USCG to test LEO communications in Arctic

by Michael Fabey

The US Coast Guard cutter Healy is testing a new satellite communications network in the Arctic during its upcoming Arctic deployment. (Michael Fabey)

The US Coast Guard (USCG) cutter Healy (WAGB-20) will be testing prototype USCG communications capability using the recently launched low Earth orbit (LEO) Starlink satellites, according to Captain Ken Boda, Healycommanding officer.

“We're going to prototype Starlink [communications] in the Arctic this year,” Capt Boda told Janes on 23 July during a port call in Seward, Alaska, en route to a deployment in the higher latitudes, which includes a planned trek to the North Pole.

Capt Boda touted the potential for such a capability in a region infamous for spotty, unreliable, and often nonexistent communications.

“That'll be a big step forward,” he said. “High-latitude communications is really important for command-and-control.”

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Carrier Washington redelivery confirmed for 2023

by Michael Fabey

Aircraft carrier USS George Washington is scheduled to be redelivered to the US Navy following the ship's overhaul in 2023. (Newport News Shipbuilding)

Aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) is scheduled to return to the navy following its refuelling and complex overhaul (RCOH) in 2023, shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) CEO Chris Kastner confirmed.

“USS George Washington continues to make progress on the testing phase, and redelivery is now expected in the first quarter of 2023,” Kastner said on 4 August during a quarterly earnings call with investment analysts.

Started nearly five years ago at HII's Newport News Shipbuilding, the carriers' RCOH was initially schduled for an August 2021 redelivery.

Regarding other carrier RCOH programmes, Kastner told analysts, “CVN 74, USS John C Stennis, continues to make progress, and pre-advanced planning is under way on CVN 75, USS Harry S Truman ”.

Citing new carrier-construction programmes, Kastner said, “On CVN 79 [ John F ] Kennedy

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Fassmer starts construction on two SVK boats for German Navy

by Kate Tringham

View of the building block with section 5 of the first SVK boat for Germany. (WTD 71/Thomas Wallner)

Construction work has started on two new German Navy Seeversuch Küste (SVK) coastal trial support boats on order for the Bundeswehr's naval test and trials unit WTD 71.

In a 7 August announcement, the Bundeswehr said a keel-laying ceremony for both boats took place at the shipyard of Western Baltija Shipbuilding in Klaipėda, Lithuania, on 22 June.

The two SVK boats are being built under a contract worth EUR95 million (USD97 million) awarded to Fassmer by the German Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) on 22 July 2021.

Hull construction is taking place at the facilities of Western Baltija Shipbuilding in Lithuania, after which the boats will be transferred to Fassmer's shipyard in Berne, Germany, for outfitting. Under current plans the first boat will be transferred to Fassmer's yard for outfitting in October 2022, followed by the second boat in December 2022. The first boat is scheduled for handover to the Bundeswehr in June 2023, followed by the second boat in November 2023.

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MH-60R positions for potential Nordic maritime helicopter requirements

by Richard Scott

Lockheed Martin has to date delivered over 300 MH-60R helicopters worldwide. (US Navy)

With nine aircraft already in Danish service, Lockheed Martin's Sikorsky helicopter business is eyeing new opportunities for the US Navy's (USN's) MH-60R ‘Romeo' maritime helicopter elsewhere in the Nordic region as disaffected NH90 customers explore potential alternatives.

Norway in June 2022 announced its decision to withdraw its NH90 fleet from navy and coastguard service, terminate its contract with NHIndustries, and seek a full refund estimated at around NOK5 billion (USD513 million). Meanwhile, Sweden has expressed its continued dissatisfaction with the performance of its NH90 (HKP 14) fleet, and expects to take a decision on its future rotorcraft plans before the end of 2022.

Lockheed Martin has to date delivered over 300 MH-60R helicopters. Alongside the USN, export orders have been concluded with Australia, Denmark, Greece, India, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea through the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme. Speaking at the Farnborough airshow in July, Sikorsky's vice-president of army and air force programmes Nathalie Previte said the company was pursuing both repeat orders and new opportunities for the MH-60R through FMS sales.

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The US Coast Guard (USCG) cutter Healy (WAGB-20) will be testing prototype USCG communications capab...

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