Some great images from inside HMS Artful by photographer Phil Noble.
Criminal. Bloody criminal.
High politics ends Navy shipbuilding in Portsmouth
What would Nelson have made of it? Before Trafalgar he signalled “England Expects.” But it is the argument over Scotland’s independence that has left ship-building holed below the waterline in the Royal Navy’s headquarter port.
Most people who’ve lobbied hard for Portsmouth now believe the writing is on the wall.
I am told that the announcement has been brought forward to this morning due to leaks in the media.
Everyone expects it to be curtains for shipbuilding. Some wonder whether BAE may also lose some of the maintenance contract for the surface fleet, perhaps to Babcock.
It has become clear that while BAE is keen to work on low-risk ventures like the Type 26 it sees ship services, not ship building, as its future and so it is natural for them to rationalise facilities.
The only good news could be an impending city deal worth at least £100m to help widen the marine industry in Portsmouth, with Rolls Royce Marine, Qinetiq maybe involved. Perhaps private refit work could provide some income at Basin 3.
There have been radical ideas in the past. The Conservative MP for Portsmouth North, Penny Mordaunt, is Phillip Hammond’s PPS, a navy reservist and named after a warship, HMS Penelope!
Her ideas outlined in a letter to the Prime Minister included putting Royal Navy crews on commission, “sell what you sail and get a bonus”.
Considerations of the vote on Scottish independence seem to have trumped the hi-tech yard run by BAE in Portsmouth. The move of Vosper Thornycroft from Southampton to Portsmouth meant the kit was amongst the best in the world. But the Clyde carries more weight at the moment.
Nevertheless, the Royal Navy could still do well from new deals with Babcock. Perhaps the two ocean patrol vessels as well as 13 Type 26s – perhaps a permanent replacement for HMS protector or HMS Ocean’s successor.
Even Nelson could not have turned a blind eye to Alex Salmond. But there could still be plenty for Pompey to be proud of.
BAE Systems San Francisco Ship Repair, San Francisco, Calif., is being awarded a $12,494,114 firm-fixed-price contract for a 59-calendar day regular overhaul and dry docking availability of dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Amelia Earhart (T-AKE 6). Work will include inspection of the propeller shaft and stern tube, cleaning and painting of the hull, inspection and polish of the bow thruster propeller, installation of the chloropac unit, and overhaul of the seal valves. Earhart’s primary mission is to operate as part of a carrier strike group, providing fuel, ammunition, and dry and refrigerated stores to support the U.S. Navy ships at sea. The contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the total contract value to $14,474,915. Work will be performed in San Francisco, Calif., and is expected to be completed by February 2014. Working capital contract funds in the amount of $12,494,114 are obligated in fiscal 2014 and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured with proposals solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with one offer received. The U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N32205-14-C-3000).
Oh, no, my friends. The F-35 isn’t merely a gilt-edged albatross. It’s a gilt-edged albatross with whipped cream and a cherry on top.
Pentagon Report: F-35 Program Struggles With Quality Management
While there have been improvements, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program continues to struggle with quality management issues, according to a new report from the Pentagon’s Inspector General.
The watchdog found 363 issues, 147 of which it identified as “major.” The report defined major issues as “a nonfulfillment of a requirement that is likely to result in the failure of the quality management system or reduce its ability to ensure controlled processes or compliant products/services.”
Challenges identified in the report include the need for improved training, the need to improve criteria for acceptance of a plane, and unnecessary over-mixing of sealant used on the wings.
“Although it would be unrealistic to expect first production to be issue free, our contractor assessments indicate that greater emphasis on quality assurance, requirement flow down, and process discipline is necessary, if the Government is to attain lower program costs,” the IG wrote.
Inspectors found small improvements in the number of “quality action requests” needed for each lot of planes, with 972 requests per fighter in LRIP-1, 987 in LRIP-2, 926 in LRIP -3, and 859 in LRIP-4.
Similarly, there was a small change in the average rework, repair and scrap rates per aircraft, improving from 13.82 percent in FY 2012 down to 13.11 percent in FY 2013. The IG report describes these improvements as “only a moderate change.”
“F-35 Program quality metric data show improvement in scrap, rework, and repair rates and in software and hardware quality action requests per aircraft,” wrote the IG’s office. “However, the Government incurred and will continue to incur a significant cost for these issues, either through the previous cost-plus incentive/award/fixed-fee contracts or via quality incentives on future fixed-price incentive-fee contracts.”
The report was conducted between February 2012 and July 2013, a time period that saw dramatic changes to the F-35 program, including turnover at the top of both the Joint Program Office (JPO) and Lockheed Martin’s JSF team. Because of that time frame, the report is focused primarily on the first four low-rate initial production (LRIP) lots.
Lockheed and the JPO reached an agreement on LRIP-5 late last year, and announced Friday the details on lots six and seven, which top program officials have marked as a major milestone due to cost reductions.
The IG’s report focused on work done by Lockheed, in the role of prime contractor, but also inspected work done by five key suppliers: Northrop Grumman, the center fuselage integrator; BAE, the aft fuselage integrator; L-3 Display Systems, who handles the cockpit display; Honeywell Aerospace, managing the on-board oxygen generation system, and United Technologies work with the landing gear system.
Engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney was not included in the report.
In an emailed statement, F-35 JPO spokesman Joe DellaVedova called the report “thorough, professional, well-documented and useful to the F-35 Enterprise.” But the statement also noted that much of what was in the report has been previously documented and is being addressed.
“A majority of the findings are consistent with weaknesses previously identified by the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) and the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO), and do not present new or critical issues that affect the health of the program,” DellaVedova’s statement read. “The assessment contains 363 findings, from which, 343 corrective action recommendations (CARs) were generated. As of September 30, 2013, 269 of the 343 CARs have been resolved (78%), with the remaining 74 still in work with Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) in development, or approved by not fully-implemented.”
“This 2012 DoD IG report is based on data that’s more than 16 months old and majority of the Corrective Action Requests (CARs) identified have been closed,” a corporate response from Lockheed Martin read, while noting that all open CARs are scheduled to be closed “by April 2014.”
“When discoveries occur, we take decisive and thorough action to correct the situation, continued the statement. “Our commitment is to deliver the F-35’s world class 5th Generation fighter capabilities to the warfighter on time and within budget.”
Animals that live, eat, sleep and crap in small enclosure? Yep… submariners 😉
HMS Artful is the second Astute-class submarine to be commissioned into Royal Navy service. Together with HMS Astute, lead boat of the class, she joins the RN’s five Trafalgar class submarines as part of the SSN fleet.
Artful goes nuts over submarine’s new mascot
The crew of Britain’s newest nuclear submarine – officially named today in Barrow today – unveiled the boat’s namesake mascot ahead of the milestone ceremony in the boat’s life.
Artful, a ten-month-old lemur monkey from South Lakes Wild Animal Park, has been adopted by the crew of the £1bn hunter-killer.
You can never have too many pictures of lemur monkeys holding the crest of the £1bn nuclear submarine for which they are named…
This is Artful the Monkey, official mascot of Artful the Submarine, which will be unveiled in a formal ceremony in Barrow tomorrow as the hunter-killer – the third of Britain’s seven Astute-class boats – nears completion.
Ahead of the big day in the boat’s life, a nine-strong team from Artful made the short trip to South Lakes Wild Animal Park to adopt the ten-month-old baby ring-tailed lemur.
The inspiration for the adoption came from the submarine’s crest – although the creature on the boat’s historic symbol, chosen in 1945 by the Admiralty’s advisor on heraldry for the first Artful, is actually an unspecified species of primate.
“Having walked around the wildlife park with my wife last year, I remembered they had little monkeys and thought that adopting one as a mascot would be a good idea,” said 24-year-old Lt Aaron Williams from Bradford.
“We wanted to do something quirky to mark the naming ceremony.
“When I did a little research into the crest, I found out that it was chosen to represent the quality of artfulness, monkeys having the reputation of being clever and resourceful creatures.”
Meanwhile in the wildlife park’s spider monkey enclosure… Knot and rope skills were put to good use as the submariners spruced things up for its inhabitants.
“I love monkeys, but let’s hope they don’t complain about my decorating skills as much as my wife does!” said 33-year-old PO Lee Sinclair from Aberdeen.
As for Artful, well sadly the new mascot will be going nowhere near his boat (monkey + £1bn submarine, what could possibly go wrong?). Animals have been banned from Her Majesty’s ships since the 1970s for reasons of hygiene.
Which is a shame because the RN had a long and unusual history of mascots from the animal kingdom, from Simon the Cat which kept the vermin at bay on HMS Amethyst on the Yangtze; to Barbara the polar bear, rescued as a cub from drifting ice off Greenland and a ship’s mascot until growing too large and re-homed in Portsmouth; and Winnie, another monkey mascot who travelled with Great War torpedo boat HMS Velox.
“We won’t be able to get Artful on board, but the crew will still take an interest in him and no doubt a few of the guys and their families will be visiting the wildlife park in the future to see how he is doing,” said Lt Williams.
As for the submarine, she’s been eight and half years in the making. The naming ceremony today is roughly the equivalent of launching a surface ship (there’s no slipway for submarines, which are inched out of the gigantic Devonshire Dock Hall at BAE’s Barrow yard), including smashing a bottle of champers against the hull in the age-old style.
Building on the extensive trials and tests of her older sisters Astute and Ambush, both of which are due to carry out their first operational patrols in a matter of months, Artful is due to enter service in 2015.
The only previous Artful, sister of HMS Alliance on display in Gosport at the RN Submarine Museum, served for over two decades from the late 1940s until the end of the 1960s, before being broken up.
Rolls Royce unveils its new patrol vessel (to be available in 55, 75 and 90-metre flavours). The new vessels will be in direct competition with of the BAE Systems OPV, the National Security Cutter and the Navantia BAM. It a world where littoral warfare, counter-piracy and counter-narcotics operations are increasingly part of of a modern navy’s operational demand, a well-designed OPV is arguably better “bang for your buck” than the LCS or an undersized frigate.
Rolls-Royce unveils new maritime patrol vessel design
Rolls-Royce has unveiled a new design of maritime patrol craft at the Defence & Security Event International (DSEI) in London.
The first of a ‘protection vessel family’ of designs, is a new 55-metre craft featuring a range of equipment from Rolls-Royce (stabilisers, thrusters, steering gear, fixed pitch propellers) and MTU (diesels, diesel generators, Callosum IPMS), offering a cost-effective design that can be tailored to mission requirements.
Weighing around 500 tonnes, the new vessel is suited to patrol, search and rescue and interception duties. A 90-metre version of the craft will be on offer by the end of the year, with a 75-metre design following in 2014.
Garry Mills, Rolls-Royce, Chief of Naval Ship Design, said: “Coastal protection and offshore patrol vessels is a growing sector and this new design offers multi-purpose capability, incorporating core design elements that are replicated across the family of vessels.
“Our customers often face short timescales in the procurement of this type of craft, and having a scalable, cost effective offering is essential.
“There is a growing trend of commercial marine technology crossing into naval markets as governments seek cost reduction through proven capability. Naval vessels generally comprise many disparate and complex technologies, and that’s what Rolls-Royce, with its broad product base, is good at integrating bespoke whole-ship systems to minimise programme risk.”
Building on its success in the commercial marine market, Rolls-Royce established its Bristol-based naval ship design team last year which is focused on four key naval vessel types – naval auxiliaries, offshore/coastal patrol vessels, fast attack craft and naval ice-breakers.