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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British Army and Royal Navy trial tactical datalink in Wildcat helicopter

by Olivia Savage

Pictured is the AW159 Wildcat helicopter, which has been trialling the Link 16 and Bowman tactical data networks for the British Army and the Royal Navy. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The British Army and the Royal Navy are trialling a new datalink system in the Leonardo AW159 Wildcat helicopter as part of the army's Future Soldier transformation programme.

Known as the tactical data link (TDL) project, the British Army and the Royal Navy are trialling “two separate but mutually reinforcing datalinks – Link 16 and Bowman data – [which] will share battlefield data more effectively to neutralise targets at speed”, the army announced on 3 November.

The objective of the project is to effectively integrate the Bowman data network into a helicopter – such as the Wildcat – to bolster its reconnaissance capabilities. This enables the platform to share digital information about the adversary's position, said Colonel Oliver Stead, 1st Aviation Brigade Combat Team for the British Army.

By integrating the TDL network with the sensor suite fitted to the Wildcat, the helicopter will be less reliant on voice communications, which can be prone to errors, the announcement said.

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Airshow China 2022: China reveals new ALBM for H-6K bombers

by Akhil Kadidal & Rahul Udoshi

An XAC H-6K bomber of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force carries a pair of the new air-launched ballistic missile at Zhuhai on 3 November. The missile has design similarities with Russia's Kinzhal hypersonic, anti-access/area-denial missile. (Chen Jimin/China News Service via Getty Images)

China has unveiled a new air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM) for use by the People's Liberation Army's (PLA's) H-6K bomber fleet.

Two of the new missiles were carried by a Xi'an Aircraft Company (XAC) H-6K bomber, which arrived in Zhuhai, in South China's Guangdong Province, on 3 November for participating in Airshow China 2022. The exhibition is scheduled to be held from 8 to 13 November.

Imagery of the H-6K bomber shows the missile loaded on the centre pylons. Janes assesses that the projectile is an air-launched hypersonic missile. The weapons system appears to be similar to the Russian Kh‐47M2 Kinzhal (AS-24 ‘Killjoy') ALBM.

However, the new Chinese missile has a sleeker nose section, an aerodynamic body with a different control tailfins design, and a change in the position of the launching lugs.

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Norway finalises F-16 sale to Romania

by Gareth Jennings

Norway has finalised the transfer of 32 F-16s to Romania, with deliveries to commence in 2023. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

Norway has finalised the sale of surplus Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft to Romania, the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency (NDMA) announced on 4 November.

The agreement to transfer 32 F-16AM/BM aircraft, as well as spares and support equipment, follows the retirement of the type in the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RoNAF) earlier in 2022.

“Under the contract, all aircraft will undergo necessary maintenance and aircraft modification to M6.5.2 Romanian configuration with US support prior to delivery, currently scheduled for 2023–24. This work will be conducted by Norwegian industry, which also will provide training and other logistical services that will support the long-term availability of the aircraft,” the NDMA said. The contract includes maintenance, aircraft modification, and technical training services.

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The US Navy (USN) is planning to target five Ohio-class strategic submarines (SSBNs) for possible li...

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