Tag: Baltic Fleet

Ships in Focus: Hämeenmaa-class minelayer

FNS Uusimaa

The Hämeenmaa-class minelayers (Finnish: Hämeenmaa-luokan miinalaiva) is a two vessel strong class of minelayers, used by the Finnish Navy.

The ships have a steel hull and alloy superstructure. The class has an ice operating classification of ICE-1A and can operate year-round. The design included some first attempts on stealth technology in the Finnish Navy.

During a crisis the main task for the Hämeenmaa-class ships is minelaying, but the vessels can also act as escort, transport and depot ships.

The contract for the Hämeenmaa class was originally awarded to Wärtsilä Marine, but following its bankruptcy the contract was transferred to Hollming. Turmoil in the Finnish shipbuilding industry didn’t stop there. In early 1992 Hollming and Rauma Yards merged their shipbuilding industry to form a new company called Finnyards.

Modernization

Both ships were modernized 2006–08. The purpose of the modernization was to firstly upgrade the ships’ equipment to fit modern standards, and secondly, to enable the ships to participate in international operations, mainly European Security and Defence Policy operations. They are fitted with weapons systems transferred from the discontinued Tuuli-class hovercraft including the Umkhonto missile system. Also a new fire control system Saab 9LV325E FCS, modern monitoring equipment including TRS3D-16ES surveillance radar and Kongsberg ST2400 Variable Depth Sonar and SS2030 Hull mounted sonar, were installed.

In October 2013, Hämeenmaa changed its homeport from Pansio to Upinniemi to replace the decommissioned Pohjanmaa.

Umkhonto missile system

Modernization of the two Hämeenmaa-class ships serves of course the interests of Finnish Navy, but also the ones of EU’s Helsinki Headline Goal: these two ships will most likely be the most important ships for EU, having relatively wide selection of roles that they can assume, from light espionage- and minelayer ship to escort- and anti-submarine warfare ship, these two vehicles are practically perfect for monitoring Russia’s Baltic fleet.

Weaponry
Original After modernization
2 × Bofors 40 mm dual-purpose guns 1 × Bofors 57 mm dual-purpose gun
2 × twin 23 mm anti-aircraft guns 2 x 12,7mm machine guns
1 × six-missile ItO 91 surface-to-air missile launcher 1 × eight-cell ItO 04 surface-to-air missile launcher
2 × anti-submarine rocket launchers 2 × anti-submarine rocket launchers
2 × depth charge rails 2 × depth charge rails
100-150 sea mines (four mine laying rails) 100-150 sea mines (four mine laying rails)

Hämeenmaa was delivered from the dock back to the Navy on 13 April 2007 and Uusimaa, which had been under modernization since November 2006 at the Aker Yards dock in Rauma, was delivered on 26 October 2007. Hämeenmaa and Uusimaa conducted sea trials on their new systems until the end of 2008, when operational readiness was achieved. In October 2013 Hämeenmaa took over the role of flagship of the Finnish Navy with the retirement of Pohjamaa in 2015.

Hämeenmaa-class minelayer, FNS Uusimaa, on exercise with a Hamina-class missile boat

Vessels

FNS Hämeenmaa Pennant number: 02.

Builder: Finnyards.Ordered: 29 December 1989.Laid down: 2 April 1991.Launched: 11 November 1991.

Commissioned: 15 April 1992.Home base: Upinniemi. Current status: In active service.

FNS Uusimaa Pennant number: 05.

Builder: Finnyards.Ordered: 13 February 1991.Laid down: 12 November 1991.Launched: June 1992.

Commissioned: 2 December 1992.Home base: Pansio. Current status: In active service.

FNS Hämeenmaa, pennant number 02, a Hämeenmaa class minelayer at Suomenlinna, Helsinki
Class overview
Name: Hämeenmaa
Operators:  Finnish Navy
Preceded by: Finnish minelayer Pohjanmaa
Succeeded by:
Completed: 2
General characteristics
Type: Minelayer
Displacement: 1,450 tons
Length: 77.8 m (255 ft)
Beam: 11.5 m (38 ft)
Draught: 3 m (9.8 ft)
Propulsion: 2 × Wärtsilä Vasa 16V22 diesel; 5,200 kW with 2 CW propellers
Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Complement: 60
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Furuno S/X (nav radars)
  • Saab 9LV325E FCS (Fire Control System)
  • Simrad hull-mounted sonar
  • EADS TRS3D-16ES (Surveillance Radar)
  • Sagem EOMS (Electro Optical Multisensor System)
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
  • Decoy: 2 × MASS (Multi Ammunition Softkill Systems)
  • ESM: Thales DR3000 SIEWS (Shipborne Integrated Electronic Warfare System)
Armament:
  • 1 × Bofors 57 mm/70 Mk1
  • 8-cell Denel Umkhonto-IR VLS SAM system
  • 2 × 12.7 mm machine gun
  • 2 × H&K GMG grenade machinegun
  • 2 × RBU-1200 depth charge rocket launcher
  • 2 × rails for depth charges
  • 4 × rails for 100-150 mines
Notes:
  • Ships in class include:
  • FNS Hämeenmaa (02)
  • FNS Uusimaa (05)