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L'industrie navale américaine est-elle sur le point de vendre des DDG-51 ou des LCS à l'Arabie Saoudite ?

L'industrie navale américaine est-elle sur le point de vendre des DDG-51 ou des LCS à l'Arabie Saoudite ? | Newsletter navale |

The $20 billion dollar recapitalization of Saudi Arabia’s eastern fleet is beginning to pick up steam again after several years of being a dormant U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, several U.S. shipbuilding industry officials have told USNI News.

The FMS case for the replacement of the Royal Saudi Navy’s Eastern Fleet of aging American warships – Saudi Naval Expansion Program II (SNEP II) – has been languishing for years as the Saudis and Americans negotiate the requirements for the ships.

But several industry officials have told USNI News there maybe some movement toward finalizing requirements for the ship deal that would be a welcome boon to U.S. shipbuilders faced with tight Pentagon budgets.

Other industry sources told USNI News they expect a RFP for the replacement of the Eastern Fleet in the coming months.

Potential movement on the FMS case follows a December contract award for Lockheed Martin MK-41 Vertical Launch Systems (VLS) that included a set-aside for Saudi Arabia in the amount of approximately $93.8 million. The launchers are used to fire missiles from U.S. guided missile cruisers and destroyers, the new Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense (BMD) installations and in U.S. allied navy ships.

The Saudi’s currently do not use the MK-41 systems in any of their ships.

The U.S. Navy International Program Office (NIPO) did not provide details on the MK-41 sale to USNI News saying the office wouldn’t comment on ongoing FMS cases.

Lockheed, Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) builder Austal USA, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW) and Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) have all expressed interest in the SNEP II program.

What ships will be needed for the buy have yet to be determined.

Lockheed will likely offer a version of the Freedom-class LCS. In response to a question on SNEP II on Wednesday, company officials said they had recently met with unspecified countries to discuss the capabilities of an international Freedom variant.

Austal has previously told USNI News they were interested in the business with a version of the Independence.

USNI News understands that HII is pitching variant of its Legend-class cutter built for the U.S. Coast Guard – billed as a patrol frigate.

In 2011, reports indicated that the Saudis were interested in acquiring Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers (DDG-51), which would make BIW a competitor as well.

The program is not just ships and will likely include improvements to the Saudi Eastern Fleet’s homeport in Jubail on the Persian Gulf.

“This massive purchase could include destroyers, patrol craft, helicopters, ground vehicles and other platforms, as well as warehouses and substantial upgrades to port infrastructure,” read an October U.S. Army Corps of Engineers briefing.

Patrick H. 's insight:

On avait parlé en décembre dernier de l'autorisation donnée par le Pentagone pour l'exportation de systèmes de lancement vertical Mk 41 VLS :

L'Arabie Saoudite pourrait en fait envisager l'achat à la fois de LCS modifiées Mk41VLS d'origine US et de FREMM d'origine française comme telle était sa volonté affichée depuis 2010 :

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Deux navires de transport rapide pour la marine omanaise - Mer et Marine

Deux navires de transport rapide pour la marine omanaise - Mer et Marine | Newsletter navale |

C’est à Oman qu’Austal a vendu deux navires rapides de transport de troupes et de matériel. Le constructeur australien, qui avait annoncé en mars dernier cette commande sans préciser l’identité de son client, a levé le voile sur le contrat et le design des bâtiments qui seront construits pour la marine omanaise.

Inspirés des Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) développés pour l’US Navy, qui en fait construire 10 exemplaires chez Austal à Mobile (Etats-Unis) , les High Speed Support Vessels (HSSV) commandés par le sultanat mesureront 72.5 mètres de long pour 18.2 mètres de large, avec un tirant d’eau de 3.2 mètres. Affichant un port en lourd de 320 tonnes, ils seront armés par un équipage de 69 marins et pourront atteindre la vitesse de 35 nœuds avec 200 tonnes de charge. La propulsion comprendra quatre moteurs diesels MTU 20V 4000 M93L et quatre hydrojets Rolls-Royce 80S3.

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Patrick H. 's insight:

L'identité du client d'Austal avait en fait été révélée en juillet dernier :

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Le chantier américain Austal USA de Mobile (Alabama) met à l'eau la LCS-8 (qui sera baptisée USS Montgomery)

Le chantier américain Austal USA de Mobile (Alabama) met à l'eau la LCS-8 (qui sera baptisée USS Montgomery) | Newsletter navale |

MOBILE, Alabama -- Austal USA launched the future USS Montgomery this week, the second of ten littoral combat ships the company is building for the U.S. Navy.

The vessel was rolled out of Austal's shipyard and onto the Mobile River early Wednesday on a floating deck barge, heading south to BAE Systems' Southeast Shipyard where it was drydocked and lowered into the water.

The ship was later moored on the riverfront alongside the USS Jackson before final outfitting and delivery to the Navy.

General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems was the prime contractor for the first two littoral combat ships built at Austal.

In 2010, the Navy committed $3.5 billion for a mass purchase of another 10 ships with Austal as the prime contractor for the aluminum Independence class ship. General Dynamics is responsible for the design and testing the ship's navigation system.

Lockheed Martin and Marinette Marine build the steel-hulled Freedom class version, a steel monohull.  

The launch comes about two weeks after the USNS Fall River, a joint high speed vessel Austal is also building for the Navy, successfully completed acceptance trials.

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Lockhed Martin, Austal USA, Huntington Ingalls "planchent" sur un Small Surface Combattant, l'après LCS

Lockhed Martin, Austal USA, Huntington Ingalls "planchent" sur un Small Surface Combattant, l'après LCS | Newsletter navale |

WASHINGTON — The task force working to come up with ideas for the US Navy’s small surface combatant (SSC) got a major data download Thursday, as industry submitted their proposals for modified or entirely new designs.

Both builders of littoral combat ships — Lockheed Martin and Austal USA — submitted ideas to modify their designs. Huntington Ingalls proposed frigate variants of its national security cutter design. And at least one outlier, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, put in a bid.

Companies were also invited to come up with ideas for the ship’s combat system. In separate proposals, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems (GD AIS) described systems and components to equip the SSC.

The submissions were in response to two requests for information (RFIs) issued in April by the task force — a unit stood up in March to provide recommendations to Navy leadership by the end of July on potential alternatives to the current LCS designs.

The fast track was apparent in the size restrictions put on the RFIs — the ship RFI was limited to 25 pages, the combat systems response to 15 pages. RFIs typically run into many hundreds of pages.

The limited responses reflect the goals of the task force.

The responses were submitted to Naval Sea Systems Command, which will process and forward them to the task force. It’s not yet clear how many respondents were garnered by each RFI.

Lockheed was perhaps in the best position to respond, having spent several years aggressively proposing various versions of its 118-meter-long Freedom-class LCS to potential foreign customers. Joe North, head of the company’s LCS programs, said a similar approach was used in its responses.

The proposals include incorporating vertical launch systems able to launch Standard SM-2 missiles. Lockheed can get an SM-2 launcher into the current 118-meter version, North noted, but a larger ship would be needed to install the bigger SM-6 model coming into service.

“SM-6 can go on the 125-meter and 140-meter,” he said, “and probably a SPY-1F [Aegis] radar or a derivative of [Raytheon’s] air missile defense radar [AMDR] if you want the full capability of the SM-6.”

The company included versions of its current COMBATSS-21 combat management system in responding to both RFIs. The system is a derivative of the Aegis combat system and uses a common code library.

Austal USA, builder of the Independence class LCS, also sent in bids.

It was not clear what combat system Austal USA is proposing. The company currently installs a system from GD AIS, based on the Thales Tacticos combat management system. “We can handle any other systems that can be chosen,” O’Brien said. “The Navy asked to provide that flexibility and we’re able to do that in our current hull form.

The Navy is known to have problems with the GD AIS system, but the company is still working on improvements. General Dynamics confirmed on Thursday that GD AIS submitted a response to the combat systems RFI, but would provide no further details.

Huntington Ingalls, as expected, also put in its bid. The company has been working to develop larger and more heavily-armed versions of the NSC — again, aimed primarily at foreign markets, but now focused on US Navy requirements.

“Ingalls has submitted an RFI response using a high performance, proven hull and propulsion system that is a lethal, survivable and affordable design for the small surface combatant,” spokesman Bill Glenn said. “Adding robust capabilities to a hull form that does not require additional modifications provides a ship that can be introduced to the fleet quickly and affordably with very low risk.”

General Dynamics Bath Iron Works also confirmed it submitted a response to the ship RFI, but spokesman Jim DeMartini declined to provide further details. The Maine shipbuilder is not building a small combatant, but is focused on construction of Arleigh Burke Aegis destroyers and larger Zumwalt-class stealth destroyers.

Bath, however, submitted a design for the US Coast Guard’s offshore patrol cutter that was one of three chosen this year for further development. The award, however, is under protest, with a decision expected in early June.

Raytheon, which makes components used by virtually every US Navy warship, also responded to the combat systems RFI.

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US Navy : La Task Force "Small Surface Combatant" adresse 2 demandes d'informations aux industriels

US Navy : La Task Force "Small Surface Combatant" adresse 2 demandes d'informations aux industriels | Newsletter navale |

WASHINGTON — The search for a possible follow-on to the US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) took a step forward Wednesday with the publication of two requests for information (RFIs).

One RFI seeks input on ship designs, and the other is aimed at combat systems.

“We’re asking for existing and mature design concepts,” John Burrow, lead for the Small Surface Combatant (SSC) task force, told reporters at the Pentagon.

The second RFI, he explained, asks for information on “combat systems and technologies at the component level,” such as radars and weapons.

The task force was formed in mid-March to provide the Navy and Pentagon leaders with options and alternatives to the LCS. Those options, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said earlier this year, could include the existing LCS designs.

The effort is on a fast track. The task force is to submit its findings by July 31, in time, Hagel said, “to inform” the 2016 budget deliberations.

Issuance of the RFIs, Burrow said, “will really kick the engagement for us” and give industry the chance to present its ideas.

“We’re not providing requirements in the RFIs,” Burrow said. “We’re looking for what systems and capabilities are out there right now. We’re not looking for them to do a design effort, but they’ve been thinking about this for some time, and I’m sure they have some good ideas.”

The task force, Burrow explained in his first meeting with reporters since the group was formed, is developing capability concepts, along with mission and capability alternatives for the ships.

Among the options to be considered, he said, are modifications to the current LCS 1 Freedom class design from Lockheed Martin, and the LCS 2 Independence class from Austal USA.

“Each one may have a number of configuration alternatives,” he said. “In the end, when we come up with alternatives they will be tied to capability concepts that will be closely linked to the engineering analysis.”

The capability concepts are centered on four key warfare areas: air, surface, undersea and mines. Along with those areas, Burrow said, will be capabilities like speed, range and endurance.

“We have a designed set of capabilities and a level of capability for each,” he said.

Asked about affordability targets, Burrow said that while the work of the task force will “inform the process, this task force does not make affordability decisions.

“My job is to give design alternatives that include capability concepts, design alternatives, cost and performance. We’ll start big and eliminate some [alternatives], start to get it down to a more manageable set of alternatives that leadership can use to make a decision.”

Asked if foreign designs were off the table, Burrow exclaimed, “not at all.

“We’re looking at ships in production today and mature designs. We’re looking at everything,” including foreign designs.

The task force also is beginning efforts to reach out to the fleet for input on what a small warship would need. The group will travel to Norfolk and Pearl Harbor in May to begin that process, Burrow said.

The RFIs can be found on the FedBizOpps web site at here and here.

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Selon le Secrétaire à la Défense Hagel, le programme du futur Small Surface Combatant SSC sera inspiré des LCS actuelles

Selon le Secrétaire à la Défense Hagel, le programme du futur Small Surface Combatant SSC sera inspiré des LCS actuelles | Newsletter navale |

Lockheed Martin SSC based on the Freedom class LCS may end up looking like this "Multi-Mission Combatant" which is the export variant of the Freedom LCS. This model shown at Euronaval in France is equipped SPY-1F AEGIS, Thales Sonar, MK41 VLS, Oto Melara 76mm main gun, Millenium 35mm CIWS and 8x anti-ship missiles.

According to a statement by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel released on December 11th, the future Small Surface Combatant (SSC), a more lethal and survivable ship being considered as a follow-on to the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), will be based on the two existing LCS: The Freedom class designed by Lockheed Martin and the Independence class designed by Austal.

Statement by Secretary Hagel on the Littoral Combat Ship
Earlier this year, expressing concern that the U.S. Navy was relying too heavily on the littoral combat ship (LCS) to meet long-term targets for the size of its fleet, I announced that the Defense Department would not undertake new contract negotiations beyond 32 littoral combat ships, and directed the Navy to submit alternative proposals to identify and procure a more lethal and survivable small surface combatant, with capabilities generally consistent with those of a frigate. I specifically asked the Navy to consider completely new designs, existing ship designs, and modified LCS designs; and to provide their recommendations to me in time to inform the president's fiscal year 2016 defense budget.

After rigorous review and analysis, today I accepted the Navy's recommendation to build a new small surface combatant (SSC) ship based on upgraded variants of the LCS. The new SSC will offer improvements in ship lethality and survivability, delivering enhanced naval combat performance at an affordable price.

The LCS was designed to be a modular and focused-mission platform individually tailored for mine-sweeping, surface warfare, and anti-submarine warfare. Given today's fiscal climate and an increasingly volatile security environment, I concluded the Navy must direct its future shipbuilding resources toward more multi-mission platforms that can operate in every region and across the full spectrum of conflict.
My decision today follows consultations with DoD's senior leadership and careful review of the Navy's recommendation and underlying analysis, which included detailed evaluation of 192 design concepts as well as consultation with fleet commanders, industry, surface warfare officers, engineers, program managers, and analysts.

The more lethal and survivable SSC will meet a broader set of missions across the range of military operations, and addresses the Navy's top war-fighting priorities. It will feature an improved air defense radar; air defense decoys; a new, more effective electronic warfare system; an over-the-horizon anti-ship missile; multi-function towed array sonar; torpedo defenses; and additional armor protection.

I have directed the Navy to assume a total buy of 52 LSCs and SSCs, with the final number and mix dependent on future fleet requirements, final procurement costs, and overall Navy resources. Production of the new SSC will begin no later than fiscal year 2019, and there will be no gap between production of the last LCS and the first SSC. A significant advantage to this approach is the ability to enhance naval combat performance by back-fitting select SSC improvements to the LCS fleet.

The Navy's new proposal, like the LCS, will continue to have its critics, but considering the context of our broader naval battle force and the current strategic and fiscal environment, I believe it represents our best and most cost effective option. By avoiding a new class of ships and new system design costs, it also represents the most responsible use of our industrial base investment while expanding the commonality of the Navy's

Going forward, I have issued three directives to the Navy. First, by next May, the Navy will provide the secretary of defense with an acquisition strategy to support design and procurement of the SSC no later than fiscal year 2019, while continuing to identify further opportunities to enhance the new ship's survivability and lethality. Second, also by next May, the Navy will provide a detailed assessment of the cost and feasibility of back-fitting the SSCs enhancements onto LCSs already under contract. Finally, in advance of fiscal year 2017 budget preparations, the Navy will provide the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics and the director of cost analysis and program evaluation with detailed cost estimates as well as a plan for controlling those costs.
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Austal USA a livré le 4ème JHSV à l'US Military Sealift Command

Austal USA a livré le 4ème JHSV à l'US Military Sealift Command | Newsletter navale |

Austal USA has delivered the latest Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) to U.S. Military Sealift Command (MSC) in a ceremony in Mobile, Ala. on Monday, according to a statement from U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA).

USNS Fall River (JHSV-4) is the fourth JHSV delivered to to MSC, following the completion of sea trials in July.

“Today the Navy received a tremendous asset,” said Strategic and Theater Sealift Program Manager Capt. Henry Stevens in the statement.
“The addition of Fall River to the fleet will enhance our forward presence and ability to bolster global security from the sea by quickly transporting significant resources to a wide array of geographic regions throughout the world in time of need.”

The fifth JHSV, Trenton (JHSV-5), will launch in the next few weeks, according to NAVSEA.

JHSV began as a joint Army and Navy Program until the Army left the ten-ship $2.5 billion program.

The aluminum catamarans can transport up to 600 tons of troops and gear. The ships displace 1,515-tons, can cruise at 35 knots at a range of 1,200 nautical miles.

The first ship, USNS Spearhead (JHSV-1) was accepted into service last year and has operated in the Mediterranean Sea. USNS Millinocket (JHSV-3) was part of the Rim of the Pacific 2014 (RIMPAC) exercise.

U.S. Southern Command is also interested in using the platform for drug interception mission.

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Austal obtient un contrat avec la Marine omanaise de 2 HSSV basés sur le design du JHSV de l'US Navy

Austal obtient un contrat avec la Marine omanaise de 2 HSSV basés sur le design du JHSV de l'US Navy | Newsletter navale |

Austal announced earlier this year that it has been awarded a contract from a naval customer in the Middle East for the design, construction and integrated logistics support of two new 72 metre High Speed Support Vessels (HSSVs) based on the U.S. Navy's Joint High Speed Vessels design. It now appears that this customer is the Royal Navy of Oman.

The value of the contract is approximately US$124.9 million.
Austal will construct the HSSVs at its shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia. Construction of the first vessel is expected to commence in CY2014, with the second vessel expected to be delivered in CY2016.
The HSSVs will be deployed with a similar mission to the Joint High Speed Vessels currently being constructed by Austal for the US Navy at the Company’s shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

deployment of military personnel and cargo, and search and rescue operations.

Basic specifications of future Royal Navy of Oman HSSVs:
Hull number: 390 & 391
Hull type: Catamaran
Length: 72.50 metres
Capacity: 320 tonnes, 69 Crew, 69 fixed berths, 250 personnel seating
Speed: 35 knots

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Austal USA est optimiste sur les perspectives d'achats de nouveaux JHSV par l'US Navy

Austal USA est optimiste sur les perspectives d'achats de nouveaux JHSV par l'US Navy | Newsletter navale |

The builder of the US Navy's (USN's) Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) is optimistic that a US Congress-mandated study being considered by lawmakers would encourage acquisition officials to increase the current programme of record of 10 vessels to as many as 18.

In the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2015, US legislators are requesting that the navy undertakes a study to determine the need, feasibility, and cost in buying eight additional JHSVs.

Austal USA is the prime contractor on the navy's USD1.6 billion programme to acquire 10 noncombatant catamarans designed to ferry personnel and equipment from a sea base to shore.

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US Navy : l'USS Coronado (LCS-4) sera officiellement admise au service demain à son port base San Diego

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The vice chief of naval operations will be the keynote speaker at Saturday's commissioning of the USS Coronado at Naval Air Station North Island, the Navy announced Thursday.

Adm. Mark Ferguson will deliver the principal address as the 417-foot littoral combat ship is put into active service. The U.S. Naval Academy graduate served as the commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold, which is currently based in San Diego. He was also previously a special assistant to the supreme allied commander in Europe and chief of naval personnel.

Longtime Coronado resident Susan Ring Keith will serve as the ship's sponsor, with the task of giving the first order to "man our ship and bring her to life!" She's the daughter of Eleanor Ring, who was the sponsor of the previous USS Coronado.

"The commissioning of USS Coronado is a celebration of the history of the great city of Coronado and its lasting relationship with our Navy and Marine Corps," Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said. "The sailors aboard LCS 4 will bring this mighty warship to life with their skill and dedication, honoring her namesake and our nation for years to come."

The new USS Coronado was designed to be a high-speed, shallow draft multi-mission vessel capable of operating independently or with an associated strike group. The Navy said the LCS was designed to fight in coastal waters.

A modular design allows an LCS to be outfitted for various types of missions, including surface, mine and anti-submarine warfare.

The first USS Coronado was a patrol frigate that escorted convoys during World War II. The other was an amphibious transport dock that was reconfigured into an auxiliary command ship.

The commissioning ceremony is set to begin at 10 a.m. Saturday and is open only to ticketed guests.

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