The 705-ton (full load) displacement guided-missile patrol combatant Hang Nadim , here off Messina in early August, originally was ordered from Italy's Fincantieri in February 1981, along with three sisters. Launched in 1983 but laid up in 1987 in Italy after sea trials, the 37.5-knot craft became an orphan of the Persian Gulf conflicts, with ownership tied up in the Italian court system until 1994. The former Iraqi Kalid ibn al Walid , along with sister Saad ibn abi Wakkad (renamed Tun Abdul Gamil ), finally was sold to Malaysia on 27 October 1995, and both craft were overhauled and updated at La Spezia prior to commissioning this July. The other two ships subsequently were purchased by Malaysia in March 1997 and will be delivered later, while two similar ex-Iraqi half-sisters equipped with helicopter hangars remain unsold.
The first to be launched of a new batch of seven Sandown -class "single-role minehunters" ordered for Britain's Royal Navy in July 1994, HMS Penzance is seen here in July while fitting out at Vosper Thornycroft's Woolston yard. Launched on 11 March 1997, the 484-ton (full load) ship and her succeeding sisters will have more powerful Voith-Schneider vertical cycloidal propellers than the five earlier Sandowns , the first of which was commissioned in 1989. They also employ a new fabrication technique for their glass-reinforced plastic superstructures, the SCRIMP (Seeman Composite Resin Infusion Process), which reduces structural weight by 15%. The Penzance is expected to be handed over to the Royal Navy this coming February and the last of the class, the Shoreham late in 2001. The dozen 60-meterlong coastal minehunters will join 13 larger, 725-ton Hunt-class seagoing minehunters to form the Royal Navy's mine countermeasures capability over the next decade and more. Three sisters have been delivered to Saudi Arabia, the last this August, with another trio still planned, and the first of four modified versions for the Spanish Navy, the Segura , was launched on 1 August in Spain.
Launched for the second time—this time officially—on 25 July 1997 was the first of a new class of minehunters for the Royal Australian Navy, the Huon . The 720-ton (full load) displacement minehunter was ordered in August 1994, and her monocoque, foam-core, glass-reinforced plastic hull and superstructure were fabricated at Intermarine's yard at Sarzana, Italy, and handed over to Australian Defence Industries on 16 July 1995 for shipment to Newcastle, New South Wales, for fitting out. Five sisters are being built entirely in Australia, with the last, the Yarra , scheduled to be delivered in 2002. More heavily armed than their U.S. Navy counterparts, the Huons carry a 30-mm DS30B gun on the forecastle and are powered by a single 1,985-brake-horsepower diesel, with three 120-horsepower auxiliary azimuthal thrusters for use while minehunting. Equipped with the Thomson-Marconi Type 2093M variable depth minehunting sonar (as are the Sandowns ), the Huons will carry two Bofors Sutec Double Eagle remote-controlled minehunting submersibles, a lightweight double-Oropesa moored-mine sweep array, and the Australian-developed Mini-Dyad reconfigurable permanent magnet influence sweep array.