Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Russian, French warships to hold exercises Sept. 3-6

Russia's Pyotr Veliky nuclear-powered guided-missile cruiser will take part in a joint exercise with French warships on September 3-6, a Russian Navy spokesman said on Wednesday.

The warships will practice joint maneuvers at sea, replenishment of supplies, ship-to-ship transfer of goods, and helicopter landings.

The Pyotr Veliky is on its way to the Northern Fleet's base in Severomorsk after the Vostok 2010 exercises in Russia's Far East.

(RIA Novosti)

Second submarine line for Mazagon Dock

With public sector shipyard Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL), Mumbai, years behind schedule in building six conventional Scorpene submarines for the Indian Navy, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is handing Mazagon Dock another lucrative order to build three more submarines. Although private sector shipbuilders — especially L&T and Pipavav Shipyard Ltd (PSL) — argue that Mazagon Dock already has more than it can handle, MoD insists the public sector shipyard can execute this order.

The MoD’s Secretary of Defence Production, R K Singh, talking exclusively to Business Standard, has detailed Mazagon Dock’s road map for simultaneously executing the Scorpene order (Project 75, as it is termed) and the three additional submarines that are a part of the six-submarine Project 75I order.

Business Standard had reported yesterday that the MoD’s apex Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had ruled out India’s private sector from Project 75I. The first two submarines of Project 75I will be built abroad in the foreign collaborator’s shipyard. The other four submarines will be built in MoD-owned shipyards: recently acquired Hindustan Shipyard Ltd will build one, while MDL builds three.

R K Singh explains, “First, the Scorpene delay will be trimmed down to less than 18 months. The original plan was for the first Scorpene to be delivered in December 2012; and the other five submarines at one-year intervals till December 2017. While the first Scorpene will only be ready in August 2015, Mazagon Dock will deliver the others faster, at nine-month intervals, and finish the last Scorpene by May 2019.”

MoD sources say Mazagon Dock is being pushed towards an even more ambitious delivery schedule: Of one Scorpene every seven months. On August 11, Defence Minister A K Antony told Parliament that Project 75 would complete work by the second half of 2018.

But Project 75I, argues R K Singh, does not have to wait till then; it can begin as early as 2012. By that year, with all six Scorpene hulls fully built, the specialised hull workers and welders of Mazagon Dock could begin fabricating hulls for Project 75I.

Singh explains, “Two Scorpene hulls are already built and MDL is close to completing the third. By early 2012, all six Scorpene hulls will be ready. MDL’s hull fabrication shop — which cuts steel for the hull, rolls it, fabricates hull segments and then welds them together into a complete hull — will be sitting idle from 2012, and ready to be diverted to Project 75I.”

The Department of Defence Production also points out that Project 75I cannot begin for another five years. At least 12-24 months are needed for a Cabinet sanction for building the first two Project 75I submarines abroad. Selecting a foreign shipyard as collaborator for Project 75I will take another 24-36 months and then one year for price negotiations.

The six Project 75I submarines will be built on a new production line, on which work has already begun. During a visit to MDL in 2009, Business Standard was shown a 16-acre plot, adjoining MDL’s facilities in Mazagon, Mumbai, which the shipyard had acquired in the 1980s from Gujarat state PSU, Alcock Ashdown.
R K Singh confirmed, “We are going to execute Project 75I in a new yard, the Alcock Yard, on which MDL is building a second submarine production line.”

Private sector shipbuilder Larsen & Toubro finds the MoD’s decision to patronise Mazagon Dock inexplicable. L&T sources say the company was given to understand that they would participate in Project 75I as the second submarine line. Now, L&T’s experience and infrastructure would lie idle.

Business Standard

Russian subs stalk Trident in echo of Cold War

Vanguard-Class SSBN How the Missile System Works
Akula II SSN Submarine

Russian submarines are hunting down British Vanguard boats in a return to Cold War tactics not seen for 25 years, Navy chiefs have warned.

By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent

A specially upgraded Russian Akula class submarine has been caught trying to record the acoustic signature made by the Vanguard submarines that carry Trident nuclear missiles, according to senior Navy officers.

British submariners have also reported that they are experiencing the highest number of "contacts" with Russian submarines since 1987.

If the Russians are able to obtain a recording of the unique noise of the boat's propellers it would have serious implications for Britain's nuclear deterrent. Using its sophisticated sonar, the Akula would be able to track Vanguards and potentially sink them before they could launch their Trident D4 missiles.

The Daily Telegraph has learnt that, within the past six months, a Russian Akula entered the North Atlantic and attempted to track a Vanguard. The incident has remained secret until now.

It is understood that the Russians stood off Faslane, where the British nuclear force is based, and waited for a Trident-carrying boat to come out for its three-month patrol to provide the Continuous At Sea Deterrent.

While patrolling in the North Atlantic, there are a limited number of places the Vanguard is permitted to go and it is thought that the Akula attempted to track it on several occasions.

Navy commanders are understood to have ordered a Trafalgar-class hunter-killer submarine to protect the Vanguard. A recording of the Akula was made by the Trafalgar submarine's sonar operators and has been played to The Daily Telegraph.

"The Russians have been playing games with us, the Americans and French in the North Atlantic," a senior Navy commander said.

"We have put a lot of resources into protecting Trident because we cannot afford by any stretch to let the Russians learn the acoustic profile of one of our bombers as that would compromise the deterrent."

Upgraded ASW aircraft Tu-142ME was delivered to Indian Navy

Long-range ASW aircraft Tu-142ME was handed over to India after overhaul and modernization by JSC TAVIA. In 2010 another Tu-142ME will be also capitally repaired, upgraded, and delivered to Indian Navy, reported ITAR-TASS referring to the company's press service.

The press release did not mention how many aircrafts have already been repaired and modernized.

According to World Arms Trade Analysis Center, it was planned to sign the contract on modernization of 8 long-range ASW aircrafts Tu-142ME for Indian Navy in 2005. Perhaps, the contract was signed later. The program has been in uncertain state for some time due to involvement of Israel which offered to upgrade Tu-142ME aircrafts under triangular agreement with Russia. Moreover, there were reports that the contract had been frozen.

In 1986 eight ASW aircrafts Tu-142MK were delivered to India under nomenclature of Tu-142ME which were built by Taganrog Aircraft Factory. Those planes were equipped with Korshun-K search-and-track ASW system which included magnetometer MMS-106 Ladoga and hydrology reconnaissance equipment Nerchinsk. All of those aircrafts are in need of capital repairs and to be upgraded with new onboard equipment, modernized jet-prop engines, and new weapons. According to initial plan, all 8 planes were supposed to pass modernization within 6 years and be ready in 2010-2011. After capital repairs the service life of each aircraft becomes 16 years longer.

Upgraded Tu-142ME is capable to provide patrolling and security of territorial waters; conduct communications surveillance; search, track, and engage newest silent submarines on surface and under water, moving at full or slow speed or laying on the seabed day and night and in any weather conditions. While armed with guided missiles, Tu-142ME is capable to deliver strikes upon surface ships, land and coastal targets.

Max flight range of Tu-142ME is 12,000 km, max flight speed (weight of 138 tons, altitude of 7,000 meters) is 855 kph, cruising speed is 735 kph, flight duration is 9 hours. Max combat load (6 BrahMos cruise missiles, as was proposed to Indian Navy) makes 9.6 tons, standard combat load (8 Kh-35 antiship missiles) is 4.4 tons. Typical search-and-attack version of the aircraft is equipped with up to 140 radio sonobuoys.


Navy torpedoes Indian private shipyards' role in new project

New Delhi : This is the first of a four-part special series on the country’s critical, yet significantly delayed, submarine development programme.

A far-reaching decision by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) will come as a jolt for domestic shipbuilders in the private sector seeking to participate in India’s submarine programme. Top sources in the ministry have told Business Standard that its apex defence acquisition council has decided to exclude Indian private shipyards from the construction of six submarines for the Indian Navy under Project 75I. Instead, the first two submarines will be built at a foreign shipyard.

Project 75I initially envisaged all six submarines to be built in India. The MoD-owned Mazagon Dock Ltd, Mumbai, was to build three; Hindustan Shipyard Ltd — recently acquired by the MoD from the Ministry of Shipping — would build one; while Indian private sector shipyards L&T and Pipavav would compete to build two. But the navy’s insistence on having the first two submarines built abroad has torpedoed the private sector shipbuilders out of the picture.

The navy’s decision, explained a senior admiral on condition of anonymity, stems from delays that have been endemic to indigenous submarine construction. India bought four HDW submarines in the 1980s. HDW’s shipyard in Germany built two of them in just 56 months each. In contrast, Mazagon Dock took 98 months and 116 months to build the remaining two. Mazagon Dock is also running 30 months late in delivering the first of six Scorpene submarines that it was contracted to build under Project 75.

“At least two submarines will come in quickly by building them abroad,” said the admiral. “We are desperately short of submarines.” A performance audit of the navy by the Comptroller and Auditor General has documented that just seven or eight of India’s 15 submarines are operational at any given time against a projected requirement of at least 24.

Yet, curiously, despite the dismal track record of Mazagon Dock, the defence acquisition council has decided to hand it a prime role in Project 75I as well. While the cost of Project 75I is still not known, it will substantially exceed the Rs 23,562 crores that India paid French companies Armaris and DCNS for Project 75, since building two submarines abroad will inflate the cost.

Furthermore, that decision will require fresh sanction from the Cabinet Committee on Security — typically involving a 12-24-month delay — since the current sanction mandates that all the submarines must be built in India.

Only after that will a tender be issued to identify a foreign technology partner. Among the possible bidders for the contract are Russia’s Amur Shipbuilding Plant, Germany’s HDW, Spain’s Navantia, Italy’s Fincantieri, and France’s DCNS.

In 1999, the Cabinet Committee on Security approved a 30-year plan for 24 conventional submarines to be constructed in India. This sanctioned two simultaneous construction lines: six using western technology; and six based on Russian knowhow. After that, 12 indigenously-designed submarines were to be built.

The navy believes that Russian submarines have greater endurance, firepower and strategic utility, while western submarines are stealthier and, therefore, harder to detect. It was reasoned that Indian designers would adopt the best of both traditions when designing the 12 indigenous submarines.

Private companies such as L&T and Pipavav have invested thousands of crores of rupees to build world-class shipyards, and have lobbied intensely for a share of the submarine programme. Over the last decade, L&T has played a central role in building and outfitting the nuclear-powered INS Arihant, and will do so for its two successor vessels.

Senior L&T officials have argued that Mazagon Dock would have its hands full with Scorpene production until at least 2019 and has no capacity to take on another three submarines. But the MoD has presented a detailed plan for the shipyard to set up a second submarine line.

Business Standard

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Construction Continues for the Next-Generation Aircraft Carrier, CVN 78

By Northrop Grumman

NEWPORT NEWS, Va.: Northrop Grumman Corporation lifted two generators weighing over 195,000 pounds each into the aft section of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), currently under construction at the company's Shipbuilding sector in Newport News, Va., yesterday.

The diesel generators supply backup power throughout the ship in the event that power is lost.

"Landing these diesel generators is a significant event for us and is just one example of the many major components the yard is receiving and installing in the ship," said Mike Shawcross, vice president of Newport News' Aircraft Carrier Construction program. "Ford is now about 11 percent complete. We continue to be committed to executing each phase of construction with a focus on first-time quality. We're excited with our progress and construction of the ship."

Named after the 38th president of the United States, Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), whose keel was laid Nov. 14, 2009, is the first ship of the new Gerald R. Ford class. The Ford class will continue the legacy of highly capable U.S. Navy nuclear-powered aircraft carrier ship platforms.

Enhancements incorporated into the design include flight deck changes, improved weapons handling systems and a redesigned island, all resulting in increased aircraft sortie generation rates. It will also include new nuclear power plants; increased electrical power generation capacity; allowance for future technologies; and reduced workload for the sailors, translating to a smaller crew size and reduced operating costs for the Navy.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.

Sea trials of N-sub for India begin in Russia

New Delhi: The sea trials of a nuclear-powered submarine that Russia is leasing to India for 10 years, as also the training of an Indian crew, have begun ahead of the vessel's delivery in October-November, sources said here on Friday.

The delivery of the submarine will be as scheduled in October-November, the sources said, rebutting reports that the Akula-II class vessel had already begun its journey to India.

Mikhail Dmitriyev, head of the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, had in June confirmed that Russia would transfer the submarine, to be named INS Chakra, for a 10 year-lease to India in the autumn of 2010.

This followed an agreement inked between New Delhi and Moscow in January 2004, with India partly funding the submarine's construction at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur shipyard in the Russian Far East with an initial USD 650 million.

The submarine was scheduled to be inducted in the Indian Navy in mid-2008 but technical problems delayed the process.

After that, just as it began its sea trials in November 2008, 20 sailors and technical workers were killed on it due to a toxic gas leak when the automatic fire extinguishing system malfunctioned.

After repairs, which cost an estimated USD 65 million, the submarine is now fully operational.

Akula-II class vessels are considered the quietest and deadliest of all Russian nuclear-powered attack submarines.


Second Scorpene SSK Arrives in Malaysia

The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) second Scorpene submarine, KD Tun Razak, reached the Lumut naval base for an official homecoming ceremony on the 2nd of July. Mid-July, she will sail to Teluk Sepanggar, Sabah, the RMN submarine base

KD Tun Razak's voyage between DCNS facilities in the south of France and Malaysia lasted 64 days. Following the navigation plan, the Royal Malaysian Navy sailed the submarine 7283 nautical miles through the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Malacca Straits before reaching home.

During its journey, the submarine stopped in four ports of call: Alexandria (Egypt), Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Salalah (Oman) and Cochin (India). In Teluk Sepanggar, KD Tun Razak will go through scheduled maintenance before comprehensive sea trials in the tropical waters of the region.

The contract between the Malaysian government and DCNS for two Scorpene submarines and associated logistics and training was signed in June 2002. KD Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first Malaysian submarine reached home in September 2009.

With a displacement of 1,550 tonnes for a length overall of 67.5 metres, each boat requires a crew of just 31 and offers an endurance of 45 days.

This programme demonstrates DCNS's know-how as a leading prime contractor for sophisticated warship programmes. With ten units ordered (two for Chile, two for Malaysia and six for India), Scorpene is an international benchmark in SSK design.

The Scorpene was designed by DCNS and developed jointly by DCNS and Spanish naval shipbuilder Navantia. The design features a range of advanced technologies - particularly in hydrodynamics, acoustic discretion and automation - drawing on state-of-the-art innovations developed for other submarine programmes.

DCNS is a world leader in naval defence and an innovative player in energy. DCNS designs, builds and supports submarines and surface combatants as well as associated systems and infrastructures. The Group proposes services for naval shipyards and bases. The Group employs 12,000 people and generates annual revenues of around EUR 2.4 billion.

Royal Navy’s Most Advanced Destroyer Sets Course into Service

While appearing at Portsmouth Navy Days the first of the Royal Navy's new Type 45 Class destroyers, HMS Daring, was declared formally available for tasking on Saturday 31 July 2010.

HMS Daring was commissioned into the Royal Navy fleet in July 2009. Since then the ship has been undertaking a series of MoD-managed trials and acceptance activities to test and confirm the ship's technical capability and ensure that it is ready to join the Royal Navy as a front line warship.

This period has included Daring's crew undertaking rigorous basic operational sea training and the Type 45 making its first overseas visit, to Ireland.

Now, the 7,500-tonne ship can officially begin to play a key role in various operations around the world.

HMS Daring's ability to operate a range of helicopters from its flight deck and embark up to 60 troops, in addition to the ship's own company, make the warship a versatile Royal Naval asset, able to support land forces and carry out humanitarian missions.

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Peter Luff, said:

"The first in-service date for the Type 45 Class is a significant achievement for both the programme and the Royal Navy. It represents the first step towards delivering the fleet of the future.

"Along with her five sister ships, Daring will set new standards in air defence and will demonstrate her wider ability across the future challenges faced by the Armed Forces. I have no doubt that Daring will provide sterling service throughout its life."

Captain Paddy McAlpine, Daring's Commanding Officer, said:

"Daring represents a step change for the Royal Navy. Her technology and design make her an easy ship to fight with and my ability to control the airspace around the task force is unsurpassed.

"My ship's company and I are proud and privileged to serve in this truly magnificent ship, forging the way for the class. The potential that I have witnessed to date promises that this capability is set to become the cornerstone of the future Royal Navy."

Head of the Type 45 programme, Commodore Steve Brunton, said:

"This milestone is the culmination of a huge amount of hard work over five years of construction, and another two years of trials and development, by 4,000 workers at the Clyde and Portsmouth shipyards, many more at suppliers across the UK, and staff at MOD and in the Royal Navy.

"The strong relationship between MOD, industry and the Royal Navy has been critical to achieving today's success."

HMS Daring was in Portsmouth at the weekend as part of Navy Days, the Royal Navy's annual event that gives the public the chance to meet the people and the ships of the modern Navy.

More than 25,000 visitors flocked to Portsmouth Naval Base for the three-day event which ended on Sunday 1 August.

HMS Daring and sister vessel Dauntless opened their doors to the public along with six other ships, including 'floating hospital' Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel Argus, fresh from a recent refit.

Historic ships HMS Victory and HMS Warrior also proved a big draw, as did a BAE Systems exhibition featuring the company's current shipbuilding projects, including the two Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, and a glimpse of the future, the Type 26 combat ship, which is expected to enter service in the early 2020s and will replace the Navy's current fleet of Type 22 and 23 frigates.

Commodore Rob Thompson, Naval Base Commander, said:

"Navy Days was a huge success. The mainly dry and warm weather played a part but a big draw was seeing the Royal Navy's ships and personnel at close hand.

"The event proved an exciting opportunity to show the general public the wide role of the Royal Navy and what its men and women are up to across the globe - from taking the fight to the Taliban in Afghanistan to countering pirates in the Gulf of Aden."

HMS Daring is due to undergo further operational training and capability development in preparation for her first operational deployment, planned for 2011.

Indra’s Electronic Defense Systems for Italian U212 Submarines

Indra will implement its electronic defence systems in two new U212 submarines to be acquired by the Italian Navy after signing an agreement with Fincantieri - Cantieri Navali Italiani.

The system will allow this traditional submarine, which is one of the most noiseless and hard to detect, to notice any active radar within a certain range. The analysis capacity of the system enables detection of nearly 100% of the signals, not only the weakest but also those with low probability of detection.

The solution will also facilitate followup of the signal transmitter and identification. The analysis of the radio electric spectrum takes place in real time which offers an advantage for the submarine crew over other platforms.

This is possible thanks to the high information processing capacity of the system and its intelligence since it is capable of recognising the electronic finger print which distinguishes radar types. Besides this, it offers the possibility to record all the data for further analysis.

Another distinguishing feature of the solution is its high integration capacity with other systems, either command and control systems and communications or with other transmitters embarked on the U212.

Already into service for the German Navy

One of the key aspects which made this contract possible was the successful implementation of the system for the German Navy's U212. In addition to this, the solution meets NATO requirements for international missions. All this offers a significant advantage over competitors and has granted Indra this important international reference.

The company is also broadly experienced in the sector of electronic defence and is the supplier of this type of systems for the Spanish fleet. The system has been implemented in the new F100 frigates, the Strategic Projection ship or the future S80 submarines. Indra's equipment is also present in cutting edge platforms such as Eurofighter or the A400M, among others.

Indra is the premier Information Technology company in Spain and a leading IT multinational in Europe and Latin America. It is ranked as the first European company in its sector according to investment in R&D and is the second Spanish company in absolute value investments in R&D. In 2009 revenues reached EUR 2,513 M of which a 40% came from the international market. The company employs more than 29,000 professionals and has clients in more than 100 countries.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Naval Joint Strike Fighter variant reaches next significant milestone

Almost one year since the US Navy’s first-ever stealth fighter, the F-35C Lightning II was rolled out at Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth plant, the aircraft yesterday performed its first successful flight at the neighbouring Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base. Tom Burbage, Vice President and General Manager of F-35 Programme Integration for Lockheed Martin, said in July 2009 that the carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter still has a long way to go before it can take to the skies as part of the Navy’s fleet of combat aircraft. Expected to join the Navy in 2014, indeed, the aircraft still has a long road ahead, especially considering the challenging mission systems integration as well as the introduction into aircraft carrier operation.

However, as the JSF programme is making good progress on all fronts after a long row of schedule problems and political turmoil on funding and requirements, the F-35C logs a significant milestone with yesterday’s maiden flight. Another key stepping-stone of the naval part of the programme was achieved in mid-April when the F-35C completed drop testing at the Vought Aircraft facility in Dallas, aimed to simulate the strains of carrier-deck landings (see: http://www.defpro.com/news/details/14428/).

The Commander of Naval Air Forces, Vice Adm. Thomas J. Kilcline, said on the occasion of the F-35C’s maiden flight: “I am thrilled the F-35C has attained this milestone. This flight marks the beginning of a new chapter in Naval Aviation. The mission systems in this aircraft will provide the Carrier Strike Group Commander with an unprecedented ability to counter a broad spectrum of threats and win in operational scenarios that our legacy aircraft cannot address.”

Lockheed Martin test pilot Jeff Knowles took to the air in the F-35C on Monday morning for a 57-minute flight. Acknowledging the important signal of this successful maiden flight, Tom Burbage said: “Sunday's flight marks the beginning of the true introduction of a next-generation weapon system capable of providing joint, coalition striking power on Day One, from both land and sea bases.” He further explained: “For the first time ever, and from now on, wherever on the world’s oceans we position a 98,000-ton nuclear carrier, we can launch a long-range, lethal, stealth strike fighter with the ability to defeat the most sophisticated air defences.”

According to Lockheed Martin, the F-35C is unique in its uncompromised carrier suitability, with a larger wing and control surfaces for safe, precise handling and low approach speeds to the carrier, excellent over-the-nose visibility and additional structural strength for at-sea operations. The aircraft's stealth materials are designed to withstand harsh carrier conditions with minimal maintenance. The F-35 program has about 900 suppliers in 43 American states, and directly and indirectly employs more than 130,000 people. Thousands more are employed in the F-35 partner countries, which have invested more than $4 billion in the project. Those countries include the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway.

First Mission Systems-Equipped F-35 Joins Patuxent River Fleet

Meanwhile, the short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) branch of the comprehensive development programme, which saw the first vertical landing of an F-35B on 19 March, is further progressing on the East Coast of the US. Also on Monday, the first F-35B test jet equipped with mission systems (or avionics), designed and expected to be introduced by the US Marine Corps, the UK Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, and the Italian Air Force and Navy, arrived at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. It is the fourth F-35 to begin thorough testing at the Naval Air Systems Command site.

As Lockheed Martin’s Tom Burbage explained: “In addition to validating the aerodynamic capabilities and flying qualities of these jets, we will have the opportunity to confirm the performance of what we expect to be a transcendent avionics capability – the most capable ever in a fighter.” The company expects a fifth F-35B as well as the F-35C to join the fleet of test aircraft at Patuxent River later in 2010.

The F-35's next-generation sensor suite makes it possible to collect vast amounts of information, and present the data on state-of-the-art cockpit and helmet displays. This allows the pilot to make faster and more effective tactical decisions and transfer information to other aircraft and to maritime and ground forces.

A Challenging Transition

Recently, the US Navy leadership reassured industry of its commitment to buy the JSF, describing the aircraft as the centrepiece for the future of naval aviation. The director of air warfare on the Chief of Naval Operations staff, Rear Adm. Michael C. Manazir, said in late May: “I want to dispel the contention that the Navy is soft on the F-35C. The Navy has had the F-35C in her horizon for more than a decade. As we built the path from F/A-18 aircraft to the carrier to fifth generation, we grew the E/F Super Hornets in the limits of fourth generation capability. We now need to move into the F-35C to realize our vision for TACAIR (tactical air) coming off the carriers.”

The scheduled replacement of ageing F-18 models in parallel with the introduction of the F-35C, however, is confronted with a tight (if not unrealisable) timetable. It is difficult to believe that the 480 F-35C’s will be delivered and introduced into service on time, in order to fully complement the tasks of the Navy’s premier strike fighter, the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets, as planned. The Department of the Navy earlier acknowledged that the purchases planned for the next five to ten years will be unable to keep pace with the retirement of today’s Hornets as they reach the limit of their service life.

In this case, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) listed four alternatives for the retirement/replacement process which the Navy will inevitably have to face during the next decade। These alternatives, which can be viewed in detail at http://www.defpro.com/news/details/15638/, all include the extension of the service life of existing Hornets while two also look at both the reduction of purchased F-35s and the purchase of additional Super Hornets. Naturally, any extension of service life (projected by the CBO between 600 to 2,000 flight hours beyond the current 8,000-hour limit for different numbers of aircraft, depending of the proposed alternative) would entail significant additional costs, reportedly reaching up to $13 billion.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Additional $1 billion sanctioned for Scorpene submarines


NEW DELHI: Admitting that the delivery of Scorpene submarines was facing "problems", the government Wednesday said it had sanctioned an additional Rs.4,764 crore ($1 billion) for the project signed with France in 2004.

"Delay in the scheduled delivery of the submarines is due to initial teething problems, absorption of technology and augmentation" of infrastructure and procurement materials in the Mazagon Dock Ltd," Defence Minister A.K. Antony informed the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

The last of the six submarines, Antony said, "will be delivered in the second half of 2018".

He said the government has "recently sanctioned an additional amount of Rs.4,764 crore for the project".

India had signed the Rs.18,800 crore deal with France in 2004 for six diesel electric submarines to be constructed at the state-run Mazagon Dockyard in Mumbai. The first submarine is expected to be completed by 2012.

Antony said the shipyard had put in place "various plans to obviate any further delay".

Thales will supply equipment for three frigates FREMM

April 16, 2010, in for Galante

Thales has signed a value not declared to supply three frigates from the navies of France with radar systems for search and tracking systems, sonar and communications, according to a spokesman for the company.

The unit price of FREMM frigate, based on the initial order for 17 ships of the Marine Nationale, was € 388.5 million (U.S. $ 526 million), totaling € 8.51 billion, but France has reduced the number of vessels to 11, which will raise the unit price. Thales equipment equivalent to one quarter of the total value of the ship.

The contract signed on March 16, announced on April 12, bringing the total to 11 ships FREMM that Thales will equip you to DCNS, the "prime contractor" of the French program.

France, under budget pressure, cut the total number of frigates from 17 to 11, clearing the land attack version, and assigning the task of air defense for two vessels.

The company said the new contract will reflect new assignments for the FREMM frigates, 9 version antissubmarino and two anti-aircraft version.
France and Italy together the frigate designed FREMM of 6.000t. The two navies share 25% of the equipment of vessels, compared with 90% commonality Program Frigates "Horizon."

Under a separate agreement, joint venture, Thales Elettronica, Sigen, will produce electronic warfare equipment, including detection, blocking systems and deception (decoys) for the FREMM program.

The Orrizonte Sistemi Navali is the "prime contractor" of FREMM of Italy, who bought six ships from a total of 10 originally planned.

India gives names to 3 frigates built by Russia

Three frigates being built at the Yantar shipyard in Russia's Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad for the Indian navy have been named by the Indian president, a shipyard spokesman said on Wednesday. Russia is building three Project 11356 modified Krivak III class (also known as Talwar class) guided missile frigates for the Indian Navy under a $1.6 billion contract signed in July, 2006.

"Three frigates for the Indian navy, which are being built at our shipyard, have been given names - the Teg [Saber], the Tarkash [Quiver], and the Trikand [Bow]. Indian President Pratibha Patil has personally named the ships," Sergei Mikhailov said."All three hulls have been completed... The first frigate in the series is expected to float out in October. The shipyard should be able to deliver all three vessels to the customer in 2011-2012," the official said. Yantar's director Igor Orlov earlier said the shipyard had previously taken out a $110 million loan from Russian national development bank Vnesheconombank (VEB) but has now been forced to seek an additional $60 million loan due to "financial constraints."

The Talwar class frigate has deadweight of 4,000 metric tons and a speed of 30 knots, and is capable of accomplishing a wide range of maritime missions, primarily hunting down and destroying large surface ships and submarines. Russia has previously built three Talwar class frigates for India - INS Talwar (Sword), INS Trishul (Trident), and INS Tabar (Axe).

All of the new frigates will be armed with eight BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles rather than 3M-54E Klub-N anti-ship missiles, which were installed on previous frigates. They will be also equipped with a 100-mm gun, a Shtil air defense system, two Kashtan air defense gun/missile systems, two twin 533-mm torpedo tubes, and an anti-submarine warfare helicopter.