“Naval Battle” on the Thames (Britain not New London)


UK independents (Brexit) vs the EU favorable (Remains)

The upcoming Referendum on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU has resulted in an interesting bit of theater on the water. Sound’s like the authorities have their hands full.

Fisheries is at the heart of this Brexit demonstration. Spain in particular has been fishing in what they view as their waters. For the EU it is all a common resource.

US to Help Mediterranean Alien Migrant Interdiction

Reuters is reporting NATO is planning to expand their Migrant interdiction efforts, and the US will participate.

“NATO agreed on Thursday to broaden its operations in the Mediterranean to help the European Union stop criminals trafficking refugees from North Africa but will not act until the fate of rescued migrants is cleared up.”

The thing I found interesting was that reportedly the US provide a ship. Certainly there is a certain logic to using a Coast Guard ship for this mission, but it is unlikely. Not enough cutters. It is much more likely it will be done by Navy ships, that would be operating in the Mediterranean anyway, but it is almost certain that ship will have a Coast Guard team aboard.


Document Alert: World Wide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community, 2/9/16

We have a statement for the record (pdf) from James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, dated February 9, 2016. Perhaps it is the nature of the beast, but there is no good news, and much that is bad.

Smuggling of every type appears to be on the rise including drugs and people. We can expect an increase in illegal immigration as a result of violence, poverty, and disorder in Latin America and particularly Cuba and Central America.

It is a relatively compact document. There are sections on Terrorism (pp 4-6), transnational organized crime (pp 11-12), Arctic (p 13), Environmental Risks and Climate Change (pp 13-14), health (including potential pandemics) (pp 14-15), and Global Displacement, “These 60 million consist of approximately 20 million refugees, 38 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), and approximately 2 million stateless persons, also according to UNHCR statistics.” (p.15)

There are also regional assessments including one on Latin America and the Caribbean (pp 28-29).

There is no regional assessment for the US. In terms of direct terrorist threats to the US, while there is a recognition of an aspiration on the part of various groups to attack the US, but the emphasis seems to be on “homegrown violent extremists” (HVEs) and there is nothing about the possibility of a maritime attack on the US. Is that because none exist?

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.

Poland looking for OPCs


Rolls Royce proposal

Poland is planning some ships that have many similarities to the Offshore Patrol Cutters. We have talked about these a little already, in the context of an unconventional hull form offered by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) that promises better fuel economy. Our friend at Thinkdefence talks about another proposal from Rolls Royce. He also provided a link to a more detailed description of the program.

The intention is apparently to produce three “Miecznik” corvettes and three “Czapla” patrol ships (with mine countermeasures) with the two classes sharing a common platform. ThinkDefence reports the key features of Rolls Royce’s corvette version as follows:

“It is 99.7 metres long and displaces just over 2,400 tonnes. Accommodation for 60 crew and an additional 30 personnel is included and the ship is said to have a 28 day endurance. With a CODLOD propulsion system its design top speed is 25 knots. Weapons and sensors include a 76mm Oto Melara gun, twin MSI 30mm automatic cannons, two quad NSM missile launchers, MU90 torpedo launchers and four Sylver A35 cells for quad packed VL-MICA anti-aircraft missiles; Smart-S 3D radar, Thales optronic systems and Kingclip sonar.”

Substituting some equivalent US systems, I think that would represent a good approximation of how a war ready OPC might be equipped.

Apparently they intend to order one ship a year beginning with the corvettes in 2017. That starts them on nearly the same schedule as the OPCs. Which will be finished first? Unfortunately the Poles will probably see their first ship before we see the first OPC.

Rolls Royce CDV 4