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Strategic Stability in the Second Nuclear Age

By on Monday, November 24th, 2014

Overview
Since the end of the Cold War, a new nuclear order has emerged, shaped by rising nuclear states and military technologies that threaten stability, writes George Mason University’s Gregory Koblentz in a new Council Special Report.

During the Cold War, the potential for nuclear weapons to be used was determined largely by the United States and the Soviet Union. Now, with 16,300 weapons possessed by the seven established nuclear-armed states—China, France, India, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—deterrence is increasingly complex. Since most of these countries face threats from a number of potential adversaries, “changes in one state’s nuclear policy can have a cascading effect on the other states.”

Though many states are downsizing their stockpiles, Asia is witnessing a buildup; Pakistan has the fastest-growing nuclear program in the world. By 2020, it could have a stockpile of fissile material that, if weaponized, could produce as many as two hundred nuclear devices. The author identifies South Asia as the region “most at risk of a breakdown in strategic stability due to an explosive mixture of unresolved territorial disputes, cross-border terrorism, and growing nuclear arsenals.”

Emerging technologies such as missile defenses, cyber and antisatellite weapons, and conventional precision strike weapons pose additional risks, Koblentz warns, and could potentially spur arms races and trigger crises.

“The United States has more to lose from a breakdown in strategic stability than any other country due to its position as a global leader, the interdependence of its economy, and the network of security commitments it has around the world,” he asserts. The United States and Russia still possess more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons. Despite the increasing chill in U.S.-Russia relations, Washington’s highest priority should be to maintain strategic efforts with Russia and China, the two states with the capability and potential intent to launch a nuclear attack on the American homeland.

The United States should work with other nuclear states to address sources of instability in the near term and establish processes for multilateral arms control efforts over the longer term, writes Koblentz. He urges the Obama administration to

  • enhance initiatives that foster transparency, confidence-building, and restraint to mitigate the risk that emerging technologies will trigger arms races, threaten the survivability of nuclear forces, or undermine early warning and nuclear command and control systems;
  • deepen bilateral and multilateral dialogues with the other nuclear-armed states; and
  • create a forum for the seven established nuclear-armed states to discuss further steps to reduce the risk of deliberate, accidental, or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons.

Download Full Report in PDF:
Strategic Stability in the Second Nuclear Age (78 downloads)

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Taranis UCAV Demos Stealth Capabilities In Second Phase of Flight Trials

By on Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Together with the UK Ministry of Defence (UK MOD) we have today revealed that Taranis, the Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle demonstrator, has successfully completed a second phase of flight testing

Taranis – the most advanced aircraft ever built by British engineers – flew in a fully ‘stealthy’ configuration, making it virtually invisible to radar during this latest set of trials.

In order to achieve an unprecedented level of stealth, the team changed all antennas on the aircraft to signature control variants and the air data boom on the nose of Taranis was removed. Following these modifications Taranis used a specially-designed system which allowed the aircraft to generate a full set of flight data, without the use of an external probe or boom.

Taranis also used a cutting edge communications system to ensure it was able to stay in touch with its mission commander without giving away its position to the enemy.

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne said: “The success of these test flights is an important milestone for the Taranis project. We are gaining vital insights into the potential of unmanned aircraft and this knowledge will shape future capabilities and help reduce the risks faced by military personnel on the frontline. I am determined to continue investing in these world-leading projects to show us the future, today.”

Speaking on behalf of industry, Nigel Whitehead, our Group Managing Director said: “The first flight of Taranis last year was a significant milestone for UK aviation and this latest development underlines the UK’ s lead in unmanned air systems. The engineering data gathered from the latest phase of trials will help us develop the stealth technologies on Taranis further.”

Conrad Banks, Rolls-Royce Chief Engineer – Research and Technology, Defence, added: “Successful propulsion integration was another key highlight of the second trial phase, with the fully embedded and ‘hidden’ Adour Mk951 engine operating flawlessly coupled with the highly complex and stealthy exhaust system.”

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Second French FREMM Frigate Pursues Sea Trials

By on Monday, May 19th, 2014

The FREMM Normandie multi-mission frigate, second of the series ordered by OCCAR (*) on behalf of the DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement) and the French Navy, left the DCNS site in Lorient on 14 May on its way to the DCNS site in Toulon.

Over the next few weeks, DCNS will perform a new series of sea trials to test the performance of the FREMM’s combat system before delivery to the French Navy at the end of 2014.

This series of sea trials, which will take place in the Mediterranean, will allow the Navy’s operating crew and the DGA, OCCAR and DCNS specialists to check the performance of the main combat system sensors and their integration into the frigate’s Combat Management System.

“This period of sea trials is an essential phase in the program: it is focused on the vessel’s combat system. Concretely, the teams will test all the software and equipment parts that make the FREMM one of the most versatile and capable frigates in the world”, underlines Anne Bianchi, Director of the FREMM program.

During these trials, the teams on board will simulate different operational scenarios to collect the information delivered by the vessel’s different sensors. Numerous tests are performed including in particular electronic warfare and tactical data link tests. The teams will carry out these exercises thanks to the contribution of helicopters, fighters and vessels provided by the French Navy, and with the human and data-processing resources of the DGA’s technical centres. The performance of these trials off the Toulon coast will thus allow the optimized use of such naval and air support.

Further to these trials, the FREMM Normandie will return to the DCNS site in Lorient so that the final finishing work can be carried out over the summer before its delivery to the French Navy in the final quarter of 2014.

The FREMM program: a major program for DCNS and its partners.

For DCNS, the FREMM program represents twelve units, with eleven for the French Navy and one for the Royal Moroccan Navy.

To recall, in November 2012, DCNS successfully delivered the FREMM Aquitaine, the first unit in the series of FREMM multi-mission frigates. The second unit in the program was delivered to the Royal Moroccan Navy on 30 January 2014, in compliance with the contractual agreements. The vessel now carries its definitive name: FREMM Mohammed VI.

DCNS is currently building five other multi-mission frigates in Lorient, all at different stages of advancement:

  • The FREMM Normandie, third unit in the series, started its sea trials in October 2013 and will be delivered to the French Navy in the third quarter of 2014.
  • The FREMM Provence was floated in September 2013.
  • The fifth and sixth frigates of the series are currently being assembled.
  • The cutting of the first metal sheet for the seventh was performed at the end of 2013.

FREMM technical characteristics

FREMM frigates are extensively armed and are equipped, under the project management of DCNS, with the most capable weapon systems and equipment, such as the Héraclès multifunction radar, the Naval Cruise Missile, the Aster and Exocet MM 40 missiles or the MU 90 torpedoes.

  • Overall length: 142 metres
  • Width: 20 metres
  • Displacement: 6,000 tonnes
  • Maximum speed: 27 knots
  • Crew: 108 persons (helicopter detachment included)
  • Accommodation capacity: 145 men and women
  • Range: 6,000 nautical miles at 15 knots

* OCCAR, Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation, is an international organization whose core-business is the management of cooperative defence equipment programs entrusted to it by the Member States. OCCAR ensures, amongst other things, project management for FREMM multi-mission frigates for France and Italy.

DCNS designs and builds submarines and surface combatants, develops associated systems and infrastructure, and offers a full range of services to naval bases and shipyards. The Group has also expanded its focus into civil nuclear energy and marine renewable energy. Aware of its corporate social responsibilities, The DCNS Group generates annual revenues of €3.4 billion and employs 13,600 people (2013 data).

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Navy Executes Second Year of $6.5 Billion Multi-Year Procurement Contract

By on Thursday, December 19th, 2013

The U.S. Navy on December 17, executed funding procurement for the second year of the V-22 multi-year procurement (MYPII) contract.

This action identifies full funding to Bell-Boeing for the second year of the V-22 MYPII contract and provides $1.3B for the procurement of 22 V-22 aircraft (3 Air Force CV-22s and 19 Marine Corps MV-22s), and Advance Procurement funds for 19 MV-22 aircraft to be fully funded in FY15.

This is the second year of the V-22 multi-year contract, which authorizes purchase of 100 V-22s over the next five years (FY 2013-2017). MYPII will procure 93 MV-22s for the Marine Corps and seven CV-22s to the Air Force.

“Since Initial Operating Capability in 2007, V-22s have been answering the nation’s call traveling into harm’s way. From combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to the recent disaster relief and humanitarian assistance in the Philippines, the V-22 continues to prove itself as a game-changing aircraft. Ospreys enable our Marine Corps and Air Force Special Operations to execute missions not possible with conventional aircraft. The V-22 has helped save lives where others could not.”

Robinson said the program office is very pleased to be able to execute this portion of the MYPII contract.

“In addition to providing V-22 production stability for these five years, the MYPII contract also saves taxpayer money with cost savings that wouldn’t be possible in repeating single-year contracts,” Robinson said.

“This multi-year contract provides nearly $1 billion in taxpayer savings and ensures a stable production line for the program to accommodate and engage other domestic and international partnership opportunities,” Robinson said.

There are currently 233 V-22 Ospreys in operation worldwide. V-22s have amassed more than 200,000 flight hours, with more than half of those logged in the past three years.

Navair awarded the MYPII contract in June 2013. The total contract value is approximately $6.5 billion and is expected to save approximately $1 billion compared to an annualized procurement.

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Lockheed Martin Conducts Second Successful LRASM Flight Test

Lockheed Martin’s Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) recently achieved another successful flight test, with the missile scoring a direct hit on a moving maritime target.

The test was conducted in support of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Office of Naval Research (ONR) program.

Flying over the Sea Range at Point Mugu, Calif., a U.S. Air Force B-1B bomber from the 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, released the LRASM, which navigated through all planned waypoints receiving in-flight targeting updates from the Weapon Data Link. After transitioning to autonomous guidance, LRASM identified the target using inputs from the onboard sensors. The missile then descended for final approach, verified and impacted the target.

“This test, combined with the success of the first flight test in August, further demonstrates the capabilities and maturity of LRASM,” said Mike Fleming, LRASM air launch program manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “The new sensors and legacy JASSM-ER components all performed well during the flight and the missile impacted the target as planned.”

LRASM is an autonomous, precision-guided anti-ship standoff missile leveraging the successful Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range (JASSM-ER) heritage, and is designed to meet the needs of U.S. Navy and Air Force warfighters in a robust anti-access/area-denial threat environment. JASSM-ER, which recently completed its operational test program, provides a significant number of parts and assembly-process synergies with LRASM, which results in cost savings for the U.S. Navy and Air Force (air- and surface-launched) Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare programs.

The tactically-representative LRASM is built on the same award-winning production line in Pike County, Ala., as JASSM-ER, demonstrating manufacturing and technology readiness levels sufficient to enter the engineering, manufacturing and development phase to satisfy an urgent operational need.

After a competition in 2009, Lockheed Martin’s LRASM was selected to demonstrate air- and surface-launched capability to defeat emerging sea-based threats at significant standoff ranges.

Armed with a proven 1,000-pound penetrator and blast-fragmentation warhead, LRASM employs a multi-mode sensor, weapon data link and an enhanced digital anti-jam global positioning system to detect and destroy specific targets within a group of ships.

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control is a 2012 recipient of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for performance excellence. The Malcolm Baldrige Award represents the highest honor that can be awarded to American companies for achievement in leadership, strategic planning, customer relations, measurement, analysis, workforce excellence, operations and business results.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 116,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2012 were $47.2 billion.

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BIW Lays Keel of Second DDG 1000-class Destroyer

By on Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

On Thursday, May 23, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works celebrated the keel laying of Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), the second ship in the planned three-ship Zumwalt class of guided-missile destroyers.

The ship is named for Petty Officer Second Class Michael Monsoor, a U.S. Navy SEAL who was killed in Ramadi, Iraq, in 2006. Monsoor was on a joint SEAL-Iraqi Army team operating from a rooftop when an insurgent threw a grenade at them. Monsoor jumped on the grenade, covering it and saving three fellow SEALS and eight Iraqi Army soldiers. Monsoor posthumously received the Medal of Honor from President George W. Bush on April 8, 2008. He was also awarded the Bronze Star and the Silver Star for his service in Iraq.

Michael Monsoor’s parents, Sally and George Monsoor, authenticated the keel at Bath Iron Works on May 23. Sally Monsoor is the ship’s sponsor. A special steel plate containing the initials of Sally and George Monsoor was prepared for the ceremony. The two authenticated the laying of the keel by striking welding arcs onto the steel plate, assisted by David Brown, a 35-year Bath Iron Works welder.

“Thank you from the Monsoor family for your hospitality and your spirit here at the shipyard,” said Sally Monsoor. “I can’t wait to come back here with my children and grandchildren.”

The keel unit is the 4,400-ton, heavily outfitted mid-forebody section of the ship, which was moved from the shipyard’s Ultra Hall construction facility earlier in the month onto the building ways.

Brent West, DDG 1000 program manager for Bath Iron Works, hosted the ceremony and welcomed the audience of several hundred Bath Iron Works employees, Navy personnel and representatives of other major subcontractors in the program.

“This is a special day, as it marks a milestone in the construction of a ship, a tradition that goes back to the earliest days of shipbuilding – an event that’s been done for hundreds of years in this region, and for more than 120 years here at Bath Iron Works,” said West. “Over the next two years, we will continue to build the Michael Monsoor with knowledge and expertise honed over the decades. We look forward to future visits with Mr. and Mrs. Monsoor, as we progress toward delivering a ship that is worthy of the name of Michael Monsoor.”

Capt James Downey, the Navy’s DDG 1000 Class program manager, spoke about Petty Officer Monsoor’s sacrifice and encouraged those present to “build this ship for Mike.”

The DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class destroyer is the U.S. Navy’s next-generation, guided-missile naval destroyer, leading the way for a new generation of advanced multi-mission surface combat ships. The ships will feature a low radar profile, an integrated power system and a total ship computing environment infrastructure. Armed with an array of weapons, the Zumwalt-class destroyers will provide offensive, distributed and precision fires in support of forces ashore. Bath Iron Works is the lead designer and builder for the program which employs approximately 5,300 people.

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BAE Delivers Second Amazonas OPV to Brazil

By on Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

The latest addition to the Brazilian Navy’s fleet departed the UK in the snow today for her new home in Rio de Janeiro where she will strengthen Brazil’s maritime security.

APA is the second of three Amazonas Class Ocean Patrol Vessels being delivered to the Brazilian Navy by BAE Systems. Her sister ship, AMAZONAS, completed the crossing last year, while the final ship, ARAGUARI, will be handed over in June.

BAE Systems employees and the Brazilian Navy support team, who are working in partnership to deliver the class of ships, gathered on the dockside at HM Naval Base Portsmouth where she departed.

Her journey of more than 10,000 miles will include diplomatic stops along the West coast of Europe and Africa before crossing the South Atlantic to reach her new home in May.

Nigel Stewart, Commercial Director of BAE Systems Maritime, said: “We’re very proud to watch APA sail off and begin her important role in providing maritime security, search and rescue, and humanitarian relief. This highly capable and versatile ship performed extremely well during training with the Brazilian Navy, which is a great credit to all those who designed, built and delivered her.

“APA’s crew may have departed, but our partnership with the Brazilian Navy continues to grow, as we look forward to welcoming the crew of the next Ocean Patrol Vessel, ARAGUARI.”

APA’s 81 crew members completed Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) around the UK coast last week with the Royal Navy and support from BAE Systems. Their rigorous training schedule included simulations of operations that the ship is designed to undertake, including search and rescue, humanitarian relief, anti-piracy and boarding operations to tackle maritime violations such as trafficking.

Beyond training, the Brazilian Navy crew learnt about life in the UK while living on HM Naval Base Portsmouth, which included English breakfasts and most experiencing their very first snowfall.

The ship’s Commanding Officer, Capitão-de-Fragata Marcelo Considera, said: “Receiving a new ship is a great challenge, which involves many people working in partnership. I believe all of us – BAE Systems, Brazilian Navy, VTFlagship and FOST – worked very well together. The ship and her crew were tested in high intensity training and we are very confident that we possess the ability to fulfill the missions we are assigned, which fills us with enormous pride.”

The £133 million contract for the supply of the three Ocean Patrol Vessels and ancillary support services also includes a manufacturing licence to enable further vessels of the same class to be constructed in Brazil, helping to support the country’s naval re-equipment programme and strengthen its maritime industrial capability.

The 90 metre Amazonas Class ships are based on the design of the Royal Navy’s River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels and are ideal for providing maritime security in Brazil’s territorial waters, including the protection of the country’s oil and gas platforms.

The ships are equipped with a 30mm cannon and two 25mm guns, as well as two rigid inflatable boats and a helicopter flight deck. The ship contains additional accommodation for 50, designed for use by a boarding party of troops or passengers such as evacuees.

APA and ARAGUARI were constructed at BAE Systems’ Scotstoun shipyard and completed in Portsmouth, while AMAZONAS was constructed in Portsmouth.

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