US Navy to commission second Freedom-class LCS 3 next month


The US Navy will commission its newest Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the USS Fort Worth, on 22 September 2012, it was announced. Fort Worth is the second mono-hull Freedom-class LCS to be constructed by Lockheed Martin.

Fort Worth underwent acceptance trials with the US Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey in May and incorporates a number of baseline design changes allowing the vessel to be equipped with reconfigurable payloads dubbed mission packages.

LCS programme executive officer rear admiral James Murdoch said: "This ship is well-built and will provide a tremendous capability to the fleet."

Russian Navy’s upgraded nuclear submarine rejoins service

Following the successful completion of its refit programme, K-407 Novomoskovsk rejoined the Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet. The Project 667 Delfin nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine is the second such submarine to be refitted following the completion of work on the Verkhoturye.

Work on the vessel started in 2007 and, following the completion of sea trials in June 2012, was handed over to the Russian Navy on 27 July 2012. Upgrades to the submarine include increase its survivability and nuclear safety, whilst also reducing its acoustic signature.

Armed with 16 intercontinental ballistic missiles including the Sineva missiles, the Project 667 submarines have a displacement capacity of 12,000t, a maximum diving depth of 400m, are capable of cruising at a speed of 24k and can accommodate a crew of 140.

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Russian nuclear submarine visits Gulf of Mexico undetected


A Russian Akula-class nuclear attack submarine managed to sail in the Gulf of Mexico for weeks remaining undetected, highlighting a major incident in terms of the US Navy’s anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

The US Navy is tasked with the detection and tracking of foreign submarines, using an array of undersea sensors and satellites to locate any vessel approaching or entering US waters. The Akula-class submarine that encroached into the Gulf of Mexico was only detected after it had left.

The US Navy has invested significantly in its defence of littoral waters in recent years, not least with the arrival of Littoral Combat Ships into the navy’s fleet. Although developed in the 1980s, Akula-class submarines remain the most capable attack submarine within the Russian Navy fleet.

USNS Spearhead completes acceptance trials

The first of the ten joint high-speed vessels ordered by the US Navy, USNS Spearhead, successfully completed acceptance trials off the Gulf of Mexico.

During the trials, the last milestone prior to the vessel’s delivery, USNS Spearhead validated its performance with the ship’s major systems and equipment, including the propulsion plant, ship handling and auxiliary systems.

Austal USA Operations senior vice president Craig Perciavalle said: "I consider it a major accomplishment to be authorised by the navy to hang a broom from the mast, a navy tradition representing a ‘clean sweep’ of trial events, after completing our first acceptance trials as prime contractor."

Austal was originally awarded a $1.6bn contract in November 2008 for the construction of the first JHSV, with options for an additional nine vessels to be constructed between 2009 and 2013.

UK MoD unveils Type 26 Global Combat Ship design

type 26

The UK Ministry of Defence unveiled the design of the Type 26 Global Combat Ship, marking a significant milestone in the development of the programme that will see the UK Royal Navy adopt a new warship.

The latest design is the culmination of efforts by BAE Systems and the MoD to determine a basic specification for the vessel, including capabilities and a baseline design. The programme will now proceed to the assessment phase which will see detailed specifications of the vessel examined and determined.

Planned to enter into service after 2020, the UK Navy will use the multi-mission warship to perform joint and multinational operations, combat operations, maritime security operations, such as counter-piracy, and humanitarian and disaster relief work across the globe.

Defence equipment, support and technology minister Peter Luff said the vessel will become the backbone of the Royal Navy for decades to come, adding: "It is designed to be adaptable and easily upgraded, reacting to threats as they change."