25 April 2023
by Kate Tringham
USCGC John Scheuerman (WPC 1146) transits the Strait of Hormuz with an L3Harris Arabian Fox Mast-13 unmanned surface vessel on 19 April. (USCG)
A US Navy (USN) unmanned surface vessel (USV) has transited the Strait of Hormuz for the first time, marking another milestone in the service's efforts to integrate unmanned systems and artificial intelligence (AI) into maritime operations in the Middle East.
The USV, an Arabian Fox Mast-13 vessel operated by the US Fifth Fleet's Task Force 59, completed the transit on 19 April accompanied by two US Coast Guard (USCG) Sentinel-class fast response cutters. Developed by L3Harris, the Mast-13 is a 13 m long high-speed USV capable of fully autonomous navigation.
In a statement, the USN said the USV, escorted by USCGC Charles Moulthrope (WPC 1141) and USCGC John Scheuerman
26 May 2023
by Neil Dee
Lastunul , one of three Zborul (Tarantul I)-class corvettes, approved to undergo modernisation. (Romanian Navy)
The Romanian parliament has given the approval for the purchase of two new submarines and two second-hand minehunters for the Romanian Navy as well as modernisation of the service's corvettes, local media reported.
According to a report by Romania's national press agency Agerpres on 18 May, the Romanian parliament approved a request from the Ministry of National Defence for the procurement of two Scorpène-class conventionally powered diesel-electric submarines (SSKs) from French shipbuilder Naval Group. The programme is estimated at EUR2 billion (USD2.14 billion) and is expected to take place over a period of eight years.
The submarine procurement is intended to provide the Romanian Navy with improved anti-surface, anti-submarine, and intelligence-gathering capabilities, both in Romanian territorial waters and in international waters further afield.
Romania currently has one ‘Kilo'-class submarine, Delfinul , which has been out of service since 1995.
26 May 2023
by Kate Tringham
Stirling Castle has started sea trials with the RFA after completing its conversion into a mother ship for offboard autonomous mine countermeasure payloads. (RFA Nostalgia)
The UK Royal Navy's (RN's) new minehunting mother ship started sea trials with Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) personnel after completing its military conversion from an oil rig offshore support vessel (OSV).
Stirling Castle (ex-MV Island Crown ) was purchased second-hand from Island Offshore Management for GBP40 million (USD49.3 million) to serve as a host platform for offboard autonomous mine countermeasure payloads.
The ship arrived at His Majesty's Naval Base (HMNB), Devonport, from Norway in late January to undergo its conversion. Modification work has been relatively minimal aside from the installation of specific military equipment for its new role.
The trials and RFA crew training period are expected to continue for the next couple of months, with a view to achieving initial operating capability in July–August 2023. The initial emphasis of trials will be on learning how best to run and maintain the 6,000 tonne vessel, test safety systems, and effectively write the instruction/operators' manual, Captain Ali Clack, the ship's commanding officer said.
26 May 2023
by Manasvi Shanker Sharma
The Royal Malaysian Navy will operate a total of 19 fast interceptor craft built by local firm Gading Marine, following a second-batch order of 13 vessels. Four of the six vessels ordered in the first batch are pictured above. (Royal Malaysian Navy)
The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) will start taking deliveries of a second batch of 18 m fast interceptor craft (FIC) from local firm Gading Marine later in 2023, the company told Janes at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) Exhibition 2023 in Malaysia, held from 23 to 27 May.
In April 2021 Gading Marine completed deliveries to the RMN of an initial batch of six FICs – known as G2000 Mk I vessels – under a USD19.5 million contract signed in 2020. In 2022 Gading Marine signed a follow-on contract with the RMN for 13 additional FICs. The value of the second-batch contract has not been disclosed.
A US Navy (USN) unmanned surface vessel (USV) has transited the Strait of Hormuz for the first time,...
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