The first of India’s new offshore-patrol ships, the INS Saryu, was commissioned into service on 23 January. The new warship, the first in her class, was designed and built domestically by Goa Shipyard Limited. The gun-only armament of the new class includes a 76-mm mount forward and two 30-mm guns for close-in defense; the ships do not carry any missiles. They are intended for general low-intensity operations including protection of oil platforms, economic-zone monitoring, fisheries protection, and counterterrorism patrols. The first units of the Saryu class were ordered in 2006, and additional units were ordered in 2007 and 2010. Up to nine ships are expected to be in service by around 2015. The 344-foot, 2,200-ton vessel can carry two rigid inflatable boats and a helicopter, launched from the landing deck aft. The ship’s crew includes 105 sailors plus 8 officers.
AgustaWestland’s new AW159 Lynx Wildcat helicopter has received its first export order. In January the Republic of Korea Navy finalized a deal to purchase eight maritime variants of the helicopter for use from its new Incheon-class frigates. South Korea’s navy currently operates an older variant of these helicopters, known as the Super Lynx. The updated Lynx Wildcat helicopters, which are also entering service with the armed forces of the United Kingdom, have a maximum takeoff weight of 13,228 pounds and a top speed of 160 knots. Armament options include air-to-surface missiles, torpedoes, depth charges, air-to-ground rockets, and heavy machine guns, while avionics can include a 360-degree AESA (active electronically scanned array) surveillance radar, dipping sonar, and electro-optic sensors that enable the helicopters to detect, identify, and engage surface, land, and subsurface targets. Deliveries of the AW159 Lynx Wildcat to South Korea are expected to begin around 2015.
Two new classes of warships recently joined the navy of the United Arab Emirates. The Abu Dhabi, pictured here, was delivered in January and is the first of a new class of corvettes; she displaces 1,650 tons and is armed with Exocet antiship missiles, a 76-mm gun, and two 30-mm guns. The Ghantoot, also delivered in January, is the first of a new type of Falaj-2 class patrol vessel. The smaller Ghantoot displaces 500 tons and carries a similar Exocet-and-gun armament. Both new vessels were built by the Italian shipbuilding giant Fincantieri. The Abu Dhabi class is based on a modified Italian Comandante Cigala Fulgosi–class design, while the Ghantoot is based on a modified Italian Ubaldo Diciotti–class design. Both warships are more heavily armed than their Italian sisters and were designed from the start with enhanced signature-reduction features that include an enclosed radar mast to help reduce radar cross-section. The UAE Navy also has recently begun taking delivery of new warships under the Baynunah corvette program. Up to six of the new Baynunah vessels are planned for service by the end of next year.