A Feast of Cabbage and Salami: Part I – The Vocabulary of Asian Maritime Disputes–CIMSEC

CIMSEC has posted an interesting article, “A Feast of Cabbage and Salami: Part I – The Vocabulary of Asian Maritime Disputes” for anyone interested in the current maritime disputes in East Asia, and, in fact, for anyone interested in international maritime law. It is apparently the first of a series and includes a wealth of links for further study.

Sonar Systems for Vessels as Small as Webber Class WPCs

Photo credit: NavyRecognition. Thales CAPTAS 1

As expected, the EuroNaval 2014 trade show is offering some interesting products. This one might be of interest if the Coast Guard ever decides to get back into the ASW mission. Thales, maker of some of the most highly respected sonars in the world, is offering both hull mounted and towed active/passive sonars for vessels as small as 300 tons. The towed sonar is the CAPTAS 1, joining two previous members of a family of systems that share common technology. The Largest of these, the CAPTAS 4 is being evaluated for the ASW module for the LCS.

Italy to build National Security Cutters

DefenseNews is reporting Italy will soon award a contract for new Patrol Ships.

While a bit longer, 135 meters in length compared to 127 for the NSC, the Italian ships will be the same displacement as the Bertholf class, 4,500 tons.

The initial contract will be for five ships in a “light” (patrol) configuration and one in “heavy” (frigate) configuration, with an option for four additional heavy versions.

There are a number of interesting things about this class.

The ships were designed in-house (I assume to the preliminary level) which appears to have it made quicker to get the ships into production. They expect to launch the first ships in 2016 or early 2017.

They are expected to have a top speed of 34 to 35 knots, so I presume they will have two gas turbine while the NSC has one. It is not clear if they will have a single complex gearbox like the NCSs that all allows any or all of her engines to power both screws or if they will go with a simpler arrangement with separate gear boxes for each shaft. It is also unknown how powerful their diesel cruise engines will be.

The radar will be fixed units. According to the manufacturer, Selex, “The KRONOS radar exploits Selex ES’s advanced Active Electronic Scanning Array (AESA) technology. It is able to perform surveillance, tracking, threat evaluation and fire control against multiple threats, simultaneously and automatically, at all altitudes.”

Even the “light” ships carry both a 5″ forward and a 76mm on the roof of the hangar. I would like to think that they have the 5″ for the reasons I outlined here, but the Italian
5″/64 has additional capability, the Volcano round. The two medium caliber guns also gives them a degree of redundancy.

They also have a degree of modularity.

“Both versions will offer two modular zones, one in the center of the deck and one underneath the rear flight deck. The central zone will be able to host vehicles or cargo containers that can be lifted aboard by on-board cranes. In a combat situation, that space can be used to carry large rigid-hull inflatable boats for special operations, the source said.”

Even the financing arrangements are innovative with bank loan to be repaid over 20 years.

Coast Guard Yard Gets Navy 76mm Guns

Photo: Mk-75 3”/62 caliber naval gun aboard USS Curts (FFG-38). U.S. Navy photograph

NavyRecognition is reporting that the Navy and Coast Guard are in the process of stripping five FFGs of weapons components that will be used to support Coast Guard Mk75 gun systems on Bear Class WMECs that are expected to be in service into the 2030s. It is not apparent from the post if Mk92 fire control system parts were also scavenged.

It is clear that soon virtually all US expertise in the Mk75 gun will reside in the Coast Guard. We can expect that some of those nations that have received (or will receive) former USCG 378s are likely to ask for help with these system for both training and maintenance.

Imbalance in the Arctic?

gCaptain reports a Reuters interview with former Commandant Admiral Papp, now U.S. special representative for the Arctic Region, on the need for a heavy icebreaker and additional infrastructure in the Arctic. We are much less capable there than we were in the 1950s.

Meanwhile on the other side of the pole, the Russians are investing heavily, if perhaps not wisely.

On 23 Oct. the German Navy blog Marine Forum reported, “Baltic Shipyard plans to complete the world’s first floating nuclear power plant AKADEMIK LOMONOSOV in September 2016 … expected to provide power to Arctic cities.”

And the Russians tell us there is no need for NATO in the Arctic while reactivating Soviet era bases in the Arctic.