US Navy plans to augment submarine-building potential through ‘strategic outsourcing'

by Michael Fabey

The US Navy is considering recruiting non-traditional submarine builders, like Austal USA, to complete some of the submarine work to meet future build-rate requirements. (Austal Ships)

To ensure it can reach a submarine-build rate of one Columbia-class strategic ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) and two Virginia-class attack boats per year, the US Navy (USN) is considering using private shipyards that have not traditionally built such ships to do some of the construction, according to Rear Admiral Scott Pappano, program executive officer, Strategic Submarines.

The USN may have to make some “improvements to drive the one Columbia plus two Virginias per year … through strategic outsourcing”, Rear Adm Pappano said on 12 May during the Advanced Nuclear Weapons Alliance Deterrence Center Virtual Forum on ‘Understanding the Modernisation of the Sea-based Leg of the US Strategic Nuclear Deterrent, USS Columbia-Class Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN 826) & the Trident II D-5 Missile'.

That outsourcing would involve moving some of the construction to yards that have not traditionally done naval nuclear submarine work, he said.

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China, Russia fly bombers to ‘counter' Quad summit

by Akhil Kadidal

A Tu-95 bomber of the Russian Air Force flies over the Sea of Japan on 24 May 2022. (Japan Ministry of Defense)

Japan and South Korea scrambled its fighters to intercept a “provocative” joint exercise by four Chinese and two Russian strategic bombers in the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea on 24 May.

The exercise appears to be a show of force by Beijing and Moscow pointed at the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (the Quad), which was taking place in Tokyo on that same day. The meeting was attended by the leaders of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States.

Two Chinese Xian H-6 bombers of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) were detected flying from the East China Sea to the Sea of the Japan in the morning. The H-6s were joined by two Tupolov Tu-95 strategic bombers of the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) in the sea of Japan.

The four bombers proceeded on a southwestern course. In the afternoon, two new PLA H-6s replaced the earlier two H-6s in the formation. The aircraft then flew through the Miyako Strait between Okinawa and Miyakojima islands, into the Western Pacific.

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Quick-fielding contracting model touted for US Navy Task Force 59 unmanned systems in the Middle East

by Michael Fabey

The US Navy Task Force 59 is experimenting with Saildrone platforms. (Saildrone)

The contracting model employed by US Navy (USN) Task Force 59 (TF 59) makes it possible to field, test, and evaluate unmanned systems quickly in the Middle East, according to Michael Stewart, USN Unmanned Task Force lead.

“Task Force 59 is using a fee-for-service contracting model,” Stewart said on 25 May during a media roundtable update on unmanned systems' work. “They can get stuff out there really quick. They see it, lease it, get it into the theatre and test it.”

Established by the US 5th Fleet in September 2021, TF 59 works closely with members of industry and academia as well as other experts to provide operator feedback and help drive the innovation process forward for unmanned systems.

TF 59 is testing the limits of commercial technology, Stewart noted. “They are trying to get to the leading edge of commercial [technology] and see what the gaps are.”

In particular, he cited the task force's work with Martac unmanned surface vessels (USVs) and Saildrone unmanned platforms.

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Uruguay considers L-39NG for LIFT, light attack requirement

by Gareth Jennings

Aero Vodochody is pitching its L-39NG to Uruguay as a potential replacement for its A-37 fleet. (Aero Vodochody)

Uruguay is considering the Aero Vodochody L-39NG (Next Generation) aircraft for its lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT) and light attack requirements, with a delegation from the Czech Republic visiting the South American nation earlier in May.

Aero announced the visit on 24 May, saying that the Czech government is offering a package that includes six aircraft, pilot training, maintenance and support, and the building of a technical and service centre, as well as financing via the Czech Export Bank (CEB).

“In mid-May the offer was presented to Uruguayan partners by the ambassador of the Czech Republic to Argentina, Ľubomír Hladík, the director of the Departmental Agency for Intergovernmental Co-operation (AMOS), Aleš Vytečka, [and] representatives of Aero Vodochody, the CEB, and the Flight Training Centre,” Aero said.

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To ensure it can reach a submarine-build rate of one Columbia-class strategic ballistic missile subm...

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