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ISRAELI NAVY: Israel gets more teeth
Tuesday, 11 November 2014 00:00

Israel is procuring a second batch of three $500 million submarines from Germany. Israel is procuring a second batch of three $500 million submarines from Germany. The first of three new Dolphin II class submarines built by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems in Kiel for the Israeli Navy has arrived in Haifa. Much of the 7,500km voyage to her new home was spent underwater, aided by an air-independent propulsion system and an extra fuel tank that allows her to stay submerged for extended periods.

Named INS Tanin after a biblical sea creature, also translated as ‘crocodile’, the Type 800 vessels, based on the German Type 212, are the largest submarines to be built in Germany since the end of World War II. Displacing 2,300 tonnes submerged, they are around 25 per cent larger than earlier Dolphin class vessels.

Tanin will have Israeli systems installed before entering operational service. The exact armament carried by Israeli submarines is a closely-guarded secret, but they are reported to have a nuclear-strike capability. A fifth submarine, INS Rahav, is expected to arrive at Haifa Port early next year followed by an as-yet-unnamed sixth submarine in 2019.

 
French Built: France stops delivery
Tuesday, 28 October 2014 00:00

The future of the Franco-Russian Mistral deal is uncertain. Christian PlagueThe future of the Franco-Russian Mistral deal is uncertain. Christian PlagueFrance has bowed to international pressure generated by the ongoing Ukraine crisis and halted the October delivery of the helicopter landing ship Vladivostok to Russia. The French President has said Russia’s actions in eastern Ukraine meant conditions were not right for delivery of the helicopter-carrier and that the contract is suspended until November. No mention was made in the statement of second-in-class Sevastopol, scheduled to be delivered in 2015.

While described as a temporary measure, the deal has never been more likely to collapse. In addition to France being left with a large compensation bill for breach of contract, there is also the prospect of having to find a use for two 21,000-tonne assault ships.

 
ROYAL NAVY: Both Carriers confirmed
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 00:00

The operation of two aircraft carriers should guarantee 100 per cent availability. Maritime PhotographicThe operation of two aircraft carriers should guarantee 100 per cent availability. Maritime PhotographicThe Prime Minister has announced that the two aircraft carriers currently under construction for the Royal Navy will both enter service. There had been concerns that the second ship would be sold off or mothballed upon completion. The commitment to operate both ships was made after NATO Alliance leaders agreed to reverse declining defence budgets and raise them to two per cent of GDP over the coming decade at a summit recently held in Cardiff.

Assembly of HMS Prince of Wales has now begun, with the docking of two of the ship’s largest hull sections, Lower Block 02 (pictured) and Lower Block 03, weighing 6,000 and 8,000 tonnes respectively, for integration at Rosyth. A significant plan of investment is also under way to prepare Portsmouth Naval Base as homeport for the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers by 2017. This includes dredging the approach and main channels inside the harbour, upgrades to navigational aids and the refurbishment of several jetties.

 
US Navy: Block bookings
Thursday, 16 October 2014 10:42

PCU North Dakota’s commissioning is scheduled for 25 October. US NavyPCU North Dakota’s commissioning is scheduled for 25 October. US NavyThe US Navy has taken delivery of PCU North Dakota (SSN 784), the 11th  Virginia class attack submarine to be handed over since 2004. North Dakota is the first of eight Virginia class Block III boats that feature a new bow design, replacing 12 individual launch tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes, each capable of launching six Tomahawk Cruise Missiles.

Despite some quality control issues with some components whose correction required the boat to undergo an unplanned dry-docking, the vessel was still handed over on time. The next boat in the class, Jack Warner (SSN 785), was officially named on 6 September. She is unusual in being one of the few US Navy vessels named after a living person.

This rare distinction is shared with only two other submarines, USS Hyman G. Rickover (SSN 709), a Los Angeles class submarine, and USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23), a Seawolf class submarine. The first Block IV submarine, the construction of which began in May, is to follow the convention of names for US States, and will become USS Vermont (SSN 792).

 
ROYAL NAVY: The Scottish play
Tuesday, 07 October 2014 00:00

Construction of three OPVs for the RN will begin at BAE Systems’ shipyards in Glasgow in October. Maritime PhotographicConstruction of three OPVs for the RN will begin at BAE Systems’ shipyards in Glasgow in October. Maritime PhotographicThe UK government has awarded a £348 million contract for the previously announced trio of Offshore Patrol Vessels for the Royal Navy. The timing is curious, coming only weeks before Scotland’s independence vote. As UK policy does not allow warships to be built in ‘foreign’ countries, some may see the motive as a gentle reminder of the benefits of remaining in the union, with upcoming construction work on the Type 26 frigates by no means guaranteed to take place in Glasgow.

As reported earlier, the ships will be built to a modified BAES design, similar to the 90m Ocean Patrol Vessels in service with Brazil and Thailand. The RN has specified a revised flight deck, which can operate Merlin helicopters, and additional storage space for embarking role-specific equipment and increased accommodation.

 
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