Finnish aerospace and defense Patria has delivered the first modernized Hamina class missile boat FNS Tornio (81) to the Finnish Defence Forces (Puolustusvoimat). Work on retrofitting and overhauling the ship began about two years ago at the beginning of 2018. The total cost of the Hamina renovation project amounted to around 223 million euros. Patria acts as the prime contractor, designer and the lead system integrator. nIn the Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) project four vessels will be overhauled and modernized, and all the new capabilities will be in use in the Finnish Navy during 2021. The goal of the Mid-Life Upgrade project is to secure the service life of the vessels until 2030’s and to extend the vessels’ independent operation time.
The project will also develop the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and the surface defence capabilities with new features. The renovations will improve the Hamina class missile boat abilities to take combat below the surface, particularly with the help of underwater torpedoes and variable depth sonar (VDS) systems. Next year the boats will also be outfitted with additional anti-aircraft defence gear. Its torpedo system will be tested later this year. The main gun armament is being changed from 57mm to 40mm in order to save weight. The vessels were already at maximum weight and in order to introduce torpedoes this had to be changed.
The Hamina-class missile boat is a class of fast attack craft of the Finnish Navy. The vessels have a very low displacement and are very maneuverable. They are equipped with water jets instead of propellers, which allow them to operate in very shallow waters and accelerate, slow down and turn in unconventional ways. The Hamina class are very potent vessels, boasting surveillance and firepower capacities which are usually found in ships twice the size. The Hamina class has been designed and constructed as stealth ships with minimal magnetic, heat and radar signatures. Exhaust gases can be directed underwater to minimize thermal signature, or up in the air to minimize sound in submarines direction. 50 nozzles around the decks and upper structures can be used to spray seawater on the vessel to cool it.
The Hamina class have the latest in surveillance and weapons technology all integrated into an intelligent command system. A Hamina class vessel can monitor about 200 kilometres of air space and its Umkhonto surface-to-air missile system can simultaneously engage a maximum of eight aircraft, up to 14 kilometres away, while the vessel’s RBS-15 Mk.3 anti-ship missiles have a range in excess of over 250 kilometres. The vessels are further equipped with a Bofors 57 mm gun against surface and aerial targets, MASS decoy system and two 12.7 mm heavy machine guns. It is also possible to use the ships for mine-laying andlightweight anti-submarine warfare torpedoes.