June's top stories: HII wins $3.35bn contract, HMS Queen Elizabeth powers up

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) has secured a $3.35bn contract to build nuclear-powered aircraft carrier John F Kennedy, the US approves $1.91bn Aegis Combat Systems sale to South Korea and HMS Queen Elizabeth has moved closer to becoming operational with the start of the first of its four generators. Naval-technology.com wraps up key headlines from June.


CVN 79

Huntington Ingalls Industries receives $3.35bn contract to build Gerald R Ford class carrier

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) secured a $3.35bn contract to design and construct the second Gerald R Ford class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier John F Kennedy (CVN 79).

The company also received a $941m modification to an existing contract to continue material procurement and manufacturing of the ship.

Work under these contracts includes ship construction, design, engineering services, and procurement of materials and hardware. Huntington Ingalls plans to construct the John F Kennedy at its Newport News Shipbuilding division.

US approves $1.91bn Aegis Combat Systems sale to South Korea

The US State Department approved a possible foreign military sale worth approximately $1.91bn to the Republic of Korea for Aegis Combat Systems and associated equipment, parts, and logistical support.

Under this proposed deal, South Korea will receive three Aegis shipboard combat systems, three MK-41 vertical launching systems, three common data link management systems, and three AN/UPX-29(V) identification friend or foe interrogators.

With the new Aegis Combat System, South Korea will be able to enhance capabilities of its naval ships to defend against possible aggression, and protect sea lines of communications.

Thailand may procure three submarines from China for $1bn

The Royal Thai Navy reportedly shortlisted Chinese diesel electric attack submarines, after the Thai Naval procurement committee voted in favour of China's offer.

For this THB12bn ($1.06bn) project, the country also received offers from European countries, such as Russia, Sweden, and France.

China's Type 039B diesel-electric submarine reportedly features superior weapons and technology, as well as the capability to stay underwater longer than vessels offered by competitors.

The Thai Navy is planning to purchase these new capabilities as part of an increased 2016 defence budget.

With support from Thailand Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, this new move will help the country to combat growing territorial threats and conduct a variety of other maritime missions.

HMS Queen Elizabeth's first engine becomes operational

HMS Queen Elizabeth

The UK Royal Navy's new Queen Elizabeth-class (QE) aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth moved closer to becoming operational with the start of the first of its four generators.

UK Minister of State Defence Procurement Philip Dunne officially started the diesel generator at the home of the UK's aircraft carrier programme in Rosyth, Scotland.

The diesel generators will offer sufficient electrical power to drive the ship at cruise speeds. The vessel will use two gas turbine alternators for higher speed.

The navy is expected to begin sea trials for the carrier in August 2016, followed by commissioning in May 2017.

RAN's Nuship Adelaide LHD begins sea trials

Nuship

The Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) second landing helicopter dock (LHD) ship, Nuship Adelaide, was floated out from BAE Systems' Williamstown shipyard to undergo sea trials.

Nuship Adelaide will carry out initial trials in Port Phillip Bay, before leaving to Sydney. The vessel will be then dry docked in Sydney, where its hull and flight deck will be cleaned and painted.

The sea trials will be conducted under different scenarios, which will see the ship in certain conditions and / or water depths. In addition, some of the trials require its systems in specific configurations.

US Navy test fires SM-6 against 'over-the-horizon' threat

The US Navy's USS Desert Ship (LLS-1) crew, the surface-to-air weapons testing site, successfully test fired a Raytheon-built Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) against a medium-range supersonic target from 'over-the-horizon'.

The mission was part of a test series for the Naval Integrated Fire Control - Counter Air (NIFC-CA) programme. NIFC-CA is designed to connect US Navy ships and airborne sensors into a single network.

For this test firing, the mock warship at White Sands Missile Range used information from other ships and airborne sensors.

The SM-6 offers navy vessels with enhanced protection against fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles as part of the NIFC-CA mission area.

India conducts first live firing of its anti-ship Harpoon missile

India successfully conducted the first live firing of a Boeing-built anti-ship Harpoon missile from a fighter plane.

The missile was reportedly launched from a Jaguar maritime strike fighter that flew 200nm off the west coast, targeting a pre-designated aim in the Arabian Sea.

The country had purchased Harpoon missiles for the Indian Air Force's (IAF) Jaguar aircraft and the Indian Navy's P-8I maritime patrol aircraft.

The fighter plane belonged to the IAF's maritime strike squadron based at the Lohegaon airbase. During the mission, Jaguar was also carried out mid-air refuelling.

North Korea test-fires three short-range anti-ship missiles

North Korea reportedly test-fired three short-range, anti-ship missiles into the sea from a site near the eastern city of Wonsan, the latest development after the underwater test of a ballistic missile in May.

A South Korea's defence ministry spokesman reported that North Korea fired three KN-01 missiles during the recent test.

The ministry spokesman said: "The missiles appear to have a range of nearly 100km (62 miles).

"We are closely monitoring the movements of the North's military, and maintaining full readiness against potential provocations."

Raytheon completes testing and evaluation live fires of new AIM-9X missile

The US Navy and Raytheon completed the operational testing and evaluation live-fires of the AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II infrared air-to-air missile.

The testing and evaluation process involved 16 planned shots against a variety of full-scale and sub-scale targets.

Raytheon Air Warfare Systems vice-president Mike Jarrett said: "The development of AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II now brings the warfighter two very important missile capabilities.

"First, they have rapid, high off-boresight acquisition to enable the first firing opportunity in a hard-turning visual dogfight.

"Second, the pilot can now extend their reach through the use of aircraft sensors and weapon datalink to engage with Sidewinder missiles well before the initial merge to help ensure the survival and triumph of our warfighters."

DCNS delivers Tahya Misr FREMM frigate to Egyptian Navy

DCNS

The Egyptian Navy received a multi-mission FREMM frigate, Tahya Misr, from French shipyard group DCNS.

The vessel was originally built for the French Navy, but was transferred to Egypt after consideration of the country's urgent order for the vessel. DCNS has performed the adaptation and outfitting work required for the Egyptian Navy.

DCNS chairman and CEO Hervé Guillou said: "The supply of this latest-generation frigate comes on top of the contract for four GOWIND 2500 corvettes signed in 2014.

"We are very proud to supply the Egyptian Navy with high-tech ships, which will contribute towards the renewal of their surface-ship fleet."