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Ford-class combat system completes test, first carrier further delayed
While the system test is an important milestone, the USS Gerald R. Ford -- the first of the Ford-class of aircraft carriers -- has been plagued by delays and cost overruns.
June 4, 2019
By Allen Cone

The future USS Gerald R. Ford sails on its own power for the first time out of Newport News, Va., on April 8, 2017. The carrier is now underdoing tests off the coast of California and delivery to the U.S. Navy is expected in October. Photo by Mass Communication Spec. 2nd Class Ridge Leoni/U.S. Navy | License Photo

June 4 (UPI) -- The integrated combat management system for the USS Gerald R. Ford completed its final developmental test off the coast of California -- a major accomplishment after years of delays and cost overruns with the first of the new class of aircraft carriers.

On Tuesday, Raytheon announced a U.S. Navy unmanned self-defense test ship simulated a scenario the Ford may encounter once deployed. Two anti-ship missile surrogate targets were located, classified, tracked and engaged by the ship self defense system.

"This successful dual-target test demonstrates the maturity of the Ship Self Defense System ICS and paves the way for operational testing to begin," Mike Fabel, Raytheon's SSDS program manager, said in a news release. "SSDS is a critical capability that enables CVN 78 to defend herself and her crew against current and emerging threats."

The system has successfully engaged three targets over the course of its first two test exercises.

In February, the system was also tested -- also off the coast of California.

The system includes dual-band radar, cooperative engagement capability to validate and process the data, ship self defense to process the engagement data, and evolved SeaSparrow missile and rolling airframe missile.

The system is in service on U.S. carriers and amphibious ships.

The Ford class of ships are the first new design for an aircraft carrier since the Nimitz-class debuted in 1975.

The Ford was formally commissioned into the Navy on July 22, 2017, and is projected to be deployed around 2020, following further testing. Follow-on ships in the class currently under construction are the John F. Kennedy and the Enterprise. And the unnamed CVN 81 is planned.

The Ford is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in mid-October

The Navy and manufacturers have had difficulties with the advanced weapons elevators, none of which were functioning after christening.

Of the 11 elevators, two now are completed. The last one was finished in March.

"We are working right now with the fleet on what elevators do we need to have complete so they can exercise all the function in October, and for any of that work that isn't done, how we're going to feather that work in over time," Navy acquisition chief James Geurts said last week during a media briefing at the shipyard.

The new elevators are run with electromagnetic, linear synchronous motors, which allows for greater capacities and a faster movement of weapons than the Nimitz-class carrier elevators that utilize cables.

They also eliminate the need for a "bomb farm," and reduce horizontal and vertical weapons movements to various staging and build-up locations.

The Navy also is dealing with a propulsion problem. During trials one year ago, the situation caused Ford to return to port ahead of its scheduled post shakedown. The ship's main turbine generators are driven by the steam produced by Ford's two nuclear reactors.

"We've got to train crews and get crews certified, wring out the rest of the ship, and then take all those lessons learned and ... pour them into the rest of this design" for the rest of the Ford class, Geurts said. "So our strategy of that lead ship prove out all the technologies and then rapidly reduce the time and cost and complexity to get them on follow-on ships."

In a draft of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, released Monday by House-led Democrats, the Navy is prohibited from accepting the USS Kennedy, which is designated as CVN-79, unless the carrier can deploy with F-35C Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters. The carrier is expected to be christened by the end of 2019.

The Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee met Tuesday to mark up the bill.

Caps imposed by Congress on the Ford-class program have results in delays and the Navy accepting delivery of unfinished carriers. Because work on the ships are delayed to satisfy spending caps, seapower subcommittee members fear the overall price will increase dramatically.

"CVN-79 [USS John F. Kennedy] will not be able to deploy with F-35s when it's delivered to the Navy as a direct result of that cost cap," a committee staffer told USNI News. "So when that cost cap was imposed, the Navy traded that capability off and chose to build that back in on the back end. That's unacceptable to our members that the newest carriers can't deploy with the newest aircraft."

 

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Ford-class combat system completes test, first carrier further delayed
While the system test is an important milestone, the USS Gerald R. Ford -- the first of the Ford-class of aircraft carriers -- has been plagued by delays and cost overruns.
June 4, 2019
By Allen Cone

The future USS Gerald R. Ford sails on its own power for the first time out of Newport News, Va., on April 8, 2017. The carrier is now underdoing tests off the coast of California and delivery to the U.S. Navy is expected in October. Photo by Mass Communication Spec. 2nd Class Ridge Leoni/U.S. Navy | License Photo

June 4 (UPI) -- The integrated combat management system for the USS Gerald R. Ford completed its final developmental test off the coast of California -- a major accomplishment after years of delays and cost overruns with the first of the new class of aircraft carriers.

On Tuesday, Raytheon announced a U.S. Navy unmanned self-defense test ship simulated a scenario the Ford may encounter once deployed. Two anti-ship missile surrogate targets were located, classified, tracked and engaged by the ship self defense system.

"This successful dual-target test demonstrates the maturity of the Ship Self Defense System ICS and paves the way for operational testing to begin," Mike Fabel, Raytheon's SSDS program manager, said in a news release. "SSDS is a critical capability that enables CVN 78 to defend herself and her crew against current and emerging threats."

The system has successfully engaged three targets over the course of its first two test exercises.

In February, the system was also tested -- also off the coast of California.

The system includes dual-band radar, cooperative engagement capability to validate and process the data, ship self defense to process the engagement data, and evolved SeaSparrow missile and rolling airframe missile.

The system is in service on U.S. carriers and amphibious ships.

The Ford class of ships are the first new design for an aircraft carrier since the Nimitz-class debuted in 1975.

The Ford was formally commissioned into the Navy on July 22, 2017, and is projected to be deployed around 2020, following further testing. Follow-on ships in the class currently under construction are the John F. Kennedy and the Enterprise. And the unnamed CVN 81 is planned.

The Ford is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in mid-October

The Navy and manufacturers have had difficulties with the advanced weapons elevators, none of which were functioning after christening.

Of the 11 elevators, two now are completed. The last one was finished in March.

"We are working right now with the fleet on what elevators do we need to have complete so they can exercise all the function in October, and for any of that work that isn't done, how we're going to feather that work in over time," Navy acquisition chief James Geurts said last week during a media briefing at the shipyard.

The new elevators are run with electromagnetic, linear synchronous motors, which allows for greater capacities and a faster movement of weapons than the Nimitz-class carrier elevators that utilize cables.

They also eliminate the need for a "bomb farm," and reduce horizontal and vertical weapons movements to various staging and build-up locations.

The Navy also is dealing with a propulsion problem. During trials one year ago, the situation caused Ford to return to port ahead of its scheduled post shakedown. The ship's main turbine generators are driven by the steam produced by Ford's two nuclear reactors.

"We've got to train crews and get crews certified, wring out the rest of the ship, and then take all those lessons learned and ... pour them into the rest of this design" for the rest of the Ford class, Geurts said. "So our strategy of that lead ship prove out all the technologies and then rapidly reduce the time and cost and complexity to get them on follow-on ships."

In a draft of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, released Monday by House-led Democrats, the Navy is prohibited from accepting the USS Kennedy, which is designated as CVN-79, unless the carrier can deploy with F-35C Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters. The carrier is expected to be christened by the end of 2019.

The Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee met Tuesday to mark up the bill.

Caps imposed by Congress on the Ford-class program have results in delays and the Navy accepting delivery of unfinished carriers. Because work on the ships are delayed to satisfy spending caps, seapower subcommittee members fear the overall price will increase dramatically.

"CVN-79 [USS John F. Kennedy] will not be able to deploy with F-35s when it's delivered to the Navy as a direct result of that cost cap," a committee staffer told USNI News. "So when that cost cap was imposed, the Navy traded that capability off and chose to build that back in on the back end. That's unacceptable to our members that the newest carriers can't deploy with the newest aircraft."

 

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Raytheon systems complete first dual-target test of Ford-class integrated combat system
Performance clears path for U.S. Navy operational testing

TEWKSBURY, Mass., June 4, 2019-- Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) and the U.S. Navy completed the final developmental test of the latest generation of the Ship Self Defense System, or SSDS, Integrated Combat System for the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). The test was conducted off the coast of California from the Navy's unmanned Self Defense Test Ship simulating a scenario CVN 78 may encounter once deployed.

During the raid scenario exercise, two anti-ship missile surrogate targets were located, classified, tracked and engaged using the SSDS Integrated Combat System adapted for CVN 78.

"This successful dual-target test demonstrates the maturity of the Ship Self Defense System ICS and paves the way for operational testing to begin," said Mike Fabel, Raytheon's SSDS program manager. "SSDS is a critical capability that enables CVN 78 to defend herself and her crew against current and emerging threats."

The Raytheon Ship Self-Defense System ICS includes:
  • Dual Band Radar: This technology searched for, located and tracked the targets. DBR then provided uplink and radar illumination to the Evolved SeaSparrow Missile to support missile guidance.
  • Cooperative Engagement Capability, or CEC: The capability validated and processed the Dual Band Radar data for SSDS. CEC is responsible for providing a single, integrated air picture by fusing data from multiple sensors to improve track accuracy.
  • Ship Self Defense System: SSDS processed the CEC data, classified the targets, determined the appropriate engagement ranges, passed launch commands to the interceptor missiles, and scheduled Dual Band Radar support for the engagements.
  • Evolved SeaSparrow Missile and Rolling Airframe Missile: Successfully engaged and defeated both targets using live and simulated interceptors.
The Ship Self-Defense System ICS for CVN 78 has now successfully engaged three of three targets over the course of its first two test exercises.

Background on SSDS
Proven and deployed, SSDS is an open, distributed combat management system in service on US carriers and amphibious ships, including CVN, LSD, LPD, LHA and LHD classes. SSDS MK 2 is the premier self-defense system for the U.S. Navy. SSDS is integrated with Raytheon's Cooperative Engagement Capability for the seamless extraction and distribution of sensor-derived information. This further enhances each ship's anti-air warfare capability through sharing of available data to all participating CEC units, improving situational awareness, increasing range, and enabling cooperative, multiple, or layered engagement strategies.

 

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Raytheon systems complete first dual-target test of Ford-class integrated combat system
Performance clears path for U.S. Navy operational testing

TEWKSBURY, Mass., June 4, 2019-- Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) and the U.S. Navy completed the final developmental test of the latest generation of the Ship Self Defense System, or SSDS, Integrated Combat System for the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). The test was conducted off the coast of California from the Navy's unmanned Self Defense Test Ship simulating a scenario CVN 78 may encounter once deployed.

During the raid scenario exercise, two anti-ship missile surrogate targets were located, classified, tracked and engaged using the SSDS Integrated Combat System adapted for CVN 78.

"This successful dual-target test demonstrates the maturity of the Ship Self Defense System ICS and paves the way for operational testing to begin," said Mike Fabel, Raytheon's SSDS program manager. "SSDS is a critical capability that enables CVN 78 to defend herself and her crew against current and emerging threats."

The Raytheon Ship Self-Defense System ICS includes:
  • Dual Band Radar: This technology searched for, located and tracked the targets. DBR then provided uplink and radar illumination to the Evolved SeaSparrow Missile to support missile guidance.
  • Cooperative Engagement Capability, or CEC: The capability validated and processed the Dual Band Radar data for SSDS. CEC is responsible for providing a single, integrated air picture by fusing data from multiple sensors to improve track accuracy.
  • Ship Self Defense System: SSDS processed the CEC data, classified the targets, determined the appropriate engagement ranges, passed launch commands to the interceptor missiles, and scheduled Dual Band Radar support for the engagements.
  • Evolved SeaSparrow Missile and Rolling Airframe Missile: Successfully engaged and defeated both targets using live and simulated interceptors.
The Ship Self-Defense System ICS for CVN 78 has now successfully engaged three of three targets over the course of its first two test exercises.

Background on SSDS
Proven and deployed, SSDS is an open, distributed combat management system in service on US carriers and amphibious ships, including CVN, LSD, LPD, LHA and LHD classes. SSDS MK 2 is the premier self-defense system for the U.S. Navy. SSDS is integrated with Raytheon's Cooperative Engagement Capability for the seamless extraction and distribution of sensor-derived information. This further enhances each ship's anti-air warfare capability through sharing of available data to all participating CEC units, improving situational awareness, increasing range, and enabling cooperative, multiple, or layered engagement strategies.

 

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Navy removes 'space' from Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command
By Allen Cone
June 4, 2019

Sailors assigned to Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Reserve Program Configuration Validation Team collaborate with Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific's Restore Lab on April 23 to explore how three-dimensional scanning and printing can deliver an effective and reliable solution to repair critical warfighting equipment. Photo by Cmdr. John P Fagan/U.S. Navy

June 4 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy has removed "space" from the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command and added "information" in a rebranding effort that emphasizes information warfare.

The agency's new name is the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command. Adm. John Richardson, the Chief of Naval Operations, announced the immediate name change Monday at the Information Warfare Senior Leadership Symposium in Washington, D.C.

"We have been on a steady drumbeat since the issuance of the Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority to further normalize information warfare into the way we do operations and warfighting in the Navy," Richardson said in a news release. "Today, we will take an important step in that direction as we rename the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command to the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command. This new name more accurately describes the full totality of the mission, supporting naval warfare -- from seabed to space."

The name change better reflects the mission "to identify, develop, deliver and sustain information warfare capabilities and services that enable naval, joint, coalition and other national missions," according to the news release.

"In this era of great power competition, information is a fundamental element of warfare, an essential concept of the Navy's strategy, and a warfare area that transcends the traditional domains of air, sea, land and space," said NAVWARSYSCOM Commander Rear Adm. Christian Becker. "This name change underscores the importance of information warfare in providing our fleet with an unfair advantage in today's complex and increasingly competitive security environment."

The command consists of more than 11,000 active-duty military and civil service professionals around the world.

This past February, the two echelon III commands -- formerly "systems centers" -- changed names. In Charleston, S.C., the command became the Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic and in San Diego it was changed to Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific.

In the last 53 years, the command has undergone two name changes, as well as structural ones.

In May 1966, the Department of the Navy established the Naval Electronic Systems Command, which was one of five systems commands placed under the cognizance of the Naval Material Command.

The Navy then disestablished the Naval Material Command in 1985, and the Naval Electronic Systems Command became Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, an Echelon II command under the Chief of Naval Operations.

"We have been at the center of incorporating advanced information warfare technologies that enable new operational concepts for decades," NAVWARSYSCOM Executive Director Patrick Sullivan said. "Information Warfare has been and will continue to be our central focus, and now our name accurately reflects this focus."

SPAWAR officials this May discussed the shift to a digital Navy during the 2019 Sea-Air-Space Exposition in National Harbor, Md.

"The battlefield has changed. We are facing a culture shift where data is a vital strategic resource in warfare," Becker said in a news release at the time. "To maintain our advantage in the information domain we must excel across the scope of military operations. Networks, communication and data storage with the tools to access and maximize use of the data are all key to our overall mission effectiveness across the Navy from personnel management to logistics to kinetic operations."



 

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Navy removes 'space' from Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command
By Allen Cone
June 4, 2019

Sailors assigned to Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Reserve Program Configuration Validation Team collaborate with Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific's Restore Lab on April 23 to explore how three-dimensional scanning and printing can deliver an effective and reliable solution to repair critical warfighting equipment. Photo by Cmdr. John P Fagan/U.S. Navy

June 4 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy has removed "space" from the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command and added "information" in a rebranding effort that emphasizes information warfare.

The agency's new name is the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command. Adm. John Richardson, the Chief of Naval Operations, announced the immediate name change Monday at the Information Warfare Senior Leadership Symposium in Washington, D.C.

"We have been on a steady drumbeat since the issuance of the Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority to further normalize information warfare into the way we do operations and warfighting in the Navy," Richardson said in a news release. "Today, we will take an important step in that direction as we rename the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command to the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command. This new name more accurately describes the full totality of the mission, supporting naval warfare -- from seabed to space."

The name change better reflects the mission "to identify, develop, deliver and sustain information warfare capabilities and services that enable naval, joint, coalition and other national missions," according to the news release.

"In this era of great power competition, information is a fundamental element of warfare, an essential concept of the Navy's strategy, and a warfare area that transcends the traditional domains of air, sea, land and space," said NAVWARSYSCOM Commander Rear Adm. Christian Becker. "This name change underscores the importance of information warfare in providing our fleet with an unfair advantage in today's complex and increasingly competitive security environment."

The command consists of more than 11,000 active-duty military and civil service professionals around the world.

This past February, the two echelon III commands -- formerly "systems centers" -- changed names. In Charleston, S.C., the command became the Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic and in San Diego it was changed to Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific.

In the last 53 years, the command has undergone two name changes, as well as structural ones.

In May 1966, the Department of the Navy established the Naval Electronic Systems Command, which was one of five systems commands placed under the cognizance of the Naval Material Command.

The Navy then disestablished the Naval Material Command in 1985, and the Naval Electronic Systems Command became Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, an Echelon II command under the Chief of Naval Operations.

"We have been at the center of incorporating advanced information warfare technologies that enable new operational concepts for decades," NAVWARSYSCOM Executive Director Patrick Sullivan said. "Information Warfare has been and will continue to be our central focus, and now our name accurately reflects this focus."

SPAWAR officials this May discussed the shift to a digital Navy during the 2019 Sea-Air-Space Exposition in National Harbor, Md.

"The battlefield has changed. We are facing a culture shift where data is a vital strategic resource in warfare," Becker said in a news release at the time. "To maintain our advantage in the information domain we must excel across the scope of military operations. Networks, communication and data storage with the tools to access and maximize use of the data are all key to our overall mission effectiveness across the Navy from personnel management to logistics to kinetic operations."



 

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GenDyn nets $25.6M for MK46 gun systems on Navy's LCS, LPD vessels
General Dynamics has been awarded a contract for production of the MK 46 MOD 2 Gun Weapon System on the U.S. Navy's littoral combat ship and landing platform dock vessels.
June 6, 2019
By Allen Cone

The USS Green Bay, an amphibious transport dock ship, fires a MK-46 30mm gun during a live-fire exercise in the East China Sea on August 17, 2016. Photo by Mass Communication Spec. 3rd Class Patrick Dionne/U.S. Navy


June 6 (UPI) -- General Dynamics Land was awarded as $25.6 million contract for the production of MK46 modification 2 gun weapon systems for use on littoral combat ships and San Antonio-class landing platform dock ships.

The contract is for two 30mm MK46 MOD 2 GWSs for the surface warfare mission module on each LCS, the future Robert M. McCool Jr., which designated as LPD-29, and the planned LPD-30, as well as associated spare parts, the Defense Department announced Wednesday.

Sixty percent of the work will be performed at General Dynamics' Land Systems plant in Sterling Heights, Mich.; 25 percent in Anniston, Ala.; 7 percent in Lima, Ohio; 6 percent in Tallahassee, Fla., and 2 percent in Scranton, Penn. It is expected to be completed by September 2021.

Naval fiscal 2017, 2018, and 2019 shipbuilding and conversion funds, as well as fiscal 2018 and 2019 other procurement, and fiscal 2019 weapons procurement in the full amount of the contract has been obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the fiscal year.

The remotely operated system, which was first deployed in 2005, uses a 30mm high-velocity cannon for shipboard self-defense against small, high-speed surface targets, according to the U.S. Navy.

The system utilizes a forward-looking infrared sensor, a low light television camera and a laser rangefinder. The gun can be operated at the gun turret or remotely from the remote operating console in the Combat Information Center.

The MK 46 has a range of 4,400 yards, which can be extended with sub-caliber munitions. It can fire 200 rounds per minute from each of the two magazines.

A landing platform dock, also known as an amphibious warfare ship, embarks, transports and lands elements of a landing force for expeditionary warfare missions. The McCool's keel was laid down on April 12, with the ship expected for delivery in 2023.

The ship will be a transitional ship between the current San Antonio-class design and future San Antonio-class Flight II vessels. Flight II vessels are intended to replace the current Whidbey Island-class and Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ships. Each Flight II ship costs roughly $1.8 billion to build, according to the Congressional Research Service.

LCS ships are designed for near-shore and open-ocean operation to defeat asymmetric "anti-access" threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.
RELATED HII awarded $1.47B for first Flight II landing platform ship

The Freedom variant of the LCS is built by Lockheed Martin in Marinette, Wis., and the Independence variant is constructed by Austal USA in Mobile, Ala. The procurement cost for each new ship is $523.7 million according to the Congressional Research Service. Fifteen ships are under construction or in pre-production.

 

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GenDyn nets $25.6M for MK46 gun systems on Navy's LCS, LPD vessels
General Dynamics has been awarded a contract for production of the MK 46 MOD 2 Gun Weapon System on the U.S. Navy's littoral combat ship and landing platform dock vessels.
June 6, 2019
By Allen Cone

The USS Green Bay, an amphibious transport dock ship, fires a MK-46 30mm gun during a live-fire exercise in the East China Sea on August 17, 2016. Photo by Mass Communication Spec. 3rd Class Patrick Dionne/U.S. Navy


June 6 (UPI) -- General Dynamics Land was awarded as $25.6 million contract for the production of MK46 modification 2 gun weapon systems for use on littoral combat ships and San Antonio-class landing platform dock ships.

The contract is for two 30mm MK46 MOD 2 GWSs for the surface warfare mission module on each LCS, the future Robert M. McCool Jr., which designated as LPD-29, and the planned LPD-30, as well as associated spare parts, the Defense Department announced Wednesday.

Sixty percent of the work will be performed at General Dynamics' Land Systems plant in Sterling Heights, Mich.; 25 percent in Anniston, Ala.; 7 percent in Lima, Ohio; 6 percent in Tallahassee, Fla., and 2 percent in Scranton, Penn. It is expected to be completed by September 2021.

Naval fiscal 2017, 2018, and 2019 shipbuilding and conversion funds, as well as fiscal 2018 and 2019 other procurement, and fiscal 2019 weapons procurement in the full amount of the contract has been obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the fiscal year.

The remotely operated system, which was first deployed in 2005, uses a 30mm high-velocity cannon for shipboard self-defense against small, high-speed surface targets, according to the U.S. Navy.

The system utilizes a forward-looking infrared sensor, a low light television camera and a laser rangefinder. The gun can be operated at the gun turret or remotely from the remote operating console in the Combat Information Center.

The MK 46 has a range of 4,400 yards, which can be extended with sub-caliber munitions. It can fire 200 rounds per minute from each of the two magazines.

A landing platform dock, also known as an amphibious warfare ship, embarks, transports and lands elements of a landing force for expeditionary warfare missions. The McCool's keel was laid down on April 12, with the ship expected for delivery in 2023.

The ship will be a transitional ship between the current San Antonio-class design and future San Antonio-class Flight II vessels. Flight II vessels are intended to replace the current Whidbey Island-class and Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ships. Each Flight II ship costs roughly $1.8 billion to build, according to the Congressional Research Service.

LCS ships are designed for near-shore and open-ocean operation to defeat asymmetric "anti-access" threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.
RELATED HII awarded $1.47B for first Flight II landing platform ship

The Freedom variant of the LCS is built by Lockheed Martin in Marinette, Wis., and the Independence variant is constructed by Austal USA in Mobile, Ala. The procurement cost for each new ship is $523.7 million according to the Congressional Research Service. Fifteen ships are under construction or in pre-production.

 

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Russia denies unsafe encounter with U.S. military plane
By Clyde Hughes
June 5, 2019

View attachment 7563
An F/A-18F Super Hornet takes off from the flight deck aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman in the North Atlantic last year. File Photo by Mass Communication Spec. Seaman Joseph A.D. Phillips/U.S. Navy

June 5 (UPI) -- The Russian Defense Ministry on Wednesday denied U.S. accusations that one of its jets flew unsafely near an American plane over the Mediterranean Sea.

The Navy 6th Fleet reported that a U.S. P-8A Poseidon aircraft was flying in international airspace Tuesday when it was intercepted three times by a Russian SU-35 over a 175-minute period. While the first and third passes were deemed safe, Navy officials said the second encounter was not.

"The second interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the SU-35 conducting a high-speed pass directly in front of the mission aircraft, which put our pilots and crew at risk," the 6th Fleet statement said.

"The crew of the P-8A reported wake turbulence following the second interaction. The duration of the intercept was approximately 28 minutes. While the Russian aircraft was operating in international airspace, this interaction was irresponsible. We expect them to behave within international standards set to ensure safety and to prevent incidents," the statement continued.

The Russian defense statement said its airspace control system at the Hmeymim Air Base detected aircraft approaching its Tartus naval facility and the SU-35 was sent to the area to identify the aircraft.

"All flights by Russian aircraft were conducted in accordance with international rules for the use of airspace," the Russian defense ministry told reporters. "There were no complaints from the American aviation flight de-confliction center in Syria addressed to the Russian command."

Last month, U.S. military twice intercepted Russian military jets near the Alaska coast. North American Aerospace Defense Command said then that American pilots intercepted Russian TU-95 bombers and SU-35 fighter jets on May 21.

The day before, U.S. aircraft intercepted six Russian military planes over the Alaskan coast.

 

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'Union Jack' returns to bows of U.S. Navy ships
June 5, 2019
By Ed Adamczyk
7565

The Union Jack flies on Tuesday on the USS Constitution, now a floating museum in Charlestown, Mass. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy


June 5 (UPI) -- In ceremonies around the world, the U.S. Navy resumed use of the Union Jack flag, coinciding with the 77th anniversary of the Battle of Midway.

In a ceremony aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Tuesday, the Union Jack was hoisted on a Navy's ship's bow for the first time since 2002.

Other commissioned vessels held similar ceremonies, honoring the decisive 1942 naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II in which the U.S. Navy defeated an attacking fleet of Japanese military vessels and fighter planes.

The Union Jack features a blue field with 50 stars in the style of the canton, or upper-left area, of the U.S. flag. Its first version was flown by the Navy in 1777. On Tuesday, it was hoisted for the first time since 2002, when it was replaced by the First Navy Jack, depicting a snake and the phrase "Don't Tread on Me," in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

It was announced in February that the Navy would return to its tradition of flying the Union Jack.

"Your role in the United States Navy is vital. The job you are doing right now will contribute to the overall success or failure in the challenges facing our generation," Capt. Joseph Naman, chief of staff for Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, said during the Pearl Harbor ceremony.

"That's the reminder of the Union Jack and the lesson that the Battle of Midway teaches us. With the decisive victory at Midway the United States would begin the long struggle to roll back a proud and determined foe. It would be the unconquerable spirit of this great nation and the United States Navy that would turn the tables on the Axis powers," Naman said.

The Navy Jack will remain in use on one ship, the commissioned ship with the longest active status, excluding the USS Constitution, which was commissioned in 1797 and restored as a floating museum in Charlestown, Mass. That custom falls to the USS Blue Ridge, the command ship of the Navy's Seventh Fleet, which was commissioned in 1970.

When Adm. John Richardson, the Navy's chief of naval operations, announced the symbolic change in February, he noted, "Make no mistake: we have entered a new era of competition. We must recommit to the core attributes that made us successful at Midway: integrity, accountability, initiative, and toughness.

"For more than 240 years, the Union Jack, flying proudly from jackstaffs aboard U.S. Navy warships, has symbolized these strengths," Richardson said.

 

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'Union Jack' returns to bows of U.S. Navy ships
June 5, 2019
By Ed Adamczyk
View attachment 7565
The Union Jack flies on Tuesday on the USS Constitution, now a floating museum in Charlestown, Mass. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy


June 5 (UPI) -- In ceremonies around the world, the U.S. Navy resumed use of the Union Jack flag, coinciding with the 77th anniversary of the Battle of Midway.

In a ceremony aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Tuesday, the Union Jack was hoisted on a Navy's ship's bow for the first time since 2002.

Other commissioned vessels held similar ceremonies, honoring the decisive 1942 naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II in which the U.S. Navy defeated an attacking fleet of Japanese military vessels and fighter planes.

The Union Jack features a blue field with 50 stars in the style of the canton, or upper-left area, of the U.S. flag. Its first version was flown by the Navy in 1777. On Tuesday, it was hoisted for the first time since 2002, when it was replaced by the First Navy Jack, depicting a snake and the phrase "Don't Tread on Me," in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

It was announced in February that the Navy would return to its tradition of flying the Union Jack.

"Your role in the United States Navy is vital. The job you are doing right now will contribute to the overall success or failure in the challenges facing our generation," Capt. Joseph Naman, chief of staff for Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, said during the Pearl Harbor ceremony.

"That's the reminder of the Union Jack and the lesson that the Battle of Midway teaches us. With the decisive victory at Midway the United States would begin the long struggle to roll back a proud and determined foe. It would be the unconquerable spirit of this great nation and the United States Navy that would turn the tables on the Axis powers," Naman said.

The Navy Jack will remain in use on one ship, the commissioned ship with the longest active status, excluding the USS Constitution, which was commissioned in 1797 and restored as a floating museum in Charlestown, Mass. That custom falls to the USS Blue Ridge, the command ship of the Navy's Seventh Fleet, which was commissioned in 1970.

When Adm. John Richardson, the Navy's chief of naval operations, announced the symbolic change in February, he noted, "Make no mistake: we have entered a new era of competition. We must recommit to the core attributes that made us successful at Midway: integrity, accountability, initiative, and toughness.

"For more than 240 years, the Union Jack, flying proudly from jackstaffs aboard U.S. Navy warships, has symbolized these strengths," Richardson said.

 

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L-3 to upgrade avionics on C-130H Hercules under $499.5M contract
June 5, 2019
By Ed Adamczyk

7568

A U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules Aircraft from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, takes off during Exercise Swift Response 16 at Hohenfels Training Area, Germany on June 17, 2016. Photo by Master Sgt. Joseph Swafford/U.S. Air Force

June 5 (UPI) -- L-3 Communications Integrated Systems received a $499.5 million contract for aircraft avionics upgrades on 176 military transport aircraft, the Defense Department announced.

The contract covers engineering and manufacturing development, as well as training and logistics requirements, for improvements to 176 C-130H Hercules cargo aircraft of the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve Command, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

The four-engine turboprop plane entered U.S. service in 1956 for use as a troop carrier, and has seen numerous improvements, as well as an expansion of its purpose.

With over 40 variants, it is used by more than 60 countries and can be fitted for use as a gunship, for airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling, maritime patrol, and aerial firefighting. Many countries' air forces regard the plane as their primary tactical airlifter.

Work will primarily be performed at L-3 Communications' Waco, Texas, facility, with an expected completion date of Sept. 30, 2029.

 

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L-3 to upgrade avionics on C-130H Hercules under $499.5M contract
June 5, 2019
By Ed Adamczyk

View attachment 7568
A U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules Aircraft from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, takes off during Exercise Swift Response 16 at Hohenfels Training Area, Germany on June 17, 2016. Photo by Master Sgt. Joseph Swafford/U.S. Air Force

June 5 (UPI) -- L-3 Communications Integrated Systems received a $499.5 million contract for aircraft avionics upgrades on 176 military transport aircraft, the Defense Department announced.

The contract covers engineering and manufacturing development, as well as training and logistics requirements, for improvements to 176 C-130H Hercules cargo aircraft of the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve Command, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

The four-engine turboprop plane entered U.S. service in 1956 for use as a troop carrier, and has seen numerous improvements, as well as an expansion of its purpose.

With over 40 variants, it is used by more than 60 countries and can be fitted for use as a gunship, for airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling, maritime patrol, and aerial firefighting. Many countries' air forces regard the plane as their primary tactical airlifter.

Work will primarily be performed at L-3 Communications' Waco, Texas, facility, with an expected completion date of Sept. 30, 2029.

 

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Navy to rotate guided-missile destroyers, add helicopter squadron in Spain
The U.S. 6th Fleet said this week it plans to rotate the four vessels deployed with Naval Forces-Europe in Rota, Spain, replacing them with more modern ships.
June 6, 2019
By Allen Cone

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Sailors man the rails as the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook arrives in Naval Station Rota, Spain, on March 8. The Cook returned to Rota following its eighth patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ford Williams/U.S. Navy

June 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy plans to replace four guided-missile destroyers with more modern ships and add a helicopter squadron in Spain "to posture the most capable forces forward in the U.S. European Command area of responsibility."

The USS Donald Cook, USS Ross, USS Porter and USS Carney will cycle out of Naval Station Rota starting in 2020 and ending in spring 2022, the Navy announced Tuesday.

In addition, the U.S. Navy intends to relocate a helicopter maritime strike squadron to Rota "in support of the destroyers, which will enhance the multi-mission roles of these ships," the Navy said in a news release.

The operation is part of Forward Deployed Naval Force-Europe among the U.S. 6th Fleet.

"Continuing to operate the FDNF-E destroyers out of Rota, Spain, demonstrates the enduring relationship between the U.S. Navy and our Spanish naval allies," the U.S. Navy said. "Additionally, the U.S. and Spanish navies will continue working together to conduct ship maintenance, training, and operations in support of maritime security within the EUCOM AOR."

The U.S. Navy didn't name specific ships to move in Spain but said they will be "newer, modernized ships."

The four Arleigh Burke-class ships now homeported in Spain were commissioned in 1996 or 1997.

Newer destroyers include the Zumalt class. The USS Zumwalt and Michael Monsoor are homeported in San Diego and the Lyndon B. Johnson is under construction.

Flight III Arleigh class destroyers under construction are the Jack H. Lucas, Louis H. Wilson Jr., Patrick Gallaghe and Ted Stevens.

The Porter and Cook are Flight II classes and the Carney and Ross are among the original class.

The current guided-missile destroyers in Spain are equipped with an older software and hardware combination.

But they have been modified to include additional self-defense capabilities, including adding Raytheon's Sea Rolling Airframe Missile and versions of Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program electronic warfare suite, USNI News reported.

In 2014, the ships began patrolling from Rota after Russia invaded and seized Crimea from Ukraine.

The Cook has been buzzed twice by Russian fighters -- first for 90 minutes by Sukhoi Su-24 while operating in the Black Sea in 2014, and again in the Baltic by Russian fighters during a separate patrol in 2016.

Porter and Ross fired almost 60 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles into Syria in retaliation for a chemical weapons strike against forces loyal to Bashar al Assad in 2017.

The Cook was docked in January in western Georgia to participate in joint drills with NATO allies under the observation of Russian vessels in the Black Sea.

The Ross in April was deployed to the Black Sea, the second time the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer entered the region in 2019.

The Carney was among ships from nine nations, led by the U.S. 6th Fleet, participating in May's Formidable Shield, a live-fire integrated air and missile defense exercise in Scotland.

And the USS Porter arrived in Aksaz, Turkey, in January for a regular scheduled port visit.

The U.S. Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea consistent with international law and with the Montreux Convention signed in 1936. According to the document, Black Sea nations can only send warships with displacements of less than 15,000 tons into the Black Sea and these ships can only stay for 21 days.

 
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