Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPC), the Other LCS

Chuck Hill's CG Blog

This is another post I prepared for Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC) as part of “Corvette Week.”

The US Coast Guard is currently in the first part or a two part program to select a design for a planned class of 25 ships referred to as Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPC) also called the Maritime Security Cutter, Medium (WMSM). In many respects these might be thought of a third class of Littoral Combat Ships. They have different characteristics and different strengths and weaknesses, but there is considerable overlap in there characteristics. Like the LCS they will be small, shallow draft, helicopter equipped warships with the 57mm Mk110 gun. It seems likely the OPC will be 2,500 to 3,500 tons, similar in size to the Freedom and Independence class LCS.

The existing LCS classes emphasize adaptability, are faster and have more spacious aviation facilities. The cutters will emphasize seakeeping and will:

  • have greater range (minimum 7,500…

View original post 1,552 more words

Canadian Coast Guard awards MEMTV, OPV contracts

Good news there for the Canadian Coast Guard. Their current fleet of medium endurance vessels dates to the 1960s-1980s and, while there’s life in an old body, only 1 of these is scheduled for a refit during the next 10-yr cycle. The addition of 5 new MEMTVs to the fleet will ease any anxiety over the CCG’s longer-term operational capability.

Vancouver Shipyards awarded another 10 NSPS vessels

OCTOBER 7, 2013 — Diane Finley, Canada’s Minister of Public Works and Government, says that Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards will build an additional 10 non-combat vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard at an estimated cost of Canadian $3.3 billion..

The new ships, confirmed during a visit to the shipyard today by Minister Finley and James Moore, Minister of Industry and Regional Minister for British Columbia, increase Seaspan’s non-combat build package to 17 ships from the seven ships originally announced on October 19,
2011.

The additional ships are five Medium Endurance Multi-Tasked Vessels (MEMTVs) and five Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs).

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to build the next generation of vessels for the men and women of the Canadian Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy,” said Brian Carter, President – Seaspan Shipyards. “Today’s announcement marks the latest milestone in the future of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS) and the rebirth of the shipbuilding industry in British Columbia.

“We are one year into our Shipyard Modernization Project, and with approximately one year remaining, the transformation of Vancouver Shipyards has been profound,” added Mr. Carter. “In addition to the progress on facilities, we are making a huge investment in people, processes and tools. We continue to recruit the best and brightest engineers, project managers and procurement personnel to join the Seaspan team and look forward next year to increasing the number of unionized tradesmen and women once we commence construction of our first ship under the NSPS project.”

http://www.marinelog.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4750:vancouver-shipyards-awarded-another-10-nsps-vessels&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=195

Nope. Not gonna translate this article into French. All that “Garde côtière canadienne” stuff is down to you folks.

It’s all about the littorals… Rolls Royce unveils OPV design

Rolls Royce unveils its new patrol vessel (to be available in 55, 75 and 90-metre flavours). The new vessels will be in direct competition with of the BAE Systems OPV, the National Security Cutter and the Navantia BAM. It a world where littoral warfare, counter-piracy and counter-narcotics operations are increasingly part of of a modern navy’s operational demand, a well-designed OPV is arguably better “bang for your buck” than the LCS or an undersized frigate.

Rolls-Royce unveils new maritime patrol vessel design

Rolls-Royce has unveiled a new design of maritime patrol craft at the Defence & Security Event International (DSEI) in London.

Rolls-Royce unveils new maritime patrol vessel design

The first of a ‘protection vessel family’ of designs, is a new 55-metre craft featuring a range of equipment from Rolls-Royce (stabilisers, thrusters, steering gear, fixed pitch propellers) and MTU (diesels, diesel generators, Callosum IPMS), offering a cost-effective design that can be tailored to mission requirements.

Weighing around 500 tonnes, the new vessel is suited to patrol, search and rescue and interception duties. A 90-metre version of the craft will be on offer by the end of the year, with a 75-metre design following in 2014.

Garry Mills, Rolls-Royce, Chief of Naval Ship Design, said: “Coastal protection and offshore patrol vessels is a growing sector and this new design offers multi-purpose capability, incorporating core design elements that are replicated across the family of vessels.

“Our customers often face short timescales in the procurement of this type of craft, and having a scalable, cost effective offering is essential.

“There is a growing trend of commercial marine technology crossing into naval markets as governments seek cost reduction through proven capability. Naval vessels generally comprise many disparate and complex technologies, and that’s what Rolls-Royce, with its broad product base, is good at integrating bespoke whole-ship systems to minimise programme risk.”

Building on its success in the commercial marine market, Rolls-Royce established its Bristol-based naval ship design team last year which is focused on four key naval vessel types – naval auxiliaries, offshore/coastal patrol vessels, fast attack craft and naval ice-breakers.


http://www.rolls-royce.com/news/press_releases/2013/06092013_patrol_vessel_design.jsp

Trade-Offs In Patrol Vessels

Chuck Hill's CG Blog

Think Defence has brought to my attention, a paper that addresses a way to consider the various possible trade-offs that might be applied to the design of patrol ships. Specifically they look at a ship very similar in concept to the Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC). This straw-man ship is the latest version of BMT Defence Services’ “Venator” concept. It’s dimensions are on the large side but within the range previously used to describe the OPC.

  • Waterline Length: 107 m (351 ft)
  • Beam:                    15 m (49.2 ft)
  • Draft:                     4.3 m (14.1 ft)
  • Displacement: 3,200 tons (approx.)

You can read the paper here (pdf). The ThinkDefence’s post is here. Their discussion is always lively. There is a claim there, quoted from the Royal Navy’s web site, that the current Royal Navy OPVs…

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Nigerian Navy battles pirates in Gulf of Guinea

The Nigerian Navy has killed 12 pirates in a 30-minute gun battle in the Gulf of Guinea. BZ to the Nigerians for what they do. But we can (and should!) do more to help them.

The Nigerian Navy currently boasts a 1970s German frigate, a 1960s US Coast Guard cutter rebadged as frigate, and four 1960s/70s Vosper Thronycroft corvettes. A couple of decommissioned Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates under the Foreign Assistance Act wouldn’t go amiss. Nor would paid off Type 22 frigates that were sold at a pittance for scrap. It is well-and-good for the US, UK, EU and allied partners to provide standing naval forces in the fight against piracy, but regional navies must be brought up to strength with adequate equipment and training in order to truly defeat the scourge.

Nigerian navy says kills 12 pirates in gun battle

(Reuters) – The Nigerian navy killed 12 pirates in a gun battle as they tried to flee from a fuel tanker they hijacked off the coast of the Gulf of Guinea last week, the navy said on Monday.

Pirates took control of the St. Kitts and Nevis-flagged MT Notre on August 15, but an emergency signal was sent to the navy and several gunships were deployed to recover the vessel, Navy Flag Officer Rear Admiral Sidi-Ali Hassan told reporters.

Navy gunships caught up with the vessel and forced it into Nigerian waters but while negotiating the ship’s release, the pirates tried to escape on a speed boat. The navy boats pursued but were fired upon by the hijackers.

“The gun battle lasted for about 30 minutes after which they were overpowered. On taking over the speed boat, four of the militants were alive and unhurt while the rest of the pirates were killed in the crossfire,” Sidi-Ali Hussan said.

The crew were all rescued unharmed from the MT Notre, which was carrying 17,000 metric tons of gasoline, he said.

Pirate attacks off West Africa’s mineral-rich coastline have almost doubled from last year and threaten to jeopardize the shipping of commodities from the region. They have already jacked up insurance costs.

It is rare for the navy to engage pirates in gun battles offshore, as vessels are usually released after being robbed of cargo and valuables. Sometimes crew are kidnapped for ransom.

(Reporting by Tife Owolabi; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/19/us-nigeria-piracy-idUSBRE97I0PY20130819

South African Navy OPVs conduct counter-piracy operations in Mozambique Channel

The SAN Warrior-class OPV is the refurbished Minister-class, originally built during the 1970s by Sandock Austral, Durban under licence from Israel.

SAS Isaac Dyobha takes over from SAS Galeshewe patrolling Mozambique Channel

Photo: Martin Venter, Navy News

The refurbished offshore patrol vessel SAS Isaac Dyobha has taken over from the SAS Galeshewe in patrolling the Mozambique Channel for pirates and other maritime hazards.

Galeshewe is on its way to Cape Town after a four month patrol, and will be used by the South African Navy (SAN) for training duties.

Galeshewe was the first offshore patrol vessel (OPV) to be assigned duties for Operation Copper, the three nation anti-piracy effort off the lower continental east coast. Her deployment in the Mozambique Channel means three different classes of South African warship – the supply ship SAS Drakensberg and at least two of the Valour Class frigates have to date supplied the maritime ears, eyes and reaction forces to stop pirates venturing into Southern African Development Community (SADC) waters.

Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula indicated R585 million of the current defence budget has been allocated to Operation Copper. South Africa has partnered with Mozambique and Tanzania in this ongoing anti-piracy operation.

Three Warrior-class strike craft (of nine originally received in the 1970s and 80s) were recently converted into offshore patrol vessels by Southern African Shipyards (SAS). Isaac Dyobha completed sea acceptance trials at the end of February, with Galeshewe following shortly afterwards. SAS Makhanda is still awaiting sea trials, as spare parts are required before the vessel can head out to sea, according to Southern African Shipyards.

A fourth strike craft, SAS Adam Kok, is currently at Salisbury Island, Durban, awaiting refit. Tenders have gone out, but not been awarded yet.

An OPV will be permanently operated from Naval Station Durban – they are currently operating from there on a detached basis from Simon’s Town, rotating with one another.

Royal Navy stretched too thin, unable to meet NATO commitments

The Royal Navy has made not contribution to STANAVFORLANT since 2009 and no contribution to STANAVFORMED since 2010.

The RN is stretched too thin. It’s as simple as that. It can’t do what it’s expected to do without at least a half-dozen more destroyers, frigates and OPVs.

Royal Navy pulls out of Nato commitments

The Royal Navys Albion Class assault ship HMS Bulwark, which entered service in 2004. Picture: AFP/Getty

DEFENCE ministers have admitted the UK has been forced to pull out of key Nato naval defence groups in a sign of just how stretched the Royal Navy has become.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has acknowledged it has not provided a frigate or destroyer for Nato’s maritime group defending the North and East Atlantic since 2009.

Written answers also reveal the Royal Navy stopped providing either of the ships for Nato’s second standing maritime group in the Mediterranean since 2010.

And they show that having previously supported three of four minesweeper groups, it now provides just one minesweeper.

The revelations come just days after First Minister Alex Salmond was accused of talking down the navy, for arguing that its priorities are wrong.

In his speech last week, Mr Salmond said: “At present, what we have, we don’t need. And what we need, we don’t have.

“The navy does not have a single major surface vessel based in Scotland. It is absurd for a nation with a coastline longer than India’s to have no major surface vessels.”

The SNP said the MoD’s written answers showed the First Minister’s comments were justified and described the revelations as “shocking”.

Angus Robertson, SNP Westminster leader and defence spokesman, said: “These answers are truly shocking. The fact the Royal Navy has not provided a single vessel to the Nato maritime group responsible for the East Atlantic since 2009 is beyond belief.

“This lays bare the over-stretch of the Royal Navy and the past UK government’s over-riding concerns about projecting power instead of being good neighbourhood Nato partners.

“We expect that an independent Scotland in Nato would participate the same way our close friends do.”

Speaking about the groups, Nato Allied Maritime Command’s deputy commander, French Vice-Admiral Christian Canova, recently said: “They are not just a symbol but a real force doing real operations. Standing naval forces are the cornerstone of Nato’s maritime strategy, demonstrating the will and presence of the alliance”.

But the MoD said the changes to the UK’s commitment were agreed as a result of the Strategic Defence and Security Review three years ago.

A spokesman last night said: “The 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review removed the Royal Navy’s requirement to provide a standing contribution to the standing Nato maritime group 1.

“But, as already stated, the Royal Navy maintains a strong relationship with Nato through the Nato maritime headquarters, based in the UK, which is permanently commanded by a Royal Navy vice-admiral.”

A senior source close to Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said the SNP was “not being straight” with voters and under the party’s plans Scotland would only have a small navy.

The source said: “The SNP seem to forget under their plans they would only be able to afford 1.6 destroyers or frigates, half an Astute submarine and one sixth of an aircraft carrier.

“The Scottish Government’s defence budget wouldn’t allow Scotland to mount maritime tasks in the Atlantic as well as protect Scottish interests overseas. They still lack a credible defence plan.”

Scotland would need ‘shelter’ from stronger allies in any conflict with Russia, warn academics

An independent Scotland would be “at a deep strategic disadvantage” to Russia in the conflict that is expected to emerge from climate change, according to Icelandic academics.

Scotland would need “shelter” from stronger allies, which will “incur costs different from, and not necessarily lesser than” those of contributing to UK defence, legal and political experts from the universities of Iceland and Akureyri have advised.

But small Nordic states have been living with similar risks for decades while independence would allow Scotland to pursue new tactical alliances more suited to its national interests, they argue in the Icelandic Review of Politics and Administration.

Alex Salmond last week set out his vision for defence in an independent Scotland, which he said would take account of its size and future responsibilities as climate change opens up new shipping lanes and energy sources.

The academics said: “Like all Nordic states, Scotland would be at a deep strategic disadvantage vis-a-vis the main potentially problematic actor in the region, namely Russia.

“It would have less than a 12th of the population of, and far less military strength than, its nearest neighbour – the remaining UK (rUK).

“It would also be more exposed, geopolitically, than rUK to the wider Arctic zone which is expected to witness rapid development and turbulence – if not actual conflict – because of climate change.” The added small states are “disproportionately vulnerable” to external threats.

http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/royal-navy-pulls-out-of-nato-commitments-1-3020604