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News
Reactivation Accident
Thales reactivates Gas kills 20 on
minehunters India’s N-sub
Thales UK’s naval business has been awarded the An accident on a Russian nuclear submarine
prime contractorship in a warship reactivation destined to be leased by India has killed 20 men.
programme following an agreement between the The Akula (Project 971) class submarine RFS Nerpa
UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Lithuanian had begun sea trials in Vladimir Bay some 11nm
Government. The MoD and the Lithuanian Ministry (20km) off the coast in the Sea of Japan. She was
of National Defence have signed a sales agreement carrying 208 men, many of them dockyard workers,
onboard HMS Victory in Portsmouth in the UK, for when the fire safety system was set off by a sailor
the acquisition and reactivation of two former Royal on 8 November 2008, filling two compartments of
Navy minehunters. sleeping men with freon gas.
The Hunt class vessels – HMS Cottesmore and HMS It is believed that all but three of those who died
Dulverton – were converted in 1997 by the Royal Navy were dockyard workers and another 21 men were
from their original use as minehunters into patrol injured. Nerpa has been in the Komsomolsk-on-
vessels. The vessels were later declared surplus to Amur yard for more than two decades, having been
requirements and put on the list for disposal in 2004. laid down in 1986 but not launched until June 2006.
In 2006 Thales UK approached the UK MoD and She is widely reported to be scheduled for leasing to
offered to use its international marketing and sales India under a secret US$650 million 10-year agreement
expertise to help find a country that was interested in that was reportedly signed in January 2004.
purchasing the ships for use in their original minehunt-
ing role. This approach led to detailed discussions with Acquisition
the Lithuanian Navy to upgrade the vessels with a
technologically advanced minehunting system.
Five bidding for
The ship-regeneration package represents an
Greek frigate
innovative departure for Thales UK, building on the
naval architecture and engineering expertise already Competition is growing to meet Athens’ €2.2-2.8
established in the company to support the design work billion (US$2.75-3.5 billion) requirement for four
on CVF, the Royal Navy’s Future Aircraft Carrier. air defence frigates with options on two. According
The design approach has been agreed with the to Naval Spyglass, Greece is seeking a 6000tonne
UK MoD and Lithuania, and Thales is now actively ship with 40-cell launcher, phased-array radar and
engaged in the selection procedure for the various 127mm gun.
subcontracts involved in the programme. This All eyes are on the DCNS contender, which is
will include fitting the new hull-mounted Sonar understood to be a derivative of the French Frégate
2193 system, propulsion, command and control Européenne Multi-Mission (FREMM).
systems, and mine disposal systems. The ships France is known to have a requirement for two air
are expected to enter service with the Lithuanian defence ships, to replace the two cancelled Horizon
Navy by 2011. class vessels; this version is known as the Frégate de
Défense Aérienne (Freda).
It is widely believed that a Greek order for Freda
would be leveraged by DCNS to meet the French
requirement. However, DCNS have indicated in the
past that its contender would have the same sensor
and weapon suites as the French ships.
Greece is reported to be seeking a US launcher
system, probably the Lockheed Martin Mk 41, which
DCNS had earlier rejected. However, the company
might instead opt for a Greek version, which would
be built by the Elefsis Shipyard.
The leading competitor was originally to be
ThyssenKrupp Marine’s 3500-tonne MEKO D, but
the yard is now offering a 140m, 6200tonne MEKO
design. This would feature a similar sensor and
Thales is responsible for the reactivation of Cottesmore weapons suite to the Sachsen (F124) class and would
and Dulverton. be built by Hellenic Shipyards.
6 Warship Technology January 2009
WT_Jan09_p6+7+8+10+11.indd 6 12/23/08 2:20:47 AM
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