June’s top news stories

5 July 2018 (Last Updated July 6th, 2018 10:21)

Australia to buy six MQ-4C Triton UAS from US Navy for $1.4bn, Spain requests $860.4m sale of Aegis weapons systems from the US, and the Royal Navy's HMS Queen Elizabeth conducts maiden replenishment at sea. Naval-technology.com wraps up key headlines from June 2018.

June’s top news stories
The Triton unmanned aircraft system. Credit: US Navy courtesy of Northrop Grumman / Alex Evers.

Australia to buy six MQ-4C Triton UAS from US Navy for $1.4bn

The Australian Government is set to purchase the first of six MQ-4C Triton remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) via a cooperative programme with the US Navy as part of a $1.4bn investment intended to strengthen Australia’s maritime capabilities.

The Triton unmanned aircraft system (UAS) is expected to support the surveillance activities of Australia’s P-8A Poseidon military aircraft through sustained operations at long ranges.

It will also be capable of carrying out a wide range of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) tasks in order to enhance the security of the country’s maritime borders.


Spain requests $860.4m sale of Aegis weapons systems from US

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of a possible foreign military sale (FMS) of the Aegis weapons system (AWS) to Spain for an estimated cost of $860.4m.

The sale was originally requested by the Government of Spain and has been approved by the US State Department.

Spain requested the provision of five Aegis MK7 AWSs, six shipsets of digital signal processing systems, five shipsets of AWS computing infrastructure MARK 1 MOD 0 and five shipsets of the operational readiness test system (ORTS) under the potential deal.


Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth conducts maiden replenishment at sea

The British Royal Navy’s newest Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, successfully carried out fuel replenishment at sea with RFA Tidespring for the first time.

RFA Tidespring is one of the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s four Tide-class replenishment tankers.

The vessels were specifically designed to support the navy’s new aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, on their operations worldwide.


Babcock wins £225m extension to RCN support services contract

Engineering services provider Babcock secured a three-year, £225m extension to its existing in-service support contract for the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) fleet of four Victoria-class submarines.

The naval support deal has been extended to 2021 and will see the continuation of work on all of the Victoria-class submarines currently in service or undergoing refit, including deep maintenance periods as required.

The support contract involves more than 400 of Babcock’s highly experienced engineers, project managers and specialist support staff, who will continue to work on the RCN vessels as part of the arrangement.


NRL scientists develop technology to increase UAV mission availability

Researchers at the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) are currently developing ‘Solar-Soaring’ technology to provide the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) with the ability to fly for more than 12 hours using energy from the atmosphere and sun.

Solar-Soaring is the name given to a pair of endurance-enhancing technologies that help warfighters by enabling an autonomous aircraft to fly for longer periods without the need to carry extra weight in batteries.

NRL Tactical Electronic Warfare Division senior aerospace engineer Dr Dan Edwards said: “One of the common complaints that we hear across industry and the warfighters is that they want aircraft to fly longer.

“One great way to do this is to capture atmospheric wind energy or solar energy to extend the endurance.”


US Navy to commission Virginia-class submarine Indiana in September

The US Navy’s newest Virginia-class fast-attack submarine, the future USS Indiana (SSN 789), is slated to be commissioned on 29 September.

The ship will be commissioned at the US Navy Port at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Port Canaveral, Florida.

SSN 789 will be the 16th Virginia-class ship to join the fleet upon deployment with the navy.


Exercise BALTOPS 2018 begins in Baltic Sea

The 46th iteration of the multinational maritime-focused activity, Exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2018, commenced in the Baltic Sea.

The live training event started from Klaipeda, Lithuania, and is set to conclude in Kiel, Germany.

It will involve the participation of several air, maritime and ground assets from various Nato ally and partner countries.


NAVAIR’s IWC team conducts live fire test on HH+ using KC-130J tanker

The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) announced the successful completion of developmental and integrated test (DT / IT) live fire event with a KC-130J aerial refuelling tanker integrated with the Harvest Hercules Airborne Weapons Kit (HAWK) Plus (HH+) system.

The five-week live fire test was conducted by NAVAIR’s Integrated Warfighting Capability (IWC) Weapons team and saw the Harvest HAWK Plus weapons kit complete multiple sorties, demonstrating successful strikes on both fixed and moving targets.

It was carried out at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California, and also included four tactical integration flights in order to support the operational test objective in conjunction with the weapons tactics instructor (WTI) course at the US Marine Corps (USMC) Air Station Yuma in Arizona.


DST and AIMS partner to test use of UV light for biofouling protection

The Australian Department of Defence’s Defence Science and Technology (DST) revealed it is collaborating with the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) to develop a new approach that would use ultraviolet (UV) light to protect particular sensitive areas on a vessel’s hull from biofouling.

Biofouling is the term given to the accumulation of marine life on a vessel’s hull.

Researchers from DST and AIMS have found that colonising organisms that absorb UV light are unable to replicate.


Netherlands and Belgium sign MoUs for naval vessel procurement

Netherlands Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld-Schouten signed two memoranda of understanding (MoU) with her Belgian counterpart Steven Vandeput for the joint procurement of multipurpose frigates and mine control vessels.

The Dutch Defense organisation intends to request offers, without competition, from the Netherlands-based shipyard Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding and Thales Netherlands under the procurement agreement.

The offers will relate to the acquisition of multipurpose frigates for the Royal Netherlands Navy.