October 22, 2002

Kockums' stealthy Visby corvette

Northrop Grumman gets some Swedish stealth
Northrop Grumman Corporation has signed a partnership agreement with Sweden's Kockums AB and its parent company, Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft AG of Germany.It will see Kockums join a team assembled by Northrop Grumman’s Ship System sector to complete for the U.S. Navy’s Focused Mission Vessel Study.

This study is expected to result in the development and construction of a Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), one element of the DD(X) family of surface combatants planned for construction by the U.S. Navy during the next quarter century.

The cooperative agreement between Northrop Grumman, Kockums and HDW covers business opportunities for design, development, construction and sale of Visby-class ships and/or derivative technology to the U.S. Government for the LCS and other U.S. programs, and for sales to friendly international governments through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.

Kockums has designed and built the first Visby-class Stealth corvette, which is presently undergoing combat systems installation and sea trials. Early indications are that the ship will meet or exceed expectations in every area. The Visby's leading-edge vessel technology combines unique stealth, speed, modularity and survivability characteristics in a way that will revolutionize the effectiveness of small ships in littoral warfare and on other missions.

”Northrop Grumman is pleased and fortunate to bring a partner with Kockums’ experience into our preparation for these major competitions and programs,” said Dr. Philip A. Dur, Northrop Grumman corporate vice president and president of the company’s Ship Systems sector. ”Their proven experience in design and production of composite hull combatants is a perfect complement to our own surface combatant experience, which includes production of composite ship sections as well.”
 
Northrop Grumman plans to use the Visby concept as the baseline for development of Ship System’s proposal for the Navy’s LCS program. Combining the proven hull and composite technology developed by Kockums with Northrop Grumman’s composite and overall ship integration experience will, says Northrop Grumman, allow the U.S. Navy to rely upon a proven, full service shipbuilder, with access to state-of-the-art fielded technology, for the LCS program.

Northrop Grumman Ship Systems leads an international industrial team that won a competition for a $ 2.9 billion program in April 2002 to complete the system design for the U.S. Navy’s advanced, 21st century surface combatant, DD(X). This family of ships includes destroyers, cruisers and littoral combat ships, as well as technology to be back-fitted into the Navy’s existing fleets of Aegis-equipped destroyers and cruisers.

In June 2002, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, partnered with Lockheed Martin’s Naval Electronics ” Surveillance Systems sector, won an $ 11 billion (U.S.) dollar contract to re-capitalize and modernize the U.S. Coast Guard’s Deepwater Surface, Air and Shore assets. This program includes two classes of new cutters to be produced by Ship Systems, as well as the modernization of existing vessels.

”Both these vital programs stands to benefit from Northrop Grumman’s groundbreaking partnership with Kockums,” Dur said.

Kockums will contribute its experience in the design and construction of stealth-optimized naval vessels utilizing carbon fiber composite technology. In the past few years, Kockums and HDW have engaged in developing vessels of this type for the export market. Kockums’ role as a member of the Northrop Grumman team will be to share its experience in design and building composite-hull vessels.

”It is a great achievement to be included in the Northrop Grumman team, and it demonstrates that we are frontrunner in the field of stealth and composite technology. I am convinced that we can offer Northrop Grumman Ship Systems considerable experience and know-how”, noted Kockums’ Chief Executive Officer Martin Hagbyhn.

In Sweden, Kockums has received an order for five Visby Class composite hull surface combatants, with an option on a sixth vessel. These corvettes are stealthy, multimission vessel equipped to handle mine clearance, ASW anti submarine warfare, surface combat, marine surveillance and vessel protection duties, and to provide civil support in connection with marine accidents and international operations. They are constructed of carbon fibre, the first of the series having been released to the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV), and which has already completed a number of trials with excellent results. The advantages this stealth technology brings to littoral-type surface combatant ships are significant.

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