September’s top news stories

4 October 2019 (Last Updated October 10th, 2019 17:22)

The Royal Navy selected Babcock as its preferred bidder to build the UK’s new fleet of five Type 31 frigates, and the US Navy’s first operational carrier-based unmanned refuelling aircraft, MQ-25, completed its maiden test flight. Naval-Technology.com wraps up key headlines from September 2019.

September’s top news stories
Babcock is building the five Type 31 frigates. Credits: Babcock.

Royal Navy selects Babcock for new Type 31 Frigates

The Royal Navy selected Babcock as its preferred bidder to build the UK’s new fleet of five Type 31 frigates.

The ships will cost around £250m per vessel and, once complete, will be based across the world to increase the Royal Navy’s reach.

The new Babcock Arrowhead 140 ships will be designated Type 31 by the Royal Navy. The programme will be led by Babcock with support from Thales.


US Navy’s MQ-25 unmanned refuelling aircraft completes test flight

The US Navy’s first operational carrier-based unmanned refuelling aircraft, MQ-25, completed its maiden test flight.

The successful flight was conducted by the navy and Boeing from MidAmerica Airport in Mascoutah, Illinois.

MQ-25’s test asset, known as T1, performed an FAA-certified autonomous taxi and take-off.


Merlin helicopter performs inaugural landing on HMS Prince of Wales

A Merlin Mk2 helicopter landed on the deck of the British Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales, becoming the first helicopter to achieve the feat.

The landing of the first aircraft comes after the country’s newest aircraft carrier sailed out of Rosyth dockyard for the first time last week.

The £3.1bn HMS Prince of Wales is currently undergoing sea trials off the coast of Scotland.


RMC and Saab sign contracts for Finnish Navy’s new corvettes

Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC) and Saab signed contracts for the Finnish Navy’s new Pohjanmaa-class corvettes for the Squadron 2020 project.

The contracts were signed with the Finnish Defence Forces Logistics Command in Turku, Finland on 26 September.

Under the €647.6m contract, RMC will design and construct four new multi-purpose corvettes for the Finnish Navy.


General Dynamics integrates NMS on board USS Gabrielle Giffords LCS

General Dynamics Mission Systems integrated a new anti-ship and land-attack cruise missile system on board the US Navy’s USS Gabrielle Giffords littoral combat ship (LCS) (LCS 10).

The installation of the MK 87 Mod 0 over-the-horizon Naval Strike Missile (NSM) onto the Independence-variant LCS is expected to increase the ship’s lethality and survivability.

The new missile system will deliver improved mission readiness and defensive capabilities.


SAMI-Navantia signs contract for Avante 2200 combat system integration

SAMI Navantia Naval Industries (SAMI-Navantia) signed a partnership agreement worth SAR3.7bn ($985.5m) with Navantia to jointly work on the integration of combat system into Saudi Navy’s future corvettes.

The contract was signed by officials from both parties at the Defense and Security Equipment International (DSEI) 2019 exhibition in London.

The partnership will cover Combat System Integration (CSI) on five Avante 2200 corvettes being built for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF).


Kongsberg and thyssenkrupp unveil new combat system

Kongsberg and its joint venture (JV) partner thyssenkrupp Marine Systems unveiled a new combat system for non-nuclear submarines.

Named ORCCA, the combat system was introduced at the 7th International Submarine Conference SubCon 2019, which was held in Kiel, Germany.

The system is developed by JV company kta Naval Systems and provides adaptability and IT security.


HMS Queen Elizabeth leaves for US to participate in Westlant 19

The British Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier left its homeport of Portsmouth for the US to participate in the Westlant 19 exercises alongside the US Navy.

The Westlant 19 exercises off the east coast of the US will test the capabilities of the British F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft and HMS Queen Elizabeth, which set off on 30 August.

During the deployment, a British F-35B combat jet will take off from the UK’s £3bn aircraft carrier’s flight deck for the first time. The carrier will work with up to seven British F-35Bs during Westlant 19.


British Royal Navy conduct trials with PAC24 autonomous boat

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Royal Navy, along with industry partners, conducted a series of trials involving an autonomous boat and Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll.

The trials tested the capability of BAE Systems’ Pacific 24 (PAC24) rigid inflatable boat (RIB) to integrate with a vessel.

During demonstrations at London’s Docklands, PAC24 transmitted imagery to the ship for the first time. The boat is partly funded by the Royal Navy’s Autonomous Hardware Accelerator NavyX.


India’s LCA Tejas naval variant performs arrested landing

India’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas conducted an arrested landing, an essential capability that will eventually enable the naval variant to operate from an aircraft carrier.

The flight test was carried out at INS Hansa Goa, the shore-based test facility of the Indian navy.

A twin-seater variant was used for the test, although only one pilot, Commodore JA Maolankar, flew the sortie.