In mid-April, South Africa’s DefenceWeb reported an R 49.2 million ($7.3 million) in contracts to begin resupplying its MEKO-derived Valour Class frigates with Umkhonto Mk.2 short range air defense missiles, perform Umkhonto Mk.2 testing, and support existing South African missile stocks.
Umkhonto Mk.1 missiles are currently in service on South Africa’s new frigates, and the South African Army’s Project Protector uses Umkhonto as a land-based SAM system. They are not its only customers…
BAE recently announced that Australia’s Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) had awarded a 12th successive annual contract to produce Nulka (Abor. “be quick”) hovering decoy rockets for the Australian, American, and Canadian navies. The A$ 40 million (about $35 million) “Option 20” deal extends production to 2013.
The SEA 1937 Nulka project was conceived as an Australian/American joint effort, and began with a Memorandum of Understanding in 1986. The Mk.53 Nulka system was designed to supplement “hard kill” systems like missiles and Phalanx guns, and standard chaff/flare decoy systems, with a slightly different approach. The Nulka rocket is launched from the ship, then flies a controllable semi-hover pattern in the air for a while, emitting confusing I/J-band (8-20 GHz) signals designed to decoy incoming anti-ship missiles away from the ship – and toward the Nulka. This gives ships an option against passive decoy rejection and active angular deflection measures in modern missiles, while overcoming chaff’s issues with wind, slow reaction time, and doppler discrimination ECCM(Electronic Counter Counter-Measures).
To date, BAE says that over 940 of their Mk.234/ Mk.250 Nulka rockets have been produced and deployed on more than 130 surface ships, earning more than A$ 800 million over the program’s lifetime. BAE Systems is the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin makes the electronic warfare payload, and Aerojet makes the rocket motor.
Alion Science and Technology in McLean, VA received a task order (N00178-04-D-4066) from the US Navy valued at $48.5 million to research, design, develop, prototype, integrate and test a new torpedo detection system in conjunction with the Navy’s anti-torpedo countermeasure technology effort.
The task order, awarded under the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport’s Seaport-Enhanced (Seaport-e) contract, supports the Naval Sea Systems (NAVSEA) Undersea Defensive Warfare Systems Program Office with anti-torpedo torpedo defensive system (ATTDS) torpedo detection, classification and localization (TDCL) technology.
Seaport-e is a $5.3 billion multiple-award umbrella contract that lets the US Navy use an integrated approach to contracting for support services.
The ATTDS TDCL is a project [PDF] within the Navy’s Surface Ship Torpedo Defense (SSTD) program.
Raytheon Co. received a $5.8 million contract modification for phalanx simulated infrared/visible engagement target simulator kits with shorting plugs in support of the Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) Program. Raytheon will work on the contract in England (80%); Louisville, KY (15%); and Tuscon, AZ (5%); and expects to complete work by January 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command manages the previously awarded contract (N00024-07-C-5444).
The radar-guided, rapid-firing Mk. 15 Phalanx CIWS (pron. “see-whiz”) can fire between 3,000-4,500 20mm cannon rounds per minute, either autonomously or under manual command, as a last-ditch defense against incoming missiles and other targets. Phalanx uses closed-loop spotting with advanced radar and computer technology to locate, identify and direct a stream of armor piercing projectiles toward the target. Phalanx CIWS is currently installed on approximately 187 USN ships and is in use in 20 foreign navies.
Additional information provided by Raytheon gives more detail about how the Phalanx engagement target simulator works…
Communications and Power Industries’ Microwave Power Products Division won a maximum $12.2 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract to supply the MK-74 TARTAR-D system’s traveling wave tubes (TWT) and solenoids to the government of Taiwan. Traveling wave tubes amplify radio frequency signals to high power, which is useful for radar systems.
The MK-74 TARTAR-D TWT is a component of the naval MK-74 Guided Missile Fire Control System (GMFCS). A recent article has provided more details regarding their exact use by Taiwan…
Phalanx Block 1B CIWS weapon systems are installed on a wide array of Navy ships, even as previous Phalanx versions receive upgrades to add its new capabilities. They are also being installed as land-based systems…
Aug 11/08: The Watts-Healy Tibbitts joint venture in Honolulu, HI receives an initial $42.4 million increment to build a drive-in magnetic silencing facility at Beckoning Point, Naval Station Pearl Harbor. The 2nd increment will be funded in FY 2009 at $35.9 million, and the 3rd increment will be funded in 2010 at $6.6 million to finish the $84.8 million contract. The contract also contains an unexercised option, which would increase the cumulative contract value to $86.1 million.
The reason behind these expensive facilities is simple. Any mass of iron stressed in the earth’s magnetic field becomes a magnet. Riveting and other construction activities magnetize a ship, as do some operational activities. That magnetization then changes gradually when the ship is underway, depending on its heading and location. A magnetized object can be detected, of course, and magnetic field changes can also be used as a trigger for weapons like mines and homing torpedoes. Magnetic Silencing Facilities provide deperming/ degaussing, which reduces the ship’s electromagnetic signature to a point that’s much closer to the earth’s natural level. Cryptome has a partial list of American MSFs, including some photos and links.
Work will be performed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and is expected to be complete by October 2010. This contract was competitively procured, with 41 offers solicited and 4 proposals received by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific in Pearl Harbor, HI (N62742-08-C-1311).
The Seawolf air defense missile was originally tested and fielded in the 1970s, and saw action in the 1982 Falklands War. It performed well in that conflict in a short range defense role, and was credited with several kills. Upgraded versions corrected many of the remaining issues with the system, and these still equip the Type 22 and Type 23 Class frigates in service with Britain, Chile and Brazil, and slated for Romania. It is also fitted to Malaysia’s newer Lekiu Class frigates. The Seawolf Mid-Life Update/ VL Seawolf Block 2 missile system was recently installed on the Duke Class frigate HMS Sutherland, and it will equip other ships of class as they, too, are upgraded.
Britain is slowly turning many of its defense support contracts into through-life “contracts for availability” that feature long term fixed costs and performance guarantee. Now Seawolf missiles have joined the list. In July 2008, BAE Systems announced the GBP 141 million SWISS (Seawolf In Service Support) Contract for Availability (CfA), which will sustain all of Britain’s Seawolf missiles in conjunction with a complementary contract to missile manufacturer MBDA. The contracts will last until the end of 2017, at which point the Seawolf system is expected to be phased out in favor of some of the systems being developed by Britain’s government-anointed “complex weapons team.”
BAE Systems has been providing in service support for the Seawolf radars and command and control systems since 1979. With the new contract, they are charged with ensuring that availability, as measured by successful firings, is maintained. They will also be responsible for refit activities in cooperation with MBDA, which can be used to insert new technologies that improve performance and/or reliability. BAE release.
Beginning in 1989, New Zealand and Australia introduced the ANZAC Class frigates, based on Blohm + Voss’ Meko 200 modular design. A total of 10 were built, 8 for Australia and another 2 for New Zealand; HMNZS Te Kaha [F77] was commissioned in 1997, and HMNZS Te Mana [F111] in 1999. The ships were originally fitted with RIM-7 Sea Sparrow missiles, torpedoes, and 5 inch guns, which will not suffice against modern threats. An Australian program called “ANZAC Class Anti-Ship Missile Defences” aims to extend their useful operational lives by upgrading their ships’ combat systems and radar, switching to the more advanced RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow missile, adding Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and other upgrades. New Zealand appears to be headed toward a similar program, in the wake of conclusions that the ships’ existing systems will not remain effective much past 2010.
As an initial step, New Zealand’s TV3 reports that their navy is spending NZ$ 25 million to upgrade their Mk15 Phalanx 20mm gatling guns to deal with fast boats and helicopters, as well as incoming missiles. These Phalanx block 1B upgrades can be performed quickly, and do not require major modifications or down time.
A NZ$60 million platform systems upgrade is likely to begin in 2009 and be complete by 2010. Areas addressed are likely to include items like gearboxes and engines, generators, air conditioning units, generating equipment, main machinery control equipment and computers outside of the combat system. That change would wait until 2012-2013, whereupon a NZ$ 500 million self-defense upgrade would address upgrades to the combat system and the weaponry it controls. That effort is part of the New Zealand Defence Force’s 2006 long-term development plan, but this does not guarantee future funding.
In December 2005, “Beyond Armaris: Thales “Buys” Minority Stake in DCN” covered the government-prodded merger of Thales naval business with state-owned DCN, to create DCNS. That agreement excluded some naval items like electronics, but it did include Thales’ 24% share in Eurotorp, the European lightweight torpedo consortium that was officially founded in 1993 as a joint venture between DCN International (26%), Thomson-CSF (now Thales, 24%) and Whitehead (now Finmeccanica, 50%).
The DCNS transaction was not concluded until March 2007, and now the Eurotorp consortium has taken the next step by creating a more wide-ranging set of joint ventures in underwater weapons systems. The longer-term goal remains European integration, and the 3 CEOs have said they would consider opening the alliance to other European players at some point…