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December 2011 Issue

Griffin Missile to Replace LCS's NLOS-LS
The U.S. Navy will deploy Raytheon Co.'s (Waltham, Massachusetts) Griffin-B missile system on its Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) fleet as a substitute for the now-defunct Non-Line of Sight Launch System (NLOS-LS) program, AOL Defense reported in October. However, the replacement comes at the expense of range—Griffin's surface-launched reach is less than one-sixth of the NLOS-LS Precision Attack Missile's 25 miles, according to the Defense Industry Daily.

The Navy partnered in 2004 on the NLOS-LS program with the Army, which had intended to use the system in vehicles on the ground but canceled the program earlier this year due to rising development costs. Left to find an alternative solution, the Navy decided to incorporate an unmodified Griffin system into the anti-surface warfare mission module on the USS Freedom (LCS-1), according to AOL Defense.

The Navy has acknowledged the Griffin missile will not provide many of the capabilities NLOS-LS would have possessed—the Griffin's range and size mean its ranged engagement options will be limited, Defense Industry Daily wrote. The Griffin will not be able to function as naval support for ground troops, nor will it be able to do much against full-size enemy ships. The Griffin system will not be included in the LCS's first mission models, which are scheduled to be installed in fiscal year 2014, according to AOL Defense.

Canada Unveils $33 Billion Shipbuilding Plan
Representing the largest procurement in Canadian history, Canada's National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS) Secretariat has selected two shipyards for a $33 billion shipbuilding agreement that will span 20 to 30 years.

Irving Shipbuilding Inc. (Halifax, Canada) will build 21 combat vessels, and Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd. (Vancouver, Canada) will build seven noncombat vessels, the NSPS announced in October. The country's oldest shipbuilder, Davie Shipyard (Lévis, Canada), was left out of the program.

The combat package includes the Royal Canadian Navy's Arctic Offshore Patrol ships and the Canadian Surface Combatants ships. The noncombat package includes the Navy's joint support ships, the Canadian Coast Guard's offshore science vessels and a new polar icebreaker. The Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships and Canadian Coast Guard science vessels will be built first, NSPS said.

Small ship construction (116 vessels at an estimated value of $2 billion), will be set aside for competitive procurement amongst Canadian shipyards other than those selected to build large vessels, the NSPS said. Maintenance and repair, valued at $500 million annually, will be open to all yards.

General Dynamics Awarded $87 Million For Unmanned Mine Countermeasure Vehicle
The U.S. Navy's Naval Sea Systems Command has awarded General Dynamics Advanced Informational Systems (Fairfax, Virginia) a contract of up to $86.7 million to design and build the Surface Mine Countermeasure Unmanned Underwater Vehicle, the company announced in November.

Initially planned to be a part of the littoral combat ship mine warfare mission package, the system is designed to detect and identify mines in high-clutter underwater environments in one pass, including mines suspended in the ocean, resting on the seafloor or buried. The General Dynamics' team includes Bluefin Robotics, Ultra Electronics Ocean Systems and Oceaneering International.

Robotic Exoskeleton Assists Shipyard Workers
By using a robotic exoskeleton, shipyard personnel working on U.S. Navy ships have become capable of performing strenuous tasks in a fraction of the typical time, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) said in November.

The Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC)/Zero-G, developed by Lockheed Martin Corp. (Bethesda, Maryland) in conjunction with the U.S. Army, is a backpack-carried mechanical support with a balanced zero-g arm and titanium legs that transfer physical effort to the ground. It was tested first at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF) and then at Newport News Shipbuilding (Newport News, Virginia) in early November. Initial data show that the HULC cut the typical length of grinding operations by nearly a third, NAVSEA said. Workers also noted improved feathering of the grind to the surrounding base metal with less effort.

PSNS & IMF intends to use four HULC systems mounted to mobile tripods for 135 drill and drain hull cuts for maintenance on the USS Ronald Reagan, NAVSEA employee Vince Stamper wrote in an e-mail. He added that NAVSEA hopes to partner with the Army to further develop an industrialized version of the system.


2012:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC
2011:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC

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