Mine Countermeasure Vessels
The design and construction of sophisticated Mine Countermeasure Vessels (MCMV) has been the Intermarine core business for many years.
MCMVs are unique ships, specially equipped for safely hunting and sweeping naval mines: as they operate in close proximity of the minefield, their features must guarantee the achievement of very low acoustic and magnetic signatures (to avoid the activation of the mines’ sensors) and of very high shock resistance (to withstand the underwater shock wave).
The validity of the technical solutions carefully studied and adopted by Intermarine is evidenced by facts: as of today, 7 Navies have in service MCMVs designed and built by Intermarine, among them some of the most prestigious in the world (Australia, Italy, Malaysia, Nigeria, Thailand, USA and Finland).
The main reason for this success has been the implementation of an innovative and unique construction technique that has been demonstrated to be ideal for the construction of the hulls of those special vessels used for Mine Warfare.
Not less important, although all the Intermarine MCMVs have in common the same concept of hull construction, their configurations (in terms of Mission and Propulsion Systems) are completely different: the number of variants implemented for so many different Navies, also is a proof of the capability of the Company of tailoring its basic design on the specific operational, logistic and technical requirements of each and every customer.
It can be affirmed that Intermarine has integrated and installed on its MCMV almost all the main equipment/ systems today available in the mine countermeasure market:
Command and Control systems
ATLAS Elektronic (for the Royal Thai Navy and for the Finnish Navy)
Datamat (for the Italian Navy)
GEC Marconi (for the Royal Australian Navy)
Thomson (now Thales, for the Royal Malaysian and Nigerian Navies)
Unisys (for the US Navy)
Variable depth Sonar:
FIAR SQQ-14/IT (for the Italian Navy)
GEC Marconi 2093 (for the Royal Australian Navy and for the Italian Navy)
Raytheon AN/SQQ 32 (for the US Navy)
Hull mounted Sonar:
ATLAS (for the Royal Thai Navy and for the Finnish Navy)
Thomson TSM 2022 (now Thales, For the Royal Malaysian and Nigerian Navies)
Mine Disposal Vehicles:
Bofors Double Eagle (for the Royal Australian Navy)
ECA PAP 104 (for the Royal Malaysian Navy)
Gaymarine Pluto and Pluto Plus (For the Italian, Nigerian and Royal Thai Navies)
MIN (for the Italian Navy)
ATLAS SeaFox (for the Finnish Navy)
One Controllable pitch propeller + 3 thrusters (Italian and Royal Australian Navies)
Two Controllable pitch propellers + 2 thrusters (Royal Malaysian Navy)
Two waterjets (Nigerian Navy)
Two Voith Schneider Cycloidal propellers (for the US, Finnish and Royal Thai Navies)
MCMVs construction technique
In mid Seventies Intermarine, in the wake of its researches aimed to developing methods for building large GRP vessels, started developing a new concept of hull construction, which soon appeared to be sound for building those special vessels devoted to Mine Countermeasures operations.
This concept allowed to exploit at utmost the intrinsic elasticity and flexibility of GRP, and therefore to build vessels capable to withstand the shock caused by underwater explosions of mines by “absorbing” elastically the enormous energy released by the explosion.
This led to a peculiar and unique construction technique, known as “Monocoque Single-skin without reinforcements”, consisting in building the hull structure without any longitudinal nor transverse reinforcement, but with increased shell thickness for providing the necessary structural strength of the hull girder.
Such a technique also entailed the need to implement special outfitting techniques, such as installation of main engines and machinery on cradles suspended between watertight bulkheads, which provided additional benefits in terms of silent navigation and therefore higher safety for the vessel and the crew when navigating in the proximity of a minefield.
Also, it required to keep the liquid tanks separated from the hull structure to avoid direct transmission of the shock to the internal structures when the hull elastically flex under shock loads: for such a reason the liquid tanks are suspended between two watertight bulkheads with a significant clearance from the hull bottom.
The practical implementation of this construction technique required Intermarine designers to have a much more active role in the engineering phase of the design process and to acquire an intimate knowledge of the features and performance of the various raw materials.
Still today, Intermarine is heavily investing in research and development in the field of the composite materials and of the associated construction techniques: during the years materials and technologies have been continuously refined and improved, keeping Intermarine on the leading edge of the mine countermeasure market.