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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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Thursday, 28 January 2021

SuperTermoli (ST) 60 MMI - The successor of Hellenic Navy UDC's ST60 fast interceptor

Written by D-Mitch
 
SuperTermoli (ST) 60 MMI
In a previous post we described the
ST60 interceptor, the only real interceptor craft in the SOC fleet, designed by the manufacturer SuperTermoli and built in Greece. SuperTermoli is a high-speed vessel manufacturing company based in Kallithea, Attica. The construction of the boats takes place in a shipyard in the area of Schimatari, Boeotia. The technologies and expertise of SuperTermoli have given rise to a vessel comparable to a supercar: tremendously fast, but also able to navigate safely at cruising speeds substantially above the upper limits of many other boats! This line of models is high-speed powerboats made of fiberglass specifically designed for special operations. Depending on the engines installed, they can reach a top speed of more than 70 knots even in rough waters and can carry maximum 20 people for special missions. SuperTermoli powerboats are made οf Italian technology and represent the state of the art of shipbuilding and mechanical engineering for boating in order to offer reliability and endurance under extreme situations that long-range operations demand, maintaining speeds of 60 knots. In this article we will reveal more information about the successor design, the ST60 Multi-Mission Interceptor (MMI), a more advanced craft with increased capabilities than the initial ST60.
 
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Saturday, 26 December 2020

Castor class coastal patrol vessels of the Belgian Navy (plus PHOTO GALLERY #36)

Written by D-Mitch

The two coastal patrol vessels of the Belgian Navy
The Belgian Navy, officially the Belgian Maritime Component (Marinecomponent) of the Belgian Armed Forces, provides the maritime component of Belgium’s defence capabilities. The Naval Component of the Belgian Armed Forces consists currently of two frigates, five mine hunters, two offshore patrol vessels, one command and support ship and one oceanographic ship, all located in the Belgian naval base in Zeebrugge. The Navy also operates a sail training ship, a number of tugs and a large number of rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs), the majority of them carried by the naval units. It is a small but modern and very capable naval force and will be even more capable in the future thanks to two major projects which will provide six new multi-mission large minehunters and two multi-mission frigates. In this article we will analyze the patrol boats.

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Monday, 30 November 2020

PHOTO GALLERY #35: Binzhou, frigate of the People's Liberation Army Navy

Binzhou, Type 054A-class frigate of the PLAN
Another photo gallery from my visit to Kiel in 2018, on the first weekend of the 136th Kiel Week. More galleries will follow from 2018-19 Kiel Weeks. 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. This post is about a very unique visitor to Kiel, a People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Type 054A class frigate (Jiangkai II), Binzhou (515)! The Type 054A (NATO codename Jiangkai II) frigate is a class of Chinese multi-role frigates, the first of which entered service with the People's Liberation Army Navy Surface Force in 2007. It is a development of the Type 054 frigate (2 ships), using the same hull but with improved sensors and weapons (such as a VLS instead of a trainable launcher, new CIWS and main gun). This is the second frigate of the class I visited after the Yuncheng (see here) in 2015. Binzhou was commissioned in December 2016 and she is the 23rd vessel (Batch III) in a class of total 30 ships (pus the two Type 054s) until now. A new frigate that is under development will succeed the class. Binzhou is 134 meters long and has a full displacement around 4,000 tons. Enjoy the photos!

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Saturday, 31 October 2020

CNV P355GR, the new coastal patrol vessels of the Hellenic Coast Guard

Written by D-Mitch

The first two P355s at CNV shipyard in Italy
One of the new boat designs that will join the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) (Λιμενικό Σώμα - Ελληνική Ακτοφυλακή) naval forces in the near future (ream more here) is the P355GR, a coastal patrol vessel design by the Italian shipbuilder Cantiere Navale Vittoria (CNV) SpA. On Jan 22, 2019, the Greek Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy signed a
€42 million contract with Cantiere Navale Vittoria, through the exclusive representative of the company in Greece, Gladius PC, for the supply of three (3) state-of-the-art patrol boats to the HCG and an option for a fourth vessel. This day marked the beginning of an ambitious mini-armament program for HCG, a program that aims to strengthen the organization with modern boats with increased capabilities and new equipment but also to modernize existing equipment such as craft and aircraft.
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Thursday, 22 October 2020

MAGNA 960RIB Invader, the workhorse of Hellenic Army Amphibious Special Forces

Written by Γ.Μ.

Motomarine Magna 960RIB Mk I Invader
The Hellenic Army Amphibious Raider (Special) Forces (
Δυνάμεις Αμφίβιων Καταδρομών, Ελληνικός Στρατός) which were developed in the islands of the eastern Aegean after 1974, are the most elite part of the Greek defense against the threat from the east to these islands. The main and, at present, the most capable and most numerous floating mean available to the Amphibious Special Forces, are the high speed rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) Magna 960RIB Invader. The procedures for their acquisition began immediately after the events in Imia between Greece and Turkey in 1996, under the urgent need to replace the old boats of the types L19, L27 and L30 used by the Special Forces of the Hellenic Army of that time.
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Wednesday, 30 September 2020

SuperTermoli (ST) 60 - The best fast interceptor craft of the Hellenic Navy Underwater Demolition Command

Written by D-Mitch
 
The SuperTermoli (ST) 60 ΣΑΠ 11 returns into active
service fully modernized and upgraded!
The Underwater Demolition Command (UDC) (Greek: Διοίκηση Υποβρυχίων Καταστροφών), abbreviated as DYK) is the Hellenic Navy's elite special warfare unit. The DYK is organized into sections called Underwater Demolition Teams (Greek: Ομάδες Υποβρυχίων Καταστροφών), commonly known in their abbreviated form as OYK, that specialize in a particular area. DYK integrates Special Operation Forces (SOF) teams, Amphibious Reconnaissance Teams, Explosive Ordnance Teams (EOD), Special Operation Craft (SOC, ΣΑΠ in Greek) and Underwater Vessels (UV), the Underwater Demolition School (UDS), and the Underwater Demolition Base (UDB) according to the Operation Planning and under the orders of Hellenic Navy General Staff and Hellenic Navy Fleet Command. Among the several boats of different types (unfortunately) in the Command's inventory, there is one that distinguishes from all the rest thanks to its performance and size. This is the ST60 interceptor, the only real interceptor craft actually in the SOC fleet, designed by the Italian manufacturer SuperTermoli and built in Greece.

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Tuesday, 11 August 2020

VIKING Norsafe Munin S1200 Extended Cabin ambulance boat of the Hellenic Coast Guard

Written by D-Mitch

VIKING Norsafe Munin S1200 Extended Cabin

As I had reported in early February, in the article VIKING Norsafe boats for the Hellenic Armed Forces (Part B: Hellenic Navy and Hellenic Coast Guard), the VIKING Norsfafe Hellas was manufacturing that time three (3) VIKING Norsafe Munin S1200 Extended Cabin offshore, high-performance, ambulance boats, for the the Hellenic Coast Guard at its facilities in Theba, Greece. The boats are designed to support emergency services in the Aegean Sea. The international tender was concluded after cooperation between the Hellenic Coast Guard and the Greek Emergency Response Organization (E.K.A.B), in an initiative supported and financed by the European Union under the INTERREG V-A Cooperation Program 2014-2020. The cost for the three boats reached the 1,398,000 euros. All three ambulance boats are scheduled for delivery during the summer of 2020 and will operate in remote Greek islands of the Aegean. This post will walk you through the first boat that was delivered on August 3 and will be stationed in Naxos island, the largest of the Cyclades island group. Τhe other two vessels will be stationed in Rhodes and Leros.

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Wednesday, 29 July 2020

PHOTO GALLERY #34: Karathanasis, fast attack craft of the Hellenic Navy

Ypoploiarchos Karathanasis, the new FACM of Greece
In this new photo gallery I share the photos I took on two different days of the new 6th Roussen-class fast attack missile craft (FACM) of the Hellenic Navy, Ypoploiarchos Karathanasis (P-78). The new boat was named after Lieutenant Christodoulos Karathanasis who was killed on 31 January 1996, during the Imia crisis, when the AB 212 helicopter PN 21 crashed into the sea. The first six photos were taken while I was onboard the new general support ship Heracles (A-472) on July 2 during a Photographic Exercise (Photex), when Karathanasis was on her final sea trials. The rest of the photos, 30 in total, were taken during the naming ceremony of the ship on July 28. Finally, I have included also at the end of the post seven photos which were taken on these two days by the Hellenic Navy. Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to visit the ship neither I had enough time to take more photos; I hope I will do that in the near future and thus to learn more about her differences from her older sisters in the class and subsequently to enrich this article with more photos. Enjoy!

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