Bulgaria Selects Lürssen to Provide OPV with ASW and ASuW Capability

Lürssen 90 meter OPV

NavyRecognition reports that Bulgaria has approved the purchase of two Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) from the German firm Lürssen. This is the same company that designed OPVs for Australia and Brunei, but these will be different from the earlier ships.

“…the Bulgarian Navy has a requirement for two modular, multi-role patrol vessels, which would be capable of performing various types of tasks, such as anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare.”

“According to local media, the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has requested a ship that will be armed with one 76mm naval gun, anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles, lightweight torpedos and close-in weapon systems for self-defence. The ship will also have a flight deck to accommodate a medium-sized helicopter.”

Lürssen’s descriptions of their OPV offerings make no mention of an ASW capability, but they do have space for containerized systems that might include some type of towed array sonar. Because of the capabilities required, along with the larger crew required to support them, I would assume that the chosen design is based on the larger 85 or 90 meter offerings. According to the company web site the 90 meter OPV is typically equipped with:

  • 1 X 76/62 COMPACT OR 1 X BOFORS 57 MK3
  • 4 X MM40 EXOCET OR 4 X RBS 15 MK3 OR 4 X NSM
  • 1 VLS MK56 OR RIM-116 RAM
  • 2 X DECOY (E.G. MASS OR SWKS)
  • 2 X 20MM REMOTE CONTROLLED
  • 2 X .50 M2HB MACHINE GUNS
  • 1 X 3D SEARCH RADAR
  • 1 X FIRE CONTROL RADAR
  • 2 X NAV RADAR
  • EO/IR SENSORS
  • 1X HELICOPTER
  • GUIDANCE RADAR
  • ESM / ESM
  • IFF
  • LINK 11/16
  • HELICOPTER HANGAR
  • HELICOPTER LANDING DECK (11T)
  • 2 X 9 M RIB
  • 2 X 5,5 M RIB
  • STERN RAMP
  • 2 CONTAINER SPACES

(Bulgaria does already have Exocet and Sea Sparrow missiles in their inventory.)

Physical Characteristics are:

  • DISPLACEMENT: 2,100 T
  • LENGTH: 90 M (295 ‘)
  • BEAM: 14 M (46′)
  • DRAUGHT: 3.5 M (11.5′)
  • CREW: 86 (+4 EMBARKED)
  • TWO DIESEL ENGINES
  • 6,300 KW  (8448 HP) (That should result in 21-22 knots–Chuck)

Bulgaria’s Navy is small but growing. They still have a lot of Soviet/Eastern Block equipment. Bulgaria’s coast is on the Black Sea. Other nations bordering the Black sea are Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. Of these Russia has the strongest naval presence.

No indication yet where the ships will actually be built.

A map showing the location of the Black Sea and some of the large or prominent ports around it. The Sea of Azov and Sea of Marmara are also labelled. Created by User:NormanEinstein, Wikipedia

Russian CG and Ukrainian Navy Go to Blows.

A couple of reports of a nasty incident that culminated in the seizure of three Ukrainian naval vessels. This may be worth watching. It is another assault on Freedom of Navigation.

“Tension escalates after Russia seizes Ukraine naval ships”

“Russia blocks passage in Kerch Strait Near Crimea, Deploys Su-25 Jets And Ka-52 Attack Helicopters.”

 

Project 22160 patrol ships, Russia’s Cutter X

The Zelenodolsk Shipyard in the Volga area will lay down the third Project 22160 patrol ship Pavel Derzhavin on February 18, shipyard spokesman Andrei Spiridonov told TASS on Monday. "The shipyard will hold a solemn ceremony of laying down the Project 22160 patrol ship Pavel Derzhavin developed by the Severnoye Design Bureau in St. Petersburg [in northwest Russia]," the spokesman said.

Recently, NavyRecognition reported Russia was laying down a third Project 22160 patrol ship. The first of this class should enter service next year. In size they fall between the Offshore Patrol Cutter and the Webber class WPCs, in the range I have called “Cutter X.” The size (1200-1800 tons full load) seems to be favored by many navies and coast guards.These ships are a bit unusual among small Russian ships in having a substantial range.

Reportedly the Russians are building six of these. Specs are as follows:

  • Length: 94 meters (308 ft)
  • Beam: 14 meters (46 ft)
  • Draught: 3.4 meters (11.2 ft)
  • Speed: 30 knots
  • Range: 6,000 nmi
  • Endurance:  60 days
  • Crew: 80

At one point there was a public statement that these had been designed to counter piracy off the Horne of Africa. But it has been more recently reported that they will be quipped with Kalibr (Tomahawkski) land attack missiles, the type recently used by ships in the Caspian Sea to attack targets in Syria. The ship is “modular” and has a reconfigurable space under the rear of the flight deck. The missile will be mounted in containers under the flight deck. Adding anti-submarine or additional anti-ship capabilities would require trading off the Kalibr missiles.

Russian Project 22160

The ship has a new naval gun mount incorporating a 57mm gun. The gun is reportedly capable of 300 rounds per minute and a range of 12 km. Effective range is about 4 km. This is a development of gun with a long history in Soviet and Russian Service in both anti-air and anti-armor roles, and as is frequently the case with Russian weapons, the ammunition is shared in common with the Russian Army.

In addition they will carry short range Anti-Air missiles. It appears they will be vertical launched from canisters between the gun and superstructure.

While these ships do not have a strong self defense capability, the mounting of cruise missiles similar to the Tomahawk on small vessels, particularly on one like this, that has a relatively long range, gives them a sort of miniature maritime strike capability, far less capable, but also far cheaper than a Carrier Strike Group. While the ships are small and the weapons unobtrusive, the potential to accurately strike up to eight separate targets would have required an attack by dozens of aircraft not too many years ago.

Apparently all six ships are to be assigned to the Black Sea Fleet and will be home ported in Novorossiysk.

Interestingly, it appears the Russians may also be building a similar size anti-submarine warfare ship. Again NavyRecognition has the report.