US Navy accepts delivery of USS Somerset from Huntington Ingalls

USS Somerset (LPD 25) is the ninth San Antonio-class LPD that HII has delivered to the US Navy. Two more are under construction for a total of 11 ships in the class, although 12 were originally planned (1 cancelled due to budget cuts & cost overruns). A follow-on class, possibly a San Antonio Flight II, or possibly an LSD(X) replacement based on a San Antonio hull, is planned… exact spec pending.

Huntington Ingalls delivers Avondale-built Somerset to U.S. Navy

The USS Somerset, which was christened in July, was delivered to the U.S. Navy today. It was build at the Avondale, La., facility of Huntington Ingalls Industries. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

AVONDALE, Louisiana — Huntington Ingalls Industries announced today that its Ingalls Shipbuilding division has delivered the amphibious transport dock Somerset (LPD 25) to the U.S. Navy.

The DD 250 document officially signifying custody transfer of the ship was signed by officials on the ship at the company’s Avondale facility.

Somerset is the ninth ship in the San Antonio (LPD 17) class of ships Ingalls has delivered to the Navy.

“We are very pleased to deliver this ship to our Navy customer,” said Mike Duthu, director of Ingalls’ LPD 17 program. “With each successive LPD, we apply lessons learned that result in ship-over-ship improvements in quality, efficiency and affordability. With Somerset, the Navy is getting another very capable and adaptable amphibious warship designed and built to enable sailors and Marines to accomplish their missions.”

The ship successfully completed builder’s trials in August and U.S. Navy acceptance trials in September. Ingalls has two more under construction at its Pascagoula, Miss., shipyard. John P. Murtha (LPD 26) is slated for completion in 2016, and Portland (LPD 27) will complete in 2017.

Somerset is named to honor the courage of the passengers and crew members of United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed on Sept. 11, 2001, near Shanksville in Somerset County, Pa. LPD 25 is scheduled to be commissioned in the Navy fleet on March 1, 2014, in Philadelphia. The ship will join the two other Ingalls-built LPDs named in honor of the victims of Sept. 11, USS New York (LPD 21) and USS Arlington (LPD 24).

In addition to more than 10,000 Ingalls shipbuilders, there are 650 suppliers from 38 states that support the LPD 17 program. Ingalls spends approximately $175 million a year with this vital industrial base.

Built to be survivable and flexible, these complex warships ships enable the services to carry out their missions without constraints or additional assets. The 11 ships of the LPD 17 class are a key element of the Navy’s ability to project power ashore. Collectively, they functionally replace more than 41 ships (the LPD 4, LSD 36, LKA 113 and LST 1179 classes of amphibious ships), providing the Navy and Marine Corps with modern, sea-based platforms that are networked, survivable and built to operate with 21st century platforms, such as the MV-22 Osprey.

The LPD 17-class ships are 684 feet long and 105 feet wide and displace approximately 25,000 tons. Their principal mission is to deploy the combat and support elements of Marine Expeditionary Units and Brigades. The ships can carry up to 800 troops and have the capability of transporting and debarking air cushion (LCAC) or conventional landing crafts, augmented by helicopters or vertical take-off and landing aircraft such as the MV-22. These ships will support amphibious assault, special operations or expeditionary warfare missions through the first half of the 21st century.

http://blog.gulflive.com/mississippi-press-business/2013/10/huntington_ingalls_delivers_av.html

Royal Navy deploys for Operation Cougar ’13

For the much-reduced Royal Navy and “austerity Britain”, this is a *BIG* deployment.

Royal Navy sails for annual ‘Cougar’ deployment

Thousands of Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Fleet Auxiliary personnel will leave the UK on Monday (12 August) for an annual deployment to the Mediterranean and Gulf region – Cougar ’13.

HMS Bulwark. Photograph by LA(Phot) Joel Rouse

The long-planned deployment will see elements of the UK’s Response Force Task Group (RFTG) – the naval force formed under the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review – hone its world class maritime skills thousands of miles from home through exercises with a number of key allies.

Four Royal Navy warships, the Lead Commando Group from 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines and elements of Naval Air Squadrons will be supported by five vessels from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

RFA Mounts Bay. Photograph by LA(Phot) Joel Rouse

This is the third time the deployment has taken place, after Cougars ’11 and ’12, with its aim to demonstrate the ability to operate a highly effective maritime force anywhere in the world to protect UK interests.

Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond MP, said:

“Since its creation under the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review, the Response Force Task Group has demonstrated its formidable strength and readiness to respond to emerging threats worldwide through a number of operations and exercises.

“This now routine and long-planned deployment will demonstrate once again its ability to operate as a rapid reaction force on behalf of the UK and, importantly, underlines the global reach and flexibility of the modern Royal Navy.”

The Task Group is able to conduct simultaneously a range of operations from deterring adversaries and maritime security to international engagement and supporting regional stability.

Its units can operate independently on discrete tasks or as a single entity.

Most importantly, it is an adaptable force that is able to work jointly with Army and Royal Air Force assets, other government agencies and partner nations when required.

After a number of planned port visits in the Mediterranean, the first major exercise for the force will be Albanian Lion, in the Adriatic.

Personnel will work with Albania’s armed forces, building on a similar exercise last year, with the goal to put the Lead Commando Group ashore within a high tempo scenario and sustain it as it moves inland.

The ships will then sail through the Red Sea, Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf where the focus will transfer to the series of exercises with UK allies in the Gulf region; alongside Army and RAF units.

Commodore Paddy McAlpine, Commander UK Task Group, said:

“Cougar ’13 is a bespoke opportunity to enhance the Royal Navy’s enduring core skill – the ability to operate and project power as a task group at range. In so doing, it will also remind interested domestic and international parties of the enduring utility, employability and interoperability of the Royal Navy.

“During Cougar ’13 we will engage with our partner nations through a series of exercises, reinforcing our commitment and demonstrating our contribution to security in the Mediterranean and Gulf region.”

Commodore McAlpine and his staff will command from the nation’s flagship HMS Bulwark. Alongside Brigadier Stuart Birrell (Commander of 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines) he will choreograph the efforts of Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary sailors, Royal Marine Commandos and Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm personnel.

Joining Bulwark will be Portsmouth-based helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious and frigates HMS Montrose (Plymouth) and HMS Westminster (Portsmouth) to provide escort duties, as well as undertake ongoing counter-piracy operations outside the exercise programme.

HMS Illustrious. Photo by LA(Phot) Gary Weatherston

HMS Montrose is also due to reprise her role from Cougar ‘12 as the launch pad for small Royal Marines reconnaissance parties, which are sent ashore to scout the lie of the land and ‘enemy’ forces.

HMS Montrose. Photo by PO(Phot) Wheelie A’barrow

The Royal Marines will be embarking HMS Bulwark, RFA Mounts Bay and RFA Lyme Bay: the nation’s Lead Commando Group, including 42 Commando, elements of 30 Commando IX Group, and the Commando Logistics Regiment who will meet all the supply and medical needs and 16 Vikings of the Corps’ Armoured Support Group.

A number of Army Commandos from 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery and 24 Commando Engineer Regiment will also deploy as part of the Lead Commando Group.

Brigadier Stuart Birrell, Commander 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines, said:

“Cougar ’13 provides a superb opportunity to demonstrate the capability and capacity of the Response Force Task Group and the Lead Commando Group. Operating in a wide variety of countries across the Mediterranean and Gulf region, the task group will engage in capacity building and defence engagement with a range of partner nations, in some truly outstanding exercises.

“A demanding and ambitious deployment, we will look forward to the challenges and opportunities that Cougar ’13 presents.”

RFA Fort Austin will provide stores, fuel, water, and ammunition and RFA Diligence is on hand to attend to any of the Cougar ’13 ship’s engineering requirements.

RFA Fort Austin. Photo by LA(PHOT) Claire Jones

The majority of the Task Group is due home to the UK in December, although Diligence, Westminster and Montrose are due to remain east of Suez in support of the Navy’s long-standing mission in the region to keep the sea lanes safe and secure for lawful trade.

http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/News-and-Events/Latest-News/2013/August/09/130809-Cougar-13