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[*] posted on 26-9-2017 at 12:56 PM
NATO Naval


Pentagon Contract Announcement

(Source: US Department of Defense; issued Sept 22, 2017)

General Dynamics Electric Boat Corp., Groton, Connecticut, is being awarded a $341,161,778 cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-14-C-2104) to exercise the option for design agent, planning yard, engineering and technical support for in-service nuclear submarines.

The contract provides for drawings and related technical data; design change documentation; logistics technical data; configuration management; hull, mechanical and electrical engineering; submarine safety design review; non-propulsion plant electrical system engineering; propulsion plant engineering; maintenance engineering; refit/availability technical support; on-site support; configuration change program design and installation support; configuration change program material support; submarine technical trade support; training and facility support; research, research, development, test and evaluation program support; research and development submarine/submersibles support; miscellaneous special studies; temporary alteration support; modernization of submarine/submersible systems/subsystems; and affordability/cost reduction technical support.

This contract involves Foreign Military Sales to Spain.

Work will be performed in Groton, Connecticut (73 percent); Bangor, Washington (9 percent); Norfolk, Virginia (6 percent); Newport, Rhode Island (4 percent); Quonset, Rhode Island (3 percent); Kings Bay, Georgia (3 percent); and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (2 percent), and is expected to be completed by September 2018.

Foreign military sales; and fiscal 2017 other procurement (Navy) funding in the amount of $6,500,000 will be obligated at the time of award and funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: It is not quite clear why Spain, which does not operate nuclear ships or submarines, would require a capability to support such vessels, except of course if it is buying such a capability to allow US Navy nuclear attack submarines to be supported, at its own expense, in Spanish military ports.)
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[*] posted on 21-10-2017 at 01:54 PM


All of Germany's submarines are currently down

By: Sebastian Sprenger   10 hours ago

The U-33, U-34 and U-36 submarines are seen at the Eckerfoerde German Navy base Oct. 10, 2016. (Morris MacMatzen/Getty Images)

COLOGNE, Germany ― The German Navy’s six-strong fleet of submarines is completely out of commission after the only operational sub had an accident off the coast of Norway on Sunday.

The U-35 was moved into ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems’ shipyard in Kiel after a rudder blade was damaged during a diving maneuver, the newspaper Kieler Nachrichten reported.

The submarine was scheduled to participate in exercises in the Skagerrak, the strait between southern Norway, southeast Sweden and Denmark.

The U-35 is a 212A-class boat, the same type that TKMS will build for Norway under a multibillion-dollar deal announced early this year. Italy also operates two boats of the class.

In the fierce competition between the two remaining bidders on a submarine deal, Germany's TKMS beat out France's DCNS.

Exactly how long the U-35 will be out of service was still unknown on Friday. Service officials hope to make an assessment next week about the extent of the damage.

The submarine joins three ships already being overhauled at the Kiel shipyard. German military news service Augen Geradeaus, citing sea service data, reported that the U-31 will be in the yard until December, and the U-33 and U-36 are undergoing maintenance until February 2018 and May 2018, respectively.

Additionally, the U-32 and U-34 are out of service and awaiting maintenance spots at the shipyard.

Navy officials blame bottlenecks in the procurement of spare parts for the submarines’ downtime. While a comprehensive package of spare parts was a key aspect of any new acquisition during the Cold War, cost-saving measures adopted since then have resulted in parts no longer being kept in reserve, German Navy spokesman Capt. Johannes Dumrese told the newspaper group SHZ.

According to a statement by the sea service, the most recent acquisitions of the U-35 and U-36 will usher in improved maintenance policies. Irrespective of the U-35′s fate, the Germany Navy expects to have three or four submarines ready for service in mid-2018.
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[*] posted on 12-1-2018 at 06:39 PM


All Submarines Broken: German Fleet on Forced Leave

(Source: Stern; published Jan 10, 2018) (Unofficial translation by D-A.com)

By Gernot Kramper

Germany’s six Type U-212A submarines are intended to block the Baltic Sea in case of a military emergency, but at the moment they are all broken down, and being slowly repaired because of missing spare parts. Not a single submarine is ready for use.

October 15 was a black day for the German submarine fleet. U-35 hit a rock on the Norwegian coast with a fin, and then had to be repaired. So far, the story is not so unusual. But U-35 was Germany’s last remaining operational submarine, and since then, the entire submarine fleet has been on vacation indefinitely.

International reputation

The navy has six Type 212A submarines. These boats are not huge models like the superpowers’ nuclear submarines, which are equipped with long-range missiles. They are much smaller vessels, but they can travel silently and are very difficult to locate. German submarines, especially, enjoy a very good reputation. In the hands of an experienced crew, which knows how to exploit the currents of the different water layers, these boats are able to break through the defense of even large naval flotillas and attack the enemy's largest ships. The Type 212A is equipped with hydrogen fuel cells, so it can stay under water for more than two weeks.

Problems from the beginning

In case of war, these small boats are supposed to block the Baltic Sea. But only if the emergency does not happen now. Already, the commissioning of Type 212A reads like a story of bankruptcies and mishaps, as Der Spiegel reported back in 2015.

Add to this the long duration of individual repairs. The leader in this respect is U-31, which has been out of service since 2014. In December 2017, repairs were finally due to be completed, but it will take months before the regular service starts.

A NDR report clearly identifies the cause of the problem. Previously, the Navy maintained its own inventory of major spare parts, which were then immediately available in case of damage. The downside of the solution: These spare parts had to be stored and they were paid for if they were not even needed. This stockpiling was ended, for submarines as well as for other weapons systems, after the end of the Cold War.

Eternal spare parts drama

This is a decision that ultimately led only to additional costs and not to savings. With a VW Golf you can buy every spare part at the next VW dealer. The situation is different for the navy, as spare parts for submarines cannot be bought in water sports supply shops: they must be ordered, and usually custom-made as a special order. This takes a long time and is also far more expensive than if you had additionally built the spare part in the original production.

Nobody maintains a production environment in the hope of spare parts orders for several years. "This is a disaster for the Navy," the defense commissioner of the Bundestag Hans-Peter Bartels told the NDR. "Submarines are one of their capabilities, and this is the first time in history, I believe, that they have had nothing to do for months."

There are no sailors, either

The funny thing is that this disaster has no major impact because the German Navy would not be able to use their submarines anyway: there are only three trained crews available for the six boats.

In the context of NATO, the lack of available submarines again shows the readiness of the German armed forces in a bad light. Only a few weeks ago it became known that fewer than 100 Leopard 2 tanks are ready for use. Again, the lack of spare parts is the cause of the failure.

In the future, the management of spare parts will no doubt be better handled. It remains to be seen when the problems of operational readiness will be solved.

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[*] posted on 16-1-2018 at 02:51 PM


Acquisition Process Launched for Two Frigates from France

(Source: Kathimerini; published Jan 12, 2018)

By Vasilis Nedos

A request for the opening of talks to acquire two FREMM frigates is expected to be sent by the Greek government to Paris within the next month. Contacts between Greece and France will begin initially at a military level, starting in February, when the relevant document by the Greek government is expected to have reached Paris.

Well-informed sources reported that this move comes after a verbal agreement between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and French President Emmanuel Macron during his last visit to Athens last September.

The original goal of Athens is to reach agreement on two FREMM multi-role frigates and the most optimistic think that they could possibly be expanded by two more ships, for a total four. However, due to the relatively high unit cost (EUR 500-600 million per frigate), the same sources reported that Athens is prepared to discuss the alternative supply of French Gowind-type Corvettes.

These corvettes are a much more cost-effective solution. In any case, FREMM's specifications are FREMM, as frigates with enhanced anti-aircraft capabilities and, above all, a presence in the Eastern Mediterranean, which is becoming increasingly important for Greece as well as the area of cooperation with Cyprus Democracy and Israel. It is noted that the supply of modern frigates is judged by GHMEA and GEN as an absolute priority, on the one hand due to the aging of the existing fleet and on the other hand due to the growing increase in Greece's need for the open sea.

Boat supply

In February, the supply of high-speed Mark-V (25 meters) boats, the release of which has already been approved by the US Congress, is likely to go ahead, and the Letter of Acceptance has been sent.

A delegation of Greek officers will be in the United States in February to inspect the concrete boats that will be used for the transport of the frogs' This commission follows the recent agreement with the US to acquire 70 KiWa-Warrior OH-58D helicopters, which was finally approved by the KYSEA and is expected to be a serious upgrade of the Army Air Force Army.

Early arrivals of helicopters will start in 2018 and their initial operational capacity is expected to have been achieved by 2019. The head of the Allied Air Force, Stephanie is the fastest possible integration into the structures of the Army Air Force with their dispersion in the Aegean islands. Of the 70 helicopters, 36 will arrive in Greece with their full equipment. The rest will be used for training and spare parts.

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[*] posted on 13-2-2018 at 05:45 PM


'No More Missions for Germany's Navy,' Warns Armed Forces Ombudsman

(Source: Deutsche Welle German Radio; issued Feb 11, 2018)

Germany's parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces has urged the navy to stop deploying frigates to NATO, EU and UN missions. Hans-Peter Bartels says the military simply doesn't have enough ships.

Germany must think twice before agreeing to any new maritime missions with NATO, the European Union or the United Nations, according to the parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces, Hans-Peter Bartels.

In an interview published in the Sunday tabloid Bild am Sonntag, Bartels blamed bureaucracy and mismanagement for a lack of available frigates.

"The navy will soon run out of operational ships," the Social Democrat (SPD) politician told the paper.

Lack of parts

Bertels said a shortage of spare parts for German navy vessels would likely lead to longer repair stays in shipyards.

"There are too many administrative responsibilities, a lack of staff, and sometimes [ship repair] companies like to cling as long as possible to a given order," he warned.

Bild am Sonntag reported that one of the three largest ships in the German navy, the combat support vessel "EGV Berlin," along with the supply ship "EGV Bonn," was expected to be out of action for much longer than initially anticipated.

According to an internal navy report, the two vessels' 18-month overhaul at a shipyard in Hamburg, which began last year, is being delayed due to a lack of spare parts.

New frigates delayed

Bartels said the "retirement" of old German navy frigates was going according to plan but was being hampered by delays in rolling out their replacements.

"Six out of 15 old frigates have been retired from service, but none of the new F125 frigates has been released to the navy," he said.

Among its many missions, the German navy has been patrolling the Mediterranean crossing from northern Africa into Europe since May 2015 as part of an EU operation dubbed "Sophia." The mission is due to run until the end of 2018.

Vessels have also been deployed for similar responsibilities with NATO's Standing Maritime Group 2 in the Aegean Sea.

With a fleet of nearly 100 vessels, the German navy plays a key role in supporting NATO and UN missions around the world.

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[*] posted on 13-2-2018 at 10:21 PM


The rest of NATO must be looking at the German Armed Forces and counting them out of any real role or capability in a half-way serious shooting situation.



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[*] posted on 8-3-2018 at 06:15 PM


French Navy Commissions “Auvergne” into Active Service

(Source: French Navy, issued March 06, 2018)

(Issued in French; unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)


The FS Auvergne after its commissioning. Under current plans, the French navy will have received six Fremm frigates in anti-submarine configuration by 2019. Another three will follow by 2022, two of them with enhanced anti-air capabilities. (French navy photo)

On February 14, 2018, the Chief of the Naval Staff admitted to active service Auvergne, the 4th multi-mission frigate (FREMM). Now declared fit for combat by the Navy, she joins Aquitaine, Provence and Languedoc, her three sister-ships in the FREMM class.

This admission is the culmination of a process of verification of the ship's military capabilities. In 2017, Auvergne was deployed for more than four months in diversified areas of operations: the Mediterranean Sea, the China Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf and the Pacific Ocean.

This deployment was marked by its integration into Task Force 50, formed around the US aircraft carrier Nimitz, and the Combined Task Force 150, the multinational naval force fighting against illicit trafficking. Auvergne also helped show France's commitment to respect for international law and the freedom of navigation, particularly in the China Sea.

Auvergne confirmed the already recognized qualities of the FREMM-class as modern, versatile, enduring and flexible vessels. They meet the needs of maritime rescue missions, the gathering of information in all three dimensions, and the requirements of high-intensity conflicts: control of a zone of air-sea operations, anti-ship, anti-submarine and anti-air missions, and support of projection operations, command of a national or combined naval air force, etc.

Two major assets are worth highlighting: the ability that France now has to strike accurately from the sea and in depth, with the MdCN naval cruise missile, and its unequaled performance in anti-submarine warfare, thanks to the alliance of the ship’s hull-mounted sonars and her embarked (NH90) Cayman helicopter.

With this fourth FREMM frigate, the French Navy reinforces its ability to ensure France’s security, both in its own waters and on the high seas.

The future LPM multi-year funding law confirms the importance of first-rank frigates that contribute to all strategic functions. Thus, to reach the target of 15 frigates of first rank, four intermediate-size frigates (FTI) will be ordered and two delivered by 2025.

The last four FREMMs will have been delivered in 2025, the final two with enhanced air defense capabilities.

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[*] posted on 21-4-2018 at 11:31 AM


Hellenic Navy moves closer to leasing FREMM frigates from France

Kostas Tigkos, London and Alex Pape, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

20 April 2018


The Greek deputy defence minister has confirmed that an agreement has been reached to lease two FREMM frigates from France. Source: Naval Group

The Hellenic Navy is edging closer to leasing two FREMM (frégate européenne multi-missions) class frigates from France, the Greek Deputy Defence Minister has announced.

Fotis Kouvelis on 20 April confirmed that an agreement had been reached on a five-year leasing deal that could see two FREMM ships handed over to the Hellenic Navy as early as August 2018.

This follows years of inactivity since the original statement of intent to acquire the FREMMs and months of negotiations between the French and Greek governments.

Kouvelis also hinted that a further two vessels of unknown design could be procured in the future. It is widely speculated that the FREMM deal is a stop-gap solution until the Hellenic Navy formally agrees on the procurement of new vessels of the Gowind- or Belh@rra-class after the FREMM leasing agreement ends in about 2023.

Payment is believed to be connected to European Central Bank bonds, although precise details have yet to emerge.

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[*] posted on 5-5-2018 at 07:38 PM


Multibillion Euro Impulse for the Navy

(Source: Defense-Aerospace.com; posted May 04, 2018)


The Dutch Navy will replace its two M-frigates (HNLMS Speijk seen here) and Alkmaar-class minehunters, and buy a second logistic support ship, under a 6.7 billion plan submitted to Parliament yesterday by the defense ministry. (NL MoD photo)

PARIS --- The Dutch Navy is on the verge of receiving a multi-billion euro investment, the Dutch daily De Telegraaf reported Thursday. In addition to the two M-Frigates, six minehunters are also being replaced by partly unmanned systems. There will also be new missiles, torpedoes and cannons, while the four air-defense and command frigates will undergo a thorough upgrade.

Secretary of State for Defense Barbara Visser officially announced this to Parliament’s Lower House on Thursday. In total, this involves an investment of 6.7 billion euros beyond the replacement of the submarines, for which an additional 2.5 billion euros has been earmarked.

According to a bilateral agreement on joint naval procurement signed in November 2016, the Netherlands is the lead nation for the procurement of frigates for both countries’ navies, while Belgium is to lead procurement of new minehunters for both.

Dutch tender

In the State Secretary’s memorandum, naval forces seem to benefit most from the extra funds that this government is spending on the armed forces. By the end this cabinet period, it will eventually receive a structural 1.5 billion euros.

Frigates are the backbone of the navy, and their replacement is therefore essential. Because of their power, they ensure safety at sea, defense of their national territory and that of allies, and unrestricted sea transport. Where the air defense and command frigates specialize in air defense, the M-frigates are designed for anti-submarine warfare, which is a capability that NATO has a great need for. In addition to combat operations, frigates are also suitable for, for example, anti-terrorism, drugs and piracy control and the provision of emergency aid.

The construction of a complex ship like a frigate takes more than 7 years. The first new frigate is expected to be operational from 2025 onwards.

The current multipurpose frigates, the HNLMS Van Speijk and the HNLMS Van Amstel were commissioned into Navy service in 1991 and 1995, with a planned lifespan of 25 years. By 2024, new frigates must enter service to replace them.

The replacement of the M-frigates is estimated to cost 1 to 2.5 billion euros, Visser estimates, and the ministry would like to stay close to home, preferring a tender in which Damen Shipyards in Gorinchem would be the biggest contender, according to RTL Nieuws. Defense procurement is not subject to European procurement rules.

Another major purchase is that of a second supply ship. The Netherlands now has one supply ship, the joint logistic support ship (JSS) Karel Doorman after one - the Zr. Ms. Amsterdam - was retired in 2014 and sold to Peru. For a new ship, 250 million to 1 billion euros will be allocated.

A second Combat Support Ship (CSS) should increase the effectiveness of naval vessels, as they would have to leave the area of operations less frequently for a port visit. With a second support vessel, the Dutch Defense organization can permanently have supply capacity at sea and also make it available to NATO.

The CSS must be launched relatively quickly from 2023 onwards. For this purpose, the Defense organization will take the existing design of the JSS. Buying “off-the-shelf” has several advantages: use can be made of existing knowledge and experience, and the maintenance and training and training of the crew can be pooled.

The CSS is smaller than the JSS, but still the same as much as possible. Think of architecture and design, the command system, the armament and the use of (sub) systems as radar.

For a new ship, 250 million to 1 billion euros will be allocated.

New mine hunters

The Dutch Navy operates six Alkmaar-class minehunters. Developed and built in the 1980s in a joint program together with Belgium and France, and have now reached the end of their lifespan.

The deteriorated security situation increases the chances that naval mines could be deployed, and there are also many explosives on the coat left over from the First and Second World War.

The future of maritime mine control lies in unmanned and partly autonomous systems. These are deployed at a safe distance from a manned mine-control vessel. In addition, the minehunters are designed in such a way that they can operate worldwide and under high threat. The Netherlands will receive the new units, both manned and unmanned, between 2025 and 2030.

The cost of the replacement of the six Dutch mine hunters will fall in the same order of magnitude and the CSS, or less than 1 billion euros.

Other expenses

According to the memorandum to Parliament, a selection of other acquisitions planned by the defense ministry in the coming years for the Royal Netherlands Navy includes:
-- New generation of anti-aircraft missiles for M-frigates: 250 million - 1 billion euros;
-- Softkill defense system against torpedoes: 100-250 million euros;
-- Replacement 127 mm gun LC frigates; 100-250 million euros;
-- Replacement Harpoon system (surface-to-surface missile): 100-250 million euros; and
-- Replacement Goalkeeper system for self-defense against short-range air threat: 100-250 million euros.

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[*] posted on 5-5-2018 at 07:52 PM


UK and Norway Defence Ministers Plan Sub-Hunting Co-Operation

(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued May 03, 2018)

British defence minister Guto Bebb (2nd from top) hosted Norwegian undersecretary for defense Tone Skogen (top) at RAF Lossiemouth, in Scotland, to discuss cooperation when both countries begin to operate Boeing P-8A Poseidon ASW aircraft. (RAF photo)

The UK and Norway advanced their plans for international Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) co-operation in the North Atlantic, as the nations’ defence ministers flew in an American P-8A Poseidon from RAF Lossiemouth today.

Defence Minister Guto Bebb hosted Secretary Tone Skogen, State Secretary in Norway’s Ministry of Defence, on her visit aboard a US Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft – equipment which both the UK and Norway will soon own themselves.

The allies ramped up discussions around how the nations will work together and might deploy their submarine-hunting aircraft fleet in the future. Areas of co-operation could range from maintenance to training and operations, which would not only cut costs but also boost operational power in the North Atlantic, a key area of submarine activity.

The aircraft took off from RAF Lossiemouth, which will be the future home of the UK’s fleet. Investing £3 billion in the capability over the next decade, the UK is buying nine of the Boeing-built aircraft, whilst Norway are getting five. Their key role for the UK will be to protect the country’s submarine-based nuclear deterrent and its two new aircraft carriers - the Poseidons deploy sonobuoys to help them detect submarines, and can fire anti-ship missiles and launch torpedoes to destroy submarines.

Defence Minister Guto Bebb said: “These sub-hunters will take to the skies from RAF Lossiemouth and help us combat a range of intensifying threats, not least increasing submarine activity in the North Atlantic. We’re investing £3bn in our own capability, but working alongside Norway takes this to a higher level. Not only could we cut costs by sharing training, spares and repair facilities, but we can patrol the seas together, meaning we’ve got more eyes and ears on any potential aggressors.”

Norway’s Secretary Tone Skogen said: “Norway and the UK are natural partners given our shared values, as well as our history and geography. We can even further strengthen bilateral defence cooperation related to high-end capabilities such as the F-35 fighter and the P-8 maritime patrol aircraft.

“In my discussions with Guto Bebb, Minister for Defence Procurement, I find a like-minded ally. The UK and Norway continue to stand together in training and exercises in the North Atlantic and the Northern region, as well as operationalisation of the Joint Expeditionary Force.”

The nine P-8A Poseidons will be based at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland. Last month, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson cut the first turf on a £132m facility for the new fleet. The new facility will be completed in 2020, to coincide with initial operating capability of the Poseidon aircraft being available in the UK.

Built by Elgin-based Robertson Northern, it will comprise a tactical operations centre, an operational conversion unit, squadron accommodation, training and simulation facilities and a three-bay aircraft hangar.

At the peak of construction, the project will support 200 local jobs. When the fleet is fully operational, some 470 additional service personnel will be based at RAF Lossiemouth, taking the total number of people employed there to 2,200. Further roles are also expected when the training and support services are established at the new facility.

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[*] posted on 10-5-2018 at 11:16 AM


Thales kicks off production on supersonic missile-tracking sensor

By: Pierre Tran   5 hours ago


Thales started building the four-panel phased array antenna after three years of research into radar technology and architecture, backed by the Direction Générale de l’Armement procurement office. (Thales)

PARIS — Production has begun for the Sea Fire digital radar, a naval sensor designed to track new weapons including supersonic missiles, Thales said.

“Thales is pleased to announce that the first Sea Fire radar for the French Navy’s FTI future medium-size frigates program is now in production,” the company said in a May 9 statement. “It is tailored to evolving requirements and the new threats faced by the French Navy, particularly supersonic missiles.”

The company started building the four-panel phased array antenna after three years of research into radar technology and architecture, backed by the Direction Générale de l’Armement procurement office, the company said. The radar draws on work on big data and cybersecurity, and future software development will be written into the system to boost performance and reliability over the life of the system.

The DGA signed a contract with Thales for the Sea Fire radar separate from the April 2017 deal inked with Naval Group for design and production of five FTI frigates.

Thales is building the radar at its Limours facility, just outside the capital. The sensor is built to track conventional, asymmetric and emerging air and surface threats.

The company will deliver the first radar next year for qualification at the DGA facility at Saint-Mandrier, just outside the Toulon naval base, southern France. Thales will in 2020 ship the four radar panels to Naval Group’s Lorient shipyard, western France, where the five FTI frigates will be built.

The first of the 4,200-ton FTI frigates will be delivered in 2023 and enter service in 2025.

France has set a €3.8 billion (U.S. $4.5 billion) budget for the FTI program, which is intended to boost export sales and also arm the French Navy, which is struggling to meet its requirements.

The French service expects to sail a fleet of 15 frigates by 2030, the Navy Chief of Staff Adm. Christophe Prazuck told the defense committee of the lower house National Assembly Oct. 11. The Navy presently deploys 17 frigates, “and I do not manage to do all that I should do with that number,” he said.

The service should have a fleet of 18 first rank frigates, 18 of the upgraded ATL2 maritime patrol aircraft and 18 patrol vessels, he said.
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[*] posted on 23-5-2018 at 01:10 PM


German Navy leans heavy on simulation pilot training

By: Sebastian Sprenger   12 hours ago


Simulation is becoming more critical because the German Navy lacks the resources to devote the necessary flying hours. (German Navy)

NAVAL AIRBASE NORDHOLZ, Germany — The yellow-vested crewman is a stoic fellow. Perched overlooking the frigate’s helicopter landing deck, he stares into nothingness as incoming pilots attempt to set their Sea Lynx choppers onto the ship’s bobbing surface before his eyes. For a moment during the maneuver, the figure’s digital outline appears suspended in midair — a graphical glitch that somehow fails to surprise. This is, after all, a simulator. In here, reality cuts corners.

Such is the story of simulator training. It’s a known imperfection and a coveted improvement at the same time. There’s no shortage of innovation in the industry to boost the sense of realism for aspiring pilots sitting in virtual cockpits. Proficiency on certain tasks, especially the dull ones, is most economically practiced in dimly lit apparatuses on the ground, where failure carries no risk.

But it’s not the same as the real thing, adrenaline and heart-pounding and all. And it’s not meant to be, either, as both flight instructors and the companies supplying them with a never-ending stream of new technology will readily acknowledge. The question is how do military aviators find the sweet spot between lifelike and actual life.

Listening to German Navy officers during a recent visit at this base near Bremerhaven and the North Sea, it sounds like that choice has been made for them. A lack of personnel combined with an aging fleet of P-3C Orion planes and Sea Lynx and Sea King helicopters stationed here has pushed the ratio to 70 percent simulator training versus 30 percent live instruction for new pilots — the maximum allowed.

“It feels wrong,” Cmdr. Jan Keller, commanding officer of Naval Air Wing 5 Flying Group, told reporters. He said it is hard to truly recreate the “feel” of flying actual missions.

At the same time, simulation is becoming more critical because the sea service lacks the resources to devote enough flying hours, laboriously squeezed out of decades-old aircraft, to live training. Plus, fewer young Germans aspire to join the armed forces and become Navy pilots, which means there is very little room for error in graduating those who actually do.


How do military aviators find the sweet spot between lifelike and actual life? (Sebastian Sprenger/Staff)

Nordholz produces between 15 and 20 pilots annually across its helicopter and fixed-wing portfolio.

“The time when you had a lot of people to throw at a lot of systems are over,” Keller said. “We never had that in Germany anyway.”

There is a similar trend in other European countries, opening the possibility — or need — to join forces with other nations in filling training pipelines for similar aircraft.

The Lynx simulator at Nordholz, for example, trains naval aircrews from Germany, Denmark and Portugal under an arrangement called the Joint Lynx Simulator Training Establishment. Housed in a sizable hall near the base entrance, the machine’s hydraulic legs help simulate the movement of flight. But even without the feature turned on, the simulator offers a great degree of visual realism, much of which was derived from the gaming industry, explains the German Navy official in charge of it.

Next to the Lynx simulator, inside a large, black cube, sits an Sea King Mk41 simulator, upgraded last year with a new video-surround projection system and other features by Canadian-based contractor CAE.

The German Navy’s 21 Sea Kings are scheduled to leave service in 2023. With a service life of more than 40 years and counting, the helicopters are so old that officials said they routinely scour the globe — often in remote places — for spare parts to keep the aircraft flying.

Next door outside, workers have begun clearing a soccer field-sized patch for what will be the site of a new NH90 simulator at Nordholz, a much-anticipated replacement helicopter for the German Navy’s legacy fleet. Initially eyed for search-and-rescue missions, the NH90 Sea Lion, made by a European consortium of Airbus Helicopters, Leonardo and Fokker Aerostructures, could later pick up additional duties.


The P-3C Orion cockpit simulator here was initially booked almost every day. Now there are about 10 uses per month, a Navy instructor tells reporters. (German Navy)

The government is still collecting bids for the simulator contract, though officials said nothing will be built on the designated clearing here until after the envisioned October 2019 aircraft delivery date. That means naval pilot trainees will have to find yet another workaround.

Training and simulation companies are facing notably different market landscapes in the United States and in the more cash-strapped European militaries. In some ways, the sales proposition to the lavishly funded U.S. forces lies in the area of complementing and optimizing training programs. For many customers in Europe, including the German Navy, the fixation on simulation is more borne out of a lack of alternatives.

“The volume in the states is much higher” than in Europe, said Marc-Olivier Sabourin, CAE’s vice president and general manager for Europe and Africa. “But in the end, the result of producing readily trained pilots is the same.”

In the case of the German Navy, personnel shortages are so acute that simulators contracted for high availability are seeing usage rates drop because there aren’t enough crews available. The P-3C Orion cockpit simulator here, for example, initially was booked almost every day. Now there are about 10 uses per month, a Navy instructor told reporters.

According to Keller, there are only enough service members to fill five of the eight P-3C crews written into the base’s table of organization. The rates are even worse for the other platforms: The Sea Lynx fleet needs 12 crews but has only four; Sea King crews are at six out of 15.

Meanwhile, the simulation industry is shifting toward not just creating real-world experience but measuring student performance at the same time.

“We’ve reached a point where we can replicate flight 100 percent,” Philippe Perey, international development director at CAE, told Defense News.

The next step is automatically analyzing the data gleaned from students in simulators to derive an additional perspective about their performance besides a human’s judgment. “There is quite a bit of variation even among instructors,” Perey said.

The jargon for this approach is “closed-loop training,” and Perey was quick to point out that “we never override the instructor.”

At the same time, mining data about student decisions — the good and the bad — and adjusting syllabuses accordingly could unearth pilot weaknesses that humans don’t have the brains to see.
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[*] posted on 27-6-2018 at 09:42 AM


Spain cleared to buy five Aegis systems

By: Aaron Mehta   2 hours ago


The Aegis-class destroyer USS Hopper launches a weapon during a military exercise. Spain hopes to add similar capabilities with five new Aegis-carrying frigates.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. State Department has cleared Spain to purchase five Aegis weapon systems, potentially worth $860.4 million.

The systems would be placed aboard Spanish frigates, which are interoperable with NATO allies such as the U.S. Spain currently operates five existing Aegis-equipped frigates.

Adding the systems to Spain’s fleet will “afford more flexibility and capability to counter regional threats and continue to enhance stability in the region,” according to an announcement posted by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

In addition to the five systems, the package includes six shipsets Digital Signal Processing, five shipsets AWS Computing Infrastructure MARK 1 MOD 0, five shipsets Operational Readiness Test Systems (ORTS), five shipsets MK 99 MOD 14 Fire Control System, five shipsets MK 41 Baseline VII Vertical Launching Systems (VLS), two All-Up-Round MK 54 Mod 0 lightweight torpedoes, twenty SM-2 Block IIIB missiles and MK 13 canisters with AN/DKT-71 warhead compatible telemeter, as well as other equipment.

Being cleared by the State Department does not guarantee a sale will be completed. Congress can still intervene, and final price and quantity are often altered during negotiations. The proposed sale is being handled under a Foreign Military Sales vehicle.

Should the sale clear, it primary work would be done by Lockheed Martin in Moorestown, NJ, and Manassas, VA; Raytheon in Waltham, MA; and General Dynamics in Williston, VT.

There are also a “significant number of companies under contract with the U.S. Navy that will provide components and systems as well as engineering services” to support the sale, the DSCA notes.
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[*] posted on 27-6-2018 at 11:08 AM


Quote: Originally posted by bug2  
Spain cleared to buy five Aegis systems

By: Aaron Mehta

WASHINGTON – The U.S. State Department has cleared Spain to purchase five Aegis weapon systems, potentially worth $860.4 million.

The systems would be placed aboard Spanish frigates, which are interoperable with NATO allies such as the U.S. Spain currently operates five existing Aegis-equipped frigates.



Oh for heaven's sake, turn down the SEA 5000 synergies. They're deafening! :smilegrin:
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[*] posted on 10-7-2018 at 06:50 PM


German Navy lacks at-sea refuelling capability

Nicholas Fiorenza, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

09 July 2018

The German Navy announced at the end of June that its two replenishment tankers are not available to refuel ships at sea because of wear and tear and engine problems.


Launched in 1974, the German Navy’s replenishment tanker <I>Spessart</I> is not available because of wear and tear and engine problems. (Bundeswehr/Christin Krakow)

German navy chief Vice Admiral Andreas Krause said, “We cannot make up for the unavailability of the tankers. The navy has become too small. This is another example of how urgent the modernisation and financing of the navy is.”

The German Navy’s three Berlin-class combat support ships are not available during the second half of 2018 because they are committed to or preparing for the EU’s Operation ‘Sofia’ migrant-monitoring mission in the Aegean.

Germany can therefore not commit a tanker to Standing NATO Maritime Group One.

The German Navy said it has to overhaul Spessart’s diesel engine to examine the exact cause of the problem.

(160 of 210 words)
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[*] posted on 24-7-2018 at 09:00 AM


France makes progress on refitting submarine for M51 missiles

By: Pierre Tran   6 hours ago


France carries out a flight test of the M51 ballistic missile. (French Armed Forces Ministry)

PARIS — The ballistic missile submarine Téméraire has been taken to Ile Longue, the French naval base for nuclear boats, marking a key step in a major refit of the sub, shipbuilder Naval Group said in a July 23 statement.

That move, which comes “after 20 months of work,” marked “a significant step in the the last modernization and adaptation of nuclear ballistic submarines for the M51 missile,” the company said.

The submarine was towed Friday from dock 8 at Brest to the highly secure base on Ile Longue, a small peninsula in Brittany, northern France, where the French Navy maintains its fleet of four ballistic missile boats.

The overhaul and refit required the hull to be split open and new silos installed for the M51 missile, which is longer and wider than the outgoing M45 weapon. Work will continue some three or four months on the Téméraire on Ile Longue, with the boat expected to sail for a further nine years after returning to service.

“The adaptation to the new missiles is of primary importance,” said Maximilian Porter, program director at the Direction Générale de l’Armement procurement office, regional paper France Ouest Entreprise reported. Combat and navigation systems were also updated.

Téméraire is the third ballistic missile submarine to be refitted for the M51 weapon, following the Vigilant and Triomphant. That program of refits has taken some 10 years. The fourth ballistic missile boat, Terrible, was delivered equipped for the M51.

Naval Group was prime contractor on the major overhaul and refit, which takes some two years and four million hours of work on each boat.

Airbus Defense & Space is contractor for the M51 missile, which is assembled at its nearby Guenvénez plant and delivered to the Ile Longue base, where the atomic warheads are fitted.

The government’s Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission is assembling and fitting the nuclear warhead on the missile on Ile Longue. Each of the Triomphant-class submarines carry 16 M51 missiles, which can carry up to six independent warheads.

Studies are being conducted for a third-generation nuclear ballistic missile submarine and future versions of the M51. The M51.3 version is due to enter service around 2025. Under the newly adopted 2019-2025 defense budget law, the government has earmarked €25 billion (U.S. $29 billion) for work on the nuclear deterrent, including seaborne and airborne weapons.
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[*] posted on 26-7-2018 at 09:21 AM


More delays for Spanish S-80 submarine programme

David Ing, Madrid - Jane's Navy International

25 July 2018

The final delivery date for Spain’s new S-80 submarines is set to be pushed back another two years, Jane’s has learned.
In January Spanish Navy Chief of Staff Admiral Teodoro López Calderón said the first boat was due to be handed over at the end of 2021 and be operative by 2023, with the last boat to be delivered by 2025.

However, speaking to Jane’s on 22 July, a navy source said the scheduled handover for the last of the four boats is now expected in mid-2027.

Originally intended to start replacing the Spanish Navy’s three remaining S-70 class earlier this decade, the S-80 programme was interrupted in 2013 due to excess weight problems that threatened its buoyancy.

(118 of 552 words)
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[*] posted on 31-7-2018 at 09:28 AM


Reprogramming the Annuities of the Submarine Program S-80

(Source: Spanish Council of Ministers; issued July 27, 2018)

(Issued in Spanish; unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)

The Council of Ministers has approved the rescheduling of the annuities that affect the Special Program for the Modernization of the Armed Forces corresponding to the S-80submarine, so as to adapt the financing to the current payment schedule.

With this action, the cost ceiling of the S-80 submarine program is raised to 1.771.703.930,42 euros.

Special Programs have particular financing characteristics that imply the realization of continuous adaptations during their development.

Currently, the Ministry of Defense has the need to reprogram the calendar of annuities corresponding to the submarine program S-80, which aims at the design and construction of four high-tech, non-nuclear submarines with superior capabilities to others in service.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The S-80 submarine program, designed by the Spanish Navantia shipyards group, which is also building the four boats, has a particularly troubled history.
First, it was discovered that the first boat was too heavy to be able to resurface after having dived, so it was decided to lengthen it by inserting a 10-meter plug so as to ensure its neutral buoyancy. By increasing its displacement by 800 tonnes.
It was then discovered that, once lengthened, the boats are too long to fit into the submarine pens at their base in Cartagena, which will have to be dredged and the docks lengthened.
These modifications require an additional budget of 1.77 billion euros, approved on July 27 as stated above which, when added to the initial budget of 2,132 million euros, puts the total cost at 3,907 million euros, or almost one billion euros for each of the four submarines -- practically twice the original estimate.
Their story is recounted here: http://www.defense-aerospace.com/article-view/release/194869... )

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[*] posted on 31-7-2018 at 09:40 AM


Delivery of the Maritime Action Ship “Audaz” to the Spanish Navy

(Source: Navantia; issued July 27, 2018)

(Issued in Spanish; unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)


Audaz, the most recent Buque de Action Maritima, belongs to the second batch of a class of Spanish-designed enhanced Offshore Patrol Vehicles ordered after the first batch was judged to have performed well during naval operations. (Navantia photo)

This morning, the ceremony for the handing over to the Navy of the fifth Maritime Action Ship (BAM), "Audaz" (P-45), took place in San Fernando.

The ceremony was chaired by Ángel Olivares Ramírez, Secretary of State for Defense, and was attended by the Government Delegate in Andalusia, Alfonso Rodríguez Gómez de Celis; the Chief of Staff of the Navy (AJEMA), Admiral General Teodoro López Calderón; the President of NAVANTIA, Susana Sarriá Sopeña and the General Director of Armament and Material (DIGAM), Admiral Santiago Ramón González Gómez, as well as other civil and military authorities.

After the arrival of the guests and the military authorities, the Secretary of Defense went to the podium where he was presented with military honors. He reviewed the forces present in the ceremony, accompanied by the AJEMA, and then received the rest of the civilian authorities in attendance, beginning the act of delivering the ship to the Navy.

The ceremony began with an inspection of the ship by a commission of the Navy, which gave its approval to the DIGAM, followed by the signing of the delivery documentation for the transfer from NAVANTIA to the DGAM, and then for the transfer from the Ministry of Defense to the Admiral in Command of the Cadiz Arsenal.

After the assumption of the ship’s command by its Captain, Lieutenant Commander Emilio Damiá Marques, the ship’s ensign was blessed and handed over to the ship’s crew.

The act was completed with the embarkation of the new ship’s crew, the raising of her flag and the parade of the Forces before the authorities.

"Audaz", which was launched on March 30, 2017 is the first of the two additional vessels ordered in the extension to the of the Spanish Navy’s BAM program, according to the execution order signed by the Government on November 21, 2014.

The BAM ships, vessels of totally Spanish design and construction, have stood out for their excellent performance in the international task forces into which they have been integrated, demonstrating their efficiency and availability in the most demanding scenarios.

About the BAM "Audaz"

The "Audaz", like its predecessors, is 93.90 meters long, is endowed with high-performance, flight deck and has an autonomy of food for 35 days. The latest-generation Integrated Platform Control System developed by Navantia Sistemas allows its operation with a reduced crew, specifically 46 men and women (including a medical officer).

The missions for which the Maritime Action Ship is conceived are, on the one hand, maritime security in low intensity scenarios, with a capacity to dissuade and react to asymmetric or conventional threats and, on the other hand, to protect national maritime interests, collaborating with state security forces and other ministerial departments, in surveillance missions, rescue, humanitarian aid, fight against illegal traffic or fight against marine pollution.

i.e. illegal immigrant dissuader.........

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[*] posted on 7-8-2018 at 02:24 PM


UK and Norway 'sub-hunters' will work together to counter Russian naval threat

Dominic Nicholls, Defence and Security correspondent

6 August 2018 • 6:26pm

- Britain's new fleet of sub-hunters will work alongside Norwegian forces as a deterrent to the Russian threat, the MoD has said.
- Britain and Norway will combat the resurgent threat from Russian naval forces by sharing facilities for new Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA).

The “significant increase in Russian submarine activity” means Nato naval forces are at particular risk in the North Atlantic and Baltic Sea.

The UK will take delivery next year of the first of nine P-8A aircraft, at a cost of £3 billion. Norway is buying five in a move that reflects the 'changing security environment' in the North Atlantic, according to a statement jointly signed by the UK, Norway and the United States.

The UK aircraft will be based at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland with operational and logistic support extended to the Norwegian planes.

The plan to share facilities comes in the wake of comments by Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary, that increased Russian naval activity in the Atlantic “shows the increasing aggression [and] increasing assertiveness of Russia”.

He said the Royal Navy had responded 33 times to Russian warships approaching UK territorial waters in 2017 compared with just once in 2010.

The decision in 2010 to scrap Britain’s MPA capability was subsequently reviewed in light of Russia’s military actions in Georgia and the Ukraine, according to Nick Childs of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

“The change of gear in the relationship with Russia meant filling the gap [in MPA capability] in the 2015 Defence Review was a significant priority,” he says.

Submarine hunting skills had been retained in the RAF by embedding personnel in the US, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand armed forces. The decision was taken in 2015 to revive a sovereign British maritime patrol capability.

Submarines are the most potent part of the Russian navy, says Mr Childs. The fleet consists of about 60 to 70 vessels and only a handful could pose a headache for Nato naval forces. The decision to work closely with Norwegian forces is “a logical step when fielding exotic capabilities in small numbers”, he says.

The P-8 conducts anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and shipping interdiction, along with an electronic signals intelligence role. This involves carrying torpedoes, depth charges, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and other weapons.

The Poseidon’s search radar is optimised for detecting small objects on the surface of the sea, such as submarine periscopes, as well as larger surface contacts. Wing-mounted Harpoon anti-ship missiles can be carried to attack hostile surface contacts and anti-submarine torpedoes can be carried in the internal weapon bay. As well as protecting the UK’s submarine-based nuclear deterrent and its two new aircraft carriers, the British Poseidon's will be able to deploy sonobuoys to help them detect submarines.

Plans for joint operations with Norway received a boost in May when Tone Skogen, State Secretary in Norway's Ministry of Defence, was hosted at RAF Lossiemouth.

"Norway and the UK are natural partners given our shared values, as well as our history and geography,” she said.

“We can even further strengthen bilateral defence cooperation related to high-end capabilities such as the F-35 fighter and the P-8 maritime patrol aircraft."

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "The UK will explore with Norway ways in which we together can leverage the maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare capabilities of the P-8A Maritime Patrol Aircraft to improve North Atlantic security, thereby enhancing NATO security".
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[*] posted on 8-8-2018 at 06:38 PM


German Naval Yards Kiel & TKMS Team Up for MKS 180 program

Posted On Wednesday, 08 August 2018 08:30

On August 3rd, 2018, GERMAN NAVAL YARDS KIEL (GNYK) signed an agreement with thyssenkrupp Marine Systems.

Marine Systems as subcontractor of GNYK, will contribute to the development and construction of the multi-purpose combat vessel MKS 180. GNYK is the only remaining German main contractor in the EU-wide tender of the German Navy.

Incorporating thyssenkrupp Marine Systems’ teams into the MKS program will further increase the German share in the MKS proposal.


Artist impression of what MKS 180 could look like (for illustration purpose only)

GNYK is integrating the best available naval competences worldwide into its MKS 180 offer. The selected Marine Systems specialists will focus on the coordination and integration of combat systems and the intensive usability of naval vessels.

"Our offer for the MKS 180 program becomes even stronger with the input of the two engineering houses Alion and thyssenkrupp Marine Systems,” said GNYK Managing Director Jörg Herwig. “Our combined skills and expertise are enabling us to address the needs of our customer and to serve the quality of execution in the best possible way. We are very happy to welcome thyssenkrupp’s engineers into our team with whom we have already successfully collaborated in the past,” Herwig added.

GNYK had previously contracted the US Navy supplier Alion for contributing cutting-edge engineering technology of the world’s strongest navy to its MKS 180 offer. The engineering house adds unmatched experience and references, having developed successful designs of similar programs for the US Navy.

The entire development and engineering of the vessels will take place in Germany. Further, the intellectual property rights and know-how related to the MKS 180 program will also remain in the country.

Dr. Rolf Wirtz, CEO of thyssenkrupp Marine Systems: “We are bringing our decades of experience and expertise in naval shipbuilding to this partnership. We will strengthen the German Naval Yards bid in particular through the know-how of our engineers in integrating on-board systems of all kinds and their experience with the intensive use concept, a key requirement for the MKS 180 frigates. Our joint bid will secure the preservation of naval surface shipbuilding as a key technology for Germany. The awarding of the contract to German Naval Yards would secure jobs not only at our company but also to a significant degree at other German suppliers.”

In a next step it is expected that the German defense procurement agency BAAINBw will send the remaining bidders in the MKS 180 award procedure a precise specification for the naval vessels and request a best and final offer (BAFO). On this basis thyssenkrupp Marine Systems and German Naval Yards Kiel will work together to submit a convincing best and final offer. A final decision in the award procedure is not expected before 2019.

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[*] posted on 29-9-2018 at 05:04 PM


What will launch from France’s future aircraft carrier? The government and Navy are teaming up to find out

By: Pierre Tran   2 days ago

A French Navy Rafale Marine fighter aircraft launches from the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush during joint carrier flight operations. (Mark D. Faram/Staff)

PARIS — The French procurement office and the Navy will submit proposals to the Armed Forces Ministry based on definition studies for a future aircraft carrier, according to the head of the naval armaments operations unit at the Direction Générale de l’Armement.

The DGA and the Navy have been working on a “reflection for definition studies,” with those studies required to launch the carrier project, Laurent Sellier told Defense News on Sept. 24. Industry has served as observer, while the procurement office and service lead the discussions.

The studies will consider the future carrier’s capability to carry the Rafale fighter jet and its successor, as well as drones, he said. It will be up to the ministry to “greenlight” the contracts for the carrier.

Sellier was speaking on the sidelines of a news conference held by Gican, the industry association backing the Euronaval trade show, which opens Oct. 23.

Dassault Aviation, shipbuilder Naval Group and electronics specialist Thales have been sitting in on the discussions led by DGA and the Navy, an industry executive told Defense News. “There is close teamwork on tackling the overall problem,” the executive said.

The DGA and the Navy launched the first study at the end of August, examining lessons learned on aircraft carriers in operation and reviewing operational requirements of the future carrier, the executive said.

Thales could contribute its experience from working on the British carrier Queen Elizabeth. Other companies, such as MBDA, could be invited to take part in the studies.

A second study, largely steered by the DGA, will focus on technology and overall architecture, including onboard combat systems, system of systems and naval architecture, the executive said. That study is expected to be launched toward the end of October or early November.

The overall dossier comprising the two studies is expected to be completed at the end of 2019 or early 2020, and will allow the authorities to decide the capabilities of the ship. The studies will consider key factors such as size of the vessel, propulsion — both conventional and nuclear — and aircraft-launching capabilities.

The aircraft will not be included in the carrier budget but will be a major element in design and construction of the ship, which will be a system of systems. The studies will help determine the budget for the carrier.

There have been three large carriers built in the West — the U.S. Navy’s Gerald R. Ford and America, and the British Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth — since France launched the Charles de Gaulle, said Robbin Laird, an analyst with consultancy ICSA, based in Washington and Paris.

Any French study should look at those ships and see the technology available for a new carrier, such as an electromagnetic aircraft-launch system, he said. The French should consider the impact from an “evolving force system,” such as the use of direct-energy weapons for close-in defense and the integration of air and sea systems, he added.

Another major factor in designing a new carrier could involve France’s adaptation of the planned Franco-German jet fighter to a carrier-based version, he said. That future fighter will replace the Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon.

Britain and Italy will fly the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter from their carriers, he said. That deployment of the F-35 calls for interoperability of the future French carrier and its aircraft with operators of the jet.

French Navy pilots have flown the Rafale from U.S. carriers as part of training, French Navy Rear Adm. Gilles Boidevezi told news conference attendees.

The French Navy sent pilots, support staff, 12 Rafale jets and a Hawkeye spy plane to the U.S. earlier this year to qualify and train with the U.S. Navy. The French pilots flew from the George H.W. Bush carrier, sailing out of Newport naval base.
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[*] posted on 2-10-2018 at 04:15 PM


4 Years and Counting: Germany’s New Warship Postponed Yet Again

(Source: RT Russian Television; posted Sept 29, 2018)


FGS Baden-Württemberg, lead ship of the German Navy’s latest F-125 class of frigates, was the first warship ever refused by the German Navy and returned to its builder to fix a large number of hardware and software deficiencies. (Luerssen Defence photo)

It looks top heavy........:no:

German Navy’s newest frigate should have been commissioned in 2014 to replace ageing Cold War-era warships, but it won’t be there until at least the next year due to faulty systems and snowballing cost, local media reported.

Commissioning of the ‘Rheinland-Pfalz’, the lead ship of the brand-new Baden-Wuerttemberg-class frigates, has now been postponed until the first half of 2019, according to Die Zeit newspaper citing a military spokesman. The vessel should have joined the Navy in 2014, but the troubling post-delivery issues plagued the fate of the ambitious project.

The four Baden-Wuerttemberg-class vessels the Navy ordered back in 2007 will come as replacement to the ageing Bremen-class frigates. It is understood they will feature a powerful cannon, an array of anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles as well as some stealth technologies, such as reduced radar, infrared and acoustic signatures.

Other important features include longer maintenance periods – it should be possible to deploy the newest frigates for up to two years away from home ports.

However, continuous delays mean that the cutting-edge warships – said to allow Germany to project power overseas – will already become outdated by the time they enter service, Die Zeit notes.

The ill-fated F125 frigate made headlines last year, when the German Navy officially refused to commission the vessel and returned it to Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg. This was the first time the Navy has returned a ship to a shipbuilder after delivery.

Little was known about the reasons behind the return, but German media cited a number of crucial “software and hardware defects” that made the warship useless if deployed on a combat mission. Software deficiencies were particularly important as the Baden-Wuerttemberg-class vessels will be operated by a crew of some 120 sailors – just half of the manpower on older Bremen class frigates.

Also, it emerged that the ship is dramatically overweight which reduces its performance and limits the Navy’s ability to add future upgrades. The 7,000-ton ‘Rheinland-Pfalz’ is believed to be twice as heavy as similar-class ships used by the Germans in the Second World War.

Aside from faulty hardware, the price tag of the entire project – including the training of the crew – is also becoming an issue. It is said to have reached staggering €3.1billion ($3.6bn) – up from initial €2.2 billion.

Problems gripping the newest frigates become especially of importance in light of recent warnings that Germany’s naval power is shrinking. Earlier this year, Hans-Peter Bartels, chief of the German parliament’s defense committee, acknowledged the Navy is actually “running out of deployment-capable ships.”

The official said the issue has snowballed over time, because old ships were decommissioned but no replacement vessels were provided. He lamented that none of the of the Baden-Wuerttemberg-class frigates were able to join the Navy.

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[*] posted on 3-10-2018 at 12:39 PM


Just to add to the German news, 3 of their subs are back in service.



Paddywhackery not included.
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[*] posted on 22-10-2018 at 10:29 PM


Romania set to choose four new corvettes, frigate upgrade

Richard Scott, London and Luca Peruzzi, Genoa - Jane's Navy International

22 October 2018


Damen Schelde’s SIGMA 10514 design. Source: Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding

Romania's Ministry of Defence is nearing a decision on the procurement of new multirole corvettes after receiving final bids at the beginning of October from Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding of the Netherlands, Italy's Fincantieri, and France's Naval Group.

The EUR1.6 billion (USD1.85 billion) programme covers the acquisition of four corvettes, as well as the combat system modernisation of the Romanian Navy's two ex-UK Royal Navy Type 22 frigates Regina Maria and Regele Ferdinand . A source selection is scheduled for 26 October, although industry sources suggest this could slip by a number of weeks.

Romania's requirement calls for a 2,500-tonne class multipurpose ship with capabilities across anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, anti-air warfare, electronic warfare, naval gunfire support, and search and rescue. The design is also required to provide aviation facilities suitable for an IAR 330 Puma 10-tonne helicopter and a shipborne unmanned aircraft system.

In line with Romanian stipulations for local industry participation, all three contenders are proposing build and in-service support in conjunction with subsidiaries or partners based in country. Romania has asked for the first corvette to be delivered inside three years, with the programme to be completed in seven years.

Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding is bidding a variant of its SIGMA 10514 design with sister yard Damen Shipyards Galati. To meet the Romanian requirement, Daman has specified a Thales Nederland combat management system (CMS)/sensor fit, the Raytheon Evolved SeaSparrow Missile System and Boeing Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles. The underwater warfare suite would be provided by General Dynamics Mission Systems-Canada.

Fincantieri, which owns the Vard Braila and Tulcea shipyards in Romania, is offering a customised variant of the Abu Dhabi corvette previously built for the United Arab Emirates. It is likely that Vard Braila would be the focal point for both construction and in-service support if Fincantieri is selected.

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