Asterix

Canadian News

The Royal Canadian Navy’s long wait for a new replenishment oiler for the fleet is nearly at an end with the launching of the Project Resolve auxiliary oiler replenishment vessel Asterix at Davie Shipbuilding in Quebec.

The former containership began her sea trials as a naval vessel in November 2017. The conversion program involved over 900 Canadian companies and has seen the ship receive two new cranes, a helicopter landing deck and a pair of hangers for naval helicopters as well as a fully equipped hospital capable of accommodating 60 patients.

Asterix remains owned by Davie Shipbuilder and will be leased to the Canadian Government.

US News

One of the US Navy’s oldest warships arrived home to Naval Station Norfolk on 27 September for the last time.

USS Ponce, which first commissioned in 1971, has seen service in every ocean and most recently has been utilised as an afloat forward staging base within the US 5th Fleet in the middle east. She was also the test ship for tests of a new laser defence system.

In 2011, USS Ponce was to be decommissioned from service, but, instead, was refitted and re-roled for use in the Persian Gulf. She was relieved on station by the expeditionary sea base USS Lewis B Puller and is now expected to be decommissioned and broken up.

UK News

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary made the most of the media attention when the second of the new 39,000 tonne Tide class support ships, RFA Tiderace, arrived at Falmouth. Designed to support the new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers, the four members of the class will be at the heart of Royal Navy deployments throughout the next four decades.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, during a visit to Harland and Wolff shipyard, announced that the second of the new Type 26 Global frigates will be named HMS Belfast. To avoid confusion with the World War Two cruiser in the Pool of London, the cruiser will be renamed as HMS Belfast 1938.

German News

For a period, at the end of 2017, the German Navy had no deployable submarine assets following an incident with their fi fth 212A class submarine U35 off Norway.

The boats’ innovative X shaped rudder was damaged during deepwater tests off Kristiansand and, subsequently, returned to Kiel for repairs to be undertaken at TyssenKrupp Marine Systems shipyard. This meant that all of Germany’s submarines were out of commission in late October for repairs or overhauls.

An official from the German Navy confirmed the situation stating the limited availability of the fleet was due to a lack of spare parts and budget constraints.

More on this and other news in Sea Breezes Magazine - December 2017 Issue
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