L 9525, the first of a planned five LCU-1-class utility landing craft for use with the Netherlands' new 12,750-ton amphibious dock landing ship Rotterdam , was completed this April. Three more (with an option for a fourth) are to have their hulls built at an Eastern European facility and then be outfitted in the Netherlands. The 200-ton full-load-displacement craft are 90-feet long and have a "drive through" capability, with vehicle ramps fore and aft. In her docking well, the Rotterdam can accommodate four LCU-1s, each able to carry 130 fully equipped troops or a variety of Royal Netherlands Marine Corps vehicles. Schottel vertical cycloidal propellers fore and aft provide excellent maneuverability. Like all landing craft assigned to the Dutch Marines, the new LCU-1 is painted olive green and is based at Texel.
To be delivered to the Turkish Navy this month, the German-built MEKO 200TN Track II-A frigate Salihreis is seen here on trials this July. The 3,350-ton ship is the first of Turkey's third variant of the MEKO 200 design and is equipped with Mk 41 vertical launchers for 16 NATO Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missiles. The Salihreis was built by Blohm+Voss at Hamburg; her sister, the Kemalreis , was launched on 24 July at the Golçük Naval Yard in Turkey. Two more of this class are planned before the switch to a much delayed, all-new design. Already in service are four smaller, diesel-powered MEKO 200TN Track 1 frigates and two earlier MEKO 200TN Track 2 frigates with Mk 29 box launchers and combined diesel and gas turbine propulsion plants. In other news, a coproduction contract for another four Type 209/1400 diesel submarines was signed on 22 July with Germany's Howaldtswerke; the Turks began work on the first of these, the G ü r , two days later.
Originally destined for retirement in 1998, the 22-year-old Royal Navy Type 42A guided-missile destroyer Birmingham was to have been extended in commission into 2002 to meet a projected shortfall in Britain's 35-strong destroyer-frigate force caused by the numerous delays to the joint Horizon frigate program with France and Italy. Now, with the reduction of the force to 32 ships under this July's Strategic Defense Review, the 4,250-ton Birmingham , seen here this July, is to "pay off" late this year. Also being retired ahead of schedule are five of the six 4,850-ton Type 22 Batch 2, Boxer -class frigates completed 1984-88, with the Boxer , Beaver , and London to be decommissioned in 1999, the Brave in 2000, and the Sheffield in 2001. The Boxers already are on offer for foreign sale, with customers being sought in South America, but the Birmingham , the oldest and least modernized of the dozen remaining Type 42 series, probably will be scrapped. Brazil acquired four earlier Type 22 Batch 1 frigates in 1996-97.