Saturday, February 25, 2017

Russia To Lay Down Two Submarines In 2017

Ryan Maass, UPI
23 February 2017 

Russia's Admirality Shipyards will lay down two new diesel-electric submarines in 2017, according to state media reports.
The vessels will be the first of six planned Project 636.3 submarines to be acquired for the country's Pacific Fleet. Project 636.3 is an effort to develop improved Varshavyanka-class subs, which go by the NATO reporting name Kilo. The last of six Varshavyanka-class submarines built for the Black Sea Fleet was launched in 2015.
Defense officials say work on the project will be conducted in St. Petersberg, but did not disclose an official timeline. Russia's TASS news agency reports the Kremlin expects the work to be completed in 2021.
Kilo-class submarines are designed for anti-ship and anti-submarine operations in relatively shallow waters.
The Kremlin signed off on the construction of six new submarines in September 2016. Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering, the submarine's developer, says the new vessels will feature improved combat effectiveness and enhanced stealth and navigation capabilities.

Lockheed Martin To Relocate Fleet Ballistic Missile Program To Other Facilities

Florida and Colorado are under consideration.

Staff, Defense Daily
23 February 2017

Lockheed Martin [LMT] on Thursday said it plans to relocate its California-based Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) program to other U.S. locations to improve affordability and centralize mission expertise.
The relocation effort will be phased over eight years and involve 650 positions. Lockheed Martin said sites in Florida and Colorado are being considered to receive the positions.
The company doesn't have an estimate yet on the cost savings it expects to achieve from the relocation. A company spokesman told Defense Daily that costs associated with the phased relocations aren't material.
The moves are enabled by government approval, Lockheed Martin said.
The FBM program is part of the company's Space Systems business area.
"Reshaping our Fleet Ballistic Missile program will help us take full advantage of our engineering and manufacturing facilities and centralize key skills, saving costs for the Navy on this critical national security program," Rick Ambrose, executive vice president for Lockheed Martin Space Systems, said in a statement.
The company said the eight-year transition gives its employees time to prepare for moving.
In 2015 Lockheed Martin said it was moving 130 FBM positions to Florida to align the work with ongoing test and sustainment efforts.

CNO, Commandant Call For Balance, Tight Integration As Fleet Grows To 355 Ships

Megan Eckstein, USNI
23 February 2017 

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – As the Navy looks to grow from its 274 ships today to a new goal of 355, the chief of naval operations and commandant of the Marine Corps say the fleet will have to remain balanced and netted to support naval and joint operations in the future.
Adm. John Richardson said at a sea service chiefs town hall event at the West 2017 conference that, if more money comes to the Navy as expected, the first dollar will go towards current-Navy readiness, and the next priority would be modernizing ships in the fleet to keep them relevant for today's and tomorrow's fight. That said, he acknowledged that the opportunity to grow the fleet in the coming years brings with it an opportunity to make smart decisions that set the future fleet up for success.
"I've got to, because I'm here (at West), talk about the role of information technologies" in the future fleet, Richardson told USNI News during a question and answer session.
"That's the thing that allows us and the Coast Guard to stitch together so well, and we're sharing it very much with the Marine Corps. Providing those data standards, communications standards that allow not only within the Navy but with our sister services to communicate, sense, target together - that's going to be a real force-multiplier, so there's a digital part of this that's going to be extremely important."
He also cited "those things such as directed energy, those things such as unmanned technology, artificial intelligence, additive manufacturing" as playing an important role in future naval operations and therefore needing to be a consideration when designing and building future ships. The CNO made clear that the Navy didn't know what exactly a
355-ship fleet would look like, and how ship classes - current and possibly new ones - might be balanced.
"But I will tell you that in the near-term, sort of the immediate actions, if given the resources to grow, we know right now a destroyer is something that is going to be relevant and capable as far as we can see into the future. Submarines, same thing," he said.
"We're going to continue to need amphibs, you never have enough. And the good news also is those production lines are hot; we can just see how much more we can build with those production lines, working very closely with our partners in industry. So immediate action, if given the resources, we have confidence that there are certain platforms right now we can just dial up."
Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller told USNI News after the event that the Marines do want more amphibs, but he stressed that "the fleet has to be balanced."
"Obviously we want to be able to have well decks to go surface and have a flight deck to go from the air, so we're not single-sourced," he said, signaling his support for the return of the well deck in the America-class amphibious assault ship Flight I design, after the first two ships in the class were designed with no well deck.
"So there's the number (of amphibious ships) and there's the capability and the types (of amphibs), but we're also very interested that there's enough submarines to provide protection for the force . and to do their mission to provide surveillance and [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance]. We're concerned that there's cruisers and destroyers to provide surface-to-surface fires ashore, that can do anti-submarine warfare, that can help protect the fleet, that can be used as platforms for smaller groups of Marines. I mean, we're part of the Department of the Navy, and so we are interested in amphibs, of course, but we're also interested in that the fleet has capabilities. And as a member of the Joint Chiefs, obviously I'm interested in the nuclear triad and that the (ballistic missile) submarine gets recapitalized."
Neller added that the service may look at some new ways of moving Marines and their goods around - "there's some interesting ideas about submersibles and moving people by submersibles," he said, along with talk of having a fires barge to supplement warships - but those ideas are still premature.
"We believe we need to have a balance between big-deck amphibs that allow us to fly fixed and tiltrotor and rotary wing aircraft, and we've got to have the cargo capacity we get out of the LPD/LSD-type hull form," he said.
"But we're flexible enough, I think, to take advantage of any surface platform out there that would allow us to project Marines ashore, to have Marines operate on the oceans."

Atlas Elektronik Wins Middle East Contract For Submarine Hunting Autonomous Systems

Staff, Defense World
22 February 2017

Atlas Elektronik UK (AEUK) has won a first order to provide its maritime autonomous mission system for an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) application.
As part of this contract, for an undisclosed naval customer in the Middle East, the company will deliver two optionally manned ARCIMS ( Atlas Remote-Combined Influence Minesweeping System) vehicles.
Configured with an ASW surveillance mission module, the autonomous systems are able to detect, classify, and locate underwater threats such as submarines, mini-submarines, and diver delivery vehicles.
The evolution of submarines, their proliferation and the low cost availability of mini-submarines has led to a growing threat particularly in the littoral.
The ASW surveillance mission module will be used by an undisclosed Navy to patrol their littoral waters and conduct persistent monitoring of underwater activity for early detection of potential threats.
Dr Antoni Mazur, Managing Director of ATLAS ELEKTRONIK UK said "With this contract win AEUK will successfully integrate our sophisticated ASW mission system onto the modular platform which is ARCIMS.”
This demonstrates AEUK's ability to develop, supply and support cutting-edge, innovative technology for an increasing number of defence customers, Mazur added.
The ARCIMS Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) is a Military Specification, operationally-proven, Maritime Autonomous Mission System. The affordable 11m vehicle has a common platform design and is highly customizable for multiple mission roles. It is easily transportable by road, sea or air for rapid deployment from Naval Bases or strategic operating locations.
The mission system integrates the most compact of the ATLAS family of variable depth sonars (VDS) onto the ARCIMS platform offering a flexible, agile and affordable solution.
The Active/Passive VDS is optimised for operation in challenging shallow, warm-water environments to provide highly-capable detection of underwater threats to coastal regions.
ARCIMS has a highly capable command and control system that is able to conduct a range of mission profiles, whilst feeding back target data to the mission commander.

IDEX 2017: China Showcases New-Generation Frigate And S26 Submarine

23 February 2017

The China Shipbuilding Trading Corporation (CSSC) showcased its next-generation trimaran-hull frigate and the S26 air-independent propulsion (AIP) submarine (SSP) at the 2017 International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX), which is concluding in Abu Dhabi.
The S26 SSP appears to be the AIP-equipped variant of the S20 diesel-electric submarine (SSK), which CSSC has been marketing for export since 2013.
Although the S20 SSK was not offered with AIP by default, a customer could opt for it separately. It was not clear if CSSC was offering an AIP of its own or if the end-user would have to acquire it separately. With the S26, CSSC is offering its Stirling AIP system (IHS Jane’s).
In comparison to the S20 SSK, the S26 SSP has a heavier displacement (2,660-ton vs. 2,200-ton), is longer (79.5 meters vs. 66 meters) and slower at top speed (18 knots vs. 20 knots). However, CSSC did reveal the S26’s maximum diving depth and surface range at 300 meters and 14,816 km, respectively.
In January, Thailand allocated funds for three S26T SSPs. In 2016, Pakistan confirmed an order of eight SSPs, the first of which is scheduled to arrive in 2022 – these are almost certainly S26s as well. Like the S20, the S26 is equipped with six torpedo tubes, each capable of deploying heavyweight torpedoes and anti-ship missiles (AShM) (such as the 290-km range CM-708UNB).
Alongside the S-26, CSSC also unveiled its new trimaran-hull multi-mission frigate. While lighter than the Type 054A (2,450 tons vs. 4,000 tons), the trimaran-hull frigate is a multi-mission system. It is armed with a 76-mm main gun, vertical launch system cells for up to 32 surface-to-air missiles, and dual quad-cell AShM, and close-in-weapon-system guns. It is not clear if it is armed for anti-submarine warfare (ASW).
Powered by MTU diesel engines (feeding three waterjets), the trimaran-hull frigate can reach a top speed of 30-35 knots, which is relatively fast for a large frigate (rivaling the top speed of the Azmat-class fast attack craft). Although CSSC is offering the frigate for export, it must be noted that the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is reportedly buying the design as well. The scale should result in competitive pricing.
Notes & Comments:
CSSC’s products demonstrate that China’s naval development and shipbuilding industry is progressing at a relatively brisk rate. The burgeoning domestic scale provided by the PLAN enable CSSC to scale its design and manufacturing work, enabling the company to provide competitively priced and capable solutions.
The speed-optimized trimaran-hull frigate should be an interesting solution for navies, especially in the developing world, striving to build surface fleets for protecting their sea-lanes and for anti-access and area denial (A2/AD) missions. If viewed in the context of China’s supersonic AShM, such as the CX-1 and CM-302, the trimaran-hull frigate could be an enticing option for many countries in Asia, Africa and potentially even Latin America.

China May Ban Submarines From East And South China Seas

If enacted, it’s a move likely to provoke further conflict with Washington.

Jamie Seidel, News Corp Australia
21 February 2017 

Tensions are set to soar in the south and east China seas as Beijing mulls a ban on foreign submarines from what it argues are its territorial waters.
An international court of arbitration last year rejected Beijing’s assertion that the vast swath of water between Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines is its traditional national territory. China has been controversially building a string of artificial island fortresses to enforce its ownership over the disputed waterways and the vital sea lanes and resources they contain.
The United States maintains the south and east China seas are international waters and has repeatedly demonstrated it wishes to maintain what it calls ‘freedom of navigation’ in the contested area.
Now a report in Chinese state-owned media says Beijing is in the process of reviewing its 1984 Maritime Traffic Safety Law.
The draft proposal will allow the People’s Liberation Army Navy and coast guard forces to prevent designated “safety offenders” from operating in Chinese waters — including both national waters and its exclusive economic zone.
Surprisingly, it singles out ‘submersibles’.
‘Unsafe’ Submarines
Foreign submersibles should travel on the surface, display national flags and report to Chinese maritime management administrations when they pass China’s water areas, the draft law reportedly requires.
“The revisions stipulate that the authorities will be able to designate specific areas and bar foreign ships from passing through those areas according to their own assessment of maritime traffic safety,” one report says.
Under the new law, foreign ships violating the laws would be ‘expelled’ from Chinese waters.
Beijing is nearing completion of its chain of artificial island fortresses through the disputed Parcel Islands, Spratley Islands and Scarborough Shoals.
“Beijing is seeking to improve its management of maritime security by adding new operational details into law, especially details related to growing threats from foreign close-in surveillance,” Lin Yongxin, a senior researcher from the government-affiliated National Institute on South China Sea Studies, told the South China Morning Post.
Defense and international affairs think-tank the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) in December released satellite photographs revealing China has added anti-aircraft and antimissile guns and missiles to its extensive island airfield and port facilities.
The militarization of these facilities — which China had previously insisted were only intended for maritime safety — has renewed fears Beijing would soon impose an air identification zone over the South China Sea.
The declaration of such zones, which insists all aircraft seek approval to pass through the airspace, is seen as an attempt to exercise national control over waters generally regarded as being open to international use.
Exclusion Zones
To assert what it calls international rights of free passage, the US Navy has this week sent an aircraft carrier battle group into the contested waters. The USS Carl Vinson and its escorting warships — which almost certainly includes submarines — is expected to ‘test’ Beijing’s resolve by passing within 22km of one or more artificial islands.
This distance is internationally recognized as the boundary of waters under the total control of a nation. The catch is international law does not recognize China’s artificial islands as being national territory, though Beijing does.
If enacted, it’s a move likely to provoke further conflict with Washington.
When China imposed an ‘air identification zone’ over East China Sea islands jointly claimed by Japan in 2013, the United States responded by sending nuclear-capable B-52 bombers into the area. China then sought to ‘enforce’ its claim through overflights of its own aircraft and sending its only aircraft carrier — PNAS Liaoning — into the disputed waters.
It is likely a similar stand-off would result from any ban on submarines operating in the South China Sea.
Testing Times
US media reports US Navy is planning a fresh freedom of navigation operation around China’s man-made islands, the first under President Donald Trump.
The Navy Times, citing defense officials, says the operation would most likely be carried out by the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group, which began patrolling the South China Sea on the weekend. It would involve sailing within 22-mile (35km) territorial waters of the artificial islands China claims as its own, the report said.
According to newspaper, the plans are awaiting President Trump’s approval.
China’s Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang overnight said he was aware of the reports.
He said that while China respects freedom of navigation under international law, “we have firm objections to any country that impairs China’s sovereignty and security
interests in the name of freedom of navigation and overflight.”
“We urge the US side not to take any actions that challenge China’s sovereignty and security, and respect the effort made by regional countries in safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea,” he told reporters.
US Navy warships have deliberately sailed close to Chinese-occupied features four times since October 2015, ignoring Beijing’s sovereignty claims.
The first three missions challenged Beijing’s requirement for ships to obtain permission prior to transit, while the last one challenged China’s sovereignty over waters encompassing the Paracels.

Monday, February 20, 2017

U.S. Navy Awards $126M for Virginia-Class Block V Submarine Components

Tammy Waitt, American Security Today
16 February 2017

General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) has been awarded a $126.5 million contract by the U.S. Navy for long lead time material for the first two Block V Virginia-class submarines, SSN-802 and SSN-803.
The contract provides funding for steam and electric-plant components, the main propulsion units and ship-service turbine generators, and miscellaneous hull, mechanical and electrical-system components to support construction of the two submarines beginning in fiscal year 2019.
Block V will include submarines with the Virginia Payload Module (VPM), which comprises four additional large-diameter payload tubes in a new hull section inserted amidships.
Extending the hull by 84 feet, the VPM will boost strike capacity by more than 230 percent per ship and enable distribution of strike assets, giving theater commanders greater discretion in staging payloads.
For enemies of the United States, the U.S. Navy is a frightening adversary; but perhaps the most frightening thing about it is the fact that at any given moment, the Navy’s submarine force is patrolling the deep, carrying deadly weapons and skilled crews anywhere they are needed.
The submarine force can operate in any environment, from the icy seas of the Arctic to the deep oceans of the world. It can accomplish a variety of missions as well, including long-range missile attacks, special forces delivery, anti-ship and submarine warfare, and many top secret missions.

Virginia Class

Representing a revolution in advanced design and construction techniques and mission flexibility, Virginia-class submarines are providing the U.S. Navy with the capabilities it requires to maintain undersea superiority well into the 21st century.
The Virginia class is the first U.S. Navy warship designed from the keel up for the full range of mission requirements in the post-Cold War era.
Optimized for maximum technological and operational flexibility, these submarines will play a key role in the nation’s defense with their stealth, firepower and unlimited endurance.
Under the terms of a $4.2 billion contract awarded by the Navy in 1998, a $8.4 billion multiyear contract awarded in January 2004, a $14 billion multiyear contract awarded in December 2008, and a $17.6 billion multi-year contract awarded in April 2014, Electric Boat is sharing construction of the first 28 ships of the class with its teammate, Huntington Ingalls-Newport News Shipbuilding.
Electric Boat delivered the lead ship of the class, Virginia (SSN774), on Oct. 12, 2004. It was commissioned into the fleet 11 days later, on Oct. 23, 2004, ushering in a new era of warfare from under the sea.
The USS Illinois was christened in October 2015 by First Lady Michelle Obama, only the fourth Electric Boat submarine christened by a First Lady.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

India Set To Test Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile

It would give India the capability to strike targets in China or Pakistan from the Bay of Bengal in the event of war.

James Di Pane and Lisa Curtis, National Interest
14 February 2017 

A key American partner, India, is set to conduct another missile test that will have a wide range of consequences on regional dynamics for years to come.
India’s new K-4 nuclear-capable, submarine-launched ballistic missile is expected to have a range of 3,500 kilometers, a serious improvement over its current operational missile of the same kind.
When coupled with India’s burgeoning nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine program, India is set to seriously increase its second-strike capability in the coming years.
This trend aligns with India’s ongoing efforts to modernize its military with particular focus on naval power. A heftier military capability will extend India’s national influence and potentially rival China.
India’s current operational submarine-launched ballistic missile, the K-15, has a range of approximately 750 kilometers and was designed to be used by the INS Arihant,
India’s first indigenously built nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine.
While the Arihant is primarily a training platform that will be used to train crews for future nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, it is also capable of conducting deterrence patrols. India currently has plans to build up to five nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines of a similar design in the future.
Based on the Arihant’s design, these will most likely be used in naval bastions, with cover provided by other naval vessels and aircraft in the Bay of Bengal or near the Andaman and Nicobar islands. These submarines lack the necessary speed and stealth capabilities to effectively defend themselves against hostile attack submarines.
That is why the increased range of the K-4 is so significant. It would give India the capability to strike targets in China or Pakistan from the Bay of Bengal in the event of war. India is also expected to increase naval facilities on the Andaman and Nicobar islands for this purpose.
Some have argued that this new capability from India could lead to more destabilization and conflict in the region rather than less, forcing an arms race in anti-submarine weapons or adding a destabilizing element to future crises.
While that may be the case, second-strike capability is a priority for India due to its policy of “no first use” with its nuclear arsenal. In order to maintain deterrence, it has to ensure that its arsenal cannot be neutralized by a preemptive strike.
Nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines have secured this capability for the U.S., Soviet Union/Russia, and China for years, and India seems set to cultivate this technology for its own security.
As the U.S. looks to India to play a more active role in the Asia-Pacific region, this growth in capability will enhance India’s ability to step into that role, further increasing the potential of the U.S.-India strategic partnership.

 DARPA Discovers "GPS-Like" Undersea Drone Connectivity

Kris Osborne, Defense Systems
14 February 2017 

The Pentagon’s research entity and BAE Systems are working together to develop a next-generation undersea drone communications technology to help identify mines, find enemy submarines and surveil many items relevant to combat missions.
Using underwater acoustic signals, a surface buoy, beacon or “node,” and GPS signals in a coordinated fashion, the Positioning System for Deep Ocean Navigation (POSYDON) is able to quickly relay location coordinates from undersea drones on patrol to command and control systems on board a ship or submarine.
The program, now in a Phase I developmental effort, is a collaborative enterprise between industry and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
POSYDON provides “omnipresent, robust positioning across ocean basins. By ranging to a small number of long-range acoustic sources, an undersea platform would be able to obtain continuous, accurate positioning without surfacing for a GPS fix,” DARPA developers explained.
While experts say there are some very low-frequency radios that can transmit some kind of signal undersea, submarines need to surface in order to achieve a strong radio frequency (RF) or GPS signal for on-the-spot data and communications.
“You can receive GPS at very shallow depths, but that is not relevant to where we operate. POSYDON brings a ‘GPS-like’ capability to submerged users,” said Lin Haas, program manager for the DARPA Strategic Technology Office, in a newly released agency podcast.
Military scientists and technology developers refer to the effort to establish connectivity in a “GPS-denied” environment as acquiring “precision, navigation and timing.”
However, the scientific challenges of bringing seamless connectivity undersea, similar to the way GPS functions on the surface, are substantial, Haas explained.
GPS signals work with algorithms able to compute the distance of an object by knowing the constant or “fixed” speed of light and the time of travel. If the length of travel is identified, along with the speed of a signal, then algorithms can quickly determine a precise distance, therefore identifying an object.
For example, an electromagnetic signal used by a radar system -- or laser from a weapon’s laser rangefinder -- would use the known speed of light, and time of travel, to quickly identify the location, shape or speed of an object.
However, with acoustic signals undersea, determining distance is much more complex, Haas explained.
“For GPS the speed of light is constant. That is not the case for underwater speed of sound. Underwater signals are a function of many things, primarily temperature and salinity. We have developed models that account for all these acoustic signals underwater. Underwater signals don’t travel in a single line,” Haas said.
As a result, there is no linear transmission from transmitter to receiver with acoustic signals.
“Acoustic signals will take many paths; the signal is refracted through temperature and pressure profiles. Algorithms can improve current models and develop new modes,” Haas added.
Therefore, underwater drones can use acoustic waves to relay real-time info back to submarines.
DARPA officials say BAE Systems, Raytheon BBN and Draper Laboratory are all working on the POSYDON program.
“GPS signals bounce off ocean surfaces and cannot penetrate seawater. The importance of POSYDON is to make sure that these UUVs [unmanned underwater vehicles] can really focus on their missions without having to periodically come to the surface for GPS to figure out exactly where they are,” said Geoff Edelson, director of Maritime Systems and Technology at BAE Systems.
The technology relies upon a kind of “triangulation,” Edelson explained. A GPS signal emerging from a satellite is sent to a surface node -- which then uses acoustic waves to connect with and locate an undersea drone.
“Many signals do not propagate under the sea. Light cannot travel very far and RF signals do not really propagate under the sea. With POSYDON, a GPS signal is replaced by low-frequency acoustic signals,” Edelson said.
The POSYDON effort is progressing through Phase I of a three-phased effort; Phase I involves modeling signal propagation channels, Phase II is intended to develop a single waveform and Phase III is aimed at building a complete prototype positioning system, according to DARPA.
“Right now we are analyzing data to ensure the concept has merit. We are going ‘point to point’ from a source to one or two receivers,” Edelson said.
The emergence of this technology, which is still likely several years away from operational use, is entirely consistent with the Navy’s undersea drone strategy. Undersea drones are increasingly critical countering emerging high-tech surface and sub-surface threats such as quieter, more advanced submarine technology and weapons being developed by potential adversaries.
UUVs that are better able to transmit information back to host platforms, and quickly provide their location data, can naturally assist in locating enemy targets, undersea mines and other items of critical relevance to Navy missions.
POSYDON technology, once operational, could work with existing platforms, such as Wave Gliders, designed to collect target and threat information, as well as oceanographic and hydrographic information.  
For instance, a current underwater drone called the Seaglider uses buoyancy and wings to achieve forward motion as opposed to an electrically driven propeller. For long periods of time it is able to gather oceanographic data, such as water column temperature or salinity, collecting the data and then sending it back.
Emerging POSYDON technology could also be of great use to Virginia-class attack submarines and Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines working to establish navigational parameters, identify objects of interest and even pinpoint threat locations at greater distances.
In fact, the Navy is now experimenting with undersea drones that are able to launch and return from submarine missile tubes, improving mission efficiency and expediting launch and recovery operations. Therefore, being able to precisely identify the location of operational UUVs in a given area of operations would be of great value.
Given that much of the technology relies upon fast-developing algorithms, rapid progress in the area of artificial intelligence (AI) is important to this effort.
This trajectory will ultimately likely lead to the use of more AI, drawing upon more independent, computer-driven unmanned systems to gather, organize and integrate a vast array of different information and sensor data before providing it to human commanders.
Groups of undersea drones will soon simultaneously use sonar and different sensors to identify and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships, search for mines, collect oceanographic data and conduct reconnaissance missions -- all while a single human performs command and control functions aboard a Navy ship or submarine, senior Navy officials explained.
Perhaps several submarine-launched underwater robots or large-displacement unmanned undersea vehicles could identify a threatening enemy submarine or surface vessel at distances far beyond the normal detection range.
The idea is to capitalize upon the increasing speed of computer processing and rapid improvements in the development of autonomous vehicle software. This will allow unmanned systems to quickly operate with an improved level of autonomy, function together as part of an integrated network, and more quickly perform a wider range of functions without needing every individual task controlled by humans. The strategy is also aimed at enabling submarines, surface ships and some land-based operations to take advantage of these fast-emerging computer technologies.
Perhaps a number of small drones could send out an acoustic ping and then analyze the return signal to pinpoint the location of a threatening enemy target, providing a submarine with the necessary data to launch a precision-guided heavyweight torpedo to destroy the threat from a safer distance. 
Integrated drone groups would then instantly relay pertinent data to underwater or ship-board computing systems and sensors. As a result, humans in a command and control function would have access to relevant information faster and more efficiently, providing a larger window with which to make critical decisions, senior Navy officials explained.

Lockheed Martin To Build Additional Trident II Missiles

Ryan Maass, UPI News
15 February 2017 

Lockheed Martin received a $540 million contract modification for Trident II ballistic fleet missile production and deployed system support.
The modification supports production efforts for the U.S. Navy and the British Royal Navy. The Trident II is currently equipped on the U.S. Navy's Ohio-class submarines as well as the Royal Navy's Vanguard-class submarines.
The U.S. Department of Defense says the work will be performed at various locations in California, Minnesota, Georgia, Washington, and several others, and expects the work to be complete by September 2021.
Lockheed Martin received roughly $453 million in weapon procurement funds from the Navy, plus an additional $50.7 million from the Royal Navy. The company also received $36 million in fiscal 2017 operation and maintenance funds, which are set to expire at the end of the current fiscal year.
The Strategic Systems Programs in Washington, D.C., is listed as the contracting activity.
The Trident II D5 missile is primarily produced by Lockheed Martin's Space Systems division, and has been used in over 160 flight tests since it was first designed in 1999.
Ballistic fleet missiles, also known as submarine-launched ballistic missiles, are designed to carry nuclear warheads. The United States began using this family of weapons with the Polaris A1 missile, which was powered by solid fuel rocket motors.

Navy Missiles Light Up Skies Over Monterey Bay

Bucky Helwick, KSBW
15 February 2017

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. —Early risers around the Monterey Bay marveled at two bright lights blazing through the sky before sunrise Tuesday.
The U.S. Navy launched two Trident II missiles over the Pacific Ocean from a submarine off the coast of Southern California, and they were seen from as far north as the San Francisco Bay Area.
Navy public affairs officer John Daniels told KSBW that the missiles were unarmed and never flew over land.
The Navy's Trident II missiles serve as nuclear deterrents and have a 4,000-mile range.
"A credible, effective nuclear deterrent is essential to our national security and the security of U.S. allies. Deterrence remains a cornerstone of national security policy in the 21st century. The Navy's Trident II (D5) strategic weapon system provides the most survivable leg of the strategic deterrent Triad," Daniels said.
The Navy said it conducts missile flight tests on a regular, frequent basis.
"Test flights were not conducted in response to any ongoing world events, or as a demonstration of power," Daniels said.
Tuesday's missiles were launched from an Ohio Class SSBN submarine. All Pacific Test Range flights are launched from sea, flown over the sea, and land in the sea, Daniels said.
"Missiles are tracked from multiple sources from launch until final impact in the ocean," he said.

Norway and Germany Start Cooperation On Submarine And Missile Deliveries 

Staff, Naval Technology
16 February 2017 

Authorities from the Norwegian and German governments have initiated a comprehensive industrial cooperation on submarine and missile deliveries, thereby securing job opportunities in Norway.
The strategic partnership between the two European countries for the purchase of submarines now includes the Naval Strike Missile (NSM), developed by Norway-based manufacturer Kongsberg.
Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg said: “The government is working to achieve industrial agreements with the ambition that they will secure work for Norwegian defence industry to a value corresponding to the acquisition of new submarines.
“The Norwegian defence industry has solid products of relevance for new submarines, and we are working hard to secure access to international markets for these and other Norwegian defence products.”
The missile cooperation between the nations boosts further development of the missile, as the German Navy plans to procure several NSMs for its vessels. It will also support joint maintenance and logistics between the navies of Germany and Norway.
Kongsberg will have the large and major deliveries to the new submarines along with a network of about 100 small and large suppliers across the country, while the combat management system for the submarines will be supplied by the Norwegian industry.
Norway Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide said: “Germany is planning to acquire a significant number of missiles for its navy; this provides great opportunities for Norwegian industry, both for Kongsberg and Norwegian subcontractors.
“It is important to ensure technological advancement of Norwegian missile technology, and in the years ahead we will, along with Germany, further develop the Norwegian NSM against future threats.”

U.S. Navy Aims To Protect Sensitive Information On Captured Unmanned Sea Systems

Marc Selinger, Defense Daily
15 February 2017

Two months after the Chinese military briefly detained a U.S. Navy unmanned undersea vehicle (UUV), the service is taking a close look at how to ensure its unmanned maritime systems do not reveal secrets if they fall into the wrong hands in the future.
Capt. Jonathan Rucker, program manager for Unmanned Maritime Systems, said the Navy is studying how an unmanned vehicle can "get wiped" of sensitive information if it gets captured. While many manned systems have such security procedures, they are often initiated by their crews, something that unmanned systems, by definition, do not have onboard.
A rendering of the Knifefish unmanned underwater vehicle which will be deployed from the littoral combat ship to sweep mines. Illustration: General Dynamics.
"It's definitely a different challenge because you now have to rely on the system to know.that it's been compromised and then go through and carry out the procedures that you want it to do," Rucker told Defense Daily after speaking at an American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) symposium in Arlington, Va.
The Chinese military returned the two-meter-long UUV after snatching it from international waters in the South China Sea. Used to gather military oceanographic data, such as ocean temperature, salinity and depth information, the UUV is part of a fleet of Littoral Battlespace Sensing-Gliders and was built by Teledyne Technologies [TDY] Teledyne Webb Research. A Pentagon spokesman said in December that the returned UUV appeared to be in "good working order based on an initial physical inspection."
Rucker said a feature to protect sensitive information, such as software, will be required on the future Extra Large Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (XLUUV), for which the Navy plans to issue a final request for proposals as early as Feb. 17.
Contractors will have 90 days to submit bids for the XLUUV, and the Navy hopes to award up to two design contracts by the end of fiscal year 2017. The Navy will later pick one contractor to build five vehicles.
The XLUUV will be greater than 54 inches in diameter and have long range and endurance. It could support multiple missions, including mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

New Nuclear Delivery Platforms Will Likely Cost More than Planned. Here's Why

Marcus Weisgerber, Government Executive
15 February 2017

The Pentagon has gotten better at estimating the cost of new weapons, but nuclear-armed ships, subs, and missiles are entirely different animals.
Estimates of the cost to maintain and ultimately replace the current planes, rockets, and submarines that may deliver them — range from hundreds of billions of dollars to more than $1 trillion over the next three decades.
In a new report, the Defense Department’s office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation — considered the gold standard of budget estimators inside the Pentagon — notes that in looking at a proposed ICBM project, “it was unusually difficult to estimate the cost ... because there was no recent data to draw upon, and the older historical data was of very questionable quality or was nonexistent. This leads to considerable uncertainty and risk in any cost estimate.”
On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office said it will cost the departments of Defense and Energy some $400 billion over the next decade alone to buy new bombers, submarines and ICBMs. That estimate also includes the cost of maintaining current inventory of nuclear weapons and delivery systems.
But within that $400 billion figure is $56 billion in anticipated cost overruns. Those costs would be incurred “if the costs for those nuclear programs exceeded planned amounts at roughly the same rates that costs for similar programs have grown in the past,” the report states.
The estimates come as the Pentagon and defense firms prepare to build the military’s next-generation intercontinental ballistic missile. That project (along with maintaining the current Minuteman III ICBMs) is expected to cost $43 billion between 2017 and 2026, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The Air Force says the new ICBMs will cost $62 billion over 30 years, but the CAPE report estimates that the project will cost more than 35 percent more than service officials have said.
As well, the Congressional Budget Office estimates the 2017-26 cost of new Navy Columbia-class ballistic submarines (and maintaining the current Ohio-class subs) at $90 billion; new Air Force bombers, $43 billion. Then there’s another $58 billion needed for new command-and-control planes and improvements to early-warning satellites and $87 billion for the nuclear weapons laboratories.
That begs the question, how can the Pentagon afford it all?
“For the last three years or so, the department has been very deliberately planning for the modernization bills that we’ve known were coming as a whole suite of systems that were built decades ago are coming up on their end of life,” Jamie Morin, an Obama administration appointee who served as director of the CAPE office until last month, said in an interview shortly before he left office. “All of those programs … are pretty well understood and we have good estimates for the cost and schedule it will take to deliver them.”
But keeping them on schedule is a necessity because the current inventory, particularly the Ohio-class nuclear submarines, only have so much life left in them.
“I think the department has a pretty good handle on when we need them,” Morin said. “I think we recognize that that leaves us just about enough time to responsibly execute these recapitalization programs.”
Despite objections, the Obama administration in July took the first steps toward buying new ICBMs and a controversial long-range nuclear cruise missile, called the Long-Range Standoff Weapon. While President Donald Trump has not laid out a detailed nuclear weapons plan, in December, he tweeted: “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”
The Minuteman III ICBMs date to the 1970s; the last ones were built in 1978. The long-range nuclear missiles are scattered across the north-midwestern United States in underground silos.
Boeing, which made the Minuteman III, as well as Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman have said they intend to bid on the new ICBM project, called the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent. The Air Force is expected to choose a winning bid later this year.
The Air Force selected Northrop Grumman to build a new stealth bomber, which will eventually carry nuclear weapons. Called the B-21 Raider, it will replace the B-1, which no longer carries nuclear weapons, and the B-52, which has been in the Air Force since the 1950s.

Monday, February 13, 2017

French Navy Showcases Nuclear Submarines

Staff, NTD TV
8 February 2017

The peninsula L’Ile Longue on the west coast of France is home to one the country’s largest military bases, where a fleet of four nuclear submarines capable of launching long-range missiles are based.
A 140-metre long, black submarine named “The Vigilant” sits in a dry dock as one of its sister ships patrols the seas in secret. It weighs 14,000 tonnes, the equivalent of two Eiffel Towers, and carries 16 missiles which can reach a range of 8,000 kilometres (5,000 miles).
“For a launch, the commander and the chief of missiles service would be here and in the other post you’d find the second in command and the deputy chief of missiles. On these consoles the commander will input the codes received from the president of the republic which will allow for the firing to be authorised but also give the precise target data of those strikes to the missile,” French Navy Lieutenant Arnaud said on Thursday (February 2).
The four submarines take turns in stints of two and a half months at sea on patrol. The missions are kept secret even to most of the 111 strong crew.
Crews regularly train in engaging fire, a strong message that French naval forces are ready to retaliate in case of an attack on France’s vital interests.
“The aim is to go through the firing process until the irreversible actions are ready – so we’re not launching any missiles but the computing elements and all the procedures on the missiles and tubes are in action, allowing us to see that everything is working properly,” Lieutenant Arnaud told Reuters.
Beyond the capacity to launch missiles, the crucial aspect for submariners is to stay as discreet as possible while at sea and be able to listen to what’s around them.
Three submariners spend their time doing just that, with the help of some 1,000 microphones on the ship which scan the surrounding activity. The difficulty is deciphering the various sources of noise and building an accurate picture of what is happening, such as the activity of a threatening warship.
Submarines attract more and more women, such as Marie who is finalising her training as a mechanic at Brest’s naval school.
“The technical side of the submarine is something we find appealing but also the team spirit, living closely together and discovering a world which today is still dominated by men,” she said.
France’s Strategic Oceanic Force has a total of 4,000 crew, including 1,500 sea-bound submariners.

India To Impart Submarine Training To Indonesia

Dinakar Peri, The Hindu
9 February 2017

India has agreed to impart submarine training to Indonesia as part of a bilateral effort to diversify defence cooperation.
During Defence Secretary Mohan Kumar’s South East Asia visit, the two countries also agreed to cooperate in defence manufacturing and expand military to military cooperation. Mr. Kumar visited Indonesia on January 17-18 and Singapore on January 19.
India already trains Vietnamese sailors in operating Kilo class submarines and its pilots on Su-30 fighter aircraft, both Russian built platforms India operates in large numbers. This move also fits into India’s larger engagement with the region as part of its ‘Act East’ policy.
“On military to military ties, the present Army exercise has been expanded to a company level. The two sides have agreed to start Air Force exercises and also expand maritime cooperation, which includes Navy training in submarines and so on,” defence sources said on Wednesday.
Sources observed that Indonesian defence industry had strengths in some areas and, like in India, is largely dominated by Public Sector Undertakings. “We can do some components and sub-assemblies for them. They are also interested in some technologies,” sources said. Discussions were under way.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo was in India in December last year and both sides had agreed to “conclude a substantive bilateral Defence Cooperation Agreement” and “explore collaboration between defence industries for joint product”ion of equipment with technology transfer.”

Navy Eliminates Unmanned Systems Office, Moves Programs to Other Directorates 

Megan Eckstein, USNI
8 February 2017 

The Navy reorganized its Chief of Naval Operations staff (OPNAV) to eliminate the one-year-old Unmanned Warfare Systems directorate (OPAV N99) and instead will move unmanned systems into technology development or domain-based warfare directorates.
Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran emailed all flag officers late Tuesday to announce the reorganization, writing that "in conjunction with the recent OPNAV reorganization, the Warfare Systems Directorate (N9) has completed an internal reorganization with the goal of creating a leaner, more agile organization."
The reorganization is not related to an ongoing headquarters reduction effort in the services and Defense Department and was not driven by a goal of saving money. Rather, the move is aimed at more efficiently integrating manned and unmanned systems, Navy spokeswoman Lt. Jackie Pau told USNI News today. The former head of OPNAV N99, Rear Adm. Robert Girrier, retired in mid-January ahead of the reorganization decision.
"This re-organization is the next step in the Navy's ongoing process to mainstream the complementary warfighting effects of manned and unmanned warfare systems," she said.
To accomplish that, the N99 office will merge with the Director of Warfare Integration (OPNAV N9I). That office, currently led by Rear Adm. Pete Fanta, will oversee unmanned integration, accelerated acquisition and oversight. Fanta's office will work with acquisition program executive officers, resources sponsors and the fleet for its new oversight responsibilities, and will work with the research community and with Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Unmanned Systems (DASN UxS) Frank Kelley to accelerate prototype acquisition where possible.
Current unmanned programs of record will merge with the applicable resource sponsor - the Expeditionary Warfare (OPNAV N95), Surface Warfare (OPNAV N96), Undersea Warfare (OPNAV N97) and Air Warfare (OPNAV N98) directorates - Pau said. She added that no programs of record would be cut, slowed or otherwise affected by this reorganization. The office of the Director of Innovation, Technology Requirements and Test & Evaluation (OPNAV N94) - currently led by Rear Adm. Dave Hahn, who also serves as Chief of Naval Research and the head of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) - will assume rapid prototyping, experimentation and development (RPED) efforts on unmanned systems. Once those systems progress and become a program of record, they would transition to the applicable resource sponsor.
"Embedding unmanned RPED innovation under OPNAV N94, maturing unmanned system programs of
record within traditional warfare resource sponsors, and oversight under N9I allows for more complete integration of unmanned platforms and system development across domains," Pau told USNI News.
Programs that had fallen under N99 that will be moved elsewhere in N9 include:
* Rapid Prototyping Experimentation and Development (Unmanned Systems)
* Sensor-Hosting Autonomous Remote Craft
* Low-Cost (Unmanned Air Systems (UAS)) Swarming Technology (LOCUST)
* Heterogeneous Collaborative Unmanned Systems
* Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (LDUUV)
* Advanced Undersea Prototyping
* Common Control System (CCS)
* Common System Interface (which allows CCS to talk to established system interfaces)
* Carrier-based Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Friday, February 10, 2017

Britain's Entire Fleet Of Attack Submarines 'Out Of Action'

Laura Hughes, The Independent
10 February 2017

The Royal Navy’s fleet of attack submarines are all currently out of action, according to reports.  
Britain’s seven ‘hunter-killer’ vessels are understood to be ‘non-operational’ as they undergo repairs and maintenance. 
HMS Astute is the only vessel currently at sea, but she is still "weeks away" from active service.
Theresa May is said to have been kept in the dark by Defence chiefs, the Sun reports.
A Whitehall source told the newspaper: “No one is being honest about the scandal.”
It is the first time in decades that Britain does not have an attack submarine on stand-by in the event of an attack. 
Sources say the three new Astute class subs, which cost £1.2billion each, are beset by technical problems.
Five of the fleet, including one of the new type, are having refits or maintenance after breaking down.
And HMS Ambush is also being repaired after crashing into a tanker near Gibraltar last year.
It comes after Britain's ability to defend itself against a major military attack was  called into question after an investigation found Navy warships are so loud they can be heard 100 miles away by Russian submarines. 
A Royal Navy spokesman said: "We don’t comment on specific submarine operations.
"Britain has a world-class fleet, the Royal Navy continues to meet all of its operational tasking, deploying globally on operations and protecting our national interests as Britain steps up around the world."

Monday, February 6, 2017

Sunken Nazi-era submarine found: Researchers

Staff AP, Toronto Sun
2 February 2017

BERLIN - German researchers say they have found a Nazi-era submarine that sunk in the Atlantic Ocean during the Second World War.
The Rebikoff-Niggeler Foundation says the wreck of U-581 was found last September at a depth of about 900 meters (2,950 feet) near the Azores island of Pico.
The discovery was announced Thursday, exactly 75 years after the submarine was scuttled by its commander following a clash with the British destroyer HMS Westcott. All but four of its 46 crew survived.
German researchers Kirsten and Joachim Jakobsen found U-581 using a custom-made submersible designed for exploring and filming underwater life. Footage captured by the researchers shows the wreck covered in cold water corals..

EB buoyed by possibilities as Trump envisions 350-ship Navy

Julia Bergman, New London Day
2 February 2017

President Donald Trump, continuing his push to slash the cost of defense programs, wants to build more submarines but for less money.
"We're lacking submarines, and we're going to build new submarines, but the price is too high, so I'm cutting the prices way down," Trump said in a Jan. 26 interview at the White House.
The Navy did not immediately return a request for comment.
"I am pleased the Trump Administration recognizes the strategic importance of a strong submarine fleet," said Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee. 
"One of the ways to achieve future cost savings is by making smart investments in a skilled workforce and state-of-the-art facilities, which is something we've done here in Rhode Island over the last several years," Reed said.
"We are currently only building one kind of submarine - the Virginia-class program, which is under cost and ahead of schedule," Reed said. "The Columbia-class program, which will replace Ohio-class submarines, is still in the design phase, but the shipbuilders and the Navy are working to reduce construction costs to make the boat as efficient and cost effective as possible."
On the campaign trail, Trump called for a 350-ship Navy but never detailed how he'd beef up the fleet. In recent years, the total number of Navy ships has hovered around 270 to 290. The current count is 274.
"It's a good thing to have a new president who is on track with all the force assessments and strategic reviews that confirm the value of the undersea fleet," said U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District.
Courtney said he is looking forward to the Trump administration's involvement with the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, of which he is ranking member, in developing this year's defense bill. The subcommittee has oversight over the military's air and sea programs and is where vital discussions about funding for shipbuilding occur.
Late last year, the Navy released a proposal calling for 355 ships, including 18 more attack submarines. If the service's lofty goals are met, it could cost an additional $3.5 billion to $4 billion a year, according to a study by the Congressional Research Service. And that's just shipbuilding costs. More money would be needed to operate and maintain the additional ships and for additional personnel, the study points out.
The Navy expects to have 52 operational attack submarines in 2017.
Attack subs cost $2.7 billion each, and the new ballistic missile submarines are expected to have a price tag of $8 billion each.
Electric Boat President Jeffrey Geiger said in January that the company is poised to meet the Navy's demand for more submarines, provided it has the time to build up its workforce, supplier base and facilities. Already, Electric Boat is in the midst of a hiring spree to carry out its current workload.
Electric Boat, with facilities in North Kingstown and Groton, Connecticut, and Newport News Shipbuilding build two Virginia-class attack submarines a year. Former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, in one of his last visits to Electric Boat, handed out mock punch cards that said "Buy 9 subs, get the 10th one free!" referencing the $2 billion in savings achieved through a $17.6-billion contract, the largest in Navy shipbuilding history, awarded to Electric Boat in April 2014.
In the negotiation of that contract, certain initiatives were put in place to reduce design costs, the most significant of which was a redesigned bow that included a new sonar array and two larger payload tubes instead of 12 individual, vertical-launch missile tubes. About 20 percent of the ship's design was changed to save about $100 million per submarine. Other cost-saving measures included the ability to buy materials far in advance.
"Those of us who have worked with EB over the years know that affordability is a factor in their business model," said Bob Ross, executive director of the state's Office of Military Affairs.
The company is "well aware" that it is "incredibly expensive" to build submarines and works "very hard to be as efficient and affordable as they can," Ross said.
But he noted that a high price tag is inevitable given the advanced technology being built.
"There's more technology in the Virginia-class submarines than in the space shuttle program," he said. "It's never going to be a low number." 
Generally speaking, the Virginia program has been hailed as a success for the on-time and under-budget delivery of the submarines, despite setbacks when inspectors discovered unauthorized and undocumented weld repairs that affected at least three of the submarines. After delivering the Navy's newest attack submarine, the USS Illinois in August 2016, EB estimated the boat came in more than $100 million below target.
On-time and under-budget delivery is why the Navy continues to invest in EB, according to U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who said in a statement that he won't stop fighting for "strong federal investments that ramp up our submarine force and the local jobs it supports."
The new class of ballistic missile submarines, known as the Columbia class, is expected to cost $128 billion. That number is almost $50 billion lower than original procurement cost estimates due to reducing the number of ships in the class from 14 to 12 and the number of number of missile tubes from 20 to 16, among other initiatives.
Given that the program is well into the design stage, "future decreases will be more difficult to achieve," Frank Kendall, the Pentagon's top weapons buyer, said in approving the program to move on to the advanced development phase.
The best way to keep costs down is to stay on schedule, said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. He noted that the Navy and EB have been working "tirelessly" and "relentlessly" for years to reduce costs and increase efficiency.

Norway Teams Up With Germany For New Submarines

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observers
3 February 2017

Minister of Defence, Ine Eriksen Søreide, on Friday announced a Norwegian-German strategic partnership for purchase and lifetime management for four new submarines.
Norway’s current fleet of six Ula-class conventional submarines reaches end of life by mid- 2020 to 2030 and will be decommissioned. In times-of-budget-cuts and disarmament in the years after the Cold War, one option considered for the Navy was to scrap the idea of having an own fleet of submarines.
Then Russia started to re-arm and modernize its Northern fleet vessels and weapons based on the Kola Peninsula bordering Norway on the Barents Sea coast. After scrapping 130 of its Cold War fleet of nuclear powered submarines, Vladimir Putin’s Russia is now building new multi-purpose and ballistic missile submarines at a speed not seen since the end of the 1980s. Eight new Borey-class, eight new Severodvinsk class, several new diesel-powered and other special purpose submarines are recently delivered to the Northern fleet or currently under construction.
In a White Paper to the Parliament in 2016, the Norwegian Government again underlined the importance of submarines and their place in the future development of the Norwegian navy.
“Submarines are amongst the Norwegian Armed Forces’ most important capabilities and is of great significance for our ability to protect Norway’s maritime interests,” Ine Eriksen Søreide said when announcing the cooperation with Germany.
“Submarine cooperation with Germany will ensure that Norway gets the submarines we require, and at the same time contributing to Smart defence and more efficient defence material cooperation in NATO,” the Minister of Defence said.
Delivery by 2030
Norway will now enter into final negotiations with German authorities. When a government-to-government agreement is in place, a German-Norwegian negotiation towards the German submarine supplier ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (tkMS) will commence.
The plan is to sign a common contract for new submarines in 2019. This will enable delivery of new submarines from the mid-2020s to 2030.
“The submarines Norway and Germany will procure ensures a submarine service for the future. Norway has an evolutionary approach to new submarines, and will base the procurement on an existing submarine design. This way we avoid an extensive development project with the risks and costs this would involve. In addition, together with Germany, we will get a larger scale in the production” said Ine Eriksen Søreide.
Arctic sub base closed
Naval base Haakonsvern outside Bergen on the southwest coast will be homebase also for the new submarines. Olavsvern outside Tromsø, the Navy’s special designed Arctic NATO submarine base with tunnels from the seaside, was shut down and sold to private investors a few years ago.

Plymouth Submarines To Move To Scotland By 2020

Gayle_Herald, The Herald
3 February 2017 

All Plymouth-based submarines will be relocated to Scotland by 2020, the defence secretary has confirmed.
Over the next three years all 11 of the Navy's submarines will be moved to HM Naval Base Clyde, also known as Faslane.
Initially, the move was scheduled to take place this year but was pushed back due to various delays.
The Ministry of Defence has pumped £1.3 billion of investment into making the Clyde "Britain's submarine hub".
The number of people employed at the base will rise from 6,800 to 8,200.
Yesterday, defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon announced that a £4million submarine school will be built at the base.
Once complete, the school will provide academic and technical training for all Royal Naval personnel entering the submarine service from 2022, which means submariners will no longer attend HMS Raleigh in Torpoint.
Sir Fallon said moving Britain's submarine fleet to Scotland would provide stability for submariners.
"We are now making a long-term investment of hundreds of millions of pounds to improve and upgrade the waterfront at Clyde to make sure it is ready to support the United Kingdom's whole submarine fleet," he said.
The new school will support the Astute hunter killer submarines, as well as the delivery of training for the new Dreadnought nuclear deterrent boats, which will provide the UK with its continuous nuclear deterrent.
Head of the Submarine Service, Rear Admiral John Weale, said: "Our new single integrated operating base will make significant improvements to the work-life balance of our 5,000 submariners.
"By putting our boats and training in one place, our submariners can put down roots in Scotland knowing that they are no longer required to commute from one end of the country to another."
The last four Astute class submarines, which will eventually replace the Trafalgar class, are due to be commissioned into the Royal Navy between 2018 and 2024.
The last two Trafalgar class submarines, HM Submarines Talent and Triumph, which are based in Plymouth, are due to move to the Clyde in 2019 and 2020.
According to current plans, the end of service date for Talent is 2021, with Triumph's currently set at 2022.
The move of the Submarine Escape Rescue Abandonment and Survivability Training capability from Hampshire to Clyde is due to happen in 2019 and a new Nuclear Support Hub, which will provide modern standard effluent disposal, is due to be complete by 2020.
The four Dreadnought nuclear deterrent submarines will start to arrive at Faslane from the early 2030s. They will replace the Vanguard-class boats.
All 11 Royal Navy submarines will be based at HMNB Clyde from 2020, seeing the number of people employed at the base will rise from 6,800 people to 8,200.

Russian Pacific Fleet’s Resurgence Sets Off Alarm Bells In Washington

Staff, Russia Beyond The Headlines
6 February 2017  

After losing its powerful aircraft carriers and nearly all major surface combat vessels during the disastrous dive of the post-Soviet era, the Russian Pacific Fleet is making a strong comeback with new ships, naval bases and infrastructure.
Having yielded considerable space to both the U.S. Navy and the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in the Pacific, Moscow now wants to reclaim some of it.
The Pacific Fleet is slowly but steadily gaining critical mass. The pride of the fleet are two Borei-class submarines – the Alexander Nevsky and the Vladimir Monomakh – which are counted among the deadliest submarines in the world.
An improved version of the Borei will be capable of launching between 72 and 200 hypersonic, independently maneuverable warheads on the sidewinding Bulava missile. In theory, a single Borei volley could render any country in the world unfit for human life.
After beefing up the Baltic and Black Sea Fleets, the Russian Defense Ministry’s main resources are now being invested in the modernization of submarine bases in the Far East, in the city of Vilyuchinsk in the Kamchatka Region.
The Vladimir Monomakh is now permanently based at the Rybachiy Nuclear Submarine Base in Viliuchinsk on the Kamchatka Peninsula. Rybachiy – which is home to the majority of Russia’s submarine fleet in the Pacific – could end up harboring a total of four Borei subs.
Predictably, the Russian resurgence has set off alarm bells in the Pentagon. The head of the U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Harry B. Harris, testified before the U.S. Senate Armed Service Committee last year: “Though focused on Europe and the Middle East, Russia is engaged politically and militarily in the Indo-Asia-Pacific. Russian activity is assertive, but not confrontational. Ships and submarines of the Russian Pacific Fleet and long range aircraft routinely demonstrate Russia’s message that it is a Pacific power.”
Harris added: “Russian ballistic missile and attack submarines remain especially active in the region. The arrival in late 2015 of Russia’s newest class of nuclear ballistic missile submarine (Dolgorukiy SSBN) in the Far East is part of a modernization program for the Russian Pacific Fleet and signals the seriousness with which Moscow views this region.”
Reality check
Military hype, however, needs to be viewed in the backdrop of Washington’s insatiable hunger for newer weapons. Pentagon generals are known to pump up any Russian military activity as an opportunity to wring more funds from their civilian government.
The U.S. pivot to Asia has brought huge numbers of sailors, ships and aircraft to the region. The U.S. Pacific Fleet comprises 200 ships, 2000 aircraft and 250,000 Navy and Marine personnel. The Russian Pacific Fleet may be growing but it could take decades – if at all – before it reaches such numbers.
The reality is that Russian naval build-up is mainly focused on bastion defense rather than strategic warfare. A bastion in naval strategy is a heavily defended area of water in which friendly naval forces can operate safely. Typically, that area will be partially enclosed by friendly shoreline, defended by naval mines, monitored by sensors, and heavily patrolled by surface, submarine and air forces.
On Jan. 31, the Russian Navy announced that the Pacific Fleet would induct a state-of the-art-warship armed with the latest missile launch technology and a stealth radar system. The warship, a Steregushchy-class corvette, is scheduled to join the fleet in the first half of 2017.
The 343-feet vessel, named Sovershenny (Unbeatable), is currently undergoing sea trials. It will be armed with the newest guided missile launchers that have the abilities to strike ships on the water as well as submarines, aircrafts and shore-based targets.
What is interesting is the Russian Navy’s declaration that the Sovershenny is designed to defend its eastern coasts. This indicates the focus of the Pacific Fleet is currently bastion defense rather than blue water power projection.
Even in the domain of sub-surface warfare, the focus seems to be on beefing up defenses close to Russia’s eastern coastline. According to Igor Kasatonov, former deputy commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy and former commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Russian shipyards will build six Varshavyanka diesel-electric submarines for the Pacific Fleet. These submarines are equipped with the new Kaliber-PL missiles, which can strike targets 2500 km away.
The reason for opting for bastion defense rather than extended blue water operations is that unlike the 800-ship Soviet Pacific Fleet– that legendary Admiral Sergei Gorshkov built for offensive ocean warfare – the current fleet lacks the
muscle to take on its numerically larger rival, the U.S. Navy. Even China’s PLAN – though technologically backward – makes up in quantity what it lacks in quality.
While major strategic weapons are trickling in, plans to go for a major upgrade are likely to remain on the drawing board because of budget cuts. The Russian military budget is only $66 billion versus China’s $215 billion. In 2016, Russia cut its defense budget for the first time since the 1990s, indicating that low oil prices were impacting its economy.
In this backdrop of budgetary constraints, the Russian Pacific Fleet is looking at strategic deterrence. This involves attacking the U.S. Navy several hundred kilometers from Russian shores and targeting the American mainland with ballistic missile submarines protected in Russian bastions like Kamchatka. For the moment, taking the battle into American waters – a capability that Admiral Gorshkov had achieved by the 1970s – will remain in cold storage.
Russia will therefore rely on ballistic missile submarines such as the Boreis – and in future the super silent Yasen – to get the job done. Major surface warships such as missile cruisers and destroyers will be few and far between and the chances of the Pacific Fleet getting an aircraft carrier are slim.
Key advantage: Naval aviation
In contrast to the western navies, Russia has several classes of strategic naval aviation – complementing both the surface and subsurface elements. The Pacific Fleet can rely on the twinjet Tu-95M Backfire – a supersonic bomber based in Vladivostok.
This aircraft carries a very sophisticated air-to-surface anti-ship cruise missile with an effective range of approximately 555 km. With refueling capabilities, it can fly up to 4600 km out into the Atlantic or Pacific. As well as an array of surface to air missiles, the coastline is protected by MiG-31 jet fighters – just four of them linking their powerful Zaslon radar can cover a 1000-km front.
So, even with fewer surface ships today, the Pacific Fleet remains a potent force that can take down a larger foe.
Chasing a legacy
To be sure, despite its shortcomings in strategic surface vessels, the Pacific Fleet isn’t confined to a littoral role. In keeping with its impressive legacy, its warships left Vladivostok for a long voyage in October 2016. 
They have visited Indonesia, where they participated in the International arms show Indodefense-2016, Thailand’s Sattahip port, and in mid-December, the group stopped in India, where together with Indian warships they practiced an encounter battle in the Bay of Bengal in the Indra Navy-2016 joint drills.
On the way back home, the Pacific Fleet flotilla paid a goodwill visit to Manila, and in early January was received in South Korea’s Busan.
The Russian Pacific Fleet may no longer subscribe to a doctrine of sea dominance, but advances in technology could one day allow Moscow to do more with less.
According to Donald D. Chipman of the U.S. Navy Reserve: “Russia has the world’s longest maritime frontier, and the Russian people have always loved the sea. It is Soviet manifest destiny, argued Gorshkov, that the nation should go to sea.”

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Norway to Focus on Readiness, Stockpiling Munitions

A 20 percent increase in spending is projected through 2020.

Aaron Mehta, Defense News
31 January 2017

BODØ AIR STATION, Norway – As it prepares to bring new fighter jets, maritime-surveillance aircraft and submarine fleets online, the Norwegian military is making a conscious effort to enhance its stockpile of munitions, fuel and spare parts ahead of any potential conflict in the region.
Speaking on background during a recent visit to Norwegian military installations, a top defense official here said the F-35, P-8 and submarine recapitalization efforts will remain the obvious focal points of the country’s military investments over the next five years. But at a lower level, the government is concerned about potential shortages to the support equipment vital to the country’s missions both at home and abroad.
Defense News visited Norway this month as part of a group organized by the Atlantic Council and funded by the Norwegian government. All participants accepted travel and accommodations during the tour. 
The three major modernization programs will make up the majority of the defense budget increase Norway has agreed to, which will see a 20 percent increase in spending from now to 2020. (For comparison, the MoD claims the F-35 alone represents the single largest non-energy investment in Norwegian history.)  However, the official said Norway
will be trying to stockpile weapons, ammunition, and fuel at depots throughout the country with other funds.
Based on previously-stated budget requirements and data, Avascent Analytics predicts that Norway will spent $172.8M on weapons in fiscal year 2017, with growth to $236.6M in 2018 and $185.9M in 2019. The average spending over the next five years, Avascent predicts, will be $190.1M. Those costs include both procurement of weapons and development of the Joint Strike Missile, a key capability for Norway going forward.
Building its store of spare parts is another necessity for the Norwegian military. Norway has managed its equipment well, but has faced shortages in the past. As one example, the official noted how a frigate had to be cannibalized for parts to support the rest of the small fleet.
While less tangible, the official said there is human capital being invested in looking at readiness requirements, such as how quickly a group of troops needs to be able to be mobilized and deployed. Some of those plans date back to the end of the Cold War.
Concurrent with the new fleets coming online, Norway is undergoing a reorganization of its basing structure, which is also part of the readiness picture for the military.   

UK Royal Navy Submariners Mark 100th Anniversary of the Sinking of the Submarine K13

Lorraine Weir, Daily Record
1 February 2017

Submariners past and present, and relatives of the 32 men who perished in the disaster gathered at Faslane Cemetery in Garelochhead for the centenary memorial.
Royal Navy submariners past and present gathered at the weekend to mark the centenary of the sinking of submarine K13.
The ceremony, held at Faslane Cemetery in Garelochhead, was attended by veterans, serving submariners from nearby HM Naval Base Clyde, representatives from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) and local Sea Cadets.
Also attending were some of the relatives of the 32 men who perished in the disaster and who are buried at the cemetery.
The steam-propelled submarine K13 sank in the Gareloch on January 29, 1917 during sea trials. On board at the time were 53 Royal Navy submariners, 14 employees of Govan shipbuilder Fairfields, five Admiralty officials, a pilot, and the captain and engineer from sister submarine K14.
Rear Admiral John Weale, Head of the UK Submarine Service said: “The men who perished in K13 were, in many respects, pioneers who pushed the boundaries to gain an operational advantage over potential adversaries.
“Today’s submariners recognise that the submarines they operate are not only safer but also more effective because we have learned from the experience of our predecessors. In this respect, the special bravery, ethos and comradeship of submariners and the Submarine Service endures.”
The crew of K13 were trapped beneath the icy waters of the Gareloch for some 57 hours before help arrived.
Captain of the vessel, Lieutenant Commander Godfrey Herbert, and K14’s captain, Commander Francis Goodhart, made a desperate attempt to escape the stricken submarine in order to get help.
The pair used the space between the inner and outer hatches as an airlock, but only Herbert made it to the surface alive, Goodhart sadly dying after striking his head during the escape.
An airline was eventually attached to the vessel allowing the submarine to bring her bow to the surface where a hole was cut allowing the survivors to be rescued. Unfortunately, by that time 32 submariners had already perished.
Shirley Thomas and her family travelled from Sheffield for the memorial. Her great-grandfather, Fred Porter, was a 37-year-old submariner who died on board K13 after seawater entered the vessel’s engineer room during the sea trials.
She said: “We’ve always wanted to come up and pay our respects and the 100th anniversary seemed like the ideal time.
“Fred was in the navy on ships then he went on the submarines – my grandmother told he did this because it was better pay. We’re all really proud of him.”