Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC) has entered into three major supply contracts for the main equipment of Pohjanmaa Class multi-purpose corvettes ordered by the Finnish Defence Forces.
The main equipment will be purchased from leading global suppliers whose systems have been developed specifically for combat vessels. The contracts are worth over EUR 100 million in total.
The most crucial contracts for the supply of critical main equipment with long delivery times were signed during spring and summer in highly unusual circumstances. The coronavirus pandemic has posed significant challenges to numerous businesses, including the Squadron 2020 project.
“During these challenging times, we have had to develop new ways of working, also regarding the negotiations, which have demanded tenacity and patience from all parties involved. We are very pleased that the contracts for the most vital and time-sensitive equipment procurements for the Finnish Defence Forces’ Squadron 2020 project have now been signed. This is a considerable achievement, especially seeing as many shipyards and businesses have unfortunately had to close down completely”, says Jyrki Heinimaa, President and CEO of Rauma Marine Constructions.
The most important machinery equipment in the multi-purpose corvettes are the gas turbine, the electric drive system along with the gear system that connects them to the propeller shafts, and the main diesel generators.
The electric drive system and the gear system, which is critical to performance and technically challenging, will be supplied by the German company RENK AG. The company has decades of experience in delivering gear systems for combat vessels to nations around the globe.
The gas turbines will be supplied by General Electric. The LM2500 gas turbine is the world’s most commonly used gas turbine in naval ships. The Finnish Defence Forces will be the 39th navy in the world to adopt this turbine model.
The electrical power will be supplied by extremely quiet 12V 175D diesel generators from MAN Energy Solutions SE.
Several important factors were considered when selecting suppliers. These include the power/weight ratio of the engines and gear systems, reduced underwater noise, and warfighting vulnerability, which all play into the operative performance of the vessel. All systems also meet the demands of northern winter and ice-going conditions that are exceptional for warships. The engine and propulsion solution of the Squadron 2020 vessels is a so-called CODELAG (Combined Diesel Electric and Gas) system with two propeller shaft lines. When the ship travels at lower speeds, the vessel is driven by electrical engines, which connect to the gear and are powered by the diesel generators. At higher speeds and in heavy ice conditions, a high-power gas turbine is connected to the gear.
The systems and suppliers that were selected meet the criteria of national security of supply with which the vessels must comply. The vessels will be serviced in Finland throughout their lifecycle.
Finnish Navy Pohjanmaa-Class Corvettes
The Pohjanmaa class is a class of four multi-role corvettes currently under development for the Finnish Navy as part of the Squadron 2020 (Finnish: Laivue 2020) project.
The new vessels are to be constructed at the Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC) shipyard in Rauma, Finland. The construction of the vessels is scheduled to begin in 2022 and the four-strong squadron is expected to achieve operational readiness by 2028.
The corvettes, along with the four Hamina-class missile boats that are being upgraded, will form the backbone of the Finnish Navy from the mid-2020s. The vessels will replace seven older vessels that have been or are due to be decommissioned: the Pohjanmaa minelayer, two Hämeenmaa-class minelayers, and four Rauma-class missile boats.
The Pohjanmaa-class corvettes will have an overall length of 114 m, a beam of 16 m and a displacement of 3,900 tonnes. The class incorporates some major features including ice-strengthened hull.
The corvettes will be armed with Bofors 57 mm naval gun, Evolved Seasparrow Missile (ESSM) surface-to-air missiles, Gabriel anti-ship missiles, Torped 47 anti-submarine torpedoes, and sea mines. They will also be equipped with two Saab Trackfire remote weapon stations (RWS) and two NSV 12.7mm caliber heavy machine guns (HMG).
The vessels are to be equipped with a flight deck and a hangar that can accommodate either a helicopter or UAVs. Each ship will have a crew complement of 70–120.