March's top stories: UK carrier strike capability delay, RAN's ASMD upgrade

The UK National Audit Office warned of potential delays in achieving initial carrier strike operating capability, BAE Systems completed anti-ship missile defence (ASMD) upgrade of Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) last Anzac frigate and US, UK and French navies signed trilateral agreement to enhance maritime security. Naval-technology.com wraps up key headlines from March.


UK NAO warns of potential delays in achieving initial carrier strike operating capability

The British Royal Navy's plan to achieve initial carrier strike operating capability by December 2020 could be delayed due to technical issues that are yet to be resolved, according to the UK's National Audit Office (NAO).

NAO head Amyas Morse said: “The department has made good progress and clear plans to achieve an initial carrier strike operating capability by December 2020, but it still has a lot to do as it brings together the equipment, trained crews, infrastructure and support.

“Problems in any of these areas could mean use of the carriers is delayed or reduced. The programme will shortly move into a high-risk period of trials, testing and training which may affect plans and increase costs.

“The closely timed sequence of tasks offers no further room for slippage, and there remain significant risks to value for money.”

BAE completes anti-ship missile defence upgrade of last Australian Anzac frigate

BAE Systems completed anti-ship missile defence (ASMD) upgrade works on the Royal Australian Navy's last Anzac-class frigate, HMAS Stuart.

HMAS Stuart was undocked at the company’s Henderson shipyard in Western Australia following completion of the overhaul.

The frigate will now undergo several months of harbour acceptance trials to test the vessel's upgraded systems.

It is expected to complete the entire modernisation process by late this year, which will signal the complete delivery of the project to the navy.

US, UK and French navies sign trilateral agreement to enhance maritime security

The US Navy, British Royal Navy and France's Marine Nationale signed an agreement to ensure continued security at sea.

The three navies will work both together and independently under the deal, in order to address current and future security challenges posed by violent extremism. The agreement will also allow the partners to conduct Carrier Strike Group operations.

The Royal Navy noted that the three navies share the same global reach and full-range capability from nuclear submarines to power projection.

France's DCNS completes maiden sea trials of first Gowind 2500 corvette

France-based group DCNS successfully completed the maiden sea trials of the first Gowind 2500 multi-mission corvette, which is currently being built by the company in Lorient, France.

The sea trials were conducted in order to determine the conception and production quality of the company's new range of vessels.

DCNS Programmes senior vice-president Pierre Legros said: “The sea trials of the Gowind 2500 corvette once again illustrate DCNS’ industrial capacity to manage and realise major programmes, with products meeting the needs of our customers.”

The 102m-long and 16m-wide DCNS Gowind 2500 corvette has the capability to displace 2,600t and can accommodate 80 crew members, including helicopter detachment.

Indian Navy's INS Vikramaditya conducts first test of Barak missile

The Indian Navy's INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier successfully conducted the first firing of the new Barak surface-to-air missile system.

Firing tests were carried out in the Arabian Sea as part of the Operational Readiness Inspection programme of the Western Fleet, and saw the Barak surface-to-air missile fired against a live low-flying, high-speed target, reported the Press Trust of India (PTI).

The trial was intended to demonstrate India’s maritime defence capabilities and was carried out by Western Naval Command flag officer commanding-in-chief vice-admiral Girish Luthra from 21 to 23 March.

Royal Australian Navy's first HMAS Hobart destroyer completes sea trials

The Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Alliance successfully completed the final five weeks of sea acceptance trials for the Royal Australian Navy's first Hobart-class air warfare destroyer (AWD) HMAS Hobart.

HMAS Hobart is now ready to be handed over to the Australian defence in June this year following the completion of the sea trials, which were conducted off the coast of South Australia over a 21-day period.

The hull consolidation of HMAS Hobart vessel was carried out in March 2014 and the builder’s sea trials were conducted in September last year. The ship was officially launched in May 2015.

Rosborough Boats to deliver multi-role rescue vessels for Canada's AOPS vessels

Nova Scotia-based Rosborough Boats received a new contract to deliver multi-role rescue boats for the Royal Canadian Navy’s arctic and offshore patrol ships (AOPS).

The $7.3m contract was awarded by Irving Shipbuilding and will see Rosborough Boats develop two of its Rough Water 8.5m rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIB) for each of the six AOPSs.

Rough Water 8.5 is a highly adaptable seaworthy RHIB and will be deployed along with the AOPS vessels for operation in harsh arctic environments.

Kongsberg to deliver HUGIN AUVs to Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency

Kongsberg Maritime was contracted by the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency (NDMA) for the delivery of four complete HUGIN autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) systems.

The HUGIN AUVs are set to have a depth rating of 3,000m and will be equipped with advanced sensors and used for detection, classification and identification of mines.

The company will also supply launch and recovery systems for the Royal Norwegian Navy’s mine hunting vessels and mobile containers.

Keel laid for Irish Naval Service's fourth offshore patrol vessel

Babcock laid the keel for the Irish Naval Service's new Samuel Beckett-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV) at its shipbuilding yard in Devon, UK, marking the beginning of construction on the vessel.

Ireland Defence Minister Paul Kehoe TD said during the ceremony that the new OPV will be named in honour of renowned Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw.

The other Irish Naval Service OPVs that are already in service have also been named after Irish literary artists, such as LÉ James Joyce, LÉ Samuel Beckett, LÉ William Butler Yeats.

Singapore Navy launches fourth littoral mission vessel Justice

The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) launched the fourth littoral mission vessel (LMV), Justice, at Singapore Technologies Marine's (ST Marine) Benoi shipyard.

Singapore State Defence Senior Minister Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman said that the LMVs demonstrate how the RSN is "looking ahead to the next 50 years to make sure it stays relevant and ready for the challenges ahead."

ST Marine is building eight LMVs in total to replace the navy's Fearless-class patrol vessels, under a contract awarded by Singapore's Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) in 2013.