April's top stories: UK MoD negotiates £1.4bn contract, Australia releases RFT for $35bn

UK MoD negotiates £1.4bn contract for Royal Navy's sixth Astute-class submarine, and Australian Government releases RFT for $35bn Future Frigate project. Naval-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from April, 2017.


UK MoD negotiates £1.4bn contract for Royal Navy's sixth Astute-class submarine

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) negotiated a £1.4bn contract for the delivery of the Royal Navy's new Agamemnon Astute-class submarine, which will be deployed to protect the country's new aircraft carriers and nuclear deterrent.

Agamemnon is the sixth in a total fleet of seven Astute-class nuclear-powered vessels, which are the largest and most advanced submarines ever to enter service with the British Royal Navy.

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “This latest investment means we are well on our way to completing our fleet of Astute submarines.

“These are the most advanced submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy and are already providing unprecedented levels of stealth and attack capability across the world.”

Australian Government releases RFT for $35bn Future Frigate project

The Australian Government released the request for tender (RFT) for the $35bn SEA 5000 Future Frigate project to the three shortlisted designers, namely BAE Systems, Fincantieri and Navantia.

Defence minister Christopher Pyne said that the new Future Frigate project is currently the world’s largest frigate shipbuilding programme.

Pyne said: “Today’s announcement shows the government is on track to begin construction of the Future Frigates in 2020 in Adelaide.

“The release of the RFT is an important part of the competitive evaluation process, which will lead to the government announcing the successful designer for the Future Frigates in 2018.”

USMC's CH-53K King Stallion helicopter awarded Milestone C decision

The US Marine Corps' (USMC) CH-53K King Stallion programme successfully passed its Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) review and attained a Milestone C decision.

CH-35K King Stallion is currently being developed by Lockheed Martin's Sikorsky Aircraft division, and the new decision will potentially allow the programme to become eligible for low-rate initial production funding.

The CH-53K King Stallion is a large, heavy-lift cargo helicopter, which will operate as the largest and heaviest helicopter in the US military.

Sikorsky CH-53K Programmes vice-president Dr Michael Torok said: “This affirmative Milestone C decision validates the maturity and the robust capability of the King Stallion in meeting the USMC mission requirements."

Saab receives $358m order to develop next-generation anti-ship missile

Defence and security company Saab signed a new Skr3.2bn ($357.6m) contract with the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV) for the development of a next-generation anti-ship missile system.

The anti-ship missile system will be developed in both air-launched and ship-launched configurations, and incorporated into the Swedish Air Force’s new Gripen E multirole fighter aircraft and in the Royal Swedish Navy’s Visby-class corvettes.

Saab president and CEO Håkan Buskhe said: “These next-generation missiles will provide the Swedish Air Force and the Royal Swedish Navy with greatly improved capabilities compared to other missiles on the market.

"They will have the capability to engage any target in all conditions.”

US Navy's Gerald R. Ford supercarrier begins Builder's sea trials

The US Navy's future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) aircraft carrier vessel started its first set of sea trials, known as Builder's sea trials.

The carrier set sail on its own power for the first time and will spend several days conducting builder's sea trials, which are carried out to provide an opportunity to test the ship’ systems, components and compartments at sea.

The trials will be conducted by USS Gerald R. Ford's crew members, in collaboration with the shipbuilders from Huntington Ingalls Industries' Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS) shipyard in Virginia, as well as the US Navy’s Supervisor of Shipbuilding and Naval Sea Systems Command personnel.

SEA wins UK MoD contract to upgrade ambient noise prediction system

UK-based Cohort company division SEA secured a contract from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to upgrade the British Royal Navy's ambient noise prediction system (ANPS).

ANPS combines meteorological and oceanographic forecasts with information from oceanographic databases to perform complex acoustic propagation calculations, which are used to produce regular predictions of ambient noise levels in the ocean.

The system will be upgraded to incorporate the latest available environmental information and use higher resolution meteorological models to produce more accurate forecasts, which will then be used by navy vessels equipped with sonar assets.

DCNS to construct five intermediate-size frigates for French Navy

The French Defence Ministry contracted DCNS to develop and build five intermediate-size frigates (FTIs) for the French Navy.

DCNS will propose a French version of its new BELH@RRA frigate as part of the new deal.

The first of the five FTIs from the French Direction générale de l'armement (DGA) managed programme is slated to be delivered in 2023, and is expected to enter into service in 2025.

Indian Navy conducts first test firing of BrahMos land attack supersonic cruise missile

The Indian Navy successfully carried out the maiden firing of the BrahMos land-attack supersonic cruise missile from an Indian naval vessel, known as Teg.

This variant of long-range BrahMos missile was test-fired from the Indian Navy’s guided missile frigate, and aimed at a land-based target in the Bay of Bengal, reported The Hindu.

The land-attack cruise missile was developed by India in collaboration with Russia. The anti-ship variant of the missile has already been inducted into the Indian Navy.

HALO to install fully automated waterside security barrier for US Navy

The US Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) awarded a new contract to HALO Maritime Defense Systems for the delivery of a fully automated waterside security barrier at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia.

HALO is a Newton, New Hampshire-based provider of advanced engineered solutions for securing strategic maritime assets.

The HALO barriers are currently the only marine security barriers to have been validated in independent, fully instrumented crash testing conducted by the US Navy.

MBDA to deliver in-service support for British Navy Type 45 destroyers' Sea Viper

MBDA received a new £175m contract from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide further in-service support for the British Royal Navy's Daring-class Type 45 destroyers' Sea Viper weapon system.

Known as the Sea Viper Unified Support Environment Period 1, the new agreement will see MBDA continue to offer in-service support to the Sea Viper weapon system over the next five years.

The unified support environment (USE) is the principle behind providing in-service support to UK MoD’s weapon systems and missiles in a portfolio environment, which has been designed with an aim to cut down support workload and administrative costs.