General Navies Thread

We have a subfolder for the U.S. Navy and the Royal Navy, but what about the other guys? If you see something of interest, put it all in here. To kick it off, I'll start with an article from The National Post:

Navy sees new fleet costing over $20B

David Pugliese, CanWest News Service
Published: Thursday, March 29, 2007
OTTAWA – Faced with its key command and control warships being out of commission within eight years, the navy hopes to start work soon on a replacement fleet expected to cost more than $20-billion.

The new ships would replace both the navy's 34-year-old Iroquois-class destroyers and its Halifax-class frigates, essentially the main vessels of the service. The first of the new ships would come on line around 2020, but since it takes 10 to 15 years for the government approvals and the actual design and construction of warships, the navy is hoping to start ramping up the process later this year.

The navy has yet to convince the government and the military leadership that such a program should proceed – but without the new vessels, Canada would be faced with a dwindling number of ageing warships and limited in participating in both international and domestic missions.
For the rest of the story, go to

Comment: Looks like somebody in Canada is getting smart about how things need to be done if the country wants to maintain the assets it needs and replace what's getting long in the tooth. The trick is going to be to convince the government of that.
From Defence

Iranian Navy Says It Will Launch Iran-Built Destroyer

Iran’s navy plans to launch the first Iranian-built destroyer soon, the official IRNA news agency quoted a naval commander as saying on April 17.
The announcement in the Gulf port of Bandar Abbas comes at a time of growing tension between Iran and the West over Tehran’s nuclear program, which Washington and others suspect is a cover for making atom bombs. Tehran denies the charge.
"Soon the first Iranian-made destroyer will be launched ... and will surprise the world’s military community with its facilities, equipment, capabilities and technology," commander Darioush Ebrahimnejad told a news conference.
Story at

Comment: Not a lot here and what's being claimed may just be sabre rattling, but I'll take a wait and see approach on this. The Iranians are not stupid. If any of the gulf states could build such a ship, these are the guys who could do it.
From :

Frigate Deal Could Be Signed At LIMA

GLASGOW, April 27 (Bernama) -- Malaysia could well be on its way to becoming a regional player in the naval shipbuilding industry if all goes well and a contract is signed between UK-based BAE Systems and the Royal Malaysian Navy for the supply of two frigates.

The deal is expected to come with the commitment of technology transfer from BAE Systems and the use of local content in the ships.

"We are in the final stages of negotiations and looking at the contractual details," said BAE Systems director of Malaysian Frigate Project, Ian Latham.

There is a strong possibility the contract could be signed at this year's Langkawi International Marine and Aerospace exhibition (LIMA).
Story at
From The Shipping Times:

HMS SANDOWN handed over to Estonian Navy

Babcock delivers the ENS ADMIRAL COWAN at Rosyth

Babcock Engineering Services joined forces with the MoD yesterday (Thursday) to hand over HMS SANDOWN, a Royal Navy mine single role counter measures vessel, to the Estonian Navy.

At a ceremony in Rosyth, the ship was officially received by the Estonian Ministry of Defence's Deputy Under-Secretary for Defence Investments, Mr Martin Hunt. The ship is the first of three Sandown Class Minehunters which have been sold by to Estonia under an agreement signed on 14 September 2006.
Story at

Comment: Not all of the Royal Navy's ships are going to the scrapyard. Some are finding new homes in other navies.
From The Shipping Times:

Third 'unique' coast guard vessel ordered from Damen Shipyards

In December 2005 the Swedish Coast Guard awarded Damen the newbuilding contract for two state-of-the-art 81-metre Coast Guard Vessels. Construction of these vessels is currently taking place at Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania and delivery for the first vessel is scheduled for the summer of 2008, the second vessel will follow towards the end of 2008.
Story at
A little bit of history from The Shipping Times:

A Brief History of the GENERAL BELGRANO

On the anniversary of her controversial sinking in the South Atlantic, we look at the history of a piece of American as well as Argentine history.

She was built in 1936, survived the attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941 and went on to steam many miles until 1982 when she became the centre of an international controversy that continues to this day.
Story at

Comment: The HMS Conqueror has the destinction of being the first nuclear powered submarine in any navy to fire a shot in combat. Say what you will about the controversial aspects of the sinking, it's importance in the context of the overall campeign was that the Argentine Navy had no countermeasures for dealing with these boats. They never put to sea again during the course of the war.

Linda Sherlock

Former Member
The Belgrano was a beautiful ship. She rather put me in mind of HMS Hood in appearance.

I saw HMS Conqueror when she visited Liverpool some years ago and another submarine that was on active duty in the Falklands, HMS Onyx came to live in Birkenhead docks here on the Wirral ( we are just across the River Mersey from the port of Liverpool). Not to be compared with the wonderful Liverpool Maritime Museum of course, but we did have a strange little collection of old warships in Birkenhead.

Aside from Onyx, there was little HMS Bronington, the last wooden-hulled mine-sweeper in the Royal Navy. Bronington's chief claim to fame was that Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales once commanded her. I imagine they didn't trust him with anything bigger

There was also HMS Plymouth, a frigate and also a veteran of the Falklands. The most interesting of the lot was U534 the only U-boat to be salvaged from the ocean floor.

Sadly, due to bureaucratic wrangling, the collection was closed and moved away to who knows where in 2006. I miss my daily view of these old ships.
I'm painfully aware of the problems faced by the ships you mentioned. The Shipping Times magazine has published quite a bit on that. The whole story is one of uncertainty, and broken promises with the ultimate casualty being history itself. The Onyx at least has found a home but for the rest, the future is uncertain and probably bleak.

Regarding the Bronington, I don't think there was any question of Prince Charles abilities as a ship handler. If there were, he never would have been given the command. The Royal Navy is a bit picky about that sort of thing, and come to think of it, so is the Royal Family. Whatever you can say about them, they have tended to not want something unless it was earned and I have no quibble with any of them when it came to their valour in combat. Prince Andrew for example, when he wasn't flying search and rescue missions for downed pilots in the Falklands was tasked to using his helicoptor as bait to draw off Exocet missiles.

Then there's Prince Harry who threatened to resign his commission if he wasn't allowed to accompany his unit over to Iraq. I trust he knows that hand grenades make wonderful calling cards when visiting the holes where the Bad Guys are dug in. He'll be busy over there.

Linda Sherlock

Former Member
Yes, I take your point about Prince Andrew who distinguished himself in the Falklands. I always felt a bit sorry for Prince Charles who said he would have loved to be a Navy pilot too. Lots of people felt he should have been allowed to do so, but tradition prevailed.
>>Lots of people felt he should have been allowed to do so, but tradition prevailed.<<

I don't know if it was so much tradition as it is statutory law which makes a special effort to safegaurd whoever is first in line to the throne. Perhaps somebody better versed in the relevant law can speak to this.

Fixed wing flying from an aircraft carrier is especially challanging and dangerous. It takes more then enthusiasm to make the grade, but it sure helps!
The problem with the Birkenhead Docks museum was its location. I was in Wallasey a few months ago, staying at The Russell Hotel, but the caretaker was shocked to hear that I had walked (after dark) from Birkenhead - "we had a bloke murdered out there last week; you should have taken a taxi". It struck me then that if a museum is in such a "dangerous" urban wasteland that it cannot safely be visited on foot, it will inevitably fail. I was also told that there was a Titanic display in nearby Perch Rock Fort - is it still in situ?

Linda Sherlock

Former Member
Yes, Fort Perch Rock does have a display covering the Merseyside connections of Titanic and Lusitania and there is a display about the ill-fated HMS Thetis also. The bulk of the display space consists of a rather gruesome collection of artifacts from downed RAF planes. Though, it is a long time since I visited the fort, so it may have improved from when I saw it.

Birkenhead docklands has always been a dangerous place. I am 54 now but I practically lived down there as a kid when I was a sea cadet. Our boat house was on the dockside and we were regularly attacked by gangs when we were going home . . . until a teenaged girl karate champ joined our ranks. She beat up a few of them and as we all looked alike in uniform and they weren't sure which one was her, they left us all alone.
From the Times of India:

'Gorshkov will be part of Navy by 2008-end'

MUMBAI: INS Vikramaditya aka Admiral Gorshkov, the 44,570-tonne Russian aircraft carrier, will arrive in Mumbai towards the end of 2008 or early 2009, chief of naval staff Admiral Sureesh Mehta said.

"There is no major delay in the delivery schedule as has been projected in a section of the media. It has only slipped by three or four months which can be expected in a complex programme like this one," he said on Tuesday after presenting bravery awards to Navy personnel at INS Kunjali, the naval air station at Colaba. He said one of the factors which has contributed to the minor delay is the condition of the sea which will make sailing difficult.
Story at

Comment: That thing about conditions of the seas making sailing difficult sounds more then a bit fishy to me. The Gorshkov is a modifed Project 1143.4 VSTOL carrier which is a marginal improvement on the earlier Kiev class. While she's nowhere in the league of the big American super carriers, at a full load displacement of 44,750 tons, she's no lightweight.

I suspect the reality is that the ship's material condition was very poor after being laid up for so many years and it's going to take awhile to make things right.

Links for further information.



See also
From The Miami

U.S. Navy replaces Persian Gulf carriers

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- The U.S. Navy said Sunday that it was maintaining a stepped-up military presence in the Persian Gulf by keeping two aircraft carriers in the area amid tensions with Iran.

The USS Nimitz and the ships in its strike group were expected within two days to replace the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, said Navy Cmdr. Kevin Aandahl of the Bahrain-based U.S. 5th Fleet.

The San Diego, Calif.-based Nimitz will join aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis, now on patrol in the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean.
Story at

Comment: From the tone of the story, it looks as if the regional governments see themselves as being caught between a rock and a hard place on this one. Worried about reprisals on their own soil on the one hand but scared spitless about Tehran's nuclear ambitions on the other. They would probably be thrilled if both Iran and the U.S. Navy would just go away, but they know that's not going to happen.