“On September 27, 2022, MIND Technologies Inc., a Texas/U.S.-based company providing underwater research solutions, announced the successful demonstration of its Sea Serpent ASW system during the U.S. Navy’s Coastal Trident 2022 exercise.”
“…based on COTS Seismic Arrays, applicable for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), and Waterside Security (WSS) applications.
“…designed for rapid deployment from USV platforms or as a ‘clip-on’ capability to existing light- and medium-weight Coast Guard(emphasis appkied–Chuck) or Naval vessels
“…modular and scalable, with lengths from 50 m to over 12,000 m acoustic aperture available
“Processing uses a scalable, app-based architecture and includes multiple beamforming options, as well as broadband, narrowband/LOFAR, and DEMON processing
“Other apps will include Automatic Detection and Tracking (ADT) and Target Motion Analysis (TMA)
“The architecture is fully open to allow third-party/government processing and supports private cloud operation for distributed tracking, multi-static processing, and data fusion.”
All the reports I have seen were based on the company’s news release so we don’t have an independent evaluation of its success.
An exercise with the United States Coast Guard’s Maritime Security Response Team-West was leveraged to conduct Advanced Naval Technology Exercise experiments with wearable sensors and remote physiological monitoring.
Coastal Trident is a series of annual exercises conducted by Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Port Hueneme Division. Apparently the Coast Guard has participated in the exercise in the past. It certainly seems to be something the CG should be interested in.
Day Two looks at the Pakistani naval defense plans and industry and at a compact combined active/passive variable depth sonar and towed array system from Finland’s Patria.
There is also this video of ships that attended the show.
Naval News also provided this post about a new class of cutter sized (3,000 ton) corvettes for the Pakistani Navy, based on Turkey’s MILGEM projectAda class corvettes and Istanbul class frigates. These are significant both because of the growth of Turkey’s defense industry and because most of Pakistan’s recent naval acquisition have been from China. Significantly none of the planned systems are Chinese except the helicopter. Here are some links to information about the weapons to be mounted on the corvette:
A Chinese Haifan II helicopter from the missile frigate ‘Zhoushan’ leaves the flight deck of HMS Cornwall. Members of the Chinese Public Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) were visiting the Type 22 frigate to discuss anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. Organization: Royal Navy Object Name: FB09002219
I am not endorsing this particular product. There are probably other vendors offering similar products, but a forward-looking navigational sonar sounds like a good idea for any vessel, such as Offshore Patrol Vessels, that may frequently be called upon to go close in shore for SAR, marine environmental protection, or for interdiction,
The Argos 1000 Transducer Module is housed in a retractable steal pod with integrated cover-plate. When retracted, the cover-plate sits flush with the hull and is reinforced for protection during ice-breaking.
Two of the ships reportedly using this system are pictured below.
Polar cruise ship Le Commandant Charcot
RRS Sir David Attenborough. Proto from Rolls-Royce
Below I have provided the Naval News coverage of DSEI 2021. There are a few segments in particular that may be of interest.
In the Day 1 coverage:
07:25 – VARD 7 115 Next Generation OPV. I think you can see the similarity to the Offshore Patrol Cutter design which is a VARD 7 110.
10:09 – OMT’s MPV-80/12:52 – SH Defence “The Cube” modular mission module. The Danes have been making modular naval systems for decades and this is modularity on steroids. “The Cube” is a proposed system of standard container-sized modules. The MPV-80 is a modular OPV with 32 positions for “The Cube” modules.
In the Day 3 coverage:
00:47 – Royal Navy’s NavyPODS is another container-sized module proposal. Sounds like the Royal Navy may be considering using these on their River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels.
06:46 – AEUK SeaSense variable depth sonar. This is another ASW sensor that could be deployed on very small vessels.
07:27 – BAE Systems Bofors 40Mk4 naval gun system. This would make a good choice to arm smaller cutters or for use as a secondary on larger cutters. Right now, it’s not in the USN inventory and there is no integral fire control system, so. at least an Electro-Optic system would be required. The ammunition uses the same 3P fuse used on the 57mm Mk110 gun. For decades the Italians used 40mm guns for their CIWS. Most recently they have been using 76mm guns. The Royal Navy has recently adopted this mount to use as a secondary weapon and CIWS on the Type 31 class frigate.
In the Day 4 coverage:
04:55 – MSI Defence Ltd Seahawk 30mm naval gun system. We talked about this gun mount earlier, since it appears it will be the USN Mk38 Mod4. It is the reason I posted this video earlier.
Day 1 at DSEI 2021 in London, UK. We focused on new anti-ship missiles, the Sea Breaker by Rafael, the Sea Serpent by IAI and Thales UK. We then take a look at two new OPV designs: The VARD 7 115 NGOPV and the MPV 80 by OMT. We then discuss with SH Defence about “The Cube” modular mission module.
Day 3 at DSEI 2021 in London, UK. We talked to the Royal Navy about their NavyPODS concept. We then focused on mine warfare, talking to Patria and its acoustic sweep, and Atlas Elektronik UK (AEUK) ARCIMS and its payloads. We then talked to BAE Systems Bofors to get an update on the 40Mk4 naval gun program and learn about the T-650 heavy lift UAS which can carry a lightweight torpedo.
Final day at DSEI 2021 in London, UK. Naval News’ Editor-in-Chief, Xavier Vavasseur, takes you around the show floor and comments some of the new systems on display. We start with MBDA who was showcasing its future missile concepts (related to FCASW) as well as current portfolio of anti-ship missiles (SPEAR, SPEAR EW, Exocet, Marte, Sea Venom and Maritime Brimstone) and naval air defense solutions (Dragonfire, Aster B1 NT and CAMM / Sea Ceptor). We then take a close look at a scale model of the XLUUV on the TKMS stand and the MSI Defence Systems’ Seahawk 30mm naval gun system which was recently selected by the US Navy. Finally we talked to IAI’s Malcolm McKenzie to learn more details about Sea Serpent.
Naval News Reports, Israeli defense contractor, Elbit Systems has been awarded contracts totaling about $56M to provide ASW capabilities to an unnamed Asia-Pacific country (my guess, the Philippines).
Elbit Systems will provide the Seagull™ USVs (Unmanned Surface Vessels) configured to perform ASW missions and the Towed Reelable Active Passive Sonar (TRAPS) systems. The Seagull USVs will integrate Helicopter/Ship Long-Range Active Sonars (HELRAS) and will be equipped with the Company’s autonomous suite, Combat Management System and Satellite Communication capability. The TRAPS systems, which will be installed onboard the customer’s corvettes, are low frequency variable-depth-sonars intended for detection, tracking and classification of submarines, midget submarines, surface vessels and torpedoes.
I love to see this stuff because it means there are ASW systems out there that are appropriate for cutters from the largest down to relatively small.
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.”
Note: Apparently as a result of the Government Shutdown, links to the House of Representative’s Website that have been included in this are no longer available and once you get their error message you will no longer be able to back arrow to this site. You will have to reload. Hopefully these link will be reestablished some time in the future, so I have left them in. I have been unable to relocate some of the quotations below to provide more specific citations so I am going to go ahead and publish without them.
All five Representatives won reelection, so it is probable we will see them on the Subcommittee next year. Representative Garamendi was clearly excited and optimistic about the becoming chair of the House Sub-Committee. He strongly reports Coast Guard recapitalization. He also expressed a desire to see Rep. Brian Mast return as ranking member.
The two topics were essentially unrelated. We have revisited the topic of the Polar Security Cutter/Heavy Polar Icebreaker numerous times.
GAO is still contending there are Scheduling and Technological risks. They don’t seem to recognize the steps that have been taken to minimize these risks and that the largest scheduling risk is in delaying the start of the project once the detail design is substantially complete. There is real urgency in the need to replace Polar Star and they don’t seem to recognize that. Yes, the Coast Guard might have done a better job, if we had started this project about a decade earlier, and we might have done that if they had not continued to insist we had to keep our AC&I (now PC&I) budget to about $1.1B, but we can no longer afford more delay to achieve a drawn out, risk free, acquisition process.
Mr. O’Rourke once again made the case for block buy vs a contract with options, contrasting the way the Coast Guard has contracted for vessels while the Navy has successfully used Block Buy and Multi-Year contracting for vessels much more complicated than those being procured by the Coast Guard.
The need for a National Maritime Strategy reflected a realization that the US ability to transport military reinforcements to a theater of conflict in American ships with American crews seems to be in jeopardy. We discussed this problem and what the Coast Guard could do about it here.
The Coast Guard Acquisition Directorate is conducting a tailored technical readiness assessment to update the HPIB cost estimate with an estimated completion of June 30, 2019.
The Coast Guard Acquisition Directorate will update the program schedule within three months of the Detail Design and Construction contract award and before awarding construction, as appropriate, with an estimated completion date of September 30, 2019.
The Coast Guard Acquisition Directorate is conducting a tailored technical readiness assessment to analyze and determine schedule risks with an estimated completion of June 30, 2019.
Since presumably much of this work would be done by civilian acquisitions specialist, it is likely the work is falling behind because of the government shut down
Shift in Security Environment; New National Defense Strategy
A Maritime Strategy has not been issued. If it had it would likely need an update given that both the Administration and Geopolitical situation have changed.
Mobility Capabilities and Requirements Study 2018 (MCRS-18)
DOD states that it started the study, which it refers to as the Mobility Capabilities and Requirements Study 2018 (MCRS-18), on March 8, 2018, and that it is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2018…A September 25, 2017, press report about MCRS-18 states that “Since the early 1990s, Pentagon mobility studies have consistently identified a requirement for about 20 million square feet of roll-on/roll-off capacity to quickly transport material in support of a contingency.” Mobility studies conducted from the 1990s until recently, however, were all done in the post-Cold War era, when U.S. military force planning focused to a large degree on potential crises and conflicts against regional military powers such as Iran and North Korea. Given the recent shift from the post-Cold War era to the new era of renewed great power competition and the resulting formal shift in U.S. military force planning toward a primary emphasis on potential challenges posed by China and Russia, it is not clear that MCRS-18 will leave the figure of 20 million square feet of roll-on/roll-off capacity unchanged. A change in this figure could have implications for the content of a new national maritime strategy.
We have seen no indication of movement on these documents.
Potential Shortfall of Navy Escorts and Possible Impacts on Mariners
GAO notes MARAD’s September 2017 estimate of a potential shortage of U.S.-citizen mariners available to crew U.S.-owned reserve sealift ships during a crisis or conflict. The challenge of finding adequate numbers of appropriately trained mariners to crew DOD sealift ships in time of crisis or conflict is a longstanding issue, dating back at least to 1990, when mariners in their 50s, 60s, and 70s (and one aged 81), some brought out of retirement, were reportedly needed to help fill out the crews of DOD sealift ships that were activated for Operation Desert Shield (the initial phase of the U.S. reaction to Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait). Problems in filling out ship crews reportedly contributed to delays in activating some RRF sealift ships to participate in the operation. A potential shortage of U.S.-citizen mariners for manning DOD sealift ships in wartime has been a recurring matter of concern since then.
“Was I to die this moment, ‘Want of Frigates’ would be found stamped on my heart.”, Lord Nelson to Earl Spencer, 9 August 1798
Section 1072 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (H.R. 2810/P.L. 11591 of December 12, 2017) requires the Navy to submit a report on its plans for defending combat logistics and strategic mobility forces—meaning Navy underway replenishment ships, RRF sealift ships, and MSC surge sealift ships—against potential wartime threats. The report is to include, among other things, a “description of the combat logistics and strategic mobility forces capacity, including additional combat logistics and strategic mobility forces, that may be required due to losses from attacks,” an “assessment of the ability and availability of United States naval forces to defend combat logistics and strategic mobility forces from the threats,” and a “description of specific capability gaps or risk areas in the ability or availability of United States naval forces to defend combat logistics and strategic mobility forces from the threats….”
My earlier post talks about what the Coast Guard could do to mitigate this shortfall, but the most significant step would be to bring back the Coast Guard ASW mission. Equipping eleven NSCs and 25 OPCs with ASW systems could make a huge difference.
The NATO Science and Technology Organization’s Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation has developed a standard for underwater acoustic communications called JANUS, which is recognised as a NATO standard by all NATO Allies since 24 March 2017. This marks the first time that a digital underwater communication protocol has been acknowledged at international level and opens the way to develop many exciting underwater communication applications.
I think this might become important to us. It is not just a military system.
Thanks to EagleSpeak for bringing this to my attention.
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.