to Upgrade Adelaide-Class Ships, Eyes UAV Fleet
BY AMI INTERNATIONAL INC.
The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) will upgrade four of its Adelaide-class
frigates under a $402.5 million program, Australian Defense Minister
Robert Hill announced July 15. The units to be upgraded are the HMAS
Darwin, Melbourne, New Castle and Sydney, with completion scheduled for
early 2009. Funding for the program will mainly derive from the savings
associated with the decommissioning of two units from the class in 2006.
The improvements are expected to take place in Australia at the Garden
Reach facility with the ships’ Mk 13 launchers being modified for
the Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) as well as modifications to the Mk 92 fire-control
The introduction of the SM-2 into the RAN will significantly improve
the range of the sea service’s area air defenses and can be considered
the prelude to the Air Warfare Destroyer Program, for which the SM-2
will form the basis of the area air defense network. The Air Warfare
Destroyer program is expected to begin by 2007.
In another move, Hill announced that a request for proposal (RfP) for
a fleet of tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) worth $73 million
to $110 million would be issued by the end of July. The responses are
due in November with an award currently scheduled for May 2005.
Preliminary information calls for a fleet of UAVs capable of launching
in a variety of ways, including conventional wheeled takeoff and landing,
catapult launch and parachute landing, and vertical takeoff and landing
(VTOL), as well as rotary wing configurations.
Although the Australian Army would operate the systems, the capability
would include unmanned maritime patrol and surveillance from shore facilities
as well as leaving open the possibility for the RAN’s surface combatants
to be equipped with the VTOL or rotary wing UAVs.
Italian Navy Launches Conte di Cavour-Class Carrier
Italy launched the first and only unit of the Conte di Cavour-class
aircraft carrier July 20 from Fincantieri’s Riva Trigoso shipyard.
Formerly known as Andrea Doria, the new carrier is expected to begin
sea trials in 2006 with commissioning scheduled for November 2007.
The Conte di Cavour has more than twice the displacement tonnage as
the Garibaldi class (26,000 tons versus 13,000 tons) that was completed
in 1985. The new carrier was laid down in June 2001 and is expected to
operate the Joint Strike Fighter, when available, as well as the current
air wing of AV-8B Harrier II jump jets and assorted helicopters. The
new carrier is also expected to support command-and-control efforts as
well as peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.
Malaysia Sets Aside Funds To Form New Coast Guard
The Malaysian government has announced it has earmarked more than $84.2
million to fund the formation of a Coast Guard. Included in the figures
is the purchase of an undetermined number of AgustaWestland AB-139 search-and-rescue
helicopters to be operated by the new service, which is expected to be
formed by the end of the year.
The Coast Guard will absorb the independent departments of the Royal
Malaysian Police, and the Customs and Fishery Departments. It also will
operate the smaller craft of the Royal Malaysian Navy. The Coast Guard
is due to begin patrols in March 2005 and be responsible for safeguarding
the Straits of Malacca as well as the country’s territorial waters
with regard to piracy, terrorism threats, human trafficking and pollution.
Canada Picks S-92 Superhawk As Sea King Replacement
Canadian Minister of National Defense Bill Graham announced July 23
the selection of Sikorsky’s S-92 Superhawk for the Maritime Helicopter
Project to replace the Canadian Navy’s aging Sea King helicopters.
The new helicopter will assume the responsibilities of the Sea Kings — which
are more than 30 years old — in antisubmarine patrols, surveillance,
search and rescue, and cargo and personnel transfers.
The first of the new helicopters are scheduled for delivery in 2008.
Additionally, General Dynamics Canada and L-3 MAS Canada will be responsible
for systems integration, providing a 100-percent Canadian developed and
built mission data management system and long-term in-service support
for the Canadian Navy. This includes modifications to the 12 Halifax-class
frigates from which the new S-92s will operate.
The $2.4 billion contract for 28 S-92s includes service support for
the next 20 years. The S-92 was selected over the AgustaWestland EH-101
Cormorant and the combined Lockheed Martin/NH Industries NH-90. Canada
is the first military to operate the S-92.
AMI International Inc., Bremerton, Wash., is an international consulting
and naval intelligence services company located on the web at www.amiinter.com