Friday, 26 June 2015

Ada class corvettes of the Turkish Navy

Written by D-Mitch
TCG Heybeliada, lead ship of the Ada class corvettes
The MILGEM project, from the Turkish words Milli Gemi (National Ship), is a Turkish national warship program with the aim to design and build locally a fleet of hi-tech stealth multipurpose corvettes and frigates that will replace older ships which are currently in service. Through this ambitious program, Turkey seeks to improve national military shipbuilding capacity and skills and ultimately to achieve independence from foreign weapon producers, designers and manufacturers. More than 50 local companies, including the largest Turkish defense firms such as Aselsan, Havelsan and RMK Marine, play a significant role in the MILGEM project, gaining invaluable experience in warship design and construction. The MILGEM Project Office of the Istanbul Naval Shipyard Command executes and coordinates the design, development and construction works of the MILGEM project since March 12, 2004. The programme initially included the construction of 12 ships in two batches (blocks, due to important differences among the batches). The first batch would have included eight (8) multipurpose corvettes the so-called MILGEM Block I (Ada; island in Turkish) class while the last four (4) would be of the TF-100 frigates equipped with vertical-launching system (VLS) for surface-to-air (SAM) missiles. This plan changed recently as the first batch will include only four corvettes of the Ada class, while all the rest ships will be designated as MILGEM Block II.

Friday, 12 June 2015

WARSHIPS OF THE PAST: Almirante Grau cruiser of the Peruvian Navy

Written by D-Mitch
Almirante Grau (CLM-81) cruiser of the Peruvian Navy
There are very few navies in the world today that have cruisers in their inventories. Two of the world's superpowers, as somebody could expected, the USA and Russia, have such warships in their fleets, ships that exceed the 10,000tons displacement and of length greater than 170 meters. The U.S. Navy has the Ticonderoga class (22 ships in active service) while the giant Zumwalt class destroyers, ships that are superior to cruisers, are under construction. Russia has one Kirov class cruiser in active service with another one under re-construction, which are the largest and most heavily armed surface combatant in the world today (thus sometimes they are classified as battlecruisers) and three Slava class cruisers. There are also navies in Asia that have ships that are classified as destroyers despite the fact that they have a displacement over than 10,000tons and they carry a very heavy armament. Such navies are the Japanese Navy with the Atago class and South Korean Navy with the mighty Senjong the Great class that is equipped with 128-cell vertical launching system (!), ships that are equal to cruisers in size (except the length) and armament. However, there is one more country except the "big two" that has also a cruiser in her inventory, a country with an important naval tradition and with a strong fleet. This country is Peru. Peruvian Navy's flagship today is BAP Almirante Grau (CLM-81), the last 6in gun armed cruiser in the world, a cruiser that its main armament consists of.. guns!

Thursday, 4 June 2015

WARSHIPS OF THE PAST: California class nuclear-powered cruisers of the United States Navy

Written by D-Mitch

USS California, lead ship of the class. Photo: O' Connor
The California class cruisers were two nuclear-powered guided missile cruisers operated by the United States Navy between 1974 and 1998. The class was built as a follow-up to the nuclear-powered Long Beach, Bainbridge, and Truxtun classes. Like all of the nuclear cruisers, which could steam for years between refueling, the California class was designed in part to provide high endurance escort for the navy's new Nimitz class nuclear aircraft carriers, which were often limited in range due to their conventionally powered escorts continuously needing to be refueled. A third ship was approved but it was soon cancelled in favor of the improved Virginia class. Other than their nuclear power supply and lack of helicopter hangars, the ships of California class were comparable to other guided missile cruisers of their era, such as the Belknap class. The Californias were considered larger and even more sophisticated than Truxtun, a nuclear-powered cruiser derivative of the Belknap class, and returned to the double-ended concept although using single-arm launchers.

Monday, 1 June 2015

WARSHIPS OF THE PAST: Virginia class nuclear-powered cruisers of the United States Navy

Written by D-Mitch

USS Virginia (CGN-38) lead ship of the Virginia class nuclear-
powered cruisers, prior her refit in the '80s.
Elegant and heavily armed warships, the Virginia-class nuclear-powered guided-missile cruisers were a series of four double-ended (with armament carried both fore and aft) guided-missile cruisers commissioned in the late 1970s, which served in the United States Navy until the mid-to-late 1990s. A fifth warship, the CGN-42, was canceled before being named or laid down. With their nuclear power plants, and the resulting capability of steaming at high speeds for long periods of time, these were excellent escorts for the fast nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, such as the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. Their main mission was as air-defense ships, though they did have excellent flagship facilities, capabilities as anti-submarine (ASW) ships, surface-to-surface warfare (SSW) ships, and in gun and missile bombardment of shore targets.