Debut for UK Royal Navy's new experimental vessel

by Richard Scott

XV Patrick Blackett was formally named at Portsmouth on 29 July. (Richard Scott/NAVYPIX)

The UK Royal Navy's (RN) new trials and autonomy development vessel XV Patrick Blackett has arrived at Portsmouth ahead of beginning test and trials operations with the service's NavyX innovation unit later this year.

Built by Damen Shipyards at its Gorinchem yard in the Netherlands, XV Patrick Blackett is a 41.2 m FCS 4008 fast crew supply vessel adapted post-build for the trials development role.

The vessel was procured off-the-shelf in February 2022 under a GBP9.3 million (USD11.2 million) contract, which also includes a three-year support package; accepted off contract at the end of March, the vessel was role-modified by Damen before arriving in Portsmouth Naval Base on 27 July. The ship was formally named in a ceremony on 29 July.

The FCS 4008 is a standard Damen design powered by four Caterpillar C32 Acert diesels for a speed more than 20 kt. Important features include an X-bow designed to reduce pitch accelerations, and a 140 m 2

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US Coast Guard Cutter Healy reaches the North Pole

by Michael Fabey

US Coast Guard icebreaker Healy calls in Seward, Alaska, while embarking on North Pole deployment. (Janes/Michael Fabey)

The US Coast Guard (USCG) Cutter Healy (WAGB-20) reached the North Pole on 30 September after traversing the frozen Arctic Ocean, marking only the second time a US ship has reached the location unaccompanied, the USCG confirmed on 4 October.

Healy first accomplished that feat in 2015. This is the third time Healy has travelled to the North Pole since its commissioning in 1999.

The medium icebreaker and crew departed Dutch Harbor, Alaska, on 4 September, beginning their journey to reach latitude 90º N, USCG officials reported. The cutter and crew supported oceanographic research in collaboration with National Science Foundation-funded scientists throughout their transit to the North Pole.

The North Pole trek is part of a months-long, multimission deployment to conduct oceanographic research in the region. Healy departed its Seattle home port on 11 July and has 34 scientists and technicians from multiple universities and institutions aboard, and nearly 100 crew members.

During the cutter's first Arctic leg of the patrol throughout July and August, Healy

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Malaysian navy makes rare appeal for more funds in 2023 defence budget

by Ridzwan Rahmat

Malaysian defence budget from 2010 to 2030. (Janes)

The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) has issued rare appeals to the government for more funds to be made available under the country's 2023 national budget.

The appeals were detailed in two media releases issued by the Strategic Communications Divisions of the RMN's Western and Eastern armadas on 3 and 4 October, respectively.

“Three decades ago, the RMN proudly operated a total of 16 combatants with missile capabilities, but this number has reduced drastically today due to ageing equipment,” said the Western Armada in its 3 October media release. The armada also pointed out that the service last received a new surface combatant 25 years ago, in reference to its first Laksamana-class corvette.

A follow-on media release issued by the Eastern Armada on 4 October was more explicit in its appeal for more funds. “The Eastern Armada hopes that the government will give more consideration to the procurement and upgrade of military equipment in the national budget of 2023,” the statement reads.

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Final Hellenic Navy Roussen-class FAC enters service

by Kate Tringham

The Hellenic Navy commissioned its seventh and final Roussen-class (Super Vita) FAC-M, HS Ypoploiarchos Vlahakos , on 29 September. (Dimitrios Mitsopoulos)

The Hellenic Navy's (HN's) seventh Roussen (Super Vita)-class fast attack craft-missile (FAC-M), HS Ypoploiarchos Vlahakos (P 79), was commissioned into service during a ceremony held at Amfiali Naval Base on 29 September.

Ypoploiarchos Vlahakos is the final ship in the much-delayed Roussen-class construction programme, which dates back to 2000 when the first batch of three was ordered from Elefsis Shipyards. Options for the second batch of two were exercised in 2003, followed by a contract for the sixth and seventh boats in 2008.

UK shipbuilder Vosper Thornycroft (now part of BAE Systems) provided the design – a stretched version of its Super Vita corvettes in service with Qatar – as well as logistical support and equipment for the programme.

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The UK Royal Navy's (RN) new trials and autonomy development vessel XV Patrick Blackett has arrived ...

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