July's top stories: Chattanooga shooting, Fincantieri-Finmeccanica's €1.1bn deal

Four US Marines and one sailor were killed during a suspected terrorist shooting at the US Navy's Operational Support Center (NOSC) in Chattanooga, UK to increase MoD budget and meet Nato's defence spending target of 2% and Fincantieri and Finmeccanica receive €1.1bn contract for Italian Navy’s LHD unit. Naval-technology.com wraps up key headlines from July.


top july

Four US Marines killed in Chattanooga shooting, including gunman

chattanooga

Four US Marines were killed and one sailor was injured during a suspected terrorist shooting at the US Navy's Operational Support Center (NOSC) in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The shooter, identified as Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, was reportedly carrying 30 round magazines when he opened fire and was armed with an AK-47 style weapon at the time of the attack, according to law enforcement sources.

Abdulazeez was born in Kuwait with a Jordanian citizenship, and was a naturalised US citizen, according to media reports.

US President Barack Obama said in a statement: "It is a heartbreaking circumstance for these individuals who have served our country with great valour to be killed in this fashion."

UK to increase MoD budget and meet Nato's defence spending target of 2%

The UK Chancellor George Osborne committed to spend 2% of national income in defence sector, ending months of speculation over the government's plan.

In March, the UK MPs voted 37 to three in favour of keeping defence spending at 2% of GDP. With this development, the Ministry of Defence's (MoD) budget is expected to rise by 0.5% every year until 2020.

During his speech at Summer Budget 2015, the Chancellor said the UK Government's decision to meet Nato's target of defence spending 2% of GDP every year of this decade, saying that the country's defence budget would rise in real terms every year.

The additional financial funding will support the UK MoD to invest on new projects, such as replacing the Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft.

US launches criminal investigation against Sikorsky over aircraft contract

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) reportedly launched a criminal investigation against United Technologies Corp's (UTC) Sikorsky for allegedly overbilling the US Navy for a contract.

In 2006, Sikorsky Support Services (SSSI) secured a navy contract to support T-34 and T-44 fixed-wing turboprop training aircraft.

As part of this contract, SSSI subcontracted another Sikorsky unit Derco Aerospace to procure spare parts.

The US Government alleges that the company overcharged the navy under this contract from 2006 to 2012.

Fincantieri and Finmeccanica receive €1.1bn contract for Italian Navy's LHD unit

The Italian Navy awarded a €1.1bn contract to Fincantieri and Finmeccanica for the construction and equipment of one multipurpose amphibious unit (LHD).

Fincantieri's share in this contract is estimated to be approximately €853m, while Finmeccanica will receive €273m.

Under this contract, Fincantieri is also responsible for providing support over the lifecycle of the vessels in the first ten years.

Missile explosion damages US Navy's USS The Sullivans destroyer

A missile fired from the US Navy's Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, USS The Sullivans (DDG-68), exploded close to the vessel off the coast of Virginia.

Fired from the forward missile deck as part of an exercise off the US Atlantic coast last week, the Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) caused minor damages to the ship.

The incident occurred during the planned exercise with the guided missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG-64).

Naval Sea Systems Command (Navsea) was quoted by USNI News as saying that the explosion was triggered by a malfunction in the missile.

US Navy trials undersea drone in Mediterranean Sea

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The US Navy reportedly launched and recovered an underwater drone from its USS North Dakota submarine, which is said to be its first such mission.

The submarine-launched unmanned undersea vehicles (UUV) are considered to be cost-effective alternative to extend the reach of the US Navy's submarine fleet.

The Virginia-class vessel completed its two-month mission in the Mediterranean Sea, and returned to its base in Groton, US.

Australia and US naval forces complete Talisman Sabre 2015 joint exercise

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US and Australian naval forces successfully completed the Talisman Sabre 2015 combined joint exercise aboard the US 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) in Brisbane, Australia.

The biennial programme is designed to improve Australian and US combat readiness and interoperability, and maximise combined training opportunities.

US Consulate general Hugo Llorens said: "Together we're working to secure a peaceful and prosperous Asia-Pacific, which in the end, benefits anyone, and Talisman Sabre 2015 is one clear way that we are helping to ensure peace and prosperity of the region."

DCNS offers Shortfin Barracuda for Australia's future submarine programme

France's DCNS proposed its Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A design for Australia's future submarine competitive evaluation process (CEP).

Claimed to be the world's most advanced conventionally powered submarine, the vessel is in its pre-concept design stage and has been named after an indigenous species of the Barracuda found in Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

The Shortfin Barracuda is the smaller version of the French Navy's Barracuda nuclear-powered attack submarine.

DCNS Australia CEO Sean Costello said: "While exact details remain confidential, DCNS can confirm the Shortfin Barracuda is over 90m in length and displaces more than 4,000t when dived."

RAN's Nuship Adelaide completes initial sea trials

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The Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) second landing helicopter dock (LHD) ship, Nuship Adelaide, docked at BAE Systems' Williamstown shipyard after successfully completing initial sea trials.

The vessel will now undergo final outfitting and integration activities at the shipyard.

Designed to test the ship's systems, the first set of sea trials focused mainly on platform systems.

BAE Systems Maritime director Bill Saltzer said: "During sea trials, we essentially test the ship and all its systems in the 'at-sea' environment in which it will be expected to operate in the service of the Royal Australian Navy."

3D-printed aircraft trialled off UK Royal Navy's warship

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Researchers from the University of Southampton trialled a 3D-printed aircraft off the UK Royal Navy's warship, HMS Mersey.

Called Southampton University Laser Sintered Aircraft (SULSA), the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was developed using sintered nylon on a 3D printer.

Launched from HMS Mersey into the Wyke Regis Training Facility in Weymouth, the UAV flight covered 500m before landing on Chesil Beach.

The flight is part of an effort to evaluate the possibility of using small lightweight UAVs in a maritime environment.