Navy League 2024: US Navy leadership touts amphibious-ship investments as cost and readiness concerns continue

by Michael Fabey

The US Navy lost amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard to fire damage. (US Navy)

US Navy (USN) leaders are touting the investments being planned for the country's naval amphibious fleet and associated resources, even as government analysts are questioning the costs of some of these acquisitions and the navy is studying requirements and maintenance issues associated with amphibious forces.

Admiral Lisa Franchetti, the chief of naval operations (CNO), confirmed that the USN and the US Marine Corps (USMC) will review amphibious warship readiness and maintenance issues on 8 April during a discussion with reporters at the Navy League Sea-Air-Space 2024 global maritime exposition in National Harbor, Maryland.

The USMC could not fulfil US emergency-response force needs on two recent important occasions, Bryan Clark, senior fellow and director of the Center for Defense Concepts and Technology at Hudson Institute, told Janes on 31 March in an interview in advance of the symposium.

Marines had to forego disaster relief for Türkiye and the service could not provide similar amphibious operations for Noncombatant Evacuation Operations (NEO) for South Sudan, Clark noted.

With the loss of amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard

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Taiwan puts forces on high alert as China begins second day of Exercise ‘Joint Sword-2024A'

by Ridzwan Rahmat & Akhil Kadidal

An outdoor screen shows a news coverage of China's military drills around Taiwan, Beijing, on 23 May 2024. On 23 May China launched ‘Joint Sword-2024A' exercises, surrounding Taiwan with warplanes and navy ships and vowing ‘stern punishment' to separatist forces on the island. (Jade Gao/AFP via Getty Images)

Taiwan has mobilised its aerial, naval, and land-based military assets as China's joint drills around the island enters its second day.

These assets include an “emergency deployment” of a Tuo Chiang-class corvette dubbed in-country as the “carrier killer” and a Chin Chiang-class large patrol craft.

Taiwan's state-affiliated Military News Agency has identified these ships as the fourth Tuo Chiang-class corvette, ROCS Xu Chiang , and the second Chin Chiang-class patrol vessel, ROCS Ching Chiang .

On 23 May the Taiwan Ministry of National Defense (MND) said that just one People's Liberation Army (PLA) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) appeared in Taiwan's air-defence identification zone (ADIZ), with the aircraft flying over the Bashi Channel between 0727 and 1029 h local time. The UAV approached to within 45 miles of Cape Eluanbi on Taiwan's south coast before operating over the Philippine Sea.

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Saab Kockums composite superstructures offer reduced weight as navies integrate more equipment

by Jeremiah Cushman

Saab Kockums builds the composite superstructure for Singapore's Independence-class littoral mission vessel. Above, the superstructure for the fifth ship in the class is being prepared for transport to Singapore. (Glenn Pettersson)

Saab Kockums offers composite products to provide navies options for surface warships. These include composite superstructures and the new Saab Lightweight Integrated Mast (SLIM), which is being procured by Finland for its Pohjanmaa-class corvettes, Magnus Dannemyr, Saab Kockums product manager for composites, told reporters at the Saab Kockums shipyard in Karlskrona in southern Sweden on 14 May.

Saab has decades of experience working with composites, starting with an all-composite sailboat in 1965, Dannemyr said. In 1974 the company produced its first composite warship, a mine countermeasure vessel constructed of glass-fibre-reinforced plastic (GFRP). In the mid-1990s the shipyard began construction on the Royal Swedish Navy's Visby-class corvettes, which have an all-composite carbon-fibre hull.

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Thailand announces USD77.6 million upgrade for Pattani-class OPVs

by Ridzwan Rahmat

The Royal Thai Navy's lead Pattani-class OPV, HTMS Pattani , seen here during an exercise in the South China Sea. (US Navy)

Thailand has announced plans to carry out a major upgrade programme for its two Pattani-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs).

An announcement on this was released by the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) via its official website on 17 May under a section on procurement plans.

While the service has not given specific details of what the upgrade programme would entail, the work across the two vessels would cost THB2.83 billion (USD77.6 million), according to the announcement.

The RTN's two Pattani-class OPVs, HTMS Pattani and HTMS Narathiwat , were commissioned in December 2005 and April 2006 respectively.

Pattani was laid down in 2003 by China's Hudong Shipyard in Shanghai while Narathiwat was laid down by the same shipbuilder in 2004.

The class displaces about 1,400 tonnes at full load and has an overall length of about 95.5 m with an overall beam of 11.6 m.

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