The UK Ministry of Defence has signed a GBP 369.5 million (about $615 million), 10-year contract with BAE Systems Insyte to support and maintain the Royal Navy’s light Sting Ray and heavy Spearfish torpedoes. The availability-based Torpedoes Capability Contract consolidates 11 separate contracts into one, and will see BAE Systems and the MOD’s DE&S Weapons Operating Centre working together as “Team Torpedoes.” It covers all aspects of support and maintenance, as well as Spearfish development and upgrade work. BAE says that they expect this partnering approach to lead to savings of about GBP 65 million, or 20% over the traditional support approach.
The TCC agreement will directly secure around 120 posts at BAES Insyte in Portsmouth, as well as subcontractors who will receive about 33% of the contract’s total value. Sub-contractors and torpedo details follow:
In November 2005, the Australian Government, Tenix Defence and Eurocopter subsidiary Australian Aerospace (AA) have signed the P3 Accord Master Agreement to provide capability upgrades and Through Life Support (TLS) for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) AP-3C Orion maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft. The three parties have established a Joint Management Office (JMO) to supervise all Accord activities under a unique risk-sharing contractual arrangement. The JMO will develop and implement all RAAF AP-3C capability upgrades and TLS solutions through to the aircraft’s planned withdrawal date – at which point it will likely be replaced by the 737-based AP-8A MMA.
The combined value of the TLS and block upgrades to the aircraft is expected to be more than A$ 1 billion, and the project is moving on to a new phase – even as some of the efforts that led to the most recent announcement win Australian awards…
Booz Allen Hamilton in Herndon, VA received a $19.3 million contract to provide the U.S. Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technical Division with survivability/vulnerability analyses, assessment and evaluations. The contract (SP0700-03-D-1380) is being awarded as part of the Survivability/Vulnerability Information Analysis Center (SURVIAC) program managed by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
The Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technical Division in Indian Head, MD provides engineering and technical services in support of Joint service explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) programs and other customer requirements. The division focuses its efforts in the following areas: developing EOD procedures to counter munitions threats; developing tools and equipment to meet EOD operational needs; and performing in-service engineering, depot level management and repair for EOD tools and equipment.
DID has more on the work being done under the SURVIAC program…
BAE recently announced that the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation has selected BAE Systems Sting Ray MOD 1 lightweight torpedo for its Norwegian Antisubmarine Torpedo (NAT) program following an international competition, and issued a GBP 99 million (EUR 136.1M / $145M) contract. These pump-jet propelled, autonomous active-homing 324mm torpedoes will arm Norway’s new Fridtjof Nansen Class AEGIS frigates, NH90 NFH Anti Submarine Warfare helicopters, and its P-3C Orion maritime patrol planes.
“Lightweight” torpedoes are light only in comparison to their huge 533mm ship-killing counterparts, like the submarine-launched American Mk48 torpedo and BAE’s own Spearfish. Submarines are easier to sink than enemy destroyers, however, which allows warhead and torpedo size to be reduced for carriage and launch from smaller surface ship torpedo tubes, maritime patrol aircraft, and anti-submarine helicopters.
This is the first export success for the upgraded Stingray MOD 1…
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…
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of Turkey’s request for 100 MK-54 Lightweight All-Up-Round Warshot Torpedoes, 50 containers, required equipment platform and auxiliary upgrades and modifications, kits, support equipment, exercise hardware, maintenance facility upgrades, software development/integration, test sets and support equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical data, maintenance, training equipment, U.S. Government (USG) and contractor representatives, contractor engineering and technical support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $105 million.
Raytheon’s Full Service Partnering Center in Poulsbo, WA received a $9.2 million firm-fixed price/ cost-plus-fixed-fee, time & materials contract. It covers technical engineering and maintenance services in support of the Undersea Weapons Program Office (PMS404) and MK 48 Heavyweight Torpedo Intermediate Maintenance Activities (IMA) for the US Navy. Raytheon originally won the contract in 2000, and performs intermediate-level maintenance, repair and refurbishment of MK 48 ADCAP torpedoes currently in the U.S. Navy’s fleet inventory of training and warshot torpedoes. The inventory is used for fleet training, readiness and submarine-launched torpedo warshot exercises. Work will be performed in Pearl Harbor, HI (80%, torpedo maintenance actions and technical support services); Yorktown, VA (18%, progressive depot level repair support); and Poulsbo, WA (2%), and is expected to be complete by November 2006. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC (N00024-06-C-6107). See also Raytheon’s press release.
The Mk 48 heavyweight torpedo is designed to kill both fast, deep-diving nuclear submarines and high performance surface ships. It is carried by all Navy submarines, as is a devastating weapon. The Mk 48 ADCAP has improved target acquisition range, reduced vulnerability to enemy countermeasures, reduced shipboard constraints such as warm-up and reactivation time, and enhanced effectiveness against surface ships. These torpedoes can operate with or without wire guidance, and can use active and/or passive homing, conducting multiple re-attacks if they miss the target. See also Undersea Warfare Magazine’s Winter/Spring 2002 article, “Torpedoes and the Next Generation of Undersea Weapons.”
Lots of news today covering the Iranians’ reputed test of a “sonar-evading underwater missile… General Fadavi said only one other country, Russia, had a missile that moved underwater as fast as the Iranian one, which he said had a speed of about 225 miles per hour.” The allusion being made here is to a Russian design called the VA-111 Shkval, a “supercavitating” torpedo that attains its speed by riding in a bubble of superheated vapor.
Defense Tech has an excellent article with all kinds of useful links and background including video of the test, the Russian Shkval and its history, and western efforts to develop related weapons. Noah’s caveat about Iran not having a great reputation for truthfulness is wise, especially given the fact that it’s looking to project a threatening posture around closing the Straits of Hormuz right now. The one thing he doesn’t stress, but is important to know: the Shkval is very fast, but unguided.
Australia’s six SSK Collins-Class diesel-electric submarines are undergoing a major A$ 857 million (USD $624 million) capability boost, as integration & testing of the same tactical combat system present in the USA’s most modern attack submarines commences. Upgraded state-of-the-art Mk 48 Mod 7 ADCAP heavyweight torpedoes are also on the way. Meanwhile, the Royal Australian Navy is changing some of its recruiting practices and recruiting submariners directly, in an effort to attract the high-skills individuals needed to operate their new fleet.
The Collins were designed in cooperation with Kockums AB, but largely built in Australia. They are the world’s largest diesel-electric subs and among the most advanced as well, successfully scoring kills on American SSN Los Angeles Class attack subs during joint exercises. Yet their history has been replete with cost overruns, schedule overruns, and serious teething problems. Most of these issues have now been resolved, albeit at additional cost; the combat system upgrade is simply the latest, last, and most significant hangover from those past problems.
Modern diesel submarines have advanced propulsion systems and coatings, and many of them are hard to detect with the current sonar technologies aboard the U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered submarines and surface ships. As nations in Asia and beyond race to buy these vessels, the US Navy’s Antisubmarine Warfare (ASW) Task Force is preparing for that future with a new “concept of operations” that includes new tactics and new technologies. It’s the first major revision of anti-submarine doctrine since the middle of the Cold War.