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Project 6300 RNoN Skjold-class corvette Littoral Combat Craft (LCC)

The P-960 KNM Skjold (pronounced shold Norwegian "shield") is the Royal Norwegian Navy's first Fast Patrol Craft (coastal corvette) of the Skjold-class. She is designed by the Norwegian Navy in company with different contractors. The ship was commissioned on April 17, 1999. More evolutionary than revolutionary, the ship was the prototype for six such fast patrol boats (FPBs) to be built in Norway. All incorporate multinational technology. The ship was not an experimental craft because she was designed and built to meet specific requirements.

The ship is designed for littoral and anti-surface warfare. Skjold is designed to carry two quad, anti-ship-missile launchers; a 76 mm, rapid-fire gun; and a two-round, point-defense, surface-to-air missile launcher.

In St Prp No. 82 (2002-2003) Construction of Skjold Class, which was the basis of the Storting's decision in October 2003, there is a section "2.3 Needs / Operational capacities", which are not formulated as objectives, but was the basis of the evaluation of the project's effectiveness goals. There is broad consensus that the project will achieve its effect goals, albeit in somewhat varying degree:

"The Skjold class shall perform surface operations as part of the Navy's exercise of seacontrol." Skjold is specially designed as a surface vessel and these are the vessels' primary roles. They contribute more than 50% of the surface capacity.

"The Skjold class becomes a powerful, mobile and flexible vessel as independent or integrated in larger forces can solve a variety of naval tasks also in a joint operational perspective." The Skjold class is the Navy's most important contribution in coastal waters and complements the frigates, which operates in open waters.

"In peace, the vessels will claim sovereignty and provide support as necessary for the exercise of authority and jurisdiction". The vessels have high mobility because of their speed and weapons, which makes them able to quickly be in place to solve missions. The vessels are able to provide support to the Coast Guard as needed to represent a real threat of power.

"Support special operations and to protect the petroleum installations along the coast and to sea." With its high mobility, speed, seaworthiness, possibilities to operate closely up in the archipelago and to transport special forces and their weapons load, the vessels are especially well suited to satisfying this goal. But this is not an essential purpose for Skjold vessels.

"Monitor and control large seas". Vessels speed, seaworthy characteristics and sensors (a very good radar) to obtain information (situational awareness) are suitable for covering large seas. The sensors focus in particular on image building both offshore and intersection.

"Provide long-range firepower against both sea and land targets". The vessels are equipped with 76 mm cannon and New Maritime Missile (NSM). The capacity of NSM is now limited to fire power against sea targets.

"Vessels can participate in and lead search and rescue operations and provide quick support to civilians and other government agencies / institutions that have duties and responsibilities in the coastal areas... . " The vessels are very suitable for this purpose as with its speed and mobility as well as seaworthy properties, they are very flexible and usable.

The acquisition of Skjold MTBs helped Norway to get one of Europe's most modern navies. The navy doubled its surface capacity, which is important in order to strengthen the threshold for any attack. Skjold MTBs constituted a strengthening force along the Norwegian coast that can quickly be present at military as well as civilian situations. The vessels also involve a threat of power coast guard. The strengthening of the Skjold vessels is particularly important in connection with that increased focus on Norwegian military presence in the High North.

At the same time, many raised the question of whether one could have increased Norway's defense capacity better with this money other ways, and express that the procurement of vessels is hardly optimal in a larger one defense context. At worst, the project may mean that Norway will have financial problems with carrying out other and more important procurement, such as new submarines.

Five Shield classe units permanently present in northern Norwegian waters have the capacity to deliver 40 NSM, at immediate notice. To achieve the corresponding reaction rate and fire power with F-35, twenty F-35 are required as weapon bearers on continuous CAP. But such a large number of F-35 will in a real case hardly be available for attack on ground or sea targets because the air defense role will probably have the first priority.

The relevance of the project to Norway's defense needs changed from being high in relation to the invasion threat that existed in the mid 1980s. This changed so that relevance was significantly less around 2000 when the final decision was made. Today it appears the vessels are again more relevant to Norway's defense needs, and especially in relation to coastal areas in the north.

The lifetime of the vessels is 40 years and the annual operating budget is estimated at 200 millionNOK (price level 2012). This is technically possible. At the same time it is clear that this was the platform which is most prone to being phased out if developments in the Armed Forces operating budget andinvestment budget required it. Firstly, operating costs for Skjold corvettes are difficulthigh due to the high diesel costs. Secondly, willmidlife upgrade costs could be very high. Thirdly, the corvette is the one platform in the Navy which has the most overlapping capabilities, qualities and characteristics in relative to other platforms. It can therefore be phased out with least negative effects for the total defense capacity.

In 2016 the Government, together with the Labor Party, decided to remove the corvettes. In the Defense's long-term plan the corvettes were taken out. Other considerations weighed heavier, and the corvettes were phased out. This meant that the Navy, around 2025, must say goodbye to one of its most important capabilities. There were three reasons that the corvettes in the Skjold class will be phased out. First, the government believes that the new F-35 aircraft can take over parts of the role of the corvettes. Secondly, money is needed elsewhere, and thirdly, the corridors of the phase are issued just before a significant expense in the form of lifetime extension (MLU) would be applicable.

Norwegian Defense Ministry has announced it would bring forward the NOK 500 million [$55 million] upgrade of its Skjold-class stealth corvettes. The upgrade will take place in the period 2020-2024 and will provide additional work to both the shipyard and other national subsystem suppliers. The work will include upgrading components and several of the on-board systems. The Norwegian government wants to support the defense industry during this difficult period and will accelerate defense investments for more than NOK 1 billion.

This is one of several measures to partially compensate for the loss of HNoMS Helge Ingstad Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate of the Royal Norwegian Navy. On 8 November 2018, HNoMS Helge Ingstad collided with the tanker Sola TS in Norwegian waters just outside Sture Terminal. In June 2019, it was decided that she would be scrapped.

The new long-term plan for the Armed Forces recommends maintaining the Skjold-class stealth corvettes in service until 2030.

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