International Naval News & Discussion

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Re: International naval news.

Postby Philip » 26 Feb 2009 17:47

Chinese attempt to smuggle Russian anti0sub missles,etc. have been scotched.The Russians are very pissed off with the Chinese for reverse engineering their technology without any royalty fees and attempts like thios to steal sensitive Russian technology.

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20090225/120306823.html
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Re: International naval news.

Postby Philip » 26 Feb 2009 18:50

Norway orders Sting Ray lightweight pump-jet anti-sub torpedoes,especailly suited for shallow littoral waters.

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/Nor ... oes-05300/

Norway Orders Sting Ray Torpedoes
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Re: International naval news.

Postby Philip » 27 Feb 2009 17:57


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Re: International naval news.

Postby Austin » 28 Feb 2009 00:07

Russia to build nuclear-powered 60,000-ton aircraft carrier

Russia's new-generation aircraft carrier will be nuclear powered and have a displacement of up to 60,000 metric tons


the carrier will serve as a seaborne platform for new-generation fixed- and rotary-winged aircraft, in particular, a fifth-generation fighter that will replace the Su-33 multirole fighter aircraft currently in service, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)
.

"It will be a fifth-generation aircraft with classic horizontal take-off and landing capability," the admiral said.


The new carrier has an estimated price tag of $4 billion.

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Re: International naval news.

Postby Gerard » 02 Mar 2009 07:15


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Re: International naval news.

Postby Gerard » 03 Mar 2009 02:10

Port Royal repairs to cost millions
The cruiser Port Royal suffered widespread damage after it ran aground Feb. 5, according to an internal Navy report that detailed problems not only with propulsion gear, but also weapons, radars and other topside systems.

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Re: International naval news.

Postby Philip » 03 Mar 2009 15:54

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Re: International naval news.

Postby Singha » 03 Mar 2009 16:16

satellite comms are pretty high bandwidth...India should also use some
geostationary satellite based YinduStar comsat network.

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Re: International naval news.

Postby Austin » 04 Mar 2009 00:07

Russia set to build new aircraft carrier
The heavy-duty PAK FA fighter will probably have a standard take-off weight of about 30 metric tons and will be fitted with 117-S power-plants developing a thrust of 14.5 metric tons and even more powerful turbines in the future.

The new plane can be used as a multi-role fighter and will also be able to fly strike and air-defense missions. The sufficiently large new-generation carrier will accommodate an air wing comprising 30 to 36 heavy-duty fighters, not to mention aircraft of other types.

A mixed air wing comprising 24 heavy-duty and 24 light-weight planes, including MiG-29Ks or advanced light-weight fighters, can also be deployed onboard the carrier whose deck and hangars will also accommodate unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs), helicopters and auxiliary multi-role planes.
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Re: International naval news.

Postby Philip » 04 Mar 2009 13:27

Japan to use "Son of Star Wars" tech for missile defence.

Japan prepares for first use of 'Son of Star Wars' missile defence
North Korea missile test

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/w ... 838084.ece
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Re: International naval news.

Postby Austin » 05 Mar 2009 23:29

Russia to put into service Bulava ballistic missiles in 2009

The Bulava (SS-NX-30) ICBM carries up to 10 nuclear warheads and has a range of 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles). It is designed for deployment on Borey-class Project 955 nuclear-powered submarines.


"We are planning to complete the firing tests and put the Bulava missile system on combat duty aboard the Yury Dolgoruky submarine this year," Gen. Vladimir Popovkin said.


However, the Russian military said that production flaws could be to blame for the unsuccessful test launches and insisted that the tests would continue until the missile was ready for production.

Popovkin said the number of Bulava tests in 2009 could exceed five, and the first test would be conducted not earlier than in June.

Meanwhile, sea trials of Yury Dolgoruky, Russia's first Borey-class strategic nuclear submarine are due to start in the spring when navigation begins in the White Sea.


The vessel is 170 meters (580 feet) long, has a hull diameter of 13 meters (42 feet), a crew of 107, including 55 officers, a maximum depth of 450 meters (about 1,500 feet) and a submerged speed of about 29 knots. It can carry up to 16 ballistic missiles and torpedoes.

Two other Borey-class nuclear submarines, the Alexander Nevsky and the Vladimir Monomakh, are currently under construction at the Sevmash shipyard and are expected to be completed in 2009 and 2011. Russia is planning to build a total of eight submarines of this class by 2015.

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Re: International naval news.

Postby Philip » 06 Mar 2009 14:44

Chinese carrier cries! Probably green with envy after the keel laying of the IAC at Cochin.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... -says.html
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Re: International naval news.

Postby Philip » 08 Mar 2009 11:26

Death of US sub-detection acoustic expert.

Improvising underwater whiz who gave US submarines an edge

* Thomas Maugh
* March 7, 2009
* Page 2 of 2 | Single Page View
http://www.theage.com.au/world/improvis ... tml?page=2

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Re: International naval news.

Postby devendra.singh » 09 Mar 2009 21:04

PLA-N ships approach a USN Ocean Ocean Surveillance Ship carrying out peaceful ocean survey in south china sea (wink wink), and harass them by sailing in tight, when US sailors use water from fire hoses to try and get some breathing space the Chinese sailors srip down to their undies.
:rotfl:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/art ... wD96QI1N00
I bet the ship had a large female crew.

Seriously though,
Defense officials in the Obama administration said the incident Sunday followed several days of "increasingly aggressive" acts by Chinese ships in the region. The incident took place in international waters in the South China Sea, about 75 miles south of Hainan Island.
........
"The Chinese vessels surrounded USNS Impeccable, two of them closing to within 50 feet, waving Chinese flags and telling Impeccable to leave the area," officials said in the statement.

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D96QJ2S00

This is serious, china is always been bullish around this area, fits around with a lot of events from the last 5-10 years, it seems if the USN is going to operate in that area, they will have to do so ready for the old cold war type manoeuvring
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Re: International naval news.

Postby Singha » 09 Mar 2009 21:18

vintage panda solution to a problem :D chutzpah! the US skipper must have beat his
head at the situation.

typical chipanda tactics:

Impeccable crew radioed to tell the Chinese ships that it was leaving the area and requested a safe path to navigate, the Pentagon said.

But shortly afterward, two of the Chinese ships stopped directly ahead of the Impeccable, forcing it to an emergency stop to avoid collision because the Chinese had dropped pieces of wood in the water directly in front of Impeccable's path.
...........

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Re: International naval news.

Postby SaiK » 09 Mar 2009 21:30

In the excellent movie, K-19: The Widowmaker, the ill fated russian sub mariners show their naked back to US forces.. to avoid a show down.. but right underneath them was a near collapsing over heated nuclear reactor that should have caused havoc to near by USS carrier(?).. true story!. The world would have been different had there been nuclear exchanges between the cold war enemies..

Perhaps the chinese were trying something similar showing undies.

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Re: International naval news.

Postby devendra.singh » 09 Mar 2009 21:39

What can panda do with a naughty old uncle spying around its house :mrgreen:

The ships specs have some serious equipment that PLA-N will not like too close to its backyard
The mission of the T-AGOS 23 Class ships is to collect, process, and transmit acoustic data in support of the Integrated Undersea Surveillance System (IUSS) mission requirements.

The ship will be operated by the Military Sealift Command (MSC) utilizing both civilian and naval personnel to carry out its mission. In short, this vessel is used by the military to track submarines, and is the quietest vessel the government operates, outside of submarines themselves. The unique hull form is one of the most impressive features of this massive 281-foot vessel.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ ... gos-23.htm

The ship got what it deserved, still sailors are representing something, and taking off the uniforms to bare under wear is a shameful act for any disciplined navy. (although i suppose as reported above the sight is better than watching white as snow Antarctic/Siberian asses moon you).

Thinking about it Them two deserve each others company.

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Re: International naval news.

Postby sum » 09 Mar 2009 22:09

What is it with Chinese and dangerous behavior? :-?

They had similarly acted rashly and lost their own plane during the E-2C saga in 2000.

However, i still don't mind these actions since its better than having a Indian style reaction of just watching intrusions(like the U2 overflight(s) during P-2 times) and leaking them to the press without bothering to take any action.

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Re: International naval news.

Postby Singha » 09 Mar 2009 22:32

Hainan island is one major PLAN submarine base. no wonder unkil has sent his hounds
to sniff the locality. iirc its where the underground submarine base is located.

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Re: International naval news.

Postby devendra.singh » 09 Mar 2009 22:40

Pentagon's complete day by day account.

from march 4,5,7,8.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/03 ... dent-navy/

What is it with Chinese and dangerous behavior? :-?

They had similarly acted rashly and lost their own plane during the E-2C saga in 2000.

However, i still don't mind these actions since its better than having a Indian style reaction of just watching intrusions(like the U2 overflight(s) during P-2 times) and leaking them to the press without bothering to take any action.

New guy in white house, dragons think tanks are famous for these moves, in view of the absent Chinese state media assault to justify a screw up (chor machaye shor) i think this was sanctioned from the top guys, as is seen by the reports, they were ready to intimidate the ship out of that area.

From what i have read in last 4-5 years PLA-N had long started these moves by aggressive manoeuvres W.R.T USN, and i do not blame them, the entire PLA-N doctrine used to be and to parts still is Taiwan centric/ USN countering, that is what most of the now top guys have grown up from.

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Re: International naval news.

Postby Philip » 10 Mar 2009 12:07

The PLAN has been paranoid about Hainan.The earlier P-3 incident,wheer trhe aircraft was forced to land at Hainan by the Chinese and this latest one,indicates that for the Chinese,international airspace and international waters mean bugger all to it.Even during the coldest days of the Cold War,the US and USSR ddi not misbehave in international waters.Soviet bombers would fly upto NATO airspace and then turn back.The Chinese provocations are akin to that of the NOKOs,and could spark off another serious international incident.What the US has to do is to stoutly defend its international rghts against the Chinese,otherwise,the Chinese agressive attitude will spread like wildfire all across Asia and the IOR.It has already acquired by force islands in the disputed Spratlys and this incident is another urgent warnibng to India to massively and immediately beef up our naval capability,especially long range aviation and submarines,two areas where the IN is acutely disadvantaged (given our huge arera of maritime monitoring)with respect to other regional navies including Pak.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/ma ... na-america
US and Chinese navies face off in South China Sea• Pentagon claims ship was surrounded in international waters
• Chinese sailors strip to underwear as US vessel sprays hoses in defence
Tania Branigan in Beijing, and agencies guardian.co.uk, Monday 9 March 2009 18.18 GMT Article historyChina and America have been drawn into a rare confrontation on the high seas, it emerged today, when the Pentagon accused Chinese ships of manoeuvring dangerously close to a US navy vessel.

The US intends to protest to the Chinese military attache in Washington after Sunday's incident, which followed several days of what US defence officials called "increasingly aggressive" acts by Chinese ships.


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Re: International naval news.

Postby devendra.singh » 10 Mar 2009 16:00

The PLAN has been paranoid about Hainan.The earlier P-3 incident,wheer trhe aircraft was forced to land at Hainan by the Chinese and this latest one,indicates that for the Chinese,international airspace and international waters mean bugger all to it.

Even during the coldest days of the Cold War,the US and USSR ddi not misbehave in international waters.Soviet bombers would fly upto NATO airspace and then turn back.

The Chinese provocations are akin to that of the NOKOs,and could spark off another serious international incident.What the US has to do is to stoutly defend its international rghts against the Chinese,otherwise,the Chinese agressive attitude will spread like wildfire all across Asia and the IOR.

It has already acquired by force islands in the disputed Spratlys and this incident is another urgent warning to India to massively and immediately beef up our naval capability,especially long range aviation and submarines,two areas where the IN is acutely disadvantaged (given our huge arera of maritime monitoring)with respect to other regional navies including Pak.

The Soviets gave as good as they recieved and at times more.
Aggressive close manoeuvre, even ramming was not unheard of during the cold war.
A famous photograph:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/e ... gCaron.jpg

Recently Iranian speed boats did something similar with a USN destroyer, dropping white boxes in front of the USN ship causing it to take evasive action.

according to US navy news site photograph release
SOUTH CHINA SEA (March 8, 2009) Two Chinese trawlers stop directly in front of the military Sealift Command ocean surveillance ship USNS Impeccable (T-AGOS-23), forcing the ship to conduct an emergency "all stop" in order to avoid collision. The incident took place in international waters in the South China Sea about 75 miles south of Hainan Island.
The trawlers came within 25 feet of Impeccable, as part of an apparent coordinated effort to harass the unarmed ocean surveillance ship. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=69478
&
SOUTH CHINA SEA (March 8, 2009) A crewmember on a Chinese trawler uses a grapple hook in an apparent attempt to snag the towed acoustic array of the military Sealift Command ocean surveillance ship USNS Impeccable (T-AGOS-23). Impeccable was conducting routine survey operations in international waters 75 miles south of Hainan Island when it was harassed by five Chinese vessels. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=69479

PRC was targeting the ship because of its ability to spy on sub surface activity and they made no secrets about it.

They used trawlers, no show of the so called newly acquired naval strength, they utilized a common vessel against a unarmed opponent and did the job (damn clever).

PRC has always been a aggressive player, Indo-Sino war, Korean wars, Vietnam-US war, Sino-Vietnam wars, dispute with Japan, opposing USN activity in the region, all this has been going on for as long as i remember.

If the USN ranks its patrols in the area in question at a high priority and if the US governments supports this, they can always enforce its presence around that area with some escorts, however the timing of the event is interesting as events in North Korea deteriorate, PRC is just about the only channel of communication left with NK.

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Re: International naval news.

Postby Austin » 10 Mar 2009 18:14

Russian-Chinese Su-33 fighter deal collapses - paper

The Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper said that China and Russia had been in negotiations on the sale of 50 of the Su-33 Flanker-D fighters, to be used on future Chinese aircraft carriers, since 2006, but that the talks collapsed recently over China's request for an initial delivery of two aircraft for a "trial."


Russian Defense Ministry sources confirmed that the refusal was due to findings that China had produced its own copycat version of the Su-27SK fighter jet in violation of intellectual property agreements.


In 1995, China secured a $2.5-billion production license from Russia to build 200 Su-27SKs, dubbed J-11A, at the Shenyang Aircraft Corp.

The deal required the aircraft to be outfitted with Russian avionics, radars and engines. Russia cancelled the arrangement in 2006 after it discovered that China was developing an indigenous version, J-11B, with Chinese avionics and systems. The decision came after China had already produced 95 aircraft.

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Re: International naval news.

Postby sum » 10 Mar 2009 18:31

Are those PLAN ships disguised as trawlers/staffed by PLAN men in civvies or just civilians given the license by the PLAN to do some mischief? :-?

Also, unable to understand why they had to strip down to their undies? :-?

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Re: International naval news.

Postby devendra.singh » 10 Mar 2009 19:23

sum wrote:Are those PLAN ships disguised as trawlers/staffed by PLAN men in civvies or just civilians given the license by the PLAN to do some mischief? :-?

Also, unable to understand why they had to strip down to their undies? :-?

I think PLAN sailors manning the trawlers.

They were trying to approach real close to snag/capture the towed array of the ship, while getting sprayed with water from fire hoses of the US ship, probably to be more comfortable.


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Re: International naval news.

Postby Philip » 12 Mar 2009 12:07

More on the SSBN collision between British and French subs in the Atlantic.According to this report,the event happened in "deep waters",not near the surface as was previously thought.Therefore the event is all the more rare.SSBNs never advertise their voyages,even between friends and allies,so this was a very rare happening.However,the fact that two supposedly sophisticated nuclear subs armed with passive sensors which have great ranges ,failed to detect each other indicates the difficulty involved.It also brings to mind the dificulty in nuclear subs detecting quiet,small cconventional subs with AIP in the littorals.The US,training against ex-Swedish conventional subs,is toying wqiht the idea of acquiring conventional subs too for littoral warfare.Poor Adm.Rickover must be turning in his grave!

Virginia's Kid Brother
http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htsub/ ... 90310.aspx

March 10, 2009: The U.S. Navy continues to entertain an internal debate over the issue of just how effective non-nuclear submarines would be in wartime, and whether the U.S. should buy some of these non-nuclear boats itself. This radical proposal is based on two compelling factors. First, the U.S. Navy may not get enough money to maintain a force of 40-50 SSNs (attack subs.) Second, the quietness of modern diesel-electric boats puts nuclear subs at a serious disadvantage, especially in coastal waters.


http://kealakai.byuh.edu/index.php?opti ... &Itemid=65

Nuclear Submarines Collide in Atlantic

Authorities confirmed that nuclear submarines from France and Great Britain collided earlier this month somewhere in the deep Atlantic Ocean. The vessels involved were Le Triomphant from France and the HMS Vanguard, which is the oldest vessel in Britain’s nuclear-armed fleet.
No details were released about when, where or how the incident happened, but officials assured that no leakage of radioactive material occurred because of the collision. Le Triomphant suffered damage to a sonar dome where navigation and detection equipment is stored, but managed to make its way back to base on France’s western tip. The BBC reported that the HMS Vanguard returned to a submarine base in Scotland with visible scrapes and dents.


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Re: International naval news.

Postby Philip » 13 Mar 2009 18:28

Col/Ollie NOrth on the "O-Team" and its handling of recent events including the Chinese naval spat.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,509029,00.html
"Nice guy" diplomacy hasn't worked very well elsewhere either:


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Re: International naval news.

Postby Philip » 13 Mar 2009 18:37

"..leave or "suffer the consequences".China's warning to the unarmed US naval vessel.

Yet another report on the Chinese -US naval spat throws light onto the mentality of the agressive PLAN,which is expanding its agressive stance in the Asia-Pacific seas. "The incident with the Impeccable is another reminder that China's ambitions for regional dominance, and for diminishing US influence, remain unchanged despite a new American administration."

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2009/mar20 ... -m12.shtml

Naval incidents highlight tense US-China relations

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Re: International naval news.

Postby Philip » 13 Mar 2009 19:11

Latest news.The ""O-Team" sends in the "cavalry" in the form of destroyer escorts for their unarmed spy ships and China condemns the move! Obama cannot be seen to be a wimp and this is a quick opportunity for him to call China's bluff,deliberately made at the beginning of his presidency to rattle him and look for signs of weakness.The warship's ma,e too is a clear snub to the Chinese as it carries the name..."USS Chung Hoon"!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... a-Sea.html

President Barack Obama has approved sending heavily armed destroyers to escort US surveillance ships operating in the South China Sea Photo: REUTERS
"Right now they are going to escort these types of ships for the foreseeable future," said a Pentagon official.


http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/w ... 899930.ece
China condemns US warship deployment as tensions mount
Chinese Navy officers reacted with annoyance today when it emerged that the United States had sent a destroyer to back up a surveillance vessel in the South China Sea after it was harassed by People’s Liberation Army (PLA) sailors.


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Re: International naval news.

Postby vavinash » 13 Mar 2009 19:37

Bush had once deployed 7 carrier groups to south china sea. The chinks were scared shitless of him. I wonder if Obama has the balls to do it.

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Re: International naval news.

Postby namit k » 13 Mar 2009 20:03

Latest news.The ""O-Team" sends in the "cavalry" in the form of destroyer escorts for their unarmed spy ships and China condemns the move! Obama cannot be seen to be a wimp and this is a quick opportunity for him to call China's bluff,deliberately made at the beginning of his presidency to rattle him and look for signs of weakness.The warship's ma,e too is a clear snub to the Chinese as it carries the name..."USS Chung Hoon"!


now chinks will know what killer bee injects like :twisted:

One unidentified officer quoted in the China Daily newspaper said that the decision was disproportionate. While China’s Foreign Ministry has so far kept tight-lipped on the latest development, the decision to run such a comment so swiftly in the state-run English-language newspaper was a signal of Beijing’s concerns.

disproportionate decisions,by commie sardars? interesting
this would be noted by IN

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Re: International naval news.

Postby Sanjay M » 14 Mar 2009 02:18

Chinese develop superhydrophobic coating that creates air cushion under boat hulls:

http://i.gizmodo.com/5169188/scientists ... l-on-earth

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Re: International naval news.

Postby Gerard » 14 Mar 2009 22:01

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009- ... 012307.htm
France's nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, could be out of service for weeks, even months after faults were again detected in its propulsion system, the French navy said Friday.


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Re: International naval news.

Postby namit k » 14 Mar 2009 23:13

^^ why does all chinki sites are bugged and potentially unsafe due to trojans?

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Re: International naval news.

Postby Gerard » 15 Mar 2009 00:48

Firefox with Noscript is your friend. Ideally on Linux.

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Re: International naval news.

Postby Philip » 16 Mar 2009 17:54

US mine clearance tech details.

http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htsurf ... 90316.aspx
Naval Mines Eat Laser And Die

March 16, 2009: For a decade, the U.S. Navy has been working on RAMICS (Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance System), for destroying moored or floating mines that are close to the surface. Until recently, they could not get the system to work as well as it should have (on paper). That changed when some software tweaks, a larger caliber gun, and a special shell design, were added to the mix.
The original idea was for SH-60 helicopter, armed with a 20mm cannon, would fire a shell into a mine submerged up to 40 feet underwater. When the projectile penetrates the mine, it releases chemicals that cause the mine to explode. The exact location of the mine is determined via ALMDS (Airborne Laser Mine-Detection System). This is a laser mounted on the same helicopter, that can penetrate the water to about 40 feet, and produces a video image that is sent back to a nearby ship for real-time analysis. If a mine is discovered, RAMCIS is used to destroy it.

Early on, there were doubts that the 20mm shells could penetrate that much water, and still have enough energy left to penetrate the mine casing. One option was to us use a 30mm cannon instead, but if was feared that the larger caliber cannon would cause more vibration than the helicopter could handle. The solution was found in having the cannon fire one shell at a time, and use a special shell design that penetrated the water without losing so much energy. Software improvements made the 30mm MK44 Bushmaster II cannon much more accurate. In recent tests, seven of eight shots hit the underwater mine.

The helicopter, equipped with the RAMICS/ALMDS gear will equip LCS ships, or any other ship with a helicopter pad. The navy is also looking into using unmanned helicopters for the job, as it mainly consists of flying a pattern until a mine is found. If no mines are found, the area is declared free of surface mines.

The more dangerous bottom mines (which lie on the bottom of shallow coastal waters) require other tools to find and destroy them. Many areas along the coast are too deep for the bottom mines (which are ineffective in waters more than 80 feet deep).


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Re: International naval news.

Postby Austin » 16 Mar 2009 18:50

Bulava missile test failed due to faulty part - Defense Ministry

The missile left the tube, but went off course and self-destructed due to a malfunction following the first stage separation.


"The cause of the latest failure during the launch of the Bulava missile was purely technical. One of the subcontractors supplied faulty ejection cartridges which were used in the separation of the missile's stages," the source said.


Despite the fifth failure in 10 trials, Russia's Defense Ministry is planning to complete a series of at least five Bulava tests and put the ICBM into service by the end of 2009.


Two other Borey-class nuclear submarines, the Alexander Nevsky and the Vladimir Monomakh, are currently under construction at the Sevmash shipyard and are expected to be completed in 2009 and 2011. Russia is planning to build a total of eight submarines of this class by 2015.

Philip
BRF Oldie
Posts: 20118
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: India

Re: International naval news.

Postby Philip » 18 Mar 2009 18:55

Chinse naval power-growing.

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/ ... ng%20Power

Naval Expansion Makes China a Growing Power

Mar 17, 2009
By Richard D. Fisher, Jr.


In late 2008 and during the first weeks of 2009, Chinese and Russian sources provided new insights into China’s ambitions to build aircraft carriers and air wings to equip them. This data was then assessed in light of China’s momentous December 2008 decision to dispatch a small People’s Liberation Army Navy flotilla to prosecute Somali pirates (see related story on p. 21), resulting in wide commentary about the country’s ambitions to build a much larger conventional navy. Absent from much of this analysis, however, is an adequate understanding of China’s progress in assembling a phalanx of space, air and naval forces designed to pose an effective asymmetrical threat to large conventional navies.

A three-level Chinese military challenge is unfolding for Washington and its allies. A long-standing debate over whether China intends to build a large conventional navy to defend its increasingly global interests is being settled in the affirmative, justifying a continued investment by the U.S. and its allies in large naval forces. At the same time China’s success in fielding effective asymmetrical capabilities makes necessary the development of defensive systems, it also undermines the continued justification for large conventional platforms like aircraft carriers, which could be sunk if found. A third challenge emerges when China successfully deploys its asymmetrical systems, either on unique platforms or by sale of elements to allies.

Much of the justification for this large technology and capability investment has been provided by China’s requirement to quickly assemble the means to prevent the U.S. from aiding Taiwan if China forces “unification” without building a correspondingly large conventional military. People’s Liberation Army (PLA) planners in the early 1990s assessed that if U.S. military access to the western Pacific was denied or impeded, China’s military threats to Taiwan would become more credible and have the desired political effects. This period begins to see early PLA efforts to invest in modern military capabilities: new C4ISR systems; space and airborne weapons; and a naval expansion that focuses on regional-denial capabilities.

This is China’s near-term goal, but it also provides building blocks for future power projection. Perhaps the most important enabler for the PLA’s transition from a regional to a global force will be advances in C4ISR. A key aspiration of PLA doctrine since the late 1990s has been to apply ever more sophisticated information technologies to military endeavors. With its roots in the now famous 1986 “863 Program” to fund high-technology military research, C4ISR progress has benefited from the PLA building one of the world’s most advanced national fiber-optic grids in the 1990s, plus creation of one of the world’s leading computer chip and hardware sectors. These have enabled the PLA’s steady progress in creating C4ISR capabilities in space, on the ground and in cyberwarfare.

China has made dramatic progress in building space information architecture with communication, navigation and surveillance satellites. So far the PLA controls only two dedicated communication satellites, one of which supports Ka-band tactical communication links. But the PLA is thought to have access to a larger number of communication satellites controlled by China’s satellite companies.

An initial constellation of four BeiDou navigation satellites (navsat) was placed in orbit in April 2007. Only capable of China-region coverage with the help of ground-station broadcasts, they have a secondary text-communication function. China’s larger goal is to loft a 30-satellite Compass navsat constellation by 2015. This will provide global coverage and complement and compete with the U.S. GPS, Russian Glonass and European Galileo navsat systems.

China launched the first two HuangJing high-resolution electro-optical surveillance satellites on Sept. 5, 2008. These will eventually comprise a constellation of at least four electro-optical and four Russian-aided radar satellites, the first to be launched this year. This follows the YaoGan surveillance satellite constellation, which consists so far of two planar radar satellites and two electro-optical satellites. China intends to fly some of these satellites in formation, which could yield data to support 360-deg. mapping and 3D mission-planning programs. An electro-optical, surveillance-satellite program with Brazil was recently extended by three satellites (making five total), and China has long been a major consumer of commercial satellite imagery. Chinese sources also indicate that the PLA is developing dedicated missile-early-warning satellites.

An important achievement was the Apr. 25, 2008, launch of the PLA’s first TianLan data-relay satellite, which supported last September’s Shenzhou-7 manned space mission. More capable data-relay satellites that will support real-time global targeting missions can be expected. With a competitive small-satellite sector centered in aerospace universities, China is fast emerging as a leading developer of micro- (50 kg., or 110 lb.), nano- (30 kg. and less) and pico- (5 kg. and less) satellites. China launched three microsatellite missions in 2008, including BanXing-1, which operated in formation with Shenzhou-7. China, like other space powers, expects that expensive large-bus satellites will give way to formations of less expensive, less vulnerable and easier to replenish microsatellites.

PLA inner-space surveillance capabilities include advances in radar and electronic intelligence systems. A recent network of bistatic, long-range, over-the-horizon radar facilities for the first time allow the PLA to monitor naval and air activities more than 1,000 km. (620 mi.) at sea. The PLA has added fixed and mobile tactical radars, including active phased array, digitally enhanced long-wave radar useful for counterstealth operations and long-range passive radar similar to the Ukrainian Kolchuga system, which China reportedly purchased. China has many electronic intelligence and signals intelligence facilities, including sites in Cuba and, reportedly, Myanmar.

PLA surveillance capabilities will soon be enhanced by the acquisition of high-altitude long-endurance (HALE), medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) and vertical-takeoff unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Chengdu Aircraft Corp. is developing a HALE UAV that is a dead-ringer for Northrop Grumman’s Global Hawk, while Guizhou Aircraft is developing a novel box-wing HALE drone. Guizhou and Chengdu are also developing MALE UAVs, while vertical UAVs are emerging from China’s helicopter companies and design groups.

Command and communication capabilities benefit from a proliferation of digital and broadband platforms across all PLA services, which aid the development and implementation of joint-forces doctrines and more efficient command structures. National, theater and field-level command posts combine data and video from top command sources to the field, for use along the command chain, while broadband capabilities have helped revolutionize PLA logistics and access to military education. The laptop computer is becoming ubiquitous in the PLA.

In addition, the PLA has made strides in equipping its services with modern computer-based training simulators, from fighter cockpits to submarine command decks, missile and tank crew trainers and personal computer-based infantry-decision trainers. It is reasonable to expect the PLA to follow the example of the U.S. and others in creating networked simulation training for disparate joint forces.

An example of increasing C4ISR prowess occurred last Dec. 8, when according to Chinese accounts, China’s maritime surveillance agency was able to take advantage of precise information concerning the location and patterns of Japan’s coast guard ships, to catch the latter by surprise and move its ships in to assert claims to disputed islands in the East China Sea.

The PLA’s precision surveillance is being combined with new capabilities for precision strike—see our next installment.

Richard D. Fisher, Jr., is a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center of Arlington, Va., and author of China’s Military Modernization: Building for Regional and Global Reach (Praeger, 2008).


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