Royal Navy SSBN Vanguard departs Devonport following completion of refit
12 May 2023
by Kate Tringham
is expected to return to operations later in 2023 following the completion of its post-refit trial period.
The UK Royal Navy's (RN's) nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), HMS
(S28), has finally departed Babcock International's Devonport Royal Dockyard facility in Plymouth following the completion of a much-delayed deep maintenance and refuelling programme.
An RN spokesperson confirmed to
set sail from Devonport Dockyard on 9 May bound for HM Naval Base, Clyde, at Faslane, Scotland, where it will start its post-refit trial period. This will include crew training and will culminate in a demonstration and shakedown operation. The demonstration firing of the Trident weapon system typically takes place off the Eastern Seaboard of the US.
started what was originally intended to be a three-year Long Overhaul Period (Refuel) – (LOP[R]) – at Babcock Internationals Devonport facility in Plymouth in December 2015. However, the programme ended up taking more than seven years at significantly increased cost because of technical issues as well as further setbacks arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
An artist's impression of the new military Maintenance Support Facility that the New Zealand government is developing at the Burnham Military Camp. (NZDF)
The New Zealand government has started development of a new facility to maintain and sustain military equipment. The proposed Maintenance Support Facility (MSF) is being constructed at the Burnham Military Camp near Christchurch on the South Island.
Marking the start of the MSF construction project, Defence Minister Andrew Little said, “This new state-of-art facility replaces Second World War-era buildings and will enable our defence force to better maintain and repair equipment.”
A spokesperson for the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) told Janes that the MSF will be operational by early 2026. “The facility will take approximately two years to complete and will be finished in the fourth quarter of 2025, with commissioning and interim operating release currently planned for the first quarter of 2026,” the spokesperson said.
The NZDF spokesperson said the MSF will be mainly focused on supporting New Zealand (NZ) Army equipment. “The New Zealand Army's equipment has become physically larger, with more technological components,” the spokesperson said.
US DoD pushes for domestic production of critical, rare earths
15 September 2023
by Carlo Munoz
MP Materials is building a rare earths separation facility in Mountain Pass, California. (MP Materials)
The US Department of Defense (DoD) is pushing for increased domestic production of lithium and nickel, agreeing to funnel a total of USD110.6 million to support the reopening of US-based mining operations for the critical materials.
The USD90 million lithium production initiative is being spearheaded by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Industrial Base Policy, and funding for the effort was pulled from the Biden administration's Inflation Reduction Act, which was approved by the US Congress in 2022.
As part of the deal, DoD's Manufacturing Capability Expansion and Investment Prioritization (MCEIP) office will provide the finds to North Carolina-based Albemarle Corporation “to support the expansion of domestic mining and production of lithium”, according to an initial 12 September Pentagon statement.
Taiwan outlines requirement for enhanced asymmetric warfare capability
13 September 2023
by Jon Grevatt
Growth in Taiwan's defence expenditure is forecast by JDB to slow down in the next few years. JDB figures include funding for veterans' affairs and other defence funds. (Janes Defence Budgets)
Taiwan's National Defense Report 2023 has highlighted how the country is trying to learn lessons from the Ukraine-Russia war in ramping up its own multidomain and asymmetric military capabilities in preparing for any conflict with China.
The biennial policy paper – published by the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in Taipei on 12 September – also confirms short-term investment in funding for military capabilities that will enhance the sea and air combat resilience of the Republic of China (RoC) Armed Forces.
“[China] is progressively enhancing its capabilities to invade Taiwan,” the report said. “Facing this situation, the RoC Armed Forces have to absorb the lessons learned from the example of asymmetric warfare as shown in the Russia-Ukraine war, exploit geographic advantages in the form of island defence, seek suitable force buildup initiatives, and maintain combat readiness.”
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