Kormoran to Pass the Tests and the Sea Trials Programme by the End of March? [Photos]

PUBLISHED AT: Friday, 10 March 2017, 9:48

Kormoran II” mine countermeasures vessel has passed the initial test programme, which paves the way for the said surface combatant go through the final qualification tests.

According to the contract signed by the Armament Inspectorate of the Polish MoD, the R&D work known under the name of “Kormoran II” is soon going to be finalized. The information provided by the leader of the consortium constructing the vessel – Remontowa Shipbuilding company based in Gdansk – reads that the initial test programme came to an end as for now, and preparations are in progress to begin the state qualification.”. This has also been confirmed by Ośrodek Badawczo-Rozwojowy Centrum Techniki Morskiej S.A. (Maritime Technology Centre Research and Development Facility) which is a part of the Polish Armaments Group. The said entity, within the programme, remains responsible e.g. for the specialist equipment used by the new mine countermeasures vessel.

“Kormoran II” minehunter - the vessel is ready for the state qualification test procedures - Image Credit: M.Dura

 

Originally it was assumed that “Kormoran II” R&D programme would come to an in the late 2016, ultimately though this deadline has been postponed, which required the agreement to be amended. The experts stress the fact that “Kormoran II” minehunter is a complicated piece of work, as the said vessel type has never been built in Poland up until now. The said surface combatant is also the first ever vessel of the Polish Navy which features a non-magnetic steel hull.

It happened as early as at the stage when the R&D study agreement was signed, concerning the “Kormoran II” vessel, on 23rd September 2013, when the representatives of the manufacturer have confirmed the following, answering the questions asked by the journalists: “We are aware of the fact that we are proceeding under a strong time constraint”, however, they assured that the whole process can ultimately be successful.

The postponement of the deadlines in the research agreement did not impose any extra expenditure on the Ordering Party, and as Remontowa Shipbuilding stated: “The Kormoran vessel is being built in line with the initial budgetary assumptions.Considering the contractual provisions we need to comply with, we cannot disclose any details pertaining to the settlements”.

“Kormoran II” Minehunter’s Stern. At the stern, on the right side, we may see the system for lowering the Hugin 1000 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) manufactured by the Norwegian Kongsberg company. In the midship section - yellow-painted remotely controlled Double Eagle Mk. III mine-disposal vehicle may be spotted. Image Credit: Remontowa Shipbuilding/RSB(hesja)

 

Finalization of Works Does Not Translate Into Transferring of the Ship to the Navy

The finalization of works concerning the “Kormoran II” vessel is not equal to the event of handing off the ship for service in the Polish Navy. According to the information we have received from OBR CTM, “The ship will be formally handed off and received by the Navy, once the qualification test programme comes to an end”. It is believed that this is going to happen on the occasion of the Polish Navy Day, most probably on 26th June 2017.

Our goal is to deliver, on time, a vessel meeting the requirements of the tactical and technical assumptions, for the Polish Navy. Together with the consortium, we are trying hard to make this happen as soon as possible.

Remontowa Shipbuilding

So far, the test results conformed with the requirements of the Ordering Party. The rumours suggesting that measurements of the magnetic fields at the degaussing proving ground of the Polish Navy were not compliant with the requirement limits have not been confirmed. Both Remontowa Shipbuilding, as well as OBR CTM clarify this fact in the following statement: “The results of the tests remain confidential, however we can confirm the fact that the measured magnetic signatures of the ship are in compliance with the requirements set by the Ordering Party” (...) “According to the schedule assumed, full range of measurements has been performed several times, making it possible to confirm the [compliance with the] requirements, resulting from the technical specification”.

 

Proper tests have been executed several times as of now, and they, most probably, will be repeatedly verified during the qualification tests programme, carried out by the Ordering Party. The final stage of the sea trials in case of the “Kormoran II” programme includes a very wide scope of tests and research. Hence, there is always a chance that some unforeseen circumstances may emerge. As Remontowa Shipbuilding stresses: “Any tests and research are being carried out to get rid of potential lack of conformity.In this case, some new issues also emerge, which are being resolved in an ongoing manner, leaving the Ordering Party satisfied”.

 

So far, everything seems to suggest that the vessel constructed meets the requirements of the Ordering Party without any reservations. Defence24.pl editing team has asked Remontowa Shipbuilding shiprepair yard about any chances for a situation to emerge, in which the prototype vessel does not conform with the requirements, which is permissible according to the R&D works instruction. Should such circumstances take place, all of the parameters should be amended within the first series production ship.

 

The representatives of the Remontowa Shipbuilding company emphasize the fact that the ultimate decision concerning the potential change of the parameters is to be made by the Ordering Party. Moreover, the Remontowa Shipbuilding company representatives added that such solution is unlikely, considering the trial results obtained so far.

“Kormoran II” initial sea trials, involving the SH-2G Kaman helicopter. Image Credit: Remontowa Shipbuilding/RSB(hesja)

The final decision concerning the potential change of the parameters is to be made by the Ordering Party. However, having the knowledge of the results of the tests that have been carried out so far, we cannot find any well-grounded arguments to even consider such option. Any of the potential remarks, conclusions or recommendations will be a subject to separate consideration, following the finalization of the qualification tests.

Remontowa Shipbuilding

 

We have also asked a similar question addressed to the OBR CTM facility. The company addressed our inquiry in the following statement: “Devices and systems that form the Command and Battle Means Control Suite, delivered by the OBR CTM S.A company to be fitted on the ship, are going through the final phase of the functional and integration tests.During the said tests, any remarks made by the Ordering Party are being implemented in an ongoing manner.”.

 

The representatives of the Ordering Party also note that, so far, 97% of the ship systems and hardware have successfully passed the tests envisaged. The remaining 3% is being tested now, and every piece of hardware delivered meets the requirements set by the Ordering Party.

Each of the elements of the equipment and hardware for the ship meets the requirements and conforms with the specifications defined by the Ordering Party. So far, 97% of the initial tests concerning the ship’s systems and hardware have been finalized with success. The remaining 3% of the equipment is still at the testing stage.

Statement issued by Remontowa Shipbuilding shipyard on February 28th 2017.

What’s next for the Kormoran vessels?

The potential order concerning another two minehunters remains yet another issue, which is beyond the reach of the contractors, or even of the Ordering Party, at least at the moment. The framework agreement assumes that following the finalization of the qualification tests programme, a contract is going to be signed, envisaging building of another two Kormoran II class minehunters.

From the standpoint of making use of the industrial potential, it would be optimal to conclude the contract immediately after, or even during the conclusion of the protocol signifying the finalization of the development project, instead of doing so several months later, e.g. after the Navy takes over the ship, or following the introduction of the vessel into the operational service. Following the qualification tests, the employees of the shipbuilding company and OBR CTM who were working on the programme will not be involved in any works, as the production line would stop being operational, while the large, new production hall erected in Gdansk is going to remain empty.

Until the moment when subsequent minehunters are ordered, the hall of the RSB shipyard is going to remain empty. Image Credit: M.Dura

Moreover, considering the building process, the creation of new vessels cannot begin immediately after the agreement is signed. The order and delivery of the non-magnetic steel may take as long as 6 to 9 months.

The order itself, and deliveries of the sheet metal required to build the new vessels is going to take from 6 to 8 months. Image Credit: M.Dura

Kormoran II” programme is said to set an example of fruitful collaboration between all of the parties concerned: The Ordering Party: The Armament Inspectorate which, in an ongoing manner, assists and supervises in the process of implementing the programme, as well as the Contractor: Remontowa Shipbuilding Shipyard which, working together with OBR CTM, has integrated the systems delivered by a number of subcontractors, including the KenBIT company, Gdansk University of Technology or Kongsberg.

The industry expresses its readiness to undertake work on the new vessels. The experts working with the Polish manufacturers suggest that maintenance of the expertise and the team of professionals who are dealing with accomplishment of the current tasks remains a critical issue.

 

Thank You!! Your comment has been added and it is awaiting moderation.

Be the first to comment