Finland Seeks Unique Warship


Photo: Hamina class missile boat Hanko (82) by kallerna, 2009

NavyRecognition reports, the Finnish Navy is looking for some small warships with unique characteristics.

Finnish Minister of Defence, Jussi Niinistö, has given the Defence Forces a mandate to start the Finnish Navy project, Squadron 2020. The aim of the Squadron 2020 project is to construct four new corvette-size fighting ships for year-round operation in the special weather and ice conditions at the Baltic Sea (emphasis applied–Chuck).

The Request for Information informs shipyards about the project and inquires know-how and price information from shipbuilders and suppliers to base the Request for Quote on. The RFI was sent out on 18 December 2015 and answers are requested by the end of March next year.

The expected cost for the four is 1.2B Euros or abut $1.31 B. Right now the Offshore Patrol Cutter is probably the closest thing to what they are looking for, but in all probability the final design will be both smaller and much better armed. The Finns have shown an ability to cram a lot of fight into very small packages, but then, they have no need for the long range that is a characteristic of most Coast Guard or US Navy ships.

Their Hamina class patrol craft (wikipedia here) which are smaller than our Webber class (268 tons vs 353 tons fl) are equipped with a 57 mm gun, both a radar and an optronic fire control system, an EADS-TRS-3D multi-mode radar just like the National Security Cutter, an eight cell vertical launch system for anti-aircraft missiles, four anti-ship cruise missiles, ESM, and sonar. They have an aluminum hull, a composite superstructure, and NBC protection. They also have an RHIB ramp in the stern.

71 thoughts on “Finland Seeks Unique Warship

  1. Remember before the Hamina they tried hovercraft. They will probably shift again on the year round requirement. I wouldn’t be surprised if they plump for Visby-lite. Drones and long range PGM would probably be a better option for winter.

  2. Finns have shown an ability to cram a lot of fight into very small packages, but then, they have no need for the long range that is a characteristic of most Coast Guard or US Navy ships.

    Perhaps more important is that small size makes it possible to operate closer inshore, in shallower waters and up rivers. Also, it makes you a much smaller target.

    Not sure that drones would be a better surveillance solution in winter. I think several hundred tonnes of ice strengthened hull wrapped around one’s electronics, emitters and generators would probably make these sensitive items far more immune to a vicious northern latitudes winter than would the thin plastic shell of a drone. And the hull can remain on station for longer. Or are you suggesting surface vehicles, not aerial? Interestingly, northern latitudes in winter might provide the best radio frequency conditions for operating remote vehicles:


    In general, it appears that high northern latitudes will be favored with less noise, particularly at times when the galactic center is below the local horizon. Likewise, night operations may be favored during the most extreme and unlikely solar activity conditions. In norther latitudes, therefore, the winter night should provide the lowest sky noise conditions.

    • Drones would be ideal especially in winter. Nothing moves up there in winter with ease; one of the reasons why they looked at hovercraft. . Long range missiles cued by drones, think ATACMS and long range AShM, would be the way to go. Perhaps you could even mount ground stations in amphibious vehicles like the Polish Hippo. Large drone for surveillance, and the smaller rotary for investigating possible targets. Finland’s geography dictates the need for shoal draught craft. But Finland has been taking part in military operations beyond the Baltic.

    • I don’t visit Think Defence. In conventional terms our outer defence concerns in Europe should be the North Sea and no further. There is no real threat fro the direction. Russia just doesn’t have logistic muscle to come at us through the Baltic. We have AWACS, we have Typhoon which is now AShM capable if we want it, and P8 on the way. Poland backed by NATO would be more than enough to check Russia. Some SSKs would be nice, but we can’t afford them, would struggle to crew them, and beyond perhaps being useful for FOST I am not sure what we would do with them.

    • I can see two main show-stoppers: the draft is too large and the armament is too light (namely, no anti-ship missiles). If the Finnish Navy was looking for a lightly-armed patrol vessel, they could derive it from the 2014-built OPV Turva:

      That vessel was built at the shipyard that, today, is the only large shipyard in Finnish ownership (the others being owned by Germans and Russians).

      However, I think the future naval ships are more akin to “real” combat vessels. After all, the Navy’s tasks are somewhat different from the Border Guard (just showing off instead of SAR etc.) so they can have “fancier” stuff.


  3. The Knud Rasmussen-class has the same draft as the Turva.

    A fully equipped Knud Rasmussen already has a 76mm and ESSM.

    If they added a plug to the hull extending it about 30 feet, they could add both a gas turbine for speed and cruise missiles.

    There just aren’t many ice strengthened corvettes out there.

    • I know. My point was, if the Finnish Navy was looking for a deep-draft vessel, they could base it on something they already have instead of buying a somewhat similar foreign design. However, I expect the new naval ships to have a draft of about 10 feet, comparable to the Hämeenmaa and Pohjanmaa class minelayers. For the Finnish Navy, operating within the shallow archipelago is more important than open seas where the Border Guard, due to their SAR responsibility, must be able to carry out rescue operations regardless of the weather.

      It’s true that there are no off-the-shelf designs available, probably not even from Russia even if they were an option. However, considering that this is probably the biggest single investment the Finnish Navy has ever made, in my opinion the best approach would be to develop an ice-capable hull in co-operation with a suitable naval ship design bureau, even if it means deviating from existing designs.

      • Doubling the HP would only add about 4 knots for 21 knots max, although they could also go for more powerful diesels, but presumed they wanted something around 30 knots.

    • Curiously, the Turunmaa class was never advertised to be capable of operating in ice. Of course, with a steel hull they should have had at least marginal ice capability (not sure about the propellers, though), but as far as I know the 1979-built minelayer Pohjanmaa was the first Finnish post-war naval ship that was designed with winter conditions in mind. The old frigates (one Bay-class, two Riga-class) were definitely not strengthened for navigation in ice.

      • It was more her size. When I think about Sweden and Finland I think about large boats. I forget they had in modern times vessels over 1000 tonnes.

    • I’m surprised that we didn’t build the Saar 5 for the USCG to replace the 210’s. have them fitted for, but not equipped Harpoons, and Torpedoes. Or piggy backed the Saar6 onto the Israeli order, and have them bear the brunt of designing it for the OPC. I’m thinking along the lines of the Treasury Class cutter of WW2 fame. The yard stick all cutters should be measured by.

      • We don’t know what upon the Finns will decide eventually, but I think something like Saar 5 would be a could bet. To me a flight deck is essential as it being a true warship design. If the patrolling in peace time is seen as the primary tasking something built to commercial would do I suppose.

        LÉ Samuel Beckett (P61) as a reference……

    • Three of the ships being replaced are over 1,300 tons full load.

      I think the Finns are going to want something with more fight than the Beckett. They are going to want something with at least the capability of the four Rauma class being replaced.

      None of the seven ships being replaced has a helicopter deck, although three are large enough. The Navy has no aircraft of its own, although the Frontier Guards do. None of the Frontier Guard vessels have a helo capability. Distances are short in the Finns operating area and dominated by land based air. Consequently I don’t think the new ships will have a helo deck, it would crowd out things they do want on these ships.

      I would expect them to have a 57mm gun. at least 16 cells for vertical launch Umkhonto surface to air missiles (, at least six anti-ship cruise missiles (possibly transferring the RBS-15s from the retiring Rauma class), sonar, ASW rockets, and minelaying rails.

      I also think they will be stealthy and relatively fast, around 30 knots.

      It will be interesting to see if they introduce ASW torpedoes, not currently in the Finnish Navy inventory.

      • The FInns are keen to take part in international operations far from the Baltic. They will be operating with navies that have helicopters. And there is nothing stopping them deciding to purchase helicopters to use off a new ship or indeed rotary UAV. The Finnish army operates MD500 and though things are tense with the Russians historically the Finns (because of their neutrality) do buy Russian equipment so KA226 might be an option. That helicopter is already in service aboard FSB ships. And having a large covered space opening out onto a large open area must have some utility……………

        And I can’t how a ship of that size having organic air is anyway detrimental in high end warfare in the littoral. Though it would probably of more use in a period of high tension which might lead to conflict as it would allow the ship to gather more intelligence and extend its possible offensive range (meaning opfor would have to factor it into their plans.) I wouldn’t expect a large ship to last long against the Russian air force in a hot war. It’s best option might be to hide next to the coast and in that situation a way of gathering intelligence around the ship possibly denied radar would be useful, and that takes us back to UAV………

        Finnish border guard Super Puma landing on Turva……….

  4. German Navy Blog, Marine Forum, reports Finland is sending one of their Border Guard vessels to assist with the immigrant crisis. “7 Jan., Mediterranean: Finnish Border Guard offshore patrol vessel „Merikarhu“ sails from Helsinki for the Mediterranean … will support European Union Border Security Agency (Frontex) in maritime security operation „Poseidon Rapid“ in the Aegean Sea.”

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      • @David Hodge, Mike R. was good enough to pass along this.

        “I found this:

        “The above link shows the most recent concept art. Earlier, out of date, images showed a VLS of at least 24 cells, AShM in box launches in a central ‘pit’ in the middle of the superstructure, and a hangar. The focus is on ASuW and ASW, with some local AAW capability.”

        “Correction: 16 VLS (two Sylver silos) based on this:

        Interesting, but probably not enough to make a model, which is I presume what you are looking to do.

        There is some interesting stuff in the links including the rationale for moving from large combatant craft to true corvette sized vessels.

        Also there is reference to work on the propellers that was done in conjunction with the USN to make props to meet conflicting requirements that might also be applicable to the OPC.

        “The propellers are a minor project on their own, and are set to be of a highly advanced design. This is due to the somewhat conflicting demands of high top-speed, small diameter (due to overall draught requirement), and low noise (and high cavitation margin). All this, while at the same time being strong enough to cope with ice.”

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  7. Finland is also updating some of their existing small warships, the Hamina Class., Seapower Magazine has details,, I note they will be getting SAABs new light weight torpedo, ” It can be launched from surface ships, aircraft and submarines in anti-submarine and anti-surface roles. It works equally well in both littoral and blue waters and in cold, warm and brackish conditions. “

    • I wonder if Finland can still pick the Mk 41’s for the SAM system even though the SSM’s have been selected (and it’s not Harpoon). Those strike-length silos leave a door open for interesting future upgrades…

      Not that we can actually afford anything that would require that capability…

      • “Provide”, not “require”. We certainly cannot afford anything that would require it…

      • These dimensions are actually very close to those of the Offshore Patrol Cutter

        Length: 114 meter (374 ft), beam 16 m (52.5 ft), draught of approximately 5 meters. displacement 3,900 tons full load

        OPC: Length: 110 meter (360 feet), beam 16.5m (54 ft), draft 5.18m (17 ft). figures I have seen for full load displacement are slightly lower than 3900 tons, but I suspect final full load displacement may be at least that.

  8. “On 26th September 2019, the Finnish Defence Forces Logistics Command and Aker Arctic Technology Inc signed a contract for the design, delivery and integration of complete propulsion lines to four Pohjanmaa-class multi-role corvettes for the Finnish Navy. Construction of the vessels is scheduled to begin in 2022 and the four-strong squadron will achieve operational readiness in 2028.”

    This is a significant technology since they are making controllable pitch propellers that have contradictory qualities of being quiet, having high speed, and ice capable.

  9. They will be CODLAG’s, but Wikipedia says they will have variable pitched props? If they are being driven through electrical motors why?

    • If I understand it correctly the electric drive would only be used for cruise speed and below. You would not need CP screws for that, but for operation on the Gas Turbines you would.

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