Video Screens as Communications Devices

CIMSEC has an interesting post that talks about using video devices for a number of unconventional purposes in the naval environment, “Camouflage: You Ain’t Screen Nothin’ Yet.”

The post includes several innovative ideas that might stimulates thinking, but one relatively simple idea caught my eye, that of using video displays (think jumbo-tron) to communicate with another vessel possibly using multiple languages or graphics. Might be useful in boarding situations involving non-English speakers to supplement the methods currently used.

Singapore Builds “Cutter X”

SingaporeLittoralMissionVesselPortBow

Singapore is building a new class of patrol vessels that look very much like my proposal for “Cutter X”, trading some Webber class and some larger ships for an intermediate design, costing about half what an OPC would cost, basically putting the equipment and crew (with some augmentation) of a Webber Class into a larger more seaworthy hull, to allow them to be used for extended operation in environments that do not require the ice strengthened hull and ability to launch and recover helicopters and boats in sea state five provided by the OPC.

Singapore is building eight of the ships under the project name “Littoral Missions Vessel” to replace eleven smaller, 500 ton, Fearless class patrol vessels that are approaching 20 years old. These ships are reportedly 80 meters in length (262.5 feet), displace 1200 tons (probably a light displacement), have a beam of 12 meters (39.4 feet), a range of 5,000 nautical miles at 15 knots, and a speed of 27 knots, all with a crew of only 30, though they do include additional accommodations for 30 more. (more here)

SingaporeLittoralMissionVesselPortQuarter

It appears these ships will use the same engines as the Webber Class. It is not clear how many of these engines they are using. Two would give them almost 12,000 HP which would almost certainly be good for at least 24 knots, but it might require three or four engines to make 27 knots.

In some respects these ships are more capable than the proposed cutter, in that they will have a 76mm gun and firecontrol system, in addition to smaller remotely operated weapons. It also appears to have space reserved for a small AAW missile system. On the other hand, while the flight deck can handle an H-60, the ship, unlike the French L’Adroit which was my model for “cutter X”, has no helicopter hangar, although it might be possible to add one using the same solution employed on L’Adroit (putting it under the bridge).

Soon, I expect to do an update of the “Cutter X” proposal, based on where we are now in the cutter recapitalization program.

L'AdroitHangar
L’Adroit showing hangar door in superstructure

C4ISR Upgrades

The Coast Guard’s Acquisitions Directorate (CG-9) is reporting that

The Coast Guard awarded a $31 million contract to Lockheed Martin Aug. 21, 2014, to purchase equipment to upgrade the electronic systems known as C4ISR – or Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance – on three National Security Cutters and at the NSC C4ISR training facility.

This is part of a larger Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Project.

“The C4ISR upgrade focuses on improving “interoperability,” or the ability of Coast Guard operating units to share information and coordinate operations with each other, with shore-based command centers and with other government agencies and allies. Other components will allow cutters (and aircraft?–Chuck) to send and receive tactical information including sensor, navigational and planning data to other U.S. military units as well as tactical sharing with international assets.”

“Features
•For NSCs, networked communications, radio direction finding and other capabilities to integrate with Navy battle groups and the broader U.S. government intelligence community
•For NSCs, HC-144As and HC-130Js, an advanced C4ISR suite that includes a common baseline across assets and transitions to an open architecture system of Coast Guard-controlled components with government software data rights
•The OPC’s C4ISR suite will be derived from the baseline used for NSC and other new platforms
•For in-service cutters, installation of commercial satellite communications and AIS
•For 378-foot and 270-foot cutters, Seawatch C2 system”

All well and good, but does it include Link 16? If so why not say so? If not why not? It seems to be very common and affordable. It is installed on boats smaller than the Webber class and on a wide range of aircraft including helicopters so it is certainly doable.

Are You a Potential Reality TV Star?

I got a request to pass along a message that a TV production company is seeking individuals interested in participating in a new reality show.

It appears to be legit, and, if it comes to fruition, it would not hurt to have a Coastie involved.

Are you looking for an action-packed sea adventure? Raw TV, the makers of Discovery’s hit series Gold Rush, is looking for experts to be the on-screen stars of a brand new show.

Have you got what it takes to survive some of the world’s deadliest seas? Could you tough it out on a remote desert island?

We are looking for people from a range of backgrounds such as fishing, sailing, military, security, survival & any other related fields. If you’re ready for an exciting new mission, get in touch: Email: sea@raw.co.uk

Azerbaijan Coast Guard to Get 6 OPVs and 6 WPBs


Sa’ar 62 OPV

Janes is reporting the Azerbaijan Coast Guard is procuring twelve new Israeli designed vessels to be built in Azerbaijan. These include six 62 meter OPVs (203 foot, the Greek ships of this class are about 450 tons full load) based on the Sa’ar 4.5 missile corvette and six 31.2 meter (102 foot, 95 ton) Shaldag patrol vessels.


SHALDAG Fast Patrol Craft (earlier, slightly smaller version)

Azerbaijan is one of five countries bordering the land locked (and reportedly oil rich) Caspian Sea. The others are Russia to the North, Iran to the South, and Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan on the other side of the Caspian. Russia has several missile corvettes and Iran has both corvettes and small submarines in the Caspian.

Azerbaijan’s total EEZ and total internal area is only 86,600 sq. km. The comparable figure for the US is over 250 times larger.

I’m afraid this may be another area where, in the not too distant future, Americans will get a geography lesson via troubling news reports.