“US Coast Guard Legend class Hamilton visits Latvia amid tensions with Russia” –NavyRecognition

USCGC Hamilton and Ukraine CG on previous voyage.

Navy Recognition reports,

“According to information published by the US DoD on November 17, 2022, the Legend-class national security cutter (NSC) USCGC Hamilton (WMSL 753) arrived in Riga, Latvia for a port visit…Prior to arriving in Riga, Hamilton conducted multiple operations with allies and partners in the Baltic Sea, including a series of at-sea engagements with Swedish, Finnish, Estonian, and Lithuanian maritime and naval forces.”

“USCGC Mohawk (WMEC 913) arrives in Lisbon, Portugal”–Navy.mil–and Two More FRCs for PATFORSWA

USCGC John Scheuerman (WPC-1146) and USCGC Clarence Sutphin Jr. (WPC-1147) enroute PATFORSWA

Below is a Navy news release reporting the arrival of USCGC Mohawk in Lisbon. Somewhat surprisingly there is no mention of the two Webber class cutters pictured in an attached photo (above) and no photo of Mohawk.

Looking closely at the photo above, you can see they have the Counter Drone upgrades seen on other FRCs that have been assigned to PATFORSWA.

Obviously this is the last pair of Fast Response Cutters (FRCs) being transferred to Patrol Forces SW Asia (PATFORSWA). They were escorted across the Atlantic by Mohawk. Can’t believe I did not see the gorgeous photo below earlier. Perfect for 4th of July.

The USCGC Mohawk (WMEC 913), USCGC John Scheuerman (WPC 1146), and USCGC Clarence Sutphin Jr. (WPC 1147) sail in formation in the Atlantic Ocean, June 22, 2022. The John Scheuerman and the Clarence Sutphin Jr. are the 46th and 47th Sentinel-class fast response cutters, respectively. They will become the fifth and sixth FRC’s to be homeported in Manama, Bahrain. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jessica Fontenette)

USCGC Mohawk (WMEC 913) arrives in Lisbon, Portugal

29 June 2022

From U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa Public Affairs

LISBON, Portugal – The Famous-class medium endurance cutter USCGC Mohawk (WMEC 913) arrived in Lisbon, Portugal for a scheduled port visit, June 29, 2022.

This port visit marks the first stop for Mohawk, while employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) area of operations. During the visit, Mohawk leadership will meet government leaders and military maritime counterparts, while the crew enjoys the rich cultural history of Portugal.

“It is a tremendous privilege to be here in Lisbon,” said Cmdr. Andrew Pate, commanding officer aboard USCGC Mohawk (WMEC 913). “Like the United States, Portugal has a rich and deep maritime history and combined maritime operations provide a critical opportunity to improve interoperability with our partners, and prove that we are stronger together.”

Earlier this month, Adm. Linda Fagan, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, visited Lisbon and met with Ambassador Randi Charno Levine and Portugal’s Chief of Naval Staff, Adm. Henrique Eduardo Passaláqua de Gouveia e Melo. Fagan is also the first woman, and first mother, to lead any of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Portugal has a long maritime history and their navy boasts 705 years of continuous service.

“Portugal is an important ally of the United States and plays a pivotal role in the security and cohesion of the Alliance,” said Rear Adm. Chase Patrick, director of maritime headquarters, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa. “Mohawk’s visit to Portugal demonstrates our shared goals for regional peace and stability.”

Mohawk is the 13th and last of the Famous-class cutters. It is named for the Algonquin tribe of Iroquoian Indians who lived in the Mohawk Valley of New York. Mohawk is the third cutter to bear the name. Mohawk’s parent command is U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area.

The U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area command oversees all domestic Service operations east of the Rocky Mountains, including the Arctic, Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and out-of-hemisphere operations in Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia. Atlantic Area is responsible for coordinating and deploying cutters, aircraft, pollution response equipment, and thousands of personnel throughout the globe to ensure resources, equipment, and personnel are available to support the Coast Guard’s statutory missions.

For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.

Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.

“Police seize underwater drones from drug dealers for the first time” –Der Spiegel

A view across the Strait of Gibraltar taken from the hills above Tarifa, Spain. Photo by Rob3fish at en.wikipedia

Der Spiegel reports that Spanish police have arrested eight and confiscated six underwater drones. The drones were being used to transport drugs from Morocco to Spain across the Straits of Gibraltar.c

Thanks to Sven for bringing this to my attention. 

“From Chinese ambition to Saami tradition, an Arctic snapshot” –The Watch

A small-boat crew from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley medevacs a man from the Chinese research vessel Xue Long, 15 nautical miles from Nome, Alaska, in 2017

NORTHCOM’s on-line magazine, “The Watch,” reports on a conference on the Arctic. This is a follow-on to an earlier post.

The Watch report looks at China’s interests and roles in the Arctic and a perspective from a representative of indigenous peoples in the European Arctic.

“Fincantieri To Design And Build New Multirole OPV For Italian Coast Guard” –Naval News

The future multirole offshore patrol vessel (unità d’altura multiruolo) of the Italian Coast Guard.

Naval News reports the award of a contract for a new Italian CG cutter.

The order, which concludes the tender procedure and has a value of approximately 80 million euros, provides for the construction of a multirole OPV and the related temporary support services for a duration of 5 years. There is also an option for the construction of a further 2 vessels.

The Italian Coast Guard is a quarter the size of the US Coast Guard and is part of the Italian Navy. Historically, offshore Coast Guard functions were frequently performed by the Italian Navy. Their Coast Guard only began building larger specialized coast guard Offshore Patrol Vessels a little over a decade ago.

The new ship(s) appears generally similar to the two earlier Dattilo class OPVs commissioned in 2013 and 2014. At a reported 85 meters in length it will be about ten meters shorter. USCGC Hamilton exercised with a Dattilo class cutter during its European deployment back in April.

This and previous Italian OPVs appear to be derived from Offshore Support Vessel (OSV) practice. There is no indication of speed, but I would expect about 18 knots, this being the speed of previous Italian OPVs. All previous Italian OPVs had provision for taking containers aboard, so that also appears likely. There is no provision for a hangar. No mention is made of armament, but judging from the artist’s renderings and current Italian Coast Guard/Navy practice, it is likely to be an Leonardo Oto Melara/Oerlikon KBA 25 mm/80 remote weapon system which fires the same 25x137mm round as the Mk38 but at up to more than 550 rounds per minute supplemented by 7.62mm machine guns. Following previous practice, the new ship(s) is probably fitted for but not with the OTO Melara 76mm.

European Patrol Corvette

European Patrol Corvette

Defense News reports on the status of the European Patrol Corvette program.

We did talk about this program earlier. France, Italy, and Spain are already committed for a total of 20 ships and Greece is also expected to participate. It seems likely other will join the program.

These ships will perform many of the functions we associate with Coast Guard cutters, particularly in the case of the French Navy. The ships are close in size and general characteristics to the Offshore Patrol Cutters but will be better armed and slightly faster.

If the program continues to grow, this will be a relative large class and will all most certainly will be exported.

“Between 2009 and 2018, China produced 136 military ships, of which 11 were exported, he said, while two U.S. shipbuilders built 78 ships, of which six were exported. Twelve European yards produced 80 ships, of which 49 were for the export market…”

This is part of a movement to “rationalize” the European shipbuilding industry. Recently we have seen a move by Fincantieri and Navantia to increase cooperation. Ultimately this may effect US shipbuilding. Fincantieri owns Marinette Marine that builds the Freedom class LCS and that built USCGC Mackinaw, the 16 Juniper class WLBs, and the 14 Keeper class WLMs. Navantia has partnered with Bath Iron Works, to among other things offer a candidate for the Offshore Patrol Cutter.


Photo: Training Ship Tenacious under sail.

The Royal Navy reports,

For the first time in decades Royal Navy sailors are learning the art of seafaring on a traditional tall ship.

The use of the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s Tenacious is helping to plug the gap left by the closure of the Navy’s command and leadership school in the Brecon Beacons due to the pandemic.

“In a difficult period for Royal Navy training due to the pandemic, the use of the Jubilee Sailing Trust has allowed us to continue to provide top quality core leadership and team training in a maritime context,” said Commander Adrian Coulthard from the Navy’s training organisation.

Information on the ship here. Remarkably she is a wooden ship completed in 2000.

(Contrary to the claim in the Wikipedia article, she is not the largest wooden ship afloat, unless both USS Constitution and USS Constellation happen to be in dry dock at the same time.)

Exercise Tenacious Wave
Royal Navy sailors are setting sail on a traditional tall ship as part of Exercise TENACIOUS WAVE. Working in partnership with the Jubilee Sailing Trust, junior sailors are put to sea on Sailing Vessel Tenacious to continue their naval training.
This opportunity provides early exposure to maritime life, teaching about routines on board a ship and developing skills through a series of leadership exercises.

“U.S. Navy Reports On Arctic And North Atlantic” –Naval News

Official portrait of Admiral Burke as Commander NAVEUR-NAVAF

Naval News reports on a Webinar conducted by Admiral Robert Burke who is Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe, Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Africa, and Commander of Allied Joint Forces Command in Naples. Previously he served as Vice Chief of Naval Operations. He is a submariner. Sounds like he spent some time under the ice.

There is a lot here about the Arctic. Keep in mind he is talking primarily about the Atlantic side rather than the waters around Alaska. This is primarily about the Russian threat, but there are concerns about China as well.

Norway’s Coast Guard Jan Mayen-class vessel

Norway’s Coast Guard Jan Mayen-class vessel (Picture source: Vard)

We have some new information on Norway’s three new very large ice capable Arctic patrol ships. Naval News reports they will be equipped with inertial navigation systems and we have the artist’s concept above I had not seen previously.

“We’re very proud to be supporting the Norwegian Coast Guard in securing Norway’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), internal and territorial waters.”, states Regis Blomme, Sales Director at iXblue. “The arctic zone, in which the new vessels will operate, is a very challenging environment and our Fiber-Optic Gyroscope (FOG) based INS and Netans NDDCS have already proven to offer highly accurate, resilient, and secure navigation in such Northern latitudes. We particularly want to thank Vard for their strong vote of confidence in our technology and look forward to our collaboration with them.”

As we noted earlier,

“Deliveries of the three vessels are scheduled from Vard Langsten in Norway in 1Q 2022, 1Q 2023 and 1Q 2024 respectively. The hulls will be built at Vard’s Tulcea, Romania, shipyard…”

Specifications are:

  • Displacement: 9,800 tons
  • Length: 136.4 meters (447.4 ft) loa
  • Beam: 22 meters (72.16 ft)
  • Draft: 6.2 meter (20.3 ft)
  • Speed: 22 knots.

Note–VARD is also the designer for the Offshore Patrol Cutters.