First Dutch LCU starts mid-life upgrade

by Kate Tringham

The Dutch navy has started the MLU of its fleet of five LCUs, which were built in the late 1990s. (Derek Fox)

The first of five landing craft utility (LCU) Mk IX vessels operated by the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) has started its mid-life upgrade (MLU) programme.

The first unit, L 9525, entered dry dock at De Haas Shipyards in Rotterdam on 21 January, according to the Dutch Materiel Organisation.

De Haas Shipyards was awarded a contract to conduct the LCU MLU in October 2022, with work to be completed by 2025.

Work will include modernisation of the crew and mess facilities to enhance endurance, a complete overhaul of the hull and structure, upgrading the machinery and propulsion systems to increase range, and the provision of stores to enable a logistic support capability.

The Dutch navy's LCU vessels were ordered from Visser Dockyard in Den Helder in 1996. The first unit was built at Visser Dockyard and commissioned in 1998. The remaining vessels were built at Damen Shipyard in Romania, Galati, and fitted out at Den Helder. In 2003–05, the LCUs were lengthened to reduce their draft.

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India marks first landing of naval light combat aircraft, MiG-29K, on INS Vikrant

by Ridzwan Rahmat

India's naval LCA conducting its maiden landing on INS Vikrant . (Ministry of Defence, India)

India has marked another milestone in its effort to operationalise the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant with the first landings of a naval light combat aircraft (LCA) and MiG-29K fighter on the ship.

The milestone was achieved by the Indian Navy on 6 February as part of the vessel's aviation trials, the country's Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced in a media release on the same day.

Vikrant is India's first indigenously designed and built aircraft carrier, and it was commissioned by the Indian Navy in September 2022. The vessel joins another aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, which was inducted by the service in 2013.

Since December 2022, Vikrant has been undergoing various operations with rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft as part of air certification and flight integration processes, said the MoD in its release.

The naval LCA, which is also referred to in-country as the LCA (Navy), is a carrierborne variant of India's single-engine delta-winged Tejas multirole light fighter.

The airframe that landed on Vikrant

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Update: UK's first future subsea surveillance ship arrives in Merseyside for conversion

by Kate Tringham & Richard Scott

The UK's newly acquired future Multi-Role Ocean Surveillance ship sails into Cammell Laird shipyard, Birkenhead, Liverpool, on 19 January. (Royal Navy)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has purchased a second-hand commercial offshore patrol vessel from P&O Maritime Logistics' subsidiary Topaz Energy and Marinefor conversion into a specialist ship dedicated to protecting the country's critical subsea infrastructure.

The vessel, which is currently named MV Topaz Tangaroa, arrived at Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead, Merseyside, for refitting on 19 January.

Topaz Tangaroa will be converted into the first of two plannedMulti-Role Ocean Surveillance (MROS) ships for underwater surveillance and seabed warfare, to be operated by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA). According to the MoD, the vessel will be formally handed over to control of the RFA in the coming days. Following the completion of its conversion activities, the vessel is planned to join the fleet around mid-2023.

Topaz Tangaroa, which will be renamed for the RFA service, was built by

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Irish Naval Service opts to mothball Roisin-class OPVs due to manning issues

by Kate Tringham

The Irish Naval Service has decided to place its two 1,700 tonne Róisín (PV 80)-class OPVs into operational reserve as a result of ongoing staffing shortages. (Irish Navy)

The Irish Naval Service (INS) has been forced to mothball its two Róisín (PV 80)-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) as a result of ongoing recruitment and retention issues.

An Irish Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson confirmed to Janes that LÉ Róisín (P 51) was placed into operational reserve with effect from 31 January and that LÉ Niamh (P 52) would be placed into operational reserve on the completion of its mid-life upgrade (MLU) later this year.

“The decision to place LÉ Róisín and LÉ Niamh into operational reserve is aimed at stabilising operational delivery and assisting in the Naval Service regeneration, which entails the prioritisation of personnel training and development of existing INS personnel,” the spokesperson said. “LÉ Róisín and LÉ Niamh will remain in operational reserve until such time as the Naval Service has sufficiently regenerated suitably qualified and experienced personnel.”

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The first of five landing craft utility (LCU) Mk IX vessels operated by the Royal Netherlands Navy (...

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