Finnish Navy’s Hamina-class FACs to participate Swedish hosted ASW drills

Hamina-class FAC launching lightweight torpedo after MLU (Credit: Finnish Navy)

Two Hamina-class fast-attack craft of the Finnish Navy will take part in the annual anti-submarine warfare exercise organized by the Swedish Navy 15-20 April 2021 off the east coast of Sweden, the Finnish Navy announced with a press release.

The exercise aims to enhance the cooperation between Finland and Sweden in anti-submarine warfare.

“It is a versatile exercise which will allow us to train the crews to operate the vessels and conduct submarine search and anti-submarine operations efficiently. We will get training in the use of the new underwater systems of the overhauled Hamina-class fast-attack craft against real submarines”, says Chief of Staff of the Coastal Fleet, Commander Mikko Villikari.

“Of course, we will operate observing health safety precautions. Visits at ports, exchanging personnel, or other contacts between the crews of different vessels will not be conducted; all personnel will stay onboard their vessel. Any reinforcements will be conducted safely avoiding close contacts”, Commander Villikari added.

The Covid-19 pandemic has slowed down international activities, but this exercise at sea can be executed, taking the coronavirus measures into account.

The Finnish vessels will participate in the exercise on the invitation of the Swedish Navy. The training will the commanded by the Swedish Navy’s 4th Naval Warfare Flotilla. The Finnish Ministry has approved Finland’s participation in the Defence Forces’ exercise activities program 2021.

Hamina-class FAC

Hamina-class FACs:

The Hamina-class missile boat is a class of fast attack craft of the Finnish Navy. The vessels were built in the late 1990s, early 2000s and are the fourth generation of Finnish missile craft. The vessel’s hull is constructed of aluminium, and the superstructures are constructed of re-enforced carbon fiber composite. The vessels have a very low displacement and are very manoeuvrable. They are equipped with water jets instead of propellers, which allow them to operate in very shallow waters and accelerate, slow down and turn in unconventional ways.

The Hamina class has the latest surveillance and weapons technology, all integrated into an intelligent command system. A Hamina class vessel can monitor about 200 kilometres of air space. The Umkhonto surface-to-air missile system can simultaneously engage a maximum of eight aircraft, up to 14 kilometres away. In contrast, the vessel’s anti-ship missiles have a range of over 250 kilometres.

The Hamina class’ primary weaponry is four RBS-15 Mk.3 anti-ship missiles. The vessels are further equipped with a Bofors 57 mm gun against the surface and aerial targets and the Umkhonto-IR surface-to-air missiles, MASS decoy system, and two 12.7 mm heavy machine guns. It is also possible to use the ships for mine-laying.

The centralized combat control system software is COTS-oriented, built on top of Linux running on redundant x86 rack servers, which makes maintenance and future updates and optimizations simpler.

In early 2018, Finland announced the mid-life upgrade program, which will equip all four boats in the class with new Swedish lightweight anti-submarine warfare torpedoes in the years 2023-2025 and extend the life of the boats to 2035.