Australia: USS Bonhomme Richard ARG Starts CERTEX

Another post on John’s Naval, Marine and other Service news

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Bonhomme Richard ARG Starts CERTEX
Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) along with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) began Certification Exercise (CERTEX), Aug. 7.
CERTEX is an event focusing on the 31st MEU’s capability of doing missions such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations or non-combatant evacuation operations with the ARG.

“Every MEU goes through a work up cycle prior to deployment which is usually conducted over months of training back in the states, and is culminated during their CERTEX before they deploy,” said Cmdr. Kirk Knox, Bonhomme Richards’ operations officer. “Even though the majority of the focus is on the MEU this is a team effort. The MEU cannot accomplish their tasks if we fail to provide them the support they need.”

Bonhomme Richard ARG is made up of the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), which is the command ship for Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11, as well as the amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42) and amphibious transport dock USS Denver (LPD 9).
Bonhomme Richard provides a platform at sea enabling the MEU to carry out visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) exercises and helicopter raids. The Marines of the MEU will also conduct a combat rubber raiding craft operations (CRRC) from the ship’s well deck.

“We will launch, recover, and spot aircraft to support the 31st MEU during CERTEX,” said Lt. John Zahodne, Bonhomme Richards’ aircraft handler. “During this exercise we are required to operate at a higher operational tempo.”

During CERTEX, Royal Australian Regiment officers, who are from an exchange program to develop officers, will observe the evolutions. In 2014 Australia will receive and deploy two of their own amphibious assault ships.

“The exchange program allows us gain experience from the U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy on how to conduct amphibious operations,” said Maj. Alexander Rubin, Royal Australian Regiment 2nd Battalion detachment officer-in-charge. “We are invigorating our amphibious capability. The idea is to get ahead of the curb in developing our own program. We are grateful for this opportunity and hope that during the next Talisman Saber we can perform amphibious operations side-by-side with Bonhomme Richard.”

The exercise will test the two forces’ ability to execute several evolutions including small boat operations, helicopter and amphibious operations, mass casualty response drills and a non-combatant evacuation operation. Each of these evolutions involves transporting equipment and personnel to designated locations.

“At the end of the day, we are ultimately responsible for the safe movement of the 31st MEU’s vehicles and cargo to and from the battle space,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jesse Alvarez, Bonhomme Richards’ 1st Lieutenant. “While on deployment the Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) element of Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7 integrates with Deck Department and Combat Cargo, as we share working spaces and combine our efforts to execute BHR’s ship-to-shore mission.”

The U.S. and Australia have a long established bilateral partnership which is an essential part of maritime security in the Asia-Pacific region. The U.S. Navy also contributes to the freedom of navigation in the territorial waters and airspace of coastal nations, which supports economic development and international commerce.
Commander Amphibious Squadron ELEVEN, 31st MEU and Bonhomme Richard ARG report to Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Jeffrey A. Harley, headquartered in White Beach, Okinawa, Japan.
Press Release, August 11, 2013; Image: Wikimedia
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Ship to Shore Logistics – 05 (History – …

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John Currin added you to his circles and invited you to join Google+

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The Royal Navy and Unmanned Systems

Another post on John’s Naval, Marine and other Service news

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The Royal Navy and Unmanned Systems

The Royal Navy finally seem to be getting their act together when it comes to the implementation of Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) onboard RN vessels.
A few months ago we had the Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) contract which Boeing won for a contractor owned – contractor operated (COCO) UAS.
The Scan Eagle Unmanned Air Vehicle will be operated from both RN and Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) vessels. The purpose is to provide additional ISTAR capability. There have been a number of trials utilising the Scan Eagle in previous years so the smart money was always on Boeing to win that one.
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Now the RN has announced a Rotary Wing Unmanned Air System (RWUAS) Capability Concept Demonstrator (CCD) contract. The purpose of this contract is

to understand whether a multi-role Rotary Wing Unmanned Air System (RWUAS) can provide utility in the Mine Counter Measures (MCM), Hydrography & Meteorology (HM), Offensive Surface Warfare (OSuW) and general Situational Awareness (SA) capability areas.

AgustaWestland have been selected as the prime contractor for this programme, perhaps unsurprisingly given their position at the centre of the UK Rotary Wing Strategy.
Further details on the programme were announced in the contract notification –

A CCD seeks to investigate issues with the use of relatively mature technologies and does not involve significant equipment development or integration. DE&S and Dstl previously conducted a Scoping Study which identified the potential of a small (100 – 1000kg) or medium (1000 – 3000kg) Rotary Wing UAS to deliver the maritime capabilities being sought. The CCD will need to assess platform integration issues and the impact across the Defence Lines of Development (DLoDs) of bringing an RWUAS into service. DE&S intend to progress to the demonstration & analysis phase of the CCD which is expected to involve a package of physical demonstrations of a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAS and specialist sensors, supported by simulation and synthetic environment experiments. Interested parties were advised to note the CCD is not intended as a test of a particular system and does not form part of a current acquisition programme. Rather it will inform future maritime UAS requirements, potentially leading to an acquisition programme in the second decade. DE&S expects the UAS (Vehicle, Control Station & Comms Link) that is offered to be suitably mature (TRL 7 or above) to undertake the demonstration activities with a low probability of delay due to unplanned maintenance or technical issues. Specialist sensors and payload systems at TRL 5 would be acceptable as DE&S recognises that the capabilities being investigated are novel and the technologies may not be mature yet. The CCD is also interested in identifying and assessing future sensor technologies of lower TRLs that are not ready for demonstration but may be suitable for simulation or other activities.

It will be interesting to see what platforms are selected; the Schiebel Camcopter and Saab Skeldar are both relatively mature platforms as is the Boeing Little Bird.




Alternatively the AgustaWestland ‘Project Zero’ is an interesting unmanned tilt rotor capability which might be given a crack although this would increase the risk associated with the programme.

It’s also interesting that the MoD want to consider helicopter borne MCM capabilities given that this is not a capability it currently possess in the manned rotary wing fleet. Time will tell but given the current focus of operations appears to be Counter Narcotics and Piracy it is clear that this capability is long overdue

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Soteria Roadside Bomb Detection

Another post on John’s Naval, Marine and other Service news

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Soteria Roadside Bomb Detection

More innovation in the field of remote IED detection, this time from Raytheon

Soteria, a new sensor system from Raytheon detects buried bombs by “seeing” into the ground ahead of a vehicle, an innovation aimed at stopping the No. 1 threat to deployed troops. The Soteria system can determine the shape, size, orientation and exact location of mines and improvised explosive devices, or IEDs


Read more here
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Much of the underlying research has come from Loughborough University

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Nigerian Navy ship departs Calabar for Australia

Another post on John’s Naval, Marine and other Service news

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Nigerian Navy ship departs Calabar for Australia

Published:August 9,2013
The ship will return to Nigeria in December.
The Nigerian Navy ship, NNS Thunder, has left Calabar Port enroute Australia, to participate in the Royal Australian Navy’s International Fleet Review (IFR).
The Chief of Naval staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba, told the 177-member crew, including 37 officers and 140 Ratings, to be of good behaviour in Australia.
Mr. Ezeoba, who was represented by Rear Admiral Joe Aikhomu– the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command– said the crew would participate in the exercise slated for October 3 to October 11 in Sydney, Australia.
He said that the crew would spend about five months before returning to Nigeria, adding that the welfare of crew members was paramount to the Federal Government and the naval hierarchy.
“This is a diplomatic exercise. The benefit is quite enormous. This mission is not an accidental thing.
“A lot of things have been put in place right from the welfare of the crew, training and logistics, so that they will go there and represent this country well.
“There are things that we expect from our sailors. We expect them to respect the laws in the host country. We have participated in similar exercise in the past, so, it is not a new thing to us,’’ he said.
He said the Nigerian Navy participated in a similar exercise in 2005, when NNS Aradu visited the United Kingdom for the bicentenary (200 years) of the Battle of Trafalgar.
He also said that in 2007, the NNS Nwanba visited Brazil for a similar exercise.
The NNS Thunder will return to home port in December, after making outbound port calls at Luanda, Cape Town, Port Louis, Freemantle and Sydney.
On the in-bound leg, the naval ship will also visit Melbourne, Albany, Port Des Galet, Durban, Walvis Bay and Pointe Noire.
The Fleet Review will start on October 4. The formal review of the participating ships will take place in Sydney Harbour on October 5, 2013.
(NAN)
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US, Philippines Talk Naval Build-up to Balance China’s Aggression

Another post on John’s Naval, Marine and other Service news

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.August 8, 2013

US, Philippines Talk Naval Build-up to Balance China’s Aggression

philippines_and_other_SEasia_countries
The Philippines is plowing ahead with a military upgrade and increased cooperation with the US navy, the AP reports. In a letter to Philippine Congressional leaders, the defense and foreign affairs ministers wrote that American troops and ships will soon be allowed more access to Philippine territory to help the Philippines maintain a “minimum credible defense” while it embarks on an ambitious military expansion program. ”This relationship is useful not only in our diplomacy but also in enhancing our capabilities at the vital task of territorial defense,” the ministers wrote.
China’s frequent claims on disputed territory in the South China Sea irk the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations, and China’s stronger navy usually wins standoffs with the weaker neighbors. The Philippines, growing tired of being outgunned on the high seas, has turned to the US for help in offsetting China’s aggression, and not a moment too soon:
Confidential Philippine military surveillance reports seen by the AP said that 61 Chinese vessels were sighted in Manila-claimed areas of the disputed Spratly Islands from July 4 to 10. China has also turned Mischief Reef, which it occupied in 1995 amid protests from Manila, into a logistical base to help Chinese ships better patrol the seas.
China has also erected two concrete posts at the narrow entrance of a vast lagoon to erect a rope barrier and better control entry into Scarborough Shoal, a rich fishing ground which came under Beijing’s control after Philippine ships backed off from a tense face-off last year.
The Philippines also took control of a former US Coast Guard ship on Tuesday. The BRP Ramon Alcaraz is the second such marine patrol vessel the Philippines has bought from the US.
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Pearl Harbor-Hickam Highlights

Another post on John’s Naval, Marine and other Service news

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Pearl Harbor-Hickam Highlights

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India activates atomic reactor on indigenously…

India activates atomic reactor on indigenously designed nuclear submarine – NZweek
India has activated a miniature atomic reactor on board an indigenously designed nuclear submarine,

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