On November 15 in Karlskrona, the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) handed over the SIGINT ship HMS Artemis to the Swedish Armed Forces. On the same day, steel cutting for the production of the hull of the second SIGINT ship for the Polish Navy began in Gdansk. Both classes of vessels are based on a similar design, while Saab is the main contractor for both programs.
The new intelligence gathering ship (Swedish: Spaningsfartyget) HMS Artemis (A 202) will replace the 40-year-old HMS Orion (A 201). Before the vessel will be ready for its first mission, some work needs to be done. These include certification and test operations to tune SIGINT (Signal Intelligence) equipment. Artemis is expected to conduct its first operational spy cruise in the Baltic Sea next year.
The Difficult Story of the Artemis
HMS Artemis SIGINT vessel was built within the scope of Project B104 under a contract signed between Saab and FMV on April 26, 2017. The conceptual design, including special equipment, was made by FMV and Saab Kockums. The technical and detailed designs were developed by the Polish bureau MMC Ship Design & Marine Consulting.
The Swedish company outsourced the construction of the ship’s platform to the Polish Stocznia Remontowa “Nauta” in Gdynia. “Nauta” was responsible for the construction of the platform, its equipment and mechanisms, and the execution of HAT (Harbour Acceptance Trials) and SAT (Sea Acceptance Trials). The SAT was to complete the Polish phase of the program, after which the vessel on its own was to move to Saab Kockums in Karlskrona, to receive special equipment.
“Nauta” has outsourced the production of the hull to another subcontractor – PGZ Stocznia Wojenna in Gdynia. Steel cutting began on March 1, 2018, and on June 15 the keel of the vessel was laid. Ship was launched on April 17, 2019, after which the its hull was towed to “Nauta”.
Unfortunately, as a result of “Nauta’s” financial problems, the construction process was interrupted, and the unfinished Artemis left Gdynia at night on February 15, 2021 on the AHTS Opal tow, and arrived at the Saab Kockums shipyard in Karlskrona the following day. On November 2, 2022, the ship began sea trials in the Karlskrona area.
Artemis has a length of 76.4 m, a width of 14.0 m, a displacement of about 3,000 tons, diesel-electric propulsion with four generator sets of 990 kW each and two main azimuthal thrusters, providing a speed of about 14 knots. There are two bow thrusters to improve maneuverability. There are 35 single and double cabins with sanitary facilities, with 40 berths for the crew and mission systems operators. The operators are from the FRA (National Defence Radio Establishment).
The Artemis design was used to develop its variant, on the basis of which two similar vessels of Project 107, under the codename Delfin (Dolphin), are being built for the Polish Navy.
On the same day, steel cutting for the production of the second SIGINT ship for the Polish Navy began at Remontowa Shipbuilding. The ship will be named ORP Henryk Zygalski in honor of the Polish cryptologist who was a member of the team that broke the cipher of the Enigma electromechanical cipher device.
The first vessel – ORP Jerzy Różycki (another cryptologist from the same team) – has been under construction since April this year. Its keel was laid in July. Launching ceremony is scheduled for June 2024, while the handover of both ships to the Armament Agency and then to the Polish Navy is expected by the end of 2027.
The contract for the two Dolphins, for about €620 million, was signed between Saab and the Armament Agency in 2002. Saab contracted Remontowa Shipbuilding to build the vessels. The shipyard will build complete, ready-to-operate platforms, but without the SIGINT equipment that Saab will integrate.
ORP Jerzy Różycki (261) and ORP Henryk Zygalski (264) will replace the more than 45-year-old Project 863 vessels: ORP Navigator (262) and ORP Hydrograf (263), built at the Northern Shipyard (Stocznia Północna) in Gdansk, the current Remontowa Shipbuilding.
Source : Navalnews