January’s top news stories

Shalini Nair 8 February 2018 (Last Updated February 9th, 2018 09:44)

Australian Department of Defence has awarded a contract worth A$700m ($566.46m) for the Future Submarine combat system to Lockheed Martin, and Leonardo and Lockheed Martin have delivered F-35B Lightning II fighter aircraft to Italian Ministry of Defence. Naval-technology.com wraps up key headlines from January 2018.

Australia awards $566.46m contract for Future Submarine combat system

The Australian Department of Defence awarded a contract worth A$700m ($566.46m) for the design, construction and integration of the Future Submarine combat system to Lockheed Martin Australia.

The new contract is expected to help generate 200 new jobs, which will mostly be based in South Australia.

It is also anticipated to create various new investment opportunities in the country.

Australian Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said: “Today marks a further step forward in our partnership with Lockheed Martin Australia in delivering a fleet of regionally superior submarines to Australia.”

First locally built F-35B aircraft delivered to Italian MoD

Industry partners Leonardo and Lockheed Martin delivered the first ever indigenously built F-35B Lightning II fighter aircraft to the Italian Ministry of Defence at the Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility at Cameri.

The new short take-off / vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B jet has been assigned for operation with the Italian Navy.

The Italy-based FACO facility is jointly operated by Leonardo and Lockheed Martin and has a workforce of more than 800 personnel, who are currently working on the full assembly of the conventional take-off / landing F-35A and F-35B STOVL aircraft variants, in addition to wing production of the F-35A.

BAE Systems to modernise additional US Navy Mk 45 naval guns

BAE Systems received a new contract option to upgrade a further four of the US Navy’s Mk 45 naval guns.

The contract modification is valued at $46.8m and covers the modernisation of the existing guns to the Mod 4 configuration, which offers enhanced firepower and extended range.

The navy’s Mk 45 is a light, compact, fully automatic 5in naval gun.

ESN to deliver CSOSS support for US Navy

Engineering Services Network (ESN) has been contracted for the continuation of major combat systems work with the US Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC).

The contract is valued at $39.5m and was awarded by the NSWC Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD) field activity of the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA).

ESN is currently serving as the prime contractor for the combat systems operational sequencing system (CSOSS), which is designed to provide ‘technical operations’ procedures for all combat systems equipment.

Leonardo delivers first upgraded Al Manama ship to Bahrain Navy

Italian company Leonardo delivered the fully upgraded Al Manama naval vessel ahead of schedule to the Royal Bahrain Navy during a ceremony at the Mina Salman Naval Base.

Al Manama represents the first of six upgraded ships that are slated to be delivered by the company to the Bahrain Navy.

Leonardo received the original contract for the vessels’ modernisation from the Royal Bahrain Naval Force in 2015. The deal was valued at more than €50m.

European consortium Ocean2020 wins R&D contract

The European consortium Ocean2020 secured a €36m contract for a defence research and development (R&D) initiative funded by the European Union’s (EU) new European Defense Fund.

Ocean2020 forms part of the EU’s Preparatory Action on Defense Research (PADR) and is primarily focused on researching technologies that could strengthen situational awareness in extensive naval environments.

The consortium is set to carry out two live demonstrations of maritime surveillance and interdiction operations after completing an extensive simulation programme.

UK parliamentary committee expresses concerns over Carrier Strike budget

A UK parliamentary committee expressed apprehensions regarding a potential threat to defence projects, which could be caused by possible cost overruns related to the country’s Carrier Strike project.

The committee noted that the project is expensive and that there is still a need to fully verify the cost of certain aspects of the initiative.

Carrier Strike is currently slated to involve the delivery of two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, as well as new F-35 Lightning II jets and a new radar system.

Brazilian Navy transfers S40 submarine sections to assembly hall

The Brazilian Navy and construction firm Itaguaí Construções Navais (ICN) transferred the first three sections of the navy’s lead Scorpene submarine, Riachuelo (S40), to the final assembly hall at the Madeira Island shipyard.

S40 represents the first vessel of the navy’s submarine development programme (PROSUB), which is also expected to involve the development of three other conventional boats, as well as the first Brazilian submarine with nuclear propulsion.

All of the three sections were transferred to the shipyard in the Itaguaí Naval Complex after completing an 11-hour journey from the Steel Structures Manufacturing Unit (UFEM), also located in Itaguaí, Rio de Janeiro.

Russian Helicopters delivers Ka-27M helicopters to Russian Navy

Russian Helicopters successfully completed the transfer of a batch of shipborne anti-submarine Ka-27M helicopters to the Russian Navy.

The serial upgrade of the Ka-27Ms is being carried out within the framework of a government defence contract at the company’s helicopter manufacturing factory, Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise.

The first aircraft from the batch of transferred helicopters has already been sent to its permanent stationing site at the Baltic Fleet.

Several of the remaining Ka-27M helicopters are scheduled to be flown to the Pacific and Northern Fleets.

Indian Navy to buy P-8I training solution from Boeing

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) approved the procurement of a training solution for the Indian Navy’s P-8I aircraft for a sum of Rs19.49bn ($307.82m).

The new training solution will be acquired from Boeing, accompanied by a ten-year comprehensive maintenance service agreement.

It will represent the third global P-8I reconnaissance aircraft training facility to be developed by the company at the Indian naval air base INS Rajali in Tamil Nadu, reported Livemint.

Babcock-led team to bid for British Navy’s Type31e programme

UK defence contractor Babcock International Group collaborated with industry partners to jointly bid for the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) new $1.25bn Type31e general-purpose light frigate programme.

Babcock is set to partner with French company Thales Group, Northern Ireland-based shipbuilding firm Harland & Wolff, naval designer BMT Group and marine engineer Ferguson Marine under the initiative.

Babcock chief executive Archie Bethel said: “Team 31 will allow Babcock and Thales to take forward the key lessons from the aircraft carrier alliance and apply them in a new and highly capable team with Harland & Wolff, BMT and Ferguson Marine.”