The 12,750-ton full load displacement Royal Netherlands Navy “amphibious transport ship” Rotterdam , photographed shortly after her launching on 22 February (only a day under a year since her keel was laid), is scheduled to be delivered this December. The Rotterdam will give the 2,435-strong Royal Netherlands Marines their first seagoing amphibious lift platform, accommodating 611 Marines for up to 30 days without reprovisioning and another 150 for a brief period. The stern docking well is intended to carry four recently ordered 200-ton LCU-1-class landing craft, and the flight deck and hangar will support up to six NH-90-sized helicopters or four British Merlins. Stowage is provided for up to 30 Leopard-2 tanks or up to 160 armored personnel carriers, which can be debarked through prominent side doors on either beam. Built to commercial standards, the Rotterdam has a 16,628 shaft horsepower diesel-electric propulsion plant, supplemented by two 600 horsepower thrusters for low-speed operations. A nearly identical ship, reportedly to be named Galicia , is on order for the Spanish Navy, which hopes to acquire a second.
The German Navy will receive the Type 124 guided-missile frigates Sachsen , Hamburg , and Hessen between December 2002 and December 2005, and a contract option exists for a fourth, the Thuringen , for delivery in December 2006. The class represents the German component of the German-Dutch-Spanish cooperative frigate design program, which also will produce four Dutch De Zeven Provincien -class and four Spanish F-100 frigates. Displacing some 5,690 tons full load, the 469-foot German ships will strongly resemble the preceding quartet of Type 123 Brandenburg -class frigates completed in 1994-96. The major different will be the provision of 32 Mk 41 vertical-launch cells for 24 Standard SM-2 Block IIIA and 32 Evolved Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missiles, while the remainder of the armament suite will include two 21-cell launchers for RGM-84F Harpoon antiship missiles, two sets of triple antisubmarine torpedo tubes (for MU-90 torpedoes), a 76-mm dual-purpose gun, and two 20-mm light guns. Hangars for two NH-90 helicopters will be provided. The combat system will permit tracking of up to 1,000 targets, while engaging 16 aerial, 2 surface, and 2 submarine targets simultaneously. The Aegis-like H.S.A.-DASA APAR radar will provide tracking and illumination, and the H.S.A. SMART-L radar will be used for area search. The propulsion plant will use one 32,500 shaft horsepower LM-2500 gas turbine combined with two 9,924 brake horsepower diesels to produce 29-knot maximum speeds. The crew of 230 will include a 14-person command staff.
The third of four Chinese-built Romeo-class (Project 033) diesel attack submarines is seen at sea in November 1996 with what appears to be a portable diver's decompression chamber on the after casing. The submarines, originally delivered new in 1984, were extensively modernized between April 1992 and January 1996 under a contract placed with Loral Sonar Systems Corporation. The 1,712-ton (submerged) submarines now can launch Hughes Electronics (formerly Alliant) NT-37F wire-guided torpedoes and UGM-84CHarpoon missiles from their eight 533-mm tubes. Obsolete Chinese equipment has been replaced by a German STN-Atlas CSU-3-4 active/passive sonar suite, Loral Librascope fire-control system, Boeing ArgoSystems AR-700-S5 electronic intercept gear, Kollmorgen Model 76 and 86 periscopes, a global positioning system receiver, an inertial navigation system, a towed communications antenna, and a data link allowing the boats to employ over-the-horizon targeting for their submerged-launch missiles. New air-conditioning equipment and additional motor generators were added. All older, Soviet-supplied Egyptian Navy Romeos have been retired.
The nine South African Navy guided-missile patrol craft, originally referred to locally as the "Minister" class and named for white South African ministers of defense, had their class name changed to "Warrior" on 1 April. The first unit retained the name Jail Smuts; the P. W. Botha was renamed Shaka, after the legendary Zulu warrior chief; the Frederic Creswell became the Adam Kok, after a GriqualKhoi tribal commander; the Jim Fouche was renamed Sekhukhulli, after another legendary warrior chief; the Frans Erasmus became the Isaac Dyobha, after a chaplain who rallied soldiers on board a sinking troopship; the Oswald Pirow was renamed Rene Sethrell, after a sailor wounded 27 times while firing at attacking German aircraft; the Hendrik Mentz became the Galeshewe, after a Tswana chief who led a rebellion in 1896-97 against the Cape government; the Kobie Coetsee was renamed Job Masego, who sank a German freighter at Tobruk with a homemade device; and the Magnus Malan became the Makhanda, after a renowned Xhosa general. The South African Navy hopes to replace the missile craft shortly with four 1,500- to 1,800-ton offshore patrol ships under "Project Sitron." A Spanish design selected in 1995 was not ordered when the government failed to provide funding, and the competition has been reopened, with an order hoped to be placed early in 1998.
The 13,300-ton full load displacement ocean survey ship Scott, shown arriving at Portsmouth, England, on 13 March still under her builder's ownership, is to be handed over this month. The largest ship ever built for the Royal Navy's hydrographic office, the Scott's dimensions were dictated by the need for a draft of 27 feet for the mapping sonar's transducer array; the U.S.-made equipment will sweep a path equating to 60 nautical miles wide at 5,000-meter depths. The ship, which is 430 feet long by 70.5 feet in beam, will carry a crew of 25 Royal Fleet Auxiliary civil service mariners, plus a survey party of 35. She has an endurance of more than 35 days and is capable of 17.4 knots on two 5,400 brake horsepower diesels driving a single controllable-pitch propeller.
The Royal Australian Navy's veteran hydrographic survey ship Moresby is seen entering Sydney Harbor for the last time in November 1996. The 2,351-ton, 33-year-old ship had traveled more than a million miles by the end of 1992 and is to be retired later this year, followed next year by the smaller Flinders. The ships are being replaced by the 2,550-ton Leeuwin and Melville, which are building at Cairns by North Queensland Engineers and Agents (NQEA) for delivery in June 1998 and January 1999, respectively. The new ships, with accommodations for 10 officers and 40 enlisted personnel, are to be based at Darwin, with three crews working in rotation to keep them operational some 300 days a year. Each will carry three 35-foot inshore survey launches and will have a mapping sonar capable of charting waters up to 6,000 meters deep. The Leeuwin and Melville, which also will be extensively equipped to conduct oceanographic research, will be 233.6 feet long by 49.9 feet in beam and will have diesel-electric propulsion.