December 18, 2009 -- The Navy officially accepted delivery of the future USS Independence (LCS 2) Dec. 18 during a short ceremony in Mobile, Ala. Independence is the second littoral combat ship delivered to the Navy, and the first LCS of the General Dynamics variant. 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.
"Today marks a critical milestone in the life of the LCS 2," said Rear Adm. James Murdoch, the LCS program manager in the Navy's Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. "The Navy and our industry partners have worked diligently to deliver a much-needed capability."
Prior to delivery, the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) conducted Acceptance Trials aboard LCS 2 on Nov. 13-19, and found the ship's propulsion plant, sea-keeping and self-defense performance to be "commendable," and recommended that the chief of naval operations authorize delivery of the ship following the correction or waiver of cited material deficiencies.
Between now and sail away in February 2010, the contractor will correct most of the trial cards received during trials. Any remaining cards will be corrected during scheduled post-delivery maintenance availabilities including the post-shakedown availability scheduled for completion in 2011.
Delivery is the last shipbuilding milestone before commissioning, scheduled for Jan. 16 in Mobile, Ala.
The LCS class is designed from the keel up to deliver efficient capability, capacity, and flexibility to the warfighter. Independence, a high-speed aluminum trimaran, is designed to defeat asymmetric "anti-access" threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. The 417-foot Independence will be outfitted with reconfigurable payloads, called mission packages, which can be changed out quickly. These mission packages focus on three mission areas: mine counter measures, surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare.
PEO Ships is responsible for the development and acquisition of U.S. Navy surface ships and has delivered eight major surface ships to the fleet since the beginning of 2009. PEO Ships is working in conjunction with its industry partners to achieve steady production for all programs to increase production efficiencies and leverage cost savings. Delivering high-quality war fighting assets while balancing affordability and capability is key to supporting the Navy's Maritime Strategy and building the Navy's 313-ship force structure. PEO Ships is committed to delivering quality ships at an affordable price.
December 17, 2009 -- Greg Combet, the Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science, announced today the award of an In Service Support contract for the Royal Australian Navy Seahawk Helicopter fleet to BAE Systems Australia Ltd.
“This new contract will support 130 jobs in new expanded facilities located at the Albatross Aviation Technology Park in Nowra, as well as a number of positions in industry at Nowra, Melbourne and Amberley,” Mr Combet said.
“The contract will also see the construction of a new aviation support facility at the Albatross Aviation Technology Park in Nowra and enables in service support services for the Navy’s fleet of 16 Seahawks to be maintained until they are withdrawn from service.
“The new contract commencing in April 2010 is worth approximately $208 million dollars over the initial term of seven years, and has extension options available. It will provide engineering, maintenance, and some supply services to the Navy.”
The Navy Seahawk fleet is based at HMAS Albatross in Nowra, NSW.
“I take the opportunity to thank the Shoalhaven community for their support of Seahawk and Defence over many years and I look forward to seeing the results of the improved contract into the future,” Mr Combet said.
December 15, 2009, Moskow -- The next test launch of Russia's troubled Bulava intercontinental missile could take place in January, an unidentified Defense Ministry official said on Friday.
The latest launch of the missile, which Russia hopes will be a key element of its nuclear forces, from a submarine in the White Sea ended in failure on Wednesday. Only five of 12 Bulava launches have been officially reported as being successful.
"The exact date of the next trial has not been fixed yet, but trials will continue next year. We could still make a launch in January or in the summer, after the White Sea is already free from ice," the official said.
The official said a state commission is to analyze the whole process of developing the missile, which includes some 650 defense sector enterprises.
The further development of the Bulava has been questioned by some lawmakers and defense industry experts, who have suggested that all efforts should be focused on the existing Sineva SLBM.
But the military has insisted there is no alternative to the Bulava and pledged to continue testing the missile until it is ready to be put in service with the Navy.
The Bulava (SS-NX-30) SLBM carries up to 10 MIRV warheads and has a range of over 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles). The three-stage solid-propellant ballistic missile is designed for deployment on Borey class nuclear-powered submarines.
The Bulava, along with Topol-M land-based ballistic missiles, is expected to become the core of Russia's nuclear triad.