Latest updates[?]: Raytheon won a $13.7 million modification to exercise options in support of the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) Design Agent, in-service support and technical engineering support services. The ESSM program is an international effort to design, develop and test missiles to improve ship defense. It forms part of an international defense agreement between the US and nine of its military allies. The Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) (RIM-162) is a medium-range, surface-to-air missile designed and manufactured by Raytheon Missile Systems. The missile is currently in service with the US Navy and some of the 12 NATO Sea Sparrow consortium nations. Work will take place in Arizona, the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Australia, West Virginia, Canada, Spain, Turkey and Greece. Expected completion will be by December 2020.
The RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) is used to protect ships from attacking missiles and aircraft, and is designed to counter supersonic maneuvering anti-ship missiles. Compared to the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow, ESSM is effectively a new missile with a larger, more powerful rocket motor for increased range, a different aerodynamic layout for improved agility, and the latest missile guidance technology. Testing has even shown the ESSM to be effective against fast surface craft, an option that greatly expands the missile’s utility. As a further bonus, the RIM-162 ESSM has the ability to be “quad-packed” in the Mk 41 vertical launching system, allowing 4 missiles to be carried per launch cell instead of loading one larger SM-2 Standard missile or similar equipment.
This is DID’s FOCUS article for the program, containing details about the RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow missile family, and contracts placed under this program since 1999. The Sea Sparrow was widely used aboard NATO warships, so it isn’t surprising that the ESSM is an international program. The NATO Sea Sparrow Consortium includes Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, and the USA – as well as non-NATO Australia. Foreign Military Sales ESSM customers outside this consortium include Japan, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates.
Latest updates[?]: Huntington Ingalls Industries won a $1.5 billion contract modification for the procurement of the detail design and construction of Landing Platform Dock (LPD) Class 31 and the LPD 17 Flight II ship. LPD 31 will be the 15th in the San Antonio class and the second Flight II LPD. Ingalls’ LPD Flight II program vendor base consists of more than 600 manufacturers and suppliers in 39 states, including 387 small businesses. More than 1,500 shipbuilders work on each LPD. Ingalls has delivered 11 San Antonio class ships to the Navy, and it has three more under construction. The San Antonio class is a major part of the Navy’s 21st century amphibious assault force. Work will take place in Mississippi, Virginia, Wisconsin and Louisiana. Work is expected to be finished by February 2027.
LPD-17 San Antonio class amphibious assault support vessels are just entering service with the US Navy, and 11 ships of this class are eventually slated to replace up to 41 previous ships. Much like their smaller predecessors, their mission is to embark, transport, land, and support elements of a US Marine Corps Landing Force. The difference is found in these ships’ size, their cost, and the capabilities and technologies used to perform those missions. Among other additions, this new ship is designed to operate the Marines’ new MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, alongside the standard well decks for hovercraft and amphibious armored personnel carriers.
While its design incorporates notable advances, the number of serious issues encountered in this ship class have been much higher than usual, and more extensive. The New Orleans shipyard to which most of this contract was assigned appears to be part of the problem. Initial ships have been criticized, often, for sub-standard workmanship, and it took 2 1/2 years after the initial ship of class was delivered before any of them could be sent on an operational cruise. Whereupon the USS San Antonio promptly found itself laid up Bahrain, due to oil leaks. It hasn’t been the only ship of its class hurt by serious mechanical issues. Meanwhile, costs are almost twice the originally promised amounts, reaching over $1.6 billion per ship – 2 to 3 times as much as many foreign LPDs like the Rotterdam Class, and more than 10 times as much as Singapore’s 6,600 ton Endurance Class LPD. This article covers the LPD-17 San Antonio Class program, including its technologies, its problems, and ongoing contracts and events.
Latest updates[?]: Colonna Shipyards won an $8.9 million deal for an 80-day shipyard availability for the emergency dry-docking of Navy Ship Spearhead (T-EPF 1). The Spearhead Class Expeditionary Fast Transport shipbuilding program to provide "a platform intended to support users in the Department of the Navy and Department of the Army. The Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) program is a cooperative effort for a high-speed, shallow draft vessel intended for rapid intratheater transport of medium-sized cargo payloads. The Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) is a shallow draft, all aluminum, commercial-based catamaran capable of intra-theater personnel and cargo lift, providing combatant commanders high-speed sealift mobility with inherent cargo handling capability and agility to achieve positional advantage over operational distances. Work will take place in Norfolk, Virginia and is expected to be finished 2020.
Austal MRV/JHSV concept
When moving whole units, shipping is always the cheaper, higher-capacity option. Slow speed and port access are the big issues, but what if ship transit times could be cut sharply, and full-service ports weren’t necessary? After Australia led the way by using what amounted to fast car ferries for military operations, the US Army and Navy decided to give it a go. Both services leased Incat TSV/HSV wave-piercing catamaran ship designs, while the Marines’ charged ahead with very successful use of Austal’s Westpac Express high-speed catamaran. These Australian-designed ships all give commanders the ability to roll on a company with full gear and equipment (or roll on a full infantry battalion if used only as a troop transport), haul it intra-theater distances at 38 knots, then move their shallow draft safely into austere ports to roll them off.
Their successful use, and continued success on operations, attracted favorable comment and notice from all services. So favorable that the experiments have led to a $3+ billion program called the Joint High Speed Vessel. These designs may even have uses beyond simple ferrying and transport.
Latest updates[?]: General Atomics won a $25.2 million delivery order, which procures Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) Depot Planning Phase II efforts, including depot level logistics support analysis, engineering support for logistics, supportability analysis, maintenance planning, reliability maintenance, technical manual development and engineering support as it directly correlates to depot planning for the USS Gerald Ford (CVN 78) and USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79). More than 99 percent of the work on this contract will be performed in San Diego, with one-tenth of one percent of work on the contract taking place in Tupelo, Mississippi. Expected completion date is February 2022.
As the US Navy continues to build its new CVN-21 Gerald R. Ford Class carriers, few technologies are as important to their success as the next-generation EMALS (Electro-MAgnetic Launch System) catapult. The question is whether that technology will be ready in time, in order to avoid either costly delays to the program – or an even more costly redesign of the first ship of class.
Current steam catapult technology is very entertaining when it launches cars more than 100 feet off of a ship, or gives naval fighters the extra boost they need to achieve flight speed within a launch footprint of a few hundred feet. It’s also stressful for the aircraft involved, very maintenance intensive, and not really compatible with modern gas turbine propulsion systems. At present, however, steam is the only option for launching supersonic jet fighters from carrier decks. EMALS aims to leap beyond steam’s limitations, delivering significant efficiency savings, a more survivable system, and improved effectiveness. This free-to-view spotlight article covers the technology, the program, and its progress to date.
Latest updates[?]: Saab has signed an agreement with Australia to provide combat management systems for Navy's surface ships. According to the agreement, Saab will deliver its Next Generation’ Combat Management System (CMS) to Australia’s new Arafura Class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) and the Supply class auxiliary oiler replenishment (AOR) ships. Saab will also modernize the 9LV CMS currently in use in the Anzac Class frigates and will provide the software for the future tactical interface for the Hobart class air warfare destroyer (AWDs) when their current CMS is modernized.
The FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry Class frigates make for a fascinating defense procurement case study. To this day, the ships are widely touted as a successful example of cost containment and avoidance of requirements creep – both of which have been major weaknesses in US Navy acquisition. On the other hand, compromises made to meet short-term cost targets resulted in short service lives and decisions to retire, sell, or downgrade the ships instead of upgrading them.
Australia’s 6 ships of this class have served alongside the RAN’s more modern ANZAC Class frigates, which are undergoing upgrades of their own to help them handle the reality of modern anti-ship missiles. With the SEA 4000 Hobart Class air warfare frigates still just a gleam in an admiral’s eye, the government looked for a way to upgrade their FFG-7 “Adelaide Class” to keep them in service until 2020 or so. The SEA 1390 project wasn’t what you’d call a success… but Australia accepted their last frigate in 2010, and the 4 remaining ships will serve until 2020.
Latest updates[?]: Lockheed Martin won a $185 million deal for follow-on full rate production of Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program AN/SLQ-32(V)6, AN/SLQ-32A(V)6 and AN/SLQ-32C(V)6 systems. The Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program or SEWIP is an evolutionary acquisition and incremental development program to upgrade the existing AN/SLQ-32(V) electronic warfare system. SEWIP provides enhanced shipboard electronic warfare for early detection, analysis, threat warning and protection from anti-ship missiles. AN/SLQ-32(V)6 is the latest fielded variant of the AN/SLQ-32. It incorporates receiver, antenna and combat system interface upgrades developed under the SEWIP Block 2 ACAT II program and adds the High Gain High Sensitivity adjunct sensor developed under the SEWIP Block 1B3 ACAT II program. Work will take place in New York and Pennsylvania. Expected completion will be by April 2022.
The US Navy’s AN/SLQ-32 ECM (Electronic Countermeasures) system uses radar warning receivers, and in some cases active jamming, as the part of ships’ self-defense system. The “Slick 32s” provides warning of incoming attacks, and is integrated with the ships’ defenses to trigger Rapid Blooming Offboard Chaff (RBOC) and other decoys, which can fire either semi-automatically or on manual direction from a ship’s ECM operators.
The “Slick 32” variants are based on modular building blocks, and each variant is suited to a different type of ship. Most of these systems were designed in the 1970s, however, and are based on 1960s-era technology. Unfortunately, the SLQ-32 was notable for its failure when the USS Stark was hit by Iraqi Exocet missiles in 1987. The systems have been modernized somewhat, but in an era that features more and more supersonic ship-killing missiles, with better radars and advanced electronics, SLQ-32’s fundamental electronic hardware architecture is inadequate. Hence the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP).
Latest updates[?]: The indigenously designed and developed Light Combat Aircraft (N) Mk1 has made a successful arrested landing on the India's biggest warship INS Vikramaditya on January 11. "With this feat, the indigenously developed niche technologies specific to deck based fighter operations have been proven," Indian Navy Spokesperson Vivek Madhwal told IANS. This will now pave the way to develop and manufacture the twin engine deck based fighter for the Indian Navy, he said. The Navy has created an aircraft carrier setting on the ground at its air base in Goa to operate these deck-based fighters, which use ski jump to take off and are recovered by arrestor wires on a carrier or STOBAR (short takeoff but arrested recovery) in Navy parlance.
Adm. Gorshkov: Before.
This free-to-view DID Spotlight article offers an in-depth look at India’s troubled attempt to convert and field a full-size aircraft carrier, before time and wear force it to retire its existing naval aviation and ships.
India faced 2 major challenges. One was slipping timelines, which risked leaving them with no aircraft carriers at all. The other challenge involved Vikramaditya’s 3-fold cost increase, as Russia demanded a re-negotiated contract once India was deeper into the commitment trap. The carrier purchase has now become the subject of high level diplomacy, involving a shipyard that can’t even execute on commercial contracts. A revised deal was finally signed in March 2010, even as deliveries of India’s new MiG-29K naval fighters got underway – but now Russia still has to make good. This article tracks the changes India is making to its new aircraft carrier, key characteristics, and a full history of contracts and events affecting this carrier and its planned aircraft contingent.
Latest updates[?]: The Falkland Islands have welcomed the arrival of new patrol vessel HMS Forth. British Forces South Atlantic Islands say that the ship has taken over the mission from HMS Clyde, which has offered protection to the Falklands and nearby South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands for the past 12 years. The long-term deployment of HMS Forth will see the ship act as the guardian and patrol vessel for the Falkland Islands and Britain’s South Atlantic territories. HMS Forth is a Batch 2 River Class Offshore Patrol Vessel and is fundamentally different in appearance and capabilities from the preceding Batch 1. Notable differences include the longer 90.5 meters long hull, a higher top speed of 24 knots, a Merlin-capable flight deck, a greater displacement of around 2,000 tonnes and greatly expanded capacity for accommodating personnel.
The UK’s forthcoming Ocean Class 90m+ Offshore Patrol Vessels stem from a shipbuilding sector agreement that the UK MoD signed with BAE in November 2013. Britain needed to find an affordable bridge-buy that kept its naval shipyards running in-between completion of existing ships, and delayed construction of the new Type 26 frigates. Rather than paying termination and industrial costs to keep the shipyard idle, the UK government decided to buy 3 OPVs, for delivery by 2017. This would also allow the Royal Navy to retire or gift out the existing River Class OPVs HMS Tyne, HMS Severn and HMS Mersey.
As of August 2014, the contract for these new open-ocean patrol vessels is complete…
Latest updates[?]: Israel Shipyards will design the Israeli Navy's new Reshef Class to replace its aging Saar 4.5 vessels. The class will be based on the S-72, which it described as a "proven design", even though none have been ordered as yet, and would be able to "successfully withstand the new and evolving threats and challenges" facing the Israeli Navy. The vessels will be used to protect Israel's exclusive economic zone, including oil and gas facilities. The news follows a November 6 announcement in which the Israeli Ministry of Defense said it had ordered a floating dock from Israel Shipyards as part of a $25.8 million agreement that also covers the design and construction of future naval vessels that were not identified.
Saar 5: INS Hanit
The 1,227t/ 1,350 ton Sa’ar 5 Eilat Class corvettes were built by Northrop Grumman in the 1990s for about $260 million each. It’s a decent performer in a number of roles, from air defense to anti-submarine work, to coastal patrol and special forces support. In 2006, the Israelis went looking for a next-generation vessel with better high-end capabilities. Six years later, Israel had nothing to show for its search. In the meantime, massive natural gas deposits have been discovered within Israel’s coastal waters, adding considerable urgency to their search.
The USA is Israel’s logical supplier, but given Israel’s size and cost requirements, the only American option was the Littoral Combat Ship. Israel pursued that option for several years, conducting studies and trying to get a better sense of feasibility and costs. Their approach would have been very different from the American Freedom Class LCS, removing the swappable “mission modules” and replacing them with a fixed and fully capable set of air defense, anti-ship, and anti-submarine weapons. In the end, however, the project was deemed to be unaffordable. Instead, Israel began negotiating with Germany, and reports now include discussions involving both South Korea, and a local shipyard.
Latest updates[?]: Raytheon won a $61.5 million delivery contract for Global Positioning System-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Services (GPNTS) software support. GPNTS is used to receive, process and distribute three-dimensional position, velocity, acceleration, attitude, time and frequency in the formats required by shipboard user systems. The software support will include development, integration and test of improvements, correction of deficiencies, preparation and delivery of engineering interim/final software builds and inputs for the GPNTS software requirements and configuration baseline. The delivery contract includes a base ordering period of five years, with a subsequent three-year option and a final two-year option for a total of 10 years should all options be exercised. Raytheon will perform work in San Diego, California and is expected to be finished by November, 2024.
At the end of June 2010, Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in San Diego, CA received a 4-year, $32.2 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract to design, develop, test and deliver the Global Positioning System Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Service (GPNTS). If all options are exercised, work could continue until June 2021, and run the contract to $77.1 million. $4.6 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11. Work will be performed in San Diego, CA (88%), and Fairfax, VA (12%), while the competitively procured contract will be managed by US Space and Naval Warfare Command in San Diego, CA (N00039-11-C-0089).
The DoD description said that “…GPNTS will support mission critical real-time positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) data services for weapons, combat, navigation, and other C4I systems requiring PNT information.” That’s technically true, but misleading. Discussions with Raytheon confirm that GPNTS systems will replace existing NAVSSI integrated navigation systems on board US Navy ships. They receive GPS data from the ship’s receivers, and act as a shipboard navigation data distribution hub. That could mean loading current coordinates from the ship into an aircraft or a GPS/INS-guided weapon, working with an aircraft carrier’s precision GPS landing system, or just handling routine navigation and reporting systems on board.
Contracts & Updates
November 19/19: Software Support Raytheon won a $61.5 million delivery contract for Global Positioning System-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Services (GPNTS) software support. GPNTS is used to receive, process and distribute three-dimensional position, velocity, acceleration, attitude, time and frequency in the formats required by shipboard user systems. The software support will include development, integration and test of improvements, correction of deficiencies, preparation and delivery of engineering interim/final software builds and inputs for the GPNTS software requirements and configuration baseline. The delivery contract includes a base ordering period of five years, with a subsequent three-year option and a final two-year option for a total of 10 years should all options be exercised. Raytheon will perform work in San Diego, California and is expected to be finished by November, 2024.