The Royal Australian Navy's last conventional steam-driven warship, the River-class frigate Torrens , was decommissioned on 1 September 1998; she is seen here during a final visit to Sydney in July. Only two nations now are building fossil-fueled steamships: the United States, with the Wasp (LHD-1) class, and Russia, which is trying to complete two Sovremennyy -class guided missile destroyers for China—although the Russian press has reported the latter program in jeopardy because of a lack of funds to pay yard workers. Six 1980 to 1993-completed Australian variants of the Oliver Hazard Perry (FFG-7)-class guided missile frigate are to be updated between 2001 and 2005 with an 8-cell Mk 41 vertical missile launch group, upgraded weapons control systems, the LINK 16 data-link system, and new AN/UYK-70 displays under a $636 million contract to be finalized next March with Australian Defense Industries (ADI).
The 264-ton former German Navy Type 148 guided missile boat Pelikan being hoisted aboard the heavy lift cargo ship Clipper Cheyenne at Wilhelmshaven in October for delivery to Chile. In the foreground are sisters Kranich and Tiger , which are being commissioned as the Chilean Navy's Teniente Serrano and Almirante Uribe , respectively. The Pelikan and her sister Luchs , which also was purchased, are to be used as sources of spare parts for the other two and for two sisters delivered in October 1997, the Guardiamarina Riquelme (ex- Wolf ) and Teniente Orella (ex- Elster ). Chile also operates two similar, 250-ton ex-Israeli Navy Sa'ar-II missile boats bought in 1989 and a quartet of 450-ton ex-Israeli Reshev -class missile boats, two bought in 1979 and two in 1997. The German Navy still operates 10 of its original 20 Type 148s, the other 4 having been transferred to Greece in 1992 and 1995.
The former second-largest Swedish Coast Guard cutter Kbv-171 was purchased in September 1998 for the Belgian Navy for use as a general-purpose tender, fisheries protection craft, and training craft, replacing the last active Herstal-class minesweeper, the Merksem . The 375-ton, glass-reinforced plastic-hulled Kbv-171 is seen here on arrival in Belgium on 12 October, still wearing her original Swedish blue-and-cream paint scheme; she was recommissioned the next day as the Stern (A-963). A sister serves the Swedish Navy as a mine countermeasures support craft. The Belgian Navy also hopes to purchase two Rotterdam harbor tugs to replace older tugs in service. The much-delayed 644-ton KMV ( Kustmijnveger ) new-construction minesweeper program now envisions commencing hull layup on the first unit in 2000 and completing the fourth in 2006.