Single Role Minehunter (SRMH)Service - Navy
Twelve SRMH’s are being delivered to the Royal Navy in two Batches. The last of the five Batch 1 SRMH’s, HMS Bridport, entered naval service in November 1994. In July 1994 a contract was awarded to Vosper Thornycroft (UK) Ltd for the provision of a further seven SRMH and the first of these Batch 2 ships, HMS PENZANCE, entered service in February 1999. The remaining six Batch 2 SRMH’s are currently under construction or undergoing weapon acceptance sea trials. A significant number of design improvements are being introduced into the Batch 2 SRMH’s and are detailed below.
BACKGROUND AND REQUIREMENT
THE MINE THREAT
In times of war, or in support of NATO, the UK therefore needs an MCM fleet capable of maintaining access to Naval Bases, ports and other designated areas. To operate effectively mine countermeasures vessels must have low magnetic and acoustic signatures, good manoeuvrability and high resistance to shock.
General characteristics / technical performance
The Ship’s Positioning and Control System (SPCS), provides computer control of the ship’s position allowing the ship accurately to maintain track or to 'hover'. This is achieved through Voith Schnieder cycloidal propulsors used in conjunction with bow thrusters.
The ship is designed around the variable-depth, mine-hunting sonar (sonar 2093) using computer-aided detection and classification. The Naval Autonomous Tactical Information System (NAUTIS M) manages the mine warfare task. Information, including that received from the sonar and navigation system, is displayed in the operations room and bridge.
When a suspected mine is detected, a Remotely Controlled Mine Disposal System (RCMDS 2) is deployed. This system includes a small submersible carrying its own sonar, television cameras and searchlights. The vehicle carries an explosive charge which can be deposited adjacent to the mine. Alternatively the position of the mine can be accurately plotted to enable a safe route through a minefield.
Each ship carries a 30mm gun for self defence but clearly for the SRMH, the role and emphasis remains on clearing a safe path for larger vessels.
The seven Batch 2 SRMH, from HMS Penzance onwards, incorporate a significant number of important design changes to enhance operational capability. These include:
A full-scale shock trial will be carried out in HMS Pembroke, the second of the Batch 2 ships, to demonstrate fully that all design changes meet the requisite shock requirements.
The 480 tonne SRMH has accommodation for seven officers and 35 crew
The SRMHs are being built at VT(UK) Ltd’s Woolston shipyard at Southampton. The jigs and tools required for the build of the SRMH (including the hull mould) are MOD-owned, having been arranged under the SRMH First of Class contract in the late 1980s.
Design changes for the new SRMHs are being managed through a Design Agency contract with VT(UK) Ltd. Alternations & Additions (A & A) guidance information for the in-service SRMH’s is also being managed by VT(UK) Ltd through a Lead Yard Services contract.
>Last Updated - August 1999
© Crown Copyright 2000