US lawmakers grill US Navy officials on proposed shipbuilding budget

by Michael Fabey

US lawmakers question the US Navy request to fund only one Virginia-class submarine (pictured) in fiscal year 2025. (Janes/Michael Fabey)

Members of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee raised concerns about the proposed US Navy (USN) plan to pare down key shipbuilding programmes on 17 April during the subcommittee hearing on the USN's Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 budget request.

While the USN – as was the case with the rest of the Pentagon – was charged with keeping a lid on costs, lawmakers said they felt the USN went too far with some major programmes.

Connecticut Congressman and ranking member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, Joe Courtney, set the tone with his opening statement.

“The Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), which [was] passed in May 2023 to avert a default on the full faith and credit of our nation's currency and bonds, mandated a 1% increase in the Department of Defense's budget request for fiscal year 2025,” Courtney said.

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Singapore leases cargo vessel to support navy's training requirements

by Ridzwan Rahmat

MV Mentor, seen here as it arrives at Changi Naval Base in May 2024. (Singapore MINDEF)

Singapore has leased MV Mentor, a 193 m cargo vessel, to support its navy's training requirements.

The vessel has been leased on a commercially owned and commercially operated arrangement, said a Singapore Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) spokesperson in a 21 May email response to questions from Janes .

It will support the Republic of Singapore Navy's (RSN's) NSman training requirements, reads the reply in reference to its pool of military reservists. MV Mentor will also be involved in selected maritime exercises and operations, it added.

MINDEF has not given further details of the vessel, which will replace MV Avatar – an older general cargo vessel that was also re-purposed for training operations.

However, open-source information indicates that the MV Mentor was built in 2003 as a roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) cargo ship by German shipbuilder Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft.

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Saab, Inc sees opportunity in US defence market

by Jeremiah Cushman

Saab, Inc builds the aft fuselage for the US Air Force's T-7 jet trainer at a new facility in West Lafayette, Indiana. Above, the T-7 engineering and manufacturing development aircraft takes off from St Louis on its first flight in June 2023. (Boeing)

Saab continues to expand in the US through its Syracuse, New York-based subsidiary, Saab, Inc. In April, the company announced plans to build a new munitions facility in the US and unveiled the Skapa initiative to rapidly develop new capabilities and products, as Janes reported at the time. In the last year, Saab, Inc opened four new US facilities: two in the San Diego area and two in New England, Tom Disy, director of business development for Saab, Inc, told journalists at Saab headquarters in Stockholm on 13 May.

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US destroyer commanding officer touts reach-back support for Aegis operations in Red Sea

by Michael Fabey

Seen here firing weapons in the Red Sea in October 2023, USS Carney benefited from shoreside support for Aegis performance during recent successful operations in the region. (US Navy)

The commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) underscored the capability of ship sailors and long-distance shoreside support to use and adapt recent Aegis combat system operations for effective defence against adversary missiles and unmanned systems in the Red Sea during a 20 May media roundtable discussion of those operations.

“We have an incredible network of system technicians and technical assistants to provide that distant support,” Commander Jeremy Robertson said.

The support network includes US Navy (USN) Surface Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTIs) from the Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) and analysts from Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Corona Division, which serves as the navy's independent assessment agent for data analytics, Cdr Robertson noted.

“There is an incredible wealth of knowledge and reach back,” he said, highlighting the shoreside “troubleshooting distant support”.


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