy valid defense requirements quickly and economically.

The NSM currently is used on Norwegian Nansen Class frigates and Skjold-class missile torpedo boats, and in the Polish Coastal Missile Division. Kongsberg has previously contracted with the U.S. Navy to supply simulation training tools for Navigation, Seamanship, and Shiphandling Training (NSST) programs.

Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems, together with Program Executive Office Littoral Combat Ships, will coordinate the demonstration. In the event of inclement weather or an unfavorable sea state, the demonstration will be conducted Sept. 25.

* Notícia publicada a Sea Power. No és cap novetat que la indústria de defensa Noruega fabrica míssils de gran qualitat, i tampoc és el primer cop que la US Navy s'hi fixat. Les properes proves podrien ser un pas per substituïr els veterans Harpoon

dilluns, 8 de setembre de 2014

Fincantieri delivers Kalaat Beni-Abbes LPD to Algerian Navy*

Italian shipbuilding firm Fincantieri has delivered the new Kalaat Beni-Abbes amphibious vessel to the Algerian Navy at its Muggiano Shipyard.
Commissioned in 2011 by the Ministry of Defence of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, the 143m-long, BDSL class landing platform dock (LPD) vessel is powered by two diesel engines that allow it to cruise at a maximum speed of more than 20k, while accomodating 600 personnel.
"The vessel boasts a displacement capacity of 8,800t and integrates a whole flight deck."
Its internal floodable dock is designed to carry a 20m-long landing craft.
The vessel boasts a displacement capacity of 8,800t and integrates a whole flight deck, with two helicopter landing areas, fore and aft.
The LPD features a 60-bed hospital and some operating theatres that support humanitarian missions by offering medical support to both troops and civilians.
In addition to the vessel delivery, the company is tasked with offering logistical support in addition to overseeing the design, management and coordination of the three smaller vessels being built locally at naval shipyards in Algeria.
Dubbed Chaland, the smaller vessels are integral elements of the vessel's equipment and can carry 140 individuals or a heavy tank, with a maximum weight of 30t.
* Notícia publicada a Naval Technology. Publicat amb retard per problemes tècnics. Resulta curiós com a casa nostra hi ha qui s'exclama perquè es demanin unes quantes corvetes i patrulleres mentre a l'altra riba de la Mediterrània es compren LPDs...

divendres, 5 de setembre de 2014

Stavridis: Russian Mistrals Could Work Well As NATO Rapid Reaction Force Asset*

The suspended delivery of two French-built amphibious warships to the Russian Navy could give NATO an opportunity to buy a ready-made platform for its planned rapid reaction force, retired Adm. James G. Stavridis — former NATO Supreme Allied Commander — told USNI News on Thursday.

“France has made a good decision stopping the sale process — it would be absurd for NATO to be providing assistance to Ukraine on the one hand while selling arms to Russia on the other,” said retired James G. Stavridis — U.S. Naval Institute’s Chair of the Board of Directors — said in a statement to USNI News.
“If the [Russian] arms embargo continues, then the idea of NATO purchasing one or even two as part of a rapid reaction force might make sense… “[But] it is too soon to tell, given discussion today about ceasefires and political settlement.”

Stavridis comments follow a Wednesday announcement from the office French President François Hollande suspending the delivery of the ships as part of a $1.53 billion program.

Citing the continued Russian involvement in violence in Eastern Ukraine, the Hollande administration concluded, “the conditions under which France could authorize the delivery of the first helicopter carrier are not in place.”

It is yet unclear if the suspension of delivery will be permanent.

Rapid Reaction

This week — as part of the ongoing NATO conference in Wales — alliance leaders will likely approve the creation of a, “very high-readiness force able to deploy at very short notice,” NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Monday as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
“This force can travel light, but strike hard if needed.”

NATO currently has a response force, but the new unit could assemble in two days instead of five.

The force that could pair well with the Russian Mistrals, said Eric Wertheim — naval analyst and author of U.S. Naval Institute’s Combat Fleets of the World.

“I [think] that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization should examine acquiring the two ships as NATO alliance assets operating in support of their newly proposed rapid reaction force,” he said.
“Additionally the two 20,000-ton vessels could support NATO mine-countermeasures (MCM) operations or be on standby for humanitarian assistance duties.”

NATO’s Military Assets

It wouldn’t be the first time NATO purchased and operated its own military assets.

“There would be a precedent for joint ownership of NATO maritime and even air assets. NATO has operated the research ship NRV Alliance as well as the oceanographic tender CRV Leonardo,” Wertheim said.
“NATO also operates a fleet of E-3 airborne early warning and control (AWACS) aircraft as well as a force of C-17 cargo aircraft operated by multi-national NATO crewmembers.”

The U.S. Navy also experimented with mixed multi-national NATO crews to some success in the 1960s.

The inclusion of the Mistrals into the NATO arsenal opens up a range of possibilities for the reaction force.

The Russian Mistrals — Vladivostok and Sevastopol — have been modified to carry heavier Russian helicopters and are optimized for Arctic operations, allowing a rare cold weather operating capability for NATO. Most Western ships are optimized to work in tropical climates.

The ships could also serve as a logistics sea base for expeditionary forces from NATO without creating a large terrestrial footprint — much like U.S. Navy and Marine Amphibious Ready Groups and Marine Expeditionary Unites. (ARG/MEU).

Economic Affect and Russian Capabilities

A cancellation of the Russian Mistral deal could have a significant affect on the French defense industry.

Russia has paid France most of the price tag for the two ships and a cancellation of the program could result in a total refund plus $325 million in contract penalties, reported the BBC on Thursday.

“Unless an alternative buyer or use is found for these two ships, cancelation could have a negative impact on their economy, employment and shipbuilding industry,” Wertheim said.

A NATO purchase could defray that cost, he said.

The cancellation would also degrade the long-term outlook for the Russian Navy’s amphibious capabilities.

“Without the two French Mistral class vessels, Russia’s navy has only a handful of small landing ships, none of which carry helicopters or have flight decks,” Wertheim said. “Their newest class of tank landing ships has been under construction since 2004 and have yet to enter service. Without these French ships, Russia remains a decade or more away from gaining a similar capability.”

Russia contracted France to build the two ships shortly after its 2008 with Georgia. Russian commanders had trouble deploying large numbers of troops on the coast — prompting the deal with France.

* Notícia publicada a l'US Naval Institute. La cancel.lació de l'entrega dels Mistral a Rússia per part de França és una bona notícia, no només per Ucraïna. Ara caldrà veure com actua l'OTAN, ja que seria desitjable que adquirís les naus.


Russia offers to help repair India’s Kilo class submarine*

Russia expressed willingness to help repair all of India’s Project 877 EKM (NATO reporting name Kilo) diesel-electric submarines. India has 9 such submarines, many of which are in need of repair, according to Andrey Baranov, Deputy Director of foreign trade and military-technical cooperation of the Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering.
According to Baranov, Russia is ready to provide India with a program that shows the exact repair time for specific vessels. India’s Ministry of Defence is expected to offer a response, according to Itar-Tass.

Baranov recalled the accident on the Russian-made submarine INS Sindurakshak off the coast of Mumbai in August of last year. It is unclear whether the submarine can be used again, although Indian Navy sources remain optimistic.
The service life of many of India’s Project 877 EKM submarines can be extended up to ten years, according to the Rubin bureau.
Earlier it was reported that the Zvezdochka shipyard will take on the repair and modernization of the Indian Navy’s Sindukesari. Then it was reported that the financial terms had not yet been fully resolved, in order for India to avoid the sanctions imposed by the United States and the EU on the United Shipbuilding Corporation, which owns Zvezdochka.
In early August, the Indian side indicated its willingness to buy or lease two Russian Cupid class submarines. This decision was made after the failure of one naval submarine project in India, resulting in the Ministry of Defence’s subsequent unease about the state of the country's defences.
In September 2013, India said it intended to conclude a contract with Zvezdochka in 2015 - 2019 on the repair of two Project 877EKM submarines with the extension of their service life.

Since 1997, Zvezdochka has modernised five Indian diesel-electric submarines - Sinduvir, Sinduratna, Sindugosh, Sinduvijay and Sindurakshak. The enterprise also continues the repair and modernisation support of the Sindukirti submarine at its permanent base - Visakhapatnam.
Project 887EKM submarines were designed by the Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering (St. Petersburg). They are designed for fighting enemy’s submarines and ships and defending naval bases, coastal and sea service lines, reconnaissance and patrolling missions.

*Notícia publicada a Russia & India Report. Més enllà dels acords concrets, aquesta notícia ens recorda la importància de gestionar els contractes de manteniment, reparacions i actualització.

dijous, 4 de setembre de 2014

Russian Navy launches third diesel-electric submarine*

The Russian Navy has launched its new Varshavyanka-class Stary Oskol diesel-electric submarine, which is third in a series of vessels being built under project 636.3 as part of the navy's fleet modernisation programme.
The series of six submarines will be deployed to serve in the Russian Navy's Black Sea Fleet following the successful completion of sea trials.
The navy has already taken delivery of Novorossiysk, the first submarine. Work on the second and fourth submarines including 'Rostov-on-Don' and 'Krasnodar' is currently in progress.
"The improved variant of the Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines can patrol for 45 days with 52 on-board submariners."
Construction on the last two submarines Veliky Novgorod and Kolpino of series is scheduled to begin next month, with the delivery of all vessels anticipated to be completed by 2016.
With an underwater speed of 20k and a cruising range of 400m, the improved variant of the Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines can patrol for 45 days with 52 on-board submariners.
Features of these submarines include advanced stealth technology, extended combat range, latest inertial navigation system and the potential to strike land, surface and underwater targets.
Work on the Russian Navy's three new submarines including the Borei-class Knyaz Oleg and Yasen-class Krasnoyarsk and the Khabarovsk is already underway at Defence shipyard Sevmash in Severodvinsk, Russia.
Russia is investing $700bn on its military rearmament programme, which includes the construction of ten Graney-class nuclear-attack submarines and 20 diesel-electric submarines, including six Varshavyanka-class crafts.

* Notícia publicada a Naval Technology. I mentre la US Navy retalla en submarins, l'Armada russa continua creixent, sobretot el qualitat.

dimecres, 3 de setembre de 2014

US Submarine Fleet to decrease by 25%

Some defense and security links to start off the week:

Reviewing the U.S. Navy’s latest 30-year shipbuilding plan, Stars and Stripes notes that the U.S. submarine fleet is expected to shrink from 55 today to just 41 in 2028. That’s more than a 25 percent decline. Furthermore, the current shipbuilding plan assumes that there will be “$19 billion in annual shipbuilding funds during several of those years — $6 billion more per year than the Navy’s historical adjusted average.” After the plan was released in July, friend of The Diplomat, Rep. Randy Forbes (F-VA) remarked: “The new shipbuilding plan lacks the resources to be anything more than a piece of paper.” Thus, the decrease in the U.S. Navy’s submarine fleet could be even greater 25 percent.

Speaking of Rep. Forbes, he and some of his counterparts inserted language into the House of Representatives’ version of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) directing the Pentagon to better assess China’s military threat to Taiwan. The NDAA needs to be passed by the Senate before it becomes law.

Over at The National Interest, Flashpoints own Rob Farley has a piece on 5 Chinese military game changers. Speaking of Chinese military game changers, in the wake of China’s latest anti-satellite (ASAT) test, Jeffrey Lewis and Aaron Stein have a podcast discussing the spread of hit-to-kill missiles. Lewis has more on the subject at Foreign Policy.

On ASPI’s The Strategist, Nic Stuart reviews the future of air power.

The Lowy Interperter continues its ongoing debate over how sea-based nuclear weapons will impact strategic stability in Asia.

The U.S. has now declassified every single classified document about the Manhattan Project, the massive WWII program to build the first atom bombs (Hat tip: Federation of Atomic Scientists).

* Notícia publicada a The Diplomat. Una notícia molt més trascendent del que pugui semblar. Els Estats Units podria retallar en la mateixa proporció de portaavions, sense veure's afectada la seva dissuasió convencional.