Latest updates[?]: South Korea is shopping for 12 new naval helicopters as its Defense Acquisition Program Administration earmarks $768 million for the acquisition. A decision will be made by the end of 2018 with AgustaWestland’s AW-159, the Sikorsky MH-60R, and NHIndustries’ NH-90 are all in the running. Deliveries will take place between 2020-2022 and the choppers will be deployed on next-generation frigates to counter North Korean submarines and surface vessels.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced May 26/09 [PDF] South Korea’s official request to buy 46 SM-2 Block IIIA missiles, 35 SM-2 Block IIIB missiles, 3 SM-2 Block IIIB Telemetry Missiles for testing, 84 SM-2 missile containers, and associated test and support equipment, spare and repair parts, training, and other forms of support. The estimated cost is $170 million, and the prime contractor will be Raytheon in Tucson, AZ. The sale would require temporary travel for U.S. Government or contractor representatives to the Republic of Korea for in-country training, as a recurring requirement during the life of the missile systems.
How does this purchase fit into South Korea’s overall defense plans?
Lockheed Martin Maritime Sensors and Systems won a $124 million cost-plus-award-fee contract modification to upgrade Japan’s Kongo-Class AEGIS destroyer JS Kongo [DDG-173] to give it AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense Block 2004 capability. Japan’s Kongo-Class destroyers are based on the USA’s Flight II DDG 51 Arleigh Burke Class, but feature many modifications both internally and externally. The Kirishima itself was posted to the Indian Ocean as part of Japan’s contribution to the war on terror, acting as flagship for the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force.
Back in 2008, the Navy signaled its desire to its desire to incorporate the “far term sea-based terminal defense” capacity of the SM-6 into its Aegis system, with one hurdle being some ships’ radars being capable of handling the sensor data requirements. They then hoped for operational capability in 2015. Yesterday, Raytheon announced in a widely-parroted release that the Navy had indeed approved the SM-6 for additional Aegis systems, to include those Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers from the 1994-keel-laid The Sullivans (DDG-68) onward.
It’s time to modernize New Zealand’s only serious combat ships. New Zealand bought 2 ANZAC frigates in the 1990s, as a cooperative venture with Australia using the MEKO 100 German design. F77 Te Kaha was commissioned in 1996, and F111 Te Mana was commissioned in 1997. At the time, the ships were adequate low-end frigates, but 20 years later, they’re simply obsolete. New Zealand has long realized that changes were required, and has been planning and funding a whole series of changes since 2006.
In August 2005, Australia’s Ministry of Defence reported that Australia and the United States had joined forces by signing a joint agreement to develop active phased array radar technology in Australia. The hope was that it would kick-start a new Australian electronics and systems integration industry, based on S-band active array and X-band phased-array technology, sized for and applied to smaller ships like frigates and corvettes.
This technology is being developed by ACT electronics company CEA Technologies, and has become part of Australia’s ASMD project to make its ANZAC Class frigates survivable against supersonic cruise missiles. Other military and civil applications on land and sea are also possible, given the radar’s characteristics.
A quick look at almost any modern warship shows a bewildering array of gear on its mast and upper surfaces. These “topside apertures” serve an array of functions, from communications, to data transmission, to electronic listening and defense. Not only do they disrupt ship smoothness, and hence radar profiles, when installed, but they can also be extremely difficult to integrate together so that object A’s transmissions aren’t interfering with critical service B. While firms like Thales in Europe pursue “integrated modular mast” technologies, the US Navy is aiming to go one step beyond. They’re funding “Integrated Topside” R&D to go beyond just a pre-packaged array, and turn all of these little bolt-ons into one common, smooth-running, and upgradeable basic architecture.
InTop for surface ships will be based on AESA radar technology, and aims to become an innovative, scalable suite of electronic warfare, information operations, and line-of-sight communications hardware and software. Its performance goals are to improve ships’ anti-radar profiles, increase communications bandwidth, and resolve electromagnetic interference and compatibility issues…
In late May 2013, Thales UK signed a 10-year, GBP 600 million Sensor Support Optimisation Project (SSOP) with the Ministry of Defence. It extends the 2003 Contractor Logistics Support deal that covered electronic warfare/ ESM and sonar system support on an array of submarines and surface ships.
SSOP coverage includes all British submarine classes (SSN Trafalgar and Astute classes, SSBN Vanguard Class), Type 45 Daring Class destroyers, Type 23 Duke Class frigates, and the Hunt and Sandown Classes of minehunting vessels. It also covers all visual systems (periscopes etc.) for all Royal Navy submarines, which had been a separate contract with Thales UK’s optronics business in Glasgow. This progression is familiar to readers who have followed British Future Contracting for Availability practices over the last several years.
In mid-May 2013, MBDA signed an MoU with Lockheed Martin that has the potential to shake up the naval missile industry. It sounds innocuous: both companies agree to jointly explore the market for the integration of MBDA naval missile systems into Lockheed Martin’s MK-41 Vertical Launch System, and ExLS VLS/cell insert. They’ll begin with a late 2013 demonstration involving Britain’s new CAMM-M Sea Ceptor missile, but the implications reach far beyond.
Right now, the naval missile market is divided by launcher type, and many of MBDA’s missiles sit in a DCNS banlieue.
As missile defense imperatives get stronger, and western defense budgets get weaker, one might expect both competition and cooperation to increase within this sector. That should be especially true around naval platforms, where multinational deployments are the normal operating mode. There are early signs that this is coming true.
In September 2011, Raytheon announced successful testing for a prototype dual-band datalink, allowing ships that use either Lockheed Martin’s SPY-1/ AEGIS system, or Thales Nederland’s APAR radars, to employ the full range of long-range Standard Missiles for air defense. That matters, because the SM-x family also includes a number of options with missile defense capabilities…
In mid-April, South Africa’s DefenceWeb reported an R 49.2 million ($7.3 million) in contracts to begin resupplying its MEKO-derived Valour Class frigates with Umkhonto Mk.2 short range air defense missiles, perform Umkhonto Mk.2 testing, and support existing South African missile stocks.
Umkhonto Mk.1 missiles are currently in service on South Africa’s new frigates, and the South African Army’s Project Protector uses Umkhonto as a land-based SAM system. They are not its only customers…