The fourth minehuner proj. 258 was launched in Gdansk -
The fourth minehuner proj. 258 was launched in Gdansk
Date of publication: 26.06.2024

The Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. shipyard in Gdańsk was the site of a unique christening and launching ceremony on June 26. It was the first time in four years that this involved a ship for the Polish Navy. The future ORP Jaskółka (604) is the fourth Kormoran II-type minehunter to become part of the naval type of armed forces.

The event was held at the shipyard wharf, and its setting was provided by the Navy Representative Company and the Navy Representative Orchestra. It was attended, among others, by the head of the National Security Bureau Jacek Siewiera, advisor to the Minister of National Defense Maciej Samsonowicz, Pomeranian Deputy Governor Emil Rojek, West Pomeranian Deputy Governor Adama Rudawski, President of the Polish Register of Shipping Grzegorz Pettke, President of Remontowa Holding S.A. Adam Ruszkowski, president of Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. Dariusz Jaguszewski, Navy Inspector wiceadm, Jarosław Ziemiański, Director of the Department of Armed Forces Authority kadm. Jaroslaw Wypijewski, head of the Armament Board of the Naval Inspectorate kadm. Włodzimierz Kułagin, commander of the 3. FO kadm. Andrzej Ogrodnik, commander of the 8.FOW kadm. Piotr Sikora, deputy commander of the Maritime Operations Center - Maritime Component Command kadm. Wojciech Sowa, the head of the Head of Maritime Technology of the Armament Agency kmdr Piotr Skóra, the commander of the 12th minesweeper Squadron of the 8. FOW  kmdr por. Slawomir Góra, as well as kmdr ppor. Kamil Kalina, the future commander of ORP Jaskółka. Also present were representatives of the shipbuilding industry, shipbuilders and other entities involved in the construction of the minehunter. 

In addition to the launched ship, the recently modernized Project 207P (Gardno type) minesweeper ORP Naklo (640) and the Project B860 H-13 tug Przemko, part of the 8th FOW's 12th minesweeper squadron, were moored at the quay. In addition to representing the Swinoujscie flotilla, the second of the vessels was also the work of Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A.

A unique moment

Later in the ceremony, the head of the Warship Supervision Service of the Polish Register of Shipping Janusz Dilling presented Dariusz Jaguszewski with a certificate of readiness for the launching unit. The ship was also consecrated by Navy chaplains, and then the ship's godmother Malgorzata Zdonek, wife of Cadm. retired Krzysztof Zdonek, uttered the traditional formula "Sail on the seas and oceans of the world, glorify the name of the Polish shipbuilder and Polish sailor. I give you the name Jaskółka." The act of baptism was completed by the traditional smashing of a bottle of champagne against the hull. The organizers of the ceremony took care of the setting, as this moment was accompanied by the release of confetti. 

The future minehunter was in a floating dock that had been submerged to the depth of the hull's bow thruster inlet, a longer process. However, it was an important step indicating that the vessel under construction was capable of floating and buoyancy, and thus towable. She still has years of retrofitting work ahead of her, including the installation of ship systems, equipment and armaments. This will be followed by sea trials preceding the handover of the vessel to the ordering party. The future ORP Jaskółka, as the first of three of the Kormoran II type series, will become part of the 12th minesweeper squadron and will be stationed at the Swinoujscie War Port. It is scheduled to enter service in 2026, while the contractor is scheduled to hand over two more ships, the future ORP Rybitwa (605) and ORP Czajka (606), by 2027.

Great undertaking

The christening and launching ceremony of the Swallow follows the contract signed on June 26, 2022 for the construction of three more serial minehunters of proj. 258, type Kormoran II, which will become part of the 12th minesweeper squadron of the 8th Coastal Defense Flotilla, stationed at the Swinoujscie War Port. The parties to the agreement at the time were the State Treasury - Armament Agency and a consortium consisting of: Stocznia Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A.(leader), PGZ Stocznia Wojenna Sp. z o.o. and Centrum Techniki Morskiej S.A. Research and Development Center. The design of the ships, carried out by Remontowa Holding's Remontowa Marine Design & Consulting design office, provides them with a very low physical field signature and high maneuvering performance. The ships are being built under the supervision of the classification society Polish Register of Shipping.

Construction of the Jaskółka began with sheet metal cutting in March 2023, while the laying of the keel took place in July of the same year. As mentioned by the commander of the 12th minesweeper squadron, kmdr por. Slawomir Gora, the crew's training and preparation for new tasks is constantly underway. She is also involved in the process of building the ship. Due to the presence of three minehunters of the same series in service, the deployment of personnel is much easier, which also allows them to gain practical experience in operating ship systems. In addition, officers and sailors take part in naval force exercises, as well as operations, including those of an international nature.

The Project 258 minehunters are 58.5-meter-long ships with a full displacement of 900 tons. The crew numbers 45 people. They reach a speed of 15 knots and the operating range is 2,500 nautical miles. An important piece of equipment on the ship, testifying to its capabilities, are unmanned underwater vehicles, including autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) Gavia and Hugin, and remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROV), such as the Saab Double Eagle Mk III deep-sea vehicle and the Kraken KATFISH 180 side observation sonar. The technological sophistication of the Albatross is also evidenced by a submarine station with much greater capabilities than those previously used by the Navy. Also used to combat underwater threats will be the Toczek remotely and wirelessly fired explosive systems for destroying naval mines, and the Głupak self-propelled explosive charges for destroying dangerous objects. The main armament is the OSU-35K 35mm weapon system, supplied by the PIT-RADWAR consortium and designed both for cooperation with the ship's combat management system (CMS) and for autonomous operation.

The fleet is growing in strength

After years of neglect, the Polish Navy has entered a dynamic period of expansion, as evidenced by successive investments in the purchase of equipment for naval forces, especially new ships. In addition to work on more Kormoran II-type minehunters, construction is underway on the radio-electronic reconnaissance ships of the "Delfin" program (also at Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. and with the participation of the Swedish Saab concern) and the multi-role frigates of the "Miecznik" program (at the PGZ Stocznia Wojenna). Also currently nearing completion are preliminary market consultations in connection with the purchase of submarines under the "Orka" program, while on June 24 another one began, this time concerning the acquisition of a hydrographic ship pk. "Hydrograf".

The Gdańsk shipyard already has stages planned for the construction of more ships. The launch of the fifth minehunter proj. 258, the future ORP Rybitwa, is expected to take place in March 2025. In turn, the cutting of the plates for the sixth and so far last unit in the series, the future ORP Czajka, is to take place in October this year, and the laying of the keel under it in December. The launch of this minehunter is also scheduled to take place in 2025. The entire series will be completed in 2027, with the handover of the last ship to the ordering party.

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