January’s top news stories

7 February 2020 (Last Updated February 7th, 2020 12:20)

Singapore Navy commissioned three Independence-class LMVs and US NRL researchers discovered a technique for quantum technologies to develop new materials for secure communication. Naval-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from January 2020.

January’s top news stories
Suspended two-dimensional crystals over pores in a slab of gold (center image) allow NRL scientists to connect quantum light sources (inset images) in a ready-made network. Credit: Jeremy Robinson/US Naval Research Laboratory.

Singapore Navy commissions three new littoral mission vessels

The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) commissioned three of its newest Independence-class littoral mission vessels (LMVs) at Tuas Naval Base.

Named RSS Fortitude, RSS Dauntless and RSS Fearless, the three ships are the final of eight LMVs planned to be acquired.

With this, all eight LMVs are operationalised to the 182 Squadron within four and a half years since the first vessels were launched.


US Navy deploys low-yield Trident W76-2 nuclear submarine warhead

The US Navy deployed the new low-yield Trident W76-2 warhead on a nuclear submarine.

The warhead is believed to be deployed on the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Tennesse (SSBN-734). The submarine is currently on patrol in the Atlantic Ocean, according to the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).

The first production unit (FPU) of the W76-2 was completed at Pantex in February 2019. Approximately 50 W76-2 warheads would have been produced.


US NRL scientists discover technique to improve quantum technology

Scientists at the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) discovered a new technique for quantum technologies to develop new materials for secure communication and sensing technologies.

The platform was discovered by suspending two-dimensional (2D) crystals over pores in a slab of gold. The approach is expected to improve quantum technology.

Researchers expected to observe the dewetting process, which resulted from the interaction between the surfaces of two solids.


Germany drops Triton purchase in favour of manned aircraft

The German Ministry of Defence cancelled $2.5bn plans to purchase Northrop Grumman’s Triton reconnaissance drones and has instead opted to purchase manned Bombardier jets.

Germany was set to buy four MQ-4C Triton drones, in a purchase originally cleared by the US in 2018, to upgrade Germany’s airborne reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities.

According to documents seen by Reuters, the German Ministry of Defence told German lawmakers that the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) would not be delivered until 2025, and added that it feared the costs of the acquisition could not be fulfilled.


Fincantieri and Qatar to jointly study naval technology

Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri and the Qatari Ministry of Defence through Barzan Holding signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Doha to jointly study naval technology.

Fincantieri and the ministry aim to strengthen their strategic partnership by evaluating and studying new technologies and capabilities leading to the acquisition of new vessels in the future.

The MoU covers the design, construction, and management of the naval base and fleet of vessels.


Dutch Navy allows female sailors in submarine services

The Dutch Navy is allowing female sailors in its fleet of submarines after the successful completion of a test involving the participation of women.

NLTimes.nl quoted the government as saying in a statement that the women functioned as ‘one of the crew’ during the year-long experiment.

In the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN), sailing positions were open only to men as no separate facilities were offered onboard the existing submarines. Women failed to perform all functions in this Armed Forces’ Submarine Service.


Bell Boeing’s first CMV-22B Osprey completes maiden flight

Bell Boeing’s first CMV-22B Osprey long-range tiltrotor aircraft successfully completed its maiden flight operations.

The flight was carried out at Bell’s Amarillo Assembly Center in Texas, US.

This Bell Textron-built aircraft is the latest variant of the tiltrotor fleet and is part of a multi-year contract awarded to the company.


Australian Navy unveils new centralised warfare centre

The Royal Australian Navy opened a centralised warfighting agency, the Maritime Warfare Centre, to improve the lethality of the navy during conflict.

By amalgamating the Royal Australian Navy Test and Evaluation Authority (RANTEA) and Australian Maritime Warfare Centre (AMWC) into a centralised body, the new centre will offer support to the existing and future capabilities to fight and win at sea.

The merger will also take navy warfighting to the next level.


India’s DRDO test-fires submarine-launched ballistic missile

India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) test-fired a 3,500km range K-4 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).

DRDO conducted the test from a nuclear-capable submarine off the Visakhapatnam coast.

Armed with K-15 Sagarika missiles with a range of 750km, the submarine-launched ballistic missile would be equipped on indigenous Indian Navy Ship Arihant.


Boeing and US Navy complete Super Hornet flight with IRST sensor

Boeing and the US Navy completed the F/A-18 Super Hornet flight with an Infrared Search & Track (IRST) Block II pod.

The passive, long-range IRST Block II sensor incorporates infrared and other sensor technologies for accurate targeting and is key to future Block III upgrades of the Super Hornet.

Built by Lockheed Martin, the sensor will be delivered with the Super Hornet Block III aircraft.