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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US lawmakers grill US Navy officials on proposed shipbuilding budget

by Michael Fabey

US lawmakers question the US Navy request to fund only one Virginia-class submarine (pictured) in fiscal year 2025. (Janes/Michael Fabey)

Members of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee raised concerns about the proposed US Navy (USN) plan to pare down key shipbuilding programmes on 17 April during the subcommittee hearing on the USN's Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 budget request.

While the USN – as was the case with the rest of the Pentagon – was charged with keeping a lid on costs, lawmakers said they felt the USN went too far with some major programmes.

Connecticut Congressman and ranking member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, Joe Courtney, set the tone with his opening statement.

“The Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), which [was] passed in May 2023 to avert a default on the full faith and credit of our nation's currency and bonds, mandated a 1% increase in the Department of Defense's budget request for fiscal year 2025,” Courtney said.


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Australia completes first prototype of Ghost Shark autonomous undersea vehicle

by Ridzwan Rahmat

The first prototype of Australia's Ghost Shark XL-AUV programme, which was unveiled on 18 April 2024. (Commonwealth of Australia)

The first of three prototypes to be built under Australia's Ghost Shark extra-large autonomous undersea vehicle (XL-AUV) programme has been completed, the country's Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy announced on 18 April.

The programme to develop the XL-AUV is being jointly developed and funded by a partnership between the Australian Department of Defence and Anduril Australia, a subsidiary of US defence technology company Anduril Industries.

Also working in collaboration with this partnership is a team from the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

The Ghost Shark programme aims to develop a long-range AUV capability for the RAN's persistent intelligence gathering, surveillance, and remote strike requirements.

At a media event to disclose further details of the Ghost Shark programme, Conroy described the first prototype of the XL-AUV as a “combat-ready drone”.

“This drone is capable of doing intelligence-gathering, surveillance, and reconnaissance and, importantly, delivering strike. So it has the ability to be fitted with weapons to deter potential aggressors”, Conroy added, without providing further details.


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Rauma Shipyard lays keel for first Finnish Navy Squadron 2020 corvette

by Kate Tringham

A keel-laying ceremony for first Fininish Navy Squadron 2020 corvette was held at Rauma shipyard on 11 April. (Rauma shipyard)

Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC) laid the keel for the first Squadron 2020 Pohjanmaa-class multirole corvette on order for the Finnish Navy during a ceremony at its shipyard in Rauma on 11 April.

Announcing the milestone the same day, RMC said the yard has been making good progress on the first ship since the first steel was cut on 30 October 2023. “It has been five months since the start of construction, and the operative phase has progressed efficiently,” RMC said.

RMC is delivering four Pohjanmaa-class multirole corvettes in total for the Finnish Navy under a EUR647.6 million (USD687.8 million) design and construction contract awarded in 2019 – with the build being carried out by its subsidiary RMC Defence. The corvettes are being constructed in a new covered assembly hall built specifically for the Squadron 2020 programme, measuring 180×40×30 m and with a floor area of about 13,000 m².

Under current planning, the lead ship is expected to start sea trials in 2026, with all four ships to be delivered by 2029.


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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/terror-insurgent-group/latest/update-uks-first-future-subsea-surveillance-ship-arrives-in-merseyside-for-conversion

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has purchased a second-hand commercial offshore patrol vessel from ...

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