March's top stories: UK’s $3.2bn P-8A deal, first AWD Hobart aegis testing
The US has agreed the $3.2bn sale of P-8A patrol aircraft to the UK, Lockheed starts Aegis testing on Australian Navy’s first AWD Hobart and the UK Government announces £642m investment for Successor submarine programme. Naval-technology.com wraps up key headlines from March.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of the potential foreign military sale of P-8A patrol aircraft to the UK.
Boeing was selected as the prime contractor for the sale. Additional contractors include ViaSat, GC Micro, Rockwell Collins, Spirit Aero, Raytheon, Telephonics, Pole Zero, Northrop Grumman Corp, Exelis, Terma, Symmetrics, Arnprior Aerospace, General Electric, and Martin Baker.
Approved by the State Department, the potential sale is expected to re-establish the UK's maritime surveillance aircraft (MSA) capability, which was divested following the cancellation of the Nimrod MRA4 maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) programme.
Lockheed Martin started testing and integration of its Aegis combat system into the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) first Aegis-equipped air warfare destroyer (AWD), Hobart.
The RAN was provided with the Lockheed Martin Aegis Baseline 8 configuration, which integrates commercial-off-the-shelf technology and open architecture into the combat system.
RAN programme manager air warfare destroyer commodore Craig Bourke said: "This milestone is a significant step towards an increase in the Royal Australian Navy's maritime security capabilities through the seamless integration of the Aegis combat system to defend against advanced air, surface and subsurface threats."
UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced an investment of £642m for the Royal Navy's future nuclear deterrent Successor submarine programme.
The Successor submarines will replace the navy's existing fleet of four Trident missile Vanguard-class nuclear submarines from the 2030s, and are being designed to be some of the stealthiest vessels in the world.
The investment, which takes the total cost of the Successor programme's assessment phase to £3.9bn, is aimed at furthering design work towards acquiring new parts and facilities.
The US Navy and Lockheed Martin debuted the first Fleet Ballisted Missile programme 3D-printed component during a recent Trident II D5 fleet ballistic missile test flight.
The 3D-printed connector backshell, which is composed entirely of aluminium alloy and safeguards the cable connectors in the missile, was used in three test flights of D5 ballistic missiles.
The 3D-printed component incorporated into the D5 missile replicates the range of products developed by Lockheed Martin's Digital Tapestry, which is a set of manufacturing tools that engages in the course of a product's life-cycle starting from its inception to its production and sustainment.
India reportedly conducted a successful test-firing of the K-4 submarine-launched ballistic missile, at its full range from a submerged platform in the Bay of Bengal off the Visakhapatnam coast.
According to a report by the Indian Express, the K4 missile was launched from a replica of a submarine submerged at a depth of 9m in the water.
Several of the critical parameters concerning the missile were reported to have been met during the exercise.
Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) handed over its first assault amphibious vehicle survivability upgrade (AAV SU) to the US Marine Corps (USMC) Base Quantico.
The AAV SU is the first of ten vehicles to be delivered as part of a contract with the USMC to perform initial upgrades to AAV SU prototypes.
Transported from SAIC's integration facility in Charleston, South Carolina, the AAV SU has been delivered ahead of schedule.
The US Marine Corps' (USMC) two F-35B Lightning II aircraft have conducted an aerial refuelling mission with a KC-130J Super Hercules, during a training flight over Southern California.
Supported by marines from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352, the two F-35Bs from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 successfully completed the routine multiple times during the flight.
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 pilot and Dallas native captain Jimmy Braudt said: "The ability to refuel in flight is critical for the supportability and the sustainability of the F-35B during real-world operations."
The UK Royal Navy's third Astute-class submarine HMS Artful was officially commissioned into service.
Following its delivery to the Royal Navy, the submarine underwent trials to assess the functionality of her systems and equipment at sea prior to its deployment into operation next year.
Naval Staff chief and First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas said: "Today's ceremony dramatically increases the operational capability of the Submarine Service with the commissioning of our third Astute-class boat, and is another milestone in the journey towards HM Naval Base Clyde becoming the UK Submarine Centre of Specialisation by 2020."
Raytheon Canada was contracted by the Government of Canada to provide a new weapon system to the Royal Canadian Navy.
Under the $36m contract, Raytheon will deliver 58 naval remote weapon stations, which will be installed on Canada's existing fleet of Halifax-class modernised frigates, as well as on the future Queenston-class Joint Support Ships.
The new weapon system will further enhance the navy's capabilities to combat naval and aerial threats, including small boat and low-slow flyer threats in all conditions of visibility.
VolkerStevin secured a £19m contract from the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) in the UK to upgrade Mare Harbour on the Falkland Islands.
The contract forms a part of Defence Secretary Michael Fallon's commitment to invest nearly £180m to modernise military infrastructure on the islands.
Work under the contract includes the modernisation of facilities at the berths in Mare Harbour. It will improve military capability in the Falklands as the current harbour berth is unsuitable for the class of vessel, which services the islands.