US Navy targets Ohio-class submarines for possible life extensions

by Michael Fabey

The US Navy is considering whether to further extend the life of the strategic submarine USS Alaska . (US Navy)

The US Navy (USN) is planning to target five Ohio-class strategic submarines (SSBNs) for possible life extensions to help ease the transition to Columbia-class vessels, Rear Admiral Scott Pappano, USN executive officer of Strategic Submarines, said.

“We'll need two or three, [and] plan to go up to five [Ohio-class submarines for possible life extensions],” Rear Adm Pappano said on 1 November during a media briefing at the Naval Submarine League 2022 Annual Symposium.

The submarines could undergo about 18 months of necessary work in the depot, which would extend their lives by about three years. “As the world changes, as construction performance changes, we can evaluate that,” he said.

The first submarine to undergo the extension work could be USS Alaska (SSBN-732), he said.

“We would target those [submarines for the work], and plan those up front and get material [for the work] up front,” he said.

By trying to extend the lives of the decades-old Ohios, they would be entering “uncharted territory for submarines”, he added.

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India signs contracts to acquire air and coastal defence systems

by Kapil Kajal

The maximum range of the Indian Army's Akash Weapon System, seen here taking part in the full dress rehearsal for the Republic Day parade 2023, is 30 km and it can hit targets at a maximum elevation of 18 km. (Money Sharma/AFP via Getty Images)

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded contracts to supply Akash Weapon System (AWS), next-generation maritime mobile coastal batteries-long range (NGMMCB-LR), and BrahMos missiles to the Indian Armed Forces.

On 30 March 2023, the MoD signed a contract worth INR81.6 billion (USD993 million) with state-owned missile manufacturer Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) to procure two improved AWSs for the Indian Army.

According to the MoD, the contract for the improved AWS for the 3rd and 4th regiments of army air defence comprises missiles and launchers with upgrades, ground support equipment, vehicles, and infrastructure.

The MoD said that the AWS is a short-range surface-to-air missile (SRSAM) air-defence system, designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). BDL is the production partner of the system.

A BDL official told Janes

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NATO opens innovation hub in UK

by Olivia Savage

The first NATO DIANA regional headquarters was opened by NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană (left) and UK Minister for Defence Procurement Alex Chalk (right). The centre will bring together academia, industry, and government in a shared space along with the UK's Defence and Security Accelerator, defence contractors, and the US Department of Defense's Tri-Service Office. (Crown Copyright)

The first NATO Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) office was formally opened in London on 30 March, the authority announced.

Located at the Imperial College London Innovation Hub (I-HUB) in White City Innovation District, the centre aims to enable NATO members and allies develop and integrate dual-use technologies to address critical defence and security challenges at pace, the announcement said.

It will achieve this by testing, developing, and adapting start-up, commercial, and academic technologies to create potential defence capabilities.

Initial DIANA pilot activities are scheduled to start in autumn 2023 (September to November), and a second regional office is planned in Tallinn, Estonia. Full operating capability (FOC) of the DIANA enterprise is expected by 2025.

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Robotic Combat Vehicle competition heats up with final requirements release

by Meredith Roaten

General Dynamics Land Systems displayed the Tracked Robot 10-ton (TRX) technology demonstrator at Global Force AUSA in March 2023. The robot carried a short-range air-defence (SHORAD) payload for the first time, according to the company. (General Dynamics Land Systems)

The US Army released a Request for Prototype Projects (RPP) for the Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) programme on 29 March through the National Advanced Mobility Consortium (NAMC), which manages the service's prototyping effort.

Competitors have 45 days to respond to the US Army's final prototype request in this phase of the RCV programme, Pat Williams, Oshkosh Defense's chief programs officer told Janes during the Association of the United States Army's event in Huntsville, Alabama.

The army's product manager for the Robotic Combat Vehicle programme held an industry day on 23 March at Detroit Arsenal that was attended by some of the companies displaying their robotics technology at the show.

General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) displayed a demonstrator for the Tracked Robot 10-ton (TRX) as an option for the RCV programme, according to the company.

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