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US NAVY: Experimental role
Tuesday, 10 June 2014 00:00

The JHSV USNS Millinocket will take the navy’s railgun to sea in 2016. US NavyThe JHSV USNS Millinocket will take the navy’s railgun to sea in 2016. US NavyThe US Navy has announced plans to install a prototype electromagnetic railgun for further development aboard the Joint High Speed Vessel USNS Millinocket. The tests, slated for 2016, are intended to help mature the future tactical design of the weapon system, regarded by the chief of naval research as the future of naval combat.

With the potential to fire projectiles out to a range of 110 nautical miles, and at a fraction of the cost of a missile, railguns work by using an electromagnetic force, known as the Lorenz Force, to rapidly accelerate and launch a projectile between two conductive rails. A precise high-power electric pulse is delivered to the rails where the magnetic field is generated.

Aside from their small operating costs, railguns also have the safety advantage of not requiring gunpowder or high explosive warheads. Projectiles are launched at such high velocity – around mach seven – that the target is destroyed by kinetic energy alone.

 
US NAVY: Mega-power projection
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 00:00

PCU Zumwalt is scheduled to enter service in March 2015. PCU means Pre-Commisssioning Unit. US NavyPCU Zumwalt is scheduled to enter service in March 2015. PCU means Pre-Commisssioning Unit. US NavyThe previously postponed christening ceremony of the US Navy’s technology flagship took place at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard in Bath, Maine on 12 April. The future USS Zumwalt will pioneer a range of new state-of-the-art technologies, the development and integration of which has driven project costs to more than US$12 billion for just three ships.

The 16,000-tonne destroyers were conceived as a replacement for the naval surface fire support lost when the four World War II Iowa class battleships were decommissioned for the second time. Each ship will feature two 155mm Advanced Gun Systems that can fire a GPS-guided rocket-assisted round out to a range of 64 nautical miles. They are also equipped with a new Mk.57 Peripheral Vertical Launch System (PVLS) with 80 cells engineered around the boundary of the hull that can launch Tomahawk and Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles.

Other new technologies include a SPY-3 multi-function radar and all-electric propulsion with an Integrated Power System providing up to 78 megawatts of electrical power. 

 
RFA: Knight back from patrol
Tuesday, 27 May 2014 17:12

RFA Wave Knight returned to Portland, Dorset on 24 April. Maritime PhotographicRFA Wave Knight returned to Portland, Dorset on 24 April. Maritime PhotographicThe Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker Wave Knight has returned to Portland after 15 months supporting the Navy’s Atlantic Patrol Task (North) in the Caribbean. The security role is part of the UK’s permanent commitment to the UK’s overseas territories in the region, covering disaster relief duties, counter-narcotics operations and defence engagement.

It is now undertaken by RFAs when RN warships are unavailable. During the height of the 2013 hurricane season, she was joined by Portsmouth-based frigate HMS Lancaster, which deployed to the region for a seven-month tour.

During her lengthy patrol, which included 21 port visits, Wave Knight was involved in the seizure of 1,536kg of cocaine and 1,520kg of marijuana, with 29 suspected drug runners detained by US authorities. Although British ships regularly embark US Law Enforcement Personnel when operating in the Caribbean region, Wave Knight was the first to host a United States Coast Guard helicopter tactical squadron.

 
POLISH NAVY: Poles revisit past project
Tuesday, 13 May 2014 00:00

The Polish Navy’s future ORP Slazak is a variant of the MEKO A 100 design. ThalesThe Polish Navy’s future ORP Slazak is a variant of the MEKO A 100 design. ThalesThe Polish MoD has selected Thales to provide the main combat system for the future patrol vessel ORP Slazak, as the warship edges ever closer to being finished, having been under construction for more than a decade.

She was originally laid down at the Gdynia Naval shipyard in 2001 as the first of seven Gawron class corvettes. However, the programme encountered a series of planning delays and funding shortfalls during the economic downturn. When the project was eventually cancelled in 2012 only one hull, minus equipment, had been constructed.

In late 2013 a change in strategy, with a renewed requirement for a large patrol vessel that could participate in NATO expeditionary missions, saved the US$100 million hull from the scrapyard. A new contract was subsequently awarded to complete the existing hull as an Offshore Patrol Vessel for an in-service date of 2016.

 
HIGH-SPEED: Movers and sheikhers
Tuesday, 06 May 2014 00:00

Austal will construct two HSSVs at its shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia for delivery by 2016. AustalAustal will construct two HSSVs at its shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia for delivery by 2016. AustalAustal has won a US$125 million order from an undisclosed customer in the Middle East for the design, construction and integrated logistics support of two so-called High-Speed Defence Support Vessels (HSSVs).

The 72m HSSVs will be deployed on similar missions to the 103m Joint High Speed Vessels currently being produced for the US Navy at Austal’s shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. Its roles include rapid deployment of military personnel and equipment, helicopter operations and search and rescue.

Austal has a number of customers for their commercial fast ferries in the Gulf region. However, the size and design of the HSSVs most resembles their Auto Express 69 class catamarans in service with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. These can carry up to 650 passengers, 50 cars and 15 lorries.

 
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