Spanish Navy decommissions fourth Galerna-class submarine

by Kate Tringham

The Spanish Navy decommissioned Tramontana on 16 February 2024. (Spanish Navy)

The Spanish Navy's fourth S 70 (Galerna)-class conventionally powered diesel-electric submarine (SSK) has been retired from service.

Tramontana (S 74), the youngest of four Galerna-class SSKs, was officially decommissioned during a ceremony held at the Spanish Navy's submarine base in Cartagena on 16 February.

Announcing the milestone the same day, the Spanish Navy said that since entering service in 1985, Tramontana has sailed a total of 315,144 n miles – 218,384 of them submerged. The submarine completed its last (and fourth) major overhaul between 2014 and 2017.

Highlights during Tramontana's career include the launching of a torpedo that sank a surface ship in October 2004. The submarine also contributed to the outcome of the crisis of Perejil Island in 2002, and participated in Operation ‘Unified Protector' in Libya in 2011.

The Galerna-class SSKs were built by Bazán (now Navantia) shipyards in Cartagena, entering service between 1983 and 1985.

Tramontana's decommissioning follows that of Siroco, which was decommissioned in June 2012, and Mistral in June 2020. Its retirement leaves just one remaining submarine, first-of-class Galerna

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Venezuela displays Iranian anti-ship missiles

by Jeremy Binnie

Venezuelan Defence Minister Vladímir Padrino López inspects a CM-90 anti-ship missile. (Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Defensa (Venezuela))

The Venezuelan military confirmed on 16 April that it has the CM-90 export version of Iran's Nasir anti-ship missile (ASM).

Defence Minister Vladímir Padrino López inaugurated what a defence ministry statement described as a workshop for the CM-90 at Base Naval CA Agustín Armario in Puerto Cabello as part of the Bolivarian Navy of Venezuela's (ABV's) anniversary celebrations on that day. It released photographs and a video of Padrino inspecting several ASMs and associated containerised testing equipment inside a building.

The Nasir was developed from the Nasr missile, which is Iran's version of the Chinese C704, with the solid-propellant motor replaced by a turbojet engine and a launch booster. Iranian export documentation says this makes the CM-90 88 cm longer than the CM-35, the export version of the Nasr, and increases its range from 35 to 90 km.

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Ukrainian ex-Royal Navy minehunters to be temporarily based in Portsmouth

by Kate Tringham

Cherkasy, one of the Ukrainian Navy's two newly acquired ex-Royal Navy Sandown-class MCMVs, is pictured entering Portsmouth Harbour on 11 April ahead of a series of multinational naval exercises. (Crown copyright)

The Ukrainian Navy's two newly acquired ex-Royal Navy (RN) Sandown-class mine-countermeasures vessels (MCMVs) have been temporarily homeported at Portsmouth Naval Base, the RN has confirmed.

The two minehunters, Chernihiv (ex-HMS Grimsby ) and Cherkasy (ex-HMS Shoreham ), arrived at Portsmouth Naval Base on 11 April ahead of a series of multinational exercises.

Previously based in Scotland, the ships will operate from Portsmouth “for the foreseeable future”, the RN said. While stationed in Portsmouth, they will engage in exercises with the RN and the US Navy (USN) in UK waters, helping the Ukrainian Navy to adapt to NATO operations.

Chernihiv and Cherkasy, which were recommissioned into Ukrainian Navy service in July 2023, were donated by the UK to Ukraine as part of the Ukraine Naval Capabilities Enhancement Programme (UNCEP). Ahead of their transfer from the RN, they were overhauled by Babcock at its facilities in Rosyth, Scotland.

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Netherlands MoD and Dutch Naval Design team to collaborate on USV development

by Kate Tringham

The USV concept. (Dutch MoD)

The Netherlands Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Dutch Naval Design (DND) have joined forces to develop an unmanned surface vessel (USV).

Announcing the partnership on 12 April, the MoD said the USV will be designed for deployment from the future anti-submarine warfare frigates (ASWFs) currently under development.

Under the terms of the contract, signed on 10 April, the USV is planned to be completed in around four years, the MoD said. The 12 m long vessel will be “technologically very advanced, sustainable, autonomous, and operationally flexible”, it added.

The Belgian and Dutch navies are procuring two ships each to replace their respective Karel Doorman (M)-class frigates under the ASWF programme. The ships are being designed and built by Damen under a contract awarded by the Dutch Materiel and IT Command (COMMIT) in June 2023. Under the terms of the contract, the first frigate will be delivered to COMMIT in 2028 and handed over to the Dutch navy in 2029, while the Belgian Navy will receive its first ship in 2030.

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