Thursday, February 11, 2016

BAE Systems awarded £201m to further Successor Submarine design

Successor - Crown Copyright
BAE Systems

February 10, 2016 - The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded BAE Systems £201m to further the design of a successor to the Royal Navy's Vanguard class submarines.
The funding will allow the business to mature the design of the new class of submarines, which will carry the UK's independent nuclear deterrent, including the layout of equipment and systems, and to develop manufacturing processes.
Tony Johns, the Managing Director of BAE Systems Submarines, said: "We are incredibly proud of the role we play in designing and building our nation’s submarines. The Successor programme is one of the most challenging engineering projects in the world today and this additional funding will enable us to further mature the design."
BAE Systems is the industrial lead on the programme with more than 1,600 employees working on it, alongside colleagues from the MoD, Rolls Royce and Babcock, many of whom are based at the Company's site in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.      
Today’s announcement follows three previous funding packages awarded to BAE Systems - two awards of £328m and £315m to commence initial design in 2012, followed by £257m in 2015 for the detailed design.
Approximately 7,700 people are employed by BAE Systems Submarines with the majority at its site in Barrow, where submarines have been built for the Royal Navy for more than a century. The Company is also building the Astute class - seven state-of-the-art nuclear-powered attack submarines.
Subject to the Government's approval to progress to the construction phase, it is estimated BAE Systems will employ between 5,000 and 6,000 people on the Successor programme at its peak, with a total of 9,000 employed across BAE Systems’ submarines business. The Company spends approximately £300m annually across its submarine supply chain and this number is expected to increase throughout the life of the Successor programme.
In readiness for the start of construction of Successor, more than £300m is being invested into BAE Systems’ Barrow site to transform its submarine building capabilities. This will include brand new, state-of-the-art facilities as well as the refurbishment of existing buildings.

Portsmouth dredge preparations unearth historic cannon

Paolo Croce, Marine Archaeologist, Wessex Archaeology with the recovered cannon at North Quay, Portsmouth International Port. Photo: Gerrit Jan Van Den Bosch/Boskalis Westminster. All rights reserved.
London February 11, 2016 - An iron cannon has been unearthed during work to prepare HMNB Portsmouth for the arrival of the Queen Elizabeth Class carriers.
The relic was recovered during a seabed clearance which is part of a £31 million program to dredge Portsmouth Harbour to make it wide and deep enough for the 2 new carriers.
The cannon was found by Boskalis Westminster, which has been contracted by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) to carry out the dredging program.
The discovery was swiftly reported to the project’s archaeological advisors, Wessex Archaeology, which recorded the cannon. This will enable further research to be completed to determine how the cannon came to be in the harbour and how old it is. DIO Project Manager Paul Simmonds said, "The work underway at HMNB Portsmouth is vital in order to ensure the right infrastructure is in place ready for the arrival of the Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers. The artifacts being recovered as part of the dredging process offer a fascinating insight into the naval history of this significant sea port and I am delighted that they are being retained in the local area."
Speaking on behalf of Wessex Archaeology, Andrea Hamel, Senior Marine Archaeologist said, "We have already recovered a number of anchors, a quantity of modern glass and a range of ceramics during the dredging but cannons are particularly exciting finds because they could indicate the presence of a previously unrecorded shipwreck. However in this case, the cannon appears to be an isolated discovery. More investigation into the cannon will be needed to determine its significance, but hopefully ongoing research will provide a date-range for the cannon and possible provenance."
The cannon has now been transported to the Mary Rose Trust where it will be stored while decisions are made about its future conservation before travelling to its eventual home at Portsmouth Museum along with a range of the other artefacts found during the project.

CAE authorized to proceed on U.S. Navy MH-60 Tech Refresh program

Tampa February 10, 2016 - CAE today announced that CAE USA is authorized to proceed on the United States Navy MH-60R/S Tech Refresh program.  Under terms of the contract, which was awarded as a base contract plus exercised options, CAE USA will perform a technology refresh on a range of U.S. Navy MH-60 Seahawk helicopter simulators and training systems.
The initial base contract plus exercised options was included as part of CAE's second quarter fiscal year 2016 order intake. The contract was protested and recently the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) denied the protest of the unsuccessful bidder, thus allowing the program to proceed. The contract also includes additional options over the next several years.
The MH-60 Tech Refresh program will see CAE perform major updates and upgrades to the U.S. Navy's suite of MH-60S Sierra and MH-60R Romeo training systems, including tactical operational flight trainers and weapons tactics trainers located at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Naval Station (NS) Mayport, NAS North Island, and NS Norfolk. Some of the updates and upgrades to be developed include delivering a common hardware/software baseline for more than 20 MH-60 Seahawk training devices, extending the visual field-of-view on existing MH-60S Sierra operational flight trainers, and converting an existing SH-60B helicopter simulator to an MH-60R tactical operational flight trainer.  CAE will also have responsibility for the networking, interoperability and integration of the Navy's comprehensive suite of MH-60 training systems, including training devices used for door gunnery training and hoist operations.
"We are pleased to continue our long-standing relationship with the U.S. Navy on the MH-60 Seahawk platform following a competitive win on the MH-60 Tech Refresh program," said Ray Duquette, President and General Manager, CAE USA.  "The Navy has a definitive plan in place to increasingly use more simulation-based training throughout its overall training program, and the enhancements we make to the MH-60 Seahawk training systems will ultimately help the Navy provide higher fidelity and more cost-effective training to its MH-60 fleet squadrons."
In addition to significant updates and upgrades to existing MH-60 Seahawk training systems, the contract awarded to CAE includes the acquisition of two new MH-60R tactical operational flight trainers (TOFTs).

HMAS Melbourne sails home from successful deployment

HMAS Melbourne arrives at the Naval Support Activity in Manama, Bahrain, at the end of her maritime security operations in the Middle East Region with Combined Maritime Forces. Melbourne will be replaced by HMAS Darwin on station.


February 11, 2016 - Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Melbourne is returning home to Australia after completing more than 50 boarding operations and seizing almost a tonne of heroin during a Middle Eastern deployment.
The guided missile frigate handed over maritime security responsibilities to sister ship, HMAS Darwin, after five months of operations in support of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) and more than six months away from home.
Commander Bill Waters, Commanding Officer of Melbourne, commended the ship’s company of 223 officers and sailors for their commitment and efforts that ensured a successful deployment.
“During the five months on operations we confiscated and destroyed 977 kilograms of high grade heroin seized from five different vessels suspected of smuggling illegal narcotics,” he said.
“To put it in perspective, these drugs weighed almost as a much as a small car and had an Australian street value of around $390 million.
“These searches are not easy as the drugs are concealed within difficult to access compartments in small dhows and boarding teams work incredibly hard in arduous conditions to find these drugs.
“The work we are doing with our international CMF partners is making a positive and tangible difference to the security in the Middle East region and is impacting the ability of international terrorist organisations to fund their illegal activities.
“I’m incredibly proud of my ship’s company and their performance over the six months we have been deployed. They have never waivered in their dedication to making meaningful differences in the region.”
During the deployment, Melbourne patrolled more than 37,000 nautical miles, her embarked S-70B Seahawk helicopter flew 350 hours and the galley served more than 100,000 meals to keep the ship operating 24 hours per day.
Additionally, Melbourne was awarded the 2015 Duke of Gloucester Cup for being the best unit across the Royal Australian Navy. This is further testimony to the level of professionalism and dedication Melbourne’s crew has shown throughout the year.
Melbourne has been conducting maritime security operations with the multinational force as part of Combined Task Force 150. The ship’s operations have encompassed the Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf during her deployment.
Melbourne tasking was her eighth deployment to the Middle East region and the 61st rotation of a Royal Australian Navy vessel to the region since 1990.

POGO: Pentagon’s 2017 Budget is Mardi Gras for Defense Contractors

Mardigras with Defense Contractors
By Mandy Smithberger

February 10, 2016 - Mardi Gras is an occasion for gluttony, masks, and general revelry. This week, the Pentagon celebrated Fat Tuesday with the release of its fiscal year 2017 budget request, tossing out a variety of baubles for defense contractors.
Overall the Pentagon requested $582.7 billion in discretionary funding, a $2.4 billion increase from last year’s enacted level of spending. The request includes $58.8 billion for “war spending,” named the overseas contingency operations (OCO) account, and often used as a slush fund for a myriad of programs that have little to nothing to do with our wars. The proposed budget continues a trend of Pentagon spending well above historical norms, with our total national security spending for next year at nearly $1.1 trillion.
This is the first budget since Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which increased Pentagon spending caps for the base budget to include $548 billion in fiscal year 2016 (an increase of $25 billion over the spending caps previously mandated by the Budget Control Act) and $551 billion for this year (an increase of $15 billion). And rather than moving towards responsible budgeting by moving spending into the base budget, the bill also set a floor for the OCO account of $58.8 billion for last year and this year.
While all of this means there’s a lot of bad news in the defense budget, there is some good news, as well. The Air Force has temporarily ended its campaign to retire the A-10, admitting that it is too useful against Syria and the Islamic State to mothball just yet. We continue to be concerned, however, by previous Air Force efforts to thwart congressional intent by reducing A-10 readiness and effectiveness. Preserving the A-10 is also insufficient for the future of close air support. Representative Martha McSally (R-AZ) is leading efforts to ensure the Air Force develops a next-generation A-10 before it mothballs additional A-10s. “There is no aircraft, either in the fleet or in development, that can replace the Warthog’s unique capabilities,” McSally wrote, referencing the fact that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is insufficient to fulfill the role. “The specific mission set for CAS/[forward air controller-airborne]/[combat search and rescue] requires a specific aircraft, not one that is a jack-of-all-trades but a master of none.”
The Pentagon is also proposing to cut one ship from the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program, saving taxpayers $206 million. We have long been concerned with problems with this program, and included pausing the Littoral Combat Ship in our Bakers’ Dozen priorities for Congress. More recently, the Navy is investigating why two of the ships have been sidelined by engine issues. The Pentagon’s testing office also found that in two exercises the LCS struggled to fend off a swarm of small attacking vessels, with the attackers penetrating the “keep-out” zone. These are only a few of the problems prompting the leadership of the Senate Armed Services Committee to question the future of the program and its ability to be effective and survivable in combat.
Unfortunately, from there the budget is more decidedly mixed. The budget includes $46 million for the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS), the Army blimp made infamous when it broke loose this past fall. As we noted before, it’s unclear if anything can actually kill this program, even with its known deficiencies.
The Pentagon also asked Congress to fund 63 F-35s at $10.1 billion, despite the most damning testing report of the F-35 program to date. But there may be two bright spots on the F-35. First, the Pentagon rejected a proposal from the F-35 program office to approve a block buy. Second, the Air Force deferred purchasing five F-35As this year and reduced its procurement by 45 aircraft over the next five years, perhaps because one of the major conclusions of the testing report is that the Air Force is unlikely to be able to declare initial operational capability (IOC) on time for its variant. More likely, though, the decision is the first indicator that the costs of the next Long-Range Strike-Bomber will drive reductions in the F-35 program.
Other “savings” offered, including closing military bases through a Base Realignment and Consolidation (BRAC) process, are dead on arrival to Congress in an election year because it would translate into losing jobs for their districts.
Finally, the Pentagon still refuses to break free from war-spending budget gimmicks. While OCO is supposed to be for emergency spending related to our wars overseas, it has repeatedly been used by both the Pentagon and Congress as a slush fund. The use of this fund allows lawmakers and the Pentagon to avoid the spending caps. As Taxpayers for Common Sense pointed out, if OCO were an agency, its $58.8 billion budget would make it the fifth largest in the federal government. But even before the budget came out, Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee protested that $583 billion for Pentagon spending wasn’t enough and sent a letter to the Budget Committee this week urging an additional $15 to $23 billion for OCO—which could easily compensate for the limited weapons program cuts. While the Pentagon supported the budget deal as a “positive step,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter has suggested he is open to spending more.
During a press conference announcing the budget, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Paul Selva immediately dismissed concerns that Pentagon spending is too low to support our national security needs. “We have the most powerful military in the world,” said General Selva. “We are far from gutted…You have in your joint force today the most powerful army on the planet, the most flexible and determined Air Force on the planet, the most capable Navy on the planet, and a Marine Corps no one can match.”
The proposed budget includes increased funding for readiness, which determines how ready our forces are to fight. Readiness, funded through the operations and maintenance account, has been underfunded by the Pentagon and Congress in the past. But it’s misguided to blame this on spending caps; the real culprit is over-prioritizing weapon systems. Despite complaints from some proponents of increased Pentagon spending that modernization of weapons has been unduly underfunded in previous budgets since the Budget Control Act, a recent AP fact-check found that funding has largely remained stable at about $1.6 trillion. Instead, Congress and the Pentagon have responded to budget caps by cutting training and maintenance. As former Pentagon analyst Chuck Spinney has pointed out, however, robbing readiness to pay for over-priced and over-complicated weapon systems is a “death spiral” regular practice of Congress and the Pentagon, even at the highest budget levels. Without fundamental reforms—far more likely to occur under reduced spending that encourage competition and smarter choices—taxpayers should continue to be concerned about a Pentagon largely unaccountable for wasteful spending and mismanagement.
It’s not uncommon to see a spending spree at the end of an administration, but it doesn’t make it any less disappointing for taxpayers when it happens.

Ms. Smithberger, a former national security policy adviser to U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) worked on passing key provisions of the Military Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act into law, which expands protections by increasing the level of Inspector General review for complaints, requiring timely action on findings of reprisal, and increasing the time whistleblowers have to report reprisals.
She also worked on an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that required closer scrutiny of the Littoral Combat Ship program’s deficiencies, including limiting the Navy to purchasing only the number of mission modules required for operational testing.
Smithberger, who has a Masters in Strategic Studies and International Economics from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, also served as an analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency and U.S. Central Command.

U.S. military to participate in Singapore International Airshow

February 10, 2016 - The U.S. military will participate in the 2016 Singapore International Airshow at the Singapore Changi Airport and the Changi Exhibition Centre, Singapore, Feb. 16-21, 2016.
The airshow is a biennial event and is the largest defense exhibition and biennial international tradeshow in the Pacific. This year’s exhibition will be the 5th iteration since its inception in 1996.
A cross-section of U.S. military aircraft and equipment are scheduled to be present through static displays and aerial demonstrations, including the C-17 Globemaster III, E-3 Sentry, KC-135 Stratotanker, B-52 Stratofortress, P-8 Poseidon, C-12 Huron, MV-22 Osprey, AH-64E Apache, MH-60R Seahawk, CH-47 Chinook, F-22 Raptor, F-16 Fighting Falcon, and F-18 Super Hornet.
Through participation in airshows and regional events, the U.S. demonstrates its commitment to the security of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, promotes equipment interoperability, displays the flexible combat capabilities of the U.S. military, and creates lasting relationships with international audiences to strengthen the bonds that support partnership building throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

Newbuilding Cadet Training Ship for Indonesian Navy

Man Diesel & Turbo

February 10, 2016 - MAN Diesel & Turbo has received an order for an MAN 6L21/31 engine to power a newbuilding cadet training sailing ship for the Defence Ministry of the Republic of Indonesia. The engine will be used to power the 110m ‘KRI Bima Suci’ and up to 200 persons on board when not propelled by sail power. The ship is currently under construction at the Freire Shipyard in Vigo, Spain.
Lex Nijsen – Head of Four-Stroke Marine – MAN Diesel & Turbo, said: “We’re very happy to have won this unusual order, unusual in the sense that orders anywhere in the world for the building of such a large sailing vessel of 100m and over are few and far between.”
He continued: “In this particular case, we enjoy a long and fruitful relationship with the Indonesian Navy, which already uses MAN engine types in its fleet, and – in this respect – an MAN engine was the natural choice for such a fine vessel. I also feel that fulfilling the demands for such an unusual application bears testament to the strength of our medium-speed programme.”
MAN Diesel & Turbo has prior experience with sailing ship orders and has previously re-engined the 113-m ‘Esmeralda’, a 4-mast barquentine, for the Chilean Navy. Similarly, in 2006, the company re-engined the 104-m ‘Fregata Libertad’ for the Argentinean Navy.
Such tall ships often have a dual purpose where, besides training new recruits, they are often used in courtesy visits to other countries as, by nature, their presence can be viewed as more diplomatic than that of a modern, naval vessel.
The company has had many dealings with the Indonesian Navy in the past and recently signed a contract for the delivery of MAN 20V28/33D STC engines for two frigates due to enter service in 2017. These engines represent a generation change within the Indonesian fleet that has been powered for many years by MAN Diesel & Turbo 28/33D and Pielstick-branded engines.
As with the 20V28/33D STC engines, the new 6L21/31 engine will also be built by MAN Diesel & Turbo.