Navy Sinks Decommissioned Frigate Testing a Modified Raytheon SM-6 Missile
As Raytheon officials announced on 7 March, 2016, the decommissioned frigate USS Reuben James (FFG-57) was sunk in January during a test of the Navy’s new anti-surface warfare (ASUW) variant of the Raytheon Standard Missile 6 (SM-6). The adaptation of the SM-6 was fired from guided missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53) and hit the James during the January 18 test at the US Pacific Missile Range Facility off the coast of Hawaii. Another air defence ARLEIGH BURKE class destroyer was on station as the assist ship.
According to Raytheon the mission proofed that the legacy anti-surface warfare (ASUW) capability of the Standard Missile-2 family of missiles and the MK7 AEGIS Weapon System (AWS) has been successfully carried over to SM-6 and the latest AEGIS destroyer baseline 9. In recent testing, SM-6 according to its manufacturer has shown expanded mission capability in three key areas: anti-air warfare, sea-based terminal and anti-surface warfare, thus providing additional capability beyond its original intended mission.
"This test event demonstrated Raytheon's decades of continued technological development and partnership with the US Navy," said Dr. Taylor Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president. "The ability to leverage the Standard Missile Family and the legacy AWS in newly fielded systems brings additional warfighting capability to the US Fleet."
UK and France Agree on Building UAV together
At their 2016 summit at Amiens, France, taking place on 3 March, 2016, the UK and France announced their plan to launch the next phase of their Future Combat Air System (FCAS) in 2017, leading to a flying demonstrator in 2025 and a possible operational variant after 2030.
The common FCAS project will cost an estimated £1.54bn, building on the successful £120million joint feasibility study undertaken after the last UK- France Summit in 2014. The FCAS project aims at giving the UK and France the advanced vehicle of its kind in Europe, securing high-end engineering jobs and expertise in both countries with full scale development of prototypes starting in 2017. UK companies including BAE Systems, Finmeccanica Airborne and Space Systems Division, and Rolls Royce and Dassault Aviation, SNECMA/Safran and Thales in France are expected to benefit from the project.
At the summit, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon also secured agreement from France to look at purchasing MBDA’s BRIMSTONE missiles for its next version of the TIGER combat helicopter.
Picture shows USS Reuben James (FFG-57) in 2012. (Photo: US Navy)
A Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) is launched from USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53) during a test of the ship’s AEGIS weapons system on June 19, 2014. (Photo: US Navy)
Concept drawing of the unmanned Future Combat Air System that France and UK are going to jointly develop. (Image: Dassault Aviation)