In December of last year, the keel was laid for the first of two 375-ton, 198.8-foot Bahamas-class patrol craft for the Royal Bahamas Defence Force at Halter Marine Group, Escatawpa, Mississippi. Under a $26 million contract signed in March 1997, the pair are to be completed during January and March 1999. The Bahamas design is a licensed version of the Vosper International Europatrol 250, and the pair will be the largest units yet built for the Bahamas. With a range of 3,000 nautical miles, a three-week endurance, and a maximum speed of 24 knots, the craft are intended for counternarcotics, search-and-rescue, fisheries and economic exclusion zone patrol duties, and to act as mother ships in support of security operations. They will accommodate 62 persons and will mount a 20-mm gun forward.
The fifth and sixth 2,250-ton Chinese Jiangwei-class (Project 055) frigates are shown fitting out at Hudong Shipyard, Shanghai, last October. Unlike their four earlier sisters completed from 1991 to 1994, they are not equipped to carry a self-defense surface-to-air missile system. Instead of having the cumbersome, nonreloadable sextuple launcher for HQ-61 missiles abaft the twin 100-mm gunmount on the foredeck, they have had the superstructure beneath the forward pair of twin 37-mm Model 76A gunmounts extended toward the bow. Also omitted was the Wok Wan manned director for the 100-mm guns (the Wok Wan was a copy of the Wasp Head system introduced in Soviet designs in the late 1940s); instead, a two-level deckhouse has been added atop the pilothouse to support two radar directors. The after pair of 37-mm mounts flanking the helicopter hangar has been raised one deck, and the antenna for a primitive air early warning radar is fitted on a stub mast abaft the funnel for the 21,460 brake horsepower diesel propulsion plant. The 377-foot Jiangwei is China's latest frigate design but possesses badly outdated systems and has very little antisubmarine capability; no more are under construction.
The 450-ton, Royal Danish Navy Flyvefisken -class, "Standardflex 360" multipurpose warship Ravnen , seen in the latest missile-craft configuration for the class, with six Mk 48 Mod. 3 vertical launchers for Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missiles installed in the after convertible weapons module space. Flanking the vertical launchers are two tubes for Swedish Tp-61 wire-guided torpedoes, and forward of these are eight canister launchers for AGM-84C Harpoon missiles. The Ravnen carries the usual 76-mm OTOBreda dual-purpose gun within the forecastle module (it is temporarily removed from her sister Gribben , which is acting as a survey vessel). Fitted atop the mast is the antenna for the new Telefunken TRS-3D/16 3dimensional search radar. Denmark ordered four sets of Sea Sparrow launch groups for the 14-unit class from Raytheon in November 1993. The last two completed have been fitted more or less permanently for mine countermeasures duties, but all of the glass-reinforced plastic-hulled craft can be reconfigured quickly for a variety of duties, including mine laying.