“Taiwan’s Coast Guard Tests Its Ability To Turn Cutters Into Ship Killers” –The Drive

Taiwan Coast Guard Vessel Anping firing missile

The Drive/The War-Zone reports,

During the test conducted on May 23, officials said that the HF-2 missiles were launched from the cutter off the coast of the Jiupeng Base and successfully hit a target ship that was located 62 miles off the coast of Lanyu, near Orchid Island. According to Taiwan’s Liberty Times Net reporter Zheng Jingyi, “this live ammunition firing specifically verifies the integration of the naval forces and sea cruisers under the ‘peace-to-war conversion.’”

This was a test and the missile launch equipment was removed immediately after the test. The launch and control was conducted by Taiwanese Navy personnel, temporarily assigned for the test.

Since the cutters are a version of a missile equipped Taiwanese Navy corvette, there would seem little reason to believe the test would not have been successful.

Reportedly twelve corvettes and twelve cutters are planned, but the prototype Navy corvette was commissioned in 2014, the second not until 2021, and none since. On the other hand four of the cutters have entered service beginning 2020 with two more under construction.

The normal armament of these and other Taiwanese cutters includes an unusual 42 round, remote controlled, “Zhenhai” 70mm/2.75″ rocket launcher. It is unclear if these rockets have a guidance system like APKWS. Photos below from Wikipedia.

Taiwan Anping-class offshore patrol vessel onboard multi-barrel Zhenhai rocket system

Anping-class offshore patrol vessel onboard 42-barrel Zhenhai rocket system, looking forward

“First Images Of New Inlay Class Warship For Myanmar Navy” –Covert Shores

Myanmar UMS Inlay (54), 12 March 2018, Indian Navy Photo

Covert Shores reports sighting of a second Inlay class, a locally built offshore patrol vessel. This prompted a look at this class and the Myanmar Navy, which turns out to be surprisingly strong, with an apparently capable domestic shipbuilding capability.

Myanmar seems to have been in the news a lot lately, and it has not been “good news.” Like many other nations in Asia, particularly SE Asia, they have been building Offshore Patrol Vessels. Reportedly the Myanmar Coast Guard was established only months ago, in Oct. 2021, but it appears these OPVs will serve with their Navy. Myanmar Coast Guard floating units appear to be limited to four very old patrol boats.

Reportedly these Inlay class Offshore Patrol Vessels displace 1500 tons, but I suspect that is not their full load displacement. They are similar in size to the 1.800 ton 270 foot WMECs, slightly shorter, 265’9′ (81 meters vs 82.3) and a bit broader of beam (41′ vs 38’/12.5 vs 11.6 meters). Speed is essentially the same at 20 knots. The bridge does seem surprisingly large.

Reportedly the Myanmar vessels can hangar a Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin, that is essential the same as an H-65. Also, reportedly there is a launch ramp for a RIB in the stern. There might be a boat davit on the starboard side, but I have not seen a good photo of the starboard side. There is a large opening on the starboard side superstructure aft, that mirrors the one visible on the port side.

Apparently, the weapon forward of the bridge is a Soviet era twin 57mm. The weapon might be ancient, but it is probably still very effective at short ranges.

The Myanmar Navy is more impressive than I would have expected, and many of their ships are built locally. As noted in the headline post, they just got their second submarine, one Russian built via India and now one from China. They have a 12,400 ton S. Korean built LPD. They are building their fourth domestically built frigate, to add to two overage Chinese built frigates. They have three domestically built 1,100 ton corvettes. They have twenty vessels similar in size to the Webber class but much more heavily armed, including five armed with Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles, and two slightly larger, 500 ton Fast Attack Craft also armed with ASCMs. These are in addition to six older Chinese built Houxin class missile boats.

All total, they appear to have 21 surface combatants armed with Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles, primarily the Chinese made C-802, which is roughly equivalent to the US made Harpoon.

Myanmar has also begun to build 600 ton, 63 meter, high speed “sub chasers” to replace eight, now overage, Chinese built Hainan class. The new ships are equipped with the same twin 57mm mount that also equips the new OPVs.

 

“VESSEL REVIEW | KOLACHI – NEW LARGE PATROL VESSEL FOR PAKISTAN MARITIME SECURITY AGENCY” –Baird Maritime

Photo: PMSA

Baird Maritime reports delivery of a Chinese designed Offshore Patrol Vessel to the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA), the maritime safety and law enforcement arm of the Pakistan Navy. This second ship was reportedly built in Pakistan while the first was produced in China.

This ship may look a bit familiar. It appears to be a variant of the Type 056 corvette. 72 of the corvettes were inducted into the Chinese PLA Navy between 2013 and 2019. Variants of the class also serve with the Bangladeshi and Nigerian Navies and the China Coast Guard.

There is a Pakistani Coast Guards distinct from the PMSA, but it falls under the authority of the Pakistani Army and functions more like Customs and Border Protection and its Air and Marine Unit, being limited to operations on shore and within the 12 mile limit.

Finnish Navy Ice Strengthened Corvette

We began talking about this class of rather unique warships about six years ago. Since then, a lot of comments have been added. I wanted to pass along this info graphic.

What makes these really unique, and perhaps of interest to the USCG, is the Ice Class requirement which translates to non-consolidated (refrozen) ice channels with a thickness of 1.0 meter (3.3 ft) in the middle.

Compared to the Offshore Patrol Cutters, these ships will be a little longer (374 feet vice 360), but also a little lighter displacement (3900 tons vs 4500). They will have a much shorter range (3500 nautical miles vs over 10,000) and a much smaller crew (70 vs over 100), although the total accommodations are similar.

Predictably the Finnish ship is much more heavily armed.

Bangladesh OPVs and a New USV, Worth the Read

A couple of stories brought to my attention by readers,

Bangladesh Navy , BNS Bijoy, armed with 1 x H/PJ-26 76 mm main gun, 4 × C-704 AShM, and 2 × Oerlikon 20 mm auto cannons

First a look at how Bangladesh has been using a couple of second hand British built Castle class OPVs. (Bangladesh now has two former USCG WHECs, so its good to see they take care of their ships. Thanks to Sven for bringing this to my attention.)

USV sighted in San Diego

Second, a report of a new unmanned surface vessel operating in San Diego. Looks like a test mule rather than a final product. (Thanks to CaptnMike for sending me the link.)

Perhaps the Most Well Armed Cutter Sized Corvette in the World

Click on the illustration above for better view

More on the Israeli’s new Sa’ar 6 Corvette from Navy Recognition, particularly in regard to the C-Dome missile system (reporting a range of 250 km). It has been over six years since I did my first post on this class. At the time, I thought the Offshore Patrol Cutters might be close in size, but they are more than twice as large as the Israeli ships. Did a second post in Aug. 2015. and I have posted comments as additional details became available, but it is time for another look.

These will be the largest combatants in the Israeli Navy, but their dimensions are still quite modest:

  • displacement: 1900 tons
  • Length: 90 m (295.2′)
  • Beam: 13.5 m (44.3′)
  • Draft: 3.5 m (11.5)
  • Speed: 27 knots
  • Crew: 70

First of the class of four, INS Magen, has completed sea trials and the German shipbuilder has delivered it to the Israelis, who will install the Israel sourced weapon systems. The remaining ships are expected to follow at six month intervals.

Note, contrary to the labeling on the illustration, the 16 missiles amidships, shown in green, will be Gabriel V anti-ship missiles rather than Harpoons. (Gabriel V will also arm the new Finnish ice-capable corvette.)

Aviation facilities are also surprising. The ships are expected to support and hangar an H-60 ASW helicopter and may also support a vertical take-off Unmanned air system.

These ships are remarkable, for their size and crew strength (only 70), in being capable in all three primary warfare areas, ASW, ASuW, and AAW. Their capabilities exceed those of many frigates and approach those of DDGs four times their size.

With a total of eighty-eight missile launch tubes, assuming they are all filled, it seems these will be the most heavily armed ships of their size in the world.

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

“Spain seen joining Greece, France, Italy on European Patrol Corvette program” –DefenseNews

Defense News reports that it appears likely that four European countries and perhaps more will join forces to build a class of 3000 ton patrol vessels.

The two firms (Italy’s Fincantieri and France’s Naval Group–Chuck) are hoping to match Italian and French navy requirements with a jointly built, modular vessel that can handle patrol and surveillance missions as well as taking second-tier roles in anti-submarine and anti-surface missions.

The vessels these ships are to replace, perform their respective countries offshore coast guard missions.

The project is one of many being supported by an EU initiative called “Permanent Structured Cooperation” (PESCO) that is to be supported by the entire EU community. It sounds like this may be heading toward a shipbuilding version of Airbus.

According to this report, Bulgaria and Portugal are also joining the program.

French Navy Floreal class surveillance Frigate, FS Ventose

The French Navy intends to replace the six ships of the Floreal class. These “surveillance frigates” are scattered among France’s overseas territories. They have no ASW capability, but are equipped with a pair of Exocet anti-ship missiles (ASCM).

Italy expects to retire the ten ships of the Cassiopea, Sirio, and Commandanti classes 2022-2025. These ships are all about 1500 tons. They have neither ASW equipment or ASCMs.

The Greeks don’t seem to have any ships in this class, but may now see a need.

Spanish Navy Meteoro class OPV Tornado. Photo from Sergio Acosta, via Wikipedia

I was a bit surprised that Spain would join in this effort. They have their own OPV designs supplied by Navantia, and they have been doing pretty well. They have been produced a class of six referred to as BAM, and were expected to procure six more of the same class. In addition they have produced corvettes for Venezuela and have been contracted to produce five corvettes for Saudi Arabia. Navantia had teamed with Bath Iron Works to provide BIW’s proposal for the USCG OPC program, and they are on BIW’s FFG(X)  team. It may be that they feel they have to join now or risk being excluded in the future.

If these ships come equipped as indicated in the diagram at the head of the article, they will be significantly better armed than the ships they replace. They will be a bit larger than the French ships being replaced and more than twice as large as the Italian ships being replaced.

It appears they will be very close in size to the Coast Guard’s Argus Class OPCs, being the same length (110 meters or 360 feet) and only slightly narrower.

“Vietnamese fishing boat sinks during encounter with Indonesian warship” –Baird Maritime

Baird Maritime reports on an incident between Vietnamese and Indonesian fisheries protection vessels that resulted in the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing vessel in a disputed area of the South China Sea.

The Indonesian Corvette, KRI Tjiptadi (381), is a former East German Parchim class corvette like this one. It is about the size of a 210.

The South East Asian countries having disputes about their respective EEZs should really take it to the UN tribunal. The resulting decisions would ensure international recognition of their rights and leave China’s nine dash line claims in the trash bin.