For most countries, coast guard duties consist of inshore search and rescue, security patrols and environmental protection, and are performed by smaller vessels, Many are even operated by civilian agencies. Not so for the Norwegian coast guard, which is a branch of the Norwegian Navy and operates in Norway’s entire Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ) and protection zones, a total of 2.2 million square kilometers as well-known known for the North Sea’s and Arctic’s harsh conditions as it is for its oil platforms and rich fisheries.
To perform these duties, a whole series of new Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) ranging in size from 700-6,500 tons have been developed by Norwegian designers over the last decade. The traditional corvette designs were avoided – instead, the new ships were based on 30-40 years of experience designing civilian offshore support and fishing vessels for the North Sea. Lately, as advanced OPVs have begun riding a crest of popularity and the littoral threat continues to rise, the Norwegian branch of Rolls Royce has found itself designing coastal and environmental protection vessels for France, Spain and India; they are considered strong candidates with other countries as well.
KV Barethshav concept
This article outlines the background of these vessels, and describes two of their main designers, the aforementioned Rolls Royce Marine with their successful exports, and Vik-Sandvik AS, who were recently awarded the contract to design one of the world’s first hybrid-powered naval vessels.
With the proliferation of global terrorism and its continuing links to state sponsors, the threat of man-portable anti-aircraft missiles (MANPADS) continues to receive attention. The USA’s response has been multi-layered, from programs to remove surplus MANPADS from arsenals around the world to systems like the ATIRCM/CMWS, the AN/ALQ-144 “disco ball,” and LAIRCM for its aircraft. See esp. Military Aerospace Technology’s article “Protecting the Big Birds.” Proposals are even being discussed to require these kinds of countermeasures on all civilian aircraft (Israel is already doing this).
Northrop Grumman’s Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) is a laser-based countermeasures system that can defend a wide range of aircraft from an infrared missile attack by automatically detecting a missile launch, determining if it is a threat, and activating a high-intensity system of pulsed lasers to track and defeat the threat by confusing its guidance head.
Finmeccanica subsidiary Alenia Aermacchi has signed a contract with Nigeria’s Ministry of Defence for the maintenance and enhancement of 12 MB-339A aircraft based at Kano, which have been in service with Nigeria since the mid 1980s.
MB-339 digital cockpit
The contract is worth $84 million dollars and covers the refurbishment of the aircraft and the upgrading of the avionic suite in addition to the supply of spares, technical assistance and training of pilots and ground crew. See Alenia release.
The MB-339 jet trainer, aerobatic, and light attack aircraft has been widely exported and is currently in service with the air forces of Argentina, Dubai/UAE, Eritrea, Ghana, Italy, Malaysia, Nigeria and Peru. New Zealand’s MB-339s are for sale, as the government divests itself of all combat aircraft.
Raytheon Co. in McKinney, TX received $19.6 million for firm-fixed-price delivery order under previously awarded contract for the production of Army and Marine Corps .50 cal thermal sight/day TV systems, and option CLINs for associated technical and engineering support. Work will be performed in McKinney, Texas, and is expected to be completed in June 2009. This contract was awarded as a result of a full and open competitive solicitation by the Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, VA.
Stars and Stripes recently noted that Marines in Iraq are slated to get thermal sights for .50 caliber machine guns mounted on M1 Abrams tanks, and this would appear to be that contract. The Army is also partner in this and has an option to buy systems, which greatly improve the usefulness of .50 caliber weapons in twilight and evening scenarios, and in long-range surveillance overwatch.
ATK Space Systems Inc. in Clearfield, UT received a $21.7 million5 indefinite-quantity/ indefinite-delivery contract. It provides for the development and demonstration of automated composite production technologies, which may lead to enhanced design and manufacturing of cost-effective large composite structures for use on space launch vehicles. The technologies to be developed are intended to enable improved manufacturing scale, performance and reliability, while providing design flexibility and an improvement in costs for current and future space launch vehicles.
Solicitations began September 2005, negotiations were complete in June 2006, and work will be complete October 2011. The Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM issued the contract (FA9453-06-D-0368).