“Growing Missions, Shrinking Fleet” –USNI

The US Naval Institute has an argument in favor of funding National Security Cutter #12

The author talks about the shortage of ships both because of the failure of the crew rotation concept and because of the shortfall revealed in the Fleet Mix Study. This has been discussed in the Congressional Research Service report on Cutter Acquisition.

What I found new, was information about SOUTHCOM interceptions,

In congressional testimony last year, Admiral Craig Faller, Commander, U.S. Southern Command, noted: “The Coast Guard’s presence any given day is six to eight cutters. . . . But, keep in mind, we’re talking about covering areas the size of the United States—with from six to 10 ships. And so, the interdiction percentage with the current assets we have is about 6 percent of the detections. So, we need more ships.”

that is a lower interception rate than previously reported, and impact on jobs,

The NSC is an indispensable national asset. The economic impact of the NSC production line touches nearly 500 suppliers across 39 states. An additional ship order would help jumpstart the U.S. economy and have an immediate and profound effect on a host of U.S. suppliers, who stand ready to deliver. Moving forward with a 12th NSC is low risk.

If we had been further along with the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC), I would say, just build another OPC instead of a twelth NSC, but we were way behind in starting the OPC program and the difficulties at Eastern put us even further behind.

The OPC program is so far behind, that the Bertholf is likely to be 30 years old before the 25th OPC is ready for its first operational mission. Plus we really do need more than 36 large patrol cutters, but the fact we have not done a new Fleet Mix Study in almost ten years does not help our case.

 

“SECNAV Nominee Commits to Advancing Navy’s Arctic Presence” –Seapower

Kenneth J. Braithwaite, U.S. ambassador to Norway and the nominee to become the next Navy secretary, in 2018. During his Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing on May 7, Braithwaite spoke of the importance of the U.S. foothold in the Arctic to counter “Great Power Competitors” China and Russia. U.S Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Theron J. Godbold

The Navy League on-line magazine is reporting that the current nominee for Secretary of the Navy, a former Navy P-3 patrol plane commander, is saying that he will be a strong advocate for a Navy presence in the Arctic.

Braithwaite also told Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) that he would be a strong advocate for a strategic Arctic port large enough to handle destroyers and icebreakers. The nearest such port is Anchorage, Alaska, which is 1,500 miles from the Arctic Circle, Sullivan added.

“The great news is the United States Navy has been up there for many, many years,” Braithwaite said. “You may not see them, but they’re up there. As it begins to become more navigable on the surface, we also need to make sure that our presence is noted.”

“We continue to need to be vigilant,” he added. “We continue to need to be present. That requires an adequate-size Navy to be there.”

“It will be a priority of mine.”

We talked about Arctic port development earlier:

 

May the 4th Be With You

A typical day on the Imperial Star Destroyer Kimball. (stolen from Kimball’s Facebook page)

Yummm…waffles!

“This isn’t my laundry?!”

Touch and Goes

HIFR (Hot In Flight Refuel)

All hands qualified at the range, except for TK-0756 (…again)

 

TK-0756 on Messcook duty

“What is the password to unlock the Detention Block!?”

Main Control

“Conn, Lookout. Rebel X-wing fighters inbound!”

“Contact bears 115 degrees relative, position angle 2”

General Quarters!

 

 

“Austal Australia has been awarded contract to design and build Cape-class Patrol Boats for Australian Navy” –Navy Recognition

The six new Cape-class patrol boats will extend the fleet of ten ships currently operated by the Australian Border Force and Royal Australian Navy around Australia (Image: ADV Cape Inscription operating with the RAN)

NavyRecognition reports,

Austal Limited is pleased to announce that Austal Australia has been awarded an A$324 million contract to design and construct six evolved Cape-class Patrol Boats (CCPBs) for the Royal Australian Navy.


These “Cape Class” patrol vessels are a bit unusual in size, slotting between typical “inshore” and “offshore” patrol vessels. We talked about this class when Trinidad and Tobago ordered two of them.

This is the information we had on the class earlier, compared to the Webber class.

  • Displacement about twice as large: 700 tons vice 353
  • Length: 57.8 m (190 ft) vice 46.8 m (154 ft)
  • Beam: 10.3 m (34 ft) vice 8.11 m (26.6 ft)
  • Draft: 3 m (9.8 ft) vice 2.9 m (9.5 ft)
  • HP, less: 6,772 vice 11,600
  • Speed, slower: 25 vice 28
  • Crew, smaller: 18 vice 24
  • Boats: two on davits vice one in stern ramp
  • Range: greater, 4000 vice 2500 nautical miles
  • Endurance: greater, 28 vice 5 days

These new ships will have some upgrades including accommodation for 32.

I was a little surprised by this procurement. Not too long ago, Australian Navy’s patrol force consisted of only thirteen 300 ton Armidale class patrol boats. These are being replaced by twelve 80 meter OPVs. None of these larger vessels have been completed so far. In the interim they leased two of these Cape Class. Now they are getting six more, improved versions. Presumably they will retain these even after the larger OPVs are completed, giving them 20 vessels.

Two 140 meter (459 foot) Cutters for South Korean Coast Guard

Naval News reports that the Korea Coast Guard will be receiving two new cutters. These are reported to displace 4,200 tons full load, meaning they are slightly smaller, but considerably longer than the 418 foot 4500 ton National Security Cutters and 360 foot Offshore Patrol Cutters of similar displacement.

There is no indication of the speed of the new cutters, but the earlier similar sized cutters, hull numbers 3009, 3010, and 3011 were reportedly capable of 28 knots. Armament seems be being standardized at a twin 40mm mount and 20mm Sea Vulcan Gatling Guns, both locally produced.

The Korean Coast Guard currently has 36 cutters of more than 1500 tons full load, including two of 6,500 tons full load, only one of the 36 is over 26 years old. Their Exclusive Economic Zone is less than 2.7% that of the US, but it is complicated by the proximity of North Korea, China, Russia, and Japan.

“Elbit Systems Integrates Active Towed Array Sonar onboard its Seagull USV” –Naval News

Naval News is reporting that Israeli Defense Contractor Elbit has integrated the Canadian company Geospectrum’s Unmanned Surface Vessel version of their “Towed Reelable Active Passive Sonar” (TRAPS) with Elbit’s Seagull USV.

The Seagull is only 12 meters in length.

We have talked about TRAPS several times before, here, here, and here, but the video above is the clearest representation of how I works I have see so far. You can see the active element coming off the reel at time 23 to 25 seconds on this very short video.

It this works anything like it is claimed to (and the Canadian Navy has tested it), this could be a relatively easy route to reintroducing an ASW capability into the Coast Guard. It could also help detect low profile semi-submersible drug runners.

It might even find a home on the WPB replacement.