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Quick sale prompts reshuffle
Tuesday, 24 March 2015 00:00

The transfer of Normandie to the Egyptian Navy is scheduled to take place by 5 August 2015. DCNSThe transfer of Normandie to the Egyptian Navy is scheduled to take place by 5 August 2015. DCNSEgypt has signed contracts with the French defence companies DCNS, Dassault Aviation and MBDA worth €5.2 billion for the supply of a FREMM frigate, 24 Rafale fighters and a large batch of missiles. In order to meet the very short delivery timetable for the warship, the French Navy has agreed to the transfer of the near-complete Normandie from the current production line. In return, DCNS is to speed up the rate of production of subsequent ships to head off any gaps in operational efficiency.

In practical terms, the move will only delay completion of the project by several months but will necessitate a one-year service extension of the anti-submarine destroyers Montcalm and Jean de Vienne, whose decommissioning dates will be pushed back to 2017 and 2018 respectively. This will also require the reorganisation of crews and trails programmes with those on Normandie moving to the next in the series, Provence.

 
China helps Argentina
Thursday, 19 March 2015 15:49

The P18 is an export design previously sold to Nigeria.The P18 is an export design previously sold to Nigeria.A new level of Argentine-Chinese cooperation has led to agreements for the procurement of a new ice breaker, naval tugs and warships. The collaboration is a boost to the Argentine Navy, which is severely underfunded and struggles to maintain a seaworthy fleet.

It has previously considered OPV designs from Brazil, Germany and Spain, but has accepted the offer of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation’s P18 corvette. The more capable export version of the PLAN’s Type 056 displaces 1,800 tonnes and can be armed with up to eight anti-ship missiles, a 76mm main gun, two 30 mm cannons and two triple torpedo launchers, and can carry a medium-size helicopter.

Local reports suggest the Argentine ships, provocatively named the Malvinas class (referring to the Argentine name for the Falkland Islands) will also feature a towed array sonar to increase their anti-submarine capability. The first two are expected to be built in China and the remainder co-produced in Argentina, with deliveries starting in 2017.

 
America’s frigate foibles
Tuesday, 03 March 2015 00:00

The familiar OHP profile will remain in service with nine other navies. Maritime PhotographicThe familiar OHP profile will remain in service with nine other navies. Maritime PhotographicUSS Kauffman has embarked on a routine counter-drug mission in the Caribbean, a deployment that is to be the last by an Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate flying the Stars and Stripes. After her return in September, she will become the last of 51 ships, and the ninth this year alone, to be decommissioned for sale or scrap.

So could the US Navy be heading towards a fleet without any frigates – not counting the 18th-century USS Constitution – for the first time since the early 1960s? Well, perhaps not, following an announcement by the Navy Secretary to classify a reconfigured version of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) as a frigate (FF).

The FF designation will initially apply to a second batch of 20 ships that are to be redesigned with more advanced weapons, sensors and combat systems, for introduction from 2019 onwards. The first 32 LCS may then be retrofitted to the new FF standard. The two aluminium variants of the current design have received criticism for their lack of firepower and damage protection.

 
France reinforces security
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 00:00

France is to base  new warships near the  Equator at its north Atlantic territory in South America.  Bureau MauricFrance is to base new warships near the Equator at its north Atlantic territory in South America. Bureau MauricThe French defence procurement agency has placed an order for two 60m patrol vessels to protect French interests in the Antilles-Guiana region. The so-called Patrouilleur Léger Guyanais (PLG) vessels are to be built and fitted out by Socarenam at their shipyards in Saint-Malo and Boulogne-sur-Mer respectively, with deliveries scheduled for late 2016 and mid-2017.
They will replace the 1987-built pair of Type 400 patrol craft La Capricieuse and La Gracieuse, mainly providing security for the European Space Agency’s primary launch site at the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana.

The PLGs, which are similar to those recently delivered to the Belgian Navy, will be equipped with the latest surveillance electronics, a gyro-stabilised, remotely-operated 20mm Narwhal gun and two RHIBs, one of which is launched via stern dock. Displacing around 700 tonnes and with a shallow draught of just 3.5m, necessary for their operating areas, each will have a crew of 24, with accommodation for 14 extra personnel.

 
Je suis Charles
Wednesday, 18 February 2015 00:00

France is to tackle IS forces head-on with air strikes from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. Maritime PhotographicFrance is to tackle IS forces head-on with air strikes from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. Maritime PhotographicFrance has dispatched a Carrier Strike Group (CSG) to the Indian Ocean. The deployment of FS Charles de Gaulle and escorts had been planned for some months and is not as a direct consequence of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier sailed from Toulon in company with the destroyer Chevalier Paul and replenishment tanker Meuse, and was later joined by the Royal Navy Type 23 frigate HMS Kent in the Red Sea. The group is being shadowed by a Rubis class nuclear-powered attack submarine. Officially, the purpose of the deployment is for exercises with Indian forces, no doubt to help progress stalled negotiations over the sale of 126 Rafale fighters and of additional submarines to the sub-continent.

However, in the light of recent events, they are likely to sail to the Persian Gulf in support of ongoing military operations against Islamic State forces in Iraq. As in 2014, during its last deployment to the region, the French CSG will operate under US operational control to co-ordinate air strikes and intelligence-gathering.

 
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