Work begins on first NSM fit on Type 23

by Richard Scott

The MK 141 launcher structure being removed from HMS Somerset in preparation for the installation of NSM. (HMS Somerset/Royal Navy)

The Type 23 frigate HMS Somerset is in line to become the first UK Royal Navy (RN) ship to receive the Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace Naval Strike Missile (NSM).

Replacing the ageing Harpoon Block 1C surface-to-surface guided weapon, which will be retired from service in December this year, NSM is being procured as part of the RN's Maritime Offensive Surface Strike programme. In November 2022, the UK Ministry of Defence confirmed plans to pursue the accelerated acquisition of NSM under a government-to-government sales agreement with Norway.

A total of 11 RN ships – a mix of Type 23 frigates and Type 45 destroyers – will receive NSM, with an initial three vessels being fitted ‘at pace'. The objective is to ensure that a capability is in place by the time Harpoon leaves service at the end of 2023.

Preparations for the NSM fit onboard Somerset

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Romania acquires two ex-Royal Navy Sandown-class minehunters

by Kate Tringham

The Royal Navy's former Sandown-class minehunter, ex-HMS Blyth, is pictured during its decommissioning ceremony on 4 August 2021. The vessel was transferred to the Romanian Navy in September 2023. (Crown Copyright)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has sold two second-hand Royal Navy (RN) Sandown-class minehunters to the Romanian Navy to support maritime security operations in the Black Sea region.

In a 28 September announcement, the MoD confirmed the sale of ex-HMS Blyth , which was decommissioned from RN service in 2021, and HMS Pembroke , which will be retired from service in early 2024.

Ex- Blyth was officially transferred to the Romanian Navy during September, while Pembroke will be transferred in the second quarter of 2024, the MoD said.

The Romanian parliament approved a programme to procure and modernise two second-hand Sandown-class minehunters from the UK on 18 May. Blyth and Pembroke were subsequently sold on behalf of the MoD by the Defence Equipment Sales Authority (DESA), part of the MoD's Defence Equipment and Support organisation, for an undisclosed amount.

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Greece approves new procurements

by Euthymius Petrou

Greece is to start negotiations to purchase at least two Heron high-altitude long-endurance unmanned aircraft systems. (IAI)

The joint chiefs of the Hellenic National Defence Forces General Staff decided on 25 September to increase the number of Greek military personnel to be assigned to missions abroad under either NATO or European Union (EU) command by up to 20%. The three armed services will now issue specific proposals on units assigned to missions abroad.

The joint chiefs also discussed armament programmes included in the armed forces' medium-term upgrade and modernisation plan. They approved the purchase of more fast-attack craft (FAC) armed with missiles. The Hellenic Navy (HN) has seven Roussen-class (Super Vita) FAC armed with Exocet missiles, and nine older Combattante IIIA- and Combattante IIIB-class ships are to be replaced in the next few years.

It was also decided that the Etna-class general support ship, HS Prometheus , would be converted into a command-and-control (C2) ship at yet-to-be decided Greek shipyards.

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US looking to create single naval approach for Arctic operations

by Michael Fabey

US Coast Guard Cutter Forward (WMEC 911) steams near an iceberg in the Atlantic in support of ‘Operation NANOOK'. (US Coast Guard)

Having been successful in blurring the lines of US naval command responsibilities for Atlantic Ocean theatres, the US Navy (USN) is looking to create a similar single approach for ensuring US interests and national security in Arctic regions, according to Admiral Daryl Caudle, US commander of Fleet Forces Command, Naval Forces Northern Command (NAVNORTH), Naval Forces Strategic Command, and Strategic Command Joint Force Maritime Component Commander.

When Adm Caudle took over as commander of these naval components in December 2021, he set out to erase the line dividing areas of responsibility for the Atlantic.

“One of the challenges is that in the middle of the Atlantic, you have NORTHCOM [Northern Command] on one side [and] EUCOM [European Command] on the other side,” Adm Caudle told Janes on 25 September in an interview at US Fleet Forces Command (USFFC) headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia.

“We've been able to dissolve that,” he said, noting increased co-ordination, collaboration, and seamless sharing of resources by the different combatant commanders.

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The Type 23 frigate HMS Somerset is in line to become the first UK Royal Navy (RN) ship to receive t...

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