May’s top stories: Syria armed and South Korea watchful

3 June 2013 (Last Updated June 3rd, 2013 18:30)

Russia delivered advanced anti-ship and air missiles to Syria as violence in the country continued to flare, while South Korea will seek 20 new maritime patrol aircraft to keep an eye on North Korean rocket launches. Naval-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from May 2013.

May’s top stories: Syria armed and South Korea watchful

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NAWCAD scientists develop new approach to enhance underwater imaging

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Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) engineers Dr Linda Mullen and Alan Laux demonstrated a new method to enhance the performance of underwater imaging systems in cluttered water.

The new approach involves encoding a laser with a radar signal for improved image quality, which holds the potential to enhance fleet activities, including mine detection and seafloor mapping.

With fewer limitations in shallow water than traditional sonar, the underwater laser imaging can approach objects from a single direction.

Currently, NAWCAD is seeking industry partners to help in the commercialisation of the new technology.

US Navy's X-47B demonstrator completes carrier-based catapult launch

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Nothrop Grumman's X-47B UCAV demonstrator completed its first carrier-based catapult launch from Nimitz-Class aircraft carrier USS George H W Bush off the coast of Virginia, US.

The aircraft flew autonomously for 65 minutes after its launch, conducting several planned low approaches to the carrier before safely landing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

Navy UCAS programme lead test engineer Matt Funk said: "The flight demonstrated that the X-47B is capable of operation from a carrier, hand-off from one mission control station to another, flight through the national airspace, and recovery at another location without degradation in safety or precision."

In the next few months, the aircraft is scheduled to undergo additional shore-based testing at NAS Patuxent River, with the aircraft then conducting a final carrier-based arrested landing demonstration.

Russia delivers anti-ship and air defence missiles to Syria

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Russia delivered advanced anti-ship cruise missiles to Syria, boosting defence capabilities of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government with tensions in the country showing no sign of abating.

The New York Times quoted undisclosed US officials familiar with classified intelligence reports as stating that the Yakhont missiles were equipped with advanced radar for enhanced surveillance capability.

Commenting on the reported weapons shipment, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman general Martin Dempsey told reporters at the Pentagon that the move is an "unfortunate decision that will embolden the regime and prolong the suffering."

The move came just days after the US and Russia planned to arrange an international peace conference on Syria in early June with representatives from the Syrian Government and its opposition, to end conflict in the country.

Italian Navy seeks to develop new dual-use warships

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The Italian Navy announced its intention to develop a new generation of low-cost vessels boasting duel-use capabilities, with chief admiral Giuseppe De Giorgi quoted as saying that preliminary approval for six vessels has already been granted.

"The ship I have in mind to accompany the FREMMs would be conceived from the start as dual use, fast and modular," he added.

De Giorgi further described the new ship as featuring a hangar for two NH90s or one AW101 helicopter and a fixed-array radar, as reported by Defense News.

"We need to replace the Maestrale-Class and the Soldati-Class of vessels, as well as the corvettes and patrol vessels, vessels which are on average 30 years old," De Giorgi said.

South Korea to procure 20 maritime patrol aircraft

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The Republic of Korea Navy will acquire maritime patrol aircraft to boots the country's surveillance capabilities after receiving approval from the country's joint chiefs of staff.

Yonhap News Agency cited an unnamed military source that the navy is considering the purchase of 20 maritime patrol aircraft with the aim of strengthening its surveillance capabilities, as tensions with North Korea remain fraught.

The state arms procurement agency Defense Acquisition Program Administration is currently working on the plan, which is likely to cost approximately $889m.

Potential bidders for the acquisition programme include Airbus Military's C295 multirole maritime patrol aircraft (MPA), Boeing's P-8 Poseidon aircraft and Lockheed Martin's SC-130J Sea Hercules.

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