HS analysis The construction of the largest warships in Finnish history has run into problems, and there are no quick fixes

The choice of Rauma Shipyard as the builder of the largest warships in Finnish history has been problematic from the beginning, writes HS journalist Jarmo Huhtanen.

Ministry of Defense Program Director for Strategic Projects Lauri Puranen released worrying information on Tuesday.

He revealed in his blogthat the planning of the ships of the strategic project important for Finland’s defense, Squadron 2020, is overdue. Rauma Shipyard has not stayed on schedule.

As such, the situation is not unusual, as it is difficult to build modern munitions. It is known that there are often problems with projects.

It is noteworthy that Rauma Shipyard has been in trouble from the beginning, even though a lot of time was set aside for the design of the ships from the beginning.

Telakan according to the announcement, planning will be delayed by 6 to 12 months. The impact of the delay on the completion of the entire class of vessels is not yet known. Puranen estimates that it will also affect the ships’ completion and commissioning schedules.

According to Puranen, the defense administration has raised the issue with the shipyard several times already, “but from the customer’s point of view, the design delay should have been avoided with wider planning shoulders”.

It is easy to interpret that the patience of the defense administration is being tested.

The matter can no longer be said more directly, unless then the shipyard is directly blamed for its inability. It is easy to interpret from the blog that the patience of the defense administration is being tested.

Rauma shipyard obviously lacks key production factors, ie warship designers, or there are gaps in their expertise. There are no quick fixes.

Squadron 2020 The project will build four 3,900-tonne and 115-meter warships. The ships are historically large for the Navy. Their size increased significantly as the project progressed, which would seem to suggest that there have also been design deficiencies in the Navy.

The Navy calls the future ships as if they are hiding in the corvettes, which gives a false picture of them. In reality, they are according to the definition published by the Ministry of Defense itself larger than frigates.

The first new ship, Ostrobothnia, was to be built next year and completed in 2025. The goal seems increasingly unlikely if ship design alone seems to be delayed by up to a year.

HS already reported in 2016 The Finnish defense industry’s suspicion that the construction of warships will not succeed with the planned 1.2 billion euros. It seemed that the Finnish Defense Administration was taking a big risk.

Indeed, shipbuilding costs subsequently rose to € 1.3 billion, despite assurances otherwise from the Navy and the Ministry of Defense.

The new ships could also have been built at a shipyard specializing in warships abroad. It was decided to do so for three new Katanpää-class minesweepers in the early 2000s.

The Katanpää category was purchased from a shipyard specializing in anti-personnel vessels in Italy, because no expertise could be found in Finland to build such demanding vessels at an affordable price. There were also delays in the delivery of these ships after being in charge of construction the Italian shipyard was flooded.

The risks of Rauma Shipyard were known from the beginning.

Warships it is easier to justify purchases to decision-makers if part of the purchase price can be shown to remain in the home country and if the construction in the home country also has an employment effect.

However, more than half of the purchase price of warships goes abroad because many systems, such as weapons, are imported goods.

The risks of Rauma Shipyard were known from the beginning. It was a very small company of only about 50 people, which was established on the ruins of the unprofitable STX Finland Rauma shipyard in 2014.

The Ministry of Defense had to choose the Rauma shipyard because the Turku shipyard was not interested in construction. Instead, the Border Guard’s two new large patrol vessels are to be built in Turku.

Helsinki Shipyard was not eligible for the Finnish Defense Forces as a warship builder because of its Russian owner.

Squadron 2020 There were delays in the early stages of the project, when the Defense Forces wanted to make sure the shipyard was able to build ships and show that the company had a future at all.

An important public reason for building ships in Finland is that they must be able to be maintained in Finland throughout their decades-long life cycle.

In fact, not even a covered hall has yet been built for the Rauma shipyard, under the shelter of which warships are to be built. Its construction begins only this month.

The operating culture of Rauma Shipyard is also indicated by the fact that the shipyard has had obvious difficulties in controlling the coronavirus epidemic.

At worst In this case, the delay at Rauma Shipyard affects the Navy’s plans to decommission the current two minesweepers and four Rauma-class missile boats, which are at the end of their life cycle.

In his blog, Lauri Puranen estimates that from the point of view of defense capability, there is still “some room” in the schedule, but “from now on, it is absolutely important that there is no more delay and that it can even be caught up”.

It seems to require a small bigger miracle.

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