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USNS Lewis B. Puller expeditionary sea base deploys for first time
by Stephen Carlson
Washington (UPI) Jul 13, 2017

Thales sonar to be used in Britain's Type 26 frigates
Washington (UPI) Jul 13, 2017 - Britain's future Type 26 frigates are to be equipped with anti-submarine warfare sonar from Thales, the company announced on Wednesday.

The contract to equip the first three with the sonars was awarded by the ship's builder, BAE Systems, Thales said.

"We are pleased to be able to announce this contract with BAE Systems, which re-affirms our market position as a world-class provider of anti-submarine warfare sensors and systems," Phil Jones, head of Thales' maritime mission systems, said in a press release. "It's fantastic news to see our Sonar 2087 variable depth sonar deployed on the Type 26 platform based on the pedigree of the in-service equipment on the Type 23 and the latest inboard processing to provide an enduring capability for the Royal Navy."

Thales said the manufacturing and maintenance of the systems will be conducted at company sites in Manchester and at Brest, France.

Thales UK's maritime business includes manufacture of sonar for ships, submarines and helicopters for the Royal Navy.

BAE is to build three Type 26 vessels. The program, however, is set to continue into 2026. It is anticipated another five of the frigates will be constructed.

"Thales is the current provider of anti-submarine sonar to the serving Type 23 frigate fleet," Thales said in the statement. "This latest announcement firmly establishes Thales' position as the key sensor provider to the Royal Navy across its sonar, electronic warfare, optronics and communications capabilities."

The Royal Navy's Type 23 frigates use Thales' Sonar 2087 towed array system. The system allows the ships to detect submarines at considerable distances beyond the submarine's range of attack.

The USNS Lewis B. Puller has deployed from Val Air Station Norfolk, marking the first operational cruise of the expeditionary sea base as it joins its supporting role in the U.S. Fifth Fleet.

The Puller is part of the U.S. Navy's Sealift Command and has a joint U.S. Navy and civilian crew.

"The Puller is a brand new ship, so we had a lot to learn. The military crew has been training with the ship's civil service mariners for a year to prepare for this deployment," military detachments officer-in-charge Cmdr. Arlen Rose said in a press release.

"We are ready to get Puller out there to takes its rightful place in the fleet. Everyone is really excited to get to work and see what the Puller can do."

The Puller is the first purpose-built expeditionary sea base of its kind. It is 784 feet long and has a 52,000 square-foot flight deck. It serves as a logistical hub for other ships with fuel and ammunition storage and repair facilities.

Its helicopter facilities and storage capacity make it ideal for humanitarian and disaster relief support alongside conventional military operations.

The Puller will be permanently stationed overseas to allow continuous suport for other deployed ships. Crew rotations would take place in theater.

The ship draws its name from Lt. Gen. Lewis "Chesty" Puller, a commander in World War II and Korea, and the only Marine to win 5 Navy crosses.

Austal Australia in discussions over future ship-building contract
Washington (UPI) Jul 11, 2017 - Austal Australia engaged in a fourm at Bendigo, Victoria, in Australia with local suppliers to discuss Austal and German ship-design firm Fassmer's joint bid for the Royal Australian Navy's $3 billion Offshore Patrol Vessel program.

"With the government's national shipbuilding plan there is $89 billion being invested to deliver the next generation of the Royal Australian Navy's fleet," Davyd Thomas, Austal Australia Defense vice-president, said in a press release.

"As the country's largest defense exporter, we look forward to working with Bendigo companies as we continue to grow our operations in Australia and overseas."

The Offshore Patrol Vessel program calls for a fleet of 12, with construction begining in Australia in 2018 and first delivery by 2021. The costs over the cycle of the program are expected to total $3 billion.

The OPV is slated to replace the existing Armidale-class patrol boats in use by the RAN. Fast and manuevarable, OPVs are suitable for patrolling coastal waters while maintaing seakeaping ability in rough seas and weather.

Fassmer's 80m OPV design has a landing deck and hangar for helicopters, has a top speed of 35 miles per hour, and carries three light interception boats for coastal interdiction. It is armed with a 76mm gun and several heavy machine guns and can carry up to a hundred passengers. The vessel also carries radar and surveillance systems.

The Royal Australian Navy has a projected shipbuilding program totaling $89 billion over the next decade based on forward estimates. Austal is the largest defense exporter and ship-builder in Australia.

Sweden orders aluminum fast attack combat boats
Washington (UPI) Jul 10, 2017
Sweden's Defense Materiel Administration, FMV, has contracted boat-builder Dockstavarvet for 18 combat boats, with deliveries starting in late 2018, the company announced last week. The new "M" variants of the Stridsbat 90 HS series feature upgraded drivelines, upgraded protection and preparation for new management systems and weapons stations, Dockstavarvet executives said in a press r ... read more

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