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Lerici-class minehunter

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Title: Lerici-class minehunter  
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Subject: Royal Malaysian Navy
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Lerici-class minehunter

Crotone - ninth ship of the Lerici class
Class overview
Name: Lerici
Builders: Intermarine SpA
Operators:  Marina Militare
 Royal Malaysian Navy
 Nigerian Navy
 United States Navy
 Royal Australian Navy
 Royal Thai Navy
 Finnish Navy
Subclasses: Subclasses:
Lerici class
Second Series Lerici class or Gaeta class
Export derivatives:
Mahamiru class (Malaysia and Nigeria)
Osprey class (USA)
Huon class (Australia)
Lat Ya class (Thailand)
Katanpää class (Finland)
Built: 1985-1997 (Italian-operated vessels)
Building: 3 (Finland)
Completed: 12 (Italy)
4 (Malaysia)
2 (Nigeria)
12 (USA)
6 (Australia)
2 (Thailand)
Cancelled: 6 (Thailand)
General characteristics for Lerici class
Type: Minehunter
Displacement: 620 tons full load
Length: 50 m (160 ft)
Beam: 9.9 m (32 ft)
Draught: 2.6 m (8.5 ft)
Propulsion: Single diesel engine driving a single variable pitch propellor
3 active rudders
Speed: 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph) maximum speed
6 knots (11 km/h; 6.9 mph) minehunting speed
Range: 1,500 nautical miles (2,800 km; 1,700 mi) at 6 knots (11 km/h; 6.9 mph)
Boats & landing
craft carried:
2 remote-operated mine-clearance vehicles
Complement: 47: 4 officers, 7 clearance divers, 36 ratings
Sensors and
processing systems:
VDS FIAR SQQ-14 (IT) sonar
Armament: 1 x Oerlikon 20 mm cannon
General characteristics for Gaeta class
Displacement: 697 tons full load
Length: 52.5 m (172 ft)
Armament: 2 x Oerlikon 20 mm cannon
Notes: All other characteristics as above
Taken from:[1]

The Lerici class is a class of minehunters constructed by Intermarine SpA and owned and operated by the Marina Militare, the Italian Navy. The class incorporates two subclasses: the first four ships are referred to specifically as the first series of the Lerici class, while eight more ships produced to a slightly modified design are known as second series Lericis or as the Gaeta class.

The class design has also been used as the basis for ships of the Royal Malaysian Navy (as the Mahamiru class), the Nigerian Navy, the United States Navy (as the Osprey class), the Royal Australian Navy (as the Huon class), and the Royal Thai Navy (as the Lat Ya class). Three vessels are under construction for the Finnish Navy (the Katanpää class). The Republic of Korea Navy operates an unlicensed derivative, known as the Ganggyeong class.

Design and service history

Twelve ships were constructed by Intermarine SpA between 1985 and 1996. The first four, referred to as the Lerici subclass) were ordered on 7 January 1978.[1] Six more ships of an improved design (known as the Gaeta subclass) were ordered on 30 April 1988, with two more Gaetas ordered in 1991.[1]

Lerici class

The four Lerici class ships were launched from September 1982 through to April 1985, and were all commissioned into the Marina Militarie during 1985.[1]

Lerici class ships have a displacement of 620 tons full load, 50 metres (160 ft) long, 9.9 metres (32 ft) wide, and a draught of 2.6 metres (8.5 ft).[2] The ships have a maximum speed of 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph), provided by a single diesel engine with a variable-pitch propellor.[2] This speed is reduced to 6 knots (11 km/h; 6.9 mph) for mine-warfare operations; three active rudders (small propellors or waterjets mounted in a unit which can rotate through 360 degrees) are used to keep the minehunters on station.[2] The ships have a range of 1,500 nautical miles (2,800 km; 1,700 mi) at operational speed.[2]

Each ship has a standard complement of 47, made up of 4 officers, 7 clearance divers, and 36 ratings.[2] They are equipped with a hyperbaric chamber, Pluto remote-operated submersibles for mine investigation and clearance, and VDS FIAR SQQ-14 (IT) sonar.[2] The ships are armed with a single Oerlikon 20 mm cannon.[1]

The four ships, with their pennant numbers in brackets are:

  • Lerici (M 5550)
  • Sapri (M 5551)
  • Milazzo (M 5552)
  • Vieste (M 5553)

Lerici and Sapri have been placed in reserve.[3]

Gaeta class

The eight ships of the Second Series Lerici class, more commonly known as the Gaeta class, were all launched in the early 1990s, and were commissioned by May 1996.[1] The Gaeta class is almost identical to the Lerici class: the main structural differences between the ships are that displacement of the latter is 77 tons greater, the hull is 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) longer, and the communications mast was moved from above the bridge to just forward of the exhaust funnel.[1] The Gaetas also used an improved version of the VDS FIAR SQQ-14 (IT) sonar, which was fitted in 1991 to the four Lerici class ships, and are armed with two Oerlikons instead of one.[1]

Depending on the source, the Gaeta class ships are considered to be either a Lerici subclass, or a separate class of ships.

The eight ships, with their pennant numbers in brackets are:

  • Gaeta (M 5554)
  • Termoli (M 5555)
  • Alghero (M 5556)
  • Numana (M 5557)
  • Crotone (M 5558)
  • Viareggio (M 5559)
  • Chioggia (M 5560)
  • Rimini (M 5561)


The Lerici class design has been successfully exported to Malaysia, Nigeria, the United States, and Australia.[1][4] However, an inflexible export policy and demands by Intermarine that all ships be built in Italy are believed to have prevented wider sales.[4] These restrictions were lessened in the leadup to the deals with the United States and Australia.[5]

Mahamiru class

The Royal Malaysian Navy operates four ships based on the Lerici class design: KDs Mahamiru (11), Jerai (12), Ledang (13), and Kinabalu (14).[6] The four ships were ordered from Intermarine on 20 February 1981, commissioned into the Royal Malaysian Navy on 11 December 1985, and arrived in Malaysia on 26 March 1986.[6] Referred to as "Malaysian Lericis" or as Mahamiru class ships, two each are based in Lumut and Labuan.[4]

Mahamiru class ships vary in design from the Lerici class. Most significant of these is that Mahamirus are equipped with two diesel engines with dedicated propellor shafts instead of a single engine and propellor, giving them a maximum speed of 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph) and a minehunting speed of 7 knots (13 km/h; 8.1 mph).[6] The Malaysian ships are also equipped with Thomson Sintra TSM 2022 sonar, Thomson-CSF radar, and two PAP-104 remote-operated submersibles, and are 1 metre (3.3 ft) longer than the Italian vessels they were based on.[6] Instead of the 20 mm Oerlikon, the ships are armed with a single Bofors 40 mm L/70 gun.[6] The standard crew complement is 42, 5 of whom are officers.[6]

Mahamiru and Ledang were modernised by Thales as part of the Royal Malaysian Navy's Service Life Extension Program.[7] The TSM 2022 sonars were upgraded to the Mark III version, and the ships were reconditioned to meet a minimum of ten more years active service.

Nigerian Lerici

In the late 1980s, the Nigerian Navy acquired two Lerici class ships.[5] Ohue (M 371) was ordered in April 1983, laid down on 23 July 1984, launched on 22 November 1985, and commissioned on 28 May 1987.[8] Marabai (M 372) was laid down on 11 March 1985, launched on 6 June 1986, and commissioned on 25 February 1988.[8]

The Nigerian Lericis are based on the Mahamiru class, but use the Pluto submersible, a Racal Decca 1226 radar, and are slightly slower with a maximum speed of 15.5 knots (28.7 km/h; 17.8 mph).[5][8] The Nigerian ships are armed with two 30 mm cannons, and have a crew complement of 50, including 5 officers.[8]

Because of a lack of funding and maintenance, Ohue and Marabai were among several ships of the Nigerian Navy that were non-operational by 1996. However as at 2013, both of these vessels are currently undergoing refurbishment prior to rejoining the Nigerian Naval fleet.[8]

Osprey class

Main article: Osprey class coastal minehunter

In August 1986, following the cancellation of a 17-strong mine warfare ship class after the prototype failed shock testing, the United States Navy placed an order for a mine warfare ship based on the Lerici class. In order to keep construction of the twelve ships, referred to as the Osprey class, under the control of Intermarine, the company established Intermarine USA by acquiring the Sayler Marine Corporation.[9] Initially, the twelve ships were to be built by Intermarine USA in Savannah, Georgia, but in October 1989, construction for four ships was contracted out to Avondale Industries.[9] The ships were launched between March 1991 and June 1997, and were commissioned between November 1993 and December 1998.[9]

The Osprey class ships are larger than the other Lerici designs: they displace 918 tons fully loaded, are 57.3 metres (188 ft) long, 11 metres (36 ft) wide, and with a draught of 2.9 metres (9.5 ft).[9] The ships are fitted with two diesel motors driving two Voith Schneider Propellers; these cycloidal propellers eliminate the need for the aft two active rudders.[9] The ships use a Raytheon/Thomson Sintra SQQ-32 VDS sonar for minehunting, and Alliant SLQ-48 remote vehicles for mine disposal.[9] The ships normally carry a crew of 51, including four officers, and are armed with two 12.7-millimetre (0.50 in) machine guns.[9]

Upon entering service, the twelve ships were assigned to the United States Atlantic Fleet, with the intention that they remain in service for approximately twelve months before being transferred to the United States Navy Reserve.[9] However, all of the ships remained in service until decommissioning in 2006 and 2007. The class was replaced in service by the Avenger class mine countermeasures ships, and as of 2008, eight Ospreys had either been transferred to or marked for transfer to other navies: two each to the Hellenic Navy, Lithuanian Navy, Turkish Navy, and Republic of China (Taiwan) Navy.

Huon class

Main article: Huon class minehunter

In 1991, a force structure review saw the need to replace the Bay class inshore minehunters.[10] The operating capabilities of the Bay class were found to be severely lacking, with four of the six ships cancelled before construction started.[10] In 1994, a contract was awarded to Australian Defense Industries (ADI) to construct six minehunters based on the Gaeta subclass.[10] The construction was to be a joint venture with Intermarine.[5]

The hull of the first ship, HMAS Huon was constructed by the Intermarine shipyard in Sarzana, Italy, then was sent to Australia in 1995 for fitting out at ADI's shipyard in Newcastle, New South Wales. ADI constructed the other five ships in the class, which were all named after Australian rivers.[10]

The Australian ships, which are referred to as the Huon class, have a slightly greater displacement and draft than the Gaetas.[10] The ships use a GEC-Marconi Type 2093 sonar, two SUTEC Double Eagle remote mine disposal vehicles, and are armed with a 30 mm DC30B gun.[10] The ships have a crew of 36 (including 6 officers), with further accommodation for 13 more, including 6 divers.[10] The class entered service between 1998 and 2002 and is based at HMAS Waterhen in Sydney.[10]

Lat Ya class

Eight minehunters based on the Gaeta class were ordered by the Royal Thai Navy on 19 September 1996, after Intermarine won the tendering process initiated in April that year.[11] Built at Intermarine's Sarzana shipyard, the first two ships of this class (HTM Ships Lat Ya and Tha Din Daeng were laid down in 1998 and launched in 1999.[12] The other six ships were cancelled before they were laid down.[11][12]

In comparison to the Gaetas, Lat Ya class ships have a slightly greater displacement of 680 tons, with a corresponding increase in draught to 2.9 metres (9.5 ft).[11] They use Atlas Elektronik radar and sonar, Pluto ROVs, and are fitted with a 30-millimetre (1.2 in) MSI cannon.[11] Each ship carries 8 officers, and 42 other crew.[11]

Katanpää class

Main article: Katanpää class mine countermeasure vessel

In 2004, the Finnish Navy began to look at replacements for the Kuha class minesweepers, which had been in service since 1974. On 23 November 2006, a contract was signed with Intermarine to build three mine countermeasures vessels (initially referred to as the MCMV 2010 class, then as the MITO class).[13] The MITOs are based on the Huon class design, but with a redesigned superstructure.[13] The first two ships, laid down in 2008, are to be constructed at the Sarzana shipyard, while the third will be built at Sarzana, but transferred to Aker Finnyards in Rauma, Finland for fitting out.[13] All three ships will be commissioned by 2012, and are expected to be in full service by 2015.[13]

Unlicensed designs

Ganggyeong class

The six Ganggyeong (Swallow) class ships of the Republic of Korea Navy are an unlicensed derivative of the Lerici class.[10][14] Constructed by the Kangnam Shipbuilding Corporation, the class was commissioned into service between 1986 and 1994.[10] The ships are smaller and less capable than the other Lerici designs.[10]



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