UK unveils plans to create European-led naval force in Gulf

The UK Government is looking to form a European-led naval force to enhance protection to shipping assets passing through the Strait of Hormuz following tensions with Iran.

The proposal to create the maritime protection mission was made by British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in a statement to the House of Commons.

It comes in the wake of rising tensions in the Gulf after Iran impounded a British-flagged tanker, Stena Impero, in the Strait of Hormuz on 19 July.

Canada awards maintenance contracts for Halifax-class frigates

Canada awarded a series of contracts to Chantier Davie and Seaspan’s Victoria Shipyards for the maintenance of the Royal Canadian Navy’s Halifax-class frigates.

Under the initial five-year contracts, Chantier Davie and Victoria Shipyards will perform maintenance work on the first group of Halifax-class frigates. The contracts are each valued at C$500m ($382.88m).

Each shipyard will carry out the work on a minimum of three frigates. Work under the contracts is expected to start in the early 2020s. These contracts are expected to rise in value as additional work packages are added.

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Naval Group launched the French Navy’s first Barracuda-class nuclear-powered attack submarine, Suffren.

The submarine launch took place at Naval Group’s facility in Cherbourg in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron.

Suffren is the first of six latest generation submarines to be built for the French Navy under the $10.13bn Barracuda stealth vessel programme.

Leak halts HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier sea trials

The UK Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth was forced to return to Portsmouth after a leak was discovered.

HMS Queen Elizabeth left Portsmouth in June for five weeks of sea trials and was originally due to return next week for planned maintenance. The ship, the lead in the Queen Elizabeth class, was live-fire testing its General Dynamics Phalanx close-in weapons systems.

The £3.1bn aircraft carrier did not suffer any damage to the hull but water was discovered inside an internal compartment that had to be pumped out.

Rolls-Royce wins Royal Navy’s Type-23 frigate engine contract

Rolls-Royce received a contract to perform maintenance on the British Royal Navy’s Type-23 frigate fleet engines.

Rolls-Royce will deliver a comprehensive support package to Spey gas turbines under the £85m contract, which was awarded by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The contract includes the overhaul of engines, provision of spares, as well as engineering and safety support.

China conducts anti-ship missile testing in South China Sea

China reportedly tested an anti-ship missile in the ‘contested waters’ of the South China Sea.

The news of missile firings was first reported by NBC News and CNBC.

Citing two unidentified US officials, the report stated that China is preparing to conduct a series of anti-ship ballistic missile tests in the South China Sea.

Fire on Russian naval submarine kills 14 crew members

Fourteen people died after a fire on a Russian naval deepwater research submarine in what was described as one of the worst naval disasters in post-Soviet Russia.

The fire occurred when the submersible was undertaking research in the country’s northern territorial waters, the Russian defence ministry stated.

Russian media sources, including Russian media outlet RBC, identified the vessel as the Losharik, an advanced nuclear-powered submersible capable of performing special missions at great depths.

Indian MoD invites proposals for procurement of vessels

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) issued requests for proposals (RFPs) for four shipbuilding projects of various vessels for the country’s navy and coastguard.

Through these projects, the government intends to boost the domestic shipbuilding industry under the ‘Make in India’ programme. The RFPs have a combined value of Rs150bn ($2.17bn).

The MoD issued an RFP for six next-generation missile vessels (NGMVs) to seven shipyards. The remaining three RFPs have been issued to shortlisted Indian shipyards. These cover the construction of eight fast patrol vessels (FPVs), 12 air cushion vehicles (ACVs) and eight missile / ammunition barges.

Royal Navy tests new Martlet anti-ship missile in Irish Sea

The British Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigate HMS Sutherland successfully trialled its latest Martlet anti-ship missile during a firing exercise in the Irish Sea.

Designed to combat terrorists and suicide bombers, the Martlet missile hit its target boat.

The objective of the test was to see whether the missile could be fired from both ships and helicopters.

BAE Systems concludes trials on P950 RIB autonomous boat

BAE Systems concluded initial tests on an unmanned boat technology that reportedly has the potential to revolutionise naval missions.

The company has stated that the ‘first of its kind’ autonomous vessel will be able to travel ‘further, for longer, and to more inhospitable environments’.

Completion of trials of the company’s unmanned Pacific 950 (P950) Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) demonstrator has improved the readiness of the technology, BAE Systems stated.