OCEA launches first FPB 98 MKI for Ukraine

by Kate Tringham

The first FPB 98 MKI on order for Ukraine is launched at the yard French shipbuilder OCEA in Les Sables d'Olonne on 9 December. (OCEA)

French shipbuilder OCEA launched the first FPB 98 MKI patrol vessel on order for the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine at its yard in Les Sables d'Olonne on 9 December.

The new vessel, BG201 , is the first of 20 being built under a contract awarded to OCEA by the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior in July 2020. The contract follows an initial government to government agreement between France and Ukraine signed in November 2019 for the 20 FPB 98s. Under the contract terms, five of the boats are to be built locally at Nibulon Shipyard in Mykolaiv.

The first boat is scheduled to be delivered in the second quarter of 2022, with all 20 to be handed over by 2024.

The contract includes crew training, ship maintenance, and the provision of technical assistance to Ukraine.

The new vessels will be used for maritime security operations in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.


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Turkish Navy commissions first intelligence-gathering ship

by Lale Sariibrahimoglu

TCG Ufuk (A-591) will be used by Turkey's National Intelligence Organization for signal and electronic intelligence missions while also meeting the test and training vessel requirements of the Turkish Navy. (Cem Devrim Yaylali)

Turkey's first dedicated intelligence-gathering ship, TCG Ufuk (A-591), was officially commissioned into service at Istanbul Shipyard in Tuzla, Istanbul, on 14 January, İsmail Demir, head of Turkey's Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB), has announced.

The ship will be jointly operated by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and the Turkish Naval Forces Command (TNFC). It will be used for signal and electronic intelligence missions while also meeting the test and training vessel requirements of the TNFC.

Ufuk was designed by STM, which has overall responsibility for the programme, and built at Istanbul Shipyard under a contract awarded in 2017. It was laid down in 2018 and launched in February 2019.

The overall design is based on the Turkish Navy's Ada (MILGEM)-class corvettes, but features changes to the propulsion system, superstructure, and the removal of armament (it will instead use only small-calibre machine guns for self-protection).

Ufuk


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RN sets sights on low-cost, fixed-wing UAV under Project Vampire

by Richard Scott

A QinetiQ Banshee Jet 80+ target vehicle pictured on its launcher on HMS Prince ofWales 's flight deck during trials in September 2021. (Crown Copyright)

The UK Royal Navy (RN) is moving forward with plans to procure a low-cost fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) as an initial increment of its Future Maritime Aviation Force (FMAF).

Dubbed Project Vampire, the acquisition aims to assess uncrewed or autonomous air systems for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, electromagnetic operations, and threat simulation. The release of an invitation to tender (ITT) by Navy Command Headquarters on 17 January comes four months after initial demonstrations of the Banshee Jet 80+ aerial target vehicle from the aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales .

Managed by the Develop Directorate within Navy Command, the FMAF programme is exploring the transition of a number of aviation roles – intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, communications, lift, and strike – from crewed to uncrewed air platforms. As one strand of FMAF, Project Vampire aims to address a number of capability problem sets utilising a low-cost, fixed-wing UAV as a means for the development of operational concepts, payload types, and associated communication and digital architecture.


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Taiwan commissions second fast minelaying vessel

by Ridzwan Rahmat

The Republic of China Navy (RoCN) has commissioned its second fast minelaying vessel.

The ship was commissioned in a ceremony attended by President Tsai Ing-wen on 14 January. The vessel has been designated ‘Fast Mine Laying Boat-2' with pennant marking FMLB-2.

The RoCN commissioned its first fast minelayer, FMLB-1, in December 2020 and received FMLB-2 in September 2021. The vessel displaces 347 tonnes at full load with an overall length of 41 m and an overall beam of 8.8 m. It is powered by two diesel engines and can attain a top speed of 14 kt.

The Lung Teh Shipbuilding-constructed vessel is armed with a T-75 20 mm gun in the primary position and two T-74 7.62 mm machine guns for point defence. It can deploy a total of 32 naval mines via four automatic rails.

The RoCN is anticipating the delivery of two more fast minelayers from Lung Teh. Work on these vessels began in April 2020.


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French shipbuilder OCEA launched the first FPB 98 MKI patrol vessel on order for the State Border Gu...

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