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29 Jan 20. Used Ships Could Solve Sealift Readiness Issues. The aging vessels used to move personnel, equipment and supplies around the world pose a readiness concern, the commander of U.S. Transportation Command said.
In September, the command held a “turbo activation” exercise, activating more than 30 transport vessels with no notice to assess their ability to get ready for operations.
“We kind of confirmed what we knew. The readiness of the fleet today is not where it needs to be,” Army Gen. Stephen R. Lyons told an Atlantic Council panel in Washington yesterday.
Through the Military Sealift Command, Transcom relies on about 125 civilian-crewed surface vessels averaging about 50 years old to replenish Navy ships, conduct specialized missions and transport personnel, cargo and supplies.
“It’s very hard to conduct service-life extensions on a ship that is that old,” Lyons said. “What we are finding is the money that is provided against it is woefully insufficient to come back out of the shipyard in a ready status.”
Lyons said he thinks purchasing used ships to augment the fleet is a good solution to the problem. “Congress has granted us the authority — granted the Navy the authority — to purchase seven used ships on the open market,” he added.
By the end of this year or the beginning of the next fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1, the Defense Department expects to buy the first two of those used vessels, followed up with two or three more, the general said.
The president’s budget proposal will be released next month; following that, Lyons and other leaders within the U.S. military will testify on Capitol Hill to explain their portions of that budget proposal. The general said he expects he’ll ask Congress for money for used ships, rather than new ones.
“What I’d like to see is more money to accelerate the used-buy move ahead,” he said. “I frankly think the ‘new buy’ piece is going to be very, very difficult for the Navy to go after. My own personal view is the faster we can move to demonstrate good faith in what the Congress gave us to do, the faster we can demonstrate that this is a viable way to move forward.” (Source: US DoD)
29 Jan 20. The Airbus C295 tactical airlifter has successfully achieved its first wet contacts during an air-to-air (AAR) tanker flight test campaign. First dry contacts of this flight test took place in December 2019 and were achieved using a closed ramp configuration, 100ft hose and remote vision system. The wet contacts, conducted out of Seville, Spain, took place in January 2020, between one Airbus C295 aircraft in tanker configuration and a Spanish Air Force C295 acting as receiver at flight speeds between 100-130 knots. In total, the aircraft fitted with the removable AAR kit, performed five wet contacts transferring a total 1.5 tons of fuel. Tests were conducted in day-light conditions.
Captain Gabiña, the Spanish Air Force pilot who participated on the test campaign, said: ‘The degree of difficulty in flight test is always high since it involves performing manoeuvers that no one has done before. It should be noted that due to the positive behaviour of the aircraft, the operation has been good and straight forward’.
The flight test campaign also included night flight operations and the successful proximity test in pre-contact position with a Spanish Air Force F18 fighter at a flight speed of 210 knots. The successful tests will expand the C295’s trademark versatility for tactical operations to include refuelling missions for helicopters, transport and fighter aircraft.
28 Jan 20. US NNSY commences renovation of Dry Dock 4. Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) has started the renovation of Dry Dock 4 with an investment of $200m. The Dry Dock 4 renovation project will support submarine overhaul requirements and the needs of the navy’s future Ohio, Virginia and Columbia-class vessels. The renovation is an initiative of Naval Sea Systems Command’s (NAVSEA) Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program (SIOP). Under the 20-year SIOP, the four US public shipyards will be refurbished with modern equipment. The programme is valued at $21bn and will enhance the workflow and upgrade the facilities available at the dock.
Assistant secretary of research, development, and acquisition James Geurts said: “Today’s ground-breaking will ensure this historic dry dock will continue to serve the navy and nation for the future navy, just as it has done for the last 100 years.”
The renovation programme will see the replacement of concrete, the dry dock caisson, pump well refurbishment, and mechanical and electrical equipment overhaul. Buildings 261 and 1539 will be refurbished with interior enhancements, new roofing, and other upgrades. The renovation of these buildings will be performed under a two-and-a-half-year contract valued at $26m. Furthermore, the dock’s Stiff Leg Derrick Crane is no longer operational and will be demolished.
NAVSEA commander vice-admiral Tom Moore said: “It was designed and laid out to build ships powered by the wind and coal. SIOP is our opportunity to rethink the infrastructure of our shipyards to improve workflow, modernise our capital equipment, and execute the dry dock modernisation needed to maintain our current and future navy.
“As the only public shipyard on the east coast able to dry dock an aircraft carrier, and given your co-location with the largest fleet concentration in the navy, we are dedicated to delivering a 21st-century shipyard to support our amazing women and men who keep our ships in the fight.” (Source: naval-technology.com)
28 Jan 20. USAF to use VR technology for C-130 maintenance training. The US Air Mobility Command (AMC) and Air Education and Training Command (AETC), along with the US Air Force (USAF), have teamed up to develop a virtual reality (VR) platform for training purposes. The VR solution will allow the USAF to offer safe and effective training to new maintenance airmen on mission-essential tasks.
The technology is focused on the C-130 and is expected to be completed by mid-2020. It is being designed to provide a visual environment covering the intricate details of the C-130H Hercules and C-130J Super Hercules aircraft.
Contractor Mass Virtual is working on the development of the VR training platform. The computer software company is involved in providing virtual offerings to several organisations.
The effort is also being supported by a working group set up by the C-130 enterprise and includes airlift wings from Little Rock Air Force Base (AFB), Dyess AFB in Texas, Yokota Air Base in Japan and Ramstein Air Base in Germany. The working group will focus on removing duplication of effort during the development of the VR platform.
USAF 19th Maintenance Group development and instructor section chief master sergeant Nicholas Massingill said: “We pulled together with other wings to develop work tasks that would be most beneficial to invest in for airmen, allowing us to establish a VR platform with a focus on the C-130.”
The new technology will eliminate the need for a C-130 aircraft to be down for days for training and also reduces the time taken for coordination.
Massingill added: “We request an aircraft to be down three days a week in order to train our students.
“When we do that, we are taking aircraft away from the mission. While VR will never replace hands-on training, it will help bring familiarisation to the task, so the instructors can speed up the process when conducting hands-on training.”
Workshop for the VR platform would be initially located in 19th MXG maintenance training section and around 230 maintenance airmen will receive training. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
24 Jan 20. Fincantieri Strengthens the Strategic Partnership with Qatar. Fincantieri and the Ministry of Defence of Qatar through Barzan Holding, a company wholly owned by the Qatari Ministry of Defense and responsible for empowering the military capabilities of the national armed force in the state, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Doha, aimed at strengthening their strategic partnership through the evaluation and studies of new technologies and capabilities, possibly leading to a future acquisition of new vessels already in 2020. (Emphasis added—Ed.)
The programs indicated in the MOU include, among others, the design, construction and management of the naval base, whole warship fleet management, the application of new technologies such as digital radar and cybersecurity, as well as the supply of cutting-edge naval vessels and submarines.
The signing between the CEO of Fincantieri, Giuseppe Bono, and the President of Barzan Holding, Nasser Al Naimi, on behalf of the Ministry of Defence of Qatar, took place in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs, Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah and high rank Officers of the Qatar Emiri Naval Forces.
The understanding improves the strategic relationship between Fincantieri and Qatari Armed Forces and falls within Fincantieri’s business development strategy in the Middle East. In fact, the company signed an almost 4bn euros contract with the Qatari Ministry of Defence in June 2016 for the construction of seven surface vessels currently being built in the Group’s Italian shipyards.
The contract included the construction of four corvettes of over 100 meters in length, one amphibious vessel and two patrol vessels, as well as support services in Qatar for an additional 10 years after delivery.
In the context of further strengthening its positioning in the Middle East, Fincantieri established Fincantieri Services Middle East in Doha, which will be the focal point for all the services and after sales activities on the naval vessels built by the Group for Qatar. Fincantieri is one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups and number one for diversification and innovation. With over 8,900 employees in Italy and a supplier network that employs nearly 50,000 people, Fincantieri has enhanced a fragmented production capacity over several shipyards into strength, acquiring the widest portfolio of clients and products in the cruise segment. The Group has around 20 shipyards in 4 continents, over 19,000 employees and is the leading Western shipbuilder. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Fincantieri)
About Hobson Industries
Hobson Industries is a private company established in 1987 by Peter Hobson, after serving as a Charge Chief Weapons Engineering Artificer in the Royal Navy. Hobson Industries is an innovative and highly technical engineering business operating to the requirements of ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System which is complimented with our ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System.
Across the markets we serve in, the UK and globally, we establish close relationships with the people that trust and depend on us. We specialise in the through life support management and development of Land Rover heritage military and civilian platforms – in effect, the Land Rover need never die!
Hobson Industries offer four core services that we specialise in:
We offer Land Rover vehicle builds to original specification or complete with modifications and upgrades at the customers request. All work is done in house using our bountiful facilities. In addition to vehicle refurbishment, reconditioning and homologation across all Land Rover models.
Powertrain and Transmission Units:
We offer new and reconditioned units, perfect for your Land Rover. All built using Land Rover tolerances and specifications. All for sale on our website. Additionally, we offer reconditioning services to your own units.
With over 16,000 part lines in stock, and the Asset Management programme pioneered by the company, we are able to provide a cost effective range of parts which may no longer be available. Additionally, we are offering Hobson Original branded parts to drawings for obsolete parts to help provide Land Rover owners the parts to keep them on the road. Our parts strategy ensures that all re-cycled, asset managed and reconditioned parts and units meet original equipment standards and specifications to ensure your safety while driving on or off road.
Amour – Design and Fabrication and Blast Protection
We offer armouring in steel, composite and ceramic of new and refurbished vehicles and fleets.