Recently the Commandant mentioned the possibility of a requirement for an Arctic Patrol Cutter. This was the first time I had seen official mention of something less than a full fledged icebreaker for arctic patrol.
There has also been a recent DOD report which referred to the “limited inventory of ice-capable vessels.”
Thought there might be some interest in seeing similar ships the rest of the world is producing. I’ll go from smallest to largest:
|Length:||72 m (236 ft 3 in)|
|Beam:||14.6 m (47 ft 11 in)|
|Draft:||4.9 m (16 ft 1 in)|
|Propulsion:||2 x MAN B&W Diesel ALPHA 8L27/28 generating 2.720 kW each|
|Speed:||Less than 17 kn (31 km/h)|
|Range:||3,000 nautical miles (5,600 km)|
|Boats and landing
|1 x SB90E for Search and rescue, 1x 7m (60 HP) RHIB, 1 x 4.8m (45 HP) RHIB|
|Complement:||18 + aircrew and transients (Accommodation for up to 43 in total)|
|1x Terma Scanter 4100 surface and air search radar
3x Furuno navigation radars
SAAB CEROS 200 radar and optronic tracking system and CWI illumination radar
|Armament:(See notes below)||1 x 76 mm Gun Mk M/85 LvSa
2 x 12,7 mm Heavy Machine Gun M/01 LvSa
RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile surface-to-air missiles
MU90 Impact ASW-torpedo
|Aviation facilities:||Aft helicopter deck, no hangar|
This class is intended to patrol west of Greenland. It replaces some much smaller ice strengthen patrol vessels, about the size of the Fast Response Cutter, that appeared to be trawler based, the Agdlek class. They are a great improvement over their predecessor, and if we had more infrastructure in terms of a base and an airstation in the Arctic, they might be useful. But the range (3000 nmi) and, to a lesser extent, speed (17 knots) limitations, and the fact that they don’t have a hanger for an embarked helicopter, probably make this type of vessel unsuitable for our purposes.
The hull was reportedly designed to break the normal 40cm (15 inches) sea ice and 70cm (28 inches) of hard fjord ice. In service broken ice was ingested by the engine cooling seawater intakes, so some redesign may be forthcoming. That might be a consideration for our own design.
They do have some worthwhile features. Boat davits are behind movable screens to prevent boats and davits from collecting ice and there is a stern gate and compartment under the flight deck for deployment of a 12 meter boat.
The armament listed is what the ships are designed for, but these ships use the StanFlex system that allows the quick replacement or substitution of armament or special equipment like cranes, so, while the sensors and firecontrol systems may be on board, normally the only weapons are the .50 cal. machine guns, minimizing crew requirements.
Canadian designed New Zealand’s “Protector” Class OPV, two ships, HMNZS Otago and HMNZS Wellington, completed 209/2010. 1,900 tons, 277 ft, 22 knots, 6,000 miles @ 15. Apparently very cheap to build. The design would probably not meet the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) Rules for Building and Classing Naval Vessels that were applied to the OPC because it has all three generators in one compartment (I haven’t seen the rules, but I would presume that is a no-no).
This class reportedly as built, came out over its design weight, and its icebelt is lower than intended with respect to the waterline–with acceptable limits, but it will preclude adding any additional weight.
The Danish Thetis class, four ships, HDMS Thetis (F357), HDMS Triton (F358), HDMS Vædderen (F359), and HDMS Hvidbjørnen (F360), completed 1991-1992. Larger than a Hamilton class but smaller than the new National Security Cutter, they are a relatively simple design capable of breaking 80 cm (31 inches) of ice.
|Displacement:||3,500 tons full load|
|Length:||112.3 m (368 ft 5 in)|
|Beam:||14.4 m (47 ft 3 in)|
|Height:||37.0 m (121 ft 5 in)|
|Draft:||6.0 m (19 ft 8 in)|
|Generators:||3 x Detroit Diesel GM 16V 7163-7305, 460 kW
1 x Detroit Diesel 6L-71N 1063-7005, 120 kW (EMG)
|Propulsion:||3 x MAN B&W Diesel 12v28/32A-D à 2940 kW (3990 HP each), single shaft
1 x Brunvoll azimuth thruster (800 kW)
1 x electrical Brunvoll bow thruster (600 kW)
|Speed:||21.8 kn (40.4 km/h)|
|Range:||8.700 nmi (16.112 km) at 15 kn (28 km/h)|
|1 x Terma Scanter Mil 009 navigational radar
1 x Furuno FR-1505 DA surface search radar
1 x Plessey AWS-6 air search radar
1 x SaabTech Vectronics 9LV 200 Mk 3 fire control system
1 x SaabTech CTS-36 hull-mounted sonar
Thales TMS 2640 Salmon variable depth sonar
FLIR Systems AN/AAQ-22 SAFIRE thermal imager
|1 x Thales Defense Ltd Cutlass radar warning receiver
1 x Thales Defense Scorpion radar jammer
2 x Sea Gnat launchers (for chaff and flares)
|Armament:||1 x 76-mm 62-cal. OTO Melara Super Rapid DP
7 x 12.7 mm heavy machine guns
4 x 7.62 mm light machine guns
1 x depth charge rack and MU90 Advanced Lightweight Torpedo for anti-submarine warfare
|Aircraft carried:||1 x Westland Lynx Mk.90B helicopter|
|Aviation facilities:||Aft helicopter deck and hangar|
It’s a bit unusual in having three main engines and only a single shaft. To compensate for the lack of propeller shaft redundancy it does have a large drop down 800KW (1072 HP) trainable thrust unit for loitering and “get home” power. Like the smaller Knud Rasmussen class above, it uses the Danish “Stanflex” system allowing relatively rapid change out and augmentation of weapons and equipment like cranes. They have a relatively small crew of 52 but accommodations for 101.
Looks like when not patrolling the Arctic, a vessel like this could be useful on ALPAT.
The Norwegian Svalbard Class, one ship, KV Svalbard (W303), commissioned 2001. Really a small polar icebreaker, virtually the same size as the old Wind Class and almost 50% larger than the NSCs.
|Length:||340.2 ft (103.7 m) (overall)
292 ft (89 m) (waterline)
|Beam:||62.6 ft (19.1 m)|
|Height:||27.2 ft (8.3 m)|
|Draught:||21.3 ft (6.5 m)|
|Propulsion:||4 x 3390 kW Rolls-Royce Bergen BRG-8 diesel generators
2 x 5 MW Azipod electric motors
|Speed:||17.5 knots (20.1 mph; 32.4 km/h)|
|Complement:||50 (20 Officers and 45 Other Ranks split into 3 shifts with 2 shifts on board at any one time)|
|EADS TRS-3D /16 ES with IFF|
|Armament:||Bofors 57 mm, 12.7 mm|
|Aircraft carried:||Capacity for two helicopters; one Lynx carried initially, NH90 from 2009|
|Notes:||Cost: 575 million NOK (80 million USD), radar and helicopter not included|
Perhaps more icebreaker than OPV, this looks like the current upper limit for this type.
The Norwegian Coast Guard also has three 3,200 tons ships of the Nordkapp class built in the 80s that are said to be “capable of ice browsing.”