Skjold Class Corvettes

Skjold Class Corvettes, Norwegian Navy Patrol boat
Norwegian Navy Patrol boat, photo by Matt

Skjold-Class Corvettes (skjold means “shield” in Norwegian) are a class of six light, superfast, stealth missile corvettes in service with the Royal Norwegian Navy.

Skjold Class Corvettes were formerly classed as MTBs (motor torpedo boats) but, from 2009, the Royal Norwegian Navy has described them as corvettes (korvett) because their seaworthiness is seen as comparable to corvettes, and because they do not carry torpedoes.

Skjold Class Corvettes were built at the Umoe Mandal yard.

Skjold Class Corvettes were the fastest combat ships afloat at the time of their introduction with a maximum speed of 60 knots (110 km/h),

The first ship of its class, P960, was launched on 22 September 1998 and commissioned 17 April 1999.

The Skjold design is a surface effect craft, constructed of glass fibre/carbon composite materials. Buoyancy is augmented underway by a fan-blown skirted compartment between the two rigid catamaran-type hulls. This provides an alternative solution to the planing hull/vee hull compromise: the air cushion reduces wave slam at high speeds while presenting a low-drag flat planing profile at the waterline.

To ensure stealth capabilities, anechoic coatings of radar absorbent materials (RAM) have been used in the load-bearing structures over large areas of the ship. This strategy leads to significant weight saving compared to the conventional construction technique of applying RAM cladding to the external surfaces. The ship’s profile has a faceted appearance with no right angle structures and few orientations of reflective panels. Doors and hatches are flush with the surfaces and the windows are flush without visible coaming (edge of window aperture) and are fitted with radar reflective screens. The vessels are additionally protected by the Rheinmetall MASS sensor / decoy system.

The final design was changed compared to the prototype Skjold, which itself was rebuilt to the new specifications. Most notably, the vessels use 4 gas turbines combined by Renk COGAG gear units built in a lightweight design. The smaller gas turbines rated 2,000 kW turbines are used for cruising speed. For sprint speed a second, larger gas turbine is combined providing a total of 6,000 kW to the waterjet on each shaft line. Two MTU 123 cruise diesel propulsion units used previously at loiter speeds were removed. The foredeck was strengthened to accommodate the addition of a 76 mm Otobreda Super Rapid gun.

The hull material was produced by a different method to improve strength and minimize vulnerability to fire. The bridge saw some changes, including an upgrade to six weapon systems control consoles.

 

Corvette, Royal Norwegian Navy, Skjold-class, P965 KNM Gnist
P965 KNM Gnist, a Skjold-class patrol boat of the Royal Norwegian Navy, photo by Mark Harkin
P 690, Norwegian guided missile patrol craft, Skjold