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GERMAN NAVY FINALLY COMMISSIONS INTO SERVICE LEAD F125 FRIGATE
Monday, June 17, 2019
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Source: ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems


Source: ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems


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NEWTOWN, Conn. -- After years of waiting the German Navy has finally commissioned into service the first of its new-generation "super frigates", the F125 Baden Wurttemberg, on June 17.

The tortured path of bringing the new-generation F125 into service dates back to the mid-2000s when defense planners sought a type of ship to partially replace the German Navy's eight legacy Bremen class F122 frigates.

Seeking a multi-mission platform to reduce the need for a like-for-like ship replacement - thereby ensuring lower maintenance, operational and personnel costs during a time of declining defense investment - the German military opted for the world's largest frigate design at 7,000 tons.

The thinking behind this selection was the idea that these ships would ostensibly be able to deploy far from home waters for up to two years with minimal port calls - all while being operated by smaller crews than those serving on the F122 predecessors.

In June 2007 the project got underway with contracts worth EUR2.27 billion ($3 billion at the time) inked with the ARGE F125 consortium (comprising ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems as lead contractor and Friedrich Lurssen Werft and Blohm + Voss as supporting contractors) for four ships.

Production of the lead ship Baden-Württemberg began in June 2011 and its christening followed in 2013. Delivery of the ship was originally scheduled for 2014-15. This was then pushed out to 2017 as problems cropped up during construction.

By May 2017 a report emerged that the much-delayed F125 class of frigates were overweight and slightly listing by 1.3 degrees starboard. The German Defense Ministry responded to the leaked confidential report by saying that all design and performance parameters would be met and that some initial degree of listing is a common occurrence in a new ship line, but that industry would rectify the issue with appropriate countermeasures.

Yet in December 2017 the ship was determined to be un-seaworthy by the German Navy following a trial period, marking the first time the service had rejected a warship for failing to meet minimum operating standards. Having failed its sea trials German naval officials essentially returned the ship to its builder. Indications at the time were that the ship's central computing system, radar, and electronics and the flameproof coating on its fuel tanks all proved to be problematic or insufficient.

While ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems' insisted that all issues would be corrected and the ship delivered in 2018, official entry into service continued to be delayed.

And despite the news of the Baden-Württemberg's commissioning there remain concerns in some corners that the entire F125 class represents an expensive, unworkable naval surface warfare platform that will prove expensive for the German Navy to maintain and incapable of tackling Russian submarines due to the absence of anti-submarine sonar and anti-submarine warfare weaponry (the ships are, however, capable of carrying two NFH90 Sea Lion helicopters aboard).

Lacking area air defense capability - just two 21 cell RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile close-in weapons system turrets for point defense - the ships are also potentially susceptible to enemy attacks. And the ships are slow - capable of achieving top speeds of no more than 26 knots (30mph).

The F125s are primarily intended for low-threat environments with stabilization, crisis-management and conflict preventions missions once in service. Hence, despite their large size the new frigates are more suited for tackling lower-intensity operations - such as defending against asymmetric threats, providing tactical fire support for troops on shore, plus support for Special Forces and for evacuation missions - than for high-intensity surface warfare.

Rather than acting as true warships these ships therefore appear designed more for diplomatic (showing the flag and port calls) heft and counter-piracy missions - a distinction which no doubt suits the German political and foreign policy establishment just fine.

With the Baden-Württemberg having finally entered service the German Navy now awaits handover of the remainder of the class, with second ship North Rhine-Westphalia slated for delivery this year and the other two ships, Rheinland-Pfalz and Sachsen-Anhalt, following successively through 2021.

Source:  ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems
Associated URL: Click here to visit
Author: D. Darling, Europe Analyst 

 
NORFOLK NAVAL SHIPYARD DEDICATES NEW SUBMARINE MAINTENANCE FACILITY
Tuesday, June 18, 2019
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Norfolk Naval Shipyard

Source: US Navy


Norfolk Naval Shipyard

Source: US Navy


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PORTSMOUTH, Va. -- Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) dedicated its new Submarine Maintenance Facility June 14. The dedication marked the next crucial step in the NNSY’s realization of the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan that will enhance the ability of the four public shipyards to meet the mission of delivering ships back to the fleet on time and within budget.

The new facility consolidates submarine maintenance, production and support shops into a single facility adjacent to NNSY’s submarine drydocks. This two-story structure features shops, storage and support spaces on the ground level, with office spaces and conference rooms on the second floor. The building was designed with an open office concept to facilitate collaboration between submarine project teams.

"NAVSEA Commander Vice Admiral Tom Moore has challenged us to build an environment that promotes increased levels of innovation, collaboration and knowledge sharing," said Shipyard Commander Captain Kai Torkelson at the dedication, referencing NAVSEA’s Campaign Plan 2.0 to Expand the Advantage. "It’s harder to think of a better example of that than the building before us today.This facility will foster that environment by putting shops from 15 locations under one roof where they can work more efficiently with each other as they fulfill the mission.This will give our people the space and tools they need to forge high-performing teams and complete our mission of returning submarines to the fleet with superior quality and reliable delivery."

More than three years in the making, this 9.9 million dollar project has resulted in one of the safest and sturdiest buildings in the shipyard.Designed to withstand the impact of a 500-year flood, the 24,000-square foot building should also effectively bear a category 4 hurricane.The building is in accordance with anti-terrorist force protection requirements, featuring blast proof windows and eighteen-inch thick concrete walls. It also features amenities such as a kitchen, break room, nursing mothers room, and showers.

In the past decade, NNSY submarine work has included Engineered Overhauls, Engineered Refueling Overhauls, and submarine conversions into land-based training platforms.All are complex and extensive evolutions requiring constant communication, resource sharing and effective teamwork.This new facility promises to help in all of those areas, both for the NNSY workforce as well as Ship’s Forces when they need to meet and train.NNSY’s current submarine projects include conversions of USS La Jolla and USS San Francisco into Moored Training Ships, and USS Wyoming, which is being refueled and upgraded before returning to support the country’s nuclear deterrence strategy.

NNSY Submarine Program Manager Pat Ensley said the building currently supports work on the Los Angeles class submarines, and will support work on the future Virginia and Colombia classes."It improves our abilities by having a permanent facility and place to perform production work as close to the boat as possible," he said.Adding that the building is segmented by mechanical, electrical, nuclear and non-nuclear work areas, he said, "we’re going to have capability for every shop, with ergonomically designed work areas as well as giving individuals all the amenities they would want from starting to ending their work days."

"Today has been a long time coming, and there have been unforeseen challenges in this project that were effectively mitigated by our shipyard facilities department, our Naval Facilities team, our contracting partner Whitesell-Green, and our operations department," said Torkelson."Today we commend your combined efforts as we look forward to the future of submarine repair and modernization in America’s Shipyard."

Source:  U.S. Navy
Associated URL: Click here to visit

 
UPGRADED RAM MISSILE READY FOR US NAVY
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
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Source: Raytheon


Source: Raytheon


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PARIS AIR SHOW -- The U.S. Navy successfully completed a series of guided flight tests for Raytheon Company's RAM Block 2A short-range, surface-to-air missile. Testing occurred at the Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, California, and from the Navy's self-defense test ship off the coast of Southern California.

Raytheon expects to deliver the RAM Block 2A missile to the Navy by the end of the year.

RAM is deployed on more than 165 ships in 11 countries, ranging from 500-ton fast attack craft to 95,000-ton aircraft carriers. The latest software upgrade enhances guidance and the missile's capability to defeat threats.

RAM is an international cooperative program between the United States and Germany. Raytheon and the German company RAMSYS share development, production and maintenance costs.

Source:  Raytheon
Associated URL: Click here to visit

 

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