Thursday, August 11, 2005

Off the Wire, 8/11

Two More Global Hawks for War on Terror

Source: Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman (San Diego, CA) has received a contract from the US Air Force to deploy two production RQ-4A Global Hawk aerial reconnaissance systems early this fall. The air vehicles will join an advanced-concept-technology-demonstration version of the Global Hawk currently in theater supporting the global war on terrorism.
To date, deployed Global Hawks have flown more than 4,300 combat hours in 200 missions.
The $21 million contract was awarded on June 2.
The Global Hawk flies autonomously at an altitude of 65,000 ft., above inclement weather and prevailing winds for more than 35 hours. During a single mission, it provides detailed intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance information on a 40,000-square-mile area in near-real time.

For more on Global Hawk, see Global Hawk to Receive Upgraded Sensor Suite.

Contract Awarded for Typhoon EW

Source: EADS

EADS Defense Electronics (Ulm, Germany) is to supply electronic core components for the EuroDASS electronic-warfare (EW) self-protection system of the Eurofighter Typhoon, which will enhance the survivability of the combat aircraft during military missions. As the company announced on Aug. 11, EADS Defense Electronics has received a contract worth $323.5 million for the delivery of highly specialized components for the 236 aircraft of Tranche 2 of the four-nation project.
As part of the EuroDASS consortium, EADS Defense Electronics is collaborating with the companies Selex (a joint venture of Finmeccanica and BAE Systems) in the UK, Elettronica in Italy, and Indra in Spain.
The EuroDASS consists of an integrated radar warner, radar jammer, and missile-warning system, which are all controlled by a central self-protection computer and interact with a chaff/flare decoy subsystem. The self-protection system of the Eurofighter Typhoon utilizes high-frequency and digital technologies that enable accurate real-time detection of threats and initiation of countermeasures. This involves EuroDASS warning the pilot about radar positions for surface-to-air missiles, enemy aircraft, and missiles approaching his own aircraft, as well as airspace surveillance radars. Possible countermeasures include jamming or deceiving radars and radar-guided missiles, as well as launching decoys and initiating evasive action.

For more on Eurofighter Typhoon's EW suite, see Eye of the Storm.

Australia Kicks Off Amphibious Ships Program

Source: Australian DoD

The Australian government has approved the first stage of the $2-billion Amphibious Ships project, which will provide the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) with a capability to deploy land forces on operations.
Defense Minister Senator Robert Hill said the project will provide the RAN with two new amphibious ships to be used on operations such as combat operations, regional disaster relief, humanitarian aid, peacekeeping and peace monitoring, and assistance to policing or military operations.
Australian shipbuilders will be invited to tender for either or both of two designs: the Spanish Navantia ship, at approximately 27,000 tons, and the French Armaris Mistral ship, with additional troop carrying capability, at approximately 22,000 tons.
"Each ship will preferably have the ability to transport up to 1,000 personnel, have six helicopter landing spots, and [have] provision for a mix of troop-lift and armed reconnaissance helicopters. It will also be able to transport up to 150 vehicles, including the new M1A1 Abrams tanks and armored vehicles," Senator Hill said. "Each ship will also be equipped with medical facilities, including two operating theaters and a hospital ward."
A request for tender will be released to the Australian shipbuilding industry in the second quarter of 2006. Senator Hill said the shipbuilder would be determined once a thorough financial and technical comparison was made between Australian bids and overseas build options.
"The government's preference is to see the ships built in Australia. However, Australian industry will need to demonstrate it can deliver the project at a competitive price," Senator Hill said.
The government has given first-pass approval to the project and committed $23 million towards the design-development phase of the project. This will enable Navantia and Armaris to begin work on defining the requirements for the ships, incorporating necessary Australian environmental, safety, and technical requirements.
The tender documentation will allow bidders to form teaming arrangements, submit fixed price bids, provide innovative solutions to improve price and schedule, and bid through-life support solutions.
"A lot of work has been done on assessing the two ships and also the capability of shipbuilders. Both ships are very capable and will be a quantum leap over our current capability," Senator Hill said.
"The Spanish ship would have a greater carrying capacity but construction of the first Spanish ship has only just started. In comparison, the French ship has slightly less carrying capacity but has been constructed and is undertaking its final tests with the French Navy."
For an Australian build, the contract would be awarded in early 2007 with the in-service date for the first ship being 2012.

For more on Australian naval modernization see Shipbuilder Chosen for Australian Destroyers.

UK Navy Helps Rescue Russian Sub

Source: UK Royal Navy

A UK Royal Navy team played a vital role in the successful international rescue of seven Russian sailors trapped in a sunken submersible.
The team, which deployed with a Scorpio 45 Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), took about five hours to cut a Russian Priz submersible free after it became tangled in fishing nets and cables.
Commander Jonty Powis, the UK's submarine escape and rescue specialist, said: "The team is absolutely delighted to have helped to bring the men who were trapped in the submarine safely to the surface. This was a dangerous situation, with the rescue mission under pressure as oxygen levels in the submarine ran low."
Following a request from Russia for assistance, the Scorpio 45 and its six-strong operating crew were flown in a RAF Boeing C-17 aircraft to Petropaclask, Kamchatka, in Russia on Friday night.
The SCORPIO 45 unit was immediately transferred onto a Russian cable-laying vessel and, on Saturday night, sailed to the site of the incident, about 60 nautical miles offshore. A small team of divers and medical personnel from the US Navy accompanied the team.
The vessel arrived at the scene at around 10 p.m. UK time on Aug. 6. The Scorpio 45 was quickly deployed, reaching the stranded vessel about an hour later.
The first task for the ROV was to locate the trapped submarine without itself becoming entangled in the fishing nets and cables that had trapped the Russian mini-submarine. The team then swiftly began removing the nets with the ROV's remote controlled cable-cutting equipment.
This difficult operation took several hours, and once disentangled the Russian submersible was able to surface with all its crew safe and well.
UK Secretary of State for Defense John Reid, who had been very closely following events in Russia throughout the operation, said he was both very pleased and relieved with the outcome.
The SCORPIO 45 is owned by the Ministry of Defence and managed by James Fisher Rumic.
In a telephone call to Reid, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov paid tribute to the work of the British team in the rescue of the trapped Russian submersible.

For more on UK unmanned submersibles, see New Underwater Robots for UK Navy.


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