The future USS Daniel Inouye completed builder’s trials after spending four days at sea off the coast of Maine last week, the Navy announced. The builder’s trials consist of a sequence of in-port and at-sea demonstrations allowing the Navy and the ship’s builder, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, to assess whether the ship is ready for delivery. The vessel will return to sea early in 2021 to conduct acceptance trials, during which all systems will be inspected and evaluated before the Navy can accept delivery. The Inouye is a Flight IIA destroyer equipped with the Aegis Baseline combat system, intended to deliver quick reaction time, high firepower and increased electronic countermeasures.
The US Air Force has been testing the new M7.3 update for the F-16. Five members from the 84th Test and Evaluation Squadron made the trip to conduct critical training at the Nellis mission training center simulators and embedded with the 422nd TES F-16 division for an early operational look at the M7.3 program in a multi-domain environment. “The Operational Flight Program Combined Test Force is actively testing the M7.3 Operational Flight Program, which is a new software suite consisting of new core software that supports several new hardware programs that will drastically enhance warfighter capability when fielded in summer of ’21,” said Lt. Col. Benjamin Wysack, 84th TES F-16 test director. The OFP CTF is a dual major command unit that combines both developmental and operational test management experts that interact with several test execution units across the United States.
Middle East & Africa
Israel Shipyards started construction of the first of two OPV-45 offshore patrol vessels that have reportedly been ordered by Côte d’Ivoire. Israel Shipyards announced the order in July but did not identify the customer, although suggested it was a navy operating in the Gulf of Guinea when it said the vessels were designed to provide “protection against the increasing threat of piracy in the region”. Local media reported later that month that the OPVs had been ordered by Côte d’Ivoire. The OPV-45 displaces 300 tonnes, has a length of 45.7 m, a beam of 8.6 m, and a draught of 2.4 m. The two MAN 6V 175D-MM diesel engines provide a combined power of 2,960 kW at 1,900 rpm for a maximum speed of 24 kt. It has a range of 3,500 n miles at 12 kt.
France launched its CSO 2 spy satellite into space from its Guiana Space Center in South America. The satellite is carried into space using a Russian Soyuz ST-A rocket. It is the second in the Composante Spatiale Optique series. The first satellite was launched in 2018. The CSO 2 will have the highest resolution camera for a European reconnaissance satellite. While CSO 1 launched into an orbit around 500 miles (800 kilometers) in altitude, the CSO 2 spacecraft will head for a lower-altitude orbit approximately 300 miles (480 kilometers) above Earth. Its position closer to Earth will allow the satellite to produce sharper images for French military planners and intelligence analysts.
Australia has declared Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for its F-35A fleet, clearing the way for the aircraft to be deployed for operations. “The fifth-generation F-35A, along with the F/A-18F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, is key to our air combat capability and critical to achieving the objectives set out in the 2020 Defense Strategic Update to Shape, Deter and Respond,” Minister for Defense Linda Reynolds said.
The US State Department cleared the sale of two King Air Scorpion Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) mission aircraft to Kazakhstan. They will be fitted with Raytheon AST TITAN Communications Intelligence (COMINT) Sensor Suites, Leonardo Osprey 30 radars, WESCAM MX-15HDi Elector Optical Infrared Turret Electro Optical Infrared Sensors and Sierra Nevada Small SWAP Auto Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) Systems. If the deal goes through the United States would also provide spare parts and technical and logistical support services, including technical documentation and training.
Watch: Daniel Inouye (DDG 118) Launch Timelapse