Lock, Stock and a Sandy Bottom

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You are a small island nation with an ageing naval infrastructure and an equally ageing fleet of small patrol vessels in need of replacement.

The solution is simple, just get the cheque book out and replace the lot.

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force has contracted with Damen and Van Oord for 9 vessles and a range of port facilities under the ‘Sandy Bottom’ project.

The whole project is costing just under £130 million in addition to the port facilities

[UPDATE]

The latest (March 2014) costs have been stated as $149 million for the ships and $75 million for the port facilities

[/UPDATE]

Dr Sandy Nottage, Minister of National Security, said

This $200 million venture will represent the single largest investment to date in the Defence Force’s history

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force get;

Royal Bahamas Defence Force Sandy Bottom Project
Royal Bahamas Defence Force Sandy Bottom Project

These are 42m blue water patrol vessels with a maximum speed of more than 20 knots. These are the same type as in service with the UK Border Agency.

Royal Bahamas Defence Force Sandy Bottom Project Damen Stan Patrol 4207
Royal Bahamas Defence Force Sandy Bottom Project Damen Stan Patrol 4207

HMBS Arthur Dion Hanna Arrives In The Bahamas

Royal Bahamas Defence Force Sandy Bottom Project Damen Stan Patrol 3007
Royal Bahamas Defence Force Sandy Bottom Project Damen Stan Patrol 3007

These are a smaller coastal patrol vessel using the axe bow design

A 600 tonne, 52 metre, multi purpose cargo vessel with a landing ramp and 25 tonne crane. It can carry 42 containers on deck with water and oil in fitted tanks. These will be used for logistic support and disaster relief and included in the deal are a number of containers specifically for the disaster relief mission.

Royal Bahamas Defence Force Sandy Bottom Project Damen Stan Lander 5612
Royal Bahamas Defence Force Sandy Bottom Project Damen Stan Lander 5612

A refit for the two Bahamas Class Patrol Vessels

The refit will extend the life of the VT Halter patrol vessels.

Royal Bahamas Defence Force contracts Damen for patrol crafts

RBDF SANDY BOTTOM UPDATE

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martin

an entire fleet for less than the estimated cost of a single MHPC. pretty impressive.

Fluffy Thoughts
Fluffy Thoughts

So? What about hurricane-season…?

Meeh: I don’t see anything there to defend with or intersect drug-runners.

Oh, I may have missed-the-point! It is a James Bond film-set, no…?

:edit:

Misspelt email-address => spam-trap…! :eek:

IXION

Looks like a good buy for all that but…

Very few vessels of 42 meters can be described as ‘blue water’. Both the videos show these boats bouncing around in simple chop, never mind some real waves,, In the latter it looks like the boat is ‘shipping one green’ at about 2.44 onwards

I like the idea but an extra 10 meters or so might help.

Nicky

Looks good, but it doesn’t have any weapons to defend themselves or use against drug runners and terrorist. It should have a minimum of M 242 Bushmaster cannon MK 38 Mod 2 and 4 M2 Machine guns that are on the US Coast Guard’s Sentinel-class cutter. I also think this is something that the Falklands can do as well, Both Bahama’s, Falklands and Jamaica should have ships that are as armed as the US Coast Guard. The Falklands should have Corvettes such as the SIGMAS for their defense as well.

Overseas
Overseas

New port/docks, 9 new ‘coast guard’ type patrol vessels, $200mn. What’s not to like about that package? Nicely suited to the needs of the Bahama’s (although more is always better) and really showing how much you can get for your money these days.

UK RN please do same. Form a proper coast guard, get a bakers dozen of the 4207’s (already in service with HM Border Force, or did that agency go bust?). 6 for UK waters, rest for overseas territories, Gib etc. Anyhow, forget that, it’s fantasy.

Very impressed with this decision by Bahama’s. Anyone have any info on manning? Are they replacing all existing ships/facilities, or expanding? If they are (expanding), its a rather dramatic diversion from what the rest of the (Western) world is doing.

Observer
Observer

Nicky, those are concept art, actual hardware will be fitted later.

I do like the idea of 25-40mm guns on interceptors, though I wouldn’t call it a minimum requirement, a 25mm gives a very nice safety margin, minimum would be 1-2 7.62 GPMGs on RWS or with gunshield. Of course, given a choice between the GPMG and the Bushmaster, I’d choose the Bushmaster, but you can live with the GPMG.

Hate the M2 though, the loading and cocking process has a step that is anathema to me. The 1st round empty loading and dry firing before a live round is chambered in. The idea that you have to cock and fire a non-existant first round is a safety hazard, there is a chance of you firing off a live round by mistake if you thought the first round dry load wasn’t done yet, and the extra step increases the time you need to bring the gun into action. Who wants to go “cock, fire imaginary round, cock, fire live round” in an ambush situation? You want “cock, fire, supress the area”, not dick around trying to remember where you were in the loading drill.

Nicky

@Observer
IMO, the Royal Bahamas defense force should have a Navy centered around an, OPV that is armed with a minium of 25 mm Bushmaster cannon with 4 GPMG for self defense. They should really Model their Navy after the US Coast Guard.

Observer
Observer

Nicky, with all due respect to Chuck Hill, an ex-USCG guy who posts here whose work I’m very impressed with, I do not think blindly copying “Organization X, Y or Z” is a good way to go about things, each individual country has their own requirements and conditions and threat matrix, and blindly copying them can result in wastage and equipment mismatches.

For example, the USCG cutters tend to be very long endurance, due to their very long coast line and the need to patrol it. Getting a USCG long endurance ship is a waste of money and resources for a small place like the Bahamas as they are so small, out of port endurance isn’t an issue.

Same thing with the threat matrix, the USCG has a semi-wartime role and so comes armed to match, the Bahamas may not have that kind of role or threat to require arm to that extent.

To each their own you would say.

It’s at least a better saying than “monkey see, monkey do”. :)

Nicky

@Observer
IMO, the Royal Bahamas defense force ships, should be equipped with the standard 25-40 MM Cannon and M2 GPMG. They may not face a high threat environment, but maybe able to defend themselves, when faced with an armed drug runner or a cartel. At the same time, it would protect themselves in future maritime threats.

I also think the Royal Bahamas defense force should model their fleet after the Sentinel Class FRC and even the 87ft Patrol Boat. It would give them a level of protection and self defense. Even if they ever get an OPV, it should be armed with a minium of a 40 MM cannon for protection.

Observer
Observer

… Nicky, the Sentinel IS the same family as the Damen Stan 4207, just a bit longer and wider. The design template is the same, and cutting the endurance to make the ship smaller is no big deal as Bahamas is not the US with a super long coastline.

GPMGs are 7.62 calibre (M-240), HMGs are 12.7/0.5 cal.

The loading problems for the M2 still stands, though for some strange reason, a lot of american support weapons seem to have this flaw, even the Mk19 AGL has to be dry fired before the first round loads. Damn strange way to do things.

Nicky

@Observer
The thing here is that If I was a crew member on those ships, wouldn’t you want something for self defense- and protection against, armed drug runners, Cartels and piracy. I would want a maximum of a 40 MM cannon and the Min of a 25 MM cannon. Even for self defense, would be a GPMG & HMG. Even a 40 MM cannon is enough to disable and stop a small to Medium ship.

Sparky42
Sparky42

Nice deal for the Bahama’s and certainly a jump up in capability for them, however I’m not certain that you can easily just copy it for different sea conditions, as cheap and cheerful as they are I wouldn’t want to have them off the Irish coast in Winter.

Observer
Observer

Exactly sparky.

Sparky42
Sparky42

@Observer

I suppose that’s why for €110 million Ireland is only getting 2 OPV’s, however their much different animals to the 4207’s. Each nation has to judge their ocean conditions and missions rather than just look at something cheap and hope it can fit in, the ex-RN hulls Ireland picked up cheap demonstrates that over and over.

Chuck Hill

For those not familiar with the USCG Sentinel Class, or as I prefer to call it the Webber class “Fast Response Cutter” they are, as Observer notes in the same family as the 42 meter Bahamian boats. In addition to being larger, 47 meter, they are faster at 28 knots, and have the capability to launch a 8 meter “over the horizon” RHIBs (http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/boats/default.asp). They have a crew of 24, but that includes two officers that are primarily attached for training. The Coast Guard expects to buy 58 of these cutters. The first six have been delivered and all six go to Miami.

Something similar to the 30 meter boats the Bahamians are getting may end up being replacements for the 87 foot patrol boats Nicky mentioned. They are generally armed with two .50 cal. although a few are more heavily armed.

Nicky

Which is why I believe the Royal Bahamas defense force should have ships that are as armed as a USCG 87 ft Patrol Boat and the Sentinel Class FRC. At the same time, they should have gotten a squadron of A-29 Super Tucano for ISR duty as well.

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