June's top stories: Fincantieri-Qatar’s €4bn navy deal, RIMPAC 2016 begins

Fincantieri won a €4bn contract to build seven vessels for the Qatar Navy, Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016 international maritime exercise started in Hawaiian waters and the US Navy’s fifth mobile user objective system satellite was successfully launched. Naval-technology.com wraps up key headlines from June.


rimpac 2016

Fincantieri wins €4bn contract to build seven vessels for Qatar Navy

Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri signed a €4bn contract with the Qatari Ministry of Defence to construct seven new-generation surface vessels for the Qatar Emiri Naval Forces.

Under the contract, Fincantieri will build and deliver four more 100m-long corvettes, one amphibious landing platform dock and two offshore patrol vessels.

The contract also includes the provision of support services in Qatar for a period of 15 years following the delivery of the vessels.

RIMPAC 2016 international maritime exercise to begin on 30 June

The world's largest international maritime exercise, Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016, was scheduled to begin on 30 June in the waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands and southern California, US.

US Defense Department Press Operations director navy captain Jeff Davis said RIMPAC is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

Commenting on RIMPAC, Davis said in a statement that it "provides a training exercise opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relations that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security of the world's oceans."

US Navy successfully launches fifth mobile user objective system satellite

The US Navy launched its fifth mobile user objective system (MUOS-5) satellite aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 evolved expendable launch vehicle (EELV) 551 from Space Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

MUOS principal assistant programme manager commander Jason Pratt said: "MUOS-5 will be transitioning over the next nine days to reach its test slot 22,000 miles above the earth in a geosynchronous orbit.

"Once it has reached its location and deployed its arrays and antennas, on-orbit testing of the satellite will begin."

The network aims to improve existing mobile satellite communications for soldiers on on-the-go missions.

USS Harry S Truman launches combat sorties from Mediterranean against ISIS

Truman

The US Navy's Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75) strike group conducted combat sorties from the Mediterranean Sea in support of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) in Iraq and Syria against ISIS.

The fighter jet F/A-18E Super Hornet, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 25, conducted several combat sorties in an effort to deplete the resources and leadership capability of the terrorist organisation.

The carrier strike group (CSG) is deployed in the 6th Fleet area of operations (AOO) to provide strike, ballistic missile defence, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.

US allocates $1bn in funds to procure first icebreaker in 25 years

US Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran revealed that $1bn is recommended in navy shipbuilding funds to procure the first US Coast Guard-operated icebreaker in 25 years.

The funding for the Polar Icebreaker Recapitalization Project is included in the US FY2017 Defense Appropriations Bill.

The funding bill is expected to allow early construction to start as proposed by US President Barack Obama last year to move the planned icebreaker construction from 2022 to 2020.

Final structural section of UK Royal Navy's HMS Prince of Wales installed

HMS Prince of Wales

The final structural section of the UK Royal Navy's second Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, was installed in place, marking a construction milestone.

The milestone was achieved after His Royal Highness (HRH) Charles Philip, the Prince of Wales, signalled for the 570t block, known as Sponson 11, to be lowered into place.

The Prince, also known as Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, gave the royal seal of approval to the nation's future aircraft carrier.

Damen introduces new naval multi-role auxiliary vessels

Damen

Damen Shipyard Group introduced a new range of naval multi-role auxiliary vessels (MRAV) at the Oceanographic Survey Vessel Conference held in London.

The new series of vessels have been designed to offer reliable and cost-effective multi-role and hydrographic survey capabilities.

Damen Shipyards Gorinchem principal naval advisor Jan van der Burg said: "The idea behind these vessels is to create a basic platform that can assist in a variety of tasks through the selection of the required mission configuration, e.g. coastal transport, submarine support or coastal infantry operations.

"The stimulus to switch from the traditional one-to-one replacement is to lower the total cost of ownership without losing capability and capacity."

Egyptian Navy takes delivery of first Mistral-class helicopter carrier from DCNS

French shipyard DCNS delivered the first Mistral-class landing helo dock (LHD) helicopter carrier to the Ministry of Defence of the Arab Republic of Egypt.

Christened as Gamal Abdel Nasser, the helicopter carrier represents the first of two LHDs to be delivered to the Egyptian Navy by DCNS under a contract signed in October last year.

Egypt agreed to buy these new-build helicopter carriers after France and Russia terminated a €1.2bn ($1.3bn) contract over the Ukraine crisis.

Turkish firm STM to modernise Pakistan Navy's Agosta 90B submarines

Turkey-based STM Savunma Teknolojileri Mühendislik ve Ticaret won an international tender to modernise Agosta 90B air-independent propulsion (AIP) powered submarines from the Pakistani Naval Forces.

The contract, which was signed between Pakistan's Ministry of Defence Production and STM, covers modernisation work on one submarine, and includes options for two more vessels.

STM has won the tender after competing against French company DCNS, which originally designed and built the submarines.

Construction begins on Canadian Navy's first Harry DeWolf-class AOPS

The beginning of construction on the Royal Canadian Navy's (RCN) first Harry DeWolf-class of arctic offshore patrol vessels (AOPS) was officially marked with a keel-laying ceremony at Irving Shipyard in Halifax.

The vessel was named after vice-admiral Harry DeWolf, an officer who served in the Second World War with distinction, and later served as Chief of the Naval Staff in the late 1950s.

The Harry DeWolf-class vessels will allow the RCN to operate further north on a sustained basis into the Canadian Arctic, while boosting its Arctic collaboration with the Canadian Coast Guard, as well as other governmental departments and international allies.