In April, Latvia commissioned the Skrunda, the first of five small-waterplane-area/twin-hull (SWATH) vessels being built in Germany by Abeking & Rasmussen. The class was ordered in 2008 as part of a €55 million contract issued by the Latvian government. Measuring 25.7 meters long with a beam of 13 meters, the vessel is intended for surveillance and patrol of Latvia’s Exclusive Economic Zone and territorial waters. The class will be fitted to carry a number of different mission modules between the twin hulls of each ship, ranging from patrol and mine-countermeasures gear to survey and environmental-analysis equipment. The Skrunda’s SWATH hull provides a significantly enhanced stability and sea-keeping capability, reportedly comparable to that of a larger 80-meter monohull vessel. Two diesel engines power the innovative craft to a top speed of 21 knots and allow for a range of more than 1,000 nautical miles. A 35-mm gun may be mounted sometime in the future, and there are fittings for two heavy machine guns and a crane for conducting rigid-inflatable-boat operations from the stern. Four sister ships are to be delivered by 2014.
By Eric Wertheim