August 16, 2009

An Exceedingly Weird Sea Story

Eaglespeak has been covering the mystery of the MV Arctic Sea for several days now.

Cliffs Notes version: The Moter Vessel Arctic Sea, a Maltese ship with a Russian crew was siezed by pirates posing as marine police in the...BALTIC SEA. After transiting into the Atlantic all the vessels transponders wee shut off...no one knows where the ship is. Though there have been at least 2 reported sightings one just last night, both are a bit sketchy at best.

See here here and here. There is a bit of analysis at Information Dissemination here.

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August 08, 2009

At the Ship Shopping Bazzar

Over at The Marine Forum there is a very large collection of pictures from the 2008 Euronavale, a European defense contractor convention with a naval focus.

A few trends are visible, and others have commented upon some of them at length. The poster/photographer at MF was obviously drawn to the frontline ship offerings,  in the distance there seem to be a lot of OPVs and similar vessels.



This is understandable as such vessels are the most important vessels in most navies, doing the sort of gunboat tasks that often are ignored by many but are absolutely vital.

There are a lot of logistics and force projection vessels too, which ought to come as no surprise. There are many reasons for this, they are versatile vessels in everything short of a balls out war (The Boxing day Tsunami put the utility of such vessels in the spotlight)...and they can be useful auxiliaries in a major conflict as well.

Submarines seem to be particularly well represented, particularly interesting are small relatively cheap costal units like the Andrasta shown above. There seem to be a lot of Air Independant Propulsion designs as well



There are several export designs from US firms particularly LockMart which is not only offering yet another aegis equipped export version of their LCS (this time retaining the 57mm gun) but also an Aegis corvette that may be aimed at an Israeli requirement. Then there is this...

...The Chuck Norris of FACs...Yes...it appears to be a fast attack craft about 200-220 feet long that has a 5"62 caliber gun on its bow. This is an extreme example of what seems to be a mini trend, larger guns on surface vessels from corvettes on up. Even the French, are offering frigates with the US weapon.....

...and the Russians appear to be offering  100 and even 130mm guns on what appear to be some fairly small corvettes and frigates.


 ( the 3 furthest from the camera in the picture above). Such weapons are good for costal bombardment, but it may be that they are intended for close range antiship use as well. A few 100-130mm shells might well provde a mission kill on a corvette or smaller ship and lots more shells than missles can be carried.

The natural predator of the small costal surface warship is an aircraft but SAMs might make this untenable in some circumstances. So the guns may be a hedge as well as being potentially usefull against small boat swarms,

One other thing needs to be mentioned, though it is not a trend...behold the solar powered Offshore Patrol Vessel (with force projection capability!)


Anyway...discuss.

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