sábado, 30 de agosto de 2008

Littoral Combat Ship Runs Aground

Littoral Combat Ship Runs Aground

Bidders are preparing for the US Navy's second try at building the littoral combat ship, but what went wrong first time? Richard B Gasparre reports.

A shipbuilding crisis threatens to scuttle the US Navy's master plan for its next-generation fleet. The clearest example of the problems currently plaguing naval shipbuilding is the littoral combat ship (LCS) programme.

"The navy wanted to achieve great leaps forward in both product and process at the same time."

Once showcased as the future of naval shipbuilding and warship design, the LCS project has more than doubled in cost and time. Moreover, the prototypes haven't even been fully tested by the competing manufacturers – General Dynamics (GD) and Lockheed Martin (LockMart), let alone the navy.

The navy implemented the suspension by cancelling the development contracts for LCS-3 and LCS-4, which were to be built by LockMart and GD respectively.

However, the cancellation did not affect LockMart's LCS-1, named Freedom, and GD's LCS-2, the Independence, both of which are finally in the water.

The LockMart LCS team technically launched the Freedom from Marinette Marine's Wisconsin shipyard in September 2006, but the ship was really just a shell. The Freedom's engines weren't actually fired up until March 2008, and the entire propulsion system completed testing on 10 July. The Independence, which was started later, did not hit the water until 28 April.

Both contractors expect to have prototypes ready for sea trials late this year. By that time, the total average unit cost of the prototyping phase could climb above $600m – almost triple the initial estimate of $220m a ship.

How did this happen? Anything that could go wrong did go wrong – but mostly because of misjudgement rather than misfortune. Distilling the story yields the following guide to botching development projects in five steps.


For the US Navy, the 'global war on terror' actually began in October 2000, when two terrorists in an explosives-filled motorboat crippled the destroyer USS Cole, causing 56 casualties. This sucker punch jolted the Navy into thinking seriously about asymmetric warfare in the 'green-water' coastal zone, which was quite different from its traditional heavy focus on mid-ocean and sea line-of-communication supremacy.

The LCS concept did in fact embody several major transformations in the Navy's ship design philosophy. Tasked to make green water safe for other surface warships, the LCS had to:

  • neutralise a variety of threats, from conventional submarines, corvettes and other patrol boats to mines and unconventional terrorist craft
  • conduct small amphibious operations such as insertion of SEAL teams
  • provide some ISR (reconnaissance) or fire support to such teams once ashore
  • respond quickly to local but transient threats and opportunities
  • be stealthy enough to enable covertness and minimise vulnerability

In practice, the LCS design involved several major innovations that were individually challenging and collectively difficult. Although commercial container ships and the navy's own vertical launch system are modular in different ways, the LCS was effectively a melding of both.

"Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics advocated high-speed civilian ferry designs as models for the LCS."

Also, to achieve its 45kt target, the LCS platform required both unconventional hulls with planed or catamaran-like shapes and enormous powerplants with unprecedented turbines and non-propeller interfaces.

And lastly, current stealth technology is primarily oriented toward frustrating radar, but in green water, detection is more likely to result from visual and sonar acquisition. Moreover, stealth shapes impose constraints on factors such as internal cargo volume, which is presumably important for a ship built around modularity.

Furthermore, the navy wanted the LCS to be cheap enough for a 55-ship purchase, and automated enough to require an economical but unusually small crew of not more than 50. In other words, the Navy wanted to build something complex and unfamiliar – and get it right the first time.


In the early 2000s, the Pentagon believed it had an effective process for developing weapons systems more efficiently. This process lacked a central capstone technique (such as PERT or CPM in the 1950s) but it did have a motto – 'Better, Faster, Cheaper' – that resonated well with the incoming administration's managerial philosophy. In particular, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his staff wanted to 'transform' the military with ideas taken from the business world. What better way to jump-start the process than by applying a supposedly innovative acquisition process to a radically new product, the LCS?

To simplify, the new development paradigm featured three principles. The first was that less government is better – minimal government supervision would reduce operating friction and administrative costs. The second was that competition guarantees efficiency – the Pentagon structured LCS system development as a tournament between contractors. And faster means cheaper – to the administration, the implication was simple: to keep costs down, build quickly.

Therefore, the period from concept approval to first prototype delivery was not to exceed six years. Within this period, the construction phase was allotted two years, less than half the usual time. The navy green-lighted the LCS in November 2001.

As subsequent events demonstrated, these principles were flawed individually and especially collectively. But even in foresight, the navy wanted to achieve great leaps forward in both product and process at the same time.

"The LCS had to be able to withstand direct attacks and absorb some damage without sinking."

Even under optimal circumstances, this mindset borders on hubris, and as engineers in the trenches know, circumstances are rarely optimal.

Even worse, the new management philosophy did not extend to contract structuring. Most critically, the Navy did not negotiate a firm fixed price with either LockMart or GD, but instead agreed to reimburse the contractors for cost overruns – removing the key motivation for cost discipline.

The all-costs model had fallen into disfavour because of weapons cost overruns a generation ago, which made its adoption by the supposedly hard-nosed and forward-thinking administration all the more puzzling. Still, the model itself doesn't guarantee failure, especially if the customer keeps an eagle eye on the vendors. Ultimately, the navy gave the contractors primary responsibility for all phases of development and accompanying management.


Historically, military procurement programmes have demonstrated a tendency toward 'gold plating' components by making them conform to military standards for no compelling reason. Enforcing a rigorous policy of buying standardised components and subsystems in competitive commercial markets is the obvious antidote, and most of the Pentagon, including the Rumsfeld regime, actively promoted the commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) idea. In response, LockMart and GD advocated high-speed civilian ferry designs as models for the LCS, and in the prevailing transformative spirit, the Navy selected them for prototype development.

However, the Pentagon had misapplied COTS. The original idea was to buy commercial components, not entire platforms. The ferries were entire platforms, and as the Iraq insurgency demonstrated in 2003 and 2004, quasi-commercial platforms such as the HUMV were in dire need of custom military parts such as armour.

In late 2004, just as the detailed design phase was concluding, the navy decided that the LCS had to be able to withstand direct attacks and absorb some damage without sinking. The Navy had badly misjudged the potency of the emerging threat. The new big picture invalidated many of the old design details, requiring over a year of work to be redone.

In a separate initiative the navy had been revising its shipbuilding code. The new construction meant everything had to be more resilient and redundant. Consequently, COTS components would no longer suffice.

"The navy still needs something to execute the missions it specified for the LCS."

Although the Navy told the contractors about the changes, both sides seriously underestimated the ramifications.

According to LockMart spokesman Craig Quigley: "It took us a year to fully understand how [the rule changes] would impact the project." In other words, half the estimated prototyping time was needed just to understand the ways in which the prototyping paradigm had become inadequate.

Directly and indirectly, the requirement upgrades and code revisions imposed nearly 600 changes on the LCS design between 2004 and 2006.


Normally, this amount of redesign requires postponing construction, because shipbuilding is best done from the inside out. Nevertheless, construction began at the start of 2005.

Despite misgivings among some uniformed field personnel, the navy remained committed to promptly executing all the new concepts. The deteriorating Persian Gulf situation made the strategic need seem all the more pressing.

On the other hand, the contractors were far less concerned about the situation than they would have been under a fixed-price contract. In fact, each contractor feared that voicing its worries would have put it at a competitive disadvantage vis-à-vis the other for the main production phase.


Not surprisingly, construction started poorly and got worse. In past times, the navy's own project managers would have cut the failure short. However, the less-is-more dogma prevented the navy from perceiving the problems early. For example, no full-time monitors were initially on site in Wisconsin.

As if the embedded inefficiencies weren't bad enough, external shocks exacerbated the situation, Then by the time the Navy realised the full magnitude of the problem in 2007, the damage had been done. The Navy finally asked the contractors to cap costs. When they refused, the Navy cancelled the back end of development in November 2007.

"The LCS project has more than doubled in cost and time."


At a minimum, the navy still needs something to execute the missions it specified for the LCS. The actual performance of the Freedom and the Independence, however, will probably not be evident until next year.

Anxious to demonstrate some managerial competence, the navy has taken the programme back to the bidding stage. This time, however, Congress has mandated a fixed maximum price of $460m a ship, excluding armament.

Both LockMart and GD plan to bid. Having completed a design and conducted some 'wet-hull' testing, the firms should be more able to make a realistic flat bid.

But has the US Navy learnt anything? If nothing else, the apparent decision to forego DDX development for more Burkes shows appropriate modesty. But just as the LCS reflected unwarranted self-confidence, the navy can't flop to the opposite extreme and forego new ship development indefinitely. Perhaps the moral of the LCS story is this: the US can produce better ships, or produce ships better – but it can't do both at the same time.

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The LockMart LCS team technically launched the Freedom from Marinette Marine's Wisconsin shipyard in September 2006, but the ship was really just a shell. The Freedom's engines weren't actually fired up until March 2008, and the entire propulsion system completed testing on 10 July.

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Freedom's steerable Rolls-Royce water jets are one of several innovative design features.

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LockMart and GD advocated high-speed civilian ferry designs as models for the LCS, and in the prevailing transformative spirit, the Navy selected them for prototype development.

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The Independence's trimaran hull makes an unusually wide flight deck possible.

quinta-feira, 28 de agosto de 2008

The Sea Barge (SEABEE)

The Sea Barge (SEABEE) can carry the aircraft of Army units without extensive sectionalization. The 200- by 100-foot (61- by 30.5-m) deck area between the deckhouse and smokestacks provides a suitable landing area for fly-on/fly-off operations. The SEABEE barges are stored horizontally on 3 decks, 12 each on the main and lower decks and 14 on the upper deck. One hundred and sixty containers can be carried on 10 of the 14 barges on the upper deck. Barges are loaded aboard the SEABEE ship by a 2,000-ton-capacity submersible stern elevator. Under ideal conditions the SEABEE ship can load or discharge its load in 13 hours.

The dimensions and pertinent characteristics of the SEABEE ship areas follows: Length 874 ft (267 m) Width 106 ft (32 m) Deadweight (max) 38,410 LTON (34 000 MTON) Speed 21.7 knots Dry cargo 44,350 MTON Barge capacity 38 barges.

The watertight, double-hulled SEABEE barge is the same width and one-half the length of the standard US commercial river barge. It is slightly larger, but has approximately twice the cargo-carrying capacity of the LASH lighter. The barges are readily accessible during the voyage by catwalk in the ship and by manhole hatches in the barges. Each barge is fitted for smoke monitoring and has water fire-extinguishing systems. Forced draft ventilation while underway is also provided. The SEABEE barge, with the seven hatch covers installed, has a draft of just less than 2 feet (.6 m). The shallow draft allows the barge to be drawn very close to an unprepared river bank. No deck winches are installed on the SEABEE barge. However, sufficient cleats are available for securing the barge. The mooring lines must be kept taut at all times to prevent drift caused by tidal action or strong river currents. As the barge is loaded, the shoreside edge of the hull will settle firmly its full length on the river bank. The settling will add stability to the barge and aid in loading. Should high and low tidal conditions be expected along coastlines it will be necessary to prevent the barge from settling on shore. The loaded lighter can be moved off the river bank easily by crane or by a small harbor tug. (source:

FRANÇA ,Opération Thalatine

Opération Thalatine : L'affaire du Ponant (avril 2008)

Le Ponant est un voilier de 88 mètres qui peut transporter 64 passagers pour des croisières de luxe (Photo © Antoine Morcello).
Le voilier Ponant appareille des Seychelles pour Alexandrie

Le trois-mâts Ponant, voilier de la Compagnie des Iles du Ponant (CIP), filiale de la CMA CGM, quitte le 28 mars Les Seychelles pour rejoindre la Méditerranée et Alexandrie (Egypte), sa prochaine escale.

Construit en 1991, le Ponant navire à 4 ponts qui mesure 88 mètres de long, peut transporter 64 passagers pour des croisières de luxe. Pour ce trajet, il n'y a pas de touristes à bord, mais seuls 30 membres d'équipages assurent le convoyage du navire et sa préparation pour une future croisière qu'il doit réaliser du 21 au 22 avril entre Alexandrie et La Valette (Malte).

4 avril : Lances à incendie contre Kalachnikov

Le 4 avril à 11h15, alors que le Ponant navigue au milieu golfe d'Aden, dans les eaux internationales entre la Somalie et le Yémen, il est abordé à plusieurs dizaines de kilomètres des côtes, par deux embarcations contenant une douzaine de pirates somaliens.

L'équipage du Ponant tente de les repousser avec des lances à incendie, mais c'est peine perdu contre ces brigands, armés de fusils d’assaut AK-47 et de lance-roquettes RPG-7, qui prennent d'assaut le navire.

L'équipage du Ponant (vingt-deux français dont six femmes, six philippins, une ukrainienne et un camerounais) est fait prisonnier. Son capitaine, Patrick Marchesseau, a juste le temps de lancer un appel de détresse grâce au système automatique installé en passerelle.

Le BCR Var, bâtiment de commandement d'Alindien, croise depuis août 2006 en océan Indien (photo Bernard Prézelin).

C’est le 4 avril à 13 h 30, deux heures et quinze minutes après l’arraisonnement du Ponant que le plan « Pirate-mer » est déclenché par le Premier ministre, François Fillon. Ce plan consiste, entre autre, en la mobilisation de tous les moyens disponibles sur zone.

Et sur zone, le vice-amiral d’escadre Gérard Valin, commandant des forces françaises en océan Indien (Alindien) à bord du BCR Var, est rapidement mis au courant de la prise d'otage. Il transmet l’information aux bâtiments de la Task Force 150 (la TF150 est déployée en océan Indien dans le cadre de l’opération anti-terroristes « Enduring Freedom »).

C'est la frégate canadienne Charlottetown à ce moment au plus près du Ponant qui fait décoller son hélicoptère CH-124 Sea King pour effectuer une première reconnaissance du voilier détourné.

Aéronefs, bâtiments, commandos, ... l'étau se resserre

Un avion de patrouille maritime Atlantique 2, opérant depuis Djibouti, est également envoyé, discrètement et à une dizaine de kilomètres de distance, surveiller le Ponant. Avec ses multiples capteurs, l'Atlantique 2 excelle dans les domaines de la détection et du pistage. Un deuxième Atlantique 2 arrivera peu après en renfort depuis la base de Lann-Bihoué (Morbihan). Des survols en hélicoptère, plus visibles, sont également organisés.

L'aviso Commandant Bouan va rester en vue le Ponant pendant plusieurs jours et le garder ainsi sous surveillance constante (photo 36F).
A une centaine de nautiques, l’aviso Commandant Bouan reçoit l'ordre de rallier la zone. En quelques heures, il vient se placer dans le sillage du Ponant. Pendant la première phase de l'opération, le Commandant Bouan sera le seul bâtiment de guerre autorisé à évoluer à la vue des preneurs d’otages. L'aviso va ainsi marquer le voilier à un peu plus d'un nautique pendant plusieurs jours et le garder sous surveillance constante.

Lors du déclenchement de l'opération, deux autres bâtiments de la Marine nationale vont être rappelés en renfort :

  • la frégate Jean Bart qui avait quitté Abu Dhabi le 20 mars pour quelques jours d'exercices, et peut donc rallier rapidement la zone,
  • le porte-hélicoptères Jeanne d'Arc qui, dans le cadre de sa campagne annuelle, transitait tranquillement entre Diego Suarez (Madagascar) et Djibouti. Urgence oblige, la vénérable Jeanne d'Arc va alors pousser ses machines vapeur à puissance maximale, en passant de 12 à presque 20 nœuds. Equipé d'un hôpital de bord conséquent, la Jeanne d'Arc est un atout intéressant si une intervention armée devait mal se passer.

D'autre part, la frégate Surcouf est alors à quai à Djibouti, mais suite à un problème technique, elle ne participera que tardivement à l'opération. Le sous-marin Améthyste était encore en exercice le 25 mars en océan Indien. Son nom n'a toutefois pas été évoqué dans cette opération. Il y a aussi la conserve de la Jeanne d'Arc, le Georges Leygues, qui ne doit pas être très loin. Dans un article du magazine « Le Point », le journaliste Jean Guisnel rapporte que « l'Alizé croisait aussi non loin du lieu où le Ponant fut arraisonné, et fut utilisé au large, notamment pour intercepter les communications ».

La frégate Jean Bart (février 2008 - Photo Guillaume Rueda)

Le PH Jeanne d'Arc (janvier 2008 - Photo Yvon Perchoc)

5 avril : Le Ponant dans le repaire des pirates

Le 5 avril, un avion Transall décolle de Djibouti et largue dix-huit commandos marine, probablement du commando De Penfentenyo, avec leur matériel à la mer au large de l’île de Socotra, qui sont récupérés par le Commandant Bouan. L'aérolargage d'hommes et matériel en mer, avec récupération par un bâtiment, est plus connu sous le nom de « Tarpon ».

Le Ponant se dirige vers les eaux territoriales somaliennes. Le président somalien Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed autorise les bâtiments français à pénétrer dans les eaux territoriales somaliennes, en donnant même son feu vert pour un coup de force éventuel : « Débarrassez- moi de ces types-là ».

Le voilier mouille à un nautique le village de Garaad, au sud du Puntland. Le Puntland est une région du nord-est de la Somalie, particulièrement instable, et dont les chefs se sont déclarés indépendants en 1998. Garaad est situé à 850 km au nord de Mogadiscio.

Les pirates sont encore maîtres du navire (photo ECPAD).

L'aviso Commandant Bouan est en contact par radio avec le Ponant. Le capitaine du Ponant, Patrick Marchesseau, fait le lien entre les pirates, qui pour la plupart ne parlent pas anglais, et le commandant de l'aviso, le capitaine de frégate Hervé Couble. Les 30 membres de l'équipage du Ponant vont bien. La nuit, l'équipage est regroupé dans une salle de réception. Le jour, dans un premier temps, les captifs sont obligés de patienter sur le pont supérieur, en plein soleil. Puis, à force de protestations, le capitaine obtient que les otages descendent à l'étage en dessous, sur un autre pont, mieux abrité.

Le ravitaillement est organisé par embarcations entre la côte et le navire. Détail cocasse, que révèle Le Figaro, les pirates font monter à bord deux chèvres, pour le lait. Ils font également d'incessants aller-retour vers la côte et dévalisent le navire, sans toutefois le saccager complètement, en débarquant tout ce qui peut être enlevé à bord. Les preneurs d'otages, qui seront jusqu'à dix-huit, ne boivent pourtant pas que du lait. Ils vident aussi le bar et s'enivrent, ce qui n'est pas sans inquiéter l'équipage du Ponant.

Des négociations difficiles

Au siège de la CMA-CGM à Marseille, une cellule de crise est installée. Rodolphe Saadé, fils de l'armateur et directeur général de la CMA CGM, prend contact par téléphone Inmarsat avec les preneurs d'otages dès le 5 avril au matin. C'est lui qui mène ces négociations en anglais, parlant avec les pirates plusieurs fois par jour. Il est conseillé par divers experts (GIGN et d'autres services de l'Etat connaissant bien le terrain) dépêchés dans la cité phocéenne. Si du côté CMA-CGM, on s'oriente vers le versement d'une rançon, à l'Elysée, le président y est moins favorable. Les militaires préparent leur plan d'action sous le nom de baptême de l'opération : Thalathine (trente, en langue somali, comme le nombre d'otages).

Un tireur d'élite des commandos marine avec son fusil de snipping (photo ECPAD).
6 avril : L'amiral, patron des commandos, saute en parachute

On ne voit ça d'habitude que dans des films de fiction (américains de préférence), mais le 6 avril, c’est au tour du patron des fusiliers et commandos marine, le contre-amiral Marin Gillier (Alfusco) qui avait quitté la veille Lorient pour Djibouti, d’être parachuté (Tarpon à nouveau) avec trois hommes de son état-major en mer à proximité du Jean Bart, pour y embarquer et participer à la conduite de l'action. L'état-major tactique y est déployé. L’eau est à 27 degrés, mais il y a quelques requins... inoffensifs à priori. Par contre une des embarcations du Jean Bart manquera de couler en recevant le matériel parachuté.

Dans la nuit du 6 avril, 10 gendarmes du GIGN quittent leur base de Satory, dans les Yvelines, pour s'envoler vers Djibouti. Huit embarquent sur le Var.

Au total une cinquantaine de commandos marine ainsi qu'une quinzaine d'hommes du Groupe d'intervention de la gendarmerie nationale (GIGN), dont leur chef, le colonel Denis Favier, seront récupérés par Tarpon et embarqués à bord du Jean Bart, du Commandant Bouan et du Var. Des marins proviennent du commando Hubert, spécialisé dans l'action sous-marine, mais d'autres, issus du commando Jaubert, spécialisé dans l'assaut-mer, sont aussi présents à bord du Jean Bart. La collaboration entre le GIGN et le commando Hubert est bien rodée.

La question de profiter d’une baisse de leur vigilance pour préparer un assaut est un temps posée. Des nageurs de combat du commando Hubert sont envoyés de nuit sous le voilier. Le courant est très violent. En cas d'assaut, il faudrait d'abord « ventouser » les commandos, ce qui ne faciliterait pas la tâche.

Le 7 avril, le TCD Siroco appareille de Toulon pour rallier la Somalie, et venir remplacer, dans le cas où la prise d'otage se prolongerait, la Jeanne d'Arc, en tant que bâtiment de soutien santé. Le dénouement rapide de l'affaire permettra au Siroco de faire demi-tour avant d'avoir franchi le canal de Suez, et de rentrer à Toulon quelques jours après.

Tous les ex-otages sont sains et saufs. Ils rallient par embarcation dans un premier temps le Jean Bart (photo MN)

Le 8 avril, lorsque le président Nicolas Sarkozy reçoit pour la première fois les familles des otages à l’Elysée, il leur aurait déclaré : « On a affaire à des malfrats. Ils veulent du fric, on va le leur donner, et après, c’est mon affaire. »

Le 9 avril, les négociations sont sur le point d'aboutir. L'armateur et les pirates semblent trouver un accord, mais ces derniers, qui deviennent de plus en plus nerveux, font traîner les choses.

Le 10 avril, Nicolas Sarkozy, qui avait promis aux familles de reprendre les choses en main si la situation ne se débloquait pas, ordonne à la cellule de crise interministérielle de chapeauter désormais l'opération. Les Saadé ne rompent pas pour autant le contact avec les ravisseurs. Les discussions s'accélèrent.

11 avril : Libération des otages

L'échange a lieu le 11 avril. Le rendez-vous est prévu sur l'eau. Trois pirates d'un côté, deux membres du GIGN et un commando marine de l'autre. Dans leurs mains, une rançon de 2 150 000 dollars (3 sacs contenant 21 500 billets de 100 dollars) qui, selon « Le Point », aurait été payée par l’assurance de l’armateur, la société AIG. Très rapidement, les otages, restés à bord du Ponant avec quelques ravisseurs, sont libérés. Le capitaine Marchesseau est le dernier à quitter le bateau, en sautant à l'eau pour accélérer le mouvement. Les pirates quittent ensuite le Ponant à bord de leurs propres embarcations pour rejoindre la côte.

Tous les ex-otages sont sains et saufs. Ils rallient par embarcation le Jean Bart, où ils sont mis en sécurité. La deuxième phase de l'opération peut commencer.

Le 4x4 a stoppé net, son moteur explosé après avoir été touché par le tir du tireur d'élite des commandos marine. Les pirates tentent de fuir, mais ce sera peine perdue... (11/04/2008 - ECPAD)
Poursuite et arrestation de six pirates sur le sol somalien

Grâce aux précieux renseignements de l'Atlantique 2 qui patrouille à 10 km de là, les militaires français ne quittent pas les bandits des yeux. Ils suivent certains d'entre eux dans Garaad. Un véhicule 4×4 est repéré, alors qu’il quitte le village à vive allure. C'est le même qui a servi, une heure plus tôt, à récupérer la rançon.

Six hélicoptères vont participer à l'intervention sur le sol somalien : trois Alouette III (35F), le Panther (36F) du Jean Bart et deux Gazelle de l'ALAT armées de missiles anti-chars Hot qui vont assurer l'appui feu. Des commandos marine, embarqués dans les hélicoptères, sont à l'affût. Un Puma sera également sur zone peu après.

Tout va très vite. Un tireur d'élite des commandos marine, à bord du Panther tire sur le moteur du 4x4, avec un fusil de snipping calibre 12,7 mm McMillan TAC-50 (une arme généralement utilisée pour pulvériser les moteurs hors bord des vedettes go-fast des trafiquants de drogue).

Une seule balle suffit. Le véhicule touché s'arrête net. Un des passagers à l'avant de la voiture a pris un éclat du moteur dans un mollet. Il est légèrement blessé. Ce sera d'ailleurs le seul blessé de cette opération. Dans le véhicule, les militaires saisissent des armes (AK-47 et AK-74), mais aussi une partie de la rançon dans des sacs.

Les cinq autres bandits rechignent à se rendre. Premier tir de sommation. Les Alouette III et le Panther se posent rotor tournant. Trois militaires descendent à terre. Une ou deux rafales sont tirées en l'air. Les pirates sont plaqués au sol. Les mains ligotées dans le dos, ils sont embarqués dans le Panther posé sur la piste devant le 4x4. Ils sont ensuite transférés sur le Jean Bart. Le pirate, blessé par un éclat métallique, est opéré sous anesthésie générale à bord du porte-hélicoptères Jeanne d'Arc. Les pirates sont par la suite transférés sur la frégate Surcouf.

Le Panther (36F) du Jean Bart se pose sur la piste devant le 4x4. Les commandos embarquent le
s pirates (11/04/2008 - ECPAD)

Deux Gazelle de l'ALAT étaient embarquées sur la Jeanne d'Arc. L'une d'elles avait même effectué un tir Hot d'exercice le 9 mars (Photo MN)


Plus tard, une partie partie de l'équipage du Ponant retourne à bord du voilier placé sous la protection des commandos marine pour gagner le large. Le voilier est alors barré par un nouveau (?) capitaine de la CMA-CGM, accompagné par deux ex-otages, le maître de manoeuvre et un mécanicien, ainsi que quatre marins d'Etat. Le Ponant va gagner Djibouti avant de faire route vers Marseille.

La frégate Jean Bart à couple du Ponant (photo MN).

Les ex-otages arrivent le 14 avril à Orly, où ils sont accueillis par le chef de l'Etat. L"affaire du Ponant aura a été suivi par de nombreuses télévisions françaises et étrangères.

L'équipage du Ponant est transféré du Jean Bart sur la Jeanne d'Arc. Après avoir passé quatre jours sur le porte-hélicoptères, les hommes et femmes du Ponant rallient Djibouti. Ils embarquent le 14 avril à bord d'un Airbus militaire, et arrivent en début de soirée à Orly, où ils sont accueillis par le chef de l'Etat Nicolas Sarkozy.

Le 15 avril, les pirates sont héliportés de la frégate Surcouf vers un aéroport somalien. Le président somalien Abdoullahi Youssouf donne son aval pour que ces prisonniers soient jugés en France. Ils sont ensuite embarqués à bord d'un avion militaire, et arrivent le 16 avril sur l'aéroport de Villacoublay. Remis à la justice française, ils seront mis en examen pour « détournement de navire [...] arrestation et séquestration de plusieurs personnes comme otages en vue d'obtenir une rançon », le tout commis « en bande organisée ».

Les images de l'affaire du Ponant auront été diffusées régulièrement par les télévisions françaises et étrangères. Cette opération aura été vu, notamment à l'étranger, comme exemplaire.

Jean-Michel Roche pour Net-Marine © 2008. Sources : Conférence de presse Elysée 12/04/2008 (AL Édouard Guillaud, CEMP, général Jean-Louis Georgelin, CEMA, Jean-David Levitte, conseiller diplomatique) ; bulletin CESM ; communiqués de presse Mindef ; blog Marine nationale ; site EMA, presse nationale et régionale, télévisions françaises et étrangères. Certaines incohérences ont été corrigées, mais le récit peut laisser place à des imprécisions. Copie et usage : cf. droits d'utilisation

[Sommaire Net-Marine]

Anti-submarine warfare - throwing away a vital capability

Anti-submarine warfare - throwing away a vital capability

In typically restrained official words, the leaked report written by the MoD about the state of RN, states that "Anti-submarine capability is now below a "prudent minimum level". In a world where many countries are investing in new submarines, Britain, an island nation, is throwing away years of carefully acquired equipment, expertise and experience in hunting submarines. Two world wars graphically demonstrated how submarines could bring Britain close to defeat. Although it is hard to imagine a scenario where Britain is directly blockaded, it is not so hard to image how submarines could disrupt the flow of oil and goods that the UK is reliant on and come from all around the world. Our delicately balanced global economy relies on the continuous steady movement of merchant ships and even a few submarines, well handled, could cause major disruption. The UK might not starve but the economic effect could be catastrophic.

At the height of the cold war the RN was highly regarded as a world leader in ASW. Since WW2 the fleet had increasingly been developed to detect and destroy the huge Soviet submarine force. With the end of the cold war this capability, like the RN in general has been eroded. Today the RN has some top quality ASW assets but they are so scare that they will be almost ineffective. Submarines usually hide in the vastness of the oceans. Even with modern sonar that can detect submarines over great distances it is still imperative that there are plenty of 'platforms' (ships, submarines and aircraft) to cover these huge areas. Effective ASW is often a 'team effort' requiring ships and aircraft working in co-operation together.

Type 2087 sonarThe excellent type 2087 low frequency sonar. Seen here on the quarterdeck of HMS Westminster, the yellow array is lowered into the water when in use.

Quality but not quantity

The best ASW platforms are actually other submarines but the RN has just 9 nuclear powered SSNs and this number is set to fall further unless more Astute class submarines are ordered soon. The RN just 17 frigates (Surface escort ships designed originally for ASW but used in all sorts or roles). Of these some are in refit, maintenance or "extended readiness" ( a cost saving measure they are laid up with reduced crew and not ready to put to sea). Some of the Type 23 frigates have been upgraded with the very latest low frequency sonar type 2087 which is effective in detecting modern ultra-quiet conventional subs .

The RN's other important ASW asset are the Merlin and Lynx helicopters which are currently undergoing further upgrades. However it was reported to Parliament recently that just 63 out of the 121 RN helicopters are operational showing a drastic decline in servicability rates, probably due to cost-cutting in maintenence and spares. The 2 carriers could also serve as ASW helicopter carriers but experience shows that 'high value' carriers are not best used to hunt submarines.

Like most skills, practice is key to success. With so few vessels available and a high tempo of operations the time for the dwindling number of RN crews to exercise ASW is decreasing. With ships needed for standing commitments such as the Persian Gulf and the Falklands there is precious little time to devote to lengthy ASW exercises. Without enough practice it is hard for the RN to keep ASW skills up to scratch and train (and retain) enough experienced ASW specialists. In addition the RN is reliant on foriegn navies to provide SSKs to practice against as it has none of its own.

The RAF has an important 'local' ASW role supporting the RN in hunting submarines around the UK coast, Atlantic and North Sea. The old MR2 Nimrod Maritime patrol aircraft used for ASW has been subject of a shambolic upgrade program (to the MR4 standard), plagued by the usual delays and cost over-runs, the RAF will now receive just 12 MR4 Nimrod aircraft for surveillance and ASW duties to cover thousands of square miles of ocean.

The modern SSKThe modern SSK, small, quiet and hard to find. A serious threat to any surface ship.

The new threat

Ranged against the RN's tiny ASW forces are the new generation of submarines entering service all over the world. The majority are conventional submarines (SSKs), quiet, small, hard to detect and armed with a formidable array of powerful homing torpedoes and missiles. Developments in air independent propulsion (AIP) also mean that conventional submarines can now stay submerged and run at high speed for much longer making them more diffcult to track and destroy. China is also joining the small but exclusive club of nations operating nuclear-powered (SSNs) with long reach and high endurance. China proved it's increasing submarine potential by penetrating a US Navy carrier group undetected.

For most of the Cold War the RN and USN could usually rely on their superior sonar and quieter submarines to detect the inferior 'noisy' soviet submarines. Today modern submarines are much quieter and harder to detect. In a shooting war, the modern submarine would probably have a great advantage over any surface ship. Soviet submarines also had to pass through predictable 'choke' points' where NATO could begin tracking them. In today's unpredictable world it is hard to know exactly where the submarine threat would appear from.

Frederick Clark has set up a petition calling on the government to "equip all the Type 23s with towed array sonars and invent a new ASW helicopter" which you can sign here. The general gist of this petition that we need to invest properly in ASW is good, although with the upgrades to the already excellent, Merlin and Lynx helicopters (30 x Super Lyx and 30 x Merlin CSP) that are underway means there is not really a need to" invent a new ASW helicopter". Ideally additional new airfames would be ordered in addition to the upgrades. To really boost the ASW capabailites of the RN we need more Astue class submarines (4 ordered so far but at least another 4 are needed to maintain the existing strength). Also the Type 23 & Type 22s will need replacement in about 10 years, so design work and funding for a highly capable ASW platform should be started as a matter of urgency.

100 Days to Go Before Charles de Gaulle Returns to Active Duty

100 Days to Go Before Charles de Gaulle Returns to Active Duty

The Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier came out of its dry dock in the Mediterraean port of Toulon on a beautiful August 22 dawn and has another 100 days of maintenance and upgrade at quayside before it can go back to sea.

blog post photo

The French flagship has been undergoing its first major technical stoppage (known in French as an IPER which stands for: Indisponibilité Périodique pour Entretien et Réparations or periodical indisposition for upkeep and repairs) since July 31, 2007, almost exactly six years after it entered active service on May 18, 2001.

The €300 million ($444 million) IPER, being done by French military shipyard DCNS, took three years to prepare with the ship being out of action for 15 months.

There are 1,700 people working on the ship who will have totalled 2,530,000 hours of work removing and applying 40 tons of paint, changing 80 kms of cable and replacing 32 combustion parts on the two nuclear power generators, amongst other things, by the time the aircraft carrier is ready to go back to sea.

The main objective of the IPER, apart from giving the power generators new combustibles, is to adapt it to the arrival in 2009 of the F3 standard Rafale fighter aircraft and the ASMP-A and Scalp naval missiles.

The French Navy has more pictures and video: Sortie de bassin pour le Charles de Gaulle

segunda-feira, 25 de agosto de 2008


Corveta Barroso incorporada à Esquadra

Nesta terça-feira, 19 de agosto, se encerrou uma etapa importante da vida do mais novo navio de escolta da Marinha do Brasil.Após 14 longos anos de construção, a Corveta Barroso (V-34) foi entregue pelo Arsenal de Marinha do Rio de Janeiro aos cuidados da Diretoria Geral de Material da Marinha. Ainda será necessário uma série de testes operacionais, que colocarão à prova o navio e sua tripulação, antes que a Corveta Barroso seja finalmente entregue à Esquadra e dado como operacional, ou em Fase III.....

A reportagem da ALIDE apresenta uma série de fotografias dos diversos aspectos da Corveta.

Fragata Defensora realiza exercício com a Marinha do Reino Unido

Fragata Defensora realiza exercício com a Marinha do Reino Unido

A Fragata “Defensora” participou, nos dias 11 e 12 de agosto, da comissão “PASSEX” com os HMS “Liverpool” e RFA “Black Rover”, pertencentes à Marinha do Reino Unido, que encontravam-se visitando o porto de Santos.

Durante a operação, os navios realizaram diversos exercícios, entre eles: manobras táticas; comunicações por holofote; e operações aéreas.

Nas operações aéreas foram realizados pousos e decolagens das aeronaves “Lynx” pertencentes à Fragata “Defensora” e ao HMS “Liverpol”, traduzindo-se em oportunidade de intercâmbio para todas as equipes envolvidas.

Este tipo de comissão possibilita a troca de experiências na condução dos diversos exercícios operativos, além de estreitar os laços de amizade.

Congresso Internacional de Museus Militares

Marinha do Brasil organiza Congresso Internacional de Museus Militares

Inicia hoje, Segunda-feira, dia 25 de agosto, o Congresso Internacional de Museus Militares Comitê Internacional dos Museus e das Coleções de Armas e de História Militar (do ICOMAM ), o primeiro a ser realizado na América do Sul.

O Congresso está sendo realizado pela Marinha do Brasil, por meio da Diretoria do Patrimônio Histórico e de Documentação da Marinha, com apoio da Diretoria de Assuntos Culturais do Exército e do Instituto Cultural da Aeronáutica.

Os principais temas abordados serão “As Estratégias para um Futuro Positivo” , “Os Novos Mundos das Armas” -das armas leves à artilharia; “O Poder Militar e Naval na Construção do Estado” e a “A Herança Militar do Mar”.

O evento ocorre na Escola de Guerra Naval, na cidade do Rio de Janeiro e está programado para terminar no dia 29 de agosto. No calendário de eventos estão incluídas visitas aos museus militares da cidade.

Museu Naval brasileiro inaugura exposição com acervo do Museu Naval português

A partir de 27 de agosto estará aberta ao público, a exposição “O Império que Veio do Mar”, sobre a vinda de D. João para o Brasil, que possibilitou a independência unificada do país e a instalação do império brasileiro. É uma exposição conjunta entre o Museu Naval brasileiro e o Museu da Marinha de Portugal, de Lisboa. Como destaques, modelos de navios e embarcações da época e um filme musical sobre a transmigração da Família Real Portuguesa.

A inauguração ocorrerá,hoje, logo após a palestra do renomado historiador americano Kenneth Light, especialista em "família real",que foi convidado para participar do ICOMAM (Congresso Internacional de Museus Militares.)

O Museu Naval fica na Rua D. Manuel, 15- Praça XV e fica aberto, de 3a a domingo das 15 à 17h.

Para mais informações, acesse o site do Congresso:

sexta-feira, 22 de agosto de 2008

The Analysis We Can Support

Friday, August 22, 2008

Russia - Georgia Analysis We Can Support

Mark Safranski, also known as Zenpundit, has an article out on Pajamas Media regarding the Russian - Georgian conflict called Lets Not Rush Into Cold War II. Mark nails every point perfectly, scores on every possession, and generally educates at a level even the politicos should be able to understand.

From administration to administration, we zigzag with the needs of the moment in our dealings with Russia without a clear vision of what America’s vital interests in the former Soviet states actually are.

Georgia is a textbook case. While America has a legitimate concern in encouraging former Soviet states to develop into market democracies, there is no intrinsic economic or strategic American vital interest in Georgia per se and even less in South Ossetia. Georgia is our ally for only two reasons: Tblisi was enthusiastic to send troops to help in Iraq in return for military aid and it occupies a strategic location for oil and gas pipelines that will meet future European energy needs. In other words, Georgia’s role is of a primary strategic interest to the EU, not the United States. Which is why European and British companies have such a large shareholder stake in the BTC pipeline and why European FDI in Georgia exceeds ours. Yet it will be American troops in Georgia handing out bottled water and MREs, not the Bundeswehr or the French Foreign Legion. Something does not compute here.

Exactly, our policy with Russia is a step by step tactical approach absent a comprehensive strategic approach. Slam and Dunk. So what do the politicos do? The commenter's claim the Zenpundit is a liberal infiltrator. However, had the Zenmaster posted the same piece on DailyKos I'm betting he would have been nailed with the neocon label. In my book, what is missing is a clearly stated foreign policy from either side of the isle of politics, so any clearly stated strategic discussion of foreign policy commentary from an economic first perspective that doesn't follow a traditional ideological mindset will be rejected by both sides until we collectively find our national strategic vision articulated by a President.

While Mark got my blood pumping, the adrenaline gave me a natural buzz when I followed up Mark's piece with Thomas Barnett's 3000 word passion statement. When I use the F bomb, it means I'm having an emotional moment and care about a topic, and that is generally how I see it when the bombs drop on other blogs. Quoting any part of the 3000 words to summarize the whole is futile, so go read it and come back.

Russia and the US are not equals, but can be in their approach to the gap. I would also include other major powers in this equation. I love that piece by Tom, because in a great many words, he is essentially invoking our Yin Yang theory for strategically approaching our national interests.

When any major power exercises power in the gap, it ultimately represents an opposing (competitive) and, at the same time, complementary (completing) application of power towards the ends of shrinking the gap. Tom found the Yin Yang.

In this case, Georgia, which has a relationship with the United States is being consumed by Russia, and ultimately will be regardless of what the United States does. This represents a loss of influence for the United States and Europe, a gain of influence for the Russians. BUT this also represents a long term complimentary action to the strategic goals of everyone in the core. Why? Because successful military intervention by a core nation into the gap shrinks the gap.

Apply the same theory to Iraq. The US military intervention there represented a loss of influence by Russia and Europe, and a gain of influence by the United States. The result is an action that is complimentary to the strategic goals of other core nations (think China and energy here), and the effects of this intervention are broad. Consider what we see in the UAE, Bahrain, and Kuwait and we have movement towards more shrinking of the gap. There is no reason to believe that Russian intervention in Georgia couldn't have a similar effect on regional nations, including Ukraine.

The major powers in competition with the United States can be described as 7 primary regional powers (US makes 8, and is unique because it is the only true global power). In no particular order.

1) Europe
2) China
3) Western Pacific Nations (South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Australia)
4) Russia
5) India
6) Brazil and South Africa
7) Canada and Mexico

Those seven power bases represent the "core" of where the focus of American strategic interest lies in globalization. If the State Department backed by the president can manage the competing relationships the US has with these 7 powers, the DoD can then manage the threats that emerge in the gap. If we do not maintain a good relationship between the United States and those 7 powers, the United States cannot guarantee the global system that currently governs economics. Those 7 major power regions represent the map for the State Department.

Everything else represents the map for the DoD. Part of the role of State and the DoD is to remember, when any of the above 7 engage militarily in the gap, while it is factual to say it is in our competing interest, it is also factual to say it is in our completing interest.

One point here I'll expand on later... we have been talking about operational capabilities and strategic environment a lot on the blog since this post. We firmly believe the DoD must maintain acquisition focus against the operational capabilities developed by nations in the core, but align those capabilities in a way that gives them creditable capability in the gap. Why? Because the market for military technology in the gap is the core, which means we must expect to see core capabilities in the gap.

Anyway... Mark and Tom are both on the money here. The driving force behind both our political and strategic national interest is economic. The other seven major powers we describe above represent the stakeholders in that economic system, and the system is key. While the US faces major economic challenges in the near term due to debt issues, long term stability of the economic system is also the solution to that problem as the gap becomes the emerging consumer market.

And while i shouldn't have to say it, the competition between the powers of the core is obviously about one thing: Resources, including energy. This is why bio-diesel, and other alternative energy sources not named ethanol should be a national security priority, which takes enormous priority over a climate issue. Georgia isn't the first gap nation to see military intervention by the core, it is essentially the same strategic choice the US made in Iraq except from a Russian interest point of view. It also represents the beginning of what will be a century of interventions throughout Africa by core nations, after all, that is ground zero for the future competition in the 21st century.

If Mark is the liberal, and Tom is the neocon, I must be the globalization nazi. So be it, in my realist world, world peace requires tough men with guns defending a global economic system where all regional powers are stakeholders, and in my academic world, economic prosperity requires measured cooperation as part of the competition of major powers.

23 de agosto - Aniversário da Aviação Naval


23 de agosto - Aniversário da Aviação Naval

No dia 23 de agosto a Aviação Naval Brasileira da Marinha do Brasil completa 92 anos. Para comemorar a data, será realizada uma cerimônia militar, em 29 de agosto no Complexo Aeronaval de São Pedro D'Aldeia, que contará com a presença de autoridades civis e militares.

Principais eventos:

1) desfile militar com a participação de alunos da Escola Carneiro Ribeiro e de militares da reserva que ajudaram a escrever a história da Aviação da Marinha do Brasil; e

2) demonstração aérea realizada por aeronaves da Aviação Naval.

Como é composta a Aviação Naval?

A Aviação Naval é composta pela Força Aeronaval, sediada em São Pedro D'Adeia, à qual estão subordinadas as seguintes Organizações Militares:

1) Base Aérea Naval de São Pedro da Aldeia;

2) Centro de Instrução e Adestramento Aeronaval;

3) Depósito Naval de São Pedro da Aldeia;

4) cinco Esquadrões de Helicópteros; e

5) um Esquadrão de Aviões.

Há, ainda, três Esquadrões de Helicópteros sediados em Manaus-AM, Ladário-MS e Rio Grande-RS subordinados, respectivamente, aos Comandos dos 9°, 6° e 5° Distritos Navais.

Quais as operações realizadas pela Aviação Naval?

Além das missões operativas que realizam embarcadas nos navios da Esquadra e das Forças Distritais ou com os Fuzileiros Navais as aeronaves da Aviação Naval também participam da busca e resgate de náufragos e embarcações em perigo nas áreas sob responsabilidade do Brasil no Atlântico Sul, fiscalização da navegação aquaviária marítima e fluvial, apoio à Defesa Civil na proteção e redução dos efeitos das calamidades públicas, apoio logístico em campanhas de saúde pública de várias esferas de governo ou apoio a outras instituições públicas como a justiça eleitoral, em processos eleitorais e levando cidadania a comunidades isoladas. Participam, ainda, de importantes projetos nacionais como do Programa Antártico Brasileiro e de assistências médica e odontológica às comunidades ribeirinhas na região amazônica e no Pantanal Mato-grossense.

Saiba mais detalhes sobre a Aviação Naval brasileira no site


Imagens da antiga Fragata portuguesa NRP COMANDANTE JOÃO BELO em reparação na Cidade do Cabo, África do Sul na sequência de avarias provocadas por colisão com a sua irmã CTE PEDRO CAMPBELL. A ex-JOÃO BELO saiu de Lisboa a 25 de Abril último depois de adquirida pela Marinha do Uruguay.

quarta-feira, 20 de agosto de 2008

A Geórgia e o relacionamento do Ocidente com a Rússia

A Geórgia e o relacionamento do Ocidente com a Rússia
Alexandre Reis Rodrigues

Sarkozy, como presidente em exercício da União Europeia, conseguiu resolver rapidamente e de forma correcta o que era urgente no conflito entre a Geórgia e a Rússia: um acordo para a suspensão das hostilidades. Foi um sucesso diplomático, a permitir, ao menos por esta vez, atenuar a imagem de que «a UE não conta para nada».

Porém, a senhora Merckel, Chanceler alemã achou que tinha também uma palavra a dizer e foi avistar-se com os presidentes Medvedev e Saakshavili. Não se sabe o que tinha exactamente em vista. Talvez, deixar claro que, em matéria de relacionamento com a Rússia, a Alemanha não delega em ninguém, nem na UE nem muito menos na França. Um indício das dificuldades da UE em falar a única voz, o que contraria a impressão referida atrás.

No entanto, o ponto realmente interessante da sua visita é a declaração sobre a admissão da Geórgia na NATO, esclarecendo que a Alemanha nada tem a opor a essa pretensão. É curioso que tenha feito agora questão de mencionar esse assunto quando se sabe que sempre teve reservas a esse alargamento, não obstante o acordo dado à declaração final da Cimeira de Bucareste, que deixou em aberto essa possibilidade.

Não julgo que as declarações feitas correspondam a uma mudança de posição. São apenas um recado que visa não deixar a Rússia concluir que, com a intervenção militar na Geórgia, conseguiu o objectivo de tornar mais remota a possibilidade de esta vir a fazer parte da Aliança; julgo que, na prática, a tornou mas compreende-se que em termos políticos essa imagem tenha que ser evitada. É sob esta perspectiva que se interpretam as declarações do secretário-geral da NATO quando diz que nada se alterou sobre o decidido em Bucareste.

Não obstante a realidade ser hoje diferente, e menos favorável ao ingresso da Geórgia e Ucrânia, não se esperava que pudesse ser dito qualquer coisa diferente; mas também não se prevê que seja dado seguimento à proposta da Polónia e dos países Bálticos defendendo uma aceleração do processo de adesão. A Alemanha nunca esteve sozinha nas reservas sobre essa orientação; a França também está nesse lado, juntamente com a Itália e a Espanha. É uma frente que não tem vacilado, bem pelo contrário; ainda recentemente, em reunião permanente do Conselho do Atlântico, isso tinha ficado perfeitamente claro.

As declarações do ministro da Defesa alemão ajudam a não deixar margens para dúvidas: «não haverá segurança no Cáucaso contra ou sem a Rússia». É improvável que a UE se deixe levar pelos apelos do Presidente Saakashvili para congelamento das conversações com a Rússia sobre uma parceria estratégica; este assunto vai ser certamente reequacionado, como aliás defendido pelo ministro dos Negócios Estrangeiros do Reino Unido, mas não vão ser fechadas todas as portas. Aliás, Miliband recusou frontalmente qualquer suspensão do diálogo, contra o que é defendido pelos sectores mais radicais; no entanto, por outro lado, garantiu que o processo de adesão da Geórgia é para continuar!

Os EUA vão lidar com o assunto de forma cautelosa. Não tendo em jogo na Geórgia interesses vitais, terão em conta que têm entre mãos diversos assuntos prioritários para a solução dos quais a colaboração de Moscovo pode ser crítica (Irão, Iraque, Coreia do Norte, etc.). Rice já esclareceu que os EUA não iriam pressionar a NATO para uma admissão rápida da Geórgia e Ucrânia.

Bush sempre disse que a Geórgia tinha nos EUA «um amigo sólido» levando-a a pensar que estava protegida; Saakashvili devia ter tido presente uma antiga observação de Kissinger, quando disse que se era perigoso ser inimigo dos EUA, ser amigo podia ser fatal (referia-se ao abandono a que foi votado o Vietname do Sul, depois da guerra, os xiitas iraquianos em 1991, etc.). Robert Hunter, embaixador dos EUA na NATO durante a administração Clinton, “põe o dedo na ferida” ao lembrar que “quem pressiona a entrada de novos países na NATO tem que perceber que se não está efectivamente preparado para lhes garantir segurança pode estar apenas a provocar-lhes mais dificuldades».

Estarão os europeus dispostos a investir o necessário para ter um dispositivo militar capaz de defender a Geórgia e a Ucrânia, mesmo contando com os EUA? Os europeus da Nova Europa, que são os que mostram mais vontade, são os que menos têm a oferecer; aparentemente, os da Velha Europa já terão concluído que correm mais riscos com os dois países dentro da Aliança do que fora. A Geórgia vai ter que se contentar com as promessas de ajuda dadas pela NATO na reunião de ministros de Negócios Estrangeiros, ontem em Bruxelas, para a ajudar a restaurar a normalidade social e a vida económica. Certamente que a EU terá também aqui uma participação importante.

Não é de esperar, portanto, que a factura que o Ocidente vai querer que a Rússia pague pela violação da soberania territorial da Geórgia, inclua a aceleração do processo de adesão desta à NATO. Vai, no entanto, haver um preço a pagar, logo a começar na área do relacionamento, quer no âmbito do funcionamento do Conselho NATO/Rússia, quer ao nível da UE. A proposta de Medvedev para o estabelecimento de um novo quadro de segurança (A Joint Securituy Framework from Vancouver to Vladivostok), agendada para apresentação em Setembro, perdeu qualquer hipótese de avançar, se é que alguma vez a teve.

Mas, como é costume dizer, “a procissão ainda não saiu do adro”; o debate sobre a estratégia de relacionamento com a Rússia, à luz da realidade criada pelo conflito com a Geórgia, vai acentuar-se, quer entre os europeus, quer do lado americano. Calcula-se que haverá concordância, dos dois lados do Atlântico, de que não é boa ideia uma estratégia de isolamento; o difícil será o entendimento sobre que tipo de política de contenção será apropriado.

segunda-feira, 18 de agosto de 2008

Okeanos Explorer

NOAA’s Ocean Exploration Ship - Okeanos Explorer

Okeanos Explorer, the first federal ship dedicated solely to ocean exploration, was commissioned on Saturday in Seattle, WA.

A former U.S. Navy surveillance vessel, the ship was transferred to NOAA in 2004 and converted to perform ocean exploration. The Okeanos Explorer will use telepresence – satellite and high-speed Internet-based technology – to enable scientists on shore at any of five Exploration Command Centers to participate in and direct real-time exploration while viewing live images and other ocean data. (source: NOAA)

The Okeanos Explorer is in direct support of President Bush’s Ocean Action Plan, developed to promote an ethic of responsible use and stewardship for our oceans and coastal resources.

It is said that 95 percent of the world’s ocean is unseen by humans, and what is yet to be uncovered could hold clues to the origins of life on Earth, cures for human diseases, answers to how to achieve sustainable use of our oceans, links to our maritime history, and information to protect the endangered species of the sea. The Okeanos Explorer aims to not only test scientists hypotheses about the ocean, but generate new ones as well.

AMAZONIA, MB encerra participação Operação Poraquê

Operação "Poraquê": Marinha encerra suas atividades

A Marinha do Brasil encerrou suas atividades operativas na Operação "Poraquê" no dia 14 de agosto, com a Avaliação Pós-Ação, realizada no Comando Militar da Amazônia, em Manaus, por meio de videoconferência coordenada pelo Ministério da Defesa.

A “Poraquê” é um exercício combinado cuja principal finalidade é aperfeiçoar o treinamento das forças Armadas brasileiras, para a atuação de forma coordenada e eficaz em conflitos convencionais no ambiente da Amazônia.

A Marinha do Brasil participou com os seguintes meios:

Subordinados ao Com9ºDN

Navios-Patrulha Fluvial (NPaFlu) “Raposo Tavares”, “Pedro Teixeira”, “Amapá” e “Roraima”;

Navios de Assitência Hospitalar (NAsH) "Carlos Chagas” e “Oswaldo Cruz”;

1 Destacamento do Batalhão de Operações Ribeirinhas, com aproximadamente 450 militares;

1 Barca-Oficina “Alecrim”, 1 Dique-Flutuante “Jerônimo Gonçalves”, 1 Balsa do Depósito Naval de Manaus e

1 Empurrador Regional (que constituem o Trem Logístico Móvel);

1 Agência Flutuante;

3 Lanchas;

1 Flex Boat;

4 Aeronaves UH-12, embarcadas nos NPaFlu “Pedro Teixeira” e "Raposo Tavares" e no NAsH “Carlos Chagas” e uma operando em terra; e

4 embarcações regionais utilizadas para o transporte dos Fuzileiros Navais.

Subordinados a outros Comandos

Navios-Patrulha (NPa) “Bocaina”, “Pampeiro” e “Parati” (subordinados ao Comando do 4º Distrito Naval);

1 Pelotão de Fuzileiros Navais (Comando do 4º Distrito Naval);

1 Elemento Anfíbio do Comando da Força de Fuzileiros da Esquadra; e

Destacamentos de Forças Especiais da Marinha (Grupamento de Mergulhadores de Combate e Batalhão de Operações Especiais de Fuzileiros Navais).

sexta-feira, 15 de agosto de 2008


Navio Veleiro Cisne Branco

Incorporação da Corveta "Barroso"

No próximo dia 19 de agosto, três anos após a retomada do projeto de construção, a Marinha do Brasil incorporará a Corveta “Barroso” à Armada. A cerimônia contará com a presença do Ministro da Defesa e do Comandante da Marinha, entre outras autoridades.

Projeto que contribui com o resgate da capacidade e da tecnologia da construção naval militar brasileira, a Corveta “Barroso” é o resultado do aperfeiçoamento do projeto das Corvetas Classe Inhaúma, construídas anteriormente no Brasil, e incorporou melhorias e desenvolvimentos tecnológicos que aprimoraram o desempenho do navio.

Com uma autonomia de 30 dias e raio de ação de 8.000 km, o mais novo escolta da Esquadra Brasileira oferecerá uma maior capacidade de proteção ao tráfego marítimo nacional, responsável por 95% do fluxo de comércio exterior brasileiro, proporcionará maior proteção aos nossos campos petrolíferos e ampliará o poder de dissuasão do Brasil no mar.

Na execução do projeto de construção, a Marinha teve como meta a busca da nacionalização, principalmente daqueles com elevado grau de complexidade técnica que agregariam tecnologia de ponta ao setor industrial associado do País. O índice médio de nacionalização dos sistemas de bordo é de aproximadamente 57%, dentre os quais se destacam: Sistema de Controle Tático; Sistema de Medidas de Apoio à Guerra Eletrônica; Sistema de Controle e Monitoramento da Propulsão, auxiliares e de Controle de Avarias; Sistema de Lançamento.

Características gerais da Corveta “Barroso”

1. Sistema Nacional de Controle Tático e Armas – SICONTA Mk III (nacional)

2. Comprimento total de 103,4 metros

3. Boca máxima – 11,4 metros

4. Calado de navegação – 6,20 metros

5. Deslocamento carregado – 2.400 toneladas

6. Sistema de propulsão – CODOG

a. 2 Motores MTU 1163 TB 93 8.000 HP

b. 1 Turbina GE LM 2.500 29.500 HP

7. Geração de Energia

a. 4 Motores MTU 8V 396 TE 54

b. 4 Geradores Siemens 650 KW

8. Velocidade máxima c/ turbina – 30 nós

9. Velocidade máxima c/ motor – 22 nós

10. Raio de ação a 12 nós – 4.000 milhas náuticas

11. Autonomia – 30 dias

12. Tripulação – 145 militares

13. Sistema de Controle e Monitoração SCM (nacional)

a. Subsistema de Controle e Monitoração de Propulsão e Auxiliares – SCMPA

b. Subsistema de Controle de Avarias – SCAv

Principais sensores do navio

1. Radar de busca combinada – RAN-20S

2. Radar de superfície – THERMA SCANTER

3. Radar de Direção de Tiro – RTN-30X

4. Radar de Navegação Furuno FR 8252

5. Alça Optrônica – EOS-400-10B (SAAB)

6. Alça Óptica com computador de tiro de emergência (nacional)

7. MAGE – DEFENSOR (nacional)

8. Sonar de casco – EDO-997 C

9. Sistema de navegação inercial – SIGMA 40 INS (SAGEM)


1. Canhão 4.5” VICKERS Mk-8

2. Canhão 40mm Mk-3 BOFORS

3. Sistema de lançamento de mísseis EXOCET ITL-70A (MM40 Block 1 / Block 2)

4. Sistema de lançamento de torpedos Mod. 400 (nacional)

5. Sistema de lançamento de despistadores de mísseis (SLDM) – Chaff (nacional)

Operações aéreas

1. Aeronave Orgânica (Super Lynx), podendo ser armada com:

a. Míssil ar-superfície SEASKUA

b. Torpedo Mk-46

c. Bomba de profundidade Mk-9

2. Indicador visual estabilizado de rampa de aproximação – IVERA (nacional)

Arquivo do blog