Speed bump: USN focus on speed in littorals created engineering headaches

by Michael Fabey

Naval engineers have described the Freedom-class propulsion plant as the most complex non-nuclear plant in the US Navy fleet. (Janes)

The US Navy (USN) is restarting Freedom-class ship deliveries, however, propulsion plant issues have curtailed vessel operations.

Perhaps no one stated the difficulty in solving the propulsion plant design flaws on the Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs) more than Admiral Michael Gilday, the chief of naval operations. Summing up the design problem, he said, “The issue with the combining gear is probably the most challenging engineering problem that we've seen on any class of ship since I've been in the navy.”

“We really forced industry to go back to the drawing board with respect to the fidelity of their engineering work, to do significant and rigorous shoreside testing before we approve that final [re]design,” Adm Gilday told reporters on 17 November.

Navy engineers who have studied the plant, operated the ships, and dealt with the issues that have sidelined some Freedom-class operations have told Janes thatthe plant is the most complex non-nuclear set-up in the USN – designed and developed specifically to sate the navy's need for speed in the littorals.


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Italy and Austria sign G2G agreement for 18 AW169 helicopters

by Georg Mader

Seen in Italian service, the AW169 is to be acquired shortly by Austria also. (Leonardo)

Italy and Austria have entered into a government-to-government (G2G) agreement for the sale and procurement of 18 Leonardo AW169 multirole helicopters for the Austrian Armed Forces (Bundesheer).

Signed on 2 December at the Italian Ministry of Defence in Rome between Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini and Austrian Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner, the implementation phase of the agreement paves the way for a formal contractual agreement by 20 December and acquisition signature in mid-January 2022. Austria has earmarked between EUR300 million (USD340 million) and EUR400 million for the programme.

According to the Italian National Armaments Directorate (ARMAERO), the contract will cover six helicopters in the AW169B configuration, as well as up to 12 potentially armed AW169MA helicopters. Spares, training, support, and other items will be included in the sale. The agreement also includes an option for a further six AW169Bs and a further 12 AW169MAs; however, it was not said for how long this option will remain valid.


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UAE signs for 80 Rafale F4 combat aircraft

by Gareth Jennings

The UAE is to buy 80 of the latest standard Rafale F4 aircraft from France in a deal announced on 3 December. (French Air and Space Force)

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has signed for 80 Dassault Rafale combat aircraft from France, the manufacturer announced on 3 December.

Signed in the presence of the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Vice-Commander of the Armed Forces of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed ben Zayed Al Nahyane, the contract covers the F4 aircraft, representing the first export order for the latest standard Rafale that is set to be rolled out to the French armed forces.


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Australian Army launches aviation command

by Jon Grevatt

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, are pictured disembarking from a CH-47F Chinook attached to the 5th Aviation Regiment. On 2 December the Australian Army established a new Aviation Command Unit. (Commonwealth of Australia)

The Australian Army launched on 2 December a command unit to optimise its aviation assets and support improved co-ordination across the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Rick Burr, said at a ceremony in Canberra that the new Army Aviation Command will enhance the service's resilience and adaptability, and ensure its training systems are “agile and contemporary”.

He added, “The alignment of army's aviation capability, under its own command, optimises army aviation to better support land, amphibious, and special operations.”

The new unit will be supported by the 16th Aviation Brigade and Army Aviation Training Centre, which join the unit from the Army Forces Command. The new command also includes the assets of the Australian Army Aviation Corps.

The unit will be commanded by Major General Stephen Jobson. He said changes to the army's aviation command-and-control structure will “simplify the management of [its] helicopters”.


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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/industry-headlines/latest/speed-bump-usn-focus-on-speed-in-littorals-created-engineering-headaches

The US Navy (USN) is restarting Freedom-class ship deliveries, however, propulsion plant issues have...

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