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Thursday 16 October 2014

Machitis class patrol boats of the Hellenic Navy

 Written by D-Mitch

P-268 Aittitos of Machitis class. Photo: Hellenic Navy
Machitis class consists of four patrol boats in service with the navy of Greece, the Hellenic Navy. The design is by Hellenic Shipyards thus the origin of designation HSY-56A, an improved design of the previous HSY-56 which is based on the Danish Osprey-55 (both classes will  analyzed in a common article in the future). The boats of the class are the most modern patrol vessels of Hellenic Navy and some of the best equipped boats worldwide in this displacement and category, especially in the electronic equipment and the variety of sensors. The ships were built by Hellenic Shipyards and delivered to Hellenic Navy the period 2003-2005. The full displacement of the ships is close to 575tons, the length is approximately 56m, the maximum speed is about 23-24knots while the range is 2,500n.m. with the cruising speed of 15knots. The crew is 36 people (50 people max. according to Hellenic Shipyards) while each ship can carry additionally 21 fully equipped troops; usually Special Forces soldiers. Each vessel carries two Barracuda 7m Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIB) that have a maximum speed of 60knots. Moreover, the ships have the capability to deposit mines from the two mine rails they have at the stern and thus to operate as small minelayers.

Modified photo of Machitis class patrol boat of the Hellenic Navy. For a high resolution image click here.
OTO Melara 76mm of Aittitos
Photo: Hellenic Navy
L70/520R 40mm gun.
Photo: OTO Melara
The ships are armed with the standard OTO Melara Compatto 3in (76.2mm) fully automatic gun installed forward of the bridge. This gun can hit air and surface targets at a distance of 4 km (at 85 degrees) and 16 km (effective 8 km) respectively with a rate of fire 85 rounds per minute and weight of shell greater than 6 kg. The boats have also a 40mm/L70 Breda-Bofors gun fitted on a Type 520R naval mount installed aft. The gun has a rate of fire of about 300rds/min while the mount is characterized by high elevation and training speed, high accuracy, digital servo systems and option of remote control together with an easily operable gyro stabilized local control device. In remote control, the mounting operates unmanned and completely automatically thus ensuring quick intervention. The gun mount is fitted with an automatic feeding device for 144 rounds on the training platform. The gun has an effective range of about 2.5-3km while the maximum horizontal range is approximately 12km.

The two RHIB with their cranes of P-266 Machitis Photo: Kapa Paratiriths
Except the 76mm and 40mm guns, the boats have two single Rheinmetall Rh202 20mm guns located amidships at the two sides of the superstructure. The Rh-202 which is known also in German service as Mk20 gun, it is a very reliable weapon, gas operated with double belt feed and it fires single shots or automatic fire at 900-1000rds/min (ammunition in 200 round belts). The effective range is more than 2km.

The vessels have also two mountings for M1919 .30cal machine guns. The rate of fire is 400-600 rounds per minute and the effective firing range is higher than 1km. The following image is a screenshot from the posted video.

M1919 .30cal machine gun of Nikiforos patrol vessel
For increased air-defense protection the ships carry FIM-92 Stinger portable personal missile launchers (MANPADS). The Stinger missile carries a high explosive annular blast fragmentation 3kg warhead in a range (effective) of more than 8 kilometers.
The L70/520R 40mm dual role gun.
Photo: Kapa Paratiriths
Photo of the stern, notice the mine rails.
Photo: Kapa Paratiriths

Rh202 aboard German Frigate Augsburg.
Photo: Markus Titsch,

Rh202 aboard German Frigate Bayern.
Photo: Markus Titsch,

Racks for laying mines
Mk36 SRBOC decoy launcher
The decoy launchers are the BAE Systems Mk 36 Super Rapid Bloom Offboard Countermeasures (SRBOC) Chaff and Decoy Launching System. It is a shipboard, deck-mounted, 6-barreled 130mm mortar-type array that launches type-specific countermeasures against a variety of threats. Following launch and dispersion, Mk36 SRBOC chaff and infrared countermeasures are designed to lure hostile missiles away from ships under attack by creating false target sets. The Mk36 SRBOC launching system is controlled from the ship’s combat management system (see last paragraph), and it is dependent on information provided by the ship’s detection and threat analysis equipment. The Mk36 SRBOC consists of the Mk137 launcher, firing stations at the bridge and CIC, the Mk160 power supply, Mk5 Mod2 or Mod4 Ready Service Lockers (RSLs), and a selection of munitions. Each vessel carries two Mk137 launchers.
P-269 Krataios. Photo: Hellenic Navy

Variant (top antenna) and integrated
SCOUT (lower) radars. Photo: Thales
The ships are equipped with a Variant two-dimensional (2D) multipurpose short-medium range surveillance radar with range up to 70km for surface targets and120km for air targets. Variant, offers surveillance and target indication (200 air and 200 surface targets). Its principal role is as an automatic, fast reaction time radar sensor, supplying targeting data to weapon systems. Automatic target detection and tracking in 2D plus radial speed is supplied for both air and surface targets simultaneously. For surface targets, it offers 3 gunfire channels. Variant includes a dual-band radar, utilizing both the I- and G-bands (X&C-band). Fully coherent, Variant provides pulse-doppler operation for optimal clutter suppression and air target detection without disturbance by multi-path (or lobbing) effects thanks to the dual-frequency. Outstanding ECM facilities are provided by the ability to operate over two frequency bands, an octave apart, and the third part of Variant, an integral Low Probability of Intercept (LPI) radar. This LPI radar can be used alone for flexible responsiveness, thus providing Variant the unusual ability to operate in a mode that is almost undetectable to external ESM.

From left to right: Mirador, Lirod, SRBOC, navigation radars,
Variant with Scout, DR3000 ESM. The Rh-202 gun at  the
base of the mast is covered. Photo: Kapa Paratiriths
P-266 Machitis.
Photo: Kapa Paratiriths

P-267 Nikiforos.
Photo: Kapa Paratiriths

SCOUT Mk2 LPI radar. Photo: Thales
The SCOUT Mk2 is the integrated LPI radar, a short-to-medium range surface surveillance and tactical navigation radar. The system is not reported by any online source that it is fitted on the boats despite the fact that the ships clearly carry it connected (integrated) with the Variant radar. The system can be operated remotely (radio or line connection). It is an all-weather fully solid-state system of high reliability operating in X-band radar feauturing Frequency Modulation Continuous Wave (FMCW) and therefore has an extremely low output power which makes the system ideal for cover operations in hostile environments where radar silence is required and thus its transmissions cannot be detected by ESM systems or radar warning receivers. SCOUT Mk2 outstandingly detects targets in adverse sea clutter conditions, thanks to its very small range cell size. The system is also very suitable for coastal surveillance.

P-266 Machitis, lead ship of the class; notice the mine dropping rails. Photo: Hellenic Navy

One of the navigation radars is the Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine BridgeMaster E. The standard BridgeMaster models include clutter suppression capabilities unequalled in other marine radars, and with BridgeMaster E there is the option of fitting “Vision”, a revolutionary new clutter suppression system. This provides the first true hands-off clutter and gain control capability. “Vision” allows the operator to leave the radar in automatic clutter suppression mode even when close to land and totally eliminates the need to adjust radar gain as the operator changes range or pulse length. The operator is left free to concentrate on important navigation activitieswithout the distraction of optimizing radar settings. BridgeMaster E comes with a comprehensive array of features to enhance situation awareness and tools to enable the operator to perform navigation functions effectively and efficiently. Moreover, by combining inputs from two separate radar transceivers, the BridgeMaster E Dual Channel system can eliminate the effects blind arcs cause by blockages from the ship’s or platform’s superstructure, and can provide 360-degree visibility of the surrounding area. The radar family consists of ATA (Automatic Tracking Aid) and ARPA (Automatic Radar Plotting Aid) series. ARPA and ATA have the ability to track 60 and 40 targets respectively at relative speeds of up to 150 knots. Tracked target data is output to other shipborne systems such as electronic chart systems (ECS). Targets may be acquired manually or by using the annular and polygonal automatic acquisition zones.

P-266 Machitis, lead ship of the class. Photo: Hellenic Navy
The second navigation radar is the Raytheon (Raymarine) RL80C MARPA. The RL80C includes a 10 target MARPA (Mini Automatic Radar Plotting Aid) capability for tracking radar targets and providing collision warnings. The RL80C radar is compatible with Raymarine's MARPA collision avoidance system, allowing the operator to track other vessels and display the target's speed, range, bearing, course and closest point of approach so that you know exactly when and where a target will intercept the ship's course.

P-266 Machitis. Photo: Sinisa Aljinovic

The fire control tracking system of the boats is the Thales LIROD Mk2. LIROD is Thales Naval Nederland's lightweight combination of a K-band pencil-beam tracking TWT radar and a TV camera. LIROD Mk 2 has been designed primarily for use as a target tracking system for gunfire control and it can operate either as a main sensor in an autonomous weapon control system or as a secondary sensor, integrated in a combat system configuration. LIROD Mk 2 is particularly suitable for short range all-weather operation where high accuracy is required combined with low-level capability, low susceptibility to jamming and the possibility of passive operation. For upgrade and ship-life-extension-programs (SLEP), the system can be adapted to long range search, identification and classification of asymmetric threats as piracy and insurgency.

P-267 Nikiforos. Photo: Hellenic Navy

Mirador at the top of the bridge.
Photo: Kapa Paratiriths
In the sensors of the boats it is included a Thales MIRADOR electro-optical tracking and fire control system. MIRADOR is a compact, fully optronic observation and weapon control system. The one-piece stealthy sensor head houses a mix of electro- optical sensors for TV surveillance, TV tracking, IR tracking and laser range finding. Its lightweight design enables ultra-quick responses. An ergonomically designed state-of-the-art Human Machine Interface completes the system in a stand-alone configuration. MIRADOR acts as a secondary passive fire control and observation channel on board.

P-268 Aittitos patrol vessel.
P-266 Machitis patrol vessel.
Photo: Yörük Işık,
DR3000 atop of the mast.
Photo: Kapa Paratiriths

The boats of the class are equipped with the DR3000SLW Electronic Support Measures (ESM) system, a system that equips the majority of Hellenic Navy warships. The vessels also feature a rich communication equipment including terminal Link 11, HF6000, TUKL and others, integrated together with the weapon systems, sensors, EW system and decoy launchers in the hi-tech Thales TACTICOS Combat Management System (CMS) with two Multifunctional Operator Consoles (MOC) Mk3.

P-268 Aittitos. Photo:


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