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Monday, 20 September 2021

BOOK REVIEW #9: Life on board Greek submarines of World War II (in Greek) / Η Ζωή στα Ελληνικά Υποβρύχια του Β' Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου

Welcome to my ninth book review, Life on board Greek submarines of World War II (in Greek) by Christy Emilio Ioannidou / Η Ζωή στα Ελληνικά Υποβρύχια του Β' Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου, της Κρίστυ Εμίλιο Ιωαννίδου. The book is published in Greek, therefore the review is written for Greek-speaking readers.

Η Ζωή στα Ελληνικά Υποβρύχια
του Β' Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου
Το βιβλίο που παρουσιάζεται στη σελίδα μας ξεκινά με μια στιχομυθία μεταξύ ενός Δοκίμου και του Καθηγητή Ιστορίας Κασσιμάτη που λαμβάνει χώρα στη Σχολή Ναυτικών Δοκίμων το 1926. Ο καθηγητής ερωτάται με τι μέσα θα πολεμήσουν έναν υπέρτερο και καλύτερα εξοπλισμένο εχθρό. Ο καθηγητής τότε δείχνει από το παράθυρο την παμπάλαια άκατο της φρεγάτας ΕΛΛΑΣ και απαντάει λακωνικά και με περηφάνια «Με την άκατον!». Η ερώτηση του απλό Δόκιμου και η απάντηση του σεβαστού Καθηγητή σε ένα ερώτημα εξαιρετικά επίκαιρο, που ταλανίζει την Ελλάδα ανά τους αιώνες η οποία συναντά στο διάβα της ισχυρούς εχθρούς εχθροί που επιβουλεύονται την ακεραιότητα της χώρας μας, προϊδεάζει για το που εστιάζει το βιβλίο. Το εξαιρετικό αυτό βιβλίο αυτό δεν μιλά για τις σελίδες δόξας που κατέγραψε στο ναυτικό αγώνα η Ελλάδα και που έχουν παρουσιαστεί σε πλειάδα βιβλίων και μέσων αλλά για την κατάσταση του υποβρύχιου Στόλου πριν και κατά τη διάρκεια του Β’ ΠΠ, και στις δυσκολίες που αντιμετώπισαν τα πληρώματα τους με αυτοθυσία και αυταπάρνηση. Εδώ δεν θα διαβάσετε για τον θρυλικό ΠΑΠΑΝΙΚΟΛΗ και το ηρωικό τέλος των ΚΑΤΣΩΝΗ, ΠΡΩΤΕΑ και ΤΡΙΤΩΝΑ αλλά για το πώς έζησαν μέσα σε αυτά τα 50 μέλη του πληρώματος τους, τι έτρωγαν, πως κοιμόνταν, πως περνούσαν τον ελεύθερο χρόνο τους, τις πατέντες που σκαρφίζονταν για να επιλύσουν την έλλειψη ανταλλακτικών, τα παιχνίδα της μοίρας, τις προσπάθειές τους, τα αστεία τους, τις αγωνίες τους και τις χαρές τους, μέσα από τις μαρτυρίες αυτών που τα στελέχωσαν.

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Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Kewatec Patrol 1850, a candidate design for the Hellenic Coast Guard new patrol boat program

Kewatec Patrol 1850 fast patrol boat
On July 29th, the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) announced officially that the contractor firms for the supply of fifteen (15) 16-19.5-meter Fast Patrol Boats (FPB) worth 33.78 million euros to the HCG, the Italian shipyard FB Design SRL and the Italian company Elettronica Marittima SRL, were declared in default of the contract. That means the HCG rejects the Fabio Buzzi 56SF patrol vessel (see here about the design), the winning design of the competition, as it does not meet its requirements. Therefore the contract was terminated for default and the deliveries will not materialize. After the contract cancellation, the Service is about to
announce a new tender for the supply of nineteen (19) Fast Patrol Boats worth 49.4 million euros (!), with a length over 18 meters and speed over 50 knots. The contract will require the delivery of up to five (5) vessels until the end of 2022, and up to fourteen (14) vessels until the end of 2023. 
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Saturday, 31 July 2021

INFOGRAPHICS #49: Mid-Life Upgrades

This post will be updated regularly with infographics and information regarding mid-life upgrade (MLU) programs of selected warships.
 
  • Brandenburg-class (F123) MLU
Modernized Brandenburg-class (F123) frigate of the German Navy. HR image here
Frigate Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Kiel. Photo: D-Mitch
On July 30, 2021, Saab signed a contract with the German Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw), and has received an order to deliver and integrate new naval radars and fire control directors for and in the German Navy’s Frigates of the Brandenburg-Class (F123). The contract includes a new combat management system in order to completely overhaul the system currently in use on the F123, allowing a low risk integration of the new naval radars and fire control capabilities. The order value is approximately 4,6 billion SEK. Deliveries and other services will take place between 2021 and 2030.
Saab will be the prime contractor and will contract the German shipyard Abeking & Rasmussen for the shipbuilding work while the German company ESG will carry out logistical support.
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Wednesday, 30 June 2021

PHOTO GALLERY #39: Mk V Special Operations Craft of the Hellenic Navy

Hellenic Navy Mk V SOC in the Inspection of the Fleet by
the President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina
Sakellaropoulou on June 10, 2021.
This is a collection of photos that includes some photos I took about a year ago of the Mark (Mk) V special operations craft (SOC) when they were delivered prior their modernization and commissioning in the Hellenic Navy Fleet, and photos of the vessels in service today from the Hellenic Navy and Hellenic National Defence General Staff websites. The Mk V SOC (Special Operations Craft) is a marine security, patrol, and special forces insertion boat used by the United States Navy and manufactured by VT Halter Marine Inc (Gulfport, Mississippi). Its length is 25 meters,
weighs 57 tons in operational configuration and achieves a speed greater than 50 knots (cruising speed about 30 knots). There are four mounts on board that can receive a variety of weapons including general purpose machine guns, mini-guns, heavy machine guns and automatic grenade launchers, providing 360 degrees of firing coverage. Stinger MANPADS, mini UAV and small military inflatable boats are carried also. 
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Monday, 31 May 2021

PHOTO GALLERY #38: Erfurt, corvette of the German Navy

Erfurt (F262), corvette of the German Navy
This is another photo gallery from my visit to Kiel in 2019, on the first weekend of the 137th Kiel Week. The Kiel Week (German: Kieler Woche) or Kiel Regatta is an annual sailing event in Kiel, the capital of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. The first weekend of the Kiel Week, the famous Naval Base of Kiel, opens its gates for just four hours per day, for thousands of tourists who are eager to visit the German Navy warships and dozens of foreign warships which visit the city of Kiel, to honor the Kiel Week. Among the German ships moored at the Base, was the third vessel of the Braunschweig-class (K130) corvettes, Erfurt (F262), a ship that was commissioned in 2013. Her sisters are Braunschweig, Magdeburg, Oldenburg, Ludwigshafen am Rhein while five more vessels of an improved batch are under construction, the Köln, Emden, Karlsruhe, Augsburg and Lübeck. Her length is about 89.1m, the beam 13.28m, while the displacement reaches the 2,000t. She features reduced radar and infrared signatures and are equipped with UMS Skeldar V-200 helicopter UAVs for remote sensing. The hangar is too small for standard helicopters, but the flight deck is large enough for Sea Kings, Lynx, or NH-90s, the helicopters of the German Navy. The ship is armed with one Leonardo 76mm dual purpose gun, two (2) Rheinmetall MLG 27 remote weapon 27mm gun systems, two (2) RAM Block II launchers, four (4) RBS-15 Mk 3 (Mk 4 in the near future) anti-ship missiles, Stinger MANPADS, a variety of machine guns and naval mines. The crew is about 65 people. Enjoy more than 90 photos of the warship!

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Friday, 30 April 2021

INFOGRAPHICS #48: Characteristics of the frigate candidates for the Hellenic Navy's new frigate program and the interim solutions

By Lysimachos Samasitis

Photo: Nick Thodos
This post is about the characteristics of the frigate candidates for the Hellenic Navy's new frigate program and the interim solutions by country. The Navy’s frigate program amounts to 5 billion, and includes the construction of four new frigates, the upgrade of the existing four Hydra-class (MEKO-200HN) frigates and the provision of interim solution ships (at least two major surface combatants: new light frigates or second-hand frigates). The following tables are the result of an exceptional and difficult effort to capture the basic characteristics of the candidate frigates, both for main program (Table 1) and interim solution (Table 2) for the Greek naval program by Lysimachos Samasitis! The tables will be updated regularly based on the latest developments and updates from the manufacturers in order to be a valuable source for those who wish to compare the different proposals. Εnjoy!
 
Table 1. The basic characteristics of the frigate candidates for the Hellenic Navy (main program)
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Monday, 29 March 2021

INFOGRAPHICS #47: Naval Group's SYLVER (SYstème de Lancement VERtical) vertical launching system

The following graphs are about the Sylver (SYstème de Lancement VERtical), a vertical launching system (VLS) designed by the French naval shipbuilding company Naval Group (formerly known as Direction des Constructions Navales or DCNS), and the missiles it can hold and fire. These excellent graphs were created for Naval Analyses by Aylont1, a Twitter account worth following!


 

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Monday, 8 March 2021

INFOGRAPHICS #46: The frigate candidates for the Hellenic Navy's new frigate program

Written by D-Mitch

Photo: Nick Thodos
This post includes the graphs of the frigate candidates for the Hellenic Navy's new frigate program based on publicly available information. For those who are aware of the Greek program, the Hellenic Navy’s frigate program amounts to 5 billion, and includes the construction of four (4) new frigates, the upgrade of the existing four MEKO-200HN (Hydra-class) frigates, the provision of interim solution ships (at least two major surface combatants) and provides for co-production projects in order to strengthen local shipyards (source). Where OPTION indicates extra equipment which is under discussion between the provider, the shipbuilder, and the Hellenic Navy (HN). Some of the options are already included in the offer to the Navy but in order to be fair, they have been highlighted as well. Some sources also vary in their reports about offered equipment. So, think of them as.. extras to the basic configuration. Note, that some of them maybe not be depicted in the image of the ship as these images are the official illustrations from the manufacturers. The graphs will be uploaded gradually.

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Saturday, 27 February 2021

PHOTO GALLERY #37: Absalon and Iver Huidfeldt, frigates of the Royal Danish Navy

Absalon and Iver Huidfeldt, frigates of the Royal Danish Navy
This is another photo gallery from my visit to Kiel in 2019, on the first weekend of the 137th Kiel Week. The Kiel Week (German: Kieler Woche) or Kiel Regatta is an annual sailing event in Kiel, the capital of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. The first weekend of the Kiel Week, the famous Naval Base of Kiel, opens its gates for just four hours per day, for thousands of tourists who are eager to visit the German Navy warships and dozens of foreign warships which visit the city of Kiel, to honor the Kiel Week. Among the visiting ships, were two Royal Danish Navy frigates, the lead ship of the Absalon class ASW frigates HDMS Absalon (L16, now F341) and the lead ship of the Iver Huitfeldt class AAW frigates HDMS Iver Huidfeldt (F361)! This was a quite rare moment to see both lead ships of the current Danish frigate classes together.
 
Royal Danish Navy frigates Absalon and Iver Huidfeldt at Kiel Naval Base

Absalon class frigate
Photo: A. Henry, US Navy

Iver Huidfeldt class frigate
Photo: Chris Cavas
The two ships in the Absalon class frigates (flexible support ships initially) may be described as a hybrid between a frigate and military transport ship with multiple role capabilities, with the capacity to be transformed from a combat ship with the firepower of a traditional frigate to a hospital ship within a day. The class is based on a frigate-like design, but built with an internal multipurpose deck (flex deck), a stern vehicle ramp and a hatch for launching a landing craft. The ships can serve as command platforms for a staff of 75 persons (naval or joint staff) with a containerized command and control centre, transport and base of operations for a company-sized landing force of some 200 men with vehicles. Alternatively, the flex deck can be used for mine-laying operations with a capacity of some 300 mines, or be fitted out for mine-clearing operations and launch and recover mine detecting and clearing equipment via a retractable gantry crane, adjacent to the stern vehicle ramp, which also is used for launching and recovering the fast landing craft. Furthermore, the flex deck can support a containerized hospital or simply transport a number of ISO standard containers or some 55 vehicles, including up to seven MBTs. The ships can carry two LCPs (Storebro SB90E), two rigid hull inflatable boats and two EH101 helicopters. The ships have been recently reclassified to frigates. The ships retain their names, but changed the pennant number from L16 and L17, to F341 and F342. Both ships will be upgraded with towed array sonars by 2026 to fulfill their new role. Absalon is 137 meters long and has a full displacement around 6,600 tons. The Iver Huitfeldt class is a three-ship class of air defence frigates that entered service in 2012 and 2013. The class is built on the experience gained from the Absalon class frigates, and by reusing the basic hull design of the Absalons the Royal Danish Navy have been able to construct the Iver Huitfeldt class considerably cheaper than comparable ships. The frigates are compatible with the Danish Navy's StanFlex modular mission payload system used in the Absalons, and are designed with slots for six modules. Each of the four stanflex positions on the missile deck is able to accommodate either the Mk 141 8-cell Harpoon launcher module, or the 12-cell Mark 56 ESSM VLS. The rest two modules are fitted with two 76mm guns while there is a 32-cell Mk41 VLS amidships for 32 SM-2 IIIA (currently) or SM-3, SM-6 or Tomahawk cruise missiles in the future. Iver Huidfeldt is 139 meters long and has a full displacement around 6,650 tons. Unfortunately the access to her was not allowed. Both ships carry an impressive armament. Enjoy the photos!

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