Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Unmanned Technology Boosts Mine Warfare Capabilities

UK Royal Navy Realises MHC Sweep Capability 

Launched and recovered from a “Hunt“ class MCMV, ARCIMS can be remotely-operated from shore with the minimum of support.
(Photo: ATLAS Elektronik UK)

Stefan Nitschke, Bonn (Germany) 29 July 2015 - The Royal Navy is addressing an autonomous minesweeping capability to defeat sea-mines whilst reducing risks to service personnel. ATLAS Elektronik UK (AEUK) has been selected by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to deliver a prototype Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV)-based minesweeping system under the first phase of the Royal Navy’s Mine Countermeasures and Hydrographic Capability (MHC) Sweep Capability project. It is intended to provide Britain’s Navy with an influence minesweeping capability, certainly filling in the gap left by acoustic and magnetic influence sweeps that were retired in 2005. They were described by industry sources as “obsolescent”.
The MoD’s Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation laid out a requirement for a prime contractor to develop, manufacture, demonstrate, and support a USV-based multi-influence minesweeping capability in June 2014. The new system would be deployed from “Hunt” class mine countermeasures vessels (MCMVs).
On 6 March 2015, DE&S awarded AEUK to develop the USV-based minesweeping system, which, according to the company’s Managing Director Antoni Mazur, is another significant milestone for the company as it continues to expand its business. DE&S selected AEUK ahead of a rival bid from Ultra Electronics that was teaming with THALES UK and ASV. AEUK representatives told NAVAL FORCES at UDT 2015 in Rotterdam that its MHC Sweep Capability bid is based on the ARCIMS (Atlas Remote Capability Integrated Mission Suite) remote MCM system that will be able to detect and counter underwater mine threats, as well as detonating and neutralising them in a controlled manner.
The technology developed by AEUK will eliminate the risk to human life due to undersea mines. Philip Dunne MP, Minister of State for Defence Procurement, said: “It [...] represents an important development in the Royal Navy’s ability to exploit its international expertise in Maritime Minesweeping and to advance its capabilities in the emerging world of maritime autonomous systems.”
As noted in AEUK’s fact sheet, ARCIMS functions as a toolbox of capabilities for multi-influence minesweeping, mine hunting, and other operations. The company noted that it was developed as a private venture. The 11m long, glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) craft manufactured by ICE Marine will be able to conduct manned or fully autonomous mission module operations, including launch and recovery of off-board systems. The latter will be provided by Babcock, in addition to an operational training package and platform system integration. BAE Systems will integrate the system within its NAUTIS command system that is installed on all of the “Hunt” class MCMVs.
ARCIMS’ Sweep Mission Module is a fully-containerised package consisting of towed sweeps for acoustic, electric, and magnetic influences. The module is suitable for transportation by road, sea, and air. Also included in the package are launch-and-recovery arrangements, and a Reconnaissance Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Hangar (RUUVH), of which the latter will be installed on selected MCMVs.

Phased Development Process
According to the contract awarded by DE&S, development work by AEUK is split into three blocks:
Block 1, for which AEUK is now under contract, covering the design and construction of a prototype sweep system (followed by full acceptance and demonstration in a portable mode);
Block 2 envisaging the integration of the prototype sweep system into a “Hunt” class MCMV (followed by full acceptance testing and demonstration of the “Hunt”-based system); and
Block 3, encompassing the supply of follow-on systems to the same design. The latter also will incorporate any changes necessary to achieve full acceptance of the prototype.
AEUK said current planning assumes options for the manufacture of up to four USV-based minesweeping systems and RUUVHs.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Surpassing Furthest Milestone

Fr. Lürssen Werft Celebrates 140 Years of Global Shipbuilding Heritage

Sections of the Type F125 frigates are being constructed at different locations at the same time and later married together.
(Photo: Fr. Lürssen Werft)

Leading in Quality and Performance

The German Navy’s new flagship, the Type F125 frigate “Baden-Württemberg” (F 222), is to prove to the world’s naval community their inherent expertise in naval shipbuilding Fr. Lürssen Werft has developed over the past decades. German naval sources said at the christening ceremony of her sister ship, “Nordrhein-Westfalen” (F 223), in Hamburg on 16 April 2015 the shipbuilding expertise found in this new class of surface warships marks another major milestone towards the strategic partnership between Fr. Lürssen Werft and the German customer. Fr. Lürssen Werft, part of the ARGE F125 consortium, not only delivered a new ship but also a vision of what quality and performance can mean in today’s naval shipbuilding. Today, a little over a third of the shipbuilder’s workload is still for the German Navy. This reputation also forms the company’s ‘key’ for addressing worldwide demands for sophisticated surface ships.
It cannot be ignored that ‘globalisation’ plays a key role in Fr. Lürssen’s vision to address new markets The shipbuilder was exceptionally successful over the past several years in identifying new customers mainly in Asia: the Royal Brunei Navy is said to be a premier example, with the Government of Brunei having ordered four 80m Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) equipped with an assortment of the latest in shipboard automation systems, navigation aids, sensors, and weapons. Fr. Lürssen delivered them – in two batches – in 2011 and 2014 – the vessels are described as a “completely new capability” of the Royal Brunei Navy.
The company’s role as an innovator seems to be the prerequisite for continuing success in identifying new customers, both military and commercial. Military products like the PV 80 or PV 85 will cope with a growing demand for multimission-capable surface assets capable of supporting the agile development of defence capabilities in response to rapidly changing operational requirements.

The patrol vessel KDB “Darulaman” (08), third-in-the-class of four 80m OPVs Fr. Lürssen Werft built for the Royal Brunei Navy, is seen here entering Sydney Harbour as part of the warship fleet at the Royal Australian Navy International Fleet Review 2013.
(Photo: Saberwyn)
Founded by Friedrich Lürßen in 1875, the shipyard achieved a number of major milestone throughout its history: building the first motorboat in 1886; designing record-breaking speedboats shortly before WWI (upon which Fr. Lürssen earned a reputation for performance); delivery of the first large yacht “Oheka II” in 1927 (that set the standards for large yachts); manufacturing of racing and pleasure boats in the 1920s and 1930s; launching of the first superyacht in 1971 (which is now seen as a precursor of the modern Lürssen yachts) – to only name a few. The Lürßen family continues to be dedicated to the defining principle of “leading in quality and performance”. This founding philosophy is purely the ‘blueprint’ for how Fr. Lürssen is recognised today on a worldwide scale. “We always try to be at the forefront of technology, methods of production, and quality”, said the company.
Spanning a history of 140 years, no other shipbuilder in the world owns this magnificent heritage. Also a technology leader in integrated logistics support (including system documentation, spare part management and supply, and repair, refits, and upgrades) and consultancy, Fr. Lürssen, which now has several manufacturing locations across northern Germany, is always eager to be at least two steps ahead of others, offering best practice to its commercial and military customers. However, because the markets are forever-changing places, the shipyard’s leadership knows that it will have to adapt to the ever-changing requirements in the future.
Stefan Nitschke