Maritime Security Vessel News Roundup | November 25 – US and Dutch submarines, an Australian Army surveillance USV and more
Newly acquired vessels include a French air defence frigate and an Australian-operated unmanned craft for surveillance work. Construction continues on a new US Navy attack submarine. Lastly, a California law enforcement agency places an order for a catamaran patrol vessel for both inland and coastal waters.
French Navy takes delivery of final Aquitaine-class frigate
The French Navy recently took delivery of its eighth and final Aquitaine-class guided missile frigate.
Lorraine belongs to the series of warships designated as European Multi-Mission Frigates (Fregate Europeenne Multimissions; FREMM) designed and built jointly by French defence shipbuilder the Naval Group and Italy’s Fincantieri.
The new frigate was built primarily as an anti-air warfare (AAW) ship while still retaining some anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) capability. Its main air defence armament will consist of a battery of 32 MBDA Aster 15 or Aster 30 surface-to-air missiles housed in vertical launch cells.
Australian Army introduces unmanned surveillance craft
The Australian Army has begun operational trials of new unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) optimised for surveillance work.
The Bluebottle USVs were developed by Ocius Technology of New South Wales. The USVs can provide a 24/7 on-water surveillance capability, with the flexibility to be readily manoeuvred to respond to emerging surveillance requirements or tasks.
The craft may also perform other missions such as beach landing site reconnaissance.
Keel laid for future US Navy submarine Arkansas
Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division recently laid the keel of the future USS Arkansas, the US Navy’s 27th Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine.
Like its sisters, the future Arkansas will be capable of supporting multiple mission areas and can operate at speeds of more than 25 knots for months at a time.
The submarine is designed to carry out core missions including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, delivery of special operations forces, strike warfare, irregular warfare, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, and mine warfare.
California Department of Fish Wildlife orders patrol catamaran
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has awarded a Washington boatbuilder a contract for the construction of a hydrofoil-assisted catamaran vessel for patrols in California’s inland and coastal waters.
The 74-foot (22.5-metre) vessel will incorporate a stern launch and recovery ramp for use with a rigid inflatable boat (RIB). A high-resolution thermal camera will also be fitted.
Design work on the new CDFW patrol vessel will be provided by Teknicraft Design of New Zealand.
Dutch defence ministry submits requests for quotation for submarine construction
The Dutch Ministry of Defence has approached three candidate shipyards with a request for quotation (RFQ) for the development of four new submarines.
The candidate yards are France’s the Naval Group, Sweden’s Saab Kockums, and Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. The ministry expects the yards to submit their bids by the summer of 2023.
The ministry will then require several months to analyse the detailed bids before deciding on which yard will be awarded the contract to build the submarines on the basis of pre-established requirements and award criteria. One of the award criteria is the participation of Dutch businesses in the development, construction, and maintenance of important systems of the boat.
In addition, the ministry desires as much Dutch involvement as possible. The winning shipyard must therefore enter into an agreement with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.
The new submarines will replace the Royal Netherlands Navy’s four ageing Walrus-class boats.