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Jan 27 14 2:17 PM
The Naval Service will this year make history when it tests new kite
sails which will have the combined effect of providing enhanced
surveillance and saving fuel.
The Irish Examiner first announced the Naval Service’s plans for using
the technology in Aug 2012 and now they are coming to fruition.
Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) has just provided funding to enable
testing of the equipment this year, making it the first navy in the
world to do so.
The system has been developed through the Irish Maritime and Energy
Resource Cluster (IMERC) — a collaboration between the Naval Service,
UCC, and CIT.
It is also understood that Enterprise Ireland has taken an interest in
the project, because, if successful, it could potentially be sold off to
other navies around the world. The kites will be attached to the ships
by steel cable and rolled out when needed.
Normally a ship’s radar has a sweep of 12 to 15 nautical miles, but
sensors on the kites — which would fly up to 100 metres above the vessel
— would significantly increase the radar sweep and other surveillance
technology to up to 50 nautical miles.
“This system is relatively new technology. If the concept proves viable
the system could be in use in a few years’ time,” a spokeswoman for the
Naval Service said.
The kites will provide the added bonus of also reducing fuel bills,
especially as the Naval Service uses around 40% of the fuel allocated to
the Defence Forces.
When in use they could provide speeds of up to eight knots, which is as fast as an average trawler.
Because the system will require some available deck area space it is likely that it will be tested by the LÉ Eithne.
However, it could also be tested on the new €50 million LÉ Samuel Beckett which is being built at a docks in Appledore, Devon.
It is nearly completed and after sea trials it is expected to be
delivered to the Naval Service late next month, or in early March.
The LÉ Samuel Beckett will replace the decommissioned LÉ Emer which was
purchased by Nigerian-born businessman Cyprian Imobhio last year.
The 35-year-old LÉ Emer, which had been stripped of its armaments, made
just €320,000 at auction — which was €80,000 below what she was expected
to sell for.
The Naval Service has, meanwhile, ordered a second replacement ship for the fleet.
It is also being built in Appledore and is expected to be delivered in the spring of 2015.
Jan 29 14 11:12 AM
Jan 29 14 3:51 PM
WhitestElephant wrote:The 'sensors on the kites' is a very innovative idea! These new vessels are quickly becoming the business... will be keen to see these enter service. Thanks for posting.
Jan 29 14 11:21 PM
Jan 31 14 2:51 PM
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Apr 5 14 10:32 PM
MSR wrote:Was it the Peacocks that these ships were intended to replace?What sort of UAVs will be operated? What's the launch and recovery system? I ask as the absence of a helo deck or any obvious vertrep area surely complicates this aspect.
Apr 27 14 11:27 PM
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May 22 14 9:56 PM
Jun 2 14 4:17 PM
The chairman of the Oireachtas committee on Justice, Defence and Equality says he’s "confident" that an announcement will be made before the end of the year that the Naval Service is to get a third new ship.
David Stanton TD says it’s imperative that the Navy be given the best equipment possible because of its role in defending increased territorial waters which may harbour huge reserves in oil and gas.
The Naval Service recently acquired the new €50 million LÉ Samuel Beckett and delivery is expected next year of the LÉ James Joyce. However, five of the eight-strong fleet are ageing and have major asbestos issues.
Asbestos has been identified in the LÉ Ciara and LÉ Orla and both vessels remain ‘locked down’ at Naval Service headquarters in Haulbowline, Co Cork.
The potentially fatal substance has been discovered twice on the LÉ Aoife and there is concern that it may also be on her sister ship LÉ Aisling as well as on the LÉ Eithne.
PDFORRA, the organisation which represents enlisted Naval Service personnel, has publicly stated that the fleet it in crisis.
Mr Stanton said regardless of the asbestos issue, there are other reasons why the Navy needs newer vessels.
“Conditions in the Atlantic are getting harder all the time. Our control area (territorial waters) has also increased dramatically. We are now responsible for an area stretching out 1,000km off the west coast,” he said.
“It is also important to recognise that they work in dangerous circumstances and it is imperative we give them the best equipment we can. It’s a desire that there will be an announcement by the end of the year or maybe even sooner.”
Jun 2 14 9:39 PM
Jun 2 14 10:26 PM
WhitestElephant wrote:For €50 million a pop, why not? Fine class indeed.
Any idea on what will replace the older vessels down the line? Will it be an evolution of the Beckett class, just as it too was an evolution of the Roisin class?
With potential (huge) oil and gas reserves plus the 1,000 km+ territorial waters off Connaught and the south west then i'd say that a case could be made for an enlargement of the fleet (at some point), possibly at the expense of the army if need be?
Jun 3 14 12:12 PM
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