China’s First Aircraft Carrier Leaves Homeport for Sea Trials


China’s First Aircraft Carrier Leaves Homeport for Sea Trials

China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, has left its homeport of Qingdao in east China’s Shandong Province to conduct scientific experiments and sea training, naval authorities said Tuesday.

This was the first time for the carrier to leave its homeport to conduct training voyage since it anchored there in February, according to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.

The Liaoning and its crew members had conducted a series of scheduled tests and training drills in the homeport during the period.

Currently, China operates one aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, which was refitted based on an unfinished Russian-made carrier and delivered to the Navy on Sept. 25, 2012.


First Carrier Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo Launched

First Carrier Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo Launched

USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) conducted the first aircraft carrier-borne end-to-end at-sea test of the Surface Ship Torpedo Defense (SSTD) System, the Navy announced, June 6.

The SSTD System combines the passive detection capability of the Torpedo Warning System that not only finds torpedoes, but also classifies and tracks them, with the hard-kill capability of the Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo, an encapsulated miniature torpedo. The at-sea tests were conducted May 15-19.

The Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo is being developed by the Pennsylvania State University Applied Research Laboratory (PSU-ARL). It is designed to locate, home in on and destroy hostile torpedoes. Over the four-day testing period, Bush engaged seven torpedo-like targets with seven Countermeasure Anti-Torpedoes. Designed to validate the end-to-end of the system, the testing proved successful.

“These tests are a culmination of a very focused effort by the Navy including the program office, Bush’s crew, Norfolk Naval Shipyard and our academic and industrial partners. With all seven of our shots doing what they are designed and built to do, it validates our work and significantly enhances our current capabilities,” said Capt. Moises DelToro, the Undersea Defensive Warfare Systems program manager.

This first end-to-end test of the SSTD System achieved several firsts: the first Torpedo Warning System detection of targets from a carrier, the first automatic detection and automatic targeting of an incoming torpedo target from a ship, the first launch of Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo from a carrier and the first end to end Torpedo Warning System and Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo system detection-to-engage at-sea test.

“It is gratifying to have these tests go so well,” said Rear Adm. David Johnson, program executive officer, Submarines, whose portfolio includes the Undersea Defensive Warfare Systems Program Office. “The engineering involved to detect a hostile torpedo, process its direction, speed, depth, and then engage it with a carrier-launched Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo is impressive. I am confident that the fleet will be pleased with the results.”

Given the complexity of the system, the program office is taking an incremental approach to the development and acquisition of the Surface Ship Torpedo Defense System.

“What is currently aboard Bush is an engineering development model, or EDM, that is a fully-functioning system, but not the final configuration or production model,” DelToro said. “We’re learning from the Bush to improve the system so we can provide the most robust and cost-effective hard-kill anti-torpedo capability possible.”

The Navy currently plans to equip all aircraft carriers and other high-value units with the Surface Ship Torpedo Defense system by 2035.

Exelis to Provide US Navy Aircraft with Advanced Electronic Countermeasures


Exelis to Provide US Navy Aircraft with Advanced Electronic Countermeasures

ITT Exelis has been awarded a contract valued at more than $125 million by Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, Md., to deliver the latest variant of the AN/ALQ-214 airborne jammer.

The AN/ALQ-214 is a subsystem of the Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures (IDECM) suite. Under this contract, Exelis will engage in the second full-rate production lot of the new AN/ALQ-214 (V)4/5 system.

The AN/ALQ-214(V)4/5 combines sensitive digital receivers and active countermeasures to protect aircraft from radio frequency (RF) threats such as air defense radars and guided missiles. The new variant of the ALQ-214 system will be used on both the Department of the Navy F/A-18 C/D Hornet and F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet aircraft. The previous variant is utilized on the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet aircraft only.

“The enhanced ALQ-214 ensures warfighters are equipped with the most advanced electronic self-protection system,” said Joe Rambala, vice president and general manager of the Exelis integrated electronic warfare systems business. “Our new system is not only designed to address current and future RF threats, but it also extends this level of protection to additional platforms, allowing more pilots to complete their missions safely.”

Deployed with the U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, existing legacy AN/ALQ-214 IDECM systems will continue to provide detect-and-defeat protection against RF threats well into the future. Exelis will produce the AN/ALQ-214(V)4/5 at its facility in Clifton, N.J., with system deliveries under this contract planned through 2015.

Exelis is a diversified, top-tier global aerospace, defense, information and technical services company that leverages a 50-year legacy of deep customer knowledge and technical expertise to deliver affordable, mission-critical solutions for global customers. Headquartered in McLean, Va., the company employs about 19,900 people and generated 2012 sales of $5.5 billion.

Pentagon reveals dates for F-35 initial operational capability

The US Air Force plans to declare initial operational capability (IOC) for its fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35As in 2016, according to a new report issued by the Department of Defense on 31 May.

In its report to Congress, the Pentagon states that if its current plan holds firm, IOC for the largest Joint Strike Fighter customer could be achieved between August and December that year.

The USAF‘s criteria for IOC consists of being able to stand up the first operational F-35A squadron equipped with 12 to 24 aircraft and with enough trained personnel “to conduct basic close air support, interdiction, and limited suppression and destruction of enemy air defence operations in a contested environment”.

However, the 2016 deadline does indicate a departure from the service’s earlier insistence that it would require the fighter to have the full capabilities of its final Block 3F configuration to declare IOC.

That software block is expected to be complete in the latter half of 2017, according to the Pentagon’s most recent indication.

Instead the air force is likely to declare IOC with either the earlier Block 2B software load or with Block 3i, which is the same configuration rehosted on newer avionics hardware.

Although the USAF says the earlier software configurations will “provide sufficient initial combat capability”, it will still require the “enhanced lethality and survivability inherent in Blocks 3F and beyond” at a later date.

The US Marine Corps, meanwhile, is sticking to its plan for IOC with the Block 2B configuration between July and December 2015.

USMC will declare IOC when the first squadron of between 10 and 16 aircraft is trained and ready to conduct a broad spectrum of mission types.

The USMC also requires the jet’s Autonomic Logistic Information System V2 software to declare IOC. As with the USAF, the Marines require Block 3F for their future needs, the report says.

The US Navy, however, is holding firm on requiring the full Block 3F configuration for its F-35C IOC date, which it anticipates in late 2018 or early 2019. The USN says it must have the Block 3F configuration to deal with threats in the post-2018 environment.

USN F-35C IOC is expected to be declared when the first operational squadron of 10 aircraft is manned, trained, and equipped to conduct its assigned missions.

Raytheon, US Navy Complete First Phase of RAM Block 2 Developmental Testing

By on Monday, June 3rd, 2013


The U.S. Navy completed the first series of developmental and operational testing (DT/OT) of Raytheon Company’s Rolling Airframe Missile Block 2.

In at-sea tests conducted from the U.S. Navy’s Self-Defense Test Ship, RAM Block 2 missiles engaged two targets in tactical dual-salvo scenarios designed to demonstrate the advanced missile’s defensive capabilities. The DT/OT tests successfully engaged high-speed, maneuvering and sub-sonic, maneuvering targets with all four RAM Block 2 missiles meeting test objectives.

“RAM Block 2′s success in these developmental tests follows the completion of a series of guidance test vehicle flight tests,” said Rick Nelson, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems’ Naval and Area Mission Defense product line. “RAM Block 2′s increased kinematic capability and its advanced guidance system will continue to give the warfighter an unfair advantage in the fight.”

Raytheon and its manufacturing partner RAMSYS of Germany were awarded the second U.S. Navy RAM Block 2 low-rate production contact for 61 missiles in December 2012. In addition, as previously reported, the company received a $155.6 million Block 2 production contract for the German navy earlier this year.

The RAM Block 2 upgrade includes a four-axis independent control actuator system and an increase in rocket motor capability, increasing the missile’s effective range and delivering a significant increase in maneuverability. The improved missile also incorporates an upgraded passive radio frequency seeker, a digital autopilot and engineering changes in selected infrared seeker components.

RAM is a supersonic, lightweight, quick reaction, fire-and-forget missile providing defense against anti-ship cruise missiles, helicopter and airborne threats, and hostile surface craft. The missile’s autonomous dual-mode, passive radio frequency and infrared guidance design provide a high-firepower capability for engaging multiple threats simultaneously. RAM is installed, or planned for installation, aboard more than 165 ships as an integral self-defense weapon for the navies of Egypt, Germany, Greece, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

  • Extremely high reliability resulting from years of development, testing and design improvements.
  • Four-axis independent control actuator system with increased rocket motor capability.
  • Upgraded passive radio frequency seeker, a digital autopilot and improved infrared seeker.

Raytheon Company, with 2012 sales of $24 billion and 68,000 employees worldwide, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, security and civil markets throughout the world. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass.

Iran test-fires new anti-ship ballistic missile in Persian Gulf waters


Azerbaijan, Baku, Apr.16/ Trend T.Jafarov

Iran’s armed forces has test-fired a new anti-ship ballistic missile in the Persian Gulf waters, Deputy Defense Minister Brigadier General Majid Bokaei said on Tuesday.

According to Bokaei, the projectile can pinpoint targets at sea with high precision, the IRNA News Agency reported.

He also noted that once fired, the missile leaves the atmosphere, and hits enemy warships on return.

All enemy vessels left the area near Iran’s maritime border, after the missile was tested, Bokaei added.

The official went on to say that the new projectile is a modified version of a ground-to-ground missile.

Navy Wants to Return Well Decks to Amphib Fleets


After years of believing the Navy would be getting entirely away from ships with well decks — and designing them with that in mind — the Navy anticipates returning them to two of its America-class amphibious warships.

The well decks, used to get Marine gear and equipment from ship to shore as part of any amphibious assault, were for a time seen as unnecessary because of airlift — what was needed ashore would be flown in aboard a CH-53 Sea Stallion or the MV-22 Osprey.

“After Afghanistan and Iraq everything got up-armored, everything got heavier,” Navy Capt. Chris Mercer said on Wednesday during a briefing at the annual Sea-Air-Space Expo at National Harbor, Md.  “So what we can lift with the -53 and -22s is getting less and less.”

With that in mind, the Navy will be returning the well deck to some of the amphibious landing ships it will be procuring in future years. Those currently being built will not have that asset. They are based on the old Tarawa-class amphibious ship, but minus the well deck.

The America, the first ship in the group, was christened late last year but has not yet joined the fleet. The second, to be named the Peleliu, is under construction.

Another three are planned, and at least the last two will reportedly restore the well deck.

Original ship plans also have had to be modified to accommodate the aircraft that will be based on them. The MV-22 and the F-35B — the Marine Corps version of the Joint Strike Fighter — both generate more heat on the decks than other aircraft.

The Navy found that jet blast from an F-35B could harm flight deck personnel up to 75 feet away from the short take-off line. Osprey operations generate head levels that could damage the deck and environmental controls in the spaces immediately below it.

“We are rapidly understanding these [problems] completely now,” Mercer said. He said there are about 14 modifications that need to be made. In some cases it means relocating some deck systems to avoid F-35 and MV-22 approaches.

“As for deck structure … we’ve got some modifications to do that,” he said. These include changing some of the materials used for some of the ships and in other ships adding structure underneath the flight deck at certain spots.

These modifications will also be done to older amphibious landing ships as they go in for maintenance, he said. The later of the new ships will come off the line with the changes already part of their design, he said.