Ship’s dog ‘Judy’

Judy sits up and listens to a sailor’s commands on the deck of HMS GRASSHOPPER.

Judy (1937 – 17 February 1950) was a ship’s dog on board HMS Gnat and HMS Grasshopper before and during World War II. She helped save the lives of the crew of the Grasshopper following the sinking of the ship, and, once captured by the Japanese, helped the men in the Prisoner-of-war camp. She struck up a friendship with Frank Williams, with whom she spent the rest of her life. She was the only dog to be registered as a Second World War Prisoner of War, and survived for a while in the jungles of Sumatra after the guards had sentenced her to death. Following the war, she came to the United Kingdom with Williams and was awarded the Dickin Medal by the PDSA, considered to be the animals’ VC.

Ship’s dog ‘Inky’

Inky, the amphibious dog.

Inky belonged to Lt (jg) Paul Rork, who was the ship’s 1st Lieutenant. Lt. Rork bought Inky in California before the ship sailed for Hawaii. Inky later achieved some measure of fame because of her habit of eating cigarette butts.

As Lt. Rork tells it: “… Not the crew, but the army or the marines that were aboard, would smoke and throw their butts over the side, but didn’t know the lee side from the windward side, and the butts would fly back on the deck and Inky would come over to a butt and sniff it. It would burn her nose. She would knock off the ash and eat the cigarette, literally eat it. And she did this for over two and a half years.”

“When she had her puppies, and when we brought them home, the veterinarian called me over, and he said, “You have to tell me the history of this dog.” I said, “What’s wrong?” He said, “There’s not a worm in any puppy.” … He said, “Tell me what she did.” I said, “Well, she was famous for eating cigarettes.” “Awww,” he said, “You know what a worm capsule is made out of? What kills the worms? Nicotine!” He said, “I have to write this up for the Cornell Veterinary Journal.” . . . which he did.

Indian Navy commissions sixth Russian-built frigate

The Indian Navy has commissioned its sixth Talwar-class frigate, the INS Trikand (F51).

The Talwar-class is a modified Krivak III (Project 11356) frigate, built for the Indian Navy in Russian shipyards. The Trikand was built the Yantar shipyard in Kaliningrad, Russia and will be equipped with the BrahMos cruise missile.

The Trikand is the last of a 6 ship batch of Krivak III frigates, however Indian and Russia are currently negotiating for the purchase of Krivak IV frigates. Whether these will be built in Russia or under-licence at an Indian shipyard is not known.

India inducts new power-packed stealth frigate INS Trikand

Rajat Pandit, TNN | Jun 29, 2013, 07.07 PM IST

NEW DELHI: In tune with its operational drive to turn “stealthy” because surprise and deception are crucial in modern-day warfare, the Navy inducted its latest guided-missile stealth frigate INS Trikand on Saturday.

INS Trikand is the last of the six stealth frigates ordered from Russia. The Navy had earlier inducted three 4,000-tonne Talwar-class stealth frigates ( Talwar, Trishul and Tabar) from Russia in 2003-2004.

Then, impressed by the punch the frigates packed, India ordered another three (Teg, Tarkash and Trikand) under a $1.15 billion contract inked in 2006.

On Saturday, Navy vice chief Vice admiral R K Dhowan commissioned INS Trikand at a ceremony at Kaliningrad in Russia, which was also attended by the Indian ambassador Ajai Malhotra and other top Indian and Russian officials.

“Her sister ships INS Teg and INS Tarkash were commissioned last year and are now undertaking operations as part of the Western Fleet,” said an officer. INS Trikand carries a state-of-the-art combat suite, which includes the supersonic 290-km BrahMos missile system, Shtil advanced surface-to-air missiles, an upgraded A-190 medium range gun, an electro-optical 30-mm close-in weapon system, anti-submarine weapons such as torpedoes and rockets and an advanced electronic warfare system.

“The weapons and sensors are integrated through a combat management system ‘Trebovanie-M’, which enables the ship to simultaneously neutralise multiple surface, sub-surface and air threats,” said the officer.

The ship also incorporates “innovative” features to reduce its radar, magnetic and acoustic “signatures” to ensure it is relatively difficult to detect by enemy radars. Powered by four gas turbines, the frigate is capable of speeds in excess of 30 knots. “The ship, commanded by Captain Ajay Kochhar with a crew of 300 officers and sailors, can also carry an integrated Kamov-31 helicopter suited for airborne early warning roles,” he said.

India, of course, is also building its own stealth frigates. Three Shivalik-class frigates, built at Mazagon Docks (MDL), have already been inducted by the Navy. Then, there is an over Rs 50,000 crore plan on the anvil to construct seven advanced stealth frigates, with all weapon and missile systems under the hull for a lower radar “signature”, in a programme called Project-17A.

The project will be shared between MDL at Mumbai and Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) at Kolkata.

Replacing the Royal Canadian Navy’s aging destroyers, oilers

If you want an example of a hard-working navy then look no further than the Royal Canadian Navy who still manage to do so much (CMF, SNMG1, etc.) despite having a fleet of aging ships.

Dear Lord! The Protector-class oilers are nearly as old as I am. (Guess on a postcard, please.) Political considerations mean that the replacements will likely have to be ordered from a Canadian builder, which rules out the economies of scale offered by joined the UK’s Royal Fleet Auxiliary in procurement of the MARS tanker.

The Iroquois-class destroyers are also showing their age – launched between 1970 and 1972, and commissioned in ’72. These workhorses have been in commission for over 40-years and a replacement is long-overdue. Again, domestic political considerations mean that any replacement will have to be built (or led) by Canadian yards. This prevented the RCN from procuring either the Royal Navy’s Type 45 or the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class.

So what will Canada buy… and when?

Canadian government to make decision on shipbuilding projects in the fall

The Canadian Coast Guard is also designing a new polar-class icebreaker, the CCGS John G. Diefenbaker, to replace its existing heavy icebreaker, the Louis S. St-Laurent (pictured), which is due to be retired in 2017. Photograph by: Handout/Fisheries and Oceans Canada , Postmedia News

OTTAWA — The federal government will decide in the fall whether resupplying Canada’s navy or Arctic sovereignty is more important.

The Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Coast Guard have been in fits in recent months as each has major shipbuilding projects scheduled to be ready for construction at the same time around 2015.

But the Vancouver shipyard slated to build them can only handle one project at a time, meaning work on either the Navy’s new resupply ships or the Coast Guard’s new polar icebreaker will have to be delayed.

Senior officials briefing reporters on background on the government’s $35-billion national shipbuilding strategy Friday confirmed the conflict and said a decision is coming.

“It is clear that the decision will require that the production and delivery schedule for one of the projects be adjusted to accommodate the construction of the other,” said one Public Works official who could not be identified. “The final decision as to which project goes first will be made in the fall of 2013.”

There are major ramifications associated with putting off either project.

The Navy’s existing 50-year-old resupply ships are environmentally unsound and prohibitively expensive to maintain, while the Coast Guard’s existing heavy icebreaker is also near the end of its life.

In addition, a delay to either project will have financial repercussions because of inflation and other increased costs, which means the government will have to either put in more money or accept fewer or less capable ships.

National Defence, the Coast Guard and the Public Works department will spend the summer assessing the potential impacts of delaying either project so an informed decision can be made.

“The decision will be based on a comprehensive assessment that will consider operational impacts such as the need to include ship-life extension and refit costs for existing vessels,” the Public Works official said. “The assessment will also include the readiness of each ship design, schedule optimization and risks.”

One Coast Guard official, who also could not be identified, said a study is already looking into what work will need to be done to keep the 44-year-old Louis S. St-Laurent heavy icebreaker in the water past its 2017 retirement date.

“That’ll involve some investment in that vessel if we are to keep her in service should we not be the first of the large shipbuilds,” he said.

University of Calgary defence expert Rob Huebert said the Louis S. St-Laurent is nearing the end of her life and desperately needed, but so are new resupply ships, especially as Canada looks to increase its military presence in the Pacific Ocean.

“So there isn’t an obvious clear answer as to which should go first,” he said. “The answer is both of them should go first, but you can’t do that. So there’s going to be some real hard decisions.”

The government officials maintained, however, that both the Navy and Coast Guard are not contemplating stabbing each other in the back to make sure their ships are chosen first.

“It’s important to understand that we’re working on this together,” said one naval officer. “It is the government’s fleet … We’re just at the beginning of the detailed work on that, and we are working together to produce it and to come up with the best options, the best solution for Canada.”

Meanwhile, the officials maintained confidence the shipyards in Vancouver and Halifax responsible for overseeing the majority of work associated with the $35-billion shipbuilding plan will be able to scale up and begin cutting steel soon.

Physical work on the first offshore fisheries and science vessels is scheduled to begin in Vancouver in 2014 and 2015, respectively, while the navy’s new Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessels are to start coming together in Halifax in 2015.

A schedule for work on the first replacements for the Navy’s existing destroyers and frigates, which will also be built in Halifax, hasn’t been decided yet.

The government also announced $488 million for about two-dozen smaller Coast Guard lifeboats and science vessels earlier this week, contracts for which will be bid on by shipyards that aren’t part of the larger shipbuilding work.

Restoration work on HMS Alliance nears completion

Restoration work on HMS Alliance nears completion as the historic submarine receives a final coat of paint at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in

Launched in 1945, HMS Alliance was one of fourteen ‘A’ class submarines built for service in the Far East during World War 2.

Back in Black

With the grey anti corrosion undercoat complete Alliance was ready for the final coat in black. The black paint had to be done non-stop without a break in order that the paint dried with an even finish all over. The scaffolding that has shrouded the boat for the past nine months is now slowly being dismantled but there remains a lot of finishing off work to the cofferdam while inside the boat work will carry on until February 2014.

With the grey anti corrosion undercoat complete Alliance was ready for the final coat in black. The black paint had to be done non-stop without a break in order that the paint dried with an even finish all over. The scaffolding that has shrouded the boat for the past nine months is now slowly being dismantled but there remains a lot of finishing off work to the cofferdam while inside the boat work will carry on until February 2014.

China warns Philipines of “counterstrike” in South China Sea

Here we go. The bellicose rumblings of a hungry superpower.

China media warns Philippines of ‘counterstrike’ in South China Sea

Photo: Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s state media warned on Saturday that a “counterstrike” against the Philippines was inevitable if it continues to provoke Beijing in the South China Sea, potentially Asia’s biggest military troublespot.

The warning comes as ministers from both countries attend an Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting in Brunei, starting Saturday, which hopes to reach a legally binding code of conduct to manage maritime conduct in disputed areas.

At stake are potentially massive offshore oil reserves. The seas also lie on shipping lanes and fishing grounds.

Both China and the Philippines have been locked in a decades-old territorial squabble over the South China Sea, with tensions flaring after the Philippines moved new soldiers and supplies last week to a disputed coral reef, prompting Beijing to condemn Manila’s “illegal occupation”.

The overseas edition of the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, said in a front-page commentary that the Philippines had committed “seven sins” in the South China Sea.

These include the “illegal occupation” of the Spratly Islands, inviting foreign capital to engage in oil and gas development in the disputed waters and promoting the “internationalization” of the waters, said the commentary.

The Philippines has called on the United States to act as a “patron”, while ASEAN has become an “accomplice,” said the commentary, which does not amount to official policy but can reflect the government’s thinking.

“The Philippines, knowing that it’s weak, believes that ‘a crying child will have milk to drink’,” the People’s Daily said, accusing Manila of resorting to many “unscrupulous” tricks in the disputed waters.

Beijing’s assertion of sovereignty over a vast stretch of the South China Sea has set it directly against Vietnam and the Philippines, while Brunei, Taiwan and Malaysia also lay claim to other parts of the sea.

The 10-member ASEAN hopes to reach a legally binding Code of Conduct to manage maritime conduct in disputed areas. For now a watered-down “Declaration of Conduct” is in place.

On Thursday, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned that countries with territorial claims in the South China Sea that look for help from third parties will find their efforts “futile”, adding that the path of confrontation would be “doomed”.

Last week, China vowed to protect its sovereignty over the Second Thomas Shoal, known in China as the Ren’ai reef. The Philippines is accusing China of encroachment after three Chinese ships, including a naval frigate, converged just five nautical miles (nine km) from an old transport ship that Manila ran aground on a reef in 1999 to mark its territory.

Last year, China and the Philippines were locked in a tense two-month standoff at the Scarborough Shoal, which is only about 124 nautical miles off the Philippine coast. Chinese ships now control the shoal, often chasing away Filipino fishermen.