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Tuesday, November 25, 2014
November 24, 2014 - The James Joyce, the second Offshore Patrol Vessel being built for the Irish Navy, is floated at the Babcock Appledore Shipyard. A third sister ship has also been ordered. (Babcock photo) The second of the Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) being built by Babcock for the Irish Naval Service, LÉ James Joyce, was floated for the first time yesterday, 23 November 2014, at Babcock’s Appledore shipyard in North Devon, marking a significant milestone in the build programme.
Almost exactly a year after the keel was laid (on 4 November 2013) this second vessel is now 92% complete, with power being generated by the ship’s machinery. Ship’s lighting and forward and aft capstans were activated and used during the float-up. The ship will now be berthed alongside for final outfit, followed by trials, test and commissioning, prior to handover to the Irish Naval Service early in the new year.
The 90 metre, 2256 tonne OPV has autonomous engine rooms and is capable of a top speed of 23 knots, and a range of 6,000 nautical miles at its cruise speed of 15 knots on a single engine. The propulsion system utilises a diesel electric drive system providing a loiter function of up to 6 knots. A comprehensive command, control and communications package is coupled to the main weapon; a 76mm gun, as well as two 20mm cannons and four general purpose machine guns.
The OPV is also equipped with configurable, serviced mission modules, with deck space to operate mission specific equipment, and to act as a mother ship for two fully independent fast pursuit Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats (RIBs). The vessel – which accommodates a crew of 44, plus ten trainee berths, to high comfort and habitability standards – is designed to provide an operational capability for many years of service in the North Atlantic, its main area of operation.
Babcock Shipbuilding Director, Andrew Hamilton, said: “We are delighted to have achieved this important and highly visible milestone to quality, budget and schedule, demonstrating our innovation and capability in this field. We will now be focusing on completion of the programme, ready for sea trials and then handover of a further highly capable OPV to the Irish Naval Service on-time and in-budget in early 2015. Work is also now underway on the third OPV, with first steel cut in September this year and keel laying scheduled for April 2015.”
LÉ James Joyce will join LÉ Samuel Becket, now operational following delivery by Babcock to the Irish Naval Service earlier this year. The OPVs will undertake a range of duties including fishery protection, search and rescue, anti-pollution and maritime security duties, including vessel boardings.
Babcock was awarded the contract to build the two OPVs by Ireland’s Department of Defence in 2010, with the option to build a third being confirmed in June this year for delivery to the Irish Naval Service in summer 2016.
New Delhi November 25, 2014 - After the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai in 2008, several measures were announced by the government to strengthen coastal and maritime security along the entire coast. Due to the coordinated efforts of all concerned, all these measures are now in place and overall maritime security is much stronger than before. The Indian Navy has been the lead agency in this regard and is assisted in this task by the Indian Coast Guard, Marine Police and other Central and state agencies.
At the apex level the National Committee for Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security (NCSMCS), headed by the Cabinet Secretary, coordinates all matters related to Maritime and Coastal Security.
Joint Operations Centres (JOCs), set up by the Navy as command and control hubs for coastal security at Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, Kochi and Port Blair are fully operational. These JOCs are manned 24×7 jointly by the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and Marine Police.
Coastal patrolling by Navy, Coast Guard and marine police has increased sharply over the last few years. At any given time, the entire west coast is under continuous surveillance by ships and aircraft of Navy and Coast Guard. As a result, potential threats have been detected and actions have been taken to mitigate them in good time.
Inter–agency coordination, between nearly 15 national and state agencies has improved dramatically, only due to regular “exercises” conducted by the Navy in all the coastal states. Nationwide, over 100 such exercises have been conducted till date since 2008, and this has strengthened coastal security markedly.
In addition to continuous patrolling by Navy and Coast Guard, modern technical measures have also been implemented for coastal surveillance, by way of a chain of 74 Automatic Identification System (AIS) receivers, for gapless cover along the entire coast. This is complemented by a chain of overlapping 46 coastal radars in the coastal areas of our mainland and Islands. A second phase of coastal radars is also being implemented to plug the small gaps in some places.
As part of the effort to enhance our Maritime Domain Awareness, the Honourable Raksha Mantri, Shri Manohar Parrikar, inaugurated the National Command Control Communication and Intelligence Network (NC3I) last Sunday. This over-arching coastal security network collates data about all ships, dhows, fishing boats and all other vessels operating near our coast, from multiple technical sources including the AIS and radar chain. These inputs are fused and analysed at the Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) at Gurgaon, which disseminates this compiled Common Operating Picture for Coastal Security to all 51 nodes of the Navy & Coast Guard spread across the coast of India. This Nodal Hub for the coastal security of our country, which has been conceptualised by the Indian Navy, is a major step in the establishment of a coastal security shield along the coast.
Issue of ID cards to all fishermen with a single centralised database, registration of over 2 lakh fishing vessels operating off our coast and equipping fishing boats with suitable equipment, to facilitate vessel identification and tracking are some of the other steps taken. Our fishing communities are adept mariners, whose cooperation is indispensible to our maritime security. Fishing communities have become the ‘eyes and ears’ of our security architecture. This has been achieved by spreading awareness in these communities through coastal security awareness campaigns, conducted by the Indian Navy and Coast Guard, in all coastal districts of the country. In the Western Naval Command itself, nearly 70 such campaigns have been conducted in 2014 alone. During these campaigns fishermen have been strongly advised and warned not to cross the International Maritime Boundary as it is in the interest of their safety. Fishermen today own GPS receivers and are therefore fully aware of their positions at sea.
The Navy and Coast Guard have also provided periodic maritime training to marine police in all coastal states. In WNC itself over 250 police personnel have been trained in 2014. In order to have a permanent police training facility, Marine Police training institutes in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat have been approved by the Government recently. These will provide the Marine Police better facilities and infrastructure for professional training.
In order to be better prepared to prevent a 26/11 incident from the sea, the Indian Navy, along with the Coast Guard and Indian Air Force are currently conducting the annual Defence of Gujarat Exercise for five days. On the occasion of the 6th anniversary of the Mumbai terror attacks, over 30 ships and submarines and aircraft of the Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, Coast Guard and State agencies have been deployed for this exercise off the Western Coast of India. During this exercise, the defence of the offshore oil production areas will also be tested. This exercise will provide an opportunity to fine tune SOPs and test new operational concepts for coastal security.
Since 2008, coastal and maritime security has been strengthened substantially by successful implementation of technical, organisational and procedural initiatives, by all maritime security agencies. Plugging gaps, where identified, is continuous process that is being addressed appropriately.
November 14, 2014 - ATLAS North America LLC. (ANA), a wholly owned subsidiary of ATLAS ELEKTRONIK GmbH, Germany, has acquired the business of Marine Sonic Technology (MSTL), Ltd., based in Yorktown, Virginia, USA, via an asset deal. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Sergio Diehl, President and Chief Executive Officer of ATLAS North America LLC., stated: "ATLAS North America’s acquisition of Marine Sonic Technology creates for the ATLAS Group a greater worldwide stake within the sonar survey, mine warfare and the fast growing autonomous vehicle markets. MSTL’s core competencies with high resolution sonar technology are highly synergistic to the ATLAS Group’s existing capabilities, and with the addition of these new side scan products, expand ATLAS’ total sonar product offerings. For ANA, the new combined facility provides the critical U. S. based production and manufacturing facility required to affix the "Made in the USA" label on SeaFox Mine Neutralization Vehicles, and other planned products for the U.S. Navy Mine Warfare Forces."
Martin H. Wilcox, President and Principal Research Engineer at Marine Sonic Technology, Ltd., added: "This acquisition will allow both organizations to enlarge and improve their research, development and manufacturing capabilities in the realm of marine technology. The entire Marine Sonic organization is looking forward to working with our new colleagues at Atlas North America."
Marine Sonic Technology, Ltd. is a world leader in the development and manufacturing of ultra-high resolution side scan sonar systems. Offering the highest resolution currently available at 1800 kHz, MSTL has continued to pioneer new advancements in sonar since its inception in the late 1980’s. From the early Sonic High-Accuracy Ranging and Positioning System (SHARPS) to the latest ARC Scout which is the smallest dual-simultaneous digital CHIRP embedded system capable of producing near photographic imaging. Servicing industries around the globe such as Oil & Gas, Oceanic & Marine Construction, Search & Rescue, Law Enforcement, Military & Defense, and anywhere accurate ultra-high resolution underwater imaging is required.
ATLAS North America was established in September 2010. ANA serves the U.S. market with a specific focus on undersea warfare and unmanned vehicles. Located close to the U.S. Navy’s Atlantic Fleet bases and Washington, D.C. for enhanced customer service, ANA is capable of providing any of the ATLAS Group products as well as a broad range of associated technical and logistics support services for the entire product life-cycle. The primary goal of ANA is to introduce the full range of ATLAS products into the US defense market and to provide technical and logistics support to those ATLAS products already in the US inventory.
The initial focus is on ATLAS line of Remotely Operated and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (ROVs/AUVs) i.e. SeaFox, SeaCat and SeaOtter. ANA is currently executing mine neutralization contracts with the SeaFox UUV based on an urgent operational need statement (UONS) for the US NAVY. The installations are in the AVENGER CLASS mine countermeasure vessel, the MH-53E mine countermeasure helicopters and with the US Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal community. More importantly, ANA, with access to the ATLAS Group systems fielded throughout NATO and the Rest-Of-World Navies, can socialize these incredible warfare capabilities within the US Defense Market. Many of these completed, fielded and modular systems may be applicable to the U.S. NAVY Surface, Submarine and Expeditionary Warfare communities.
President and Chief Executive Officer of ATLAS North America LLC., stated: "ATLAS North America’s acquisition of Marine Sonic Technology creates for the ATLAS Group a greater worldwide stake within the sonar survey, mine warfare and the fast growing autonomous vehicle markets. MSTL’s core competencies with high resolution sonar technology are highly synergistic to the ATLAS Group’s existing capabilities, and with the addition of these new side scan products, expand ATLAS’ total sonar product offerings. For ANA, the new combined facility provides the critical U. S. based production and manufacturing facility required to affix the "Made in the USA" label on SeaFox Mine Neutralization Vehicles, and other planned products for the U.S. Navy Mine Warfare Forces."
Last chance to order your color 2015 USS SLATER Calendars
Orders must be in by November 30th. This 8 5/8" x11 3/4" (folded)13 month calendar commemorates our successful drydocking and return to Albany with full color pictures of USS SLATER's new dazzle camouflage pattern. Use this link to print out our order form.
The order form can be found on our web site here.
Calendars are $15 each which includes domestic postage. Orders must be in by November 30th so mail, fax (518-432-1123) or phone in (518-431-1943) your order today.
|Boeing delivered the sixth P-8I maritime patrol aircraft to India, on schedule, on Nov. 24, arriving at Naval Air Station Rajali to join five others being used by the Indian Navy. Boeing photo.|
Seattle November 25, 2014 – Boeing delivered the sixth P-8I maritime patrol aircraft to India, on schedule, on Nov. 24, arriving at Naval Air Station Rajali to join five others being used by the Indian Navy.
The P-8I is part of a contract of eight awarded in 2009. The final two deliveries are scheduled for 2015.
“The P-8I’s arrival in India is another key milestone for the program and marks our final delivery of the year,” said Dennis Swanson, vice president, Boeing Defense, Space & Security in India. “The Indian Navy is currently conducting missions with the first five aircraft, and this newest P-8I will begin flight trials in the coming months.”
Based on the company’s Next-Generation 737 commercial airplane, the P-8I is the Indian Navy variant of the P-8A Poseidon that Boeing builds for the U.S. Navy.
The P-8I incorporates not only India-unique design features, but also Indian-built sub-systems that are tailored to meet the country’s maritime patrol requirements. The P-8I features open systems architecture, advanced sensor and display technologies, and a worldwide base of suppliers, parts, and support equipment.
“We have a great partnership with India, which has helped us keep the program on schedule and on budget,” said Mark Jordan, Boeing P-8 International program manager.
In order to efficiently design and build the P-8I and the P-8A, the Boeing-led team is using a first-in-industry, in-line production process that draws on the company’s Next-Generation 737 production system. P-8I aircraft are built by a Boeing-led industry team that includes CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Spirit AeroSystems, BAE Systems and GE Aviation.
New York November 24, 2014 - Today, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) CEO Ambassador Mark D. Wallace and UANI President Gary Samore issued the following statement on the agreement between the P5+1 and Iran to extend the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) until March 1, 2015 to reach a political framework agreement and until June 30, 2015 for a final comprehensive agreement:
“If Iran’s leaders do not seize this opportunity then I will be the first to call for more sanctions, and stand ready to exercise all options to make sure Iran does not build a nuclear weapon.”
The Iran and P5+1 nuclear negotiations have now continued for one year. At the start of the JPA in January 2014, President Obama stated, “If Iran’s leaders do not seize this opportunity then I will be the first to call for more sanctions, and stand ready to exercise all options to make sure Iran does not build a nuclear weapon.”
Over the period of the JPA the P5+1 and Iran have not agreed to materially roll back Iran’s breakout capacity which remains at 1-3 months.
We are concerned that there were no concessions agreed to by Iran as part of the extension of the JPA while Iran will directly receive additional sanctions relief totaling $5 billion and assuredly gain further indirect economic benefits.
There should be no doubt that the failure to achieve a workable agreement on Iran’s nuclear program falls squarely at the feet of the Iranian leadership. The P5+1 was more than generous in its proposals and compromise offers made to Iran in recent days. Iran should not expect that delaying an agreement or creating an impasse in negotiations will cause the P5+1 to become more generous over time. Simply put, the elements of a “bad deal” do not change. Any deal that leaves Iran with short term nuclear weapons breakout capacity, does not provide for a full and comprehensive verification system, and fails to fully resolve all questions related to PMD (Possible Military Dimensions) is a bad deal.
Iran has never shown the political will to roll back its nuclear program in order to extend its breakout capacity and it continues to research and develop delivery systems and advanced centrifuges.
The disagreement between the negotiating sides is well and clearly understood. Iran refuses to materially reduce its number and type of centrifuges. This disagreement was the same issue when the P5+1-Iran negotiations began in 2009, when negotiations resumed after Rouhani’s election on October 15, 2013, when the JPA was adopted on November 24, 2013, and when the JPA was last extended on July 20, 2014. It is the core of the disagreement now. There is little indication that continued extensions of the negotiations will cause Iran to back away from its political obstinacy and reduce its nuclear breakout capacity. There is therefore little likelihood for a diplomatic breakthrough.
It is time for Iran to understand the dire economic consequences it will face absent an agreement on its nuclear program. Accordingly, we call on the White House and Congress to take the following actions:
1. The White House and Congress should act now to specifically define, agree and authorize decisive sanctions if Iran violates the JPA or fails to accept the terms of a comprehensive nuclear agreement by March 2, 2015.
2. The administration must enforce existing sanctions more aggressively.
3. The White House and Congress must continue to communicate that Iran remains closed to business.
Iran has had ample opportunity to agree to a workable nuclear accord in an environment of sanction easing. Now Iran must return to the negotiating table and understand the real economic consequence of its failure of political will – the potential imposition of decisive sanctions. The United States and its P5+1 partners must understand as well that the status quo of negotiations and extension, followed by more negotiations and extension must not and cannot continue. Activity does not equal achievement. The calculus presented to Iran's leadership must be that Iran’s delays and failures to act have real consequences – that means the real and defined prospect of the most robust sanctions in history.