Maritime Security Vessel News Roundup | December 8 – US surface ships, unmanned minehunters for Canada and new Saudi corvette

Recent deliveries include a destroyer for the US and a corvette for Saudi Arabia. Construction continues on a future US Navy fleet oiler while a contract has been awarded for autonomous craft that will support the Royal Canadian Navy’s mine countermeasures activities.

US Navy takes delivery of destroyer Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee

Photo: Huntington Ingalls Industries

The US Navy recently took delivery of the future guided missile destroyer USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee from Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division.

The ship’s namesake, Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee, served as the second Superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps from 1911 to 1922 and was the first woman to receive the Navy Cross for distinguished service in the line of her profession and devotion to duty. When she entered naval service in 1908, she was one of the first 20 women to join the newly established Navy Nurse Corps and contributed her nursing skills to the Navy during the First World War.

The future Higbee is an Arleigh Burke-class Flight IIA destroyer, equipped with the Aegis Combat System Baseline 9C2. HII said this system delivers quick reaction time, high firepower, and increased electronic countermeasures (ECM) capability against a variety of threats.

Third corvette in series handed over to Saudi Arabia

Photo: Navantia

Spanish shipbuilder Navantia has handed over the third of five Al Jubail-class corvettes slated for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF).

The future Hail, named after a city in northern Saudi Arabia, is a variant of Navantia’s Avante 2000 series of corvettes, which were developed primarily for the export market.

The RSNF variants, also known as the Avante 2200 series, feature modifications that will enable them to operate under extreme temperatures. Missions will include anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-air warfare, search and rescue (SAR), marine environmental protection, and humanitarian assistance.

The corvette’s armament consists of a Leonardo 76-millimetre naval gun for use against both surface and air targets, a Rheinmetall Oerlikon close-in weapon system for point defence, four 12.7-millimetre machine guns, Evolved Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missiles, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and torpedoes.

Keel laid for future US Navy oiler Robert F. Kennedy

Photo: General Dynamics NASSCO/Crystal Norman

General Dynamics NASSCO of San Diego, California, has the keel of a new US Navy John Lewis-class fleet replenishment oiler on Monday, December 5.

The future USNS Robert F. Kennedy honours the late Robert F. Kennedy, former US Attorney General and brother of former President John F. Kennedy.

Once completed, the ship will have a length of 746 feet (227 metres), a beam of 106 feet (32.4 metres), a maximum draught of 33.5 feet (10.2 metres), a displacement of 24,818 tons (22,515 tonnes), and a crew complement of 125 including 99 civilian mariners.

The vessel will be operated by the Military Sealift Command to provide diesel fuel and lubricating oil and small quantities of fresh and frozen provisions, stores, and potable water to US Navy ships at sea, as well as jet fuel for aircraft. The ship will also have the capacity to carry up to 157,000 barrels of oil, a significant dry cargo capacity, and aviation capability courtesy of a helicopter deck.

Contract awarded for autonomous minehunters for Royal Canadian Navy

Photo: Kraken Robotics

Canadian unmanned systems company Kraken Robotics has been awarded a prime contract with the Government of Canada to provide Remote Minehunting and Disposal Systems (RMDS) for the country’s Department of National Defence (DND).

The contract consists of an estimated 24-month acquisition program followed by an initial five-year Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) program, which includes options for additional equipment, spare parts, training, and technical support. The formal contract signature and kickoff of the acquisition program will occur in January 2023.

Under the program, Kraken will deliver remote minehunting and disposal systems to the Royal Canadian Navy.

The RMDS consists of two classes of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) equipped with Kraken’s proprietary synthetic aperture sonar. The RMDS also includes a number of combat-variant and training-variant mine disposal systems (MDS), a transportable command centre (TCC), and a computer-based trainer (CBT).

Kraken’s partners on this program include Kongsberg Maritime Canada, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems Canada, and SH Defense.

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