The Polish Navy has completed the prototype mine countermeasure vessel ORP Kormoran operational and evaluation tests. The tests were to help develop the way of the most effective use of the vessel in service and support the construction of subsequent serial minehunters of this type. Now the ship can participate in regular training and perform combat duty.
The ship’s relevant operational and military tests were already completed in December 2020. Afterwards, however, the army commission worked on the documentation, and the ORP Kormoran crew prepared for the O2 program task, whose deadline was set for March. This is an exam to confirm the readiness of a single ship to perform tasks at sea.
Throughout this time – from the minehunter ORP Kormoran (601) delivery at the end of 2017 until recently – operational tests have been taking place. The crew has been huddling together, familiarizing themselves with the ship and practising their skills. In addition, the minesweeper has taken part in several naval operations, such as the “Northern Coasts” manoeuvres off the coast of Sweden and “Solid Belona” in Polish waters.
The Navy used conclusions from the tests to introduce numerous modifications to the equipment and systems on two serial vessels – ORP Albatros (602) and ORP Mewa (603) – being still under construction. They are being built by Remontowa Shipbuilding – the consortium leader, together with OBR Centrum Techniki Morskiej and PGZ Stocznia Wojenna in Gdynia.
The changes included communications and navigation systems, the ship’s combat tactical system (SCOT) and mine countermeasure systems, as well as modifications to the ship’s engine room and emergency protection. Additionally, changes were made to the functionality of the SHL-101T under-keel sonar. A different set of underwater vehicles has also been used.
The minehunters 602 and 603 have been equipped with GAVIA, Saab DE SAROV, and Hugin Kongsberg UAVs. In addition, Kraken KATFISH 180 side observation towed sonar with an autonomous launch and recovery system (ALARS) was added. In place of the 23mm calibre Wróbel cannon on the prototype ship, an OSU-35K artillery system was installed on both vessels.
The construction of the above mentioned MCMVs OORP Albatros and Mewa is nearing completion at the Remontowa Shipbuilding shipyard. The first (602) is about to start Sea Acceptance Tests before delivery to the Ordering Party. Whereas the 603 ship is currently in the third stage of SAT, her handover is planned for the second quarter of this year.