June's top stories: US missile defence system test, RIMPAC 2014

The ground-based mid-course defence (GMD) element of the US ballistic missile defence system (BMDS) is successfully tested, exercise RIMPAC 2014 begins in the waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands and the US Navy awards a $3.9bn spy plane contract to Northrop. Naval-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from June.


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US missile defence system successfully hits target over Pacific

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the US Air Force 30th Space Wing, the Joint Functional Component Command, Integrated Missile Defense, US Northern Command and the US Navy have successfully tested the ground-based mid-course defence (GMD) element of the ballistic missile defence system (BMDS).

During the test, which was held over the Pacific, the Boeing-run GMD system and Raytheon's capability enhancement II exoatmospheric kill vehicle (EKV) successfully intercepted Lockheed Martin's LV-2 intermediate-range ballistic missile, which was launched from the US Army's Reagan test site on Kwajalein Atoll.

As part of the test, the Aegis Weapon System, equipped on the US Navy's Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper (DDG 70), successfully detected and tracked the target using the AN/SPY-1 radar.

US Navy 'to award $3.9bn spy plane contract to Northrop'

The Pentagon has reportedly notified Congress of plans to procure new spy planes from Northrop Grumman, in a deal worth approximately $3.9bn.

An undisclosed source was quoted by Reuters as saying that the five-year deal, which could be confirmed by the end of June, will provide $369m in savings.

RIMPAC 2014 set to begin

rimpac

Maritime forces from 23 nations are set to participate in the world's largest international maritime exercise, Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014, which starts this week in the waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands.

Running through to 1 August, the 24th biennial event is intended to combat terrorism and piracy, and will involve around 47 vessels, six submarines and more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel.

Hosted by the US Pacific Fleet, RIMPAC is aimed at demonstrating the collaborative defence efforts that are necessary to maintain peace and stability in the Pacific region.

India issues $2.25bn tender to procure ASW shallow-water craft

Abhay-class corvettes

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has issued a $2.25bn tender to domestic shipyards for the construction of 16 shallow-water anti-submarine warfare (ASW) vessels, as part of efforts to replace the ageing Russian-built Abhay-class corvettes commissioned in 1989 and 1991.

Under the 'Buy and Make India' category, the tender was issued to private sector firms, including Larsen & Toubro, ABG Shipyard, Pipavav Defense and Offshore Engineering, and Goa Shipyard and Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers.

The participating domestic companies are required to collaborate with foreign defence firms for the procurement of certain critical technologies.

DCNS receives €1bn Corvette procurement order from Egypt

French shipyard group DCNS has reportedly received a €1bn order from Egypt for four Gowind-class corvettes, fighting off competition from Germany's ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and the Dutch Damen Schelde group.

The scope of the contract includes two vessels with an option for two more, one of which will be built in France before being transported to Egypt, reported the French news agency La Tribune.

The latest order is the second for Gowind, with the first export contract received from Malaysia for six corvettes.

UK MoD awards contracts for small-boat maintenance

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded approximately £111m worth of new contracts to maintain its small-boat fleet, which is used by the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and MoD Police.

Firms benefitting from the five-year contracts include Devonport Royal Dockyard, UK Dock Tyne Slipway & Eng, Berthon Boat, MPI Services (UK), Marine Specialised Tech, and BAE Systems Surface Ships.

UK Defence Equipment Support and Technology Minister Philip Dunne said the contracts provide the UK's marine support industry with a steady volume of work, helping to maintain technical and engineering skills in the sector.

Swedish FMV contracts Saab for next-generation submarines

saab

The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) has placed an order with Saab for the construction of the next-generation A26 submarines.

The $70m order also includes mid-life updates to the Royal Swedish Navy's two Gotland-class submarines, as well as the completion of systems design and detail construction.

Work under the contract, which will be carried within Saab's Security and Defence Solutions business area, includes the completion of system design on the A26, in addition to detail construction in 2014-2015.

ONR awards contract to develop laser weapon for marine vehicles

The US Office of Naval Research (ONR) has awarded contracts for the development of a laser weapon, designed for use on ground vehicles used by the US Marine Corps (USMC).

Development of the weapon is part of the Ground-Based Air Defense Directed Energy (GBAD) on-the-move programme.The latest move follows the US Navy's plan to deploy its first laser system, known as LaWS, on the USS Ponce ship this summer.

The GBAD programme is aimed at offering an affordable alternative to conventional firepower to keep enemy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from tracking and targeting marines on the ground. This will be done by deploying the GBAD system on light tactical vehicles, including Humvee and joint light tactical vehicles.

US Navy and DARPA join forces on TERN concept

The US Navy and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have joined forces on the tactically exploited reconnaissance node programme (TERN).

The deal involves further development in DARPA's existing efforts on TERN, which involve exploring concepts for a long-endurance and long-range aircraft that is capable of operating a range of navy vessels.

The TERN programme aims to deploy smaller ships as mobile launch and recovery sites for medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

Irish Naval Service confirms third OPV order

Offshore patrol vessel

The Irish Naval Service has confirmed that an order has been placed with Babcock Marine for a third offshore patrol vessel (OPV).

The latest order forms part of a €100m ($129m) contract signed in 2010 for two vessels, with an option for a third.

Aimed at replacing the navy's ageing fleet of OPVs, the new €54m vessel will be identical to the recently commissioned LE Samuel Beckett and the LE James Joyce, which is currently under construction.