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HIGH-SPEED: Movers and sheikhers
Tuesday, 06 May 2014 00:00

Austal will construct two HSSVs at its shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia for delivery by 2016. AustalAustal will construct two HSSVs at its shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia for delivery by 2016. AustalAustal has won a US$125 million order from an undisclosed customer in the Middle East for the design, construction and integrated logistics support of two so-called High-Speed Defence Support Vessels (HSSVs).

The 72m HSSVs will be deployed on similar missions to the 103m Joint High Speed Vessels currently being produced for the US Navy at Austal’s shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. Its roles include rapid deployment of military personnel and equipment, helicopter operations and search and rescue.

Austal has a number of customers for their commercial fast ferries in the Gulf region. However, the size and design of the HSSVs most resembles their Auto Express 69 class catamarans in service with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. These can carry up to 650 passengers, 50 cars and 15 lorries.

 
US NAVY: Forward thinking
Tuesday, 29 April 2014 00:00

The US Navy is investing in purpose-built ‘mother-ships’. The US Navy is investing in purpose-built ‘mother-ships’. The US Navy has modified its requirement for three Mobile Landing Platforms by opting to complete the third ship on order as an Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB). The switch in primary role from a pure semi-submersible heavy-lift ship into a more flexible platform designed to facilitate airborne mine countermeasures and support special operations will cost an extra US$129 million. The design changes will see the addition of a large flight deck and accommodation for 250 personnel.

When ‘forward deployed’, the AFSB will provide a floating base for MH-53 Sea Dragon minesweeping helicopters and Avenger class minesweepers to be refuelled, repaired, and rested during mine countermeasure operations. The ship, to be named USNS Lewis B. Puller after the US Marine Corps’ most decorated marine, was laid down at NASSCO’s San Diego shipyard in November 2013. Delivery is scheduled for the second quarter of 2015. An option for a second AFSB is likely to be taken.

 
Ukrainian Navy: Capitulation in Crimea
Thursday, 24 April 2014 11:06

The Ukrainian Navy retains control of the frigate Hetman Sagaidachnyi and a handful of small patrol vessels. US NavyThe Ukrainian Navy retains control of the frigate Hetman Sagaidachnyi and a handful of small patrol vessels. US NavyThe Ukrainian Navy has lost the bulk of its ships, aircraft and headquarters following Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula, where the majority of its assets were based. Russian forces moved into the region in mid-March, seizing a dozen warships moored at Sevastopol.  The enforced takeover met little resistance, allowing Russia to take control of the Grisha V class frigates Ternopil and Lutsk, the patrol craft Khmelnitsky, and command ship Slavutych. All will be absorbed into Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. The seized, Foxtrot class submarine, Zaporizhya, may be returned as obsolete.

Earlier, on 3 March, the decommissioned Kara class cruiser Ochakov was sunk as a blockship in the main shipping channel to Donuzlav Lake, denying access to the Black Sea for seven Ukrainian warships at the Novoozerne naval base in western Crimea.

The Ukrainian flagship, Hetman Sagaidachny, remains at liberty, as the Krivak III class frigate was returning from NATO-run counter-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean as the crisis broke and was able to divert to Odessa.

 
INDIAN NAVY: Sindhurakshak salvage
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 00:00

The Indian Navy has had three accidents in seven months with its Russian-built Kilo class submarines. Maritime PhotographicThe Indian Navy has had three accidents in seven months with its Russian-built Kilo class submarines. Maritime PhotographicThe Indian Defence Ministry has contracted Resolve India, a subsidiary of the US-based Resolve Marine Group, to salvage the submarine Sindhurakshak. The US$45 million operation to recover the Kilo class vessel, which exploded and sank at Mumbai Naval Dockyard last August, is expected to take up to six months.

The task is made more complex as the stricken submarine remains fully-loaded with missiles and torpedoes as she was about to set-off on patrol. The structurally-weakened hull, with internal deformation caused by the force of the blasts at the forward weapons compartment, rules out a straight lift of the hulk, even though it sits in only eight metres of water.

A navy Board of Inquiry is dependent on a forensic examination of the submarine once it has been recovered. Preliminary findings have indicated the incident was either an accident or due to the consequences of incorrect handling of ammunition.

 
ROYAL NAVY: Feats of Daring-do
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 00:00

HMS Daring completed an eventful deployment on 28 February. Maritime PhotographicHMS Daring completed an eventful deployment on 28 February. Maritime PhotographicHMS Daring has returned to Portsmouth after an unusually long and eventful deployment. During nine months away the Type 45 destroyer visited 21 ports and clocked up 44,000 miles. Having set off across the Atlantic in May last year to support anti-piracy operations in the Caribbean, she continued westward, with a maiden transit of the Panama Canal, to the US Pacific seaboard to take part in ballistic missile tracking trials.

Moving on to Australasia to participate in a large multi-national naval exercise, she later represented the United Kingdom at the Royal Australian Navy’s Centenary Fleet Review. Shortly afterwards Daring was diverted to the Philippines to assist in emergency relief efforts following the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan. During nine days on task, the ship’s Lynx helicopter surveyed more than 70 islands over 42,200 square miles.

 
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