Seen here on the day of her launch, 27 July 2003, is the 620-ton Swedish Navy guided-missile patrol combatant Helsingborg, the second of five units of the Visby class on order from Karlskronavarvet, a subsidiary of Germany's HDW, which is owned by a subsidiary of Bank One Chicago. The 239-foot long, 34-foot beam, 38-knot design formed the basis for one of the original six competing concepts for the U.S. Navy's littoral combat ship (LCS) but was not one of the three selected for further development. Nonetheless, the Helsingborg and her sisters represent cuttingedge signature reduction and nonmetallic structural fabrication technology, and when they enter active service between 2005 and 2007, they will be the most advanced examples of stealth technology warship design in any navy. Operated by a crew of 21 officers and 20 enlisted, the craft are able to carry eight RBS-15 Mk 3 antiship missiles below decks. The 57-mm Bofors Mk 3 dual-purpose mount on the bow is essentially the same weapon selected for the U.S. Coast Guard's larger Project Deepwater patrol ships but has a special low-reflectivity gunhouse.
By A. D. Baker III, Editor, Combat Fleets of the World