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06 Oct 11. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus joined Ackerman, Miss., Mayor Dick Cain to announce today that the name of the Department of the Navy’s next Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) will be United States Naval Ship (USNS) Choctaw County, during a brief ceremony today at Ackerman High School, Ackerman, Miss.This will be the first naval vessel to serve as the county’s namesake, an honor shared by Choctaw counties also located in Alabama and Oklahoma. Capable of transporting 600 short tons, 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots , the JHSV can operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, providing U.S. forces added mobility and flexibility. Joint High Speed Vessels also have an aviation flight deck to support day and night air vehicle launch and recovery operations. Additionally the ships have berthing space for up to 146 personnel and airline-style seating for up to 312.

07 Oct 11. Torbay to gain improved communications and stealth. Babcock has started work on a substantial Revalidation and Assisted Maintenance Period (RAMP) for Trafalgar class nuclear powered attack submarine (SSN) HMS Torbay, at Devonport Royal Dockyard. The 300,000 manhour RAMP will ensure the submarine is safe to operate for the rest of her commission, and will include significant communications upgrades and work that will improve camouflage and minimise operating noise. Communications upgrades will include improvements to internal communications, especially through bulkheads, with the installation of the Cromwell radio antenna upgrade, and final installation of the Ship Alongside upgrade which is used in harbour to provide connectivity, television and telephone services on board. Torbay’s RAMP will also mark a ‘first’ with an extensive painting package to better camouflage the submarine when operating in shallow waters. A high level of work is expected to be included as a result of surveys, particularly in the ballast and internal tanks, and it is likely that the submarine tailshaft will be replaced (requiring some 33 weeks in dry dock). As well as inspection of the hull and propulsion systems, the RAMP will accommodate a significant amount of non-destructive testing and inspection of the major components in the reactor compartment. Torbay will be the final submarine to undergo an upgrade to the discharge system that provides an additional above-waterline connection to the primary circuit, providing an improved relief path used during high pressure testing known as hot lifts (undertaken as part of the commissioning programme).

03 Oct 11. Astute Class Submarines: Progress Report. BAE Systems and the RN issued progress reports (3 Oct 11) on the Astute Class SSN:-
* HMS ASTUTE: Commissioned and undergoing sea trials in Scotland.
* AMBUSH: First dive successfully completed (in-service date 2013).
* ARTFUL: Taking shape in the Devonshire Dock Hall (in-service date 2015).
* AUDACIOUS: All her pressure hull units in the Dock Hall (in-service date 2018).
* ANSON: Formal keel-laying ceremony on 13 Oct 11 (in-service date 2020).
* Boat 6: First steel cut is due in 2012 (in-service date 2022).
* Boat 7:(In-service date 2024.)
Comment: The MoD announced (3 Oct 11) that the Valiant Jetty project was considered to be under-performing and had been placed on the Projects of Concern list. The project is to deliver submarine base porting facilities for the next 50 years and should have been completed in October 2008, but it is running nearly four years late.


03 Oct 11. The F-35B, which a year ago was in the midst of major scrutiny for dismal testing performance, has taken a major step with its first landing on the U.S. Navy’s USS Wasp amphibious ship. The F-35 Joint Program Office confirmed the landing Oct. 3. A second short-takeoff-and-vertica

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