LCS 1 Completes Structural Test Firing

July 17, 2009, Washington -- USS Freedom (LCS 1) successfully completed structural test firing (STF) exercises off the coast of Virginia June 25; the STF exercise was held to test the ship's weapon systems to ensure they operate as installed and integrated with the hull structure.

During the week of tests, Freedom fired two Rolling Airframe Missile test rounds, 70 MK 110 57mm gun rounds, 24 chaff rounds and more than 1,000 50-calibre and smaller rounds.

"The successful completion of these live fire events proves the design, construction and integration of these weapon systems on LCS 1," said Capt. Jim Murdoch, LCS program manager with the Navy's Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. "The fit and function of these systems meets our expectations."

In addition to the ship's crew, the tests were conducted by engineers from Naval Sea Systems Command's Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Port Hueneme's Louisville detachment as well as NSWC Dahlgren.

LCS is a new breed of U.S. Navy warship with versatile warfighting capabilities, capable of open-ocean operation but optimized for littoral, or coastal, missions. Operational experience and analyses indicate that potential adversaries will employ asymmetric means to deny U.S. and allied forces access into critical coastal regions, such as strategic chokepoints and vital economic sea lanes. LCS is specifically designed to defeat such "anti-access" threats, which include fast surface craft, quiet diesel submarines and various types of mines.

LCS 1 began its second industrial post-delivery availability July 8 at Colonna's Shipyard in Norfolk. This availability is a planned event in Freedom's post-delivery period to provide for the correction of problems discovered during test and trials events conducted so far. The post delivery test and trials period is intended to fully examine the ship's installed systems' performance and allow the ship's crew to become familiar with and exercise the ship's systems.

PEO Ships is responsible for the development and acquisition of U.S. Navy surface ships and is currently managing the design and construction of a wide range of ship classes and small boats and craft. These platforms range from major warships such as frontline surface combatants and amphibious assault ships to air-cushioned landing craft, oceanographic research ships and special warfare craft. PEO Ships has delivered 32 major warships and hundreds of small boats and craft from more than 30 shipyards and boat builders across the United States.


Truman Fires Missiles, Certifies Air Defenses

A RIM-7P NATO Sea Sparrow missile is launched from the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Truman is underway in the Atlantic Ocean conducting carrier qualifications. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Daron Street/Released)

July 15, 2009, At Sea -- The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) successfully completed a NATO Sea Sparrow Missile exercise at sea July 15 to certify that the ship's missile system is sufficiently capable of warding off certain types of threats.

Fire Controlman 1st Class (SW) Harold Vernon said the exercise included two parts: the first being to hit an air target and the other to hit a surface target.

To simulate protecting the ship from an aerial threat, Sailors employed two drones, which approached the ship in a stream-raid flight pattern. On board Truman a missile was fired to intercept the drones, hitting both targets.

Another missile was fired to intercept a surface target the size of a sail boat moving at 10 knots. The purpose was to test a new camera sensor installed on the NATO Sea Sparrow launcher.

The cameras are designed to give improved range and the ability to visually identify any surface crafts in the area, said Vernon.

Sailors on board Truman endured a lot of hard work and preparation to ensure a successful evolution.

"It took approximately 70 hours of preparation from four NATO technicians and combat systems (CS-7) division in support to get this program done," said Vernon. "They have been preparing for this missile shoot for the last month."

"Teamwork is essential," said Fire Controlman 2nd Class (SW) Clifford Maass. "There are certain steps in loading the missiles that require at least three people at a time. The whole evolution takes six people on deck to complete, and each person is vital."

Safety was also an important issue in the missile exercise.

"We all have our ammo handling physical qualification, and we have to get ammo handling qualified, which gets done with the ordnance handling officer," said Maass. "Once we are all qualified, we actually go to schools in Dam Neck, Va., to qualify ourselves on shore before we are allowed to do this on a ship."

USS Harry S. Truman is currently conducting work-up evolutions in preparation for deployment later this year. With the recent completion of composite training unit exercise, Truman and its attached battle group are nearing certification as the Navy's ready deployable carrier strike group.


George Washington Carrier Strike Group Begins Talisman Saber

USS George Washington CVN 73. (Photo:

July 16, 2009, At sea -- The George Washington Carrier Strike Group (GWCSG), with embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, began participating in Exercise Talisman Saber 2009 (TS09) July 13.

TS09, a biennial exercise hosted by the Australian Defense Force, is designed to enhance combat readiness while maintaining the highest levels of interoperability between U.S. and Australian forces.

"With both nations dedicated to enhancing security and stability in the region, Talisman Saber 2009 provides us with the unique opportunity to train together across the full spectrum of missions from high-end combat operations to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief," said Rear Adm. Kevin M. Donegan, commander of Battle Force 7th Fleet. "The end result is the enhanced efficiency that comes from extensive interoperability among our joint military services."

Capt. Michael S. White, commander of CVW 5, said the exercise will present some new and unique training opportunities for CVW 5 pilots embarked on the carrier.

"Northern Australia, where we are working for TS09, really has some great flying opportunities — and the fact that we'll be working with our Air Force, Marine Corps and Royal Australian counterparts," said White. "The events are complex and challenging, but the training value is very good. It's a great opportunity for us to go get better at what we do."

USS George Washington (GW) (CVN 73) Combat Direction Center (CDC) Officer, Cmdr. Peter Walczak, said the purpose of GW's participation is to build and foster relationships with Australians while practicing responses to possible crises or small conflicts.

"We'll be performing simulated strikes on targets in central and northern Australia," said Walczak. "The scenarios are simulated for the purpose of dislodging a hostile element from a region of a local country. We'll also be simulating attacks on GW."

Walczak said the ship will then devise a simulated air plan in order to defend the ship and strike group from air attack.

"GW is performing typical operations, but our attitude is different. We're putting our game face on, where drills are not just at a departmental or divisional level; we're looking at where we fit within the strike group as a whole."

Cmdr. Mark Stoops, GW's air officer, said the exercise will allow the ship's air department to work in a high-tempo flight operations environment.

"We're launching and recovering aircraft every day regardless, but throughout the exercise our volume of operations will be much higher," said Stoops. "This is good because this way we can continue to practice and keep our skills sharp."

Capt. David A. Lausman, commanding officer of GW, the flagship of the George Washington Carrier Strike Group, is currently making its inaugural summer deployment from Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan.

GWCSG is comprised of CVW 5, Destroyer Squadron 15 and guided-missile cruisers USS Shiloh (CG 67) and USS Cowpens (CG 63).


Combined Joint Personnel Complete Keynote Amphibious Landing

US Marines Humvee four-wheel drive vehicles and a US Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion on Freshwater Bay Beach, Queensland. (Photo:

July 15, 2009 -- The interoperability of the Australian and U.S. military forces was on display as amphibious ships and landing craft streamed onto Freshwater Beach in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in the early morning hours today.

Looming out of the darkness, amphibious assault units deployed as part of Exercise Talisman Saber 2009.

US Marine Corporal Nathan Blackwood, who was with the first wave ashore, enjoyed the opportunity to work down under and was very excited to work with the Australians. He believes the training will be a great asset to everyone as his team has yet to deploy.

US and Australian troops pushed onto the beach from the amphibious assault ship USS Essex, located off the coast of Shoalwater Bay. The joint team consisted of ground, command, air and combat support elements from the Essex Amphibious Ready Group.

Essex's commanding officer, US Navy Captain Brent Canady, said Talisman Saber is an important exercise for both countries.

“Australia is one of our most strategic partners and it’s an opportunity for us to work on our interoperability and practice our coalition with the Australians,” Captain Canady said.

“So, if the time ever arises on short notice, we’ve already got the relationships built so we can just come together quickly and execute whatever mission we are assigned.”

Boeing Delivers 12-Nation Strategic Airlift Capability’s 1st C-17 Globemaster III

C-17 Globemaster III. (Photo : Boeing/Paul Pinner/Neg. #: SLF09-0402-411)

July 14, 2009, Long Beach, California -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today delivered the first Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) C-17 Globemaster III during a ceremony at its final assembly facility in Long Beach, paving the way for the advanced airlifter’s historic arrival at Pápa Air Base, Hungary, later this month. The SAC’s approach to shared use of the strategic airlifter is regarded as a model for the pooled acquisition and management of defense capabilities.

“I salute the 12 nations that have joined together to form the Strategic Airlift Capability,” said U.S. Air Force Col. John Zazworsky, the first commander of Pápa Air Base’s Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW). “This aircraft, along with the two that will follow, is a direct result of their commitment to giving SAC advanced airlift capabilities that will save lives around the world. We look forward to our first mission.” The HAW is the operational unit responsible for conducting airlift missions in support of national requirements.

“We’ve dreamed about this day for many years, and now it’s here,” said Gunnar Borch, who serves as General Manager of the NATO Airlift Management Agency (NAMA). “This historic partnership shows how much can be accomplished when nations work together to achieve a common goal.” NAMA is responsible for the acquisition, day-to-day management, and support of the C-17 fleet on behalf of NATO and all participating SAC nations.

“What you are doing is being watched and admired around the world,” said Jean Chamberlin, Boeing vice president and general manager of Global Mobility Systems. “It is truly remarkable to see 12 great nations working together to secure the world’s most advanced airlifter to support military, humanitarian, disaster-relief and peacekeeping missions. We thank you for choosing the C-17 and its unequaled readiness for any mission, anywhere, any time.”

The SAC group includes 10 NATO nations -- Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, United States -- and Partnership for Peace members Sweden and Finland. They will share acquisition and operating costs for the eventual fleet of three C-17s over the nearly 30-year agreement.

The first SAC C-17 will arrive at Pápa Air Base just prior to the activation of the HAW on July 27. Boeing will deliver the two remaining C-17s in September and October.

The SAC’s first C-17 bears the number 01 on its nose, symbolizing the first aircraft delivered to the SAC group. Because Hungary is the host nation for the HAW, the airlifter's tail is marked with red, white and green stripes. The air base’s name, "PAPA," is painted on a blue background that runs across the vertical stabilizer. The HAW will be operated by multinational crews from the 12 participating nations.

A Boeing team will provide support for the SAC C-17s, including material management and depot maintenance support, under Global Services & Support’s C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership program.


Lockheed Martin to Develop Concept for New U.S. Navy Air and Missile Defense Radar

July 14th, 2009, Moorestown, NJ -- The U.S. Navy has awarded Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] a $10 million firm-fixed-price contract to perform concept studies for the Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR), a scalable solid-state radar suite for future surface combatants.

Comprised of an S-Band radar, an X-Band radar and a Radar Suite Controller (RSC), AMDR is intended to significantly enhance a ship’s defensive capability against advanced anti-ship and ballistic missile threats. Lockheed Martin was one of three industry teams to receive AMDR contracts, which will focus on the S-Band radar and RSC during this six-month concept studies phase. The Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, D.C., leads the procurement for AMDR.

Under the contract, Lockheed Martin will evaluate potential system configurations. Subsequent phases, including technology development, engineering and manufacturing development, production and follow-on support, will be the subject of future competitive procurements. The work will be performed at Lockheed Martin’s Moorestown, NJ facility.

Lockheed Martin is a leader in S-Band radar system development and production. With more than 100 operational systems deployed worldwide, Lockheed Martin supports a range of naval radar programs providing advanced anti-air warfare and ballistic missile defense mission capability.

“AMDR will provide a scalable radar suite that will deliver enhanced capability against evolving threats for current and future ship platforms,” said Carl Bannar, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Radar Systems. “Through our established partnership with the Navy, Lockheed Martin will build on our 30-year naval radar heritage to meet the challenging mission requirements envisioned for AMDR with an open, capable, and affordable system solution.”


SAF special forces to operate under one command

To enhance its ability to deal with evolving security threats, the elite forces of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) - such as the Army's commandos and the Navy's Naval Diving Unit (NDU) - will now come together under one command structure. The recently established Special Operations Task Force (SOTF) is an integrated grouping that will provide the SAF with expanded capacity to carry out special operations, counter-terrorism operations and contingency operations.

"With the establishment of SOTF, we are better able to handle any kind of security threats or incidents that will harm homeland security," said Colonel (COL) Lam Shiu Tong, Commander SOTF and Chief Commando Officer.

Apart from homeland security threats, the SOTF will enhance international security, particularly on the high seas. The SOTF will have capabilities to intercept ships suspected of carrying weapons of mass destruction (WMD). This complements the US-led Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), an agreement between 100 countries that allows PSI states to intercept and detain materials found on board ships registered in signatory nations. Singapore has been a part of the PSI since 2004.

The SOTF will also be directly responsible for evacuation and diverse rescue operations. Specifically, elements from the SOTF can be deployed to evacuate Singaporeans out of harm's way in any part of the world, should the need arise. In addition, SOTF troopers will be involved in the rescue of hostages and even distressed submariners.

To meet the diverse operational needs, special forces from the Army, Navy and other SAF combat forces can be assigned to the SOTF to conduct operations.

With the joint headquarters, the SOTF set-up will include planners from the Air Force and Navy. They will tap on their Service-specific knowledge to mobilise resources for SOTF missions, thus shortening the time taken to respond when they are activated.

These Air and Naval planners will also fulfil the training, operation and capability development role of the SOTF with regards to Air and Naval support.

To develop a common understanding between the special forces, SOTF troopers will now be required to undergo an eight-month Special Forces Qualification Course that will impart the fundamentals to them. Following that, they will head back to their respective units for specialised courses.

The NDU will still drive the doctrine development and training related to diving as they are the Subject Matter Experts (SME) on the matter. Likewise, the commandos will do so for parachute operations.

"We are not losing our individual identities as Divers and Commandos, but gaining a valuable partner in each other's skill sets," said Colonel Tan Tai Tiong, Commander NDU and Deputy Commander SOTF.

Even with all their added responsibilities, the SOTF will continue to hone their core skills in war-time special operations. Using various methods of insertion, SOTF troopers will be deployed deep into enemy territory to conduct operations for strategic effect during war-time operations.

USS Arleigh Burke visits SA

USS Arleigh Burke DDG51. (Photo:

July 13, 2009, -- The Arleigh Burke is currently visiting a number of African ports in support of the US Navy's Africa Partnership Station programme.

The US Navy and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration launched the APS off West Africa in 2007 to help African nations achieve stability and economic prosperity through civilian-military maritime mentoring as well as military-to-military training. It has since been expanded to Africa's East Coast.

The APS is designed to provide security training to participating African nations; helping them learn skills and methods to combat regional problems such as drug smuggling, piracy, illegal fishing and human trafficking.

Training teams from the ship work with partners in such areas as search and rescue; small-boat maintenance; hydrology; and visit, board, and search-and-seizure exercises, according to a US Navy news release.

SA is not part of the APS programme.

Prior to visiting Durban, the Arleigh Burke visited Mombasa, Kenya, Mauritius, Reunion and the Seychelles.

Two SA Navy frigates, the SAS Amatola (F145) and SAS Mendi (F148) are currently also in Durban. The SA Navy traditionally conducts passage exercises with visiting foreign ships to practice interoperability, navigation and related skills.

SA Navy Durban spokesman Warrant Officer Manny Gounden says the US ship will be alongside until Wednesday and will then sail for Cape Town, a trip that should take three or four days. A naval cooperation event is scheduled for Wednesday.

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Lockheed Martin DAGR Rockets Successfully Fired From Airborne AH-6 Little Bird, Strike Targets

Eight-for-eight in guided test flights, DAGR has demonstrated exceptional guidance accuracy at ranges from 1.0 to 5.1 km and up to 10 degrees azimuth offset—and hit within inches of its target aimpoint. (Photo:

July 13th, 2009, Orlando, Florida -- Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] has launched DAGRTM rockets from an airborne AH-6 Little Bird helicopter and successfully hit the target in two separate trials. This is the second platform DAGR has fired from in the past few months—Lockheed Martin also fired DAGR rockets from the AH-64D Apache helicopter in March.

In preparation for the tests, conducted at the Yuma Army Proving Ground in Arizona, Lockheed Martin engineers mounted the DAGR four-pack launch canister on the outboard rail of a modified XM299 launcher carried by the AH-6 Mission Enhanced Little Bird test platform.

The Little Bird firings were performed as a running fire, using a ground designator, and then self designation using the Little Bird's onboard MX-15D1 targeting system. The DAGR rocket was extremely accurate in hitting the laser aimpoint in both tests.

“Not long ago we fired DAGR from an airborne Apache, and we are pleased to add the Little Bird to the roster of platforms that have demonstrated integration with the DAGR system,” said Jerry Brode, DAGR program manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

"Pilots in theater have expressed a desire for a guided rocket that hits the target and minimizes collateral damage," he added. "With multiple platform firings under its belt, along with the live warhead test we conducted at Eglin Air Force Base last year, DAGR is being qualified to deliver that capability."

Because the DAGR system is designed to be compatible with the M299 family of launchers, it offers potential integration on all rotary-wing HELLFIRE platforms, including the Apache, Little Bird, Kiowa, Blackhawk, Cobra, and Tiger helicopters. A mixed loadout of HELLFIRE IIs and DAGRs can be mounted on the same launcher, providing operational flexibility that enables cost-effective multi-mission capability from a single platform.

In 12 successful guided flight tests, the DAGR system has repeatedly demonstrated its precision strike and maneuver capabilities, hitting short- and long-range off-axis targets within minimal distance of the laser-designated aimpoint. This provides Warfighters with increased capability and an expanded engagement envelope.

Lockheed Martin has developed the DAGR system with internal funding, and is now making the system available for integration and fielding. Qualification of DAGR products and configurations is ongoing.

Lockheed Martin

PT DI To Build CN-235 Anti-Submarine Aircraft

July 11, 2009, Bandung, West Java -- State-owned Indonesian aircraft industry PTDI is to develop a CN-235 anti-submarine airplane which would be a new variant of its CN-235 turbo-prop aircraft, PTDI president director Budi Wuraskito said.

Wuraskito said here on Saturday Indonesia already had the needed technology and qualified human resources. "They have the experience to assemble and modify aircraft of that type," he said.

He said PTDI had enough human resources to produce anti-submarine aircraft.

About 40 PTDI engineers had been involved in the production of anti-submarine airplanes in Turkey, he said.

He said they returned to Indonesia four months ago after completing their assignment in Turkey. "We already have the technology for the production of such aircraft," he said.

PTDI was now able to design and produce the CN-235 MPA, a maritime patrol aircraft which had become one of PTDI's most salable products.

He said PTDI would soon develop the CN-235 anti-submarine plane. A number of countries had already expressed interest in purchasing PTID's anti-submarine products. One of them was Malaysia.

The state-owned company was also producing Bolkow-105 or NBO-105 helicopters.

Bolkow-105 or NBO-105 helicopters built by PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) are considered very suitable for combat.

Not only is the sound of the aircraft relatively low, the choppers each with a capacity for five persons, are equipped with machine guns and missiles.


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