Category Archives: Maritime Security

Take a look at these fantastic photographs of USN aircraft flying over USS Zumwalt advanced guided-missile destroyer

MQ-4C, E-2C, C-2A, P-8A, F-35 and SH-60R flew over USS Zumwalt in Chesapeake

USS Zumwalt, the U.S. Navy’s newest and most technologically advanced surface ship, was commissioned in Baltimore, Maryland, on Oct. 15 during the city’s Fleet Week festivities.

First ship of a new class of stealthy multi-mission destroyers (worth $4.4 billion apiece), the futuristic Zumwalt features an advanced power system capable to generate 78 megawatts of power and has the ability to launch TLAMs (Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles) and Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (like those used in Yemen recently), as well as a wide array of other anti-ship and anti-submarine weaponry.

Several aircraft flew over the advanced multi-mission guided-missile destroyer as it travelled to its new home port of Sand Diego.

In this post you can find the most interesting photos.

The top one (courtesy of Naval Air Systems Command) is particularly cool. It shows a Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton overflying USS Zumwalt.

U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C “Triton” Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) unmanned aircraft system (UAS), is an ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) platform under development that will complement the P-8A Poseidon within the Navy’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force family of systems.

The MQ-4C is a much advanced version than the first generation Global Hawk Block 10: it is believed to be a sort of Block 20 and Block 30 Global Hawk hybrid, carrying Navy payload.

With a 130.9-foot wingspan, the drone features an AN/ZPY-3 multi-function active-sensor (MFAS) radar system, that gives the Triton the ability to cover more than 2.7 million square miles in a single mission that can last as long as 24 hours at a time, at altitudes higher than 10 miles, with an operational range of 8,200 nautical miles.

A test proved the gigantic Navy drone’s ability to pass FMV (Full Motion Video) to a Poseidon MPA (Maritime Patrol Aircraft) last June.

The U.S. Navy plans to procure 68 aircraft and 2 prototypes.  The program received Milestone C low-rate initial production approval after a successful Milestone Decision Authority review at the end of September 2016.

161017-N-UZ648-029 CHESAPEAKE BAY, Md. (Oct. 17, 2016) An E-2D Hawkeye and a C-2A Greyhound assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 fly over USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) as the ship travels to its new home port of San Diego, California. Zumwalt was commissioned in Baltimore, Maryland, Oct. 15 and is the first in a three-ship class of the Navy's newest, most technologically advanced multi-mission guided-missile destroyers. (U.S. Navy photo by Erik Hildebrandt/Released)

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CHESAPEAKE BAY, Md. (Oct. 17, 2016) An E-2C Hawkeye and a C-2A Greyhound assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 fly over USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) as the ship travels to its new home port of San Diego, California. Zumwalt was commissioned in Baltimore, Maryland, Oct. 15 and is the first in a three-ship class of the Navy’s newest, most technologically advanced multi-mission guided-missile destroyers. (U.S. Navy photo by Erik Hildebrandt/Released)

 

161017-N-UZ648-054 CHESAPEAKE BAY, Md. (Oct. 17, 2016) A P-8A Poseidon assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 flies over USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) as the ship travels to its new home port of San Diego, California. Zumwalt was commissioned in Baltimore, Maryland, Oct. 15 and is the first in a three-ship class of the Navy's newest, most technologically advanced multi-mission guided-missile destroyers. (U.S. Navy photo by Erik Hildebrandt/Released)

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CHESAPEAKE BAY, Md. (Oct. 17, 2016) A P-8A Poseidon assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 flies over USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) as the ship travels to its new home port of San Diego, California. Zumwalt was commissioned in Baltimore, Maryland, Oct. 15 and is the first in a three-ship class of the Navy’s newest, most technologically advanced multi-mission guided-missile destroyers. (U.S. Navy photo by Erik Hildebrandt/Released)

 

161017-N-CE233-334 CHESAPEAKE BAY, Md. (Oct. 17, 2016) An SH-60R assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21 flies near USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) as the ship travels to its new home port of San Diego, California. Zumwalt was commissioned in Baltimore, Maryland, Oct. 15 and is the first in a three-ship class of the Navy's newest, most technologically advanced multi-mission guided-missile destroyers. (U.S. Navy photo by Liz Wolter/Released)

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CHESAPEAKE BAY, Md. (Oct. 17, 2016) An SH-60R assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21 flies near USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) as the ship travels to its new home port of San Diego, California. Zumwalt was commissioned in Baltimore, Maryland, Oct. 15 and is the first in a three-ship class of the Navy’s newest, most technologically advanced multi-mission guided-missile destroyers. (U.S. Navy photo by Liz Wolter/Released)

 

An F-35 Lightning II Carrier Variant (CV) piloted by U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Robert "Champ" Guyette II, a test pilot from the F-35 Pax River Integrated Test Force (ITF) assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, flies over the stealth guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) as the ship transits the Chesapeake Bay on Oct. 17, 2016. USS Zumwalt, the Navy's newest and most technologically advanced surface ship, joined the fleet Oct. 15. The F-35C Lightning II — a next generation single-seat, single-engine strike fighter that incorporates stealth technologies, defensive avionics, internal and external weapons, and a revolutionary sensor fusion capability — is designed as the U.S. Navy’s first-day-of-war, survivable strike fighter. The U.S. Navy anticipates declaring the F-35C combat-ready in 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Andy Wolfe/Released)

An F-35 Lightning II Carrier Variant (CV) piloted by U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Robert “Champ” Guyette II, a test pilot from the F-35 Pax River Integrated Test Force (ITF) assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, flies over the stealth guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) as the ship transits the Chesapeake Bay on Oct. 17, 2016. USS Zumwalt, the Navy’s newest and most technologically advanced surface ship, joined the fleet Oct. 15. The F-35C Lightning II — a next generation single-seat, single-engine strike fighter that incorporates stealth technologies, defensive avionics, internal and external weapons, and a revolutionary sensor fusion capability — is designed as the U.S. Navy’s first-day-of-war, survivable strike fighter. The U.S. Navy anticipates declaring the F-35C combat-ready in 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Andy Wolfe/Released)

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Watch a US guided missile destroyer launch Tomahawk cruise missiles against Houthi rebels radar sites in Yemen

The guided missile destroyer USS Nitze (DDG 94) launched a TLAM strike against three coastal radar sites in Houthi-controlled territory on Yemen’s Red Sea coast.

On Oct. 13, at around 4AM LT, the U.S. Navy has launched a retaliatory strike against coastal Houthi-controlled radar sites in Yemen, after three American vessels, USS Nitze and USS Mason guided-missile destroyers, and the Austing-class USS Ponce Afloat Forward Staging Base (formerly, amphibious transport dock) were attacked twice in just three days in international waters off Yemen.

“Due to hostile acts, continuing and imminent threat of force, and multiple threats to vessels in the Bab-al Mandeb Strait, including U.S. naval vessels, Nitze struck the sites, which were used to attack U.S. ships operating in international waters, threatening freedom of navigation. Nitze is deployed to the 5th Fleet area of operations to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.”

The footage below shows USS Nitze fire Tomahawk cruise missiles against Iran-backed Houthi targets that have threatened attacks against ships in the Red Sea.

The three U.S. warships have been operating in the vicinity of Bab el-Mandeb following the attack on the UAE-flagged high-speed transport vessel HSV Swift severely damaged after being attacked by the rebels with what is believed to be a Chinese C-802 anti-ship missile possibly provided by Iran.

The U.S. retaliatory attack came hours after USS Ponce and Mason were attacked for the second time in four days on Wednesday. In the first encounter, on Sunday, the guided-missile destroyer fired three missiles, two Standard Missile-2s (SM-2s) and a single Evolved Seasparrow Missile (ESSM) to intercept the two missiles that were launched against the American vessels at 7 PM LT. In addition to the missiles, USS Mason used its Nulka anti-ship missile decoy.

Little is known about the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) used in the attack.

The Tomahawk IV can hit at a range of 1,000 miles and can adjust its flight path to pursuit moving targets. Guidance can come from various platforms, including ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) planes and tactical aircraft.

In an interview given at the end of 2013, PACAF commander General Hawk Carlisle said 5th gen. aircraft will provide forward target identification for strike missiles launched from a surface warship or submerged submarine, in the future. The PACAF commander described the ability of the F-22s, described as “electronic warfare enabled sensor-rich aircraft,” to provide forward targeting through their sensors for submarine based Tomahawks. It’s not known whether the U.S. Air Force has already implemented this capability, though.

The missile, launched through a Vertical Launch System (VLS), is guided by an operator that can redirect the TLAM towards pre-planned alternate targets, or bring the missile to a “holding area” where it can wait for a new target of opportunity. It also features an anti-jam GPS receiver for enhanced accuracy. By means of data link, the RGM-109E missile can download imagery and health status messages to the control station so as to give the operator the ability to change the mission in accordance with the battlefield and cruise conditions.

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Watch these new photos of a U.S. submarine emerging on the surface of the Arctic Ocean

Subs increasingly operating in the Arctic.

Few days ago we have published a stunning video showing a U.S. submarine breaking the ice to surface in the Arctic Circle during an exercise.

The images in this article were posted by the Royal Navy and show USS Hampton (SSN 767) from San Diego, emerging through thick ice to report its safe transit through the Bering Strait and to re-fix the boat’s position by GPS before continuing to U.S. Navy Ice Camp Sargo, around 170 miles north of Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay.

USS Hampton is one of the subs taking part in Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2016, a five-week exercise that include multiple arctic transits, a North Pole surfacing, scientific data collection and other training evolutions during their time in the region.

As mentioned above, the photos were released by the Royal Navy: two officers, Lt Cdr Moreland (HMS Astute) and Lt Harris (HMS Trenchant), are operating aboard USS Hampton, looking into the equipment, training and procedures needed to allow the Royal Navy’s hunter-killer boats – Trafalgar and Astute-class boats to safely return under the ice after more than a decade.

US Submarine emerges at the North Pole

Image credit: U.S. Navy

 

Watch this stunning video of a U.S. nuclear submarine breaking the ice to surface in the Arctic Circle

The Los Angeles-class USS Hartford performed a North Pole surfacing.

There is no need to highlight the strategic importance of submarines.

The type of missions they can carry out is quite vast: they can escort and protect aircraft carriers, patrol the territorial waters, attack enemy warships (including enemy flattops) or merchant ships, run a blockade, gather intelligence (directly or by means of drones, even launched from a submerged position), infiltrate special forces, or launch ballistic cruise missiles (even with orders provided by “doomsday” planes and targeting guidance of electronic warfare enabled sensor-rich 5th gen. stealth multirole jets) in a conventional or nuclear land-attack scenario.

That’s why they are often operated near the most disputed waters and lands of the globe, including the Arctic Circle.

Not one but two Los Angeles-class submarines surfaced at U.S. Navy Ice Camp Sargo, a temporary station on top of a floating ice sheet in the Arctic last week.

The two subs, USS Hartford (SSN 768) from Groton, Connecticut, and USS Hampton (SSN 767) from San Diego are taking part in Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2016, a five-week exercise that include multiple arctic transits, a North Pole surfacing, scientific data collection and other training evolutions during their time in the region.

“Navigating, communicating and maneuvering are all different in an arctic environment as there are surfaces both above and below a submarine,” said Cmdr. Scott Luers, ice camp officer-in-tactical-command and deputy director of operations for Commander Submarine Forces in Norfolk.

According to a U.S. Navy release, submarines have conducted under-ice operations in the Arctic region for more than 50 years. The first transit occurred in 1958 and was conducted by USS Nautilus (SSN 571). The first North Pole surfacing was in March 1959 and was performed by USS Skate (SSN 578). USS Sargo (SSN 583) was the first submarine to make a winter Bering Strait transit in 1960.

Since those events, the U.S. Submarine Force has completed more than 26 Arctic exercises.

The following footage shows USS Hartford (SSN 768) surfacing in the Arctic Circle near Ice Camp Sargo during ICEX 2016.

This Infographic shows Every submarine operated by the nations of Europe and the Mediterranean

Have you ever wondered what type of subs European or Mediterranean nations operate? Here’s the answer.

Modern submarines are used for a wide variety of tasks: (attacking or) protecting aircraft carriers (as in the case of U.S. Navy subs included in Carrier Strike Groups), defending territorial waters, attacking enemy or merchant ships, running a blockade, gathering intelligence (directly or by means of drones), inserting special forces, as well as launching ballistic cruise missiles (even with targeting guidance of tactical jets) in a conventional or nuclear land attack scenario.

All the most advanced navies operate a submarine force for one or more of the above mentioned missions and in case you were wondering the type/class and number of nuke and conventional subs in in service with European and Mediterranean nations, the infographic, prepared by @Naval_Graphics, is what you were looking for.

The chart also shows the strength of the Russian Northern, Baltic and Black Sea Fleets. Interestingly, at least one Borei-class strategic nuclear submarine is assigned to the European theater.

Borei class submarines will form the backbone for Russian Naval strategic nuclear forces by 2025-2030, replacing several other types of submarines, including the larger Typhoons. Each submarine of the Borei class will be able to carry 16 Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles, each one with a range up to 11,000 km and able to carry nuclear warheads.

Russian subs often operate near the territorial waters of northern European nations, like Sweden and the UK, with Maritime Patrol Aircraft struggling to locate and track them.

In the recent past there have been concerns that Russian Navy subs could attack key internet communications in future war scenarios, following an unsual naval activity near the locations of undersea cables.

Submarines of Europe

Credit: @Naval_Graphics