US to deploy naval weaponry to the Middle East amid Iran tensions

The US Government approved the deployment of naval weaponry to the Middle East, including the USS Arlington (LPD-24) warship and an additional MIM-104 Patriot missile defence battery, following a request from US Central Command (CENTCOM).

The Patriot long-range, all-weather air defence system has the ability to counter tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced aircraft, including drones. The US has deployed Patriot missile systems in Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, and the UAE.

The deployment of additional naval weaponry to the Middle East comes days after certain assets were moved to the region to address growing tensions with Iran.

Sikorsky signs US Navy contract to build 12 CH-53K helicopters

Lockheed Martin subsidiary Sikorsky secured a $1.13bn contract from the US Naval Air Systems Command to build 12 production CH-53K King Stallion helicopters.

The contract covers low-rate initial production (LRIP) Lots 2 and 3, as well as spares and logistical support.

A total of 200 of these advanced heavy-lift helicopters will be procured for the US Marine Corps (USMC).

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Fincantieri and DSME drop bids for UK support vessels contract

Fincantieri and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) reportedly withdrew from the competition to build three new UK support vessels for the Royal Navy.

The companies were shortlisted along with three other firms for the £1bn contract by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) last December, the (FT) reported citing unnamed sources.

A Fincantieri spokesperson said: “As you know Fincantieri withdrew from Fleet Solid Support Vessels Tender in mid-April for a number of considerations.  However, the UK MOD asked us to consider a new set of information that is going to be provided in the coming days. Fincantieri is waiting for such a document that will be carefully considered.”

Raytheon to integrate Naval Strike Missile to USMC’s force structure

Raytheon was ordered to integrate the Naval Strike Missile (NSM) into the US Marine Corps’ (USMC) existing force structure.

The company was selected to perform the task under a $47.59m Other Transaction Authority agreement with the Marine Corps Systems Command.

Augmenting the USMC’s arsenal with the NSM supports the 2018 National Defense Strategy and Commandant of the Marine Corps modernisation efforts.

QinetiQ to supply unmanned aircraft systems to Canadian Armed Forces

QinetiQ secured a C$51m ($37.86m) contract to provide drones to the Canadian Armed Forces, including the Canadian Navy.

The unmanned aircraft system (UAS) programme is intended to drive enhanced situational awareness for the Canadian Armed Forces.

QinetiQ will perform the Canadian Navy drones contract work at its unmanned vehicle manufacturing and operational facilities in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

UK-led JEF begins first major maritime training deployment

The first major maritime training deployment of the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) started with exercises across Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea region.

The exercises are intended to strengthen European security and stability.

Known as Baltic Protector, the JEF deployment will involve a total of 3,000 military personnel and 17 vessels from nine nations.

US scraps plans to retire navy’s aircraft carrier USS Truman

American vice-president Mike Pence announced that the US Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75) will remain in service for the foreseeable future.

Pence made the announcement during his tour of the USS Truman at its Norfolk homeport.

The statement came after vice-chief of naval operations admiral Bill Moran defended the service’s plan to decommission the carrier during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Royal Marines test new technology for UK future commando force

British Royal Marines from the 40 Commando unit experimented with new technology during the Commando Warrior Two exercise, as the UK pushes towards a future commando force.

The central theme of the UK future commando force is to experiment with how Royal Marines will operate on the battlefields of the future, while learning from the past.

Commando Warrior Two is part of a series of exercises planned to take place this year with a focus on the evolution of the Royal Marines and the kit they use.

Indian Navy launches fourth Scorpene-class submarine Vela

The Indian Navy launched its fourth P75 Scorpene-class submarine, INS Vela, at state-owned firm Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited’s (MDL) facility in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

The vessel is being constructed domestically by MDL under the Indian Government’s ‘Make In India’ programme. Vela was towed to Mumbai Port Trust for separation from the pontoon.

Prior to delivery to the navy, the submarine will be put through rigorous trials and tests, both in harbour and at sea.

HMS Queen Elizabeth completes first dry dock inspection

The British Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth left Babcock’s Rosyth dockyard in Scotland after successfully completing its first planned dry dock inspection period.

During the carrier’s dry dock stay, workers changed 284 hull valves, removed and cleaned both rudder blades, and inspected sea inlet pipes.

The maintenance also included replacing all sacrificial anodes and applying a renewed coat of anti-foul paint to the vessel’s bottom.