24 Oct 11. HMS DEFENDER: Maiden Voyage. The RN reported (24 Oct 11) that HMS DEFENDER had left Scotstoun shipyard on her maiden voyage. The fifth of six Type 45 destroyers is spending three weeks on sea trials off the West Coast of Scotland, designed to test her speed, manoeuvrability, power and propulsion. DEFENDER is due to be handed over to the RN in the second half of 2012.
Comment: The Defence Equipment Minister confirmed recently (5 Sep 11) that fourth of Class DRAGON is due to be declared in-service in 2012, fifth of Class DEFENDER in 2013 and the last of Class DUNCAN in 2014.
27 Oct 11. Submarine Dismantling Project (SDP): Public Consultation. The Defence Equipment Minister announced (27 Oct 11) that the MoD is starting a period of public consultation on the options for dismantling nuclear-powered submarines that have left RN service. The consultation period runs from 28 Oct 11 to 17 Feb 12 and covers: How radioactive material is removed from the boats; Where such removal takes place and Storage of radioactive waste.
Comment: The SDP was previously known as ISOLUS (Interim Storage of Laid Up Submarines) and coversthe dismantling of 27 nuclear-powered submarines (19 SSN and eight SSBN), up to and including HMS VENGEANCE. Of the 27 boats, seven are laid-up at Rosyth, 10 are at Devonport and 10 are still in service (with HMS TURBULENT to be decommissioned in January 2012). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 11/42, 31 Oct 11)
24 Oct 11. A Lockheed Martin-led industry team completed Builder’s Sea Trials for Fort Worth, the nation’s third littoral combat ship. The trials – a coordinated effort between the U.S. Navy and the Lockheed Martin team including Marinette Marine Corporation (MMC) – were conducted in the waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan. They included operational testing of the vessel’s propulsion, communications, navigation and mission systems, as well as all support systems. The rigorous trial period included maneuverability tests; high-speed runs; power and navigation system checks; rescue boat launch and recovery; and tracking exercises, as well as other ship and system evaluations. Following the successful completion of Builder’s Sea Trials, Fort Worth returned to MMC to prepare for Acceptance Trials. LCS 3 will be delivered to the Navy next year and its home port will be San Diego, Calif.
27 Oct 11. A Lockheed Martin-led industry team held a keel-laying ceremony at Marinette Marine’s shipyard for the future USS Milwaukee, the U.S. Navy’s fifth Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The term, lay the keel, in shipbuilding language, means the beginning of a significant undertaking, which is the start of the module erection process that reflects the ship coming to life. Modern warships are now largely built in a series of pre-fabricated, complete hull sections rather than a single keel, so the actual start of the shipbuilding process is now considered to be when the first sheet of steel is cut. It is often marked with a ceremonial event. During the ceremony, Senator Kohl authenticated the keel by having his signature welded into it. He was assisted by Executive Director of the Navy’s Program Executive Office – Littoral Combat Ships Anne Sandel and Marinette Marine Corporation’s Director of LCS programs, Jim LaCosse.
28 Oct 11. Navy Commissions Submarine California. The Navy commissioned its newest attack submarine California, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011, during an 11 a.m. EDT ceremony at Norfolk Naval Station in Norfolk, Va. Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, House Armed Services Committee chairman, will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Donna Willard, wife of Adm. Robert Willard, commander, U.S. Pacific Command, will serve as ship’s sponsor. In the time-honored Navy tradition she will give the first order to “man our ship and bring her to life!” California is named in recognition of the people of the “Golden State. The selection of California honors the thousands of men and