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Navy Currents

2014:  JAN | FEB | MARCH

June 2013 Issue

Benthic Fuel Cells Power Sensors
Research chemist and branch head at the Center for Bio/Molecular Science and Engineering at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Dr. Lenny Tender, spoke with the Department of Defense’s “Armed with Science” on research to address carbon-based energy consumption.

Getting long-term data on the state of the oceans is very difficult because oceanographic sensors are constantly running out of battery power. Tender coinvented a benthic fuel cell that generates electricity indefinitely by using microorganisms naturally residing on the seafloor.

There are thousands of oceanographic instruments deployed every year by the U.S. Navy. Naval fleets around the world, science organizations and academic researchers studying climate get a relatively short picture of what is occurring over time. This is due to the limited lifetime of batteries typically used to power oceanographic instruments. In comparison, the benthic fuel cell can operate continuously long term, owing to the immense reservoir of fuel and oxidants that it draws from the marine environment.

Kongsberg to Provide US Navy with CROWS
The U.S. Navy is ordering a marinized version of the M153 Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS) from Kongsberg Protech Systems (Kongsberg, Norway). The marinized CROWS will keep sailors protected from hostile fire and enhance ship protection. Its capabilities include enhanced target interrogation and the ability to counter asymmetric threats. The CROWS will allow sailors to operate sensors and weaponry from inside a vessel instead of from unprotected, open positions.

The standard sensor package includes a daylight color camera, a thermal night camera and a laser range finder.

The Kongsberg Protector M153 is the U.S. Army CROWS program of record, where the system has amassed more than 10 million combat hours while being deployed on more than 30 vehicles with a wide array of weapons and sensor options. Kongsberg will provide CROWS to the military for the next five years.

OceanWorks International Completes ADS 1200’ Upgrades
OceanWorks International (Houston, Texas) delivered a system upgrade for the first of the Italian Navy’s three Atmospheric Diving Systems (ADS). The first Italian HARDSUIT, refurbished in 1999, was returned to OceanWorks International for the latest configuration upgrade.

The upgrade to the Quantum II configuration offers operational, maintenance and training features, including Saab Seaeye (Fareham, England) SM7 thrusters and a redesigned electronics, communication and monitoring system for better control and monitoring of the system performance by the pilot and supervisor.

The contract included provision of a temporary replacement ADS system so the Italian Navy did not experience any interruption of rescue and salvage capabilities during the upgrade and refurbishment period. A two-week pilot and technician training course was also provided.

APAR Multifunction Radar on Danish Frigate
The first sea acceptance test (SAT) of Thales’s (Neuilly-sur-Seine, France) APAR multifunction radar on the new Iver Huitfeldt-class frigates of the Royal Danish Navy was a success. With cooperation from the Danish Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organization, the test was completed in one week instead of the usual three weeks. The test was performed with the first APAR delivered to the Royal Danish Navy, which was installed on HDMS Peter Willemoes.

In December 2006, the contract was signed for the delivery of the three APAR systems for the Iver Huitfeldt-class frigates. Between January 2011 and January 2012, the factory acceptance tests for all three radars were performed, and in 2011 and 2012 the systems were installed on three ships of this class: HDMS Iver Huitfeldt, HSMS Peter Willemoes and HDMS Niels Juel.

Nations to Practice Minesweeping in the Gulf
For two weeks, the United States and 40 other nations will participate in the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise in the Gulf, reported Reuters. The exercise will be a drill in minesweeping and port security.

The international effort comes at a time when Iran has been threatening to block the Straight of Hormuz and developing nuclear capabilities.

The Straight of Hormuz is a main route for oil and gas exports, and mines planted in the waterway would interrupt imports and exports to the region.

The practice drill will cover minesweeping, flying drones and oil spill management.

2014:  JAN | FEB | MARCH

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