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[*] posted on 30-12-2017 at 03:42 PM


Saab Offers Fixed Face Configuration of Sea Giraffe 4A

29 December 2017



Defence and security company Saab has introduced the Sea Giraffe 4A Fixed Face (FF), a fixed-panel configuration of Saab’s existing and delivered active electrically scanned array, AESA, radar family.

The radar is a derivative of Saab’s well-proven family of rotating, full AESA S-band radar systems. In addition to radar performance, the sensor’s low top-weight adds flexibility which means the radar can be installed on many new naval platforms.

“Many naval customers require surveillance radars in a fixed faced configuration, primarily for their principal surface combatants. With the new Sea Giraffe 4A Fixed Face configuration, we complement our existing offer to meet these requirements. Our aim is to ensure a successful outcome of any mission”, says Anders Linder, head of Saab’s business unit Surface Radar Solutions.

Saab has several decades of experience designing and operating radars for complex and cluttered naval environments. Sea Giraffe 4A FF complements Saab’s existing naval radar portfolio with a sensor crafted to further improve surveillance onboard the world’s principal surface combatants.
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[*] posted on 11-1-2018 at 01:48 PM


French naval contract award could be game-changer for firm

By: Pierre Tran   6 hours ago


Naval Group is due to deliver to France the first of five 4,200-ton warships. The company will pitch its export version under the Belh@rra brand name. (Naval Group)

PARIS — Navigation, positioning and imaging firm iXBlue has won a contract from Naval Group to supply navigation systems for five French intermediate frigates, its first deal to equip a new warship for the county’s Navy, iXBlue said.

“Responsible for the development of these vessels, Naval Group has signed a contract with iXBlue for the acquisition of Marins inertial navigation systems and Netans data distribution and processing units to equip these new generation frigates,” iXBlue said in a statement.

Naval Group and iXBlue declined to give a value for the deal.

Naval Group held a competition, which attracted three bidders, a Naval Group spokesman said.

Naval Group and iXBlue have collaborated on export contracts, but this is the first domestic deal with the naval systems company.

“This contract is the outcome of a longstanding collaboration with Naval Group, with whom we are working on several export programs,” said Thomas Buret, head of iXBlue’s inertial systems and applications division. “However, this the first time that iXBlue systems have been chosen by Naval Group to equip a new-built (sic) major combat vessel for the French Navy.”

The contract was signed in early November.

IXBlue won deals in 2016 to equip the British and German navies with its Marins inertial navigation system, based on fiber-optic gyroscope technology. The Netans system, while seeking to address cybersecurity threats, will plug into the ship’s sensors to acquire, analyze, correlate and distribute data to all onboard systems.

Naval Group is due to deliver the first of the five 4,200-ton warships in 2023 under the €3.8 billion (U.S. $4.5 billion) FTI intermediate frigate program. The warship will equip the French Navy, while Naval Group will pitch its export version under the Belh@rra brand name.

That name refers to Belharra, a giant wave on the coast of the Basque region, southwest France, and the unconventional typography in the product name indicates the digital technology designed into the warship.
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[*] posted on 11-1-2018 at 10:21 PM


SNA 2018: Lockheed Martin Showcasing Royal Saudi Navy MMSC

Posted On Thursday, 11 January 2018 04:37

At the Surface Navy Association's (SNA) 2018 National Symposium currently held near Washington DC, Lockheed Martin is showcasing a new scale model representative of the Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) recently procured by Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).


The Royal Saudi Navy MMSC on Lockheed Martin stand at SNA 2018

On May 22nd 2017, the KSA expressed its intent to procure more than $28 billion worth of Lockheed Martin integrated air and missile defense, combat ship, tactical aircraft and rotary wing technologies and programs. The agreement includes four MMSC based on the Freedom-class LCS Lockheed Martin’s industry team is building for the U.S. Navy. The four vessels are part of a modernization program for the Royal Saudi Navy's eastern fleet called SNEP II (Saudi Naval Expansion Program).

Back in October 2015, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced via press release that the U.S. State Department gave its green light for a proposed sale to Saudi Arabia of four MMSC Ships.


From left to right: Decoy launchers, 2x Nexter Narwhal 20mm RWS, 8x Harpoon anti-ship missiles, Saab CEROS 200 FCR, Raytheon SeaRAM and 12.7mm weapon station (manned).

The model on display at SNA 2018 is a new one reflecting the latest and final configuration selected by the Saudi Navy:

- A BAE Systems Bofors 57mm main (while an earlier design was fitted with an Oto Melara 76mm main gun),
- 8x MK41 VLS cells placed forward ahead of the bridge (2x8 cells used to be placed on each side of the helicopter hangar in the earlier design)
- 8x Harpoon anti-ship missiles (in two launchers),
- A Raytheon SeaRAM launcher on top of the helicopter hangar,
- 2x Nexter Narwhal 20mm remote weapon stations (these were Mk38 turrets in a previous scale model unveiled at SNA 2016 however the DSCA release mentionned Nexter's Narwhal 20mm RWS as early as 2015).

Two triple torpedo launchers present on the 2016 scale model appear to have been removed on the final MMSC design.


Head on view of the MMSC for the Royal Saudi Navy.

In terms of sensor systems, two CEROS 200 radar and optronic tracking fire control director by Saab are fitted: One forward (on top of the deck house) and the other one back aft, between the harpoon launchers and the SeaRAM system.The main radar system is an Hensoldt (formerly Airbus D&S) TRS-4D AESA Radar. Other sensors likely include a Variable Depth Sonar (likely Thales CAPTAS type), Argon ST WBR-2000 Electronic Support Measure and Threat Warning System. The combat management system is set to be similar to the one fitted onboard the Freedom class LCS: The COMBATSS-21 by Lockheed Martin.


The KSA flag on the MMSC.

Below the helicopter deck is a mission bay area with built in modularity. Hull size and shape, propulsion system, power output, helicopter hangar etc remain unchanged compared to the U.S. Navy Freedom class LCS.

The deal signed in 2017 also include spares, training and other logistics items for the program. A Memorandum of Understanding between Lockheed Martin and Saudi Arabian Military Industries for the parties to work together to build defense capabilities in the KSA to support Vision 2030 and provide for localization efforts associated with Multi-mission Surface Combatants was signed as well.
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[*] posted on 23-2-2018 at 09:24 AM


Milestone: Third 125-Class Frigate Takes to the Sea

(Source: ThyssenKrupp; issued Feb 22, 2018)

Have they managed to get the first one not to tilt to one side yet?

The third 125 class frigate, the “Sachsen-Anhalt”, has taken to the sea for the first time. On February 22, 2018 the ship left the shipyard in Hamburg for scheduled in-port trials.

The ship’s technical systems and equipment, including its propulsion system, maneuvering behavior and technical operations, will be tested over a period of around two weeks. The trials will take the ship from Hamburg via the river Elbe to the North Sea before returning to Hamburg after completing the test program. In addition to technical specialists from the German defense procurement agency BAAINBw, the testing team from the ARGE F125 consortium and employees of other companies involved, members of the future naval crew are also on board.

Following the “Baden-Württemberg” and the “Nordrhein-Westfalen”, the “Sachsen-Anhalt” is now the third of the F125 class frigates to take to the open seas.

The completely redesigned F125 class ships have an extremely high degree of automation with approximately 28,000 electric devices, permitting a significantly smaller crew size compared with previous frigate classes. At the same time, they are capable of remaining in their area of operation for up to two years.

The newly developed ships are thus the first to implement the so-called intensive use principle. In addition to the high level of automation, this is also made possible by a multiple-crew strategy that enables the entire crew to be swapped out during deployment. With sanitary facilities (including shower) in each cabin, a small gym and even internet connections, the ships meet the demands of modern crew members.

The ARGE F125 consortium comprises thyssenkrupp Marine Systems as the lead company and Fr. Lürssen Werft in Bremen. The pre-fitted bow sections were manufactured at the Fr. Lürssen Werft shipyards in Bremen and Wolgast. Construction of the stern sections, the joining of the two sections and further fitting out is being carried out at Blohm+Voss Shipyards in Hamburg under the direction of thyssenkrupp Marine Systems.

Key data for the F125:
-- Length: 149 m
-- Width: 18 m
-- Maximum speed: >26 knots
-- Displacement: approx. 7,000 t
-- Crew: max. 190 (of which up to 120 regular crew members)

-ends-
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[*] posted on 14-3-2018 at 07:02 PM


DIMDEX 2018: Fincantieri Unveils Qatari Navy Air Defense Corvette Design

Posted On Monday, 12 March 2018 21:35

At DIMDEX 2018, the Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition & Conference currently held in Qatar, Italian shipbuilding group Fincantieri is showcasing for the first time the multi-role air defence corvettes for the Qatari Navy.


The future multi-role air defence corvette of the Qatar Emiri Naval Forces. Fincantieri image.

Qatar confirmed in August 2017 its order for seven vessels from Fincantieri following the signing of a preliminary contract in June 2016. The deal consists in four air defence corvettes of over 100 meters in length, one amphibious vessel (LPD - Landing Platform Dock acting as mobile radar station for the corvettes), and two patrol vessels (OPV - Offshore Patrol Vessel).


Fincantieri is showcasing for the very first time a scale model of the future corvette on its stand at DIMDEX 2018

The corvette design selected by the Qatari Navy has a length of 107 meters, a maximum breadth of 14.70 meters, a draft of 4.20 meters for a full load displacement of 3250 tons.
Its maximum speed is set to be 28 knots, its range 3500 nautical miles (at 15 knots). The propulsion system will be CODAD type. It will have an endurance of 21 days.

The crew complement will be 98 sailors with accommodations for a total of 112 persons. The flight deck and hangar are sized for one NH90 helicopter.


A scale model of the corvette is also present on the Qatari Navy booth

In terms of weapon systems, the corvettes will be fitted with a 76mm main gun by Leonardo, 16x VLS cells for ASTER 30 surface to air missiles (by MBDA), two Marlins 30mm remote weapon stations (Leonardo), 8x Exocet MM40 Block III (MBDA) and RAM launcher (21 missiles) by Raytheon for short range air defense.

Leonardo is responsible for the integrated supply of the new naval units’ combat system (Athena), main radar system (Kronos) and on-board sensors and defence sub-systems, including the anti-torpedo protection system and the Thesan mine avoidance sonar.

A total of four Sylena Mk2 decoy launchers by Lacroix will protect the vessels against anti-ship missile threats.

These corvettes will become the backbone and the most potent surface combatants of the Qatari Navy fleet.

First steel cutting is set to take place in June 2018 while delivery of first of class vessel is expected in 2021.


These corvettes will become the backbone and the most potent surface combatants of the Qatari Navy fleet.

The contract also includes support services in Qatar for 15 years after the delivery of the vessels. All the units will be entirely built in Fincantieri Italian shipyards starting from 2018, ensuring 6 years of work and an important impact on the main Italian defense companies.

Fincantieri and the Qatari Navy are also showcasing for the first time the designs of the OPV and LPD. Stay tuned for Navy Recognition's coverage of these two new vessels.
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[*] posted on 17-3-2018 at 01:20 PM


DIMDEX 2018: Plans for new Qatari naval vessels unveiled

Luca Peruzzi, Doha - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

16 March 2018


While based on the LPD that Fincantieri built for Algeria, Qatar’s LPD will have more advanced sensors that will enable it to support the corvettes’ air defence capabilities. Source: Luca Peruzzi

The corvette they are talking about is the one in the immediately preceding article...........

Key Points

- Qatar’s corvettes will have an anti-ballistic missile capability supported by the LPD’s Kronos Power Shield radar
- Exocets and NH90 helicopters with Marte ER missiles will be their primary anti-surface weapons

The designs and capabilities of the new naval vessels that Fincantieri will build for the Qatari Emiri Naval Forces (QENF) were unveiled during the DIMDEX show held in Doha on 12–14 March.

The contract awarded to Fincantieri in 2016 covers the design and supply of four multirole corvettes, a landing platform dock (LPD), and two offshore patrol vessels (OPV).

The corvettes will be large, with a length of 107 m, a full load displacement of 3,250 tonnes, and crews of 112. Although the design of the superstructure has yet to be finalised, the ships will have enclosed bows as well as hangars and flight decks for the NH90 helicopters Qatar has ordered.

While Fincantieri would not comment on the propulsion system, Jane’s understands it will be a combined diesel and diesel (CODAD) package with four 8,000 kW MAN 22/38D engines driving two shafts with featherable controllable pitch propellers (FCPPs), providing a maximum speed of 28 kt.

The corvette class will have a new version of Leonardo’s Athena command management system and the MBDA SAAM ESD air defence system, which is based on the Leonardo Kronos Grand Naval radar and MBDA Aster 30 Block 1 surface-to-air missiles.

The missiles will be fired from two eight-cell Naval Group Syler A-50 vertical launch systems (VLS) on the bow and will be able to intercept ballistic missiles as well as air-breathing threats.

Close-in air defence will be provided by a Raytheon RIM-116 RAM launcher mounted above the hangar.

(300 of 664 words)
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[*] posted on 17-3-2018 at 02:04 PM


Quote: Originally posted by bug2  
DIMDEX 2018: Plans for new Qatari naval vessels unveiled

Luca Peruzzi, Doha - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

16 March 2018


Seven large corvettes, 2 tooled-up OPVs and an LPD.

Pardon me for asking… but with an enlisted navy of < 2000? A total population of < 320,000 Qatari citizens, most of whom are not that keen on anything that looks like manual labour (because they don't need to be, I hasten to add). ;)

Are we talking here about outsourced crewing, outsourced everything else, or mercenaries?

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[*] posted on 17-3-2018 at 02:10 PM


What are Mercenaries and what are out-sourced crews?

IF you are talking about Expats and Third Country Nationals, then yes, that'll be a high proportion of their respective crews................most of the Expats will be Direct Hire as will some of the TNC's, the rest will be PMC of one kind or another...........

The same applies to most of the Gulf States.
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[*] posted on 17-3-2018 at 03:03 PM


Quote: Originally posted by bug2  
What are Mercenaries and what are out-sourced crews?

IF you are talking about Expats and Third Country Nationals, then yes, that'll be a high proportion of their respective crews................most of the Expats will be Direct Hire as will some of the TNC's, the rest will be PMC of one kind or another...........

The same applies to most of the Gulf States.


By mercenary (without the pejorative) I meant "a professional soldier hired to serve in a foreign army."

Out-sourced crewing meant the employment of navy personnel that are not citizens of the country in whose navy they serve. Just as you said.

Yeah, I know, we let New Zealanders in!
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[*] posted on 17-3-2018 at 03:48 PM


I'm struggling to see how exactly Qatar intends to use this newfound navy or why they have gone down this route, beyond having money to burn...for the time being.



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and the end, is extremely f@#king nigh!
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[*] posted on 17-3-2018 at 11:07 PM


Quote: Originally posted by ARH  
I'm struggling to see how exactly Qatar intends to use this newfound navy or why they have gone down this route, beyond having money to burn...for the time being.


Keeping up with the Joneses. The favourite hobby among Emirs...

Feeding their people? Nah. Developing an educational or health system? Perhaps develop a local industry so your people have a future when oil runs out?

F*ck all that! Hurry up and buy a brand new navy we have no idea what to do with and make sure the bloody thing comes with more guns and missiles than any of our neighbours have!

Now I’m off to the Lamborghini dealer and maybe stone to death one of my wives.

We’ll do the Army next week...




In a low speed post-merge manoeuvring fight, with a high off-boresight 4th generation missile and Helmet Mounted Display, the Super Hornet will be a very difficult opponent for any current Russian fighter, even the Su-27/30
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[*] posted on 24-3-2018 at 05:14 PM


Naval Group Acquisition Plan to Prepare the Construction of Future Intermediate-Size Frigates

(Source: Naval Group; issued March 23, 2018)


Naval Group has started to select the first subcontractors and equipment suppliers for the French navy’s future class of five intermediate-size frigates (FTI), which will be based on the company’s Belh@rra all-digital frigate design. (Naval Group photo)

In the framework of the execution of the contract awarded by the French Defence Procurement Agency in April 2017, Naval Group initiated its process of selecting the programme's industrial suppliers for the five future intermediate-size frigates, the first of which will be delivered to the French Navy in 2023.

Purchases represent a significant proportion of the value of a warship; it is essential for Naval Group, as system engineering leader and integrator, to select the most effective suppliers and subcontractors and develop partnerships with them.

Frédéric Massa, Director of Naval Group Purchasing: explains, "We expect a lot from our suppliers. Their innovative and competitive solutions will contribute to delivering technological superiority in the theatre of operations. The success of the program is dependent on them fulfilling their commitments: timely delivery of input data and equipment for which they are responsible, with the expected quality level. We therefore selected them for their capacity to deliver on this strategic programme for France."

To date, the main suppliers selected are:

-- Axima, for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems;
-- CNIM, for sonar hatches and torpedo hatches;
-- Ixblue for navigation units and their computers;
-- Leonardo for 76 mm medium calibre artillery systems;
-- MBDA for integration and services relating to missile-firing installations;
-- MTU, one of the world's leading manufacturers of large diesel engines;
-- Safran Electronics & Defense for the optronic identification system incorporating the very long range of the PASEO XLR (eXtra Long Range) sight;
-- Thales, for the sonar suite, the electronic warfare suite, the IFF (Identification, Friend or Foe) and the communications system.

The French version of the Belh@rra, a world-class frigate of an approximate displacement of 4,000 tonnes intended for anti-submarine warfare, is designed to respond to the various French national needs. It will be endowed with extended self-defence and special forces projection capacities.

Furthermore, it will integrate the new Thales SEA FIRE four flat antenna radar and will be equipped with reconfigurable firing installations for Aster 30 and Exocet missiles from MBDA.

Naval Group is the European leader in naval defence. The group designs, builds and supports submarines and surface ships. It also supplies services to shipyards and naval bases. The Group reports revenues of €3.7 billion and has a workforce of 13,429 employees (2017 data).

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[*] posted on 6-4-2018 at 12:30 PM


Rolls-Royce to supply 20 MTU engines for French Navy frigates

Posted 3 April 2018

Rolls-Royce has received its first order for the new sixteen-cylinder engines in its successful Series 8000 range, as French shipbuilder Naval Group has ordered a total of 20 MTU 16V 8000 M91L engines, each delivering up to 8,000 kW of mechanical power, to be installed in the French Navy’s five new FTI-type frigates (Frégates de Taille Intermédiaire – medium-sized frigates) from 2023 onwards.


Courtesy Rolls-Royce

The engines are due to ship between the end of 2020 and 2027.

Knut Müller, Head of Marine & Government Business at MTU, said: “We are proud to have succeeded in convincing Naval Group and the French Navy of the merits of our new engine, and to have the opportunity of powering these leading-edge vessels with their all-new design.”

With the 16V 8000 engine, MTU has expanded its portfolio of well-proven marine engines in the very high power class. The Series 8000 now covers the power range from 7,200 to 10,000 kW. Like its 20-cylinder counterpart, the 16-cylinder engine excels with low overall operating costs, high power density and low environmental impact while meeting both IMO Tier II and EPA Tier II emissions limits, with the ability to meet other standards as required.

The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) has awarded its Naval Vessel Rules (NVR) certificate to all models in the Series 8000 line-up, putting them among the first modern, ABS-certified engines in their power class. Another key factor in winning the FTI project was the engine’s extremely low structure-borne noise levels, as verified by MTU using a trial engine.

The FTI vessels are each to be powered by four 16V 8000 engines forming a combined diesel-and-diesel (CODAD) propulsion system, with two diesel engines connected to each of the ship’s dual prop shafts. The propulsion system will produce a total power output of 32 MW, powering the frigates up to speeds of 27 knots. The vessels will have a range of up to 5,000 nautical miles.

With their all-new design, these vessels will be approximately 122 meters long and have a displacement of 4,250 metric tons. Their modular design will ensure they are able to assume a wide variety of roles, including intercepting threats posed by other surface vessels, submarines and aircraft. The on-board digital systems are protected against all forms of cyberattack. Right from the outset, the FTI vessels have also been designed for export markets. Naval Group is marketing the export version under the name Belh@rra, whose unusual spelling references the project’s widespread use of digital technology.

The five new frigates are due to enter service by 2030, joining the eight slightly larger Aquitaine-class FREMM frigates to form the backbone of the French Navy. The French FREMM frigates also feature MTU engines, each vessel is equipped with four 16V 4000 M63L engines supplying on-board electrical power and teamed with a gas turbine to form the propulsion system.

MTU and Naval Group (known as DCNS until 2017) have enjoyed a close partnership for over 20 years now, with a total of around 30 submarines and surface vessels built by Naval Group plying the world’s seas with MTU engines. One current project is for four ‘Gowind’ corvettes for the Egyptian Navy, each powered by two 20-cylinder Series 8000 engines. The first of these vessels went into service in September 2017.
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[*] posted on 12-4-2018 at 08:31 PM


SAS 2018: Japan's MHI Showcasing 30DX Multi-Mission Frigate Design

Posted On Thursday, 12 April 2018 05:05

At the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space 2018 exposition currently held near Washington D.C., Japanese company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is showcasing for the first time the concept model of the 30DX multi-mission frigate.


MHI showcasing its 30DX / Future Multi Mission Frigate concept model at Sea Air Space 2018

Japan's Acquisition Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA) announced on August 9th 2017 the launch of a new surface vessel programme called 30DX for the JMSDF. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) was selected as prime contractor while Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding (Mitsui) was selected as subcontractor. ATLA is a branch of Japan's MoD created in 2015 to "ensure technological superiority and respond to operational needs smoothly and quickly".

ATLA also announced that MHI would build the first vessel and Mitsui the second unit of the new class. Construction of the first two units is expected to begin in 2018; The series should consist of eight units built in pairs.


MHI Future multi mission frigate.

The original plan considered a design similar to the American LCS concept, but finaly it looks like ATLA decided on a more conservative plan. MHI has been working (with its own funds) on the 30FF concept since 2015: A 3000 tons frigate capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots. However the latest ATLA CGI looks quite different compared to the 30FF design. The three main factors driving the 30DX design appear to be affordability, miniaturization/automation and multi-mission capabilities.

The 30DX will follow the latest Asahi-class of Destroyers. It will be quite smaller and some of its mission set include mine warfare. 30DX is expected to replace both the Asagiri-class destroyer (8 units built in the 1980ies) and the Abukuma-class destroyer escort (6 corvettes built in the late 1980ies/early 1990ies).


The frigate will be fitted with SeaRAM and some next generation anti-ship missiles.

According the ATLA, the 30DX is set to have a standard displacement of approximately 3,900 tons, a length of 130 meters and width of 16 meters. The top speed is set to be in excess of 30 knots. The propulsion system will be in CODAG arrangement with 1x Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbine and 2x MAN diesel engines.

Specifications of the MHI scale model at Sea Air Space 2018 showed the same specifications except for the displacement: MHI is giving a value of 6,000 tons. A company representative explained that this is the "full load displacement" value, with all equipment onboard. Two propulsion systems are possible: propellers or waterjets.

The MHI representative (a naval architect) stressed that this future frigate is:

- Stealthy (applying MHI's radar and acoustic stealth technology),
- Smart (automated damage control system based on distributed sensors, ship ressource management and maneuver control)
- Scalable (modular compartment to accommodate the payload for greater mission requirements)

The goal of the programme is to come out with a vessel with similar or greater capabilities compared to the Akizuki-class of destroyers but on a smaller, smarter frigate design. MHI believes this design could match potential export customers, for this reason the Japanese company is showcasing its design at Sea Air Space 2018.


The future Multi Mission frigate will be fitted with an integrated mast and two RSW on top of the bridge.

The MHI representative didn't want to provide details about the weapon systems, however based on the scale model we can assume that the vessel will be fitted with a BAE Systems 5 inch Mark 45 naval gun system, 16x Mk41 VLS cells for surface to air missiles, 8x anti-ship missiles (likely XSSM because of the shape of the cannisters), a Raytheon SeaRAM short range missile launcher on top of the helicopter hangar, torpedo and decoy launchers.

As far as sensors are concerned, the 30DX is fitted with a multi-functionr radar (in an integrated mast possibly from NEC), Electro Optic sensors, variable depth sonar and passive towed array as well as a hull mounted mine countermeasure sonar. 30DX will be able to deploy and recover UUV, USV, helicopter as well as sea mines.


The future Multi Mission frigate / 30DX conceptual model at Sea Air Space 2018 on MHI booth.
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[*] posted on 15-6-2018 at 04:57 PM


American-Dutch Study Improves Europe's Missile Defense

(Source: Dutch Ministry of Defence; issued June 13, 2018)

(Issued in Dutch; unofficial translation by Defense-aerospace.com)


The SMART-L extended-range radar at the Dutch navy base at Den Helder, where it was tested to gauge its missile defense capabilities. (NL MoD photo)

Ballistic missiles in the hands of hostile states are one of the biggest threats today. Defensive systems include missiles, but detection radars are at least as important. The results of the Ballistic Missile Defense Sensor Integration Study (BMD SIS) were presented the day before yesterday. It shows how the Dutch SMART-L radars can work together with the SM-3 defense missiles of American 'shooters'.

Missile attacks are getting faster and faster and are now flying high through the atmosphere. Behind the scenes, researchers are therefore working hard on the further development of radars. In turn, they can detect and track the missiles at a ever-increasing distances.

The Royal Netherlands Navy will soon be using new radars on its air defense and command frigates (LCF): the SMART-L ELR (extended long range) radar. The Air Force will also receive two of these systems, replacing the current air defense radars at Nieuw Milligen and Wier.

The Dutch-US study focused on integrating the SMART-L ELR radar into NATO missile defense architecture. This search, tracking and reporting capability must make it possible to destroy incoming ballistic missiles high in the atmosphere. The study results have now been incorporated into the software of the LCF Zr.Ms. De Ruyter.

Impressive

Rear Admiral Tom Druggan of the Missile Defense Agency presented the report at the defense ministry in The Hague to the Director of Plans, Major General Eric Schevenhoven. Druggan emphasized the importance of this collaboration and was impressed by the international technical commitment: "Even for countries that are engaged in missile defense at this high level, maritime ballistic missile defense is a major technical challenge, but it is also a crucial combat capability."

Commander Fred Douglas is one of those involved on behalf of Defense: "You have to see it as a bullet that you shoot with another bullet from the air."

Leader

The Netherlands is a European leader in radar and anti-ballistic missile technology. This leading role became visible during the At Sea Demonstration 2015 and Formidable Shield 2017, when Dutch air defense and command frigates (LCF) detected and tracked ballistic missiles with their SMART-L radar. With that targeting information, American ships then destroyed the incoming missiles.

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[*] posted on 19-6-2018 at 06:26 PM


Saab, Damen team for Brazilian corvettes

Beth Stevenson, London - IHS Jane's Defence Industry

18 June 2018



Swedish defence company Saab and Dutch shipbuilder Damen have announced on 18 June that they have teamed up to offer an adapted version of the Sigma 10514 design for the Brazilian Navy’s Tamandaré-Class Corvette (CCT) acquisition.

The navy is seeking four general-purpose corvettes under CCT to replace the Barroso type that is currently in service, for which the Swedish-Dutch team is proposing an adaption of Damen’s Sigma 10514 fitted with Saab’s 9LV combat management system (CMS).

“Saab is looking forward to the cooperation with Damen and the local partners for the CCT programme. We believe our proposal meets the requirements of the Brazilian Navy and offers the added value of industrial cooperation and transfer of technology that are intrinsic to Saab’s way of doing business,” Marianna Silva, head of Saab Brasil, says.

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[*] posted on 19-6-2018 at 08:17 PM


Saab Announce Keel Laying of Swedish Navy’s Future SIGINT Vessel

Posted On Tuesday, 19 June 2018 09:03

The keel-laying ceremony for the new Swedish signals intelligence ship took place last week at the PGZ Stocznia Wojenna, located in Gdynia, Poland. The event was attended by representatives from Saab, the Polish Armaments Group (PGZ) and invited guests.


Saab CGI of the future SIGINT vessel.

Saab was awarded the contract to design and build the SIGINT ship, which will replace the Swedish Navy’s existing HMS Orion, by the Swedish Material Defence Administration FMV in 2017. Subsequently it selected Nauta Shiprepair Yard, belonging to PGZ Group, to perform the construction, launch and early sea trials of the vessel. Cooperation in ship construction between Saab and PGZ is a direct result of the agreement, signed in late 2016, to establish a close partnership between Saab and PGZ in the planning and delivery of naval programs.

“Special purpose ships are primarily used for the interception and analysis of radio-transmitted signals and need to be highly reliable and available. Therefore you need highly skilled shipbuilders to build this kind of ship. We are very pleased with the progress of the construction process, and it was a pleasure to attend the keel laying ceremony at the Nauta Shiprepair Yard, our partner in this project,” explained Gunnar Wieslander, Head of Saab Kockums.

“The keel-laying ceremony was an important event in this special shipbuilding project, and we are pleased to celebrate it with our Swedish partners. We know the special purpose vessel is very important for the Swedish Navy and we are treating the construction as a high priority undertaking,” said Marcin Dąbrowski, Chairman of the Management Board, Nauta Shiprepair Yard.

The steel cutting for the ship took place in March 2018. Before the ship is delivered to the Swedish Navy, it will undergo final sea trials and installation of equipment with Saab Kockums in Karlskrona. The new ship, which will replace HSwMS Orion launched in 1984, will be 74 metres long with a displacement of 2,200 tonnes.
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[*] posted on 2-7-2018 at 07:55 PM


GRSE unveils design proposal for Brazilian corvette programme

Mrityunjoy Mazumdar - Jane's Navy International

29 June 2018


GRSE’s 109 m, 2,800 tonne corvette design proposed for the Brazilian Navy’s Tamandaré-class corvette project is a variant of its proposal for the Philippine Navy frigate programme. The basic ship design is based on GRSE’s Project 28 anti-submarine warfare corvette in service with the Indian Navy. Source: Withheld

Indian naval shipyard Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) has unveiled its design concept for the Brazilian Navy’s Tamandaré-class corvette programme.

The Kolkata-based shipyard has teamed with Israel’s Elbit Systems Ltd for the supply of combat systems and local firm Sinergy Group Corporate (which owns EISA shipyard) to form a consortium for the four-ship Tamandaré project, which has an estimated budget of USD1.6 billion.

GRSE’s offering is a variant of the modified Kamorta-class (Project 28) corvette design previously proposed for the Philippine Navy frigate project. The baseline version is in service with the Indian Navy.

Basic specifications include a length of 109 m, a displacement of 2,800 tonnes, a top speed of 25 kt, and a complement of 136.

Combat systems include a combat management system from Elbit, a Thales electronic warfare and communications kit, Leonardo sensors, guns and torpedoes, MBDA’s Exocet and Aster 30 missiles, Terma decoy launchers, a Canadian sonar system, as well as systems supplied by Brazilian company Ares.

GRSE will be responsible for the design and technical support, including shipyard modernisation and programme management, but will not supply any material directly, an industry source close to the subject told Jane’s . “The plan is to source as much Brazilian equipment as possible for these corvettes,” he said.

While the Brazilian Navy’s project management office EMGEPRON has released a notional design concept for the corvette, the actual design may be quite different. Brazil is looking to commission the ships between 2022 and 2025. The fleet is not meant to replace any existing ship but instead to create a new class of ships, according to the navy.

GRSE is one of nine industrial consortia bidding for the four-ship Tamandaré corvette project. The other shipyards in play are Goa Shipyard Limited, BAE Systems, Damen, Fincantieri, Naval Group, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, Turkey’s STM, and Ukrinmash, according to an 18 June announcement by the Brazilian Navy’s Program Management Directorate (DGePM).

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[*] posted on 16-7-2018 at 09:53 PM


KSA Signed the Contract for 5 Avante 2200 Corvettes with Navantia

Posted On Monday, 16 July 2018 12:20

According to Spanish media, Saudi Arabia has finally signed the contract for five Avante 2200 corvettes for the Royal Saudi Navy. The deal, worth 1.8 Billion Euros, was signed during the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Madrid, Spain. The negotiations started three years ago. The program will start at the end of 2018 and the last vessel will be delivered in 2022.


Computer rendering of the Avante 2200 corvettes for the Royal Saudi Navy. Navantia image.

A Navantia statement mentionned that the contract signed with Saudi Arabia represents the largest in the history of Spanish public shipyards with a foreign client. This contract strengthens the immediate future of Navantia and will benefit all the shipyards of the company.

This contract, which has been negotiated with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia since 2015, will involve a global workload of around seven million hours for the shipyards of Bahía de Cádiz, Ría de Ferrol and Cartagena and their auxiliary industry. It is, therefore, a key contract to guarantee the work activity of Navantia, mainly for its shipyards in Bahía de Cádiz. The program will start at the end of 2018 and the last vessel will be delivered in 2022. In addition, Navantia will be responsible for Life Cycle Support for five years, from the delivery of the first vessel, with an option for an additional five years.

The corvettes will be based on the Avante 2200 and adapted to the requirements of the Royal Saudi Navy, offering advanced features, among which stand out an excellent sea keeping, high survival capacity and operating capacity at extreme temperatures in the area of ​​the Gulf, all with an optimum life cycle cost.

The design of the corvettes is state-of-the-art, maximizing at the same time the participation of Navantia incorporating its own products such as the CATIZ combat system, the HERMESYS integrated communications system, the DORNA firing direction, the Integrated Platform Control System, the MINERVA integrated bridge and motors and gearboxes. On the other hand, the contract also includes the supply of various services such as integrated logistic support, operational and maintenance training, supply of Training and Training Centers for the Combat System and Platform Control System of ships, Support for Life Cycle, and the systems for the maintenance of the ships in the Naval Base.

Creation of a Joint Venture with SAMI

Navantia has agreed with the Saudi state company SAMI (Saudi Arabian Military Industries) the creation of a Joint Venture (JV) in Saudi Arabia.

This alliance benefits NAVANTIA and allows to strengthen the defense programs in Saudi Arabia, reinforcing its economy in line with the Vision 2030 promoted by the Government of this country.

This Joint Venture is an exceptional opportunity to position integrated systems
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[*] posted on 24-7-2018 at 09:23 AM


U.S. Government Awards Lockheed Martin Contract to Begin Production of Multi-Mission Surface Combatant for Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

(Source: Lockheed Martin; issued July 20, 2018)

WASHINGTON --- The U.S. government awarded Lockheed Martin an Undefinitized Contract Action (UCA) award for the production of the Multi-Mission Surface Combatant for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Lockheed Martin is being awarded a contract totaling $450 million to begin the detailed design and planning for construction of four Multi-Mission Surface Combatants (MMSC) that will be built at Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) will acquire four Multi-Mission Surface Combatants as part of a larger agreement between the United States and KSA to enhance global security and stimulate economic progress in the two regions.

"We are pleased the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has selected the Multi-Mission Surface Combatant to support its Royal Saudi Naval Forces fleet," said Joe DePietro, vice president, Lockheed Martin Small Combatants and Ship Systems. "The MMSC provides the Royal Saudi Naval Forces a lethal and highly maneuverable multi-mission surface combatant, which features the flexibility of the Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship steel mono-hull with expanded capabilities that include an integrated Mk41 Vertical Launch System, an increased range of 5,000 nautical miles and speeds in excess of 30 knots, making it capable of littoral and open ocean operation, and able to confront modern maritime and economic security threats."

MMSC utilizes the COMBATSS-21 Combat Management System, built from the Aegis Combat System Common Source Library, enabling anti-air and anti-surface capabilities in a small surface combatant platform. With proven combat management system lineage, Lockheed Martin's MMSC has the interoperability necessary for today's joint and allied naval force maneuvers.

In March, Lockheed Martin was awarded $481 million for long lead material for MMSC. The contract award of the MMSC is a significant milestone in the relationship between Lockheed Martin and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

"Lockheed Martin values our 50-year partnership with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and is committed to helping fulfill the Kingdom's long-term vision," said Richard H. (Rick) Edwards, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin International. "Through investment in IT infrastructure, training, tooling, equipment and enhanced collaboration with KSA industry, together we will increase the capacity of the Kingdom's economy while creating sustainable jobs for a brighter future."

Over the past 10 years, the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Freedom-variant industry team has invested more than $120 million to modernize the Marinette shipyard, hire more than 1,000 people and train a new workforce.

"This prestigious award proves the farsightedness of our decision to enter the U.S. market," said Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri. "Since then, over the past 10 years we have become a reference builder not only for the U.S. Navy, but also for several foreign navies, while contributing to the development of the industrial base and of the economic fabric in the Midwest."

The Lockheed Martin-led team is comprised of shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine, naval architect Gibbs & Cox, and more than 800 suppliers in 42 states. The LCS is the Navy's most affordable surface combatant shipbuilding program.

"Fincantieri Marinette Marine has been in this community for more than 75 years and has produced over 1,500 vessels," said Jan Allman, President and CEO of Fincantieri Marinette Marine. "We are proud to have one of the most technologically advanced shipyards, employing nearly 2,000 of the best shipbuilders, technicians and engineers. On behalf of Fincantieri Marinette Marine and our suppliers in Wisconsin and throughout the Midwest who will support this program, we are pleased to partner with Lockheed Martin to construct the Multi-Mission Surface Combatant for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 100,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. This year the company received three Edison Awards for ground-breaking innovations in autonomy, satellite technology and directed energy.

Fincantieri is the leading western shipbuilder with a rich history dating back more than 230 years, and a track record of building more than 7,000 ships. Fincantieri Marine Group (FMG) is the American subsidiary of Fincantieri, and operates three Great Lakes Shipyards: Fincantieri Marinette Marine, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, and Fincantieri ACE Marine. Fincantieri Marine Group's more than 2,100 steelworkers, craftsman, engineers and technicians in the United States specialize in the design, construction ,and maintenance of merchant ships and government vessels, including for the United States Navy and Coast Guard.

Gibbs & Cox, the nation's leading independent maritime solutions firm specializing in naval architecture, marine engineering and design, is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. The company, founded in 1929, has provided designs for nearly 80 percent of the current U.S. Navy surface combatant fleet; approaching 7,000 naval and commercial ships have been built to Gibbs & Cox designs.

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[*] posted on 4-8-2018 at 02:07 PM


With size and anti-sub capabilities in mind, Italy’s Navy rethinks ship designs

By: Tom Kington   12 hours ago


Three PPA multifunctional ships are already under construction by Italian shipyard Fincantieri, as of August 2018. (Fincantieri)

ROME — The Italian Navy is considering changing the design of some of its planned PPA multifunctional ships to make them smaller, and to possibly give them an anti-submarine capability, an Italian source has told Defense News.

The seven vessels were ordered as part of a €5.4 billion (U.S. $6.3 billion) package to replace a range of aging vessels in the Navy’s fleet. Three are already under construction by Italian shipyard Fincantieri, with preparations to build the fourth underway.

But planners may go back to the drawing board for the last three vessels, as mission priorities change, said the source, who has knowledge of the program’s developments.

Plans for the vessels were first drawn up when the Navy was run by Adm. Giuseppe de Giorgi, who opted to bring a sizable amount of design work in house, where service planners decided to build the PPA vessels large, reasoning that they would cover more missions.

Today, the vessels weigh in at about 6,000 tons. That is not as big as Italy’s 6,700-ton FREMM frigates, but far larger than the vessels they will replace, which displace about 2,000 tons and less.

PPA vessels are also the same length as the FREMMs, measuring about 146 meters long and 16.5 meters wide, just 3 meters narrower than the FREMMs.

That makes the PPAs too large to dock at certain ports in Sicily where they would be used in migrant-monitoring missions, the number of which have risen in recent years.

Now, with a new Navy chief, Valter Girardelli, at the helm, plans are under consideration to turn the last three PPAs into 3,000-ton patrol ships. Planners are also reevaluating the need for an anti-submarine capability, noting that eight ASW ships are now being retired, while there are only four FREMM frigates with an ASW configuration.

A second option is to turn the last three PPAs into 4,500-ton ASW ships. By making them smaller, four vessels would be purchased with the same funding as the three larger PPA vessels, the source said.
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[*] posted on 6-9-2018 at 07:40 PM


Navantia Signs a Contract with Saudi Arabia for the Construction of 5 Corvettes

(Source: Navantia; issued Sept 04, 2018)


Navantia will supply most major subsystems for the corvettes it will build for Saudi Arabia. (Navantia image)

On 12th. July, the Government of Saudi Arabia has signed the contract for the construction of five corvettes, an operation that reaches an amount of 1.8 billion Euros, the biggest one in the history of the public Spanish shipyards with a foreign client.

This contract strengthens the immediate future of Navantia and will benefit all the shipyards of the company.

The signing of this contract with Arabia is going to be of benefit to the whole Navantia workers, to the local industry with which he collaborates and, especially, to the whole Bay of Cadiz, which explains that it should have received supports from all the areas of the Administration. This important operation puts also in value the international presence of the company since it places it in a fundamental area for the development of new programs.

Navantia is a strategic company since it has capacities, facilities and areas of knowledge that are considered to be essential for the Defense and the National Security.

This contract, which has been negotiated by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia from the year 2015, will suppose a global workforce of about 7 million hours for the shipyards of Bay of Cadiz, Estuary of Ferrol and Cartagena, as well as for his auxiliary industry. It is, therefore, a key contract to guarantee the activity of Navantia's work, principally for the shipyards of Bay of Cadiz. The program will start at the end of 2018 and the last ship will have to be commissioned in 2022. In addition, NAVANTIA will be responsible for the Support to the Life cycle for five years, from the delivery of the first nose, with option to other five additional years.

As for his impact in employment, it is calculated that for 5 years, near 6,000 direct and indirect jobs will be generated annually. More than 1,100 of them will be direct employees, more than 1,800 of Navantia's Auxiliary Industry and more than 3,000 indirect generated by other suppliers.

In addition, it consolidates internationally the Company and especially this product with its own system of combat, which can satisfy the needs of other potential clients in the region and on other markets of interest.

Complete and integral supply

The corvettes will be based on AVANTE 2200 design, adapted to the requirements of Saudi Arabia, offering advanced presentations, an excellent behavior in the sea, high capacity of survival and capacity of operation at extreme temperatures as the area of the Gulf, all this with an ideal life cycle cost.

The design of the corvettes is last generation, maximizing simultaneously Navantia's participation incorporating own products as the system of combat CATIZ, the system of integrated communications HERMESYS, the direction of shot DORNA, the Integrated System of Control of Platform, the integrated bridge MINERVA and the engines and the reduction gearboxes.

On the other hand, the contract also includes the supply of several services such as, logistic integrated support, operational training and of maintenance, supply of centers of training for the Combat System and the Control of Platform System, the life cycle support, and other systems for the maintenance of the ships in the Naval Base.

Creation of a Joint Venture with SAMI

Besides the contract of corvettes, Navantia has agreed with SAMI (Saudi Arabian Military Industries) the creation of a joint venture in Saudi Arabia. This alliance benefits Navantia and allows to promote the defense programs in the country, reinforcing his economy. This joint venture is an exceptional opportunity for Navantia to position its integrated systems and technologically advanced solutions in the Arab market and area of influence, and is aligned with the strategy of internationalization of the company.

Missions

The corvettes for Saudi Arabia are based on Navantia AVANTE 2200 model, polyvalent ship specially designed for the missions of vigilance and control of the maritime traffic, missions of search and rescue and assistance for other ships, among others.

In addition, the ships will have an important capacity for the defense of strategic assets, intelligence and antisubmarine, anti-aircraft capacity, antisurface and electronic war

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[*] posted on 8-9-2018 at 12:26 PM


First Egyptian-built Gowind corvette launched

Richard Scott, London - Jane's Navy International

07 September 2018


Port Said seen at ASY just prior to launch. Source: Richard Scott/NAVYPIX

The second of four Gowind 2500 corvettes for the Egyptian Navy – and the first of the class to be built in-country – was launched on 6 September from the facilities of Alexandria Shipyard (ASY).
Named Port Said , the 102 m ship will now complete outfitting at ASY before beginning trials next year.

In July 2014 France’s Naval Group (then DCNS) was awarded a contract by the Egyptian Armament Authority for the design and construction of Gowind 2500 first-of-class El Fateh at its Lorient shipyard in northwest France. The contract also included materiel procurement for the three follow-on corvettes, and a transfer of technology agreement to enable ASY to build three follow-on ships in-country. ASY had been contracted separately for the provision of labour and infrastructure.

The Gowind 2500 design, a larger variant of which forms the basis for the Royal Malaysian Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship programme, has been developed by Naval Group to meet export demands for a small but highly capable multimission surface combatant. The version procured by Egypt features Naval Group’s own Strategic Energy Technologies Information System (SETIS) combat management system (CMS), together with a Thales-supplied sensor suite comprising a SMART-S Mk 2 3D surveillance radar, a Vigile 200 Mk 3 electronic support measures (ESM) system, a STIR EO Mk 2 radar/electro-optical tracker, a CAPTAS-2 low frequency active variable depth sonar, and a Kingklip hull-mounted sonar.

A so-called Panoramic Sensors and Intelligence Module (PSIM) combines the SETIS CMS with above-water prime sensors (SMART-S Mk 2 and Vigile 200 Mk 3 ESM). The PSIMs for the three ASY-built ships are all to be built, commissioned, and tested at Lorient prior to being transported to Alexandria.

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[*] posted on 21-9-2018 at 07:59 PM


Damen, Saab compete for Brazilian corvette project

Victor Barreira, Istanbul - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

21 September 2018


A version of the combat ship SIGMA 10514 is being proposed for Brazilian Tamandaré-class project. Source: Damen

The Dutch shipbuilder Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding and Swedish major Saab have formed the Damen Saab Tamandar? consortium to compete to build four Tamandar?-class multi-purpose ships for the Brazilian Navy in a proposal that includes significant transfer of technology (ToT) and offsets.

Brazil is requiring competitors to include local shipbuilding participation and, under the Damen Saab Tamandar? proposal, the vessels will be built according to the modular building strategy, the consortium told Jane's . Two modules of the six will come from Europe for the first ship, and consequently the ship will be fully assembled in Brazil by Wilson Sons Estaleiros.

Damen Saab Tamandar? anticipates that after the first ship all modules will be built and assembled in Brazil.

Damen will follow the similar shipbuilding template as Mexico’s SIGMA 10514, locally designated as Patrulla Oce?nica de Largo Alcance (POLA). Two modules were built by Damen in the Netherlands and four modules were processed at a Mexican Navy shipyard, which is where final assembly also took place.

The consortium is partnering with various local companies including Wilson Sons Estaleiros, Akaer, Consub Defesa e Tecnologia, and WEG offering the proven modular combat ship design SIGMA 10514. Also new suppliers will be given the opportunity to become partners if the consortium is selected by Brazil to build the ships.

“We are confident of the Damen-Saab co-operation with strong Brazilian partners and we believe it will guarantee that we will meet customer requirements,” the consortium told Jane’s . “This combined experience will support the Brazilian Navy in locally establishing an industrial base and project structure with capability and knowledge for long time supply of naval platforms and systems to Brazil, and for export.”

The consortium is committed to delivering an offset package they believe will match the expectations of the Brazilian Navy, the company told Jane’s .

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[*] posted on 4-10-2018 at 09:00 PM


French Navy Fitting Aster 30 Long Range SAM on its Last Two ASW FREMM Frigates

Posted On Tuesday, 02 October 2018 18:28

By Xavier Vavasseur - Editor in Chief

The French Navy (Marine Nationale) last two FREMM Frigates (in anti-submarine warfare variant) Bretagne (D655) and Normandie (D651) have been modified in order to be able to deploy MBDA's Aster 30 long range surface to air missiles. Earlier frigates of the class are limited to the shorter range Aster 15 missiles because of shorter VLS systems.


The Frigate Normandie (D621), the last of the ASW FREMM at fitting out stage at Naval Group shipyard in Lorient, last week.

The information was first revealed by our colleagues from French online media Mer & Marine, but was then confirmed to us by both a DGA officer and the commanding officer of Normandie, the last the ASW FREMM Frigates.

While the first four FREMM frigates are all fitted with 2x SYLVER A43 vertical launch systems (VLS) limite to Aster 15 SAM, the DGA (French defense procurement agency) and French Navy decided to modify Bretagne and Normandie so they would be able to deploy Aster 30. To do so, the two SYLVER A43 systems have been replaced by the taller SYLVER A50.

Talking to Navy Recognition at the Euronaval 2018 press conference, Laurent Sellier, the head of naval programmes at the DGA explained this was a pragmatic decision, which makes a lot of sense: The modification was fairly easy to conduct and was fairly affordable. The modification is linked to the two Cassard-class Frigate nearing the end of their service life (especially their SM-1 missile which will reach their "use by date" in 2020 as we have reported many times). Thanks to their SYLVER A50 and Aster 30 missiles, the frigates Bretagne and Normandie will be capable air defense surface combatant, able to escort high value units such as the French Navy LHD should the need arises. They are retaining their two SYLVER A70 "Strike length" VLS to deploy naval cruise missiles (but a Naval Group source confirmed that these can not fire SAM and are limited to cruise missiles exclusively). Aquitaine-class FREMM can deploy 16x SAM and 16x land attack cruise missiles thanks to their 32x VLS cells.

When asked if all ASW FREMM would be retrofitted for Aster 30, Laurent Sellier said this is not the plan at the moment. He added that initially, Bretagne and Normandie would receive Aster 15 only (not Aster 30) as it is a precautionary measure for now.


The three types of SYLVER VLS systems for Aster 15, Aster 15 & 30 and MDCN, respectively. Naval Group image.

During our visit to Naval Group's Lorient shipyard last week (as part of the Euronaval 2018 press trip) we could get aboard the Normandie. Captain (capitaine de vaisseau) Soubrier further explained that while the SYLVER A50 are fitted aboard the frigate, the launch calculators still need a software upgrade. For this reason, the last two FREMM Frigates of the ASW variant will initially still embark Aster 15 missiles.

Naval Group is now constructing two FREDA, air defense variants of the FREMM frigate. They will feature four SYLVER A50 systems for a total of 32 SAM (likely a mix of Aster 15 and 30) as well as a boosted variant of the Herakles multi-function radar to cope with the range of Aster 30 (a feature that will be lacking aboard Bretagne and Normandie) and a fire control radar (which is not present on the ASW FREMMs).


Launch of an Aster 30 SAM from an Horizon-class DDG. MBDA picture.

About the Aster family of missiles

According to MBDA, Aster missiles are the cornerstone of Europe’s naval and land-based air defence programmes. The Aster missile family comprises Aster 15 for short to medium range and Aster 30 for short to long range. There is extensive commonality between the two variants with both missiles featuring the same terminal dart. Aster’s terminal dart is a lightweight, highly manoeuvring and agile missile equipped with a high-performance active RF seeker. Thanks to the unique combination of aerodynamic control and direct thrust vector control called “PIF-PAF”, the missile is capable of high manoeuvres. Together, these features give Aster an unmatched hit-to-kill capability.

ASTER 15 characteristicS:

Weight Aster 15 : 310 kg
Length Aster 15 : 4.2 m
Diameter Aster 15 : 180 mm
Range Aster 15 : In excess of 30 km
Speed : Maximum speed: Mach 3

ASTER 30 characteristics:
Weight Aster 30 : 430 kg
Lenght Aster 30 : 4.9 m
Diameter Aster 30 : 180 mm
Range Aster 30 : In excess of 100 km
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