November's top stories: UK F-35B order, France-Russia Mistral deal

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) ordered four F-35B Lightning II aircraft and France reportedly suspended the delivery of the first Mistral-class aircraft carrier, Vladivostok, to Russia 'until further notice', while the USS John Paul Jones Aegis Baseline 9 weapon system conducted successful flight tests. Naval-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from November.


Naval technology

UK MOD orders four F-35B Lightning II aircraft

F-35

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) placed an order with Lockheed Martin for four F-35B Lightning II stealth combat aircraft.

The contract covers an initial four aircraft, with another ten expected to be ordered over the next five years. All of the multirole fifth-generation aircraft will be operated from the Royal Navy's future aircraft carriers and Royal Air Force land bases.

UK Minister for Defence, Equipment Support and Technology Philip Dunne said: "Looking to the future, the investment we are making in the F-35 aircraft will ensure we are securing the skies for decades to come, providing the UK with the latest stealth technology and multirole aircraft capability."

France suspends first Russian Mistral warship delivery

France reportedly suspended the delivery of the first Mistral-class aircraft carrier, Vladivostok, to Russia 'until further notice'.

A statement from the office of the French President François Hollande said: "The current situation in the east of Ukraine still doesn't allow for the delivery."

France has been under pressure from the UK and the US to delay the delivery of the two warships in light of Moscow's reported involvement in the Ukrainian crisis.

USS John Paul Jones Aegis Baseline 9 weapon system conducts flight tests

The Aegis Baseline 9 Destroyer weapon system integrated on the US Navy's Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53), successfully hit intended cruise missile targets over the Pacific Ocean.

Executed with the US Pacific Command and the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the flight test standard missile-25 (FTM-25) marked the first live-fire event in the integrated air and missile defence radar priority mode.

PEO IWS rear admiral Jon Hill said: "The capability that the USS John Paul Jones demonstrated during FTM-25 is the culmination of years of tough engineering across the navy's technical community and our industry partners."

North Korea conducts ejection launcher tests for submarine missile

North Korea reportedly tested an ejection launcher for submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) in Sinpo, South Hamgyong Province.

Carried out on a land-based vertical launch tube, the latest tests suggested the initial stage of firing a missile from a submarine launch tube and signified the shift towards underwater missile strike potential for a nuclear-tipped missile.

The missile is believed to be either a new anti-ship cruise missile with a range of 130km, or a new short-range ballistic missile with a 240km range.

US Navy's F-35C successfully completes initial sea trials

F-35C

The US Navy's fifth-generation F-35C Lightning II carrier-variant joint strike fighter (JSF) successfully completed its initial sea trials aboard aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), validating its reliability and performance.

As part of the two-week, initial at-sea developmental testing I (DT-I), held off the San Diego coast, the aircraft completed the first-of-its-kind arrested-landing and maiden night-flight, further complying with the requirements for the first of three at-sea test phases.

The aircraft conducted 33 flights, featuring 124 catapults, 222 touch-and-go landings and 124 arrestments, logging 39.2 flight hours through a redesigned tailhook.

Royal Australian Navy commissions HMAS Canberra III

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) commissioned HMAS Canberra III (LHD 01), the first of two Canberra-class landing helicopter dock vessels (LHD), in Sydney, Australia.

RAN chief vice-admiral Tim Barrett said: "HMAS Canberra is an exciting addition to the RAN. This very capable ship will serve the nation well for decades to come."

Aimed at delivering an amphibious potential to the Australian Defence Force, the BAE-built HMAS Canberra is powered by a diesel and gas turbine (CODAG) propulsion system, which is combined with one LM 2500 gas turbine and two MAN 16V32 / 40 diesel generators.

BAE deploys virtual reality technology to build UK warships

BAE Systems deployed a network of visualisation suites, integrated with virtual reality technology, at its Glasgow, Portsmouth and Bristol facilities, in a bid to transform the approach to the design and build of UK Royal Navy warships.

The new system generates complete 3D ship prototypes and enables the company's engineering teams to virtually construct and assess the design prior to the construction phase.

The laser tracking system and interactive wand enable operators to view a design from any angle in real-time and study, as well as rapidly check, particular areas, equipment and systems.

China unveils new submarine-launched missile

China Aerospace Science and Industry (CASIC) unveiled its new CM-708UNA submarine-launched cruise missile at the tenth China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai.

Designed for launch through a torpedo tube, the CM-708UNA is capable of being integrated with a range of submarines to target medium-to-large vessels and inshore targets.

It also integrates a strap-down inertial navigation system and satellite navigation for mid-course guidance, as well as a high-precision radar seeker and digital control for terminal homing.

Australian Navy unveils next-generation MH-60R Romeo helicopter

Romeo

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) unveiled the first of 24 next-generation maritime combat helicopters, the MH-60R Seahawk Romeo, on HMAS Albatross in Nowra, Australia.

Australia Defence Minister David Johnston said: "The arrival of the Romeo means that [the] navy will eventually have the capacity to provide eight warships with a combat helicopter at the same time, including the Anzac-class frigates and the new air warfare destroyers.

"They will be fully interoperable with our alliance partner, the US, which brings significant advantages, as well as being a proven capability equipped with highly sophisticated combat systems."

Israel and India successfully test Barak-8 air and missile defence system

Barak-8

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) successfully test-fired the Barak-8 air and missile defence system, bringing it closer to integration on Israeli and Indian warships.

Undertaken in collaboration with the Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMOD) and India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the tests certified all elements of the weapons system, including radar detection, interception and detonation of the approaching projectile.

Designed together with the DRDO in India and deployed by the Israeli and Indian defence forces, the Barak-8 system aims to provide improved protection against a range of aerial platforms and land and naval scenarios.