The Norwegian navy has commissioned a new at-sea replenishment ship. The Maud, which entered service in 2019, was built by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering in South Korea to a similar design as the British Tide class. The Maud class is slightly smaller than the British vessels. The 600-foot ship can carry 7,125 metric tons of diesel fuel, 317 metric tons of aviation fuel, 200 metric tons of ammunition, 30 metric tons of stores and up to 30 20-foot containers. A ramp on the starboard side provides direct access to the cargo deck.
The Maud class (at left) is equipped with a flight deck at the stern and a hangar that can accommodate two NH90-class helicopters. The ship has an extensive hospital facility, including 48 beds, an operating room, trauma room and CT scanner. A hyperbaric chamber is provided to support diving operations. Armament includes four Sea Protector remote weapon stations with 12.7-mm machine guns. The Maud has a top speed of 18 knots and a range of 10,000 nm. In addition to replenishment missions, she can serve as a military command platform or support civilian crisis-response operations.
Stark Motors in Qatar has developed a new 4 x 4 mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle. The Nomad can be configured for various missions, including troop carrier, command-and-control, ambulance and medical evacuation. It can accommodate a crew of two and up to eight troops. There is also space for a gunner to operate roof-mounted weapons, which can be installed in the roof hatch. Gun ports are provided on each side of the troop compartment. A rear door provides access. The Nomad features a V-shaped hull for improved blast protection.
A roof-mounted gun turret can be fitted with a 7.62-mm or 12.7-mm machine gun or 40-mm automatic grenade launcher. The Nomad (at right) is equipped with a situational awareness system, including two day/night cameras at the front and rear and a thermal driving camera, with imagery displayed on a cluster of liquid-crystal displays. In April 2020, Qatar supplied eight Nomad vehicles to Jordan as part of a larger delivery of 44 vehicles.
Russia has developed a family of medium-range uncrewed aircraft that can perform a variety of missions, such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; 3D mapping; electronic warfare; and communication relay. In Russian service, the Orlan-10 has been widely used to locate targets for artillery. The air vehicle has a maximum takeoff weight of 36 pounds, including an 11-pound payload. It is launched from a collapsible catapult and recovered by parachute. A typical system consists of three to five drones, a truck and the ground-control station.
The ground-control station for the Orlan-10 (at left) can control up to 16 air vehicles simultaneously. Standard equipment includes a gimbal-mounted day camera, thermal camera, video camera and radio transmitter. An improved configuration with a laser designator may have also been fielded. Other payloads include electronic warfare systems capable of disrupting cellular communications or GPS signals. In January 2021, Burma became the first customer for the Orlan-10E drone system. Russia also reportedly supplied Orlan-10s to the Libyan National Army.
Oman Adds Speed to Fleet
The Omani navy has fielded a pair of Al Mubshir-class high-speed support ships, based on the U.S. Spearhead class. Additional naval updates this month include the Finnish Jurmo-class fast landing craft and the Australian LCM-1E and Spanish LCM-1E landing craft. Both classes were built by Navantia in Spain.
The latest on ground systems includes a new record for Qatar's Thunder 4 x 4 MRAP, which has been supplied to Jordan, and updates to the Flyer light strike vehicle, in service with the U.S. Army and Special Operations Command, and the Croatian 120-mm UB M52 mortar.
Aviation records have not been neglected, with the latest information now available for the ubiquitous AGM-114 Hellfire anti-tank missile, the long-serving BN2 Islander utility aircraft and the U.S. 12.7-mm GAU-19, 20-mm M197 and 20-mm M61 Vulcan aircraft guns.
Tehran Continues To Challenge West
Iran continues to defy the international community with its nuclear and missile programs. Tehran is also focused on developing its domestic defense industry and improving its conventional capabilities. The latest information on these areas is now available in our Iran armed forces record.
Nord Stream 2 Pipeline Brings Russia Closer To Europe
The Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea has long been controversial. As it nears completion, Weapons Analyst Brody Ladd takes a look at the pipeline and what it means for Europe in "Europe's Energy Quandary."
Mali, long under pressure from Islamist militants in the north, has now suffered two military coups in less than a year. Nations Analyst Kevin Ivey reviews the situation in "Mali's Political Turmoil."
Finally, Andy Oppenheimer considers the ongoing threat of terrorism and its many guises around the world in the first half of 2021 in "Cycle of Terror."