Jan 23, 2011 15:31 UTC
SSN 780, sea trials
Jan 21/11: General Dynamics Electric Boat Corporation in Groton, CT receives a $44.3 million cost-plus-fixed fee contract modification for the Virginia Class Block II fast attack submarine USS Missouri’s [SSN 780] post shakedown availability. PSAs are used to identify and fix remaining issues that are discovered during the ship’s initial “shakedown cruise” with the crew, after all sea trials are done and the ship has been delivered. Work will include long lead time material procurement as well, and will be performed in Groton, CT (99%), and Quonset Point, RI (1%), and is scheduled to be complete by January 2012. The US Navy Supervisor of Shipbuilding Conversion and Repair in Groton, CT manages the contract.
The nuclear-powered Virginia Class fast attack boats were designed in the Clinton era as a less expensive alternative to the SSN-21 SeaWolf Class, which nonetheless incorporated key technology advances Seawolf had pioneered. Cheaper is a relative term, of course, and the cost of each sub has been in the $2.5 billion range. A series of design improvement efforts have aimed to fix that, and Block III submarines will have a new bow design, in addition to an array of other changes. With production from the 2 shipyards just beginning to shift from 1 sub per year to 2 submarines per year, recent news concerning problematic systems on board, and revelations that the Virginia Class’ sound-absorbing external tiles have been de-laminating at sea could hardly have come at a worse time. Even as the Navy must continue to ready and field the boats it has got. See also SSN 779 interactive tour | NextNavy pictures of coating issues.
UPDATE: The US Navy thinks it has a fix for the peeling anechoic tiles.
Jan 23, 2011 12:47 UTC
Latest updates: Improved 5.56mm; New production facility opening.
(click to view larger)
A weapon without ammunition is useless, which is why ammunition is almost always a strategic national capability whose production must remain in-country. On the other hand, government demand has a tendency to swing up and down within narrow limits, and the demands of efficiency usually lead to a single supplier situation – often using equipment that dates back to World War 2. The USA has run into problems because of its reliance on a single small arms ammunition plant, for instance, and has moved to modernize and diversify its base. Its ally Australia is modernizing key ammunition facilities, and trying to modernize its industrial approach as well.
Then there’s Britain, whose long-term defense contracting practices are establishing world-class benchmarks. The UK MoD had been working on an arrangement that secures national supply needs from British sources, and ensures that modernization investments continues to improve industrial efficiency. Hence the new 15-year, GBP 2+ billion “Munitions Acquisition Supply Solution” (MASS) program, inaugurated in August 2008.
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Jan 20, 2011 17:10 UTC
PzH 2000NL firing,
In December 2010, the Dutch Ministerie van Defensie signed a 10-year, EUR 200 million (about $270 million) framework agreement with Rheinmetall Defence that lets the Netherlands order a wide range of different ammunition and pyrotechnic types, from bullets and propellant charges to grenades. The first order was actually placed at the end of 2010, and involved modular propellant charges for the army’s PzH 2000NL self-propelled 155mm howitzers.
This contract replaces several existing agreements. The Dutch Army already relies on Rheinmetall for nearly all its ammunition needs, including practice and service ammunition in multiple calibers. Assured access to supllies at short notice is therefore part of the agreement. So, too, is external storage and management. The end result moves toward more of a “just in time” ammunition supply model. As a bonus, the Dutch MvD no longer has to pay value-added tax on purchases within this contract.
Dutch and German cooperation between their defense procurement groups forms a related facet of this partnership. The Dutch DMO and German BWB will undertake joint development, testing, purchasing and storage for 6 ammunition types: 44 mm and 76 mm grenades, 120 mm tank shells, 155 mm PzH-2000 howitzer ammunition, and Panzerfaust rockets. They will also share test data, and make use of each other’s testing facilities and equipment. As an initial example, a Dutch PzH-2000NL that is already in South Africa for long range and precision ammunition tests, which cannot be performed at any range in Europe, will be used by the Germans for their own tests. All results from both countries’ tests will then be shared. MvD [in Dutch | English] | Rheinmetall Defence.
Jan 18, 2011 17:45 UTC
In mid-January 2011, Advanced Defense Vehicle Systems (ADVS) announced an initial delivery of their new 6×6 wheeled armored personnel carrier (APC) design to Kuwait’s Ministry of the Interior. The vehicle’s full size cannon may be unusual for policing forces, but it is not unusual for interior ministry troops around the world to use full-scale military equipment, and similar APC designs are already serving with police forces, including police forces in the USA.
There is no shortage of wheeled APC designs in the global marketplace, but Kuwait chose to develop its own, in conjunction with a new firm.
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Jan 18, 2011 15:08 UTC
FS La Fayette
DCNS recently announced a EUR 60 million (about $80 million) contract for through-life support (TLS) services from 2011-2015 to the French Navy’s 5 La Fayette Class frigates: F710 La Fayette, F711 Surcouf, F712 Courbet, F713 Aconit, and F714 Guepratte.
The new TLS contract will come into effect in spring 2011, when the FS Surcouf is laid up for a scheduled refit…
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