Second incident highlights Iranian threat to US unmanned fleet
07 September 2022
by Jeremy Binnie
A Saildrone Explorer sails in the Gulf of Aqaba off Jordan during testing in December 2021. The latest incident confirmed that the 5th Fleet is using the type for very long-range patrols in the Red Sea. (US Naval Forces Central Command / US 5th Fleet)
Iran's naval forces have highlighted the vulnerability of the US 5th Fleet's new fleet of unmanned surface vessels (USVs) by seizing at least three in less than a week, claiming they were a threat to navigation.
Iranian television broadcasted footage on 2 September showing two Saildrone Explorer USVs on the flight deck of a frigate and then being pushed over the side by sailors.
Iranian media reported that IRIS
, a frigate that is part of the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy's (IRIN's) 83rd squadron patrolling the Red Sea, picked up the USVs after repeatedly finding them in shipping lanes and warning their operators that they were a hazard to navigation. The USVs were then released in a safe area where they were recovered by US units.
UK MoD awards UK contracts for next phase of SSN-AUKUS programme
03 October 2023
by Kate Tringham
A graphic depiction of SSN-AUKUS. (BAE Systems)
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded contracts totalling GBP4 billion (USD4.8 billion) to BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, and Babcock for the detailed design and long leads phase of the UK and Australia's next-generation nuclear-powered attack submarine programme.
As part of their trilateral AUKUS security partnership arrangement, the UK, US and UK in March 2023 unveiled plans that will see the UK and eventually Australia equipped with a future nuclear-powered attack submarine, known as SSN-AUKUS, based on the UK's SSN replacement SSN(R) design and incorporating technologies from all three countries.
Construction of the new boats is set to begin towards the end of the decade, with the first SSN-AUKUS boat planned to enter service with the RN from the late 2030s to replace its Astute-class vessels, followed by the first Australian submarines in the early 2040s.
Romania acquires two ex-Royal Navy Sandown-class minehunters
02 October 2023
by Kate Tringham
The Royal Navy's former Sandown-class minehunter, ex-HMS
is pictured during its decommissioning ceremony on 4 August 2021. The vessel was transferred to the Romanian Navy in September 2023.
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has sold two second-hand Royal Navy (RN) Sandown-class minehunters to the Romanian Navy to support maritime security operations in the Black Sea region.
In a 28 September announcement, the MoD confirmed the sale of ex-HMS
, which was decommissioned from RN service in 2021, and HMS
, which will be retired from service in early 2024.
was officially transferred to the Romanian Navy during September, while
will be transferred in the second quarter of 2024, the MoD said.
The Romanian parliament approved a programme to procure and modernise two second-hand Sandown-class minehunters from the UK on 18 May.
were subsequently sold on behalf of the MoD by the Defence Equipment Sales Authority (DESA), part of the MoD's Defence Equipment and Support organisation, for an undisclosed amount.
OSINT in support of the Defence Intelligence Enterprise (DIE) - part one
Robert Ashley Jr. former director of the DIA joins Harry Kemsley and Sean Corbett to discuss the use of open-source intelligence in the defence intelligence enterprise and the opportunities OSINT provides to intelligence communities.