- Finland's Hamina-class FAC will receive a torpedo fit as part of a planned MLU
- The addition of a torpedo capability underlines Helsinki's increasing focus on underwater security
The Finnish Navy's four Hamina-class missile-capable fast attack craft (FAC) will receive a torpedo fit as part of an overall mid-life upgrade (MLU) programme that will run between 2019 and 2021.
The addition of a torpedo will see the capability return to the Finnish Navy for the first time since the Second World War. Since that time, mines and missiles have made up the bulk of the navy's capabilities.
The MLU work will be conducted under what is known as the 'Squadron 2000' ('SQ 2000' or 'Laivue 2020') upgrade programme. "The most important result is to keep the Hamina class in operation until the 2030s, by updating their weapons systems and adding a new one: torpedoes," said Commodore Veli-Pekka Heinonen, chief of the maritime systems division at the Finnish Defence Forces' Logistics Command.
According to Cdre Heinonen, the Hamina-class FACs and the four multipurpose offshore patrol vessels to be delivered under the SQ 2020 programme will carry the same lightweight torpedo and surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems. In terms of the missile fit, he added that an updated version of the Denel Umkhonto SAM is in the frame to meet the air-defence requirement. However, he told IHS Jane's , a decision on the ships' combat management system remains pending, depending on the outcome of a request for quotations issued; a decision is expected in March.
The addition of a torpedo to provide anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability is a key development.
"Torpedo procurement for both 'SQ 2020' and the 'SQ 2000' MLU will [meet] the navy's tasks for territorial surveillance and deterrence, repelling attacks and protecting shipping," said Cdre Heinonen.
"Use of a lightweight torpedo will be directed to areas advantageous for our operations, but also extend to open water usage," he noted.
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