Ukraine commissions two new Gurza-M patrol craft as it rebuilds naval combat capability
Mrityunjoy Mazumdar, Alameda, California - IHS Jane's Navy International
09 December 2016
- Ukraine set to commission first two of nine planned Gurza-M patrol craft
- Navy is seeking to re-constitute its force in the wake of the 2014 Crimea crisis
The Ukrainian Navy commissioned two Project 58155 Gurza-M missile-capable riverine patrol boats on 6 December, following lengthy acceptance trials designed to resolve some technical challenges.
The commissionings are part of a wider Ukrainian programme to rebuild its naval force structure after the loss of nearly two-thirds of its fleet during Russia's annexation of Crimea in March 2014. The navy is moving forward with the aim of creating what is termed a 'mosquito fleet' - made up of about 30 small- and medium-sized combatants - at the centre of a new naval force structure it aims to have in place by 2020. Ukrainian sources say the current fleet numbers about 40 vessels in total, the majority of which are auxiliary platforms.
Designed by Ukraine's State Research and Design Shipbuilding Centre, construction of the two 23 m, 56-tonne patrol boats - Akkerman (U 174) and Berdyansk (U 175) - took place at the Leninska Kuznya shipyard in Kiev. Work began in 2012, although funding challenges meant that build was not completed until late 2015.
The vessels are armed with two BM-5M.01 Katran-M gun-missile systems.
Along with these two craft, four more Gurza-M boats are in build, and another three are on order.
The country is also building two 24.3 m, 54.5-tonne Project 58181 Centaur-class combat boats that are fitted with guns, and grenade and rocket launchers, and are capable of transporting up to 32 troops. These combat boats are currently under construction at Leninska Kuznya.
The 'mosquito fleet' concept is viewed as a more cost- and time-effective option for maintaining presence at sea, according to Captain Andrii Ryzhenko, the navy's deputy chief of staff, when compared with a more traditional naval force structure.
Original post: janes.com