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Posts of category  "Navy"

 

  • Railgun exceeds accelerations of Mach 6, which is six times the speed of sound
  • It uses electromagnetic energy to propel a metal projectile at huge speeds
  • Powerful missiles are fuelled by a ‘pulse power system’ and ship electricity
  • Navy has been working on the gun since 2005 and say it is the future of warfare
  • The railgun technology could have uses in other power storage systems 

The US Navy’s radical plan to create a railgun capable of firing bullets at hypersonic speed could also revolutionise power storage technology, researchers have revealed.

The Office of Naval Research is developing its own ‘supercapacitors’ to store the huge amounts of power needed to propel the projectiles onboard ships.

Early trials used commercially available systems.

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The question of if the U.S. Navy will achieve its goal of building a 355-ship fleet will largely rest on if the U.S. Congress can repeal the Budget Control Act of 2011.

The question of if the U.S. Navy will achieve its goal of building a 355-ship fleet will largely rest on if the U.S. Congress can repeal the Budget Control Act of 2011. Moreover, that goal might only be achieved if the Pentagon is able to move funding for the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine out of the Navy’s ship construction accounts.

“Looming over all of this is the Budget Control Act, which remains a lot of land as well as the need to determine how Columbia-class submarines will be funded without impacting other critically important shipbuilding priorities,” Mike Petters, president and chief executive officer of Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) told investors [3].

Without addressing the automatic sequestration budget cuts, the goal of a 355-ship Navy is impossible.

This story was originally published by The National Interest

“I think if you buy into the 355 ship Navy, you can talk yourself into a pretty aggressive growth profile,” Petters said.

“We’re at the place where we’re saying until sequestration is taken care of and we’ve its a kind of show us the money sort of perspective. And without that and without that getting sorted out, we are going to stick to our guns and say the history of SCN account that it’s reasonably flat.”

The shipbuilding accounts could also grow if the Navy found another way to pay for the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine [4]. The 12 boomers will be sucking up a lot of the Navy’s budget over the next decade.

“My concern is that if you find another way to pay for the Columbia-class, then it won’t be flat. Then there will be growth in the profile,” Petters said.

However, if the money for the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines comes out of the shipbuilding accounts, then the Navy will have to cut planned ship purchases [5] to pay for those boats.

“If you don’t find a way to pay for the Columbia-class, you’re going to take it out of hide and you are going to take it out of other ships,” Petters said.

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Rhode Island State Police are investigating a two-vehicle crash that killed an active-duty member of the U.S. Navy.

Officials said 31-year-old Elizabeth Kingsland, of Mystic, was declared dead Tuesday night after the crash on Interstate 95 in Hopkinton. Kingsland was a member of the U.S. Navy, according to Rhode Island State Police.

Police said Kingsland’s vehicle was headed southbound when it collided with a tractor-trailer truck and went off the road, hitting a tree.

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JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) – A Wyoming man is now secretary of the U.S. Navy.

Richard Spencer was sworn in for the job Thursday in a ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The Senate confirmed Spencer this week along with several other Defense Department nominees and a new FBI director, Christopher Wray.

Spencer and his wife have lived south of Wilson full-time since 2009. President Donald Trump nominated Spencer for Navy secretary in June.

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WASHINGTON, DC — North Korea’s missile tests, China’s aggressiveness in the South China Sea and the Islamic State (IS) threat in the Philippines are among the three major regional concerns the United States Pacific Command (PACOM) is facing.

PACOM Chief Navy Adm. Harry Harris Jr. discussed these three issues during the Japan-U.S. Military Statesmen Forum in Washington, DC, last Friday, July 28.

Harris described North Korea as “a clear and present danger” to global peace and stability.

 

Last week, Pyongyang launched its 12th missile test this year, which is also its second intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test in less than a month.

The PACOM chief said that the regime of North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-Un, is not only a threat to South Korea, Japan and the U.S., but also “to the entire world because North Korea’s missiles point in every direction.”

“It’s the reason why we call for all nations to implement far stronger economic sanctions against Pyongyang,” he added.

According to him, China plays a vital role on the issue, and should exert influence and help promote denuclearization in the region.

 

Harris, however, noted that China must also tone down its aggressive activities in the South China Sea, citing Beijing’s reported militarization and construction of artificial islands in the disputed area.

“Some might find it odd for me to advocate cooperation with China on one hand while criticizing Beijing on the other, but as I like to say, great powers can walk and chew gum at the same time,” he said.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, with neighboring countries such as the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam, as its rival claimants.

Regarding IS, Harris said the terror group is a clear threat that must be brought down.

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The newly developed Laser Weapon System (LaWS) is situated on the USS Ponce, which is deployed to the Persian Gulf.

Credit: John F. Williams/US Navy

The U.S. Navy’s recent demonstration of its new laser weapon, designed to blast enemy drones out of the sky, proves that these systems no longer solely exist in the world of science fiction. But how do these so-called directed-energy weapons work?

The idea for laser weapons has been around for at least a century; the writer H.G. Wells even imagined “heat rays” in his 1897 novel “War of the Worlds.” Lasers, though, are a demonstration of several technologies and even physics that didn’t exist or wasn’t known until the 1960s — and in some cases, later than that.

In part, the initial drive to build laser weapons wasn’t to make ray guns — it was to help people make phone calls. It wasn’t until fiber optics and cheap laser diodes became available that this technology could be used to build weapons, according to experts. [7 Technologies That Transformed Warfare]

“We could build powerful lasers in the past, but they weren’t small enough or powerful enough to be tactically deployed,” said Robert Afzal, a senior fellow in laser and sensor systems at Lockheed Martin, one of several companies that has been developing laser weapons for the military. “With high-powered, fiber-optic laser technology, we can now build a laser powerful and small enough for a tactical vehicle.”

The laser system being developed at Lockheed isn’t the same one that was demonstrated last month by the U.S. Navy, but the physics and engineering are similar, Afzal told Live Science.

The word “laser” is actually an abbreviation for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.” To make a laser, you need a lasing medium — some material that emits light when it is stimulated by energy. Further, that light needs to be a single wavelength, and all the light wavesneed to be in step — a state called coherence.

A neon light bulb generates light of specific wavelengths, but those waves aren’t all in step; they’re jumbled together, with the crests and troughs at different places. This makes it harder to focus the light into a beam that doesn’t disperse over long distances. It also means less energy gets delivered to anything illuminated by that light.

Coherent light waves can be more focused. In other words, the light waves in a laser beam spread out much less than those in a flashlight beam do, directing more of its energy into a small spot.

The first laser beams in the 1960s were generated with ruby crystals that were pumped with light from a powerful type of flash lamp. The crystal was called the gain medium.

The intense light excited the atoms in the crystal, which then generated the photons, or packets of light, for the laser. A mirror was at each end of the crystal, and one of the mirrors was transparent. The light would be reflected from one side and come out the transparent side.

More modern lasers use gases as the gain medium, such as carbon dioxide, helium or neon. They all produce lasers of different wavelengths for different applications. Carbon-dioxide lasers emit infrared light, and they are often used as cutting tools. [Science Fact or Fiction? The Plausibility of 10 Sci-Fi Concepts]

Later the chemical laser was invented, but that wasn’t going to work for shipboard weapons. “The old chemical lasers took up a lot of volume,” said Mark Skinner, vice president of directed energy at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. “They also sometimes used toxic chemicals.” For example, a hydrogen fluoride lasers, first demonstrated in 1969, can deliver high-powered beams but the hydrogen fluoride is dangerous and difficult to handle.

The laser diode was a big innovation; though they were first demonstrated in the 1960s, it wasn’t until the 1970s that semiconductor lasers were built that could operate continuously at room temperature. Earlier, in 1966, Charles K. Kao (who would go on to win a Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009) discovered how to transmit light over optical fibers, which meant that lasers could be used as a means of communication. Then, the development of cheap diode lasers enabled the building of devices such as CD players and laser communication arrays.

“Really, we put together two revolutions: fiber-optic telecommunications and wave-division multiplexing,” Afzal said. Wave-division multiplexing (WDM) is a technique that combines lasers of different wavelengths onto a single fiber, which enables more power to be pumped through a fiber-optic strand. Originally applied to communications, it became a go-to technology for laser weapons as well, he said.

But laser weapons require more than simply making laser light — they need to transmit the light to a target and do so with enough energy to inflict damage. Laser power is usually measured in watts. The power of a laser pointer can be measured in milliwatts, but that’s still enough to injure a person’s eyes. The power of industrial laser cutters is in the kilowatt range. The military needs lasers that have a much more powerful range than that — in the tens of kilowatts, at least. [Flying Saucers to Mind Control: 7 Declassified Military & CIA Secrets]

The U.S. Navy’s new laser weapon, which is currently deployed on the USS Ponce — an amphibious transport ship — is reportedly a 33-kilowatt laser, and it can fire several beams that add up to 100 kilowatts. The Navy said in January that it plans to test a 150-kilowatt version within a year. (A Navy spokesman said he couldn’t reveal how powerful the laser actually is.)

The reason for the high power is that even though lasers are focused to a narrow point, their beams still spread out over long distances, and that cuts down the energy that gets delivered to the target. A laser damages its target because the energy from the light heats up the material it hits. As such, the beam has to stay on a target for a certain period of time (more power means less time and thus a more effective weapon). A video released to CNN shows the Navy’s Laser Weapons System (LaWS) trained on a target for about 1 or 2 seconds, but none of these specifications have been publicly released yet.

The LaWS aboard the USS Ponce is a fiber-optic laser, and it combines beams to increase the power. While fans of “Star Wars” may recall the image of several separate beams joining together after they’re emitted from the Death Star, real combined-beam lasers don’t work like that. Instead, they use fiber optics to generate the beams, and then those beams are combined using a prism-like setup of lenses.

“Think of that cover of [the Pink Floyd album] ‘Dark Side of the Moon,'” Afzal said. “You have a prism that combines several beams into one.”

Another advantage of fiber optics, Afzal said, is that the beams are more “perfect.” This means there is less diffraction, or spreading out of the light, than there is with a traditional lens (early lasers had beams focused by lenses, and laser pointers still do this).

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A mailbox covered with the American flag is at the center of a dispute brewing between a retired U.S. veteran and a homeowners association in Florida.

Retired U.S. Navy Officer John Ackert says he received a letter last week from the Southwood Residential Community Associate in Tallahassee that asked him to remove the wrapping of Old Glory around the mailbox or face penalties.

He told WCTV he’s not backing down without a fight and has made an appeal.

“I view this as a form of bullying to be honest,” Ackert said. “And I think people should stand up to bullying of any form, and particularly this.”

The US Navy will “routinely” base its spy planes at RAF Lossiemouth as the Moray base develops its own fleet tasked with patrolling the North Sea.

The UK Government has struck a “basing agreement” with America’s Department of Defence which will regularly bring international flying aces to Moray.

Air Commodore Ian Gale, the senior officer responsible for bringing the Poseidon P-8A aircraft to Lossiemouth, hailed the deal as “further strengthening UK-US defence relations”.

And it is hoped that working with American counterparts will enhance the skills of the freshly formed 120 Squadron, as crews prepare for all nine planes to arrive in Moray over the coming years.

Yesterday, figures emerged revealing that Nato allies had deployed nearly 40 maritime patrol aircraft to RAF Lossiemouth last year.

Opposition politicians claimed the statistics showed the Ministry of Defence (MoD) was reliant on “the goodwill of others” to protect the country.

But defence chiefs argued that working with allies was part of a “robust” strategy to defend the UK.

Last night, they stressed the upcoming influx of American planes was not a ploy to beef up resources.

A spokeswoman said: “The basing agreement with America was signed by Harriett Baldwin, Under Secretary of State for Defence Procurement.

The first of a fleet of nine of the Boeing planes is expected to touch down at Lossiemouth next year.

Its crews will work closely with American counterparts in an effort to “deepen defence cooperation” in the North Atlantic by sharing support bases.

Ms Baldwin said: “The United States is our pre-eminent ally in global defence and collective security.

“This declaration is further evidence of how our two countries continue to cooperate and build mutual security, particularly in the North Atlantic region.

“The American Department of Defence and UK’s. Ministry of Defence plan to cooperate closely on operation of their P-8A aircraft to ensure a coherent approach.”

Air Commodore Ian Gale added: “This agreement will enhance the UK’s maritime patrol capability and further strengthen UK-US defence relations.

“The arrival of the Poseidon P-8A in 2019 will provide the U.K. with significantly increased capabilities and bring hi-tech employment to Scotland and the wider UK.”

Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood yesterday revealed that 37 maritime patrol aircraft – including planes from the United States, Germany and France – had been temporarily deployed to RAF Lossiemouth in 2016.

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GULF OF MEXICO (July 3, 2017) The amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland (LPD 27) has conducts its first set of sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico. Ingalls’ test and trials team spent four days operating the 11th San Antonio-class ship and demonstrating its systems. (U.S. Navy photo by Lance Davis/Released)170703-N-N0101-001

The USS Portland, or LPD 27, recently completed a series of at-sea tests including full power runs, self-defense detect-to-engage exercises, evaluations of combat and communications systems, rapid ballast/de-ballast operations, steering checks and anchor handling demonstrations.

Portland is part of a broader Navy and Marine Corps strategy to prepare amphibious transport ships for the future. The Navy is also building a new, multi-mission amphibious assault ship designed to function in a modern threat environment, conduct a wider range of missions than the ship it is replacing, and help the service increase the lagging number of amphibs in the force, senior officials said.

While LPD 27 is the eleventh San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock to join the fleet, the service is engineering a new ship called the LX(R) — loosely based on an LPD 17 hull — with expanded technologies.

The Navy plans to build at least 11 new LX(R) ships, with the first one slated to deliver by 2026, service developers said. In September of last year, Huntington Ingalls Industries secured a $19.1 million contract modification to accelerate design work on the U.S. Navy’s LX(R) amphibious ship replacement program.

The Navy hopes to add much greater numbers of amphibious assault ships to the fleet while simultaneously adjusting to modern threats. This will require individual Amphibious Ready Groups — or ARGs — to perform a wider range of missions. Modern near-peer adversaries increasingly posses long-range sensors and precision-guided munitions, a phenomenon which will require more operational diversity from ARGs.

Above — LX(R). Huntington Ingalls illustration. At top — USS ‘Portland’ in June 2017.

The Navy’s new LXR

The Navy plans new LX(R) amphibs to replace its current fleet of dock landing ships, or LSD 41s, which have functioned for years as ARG support vessels. This move to replace the dock landing ships with LPD 17-like hulls seems to speak to a Navy effort to help compensate for an amphibious assault ship deficit.

The Navy used to be able to deploy up to five ARGs at one time, however the fleet is smaller than it was in the 1980s. And today, the Navy responds to wider range of contingencies including counter-terrorism operations, counter-piracy, humanitarian missions, disaster response and, of course, full-scale amphibious combat operations.

This requires that the three ships in each ARG have the ability to disperse when necessary and operate independently, known in military parlance as split or “dis-aggregated” operations.

An amphibious assault ship, a dock landing ship — or LSD — and the San Antonio-class LPD 17 amphibious transport dock are all integral to an ARG, tasked with transporting at least 2,200 Marines and their equipment as part of a Marine Expeditionary Unit.

The 684-foot long LPD 17s can hit speeds of 22 knots and carry four CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters or two MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. The LSD also travels around 20 knots, however it is only 609 feet long and not equipped to house aircraft.

Both the LPD 17 and the LSDs have well-decks for amphibious operations along with the ability to launch hovercraft, or LCACs. However, the LPD 17 weighs close to 25,000 tons and the LSD is only 16,000 tons.

The 1980s-era LSDs consist of eight Whidbey Island-class ships. The 15,000-ton ships, configured largely to house and transport four LCACs, are nearing the end of their service life.

An LCAC prepares to dock with the USS ‘San Antonio.’ U.S. Navy photo

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Battleships captivate the imagination. Before they were displaced by aircraft carriers, battleships were symbols of great-power status. Some of the most iconic were the American Iowa class, the last battleships ever built by the United States. Powerful in appearance, yet with sleek lines filled in with haze gray, the Iowa class served in World War II and were unretired three more times to serve as the U.S. Navy’s big guns. If we brought them back today, what would they look like?

The National Defense Authorization Act for 1996, generally known as the defense budget, had a unique provision hidden inside the text: the text directed the Navy to keep at least of the four Iowa-class ships on the Naval Register in good condition, retain the logistical support to maintain battleships on active duty and keep those ships on the Register until the secretary of the navy certified that existing naval gunfire support equaled or exceeded the firepower of two battleships. Iowa and Wisconsin were finally stricken from the Register in 2006 after the secretary of the navy, citing the upcoming thirty-two Zumwalt-class destroyers, certified they were no longer needed.

Now, eleven years later, the Navy is only getting three of the thirty-two Zumwalt destroyers, and the long-range attack projectile specifically designed for the Zumwalt’s two 155-millimeter guns is being cancelled due to exorbitant costs. The Navy is again facing a naval gunfire shortfall, in addition to an antiship shortfall. Could the Iowas make yet another comeback, bolstered with new and powerful weapons?

In laying the groundwork for battleship modernizations, there four things that must happen for any successful update. The Iowa-class battleships were designed in the late 1930s, and a lot has happened in the last eighty years. First, the ships must be highly automated. The ships originally sailed with crews of up to 2,700 personnel, later reduced to 1,800. The U.S. Navy is no longer a draftee service, and personnel costs in the all-volunteer Navy are major expenses. Prime candidates for automation are older mechanical systems, such as the three sixteen-inch gun turrets, each of which has a crew of over a hundred, and the power plant and engineering.

Second, the battleships would return to the field just as firepower is transitioning from being gunpowder-based to electricity-based. The ship will need all the power it can get to power the new generation of weapons systems that will go onboard. A nuclear power plant would provide power in the megawatts range, while requiring fewer crew to operate it. An alternative is the electric drive system that powers the Zumwalt class, albeit on a larger scale, delivering even greater power.

Third, the battleships need to be able to sink ships at ranges of at least two hundred miles and hit land targets at eight hundred to a thousand miles. At 887 feet long, the battlewagons will be prime targets for land- and sea-based antiship missiles and must have a reasonable chance of operating from beyond their ranges. While the effective range of antiship missiles will only continue to grow, a long-distance striking capability will still be useful against other targets, including island garrisons, air bases and enemy ships.

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