2017: The year’s biggest Naval Technology stories

5 January 2018 (Last Updated February 7th, 2018 15:07)

The Argentine Navy's submarine, A.R.A. San Juan, went missing in the South Atlantic waters with 44 personnel on-board and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II formally commissioned the British Royal Navy's future flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth. Naval-technology.com wraps up key stories from 2017.

US Navy joins search operations for missing Argentine submarine

The US Navy deployed a series of unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) to search for the Argentine Navy’s missing submarine, A.R.A. San Juan.

The vessel went missing in the South Atlantic waters with 44 personnel on-board in mid-November, two days after its last communication with the navy, reported Reuters.

A.R.A. San Juan had departed from Ushuaia and was en route to the coastal city of Mar del Plata in the Buenos Aires province.

Queen commissions Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II formally commissioned the British Royal Navy’s future flagship Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth on 7 December.

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced the news on-board the aircraft carrier as it underwent sea trials around the south coast of England.

Williamson said: “In a world of intensifying global threats, this magnificent ship will be a leading force fighting to protect the values of the UK and our allies.

“It’s an honour to visit her at sea and to meet such a passionate crew.”

Australian Navy commissions first Hobart-class air warfare destroyer

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) commissioned the first Hobart-class air warfare destroyer, HMAS Hobart, in a formal ceremony at Garden Island in Sydney.

The vessel is the third ship to bear the name Hobart and will be capable of providing air defence for accompanying ships, in addition to land forces and other infrastructure in coastal areas.

It is also expected to offer self-protection against missiles and aircraft, as well as have the potential to carry out various undersea warfare missions.

British Royal Navy unveils new concepts for future submarines

The British Royal Navy presented a series of futuristic submarine concepts, which are expected to bring about changes in underwater warfare operations over the next 50 years.

The new concepts were designed as part of a Royal Navy project named Nautilus 100 by a team of young engineers and scientists from UKNEST, a not-for-profit organisation in the UK.

They include futuristic concepts such as a crewed mothership with a manta ray-like appearance, unmanned eel-like submarines and fish-shaped torpedoes launched to swarm against enemy targets.

Construction begins of Royal Navy’s Type 26 frigate

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon cut the steel for the British Royal Navy’s Type 26 frigate on the River Clyde, marking the beginning of the vessel’s construction phase.

The ship is set to be the first in the British Royal Navy’s new generation of City-class frigates. Its name has been confirmed by the navy as HMS Glasgow.

First Sea Lord admiral Sir Philip Jones said: “The Clyde was the birthplace of some of the greatest fighting ships the world has ever known, and so cutting steel there today for the future HMS Glasgow is symbolic of a Royal Navy on the rise once again.”

US Navy accepts delivery of $13bn USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier

The US Navy accepted the delivery of its first $12.9bn Ford-class aircraft carrier, the future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), in Newport News, Virginia, following the successful completion of sea acceptance trials.

The carrier had been under construction since November 2009 at Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding’s dry dock.

Newport News Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Carrier Construction vice-president Rolf Bartschi said: “On behalf of our shipbuilders, I can say we are all proud to have been a part of the Gerald R. Ford construction programme.”

IAI secures $630m contract to supply LRSAM systems for Indian Navy vessels

The Indian Navy awarded an additional $630m contract to Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for the delivery of long-range surface-to-air missile (LRSAM) defence systems for four of the navy’s vessels.

The contract will be carried out with the Indian Government-run company Bharat Electronics (BEL), which will also operate as the main contractor for the project.

IAI president and CEO Joseph Weiss said: “The new contract adds to other deals signed in the last decade by IAI with India’s defence forces, reinforcing IAI’s global leadership position in air and missile defence systems.

Australian Government releases RFT for $35bn Future Frigate project

The Australian Government released the request for tender (RFT) for the $35bn SEA 5000 Future Frigate project to the three shortlisted designers, BAE Systems, Fincantieri and Navantia.

Australian Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said that the new Future Frigate project is currently the world’s largest frigate shipbuilding programme.

Pyne said: “Today’s announcement shows the government is on track to begin construction of the Future Frigates in 2020 in Adelaide.

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 new 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.

First Sea Lord and chief of naval staff admiral Sir Philip Jones said: “The world is becoming more competitive and less stable, which is why it is instinctive for Nato’s three strongest navies to come together regularly to review how we can provide leadership and example to assist in the maintenance of security and stability at sea, and the upholding of the rule of law.”

Norway and Germany start cooperation on submarine and missile deliveries

Authorities from the Norwegian and German governments initiated a comprehensive industrial cooperation on submarine and missile deliveries, thereby securing job opportunities in Norway.

The strategic partnership between the two European countries for the purchase of submarines now includes the Naval Strike Missile (NSM), developed by Norway-based manufacturer Kongsberg.

Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg said: “The government is working to achieve industrial agreements with the ambition that they will secure work for Norwegian defence industry to a value corresponding to the acquisition of new submarines.”