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April 2013 Issue

US Navy Takes $11 Billion Cut, Responds to Sequestration
The U.S. government’s sequestration took effect in March, which will trim roughly $0.5 trillion from defense spending over the next 10 years. The U.S. Navy issued information on its blog at navylive.dodlive.mil about the consequences of the cuts.

The information addressed whether sequestration will be noticeable. The Navy said that there will be civilian furloughs, but while “we recognize that the threat of sequestration brought significant uncertainty into the lives of our sailors, civilians and families ... we need to acknowledge that the sky is not falling and that we have a mission to accomplish.”

The Navy has taken an $11 billion budget cut, excepting sailor pay. “If we don’t get a spending bill and sequestration is unchecked, impacts will affect our long-term readiness,” the Navy said. “We won’t be able to respond to crises as the nation has come to depend on and expect from us.”

“Unless and until Congress passes an appropriations bill and either fixes sequestration or gives us the ability to transfer funds within our budget accounts, we will be forced to continue cuts and reductions in order to preserve our ability to operate forward,” the Navy said.

The full effect of sequestration will take months to be seen, and the Navy “will not make final decisions about cuts until the last possible moment.“

US Navy Orders Two More Littoral Combat Ships From Austal
Austal USA’s (Mobile, Alabama) order backlog has grown with two additional littoral combat ship (LCS) contract options being exercised by the United States Navy, worth approximately $681.7 million.

The contract options fund construction of the LCS-14 and LCS-16, the fifth and sixth ships in the 10-ship block-buy award made to an Austal-led team in December 2010. That 10-ship program is potentially worth more than $3.5 billion.

Austal has also been contracted by the Navy for eight 127-meter Independence-variant LCS-class ships. This contract includes USS Independence, which was delivered to the Navy in 2009.

Austal has been contracted by the Navy to build 10 103-meter joint high-speed vessels (JHSVs) under a $1.6 billion contract. One JHSV has already been delivered.

USNS Choctaw County (JHSV-2) and Coronado (LCS-4) have both been launched and are preparing for sea trials this spring. Construction of another three JHSVs and two LCSs is also underway in Austal’s Mobile, Alabama, shipyard.

EU NAVFOR, NATO Commanders Meet To Reaffirm Commitment to Counterpiracy
During counterpiracy patrols in the International Recommended Transit Corridor, the force commander of the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR), RAdm. Pedro García de Paredes, met in late February with the commander of the NATO counterpiracy Operation Ocean Shield, RAdm. Antonio Natale.

The meeting between the two force commanders was an opportunity to discuss and reaffirm the high level of co-operation that exists between the two forces fighting against piracy off Somalia. Both Paredes and Natale stressed the importance of maintaining the information sharing and co-ordination between EU NAVFOR and NATO.

“Both the EU Naval Force and NATO understand that we need to maintain the pressure on pirates operating off the coast of Somalia,” Paredes said. “The recent apprehension of two separate pirate groups in the Somali Basin clearly shows that pirates are still active. For this reason, counterpiracy forces and seafarers sailing through the high-risk area cannot lower their guard. There is no room for complacency.”

The meeting was held on board the EU NAVFOR flagship ESPS Méndez Núnez.

New Frigate Delivered to China Amid Tension With Japan Over East China Sea Islands
China’s navy has received the first of its new frigate line, People’s Liberation Daily reported, according to Bloomberg News. It was delivered in late February in Shanghai.

The frigate has stealth capabilities, and it will serve as a patrol escort and anti-submarine vessel.

This delivery comes in the context of China and Japan having sent vessels to monitor each other’s activities around the East China Sea islands. The two countries each claim rights to the islands’ potential wealth; the seafloor in the area is rich with resources.

China is second in the world in terms of defense spending. Its defense budget was set to grow 11.2 percent to $106.4 billion in 2012.

2014:  JAN | FEB | MARCH

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