Low Noise Patrol Boat

Bairdmaritime reports the Norway has received some new patrol boats (interceptors) that I find remarkable both for their speed (up to 50 knots) and for their quiet operating environments.

“We are proud to have achieved noise levels well below specification. 61 decibels in the wheelhouse and 71 in the transport room at a cruising speed of 40 knots is unique in a fast patrol boat of this size…”

They also have ” a comprehensive heating system to cope with severe Nordic winter conditions (including de-icing of deck areas).”

Things to think about when the Coast Guard ultimately starts to replace its 87 footers.

Israel Builds an OPC with a Difference


NavyRecognition has some more details about the four 90 meter, 2,000 ton OPV/Corvettes Israel ordered on 22 Dec.2014 that we talked about earlier.

Feeling more immediate threats than the US, Israel’s priorities are of course different from our own. Range and seakeeping are less important, while military capabilities have come to the fore.

They will have a non-rotating multi-function solid-state active phased array radar system (a sort of mini-Aegis system) integrated into the two masts, a 76 mm gun, two Typhoon gun systems essentially the same as our Mk38 mod2s like those on the Webber Class, Vertical Launch Systems for the Barak medium range AAW missile system, the shorter range C-Dome point defense system that uses the Iron Dome interceptor, and what appears to be 16 launchers for anti-ship cruise missiles, probably Harpoon.

The NavyRecognition post does not talk much about its ASW capability, other than to say that they will have 324mm torpedo launchers and facilities for support of a SH-60 helicopter, but since the much smaller Saar5 corvettes have both a hull mounted sonar and a towed array, these are likely to be included as well.

While we will certainly not load up our OPC with weapons like this, it does show how much combat power can be incorporated in a small ship

Is this the Combat Management System for the OPC too?

File Frigate Combat System

MarineLink is reporting that Lockheed will be awarded a sole source contract to provide integrated combat management systems for the planned 20 frigate variants of the Littoral Combat Ships.

U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command announced its plan to award Lockheed a sole-source contract for development and construction of two initial combat systems in a federal notice earlier this month. The news was first reported this week by the U.S. Naval Institute News earlier this week.

Why might this system go on the Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPCs)? The system is a modified version of the Aegis system. Apparently an outgrowth of the system already on the monohull Freedom class LCS. The National Security Cutters of the Bertolf Class also use a modified version of the Aegis system. Looking at the graphic above apparently from Lockheed you will not in the description that the system is intended for “patrol ships” and refers to PCC combat management systems.

The MarineLink article talks about an intention to do software upgrades to the existing systems on the Freedom class Littoral Combat Ships. Presumably there might also be upgrades to the system on the Betholf class.

If we are lucky (and smart) we may end up with common systems across the entire new generation of 33 large cutters. And hopefully the Navy will pay for it.  Having a common system over what could be 85 ships (32 LCS, 20 FF, 8 NSC, 25 OPC) has got to lead to some economies of scale.


Document Alert: U.S. Department of Defense’s Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy

The US Naval Institute News Service has made available the U.S. Department of Defense’s Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy.

I have only scanned it, but it does mention the Coast Guard in the context of freedom of navigation exercises and capacity building for our allies.


Armed Helos on Philippine 378s


Photo: A Philippine Navy weaponized AW109 helicopter on board the frigate BRP Ramon Alcaraz (formerly the USCGC Dallas (WHEC-716)). Source: Philippine Navy

Janes is reporting that the two former USCG 378s, that are now in the Philippine Navy, will be operating “weaponised” AW109 helicopters.

This is the same helicopter that saw service as the U.S. Coast Guard MH-68A Stingray airborne use of force helicopters. It is smaller than the MH-65, with about two thirds the gross weight and horsepower.

The weaponised versions carry two 12.7 mm machine gun pods, each with launchers for three 70 mm laser-guided rockets (on each pod–Chuck). The aircraft can also be configured to carry a sonobuoy dispenser for anti-submarine warfare operations.

The laser guided rockets will probably be “APKWS II” used by the USN and US Marines, but there are a number of similar systems that convert unguided 70 mm Hydra rockets to small passive laser-guided missiles.

It is not clear if these aircraft will also have the .50 cal. sniper rifle or door mounted 7.62 mm machine gun like those on Coast Guard airborne use of force helos. If they have at least the door mounted machine gun, I would think that seven round rocket pods would be preferable to the .50 cal. gun pods with only three missiles each. If there is no door-mounted machine gun and there is a need to fire warning shots, then perhaps use only one .50 cal gun pod and one seven round rocket pod.