Martime Facilities Security–Swimmer Defense

The Israelis are marketing a anti-swimmer sensor system that claims increased range, believed necessary because increased speed of swimmer delivery systems shortens reaction time.

“The AquaShield ER offers unprecedented detection ranges against all marine threats. The AquaShield ER passed rigorous sea trials achieving detection ranges of up to 3.5 kilometer for Swimmer Delivery Vehicle targets, 1.8 kilometers for Open Circuit Divers and 1.2 kilometers for divers using closed-circuit apparatus.”

Perhaps I am reading to much into this, but this capability may have played a part in intercepting five Hamas commandos who swam ashore in Israel recently as reported here.

I have been out of the loop for a long time, but I suspect the Coast Guard is still not integrated into a multiservice network capable of reacting to a terrorist incursion the way the Israelis reported did.

The Tammuz missile referred to in the report is in the same class as the Hellfire, but with a much longer range (25 km, that is more range than a WWII light cruiser). It has been previously referred to as the Spike NLOS (Non-line of Sight). Since they referred to this being mounted on an OPV rather than a corvette or missile boat, I suspect they are talking about it having been mounted on something relatively small, about the size of an 87 footer.

Other “Coast Guards'” New Ships and Early Disposals

Some news on fleet changes in the UK and New Zealand Navies with regard to their ships that do Coast Guard type work.

The Brits are building three new offshore patrol vessels. They will be built (before the first USCG Offshore Patrol Cutter) to essentially the same design as the three Offshore Patrol Vessels built for Trinidad and Tobago (video above) that I encouraged the Coast Guard to buy or lease four years ago when Trinidad and Tobago refused to pay for the ships they had contracted and BAE was looking for a buyer. Brazil subsequently purchased the vessels and the rights to the design. The remarkable thing about this decision is that the vessels are being built primarily to keep a ship yard busy and they will replace three River class offshore patrol vessels that were commissioned in 2003.

Photo Credit Benchill, Protector-class inshore patrol boat HMNZS Hawea (P3571) entering Otago Harbour, New Zealand

DefenseNews is reporting that New Zealand is considering disposing of two recently build Protector Class Inshore Patrol Vessels that entered service in only 2009 (similar to the Webber class FRCs) and building an additional much larger Offshore Patrol Vessel presumably a third Otago class.

What will happen to these five relatively new ships?

–Australia, in the middle of an alien migrant interdiction crisis, just had a fire on HMAS Bundaberg, a vessel very similar to the New Zealand Protector Class Inshore Patrol Vessels, that is likely to result in total loss. Perhaps they will take the excess New Zealand vessels, they were after all built in an Australian shipyard, but they really need something larger, perhaps the excess British River class.
–The Philippine Navy and Coast Guard also needs more modern patrol vessels to deal with Chinese incursions into their EEZ. The Philippine Coast Guard already has 56 meter vessels built in the same yard that made the New Zealand vessels but they could also use larger vessels like the Rivers.

New Research Center

MaritimeExecutive reports,

“The Stevens Institute of Technology in the U.S. has been selected as the lead institution for a new Center of Excellence for Maritime Research (CMR). The selection, announced by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate will provide Stevens with $2 million per year for five years. The center will also include the following partner institutions: MIT, University of Miami, Rutgers University, University of Puerto Rico and Elizabeth City State University. Stevens also has new partners with which it will collaborate on research projects, including LSU, Florida Atlantic University and the University of Connecticut.”

While I wonder if putting money into the Coast Guard’s own R&D Center, which is getting only a tiny fraction of the Department’s R&D budget, might not have been a better investment, I do find it promising that in making the announcement, Michael Bruno, Feiler Chair Professor and Dean of the School of Engineering and Science cited the Coast Guard as their “primary customer.” Reportedly Stevens already has a prior association with the DOD and NSA.

Thanks to Rex for the heads-up.