Friday, 29 August 2014

“Defence of the Norwegian territory is no longer our dominating task. Today, our missions are more diverse, complex, unpredictable, and intertwined."



Rear Admiral Lars Saunes, Chief of Staff Royal Norwegian Navy: “We have a strong commitment to NATO, and continue to provide relevant maritime contributions for participating in international coalition crises management and peace support operations under the auspices of the UN or NATO.”
(Photo: Courtesy of Guy Toremans)

’Skjold’ is the Norwegian word for ‘Shield’. For most of us, it is a word synonymous with a large, superfast, stealth missile craft that is unique in the world. The Royal Norwegian Navy that commissioned six units of this type of highly seaworthy craft between 1999 and 2011 describes them as corvettes. Rear Admiral Lars Saunes, Chief of Staff Royal Norwegian Navy, said in an interview with NAVAL FORCES’ Special Correspondent Guy Toremans that the “Skjold” class are amongst the fleet’s most flexible assets.
“Due to their unique seagoing capabilities, advanced technology, and their crews’ expertise in littoral operations, these units are much more than traditional fast patrol boats”, he noted.
Amongst the most recent additions to the Navy are the five “Fridtjof Nansen” class frigates. Both warship classes are definitely fulfilling the Navy’s expectations, providing it with an increased operational capability in their respective fields of use. “The capabilities offered by the “Nansen” class extends beyond air defence. Their impressive sensor, weapon, and comprehensive C4I suites give us quite a few capabilities not found on other frigates. Steps are being taken to further improve their interoperability. In the near term, the frigates’ roadmap includes the installation of Link 16, integration of a high-bandwidth secure SATCOM capability replacing the current temporary SATCOM system, and the planning area for embarked staff located adjacent to the combat information centre […]. We’re also waiting for the new helicopters, the NH-90 NFH”, Rear Admiral Saunes noted.
Questioned about the priorities in terms of upgrading the Royal Norwegian Navy, Rear Admiral Saunes noted that the Navy’s more mobile operational concept required commensurately more flexible logistic elements, hence the acquisition of the new logistic support vessel. This ship, based on a variant of BMT Defence Service’s AEGIR type support vessel, is currently under construction at South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME). According to him, the ship is expected to join the fleet end-2017, and will represent a totally new and enhanced logistical capability.
Another priority is the acquisition of a new class of Coast Guard vessels to replace the current three “Nordkapp” class patrol vessels in order to meet the future challenges Norway is facing in its high North. “The Coast Guard – as an integral part of the Navy – shoulders the responsibility for surveillance and control of Norway’s [EEZ] and fishing grounds around Svalbard and Jan Mayen islands, SAR operations, support of civilian maritime activities, and environmental protection operations”, he said.
Speaking of the Royal Norwegian Navy’s underwater warfare capabilities, Rear Admiral Saunes stated that “our main project is the replacement of our six “Ula” class boats, commissioned between 1989 and 1992. They have reached the age where decisions must be made on how to renew the sub-surface fleet, whether we give them a further life extension or to acquire new submarines. In case we opt for new constructions, we are looking to other Navies with similar requirements, the Swedish Navy being the privileged, but not necessarily exclusive, partner.”
“We are also looking into the replacement of our mine countermeasure assets. The “Oksøy” and “Alta” class units, built in the 1990s, have been used far more than originally expected, both in terms of operational hours and distances covered. Therefore a life extension is not envisaged.” The growing desire “to take the man out of the minefield” is prompting the investment for remotely-controlled systems that could be based on different types of platforms that have other primary tasks, yet have the capacity to operate as a MCM mothership, according to Rear Admiral Saunes. “One option is the use of a support ship for control of MCM autonomous underwater vehicles [AUV], or unmanned systems could be embarked in other platforms – including frigates – to provide an organic MCM capability. And we are also upgrading our command, control, communications, computer and intelligence systems [C4I].”
The Royal Norwegian Navy regularly deploys assets in support of international operations. With Norway hosting a wide range of maritime infrastructures and a world class commercial fleet, it is necessary to maintain a naval capability that can be used where and when national interests are challenged. The balance between national tasks and international contribution is mainly a political issue though, and varies with the relative importance of the national tasks at hand. “Our role is to ensure that we have capable units available for international tasking, when and where deemed necessary”, Rear Admiral Saunes said. “For us, international operations are seen as important and useful engagements were one very often see the result right away and give evidence that we have crews and platforms of high standards.”
According to him, there are three emerging trends that may influence the future development of the Royal Norwegian Navy. The first is the climate change. Rising sea temperatures result in an increased melting of ice in the Arctic, making new substantial areas available for commercial exploitation. This implies that Norway’s area of operations/responsibility will expand. The second trend is the effect of globalisation, resulting increased reliance on seaborne trade. “Norway is deeply involved and is one of the main transporters in the world. Therefore, we have a vested interest in keeping the global trade safe and secure”, Rear Admiral Saunes said. According to him, the third trend is the ever- increasing complexity of naval warfare. This tendency is particularly challenging for small Navies, because the capacity and competence within the organisation always will be limited.
“Obviously, these trends will imply more missions and a higher operational tempo, thus necessitating a greater need to train and develop our Navy”, he concluded.

Danish Maritime Forum Announces First Participants

The global maritime industry’s most influential stakeholders will meet in Copenhagen for the Danish Maritime Forum.  (Note: Naval Team Denmark - an association of Naval Defence and Maritime Security specialist companies that grew out of the Standard Flex 300 Programme - is part of the leadership for this event - pub.)

Circa 250 key leaders in the global maritime industry, policymakers, experts and other influential decision-makers and opinion-shapers will meet in Copenhagen for the Danish Maritime Forum on 8-9 October 2014. Together they will identify and generate new ideas and solutions to some of the most important challenges facing the industry in the future.

The doubling of world trade by about 2030 and what this will require in terms of innovative thinking, long-term strategies, preparation and cooperation across the industry, regulators and all stakeholders. Add to that the benefits it has on human well-being are all topping the list. Related themes to be discussed include maritime infrastructure; new technology; the changing geopolitical landscape and environmental pressures.

The list of participants who have been invited and accepted to come and discuss these important issues include Group CEO of BW Group Andreas Sohmen-Pao, who will be joined by President and CEO of Danaos Corporation John Coustas; Chairman of Siem Capital Group Kristian Siem and Graham Westgarth, COO of GasLog, together with other shipowners.

Michael Parker, Managing Director and Global Head of Shipping, Citi Group, and Kristin H. Holth, Executive Vice President, Global Head of Shipping Offshore & Logistics DNB Bank ASA will be there with other bankers and private equity providers.

Key participants from maritime organisations include Andrew Tan, Chief Executive, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA); Masamichi Morooka, Chairman, International Chamber of Shipping and Chief Executive Officer and President of NYK-Hinode Line and Koji Sekimizu, Secretary General, International Maritime Organisation.

Thomas Thune Andersen, Chairman, Lloyd's Register; Roberto Giorgi, President, V.Ships and Peter Kerr-Dineen, Joint-chairman, Howe Robinson, are also on the list and many more will join them at the two day Forum.

The Danish Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark has been announced to open the Forum and welcome the exclusive group of stakeholders.

A global event for a global industry...
The Danish Maritime Forum is the flagship event of Danish Maritime Days, an international event focusing on global challenges and opportunities of the future maritime industry. More than 50 events in the course of five days will engage in discussions and seek to find solutions to the industry’s most important challenges on a global scale.

“The majority of the challenges of the global maritime industry do not know the concept of country borders. They are inherently global and the only way to meet these is to come together on a global platform like Danish Maritime Days and find solutions in unison. That is what all will be here for and that is exactly what makes the Forum and Danish Maritime Days so unique,” says Secretary General of Danish Maritime Days Flemming R. Jacobs.

More information
Please contact Head of Communications Torben Vemmelund at: tve@danishmaritimedays.com, +45 2224 1446 or visit www.danishmaritimedays.com.

USCG Cutter Tampa Takes-Down "The Bad Guys"


The US Coast Guard Cutter Tampa's crew prevented more than 970 kilograms of cocaine from entering the USA. (...and killing or ruining the lives of  millions of people of all walks of life and eroding US society - pub.)  USCG Cutter Tampa stopped, searched and seized a 226-foot Panamanian-flagged freighter ("Memory") in international waters in the Caribbean Sea on 10 August 2014.

USCG Cutter Tampa was on patrol in support of migrant and drug interdiction operations when they intercepted the suspect vessel in international waters. As a result, USCG Cutter Tampa's crew turned over the vessel, the illicit narcotics, and 11 suspected drug traffickers to the Department of Justice.  

USCG Cutter Tampa’s crew thoroughly searched the ship for several days and discovered a hidden compartment aboard the vessel containing cocaine worth an estimated wholesale (i.e. "pure") value of more than $32.4 million. (...the "Street Value" far exceeds this number by at least 10-fold and could probably bail-out or purchase a small third-world nation - pub.)

Cmdr. Clinton S. Carlson, of the Cmdr. Clinton S. Carlson, of the USCG Cutter Tampa declared: “This is a huge win for the crew....A boarding like this takes the concerted effort of all hands in one form or another, and the Tampa's crew did magnificent and ultimately kept these drugs from crossing our borders.”

Source: Press Release, August 28, 2014; Image: USCG/Petty Officer Seth Johnson

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Bluefin Hosts AUV Webinar



BLUEFIN Robotics hosts a transatlantic UAV webinar 22 September 2014 at 15:00 hours UK time (BST) / 10:00 hours Boston time (U.S. EDT).

This might be considered rather brave in an age when the "popular" press vilifies "drones" / unmanned systems with vague, nebulous language and terrifying visions of "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" to frighten the general public (and the politicians they elect). In a way this informative this webinar couldn't come along at a better time.  

As we in the Naval Defence and Maritime Security Community know, the reality of unmanned platforms couldn't be anything further from the fantasy created by a hysterically ignorant public falling prey to hype and misinformation from the activist community and tabloid journalists. This especially significant wherein UUVs and AUVs are concerned;  these are tools  used to save lives, prevent disasters and secure home and international waters from threats to peace and prosperity.  (Remind me to tell you about the encounters I had with unruly protesters at a conference in Liverpool when the organisers lost control of the situation and the police were called in...)

...OK, I'll stop flag-waving for unmanned vehicles and drones. Here's what  Deanne Talbot of Bluefin Robotics promises with this webinar:
  • Review the key factors in establishing an AUV operation;
  • Receive practical advice on shipboard concerns, crew and operations personnel requirements, maintenance expectations, and data management; and,
  • Learn how to avoid pitfalls and stumbling blocks by addressing key factors early in the process.

BTW - I've met on a couple of occasions Omer Poroy and Will O'Halloran, who are hosting the discussions. They are energetic, knowledgeable, and patient - just the type of chaps to host an insightful webinar.

Hope you can join them; it should be useful.

NOTE TO READERS: If you have an event, user group, webinar, etc. coming up, then let us know a few weeks in advance.
 - S. Elliott, Co-Publisher



Upgrade to Australian Defence Force Navigation Warfare Capability

Minister for Defence David Johnston today announced Government approval of a critical project to upgrade and enhance the protected Global Positioning System (GPS) capability of the Australian Defence Force (ADF). The total value of this project is in the order of A$30 million.

Apparently, GPS-jamming equipment is easier to produce and use in theatre than before now. This allows hostile forces to jam the ADF's mission critical GPS systems, denying access or the ability to find targets in theatre...leading to devastating military and civilian outcomes. Hence, the ADF needs to to counter this increasing threat the ADF needs to modify / upgrade its GPS to prevent jammers from disrupting systems and missions.

The sought after GPS enhancements (FYI: "JP 5408 Phase 3 Platforms Tranche 2" for the boffins among you) will provide protection and redundancy capabilities to counter GPS jammers on a myriad of ADF air, land, sea vehicles. This means that it will need to work with legacy systems in a seamless, affordable and reliable manner. Hopefully, this isn't expecting too much.

Source: Ministry of Defence Australia with commentary from the co-publisher


One for the "Really, Did You Have To?" File:

U.S. Coast Guard Preemptively Attacks an Iranian...Dhow?

A U.S. Coast Guard vessel operating in international waters in the Arabian Gulf  fired on an Iranian dhow in what U.S. military officials described as a defensive move after the crew of the Iranian vessel trained a machine gun on the Americans with hostile intent, the U.S. Department of Defense said. (If you were in a dhow, would you really train a machine gun of any consequence on a US ship of any size? BTW 1: personnel short of equipment often use the rangefinders on a small-bore rifle to check distances. BTW 2 The USCG is under the USDT not the USN; what does the Dept. of Transport have to say?- pub.)

 A statement issued by the U.S Fifth Fleet in Bahrain said the incident occurred as the Coast Guard was conducting a routine maritime security operation. (I didn't know the US coastline and coastal waters extended to the Arabian Gulf - pub.)

The American vessel fired a single shot at the dhow, but military officials said they did not know whether it hit the Iranian boat, which left the scene and did not communicate with the American crew. No U.S. personnel were reported injured. (If close enough to see someone holding a machine gun, then shouldn't the CO have hailed them first with a warning.  If not close enough to know if the shot fired hit the boat, then wouldn't the Iranian dhow been out of machine gun range? - pub.)

The inflatable Coast Guard boat had been dispatched from the USCG Patrol Boat Monomoy to query the Iranian dhow, a common approach in the Arabian Gulf intended to improve maritime security in the region. (Is it just me or does this conflict with previous statements? Someone telling "porkies"? - pub.)

U.S. military rules of engagement state that unit commanders always have the inherent right and obligation to exercise unit self-defense in response to a hostile act or demonstrated hostile intent. (What about common sense? - pub.)

Based on a Press Release  posted on World Maritime News (with independent commentary from the co-publisher).

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

USSOCOM Signs a 5-Year Framework Contract for Saab Dynamics' Versatile Carl-Gustaf Weapon System
Defence and security company Saab has signed a new framework contract with the

USSOCOM for the company’s Carl-Gustaf man-portable weapon system (in the US named MAAWS; Multi-role, Anti-armour Anti-Personnel Weapon System)

The contract is a follow on agreement to a previous five-year contract for the 84mm recoil-less rifle system. In connection with award of the contract, USSOCOM issued an initial order with a value of approx. US$14.3 million. (Good proof point! - ed.)

The framework contract enables the USSOCOM to place orders for weapons and ammunition over a five-year contract period up to a total value of approx. US$187 Million.

The Carl-Gustaf system has a successful history and has successively been modernised and adapted to meet new requirements. Anticipating future operational needs, a new, lighter weight, version of the Carl-Gustaf is currently under development. The next generation system will also include additional functionality that will greatly increase the capability of the already formidable weapon system.

Other recent advances to the Carl-Gustaf system include the release of the new 655 CS HEAT (Confined Space - High Explosive Anti-Tank) round designed to reduce back blast and allow soldiers to safely employ the weapon in confined spaces, minimising the hazardous effects of traditional shoulder fired munitions.

(Source: Saab Press Centre)

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Banner Days for Damen, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Teledyne reson

Ecuador’s Coastguard Boosts Fleet with Two Damen Stan Patrols (SPa) 5009

Damen has recently signed a contract with Astilleros Navales Ecuatorianos (Astinave) to construct two Damen SPa’s 5009 for the Ecuadorian Coastguard. The Ecuadorian shipyard will build both vessels locally with Damen Technical Cooperation, which is Damen’s method of ‘building on site’.

Damen Technical Cooperation (DTC) will supply Astinave with prefabricated kits to build both vessels. As well as the numerous advantages that local construction brings to the contract-signing table, DTC uses proven Damen designs that guarantee technical and operational performance. Due to the sheer complexity of building the Stan Patrol 5009, Damen’s agreement with Astinave includes on-site technical assistance during the construction and commissioning periods.

Strategic alliance: Although this latest contract represents the first Damen Stan Patrol 5009 for Astinave, the yard has built up considerable experience with Damen designs over the years. “We see Astinave not only as a client but also as a partner,” said Ezequiel Najmias, Damen Sales Manager Americas.  Astinave has built a great number of vessels in cooperation with Damen, including tugs, cutter suction dredgers, fast crew suppliers and patrol vessels since the first building contract in 2007. 

Customer specifications: The Ecuadorian Coastguard will mobilise the two new Damen SPa’s 5009 for general patrol duties – benefiting from a top speed of 23 knots provided by four fixed-pitch propellers. They specified that both vessels had the capacity to accommodate 32 people operating for up to 30 days without external support – something that required a number of design adaptations. 

Najmias said: “By increasing the fuel capacity to 90m3, enlarging the storage and freezer rooms and installing a powerful water-maker, both vessels will be able to operate autonomously for 30 days.” 

Ecuador’s Coastguard already operates three Damen SPa’s 2606, with a fourth currently under construction at Astinave’s facilities on the banks of the Guayas River. After delivery of the two patrol vessels, the fleet will total six Damen builds.


By the Way...
Damen Shipyards Group operates 40 ship and repair yards, employing 8.000 people worldwide. Damen has delivered more than 5.000 vessels in more than 100 countries and delivers approx. 180 vessels annually to customers worldwide. Based on its unique, standardised ship-design concept Damen is able to guarantee consistent quality.

Damen’s focus on standardisation, modular construction and keeping vessels in stock leads to short delivery times, low ‘total cost of ownership’, high resale value and reliable performance. Furthermore, Damen vessels are based on thorough R&D and proven technology.  Not just for navies and coastguards, Damen offers a wide range of products, including: tugs, workboats, naval and patrol vessels, high speed craft, cargo vessels, dredgers, vessels for the offshore industry, ferries, pontoons and super yachts. With this wide range of ship-building, one can anticipate that key learnings from each type of vessel development  that can benefit the design of other vessels.

Damen offers a broad range of Services for nearly all vessel types, such as maintenance, spare parts delivery, training and transfer of (shipbuilding) know-how. To complete, Damen offers a variety of marine components, especially nozzles, (flap-type) rudders, steering gear, anchors, anchor chains and steel works.

In addition to ship design and shipbuilding, Damen Shiprepair & Conversion offers a network of 16 repair & conversion yards worldwide, with dry docks ranging up to 420 x 80 metres. Conversion projects range from adapting vessels to today’s requirements and regulations to the complete conversion of large offshore structures. DS&C handles 1,500 repair and maintenance jobs annually.

Source: Damen

U.S. Navy to Test and Evaluate Lockheed Martin Industrial Exoskeletons

Lockheed Martin has received a contract through the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) for the U.S. Navy to evaluate and test two FORTIS exoskeletons. This is the first procurement of Lockheed Martin's exo-skeletons for industrial use.

The FORTIS exoskeleton is an un-powered, lightweight exoskeleton that increases an operator's strength and endurance by transferring the weight of heavy loads from the user's body directly to the ground.

The objective of this effort is to mature and transition exo-skeleton technology to the Department of Defense industrial base and perform testing and evaluation for industrial hand-tool applications at Navy shipyardsBy wearing the FORTIS exoskeleton, operators can hold the weight of those heavy tools for extended periods of time with reduced fatigue.

Lockheed Martin has been investing in exo-skeleton research and development for more than five years, most recently through the NCMS Commercial Technologies for Maintenance Activities programme. These investments have led to advancements in powered and unpowered exoskeleton systems for applications ranging from military to industrial.

Source: Lockheed Martin Corporation 

Lockheed Martin Introduces Maritime Test Bed for U.S. Navy

Using a newly-developed advanced maritime test bed, Lockheed Martin recently demonstrated how continually evolving technologies can be used to share intelligence quickly and securely – even in limited bandwidth naval settings.

This new software test platform is designed to mimic different naval environments at sea and ashore that allows Lockheed Martin to validate sophisticated intelligence, communications and sensor systems before they are introduced in an operational setting. (Shouldn't this be happening anyway??? - ed.)

Dr. Rob Smith, vice president of C4ISR for Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems and Global Solutions said: “The maritime test bed provides a cost-effective, risk-reduction platform that can be used for realistic testing to demonstrate what is possible – with the end goal of providing real-time, decision-quality intelligence for the Navy.” (Again, shouldn't this be happening anyway? - ed.)

In its recent demonstration, Lockheed Martin used the test bed to prove how the Navy could fuse simulated Aegis radar data with other integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) sensor data to provide a comprehensive picture of a battle space.  

As should be expected the test bed collected, analysed and processed the data, then distributed it to simulated platforms at sea and on shore. The resulting "collaborative atmosphere" allowed users to operate more efficiently, since all units had access to integrated ISR-related activities, improving situation awareness and battle management planning.

Interesting: the maritime test bed was developed with open standards software (OSS) infrastructure in order to leverage multiple information sources and databases for testing. (Should we discuss the security measures added for OSS purposed for defence?  - ed.)

Source: Lockheed Martin Corporation 

Northrop Grumman, US Navy Integrate Manned, Unmanned Flight Operations

Northrop Grumman Corporation and the U.S. Navy offered a glimpse of the future of carrier aviation on 17 August  by conducting a series of cooperative flights from the aircraft carrier  USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), using an X-47B Unmanned Air System (UCAS) and an F/A-18 Hornet.

The flights – the first time manned and unmanned carrier aircraft have operated together in the same carrier controlled landing pattern at the same at the same time – took place in the "Eastern Atlantic" (presumably Northeastern - ed.)

This offered Northrop Grumman and the Navy an opportunity to collect data to help reduce risks associated with integrating unmanned aircraft with conventional manned carrier operations.

The X-47B flew in the landing pattern with the F/18-Hornet at approach speeds of 120 miles per hour at a pattern altitude of 1,200 feet during the flights. Mission operators aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt had full control of the X-47B during flight maneuvers that involved several planned precision approaches to the carrier. (Shouldn't all approaches to an aircraft carrier be precise??? - ed.)

Source: Northrop Grumman Corporation

Teledyne Reson Hosts Specialist Events: Subsea Vehicle theme added to the UTS Boston - October 7-9 2014

Last week Teledyne Reson  announce a second theme to its UTS Boston event, Subsea Vehicle, presenting AUV, ROV and Deep Tow technology and solutions from Teledyne RESON, Teledyne BlueView  and Teledyne Benthos as well as Bluefin Robotics.

Teledyne RESON Comprehensive Multibeam Training Course
Teledyne RESON welcomed 16 attendees during last week's Comprehensive Multibeam Training Course in London. Using the facilities at the port of London Authority (PLA) and their survey vessel the Yantlet, course attendees benefitted from a week full of boat, classroom, and software training. Their next Comprehensive Multibeam Training Courses will take place at:
Loch Ness, 6-10 October 2014.
Santa Barbara, USA, 10-14 November, 2014
...and Teledyne Reson's AUV Multibeam Training Course is scheduled for Santa Barbara, US, 4-6 November, 2014
Underwater Technology Seminars - UTS14
UTS Hamburg, Germany, 16-18 September 
UTS Boston, USA,  7-9 October
UTS Singapore, Singapore, TBD December 


Source: Teledyne Reson