“Sonardyne’s New Forward Looking Sonar Supports Collision Avoidance” –MarineLink

Sonardyne Vigilent.  Compact in size and with mounting options for both new build and retro-fit. (Photo: Sonardyne)

MarineLink has an interesting press release concerning a forward looking navigational sonar. Since cutters must frequently depart established traffic areas and venture into shallower areas for SAR or law enforcement, this might be useful.

“Vigilant FLS offers mariners subsurface situational awareness, providing live and past vessel track, detailed 3D bathymetry out to 600 meters and automated warnings of unseen collision hazards on and beneath the waterline out to 1.5 kilometers.”

Surface Navy Association 2019 –Virtual Attendance

Like many of you, I was unable to attend the Surface Navy Association Conference, but I did find a number of videos which may provide some of the information that would have been available there. The Coast Guard Commandant had been scheduled to speak but cancelled, apparently in response to the partial government shutdown.

I have provided three videos, each about ten minutes, that may be of general interest, and links to four others, typically 20-25 minutes. The descriptions are from their respective YouTube pages.

The second and third videos have specific Coast Guard content, which I have identified by bold typeface with the beginning time in parenthesis. Some of the other equipment may have Coast Guard applications in the future.

Day 1 video coverage at SNA 2019, the Surface Navy Association’s national symposium. In this video we cover:
– Austal latest frigate design for FFG(X)
– Raytheon DART Variable Depth Sonar (VDS)
– Raytheon / Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile (NSM)
– Lockheed Martin Long Range Anti Ship Missile (LRASM)

Day 2 video coverage at SNA 2019, the Surface Navy Association’s national symposium.
In this video we cover:
– Fincantieri Marine Group FREMM frigate design for FFG(X)
– General Dynamics NASSCO John Lewis-class T-AO (New Oiler)
– Raytheon SM-2 restart
– Raytheon SM-3
– Leonardo DRS Hybrid Electric Drive for U.S. Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) (time 11:10)

Day 3 video coverage at SNA 2019, the Surface Navy Association’s national symposium. In this video we cover:
– Atlas North America’s solutions for mine counter measures, harbor security and unmanned surface vessels
– Lockheed Martin Canadian Surface Combatant (Type 26 Frigate, Canada’s Combat Ship Team)
Insitu ScanEagle and Integrator UAS (time 4:30)
– Raytheon SPY-6 and EASR radar programs

NAVSEA’s Moore on Improving Ship Repair, McCain & Fitzgerald, Ford, LCS

Vice Adm. Tom Moore, USN, the commander of the Naval Sea Systems Command, discusses US Navy efforts to increase public and private ship repair capabilities, lessons learned from repairing USS John S. McCain and Fitzgerald, the new Ford-class aircraft carrier, getting the Littoral Combat Ship on regular deployments and more with Defense & Aerospace Report Editor Vago Muradian at the Surface Navy Association annual conference and tradeshow in Northern Virginia.

GE Marine’s Awiszus on LM2500 Engine Outlook, Future Shipboard Power

George Awiszus, military marketing director of GE Marine, discusses the outlook for the company’s LM2500 engine that drives warships in more than 30 nations and the future of shipboard power with Defense & Aerospace Report Editor Vago Muradian at the Surface Navy Association’s annual conference and tradeshow in Northern Virginia.

US Navy’s Moran on Improving the Surface Force, Culture, Ship Repair & Information Sharing

Adm. Bill Moran, USN, the vice chief of naval operations, discusses dialogue with China, improving the surface force in the wake of 2017’s deadly accidents, refining Navy culture, increasing ship repair capabilities, harnessing data, improving information sharing across the force and the new Design for Seapower 2.0 with Defense & Aerospace Report Editor Vago Muradian at the Surface Navy Association’s annual conference and tradeshow in Northern Virginia.

US Navy’s Coffman on New Expeditionary Warfighting Concepts, Organizations, Unmanned Ships

Maj. Gen. David “Stretch” Coffman, USMC, the US Navy’s director of expeditionary warfare (N95), discusses new expeditionary warfighting concepts, the recent deployment of Littoral Combat Group 1 — composed of USS Wayne E Meyer (DDG-108) and USS Somerset (LPD-25) — to South America, new formations to replace the current Amphibious Ready Group and Marine Expeditionary Unit, unmanned ships, the performance of the F-35B Lightning II and more with Defense & Aerospace Report Editor Vago Muradian.

SNA Symposium, Virtual Tour

airbus ds trs 4D SNA 217

If you were unable to attend the Surface Navy Association Symposium, but would like to see what you missed, NavyRecognition offers a series of videos. They include a number of systems that have been discussed here including, smart projectiles for the 57mm, unmanned surface vehicles, the LRASM Long Range Anti-Ship Missile, SeaRAM as a replacement for Phalanx, TRAPS Towed Reelable Active Passive Sonar, MK20 Mod 1 Electro-Optical Sensor System (EOSS), TRS-3D Baseline D multi-mode radar (MMR) ordered for the ninth NSC.

If you want to look primarily at the frigate proposals as well as the proposed weapons modules for the LCS which might also be applicable to the icebreaker, there is this composite video. 

Incidentally why was there no mention of this symposium on the National Cuttermen Association Chapter, Surface Navy Association website?

U.S. Coast Guard Selects FLIR and Raymarine–MarineLink

MarineLink reports, 

FLIR Maritime announced recently that it has been awarded a $50 million indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract to provide marine electronics systems under the U.S. Coast Guard’s Scalable Integrated Navigation Systems 2 (SINS-2) program over a five-year period providing the purchaser a right to extend delivery for an additional five years.

FLIR will provide electronics systems that will be standard fit on over 2,000 U.S. Coast Guard vessels, ranging from small-class boats through large cutter-class vessels. The systems include Raymarine multi-function navigation displays, radars, sonars, remote instrument displays, and autopilots.


“SNA 2017 Surface Navy Association Day 3 – Part 2/2”–NavyRecognition

This is one of a series of videos from NavyRecognition discussing sponsors’ presentations at the Surface Navy Symposium. This one includes:

  • Extended Range Harpoon from 00:20 to 02:45
  • SeaRAM launcher from 02:45 to 05:15
  • RAM Block 2 from 05:15 to 5:45
  • Lockheed Martin export Multi Mission Surface Combatant 5:45 to 7:00
  • Curtis-Wright towed sonar (TRAPS) 7:00 to 08:30
  • Atlas North America SeaCat AUV 08:30 to 10:54

The things I found interesting were:

  • The growing use of SeaRAM, which has been being fitted to the trimaran Independence Class LCS, has replaced Phalanx on some destroyers and will replace the Mk49 RAM launcher on the mono-hull Freedom Class beginning with LCS-17. It is also expected to be fitted on the follow on LCS derived Frigate as well. If things start to get tense we may see these on NSCs and OPCs as well.
  • The fact that the extended range RAM Block 2 is now operational. The SeaRAM has the same degree of autonomy as Phalanx but because it is a “fire and forget” missile, will be able to engage multiple incoming anti-ship missiles at extended range.
  • More info on the Curtis-Wright TRAPS containerized active passive towed array which should be able to fit on anything WMEC sized and larger.

Mk20 mod1 Electro Optic Sensor System

Mk20 mod1 Electro Optic Sensor System (EOSS)

Mk20 Mod1 Electro Optic Sensor System (EOSS)

Two reports by NavyRecognition from the Surface Navy Symposium on the L3 Mk20 Mod1 Electro Optic Sensor System (EOSS). The video report above discusses the system from time 00:45 to 2:55, and there is this short written post reporting successful testing. Reportedly this EOSS will weigh half as much as the previous mk20 mod0 system, but have greater resolution and range. According to the report it is currently planned to be installed aboard U.S. Navy Cruisers/Destroyers and U.S. Coast Guard Cutters, presumably the Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPC).

The earlier Mk20 Mod0 is on the National Security Cutter.

The three parts visible are, I believe, a day light TV camera, a thermal imaging camera, and a laser range finder. I wonder if it could also function as a laser target designator?

Other than using it as a firecontrol for ASuW and AAW, this system can be used for:

– Spotting and kill assessment
– Target detection and identification
– Naval gunfire support
– Safety check-sight
– Location and track of man overboard
– Channel position and navigation


TRS-3D Baseline D Multi-Mode Radar for 9th NSC.

NavyRecognition reports, “Airbus Defense and Space, Inc., under contract with its affiliate Airbus DS Electronics and Border Security GmbH, will provide the TRS-3D Baseline D multi-mode radar (MMR) for the U.S. Coast Guard’s ninth National Security Cutter (NSC).”

The Bertholf Class have been equipped with the rotating Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) TRS-3D multi-mode (air search, surface search, helicopter control, and firecontrol) radars from the first. My understanding is that this is an improved version of the same radar that equips earlier National Security Cutters and the Freedom class LCS.

Airbus (formerly EADS) has an excellent multi-paged description of the system here.

It is not clear to me how this compares with the TRS-4D system, also from Airbus. The TRS-4D will equip Freedom Class LCS beginning with LCS-17, and I expected it to be used on the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC). (Late note: in fact the OPCs will have the SAAB Sea Giraffe multi-mode radar– Chuck) The TRS-4D appears to be very similar in many respects, but it looks at higher elevations and is lighter. Is it a replacement for the TRS-3D or is it a “junior” version of the same technology?

Towed Reelable Active Passive Sonar


NavyRecognition reports, “GeoSpectrum Technologies Inc. is pleased to announce that it has received a contract through the Build in Canada Innovation Program. Defence Research and Development Canada will test the TRAPS (Towed Reelable Active Passive Sonar) variable depth ASW sonar on Royal Canadian Navy ships.”

This system is seen as a possibility for both the twelve Kingston class “Coastal Defense Vessels” (970 tons, slightly smaller than the 210s) and the projected six icebreaking Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships. There is apparently no intention of using these on the more capable frigates.

TRAPS towing configuration, diagram from GeoSpectrum, Canada

TRAPS towing configuration

The system can be fitted in a standard sized 20 foot container.

TRAPS in 20 foot iso container.

TRAPS in 20 foot iso container.

GeoSpectrum claims :

“The modular design of TRAPS provides a variety of installation options, including containerization on multi-mission vessels and standard deck-mounting.

“The TRAPS system is ideal for small combatants such as OPVs, corvettes, ships of opportunity, and USVs. Applications include naval defence/surveillance, drug interdiction, homeland security, and other water-borne policing.”

In addition to detecting submarines and surface vessels, the system is claimed to be usable for:

  • Active torpedo detection
  • Torpedo decoy
  • Passive receiver
  • Black box pinger detection
  • Sonobuoy processor

A typical detection range of 50 nautical miles is claimed. If it works as advertised this might give most of our larger ships an ASW capability and perhaps help us detect semi-submersibles. Thales’ CAPTAS series is similar, with CAPTAS 2 and CAPTAS 1, designed for ships of over 1,500 and 300 tons respectively.

Coast Guard Denied Use of Laser Technology

The Afloat Forward Staging Base (Interim) USS Ponce (ASB(I) 15) conducts an operational demonstration of the Office of Naval Research (ONR)-sponsored Laser Weapon System (LaWS) while deployed to the Arabian Gulf. U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams

The Afloat Forward Staging Base (Interim) USS Ponce (ASB(I) 15) conducts an operational demonstration of the Office of Naval Research (ONR)-sponsored Laser Weapon System (LaWS) while deployed to the Arabian Gulf. U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams

This Navy Times story is one of several I have seen that report Rep. Duncan Hunter’s (R-CA) displeasure that the Coast Guard is unable to use some of its laser equipment because of FDA regulation.

“The equipment in question is the Electro-Optical Sensor System and the PEQ-15, a laser sight with an illuminator. ESS is a turret installed on Coast Guard helicopters, with a laser illuminator that can enhance camera images, while PEQ-15 is a rifle sight with a laser illuminator. The Coast Guard is not allowed to use ESS at all, while PEQ-15 can be used on a low setting.”

Representative Hunter has done us a favor in bringing attention to the issue, but ultimately I think he will find that the FDA oversight requirement is based in law and Congress will have to change it.

There is, after all, a reason for regulating the use of lasers. We don’t like it when they are directed at our aircraft or at ships. We don’t want to blind people we are attempting to rescue. (Incidentally where is the FDA regulation of lasers in  the hands of civilians?)

“Hunter wants to cut that red tape and allow the Coast Guard to certify its own laser systems, like the other military branches…”

That is all very well, but the Coast Guard probably does not have many laser experts who can do that, and we should not trust the word of our contractors. If Representative Hunter wants to introduce a bill to cut some of the read tape, by all means allow the Coast Guard to self certify if they develop the independent expertise to do that, but it would be more immediately useful if there was simply provision for DOD certification of Coast Guard equipment. This should include automatic application of DOD certification to any DOD type Coast Guard equipment used for the purpose for which it was certified.


AN-SPQ-9B, the NSC’s Air-Search Radar/Firecontrol Gets New Capability

Defense Industry Daily reports that the AN-SPQ-9B, the firecontrol system and secondary air-search on the Bertholf class National Security Cutters, is being modified to provide a Periscope Detection and Discrimination (PDD) capability.

The post also provides additional background information on the sensor.

Interestingly, the post also notes that the radar has a “Cooperative Engagement Capability” or CEC (See the April 24/12: CEC entry) which means that ships and aircraft can share a common tactical picture and weapons launched from one unit can be controlled by a different unit. If we ever get long range missiles, this could be useful.

Hopefully the Offshore Patrol Cutter will have either this system or a better replacement.