UK scraps Type 23 frigate LDEW test plan

by Richard Scott

The UK MoD has cancelled earlier plans to fit an LDEW demonstrator to a Type 23 frigate. (Thales)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has dropped plans to trial a laser-directed energy weapon (LDEW) demonstrator from a Royal Navy (RN) Type 23 frigate.

Revealing the decision in a 30 January parliamentary answer, Minister of State for Defence Procurement James Cartlidge said the move was intended to free up money for the UK's wider Directed Energy Weapons (DEW) programme. Thales had been under contract to develop the maritime LDEW demonstrator.

The UK began industry competitions in 2020 for three different DEW capability demonstrators: a maritime LDEW demonstrator under Project Tracey; a vehicle-based LDEW demonstrator named Project Swinton; and a land-based radio frequency (RF) DEW counter-unmanned aircraft system (C-UAS) prototype designated Project Ealing. The MoD in September 2021 announced that Thales UK had been selected to deliver Project Tracey and Project Ealing, while a consortium led by Raytheon UK had been contracted for Project Swinton.


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Saab Kockums composite superstructures offer reduced weight as navies integrate more equipment

by Jeremiah Cushman

Saab Kockums builds the composite superstructure for Singapore's Independence-class littoral mission vessel. Above, the superstructure for the fifth ship in the class is being prepared for transport to Singapore. (Glenn Pettersson)

Saab Kockums offers composite products to provide navies options for surface warships. These include composite superstructures and the new Saab Lightweight Integrated Mast (SLIM), which is being procured by Finland for its Pohjanmaa-class corvettes, Magnus Dannemyr, Saab Kockums product manager for composites, told reporters at the Saab Kockums shipyard in Karlskrona in southern Sweden on 14 May.

Saab has decades of experience working with composites, starting with an all-composite sailboat in 1965, Dannemyr said. In 1974 the company produced its first composite warship, a mine countermeasure vessel constructed of glass-fibre-reinforced plastic (GFRP). In the mid-1990s the shipyard began construction on the Royal Swedish Navy's Visby-class corvettes, which have an all-composite carbon-fibre hull.


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Thailand announces USD77.6 million upgrade for Pattani-class OPVs

by Ridzwan Rahmat

The Royal Thai Navy's lead Pattani-class OPV, HTMS Pattani , seen here during an exercise in the South China Sea. (US Navy)

Thailand has announced plans to carry out a major upgrade programme for its two Pattani-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs).

An announcement on this was released by the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) via its official website on 17 May under a section on procurement plans.

While the service has not given specific details of what the upgrade programme would entail, the work across the two vessels would cost THB2.83 billion (USD77.6 million), according to the announcement.

The RTN's two Pattani-class OPVs, HTMS Pattani and HTMS Narathiwat , were commissioned in December 2005 and April 2006 respectively.

Pattani was laid down in 2003 by China's Hudong Shipyard in Shanghai while Narathiwat was laid down by the same shipbuilder in 2004.

The class displaces about 1,400 tonnes at full load and has an overall length of about 95.5 m with an overall beam of 11.6 m.


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US Navy is close to getting waivers for new countermine platforms, says service official

by Michael Fabey

The US Navy needs a waiver to decommission countermine ships such as the USS Avenger pictured here to field replacement vessels. (US Navy)

The US Navy (USN) should soon have the waivers it needs to field its proposed countermine(MCM) replacement platforms, according to David Chase, USN Expeditionary Warfare deputy director.

“We are weeks, not months away from getting that over [the] goal line,” Chase said on 21 May during a keynote speech at the International Mine Warfare Technology Symposium 2024 in San Diego, California.

The USN needs two separate waivers from requirements, Chase noted, that must be cleared through Congress to lift certain restrictions.

“One prohibits us from decommissioning the Avenger-class MCM [ships],” he noted, adding that Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro must certify – and the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) must concur with that certification – that “what we are fielding is equivalent to the capability before decommissioning”.

The second restriction concerns surface ship requirements that would be unmet by the littoral combat ships (LCSs) slated to replace Avenger-class ships for MCM missions, according to Chase. The LCSs require an exception.


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The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has dropped plans to trial a laser-directed energy weapon (LDEW) de...

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