PHOTEX: USS Boxer (LHD-4) fires Sea Sparrow (RIM-7P) missile

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 18, 2013) A Sea Sparrow (RIM-7P) missile is launched from the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) during a missile firing exercise. Boxer is underway off the coast of Southern California conducting a composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX). COMPTUEX is a scenario-driven exercise aimed at integrating the ships of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group through a series of live training events. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Kenan O’Connor (Released) 130718-N-JP249-023

US and Australian forces collaborate in Talisman Sabre 13

TS 13 continues with an air defence exercise.

HMAS Sydney (FFG 03) is an Adelaide class frigate (based on the US Navy Oliver Hazard Perry class) and is nearing the end of her operational life. She will be replaced with a new HMAS Sydney (the fifth so-named ship) a Hobart class destroyer in 2017, providing the RAN with an enhanced air-warfare capability.

U.S., Australian Forces Collaborate on Air Defense

CORAL SEA (NNS) — The U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) Carrier Strike Group, Destroyer Squadron 15 (DESRON 15) and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) collaborate in an air defense exercise (ADEX) in support of exercise Talisman Saber 2013 (TS 13).

ADEXs provide combined training and validation for maritime and air operations and flex combined staffs in crisis action planning for contingency operations and humanitarian missions.

“We’re integrating the Australian forces into our air defense system to build a combined force for our nation and our allies,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Rene “Sleepy” Cornejo, air warfare commander of the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) and air missile test commander for Commander, Task Force 70 (CTF 70). “We use the air defense to protect the carrier strike group to include the air wing, which also provides defense for our surface assets.”

TS 13 is a biennial training exercise aimed at improving ADF and U.S. combat readiness and interoperability as a Combined Joint Task Force.

“The exercise allows U.S. and Australia air defense assets to execute a pre-planned response to a hostile threat,” said Lt. Bill Webb, George Washington’s tactical actions officer. “One scenario we conduct is to have our aircraft act as enemy combatants. We then intercept them using our other aircraft, ships, and Australian forces. Integrating our forces definitely makes us stronger.”

The alliance between the two nations provides ADF with access to technology and defenses that increases the capacity and strength of its forces.

“We integrated HMAS Sydney (FFG 03) this year into the strike group and for today’s exercise, we had the Royal Australian Air Force solely providing assets,” said Cornejo. “Prior to integrating Sydney, we conducted classroom training. Once we got underway, we activated Sydney as the alternate air missile defense commander. Now we’re finally conducting TS 13 and testing each other’s air and weapons capability.”

George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its partners and allies in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

Construction milestone for HMAS Hobart, RAN’s new air warfare destroyer

Construction of HMAS Hobart, lead ship in a new class of air warfare destroyers for the Royal Australian Navy, proceeds apace. The Hobart design is based on the Spanish Álvaro de Bazán-class frigate, which beat out the US Arleigh Burke- class in the RAN’s search for a new air defence destroyer.

The new destroyer will be the third HMAS Hobart. The first was HMAS Hobart (D63) a Leander class cruiser that served during the Second World War. The second was HMAS Hobart (D39) a Perth class destroyer that served from 1965 to 2000.

Consolidation of final keel block for first Air Warfare Destroyer

Consolidation of final keel block for first Air Warfare Destroyer.

Minister for Defence Materiel Dr Mike Kelly AM MP today announced the final keel block for the future destroyer, Hobart, has been successfully lifted into place by the AWD Alliance in Adelaide.

Dr Kelly said the final keel block is the 18th of 31 blocks to be joined into what is rapidly becoming the recognisable structure of the Hobart.

“This particular block will house flotation and stabilisation equipment for the Hobart and will now be consolidated into the existing ship structure to complete the keel,” Dr Kelly said.

“The keel is the main structural element stretching along the centre line of the bottom of a ship from the bow to the stern.

“The keel blocks will contain part of the Vertical Launch System, the diesel and gas turbine main engine rooms, auxiliary engine rooms, ballast tanks, propeller shafts and sonar equipment.”

Each destroyer will have six Vertical Launch System modules containing eight cells which are able to store and launch missiles.

“There are a total of 48 cells in each ship, with each cell able to be armed with either a single Standard Missile 2, or four Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles.

“The Hobart Class destroyers will provide the Royal Australian Navy with the most capable warships they have ever operated, with a sophisticated range of both offensive and defensive weapons.”

Dr Kelly said the AWD project is the most complex naval ship construction program ever undertaken in Australia.

“This milestone demonstrates the ongoing progress and quality of work being undertaken by the national shipbuilding industry across the country,” Dr Kelly said.

Consolidation of the entire hull will be complete in early 2014 and will be followed by fit-out and testing of the ships’ systems before sea trials are undertaken.

The AWD Alliance is made up of the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) representing the Australian Government, ASC as the lead shipbuilder and Raytheon Australia as the mission systems integrator.

New surface-to-air missile for littorial combat ships

It’s all about the littorals!

NAVSEA: LCS Missile Competition Could Start Next Year

The Griffin Missile, Raytheon Photo

The U.S. Navy could start its investigation into its new surface-to-surface missile for its Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program as early as next year, Naval Sea System Command officials told USNI News on Monday.Currently, NAVSEA is testing the Raytheon Griffin IIB as part of the Surface Warfare (SuW) mission package, only, “as an interim capability,” according to a statement provided to USNI News.

“Subject to funds availability, detailed work on the solicitation contents could start in FY 2014,” NAVSEA said.

“Since this is planned competitive procurement, additional details will be released in the future, as required by Federal procurement regulations, by the cognizant contracting activity.”

The surface-to-surface missile is major missing component of the SuW package. A joint missile with a 25-mile range under development by the Army and the Navy — NLOS-LS — was deemed too expensive and canceled after more than $1 billion in development funds.

USS Freedom (LCS 1) is underway off the coast of Malaysia on June, 20 2013. US Navy Photo

The Navy selected Griffin in early 2011 as an interim capability. The Griffin is 43-inch missile was developed for U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and weighs 33 pound with a 13 pound warhead. The missile is GPS guided and has been thought to have been used by SOCOM from airborne platforms. There is also a ground variant, though the surface-to-surface version only has a range of about 3.5 miles.Last year the missile was successfully tested by the Navy engaging small boat targets, according to the company.

“Right now, this version of the Griffin probably doesn’t ultimately have enough range for this customer so we’re on LCS increment 1 with this Griffin, but what we need to do is, with what we’re calling a Sea Griffin, we need to put a bigger motor on the Griffin and give it some more range,” said Harry Schulte, vice president of air warfare systems for Raytheon’s missile systems business last week in a June, 23 report in Defense News.

Other competitors for the next increment could include the Sea Spear from European firm MBDA, reported Defense News.