By 2027 the Russian Federation Navy is expected to have acquired a total of ten Alexandrit class minesweepers for the fleet.
This number will, however, be tripled by 2035. The first of class Alexander Obukhovwas’s hull was first laid down in 2011 and commissioned into service five years later.
The New Year also saw the induction into service of the Project 11356 frigate Admiral Makarov. The frigate was built in Kaliningrad by the Yantar Shipyard and will be based at Sevastopol.
The boats, with their special air independent propulsion, are part of a joint program between Singapore’s Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), Tan Peng Yam and Thyssen-Krupp Marine Systems.
Steel cutting for the third and fourth boat in the class commenced on 12 January. The boats are expected to enter service from 2024.
American naval aviators took another first step into the future in late 2017 when the first nine F-35C Lightning II aircraft and their pilots qualified for flying from an aircraft carrier for the first time.
The event was achieved onboard the USS Abraham Lincoln and aircraft and personnel from the ‘Rough Raiders’ of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125 alongside the ‘Grim Reapers’ of VFA-101 and VX-9.
The end of 2018 also saw the commissioning into service of the latest of the Freedom variant of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) USS Little Rock. The ship joined the US Navy on December 16.
The Commodore Andreas Ionnides is a 62 metre long offshore patrol vessel built by Israel Shipyards. She carries an armament of a pair of 23mm guns and could be, although currently isn’t, equipped for anti ship missiles as well as anti aircraft missiles.
She was designed to be able to carry a contingent of special-forces alongside her normal complement of 30 crew members.