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Friday, 21 November 2014

Comandanti class and Sirio class offshore patrol vessels of the Italian Navy

Written by D-Mitch

Comandanti class patrol vessel.
Photo: Marina Militare Italiana
Sirio class patrol vessel.
Photo: Marina Militare Italiana
The most modern offshore patrol vessels in service with Italian Navy (Marina Militare) are the ships of the Comandanti and Sirio classes, two classes of the same design that share some common equipment.  The four patrol vessels of the Comandanti class were built by Fincantieri and they were delivered to the Italian Navy the period 2002-2004. The program is also known as Nuove Unità Minori Combattenti (NUMC). The last vessel, the Foscari, was built with composite superstructure made off glass reinforced plastic instead of steel having in that way less mass and therefore resulting in reduced fuel consumption and improved life cycle of the ship. The two vessels of the Sirio class, also known as Nuove Unità di Pattugliamento d'Altura (NUPA), were commissioned in 2005. The NUPA program gives less emphasis on stealth characteristics, performance and equipment for operations in low intensity conflict environment such as NUMC program as the main mission of the Sirio class patrol vessels is to safeguard national interests in the fields of anti-pollution and rescue services. Therefore, among others, Sirio boats lack the main naval gun and the fire control system, they have less powerful engines and they have no hangar but only a flight deck. However the ships have all the provisions to be equipped as their older sisters. Both classes can various missions such as patrolling and surveillance at sea, control of maritime traffic and inspections, humanitarian relief operations, search and rescue operations, control of the maritime borders, protection of merchant shipping and fisheries, support operations and many more. 

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Thursday, 13 November 2014

Holland class offshore patrol vessels of the Royal Netherlands Navy

Written by D-Mitch

HNLMS Friesland. Photo: Neil Watkin
The Holland class is a class of four (4) offshore patrol vessels built by Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding for the Royal Netherlands Navy (Koninklijke Marine) and they were commissioned in the period 2012-2013. The ships are designed to reduced radar cross section (RDS) and they are painted are painted a new light blue-gray color to improve the camouflage effect. To optimize the seakeeping behavior of the vessels the hull has been stretched, and the bridge and superstructure are located relatively aftwards. Moreover, they are outfitted with ballistic features, blast resistant constructions, redundant and decentralized systems, a gas citadel, extensive fire fighting systems and additional measures to reduce the effects of flooding. Automation level for this vessel is high, and includes a shore support system, a shore management system, a calamity system, a warning system, an overview system and extensive subsystem automation. These patrol vessels are the first vessels of the Royal Netherlands Navy equipped with the Thales Integrated Sensor and Communication Systems (ISCS), an integrated mast module which integrates practically all radio frequency systems, radars as well as communication and optical sensors on board of the ship in one housing. These vessels are without question some of the most modern and well equipped class of offshore patrol vessels worldwide.

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Wednesday, 12 November 2014

INFOGRAPHICS #8: Ohio class nuclear powered ballistic missile and guided missiles submarines of US Navy

Ohio class ballistic missile submarine
The Ohio class is a type of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) produced by United States (General Dynamics, Electric Boat) and operated by the United States Navy. These submarines are the largest submarines ever built for the Navy and they carry more missiles than any other ballistic submarine in the world (watch the following nice video). This force of ballistic missile submarines carry approximately about the half of the total inventory of the total US active inventory of strategic thermonuclear warheads. From the 18 submarines in the class, the first four (4) of them have been converted to guided (cruise) missile submarines (SSGN). Each ballistic missile submarine is armed with 24 Trident II D5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) with a range of about 11,300km (!) carrying up to 12 MIRVed W76 or W88 (300–475 kt TNT) nuclear warheads each . Each cruise missile submarine carry seven (7) cruise missiles in each cell of total 22 therefore a single submarine can carry maximum 154 (!) Tomahawk cruise missiles with either conventional or nuclear warheads, a complement of Harpoon anti-ship missiles to be fired through their torpedo tubes plus they are able to sustain more than 66 Special Operations Forces personnel. All the submarines are armed with four (4) 21in torpedo tubes for Mk48 heavyweight submarine-launched torpedoes designed to sink deep-diving nuclear-powered submarines and high-performance surface ships.

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Friday, 7 November 2014

Karel Doorman (M) class frigates of the Portuguese Navy, Chilean Navy, Royal Netherlands Navy and Belgian Navy

Written by D-Mitch

Modernized frigate Van Spejik
Photo: Willem Harlaar
Frigate Bartolomeu_Dias
Photo: Jimmy C. Pan, US Navy
The Karel Doorman class is a class of eight (8) frigates built by Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding, the former Royal Schelde Dockyard, for the Royal Netherlands Navy (Koninklijke Marine) and they were commissioned in the period 1991-1995.  International interest in the M-frigates as well as changes in the Royal Netherlands Navy prompted the sale of two frigates each to Chile, Belgium and Portugal. Therefore, in 2004, Tjerk Hiddes and Abraham van der Hulst were sold to Chilean Navy (Armada de Chile) and renamed Almirante Riveros and Blanco Encalada respectively. In 2005, Karel Doorman and Willem van der Zaan were sold to Belgian Navy - Belgian Naval Component (Dutch: Marinecomponent, French: Composante marine, German: Marinekomponente) and renamed Leopold I and Louise-Marie respectively. The next year, Portuguese Navy (Marinha Portuguesa) purchased two vessels of the class, Van Nes and Van Galen which renamed Bartolomeu Dias and Francisco de Almeida respectively. The Dutch together with the Belgians decided to upgrade their frigates by rebuilding both hangar and helicopter deck to accommodate the NH-90 helicopter as well as to replace the forward mast for fitting a new phased array surface search radar and an electro-optical surveillance system. The Dutch and Belgian frigates followed also an extensive overhaul and Service Life Extension Programs (SLEP) to their equipment. These will be referred as the Karel Doorman Mod. (modernized) frigates to be distinguished from the non-modernized ones.

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Tuesday, 4 November 2014

INFOGRAPHICS #7: Los Angeles class nuclear powered fast attack submarines of US Navy

USS Key West, Flight II Los Angeles class submarine of US Navy
Los Angeles-class (SSN688) submarines form the backbone of the U.S. Navy's nuclear-powered attack submarine fleet; it is the class that has more operating nuclear submarines than any other in the world. Their primary missions are to hunt enemy submarines and surface ships, launch cruise-missile strikes on land-based targets and gather intelligence. The boats were designed by General Dynamics Electric Boat and they are divided in three flights (Flight I, II and III) based on improvements in their design and equipment such as electronics, armament and characteristics. The Flight I consists of 31 submarines (only 11 are active, in commission), the Flight II have a 12 Vertical Launch Tubes (VLS) for Tomahawk missiles and it consists of 8 submarines (all in active service) and the final Flight III consists of 23 submarines of which only one has been retired. The final 23 submarines of the 62-ship class are known also as improved 688s (688i). These are quieter and they are equipped with more advanced electronics and sensors as well as retractable bow planes (and not on their sails like the other Flights) and hardened sails to break through ice during Arctic operations.

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