The first ship in a series of new minehunters joined the Polish Navy this week when ORP Kormoran officially entered service at a ceremony in Gdynia. It was expected that Poland could receive Kormoran in 2016 but the process was delayed by about a year.
The Kormoran project was initially initiated in 1999, but it was canceled in 2002. In 2007 the project was reactivated under the name of Kormoran II, and in 2013 the final contract with the shipyard was signed. In 2015 Kormoran was launched, and since then technical trials have been conducted.
Kormoran is a modern minehunter that is constructed of non-magnetic steel. It features a low noise profile and high maneuverability due to the two Voith Schneider propellers that combine propulsion and steering in one unit. The ship has a displacement of 850 tons. The crew size is 45 persons, and the maximum speed is 15 knots. It operates the Saab Double Eagle and Kongsberg’s Hugin 1000 MR autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV).
The two next ships of the class are the Albatros and the Mewa which are expected to enter service in 2019 and 2022. The three ships will replace the old Krogulec-class ships built in the 1960s.