Wednesday, March 23, 2011

OPERATION ODYSSEY DAWN: Government of France sends aircraft carrier to Libya

France is sending its aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle Libya to expand the air campaign against the forces of Muammar Qaddafi. The ship, carrying 20 military aircraft, most of them Rafale and Super Etendard jets older, two helicopters and surveillance aircraft E-2 Hawkeye, leave the port of Toulon, southern France, at 9am (GMT).

According to French military, the Charles de Gaulle is 24 hours of the Libyan coast, but may take 36 to 48 hours to reach the site after loading the fighter jets and landing exercises.

The aircraft carriers would be escorted by three frigates - the antissubmarino Duplex, The antiaircraft Forbin and AconiteWith Stealth technology - and the tanker La Meuse. The French naval group will be protected by a nuclear submarine, the military added.

The French warplanes continued making reconnaissance flights in Libya on Sunday morning as part of the expanded role of the West in the Arab world since the invasion of Iraq led by the USA in 2003.

Yesterday, the Jets led the action western France, with four air strikes on Libya, destroying several armored forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi. The attacks came before the U.S. warships and a submarine firing the UK at least 100 Tomahawk missiles against the batteries of radar and antiaircraft missiles from Qaddafi.

The intervention was authorized by Resolution 1973 the Security Council of the United Nations, which allowed the use of force to protect civilians from attacks by Libyan forces Qaddafi.

In brief audio message broadcast on state television last night, Gaddafi described the action as "an unwarranted and barbaric aggression of the Crusaders." He vowed to retaliate with attacks on civilian and military targets in the Mediterranean. The information is of Dow Jones.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

OPERATION ODYSSEY DAWN: U.S. Naval Forces Open Odyssey Dawn, Prepare No-Fly Zone

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- U.S. naval forces participated in a Tomahawks missile strike March 19 on Libya as part of Operation Odyssey Dawn designed to set the conditions for a coalition no-fly zone.

Arleigh Burke-class, guided-missile destroyers USS Stout (DDG 55) and USS Barry (DDG 52) and submarines USS Providence (SSN 719), USS Scranton (SSN 756) and USS Florida (SSGN 728) participated in the strike.

More than 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles were used in the strike by U.S. and British ships and submarines against Libyan air defense, surface-to-air missile sites and communication nodes.

The U.S. Joint Task Force (JTF) is commanded by Adm. Samuel J. Locklear, III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and is operating from the USS Mount Whitney (LCC/JCC 20), currently deployed in the Mediterranean Sea.

In addition to the task force command ship, and the five ships and subs that took part in the strikes, the JTF includes USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), and USS Ponce (LPD 15).

OPERATION ODYSSEY DAWN: Coalition Launches 'Odyssey Dawn' to Implement No-fly Zone

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Coalition forces launched "Operation Odyssey Dawn" today to enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 to protect the Libyan people from the country's ruler.

The goal of the military coalition is to prevent further attacks by regime forces on Libyan citizens, officials said, adding that the coalition also wants to degrade the ability of Moammar Gadhafi's regime to resist a no-fly zone being implemented.

U.S. military forces are on the leading edge of the coalition operation, taking out Libya's integrated air and missile defense system, Defense Department officials said. The ordnance is aimed at radars and anti-aircraft sites around the capital of Tripoli and other facilities along the Mediterranean coast.

Operation Odyssey Dawn is commanded by U.S. Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear aboard the command ship USS Mount Whitney. The Mount Whitney joins 24 other ships from Italy, Canada, the United Kingdom and France in launching the operation.

Cruise missiles from U.S. submarines and frigates began the attack on the anti-aircraft system. A senior defense official speaking on background said the attacks will "open up the environment so we could enforce the no-fly zone from east to west throughout Libya."

In addition to the cruise missiles, the United States will provide command and control and logistics. American airmen and sailors also will launch electronic attacks against the systems.

The United Kingdom, France, Italy and Canada already have announced that they are part of the coalition. Officials expect Arab countries will publicly announce their participation soon.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Pakistan Navy seeks approval to purchase Chinese submarines

Pakistan's Defence Ministry has asked the federal cabinet to approve the purchase of conventional Chinese submarines to counter "emerging threats" that the country faces, according to a media report on Wednesday.

The acquisition of the Chinese vessels will pave the way for joint development of conventional submarines, The Express Tribune newspaper quoted unnamed officials as saying.

The Defence Ministry informed members of the cabinet that the Pakistan Navy is facing a "critical force imbalance" in terms of the number of submarines and ships in its fleet.

The "capability gap is widening exponentially with the passage of time", the report said.

In view of "urgent naval requirements", the issue of acquiring Chinese submarines was part of the talking points for President Asif Ali Zardari's visit to China in 2009.

The matter was also discussed during the Chinese premier's visit to Pakistan in 2010, the report said.

The cabinet has been told that Naval Headquarters had pursued the purchase of submarines with Chinese authorities.

A "mutually agreed draft protocol" is to be signed between the Pakistan Navy and the relevant Chinese department as a first step towards the joint development of conventional submarines.

F-35C Breaks Sound Barrier for the First Time

The first F-35C test aircraft (CF-1) flew faster than the speed of sound for the first time over a test range near the Navy and Marine Corps F-35 integrated test facility at Naval Air Station Patuxent River March 4.

During a test flight to expand the flutter envelope, CF-1 reached Mach 1.02 at 30,000 feet with U.S. Marine Corps pilot Lt. Col. Matt Taylor at the controls.

“It’s great to be part of bringing stealth capability to the big-deck carriers,” said Taylor. “We accomplished a large number of test points, and CF-1 handled great going past Mach 1. It was a privilege for me to take the F-35C over that milestone for the first time.”

CF-1 gathered enough supersonic flutter data for the team to continue supersonic envelope expansion in the near future.

Flutter is an evaluation of structural loads on the aircraft experienced at various speeds and while performing prescribed maneuvers. The test and evaluation team at NAS Patuxent River will expand the flutter envelope to demonstrate the required durability and reliability of the aircraft in advance of delivery of the aircraft to the fleet.

The F-35C is distinct from the F-35A and F-35B variants with its larger wing surfaces and reinforced landing gear for greater control in the demanding carrier take-off and landing environment. Carrier suitability testing for the F-35C variant is scheduled to begin later this year with land-based catapult and jet blast deflector testing.

The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program is in the system development and demonstration phase, focusing on delivering three different, new aircraft variants to the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. The integrated test force at NAS Patuxent River is focused on testing and evaluation of the F-35B and F-35C.

Russian built Indian Aircraft Carrier “INS Vikramaditya” begins mooring trials

The Russian built Indian Aircraft Carrier INS Vikramaditya has begun mooring trials on March 1 in Russia. The order to start testing was signed by Sevmash Director General Nikolai Sevmash Kalistratov. Sevmash, the agency which is involved in transformation of the carrier says that this is a serious step in the modernization of the ship, particularly marked in the master schedule building.

Outfitting work entered its final stage. The ship has been gradually populated with the equipment, machinery, pipes, cables, and now all this must be checked in different modes. Tests will be conducted on special programs and techniques.

As per sevmash, the most difficult and important test will be the main power plant. The second major task will be to check electronic armament complexes, including complexes of Indian origin and aviation facilities ships. Mooring tests will be important for testing training systems and equipment. The factory sea trials has been planned to begin in late 2011.

Yantar shipyard started mooring trials of the first Indian frigate

Mooring trials of the first Indian frigate started at Yantar shipyard (Kaliningrad). All shipborne systems will be tested during a 2-month stay at the shipyard quay.

The ship announced her birth with a loud siren. First tentatively nodding and then self-confidently bowing barrels of AK-630 rapid-fire gun, the ship complimented her creators. Although mooring trials is not a sortie yet, but almost all workers of assembling shop came to watch the ship's first moves.

Four years of construction have been left behind. There was an array of problems – lack of financing, misunderstanding with equipment suppliers, deficiency of qualified workers. All that things had negative impact on the shipbuilding schedule. But at last the ship is almost completed.

Today the work is humming in all compartments, in pilot room, in commanding officer's battle station.

Representatives of all supplying companies arrived to Yantar from all across Russia to assemble and adjust the equipment. Most of systems have been already put into operation, although pre-start adjustments have not been completed so far.

The ship must be ready for fueling by the end of March; after that, trial runs of diesel generators and main propulsion units will be held. Sea trials are going to start in May; the frigate is planned to be delivered in September.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The First F-35B Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft (BF-1) completed its 100th flight

The First F-35B Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft (BF-1) completed its 100th flight with BAE test pilot Peter Wilson at the controls. BF-1 flew in short take-off, vertical landing (STOVL) mode to continue expansion of the STOVL flight envelope to demonstrate design durability and in preparation for shipboard testing scheduled for later this year. The F-35B is the first JSF variant with two aircraft completing 100 flights and will be the first stealth fighter for the U.S. Marine Corps and is undergoing test and evaluation at NAS Patuxent River.

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. - An F-35C Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft returns from a flutter envelope expansion flight. Marine Corps test pilot Lt. Col. Matt Kelly flew the aircraft faster than the speed of sound for the first time, reaching Mach 1.02 at 30,000 feet. The F-35B short take off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant and F-35C carrier variant are undergoing flight test and evaluation at the integrated test facility at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

First French FREMM Frigate Readies for Sea Trials

In accordance with the Programme schedule, DCNS is completing equipment integration and harbour acceptance tests on board the first-of-class FREMM multi-mission frigate Aquitaine. All major ship systems must be tested before the major milestone of the first sea going, scheduled next spring.

So far 95% of the electrical and hydraulic equipments of the ship have been installed, so teams are ramping up for the harbour acceptance tests of the principal systems: the information and communication system, the navigation systems (navigation radar, early warning radar), the electric power and distribution system (including four diesel generators), the combat system and the propulsion system.

The first tests of the electric propulsion motors and of the gas turbine started over the last few days and have been successfully completed. For the first time the entire transmission system of the frigate was running, from the motors to the test propellers. This event is an important step, and moving moment, as it represents the first heartbeat of the frigate.

“From now on all our efforts are focused on the preparation of the first sea going scheduled for the spring”, points out Vincent Martinot-Lagarde, DCNS FREMM Programme Director.

Over one thousand components have already been assembled, integrated and embarked onboard the first FREMM: this underlines the magnitude of the work undertaken by the DCNS personnel. Further components will be installed over the coming weeks, including for example the propellers, the systems related to the ship safety at sea, the helicopter hangar door and the davits for the semi-rigid boats.

For the FREMM Aquitaine first sea trials to be both effective and conclusive, sixty men and women from the French Navy already trained for six months. Besides their regular visits onboard the frigate, they prepare themselves running a Ship Management System training platform in DCNS. Their task is to get familiar with a highly-automated ship which will eventually have a crew of only 108 persons (half the number needed for earlier-generation frigates).

FREMM: the most technologically-advanced and most competitive ships on the market

For DCNS, the FREMM Programme comprises twelve units, eleven for the French Navy and one for the Royal Moroccan Navy.

The FREMM frigates are the most technologically-advanced and most competitive ships on the market. Heavily armed, under prime contractor DCNS, they incorporate the highest-performance weapons systems and equipments, such as the Thales Héraclès Multi-Function Radar, an MBDA suite (SCALP Naval Cruise Missiles, Aster Surface-to-Air Missiles and Exocet MM 40 Anti-Ship Missiles) together with Eurotorp MU90 Torpedoes.

Versatile, they can respond to all types of threat. Innovative, they provide unrivalled interoperability and availability. Flexible, they are capable of meeting the needs of a very large number of navies, as demonstrated by the first DCNS FREMM contract for Morocco.

FREMM technical characteristics:
--Overall length: 142 metres
--Beam: 20 metres
--Displacement: 6,000 metric tons
--Maximum speed: 27 knots
--Crew: 108 persons (including helicopter detachment)
--Accommodation capacity: 145 men and women
--Endurance: 6,000 nautical miles at 15 knots

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

F-35B test aircraft (BF-2) completed its 100th flight

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. -- An F-35B test aircraft (BF-2) completed its 100th flight with Lockheed Martin test pilot David "Doc" Nelson at the controls. The 100th flight for BF-2 accomplished further short take-off envelope expansion in preparation for shipboard testing later this year. The F-35B is the Marine Corps variant of the Joint Strike Fighter and is capable of short take-offs and vertical landings undergoing test and evaluation at NAS Patuxent River. Photo courtesy Lockheed Martin.

Construction Begins on Second Gerald Ford-class Carrier

Advance construction started on the nation's newest aircraft carrier Feb. 25 with a "first cut of steel" ceremony at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Newport News, Va.

The steel plate cut will be used in the construction of the carrier, which has yet to be named, but will be designated CVN 79.

The carrier represents the second in a new class of ships designed to replace Enterprise and Nimitz-class carriers and save more than $5 billion in total ownership costs during its planned 50-year service life when compared to Nimitz-class carriers.

"Today we mark the beginning of the advance construction of CVN 79, second of the Gerald R. Ford-class of aircraft carriers," said Rear Adm. Michael McMahon, Program Executive Officer (PEO) for Aircraft Carriers. "It's an important step in continuing carrier construction using advanced technologies and efficiencies to reduce both ownership and procurement cost in this new class of carriers."

Ford-class aircraft carriers, while retaining the same hull form as the Nimitz class, contain several advanced technology systems including Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching Systems, advanced arresting gear, dual band radar, a redesigned smaller island and a new propulsion plant. The first ship in the class, Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), is also under construction at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding-Newport News and is scheduled to be delivered to the fleet in September 2015.

The PEO for Aircraft Carriers, an affiliated PEO of Naval Sea Systems Command, focuses on the design, construction, system integration, delivery and life-cycle support of all aircraft carriers.

Northrop Grumman Corporation cut one of the first pieces of steel for the second ship in the Gerald R. Ford class, CVN 79, during a ceremony at the company's Shipbuilding sector in Newport News.

Rear Adm. Michael McMahon, program executive office for Aircraft Carriers, said CVN 79 will soon have a name and a crew and will be a great ship. He also recognized the shipbuilders from Newport News and said, "While the carriers are recognized as a national asset so too is this shipyard and the shipbuilders that are in this yard."

The Newport News shipyard is performing this work under a construction preparation contract that allows for engineering, planning, long-lead time material procurement and initial manufacturing to begin before the full construction contract is awarded.

"The U.S. Navy must be ready to respond to the challenges that lay ahead," said Rep. Bobby Scott (Va-3). "To ensure the Navy's future readiness, shipbuilding must remain a top priority of our national defense strategy."

Full construction of the yet unnamed CVN 79 is anticipated to begin in late 2012 with delivery to the U.S. Navy scheduled for 2020. Construction is currently underway on the first ship of the class, Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), with about 25 percent of the structural units already in dry dock.

"Having two carriers under construction within a five-year period is the kind of stability that we all benefit from -- the Navy, the shipbuilders, our suppliers and our country," said Matt Mulherin, vice president and general manager for Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding. "It allows for the most efficient flow of the workforce from one ship to the next, and facilitates a learning curve. This stability is key to cost efficiency and to the health of our industrial base."

Ceremony attendees included Navy and government officials, and the Newport News employees building the carrier.

Rep. Rob Wittman (Va-1) thanked the shipbuilders for the work they were doing on CVN 79. "The men and women that serve can't do their duty without the great ships that you all put underneath them and the great quality of work that goes on here."

The Gerald R. 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.

"To the shipbuilders that are here today, I hold you in very high regard," said Rep. Scott Rigell (Va-1). "From one American to another, thank you. Thank you for what you're doing. Thank you for producing such fine vessels for our young men and women to serve on that keep us safe around the world."