06 February 2023
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
27 March 2023
by Richard Scott
Sonar 2087 equips eight RN Type 23 frigates. Pictured here is the sonar room of HMS Westminster – the sonar director is nearest to the camera, with the four dual-screen sonar operator consoles ranged behind. (NAVYPIX/Richard Scott)
Thales UK is set to start rolling out a package of enhancements for the Sonar 2087 low-frequency active/passive variable depth sonar equipping the Royal Navy's (RN's) eight anti-submarine warfare (ASW)-optimised Type 23 frigates under a phased capability insertion project (CIP).
The iterative fast-track upgrade, for which Thales was awarded a GBP110 million (USD134.506 million) Sonar 2087 Design Authority Capability Insertion Project (S2087 DA-CIP) contract in September 2022, forms part of the RN's wider ASW Spearhead programme. A first enhancement delivered under the CIP will be installed as part of routine ship maintenance/upkeep following a successful sea trial in January 2023.
27 March 2023
by Kate Tringham
Malta's new OPV P71 was commissioned into service on 23 March. (Armed Forces of Malta)
The Maritime Squadron of the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) has commissioned its new offshore patrol vessel (OPV), P71 , into service.
P71 , which is the new flagship of the AFM, officially joined the fleet during a ceremony held at the AFM's Hay Wharf naval base in Floriana, Valetta, on 22 March.
The OPV was built by Italian shipbuilder Cantiere Navale Vittoria under a contract worth more than EUR50,000 (USD53,801) awarded in October 2018. The ship was co-financed by the European Union (EU) under the Internal Security Fund. It was laid down in 2019, launched in February 2021, and handed over to Malta in November 2022.
It will be used to conduct coastal and offshore surveillance operations and search-and-rescue missions in the Central Mediterranean region – most of which are related to illegal migration.
24 March 2023
by Ridzwan Rahmat
A file image of North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un witnessing a test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile in mid-March 2023. North Korea has since test-fired more weapon systems, including what it claims to be an ‘underwater nuclear strategic weapon'. (Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images)
North Korea has tested an unmanned ‘underwater nuclear strategic weapon' system that can inflict ‘radioactive tsunamis' on coastal areas, state news agency Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) announced on 24 March.
Tests of the earlier unknown weapon were conducted between 21 and 23 March off Riwon County in North Korea's South Hamgyŏng province. The weapon struck its simulated objective after travelling submerged at depths of between 80 and 150 m for 59 hours and 12 minutes, the agency said.
“The mission of the underwater nuclear strategic weapon is to stealthily approach [the enemy's] operational zones and cause a powerful radioactive tsunami with an underwater explosion such that it will destroy enemy ships and disrupt port operations,” reads the KCNA announcement.
“The nuclear unmanned attack craft can be deployed against any coast, ports, or surface vessels in offensive operations,” it added.
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has purchased a second-hand commercial offshore patrol vessel from ...
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