Naval News – Australian Government selects the Type 26 for their Future Frigate under Project SEA 5000 Phase 1

GCS with CEA radar

The Australian Government announced on Friday 29 June 2018 that BAE System’s Type 26 ‘City Class’ Frigate (shown above) has been chosen as the successful bidder for Project SEA 5000 Phase 1 (Future Frigate).

The project will introduce into Royal Australian Navy (RAN) service the next generation of nine anti-submariane warfare Frigates and replace Australia’s existing fleet of eight Anzac Class frigates (shown below) which were introduced into service in the 1990s and early 2000s. Construction should commence in 2020 with the lead ship in service in the late 2020s.

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The two other contenders, Navantia with their F100 frigate design, and Fincantieri with their FREMM class Frigate, were unsuccessful (images of both types are shown below).

FREMM 3

Some technical data on the Type 26 is shown below (with an Anzac class in parentheses for comparison):

Displacement: 6,900 tonnes (3,600)
Length: 149.9 m (109)
Beam: 20.8m (14.8)
Speed: In excess of 26 knots (27)
Range: In excess of 7,000 nautical miles (6,000)
Complement: 118 (163)
Armament: 1 x 5 Inch Mk 45 (same) 72 cell VLS for Anti-air, Anti-Ship or Land Attack missiles (8 cells)
2 x 30mm cannon (2 x .50cal HMG)
2 x Phalanx CIWS (1 CIWS)
Torpedos not fitted (2 x Mark 32 3 tube torpedo launches with Mark 46)
Aviation: Large Chinook capable Flight Deck. Accommodation for two helicopters up to AugustaWestland Merlin size (1 Helicopter)

F100 2

You can find out more about Project SEA 5000 Phase 1 (Future Frigate) here: http://www.defence.gov.au/casg/EquippingDefence/SEA5000PH1_FutureFrigates

You can find out more about the Type 26 Frigate here: https://www.baesystems.com/en/product/global-combat-ship

Naval News – China’s second Aircraft Carrier Shandong (CV-17) begins Sea Trials

Shandong 4

China’s new aircraft carrier for the People’s Liberation Army – Navy (PLA-N), the Type 001A Shandong (CV-17) officially began sea trials on Sunday 13 April 2018.

The 65,ooo-ton carrier, launched in April 2017 left the Dalian shipyard in Liaoning Province earlier today, where she was built by China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC).

Like her predecessor the Liaoning, Shandong will operate a ski-jump assisted Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) launch system. The new carrier will be able to embark up to 24 Shenyang J-15 multirole fighters (a variant of the Sukhoi Su-33 shown below) and to up to ten helicopters (Changshe Z-18, Ka-31, or Harbin Z-9).

J-15

Once commissioned, the Shandong is expected to serve in either the North Sea Fleet or East Sea Fleet.

You can find out more about the ship here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_001A_aircraft_carrier

 

On this day – The Battle of the Sunda Strait – 28 February 1942

HMAS Perth Sunda Strait.JPG

The naval Battle of the Sunda Strait began on this day 76 years ago.

Sunda Strait lies between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra. On the night of 28 February-1 March 1942 it was the location for a fierce naval battle between the Australian modified Leander class light cruiser HMAS Perth (shown above during the battle) and the American Northampton class heavy cruiser USS Houston (CA-30), and a numerically superior Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) task force.

Following the disatrous Battle of the Java Sea the day before, late on 28 February 1942, USS Houston and HMAS Perth received orders to sail through Sunda Strait to Tjilatjap, on the south coast of Java.  They departed without any escort at 7pm under the command of Captain Hector Waller (shown below), the Commanding Officer of HMAS Perth.

Hec Waller

At 10pm that night the Japanese invasion convoy of over 50 transports was entering Bantam Bay near the north west tip of Java. The convoy was escorted by the 5th Destroyer Flotilla (8 destroyers) and 7th Cruiser Division (3 cruisers).

USS-Houston-And-HMAS-Perth-Stood-Tall-At-the-Battle-Of-Sunda-Strait-1

 

At 11.15pm the Japanese destroyer IJS Fubuki sighted the allied Cruisers halfway across Bantam Bay. In the ferocious action that followed both HMAS Perth and USS Houston (shown below) were sunk with the loss of 1,071 sailors lives. Japanese losses were two Transports and a minesweeper.

USS Houston Sunda Strait

The Captains of both Allied ships were among those lost. Captain Albert Rooks of USS Houston was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.

You can find out more about HMAS Perth II here: http://www.navy.gov.au/hmas-perth-ii

You can find out more about USS Houston here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Houston_(CA-30)

Customs and Traditions – Naval Pennants

HMS Ocean

With HMS Ocean (L12) entering Portsmouth for the final time late last week flying her paying off pennant, before she is decommissioned and transfered to the Brazilian Navy, it is worthwhile looking at the naval tradition of flying pennants.

A pennant is a flag that is larger at the hoist than at the fly, and can have several shapes, such as triangular, tapering or triangular and swallow-tailed.

In the days of chivalry, knights carried pennants on their lances, just as men-of-war flew pennants from their masts. During the conflicts of the thirteenth century, when merchant ships were commandeered and placed in command of military officers they transferred their pennants from their lances to the mastheads of the ships they commanded. The tradition continued until the end of the Napoleonic Wars when the Royal Navy adopted the style of pennants used today.

Today the pennant is hoisted on the day a warship or shore establishment commissions and is never struck until the day of decommissioning. Onboard ship the pennant is flown at the masthead, for which reason it is also commonly referred to as a ‘masthead pennant’. In the Royal Navy (RN) today there are two types of pennant – a ‘Commissioning pennant’ and a ‘Paying off’ pennant.

In the RN the commissioning pennant (shown below) is flown continuously in every ship and shore establishment in commission unless displaced by a senior officer’s Rank flag. The masthead pennant is a cross of St George in the hoist and a white fly.

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It is the custom in many navies for a ship which is ‘paying off’ to wear an extremely long commissioning pennant, which is normally at least the length of the ship, and the length of which reflects the length of service. HMS Gloucester (D96) is shown below flying her paying off pennant in 2011 when she decommissioned.

HMS Gloucester Paying Off Pennant

The term ‘paying off’ refers to the fact that RN ships formerly ‘paid off’ each time they returned home after a commission overseas. The ship’s sailors were not paid until the ship returned home, to avoid desertion.

In the US Navy (USN) the commissioning pennant is ‘blue at the hoist, bearing seven white stars; the rest of the pennant consists of single longitudinal stripes of red and white’. Like their RN cousins, ships of the USN fly the commissioning pennant from the moment of commissioning until the decommissioning ceremony. The commissioning pennant of USS McInerney (FFG 8) is shown below.

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The US Navy has no tradition of flying a paying off pennant before decommissioning. US Navy ships maintain a separate tradition of flying a ‘Homeward Bound’ pennant when returning from a deployment to their home port. The dimensions of the pennant are not prescribed by regulation, but the customary practice is one white star for the first nine months of continuous service outside the US, plus another for each additional 6 months. The overall length of the pennant is one foot for each member of the ship’s company on duty outside the United States for more than 9 months, but not to exceed the length of the ship itself. Below is a picture of USS George Washington (CVN-73) flying her 297 foot ‘Homeward Bound’ pennant returning from deployment in 2015.

USS George Washington Homeward Bound Pennant

On this day – Australia’s worst peacetime naval disaster – HMAS Melbourne (R21) and HMAS Voyager (D04) collide at night off Jervis Bay

HMAS Voyager

On this day in 1964 what is considered to be Australia’s worst peacetime naval disaster occurred 20 nautical miles off Point Perpendicular near Jervis Bay in New South Wales, when at 8.56pm the Majestic class aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne (R21) and the Daring class destroyer HMAS Voyager (D04) collided at night during manoeuvres.

At the time HMAS Melbourne was performing flying exercises and HMAS Voyager was performing plane guard duties, positioned behind and to port (left) in order to rescue any aircrew if a plane was forced to ditch.

HMAS Melbourne following Voyager collision

After a series of turns effected to reverse the course of the ships HMAS Voyager ended up ahead and starboard (right) of HMAS Melbourne. Voyager was then ordered by Melbourne to resume plane guard position, which involved turning to starboard, but then she came around to port. The crew on the bridge of HMAS Melbourne thought that Voyager was zig-zagging and would turn to starboard and resume her correct position.

At 8.55pm both ships began desperate avoiding manoeuvres but a collision was inevitable. One minute later the bow of HMAS Melbourne (travelling at about 22 knots) struck behind the Bridge and Operations Room of HMAS Voyager, effectively cutting the ship in two.

Over the coming hours, frantic efforts were made to rescue the crew of HMAS Voyager, with helicopters from both HMAS Melbourne and Naval Air Station (NAS) Nowra, as well as five Minesweepers and two search and rescue boats were dispatched from the shore establishment HMAS Creswell, moving to the scene to pick up survivors.

HMAS Voyager Crest

Sadly, of the 314 crew on board HMAS Voyager, 82 were killed, most of whom died immediately or were trapped in the bow section, which sank after 10 minutes. HMAS Melbourne was damaged, but suffered no fatalities.

CPO Rogers GC DSM

One particular crew member of HMAS Voyager showed great bravery and sadly lost his life as a result. Chief Petty Officer Jonathan Rogers DSM, a Welshman and Second World War Royal Navy  veteran, along with 50 other men, was trapped in the sinking forward part of the stricken destroyer.

Recognising that he was too large to fit through the escape hatch, he organised the evacuation of those that could escape, then led his trapped comrades in a prayer and hymn as they met their fate. He was posthumously awarded the George Cross (GC), which is now held by the Australian War Memorial.

CPO Rogers GC DSM Medal Collection

Following the disaster two Royal Commissions were held in 1964 and 1968. The first Royal Commission ruled that the collision was the fault of HMAS Voyager’s bridge crew and also blamed the Commanding Officer of HMAS Melbourne, Captain John Robertson and two other officers on that ship. Robertson resigned after the first Royal Commission, rather than accept a shore posting to HMAS Watson (in effect a demotion) and was widely seen in the media as a scapegoat for the incident.

In 1967 a second Royal Commission was announced following increasing pressure from the public and the media, including claims made that the Commanding Officer of HMAS Voyager, Captain Duncan Stevens (who had died in the tragedy), was a heavy drinker and unfit for command. The second Royal Commission came to that finding and absolved Captain Robertson and the two other officers from HMAS Melbourne, of any blame.

You can find out more about HMAS Voyager (II) here: http://www.navy.gov.au/hmas-voyager-ii

Naval News – RFA Mounts Bay (L3008) the ‘RFA Ship of the Year 2017’

RFA Mounts Bay

The Royal Navy announced on 10 January 2018 that RFA Mounts Bay (L3008) has been awarded the title of ‘RFA Ship of the Year’ for 2017, the second year in a row that she has won the award.

RFA Mounts Bay Ships Crest

Commissioned in 2006, RFA Mounts Bay is one of three 16,000 tonne Bay-class auxiliary landing ship dock (LSD(A)) of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. She is named after Mount’s Bay in Cornwall.

RFA Mounts Bay was the first British naval vessel to arrive in the Caribbean following Hurricane Irma, which devastated Anguilla, the Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands. She remained on station for almost a month delivering aid and materials ashore.

The award allows the ship to fly the Fleet Efficiency Flag for another year.

RFA Mounts Bay Ship of the Year 2017

You can find out more about RFA Mounts Bay here: https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/our-organisation/the-fighting-arms/royal-fleet-auxiliary/landing-ships/rfa-mounts-bay

 

 

 

Naval News – HMS Ocean (L12) sold to Brazilian Navy for £84 million ($145 million)

HMS Ocean

The current flagship of the Royal Navy (RN), HMS Ocean, has been sold to Brazil for £84 million.

The 22,000-tonne Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH) carrier will be formally decommissioned from the RN in spring this year. Whilst it was well known that HMS Ocean was up for sale, with interest from Brazil and Turkey, reference to the sale was contained in the Brazilian Navy’s end of year statement published on Christmas Eve. To date, no official statement confirming the sale has been released by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) or the Royal Navy.

HMS Ocean was built for £150 million and was commissioned in September 1998. She underwent a £65 million refit in 2012, extending her life by three years.

Six RN ships have borne the name HMS Ocean.

HMS Ocean Badge

Motto: Ex undis surgit victoria (‘From the waves rises victory’)

Battle Honours:  Al Faw 2003

You can find out more about HMS Ocean here: https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/our-organisation/the-fighting-arms/surface-fleet/assault-ships/hms-oceanhttps://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/our-organisation/the-fighting-arms/surface-fleet/assault-ships/hms-ocean