The Neptune (YDT-17), first of two 275-ton, 20-knot diving training tenders assigned to the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center, Panama City, Florida, was completed on 25 February 1999. Her sister, the Poseidon (YDT-18), was planned to complete in May. The pair, ordered in June 1997 for $10.5 million from Swiftships, Inc., Morgan City, Louisiana, are to replace the World War II-vintage Phoebus (YDT-14, ex-YF-294) and Suitland (YDT-15, ex-YF336) and now are the only diving tenders on the Naval Vessel Register. The aluminum construction, 136-foot pair have a crew of eight and can carry seven instructors and 25 trainees. Twin 1,300-brake-horsepower Caterpillar diesels drive Hamilton waterjet propulsors, and the craft are rated capable of operating in up to sea state 4 and up to 200 nautical miles from land.
The Indian Navy's Khukri -class corvette Kora, first of a second batch of four 1,400ton, 299-foot ships of indigenous Indian design but Russian weapons and sensors, is seen here in March during a visit to the Persian Gulf. Launched in September 1992 at Calcutta and commissioned on 10 August 1998, the Kora differs from the earlier quartet in having four times the number of antiship missiles: 16 Kh-35 Uran (NATO's SS-N-25 Switchblade, similar in size and performance to the U.S. Harpoon) before the bridge in place of four P-20 (NATO SS-N-2C Styx). Other armament includes a 76.2-mm AK-176 gun forward, two launchers for Strela shortrange surface-to-air missiles, and two 30mm AK-630 gatling guns aft, flanking the helicopter deck (there is no hangar); no antisubmarine ordnance or sensors are fitted. The large hemispheric radome holds the antenna for a Russian Pozitiv-E air search radar, a Garpun radar provides target designation and tracking for the antiship missiles, and a MR-123 Vympel radar director controls the guns. Four 3,600-brake-horsepower, license-built French SEMT-Pielstick diesels provide speeds of up to 28 knots. Normal crew is 7 officers and 70 enlisted. Sister Kulish was launched in August 1997 and Kirch is to launch this year.
Seen here at Brest this April is the first of three Agosta -90B diesel-electric attack submarines for the Pakistani Navy. Launched on 13 August 1998 by DCN, Cherbourg, the as-yet unnamed submarine is to be delivered this December. Prefabricated sections for the second boat are being built by DCN for outfitting and assembly at the Karachi Naval Shipyard, with completion planned for 2002. Work on the third unit, being built "entirely" in Pakistan, was inaugurated officially on 3 January 1997, but the submarine is not expected to be completed until 2006. The third Agosta -90B is to have an additional 26-foot hull section incorporating a MESMA ( Module d'Energie Sous-Marine Autonome ) air-independent auxiliary propulsion system. The 30-ton, 268-- horsepower MESMA system is to be back fitted into the earlier pair later. The 1,760-ton (submerged) Agosta-90B has four torpedo tubes and, in Pakistani service, will carry a mix of 16 F-17P Mod. 2 torpedoes and SM-39 Exocet antiship missiles—the first export for the latter weapon. Pakistan now operates two late-1970s-built Agosta class and four 30-year-old Daphne-class submarines—all built in France and capable of launching UGM-84A Harpoon missiles.