Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Norway Commissions New Class of Fast Reaction Craft

“This is a big and important day for Norway as a coastal nation. We have much to defend, and with HNoMS Storm and the Skjold Class we are better equipped than ever before,” says State Secretary Roger Ingebrigtsen who was attending the naming ceremony of HNoMS Storm.

The ceremony took place on September 9 at Umoe Mandal. Chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide, was godmother.

Important vessels for Norway

HNoMS Storm is the first of a total of six Skjold Class missile-armed, stealthy fast patrol boats (FPB). Also known as a Fast Reaction Craft, this is a modern, technically advanced naval vessel capable of playing an important role in upholding Norwegian sovereignty and undertaking crisis management missions in both Norwegian and international waters.

The vessels are powerfully armed, have long endurance and are highly capable of dealing with challenging conditions at sea. The main armament of the Skjold Class will consist of the Norwegian-produced Naval Strike Missile. The vessels have attracted considerable interest world-wide.

“Norway’s territorial waters cover a very large area and we need naval vessels to uphold our rights and fulfil our obligations at sea. The Skjold Class embodies the very latest technology and has a natural place on Norway’s defence forces. These FPBs are, we believe, the world’s fastest naval vessels. They will make a significant contribution in relation to maintaining a naval presence in the High North,” a highly satisfied State Secretary points out.

The FPBs are also capable of undertaking search and rescue missions and the protection of Norwegian assets on the continental shelf. They are also equipped to enable them to take part in international operations.

Delayed delivery

Delivery of the vessels has been delayed, mainly due to engine problems. “Naturally this is not ideal. I would, however, like to emphasise that we are satisfied that the technical problems have now been solved. The most important thing for us is that we can now bring these vessels into service,” says Roger Ingebrigtsen.

“We are aware that the shipbuilders, Umoe Mandal, have reduced the scale of their activities now that these vessels will soon have been completed. In connection with the Government’s package of support measures for the shipbuilding industry, a number of initiatives have been launched to support future working at Umoe Mandal.

“It is in the Norwegian navy’s interests to have more countries as users of Skjold Class FPBs and we will therefore be giving priority to Umoe Mandal where the use of market support resources is concerned. Furthermore, the decision has been taken to keep maintenance of the Skjold Class, other than that carried out by the Navy itself, within Norwegian industry,” says the State Secretary in conclusion.

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