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March 2012 Issue

Navy’s FY 2013 Budget Cuts 2 LCS, 8 JHSVs
U.S. President Barack Obama sent his $613.9 billion fiscal year (FY) 2013 defense budget proposal to Congress in February, which includes $155.9 billion for the U.S. Navy. Under the plan, the Navy budget would get approximately $13 billion per year for shipbuilding, funding 41 new-construction ships across the future years defense plan.

Battle force ships would total 284 in FY 2013, and budget changes would result in a fleet of more than 280 ships by the end of the five-year plan, which is still short of the Navy’s long-term goal of 313 ships as outlined in the Department of Defense’s 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review. The Navy said that it is “still committed to a 55-ship LCS class,” but procurement has slowed because of fiscal constraints, reducing LCS by two ships, one of each variant.

Eight JHSVs would also be cut, and Virginia-class procurement would go down from 10 nuclear submarines (SSN) to nine, with delayed procurement of one SSN from FY 2014 to FY 2018.

The Navy’s budget also proposes a 1.7 percent increase in basic military pay in FY 2013 and FY 2014.


Bluefin Robotics Teams Up With Columbia Group to Develop Proteus
Bluefin Robotics Corp. (Quincy, Massachusetts) announced in February that it will work with The Columbia Group (Washington, D.C.) on Proteus, a large dual-mode undersea vehicle that can operate manned and autonomously. The collaboration will have U.S. Navy requirements in mind, since the Navy has persistently outlined its desire to develop next-generation UUVs with increased mission-time, range and payload capacity. Proteus is 25-feet long, weighs 6,200 pounds and can lift up to 400 pounds.

The Columbia Group is developing the mechanical and electrical systems for the hull, and Bluefin will provide autonomy technology, mission-planning capabilities, battery charging and system-integration support. At-sea demonstrations are scheduled in the spring.


Dakota Creek Industries to Build AGOR 28
Dakota Creek Industries Inc. (Anacortes, Washington) was awarded in February a $70 million contract by the U.S. Navy to build the Ocean-class auxiliary general oceanographic research vessel (AGOR) 28, which is the second of two new research ships that will replace older ones.

AGOR 27, the first of the ships that Dakota Creek Industries built, and AGOR 28 are each approximately 238 feet long and are equipped with high-efficiency diesel engines, emissions controls for stack gasses and communications and information technologies. They also have hull coatings that minimize maintenance.

Ship construction is expected to take 30 to 36 months each, with delivery expected in late 2014 and early 2015. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will operate AGOR 27, and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography will operate AGOR 28. The ships will be part of ongoing research in the Atlantic, western Pacific and Indian Ocean.


Winch-Monitoring Upgrade for US Icebreakers
The National Science Foundation awarded in February Measurement Technology NW (Seattle, Washington) a contract to upgrade the winch-monitoring hardware and software for the U.S. Coast Guard icebreakers Healy and Polar Sea. The upgrade will include a winch line control system.


STX Marine to Design Canadian Flagship
STX Marine Inc. (Vancouver, Canada) was awarded in February a $9.5 million contract to design the Canadian Coast Guard’s polar icebreaker, the John G. Diefenbaker.

The Canadian Coast Guard will produce the ship’s conceptual design, and STX Marine will create a comprehensive design package for Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd. (Vancouver), which will build the vessel.

The icebreaker will be designed to cut through 2.5 meters of ice, operate autonomously for 270 days in the Arctic and accommodate 100 personnel. The design work is expected to take 18 to 24 months, with completion scheduled for the end of 2013. Delivery will be in 2017 to coincide with the decommissioning of the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent.


Navy Ship Named After Former Congresswoman
U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced in February that USS Gabrielle Giffords will be the name of Austal’s (Henderson, Australia) third littoral combat ship (LCS) as part of a Navy contract. The ship, named after former Airzona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, will join the two Austal ships already built: the USS Independence, commissioned in January 2010, and the Coronado.


2013:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC
2012:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC

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