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    World Navies in Review

    World Navies in Review

    A Year of Compromise

    Eric Wertheim

    Proceedings, March 2005

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    Recent international naval developments have been marked by a sense of compromise. In some cases, compromise has been successful; in others, what began as compromise has turned into near disaster as navies scramble to find a workable balance among blue-water and littoral responsibilities, homeland security, counterterrorism, and modernization. This annual review of the world's navies is arranged by region, with maritime nations discussed alphabetically in each subheading.

    Australia and Asia

    • With Australia's increasing commitment to Asian multinational efforts, its maritime forces have stretched their capabilities in attempting to balance operations and procurement while maintaining the fleet. Its emphasis on defense acquisition reform ensures that investments are spent efficiently. At the same time, these efforts affect major naval procurement and may delay several high-profile programs—including plans to equip the Australian Navy with two or three new amphibious assault ships beginning in 2010, and to procure guided-missile destroyers to replace the stricken ex-U.S. Navy Charles F. Adams (DDG-2)-class ships around 2013.


    COURTESY OF AUTHOR
    Work on new Chinese warships has progressed rapidly. This Project 523B guided-missile frigate, the Yantai, entered service in 2003. At least three of her sister ships were under construction in 2004, along with a new class of Project 054 missile frigates.
    In 2004, Blohm + Voss (Germany), Gibbs & Cox (United States), and Izar (Spain) were selected to develop concepts for the new Australian destroyer; the Lockheed Martin Aegis radar was chosen as the heart of its combat system. Overall cost of the three-ship program will be $4.5-6 billion (Australian). These advanced antiair warfare (AAW) destroyers also will have secondary surface and antisubmarine (ASW) capabilities.

    The newest four of the six-ship ex-U.S. Navy Oliver Hazard Perry (FFG-7)-class frigates—known as the Adelaide class—are being upgraded. They will undergo combat systems and other upgrades through 2007. Improvements will include replacement of the SM-1 class standard surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) with the far more advanced SM-2 variant.

    Although there have been some troubles with the Collins-class submarines, the Royal Australian Navy accepted "operational release" status of this class in 2004, thereby expressing confidence in their ability to undertake maneuvers and operations. This is long overdue—the first unit of the class is nearly a decade old.

    • In March 2004, Bangladeshi sources indicated their navy was interested in purchasing four submarines to enter service around 2012. Of course, this was prior to the December 2004 earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean. These plans were unlikely to come about prior to the natural disaster; they now appear implausible at best.

    • The Chinese Navy continues to expand, modernize, and increase the pace of its operations and capabilities. During the spring of 2004, eight vessels, including destroyers and submarines, sailed to Hong Kong to mark the 55th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). No doubt, this move sent a strong message to Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the world community. Much has been written recently of the two Russian Sovremenny-class destroyers that entered Chinese service in 1999 and 2000. An additional two are expected in 2005, thus completing the 2001 contract with Russia.

    The Russian-built destroyers, however, have been eclipsed in media reports by the next generation of advanced Chinese surface ships: the Project 52B and 52C class destroyers, much-modified versions of the Luhai design, with some shaping of the superstructure to reduce radar signature, bulwarks at the bows, and single stacks. The first two vessels of the class (168 and 169) are of the Project 52B type. The second two (170 and 171) appear to be a variant dubbed Project 52C—they have different hangar arrangements than the previous units and are fitted with fixed planar arrays similar to those on Aegis warships. Work on all four has progressed rapidly and construction likely will be completed in 2005. The two Project 52B variants are armed with rail launchers for the SA-N-7 SAM, and the Project 52C variants are armed with vertical launch systems for the SA-N-6 SAM. Both destroyer types apparently carry 16 C-803 JYJ-8-3 antiship missiles.

    A new class of Chinese guided-missile frigate also is in the works. The Project 054-class frigates eventually may consist of 30 vessels intended to replace the older Jianghu-class frigates now in service. The Project 054s, which make use of minor signature reduction techniques, should not be called stealthy, even though they often are referred to as "stealth frigates." They have been compared to the French-designed Saudi Arabian Al Riyadh (F-3000S)-class frigates in appearance, if not capability. The 054 will displace roughly 4,000 tons and travel at a top speed of 28 knots. The final armament fit has yet to be reported, but will likely consist of C-802 YJ-2 antiship missiles and the HQ-7 SAM system. The first of these frigates are expected to be operational in 2005. China also reportedly expressed interest in building or purchasing as many as 30 Tarantul III guided-missile patrol craft, but no orders have been placed yet.

    Media talk in 2004 indicated that the Admiralty Shipyard in Saint Petersburg, Russia, planned to deliver two Project 636 Kilo-class submarines to China, with three more to be delivered during 2005. (This chatter appears accurate, although deliveries often occur later than initially relayed by the media.) Since the May 2003 disaster involving the loss of 70 sailors aboard a Ming-class boat, there have been renewed, if secretive, efforts to improve Chinese sub rescue operations. At least for now, China no longer appears interested in building or buying an aircraft carrier.

    • During 2004, India's maritime forces continued to expand as several important additions were made to the fleet. That nation's new maritime doctrine—adopted in May 2004—aims to build a major ocean-going fleet that can project power beyond the Indian Ocean. The doctrine coincides with a significant boost in defense spending. In early 2004, the 40,000-ton former Soviet aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov was transferred officially to the Indian Navy. She is intended to replace the 45-year old Viraat, which is India's only operational aircraft carrier. The Gorshkov, which has not been to sea under her own power in more than ten years, reportedly will be renamed Vikramaditya. She is expected to join the Indian fleet in 2008, along with 16 MiG-29 fighters.

    India's carrier plans do not stop with the Vikramaditya: a 40-thousand-ton new-construction aircraft carrier will enter service about 2012. Three of these "air defense ships" (now known as the Vikrant class) are planned for construction at Cochin Shipyard in India, with the Italian firm Fincantieri providing assistance based on experience from their Cavour carrier program. At $800 million per ship, plans for three of these ships may prove overly optimistic.

    Indian surface ships experienced major growth during the past year. With all three of the Talwar-class (Russian Project 11356) frigates now in service, the Indian Navy would do well to reflect on the program's many delays and integration problems, several of which still are being worked out with the Russian manufacturers. Indian defense officials hope their difficult experience with the Talwars will not be repeated with the new Indian Project 15A class of DDGs expected to enter service in 2006, or with their Shivalik-class Project 17 frigates, also due in 2006. Although three Project 15A class destroyers and three Project 17 frigates have been ordered, as many as 12 of the frigates may see service eventually.

    India remains in the market for a nuclear-powered submarine (SSN). But whether it comes indigenously from the secretive "advanced technology vessel" program or from ongoing negotiations to lease or purchase unfinished Akula I- or Akula II-class subs from Russia remains to be seen. Negotiations are ongoing with France for the purchase of possibly 12 Scorpène-class diesel-powered subs. India continues similar discussions for as many as 12 Russian Amur 1650-class (Project 677E) submarines, which would supplement an already formidable force of four German-type 209 and ten Russian Kilo-class boats. While rumors continue to circulate that India wants to build an SSBN in the 2010-2015 period, there is little hard data on this subject.

    India's amphibious forces are expanding as well, with the launch of a third Magar-class tank landing ship (LST) in 2004. Smaller support vessels have not been overlooked: a plan to build eight mine hunters was announced in mid-2004.

    Nonetheless, dramatic naval expansion has its problems. For example, the Indian Navy has a major shortage of on-hand spare parts, and defense leaders complain that it is increasingly difficult to get required parts from Russian manufacturers. Because the Indians apparently are becoming even more dependent on Russian suppliers as their next generation of warships joins the fleet, this problem is likely to grow.

    • Although details are hard to come by, Indonesian naval forces appear to have taken quite a wallop from the late December 2004 tsunami. Reports indicate that a number of vessels—including two LSTs and 24 small patrol craft—are taking part in the rebuilding efforts. Yet the entire effect on, and status of, several major projects remains to be seen. Current programs include a December 2004 contract with Daewoo Heavy Industries for three amphibious transport docks (LPDs) and one amphibious command ship, two corvettes to be built by Royal Schelde (Netherlands), and an upgrade of two Indonesian Type 209-class submarines. Only time will tell how these efforts were impeded by the natural disaster.

    • Several programs are ongoing for the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). Design work proceeds on four 13,500-ton class helicopter-carrying destroyers, which are intended to replace the Shirane and Haruna classes beginning about 2008. Design work also continues on an enlarged version of the Kongo-class guided-missile destroyer. Two of these are on order; the first should enter service in 2007. Two more Takanami-class destroyers have entered service in the past year, with another two to follow in 2006. Eight ships of this class are scheduled for commissioning.

    A number of new Hayabusa-class guided-missile patrol boats entered service during the past year; four more are expected to follow suit between 2006 and 2008, for a total class of 11 units since 2002. Two more Sugashima-class mine hunters and sweepers also are in production, with nine of the class having been delivered between 1999 and 2005.

    The JMSDF's amphibious warfare force continues to expand, with at least three of the four operational Osumi-class LSDs and a new class of LST now in the early stages of development. The final air-cushion landing craft (LCACs) have entered service, bringing Japan's total to eight. Three of an expected four Hiuchi-class multimission support ships are in service; the final unit is under construction, along with two new Masyu-class replenishment oilers that have entered—or soon will enter—service. By mid-2007, ten new and highly capable Oyashio-class submarines also will be in service. The eighth unit, the Takashio, is scheduled for delivery this month.

    • One of Malaysia's biggest maritime programs in years is coming to fruition with two of the planned six MEKO 100-class patrol ships scheduled to enter service in 2005. The government hopes to acquire as many as 27 of the class, but such a high number is highly unlikely. Malaysia also hopes to have two newly built Scorpène-class submarines in service by 2008, and a retired French Agosta-class sub (ordered in 2002) in operation, following completion of four years' training with the French Navy.

    • New Zealand's $500-million Project Protector fleet replacement program continues with the 2004 selection of Tenix (Australia) as prime contractor. Tenix, in concert with Merwede Shipyard and local shipyards, will build one 8,000-ton vessel for sealift and utility duties, two 1,500-ton offshore patrol ships, and four 350-ton inshore patrol ships for the New Zealand Navy. These new-construction vessels will replace the frigate Canterbury, which reportedly is in bad condition, the stricken transport Charles Upham, and numerous smaller vessels.

    • North Korea's conventional naval capabilities continue to decline, as its roughly 9,000-man maritime force and aging equipment become less effective every year. Small boats, fast attack craft, and zealous special operations forces are the unconventional weapon of choice for the North Korean Navy, which faces foes and neighbors who are far better equipped, trained, and led.

    Submarines also appeal to this extremely secretive nation, which put in service a Cold War-era Romeo-class boat as late as 1995. North Korea's largest naval ship is the 2,100-ton Kowan-class submarine rescue ship, which has been in service since the late 1980s. Although it has a catamaran hull—presumably intended to straddle a sunken sub—there is no sign of heavy-lift gear or even a rescue bell. In March 2004, the U.S. Navy announced the continuous presence of an Aegis warship in the waters between Korea and Japan to monitor possible ballistic-missile launches.

    • Pakistan hopes to increase its naval power in the coming decade and, with China's assistance, plans to construct four Jiangwei II-class frigates. In addition, Pakistan hopes for eight P-3 Orion antisubmarine warfare aircraft that may be purchased from the Netherlands. In September 2004, Pakistan launched a new guided-missile patrol craft that is virtually identical to the current Jalalat class, but slightly larger and probably capable of carrying increased armament. Submarine production continues: in 2006, the third and final French Agosta 90B-class sub will be delivered, bringing the number of Pakistani attack submarines to nine.

    • The first of Singapore's six Delta-class (NGPV-Project) 3,200-ton frigates will likely enter service in 2005. Singapore sees itself as a major player in the war against piracy and the global war on terror—for example, it dispatched the LST Resolution to help with Iraq's reconstruction efforts. Although delivery of four ex-Swedish Sjöormen (Type A-11B)-class submarines had been delayed, the first of the class, Centurion, is in service now; 2004 saw the remaining units complete their refit and transfer from Sweden.

    • South Korea has several major shipbuilding programs ongoing. The first of the KDX III-class destroyers was ordered in August 2004; the three ships of this class are expected to enter service as early as 2008, 2010, and 2012. The new class will be equipped with the Lockheed Martin SPY 1-series Aegis radar and combat system. This class will be built at Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan, Korea, and will supplement the KDX II destroyers. The third and final KDX II, Dae Jo Young, is expected in service late in 2005.

    South Korea also plans to have 32 PKM-X-project new-construction guided-missile patrol boats in service by the end of the decade. Little information has been announced on in-service dates for this class, which is being built by Kangnam shipyard in Pusan. South Korea also has a large mine countermeasures project under way, with up to 11 Yang Yang-class mine hunters expected to enter service in the next decade.

    There will be a substantial increase in South Korea's naval capabilities when its three Type 214 submarines enter service between 2007 and 2009. These boats are to be built at Hyundai Shipyard, with technical assistance coming from German shipbuilder Howaldtswerke.

    • Two of the four ex-U.S. Navy Kidd (DDG-993)-class ships are expected to enter Taiwanese naval service in 2005; the entire class is expected to recommission by 2006. Transfer of these destroyers will be accompanied by 148 Standard SM-2 Block IIIA and 32 RGM-84L Block II Harpoon missiles. Last year, Taiwan received the eighth and final PFG-2 class (Kuang Hua I program) guided-missile frigate, which is essentially a lengthened variant of the U.S. Navy's Oliver Hazard Perry class.

    The first of the new Taiwanese Kuang Hua VI project guided-missile patrol craft was seen taking part in naval exercises as early as September 2003; up to five of the class may be in service already. While Taiwan has expressed strong interest in purchasing additional amphibious warfare ships, major purchases of dock or tank landing ships appear unlikely in the immediate future.

    Efforts continue in Taiwan to acquire the eight diesel submarines proposed by the George W. Bush administration in April 2001. These subs are a top priority for Taiwan. Even so, reports indicate that, in addition to the lingering "hot-potato" political question as to who would build the boats, cost has become a major stumbling block because cost estimates have increased rapidly.

    • Between 2 and 12 new patrol ships for the Royal Thai Navy—displacing from 1,000 to 1,500 tons—are on order for construction at the SB Trading Co., Shanghai, China. The first of these was launched during 2004, with delivery expected sometime in 2005 or 2006. As with other nations in the region, Thailand suffered terrible damage from the December 2004 tsunami. Details on specific ships and units affected have yet to be ascertained, but it is clear that many Thai naval vessels were lost, damaged, or destroyed.

    Europe

    • The Belgian Navy continues to dwindle in size and power. Talk of purchasing several frigates from the Netherlands failed to pan out, and it now appears that one of Belgium's three frigates will transfer to Bulgaria during 2005. On a more positive note, six of Belgium's Tripartite-class mine hunters will undergo extensive modernization to be completed by 2009.

    • Bulgaria will purchase at least one (perhaps two) of Belgium's Wielingen-class multipurpose frigates. It also eventually hopes to purchase two used Type 206 or Type 209 submarines to enhance its naval capabilities.

    • This past year was bittersweet for the Danish Navy—especially the submarine force, which was dissolved completely. Denmark previously withdrew from the joint Swedish-Danish Viking sub program and now has decommissioned its four remaining boats. As the sub force mourns the loss of 95 years of undersea capability, the silver lining might be the Danish patrol force, which will see its second SF 3000 flexible support ship in service by 2005. The first of the class, Absalon, joined the fleet in late 2004. A second class, the Stanflex 1000, remains in the design stage, but as many as four of these patrol ships are likely to enter service between 2007 and 2012.

    • Two additional Rauma 2000-class guided-missile patrol craft were ordered by Finland in 2003, following decommissioning of the prototype hovercraft Tuuli. These new craft are scheduled to enter service in 2006 and will join two sisters already in commission. In addition, design has begun on a new class of mine countermeasures ships, three of which are expected to enter service by 2011.

    • International cooperation was the theme of the year for French planners in 2004. With France's nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, operational since 2001, French authorities decided in early 2004 to opt next for a conventionally powered carrier that will enter service around 2014. They also wish to cooperate closely with the United Kingdom as the two nations develop separate midsized aircraft carriers. At press time, the degree of cooperation was undetermined.

    International cooperation has been equally vital to the ongoing French destroyer and frigate programs. Work on the 7,000-ton (full load) joint French-Italian Project Horizon destroyers—dubbed the Forbin class in France—is ongoing with France's first vessel expected to enter service in December 2006. Development of these advanced DDGs started in 1991, and more than a decade passed before the first of the class was laid down. The four vessels of this program likely will replace the two Cassard-class destroyers now in service and other warships.

    French and Italian collaboration continues with a second class of warships, the Frégates d'Action Navale project, which was renamed the Frègate Multimission (FREMM) in 2004. This class of destroyers, which may number as many as 17, will emphasize land attack, surface warfare, and ASW. They are to be built in two different configurations: eight in the ASW-oriented configuration and nine in the land-attack cruise-missile configuration. They are expected to displace roughly 5,500 tons fully loaded and will likely replace the Tourville- and Georges Leygues-class destroyers in the 2008-2015 period. More details (and decisions) concerning power plants, armament, electronics, and construction dates should be forthcoming in 2005.

    Construction of the French Navy's new Mistral-class helicopter-carrying landing ships is ongoing. Bow sections and accommodation modules for the 20,000-ton vessels are being built by Alstom at St. Nazaire, with the remainder of the hulls and fitting out to be accomplished at DCN Brest. The first of the class, Mistral, is expected to enter service in 2005; the second and final ship of the class, the Tonnerre, is expected to follow in 2006. The ships were ordered in 2000. In addition to crews of 160, they will be capable of carrying 20 naval or army helicopters and 450 troops.

    The French submarine force continued to grow in 2004, with the third of four Le Triomphant-class SSBNs, the Le Vigilant, entering service this past November to replace the Le Redoutable-class boat, the L'Indomptable. A successor to the Améthyste-class attack submarines (SSNs) is in the works; the first of the new Barracuda-class SSNs is likely to be laid down in 2005. Six of this class are expected to be built at DCN, Cherbourg, and are scheduled to enter service between 2014 and 2024.

    • Several major naval programs continue in the German Navy: the type 124 Sachsen-class guided-missile frigate, Type 125 frigate, K 130 corvette, and Type 212 submarine. The second of three Sachsen-class frigates, the Hamburg, entered service three months ahead of schedule in September 2004. The third of the class, the Hessen, will enter service in 2005. These advanced frigates are to be followed into service around 2010 by the Type 125 class, which is in the early stages of design but may begin construction around 2007. Production began in the summer of 2004 on the first of five K 130-class corvettes. (Because corvettes generally displace less than 1,500 tons—these vessels displace 1,650 tons—they also can be considered frigates.) The first of the K 130 class probably will enter service in mid-2007, with construction on the last vessel concluding in late 2008.

    Germany's submarine manufacturing industry remains busy working for its own and international navies. The first German Navy Type 212A air-independent propulsion (AIP) submarine, U 31, entered service in March 2004; the second of the class will be commissioned during 2005. Current plans call for a total of four Type 212 submarines to be built, and Germany already is exploring the possibility of ordering more boats after the initial batch has been delivered around 2007. There has been widespread international interest in this boat and its AIP system, which employs a solid-polymer, metal-hydride fuel-cell system.

    • In March 2004, the Greek government unveiled the Plan-21 transformation process designed to cut military spending by 20%. The plan would trim the number of active duty Greek military personnel to under 100,000 and create a reserve force of an equal number. The defense minister has expressed a desire to transform the Hellenic Navy into a dominant blue-water fleet that can maintain its littoral capabilities while projecting power at sea and on land. With these goals in mind, the Navy is intent on adding a land-attack missile capability to its warships.

    To assist in securing the 2004 Olympics, many smaller patrol ships were kept in Greek service and retired shortly after the games concluded. Three newly built Israeli Sa'ar IV-class patrol boats entered service in 2004, as did two more Super Vita-class guided-missile patrol boats.

    Making room for newer warships, the last remaining ex-U.S. Navy Charles F. Adams-class destroyer, Nearchos, was retired in 2004. Arriving into service was the retired Dutch Kortenaer frigate, the Bloys van Treslong, newly renamed the Nikiforos Fokas. This new addition brings to ten the number of Kortenaers in the Greek Navy.

    Most important for Greece, work continues on the four German Type 214 submarines. the Katsonis, first of the class, is expected to enter service this year, and the second unit will follow in 2008. These boats are a version of the Type 212 design, with its expanded diesel generator capacity.


    U.S. NAVY (DON MONTGOMERY)
    This prototype of the Norwegian Skjold-class air-cushion guided-missile patrol boat was leased to the U.S. Navy in 2001. The Norwegian Parliament later convinced the government to fund construction of five more of these craft.
    • Ongoing Italian naval programs include the aircraft carrier Cavour, the Type 212 submarine program, the Project Horizon guided-missile destroyer program, and the FREMM frigate program.

    The Cavour (previously called the Andrea Doria) was launched in July 2004 and is scheduled to enter service around 2007. She will displace roughly 25,000 tons and be capable of carrying eight Harrier jets, 12 EH.101 helicopters, or a mix of both. This is the largest warship built by the Italians since World War II. It is employable as an amphibious warfare asset, vehicle ferry, disaster relief ship, strike carrier, or sea-control ship.

    Work continues on the first Project Horizon destroyers in a joint venture with the French Navy. The first Italian vessel, Andrea Doria (called Carlo Bergamini until recently), is being built by Fincantieri and is expected in service during 2007. An agreement is anticipated shortly in the joint French-Italian Frègate Multi-Mission program, and the more heavily armed Italian variant could cost 350 million Euros per ship. Details and numbers are still sketchy, but should clear up during 2005.

    All four of the New Minor Combatant Unit patrol ships are in the fleet. They were ordered in 1998 and delivered between 2002 and 2004. These vessels add a potent contribution to Italian homeland security and economic exclusion zone patrols. The two German Type 212A submarines ordered by Italy are under construction; an order for two more is expected sometime in the future. The first Italian boat of this class, the Salvatore Todaro, is expected to enter service in June 2005, with the second to follow in 2006.

    • In November 2004, the former Soviet republic of Latvia received the ex-Dutch survey ship Buyskes. The vessel was renamed the Varonis.

    • Progress continues for the Netherlands on the final two of the four-ship De Zeven Provinciën class of guided-missile frigates. The De Ruyter, the third of the class enters service in 2005. The amphibious transport ship Johan De Witt is under construction at the highly respected Schelde Shipyard in Vlissingen, but will not enter service until 2007. Both Snellius-class hydrographic survey ships are in service, highlighting a renewed emphasis on blue-water operations.

    Owing to age and budget cutbacks, however, the Netherlands is losing several warships, including older units of the Karel Doorman class and the Jacob Van Heemskerck-class frigates, some of which will be transferred to Chile. In keeping with the Dutch Navy's historical strengths in mine countermeasures, the ten Alkmaar-class coastal mine hunters are undergoing modernizations to be completed in 2009.

    • In June 2004, Norway celebrated the launch of the first of five Aegis-equipped Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates. The first will enter service in 2005; the final unit will do so in 2009. These frigates will be joined during this same period by five new fast (55-knot) and light (260 tons full load) Skjold-class surface-effect guided-missile patrol craft. Both classes make use of signature-reduction technology.

    • Although new NATO member Poland hoped to buy a new MEKO A-100 class frigate, cost issues have arisen. The vessel has yet to be launched, and it appears unlikely to enter service before 2007.

    • Portugal will receive two U.S. Navy Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates during 2005, and two new-construction Type 209-class submarines have been ordered from Germany for delivery beginning in 2008 or 2009. This delivery could expand to include a third submarine of the same class. They probably will replace the two French Daphné-class boats that have served since the late 1960s.

    • In September 2004, Romania commissioned the newly refurbished frigate Regele Ferdinand into service. A U.K. Boxer (Type 22 Batch 2)-class warship, the frigate was known as HMS Coventry while in British service. Plans call for her sister ship, ex-HMS London, to join the Romanian Navy in 2005 as the Regina Maria. If funding permits, further planned refit of the two warships would add upgraded command-and-control systems and possibly new SAM systems, which will enhance their use as flagships.

    • In March 2004, the Russian Navy made headlines when its senior admiral declared that Kirov-class cruiser Petr Velikiy was being pulled back from sea duty for refit because, without repairs, she might "explode at any moment." Nonetheless, following refit, she appeared at sea the following October, along with a large Russian naval force, including the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, several SSNs, Slava-class cruiser Marshal Ustinov, and Sovremennyy-class destroyer Admiral Ushakov. Several support ships also were along for what turned out to be one of the most extensive demonstrations of Russian naval power in years. Fortunately, there were no at-sea disasters during the exercise, which marked the first time in seven years that the Kuznetsov and its air wing conducted flight operations at sea.

    In 2004, Russian warships, including the Ivan Rogov-class LSD Mitrofan Moskalenko, took part in a visit to Japan; in September, a pair of destroyers visited Norway. The Petr Velikiy's sister ship and former namesake of the class, ex-Kirov, which has not been operational for some time, finally was deleted from the ship list.

    Russia has been striving to purchase more ships for itself and sell more of its wares abroad. As of late, however, its contractors have had a difficult time staying on schedule and delivering reliable equipment. This is a considerable problem the Russian defense industry must overcome if it wishes to gain wider respect in, and access to, the global arms market.

    At the same time, the Russian Navy intends to do what it can with the assets it has on hand. A major effort is under way to beef up submarine forces. Initiatives include construction of two Borey-class (Project 955) SSBNs, the second of which, the Aleksander Nevsky, was laid down in March 2004. Analysts can only guess when this new class will enter service—in any case, it will not be soon. In May 2004, media reports indicated that many Russian SSBNs were out of service because of a severe submarine-launched ballistic missile shortage. Back at sea since the Kursk tragedy, at least seven of the remaining Oscar II-class SSBNs appear to be operational, with two or three currently undergoing refit or relegated to the reserve force.

    Russia's conventionally powered submarine force remains a shining star of its naval construction programs. In October, the Sankt Peterburg, Russia's first Lada-class diesel-powered sub was launched at Admiralteiskiye shipyard in Saint Petersburg. This boat has been offered for export in several different variants under the class-name Amur.

    • The Spanish Navy eagerly awaits the 2008 delivery of the first of four Scorpène-class diesel attack submarines, which are intended to replace the outdated Daphné-class boats. But surface ships are grabbing much of the attention in Spain. Three of the Álvaro de Bazán-class (Project F-100) Aegis-equipped frigates are to be in service this year; one more is under construction and scheduled for commissioning in 2006. The Spanish Baleares-class frigate Cataluna was decommissioned in 2004. Other units of the class will follow as they are replaced by the new F-100s. The last two of six Segura-class mine hunters, the Duero and Tajo, entered service in 2004, thereby improving Spain's mine warfare capabilities.

    Design is well under way on a new Spanish helicopter assault ship to be built by Izar. The vessel will displace more than 26,000 tons. Its hanger is to be capable of handling 12 helicopters or eight Harrier jets; the floodable stern well will accommodate four LCM-8-sized landing craft or one LCAC. The as yet unnamed vessel is expected to enter service between 2008 and 2010. It will supplement the two Rotterdam-class LSDs.

    • In the post-Cold War world, the primary objective of the Swedish armed forces has been interoperability with allied and coalition forces. In 2005, the Swedish Navy looks forward to its first two fast and stealthy Visby-class multipurpose patrol vessels. All five should be delivered by the end of this year; full operational capability for the class is expected in 2006 and 2007.

    Because submarine operations can be expensive for any navy, Sweden has agreed to an interesting deal initiated by the United States and approved by the Swedish Ministry of Defense. Beginning in 2005, a Gotland-class submarine will be stationed in the United States for at least a year. The unnamed sub, along with a Swedish crew, will arrive by way of heavy-lift shipping. It will operate from East and West Coast U.S. naval bases, with the United States paying all operating costs and both nations learning from the experience.

    • Ten Kiliç-class guided-missile patrol craft were ordered for the Turkish Navy. Five are in service and the remaining five are expected to be active by about 2009. In addition, the third Aydin-class coastal mine hunter will enter service in 2005, and three more of this class will follow by 2007.

    A new class of six-to-eight light frigates or corvettes is planned for service beginning in 2009. While Turkey hopes to have most of these vessels constructed domestically, financial constraints continue to hound the program. Meanwhile, in 2004, the last ex-U.S. Navy Tang-class submarine was retired from Turkish service and is to be replaced by new German Type 209/1400-class boats. The full class of eight is expected to be delivered by 2007.

    • In the United Kingdom, the high price of operations has wreaked havoc on modernization efforts. In July 2004, U.K. defense officials announced significant cuts in its armed forces. The Royal Navy was hit particularly hard: it is anticipated that 1,500 personnel and 12 warships will leave service in the next two years. Cuts to the surface force include three Type 42-class air defense destroyers and three Type 23-class general-purpose frigates. The mine hunting force also will be dealt a blow when it loses three Sandown- and three Hunt-class mine countermeasures vessels. In addition, three Swiftsure-class SSNs are expected to fall to the budget ax by 2008.

    Development continues—though at a much delayed pace—on the next generation of British aircraft carrier (CVF). BAE has been chosen as the program's prime contractor and will build the class based on a design from the French company Thales. This arrangement will promote commonality between the two nations' carrier projects. Current plans call for the CVF, with its displacement of roughly 50,000 tons, to accommodate 48 aircraft, including 35 Joint Strike Fighters. Two CVFs will be built: the first, with a service entry date of 2012, is to be named Queen Elizabeth; the second, the Prince of Wales, should follow three years later.

    The Royal Navy's Type 45, "D"-class guided-missile destroyer program continues. The first unit is scheduled to enter service in 2007, but this may be delayed. The sixth and final unit of the class is expected in 2012 at the earliest. Delays also plague the Astute-class SSNs, six of which are planned to enter service between 2008 and 2015. The program has suffered heavy cost overruns—original costs of £2.7 billion have risen to £3.5 billion. The British have taken the unconventional step of requesting assistance from U.S. submarine manufacturer General Dynamics' Electric Boat, which should help get the Astute program back on track.

    The United Kingdom's amphibious warfare programs have fared better. Amphibious ships have largely escaped recent budget cuts, and December 2004 brought the entry into service of the second and final Albion-class LSD, HMS Bulwark. The 17,000-ton (full load) amphibious warship can carry 300 troops under normal conditions and more than 700 in emergencies. These vessels will be followed into service by four Largs Bay-class LSDs. The first of these is expected to be in service this year; the remainder will be in service by 2007.

    Middle East and Africa

    • Egypt has expressed interest in several new warships—ranging in capability from submarines to guided-missile patrol craft—to be built using U.S. foreign military assistance funding. Little has come of these programs, which usually fade away, strangled in red tape.

    • The Iranian Navy has kept a low profile in Western media because of its lack of capability and funding. Nothing new has been heard of the 1,400-ton Zolfaqar-class corvettes that reportedly were under construction. A new catamaran—armed with eight C-701 antiship missiles—entered service in 2003 and was reported in the Iranian press as a new "frigate." A new Combattante II-class guided-missile patrol craft entered service in 2004 and was given the same name and hull number as a unit of the same class that was sunk by Iraqi forces in 1980: the Peykan.

    • After training for nine months, the newly formed Iraqi Coast Defense Force began patrol operations on 1 October 2004. This small naval component of five 27-meter patrol boats operates in and around Iraq's coastal regions of Al Basrah and Khawr Al Amaya. The Iraqi sailors underwent basic training in either Iraq or Jordan, and a team of Australian, British, Dutch, and U.S. naval personnel performed follow-on training.

    • In a surprise move, Israel has expressed serious interest in buying a 13,000-ton amphibious assault vessel. This underscores its desire to project power beyond its borders. The Super Dvora Mk III-class patrol boats are beginning to enter service—the first of six was commissioned this past November. The Israeli Navy also is likely to purchase two additional submarines, while its two Gal (IKL 500)-class boats, which had been thought retired, are undergoing refit and modernization.

    • Image Marine, a division of Australia's Austal Ships, delivered three 22-meter patrol boats to the Kuwaiti Coast Guard. The 35-meter French-built patrol boats of the Al Shaheed class continue to enter service; all 14 are expected to be in service by 2006.

    • The Makkah, second of three Al Riyadh-class guided-missile frigates built by DCN of France, was turned over to the Saudi Arabian Navy in 2004. All three vessels will be in service during 2005. The Al Riyadh was completed in 2002; the final vessel, the Al Dammam, will follow later this year.

    • South Africa is the only nation on the African continent with an ongoing naval construction program. The four Valour-class frigates have been delivered to the South African Navy. The final unit, the Mendi, was turned over in mid-2004 for local outfitting. All four in the class are expected to be operational by the end of 2005.

    In July 2004, South Africa decommissioned its largest vessel, the 21,000-ton ex-Ukrainian Ivan Papanin-class fleet supply ship Outeniqua, which had been in service since 1993. The first German Type 209-class submarine, the S 101, was launched for South Africa in 2004. When this round of construction and fitting out is complete, the navy would like to begin a program to replace its aging patrol craft, mine warfare vessels, and auxiliaries.

    • Six Type 143-class guided-missile patrol craft are being transferred to Tunisia from Germany. Two are in Tunisian naval service already; four more will follow later this year.

    • The United Arab Emirates' Baynunah-class corvette program finally appears to have gained sufficient speed for take off. Construction of the program's first unit will take place in France; the remaining six will be built in the UAE. The first few of these warships are expected to enter service in 2008 to replace the aging 110-foot Ardhana-class patrol craft.

    Ten fast patrol boats built by Austal Ships of Henderson, Western Australia, were delivered to Yemen in 2004. They measure 37.5 meters in length, have "deep V" monohulls, and are crewed by three officers and 16 sailors. Each boat is armed with a 25-mm twin-barrel naval gun and two 12.7-mm machine guns.

    The Americas

    • In Argentina, the inactive destroyer Santísima Trinidad is being converted to a high-speed transport. In addition, there is talk that the Argentine Navy may be interested in purchasing the French landing ships Orage and Ouragan in the near future.

    • Brazil, with a fleet of A-4 Skyhawk aircraft and its 2001 acquisition of France's 30,000-ton Clemenceau-class aircraft carrier, the Foch (since renamed São Paulo), now has a capable—albeit short-ranged—naval strike capability. The São Paulo will be joined in 2008 by a locally built Barroso-class frigate, as work has reportedly restarted on this lengthened version of the Inhaúma class. The four remaining ex-U.S. Navy Garcia-class frigates (called destroyers in U.S. service) have retired recently. The Brazilian submarine force expects to see its fifth and final German Type 209-class boat delivered by 2008.

    • The overall state of the Canadian Navy is just fair at best, owing largely to budgetary neglect. Although it has suffered setbacks and difficulties in the surface, submarine, and air warfare areas, there are glimmers of hope on the horizon.

    Despite modernizations and upgrades in the early 1990s, the more-than-30-year-old Iroquois-class guided-missile destroyers are out of date. The Huron has been taken out of service, and it is rumored that the three remaining units of the class could follow in the next few years. The 12 Halifax-class frigates commissioned during the early and mid-1990s are threatened by budget cuts already. There is talk that 3 of the 12 may be decommissioned in the near future.

    Because underway support and replenishment vessels are required to keep the fleet at sea, the Canadian Navy may invest $2.1 billion (Canadian) to build three new joint support ships, with the first to enter service in 2010 or 2011. These vessels, which will be capable of sealift and supply, reportedly are one of the Canadian Defense Ministry's top priorities. At the same time, however, plans for as many as ten new 1,300-ton offshore patrol vessels for homeland security may have to be scrapped because of dramatically rising costs.

    In November 2004, the Canadian Sea King helicopter community received mixed messages. The good news was that their aging and accident-plagued helicopters are to be replaced with 28 Sikorsky H-92 maritime helicopters. The bad news was that the first helicopters will not enter service until late 2008. Until then, the Sea Kings will have to soldier on.

    The jury is still out on the most high-profile setback for the Canadian Navy this past year. A fire broke out on the fourth and final ex-U.K. Upholder-class attack submarine, the Chicoutimi, as she began her maiden voyage to Canada following refurbishment in the United Kingdom. Extensive damage, one death, and numerous serious injuries resulted, but the fire's cause has yet to be announced publicly. The accident left the sub without power, off the coast of Scotland, two days after her acceptance by the Canadian Navy. She has returned to Canada for repairs.


    U.K. MINISTRY OF DEFENCE
    Two 17,000-ton Albion-class assault landing ships—here, the second, HMS Bulwark—were operational by late 2004. They provide the Royal Navy and Marines with formidable amphibious warfare capabilities.
    • Much farther south, the Chilean Navy is undergoing somewhat of a renaissance. Although the MEKO-100 project vessels are officially "on hold," the program is most likely dead. But the Dutch Navy is in the process of transferring four warships to Chile over the next few years: two Jacob Van Heemskerck-class guided-missile frigates and two Karel Doorman-class general purpose frigates are to be transferred between 2005 and 2007. In addition, the 16th and final batch of Danubio-class patrol boats was delivered to the Chilean Coast Guard in April 2004.

    The first French-Spanish Scorpène-class submarine, the O'Higgins, joined the Chilean Navy in early 2004; the second boat, the Carrera, will join her in service later this year. Additional plans call for a modernization effort to enhance the service lives of Chile's 20-year-old Type 209-class submarines.

    • Columbia's maritime forces have benefited from the transfer of retired U.S. ships. For example, a Reliance-class cutter was commissioned into Columbian Coast Guard service in 2003.

    • Cuba's maritime forces have continued to dwindle in recent years—it is fair to say that the Cuban Navy is little more than a coastal patrol force. Half its 2,000 naval personnel are actually naval infantry, and the remaining 1,000 sailors face diminishing numbers of small craft and boats.

    • Mexico maintains an odd habit of renumbering or renaming many of its ships on what appears to be a regular basis. In June 2004, Mexico purchased two Sa'ar 4.5-class guided-missile patrol craft from Israel. Renamed Huracon and Tormenta, they may be armed with a Phalanx close-in weapon system taken from older Mexican vessels. (Harpoon missiles also may be acquired at a later date.)

    • In March 2004, Peru announced its purchase of two Lupo-class frigates from Italy; they arrived in Peruvian waters during December 2004. It is likely a third and possibly fourth Lupo-class ship will be purchased later. These would join four older sister ships already in service and currently undergoing modernization. Peru hopes to retire and replace the 52-year-old cruiser Almirante Grau by 2007.

    • The Uruguayan Navy also plans to retire older warships. It is in search of replacements for its three ex-French Navy Commandant Riviere-class frigates, which are more than 40 years old. In addition, Uruguay has expressed interest in purchasing two Descubierta-class patrol ships from Spain.

    Mr. Wertheim, a defense consultant in the Washington D.C. area, is the author of the Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World. This article updates the 2005-2006 edition of that guide.

  2. #2
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    The Uruguayan Navy also plans to retire older warships. It is in search of replacements for its three ex-French Navy Commandant Riviere-class frigates, which are more than 40 years old. In addition, Uruguay has expressed interest in purchasing two Descubierta-class patrol ships from Spain.
    Uruguay will buy the 2 remaining "joão belo" portuguese frigates, similar to the Commandant Riviere also but modernised by Portugal during the 90s.

    The purchase of 2 Descubiertas as been disconsidered.

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    Portugal will receive two U.S. Navy Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates during 2005, and two new-construction Type 209-class submarines have been ordered from Germany for delivery beginning in 2008 or 2009. This delivery could expand to include a third submarine of the same class. They probably will replace the two French Daphné-class boats that have served since the late 1960s.
    OHP purchase replaced by 2 dutch Karel Doormans
    2 U209PN to be delivered 2010, 2011
    only 1 Daphné type remains operational (NRP Barracuda-S164)

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    this is a really old list, over two years old in fact, why are we looking at this?

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    it looks to me

    like an arm race is starting the us must get its act together and get more carriers and submarines going, increase the budget and cut on social programs
    Grand Admiral Thrawn

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    The Russian Navy is planning to put 3 new nuclear subs into service in the Northern fleet. The first of these, Yuriy Dolgorukiy, has already entered service as of spring 2007. The only problem is that the Bulava missiles that they are supposed to carry have not yet completed testing.

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    Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind Senior Contributor Tronic's Avatar
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    India's carrier plans do not stop with the Vikramaditya: a 40-thousand-ton new-construction aircraft carrier will enter service about 2012. Three of these "air defense ships" (now known as the Vikrant class) are planned for construction at Cochin Shipyard in India, with the Italian firm Fincantieri providing assistance based on experience from their Cavour carrier program.
    That is wrong info. The ADS carriers are not known as Vikrant Class. Vikrant is the older carrier which has already been decomissioned.
    The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.

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    actually it could be the vikrant class, the first of class will supposedly be named vikrant

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